Learn how the dedicated efforts of neighborhood advocates and city officials are bringing amenities to residents of outer East Portland‚

Officials from Portland Parks & Recreation, the City of Portland, neighborhood leaders, facility architects, and the building contractor break the ground for the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The dust flew as shovels held by city officials and community representatives dug into the hard-packed dirt behind the East Portland Community Center on SE 106th Avenue, just south of Floyd Light Middle School.

Their attempt at excavation was symbolic‚ this July 3 event was the groundbreaking ceremony for the community center’s long-awaited new Aquatic Center.

“Next year, we’ll be swimming in the pool at this spot,” announced Portland Parks & Recreation director Zari Santner. “This project was a long time coming. It was challenging. But we had an incredibly dedicated group of people who made it happen.”

Two pools and play water slides will grace the new East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center.

Santner commended the efforts of 18-year outer East Portland resident, and pool activist, Michelle Winningham, for helping aid the process.

“I’ve been frustrated that when we try to go swimming at the David Douglas pool, or the Montavilla or Mt. Scott community centers; we get turned away because they were always full,” Winningham commented. “I got involved by lobbying Portland’s mayor and city council to fund this unmet need for a pool here.”

Minutes after the dignitaries and neighbors left the groundbreaking site, heavy equipment moved in and started excavating.
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Earl Boyles Park dedicated

1, 2, 3, CUT!4th & 5th graders from Earl Boyles Elementary School’s Summer Academy, and Portland Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman, cut the ribbon that officially opened Earl Boyles Park.

Outer East Portland’s newest developed park is hidden away, just south of Earl Boyles Elementary School and Ron Russell Middle School.

“Although the park was substantially completed last November, we waited until the summertime to activate the water features,” explained George Lozovoy‚ project manager, designer, and landscape architect at Portland Parks & Recreation‚ at the “official” park opening.

This park, at SE 112th Avenue and Boise Street, said Lozovoy, was designed by neighbors and teachers to enhance the facilities already in place at the two David Douglas schools.

Barbara Rommel, Superintendent of David Douglas School District, said the park is a result of a good, connected effort between the parks and the school district. “This new park is important because, along with schools, it increases the livability of the community.”

Dignitaries on hand at the park’s dedication included Lents Neighborhood Association President Dewey Akers, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Barbara Rommel, superintendent of David Douglas School District (speaking), and Commissioner Berta Feran, Portland Development Commission.

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman greeted us when he came by for the ribbon cutting.

“As you know, East Portland is considered to be ‘park deficient’. So it is a great day when we’re dedicating a new park in outer Southeast Portland. Our goal is to have a neighborhood park within a half-mile of every resident.”

The park’s $642,000 development cost was funded substantially with PDC funds from Lents Urban Renewal, Saltzman noted.

With temperatures climbing on July 9, many of the children present were waiting to try out the water features. “On a hot day like this, the water feature is a great neighborhood attraction. The path and the lighting make it a great park for everyone, and provides increase safety in and around the park,” Saltzman added.

A touch of the controller, and kids enjoy a cool play area during the hot summer months.

As soon as the ribbon surrounding the water play area was cut by the dignitaries on hand‚ and kids from the elementary school’s Summer Academy‚ Fresh, cold Bull Run water bubbled, sprayed, and showered dozens of kids, who were more than ready for some wet summer fun.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Organizers say they put on these events to help promote the Oregon Humane Society. See why lovers of four-footed friends showed up by the score‚

Paula Ratoza doesn’t need to encourage Baebea, who runs the agility course with confidence

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Riverfront Park really “went to the dogs” on a couple of weeks ago, as packs of canines‚ accompanied by their human friends‚ came to the first  East Portland “Paws across Portland” event.

The “agility course” set up on the east end of the park first caught our eye. Off-leash, under voice command, dogs leap over hurdles, walk a teeter-totter, race through tunnels, and stand still‚ for a ten count‚ on a low table.

Makes dogs smile
“Originally, these courses were developed to aid dog confidence training,” explains Paula Ratoza, as her dog, Baebea, finishes running the course. “If they can do this [course], they can do about anything. Now, it’s done for fun. You can actually see dogs ‘smile’ when you are out there running it!”

Stacey Bailey of “Radio Disney AM 1640”, and David Lytle, spokesman for Oregon Humane Society.

“‘Radio Disney AM 1640’ put together this event,” enthuses station staffer Stacey Bailey. “We’re doing it to support the Oregon Humane Society. It’s a family day that includes dogs.”

Standing by their bright yellow trailer, Oregon Humane Society spokesman David Lytle tells us, “This is a great way for us to come out and meet the community. We have animals here for adoptions. One dog has already been adopted at the event today!”

Humane Society volunteer Benny Demmer shows off adoption candidate Rex.

Helps society place 10,000 animals
The society arranges adoptions for more than 10,000 animals a year, Lytle adds. “These animals would be homeless, otherwise. We also educate the public about animal care; and, our law enforcement officers work to stop animal abuse.”

We ask why a teen radio station set up this promotion. “First, we think a pet brings fun to families,” replies the station’s Bailey. “We’re trying to help kids and parents learn more about dog care, adopt pets, and donate to the Humane Society.”

Lytle says the society is grateful for the radio station’s promotion. “They put this all together; their singers and dancers, information booths, face painting, dog nutritional counseling‚ plus a great family entertainer, Joe Mishkin. We appreciate their support.”

You can see every animal currently up for adoption by going online to www.oregonhumane.org.

Learning the “Diablo” is Malawi Paranto with the help of Joe (definitely not your average Joe) Mishkin.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Learn why, by every measure, this year’s Parkrose Barn Bash, hosted by the Rossi Family, was the best ever. See Mayor Tom Potter ring the dinner bell, and lots of folks having a good time for a great cause‚

Portland Mayor Tom Potter didn’t have to yell “Come and get it”‚ ringing the dinner bell was enough to line up the diners, hungry for Parkrose Lions’ delicious barbecue chicken.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While the official count isn’t yet in, hundreds‚ some say thousands‚ of folks from all over the greater Portland area flooded into the Rossi Farms lot for the Tenth Annual Barn Bash on July 14.

“I’m personally really pleased with the attendance,” Joe Rossi told us after the event. “Thanks to the good turnout, and the support of our 30 sponsors, we’ll be able to fund activities for twelve youth groups this year, instead of eleven.”

As many as 2,000 people enjoyed the food and good spirits found at this year’s Parkrose Barn Bash.

Portland’s biggest backyard party
The Barn Bash is an event not much more complicated than a backyard party. Nice people‚ a lot of people‚ come for a great barbecue chicken dinner, to sample craft brews, to enjoy live entertainment, and to dance to live music.

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard says he’s impressed with both the scope of the event, and with the barbecued chicken.

First-time guests to the Barn Bash said they were impressed with the dinner. “That really is great barbecued chicken,” commented Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard.

Using open-pit grills, and their own secret technique of marinating and cooking the chicken, the Parkrose Lions club cooked up 2,100 quarters of juicy, mouth-watering chicken. The all-you-can-eat dinner buffet includes salads, rolls and beans. The, diners came back for a serving of fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream.

“One of our most valuable contributors are the Parkrose Lions,” said Rossi. “Every year, we get lots of really positive comments about the food.”

The “wild west” comes to life on the realistic old-time Parkrose set.

Whether dancing or listening to the lively country music played by The Last Rodeo Band, when the sun goes down, the barn where they play fills up.

Explosive entertainment
Throughout the evening, scenes depicting the rough-and-tumble days of early Parkrose were portrayed by the Turkey Creek Players. An escape from the town jail, a battle between Union and Rebel soldiers, and loud cannon fire punctuated the evening.

In the barn, The Last Rodeo Band played country tunes that got couples dancing until late in the evening. Many guests took the country line dance lessons offered while the band was taking a break.

The Parkrose Posse presents their “This is an Outrage” Award, to Mid County MEMO reporter Lee Pearlman.

Pearlman arrested; honored
We suspected trouble might be brewing when the Parkrose Posse gathered in the main dining tent, looking for Mid County MEMO reporter Lee Pearlman.  But they had an award for him in their holsters.

“Lee [Pearlman] always writes a nice article for the event and has been a real supporter,” stated Rossi. “He is such a low key guy, but he’s one of our biggest Barn Bash fans.”

2007 Barn Bash Photo Album
If you weren’t there to taste the chicken or hear the music, enjoy these scenes from this year’s Parkrose Barn Bash.

Aldo Rossi is on hand to greet Portland Mayor Tom Potter as he arrives at Rossi Farms.

Dan Saltzman, Liz Burns with Joe Rossi and his daughter Gabrielle.

Members of the Parkrose Sheriff’s Posse enjoy looking tough‚ but this event is so calm, they’ve little to do other than‚ look handsome as they pose!

On the chuck-wagon food line, Ardy Kneeland is serving Karen Borowiec and Richard Voegele.

Enjoying dinner are Robert Murtha and Debra Giles-Murtha.

How many of these Parkrose folks do you recognize at Bob Brown’s table?

Nancy Zuffrea, ExecuTech Suites and Greg Zuffrea, president, East Portland Chamber of Commerce enjoy dinner at their first Barn Bash.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Take a look and you’ll see why this SE Portland community event thrives, and grows every year. And, you’ll see more photos of this even here than anywhere else,

Leading the Woodstock Festival Parade for the second year as Grand Marshal is Portland Mayor and Woodstock resident Tom Potter, and his wife, Karin Hansen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The leisurely pace along this historic boulevard decidedly quickened on July 14 – the day designated for the 2007 Woodstock Festival and Parade.

“This is a wonderful event that knits the community together,” the president of the nonprofit Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), Jane Glanville, told us. “When I saw all the families lining the street, and the parade began, I couldn’t help by cry with joy.”

“The parade was a huge success,” Glanville went on. “From the beginning of the parade, led by Woodstock resident Mayor Tom Potter ‚Äì to the Portland Fire & Rescue trucks at the end ‚Äì it was wonderful. We had more entries than ever before.”

Members of the “Get a Life Marching Band” prove you’re never too old to enjoy playing music on the march.

Parade marches to different drums
Providing lively rhythms as they marched along the route were the “Get a Life Marching Band”‚ complete with flag-waving dance squad‚ and the “Sir James McDonald Pipe Band”.

Parade highlights included the horse-drawn Wells Fargo Stagecoach, Pedi-cabs, and the Oregon City Trolley. We overheard many spectators comment that vintage vehicles from the Arby’s Cruise-in were also a great addition.

Throngs of neighbors stayed on to visit many of the booths set up along the boulevard featuring community and public safety organizations, local artists’ crafts, food vendors, and sponsors’ exhibits. Kids loved the giant inflatable play slide set up in front of Glanville’s “Island Creamery”.

A favorite of kids at the Festival is the huge, inflatable slide.

Six months in the planning
We were amazed to learn that this festive street fair and procession takes place these days thanks primarily to six months of dedicated effort by five core volunteers, headed by Cristi Landers, proprietor of Transformations Hair Salon.

Woodstock Festival Photo Album
Here are some of our favorite memories of the Woodstock Festival:

At the Woodstock Festival, OMSI’s Katie Carriker looks on while Bria Robertson solves the math puzzle‚ with a little help from her mom, Liz Robertson.

Woodstock neighborhood artist Ann Myers sells note cards to Jay Riley.

Narco Fusaro, a neighborhood volunteer, and “Woodstock Neighborhood Picnic” co-coordinator Ruthann Bedenkop, remind us: “Circle August 18 on your calendar for the Picnic in Woodstock Park. We’ll have lots of live music, food and fun.”

Zorina Thomson, massage therapist with Zakira Martial Arts, helps Tamela Cantor relax with chair massage during the Woodstock Festival.

The Wells Fargo Stagecoach fascinates spectators.

Stilt-man returns!

Vintage vehicles from the Arby’s Cruise-in are a welcomed addition to the parade.

We don’t know who they are, or from where they come, but these colorful street dancers are always welcome.

This is perhaps the only parade that features the “Fresh, hot sausage float” ‚Äì courtesy of Otto’s Delicatessen.

Adding a touch of international culture to the parade is the “Sir James McDonald Pipe Band”.

Thousands of folks line the boulevard to watch the parade.

“This festival wouldn’t take place without the support of our sponsors,” added Glanville. “We thank Wells Fargo, BI-MART, The Joinery, Bike Gallery, Johnson Creek Rentals, Arby’s, John L Scott Real Estate, Standard TV and Appliance, Safeway and THE BEE.  Additional support from Swensen and Grey Attorneys, Pappaccino’s, Laughing Planet Caf?©, Dieringer Properties, and The Floor Store made the event possible.”

To learn more about the WCBA, go to: www.woodstockbiz.com.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See why Sheriff’s Deputies are are writing tickets on rivers all over Multnomah County‚

On hot, sunny days, the boat dock at Sellwood Riverfront Park is abuzz with boaters and swimmers.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As cool, wet June weather started to give way to hot July days‚ recreational watercraft suddenly appeared on our rivers in record numbers.

“This week is the start of our boating season,” says Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Sgt. Tim Lichatowich, as we step off the floating dock at Sellwood Riverfront Park an onto Sheriff’s Patrol boat “Freedom” in July 4.

In the cabin, we’re greeted by our captain, 14-year MCSO veteran Deputy Joe Graziano, who says he’s been “on and off river duty” for five years.

“This is the first major boating traffic we’ve had this year,” observes Lichatowich. “It seems that everyone pulled their boat, jet ski, or wave-runner out at the same time.”

This boater earned a violation citation issued by MCSO River Patrol Sgt. Tim Lichatowich for buzzing a boat dock at full power.

Ticketed for “buzzing the dock”
Minutes after we head north, toward downtown, Graziano flips on the lights and sirens and we head for an open-cabin outboard-powered boat.

“We’re seeing a lot of wake violations today,” explains Lichatowich. “We’ll be issuing a citation to this boater violating the ‘no-wake rule’. He was at full power less than 200 feet from the dock. We’re seeing a lot of that today.”

During their tour of duty so far today, Lichatowich says they’ve given out three warning tickets. “They all could have been tickets. I’m trying not to ruin people’s afternoon. But for gross violations, we have to issue a ticket.”

MCSO River Patrol Deputy Joe Graziano keeps an eye out for “deadheads”‚ logs floating just under the surface of the water‚ that can sink a boat or seriously injure a water-skier.

On the lookout for boozy boaters
After touring the Ross Island Lagoon, Graziano circles around near the dock at Sellwood Riverfront Park. “One concern is powered watercraft operating too fast near the dock,” says Lichatowich. “It’s not a swimming dock, but you can see swimming there on a hot day. It’s easy for folks in the water to be hit by a boat flying around there.”

The Sheriff’s patrol officers say they’re looking for people who are drinking. “The combination of alcohol and the hot sun slows the reactions and impairs decision-making for boat drivers,” Graziano says.

Lichatowich points out to us some people drinking on a boat tied to the dock. “We’ll check them later. It is not considered being ‘under operation’ if they’re docked.”

River Patrol officers warn that they’ve seen raw sewage flow out of this pipe, near Ross Island, even on hot, sunny days.

Hidden river hazards
“Especially for people waterskiing, watch out for ‘deadheads’ ‚Äì logs floating just below the water,” warns Graziano. “They’re dark, and it’s hard to see them. But if you hit one, it can sink your boat or cause serious injury to a skier. Make a couple of passes and check out the area before you ski.”

Another hidden hazard, Graziano says, is Willamette River water itself. He comments that he’s leery of water quality. “I’ve seen sewage flowing from the outfalls on a nice sunny day,” Graziano says pointing to the large, concrete pipe near Ross Island.

“It was a pretty murky brown, and we could smell it. There have been kayakers paddling in what amounts to raw sewage. I always wash my hands after I touch the water here.”

Safe boating suggestions

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office River Patrol reminds boaters:

  • Don’t drink and boat;
  • Don’t overload your boat;
  • Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency;
  • Make sure your running lights work;
  • Ensure children under 12 years wear a life jacket, and that there is a serviceable life jacket on board for everyone (and they suggest that all passengers wear their life jacket while on board a boat);
  • Ensure all your required equipment is on board and in good working order;
  • Be patient at boat launches (allow plenty of lead time to launch your boat);
  • Keep a good look out for other boaters;
  • Watch your wake around moorages and other small craft;
  • Be courteous; and,
  • If you don’t have a required boater education card, get one.

Because he wasn’t endangering anyone, this personal watercraft user was simply given a warning for traveling too fast through a no-wake zone.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Why do neighbors say they’re happy that this small house, just west of the Springwater Trail, was gutted by fire? Learn why, from our exclusive interviews‚

The fire burned so intensely, the interior of this bungalow was charred to the exterior walls.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Typically, people tell us they feel sad when they see a nearby home go up in flames, displacing the residents.

But neighbors of the home at 8740 SE Flavel Street say they’re overjoyed that the explosive blaze that started about 12:30 a.m. on July 26 burned so hot that it destroyed the front of the bungalow, and reduced the interior to cinders and ashes.

Neighbors say ‘good riddance’ to drug flophouse
Because those living near the burned home characterized the occupants as “violent participants in the hard-drug culture”, they ask their names not be used.

“Please don’t even say where our house is,” a lady begs us. “I’m still afraid of these people.”

Four different neighbors with whom we speak, during separate interviews, each tell us the house has been the center of drug activity for years.

“But ever since they [the current group] squatted on the property two months ago, it’s been really bad,” the most fearful neighbor relates. “They assaulted my pregnant daughter, kicked her in the stomach, and myself, and other people. They bashed my head on the concrete‚ all because we returned their dog. These are mean, vicious people.”

Neighbors‚ and official City of Portland housing inspection — say several people lived in the trailers parked behind the burned house we photographed from the Springwater Trail.

Lots of people, drugs
The official report says that two individuals safely escaped from the house.

When we check this fact, a man responds, “Two people? Heck, there were ten or twelve people living in there, all the time‚ and more, in the travel trailer behind the home.”

Another witness says she saw “at least a dozen people scattering from the burning house like rats from a sinking ship”.

Neighbors say the occupants are squatters, ranging in age from mid 20s to the 40s.

“What kind of drugs?” a man says, repeating our question. “All kinds of drugs. I don’t think they were picky.”

The fearful neighbor says, “A lady got assaulted the day after we did. She came to my house. She was so high, she was ridiculous. She had a meth pipe in her pocket. She said she was there doing drugs all day; they sell drugs.”

Yet another neighbor notes, “This house is ‘conveniently located’ just west of the Springwater Trail. It was like a drive-up drug stop for druggies on bicycles.”

Police and city investigate complaints
City of Portland records show an “Occupied Building Nuisance and Complaint” was filed on July 9 for “Trash & Debris, Junk, Garbage”. The house was scheduled to re-inspect the residence on July 25, the day before the house caught fire.

On July 10, a “General Housing Complaint” was filed with the City of Portland. According to official records, the file reads:

“OCCUPIED TRAILERS IN THE BACKYARD, PITBULL IS SEEN ON PROPERTY. VISIBLE FROM STREET, 15 PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE AND ABOUT 2 PEOPLE IN EACH TRAILER.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team Officer William Hoover confirmed that the now-destroyed house was the subject of police interest‚ over a period of time‚ for a number of reasons.

One neighbor says he walked through the charred ruins of this house. “It’s all gone now. They’ll have to tear it down,” reports.

Says children were taken from home
A man who says he lives “not far away” tells us DHS contacted him and asked him to take temporary custody of two children living in the house a few days before the fire. “Police have been here many times,” he adds.

“The police used to try hard to clean it up,” a witness volunteers, “but not so much lately. I think they changed the cops working in our area. We’re not sad to see them go. Hopefully, they’ll be out of the neighborhood now.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Discover why the city is spending $5 Million to “undo” a 1940s “creek improvement project” that experts say actually causes flooding and declining fish population, instead of preventing it‚

Bureau of Environmental Services director, Dean Marriott, pinpoints the built-up highlands which B.E.S. is now returning to wetlands.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Walking through a wooded area, just off the Springwater Trail near SE Foster Rd at SE 158th Ave., we hear the roar of heavy earth-moving equipment in the distance.

Bureau of Environmental Services director Dean Marriott is our guide, as we hike along Johnson Creek. “We’re walking into the Brownwood Site here along Johnson Creek. This represents the fourth restoration project we’ve embarked on,” he tells us.

“We’re undoing what was done in the 1940s,” Marriott explains, “in an effort to reduce flooding; WPA workers brought in a lot of fill material to straighten the creek. Their project made flooding worse.”

From creek to sluiceway‚ and back to creek
Fish don’t do well in rock-lined channel, Marriott comments. “When they altered the creek, they pushed it to the south in a rock-lined channel. It became a sluiceway, instead of a natural creek.

The new $5 Million restoration project, Marriott explains, will minimize future flooding. But more importantly, it will improve the health of the watershed, including fish habitat.

As we break through to the work area, we see a massive earth-moving effort underway. “We’re taking about 150,000 cubic yards of dirt and fill out of the historic flood plain, and recreating the natural landscape,” explains Marriott. “We’re replicating what nature intended. We’re restoring the back channels, meanderings, and crookedness of the creek. When we’re done, next year, it will look just the way Mother Nature intended it to look.”

Specifically, Marriott goes on, the project restores natural terrain features. The water will slow down and have areas that can flood without doing any damage, and recharge the groundwater.

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, and Lisa Libby of B.E.S., look at the creek restoration work done at the “Brownwood Site” in outer East Portland.

Walking Portland’s environmental talk
At the main work area, we meet Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams. “This is a major project to undo some anti-environmental work done by the WPA,” he confirms. “This is a major step forward; restoring the habitat for fish and wildlife, here on the East Powell Butte flood plain.”

Adams says that the $5 million cost of the project is well spent. “In spite of the fact that Portland has a ‘very green city’ self-identity, we still have major environmental issues to address‚ especially in this area of Portland. We still have two species of salmon that are endangered, because of the poor health of Johnson Creek.”

The commissioner says restoration projects like this are a “point of personal passion for me. I want to see Portland ‘walk its talk’ in terms of environmental responsibility.

“Beyond helping the environment, a practical benefit restoring the original ecosystem of the floodplain — above the more populated areas — is that it will prevent flooding in the commercial and residential districts downstream.”

J.C. Watershed Counsel grants $600,000
While touring the restoration site, we learn from the executive director of the Johnson creek Watershed Council, Michelle Bussard, that the group worked with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to develop a $600,000 fund for the project.

“This project really represents our values around the health and prosperity of our watershed. This is putting our money where our mouth is.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Whether you’re in the mood for a light-hearted comedy‚ or a touching story of family relationships‚ plan now to see “LUV” or “On Golden Pond”, presented by the Mt. Hood Rep., opening July 27‚

Portraying as Norman and Ethel Thayer, Jane Fellows and Tobias Andersen star in “On Golden Pond”; a moving story featuring universal themes of mortality, family relationships, marriage, and generations.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
If you’d like to spice up your summer by enjoying three professional theatrical programs‚ you don’t have to brave the torn-up streets downtown, not to mention not having to fight for a parking space and spend a small fortune for tickets.

Instead, plan now to take in all three productions offered this season by the professional actors and entertainers from the Mt. Hood Repertory Theater Company. The productions are on stage from July 29 through August 19.

On Golden Pond
See how the lives of a tart-tongued retired professor and his wife‚ Norman and Ethel Thayer‚ change, when their peaceful country life is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of their grandson.

Norman revels in taking his youthful ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, but he finds he’s schooled in modern teenage awareness and slang in return.

Will Norman die from a heart attack? Or, will he and Ethel be granted another summer next year, on Golden Pond?

Come, and you’ll see how some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest actors‚ Tobias Andersen, Jane Fellows, and former Miss Oregon Beth McShane‚ bring this warm and moving 1978 off-Broadway hit to life.

On Golden Pond opens on July 27 and plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m., through August 19, 2007.
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LUV

This satire explores, in comedic terms, what “love” means to each of us: How much do you love me? How much should I love you? What will you do for me if you love me? What happiness (or pain or sorrow or heartbreak or joy) will loving you bring me?

Milt Manville meets an old college friend, Harry Berlin, after sixteen years. Milt is in an unhappy marriage to Ellen, and he wants Harry to fall in love with Ellen, so that he can then marry someone else.

Harry and Ellen meet, and do fall in love immediately‚ with unintended consequences. We’re warning you‚ from the scenes we’ve previewed‚ be ready for a comedy filled with non-stop, side-splitting laughter.

The script is great, but the comedic abilities of David Meyers (as Milt Manville), Liz Young (as Ellen Manville), and Patrick Wohlmut (as Harry Berlin) make this zany comedy sparkle.

LUV also opens on July 27 (in the Mt. Hood Studio Theater) and plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m.; Sundays: 2:00 p.m. through August 19, 2007.
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Down through The Decades: A Musical Revue
During the summer season on Sunday nights, the cabin “On Golden Pond” has new occupants!

Come see a seasoned group of veteran musical theatre powerhouse talent assemble with one goal in mind: to write the ultimate “musical theatre revue”. It’s like “A Prairie Home Companion” meets “The Big Chill” for a night at “The Tony Awards”.

This hilarious and gifted group of friends sing through the mega-hits and flops “down through the decades” of Broadway favorites.

Songs from George M. Cohan to Stephen Sondheim, from George Gershwin to Rodgers and Hammerstein‚ and several other composers thrown in‚ make this an evening of music and mirth you’ll long remember.

Down Through the Decades plays on two Sunday evenings, August 5th and 12th; curtain time is 7:00 p.m.

Buy your tickets now!
All these plays perform in The Mt. Hood Community College Theater Main Stage and Studio Theatres.

Plan now, and buy your tickets. Call (503) 491-5950, or buy online at www.mthoodrep.org

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Whether you’re in the mood for a light-hearted comedy‚ or a touching story of family relationships‚ plan now to see “LUV” or “On Golden Pond”, presented by the Mt. Hood Repertory Theater Company right now …

Portraying as Norman and Ethel Thayer, Jane Fellows and Tobias Andersen star in “On Golden Pond”; a moving story featuring universal themes of mortality, family relationships, marriage, and generations.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
If you’d like to spice up your summer by enjoying three professional theatrical programs ‚Äì you don’t have to brave the torn-up streets downtown, not to mention not having to fight for a parking space and spend a small fortune for tickets.

Instead, plan now to take in all three productions offered this season by the professional actors and entertainers from the Mt. Hood Repertory Theater Company. The productions are on stage NOW through August 19.

On Golden Pond
Wait — please read this ….Based on seeing the movie, we considered not going to see the play. But, we discovered that this presentation is NOT a “live action version” of the movie. The MOVIE is slow and sappy.

This show sparkles. This On Golden Pond — the original Broadway play — is funny, snappy, sassy, fast-moving, light-hearted and delightful. The entire cast works magic on stage. When the show ended, audience members (including us) jumped to their feet to give a standing ovation — as if a chior director instructed church members to stand.

After the show, the comment most heard repeated by patrons was, “Wow! I didn’t much care for the movie, but this show is GREAT!”

The story …
See how the lives of a tart-tongued retired professor and his wife‚ Norman and Ethel Thayer‚ change, when their peaceful country life is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of soon-to-be their grandson.

Norman revels in taking his youthful ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, but he finds he’s schooled in modern teenage awareness and slang in return.

Will Norman die from a heart attack? Or, will he and Ethel be granted another summer next year, on Golden Pond?

Come, and you’ll see how some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest actors ‚Äì Tobias Andersen, Jane Fellows, and former Miss Oregon Beth McShane, Doug Richardson, William Barry and Tanner Ward as young Billy Ray, bring this warm and moving 1978 off-Broadway hit to life.

On Golden Pond plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m., through August 19, 2007. Highly Recommended.
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LUV

This satire explores, in comedic terms, what “love” means to each of us: How much do you love me? How much should I love you? What will you do for me if you love me? What happiness (or pain or sorrow or heartbreak or joy) will loving you bring me?

Milt Manville meets an old college friend, Harry Berlin, after sixteen years. Milt is in an unhappy marriage to Ellen, and he wants Harry to fall in love with Ellen, so that he can then marry someone else.

Harry and Ellen meet, and do fall in love immediately,  with unintended consequences. We’re warning you‚ from the scenes we’ve previewed‚ be ready for a comedy filled with non-stop, side-splitting laughter.

The script is great, but the comedic abilities of David Meyers (as Milt Manville), Liz Young (as Ellen Manville), and Patrick Wohlmut (as Harry Berlin) make this zany comedy sparkle.

LUV (in the Mt. Hood Studio Theater) and plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m.; Sundays: 2:00 p.m. through August 19, 2007.
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Down through The Decades: A Musical Revue
During the summer season on Sunday nights, the cabin “On Golden Pond” has new occupants!

Come see a seasoned group of veteran musical theatre powerhouse talent assemble with one goal in mind: to write the ultimate “musical theatre revue”. It’s like “A Prairie Home Companion” meets “The Big Chill” for a night at “The Tony Awards”.

This hilarious and gifted group of friends sing through the mega-hits and flops “down through the decades” of Broadway favorites.

Songs from George M. Cohan to Stephen Sondheim, from George Gershwin to Rodgers and Hammerstein‚ and several other composers thrown in‚ make this an evening of music and mirth you’ll long remember.

Down Through the Decades plays on two Sunday evenings, August 5th and 12th; curtain time is 7:00 p.m.

Buy your tickets now!
All these plays perform in The Mt. Hood Community College Theater Main Stage and Studio Theatres.

Plan now, and buy your tickets. Call (503) 491-5950, or buy online at www.mthoodrep.org

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In a moment of inattention, this trucker did more than just disrupt traffic on SE Powell Blvd.; he shut down a neighborhood’s water service for a day. See why he’s really in hot water now‚

Portland Water Bureau officials Mark Behnke and David Shaff update Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard on the progress of the water main repair on S.E. Powell Boulevard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The newest swimming hole in SE Portland suddenly appeared on July 17‚ but it wasn’t at a community center. It was in the middle of on SE 64th Ave., just feet north of SE Powell Blvd.

Police officials say 62-year-old David Kipp backed the flatbed trailer of his semi-truck into a fire hydrant at 10:45 am that morning, snapping it off.

Soon, water from the 8″ water main below the street started bubbling up, rupturing the pavement and eventually creating a large‚ and deep‚ hole filled with churning muddy water.

When we arrive to inspect the damage, crews have already shut off the water and drained the hole. We see Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who’s in charge of the Portland Water Bureau.

“In Portland, our fire hydrants don’t spout like a geyser when they’re hit,” Leonard tells us. Pointing to the hydrant, laying its side, he adds, “They’re made to break off cleanly, and a valve then shuts off the water.”

Fire hydrants, like this one, are designed to snap off cleanly and shut off a below-ground water valve. The system worked; but the stress of the impact broke the cast iron water main below the street.

But not this time. In this case, Leonard says, the team of water bureau responders told him the shock of the hydrant being struck on the surface transferred down to the cast-iron water main below, rupturing it.

“I didn’t come out to supervise, I love to learn how things work,” Leonard states. “I’m here to let the crew know I appreciate what they do. They aren’t going home tonight; they’ll stay here until the water is turned back on.”

The commissioner comments that the water bureau crews remind him of firefighters. “They respond fast, they are well trained to deal with these emergencies, and they are well equipped. They work under some really unpleasant conditions, to get the job done; and, they stay on the job, working continuously, until water service is restored.”

This Portland Water Bureau crew works into the night to repair the broken water main on Powell Boulevard caused by a careless driver clipping a fire hydrant.

More than the inconvenience this incident caused for the 29,000 motorists who drive on SE Powell Boulevard every day, and for the neighborhood that went without water for a day, the full financial consequences of this driver’s inattention are still being tallied up.

In addition to the ticket for “Careless Driving”, Leonard says the city will be sending the water main repair invoice to Kipp’s insurance company. “It’s going to be expensive, but the citizens shouldn’t be stuck with the bill.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Why do Multnomah County Jail inmates volunteer to strenuous work, in difficult conditions in hot weather? Find out why convicted crooks offer to help clean up their community right here‚

A county jail inmate helps the community by painting out graffiti on the columns under the Ross Island Bridge.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Anyone who has been along the Springwater Trail has seen the graffiti on the pillars and abutments under the Ross Island Bridge‚ just down from the homeless refuge, “the caves”, under S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

“Graffiti is a precursor to other crimes,” says Multnomah Count Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Lt. Jason Gates. “It invites other inappropriate activities. By leaving graffiti up, it sends the message that community will tolerate crime. And, it takes away from the livability of the area.”

By organizing a graffiti paint-out crew, Gates explains, “We’re trying to send a message to the people who are committing these crimes that we’re reclaiming this area; we’re taking it back from them.”

Inmate Dwight Golden and MCSO Sgt. Tina Breiten prepare to lower more buckets of paint down to the worksite.

Crooks serve community
The volunteers painting out graffiti at this particular June 26 project aren’t from the neighborhoods or schools. They’re convicted criminals.

We learn from MCSO Sgt. Tina Breiten that not all county convicts are satisfied sitting out their sentence in their cell. Some inmates, like Dwight Golden, prefer to volunteer for work details‚ even when tasks are in hot, dirty, and difficult conditions.

Coming up for more paint supplies, Golden tells us, “I like being out here in the sun and fresh air. Panting out graffiti is good. It makes it look nicer. I’m glad to be on this work program today.”

Multiple benefits from inmate work program
Only non-violent offenders, Sgt. Breiten confirms, are allowed on the work details. “It gives them the opportunity to pay back to the community. It allows them to prepare to transition back into the public. Some of our inmates need to learn the most basic of job skills‚ like getting up in the morning and going to work.”

After scrambling down the steep bank, inmate Golden is ready to take more supplies down to the cleanup site under the Ross Island Bridge.

Both “good time” and “work time” cuts down the non-violent offender’s sentence, says Breiten. “This system gives us the opportunity to free up some jail beds for the hardened, violent criminals that come into the jail system.”

Inmate work crew projects also help reduce tensions inside the jail, adds Breiten. “Doing physical labor helps inmates to ‘work out tensions’ that otherwise build up when they’re just sitting, day in and day out, in the jail. Instead of thinking about their next crime, they’re thinking about becoming productive in our community.”

ODOT partnership
Portland’s spokesman for Oregon Department of Transportation, Dave Thompson, arrives on-site and tells us how the MCSO inmate crews helps the state highway agency: “When we can use inmate crews, it helps the workers, and improves the community at the same time. This is a great use of taxpayer money.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Some drivers grumble about the camera systems that automatically generate traffic tickets for red-light-runners. Here’s another reason you’ll soon be seeing such systems in outer East Portland‚

Witnesses say the driver of this silver Mazda (foreground) blew through the red light at SE 103rd Avenue, and struck the green Toyota Camry with such impact, it was spun around facing west on SE Washington Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
According to Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officials, automatic camera systems designed to catch motorists who speed through red lights will soon be installed in outer East Portland.

Between assignments, we heard a police radio call on July 21, saying a car was hit broadside at SE Washington St at SE 103rd Avenue. We drove over to take a look.

Witnesses told us they saw a silver Mazda, heading eastbound on SE Washington Street, shoot through the red light at SE 103rd Avenue at about 11:45 a.m.

“It looked like Mazda’s driver stepped on the gas,” reported Becky Holsted who said she was waiting for a bus as the event unfolded. “The silver car smacked right into the side of the Camry. It was going north on SE 103rd Avenue on a green light.”

Because one driver took a risk and blew a red light, another driver was sent to the hospital and his car was demolished. Police say this is a high price to pay for trying to arrive at your destination a few seconds earlier.

The T-boned Camry was hit so hard, it spun 90-degrees, coming to rest facing westbound in the eastbound lanes of SE Washington Street. The driver was injured; the side-impact victim was put on a backboard and rushed to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Cops say red-light cameras save lives
Preparing a story we’ll publishing soon about the new “red light cameras”, we spoke with Sergeant Dan Costello of the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division.

“The most serious crashes that occur at intersections are caused by someone running a red light,” Costello told us. These ‘turning and angle crashes’ are 2.5 times more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than rear-end crashes. Adding more cameras will further decrease these types of crashes,” said Costello.

In this area of the Gateway district, Costello said the city in the process of installing the red-light camera systems at SE Stark St. at 99th Avenue (19 red light crashes in the past year) and at SE Stark Street at 102nd Avenuie (due to 44 red light crashes).

“No matter how pressed for time you are, please stop for red lights,” commented the Portland City Commissioner in charge of PDOT, Sam Adams. “Gambling on saving a minute or two by running a red light could kill or seriously injure you and someone else. Red-light-running has very serious consequences.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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