Why pay to visit the Convention Center or Expo, when you can meet contractors right in your own neighborhood? Looks like the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is on to something‚

Nearly 300 Eastmoreland neighbors came to see the exhibits and talk with the vendors at this Faire.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While it seemed like a good idea, board members of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) wondered if anyone would actually come‚ on a weeknight‚ to their first Remodeling Faire.

The organizers looked delighted on March 8, when a steady stream of homeowners poured into, and circulated around, the exhibits set up at the Duniway School cafeteria.

Steve and Mary Baker, organizers of the Remodeling Faire, say it was a success.

“A lot of remodeling and restoration goes on in Eastmoreland,” said Steve Baker, ENA, board member and webmaster. “We thought it would be good to bring the contractors here to meet with homeowners.”

Baker credited fellow board member, Bert Sperling, with hatching the concept a few years ago.

“In addition to providing a good event for the neighbors,” Baker added, “this event is helping us raise money for street trees, as well as our neighborhood garden, which needs a lot of maintenance.”

Steven Klingerman with Sovereign Construction explains his company’s services to neighbor Rosalind Schreiber.

Homeowners and contractors pleased
Taking a break from looking at exhibitors, Eastmoreland neighbor Rosalind Schreiber told us, “We did a major remodel about four years ago, but we’re looking at other projects. This is great. Having everybody in one place is convenient, but isn’t overwhelming, like the Remodeling Show.”

Most important to her, Schreiber commented, was that all of the exhibitors at the event have done work in Eastmoreland.

“This event helps us meet people who might use our work,” is how Steven Klingerman with Sovereign Construction felt about it. “Even more, it gives us the chance to meet, face-to-face, to answer questions and learn about homeowners’ needs.”

Jane Morrison, Architectural Heritage Center.

Old and new, and ice cream too
For those who needed a quick pick-me-up at the four-hour, evening event ‚Äì or wanted to appease antsy kids‚ Woodstock’s Island Creamery was on hand, providing coffee, soft drinks, ice cream, and cookies.

“This is the place to be!” exclaimed Jane Morrison, with the Architectural Heritage Center. “We have been around for a number of years helping people who like old buildings. We have classes and exhibits about old buildings. Being here with businesses in who restore and repair older buildings is a good match for us.”

What is the ENA up to next? Find out by checking their website at www.eastmoreland.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Why pay to visit the Convention Center or Expo, when you can meet contractors right in your own neighborhood? Looks like the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is on to something‚

Nearly 300 Eastmoreland neighbors came to see the exhibits and talk with the vendors at this Faire.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While it seemed like a good idea, board members of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) wondered if anyone would actually come‚ on a weeknight‚ to their first Remodeling Faire.

The organizers looked delighted on March 8, when a steady stream of homeowners poured into, and circulated around, the exhibits set up at the Duniway School cafeteria.

Steve and Mary Baker, organizers of the Remodeling Faire, say it was a success.

“A lot of remodeling and restoration goes on in Eastmoreland,” said Steve Baker, ENA, board member and webmaster. “We thought it would be good to bring the contractors here to meet with homeowners.”

Baker credited fellow board member, Bert Sperling, with hatching the concept a few years ago.

“In addition to providing a good event for the neighbors,” Baker added, “this event is helping us raise money for street trees, as well as our neighborhood garden, which needs a lot of maintenance.”

Steven Klingerman with Sovereign Construction explains his company’s services to neighbor Rosalind Schreiber.

Homeowners and contractors pleased
Taking a break from looking at exhibitors, Eastmoreland neighbor Rosalind Schreiber told us, “We did a major remodel about four years ago, but we’re looking at other projects. This is great. Having everybody in one place is convenient, but isn’t overwhelming, like the Remodeling Show.”

Most important to her, Schreiber commented, was that all of the exhibitors at the event have done work in Eastmoreland.

“This event helps us meet people who might use our work,” is how Steven Klingerman with Sovereign Construction felt about it. “Even more, it gives us the chance to meet, face-to-face, to answer questions and learn about homeowners’ needs.”

Jane Morrison, Architectural Heritage Center.

Old and new, and ice cream too
For those who needed a quick pick-me-up at the four-hour, evening event ‚Äì or wanted to appease antsy kids‚ Woodstock’s Island Creamery was on hand, providing coffee, soft drinks, ice cream, and cookies.

“This is the place to be!” exclaimed Jane Morrison, with the Architectural Heritage Center. “We have been around for a number of years helping people who like old buildings. We have classes and exhibits about old buildings. Being here with businesses in who restore and repair older buildings is a good match for us.”

What is the ENA up to next? Find out by checking their website at www.eastmoreland.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Learn what citizens had to say about the new, round-robin format designed to encourage more input regarding the Portland City budget …

The organizer of the event, Laurel Butman, of the Portland Office of Management and Finance, talks with Mayor Tom Potter, at the SE Portland meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In an effort to strip away the mystery of the City of Portland’s budget process, the City’s Office of Management and Finance has created a new “citizens’ forum” format.

Instead of having a parade of City officials talk amongst themselves ‚Äì with little citizen input ‚Äì a new “round-robin” format was instituted at the meeting a couple of weeks ago at Cleveland High School, on S.E. Powell Boulevard.

Hundreds of people, from the far corners of outer East Portland ‚Äì to the close-in neighbors from inner SE Portland packed the school’s cafeteria.

Potter pleased with project
“I’m a graduate of this fine institution,” Mayor Tom Potter told us at the forum.

“This forum is a way for citizens to provide us input about what they think is important. It gives them a chance to look at what we are recommending. If there are things we need to add, they let us know.”

Looking out over a sea of tables, charts, and people, the mayor told us how this event differs from ones held in the past. “We have a table for each of the major bureaus of the city. There are some initiatives hosting tables, also —  including public safety and Children’s Bill of Rights.”

Surrounding the room were tables for neighborhood and community services. Sylvia Bogert, the executive director for SW Neighborhoods, Inc., and Cece Hughley Noe, the executive director of the Southeast Uplift Coalition agency. The latter explained, “We’re working together to show our support for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement budget.”

Citizens spent about ten minutes at each table, looking over the proposed budget for that particular department, and gave their input and listened to the opinions of others. Then, they rang a bell, and people changed tables.

Mayor Tom Potter, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, and Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten told what they learned at this forum.

Commissioners comments
Wrapping up the evening, top city officials talked with the attendees.

“I’ve sat in at several of the tables,” commented Potter. “People are asking really good questions. It saves citizens time; we get more input of a higher quality. I think the result is much more effective.”

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said “I like it. I was able to wander around and hear many thoughtful comments at the tables. We’ll take the ideas. I appreciate the enthusiasm for sustainable development and parks, Children’s Bill of Rights, and other initiatives the City Council supports.”

“This has been really been fun”, enthused Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten. “I’ve had more in-depth conversations that I usually get. We were just talking about affordable housing. I do think it is important that we get good feedback from all of the tables. Having more in-depth discussions is more helpful than two-minute ‘hits’ from a few people. I heard a lot about how the City can better integrating projects and programs. You’ve set the bar very high.”

The tables were filled with citizens — learning more about the city’s budget, and asking probing questions about expenditures.

Many people at the event with whom we spoke were upbeat about the new format.

Business and housing concerns
Nancy Chapin, from the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, said she liked hearing that more storefront-improvement funds will go to businesses outside the Urban Renewal Districts. “As important as housing is, I’m still concerned there is still way too much housing in southeast Portland with not nearly enough community development. The city is still spending too much money downtown.”

“Did you feel you’d been heard?” we asked.

“Well, they wrote it down,” Chapin replied.

View from Mt. Tabor
Neighborhood activist Paul Leistner, Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association and chair of SE Uplift, commented, “There is some good projects here, but we have more good projects than we have money to fund. I hope the community will stay engaged and continue to have a voice in this process.”

We asked Leistner if he thought city officials were really listening. “I saw comments being written down. I know it doesn’t stop here. We have to continue to be heard to make sure the programs we feel are important get funded.”

Transportation topics
Marianne Colgrove, vice chair of SE Uplift, and Secretary of the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek neighborhood told us she liked being able to ask questions of city officials. “It was important to hear other people’s concerns. But I felt that the time at the tables wasn’t long enough.”

Colgrove said the major issues in her neighborhood are transportation and transportation safety. “Including a lot of the things people mentioned — pedestrian and bike safety, ‘Safe Routes to School’, traffic calming within the city to make it safer when not in a car.”

NE Portland resident Dave Lister said he liked being able to look over the City’s complete line-item budget, on display at the forum.

And finally, a quip from Lister ‚Ķ
A former City Counsel candidate, Dave Lister said this format was “much improved”, and quipped, “When [former mayor] Vera Katz ran these [forum meetings], they presented the budget in such a sophomoric fashion, they should have handed out coloring crayons!”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

This is your invitation to experience real culture‚ in outer East Portland! Read this, and you’ll be calling to get tickets for Metro Dancers’ new show, presented March 17 and 24‚

Preparing for their roles in the ballet “La Fille Mal Gardee” are Metro Dancers Moriah Newman, Amy Johnson, Krista Bennett, Lorianne Barclay, Bridgette Emard, Meng Paulson, and Helen Rappe.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
You don’t have to drive and park downtown to treat yourself (and friends) to a great program of ballet.

Presenting both matinee and evening shows, the Portland Metro Performing Arts Center proudly presents the Metro Dancers’ production of La Fille Mal Gardee.

Metro Dancers prepare, as rehearsal gets under way their Spring production.

From what we saw during the rehearsal, the entire family will enjoy this colorful dance program.

You don’t need to speak French to enjoy “La Fille Mal Gardee” ‚Äì the story is acted out in dance. It’s a comic tale that unfolds as its characters romp through the timeless entanglements of love and marriage.

You’ll hear wonderful music, see the dancers dressed in professional costumes, marvel at the sets, and fully enjoy seeing the dancers’ skill as they make this story come alive.

Metro Dancers Nigel Swehla, Calvin Fackrell, and David Larison make a breathtaking catch after full-time PMPA volunteer Len Mills leaps into the air.

Shows on March 17 and 24
Metro Dancers present La Fille Mal Gardee is presented on both days at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Tickets, at the door are: Adult $18, Children $12; Pre-Sale Price: HS/Adult $15, Children $10. Reserve your seats now by calling (503) 408-0604, emailing us at info@PDXMetroArts.org or in person at the PMPA box office.

Portland Metro Performing Arts Center is located at 9933 SE Pine St. (just north of E. Burnside St.) in Gateway.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

No one was injured in the fire, officials say; but you’ll see the damage this conflagration caused to a home in this quiet neighborhood in outer NE Portland ‚Ķ

Neighbors say things are usually pretty quiet along the 10600 block of NE Knott St., where this fire took place.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Damage to the modest, one-story frame home in the 10600 block of NE Knott St. in Parkrose isn’t great. But, how ‚Äì and why ‚Äì the fire started concerns some area neighbors.

Youngster spots blaze
“I saw a light in front of our house,” explains Jesse Almasan, whose family lives across the street from the fire-damaged home.

“I thought it was my sister coming back from the library.” The young man continues. “I looked out the window and saw a house burning. I called my

Dad and told him to call 9-1-1 because the neighbor’s house, across the street was on fire.”

When neighbor Jesse Almasan saw fire, he made sure his dad quickly called 9-1-1.

The helpful neighbor says he could see fire burning out from the front of the house. “You could really see the flames. It’s too bad this happened. I used to mow the lawn for the lady who owns the house.”

Police arrive before firefighters
Jesse’s father, George Almasan, picks up the story: “Two police cars were here in less than two minutes, and asked if someone was in the house. It  looked as if it was empty because no cars were around it in the driveway. I thought there was someone there.”

Telling us his family has lived there for 19 years, the father adds, “l sorry for them. We got to know them. They are very nice people. It is very sad.”

Other neighbors also report seeing police cars arrive before fire units. We’re told that one individual, exhibiting signs of emotional distress, is seen being escorted out by officers.

In the chief’s words
“We have a fire in a single-family residence,” confirms Battalion Chief Chris Babcock.

One occupant was transported by ambulance to Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital, Babcock tells us on scene. “Her exact situation ‚Ķ nothing fire-related. The individual was taken to the hospital for treatment.”

Engine 12 is the first to arrive, quickly followed by an engine, truck, and rescue unit from Station 2. Crews from Stations 19 and 7 also respond to the fire.

An individual, whom neighbors say lives in the home, looks on as firefighters make sure the fire is completely out.

Word from the experts: Fire intentionally set
Although this incident remains under investigation, Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Lt. Allen Oswalt later tells us they believe the fire was “intentionally set”.

“It may look like the home was severely damaged,” Oswalt continues, “but crews knocked down the fire in minutes. It was hot enough to burn off the PP&L power line, but the fire was contained in the carport area. The home mostly suffered only smoke damage.”

No smoke detectors
There were no smoke detectors in the home, Oswalt adds. “There’s no reason NOT to have a working smoke detector. Today’s units are reliable and inexpensive. And, we have a program that will supply ‚Äì and will even mount ‚Äì a smoke detector in a home of anyone who can’t afford one.”

To learn the conditions that apply to that offer, citizens can call the Smoke Detector Hotline at (503) 823-3752.

“One last thing,” Oswalt adds, “we’ve had several apartment fires in East Portland. Please remind tenants that the landlord is required, by law, to provide a working smoke alarm. They are also responsible for testing it on a regular basis, to ensure that it will give residents the early warning they need, in the event of a fire.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Here’s the whole story of why SE 39th Ave. & Holgate St., including the Woodstock Trader Joe’s, was shut down on March 12‚ and, learn about the man police are honoring as a hero for fingering the alleged felon‚

All through the evening of March 12, traffic was routed around the crime scene where a wanted man shot at police officer‚ for no apparent reason.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
What starts off as a routine traffic stop turns into a one-sided shooting spree and manhunt on Monday, March 12.

Folks driving home from work, perhaps planning to shop at Trader Joe’s on SE 39th Ave. south of Holgate Boulevard, find area streets blocked off with yellow “police crime scene” tape.

At traffic stop, passenger opens fire
“About 5:20 p.m., Portland Police Bureau SE Precinct Officer Robert Wullbrandt pulled over a black Buick Regal for a traffic violation,” Sgt. Brian Schmautz tells us on scene.

Schmautz says the car pulled in to the north end of the Trader Joe’s parking lot, followed by Wullbrandt’s patrol car. Inexplicably, as the officer is starting to chat with the driver of the auto he stopped, a passenger “bolts out of the car’s backseat and starts running eastbound across SE 39th Ave.”

As Wullbrandt chases after the fleeing man, the subject turns, takes aim, and fires his semiautomatic weapon at the officer. Because of Wullbrandt’s training, the officer resists the impulse to return fire and risk wounding the many bystanders.

As the gunman nears SE Holgate Boulevard, he stumbles, turns, and shoots again, before disappearing around the corner.

Members of the Special Emergency Reaction Team direct the evacuation of nearby residents and begin to negotiate with the alleged gunman from their post in the Trader Joe’s parking lot on SE. 39th Street.

The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) is activated, the area is cordoned off.

Biker aids cops
Meantime, while the foot chase passes him, Greg Geist is astride his motorcycle, stopped at a red light on 39th at Holgate.

“I heard a gunshot, and saw a man fall,” Geist reports. “He got up and continued running, chased by a police officer. He had a semi-automatic pistol in his right hand.”
As the alleged shooter continues running in a labored jog, Geist finds himself in the dangerous position of being between the suspect and the officer, as Officer Wullbrandt ducks for cover.

The vehicle from which the gunman leaped is parked right where it was originally stopped for an unsafe lane change, in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Watches shooter’s getaway into apartment
Geist watches the suspect hike down Holgate. Still on his bike, Geist follows the man who had the gun into an apartment complex, and notes that he enters an apartment through a particular sliding glass door.

The alert motorcyclist then returns to the intersection to give officers a detailed description of the man he followed, and points out the specific apartment the suspect had entered.

The SERT officers evacuate nearby residents. After several hours, Hostage Negotiators talk the suspect into surrendering, and he is taken into custody without incident.

Police allege this man, 24-year-old Nicholas Ramon Onuskanvich, is the person who took a couple of poorly-aimed shots at the officer.

The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Nicholas Ramon Onuskanvich, is booked into jail on an outstanding warrant for Distribution of Methamphetamine, plus ‚Äì now — one count of Attempted Aggravated Murder.

Afterward, geist called a hero
At a ceremony held on Friday, March 16, at the Portland Justice Center, Greg Geist’s actions are lauded.

At the March 16 commendation ceremony are Officer Robert Wullbrandt, Greg Geist, Police Spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, and Portland’s Police Chief, Rosie Sizer.

Geist’s commendation reads, in part, “Without Mr. Geist’s assistance, even with a thorough canvassing of the area, the dangerous suspect might not have been found. Mr. Geist’s detailed description of the events and the suspect was a tremendous assist to all involved.”

Chief Sizer presents the Citizens Medal of Heroism to Greg Geist.

Just before she hangs a medallion around Geist’s neck, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer says, “We all wonder, in a crisis, how we would react. Mr. Geist, you acted very well. You helped police officers in a time of real jeopardy. You helped all of us, by getting a dangerous person off the streets. And you did so, exercising good judgment and calculating the risk. I, and all of our officers, appreciate your actions that day.

“On behalf of the Portland Police Bureau, I present you with the Citizens Medal of Heroism.”

Looking somewhat overwhelmed by his tribute, Geist thanks the Portland Police Bureau for honoring him.

An unassuming champion responds
After being presented with a card from the Police Association’s Robert King, Geist steps forward.

“When I came here today, I’d hope to meet Chief Sizer to tell her how impressed I was with every police officer I came in contact on Monday. They were very professional and humane. Thank you all.”

Reporters ask Geist to show his medal.

Talking with reporters, Geist answers their questions: “No, I didn’t feel in danger. My heart raced a little bit when I saw both the officer and the gunman with their guns out. I just followed him, and kept an eye on him.”

Sharing his proud moment with fianc?©e Kim Powers, Geist confides that the couple is to be married August 4.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Police say an elderly lady stepped out into traffic; read on to see what officials said about the driver that hit her …

Looking west on SE Division Street, police say this blue Geo hit and killed the woman as she crossed the busy street on Saturday.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Another pedestrian was killed in outer East Portland on March 10.

Information about the accident that took the life of an 87-year-old woman as she crossed SE Division St. near SE 170th Ave. on a busy Saturday morning, minutes before noon.

“According to information gathered by Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct officers and Traffic Division Fatal Investigators,” says spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, “it appears that the deceased stepped into the street from between two cars, and may not have been visible until just prior to the collision.”

Paramedics from Gresham Fire Bureau treat the woman who is said to have been driving the vehicle involved in the accident.

Investigators believe the collision occurred when the deceased begin to walk northbound across Division St. and was hit by the driver of a Geo, traveling eastbound on Division St.

“Immediately upon arrival,” Schmautz continues, “officers found the body of a woman who appeared to have sustained numerous injuries in the collision.”

Noontime Saturday Division St. traffic is snarled for hours while the crash scene is investigated.

Driver visibly shaken
59-year-old Shirley Robinson, the driver of a Geo, waited near the crash scene.

“Investigators found no evidence of impairment and speed is not a factor in the collision,” Schmautz comments.

Authorities are postponing the release of the deceased’s name until after her family is notified.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Police race to investigate calls about a “Cadillac driving itself ‚Äì badly”. Curiosity turns to concern for the officers, when the sedan charges, head-on, toward their patrol cars ‚

By coordinating their efforts, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Tommy Newberry and Sgt. Dave Steele bring the car‚ said to be driven by a nearly-unconscious woman‚ to a safe stop.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Although it may have sounded like a prank, 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers take seriously the calls about a “Cadillac driving itself ‚Äì badly” on March 14.

“Calls started coming at 12:20 p.m.,” reports Sgt. Brian Schmautz, “from people saying they were seeing a blue Cadillac driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of NE Sandy Blvd. Reports ranged from describing the car as being unoccupied to others saying the driver had to be drunk, high, or unconscious.”

The “undriven” car veers south
Somehow, the Cadillac turns south on NE 162nd Ave.

East Precinct Officer Schultz sees the careening Caddy first, as it passes NE Stanton St. in Wilkes.

“Near NE Halsey St.,” says Sgt. Dave Steele as he picks up the story, “I see the car, on the wrong side of NE 162nd, coming directly at me, head-on. I swerve off the road to avoid a head-on collision.”

As the big blue sedan passes, Steele says, he sees an elderly lady in the drivers seat. “I noticed her mouth was open, her eyes were looking up, and she was leaning back and appeared to be having a seizure or was unconscious.”

East Precinct Officer Tommy Newberry shows us the small damage his unique intervention technique caused to his vehicle.

Charges another patrol car
As the mostly out-of-control Caddy continues its southbound spree, Officer Tommy Newberry spots the car.

“Driving north on NE 162nd Ave., south of Halsey St., and I see Schultz, Steele, and the Cadillac. It crosses the center line of the road, heading right toward me. I swerved out of the way. As it went by, I could see a tiny, elderly lady in the driver’s seat.”

The woman, Newberry says, isn’t “actively driving the car. She’s slumped down, clearly not in control of the vehicle”.

Glisan St. looms
Sgt. Steele performs a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver, unsuccessfully. The Cadillac swerves and then continues ahead at 35 mph.

“It looked likely she was going to drive through the red light, and plow into cross traffic at NE Glisan St,” Newberry continues. “Another PIT could have thrown the car out of control. I came up next to her car, steered into it, and gave it all the horsepower I safely could. I left about 70 feet of good burnout marks on the pavement as I pushed the car into the curb. But, the car was still trying to surge out of the stop.”

At the same time, Officer Schultz placed the push bumper of his patrol car against the rear side of the Cadillac. Sgt. Steele finally halted the run-away Caddy by nosing in, pinning it in place.

Everyone involved, including driver, 87-year-old Alma McKnight, later found to be driving on a suspended license, escaped the oddball pursuit and stop without injury.

Driver uninjured, but unconscious
Paramedics from Portland Fire & Rescue’s Engine 74 assist removing the driver, identified as McKnight, out of her vehicle. She is found to be uninjured by the officer’s actions but is unresponsive. McKnight is Portland Adventist Hospital for medical attention.
Citizens lead cheer

Several citizens look on, and cheer the officers for bringing one of the most unusual pursuits in East Precinct history to a safe ending.

“It’s amazing to me,” Newberry muses, “that there are no injures or serious damage caused here today.”

McKnight is later revealed to have a suspended driver’s license, due to an undisclosed “medical condition”.

Despite all that happened, she told KATU-TV afterward, in a broadcast interview, that “I never drove through a red light, I never drove on the wrong side of the street, the police damaged my car; it’s age discrimination. I definitely will keep driving.”

Look out.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Parkrose crowns Margaret Drew, the little gal with the big singing voice; David Douglas chooses Chelsea Linn.

The students at Parkrose High School select Margaret Ann Drew to be their Portland Rose Festival Princess. (Portland Rose Festival Photo)

Story and archive photos by David F. Ashton
While other folks across Portland are just learning about Margaret Drew, we feel fortunate to have watched her “grow up” as a musician and performer at Parkrose High School.

The daughter of Jane and Bill Drew, she’s a Parkrose native. Margaret attended Sacramento Elementary, Parkrose Middle School, and, in three months, she’ll be a graduate of Parkrose High School.

Princess Margaret stands with the other contenders for her title. (Portland Rose Festival Photo)

Asked about what’s in store for her after high school, plans, she said, “I plan to attend a four-year university to study art and music.”

A true performer, Princess Margaret is a member of the Parkrose High School Debonair and A-Choir. She’s also a fourth year member and captain of the dance team. On stage, she had a supporting role in their theatre production of Sound of Music and a lead role in last year’s production of Pirates of Penzance. “I am a three-year member of Student Council, and a member of National Honor Society,” she adds.

Princess Margaret, ready to perform with the Parkrose Debonairs choir.

Princess Margaret said she enjoys attending the national convention for Little People of America. “I am also a teen coordinator for the SED and Kniest Syndrome Organization,” said continued.

In her words …
Read, here, her speech she gave on March 9th at the Parkrose Rose Festival Court Selection competition, and you’ll know why she was crowned princess ‚Ķ

“When I sat down to think about this year’s theme, ‘A Century of Celebration,’ I thought to myself, ‘Where would I have been 100 years ago? Would I have been standing on this stage in front of all of you?’

“Probably not. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit shorter than the rest of you. But really, being a Little Person in Parkrose, in 2007, hasn’t been a problem. As Mr. Reynolds [Parkrose High principal] always says, ‘Diversity is what makes Parkrose so great!’

“Mr. Reynolds, I agree with you.

“In my opinion however, it is not diversity that makes Parkrose great. It is the acceptance and celebration of diversity that makes Parkrose so unique. As a diverse member of this community, I have experienced this acceptance first hand.

“Take for example, my one and only experience running the 100-meter dash. My opponents took only a second to cross the finish line. For me, it seemed like it took a century! Nevertheless, my teammates waited for me at the end, cheering me on, while my coach walked alongside me as I ran!

“Or my time spent on the dance team. Even though I do half turns while other dancers are doing double turns, I have never felt I wasn’t as good. And I know my coaches spend extra time just finding ways to fit me in the routines.”

Jonathan Wheatfall and Margaret Drew, performing their lead roles in the production of The Pirates of Penzance.

“And let us not forget the special rock designed so that I could be eye level with my leading man in Pirates of Penzance!

“Whether or not I would have been standing here in front of you a century ago, I am here now, and proud to know that no matter who I am or what I look like, I am accepted as one of us, one of the diverse members of Parkrose.

“Someone once said, ‘Diversity is the one true thing we have in common. Celebrate it everyday.’ Today we celebrate the past one hundred years and each other. Tomorrow let us strive to share this acceptance and celebration of diversity with the world.”

David Douglas High School’s Rose Festival tiara presented to Chelsea Allison Linn

Portland Rose Festival Princess Chelsea Allison Linn represents David Douglas High School

Ronald and Dawnelle Linn have a newly crowned princess in the family: Chelsea Linn.

Educated in outer East Portland, Princess Chelsea attended Harold Oliver Elementary School, Centennial Middle School, and will soon graduate from David Douglas High School.

Asked about her plans, Princess Chelsea says, “I was accepted to Brigham Young University, and will attend there for four years. I am excited to go, and plan to keep up my grade as I have done in high school. The fields I am interested in are science and dance. As I move through my college career, I plan to learn and experience these more. Once I graduate I hope to obtain a career in one of these fields.”

When she’s not studying, Princess Chelsea says she enjoys dance, reading, surfing, beading, art, acting, interior and fashion design, shopping, spending time with friends, and helping others.

In the David Douglas High School Theater production of Peter Pan late last year, Princess Chelsea, as Tiger Lily, forges an alliance with Peter.

The David Douglas princess lists her activities and honors: Varsity Dance Team Captain, Varsity Dance for three years, Science Club, National Honor Society, LINK Crew, Student of the Month, 4.0 Student, and played the role of Tiger Lily in the musical Peter Pan.

In her spare time Princess Chelsea has been: Young Women’s Church Group Leader, Girl’s Camp Junior Counselor, Girl’s Camp President, and a member of Dance Committee.

In her words …
Learn more about Princess Chelsea Linn, from the speech she gave at the David Douglas High School Rose Festival Pageant …

“A century: 100 years, or 1200 months, or 67,200 weeks, or 470,400 days. A century is built one day at a time. This last century has been full of days for celebration. It seems to me that every day should be a celebration, not just the few days that we recognize.

“In ‘Alice and Wonderland’ there is one character that embodies this idea: The Mad Hatter. He celebrated every day as a un-birthday. Though he went about it in rather unprecedented ways, he had the right idea.

‘Take a normal high-schooler’s day for example: You wake up, much too tired from being on MySpace all night; and your hair is just not cooperating. You hastily eat breakfast so you aren’t late to class, and leave the house in a rush. On your way to school you notice you spilt breakfast on your favorite jeans. Just as you are arriving, you are attacked by a big dog that rips your pants to get your remaining breakfast, and eats your homework.”

Princess Chelsea stands with the other contenders for her title. (Portland Rose Festival Photo)

“Just as your life seems really lousy, you walk into school and find out that it is a late-arrival day, and have to wait around for two hours for school to start. So you have two choices at this point. You can hate life and curse the dog that ripped your favorite jeans, or you can realize that this day is going to be great because you are going to make it great. You even might have something to celebrate about. The kind dog took away your embarrassing breakfast stain, and made your pants highly fashionable because holes are ‘in’.

“This situation might be a little extreme, but the point is the same. We have the control to make each day what we want it to be. You will only have a bad day if you choose to.

“You can celebrate EVERY DAY. Life doesn’t always work out they way you think it should, but you can always look for the bright side of things. For example, in this country, education is available to everyone, which is a pretty good thing most days.

“We need to be the examples for the world. In this day and age everything is so negative and there is constantly talk of war, depression and suffering, we can step out of that, and celebrate the ordinary, our family our friends, and our lives. Remember — a century is built one day at a time. Celebrate your days, and continue to live this celebration into the next century.”

Congratulations
We at East Portland News Service extend our sincerer congratulations to our outer East Portland Rose Festival Princesses.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

But seriously folks — can being a cartoonist a “real” job? Learn what a full class of Parkrose area students learned from professional cartoonist Steve Lieber ‚Ķ

Professional cartoonist Steve Lieber holds nothing back as he demonstrates some of the skills required to draw comics – and earn a living doing it.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The class, sponsored jointly by Parkrose High School and Multnomah County Libraries, was packed with serious-faced students.

No one was clowning around, even though the class was called “Cartoon Workshop”. The students for this elective course, who were mostly of high school age, came to hear and learn from Steve Lieber, a top cartoonist.

Most class attendees knew Lieber’s credentials: His work is published by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Oni Press.

Likes sharing his knowledge
“It was great to be asked to do this,” Lieber told us. “I like talking with young artists. If I’d had a class like this when I was in high school, it would have saved me two years of misapplied effort when I was in college.”

Professional cartoon artist Steve Lieber tells the class, “Anyone can do this, if they work at it.”

Made, not born
To the surprise of some, Lieber said great cartoonists are just ordinary people; anyone can do it if they apply themselves.

“Cartoonists are made, not born. 95% of it is sheer hard work,” commented Lieber.

“I’ve known only two cartoon ‘naturals’, and neither of them do it for a living. Both of them were born with fantastic abilities. But, they never worked at getting any better, so they never improved,” he explained.

Secret of success
We asked Lieber to share his secret for succeeding in the competitive world of commercial comic art.

He spilled the beans: “All the people I know got good by doing about 10,000 really crappy drawings. You learn not to make mistakes by making a whole lot of them. Soon, you start to make some good ones.”

In addition to demonstrating cartooning techniques, Lieber encourages the students as he critiques their work and offers them individual suggestions during the class.

Arranges Parkrose class
One of the reasons this class was held in the Parkrose High library was that that’s is the only area school teaching courses in animation. We learned from the school’s librarian, Stephanie Thomas, that some of these students got extra credit by taking this class.

“Of the 26 class members,” Thomas said, “most of them are from our school. This class wasn’t just for Parkrose students. Any one who wanted to sign up, regardless of their age.”

Thomas told us she collaborated with Multnomah County Library to bring Lieber to the school.

“We partner with the Multnomah County Library,” Lieber continued. “Special classes are open to the public, but are primarily held for our community of students. Instead of having the students travel to Midland Library, the teacher came here. It’s great to be able to partner with them.”

Special agreement with county
Some Parkrose residents still resent that the County withdrew support of a branch library at the high school – after it was constructed.

Because the Parkrose High library was once intended to be part of the county library system, Lieber explained, “We have a special agreement. This is the only school in the county offering an inter-library loan. Any of our students or staff can have any material in the entire system brought here and dropped off.”

The result is, Lieber concluded, that Parkrose High students get an increased number of opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. “I’m glad we are able to expand our offerings to our students ‚Äì both in terms of tangible resources, and special classes.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

From a field of 14 candidates, meet Dr. Karen Fischer Gray, the new superintendent of Parkrose School District. Read this and you’ll learn more about this dynamic educator ‚Ķ

-1 Dr. Karen Fischer Gray tells with Parkrose residents and educators how her experience will help Parkrose Schools continue to improve.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Two weeks ago, we outlined how Parkrose School District board members, led by Superintendent Michael Taylor, undertook a six-month process of self-evaluation. (Click here to read article.)

With their goals and expectations for the future of education in Parkrose well in mind, the board set about finding a new leader to fill Taylor position after he retires in June.

After traveling to their districts, checking their backgrounds and credentials, and conducting numerous employment interviews, board members invited everyone in the community to meet the two finalists on March 8. The candidate not selected, in the end, was Fern Ridge School District [near The Dalles, OR] Superintendent Ivan Hernandez.

Meet the candidate chosen
“My forte is excellence in educational design,” said Dr. Karen Gray, currently supervisor of the Coos Bay school system, and an educator for 27 years. “My goal is to bring ‘education for all’, whatever it takes,” she began.

Gray pointed out recent improvements in Coos Bay schools. “All of our schools are strong. We’ve done that by having a common vision for our kids. What I’ve done there is directly transferable to Parkrose.”

Gray said her first job was as a speech pathologist in New York City. She and her family ‚Äì her husband, and three kids ‚Äì moved to Oregon in 1990. “I’m not using this as a stepping-stone to somewhere else. We love Oregon and plan to stay here.”

And “here”, Gray added, is Parkrose. “Out on the coast, I see superintendents living in cities away from their districts. I believe in living where I’m serving.”

Sharing her educational ideals, Dr. Gray outlines her educational ideals at a public meeting on March 8.

Gray’s matters
“Above all,” Gray told us, “student health and safety is the most important. And, meeting needs for students with disabilities and special needs is important.

“I’m a firm believe in ‘behavior support’. I don’t call it discipline. Supporting good behavior helps students grow to be good adults.”

Gray also said she sees the need for adjunct activities, such as music and other performing arts programs in schools; and she advocated for early musical training.

She shared her passion for an educational system that prepares young people for whatever they choose to do. “We need to meet the needs of students, whether they go to college, take further vocational training, or enter the job market. Relevant, responsible education, that helps students connect with their school helps students develop the passion they need to succeed.”

Connecting with parents and kids
Gray said she’s formed advisory groups to keep her connected with her educators, parents and students.

“In addition to talking with teachers and parents, I also created ‘Gray’s Group’, consisting of students in grades nine through twelve. Through them, I get direct feedback from our young people.”

We learned that Gray earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University at Fullerton, and her doctorate from the University of Oregon.

Parkrose school board president, Katie Larsell says they’re currently in negotiations with Gray.

The board plans to formally introduce Gray to the community when Gray’s contract has been finalized.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Neighbors in Parkrose realize how their concerted efforts pay off. Read this story to see what they’ve accomplished lately ‚Ķ

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman listens to, and speaks to, members of the Parkrose Neighborhood Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The city didn’t want to build it, but neighbors wouldn’t be denied a City park. “Our neighborhood is called ‘PARKrose’, you know,” said Marcy Emerson Peters, chair of the neighborhood association.

Their meeting last month was both a celebration of their past successes, and the opportunity to bend the ear of Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Enjoying pizzas at the Parkrose Neighborhood Association meeting are Dwain Lamb and Jim Bradley.

Those who attended this special meeting were treated to a pizza feed and ice cream. To some, news that a community garden was approved was the best dessert.

Community Garden at Senn’s
Doug Brenner of the Portland Parks Bureau told the group that construction of a community garden was about to commence at Senn’s Dairy Park on NE Prescott St.

“We’d like to get the garden in by April or May,” Brenner said. “The Parks Department will do most of the construction, but neighbors are needed to help.”

The improvements will include putting in pathways and raised beds to help the mobility-challenged. This will be the City’s 31st Community Garden, commented Brenner.

Saltzman added, “You’ve been persistent; I’m pleased to see this garden coming in. We need more Community Gardens. As Parks Commissioner, these projects are on the top of my list.”

Neighborhood chair, Marcy Emerson Peters shares many of the projects the association is undertaking in Parkrose. In the background, Mary Walker takes notes.

Marcy Emerson Peters told the group that plans to install playground equipment are slowly moving forward. She also lauded the crime-reduction activities in the area ‚Äì including the new “foot patrol” along Sandy Blvd.

Challenges “adult oriented” proliferation
Resident, and public safety advocate, Mary Walker grilled Commissioner Saltzman: “Would you consider putting non-family-oriented businesses away from our schools and daycares, and do more that is being done now? We know Oregon is big on individual rights. But we also have a right to live in decent neighborhoods.”

Saltzman’s response: “You have dealt with this for a long time. You are sophisticated enough to know a particular use can’t be discriminated against.

“Through zoning, we can say a certain parcel of land on Sandy Blvd. should be used for either residential or business purposes. But, if it is a legally-operating business, we have no ability to regulate it on commercially-zoned property.”

Neighbor Jim Loennig shares his concern about the need to revitalize the area of Parkrose just south and east of Portland International Airport.

Proposes better use of South Parkrose land
A lifetime resident of the area, Jim Loennig, told the group how he grew up in Parkrose. Bringing up a large map, he added, “Instead of talking about history, I’d like to talk for a moment about the future.”

Land just south and east of Portland International Airport, Loennig contended, could be better used. Today, he said, it is occupied by junkyards and squatting transients.

“If you ‘up-zoned’ it,” Loennig argued, “you could get tax increment financing. I’d like to see connectivity, like down NE 109th Ave. If the city can enhance the area, put in more streets and lights, there will be fewer places for transient camps.”

Crime: neighbors’ chief concern
Detailed crime maps of Parkrose provided by the Portland Police Bureau show that the most-reported crime in the area is car prowls [break-ins], followed by home burglaries. Next down the list are crimes related to drugs and prostitution.

A pair of new Parkrose neighbors, visiting the association meeting for the first time, said they came to talk about crime.

Specifically, they gave details regarding a “chronic-nuisance house” on NE Prescott Street. They described fights, drug deals, and car prowls. “We wonder if moving to Parkrose was a mistake; we don’t think it will get any better.”

Armed with crime-prevention information and resources provided by the neighborhood association, the couple learned how, by sharing their concerns, they can work together to reduce the problem on their street.

Join with your neighbors
If you live in Parkrose, plan now to attend the next meeting of the Parkrose Neighborhood Association.  Their general meeting starts at 7:00 PM at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 11100 NE Skidmore St.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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