See how an organization named ROSE helps to stabilize and improve the livability of Southeast Portland neighborhoods by helping families move into homes they’ll own ‚Ķ

Award winners were: Community Leader: Pastor Don Sieckmann, Great Day Fellowship Church; ROSE Volunteer: Board Member Virginia Petersen; Nick Sauvie, ROSE Executive Director; Business Partner: Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America; and, Community Partner: Sgt. Larry Graham SE Precinct.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While it may seem as if Portland city government tends to focus its housing efforts on building glamorous high-rise structures, a nonprofit organization in Southeast Portland has been rebuilding downtrodden neighborhoods like those in Lents, Brentwood-Darlington, Foster-Powell, and Mount Scott-Arleta.

On Nov. 9, ROSE Community Development Corp. celebrated the agency’s 15 years of providing affordable housing to outer Southeast Portland.

As guests filtered in, the agency’s executive director, Nick Sauvie told us that ROSE stands for “Revitalize Outer Southeast Portland”.

The event was held at an unlikely time and location ‚Äì 7:30 a.m., at OMSI. But, as breakfast was served, OMSI’s large meeting room soon filled to capacity with agency partners, volunteers and donors.

Nick Sauvie, executive director of ROSE Community Development Corp.,  addressing the breakfast gathering at OMSI.

ROSE Executive Director Nick Sauvie began the program, telling the group that their mission, providing affordable housing, is difficult work.

Secrets of success
“ROSE gives families a secure place to build their lives,” Sauvie began, “and to feel that they are part of a neighborhood. We bring resources from the broader community to improve life in SE neighborhoods.”

Sauvie said The Community Development Initiative looked at programs in 23 cities. “Successful programs, like ours, have several things in common. Their plans are flexible and simple; there is a deep level of commitment from the board and staff; their plans are holistic and comprehensive; and, they work with families in the context in which they live.”

Even at that early hour of 7:30 a.m., the meeting room at OMSI was filled to capacity with ROSE supporters at their annual meeting.

Over the last 40 years — he stated, as an example of their success — the homeownership rate has decreased in Lents to about 50%. ROSE brought 40 partners ‚Äì lenders, builders, government agencies ‚Äì together to increase homeownership there.

“We hold ourselves accountable to measurable outcomes. During the two years of the Lents Homeownership Initiative, our partners have helped turn 100 families into new homeowners. Homeowners care more about their area; get involved in programs like neighborhood watch, and improve safety and livability.”

Growing ROSE
Looking to the future, Sauvie said their five-year plan includes tripling the number of homeownership units. “Working with partners, we expect to put 250 homeowners into homes in Lents; we’ll add rental units. We’ll keep helping families to succeed; working with children in neighborhood schools, particularly Kelly School.”

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams tells why he feels a personal connection to the mission of ROSE.

Commissioner Adams testifies
After the awards were given, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams joined the celebration. He told the group, “We can choose many things in life, but we can’t choose our families. My family had difficult times in each of Oregon’s five major recessions. Because my family had help with housing, I understand how much a ‘hand up’ can help. I’m honored to be here, among people who have done so much for so many people in East Portland.”

Adams said he was concerned with gentrification. Pointing how the MAX Green Line sparked gentrification in North Portland, he expressed concerns that the new MAX Yellow Line might price families out of the outer Southeast Portland area. “This is one reason that the work ROSE is doing is so important. Families who become established homeowners will see their property appreciate.”

You can help
Find out the many ways you can contribute to your community by getting involved with ROSE Community Development. They’re office is located at 5215 SE Duke St. Call them at (503) 788-8052 or visit them online at

Nick Sauvie lets staffer Sue Pupo know how much she is appreciated by him and the organization with a presentation of flowers.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Amid the blowing rain and water-filled roads, see the story of a driver who felt compelled to help a helpless motorist …

With water up to his floorboards, the unlucky driver in the blue car discovered the penalty of driving through water too deep: a dead car.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Most residents of East Portland just stayed inside when while the wind blew the rain sideways, earlier this week.

Fortunately, there were only minor reports of homes damaged by falling trees or flooding during what some called the heaviest rain in a 24-hour period in over a decade.

Low car + high water = dead vehicle
While we were out surveying East County, looking for weather-caused problems, we encountered flooded traffic lanes on Powell Boulevard. Near SE 72nd Avenue, a large SUV hit the water, hydroplaned, and ended up climbing the curb. The only real damage appeared to be the driver’s pride.

When we checked SE 92nd Avenue, about a block north of Powell Boulevard, we discovered that this particular low spot was severely flooded.

We noticed a white Toyota, sitting motionless in the southbound lane of SE 92nd Avenue. Thoughtless drivers of high-riding vehicles plowed past the disabled car, sometimes drenching it with a rooster-tail of rainwater runoff.

“I was at the top of the hill,” its driver, a damp Evan Clothier, later explained; “and I saw a Geo Metro go through the deep water just fine. But my car just ‘died’, and there I was.”

We watched a Jeep drive past the dead-in-the-water compact car slowly. It backed up, and the driver got out. A young man got out, his pants rolled up. He had a long tow strap in hand. He conferred with the driver of the waterlogged car. Within minutes, the Jeep had pulled to Toyota to safety, leaving it in a nearby parking lot.

“Good Samaritan” Larry Cusick told us he didn’t mind getting soaked when he helped pull the waterlogged car to safety.

‘Karma bank’ deposit
We asked the Jeep driver, Larry Cusick, what he was doing out on such a stormy night as was November 5th.

“The bad weather kept us in all day,” he explained, “and we were getting ‘cabin fever’. My girlfriend and I decided to go for a soft drink at the 7-11 Store.”

Why did he stop and get out of his dry Jeep to help?

“Because I figure it is good karma. Someone might stop and help me out someday, eh? They were stuck. I don’t mind. It’s just water.”

Clothier, the rescued driver, said, “What a great guy! I really appreciate this guy’s help. I don’t know him, or anything.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The Oregon Clinic’s Gateway facility officially opens its doors. See why its physicians are proud to welcome patients to their new offices ‚Ķ

At the official opening of the Oregon Clinic in Gateway, Dr. Lou Libby, MD, Co-president, Chris Roemer, nuclear medicine technologist, and cardiologist Brad Evans, MD, show us their cardiac nuclear medicine camera.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A year ago, the ground on which The Oregon Clinic’s Gateway facility now sits was a parking lot for MAX and TriMet.

November 3, staff members, managers, financiers and medical providers at the new facility celebrated its opening for patient care.

Shortly after we arrived, we became reacquainted with Dr. Lou Libby, MD, co-president, chief medical officer of The Oregon Clinic. “We are celebrating this new facility that will benefit the citizens of East Portland.”

Sixty physicians will have moved their practices into the modern brick-faced building. “Until now,” Libby said, “they’ve been crowded, elbow-to-elbow, in cramped offices in different buildings.”

Libby described The Oregon Clinic as a “one-stop clinic” for patients with complex diseases. He said they’re proud that the building is patient-friendly and environmentally sound. And, it’s right on the MAX and TriMet bus lines.

As we toured the building, we stopped in the cardiac nuclear medicine area, and met nuclear medicine technologist Chris Roemer and cardiologist Brad Evans, MD.

“This ‘camera’ is used to evaluate blood flow to the heart,” Dr. Evans told us. “With this non-invasive device, we can see if they’ve had a heart attack, if they are experiencing low blood flow, and see the pumping motion of their heart. It quickly tells us a lot.”

One-stop clinic
The new Gateway facility brings together specialty practices, including pulmonary health, critical care, sleep medicine, cardiology, thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, gastroenterology, and herpetology.

“We have rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy, on-site,” Libby informed us. “The facility also has durable medical equipment suppliers on hand who provide items such as wheelchairs and oxygen systems, in conjunction with Providence Medical Center.”

Completing the clinic are a Providence laboratory, radiology and CAT scan, and MRI and X-Ray services.

Enjoying some of the hospitality at the opening ceremony of The Oregon Clinic’s Gateway facility are Steve Maxwell and Steve Gray of Key Bank, and Dr. Kayleen Shiiba, MD.

Crossroads location important to patients
“This location is ideal for us,” Libby continued, “because Gateway is the crossroads of East Portland. When we looked at relocating many of our practices, we found this location is central to where many of our patients live‚Ķand, it is right where two major freeways intersect, right on the MAX line, and at a TriMet bus hub ‚Äì this makes it easy for patients to get here.”

A commitment to community care
Libby said the founders and managers of the clinic are committed to helping people from all walks of life.

“We’ve always been committed to caring for the Medicaid and Medicare patients. We’ve helped patients without insurance since we began operations twelve years ago. We maintain the philosophy to never exclude patients based on their ability to pay.”

Physicians, service providers, financiers, and dignitaries gather at the official opening of the new Gateway facilities of The Oregon Clinic.

As Libby prepared to welcome those who had gathered at the reception, he told us, “We want to continue to provide excellent service to the people of East Portland. We have some of the best doctors in Portland ‚Äì and now, we have one of the very best facilities in Portland. If you need good medical care, consider the physicians at The Oregon Clinic.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See the fun that kids had at the
East Portland Community Center’s Halloween Carnival,
and Midland Library’s “Day of the Dead” events ‚Ķ

Enjoying the Halloween Carnival are (left side) Jaime Cole with her parents Dave and Pearl, and (right side) Kamrin Yee with her parents, Karlan and Karen.

Story and lots ‘o’ photos by David F. Ashton
Before the memory of this year’s Halloween festivities get washed away by the oncoming rush toward the Thanksgiving Day holiday, we thought you’d like to see the fun kids had at two different, but similar, celebrations.

East Portland Community Center’s Halloween Carnival
“Welcome to our ninth annual Halloween Carnival,” smiled center director Abbe MacFarlane, as she continued her task of filling orange and black balloons with helium on Oct. 28. “We hold this in cooperation with the Montavilla Community Center and Portland Park Bureau.”

Shelli Stuhr encourages Aryana Henry to play and win a prize from game attendant Helen Wu.

“This carnival gives kids the opportunity to get out and have fun in a safe, clean environment. They wear costumes, have games, face painting, crafts and hear stories,” MacFarlane explained.

Hundreds of kids spend the Saturday before Halloween playing fun games for prizes at the East Portland Community Center.

In the food service area, families were enjoying three-course hot dog dinners. The craft room provided materials for kids to make Halloween decorations. Scary stories were being read in another area. And, the event wouldn’t have been complete without face painting!

John, Jasmin, Olivia and Odessa stop to say hello before they get the face- painting “beauty treatment”.

As we left, the carnival was winding down. We checked at the door; the greeter’s silver hand counter read 1,113 ‚Äì very close to the 1,120 people they had hoped for.

Midland Library’s D??a de los Muertos/Day of the Dead

Look at all the families who are having fun celebrating “Day of the Dead” at Midland Library!

On October 30, Midland Library’s large assembly room was swarming with kids, mostly in costume, as they learned the traditions of D??a de los Muertos ‚Äì translated, Day of the Dead.

“This event draws on the Hispanic tradition, D??a de los Muertos,” explained event coordinator, Brenda Detering de Lopez. “This celebration helps make Halloween also a time we can celebrate those who have gone before us.”

Youth Librarian Barbara Gorter reads a scary story with so much enthusiasm and acting ability, even some of the adults are enraptured by the tale “Under the Bed”.

Detering de Lopez continued, “In church or at home, the focus is on celebrating departed family and loved ones. But here at the library, it’s about using our imaginations and dressing up as some of our heroes or favorite story-book characters.”

Volunteer Adriana Gonzales helps kids at the event to make crafts, like paper flowers.

The event included an exposition of altars, kid’s crafts, story telling, a costume parade and games.

Helping were students from Parkrose and David Douglas High School who showed kids how to use their imaginations while they had a fun and safe time at the library.

Everyone found it difficult to sit still, as Groupo Condor played pre-Columbian music from Peru and Mexico.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Even though firefighters – a lot of them – reached this home near Eastport Plaza quickly, see how devastating a blaze can be. And, learn what may have kept the fire from turning the home into a heap of smoking cinders …

While the results of the fire devastated this SE Portland home, prompt action by crews from four fire stations prevented a total loss of the structure.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The cold and damp weather of the mid-evening hours, November 7th, kept most nearby neighbors inside. They didn’t see the thickening plume of black smoke coming from the garage of the home in the 4600 Block of SE 85th Avenue.

“As fire companies approached SE 85th Ave. along Holgate St., near Eastport Plaza, they saw heavy smoke,” reported Portland Fire Bureau Battalion Chief C3 Erin Janssens. “Coming up the hill, firefighters saw the smoke pouring from the back of the residence, and saw fire had involved both the garage and the house.”

Quickly, crews from fire stations 11, 25, 19, and 29 pulled hoses, and started quenching the blaze.

The fire was out in less than 10 minutes after the firefighters arrived on scene, Janssens told us at the scene. “While the home was heavily damaged, firefighters kept the fire from extending into the attic, preserving the structural integrity of the home.”

By the time we arrived on-scene, the firefighters had extinguished the blaze and were packing up their gear.

Residential alarm summons help
Janssens said no one was home at the time of the fire; and the first calls reporting the blaze didn’t come from a neighbor. “What did alert us, at an early phase in the fire, was the homeowners’ residential alarm system.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

This harvest festival featured a safety theme – but see why it still proved to be good fun …

Dressed in costume for the season, Erica Ferguson and Kendra Martin make friends with McGruff, and learn how to “take a bite out of crime” at the Lents Harvest Safety Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While this event, on October 28, featured food and children’s activities, the theme of the festival was Building a Safer Community in Lents”.

“The idea,” explained co-organizer Amie Diffenauer, of ROSE Community Development, “was to provide an event where Lents neighbors of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic levels to come together and learn about personal safety and crime prevention.”

Portland Police Bureau NRT Officer William Hoover, who serves the greater Lents area, teams up with EPNO Crime Prevention Specialist Rosanne Lee, to give safety tips at the Lents festival.

The festival, held in Lents’ Pilgrim Lutheran Church meeting room, drew dozens of neighbors who made their way through tables loaded with information. They spoke with representatives from TriMet, Portland Fire Bureau, the Portland Office of Transportation, ONI Crime Prevention Program, Lents Homeownership Initiative, Knights of Pythias, and the Lents Neighborhood Association.

Serving up hot chili dogs at the festival is volunteer Laurie Shuart.

At the festival, Portland Fire Bureau’s Inspector Earl Diment told us why he brought his display. “I’m on the prevention side of the bureau,” he explained.

Portland Fire Bureau’s Inspector Earl Diment, shows neighbors how to be “fire safe”, such as by using up-to-date fire alarms.

“I’m involved in public education,” Diment said. “Most of the people we lose to fires are in their homes. We don’t have jurisdiction to go into houses and make a fire inspection like we do in public buildings. This festival is a great opportunity to help neighbors learn how to become more aware of fire prevention basics that can save their lives. Having a working smoke detector is a good example.”

As we moved on to cover our next story, neighbors were continuing to come in to learn from, and enjoy, this unique harvest festival.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not giving up after his first attempt at reforming Portland’s Business License fee last year, see how Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams wants to perfect the business tax system ‚Ķ

Before Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams began is presentation, he listened to concerns of Southeast Portland business people.

By V.M. Wells with David F. Ashton
City Commissioner Sam Adams took his drive to lighten the business tax burdens to a meeting of small business people, including those from inner Southeast Portland, on November 2 at a Gateway-area restaurant.

The commissioner started off by showing pages of charts and graphs depicting Portland’s economy and business demographics compiled by Warren Jimenez of his office.

Adams began his presentation by showing a dazzling array of demographics depicting the city’s business climate and financial position.

Adams said, with pride, that Portland “still has a lot of small business” ‚Äì and that Portland business has not been taken over lock, stock, and barrel by chain store operations or other out-of-city firms. Many cities, he warned, have lost a lot of their local business.

But, he added, the region is becoming more prosperous but the City of Portland has not.

He reported that 34,000 businesses paid $31.1 million in license fees in 2004, the last year for which figures are available. He estimated that the fees have yielded about $54 million this year, even though most businesses in Portland gross $200,000 a year or less.

Adams revealed that Oregon has the lowest state tax burden on business among the 50 states. But, Portland has the heaviest burden in the state, he added.

In the last five years the number of jobs in the region increased by 3.6 percent, but in the same time Portland lost 1.8 percent of its jobs, explained Adams. And, family incomes are slipping in Portland.

In Multnomah County as a whole, he said, 94 percent of businesses hire 50 workers or fewer; small business, taken as a whole, hires 125,000 workers.

Sam Adams told the group the purpose of is proposal was to fine-tune the city’s business tax system to make it “more fair”.

Adams tax fairness plan
The City Commissioner then shared five different ways the city’s Business License Fee (BLF) might be adjusted to make it “more fair”.

Regarding the difference between a fee and a tax, Adams said in passing, “A business fee is a tax, let’s face it.”

His proposal to “refine” the BLF would reduce the burden for more than 9,000 smaller city businesses; about 900 of the largest concerns would see their annual tax bill increase. Adams estimated that 59 percent of Portland business would benefit from his plan.

Adams said he wants the city council to raise the exemption below which no business tax is due from $25,000 a year to $50,000, and do it by the end of the year. And, he said, he wants to raise an exemption–the “Owner’s Compensation Deduction”–from $60,000 to $125,000 by the 2008 tax year. However, he does not ask for lower tax rates than the present 2.2 percent on net profit.

“We can help more by raising the owner’s exemption than by lowering the tax rate,” Adams explained.

Adams indicated that the license fee is not fairly applied, declaring that hundreds of businesses which gross more than $1 million a year pay only $100 in business tax. “Some of you are paying more than that, even though you don’t gross $1 million,” he said. “That is unfair.”

At the same time he quoted economists as estimating that eliminating the tax would add 1,500 jobs in five years.

Ken Turner, Governmental Affairs chair of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce commented, “There is fairness in [Adams’] plan.”

David Panichello, president of the Gateway Area Business association and owner of Opti-Con, suggested that stricter enforcement of the tax law is needed. But Adams said the city spends $1 million a year on enforcement and a study has found that it is about 98 percent effective.

Asks for business community support
Adams said he plans to take his plan before the City Council before the end of the year, perhaps early as the end of November. He hesitated to speculate regarding which council members might support his reform plan.

“If you agree the BLF needs reform, come down to City Hall when I present the plan, and show your support in person,” Adams urged the group. “It really does mean a lot when you come, either to testify, or just be there to show your support.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

While East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs was the scheduled speaker, Portland Planning Bureau’s District Liaison, Barry Manning, also stopped in. You’ll see what was discussed when you read this article ‚Ķ

Portland Planning Bureau’s District Liaison, Barry Manning came by to share plans for outer East Portland with members of the Midway Business Association, but stayed for a lively discussion about how the area is being developed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
People who come to the Midway Business Association meetings learn a lot about what is happening in outer SE Portland.

In October, for example, we learned from club president Donna Dionne that the Portland Water Bureau plans to open its second “hydro-park” in outer East Portland at SE 128th Ave. and Center St. — the Gilbert Hydro Park. “The bureau said they’re putting up to $50,000 into improvements at the site,” Dionne told the group. “This includes taking down the fence and putting in park amenities.”

Planning Bureau update
Up next was Barry Manning, Portland Planning Bureau district liaison.

Manning, who has earned a good reputation for being approachable and helpful to folks in outer East Portland, gave attendees an update on his bureau’s activities.

Showing a map, Manning told of a recent “tour” planners took of the area.

“We started at the new East Portland Neighborhood office,” he began. “Then, we looked at auto dealers in the transit zone (E. Burnside St. and 122nd Ave.).

While threading their way across outer East, the busload of planners took note of infill housing and the increasing use of “flag” lots. They rolled down to observe rowhouses and other development in Powellhurst-Gilbert.

“As we looked at development, we noted whether or not it ‘fit in’ to the neighborhood; if it changed the character of the area; and, how it affected the existing infrastructure. Current zoning policy calls for more even more development.”

Bill Dayton, piped up, “I’m concerned that SE 136th Ave., from Division to Powell, is going to become our ‘Rockwood’ ‚Äì packed with nothing but high-density, low-income housing.”

“We don’t have a lot of answers,” explained Manning. “We are addressing issues in this area. It’s true, the Powellhurst area has the majority of the area development taking place. It is seeing a lot of change, and warrants a little more focus. Many new people are moving into this area.”

Public safety concerns about growth
East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs introduced himself, saying he came to the luncheon to “both listen and talk” with people about public safety issues.

“I’m concerned that when I see what looks like a lot of cheap housing being quickly built in a given area,” Crebs said. He added that housing, either for ownership or rental, that isn’t well-built, will turn shabby within a decade. “In ten years, some of these developments will be a mess.”

Frank Ryan commented, “The city talks about providing ‘affordable housing’, but it looks as if we’re building future ghettos of poverty instead.”

Crebs added, “If you build quality housing, it will attract quality people. In public safety, we have deep concerns that this explosive growth of dense housing will create problems. It is great to provide affordable housing. But, poorly-built housing becomes run down quickly. And run-down housing attracts problems.”

Manning responded that they could look into the quality of materials being used. “But, more dense development is a factor in Portland’s housing market,” he added diplomatically.

Neighborhood study underway
A “land inventory” of southeast Portland along SE Division will soon be underway, Manning told the group. “We’re working with Portland State University students, who are taking this on as part of their Planning Analysis and Data Methods class. We’ll look at South Powellhurst and Centennial.”

Then, the students will take a survey to learn area residents’ concerns, travel and shopping behaviors and use of local parks. “The information we learn from this project could lead to changes here,” Manning concluded.

How cops work to keep us safe

East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs listened to the concerns of area business people, including Frank Ryan, NW Senior News, and Carolyn Schell of Midland Library.

“We always have our hands full here,” stated the Commander Crebs. “We respond to the highest number of service calls per officer; and we have the highest rate of self-initiated stops.”

East Precinct is the most active among those across the city, he added, saying they deal with 30% of all reported crime, and investigate the highest number of homicides — “ten this year.”

“We have great officers who really care,” he said. “Because of their hard work and citizens dedicated to increasing safety, overall, crime is down about 22%.”

Crebs told the group about the success their Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) has had in the area.

Part of their strategy is to crack down on pawnshops. “If there’s no place to sell to sell stolen goods, it cuts down crime. We’ve targeted drug users and sellers. We put them out of business because we taking their car, their drugs, and their money.”

How citizens can help
When asked what citizens can do, Crebs responded, “If you have a problem, like dumpster diving, put locks on them. Take the effort to review your lighting — anything that may give a crook a place to hide. Our crime prevention people will evaluate your business, to keep your property safer.”

Next Midway gathering is Nov. 14
Come and learn more about your community! The Midway Business Association meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Ave., just south of Division St. For more information, go to

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why food samples, a pie-eating contest and musical entertainment drew a merry throng of folks to this annual event at SE Portland’s People’s Co-op ‚Ķ

In the lower part of this photo, standing next to the blue canopy, you’ll see Celtic Sheppard Creamery’s Brendan Enright (in the striped apron) visits with People’s Co-op farmer’s market coordinator Ariana Jacob (wearing the hoop skirt) amid the bustle of market’s Harvest Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Drivers who were trying to cut between SE Powell Ave. and Division St. using SE 21st Ave. found a detour blocking their way between SE Tibbetts St. and Brooklyn St. on Wednesday, October 4th.

In our case, however, we were delighted, not angered, with this discovery–we’d found the location of the annual People’s Food Co-op Harvest Festival. We stopped and joined in.

When we asked to speak with People’s “boss”, we were kindly informed that this unique, full-line grocery store is owned by the community and is cooperatively run. We were introduced to the Farmer’s Market Coordinator, Ariana Jacob.

Farm and craft street party
“Today’s Farmer’s Market is special. Welcome to our Harvest Festival,” Jacob greeted us.

She told us that People’s Food Co-op provides the best, most wholesome food available at the lowest price possible. The co-op, now in its 36th year, has always supported local farmers, producers, and craftspeople.

“Some of our suppliers decided to have a Farmer’s Market; it operates on Wednesdays,” Jacob said. “Unlike other markets, the People’s Farmer’s Market operates year around.”

A fun feature of the Harvest Festival is the pie-eating contest. It looked like all entrants won – a belly full of fresh, organic pie!

Bringing people together
“Our festival brings out everybody, all at once. Neighbors who live nearby come and join in our celebration along with People’s Food Co-op member/owners for a fun time. We spend time together, eating food, and drinking cider, wine, and beer. We celebrate the bountiful harvest and the spirit of community.”

In conjunction with farmers and producers offering samples of food, produce, breads, organic cheeses, the festival annually hosts a craft fair.

The People’s Co-op Harvest Festival turned SE 21st Avenue into a festival center, featuring food vendors, crafts, and lots of entertainment.

Meet a farmer (or is he a rancher?)
Jacob informed us that consumers like the farmer’s market because they can speak directly with even the smallest food producers here. “They run their own businesses, work the land with their own hands, and sell it directly to the customers.”

One local food producer we met was Celtic Shepherd Creamery’s Brendan Enright. “I sell my sheep cheese here. This market gives us the opportunity to educate consumers about our products.”

Enright said they operate a family farm outside of Canby. On 40 acres, they heard 40 sheep, and operate their own licensed cheese-making operation. “We’re only one of two in Oregon,” he stated. “Did you know sheep milk has more calcium and protein than cow’s milk?

One of the musical acts entertaining people at the Harvest Festival’s is this duo, named “Beliss”.

Co-op open to all
While everyone is welcome to shop at People’s, Jacob told us, those who choose membership shop at a discount. Folks who become “hands-on owners” by volunteering at the co-op earn substantial reductions in their grocery bill.

The co-op is located at 3029 SE 21st Ave., between Division and Powell open daily and is from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Farmer’s Market is open year-around on Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

For more information, see or call (503) 232.9051.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See the Parkrose High School thespians, as they work out one of the 35 music-and-dance numbers for this fun show, opening November 9 …

It’s easy making the gals swoon for Conrad Birdie (played by Kiet Tran). But, things are more difficult when Birdie gets in trouble with the law!

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
The young actors, singers and musicians at Parkrose High School are getting ready for a fun, musical, set to open next week.

Here’s the story:
The year is 1958. A hip-gyrating rock and roll superstar (think Elvis Presley), named Conrad Birdie, is about to be drafted into the army. Birdie’s agent wants to cash in on new song, “One Last Kiss” on live television, and give one lucky girl from his fan club a real “one last kiss”.

“But, Birdie is a little less than a spectacular person,” theater director, Ms. Zena told us. “The comedy comes from the disruption his visit causes both in the girl’s family ‚Äì and entire town ‚Äì of his actions, and the town’s new found fame.”

At the October Parkrose Business Association meeting, PHS juniors Julie Johnson and Steven Ennis (accompanied by the school’s choral director, Lesley Bossert) preview a musical number from “BYE BYE BIRDIE”.

Opens November 9
The Parkrose High School Thespians present “BYE BYE BIRDIE” on November 9, 10 and 11; and then on Nov. 16, 17 and 18. These evening shows have a 7:00 p.m. curtain time.

Or, see a special 2:00 p.m. matinee performance starting on Sunday, November 11.

We’ll see you at the Parkrose High School Theater, 12003 NE Shaver St (at the corner of SE 122nd Ave.) to see the fun unfold at “BYE BYE BIRDIE”.

Tickets are only $8 for adults and $5 for students. Call (503) 408-2718 for tickets or more information.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See what progress has been made to turn Wake-Up Drive-Thru on SE Division St. into Atkinson/Tabor Community Commons; plus how long they expect the transition to take …

Kristin Heying, Caf?© au Play, and Southeast Uplift volunteer board chair Paul Leistner, here looking at plans for the new Atkinson/Tabor Community Commons.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Plans are moving forward to turn a one-time illicit-drug drive-through across SE Division St. from Atkinson Elementary School into a family friendly coffee house and community center.

On October 16, community members streamed into the Atkinson gym to learn about the project’s progress since taking ownership of the property in June ‚Äì and since the federal the Drug Czar’s award presentation in July.

Community members told us they were excited by the progress being made, and enjoyed the great presentation made by the architecture/design team of Jim Kalvelage and John Shorb with Opsis Architecture, and Mike Abbate and Tim Strand with Greenworks.

Design boards, a fully-constructed model, and a 3-D computer simulation that allowed community members to fly over and through the site and different proposed designs helped attendees get a better understanding of the improvements proposed.

Progress reported
Southeast Uplift volunteer board chair Paul Leistner started the meeting, telling the group, “We’re all very excited to be reviewing designs for the long-hoped for coffee house/community center. The project continues to receive valuable support from a wide array of local individuals, organizations, public agencies, and companies. This project is a testament to the power of community members to join together and accomplish great things.”

Sara Gilbert and Charles Heying, board members of Cafe au Play, the non-profit organization that will provide a kid/community friendly coffee house operation on the site, described their program.

Jacqueline Villnave announced that the City of Portland’s “Safe Routes to Schools Program” would bring traffic engineers to Atkinson Elementary School on Monday, October 30, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to look at ways to improve pedestrian and bike safety at the 57th and Division crossing.

Jim Kalvelage and Mike Abbate then walked the group through the design options:

Phase 1: renovate existing building for coffee/house community center; and,
Phase 2: construct additional larger building on the site to house large community meeting rooms, kitchen and storage space.

Showing off a model of the proposed community center is Jim Kalvelage, partner in Opsis Architecture.

Key decisions made
The group decided to retain the existing building. The steel structure is in good condition, and ready to be renovated for use as a coffee house/community center to be operated by Cafe au Play.

Other ideas were floated, including the addition of a terrace, space for farmer’s market and outdoor events, and perhaps space for a community garden.

Most on-site parking to be eliminated
Past community input showed a strong desire for the center to have a pedestrian/bike focus. The group learned that eliminating parking significantly broadens ways to use the site.

Community comments
Community member’s comments showed strong support for:

  1. A south-facing terrace along Division St., eliminating most of the parking;
  2. Phase 2 building on the west side of the existing structure;
  3. Constructing a storm water garden that would channel stormwater runoff from 57th St. through the site and into a water garden and flow-through planters along S.E. Division St.;
  4. Creating new on-street parking on Division by removing the existing driveways;
  5. Improvements to the crosswalk across Division; and,
  6. Creation of a “teaching circle”.

Next steps
During the fall and into the winter months, the group will designs based on input from the meeting, create a sustainable economic plan, continue remodeling the existing building and preparing to remove the unused underground fuel tanks.

According to Leistner, the Atkinson/Tabor Community Commons will be open for use late next summer.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See how this service club is helping kids in the Philippines – and local organizations – by cooking up a storm …

A sign of good taste – and the chicken dinner tasted mighty good!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
We could smell the delicious aroma of barbecued chicken as we drove along SE Stark Street a couple of weeks ago. Then, we noticed the sign — showing us the way to the Filipino American Association building at 8917 SE Stark St.

John Lewis, president of Montavilla Kiwanis met us at the door, and explained how this chicken dinner benefited the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp for Disabled Children and Adults. “Also, we’re helping an organization that supports a village in the Philippines.”

Bob Dimick, past president of the club, and former Lt. Governor of the district helped cook the chicken. Here, he shows off his handiwork.

Third annual event
It turns out they have practice putting on charity dinners – this was their third annual dinner. The dinner served was delicious barbequed chicken, salads, beans and homemade rolls.

“We sold around 100 dinners,” Lewis said. “We feel pretty good about this. And, some of our members made up some meals and took them to the Ronald McDonald house, to help the families there.”

An illustrious gathering of club officials were at the dinner, including John Lewis, president MK, Marilyn Schultz, Past Lt Governor of Division 62; and Dick Tracy, past Lt Governor, member of the Rockwood Kiwanis club; and Oscar Domingo, past president the Montavilla Kiwanis and Lt. Governor of Division 62.

Meet them in person
The Montavilla Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. at Chinese Village Restaurant, at SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Stark St.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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