Come on along on a sneak preview tour we were given, and see how this new addition to a key outer East Portland hospital may save your life someday …

In Adventist Medical Center’s new Pavilion wing, Cheryl Dorman, Project Manager for the NICI Group, explains some of the features in one of four brand new cardiac catheterization labs to surgical nurse Holly Brown, RN, educational coordinator for preoperative services Carol LeCarno, RN, and Clark College student nurse Keiko Dieken, during our sneak-preview of their new Northwest Regional Cardiac Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On May 19, the doors will officially open for the Adventist Medical Center’s (AMC) new Pavilion building. The fact that a not-for-profit hospital built a three-floor, 181,000 square-foot expansion is itself newsworthy. But, if you have a heart attack – it’s vital to know that this new cardiac center could save your life.

Even though they were putting the finishing touches on the new building, AMC’s director of marketing and communications, Judy Leach, took time to guide us through this major addition to outer East Portland’s own award-winning hospital.

Starting in the lobby, we noted a large wall of windows letting in natural light. “We’ve taken care to design every part of the Pavilion to give patients, and their family members, a setting conducive to whole-person care,” Leach said. “This is because here, at AMC, we believe in whole-person care: Mind, body, and spirit. We want patients to have hope and healing from the moment they enter the building.”

Instead of the traditional institutional look, we noted the lobby was decorated in earth tones with wood accents. Instead of bank-teller-style registration windows, Leach pointed out touch-screen computer kiosks that allow patients to easily check into the hospital on their own. Or, patients can sit with a check-in specialist who will take them through the check-in process.

Northwest Regional Cardiac Center opens
A major portion of the Pavilion building is dedicated to the hospital’s cardiac care area. “It’s called the Northwest Regional Cardiac Center,” Leach said. “AMC is rated in the top 7% of hospitals nationwide for the care of heart attack patients.”

The reason for the high marks, Leach said, is their ability to rapidly respond to a heart attack, and then appropriately care for the patient. “We are committed to moving forward, and providing the finest cardiac care available to people here in East Portland.”

The Northwest Regional Cardiac Center includes in-patient treatment areas, pre-operative rooms, four catheterization labs,and surgical suites, Leach pointed out. The building also provides space for out-patient services, and a complete cardiac rehabilitation exercise facility.

Here’s a view few will see while standing up! This state-of-the-art heli-pad permits Life-Flight helicopters to land three stories above AMC’s new Emergency Room.

Emergency Room expanded
To help provide better care for trauma patients who can be flown by air ambulance to the hospital, the Pavilion features a new heli-pad atop the building. “It’s designed for all-weather access,” Leach noted.

From the heli-pad, a patient’s gurney will be wheeled into an elevator and delivered to the Emergency Room staff in seconds.

The expanded Emergency Room had been doubled in size.

“We’re doubling the size of our emergency center,” Leach pointed out as the elevator doors opened. “We will be going to 32 beds.”

She also pointed out their new ambulance emergency entrance. “It’s fully enclosed; patients and medical personnel will be out of the weather. It will accommodate six ambulances.”

In addition, the hospital is also ramping up a Rapid Medical Evaluation Center. “It’s in urgent-care area in which patients can be seen quickly, generally within 10 or 15 minutes.” Those patients with sore throats, ear-aches, or a broken arm – they have their own x-ray facility – can be seen rapidly, she explained, leaving emergency room staff free to deal with more acute level patients.

Operating room specialist, Tim Cambridge, RN., stands among the racks of high-tech equipment used for modern medical procedures in one of AMC’s new operating rooms.

New operating rooms come fully equipped
The Pavilion also houses the hospital’s new operating rooms. “The old operating rooms were too small,” stated the operating room nurse who showed us around, Tim Cambridge, RN.

“They must be larger because new technologies require more space racks of new equipment,” Cambridge said. “The ‘electronic operating room’ allows surgeons see medical charts, see visual images, or display EKG and life-sign monitoring technical information on any of the many screens that surround the operating table.”

As staff physicians advanced into other specialties, such as open-heart and neurosurgery, they require even more technologies, he added.

Holding up a long tube, Cambridge pointed it was actually a high-resolution TV camera; the clear image it produced was on one of the many computer screens that surrounded the operating table.

“10 or 20 years ago, we used to do gallbladder surgeries for an example by making large incisions Cambridge explained. “Now, by using a camera like this, and other specialized equipment, it can be done laparoscopically; making three small holes about the size of a finger. The patient heals much more quickly”

Pavilion houses more clinics – and parking
Additionally, the Pavilion will house AMC’s radiation oncology [cancer] unit, Leach added as we wound down our tour. “We have a Wellness Services Center in this building.”

And, a welcome addition is a new multi-floor parking structure with a ramp that provides patients direct access to the oncology and cardiac centers.

In addition to the new technology wonders at AMC’s Pavilion, Leach concluded the she feels the project meets the aim of its design: “We want patients and family members to have an experience of hope and healing begin, the moment they enter the building.”

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Find out when this beloved Portland Rose Festival event will be held – and how you can participate – by reading this one …

Kristen Teel, Event Manager for the Portland Rose Festival, paddles the first milk carton boat on the Westmoreland Park’s casting pond since it was closed for reconstruction several years ago.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For nearly three decades, one of the Rose Festival’s most fun events – and one of the few east of the Willamette River – was the Milk Carton Boat Regatta at the Westmoreland Park casting pond.

But, when Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) closed the pond for repairs, and a squabble about water rights ensued, Westmoreland Par’s landmark pool sat empty for years, scuttling hopes that the Milk Carton Boat Races could resume.

Portland Rose Festival Foundation President Robert Hansen proclaims the return of the Milk Carton Boat Races to Westmoreland, scheduled for June 7th.

Pete Kent, Executive Director of the Oregon Dairy Association, says his organization is proud to sponsor the returning event – as Portland Rose Festival’s Robert Hansen, 2009 Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Deanna Lemire, and PP&R SE Zone Manager Jeff Milkes look on.

Return of the Regatta
About two years ago, unused water rights from the Eastmoreland Golf Course were transferred to the park, filling the pond with water from Crystal Springs Creek. As a bonus, PP&R draws from the pond for park irrigation, instead of paying for City water. Even with a clean, working pond, no sponsors came forward for the once-famous family event.

Then, in early April, at a ceremony at the south edge of the Westmoreland casting pond, Portland Rose Festival Foundation’s President, Robert Hansen, announced “the return of one of the most historically popular events, the Portland Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Races.”

Hansen recalled that, in 1973, members of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Commission approached the Rose Festival with the event, modeled after a similar event in Minneapolis. “This pond was just made for this event. The race was an instant hit, and it held its popularity for more than 30 years. Many generations of Portland families have paddled milk cartons across this pond.”

2009 Oregon Dairy Princess Deanna Lemire and Portland Rose Festival President Robert Hansen toast the returning milk carton boat race event.

Dairy farmers underwrite event
Pete Kent, executive director of the Oregon Dairy Association, thanked the Portland Rose Festival for helping them bring back the event, and PP&R for restoring the pond and providing clean, clear water.

“This event represents a great relationship between the community and dairy farmers, and it shows how dairy farmers are involved in their communities,” Kent told us. “And it’s a great way to celebrate the healthy, great-tasting dairy products of our state. We love having our products showcased at the Portland Rose Festival.”

2009 Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Deanna Lemire and Portland Rose Festival President Robert Hansen christen the first milk carton craft to float on Westmoreland Park’s casting pond in many years.

Toast and commutative float
Brandishing bottles of milk, 2009 Oregon Dairy Princess Deanna Lemire and Hansen toasted the returning event at pond-side, and then christened the “SS Portland Rose Festival” demonstration milk carton watercraft.

“As President of the Rose Festival Foundation,” Hansen proclaimed, “I officially sanction the Dairy Farmers of Oregon Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Regatta. It is now time for a whole new generation of Portlanders to come forward and show their building skills. We want to see the sleekest, the silliest, and the most outrageous creations one can imagine, right here on Sunday, June 7th.”

Free jugs at boat-building classes
Across Portland, they’ve been holding “milk carton boat building workshops”.  Check back next week – we’ll tell you all about the classes we attended! And, also next week, we’ll post all of the official rules and regulations.

CLICK HERE for more details about the Dairy Farmers of Oregon Milk Carton Boat Races, and get real-time updates on Twitter by following @MlkCartonRace09.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

See which church members spent a day packing up trash at this annual neighborhood event – and discover why they volunteered …

Jesten Arnold, Mike VanHook, Charles DeKar, and Pastor Scott Bradley, from the Parkrose Abundant Life Church, unload a pickup truck full of junk at the 2009 East Portland Neighborhood Clean-up.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many neighborhoods stage clean-up days, during which folks can come drop off trash, broken furniture, yard debris, old tires, and such. But, the annual East Portland Neighborhood Organization’s area-wide clean-up day is a massive undertaking – it helps people living in all 13 neighborhoods in its neighborhood coalition get rid of trash.

“This effort helps improve the quality of life here,” explained this year’s organizer and Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors chair, Carol Williams. “This clean-up helps, because it keeps junk – like discarded couches, mattresses and other big pieces of furniture – from being left in yards, or discarded on the side of the road. And, it gives people an economical way to discard yard debris that builds up over the winter.”

This year’s clean-up organizer, Carol Williams, keeps a close watch on the event, and answers questions while she helps coordinate the volunteers’ activity.

Not only does “getting the trash out” improve the looks of the neighborhoods, Williams added, it also helps keep down vector populations of rodents and mosquitoes.

Russell Neighborhood Co-Chair Bonny McKnight spoke up, telling us that Williams really took charge of the event this year. “Her name and phone number was on every flyer and ad; she took the drop-off reservations, and coordinated the neighborhood volunteers at the event. It’s wonderful having a great community volunteer like Carol Williams working with us on this project.”

Neighbor Marian Aleckson checks in with Hazelwood Neighborhood Association Chair Arlene Kimura at the clean-up event.

Volunteers pitch in pitching trash
About twenty neighbors from eight EPNO neighborhood associations pitched in, as did four Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Cadets. They helped unload trash and yard debris from cars, pickup trucks, and trailers – about 350 vehicles in all.

But what really helped move things along, Williams noted, were the 42 hard-working volunteers from a local church group.

Scott Bradley, the Campus Pastor of the Parkrose Abundant Life Church at SE 116th Avenue at SE Prescott Street, smiled, as he worked side-by-side with his parishioners.

“We believe that partnering with the community is the best way for us to reach out and demonstrate that we care,” explained Bradley. “We’re not just trying to attract people to church; we want to be part of the community and help out. We look for strategic partnerships. We value good relationships – the best way to create lasting relationships is to serve the community.”

David Douglas High School students Stoney Rose and David Long work hard at the event – pitching trash from truck to dumpster.

Dumpsters loaded to the brim
For hours, vehicles laden with trash of all descriptions came to the parking lot at NE 122nd Avenue and NE Halsey Street and, eventually, the debris filled more than a dozen industrial-size dumpsters.

“We also took in about 100 discarded tires today,” reported Williams after the event. She added that discarded-but-serviceable bicycles were set aside for needy kids.

Abundant Life Church volunteer James Scheetz is diggin’ in, at the yard debris dumpster.

By 2:30 p.m., the parking lot was swept clean, and the last of the dumpsters was being picked up. The event took in about $1,800, we learned. “In all, I’d say this was a very successful event this year. It went smoothly – people got in and out in about 10 minutes. We are grateful for the help of all of our volunteers,” noted Williams.

Dumpster by dumpster – neighbors filled ’em up.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Why were students from outer East Portland participating in a graffiti paint-out at an inner SE Portland park? All will become clear, as you read this story …

Students from outer East Portland’s Floyd Light Middle School “GREAT” class spend this day providing community service by removing graffiti at inner SE Portland’s Hazeltine Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Ever since neighbors helped the City of Portland turn vacant property on SE Flavel Drive into a city park – now named Hazeltine Park – residents have enjoyed the open space in which to picnic, run, plan, and take in the great southern view.

But, the fence along the eastern boundary of the park has become a target for taggers who insist on defacing the wooden slats with gangster graffiti.

6th graders Tamirah Moore, Danielle Wishart-McGinnis and Duran Herrera work together painting out graffiti that once defaced this fence, bordering Hazeltine Park.

GREAT class meets neighborhood need
On May 2, seventeen sixth-graders from outer East Portland’s Floyd Light Middle School responded to the problem – and piled out of vehicles, picked up paint rollers and brushes, and covered the graffiti with a thick coat of METRO’s brown outdoor paint.

“This group is part of our ‘GREAT’ class,” explained Portland Police Bureau Officer Chris Burley, who is also an instructor in the bureau’s “Gang Resistance Education and Training” program, for which GREAT is the acronym.

One of the main components of the GREAT program, Burley said, is a community service project. “A lot of kids in my classes this year said they have noticed – and are bothered by – a lot of graffiti in their community. They wanted to help get rid of some of the tagging.”

Because most of the graffiti near their school is along busy highways, Burley said that Marcia Dennis, Director of the City of Portland’s Office of Graffiti Abatement, suggested Hazeltine Park would be a good place for their class project.

The park’s namesake, Dick Hazeltine, says he’s pleased to see these young people out helping their community.

Not a ‘nice decoration’
One student, Danielle Wishart-McGinnis, agreed. “Graffiti is all over the place,” she told us. “We’re glad to help out in the neighborhood, to help make it look new and neat, not all old and messy. Graffiti is just gross. Graffiti is not a nice decoration.”

Another part of the event for the youngsters was meeting the man the park was named after, Richard Hazeltine. At first, Burley explained, some of the kids were surprised that the park wasn’t named after someone long-dead. “And, they were really happy and excited to meet him in person, and get to learn about the man for whom the park was named.”

Hazeltine, who grew up just a block west of the park, smiled, as the kids painted out the graffiti. “Speaking for myself, and on behalf of my neighborhood – I’ve lived here my whole life – we’re very grateful. The fact that they’re helping here, far from their own neighborhood, makes it all the more special. The graffiti has been here for more than three months; I’m glad to see it gone.”

Portland Police Bureau Officer Chris Burley, a “GREAT” program class instructor, watches his students’ progress with Portland’s “anti-graffiti czar” Marcia Dennis.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Here’s an update on the new 35-acre park proposed for outer East Portland that enthusiasts say could become a “world class” mountain-biking attraction …

More than 100 people who came to hear the latest progress on the Gateway Green project, at this mid-April meeting, listen to co-sponsor Ted Gilbert share his enthusiasm for the proposed park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Every day, thousands of cars drive by – or over – a 35-acre parcel of land that was once part of Multnomah County’s Rocky Butte Jail property. The property – now an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) owned right-of-way, at the confluence of Interstate-84 and I-205 – is an island, cut off from Rocky Butte and from nearby neighborhoods.

“Creating a world-class mountain-bicycle park at Gateway Green creates an unparalleled opportunity for re-branding – creating something iconic – in outer East Portland, Portland itself, and the state of Oregon,” proclaimed developer Ted Gilbert, an enthusiastic proponent of the project at a meeting not long ago.

Pastor Brian Heron, of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, checks in as one of the 110 attendees at the April 14 meeting, held at the Gateway Elks hall.

Gilbert joined East Portland parks advocate Linda Robinson in what seemed like a quixotic effort to reclaim this unused property for public use. (See our past coverage of their efforts; search our site for “Gateway Green” to read those articles.)

“We went to the Oregon Department of Transportation,” Gilbert related, “and let me make this clear – they have made absolutely no commitments at this point. They have said they like the idea; they think it’s potentially do-able. But, it will take lots of [political] process, and a lot more hurdles to jump through.”

Ted Gilbert enthusiastically talks up the Gateway Green project.

Noticing ODOT officials in the room, Gilbert went on, “I can tell you, and I’m not saying this because they’re here in the room, that I could not ask for a better partner. You’ve heard stories about how difficult it can be to work with government and big bureaus. But they’ve been fabulous, absolutely fabulous, to work with. They agree, in principle, that this property should be put to a higher purpose.”

Park of many uses
Early studies indicate, Gilbert said, that the potential uses of Gateway Green are many, from walking, hiking, and picnicking – but the most immediately attractive, he went on, is off-road bicycling. “If we could do something that demonstrates Portland’s commitment to sustainable energy, water quality, and air quality, we could have something really visible and iconic.”

Because there’s so much excitement around bicycles in Portland, Gilbert continued, many people in the bicycling business have gotten onboard.

Where’s Gateway Green? This graphic indicates the location clearly.

Mountain bike heaven
The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Jill Van Winkle stepped up and furthered Gilbert’s assertion saying, “Gateway Green has the possibility of becoming a world-class bicycling facility, because it could offer traditional cross-country bicycling, BMX riding, and gravity riding. It could accommodate an entire range of skills – from novices to highly skilled riders.”

The idea, she explained, is to keep the center of the park as open space, and put the bicycle trails around the perimeter. “There’s considerable demand for single-track facilities, especially in this part of the city,” Van Winkle told the group.

Chris Bernhardt, a natural surface trail expert with Alta Planning, showed a PowerPoint presentation charting demand for this type of park. “The bottom line is that 22.6% of the population here trail-rides about 19 times a year. We feel this park would be very well used.”

Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbor Jim Chasse, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, and his Community Liaison, Emily Hicks, listen to the Gateway Green presentation.

Gilbert, Robinson, and volunteers with Friends of Gateway Green are currently working to secure grants and other funding sources that will allow them to move forward with the studies required by ODOT and other municipal agencies.

To learn more, check their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

If you’re still wondering about the difference between a labyrinth and a maze – or why one was built in Parkrose – this is the article for you to read …

Volunteer Jose Maras sweeps pavers at the Parkrose Peace Labyrinth, helping to ready it for their Earth Day celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Though their plans to spruce up the Parkrose Peace Labyrinth had been rained out weeks before, volunteers again gathered in the week before Earth Day to prepare it for visitors.

A crew of more than a dozen students and neighbors came together to replace sand that had washed out, to straighten and level the pavers, and to remove grass that had grown. “The winter weather was a bit hard on the labyrinth,” noted the prime mover behind it, Sharon DeWitt.

The following Saturday was the “second birthday” for the peace monument, located at Parkrose High School, in the southwest corner of the property.

Parkrose High senior Laura Giraldo, an exchange student from Columbia (South America), paints a decorative rock as part of the Earth Day celebration.

Earth Day rocks at labyrinth
When we returned on April 18, we saw students like Parkrose High senior Laura Giraldo, an exchange student from Columbia, painting decorative rocks at the Parkrose Peace Labyrinth’s Earth Day celebration. “I like doing this; it is fun, and a new experience,” Giraldo said, as she returned to her artistry.

Sharon DeWitt greeted us, reminding that the day was the second anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Parkrose Piece Labyrinth. “By painting rocks, volunteers get to leave a colorful mark at the labyrinth.”

DeWitt reminded us that they’d started the project in honor of Earth Day.

During the 2009 Earth Day celebration, Parkrose Peace Labyrinth organizer, Sharon Dewitt, takes a moment with the high school’s AmeriCorps Community Connections volunteer, Erica Martin, before serving delicious cake.

“The idea first came to me when I was working at the high school, and noticed how busy everyone seemed to be,” DeWitt recalled. “Everyone was rushing from one place to another, talking on their cell phones and texting messages and tuning into their music. It seemed like nobody was taking a few minutes for themselves to just – and stop – and be ‘present’ with themselves.”

A labyrinth isn’t a game, like a maze, she pointed out; it is a simple, easy-to-follow pathway that encourages meditation. “No matter why you choose to walk the path, whether meditatively or energetically, you take about 15 minutes away from your busy, chaotic day. You can see everyone out here walking the labyrinth today – that’s exactly what they’re doing.”

A main reason for locating the labyrinth near the corner of NE 115th Avenue and NE Shaver Street, near as the tennis courts, was to allow community access. “The gate welcomes the community to come in and enjoy the labyrinth. And, on a clear day, you can see both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. It’s a beautiful spot.”

For more information see their website: CLICK HERE.

Instead of just casually tossing down their individualized rock, volunteers walk the labyrinth and choose the ideal location to place their painted stone.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

This fierce, fast-moving storm tore up tents at the Parkrose Farmer’s Market, and downed trees in SE Portland. See it all, right here …

After the sudden tempest caught this tent – as folks were closing down the Parkrose Farmer’s Market for the day – this tangled, bent frame was all that remained. Steve Voorhees photo

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The fast-moving thunderstorm that whipped up high, destructive winds and pelted the area with rain and hail during the late afternoon of Saturday, May 2, is now but a memory – but it will linger in the minds of many who were affected.

Parkrose Farmer’s Market tents damaged
Steve Voorhees, the market master of Parkrose Farmer’s Market, said the storm was a frightening experience for him and his family. The storm blew through just after they’d removed the weights from the tents and were starting to pack them, he said.

“A twister touched down for about 20 seconds in the Parkrose High School parking lot about 4:00 pm,” Voorhees told us. “My daughter, Molly, was thrown about 50 feet, while my son David held on to ‘the blimp’, standing under the Parkrose Middle School awning entrance.”

One of his son’s friends dove for cover under the family pickup truck, he added. “We lost three tents and a bunch of papers,” Voorhees added. “It comes as a kind of a blow; especially on our first day of the season.”

Wind whips trees into high-voltage line

High above the uprooted tree on SE 70th Avenue, a high-voltage line insulator dangled after the tall fir whipped into the line and broke it free.

Miles away, in Southeast Portland, the gusting wind uprooted a tree on SE 70th Avenue, between SE Harold and SE Mitchell streets.

“The real damage came from the tall tree behind it,” pointed out a crewmember on Portland Fire & Rescue’s Truck 25, who was standing by. “The tree, whipped by the wind, snapped into the high-voltage line, and broke off the top insulator.”

Officials were concerned that this high voltage line, no longer supported by the insulator, would drop into the street.

Neighbors reported a flash of light and a shower of sparks, as the wet limbs of the tree temporarily shorted out the power line. Police and firefighters stood guard until Portland General Electric crews could repair the line.

Storm brings down an Eastmoreland elm

After standing the test of time for decades, this stately Eastmoreland elm tree was uprooted by the microburst that rolled through the area.

In inner SE Portland, one of Eastmoreland’s legendary elms toppled on SE 36th Avenue at SE Ogden Street.

Homeowner Sherri Romaniello looked in stunned amazement at the giant tree that once stood majestically at her curb, now uprooted and leaning into the street. “I’ve lived here for over 40 years,” she said. “I think they put in the trees when they built the houses in 1935.”

Homeowner Sherri Romaniello said she is surprised that the tree that stood in front of her home for more than 40 years was blown over.

The event made a lot of noise, Romaniello, recalled. “But more than that, I saw a big bolt of what looked like lightning. I was in the back of the house. The whole sky lit up outside of the window. Then the power went out.”

Her first instinct was to go look out her front door. “It was hard to believe what I was seeing. At least, it didn’t hurt anyone as it fell – and it didn’t land on any houses or cars.”

The impact of the falling tree pulled Romaniello’s electric service drop line off the top of her home’s meter head. “Fortunately I have gas, so, at the least, I can warm some water on the stove,” she said.

The delightful spring weather that followed the fast-moving, unforecast storm brought out spectators who stroll through the streets of Eastmoreland, looking at the storm damage.

Meteorologist attributes damage to microbursts
It was not too late in the season to have a “cold air trough” meet a mass of warm behind it, explained National Weather Service meteorologist Tiffani Brown, when we asked about the storm.

“When we see a cold air trough – with warm air behind it – the situation causes instability of the atmosphere,” Brown noted. “We do see these weather conditions, especially during the spring when there is some daytime warming, and have a strong weather cold system in the area; this tends to develop thunderstorm activity.

Brown concluded that the damaging winds could be caused by a “microburst” or “downburst”. “A downburst occurs when fast-moving air is trapped above the storm and has nowhere to go. When it finds a weak spot through which to move downward, it does so with wind speeds measuring 50 to 60 mph.”

The weather station at the offices of THE BEE newspaper in Westmoreland, the rain gauge – observed just after the storm – measured .93 inch for the day.

As to whether or not we can expect more violent storms, Brown commented, “This is the time of year when we most expect these kinds of storms to occur.”

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Look at this story and you’ll see why audiences are saying that this play, written by William Shakespeare, is “A hilarious tale of magic, romance and over-caffeinated treachery” …

Prospera (Yian Saechao), the former Duchess of Milan, exiled to the island, where she controls all with her magical powers. By the way, none of these photos were posed – they were all taken during a performance!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe 1783 has just debuted their springtime presentation, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Before the curtain went up, Ms. Zena, the school’s drama instructor and the director of the play, told us she’s seen her students grow as actors as they explore Shakespeare’s use of language, and the universality of his themes.

Ariel (Ashley LeCarno) a fairy servant and best friend of Prospera, revels in her master’s plan to cause a storm that drives her enemies to the Island.

Driven onto the Island, Gonzala (Haley Lusby) – a counselor who gave aid to Prospera before she was banished – and Alonsa (Kenzie Billick-Smith), Queen of Naples and mother to Ferdinand (we’ll meet him later), bemoan their fate.

Context, not language is updated
We noted that, unlike some adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, the actors use his actual words and phrasing – instead of rewriting the play into modern English.

Although the language remains true to the author, they’ve done a wonderful job updating the context of many scenes. For example, instead of portraying a trio of drunkards – few find alcoholism humorous these days – they play it as three co-conspirators, hooked on extra-strength espresso. This adaptation makes The Bard’s words timely, relatable – and laugh-out-loud funny.

“In this play, themes of love, envy, and revenge are prominent – themes which high school students really comprehend. These themes have led to some great discussions with the students about how they perceive the world,” Zena explained. “And, the actors are playing up the comedy element a lot, mostly through making strong choices about the characters as caricatures.”

Trincula (Emily Weatherford), the over-caffeinated Jester & Fool in Queen Alonsa’s Court, proclaims the virtues of the “mighty elixir” that brightens her days.

On another part of the Island, there seems to be something about the nerdy Ferdinand (Sterling Arkills) – son of Queen Alonsa – that’s hypnotically attractive to Prospera’s radiant daughter, Miranda (Belinda Washington).

About the story
The story focuses on a banished sorcerer – Prospera, Duchess of Milan – exiled to the Island. Using her substantial magical powers, Prospera – with the help of her legion of Nymphs (invisible Island servants) – manipulate her “visitors”, confusing and confounding them.

Prospera’s highly-resentful monster-like servant, Caliban, comes across the shipwrecked Trincula the Jester, and Stephania, Royal Coffee Barista to Queen Alonsa, and – believing that the two colorful ladies are from the moon – work themselves into a highly caffeinated frenzy, and attempt a coup d’état.

Others brought to the island plot, plan, and scheme to take power – but their can’t figure out why their efforts are defused at every turn.

Antonio (Oly Arellano), the Duke of Milan, Prospera’s brother and usurper of her title, and Sebastian (Grant Weston) Brother to Queen Alonsa, ineptly hatch plots to do away with all who stand in their way of their fame and royal glory.

Whipped into a Frappachino®-like* frenzy, Trincula, Stephania (Taylor Grady), the Royal Coffee Barista to the Queen, and the sorceresses’ resentful servant, Caliban (Tom Crawford), think they’re going crazy – as Ariel teases and confounds them, as she leads the jittery trio around the Island.

  • Will the romance between Ferdinand and Miranda ignite, or fizzle out?
  • Is it possible for Prospera that, by manipulating the course of his enemies’ path through the Island, she can win them over?
  • In the end, will the audience at the Parkrose High Theater (honestly!) choose to free Prospera, by “voting her off the Island”?

Find out, by coming to see The Tempest – on stage through May 16.

Using her magical powers, Prospera “freezes” the gathering of her enemies – some with their swords (really, tennis rackets) drawn – while she considers her next actions.

Restoring calm to all in the Island, Prospera rebukes her enemies, praises those loyal to her … and wonders how the situation should be resolved.

Plan now to see The Tempest
The Tempest opened on May 7, plays again on May 8 at 7:00 p.m.

  • There’s a special matinee performance (great for the family) on Saturday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m.

The program continues its run on May 14, 15 and 16; the curtain rises at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are just $8 for adults, and $5 for those under age 18 or over 65. Tickets are available at the door, or in advance (online) at www.Seatyourself.biz/parkrose.

All shows are in the beautiful Parkrose High School Theater, 12003 NE Shaver Street, just west of NE 122nd Avenue.

Will the audience, asked to vote by their applause, allow Prospera to leave the Island – or will she be banished there forever?  Come and help decide her fate!

Frappuccino® is a registered trademark of Starbucks and is the name of a blended ice beverage and of a bottled coffee beverage. The term is not used in this play – it is our attempt to convey a state of being using the term as a metaphor, recognizable by many in our modern culture.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

We may never know why the husband shot his wife of many years – and then himself. Learn the outcome of this tragic event here …

Police closed off SE 135th Avenue, from SE Main Street north to David Douglas High School, while they investigated the double shooting the left a man dead.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors of Bobby and John Clayton said they were puzzled and saddened to learn that a double shooting at their home – in the 1100 block of SE 135th Avenue, just south of David Douglas High School – had left her wounded and him dead on May 2.

While officials still say little about the case, we headed toward the scene listening to events unfold on emergency services channels.

One of the messages relayed was that, seven minutes before the shooting call came in to the emergency 911 Center, a woman, 42-year-old Bobby Clayton reportedly called her father in Vancouver, WA. The message relayed to officers on scene was she told her dad that there was a domestic dispute taking place, and that she was “being held hostage”. Her father told the calltaker that he was concerned and was on his way.

The report of a shooting brought out a large police response to this otherwise quiet street.

At 8:58 a.m., “911 operators received a call from a woman saying she was inside the house and had been shot by her husband,” reported Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Det. Mary Wheat. “When officers arrived, they went inside the house to rescue the woman. Once inside, they assisted the woman and found one deceased male who had shot himself.”

Officials later identified the deceased person as 45-year-old John David Clayton, Bobby Clayton’s husband. “It appears that John Clayton shot his wife and then shot himself,” confirmed Wheat.

Although Bobby Clayton was reportedly shot three times – in the shoulder, arm and hip, all on her left side – paramedics called OHSU Hospital saying that she was alert and conscious, and able to talk with them. “She is expected to survive,” Wheat added.

Officers and detectives compare notes after investigating a scene where they say the husband turned the gun on himself, after he had shot and wounded his wife.

As Multnomah County Animal Control arrived to take charge of the couple’s two dogs, neighbors shook their heads in dismay. “They’ve lived here since the 1980s and seemed like nice people,” said a resident who declined to identify himself. We noted a white van with a Medeco High Security Locks logo on the door. “He worked for a security firm,” confirmed the neighbor.

Another neighbor added, “This is so unusual for this neighborhood. Things are pretty quiet around here.”

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

After the 82nd Avenue of Roses Grand Parade, see what you missed if you didn’t stop by this wonderful community event at Eastport Plaza …

Martial artist Robert Andrejco, with West Coast Taekwon Do Portland, breaks a practice board with his foot, as their members of the dojo show their skills.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
New to the 82nd Avenue of Roses Grand Parade this year was the Eastport Plaza Community Carnival and Izzy’s Cruise-in that followed on April 25.

“We wanted to have a party for all of our East Portland neighbors,” explained Dianne Gill, Manager of Eastport Plaza. “The idea was to give neighborhood and community service groups the opportunity to get their information out to citizens, provide space for commercial vendors, and host the FUNtastic Carnival here.”

East Portland parks advocate Linda Robinson tells guests about the “Gateway Green” project she’s helping to create.

Representatives from the Portland Police Bureau Mounted Division introduce their equine partners to carnival guests.

Carnival rides provided thrills for young and old at the Community Carnival.

Carnival guest Dain Gray gets a free handgun lock from Richard Bixby, who is with the East Portland Neighborhood Organization.

The idea proved to be successful; throngs of people braved brief passing showers – and later basked in the late afternoon springtime sunshine. In addition to visiting the booths, guests enjoyed live music provided by The Carolina Pump Station, Trash Can Joe, Get a Life Marching Band, and a strolling barbershop quartet.

In all, Eastport Plaza sponsored a great community event; we hope it returns next year after the parade.

Classic vehicles pack Izzy’s Cruise-In

Jeff Morrison shares his love of classic cars with his young men, Luke and Logan, as they look at the “hot metal” on display.

At the north end of the Eastport Plaza parking lot, rows of bright-and-shiny cars lined up for the Izzy’s Cruise-In. All kinds of specialty vehicles – from hot rods, to custom cars, to classic, restored vehicles were on display.

Hundreds of cars were on display at the 2009 Izzy’s Cruise-In.

Winner of the EastPDXnews Choice Award, Kirk Schulenberg, shows off his canary yellow Chevelle station wagon.

When the awards were presented Cruise-In participants, we were pleased to meet the Kirk Schulenberg, to whom we presented the “EastPDXnews Choice Award“, for his rare 1964, 2-door Chevelle station wagon.

“It is very rare, indeed,” Schulenberg told us. “They only made 1,700 of them. It’s got a big block, 396 engine with a 700 R4 transmission, 12 volt Posi-traction.”

Although it looks chopped, Schulenberg said the car body is strictly stock – and that he’s spent the past 15 years lavishing it with care and attention, rebuilding it from the tires on up.

With this kind of success, we’re sure we’ll be seeing the return of the Izzy’s Cruise-In next year.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

The announcement startled many readers. Find out “who” will be “where” starting on May 11, right here … Read the rest of this entry »

Find out how this ROSE Community Development Corp. program is reaching out, to turn more renters into homeowners …

Greeting folks as they come to the LHI East Portland Homeownership Fair are ROSE Community Development’s Amie Diffenauer, and Christine Rhoney – SUN Site Manager at Kelly Elementary School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When we arrived at the East Portland Homeownership Fair at Kelly Middle School on April 18, we asked co-organizer Christine Rhoney, the school’s SUN Site Manager, why they changed the name of the event from the Lents Homeownership Fair.

“This year, we’ve decided to expand into outer East Portland,” Rhoney explained. “We are encompassing all of our outer east Portland school districts, including David Douglas and Reynolds.”

Carlos Jimenez checks in guests at the front desk.

Because of this, Rhoney added, they’re already scouting for a new location for the 2010 fair. “Because we’re expanding east and north, we want to make the location next year a little more centrally located for all families in outer East Portland.”

In addition to expanding their reach, the fair has gotten bigger and better each year, Rhoney noted. “We’ve had more participants every single year. We have a lot more interpreters this year, and so we are able to connect families with an individual interpreter who will walk around the fair and assist them.”

Whether homeowners or renters, experts answer questions about homeownership.

Fair adds homeowner-oriented information
ROSE Community Development’s Amie Diffenauer, the director of the Lents Homeownership Initiative said they’ve added information of interest to those who are already homeowners.

“We’re a little surprised – and pleased – to see our workshop classes for homeowners filling up,” Diffenauer told us. “It’s as important to us to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes as it is to create new homeowners.”

Three of best-attended classes for homeowners included, “Homeownership Preservation; how to prevent foreclosure”; “Should I Re-finance?”; and, “Age-In-Place with a Reverse Mortgage”.

Neighbor Brian Johnson talks with Quyona Anderson about financing options.

Real estate bazaar offers answers
In addition to the classes, both prospective and current homeowners were able to talk with real estate experts, people who work at lending institutions, insurance specialists, and community service representatives. Here, they were able to get one-on-one help and get specific questions answered.

“I came here because I want to buy a new home,” said visitor Brian Johnson, as he talked with financial services advisor Quyona Anderson. “There’s a lot of good information here; it’s kind of overwhelming. But, I’m learning – and it looks like I could be buying a home this year.”

Johnson said he went to seminars on consumer credit and buying a first home. “I’m looking forward to having my own yard – and the tax advantages homeownership provides.”

Giving away Burgerville turkey club sandwiches are Matt Wright, manager of store #41 at SE 92nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard, and co-worker Christina Duplantis.

Event attracts 130 households
Even in this troubled economy, more than 500 folks came to the fair to learn, to ask questions – and to enjoy a free lunch provided by the sponsors.

“We were encouraged to see the attendance increase at the workshops and seminars,” Diffenauer reflected. “This year, there were 25 home-buying vendors, and 12 community organizations and government agencies at the fair. And, we couldn’t have done it without the help of our 51 volunteers.”

Beyond the numbers, what really makes it worthwhile, Diffenauer said, is when you see hope on the faces of potential homebuyers. Jack Schmidt, a visitor, summed it up nicely: “We want to put some roots down into the community. We’ve moved almost every year, trying to find the right place to live. We’re looking forward to putting down some roots here.”

Christine Rhoney and Amie Diffenauer flank the three finalists for the $4,000 Home Buyer’s Assistant Grant at this year’s fair. LHI photo

The fair was hosted by the Lents Homeownership Initiative partners: ROSE Community Development, and Kelly SUN Community School. (Impact Northwest’s SUN Community Schools are a collaboration of Multnomah County Department of Human Services, the City of Portland Parks and Recreation and Portland Public Schools.)

It’s not too late to learn more! For information about the Lents Homeownership Initiative, contact Amie Diffenauer at (503) 788-8052, x105, or see www.rosecdc.org.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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