Known world-wide as Portland’s place for tranquility and meditation, see why The Grotto was cleared by police and remained closed for a day ‚Ķ

As many as 30 Portland Police Bureau officers cordoned off a large area around The Grotto, searching for a man said to be carrying a weapon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One vehicle after another was turned away from The Grotto on August 18.

“Why are they closed?” asked the driver of a passenger-filled mini-van with Idaho license plates.

“There is a police action in the area, sir,” responded East Precinct’s Officer Shadron, his patrol car parked blocking NE Skidmore St. at Sandy Blvd.

Disturbed man disrupts gift shop
The afternoon-long police action started in a nearby home and moved to The Grotto’s gift shop.

“I had just started celebrating Mass when this took place,” said Father Jack Topper, the executive director of the facility. “A woman came into our gift shop, our employees told me. They said a man followed her in and was shouting at her. It was more of a verbal abuse thing. Our employee called the police and he took off.”

Father Jack Topper, executive director of The Grotto, tells news reporters that the only previous time the grounds have been shut down was during severe weather.

Topper said he didn’t know whether or not the man was brandishing a weapon. “I did see the woman in our parking lot. She was upset, and said she was sad that this situation was causing a problem.”

Dragnet for suspect begins

As officers fan out around The Grotto searching for suspect Robert Wimbish, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs talks with his officers as they plan their next step.

“It started as a domestic violence call off NE Skidmore,” was the word from Sgt. Brian Schmautz, spokesman for Portland Police Bureau. “The victim knew a suspect who showed up today, identified as 35-year-old Robert Wimbish. From what we’ve learned, he’s acting angry delusional, and perhaps has some mental health issues. We understand he hasn’t slept in days, and he’s been using controlled substances for quite some time.”

Police say this man, Robert Wimbish, threatened a woman in The Grotto’s gift shop. Their concern: he may have had a weapon with him.

Schmautz said, the while they hadn’t seen a weapon, the victim told police that Wimbish did have a weapon with him. “We’re trying to isolate where he is, and if he is a danger to himself or anyone.”

After several hours, the Portland Police SERT team was brought in to search a house in which officers suspected Wimbish was hiding.

Watchfully waiting
“I’ve seen several younger men coming and going,” is what across-the-street neighbor Jay Cowan told us. “This person looked like an older man than the others. There haven’t been any problems at the house that I’ve seen.”

When asked why the police hadn’t stormed the home where they thought Wimbish might be hiding out, Schmautz said, “It is her house. We don’t know if he is in there. Right now, we don’t know whether going in will help or hurt the situation.”

Taking no chances, SERT officers hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Officers from the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) assembled as their armored vehicle arrived. They approached the house, and then made entry.

Minutes later, Schmutze told us, “SERT has cleared the victim’s home and confirmed that the suspect has left the immediate area. Officers did seize one long-barreled firearm.” He added that Wimbish is currently wanted on a Multnomah County warrant, and faces additional charges because of this incident.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

In addition to growing 215 marijuana plants, officials say someone was stealing electricity to run the grow operation …

As firefighters clean up after putting out the blaze, police investigators move in to investigate this home they call a “pot factory”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The ranch-styled home, located in the southern Centennial Neighborhood at 3432 Southeast 156th Ave., looked like a typical, middle-class dwelling.

“No I didn’t suspect anything,” said across-the-street neighbor Ron Taylor. “Normally you’d like having quiet neighbors. It didn’t seem lived-in. We thought it might be an ‘investment’ home.”

Neighbor Ron Taylor said he didn’t suspect anything going on in the burned home, seen behind him.

Taylor said people would come and go once or twice a week. They’d take care of the front yard, come in and out the front door.

“Other than that, nothing seemed unusual,” Taylor told us, “until last night. My wife and I smelled some smoke. We attributed it to the Mt. Hood fires. It smelled like ‘old’ smoke.”

Pot farm afire
Fire officials suspect what Taylor and his neighbors smelled was overheating wiring or transformers in the structure. “But, we can’t be sure until the fire investigators have completed their work,” Lt. Allen Oswalt told us on-scene.

“When we got here, it was all fire and smoke,” Oswalt recounted. “We attacked the fire by going inside. In the dark and smoke, firefighters saw the pot growing operation, and became suspicious of booby traps. They pulled out.”

While the he Portland Police Explosive Unit was in route, firefighters continued to knock down the fire from the outside. No booby traps were located.

Lt. Allen Oswalt looks at some of the extensive damage at the rear of the home.

“It took only 10 minutes to actually put out the fire,” Oswalt continued. “The fire had a significant pre-burn time. There is deep charring through support beams in the attic. There isn’t much wood left in several of the support beams; the roof is sagging.”

Two rear bedrooms and the garage were dedicated to the marijuana-growing operation, according to Oswalt. “The way the bedrooms were set up ‚Äì there are no beds ‚Äì it makes it unlikely people were living here. There was some living room furniture and a TV.”

An fire investigator makes his way into the garage, filled with what police say are pot plants, lights, and a tangle of electrical cords.

Stealing juice
Firefighters noted the “creative electrical wiring ‚Äì large power cords that snaked through the home from the garage. When a crew from Portland General Electric was called in to shut off the power, they noticed thick electrical cables going out a side door, and into the ground.

Here’s some of the “creative wiring” uncovered by PGE workers. Someone tapped the home’s main power supply before it got to the meter.

“Theft of service is a crime,” Portland Police’s Sgt. Brian Schmutz told us. “Depending on the dollar value of the power taken, it could be prosecuted as a Class B Felony.”

Here are some of the more than 200 pot plants which fire and police officials found growing in this suburban home.

The final plant count for marijuana growing operation was 215 plants, according to police officials.  Investigators have no suspects in custody, and are not releasing suspect information.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why the new Lents International Farmer’s Market is drawing shoppers to SE 92nd Ave. and Foster Rd. on the last Sunday of each month ‚Ķ

Don Lief came down from Mt. Tabor to buy fresh produce. He met market manager Hilary DuBose and Tenino Farms’ Meagan Freed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In past years, the Lents Farmer’s Market provided slim pickings. Typically, it consisted of one or two small stands ‚Äì if any ‚Äì on the corner of SE 92nd and Foster Road.

This year, “less is more”: Instead of operating every weekend, the market is held only on the last Sunday of the month. But, more than a dozen vendors are now on hand, selling everything from vegetables to fresh-baked bread.

New name, new vitality
“We’ve renamed it the ‘Lents International Farmer’s Market’,” project manager Hilary DuBose told us when we visited. “We’re doing this as a pilot project this year. We’ll see what works and what customers like. Then, we’ll put full energy into perhaps a larger project next season.”

As many as 18 vendors display their goods at the outdoor market. “We have a great variety of produce, cut flowers, African arts, Hispanic food, fresh eggs, potted plants, and a craft baker,” DuBose said.

This new version of the Lents Farmer’s Market was created in response to a neighborhood survey conducted last year. “The research showed that Lents residents have the least access to quality food sources,” DuBose continued. “We’re providing a new resource for healthy, affordable eating.”

Lissa and Russell Pfandler of Russell’s Bread bring fresh baked goods from their own wood-fired European-styled hearth oven located in Vancouver, WA. This home-based business offered their goods exclusively at the Hollywood Market until coming to Lents this season. By the way, he does bake fabulous breads and pastries.

“By stressing the ‘international’ aspects of the market, we’re trying to bring people together here in Lents,” commented Judy Welch, past chair, Lents Neighborhood Association, as she helped out at the market. “Having a place the community can come together to buy home-grown foods and home-made crafts is terrific. People are coming from all over to visit the market ‚Äì it isn’t just a market, it’s a great event.”

Jeff Rose, a neighborhood association board member and market volunteer told us, “I just bought a house here in Lents Town Center. I’m doing everything I can to promote good things like this. I’d like to see Lents regain the vitality it had in the past. We need neighbors to get back together and interact with one another. I see this as a positive step.”

Last market date:  September 24
Plan to spend some time at the Lents International Farmer’s Market on Sunday, September 24. It’s open from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Is it truly International? Yes: Hmong, Hispanic, Turkish, and Mien farmers are represented.  You’ll also enjoy live music, prepared food, cooking demonstrations, and community-information booths.

The market is located next to Crossroads Plaza on SE 92nd Ave. at Foster Rd. There’s plenty of street parking, and additional free parking is provided by the Lents Masonic Lodge at 5811 SE 92nd Ave. WIC and senior coupons are welcome.

For more information, contact at http://lentsfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Food, cultural exhibits and entertainment were attractions, but what really drew nearly 450 people to PCC SE Center was the prospect of becoming a homeowner …

Between Native American homeowners Norman and Julia Red Thunder is MAYA’s executive director, Nicole Maher, along with youngsters John and Joyce Nelson at the East Portland Native American Housing to Homeownership Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Not many Native Americans are like the Red Thunder family: Norman and Julia Red Thunder have been homeowners for years. John told us, “By not having to pay rent, we have had big savings in the long run, and we own something.”

At the July 29 event, we found a number of representatives from financial institutions, real estate, and other resources to help Native Americans go from being renters to being homeowners.

“There is a long legacy to our community of limited access to home ownership,” explained Nicole Maher, the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center, known as NAYA. “We believe that home ownership provides stable situation for families, youth, and our community. We need fair and equitable housing.”

In addition to the information, fry bread, being made by Tawna Sanchez, was another attraction to the homeownership fair.

Maher told us this is their first of such fairs, and they hope to make it an annual event. “There are 31,000 Native Americans in the greater Portland area,” she said. “People from more than 300 tribes live here. Yet, we have the lowest homeownership rate of any minority in Portland.”

Throughout the afternoon, business was brisk, as bankers, realtors and community agencies met with individuals and couples — showing them options for buying a home. Additionally, classes at the fair provided homebuyer assistance information and resources for renters with homeownership goals.

It appeared as if everyone who attended enjoyed the Native American meal prepared by volunteers, being served here by Jennifer Petrilla and Laura Booth.

But the afternoon wasn’t all business. Also featured were Native American dance performances, a guest drum, a free dinner, a kids craft corner, and raffle prizes. One lucky participant won $1,500 in down payment assistance.

For more information, contact the MAYA Family Center at (503) 288-8177, or see www.nayapdx.org.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

If music truly is the “universal language” ‚Äì see how Rich Glauber uses delightful tunes to tempt tots to read at the library ‚Ķ

Using the magic of music to make friends with kids, Rich Glauber brings his program to Midland Library as part of the Summer Reading Program.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Musician Rich Glauber travels the globe as a performer. Recently, he has appeared in Costa Rica, Israel, and Spain.

So, what was this classically-trained musician doing, sitting on the floor, in Midland Library’s activity room on July 18?

“I’m doing my favorite thing,” Glauber told us, “sharing the wonder and delight of music with kids.”

Glauber used a wide variety of instruments to draw the kids into his stories and play along with him.

Early in the program, some parents acted concerned when their little ones started sitting closer and closer to the musician. “It’s OK, we’re all having fun today,” Glauber said as he started into his next song.

It wasn’t long until both children and parents fell under Glauber’s spell. Because he brought a large number of percussion instruments, soon, listeners became performers as he played and sang original songs. Even parents were caught up in, and began to sing along with the youngsters.

Glauber’s program, “Music in Action”, was a bilingual presentation, part of the library’s Summer Reading Program.

For more information about Glauber, see www.richglauber.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Spend a day paddling on the “Columbia Sewer?” Read this article and see how we got a close-up look (and smell) of how Slough clean-up efforts have paid off ‚Ķ

Lynn Youngbarr, interim executive director of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, prodded us to take a “closer look” by going for a paddle on this unique inland waterway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For decades, the Columbia Slough was the repository of raw sewage, rainwater runoff, and liquid industrial waste.

Thus, in years past, we’d covered the “Columbia Slough Regatta” from a distance‚Ķon land.

This year was different. At the July 30 event, interim executive director of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC) Lynn Youngbarr suggests we take a paddle to get “closer” to the story.

“We’re celebrating this fabulous resource for residents of Portland and the whole region,” Youngbarr began, coaxing us into going for a canoe ride. “This is one of the most diverse natural areas in the whole state. The slough’s ecosystem ‚Äì here along the Columbia River from the Sandy River to the Willamette ‚Äì has both heavy industry and residential areas. Since we’ve taken steps to clean the Slough up, there is also an abundance of wildlife here.”

These are a few of the 500 adults and kids getting ready to paddle the Slough in nearly 250 non-motorized watercraft during the Regatta.

Youngbarr says the purpose of the Regatta was to raise awareness of the Slough. “I was born and raised here. For all the times I’d driven on Sandy and Airport Way, it never occurred to me to see what was under the overpasses. When I started working with the Council, I learned what a fabulous resource this is to the region. I think people come here to explore this interesting natural setting, within the city of Portland.”

Some of the Columbia Slough is naturally-occurring. Louis and Clark reported camping along the slough. But, they couldn’t stay more than a night before moving inland. They reported that the din of the birds and animals kept them awake!

For decades, Youngbarr tells us, it has been greatly impacted by human endeavor. The Slough is important because it prevents the low-lying areas along the Columbia from flooding. “It is now a carefully managed waterway.”

Long-time nature advocate, and Wilkes Community Group resident, Alice Blatt shows paddlers where to go. If you’ve ever seen “Alice Springs” on the map ‚Äì yup, it’s named after her!

We edge closer to the dock, located in the “Big Four Corners” site, said to be the fourth largest natural area in Portland. Individuals in kayaks, and families in canoes, look like they’re having fun. At the dock, we’re introduced to Ry Thompson, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Slough Group. He’s offered to be our guide.

Ry Thompson, was our intrepid guide as we paddled through channels making up the northern part of the Slough.

Handing me a flotation device to strap on, Thompson says, “This is truly a special place. It’s a hidden gem in the city of Portland. It is accessible to families ‚Äì people of all ages.  And, this is a great place to experience nature in one’s own back yard.”

We climb into a canoe and push off from the dock. Within moments, we feel safe and confident, even with our camera. Our guide was doing the paddling, and we were snapping photos.

Even though there were dozens of craft on the Slough, it didn’t seem crowded as we explored this inland waterway.

Feeling more confident, we pick up the second paddle and start rowing. Guide Thompson doesn’t mind we’re helping out.

As our strokes synchronize, we pick up speed. “At this rate, we’ll be able to see quite a bit,” he says.

Using a parasol as a sail, Cherry Ann and Wayne Low use wind power for part of their journey on the Columbia Slough.

“The Slough has a long history of industry and farming,” says Thompson. “Things used to be pretty bad, but things have turned around dramatically. It is much cleaner.”

We had expected to have our olfactory senses assaulted with nasty odors. However, there is no bad smell, even though we are cruising inches above the water.

The family Hume–Rebecca, Sarah, Linda and Richmond–explore a side channel of the Columbia Slough during the Regatta.

Our guide continues, “We’ve planted over a million trees and shrubs to keep the water cool. And, as we continue to reduce pollutants that come into the Slough, the water quality gets better and better.” However, he advises against swimming in the water just yet.

After what seems like only a few moments, we realized we’ve been out nearly a half-hour. “Time to turn back,” Thompson advises. “But we have time to take a look at this side channel.” We both paddle, and slip swiftly along the waterway.

Rob Dolphin was first introduced to the Slough as part of his job. Now, he says he’s “fallen in love with it” as he paddles by us.

One of the many people we meet along the way is Rob Dolphin, an employee of the Owens Illinois Glass Company located on the Slough at Johnson Lake.

“Part of my work assignment,” Dolphin says, pulling up along side, “is to work with environmental issues having to do withour plant. But, I became fascinated with the Slough to the point where I love coming out here.”

CSWC board chair Chuck Harrison glides up, and talks with us about the Slough.

Soon, we’re able to hold another on-the-water interview. This time, it’s with Chuck Harrison, the chair of CSWC.

“I work for an employer that has properly along the Slough. They wanted to be aware of what was going on at the Council, and also, to be a good steward to the waterway. What started as a job function as grown into a love of the water.” After the third Regatta, Harrison tells us, “I decided to get my own kayak. Now, I come out often just to unwind. Isn’t it relaxing out here?”

The most important thing for people to know, Harrison says, is that “it’s not as bad as people remember it being. As you can see, it’s beautiful here. You’d never know you are in the city of Portland, except for the planes flying overhead.”

Too soon, it was time to return to the dock, as this couple was doing, so others could enjoy their own canoe ride in the Columbia Slough.

Looking at the time, we notice we are a little overdue getting the canoe back to the dock, so others can enjoy the Regatta. As we both paddle, our craft slips swiftly through the water; we soon glide up to the dock.

Want to explore the eastern of the Columbia Slough for yourself? The canoe launch we used is located at 16550 NE Airport Way, but there are others available.

For more information, go online to www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?c=dccac.

And, to learn more about the CSWC, see www.columbiaslough.org.

Here’s a secret: If you don’t own a canoe, you can borrow one from the Council! It’s another good reason to check out the CSWC, and check into your Columbia Slough.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Although he had made statements that he wouldn’t surrender, the parole violator realized his picnic was over and gave up, after he saw he was surrounded by heavily-armed police ‚Ķ

The police had the media cordoned off a half-mile from the scene; at least, you can see the where the action was taking place … kinda …

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
A quiet, pleasant Saturday afternoon in Powellhurst-Gilbert was disrupted, as more and more police officers started filtering into the area of SE 138th Avenue south of SE Powell Boulevard on July 12.

It wasn’t long until members of the heavily armored SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) officers were also making their way to SE Rhone St. The total number of officers responding to the incident to topped out at 50.

Firefighters were asked respond to the area, but to turn off their sirens before they got close. Officials were planning a surprise for the guest at a backyard family barbecue.

The word, from police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, was that it all started because parole officers were on the trail of an alleged parole violator, 52-year-old Mario Martinez. They’d tracked him to the southeast Portland neighborhood.

Why the large-scale response? Reportedly, Martinez told California officials he wouldn’t surrender.

First, parole officers located Martinez’s car. Schmautz said it was discoverer parked outside a residence. From the home next door, parole officers got a peek, and saw him in the backyard, partying at a family picnic. “At that point, the parole officers called us,” Schmautz added.

When it became clear he was surrounded by police, Martinez gave up without incident, and was taken into custody.

We haven’t been able to learn whether or not Martinez’ relatives knew he was a parole fugitive. The reason he was wanted for alleged parole violation remains unclear.

What is clear is that police will extradite Martinez to California, according to Schmautz.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

A “hot time” at the Passionate Dreams Private Shows wasn’t from entertainment activities taking place inside ‚Äì but instead, from a fire, still under investigation ‚Ķ

The fire call describing a house on fire brought fire trucks and engines from both Portland and Clackamas, shutting down SE 82nd Avenue for hours.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton
Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue sprang into action – as did those from Clackamas County – when they got a call reporting a fire at SE 82nd Ave. of Roses at Claybourne St.

The first unit arrived reported on the emergency radio, “Heavy smoke seen coming from the second story window.”

Traffic was shut down on 82nd Avenue as emergency vehicles continued to roll into the area. We arrived on-scene moments after the call, about 2:45 p.m. on August 13. Firefighters had already made their way into the building and put out the fire. But smoke was still pouring out of the brightly painted home-turned-adult-business.

This woman claims she jumped from the second story window of Passionate Dreams Private Shows to escape the blaze. Witnesses questioned her story.

A woman, who refused to speak with us, told firefighters she escaped the inferno by leaping out of the second-story building. The paramedics urged the fire escapee to seek medical care. She sat in the ambulance for a few minutes, then exited, cloaked in a white, terrycloth towel.

“I saw her running around the building,” is what nearby resident Jose Garcia-Lopez told us. “If she jumped, I don’t think she jumped from very high.”

From behind, one can see the damage to Passionate Dreams Private Shows caused by the fire.

On scene, officials told us the fire broke out on the second floor, and extended into the attic. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton

See why kids paid homage to things that slither and hiss, at a special library show that featured twenty reptiles …

Of all the reptiles herpetologist Richard Ritchey brought to outer East Portland, the kids loved his Burmese python, Julius Squeezer, the best.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Midland Library was crawling with slithering and creepy critters a few weeks ago.

But, nobody seemed to mind. In fact, kids who packed the large activity room got to touch some of the reptiles brought in by herpetologist Richard Ritchey.

While the star of the show was a huge, yellow Burmese python, named Julius Squeezer, they also enjoyed seeing and learning about the other two dozen reptiles brought in by Ritchey.

“I’ve been keeping reptiles for thirty years,” Ritchey told us. “And, I’ve been doing show-and-tell programs since 1991.” He said he presents 450 programs around the Pacific Northwest in schools, libraries, scout groups, and even birthday parties.

The herpetologist ‚Äì that’s a person who studies reptiles ‚Äì lives in Mololla; he told us he wanted to do something more positive than just keep the snakes as pets. “So, I developed a program to share them with kids.”

Soon, even little boys and girls were meeting, and even petting, a variety of reptiles.

“People don’t realize reptiles are important in our environment. They are the ones that feed on rodents and insects. They keep the vector population in check. They truly are helpful to mankind.”

Some of his “friends” were dangerous, Ritchey added. “I specialize in venomous snakes, and show some rare species. We have a green mamba, vipers, and an anaconda. I handle each of them, every single one, during the show.”

Want to book him for your next children’s party? Learn http://www.oregonreptileman.com more, by going to his web site:  www.oregonreptileman.com .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

While the parade wasn’t the longest, see what folks who lined the streets for blocks enjoyed seeing at this fun, family event ‚Ķ

A friendly crowd showed up along the route of the Division/Clinton Street Fair route to watch and greet the marching (and rolling) entries.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While much of July’s weather was sweltering, the morning of July 22, the date of the 14th Annual Division/Clinton Street Fair and Parade was delightfully cool.

“Our event started out as a sidewalk sale,” the business association’s president, Jean Baker, told us. “It gets better every year.”

Unlike Hawthorne Avenue, known as a regional attraction, SE Division and Clinton Streets are more of a “working person’s” neighborhood, according to Baker. “As more people come to these events, the better known our area becomes. I hear visitors say, ‘I never know this business was here.’ And, this event gives the business a feeling of community.”

Finding a handy curb from which to watch the passing parade are Jasper and Laura Gordon, and Natalie and Georgia Obradovich.

Most of those who watched the parade and came to the street fair walked from their residences in the Richmond and Hosford/Abnerthey neighborhoods. Baker said the neighborhood associations support the event and have information booths at the fair.

The parade is coming!

A parade kicked off this inner Southeast Portland event. Baker said, “After our parade, we have family events all day in the area.”

Baker commented that the weather forecast for a scorching-hot day scared off some of the parade participants. But young and old, gathered along the route that stretched from SE 18th Ave. up past 39th Ave., looked delighted.

Enjoy our photo album of this great neighborhood event!

Division/Clinton Street Fair Photo Album

Leading the parade is the Last Regiment Marching Band, a percussion unit that provides explosive energy to the procession.

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams and his staff shook hands and talked with people along the parade route.

Riding uphill all the way, intrepid unicyclist Andrew kept up with the pace.

Portland Police Southeast Precinct Commander Derrick Foxworth demonstrates the spirit of community policing.

Adding bubbles to the parade are Jennifer and Evelyn Fox.

Emerson House, providing care for those with Alzheimer’s, sponsored rides on an old-fashioned horse-drawn street car pulled by big, friendly horses.

In this parade, you didn’t have to be “special” to march! All kinds of folks paraded making political statements, selling goods ‚Äì and just having fun!

“To bounce or not to bounce?” This is Jen Violet Dekker’s most pressing question of the moment.

Toby Patella, accompanied by his Amazing Street Band, is preparing for his show of juggling, magic and comedy on SE Clinton Street.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

What? You haven’t seen the OTHER parade in outer East Portland?  It isn’t too late! Plan now to enjoy the Lents Founder’s Day events on August 19-20 ‚Ķ

At a Sunday in Lents Park concert, Owen Lingley, is taking an invitation to Lents Founder’s Day from former Lents Neighborhood chair, Judy Welch, at Sunday Concert in Lents Park.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
August is the month for family fun in the Lents neighborhood! The Sunday “Concerts in Lents Park” lead up to the annual Founder’s Day celebration.

Rockin’ the park
On August 13, come see “The Jumpers” ‚Äì they’re sure to rock the park. Concert runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Gazebo, located south of the ball fields along SE 92nd Ave.

Parking is available all around Lents Park. Here’s a tip: The city is working on 92nd Ave. between SE Powell and SE Holgate Streets ‚Äì so plan an approach from the south! These concerts are presented by Portland Parks & Recreation, and area businesses.

At a Lents Softball game years ago, EPNO’s executive director Richard Bixby bats, Eastport Plaza’s manager, Ken Turner, pitches; and, Lansing Linoleum’s Kathleen Lansing catches — all the LENTS REBELS team.

Softball madness
Then, on August 19, it’s the annual Lents Founders Softball Game. See the return of this great event, which pits the downtown officials, teamed as the “City Stickers” against the brave, relentless, and dashing “Lents Rebels”.

You may be surprised at the high level of excitement and competition during this “grudge match” game! The action gets underway at 4:00 p.m. at Lents Little League Field, located at the southeast corner of SE 92nd Ave. and Harold St. Come out and cheer the locals on to another victory!

The Founder’s Day Celebration
Finally, capping off the month of fun, it’s the15th Annual Lents Founders Day celebration. There’s so much to see and do at this annual celebration ‚Äì including a street parade, music, and the fair.

At 12:00 noon, the Lents Founder’s Day Parade gets underway, traveling around Lents Park.

After the parade, the Lents Founder’s Day Celebration begins. It includes Native American and old-fashioned pioneer historical exhibits, and games ‚Äì a horseshoe tournament, tug-of-war, and ’40s Big Band music by the Providence Stage Band from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Enjoy a drink of icy-cold Lents Lansing Linoleum Lemonade. And, back by popular demand: Hot dogs provided by The New Copper Penny, a Lents-area fixture for decades.

Come out and enjoy the fun in Lents! We’ll see you there!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Cop coverage gets stretched very thin in outer East Portland:
Read crime prevention tips … and learn how to get a booklet that will reduce your chances of being a crime victim …

Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee gives valuable tips on home and vehicle safety to Russell Neighborhood Association members, co-chaired by Bonny McKnight.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
More than likely, you – or someone you know – has been a victim of crime.

“You can blame it on the city, or the police department,” began East Portland Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee, as she laid out the facts-of-safety to 21 neighbors in Russell, a northeast neighborhood on July 20. “But the fact is, you have to take some responsibility for your own safety.”

Police coverage stretched thin
“The East Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau is short-handed this year. Our police commander and staff work hard to make sure everything is covered,” Lee explained. “But, this very evening, your district [specific area of outer East Portland] almost didn’t get staffed. If there is a major situation, or multiple emergencies, your neighborhood could be without police coverage. Multnomah County has very few deputies available to help with calls.”

Steps toward safety
Lee said that forming a “Neighborhood Watch” program on your street is a good first step. “All you have to do is get your neighbors together, and we’ll train you how to set up and run your Watch program.”

When you see crime happening, or notice a fire, or know someone is in physical danger from someone else, call 9-1-1 for help, she advised. Otherwise, use the non-emergency number, (503) 823-3333.

“The 9-1-1 operators work hard to help you. Just give them the facts. As you speak, they are entering information; it goes immediately to the dispatchers.”

The more accurate and timely information you give them, Lee added, the better. If a vehicle is involved in the crime, get a good description. “Instead of just saying they left in a car, tell the operator it is a red minivan with body damage on the left side, or a loud muffler. Note the direction they went as they left the area. An officer may be able to intercept them.”

“Also, look carefully at what the person is wearing. Look for tattoos or other features like hair and shoes. They may be able to change their shirt; they probably won’t change their shoes!”

Safer parks
Attendees who live near parks asked for advice for keeping these public spaces safer. “The first step is to read and know the park rules. If you see a violation, call the non-emergency number and report it.”

Lee also urged them to consider forming a park foot patrol. “This takes a bit of training for your safety. It’s a good idea to form partner teams. Also, take a dog with you. We’re seeing a growing number of foot patrols.” Some people neighborhood associations have banded together, she added, to gain a large enough pool of volunteers for such patrols.

Car prowls
The main reason neighbors’ vehicles get broken into, Lee explained, is that people continue to leave items of value right in plain view. “Leave a ‘clean’ car. A laptop computer, even a few music CDs visible inside are enough to entice a criminal to smash in a window and grab what they can.”

Lee told the story of a street nearby plagued by car prowls. “A drug-affected young man broke into cars around his Mom’s house. One night, He cut himself on broken glass and left a trail of blood back to his home. It made him easy to catch.” While petty crooks often escape jail time, this one didn’t. “Because neighbors showed at each hearing, he eventually pleaded guilty to 24 charges and went to jail.”

Graffiti
“If you see this kind of vandalism happening, call 9-1-1,” Lee advised. After the fact, you should still report gang graffiti. “The key to controlling graffiti is persistence. If you paint it out often enough, they will go somewhere else.”

Light the night
“Darkness is the criminal’s friend”, the crime prevention expert told her audience. “Outdoor lighting makes your home – and street – much less criminal-friendly.”

Her suggestion: “While it isn’t a well-publicized program, you can get lighting installed in public places.” City officials examine crime statistics and look at the physical location, she said. “If officials agree there is a problem, and affected neighbors can come up with $350, the city will install a street light.”

Do-it-yourself home security program
“The best way to protect yourself,” Lee concluded, “is to complete a ‘Home Security Survey’, based on a document prepared by the police department. What you discover in and around your own home may surprise you.”

Lee suggested inviting a trusted friend or neighbor to help with your security survey. “Using the booklet, they may well see things you don’t.”

The booklet, “Home and Vehicle Security”, a comprehensive guide to increased safety, is available free online. You can find it at the city’s web site. The direct link is: www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=31554 .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

© 2005-2018 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.

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