Take a look at his unusual art, and you’ll agree this gentleman has an affinity for turning wood into treasures ‚Ķ

Ralph Smith shows us some of his unusual works – and tells us why he loves creating them.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Fancy automated equipment isn’t part of Ralph Smith’s shop. Instead, he uses mostly hand tools to turn hunks of wood into impressionistic art.

We caught up with Smith at CherryWood Village’s “Show and Sell” day, on November 9.

In his words

East Precinct Police officers were running in the rain, from call to call, while most people dreamt of the morrow’s feast ‚Ķ

A 29-year-old man died in the street here on 148th Ave. the night before Thanksgiving Day. Police say they have little to go on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Other than the howl of wind-blown rain, it seemed like the night before Thanksgiving Day would be peaceful. Then, not long before midnight, police officers who serve outer East Portland became deluged with calls.

To those who believe the story of ‘PETER PAN’ is just a fairy-tale, we have photographic evidence to the contrary …

As promised: Peter Pan caught in mid-flight, soaring high around the stage, at David Douglas High School’s Howard Horner Performing Arts Center.

Story and astonishing photo by David F. Ashton
November 30 is opening night for the David Douglas High School Performing Arts Department production of “PETER PAN”.

Sell-out crowds who have seen this school’s past productions expect to see professional sets and lighting. They already know they’ll enjoy this classic story, brought to life by the student actors, singers and orchestra members.

And, plan to attend Michael Allen Harrison’s
“Back Home” concert on December 2 …

Meet this year’s Parkrose High Debonaires choral group.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Those who came to the first musical concert of the year at Parkrose High School were treated to both choral and jazz selections in October.

The Debonaires took the stage first. Choral director, Lesley Bossert whispered, “Don’t their new outfits look great?”

The young singers did look sharp ‚Äì and sounded great ‚Äì as they went into their four numbers, “Star Spangled Banner”, “Be True to Your School”, “Over the Rainbow” and “Saturday Night Fish Fry”.

When Bull Run runs dry, we drink water out of the ground. See what East Portland folks learned from this unique training and trip …

Randy Albright, hydro-geologist and groundwater specialist for the Portland Water Bureau, shows participants exactly where some of their water comes from.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For some time, the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council have teamed up to present “Groundwater 101″. This class helps unravel some of the mysteries of the “other” source for Portland’s drinking water.

On our tour during the storm, we expected to see massive damage from the 60 mph winds. See what we found, instead ‚Ķ

The high winds pushed over many trees rooted in rain-soaked soil. This tree, on NE 111th Avenue, pulled over a utility pole.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Major storms blowing through our area in early November, days apart, blew tree limbs into yards and roads, flooded low spots in streets, and alarmed a lot of East Portland residents and business people.

Follow along, and see how specialized training keeps Southeast Portland firefighters on their toes, to better save lives …

We used a flash to photograph members of Southeast Portland Fire & Rescue Station 25’s Truck company, in full turnouts and wearing breathing apparatus, crawl through a pitch-dark abandoned factory, in search of a “disabled firefighter”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Over a dusty, rutted road, Truck 25 – a long, Portland Fire & Rescue ladder rig, based in Southeast Portland, steered around corners by both front and rear drivers – picks its way toward an abandoned factory in Troutdale.

Follow along, and see how specialized training keeps Southeast Portland firefighters on their toes, to better save lives …

We used a flash to photograph members of Southeast Portland Fire & Rescue Station 25’s Truck company, in full turnouts and wearing breathing apparatus, crawl through a pitch-dark abandoned factory, in search of a “disabled firefighter”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Over a dusty, rutted road, Truck 25 – a long, Portland Fire & Rescue ladder rig, based in Southeast Portland, steered around corners by both front and rear drivers – picks its way toward an abandoned factory in Troutdale.

See why you should be making plans to see ‘PETER PAN’, opening on November 30 ‚Äì and why many performances of the show will be soon sold out ‚Ķ

The pirate band teaches one of their own a little discipline, as this group of students block out a number from their upcoming production of “Peter Pan”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
We are constantly amazed at high quality of productions mounted by the David Douglas High School Performing Arts Department.

This season’s blockbuster show ‚Äì a full Broadway-style production of “PETER PAN” ‚Äì looks to be a very entertaining show.

Why was Gilbert Heights Elementary School the only grade school in Oregon to win the title of National Title I Distinguished School? Read this article and see …

Gilbert Heights Elementary School Principal Kevin Fordney says the award belongs to the entire staff of the school, because of the way they work together improving each child’s educational experience.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Being an educator in outer Southeast Portland is a challenging. An increasing number of their students come from less affluent – in fact, poverty-level – families. And, more of their kids are learning English as their second language.

Learn why this event attracted hundreds to go for a run on a cold, soggy Sunday morning …

After their run, Friends of Trees volunteers Scott Fogarty, Lori Hoffman, Rachel Haig, and Steven Sonderman mulch the roots of young saplings the group has planted along the Oaks Bottom Trail.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
More than 230 runners and walkers decided to “leaf their problems behind them” as participated in the first “Fun Run for Restoration” held by the nonprofit group, Friends of Trees.

See how this unique event combined a soup cook-off with a dinner and auction raising $32,000 for SE Works Career Center …

Heather Ficht of Worksystems won the coveted “Golden Ladle Award” for her “Wisconsin Delight” soup; it was, presented to her by five-time previous winner Anne Sweet.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
An organization that helps people find jobs has found a tasty formula for fundraising here in Southeast Portland. They call it “Recipes for Success”.

The Sixth Annual SE Works Soup Cook-Off and Auction used its tried-and- true recipe of mixing a soup cooking contest, banquet, and charity auction to help financially support their One-Stop Career Center.

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