Take a look and see why you don’t have to
travel far to enjoy a genuine Oktoberfest …

Emily MacKay, promotion director for Historic Oaks Amusement Park leads the famous “Chicken Dance” in the Main FestHalle.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Again this year, historic Oaks Amusement Park was teeming with men dressed in lederhosen and ladies in dirndl dresses, as the 18th annual Oktoberfest was in full swing.

“Of course, we have lots of German sausage and beer,” said the promotions director for the 103 year old park, Emily MacKay. “But we also have a Kinder Plaza for kids, wiener dog races, cooking demonstrations, craft vendors, and all of our great midway rides.”

Sara and Nick Vaday drink in the fun at the Oaks Park Oktoberfest.

Strongman John Romero shows off his muscles by ringing the bell at the Oaks Park Oktoberfest.

MacKay said what makes their Oktoberfest different from many others is its family-friendly nature. “This is the celebration where everyone can bring the kids, grandma, and grandpa, and everyone has a wonderful time!”

With two bands playing into the evening, attendees danced, talked, and ate bratwurst, chicken schnitzel, and smoked-chicken dinners.

Chad Siegel, proprietor of Family Tree Nut Company, shows off his product, freshly-made in this genuine German-manufactured roaster.

Mt. Scott residents Jessica and Steve Eckhardt dance up a storm to the toe-tapping tunes of the Greg Meier Alpine Quartet.

And, it wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest without repeated rounds of the famous Chicken Dance. From the very young, to old codgers, everyone got up and clacked their beaks, flapped their wings, wiggled their tail feathers, and clapped their hands.

Grilling the finishing touches on delicious-looking smoked chicken is Kate Lambo.

Fraulines Ali Burgess and Kim Grady say they’re enjoying the Oktoberfest celebration.

“We’re so happy that Zenner’s Quality Sausage & Smoked Meats is working with this year and next,” MacKay mentioned. It’s wonderful to find a local company who not only provides meats, they also help out with the décor, and design the activities of our event.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

The ambulance didn’t look much damaged – but it was carrying a patent who really needed to get to the hospital. Look at what happened to the car that hit it …

The crew from Portland Fire & Rescue’s Engine 9 makes sure this accident doesn’t get any worse than it already is.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It was an ordinary run for American Medical Response Medic unit 323 on Monday night, at 9:00 p.m. on September 22. The crew was transporting a critically-ill patient to Providence Medical Center.

That ambulance never made it to the hospital; the patient, eventually did.

“The ambulance was headed north on SE 39th Ave.,” reported eye-witness Butch Strickland. “It was threading its way through traffic, and then the intersection at Powell, with the lights and siren on. But when it got most of the way through the intersection, a car [traveling westbound on SE Powell Ave.] just ran into it.”

From what we learned from others who witnessed the collision, it appeared as if the driver who caused the wreck did have a green light; but didn’t hear the siren – and didn’t notice that all traffic at the intersection had come to a standstill to let the emergency vehicle pass.

Although the ambulance appears to be only slightly damaged, witnesses say the car’s impact pushed it sideways about two feet.

The ambulance didn’t look much the worse for wear; the car’s front end was demolished. “When the car hit the ambulance,” Strickland told us, “it slid the front end of the ambulance about two feet sideways.”

Within minutes, AMR Medic unit 326 was on scene; the patient was transferred and transported to Providence Hospital. Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 9’s crew made sure there weren’t other injuries and cut the power on the car to prevent a possible fire.

“There aren’t any Traffic Division reports available regarding the accident,” reported Portland Police Bureau spokesman Officer Greg Pashley. “The intersection was opened to traffic at 10:03 p.m.”

The next time you come to an intersection – and see that the traffic has come to a stop – it’s a good idea to slow down and look for emergency vehicles or a pedestrian, Pashley commented.

Ambulance crew members are debriefed by Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division investigating officers.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Mayor Tom Potter outlined a plan to combat prostitution along the Avenue of Roses. So why did neighbors – 200 strong – take their concern about this problem to the streets? Find out right here …

Nearly 200 citizens from area neighborhoods take part in the “March to Reclaim 82nd Avenue”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Since the Portland City Counsel allowed the Prostitution-free Zone ordinance to “sunset” a year ago – on September 30, 2007 – street-level prostitution has exploded along 82nd Avenue of Roses.

Because it seemed as if the City took no notice of the marked increase of illicit activities in neighborhoods from Parkrose south to Lents, several citizens’ groups have formed to draw attention to the problem.

Specifically, neighbors say, street-level prostitution draws customers from all over the metropolitan area who participate in illegal activities. Police officials confirm the activities don’t actually take place on the street itself, but instead, on the side streets within neighborhoods on either side of 82nd. Ave.

After a year of silence, Portland Mayor Tom Potter enunciated a plan to combat the problem on September 11. (Read about his announcement, the plan and neighbors’ responses, by CLICKING HERE.)

While some neighbors say they are encouraged to see that this problem is finally on City Hall’s radar, at least one group openly questioned the efficacy of Potter’s anti-prostitution proposal.

Laurie Depue prepares a sign that lets her feelings be known as she prepares for the march in 82nd Avenue of Roses.

Town Hall Summit draws hundreds
275 neighbors came to demonstrate their dedication to combating prostitution at a Town Hall Summit held at Vestal Elementary School on September 15.

(Read our coverage of the Town Hall Summit by CLICKING HERE.)

The Town Hall’s organizer, Dawn Rasmussen, Chair of the “Save NE 82nd Coalition”, said after the event that her organization hasn’t taken a position regarding Mayor Potter’s proposal. “We’re not saying its right or wrong; we’re willing to see what happens. It’s hard to speculate on how well it will work. How does one define ‘successful’ for a program dealing with such a complex issue?”

Fritz Hirsch, an outer East Portland resident and Montavilla in Action volunteer, tells a NewsChannel 8 reporter why he’s involved in march.

200 march protesting against prostitution – and Potter’s plan
Another group of neighbors called “Montavilla in Action” (MIA) organized what they called “The March to Reclaim 82nd Avenue”, which ran from SE Division Street north to E. Burnside on the morning of September 20.

“This march is a visible symbol from the neighbors,” explained Fritz Hirsch, an outer East Portland resident and MIA volunteer. “We simply find it unacceptable that a 82nd Avenue is being turned into a red-light district. It’s a multifaceted problem that demands a multifaceted approach.”

Asked about Mayor Potter’s announced plan, Hirsch said that he, and other MIA members, appreciate the work City leaders have done regarding the issue. “It’s refreshing to see them taking a significant, serious look at the problem. However, the plan they propose is a complex one. Our group posed several serious questions about it that, so far, have not been answered.”

Brian Wong, coordinator of their foot patrol and a Montavilla in Action volunteer musters the marchers in Portland Community College’s SE Center.

Wants safe neighborhood
Rallying the marchers in Portland Community College’s SE Center parking lot, another MIA volunteer, and coordinator of their Foot Patrol, Brian Wong, spoke with us.

“I want a safe neighborhood in which to raise my family,” Wong simply stated. “We don’t want good families leaving neighborhoods up and down 82nd Avenue. We’re putting pressure our city leaders to bring back the Prostitution-free Zone ordinance to help us reclaim our neighborhood.”

Wong says he’s concerned that the City’s plan to combat street-sex prostitution relies on complex procedures – but a Prostitution-free Zone is simple and effective.

Concerned about procedures and prosecution
“[Mayor Potter’s plan] relies on a complex set of procedures in which those engaging in prostitution are arrested, prosecuted, and, if found guilty, may only then be sanctioned,” Wong said. “One of our concerns is that the interest level in the District Attorney’s office for prosecuting prostitution-related cases is relatively low [as compared to other crimes]. The Prostitution-free Zone is a simple ordinance that makes it clear that prostitution is not welcome on our streets and in our neighborhoods.”

Multnomah County Commission candidate Mike Delman joins the march to lend his support.

More events planned
Liz Sullivan, a Montavilla in Action volunteer who publicly questioned Potter about his plan at his press conference, was also at Saturday’s march.

“We’re gathering on September 30 to commemorate and commiserate on the 1 year anniversary of Mayor Potter & the City Council’s abandonment of the Prostitution Free Zone (PFZ) ordinance,” Sullivan announced.

“We’ve been gathering petition signatures all summer long from concerned residents who have witnessed the deterioration of their neighborhoods since the abandonment of the highly effective PFZ ordinance, and who demand that the PFZ be reinstated as soon as possible – now, more than ever, after hearing the Mayor’s new proposal,” declared Sullivan. “Join us at Montavilla Park, in NE 82nd Avenue at NE Glisan Street at 11:00 am.”

Also this week, Rasmussen announced that the Save NE 82nd Coalition will present another Town Hall Summit on October 7 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Portland Community College’s Southeast Center. Featured speakers will include Jeri Williams from the City of Portland and Melissa Farly of Prostitution Research.

Instead of jeers and obscene gestures, the marchers are greeted with horn honks, friendly waves and the “OK” sign.

Advises against confronting suspected prostitutes
In a related story, about 10 p.m. – the evening of “The March to Reclaim 82nd Avenue” – two citizens reported seeing prostitutes working 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Hawthorne Street.

According to police spokesman Officer Greg Pashley, the nature of the interaction between them was unclear – but it resulted in “Two alleged prostitutes approaching the car and spraying pepper spray at the car.”

East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs advises against directly confronting anyone doing any illegal activity. “Some of the people engaged in prostitution may have emotional problems, and may be under emotional pressure. They may lash out at people who try to interfere with them.

“If citizens see suspected prostitution activity, call and allow us to take care of it,” Crebs concluded.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

‘House Recycling’ Epilog: As the family moves into their new home – one that incorporates all of the old house which previously stood on the site – find out what discoveries they made as they wrapped up the project …

Last November, a run-down old house stood on the property where Quimby’s “REX Project” recycled house now stands.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When we first met Shannon Quimby, on November 28, 2007, we thought the idea behind this perky recycling expert’s project of completely recycling an old, run-down house into a new home – without dumping a lot of waste into the landfill – was laudable, but impractical.

Just before she and her crew started dismantling – not wrecking – the Westmoreland house at SE 21st Avenue at S.E. Rex Street, she told us, “I’m determined to show that, with some ingenuity, reclaiming an old home can be practical, fun, and save money.”

At the end of the project, during the first week of August, Quimby and her family moved into their new home. Quimby took a few minutes, amid unpacked boxes and misplaced furniture, to tell us what she’d learned in the process.

Quimby recycled beer and wine bottles into this unique lighting fixture.

Lessons learned
“Over the past eight months of the ‘Reuse Everything eXperiment’ – the REX Project – I learned that one can recycle and reuse pretty much everything from a very old house into a new one,” Quimby began.

“I knew that doors, windows, and flooring could be recycled. But I had no idea what could be done with old roofing shingles; they now foot my deck. I learned that the core of sheet rock – gypsum – could be used as an amenity in my yard’s soil.”

Quimby said instead of Dumpsters, there were four big recycling bins at the job site: One for metal, one for paper, one for plastic, and one for cardboard. At the end of every week every one of them was filled to overflowing.

“No one has ever done this before; I did research, asked questions, and learned every day,” Quimby said “It was my goal to recycle as much as I could, and I’ve met my goal.”

Not all of the waste from the project could be recycled or reused, however. “What really blew me away was that one whole pickup truck load of trash consisted of food containers, brought to the site by all of the subcontractors,” exclaimed Quimby. “But it is amazing to think that all the waste from deconstructing one home, and building another, was limited to 2½ pickup trucks worth.”

Hidden trash source: packaging
Another surprising source of refuse, Quimby mentioned, was packaging. “Everything from basic building materials to lighting fixtures come in packaging. Fortunately there are many places to recycle Styrofoam – it was coming out of our ears! From the foundation forms, to our new kitchen appliances, they were all packed in Styrofoam.”

But, by carefully sorting the packaging materials, Quimby met her goal of keeping waste from filling a landfill. “Wouldn’t it be great if recycling became a ‘standard building practice’?”

Being ‘green’ saves greenbacks
We asked if these “green” building practices actually saved her any money.

“Right now we are looking at saving $40,000 by recycling much of the old house in to our new one,” replied Quimby. “Much of the saving comes from reusing materials.”

She pointed to her kitchen’s butcher-block-style counter; it was made from leftover framing materials from the old and new house. “We reused the old house’s foundation to pave our patio – that saved $150 in material, and trucking costs.”

This new entertainment center was constructed from a “patchwork quilt” of leftover building materials. Quimby pours nails removed from the old house into the top, to be covered with glass, serving as a conversation piece for years to come.

Incorporating leftovers
As the family worked on interior design and decoration, Quimby said she’s facing challenges finding ways to incorporate “a lot of oddball and ugly” leftover materials into the new house.

“I had fun with the old wine and beer bottles we found in the humongous laurel hedge – we’ve turned them into our dining room’s chandelier. Hiding the wiring cans is part of the bi-fold door from the old house.”

Quimby pointed with pride to the new downstairs entertainment center. “It’s a ‘patchwork quilt’ made from leftover framing, flooring, and decking. All of the remaining nails from the old house will be poured into this, and be topped by a sheet of glass.”

House open for October 4 tour
In addition to settling into the new home, Quimby said she’s writing two books about her project. You may see the project turning up as a special on Home & Gardens TV Network.

If you want see it for yourself, she says they’ll be part of the neighborhood’s “Tour of Remodeled Homes” on October 4. “I hope to see everyone from the neighborhood all coming over to check out the ‘REX Project’.”

For more information, visit www.shannonquimby.com.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

We’ve told you before about the ACE Academy –
now see the instructors in action, as school
gets underway at this unique educational facility.

Students become familiar with their “school away from school” as the ACE Academy begins, at the Willamette Carpenter’s Training Center NE 158th Avenue in Northeast Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although Portland hadn’t seen a new charter school open in years, the Academy of Architecture, Construction & Engineering – known as ACE Academy – opened its doors this month.

(To learn the background of this school, see our past articles. CLICK HERE)

“We have about 144 students enrolled in the program this year,” reported the school’s director, Michael Taylor, when we visited the facility earlier this month. “When they’re here, they are typically divided up into ‘anchor teams’ of about 15 students each – much like a home room, back at their high school.”

ACE Academy instructor Marjan Rotting takes the students on a tour of the facility. Along the way, the students were asked to sketch in details and architectural features of the building.

Initially, the program will introduce students to design and building industry occupations, Taylor revealed. “Our five ACE educators integrate academics into a technical curriculum.”

To do this, the teachers went “back to school” during the summer months, learning and developing a “credit by proficiency” approach to education, he added.

Currently the school’s juniors and seniors who have expressed an interest in careers in architecture, construction, and engineering also attend general education at their “home schools” in Parkrose, Gresham-Barlow, Centennial, Centennial Learning Center, Reynolds and Sandy.

Each of the students is assigned a computer on which to work. Breanna Huffman and Jacob Billingsley try out their new computers in the class.

For more information, visit their web their web site by CLICKING HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Take a look at the photos – if you know this jerk and
anonymously turn him in – you’ll net a cool $1,000 …

Do you know this guy? Help put him behind bars.

By David F. Ashton
We’ve kicked back a few with friends at the Ace Tavern, a friendly neighborhood bar at 8868 Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

But on Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at 1:58 a.m. a “last-call customer” decided to use the Ace’s cash register as his personal ATM.

“The suspect, armed with a knife, entered the tavern through the rear entrance and immediately went into the bathroom,” police spokesperson, Catherine Kent told us.

The barkeep was getting ready to close for the evening.

“The suspect, armed with a knife, approached her and demanded money from the till. The suspect took the money and left on foot eastbound on NE Prescott Street,” Kent said.

Here’s a profile of Mr. Cool – great hat, eh?  He didn’t know – or didn’t care – if he was caught on camera. Let’s get this creep out of the neighborhood.

He’s probably a local.  The suspect is described as a white male, in his 40’s, 5’7″ to 5’10” tall, shoulder-length blond hair, brown eyes, and mustache.  He was wearing a light -colored or faded hat, a gray “Cowboys” sweatshirt, and blue jeans.

Here’s what to do …
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to a resolution in this case, and you remain anonymous.  Call Crime Stoppers at (503) 823-HELP (4357).

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

We braved downtown traffic to bring you this story.
Come on! Take a look …

SE Portland’s Patrick Horsley says he hasn’t been to an art fair in 25 years, but is happy to be at twelfth annual Art In The Pearl, the Pearl District’s annual Labor Day weekend arts festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although SE Portland potter Patrick Horsley hasn’t exhibited his works at a public show for 25 years, he put some of them on display at the twelfth annual “Art in the Pearl”, the Pearl District’s annual Labor Day weekend arts festival.

Horsley explained he’s usually too busy working as a professional artist who creates bowls, envelopes, slips – and teapots – that are sold in galleries, and used by commercial interior decorators.

“It’s a great job,” said Horsley. “I’ve been doing this for about 40 years and I love doing it. It’s a great job.”

The brilliant hues of blue don’t come from cobalt, as many visitors were guessing – the bluish color comes after a copper glaze has been fired.

The vivid colors of his works, and the unique shapes, stopped visitors in their tracks as Horsley talked about his art. “My work is strongly influenced by architecture, both primitive and contemporary. I base the work on the idea of the container vessel, and at times utilitarian forms – such as tea pots and lidded jars.”

So well known is he for his teapots, he often departs his studio – located next to his SE Portland residence – to offer seminars on the topic elsewhere. In late September, for example, he’ll be teaching a two-day, hands-on class in Las Vegas called “Tea Bowls & Teapots”.

If you’re interested in learning more about this artist and his work, see his web site: www.PatrickHorsley.com.

Puttering around Art in the Pearl …

This budding potter is Annika Baglien.

Thousands viewed the work of 100 artists during the three-day art fest.

This family said they were happy to find art on which they could sit and rest.

No one went hungry! Lots of great food was available at the event.

Not all of the art demonstrations were dainty. These blacksmiths attracted a crowd as they hammered iron into both utilitarian and artistic objects.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

If you didn’t make it to this community fair and music festival a couple of weeks ago, see what you missed, right here …

Alex Hall, a Parkrose High sophomore and “PDX Teen Idol” finalist, performs at a summertime music festival and community fair held at Mt. Scott Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A new event this summer was a festival featuring family activities focusing on the arts and entertainment at Mt. Scott Park.

We came to see Parkrose High School’s Alex Hall, a “PDX Teen Idol” finalist, perform as part of the day-long show a few weeks ago.

“I’ve had a lot of fun performing this summer with the Teen Idol finalists,” Hall told us. The already-accomplished vocalist is a sophomore this year, and will continue her musical education as a member of the school’s Treble Choir and A-Cappella Choir.

Scotty Fairchild, the garden steward at Leach Botanical Garden, offers advice, tells people about gardening, and sells plants at the event.

Elizabeth Phan, Christina Armstrong, and Julia Karell share information about the Multnomah County Library system – specifically, Holgate Library – with visitors to the event.

The event showcased neighborhood diversity and featured social-service resources available to residents in the Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington, and Foster-Powell neighborhoods.

Many of Portland’s city bureaus were represented, as were local businesses and fraternal organizations. Wrapping up the day was a concert by the Oregon Symphony.

These musicians – from the new “Six-String Central School of Music” opening in the former Day Music building of SE Foster Boulevard – played and sang the blues convincingly. Surprisingly, they are all between 13 and 16 years of age!

A wide variety of community and commercial exhibitors provided information for folks coming to the park.

“I hope they do this again next year,” said John Wilkins. “The park is the perfect place for this kind of event.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

If you wondered why NE Glisan Street was shut down most of Sunday morning – it ended OK, except for dozens of golfers who missed their tee-time …

Numerous Glendoveer Golf Course duffers and path hikers discovered their Sunday morning recreation would be delayed until nearly noon, as the police SERT crew coaxed a released felon out of a home directly across from the Ringside Restaurant.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A 5:30 a.m. “domestic violence” call reporting an inebriated felon, on post-prison release supervision, claiming to be armed with a pistol, was enough cause to rally the Portland Police Bureau’s Special Emergency Response Team on September 14.

The first police officers to arrive on-scene at the single-family dwelling in the 14200 block of NE Glisan Street were able to get the home’s occupants safely out of harm’s way.

Then, the waiting began.

Police negotiators work with the telephone company to prevent other calls from reaching the holed-up troublemaker, and to try to get him to surrender.

Calls don’t coax him out
“Because this isn’t a hostage situation,” police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz told us on-scene, “we’re trying to talk him into surrendering.”

Because the man, identified as 31-year-old Garvin Franklin, was on post-prison supervision for felony assault, Schmautz said officers weren’t going to take any unnecessary chances by rushing into the modest Hazelwood Neighborhood home.

Occupants of the house in which Franklin barricaded himself are safely removed from the house under siege.

Friends and relatives were calling Franklin on his cell phone, suggesting that he surrender, Schmautz reported. He didn’t heed their advice.

“We were able to isolate his phone so that he can only speak with us,” Schmautz explained. “It’s often better for him to listen to the one voice – our negotiator – without the distraction of other people giving him input.”

News crew members s look for evidence that Franklin has surrendered as reported.

‘Attention-getting device’ deployed
About 9:30 a.m., we heard a loud explosion come from the home, just out of our view.

“He has refused contact with us for some time now,” Schmautz said. “We’ve been loud-hailing him, trying unsuccessfully to get him to come out. So, we deployed an ‘attention-getting device’ in the yard to let him know that we were still here – we’re not going away – and we encourage him to continue having a conversation with us.”

The subject, 31-year-old Garvin Franklin, appears to enjoy his brief notoriety, as he smiles and makes faces out the back of the police cruiser.

Patience pays off
About 10:30 a.m., Franklin surrendered peacefully.

Schmautz came back and reported to the gaggle of news-gatherers, “We’re now in the process of securing the home. We’ll then open up the golf course, the walking trails and the road. Then, we’ll do a very thorough search of the home.”

Because police had waited patiently, no one was injured – and the home wasn’t damaged during the standoff.

“Other than a lot of upset  golfers who missed their tee-time, everything’s peaceful here now at Glendoveer,” Schmautz concluded.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Learn why Asian folks came from all over the greater Portland area to celebrate this ancient Chinese celebration …

Performers from the Northwest Lion Dance Association usher in the good times at the 9th annual Mid-Autumn Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the largest Mid-Autumn Festivals – also known as the Moon Festival, a popular East Asian tradition of Chinese origin — didn’t take place in downtown Portland. Instead, nearly 3,000 people did come to celebrate their second-favorite holiday in outer East Portland, on S.E. 82nd, on September 13.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival is traditionally celebrated outdoors, in mid- to late September,” explained the event’s coordinator, Nanette Tran. “Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date.”

Thousands of visitors from all over the greater Portland area came to visit the Moon Festival at Eastport Plaza.

Event coordinator Nanette Tran, and main event sponsor, Charles Hui from the Portland Chinese Times, tell us the significance of their event.

This festival is nearly as important a holiday in the Chinese calendar as is the Chinese Lunar New Year, Tran noted. “It’s a legal holiday in many countries. Traditionally, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together.”

Although the Chinese are credited with starting this tradition 3,000 years ago, many East Asian cultures have adopted the festival to their traditions.

These young musicians from the Portland Cultural Center serenade visitors with melodies as classical as are their instruments.

Brings community together
Although few celebrants are farmers nowadays, explained Tran, “This event is significant in that it helps the Chinese community feel stronger and closer to one another. It is especially important that we include our children so they may learn our traditions.”

Events at the festival, held again this year at Eastport Plaza on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, included Chinese folk dance, a children’s choir, martial arts demonstration and a concert by the cutest little kids expertly playing classical Chinese instruments.

Additionally, an “Asian & Pacific Islander Home Buying Fair” provided attendees with educational materials, exhibits and information.

Linda Leman, of Prudential NW Properties, talks up home-buying at the Asian & Pacific Islander Home Buying Fair, held in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Learn why officials say this dreadful driver shouldn’t have been driving at all – and, be amazed at the stupid thing she did after causing the wreck. The pictures tell this rather humorous story …

When we arrive on scene, this crumpled Acura is the only vehicle in sight. Fortunately, the driver wasn’t seriously injured.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The police radio reports a motor vehicle accident on NE 82nd Avenue of Roses about 1:00 p.m., as we’re covering other stories on September 13. We snap to attention when we hear the dispatcher add, “It’s a roll-over.”

When we pull up at the announced location of the wreck – NE 82nd Avenue and NE Tillamook Street – we find a silver Acura parked on the northbound side of the street. The looks as if a giant battering-ram demolished the rear end of the car.

However, the ambulance parked ahead of the disabled vehicle is just sitting there, apparently unused; the police cruiser parked behind the wreck is empty.

The culprit’s Chevy Blazer looks very much the worse for wear.

Having also heard report of a vehicle on its side near Madison High School, we venture north. Sure enough, there lies a “beached” blue-green Chevy Blazer, sans occupants, in the school’s lower parking lot entrance.

The only people we see at this location are crewmembers from Portland Fire & Rescue’s Truck 12, standing guard. They’re mum.

With no public safety officials on scene, we’re struggling to make sense of the facts at hand:

  • Two vehicles are reportedly involved in a hit and run collision;
  • One empty and crunched Acura at rests at NE Tillamook Street;
  • Five blocks north, an unoccupied, rolled-over Chevy Blazer lies motionless across from NE Russell St.

Schmautz solves the mystery
We turn to Portland Police Bureau spokesman, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, asking for his help in solving this mysterious happenstance.

“The collision occurred at 1:03 pm at Northeast 82nd and Tillamook,” Schmautz tells us. “At the time of the collision, 65-year-old Jan Albrecht was northbound in her Acura on NE 82nd Avenue when she was hit from the rear by a Chevy Blazer driven by 45-year-old Betty Elaine Calvin.”

After the collision, Schmautz says Calvin fled the scene – with the rear bumper of Albrecht’s car still jammed into the front undercarriage of the Blazer.

Yes, that silver bumper – still wedged in the front of the Blazer – belongs to the Acura the vehicle ran into five blocks down the avenue.

Yes, the story gets even better …
“Calvin stopped a few blocks away, and attempted to remove the bumper,” Schmautz continues, suppressing a chuckle that sounds to be welling up inside him.

“Unfortunately, Calvin shifted her Blazer into ‘Reverse’ instead of ‘Park’.

“This slight error caused the Blazer to leave Calvin behind as it drove backwards across the roadway and flipped into the Madison High parking lot,” he concludes.

According to police records, Calvin was charged with:

  1. Hit and Run;
  2. Reckless Driving;
  3. Following to Close;
  4. Driving While Suspended; and,
  5. Driving Uninsured.

We can only hope Calvin doesn’t have access to another vehicle …

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Discover what hundreds of neighbors learned when
they turned out for this “Town Hall” …

Panelists at the anti-prostitution Town Hall Summit include Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard; Jeri Williams, Neighborhood Coordinator, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and a survivor of prostitution on 82nd Avenue; Bill Smith, Executive Director of Defenders USA, a group formed to help end demand for prostitution; Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Bickford, Office Human Trafficking Coordinator; James Pond of Transitions Global; Lila Lee, Executive Director of Council for Prostitution Alternatives; Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs; and Ken Turner, president of 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The panelists said they were impressed by the size of the audience, and the level of interest these neighbors demonstrated, in combating street-sex for sale at a Town Hall Summit held at Vestal Elementary School on September 15.

A question that remains is whether or not the city’s leaders will impress the neighbors by taking action to back up their rhetoric.

Street prostitution runs rampant
The Portland City Council chose allow the Prostitution-free Zone (PFZ) ordinance to expire on September 30, 2007.

Because of this decision, many residents and business owners along 82nd Avenue of Roses and NE Sandy Boulevard contend – and some law enforcement officials agree – that street-level prostitution along “the strip” has gone from furtive to “in-your-face blatant”.

Mayor Potter pledges prostitution prosecution
After no less than three neighborhood groups have formed – joined by two business associations – to protest the increased crime which they say street prostitution has brought into their neighborhoods, and a reduced level of livability – Portland Mayor Tom Potter revealed a plan to combat street-sex for sale.

(Read all about it in this exclusive East PDX News article: CLICK HERE)

Setting the scene
Even though Vestal’s auditorium was hot and very poorly ventilated, about 275 people listened to eight panelists and then responded, during the 2½ meeting on the 15th.

“Thank you for coming out,” began Justin Cutler, Vice Chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, as he set the tone for the meeting.

“And, thank you to those of you who brought awareness to this issue,” said Cutler. “On behalf of the neighbors in Montavilla, and all the neighbors from neighborhoods along 82nd Avenue, we hope to be respectful this evening, as we develop solutions that make 82nd Avenue a better place for everyone.”

Event organizer Dawn Rasmussen introduced the summit’s facilitator, Judith Mowry, and asked the panelists to introduce themselves.

In the audience, we spotted Portland Police Bureau Chief Rosie Sizer, Carmen Rubio from Mayor Tom Potter’s office, and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, while Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk stood in the back – and there were many police officers in attendance also.

Organizer Dawn Rasmussen thanks community members and government officials for coming to the Town Hall Summit.

Town Hall Summit to elicit questions and educate
“We’re all here because we’re concerned about our livability,” organizer Rasmussen stated. We’re not here to weigh one particular approach to combating prostitution over another. What we are doing is assessing ideas to combat the problem.”

“Street prostitution isn’t a problem until it moves into your neighborhood,” Rasmussen added. “But, it hits home when it happens in your front yard or down the block.

“Prostitution is a very complex problem, and has multiple layers,” continued Rasmussen. “It has been called the oldest profession, as we’ve heard before. The purpose of this meeting tonight is to get ideas out there, and educate ourselves.”

Former 82nd Avenue prostitute – now neighborhood advocate – Jeri Williams prepares to tell her story.

Recovered prostitute tells her story
The room grew silent as Jeri Williams, now a neighborhood coordinator at the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, told compellingly about being a survivor of prostitution on 82nd Avenue.

“People think prostitutes are women who enjoy being intimate with total strangers,” Williams began. “That’s not the way it works.”

Williams said prostitutes will tell people they are in control of their lives. “Some may be, but that wasn’t my situation. I had two babies at the time, one was two years old one was one year old. They were being watched over by a crack addict, the sister of my pimp. I had to bring back $300 a night, or not come back until dawn.

“When I got out [of prostitution], it was because I was stabbed and left for dead in 1989 by a drug addict who tried to rob me. I would not let him rob me, because I did want to get home and get beaten up by my pimp for not brining back money. He stabbed me in my back and arm; I carry the scars with me today. But I’m alive!”

Because she was able to get into rehabilitation programs, get therapy, and develop a “spiritual life”, Williams said she learned life skills that helped her get along in the world outside of street prostitution. She credited the Council of Prostitution Alternatives – a funded program at the time – for giving women the opportunity to change themselves.

“I became a community activist,” revealed Williams. “I’ve worked on issues such as transportation; I’ve beat up on corporate polluters; I’ve been a workers’ rights and domestic violence advocate.  I’ve been able to do all these incredible, wonderful things.”

Williams then announced what we’d discovered while reporting this story in September, 2007: “I’ve been on the Web not been able to find any programs to help women escape from prostitution.”

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard says he wants a program that “fixes the problem” instead of exporting prostitution to another part of Portland.

Commissioner Leonard speaks about the PFZ
Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard congratulated Williams on her accomplishments before saying why he voted to allow the PFZ ordinance to “sunset”.

“I joined the Council when we overturned the Prostitution-free Zone ordinance last year,” Leonard stated. “Prostitution-free Zones and Drug free Zones don’t work.”

When asked by police officers why he would vote to remove “such a valuable law enforcement tool”, Leonard added, he asked officers to think of a way of fixing the problem, instead of moving it to another area of town.

Leonard points to success of Downtown program
Leonard said systematically arresting and prosecuting repeat offenders – and encouraging city agencies to shut down businesses that harbor criminal activity – gets to the root of the problem.

“The downtown crime rate has dropped 30 percent. Recidivism has dropped 71 per cent. I’ve asked for this approach to be brought out on 82nd Avenue,” Leonard declared. Due to increased police patrols, he added, “I’ve been on three ride-alongs [observation sessions] with police officers in the last three weeks. We didn’t see one prostitute on the street.”

Executive director of Defenders USA, Bill Smith, says it’s time for real men to figuratively stand up and shout at johns, “Don’t buy our girls!”

Crusader decries recruiting children into the sex trade
Next to speak was the executive director of Defenders USA, Bill Smith. Turning to Williams, he said, “On behalf of honest men, I apologized for what pimps and customers have done to you. ‘Shared Hope International’ and our group demand this activity be stopped.”

Saying his group defends women and children from sexual exploitation, Smith asserted, “If there wasn’t a buyer and there wasn’t a seller, there wouldn’t be victims.”

Citing fellow panelist James Pond, Smith said the average starting age of a prostituted person has gone down to between 12 and 14 years of age. “You wouldn’t let someone take a youngster from a shopping center and turn them into a prostitute. Why do we allow this to happen on our streets and in our schools? It’s time men stand up and say, ‘Don’t buy our girls!'”

Sheriff’s office targets juveniles
“Our Juvenile Justice System hasn’t done a very good job,” admitted Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Coordinator, Deputy Keith Bickford.

Saying prostitution is so widespread and pervasive, Bickford told the attendees the sheriff is focusing attention on children. “We’ve found the [prostitution] recruiting has been going on in our schools! We need better services, and educational efforts.”

Transitions Global founder, James Pond, says he’s concerned because eighty percent of prostitution takes place “off the street”.

Looks beyond street sex-for-sale
James Pond, who started fighting sexual exploitation in Cambodia, and is now taking his work worldwide, announced his organization’s new name: Transitions Global.

“We help build new lives for survivors of sex trafficking,” explained Pond. “We’re looking at this issue in terms of a holistic approach. 80 percent of prostitution is taking place off street.”

Their concern, Pond added is that prostitution along 82nd Avenue is “only a symptom of the greater needs of women and children who are being exploited.”

Seeks funding for prostitution treatment
Lila Lee, executive director of the Council for Prostitution Alternatives (CPA), stated that she’s working to provide prostitution treatment options in Portland.

“Takes a village to make a prostitute; and it takes a village to get a woman out of prostitution,” Lee paraphrased. “We are trying to get funding to restart the CPA program that helped Jeri get out [of prostitution].”

Lee claimed they are already working with 51 clients, with the help of organizations like Volunteers of America and Providence St. Vincent Hospital – which provide clothing, healthcare, and hygiene services.

“Very few of these women were not sexually or physically abused as children,” asserted Lee, “I had a friend whose mom who sold her to a heroin dealer when she was in second grade. My clients are suffering from addictions. 90 percent are homeless; 90 percent have ‘post-traumatic syndrome’.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs is in charge of implementing the law enforcement side of the City’s new anti-prostitution program.

Police commander explains new program
Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs began by saying, “With all of this community support, I feel encouraged that we – in a joint effort of North, Northeast, and East Precinct – can clean up 82nd Avenue.”

Currently, Crebs explained, an individual charged with prostitution typically is sent to Community Court, gets a short jail stay, and is turned loose – with no probation – and allowed to “go about their business” after being released.

“Under our plan, the individual has the option to go to Community Court for the first offence,” Crebs elucidated. “The second time, they go to regular court. If they are found guilty or admit guilt, they will be put into a probation system.

“About 15 officers will be assigned as probation officers. They’ll actively look for people [who are breaking the terms of their probation by associating with johns, pimps or soliciting]. They’ll be rearrested, and put them in jail for minimum for 3 days – instead of being out and back on the street in about five hours, as with the current system.”

The President of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, Ken Turner, talks about the negative impacts on commerce and future development.

Prostitution hinders commerce
Ken Turner, President of 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, told the audience, “I’d like to say that I’m glad to be here. I’d like to – but this problem is very real; so I am glad to be here to share information with the community.”

From a business standpoint, Turner said prostitution is hurting the business community – both currently and in the future, as the City considers building a professional baseball stadium not far from 82nd Avenue in Lents.

“When I was out with members of our business association, visiting businesses along the avenue and sharing anti-crime information with them, business owners and managers agreed there was a real problem,” Turner recounted. “One even joked darkly, ‘Without all of the prostitutes and pimps, what would we do for customers these days?'”

Turner said he felt empathy for the prostituted women, “but I don’t don’t feel a bit sorry for the pimps and johns. They are hurting our community.”

We estimate about 275 people put up with the hot and stuffy auditorium to participate in the Town Hall Summit.

Question-and-answer session follows
During the remainder of the summit meeting, attendees wrote questions and comments on cards, sorted by the facilitators, and then put to the panel.

The questions illustrated varying levels of understanding about prostitution among the audience members.

Some asked about root causes – “why do married men go to prostitutes?” Others asked for more details about the program proposed to deal with the situation. A neighbor asked what they should do if an act of prostitution was taking place in front of their home. Another decried the lack of social services for prostituted persons.

Space prohibits us from recounting the dozens of questions, answers, and comments made during the 90-minute “forum” portion of the meeting. We suggest you attend the next Town Hall Summit planned for next month to hear more for yourself.

Organizer pleased with the meeting
After the meeting, Rasmussen told us she thought the Town Hall Summit went very well. “It was positive opportunity to get everyone ‘on the same page’. People educated themselves.”

In all, it was a “galvanizing event”, Rasmussen reflected. “The most important thing I took away from the event is seeing how much our neighbors care about their neighborhood, and their great capacity to care about others as human beings.

“At the base of the Burnside Bridge is a quote from Mayor Bud Clark,” she paraphrased, ‘The citizens and businesses are the fabric of our community’.”

Standing in the back of the Vestal Elementary School auditorium, Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk takes in the proceedings. He’s one of the officials we’ll be asking for comment on this new program.

Coming up next …
We’ll be talking with City and County leaders in an effort to determine their dedication to the effort to reduce street prostitution along 82nd Avenue of Roses, and we’ll report back to you.

Next Town Hall Summit is scheduled on October 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Portland Community College Southeast Center, on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Division Street.

Watford Reed contributed to this story.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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