While she wouldn’t comment on police-related cases in the headlines, you’ll get to know Police Chief Rosie Sizer better from reading this article ‚Ķ

After her introduction by Ken Turner, Governmental Affairs chair for East Portland Chamber of Commerce, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer describes her long-term goals for the department.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Portland’s Chief of Police, Rosie Sizer, has been in the headlines because of high-profile cases and the Grand Jury investigations ‚Äì but most people know little about her.

At a recent East Portland Chamber of Commerce “Good Morning East Portland” networking meeting, Sizer revealed her background, goals and concerns about public safety in east Portland.

Second-generation cop
Sizer started by telling the group she’d never imagined that, one day, she’d be the Police Chief. “I’m honored to serve in this capacity. I’m a second-generation Portland Police Officer.”

Her father was a police officer for 32 years, retiring as a detective, Sizer continued. “My husband was a Portland Police officer for 29 years, retiring as a deputy chief, then going on to be Multnomah County Sheriff for eight years. I’ve been on the force for 22 years. I have a deep commitment to the officers and the work they do ‚Äì and to the community we all serve.”

Shocked at her appointment
Throughout her career, Sizer said she worked hard at being a good cop. “I’ve never aspired to be Chief of Police. When it happened, I’m sure you saw my face register a degree of shock on the news footage. But I can’t think of a job where I can have more important impact on the place where I live, than to serve in this capacity.”

Relationship-building and leadership development goals
She has two primary long-term goals for her leadership, she said. The first is deepening the relationship between the department and the community, in all of its manifestations. Secondly, creating leaders from within the organization is vitally important.

About relationship-building, Sizer said one of the nicest moments her life was huge turnout of people, from all walks of life, when she was sworn in as Police Chief. “I’ve tried to model relationship-building throughout my career ‚Äì neighborhoods, social services, friends and family. When we build relationships with the community, it helps us provide the most impact on crime we can, with the limited resources we have.”

Talking about developing her staff, Sizer said, “It is hard to be a police officer. We hire good people. We are very selective about hiring our people. Giving the trust the community gives us, it is very important that we hire good people, train them well, and have high expectations for them.

I want to help officers aspire to leadership positions, whatever they may be. It may be a promotion; it may be giving their best in terms of problem-solving efforts and creativity.

When she retires, Sizer said, “it will be these two things that matter most.”

East Portland crime: Meth and ID theft
Sizer was the SE Precinct Commander for about two years before being promoted to chief, she said. “Like in East Precinct, we had a burglary problem. In 2004 we busted over 100 meth labs across Portland. Last year we had fewer than 30.”

Sizer admitted that the methamphetamine supply has been taken over by the Mexican drug cartels. “There is a lot of meth out there. It has been imported from ‘super-labs’ in Mexico and California. Unfortunately there is still a lot of meth in the community that is fueling property crimes.”

The police chief quoted statistics about how the East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit has “cleaned up” outer East Portland. “They make large seizures and arrest many people. It’s had real impact as measured by crime statistics. Across east Portland, Part I crimes, which includes burglaries and other thefts, are down by almost 25%.”

One concern is, she added, is whether or not people are less inclined to report being a victim of crime. “It could be,” Sizer added with a twinkle in her eye, “everything of value in outer East Portland that could be stolen, has been stolen. Actually, these reduced crime numbers are a pretty good indicator of a successful trend.”

Identity theft is a major crime problem, Sizer told the group. “This often starts with a mail theft or a car prowl. Nowadays, it isn’t about stealing your car, but getting access to any ID that may be left in the car. At all costs, safeguard your identity. Keep careful track of your credit and other identifying information.”

Chief Sizer said the bureau has been taking upwards of 500 ID theft complaints a month. “We cannot, to be perfectly honest, begin to investigate all of these complaints. We do have two units here in the eastern precincts staffed with officers who are ferociously working to get ID thieves.”

Chief Sizer tells members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce that low staffing levels are a real concern across the city.

Low staffing levels a concern
East PDX News asked if precincts in east Portland might see an increase in staffing.

“We are running shifts ‘thin’ throughout the city. This is largely due to officers retiring. About 25 years ago, we hired about 100 officers in a year. Now, they are retiring at the same rate. We’re having trouble keeping up in hiring. We’re trying to recruit. Know anyone? It is a good job.”

The number of officers on patrol, Sizer commented, is decided by using a “staffing formula for officer distribution. We’re pretty confident that it is an appropriate formula. But still, yes, we are very short of officers.”

Answering East Portland public safety questions
EPCC Marketing chair Dan LaGrande asked, “As business people, what can we do to support the police?”

Sizer replied, “On the individual level, really work to reduce the chance you’ll become a victim; a statistic. There are people who can help you by doing a security survey of both your premises and business practices to make sure you’re not vulnerable. There has been a real problem with ‘creepers’ who sneak in when you’re not looking and steal your checks or ID information. Also, you can partner with like-minded people and establish a network in which you can share information.”

In a political sense, Sizer added, it helps when citizens publicly support law enforcement and public safety. “It can be difficult to be in public safety these days. If you, as business people, can lend your support, it really helps. Please find your voice.”

EPCC Member Roy Stanfel asked if “catch and release” of criminals is frustrating.

Sizer replied, “It is very frustrating. It can be demoralizing. Our officers really believe in what they do. But, when they spend blood, sweat, and tears catching a criminal, who is then are released very quickly or not held at all, it is a disincentive.”

She said that officers on patrol help reduce crime. “Most criminals are not ‘long-term thinkers’. They’re not thinking, ‘If I get arrested, I’ll have to do 10 years. And what will I do when I get out?’ One car prowler told us he had a policy to quit and go home if he even just saw an patrol car.”

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman on October 18
Want to learn more about your city, and network with East Portland business people at the same time?

Attend the next “Good Morning East Portland” on October 18 and meet Commissioner Dan Saltzman. The networking starts at 7:30 a.m. at the meeting room in the main building at Cherrywood Village, 1417 SE 107th Ave., behind Adventist Medical Center. The meeting is free.

To learn more, see www.eastportlandchamber.com

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Based on what deputies found, meth is still being produced in outer East Portland, sometimes in a BIG way! Read this story and learn the details

They weren’t growing crops on this farm! The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says evidence found inside the barn indicates a large-scale meth factory was in operation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Out in this area of unincorporated area of outer southeast Multnomah County, things are pretty quiet. Usually, the only things stolen are lawn ornaments.

But after seeing their electric bill jump to over $300, an area resident in the 7600 block of SE 162nd Ave. questioned whether or not their electric power was being siphoned off.

In the process of investigation a “theft of service” claim on October 11, Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies took down a huge methamphetamine lab.

A ‘look’ leads to a major bust
In an exclusive interview with East PDX News, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Lt. Jason Gates told us how this meth bust unfolded.

“At 1 PM on Wednesday, PGE notified our office they were going to check a property in the southeast corner of the county for power diversion, or electrical theft. Four MSCO detectives from our Special Investigation Unit detectives went with PGE officials to the site.”

Gates told us as detectives went on the property of the suspected power thieves; they met Shane Dupree Millim, who would later be taken into custody.

“Millim was cooperative, and gave us permission to search the property,” Gates related.

A shocking find
In addition to finding evidence of power theft, deputies were shocked to discover the largest suspected meth lab they say they’ve seen this year. They also found car body parts believed to be stolen from a Toyota 4-runner.

“We discovered chemical items, strong corrosives materials, flammable liquids and reactive solids generally associated to meth manufacturing,” Gates told us. “The indication is that this lab was producing meth using the standard pseudoephedrine reduction method.”

The precursors and the waste products indicate large-scale meth production, Gates stated. “There were enough materials to do multi-pound reactions. If they weren’t making large batches, the waste materials could have been collected from other, smaller labs.”

In addition, deputies also saw a set-up of laboratory-style glasswork typically used in meth production.

These signs were posted on the house and barn after the Haz-Mat team processed and cleaned up some of the chemicals found inside.

Deputies called in the Gresham/Multnomah County Haz-Mat team to assess the suspected lab, take samples for prosecution, and begin the cleanup process.

Lab busts down
“This is only the eighth lab we’ve closed this year,” Gates summarized. “This is significantly down from 2004 when we closed 60 labs.”

“Does this mean the meth problem is waning in outer East Portland?” we asked.

Gates responded, “The meth problem is alive and well, but we are having a positive impact regarding meth labs. What we face today is “super lab” meth coming in now. Most of it is from the Mexican cartels. They bring it here by the pound instead of the ounce.”

In addition to Millim, two other suspects–Patricia Ann Pyne and Billy Joe Allen–were arrested and released, pending a grand jury hearing.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Get paid for going to school? Yes! Take a peek inside Portland YouthBuilders – a school that turns dropouts into productive citizens …

Portland YouthBuilders students Soreyia San and Kasey Jones encourage Cassy Keck and Shaun Shaffer to consider the computer program at this unique high school.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
“This school is amazing,” student Kasey Jones tells us shortly after we enter Portland YouthBuilders in Lents.

“This school is taught in a totally different way,” Jones continues. “For most kids who drop out, high school simply didn’t work for them. When students come here, and everything is set up so they will succeed if they try. Everybody is friendly and helps you so much, you want to come and learn to do new things. It is amazing.”

Jones, and his fellow student Soreyia San, are in Portland YouthBuilder’s Computer Technology program. “It’s great,” San tells us, “I like working with computers, and hope to have a computer career. With what I’ve learned, I think I can get good job that I like.”

School success for non-traditional students
“The most important thing for us is not ‘giving up hope’ on young people who have not succeeded at traditional high schools,” explains Sara Kirschenbaum, Admissions Coordinator for Portland Youthbuilders.

“We have a huge dropout rate across the city. Some of these young people do want to do positive things with their lives. With training, they are capable of getting good jobs, and helping the community. Many of our students, we believe, will become leaders in the community.”

One thing that sets this school apart from others, Kirschenbaum says, is that students earn $400 a month from the school. “In addition to structured classes and hands-on learning, they spend half their time involved in community projects, building low-income housing or computers and web sites.”

All students become AmeriCorps members, giving them an $1,800 scholarship if they successfully complete the program.

Construction and Computer Technology tracks

While checking out the school, potential students Tiffanie Lewis and Jasmine Miller take turns hammering nails into wood, giving them a hands-on way to consider if Portland Youthbuilders is right for them.

“We offer very small classes, caring teachers, and help getting a good job or starting college or an apprenticeship program,” Kirschenbaum continues. “Students can choose between learning building trades, or computer technology.”

The school is geared to older students — those between 17 and 24 years of age, the admissions officer tells us. “We attract a more mature group of students than you might find at a traditional high school. We treat all of our students as young adults.”

Students held to high standards
This school isn’t a “free ride”; much is required of students, Kirschenbaum assures us. “Our students are required to be drug-free, and are held to high performance and attendance standards. But, look at this great opportunity for a very low income young person, who doesn’t have a GED or diploma, is fluent in English, and is committed to taking positive steps in life!”

Interested? The school holds enrollment sessions every Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Call (503) 286-9350 extension 254, check them out at www.pybpdx.org, or come by their campus at 4816 SE 92nd Ave. (across from Lents Park).

“Check out the program,” encourages Jones. “Look, you’re getting paid to get a diploma. What other place can you get educated, learn good skills ‚Äì and get paid at the same time? Come take a look and see for yourself.”

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See the tree-planting ceremony that signaled the opening of once-fenced land, as the former Hazelwood Water District wellfield is transformed into a lush, public park …

The Portland city commissioner in charge of the city’s Water Bureau, Randy Leonard, welcomes folks to a tree planting ceremony, at the opening of the Hazelwood Hydro Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Not long ago, the city block-sized parcel in the Hazelwood neighborhood was secured by a dingy, foreboding chain-link fence. Warning signs commanded that neighbors stay out.

But when we visited this site on September 28, at the former Hazelwood Water District well field and offices, the fences were down. Instead, the neighbors were invited in to enjoy a quarter mile walking path, doggy stations, picnic tables and benches.

The district’s former headquarters has become the new home of the East Portland Neighborhood Office.

“This is the most fun day I’ve had in politics,” the Portland city commissioner in charge of the Water Bureau, Randy Leonard, told us. “We took an asset that was already here, owned and maintained by the city, and opened it up to the community. The tree we’re planting today is a symbol of a new life for this park in the community. It is a cool thing.”

As members of the Villa Garden Club, community members and neighbors gathered around, Leonard told the group, “Last year, I came out here by myself, and looked at the property. I realized it was a waste of a city resource to leave it fenced off. We began talking with Richard Bixby about the possibility of EPNO occupying the building. It makes the building and property more secure.

“Today, the fences are down, the neighbors are encouraged to come in and use this. Over time, you’ll see curbs installed, there will be sidewalks, and the street will be paved.” A cheer went up. Leonard repeated himself for comedic effect, “Did I mention, the street (NE 117th Ave) will be paved?” Again the crowd cheered.

Leonard said he and his staffed were a bit concerned that some people might sneak through the trees at night and do “bad things” to the park. “The coolest thing about this is that the bureau’s Tom Klutz got huge rocks to block vehicle access from the Bull Run area!”

North wellhead to be removed
The head of the development project, the bureau’s Tom Klutz, said the wellhead and building on the north end of the property was never actually used. “The building and equipment will be removed by the first of November.”

A drinking water fountain will be installed. Sidewalks and handicapped ramps at the northwest corner of the park will make access more convenient, Klutz added.

Commissioner Leonard said the city will be keeping the southern well on the property in operation as a backup reserve for Portland’s water supply system.

Villa Garden Club plants ‘Patriotic Tree’
Dorothy Drews, president of the Villa Garden Club told us, “Our club is the largest and most active in the district. It was important for us to have a project that would be nationally recognized. Locally, to plant a tree for shade and beautify this park is a good thing. We’ll probably plant more, as space comes available.”

The observance conducted by the garden club included reading the poem “Trees”, and reciting the names of military service people from East Portland who are currently serving the county. The club, active since 1947, is sponsoring their Patriotic Tree as part of the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs national tree planting program, we were told.

Dorothy Drews introduces Hazelwood resident and parks advocate Linda Robinson.

“I support the efforts of this garden club,” said Linda Robinson, neighbor and parks advocate, after her introduction. “When they said they wanted to plant a tree here, I got excited. We wanted a tree that is native; a species too large to put in someone’s yard. We decided on the Big Leaf Maple. We’re planting it in the northeast corner of the park. With all these Deadora Cedars here, the maple would go well. Now, let’s go plant a tree!”

Linda Robinson and members of the Villa Garden Club plant the Big Leaf Maple tree at the park’s dedication.

One concern that day had been that there wasn’t enough dirt and water onsite to properly plant the tree. But as soon as the tree was dropped in the ground, workers from the water bureau arrived with additional soil and buckets of water to save the day.

Commissioner Leonard helps by watering the newly planted tree in Hazelwood.

Finally, a celebration wouldn’t be complete without refreshments, which were provided, this day, by the garden club.

Go see this fine new park for yourself. It’s located at 1017 NE 117th Avenue.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Learn about changes at the PDX Parking lot, area road improvements, and the possibility that the Port of Portland offices might move to outer East Portland, by reading this …

Port of Portland’s Dan Brame, showing Parkrose Business Association members where new parking facilities are likely to be built.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it was opened just a few years ago, the short-term parking garage at Portland International Airport (PDX) is beginning to fill up, according to the Port of Portland’s Dan Brame — so they’ll build another.

“It reflects poorly on the airport,” Brame says as he addresses members of the Parkrose Business Association at their September monthly meeting. “In a survey we conducted, the main concern about PDX wasn’t security, but instead, problems with parking.”

In the near term, he adds, they’re considering increasing the parking rate from $14 to $18 per 24-hour period. “But, we expect raising the price will discourage only 200 cars a night.”

To address the tight parking situation, Brame says they’ll build a new parking garage immediately behind the current structure. This one will boast 3,500 spaces; 500 spots for rental car companies.

They expect start construction in next fall, and it should be ready to use in 2009.

Parking ‘valet’ to be installed
“With 3,300 spaces, it can be difficult to find a spot,” Brame continues. “When we get down to the last few spaces, finding an empty spot is challenging.”

To alleviate the problem, a new computerized directional system will tell drivers entering the “double helix” ramp how many spaces on each floor; and tell indicate where empty spaces are located.

“We’ve also installed a ‘pre-pay’ system,” Brame continues. “You can pay for your parking at a kiosk on the way to your car in the garage. If you’ve prepaid, you drive past the line of attendants, scan your paid ticket, and go.”

Port offices may move east
According to the port official, the top floor of the new parking structure may be constructed to house the Port’s headquarters offices.

“Downtown Portland, we have 300 employees who spend 70% of their time working on airport matters,” Brame tells us. “Engineering, Information Technology, and Human Resources all spend time a good deal of their time at PDX.”

In fact, Brame says workers annually spend 15,000 hours riding light rail back and forth from their current downtown offices. “When they are downtown, they aren’t connected with their prime customers ‚Äì the 14 million people pass though the airport.”

The new offices would provide 60,000 sq. ft. of space, into which about 100 workers would move. “The Port has made a commitment to sustainable building. It will have onsite waste water treatment and power generation, and will be built of sustainable materials.”

While the office is still on the drawing boards, Brame says the new parking lot construction has been approved.

Scott King, Port of Portland, describes some of the many projects that airport planners have been developing to alleviate traffic snarls near the airport.

Controlling ground traffic
As the airport gets busier, vehicle traffic to and from and surrounding PDX increases, says Scott King, also with the Port of Portland. “I know; I’m a local resident, and I live in the neighborhood.”

King says that PDX operates on a conditional use permit from the city. “It was updated in 2003, and we were told we had to do certain improvements. With the 2005 Oregon Investment Transportation Act in place, the Port submitted projects related to that fund. Other funding comes from the city.”

When the recent change allowing large-scale retail stores to be built at Cascade Station, King says more projects came on the map. “Most are low-impact in construction. But we also have a major projects, like one with a proposed ‘flyover’ ramp to ease freeway congestion.”

Of specific interest to attendees of the meeting was the concurrent proposal to widen Sandy Blvd. at 105th Ave.

Meet Commissioner Dan Saltzman in Parkrose Oct. 19
This month, the Parkrose Business Association welcomes Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who will speak on issues affecting the Parkrose area on October 19. The Member Moment will be offered by Terry Brier of Davey/Organicare.

Come at 11:30 a.m. so you’ll have time to meet these great folks. And, you’ll enjoy the best business lunch at town at Steamers Restaurant, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. For more information, check www.parkrosebusiness.org.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Earlier this year, the Portland Sea Scouts took first place honors at the regional regatta. Read this article and you’ll learn how one Gresham youth has grown, as a result of this distinctive program ‚Ķ

Sea Scouts Steven Adams, Andrew Hazell, and James Hoffman aboard their 44-foot motor life boat, VIKING.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In April, the Portland Sea Scouts participated in their annual Nor’Wester Sea Scout Regatta. The crews took part in 25 competitive events at the regatta, and the crew of one Portland vessel, CITY OF ROSES, was the overwhelming winner with 19 first places awards.

When we learned three of the Portland Sea Scouts’ craft were on public display recently, we decided to check in on the progress of the troop.

The Portland Sea Scouts crafts CITY OF ROSES and VIKING, on display at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion hotel.

On the dock, we became reacquainted with Andrew Hazell, a crew member of the Portland Sea Scout’s 44-foot motor life boat, VIKING ‚Äì sister ship of CITY OF ROSES.

With an air of authority one would expect of a naval officer, Hazell told us their ship, an former Coast Guard 44-foot motor life boat, was built in 1967. “The Coast Guard ran it until 1998. When it was decommissioned, we applied for the ship.”

It wasn’t a smooth sail, Hazell said. When they first got the VIKING, the starboard engine had a lot of problems. “The crew and officers hauled it out, and made all necessary repairs to put it in ‘ship shape’ condition.”

Gains discipline, respect and leadership
“I joined because I wanted to get on the water,” Hazell explained. “If you don’t own a boat, it is a rare opportunity to go on the water, basically for free.”

More than simply being a fun time on the water, Hazell said his Sea Scouts experience has taught him discipline, respect and leadership. “These concepts are integral parts of the program. The crewmembers dip the tanks, fuel the boat, check the oil, check the transmission. It’s not only learning to take responsibility for one’s self, but also for the boat and sharing responsibility with your crew members.”

Hazell said he’s grown as a leader during his four years in the program. “When I first came, I felt very unsure of myself and my skills. Over time, with training and learning skills, I feel confident, more able. Also, I feel a lot more confident in being able to talk to people.”

Sea Scout Andrew Hazell says he’s gained confidence from being in this program.

As an example, Hazell told us he’s joined the Speech and Debate Team at Gresham High School. “It turns out I love it. Now, partially thanks to the Sea Scouts, I can speak in front of people and state my views. I can reason out a position and present it.”

Community service
Each of the Sea Scouts maintains the shore of the Columbia River around their base. Also, to become a Quartermaster, every Sea Scout has to create and complete a community service project.

Oh yes, there is lots of boating
In addition to evening and weekend work parties, Sea Scouts enjoy boating. A lot of boating, Hazell told us! “Every year, we go on a long cruise and to the Regatta. We won first place every year! It felt great to be part of a winning team.”

Want to hit the waves? The Portland area Sea Scouts are actively seeking new members. Both young men and women, from those who have graduated from eighth grade this spring through high school age, are eligible for membership now.

For information on joining, and meeting schedules, call Pat Kelley at (503) 667-7835 days or evenings, or e-mail him at sss650@comcast.net.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Did you check out the Belmont Street Fair in September? If not, allow us to take you on this guided tour …

Many side streets along SE Belmont were closed, and turned into craft and entertainment midways as thousands of folks thronged.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As the summer winds down each year, folks on SE Belmont Street hold their annual event — the Belmont Street Fair.

“Welcome to our yearly ‘party’ for Belmont,” is how John Barker, President of the Belmont Area Business Association, greets us.

John Barker, President of the Belmont Area Business Association, welcomes us to their street fair.

During this event, Barker tells us, merchants and crafters showcase their businesses in the area. “We promote Belmont as a great area to live, work, and play.”

A hot afternoon made it a great time for a cool treat like shaved ice!

This, their eleventh festival, draws nearly 5,000 visitors. They enjoy performances from local musicians’ performances and see the wares of many local craft vendors — all local.

Ding, ding, ding goes the Belmont Trolley, as it takes visitors up and down the storied Southeast Portland street.

“New this year,” Barker tells us, “is a display of futuristic alternative transportation. And, we also reach back to the past, by recreating the then-famous Belmont Trolley.”

Cookin’ up a heap of great-smellin’ barbecue is Bennie Blanton of ‘Wild Wild West’, an event and catering company located in the Belmont area (but serving all of greater Portland, Bennie assures us).

“I like the people who come here,” Barker concludes. “We seem to draw happy people who enjoy a fun, relaxed day strolling along Belmont St.”

Supporters Valerie Terrett and Trish Trout help at the Belmont Street Fair by selling T-shirts and giving helpful directions to attractions.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See the parking lot at SE 122nd Avenue and Division St. turned – for six hours only – into an auto show of most unique vehicles …

Old and new, the parking lot was turned into a festival-o-cars at southeast Portland’s PIZZA BARON “End of Summer Cruise-in”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From Mopars to foreign cars, motorcycles to roadsters, the parking lot in front of landmark Pizza Baron at SE 122nd Avenue and Division St. quickly filled with special-interest vehicles on Sept. 17 as the “End of Summer Cruise-in” got underway.

“Why pay to go to a roadster show?” asks Sherry Lankerson, as she and her husband Jack surf the sea of gleaming metal and glass. “There’s an amazing selection of cars here.”

Clay Lamb shows off his 1963 Plymouth Sports Fury to the “baron” of Pizza Baron, Bill Dayton. “Had one of these in High School,” Lamb says. “Found another one as an adult, so I bought it!”

Hundreds of spectators drift among the vehicles. “We were just passing by and decided to stop and look,” says Frank Paulis. “I can’t believe a show this great is free.”

Chandler Frey displays his MGTC roadster at the show. “You’re looking at the original paint,” he tells us. “But, I’ve got to wear pointed shoes to drive it! The pedals are very close together!”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

A new tradition in Brooklyn draws neighbors together at a delightful end-of-summer fling. Take a look at all they had going on …

Getting cool treats are Max Cristian, and Alex and Cindy Plous. They’re being served 25-cent ice cream treats by Brooklyn neighborhood volunteer Amanda Stuke.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Ice Cream Social we attended in Brooklyn not long ago wasn’t located in the New York borough ‚Äì it was right here in River City!

The chair of the Brooklyn Action Corps, Adam Tischler, described his southeast Neighborhood: “We’re a pretty small neighborhood. But we’re incredibly diverse. Our area, bordered by the railroad tracks and the Willamette River and two major roads, is like Portland in miniature. Homeowners and renters; well to do, and those of modest means, have chosen to live here.”

Chair of the Brooklyn Action Corps Adam Tischler draws tickets for kids door prizes at their annual family-friendly neighborhood event.

Tischler told us most of the association’s efforts are spent on serious issues like land use, crime prevention, and advocacy. “This event gets everyone together to meet one another. There’s a ton of stuff for kids to do here.”

Bringing neighbors together is important, he explained, because the neighborhood is in flux as more families move into it.

“Not your average Joe” Mishkin was in Brooklyn to clown, juggle, and twist balloons, much to the delight of adults and kids.

Kathy Orton, Brooklyn Historic Society, shows neighbors the building located on the street where they now live. “I’ve become addicted to it since I moved here in 1978. It’s just fun.”

“We’re all so busy,” Tischler continued. “This event gives people a chance to hang out, enjoy some simple pleasures like eating ice cream and barbecue with your neighbors.”

Cooking hot dogs is Mike James, who serves up big juicy hot dogs which are, almost too big for the buns. It was a fund-raising event for Loaves and Fishes.

Brandon Holder is being introduced to Ginger, a bull python by Michael McKay with the Zoo Zap team.

While Tischler admitted that the neighborhood association takes a chance on bad weather by holding the annual event on the first weekend after Labor Day, he said, “It gets better every year. You can’t beat it.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Rose Festival isn’t the only time 22 folks pile into long, narrow boats and paddle like crazy. Read on and see why 720 aqua-athletes pitted paddles at Sellwood Waterfront Park on a late summer day ‚Ķ

From the dock of Sellwood Riverfront Park, 33 teams of dragon boat racers vied for both local and regional honors.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The sun glinted off forty wet paddles as two more teams of dragon boat racers headed downstream from Sellwood Riverfront Park.

Rose Festival isn’t the only time 22 folks pile into long, narrow boats and stroke the river’s water in unison, to the beat of a drum or the call of their coach.  On Sept. 10, 720 aqua-athletes pitted paddles at the park as dragon boat races took place in Southeast Portland.

The event’s announcer, James Rinehart, told us that dragon-boating is a grand sport in Canada and Australia. “There, they build civic festivals around the dragon boat races.”

Missing from the long, narrow dragon boats, we noticed, were ‚Äì dragons! “The boats used at Rose Festival are different,” Rinehart said, “those are larger, heavier, and have the dragon carving on the prow.”

Queued to race

The Castaways limber up and queue up to step into a boat for their next race.

The racers’ boats are identical, and are supplied by the event. The paddlers, however, are very different from one another. The young and older, both men and women, make up the paddling teams.

“We are from all over the Portland area,” Said the spokesperson for “The Castaways” paddling club, Kerry Jeffrey. “What we mostly have in common is that we like dragon racing. Most of us met through the club.”

Castaways team (boat #3) casts off the Sellwood Riverfront Park dock. The boats head toward downtown Portland, then stage, and race upstream.

Although a paddling club may have as many as fifty members, Jeffrey explained, a paddling team consists of 22 crew members: 20 paddlers (they don’t row), a tiller to steer the boat, and a “caller” who keeps the crew paddling in unison, either with calls or by beating a drum.

Serious fun
Janna Brown, a member of the Wasabi Warriors Paddling Team, explained that riches aren’t to be won in dragon boat racing ‚Äì teams simply race for fun and glory. To help cover expenses, the Wasabi Warriors sell canned nuts bearing their team’s name.

Each of the paddling clubs set up their own encampment at the park, lead their crews in stretch and flexibility exercises, and study the race standings.

Snapdragons’ Gloria Jones and “BJ” check the listings to find their team’s standing and see the time of their next race.

Race officials embrace technology
We found the race officials at the south end of the park.

“We do our best to accurately stage, time, and record the outcome of each race,” said race director, Joel Shilling, looking up from his computer screens. “The paddling clubs take this very seriously; so do the officials.”

Shilling told us he started dragon racing twelve years go. “The Sellwood race is relatively new. This is our second year here; I think we’ll be back.”

Race director Joel Shilling works with a crew of volunteers to stage, time, and accurately record the results of each race.

In addition to the Portland-area paddling clubs’ competition, the culmination of a racing series, the Northwest Challenge, was also underway. “During the season,” Shilling explained, “we hold races in Oregon and Washington. We’ll find out who the regional winner is today.”

The portable radios crackled, as water-borne officials radioed that the competitors’ boats were in position. At the firing of a starter’s pistol, forty paddlers strain against the water to move their boat across the finish line first.

A camera at the finish line eliminates arguments over who won the race. In this race, the Sun Dragons beat team Wicked Kaldzone by a mere tenth of a second.

“We have, as our vision,” Shilling told us, “promoting fitness and friendship through paddle sports. These races give everybody the chance to see how much their fitness has improved over the summer paddling season. It’s a fun way to get in shape.”

Picture yourself here! Paddlers say they this is the most fun way to exercise!

Want to learn more? See their website at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/DragonSports.USA

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Careless drivers do more than wreck vehicles. Look what happened when a reportedly-speeding truck blows a red light and nearly kills the driver and passenger of a van …

Witnesses say a large truck hit the Qwest van so hard, it skidded over 100 feet before stopping at the curb.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
“I was waiting to cross the street,” Sammy Harris told us, “and the driver of the big truck over didn’t even slow down for the red light. He slammed into the van so hard, the ladder and pieces flew off everywhere.”

The accident at SE 72nd Ave at Duke St. was more than a fender-bender. “This could have been a fatal accident,” reported the traffic officer on duty.

On October 4, about 2:00 p.m., a truck, reportedly owned by Metro Interiors, was going southbound on 72nd Ave. Witnesses said the big hauling truck was going fast — really fast — before it blew through a red traffic signal light at SE Duke St.

Sadly, that intersection wasn’t empty.

Unfortunately for the driver and passenger of a van, operated by Qwest Communications, they were – at that moment – eastbound on SE Duke St., through a green light.

Rescue workers had to use the “Jaws of Life” to remove the driver.

The Qwest van was struck on the driver’s side with a shuttering blow. The impact was so severe, the Qwest truck skids sideways, south from the point of impact, well over 100 feet according to our unofficial measurement.

Within minutes, Portland Fire & Rescue crews were on scene, using the Hurst Tool (Jaws of Life) to extricate the driver of the Qwest truck.

Another vehicle, a white Pontiac hatchback, was facing north, stopped on SE 72nd Ave at the red light at Duke. The big truck tore off the front, passenger side quarter-panel of the vehicle.

The driver of this vehicle says she’s lucky to walk away, or even be alive, after the two wrecked trucks skidded in her direction.

“It happened so quickly,” the shaken hatchback driver told us. “It’s like the big truck and the Qwest van split; they slid by both sides of me.”

The driver, who asked not to be identified, said she wasn’t injured. “I got out of my car and went over to the truck that got hit. I saw the woman in the Qwest truck. She didn’t look so good. I feel so bad for her and hope she’s OK.”

The impact of this large truck on both the Qwest van, curb and shrubs looks like it pushed the front axel backward two feet.

The driver of the big truck was cited for “Failure to obey a Traffic Control Device.” New privacy laws affecting hospitals prevent our learning the condition of the victims in this crash.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000
if you help police find his killer …

Police say this man, 57-year-old Ronald Lee McClanahan, was murdered in his home on SE 141st Ave. Can you help find his killer?

By David F. Ashton
Police say an otherwise nice Sunday, September 24, was the last day on earth for a Southeast Portland man.

East Precinct officers discovered the body of 57-year-old Ronald Lee McClanahan inside his residence at 3515 SE 141st Ave just before 8:00 p.m.

Police say McClanahan died from blunt force trauma and his death. Their ruling: homicide.

We don’t know much about McClanahan. He was said to frequented taverns and convenience stores within walking distance to his home, befriending many people he met along the way. Sometimes, he invited them back to his home.

Detectives need help in locating anyone who knew McClanahan or saw him prior to his death.

Burn a murderer, get a grand
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or any unsolved felony, and you remain anonymous.  Call Crime Stoppers at (503) 823-HELP (4357).

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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