Who’d leave their vehicle running in the parking lot while they grab some coffee? Far too many average folks, cops say. Learn what they’re doing about this growing problem …

Sgt. John Scruggs gives a stack of anti-car-theft flyers to Aaron Linn at the Dominos Pizza shop on the 3600 block of NE 82 Avenue of Roses.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
So many drivers in outer East Portland leave their vehicles empty – and running – that crooks have a coined a name for these ready-to-steal cars.

“A ‘steamer’ is the street term for an unattended, running vehicle,” says Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit Sgt. John Scruggs. “They call it that because in the colder winter months, steam comes out of the vehicle’s exhaust system.”

We’re riding along with Scruggs in his patrol car, as he gets ready for the next leg of his unit’s crime-reduction campaign on April 6. He, and other officers, are focusing on convenience stores and coffee shops, where people tend to leave their vehicles running while they make a “quick” pit-stop.

Curbing climbing car-theft rate
“Over the last year, East Precinct has seen a 41% increase in auto theft,” Scruggs reports. “Our precinct commander, Michael Crebs, assigned several patrol officers whose primary responsibility is to target the areas most affected by auto theft. Today, we’re distributing educational flyers. They’re part of our effort to help keep citizens from becoming crime victims.”

When we stop at stores, whether national-chain convenience stores or mom-and pops, we’re a little surprised to see Scruggs get a warm reception. “It hurts us when one of our customer’s cars are stolen here,” says the shopkeeper at an 82nd Avenue of Roses store.

Sgt. Scruggs adds, “We’re trying to convey to people that leaving your car running – whether in your own driveway, or at the store – is a bad idea. There are people who are looking for steamers every day. You’ll never see the person around the corner of the 7-11 stores waiting to steal your running car; you’ll only see your car as it drives away.”

CRU Officer Jake Jensen shows a copy of the flyers, sporting the “Take your Keys” message which officers hope drivers will heed.

Crooks steal cars for crime – and court

We return to East Precinct and talk with other CRU members who have returned from their information-distribution missions.

“Several cars are stolen every day in East Precinct,” comments CRU Officer Robert Brown. Many times, the thieves will commit more crimes using the stolen cars. Sometimes criminals will even steal a car to go to court – to appear on a stolen-car charge.”

Expensive judgment error
When a car is stolen, Brown says the first step is that the police will take a report about it. “Typically, your car will be found.”

But, the driver will pay dearly for the convenience of leaving their vehicle running, Brown continues. “You’ll have to pay for towing and storage. A lot of these joy-riding thieves drive them hard. They run them over curbs – they don’t care about your car. You’ll find things broken. They’ll do hundreds dollars worth of damage to your car. It is an expensive proposition.”

The officer says a stolen car may end up in a “chop shop”: Many late model Hondas or Toyotas are stripped for parts, like seats or automatic air bag systems. “In this case, you’ll be paying to get back a stripped, useless vehicle.”

The ounce of prevention …
A driver doesn’t need to install expensive, exotic security systems to prevent this kind of theft, Brown concludes. “All it takes is just to shut it off, and take your keys!”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

No, the mural isn’t in Parkrose High School – this artwork wraps around the top of the Parkrose High Theater. See why this project has several “firsts”

Larry Kangas advises Parkrose High principal Roy Reynolds as he takes a turn on the high lift applying a panel of the mural early in the project.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Portland’s first publicly-funded mural project nears completion – and it’s on Parkrose High School.

“This is the first project of this kind in outer East Portland,” said Peggy Kendellen, Public Art Director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Murals Program. “The school is the first group to apply for doing a mural in East Portland. I really like the tie-in of the subject matter to the school’s mascot.”

As the project progressed, the east side of the school takes on a new look – one that can be seen from NE 122nd Avenue.

Ideas from students, help from community
Joanne Oleksiak, Parkrose High School Community Coordinator and 2007 Mural Project Coordinator, oversaw the application process, served as the technical advisor, and worked – hands on – during every phase of the project.

“What’s been really fun,” Oleksiak told us, “is the involvement we’ve had with every stratum of the community. Students in our Mural Arts Club suggested many of the images. Several of them worked to help the artist produce the panels doing the decorative detail work, background, gelling.”

Many community members pitched in to help prepare and post the mural Oleksiak said.

Spy’s spectacular canvas
Months ago, when mural artist Larry Kangas visited Parkrose High School as he considered the project proposal, he was immediately attracted to the three-story tall theater riser that faces NE 122nd Avenue.

“Being so tall and broad, it made a spectacular canvas for a mural,” Kangas said. “Sadly, even with the best high-lift equipment available, there wasn’t a way to reach it.”

He wanted this mural to have impact, Kangas said. “We came up with the idea of wrapping a frieze (wall painting) around the building.”

Mural artist Larry Kangas thanks some of the many students who helped develop the concept of the mural and prepare the panels.

Mural celebrates school’s mascot
Kangas said the mural is a “take on the school’s mascot, the mustang bronco. The mural depicts horses through time – starting from ancient cave etchings, through all cultures and eras – until the present. We’ll end up in modern times, ending up with Rossi Farm.”

We watched Kangas as he worked on panels in school’s art center. “It’s painted on Pelon, a stable, non-woven material used in the clothing and printing industries. There is a lot of acrylic medium to saturate it. Then, we put a heavier gel on the front and back. Finally, the panels are applied to the building.”

At a community unveiling, Joanne Oleksiak presents artist Larry Kangas with a remembrance gift.

Broadening community support
One benefit of this project, according to Parkrose High principal Roy Reynolds, is broadening community involvement in the school. “It’s been great working with so many community members on the mural.”

Reynolds added that one of the goals of his administration “is to make the school more than just a brick-and-mortar building in Parkrose, but really a part of Parkrose. Our community celebrates and hosts people from many different cultures; this mural symbolizes our diversity.”

Larry Kangas gives details about his mural that depicts how horses (Parkrose High’s mascot is the Bronco) have been influential in human history.

Special sentiment shared
At the unveiling celebration held on July 28, Kerina Blanchard read this brief essay by Bev Cordova, Chair of the school’s PHS Fine & Performing Arts Academy:

“Parkrose High School students are like students everywhere. They want to learn, succeed and have something to be proud of.

“I challenge you to come close to the mural, study it, or find a face or scene you can connect to. Now, stand back and look at the mural as a whole – it is the story of people, moving forward, into the future.

“Understand that you are part of the movement, and part of the future.”

Members of the community admire the new artwork, completed on August 7, that adorns Parkrose High School.

Project kudos
When we told Oleksiak we’d like to give kudos to those who participated, she replied, “The whole community pitched in on this long and massive project. I hope the list covers everyone involved – each individual’s participation was vital.”

The Parkrose Mural Project was funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Murals Program.

Mural studio facilities (in the PHS Fine Arts Building) and school-based in-kind support were provided by Parkrose HS Community Center, Parkrose School District and School Board, and PHS Fine & Performing Arts Academy, Bev Cordova, Chair.
Additional in-kind support provided by: American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter, Oregon State Service Corps/AmeriCorps, and Oregon Bench Press Challenge volunteers Jared & “JT”.

Mural visionaries — Design Development & Encouragement Division –include the PHS staff, Mike Taylor (retired Parkrose Schools superintendent), Roy Reynolds, Trevor Todd (SUN Program/Portland Parks & Recreation), May Wallace, Mark Warner, and Meg Kilmer.

Special notice to PHS students Dominique Blanchard, Kerina Blanchard, Isaac Song, Cesar Pina, Nhumy, Truc, Valerie Robinson, Lindsey Thompson, Mara Estrada, Oswaldo, Luis, Christian Leon, Stephanie … and others!

Project painting volunteers included Roy Reynolds, Holly Gillette, Isaac Song and Russell Martin.

Project site logistics volunteers were Hank Frecke, Tony Johnson, Sharon DeWitt, Don, and Dave.

Project volunteers for mural installation included Edison and Temo, Programa Hispano; Erica Martin, Parkrose UCC Church; Tanner Martin, Russell Martin, Bev Cordova, Nick Richmond, Marah, Asa, Joe Cotter, Mark Meltzer, Norma Piper, Eileen Belanger, Dave, Julie, Siena, Brenda … and others.

Project documentarians Jimi & Kim Blanchard, Vaughn, Portland Community Media’s IBPO (Independent Black Programmers of Oregon); Patrick F. Smith still photography; and Joanne Oleksiak on-site/in-studio photographs.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Read why no one was upset by the woofs and purrs that occasionally interrupted this service at The Grotto‚

Becky Martin is holding her year-old pug, Allie, while Father Jack Topper anoints her pet during the Blessing of the Animals at The Grotto.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At times, The Grotto sounded more like a kennel than a sanctuary on July 15 as hundreds of pet-lovers attended the annual “Blessing of the Animals”.

During the service, The Grotto’s executive director, Father Jack Topper, OSM, told those at the outdoor gathering, “Animals do something special for us; they make us a little more compassionate toward our fellow humans. Treat them with love; take care of them, so they will be happy and healthy. And, we know they will take care of us.”

“It isn’t a weasel,” says the owner. “It’s my ferret!”

Monastery’s pets
Before the service began, Topper reminded us that their order had two dogs that have since passed away. “We still have a couple of cats.”

Topper added that caring for pets gives him, and others in his order, a direct connection to this ceremony.

Cats aren’t excluded; Loren Butler holds out his malfie for a sprinkling.

This service, Topper told us, is important, because it reminds us of the value of our pets. “It helps is remember what companion animals do for us; the lessons they teach us. They bring us unconditional love, comfort, and joy. They don’t judge us. They’re always happy to see us. It is a blessing from God that we have these pets to take care of; and, another blessing, how they take care of us.”

This pooch patiently awaits his blessing at this decades-old annual service.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

While it isn’t the dreaded “avian flu”‚ the infiltration of this virus into an East Portland neighborhood has caused concern. Learn why, here‚

Senator Avel Gordly, host of the West Nile Virus educational forum, says she hopes all residents of Multnomah County will take the steps necessary to reduce risk of this bird-borne illness.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
With all the publicity about the deadly “avian flu” coming to America, it’s not surprising that neighbors near NE 63rd Ave. and Sandy Blvd. were concerned about a dead bird that was found there on June 25.

The dead crow tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“This is the first time we’ve seen West Nile Virus (WNV) in Multnomah County this year,” stated Chris Wirth, Manager of Multnomah County’s Vector and Nuisance Control at an educational forum held on July 28, hosted by State Senator Avel Gordly.

This map shows where the dead, infected crow was found on June 25.

Joining Wirth and Gordly was Kari Lyons, Multnomah County Environmental Health Educator and Dave Houghton, Multnomah County Community Health Services Program Manager.

We learned that, in Multnomah County, the first case of WNV was found in 2006 in a bird in southeast Portland. Three additional cases were discovered last year, two in northeast Portland and one in Gresham.

Kills birds, not people
West Nile Virus, we learned, is primarily a bird infection.

Humans can contract WNV if a mosquito feeds on an infected bird, then bites a human. “Birds cannot transmit the disease to humans, nor can it be transmitted through person-to-person contact,” said Wirth.

Information presented at the forum indicated that most people infected with WNV won’t have symptoms. Less than one percent of infected individuals will develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis or encephalitis. The infection is more serious for people over the age of 50, and perhaps also for people with suppressed immune systems.

Kari Lyons, Multnomah County Environmental Health Educator, State Senator Avel Gordly, Dave Houghton, Multnomah County Community Health Services Program Manager and Chris Wirth, Multnomah County Vector Control speak present a West Nile Virus educational forum.

Asks citizens for help
Dave Houghton said the county health department was working to reduce WNV, but needs the help of individuals.

According to Wirth, mosquitoes can breed in any standing water that lasts more than four days. Even a small bucket of standing water can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes.

“We’re working to keep mosquito populations down, reducing the likelihood they’ll be flying into our neighborhoods, back yards and parks,” Houghton said. “But we need your help, and that of all people in the county.”

Wirth listed what individuals can do to reduce the risk of WNV, and provided this list of prevention steps:

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
  • Make sure gutters drain well, change birdbath water at least weekly, and get rid of old tires or buckets in your yard;
  • Avoid playing or working outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active;
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing when you are outdoors;
  • Wear insect repellent, preferably one that contains DEET. Follow label directions when using any repellent, especially for children;
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

Dead crow watch
Health officials are testing crows, jays, and magpies that have been dead for less than 24 hours. “If people find a dead bird and are concerned about what to do with it, they should call Multnomah County’s Health Department Vector and Nuisance Control at (503) 988-NILE,” Wirth instructed.

You can find additional information about West Nile virus in the internet by clicking HERE, or call the statewide toll-free information line at 1-866-703-4636.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See how people who stopped by NE Sandy Blvd were entertained, fed, and enlightened, at this first-ever event‚

Adding color, rhythm and movement to the International Festival are the Kanani O Ka Aina Polynesian dancers

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The newest business district located in Northeast Portland is the “Portland International District”.

Formerly the NE Central Sandy Business Association, this nonprofit serves businesses in the Roseway Neighborhood area along NE Sandy Blvd, from NE 50th Avenue east to Parkrose.

Although less than a year old, this association successfully mounted a public event, The International Festival on July 14 at the park blocks in the Roseway neighborhood on NE 72nd Ave. and NE Sandy Blvd.

Kicking off the event, Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams welcome the new business district to the city.

Getting things underway, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams addressed the crowd, saying that Portland’s Business Districts help promote healthy communities. Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen talked about the importance of multicultural relations, and about how a greater awareness of diversity can help us become a stronger community.

Tyler Whitmire, president of the new district, blows helium balloons for guests in his cool, white tent.

“We’re celebrating diversity in our community here, at the first International Day Festival,” explained Tyler Whitmire, president of the Portland International District. “It is important to understand and enjoy differences among our cultures. We’re really not all that different! There is much we can learn from one another.”

Whitmire went on to say that the main thrust of the group is to help businesses to develop a safe, helpful, and harmonious environment for the community.

Without a river in sight, the An Daire Academy of Irish Dance vigorously performs classic dances to lively music.

At the Steamers Restaurant & Lounge booth are Eileen and Chef Edgar Stocker, Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Karin Hansen, and Dr. Thomas Wright.

The entertainment was truly international, featuring Irish (An Daire Academy of Irish Dance), Polynesian (Kanani O Ka Aina Productions), and Pilipino (Aguman Campampangan) dance troops, a strolling group of mariachi players and a Haldeman’s Oom-pa Boys German band.

Enjoying have craft fun at the Central Northeast Neighbors booth are Amelia and Julia Stout with a little help from Anna Stufano.

Meet with the International District members
“If you want to get involved, please join us at the Nazarene Church (entrance on West side of building) across from Safeway on Sandy Blvd. on the 4th Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m.,” requested Whitmire.

For more information, see www.pdxid.com or call Whitmire at (503) 572-8532.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In August, the “Big Screen on the Green” is traveling to public parks all across Southeast Portland. Check out what is showing at a park near you.

Popcorn in hand, Jeanette and Nicole Finley get ready to watch Charlotte’s Web with their friends, Christa and Chelle Oakley.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the days of drive-in theatres are over, there’s a new venue for families in East Portland to see major motion pictures together‚ outdoors.

While it’s not the drive-in “passion pit” that baby-boomers may remember, “Big Screen on the Green”, a free program put on by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)‚ revives the idea of seeing movies out-of-doors, with your friends and neighbors.“I believe this is the definitive community activity,” says the program’s developer, PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes. “We’re offering a great, free summer activity that is an extremely positive use of our SE Portland parks.”

Big screen and sound
The portable projection system features a 268-square-foot movie screen and an exceptional sound system. “What a great family activity for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings this summer!” Milkes exclaims. “And, the location allows families to enjoy the beauty of their own neighborhood.”

PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes tells outdoor movie-goers where to find the “Big Screen on the Green”‚ coming to parks all over SE Portland this month.

Sponsors for this year’s program include Comcast and Starbucks; a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood-based printing concern also signed up for a three-year sponsorship of the event.

“When Jeff Milkes told me about the project. I said I’d love to become part of it,” Home Run Graphics owner Richard Kiely tells us. “This program brings families together; it helps them connect, instead of sitting at home in front of the TV ignoring one another. And, it makes for a better community. When neighbors get to know each other, crime drops and livability increases.”

Curtain time at 8:00 p.m.
Movies will begin at dusk (between 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.), and are offered “weather permitting”. Any rainout will be called by 5 p.m., if necessary, and will be posted at the park. Prior to each movie attendees will be greeted with live entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m.

What would a good movie be without popcorn? Shari Robinson, part of the PP&R traveling movie crew, hands out free popcorn to guests.

“Big Screen on the Green” schedule:

  • Friday, August 3, at Laurelhurst Park: The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Saturday, August 4, at Kenilworth Park: Wallace & Grommet
  • Thursday, August 9, at Col. Summers Park: The Breakfast Club
  • Friday, August 10, at Dickinson Park: The Wizard of Oz
  • Saturday, August 11, at Woodstock Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 17, at Laurelhurst Park: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Saturday, August 18, at Hazeltine Park: Madagascar
  • Friday, August 24, at Brentwood Park: Happy Feet
  • Saturday, August 25, at Sellwood Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 31, at Brooklyn Park: Blades of Glory
  • Friday, September 7, at Lents Park: Stomp the Yard
  • Saturday, September 8, at Dickinson Park: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

For more information on “Big Screen on the Green: Movies in the Park” and other Portland Parks & Recreation programs visit www.portlandparks.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

You’ll see the fun we’ve had at a summer concerts in public parks during July‚ and discover where, and when, more concerts are coming to East Portland parks this month‚

Summer concerts in the park are a great place for a picnic dinner. Toasting the evening’s music at Mt. Tabor Park are John Halsey and Cindy Young.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some of the best music one can enjoy during the summer months in Portland isn’t played in a nightclub‚ it’s found at the “Summer Concerts in Portland Parks” series, presented by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Throughout July, we’ve had a great time listening to a wide variety of live music, meeting concert-goers, and watching the kids make crafts at these events.

Jennifer Lynn croons a slow, country-flavored song for her appreciative audience at Sellwood Riverfront Park.

At Mt. Tabor Park, volunteer Lorene Farrar says she feels this program is important to the park for several of reasons.

“The concerts introduce people to our park and what it has to offer,” Farrar tells us. “When the kids come with their parents, they’ll come back as adults. We want neighbors to enjoy our park, and feel invested in it.”

Bodacious plays light-hearted “Gumbo Americano” music, to the delight of neighbors at Mt. Tabor Park.

But the sound of great live music‚ from Americana, to jazz, to rhythm-and-blues‚ is now but an echo at Mt. Tabor Park’s “bowl”. And, gone are the stage, picnickers, and music from the lush green grass overlooking the Willamette River at Sellwood Riverview Park. Concerts at these parks ran only during July.

But there is good news: You can still tap your toes to great music‚ the series isn’t over yet. Read on!

Much more music in August
The 2007 Summer Concert Series continues in August and September with more musical programs in East Portland.

Enjoy classical music? On August 19, hear the Portland Festival Symphony and MYSfits, featuring Esther Shim, violin, and John Lee, viola, and Trumpet Soloist Fred Sautter. This program starts at 6:00 p.m. at Laurelhurst Park at SE 37th Ave. and Oak St.

And, the Lents Park Summer Concert Series kicks off in August. These concerts are held at the Lents Park Gazebo, located south of the baseball stadium on SE 92nd Ave, south of SE Holgate Blvd.

The first concert is on Lents Founder’s Day, August 19. It starts at 2:00 p.m. and features the big band sounds of the Providence Stage Band.

The following Lents Park Summer Series concerts all start at 3:00 p.m. at the Lents Park Gazebo:

  • August 26‚ The blues music of EZ Eddy & Terry Robb fill the air;
  • September 2‚ The Misty Mommas play American Roots music;
  • September 9‚ Featuring the traditional Puerto Rican sounds of Los Borikuas;
  • September 16‚ Hear the vocal harmonization and country rock sound of Wheatfield.

Thank your sponsors
We caught up with Kristan Knapp, coordinator of the concerts for Portland Parks & Recreation since 1980, at a Riverfront Park concert.

“Music in the Parks brings people together from all walks of life. It is a unifying event in the neighborhood. It helps people meet their neighbors. And, when people come into their public parks, it helps them take ownership,” Knapp tells us.

When the series began, Knapp reminds us, the City paid for the concerts. “Now that the Summer Concert program has expanded, businesses and the neighborhood associations help present these concerts through their gifts and sponsorships.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See why you can forget about TV‚ and join in one of the many “National Night out against Crime” events‚ across East Portland on August 7‚

East Portland Crime Reduction Specialist Rosanne Lee and Wilkes Community Group Chair Ross Monn discuss plans for National Night Out, this year on August 7.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It is time, once again, for “National Night out against Crime” (NNO) celebrations all across East Portland.

Held the first Tuesday of August, this year’s events do take place mostly on August 7. We say “mostly”, because some groups hold their events on the weekend before the “official” date.

NNO was created to heighten community awareness of crime and drug prevention; to generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and to send a message to crooks that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against their criminal activity.

Why National Night Out is important
We ask Teri Poppino, one of two Crime Prevention Coordinators (along with her partner, Rosanne Lee) for East Portland, why “National Night out against Crime” is important.

“This is the time of year when neighbors can celebrate their community and neighborhoods,” Poppino begins. “Also, this event symbolizes community members taking a stand against crime‚ saying publicly that they, not criminals, are in charge of their block, their neighborhood, and their city.”

We ask Poppino how having a picnic or block party helps make a community safer.

“Neighbors who know one another tend to ‘look out’ for each other,” explains Poppino. “The act of getting together with your neighbors and meeting people you don’t know on your block indicates your commitment to community safety.”

Additionally, many of the larger gatherings feature visits by Portland Police Bureau officers, and crews from Portland Fire & Rescue. All registered events have public safety and crime prevention information packets available.

August 7‚ Outer East Portland National Night out against Crime Events

In addition to the following events, hosted by neighborhood organizations, many families are having their own smaller get-togethers. Food at these events is either free, or low-priced.

  • Wilkes / Russell Neighbors Picnic will be at Wilkes Park, NE 154th just south of Sandy Blvd., starting at 5:30 p.m.
  • Centennial Community Association & Harold Oliver SUN Schools’ Picnic will be at Harold Oliver Primary School, 15811 SE Main Street, starting at 5:30 PM.
  • Parkrose Heights Assoc. of Neighbors’ Picnic will be at Knott Park, NE 112th & NE Sacramento, starting at 5:30 p.m.
  • Argay Neighborhood Association’s Picnic is at Argay Park, NE 141st Avenue and Failing Street, running from 6:00‚ 8:30 p.m.
  • Lents Neighborhood Association’s “Ice Cream Social” is at Lents Park, SE 91st & Foster, starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Mill Park Neighborhood Association is throwing a Block Party between SE 113 Ave. & 114th at SE Yamhill Street starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Woodland Park Neighborhood Association is holding a Block Party in the yard and driveway at the home at 1737 NE 101st Avenue, starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Madison South & Roseway Neighborhoods‚ For the first time ever, these two neighborhoods are getting together to sponsor their own National Night Out Against Crime. You’ll see your neighbors at Glenhaven Park at NE 82nd Avenue of Roses & NE Siskiyou Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. and running to 8:30 p.m.

“Whether you attend a small potluck dinner on your block, or a large neighborhood gathering,” says Poppino, “take this opportunity to join with neighbors across East Portland‚ and across the nation‚ to support crime prevention.”

Find your NNO Event here:
For our readers across the greater Portland area, click HERE to be taken to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s NNO web page. They have posted a complete listing of events in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Is outer Sandy Blvd. jinxed? Discover what authorities say is behind the recent rash of vehicle collisions plaguing NE Sandy Blvd. in the Wilkes neighborhood‚

The eastbound commute for the driver of this Dodge Intrepid along NE Sandy Blvd., just east of NE 152nd Ave., ended abruptly when another driver crossed across the center line and hit him head-on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
This week alone, two grinding smash-ups have totaled five vehicles on outer NE Sandy Blvd., shutting down one or both lanes of this busy street for hours.

Surprisingly, neither of these accidents induced trauma injuries.

Drivers walk away from head-on collision
Just after the morning rush hour on July 30, a westbound brown Buick crossed over the center line of NE Sandy Blvd., near NE 152nd Ave. It struck a Dodge Intrepid head-on.

Officers say the driver of this Buick caused the head-on collision‚ but wasn’t ticketed.

While officers on scene said that the driver of Buick caused the head-on collision, the accident wasn’t investigated, nor the driver ticketed‚ because there were no resulting trauma injuries.

“The officers on scene helped the drivers exchange information,” said Sgt. Brian Schmautz, police spokesman. “No citations were issued.”

Tailgater ticketed
Two days later, a mid-afternoon pile-up occurred on the same road, about 500 feet west of NE 148 Ave.

An officer takes down information while investigating a wreck officials say was caused by the driver of the Dodge Dakota following too closely to the now-demolished Toyota.

About 3:00 p.m. on August 1, a gold Dodge Dakota plowed into blue Toyota‚ ramming it into a rusty Mazda MPV van‚ which bumped into a black Hyundai Veracruz.

The driver of the Hyundai, the fourth vehicle in this crash‚ the one least damaged‚ told us, “Traffic slowed down for the red light. I heard a big crash behind me. I drove forward as far as I could without hitting the car in front of me. But I still got bumped. I’m OK, but the elderly driver of the blue car [Toyota] was taken to the hospital.”

Doug Smith says he was walking to pick up his mail at the senior living development on Sandy Blvd. “I don’t know why I looked up, but I saw the gold SUV drive right into the little blue car. It was going fast. I’m surprised it didn’t kill the driver.”

After being hit by the Toyota, this minivan had to be towed. “I don’t know what we’ll do,” the driver tells us.

The driver of the crumpled Toyota, 82-year-old Eldon Richmond, was taken to the hospital for observation and released.

52-year-old Lonnie Kute, driver of the Dodge Dakota responsible for chain-reaction pile-up, was cited for following too close, Schmautz reported.

Not paying attention
Outer NE Sandy Blvd. is straight, flat and has good sight-lines. The weather was clear and the road was dry on both days. We asked cops at the scene at both wrecks if outer NE Sandy Blvd. was jinxed.

“No, I don’t think that’s the case,” a Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officer told us. “I think people who frequently drive Sandy Blvd. out here are so familiar with it, they just don’t pay attention. All it takes is a few second of inattention to get into a wreck.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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