Local businesses provide employment for area residents and products and services close to home. Mid-county Memo Business Memos celebrate news, advancements, promotions, retirements, expansions and other noteworthy events at these cornerstones of our community. To share news of your business with our readers, Business Memo submissions for the November issue are due by Monday, Oct. 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at editor@midcountymemo.com. You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, dial 503-287-8904. 

Mexican restaurant open during remodel
El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, located at 10820 N.E. Sandy Blvd., has been in Parkrose for more than 30 years. Yet some of its diehard customers aren’t convinced it’s open. 

El Sombrero’s building has been entertaining a lengthy renovation, both inside and out, which began more than two years ago in June 2016. There’s still more to be done with no firm wrap-up date in sight, but El Sombrero wants the community to know they are there.

Customers haven’t been tripping over hammers, but some have assumed a disheveled storefront means the place is closed. “It wasn’t a huge decrease in business, but it did die down a bit,” says Flores Guitron, a waitress who’s been with El Sombrero for half a decade. “We thought it was time for a new look.” 

For better and not for worse, according to Guitron, the remodel is a total makeover. “We changed the whole front of the restaurant. We painted the front, and we changed where the front door used to be. Before, there used to be all these windows at the front, and now there’s a wall there. We also redid the entire interior,” explains Guitron.

One of El Sombrero’s owners has been completing the majority of the renovation work himself after hours. Upon being reached for comment on his various passion projects, he was unavailable. Guitron would not give his name and acts as his translator.

Regardless of any screaming power drills, Guitron maintains that customers appear jazzed about the improvements. 

“We see more photos of our interior on social media now,” says Guitron. “It’s been a really positive reaction from our main customers who come in once or twice a week. At first, people were reluctant, but once they started seeing how it was turning out to look––they love it. New people come in and say they love it.” 

While business was sinking, Guitron says it’s “back to normal now” and that the menu has stayed the same. The community is still welcome to come in and order El Sombrero’s signature carne asada.

The pool at the East Portland Community Center is closed to allow for plastering work. It’s expected that work will be completed by Nov. 4. Call 503-823-3450 for updates. STAFF/2010

The pool at the East Portland Community Center is closed to allow for plastering work. It’s expected that work will be completed by Nov. 4. Call 503-823-3450 for updates.

Local pool closed for repairs
The East Portland Community Center (EPCC) Portland Parks & Recreation pool is closed to allow for plastering work. This large-scale maintenance endeavor is recommended every 10 years and will result in a pool that is refreshed and revitalized. It is anticipated that work will be completed by Nov. 4. Please call EPCC at 503-823-3450 for updates.

Vendors wanted 
Crafters and vendors wanted for the St. Therese Parish Christmas Bazaar Saturday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Contact Joan Galles at sttheresechristmasbazaar@gmail.com if you are interested. The church is located at Northeast 132nd Avenue and Halsey Street.

Apply for livability grant now
Applications are open for Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area Community Livability grants. $200,000 will be made available for permanent real property improvements. Projects must add, expand, or improve physical space.

Priority will be given to projects that benefit communities of color or people with low incomes and promote widely shared prosperity. Such projects would, for example, do the following:

• Support wealth creation opportunities for small business owners
• Improve access to jobs and workforce development services
• Honor and enhance the neighborhood’s cultural diversity and history
• Deliver a community asset tailored to the community’s expressed priorities and opportunities

Prosper Portland will offer one-on-one assistance in September and October for applicants who want help with applications. To request an appointment, please fill out the application assistance form at prosperportland.us/portfolio-items/community-livability-grant.

Proposal are due Friday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. Approved proposals will be announced in January. 

For more information visit prosperportland.us/portfolio-items/community-livability-grant or contact Alison Wicks, project coordinator II, at 503-823-3949 or by e-mail via the link on the website.