See why many people now say that the most creative artists have moved to East Portland. Meet six of them right here …

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The annual SE Area ARTWalk, founded by Rin Carroll Jackson in 2002, started with a small group of artists, and has continued to be organized by a dedicated group of artists and business owners.

“The idea was to reach out to artists in the area, help them make new connections and show their talents and skills in a small, neighborhood art tour,” she said. “The growth of the event has been astounding, and we are thankful for all the support we have received from neighborhood/business associations, local area residents, business owners, and art enthusiasts. Without the network of passionate community-members, the event would not be where it is today.”

The group’s volunteer publicity coordinator, Kathi Drummond of RedKat Imaging, helped us coordinate our tour – during which we met seven artists who work in a variety of media.

Dorothy Steele and P. Anna Johnson show off their porcelain and ceramic original containers.

Ross Island Pottery / Dorothy Steele Pottery
1100 SE Woodward Street

Being a full-time artist in the area since 1990, many people have met potter Dorothy Steele. She said that over the years she’s done “all kinds of art”, until she settled on creating porcelain, hand-built pottery with plant impressions and bright colors.

“I’ve always seen clay is very organic in itself,” Steele told us. “By putting impressions of plants in the clay, it makes it even more organic – it looks almost like fossils. My color combinations come from observing nature.”

Steele said she looks forward to the ARTwalk each year. “It brings a community together, and showcases our creative community here. But it’s also a showcase for all the artists in Southeast Portland.  It’s good exposure for people, general people in the community, to get to know the artist and that all this artwork is here.  It’s great exposure, and a great community event.”

P. Anna Johnson – Ceramics
Another artist showing in the same studio during our visit was P. Anna Johnson. “Actually, I’m one of the six people who work in this studio, and share the space.”

She describes her work as “sculptural and functional”, adding that she was attracted to the process of making stoneware ceramics because she thinks “in a three-dimensional way. Before I was a potter, I was a dancer. Many potters are also dancers.”

Find out more about the artisans here by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

Cheri Holly shows a ceramic vase. She first carved the bamboo scene with which it is decorated before imprinting it onto the vase.

Cheri Holly – Ceramics
At her home on SE Tibbits Street

Next, we met a woman who says she uses here hands to both create – and heal. “My real job is being a registered nurse at St. Vincent Hospital,” confided Cheri Holly, while showing her ceramic artwork to visitors. “This is the other half of my job, and my being.”

Although Holly said she now enjoys making ceramics by hand, her artistic impulses started her out illustrating, drawing, and painting. “When I started getting back into art, as my kids got older, I was having a hard time doing the quality of work that I did when I was younger. I thought I’d do something completely different.”

One of her favorite techniques, Holly noted, is to first make artistic carvings in clay, bisque the carving, and then use that to make an imprint in ceramic piece.

The professional quality of Holly’s work belies the fact she started learning pottery only four years ago. “It took off, now I have my own studio and kiln in the basement.”

Amber Oxford’s fine art drawings and paintings are on display on the mantle, as she creates a living work of art on the face of Gretta Baker.

Amber Marie Studios – Figure and Body Art
Also showing her artwork in Holly’s home was artist – and body art painter – Amber Oxford.

“I create art on paper, canvas, wood, and on whatever I can find,” said Oxford “I even have a toilet seat that’s been decorated. I like finding things and repurposing them.”

While she talks, Oxford is panting a design on Gretta Baker’s face. “People are my favorite subjects and objects. I enjoy drawing and painting figure studies, and also like putting art on the body.”

Her kind of “body art” isn’t done with tattoos: “I have a real fear of needles.” And, she’s not the typical “face painter” who splashes on crude, cartoonish paint. “In 1999, I learned what we call ‘body art’ from a mentor – it’s fine art, integrated onto a human body.”

Her day job as a website and office administrator hasn’t deterred her creative passion. “I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember. I used to trace images of my favorite cartoons on paper off of the TV screen. I’ve been a cartoonist for awhile, then a comic book artist – and I kept drawing people. I like having a little creativity in my days.”

To learn more, visit her website: CLICK HERE.

Photographer David Duck says he loves the experience of capturing outdoor images.

David Duck – Landscape Photography
At his home on SE Tibbetts Street

At this home, we met three artists – including the homeowner, David Duck, a landscape photographer.

“It started when my mom told me to take a hike!” Duck grinned. “I thought, while I’m out, I might as well take some photographs. Since then, photography is always given me a license to dawdle outdoors.”

Even though Duck said he enjoys travel, “You can explore new images in your backyard just as well as you can in a foreign country.”

Eschewing the relative ease of digital photography, Duck says, he prefers the “slow and deliberate” process of capturing an image using a medium-format camera – a Hasselblad, shooting Fuji transparency film. Using a digital process, he creates large-format images that are “painted by light” onto genuine photographic paper.

Photography is actually a sideline for him, Duck mentioned. Nowadays, he’s a family man who works as a property specialist at Portland’s VA Hospital. “But, I still really enjoy getting outdoors and finding new images.”

Learn more by visiting his website: CLICK HERE.

Stephanie Meredith displays some of her colorful, abstract oil-on-canvas paintings.

Stephanie Meredith – Oil on canvas
A professional artist for two years now, Stephanie Meredith said she started drawing as soon as she could “pick up a pencil”, because her mother was also an artist. “When I was in college at Santa Fe, New Mexico, I dabbled in sculpture – but it just wasn’t as natural for me.”

Meredith added that she’s developed two styles – depicting micro-objects, and abstracts.

“I create paintings of things so small, like pollen for example, that you can only see them through a microscope. I also do abstractions of my own designs. These are all bright, monochromatic works, painted three-dimensionally so that they seem to pop out of the painting.”

Her favorite of the process, Meredith added, is coming up with the concept for a new work. “I enjoy figuring out what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. From there, it’s more of the craft of making it come out the way I’ve imagined it.”

See more of her work at her BlogSpot page: CLICK HERE.

Jewelry artist Wendy Price says she likes creating wearable art.

Wendy Price – Handcrafted jewelry
Creating “wearable art” is the craft pursued by jewelry artist Wendy Price.

“I learned to make jewelry, a craft I could do with my mom when I was a teenager,” Price said. “We took classes together.”

The beads that Price uses are typically made of hand-blown glass, not plastic. “I like to let the components – the jewelry and the beads – inspire me. I pick out the colors, textures, and chains I like, and work from there.”

A great deal of her jewelry, she told us, is created using sterling silver and semi-precious gems. “But, I’ll use almost any material, if it works in the jewelry I’m creating.”

You can contact her by e-mail at

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

And get timely tips from a ‘career expert’ about what it takes to get ahead in today’s troubled economy …

Bruce Altizer with Postal Annex, and GABA VP, Lee Powell, Farmer’s Insurance agent, pick up their lunch, catered by Cherryblossom Loaves & Fishes center.

By Watford Reed, photos by David F. Ashton
Who will be named Gateway’s “Citizen of the Year” is no longer a mystery; it was revealed during the March meeting of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA).

Longtime Gateway booster Fred Sanchez said that he, and a committee comprised of school superintendents Barbara Rommel, with David Douglas Schools and Dr. Karen Fischer Gray with Parkrose Public schools – along with Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs and Midland Library manager Javier Gutierrez met early in March.

“I’m pleased to announce that our very own US Senator, Jeff Merkley, has been selected as the 2009 Gateway Citizen of the Year,” Sanchez stated.

GABA president, Ajnesh “AJ” Prasad, with Columbia State Bank, gives the club’s famed Rubber Chicken Award to Dawn Rasmussen of Pathfinder Career Services.

Helps get careers on track
Introducing the meeting’s speaker, Prasad told the group, “The ‘GABA Chicken’ spoke to me yesterday, he said that this month’s recipient should be Dawn Rasmussen.”

Employment security is a thing of the past, 45 GABA members learned from the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, Dawn (Tryon) Rasmussen.

Continuing success in business is also dependent on drive and effort, she said at their March 12 meeting.

“Only employability – what you do better than someone else – wins jobs now,” Rasmussen explained. “Employability is based on providing high quality service to customers.”

This is true for people who own and manage businesses, she warned. “If your business doesn’t improve, you won’t get customers.”

A job-seeker should think of an interesting field – something he or she enjoys doing – when thinking of a second, or third career, Rasmussen continued.

Rasmussen shares success secrets, such as what’s necessary to be successful when conducting a job search.

Three successful job search factors
Finding work, she explained, is like a three-legged stool. First, one must provide professional appearing credentials – a resume – that clearly shows how an applicant stands out among, potentially hundreds, of other applicants. Secondly, in this age of specialization, an applicant must have a clear idea of who their “audience” is, namely, the person doing the hiring.

“The third ‘leg’ is networking skills – who he or she knows, both in professional and personal life.” Rasmussen estimated that 70% of workers find jobs by networking. And by knowing the “right places” to look is of the utmost importance.

These principals apply to owners of small business “who do everything” when it comes to attracting and keeping customers.

“Everybody responds to positive personality,” she noted, “including skills in leadership, generosity, willingness to help others, and enjoying work. And, people respond to sincerity. People remember positive contacts.”

In conclusion, Rasmussen said everyone involved in business should have a “mission statement” and know how to reach goals.  “Build up your profile,” she ended. “You must be the best at what you do – then, be able to communicate this well with others.”

Learn more about Rasmussen’s Pathfinder Writing and Career Services by visiting her website: CLICK HERE.

GABA president, AJ Prasad says that their August 8, National Night Out for Safety celebration, co-hosted with Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes, will be the venue for this year’s Gateway Fun-O-Rama.

Meet the GABA members
On April 9, the Gateway Area Business Association general membership meeting – running from 11:45 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. will be held at “111th SQUARE”, NE Halsey St. at NE 111th Avenue. It will feature tours and give-a-ways from Realty Brokers, Postal Place, 111th Square Fitness and Therapy, Jaskic Insurance and Hair Oui Are. For more information, visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

David F. Ashton contributed to this report.
© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Will slowing down Oregon’s citizen ‘initiative process’ by an additional two years for ‘thoughtful deliberation’ really build better laws? See why both Republicans and Democrats say ‘yes, it will’ and ‘no, it won’t’ …

Executive Club’s leader, Don McIntire, introduces the program’s panel: Independent Dan Meek, Oregon Senator Frank Morse, imitative attorney Ross Day, and Oregon House Representative Larry Galizio.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A bill that would substantially change Oregon’s Citizen Initiative process was introduced, discussed, and debated on March 4 at the monthly meeting of the Executive Club at the Airport Shilo Inn before a packed, standing-room-only house.

Oregon Senator Frank Morse, and Oregon Representative Larry Galizio pitched the merits of the bill they are co-sponsoring, Senate Joint Resolution 11. (To read a PDF document introducing SJR 11 for yourself, CLICK HERE.) Attorneys Dan Meek and Ross Day told why they opposed the bill.

Don McIntire introduces the panel and outline’s the topic of discussion.

Calls it a ‘radical reform’ in the citizen-initiative process
The Executive Club’s “Interim President for Life”, Don McIntire, set the stage for the discussion by characterizing SJR 11 a radical reform of the Oregon initiative system.

The bill proposes a state constitutional amendment, McIntire said, that would alter the initiative process by requiring that any initiative, with enough signatures to make the ballot, would be held until it was reviewed in a regular session of the State legislature.

As part of the review, the initiative would be put to an “advisory vote” by State legislators; the Secretary of State would post the results of the vote.

“As a practical matter, the law would delay initiatives by an additional two years before it came up for a vote of the people,” McIntire noted. “There is no doubt, also, that this measure would enable the legislature to create competing measures if they so choose.”

Oregon Senator Frank Morse advocates for letting initiative measures “season” before going on the ballot.

Morse likens process to sausage-making in Salem
Oregon Senator Frank Morse, a Republican from Albany, began, “Otto von Bismarck the Prime Minister of Prussia said laws and sausages are the two things you do not want to see being made. Initiatives are often criticized for their complexity or bad drafting.  That’s one reason we offer for slowing down the process and inserting an additional 24 month delay.”

Morse said one of the reasons for slowing down the initiative process is because of the financial impacts many measures have on the State budget. “Measures represented 50% of the spending increase from 1989 to 2007,” Morse noted as he reminded attendees that more citizen-lead initiatives have been passed in Oregon than any other state.

Nevertheless, Morse stated he had no interest in denying citizen’s access to the legislative process. “We want to create a more informed process, so voters will have a better depth of understanding on what they are voting about – including the fiscal impacts. Sometimes it takes more than a biennium for [an initiative measure] to ‘season’ before it becomes law.”

Attorney Dan Meek says citizens sponsor initiatives on issues the State legislators avoid.

Meek says measure will causes an ‘unnecessary delay’
Attorney Dan Meek – some say he knows more about citizen intuitive than anyone – said he opposes SJR 11 because “it slows down the process for no good reason”.

“It imposes a two-year delay on an initiative after it is certified to going to the ballot,” Meek began. “I don’t see a reason to delay. After a citizen puts forth the effort to put a timely measure on the ballot, it is ‘shut down’ for 28 months; it’s subjected to an unbinding ‘straw vote’, and opponents get unlimited space [in the Voter’s Guide] to argue against it.”

Meek opined that the only reason citizens spend the time, money, and effort to put initiatives on the ballot is that “it permits people of Oregon to vote on issues the State legislators will not address, or oppose.”

He also decried that the Oregon Attorney General will write citizen-initiative ballot measure titles and descriptions. “The proponents should write the ballot title and description with no review. And, let’s apply this to the legislature-sponsored bills as well.”

Oregon Rep. Larry Galizio tells why he thinks SJR 11 will “add transparency” to the initiative process.

New process will ‘increase transparency’, postulates Galizio
Oregon Rep. Larry Galizio, a Democrat from Tigard, began, “When I was walking in, I heard one guest say [this measure] will eliminate the petition system. I can say that this not the goal of this legislation.”

During the deliberative discussion, Galizio said anyone, including the bill’s chief petitioners, can testify, and maybe answer some difficult questions of significance and conceptualize the intent of the initiative. The purpose is to increase the deliberative discussion and provide more accountability. This does not take place in the status quo, I would argue.”

The “status quo”, Galizio argued, works for “wealthy people and unions and out-of-state interests. The [labor] unions have figured out how to ‘play defense’ well; and make effective arguments against bills they don’t favor.”

The other problem with the “status quo” Galizio is that “The media have failed to cover politics in a meaningful kind of way. For a lot of busy people, the media is focused on selling ads; the focus is on sensationalism. People see a lot of ads, but don’t hear much public discourse.”

Because the State legislature may start meeting annually, Galizio said there might not be a two-year delay if this measure passes.

“I think what [SJR 11] does, is that it errs on the side of more transparency, greater deliberative discussion, and more discourse. If you think your idea is good enough and it will withstand that kind of rigorous analysis, then I think you’ll like this concept.”

Point by point, public action attorney Ross Day refutes the reasons he’s heard that SJR 11 will help the citizen initiative process.

Day blasts bill into night
Ross Day, a public action attorney with “Oregonians in Action”, and also a new organization, “Common sense for Oregon”, said he was skeptical that the intent of Oregon’s legislature was to aid the citizen initiative process.

“I have to be honest with you,” Day began, “With all due respect to the Senator, if what we’re talking about transparency – what the Democrats did with Measure 49 is a crime. It’s hard to believe that [SJR 11] is somehow going to create more transparency. The ballot titles for Measure 50 and Measure 57 – they were anything but transparent.”

Day schooled the crowd, pointing out that Oregon’s citizen initiative system is established in Article 4 of the Oregon Constitution.

“It is very unique, because the very first section of Article 4 delineates legislature’s power,” Day educated. “Half of it is given to the legislature; half of it belongs to the people. It’s a shared power. One side is not supposed to trump the other.”

Regarding the fiscal impacts of citizen-based initiatives, Day stated pointedly, “So, Senator Morris, when you say 50% of the increase [in State spending] is based on initiatives, this means that 50% of the spending increases was because of the legislature. There was this thing called SIM and CAM that wasn’t an initiative – there’s a lot of that kind of spending and they came out of the legislature – that aren’t exactly the results of a very deliberative legislation.”

That initiatives will be improved if delayed in the legislature is a “laughable” concept, Day continued. “To suggest that somehow the ‘fountain of knowledge’ comes from the legislature, and that somehow the ‘great unwashed masses’ are unable to draft a measure, doesn’t fly with me either.”

Agreeing that Oregon has an active initiative system, Day pointed out, “It’s true. To date, there have been more citizen petitions in Oregon than any other state. But also keep in mind that Oregon has the second oldest citizen petition system in the country.” Early in Oregon’s statehood, he noted, “one year, we had 36 measures on the ballot. Let’s put things in their proper context and perspective.”

Day said he also disagreed that the wealthy and out-of-state interests have somehow hijacked Oregon’s initiative system: “Here’s the reason why [petitioners seek outside funding]: in 2000, $250,000 put four measures on the ballot. Last year, it took $400,000 to put one measure on the ballot. The regulations and restrictions that the Legislature has placed on citizen petitioners have driven up the cost.”

Group meets monthly
When asked about his own organization, Don McIntire described the Executive Club this way: “This isn’t a group of activists, but instead, a group where many activists gather to celebrate the principles of limited government. We refer to ourselves as a society established on, and devoted to, free minds and free markets; dedicated to the principles of limited government as envisioned by our nation’s founders.”

They meet the first Wednesday of each month for dinner at 6:00 p.m. at the Airport Shilo Inn on NE Sandy Boulevard on East Airport Way, 2 blocks east of I-205. “An open mind is helpful; reservations are not necessary”.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Find out why this internationally-known recording artist makes
an annual pilgrimage to Parkrose High School …

When nearby young ladies saw us about to snap a candid photo of Michael Allen Harrison talking with a Parkrose High student in the Choir Room, seven additional gals glided into the frame.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
December’s wild and wooly weather shuttered an annual holiday event – internationally-known composer and recording artist Michael Allen Harrison’s annual concert.

Not to be denied the opportunity; Harrison made time in his schedule to attend the “Music in our School’s” winter concert on March 16.

“Coming back to Parkrose is part of the fabric of my life,” Harrison, one of Parkrose High’s most illustrious alums told us. “It’s part of my deal. It’s my hometown here; it’s a valued tradition with me.”

The Parkrose Honor Choir performs at the Parkrose High Theater.

First on the program was the Parkrose Honor Choir, drawn from Prescott, Russell, Sacramento, and Shaver Elementary schools. They sang two numbers, Everybody say Peace and I’ll make a Difference.

The Parkrose High School Treble Choir sings Lullay Alleluia.

Heaven Somewhere is being performed by the Parkrose High School A-Choir.

When Michael Allen Harrison sits down to play, the auditorium grows silent.

Harrison began by playing two of his own compositions, and then chatted with the audience.

He reminisced about going to school in Parkrose; this subject led him into presenting a novelty number, in which he demonstrated how he creates music, based on a single phrase of notes.

As always, the performance finished up with the return of the Honor Choir; they sang Follow the Drinking Gourd with Harrison.

“Even though it was delayed since December, we raised about $2,000 to help support our programs,” said choir director Lesley Bossert. “We really appreciate Michael Allen Harrison’s support of our musical program. Our students are deeply affected by his support and care about our musical program. He really connects with our musicians.”

You can learn more about Michael Allen Harrison by visiting his website: CLICK HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

It’s one of the worst single-car wrecks we’ve seen. Find out what happened, as told by an eye-witness who saw the incident unfold …

The car hit this wooden pole with such force, it snapped like a twig at ground level.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
“SE 162 Avenue is like a speedway,” said Centennial Neighborhood resident Vera Andersen, as she watched police investigating a car wreck across the intersection at SE Taggert Street. “Because it’s smooth and wide between SE Powell Boulevard and SE Division Street, people drive way too fast along here all of the time.”

Andersen shook her head as she walked away from the scene on March 22, after taking a final look at the destroyed car, clipped utility pole, and torn-up yard.

Although injured, both the driver and passenger of this car survived the smash-up.

Eyewitness to disaster
Scott Beach told us it was raining heavily, a little after 1:00 p.m., as he was driving north on SE 162nd Avenue from SE Powell Boulevard, headed toward SE Division Street.

“I was driving in the inside, or ‘fast’ lane,” Beach began, “doing about 40 or 45 mph. A car passed me in the ‘slow lane’ doing, I’d estimate, between 60 and 80 mph. He passed me like I was standing still.

The driver swerved in front of Beach, “Then, it was like he was trying to turn right into a driveway or onto Taggert Street. He went sideways and into the telephone pole; then into yard over there. I though he’d hit the house.”

Gives good medical advice
Beach said he stopped in the left-hand turn lane on 162nd Avenue. “When I got out, family members or friends were hollering for me to help them pull them out of the car. I told them no, you need to leave them in the car. I’d noticed electrical wires hanging down into the water.”

Trying to help the situation, Beach said he directed traffic around the wreck until Portland Fire & Rescue and police officers arrived.

“It took them a while to get them out of the car; they both went to the hospital,” recalled Beach. “They look pretty banged up. The driver was conscious but the passenger was kind of twitching like he was of out of it.”

SE 162nd Ave. was closed for much of the day as the Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team investigate the wreck.

Although Beach recalled the younger of the two men he saw in the car being the driver, Portland Police Bureau’s Public Information Officer Detective Mary Wheat told us, “The driver of the vehicle has been identified as 23-year old George Pitsul. The passenger in the vehicle is a 16-year old juvenile male; we’re not releasing his name due to his age.”

Police say this man, 23-year old George Pitsul, was arrested and charged with three separate counts, all stemming from this accident.

Both occupants of the vehicle were hospitalized for several days, Wheat said. “Investigators believe that speed was a factor in this incident and do not believe any alcohol was involved.”

On Friday, March 27th, Pitsul was arrested on one count of Assault in the Third Degree, one count of Reckless Driving, and one count of Recklessly Endangering Another Person.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

While cuts to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office may reduce jail space and curtail drug dealer busts – find out what a reduction in patrol services to the City of Maywood Park would mean to its citizens …

Outside the Multnomah County budget hearings, members of the Multnomah County Corrections Deputies Association voice their concerns about potential cuts to the public safety budget.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler convened the Public Safety Budget Forum on March 16, every seat in the Commissioner’s Boardroom was filled, and people were standing five deep in the back of the room.

Some citizens, like Erica Martin, a Sumner Neighborhood resident and AmeriCorps volunteer at Parkrose High School, were concerned about specific public safety programs on the chopping block. She told us she was advocating for the “Restorative Justice” at the meeting.

But for the City of Maywood Park’s Mayor, Mark Hardie, the stakes were much higher. Landlocked within Portland’s borders – located immediately northeast of the Interstate 205 and Interstate 84 junction – this small, residential community relies on the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for policing and crime control.

Moments before he addresses the forum, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler awaits his introduction.

Wheeler provides context for discussion
After noting the remarkable turnout for a budget meeting, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler began, “Here’s the context: This is a very challenging year. This is a difficult time for everyone in this room. Families are really struggling, trying to agree on how to make ends meet – how to pay the rent, make our payments, school payments. Government is also trying to make the bottom line work out.

“For Multnomah County, this is probably our toughest budget year ever. We are looking at approximately a $45 million budget shortfall over the next two years. On top of that we are looking at an additional $10 Million to $20 Million shortfall as result of State cuts.”

The Multnomah County Commissioner’s Boardroom was filled to overflowing as the Public Safety Budget Forum began.

Wheeler pointed out the obvious, saying all present were indicating their concern about public safety. “I want to assure you that this Board of County Commissioners shares that desire to have a safe public.”

But when it comes staving off cuts in the public safety budget, Wheeler stated flatly, “That is not an option. It’s not that helpful in terms of helping us balance our [budgetary] decisions. Where the real leadership comes is in terms of helping us prioritize.”

Wheeler itemized the County’s efforts to increase revenue, and noted that some services – such as library system funding, approved by a bond measure – take a portion of their budget. “In addition to public safety … we are statutorily required to provide services [such as] running elections, maintaining roads and bridge infrastructure, health services, and animal services.”

Mark Hardie, Mayor of the City of Maywood Park, listens to the presentations made by Chair Wheeler and county staff members.

Potential impacts to the City of Maywood Park
During this meeting, the county’s budget process was described in detail, the attendees were led through some budgeting exercises, and citizens had the opportunity to speak with county officials and commissioners.

After the forum, we asked Mark Hardie, Mayor of the City of Maywood Park, what he thought of the event. He told us that the meeting was nothing like anything he’d ever seen. “I felt like he was respectful of the process; it was a positive way to get everybody’s opinion.”

Hardie said the proposed cuts would be devastating to everyone in Multnomah County, not just to the citizens of Maywood Park.

“I can’t imagine losing the only drug team in the County – their Special Investigations Unit works up to 400 mid-level drug cases a year,” noted Hardie. “The proliferation of drug trafficking and crimes associated with it will only add to our troubles, and cause further deterioration to all of our neighborhoods.

“The cuts to the Warrant Strike Team,” he continued, “will leave an additional 100 felons loose on the street every year.

“And, taking away our Child Abuse Team affects the most vulnerable members of our society. Then, there is the loss of the Gang Task Force to be considered, and a reduction of jail beds. The cuts have no social boundaries; they affect the rich and the poor, and take away the one thing that everyone wants – to feel safe in their home.”

Peter Ozanne, the county’s chief depuity operating officer, refers to a chart given out that details Multnomah County’s role in the Public Safety system.

One of the most importing thoughts that Hardie said he took away from the meeting was that “No one part of the Public Safety System can stand alone. There is no need for jails if we don’t have prosecutors; there’s no need for prosecutors if we don’t have deputies to make arrests.”

Considering all safety options
In terms of what budget cuts mean to the residents of the City of Maywood Park – because Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Deputies patrol their streets – Hardie said, “We are, of course, very concerned about any cuts to Public Safety, and especially to the Sheriff’s Office.”

If Maywood Park’s level of service were reduced, Hardie said, “As a City, we would explore every possible option: From creating a gated community; to negotiating supplemental police contracts; to exercising our second amendment rights. The single most important job of government is keeping its citizens safe.”

In closing, we asked Hardie of he felt his concerns had been “heard”, or merely “listened to”.

“Only time will tell,” replied Hardie. “I do believe the Commissioners have been sincere in all of the conversations I have had with them.”

Leaders and residents of the City of Maywood Park – seen here lining up for their 2008 Annual July 4th Community Parade – wonder if their idyllic town will become the target of criminals if Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office patrols are reduced.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Exactly why were all of these kids out walking and running in the rain? Take a look and you’ll find why they put their backs (and legs) into this special program …

David Douglas High School senior David Dwyer, who’s in the Industrial and Engineering Systems program, sets a brisk pace as he circles Palermini Field’s track.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Even though blowing wind and rain didn’t really provide weather suitable for an outdoor event, more than 60 students involved in the David Douglas High School Industrial and Engineering Systems (IES) program still walked, jogged, and ran, on Saturday, March 14.

“This is our Second Annual IES Run,” explained one of the department’s construction and electronics instructors, Bill Ekroth. “The students go out and get pledges – then they walk or run a 3.2K or a 5K race. All of the pledge money goes to scholarships for our department.”

Greg Carradine, automotive teacher and Chair of the school’s IES Department, supervises the event with fellow instructor Bill Ekroth.

“These scholarships are important,” Ekroth continued, “because trade schools, community colleges, and four-year universities are expensive. With this event, we can provide two or three scholarships every year.”

Last year, the event raised a little over $1,500, and provided three scholarships. “I hope we’ll be able to do the same again this year,” Ekroth said.

The winners of the 2nd Annual IES Race: DDHS senior Jared Drendel won 1st place; senior Nate Hill took 2nd place; and junior Vasiliy Dikov was awarded 3rd place at the event.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See what took place at this outer East Portland location during Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s annually “watershed-wide” event …

Property owners Shannon Raybold (holding Brennan) and her husband Travis (holding Freya) say they’re happy to have help restoring the floodplain along Johnson Creek at their home off SE 120th Avenue.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s pleasant to own a home in outer East Portland that runs up against Johnson Creek. But, Pleasant Valley Neighborhood homeowners Shannon and Travis Raybold found restoring the creek-side floodplain at the back of their property has been quite a challenge.

“We’ve already done some of the work on our own,” Travis told us, as he watched volunteers from the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) hard at work. “We’ve always dreamed of living in a place like this, and of restoring the native habitat here. But, it’s a real challenge, especially when you have two small kids.”

Just getting to the work area was a test of physical prowess – it lay about 150 feet below the level of their back yard – accessible only by a steep, side-sloped trail. But the terrain didn’t keep a platoon of folks participating in the JCWC’s 11th Annual Watershed-Wide Event on March 7. Additionally, these hearty volunteers carried tools, plants, and supplies down to their bucolic worksite in rain.

JCWC Watershed Wide Event volunteers Annette Mattson (left, yellow raincoat) and local resident Suzie Wolfer (kneeling) pull up invasive species, as other workers plant native growth.

We walked past Annette Mattson, an outer East Portland resident who serves on the David Douglas School District Board. “I really care about the Johnson Creek watershed,” she said. “I live in this neighborhood. This is a great way to help out, and make a difference in our community right in my own neighborhood.”

Mattson was working with neighbor Suzie Wolfer, who told us, “I live a couple of houses down and I’ve walked throughout this area for 14 years. I single-handedly have trimmed ivy off the trees since I’ve moved here. It’s like heaven to see how these volunteers are helping the watershed.”

JCWC’s Restoration Project Manager, Greg Ciannella, pauses for a moment with board member Rick Attanasio at the outer East Portland restoration site.

Restoring an ‘incredible asset’
Greg Ciannella, JCWC’s Restoration Project Manager, said he thought that so many volunteers come out for the watershed-wide event because they recognize that “Johnson Creek is an incredible asset to the community. It supports a lot of great fish and wildlife habitat.”

At this site, Ciannella said, they were removing invasive species, and replanting the creek’s floodplain with native growth. “We’re trying to increase biodiversity and, at the same time, increase the shade over the creek, to help provide cold water for salmon during the warmer summer months.”

With about 25 volunteers at the site, Ciannella said, “It’s great opportunity to bring the community out, and get them engaged in stewardship and engaged in Johnson Creek.  They’re helping us get a lot of work done.”

We met JCWC board member Rick Attanasio as he and other volunteers were carrying native trees down the steep, slick trail.

“I volunteer because I love the creek, even though I don’t live close by,” explained Attanasio. “I think this is a key watershed. If the creek stays healthy, it leads the way for the rest of the area.”

One of the benefits of participating in this event is the hot home-cooked lunch served afterward. These gals, Portland State University students Adrianne Huston, Savannah Buck, and Kristina Coy, say the chili is really good – especially after a hard morning’s work.

Chili feed warms weary workers
A little past noon, many of the 320 volunteers start to filter into the JCWC office for a substantial lunch – featuring the flavorful chipotle chili lovingly prepared by JCWC’s outreach associate, Marty Urman.

There, the organization’s Executive Director, Matt Clark, said the volunteers who worked at 10 sites in the watershed, from Ambleside in East Gresham on down to Johnson Creek Park, about half a mile up from the confluence of the Willamette, were vitally important to their work.

“Our mission is to facilitate community involvement in the Johnson Creek Watershed,” Clark began. “Mobilizing volunteers to provide stewardship of the watershed helps them gain a sense of ownership.”

In an urban environment, Clark said, natural areas are important. “People benefit from having natural areas around them – places they can go out and recreate; it’s important to an individual’s well-being. We all benefit from having clean water in our creek, especially the fish. In fact, folks just found a couple of steelhead in Reed Canyon.”

Everyone says they love Marty Urman’s fabulous chili. Her secret ingredient, confides Marty, is chipotle chilies. “It’s not burn-your-mouth hot, but they sure do have a lot of flavor don’t they?” she says.

You can help
To learn more about how the Johnson Creek Watershed Council helps improve the livability of our area – and how YOU can get involved – check their website, by CLICKING HERE.

©2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Local business spotlight: Find out why a woman with a degree
in criminal justice finds happiness purveying flowers and gifts …

Anita Tabayoyon, owner of A.R. MOSS Floral Design and Event Embellishments prepares another “gift of joy” at her Parkrose-area shop.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Even though Anita Sauer was finishing up her Bachelor’s degree in social sciences at the Vancouver campus of Washington State University, she really wasn’t so sure that she wanted to pursue a career in Criminal Justice.

After school, Sauer married David Tabayoyon, and the couple settled down in the Portland area, where she worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for seven years.

“All along, I kept remembering working in a floral shop while I was in high school,” Tabayoyon told us. “Finally, I was able to go back in the floral business when we opened A.R. Moss Floral Design and Event Embellishments here in Parkrose, three years ago.”

Helps others share special feelings
The best part of running her business – in addition to being able to work with her husband David – “is being able to share my creative side with people in the community. I really enjoy helping my customers convey messages of love, care, and positive feelings through the plants and floral arrangements I create for them.”

There are several differences between A.R. MOSS and chain stores or Internet websites, Tabayoyon explained. One of them is genuine personal service. “We get to know our clients – their tastes and budgets – so we’re able to serve them better. We use plants and flowers grown right here in the Pacific Northwest. And, we’re an active member in the Parkrose community who supports our schools, the Parkrose Business Association, and the neighborhood.”

A full-service wedding florist
The “embellishments” part of their business, she said, is being a full-service wedding florist providing everything from a simple bouquet all the way up to decorating wedding arches or gazebos. “We also provide wedding favors; anything to make a special event a little more elegant.”

She said they also help corporate, fraternal, and civic organizations by sprucing up their events – such as holiday parties, annual meetings, and special events. Weddings and events take them to locations such as Bridal Veil, Hood River, Timberline/Mt. Hood, Forest Grove, Lincoln City, Newport, and Astoria.

You’ll never know what you’ll discover at this unique shop. A.R. Moss photo

In the front of their business is a gift store, featuring event décor and embellishment items, event favors, blooming and green plants, dish gardens, candles – and, eclectic vintage, antique, and new home décor, and garden décor and art.

A truly ‘green’ business
In addition to selling greenery, Tabayoyon mentioned that they compost all of the shop’s green waste. “And, we love recycling floral vases and containers, and all of the plastic pots used at our annual plant sale have been reclaimed and reused.”

By the way, they’re holding their annual “Spring Summer Camp” event on Saturday, April 11 – consider stopping by!

The shop, located at 10604 Northeast Sandy Boulevard, is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., and on Monday by appointment only. You can learn more – or order online, if you desire – by visiting their website at Or, call them at (503) 358-2692.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Upon whose head did current Parkrose Rose Festival Princess Vy Nguyen place the tiara? See the events unfold right here in a story loaded with our exclusive photos …

Parkrose High School principal Roy Reynolds welcomes students and family members to the selection ceremony of the 2009 Parkrose High Princess.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The 2009 Portland Rose Festival Court selection process continued in outer East Portland this week, as the Parkrose High School Theater started filling with students and family members on March 17.

Principal Roy Reynolds greeted the throng of students and parents filling the theater and said, “We have some wonderful young women that competed to represent our school. I’m very proud of each and every one of them. Before we bring them out, I give our Rose Festival committee my thanks.”

Reynolds paused after he recognized the committee members, then turned to the Portland Rose Festival Association leaders and remarked with a smile, “I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that, although we’ve participated in the Rose Festival Court for 20 years, we have not had a Rose Festival Queen come from Parkrose. We suggest it this might be the year!”

2008 Parkrose High Rose Festival Princess Vy Nguyen gives advice to the school’s five candidates.

Tension mounts, as the candidates wonder who’s been selected to represent Parkrose High School during the 2009 Portland Rose Festival.

Past princess returns
The 2008 Parkrose High Princess, Vy Nguyen, stepped up to the microphone. “Hello! I must say it’s really awkward to come back to school, but I’m so proud of my Parkrose High School. One of the things I’ve learned from this experience is the dedication, love, and passion we have for the Rose Festival.”

Turning to the five candidates now on stage, Nguyen continued, “One piece of advice I give to our new Princess is this: The year will go by very fast. Enjoy every moment of it.”

Opening the envelope, Nguyen announced that the 2009 Portland Rose Festival Princess from Parkrose high school is … Ciara (pronounced Sierra) Dines.

The other four contestants crowded around Princess Ciara, as Nguyen placed the tiara on her head.

Parkrose High School 2009 Portland Rose Festival Princess Ciara steps forward to make her first official speech.

Princess Ciara speaks
Ready to address her subjects, Princess Ciara walked up to the microphone, placed center-stage.

“Thank you so much; you all have been such an encouragement to me.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God, because he is my closest friend and relationship, and that has brought me through so much. I also thank my family for helping me and pushing me through, and giving the encouragement.

“I thought I was going to cry. It’s amazing; all of these ladies in the court helped me through this race, giving the encouragement, giving me positive things from their personalities, and lots of positive energy.

“Like I said in my speech, ‘Don’t give up, don’t give up’. There’s always someone to encourage you, and be by you. You just have to see it.  Thank you all.”

Princess Ciara Dines is surrounded by her court – Karen Cole, Isobel Woolner, Marie Coyle, and Melessa Lewis.

About Parkrose’ new Princess
17-year-old Princess Ciara Dines attended Woodlawn and Shaver Elementary Schools, and Parkrose Middle School; she’s now in her Junior year at Parkrose High School.

Her activities and honors include Soccer, basketball, softball, student council, Black Student Union, theater, superintendent advisory board, National Honor Society, church choir, and Les Femmes Debutantes.

“The person I admire most is Lynetta Martin, my pastor’s wife,” stated Princess Ciara. “She is a woman of dignity, integrity, courage, and she has compassion for everyone.”

Ciara’s hobbies and special interests include sports, singing, playing board games, exercise, spending time with family and church activities.

After high school, Princess Ciara plans to attend a four-year college, and pursue a career as a psychologist or a sociologist.

Meet Parkrose High School’s 2009 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Ciara Dines, at this years’ activities.

Don’t miss any of the fun
Find out about all of the fun, cultural, sports, arts and parade events that will be taking place at the 2009 Portland Rose Festival, by visiting the Portland Rose Festival Foundation website: CLICK HERE!

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Get a look at this “indoor farm” the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit unearthed in Lents …

In the basement of this Lents neighborhood home, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit deputies say they found this 170-plant pot farm. The special “grow lamps” cast a yellow light. MCSO Photo

By David F. Ashton
As we learned from talking with deputies working in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations in the past – the problem with selling dope is “Buyers have to know you’re in the business for you to make sales.”

Someone, perhaps a competitor or unsatisfied customer, gave deputies an anonymous tip that an indoor pot farm had a blooming business going in the Lents Neighborhood, near the area of SE 100th Ave. and SE Holgate Blvd.

SIU agents set up a surveillance operation and investigated the home until they had enough evidence to get a search warrant for the illegal marijuana grow operation.

“On March 18, at 8:00 pm, SIU deputies made entry,” reported MCSO spokesman, Dep. Paul (Mac) McRedmond. “In the basement of the home, deputies found a huge marijuana grow operation with over 170 juvenile and mature, budding marijuana plants, some over 5′ tall.”

This marijuana has been harvested. Deputies say they hang it upside down to dry. MCSO Photo

Apparently, these books did little to help keep this indoor farmer from getting busted! MCSO Photo

Guns and money located
“They also found a pound of marijuana harvested and ready for sale, $3,000 in cash and four handguns and seven rifles, including a Belgian FN 308 assault rifle,” McRedmond told us. He estimated the pot’s value at $280,000.

In addition to what deputies characterized as “several thousand dollars worth of growing equipment” – McRedmond couldn’t help but break into a small smile as he added – “They also found a small library of book on how to avoid police detection.”

Officials say the homeowner, a white male in his 40’s was arrested and cited, but not lodged in jail because he agreed to cooperate with deputies in furthering their investigation.

MSCO deputies say this was a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation. MCSO Photo

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

After you see why folks flocked to outer East Portland’s new ‘swimming hole’ to celebrate its grand opening, you may want to grab your swim trunks and head on over for a dip, slip, or splash, yourself …

After the “snip, snip, snip” of the ceremonial ribbon, it was “slide, swim, and splash” for hundreds of guests, at the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A couple of months ago, we gave you a sneak-preview of the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center, when we tagged along with Mayor Tom Potter during his December 19. (CLICK HERE to read that story and discover all of the features the center offers.)

It took contractors a few more weeks to complete the unfinished tasks and solve some unforeseen problems, but the new aquatic center officially opened – with a big splash – on March 14.

Portland City Commissioner – and the new “Parks Commissoner” – Nick Fish says his son, 5-year-old Chapin, takes to water like a … well …

Fish takes to water
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, the newly-named commissioner overseeing Portland Parks & Recreation, was grinning ear-to-ear, as he and his 5-year-old son Chapin toured the facility.

“This day is important,” Fish said before the official ceremonies began, “because it shows that we kept faith with people in outer East Portland when we promised them a new aquatic center many years ago. The folks here passed a [parks improvement] levy in 2002 to build this center.”

For many years, Fish added, many outer East Portlanders have said they’ve felt ignored. “As we open this pool – just as [the Portland City Council] adopted the East Portland Action Plan – these actions shows that we’re paying attention.”

Three generations of Parkrose residents, grandmother Bev Schafer, mom Mary Walker, and her kids, Ahnika Reavis and Elizabeth Walker, wait with anticipation to use the new pool.

Proving that the giant waterslide isn’t just for kids! Mario Lopez takes his first, fast ride. Afterward says, “This is really fun and exciting.”

Saltzman touts green building
As a crowd of more than 100 bathing suit attired adults and children gathered at the Aquatic Center’s main door (there are three pools in the center), former Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman quipped, “It’s nice to see this throng of smiling faces, ready to ‘mow us down’ and go swimming!

Even with the parks levy, Saltzman commented, the project fell $4 Million short of being built. He commended former Mayor Tom Potter and outer East Portland parks advocates for moving the project forward.

“This is not only the best aquatic facility in Portland,” Saltzman continued, “but is probably the best aquatic facility in the nation, in terms of its sustainable features. This is a state-of-the-art building – the only aquatic facility that will achieve a LEED Platinum* rating, the highest rating a building can have for green building in this country.”

* LEED is the U.S. Green Building Green Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certification.

Saltzman talked about many of the facility’s “green” systems, starting with the pool water filtration and sanitation system, which allows for lower levels of chlorine. He said heat from the center is captured and used to reheat pool water – and that they’d be installing solar cells on the roof that will generate as much as 50% of the building’s energy.

Watching over the splashing citizens at the new East Portland Aquatic Center is certified lifeguard Danielle McConnell.

Eric Ridenour, with SERA Architects, and his son Milo, are about to cut the cake at the grand opening ceremony of the East Portland Aquatic Center.

Scissors at the ready
As officials and kids got ready to snip the ceremonial ribbon, Portland Parks & Recreation director Zari Santner thanked all of those involved in the project, but singled out David Douglas schools’ District Superintendent Barbara Rommel, for providing some of the land on which the facility sits.

“The David Douglas school board recognized the benefit to the community,” Santner said, “and thanks also to the students of Floyd Light Middle School, immediately adjacent to the facility.”

With that, the ribbon was cut – and the fun began, as outer East Portlanders enjoyed an afternoon of splishing, splashing, sliding, and swimming.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, the new Parks Commissioner, signs beach balls for the Shore family – Peter, Vida and kids Lola and Caleb.

Whatever the weather outside, the climate is always perfect for swimming and floating down the “Lazy River” feature in the new East Portland Aquatic Center.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

© 2005-2020 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.