See how his brother ‚Äì one of the original Portland rock group, The Kingsmen —  follows his passion, and turns it into a rockin’ good time ‚Ķ

Sorry we don’t have a PodCast running here on our website yet, but if we did you could hear the great sounds as they were laid down by the Dennis Mitchell Band, photographed here at the New Copper Penny in Lents a few weeks ago.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When he was young, Dennis Mitchell was known has the “little brother” of Mike Mitchell, lead guitar player of The Kingsmen (of Louie, Louie fame).

“We’ve been playing together, on and off for years,” Dennis told us before a gig at the Pantheon Ballroom at Lent’s NCP in late April. “I guess rock rhythms run in the family.”

Folks into the local music scene will perhaps remember that Dennis had a band called “No Ties” in the 1980s. He took time off music to invest in and manage real estate, but “music just calls to me.”

The band also rocked out on May 21 at the Crystal Ballroom as part of a successful benefit for ’60s and ’70s light show guru Gary Ewing.

Check ’em out at www.dennismetichellband.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Hey, look! If you missed the Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade and Fair – this article is short – but boy-o-boy, do we have the photos …

Photo Story by David F. Ashton

Portland Police Officer Mike Gallagher pulling in with the Cadet trailer loaded with bike helmets.

On the Fun-O-Rama Parade reviewing stand, ready to announce the passing parade, are Bianca Gille, St. Therese; James Luu, Parkrose High School; Michael Taylor, Superintendent, Parkrose School District; Fred Sanchez, GABA and Realty Brokers at 111th Square; Barbara Rommel, Superintendent, David Douglas Schools; Barbara Ho, David Douglas high school.

The Woodland Wonders unicyclists always are a hit on the parade route.

The Parkrose Broncos Marching band gets everyone’s feet tapping.

It wouldn’t be a Fun-O-Rama Parade without the antics of the Keystone Cops.

Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts rides in the parade.

Rose Festival Queens are part of the Fun-O-Rama Parade Festivities.  [Use Parkrose and DDHS Queens, create side/side image in PS]

Portland Police Bureau Training Division Officer Garth Edwards, Portland Police Bureau, pipes while the Color Guard raises the flag that signals the start of the Fun-O-Rama Fair at Realty Brokers’ 111th Square.

Callie Rousch, LMT, NCTMB gave us a really GREAT chair massage at the Fun-O-Rama Fair! Contact her at (503) 860-4175 for more information.

Krysia Woods getting a balloon sculpture made by Steevie Weevie, the Clown Prince of Gateway. “He’s really nice, and funny,” she commented.

Jeffrey Kamper is getting fitted for a new bike helmet by Portland Police Cadets Leanna Heasley and Keeden Mollenhour.

To help support the activities of their program, East Precinct Portland Police Cadets served up hot dog lunches at the Fun-O-Rama Fair.

Making crafts are Traci and Nicholas Shaffer, at the Portland Parks and Recreation booth.

“Arresting” Ashley Fox is Portland Police Cadet Heather Deibert. Ashley’s dad, Bill, told us, “We come every year! For the last 23 years, it’s something we look forward to!”

Perennial Gateway booster, Fred Sanchez, standing next to Dave Manning, said of Gateway’s Citizen of the Year, “Father Jack Mosbrucker has been instrumental in bringing together all parts of our community.”

Oregon State Representative Jeff Merkley presents awards to for entries into the Fun-O-Rama parade.

As part of the entertainment, Bianca Gille, student body president of St. Therese, beautifully sang a couple of songs.

Demonstrating the lively art of street break dancing is Melissa Spivally.

Both businesses and community groups exhibited at the Fair. Here’s Jason Goodwill, telling people about his Kiwanis group.

Lexie and JJ, of Choi’s Martial Arts Academy, demonstrate how to break a solid board with just your hand.

Ronald McDonald shows up for some silly fun.

Perhaps we’ll see you at the 2007 Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade and Fair next May!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See volunteers work, so others may have good, family housing they can afford …

Helping with the planting project are Mike Schmidt, Stanley Tools; Dave Winterling, Stanley Tools; Kris Cowan, Joe Kelley, volunteer on the site; and Todd Cleek, volunteer and member of the board of directors of the Kivel & Howard Law Firm.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
East on SE Stark, near the Gresham city border, another Habitat for Humanity development is about ready for happy families who got the opportunity to buy new, reduced-priced housing in outer East Portland.

At the site, Kris Cowan, construction supervisor for Mt. Hood Habitat for Humanity, told us, “We’re finishing a planting bed in the back of the development. We’re planting trees, bushes and installing retaining walls.”

Cowan explained that families work on their own development, and that of others, as a way of earning “sweat equity” in their new homes.

The new development is called Lillian’s Place, he said, a 16 unit development. The new owners decided to make one of the units a community center. “Intel donated a bunch of computers, so it will be a library/study for people here.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Watch ’em blow up cars ‚Äì just for the fun of it! See RC race cars blast around the track at 100 mph! View hundreds of the best classic, special interest and hot rod vehicles assembled in one place.  Beeeee there ‚Ķ

Hundreds of all kinds of specialty vehicles are on display at the Parkrose Rose Festival Cruise-in on June 24.

Story and archive photos by David F. Ashton
What’s the ONLY officially-sanctioned Portland Rose Festival event located east of the 82nd Avenue of Roses?

It’s the 5th Annual Rose Festival Cruise-in, on June 24. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of Parkrose High School Community Center, 12003 NE Shaver, just west of NE 122nd Avenue.

Gail Bash’s “Blow Up” car competition is always a gas! They run ’em without coolant until they ‚Ķ blow up!

Come see the Parkrose High grassy lawn filled with:
Hotrods – Classic Import Cars
Motorcycles – Special Interest Vehicles
Trucks – Low Riders
… And much more

Wait! There’s more ‚Ķ
In addition to the hundreds of cars on display, vying for trophies in over fifty categories, you’ll find food booths (including wonderful offerings from Chef Edgar of Steamers Restaurant), booths showcasing community services and PBA members’ wares and services.

You’ll find great food, like dishes served up by Chef Edgar of Steamers Restaurant.

Remote Control cars race at speeds of up to 100 mph throughout the day. And, you don’t need a Pit Pass to talk with the drivers and see their cars!

Back again this year is the high performance Remote Car Races. You’ll be amazed to see these cars tear around the track at actual speeds of over 100 mph. Also, there’s an area especially for kids, making this a great family event.

Event provides for scholarships
Each year, the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) uses the Rose Festival Cruise-in to help fund scholarships given by the Parkrose Business Foundation to help area students continue their education after high school.

The foundation grants several $1,000 scholarships each year to deserving Parkrose Area High School students, to help further their college education.

Rex Hollingsworth, Rex Heating and Air Conditioning, is the Event Sponsor. Beyond his financial assistance, he and his team help set up the Cruise-in, run it, and have given the association a trailer to store the event’s supplies!

The Cruise-in receives major financial and logistical support from many PBA members, including the Official Event Sponsor, Rex Heating and Air Conditioning, and major sponsors Bank of America, Parkrose True-Value Hardware, and West Coast Bank. And, Craig Mendenhall of American Sani-Can makes sure there are plenty of their spotless special blue booths, when duty calls.

For more information about the Rose Festival Cruise-in, contact Marsha Lee at (503) 257-3229.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News ~ with help from Jon Turino

Learn the secrets of mediation they learned at their “Chamber After Hours” and see how they helped with the grand reopening of the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel ‚Ķ

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Chamber After Hours
“After Hours” allow members and guests to gather, network and learn at an evening event once every quarter, in addition to the groups weekly Wednesday morning meetings.

Everyone who came to the East Portland Chamber’s “Chamber After Hours” event at Bill Dayton’s (on the right) Pizza Baron was greeted by the savory smell of pizza, served by event sponsor (left) Nancy Chapin, The Support Group on May 18.

Bridget Bayer, guest speaker at “Chamber After Hours”, explains why and how a professional mediator can help them save big bucks on lawyer and court fees.

This After Hours topic was on how the mediation process can help business people in their every-day lives. “Mediation is,” Bridget Bayer, professional mediator, explained to the group, “a simply way of resolving a dispute without going to court.”

Bayer said mediators are impartial, have no authority to make decisions, don’t give legal advice and guide a discussion maintaining a safe, open environment ‚Äì while being optimistic that the process brings progress.

“The benefits of going to mediation,” Bayer continued, “are many. The parties involved have control of the outcome. Sessions allow for candor and are usually fast and informal. Moreover, the process often leads to building a better relationship as parties find creative solutions to their disputes.”

After hearing how mediation works, those gathered broke into small groups and used role-playing and practiced using some of the concepts they’d learned.

To learn more about mediation, contact Bayer at (503) 752-8517.

While most of our East Portland Chamber of Commerce members were hidden behind dignitaries, EPCC supplied ceremonial ribbon and giant scissors as they do for grand openings across East Portland.

Chamber members provide ribbon cutting at Portland Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
Hard to believe it was 30 years ago when this, the first “airport hotel” in Portland, opened its doors in 1974. The owners completely remodeled the hotel over the last year.

“This is the first major renovation and upgrade,” the hotel owner, Harold Pollin, told us. “The $5.5 million [renovation] project gives the property the feel of an elegant, brand-new hotel.”

The gala event on May 23 was attended by Chamber president Greg Zuffera, and Ambassadors JoLynn Walker, Lisa Upshaw and (holding camera) David F. Ashton. The East Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors provided the ribbon and ceremonial scissors. With a snip, the hotel was officially reopened.

Celebrating the “grand re-opening” of the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel are Greg Zuffera, BC Graphics; hotel owner, Harold Pollin, Lisa Upshaw, Bay Bank.

After brief remarks, about 100 dignitaries were led into Mt. Adams banquet hall for a lunch of Endive and field greens, wild salmon served over a crisp potato cake, tomato caper vinaigrette and asparagus bundle. To top off a delicious meal, the guests were served a decadent ganache cake with cr?®me anglaise. No wonder this hotel caters many East Portland banquets and events.

Parkrose own Michael Allen Harrison  played for the event

After lunch, we reminisced with Pollin, with the owner, about their first advertising campaigns. Your author took the photos used in their first advertisements some 30 years ago!

For more information about the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, check their web site at www.eastportlandchamber.com.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Look at the folks having fun at this year’s Police Activities League Auction, as they raise fun as well as funds ‚Ķ

DJ Steve Andersen spun tunes while Patricia Peneyck, Debra Monk Terri Baker checked folks in to the “Blast from the Past” auction for PAL on May 13.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
We expect cops to bust the crooks, and hold criminals at bay. It’s their job.

But do you know that Portland Police Bureau officers volunteer their time, working with more than 3,500 youth each year, to help them stay on the straight-and-narrow?

If you haven’t heard about the Police Activities League (PAL) of Greater Portland, PAL’s development director, Megan Jolly, is happy to fill you in: “This is a crime- prevention program that hooks police officers up with youth through academics and supports. It gives the kids mentors, and positive after-school programs.”

While none of the cops get paid for this, it does cost money to house the program, provide transportation to and from events, and buy supplies for the PAL programs.

Bill Bitar, Frank Bitar & Associates, with wife and friends, checking to see how much his bids were raised.

Hippies invade the Sheraton Airport
“That’s why we hold the annual auction,” Jolly filled us in. “If you notice a distinct ‘hippie’ look around here, it’s because the theme of our 10th auction is ‘A Blast from the Past.'”

More than 285 people came to the Sheraton Airport to bid on a silent and live auction, enjoy a dinner – and, in the process, raise $125,000 for PAL.

“It is a great outreach for us,” Jolly said, asking that we mention that Safeway was a major sponsor this year. OK, we did!

You can help
Want to help? Contact www.palkids.org, or (503) 823-0250. “We’re always looking for good volunteers,” Jolly added.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See what happens when 35 restaurants lay out their best food, great bands play and offer items to bid …

Nancy Chapin checks in some of the 150 party goers to “Hawthorne: Party On” at Chelsea Ballroom.

There was no shortage of great food at the Hawthorne Business Association’s May 12 event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The second-story Chelsea Ballroom started filling up promptly as the doors opened for the first-ever at “Hawthorne: Party On” event on May 12.

“We love our neighborhood and wanted to say ‘thank you’ to them,” is how organizer Reese Prouty, chair of the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association explained it to us. “This is about thanking our neighbors, and at the same time, helps business owners get to know more people in the boulevard.

Greeting neighbors at “Hawthorne: Party On” are organizer Reese Prouty and Michele’s Chirgwin of Michelle’s Chocolate Truffles on SE Hawthorne at 22nd Ave.

Prouty, the owner of Eight Women, a clothing boutique at SE 36th Ave and Hawthorne, told us four bands played, the headliner being Robbie Laws, of PDX Blues Festival fame. “He’s opened up a shop on Hawthorne and teaches guitar lessons ‚Äì and we got him to play!”

Lining the walls of the ballroom were all kinds of food, prepared and presented by 35 restaurants along the boulevard.

Proprietor Steve Brown of Madison’s Grill, and his catering manager, Kelly Walsh (order?) show off their espresso brownies. They shooed away young children, and remarked, “Their parents would never forgive us if we let the kids eat that much caffeine!”For example, Steve Brown, proprietor of Madison’s Grill at SE 11th and Madison delighted diners with Dungeness crab cakes, cheese, espresso brownies and a wasabi cocktail. “We’re a part of the Hawthorne area, and want to introduce more people to our menu to people who are here.”

The Blueprints lay down some great blues music tunes early in the evening. They made way later in the evening for headliner Robbie Laws, who established a studio on Hawthorne and teaches guitar lessons.

To raise additional funds for their organization, the group conducted a silent auction, featuring donated services and merchandise. Nearly 100 items were up for bid. There was a lot of action on two Oregon coast vacation home rentals.

As people continued to pour in, we asked Prouty if the event was worth the work. “Indeed it was. We love to party!”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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

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

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