Usually, Mayor Tom Potter is called upon to speak when he appears at events throughout the city. But find out what he learned from his “10 Minutes with Tom” session in inner SE Portland ‚Ķ

Neighbor Thomas Walsh gets his “10 Minutes with Tom” Potter at the SMILE Station on November 18. He brought up noise in city parks, and encouraged the city to use ecological friendly products in city projects.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Usually, when Mayor Tom Potter makes an appearance outside of City Hall, he makes a speech or proclamation. But, when he visited the SMILE Station on November 18, he was there to listen.

With a staff member at his side taking notes, Potter spent the morning in Sellwood giving area residents the chance to have “10 Minutes with Tom” to vent their concerns, make suggestions, or praise the city’s administration.

Mayor Potter, and his next citizen, Thomas Walsh, allowed us to check in and learn what he’d heard that he found interesting.

Community Center funding
“It is all interesting,” the Mayor began. “What I like about this is, I learn so much more about what is going on than I’d learn sitting behind my desk.

“One issue that has come up is about funding for the community center. A year or so ago, the City Council decided they’d like communities to provide more financial support for community centers.

“So, Sellwood has been struggling with that issue. They devised a couple of plans they wanted to talk about. One is to have the city provide an endowment for the center. It would draw the interest that could be used to offset the cost of the facility. Commissioner Saltzman and I will meet with some the representatives of the community to talk about it. I reminded them that if we do this for the SMILE Station, we’ll have to do it for all the community centers. That gets to be expensive.”

Focus on the Sellwood Bridge
“Another thing we’ve heard about is the Sellwood Bridge. As you know, the structure is slowly moving ‚Äì shifting ‚Äì and starting to have structural problems. It has to be replaced.

“With what it will be replaced is of great concern to this community. One of the things I’ve heard indicates much of the bridge’s traffic starts in Clackamas County, not Sellwood.

Neighbor fumes over odors
“There is an industrial site in Sellwood emitting some noxious fumes that a number of people in the neighborhood are concerned about. It’s making their eyes water.”

Their concern, he added, is there might be health hazards from the fumes. “We’ll be talking to the owners of the facility and see if there can be a cleaner on their exhaust system. If not we’ll try to work with DEQ to fix the problem.”

Neighbors tell Potter that out-of-town relatives said they couldn’t believe an ordinary citizen could talk with the mayor of a large city like they can here in Portland.

Says talk with mayor unique in big cities
Not all of what Mayor Potter said he heard was gripes or problems.

“A man came in with his son, this morning. They’d had a family council last night. They discussed what to talk with me about. A family member from Syracuse, NY was listening in, and commented that it was ‘interesting that out here on Portland, Oregon, that the mayor would meet with people’ to talk problems and issues they identified were important.”

As it turned out, the mayor related, this father and son were also worried about the future of the Sellwood Bridge. “They were also concerned about increasing traffic in their neighborhood. When the Springwater Corridor Trail was put in, it increased the bicycles in Sellwood. So, the conflict between bicycles and cars has increased. They’ve noticed near-accidents. Their request was to see if speed bumps or stop signs could help.”

With that, the mayor went “back to work”, listening to, and learning from, some of the people he governs.

© 2006-7 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Operate a business southern outer East Portland? See why you might consider dropping by the next Midway Business Association meeting on January 9 …

APNBA president Pat Donaldson came by to tell the group about new grant programs available to help business districts grow and prosper.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
More and more business people, located in the southern portion of outer East Portland, are making their voices heard by supporting Midway Business Association.

But, this association isn’t just about taking. Come to their next luncheon meeting and you’ll probably learn something you can use in your business.

At their last meeting, for example, members got an update on their business district sign program from president Donna Dionne. She said they were working with both PDOT and ODOT to get the boundary signs, identifying their service area, in place.

Funds for the signs, she said, came through a grant program designed to help people more closely identify their business district with the neighborhood.

Association news
Patrick Donaldson talked about the Affiliation of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations’ (APNBA) new grant program, and helped the Midway business people formulate plans to utilize a second round of grants provided by the city. “My organization,” Donaldson related, “the Hollywood Boosters, face the same challenges as Midway.”

Donaldson said the, APNBA, the umbrella association for neighborhood business groups across the city, hopes to grow. “We plan to be self-sustaining within the next three to five years,” he said.

Telling members how domestic violence hurts businesses as well as individuals, Jill Rachel shares information gathered from her work in the field for the past 20 years.

Quelling violence
Jill Rachel, with the Multnomah County Family Violence Council, spoke regarding domestic violence.

Rachel said one in three women will be a domestic violence victim. “I was a victim. It is a prevalent problem. But, many people don’t talk about it.”

Physical violence, such as being punched, choked, or having hair pulled is typically reported. “But often the ongoing emotional abuse, which can be worse, never makes it into the statistics.”

The cycle of domestic problems
Rachel said that most violent relationships don’t improve on their own. “There is a cycle: People are happy, then tensions build, violence breaks out, and then comes apologetic behavior.”

Most men abuse women for a number of reasons, she told the group. Sometimes it’s due to alcohol drug or anger issues. “But it boils down to this: People who abuse other people lack self control of their own lives. They feel like the gain control of their own lives by controlling another person.”

Workplace repercussions
“75% of women work. Many women, who are in an abusive relation, report that they are harassed at work. Domestic violence causes increased business healthcare premium costs, loss in productivity and absenteeism. This can reduce the productivity of other staff members.”

Chance of being killed higher if they leave is hire than if they stay. Afraid, scared, ashamed. Most of the guys can act charming. They get away with it.

Rachel suggest employers develop a domestic violence workplace policy. “Using posters and flyers, try to be understanding and supportive, letting workers you know that domestic violence a crime.”

Other actions employers can take is to refer affected employees to services designed to help the victims.

Make life less taxing
Come on January 7 and learn how to minimize your taxes in 2007!  Stop by Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron on SE 122nd Avenue at Division Street at 11:45 a.m. to network, learn and support your local business district.

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See how the songs and stories of these volunteer entertainers brightened the holidays for some of East Portland’s elderly ‚Ķ

Kevin Minkoff–the producer, MC, and entertainer–was joined by Forrest Palamountain, Nancy Chapin, chamber president Greg Zuffrea, and Frank Ryan, as they performed holiday favorites for CherryWood residents.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
A volunteer group of entertainers from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce–The East Portland Minstrels–took the stage at Cherrywood Village on December 16.

The show’s producer, CPA Kevin Minkoff (not your ordinary bean counter), was the master of ceremonies; he also sang Christmas tunes, and kibitzed with the other performers.

Nancy Chapin, of The Support Group, expressively performed a reading giving convincing reasons to believe that why, yes, there is a Santa Claus. The Chamber’s president, Greg Zuffrea, of BC Graphics, told the story of how the Grinch couldn’t steal Christmas from the citizens of Whoville.

Also telling stories and singing songs was the incomparable raconteur Frank Ryan, of NW Senior & Boomer News. His tales and tunes left smiles all around.

And, adding some real class to the program was violinist Forrest Palamountain, son of chamber member Jill Palamountain, who is with Action International. This young man’s dedication to music showed brilliantly in his flawless performance of classical music.

Want to learn more about the East Portland Chamber of Commerce? Check out their web site:

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

After growing for 85 years in Southeast Portland, the removal of this Giant Sequoia was not easy task …

For longer than eight decades, this Giant Sequoia has been an Eastmoreland landmark.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Dying trees having to be removed aren’t much of a story. But when building contractor Michael Harding alerted us that a Giant Sequoia was about to be removed, we took a look.

“Marian Bowman and her family moved here for over two decades ago,” Harding told us. But she wasn’t home today: “She couldn’t stay here and watch her favorite tree being cut down.”

Harding said the homeowner had spent thousands of dollars over the years in an attempt to save the tree. But, both the city and neighbors were concerned because branches kept falling off and showing other signs of disease.

Next door neighbor Candace Primack and her daughter Rachel say they’re sad to see the giant tree removed.

Concerned about the tree toppling
“We could see the base of the giant tree from our window,” said next-door-neighbor Candace Primack. “I remember how fun it was to look out and see the huge trunk, covered with snow in the winter, or surrounded with plants in the summer. It’s something you’d expect to see in a forest.”

But, more and more, the limbs were dying, Primack stated. And it’s started to lean ‚Äì toward their home ‚Äì markedly over the past two years. “Especially during a wind storm, it was a real concern. As large as it was, if it fell over, it would crush our house.”

Having lived there for 12 years, Primack said she and her family were sad to see the tree go. “It is a historical part of the neighborhood.”

“The owner told me many times that the bought the home mostly because of the tree. I know she loved it and is heartbroken that it has to come down. It makes me sad for her that it will be gone,” the neighbor commented to us, as she watched workers saw off the Giant Sequoia’s remaining branches.

Arborist Tim Beiswanger (standing) works out a strategy for removing the tree safely with the massive crane’s operator.

Huge crane removes Giant Sequoia – in sections
“This Giant Sequoia used to be 180 feet tall,” said Tim Beiswanger, a “high climber”, in charge of safely removing the tree.

About 85 years ago, Beiswanger said, a botanist came up from California and brought Sequoia starts with him. “He’s the reason there are Giant Sequoias around here.”

Beiswanger agreed it’s sad to see any old-growth tree removed. “But I do get a kick out of doing high climbing. It’s quite a view up there. I can see downtown Portland, Mt. Hood, and Mount St. Helens from the top.”

The arborist explained that the Sequoia has been dying slowly, from the top down. “Now that it has started to lean over, it’s time to remove it before it causes serious damage.”

A huge crane on a massive truck rumbled through the neighborhood. It took hours for the operators to set stabilizing jacks, put on the counterweights, and prepare for the lift.

After part of the trunk was hooked onto the crane’s lift line, the arborist cut off a section.

Beiswanger scampered up the tree’s towering trunk and set the choker — a loop that secured the tree to the crane’s lift line. He a chain-sawed portion off the tree, and the crane lifted it, then deposited it in the bed of a waiting truck.

The immensity of the tree came into focus, as portions were lowered into a truck.

Within a few hours, the Sequoia was standing there no more. We were told the last section lifted out weighed in excess of 14,000 pounds.

Rings on the section close to the base of the trunk indicate rapid growth for most of its life in Eastmoreland.

Looking at the rings, Beiswanger pointed out that the tree grew about an inch in diameter every year for decades. “It still was growing about a half-inch a year.”

The tree will live on, as art, the arborist said; the wood is destined for a decorative carver located just south of Oregon City on Highway 99E.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Many people haven’t heard of, much less celebrate, “Bill of Rights Day”. See why freedom activist Renee Kimball took it upon herself to organize a party to celebrate the signing of the amendments to the US Constitution ‚Ķ

Party organizer Renee Kimball reads the Bill of Rights to a crowd packed in the museum at “The Bomber” restaurant.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
American people live to celebrate all kinds of events. Sellwood resident Renee Kimball says she doesn’t understand why folks don’t observe Bill of Rights Day. But she’s determined to change that.

“This little-known holiday,” Kimball tells us, “commemorates the signing of the first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution in 1791.”

We talk with Kimball at the Bill of Rights Day party she and her friends are throwing at The Bomber Restaurant’s “Wings of Freedom” aviation museum in Milwaukie on December 15. “It’s a fitting place, don’t you think?” she asks.

Most important to her, Kimball says, is that people understand that the Bill of Rights is the legal documentation that protects the freedoms and privileges enjoyed by United States citizens.

“There is big difference between a constitutional republic and a democracy,” Kimball explains. “Hitler and Mussolini were elected by democracies. The word ‘democracy’ isn’t in the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, nor Bill of Rights. It was not by accident our nation’s founders specifically created a constitutional republic.”

The year before, Kimball says, she celebrated the day by reading the Bill of Rights and handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution in a corner of Pioneer Memorial Square in downtown Portland.

“It occurred to me that people were more interested in enjoying their freedoms than learning how to protect them,” says Kimball. “So I decided to make a bigger deal out of it this year.”

Gordon Leitch tells the Bill of Rights Day celebrants the historical importance of the document.

Freedom fest at The Bomber
More than 50 people attended this year’s Bill of Rights Day party, the first event of its kind ever held in Oregon.

During the opening social hour, freedom revelers enjoyed a beautiful spread of finger food, talked, and explored the museum’s exhibits.

Then, the gathering sat to hear Gordon Leitch present a short history of the Bill of Rights. Kimball read the Bill of Rights to an attentive audience.

We rubbed our eyes to make sure we weren’t seeing ghosts, as Benjamin Franklin gets ready to step off the pages of history and into the celebration.

A special “mystery guest speaker” scheduled to close the ceremony was Ben Franklin himself, well portrayed by Steve Jordan, impersonator extraordinaire.

Plans are in place, Kimball tells us, to repeat and enlarge the celebration next year. For more information or to be invited next year, contact Kimball at 503-238-6973 or

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read why so many of Robbie Pfeifer’s friends will be saying their final good-byes at a service this weekend to this manm slain by a stranger with a gun ‚Ķ

Friends say Robbie Pfeifer was a regular fixture here at the “Wetlands”, playing pool and listening to music, after he worked his evening shift at the Parkrose Shari’s Restaurant.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
A disagreement between two women, late on Christmas night, turns into a scuffle at a landmark pub on outer SE Stark St., “Wetlands Public House”.

The physical altercation soon includes several individuals, police detectives say, and then — a 21-year-old man pulls a gun and shoots.

Police roll on-scene shortly after 1:30 a.m. and find 28-year-old Robert Carl Pfeifer, “Robbie” to all who speak of him, lying dead on the establishment’s floor.

Detectives interview 15 of the 40 or so people on hand to celebrate the end of Christmas Day at the Wetlands. After the questioning, Lai Ngoc Thach is taken away in handcuffs, charged with one count of Murder.

Sorrow felt throughout outer East Portland

Everyone with whom we spoke says Robbie Pfeifer was a big, loveable guy who tried to soothe and calm situations wherever he went. (Contributed photo)

Tears well up in the large, dark brown eyes of Candy Woods, a fellow employee at Shari’s Restaurant in Parkrose, as she starts to talk about Pfeifer.

The two were within a year of being the same age she said. They’d been classmates a decade ago at Parkrose High.

“Robbie was a loveable goofy guy. He’d do anything to help people who needed his help.”

Woods shows us a photo she’d recently taken of Pfeifer. “I just got the film processed today. I’m afraid it might have maple syrup on it,” she says with a faint smile. “It’s been passed around a lot here.”

She learned what happened to Pfeifer when she came to work the following day. “Everything just paused. I don’t know how to explain the feelings I felt. I said to myself, ‘No, I don’t think so. Not Robby.’ I called his home and ‚Ķ” her words trailed off.

A “gentle giant”, the 6′ 3″, 230-pound Pfeifer often stood tall, trying to calm tense situations, Woods tells us. “To be honest with you, he’d break up fights and get people to calm down even when we were in high school.”

A coworker adds, “Last year about this time, he got a black eye from trying to break up a fight.”

This simple sign on the door of the San Rafael Shari’s Restaurant in Parkrose marks the passing of a beloved coworker and employee.

Shari’s customer Frank Ryan tells us he’d been waited on by Robbie for quite some time. “He’d goof around and say things like, ‘Oh, you’re back again!’ He had a big, warm smile that made you feel like you were special.”

Employees talk at the end of the counter. The grief they express to one another shows on their faces. Heartfelt phrases like “They say only the good die young,” and “I can’t believe he won’t be walking through that door” hang in the air. His coworkers struggle to make sense out of a senseless act of violence.

His boss, talking to customer Ryan, says, “Robbie was a peacemaker. In this case, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Alleged killer held without bail

Homicide detectives say customers at the “Wetlands” pointed out 21-year-old Lai Ngoc Thach as the man who shot Pfeifer.

Police arrested Lai Ngoc Thach, who lives in outer East Portland, at 6:30 a.m. on December 26, and is held without bail at the Justice Center Jail on one count of murder. He was arraigned the following day.

Detectives believe there may have been up to 40 potential witnesses inside at the time of the shooting; however, many fled the scene prior to police arriving. Anyone with information to contribute is asked to call Detective Brian Grose at (503) 823-0757 or Detective Bryan Steed at (503) 823-0395.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

We were shocked to learn that Multnomah County Sheriff Office Deputies were rounding up 80 children and checking them into the Inverness Jail just before Christmas. Read this story see what we learned about this incredible occurrence …

Some of the many Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office workers who put this unique party together stand by the piles of gifts they’ve wrapped for their guests.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Having covered so many events in outer East Portland over the past years, we thought we’d seen everything.

But when Lt. Jason Gates, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) spokesman, told us their organization was about to throw a party for kids at Inverness — the county jail — we changed our plans for the day and accepted his invitation to see this event for ourselves.

In the slammer
Clang, clack ‚Äì the door securely closes after we check in at the county jail. It gave this seasoned reporter a queasy feeling. Before this moment, we’d never been inside our metropolis’ working jail.

Those unsettled feelings evaporated when we entered a large training room at the facility. We were warmly greeted by Sandy Kaufman, Sheriff’s Operations Supervisor, a civilian staff member.

Sheriff’s office tradition continues
“Welcome to our 17th annual Holiday Party for Homeless Children,” she said. “Every year, all of the Sheriff’s staff members, uniformed officers, and civilian staff members all get together to we throw a big Christmas party for the Community Transitional School.”

Kaufman explained that this school provides an education for children of homeless families. “Most of these kids only experience public safety personnel in a highly emotional situation. It’s important to let them know we are here to keep them safe.”

“Our staff members pick out tags and we buy gifts for the kids,” Kaufman told us. “They each get two toys and two articles of clothing.”

It is a rare and unique moment as we experience Inverness Jail boss, (Left) Captain Ray Adgers, and (Center) Sheriff Bernie Giusto singing in harmony the holiday classic, “Jingle Bells”.

Mid-morning on December 15, the big jail bus pulls up to Inverness, and 80 bright-eyed kids pour out and into the training room, decorated in holiday colors. Student mentors from Wilson High School arrived with the youngsters, and helped out at the event.

MCSO Captain Ray Adgers, head of the Inverness Jail and the event’s Master of Ceremonies, got the festivities quickly underway by leading everyone in a round of Christmas carols.

Sheriff Bernie Giusto conducts a “Junior Sheriff’s Deputy swearing-in ceremony” that ends with the words “‚Ķ and to tell everyone my favorite color is ‚Ķ green!”

International comedy star rocks jailhouse

Showing off one his lesser skills, Rhys Thomas juggles six balls.

Then, Rhys Thomas, an internationally known comedy juggler, took center stage.

He may look like an ordinary juggler, but Thomas’ unique routines, comedic comments, and theatrical timing kept both adults and their guests in stitches.

Lunch and a visit from ‘The Big Guy’
After the show, the young guests were treated to a lunch featuring Izzy’s Pizza, and a visit by “The Big Guy” himself ‚Äì and we don’t mean the sheriff.

Santa Claus made his entrance, sat on his throne, and talked with each the kids. Then, the sheriff’s office volunteers bestowed upon the children their gifts.

Why do they do it?

“These children would not have a Christmas without us,” Kaufman explained. “And, it’s our special way of giving back to our community we serve.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The 25 mph speed limit doesn’t slow drivers in a hurry; neighbors hope speed bumps will do the trick ‚Ķ

Traffic really flies along S.E. 41st Avenue, even when volunteers are out there urging drivers to slow down.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When Joe Macca called saying there was a problem with speeders along his street, he wasn’t kidding.

So, Macca and his neighbors held a “Safety Dance” event to gain attention to the problem. When we visited them, they weren’t dressed as “Men Without Hats” devotees, but were clad in yellow as they held up signs that read “SLOW” and “25 MPH“.

Their efforts made little difference on this day. Vehicles whizzed past us at astonishing speeds, estimated as fast as 40 mph.

Suzann Taylor, Joe Macca, and (behind the sign) Ryan Paulsen do the “Safety Dance“, trying to get traffic to slow down ‚Äì and to raise funds for speed bumps.

“Along S.E. 41st Avenue, between S.E. Steele and Holgate,” Macca told us, “drivers go dangerously fast. They really pick up speed coming north, and when they hit the curves for Holgate, they’re all over the road.”

Neighbor Suzann Taylor added, “I’ve been here for 18 years. It has been getting worse every year. I see near-accidents along our street every day.”

Speed bumps require neighbor’s votes
“The city has already designed a speed bump program for us,” Macca explained. “It is a five-bump program. One of them is in front of the Mayor’s house.”

But, getting the speed bumps installed is a matter of getting their neighbors to sign on to the program. “We need a super-majority, 60% of the residents on the street signing onto the project, to get speed bumps. After that, it becomes a donation issue.”

At $2,000 per speed-bump, the project will cost $10,000. 60% of the cost, he said, is paid by the city. “This means we need to raise $4,000. But, if we save one life, won’t it be worth it?”

If you’re tired of people using S.E. 41st Ave. as a bypass for S.E. 39th Avenue, Macca asks you support thus grass-roots speed-bump initiative.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Hold an ice cream social in December? Why not? See how Gateway area business people celebrated the holidays at this event …

On the menu at this holiday party was ice cream: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream ‚Äì and everything needed to make delicious sundaes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Guests and members of the Gateway Area Business Association held their holiday celebration on December 8 at St. Therese Parish’s social hall ‚Äì with an out-of-the-ordinary menu: Ice cream.

It was served up by crewmembers of the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream store in downtown Portland, operated by New Avenues for Youth.

Kim Cottrell, in the New Avenues for Youth program since July, says the he’s learned to be a stronger, more self-reliant individual from it.

Enterprise manager for New Avenues for Youth, Fred Krug, told the group, “For every $1,000 we raise, we can train another individual.” They’ve trained 80 people through their Ben & Jerry’s store so far, he said.

The social event attracted community members, neighborhood leaders, and business people.

The GABA Holiday Event in photos

GABA member Frank Ryan sings a medley of holiday carols and tunes.

Portland Police Bureau’s Gateway NRT Officer, Michael Gallagher, thanks the group for their support, and passes the hat for a needy family in the area. Gallagher also showed images from GABA events.

Parkrose Public Schools board chair Katie Larsell, and superintendent of David Douglas Schools Barbara Rommel, present a memento of appreciation to Parkrose Schools Superintendent, Michael Taylor, who says he plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Meet GABA members
On January 11, come to JJ North’s Buffet, 10520 NE Halsey St. starting at 11:30 a.m. and meet with these fine business folks. Reservations are NOT needed. For more information, go to

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See what a great time Parkrose Business Association members had at their annual Holiday Party while they raised money for their causes. And, meet their award winners and new board …

Introducing the 2007 PBA Board of Directors: Wayne Stoll, immediate past President, Argay Square; Kyle Zieglar, Director, Castle Gate Realty, Inc.; Amy Salvador, Director, Rossi Farms; (behind Amy) Michael Taylor, Director, Parkrose Public Schools; Jon Turino, VP/Director, Farmer’s Insurance; Mary Brown, Secretary, Bob Brown Tire Center; Mark Eves, 2007 President, Eves & Wade, LLP; Marsha Lee, Treasurer, Copy Express Printing & Graphic Design; David Ableidinger, Director, Parkrose Hardware; Gail Bash, Director, Jackpot; Candy Bafus, Director, West Coast Bank; and, Terry Brier, Director, Davey Organicare.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The business folks in Parkrose work hard to raise money for scholarships and other worthy causes during the year. But, come December, they LOVE to party!

The banquet room at Steamer’s Restaurant was packed, wall-to-wall, with merrymakers on December 7 for the annual Parkrose Business Association holiday event.

The evening started and ended with a silent auction to benefit the association’s work.

There was a skit loaded with inside jokes, as “The Official President” (aka Gail Bash) and several PBA members presented a hilarious parody.

Even St. Nick made a surprise appearance. He gifted many folks with “Fresh Reindeer Nuggets” that looked suspiciously like dried prunes; and, a little something to help out the next morning. “They’re Sani-licious,” said Santa.

What else happened? Well, see the fun and festivities yourself, depicted in these photos:

Members and guests of the Parkrose Business Association enjoyed a festal board of gourmet taste and proportion prepared by Chef Edgar and presented by Hostess Eileen Stocker at Steamer’s Restaurant and Lounge.

The Parkrose High Debutants entertained with traditional and unique Christmas carols and holiday songs at the event.

Incoming president Mark Eves presents the President’s Gavel to his predecessor, recognizing the service of outgoing PBA president Wayne Stoll.

The Carl Lind Award ‚Äì is given to recognize an individual who lives and works in the community and provides volunteer service, demonstrates integrity and honesty, and is known for professionalism in business. Gail Bash (left) was this year’s recipient, seen here being honored by past president Goron Boorse.

Artie Johnson Award – is bestowed on a PBA member who has demonstrated faith, generosity, integrity, and care for others. This year, the award went to Mary Brown; Gail Bash makes the presentation.

President’s Pinnacle Award — an award created by outgoing PBA President Wayne Stoll — was given to the group’s treasurer (and Cruise-In “spark plug“), Marsha Lee.

Additional President’s Awards went to Alison Stoll, Gordon Boorse and Amy Salvador.

Meet them on January 18
If you have a business, or would like to do business in the greater Parkrose area, come this great group of folks at the next PBA meeting, and hear outgoing President Wayne Stoll deliver “The State of the PBA” meeting. Networking starts at 11:30 a.m., at the place at which you’ll get the best business lunch at town ‚Äì Steamers Restaurant and Lounge, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. Info:

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

This year, our Police Cadets did more than load food boxes into volunteer drivers’ cars on Sunshine Delivery day ‚Ķ

Taking a moment to pose for a “team photo”, Portland Police East Precinct Cadets get ready to load Sunshine Division food packages into volunteer drivers’ vehicles.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The date – December 16th. And all across Portland, police precinct stations are abuzz with activity early on a cold Saturday morning. This is the day volunteers take food boxes, prepared by the Sunshine Division, to families in need.

East Precinct Police Cadets stand ready to load the volunteers’ vehicles as the garage doors open.

We take a look outside, expecting to see volunteer drivers lined up for blocks. But, only a handful of vehicles are in the cue. “This isn’t good,” says NRT Officer Michael Gallagher, the Cadet program leader. “Maybe the prediction for possible freezing rain is keeping the drivers at home,” he suggests.

Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs helps load up volunteer driver Howard Johns’ truck. “It’s my sixth year,” Johns says. “It’s just a good thing to do this time of year.”

As the stream of volunteer drivers turns into a trickle, Commander Crebs wheels his car into the loading bay, takes delivery sheets, and the Cadets pack every nook and cranny of his vehicle with deliveries.

Cadets form a box brigade line to load every vehicle, including their equipment trailer, with food boxes they’ll deliver.

Determined to make their East Portland deliveries, Cadets round up and load all available cars, trucks and vans. Their spirit of teamwork shows as they pack their vehicles high with food boxes.

Police Cadets Kenny Bossen and Daniel Abbott finish loading a van with food packages they’ll delver to East Portland’s needy.

As quickly as possible, the Cadets deliver these food boxes. They return, reload, and head out again. “We’ll keep going until we’ve made all the deliveries,” Gallagher said.

Because of the volunteer efforts of the Cadets, many people in East Portland had a brighter holiday, indeed.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

This outer East Portland company is known, world wide, for innovating the “multi-tool”. Look at this, and see the soft side of these hardware folks ‚Ķ

Leatherman Tool Group volunteer employees Sunnie Espinoza, Dorothy Brady, LaVerta Eblen, Ina Ward, Richard Ward (in back) Beth Sullivan and Mike Jones gather just before they distribute gifts to needy families.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
It seems that people who invented and make the world’s best “tool chest in your pocket” multi-tool, aren’t just about hardware.

We learned the employees of Leatherman Tool Group, located east of the airport, have a soft spot for people in need.

Helping for a dozen years
“For 12 years, we’ve helped families in need,” explained sales specialist LaVerta Eblen. “This year, we ‘adopted’ three families.”

Eblen said they work with the Salvation Army. “They gave us information about three families in need. Through them, we learn their needs and wishes.”

With this “shopping list” in hand, company volunteers break down the list into a series of tags. Then, many of the 380 Leatherman employees anonymously participate by taking a tag or two, buying gifts, wrapping them, and putting them under the company’s Christmas tree.

“We give each family two to three weeks of food. Each person in the household gets several gifts. And, we fill huge stockings with gifts and goodies for each child,” Eblen told us, as volunteers prepared to deliver the packages on December 16.

In addition, Eblen said Leatherman that shops for, and provides, a complete holiday dinner, with all the trimmings, for each of the families.

Why do they do it?

“It unites us as a company,” Eblen replied.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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