The project isn’t over – but it’s completed. Take a look, to find out what’s next with this neighborhood community monument project …

The originator and architect of  the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth, Sharon DeWitt, welcomes guests to the project’s dedication.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
More than a year in the making, the Parkrose Community Peace Labyrinth has been completed.

Not long ago, we attended the its dedication. The person who hatched the idea, Sharon DeWitt, who is in charge of Parkrose High School grounds, led the brief dedicatory program.

“I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to part of the high school’s grounds, creatively,” DeWitt began.

Many volunteers who worked on the labyrinth came to celebrate the project’s completion – and its future.

“When I started this project, the first thing I did was go to our Principal, Roy Reynolds. He encouraged me to find my own support system. He didn’t assume that either my project, nor I, was crazy!

“I did find a great support system – all of you who helped: With your time, your effort, and your support. Support systems are pretty amazing thing. Here’s a perfect example: When we built this labyrinth for our community, people stepped up to build the fabulous gate that welcomes the neighborhood into it.”

Asks for ongoing support
DeWitt continued, “The labyrinth itself now needs its own support system. We’re organizing ‘Friends of the Labyrinth’. If you’re interested in being part of this, I encourage you to sign up.”

Next for the labyrinth, DeWitt said, was performing plantings around the outer circumference, adding a park bench or two, and finding a way to secure the paving bricks in place.

Gives thank-yous
“Thank you, my own support system, Roy Reynolds, for encouraging me to make this project a reality.” She also thanked all the other people who wrote the grants, put together the slate of donors, and those who offered other efforts.

Lily Heller and Cynthia Hoff – half of the group called Sheer Blue – provide music for the dedication celebration.

She also thanked Mike Taylor, former Superintendent, who gave permission to the project and the current Superintendent, Karen Fisher Gray, who “graciously accepted the project midstream”.

Additionally DeWitt thanked the East Portland Neighborhood Organization the Toolbox for Education and Vicky of Copper Moon Design for all of her documentation and promotional help.

To get involved, contact DeWitt by e-mail:

Through this gate, you’ll find a labyrinth to walk – as you contemplate, meditate or just relax.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Picture the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry without kids around. Lots of adults did, on this special evening …

Second-grade teacher Michael Lindberg and his wife Heather say they find OMSI to be really fun, but a little odd, without students swirling about.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For decades, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has been one of Portland’s quintessential family attractions.

But on July 9, after its regular operating hours, the museum again came to life as the new “OMSI After Dark” event welcomed a different crowd of visitors – all adults.

“That’s right – this is a 21-years-and-over event,” explained Amanda Thomas, coordinator of adult programs at OMSI, as she welcomed guests to the event. “It is an opportunity for adults to experience the museum without having to watch their own children, or make way for other people’s kids.”

Raife Neuman, Jessie King, and Sarah Melton look like they’re having a blast playing (ahem, experimenting) with the air-pressured bottle launcher.

Science education for all
Thomas added that many of their guests remark that they enjoy seeing and playing with the exhibits, and to have the opportunity to learn without being a “child-wrangler.”

“We consider this event important,” Thomas said about the affair. “It’s because OMSI is a great resource for science education, but not just for children – but for adults as well. So, it’s a great opportunity for people who have never been to the museum to come and experience it for the first time.”

After showing their ID to prove they are adults, guests Carolyn Blumensen, Becky Wethern, and Jordan Gladow check into the event with OMSI’s Amanda Thomas.

All-access pass, except the playroom
We found the museum filled with grown-ups truly enjoying themselves. We watched as they turned knobs, adjusted demonstration equipment, and pulled levers that made objects shoot in the air, roll down inclines, and create patterns – all in the pursuit of science, of course.

Activities for the evening included a “Dino Speed Dating” program, in which experts gave brief talks about the dinosaurs in their featured exhibit, “Dinosaurs: China’s Ancient Giants”.

Michael and Heather Lindberg came from Vancouver, Washington, to take in the event. “The best part is, there are no second-graders here,” Heather said. “My husband teaches second grade. When we visited, it was with his class. For me, it’s more fun without the kids.”

As for the teacher, Michael reported, “It’s a little odd, but it’s fun.”

The only area off-limits was the children’s playroom. Some folks tested the door, and looked disappointed they couldn’t frolic among games contained therein.

A caterer brings out another slab of the superb appetizers provided at the July 9th party by the museum.

Libations abound
OMSI members entered the party free; guests paid a cover charge – but found it a great value.

More than discovering the secrets of science alone, guests also tasted – and learned the science behind – food and beverage favorites from local gastronomical artisans, including Moonstruck Chocolate, Full Sail Brewing, Portland Roasting, Hip Chicks Do Wine, Bon Appetit, and Clear Creek Distillery.

In the courtyard tent, tables were festooned with appetizers ranging from fruits and cheeses to decadent cookies and brownies. Being an adult event, a tended bar was available to offer spirited cheer.

Jake Gold, Science Educator at OMSI, talks dinosaurs with visitor Richard Young.

Follow-up event planned
This isn’t a one-shot event, Thomas assured us. “Judging by the turnout, we’ll have another all-adult event, probably in conjunction with the opening of a new exhibit like ‘Mind-Bender Mansion’. Look for it in late January or early February of 2009.”

For more information, check out their their web site:

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Can you have a beautiful lawn and garden – without using chemical? Meet a man whose garden paradise is kept lush by totally natural means …

“Natural gardener” John Caine says he’s happy to share his secrets with guests who came by during Metro’s Gardens of Natural Delight” tour.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The pursuit of beautiful flowerbeds and a lush, green lawn lead many homeowners to get out the chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers.

“More citizens nowadays are interested in keeping their yards safe for children and pets,” said Carl Grimm, Metro’s Natural Gardening and Toxics Reduction Specialist, as he told us about the tenth annual “Gardens of Natural Delight” tour on Sunday, July 13. “They’re also interested in protecting our waterways from harmful and polluting garden chemicals.”

Thirty gardens throughout the tri-county area offered free, self-guided tours. Grimm suggested we see John Caine’s garden in Sellwood.

Every square foot of yard – including this narrow side walk – is covered with naturally-tended foliage.

SE Portland gardener highlighted
“Welcome to the banana-belt of Portland,” John Caine said as he welcomed us – and hundreds of others throughout the day – to his backyard paradise on SE 7th Avenue in Sellwood.

“Need proof?” challenged Caine. “I have a banana orchard over here.”

As guests circulated in his garden, oooing and aaahing over his colorful plants, greenery, and Koi pond, Caine said his purpose was to show folks that they could get great results while maintaining a garden organically.

“People are surprised at how luscious a garden one can have, using organic gardening methods. You don’t have to use chemicals,” Caine said.

35 years of gardening
We asked Caine how he got involved in organic gardening.

“I’ve been in the nursery industry and the landscaping industry for 35 years,” he explained. “After spending so much time in greenhouses where so many chemicals were used, I quit. I was afraid of being hurt by all the chemicals.”

About 10 years ago, he said, he started down the organic path, by using hot pepper wax spray on his roses to keep aphids off them. “I had such good luck; I really got into organic gardening. I’d used compost all my life, but this was a turning point away from using chemicals. I soon found all kinds of other natural gardening methods were available.”

Informational signs posted throughout the garden instruct visitors in the ways of organic gardening.

Natural fertilizer is best
“A compost pile is one of the best sources of fertilizers that you can have,” declared Caine. “You recycle the nutrients right in your garden. And, not using quick-dissolving fertilizers keeps keep unwanted nutrients out of our rivers.

Additionally, the master gardener says, he thinks organic fertilizers actually work better than chemical nutrients – and offered his garden as proof. He continued saying that some commercially-available natural fertilizers, like “Dr. Earth”, add positive fungus that helps plants grow and fend off diseases.

Pesticide prescription
In place of using commercial chemical insecticides, he recommends using natural products that can be found at area mass merchandisers.

“Last year, I picked up some garlic oil at Fred Meyer,” recalled Caine. “Instead of killing insects, it keeps them from coming up onto the plant’s foliage. Garlic oil also works as a fungicide. I use it on my roses to get rid of black spot.”

Russel Callen and Esther Westbrook say they’ll put to use concepts they learned at Caine’s garden at their Westmoreland home.

Seeing is believing
Caine said the best part of being on the tour was seeing the reactions of visitors as they walk around his house and through is back yard. “When they see the results of natural gardening, they believe they can do it, too.”

In addition to talking with gardener Caine, signs and displays around the grounds provided visitors with information.

Westmoreland residents, and natural gardening acolytes, Esther Westbrook and Russel Callen said they learned a lot by visiting Caine’s garden.

“We’re looking for tips on doing natural gardening,” Westbrook said. “This garden is a good example of how beautiful a natural garden can be.”

Holding back nothing, Caine displays his “tools of the trade” in including his gardening favorites, an English Border Fork, Border Shovel and Scuffle Hoe. There aren’t any chemicals – these are all natural products.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

There’s a lesson to be learned from this wreck …

It’s unclear who caused this accident – but the result is crystal clear: Two vehicles are totaled, and people were injured…

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In many ways, the smash-up on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Duke Street was unremarkable.

No one was killed, nor were there serious injuries, in this accident which took place at high noon.

What we learned from Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz was that witnesses at the scene disagreed on who had the red light, so no citations were issued.

Everyone walked away from this one, but a moment’s inattention can cost drivers more than just a wrecked vehicle.

“75-year-old Jean Baggs was ia blue PT Cruiser northbound on SE 82nd, and was in the process of turning westbound on SE Duke Street, when she collided with red Honda being driven southbound on SE 82nd Avenue by 50-year-old Deborah Steimer,” Schmautz reported.

No matter who was at fault the result was the same: Two smashed cars, and two injured drivers. Schmautz advises to drive defensively, and to assume the other drivers might make a mistake that could cost you. That’s the best way to make sure you arrive at your destination.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

In the mood for ice cream? Read this and discover chef Rachel Goebert’s secret recipe for making his version of this delicious cold treat. It’s easier than you may think …

Rachel Goebert of Caprial’s Westmoreland Kitchen, shows her abilities go beyond being a professional pastry chef. She demonstrates how to make custard-style ice cream.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In addition to all of the vendors who provide foods ranging from fresh fruit and produce to prepared meals, the Wednesday afternoon Moreland Farmer’s Market offers cooking demonstrations each week.

The market operates on the Portland Memorial parking lot at S.E. Bybee Boulevard at 14th in Westmoreland. To learn the secrets of making premium vanilla ice cream, we stopped by on July 16th.

“Making ice cream at home isn’t as difficult as many folks think,” Chef Goebert says.

“You’re just in time,” said Rachel Goebert of Caprial’s Westmoreland Kitchen. “Today, we’re demonstrating how to make custard style ice cream.  And when we’re done, we’ll top it with fresh berries from the farmers market.”

As the crowd gathered, Goebert told us she graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland. “My specialty for the past five years is being a professional pastry chef. I’ve been cooking pretty much all of my life, ever since I had an ‘Easy-Bake Oven’ when I was a little girl.”

Chef Goebert scoops up some of her freshly made ice cream at the Moreland Farmer’s Market.

Cool demo on a hot day
Getting her ingredients together, Goebert began, “On a nice hot day, teaching people how to make ice cream, well, there can’t be anything better. Hopefully some kids here will learn how to make one of their favorite foods. And, it’s fun here hanging out in my neighborhood, meeting and teaching my neighbors.”

Although she didn’t have a stove on which to cook the ingredients, Goebert went through the recipe step-by-step. She explained that she’d already made a big batch – and it was churning in the ice cream maker as she spoke.

By the end of her demonstration, market volunteers had scooped up dozens of cups of her custard ice cream, and were topping the frozen confection with a sauce made from fresh blue and raspberries.

Recipe cards flew from the rack, cups of ice cream were whisked away, and the only sound was that of smacking lips. It was delicious.

“It’s good!” says Maya Adams-Pastor, as she samples some of Rachel Goebert’s freshly made ice cream while sitting on Andrea Pastor’s lap.

The Chef’s recipe
Custard-style Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups of half-and-half or whole milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Vanilla bean, split
  • 3 tbs vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, bring cream, with the vanilla bean in it, to almost a boil. Turn off heat; let stand for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Bring cream and half-and-half almost to a boil. Temper egg yolk mixture by adding about a cup of the boiling liquid into the bowl, while whisking.

Turn off heat and add tempered egg/sugar mixture to the saucepan and whisk briskly. Strain and refrigerate overnight or until completely cooled. Follow the directions on your ice cream making machine.

Volunteers Elaine Harper and Kathy Kreipe scoop the ice cream, and ladle on the fresh berry sauce.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

It’s possible you could be seeing the Portland Beavers play at Lents Park? See who’s behind the idea and how it might a reality …

Greg Peden tells an audience of Rotarians why the plans of Portland Timbers owner, Merritt Paulson, to gain a Major League Soccer franchise here could result in his AAA baseball team, the Portland Beavers, moving to a new baseball stadium in Lents.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the not-too-distant future, when you hear the umpire cry, “Play ball!” followed by the crack of a bat hitting a baseball – it may not be city league teams playing at Charles Walker Stadium in Lents Park on SE 92nd Avenue at Holgate Boulevard – it could be Portland’s AAA minor-league Portland Beavers.

That’s the picture painted by Greg Peden, of Gallatin Public Affairs, who represents Henry Merritt Paulson III – owner of the Portland Timbers professional soccer team and the Portland Beavers minor league baseball team. Peden spoke at the SE Portland Club Rotary meeting on July 14.

Paulson is the son of Henry Paulson, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury; he moved here in 2006 to buy and operate the Beavers and the Portland Timbers minor league soccer team.

Pro soccer franchise sought
Paulson plans to bring Major League Soccer to Portland within the next two years, Peden explained. “Major League Soccer (MLS) currently has 16 teams around the country and is expanding to 18.  Professional Soccer is booming in the US right now – both Philadelphia and Seattle have acquired teams in the last 12 months. Seattle sold 12,000 season tickets within 6 months after acquiring their team.”

If Paulson gets the franchise, MLS would require upgrades to PGE Park, Peden told the group – and those upgrades would require the Beavers baseball team to find a new home. Because of seating changes, PGE Park would become a soccer-specific stadium; making it impossible to share the venue with the baseball team, although PSU football could still take place there.

Peden says whether or not the neighborhood gets behind the idea of a minor league baseball stadium in Lents will be a deciding factor.

Seeking new ball park location
“We have identified two locations in the city that would work for a new minor league baseball stadium with about 8,000 seats,” revealed Peden.

Port of Portland’s “Terminal 1”, off Naito Parkway on the west side of the Willamette River, is one proposed location for the new ballpark. No longer a freight facility, it’s currently being used by the City as an industrial staging area for the Big Pipe program.

“Overlooking the Willamette River, this could be an attractive location,” Peden said. “However, it is an industrial area, and there transportation access issues.”

Top choice: Lents Park
The ball club’s ideal location for a new stadium would be the northeast corner of Lents Park.

“To put it into perspective, Charles Walker Stadium [now on the site] has a capacity of 1,000 fans,” Peden explained. “We propose building a stadium with seating for 8,000 to 9,000 people. It may seem large, but it’s much smaller than Seattle’s Safeco Field, where the Mariners offer 40,000 seats.”

The ball club’s spokesman said there are challenges at Lents Park – namely, finding 1,500 on-site parking spaces. However, with the new MAX light rail station mere blocks away, access may not be a major issue, and the team would explore arranging to use some parking areas at nearby Eastport Plaza.

“The park will have a positive economic impact on the area,” Peden continued. “If we find the majority of people in the Lents community were opposed to the idea, we wouldn’t try to shoe-horn it in. But so far the response has been very positive.”

Although the 1,000-seat Charles Walker Stadium in Lents Park on SE 92nd Avenue at Holgate Boulevard is used daily during the season, few fans fill the bleachers.

Neighbor’s views
The Lents Neighborhood Association hasn’t yet taken a stand, said its Chair, Dewey Akers. “We’re forming a committee to discuss the issue.”

Long-time Lents-area booster, and president of the 82nd Ave. of Roses Business Association, Ken Turner, said he personally endorses the idea.

“Aside from my life-long passion for baseball,” Turner said, “I see the possibility of the Portland Beavers into the area as a positive move for redevelopment.”

Turner added that while a baseball team cannot be considered a keystone for redevelopment, he feels it will bring positive improvements to Lents by showcasing the area as a good, family-oriented neighborhood.

“I see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Lents to gain a major attraction. There’s a lot to be discussed; but this is an opportunity – regardless of the outcome – should be pursued.”

Could this area be the new home of the Portland Beavers? It’s depends …

Hinges on obtaining a franchise
Whether or not the Portland Beavers will move – anywhere – is contingent upon Major League Soccer approving Paulson’s application for a franchise.

“We’re looking at a three month time line for approval,” Peden said. “There is competition from owners in other cities for a major league soccer team.” If there is no soccer franchise here, then the Beavers would stay put in PGE Park.

Obtaining the soccer franchise would cost $40 million dollars, all of which Paulson is prepared to pay. But he would require some public assistance with the stadium.

At that point it would be up to the sports team owner to convince members of the Portland City Council that there is a sufficient fan base to make participating in the investment to improve PGE Park – and to build a new stadium at Lents park – worthwhile.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Smoke from the blaze at Buckaroo Thermoseal Roofing and Insulation could be seen all over the greater Portland area. See why firefighters had their work cut out for them, at this industrial fire …

As we approach from NE Sandy Boulevard at NE 112th Avenue, Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters on this aerial ladder truck were often obscured by thick, dark smoke produced by the furiously burning roofing material.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As Parkrose Neighborhood Association chair Mary Walker was leaving work on Sunnyside Road and coming home, on the morning of July 23, she noticeed a column of thick, dark smoke rising up in the north.

“As I drove north and got closer to home,” Walker told us as we watched the blaze from her front yard, “I thought it was coming from the airport or from Vancouver. But when I arrived in Parkrose, I could clearly see the fire and smoke coming up from the industrial area, a block north of NE Sandy Boulevard.”

Firefighters pour two streams of water on the fire from the same ladder rig.

Smoke seen for miles
Walker wasn’t the only one who noticed the smoke from the fire that broke out at Buckaroo Thermoseal, a 40-year-old roofing and insulation installation company on NE 109th Avenue near NE Marx Street about 10 a.m. that morning.

The conflagration grew so quickly that, as the smoke boiled into the cool, overcast sky, it formed a partial mushroom cloud, darkening the area. Freeway traffic on I-205 slowed to look at the growing commercial fire.

Heavy damage was sustained by the roofing firm, but Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crew members worked diligently to keep an affiliated company, A and B Sheet Metal, from also going up in flames. On either side of the lot were stories-high piles of wood chips, also spared from burning.

From the air, on the roof and on the ground, firefighters battle this industrial blaze.

Goes to three alarms
“The smoke everyone saw was generated by a free-burning fire in several different types of roofing materials,” explained PF&R spokesman, Lt. Allen Oswalt.

The first Battalion Chief on scene immediately called a second alarm to bring in more firefighting equipment and personnel. Shortly thereafter, a third alarm was called.

By 10:30 a.m., 13 engines, five trucks, six Chief Officers, and 80 firefighters from PF&R as well as the Gresham Fire Department were on scene, battling the inferno.

So many units were called to the scene; “reserve rigs” were called to provide service from stations vacated by this three-alarm fire.

“No evacuations were ordered, except for the areas immediately surrounding the fire,” Oswalt said. “Neighboring businesses were temporarily shut down, to allow firefighters access to the burning structure.”

“There were semi-trucks parked at the loading dock, and a 5,000 gallon diesel tank near the burning building,” Oswalt reported. “Another concern was keeping the fire from spreading, due to embers falling from the smoke column.”

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish (in the white helmet) looks on as Fire Bureau Chief John Klum confers with the Battalion Chief managing the fire-fighting effort.

City Commissioner marvels at command structure
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, now in charge of overseeing PF&R, donned a turnout and helmet to get a first-hand look at how his bureau tackles a major conflagration.

As Fish walked into the fire scene with Chief John Klum, he said it seemed like being on the set of a Hollywood movie.

“All of the firefighters were moving into position, calmly and rapidly,” the newly-elected City Councilman recalled. “Observing the command structure in action is a marvel. The Chief and Deputy Chief were there as a resources, but the Battalion Chief was organizing and coordinating the effort.”

With piles of shredded wood three stories high on either side of the warehouse, firefighters have their hands full to keep this “kindling” from catching fire.

Fish also said he gained an appreciation of how well city bureaus and utilities work together. “The police provided traffic control, the Portland Water Bureau rerouted water to make sure firefighters had enough pressure, and Pacific Power promptly arrived to cut power to the site.”

The Commissioner said he met the company’s owner at the site. “Naturally, he was distressed by the fire, but said he, too, was impressed firefighting effort. We tend to take our fire bureau for granted – but this is another example of why Portland Fire & Rescue is best in the country.”

So is the fire, this steel warehouse is melting like plastic.

Smoke fills the air as firefighters use all available water, piped in through miles of hoses, to douse the flames and keep the fire from spreading.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See what happened when 70 folks from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce drove, chipped, and putted their way around the golf course, as they networked …

Chamber president, Rich Sorem, presents the trophy bowl to the winners of the 2008 East Portland Chamber of Commerce Golf Tourney, “Team Gresham Ford” members Bob Avila and David Shepherd. Team members Gabe Godwin and Ian Heffeneider were not available for the photo.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The 2008 East Portland Chamber of Commerce Golf Tourney is now in the history books – and it appeared as if all of those who participated came out winners.

The weather was perfect for a fine round of golf at the Colwood National Golf Course in outer East Portland, located at the southern edge of Portland International Airport.

Here, showing off the brand new Mustang offered in the “Hole-in-One” contest sponsored by Richard Kiely’s Home Run Graphics, are Gail Kiely of Home Run Graphics and Ginny Sorem.

On the course, players of all skill ranges drove, chipped – and some even pitched – the ball around the course. The spirit of fellowship seemed to be more important than the competition.

Sadly, no golfer made a hole-in-one in the contest sponsored by Home Run Graphics, but every player tried their best to drive home the brand new, red Mustang put up by Richard Kiely as a prize in the event someone did.

After the tournament, participants tuck into a hamburger lunch buffet at the clubhouse.

Fun continues after play
After the duffers returned from the links, they were served a buffet luncheon. At the same time, participants bid on a wide range of silent-auction items, ranging from “sports legends” posters to GPS systems.

And, thanks to the help of the Chamber volunteers who set up and ran the tournament and the after-party, – the raffle awards were made at a lighting-fast pace! These volunteers includedc Pam Olson, Holly Moss, David

Ashton, Richard Kiely, Margo Marver, Bob Rubin, JoLynn Walker, Kate Kaufman, Norm Rice, Tom Rich, Max Corona, Vicki Moser and Judy Leach.

Over 70 golfers, lots of volunteers, and good food and drinks made for a memorable day for all who came out to Colwood for the benefit event.

Tournament Photo Album

On the course, we greet the “NW Senior and Boomer News” team of Ray Padilla, Bob Buhrer, Clark Seeley, and Frank Ryan.

This group of happy golfers included Michael Sullivan of Capital M Lending, Dan LaGrande of LeGrande Public Relations, as well as Andre LaGrande, and Priscilla Hulin of “ATripTo.Com”.

The team of Casey Ryan, Dana Kelly, and Kirk Jenson from Riverview Community Bank are on the links, running a “Green for Green” contest – which supported Snow Cap Charities to the tune of $531.

Annette Leoni of Classique Floors (“The best little floor store in town”) addresses the ball, and sends it flying toward the pin.

Kevin (“not your ordinary bean counter”) Minkoff drives one down the fairway.

Steven Anderson of 1st Class Properties, Greg Langford of Home Team Inspection Services, Tom Kerr of Kerr Properties Inc., and Norm Rice, Realtor with 1st Class Properties, were all having a great round of golf.

Pam Olson of Farmer’s Insurance, and Ken Turner, EPCC Government Affairs Chair, work to total up the golf scores.

More than 70 golfers participated in the event – and then enjoyed lunch!

Cathy Grubb, the Chamber’s executive secretary, takes a break for lunch from a helping produce the tournament to grab some well-deserved lunch.

Coming in at second place: The team of Rich Sorem, Kevin Minkoff, Skip Hayzlett, and Elliott West.

Third-place winners: Roger Stopa, Chuck Garner, Lauren Hill, and Jiles Ogles – last years first-place awardees.

Thanks to the sponsors
The Chamber thanks major sponsors Adventist Medical Center, Home Run Graphics, and Warren Allen LLP; and sponsors Riverview Community Bank, NW Senior & Boomer News, Portland Tribune, Ricoh Business Solutions, Eastport Plaza, and Stewart & Tunno Integrated Data Systems.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

This band won’t be playing again until the fall – but here’s why you should watch for their listing in upcoming Community Calendars …

Co-director Jay Burchak leads the mighty Portland Metro Concert Band in a rousing march.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A couple of weeks ago, the parking lot outside of the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center on the campus of David Douglas High School was filling up, as patrons prepared to enjoy the Spring Concert of the Portland Metro Concert Band.

Now, the Metro Concert Band isn’t just a couple of musicians who toot tunes under a gazebo – this is a stage-sized ensemble of professional musicians who provide a first-class performance of widely varied musical selections.

This mighty band puts plays a wide variety of music very smartly.

At exactly 7:30 p.m., that summer evening, Co-director Jay Burchak raised his baton, and the concert was underway.

The program consisted of seven numbers. Under the baton of co-director Jay Burchak, the first half of the concert included a march by Jon Philip Sousa, a medley of Broadway tunes, a salute to big bands, and selections from the Broadway musical, “Oliver”.

During intermission, volunteers supply coffee and cookies as band and audience members mingle in the lobby.

Leading the band during the concert’s second half is co- Co-director Fev Pratt.

Co-director Fev Pratt took the baton after the intermission.

The band played six more selections, including portions of eight songs from the popular musical, “Annie”. The second half also featured the energetic Wagnerian classic, “Ride of the Valkyries”. This set closed with a fast-paced march that conjured up memories of attending the circus.

Although 250 people attended the concert, there was room for even more people to enjoy the fine music this great band presents.

It’s great to find terrific band music like this performed so well in the outer eastside of Portland. As word gets out about the band’s free shows – and the great refreshments during intermission – we suspect the auditorium might be filled at the next concert in the fall.

The Portland Metro Concert Band plays music of many genres, from the classics to popular show tunes.

Supported by donations
The band is supported by donations, including a grant from East Portland Neighbors, Inc., and by donations taken at the door.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

What will Randy Hutchinson be doing when school starts this fall? Find out the answer right here …

Standing in the doorway of his office at David Douglas High School for one of the last times, Randy Hutchinson says he looks forward to retirement.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When the first school bell rings in September, life-long educator Randy Hutchinson says he hopes to be fishing. Hutchinson won’t be playing hooky, mind you; the life-long educator is retiring from his post as Principal at David Douglas High School.

“I started out in Portland Public Schools in 1974,” Hutchinson reminisces.  “From there I went to Sandy and stayed for 20 years before coming to David Douglas High in 1995. It’s been a great run; yes, it’s been a great run. And yes, I’m looking forward to retiring, very much so.”

At the end-of-school-year barbecue, more than 300 teachers and support staff members gather to give Hutchinson a warm send-off – and to have a great lunch! Volunteers from the David Douglas High Parent Teacher Student Association prepare and serve the meal.

Maintains high standards
We ask Hutchinson what he considers his greatest challenge to have been, moving from Vice Principal to the top spot at the school in the past few years.

“It was tough to follow in his footsteps of our school’s previous Principal, John Herrington, because he did such a phenomenal job,” Hutchinson replies. “Our entire staff has worked hard to make sure we maintain the high standards he set. We’ve continued to accomplish that. That’s why I feel good about retiring now.”

Shane Sykes, Melissa Meeks and Rachel Burggraff from the SE 122nd & Stark Street Burgerville restaurant are cooking up burgers for the event.

Providing meaningful education
Most significant, Hutchinson says, is that the school’s staff has stayed true to their mission and vision. “We’re headed in the right direction; we’ve maintained the integrity of our high academic standards and graduation requirements,” smiles Hutchinson.

“Our kids – 70% of whom are in poverty – 90% of them are going on to post-secondary education – that is phenomenal.” Additionally, Hutchinson says that Oregon higher education studies show that, of those David Douglas students who go into the universities, after a year and a half most of them are still in school. “These are all great numbers. We have a great staff and great kids – you can’t ask for more than that.”

Randy Hutchinson shares a light moment with staff members at the luncheon.

‘Kids are kids’
We ask Hutchinson if, during his educational career, he’s seen changes in schools over the years.

“Nothing has really changed,” Hutchinson replies. “Kids are kids. Trends come and go, but the reality is that they all need the same thing: Caring adults in their life, who push them further than they think they’re capable of going. I think we have a school full of teachers who are doing that well.”

Hutchinson gives DDHS PTSA outgoing president Karen Britton a plaque for her service. “I really appreciate all of your support over the years,” Britton says. “I’ll still be involved, and I look forward to helping out our new president coming on board. Please support the new president as you’ve supported me.”

Thanks community for support
Hutchinson goes on, saying that instead of being thanked for his service, it’s he who thanks the community for their support. We ask him what he’d like to say directly to the people in the school district.

“It’s been a real honor to serve you and your students,” responds Hutchinson.  “Our parents are incredibly supportive, and that makes all the difference in the world. It makes a difference when you call home and get a positive response; having the trust of the parents is very important. They reflect that by the way they vote [on bond issues]. It’s been a great place to be.”

As part of the farewell gathering, PTSA board member James Hollett gives Hutchison a wrapped and heavy gift. It turns out to be a brick – which will be engraved, and installed under the school’s flagpole in recognition of his service to the school.

Plans outdoor adventures
If Hutchinson puts as much energy into outdoor sports as he has into being a good Principal, fish and fowl in the region have much to fear.

“I love the out of doors,” Hutchinson tells us with a big smile. “I love to fish, and fly fishing is a definite passion of mine. And I love to do some game bird hunting.”

Hutchinson adds, “the best salmon runs in Alaska are in September and October – months that are critical to getting the school year off to a good start.” Those are months he’s never been able to fish in – and now he will!

New principal chosen
According to officials at the David Douglas School District, John Bier has been named the school’s new Principal. Bier has worked in the district for about 19 years, and was Vice Principal at David Douglas High.

Teachers and staff members sign the guest book (bottom left corner), and write their farewell messages to Hutchison, at the event.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Wow! The only way to get a plot at this outer NE Portland Community Garden is to hope a farmer there drops out! See what all the fuss is about …

In the shadow of the “famous” Hazelwood water tower, Sharon Ducy tends her garden.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At one time, the property under the Hazelwood water tower was a fenced-off field, sitting unused.

Then, along came Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who transformed the unused Hazelwood Water building into the neighborhood coalition’s headquarters – and the field behind it into a park-like setting called the Hazelwood Hydro-Park.

Now, in cooperation with the Portland Water Bureau, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has opened a Community Garden on the site.

Leslie Pohl-Kosbau, Community Gardens Director for PP&R, and parks advocate Linda Robinson welcome people to the new Community Garden in Hazelwood.

Plots snapped up quickly
On opening day, a couple of weeks ago, we learned from PP&R Community Gardens Director Leslie Pohl-Kosbau that all of the 27 plots had already been spoken for.

“But, there may be some people who drop out during the year,” commented Pohl-Kosbau. “Some people move away; others find it’s too much work. Citywide, there over 750 people waiting to get into a community garden.”

Naomi Olin waters plants on her Community Garden Plot in Hazelwood.

Neighbor Naomi Olin said she lives close by, and likes the idea of a community garden. “It’s fun to be a part of the community, and share some involvement with of our neighbors.”

Sharon Ducy, who lives near Glendoveer Golf Course, said she was happy to have gotten one of the 27 20′ x 20′ garden plots. “I’m planting Swiss chard, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, peppers, and hot peppers. It’s much better to grow food yourself; I love to garden.”

Painting the new “barn” at the Hazelwood Community Garden is Darcy Cronin, Portland Water Bureau Facilities Services Specialist.

Pohl-Kosbau said the Parks Bureau is working to develop more capacity in outer East Portland. “We’re developing gardens; the demand is huge. It’s harder to find land in the inner core of the city.”

Find out more
If you want to get on the waiting list, or learn more, call PP&R (503) 823-1612.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

If you haven’t checked it out, look at the all the fresh fruit and produce coming to this market, located at Parkrose High School …

Market master Steve Voorhees, of Parkrose Farmers Market, samples some of the fresh cherries now on sale.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The newest farmers market to open in outer East Portland – the Parkrose Farmers Market – has only been open for 12 days now.

So says market master, Steve Voorhees, who adds, “Of course, we’re only open on Saturdays!”

While the market got off to a good start, attendance briefly lagged, Voorhees tells us, “due to the poor early growing season. Our numbers are now strong.”

Kevin Herbst and Dru Gorman of Maryhill Orchards urge market visitors to sample their luscious fruits.

Halfway through new season
Now that crops are coming in, the number of vendors – 47 of them, including nine produce growers – are up, and so are the number of shoppers.

“We’re about halfway through the season,” Voorhees says. “Right now, the hearty produce is starting to pick up now and the crowds are coming in. We hope for a thousand visitors today,” he predicts at the July 12 market.

Maria Theresa Gonzalez and Sandra Deleon are serving up corn and chicken tamales.

“We got the hearty produce coming in like the zucchini squash,” the market master grins. “We also are seeing radishes, and hopefully peppers will be coming in next week. Apricot season has started, and cherries are coming in – so are raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Hermiston melons will be coming in soon, too.”

Jammin’ at the market are The Rewinders – they’re great and back in August playing a mix of folk, blues and rock music, from the 50s up to today’s music.

Entertainment – and contests – for all
In addition to produce and hand-made items, Voorhees mentions that the market continues to feature live music every week: Zimba Marimba play during the July 19 market he says. Plus, there are always children’s activities provided for the little shoppers that come along to the market.

“Be sure to mention this,” Voorhees interjects. “We’ve got our First Annual Baking Contest coming up on August 16. The entry is free, and you could win a $20 gift certificate if you bring the winning bread, cake or pie.”

You’ll need to be at the market at 10 a.m. to participate; the entries will be judged by Portland Fire & Rescue “calendar guys”, he adds.

Look for this sign at the Parkrose Festival & Cruise-in on August 2.

Market moves on August 2
For one Saturday only, on August 2, the market will move to downtown Parkrose, and will be part of the Parkrose Festival & Cruise-in. “Instead of competing with this great community event, we are becoming part of it. Come check out your local farmers market.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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