See what transportation planners say they can do to ease slow-moving traffic around Airport Way and I-205 – and when they plan to take action …

Matt Freitag, ODOT consultant, and Port of Portland project manager Robin McCaffrey ask people to tell them how they’re affected by congested traffic around PDX.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Matt Freitag, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) consultant and project manager, didn’t mince words when he began our conversation: “There is congestion at the Airport Way/I-205 interchange. We’re looking for ways to alleviate it on both the Airport Way East and Airport Way West.”

Primarily, he added, ODOT, with the help of the Port of Portland, is looking for a way to speed up sluggish traffic traveling from eastbound Airport Way to northbound Interstate 205.

Handles 200,000 cars per day
Congestion at this interchange has been a problem since 1998, we learned; and east- and westbound traffic issues on Airport Way have been documented since 2000. The documentation shows that the Airport Way interchange is used by nearly 200,000 vehicles daily.

At an open house a couple of weeks ago, Freitag added, “We were trying to get some information out on what citizens see as a congestion issues, and get suggestions regarding what they perceive are the issues we should be looking at.”

Robin McCaffrey, Port of Portland, also working on the project, commented, “The I-205 north interchange design cannot handle today’s peak-hour traffic, much less tomorrow’s [increased] traffic.”

Smooth sailing a long time off
McCaffrey explained that they are in the early stages of the project. “We’re developing information, and getting all of our alternatives lined up.”

The timetable for improvements won’t be complete until 2014, noted Freitag. “In 2009 we’re hoping to move into a more in-depth analysis of specific solutions and alternatives. We want to be moving into design by 2010. We need to find a solution that works here, we don’t want to rush into it.”

Ross Monn talks with Scott King, a Port of Portland airport planner.

Wilkes Community Group Chair Ross Monn stopped by the open house. He commented, “You don’t go into this area after four o’clock. The traffic is clogged. . .  I look forward to something being done to help improve the situation here.”

Deposit your two-cents
“We’re in the early stage of this,” McCaffrey noted. “There will be many opportunities for people to give input; we encourage people to participate.”

To take a look for yourself, and register your comments, at the ODOT web site. We’ll take you there if you CLICK HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Learn what surprisingly new information ‘Ms. Q-Renew’ has discovered – and is passing along – as she attempts to recycle every piece of an old SE Portland old house into a new one …

Sitting on a bench made entirely from hawthorn tree branches and siding removed from the old house, Shannon Quimby told us she’s glad an artist found a use for these items that most redevelopers would toss into a landfill.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
If Shannon Quimby has her way, the house she’s building at 2022 SE Rex Street in the Westmorland neighborhood won’t have a dumpster on the construction site. “If we have one, it won’t be very large,” she says.

As we’ve been reporting, instead of bulldozing the old house on the property, Quimby’s team dismantled the building, piece by piece, and has stored it in two large containers. Last month, they carefully moved mature trees – instead of cutting them down – to make way for the new home.

Quimby, who hosts “Q-Renew” shows on the Home & Garden TV Network, calls her project “REX” – for Reuse Everything eXperiment. “We’re recycling an old house into a new one, to show it is possible, and practical, to save building materials, instead of dumping them into a landfill.”

In front of the newly-poured foundation, Quimby reminds us that the massive holly tree they removed is being milled into open beams that will grace the house. “But we didn’t know what to do with the branches until an artist, Tim Boyden contacted us. He specializes in making garden furniture from reclaimed materials. He’s making benches, and trellises and tables for the project from our tree branches, old siding and floorboards.”

Quimby says this thin layer of concrete will keep the home warm and dry – and save $1,000 per year in energy costs.

Energy savings from the ground, up
We noted that the crawl space in the new home looked like a shallow basement.

“It’s called a conditioned crawl space,” Quimby states. “I don’t know why this isn’t a standard building practice. Over plastic sheeting, we poured a thin layer of concrete, and seal it where it joins the foundation.”

In addition to eliminating the possibility of mold, mildew and dry rot, Quimby adds, “The $1,000 it cost will cut our energy usage and bills by that amount every year! And, it will give us additional under-house storage space.”

Quimby invites neighbors to drop by and follow their progress as their project continues. Learn more by visiting

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Why are they doing that, and which was the featured instrument when we visited Midland Library? Find out right here …

Oregon Symphony member Jeff Johnson talks about being a string bass player, and demonstrates the instrument for the children at Midland Library.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There’s almost always something interesting happening at Midland Library, in the Mill Park neighborhood on SE 122nd Avenue.

On a rainy Saturday, early in March, we went to see Symphony Story Time, to learn about the program.

“This is for preschool age children and their families,” explained Monica Hayes of the Oregon Symphony. “It is important for young children to meet members of the orchestra family. Also we pair literature about music with music itself, so they get the most out of the experience.”

On successive Saturdays, the Oregon Symphony featured woodwinds…brass…and then percussion, in the library presentations.

When we visited, we met Jeff Johnson, a 16-year veteran of the Symphony. He was tuning up his string bass, getting ready to talk with the children.

“It’s important to get out into the community and reach audiences of varying sizes and ages that wouldn’t normally be exposed to this music,” said Johnson. “We don’t want to have our musical life restricted to the concert hall.”

The best part about playing a string bass, Johnson tells us, is that the musical parts they play form the “foundation of the orchestra. Being at the ‘bottom of the orchestra’, we have a chance to listen to the rest of the orchestra as it plays.”

The bass line, Johnson continues, is the foundation of all music. “Perhaps not so much in modern music, but certainly in jazz and standards. That’s another thing I like about the instrument; it’s so versatile. I’ve played many different types of music at one time or another.”

Midland Library children’s librarian Sue Ciesielski reads the story of “Berlioz The Bear”, as Johnson illustrates passages musically on his bass.

The bass and the bear
After the youngsters are seated, Johnson tells them about his life and times as a professional musician.

“When I was very young, I wasn’t tall enough to play the string bass.  My mother had me stand on a chair to be able to play the instrument. I’ll show you how I play it, and let you touch the instrument. Before we do that, my friend Sue and I are going to read some stories, and I’ll play along and supply some sounds to go with the story.”

The kids eagerly agree when he asks the question, “Does this sound like a good thing to do?”

With that, Sue Ciesielski, children’s librarian at Midland, opens and starts reading the storybook, “Berlioz The Bear”.

Johnson comments, “this has always been one of my favorite books, ever since I can remember.  Can you imagine why?”

As Ciesielski reads, Johnson musically illustrates the story on his bass, to the delight of the kids. The children look enraptured as the librarian and musician gently guide the next generation into the land of symphonic music.

After storytime, brother and sister, Matthew and Ruth Benzar, help the little kids make “shoebox violins”. “These show and demonstrate the structure of a violin,” says Matthew.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In exchange for learning about law enforcement, see the many ways these young people help build the community …

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Cadets Nathan Huff and Ryan Mele tell community members about their experiences, at a Commander’s Forum not long ago.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Regular readers have read our coverage of the Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Cadets, and the good work they do in the community.

At a recent Commander’s Forum – a meeting held each month by East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs – a roomful of community members were introduced to the Police Cadets and their work, by their main sponsor, Sgt. Michael Gallagher.

East Precinct’s Sgt. Michael Gallagher tells how the Police Cadet program helps young people prepare for a law enforcement career.

On-scene career training
“The Police Cadet Program helps introduce young people, between the ages of 16 and 20, to a law enforcement career,” began Sgt. Michael Gallagher, the leader of East Precinct’s program.

“The program includes classroom instruction, hands-on training, and mentorship,” Gallagher continued. “When Cadets complete the program, we encourage them to apply to the Portland Police Reserve, and when they’re eligible, with the Portland Police Bureau.”

Giving Cadets an understanding of the criminal justice system, and of the professional ethics applied to law enforcement, are the goals of the program, he added – as well as helping them understand of Oregon laws.

Wide variety of assignments
The program doesn’t relegate the Cadets to backroom clean-up chores, Gallagher said. “Police Cadets work many details and assignments in uniform, and are involved in the following areas of community events and services…”

Although Police Cadets have no police powers, they do provide valuable service to their community while they learn about police work.

On patrol, Cadets do vacation house checks, traffic speed watches, and help out by directing traffic around road hazards, traffic accidents, and crime scenes.

Helping out at the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division’s “Holiday Deliveries” is one of the many missions for the Police Cadets. Most Cadets volunteer about 90 hours of service monthly.

Police Cadets help maintain order when the LPGA Golf Tournament comes to Portland, assist in loading and delivering Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division boxes, and help out at community fairs – like the East Precinct Annual Open House, and the Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade and Gateway Community Fair at 111th Square. Typically, the Gallagher said, Police Cadets volunteer about 90 hours per month for service and community activities.

“An important activity for our Cadets is ‘Underage Alcohol and Tobacco Missions’,” Gallagher reported. “They go into stores, bars, and restaurants, and attempt to buy alcohol. If they’re asked, the Cadets never lie about their age; they show their real driver’s license. Doing this, we help the OLCC cut down on alcohol sales to minors.”

Cadets undergo formal training
Each post has training every week, Gallagher went on. “They are taught how to protect themselves in hand-to-hand situations. And, at our firing range downtown, they learn to shoot various firearms, and are taught firearms safety by the range instructors.”

In addition, Police Cadets learn:

  • Community Policing philosophy;
  • Ethics and decision-making;
  • Cultural awareness;
  • Driving techniques;
  • Crime scene control;
  • Report writing;
  • Oregon laws; and,
  • CPR/First Aid

Sgt. Gallagher narrates videos of past Police Cadet training exercises, and tells about the extensive training program developed for these young people.

Beyond classrooms and schoolbooks
Not all Police Cadet training takes place in the classroom or during a patrol car ride-along. “They learned how to search a house,” said Gallagher. “And how to execute a search warrant. From a field trip to the Police Academy in Salem, to Camp Rilea on the Coast, the cadets get a wide variety of training.”

But it isn’t t all work. They also have softball games, and participate in other fun events, Gallaher added.

‘Clean noses’ a requirement
“We hold the Cadets to a higher standard of conduct,” Gallagher explained, as he turned to the topic of membership requirements. “It’s just as we do for our police officers. For example, they can’t be where underage alcohol is being used, or get traffic tickets.”

Specifically, Portland Cadet recruits:

  • Maintain a “C” grade point average with no failures in high school;
  • Have no arrests or convictions which would prohibit employment as a police officer; and,
  • Are a U.S. citizen, or have a valid green card.

If you know of a young person who would benefit from this program, he or she can get more information by talking with Portland Police Cadet Officers in East Precinct at (503) 823-4836.

And, if you know of a young person in Inner Southeast who would benefit from this program, they can get more information by talking with Portland Police Cadet Officers in SE Precinct at (503) 823-2143. Sgt. Charlie Brown, or Officers Sue Kahut or Tom Kaplan will be happy to tell you more.

Or, download the application form by CLICKING HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Meet these schools’ ambassadors to the 2008 Portland Rose Festival. Will one of these ladies become the Portland Rose Festival Queen? Take a look …

Standing with her court, Brenda Estela Olmos has just learned she will represent David Douglas High School at the 2008 Portland Rose Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

David Douglas High Princess
It is always an invigorating experience to visit “full-school assembly” at David Douglas High School. The student body is well behaved; but when it’s time to cheer, the nearly 3,000 students nearly lift the roof of the gymnasium.

Last week, when we visited the assembly at which the David Douglas High 2008 Portland Rose Festival Princess was announced – it was an occasion to cheer.

Almost overtaken by emotion, Olmos does her best to smile, as she’s presented with a bouquet of roses.

After the announcement, Olmos told the enthusiastic crowd, “I thank my family for being there, for all the good times and the bad times. Thank you for this honor.”

Olmos said she’s been involved with Student Council, National Honors Society, Link Crew, Peer Mediation, Key Club, Academic All-Stars, MECHA, and Varsity Soccer.

The students and staff laud Brenda Estela Olmos, the young lady who will represent David Douglas High at the 2008 Portland Rose Festival activities.

Her other activities including working at a Subway store, volunteering at Mill Park Elementary as a tutor, playing in the River Park Soccer League, and participating in American Friends Service Committee and youth group. Her hobbies are playing soccer, coaching basketball and soccer, gardening, and listening to Mexican music.

After the selection, Principal Randy Hutchison commented, “This is a great opportunity for our kids.  It’s nice to see how many showed up for the competition. Any one of the students would’ve been a great selection, and we’re proud of them all. Brenda will make a great ambassador for David Douglas High School.”

After the gym cleared, Olmos told us, “I’m really excited. I thank all of my peers who supported me. I look forward to representing my school and meeting many people in the Portland Rose Festival program.”

Madison High Princess

Introducing Madison High School’s 2008 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Jill Tremblay. PRF Photo

Last week Madison High School also held their 2008 Portland Rose Festival Princess selection assembly.

The outcome: Representing Madison will be Jill Tremblay.

In the future, Tremblay said she plans to enroll in Portland State University’s Pre-Dental program, and later attend Oregon State University.

She’s been recognized for her participation in the Academy of Science & Natural Resources, Class Council, Track (hurdles and pole vaulting), and Cheerleading.

The other activities Tremblay said she enjoys are Art (drawing and painting), snowboarding, exercising, and Cosmology. She is involved with the Ascension Church Youth Group, and volunteers at Providence Children’s Hospital.

Marshall Campus’ Princess

The students at Marshall Campus selected Kim Pham as their 2008 Portland Rose Festival Princess. PRF Photo

And, during the same week, the four schools at Marshall Campus selected their 2008 Portland Rose Festival ambassador.

From the Pauling Academy of Integrated Science at Marshall Campus, Kim Pham won the title.

Asked about her plans, Pham said, “This fall, I plan to attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be studying, but I’ve been contemplating Pre-Med for a very long time, so that might be it.”

Pham said she likes being active, and participates in tennis, soccer, National Honor Society, Music Club, and the school’s 2008 Yearbook – of which she’s the chief editor.

“I’ve done a lot of volunteering for Hands On Portland, and other projects,” Pham told us, “including cooking at Clark Center, Multnomah Summer Reading Program, serving seniors for Loaves and Fishes, playing the Easter Bunny for Easter Seals, and volunteering for Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children.”

Her hobbies include cooking, baking, riding bikes, going to concerts, playing guitar, writing poetry, drawing, and being in the outdoors.

Coronation on June 7
The 2008 Portland Rose Festival Queen’s Coronation takes place on June 7, just before the start of the Grand Floral Parade. For tickets, or more information, see CLICK HERE and we’ll take you directly to their web site. Or, call their hotline: 1-877-789-ROSE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Take a look and see how this inner SE Portland dance school is training young people who will be competing in the upcoming International Irish Step Dancing competition …

Four An Daire Academy students show off their Irish Step Dancing skill – which may take them to the international competition.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Behind the An Daire Academy of Irish Dance, hidden away in an industrial area of inner SE Portland, is a story of passion, romance, dedication – and Irish Step Dancing.

The international show theatrical production “Riverdance” popularized traditional Irish Step Dancing, in which dancers take rapid and sometimes acrobatic steps, while their torsos and arms remain motionless.

But the proprietors of this unique Portland-based dance school, Jim Mueller and Lauren Crowe-Mueller, started perfecting their dancing technique long before Riverdance-styled shows became all the rage.

Owners of the dance academy, Jim Mueller and Lauren Crowe-Mueller, tell how the love of Irish dance brought them together both in love and in business at an East Portland Chamber of Commerce networking event.

Portland natives, but strangers
Both members of this husband-and-wife team grew up in Portland and attended rival high schools – but in those days, they never met.

At an East Portland Chamber of Commerce function in March, Jim told the group he learned his first Irish steps as a postgraduate hobby, took to dancing, and started instructing.

A 1988 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Lauren studied nursing and musical theater, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where she took up Irish dance. She progressed, finally dancing with The Chieftains, and performing at renaissance festivals throughout the United States.

“We met in a class taught by Tony Comerford in Seattle,” Lauren said; “We became engaged at his Feile na Nollaig (Irish dance event) in December of 1999, and were married in our hard [dance] shoes in May of 2000.”

Jim added, “Thanks to the Comerford School, we became successful open champions, competing at the North American, All-Ireland, and World Championships, in both solos and teams.”

Opens studio in Portland
Under Comerford’s direction, the Muellers opened a dance studio in Portland in 2000.

“In 2005, Tony said we were ready to, and able to, operate our own school; and, with his blessing, in 2005 we opened the An Daire Academy of Irish Dance,” explained Lauren.

She informed us that instructors must be certified in Irish dance if their students are to compete. “The examination process was difficult, but we were both certified before we opened our school.”

Wee dancers Kate, Emilie, and Kendal admirably perform a “Three-hand Reel”.

Armless dancing explained
“Why don’t you use their arms when you dance?” is the question they’re most frequently asked, Jim said.

“It started with the church movement in Ireland,” he related. “When St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, the church was very tied into the state. As the British came into the Emerald Isle, their magistrates tried to suppress the Irish; getting them to submit to their will.”

Because the Irish are such a celebratory people, he continued, they tried to break their spirit by decreeing that dancing was an offence to God. “The Irish learned to dance with her hands at their sides. So, if a church magistrate walked past the window, appeared as if they were listening to music and having a good time.”

It wasn’t long until competitions arose to see who could dance the best steps – with their arms at their sides.

These fast-stepping An Daire dancers demonstrate the speed, precision, and skill required to enter and win Irish Step Dancing competitions.

Workout on the dance floor
It’s only been within the last decade that the Irish dance form has come on par with jazz and ballet, Jim mentioned. “Irish dance technique is very young. Over in Ireland, it’s still ‘Shut up, put your shoes on, and dance’.”

Lauren explained that they realized, early on, that poor technique will limit the life of a dancer, due to injuries. “We want to help dancers enjoy a lifetime of dance, without injury. So, we’ve created special warm-up exercises and strength training, based on the ballet and jazz. It’s a great workout.”

This top ranked Irish Step Dancer, Allie Lewis, traveled to Ireland in March, to enter in the 2008 dance competition.

Dancing for fun, and prizes
“This year has been especially wonderful,” Lauren beamed, “because not only do we have dancers going for solo competitions, we also have three teams of dancers going to the 2008 international competition in Ireland.”

Jim added, “We’ve got our fingers crossed; we’re hoping we can get a team on the [winners] podium in Belfast.”

Wide variety of skills taught
Visiting their studio, we learned they also teach Highland dance, and offer music lessons on Celtic and medieval eclectic instruments as well.

“We do a lot of fun things here at the studio,” Lauren concluded. “All told, we have just shy of 300 dancers throughout the Northwest. If you know anyone who wants this type of musical education, please tell them about us.”

This dance troupe appeared more than a dozen times at various St. Patrick Day observances around the greater Portland area this year.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Just in time for Easter, see (in LOTS of photos) how two SE Portland neighborhood groups bring their communities together with traditional Easter Egg Hunts …

Kaitlin and Jack Nelson get a real “two carrot” treat from the Easter Bunny at Westmoreland’s Easter Egg Hunt.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There’s no better sign that springtime has arrived than seeing hundreds of kids in two neighborhoods running – baskets in hand – at the start of annual Easter Egg hunts on March 22.

Waiting as patiently as possible, families wait for the “tiny tots” section to be opened for the big Sellwood-Westmoreland hunt.

Sellwood-Westmoreland’s Easter Egg Hunt
It was promoted as “come rain-or-shine”, and the brilliant sunshine drew hundreds of families to this annual event.

The event was free, but many folks brought canned goods for the FISH Food Bank, some gave cash donations.

In minutes, hundreds of kids get about the business of gathering their eggs.

Phoebe Diamond has great success finding chocolate eggs.

“We love helping SMILE put on this event,” said Edwina Swart, President of Oaks Bottom Lions Club. “It’s just great; the kids are having lots of fun.”

At 10 a.m. sharp, the ribbons cordoning off areas in the southern part of Westmoreland Park were lifted and the kids took off on their hunt. Actually, the colorfully foil-wrapped milk-chocolate were plentiful – making the kids’ mission more “gathering” than “searching”.

Leasa Wiebke appears to enjoy the Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt as much as her daughter, Julia!

Because three football field-sized areas were swept clean of candies in minutes, the organizers made sure no one went home empty handed. They thoughtfully withheld a small bucket of treats for those too timid to grab their share.

10th Annual Woodstock Easter Egg Hunt

Some of the more than 200 kids at Woodstock Park await the start of their Easter Egg Hunt for some 1,700 candy-and-prize filled plastic eggs.

We had just enough time to head east to this event, now in its tenth year.

Set more as a “hunt”, families and kids gathered in the central portion of Woodstock Park. Tom Vice counted down the minutes, and at precisely 10:30 a.m., kids fanned out in three searching areas, each assigned to an age group.

“Ready, set go!” says Tom Vice. The kids didn’t need to be egged on.

Gale and Michael Budde tag along as Jill sets off to find her eggs.

At their event, the kids searched for plastic eggs containing candy, a toy, or a coupon good for a larger toy or sheet of stickers. See how many folks had come out on the sunny morning, organizers asked that each kid take only five eggs – most everyone complied and shared – so all were satisfied.

The “man with the megaphone”, Tom Vice, said the event was hosted by the Woodstock Business Association, and sponsored by Safeway, BiMart, The UPS Store, Papa Murphy’s, Hollywood Video, and Life House Church.

With a little help from mom and dad, Amy and Jeff Loney, Lucy quickly collected her Easter eggs.

“We prepared 1,700 Easter Eggs,” Vice recounted. “They were all gathered in about seven minutes. It’s incredible to see the great energy here. We easily have over 200 children participating.”

Jill Budde is exploring the contents of her newly-found Easter eggs as her parents, Gail and Michael look on.

Darren Almli and his little bunny-girl Shayla wait to redeem their tickets for prizes.

While their event features candy and prizes, Vice said, “The important thing is this event brings families, who live in the Woodstock area, together. We’re focusing on finding ways to help build community, and the best way is events like this that brings people together. Look around! So many people are here having a great time!”

Elise Nettle getting her treats directly from the Woodstock Easter Bunny.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Police are baffled regarding the disappearance of a 32-year-old outer East Portland woman. Give them a solid lead, and you could get $1,000 from Crime Stoppers …

32-year-old Heather Dawn Mallory, seen here in her “chef whites” was taking classes at Oregon Culinary Institute downtown before she vanished without a trace on March 8.

Story by David F. Ashton
CRIME STOPPERS case #08-13 reads like a fictional detective story we’d see on TV – but it is not. This case is very real.

Police are so concerned about locating 32-year-old Heather Dawn Mallory, they’ve assigned it to their Missing Persons Unit and have Crime Stoppers has issued a $1,000 reward for information.

On Friday, March 7, 2008, Mallory attended classes at Oregon Culinary Institute and worked the entire shift at her job, says Portland Police Bureau’s Detective Tim Sukimoto.

After work, she spent the night socializing with several friends and arrived at her Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood home, about a half a block from Raymond Park about 10:30 am, Saturday, March 8.

Police ask you to be on the lookout for Mallory’s car – a bright red 2001 Ford Focus with Oregon plates 061BZX.

Disappears after a domestic dispute
After Mallory arrived home, she became involved in an argument with her husband, 35-year-old Brian Cole. She reportedly left home awhile later and has not been seen or heard from since.

Mallory reportedly left in a bright red 2001 Ford Focus bearing Oregon license 061BZX. There is a black-colored bike rack on top of the car and a child seat in the back seat.

Mallory is the mother of a 3-year-old child and has no prior history of being missing.

Described as a normal person
Based on information obtained from family and friends, investigators believe it is highly unusual for Heather to remain out of contact. She has been described as professional and responsible in her work habits. Mallory has no known history of mental illness or medical issues.

Investigators have confirmed that there has been no electronic activity on any of her accounts. At this time, detectives have no evidence of foul play.  However, Heather’s sudden disappearance and lack of any contact to family or friends, whatsoever, is considered highly suspicious.

Have you seen this woman? If you have, please call police, or CRIME STOPPERS immediately and help crack this case.

Mallory is a 5’5″, 120-pound white female with blonde hair and brown eyes.

CRIME STOPPERS is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to a resolution in this case, and you remain anonymous.

Call CRIME STOPPERS at (503) 823-HELP (4357). To speak directly with the investigator, call Detective Tim Sukimoto at (503) 823-0462.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Two East Portland schools select their ambassadors
– see who won …

Marshawna Williams reacts to hearing her name being announced as Cleveland High School’s Portland Rose Festival representative.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The student bodies of Cleveland and Franklin High Schools chose their representatives for the 2008 Portland Rose Festival Court in March.

At Cleveland High School, Marshawna R. Williams was selected to represent their school.

With the Cleveland High School court is 2008 Princess Marshawna Williams.

Looking like she’s ready to sit on the Portland Rose Festival thrown is Cleveland High’s 2008 Princess Marshawna Williams.

Williams is the Co-President of Black Student Union, Student Body Vice President, and active member of National Honors Society, and she enjoys volleyball and being of service to the community. Her hobbies include “singing, writing, poetry, and babysitting neighborhood kids.”

About her future, Williams said, “I plan to attend University of Portland and earn a Bachelors degree in Engineering.”

Franklin High School

Surrounded by her Franklin High School court is their 2008 Portland Rose Festival princess, Diamond Symone Zerework. Photo: Portland Rose Festival

Franklin High School’s chosen representative was Diamond Symone Zerework.

For the past two years, Zerework has been part of Franklin High’s Leadership Program and a S.T.A.R.S. teen Leader/counselor. She’s been the President of the Black Student Union for 3 years. “I have also been dedicated to the Mock Trial and Advanced Mock Trial program for the past two years. I will receive my Law course completion Certificate from Franklin High School this year.”

Introducing 2008 Portland Rose Festival princess, Diamond Symone Zerework, representing Franklin High. Photo: Portland Rose Festival

Looking ahead, Zerework added, “I intend on receiving my B.A. in Psychology, then attending Law School before becoming a Corporate Attorney.”

The 2008 Portland Rose Festival Queen’s Coronation takes place on June 7, before the Grand Floral Parade. For tickets, or more information, see, or call the hotline: 1-877-789-ROSE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See how this SE Portland high school’s boosters show their spirit by throwing a grand luau that raises $100 grand …

Debbie Greene checks in Clara and Paul Cook; Paul’s Cleveland High’s Principal.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Warrior’s benefactors at Cleveland High School topped last year’s “007 License to Spend” spy-themed shindig by taking the annual fund-raiser in a laid-back, tropical direction this year.

“We’re having a Hawaiian luau,” said event chair Vikki Melrose as patrons filed into the sold-out event on March 1. “The theme of our annual auction this year is ‘Hula for Moola’. We’re raising money to help support academics, performing arts, and athletics at Cleveland.”

Over 100 volunteers associated with the school’s Parent Teacher Association volunteered hundreds of hours to produce the evening’s event, Melrose noted, along with four chairs and a formal committee of 40.

Welcoming folks into the fundraising party are two of the four event chairs and their Cleveland High School students: Darcy Wente, Natalie Wente, Michael Wente, Danielle Melrose, Vikki Melrose, and Brianna Melrose.

Relaxing for a moment in the silent auction tent are Sally Shuey, Pre-event Chair, and Kennedy Wolfe, Procurement Chair.

Supports school’s programs
“Even though it’s a public school, we don’t have enough funding,” Melrose said. “If we don’t help raise money, the school will be forced to cut programs we think are necessary and important, here at Cleveland.”

The event, held at the Oaks Park Pavilion – in a huge heated tent that more than doubled the size of banquet room – was a sell-out, with 430 guests attending.

Ann Gray, Debra Meyer, and Sho and Loen Dozono pause, while hunting for bargains at the benefit silent auction.

Cleveland boosters, like Betsy and Steve – dressed appropriately in their Hawaiian shirts – circulate around the silent auction tables, looking for treasures on which to bid.

After the silent auction, the casually-dressed group sat down to a meal of island delicacies catered by Noho’s Hawaiian Café, and enjoyed the music and hula dancing provided by Roland Espy.

Then, the action picked up, as auctioneer Chris Sheik got top dollar for vacation home rentals at the Oregon Coast, Central Oregon, and Mexico; tickets and passes to cultural events; dinners at leading restaurants; sports memorabilia; and VIP tickets to local sporting events. Between the two auctions, revelers bid on a record 500 items and packages.

Selling raffle tickets are Cleveland High Hula Gals (and students) Lauren Krueger, Liza Gray, Stephanie Welch, and Natalie Wente.

Bringing live “music and dance from the enchanted Hawaiian Isles” are Roland Espy and his dancers.

After the event, Melrose reported, “It went really well. We met our goal of netting $100,000. The chairs thanks all of our dedicated volunteers who worked to make this event a big success; and, all of our supporters who attended and bid so generously.”

In the silent auction tent, lots of moola was bid on great items and packages ranging from vacations to objects d’art.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Find out why officials say the game of chess helps disadvantaged youth to enter life on a level playing field …

These young chess-masters don’t wiggle or squirm while their game is in play – they appear to be completely focused on the chess board.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the gymnasium at Duniway Elementary School, 80 kids sit at tables and play games on a Saturday morning. But this cavernous room isn’t ringing with playful outbursts or giggles; there is no whirl of youthful exuberance.

Instead, forty pairs of young people are sitting across from one another at tables on March 1, nearly motionless, gazing at a chess board.

Just outside the gym’s doorway, Julie Young, executive director for “Chess for Success”, whispers to us in the hushed tones of a TV golfing commentator, “We’re holding our regional tournaments today.”

In the hallway, Young explains this event is one of 25 regional tournaments being put on by their organization. “Kids are competing for titles within their age category. The winners will go on to the final playoffs.”

“Chess for Success” officials Ed McVicker – assistant tournament director and program director – Christopher Maguire, and executive director Julie Young track statistics and keep time during the tournament at Duniway Elementary School.

Four decades of chess
“Chess for Success” was formed in 1992 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to setting up chess clubs in low-income Portland schools, Young tells us. It now support chess clubs in 73 Title I schools.

“This tournament has a 41-year history,” says Young. “It started at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). By 1998, it grew until it became too large for a volunteer organization to run. ‘Chess for Success’ began to provide the logistics and administrative support, but the tournaments are still staffed by many of those volunteers who started the event.”

The players of the next game quietly listen to instructions from the tournament officials.

Lessons in personal responsibility
On the grade school level, Young continues, volunteers and staff of “Chess for Success” teach more than just how move figurines around on a checked board.

“These chess clubs are important, because it brings together children from all different backgrounds to play with one another. Beyond that, when children learn how to play chess, they learn how to sit still, concentrate, and think ahead.”

And, kids also learn personal responsibility, adds Young. “They get the credit for their successes. And, they can’t blame their losses on their family’s situation – or even on what they had for breakfast. The ‘field is level’ for every child. Winning at chess doesn’t take any special physical or mental skill – it takes concentration, and a will to succeed.”

This young lady is focused only on her next move.

Chess breeds success
Their program goes far beyond developing young chess mavens, Young continues. “As soon as a child joins the chess club, other students – and even some teachers – often think, ‘my gosh, they’re brilliant’. It really increases their self-esteem when they get good at playing chess.

“Whether they achieve mastery of chess or not, kids who learn to play tend to do better in school. As they improve at the game, many of them start taking their studies more seriously.

“We’re not really interested in making chess masters in our after-school program. Our goal is to teach children skills that will carry forward in life.”

At the Franciscan Montessori Earth School, just off outer SE Division Street in the Centennial neighborhood, players from the eastern region are concentrating on their tournament.

Outer East Portland tournament
Indeed, this chess tournament really is spread across the city. Later that morning, we visit another sponsored tournament, this one at the Franciscan Montessori Earth School.

“We have 52 kids playing today, says Melissa Light, development and communications director for the organization. “We have 12 schools represented at this tournament.”

In schools supported, Chess for Success is open to all children in the school, without cost. “Fortunately, we have strong support from parents, teachers, public school districts, and the community.”

You can learn more by going online to and visiting

In outer East Portland, Melissa Light, development and communications director at “Chess for Success”, helps officiate other players in the early March tournament.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

When the car in which the costumes were stored was stolen, just before the state competition, the dance team’s coaches and parents got busy. Learn the rest of the story, here …

The Cleveland dancers show they are “on a mission” to win their championship, by rehearsing for hours on March 13, the day before their competition.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just a few days before the Cleveland High School dance team’s entry into the state dance competitions, it looked like petty criminals might sink their spirits by stealing some of their costumes.

“My car was stolen,” said the team’s long-time coach and supporter, Ms. Chris Burgess, “right out of my driveway at my home in Gresham. It’s the third time it’s been stolen.”

Gone with her red Toyota Camry hatchback, were 30 ornate dance team headdresses, Burgess reported.

Instead of giving up, parents, sponsors, and coaches worked to reproduce the headgear in a day-long sewing bee on March 8.

Because of their dedicated rehearsal, their dancers placed well in the state dance competitions.

Found: Box of green glittery stuff
But on March 12, Burgess said she got a call from the police saying they had found her car. To make sure it was hers, officers asked her on the phone, “Did you have a box with a lot of green, glittery stuff in it? There’s glitter all over the back.”

Although her car was found a couple of miles from her house relatively undamaged, all of Burgess’ personal items were missing, as was a box containing four brand-new costumes.

“The headdresses added a lot to our intricate dance routine,” Burgess told us just hours before the team headed to the competition being held at Memorial Coliseum on March 14. “We’re going into the competition with two sets of headdresses.”

The situation didn’t seem to faze the dancers as we watched them rehearse their elaborate routine in the Cleveland High gym.

Focusing on their routines, dance coach Chris Burgess gives team members tips on tuning up one of their intricate routines.

‘On a mission’
After the competition, the team’s head coach, Nicole Narong, told us, “We felt great about the performance. We were on a mission to dance and represent our school well. We worked real hard, and all the girls are excited and happy to place in the state competition.”

Three Cleveland high students were among the six finalists in the drill-down, reported Cleveland High’s Assistant to the Principal, Sandee Dressel.

“In the 2008 Dance State Competition, Eilise Ward took first place, Lauren McLeron came in fourth and Brynn Opsahl placed fifth,” Dressel said. “Kendall Udoutch was selected to the 5A All-State team. Cleveland placed 5th in the 5A All-State Large School division.”

“Did the stolen costumes hinder the team?” we asked the coach.

“It was harder on the parents and coaches than on our dancers,” Narong said. “I’m so proud of our dancers. And, I’m thankful to our supporters, who helped out when we really needed them.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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