The owners of Truax Builders supply watched their showroom burn to the ground. See how this family-owned company has bounced back …

After the Thanksgiving Day fire a couple of years ago, there wasn’t much left of the company, except a bit of the awning.

Standing in front of a case containing “accidental sculptures” —  aluminum extrusions that melted during the intense 2004 Thanksgiving Day blaze — Truax Builders Supply president Joe Sidey is company 11-year veteran, Dan Piluso.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton

The last time we spoke with Joe Sidey was about a year-and-a-half ago, on the chilly Thanksgiving Day morning of 2004. We stood quietly together for a few minutes, looking at a huge pile of smoldering rubble – the remains of the family business he heads – Truax Builders Supply on SE Division St.

At that time, we asked Sidey if he wanted to share his thoughts. With wafts of smoke partially obscuring his face, he told us that, after all, the building was insured, and no one was injured. His concern was for his workers. “We’re a family company,” he said, “I hope we don’t have to lay off too many workers.”

Those who regularly drive outer SE Division Street have seen the rubble being removed and the ground being leveled. Eventually a concrete pad was poured, and a new building started taking shape.

Looking through the doors and windows manufactured and sold by Truax Builders Supply, company president Joe Sidey was proud to show off their new building during the reopening party.

Truax Grand Reopening
When we revisited the scene of that fire, this April 22, Sidey had a big smile on his face. “Welcome to our grand reopening,” he greeted us. “We’re having a celebration today to thank our customers ‚Äì and neighbors ‚Äì who stood with us while we rebuilt our building and our business.”

At the party, KXL Radio’s “Mister Barbeque” was grilling bison dogs, a coffee barista was making java drinks, and the staff was giving tours of the new building that serves as the headquarters for this family-owned business started in 1946.

Sidey, who said he married into the family, and then the company, is its president.

We reminded Sidey how his primary concern, the day of the fire, had been for his employees. “We had to let a couple of guys go,” he responded. “But, we were back in limited production within a week. And, we put our showroom in a modular building behind the burned building. We’ve staffed up again, and just hired another worker last month. I feel very good about this, indeed.”

Sidey added that working through the rebuilding process was difficult. “It has taken longer than anticipated. I was hoping to be completely rebuilt within a year. Maybe I was too optimistic.

“But look, a year and five months after the fire, we’re celebrating our reopening.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Read how this unique event in Lents brings more than 800 people to see all kinds of birds, and learn about them from their breeders

The Bird Festival has grown into a large, lively event. If you want to know about birds, from the small to the largest – people from all over the Pacific Northwest say this is the show to attend. Free admission and parking makes it easy for everyone to join in the fun.

Story & Photos by David F. Ashton

On April 8, breeders from across the Pacific Northwest, put on another Bird Festival event. This one attracted more than 800 visitors.

People who came said they were amazed to see the large variety of breeds being shown – many more than they typically find at other bird shows.

Kristin Stai shows off her Cockatoo named Playboy, a Cockatoo. “I’ve had him for about three years. He’s a great pet,” she told us. Stai said she came to the Bird Festival to see “The Bird Doctor”, Pam Burke.

All kinds of birds, from to large, talking macaws tiny, brightly-colored finches are the stars of the event.

“The breeders here are all so friendly,” commented Mary Singleton. “The variety of birds is great, but what makes this the best show I’ve been to is that the breeders will take time to talk with you.” She said a breeder with whom she was speaking didn’t have the exact bird she wanted. “Instead of just saying ‘sorry’ ‚Äì he introduced me to another breeder who had what I was looking for. This event was well worth the drive in from Beaverton.”

Guy Cone (seen here) and his wife, Judith, co-host this event, even though it requires them to close down their business ‚Äì Quality Cage Company ‚Äì to do so. “Breeders were looking for an east-side location for a show,” Guy said, “and we decided to help. It’s great fun; we really enjoy watching people learning about birds.”

The gray, rain-swept day didn’t keep people from seeing 22 breeders’ birds, including Finches, Ringnecks, Parakeets, Cockatiels, Canaries, Love Birds, Cockatoos, Macaws, African Greys and Quakers.

All this, and “The Bird Doctor”, too!
Veterinarian Pamela A. Burke is known in the greater Portland area as “The Bird Doctor”. From little tweety-birds to mighty Macaws, Burke’s passion is for winged creatures. Dr. Burke gave out free advice at the spring Bird Festival.

Asked why one should seek out a bird “specialist”, Burke told, “We’re like any medical specialist. Because I’ve spent my career caring for birds, I’m able to quickly diagnose problems and recommend treatments. Would you want horse vet trying to save your cat’s life?”

At the Bird Festival, Dr. Burke provided on-site avian clinic services like wing and nail trims, DNA sexing, and health certificates for a modest fee.

Johnnie Reinhart of Johnnie’s Jungle in Washougal, WA spent part of the day giving kids an up-close experience with some of her larger birds.

Fall Bird Fest scheduled for October 7

Come learn about a wide variety of birds from their breeders at the Fall Bird Festival on Saturday, October 7, 2006. Hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This free show is being put on by the breeders in the warehouse of Quality Cage Co., 5942 SE 111th Ave., Portland, OR 97266. For more information about the fall show, call the company at (503) 762-2607, or watch for more details.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Can’t sit still during an entire, long, drawn-out play? With one-act plays, the evening really moves along! Check out this festival of short plays, directed by David Douglas High seniors and acted by the school’s Thespian troop, on May 3 through 6 ‚Ķ

What’s up here? These students didn’t go nuts ‚Äì they’re working out their parts for their play, “A MAD CLASSIC”, written and directed by David Douglas students Mia Allen & Bryan Oliver. You can see it on stage on May 4 or 6.  David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

While taking photographs of students rehearsing, we ask about the topic of the one-act play, called “A MAD CLASSIC”, that takes stage on May 4 and 6 at David Douglas High School’s Horner Performing Arts Theater.  “Picture this,” says the play’s co-author and co-director, Bryan Allen, “Dick Tracy meets Tom & Jerry.” His partner, Mia Allen adds, “It is completely done in pantomime, there are no lines it in. The action carries the story.”

This is just one of eight short plays presented by the David Douglas High School Theatre Arts over two evenings, directed by the talented seniors, on May 3, 4, 5, and 6. Each play will be performed twice, on alternating nights.  The plays range from comedies, dramas, romance plays, murder mysteries and a pantomime.

Wednesday, May 3, and Friday, May 5
THE SANDBOX by Edward Albee, Directed by Brystan Strong, Music by Christopher Uehlein, Technical Direction by Adara Elliott, Matthew Dwyer.
DINNER WITH THE MACGUFFINS by Chris Sheppard & Jeff Grove, Directed by Jason Hiller & Lorena Pelayo, Technical Direction by David Tangen.
THE PATIENT by Agatha Christie, Directed by Jennifer Elliott, Technically Directed by: PJ Burks.
THE TWO HALVES OF ANDREW’S BRAIN by Alex Miceli, Directed by Caitlin Loughran & Amanda Naylor, Technical Direction by Matt Stevens.

Thursday, May 4 and Saturday, May 6
NO VACANCY written and directed by Theo Wilder, Technical Director, Brian Wagner.
SURE THING by David Ives, Directed by Jason McAnally, Technical Direction by Chris Beck.
PLEASE, NO FLOWERS by Joel Ensana, Directed by Natalie Raymond, Technical Direction by: Mandy Petrie
A MAD CLASSIC written and directed by Mia Allen & Bryan Oliver, Music composed by Mia Allen & Jeff Baumann, Technical Direction by Ryan Montgomery

Tickets are only $5 per night, but you may purchase tickets for both nights at the same time for only $6! That’s less than a dollar per play! Curtain time for all performances is 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the box office only on the dates of performance (no pre-sales or reservations).

If you have any questions about the One-Act Play Festival please call the David Douglas Box Office at (503) 261-8270.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See what happens when two David Douglas High School seniors take charge of a project that brings out hundreds of kids to learn about the environment on Earth Day …

DDHS Seniors Sarah Wolff and Amanda Kraus organized this Earth Day educational outing for the district’s fourth-graders on April 21.

Story & Photos by David F. Ashton

Learning about bugs, weather, plants, and electric cars, 800 fourth-grade kids swirled, in orderly groups, around Lincoln Park, on SE Mill St., as they visited Earth Day learning stations.

The afternoon-long event on April 21 was planned and coordinated by David Douglas High School Seniors Sarah Wolff and Amanda Kraus. The students, from the Natural Resources CAM, took on this event as their Senior Venture Project.

“We’ve helped out in past years, as part of our classes,” said Kraus. “It seemed like a better Senior Project than just writing a paper.”

The two students said it was a lot of work to call the companies who presented the exhibits — like the electric and hybrid cars, and donated tents for use during the event.

“We also arranged for the student and adult volunteers to help out, work the stations and lead the kids,” Wolff told us. “We also go the David Douglas Soccer Club and Track students involved, setting up tents and helping out.”

Enjoying the fruits of their labors ‚Äì pizza from Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron ‚Äì DDHS  Seniors Michael Wafford and Michael John said helping out with the Earth Day project was a fun way to earn school credits.

The importance of Earth Day

Asked why this annual observance is important, Wolff explained, “Children here come from diverse backgrounds. With an Earth Day program, we can help give them learn why protecting the environment is valuable. Personally, doing this is significant to me because I’m interested in preserving the environment, and I like being around kids.”

Helping the students were CAM teachers Katey Meza and Heather DeSanto.

As each school came to visit, the young students were treated to storytelling by Margaret “Lorax” Eng. Booths and presentations from the MESD Outdoor School, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Oregon Green Schools, METRO, PGE, and others were part of the celebration.

As she headed into the park to check on a group’s progress, Kraus added, “I’ve always been involved in camps, and how to take care of the environment. It feels good to pass on this knowledge to the kids.”

Judging from the smiles and looks of wonder on the faces on the fourth-graders, the day was both fun and educational for them.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Years ago, Dan Graham had a dream – to create a school that trained people for the construction trade. See how his dream became a reality on April 17

Hundreds turned out for the opening ceremonies of a college dedicated to teaching people building skills.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton

How do you build things ‚Äì bridges, homes, office buildings and supporting infrastructure like water, sewer and electric power ‚Äì if there’s a shortage of trained workers?

The President of the new construction college, Dan Graham, speaks at the ceremony marking the opening of the new school in Parkrose.

More than three years ago, Dan Graham, then Director of Workforce at Associated General Contractors (AGC), had an idea. “It seemed logical,” Graham said, “to bring together the diverse training programs operated by the construction and contracting groups under one roof.” Through Graham’s efforts, the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, the Associated Builders and Contractors, and the National Utility Contractors Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington joined with AGC to start a comprehensive “building arts school” in Parkrose called Northwest College of Construction (NWCC).

On April 17, NWCC officially opened its doors. About two hundred people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Representatives of Associated Builders and Contractors, Northwest Chapter; Oregon-Columbia Chapter; Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland; and the National Utility Contractors Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington join Dan Graham, president of the new Northwest College of Construction at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Officials speak

Speaking on behalf of the National Utility Contractors Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Bill Martinak of Emery & Sons told the gathering, “Training our future workforce is not only a local, but also national concern for all construction industries. We are extremely excited to have this college in place to help with training. No one will do this for us. If we don’t step up and put something like this college in place, no one will do it for us.”

Talking about AGC’s role, the organization’s vice president, Todd Hess, told the gathering, “Workforce development is one of our greatest needs. This school fills that need. AGC contributed a lot to this program, including giving up training director, Dan Graham, to make this happen. Dan showed how it would help us all to have a combined training program.”

In an exclusive interview after the ribbon cutting ceremony, Graham told us, “The most important thing about this day is how such a diverse industry to agree to work together to make this happen. It took a lot of work by a lot of people to make this day possible. I’m so glad we were able to make this happen.”

Partnering with local schools

This college plans to expand beyond its walls, according to Graham. “Schools in Portland Public, Parkrose, and David Douglas districts have expressed interest in having a building arts program partnership with us,” he told us. Additionally, NWCC is creating partnerships with education-to-work services like SE Works.

Community training available

If an individual wants to learn basic constructions skills, he or she should check out NWCC’s community educational programs, said the school’s director of employment services, Guy Crawford. “Whether you want a career in construction, or just want to learn how to build a deck on your home ‚Äì you can learn it here at NWCC.”

Learn while you earn

“NWCC brings together many apprentice programs under one roof,” Crawford added. “Anyone who wants to work and learn can get into our work/study programs.” Often, he said, students will work on a jobsite during the day, and take classes in the evening.

The NWCC campus is located at 8111 NE Holman St. The easiest way to get there is by going north from Columbia Blvd. on Holman ‚Äì the “access road” that runs on the west side of NE 82nd Ave. Learn more: Call the school at (503) 256-7300, or see for more information.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

While the TV cameras rolled at PDX and the downtown post offices, see why hundreds of people were thrilled they could drop off their tax return in outer East Portland …

All smiles ‚Äì People dropping off their income tax returns, just before midnight, were smiling because they were relieved to have their taxes done. And postal workers who stayed up late ‚Äì like Laurie Harms seen here in this photo ‚Äì seemed happy to provide late-night service on April 17. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Near midnight, things normally are pretty quiet around Eastport Plaza. Typically, the only vehicles seen driving into the venerated shopping center, on 82nd Avenue of Roses, are hitting the late-night drive-through windows of Burger King, Taco Bell, or Jack in the Box.

But, on April 17, there was a steady flow of vehicles parading past a tent set up in the middle of the street outside the shopping center’s US Post Office. This was one of the few places in the city where tardy tax-payers could drop off their income tax returns right up to midnight ‚Äì and still get it postmarked on time.

Each of the patrons with whom we spoke was tickled. “This is great! I don’t even have to get out of my car,” said Elaine Hinkley. Then she begged, “Don’t take a picture of me. I’m in my pajamas and housecoat!”

By the time we arrived, their large hamper was filling up with envelopes addressed to the IRS, State of Oregon, Multnomah County, and City of Portland.

“This is fun,” postal worker Laurie Harms told us. “The best part is being able to help people who waited until the last minute to get their taxes done. We’re out here to provide customer service.”

She, and her postal partners, said people are so glad they happy to find “drive through” service at Eastport Plaza, “they give us cookies and other treats. And, it is our pleasure to be of service!”

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Learn how NOT to get swindled: East Portland auctioneer Robert W. Mathisen is said to have stolen more than $1 million in goods and cash. Even worse, he robbed a community of trust …

Looking at a doll that was part of a truckload of merchandise Portland Police say was stolen ‚Äì then taken to Chicago ‚Äì is NRT Officer Michele Michaels, with its owner, West Coast Antiques’ Ann Smith. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Members of Portland’s antique and collectables community were shocked in late 2004 to find the Southeast Portland building, home of Robert W. Mathisen’s Professional Auction Group, empty.

When Mathisen and his wife, Ginger, left town, they not only took money owed to collectors and ordinary people who had consigned their valuables for him to sell – but also, a truck full of valuable antiques and collectables.

These valuables came from estate sales and collectors throughout East Portland.

The police had originally advised victims to “write off” their losses. But, when Sgt. Dave Anderson assigned East Precinct officers Michele Michaels and Sheri Davis to the case in 2005, the mystery of the Mathisens’ disappearance slowly began to unravel.

“What kept this investigation alive, Michaels told us, “was that each person we talked to gave us another person to speak with. Many of the victims know one another, in the antique and auction community.”

Son gives up parents

The case broke open when they convinced one of Mathisens’ sons, living in Chicago, to talk. The break came just in time ‚Äì most of the goods were about to be auctioned off in the Windy City.

Anderson, Michaels, and Davis flew to Chicago–packed up the goods–and trucked them back to Portland. The merchandise was put on display at East Precinct in late April, so victims could come and identify their treasures.

“Not only did Mathisen take off with their valuables and money,” Michaels told us, “he took away a piece of their life. The people he cheated gathered at his auction house every week or so. They enjoyed each other’s company; it was like a family. In addition to stealing their valuables and money, Mathisen stole their ability to trust.”

Reunited with lost treasures

Ann Smith of West Coast Antiques was at East Precinct when we arrived. Opening an antique case belonging to Smith and her husband Leonard, she said, “This is one of several dolls we had consigned to Mathisen.”

Smith recounted how their relationship soured, as Mathisen became slow to pay after goods were auctioned. “Finally he stopped paying at all,” Smith continued. “So, we stopped giving him goods to consign.” The final straw, she added, was when two checks Mathisen gave her bounced because he had stopped payment on them.

Officers who helped crack the case, Sheri Davis and Michele Michaels, stand in the East Precinct Community Room – then resembling a showroom at a high-end auction house, laden with merchandise they say auctioneer Robert Mathisen took with him after he disappeared in 2004. David F. Ashton photo

Learn not to be cheated

Michaels told us, “The people who got taken told us, ‘Gosh, I feel so silly, so dumb.’ Or, ‘I wish I’d checked them out better.’ But remember, con artists do what they do well ‚Äì this is what makes them successful.”

How can you protect yourself?

“Listen to your small inner voice,” Michaels said. “If you get the feeling like something isn’t right ‚Äì beware. If someone tells you, ‘please don’t cash this check until next week”, this is a bad sign. Ask around. If you’re putting something on consignment, ask your friends what they know about a particular dealer. Try out an auction house first with smaller, less valuable things.”

Both officers Michaels and Davis said they’d wished they could have collared the Mathisens in Chicago; the slippery couple escaped. “But isn’t it wonderful seeing the smiles on people’s faces who are reunited with their treasures?” Michael’s asked, looking around the room.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Find out why, even though Rossi Farms is usually closed this time of year ‚Äì and it was raining sideways ‚Äì the Farm was packed with families on April 15 …

Sponsors Joe and Nick Rossi take a moment for a photo before the big Rossi Easter Egg Hunt gets under way on April 15. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

As their ground rests, awaiting the spring planting, Rossi Farms on NE 122nd Ave. is usually closed this time of year.

But on the afternoon of April 15, families from all over outer NE Portland came streaming in to the location for Rossi brothers’ Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

After Joe cuts the ribbon, hundreds of excited kids discover they don’t have to look very hard to find goodies by the handful. David F. Ashton photo

“We have about 8,000 eggs and treats out this year,” Joe Rossi told us. It looks like we have doubled the attendance from last year.”

Ten employees helped get the eggs ready for the free family event.

All over the Rossi Wild West set, eggs are hidden for the little kids to find. They’re off and running!. David F. Ashton photo

Why does Joe, and his brother, Nick, put this on?

“It is a way to give back to the community,” Joe told us. “And, it is fun. We have such a great time watching kids grab up the Easter eggs. They’re like a giant vacuum cleaner ‚Äì the treats are gone in less than five minutes!”

Tim Curran, publisher, MID COUNTY MEMO getting some cute photos for his next issue. David F. Ashton photo

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

See why their April celebration attracted Commissioner Sam Adams, along with many members old – and new …

Midway Business Association board member, Dr. Norbert Huntley, DC, shares a light moment with Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams at the April celebration. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

For years, business people in outer East Portland – that is, south of Stark St. to Foster Rd., from I-205 to Gresham – have felt left out and left behind. A couple of years ago, a group of shop keepers, service providers and professionals got together and created the Midway Business Association.

Since the start-up, the group has become involved in civic activities, helped with the library’s Summer Reading Program, aided DHS volunteer programs and published a complete directory of all businesses within their area.

Bill Dayton gives a brief history of the association as members and guests introduce themselves. David F. Ashton photo

Enjoying a variety of pizza provided by Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON are members and guests who attended April’s meeting. David F. Ashton photo

On April 11, the association met to celebrate their growth, and invite new members to join with them.

Even though his schedule packed that day, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams took time to stop by and congratulate the association for their progress.

Commissioner Sam Adams spends a moment with MBA president, Donna Dionne, Love Boutique. David F. Ashton photo

The Midway Business Association meets the second Tuesday of the month (next meeting is May 9) at Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron ‚Äì located on SE 122nd Ave. at SE Division St. Come and see how this organization can help your business ‚Äì and community ‚Äì grow stronger.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

People who deal with life-and-death situations daily “let their hair down” at this festive party. But, how much did this lavish event cost taxpayers?

Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications’ Lisa St. Helen, Supervisor of the Year and Nancy Wilson, Telecommunicator of the Year, take a moment to tell us why they love their jobs. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Some of the people most important to your personal safety are never seen. They labor, 24-hours-a-day in a bunker-like building in Lents. These are the men and women the “telecommunicators” of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC).

Better known as 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers, they, and their counterparts across the nation, are honored for their behind-closed-doors work during the second week in April.

Locally, BOEC folks celebrate with a catered dinner party. The bash, at Lakeside Gardens, deep in eastern SE Portland, includes a gourmet buffet dinner, games and prizes and awards.

Center stage, BOEC’s Todd DeWeese, a supervisor and Public Information Officer, is the host of the event’s version of the popular TV game show, “DEAL or NO DEAL”. David F. Ashton photo

By the way, this lavish soir?©e does not cost taxpayers a dime. Todd DeWeese, a supervisor and Public Information Officer told us. We all pay our own way to come to this banquet. This is our opportunity to recognize our employees for their great work throughout the year.‚

DeWeese continued, telling us that BOEC ‚often just known as “9-1-1”  ‚Äì is staffed by people who demonstrate poise under pressure; who provide aid and compassion in times of distress, and make critical decisions within seconds. ‚People don’t think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until they experience an actual emergency themselves. These professionals make the difference between life and death in many instances.

Mayor Tom Potter, who typically speaks at the event, ditched it. But, April 11 was a trying day for the mayor, having stood behind his police chief early in the day – then later, naming Foxworth’s temporary replacement to that post.

The winners are:

Lisa St. Helen, Supervisor of the Year – “We’re chosen for our ability to support the staff working the [9-1-1 Center] floor every day: This is a fantastic job. As a career, I get to help and support our community at large. As a supervisor, I get to support the wonderful people who answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency services across the city. It is remarkably rewarding.

Nancy Wilson, Telecommunicator of the Year: I feel proud and honored by this aware because I was nominated for it by my peers at BOEC.. My dad, he’s sitting next to me at my table, was a policeman. He recommended that I try out working at the 9-1-1 Center I liked it then. Now, almost 30 years later, I still love what I do. It is such an honor to be given this award tonight!

So, next time you have to wait for a 9-1-1 Operator, be nice to them when he or she comes on the line. They may have just saved your loved one’s life.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Why the Royal Rosarians ceremonially plant another bush between PCC and Bank of the West

With the aid of the Royal Rosarians, David Goldberg, Portland Community College District Director, Institutional Advancement and Paul Ellison, manager, Bank of the West, plant yet another rose bush as 82nd Ave. gets even rosier. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

Looking dapper in their traditional white suits, the Royal Rosarians oversaw another rose planting ceremony on the misty morning of April 7 at SE 82nd Ave. of Roses and Division St.

Why plant a rose today? “Why not? Any day is a good day to plant roses – especially on the Avenue of Roses!” was the answer given, almost in unison, by several Rosarians.

Paul Ellison, Bank of the West’s branch manager told us, “Planting roses signifies the ‘rebirth’ of 82nd Ave. into the Avenue of Roses. We’re working to make this street a great place to live, work, shop and go to school.”

Why here? Why not!

“Why here?” we asked him, looking at the newly-turned plot of earth in the area the separates the bank from Portland Community College SE Center.

“Why not,” Ellison said with a big grin. “We worked together with the college to show how both business and education can uplift SE Portland. I’ve been working on the project for a while – hopefully, this rose bush planting will be a visible stimulus for others along the Avenue to do so, also.”

David Goldberg, PCC’s District Director, Institutional Advancement, added, “We have a significant investment here; we’re here to stay. We plan to expand this campus to be an even more comprehensive campus. We’re proud to be part of improving this key transportation corridor.

Asked about his connection to the event, Robert Liberty, METRO Counselor told us, “82nd Ave. of Roses is regionally, a very important place. It is a place where we will accommodate more jobs, services, shopping and housing. This avenue is as significant to the development to the region as the Silicon Forest. I’m delighted by the leadership by Ken Turner, president of the 82nd Avenue Business Association in this project. And, by this rose planting today, both PCC and Bank of the West are demonstrating that things are changing here. Soon, 82nd will be a place where people are coming to – not just traveling through.”

Kicking off the ceremony, Ken Turner told gathering of nearly 100 people, “Planting roses along the six miles of 82nd Avenue is part of our Avenue of Roses project. With the help of homeowners, business people – and Portland’s great community college, we’re starting to change the perception of the Avenue in a positive way. We appreciate the Royal Rosarians for this official ceremony.”

And now, another rose, on the avenue grows.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

The 23rd Annual Creative Ministries Conference was held at Gateway Baptist Church; more than 100 attend.

Magic with a Message: Pastor and entertainer Duane Laflin from Troy MT put on a free show for the community on April 6. It was big on laughs and surprises; it also presented a Gospel message. David F. Ashton photos

By David F. Ashton

If you didn’t know where the Gateway Baptist Church was, on NE San Rafael, east of 122nd Ave., you might miss it. But nearly 100 ministers of the Gospel – who use entertainment to spread the word of Jesus Christ – found the church in early in April.

In fact, some folks who came to the Fellowship of Christian Magicians NW Chapter Annual Convention, traveled to this humble location far away as Texas and North Carolina.

“This is our 23rd Annual Convention,” said organizer Steve Taylor. “We have classes, workshops and lectures that show both pastors and lay people how to effectively use magic tricks, juggling and comedy bits to present the Gospel message.”

The main auditorium of the church was packed on the evening of April 6, as families were treated to a free, full magic show. “This show both kicks off our event. First, the community gets a good, fun family show; and our attendees get to see how a professional entertainer uses his or her skills,” Taylor explained.

2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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