Discover what people at the Foster Area Business Association learned – what it takes to get a loan or line of credit, these days ….

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As we’re learning, this isn’t a “south of the border” health concern any longer. See what we’ve learned about this potentially-deadly form of illness … Read the rest of this entry »

It wasn’t gang activity that shut down East Burnside Street, just a block away from Ventura Park School. Could this tragic death been avoided? See what happened here …

Police say the residents of this small Hazelwood bungalow never gave them any problems — until a single shotgun blast ended the life of one of its residents.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The house at 11750 E. Burnside was the perfect bachelor dwelling for the two 18-year-olds who lived there. Now, it sits empty – one young man is dead; the other is in jail charged with his death.

Officials say turned deadly for the pair of teenagers, said to be long-time friends, a little after 2:30 p.m. on April 28. Neighbors heard a gunshot ring out and saw one of the roommates, Andrew Gabriel Perez, run out the door, shouting that someone had been shot.

“Portland Police Officers responded a call about a shooting that had just occurred,” stated Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Detective Wheat. “When officers arrived, they found 18-year-old Chance Domingo Caron deceased inside the residence.”

Portland Police Bureau homicide detectives confer outside of the home where one roommate apparently accidentally shot the other.

Detectives executed a search warrant for the residence, Wheat continued, and found the gun they believed was used in this incident. “The cause of death appears to be one gunshot wound.”

While neighbors reported there been troubles at the house next door to where the shooting occurred, Wheat said, there had been no problems at that residence itself. “It wasn’t gang-related; investigators believe that Perez accidentally shot Caron,” explained Wheat at the scene.

Police charge this man, Andrew Gabriel Perez, with accidentally shooting his friend and roommate – thinking his shotgun was unloaded.

Northbound E. Burnside Street was blocked off at SE 117th Avenue, while homicide detectives conducted their investigation.

According to police and court records, Perez was handling his shotgun, inserting and ejecting shells. Apparently, not all of the shells were ejected when Perez triggered the weapon; the blast struck Caron in the head, killing him.

“Andrew Perez was charged with one count of Criminal Negligent Homicide and was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center,” Wheat added. Perez was arraigned on Manslaughter in the Second Degree, we learned, and will be back in court on May 7.

Behind the scenes: Ever wonder how the TV stations are able to “go live to the scene”? They use mobile production trucks; their tall masts beam the TV picture to the station.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

How was it that the Shakespearean play, The Tempest, was chosen for a springtime high school theatrical offering? Read this, and see why you should plan to attend this romantic and light-hearted show, starting on May 7 …

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Find out why outer East Portland musicians – ranging from teenagers to those in their 90s – got together, for this first-time-ever musical event …

Kiwanians Carol and Jewell Bailey welcome guests to “An Evening of Music”, benefiting Kiwanis charities, at David Douglas High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
With charitable giving on the decline, members of Peninsula Kiwanis in North Portland started of looking for new ways to raise money for the causes they support.

“A young man in our club, Harold Stoffer, a retired professor out of the University of Portland, came up with idea of a concert, and organized the event,” explained greeter Jewell Bailey, a Kiwanian for 47 years, at the April 5 program.

“Did I mention that Stoffer is 95 years old?” Bailey added. “He’s still playing clarinet in the East County Community Orchestra. It is his project, and we’re here to make it work.”

“The two charities receiving funds are the Dornbecher Children’s Cancer Program and the Kiwanis Camp for Disabled Children and Adults,” Carol Bailey told us, as we spoke in the lobby of the David Douglas High School Howard Horner Performing Arts Center.

Event organizer Harold Stoffer prepares to play his clarinet with the East County Community Orchestra, at the charity concert.

As the orchestra lined up for its entrance, we spoke with Harold Stauffer, and asked what inspired him to create this fundraising event. “A concert by the orchestra and the concert choir just seemed like the logical thing to do.”

Before the evening program began, video presentations illustrated the good being done for the community by the Dornbecher Children’s Cancer Program and the Kiwanis Camp for Disabled Children and Adults. Audience members were encouraged to generously contribute.

Jack Mahoney conducts the East County Community Orchestra.

Two concerts in one
During the first half of the program, presented by the East County Community Orchestra, the audience of about 300 people was first treated to a splendid rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Moving on to the classics, Richard Wagner’s Suite from Tannhauser was next. Then, moving from the past to the distant future, the orchestra performed the Theme fromStar Trek Generations“.

The East County Community Orchestra plays tunes both old and new, composed both near and far.

An Irish Tune from County Derry and Shepherd’s Hey and Florentiner Grande Marche Italiana completed their warmly-received program.

After a brief intermission, the David Douglas High School Concert Choir took their turn on the stage.

The choral program began with Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal, under the baton of conductor Christopher D. Silva, accompanied by Marcia Thomas. They continued with If Music Be the Food of Love.

The David Douglas High School Concert Choir sounded as professional as they looked, as they sang in this benefit concert.

Next, they offered Veniki, a song that Silva told the audience is a Russian tongue-twister, the text of which is nearly meaningless: “Brooms, brooms, yes broom-sweepers, yes on the hearth laid about, you from the hearth were torn off …” The presentation was upbeat, rhythmical and fun.

A classical offering composed by Robert Schumann, Zigeunerleben, is a romantic tale of a Gypsy’s life told to music; it featured the quartet of Amanda Pred, Leigh Callahan, Keith Stokoe, and Corey Taylor-Cedarleaf. They ended their program with Ride On, King Jesus.

Christopher D. Silva conducts the choir through the tongue-twisting Russian song, Veniki.

At the conclusion of the event, Bailey said they’d raised about $1,000 from the concert. “Can you tell your readers about the 13th Annual Kiwanis Dornbecher Golf Tournament on July 17 at Gresham Golf Course? It’s a shotgun start at 10 am.”

Of course we can, Mr. Bailey! And, you can find out more, or register online for the golf outing, by visiting their website:

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Find out why it’s important that we take this opportunity to recognize these diligent public safety workers as they toil, locked away in their Lents Neighborhood headquarters …

The 2009 Bureau of Emergency Communications awards banquet provides an upbeat, social evening for 9-1-1 Center team members.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Every hour of every day, Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) team members are on the job, at a bunker-like building in the Lents neighborhood, just east of the I-205 freeway.

These employees of the “9-1-1 Call Center” take incoming emergency calls; they dispatch police, fire, and medical responders all over the City of Portland.

But, these serious-minded people (at least, the ones who aren’t at that time on duty) get together each year to celebrate their successes and honor outstanding coworkers.

“Thanks for coming to our Sixteenth Annual Employee Awards Banquet,” welcomed BOEC’s director, Lisa Turley, on April 13 at the Gray Gables Estate in Milwaukie. “I think everyone who works here has an attitude of public service; they’re really interested in helping the public. All of us have a ‘call to serve’ the public. It’s a challenging job. I firmly believe none us would stick around, if we didn’t believe in the value of the work we do.”

Turley added that, at this event, the 140 people who work behind the scenes at BOEC – in fact, who are typically never seen on the job – are publicly recognized for the service they perform.

Rebekah Conklin, BOEC’s Telecommunicator of the Year, receives her award from Lisa Turley, Director of Bureau of Emergency Communications.

Telecommunicator of the Year
This year, her peers chose seven-year BOEC veteran Rebekah Conklin, an emergency communications lead operator, as the Telecommunicator of the Year.

“I take calls and dispatch,” Conklin said of her work. “I also am a trainer, helping new team members learn the various positions in BOEC.”

Conklin said she originally considered a career in law enforcement. “I heard that the BOEC was tiring, and thought that might be a nice ‘foot in the door’. Once I started, I realized I didn’t want to be a police officer, I wanted to be a dispatcher.”

Learning how to run the emergency communications equipment is challenging, but Conklin said the most important thing that she helps new team members to learn is how to psychologically adjust to the work.

“The most important thing is to ‘let the calls go’ when you go home. I tell them to be professional and caring with the callers – but, at the end of the day, don’t let the calls affect your personal life.”

Conklin said she was flattered to be selected for the honor. “It’s really nice to earn the respect of your peers and to be recognized.”

Looking back, Conklin said, she still think BOEC was a great career choice for her. “If you’re okay with shiftwork; if you like working with a team – and the people we work with are outstanding – this is a great career, with good job security and benefits.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz is flanked by BOEC Supervisor of the Year Murrell Morley and Outstanding Team Member of the year, Britt Kramer.

A self-funded event
Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees BOEC, noted that the event is totally self-funded. “Everyone pays for their own ticket; sponsors donate the prizes.”

Fritz said that she’s learned a great deal since BOEC was assigned to her portfolio of agencies “The people here are fantastic. They take care of people on the worst day of their lives, and make sure that they’re getting the services they need. Their work involves matters of life and death; they are willing to do a very difficult job day in and day out.”

With Commissioner Fritz were two additional award-winners, the 2009 Supervisor of the Year, Murrell Morley, and Outstanding Team Member of the year, Britt Kramer.

“I’m dedicated to my employees,” said Morley, a 10-year veteran of BOEC. “I just go to work and do my job as well as I can every day.”

And Kramer said that, although she’s been with the agency for only about a year, she was pleased that her work in timekeeping and payroll has been noticed and appreciated.

Representing Portland Fire & Rescue, bureau spokesman Lt. Allen Oswalt, chief of operations Mark Schmidt, and Chief John Klum are ready to celebrate the work done by the team members at the 9-1-1 Call Center.

Find out more
If you think you’d be a good emergency telecommunicator, find out more about what’s required by visiting their page on the City of Portland website: CLICK HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Actually, it was more like a major remodel! If you were one of the folks who were surprised to find Midland Library closed, a couple of weeks ago – take a peek at what was going on inside …

Midland Library manager Javier Gutierrez shows us around during the week-long cleaning and remodeling project in April.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the most-used public buildings in outer East Portland is, without a doubt, Multnomah County’s Midland Library.

“This library building has been open for 12 years now,” manager Javier Gutierrez told us, as we walked into the great room on April 13. “This is the first time we’ve been closed for maintenance. We’re one of the busiest libraries in the county, so it does get a lot of wear and tear.”

This is an unusual sight: Midland Library devoid of books, and without patrons.

The wall-to-wall carpeting in the public areas, about 26,000 sq. ft. of it, was starting to wear out, especially around the desks and walking areas. Workers stripped it out and replaced it with large squares of carpet tiles.

“Being closed these days is a very big undertaking,” Gutierrez. “We wish we could have kept the library open, and done this in parts and pieces, but the amount of work to be done was simply too great.”

Contractor Fred Zittleman with H&F Enterprises talks with Multnomah County Project Manager Ned Nabeta about the remodeling project.

A ‘green’ remodel
We asked Penny Hummel, the library system’s communications manager to reveal some of the specifics that went into the spruce-up program.

She pointed out that, before the work could begin, computers had to be unhooked and stored, furniture moved, and everything covered with protective plastic – a major job in and of itself.

“The new carpet contains 45 to 48% recycled material; it’s a ‘Green Label Plus’ product,” Hummel began. “It’s very durable and stain-resistant, but if a carpet tile is damaged, it can be easily replaced. And, the old carpet was recycled by the installer. All of the adhesives that were used on this project were water-based, low-VOC products.”

In addition to the replacement of the flooring, county workers replaced lights that were out throughout the building, replaced feet on the chairs, replaced some of the wooden baseboarding by the restrooms, and refinished the edges of the tables.

In total, Hummel said, the effort was budgeted at $120,000.

Sonny Garcia quickly and carefully lays replaceable sections of carpet tile on the new library floor.

Workers stay on the job
During the peak of the remodeling, as many as 30 workers were in the building, racing to meet their goal of reopening on April 20.

“Our staff continued to work, even though the building was closed to the public,” Gutierrez told us. “We’ve been processing incoming books from the drops, sorting file cards, and getting ready to re-shelve items. We circulate over 60,000 items a month.”

As patrons started returning to Midland Library, after the week-long clean-up marathon, many of them looked surprised and pleased to see the clean, renewed building that was theirs again to use and enjoy.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

In this story, you’ll learn the message this TV network, carried on cable and satellite TV, is delivering to students across the nation …

Inside their mobile production studio, C-SPAN marketing representative Jennifer Curran shows students some of the programs carried on the twin-channel network.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The tour bus, turned into a mobile TV production studio for the C-SPAN TV network, looked impressive as it rolled into Parkrose High School’s west parking lot on April 7. It was the only Portland high school stop on its current west coast tour.

As groups of eight or nine students followed each other on board, they sat in comfort and learned more about C-SPAN programs from one of two marketing representatives.

Between sessions, Jennifer Curran told us, “C-SPAN is based in Washington, DC. This is a community outreach program. We’re teaching students media literacy skills and critical television viewing skills as well. Hopefully, students will become more aware of the programs available to them through C-SPAN.”

Promoting her network, Curran said the content of the twin channels is “commercial-free, unbiased, and unfiltered. It lets people see their government in action. We provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of the US House of Representatives and Senate.”

The networks are funded by cable and satellite networks, she added, and are offered to the community as a public service.

Stepping off the bus, Parkrose High student Matt Riley says he’s impressed with what he has learned.

After the formal introduction to the network, Curran pointed out the robotically-operated television cameras and production equipment on board. “Some of the programming during the last election cycle was done using this mobile production facility.”

“I thought was really awesome,” opined Parkrose High School senior Matt Riley. “It’s really a nice tool. I think I might stop for an extra second take a look at C-SPAN now.” Riley said he especially enjoyed watching the debate in England’s House of Commons.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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