It doesn’t come as a surprise to many that Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams is running for mayor. But you might be interested to see who introduced him at his kick off party …

Standing in the crowd, Sam Adams listens as Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard and County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey introduce him.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the most poorly-kept secrets in Portland politics was revealed on October 3, when Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams announced that he is running for the office of Mayor.

We wondered why the event was held in the relatively small pub at Roots Organic Brewing Company on SE 7th Avenue, just south of SE Hawthorne Boulevard — until the owner started off the proceedings by telling how Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard had helped him cut through the city’s red tape to open his business.

Standing on a chair at one end of the below-street-grade-pub, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard gave the “warm up introduction”. Packed so tightly was the crowd, we couldn’t get around the corner to snap a photo of Leonard speaking!

“I have the pleasure of sitting next to this man (pointing to Adams) on the Portland City Council,” Leonard began. “Sam Adams has spunk. He has conviction. I admire elected officials who have conviction, because having conviction isn’t always how you keep your job. “Conviction is doing what you think is right when others don’t support it. Sam, I really appreciate that about you.”

Stepping up after the introductions, Sam Adams acknowledges his sister and mother (in the background).

The crowd’s cheer was deafening.

“We have a lot to do,” Leonard continued. “We have grown tremendously since Vera Katz was mayor. We have taken up issues we’ve needed to, under Mayor Tom Potter. In many ways, we’ve prepared a road map to move forward. The city must move forward. My energy and commitment – and I’m [also] speaking for Commissioner Erik Sten who could not be here – my energy and commitment is to help elect Sam Adams as Mayor of Portland. He is the guy that is going to lead the city to a place in which all of us will be proud to live.”

Adams addresses the public, for the first time, as a mayoral candidate.

Next up was Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey. She kept her remarks brief:

“A number of years ago when Sam was running for Portland City Council, I had the honor of introducing him at an event. The words I used were, ‘Hi, I’m Maria Maria Rojo de Steffey and I’m not running for City Council. But my good friend Sam Adams is.’ So, tonight I’d like to say, ‘Hi, I’m Maria Rojo de Steffey and I’m not running for Mayor, my good friend, Sam Adams, is.’ Thank you.”

The crowd applauded and cheered as Adams mounted the chair so he could be seen by those in attendance. He acknowledged his mother and sister, who came for the event.

Adams waves to a crowd of well-wishers at his campaign’s kick-off event.

“I’m running because I’m willing to face the tough problems that face our city,” Adams announced to the throng of cheering supporters. “We must protect what we love about our city; we must be willing to have the courage to change those things that need to be changed. We need to have a mayor with insight and experience to know the difference, and the tenacity to get the job done.”

Because no other well-known candidate has yet thrown a hat into the ring, some speculate Sam Adams may be strolling through – not running – the coming race to be Portland’s next Mayor.

Did we mention that the room was crowded?

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

It looks like something you’d see in a National Geographic magazine! Take a look at the opening-day ceremonies …

In the center of the neatly-manicured grounds stands the temple, soon to be dedicated and put into use.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it covers a couple of acres, the newly completed Buddhist temple compound which officially opened in Southeast Portland at 8318 SE Harney Street isn’t easy to see from SE 82nd Avenue of Roses.

But, seeing so many vehicles parked on area streets for blocks around signaled that a major event was taking place here, just inside the southern border of the City of Portland.

Buddhist monks and dignitaries, some from as far away as California and Canada, came to attend the dedication ceremony.

We can’t tell you much of what was said during the ceremony on September 23; almost all of the formal proceedings were conducted in Vietnamese.

An interpreter told us that monks were bringing greetings from their temples from points in North America and around the world. They wished peace and long lives for the monks who are staying in the newly-completed monastery.

As the proceedings continued, the scent of a fresh vegetarian banquet being prepared filled the air.

Portland Mayor Tom Potter addresses the group, estimated at 1,500, during the formal dedication ceremony.

Portland’s mayor speaks
We did clearly understand, however, when Portland Mayor Tom Potter took the stage and addressed the gathering.

“This is a very special inauguration,” began Potter. “It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to participate today. I thank the honorable Buddhist monk, Myhn Tin, and the other monks, and the Oregon Vietnamese Community Association, for including me in today’s celebration.

“On behalf of the City of Portland, the City of Roses, I want to congratulate the Buddhist community on this magnificent accomplishment. It never ceases to amaze me what can be built through the hard work and support of individuals and organizations in our community.

“This temple is truly a grand example of what can be accomplished when people come together. Events like this are important in promoting and facilitating the understanding of the rich and diverse cultures of this region.

“Oregon’s Vietnamese community is nearly 30,000 strong, with a significant number having chosen to make Portland their home. The Vietnamese community continues to make significant contributions to the culture, and the religious, political, and business life of the City of Portland. And, we are richer for it. You are a valuable part of our community. As your mayor, I’m privileged to celebrate with you today. Congratulations, and peace.”

The dedication, in pictures

Dancers begin the Lion Dance and Dragon Dance at the end of the formal ceremony, leading guests to the temple steps.

At the temple’s entrance, the crowd of celebrants pack tightly together, each trying to catch of glimpse of the ribbon cutting. Mayor Tom Potter can be seen in the distance.

Strings of firecrackers – thousands of firecrackers – are lit, as is their tradition, to frighten away malicious spirits.

A view inside the grand temple.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

It’s no bull!
See why these kids were so happy to hear the “Story of Ferdinand” at this special library Story Time …

These kids and parents joined in the “Read for the Record” campaign at Midland Library and got to take home a new copy of the book, “The Story of Ferdinand”, after reading it with youth librarian Sue Ciesielski (back row, left side).

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Just two weeks ago, Midland Library’s Story Time was a very special occasion – even if some of the participants were too young to know why.

“Today, all over the country, groups of kids are reading ‘The Story of Ferdinand’ (the Bull) by Monroe Leaf,” explained Midland’s youth librarian Sue Ciesielski. “It’s part of a program called ‘Read for the Record’ put on by an organization called JumpStart.”

By reading “The Story of Ferdinand” together on Sept 20, Ciesielski went on, the Midland Library group joined the effort to break the record for the largest “shared reading experience” ever — 150,000 people — set on August 24, 2006, as part of a movie promotion in which several of our local schools participated.

“The story was a little longer story than our preschool Story Time kids are used to. But, they were very attentive,” said Ciesielski.

At the end of Story Time, each of the children registered their participation in the event. And, they all got a free copy of the book to take home for their very own. The smiles on their faces indicated how much they liked both the story — and their new book.

That afternoon, the library held a bilingual “Read for the Record” in both English and Spanish.

According to JumpStart, a national nonprofit organization that engages preschool children from low-income communities in an intensive early education program, the day was a success. Nationwide, the event had the documented participation of 258,000 readers.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Look how five years of volunteer effort turned an
llegal dumpsite into a natural “pocket park” …

Working Wilkes Creek natural area is Cameron Packaham, an Eagle Scout from Troop 613, along with his dad, Kevin Kackham, and brother Kohler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When it started out, the lot at 3655 NE 154th Avenue, just south of NE Sandy Boulevard, was an illegal dump.

“The lot was covered with a giant blackberry thicket,” the neighborhood chair of Wilkes Community Group, Ross Monn, told us at the site, “And was full of all kinds of refuse.”

We recall photographing volunteers hauling out tires, appliances, and other discarded materials when the project began five years ago. “We’ve taken out invasive plant species, and planted native growth,” commented Monn.

A shy volunteer rolls another wheelbarrow of wood chips across the newly-completed bridge that crosses Wilkes Creek.

Monn related to us the brief history of the project.

“This space belongs to the Wilkes Community Group neighborhood association. We got an easement through the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, with help of Mindy Brooks, for the homeowners’ association. Then, we started lining up volunteers from SOLV to come in and start helping us with the work.

METRO grants aid efforts
The volunteers got financial help from METRO in the form of two “Nature of the Neighborhood” grants — $2,500, and later $8,500.

With these grants, the group was able to hire help for some of the more difficult or dangerous improvements. “For example, we were able to have the footbridge over Wilkes Creek professionally designed and built.”

SOLV representative Steve Kennett tells gathered celebrants he’s pleased with the result of the group effort to improve the Wilkes Creek area.

Says the effort brings pride
Before the brief dedication ceremony, we walked along the woodchip-lined, winding pathway through the trees, and talked with District 1 METRO Counselor, Rod Park.

“I see all the work done by the volunteers,” Park said, “and the pride they’re showing as they restore this area. You know this translates into a better future for Wilkes. Now that this former eyesore is being cared for, neighbors have pride in it and will keep an eye on it.”

As we crossed the newly-installed footbridge, Park recalled that the designing and building posed one of the greatest challenges.

“This project is part of what we’re trying to do at METRO; that is, ‘re-nature’ areas, bringing back a natural state to neighborhoods,” Park added.

Project called a great example
The METRO grants administrator for Nature in the Neighborhoods, Janelle Geddes, said Wilkes Creek was a community-leveraged project. “They’ve done an enormous amount of work. We estimate this project has received $21,000 worth of volunteer time donations.”

One reason why this little creek is important, Geddes told us, is that it flows directly into the Columbia Slough. “This project is truly in the spirit of our ‘Nature in the Neighborhoods’ program. This improves neighborhood livability, and at the same time, protects an important water resource.”

District 1 METRO Counselor Rod Park stands with Wilkes Community Group chair Ross Monn, as he commends the efforts of volunteers to clean up the Wilkes Creek site.

For a few minutes on the morning of September 22, volunteers from the Boy Scouts, SOLV, and the neighborhood took a break to celebrate their accomplishments. After brief remarks, within ten minutes, the volunteers were back at work.

“This is wonderful,” Monn commented. “Our neighbors get a cleaned-up natural area. And, we’re going to be doing an education program. School kids can come to see nature in the Neighborhood. This is a project of which we can be proud.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Learn how this organization is working to help promote business – and public safety – in their area. And discover some of the tips that Kevin “Not your ordinary bean-counter” Minkoff CPA shared with the group …

Helping promote the idea of doing businesses, members of the Midland Business Association have printed and are distributing these promotional window clings to area stores.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Working to stimulate business in the southern area of outer East Portland, members of the Midland Business Association have started a “buy local” branding campaign in their area.

“It doesn’t make any difference whether or not businesses in our service area — from I-205 to Gresham, and SE Holgate Street north to SE Market Street — are members,” explained association president Donna Dionne. “We’re giving them all a window cling to put on their front door. More and more, neighbors will recognize that we appreciate them doing business here.”

Association president, Donna Dionne tells about the group’s plans to further promote their district.

Electronic billboard ads in December
Additionally, the group plans to buy ads on the electronic billboard at the corner of SE Division Street at SE 122nd Avenue during the holiday season. “This is another way of promoting the idea of doing business in the Midway area,” said Dionne.

These ads, she said, will direct viewers to the organization’s website, featuring merchant coupons.

Partnering for neighborhood Safety
Working with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, the business group is helping sponsor aSafety Fair” on October 13. At the fair, residents learn safety tips from law enforcement, community and business re– learn. The business association is sponsoring free, on-site shredding.

The Safety Fair event runs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Floyd Light Middle School at 10800 SE Washington St.

“Not your ordinary bean-counter” Kevin Minkoff, CPA warms up the crowd by telling the accountant jokes for which he is well known.

Better business results through accurate accounting
The featured speaker at their September meeting was Kevin Minkoff CPA.

Minkoff’s upbeat, lively presentation was filled with tips and techniques.

“My very best small business tip is this,” Minkoff began. “You already know how to use your ‘tools of your trade’ required in your business or profession. Now, learn how to use accounting tools to work on your business. These tools include financial statements, your balance statement, and profit and loss analysis.”

“Instead of always focusing on how to reduce income taxes,” Minkoff went on, “organize the financial portion of your business so you can maximize and understand the ‘big picture’ of your business – including taxes.”

While Minkoff presents information in an easy-going way, attendees got solid, practical advice.

Avoiding common tax mistakes
Minkoff suggested business people take full advantage of legal tax deductions by:

1. Keeping track of all income and expenses. “Don’t ignore cash expenses. This includes parking meter money — even newspapers dedicated to business use. Not keeping track can add up to thousands of lost expense dollars you could deduct.”

2. Prepare for an audit before you are audited, he recommends. “Keep good documentation; without it, you have no proof of transactions that might be questioned.” Unsubstantiated vehicle mileage claims are an area of abuse for which auditors look, Minkoff noted.

3. Use care accounting for independent contractors. “Make sure you send 1099 forms to your contractors. By the way, it isn’t your choice whether or not a worker can be designated as a contractor or an employee; you must follow the Oregon Department of Revenue and IRS guidelines. If the preponderance of evidence is that they are an employee, account for them as an employee.”

4. Be careful allocating business and personal expenses. “Is your ‘gear’ (car, tool, rent) really used 100% for business purposes? If not, don’t claim all of it. The goal is to be sensible. An IRS auditor should be able to look at your income and expense statement and say to himself, ‘Oh, this makes sense’.”

Minkoff tells the group he has a wealth of free information available at his web site. We checked; and he does have helpful calculators and tip lists! CLICK HERE to visit his site.

Tax tips:

  • Start a New Retirement Plan for your small business — you can claim a tax credit of up to $500.
  • Small business health insurance — business owners must follow separate rules for deductions, but self-employed people can deduct the cost of their health insurance on their 1040 form.
  • Selling your business — consider an installment sale, to defer and save tax. “Spreading capital gains over time may put you in a lower tax bracket.”
  • Pay taxes online — The IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System allows business owners to pay most business taxes online, eliminating paper checks and payments.

Come meet the members
Come learn all about this new business group and meet the Midland Business Association members. Visitors are always welcome; reservations aren’t required.

This month: Arleen Mcleen of Work Smarter will be the speaker. She will offer ideas to help small business folks be more efficient, to get more from their business both in profit and smooth operation.

The meeting and presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch). The meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Avenue, just south of Division Street. For more information, go to

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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