See why “the fair that wouldn’t die” ‚Äì even though Multnomah County commissioners cut funding and dropped their support of this great tradition years ago ‚Ķ

With the help of children from her audience, Mother Goose brings barnyard magic to the Multnomah County Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Locating Multnomah County Fair at Portland Meadows for the past two years allowed organizers to hold the event in late summer. But, somehow, it never had the “fair-like” atmosphere of its longtime location, the Expo Center–or of its immediately previous home, Oaks Amusement Park.

“Memorial Day was the only weekend we could use Oaks Amusement Park,” Lillian Adams, an organizer with Friends of Multnomah County Fair. “We wish we’d had better weather, but here, we have the setting of a real fair. Our volunteers have done so much to keep the fair going.”

Cooking up big, flavorful burritos is Martin Ochoa.

The fair that wouldn’t die
This year’s edition celebrates the county fair’s 100-year history. But if it weren’t for the volunteers who make up Friends of Multnomah County Fair, it would have blinked out of existence years ago.

“It’s hard to believe,” Adams said with a hint of frustration in her voice, “that the largest and most prosperous county in Oregon refuses to sustain 4-H, nor a county fair. Commissioner Lonnie Roberts has always supported us. Perhaps the new County Chair, Ted Wheeler, will see the value in preserving this great educational and recreational tradition for our young people.”

Outer East Portland backyard gardener Duane Duvall picked up 19 First Place Awards, including this pink Oriental Poppy; judged Best Perennial and Best of Show. Did he beat gardening maven Larry Smith?  “No one beats Larry Smith,” Duvall chuckled

Top quality exhibits abundant
Although the fair’s return to Oaks Park wasn’t well promoted, other than in a front-page story on East PDX News and in The BEE, the exhibit hall was filled with quality entries, ranging from baking to sewing arts, photography ‚Äì and yes, even garden entries.

Kids, whose families who braved the weather in the first two days of the three-day fair, enjoyed Humphrey’s Barnyard Frolics–featuring the magic of Mother Goose, hands-on action exhibits like cow milking, and making “Mud Baby” crafts.

Grand Sweepstakes winner in the First Annual Oregon Fryer Commission’s “Big Cluck Cook-off” were Tim and Rosie Wallace.

Chicken cooking competition draws hundreds
A new feature this year was the “Big Cluck Cookoff”, hosted by KXL radio’s “Mr. Barbeque”, Bruce Bjorkman. “Chicken is one of the meats that sometimes intimidate people when they think about cooking on the grill. Today, we showed that people, who have never been in a cook-off, can do it.”

A few raindrops didn’t keep families from enjoying the rides at Oaks Park.

Clearning weather boosts late attendance
On Saturday, May 27th, the opening day of the three-day fair, a stormy sky delivered moisture–ranging from a gentle mist to wind-blown pelting rain throughout the fair’s first afternoon. But, Oregonians dressed weather-appropriately, and got their thrills on many of the amusement rides at the park anyway.

The event faired better on Sunday with cool weather under heavily overcast skies. By Memorial Day, the sun came out – and so did families.

SE Portland glass artist Scott Hogan, with Jess Hogan Designs, demonstrates creating a bead made used in jewelry making for people at the fair.

Will there be a Multnomah County Fair next year?

“The fair and 4-H is important for our youth. It gives them something positive in which to channel their energy,” Adams stated. “I hope citizens will let their County Commissioners know they want to support these programs.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

At the Sellwood Park Bird Festival, we met Bob Sallinger, holding a swallow plaque painted by his son, Peter.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton
Under the sunny sky, in warm, spring weather, May 13th supplied a perfect setting for the “International Migratory Bird Day” at Oaks Bottom.

“Today, we’re exploring the role we play in protecting migratory birds,” is how Bob Sallinger, Urban Conservation Director, Portland Audubon Society, explained the activities at Sellwood Park, overlooking the Oaks Bottom wetland. “We call it a ‘bird festival’, and hope to make people more aware of the bird diversity we have here in the urban landscape.”

Asked how the event might accomplish this goal, Sallinger told us, “When we get people to take a walk with us, and they see what’s going on, it helps them understand our mission. There is no better way than to have people simply look up! I’ve worked for Audubon for 14 years, and I’ve heard so many people tell me they never really look.

Elizabeth Kramer, Audubon Society educator, spent the day checking in people for the bird walks. She talks with Carole Harmon.

“When we talk them for a walk, even in this urban environment, they are surprised to find we have nesting bald eagles, and blue herons, falcons ‚Äì in fact, more than 209 species just in the metro Portland region.”

Mayor speaks and signs
In addition to the Audubon Society hosted guided tours of Oaks Bottom, the event in Sellwood Park featured a half-dozen craft, activity, and informational booths for adults and kids to enjoy.

Mr. Sagar, Steve Feiner and daughter Rachel, Malina Sagar, and their families say they came to the Bird Festival to see birds, and take the kids for a beautiful walk.

At the US Fish and Wildlife “Conserving Nature” exhibit, Maxwell Schmidt is working on a craft project with the help of his grandmother Kevin Wright.

Emma Rose McMillan has gloves on, protecting her hands as she works at another booth creating crafts.

In mid-afternoon, Mayor Tom Potter came by to be part of the celebration. In an exclusive interview, he told us, “Portland is known for its livability. I believe that birds are an important part of it for all of us.

“Unfortunately, almost a tenth of the 200-some species here are on the endangered list. We must do a better job protecting our wildlife and birds. What this event does is remind people to take a little time, enjoy what you see around you, and take care of our animals and plants.”

At the official ceremony, Portland Mayor Tom Potter signs a “Bird Treaty” certificate, as Miel Corbette, Fish & Wildlife Service, looks on.

Portland cited as a leader in urban conservation
As the ceremony began, Miel Corbette of the Fish & Wildlife Service addressed attendees: “We hold this annual celebration here, because the first ‘Bird Treaty’ was signed here in 2003, dedicating Oaks Bottom as a wild bird refuge. Portland’s forests, wetlands, and river bottoms are home to more than 200 species of birds. The Fish and Wildlife Service launched the Migratory Bird Treaty program in 1999.”

What makes the Rose City unique, Corbette told the gathering, is that Portland is one of only six cities to sign such a treaty, and the only such city west of the Rocky Mountains. “Portland is leading the way in urban conservation.”

Mayor Potter explained the treaty, saying “it’s an agreement among all the city agencies that we work together to protect our migratory birds. We want to assure that they have good nesting areas, and are protected from predatory animals.”

Robera Jortner, Anne Rutherford, and Jan DeWeese make up The Tanagers, performing their song “The Great Pacific Flyway” as part of the official Bird Festival ceremony.

“It’s easy to ‘write off’ urban wildlife habitat,” Sallinger commented to us during the signing ceremony. “But Oaks Bottom is an important place for birds to stop, feed, rest, and have shelter. When endangered species are gone, they’re gone forever. And that’s a very long time.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

See amazing photos … and read what happens when men and women of Portland Fire & Rescue – from all over East Portland – pulled on their gear and headed out to fight one of the largest industrial fires in years …

The Taylor Electric fire was so intense; embers flew up stories high into the air. In fact, a pallet rack shelf was projected high into the night sky by an explosion of burning material, carried up on convection current.

A firefighter climbs atop an adjoining building to make sure embers didn’t set it ablaze.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a typical, busy day for the firefighters at Westmoreland’s Station 20 on May 17. But their shift eventually included fighting one of the largest fires in recent history.

“Our 24-hour shift begins at 8 am,” Portland Fire & Rescue’s Dave Gallucci told East PDX News. “Right off the bat, we were busy. Nothing major, we went on a number of runs ‚Äì mostly medical calls ‚Äì throughout the day.”

Station 20, located on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, just west of the Bybee Bridge, is a four-person station house. By early evening, Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen had set about making dinner for the crew. “We all ate, and the day started to slow down,” Von Allmen said.

Westmorland Portland Fire & Rescue Station 20 firefighters Dave Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen were two of the 125 firefighters who fought the four-alarm, Taylor Electric Company fire that could be seen for miles around.Business picks up for Station 20
“We generally turn in around 10 pm,” Gallucci told us. “I do a little reading, and off with the light. That’s when the Tap Out [fire call] sounded. We’re familiar with that area, so we didn’t wait ‚Äì we pulled on our turnouts [fire jackets, pants and boots], and headed for the fire.”

“It was our co-firefighter, Dan Kendoll’s, last shift. He was facing forward in the engine cab, and he said he could see the flames lighting up the sky by the time we got to Holgate,” Von Allmen told us. “We jokingly blamed the late call-out on Kendoll, as we drove to the command post.”

They could see a train was blocking the Milwaukie Avenue crossing north of Powell, so they cut over to McLoughlin Boulevard, north on S.E. Grand, then to Clay Street.

“The fire was really ripping,” Gallucci continued. “I was the driver for the shift, so I started up the pump as the other crew members hooked up hoses at S.E. Second and Madison.” The blaze was just west of MLK Boulevard, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, and only a couple of blocks east of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and a branch campus of Portland Community College.

Engine supplies water
Because a high ladder truck carries no water, and doesn’t have its own pumps, it’s fire engines like Engine 20, that boosts the hydrant water pressure enough send it up the hose to the top of the five-story-high ladder, so it can be sprayed down on the fire.

Von Allmen confirmed that no firefighters were being allowed in the building, “But our engine also ran a hand-held line we used to shoot water into the windows at ground level. We put out a little of the fire.”

About an hour after the fire was discovered, the roof on the city-block-sized building collapsed, spewing a shower of sparks and cinders, and blowing large boards high into the night sky. Firefighters were dispatched to the roofs of nearby buildings to make sure they didn’t catch fire.

Karla Peterson was one of the hundreds of people came to watch this, one of the largest fires ever in the Southeast industrial area, burn on into the night. Although Peterson was blocks away from the fire, she winced and withdrew a step as the inferno exploded into the night sky. “I’ve never seen anything this. It’s awesome; I mean, awful. All the water can’t seem to put it out.”

Keeps truck cool
“The fire in the building was so intense, it wasn’t long until we could see our engine was really heating up,” Von Allmen picked up the story. “When we hit it with water, steam poured off it. Unfortunately we’d left a couple of our windows down ‚Äì it got cleaned out pretty good. We kept drenching our engine until the fire was out.”

Through the wee hours of May 18th, the Sellwood-Moreland firefighters stayed at their post, supplying 1,500 gallons of water per minute, for four hours – pushing 360,000 gallons of water, from their rig alone, to douse the conflagration.

“As close as we were to the fire, we didn’t get much smoke,” Gallucci recalled. “It was blowing away from us, so we didn’t have to wear our breathing apparatus. Some of the firefighters went through several bottles of air. Their rigs, in the smoke, got so dirty, they later had to be hand-washed, even after pressure spraying.”

“The fire burned so hot,” Von Allmen added, “it burned out pretty quickly. Sometimes a large fire like this can burn for days.” Working together, a total of 125 Portland Fire & Rescue crewmembers managed to protect all of the surrounding buildings.

Home, but not for long
By 4 am, the Station 20 crew was released, and was back in their firehouse. “It only took about an hour to square away our rig,” Von Allmen told us. “We just got settled down, and then a medical call came in. That was about 6 am.”

The following day, firefighters were still on scene, putting out the hot spots that remained.“It was a long day,” concluded Gallucci, “but in many ways, it was just another day in the life of a firefighter.”

After the fire
To prevent electrocution, Portland General Electric crews disconnected power from the industrial area’s grid shortly after the fire broke out. Good thing; at least three power transformers exploded in the fire’s intense heat, releasing their cooling oil. Millions of gallons of water running off from the firefighting carried it into Willamette River.

According to Taylor Electric’s operations manager, the burnt building was filled with about $4 million worth of inventory, including wire, circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment.

Eating pizza provided by a nearby business owner is firefighter John Robinson with Station 4.

Business owner provides lunch
As firefighters continued to douse the smoldering rubble the following morning, a table laden with pizzas appeared outside Rose’s Restaurant Equipment, directly across the street from the burned out building.

“We watched it on TV,” said owner Karen Rose, “and our son was here, keeping an eye on the store. We were concerned about the front of our building. The firefighters did a really good job.”

Rose said a firefighter asked if we knew where they order a sandwich, because they couldn’t leave their post. “We immediately called Dave Clark, owner of Pietro’s Pizza in Milwaukie. He asked, ‘How many?’ The firefighters said they couldn’t accept any kind of gifts; so we just set it all out, and walked away. I’m happy to see it looks like most of it is gone!”

Fire cause under investigation
“The exact cause of the huge blaze is still under investigation,” Lt. Allen Oswalt, fire department spokesman told us. “But it started outside the building. We believe a large stack of wooden pallets outside the southwest corner of the building was set on fire, either accidentally or on purpose.”

The pallet fire burned so intensely, Oswalt explained, that it broke the building’s exterior windows nearby. The fire then jumped inside the building. He confirmed that the company’s last employee had left the building some four hours before the start of the fire, and that nobody was in the building when it burned.

The fire investigation is continuing.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

See amazing photos … and read what happens when men and women of Portland Fire & Rescue – from all over East Portland – pulled on their gear and headed out to fight one of the largest industrial fires in years …

The Taylor Electric fire was so intense; embers flew up stories high into the air. In fact, a pallet rack shelf was projected high into the night sky by an explosion of burning material, carried up on convection current.

A firefighter climbs atop an adjoining building to make sure embers didn’t set it ablaze.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a typical, busy day for the firefighters at Westmoreland’s Station 20 on May 17. But their shift eventually included fighting one of the largest fires in recent history.

“Our 24-hour shift begins at 8 am,” Portland Fire & Rescue’s Dave Gallucci told East PDX News. “Right off the bat, we were busy. Nothing major, we went on a number of runs ‚Äì mostly medical calls ‚Äì throughout the day.”

Station 20, located on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, just west of the Bybee Bridge, is a four-person station house. By early evening, Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen had set about making dinner for the crew. “We all ate, and the day started to slow down,” Von Allmen said.

Westmorland Portland Fire & Rescue Station 20 firefighters Dave Gallucci and Jeff Von Allmen were two of the 125 firefighters who fought the four-alarm, Taylor Electric Company fire that could be seen for miles around.Business picks up for Station 20
“We generally turn in around 10 pm,” Gallucci told us. “I do a little reading, and off with the light. That’s when the Tap Out [fire call] sounded. We’re familiar with that area, so we didn’t wait ‚Äì we pulled on our turnouts [fire jackets, pants and boots], and headed for the fire.”

“It was our co-firefighter, Dan Kendoll’s, last shift. He was facing forward in the engine cab, and he said he could see the flames lighting up the sky by the time we got to Holgate,” Von Allmen told us. “We jokingly blamed the late call-out on Kendoll, as we drove to the command post.”

They could see a train was blocking the Milwaukie Avenue crossing north of Powell, so they cut over to McLoughlin Boulevard, north on S.E. Grand, then to Clay Street.

“The fire was really ripping,” Gallucci continued. “I was the driver for the shift, so I started up the pump as the other crew members hooked up hoses at S.E. Second and Madison.” The blaze was just west of MLK Boulevard, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, and only a couple of blocks east of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and a branch campus of Portland Community College.

Engine supplies water
Because a high ladder truck carries no water, and doesn’t have its own pumps, it’s fire engines like Engine 20, that boosts the hydrant water pressure enough send it up the hose to the top of the five-story-high ladder, so it can be sprayed down on the fire.

Von Allmen confirmed that no firefighters were being allowed in the building, “But our engine also ran a hand-held line we used to shoot water into the windows at ground level. We put out a little of the fire.”

About an hour after the fire was discovered, the roof on the city-block-sized building collapsed, spewing a shower of sparks and cinders, and blowing large boards high into the night sky. Firefighters were dispatched to the roofs of nearby buildings to make sure they didn’t catch fire.

Karla Peterson was one of the hundreds of people came to watch this, one of the largest fires ever in the Southeast industrial area, burn on into the night. Although Peterson was blocks away from the fire, she winced and withdrew a step as the inferno exploded into the night sky. “I’ve never seen anything this. It’s awesome; I mean, awful. All the water can’t seem to put it out.”

Keeps truck cool
“The fire in the building was so intense, it wasn’t long until we could see our engine was really heating up,” Von Allmen picked up the story. “When we hit it with water, steam poured off it. Unfortunately we’d left a couple of our windows down ‚Äì it got cleaned out pretty good. We kept drenching our engine until the fire was out.”

Through the wee hours of May 18th, the Sellwood-Moreland firefighters stayed at their post, supplying 1,500 gallons of water per minute, for four hours – pushing 360,000 gallons of water, from their rig alone, to douse the conflagration.

“As close as we were to the fire, we didn’t get much smoke,” Gallucci recalled. “It was blowing away from us, so we didn’t have to wear our breathing apparatus. Some of the firefighters went through several bottles of air. Their rigs, in the smoke, got so dirty, they later had to be hand-washed, even after pressure spraying.”

“The fire burned so hot,” Von Allmen added, “it burned out pretty quickly. Sometimes a large fire like this can burn for days.” Working together, a total of 125 Portland Fire & Rescue crewmembers managed to protect all of the surrounding buildings.

Home, but not for long
By 4 am, the Station 20 crew was released, and was back in their firehouse. “It only took about an hour to square away our rig,” Von Allmen told us. “We just got settled down, and then a medical call came in. That was about 6 am.”

The following day, firefighters were still on scene, putting out the hot spots that remained.“It was a long day,” concluded Gallucci, “but in many ways, it was just another day in the life of a firefighter.”

After the fire
To prevent electrocution, Portland General Electric crews disconnected power from the industrial area’s grid shortly after the fire broke out. Good thing; at least three power transformers exploded in the fire’s intense heat, releasing their cooling oil. Millions of gallons of water running off from the firefighting carried it into Willamette River.

According to Taylor Electric’s operations manager, the burnt building was filled with about $4 million worth of inventory, including wire, circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment.

Eating pizza provided by a nearby business owner is firefighter John Robinson with Station 4.

Business owner provides lunch
As firefighters continued to douse the smoldering rubble the following morning, a table laden with pizzas appeared outside Rose’s Restaurant Equipment, directly across the street from the burned out building.

“We watched it on TV,” said owner Karen Rose, “and our son was here, keeping an eye on the store. We were concerned about the front of our building. The firefighters did a really good job.”

Rose said a firefighter asked if we knew where they order a sandwich, because they couldn’t leave their post. “We immediately called Dave Clark, owner of Pietro’s Pizza in Milwaukie. He asked, ‘How many?’ The firefighters said they couldn’t accept any kind of gifts; so we just set it all out, and walked away. I’m happy to see it looks like most of it is gone!”

Fire cause under investigation
“The exact cause of the huge blaze is still under investigation,” Lt. Allen Oswalt, fire department spokesman told us. “But it started outside the building. We believe a large stack of wooden pallets outside the southwest corner of the building was set on fire, either accidentally or on purpose.”

The pallet fire burned so intensely, Oswalt explained, that it broke the building’s exterior windows nearby. The fire then jumped inside the building. He confirmed that the company’s last employee had left the building some four hours before the start of the fire, and that nobody was in the building when it burned.

The fire investigation is continuing.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

Don’t miss it! See great plays presented by the
Parkrose High School Thespians June 1-3 …

While this isn’t, exactly, a scene you’ll see Parkrose High School’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Parkrose Thespians Brian Fitzgerald, Stephanie Levine, Madison Cook and Tyree Harris put fresh energy into this classic play on June 1-3.

Story and Photo by David F. Ashton
Three! Three! Three plays in one show! Theater instructor Ms. Zena let us see a sneak preview, and you’ll want to at Parkrose High School to catch the theater department’s last performance of the year.

The first show is a children’s show called “Play Dates of Imagination – Just a Reminder”. This presentation was created by the Advanced Theatre Class and was performed at two Parkrose Elementary Schools during April.

Then, you’ll see a one-act play called “Dog Lady”,by Milcha Sanchez Scott. This is a comedy about two sisters – one who is trying to reach for the stars, the other who is still trying to figure out exactly what to reach for.

The final half of the program will be William Shakespeare’s classic, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Enjoy a romantic comedy about mixed up love and the people who get stuck in it ‚Äì and ‚Äì those who just make more a mess of the situation.

Shows in the great outdoors – weather permitting
All performances will be held in the courtyard at Parkrose High School. You are encouraged to bring your picnic dinner, lawn chairs, blankets, and or pillows to enjoy while watching the show. In case of inclement weather (this is springtime in Oregon), performances will be held indoors.

Three Parkrose Plays
June 1 & 2 at 6:30 p.m.
June 3 at  2 p.m.
Tickets are $5 per person
Parkrose High School
12003 NE Shaver Street
Information: (503) 408-2621

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why hundreds of folks volunteer to restore Johnson Creek, and the surrounding watershed …

Welcoming members and guests to their first annual meeting is Michelle Bussard, Executive Director, Johnson Creek Watershed Council.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The tables were set, displays erected, and the staff of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council welcomed members and guests to their luncheon at the Eastmoreland Golf Course clubhouse on May 18th.

“We are having our inaugural annual meeting,” Michelle Bussard, Executive Director, Johnson Creek Watershed Council told us. “It will be featuring the ‘State of the Watershed’ report. And, this event celebrates all of our stakeholders and communities throughout the watershed’s area.”

Specifically, Bussard told us, the report is like snapshots, depicting a decade of change along Johnson Creek. “More than 100 projects are up and going along the Creek. These include projects designed to help fish passage, to wetland, upland, and riparian restoration.”

The most important mission of the organization, Bussard went on, is to bring the Johnson Creek ‚Äì a stream that runs from Gresham to its confluence with the Willamette River near Milwaukie, back to the condition in which salmon and other native fish will thrive. “Moreover, when the fish thrive, people who live near Johnson Creek, or visit it, will be able to enjoy its beauty and health.”

Noah Jenkins, an AmeriCorps member assigned to the Council, demonstrating a “stream table” at the Johnson Creek Watershed Council meeting. “This provides a demonstration of how streams get created and meander over a period of time.”

The organization claims over 5,000 volunteers who have contributed countless hours of time. Other people have donated in-kind services, equipment and materials. “For example, Howard Dietrich and Nancy Bishop have provided our creekside office space for the past ten years. Our volunteers allow us to greatly leverage the funding we receive on a 1-to-5 basis.”

For more information, see their website at www.jcwc.org.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ Published May 29, 2006

See why the “third time’s a charm” for this event that raises money to “fill in the funding gaps” in the school district’s funding ‚Ķ

Checking into the event is Michael Taylor, Superintendent, Parkrose School District.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Looking ahead to the time when money from the Multnomah County I-Tax would dry up, the Parkrose Educational Foundation had an idea two years ago: Create an event that would generate money to support programs of the school district.

To “try out” the concept, the first two events ‚Äì an auction and dinner ‚Äì were held at Parkrose High.

But this year’s event, held on May 13, was definitely an upscale shindig; it was held at the Holiday Inn at the Portland Airport, and it included a full dinner ‚Äì from salad to desserts ‚Äì and a silent and live auction.

Allison Newman-Woods, the chair of the event, told us 150 people attended, and snapped up 140 donated items during the event.

Third time a charm
“The need to augment funds to ‘fill in the holes’ is the mission of the foundation,” John Dipasquale, president of Parkrose Educational Foundation, told us at the event. “It looks like people are having a good time. It’s important they tell their friends about the good time they had and will bring them next year. We hope to raise $10,000.”

About 150 people came to enjoy the third Auction and Dinner benefiting the Parkrose Educational Foundation.

When the counting was done, the school district’s Mary Larson told us, “The third time was a charm; we raised nearly $22,000.”

Russell Academy’s Principal Rose, signaling he’s about to raise another silent auction bid.

Newman-Woods told us just before publication, “We grossed over $35,000 and netted $21,575.84. The funds earned at the auction will allow the Foundation to offer $10,000 in grants to the schools in the Parkrose School District.”

Speaking on behalf of the Special Appeal to benefit the Gateway Project, a student participant, Crystal Belcher, tells how this special program has helped her stay in school and consider further education.

Special Appeal: The Gateway Project
Last year, Dipasquale said, their “special appeal” brought in $4,000, which was used to repair well-used musical instruments at Parkrose Middle School. “It restored their band program. This year, the appeal will be for our ‘Promising Futures’ program at the Gateway Project.”

Bob Grovenberg told us about Promising Futures, saying, “We’re trying to raise enough money to hire a part-time person who will work with kids in our Gateway Project. This program supports homeless students. We focus on high school juniors and seniors, moving toward continuing their education.”

By the time they get to be juniors and seniors, Grovenberg explained, homeless kids stop thinking about continuing their education. “Thus, they go to work in minimum-wage jobs. They are pretty much stuck at that level when their support goes away.”

He went on, telling how most kids in the Gateway Project come from families in which their parents are undereducated and under-skilled. “Our focus is on these kids, helping them keep looking down the road so they can have a different ‚Äì and better ‚Äì life than their family has.”

To help the attendees get a better understanding of the Gateway Project, a participant, Crystal Belcher, told the group, “I’ve been in and out of school. And, I was kicked out. I’ve moved 16 times since the middle of September. At this time, I’m homeless. I work in the morning and take school in the afternoon.”

Belcher told how the Gateway Project helps students get basic needs like toiletries and school clothes. “They help us with drug and alcohol treatment at school. In the future, I look forward to having a regular home. It means a lot to me. Without the program, I wouldn’t be going to school; my future wouldn’t look very good at all.”

Ready to make another bid!

In all, $10,025 was raised for this special project.

You can help
Want to learn more about the good work done by the foundation? Contact them at (503) 408-2108 or see www.parkroseedfdn.org for more details.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See how your return-deposit bottles and cans and help the Parkrose ‘Can Clan’ help kids in outer East Portland ‚Ķ

On May 6, we found these young men were hard at work with the Parkrose Boosters. Why? As Jeffrey Simon told us, “to help raise money for our football program next year.”

Story and Photo by David F. Ashton

It’s easy to pitch or ditch your return-deposit cans. But, here’s a better idea! Save them, and take them to the Parkrose Middle School on NE Shaver (just west of NE 122nd Ave.), on the first Saturday of every month!

The Parkrose Bronco Boosters operate this can drive all year long, to raise money for the activities like the Senior All Night Party. Some of the money also goes to scholarships, we’re told.

Have a big pile of cans? Contact the Boosters through Parkrose High School ‚Äì they’ll arrange to come pick them up!

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News Click Here to read more East Portland News

What kind of trash? You name it! Read and learn why the Spring 2006 Neighborhood Cleanup helped make neighborhoods more livable …

Neighborhood volunteer Pat Castle “pitches in” by helping to unload some of the rubbish collected on May 6.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The park-and-ride lot on SE 122nd Ave. at Burnside St. looked like a yard sale gone wild on May 6, as communities making up the East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO) collected junked appliances and worn-out furniture, scrap metal, blown-out tires, and dumpsters full of yard debris.

The event “officially” started at 9 a.m., but cars and pickup trucks were lining up earlier than that.

Taking a break from his duties, John Welch and Bob Earnest of Hazelwood NA look over some of the trash and debris collected during the EPNO Spring Clean-Up.

“I’ve been doing this for the last three years,” said Lents resident and volunteer coordinator John Welch. “The turnout was down a little bit this time. It could be because several neighborhoods sponsored their own clean-up days.”

But, when we arrived before noon, we saw huge dumpsters, filled to the brim. “We’ve already hauled away two 40-yard dumpsters, and we’ve filled three more. We’ll probably end up filling 14 dumpsters this year,” Welch told us.

Many volunteers make the work light: Neighbors for most of the outer East Portland neighborhoods came to help citizens move their refuse into the waiting dumpsters.

Neighbors lend a hand
Helping unload the junky cargo were volunteers from nearly all of the thirteen neighborhoods in EPNO’s coalition. Rain or shine, these folks dedicate a day, spring and fall, to this project.

Adds quality of life
Asked why this effort was worth the work, Welch said, “It’s a good thing to help keep the neighborhood clean. It gives people the chance to get rid of their trash and refuse. This means junk and trash doesn’t get illegally dumped. It adds to the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

Richard Bixby, executive director for EPNO gave special thanks, saying, “Our dedicated volunteers’ and sponsors’ support make this neighborhood effort possible. We also thank Metro, Portland Office of Sustainable Development, and Flannery’s Drop Box Service.”

Want to find out more about EPNO? See their web site at www.epno.org or call (503) 823-4525.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News Click Here to read more East Portland News

See what folks in northeast Portland thought about their 10 minutes with Tom Potter …

Margaret Erickson, Marcy Emerson-Peters and Valerie Curry talk with Tom Potter at Beal St. NW.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton

While many citizens of Portland question some of Mayor Tom Potter’s plans and programs, his “10 minutes with the Mayor” program continues to be a success.

After speaking with Mayor Potter on May 6, Valery Curry of Argay told us, “The fact we were able to get the Mayor’s ear on issues important to our residents is good. We talked about the deterioration of the neighborhood and the crime that’s moved in.

Asked about a specific issue, Curry said speeding on residential streets continues to be a problem. “For more than 10 years we’ve been trying to get help. Mayor Potter said he was surprised that PDOT has not been able to respond to this one single thing for us in a decade. He says he will take steps in that direction.”

Parkrose Neighborhood Association’s chair, Marcy Emerson-Peters, said the face-to-face meeting with the mayor enabled their group to express their issues. “I told him about our concerns about crime and prostitution on Sandy Blvd.”

She added that it isn’t just business people who want to clean up Sandy Blvd. “Neighbors both live and shop here. We’d like to see Parkrose re-established as a good area, so we can attract more quality businesses here.”

Did she feel listened to?

“The Mayor says he’ll talk the matter over with people in City Hall,” Emerson-Peters responded. “He’ll says he’ll take specific concerns to the appropriate bureaus and help find out information and resources we need.”

Business people speak out
Wayne Stoll, president of the Parkrose Business Association, also paid a visit to the Mayor at Beal St. NW (located at 10721 NE Sandy Blvd.).  Stoll said he discussed a wide range of concerns, from street improvement to city zoning, with the mayor. “He seemed to listen. At least, we’re being heard.”Margaret Erickson, co-owner of Beal Street NW, the location of the May 6 event, was upbeat about her time with Tom.

“I enjoyed having ability to talk with him about things that are concerning us. He was very receptive. Best part was that he actually listened to what we had to say. He didn’t talk at us, he really listened, and his people took notes. I don’t think mayors normally do that kind of thing.”

Erickson said she told the mayor how businesses and neighbors were doing their best to help Parkrose be seen “in a little different light; that we’re a good area to come visit. My basic complaint was that there are a lot of people and businesses who, using their money and influence, can go to the planning commission and get things done. As a small business person, we don’t have that option.”

What the mayor says he learned
“What I get to hear,” Potter told us, “are things I never get to hear sitting at my desk downtown. On Sandy Blvd., some of the businesses out here are having problems. There is some prostitution and drug-dealing in the area. Traffic problems, like speeders: All of these things add up to making neighborhoods less livable.

“We record every issue described to us. We send these concerns along to every Portland City bureau, and ask them to respond to me ‚Äì not just the neighbors.”

Asked what surprised him that he heard at the meetings, the mayor said, “I’ve heard comments that some of the people down at City Hall have been rude. I’m checking in on this. We didn’t have any specific names today. But we will look into it. We’re trying to improve the “customer service” residents get from their city. You don’t achieve customer service with rude treatment.

“The upside is they are very pleased with the police, other than they say there are not enough officers out here. It was a good conversation.”

With a smile, Mayor Potter turned away and said as he sat down at a table, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, David, I’m looking forward to having some great barbecue here at Beal Street NW.”

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

You will be enlightened, when you read this jurist’s candid comments on courthouses, crooks, and business cases ‚Ķ

The Honorable Thomas M. Ryan, Multnomah County Judge, frankly shares his views to members of the Midway Business Association. Club president, Donna Dionne is in the background, listening intently.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton

Business people in southern outer East Portland are staying connected with their community when they come to meetings of the Midway Business Association.

The action-packed May 9 meeting got off to a good start as Midway’s president Donna Dionne, Love Boutique, discussed housing and commercial development in the area; noting the number of lots that are being split. She also told the group about the hazardous waste collection (seen elsewhere here on East PDX News) a special women’s self-defense class being offered by the Community Center.

State of the courts
Guest speaker Judge Thomas M. Ryan talked with the group. Ryan said he was a public defender until he was named a Judge Pro Tem since 2004.

“This means I wasn’t elected, I am an employee, hired by a judge, to hear cases of all kinds. There are 38 elected judges in the Oregon Circuit Court. But the Oregon legislature budgeted ten additional judges pro-tem [“for the time being”] to help move cases through the court system.”

There are five locations where Multnomah County has courtrooms. “My office, at the Main Courthouse at SW Salmon and Main St., is 80 years old. The building has outlived its usefulness,” Ryan said.

The chamber he occupies has suffered from a broken sewer pipe: “at one time, there was two inches of raw sewage on the floor.”

Not all judges have a courtroom. One county judge holds “settlement conferences” before cases come to trial. “She resolves many cases; this frees up an enormous amount of time and resources.”

Making a case for a Gresham Justice Center
“To serve most of East County,” Ryan explained, “there is a one-room courthouse in Gresham. It is in bad shape. Would like to see some of the county’s excess property sold; with the proceeds used to build a Justice Center with four courtrooms, expandable to six. This concept would provide ‘one-stop’ service, allowing people will be able to file paperwork there ‚Äì instead of having to drive to downtown Portland.”

While some criminal procedures would be held at the Gresham location, criminal trials would still be held in downtown Portland, where the court has “holding facilities”.

Judges’ role in crime prevention
What is the court’s role in community safety?

“We help keep the community safe by dispensing a fair, firm, and practical application of the law,” Ryan said. “Judges find the facts, apply to the law, and give the result ‚Äì the verdict. We enforce state laws as well as city, county and, yes, even TriMet laws.”

He also reported that judges supervise probation. “Each judge has several hundred probationers under their watch.”

Drugs, crime and jail beds
More than 75% of the people coming through the courts because of crime admit to using methamphetamine (meth), Ryan told the group. “Here in East Portland, meth is a real problem that extends far beyond family court. Jail beds are part of the solution for meth-related burglaries here.”

And, we’re doing better in terms of the number of available jail beds, commented the judge. “Downtown and Inverness are fully opened. Wapito isn’t. The county decides how many beds are open at any given time.”

Ryan said many judges find useful the STOP [“Success Treatment Opportunity”] program run by the courts. “It isn’t for dealers. But first-time offenders get treatment, are regularly [drug] tested and appear in court. If they are clean, stay clean, work their program, then can eventually have their case dismissed.  One ‘slip’ doesn’t ace them out.”

Judges’ tools
Ryan advocated for using a wide variety of judicial “tools” when working with criminals. “We need work release programs, in addition to drug treatment. Punishments need to be fair, firm and swift ‚Äì but also smart. You can’t just lock ’em up and throw away the key. This wouldn’t be fair to county taxpayers. Community Court works well for small-time offenders.

“At the same time, we do our best to see there aren’t any more victims created by a given defendant.”

Business law 101
There’s a lot of business litigation, Ryan said. “Last year, 7,245 cases filed, not including evictions, were filed. This doesn’t include torts, slip-and-fall cases, or litigation arising from car wrecks.”

Some times the speed at which cases travel through the system ‚Äì or the lack of speed ‚Äì can be frustrating. “The court has only partial control till after the case is filed. Most cases have to be filed within two years. So, we encourage litigants to mediate and arbitrate. Cases dealing with amounts of less than $50,000 must go first to arbitration.”

If one party doesn’t approve the result of the arbitration, they can still go to court, the judge said; “But if you don’t ‘improve your position’, you’ll pay the other party’s court costs.”

Visit the Midway Business Association
Guests are welcome. Stop by on June 13 ‚Äì you never can tell what you’ll learn! The group meets at noon at Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron, on SE 122nd Ave. at Division St.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News Click Here to read more East Portland News

Learn why this unique organization provides mental health care services to people who need it most – regardless of their ability to pay …

Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts hears some of the success stories of the organization from NW Catholic Counseling Center’s director, Sr. Barbara Kennedy, and development director Trish Trout–as they celebrate 20 years of helping people.

Story and photographs by David F. Ashton

It is easy to understand why an individual who’s lost a job, faced major health challenges, or has had problems dealing with teenagers, seeks counseling. The problem is, when people are at their limit, they usually can’t afford the help of a high-priced mental health professional.

As we’ve reported in the past, even folks who are down-and-out can get professional psychological therapy at NW Catholic Counseling Center.

“We’re here to thank our sponsors for 20 years of support,” is how the Center’s director, Sr. Barbara Kennedy, described the April 29 festivities which we looked in on at Riverside Golf & Country Club. “We also look forward to provide twenty more years of hope and healing to everyone in the community.”

“This is a fantastic organization,” commented Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts, who was present for the celebration. “When people find themselves stuck in difficult situations and need to redirect their life, they can come here. People at the Catholic Counseling Center really care, and provide service for the love of helping others.”

The Center’s development director, Trish Tout, told us the organization was founded in 1986 as a grass roots organization. Referring to the evening’s activities, she told us, “We’re having a silent auction, wine tasting with seven different wineries, and the preview of a new video that tells the story of the Center.”

Roberts added, “The best part is, they provide mental health services to the community without tax dollars. Because of this, they control their operations. There aren’t politicians telling them how to operate this great center ‚Äì a group of professionals who have helped thousands of people, especially here in outer East Portland.”

Trout agreed. Looking over the crowd of nearly 200, she said, “We’ve come a long way. And, we’re so happy our supporters, friends and former clients.”

At Catholic Counseling’s event, Gateway community leader Fred Sanchez shares a moment with “Father Jack” Mosbrucker, grand marshal of the 2006 GABA Parade.

The group did raise funds to help the Center operate ‚Äì nearly $20,000 came into the Center’s treasury. “This is really a ‘friend-raiser’ as well as a fund-raiser,” Trout commented.

Kennedy summed up the organization’s mission: “We help make people’s lives better. We help them have better marriages, relations with their children and, overall, a better future. We look forward to serving our community for a long time to come.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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