It wasn’t an “official” event‚ but see how neighborhood association members pitched in to help a senior citizen in need‚

Clint Lenard, wearing the red shirt in the background, orchestrated the clean up a badly-overgrown senior citizen’s yard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Lents Neighborhood home was in great condition; good siding, solid roof, and a new deck. The only problem was that the yard was so overgrown‚ one couldn’t see the house from the street.

“It seemed like a good idea to give her a hand,” said project organizer, Clint Lenard, a neighborhood association board member.

“The homeowner didn’t have anyone to help her with the yard work. Not only was the house hidden, you couldn’t hardly walk up to get in,” Lenard explained.

Neighbor Casey Meredith, East Portland Crime Reduction Specialist Rosanne Lee, and association member Rachel Slottke find and remove all kinds of things while clearing the yard.

One of the volunteers, Casey Meredith climbed trees, removed rubbish and hauled chips.

“I live down the street. Lenard asked me to help, and here we are,” Meredith said. “You can see by the chips how much we’ve taken out.”

Lents Neighborhood Association member John Notis rakes some of the chips generated from the massive clean-up project.

While their effort didn’t make the front page of the newspapers, it didn’t go unnoticed by neighbors. “We’re just trying to make a difference here in Lents,” Lenard commented as he wiped sweat from his brow.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Discover why these students joined the “No Ivy League”‚ and learn how neighbors work to make this hidden park a natural sanctuary‚

Portland Christian School students Adan Rodriguez, East Portland parks advocate Linda Robinson, Shelby Remington, Kenda Whener, Austin Swift, Sterling Anderson, Edgar Rodriguez, Ashley Runyan, teacher Kena Jacobs, Nathan Harris and Matt Joslen‚ after they attacked ivy at Glendoveer Woods.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Nowhere in Glendoveer Woods was a safe place for ivy plants to hide on May 5, as a troupe of youngsters from local schools hunted the invasive plants down and ripped ’em out by their roots.

“It was great,” said East Portland parks advocate Linda Robinson. “We had 25 volunteers at our ‘No Ivy Day’ event at Glendoveer Woods from 9 am until noon.”

Many of the students were from Portland Christian School. “We heard about it from your web site,” said the kids’ teacher, Kena Jacobs.

“Each fall, I present a unit for our seventh graders on noxious weeds. We decided to go out and ‘fight ivy’. I talked with the superintendent about it. He said it, fine, go ahead,” Jacobs told us.

But soon, the storms of winter arrived. Because of the bad weather, Jacobs said they put the project off until the spring.

“Not long ago, one of my students suggested we remove some ivy. A friend sent me a link to the East Portland News Service, about this event here today,” Jacobs added.

Why Ivy is targeted
“Ivy wipes out the diversity of plants in green places and wooded areas by smothering them with a viney mat,” Robinson explained. “This destroys native plans that provide food and shelter for desirable wildlife.”

Ivy vines are “girdled” and stripped all the way around the tree’s lower trunk then pulled from a six foot circle around the tree, Robinson said. This technique, known as “the lifesaver”, kills ivy in the upper reaches of the tree and thwarts ivy’s re-growth up the tree.

Goldann Salazar, Niki Gainer, Sam Jones and Dani Gainer from Madison High School.

Joining these students and the adult neighborhood volunteers were Madison High School students.

“Niki and I had do create a senior project,” said Dani Gainer. “We decided to do it on invasive plant species. This is part of our project‚ and we got a couple of friends to come and help.”

The event was part of “No Ivy Day #5”, a Portland-wide event dedicated to removing invasive plant species and improving natural areas.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See why women were selling this summertime treat outside New Seasons markets on May 12‚

Sellwood New Seasons Market customer Darcia Krause, here being served strawberry shortcake by Soroptimist Cheri Wonsley, David Koch, Shauna Nokleby and Beth Dahlgaard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In spots across the city, Portlanders were smacking their lips as they enjoyed fresh, strawberry shortcake treats on May 12.

“New Seasons Market generously supplied the space and ingredients to make and sell strawberry shortcake at their stores,” Soroptimist Cheri Wonsley told us, as she and her crew was dishing up the delectable desserts-to-go at the Sellwood New Seasons on SE Tacoma Street.

“All the money we Soroptimists raise today is going to help domestic abuse shelters in the greater Portland area,” explained Wonsley. “We hope to raise $7,000 from this event.”

The funds, she added, is to be divided among Bradley-Angle House, Clackamas women and Children’s Services, Domestic Violence Resource Center, Listen To Kids, Raphael House of Portland, The Salvation Army West Women’s and Children’s Shelter, and the YMCA Yolanda House.

The word “Soroptimist”, we learned, is coined from the Latin words soror and optima, and loosely translated as “best for women”. If you want to learn more, the East Portland Soroptimist club meets the first three Mondays of each month, from 6-8 pm at Why not Wine, 7907 SE Stark Street. For more information, see

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Discover why people by the hundreds migrated to Sellwood Park for this annual celebration of their feathered friends‚

Jennifer Parks, an Audubon Society volunteer, holds Finnegan, a hungry peregrine falcon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The biggest day for birders at Oaks Bottom and Sellwood Park is the annual “Festival of the Birds” celebration.

As families, toting binoculars and telescopes glide past us, Karen Munday, Urban Wildlife Specialist at the Portland Audubon Society, is all smiles about the big turnout.

“The idea is to get people out here to celebrate International Migratory Bird day today, May 12” Munday explains. “This festival for families; we have attractions for both kids and adults. Our sponsors are hosting activities ranging from bird-plaque painting to guided bird walks every half hour.”

Siena Geren, with just a little help from her dad Mark, paints a wooden bird plaque.

The event, sponsored by U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Portland Audubon Society and Portland Parks & Recreation is put on to raise awareness about the birds that live in, and migrate through, the greater Portland area.

Sue Thomas with Portland Parks & Recreation continues, adding, “We want people to understand that parks are a place where birds can stop when whey migrate. A lot of birds rest and feed here. We need to be mindful of them. Their health is an indicator of the health of our parks.”

The Oaks Bottom wetlands, because of its varied terrain ‚Äì the Oak bluff area, grasslands, ponds, amphibians, and insects for food ‚Äì  is a great place for all kinds of birds, says Thomas. And, it’s a great place for people who want to study birds too.

“This spring, we’ve been working with Reed College students,” Thomas told us. “We’ve put in a bird garden at the bottom of the north end of Oaks Bottom. We’ve planted berries and seed plants that will attract hungry birds.”

As we walk along the bluff trail, many organizations have set up information stations and craft booths.

The Audubon Society’s Karen Munday says Oaks Bottom is a great place to visit any time of year‚ but especially during the Festival of the Birds.

Along the way, we meet Jennifer Parks, volunteer with the Audubon Society. “I’m holding Finnegan, a peregrine falcon. He was born with a deformed foot; it is turned upside down. He doesn’t have the ability to hunt. He was discovered at a nest site in the Columbia Gorge in May 2000. He’s just turning seven.”

Finnegan stares at us with a hungry look. “No, he hasn’t been fed yet, and you are standing a little closer to him than he’s used to,” warns Parks.

On the way out, we ask wildlife specialist Munday why this particular park is so special to her.

Hazel, the event guest on the arm of volunteer Ann Spencer, gives a hoot about the good work of the Audubon Society. Hazel is a Northern Oregon Spotted Owl.

“So many wonderful neo-tropical [bird] migrants spend their winters in Central America, but the come through Portland on their way north or south. We’re lucky to have great bird habitat here‚ places like Oaks Bottom‚ that act as spots for breeding and feeding for migratory birds.”

Munday adds, “Oaks Bottom is an amazing place any time of year. Portland Audubon Society holds walks all year around. Come join us!”

You can learn more about their organization by visiting

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

18 hours after the last truck firebombing, police arrest three suspected arsonists. Was this a terrorist attack? Were radicals making a political statement? Find out right here‚

Arson K-9 Chyenne and handler, PF&R Fire Investigator Rick Aragon, search for clues at the SE Tolman St. firebombing of a Honda Element.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As the number of vehicles torched and burned beyond repair‚ including a vehicle fire that sets an occupied home ablaze‚ increased to seven during the nights of May 22 and 23, so did the fears of Southeast Portland residents.

Vehicle owners, especially those of Hondas and other compact SUVs, wonder if they were being targeted by eco-terrorists, or perhaps a band of thugs with a brand-specific vendetta.

“My half-ton pickup truck burns a lot more fuel than my neighbor’s Honda Element did,” Jim Cornetta told us as he looked down SE Tolman Street at the charred Honda being examined by fire inspectors on May 23. “I wonder if I should stay up tonight and keep watch.”

This Honda was found alaze on SE Raymond Street. By the time firefighters extinguish the flames, the car is destroyed.

Fiery path of destruction
Until the firebugs were caught, citizens had good reason to worry. In the wee hours of May 22, three Honda CRV sub-SUVs and 1 Ford Ranger were targeted. Three more were burned the following night.

“Looking at the times and locations, it wasn’t difficult to see the arsonists’ path,” Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt told us. He read from the record: SE 66th at 4:24 am; 75th & Division at 4:42 am; SE 75th‚ firefighters found this Honda CRV fully involved in flames, only five feet from a house at 4:52 am; then, another, at SE 36th and Raymond at 5:24 am.

Early the following morning two vehicles just inside Clackamas County were torched, as was that Honda Element on SE Tolman Street.

Immediate investigation begins
As the sun came up on May 22, the Metro Arson Task Force fanned out across Southeast Portland. Working throughout the day and night, they inspected burned vehicles, took samples and wrote reports at each arson site. “The first fire started in a pickup truck,” said Oswalt, “but went out on its own.”

We saw an official accelerant-sniffing dog, Cheyenne, with PF&R handler, Fire Investigator Rick Aragon, gathering evidence. “The task force is made up of investigators from Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Police Bureau, the federal ATF, and the FBI,” Oswalt commented.

An arson investigator leaves a burned Honda Element as he goes to file his report. All but one of the vehicles in the SE Portland arson spree were charred beyond repair.

Neighbors provide valuable leads
Investigators pored through clues given them by witnesses of the blazes. Lists of possible getaway vehicle descriptions were created and distributed.

Portland Police Bureau’s Southeast Precinct assigned detectives and undercover officers; uniformed patrol officers were put on alert as the hunt for the arsonists continued.

A little before midnight on May 23, SE Precinct officers Tashia Hager and Nichole Green were dispatched on a vandalism call in the 6100 block of SE Lexington Street. On-scene, they spotted a car suspected of being involved in the fire-bombings. As Hager and Green questioned the car’s occupants, they learned “information” which potentially connected these subjects to the vehicle arsons. The possible firebugs were turned over to arson investigators.

Police say they suspect Dennis Panichello and Lena Thi Son of torching vehicles across SE Portland.

Suspected arsonists arrested
As dawn broke May 24, the Metro Arson Task Force announced three arrests in the case.

Authorities said they are bringing a variety of charges against the three associated with that car: 27-year-old Dennis Panichello, 19-year-old Lena Thi Son, and a 14-year old juvenile, whose name is withheld to due to age.

Apart from the apparent desire to set vehicles on fire, authorities said the trio of suspects had no political or social motive.

Dennis Panichello’s father publicly blamed “the system” for his son’s problems‚ saying his son needed mental health care, but the young man’s probation officer didn’t help him get treatment.

Suspects face multiple charges
The charges leveled at the suspects are substantial. They include one “Measure 11” count of Arson I; that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, if convicted. This charge is being brought, authorities say, because two residents were in the nearby home set ablaze by one of the burning vehicles.

Other charges include seven counts of Arson II, and one count of Criminal Mischief I. Total prison time could total 26 years, and total fines could mount up to over $500,000.

©2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

There wasn’t much the driver could do, cops say, when a youngster shot out into the street right in front of the car on NE Halsey St. There are lessons about helmets and stop signs to be learned from this tragic story‚

An investigator from the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division uses a GPS measuring device, while determining the facts of this car-versus-bicycle accident that left a boy in very critical condition.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Along outer NE Halsey St., east of Glendoveer, the terrain rises steeply as one travels south‚ and away from the Columbia River basin.

It’s a difficult climb on foot up SE 157th Avenue‚ riding up the hill would be nearly impossible. Yet, neighbors say, the kids love the thrill of approaching this hill from the top, via SE Glisan Street, and “rocketing” down the steep grade of “thrill hill”, where the joy ride can abruptly end at SE Halsey Street.

Thrill ride ends in serious injury
Moments before 5 pm on May 22, Janet Gomez is driving her Kia on NE Halsey Street. Police say the evidence shows she isn’t speeding, nor impaired, as she heads east from the light at NE 142nd Avenue.

“A 14-year-old young man was on his BMX bicycle,” Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Sgt. Dan Costello tells us on-scene. “From what we can tell, he was going lickety-split down the steep hill on SE 157th, didn’t stop at the stop sign at Halsey St., and rode right in front of the Kia.”

Skid marks before the impact indicate the driver was going the speed limit and tried to avoid the accident, police say.

Costello points out the skid marks left when the driver tried to avoid the bicyclist. “Even though she wasn’t speeding, the impact threw the boy about thirty feet through the air, and his bicycle about fifty feet.”

We learn that the injured boy, with ID in his pocket indicating he’s a student at Barlow High School, was rushed Emanuel Hospital in critical condition.

When we follow up, the police spokesman, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, reports the young man remains in very critical condition. “He wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

No citations have been issued.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Learn why 20 breeders, trainers, and volunteers brought a full-blown dog show and demonstration to the kids of this fine outer SE Portland school‚

Dog show organizer Jennifer Clohessy spends a moment with David Douglas High School student Judy Davis and her dog, Frazier.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Mill Park Elementary School’s gym becomes a dog show stadium‚ complete with a 60′ x 40′ ring‚ on May 5. In this ring, twenty breeders and trainers put their dogs on display, demonstrating their obedience, agility, and confirmation skills.

Among the 35 well-trained dogs present, there isn’t hardly a bark in the bunch.

“We’re putting on this assembly to teach children about AKC breeds and responsible pet ownership,” explained Judy Davis, president of Vancouver Kennel Club.

“It’s important for kids to know about different breeds of dogs, and know how to take care of them. Young people need to know both how much work it is to keep a pet ‚Äì but also know how much love their pet can give back to them,” Davis tells us.

Research before you buy
One of the most important things, Davis continues, “is that parents need to ‘do their homework’ before they buy a dog. Make sure you have the right size; you know the temperament of the breed; how much work is involved in grooming and exercising the dog. A dog isn’t a ‘toy’ or ‘fashion accessory’. Pick your dog carefully.”

In the obedience portion of the show, Jennifer Clohessy puts Frazier through his paces.

Obedience demonstrated
One of the trainers we met was Jennifer Clohessy, a student at David Douglas High School.

She introduces us to Frazier. “He’s a Canadian champion ‘Caledon Deuces are Wild’. Yes, that is the name of the breed,” she confirms in response to our quizzical expression. “It is a Shetland Sheepdog, also known as a Sheltie.”

The high school junior says she’s in David Douglas’ “health track” program. “I plan to major in veterinary medicine in college,” she says.

When it is his turn, Clohessy releases Frazier. He races forward, jumps hurtles, scampers through a U-turn tunnel, and hops over the obstacles before he returns to his trainer. The fast-paced action wins the approval of the young student audience‚ they break into cheers and applause.

In the obedience demonstration, Frazier walks, stops, and “stays” at Clohessy’s side‚ his eyes on his master at all times.

We ask Clohessy why her dog is so well trained.

“Actually, I have three of them. I just fell in love the breed,” the perky teenager replies. “It takes daily training. This means three to four hours every day‚ per dog. It takes lots of time.”

We ask if her social life has “gone to the dogs”.

Clohessy  aughs and says, “You’re right!”

Dan Butcher puts his golden retriever, Tommy, through is paces.

Breeder Dan Butcher is the event’s MC. During the confirmation portion of the assembly‚ it’s like a beauty show of dogs‚ he interviews the trainers about their breeds of dogs.

While the young students seem to enjoy the action demonstrations, they really appear to enjoy the time when they could pet the dogs and meet the trainers and ask questions.

As we think back about this special school assembly, we wonder who had the most fun‚ the kids, the trainers, or the dogs.

Torri and Kylee Tjensvold with Liberty and Herbie Chow-chows, father and son.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Even though Portland Public Schools operates the Mandarin Immersion Program, see why the parents group, Shu Ren, work so hard to make this event a resounding success‚

Tom DeMeo, co chair, Amy Liu (voted “most extraordinary helper”), and co-chair Betty Brickson say this gala and auction will raise funds to help students in the Mandarin Immersion Program travel to China.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Friends and parents of students at Woodstock Elementary School’s “Mandarin Immersion Program” make fundraising fun‚ and delicious.

On April 21st, 230 supporters packed the Legin Ballroom in SE Portland for the annual Shu Ren Gala‚ a dinner and auction hosted to fund projects like student overseas travel and local programs.

We ask Betty Brickson, co-chair of Shu Ren Gala and Auction, to fill us in on “Shu Ren”.

“Shu Ren is a nonprofit organization,” Brickson tells us, “established to support the Mandarin Immersion Program at Woodstock Elementary and Hosford Middle School.”

Michelle Braulick and Cheyenne Chapman are checking to make sure no one outbid them in the silent auction.

The money raised supports the overall Mandarin language and culture program. “The funds help us buy supplies for the classroom, and provide extracurricular activities.”

A goodly portion of the money will help pay travel expenses for the 8th graders to study for two weeks in Portland’s “sister city”, Suzhou, China, during the month of May. Brickson says she hopes the event will raise $35,000; but by the end of the evening, generous patrons have donated about $47,000.

“My daughter is in seventh grade,” explains Brickson. “She’s already looking forward to her class’s trip next year. In Suzhou, they conduct a research project, all in Mandarin.”

Hundreds of Shu Ren Gala attendees enjoy course after course of Asian delicacies during their event.

Importance of Mandarin education program
We ask why Portland Public Schools sponsors a Chinese language and culture program.

“Living on the Pacific Rim,” says Brickson, “our economy is increasingly dependant on trade with Asia and China. China is becoming a huge market and international trading partner. We need to read and speak Mandarin, to be part of the global community.”

Seen here flanked by Neal Linegar and Shawn Baird, Woodstock Elementary School Principal Mary Patterson is clearly enjoying the evening.

Woodstock Elementary School’s Principal, Mary Patterson, agrees‚ adding,  “in addition to providing children the unique opportunity to learn a second language, we’re helping them become more culturally aware.” Of the 380 students at Woodstock Elementary, Patterson tells us that about half participate in the immersion program.

Next year, we learn, the program will be expanded to include Cleveland High School, allowing students to continue their Mandarin studies‚ along with typical school subjects.

Denny Sutton, auctioneer, begins the live auction.

Desserts are extra‚ in fact, they are actually auction items! EPNO director Richard Bixby (his daughter is a 7th grader at the school) wins the bid for this great chocolate cake, and shares it with the lucky diners at his table.

Shu Ren was organized in 2000, and is governed by a board of directors and supported through membership dues, grants, and fund-raising activities. For more information, see: .

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Celebrating both a love of her neighborhood and of her own thriving enterprise, take a look at what the owner says is the secret of their success,

Jane Glanville serves up another cone of premium ice cream, as she and her crew celebrates their first year in Woodstock.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In today’s uncertain economy, many new businesses don’t survive long enough to see their first anniversary.

But, not along ago, The Island Creamery‚ the tropical-themed ice cream store at 4525 SE Woodstock Blvd.‚ was throwing a party featuring live music and entertainment.

“We’re having our first birthday today!” beamed owner Jane Glanville

“It is wonderful for the community to come together to celebrate with us. We are so thankful to everyone here in the greater Woodstock community who have welcomed us.”

Friends and neighbors came by to dance up a storm to the tropical rhythms provided a marimba band, at the Island Creamery’s first anniversary celebration.

Involved in the community
In addition to her role as Woodstock’s ice cream impresario, Glanville serves the community in her role as the new President of her neighborhood’s business association as well.

“I’m involved because it is important for businesspeople, along Woodstock Boulevard, to be united. As owners of small and large businesses get to know each other, it helps strengthen our community. By working together, we can apply for grants and to even more to help our community.”

The Woodstock Community Business Association presents the annual Woodstock Festival, Glanville said. “We look forward to seeing everyone come out for our association’s summer events.” Find details on the brand new WCBA website,

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

No, it wasn’t all black-powder guns and cannon fire at this “living history” lesson. See what else these middle-school kids learned, as actors recreated life in long-ago Parkrose‚

Crag Flynn shows the items most solders carried with them. “Remember, they were living in a time when most people wouldn’t go more than fifty miles from home. Going from Parkrose to Portland was a strenuous, day-long trip.”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Walking the dirt street of long-ago Parkrose, it’s like we are stepping out of a time machine, and into the old Wild West, on April 27.

Unlike dry history lessons taught from a book, students from Parkrose Middle School are seeing history being brought alive‚ along with the smells and sounds of the old west‚ on the grounds of Rossi Farms.

“We like doing this because we get to fire the black powder guns and cannon,” quips Craig Flynn.

“But really‚ is a fun, educational experience for the kids. By dressing and acting the parts, kids get an idea of what it might have been like in the Civil War era much more vividly than they would get from reading a book, or even seeing a movie,” Flynn adds, as he takes a break from his demonstration.

Flynn, and his town full of soldiers, farmers, and farm wives, provide a full immersion experience helping the students understand what Parkrose pioneers went through in their everyday lives.

Dressing up Parkrose Middle School student Ricar Ross in clothing of the era are Tanya Little and Linda Steffen.

The well-dressed lady
Along the boardwalk, Tanya Little and Linda Steffen show the way a lady was expected to dress in the Civil War era.

“It took at least a half hour for women to dress,” Little tells the students. “And, they couldn’t do it alone. If women didn’t have a servant, they relied on their mother, sister, or a friend to help the dress for the day.”

They did wash their undergarments on a regular basis, she adds; but the outer garments got washed only once a year.

“Does anyone have an idea what the primary cause of death was then?” asks Steffen.

It wasn’t tripping, nor dehydration, she says. “It was fire. Even though the women weren’t wearing their ‘hoop skirts’, they did have on all their petticoats. Think about it. If a woman turned around, too closely to the open-flame cooking fires‚ either outdoors, or at the hearth‚ their garments would catch fire.”

Captain Rick Spooner and Benjamin Sanford explain how Civil War solders were outfitted for battle.

Off to war
At another station, Captain Rick Spooner holds up a small box of ammunition.

“At first, the commanders didn’t issue repeating rifles to their troops,” instructs Spooner. “If the solder could fire rapidly, he’d just waste valuable ammunition instead of taking careful aim. Even after the government issued repeaters, ammo was limited.”

Lynn Zimmerman-Stevens demonstrates the finer points of real camp cooking.

Real home cooking
“If one wanted to enjoy a hot meal,” says Lynn Zimmerman-Stevens (who, in real life, is a speech pathologist with Parkrose Schools), “it didn’t come out of a microwave oven.”

Set up to cook in front of the Jail, Zimmerman-Stevens is making split-pea soup. Although the students see the wholesome ingredients that go into the camp-cooked soup, few are willing to sample her pottage.

“Because meals had to be prepared completely ‘from scratch’, obtaining the raw ingredients, preparation and cooking took up a good portion of a woman’s day,” she adds.

This sharply-dressed mounted solder attracted many students.

On mounted patrol
Staying in character, a mounted solder says he’s Lt. Ken Morris, 10th New York Cavalry.

He’s riding “Pistol”, an 18-year-old Morgan Cross horse. “I’m in the Union Army. We fought in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania between 1861 and 1865.”

Even though the shots fired were blanks, most students cringed and plugged their ears as a team demonstrated the “rapid-firing cannon drill”.

Students, and their teachers agree: The living-history lessons provided by these history re-enactors are ones they’ll long remember.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

You’re invited to the “fun, family fair” May 26‚ 28. Read this and discover all the reasons you should plan a visit this year‚

The magical Mother Goose will entertain kids of all ages at this year’s Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park.

Story and archive photos by David F. Ashton
Against overwhelming odds, and without financial assistance from the county, the 101st edition of the Multnomah County Fair kicks off in late May at Oaks Amusement Park.

“‘We’re Still Kickin’ Get your kicks at the 101st Multnomah County Fair’ is our theme,” says the fair’s coordinator, Cheryl Jones.

The fair is a safe place for young people to learn how food gets from the farm to their table.

“It’s a great deal for families,” Jones tells us. “Admission and parking is free. People of all ages will enjoy the activities and events scheduled this year.” She adds that heaps of contests, prizes, exhibits, demonstrations, good friends and good times make this a popular and traditional gathering.
Pirate shows to musical acts

Those rascally “Pirates at the Beach” scallywags will be back this year in full costume, doing pirate shows.

Be sure to see Humphrey’s Farmyard Frolics‚ with the magical Mother Goose and a dozen farm-themed activities for the kids.

“We’ve booked musical and other entertainment acts,” Jones says.

A wide variety of food vendors cook up hot meals the whole family will enjoy.

Contests galore
Many categories for competition feature special awards for items designed around this year’s theme. In addition to arts-and-crafts judging, this year’s fair will include:

  • A professionally-judged rabbit competition and show;
  • The “Big Cluck” chicken cook-off hosted by “Mr. Barbeque“;
  • Cowboy Boot Contest — Grab your old cowboy boots and decorate them to win a trophy; and,
  • Weiner Dog races ‚Äì the winner gets a year’s supply of Hill’s Science Diet.

See craftspeople create beautiful works of art‚ right before your eyes.

Silent auction supports fair
In The Pavilion, check out some of the great items up for auction: dinner for 8, cooked by a chef in your home; wheelbarrows of gardening supplies; beach vacations; gift baskets and much more.

“The items will be on display on May 27,” says Jones, “and the bids close on May 28.

KXL’s “Mr. Barbeque” will host another “Big Cluck Chicken Cookoff” at the fair on May 26.

Fun and educational
The Multnomah County Fair is still an important institution, Jones explains, so city-dwellers can get a taste of country life.

She adds, “The fair is a place to learn and explore. Having a place where arts, crafts, agriculture and livestock can be judged encourages young people to participate in positive activities‚ arts and crafts.”

And, Jones reminds us, rides at Oaks Amusement Park are reasonably-priced‚ unlike the rides at traveling carnivals.

You can help
“We need community-minded people to help us produce the Fair,” says Jones. “You can contribute a little time or a lot. Please call the Friends of the Fair at 503-761-7577 and volunteer.”

Thrill rides at Oaks Park provide fun and excitement for the whole family‚ at an affordable price.

101st Multnomah County Fair
Saturday through Monday: May 26, 27, & 28, 2007
Hours: Noon – 7:00 PM
Oaks Amusement Park
7100 SE Oaks Park Way
at the foot of SE Spokane St., Sellwood.
For more information, see the Fair’s website:

We’ll see you at the 2007 Multnomah County Fair!

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

The beautifully-restored Montavilla movie palace was the perfect place for a “Fabulous ’40s” party supporting the Oregon Symphony. Take a look! We have a backstage pass‚

Beau escorts Rosalie Williams, Chair of the event, as they welcome guests to Oregon Symphony benefit party at the Academy Theater.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When the Mt. Tabor chapter of the Friends of Oregon Symphony wanted to throw a 1940s-themed “Night at the Academy” party, they knew right where to go‚ the Academy Theater, in Montavilla.

“Can you think of a better place for our event than this beautifully-restored theater?” asks event chair Rosalie Williams when we meet her.

Sivia Kaye and Marcella Nandor toast the glamorous atmosphere.

“We’re volunteers who support the Symphony in every way we can‚ from ushering at youth concerts, to putting on benefits like this,” explains Williams. “It is important to have music and arts in our city. Fine music brings culture to our city, and adds to the livability.”

1940 newsreels are running in one of the theater spaces; “On the Town” with Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Ann Miller play in another; and the “Two Sisters Trio” entertain in the third auditorium.

Meanwhile, guests nosh on appetizers supplied by Yahala Restaurant, another Montavilla business, as well as by Flying Pie Pizzeria.

The main course‚ chicken strips, steak and mushrooms, prawns, salads, and fruit‚ is catered by Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen.

The Academy Theater’s host, Ty Dupuis, shows off one of his delicious pizza pies.

Ty Dupuis, part-owner of Flying Pie Pizzeria and the Academy Theater, is on hand to greet‚ and feed‚ the multitude of well-dressed guests who mingle throughout the building.

“This is a spectacular event,” confides Dupuis. “It brings the community together in a way you don’t see any more. I’m glad we could host this party.”

Even the event photographer, Rachael Kubik is fashionably dressed in vintage style.

About the theater, Dupuis comments, “We’ve built a place where friends and family can get together and have a good evening. It is wonderful to see how Montavilla is making real comeback. Now there are many reasons to come and visit our district ‚Äì Montavilla and South Tabor.”

Judging by the merry countenances of the nattily-attired guests, the Academy Theater may become the setting of more vintage-themed festivities in the future.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service.

© 2005-2020 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.