Why did the smell of sweat, dirt and gunpowder, and the sound of gunshots, screams ‚Äì and laughter ‚Äì fill the late afternoon air in Parkrose throughout the first week of June?  Here’s why ‚Ķ

Parkrose High School student actors Marie Still, Brandon Wilcox, Madison Cook, Jonathan Wheatfall, Anna Moellering, and Tyree Harris act in the film, “The Tail of Nick Rose” to be premi?®red at the Rossi Barn Bash on July 8th.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Why the commotion at Rossi Farms? Students from Parkrose High School’s video production and drama classes were working together on an end-of-year project: The class’ new short film, “The Tail of Nick Rose”. This film will be premi?®red at the Rossi Barn Bash’s Theater on the Haybales on July 8.

“Working on this movie has been a great experience,” Ms. Zena, Parkrose High’s theater instructor, told us. “We’ve have 40 kids out here shooting this film all week. I think the kids were shocked how difficult it is to shoot a movie — even a short film like this.”

Zena explained that her student actors are used to working on stage. “When doing a film, there isn’t the continuity. It has been a good learning experience for them.”

Soundman Taylor Ward and director/camera operator Evin Carr get ready for their next take while shooting “The Tail of Nick Rose”, to be premi?®red at the Rossi Barn Bash on July 8th.

Joe Rossi smiled as he watched the action taking place at the “Wild West Show” set on his farm. “I’m excited about this year’s movie. I always wanted to include the school in this project. The students rewrote the story, and made it their own. It tells how old-time Parkrose was invaded by bad elements from Portland.”

And how does the story end? Come out and see it, while you enjoy the best all-you-can-eat BBQ chicken dinner around, grilled by the Parkrose Lions; see a live-action wild-west show; dance to country music ‚Äì and enjoy the first showing of this movie, at this year’s Rossi Barn Bash!

“Turkey Creek Tom” Mannen shows actors how to safely handle the guns used on the Rossi movie set. Mannen is the leader of Turkey Creek Productions ‚Äì the group who puts on the Wild West Action Show at the Barn Bash.

Rossi Barn Bash
Benefiting Parkrose Youth Activities Fund

Saturday, July 8
6:00 p.m. until Midnight
Still only $12 each (must be over 21)
At Rossi Farm, 3839 NE 122nd Ave (at Shaver St.)
Tickets at the gate, or in advance at Rossi Farm Store

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See how a church teamed up with community organizations to put on a fun fair for their neighbors …

The Flood family – Paul, Julie, Kelly, Katie and Timothy – say they came to the Pilgrim Community Festival in Lents because they only live a block away. They were busy making crafts.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
People looked like they were enjoying one of our nice June Saturdays at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church Third-annual Summer Festival.

“This year, we’re calling a Community Festival,” explains the church’s pastor, Jeanamarie Fiumefreddo. “We’ve added two sponsors: Rose Community Development and Active Living by Design, to help put on this festival.

This fair has both fun and free food! This is Jessica Fiumefreddo, serving guests lunch.

Fiumefreddo said this festival is important, “Because it helps neighbors get to know one another and build relationships. We build ‘community’ one relationship at a time. And, when we get to each other, we can better take ownership in our community whether we are renters or owners.”

Look for their Healthy Living in Lents festival planned for this Fall.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why Portland Police detectives believed the bandit who held up The Cash Store on SE Powell at 32nd Ave. had been a very, very bad boy – and how they caught him …

Far from his Hillsboro home, police say Adam G. Trainor’s crime career ended 70 blocks east of The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd and 32nd Ave. he robbed at gunpoint.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The slender-built man in is middle twenties got out of a green, Honda coupe, pulled the hood of a dark sweatshirt over his head, and strode into The Cash Store at 3234 SE Powell Blvd.

He’d come in for some fast cash on June 17, under the bright, early-afternoon sunlit sky ‚Äì but he wasn’t about to sign for a loan.

He flashed a gun; the clerk gave him money. As the robber hit the door, the clerk called 9-1-1, knowing this criminal transaction had been caught on video.

The report of the broad-daylight robber crackled across the police radio. The Honda was first spotted near SE 60th Powell. It sounded as if the alleged robber slid around a police roadblock. More squad cars joined in the pursuit.

“He stacked it up at 115 and Division,” was the excited call of an officer. We rounded the corner and spotted a half-dozen patrol cars with lights flashing. One of the patrol cars had come to rest on the side lawn of a home, blocking any escape for the green Honda stoped parallel to a back yard fence.

A real-life CSI officer from Portland Police gathers forensic evidence at The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd. after the robbery police, who accuse him of being a “serial bandet”, say Adam G. Trainor,  robbed them on June 17.

Serial robber nabbed
Portland Police spokesman Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed that sequence of events, and also that Adam Gerard Trainor, 25, was arrested for allegedly sticking up The Cash Store using a gun.

“He didn’t give up without a fight,” Dolbey told us. “Trainor decided to fight with our officers. They used a Taser on him to take him into custody.”

Noting Trainor’s method of operation, Portland Police detectives saw similarities to recent gunpoint robberies in Washington County. A young man matching Trainor’s description allegedly previously held up a Subway shop and Hair Masters salon in Sherwood ‚Äì and Beaverton’s Honeycut & Company hair salon ‚Äì within the past weeks.

Sherwood Police Detective Dwight Onchi told us he traveled that evening to Portland’s Justice Center for an interview. “Trainor confessed to the Sherwood robberies. And, he admitted he needed money because he was a heroin addict.”

District Attorneys from both Multnomah and Washington Counties are expected to present the reports and statements to a grand jury for possible indictment.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why Portland Police detectives believed the bandit who held up The Cash Store on SE Powell at 32nd Ave. had been a very, very bad boy – and how they caught him …

Far from his Hillsboro home, police say Adam G. Trainor’s crime career ended 70 blocks east of The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd and 32nd Ave. he robbed at gunpoint.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The slender-built man in is middle twenties got out of a green, Honda coupe, pulled the hood of a dark sweatshirt over his head, and strode into The Cash Store at 3234 SE Powell Blvd.

He’d come in for some fast cash on June 17, under the bright, early-afternoon sunlit sky ‚Äì but he wasn’t about to sign for a loan.

He flashed a gun; the clerk gave him money. As the robber hit the door, the clerk called 9-1-1, knowing this criminal transaction had been caught on video.

The report of the broad-daylight robber crackled across the police radio. The Honda was first spotted near SE 60th Powell. It sounded as if the alleged robber slid around a police roadblock. More squad cars joined in the pursuit.

“He stacked it up at 115 and Division,” was the excited call of an officer. We rounded the corner and spotted a half-dozen patrol cars with lights flashing. One of the patrol cars had come to rest on the side lawn of a home, blocking any escape for the green Honda stoped parallel to a back yard fence.

A real-life CSI officer from Portland Police gathers forensic evidence at The Cash Store at SE Powell Blvd. after the robbery police, who accuse him of being a “serial bandet”, say Adam G. Trainor,  robbed them on June 17.

Serial robber nabbed
Portland Police spokesman Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed that sequence of events, and also that Adam Gerard Trainor, 25, was arrested for allegedly sticking up The Cash Store using a gun.

“He didn’t give up without a fight,” Dolbey told us. “Trainor decided to fight with our officers. They used a Taser on him to take him into custody.”

Noting Trainor’s method of operation, Portland Police detectives saw similarities to recent gunpoint robberies in Washington County. A young man matching Trainor’s description allegedly previously held up a Subway shop and Hair Masters salon in Sherwood ‚Äì and Beaverton’s Honeycut & Company hair salon ‚Äì within the past weeks.

Sherwood Police Detective Dwight Onchi told us he traveled that evening to Portland’s Justice Center for an interview. “Trainor confessed to the Sherwood robberies. And, he admitted he needed money because he was a heroin addict.”

District Attorneys from both Multnomah and Washington Counties are expected to present the reports and statements to a grand jury for possible indictment.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Not only did the truck driver melt down his own 18-wheeler, police say his carelessness also smashed four other vehicles. One would expect this kind of freeway carnage to leave dead bodies strewn across the concrete, but instead …

The stench of burning rubber, heated metal and roasted cargo hung in the afternoon air long after the 5:00 p.m. crash of the 18-wheeler.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Commuters using I-84 found their typically-slow, 5:00 p.m. drive home slam to a standstill on June 22. And, Parkrose neighbors and business people were surprised to look up and see a giant plume of thick, black smoke belching from the area where the Banfield Freeway crosses over NE 122nd Avenue.

Thought an airplane crashed
Marcy and John Bradford were walking their German Sheppard south, along NE 122nd Ave. “We were under the bridge (I-84 overpass) and heard an explosion,” Marcy told us. John added, “We thought a small plane trying to land at PDX airport had crashed-landed onto the freeway or hit a home and exploded. When we came up on the other side, though, we saw thick black smoke and flames from a big-rig truck.”

The explosions also caught the attention of people at Rossi Farm, two blocks away, at NE Shaver St.

Eyewitness to the inferno
An eyewitness to the narrow escape of the flaming truck’s driver was Jeff Schumacher, a driver with Jet Delivery Air Freight. His truck had broken down on the I-84 exit ramp at 122nd Ave.

While off to the side of the exit ramp, looking into the engine of his stalled truck, “I heard a big explosion, and looked up to see an 18-wheeler hit a light pole along [the west side] of the freeway. It slid along guardrail and caught fire. Just before the overpass, the driver got it stopped, jumped out, and ran about 30 feet before the cab exploded into flames.”

After burning for about ten minutes ‚Äì the rig’s cab engulfed in flame ‚Äì Schumacher said the second fuel tank must have been “boiling” under the tractor. “When it blew, I ducked and took cover. It shook the ground.”

Portland and Gresham fire crews respond
“When crews arrived on scene, they reported a tractor-trailer fully engulfed in flames,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Allen Oswalt. “The first crew to arrive had to attack the fire from the eastbound lanes. To be safe, both sides of the freeway were completely shut down.”

Empting each fire engine’s 1,000 gallon tank in turn, firefighters doused the inferno. Just before the sixth fire engine’s tank ran dry, crews were able to connect a 2-inch hose to a hydrant more than two blocks away.

The fire was initially attacked with water carried on the fire engines, but that supply is limited, and a hose was stretched 700 ft. to the closest hydrant to provide water for a prolonged fire attack. “The fire in the truck was brought under control at 5:35 p.m.,” Oswalt told us. In all, 35 firefighters were called to battle the fire, in six engines from both Portland and Gresham.

Surprisingly, no life-threatening injuries
Four people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

The fire burned so intensely that after the second fuel tank boiled and exploded, the only recognizable features of the tractor were its exhaust pipe and frame.

Cause of the carnage
Police say the driver of the now-charred big rig, 57-year-old Richard Shoemate, was to blame in the spectacular crash–for driving too fast, following too closely, and not being prepared for heavy, slow traffic as he headed westbound on I-84.

“Portland Police Traffic Investigators determined Shoemate was at fault,” Portland Police Bureau’s Det. Paul Dolbey confirmed for us, “when the semi-truck he was driving collided with a vehicle ahead of him. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the collision.”

Shoemate was cited both for “Following Too Closely” and “Careless Driving”, for his role in the collision.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Why are a bus-load of kids from the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood taking over the streets of the Hollywood district? Tune in to this fun article …

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Unlike many years when it has nearly been flooded out, the June 7th Portland Rose Festival Fred Meyer Junior Parade was met in 2006 by balmy spring weather. The sunshine brought out thousands of people to watch this, the largest children’s parade in the nation.

Many kids are decked out in colorful costumes as they ride floats, bikes, unicycles – and almost anything else that rolls and can be pulled along the 17-block route.

But, what really makes this a great parade are the marching musicians. This year, Ron Russell Middle School was well-represented by its Dance Team and Marching Band. The crowed enjoyed seeing these youths as they danced and played down the parade route.

Hopefully, we’ll see this great band in next year’s parade!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Interested in Oriental medicine? Take a read and learn how the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine trains practitioners and provides services for patients …

Dr. Michael Gaeta tells community members why this school attracts students from across the nation – and world.(David F. Ashton Photo)

Special to East PDX News
By Julia Farman*
If someone asked you where OCOM is, would you know the answer? Or what OCOM stands for?  It is Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. It is world-famous and located right here in East Portland.  We recently had the privilege of learning about their program at their introductory presentation and tour in May.

Speaking about the mission and history of their 1.4 acre campus, the school’s Dr. Michael Gaeta said OCOM is the oldest of 60 Oriental medicine colleges in the United States. It is the primary destination for United States students for acupuncture and oriental medicine.

In his talk, Gaeta shared the experience of a student who visited Greece. The student sought out the only acupuncturist on the islands ‚Äì and was amazed that this practitioner was aware of the school’s outstanding reputation.  He returned to his studies very impressed, yet dismayed, that Portlanders did not seem to be familiar with OCOM.

The staff of OCOM intends become a primary change agent regarding health care in this country.  Gaeta said this kind of health care practice is centered on building relationships and thus, are patient centered.  They follow an integrated medicine approach and have applied for Regional Accreditation.

They are a member of Complimentary Alternative Medicine, as are Portland’s chiropractic and naturopathic colleges.

The school reaches out to the community, with clinics sites with InAct Inc, OutSide In, Hooper Center, Richmond Center, and soon the Emma Jones Hall at Oregon Health Sciences University, the Hollywood Senior Center and Washington County Corrections.  They are involved with the young, the old, the homeless and the imprisoned.

OCOM operates a clinic at their campus and welcome the public, with sessions being offered at reduced rates. Additionally, they hold free monthly seminars open to the public.

Interested? See them at SE Cherry Blossom Drive, near Mall 205, or call (503) 253-3443 for more information.

* “Long Term Care Extraordinaire” is how Julia Farman, CSA, is known to East Portland Chamber of Commerce members. She can be reached at Nevin, Works & Associates at (503) 274-6224

¬© 2006 East PDX News

Even though this event was aimed at helping senior citizens improve their health, you’ll be astounded to learn how anyone can keep their mind sharp ‚Ķ

Showing off her hand-painted porcelain bowl at the Senior Wellness Symposium and Art Exhibit is CherryWood resident Fedalma Ruhl. She has lived there five years.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It was a day dedicated to health and happiness for our older citizens, May 24th at CherryWood Village.

“We’re having our 2006 Senior Wellness Symposium and Art Exhibit,” CherryWood’s wellness director, Mindy Baker, explained.  “We have two main lectures, an art show, a cooking demonstration, health screenings, and refreshments for everyone.”

Baker said the facility provides this event to the community ‚Äì as well as to their residents ‚Äì to promote senior health and wellness. And they hold it on this particular date, because it’s National Senior and Health and Fitness Day.

Sherrie Evenson, Adventist  Medical Center, tells CherryWood Village seniors how physical exercise can keep their minds sharp.

Exercise promotes mental wellness
We stopped in to listen to a lecture by Sherrie Evenson, of Adventist Medical Center.

“We’re talking about the relationship between exercise and dementia in older people.

It has become very clear to all researchers who have studied this: Exercise can slow the onset of dementia. Even more, physical exercise can slow the acceleration of dementia once you have it.”

More than cognitive functioning alone, Evenson said one’s ability to think clearly and remember things also improves. “Most people think of dementia as Alzheimer’s disease ‚Äì but that is just one type of dementia.”

One doesn’t have to spend their life in a gym working out to get the benefits of exercise, Evenson said. “Even a small amount of activity can help a lot. It seems that aerobic exercise has been the most beneficial in regard to improving cognitive skills. From ten to forty-five minutes a day is all it takes to help keep your mind sharp, and your body healthy.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

For a while, it looked like the shuttered Woodland Park Hospital ‚Äì its jobs and services to the community ‚Äì would be saved when local owners reopened it as Physician’s Hospital.
Learn how, and why, this facility closed …

For years, Woodland Park Hospital was the only hospital in outer East Portland. After it suddenly closed a few years ago, it later reopened as Physician’s Hospital. Now, once again, the facility has been completely shut down. Word is, it will never be a full-service hospital again.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The sprawling hospital campus situated on two city blocks at NE 102nd Ave and Hancock St. – a fixture in the Gateway area for over four decades – is, once again, dark and silent.

How did this 202-bed, once-bustling medical center end up empty? Read on, and learn how, and why, this hospital has been shuttered.

Dedicated in 1962 as Woodland Park Hospital, the new facility was welcomed in outer East Portland as its first medical center. The new operating rooms and treatment areas gave residents access to local health care. Its emergency room treated everything from a kid’s broken arm to serious, in-flight medical emergencies–due to its proximity to Portland Airport.

Over the years, more hospitals were built in the area. Woodland Park Hospital converted a wing to become Portland’s largest medical psychiatric care center. However, the emergency room was always open, continuing to care for citizens of outer northeast Portland.

Symphony called ‘out of tune’
The hospital’s ownership changed hands five times over the years. But some say when Symphony Healthcare, located in Nashville, Tenn., bought both Woodland Park Hospital and Eastmoreland Hospital in March, 2002, these facilities started going downhill.

When the Woodland Park Hospital suddenly closed down on January 15, 2004, many of the staff members weren’t surprised. The facility’s former medical staff president, Laura Maskell MD, told us, “It is hard to take to have an outsider from Tennessee [Symphony Healthcare] take over, then ‘torch’ our hospital. Some employees have served the community here for as long as 35 years.”

Symphony Healthcare’s Ken Perry stated, “It is with great regret that we have to close the facility due to deteriorating financial conditions.” He singled out the cost of unpaid indigent care, due to changes in the Oregon Health Plan, as the primary reason.

“We’ve always had indigent care ‚Äì that’s part of being in East Portland,” Dr. Maskell rejoined. “The hospital was profitable in 2002. There was poor corporate management.”

Physicians vow to reopen hospital
A month after in closed, four area doctors — chiropractic physician Bryce Milan, orthopedic surgeon Tim Tribal, anesthesiologist physician Carlos Sobios, and neurosurgeon Jordy Kellogg — formed a group of local investors to buy the closed hospital’s Certificate of Need and facilities.

Working with Sussman Shank attorney, Barry Caplan, the doctors formed Physicians’ Hospital LLC. They brought in other partners, secured a line of credit with GE Financial, and a $500,000 deferred loan to improve the aging facility from the Portland Development Commission (PDC).

At a well-attended July, 2004 event, the PDC’s Martha Richmond, told the crowd, “Our goal is to bring more than 200 jobs back to the community.”

Almost loses license
Under the first of several administrators — Kerry O’Leary, a David Douglas High School graduate — their small staff missed their projected date, and opened the hospital on Dec. 23, days before the hospital’s Certificate of Need, a governmental charter required to operate a hospital, would have expired.

According to records obtained from the Oregon Department of Human Services, Health Services ‚Äì the licensor of hospitals ‚Äì the hospital was given provisional permission to open. The hospital was required to correct a long list of “deficiencies”, ranging from problems with the building to record-keeping procedures.

These deficiencies kept the hospital from opening most of their beds — and with few patients, the hospital lacked the money to correct some of the more expensive problems it faced.

Hospital calls 9-1-1
National negative attention was focused on the hospital in July of 2005, when a patient had complications resulting from her care after surgery.

As her situation became critical, her son, Michael W. Wilson, Pastor of Sellwood Baptist Church, and Chaplain of the Portland Police Bureau, later told a congressional committee that no doctors were in the hospital and staff members were neither equipped nor trained to handle the emergency. As a result, Wilson claims the hospital called 9-1-1 for paramedics to take his mother to Adventist Medical Center where she died without regaining consciousness.

By the time Physician’s Hospital’s last CEO too over, Bill Houston was faced with mounting problems and too little cash to fix them.

Houston, there is a problem
Late in 2005, another search of the state’s Health Care Licensure and Certification Section files revealed an additional patient care complaint. It also documented a long list of remaining “waivers” (physical plant deficiencies and policy shortcomings the hospital needed to fix to keep operating).

When we spoke with Bill Houston, the hospital’s last of the five administrators in December of 2005, he admitted the owners were trying to package a $12.75 million loan. “Instead of putting it off, we need to fix our electrical and heating-and-cooling systems, and make building repairs.”

On Feb. 14, 2006, U.S. Senators Grassley and Baucus requested that the federal Department of Health and Human Services inspect Physicians’ Hospital. Within a week, authorities suspended the hospital from serving Medicare and Medicaid patients, citing plant and operating deficiencies that put patients’ health and safety in jeopardy.

Beginning of the end
In March, 2006, Physician’s Hospital was given 90 days to fix their problems or stop operating.

The following month, Regency Hospital Co. of Alpharetta, GA, sent a letter of intent to take over the facility but later withdrew it.

“I went to pick up their license on May 25 and was given a letter stating that said they were voluntary surrendering their license and certification,” said Ron Prinslow, R.N., Manager, Oregon Department of Human Services, Health Services. “Our action stopped.”

What about the PDC’s $500,000?
“They [the current owners] are making payments on the loan; it was never in default,” Sara King, manager Gateway Regional Center URA told us recently. “It is a secured loan, meaning the loan must be paid off for the property to change hands.”

Future is unclear
A few days ago, outgoing CEO Bill Houston told us, “This is a shame. It was a battle we couldn’t win. Closing was the most ethical thing to do. It looks like the hospital has been sold to a group with have the funding it needs fix things.”

The new potential owner is Mechanicsburg, PA, based Vibra Heathcare, Houston confirmed. Founded in 2004, Vibra claims to be a specialty healthcare provider, specializing in freestanding medical rehabilitation, and long term acute care hospitals.

If Vibra does reopen the building, it appears as if will operate more as a medically-sophisticated nursing home than a full-service hospital. Outer Northeast Portland will forever lose its own emergency room; it will never have an urgent care center located at the facility.

As for Houston, he says he’s moving on to other projects, and “the new entity is bringing in their transition team. It will be an eight-month project to renovate the hospital.”

Timeline of a troubled hospital

1962
Woodland Park Hospital, 10300 NE Hancock (102nd Ave., a block north of NE Halsey St.) opens its doors, bringing a full-service hospital to outer East Portland. Portland Adventist Hospital, now two miles to the south, wasn’t built until decades later.

1962 – 2002
The hospital’s ownership changes hands several times. Woodland Park Hospital establishes a major psychiatric care center in the early 1970s.

March, 2002
Ken Perry founds a for-profit operating company, Symphony Healthcare, in Nashville, Tenn. and purchases both Woodland Park and Eastmoreland Hospitals.

June, 2003
Problems at Woodland Park Hospital are reported to Oregon Health Division.

September, 2003
Woodland Park’s psychiatric unit’s license is temporarily suspended, then restored by state regulators.

December, 2003
Horse race to the bank: Some employee’s paychecks bounce; Symphony vows to make good on them.

January 15, 2004
While the community is taken by surprise that the 200-bed hospital is suddenly closed down; employees are not.

February, 2004
Four area doctors form a group of local investors to buy the closed hospital’s Certificate of Need and facilities.

July 27, 2004
The newly renamed Physician’s Hospital holds a well-attended grand opening celebration attended by city, county and state politicians and past employees.

November, 2004
Physician’s Hospital is scheduled to open, but does not.

December 23, 2004
The hospital officially opens, days before the hospital’s Certificate of Need — a governmental charter required to operate a hospital — would have expired. It was conditional on correcting many “deficiencies” in both the building and procedures.

January, 2005
The hospital becomes Medicare-certified. It adopts the “Planetree model”, allowing for greater flexibility in patient care. Fewer than 40 of the 200 beds are opened; no more than 70 staff members work at the hospital.

July, 2005
Helen Wilson, 88, experiences complications after surgery. Her situation becomes critical – a staff member calls 9-1-1 Emergency – Wilson is transported to Adventist Medical Center. Wilson dies days later without regaining consciousness.

December, 2006
The hospital’s last administrator admits the partners are trying to put together a multi-million dollar loan to fix problems.

February 14, 2006
Authorities suspended the hospital from serving Medicare and Medicaid patients, citing plant and operating deficiencies that put patients’ health and safety in jeopardy.

March, 2006
Medicare and Medicaid suspension is lifted, provided remaining deficiencies are resolved by May 26.

April, 2006
Regency Hospital Co. of Alpharetta, GA, sends a letter of intent to take over the facility, but withdraws it early in May.

May 12, 2006
Oregon Department of Human Services, Health Services manager, Ron Prinslow, R.N., Manager, receives notification that another potential owner, Vibra Heathcare, of Mechanicsburg, PA, desires a meeting with the licensing agency.

May 26, 2006
Physician’s Hospital voluntarily surrenders its license and certification and ceases operations.

Published June 19, 2006
¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Don’t miss this great event on Saturday! See hundreds of specialty and antique vehicles; enjoy the car “Blow Up” contest; watch high-speed RC car racing; eat great food; and let the kids play in a supervised play area.
Not bad for $1 buck, eh?

Event chair Gail Bash, PBF president Gordon Boorse, and key event sponsor Rex Hollingsworth stand with the new Rose Festival Cruise-in trailer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Six years ago, members of the Parkrose Business Association decided they needed a way to raise funds to provide scholarships for Parkrose High School seniors.

Gail Bash, the Cruise-in’s founder, gives a bouquet to Marsha Lee, the “Pit Boss” for the event. “We call Marsha the ‘pit bull’“, Bash joked.

Board member Gail Bash of Lucky Corp. came hatched the idea of holding a “cruise-in” to raise money. After some research among car clubs, Craig Mendenhall of American SaniCan proposed the late-June date.

Soon, the association’s board received Rose Festival affiliation (the only such in Portland east of 82nd Ave.). By the time their 5th Annual Rose Festival Cruise-in, held on June 24, became history, Portland Business Foundation (PBF), the non-profit arm of the business club, had raised and awarded a cumulative $17,500 in scholarships over the years.

22 Students compete for scholarship

Sarah Lange had to leave the meeting early, but not before getting her scholarship check from Marsha Lee. (Amy Salvador/PBA Photo)

Bob & Mary Brown, of Bob Brown Tires, presenting a scholarship check to Parkrose High School senior Yuliya Mikhaylov.

Alison Stoll of Central Northeast Neighbors awards a $1,000 scholarship to Angelyn Bilbrew.

Marsha Lee of Copy Express helps to further Kelli Herman’s education with an $1,000 award.

Parkrose High School seniors submit applications, and then are interviewed by members of the PBF’s committee. “With 22 great applicants,” commented Alison Stoll of Central Northeast Neighbors, “it is difficult to select only four students who will each get a $1,000 scholarship.”

PBF president, Gordon Boorse, recounts the history and promotes the upcoming June 24 Cruise-in to a packed house at the Parkrose Business Association meeting at Steamers Restaurant on June 15.

At their June meeting, PBF president, Gordon Boorse, Compaction & Recycling Equipment, told the group, “We’re certainly not the largest business association in the area. But, thanks to our many members who volunteer their time and resources, we’re able to help fund the continuing education of worthy students.”

Also at the meeting, event chair Gail Bash thanked the many sponsors and volunteers of this year’s successful Rose Festival Cruise-in. “We especially honor Rex Hollingsworth, our major event sponsor. Not only did he underwrite the event, he also donated a large trailer, as well as a new barbeque for our raffle, and also provided manpower for set-up and take-down.”

5th Annual Rose Festival Cruise-in
June 24 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.

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.

The Parkrose Business Association meets the third Thursday every month at Steamers Restaurant, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. Info: www.parkrosebusiness.org.

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

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