Lents Neighborhood Transformation | 101 KXL

Lents Neighborhood Transformation

Written by FM News 101 KXL on December 17, 2013
View from Lents Town Center, looking North on 92nd

Since 1998, the city of Portland has been transforming the Lents neighborhood. Once known as “felony flats,” the Southeast neighborhood is now one of the most culturally diverse areas in the city. Run down buildings have been bulldozed and new businesses are popping up. In the past decade, the Portland Development Commission has acquired 40 percent of the commercial property around the Lents Town Center. That’s about a dozen buildings and properties. John Jackley is the director of communications and social equity with the Portland Development Commission. He says those acquisitions have been strategic in order to facilitate development, jobs and economic prosperity. “We think it’s the next big thing, and we’re pulling out all the stops to make it happen.” says Jackley.

The site of the Lents Farmers Market

The site of the Lents Farmers Market

Since this project began, the city has started a farmers market, improved parks, brought MAX to the neighborhood, and added sidewalks and bike lanes. Maybe most importantly it has brought in businesses. But there are still a few vacant lots and empty storefronts. A recent survey from Lents.biz says residents want businesses within walking distance, including a natural foods grocery store, a florist, restaurants, dry cleaning, bottle shop, urban farm supplies, bakery and bicycle sales and service. The PDC’s approach to providing those services isn’t to demand they be opened or built. Instead, the PDC takes suggestions and requests for interest. The PDC recently hosted a walking tour of three vacant lots near Lents Town Center. A handful of people attended the tour, and asked a lot of questions about the properties, mostly concerning parking and utilities. David Emami is a developer who already owns an apartment and retail building on 93rd and Woodstock, and a strip mall on 82nd and Foster. He thinks the neighborhood is hot and sees the potential for more development. He also thinks Lents has outgrown it’s negative reputation. Emami says “We get more vandalism in Lake Oswego then here. Honestly.”


Posted Under: Local Headlines, Today's Top Stories

3 replies to “Lents Neighborhood Transformation

  1. Bingo

    It would be nice if the article would have given some streets that border the area (Lents) it is describing – Southeast Portland is rather vague. And where specifically is the “Lents Town Center” and the “site of the Lents farmers market”???


  2. V

    That photo is on 92nd and foster, the farmers market is in the empty lot across from the eagle eye tavern on 92nd. The heart of Lents is right around there too if you drive down foster past 82nd, you’ll see a newly installed LEnts neighborhood sign by Lents auto body


  3. Brian Balla

    Bingo – I agree, more info would have been nice. So here we go:

    Lents International Farmers Market:
    - Corner of SE 92nd & Foster Road [map]

    Lents neighborhood boundary:
    - SE Powell Blvd. on the north, the Clackamas County line or City of Portland line on the south (whichever is farther south), SE 82nd Ave. to the west, and roughly SE 112th on the east. [source]
    - Lents Geography

    Lents Town Center:
    - SE 92nd Ave & SE Foster Rd [map]


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