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

Posted by on August 3rd, 2020 at 2:29 pm

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 to side streets 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” by @SayTheirNamesMemorial that features portraits of Black people killed by police.

Hall of Injustice will be displayed as part of the Plaza.

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 (8/3) and be open through September. Bike over soon and check it out! And follow the Kenton Neighborhood Association and Kenton Business Association on Instagram for updates.

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

Time to step up downtown St.Johns…


Are the bike lanes being kept open or are bikes expected to walk through?

Kyle Banerjee

I passed through here earlier today. Noticeably more traffic on nearby residential streets as one would expect from having the main street cut off.

This might make Kenton’s businesses more usable and that specific space more enjoyable, but I definitely wouldn’t characterize the overall effect as contributing to any kind of transportation improvement.

Stephan Vertal
Stephan Vertal

I hope the people riding bus line 4 get early notice. This type adaptation sounds good until the winter rains. With people hesitant to dine inside it sounds like many businesses may have a matter of weeks to make money.


This is an excellent idea! I love our Kenton neighborhood and I want our business to survive and thrive!

BLM Gremlins
BLM Gremlins

Hall of injustice? How many of these people pointed a gun or shot at a police officer before being killed? Because only 9 unarmed black people were killed by police last year, and over 7000 were killed by other black people.