See photos of East Portland Chamber of Commerce members having fun, while they support a fellow Chamber member at their “BBQ-4-Bob” ‚Ķ

Holly Moss, Richard Kiely and Julia Farman ‚Äì the organizers of the BBQ-4-Bob event ‚Äì pause, after receiving a warm round of applause for their efforts. See the “Photo Album” below ‚Ķ

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Through hard work, Bob Hodges and Margaret Erikson took a building that was once a bank branch, then a failed teen club, and turned it into a first-class destination for both barbecue and blues music.

The great tastes and sounds we’re writing about are in Parkrose, at Beale Street NW, 10721 NE Sandy Blvd. (just east of Parkrose Hardware).

Even more, Bob and Margaret opened their hearts, and restaurant by organizing one of the most-successful-ever hurricane Katrina relief efforts, benefiting NW Medical teams.

When Bob became ill, and was in the hospital for weeks undergoing major surgery, his friends from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce threw a BBQ & Blues for Bob event on June 29.

Richard “When it comes to printing, if its somewhere in the ballpark, it’s not a home run” Kiely, of Home Run Graphics–the event’s chief organizer–said, “I felt the urge to help Bob and Margaret. So, with help from our Chamber friends, we put on the party.”

In all, the event raised $3,425 ‚Äì and boosted Bob’s spirits.

Photo Album
Take a look at the fun this Chamber group had while supporting their friend!

It wasn’t all “giving”. Guests at Beal St. NW also “got” their fill of the finest barbecue in the Pacific Northwest ‚Äì from ribs, to sausage, to chicken and brisket ‚Äì they dined on meat so good it didn’t need sauce (but the sauce was great!). The “fixins” included their famous corn bread muffins, corn-on-the-cob, salads, and more.

A separate raffle held at the event was for a Fender Stratocaster Guitar, supplied and donated by the event’s main sponsor, Home Run Graphics. The lucky winner, Holly Moss (of The Bookkeeping Company), donated the fine musical instrument to Richard Kiely. Holly has a beautiful singing voice; guess she didn’t want learn to play an “ax”!  Richard was thrilled.

Prize packages galore! Participants were treated to nine big bundles of joy, each of which included restaurant coupons, candies, and an unusual battery-operated device.

Sandra (of The Bookkeeping Company) won the dream vacation lodging package supplied by Frank Ryan from NW Senior News.

In all, more than 120 people came to the party/fund-raiser and enjoyed food, fun and music.

Richard presents Margaret and Bob with a check for the proceeds of the event at a recient East Portland Chamber of Commerce “Good Morning East Portland” event.

Learn more
You can find out more about the this group by checking out their web site at

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

For over thirty years, Bill Dayton has been associated with great pizza at his SE 122nd Ave. and Division St. Pizza Baron store. But today, his motor-head friends all came over for a great parking-lot car show …

The heat of the day didn’t keep away some of the hottest cars in town on June 25!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Before noon, the parking lot of the shopping center SE 122nd Ave. and Division St. was full. Amazing, because almost all of the stores are closed on Sunday!

Why? The event was the The Pizza Baron Cruise In 2006.

Charlene Mersereau shows off her 1966 Cobra to Bill Dayton. “”I like the interior of the car,” she told us. “The stereo is great. And oh yes, I also love the motor. It drives great!”

Hosted by Classic Rides, the car club gave away dozens of great door prizes, dash plaques and trophies as “Joey’s Cruise-in Show” played the oldies and entertained both car owners and onlookers.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Looking at these photos, it’s hard to believe anyone survived this crash. But click “more” and learn how this family survived a horrendous crash ‚Ķ

Cops and rescuers agreed – without restraints the occupants of this smashed van would be dead, or seriously injured.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the middle of the afternoon of June 24, a family was driving down SE Foster Road, heading out to do some Saturday afternoon shopping.

As they neared SE 86th Avenue, a hot-shot driver passed against a double yellow line, forcing the van to swerve. It collided with a wooden utility pole with such force, it knocked a transformer loose.

But, at the scene of this horrific wreck, Portland Fire & Rescue workers were standing around, with smiles on their faces. “I know it’s hard to believe, David, but none of the adults, nor children, were injured. They walked away,” a firefighter told us.

Their van was a total loss — the entire front end wiped out. But, they all walked away. As a cop said, “Seat belts do save lives.”

An East Precinct Portland Police officer told us all of the occupants had been wearing safety belts, and the kids were correctly buckled into their car seats. “We say it over and over ‚Äì because it is the truth ‚Äì ‘Seat Belts Save Lives’.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The piles of cargo – crushed cars and trucks –
made the crash scene look even more surreal and rescuers try in vain to find victims …

From above, below and beside the wreck, Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Police work swiftly, but carefully, to locate the driver, and any other possible victims.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Members of Portland Fire & Rescue Stations 12 and 2 work diligently ‚Äì and carefully ‚Äì to locate the driver of a semi-truck under the hot afternoon sun. It isn’t easy.

The cab of the truck is smashed between the bridge and its load of crushed vehicles, which shifted forward. The scene testifies to the violent nature of this July 7 crash on Marine Dr. at I-205. A fire bureau spokesperson said they wouldn’t give up until they found either survivors or deceased.

It took massive tow trucks to pull the wreckage back from the bridge to look for survivors – or victims.

Why this horrendous wreck occurred is just not clear…but what happened, is.

Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division’s Lt. Mark Kruger informs us eyewitnesses reported that a truck and trailer stacked with crushed cars was westbound on Marine Drive just before noon on Friday the 7th.

For reasons unknown, the westbound truck veered across the highway at NE 112th Ave., crossing into the eastbound lane and jumping the curb. “We don’t see any skid marks,” Kruger tells us, looking at the pavement. “The driver could have fallen asleep, or had a medical problem ‚Äì we just don’t know.”

The truck and trailer jump the curb at NE 112th Avenue, mow down a wooden utility pole, snapping it off cleanly at the base. The rig continues at break-neck speed up the embankment toward the I-205 onramp bridge from westbound Airport Way.

You can see the front wheels of the truck tractor under the bridge. Authorities say the impact of the crash flattened the cab from the front–then the load shifted forward, crushing the cab from behind.

A traffic officer, walking back from a close-up look, told us, “It’s hard to tell what kind of truck it was. The front wheels went just under the bridge, but the cab didn’t. The load of crushed cars came forward and destroyed the cab.”

Power utility, water and communications workers examine the damaged lines and pipes severed in the collision.

ODOT workers told us they didn’t see any major structural damage to the viaduct, but pipes and conduit just under the lip of the bridge were severed or damaged.

Marine Drive remained closed into the evening hours as the body of the driver was removed from scene, the wreckage was cleared, and repairs to the pipes and conduit made.

The deceased driver was subsequently reported as a 49-year-old man from Caldwell, Idaho.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

This couple had it all planned out: Steal merchandise from the store, run outside and make a clean get-away car. Read why this suspect is now facing some REAL jail time …

The store closed early as police investigate what they called a shoplifting gone bad.

Police gather evidence at the Mall 205 Target store. Police say after he allegedly robbed the store, he stabbed a Target employee while trying to make his getaway. He didn’t get far.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Workers said the warm, Friday night of June 30 was pretty much like any other.

Then, it happened. Target’s Loss Prevention employees contacted 31-year-old Rogelio Perez and 25-year-old Elizabeth Dora Tate as they were leaving the store with what was said to be stolen property.

Perez began to struggle with 26-year-old Trevor Collin and other Target employees. Tate fled the store and hopped into a get-away car in the parking lot. In the midst of what was described as a violent struggle, Collin received a non-life-threatening stab wound to the neck area.

Perez eventually broke free, sprinted to the get-away car and the alleged partners-in-crime sped away.

But, with a description of the car in hand, sharp-eyed East Precinct officers spotted the car within minutes. Officers followed the suspects as they drove into an apartment complex parking lot in the 2300 block of Southeast 111th Avenue.

Portland Police Cadets and officers look for evidence outside the Target store.

Once in the apartment building lot, Perez fled on foot and Tate surrendered. During the subsequent foot pursuit Sergeant Mike Krantz, a 34-year-old 12-year member of the Portland Police Bureau, broke his leg as jumped over a fence.

Rogelio Perez was charged with Robbery in the First Degree and Assault in the Second Degree, and Elizabeth Dora Tate who was charged with Robbery in the First Degree.

Both Collin and Sergeant Krantz are recovering from their injuries.

We couldn’t resist taking this photo ‚Ķ

While other stations were preparing to go on the air with their mobile newsrooms, we snapped this photo of Gary, a veteran news videographer for KOIN-6, discovering his signal was blocked by Mt. Tabor. The other stations’ trucks have very tall, extendable “stinger” masts, high enough to clear obstructions.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why, even in the sweltering early-summer heat, 180 people walked and jogged on hot asphalt to raise money for a worthy scholarship program …

Sandi Dykes (right side of track) cheers on some of the many participants at the Annual Adventist Medical Center Heart and Lung Walk on June 25.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
At 11 am on June 25, it was already warm. No ‚Äì it was hot ‚Äì in the upper 80s. Yet, there they were, “warming up” and walking the black tar track at Floyd Light Middle school.


“We’re having a Heart Lung Walk to celebrate our cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients,” explained spokesperson Sandi Dykes. “The event also helps raise money for a scholarship fund.”

With the way insurance and Medicare reimbursement works, Dykes explained, some diagnoses, such as exercise classes for heart failure, surprisingly, aren’t covered. Nor are some of the pulmonary diagnoses.

“We never turn a patient away,” Dykes continue. “Adventist Medical Center has a wonderful mission. This helps heart or lung patients, who can’t otherwise afford it, pay their way to continue in exercise and educational programs. We hope to raise $16,000 from the event.”

Even though the temperature continued to quickly rise, their spirits stayed up. Even in the heat, it was clear these people wanted to participate and make a difference

You can help
Call (503) 251-6260 and make a donation – or learn more!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Did you know the 100-year old Rossi Farm still grows and sells their crops within the City of Portland? Click “MORE” below and see the story below about how this family also helps to raise good citizens ‚Ķ

The “Rossi Posse” wants to see YOU at this year’s Barn Bash on July 8!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The 100-year-old working farm, across the street from Parkrose High, grows more than crops. It also supports programs to grow kids into good citizen adults by providing youngsters with wholesome activities.

Because funds for student activities have dwindled over the years, Joe Rossi–third-generation farmer of Rossi Farms–started the non-profit Parkrose Youth Activities Fund.

Holding an annual “Barn Bash” is the way Rossi, as well as his father, Aldo Rossi, and eleven other sponsoring businesses raise money for the Youth Activities Fund each year. Last year’s Barn Bash generated $17,000 for the fund.

Chicken dinner for 2,000
Talk to any of the 1,700 guests who came last year, and you’ll hear it’s the best party in East Portland. The Parkrose Lions Club’s secret-recipe barbecued chicken is so hot, tender and tasty that this all-you-can-eat feast brings back folks year after year. “We’re hoping for 2,000 guests this year,” Rossi says.

During the second weekend in July, in the height of their growing season, the Rossi Farm’s public produce store closes down for four days to get ready for the Barn Bash.

The store is transformed into a western dance hall featuring “The Last Rodeo Band” and Widmer Brothers no-host beer garden; the back lot into a wild-west live action show set; and most of the parking lot into a huge, tented outdoor dining area.

Later in the evening, guests sit on hay bales and enjoy the premi?®re of a new film by written, directed and starring Parkrose High students, “The New Legend of Nick Rose” in the outdoor theater.

Don’t miss the big event of the summer season in outer East Portland!

9th Annual Rossi Barn Bash
July 8, 2006; 6 pm – Midnight ~ Dinner served between 6 – 8 p.m.
at Rossi Farms; 3839 NE 122nd Ave., Portland OR 97230

Benefits non-profit Parkrose Youth Activities League

This event includes:
+ All-you-can-eat Parkrose Lions Chicken BBQ Dinner with all the fixin’s
+ Wild West live action show;
+ Live country music featuring The Last Rodeo Band;
+ No-host beer and wine, featuring Widmer Bros. brew;
+ Premi?®re of a new film by Parkrose High School students.

Important: This event is for adults 21 years and older
Cost: Just $12 per person.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

And no, there isn’t a fine for not bringing them back. See how Multnomah County Animal Services folks are working to put the perfect purrrrr into loving arms ‚Ķ

Young JJ Jacobs is checking out the kitty held by MCAS volunteer Donna Hostler during an adopt-a-pet outreach program at Midland Library.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
You don’t have to go all the way out the Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) to find the “right” dog or cat for your home. Now, MCAS has started an outreach program they call “Adopt-A-Pet” ‚Äì and they’re taking critters out to meet people.

In June, we caught up with MCAS coordinator Katie Hill at Midland Library, on SE 122nd Ave. south of Stark. “We have kittens, a cat and dogs for people to meet. We also talk about responsible pet ownership. We want the kids to learn to be responsible from a young age.”

Not just anyone can take home a dog or cat. “We want people who will be good owners. These animals all lost their home; we’re looking for people who want to integrate an companion animal in their home.”

Attracting the most attention were the kitties. Donna Hostler has volunteered as a “foster care mom” for sick kittens for over two years. She was showing several of her favorites to folks who came by. “I love the animals. It is a good feel situation when I do it. I work with many of the helpless kittens that are out there to bring them to back to good health.”

Hostler showed off a white, regular domestic shorthair kitten. “Isn’t he beautiful? Look at the little smidge of black on his head.”

See for yourself on July 15
Meet your new companion pet at Midway Library ‚Äì When the stresses of a world in turmoil or merely a bad day at the office threaten to overwhelm, help is just a cat-in-the-lap away. Feline therapy eases anxiety by lowering blood pressure and releasing “feel good” endorphins.

At this time of year when animal shelters are over-flowing with cats of all ages, there has never been a better time to adopt a feline therapist and let a cat heal your heart.

Meet and adopt MCAS Foster Cats/Kittens and dogs between 1-3 pm at Midland Library/Midland Park 805 SE 122nd Ave.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

If you couldn’t be at the Grand Opening, not long ago, see what you missed. And, learn what makes this housing development rather unique in East Portland.

Representing the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, Lori Chance presented Heights at Columbia Knoll owners with an official welcoming scroll. She proclaimed, “This is a wonderful and beautiful facility. We’re thrilled to have you as part of the community. We welcome you to East Portland!”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For many youngsters and teenagers today, the ancient looking Georgian-style building set on the knoll at the corner of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Sandy Blvd. just looked like a creepy haunted house.

Prior to 1983 that building ‚Äì the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children ‚Äì served polio victims; and later young burn victims and those needing orthopedic care for sixty years. While many uses for the ten-acre site were floated, a residential development called Heights at Columbia Knoll finally got the nod from the city.

Visiting the Heights at Columbia Knoll’s grand opening are Betty Dominguez State Housing Dept; Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten, Bill Parsons, Portland Development Commission (PDC) chair, Andy Wilch, housing director at PDC.

Ribbon cutting starts an all-day party
After year of building, the project officially opened its doors on June 9 with a grand celebration featuring speeches, music, food and fun.

As East Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors stand ready for the ribbon cutting, Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten said he admired the use the developers made of this location.

Their event started with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Portland’s commissioner in charge of housing, Erik Stin told eastPDXnews in an exclusive interview, “This is a sign that the neighborhood is becoming revitalized. What we have here is a ‘community’ within a neighborhood. There are seniors, very young in day care, and low income people at this facility. I love it that people of all generations can live in one place. It is such a gorgeous spot; it will become one of Portland’s favorite places.”

Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, dignitaries and guests gathered as the “official” ribbon is about to be cut by one of Heights at Columbia Knoll’s owners, Mark Miller.

Not fully satisfied, Miller, readied to a second ribbon for cutting made of blue tape. “We use this blue tape to mark things the contractors need to fix. They’ve done a great job and, by cutting the blue tape, we’re letting them know how much we appreciate their workmanship.”

After the ribbon cutting, Miller told us, “For seniors, this kind of housing development is unusual. It allows people 75 to 90 seniors to live in a luxury style, even if their means are 60% of the median income. Lower income seniors, on fixed income, can have some very fine housing and common elements.”

In total, the development will house 208 seniors and provide 118 family units.

Reception provides hospitality for all

EPCC Ambassador Chair Holly Moss stands with Heights at Columbia Knoll’s first senior residents, Vic and Madeline Bloomquist, as they pause for a photo with son, Wes Crank, before enjoying a banquet catered by the facilities food service staff.

Throughout the senior housing building, the staff of Heights at Columbia Knoll arranged entertainment and activities for all who attended.

Master magician Adam the Great entertains with his comedy magic, performed up-close, at guests tables.

An ice carving serves as the centerpiece that graces the grand buffet table at the Heights at Columbia Knoll grand opening.

In their main dining room, full-course hot dinner was served to all of their guests. It was clear, all who attended this grand opening had a grand good time.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Through the hard work of its dedicated volunteers, see how Zenger Farm’s building program is progressing ‚Äì and learn more about their unique urban farm summer camp program for kids ‚Ķ

Zenger Farm board members Michelle Peterman and Eileen Brady are two of many volunteers who work to make this unique urban farm into a showplace teaching facility. Read on, and learn why Zenger is so important to them.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Those who have followed our reporting know of our fascination with Zenger Farm.

For those who don’t, Zenger is a combination of a working, urban farm, community garden, wetland reclamation project ‚Äì and agrarian learning center for kids.

Teaching kids were food comes from
Why do hundreds of folks, and their companies, volunteer to improve Zenger Farm and keep it running? The best answers come from their volunteer board members:

“I’m passionate about kids and food,” is how Michelle Peterman explains her interest. “I want kids to learn how they get their food. Ask kids where their food comes from, they typically say, ‘from the grocery store’. Kids learn how to make better choices about the food they eat, when they know where their food comes from.”

And, as another Zenger Farm board member, Eileen Brady, puts it, “You know your doctor and dentist, but do you know your farmer, fisher, and rancher? These people are producing the food we put in our bodies. We had 2,000 kids at the farm last year. We’d like to get every child in Portland to, at least, touch the soil on a farm. As we increase transparency from farm to table, it helps people build connections between their health, nutrition, and ecology. It strengthens the urban/rural partnerships and regional food economy.”

Farm reception is good

Melissa Peterson, owner of Wild Plum Catering ( serves up tasty dishes for friends of the farm at a June reception. The hit was her Vegetable Strudel with roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, fresh herbs, local goat cheese. “Summer is just a great time for cooks who love farm-fresh vegetables,” she says.

We caught up with Zenger Farm’s director, Wisteria Loeffler, at a spring reception during June. Hundreds of adults and kids swarmed over the nearly-completed farm house renovation.

The Cole Family Band plays traditional tunes, filling the air with music during the spring farm reception.

“As the growing season begins,” Loeffler tells us, “This is a fun event; opening the farm to the families and friends of our supporters. We’ve been under construction for a couple of years and we’re about ready to move into our next phase.

Farm Summer Camp about to begin

Do kids like coming to learn about agriculture at Zenger Farm? Frances McClain and Lilly Rogers certainly do!

The theme of the 2006 Zenger Summer Day Camp series is “Connecting kids to the food they eat”.

Kids will have the unique opportunity to:
> Spend a week on a working urban farm learning where their food comes from;
> Get their hands dirty working in the Kids’ Garden and helping our farmer tend her fields;
> Pick snacks from heirloom fruit trees and harvest vegetables for lunch;
> Learn how to make nature journals and go on a field trip to a farm outside of the city to see how other farmers grow their food
> Make lunch, with help from a professional chef, from ingredients they harvested themselves. A nutritious snack and lunch is provided everyday

Spaces are filling fast! Call now to reserve your child’s spot.

Session 1
Boys & Girls, ages 6-8
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 21

Session 2
Boys & Girls, ages 9-12
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, July 31 – Friday, August 4

The cost is $200/session. Note: A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. The camps are located at Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Road.

To Register, or for more information, or to register your camper today, contact Sara Cogan, Education Coordinator, at (503)282-4245, or

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See the man for whom the David Douglas High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center was named oompah out tunes, playing a classic Sousaphone ‚Ķ

Starting the evening’s program, backed up by the East County Symphony Orchestra, Mary Lou Cosby’s professional and cultured voice sings the National Anthem.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hundreds filed into David Douglass High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center on June 9 to hear the East County Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Concert.

The nearly sold-out house on June 9 was treated to marches, romantic tunes, country melodies, selections from “My Fair Lady”, swing music and even spirituals.

The man behind the building
What many people don’t know is that the individual for whom the theater is named plays each concert, sitting in the back row of the band!

Dr. Howard Horner toots out the bass line playing the Sousaphone at the summer concert of the East County Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Howard Horner was David Douglas High School’s first Principal. The respected educator went on to become the Superintendent of the district before retiring. Horner is credited with establishing the district’s conservative financial approach ‚Äì one that has allowed it to survive the lean funding years, without cutting programs.

A firm believer in arts education, Horner wanted to see the school have a first-class performing arts center. After it was constructed, and the school district’s officers named it after Horner.

At a break in the concert, we asked Horner why he was sitting in the back row of the orchestra. “I love to play the Sousaphone, and this is where we sit! I like playing this kind of music. And, I keep coming back because they tolerate me!”

Horner says he’s been involved on the orchestra since its inception “That’s back quite a number of years. It was founded by Harold Webber 26 years ago. Our current director, Jack Mahoney, is excellent. He’s a fine person, and very good with music and people.”

While the orchestra is comprised mainly of senior-citizen musicians, Horner told us they also have young people playing specialty instruments. “But, one of our clarinet players is 92 years old; many of us are on the high side of 70.  This is a good opportunity for seniors to play and enjoy music.”

Be watching for the Winter Concert of this fine East Portland musical organization.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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