While the TV cameras rolled at PDX and the downtown post offices, see why hundreds of people were thrilled they could drop off their tax return in outer East Portland …

All smiles ‚Äì People dropping off their income tax returns, just before midnight, were smiling because they were relieved to have their taxes done. And postal workers who stayed up late ‚Äì like Laurie Harms seen here in this photo ‚Äì seemed happy to provide late-night service on April 17. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Near midnight, things normally are pretty quiet around Eastport Plaza. Typically, the only vehicles seen driving into the venerated shopping center, on 82nd Avenue of Roses, are hitting the late-night drive-through windows of Burger King, Taco Bell, or Jack in the Box.

But, on April 17, there was a steady flow of vehicles parading past a tent set up in the middle of the street outside the shopping center’s US Post Office. This was one of the few places in the city where tardy tax-payers could drop off their income tax returns right up to midnight ‚Äì and still get it postmarked on time.

Each of the patrons with whom we spoke was tickled. “This is great! I don’t even have to get out of my car,” said Elaine Hinkley. Then she begged, “Don’t take a picture of me. I’m in my pajamas and housecoat!”

By the time we arrived, their large hamper was filling up with envelopes addressed to the IRS, State of Oregon, Multnomah County, and City of Portland.

“This is fun,” postal worker Laurie Harms told us. “The best part is being able to help people who waited until the last minute to get their taxes done. We’re out here to provide customer service.”

She, and her postal partners, said people are so glad they happy to find “drive through” service at Eastport Plaza, “they give us cookies and other treats. And, it is our pleasure to be of service!”

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Learn how NOT to get swindled: East Portland auctioneer Robert W. Mathisen is said to have stolen more than $1 million in goods and cash. Even worse, he robbed a community of trust …

Looking at a doll that was part of a truckload of merchandise Portland Police say was stolen ‚Äì then taken to Chicago ‚Äì is NRT Officer Michele Michaels, with its owner, West Coast Antiques’ Ann Smith. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Members of Portland’s antique and collectables community were shocked in late 2004 to find the Southeast Portland building, home of Robert W. Mathisen’s Professional Auction Group, empty.

When Mathisen and his wife, Ginger, left town, they not only took money owed to collectors and ordinary people who had consigned their valuables for him to sell – but also, a truck full of valuable antiques and collectables.

These valuables came from estate sales and collectors throughout East Portland.

The police had originally advised victims to “write off” their losses. But, when Sgt. Dave Anderson assigned East Precinct officers Michele Michaels and Sheri Davis to the case in 2005, the mystery of the Mathisens’ disappearance slowly began to unravel.

“What kept this investigation alive, Michaels told us, “was that each person we talked to gave us another person to speak with. Many of the victims know one another, in the antique and auction community.”

Son gives up parents

The case broke open when they convinced one of Mathisens’ sons, living in Chicago, to talk. The break came just in time ‚Äì most of the goods were about to be auctioned off in the Windy City.

Anderson, Michaels, and Davis flew to Chicago–packed up the goods–and trucked them back to Portland. The merchandise was put on display at East Precinct in late April, so victims could come and identify their treasures.

“Not only did Mathisen take off with their valuables and money,” Michaels told us, “he took away a piece of their life. The people he cheated gathered at his auction house every week or so. They enjoyed each other’s company; it was like a family. In addition to stealing their valuables and money, Mathisen stole their ability to trust.”

Reunited with lost treasures

Ann Smith of West Coast Antiques was at East Precinct when we arrived. Opening an antique case belonging to Smith and her husband Leonard, she said, “This is one of several dolls we had consigned to Mathisen.”

Smith recounted how their relationship soured, as Mathisen became slow to pay after goods were auctioned. “Finally he stopped paying at all,” Smith continued. “So, we stopped giving him goods to consign.” The final straw, she added, was when two checks Mathisen gave her bounced because he had stopped payment on them.

Officers who helped crack the case, Sheri Davis and Michele Michaels, stand in the East Precinct Community Room – then resembling a showroom at a high-end auction house, laden with merchandise they say auctioneer Robert Mathisen took with him after he disappeared in 2004. David F. Ashton photo

Learn not to be cheated

Michaels told us, “The people who got taken told us, ‘Gosh, I feel so silly, so dumb.’ Or, ‘I wish I’d checked them out better.’ But remember, con artists do what they do well ‚Äì this is what makes them successful.”

How can you protect yourself?

“Listen to your small inner voice,” Michaels said. “If you get the feeling like something isn’t right ‚Äì beware. If someone tells you, ‘please don’t cash this check until next week”, this is a bad sign. Ask around. If you’re putting something on consignment, ask your friends what they know about a particular dealer. Try out an auction house first with smaller, less valuable things.”

Both officers Michaels and Davis said they’d wished they could have collared the Mathisens in Chicago; the slippery couple escaped. “But isn’t it wonderful seeing the smiles on people’s faces who are reunited with their treasures?” Michael’s asked, looking around the room.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Find out why, even though Rossi Farms is usually closed this time of year ‚Äì and it was raining sideways ‚Äì the Farm was packed with families on April 15 …

Sponsors Joe and Nick Rossi take a moment for a photo before the big Rossi Easter Egg Hunt gets under way on April 15. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

As their ground rests, awaiting the spring planting, Rossi Farms on NE 122nd Ave. is usually closed this time of year.

But on the afternoon of April 15, families from all over outer NE Portland came streaming in to the location for Rossi brothers’ Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

After Joe cuts the ribbon, hundreds of excited kids discover they don’t have to look very hard to find goodies by the handful. David F. Ashton photo

“We have about 8,000 eggs and treats out this year,” Joe Rossi told us. It looks like we have doubled the attendance from last year.”

Ten employees helped get the eggs ready for the free family event.

All over the Rossi Wild West set, eggs are hidden for the little kids to find. They’re off and running!. David F. Ashton photo

Why does Joe, and his brother, Nick, put this on?

“It is a way to give back to the community,” Joe told us. “And, it is fun. We have such a great time watching kids grab up the Easter eggs. They’re like a giant vacuum cleaner ‚Äì the treats are gone in less than five minutes!”

Tim Curran, publisher, MID COUNTY MEMO getting some cute photos for his next issue. David F. Ashton photo

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why their April celebration attracted Commissioner Sam Adams, along with many members old – and new …

Midway Business Association board member, Dr. Norbert Huntley, DC, shares a light moment with Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams at the April celebration. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

For years, business people in outer East Portland – that is, south of Stark St. to Foster Rd., from I-205 to Gresham – have felt left out and left behind. A couple of years ago, a group of shop keepers, service providers and professionals got together and created the Midway Business Association.

Since the start-up, the group has become involved in civic activities, helped with the library’s Summer Reading Program, aided DHS volunteer programs and published a complete directory of all businesses within their area.

Bill Dayton gives a brief history of the association as members and guests introduce themselves. David F. Ashton photo

Enjoying a variety of pizza provided by Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON are members and guests who attended April’s meeting. David F. Ashton photo

On April 11, the association met to celebrate their growth, and invite new members to join with them.

Even though his schedule packed that day, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams took time to stop by and congratulate the association for their progress.

Commissioner Sam Adams spends a moment with MBA president, Donna Dionne, Love Boutique. David F. Ashton photo

The Midway Business Association meets the second Tuesday of the month (next meeting is May 9) at Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron ‚Äì located on SE 122nd Ave. at SE Division St. Come and see how this organization can help your business ‚Äì and community ‚Äì grow stronger.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

People who deal with life-and-death situations daily “let their hair down” at this festive party. But, how much did this lavish event cost taxpayers?

Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications’ Lisa St. Helen, Supervisor of the Year and Nancy Wilson, Telecommunicator of the Year, take a moment to tell us why they love their jobs. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Some of the people most important to your personal safety are never seen. They labor, 24-hours-a-day in a bunker-like building in Lents. These are the men and women the “telecommunicators” of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC).

Better known as 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers, they, and their counterparts across the nation, are honored for their behind-closed-doors work during the second week in April.

Locally, BOEC folks celebrate with a catered dinner party. The bash, at Lakeside Gardens, deep in eastern SE Portland, includes a gourmet buffet dinner, games and prizes and awards.

Center stage, BOEC’s Todd DeWeese, a supervisor and Public Information Officer, is the host of the event’s version of the popular TV game show, “DEAL or NO DEAL”. David F. Ashton photo

By the way, this lavish soir?©e does not cost taxpayers a dime. Todd DeWeese, a supervisor and Public Information Officer told us. We all pay our own way to come to this banquet. This is our opportunity to recognize our employees for their great work throughout the year.‚

DeWeese continued, telling us that BOEC ‚often just known as “9-1-1”  ‚Äì is staffed by people who demonstrate poise under pressure; who provide aid and compassion in times of distress, and make critical decisions within seconds. ‚People don’t think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until they experience an actual emergency themselves. These professionals make the difference between life and death in many instances.

Mayor Tom Potter, who typically speaks at the event, ditched it. But, April 11 was a trying day for the mayor, having stood behind his police chief early in the day – then later, naming Foxworth’s temporary replacement to that post.

The winners are:

Lisa St. Helen, Supervisor of the Year – “We’re chosen for our ability to support the staff working the [9-1-1 Center] floor every day: This is a fantastic job. As a career, I get to help and support our community at large. As a supervisor, I get to support the wonderful people who answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency services across the city. It is remarkably rewarding.

Nancy Wilson, Telecommunicator of the Year: I feel proud and honored by this aware because I was nominated for it by my peers at BOEC.. My dad, he’s sitting next to me at my table, was a policeman. He recommended that I try out working at the 9-1-1 Center I liked it then. Now, almost 30 years later, I still love what I do. It is such an honor to be given this award tonight!

So, next time you have to wait for a 9-1-1 Operator, be nice to them when he or she comes on the line. They may have just saved your loved one’s life.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Why the Royal Rosarians ceremonially plant another bush between PCC and Bank of the West

With the aid of the Royal Rosarians, David Goldberg, Portland Community College District Director, Institutional Advancement and Paul Ellison, manager, Bank of the West, plant yet another rose bush as 82nd Ave. gets even rosier. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Looking dapper in their traditional white suits, the Royal Rosarians oversaw another rose planting ceremony on the misty morning of April 7 at SE 82nd Ave. of Roses and Division St.

Why plant a rose today? “Why not? Any day is a good day to plant roses – especially on the Avenue of Roses!” was the answer given, almost in unison, by several Rosarians.

Paul Ellison, Bank of the West’s branch manager told us, “Planting roses signifies the ‘rebirth’ of 82nd Ave. into the Avenue of Roses. We’re working to make this street a great place to live, work, shop and go to school.”

Why here? Why not!

“Why here?” we asked him, looking at the newly-turned plot of earth in the area the separates the bank from Portland Community College SE Center.

“Why not,” Ellison said with a big grin. “We worked together with the college to show how both business and education can uplift SE Portland. I’ve been working on the project for a while – hopefully, this rose bush planting will be a visible stimulus for others along the Avenue to do so, also.”

David Goldberg, PCC’s District Director, Institutional Advancement, added, “We have a significant investment here; we’re here to stay. We plan to expand this campus to be an even more comprehensive campus. We’re proud to be part of improving this key transportation corridor.

Asked about his connection to the event, Robert Liberty, METRO Counselor told us, “82nd Ave. of Roses is regionally, a very important place. It is a place where we will accommodate more jobs, services, shopping and housing. This avenue is as significant to the development to the region as the Silicon Forest. I’m delighted by the leadership by Ken Turner, president of the 82nd Avenue Business Association in this project. And, by this rose planting today, both PCC and Bank of the West are demonstrating that things are changing here. Soon, 82nd will be a place where people are coming to – not just traveling through.”

Kicking off the ceremony, Ken Turner told gathering of nearly 100 people, “Planting roses along the six miles of 82nd Avenue is part of our Avenue of Roses project. With the help of homeowners, business people – and Portland’s great community college, we’re starting to change the perception of the Avenue in a positive way. We appreciate the Royal Rosarians for this official ceremony.”

And now, another rose, on the avenue grows.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The 23rd Annual Creative Ministries Conference was held at Gateway Baptist Church; more than 100 attend.

Magic with a Message: Pastor and entertainer Duane Laflin from Troy MT put on a free show for the community on April 6. It was big on laughs and surprises; it also presented a Gospel message. David F. Ashton photos

By David F. Ashton

If you didn’t know where the Gateway Baptist Church was, on NE San Rafael, east of 122nd Ave., you might miss it. But nearly 100 ministers of the Gospel – who use entertainment to spread the word of Jesus Christ – found the church in early in April.

In fact, some folks who came to the Fellowship of Christian Magicians NW Chapter Annual Convention, traveled to this humble location far away as Texas and North Carolina.

“This is our 23rd Annual Convention,” said organizer Steve Taylor. “We have classes, workshops and lectures that show both pastors and lay people how to effectively use magic tricks, juggling and comedy bits to present the Gospel message.”

The main auditorium of the church was packed on the evening of April 6, as families were treated to a free, full magic show. “This show both kicks off our event. First, the community gets a good, fun family show; and our attendees get to see how a professional entertainer uses his or her skills,” Taylor explained.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The Pirates of Penzance at Parkrose High School is great! This is the last weekend to see the show and find out why we awarded ith with the PDX News HOT TICKET!

  

Jonathan Wheatfall and Margaret Drew perform delightfully as the lead actors in this production of “The Pirates of Penzance”. David F. Ashton photo

  

These “kops” provide moments of hilarious physical comedy in “The Pirates of Penzance” ‚Äì the show runs through April 29 at the Parkrose High Theater. ¬†David F. Ashton photo

  

What more could one ask for in a theatrical experience? You’ll find enjoy music, comedy, romance and great fun in this production of “The Pirates of Penzance”. David F. Ashton photo

 By David F. Ashton

Put it on your calendar: Make a date to see Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance”, presented by the Parkrose High School Thespians.

 Swirling dance numbers, touching songs and duets, goofy comedy moments and live music, under the direction of Lesley Bossert, make this show a delightful evening out.

¬†And, here’s a bonus: You don’t have to go downtown; parking is free ‚Äì and you will support students in the arts in Parkrose.

“The Pirates of Penzance”
at Parkrose High School Theater
12003 NE Shaver St

7:00 p.m. performances are on
April  27, 28, 29

Tickets:
$8  Adults; $5  HS/MS Students and
$3  Children 12 and under / Seniors 65+ 

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Neighbors who attend their association’s meetings learn what’s going on; how to solve problems on their block.

Jack Vahey, acting chair, Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association looks at the map with other neighbors as TriMet’s David Unsworth, Project Development Manager gives residents an update on the I-205 MAX line. He talked about the stations located in outer SE Portland and public art on display. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Some people complain about problems on their block, their area, neighborhood or the city in general. While all their whining might make them feel better, it certainly won’t solve any of their problems. Maybe they just like to gripe, eh?

Other folks take just 90 minutes, every now and then, to attend their neighborhood association’s meeting. They learn how to reduce crime, keep from being a victim of criminals, deal with trash in a neighbor’s yard, deal with a noisy tavern – and the list keeps going.

Another great whine is, “No one told me about the apartment project being built along my back yard …” Had they been involved in their neighborhood, they would have found out long before the three-story wall started to rise, blocking their view.

At the Centennial Neighborhood Association meeting in April, Crime Prevention Specialist Teri Poppino shares a wealth of neighborhood resources available to anyone who calls the “right” phone number – all of them found on an informative sheet she passed around. David F. Ashton photo

How? When? Where?

It costs nothing to attend these meetings. Some are held monthly; others bimonthly; others less frequently.

We make it a point to list your neighborhood’s meeting in our Calendar, because it is important. You’ll also find listings in printed newspapers like Mid County Memo and East County News.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The “dirty little secret” politicians hope you won’t learn ‚Äì and how you can become a better informed voter at these two Candidate Forums

By David F. Ashton

Do you know why some neighborhoods and business districts seem to get all the “goodies” while others suffer with so little?

One reason is that some areas vote; others don’t. It’s just that simple.

The city is divided up into “precincts”. Elected officials and bureau staff members can easily check to see in which precincts citizens register ‚Äì and actually vote. Word is, they don’t much care whom voters elect nor for what they vote in or out.

Think your vote doesn’t count?

In outer East Portland, there are huge pockets of non-voters. Did you know that if everyone (who was qualified) to vote here did so – we could elect anyone to office, or pass or defeat any measure?

Please – register now. Vote in the May Primary Election.

Meet the candidates

The East Portland Neighborhoods, Central Northeast Neighbors, Avenue of Roses Business Association and East Portland Chamber of Commerce sponsored two Candidate Fairs in early May for East Portland residents and business people. Those who came got to meet and hear from candidates for City of Portland, Multnomah County and Metro positions.

These Candidate Fairs were scheduled the week voters’ ballots were mailed.

Thanks to Bonny McKnight and Aaron Minoo for coordinating these events.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why the East Portland Chamber of Commerce is growing larger and better every week

By David F. Ashton

For a group that meets at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday mornings, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce (EPCC) sure has a lot of fun. While the group doesn’t have a “no grouches” policy, it seems to attract delightful business people who enjoy supporting both their business and neighborhood communities.

Chamber grows again

East Portland Chamber of Commerce’s Bob Bonnel of Sid Dorn’s Car Buying Service welcomes Tom Davenport with Waddell & Reed, Sandra Sprague with Care Givers NW, Alicia Pons and Shaunne McNamee with Mill Park Acupuncture Herbal Clinic, Steve Karm of Steve’s PC Repair. David F. Ashton photo

Not available for the photograph were new East Portland Chamber of Commerce members Maggie Terrell of Home Capital Funding, Kathy Wertz of Lotus Rising Publishing, a job-changing Lisa Upshaw (a member, and Chair of the EPCC Ambassadors) now with Bay Bank, Ed Bejarana with Acme Scenic & Display, Inc., and Brian Dazey with Avenue Mortgage, Inc.

Richard Keily, Home Run Graphics, is hosting a chamber meeting at Cherrywood Village on April 12. David F. Ashton photo

At a typical “Good Morning East Portland” meeting, members and guests have time to mingle, have a cup of java (or juice) and do business. To start things off, the “host” of the meeting tells the group about his or her business. Then, everyone has a brief moment to introduce themselves to the group, hear announcements and get a “Two-minute Tip” to help their business. It’s a great way to start the day.

On the Avenue of Roses

EPCC President Greg Zuffrea takes part in another official planting ceremony held by the Royal Rosarians at Bank of the West and Portland Community College SE Center at SE 82nd Ave. of Roses and Division St. on April 7.David F. Ashton photo

Fools Bowl

It isn’t an athletic competition – the Fool’s Bowl is one of two bowling events the group holds “for the fun of it”. This year’s tourney was held at the Hollywood Bowl on – you guessed it – April 1st. David F. Ashton photo

Take 43 adults and 5 kids; put them in a bowling alley and you’ve got another fun social event held by the EPCC. Richard Keily of Home Run Graphics was the main sponsor. Tom Rich of Mt Hood Computers was an awards sponsor, and volunteered during the event and Elan Chance of Cartridge World РHawthorne was also an awards sponsor.

After having his photo published in a newspaper, Multnomah County Chair candidate Ted Wheeler declined to be photographed; Portland City Council candidate Dave Lister said, “Sure! Why not? Nothing can hurt my bowling score!” David F. Ashton photo

Top Team FOOLS BOWL Award: Team LazerQuick won the trophy, and each member got a medal and a $25.00 STAPLES gift certificate. The winners: Steve Mansell, Stephanie Mansell, Bruce Womack, Jan Womack. David F. Ashton photo

Top Individual FOOLS BOWL Award: A fun, “fool’s” pair of glasses, and a box of delectable truffles from Baskets of Joy went to Bruce Womack. David F. Ashton photo

Fool’s Award:  OK, they didn‚Äôt bowl so good, but holy cow ‚Äì they had fun! Getting the Schnoz Glasses and a giant size Hershey‚Äôs kiss are Team STUFF members Inga and Hal Halmark (Ceasar Villaea and Chip Hosan split before the photo was taken). David F. Ashton photo

Prizes and Giveaways were donated by Dave Lister for Portland City Council; Sue Eastman of SE Works; Lila Simms of Baskets of Joy; Dan LaGrande of LaGrande Public Relations; Michael O’Leary of Pre-Paid Legal; Gary Marschke of Portland Wrestling; The Gals at The Bookkeeping Company; State of Oregon.com and Scott Hendison of PDXtc.com

Check out this great business group at www.eastportlandchamber.com – the Wednesday AM meetings are held at various locations in East Portland.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The “dirty little secret” politicians hope you won’t learn –
and how you can become a better informed voter

By David F. Ashton

Do you know why some neighborhoods and business districts seem to get all the “goodies” while others suffer with so little?

One reason is that some areas vote; others don’t. It’s just that simple.

The city is divided up into “precincts”. Elected officials and bureau staff members can easily check to see in which precincts citizens register – and actually vote. Word is, they don’t much care whom voters elect nor for what they vote in or out.

Think your vote doesn’t count?

In outer East Portland, there are huge pockets of non-voters. Did you know that if everyone (who was qualified) to vote here did so – we could elect anyone to office, or pass or defeat any measure?

Please – register now. Vote in the May Primary Election.

Meet the candidates

The East Portland Neighborhoods, Central Northeast Neighbors, Avenue of Roses Business Association and East Portland Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring tow Candidate Fairs in early May for East Portland residents and business people. Come meet, and question, candidates for City of Portland, Multnomah County and Metro positions.

These Candidate Fairs are scheduled the week voters’ ballots will be mailed. Come meet the people you will be selecting for government roles that will impact you and those around you in East Portland.

Monday, May 1, 2006 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Parkrose High School Student Center

12003 NE Shaver St. (west of NE 122nd Ave. @ Shaver St.)

Featuring Multnomah County and METRO Candidates

Thursday, May 4, 2006 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Fir Ridge High School Student Center

11215 SE Market St. (Corner of SE 112th Ave. @ Market St.)

Featuring Portland City Council Candidates, Positions 2 and 3

Questions from those attending will be added to questions from the event sponsors. Campaign information tables will be part of each event, as well as neighborhood association service information. Please use this opportunity to find out more abut these candidates before you send in your ballots. Thanks to Bonny McKnight and Aaron Minoo for coordinating these events.

Lents candidate “Open Mic”

Candidates for both seats on Portland’s City Council will get chance earn SE Portland votes at the Lents Candidate Forum to be held April 25th at the Kelly School Auditorium located at 9030 SE Cooper.

Each candidate will get the chance to share their own unique perspective and recommendation on such hot-button issues as education funding, local economies, and housing strategies.  In addition, candidates will be dedicated equal time at the podium to recap why they are running and why you should vote for them.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with introductions at 7:15 p.m. There should be time for some post-forum mingling as well.  This event is brought to you by the Lents Neighborhood Association and the Kelly SUN Community School.  If you have particular questions you wish to be addressed at the forum, please e-mail them to deweyakers@comcast.net.  Otherwise, for more info, call 503-869-6398.  Voter registration cards will be available at the door.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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