There’s nothing cheesy about seeing outer East Portland folks enjoying the gala Chinese New Year traditional celebrations, featuring dancing lions, and symbols designed to bring good luck – not rodents …

Martial arts demonstrations provided some of the entertainment on the stage at Midland Library for the Chinese New Year’s celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Because the time allotted to celebrate the incoming Lunar Calendar year lasts several days, both of these events were official Chinese New Year celebrations.

At Midland Library
On February 17, we stopped by the Midland Library to spend a few minutes at their Chinese New Year festival.

Serving Asian refreshments at the library’s celebration are Amanda Vu, Donna Trung, and Jadine Delfin.

Making crafts at Midland Library are Chris and Hien Tang.

“Welcome to our celebration of the Lunar New Year,” we were greeted by Javier Gutierrez, manager of Midland Library. “The Chinese celebrate starting on February 8th, and it ends on the 22nd.”

The library put on the event because they endeavor to encompass all of the cultures one finds in outer SE Portland, Gutierrez explained. “In 2006, we conducted a survey to determine how our community is changing. What we’re trying to do is serve the new communities moving into Portland.”

Ngoc Nguyen is helping guests with their Chinese New Year crafts.

For many peoples from different countries, Gutierrez noted, the notion of a public library is quite foreign.  “What were doing is helping them learn that their public library is a place for them to come, learn, socialize, and find cultural enrichment.”

Donna Dionne, VP of Midway Business Association, welcomes guests to the celebration.

At PCC’s Southeast Center and Legin Restaurant

Annie Chung; Wing Kit Chung, vice president of administration; Preston Pulliams, district president for the college; and Nan Poppe, president, Extended Learning Campus, Portland Community College

The following day, on February 18, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center held their event, primarily at the nearby Legin Restaurant Ballroom.

We were welcomed by Nan Poppe, president, Extended Learning Campus, Portland Community College. “This event has grown every year – to the point that it won’t fit in our grand atrium hall. It’s the chance for the community, students, and staff to come together and celebrate Asian culture.  Every year we learn a little bit more about their cultures.”

Northwest Lion Dance Association brings three fanciful, colorful and acrobatic lions – and their percussion section – to start the Chinese New Year’s celebration at Portland Community College Southeast Center’s event.

An event organizer, Trina Hing, said the event was important, “Because we want the community to be aware of our population of students, and to share the different Southeast Asian cultures.”

In addition to the population of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Laotian students, the school also provides services for students from Russia, Latin American countries, and Somalia. “Today, everyone is enjoying this Chinese custom.”

Costumed dancers from many Asian cultures performed for hundreds of celebrants.

The event started with three hours of dances, demonstrations, and speeches. Then, the tables were cleared for arts and crafts, children’s games, and some vendors.

Lisa Hayes, student government ASP chair for the event, told us a lot of planning went into this year’s celebration. “It has taken for months, at least one meeting a week, to set this up. We went out into the community and talked businesses and associations into working together and as a team.”

Although a little nervous about the outcome of the event, Hayes said, “I’m really excited, I’m really jazzed.”

What did she look forward to the most?

“The best part of the day for me is the Lion Dance,” Hayes replied, just as one of the three mighty lions awoke, and the opening ceremony began.

People filled the Legin Restaurant Ballroom as the celebration go underway.

Representatives from different Southeast Asian countries talked about the Lunar New Year traditions celebrated by their people.  This included a bowing ceremony, dances, and a lesson in how to say “happy new year” in Chinese.

This first Chinese character was shown upside down, meaning that happiness and luck is coming. When turned upright, it means that happiness and good life has arrived. “It comes from the Ming Dynasty, about 700 years ago. Now it is traditional in use all over the world.”

After the three-hour program a Chinese-style lunch was served to the happy and hungry throng.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Find out what folks at the packed Gateway Area Business Association learned about these candidates, during their first East Portland outing …

As is their tradition, Gateway Keystone Kop Brad Sanchez gives the Rubber Chicken Award to Nancy Zuffrea of ExecuTech Suites, and crowns her “Queen of the Fun-O-Rama Community Fair” in recognition for her work on the project.

Story by Watford Reed, Photos by D.F. Ashton
Five candidates for the Portland City Council presented two main themes when they spoke to 60 people at the Gateway Area Business Association on February 14: East Portland should have more attention, and so should small business.

The five are seeking the post that Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams currently holds on the Portland City Council.  Adams is running for mayor.

The five candidates at this form were Jeff Bissonnette, John Branham, Amanda Fritz, Charles Lewis, and Christopher Smith. A sixth candidate, Mike Fahey, could not attend.

Jeff Bissonnette
Giving their opening statements, speaking in alphabetical order, Jeff Bissonnette led off. He said, if elected, he will open city offices in the neighborhoods so that people can take care of business with the City of Portland without having to go downtown. Two of those offices will be located east of 82nd Avenue of Roses, and one will be in the St. Johns area, his longtime home. He wants better education for young people beyond high school and better accountability in both schools and government, he said.

John Branham
John Branham, a classroom teacher who leads development for Portland Public Schools, said schools are essential, and business will not succeed in the future without good schools. Further, he said, a variety of leadership styles is what is needed to put good ideas into action.

Amanda Fritz
Amanda Fritz, a psychiatric nurse and mother of three children, called herself a “neighborhood activist” and said she is active in East Portland causes. “I’ve been making a difference in neighborhoods, schools, parks, social justice, and holding development accountable to the Portland way,” she said. “As a nurse I listen to people and help them solve their problems,” she declared.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis, head of the Ethos Music Center that brings music education to more than 2,200 children in Portland, said the city “is pouring money into downtown,” not East Portland.

Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith likewise called himself a “community activist” who has sought to make city government more accessible.  He wants a “sustainable” city – “environmentally, socially, in housing, and its institutions,” he declared. To him, housing is the most important aspect, but commercial and residential aspects are also important too.

Role of city government defined
Moderator David F. Ashton asked each candidate, “What are the primary tasks, or duties, of city government?”

Lewis promised to ask questions with a true interest in the answers, and “not sit in the City Hall and say I know all the answers”.  He called for “open multi-use” of school lands, partly because of pressure on open spaces, and promised to do his best “for the little guy”.

Bissonnette agreed that public safety is foremost and added, “Small businesses are our economic lifeline.”  Portland has a reputation for being bad for small business, he warned.

Fritz said the primary responsibilities of city government include public safety and to keep the city’s infrastructure in good order. She declared that the “primary job” is to “look after the little guy”.  Too much attention is now given to big businesses and developers and “affordable housing is needed”.

Smith listed police, fire protection, water, and sewer is as leading responsibilities, but added that “we need to decide collectively on what we want from our city government.”

Branham likewise said protecting people comes first, but said citizens need to be “drawn together” to create a better city.  “We have the basics in place now, but we need plan looking ahead 30 or 40 years,” he added.

Moderator Ashton ended the discussion by saying that many political leaders in Portland city government “Hope you don’t vote”.  The more outer East Portland citizens who vote, “the more attention is paid to our part of town,” he pointed out. He estimated that if “just over half” of registered voters in the area to cast ballots, they can tip the scales for the new city commissioners and the next mayor to succeed.

“Think about it,” he concluded. “Encourage your friends to vote.”

Resources:

Jeff Bissonnette: www.portlandersforjeff.com

John Branham: No web site could be located.

Amanda Fritz: www.amandafritzforcitycouncil.com

Charles Lewis: www.charleslewis.com

Christopher Smith: www.citizensmith.us

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

As night falls, see how Portland Fire & Rescue crews use a modern conveyance to rescue an injured horseback rider …

Firefighter Bruce Linson, a team member attached to PF&R Utility Truck 22, stationed at the St. John’s firehouse, drives the ATV carrying the injured horseback rider down Powell Butte.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A beautiful, late afternoon horseback ride with friends on Powell Butte went awry on February 18, when one rider’s horse lost its footing, and threw its rider.

Because after the fall he couldn’t ride or walk, his friends called 9-1-1 asking for help.

At 5:30 p.m., a Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Station 29 crew scrambled to locate and rescue the man — said to be on the South side of Powell Butte. The injured rider’s friends met firefighters at the trailhead, and together they hiked about a mile back up the trail with their medical equipment in hand.

Firefighters and paramedics prepare the injured rider to be moved off the ATV and onto the waiting gurney.

Soon, twilight turned into darkness on the Butte.

“The firefighters realized they couldn’t carry the patient down the steep trail,” PF&R spokesman Lt. Allen Oswalt told us at the scene, as we stood near the waiting ambulance at the trailhead. “They asked that Utility Truck 22 (stationed at the St. Johns Fire Station) be dispatched to assist with transporting the patient down the trail.”

When we asked why they asked for a truck to drive all the way from St. Johns, Oswalt said, “This rig carries our two four-wheeler all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) – the same ones we used during the Powell Butte and Oaks Bottom controlled burns last summer.”

He explained that specialized equipment allows the ATVs to be adapted for many uses, including patient transport. “We have Utility 22 Units stationed at the St. Johns firehouse, primarily for use in Forest Park.”

While we awaited the arrival of the crew, Oswald told us that St. Johns Honda helped arrange a special deal, allowing PF&R were able to purchase two identical ATVs, instead of the single unit for which they originally budgeted.

Preparing the injured man for his trip to the hospital, rescue workers make sure the patent is secured and in stable condition.

Slowly, the headlights and emergency lights of the ATVs came into view as the crew, and patient, came down the trail.

As the crew carefully moved the patient, his leg already splinted, from the back of the ATV to the gurney, he looked to be in good spirits. His only comment was made to the firefighters, “Thank you. You guys are great.”

The patient was said to be in satisfactory condition as he was transported to Sunnyside Kaiser Hospital at 7:21 p.m.

The rescue of this rider was more swift and certain thanks to the crew trained to use the PF&R ATVs under a variety of conditions.

Precise location prompts faster rescues
“Rescues in the many wild spaces, even inside the city limits, often seem to take a long time,” commented Oswalt.

“A primary challenge is finding the exact location of the patient,” the PF&R spokesman continued. “Although firefighters have maps of all of the trails in every park, many times the signs marking the trail are vandalized, or people are unsure of their location. The best way for the public to help the rescuers is to send someone out to a main trail, to guide firefighters to the patient.”

A cell phone is an indispensable tool, since most of the wild areas in the City of Portland have cell phone coverage, Oswalt added.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See why this program, loaded with barbs and brags – presented live, on the radio – proves that politically conservative folks do have a sense of humor …

Don McIntire, president of the Oregon Executive Club sits with KPAM’s Victoria Taft at the Annual Taxpayer’s Academy Awards show – both live at the Shilo Airport Hotel, and on the air – gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In most politically-oriented meetings we attend, politicians and those who are politically liberal take conservatives to task.

But at this event, The Annual Taxpayers’ Academy Awards, held this year on February 6 at the Shilo Inn Airport, it was the conservatives’ turn to take a swipe at people and policies they say are not working in the best interest of taxpayers.

‘Awards’ chosen by ballot
The event’s sponsors, Oregon Executive Club and Taxpayer Association of Oregon, sent ballots out to 10,000 individuals who were asked to nominate candidates for awards such as Wiener Politician, Pork Barrel Project, and Bureaucratic Bungler.

Conservative KPAM radio talk show host Victoria Taft served as the MC for the evening’s ceremony, which was also broadcast, live, from the event. Taft set the stage: “Tonight, we give awards to those most deserving – the biggest bungling politicians and decisions of the year.”

Victoria Taft enjoys roasting liberal policies and politicians at the event.

Pass the onions, please!
Sadly, and understandably, many of the award winners were not present to receive their awards in person. What follows is the opinion as stated by the hosting organizations, not necessarily the opinion of eastPDXnews.com, nor of our sponsors:

Golden Schnoz Award
Best example of government sticking its nose in other people’s business:

  • Foster Parent Gun Rule – The Human Services Department tried to void second amendment gun rights for foster parents who had concealed gun permits.

Pork Barrel Project Award
The best example of government waste:

  • Million Dollar Consultant Mistake – Went to the City of Portland for paying a consultant firm $900,000 to design and implement a study that would save the city money. The consultant came up with only $61,000 in savings.

State Representative Linda Flores sits in with Victoria Taft for a segment of the program.

Bureaucratic Bungler Award
Best example of government regulation, overreach, or bureaucratic mistake:

  • Baby Gabriel goof-up – Not one, but two State of Oregon panels tried to separate 2-year old baby Gabriel from his Oregon foster parents, and send him to Mexico (where he has never been, and does not speak the language).

Wiener Politician Award
The most obnoxious, cowardly, or reckless elected official:

  • Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Jeff Merkley – The two legislative leaders approved an “astonishing 21% budget growth” with the help of $856 million in new taxes and 44 fee increases. To prevent future citizen dissent, they also passed tough new petition regulations making it twice as hard for citizens to petition their government. They sent voters an “anti-property rights ballot measure” (Measure 49) and an “anti-double majority protection ballot measure”, and “wrote their own highly deceptive ballot title”, according to the group.

Singing their praises

Thomas Jefferson Award
Awarded to Oregonians for advancing the principles of individual liberty and limited government in 2007:

  • George Taylor, State Climatologist – In defense of science over politics: State Climatologist George Taylor has made national impact with his demonstrable problems with many global warming theories. Governor Kulongoski has been trying to use a technicality to forbid him from using the title State Climatologist, and left him out of the Governor’s Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions.

Government Innovation Award
Best example of a government cost-saving or successful program:

  • Feds inquire on missing Oregon roads – The Federal Highway Department made headlines when it criticized Metro’s transportation plan. The plan ignored people who drive cars, which was the primary purpose of the plan.

Excellence in Journalism Awards
These awards are chose by the governing official of the presenting organizations.

  • $1 billion can’t cut class size“, Scott Learn & Steven Carter, Oregonian;
  • “Truth And Consequences”, (Measure 49 ballot title deception) Nigel Jacquiss, Willamette Week;
  • 95% of drivers buckle up, so why the tickets?” ($1.5 million grant for non-problem) Ryan Knutson, Oregonian;
  • Are those cranes, or an inventory glut on the horizon?” (Continuing expose on Waterfront Project, for which Brainstorm Magazine accurately predicted in 2003 its fallout), Ellen Lewis, Brainstorm Magazine.

During a commercial break, some of the organization’s elite gather for a photo.

Straw poll skewed
Because the survey’s Presidential Straw Poll ballots were returned primarily in December, Jason Williams of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon said the results didn’t reflect current opinions.

At that time, Republican candidates John McCain lagged substantially behind Mitt Romney (who has since put his delegates in McCain’s camp), and Fred Thompson (who dropped out of the race in January). Tied for last place, not surprisingly for a conservative forum, were Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See the Metro Dancers, from Gateway’s Portland Metro Performing Arts Center, audition for “Alice in Wonderland” …

To land a part in PMPA’s “Alice in Wonderland” production, these future ballerinas must demonstrate they can quickly learn the dance steps they’ll need if they are chosen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Portland Metro Performing Arts (PMPA) hall was filled both aspiring and studied ballerinas, when we visited a couple weeks ago.

These dancers, each wearing a number, were focused on the instructions given by the center’s Director, Nancy Yeamans, who was giving dance step instructions and playing snippets of music.

At a front table, three dance instructors watched how well the dancers, ranging in age from preschool to adult, could learn the combination of steps, and perform them in time with the music. After each section, these judges wrote down the numbers of dancers who could perform the steps well.

“We’re auditioning performers for the Metro Dancers’ presentation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ show in April,” Yeamans told us.

Yeamans reminded us that the Metro Dancers is a regional dance company comprised of local pre-professional and professional dancers, now celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season. “Our performances of ‘Coppelia’, ‘La Fille Mal Gardee’, and ‘Les Ruses d’Amour’ have played to sold-out audiences,” she added.

Nancy Yeamans demonstrates a series of steps the dancers are expected to perform in time with the music she’ll play.

Working toward April 5 performance
This ballet version of “Alice in Wonderland” is appropriate for all ages, Yeamans told us. It features all of the classic story’s characters – in full costume – including the busy White Rabbit, the mysterious Cheshire Cat, and the domineering Queen of Hearts, as they romp through dance re-creation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”.

It isn’t too early to consider buying tickets. There will be two performances at 2 pm and 7 pm on April 5 at Portland Center for the Performing Arts Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway.

Tickets are $20 for high school and adults, $14 for children. Reserve your seats by calling (503) 408-0604, emailing them at info@PDXMetroArts.org or pick them up at the PMPA box office at 9933 SE Pine Street.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

If you missed the Portland Classical Chinese Trio’s performance at Midland Library this week – you can still catch these outer East Portland celebrations …

Adding cultural elegance to the main hall of Midland Library is the Portland Classical Chinese Trio.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Celebrations of the Lunar New Year, celebrated by many Asian cultures, are underway in outer East Portland.

We stopped by Midland Library to take in a performance of the Portland Classical Chinese Trio on February 12.

Jerry Lin plays a two-stringed classical Chinese instrument called a derhu.

“We’ve each played our instruments for several years,” said spokesman Jerry Lin. “We’ve been playing together for three or four years.”

Emily Deng serenades playing the zheng.

Emily Deng added, “I think that we enjoy working with each other. We enjoy entertaining others as much as we enjoy entertaining ourselves, at the same time.”

Deng says her instrument is a classical Chinese zheng. “It’s very similar to a Western zither. It has it has 21 strings with movable bridges. I play it with [finger picks made from] tortoise shell fingernails. I learned to play this instrument when I was 6 years old, back in my hometown of Uhon near Shanghai.”

Henry Hung plays one of the many bamboo flutes he brought to the performance. “I have more than one, because each flute plays in a different key,” he says.

More celebrations …

February 17
> Lunar New Year — Celebrate the Lunar New Year traditions of China, Vietnam, and Korea with dance, music, games, food, and crafts. It runs from 1:30 – 5 p.m. at your Midland Library, 805 S.E. 122nd Avenue. Call (503) 988-5392 for more information.

February 18
> Celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rat – Portland Community College’s Southeast Center, in partnership with Legin Restaurant, is hosting its annual Asian New Year Celebration at 9:30 a.m. today. The event, which will be held at the Restaurant (8001 S.E. Division Street, just west of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses), features music, arts and crafts, entertainment, games, food, door prizes, and plenty of lion dancers. Food is $1, and parking is free. The Asian New Year Celebration is open to the public. Children are welcome. For more information, call (503) 788-6262.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In addition to forcing thousands of residents to awaken to cold houses and chilly showers, this underage drunk driver also shut off power to Adventist Medical Center …

There weren’t any signs of skid marks, which would have shown that the driver made any attempt to stop before plowing in the PGE Midway Substation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Almost 16,000 homes, businesses, intersections – and yes, even Portland Adventist Medical Center and Emergency Room – lost electrical power in the early morning hours of February 6.

Police say the wide-spread outage was caused by the out-of-control driving of an under-age drunk driver.

A neighbor across the street, Larry Fender, said he slept through the crash. “What woke me up was the noise from the sirens and the flashing lights outside my window. I went to turn on the lights, but our power was off.”

Looking out his window, Fender said he could see that a car had driven into PGE’s Midway Substation on SE Division Street at SE 139th Avenue. “I didn’t see it, but my neighbor said she saw the driver of the car struggling to get out of the car, and try to run away, but she couldn’t get back out through the fence.”

Judging by the damage caused when the car ripped through the fence and into the electrical substation, it must have been traveling at a high rate of speed.

Passed out at the wheel
We inspected the pavement and lawn at the accident scene.

There were no skid marks or signs the driver tried to stop or slow down as she drove wildly south on SE 139th Avenue, whipped across SE Division Street, popped up over the curb, whizzed across 20 feet of lawn, took out guy wires, barreled through a heavy-duty chain-link fence, and came to a stop after knocking out two supports for one of the giant electrical power breakers in the substation.

Neighbors gathered to watch the repairs underway, and commented that the driver must have been “dead at the wheel” drunk.

Dangerous work in the dead of night
Soon after the accident, reported at 2:38 am, Portland General Electric crews were on-site, looking at the damage.

“While the Subaru was still wedged in the tower supports,” PGE spokesman Steve Corson, told us, “our crews were working on ways to get the power back on.”

Long after the intruding car was removed – and long into the following day – PGE crews worked around live, dangerously-high current-carrying equipment, to repair the damage caused by the underage drunk driver.

An electrical power substation, Corson explained, is a central distribution point that feeds the power “feeder” lines snaking out into the surrounding neighborhoods. “When the driver clipped the guy wires holding utility poles that supporting our incoming power transmission lines – and damaged the support stanchions for the lines – the substation shut down.”

By 7:30 a.m., workers managed to restore power to about half of the affected area, still leaving 7,800 homes and business in the dark.

“We want to get power restored quickly to customers, but we do have to do it safely,” commented Corson. “Our workers put their safety training to work, while they were working in a hazardous situation. The Subaru was in the midst of it all, and we had to work safely around it.”

8:15 a.m., everyone’s juice was back on. Yet, throughout the day, as many as a dozen PGE crew members carefully worked around the electrified lines, welding new supports into place, and fixing damaged monitoring equipment.

Police say that this young woman, 20-year-old Felica Londres, was the driver who smashed into the Midway Substation.

Driver shouldn’t have been boozing
The hard-partying driver responsible for this costly and inconvenient incident was, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, 20-year-old Felica Londres.

“Londres attempted to run from the scene, but was trapped by the fence and was taken into custody,” Schmautz reported. “She was evaluated at Portland Adventist Hospital. Then, she was booked into jail on one count each of DUII, Hit and Run, and Attempting to Elude a Police Officer.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In addition to forcing thousands of residents to awaken to cold houses and chilly showers, this underage drunk driver also shut off power to Adventist Medical Center …

There weren’t any signs of skid marks, which would have shown that the driver made any attempt to stop before plowing in the PGE Midway Substation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Almost 16,000 homes, businesses, intersections – and yes, even Portland Adventist Medical Center and Emergency Room – lost electrical power in the early morning hours of February 6.

Police say the wide-spread outage was caused by the out-of-control driving of an under-age drunk driver.

A neighbor across the street, Larry Fender, said he slept through the crash. “What woke me up was the noise from the sirens and the flashing lights outside my window. I went to turn on the lights, but our power was off.”

Looking out his window, Fender said he could see that a car had driven into PGE’s Midway Substation on SE Division Street at SE 139th Avenue. “I didn’t see it, but my neighbor said she saw the driver of the car struggling to get out of the car, and try to run away, but she couldn’t get back out through the fence.”

Judging by the damage caused when the car ripped through the fence and into the electrical substation, it must have been traveling at a high rate of speed.

Passed out at the wheel
We inspected the pavement and lawn at the accident scene.

There were no skid marks or signs the driver tried to stop or slow down as she drove wildly south on SE 139th Avenue, whipped across SE Division Street, popped up over the curb, whizzed across 20 feet of lawn, took out guy wires, barreled through a heavy-duty chain-link fence, and came to a stop after knocking out two supports for one of the giant electrical power breakers in the substation.

Neighbors gathered to watch the repairs underway, and commented that the driver must have been “dead at the wheel” drunk.

Dangerous work in the dead of night
Soon after the accident, reported at 2:38 am, Portland General Electric crews were on-site, looking at the damage.

“While the Subaru was still wedged in the tower supports,” PGE spokesman Steve Corson, told us, “our crews were working on ways to get the power back on.”

Long after the intruding car was removed – and long into the following day – PGE crews worked around live, dangerously-high current-carrying equipment, to repair the damage caused by the underage drunk driver.

An electrical power substation, Corson explained, is a central distribution point that feeds the power “feeder” lines snaking out into the surrounding neighborhoods. “When the driver clipped the guy wires holding utility poles that supporting our incoming power transmission lines – and damaged the support stanchions for the lines – the substation shut down.”

By 7:30 a.m., workers managed to restore power to about half of the affected area, still leaving 7,800 homes and business in the dark.

“We want to get power restored quickly to customers, but we do have to do it safely,” commented Corson. “Our workers put their safety training to work, while they were working in a hazardous situation. The Subaru was in the midst of it all, and we had to work safely around it.”

8:15 a.m., everyone’s juice was back on. Yet, throughout the day, as many as a dozen PGE crew members carefully worked around the electrified lines, welding new supports into place, and fixing damaged monitoring equipment.

Police say that this young woman, 20-year-old Felica Londres, was the driver who smashed into the Midway Substation.

Driver shouldn’t have been boozing
The hard-partying driver responsible for this costly and inconvenient incident was, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, 20-year-old Felica Londres.

“Londres attempted to run from the scene, but was trapped by the fence and was taken into custody,” Schmautz reported. “She was evaluated at Portland Adventist Hospital. Then, she was booked into jail on one count each of DUII, Hit and Run, and Attempting to Elude a Police Officer.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Discover how a moment’s inattention while cooking injured a woman and damaged her home …

A firefighter, carrying an extra length of hose, races down the long driveway to reach the house, located in the back of a flag lot.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Fortunately for the residents of a house tucked away on the back of a “flag lot” in the Centennial Neighborhood, they are served by two great fire services – Portland Fire & Rescue and Gresham Fire Department. The combined prompt response saved that house from going up on flames on February 9.

The fire, at a home in the 2300 block of SE 156th Avenue, started in the kitchen, Battalion Chief C-3, Pat Davies, told us at the scene. “We just put out a stove fire, and we’re looking for fire extensions in the kitchen.”

A firefighter, with paramedic kit in hand, rushes to the aid of the homeowner.

Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Lt. Allen Oswalt told us, “The owner was ‘seasoning’ a cast iron pan with oil. She left it on the stove, with the burner on. She became distracted, and walked away from it.”

Although we’re told the woman didn’t suffer serious injuries, she was treated by firefighters – who are also trained as paramedics.

Providing immediate help for injured victims, the firefighter paramedics check to see if the homeowner needs a trip to the hospital.

“Too often,” Oswalt commented, “we’re called to fires that started because someone left a pot or pan on the stove and walked away from it. In moments, oil can overheat, and start a fire that quickly gets out of hand.”

In addition to paying attention while cooking, Oswalt stressed the importance of having working fire detectors in a house. “It can alert the residents in time to save major damages – or lives.”

Although the fire was small, investigators said the blaze nonetheless caused $10,000 damage.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Find out what David Douglas High School parents and students learned about a possible case of tuberculosis they’d discovered – and what they’re doing about it …

Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County Health Officer, listens to the concerns of a parent about the potential for the disease tuberculosis, at David Douglas High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Because the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States is at an all-time low, the infectious and once-fatal disease is seldom discussed nowadays.

But, the spectre of a TB epidemic centering on David Douglas High School appeared in January, when a student was rumored to carry the disease.

Although a letter sent to the school’s parents on February 5 indicated that a student had possibly contracted TB, it went on to say that the risk of an infectious outbreak was very low. Nevertheless, school officials also announced an informational meeting to help ease fears.

Information to combat rumors
Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County Health Officer, facilitated the meeting, along with officials from Multnomah Education Service District (MESD). The Department of Health and Social Services made a presentation at the school on February 13.

“This meeting is important, said Mark Haner, Vice Principal at David Douglas High School, as he introduced Dr. Oxman, “in case a parent or student has a question about tuberculosis. It’s a disease we’re not with which familiar. When you do hear that someone in the school has tuberculosis, it’s like an ‘alarm’ goes off.”

Those exposed to TB should be tested, Dr. Oxman says, because few people come down with the active disease soon after exposure.

Tuberculosis 101
“Before antibiotics, tuberculosis was a deadly disease,” began Multnomah County’s health officer Dr. Gary Oxman, MD, MPH. “It was a feared disease, because so many people died from it.”

“The scientific name for TB is Mycobacterium Tuberculosis,” Oxman explained. “Some bacteria grow quickly. TB grows very slowly.”

He said TB is spread from person to person when someone with the disease within their lungs coughs. “The bacterium is spewed into the air as an aerosol. As the bacterium dries out, it can ‘hang’ in a room for hours. This is how most people get infected; breathing air infected with the bacterium.”

Two exposure factors: ventilation and time
Chances of exposure to the disease by inhaling TB bacterium out-of-doors are very slim, according to Oxman. “Exposure occurs in a small, poorly ventilated room.”

The other factor is length of exposure. “Family members may have hundreds of hours of exposure, in close contact, with an infected person, and not know it. Even then, they might catch it only after lengthy exposure.”

Not all infected become ill
When an individual is exposed to TB and becomes ill, they get flu-like symptoms, feel run-down, and chronically cough. “At this point, they are contagious; they can spread the disease.” Even though it takes a lot of medicine – up to four antibiotics at the start of treatment; and the cure is lengthy – six months and more – the individual can be cured,” assured Oxman.

Most people who catch the “TB germ” never develop the TB disease, the doctor added. “It can be ‘jailed’ by the body’s immune system for decades. If the body’s defenses ever weaken, the germ may cause TB disease, even decades after the exposure.”

Medication, taken daily for six to nine months, can prevent latent TB from becoming active, he added.

Whether active or latent, TB can be treated and cured by a long course of medication, says Oxman.

Tests expose TB infection
The county’s top health official went on to say that TB exposure or infection can be detected by a skin test, blood test, chest x-ray and sputum sample testing.

When a group of people are exposed to TB, Oxman said, how many people will get sick depends on the extent of the TB sufferer’s illness, the environment of the exposure space, the closeness of others to the infected person, and length of exposure.

“For example, one case study showed that 135 people had moderate exposure to an infected person. Tests showed that 130 of them were not infected. Five were infected, and had the latent – not active – disease.”

Tuberculosis at David Douglas High
Turning to the situation at David Douglas High School, Oxman said that a student was referred to the county health department because they tested positive for TB and had an abnormal chest x-ray. “A Health Department doctor diagnosed the student with TB.

Oxman lays out the situation with the TB-infected student discovered at David Douglas High School.

Risk of spreading
“The student was not ill; not coughing,” stated Oxman. “Lab tests and x-rays on student showed no signs of concerning for spread of TB. They found no germs in the student’s phlegm. Again, the x-ray was not particularly concerning.”

The student began treatment for TB, Oxman continued. “The student has received enough medication to stop potential for spread of TB. The medications typically cause the patient to lose 90% of TB germs in a week; about 98% of germs are killed in a couple of weeks.”

While the County Health Department cleared the student to return to school, the patient will continue to be tested.

Oxman said that students who had closest contact with the student infected with TB have also been tested. “Conclusive results take up to six weeks. If other students are found to be newly-infected, the Health Department might change its recommendations.”

The risk of an outbreak, beyond the single infected student, is slim, Oxman said. “But, we can’t ever say the risk is zero.”

Student not concerned
After the program, we spoke with DDHS student Grace Mustain, at the meeting to report on matter for the school’s newspaper, The HIGHLANDER.

“I think the presentation went pretty well,” Mustain reported. “But there weren’t very many people here; it looks like few people are worried. I feel very comfortable [about the situation]. Knowing what to look out for, and how it can happen, makes me feel okay.”

On the way out, vice principal Haner commented, “If there was a chance that this is a disease that would be spread in our school, I know the health department would be here in no time, taking immediate steps to protect our staff and students. We care, just like our health Department cares, about all of our students.”

Resources
To contact the Multnomah County Health Department TB program, call (503) 988-3417. If you have health-related questions, contact Dr. Gary Oxman at 503-988-3663, ext. 22640.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

If you could smell the great dinner these guys were cooking up, you’d read about it right now

Proving these guys can really cook, these Parkrose SUN students, (the one furthest away from the camera was too shy to give his name) Dakota Wright, 9th grade, and Alex Heiden, 10th grade, put the finishing touches on a Chinese dinner fit for kings.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On the Monday afternoon we visited the school not long ago, it wasn’t difficult to find the SUN School cooking class at Parkrose High School. All one had to do was “follow their nose”.

The savory scent of caramelized, sizzling onions and chicken, pea pods, and spices wafted through the first-floor hallway.

Inside a small, but well equipped modern kitchen, we were somewhat surprised to see young men – not young women – cooking up a full-course Chinese-style dinner.

SUN Schools Life Skills instructor Sarah Shumaker is dishing up a bowl of made-from-scratch egg-flower soup made by her students.

Teaching important life skills
Sarah Shumaker, a Life Skills instructor, told us she’s been holding these classes on Mondays and Wednesdays of each week.

“These classes are all about cooking and eating wholesome meals,” Shumaker explained. “These life skills are important, because sooner or later, the students will move out of their houses, and will need to cook for themselves.”

Dakota Wright, a freshman, said this was his first experience cooking. “I’d like to do more. Who knows? When I get older and get my own place – some candlelight and a nice dinner might make a nice date, you know?”

During our visit, students – and staff members – looked in through the kitchen door to see what was cooking, attesting to the delicious aroma that permeated the school’s halls.

Exploring different cuisines
“At each session,” Shumaker explained, “we cook different types of foods.  At the last session, we did African cuisine. This time, we’re preparing Chinese cuisine. In addition to helping the students learn to cook, it opens there eyes to different styles of cooking, and the cultures that created them.”

Another student, sophomore Alex Heiden, agreed that he’s learned there’s a big difference between cooking a meal from scratch and dining on frozen package dinners.

“I like cooking, but I also like eating,” confided Heiden as he dished up Citrus Chicken and pea-pods. “The favorite thing that I’ve made here so far is assuredly the shrimp we made last week.”

Heiden seemed unsurprised that no gals were in class that evening, adding, “some the greatest chefs are men.”

Jill, Alex Heiden’s mom, sits down to a dinner that her son helped prepare.

“Parents are welcome to come to the classes,” Shumaker pointed out. “It’s great when they come and are part of it.”

The instructor added that the class can host a maximum of eight students, “because it gets kind of chaotic in a small kitchen. Students learn how to work together, and work with the ingredients and the kitchen tools at hand.”

Parkrose SUN Community School hosts a wide variety of after-school classes and activities. To get involved, contact their program director, Trevor Todd, (503) 408-2640.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

New concept in patent care provides a lower treatment price, partners say. Learn about it all, right here …

Licensed acupuncturists and herbalists Mia Neuse and partner John Blank (here being treated) say they’ve found a way to make treatments comfortable and affordable.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Because even the best health insurance plans offer only limited acupuncture benefits, the co-founders of a new clinic say this health care alternative is often too expensive for folks of average means.

“This is our group room, a community room,” says partner Mia Neuse as we walk into a comfortable-looking room with five easy chairs. “It’s amazing how people enjoy a community setting. We treat families and couples in this room also.”

Offers lower-priced treatments
Because they can treat up to five people in their community room, Neuse says, they can charge between $15 and $25 per person, instead of the typical private rate of $65-$75.

John Blank, Neuse’s partner at the newly opened Montavilla Community Acupuncture Clinic, adds, “I’m treating a mother and four grown daughters in this room.”

“For some families, this is the most time they get to spend together,” comments Neuse, a licensed practitioner since 2005. “It’s a bonus that they can get treated, and have some peaceful time they can be with each other.  They say they really appreciate it.”

Black says he’s been practicing since 1991 and notes, “I’ve treated a lot of individuals and groups.”

Herbs and health counseling
In addition to acupuncture, Neuse explains that both she and her partner also provide counseling regarding health changes, and how Chinese herbs may help. “Chinese herbs have a 3000 year history. Herbs provide low interaction, and low risk levels. I also do bodywork, including shiatsu – I learned it studying in Japan. We also use heat therapy, liniments, salve, and other techniques that promote healing.”

Blank continues, “We treat a wide variety of health complaints. I think that says it all.”

Clinic partners reside in Montavilla
“Since we both live in the neighborhood, we looked around to find a space where we could set up a practice. We’re delighted to be opening her clinic here on Stark Street, in part of the building that once housed Dixon’s Pharmacy.”

Neuse adds, “John is one of my mentors. It’s a privilege to be working with him here.”

Open house February 16
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 16th, the clinic is holding an open house to celebrate its opening. “Come on by and bring the family. Kids are always welcome here.”

Montavilla Community Acupuncture is located at 7925 SE Stark Street, next door to the Country Cat restaurant. Their web site is at www.montavillaacupuncture.com.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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