What’s a good way to raise money for neighborhood activities? Take a look, and see how this first-time event worked out …

Volunteers from the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association gather after their successful “Neighborhood Garage Sale”.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Looking for ways to raise money for their neighborhood projects, including maintaining the newly-installed Hazeltine Park, volunteers of an East Portland neighborhood decided to hold a “Neighborhood Garage Sale” on July 28.

“I suggested we have this event,” said Jill Robbins, a board member with Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association. “Several volunteers pulled together as at team and put it together here at Hazeltine Park.”

From Christmas decorations to toys and books and housewares, all kinds of used merchandise were on sale. During the day, Gail Kiely and other volunteers grilled and sold hot-dog lunches.

“We gave neighbors space to sell their items,” added Robbins. “Part of our effort was to get neighbors involved, as well as raising money.”

As they packed up the remaining goods, bound for charity resale shops, Robbins said the group raised about $500 from this first annual event.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Although the neighborhood sits astride two cities and counties, see why Ardenwald neighbors come together for and share food, music and camaraderie …

Past neighborhood chair Cheryl Ausmann-Moreno cuts and serves cake.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The earliest of the National Night Out against Crime events in Portland, Milwaukie, and Multnomah and Clackamas Counties, was in one single neighborhood embracing all of those jurisdictions: Ardenwald-Johnson Creek.

As she served up big slices of chocolate and spice cakes, elegantly decorated with the neighborhood association’s logo, immediate past chair Cheryl Ausmann-Moreno reminded us that while the park in which we were standing was in Milwaukie, the houses across the fence were in Portland.

We stopped by their August 2nd celebration, which also kicked off their Summer Concert Series.

Ardenwals’s chair, Ronn Palmer and Milwaukie Police Dept. Captain Jim Colt agree that this event helps draw neighbors together.

“This National Night Out party, and our concert series, is important,” Ausmann-Moreno said, “because it brings members of our community – of all ages – together. We all listen to good music.”

Ronn Palmer, the chair of Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association said, “Getting people together helps strengthen community ties. When you get to know your neighbors on your block, it helps increase safety, because they look out for one another. And, we’re building community by bring neighbors together.”

The band, “Dr. Jazz & the Interns” plays on – even after the good doctor has passed away – with the help of Nurse Ethel (Smith).

After a picnic pot-luck dinner, the air was filled with the Dixieland sounds of “Dr. Jazz and the Interns”. As the band members introduced themselves, they paid homage to their leader, known as “Dr. Jazz”, who passed away not long ago. “The week before he died,” said the trombone player, “he made us promise we’d keep playing together.” A new addition to the group is “Nurse Ethel” Smith, who sang big-band favorites.

As she continued serving dessert, Ausmann-Moreno said, “Having our neighborhood split between two cities and counties, some people feel like they’re part of neither one. We’d like to see all of our residents get involved in our neighborhood association.”

Although the Ardenwald neighborhood sits astride two cities and counties, neighbors come together for and share food, music and camaraderie.

To find out more, visit www.ardenwald.org for information about events and community meetings.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See Portland Nursery transformed into an elegant outdoor event center – on behalf of this charitable organization …

Stuart Holgate and Teresa Holgate bidding in the Portland Impact Garden Party silent auction.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The people strolling around Portland Nursery are usually looking for yard and garden accruements. But, this garden-lover’s paradise is turned into the site of an elegant garden party, once each summer, on behalf of Portland Impact.

Hail shifts event from spring to summer
Seven years ago, that organization was looking for a unique way to raise funds, explained their development director, Scott Shlaes. He told us their first event was at the Rhododendron Gardens in inner SE Portland.

“We held it in the springtime,” Shlaes related. “After an evening of rain and hail, we decided to hold it during the summer; Portland Nursery in SE Division Street stepped up as the site sponsor.”

Patrons line up for a grand meal prepared and served by Delisiso Catering.

Auction raises $115,000
Through silent and live auctions, sponsorships, and generous donations made during a “bid for the cause”, the 450 attendees helped Portland Impact raise nearly $115,000 during this, their 7th Garden Party.

“We’re a non-profit, social service agency,” Shlaes explained, “with a mission to help people alleviate the effects of poverty in their lives and achieve self sufficiency. The funds raised at this event really help us help others.”

Mitch Lambley, benefit auctioneer, takes a bid.

Shlaes went on to say that Portland Impact provides both proactive and reactive solutions to people in need. “Poverty is a big problem. Some of our services provide immediate relief for people – like helping keep utilities from being shut off, or keeping people from being evicted.” An example of an Impact long-term antipoverty program is managing eleven SUN Schools to promote early childhood educational.

Event sponsors included the Lindgren Family Foundation, PECO Manufacturing and Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund.

Kathleen Wendler is welcomed to the event by Portland Impact’s Scott Shlaes.

You can help
To find out how you can help this fine organization, check their website at www.portlandimpact.org for details about their programs.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See scenes from a great street parade and fair in
SE Portland, right here …

Last Regiment Drum Corps leads off the Division-Clinton Street Parade with a resounding syncopated beat.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From the parade to the pizza-eating contests, sidewalk sales to snow-cones, this year’s Division-Clinton Street Fair and Parade provided an entire day of family fun for neighbors and visitors.

“Our event showcases commerce and community,” said Nancy Chapin, one of the event’s coordinators. “It is the biggest and best ever!”

These fans are enthusiastic about this year’s parade – and let the participants know by waving.

Long parade is all down hill
Their Community Parade was the longest ever. The route was from SE 50th Avenue and Division Street west to SE 21st Avenue – where it turned south to SE Clinton Street, and then east to SE 27th Avenue. To the relief of those walking in the parade, this year’s new routing was mostly on a downgrade.

The Last Regiment Drum Corp set the parade’s pace, followed by a colorful procession of decorated bicycles, costumed participants, sports teams, peace protesters, families, cars, and yes – the famed Division Street Motor Scooter Drill Team.

For nearly 30 blocks – from SE 20th Avenue to SE 50th Avenue – businesses along SE Division Street show their wares. Side streets along the way are lined with commercial and public service cabanas.

50-block Street Fair
When it comes to their Street Fair, taking it all in is a tall order. It ran along SE Division and SE Clinton Streets from SE 12th Avenue to 60th Avenue. The Oregon City Trolley and Pedi-cabs provided transportation to fairgoers.

Along the main streets, businesses held sidewalk sales, provided entertainment and craft demonstrations. On the sides-streets, cabanas were set up for businesses, community organizations and vendors to meet the public.

Live music filled the air from six locations; bounce rooms and other entertainment delighted the kids. One could easily have spent the entire day strolling these SE Portland streets and not see everything.

Photo Album
Enjoy some of the sites we saw while at this year’s parade and fair:

Bernardo Gomez, Deanne and daughter Tatiana ride the parade route in style – in their custom-made, sidecar motor scooter.

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams walked the parade route, taking time to shake hands – and give hugs – to SE Portland neighbors.

Brigitte Tisseur tempts those passing by Petite Provence with a delicious pastry. We know it was delicious; we purchased the one she holds!

Sharon Nyberg, glass bead artist creates a tiny work of art; Hilary Foote and Kestrel Rayfield Foote admire her skill.

Kids literally jump for joy at the Division-Clinton Street Fair!

We’re told 1,550 people were counted going through Oregon Episcopal School’s LEGO  show, in a section of the former Nature’s store on Division; students showed off their computer-controlled creations.

Mr. Accordion fills the street with lively tunes for his small, but appreciative audience.

Meet the Division-Clinton District business people
If you have a business in this part of SE Portland, consider checking into their business organization. Find out more at www.divisionclinton.com.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

We held this story until we could find out what caused this unusual crash. Do you believe the driver’s explanation?

Is it possible at an SUV with a stalled engine – driving at the speed limit on NE Glisan Street – could snip this heavy utility pole like it was a twig, and continue on into the school?

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Witnesses say a westbound Jeep Cherokee, on NE Glisan Street, veered across eastbound lanes of traffic and struck a utility pole with such force that it sheared off the pole at its base.

Even the force of that collision didn’t stop the Jeep – it continued across the parking strip and stopped in the bushes, just inches from Glenfair Elementary School, in the 15200 block of NE Glisan Street.

The result: Bundles of electrical power, telephone, and cable television wires dangle and droop down onto the street, closing NE Glisan for most of the afternoon on August 3.

“Ear witness” describes the wreck
Kids who came in for their summer lunch and educational enrichment program play outside the school – fortunately, behind the building.

In front of Glenfair Elementary stands Principal Shane Bassett, looking at the damage and shaking his head.

“I was in my office,” Basset tells us. “In the corner of my eye, I saw something – a rapid movement – and heard a loud ‘crack’. When I looked out my window, I saw the pole was broken. The car was still rolling toward the school building. It stopped before it hit the school. I saw him (the driver) get out, and walk around. He seemed OK.”

The driver of the Jeep Cherokee tells the paramedic he lost control when his “engine quit”.

“Shook up” driver questioned
Multnomah County Sherriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue rush to the scene of the accident, close off NE Glisan Street, and cordon off the power wires, keeping kids and parents at a distance.

Portland Fire & Rescue firefighter and paramedic Jay Fink tells us the driver stated that his steering locked up when his engine quit.

“The driver is OK. He was wearing his seat belt.” Fink added.

The brush guard on the Jeep Cherokee was bent in a “v” shape, pushing deep into the engine compartment as it snapped the utility pole on two.

As we were leaving, utility workers were surveying the damage. “The way these utility poles are loaded, they’re under a lot of downward pressure. Because the weight is balanced, it makes the poles actually stronger. It takes a lot of force to snap one like this,” a power company worker commented.

Officials say they may never know the true cause of the accident. The Jeep is too badly damaged to determine exactly what may have transpired before the accident. The driver is not arrested, charges are not filed.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Who’d leave their vehicle running in the parking lot while they grab some coffee? Far too many average folks, cops say. Learn what they’re doing about this growing problem …

Sgt. John Scruggs gives a stack of anti-car-theft flyers to Aaron Linn at the Dominos Pizza shop on the 3600 block of NE 82 Avenue of Roses.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
So many drivers in outer East Portland leave their vehicles empty – and running – that crooks have a coined a name for these ready-to-steal cars.

“A ‘steamer’ is the street term for an unattended, running vehicle,” says Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit Sgt. John Scruggs. “They call it that because in the colder winter months, steam comes out of the vehicle’s exhaust system.”

We’re riding along with Scruggs in his patrol car, as he gets ready for the next leg of his unit’s crime-reduction campaign on April 6. He, and other officers, are focusing on convenience stores and coffee shops, where people tend to leave their vehicles running while they make a “quick” pit-stop.

Curbing climbing car-theft rate
“Over the last year, East Precinct has seen a 41% increase in auto theft,” Scruggs reports. “Our precinct commander, Michael Crebs, assigned several patrol officers whose primary responsibility is to target the areas most affected by auto theft. Today, we’re distributing educational flyers. They’re part of our effort to help keep citizens from becoming crime victims.”

When we stop at stores, whether national-chain convenience stores or mom-and pops, we’re a little surprised to see Scruggs get a warm reception. “It hurts us when one of our customer’s cars are stolen here,” says the shopkeeper at an 82nd Avenue of Roses store.

Sgt. Scruggs adds, “We’re trying to convey to people that leaving your car running – whether in your own driveway, or at the store – is a bad idea. There are people who are looking for steamers every day. You’ll never see the person around the corner of the 7-11 stores waiting to steal your running car; you’ll only see your car as it drives away.”

CRU Officer Jake Jensen shows a copy of the flyers, sporting the “Take your Keys” message which officers hope drivers will heed.

Crooks steal cars for crime – and court

We return to East Precinct and talk with other CRU members who have returned from their information-distribution missions.

“Several cars are stolen every day in East Precinct,” comments CRU Officer Robert Brown. Many times, the thieves will commit more crimes using the stolen cars. Sometimes criminals will even steal a car to go to court – to appear on a stolen-car charge.”

Expensive judgment error
When a car is stolen, Brown says the first step is that the police will take a report about it. “Typically, your car will be found.”

But, the driver will pay dearly for the convenience of leaving their vehicle running, Brown continues. “You’ll have to pay for towing and storage. A lot of these joy-riding thieves drive them hard. They run them over curbs – they don’t care about your car. You’ll find things broken. They’ll do hundreds dollars worth of damage to your car. It is an expensive proposition.”

The officer says a stolen car may end up in a “chop shop”: Many late model Hondas or Toyotas are stripped for parts, like seats or automatic air bag systems. “In this case, you’ll be paying to get back a stripped, useless vehicle.”

The ounce of prevention …
A driver doesn’t need to install expensive, exotic security systems to prevent this kind of theft, Brown concludes. “All it takes is just to shut it off, and take your keys!”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

No, the mural isn’t in Parkrose High School – this artwork wraps around the top of the Parkrose High Theater. See why this project has several “firsts”

Larry Kangas advises Parkrose High principal Roy Reynolds as he takes a turn on the high lift applying a panel of the mural early in the project.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Portland’s first publicly-funded mural project nears completion – and it’s on Parkrose High School.

“This is the first project of this kind in outer East Portland,” said Peggy Kendellen, Public Art Director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Murals Program. “The school is the first group to apply for doing a mural in East Portland. I really like the tie-in of the subject matter to the school’s mascot.”

As the project progressed, the east side of the school takes on a new look – one that can be seen from NE 122nd Avenue.

Ideas from students, help from community
Joanne Oleksiak, Parkrose High School Community Coordinator and 2007 Mural Project Coordinator, oversaw the application process, served as the technical advisor, and worked – hands on – during every phase of the project.

“What’s been really fun,” Oleksiak told us, “is the involvement we’ve had with every stratum of the community. Students in our Mural Arts Club suggested many of the images. Several of them worked to help the artist produce the panels doing the decorative detail work, background, gelling.”

Many community members pitched in to help prepare and post the mural Oleksiak said.

Spy’s spectacular canvas
Months ago, when mural artist Larry Kangas visited Parkrose High School as he considered the project proposal, he was immediately attracted to the three-story tall theater riser that faces NE 122nd Avenue.

“Being so tall and broad, it made a spectacular canvas for a mural,” Kangas said. “Sadly, even with the best high-lift equipment available, there wasn’t a way to reach it.”

He wanted this mural to have impact, Kangas said. “We came up with the idea of wrapping a frieze (wall painting) around the building.”

Mural artist Larry Kangas thanks some of the many students who helped develop the concept of the mural and prepare the panels.

Mural celebrates school’s mascot
Kangas said the mural is a “take on the school’s mascot, the mustang bronco. The mural depicts horses through time – starting from ancient cave etchings, through all cultures and eras – until the present. We’ll end up in modern times, ending up with Rossi Farm.”

We watched Kangas as he worked on panels in school’s art center. “It’s painted on Pelon, a stable, non-woven material used in the clothing and printing industries. There is a lot of acrylic medium to saturate it. Then, we put a heavier gel on the front and back. Finally, the panels are applied to the building.”

At a community unveiling, Joanne Oleksiak presents artist Larry Kangas with a remembrance gift.

Broadening community support
One benefit of this project, according to Parkrose High principal Roy Reynolds, is broadening community involvement in the school. “It’s been great working with so many community members on the mural.”

Reynolds added that one of the goals of his administration “is to make the school more than just a brick-and-mortar building in Parkrose, but really a part of Parkrose. Our community celebrates and hosts people from many different cultures; this mural symbolizes our diversity.”

Larry Kangas gives details about his mural that depicts how horses (Parkrose High’s mascot is the Bronco) have been influential in human history.

Special sentiment shared
At the unveiling celebration held on July 28, Kerina Blanchard read this brief essay by Bev Cordova, Chair of the school’s PHS Fine & Performing Arts Academy:

“Parkrose High School students are like students everywhere. They want to learn, succeed and have something to be proud of.

“I challenge you to come close to the mural, study it, or find a face or scene you can connect to. Now, stand back and look at the mural as a whole – it is the story of people, moving forward, into the future.

“Understand that you are part of the movement, and part of the future.”

Members of the community admire the new artwork, completed on August 7, that adorns Parkrose High School.

Project kudos
When we told Oleksiak we’d like to give kudos to those who participated, she replied, “The whole community pitched in on this long and massive project. I hope the list covers everyone involved – each individual’s participation was vital.”

The Parkrose Mural Project was funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Murals Program.

Mural studio facilities (in the PHS Fine Arts Building) and school-based in-kind support were provided by Parkrose HS Community Center, Parkrose School District and School Board, and PHS Fine & Performing Arts Academy, Bev Cordova, Chair.
Additional in-kind support provided by: American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter, Oregon State Service Corps/AmeriCorps, and Oregon Bench Press Challenge volunteers Jared & “JT”.

Mural visionaries — Design Development & Encouragement Division –include the PHS staff, Mike Taylor (retired Parkrose Schools superintendent), Roy Reynolds, Trevor Todd (SUN Program/Portland Parks & Recreation), May Wallace, Mark Warner, and Meg Kilmer.

Special notice to PHS students Dominique Blanchard, Kerina Blanchard, Isaac Song, Cesar Pina, Nhumy, Truc, Valerie Robinson, Lindsey Thompson, Mara Estrada, Oswaldo, Luis, Christian Leon, Stephanie … and others!

Project painting volunteers included Roy Reynolds, Holly Gillette, Isaac Song and Russell Martin.

Project site logistics volunteers were Hank Frecke, Tony Johnson, Sharon DeWitt, Don, and Dave.

Project volunteers for mural installation included Edison and Temo, Programa Hispano; Erica Martin, Parkrose UCC Church; Tanner Martin, Russell Martin, Bev Cordova, Nick Richmond, Marah, Asa, Joe Cotter, Mark Meltzer, Norma Piper, Eileen Belanger, Dave, Julie, Siena, Brenda … and others.

Project documentarians Jimi & Kim Blanchard, Vaughn, Portland Community Media’s IBPO (Independent Black Programmers of Oregon); Patrick F. Smith still photography; and Joanne Oleksiak on-site/in-studio photographs.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

Read why no one was upset by the woofs and purrs that occasionally interrupted this service at The Grotto‚

Becky Martin is holding her year-old pug, Allie, while Father Jack Topper anoints her pet during the Blessing of the Animals at The Grotto.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At times, The Grotto sounded more like a kennel than a sanctuary on July 15 as hundreds of pet-lovers attended the annual “Blessing of the Animals”.

During the service, The Grotto’s executive director, Father Jack Topper, OSM, told those at the outdoor gathering, “Animals do something special for us; they make us a little more compassionate toward our fellow humans. Treat them with love; take care of them, so they will be happy and healthy. And, we know they will take care of us.”

“It isn’t a weasel,” says the owner. “It’s my ferret!”

Monastery’s pets
Before the service began, Topper reminded us that their order had two dogs that have since passed away. “We still have a couple of cats.”

Topper added that caring for pets gives him, and others in his order, a direct connection to this ceremony.

Cats aren’t excluded; Loren Butler holds out his malfie for a sprinkling.

This service, Topper told us, is important, because it reminds us of the value of our pets. “It helps is remember what companion animals do for us; the lessons they teach us. They bring us unconditional love, comfort, and joy. They don’t judge us. They’re always happy to see us. It is a blessing from God that we have these pets to take care of; and, another blessing, how they take care of us.”

This pooch patiently awaits his blessing at this decades-old annual service.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

While it isn’t the dreaded “avian flu”‚ the infiltration of this virus into an East Portland neighborhood has caused concern. Learn why, here‚

Senator Avel Gordly, host of the West Nile Virus educational forum, says she hopes all residents of Multnomah County will take the steps necessary to reduce risk of this bird-borne illness.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
With all the publicity about the deadly “avian flu” coming to America, it’s not surprising that neighbors near NE 63rd Ave. and Sandy Blvd. were concerned about a dead bird that was found there on June 25.

The dead crow tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“This is the first time we’ve seen West Nile Virus (WNV) in Multnomah County this year,” stated Chris Wirth, Manager of Multnomah County’s Vector and Nuisance Control at an educational forum held on July 28, hosted by State Senator Avel Gordly.

This map shows where the dead, infected crow was found on June 25.

Joining Wirth and Gordly was Kari Lyons, Multnomah County Environmental Health Educator and Dave Houghton, Multnomah County Community Health Services Program Manager.

We learned that, in Multnomah County, the first case of WNV was found in 2006 in a bird in southeast Portland. Three additional cases were discovered last year, two in northeast Portland and one in Gresham.

Kills birds, not people
West Nile Virus, we learned, is primarily a bird infection.

Humans can contract WNV if a mosquito feeds on an infected bird, then bites a human. “Birds cannot transmit the disease to humans, nor can it be transmitted through person-to-person contact,” said Wirth.

Information presented at the forum indicated that most people infected with WNV won’t have symptoms. Less than one percent of infected individuals will develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis or encephalitis. The infection is more serious for people over the age of 50, and perhaps also for people with suppressed immune systems.

Kari Lyons, Multnomah County Environmental Health Educator, State Senator Avel Gordly, Dave Houghton, Multnomah County Community Health Services Program Manager and Chris Wirth, Multnomah County Vector Control speak present a West Nile Virus educational forum.

Asks citizens for help
Dave Houghton said the county health department was working to reduce WNV, but needs the help of individuals.

According to Wirth, mosquitoes can breed in any standing water that lasts more than four days. Even a small bucket of standing water can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes.

“We’re working to keep mosquito populations down, reducing the likelihood they’ll be flying into our neighborhoods, back yards and parks,” Houghton said. “But we need your help, and that of all people in the county.”

Wirth listed what individuals can do to reduce the risk of WNV, and provided this list of prevention steps:

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
  • Make sure gutters drain well, change birdbath water at least weekly, and get rid of old tires or buckets in your yard;
  • Avoid playing or working outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active;
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing when you are outdoors;
  • Wear insect repellent, preferably one that contains DEET. Follow label directions when using any repellent, especially for children;
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

Dead crow watch
Health officials are testing crows, jays, and magpies that have been dead for less than 24 hours. “If people find a dead bird and are concerned about what to do with it, they should call Multnomah County’s Health Department Vector and Nuisance Control at (503) 988-NILE,” Wirth instructed.

You can find additional information about West Nile virus in the internet by clicking HERE, or call the statewide toll-free information line at 1-866-703-4636.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

See how people who stopped by NE Sandy Blvd were entertained, fed, and enlightened, at this first-ever event‚

Adding color, rhythm and movement to the International Festival are the Kanani O Ka Aina Polynesian dancers

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The newest business district located in Northeast Portland is the “Portland International District”.

Formerly the NE Central Sandy Business Association, this nonprofit serves businesses in the Roseway Neighborhood area along NE Sandy Blvd, from NE 50th Avenue east to Parkrose.

Although less than a year old, this association successfully mounted a public event, The International Festival on July 14 at the park blocks in the Roseway neighborhood on NE 72nd Ave. and NE Sandy Blvd.

Kicking off the event, Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams welcome the new business district to the city.

Getting things underway, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams addressed the crowd, saying that Portland’s Business Districts help promote healthy communities. Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen talked about the importance of multicultural relations, and about how a greater awareness of diversity can help us become a stronger community.

Tyler Whitmire, president of the new district, blows helium balloons for guests in his cool, white tent.

“We’re celebrating diversity in our community here, at the first International Day Festival,” explained Tyler Whitmire, president of the Portland International District. “It is important to understand and enjoy differences among our cultures. We’re really not all that different! There is much we can learn from one another.”

Whitmire went on to say that the main thrust of the group is to help businesses to develop a safe, helpful, and harmonious environment for the community.

Without a river in sight, the An Daire Academy of Irish Dance vigorously performs classic dances to lively music.

At the Steamers Restaurant & Lounge booth are Eileen and Chef Edgar Stocker, Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Karin Hansen, and Dr. Thomas Wright.

The entertainment was truly international, featuring Irish (An Daire Academy of Irish Dance), Polynesian (Kanani O Ka Aina Productions), and Pilipino (Aguman Campampangan) dance troops, a strolling group of mariachi players and a Haldeman’s Oom-pa Boys German band.

Enjoying have craft fun at the Central Northeast Neighbors booth are Amelia and Julia Stout with a little help from Anna Stufano.

Meet with the International District members
“If you want to get involved, please join us at the Nazarene Church (entrance on West side of building) across from Safeway on Sandy Blvd. on the 4th Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m.,” requested Whitmire.

For more information, see www.pdxid.com or call Whitmire at (503) 572-8532.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

In August, the “Big Screen on the Green” is traveling to public parks all across Southeast Portland. Check out what is showing at a park near you.

Popcorn in hand, Jeanette and Nicole Finley get ready to watch Charlotte’s Web with their friends, Christa and Chelle Oakley.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the days of drive-in theatres are over, there’s a new venue for families in East Portland to see major motion pictures together‚ outdoors.

While it’s not the drive-in “passion pit” that baby-boomers may remember, “Big Screen on the Green”, a free program put on by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)‚ revives the idea of seeing movies out-of-doors, with your friends and neighbors.“I believe this is the definitive community activity,” says the program’s developer, PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes. “We’re offering a great, free summer activity that is an extremely positive use of our SE Portland parks.”

Big screen and sound
The portable projection system features a 268-square-foot movie screen and an exceptional sound system. “What a great family activity for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings this summer!” Milkes exclaims. “And, the location allows families to enjoy the beauty of their own neighborhood.”

PP&R’s Southeast Services Manager Jeff Milkes tells outdoor movie-goers where to find the “Big Screen on the Green”‚ coming to parks all over SE Portland this month.

Sponsors for this year’s program include Comcast and Starbucks; a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood-based printing concern also signed up for a three-year sponsorship of the event.

“When Jeff Milkes told me about the project. I said I’d love to become part of it,” Home Run Graphics owner Richard Kiely tells us. “This program brings families together; it helps them connect, instead of sitting at home in front of the TV ignoring one another. And, it makes for a better community. When neighbors get to know each other, crime drops and livability increases.”

Curtain time at 8:00 p.m.
Movies will begin at dusk (between 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.), and are offered “weather permitting”. Any rainout will be called by 5 p.m., if necessary, and will be posted at the park. Prior to each movie attendees will be greeted with live entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m.

What would a good movie be without popcorn? Shari Robinson, part of the PP&R traveling movie crew, hands out free popcorn to guests.

“Big Screen on the Green” schedule:

  • Friday, August 3, at Laurelhurst Park: The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Saturday, August 4, at Kenilworth Park: Wallace & Grommet
  • Thursday, August 9, at Col. Summers Park: The Breakfast Club
  • Friday, August 10, at Dickinson Park: The Wizard of Oz
  • Saturday, August 11, at Woodstock Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 17, at Laurelhurst Park: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Saturday, August 18, at Hazeltine Park: Madagascar
  • Friday, August 24, at Brentwood Park: Happy Feet
  • Saturday, August 25, at Sellwood Park: Shrek 2
  • Friday, August 31, at Brooklyn Park: Blades of Glory
  • Friday, September 7, at Lents Park: Stomp the Yard
  • Saturday, September 8, at Dickinson Park: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

For more information on “Big Screen on the Green: Movies in the Park” and other Portland Parks & Recreation programs visit www.portlandparks.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

You’ll see the fun we’ve had at a summer concerts in public parks during July‚ and discover where, and when, more concerts are coming to East Portland parks this month‚

Summer concerts in the park are a great place for a picnic dinner. Toasting the evening’s music at Mt. Tabor Park are John Halsey and Cindy Young.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some of the best music one can enjoy during the summer months in Portland isn’t played in a nightclub‚ it’s found at the “Summer Concerts in Portland Parks” series, presented by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Throughout July, we’ve had a great time listening to a wide variety of live music, meeting concert-goers, and watching the kids make crafts at these events.

Jennifer Lynn croons a slow, country-flavored song for her appreciative audience at Sellwood Riverfront Park.

At Mt. Tabor Park, volunteer Lorene Farrar says she feels this program is important to the park for several of reasons.

“The concerts introduce people to our park and what it has to offer,” Farrar tells us. “When the kids come with their parents, they’ll come back as adults. We want neighbors to enjoy our park, and feel invested in it.”

Bodacious plays light-hearted “Gumbo Americano” music, to the delight of neighbors at Mt. Tabor Park.

But the sound of great live music‚ from Americana, to jazz, to rhythm-and-blues‚ is now but an echo at Mt. Tabor Park’s “bowl”. And, gone are the stage, picnickers, and music from the lush green grass overlooking the Willamette River at Sellwood Riverview Park. Concerts at these parks ran only during July.

But there is good news: You can still tap your toes to great music‚ the series isn’t over yet. Read on!

Much more music in August
The 2007 Summer Concert Series continues in August and September with more musical programs in East Portland.

Enjoy classical music? On August 19, hear the Portland Festival Symphony and MYSfits, featuring Esther Shim, violin, and John Lee, viola, and Trumpet Soloist Fred Sautter. This program starts at 6:00 p.m. at Laurelhurst Park at SE 37th Ave. and Oak St.

And, the Lents Park Summer Concert Series kicks off in August. These concerts are held at the Lents Park Gazebo, located south of the baseball stadium on SE 92nd Ave, south of SE Holgate Blvd.

The first concert is on Lents Founder’s Day, August 19. It starts at 2:00 p.m. and features the big band sounds of the Providence Stage Band.

The following Lents Park Summer Series concerts all start at 3:00 p.m. at the Lents Park Gazebo:

  • August 26‚ The blues music of EZ Eddy & Terry Robb fill the air;
  • September 2‚ The Misty Mommas play American Roots music;
  • September 9‚ Featuring the traditional Puerto Rican sounds of Los Borikuas;
  • September 16‚ Hear the vocal harmonization and country rock sound of Wheatfield.

Thank your sponsors
We caught up with Kristan Knapp, coordinator of the concerts for Portland Parks & Recreation since 1980, at a Riverfront Park concert.

“Music in the Parks brings people together from all walks of life. It is a unifying event in the neighborhood. It helps people meet their neighbors. And, when people come into their public parks, it helps them take ownership,” Knapp tells us.

When the series began, Knapp reminds us, the City paid for the concerts. “Now that the Summer Concert program has expanded, businesses and the neighborhood associations help present these concerts through their gifts and sponsorships.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

© 2005-2019 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.

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