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August 2016 -- Vol. 110, No. 12

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 this special retrospective!


The next BEE is our September
issue, with a deadline of August 18.
(The October issue has an ad and copy deadline of September 15.)


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Eastmoreland, Historical District, controversy
Before the annual Independence Day parade started, some neighbors stopped to look at maps and exhibits put up by the Eastmoreland Historical District proponents. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Historical” plan divides Eastmoreland


The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) Land Use Committee is proposing to have a large area of that neighborhood be designated an official “Historical District”.

This idea doesn’t set well with some neighborhood residents, who have banded together under the banner of “Keep Eastmoreland Free”.

“This is a continuation of what we’ve attempted to do over a period of years,” said ENA’s immediate Past President Robert McCullough, now the organization’s Treasurer, after an executive committee reshuffling at a special board meeting on July 19.

“In a nutshell, the effort of creating a Historic District is to preserve trees, lawns, and historic buildings, and preserve the livability of the neighborhood,” McCullough said.

The ENA Land Use Committee proposed some changes to the City of Portland Zoning Design Overlay that protected trees and lawns, McCullough told THE BEE. “After the city rejected that, we followed a Reed Neighborhood proposal to change zoning to R-7. Amazingly, the Reed Neighborhood [Association] had no problem getting the R-7 designation – but Eastmoreland has.”

The committee started considering the idea of an Historic District couple of years ago, he observed. “It’s not my favorite option, because it is a lot of work. If you undertake it you have to do it honestly. It’s going to go to the United States Park Service. There are several stages where is reviewed, and you have to have all of the facts and figures in order,” McCullough explained.

Nonetheless, on May 26, the ENA held a neighborhood workshop to discuss the proposed Eastmoreland Historic District. Reportedly, 237 households signed in at the meeting.

“The attendance figures demonstrate an increasing sense of urgency about the loss of heritage, and the impact of city zoning policies,” wrote Land Use Committee Co-Chairs Rod Merrick and Clark Nelson in their posted meeting summary.

From a distance, it appeared as if Eastmoreland neighbors were favoring the use of an Historic District as – more or less – a land-use strategy.

However, while THE BEE was covering the Eastmoreland Fourth of July Parade this year, it became clear that not all Eastmoreland residents favor the Historical District initiative – and in fact, some are vehemently opposed to it.

At the parade, two canopies were set up on the sidewalk near Duniway Elementary School, about 20 feet apart – one with folks promoting the district initiative; and another with people who were against the idea.

“Some of our friends are against the Historic District, and told me how these districts can restrict property owner’s rights,” said Cameron Johnson, who said he lives on S.E. 32nd Avenue near Claybourne Street.

“It’s concerning we’re quite far down the path for getting Eastmoreland being designated a Historic District; I got a little bit alarmed by that,” Johnson remarked, explaining why he is campaigning against the initiative.

As neighbors choose sides, during these summer months, the neighborhood association will begin a historical and architectural survey; as many as 40 volunteers will be trained in assessing properties.

“Then, we have also hired a consulting firm, AECOM, who are experts in surveying, and will bring in the architectural historian capabilities,” McCullough explained.

“Once historical and architectural survey is complete, then we’ll sit down and draw the district’s boundary. Right now we don’t know what that will be. That’s what the architectural historians will help us learn,” McCullough said.

But, of course, at this point it is far from a done deal. The next step is to take a neighborhood-wide poll. “We will send a ballot to everybody in the neighborhood and ask them to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the Historical District,” McCullough continued. “If most people say ‘yes’ will probably go ahead; if most people say ‘no’ we will probably stop. Obviously there is no reason to go ahead if most people don’t like it, because we all live here.”

While McCullough said he still believes a “pretty strong majority” of homeowners favor the initiative, clearly some do not.

“The ‘bottom line’ for me is, I want to be able to do with my property whatever I want to do that’s legal, in the City of Portland,” said longtime Eastmoreland resident, local businessperson, and Past President of the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance, Tom Brown.

“I believe we already have development rules in Eastmoreland,” Brown told THE BEE. “We have a special 25-foot setback from the street. I trust my neighbors to do the right thing most of the time. I also think that Eastmoreland needs to share the burden to accommodate some of the population growth, along with the rest of the city.”

There could be unintended consequences that come with an Historic District, Brown observed. “It could potentially limit people who could buy homes in Eastmoreland. I love some of the new houses that have gone up; I don’t want to see the neighborhood locked into European architecture. I think change is cool, and good for neighborhood.”

An additional consequence of having an Historic District, Brown said, is having to go through a longer – and uncertain – approval process. “Adding a dormer or a porch – these do not impact the trees,” Brown said. “That’s really not the way to save the trees. Most people are not taking down trees to make additions.”

Brown pointed out that his house was built in 1927. “I’ve done a lot of construction in my work life, and still work on old buildings all the time. Some of these old houses were built with such shoddy construction, it seems like the city should make it easier to demolish the houses. They have lead paint, bad or no insulation, some of them have turn-of-the-century electrical wiring.” 

Another neighbor, Mary Kyle McCurdy, Policy Director and Staff Attorney with “1000 Friends of Oregon”, said she heard concerns expressed in the June ENA meeting, and seen in written materials. “It’s about the tree canopy and demolition. A Historic District seems to be the wrong tool, and overkill, to address these issues.”

About preserving the neighborhood’s tree canopy, McCurdy commended the neighborhood association’s Tree Committee for their good work. “From what I understand, their concerns are that we have a lot of old trees that are going to die naturally, at approximately at the same time.

“What we need to be doing now is planting trees to replace those as they die off,” McCurdy said. “We also have Dutch elm disease here, and we have an inoculation program which is not an inexpensive program.

“We also think this is an unwise use of neighborhood association funds, which should be spending these funds on tree planting,” McCurdy added. “Creating such a district is not a very neighborly thing to do.

“This seems very negative, not just in terms of our own volunteer time to oppose this, but in terms of the association creating unnecessary invasiveness in the neighborhood. Some of the comments made in the May meeting – where people were making judgmental statements, pointing out houses that have already been built here. These judgments felt very unwelcoming, and we think that’s really unfortunate.”

Both McCurdy and Brown said that, during the May meeting, they recalled hearing that the funding for this initiative project was coming from an “anonymous donor”.

“At the June meeting, they said there was not, in fact, an anonymous donor, but it was being paid for by the neighborhood association,” McCurdy commented.

The two sides disagree whether or not an Historic District:

  • Will increase property values;
  • Increase costs, fees, and review stages for remodeling;
  • Will cause restrictions that could keep out new families;
  • Could be filed for by any one individual, once the historical and architectural survey has been completed;
  • Is permanent and cannot easily be revoked.

The “Keep Eastmoreland Free” group asserts that the process is undemocratic: “A property owner who does nothing is counted as supporting the Historic District”, their materials say.

“Let’s walk through that,” McCullough responded.

“I’ve gotten a half dozen e-mails that ask why I’m doing this ‘in secret’. The answer is we are the grassiest of grass-roots organizations that works hard to bring everyone in. We have better involvement than probably almost any other neighborhood association in Portland.”

The Board proposes canvassing every household in the neighborhood with a questionnaire. “We can’t put an item on an official election ballot; we’re not a governmental organization,” McCullough said.

Further, he assured it wouldn’t be a “push-poll” that, due to clever wording, could allow only for a “yes” response to the Historic District. “It’s do you agree? Yes – or no. If, after we’ve done all the homework, and everyone hates the idea, I’ll be damned if I’m going to shove it down people’s throats – I live here. Ultimately, it is the decision of the ENA Board of Directors.”

Asked his opinion, McCullough replied, “I identify more closely with our libertarians; I don’t want anyone messing with my land. At the same time, am diametrically opposed to those who say we need lots of infill – and let’s knock everything down and build in lots of housing.”

In his comments, Brown concluded by saying he hopes his neighbors won’t rush into adopting a Historic District. “There are a whole lot of things we don’t know.”

McCurdy said that Eastmoreland homes have been constructed with a wide variety of architecture. “This neighborhood was not built all the same time; it’s evolved over decades. Why stop this organic process in 2016?”

Don’t leave it up to others, McCurdy urged. “Neighbors need to inform themselves; read the pros and cons on their own, make their own decision, and then take action.”

A wealth of information is available on both sides online at:

After a “valid petition” was submitted, a special Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Meeting was held on the evening of July 27 at Reed College to air the matter. As per ENA bylaws, discussion was limited to the topic of the Historic District designation; no motions or votes were allowed, and there were no quorum requirements. 

What’s next? Apparently, the survey. It will be essential for Eastmorelanders on both sides of the issue to find out just how many supporters each side actually has.

Royal Rosarians, Rose Festival, Milk Carton Boat Races, Westmoreland, casting pond
Paddling for all they’re worth are the “Yellow Jackets” – a local Girl Scout team. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Royal Rosarians save Milk Carton Boat Races


Since the return of the Rose-Festival-sanctioned Milk Carton Boat Races in recent years, the nonprofit Royal Rosarians, called “Ambassadors of Goodwill and Official Greeters for the City of Portland”, have helped out at the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond staging and judging stations. But only that.

This year, the long-time organizers of the event – the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (formerly known as Dairy Farmers of Oregon) – withdrew their logistical support of the popular races, though they did remain the sponsor. For the event to continue this year, somebody had to step up to run it. That turned out to be the Royal Rosarians.

Still, weeks later than usual on Sunday, June 26, the annual family-oriented makeshift-boat regatta, held at the historic WPA-built Casting Pond, did take place.

“We were not going to let this event go away,” assured Royal Rosarians Prime Minister Rick Saturn that afternoon at the races. “It is a beautiful day here in Westmoreland Park, we’re all having a good time.

“It left a void when the former organizers said they wanted to transition into a ‘sponsorship role’, and not organize the races,” Saturn explained. “We got a call from the Rose Festival Foundation, asking us to pick up the duties of these races, and we decided to do it.”

This year, 26 boats were registered at the event. Each boat can be used often, in several classifications of races: Singles, multiple riders, kids, adults, and companies.

Although they didn’t make first place on in their “Kids/Multi-Rider” category, the “Yellow Jackets” – a Girl Scout troop from the Gladstone/Milwaukie area – were beaming about their competition.

“We only came in third, but we made it all the way across the pond without falling in, so we consider that a victory!” exclaimed their spokesperson, Taylor Johnson. “The best part of this, for us, is designing and building the boat together, racing together, and being together with our troop.”

While there weren’t as many participants as in the past, or as many spectators to cheer them on, everyone who did come out for it had a wonderful time.

“It’s important to keep this going, because it’s a great community event,” Saturn commented. “It’s been going on pretty much for fifty years or so, and we just could not let it go. It’s great to be here watching it, and being involved this event.”

As THE BEE went to press, the official list of winners of the races had not yet been issued.

Drunk Driver, Brentwood Darlington, Flavel Drive, mayhem
After smashing and crashing through the streets of Brentwood-Darlington, this allegedly impaired driver’s car stopped when it high-centered on a picket fence. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Impaired driver brings mayhem to Flavel Drive


After “flying down the street like a bullet”, as a neighbor described it on the evening of June 30, a car made contact with other vehicles and objects along S.E. Flavel Drive.

Several blocks east of where the car finally landed, the damage spree had started just before 10 p.m., near S.E. Tenino Street – when the vehicle veered through a residential yard. From there, the car splintered a fence, clipped a truck on Flavel Drive, and snapped a utility pole guy wire at S.E. Nehalem Street, as the car more or less traveled west. 

“We saw him driving [west] on the wrong side of the street, and then skidding into a driveway and smacking into a tree,” said witness Laura Ashford.

“The driver turned and peeled out eastbound, but couldn’t keep the car in the street,” Ashford told THE BEE. “The car plowed through a picket fence and stopped after ramming the front of a parked car.”

The car ended up partially in the front yard at 5239 S.E Lambert Street, facing east.

Apparently not seriously injured, the driver was coaxed by officers at the scene to exit his car.  After several minutes of discussion, they helped him out.

Paramedics on Woodstock Fire Truck 25 helped the driver onto a gurney and, with the help of AMR paramedics, slid the driver into an ambulance where AMR paramedics checked him out. The ambulance remained until a PPB Traffic Division officer arrived at the scene to begin an investigation and to make a sobriety evaluation of the driver.

The man, subsequently arrested for suspicion of DUII, was 60-year-old Ricky L. Penny, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Sgt. Greg Stewart.

Quite a lot of cleanup and repair along Flavel Drive got underway soon afterward.

Portland, Springwater Corridor, homeless sweep, Mayor, Charlie Hales
Homeless campers along the Springwater Corridor. The City of Portland and Multnomah County are planning a lengthy sweep of the homeless living along the Corridor starting September 1. (Photo courtesy of KGW Newschannel 8)

More permanent sweep of homeless from Springwater Corridor coming September 1


As has seen previously in THE BEE, the Springwater Corridor in Southeast Portland has become a popular camping spot for homeless people.

We reported in the June BEE that a May 3rd sweep removed homeless encampments from along the trail – but even as the sweep concluded, as David F. Ashton showed in a picture with the article, some of the campers were on their way back in to the trail.

In the week of July 15 the City of Portland made an announcement that on August 1st it would begin another “sweep” in its area of homeless camps, and this time would put a prohibition on future camping there.

However, on July 27, Mayor Hales postponed the sweep until September 1.

In preparation for this cleanup, the City of Portland created a city/county joint office to provide social services, and a separate budget for the cleanup. The city will oversee and coordinate the sweep itself. A joint office of the City and Multnomah County will be responsible for providing social services.

According to Sara Hottman, Communications Director in Mayor Hales office, “the goal is to help people find alternatives.  The mayor wants to approach this in a humane and compassionate way, recognizing that they [the homeless] are human beings.”

In total, the cleanup will take place over several weeks, and will displace approximately 500 people.

Dave Austin, Communications Director for Multnomah County, says the county is redirecting some social service employees to work with the homeless. “We’re going to offer social services. [The outreach workers] will say, ‘Here are some services you can get.  Are you interested?’”

This is a huge undertaking.  The city’s estimate is that one in four homeless people are living along the Corridor, which the Willamette Week newspaper has termed “the largest encampment in the Pacific Northwest, and possibly the nation.”

At present there are few places for the displaced campers to go. A resident of the Lents neighborhood has said he is afraid that tents might start appearing in alleyways in his neighborhood. 

But the city defends its actions, saying that tensions have escalated to the point that there are serious safety concerns. And the facts bear this out. Several weeks ago, there was a report of a homeless-on-homeless shooting on the Corridor. Although not verified by the media, there have also been rumors of vigilante groups beating the homeless and threatening them with paint-ball guns.

The homeless themselves admit things have taken a turn for the worse. Some of them have had their belongings repeatedly stolen by other campers along the Corridor – and people living in houses nearby have reported thefts, in at least one case involving a homeowner’s dog. There are also concerns about the impact of encampments on the environment.

Operation Nightwatch is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe, clean Hospitality Center for the homeless to gather for several hours three nights a week. One Nightwatch participant described an encampment along the Corridor accommodating about a dozen campers who keep strict rules prohibiting violence, drugs, and messy campsites. He is concerned that they will be forced out with the others during the sweep.

THE BEE will continue to report as this campaign advances.

Sellwood Bridge, old bridge removal
With a special rig, the crew from Emmert International lowers the last remaining section of the old Sellwood Bridge down to a barge in the Willamette River for recycling. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Old Sellwood Bridge gone; new bridge’s east ramp poured


The very last span of the old Sellwood Bridge was slowly lowered from its perch of 91 years on Tuesday, July 12.

As workers with Sellwood Bridge general contractors Slayden-Sundt cut away the remaining connections, the crew from Emmert International lowered the last span onto a waiting barge.

“The barges holding the old bridge parts are still moored on the Willamette River, just south of the new bridge,” remarked Multnomah County project spokesman Mike Pullen as he took THE BEE on a tour of the work area.

“After crews disconnect the three remaining truss ‘stubs’ atop the detour bridge pilings, the barges will be sent downriver to Schnitzer Steel’s metals recycling yard near Linnton.”

And, no longer will there be opportunities for THE BEE to take photos of the bridge from just above the river, looking east, Pullen said, pointing out that the decking on the work bridge had been removed, leaving only its metal pilings in the river.

“They’re just starting to remove those pilings,” Pullen commented. “There are so many pilings, that work will continue into September, as will removing the piers from the detour bridge.”

As bridge users had heard, or found out by trying to cross the Sellwood Bridge from July 14 through 17, the new Sellwood Bridge was closed to motor vehicle traffic during that time.

“That was to allow pouring concrete along a seam in the east approach deck where it connects to the existing section,” Pullen explained. “The reason for the length of the closure was that engineers were concerned that vibrations caused by motor vehicle traffic would weaken the concrete as it set up and cured.”

Looking to the future, Pullen said that BEE readers who use the Sellwood Bridge to travel to Lake Oswego will be pleased to learn that in August, the westbound left turn from the bridge to Highway 43 – it’s been closed for about four years – will again be open and ready for use.

Naked Bike Ride, Woodstock neighborhood
Out on a twilight ride, thousands of unclad bicyclists roll through the Woodstock Boulevard business district during the 2016 Portland “World Naked Bike Ride”. Three of them did wear tutus, though. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thousands of naked bikers roll through Woodstock


For the first time since it started, the Portland version of the “World Naked Bike Ride” started in Inner Southeast Portland – at Mt. Scott Park this year – along S.E. 72nd Avenue, between Harold and Knight Streets, on Saturday night, June 25. And then it went west, into BEE country. It was a news event; we had to cover it; we use “cover” in the news sense only.

Having covered many events at Mt. Scott Park over the years, this reporter can’t recall so many people – under ANY circumstances – gathering in this park before.

As many as 10,000 people found their way there, mostly on bicycle; arriving by car and then unpacking the bicycles is considered a faux pas by the organizers.

Portlanders have joined the unclothed protest parade since its first annual ride, held in 2004. Organizer Stephen Upchurch explained, “It’s a protest against our society’s dependency on fossil fuels.”

Then, off to handle minor issues as the event was getting underway, Upchurch introduced THE BEE to Portland World Naked Bike Ride 2016 Project Manager Bill Chin.

“This event is important to me, because it shows that, as bicyclists, we are vulnerable,” Chin said. “It is also a protest for safer streets; and some feel that it’s a protest against oil, that gives voice for using human-powered transportation.” At least, without clothes, you can tell for sure that participants are human.

He’s ridden in the event for many years himself, and became involved in the planning of the last three years’ rides, Chin said.

“We start planning this in January; and, it’s all run by volunteers,” Chin explained. “All of the money that we raise from selling seat covers and other swag goes into a nonprofit organization. Because of depleted finances, we hope to earn enough this year to be able to hold it next year.”

Expenses range from park permits, to portable restroom facilities, crowd management services – and, of course, insurance.

The ride organizers vet their route – which is kept secret until the moment of the ride from everyone but the Portland Police Bureau – to make sure it doesn’t cross any major intersections or TriMet MAX Light Rail lines.

While indecent exposure can be a violation of Portland City Code 14A.40.030, because this ride is a announced as a protest, officers do not cite naked participants unless they ride to the event unclothed, start off before the others, aren’t part of the official event, head off-route, or cause a disruption.

“Portland has in many ways embraced it as part of what makes us ‘Portlandia’,” remarked Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

At the baseball field in Mt. Scott Park, a DJ spun lively music, drawing a crowd of dancers. Other tables offered body painting. And, throughout the park, volunteers were selling bike seat covers and other fundraising items. 

Chin said that the 2015 ride counted up 10,100 participants; and, with the pleasant weather, he expected that number to increase this year.

“I thank the hundreds of volunteers who help us pull this off,” Chin said.

With that, the leading “Ride Marshalls” rolled out of the park, and west along S.E. Woodstock Boulevard.

The bikers, in various stages of undress, pedaled through the Woodstock business district and past Reed College. The route continued along a portion of S.E. Tacoma Street. The riders were to end up at the White Owl Social Club at S.E. 8th Avenue and Main Street.

Woodstock Fire Station Truck 25’s crew was standing by on Woodstock Boulevard at 46th Avenue, and rushed to the aid of bicyclists who took a tumble a block away later that evening.

As the sun set in the West Hills, bicyclists were still riding through Woodstock an hour after the event started, cheered on by the crowd that lined the boulevard.

Certainly some of the naked riders did stray from the course and the allotted time period, inasmuch as THE BEE observed nude riders traveling in opposite directions, whooping and calling to each other, on S.E. 17th at around midnight that night.

“Who needs the Starlight Parade?” Wendy Rankin remarked to THE BEE. “We’ve got the most colorful nighttime pageant, right here in Southeast!”

Cruise In, classic cars, Tacoma Street, Portland, Oregon
Sellwood Classic Car Show organizer Leah Tucker, of the “City Slickers” food cart on Tacoma Street, sits on her 1965 Rambler American 440 – one of four Ramblers her family owns, dating to 1963 through 1965. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Classic Car Show hosted by food cart on Tacoma Street


For the first time ever, Sellwood hosted a “Classic Car Show” along S.E. Tacoma Street on Saturday, July 16.

“I came up with the idea for a car show because, well, we have five classic cars,” said organizer Leah Tucker of “City Slickers”, located in the “Piknik Park” food cart pod.

“We had a lot of time on our hands sitting in our ‘metal box’ food cart, watching the rain coming down in one of the rainiest winters I can remember,” Tucker recalled.

“I was driving one of the classics, one day, and it was sitting out front of the food cart pod. People kept stopping and looking at it. Then it came to me that we should do a car show here.”

Because there is limited parking in that area, even when S.E. Tacoma Street isn’t being torn up, she contacted Sellwood Baptist Church, and got permission to use their parking lot.

“It is a charity event for ‘Three Rivers Soccer’, a program out of Oregon City for children with special needs,” Tucker explained. “It’s a wonderful program that works with families from all over Portland who have kids with special needs.”

Threatening clouds overhead – and a torn up street – reduced the July 16 turnout Tucker had hoped for.

“But for me, honestly, the important part is getting the community together, and bringing them out. I love this neighborhood and I love this community,” Tucker said. “Look for us to be back, bigger and better, next summer!”

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