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June, 2023- Vol. 117, No. 10 Scroll down to read this issue! Memories of THE BEE's first 100 years! In 2006, THE BEE celebrated its centennial of serving Southeast Portland! A special four-page retrospective of Inner Southeast Portland's century, written by Eileen Fitzsimons, and drawn from the pages of THE BEE over the previous 100 years, appeared in our September, 2006, issue. Click here to read the special centenary retrospective!
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After a high-speed T-bone crash on May 11th at S.E. Duke and 72nd in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, the driver of the white sedan was dead, and a tow truck driver was seriously injured. Will the return of the police Traffic Division help reduce this sort tragedy? It certainly can’t hurt. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, just after the return of Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division, a drunk driver who also had arrest warrants was stopped and arrested. The open bottles and cans of the mini-bar he had in his vehicle are set out on the hood. (Courtesy of PPB)
Soaring fatalities bring back ‘Traffic Division’
By DAVID ASHTON For THE BEE
With traffic fatalities surging, the Portland Police Bureau is reinstating its Traffic Division – but, they say, for limited hours each day.
In 2021, most of the division’s officers were reassigned to police precincts around town to help respond to emergency calls, because of the ongoing severe staffing shortages in the Police Bureau. The next year, there were 68 fatal crashes on Portland streets, the highest since 1987. Thirty-two of those killed in 2022 were pedestrians, the highest such figure since 1948.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell on Tuesday, May 9, came to the former Southeast Precinct building on East Burnside to announce the division is being reactivated by bringing back two sergeants, ten motorcycle officers and two officers in cars, to provide enforcement, and hopefully to quell all the traffic fatalities, during critical afternoon and evening hours seven days a week.
“In 2021, I made the difficult decision to have our traffic officers go to the precincts in order to answer 911 emergency calls for service,” Lovell said in making the announcement. “Though we are still deeply challenged with our staffing, we have seen the rise in fatal crashes, and have heard from our community that they want and expect traffic enforcement to help keep our roadways safe for all users. In addition, our new officers have not been able to have a rotation through the Traffic Division to learn these valuable skills.”
The announced reassignment is significant because since 2021 the division has had only one full-time officer and four investigators. But, even with the additional personnel, it will still be smaller than it was in 2008, when there were 35 motorcycles and 10 to 12 cars permanently assigned to traffic enforcement.
According to the Bureau, the returning personnel will be assigned to a modified afternoon shift from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. These officers and sergeants will be in addition to the Major Crash Team, the Traffic Investigations Unit, and a lieutenant. The shift configuration means six officers and one sergeant will be working traffic enforcement each day. On Wednesdays, both details will be working.
The reason Traffic Divisions officers can quickly be reactivated, Chief Lovell explained, is that “over the last two years they’ve maintained their certification, their training, and they’ve worked riding their motorcycles.”
Lovell then introduced Traffic Division’s Sergeant Ty Engstrom to give the details. He confimed that his team will be working a “modified afternoon shift” from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
“The shift configuration means six officers and one sergeant will be working traffic enforcement each day,” Engstrom said. “On Wednesdays, both details will be working.”
Additionally, for a one-month period in June, the Bureau will be bringing back all of the Traffic Division to help out during Rose Festival activities.
“This includes quite a few more officers on motorcycles and in cars – whether or not they’ll be participating in Rose Festival Parade and activities, they’ll be helping out with traffic enforcement, education, and investigations as well,” Engstrom remarked.
It is to be hoped that just the knowledge that once again the Portland Police Bureau will have officers on the street to enforce traffic laws may help abaate dangerous behavior by drivers, and improve safety on the Rose City’s streets. But getting that through drivers’ heads may take some time; many drivers haven’t even made an effort to bring their auto registration up to date!
A fatal traffic accident in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood two days later was emblematic of the sort of driver behavior which led to the decision to bring back officers to the Traffic Division. The crash was caused by reported dangerous driving by a young motorist in a Tesla, who witnesses said was speeding westward on Duke Street, and blew through a red light at 72nd Avenue. He didn’t live to make it across the intersection.
When the report came out about a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of S.E. Duke Street and 72nd Avenue on Thursday afternoon, May 11, a neighbor nearby remarked, “We heard what sounded like an explosion, though it was just another crash here – there have been so many.”
East Precinct officers dispatched to the intersection at 1:07 p.m. found a horrendous scene of destruction.
A witness, who said he had been driving toward the intersection, told THE BEE, “The white [Tesla] was westbound on S.E. Duke Street, and ran a red traffic signal at 72nd Avenue, and crashed into the side of a large southbound flatbed tow truck just the entering the intersection.”
That observer said the crash caused the Tesla to roll over at least once, hitting an eastbound Mercedes sedan. The Tesla’s driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The tow truck driver was seriously injured, and taken to a local hospital for treatment by ambulance,” a PPB official later reported. His injuries were subsequently characterized as “not life-threatening.” In addition to the ambulance, a total of 14 police cruisers and 5 Portland Fire & Rescue vehicles responded to the crash.
After the emergency medical first-responders left, PPB officers extended the crime scene away from the intersection one block in all four directions, chasing out bystanders and reporters, to prepare for the PPB Crash Investigation Team to begin its work – and, after that, for the coroner to remove the deceased from his vehicle.
On May 13th, the Portland Police Bureau publicly identified the dead Tesla driver as Daniel Q. London, age 19, of Portland.
If you have information to share about this particular traffic crash, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and make reference to Case No. 23-122989.
And now, THE BEE has a question for drivers. How about getting back into the habit of driving carefully, unimpaired, and undistracted? There are once again police officers out there who may be watching. If you don’t quite believe us about that, here’s a BEE video of the official announcement.....
A Bullseye Glass worker pulls another load of molten glass, soon to become “art glass”, from a furnace at the Brooklyn neighborhood facility, known around the world for its high-quality art glass (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Published: ‘Final’ public health assessment for Bullseye Glass in Brooklyn
By DAVIDF.ASHTON For THE BEE
On Monday, May 15, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) published its “final draft” of the public health assessment of the Brooklyn neighborhood-based Bullseye Glass Company. THE BEE has followed this story for years, and is not surprised at the generally positive conclusions of the report.
The release touts that this “final draft” is “capping a years-long effort to document emissions and their potential effect on the surrounding community.”
This 202 page report issued by the OHA’s Environmental Health Assessment Program was published after reviewing the public comments about a draft of the report that were received between June 2021 and June 2022.
Bullseye’s February 2016 actions to limit emissions, including installing emissions control devices, reduced current and future cancer risk for those exposed by over 50 times, and non-cancer risk by over 100 times.
Additionally, the assessment found that exposure to the air, soil, and garden produce around Bullseye Glass since February 2016 will not harm health.
Asked if Bullseye’s operations have changed, President Jim Jones told THE BEE on the day of OHA’s release, “Our operations have remained consistent since 2016.
“OHA’s Public Health Assessment verifies that operations at Bullseye Glass do not pose a public health concern, and confirms that the emissions control systems installed in 2016 are effective,” Jones said. “We agree with OHA that air quality data collected near BullseyeGlass in 2015 was flawed and inadequate to evaluate potential long-term health risks.
“We continue to be responsive to any concerns that neighbors or DEQ might have,” Jones added. “As a small local business, OHA’s conclusions allow us to move forward and focus on making world-class colored art glass.”
Jones reminded us that, in 2016, Bullseye installed a filter sensor to detect any changes in the efficiency of the “baghouse” filtration system. “We can detect small changes and then replace any of the 96 filters that make up the emission filtration system we have installed.”
About the overall health of the business, Jones commented, “We’re proud to employ 120+ people in Portland, and we continue to be an active member of the community. We recently donated our support for an artist in residence, Rui Sasaki, whose work is currently being exhibited at the Portland Japanese Garden through June 12.”
Alpenrose Dairy General Manager Josh Reynolds and Portland Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Race event chair Connie Shipley show a sample of a winning boat entry, in the category for a smaller racer. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
50thAnnual Milk Carton Boat Races previewed with BBQ
By DAVIDF.ASHTON For THE BEE
For many families, a great way to spend the early evening of Thursdaty, May 11, was to enjoy a wiener-and-sausage barbecue at Sellwood Community House, while learning more about the upcoming 50th annual Portland Rose Festival “Milk Carton Boat Races” at Westmoreland Park on June 25th.
“As the Presenting Sponsor, I’m here to support the Milk Carton Boat Races by getting the word out and generating excitement about entering this year,” Alpenrose Dairy General Manager Josh Reynolds told THE BEE.
“Last year, we had 24 boats in the regatta, and this year we want to see a lot more of them out on Sunday, June 25 – there’s plenty of room in the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond for a large regatta!” Reynolds observed.
The cost to enter the race, Reynolds pointed out, “Is only the time and effort to build your milk-carton boat; and entrants can win fun prizes.”
Paddling to Prevent Hunger Unlike past years, this year’s races have a theme. “We’ve made our 2023 theme ‘Paddle to Prevent Hunger’, to help the Sunshine Division Food Pantry,” said Reynolds.
“We’ll count up the number of gallon and half-gallon containers used to construct the boats entering the races – and then Alpenrose Dairy will give that amount of milk to the Sunshine Division Food Pantry,” Reynolds explained. “With both large and small boats, we could be donating more than 5,000 gallons of milk – with no ‘cap’ on the amount!” he said.
The race’s Event Chair, the Royal Rosarians Foundation Secretary, Connie Shipley, added, “And, there will be barrels set out, in which spectators can donate food for the Sunshine Division, also.
The Royal Rosarians have two purposes, Shipley confided. “One is to be the ‘ambassadors of goodwill’ for the City of Portland; the other is to help the Portland Rose Festival Foundation be successful.
“The Rose Festival started the Milk Carton Boat Races 50 years ago, in 1973; and around 2016, they asked for our help in putting it on as well,” recalled Shipley.
The 65 participants at the Sellwood barbeque on May 11th examined the displays about constructing and operating milk carton boats, while they lined up for free freshly-grilled hot dogs and sausages, along with lots of Alpenrose Dairy milk to wash them down.
Whether or not you made the barbeque or even plan to float a boat in the casting pond, be present to watch an afternoon of fun at the Rose Festival Milk Carton BoatRaces at the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond, on June 25, starting at noon this year. And for more information, and signing up to enter your milk carton boat in the races, go online – https://tinyurl.com/ykftdk9z
On her way into the Franklin High School Theater, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson stopped to chat with constituents, before presenting her 2023 “State of the County” address. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Multnomah County Chair delivers ‘State of the County’ at Franklin High
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
Breaking with tradition, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson chose to present her “State of the County” address in the Franklin High School Auditorium, after school on Tuesday, May 9, instead of in the County Council Chambers on S.E. Grand, or in a downtown Portland location.
“Although I serve as Chair for all of Multnomah County, I am an ‘east-sider’; we’re now in part of the area I served when I was the Commissioner for District 3,” Vega Pederson told THE BEE.
“So, I thought this would be a great way to focus on being a part of the community, and being part of who the County of Multnomah is really here to serve – that is, our students, our families, and our community.
“This school is located right in the geographic middle of Multnomah County. It’s good to draw positive attention to this community; it’s been through a lot of the last year,” Pederson said, as she continued on into the theater.
The program began with a video introduction – and then, an in-person welcome from Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero. Then Guerrero introduced the event’s host, Bobbie Regan, of the Portland City Club – who, in turn, introduced Chair Jessica Vega Pederson.
“This is the first in-person State of the County address in three years, and I am thrilled it is hosted in this stunning, updated PPS high school – one of the first to be modernized with the 2012 School Building Improvement Bond!” Vega Pederson said in her opening remarks.
She reflected on the struggle in the schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it has meant to students and school staff.
After thanking elected officials and others, Vega Pederson urged attendees to be at the County’s community budget hearings: “Because, as we emerge from the pandemic into a city remade by social unrest, homelessness, economic disparity, and disconnection, we have an increasing need for a social fabric that cares for the most vulnerable.
“That’s what Multnomah County does: Cares for the most vulnerable, with integrity and commitment,” she explained.
The Chair’s next topic was creating stronger partnerships, “to address homelessness, behavioral health, economic and climate justice and community safety.” She touched on dealing with increasing crime, and she spent considerable time on the topic of “helping those unhoused”, before moving to “investments” to be made by the County to address mental health and education.
Pederson concluded her remarks with, “I look forward to the coming year, as each day provides us with new chances to make a bigger difference – and to do it together!”
The Portland Police Mobile Command Unit parked along S.E. Colt Drive near 28th Avenue, as a shooting homicide investigation got underway on April 15th in the Reed neighborhood. Now an arrest in the murder has been made. (Courtesy of KGW-TV-8 news)
28-year-old April Nicole Newcomb-Cripe was found dead at a Reed neighborhood apartment complex; her death was declared “Homicide by Gunshot Wound”, and now her alleged murderer is in jail. (Family-provided photo)
Reed neighborhood murder suspect arrested in Vancouver
By DAVIDF.ASHTON For THE BEE
On April 15th at 11:25 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to reports of a shooting in the Reed neighborhood a short distance east of the Reed College campus -- in the parking lot of the Wimbledon Square and Gardens, near S.E. 28th and Colt Drive. There officers found a woman dead, later identified as 28-year-old April Nicole Newcomb-Cripe, referred to by neighbors as a young mother.
After an extensive investigation by homicide detectives, on May 8th U.S. Marshals, with the assistance of the Vancouver Police Department, tracked down and arrested 29-year-old Adam Jamal Burns in Vancouver, Washington, on a warrant for the murder of Newcomb-Cripe.
He was taken into custody without incident and is currently being held in the Clark County Jail as a “Fugitive from Justice”, without bail, pending his extradition to Oregon.
According to law enforcement officials, Burns is being charged with Murder in the Second Degree, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
The arrest of Burns has brought a sense of relief to the family and friends of the victim, April Nicole Newcomb-Cripe, who have been struggling to come to terms with her sudden death. The investigation into the murder is ongoing, and law enforcement officials are urging anyone with information about the case to come forward.
PP&R Deputy Director Todd Lofgren told Inner Southeast residents about the “Light Pole Safety Project” at the Sellwood meeting on May 10th, and outlined replacement plans for the abruptly-removed park lighting in two neighborhood parks. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Parks Bureau holds public ‘parks lighting’ meeting in Sellwood
By DAVIDF.ASHTON For THE BEE
After the hue and cry by residents in affected neighborhoods, and by the Southeast Uplift neighborhood coalition, after the abrupt removal of all park lighting in several city parks, including two in Sellwood-Moreland, members of the Portland City Council took heed and moved to replace the ripped-out concrete light poles that darkened these parks.
As part of the process, as reported in THE BEE last month, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) promised to hold community meetings regarding what it calls the “Light Pole Safety Project”. The first of these took place in Sellwood’s SMILE Station on Wednesday evening, May 10.
“Yes, we’re here today to give a presentation and to have a conversation with neighbors about our Light Pole Safety Project,” PP&R Deputy Director Todd Lofgren said as the room was filling with participants.
The meeting was brought to order by PP&R Community Engagement Team Manager Shuk Arifdjanov, who introduced Deputy Director Lofgren and the Bureau’s Asset & Development Manager, Lauren McGuire.
“In this area, it seems that neighbors are interested in primarily SellwoodPark and SellwoodRiverfrontPark, and perhaps we’ll touch on WoodstockPark and Mt. Scott Park as well,” Lofgren remarked. “We’re talking about the timeline of the [replacement] project – the new poles have been ordered, and will arrive mid-December – now that the project is fully funded; thanks to the Portland City Council making an Emergency Declaration.”
As he did later in the meeting, the Parks Bureau Deputy Director pointed out that the replacement poles, while contracted for, are not yet in stock, and in fact still need to be manufactured. “These concrete poles are very similar to the former ones,” he promised.
Asked about lampposts in WoodstockPark and Mt. Scott Park, Lofgren gave a brief history of the project. “The ‘incident’ that happened in the summer of 2022 prompted us to hire a structural engineer [to inspect our light poles] – we reviewed about 1,000 poles in our system and found about 250 that needed to be removed and replaced.
“At Woodstock Park, we’re keeping our eye on the poles – one of these lampposts will pre-emptively removed due to its current condition,” Lofgren said. “But, the rest of the ones at Woodstock we’re leaving in until the new poles arrive and we can make the replacement.”
None of the lampposts had been removed from Mt. Scott Park, he said. “Again, we’re looking for a mid-December delivery date for the new poles. “We’re going to prioritize first reinstalling the lights at Sellwood Riverfront Park and Sellwood Park, Irving Park, and Colonel Summers Park. Then, in the rest of the parks, the poles [needing replacement] will be staying in place, to be removed when the new poles are ready for installation.”
After describing the timeline for the Light Pole Safety Project, Lofgren asserted that PP&R Park Rangers’ presence would be enhanced in both currently-unlit Sellwood parks.
Considering temporary lighting “We also are looking at [the feasibility of] adding ‘temporary lighting’, during this time that the lights are out [in these parks], and before the new ones are installed,” Lofgren said. “We need electrical lines and there are some logistical concerns; and we’re going to have to use infrastructure that we already have in the park to do that.”
Several people at the meeting expressed an interest in preserving the historical nature of the look of the parks, including the metal strapping at the top. When the lighting was originally installed, Lofgren told the group, metal strapping had a practical purpose – it lashed the fixtures to the top of the poles. “Now, it’s purely decorative and not necessary; the lamp fixtures are attached internally into pole’s core.”
Asked about the cost of the decorative strapping, Lofgren revealed it costs $450 each to manufacture each pole, and that doesn’t include installation and hardware. A participant insisted that it’s part of the ‘historical look’ of the lampposts and suggested that perhaps money could be raised to pay for the metal strapping.
To another suggestion that the “retired” lampposts be recycled or sold to individuals, Lofgren said they are considering how to do it; including partnering with an organization such as the Recycling Center.
Asked about the color temperature – whether new LED lamps might give off a ghostly blue-purple illumination, PP&R’s Lauren McGuire responded, “The lamps will be in the ‘warmer spectrum’, even though they are LED lamps.”
Pressed by attendees to refine the installation schedule, Lofgren stated, “It’s estimated there will be a four to six week construction cycle, once the material is received. We are going to have a soil engineer making sure that, because by then it will be winter, the soils are ready to take the new base.”
Finally, an attendee posited that taking out the light poles was a way to push through Parks District – a separate tax, like Multnomah County did with the Library District – a concept on which PP&R began exploration in 2019. Lofgren assured the group that the two issues are not connected.
As this story unfolds, THE BEE will continue covering it.
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