Two blocks of Kenton’s main street will become carfree, Covid-resistant plaza

Volunteers began painting the street mural on North Denver Avenue this morning.
(Photo: Kenton Neighborhood Association on IG)

One of the most ambitious street plazas to come out of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Healthy Business program began taking shape today in the Kenton neighborhood.

With detailed plans (PDF) that will route car drivers and temporarily detour a TriMet bus line to Interstate Avenue, volunteers working with the Kenton Business Association (KBA) will transform North Denver Avenue. One lane will be painted with a colorful geometric shape pattern and remain open for (non-driving) traffic so bicycle riders, walkers, and others can get through. The rest of the street will feature a “public lounge” area with tables and chairs, a “fitness zone”, “sanitation station,” spaces for on-street retail shopping and a public art installation titled “Hall of Injustice” that features portraits of Black people killed by police.

Kenton residents display their work on Hall of Injustice installation.

KBA President Maureen Bachmann says she and her staff have worked on the project since May. “With the closure comes a safe, distanced plaza for neighbors and residents to come out and enjoy Kenton’s shops and restaurants along with creative amenities like a painted mural down the street and outdoor art installations,” Bachmann said in a statement.

Here are a few slides from a presentation created by Salazar Architect for the KBA:


This stretch of Denver includes neighborhood institutions like Po’ Shine’s Cafe, Posies Bakery & Cafe, and a Multnomah County Library branch.

The KBA has set up a GoFundMe to help raise the estimated $15,000 it will take to make the space work. Supporters who wish to help can also Venmo @Kenton_Rules (with “Denver Ave Plaza” in the notes).

PBOT launched the Healthy Business permit program back in June as a way to help local businesses recover from pandemic-related losses and create physically-distant dining and shopping options. Since then, hundreds of Portland business owners have participated. Stay tuned for photos of the many plazas and parklets that have popped up citywide and an update on this popular program.

Kenton’s carfree plaza will be ready for use on Wednesday (7/5) and be open through September. Bike over soon and check it out! And follow the Kenton Neighborhood on Instagram for updates.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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