More than just the inexpensive ice cream, see how all the fun activities at this Southeast event supports a great cause …

As part of his duties, event chair Reid Kells monitors the Big Bounce Room, at this year’s Sundae in the Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For 27 years, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League’s (SMILE) “Sundae in the Park” has been the preeminent neighborhood event. The 28th edition on August 3, in Sellwood Park, managed to outshine even the previous versions.

The primary attraction has always been the 50-cent ice cream sundaes; but loads of entertainment and activities through the day and into the evening provide the “cherry” that top the event.

Brings neighbors together
“Not only is this a great tradition,” said SMILE’s past president and the chair of this year’s event, Reid Kells, “but also it seems crazy not to have a single event where you can get the entire neighborhood together.”

There are many occasions for neighbors to meet, Kells continued, when they are dealing with governmental issues or getting together at school functions. “But this is a totally fun event. In this way, if we must meet to solve some of the problems we face, we already know one another.”

Nealy Wilson, Matilda Lally, and Regan Moore eagerly behold the ice cream being served up at Sundae at the Park.

Serving up cool treats are volunteer Margie Davidson and Claudia Stewart, the latter being the new President of Southeast Portland Rotary, whose members scoop up the ice cream sundaes at the event.

Southeast Portland Rotary’s Forris Frick pours on caramel topping for Eleanor Arango’s sundae.

Event is ideal for families
This year, Kells and his volunteers made sure there were kids’ activities, including a big air-bounce room, face painting, and loads of family entertainment.

“The 2005 census showed how many children there are now, in our neighborhood,” noted Kells. “This makes it more important than ever for families to meet each other. These days, it’s good for both the parents and the kids to know – and to look out for – one another.”

One of the many groups filling the park with music throughout the day, Sunday, August 3: “Doc Normal and the John Borroz Trio”.

Flanked by volunteer grillmasters Bill Summers and Richard Gilbert is Lynne Chowning, the Center Manger of the Thelma Skelton Loaves & Fishes on Milwaukie Avenue in Brooklyn.

Loaves and Fishes focus
The proceeds from the event are dedicated each year to the Thelma Skelton Loaves & Fishes Center in Brooklyn. Even commercial vendors like Bellagio’s Pizza kicked in their sales to the charity.

“This year, we limited the number of organizations present, so we didn’t distract from Loaves and Fishes,” Kells mentioned.

Lynne Chowning, manager of that Loaves & Fishes Center, said she was thankful. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, thanks to SMILE. We’re grilling up sausages and hot dogs, and receiving benefits from the ice cream sales.”

The Center’s need is more critical than ever, Chowning added. “We’ve been hit especially hard by the cost of food. Our expenses are up about 35% since January. Also, we’re serving about 20% more people. Call me if you can help: (503) 953-8209.”

Juggler Curtis Carlyle amazes and astounds guests at the event.

Winners of the first annual “superhero costume contest” are: Emma Hill, “Duct Tape Princess”, who fights evil people by sticking them together; Sawyer Hill, “Recycling Man”, who turns wrongdoers into cardboard stand-ups; Maia Rasmussen, “The Sellwood BEE”, who says she fights misinformation everywhere; and Cassidy Hill, “Gelato Girl”, whose opponent is Weight Watchers, and who must beware of saunas.

Costume contest provides winning entertainment
New to “Sundae in the Park” this year was a different kind of costume contest – in which entrants dressed as superheroes, drawn from existing fiction or the individual’s imagination.

In addition to being judged on their attire, entrants were asked to tell what evil they had fought – and to describe their arch-enemy. It was clear from the entertaining descriptions that the participants had carefully thought out their responses. Four winners were chosen using Kells’ “Audience-O-Meter Response System”.

Taryn Wilbert, getting her face painted by Danielle Perry – Danielle and Friends volunteered to help out at Sundae at the Park.

Small, but powerful, Leah Alper scampers to the top of the Portland Parks climbing wall in Sellwood Park.

Fun lasts into the evening
As the day wore on, the fun continued, thanks this year not only to the local entertainment, but to the Portland Parks & Recreation Staff. The day was capped off at dusk as with a “Big Screen on the Green” outdoor movie showing of the recent movie “Nancy Drew”.

On behalf of the estimated 3,000+ folks who attended, three cheers for Kells – and all the volunteers, organizations, and firms who made this event the very best ever.

Eric Norberg, editor of THE BEE (serving inner SE Portland) and member of SE Portland Rotary, cheerfully scoops ice cream for guests at the event.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

How’s the city combating gang crime, street thugs, transit safety and prostitution? Learn more about the program the bureau’s Assistant Chief says is doing the job … or at least, part of it …

East Portland Involved Citizens (EPIC) Director Dave Smith introduces the cops who are tasked with putting the “HEAT” on crooks.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many outer East Portland neighbors expressed concern, when they learned that the Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) had been dismantled.

Starting as the “Tired of Tweekers” initiative several years ago, CRU officers focused on detecting the criminal behavior, primarily, of drug-affected individuals – especially repeat offenders.

The CRU cops became very adept at keeping an eye on the crooks who were committing a large number of crimes; property crime reports dropped, and the drug trade was diminished.

Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Lynnae Berg tells why CRU was dismantled, and introduces the new policing policies.

Cop shortage forces changes
To find out why the CRU was dismantled – and how the Portland Police Bureau now deals with outer East Portland crime, especially along the eastern border of Portland – we attended the bi-monthly meeting of East Portland Involved Citizens (EPIC), a few days ago.

“In our bureau, we’ve been short on staffing,” explained Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Lynnae Berg. “We’re ‘running lean’, partly due to the time it takes to recruit and train new officers, and partly due to retirements. We’ve cut special units [such as CRU] in order to bolster staffing in the precincts.”

Additionally, Berg said, the bureau needed to better address gang activity throughout Portland. “From January through June 2008, there has been an increase in gang activity. Citywide, there were 32 gang shootings or incidents in which the gang unit was called out.”

Asked if this has become a crime trend, Berg responded, “It’s hard to tell, because of the cyclical nature of gang violence.”

These ‘high speed, low-drag’ officers make up the city’s new “Hotspot Enforcement Action Team” (HEAT), commissioned to reduce gang violence.

HEAT focused on gang activities
Berg told the group that a new citywide unit has been formed – called the “Hotspot Enforcement Action Team” (HEAT). “We believe that ‘high speed, low-drag’ officers – led by sergeants of the same ilk – could have an impact on crime. We sought out high-performance officers with good judgment, who work well in small teams.”

Berg said HEAT meets weekly to decide how to allocate resources. They focus on areas with gang activity, or where youths cause problems. Another purpose is to have officers show themselves in public spaces, to ease the fear of crime in parks, she added. “And HEAT has more than exceeded our expectations.”

With that, Berg introduced HEAT Sergeants Mendenhall and Passidore.

Difference between CRU and HEAT
Sgt. Anthony Passidore – one of the original CRU officers – spoke about the new program.

“In CRU,” Passidore began, “we took the time to ‘climb the ladder’ in several criminal organizations and dismantle them. In HEAT, we are ‘out in the public’; we’re not exclusively dealing with those who are involved in criminal behavior.”

While the team works citywide, Passidore explained that they focus on outer East Portland hot crime spots, such as the ones on the MAX light rail line along E. Burnside Street at 82nd, 122nd, and 162nd Avenues. “Most of the ‘hot spots’ we deal with haven’t changed; we look for areas that have a propensity for a high level of activity. It may be a high school, or some sort of social gathering place.”

Talks about gang violence
Berg said HEAT is helping the bureau with gang designations. “There is a growing segment of Hispanic gangs. Challenges we face dealing with them include cultural and language issues.”

Passidore said that during the 1980s, gangs wore their “colors” [a bandanna or other clothing of a certain color or pattern] when they hung out. “Starting in the 1990s, members hid their colors, for fear of being identified; older [gang members] coming out of jail don’t show colors. But, the younger members do.”

Little compassion for others
The difference between rude teenagers and gangsters, Passidore continued, is that gang members are driven by money and status. And, chillingly, they have little compassion for others.

“Gang conflict comes from disrespect, girlfriends, and territorial issues,” Passidore informed. “Especially with the younger ones, the silliest things can set them off. They go from calm to extreme violence — instantly.”

Asked if gang members set out to hurt uninvolved citizens, Berg answered, “They are intending to do violence against one another. But they show little concern a about ‘collateral damage’, when they spray automatic weapon fire in a dense neighborhood. Their threshold is very low for using violence.”

Passidore added, “It can be difficult to tell the difference between a band of disrespectful roving kids and gang members.”

Sgt. Anthony Passidore – one of outer East Portland’s original CRU members – now helps lead the citywide HEAT officers.

Violence on mass transit
Asked about mass-transit-related violence, Passidore put it this way: “If I’m talking to a family member abut riding MAX, I’d tell them, ‘You don’t have to live in fear. But if something doesn’t feel right, act with a little more caution. Good common sense and awareness is the rule. Call police, and let them address the issues’.”

Berg added, “TriMet policing has become more multi-jurisdictional. We have 18 TriMet officers and three sergeants in the system. We benefit from participating in TriMet policing; many crime problems are located in and around transit facilities throughout the city.”

No HEAT on street prostitution
Asked whether nor not the HEAT officers have worked to decrease outer East Portland’s exploding street prostitution problem, Berg said, “No, HEAT provides a uniformed police officer presence. Our strategy was not to get them involved in drug and vice issues.”

Responding to a question regarding Prostitution-free Zones, Berg added, “The zones were useful tool. The benefit was being able to trespass [prostitutes] out of an area and hold them accountable for their behavior. But, the zones are no longer in place; this is a fact of life. We’re working on other strategies to deal with prostitution. Until we have an effective strategy in place, we are working precinct-level missions to reduce it.”

The assistant chief added that it wasn’t possible to continuously run anti-prostitution missions because they are highly labor-intensive. “Hopefully, we will have more effective strategies in place in a couple of months.”

HEAT ends this fall
Berg said that they’ve recommended that HEAT continue operating until the start of school. “We’ll see if we need to send officers back to the precincts at that time.”

Learn more about EPIC
EPIC, formally known as the “East Precinct Block Captain Program”, is a group of concerned citizens who work toward being “part of the crime reduction solution”.

Their September 24 program will be a “field trip” to see the Portland Police Bureau’s Mounted Police Division stables.

To learn more, contact the EPIC Coordinator, Dave Smith, at dsmith@portlandpolice.org — or call (503) 823-4636.

© 2008 David F. Ashton  ~ East Portland News

It’s more than a car show; see why this expanded festival had folks coming from all over to enjoy a new community event …

A hundred specialty vehicles – classics, customs, hotrods, and antiques – are on display along NE Sandy Blvd. at the 2008 Parkrose Festival and Cruise-in. We thank PBA board member Terry Brier with Davey Organicare for the “lift”, allowing us to take aerial photos!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Started years ago by members of the Parkrose Business Association (PBA), led by Gail Bash of Jackpot Corp. – the original Parkrose Cruise-in was a vehicle for the organization to raise money to fund graduating Parkrose High seniors’ scholarships.

Held on the Parkrose High School grounds, in conjunction with the Portland Rose Festival, these early-June events often suffered from Oregon’s changeable late-spring weather.

Welcoming people to the event – from atop a Portland Police Bureau SERT vehicle – is Mrs. Oregon, Taryn Stastny.

Expanded event changes location, date
Determined to breathe new life into this community event, the PBA board members this year decided to move it to the first Saturday in August, change its location to downtown Parkrose along NE Sandy Boulevard, and create a community festival to add to it and to round it out.

On August 2, eastbound NE Sandy Boulevard was shut down, and more than a hundred vehicles registered for the Cruise-in were parked along the street.

The Portland Police Bureau used the occasion to show off their new Parkrose Contact Office at NE 112th Avenue; and they brought in a display of police equipment and vehicles.

The Parkrose Farmer’s Market moved into the Festival, vendors sold food and goods, and the Parkrose Neighborhood Association blended its “National Night Out” program into the festivities as well.

“It was a huge success,” said Bash. “We had a big crowd, and everyone was happy. Everyone involved now is looking forward to next year.”

Marsha Lee of Copy Express, the organization’s treasurer, added, “The event exceeded our expectations; it sets the stage future festivals.”

Event spotted by an airline passenger
One of the most fascinating stories we heard about the event was told to us by an airline passenger, Eve Jacoby.

“We’re going from New York to Seattle today, and have long layover in Portland,” Jacoby related. “As we were landing at [Portland International] Airport, we saw your festival out the window. We asked where in Portland it is; they told us ‘Parkrose’. So, instead of waiting at the terminal, we hired a cab and came to visit your event. It’s wonderful!”

Uniform, badge and all, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Greg Baldwin gets dunked, to help raise money for Parkrose scholarships.

Civic figures dunked for dollars
In addition to raising funds through the association’s event sponsorships and cruise-in fees, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Greg Baldwin offered to take a seat on the Parkrose Lions Dunk Tank to raise more money for the PBA’s scholarship fund.

Police Bureau Cadets were standing by to take their own turn in the dunk tank, when the PBA got an unexpected “donation” from Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard. Leonard stepped up and offered to take a turn sitting on the break-away bench on the tank.

Rex Hollingsworth of Rex Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc – the title sponsor for the festival – steps up and offers, “I’ll donate $100 if I can pitch balls until I dunk you!” Commissioner Leonard agrees; PBA past president Wayne Stoll of Century Associates takes the money, and starts handing Hollingsworth baseballs.

Into the Parkrose Lions Dunk Tank goes Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard – street clothes and all. “I’m not sure how I’ll explain this to my wife, but it’s for a good cause,” he comments.

Parkrose Festival & Cruise-in Photo Album
Take a look at our photo album below and see how much fun we had at this great community event:

Portland City Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish visit the event and speak with PBA board member Gordon Boorst of Compaction & Recycling Equipment.

The Allen Family came from Camas, Washington, to enjoy the day. Here, they’re playing on the antique fire truck on display.

Shane Hollingsworth grills up hot dogs and cheeseburgers at the PBA Chuck-wagon – all day long!

Cheryl Doud, who is with Junk Away Hauling, displays a vintage event T-Shirt at the Official PBA Store.

Jan Ekberg helps serve genuine Swedish pancakes cooked up by grillmaster Eric Johansson on behalf of Harmoni Lodge.

Rex Hollingsworth is presented a medallion by Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs to recognize his contributions to the community.

Crebs told Hollingsworth, “This medallion is used to honor officers who do good work, and to honor citizens who have been willing to help their police Bureau. You’ve done an amazing job by helping out with their new contact office in Parkrose. Thank you for helping make your community a better place to live.”

Hollingsworth responded, “Thank you. This just means the world to me.”

Gail Bash starts an old limousine, as the “Blow-Up Contest” gets underway. Participants guess how long a car – drained of oil – will run until it – well – blows up!

It didn’t take long till this old limo’s engine called it quits – among clouds of smoke.

A crowd starts forming near the Awards Stand as cruise-in participants await word of which vehicle was chosen the winner.

For the second year in a row, the “Best of Show” award goes to Richard Speakman for his Chevy Coupe.

Meet the members
To learn more about the Parkrose Business Association, attend their next meeting, September 18 at 11:30 a.m. and enjoy the best business lunch at town at Steamers Restaurant, 8303 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. For more information, check their website at www.parkrosebusiness.org.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Meteorologists say the 103º+ temperatures are coming late in the season. See when the heat wave is expected to break – and where you can cool off …

Portland Parks & Recreation set up portable “water slides” like this one we saw at Brooklyn Park, to help folks beat the summer heat.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A question bantered around this week is, “Hot enough for ya?”

To get the official word about the weather, we speak with meteorologist Tiffani Brown at the National Weather Center on NE 122nd Ave. She blames the blazing hot temperatures on a stagnant weather pattern.

“There are thermal troughs sitting over the Willamette Valley. This, with many hours of sunshine, keeps it hot – there is no marine layer coming in to cool us down.”

Brown says we’ve set quite a few records in the last couple of days. “We’ll probably set another high temperature record today,” Brown says.

At the East Portland News Weather Center, it looks as if yet another high temperature record will be set as we prepare this story.

Hot weekend ahead
“It will be sunny and hot on Saturday, August 16,” Brown forecasts. “The temperature could again hit 103º. On Sunday, there is a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am, but the high will be near 92º.”

We can expect cooler temperatures during the coming week, Brown adds.

Were to cool off
What does one do to beat the sizzling, sweltering heat wave that’s settled over Portland?

In addition to seeking out air conditioned public spaces, many East Portlanders are turning to activities set up by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) at both permanent and temporary locations.

PP&R pools fill to capacity quickly! If you desire a dip, community center managers suggest you arrive early.

“We’re encouraging Portlanders to find relief from 100+ degree temperatures today and tomorrow by taking refuge in their city’s parks and pools,” suggests the bureau’s spokesperson, Beth Sorensen.

“From a shady walk in a park, to a picnic dinner under the trees in a neighborhood park, to a dip in a community pool, PP&R offers many free or inexpensive opportunities to escape from the heat,” Sorensen adds.

One of the pools we visit, the Mt. Scott Community Center, hosts nearly 1,000 adults and kids every day who want to cool off. “During our all-swim times, we’ve been at capacity,” says Phil Lewis, Aquatic Coordinator at PP&R.

Supervised water-play facilities:

  • Creston Pool – Outdoor; SE 44th Avenue & Powell Blvd.
  • Montavilla Pool – Outdoor; 8219 NE Glisan Street
  • Mt. Scott Pool – Indoor; 5530 SE 72nd Avenue
  • Sellwood Pool – Outdoor; 7951 SE 7th Avenue
  • Montavilla Wading Pool – at 8219 NE Glisan St. is open Saturday, August 16: open 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Mt. Scott Wading Pool – at 5530 SE 72nd Avenue is open Saturday, August 16 & Sunday, August 17: open 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Also, you can find user-operated “water features” in which to play at Earl Boyles Park, SE 112th Ave & Boise St. and Raymond Park, SE 118th Ave & Raymond St.

Wading pools look inviting to both kids and adults when temperatures soar.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

‘House Recycling’ Progress Report – They didn’t destroy the old house on their lot – they actually recycled it into a totally new home. Find out why, right here …

Some of the old house’s flooring was made into cabinets; the best boards were laid in the new bathrooms.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Board by board, the old ramshackle Westmoreland house on SE Rex Street that Shannon Quimby purchased last year has now been recycled into a brand new home.

During our latest inspection, we found a beautiful, functional home getting the finishing touches. What we didn’t see was a Dumpster – that huge metal box typically found at most construction or remodeling sites.

Quimby, the star of the “Q-Renew” programs on HGTV, reminded us of her premise for this house: “We call it the ‘REX Project’ – it stands for the ‘Reuse Everything eXperiment’. The rule here is that we don’t throw anything away. We’ve successfully dismantled the old house, and reused the parts and pieces – we didn’t need a Dumpster,” she says.

“You haven’t thrown away anything?” we questioned her.

“What we couldn’t use was the plaster; it had lead paint on it,” Quimby answered. “The plaster filled up the back of a pickup truck. Beyond that, we fill up about one large garbage bag with things like calking tubes and product packaging about every 10 days. It’s amazing the amount of material that we can recycle.”

New home a showplace
As we toured the house, workers were doing “finish” carpentry work, painting, and sealing.

Quimby pointed out a built-in cabinet in the dining room. “It was originally a corner cabinet in the old house’s kitchen,” Quimby observed. “We really like the leaded glasswork. And, we’re using all of our old cabinetry and infusing it into the house.”

Shannon Quimby says she fell in love with the leaded glass in this cabinet – they saved it intact, and it is now in their new dining room.

New room features old flooring
In a tiled bathroom, Quimby pointed out the flooring. “This is one of the rooms where we were able to salvage the old tongue-and-groove flooring. Even after decades of use, it is still in great shape. When it’s sanded and finished, it will look like new – but it’s not!”

Some of the other recycled flooring is being used as backing on walls, and for manufacture of cabinetry. “We’re using the flooring in a variety of ways to reincorporate in the house and save money,” she said. “We’re not throwing away the scrap pieces; they’ll be burnt in the outdoor fireplace in our backyard.”

This mud grate was formerly a furnace vent cover. Quimby says it symbolizes the REX Project perfectly.

House has grate entrance
On the way out, Quimby pointed out the “mud trap” on the front porch near the door. “It was the main furnace grate in the old house,” she explained. “We wanted to reuse it, instead of it becoming just another piece of scrap metal dumped into a landfill.”

Although it is a steel floor grate, Quimby said it’s a fitting “welcome mat” for their new home. “It’s the first thing you’ll see you when you step into our house. It embodies the principles of the Rex Project.”

Watch for our next installment: The finished REX Project home. For more information, check her web site: www.ShannonQuimby.com .

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See why hundreds of everyday citizens converged on the police station, on this lovely summer Saturday afternoon …

Portland Police Bureau East Commander Precinct Michael Crebs welcomes citizens to the annual open house.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the favorite summertime events we cover is the East Precinct Open House and Barbeque.

When we arrived at the police station on SE 106th Avenue, we were greeted by Portland Police Bureau East Commander Precinct Michael Crebs.

“Welcome to our open house,” Crebs said with a smile.

Joelle, Naomi, Rebekah and Hannah and Amanda Whitlock try out an ATV at the East Precinct Open House.

Jordyn Wolford tries his hand at the remote-control police robot, while his dad, Clay, looks on. “It’s just like a video game, but real,” Jordyn exclaims.

“We’re inviting people to come check out what were doing here at the Police Bureau. We want people to get to know us, and let us have the chance to get to know them,” Crebs explained.

Oftentimes, the commander noted, the only time citizens interact with police is when they’re stopped for a traffic violation, or have a home visit due to a “difficult situation. But, we like people to meet and talk with us when things are going good, so that we’ve established a relationship before something bad happens. That makes for a lot less tension.”

East Precinct and SERT Officer Larry Wingfield shows some of the tactical equipment he uses, to the East Precinct Involved Citizens chair, Dave Smith.

Checking out the police motorcycle is Emma, Melanie, and Leah Zallee, with Sgt. Erin Smith from the Portland Police Traffic Division.

All bureau departments present
At this, the precinct’s third annual open house, Crebs said all of the bureau’s major departments brought displays, including the Mounted Police, Traffic Division, SERT, Bomb Squad, and Robotics.

“Citizens pay the taxes that fund the police bureau – here, they can come and see how their money is being spent firsthand. We also have our crime prevention specialists here, helping people learn how to reduce crime and the fear of crime in their neighborhoods.”

Renee Fischer-Green holds Kylie as they meet Officer Craig Mack’s trusty mount, Merlin “the magnificent“.

Cadet James Trendell and Cadet Greg Buduy man the grills, as they help feed 500 hungry lunchtime visitors.

Police car trunk supply volunteer (a/k/a “a trunk lady”) Mary Walker pauses for a moment with Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, while awaiting lunch.

Bernie Bretz-Erdmann watches, as her grandchild Cole Frascone is fitted with a bike helmet by Officer Kristin Watt.

About 500 people took the precinct up on the offer to meet, and have lunch with, their police; no one was arrested.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

The Division-Clinton Parade and Fair gets better every year.
Take a look at our photo album of this mid-summer event …

Darice Robinson, President of DCBA, Nancy Chapin, festival coordinator; Rin Carroll Jackson, parade coordinator register parade participants.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
SE Division and Clinton Streets took on a carnival atmosphere on July 26 as the neighborhood’s parade and community fair got under way.

“Our parade started and ended with a band,” said Jean Baker, Past President of the area’s business association. “Sandwiched in the middle was a pageant of politicians, those who would be politicians, a church pew rolling westward, the devil on a bicycle blowing bubbles, and neighbors in artistically creative costumes.”

Folks lined SE Division St. to watch the colorful procession.

The big, bold “Get A Life Marching Band” was a hit at this year’s parade.

“Miss Communication” (and festival coordinator) Rin Carroll Jackson skates westward.

From SE 50th Avenue west to the end of the parade at SE 26th Avenue at SE Clinton Street were neighbors who cheered the parade’s participants.

They were treated to music on the move, played by the offshoot of the “One More Time Around Again Band” – namely the “Get A Life Marching Band”. And, the “Last Regiment” syncopated drummers’ lively beat helped move the marching pageant down the street.

Portland City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams once again strolls down the street during this annual event.

A Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer looks bemused to see a pew from the Richmond Community Church rolling down the street – with parishioners still seated!

A candidate for Portland City Council Position #1 greets folks along the route, and asks for their support.

Mark Strek holds Hannah who, along with Shari Sokel, enjoy the parade.

Street fair follows parade
Along the route, merchants held sidewalk sales, and restaurants sold food and beverages to those watching the parade – and others who came afterward to stroll around the area.

Along SE Division Street, vendors set up to “show and sell” their goods.

Folks from the OHSU team offered $5.00 bike helmets for children and adults. About 100 vendors peddled their wares, and nonprofit groups pitched their programs, under colorful canopies on the closed avenues along SE Division Street after the parade.

Kids’ activities abounded, including bounce rooms, face painting, cookie decorating, and games.

The Clinton Street business district turned into a street fair for the day – and into the evening.

Action moves to SE Clinton Street
Festival producers closed off SE Clinton Street at SE 26th Avenue turning a block into a street party.

Restaurants, lounges and coffee shops did a big business as neighbors enjoyed live music – and each other’s company – well into the evening.

“Safety Jack” chauffeurs Chelsa Cain and Eliza Mohan in his PediCab.

Adults, but mostly kids, danced to the beat of vintage music, played off a DJ’s 8-track tapes – and later, to the music of a live band.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Oregon’s Governor didn’t stay long – but find out what he, Sam Adams, and Oregon Senator Rick Metsger had to say …

FuBonn Grocery’s Jenny Liu meets Governor Ted Kulongoski, as does FuBonn Shopping Center’s manager Michael Liu; they’re joined by Portland City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Two weeks ago, Governor Ted Kulongoski made a brief stop in outer East Portland to pitch the concept of developing a strategic statewide transportation plan.

The appearance was held on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, in front of the FuBonn Shopping Center.

The center’s manager, Michael Liu, warmed up the crowd before introducing the Governor, telling how the neighborhood has changed since FuBonn was opened in 2008. “Since our arrival, the avenue has been transformed into the 82nd Avenue of Roses, highlighted every year by a parade for the community. With additional funding and support from the state, the sky is the limit.”

Governor Ted Kulongoski says he’ll work to get state-level funding to help improve 82nd Avenue of Roses, which is actually a state highway.

Kulongoski speaks
Governor Ted Kulongoski complimented the developers of FuBonn, transforming the former PCC campus into a shopping center. He also acknowledged Portland City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

“My own Department of Transportation is collaborating with the City of Portland to increase safety for all the users along 82nd Avenue of Roses. We’re showcasing how, by working together, we can provide safer streets for our communities across the state.”

Kulongoski said Oregon citizens need a sound and safe transportation infrastructure, regardless of whether one drives, uses public transit, rides a bike, or walks. “We need a safe and sound infrastructure for our economy, so commerce and goods can more effectively and efficiently move from point of distribution to destinations such as this beautiful shopping center.”

Noting that the avenue is a city arterial street as well as a state highway – crossing through many neighborhoods, including the Madison South, Montavilla, Foster Powell, and Lents neighborhoods – Kulongoski said that Portland’s Office of Transportation has made him aware of the high crash areas along 82nd Avenue.

“Now that we’ve identified the need, it’s even more important that we continue to work together to leverage local, state, and federal funds to turn these plans into projects, and expedite improvements along the 82nd Avenue corridor,” Kulongoski concluded.

Mayor-elect and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams tells why safety improvements are needed to cut down on the number of accidents along 82nd Avenue.

Adams cites crash statistics
Mayor-elect and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams then stepped up to the podium and thanked the governor for taking note of the need for roadway improvement.

“We’re here to announce the culmination of a new partnership between the Portland Office of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, neighborhood groups, and the business people who have invested along this corridor,” Adams began.

“In 2007,” he continued, “29 Portlanders were killed on streets and highways, more than were murdered. It’s a gruesome but important comparison. The national safety Council estimates the cost of transportation fatalities and injuries in the City of Portland over the past decade has been $3.9 million, to the economy. In addition, congestion caused by crashes accounts for up to 40% of the congestion.”
Adams added that during the past decade, 1,360 drivers, 40 pedestrians, and 98 bicyclists were injured along 82nd Avenue. “We want to see safety improvements, but we need resources to fulfill the vision. We have cobbled together some money to fulfill that safety improvement plan, but it’s not enough.”

Oregon State Senator Rick Metsger says he hopes the federal government will reauthorize the Federal Transportation Act.

State senator hopes for federal funding
The Chair of Senate Transportation Committee, Rick Metsger, arose to tell the assemblage that he hopes for help from the federal government.

“In the next year, the Congress is going to work on reauthorizing the Federal Transportation Act – generally a six-year authorization. The fact is, over the last number of years, we have failed as a country to invest in the infrastructure of our own country. But now, with the new Congress, and leadership coming right here from our own community, I believe we have an opportunity to look at major reinvestment in our own communities across this country, and that includes the city of Portland, in transportation infrastructure to benefit our citizens.”

Visit pleases local concerned citizens
Ken Turner, President of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, commented, “This visit highlights the cooperation among governmental agencies, neighborhoods, and business districts.”

Pointing out that 82nd Avenue of Roses is indeed a state highway, Turner said he’s glad that ODOT is taking an active role in making the thoroughfare safer. “This is a case of one positive step leading to another positive step.”

Also present was Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs, who said he saw the Governor’s visit as a positive indication for outer East Portland.

“The Governor is the most powerful man in Oregon,” Crebs said. “By Kulongoski coming here, it brings a lot of energy to the 82nd Avenue safety project. This brings people hope that good things are coming to 82nd Avenue.”

Jenny Liu, manager of the FuBonn Supermarket, afterwards told us that she was pleased that the Governor and Portland’s Mayor-elect came to visit. “It brings a lot of goodwill to our area, and it will help to improve 82nd Avenue of Roses.”

Ted Kulongoski learns from Sam Adams about the improvements that have already been made along 82nd Avenue.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See why this fire burned so hot, quickly destroying the roof and putting the building’s structure in jeopardy …

This fire at VeloTech burned fast and hot, officials say.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Early Sunday morning, August 3, the alarm bells rang at one, then two – and finally three – Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) stations in outer NE Portland, as firefighters scrambled into their gear and headed to a commercial fire at VeloTech, located at 6150 NE 92nd Drive.

About 12:45 a.m., crews rolled through the industrial park, near the Columbia Slough, and found thick black smoke, and plenty of it.

“There was heavy smoke showing from the south end of the structure,” reported PF&R spokesperson, Kim Kosmas. “Firefighters were unable to locate the fire initially, due to the heavy black smoke. The fire quickly burned through the roof, due to the heavy fire load inside the building.”

Battalion Chief Mark Gift (in the white helmet and shirt) makes a plan for overhauling – taking out burned debris from – the burnt-out business.

We learned that clothing, bicycle tires, and CO2 cylinders were involved in the fire. “Crews were forced to go to a defensive attack, and quickly gained control of the fire,” noted Kosmas. “In total, 10 Engines, two trucks, one squad, two investigators, and three chiefs fought the fire, which they got under control at 1:43 am.”

Firefighters stayed on watch throughout the night, and into the next day.

From the building’s rear, the fire damage – including the missing room – is clearly evident.

At the fire scene later in the day, we saw crews preparing to shore up the sides of the building. Firefighters were standing by, but not yet entering the structure.

We asked Battalion Chief Mark Gift, then in charge of the scene, to describe the firefighting effort. “Our firefighters did a good job fighting a very intense blaze. This was a substantial fire.”

Gift noted that most of the roof was destroyed. “In this kind of building, the roof helps provide structural integrity to the building. We’re taking a close look at the structure – and making sure the outer walls are shored up – before we attempt to finish the overhaul along the edge of the roof.”

A welder prepares steel beams that will be used to shore up the walls, and keep the “tilt-up” structure from collapsing, while firefighters, investigators, and a clean-up crew work in the building.

Pointing to the northern portion of the building, Guest added, “These units have a one-hour firewall. It saved the other businesses.”

At the time of publication, no amount of loss had been determined for the building or contents. The fire was still under investigation.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See what outer East Portland Action Plan committee members think about the recently-concluded process – and, what they hope it will accomplish …

Barry Manning, Portland Bureau of Planning’s East Portland Liaison, talks about the draft document that will become the “East Portland Action Plan”, at the committee’s final meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Eight months after the East Portland Action Plan committee was convened by Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Multnomah County Board Chair Ted Wheeler and Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Jeff Merkley met to finalize the draft document, a couple of weeks ago.

The committee defined the goal during their first meeting in December, 2007: “To provide leadership and guidance to public agencies and other entities on how to strategically address community-identified issues – and allocate resources to improve livability for neighborhoods in the East Portland Neighborhood Office coalition area.”

The draft of their final product, just released, is a 48-page document – CLICK HERE to get it from the Bureau of Planning’s web site. The process was meaningful, in and of itself, according to the participants with whom we spoke – as you’ll see later in this article.

Summary of the process
Portland Bureau of Planning’s East Portland Liaison, Barry Manning, talked with us after the conclusion of the process last week, and commented on this unique planning process.

“The Action Plan’s draft document lists a number of different strategies, based on the ‘Principles for Improved Livability’ the committee created,” Manning began. “Some came from the committee members themselves; others were submitted during our April 2 open house; still others came from representatives of non-profit organizations; and some came from the City of Portland bureau staff.”

At the Action Plan Committee’s final meeting in July, facilitators outlined the contents of the projects draft document.

‘Principles for Improved Livability’
After identifying the “riches” and “challenges” of the neighborhoods in outer East Portland, the committee drafted four principles for improving the area, namely:

  1. Mitigate Negative Trends – The committee’s immediate objective is stabilizing housing, transportation, and crime concerns; and, more long-term, addressing livability issues that will improve the quality of life in the area.
  2. Attain and Sustain Equality – A “universal concern” is that the area isn’t getting its “fair share” of resources, and the Action Plan sets out to correct this inequity – as well as the desire to have more than just “quick-fix solutions” for the area’s problems.
  3. Build on Community Assets and Connections – The Action Plan seeks to tap into the area’s housing, employment, family focus, cultural diversity, and favorable regional location factors, and promote these throughout the region; and, to form alliances with people and partners, to accomplish their goals.
  4. Capitalize on East Portland’s Place in the Region – Highlighting the convergence of MAX light rail lines, freeways, and main streets, the Action Plan seeks to promote the area as the logical place for public and private investment; and, to encourage people throughout the region to visit the unique parks and natural areas in outer East Portland.

Barry Manning shows the prototype of an implementation strategy flyer designed to promote increased community safety.

Proposed Strategies and Actions
Manning said all of the suggestions for improving the area were discussed by the committee, weighted, tabulated, and categorized into each of five topic areas developed in the City’s VisionPDX planning process:

  • Built – This topic area includes housing development; commercial and mixed-use development; transportation and public infrastructure, and utilities.
  • Environmental – These include ideas for improving parks, trails, open spaces, recreation facilities, natural areas, and addressing environmental issues.
  • Economic – Ways to promote economic development, and to provide workforce training.
  • Learning – Ideas to improve the educational infrastructure and programs.
  • Social – Strategies to improve public safety, safety-net services (such as housing assistance), community building, and equity.

Oregon State House speaker Jeff Merkley says the City needs to “catch-up” on outer East Portland planning.

Conveners’ sentiments
Oregon State House speaker Jeff Merkley said he took time away from his US senatorial campaign to address the 50 spectators and committee members at the July meeting.

After thanking his co-conveners, Merkley said, “I’ve felt, for such a long time, that the City of Portland is wonderful when it comes to planning – but not so wonderful when it comes to planning on the east side of 82nd Avenue of Roses. I think we really need to do some catch-up, and decide on issues of infrastructure, transportation, housing, and economic development.”

After complementing the committee on their efforts, Merkley added, “You’ve laid out a vision for this community. You brought your best opinions and thoughts to this process along the way. It took about three years to get this process initiated, hopefully it won’t take three years to implement these wonderful ideas, and move them forward.”

Portland Mayor Tom Potter and resident committee member Jon Turino listen to the presentation before making comments.

Potter praises progress
Portland Mayor Tom Potter also had words of praise for the participants. “What you’ve done is nothing short of amazing. The City has put aside $500,000 for some short-term implementation strategies. For some larger projects, it’s a drop in the bucket; we also need to locate other partners, and determine how they can help.”

Speaking directly to committee members, Potter offered this advice: “When a large number of citizens come to City Council when something is being discussed, the City’s Counselors sit up and take note. The more of you who show up when this plan is presented, the more impact it will have.”

Multnomah County Board Chair Ted Wheeler (left) says he’ll direct his staff to help implement the Action Plan strategies.

County Chair comments
Multnomah County Board Chair Ted Wheeler congratulated the participants and conveners of the task force.

“During that very first meeting,” Wheeler said, “Mayor Potter did something that was unprecedented in terms of establishing credibility for the citizens working on this project – he put real dollars on the table.”

While it appears as if the County won’t be helping to fund any of the projects named in the Action Plan, Wheeler conceded, he said, “I also want you to know that my personal commitment is that Multnomah County is fully committed to being a partner in any way we can contribute to this process. I’m already directing my department heads to look at this report, take it into account, and make sure that we do everything we can do, as an identified partner on these actions to deliver everything we need to deliver.”

Metro’s Liberty chimes in
Metro Commissioner Robert Liberty – a member of the Action Plan committee – commented, “Each part of the city is distinct, has its own development pattern, and should be addressed in its own way.”

Liberty startled attendees by adding, “You’ve asked very little of your regional government in this process. I’d like you to reconsider that – and ask more of Metro.”

Liberty added the putting a “price tag” on the plan’s recommended actions would be helpful. “What would be the results from investing money in your community – on a scale of what’s being proposed in the South Waterfront Area – for example?” he questioned. “Hundreds of millions of dollars is an appropriate level of investment over the next couple of decades.”

Metro Commissioner Robert Liberty, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association Chair Arlene Kimura, and neighbor Mike Vander Veen all say they think the Action Plan process was valuable.

Committee members speak out

  • Karen Fischer Gray, Superintendent, Parkrose School District

“We can do all the planning and the world, and end up with a big fat document. But, if you don’t have an implementation strategy and predicted outcomes, you’re wasting your time. There are a lot of good things we’re doing here; I’d like to see us build on that.”

  • Arlene Kimura, Chair, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association

“To me, the best part of this process is that we got many people involved who don’t normally participate in neighborhood activities. To some, there is a perception that we, as neighborhood associations as a whole, haven’t been able to get things done to improve our part of the city.”

As people get involved, Kimura added, they learn it isn’t as simple as simply asking the government to take action. “I’m really glad to see a lot more people drawn in who are passionate about outer East Portland.”

During the committee’s final meeting, Kimura told the group they need to find a “wow factor” to help sell the plan. “We need to highlight our unique features, so people who don’t know about the east side will be encouraged to come here as a destination.”

Her wish is that the committee can “keep the momentum going. I’m hoping we can keep together as a group. We can’t do everything [listed in the Action Plan]; but we need to keep moving forward.”

  • Jim Chasse, Land Use Chair, Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association

The best part of the planning, for him, Chasse told us, was to be part of a well-run and harmonious process. “And, it brought new faces to speak about and consider some of the more important issues we face in outer East Portland.”

In his opinion, Chasse said, the most important issues to be addressed are those of transportation infrastructure, community building, and the shoring up the educational system, to keep pace with growing enrolment.

“We have the plans and documents; now we’re looking for the our elected officials to do something with the Action Plan. I’m hoping we can coordinate the all of our governmental agencies to find ways to implement some of the plans.”

  • Jon Turino, resident, business person, and executive director of APNBA

When Turino was elected to the committee, he was running a Farmer’s Insurance agency, and had been elected as the Parkrose Business Association president.

“I would be very disappointed if the Action Plan was never seen by the people who are developing the Portland Plan,” Turino said during the meeting. Manning assured their efforts were being noted.

After the meeting, Turino said, from a business standpoint, he was a little disappointed that little concern was shown for economic and business-related issues. “But as a resident in outer East Portland, I agree that issues relating to diversity, transportation, and education are important topics.”

The most impressive thing about the process, Turino added, was, “That this process took place. Our governmental leaders were there, engaged and paying attention. Everybody showed up, had done their homework, and it was a very civilized, cooperative effort. Everyone had their own agenda at the beginning, but it coalesced into what is best for all, at its conclusion.”

Speaking to us in his office after the meeting, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs says good communication is a step toward creating a safer community.

  • Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs

Commander Crebs said he was glad he was asked to be part of the committee. “As an expert on police matters, I could talk about proposed actions – what might work, what might not, and programs we’re already doing.”

Crebs said being able to actively listen to a wide spectrum of citizens was helpful. “Hearing their complaints and concerns helped give me a better focus as Precinct Commander.”

One of the primary concerns raised, Crebs said, was “the perception of crime on MAX and the transit system. People are frightened. I’ve heard these concerns before – but the more I hear them, the more they resonate. I’m committed to make it as safe as possible.”

The increasing housing density and poverty in his precinct also affect crime and livability, Crebs added. “Good communication between citizens and the police help reduce both crime, and the fear of crime.”

  • Mike Vander Veen, resident and community activist

“I was impressed that the concept of ‘community building’ was thoroughly considered. It isn’t easy to describe, but we used this concept as a ‘filter’ when considering potential ‘actions’. It turned out that anything from improving streets to building a community gathering place, to encouraging people to connect with their city agencies – they all build up the community.”

In his view, Vander Veen said, the best part of the process “was the relationships that have been formed among the committee members who worked on the Action Plan – and those who are continuing with the process.”

In the background, facilitator Deb Meihoff prepares information while Stefanie Sylman presents findings to the committee – who, by the way, agreed that their work was outstanding.

Planners given “A” grades
Everyone involved in the Action Plan with whom we spoke highly complimented Barry Manning, his staff, and consultants Deb Meihoff of Communitas LLC and Stefanie Sylman of Sylman Planning Resources LLC.

City commits $500,000 fund
We noted there were 66 actions, or strategies, listed among the five topic areas, and asked Manning if there are any resources available to help implement any of them.

“The City of Portland has dedicated $500,000 toward implementation for short-term strategies and actions for 2008-2009,” Manning noted. “A subcommittee of the Action Plan group will meet and decide how to best use these funds.”

Then, the Planning Bureau will take those suggestions, and develop a package that meets the subcommittee’s priorities. Manning added, “We’ll also provide some alternative ideas.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Most dental patients only get a toothbrush and check-up reminder card from their provider. See why “Doctor Dave” does more – by hosting a family-style picnic …

Dr. David Carothers – his practice is in the medical office building, just north of Adventist Medical Center – serves his patients a hot BBQ lunch at Oaks Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As the sun peeked out from behind the morning clouds on Sunday, July 27, a goodly-sized group gathered in a picnic area at Oaks Amusement Park.

Under the tent were folks – ranging in age from elderly to tykes – enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ chicken. The one thing they all had in common was a beautiful, gleaming smile.

“I’m hosting a patient-appreciation picnic,” explained Dr. David Carothers DDS. “Been doing this for ten years.”

Carothers said he expected 350 folks at the summertime event.

Patient and dessert chef Kathy Fant shows us some of the homemade cookies she brought to the event.

“Really, it’s a big, big family picnic. All of my staff members are here helping out, as are my wife and her parents,” Carothers said. “This year, Delbert, the husband of a staff member, is singing and entertaining; later we’ll play bingo. And, everyone gets a wrist-band to ride the rides here at Oaks Park.”

The dentist said his only motivation for hosting the event was to “return the favor” to his patients. “I have a lot of loyal patients who see me and my staff for their dental needs. This is a way to give back to those who trust and support our practice.”

If you want to learn more about Dr. Carother’s practice, just CLICK HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

The Metro Dancers present a summer program showing some of the city’s most talented folks that rehearse here. Take a look …

Lobster Emilie Larison, tweedle Sophie Gunz, dancers Karin Schulz and Tamara Larison, flower Violet Lane-Ruckman, and tweedle Annie Willis, take direction from volunteer and long-time Metro Dancer Len Mills. The weed, Orianna O’Neill, Riley Willis, and “Alice” Emily Sevy listen in.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Taking their show on “the road” – the Metro Dancers from Portland Metro Performing Arts Center (PMPA) are presenting a repertory concert, “Under the Summer Sky”, at the Washington Park Amphitheatre next to the International Rose Test Gardens, at 6:30 p.m. on August 1.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the talents of Metro Dancers and other local dancers in a variety of different dance styles and engaging choreography,” said PMPA’s director, Nancy Yeamans about the show. “The combination of rising pre-professionals and former professional dancers gives this company its exuberant style and polish.”

Volunteer Len Mills and PMPA director Nancy Yeamans position lobsters, as they rehearse for their upcoming show at Washington Park.

Develops well-rounded citizens
While the dancers went through their steps, dancer with the organization since 1986 and volunteer Len Mills talked about his experience with Metro Dancers and PMPA.

“Most dancers won’t go on to work and dance in a national company,” Mills observed, “Instead, they go into everyday life. But, especially for ones who get a start at an early age, they’ll go into life being a more well-rounded human being.”

Additionally, dance helps individuals gain self-confidence and good health. “When one feeds their soul with the arts, they’ll have a more interesting life, there are more enjoyable to be with, and will conduct their lives better,” says Mills.

The lobsters alive! They jump and jive!

Variety of dance numbers performed
On the bill for the Metro Dancers’ repertory concert are:

  • “Controposto” choreographed by Deanna Carter; a jazz work,
  • “Nightsong”, is choreographed by Linda Kuchera;
  • Excerpts from “Alice in Wonderland” highlight the Tea Party, Garden of Live Flowers and Land of Cards (some of whom are real characters!);
  • “Recherche'” choreographed by Joan Scott;
  • “Khatanga” choreographed by Traci Castleberry Wojack, a hauntingly beautiful work set to a vocal score with Arabic influences;
  • “Bluegrass” choreographed by Nancy Yeamans, with twanging banjoes and rollicking beat; and,
  • “Swing Thing” choreographed by Nancy Yeamans, providing a fun romp through the Swing Era.

Three decades of dance
Wills told us that Metro Dancers was formed in 1977 to create an avenue for gifted advanced dancers to perform traditional full-length ballets, as well as modern, jazz, character and contemporary ballet pieces.

PMPA is currently located at 9933 SE Pine Street. You can learn more by going to their web site at www.PDXMetroArts.org.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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