Look here and you’ll get the story about the Westmoreland Casting and Model Yacht Pond’s restoration. Will the “Milk Carton Races” come back? Read this story and find out ‚Ķ

Neighbors come to see the water spray into the Westmoreland Casting Pond as it fills for the first time in five years.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For half a decade, the Westmoreland Casting Pond and Model Yacht Basin was dry.

And, for a time, it looked as if this unique water attraction, on which construction began 70 year ago in Southeast Portland, would simply be filled with dirt and forever lost.

But on September 29, we were on hand to see this historic pond refilled. Neighbors who watched the water spraying into the Casting Pond all said they were pleased, but for differing reasons

When he was a lad of 12, Fred Rigutto says he watched a vacant field being turned into a casting pond by an army of WPA workers ‚Äì and he’s glad it will again be filled with water.

Saw history being dug by hand
“I’d say it was 1937 when I saw them start to dig the pond,” recalled lifelong neighborhood resident Fred Rigutto, as he took a break from his morning walk.

“I must have been 12 years old. It was a WPA project. Some workers would dig, others would shovel dirt onto piles, others put it into wheelbarrows, and others shoveled it into trucks and drove it away. They kept a lot of people working here.”

Rigutto smiled as he recounted seeing the pond filled for the first time, watching casting contests and model boat enthusiasts captain their yachts. “In the winter, they’d drop the water level, it would freeze, and we’d go ice skating. It is truly unique. I’m glad they kept it; I don’t know of another like it in the country.”

Neighbor, and pond advocate, Neal Paddison dreams of running his model watercraft here once again.

Boater’s passionate dream restored
Neal Paddison couldn’t hold back his smile. He said he was born and raised in Eastmoreland, and now lives in Westmoreland, only blocks from the casting pond.

“We formed a neighborhood of people who were determined not to lose the casting pool.” Paddison explains, “I was appointed to the citizens committee working with Portland Parks & Recreation to develop a new master plan for the park.”

But his hobby, Paddison told us, “really, it’s my passion, is building radio- controlled model ships. The Pond is a ‘dream venue’ for model boating. The beautiful park setting, a calm, reflecting pool; you can’t beat it. There’s enough room for electric and steam craft to be running on one side of the pond, and model sailboat clubs to race on the other end.”

From a practical standpoint, Paddison added, the smooth concrete bottom allows captains to safely retrieve distressed watercraft wearing hip waders.

Teddy Roosevelt credited
“When they first lost the water supply,” Paddison related, “they talked about making this historic Portland landmark into a soccer field. The pond was completed in 1939; it will soon be 70 years old. I don’t know of any other urban casting pond, anywhere.”

Paddison said President Teddy Roosevelt was an avid fly fisherman. “We’r e told he personally made sure this particular WPA project would be built here in Portland.”

Rights to transfer water solves problem
“We are filling the pond ‚Äì without drilling a well ‚Äì by transferring unused water rights from Eastmoreland Golf Course,” explained Jeff Milkes, SE Services Manager for Portland Parks & Recreation, as he watched water flow into the pond.

He added, “We had to coordinate with the state fish and wildlife department to assure the whole ecosystem wouldn’t be interrupted by our using water from Crystal Springs.”

This 15 hp pump draws 200 gallons of water from the Crystal Springs creek every minute. In the spring, they’ll install a 40 hp pump to draw out water for irrigation, saving the city thousands of dollars in water bills, and keeping the pond free of stagnation.

Future irrigation use pays for pond plumbing
Because it will be used as an irrigation retention pond, this move will save citizens hundreds of many thousands of dollars in payments for city water, Milkes said, as he introduced us to the park bureau’s irrigation specialist, Mike Carr.

The water is being pumped out of Crystal Springs Creek, Carr said. “We have a 15 hp pumping system with a foot [intake] in the creek. A 4″ line brings water to the new pump station at the south end of the pond. The water is pumped into a 3″ line that takes the water to the north end of the pond.”

The pond holds 2.8 million gallons of water, said Carr. At 100,000 gallons a day, it took less than a month to fill the pond.

In early in 2007, park officials say they’ll install a second pump system that will supply up to 400 gallons per minute to the park’s irrigation system. “We’ll draw from the south end of the pond, instead of using costly city water. During our driest weather, we’ll be able water the entire park in an eight-hour period.”

An additional benefit of this system is, according to Carr, the clarity of the water. “By pumping water in to one end, and out the other, the water won’t have the opportunity to stagnate.”

No ‘Milk Carton’ races scheduled for 2007
“As far as we’re concerned, we’d love to see events like the Milk Carton Races return to the park,” Milkes told us. But it appears it won’t happen this next June at any rate.

Unaware that the Casting Pond was being refilled with fresh water, Rick Jarvis of the Portland Rose Festival told us, “There are no plans to revive the Milk Carton Races because of the efforts being put into the 100th year celebration. We haven’t closed the door for the future; we love have as many community- and business-sponsored events as possible.”

Milk carton races or not, thanks to the dedication of neighbors and the diligence of the parks department, it looks as if a unique Portland landmark is back–to bring visitors to Westmoreland Park for many years to come.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Learn why the director of the state’s largest independent flu shot provider says why you should get your shot now ‚Ķ

Reporter David Ashton heeds the advice of Steve Allred, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director of GetAFluShot.com, and takes his flu shot medicine.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Ouch! No one likes getting a shot! But medical experts say that the shot’s momentary discomfort can prevent days of illness, or death, when the flu bug comes to visit.

Flu immunization vaccine has been in short supply for the past three years. We checked in with Steve Allred, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director of GetAFluShot.com, about this year’s supply.

“Vaccine outlook is good,” Allred told us. “We’ve already received a large shipment, and have launched our community flu shot clinic sessions.”

Both in Portland, and nationwide, Allred said, more vaccine than ever before will be available. “There aren’t the shortages we’ve had to deal with for the last couple of years. Anyone who wants a flu shot can get one.”

We asked about the quality of the vaccine. “We’ve always gotten top-quality vaccines,” he said. “The question in past years has been the quantity. Some of the manufacturers are slow in getting product out. Some providers won’t have vaccine until in November.”

Timing is right
October through December is the best time to get a flu shot, Allred explained. “But, the CDC says even in January, those who are not vaccinated can benefit from having a flu shot.”

Flu shots can be lifesavers
Influenza affects as many as twenty percent of the population every year.

“A flu shot reduces the likelihood of contracting Influenza by 70% ‚Äì 90%,” stated Allred. “Without it, healthy adults tend to be laid up sick for a week or so. Often, they pass it on to their kids, who take it to school and infect other families.”

But people with chronic health conditions, the clinical director said–such as diabetes heart disease–increase risk from complications including pneumonia and meningitis, which can lead to death. “Influenza is a nasty disease that kills about 35,000 Americans every year.”

Allred has studied influenza and vaccinations since the company started providing community vaccinations in the early 1990s, continuing every year. “It varies season by season, but I’d guess we give as many as 80,000 flu shots every year.”

One way to find a flu shot is to check www.getaflushot.com for a clinic near you.

“Regardless where you get your flu shot, do consider getting vaccinated,” Allred concluded.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Although their streets were crowded with motion picture production trucks, neighbors said they enjoyed watching “the stars come out” in Sellwood ‚Ķ

At the intersection of SE 11th Ave. and Marion St. in Sellwood, a crew sets up a motion picture camera next to an “Atlanta Business Chronicle” news box. Wait ‚Äì Atlanta? Yes; this is movie magic in action.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A few blocks of east Sellwood became “Hollywood on the Willamette” during the first week in October.

“Into the Wild”, a major studio motion picture, is being directed by Sean Penn, and it stars Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt and Catherine Keener. The movie is being shot in several Oregon locations, including Astoria, the Cascade Mountains, and yes – even Sellwood.

Marcia Gay Harden stops outside her dressing trailer to give a fan her autograph.

Trucks, trailers, generators and transportation vans clogged SE 11th and 13th Avenues, along SE Marion and Linn Streets, when we visited the movie’s outdoor set.

Frank Hildebrand, a producer of the film, took a moment to speak with us about his project. “I thank the neighbors for cooperating with us; everyone has been extremely friendly. We’re thrilled to be able to make this motion picture here in Oregon.”

Packed with trucks carrying production equipment and supplies, SE Marion St. looked more like a Hollywood back lot than a residential street.

The principal actors were seen only for the brief moments when the cameras were rolling. However, the streets were filled with technical crew members and “atmosphere people”, the local “extras” one sees in the background of some shots.

Brush with stardom
Neighbor Bill Bahrenburg, tipped us off about the production’s location ‚Äì something which producer Hildebrand confided to us he’d wished had been kept secret.

Bahrenburg had a front-row seat; William Hurt’s “star coach” was parked in front his home on the 1100 block of SE Linn St.

“It is pretty exciting,” Bahrenburg told us, “to have a major Hollywood production filmed here in our sleepy little corner of Sellwood.  The fact that we can’t park by our house is an inconvenience, but it is outweighed by the opportunity to see the Hollywood machine in process.”

Neighbor Bill Bahrenburg snapped this photo of Sean Penn as the director scurried about his Sellwood set.

It’s not every day that one walks out his front door, he said, and sees William Hurt coming out of a trailer. “Or spots Sean Penn directing a scene just around the corner, or hears Marcia Gay Harden screaming that her wardrobe isn’t in her trailer. It seems surreal. It took them hours to set up a scene that will probably get 10 seconds on the screen.”

An unexpected pleasure, Bahrenburg said, was meeting and chatting with many of his neighbors where were watching the production. “I got to meet so many people I’ve seen when walking the dogs, but never spoken with. This production was good for community building.”

Waiting to be called into action, area resident and “background player extraordinaire” Jennifer Gill is in costume, ready for her next assignment.

Production moves to Reed
When shooting ended in Sellwood, a giant construction crane on the Reed College tipped observers to the next “location” filming. The crane held up part of a set used in the production. What looked like a massive structure from the camera’s point of view was, in reality, a flimsy two-dimensional set suspended from a rope.

Hundreds of students and faculty members from the college served as “extras” on the set of this particular shoot.

Within a day, the crew had moved on. But, the memories left by the production will linger for quite some time, we suspect.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

You may be surprised to learn that Mayor Tom Potter has called for bringing all Portland schools into one district; that he’d like the city’s surplus funds set aside in savings; and, read his promise that he’ll look into ways to limit the growth of porn in Parkrose ‚Ķ

Portland Mayor Tom Potter, a member of the Lions Club, listens to concerns of a Roseway Lion at this October meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It isn’t often that the mayor of a major city, like Portland, schedules an address to a civic club.

But, members of the Roseway Lions Club were pleased to hear the mayor deliver a “state of the city” address. And several members looked surprised by his proposal to combine all Portland-area school districts at the October 24 meeting at Steamers Restaurant and Lounge in Parkrose.

Club president, Lion Melinda Palmer got their meeting underway, and Lion Ron Huddleston introduced the mayor.

Lion Ron Huddleston introduces Mayor Tom Potter to club members meeting at Steamers Restaurant in Parkrose.

“Overall,” began Mayor Tom Potter, the city has been doing well.”

Parading Portland’s awards
“We’ve been awarded as the ‘Most Dog Friendly’ city in the US. The ‘O’ celebrated this by creating a graphic, putting my head on the body of a dog.”

Portland was also cited as being the “Cleanest City in America”, Potter added. “We take pride and effort to make sure it is clean, and the most environmental city in the U.S. We have decreased the hydrocarbons by 13 percent since 1990. We encourage people to use public transportation. 24 percent of the city’s power is wind power. In five years it will be 100%. And, we endorse sustainable building practices, like disposing off storm water on-site instead of letting it flow into the rivers.”

Calls for Portland “Rainy Day” fund
Turning to finances, the mayor reported, “We’re in good financial situation. The city has an $18 Million surplus,” he said. “We’re having a discussion on how to spend the money. My hope is that we’ll save some if it for a rainy day. Every government entity needs a rainy-day fund.”

The city’s population is growing, Potter informed the group. Unlike Los Angeles, Portland has grown by five percent while LA has lost by the same percentage. The city has been most successful in attracting those age 18-35, Potter added. “Creative types, like industrial designers and people involved in the arts.”

Wants to help 1,000 homeless
During the past 18 months, the mayor reported getting 900 homeless people off the streets and into permanent housing. But, he added, there are still 1,000 who need permanent homes.

“Most people are not homeless because of what they’ve done. 60% of our homeless have some kind of mental disorder or problem. Some self medicate with street drugs. We’ll be a better city if we can get them off the street rather than letting them wander around.”

Mayor Potter delivering a “state of the city” address to the Roseway Lions club.

Housing prices shift city’s population
Turning to affordable housing, the mayor decried that, for many working people, housing is unaffordable. “What we’ve seen in the past ten years is a migration from inner- to outer-Portland. Many people, including minorities, are moving out to the suburbs looking for housing they can afford.”

Potter pointed out that Portland has six school districts. Only one of these, Portland Public Schools, is seeing a drop in students. He noted David Douglas, Parkrose, Reynolds and Continental are all growing, due to the population shift eastward.

“In these districts, we’re asking for school-building funds on the November ballot. You may not have children in schools, but you did once. Your district needs your support.”

Kids “Bill of Rights”
“My top priority is children. If we don’t take care of our children, they won’t be able to take care of the city in the future.”

The city’s top executive outlined four pillars of his Children’s Bill of Rights:

  • Roof over their head ‚Äì “One major reason children don’t succeed in school is because their families don’t have stable housing. They fall behind when they change schools.”
  • Full stomach ‚Äì “We need to make sure they have enough good, wholesome food to eat. As we’re here [at this Lions Club meeting], we’re eating our lunches. But one in five children will go to bed hungry in Oregon.”
  • Quality Education ‚Äì “Our children need the best education possible to prepare them for life. By helping them succeed at the start of their life, it increases the chance they’ll succeed later in life. From my experience as the Police Chief, I know that when kids graduate from high school, they’re less likely to get into crime or go on welfare.”
  • Caring Adults ‚Äì “During my first year after retiring, I ran a homeless youth shelter. I met the kids who live on the streets. I realized they committed criminal acts to survive. 80% came from abusive families with parents who were addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. They, and their children, had a lot of medical problems. Caring adults give our community good, caring children.”

A city, or a society, the mayor concluded, should be measured by how well they take care of their very young, their very old, and people who can not care for themselves.

Suggests combining Portland school systems
When Mayor Potter asked for questions, a member said he was confused by the “school situation”, asking, “Why are some of our schools closing; yet we’re being asked to pay for a bond to build new schools?”

Members of his audience raised eyebrows and shuffled in their seats when Potter floated the idea of combining all of Portland’s school systems into one. Club president, Lion Melinda Palmer, listens intently.

The mayor explained that Portland has six school districts. “We’re starting talks on consolidating our school districts. [Districts] gaining population need money to build schools. The districts losing students and closing schools need money to pay their teachers. Some facilities close because of age or asbestos; others close because of lack of students.

“We need to cut down on overhead of operations.

“This idea [of school district consolidation] will not go over well with the districts. They are independent political bodies, their boards are elected. We cannot tell them what to do. But we can bring it up before the citizens.”

Mayor vows to ‘look into’ proliferation of adult-oriented businesses
Lion Eileen Stocker asked the mayor why the city can’t limit the number of Sandy Blvd. corridor sex shops.

“The number of sex shops and strip clubs in our neighborhood keeps growing,” Stocker said. “We already have too many, and we’ve just added another one ‚Äì a block away from an elementary school. Can the City Council develop a program to help keep the number of sex businesses from growing? Our kids grow up thinking this it’s normal to have sex shops on every street.”

The mayor said he’d driven around Parkrose before the meeting and observed the proliferation of adult-oriented businesses.

“I agree with you on this. The city did pass an ordinance regulating these businesses, regarding location, signage, and so forth. But, the Oregon Supreme Court threw it out, citing the first amendment of the state’s constitution. They’ve given this wide latitude.”

A member piped up, “Another honor you could add to your list is, I believe, we’re the only city in the country to have live sex acts on stage.”

“You have a good point,” Potter responded. “I will go back and make sure the neighborhood associations are sent up-to-date information about the current law. I don’t know if they can do it or not, but I’ll recommend the License Bureau look into it.”

Meet the Roseway Lions
Interested in being of service to fellow Oregonians? If you live or work in the greater Parkrose area, Roseway Lions invite you to meet them at one of their noon meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

You’ll get a great lunch for a reasonable price. They meet at Steamers Restaurant, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.).

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Person after person slipped money to Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies, but they weren’t trying to bribe these public safety officials. Go ahead! Read this article and find out what this was all about ‚Ķ

Serving the Searls family are Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies Scott McDowell and Jonathan Zwick, along with Red Robin crew members Krisi Davis, Stacey Schuurmans and Tiffany Radmacher, as Deputy Joshua Zwick supervises at the “Tip-a-Cop” event.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
On any other day ‚Äì and on any other occasion — slipping a sheriff’s deputy a few bucks will land you in jail for bribery.

But, at the Mall 205 Red Robin Restaurant on Sept. 30 – and other locations throughout the city and county – giving an officer a couple of extra bucks was a good thing on that day.

Official explains
“Deputies, command staff, and sergeants from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office are waiting on tables,” is what Jason Gates, the new public information officer for Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office told us.

“We’re working hard, alongside the Red Robin staff, to help serve their patrons and, hopefully, get good tips. All the proceeds go to the Oregon Special Olympics. Even though we’re in uniform, all of us are here as volunteers, on our time off.”

“Tip-A-Cop” is an official fundraiser, Gates told us, for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the largest grassroots fundraising effort for Special Olympics.

Gates said that he and his co-workers like supporting organizations like the Special Olympics. “They do so much to help our disadvantaged youth. Also, it gives us a chance to do something for the community beyond our work. We love our community, and we stand ready do more than just enforce laws.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why these volunteers work so hard to help keep their neighborhood clean …

John and Judy Welch, coordinators for the Lents Neighborhood Clean Up take a break from helping the metal-recycling dumpster.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
For years, Lents residents John and Judy Welch have worked to make their neighborhood a better place in which to live. So, heading the neighborhood “clean up” on October 14 wasn’t anything new to them.

“Why we do it is simple,” said Judy Welch, former chair for the neighborhood association. “These events get refuse and garbage out of the neighborhood. It looks better here when you drive through. When we make it easy for people to get rid of their junk, they do it. And, all of us can drive down our streets and feel more pride about where we live and work.”

Her husband, John, works at her side. “This time, we have 12 drop boxes,” John told us. “We’ve filled all of them ‚Äì and these drop boxes are 40 yards each. That’s a lot of yards of junk we get out of neighborhood yards.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

If you’re a small business person who’s “had it” with paying the city’s high “license fee”, Sam Adams wants to hear from you at a special Town Hall meeting. Read this, and plan to come ‚Ķ no reservations required ‚Ķ

Portland Commissioner Sam Adams listens to the concerns of a Portland business person. He wants to hear what you have to say about the city’s licensing fees at noon, on Nov. 2, at JJ North’s in Gateway.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Oregon law allows Multnomah County to levy a “business income tax” ‚Äì but the City of Portland is prohibited from authorizing a tax on businesses. So, the city calls their tax a Business License Fee.

“Portland’s small businesses are paying too much in their Business License Fees,” Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams told us. “I’m addressing this problem by working on license fee reform. I want to hear from East Portland business owners before I make a decision on a reform package.”

Town Hall set for Nov. 2
To facilitate the conversation, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce set up a meeting at which Adams will pitch his reform ideas and listen to citizens.

“This is an opportunity for businesses and residents in East Portland to talk directly with Commissioner Adams and let him know their opinions on the impact of business tax and license fees on our Eastside community,” said Ken Turner, chairman of the government affairs committee of the East Portland Chamber.Turner added, “We’re pleased that this significant session with Commissioner Adams is being is also supported by the Gateway Area Business Association, Parkrose Business Association, 82nd Ave. of Roses Business Association, and Midway Business Association.”

No reservations; come early
The meeting starts promptly at 12 noon on Thursday, Nov. 2 at J.J. North’s Restaurant, 10520 N.E. Halsey, in the Gateway District.

The full buffet lunch is $8.50. Reservations are not required, but plan to arrive early to be assured seating.

For more information about the chamber or its events see: www.EastPortlandChamber.com or call (503) 788-8589.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

If you didn’t come and enjoy a complete dinner while being serenaded with live music at this benefit, see what you missed ‚Äì and how you can help this worthy cause ‚Ķ

Volunteers serving up the meals at the 7th Annual Benefit Turkey Dinner for Loaves & Fishes Center are Seth Young, Angie Boyd Stephen Pletka, and Randi Holberg.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
About to take our friends to dinner on October 8, we remembered it was time for the Benefit Turkey Dinner for Loaves & Fishes Center.

We headed over the East Portland Community Center and tucked into a traditional turkey dinner, with all the trimmings.

“You can have ‘seconds’ if you want,” our volunteer server, Jennifer Lewis, told us. We were hungry, and took them up on their generous offer. Our meal was made complete with servings of pumpkin pie for dessert.

We were joined at dinner by Bruce and Margery Davis who moved here in 1952. They told us fascinating stories about outer East Portland, long before it was developed, then annexed into Portland. That’s our wonderful, cheerful volunteer server, Jennifer Lewis.

After dinner, we spoke with the lady who sold us our dinner tickets.

“We’re having this turkey dinner as a fundraiser,” explained Tamara Rochester, Center Manager CherryBlossom Loves & Fishes, Meals-on-Wheels.

“All proceeds from this community event will go to help feed our seniors. Much of the food was donated, the balance of the food and supplies were provided, at cost, by their vendors.”

She said 25 volunteers cooked, served and cleaned up after serving 250 dinners. The effort raised about $1,500 for their organization.

“We love our volunteers,” Rochester said. “They are great. Many of our volunteers here today help us provide hot, nourishing meals to seniors in their home, and here, at the center.”

Serenading the diners with her keyboard styling on the piano is Kay Robbins. She told us, “I get pleasure for playing for those who enjoy my music. It makes it more festive. I can communicate the music I love with the people who come and enjoy the event at Loaves & Fishes.”

You can help
This center serves 225 seniors in their homes, and 120 more in the dining room, Rochester said. “We always are looking for drivers. But we can use kitchen help as well.”

To learn how you can help, contact the center directly at (503) 736-6325 or the citywide number, (503) 256-2381 or see their website www.loavesandfishesonline.org.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Make plans to visit the Rossi Haunted Ghost Town this weekend
— for fun, thrills, and chills ‚Ķ

You’ll find plenty of creepy ghosts and spooks and ghouls in, around, and flying over Rossi Haunted Ghost Town this season.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the best annual Halloween events in outer East Portland is the Haunted Ghost Town at Rossi Farms.

The least scary part of the ghost town is buying your ticket. Dave Kuhn, Mary Brown, Christopher Allen and Vinicio Benois check guests who have come to be scared.

Supports a good cause
“This is our biggest fundraiser for the Drug & Alcohol Free Senior All Night Party,” Mary Brown, event coordinator, told us. “Lots of kids are involved. We have members of the Parkrose High Dance Team here again this year. And, drama students put on costumes and makeup to provide a scary-but-safe atmosphere.”

Last year, Brown told is, they raised $4,000. “We’re hoping for that much again. Saturday night drew more than 400 guests.”

Our ghostly gallery
We’re not going to spoil the fun by revealing all of the surprises, but take a look at these photos for a preview of the “fun” you can expect this year!

It’s “Thriller” time again ‚Äì and these dancers will give you the creeps!

Looks like Turkey Creek Tom and his gang died and went to ‚Ķ ?  From the looks of the dynamite bundle he just lit, our guess is he wants to take some new “friends” with him.

It’s Electra, the Electric Girl. In fact, we’re told every thing she has is charged!

Look out! This creepy quartet may scare the nightlights out of you! Remember their motto, “Touch nothing, and it won’t touch you ‚Ķ usually.”

It looks like one of ghouls escaped!

Rossi Farms Haunted Ghost Town
Come early, if you have young ones who may be easily frightened. The fun gets more intense later in the evening.

Come October 27, 28 and 29. It opens at 6:30 p.m. and runs until 9:00 p.m. (or so). Admission is $9.00 adults; $5.00 children under 12yrs. Rossi Farms is located at 3839 NE 122nd Ave. just south of NE Shaver St.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman surprised many people by taking on reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement System during his spring reelection campaign. The commissioner spoke at both the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, and Parkrose Business Association promoting this measure …

Ken Turner, Governmental Affairs chair of East Portland Chamber of Commerce introduces Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman at last week’s “Good Morning East Portland” networking meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been barnstorming East Portland, asking voters to support a reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement System.

Earlier this year, Saltzman surprised many people by taking on reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement at the same time he was running for reelection. In February, we asked Saltzman why he’d take on an issue that, in the past has been a “campaign killer” for other elected city officials.

“I’m doing what I think is the right thing to do,” Saltzman told us back then, “for both the taxpayers and the welfare for police and firefighters. If the pension goes bust, everyone’s going to be left holding the bag. And I mean everyone ‚Äì our public safety workers and citizens. It is the fiscally-responsible thing to do.”

Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, here telling why he urges everyone to vote for Measure 26-68.

Solving a $1.64 Billion dollar problem
Working with a blue-ribbon panel, Saltzman and his staff have been working to find a way to start retiring a $1.6 Billion dollar unfunded liability in retirement fund. He credited Jeff Cogan, his chief-of-staff for managing the process.

“This unfunded liability can literally swallow the city’s entire budget,” he told members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce on October 18.

“What this means,” Saltzman continued, “is that the city has an obligation to pay this amount of money, but we don’t have the money to pay. If there were a rash of police or fire bureau retirements, or if because of a massive disaster our public safety works experienced a catastrophic loss, we couldn’t pay it.”

In addition to having this massive obligation hanging over the city’s head, the commissioner stated, it also lowers the Bond Rating for Portland. “This makes it more expensive for the city to borrow money.”

Vote required to change city charter
Changing our public safety retirement and disability system requires a change in the Portland City Charter, Saltzman explained.

If Measure 26-86 is passed by voters at the November election, then, starting Jan 1, newly hired workers will go into the state-wide PERS retirement system. “If we don’t do this, our obligation will balloon to $8 billion dollars within 40 years. Instead, as people on the current system retire, our obligation will diminish over time.”

Fixes ‘broken’ disability system
“When it comes to awarding disability payments,” Saltzman continued, “there have been some questionable decisions. Some workers, who don’t appear to be disabled, are ‘gaming’ the system. Now, there is a 99% disability approval rate.”

Because the current disability board is composed of active or retired police officers or firefighters, “we have, in essence, the fox guarding the henhouse.”

The board will be revamped from 11 members down to five. Their role will be to make policy, not make disability decisions, Saltzman added. “Instead, an evaluation of each claim will be made by an expert in the area.”

Unions, city agree to new plan
“These are dramatic changes,” said the commissioner. “The entire city council supports this measure.” Saltzman then quoted Mayor Tom Potter, “Police and fire representatives are supporting this measure in their own way.”

Dan Saltzman says he’s most concerned that this measure will get “lost in the background”, with so many measures on the ballot.

Measure to indirectly increases taxes for 26 years
Asked about the tax impact of the measure on citizens, Saltzman said homeowners will see their property taxes increase for the next twenty years, as existing pensions for retired police and firefighters are paid off. “Then, taxes will taper off. But, remember, in 40 years, our obligations will be paid off, and our public safety workers will have their pensions assured.

While there isn’t any opposition to the measure, “Our biggest concern is that this measure doesn’t get lost among the other measures on the ballot,” Saltzman concluded.

Web Only Extra: Chamber members mix things up at Vino Vixens

Erin Marie, owner of Vino Vixens and Sun Kiss Spa and Tanning hosts a fun East Portland Chamber of Commerce evening event.

On October 17, Wine flowed; guests noshed on cheese, shrimp and antipasto at a special East Portland Chamber of Commerce evening event.

“Vino Vixens is a unique wine bar with an intimate setting,” Marie told us. “This is the perfect spot to hold informal gatherings. And, Sun Kiss Spa offers a full line of treatments. Come see us!

To learn more about this great group, or her two businesses, go to www.eastportlandchamber.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Be careful driving corner of SE Johnson Creek Blvd. and 43rd Ave. – ghosts and goblins abound at their Halloween-decorated home …

East Portland’s “ghost hosts with the most”, Jeff and Chris Davis, invite guests who dare, to drive or walk past their spooked-out home.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One look at their place, all decked out for Halloween, and it’s easy to understand how Jeff and Chris Davis turn their abode into an elaborate spook show. Turning their modest 1930’s-era home into a creepy Hollywood-like set required an abundance of imagination, lots of hard work ‚Äì and a $6,000 budget.

So much for “how”. We visited the Davis’ on their property at the corner of SE Johnson Creek Blvd. and 43rd Ave. to learn why they dedicatedly decorated for Allhallows Eve.

“We like Halloween,” said Jeff simply. “And, it is a lot of fun. It is mainly that we get to express ourselves.”

Chris chimed in, “There is a lot of creativity in all this. We’ve figured out ways to improve our display. It’s grown every year for eight years.”

Jeff said he attended a convention dedicated to Halloween events and decorations, and picked up new lighting and special effects used in their tableau of terror.

The Davis Haunted Grave Yard wouldn’t be complete, they said, without a cathedral ‚Äì so they built one ‚Äì complete with its own ghost.

New ‘cathedral’ towers over the graveyard
The couple proudly spoke of their largest set piece, a cathedral. The fa?ßade is built on the front of their garage and shop, towering prominently at the back of their driveway.

“If people look closely,” Jeff said, “They’ll see a ghost in the upper window.” The couple even came up with a method of making realistic-looking stained-glass windows. “But, everything packs down into a relatively small space,” Jeff told us.

Neighbors are entertained
“Our neighbors say they’re impressed, and say they love seeing what we come up with every year,” Jeff grinned.

“We get a lot of great compliments,” Chris added, “People come from all over to see our display. It seems as much fun for them as it is for us.”

As we were photographing the spook-making couple, neighbor Rick Denton walked up. “I really enjoy what they do. But then, I love this kind of stuff. Being a magician, I play with stuff like this. I know how much care and effort they put into their production. It’s wonderful.”

Jeff and Chris Davis stand with their friend who is “hanging around” for a while. They welcome visitors to look–but from outside the gates of their property.

Ghosts everywhere
This year, the Davis Graveyard features 40 individually-lit tombstones, six monuments, three animated features and projected special effects. A large, hooded monk figure is set up so he can talk to, and interact with, passers-by.

Hoping to turn their passion into a business, the couple is writing a book to help others learn how to make props and transform their own yards into elaborately Halloween-themed sets. Interested? See www.davisgraveyard.com for more details

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Take a look and you’ll see why police are still trying to figure out how this wreck, which sent one man to the hospital, took place …

Two cars, a minivan, a SUV and a Tri-Met bus collided, shutting down SE 122nd Ave. just before rush hour.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The only things clear about this five-vehicle accident on October 17 were that the weather was sunny, and the bus was stopped.

“I was picking up passengers at my regular stop,” the Tri-Met driver told us, “heard smashing and crashing, and felt a bump when a car ran into the bus.”

Police on scene declined giving us information; drivers of the other vehicles refused to speak with us.

Witnesses to the bizarre pileup gave conflicting reports, saying that either the red BMW or the white Chevy had bounced the green Kia into the rear wheel of the bus. No one could explain how a black Lexus SUV was also damaged in the multi-car collision.

Although many people said they witnessed this accident, no one could say exactly who caused it, or why it happened.

The accident tied up the northbound lane of SE 122nd Ave. for hours while an officer from the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division sorted out the facts and took measurements, and East Precinct officers filled out paperwork.

One person, a man said have been in the red BMW, was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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