Following the unique tradition there, incoming David Douglas High School freshmen are greeted by upper-class student mentors, teachers, and administrators. But see why, this year, Mayor Tom Potter was part of the welcoming committee …

Mayor Tom Potter and district superintendent Barbara Rommel join some of the Scot “Link Team”, as they welcome, and gave the “wave”, to the largest class in DDHS history.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At David Douglas High School, the “new kids in school” are cheered, not jeered, by a school-wide welcoming committee on Freshman Orientation Day.

But this year was different. Mayor Tom Potter was there also, joining in the welcome of the new students to the state’s largest high school ‚Äì a campus housing more students than many Oregon towns have population.

Sharing a light moment outside the school are DDHS Principal Randy Hutchinson, Mayor Tom Potter, and Superintendent Barbara K. Rommel.

We asked the Mayor why he came to outer East Portland early on this particular morning.

“I’m the Mayor of this school district, too,” Potter told us, flashing a broad smile. “I’m here to draw the attention of East Portland people to the fact they have a great school district in David Douglas.  And, I’m asking the people here to vote for ballot measure 26-85, so we can really create the best future for our children.”

Mayor meets Link Crew

Mayor Tom Potter meets DDHS “Link Crew” members Thuan Huinh, Emily Yip, Samantha Cha, and Oile Dao.

On his way into the school, Mayor Potter met representatives of the school’s “Link Crew” He learned team’s mission is to ease the transition of grade-schoolers 9th grade.

“It is like a Big Brother/Sister program,” explained the school’s Principal, Randy Hutchinson. “Each Link Crew member takes eight to ten freshmen under their wing, especially the first week. The young kids can ask any Link Crew member for help and know they’ll get it.”

Hutchinson said Link Crew members aren’t necessarily the team captains and club presidents. “They are middle-of-the-road, ordinary students who have a drive to, and desire to, help others.”

“Let’s go in and meet the freshmen,” Potter said.

David Douglas’ challenges
On our way in, we spoke Barbara K. Rommel, Superintendent of David Douglas School District.

“Our biggest challenge,” Rommel told us, “is our enrollment growth. We’re anticipating 3% more students than last year — the largest enrollment in the history of David Douglas school system. In all, we’ve had a 25% increase since 1999. This is really stretching our classroom space. While other schools are closing, we’re working to create the space we need to keep class sizes manageable.”

Rommel said the Mayor’s visit demonstrates his commitment to education at all of the schools in the City of Portland. “And, with David Douglas being the largest high school in the state, it is really great to see our city’s Mayor here, welcoming the freshmen.”

Mayor Tom Potter addresses 800+ freshmen ‚Äì the largest single class in David Douglas High  history ‚Äì at their orientation.

The mayor’s introduction at the assembly was met with wild cheering. “Good morning everybody! What a good-looking group of people you are. You are so fortunate. You are attending, not only the largest high school in Oregon, but one of the very best. All of your teachers, staff members, and Link Crew members are here to help you succeed. Have a great year.”

Asked why he was coming out in support of David Douglas building program bond, the mayor responded, “Investing in students today pays all of Oregon back tomorrow.”

Building project underway

The school’s Principal, Randy Hutchinson, commented on our way out, “It’s is nice to see that he [Potter] has hung his hat on being an ‘education mayor’, and he’s paying attention to East County.”

The challenge for the school, Hutchinson told us, is “sheer numbers. Enrollment keeps increasing. It looks like our enrolment is about 2,900, and another 200 students at our alternative school.”

The growling of earth-moving equipment was punctuated with the blaring of back-up claxons as he pointed to an area east of the main building. “While other schools are closing and consolidating, this construction project will add twenty classrooms. We need them.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Although it lost county funding years ago, see how the Portland Metro Performing Arts Center keeps on helping youngsters learn a love of theater and dance …

Some of the young dancers getting ready to perform Glazunov’s “Four Seasons” before family and friends.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Looking rather like a warehouse, the building housing Portland Metro Performing Arts Center is, to say the least, unpretentious. But, within those walls, many a child has turned into a seasoned performance artist.

“We’re kicking off our new season,” Executive Director Nancy Yeamans tells us on September 9. “We’ve invited dancers here from all over Portland. These kids are great. They’ve learned the choreography for “Four Seasons” in an hour! Earlier today, we had the preschoolers participating in an art workshop.”

Center director Nancy Yeamans helping a young performer get ready for the performance.

Yeamans says Metro Performing Arts is important because it provides a teaching center for dance, theater and art instruction and performance opportunities. “There is no place like this on the east side. And, we’re here in the Gateway district, close to the freeways and bus lines, so we’re very accessible.”

A little extra practice always helps!

Specifically, Yeamans tells us, PMPA offers dance, music, theatre and visual arts classes, camps, workshops and performances, for kids from 6 to 14 years of age and all skill or experience levels. “New classes are starting, and registration stays open, on a space available basis.”

The PMPA studios are at 9933 SE Pine St. in the Gateway District, near Mall 205, a couple blocks north of Stark/Washington Streets.

To find out more about us visit their website at

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why Mike Donahue of KOIN-TV, John Canzano of the Oregonian; and Brian “Wheels” Wheeler of the Portland Trailblazers spoke at this unique event ‚Ķ

Mike Donahue, KOIN-TV; John Canzano, sports columnist with the Oregonian; Lou Fontana, Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes; and Brian Wheeler, Portland Trailblazers radio play-by-play announcer, here pause for a photo at OBRH’s fundraising dinner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In East Portland, seniors of means have a wealth of housing options. Some facilities resemble a resort, rather than a retirement home.

But for elders with thin pocketbooks, finding good, clean, safe housing can be difficult.

“Our facility gives seniors, with low to moderate income, a great place to live,” explained Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes Lou Fontana. We work with people who don’t have a lot of money, yet want a good place to live.”

The purpose of the dinner on Aug. 25, Fontana continued, was to raise funds to help reconstruct their outer East Portland facility, located just north of NE Weidler St. in the Gateway district.

“Our facility is getting too old to repair; it needs to be rebuilt,” Fontana explained. “Because we’re a non-profit organization that helps seniors of modest means, all of the money we take in has gone to operating our campus. We’re seeking donations to help us for our ‘rebuilding’ project, scheduled for 2008.”

When rebuilt, Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes will feature 350 housing units, up from the 114 they now operate.

Judging by the looks on patrons’ faces, and the savory aroma in the room as the meal was served, the dinner portion of the event was a smashing success.

The dinner – which featured television, radio, and newspaper personalities as speakers – helped draw patrons to the event, which also featured a multi-media presentation regarding the appeal, and silent auction.

“I’ve seen the good work these people do,” said KOIN-TV’s Mike Donahue, “and I’m happy to help support their work.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Neighbors in this quiet southeast neighborhood say they’re relieved to learn the thug that attacked Susan Kuhnhausen wasn’t a violent crook randomly on the prowl ‚Ķ

Police say this home on a quiet Montavilla street wasn’t the scene of a burglary gone wrong ‚Äì but instead, the location of an attempted murder-for-hire plot.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When cops and detectives say little about a seemingly bizarre incident, it makes one wonder what information they’re holding back.

Previously we told you how, on September 6, Susan Kuhnhausen came home from her nursing job at Providence Medical Center and was attacked by an intruder, identified as 59-year-old Edward Dalton Haffey.

You learned then that 51-year-old Kuhnhausen put up a valiant fight that ended with her managing to disarm and strangle Haffey to death. Police said she acted in self-defense.

While reporting our story at the time, we wondered how Haffey got past the house’s alarm system. We noticed a sign, prominently posted in the front yard, that indicated that the residence was protected by a monitored alarm system.

And, when investigators checked the woman’s home, they didn’t find a broken window or a kicked-in door.

Murder for hire
Details only now being released indicate that Haffey had some help entering the house ‚Äì allegedly provided by none other than the victim’s estranged husband, 58-year-old Michael James Kuhnhausen Sr.

Michael Kuhnhausen was arrested on September 14, and charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder – an indication that police detectives feel he had even more to do with the attack on his estranged wife than merely letting Haffey into the residence.

After Michael Kuhnhausen has his first appearance in court September 21, many new details in this surprising and sordid case should come to light.

Neighbors with whom we spoke on Sept. 15, who asked not to be identified, said they were comforted to learn the intruder wasn’t a “violent criminal, breaking into homes randomly”.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

After listening to outer East Portland neighbors, U.S. Congressman Ron Wyden and Oregon Rep. Jeff Merkley explain the “facts of life” in politics. You might be surprised at their comments ‚Ķ

Oregon Rep. Jeff Merkley and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden came to the Hazelwood neighborhood to hear what’s on the minds of outer East Portland residents. They got an earful.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From universal health care, to concern about U.S. border security, Oregon Rep. Jeff Merkley and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden heard many concerns when they held a town hall meeting at St. Therese’s social hall last month.

Arlene Kamura, chair of Hazelwood Neighborhood Association (speaking only for herself), urged, “on the state level, we need to invest in our young people and senior citizens. Nationally, we need better health care for everyone.”

Vice chair of the Centennial Neighborhood Association Ron Clemenson said, on his own behalf, that crime prevention is his own top priority here in outer East Portland. Border security was his concern for the nation.

Alicia Reese, chair of Woodland Hills Neighborhood Association, and a board member of the Parkrose School district, said her personal opinion was the state needed to focus on creating a system of equitable school funding. “Both on the state and federal levels, we need to stop creating unfunded mandates for schools.”

Bipartisanship: a reality
Several attendees drifted into making partisan statements; a few went engaged in rants against Republicans and the current federal administration.

Wyden explained, “Anything that gets done in Washington DC happens because there was a bipartisan effort. Both sides must agree. Take the cost of prescription drugs for example. I’ve been working with Olympia Snow, a Republican Senator from Maine, to lift the restrictions on importing medicines, and bargaining to bring down the cost of medicine.”

As another example, Wyden said that John Kyle, a Republican from Arizona, agrees with him that that they should look at recent, huge oil company profits. “And, I’ve worked with Senator Smith on legislation to protect Mt. Hood.”

Oregon Representative Jeff Merkley chimed in, “We don’t want this meeting to turn into a partisan battlefield. By working together, we move the State of Oregon forward.”

Next to state her personal opinion was the Chair of Argay’s neighborhood, Valery Curry. “I’m concerned about ethics in politics. It seems that lawmakers and officials make decisions for their own good, not necessarily the good of the people.” Curry also expressed her personal a concern regarding sex offenders. “Why can’t we put them away where they can’t continue to offend, permanently? It seems no one is watching them.”

Merkley responded that Oregon’s legislature passed a bill making certain sex crimes punishable by a 25-year prison sentence. “And, we’re exploring a lifetime tracking system for these offenders. By the way, Internet solicitation is not a crime, and we’re working to make it a crime; but this is a complex issue.”

Teena Ainsley arose and told the legislators about her experience of working in and around outer East Portland school systems for the past 53 years – and to give her personal view: “My concern is education. Here, [in outer East Portland] I see high-density low-income housing burdening our schools. Many of our students have special needs which are expensive to accommodate. When I look at my tax statement, I see I pay $1.74 for Mt Hood Community College. But I pay ten times more for PDC development. We’re not funding the schools in high-density, low- income housing areas.”

Several community members took up a harangue against the current federal administration’s foreign policy, especially the war efforts in the middle East.

The two legislatures listen, and respond, to comments made by neighbors from across outer East Portland.

Wyden of foreign policy
“I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Wyden said. “We go into a room built and secured like a vault. I’m barred from talking about what I learn from those meetings. I can’t even respond when my 17-year-old asks at dinner, ‘so Dad, how about letting me know about your so-called intelligence committee’.

“We live in a dangerous world out there. There are many people who do not wish our citizens or our country well. The question is: How do we find the right mix of ‘soft power’ ‚Äì agreements and treaties ‚Äì with ‘hard power’ ‚Äì having to defend yourself?

“Had I known five years ago, on 9/8, what was going to happen on 9/11, I would have supported taking any action to prevent it.  I voted against going to war in Iraq. I’m glad Sadam Hussan is behind bars. But, he wasn’t close to being the biggest threat to our security. I would have ranked Iraq sixth. My side didn’t prevail.”

After talking about economic policies, prescription drug prices and a “fair flat tax” system, Wyden again brought up the need for bipartisan cooperation. “Senator Smith and I don’t agree on everything. But, we sit down ever Thursday, in the Senate dining room, and we work on Oregon’s agenda for the week: Health, schools, roads, crime, and such. That is the way it should be.”

Wyden tells the audience that Jeff Merkley is a great Oregon legislator. “Jeff is the ‘gold standard’ of state legislators,” he said.

While nothing was resolved, and most residents left the room with their opinions unchanged, almost everyone agreed that a discussion of critical political topics is healthy in a free society. And, this, we believe, is the purpose of a “town hall” forum.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read, and learn about ordinary citizens who are taking a “bite out of crime” along the streets where they live ‚Ķ and why you should join them ‚Ķ

Block captains from the Madison South neighborhood — Geneva McArtor, Pal Mermwore, Paul Barton, Lisa and Frank Walsh — are joined by Lents neighborhood block captains John and Judy Welch (partially hidden by the arm of BOEC’s Laura Wolf), as they tour the Bureau of Emergency Communications, also known as the “9-1-1 Center”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Most people agree that “community policing” is a good idea ‚Äì but few really understand the meaning of the term.

From the perspective of the Portland Police Bureau, it means interfacing closely with neighbors and businesses to help reduce crime, and the fear of crime.

“The other part of ‘community policing’ is us, the community,” is how volunteer Dave Smith, Coordinator, East Precinct Block Captain Program, put it to us.

“Part of making the streets on which we live safer is taking personal responsibility,” Smith continued. “The ‘Block Captain’ program trains ordinary people to help reduce crime directly in our neighborhoods.”

Being a Block Captain doesn’t mean one turns into a neighborhood spy or snitch, Smith told us. “We’re just ordinary citizens who are willing to ‘look out’ for our block and our part of our neighborhood. We simply are looking to prevent crime problems before they get a foothold.”

Not a “Trunk stocker”
Smith, a kindly-looking man with a quick smile, told us he didn’t set out to become the Block Captain Program Coordinator. After he retired, Smith said he asked to become part of the volunteer group who restock supplies in the trunks of East Portland officer’s patrol cars. “Commander Greg Hendricks said that if I wanted to volunteer for something, he had another job for me. They gave me a desk, even though I’m not a police officer, and put me to work.”

Specifically, Smith acts as the go-between for Block Captains and the Portland Police Bureau. Part of his volunteer position is the training of potential Block Captains. Also, he coordinates and hosts bimonthly meetings for East Precinct Block Captains.

Block Captain coordinator Dave Smith (second from left) listens to BOEC’s Laura Wolf as she explains the organization’s role in public safety.

Captains tour 9-1-1 Center
Some of the monthly meetings are field trips, at which the Block Captains are exposed to the inner workings of the public safety system.

At the last meeting a group of Block Captains visited the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC), also known as the 9-1-1 Center in Lents.

The tour was led by Laura Wolf, public communications coordinator for BOEC. Wolf first gave the group an overview of BOEC’s mission and policies. A tour of the call center floor followed. Block Captains witnessed, first-hand, call takers receiving calls of all kinds–and saw how the dispatchers, on the other side of the large room, quickly sent police, fire or medical personnel to deal with those emergent situations.

Behind locked doors
BOEC is a high-security facility. We asked Wolf why these neighbors were granted a tour. “It is important to get the message out about what we do,” she said, “and how they are trained. Not only can the Block Captains pass the information on to their neighbors, they help the community be better prepared for an emergency.”

The concept Wolf stressed is to know the difference between emergency and non-emergency situations. “911 should only be used to report a fire, stop a crime, or save a life. There is a limited number of 911 trunk lines and operators. If you’re using 911 inappropriately, someone with a true emergency will have to wait on line ‚Äì it may cost a life.”

After the meeting, some of the Block Captains shared what they had learned with us.

John Welch from Lents told us, he enjoyed seeing how the call center works. “The tools they have are fantastic. At the same time you’re calling in, they are already sending the information to dispatchers by computers.”

Donna Dionne, an outer East Portland resident and president of the Midway Business Association, said she thought it was interesting to see how operators dispatched the calls. “I can see why one should call only in case of an emergency. Non-emergency calls bog down the system, and it could cost a life.”

Smith said this field trip, and his other programs, give Block Captains information they otherwise wouldn’t get. “Our meeting here at the 911 center helps them understand the issues involved with the 911 dispatchers. There seems to be some negative press when there is a misunderstanding or perceived rudeness by a communicator. But seeing the environment, the pressure, you can’t help but know our emergency communicators are working to make the community better.”

Next Meeting: Don’t be an ID theft victim
You don’t have to be a Block Captain to attend Smith’s meetings. The September session will be “Identity Theft: What it is, and how to avoid becoming a victim”.

“Identity theft has become the crime-of-choice for meth addicts,” Smith explained. “This crime can cause enormous financial distress for its victims. East Precinct Officer Barbara Glass is an expert in the area of identity theft.  She will explain how this crime is committed, and also offer advice on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.”

Block Captain Meeting is Wednesday September 27, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the East Precinct Community Room at 737 SE 106th Ave.

When we asked what message he’d like to convey to East Portland residents, Smith replied, “Get personally involved in public safety. Help reduce crime, and the fear of crime ‚Äì right where you live”.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Those wanting to go to the Airport Costco store on September 11th had to find another route; NE 139th Ave. was blocked for most of the day. See our exclusive photos …

Workers from Union Pacific look at the brand new truck, lying on its side, just outside Altec, at NE 140th Ave. and Sandy Blvd.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Witnesses at the scene said it looked as if the driver was trying to beat a freight train across the tracks at NE 140th Ave. and Sandy Blvd., into the parking lot at Altec, but if he was, he didn’t make it.

Others guessed the driver might have been blinded by the rising sun as he looked eastward, and so didn’t see the westbound freight barreling toward him.

“We don’t know exactly how it happened,” Cpt. Mike Brouillette from Portland Fire and Rescue told us, on Monday, September 11th, “but what we had here is a brand-new truck being delivered to Altec. It came off of Sandy Boulevard, and went north over a private railroad crossing. The engine of a Union Pacific freight train tagged the back end of the truck. The truck twisted around and went over.”

As the truck came to rest, it broke the utility pole behind it. You can see the pole hanging at an angle behind the wrecked rig.

The driver was transported to Portland Adventist Hospital. “He had no real obvious injuries. The driver was standing up inside the cab when we got to him,” said Brouillette.

There were no reports of injuries to the crew of the Union Pacific freight train. But you can see the damage on the far, front corner of the engine.

By the time the freight train came to a stop, it had traveled west of NE 122nd Avenue. The accident is still under investigation, but no citations had been issued as of the posting of this report.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Portland firefighter Ed Hall was on hand to help with the rescue effort after the World Trade twin towers fell in New York City. See why he was honored in Pioneer Square five years later …

Before taking his place on the stage at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Ed Hall took a moment to reflect on how his experiences have helped him better train our firefighters here in Portland.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
On the morning of September 11th five years ago, 25-year veteran Ed Hall, firefighter assigned to Truck 2 at Portland Fire & Rescue’s training station, got a call from co-worker Dwight Englert asking Hall to work a shift for him so he could travel to New York City and help at the World Trade Center.

Instead of working Englert’s shift, Hall said he, too, wanted to be part of the rescue effort, and the two agreed to meet at PDX. At the airport, the pair met two additional Portland firefighters on their way to New York. The four were on the first plane allowed to fly.

“We didn’t know what to expect, or how we would help,” Hall said. “We offered to do what we could.” While the local public safety workers first looked askance at the Portland foursome, they soon appreciated the hard work and professionalism they brought to the effort.

Representatives from Portland Fire & Rescue stations around Portland gathered with other public safety workers and nearly 500 citizens on September 11, 2006 to remember those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center towers, and thank those who helped in the rescue efforts

Five years later
Mayor Tom Potter asked Portland Fire & Rescue to help organize a remembrance ceremony on September 11th; Hall was asked to join dignitaries on the stage set up at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Before he took his place on stage, he told us his story. “Looking back, it’s tough to put it into words. It is an event that will be part of our national psyche for a long time. There are different ways of looking at it. I prefer to look at it as what ‘went right’ as we helped out at this tragic event.”

Training to be the best
Hall says he believes Portland firefighters are some of the best-trained in the country. And, his experience in New York has helped him keep in mind what is important when he trains new firefighters coming to the bureau.

“When I talked to survivors, firefighters, and police officers at the World Trade Center, I heard the same thing. It was that public safety workers were so well-trained that they could act independently that really counted. They were able to refocus, and redirect their energies on the spot. When the towers collapsed, the chain of command was broken. But, these people thought quickly, and were able to make initial rescues.”

Hall said a firefighter’s probationary period lasts for a year. Ten months of that is intense training.

“We teach them how to perform many tasks, use a wide variety of equipment, and how to work as a team. But more than that, they learn how think actively and work safely. Ultimately, when people can put all of their knowledge and skill together in an unexpected circumstance, they really shine.”

When you see Portland firefighters at work, now you know that they are better-trained than ever, thanks to the experience Ed Hall gained as a 25-year veteran here, as well as his experiences on a fateful day in New York City.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See one of the ways Midland Library got kids into the library this summer – leaving with a craft that sticks to the refrigerator …

Ryan, Nic, Megan, their mom, Beth McClain, take part in one of the library’s Summer Fun and Reading programs ‚Äì making creative refrigerator magnets by cutting and layering materials onto a magnetic surface.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Dozens of East County refrigerators will be better decorated, after kids came home from this event at Midland Library.

We asked library manager Carolyn Schell why they run programs like this. “A library doesn’t benefit citizens unless they use it. And, thanks to creative programs for young people during the summer, Midland Library gets well-used!”

Making animal magnets was the theme of the session a few weeks ago. Young artists cut and arranged fabrics of all colors and finishes, to make their own unique designs.

These girls were too shy to tell us their names, but their parents said they loved being photographed as they created works of magnetic art.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Why on earth would government officials allow such a thing? Read on, and discover a special program helps keep kids – and families – safe from toxic materials …

1 This school was a hazardous waste collection site. Read on, and learn why bringing hazardous chemicals to school – on special occasions – can be a GOOD thing …

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It may seem crazy to encourage people to bring their toxic household chemicals and leftover paint to a school ‚Äì but that’s exactly what they did on August 25.

On that afternoon, Theresa Fielch drove to Alice Ott Middle School, just of SE 122nd Ave. in Powellhurst-Gilbert, with her car loaded with nasty stuff. “It is important to me that we don’t have this toxic waste around our house! And, I sure don’t want to dispose of it by dumping it where it shouldn’t go.”

No, Fielch wasn’t putting kids in danger by taking her toxic materials to a grade school. She was participating in a “Hazardous Waste Round-up” held by METRO.

Debbie Humphrey, Hazardous Waste Specialist with METRO, helps Teresa Fielsch a neighbor from Parkrose unload unused paint and other household chemicals, with the help of METRO worker Margaret Slate.

Nasty gunk round-up
Folks who came by the school were directed to drive into a tented area, the ground under which was completely covered with thick plastic.

“We’re collecting household hazardous waste from people in outer East Portland today,” explained Debbie Humphrey, Hazardous Waste Specialist with METRO.

“This is important because it reduces the stockpiles of products and chemicals, leftover paint, and other hazardous materials from people’s houses. It makes homes safer for both people and pets.”

Sometimes–Humphrey told us–people don’t know what to do with wastes that could hurt them. “We’re providing a simple, free method to dispose of them. Dumping them in the backyard or putting it in the trash is the worst thing anyone could do for the environment.”

There is no charge to homeowners for this service, Humphrey explained. Small businesses can also participate, she said, for a small fee.

Painting the town
“We do great things with the latex paint we collect. At our facility on Swan Island, we recycle used paint into good quality, inexpensive paint,” Humphrey told us. “The money we make from selling paint helps us fund programs like these.”

METRO worker Laura Brokaw is suited up to handle highly hazardous and toxic chemicals and wastes dropped off at the round-up events.

Last chance for East County
If you missed this event, it isn’t too late to rid your home or small business of hazardous materials. Check into one of these two remaining events:

Oct. 6 – 7
K-Mart store parking lot
at 12350 NE Sandy Blvd.

Oct. 27 – 28
Rockwood United Methodist Church at
17805 SE Stark St.

For more information, call Metro Recycling Information at (503) 234-3000 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; or see .

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Wonder why the good folks at Portland Fire & Rescue advise using caution when burning decorative candles? Take a look …

Fire department officials say all it took was the careless use of a candle to set off a blaze that destroyed the second story of this outer East Portland home. The resident was helped down the ladder that stands against the roof of the front porch.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Minutes before noon, firefighters get a call saying a house is on fire at SE 88th and Duke Street. Three stations respond, and indeed find smoke and flames pouring out of the home.

On scene, Battalion Chief Jay Olson tells us, “A resident was on the roof, over the porch, when we arrived. There was heavy smoke showing out of the attic area. Crews helped the resident down off the roof with a ladder.”

Firefighters say a man crawled out of this small attic window to escape the smoke and flames sparked by a fire ignited by a candle. Fire crews haul out smoldering material to make sure the fire is completely out.

“Then, the firefighters attacked the fire,” Olson continues. “We sent a crew into the interior of the home, up the stairway, and they took care of the rest of the fire. Yet another crew opened the roof to ventilate the residence, and check for extensions into the roof.”

Could this blaze been avoided?

“We’re told that the fire was started by a decorative candle, and quickly got out of hand,” Olson commented. “This is why we urge people to be careful with candles!”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

After the mentors and role models finished keeping kids busy during the summer, the PAL staff is working to get ready for the fall season, starting Sept. 11 …

PAL Center Director Beth Faulhaber spends time with Angel Swearingen, during the ‘Role Model Day’ on August 11. “I really appreciate Beth,” Swearingen tells us, “She is a good role model. She makes it great for kids here at PAL.”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many people agree with that old saw, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. To avoid that situation among youth, volunteers and staff members at the Police Activities League (PAL) work year-around to keep youngster’s hands ‚Äì and minds ‚Äì busy.

Our visit to the PAL center came during “Role Model Day”, an event created by PAL youth and volunteers in 1994 to celebrate everyday role models in the community. “It has become an annual event for us, culminating more than 500 annual hours of summer youth activities,” program director Michael Jezewski, told us.

PAL program director Michael Jezewski plays Kiddy Pool Ring Toss during their special event.

This special annual event provides a carnival of fun: face painting, potato sack races, water balloon toss, crab walk relay, tug of war, a scavenger hunt, kiddy pool ring toss, a pie eating contest, 3 legged races and much more.

Role of PAL in the community
“PAL gives kids the opportunity to see police in a different light,” Jezewski continued. “Sometimes, these kids’ involvement with police officers isn’t the best. We give youth the chance to see police officers as normal people and develop mutual respect.”

He added that most PAL activities center around recreation and sports. “These bring the kids in. Then, we help them learn life skills, including reading and math. We even have a kids cooking class where they learn to make real nutritious meals.”

Jezewski introduced us to Beth Faulhaber, the center’s director. “Few of the kids we serve have great role models as adults. So, it is really important that we’re here for them,” she told us. “Working together in programs like this, we see that we make a difference in the lives of youth.”

Portland Police Bureau Officer Ron Mason, Family Services Division, cooks up a barbecue banquet of brisket, pork loin, barbecue beans, and potato salad ‚Äì using his own hand-built cooking rig. “I wanted our kids and visitors to have more than hot dogs, so I came here ready to cook.” In addition, Mason participates in PAL’s summer baseball camp.

“It looks like we’re hosting 125 kids today,” Jezewski informed us. “We average 120 a day during the summer; during the school year, we get about 140 young people visiting us each day.”

Fall session begins September 11
PAL Youth Center, located at 424 N.E. 172nd Ave. begins it’s fall hours on September 11; running from 2:30 ‚Äì 7 p.m., Monday -Friday.

Youth membership fees are $50 for the year or $25 for families which qualify for school reduced lunch. For more information, contact PAL at (503) 823-0250, or the Youth Center at (503) 256-3479.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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