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 www.midwayba.com.

¬© 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 www.peoples.coop 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

What is the building project on the triangle of land at the corner of SE 72nd and Woodstock? Read this and learn about the Arleta Triangle Project …

Helping build the Arleta Triangle project are Sarah Iannarone, Meghan Humphreys (behind black starwars shirt), Jerry Harmon, and Scott Bala.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The small triangle of land at the corner of SE 72nd and Woodstock is a remnant of the old trolley system. About three years ago, a group of neighbors got together and decided to build an architectural wall there, and add a canopy overhead.

“I live in this neighborhood,” volunteer and neighbor Meghan Humphreys told us. “In addition to slowing down traffic a little, we’re also providing a space for people to gather together. And, I think it makes the corner much more inviting. We hope people will enjoy coming into our neighborhood as a result of this project.”

This fall, the “Arleta Triangle Project”, as they’ve named it, will adding an custom canopy. Artist Brian Borrello, who has created art for the Rose Garden MAX Light Rail station, is overseeing construction of the canopy. “This canopy is the most ambitious piece of this project – and this is where we need everyone’s help,” said Humphreys.

While the group has secured a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council for part of the work, the group needs to raise $4,000 ‚Äì and they need it now. “We’re hoping our neighbors in Southeast Portland will make cash donations, or perhaps give us donated materials.”

How to help
You can make a donation online, at www.arleta-triangle.org. Or contact them at (503) 774-3631 for more information. “Donations are 100% tax-deductible,” Humphreys said.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

© 2005-2020 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.