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December 2016 -- Vol. 111, No. 4

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 Pre-Christmas/January
issue, with a deadline of December 1.
(The February issue has an ad and copy deadline of January 12.)


Want to subscribe to receive the PRINT version of THE BEE?
NOW -- subscribe securely, online -- by clicking

But, if you would rather not do it online, you can E-mail or telephone 503/968-6397. The 12-issue annual subscription rate is $14 per year for addresses located in Multnomah County, Oregon; and $24 for anywhere else in the U.S.(it's based on the differential postage rates for our class of postage). For international rates, inquire via that e-mail address just above!

Daily news!  The all-new daily PORTLAND TRIBUNE website  is updated throughout the day, every day, when news breaks out.  Click the banner at left to keep up to date on the banner news throughout the Rose City!

THE BEE has a second website -- it's searchable for past stories.  The content for the current month is similar to this one, presented in a different format.  To visit the other website, click the banner at right!

National Historic District draft nomination map
From the draft nomination, this map shows the proposed Eastmoreland Historic District boundaries.
Preliminary Eastmoreland ‘Historic District’ boundaries divulged


It’s official: A “draft nomination” document for the Eastmoreland Historic District was officially submitted to State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on November 1, by the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA), with assistance from their consulting firm, AECOM.

Those opposed to the plan, including Liz Dexter with a group calling itself “Keep Eastmoreland Free”, said they were concerned, because the neighborhood association “neglected to present it to our neighborhood beforehand, as they had said that they would.”

As it turns out, though, ENA plans to hold a meeting regarding the Historic District on December 8. More on that later on.

Dexter pointed out that the Eastmoreland Historic District plan proposes to include the Eastmoreland Golf Course, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Berkeley Park, Duniway Elementary School, and seven residential properties owned by Reed College that are adjacent to their campus.

ENA Chair Tom Hansen commented, “The City includes these properties in the neighborhood, so they are included in the proposal. And, they contribute to the historic nature of the neighborhood.”

Those opposed to the district concept point out that approximately 350 homes in the Berkeley Addition (south of Berkeley Park, and east of S.E. 36th Avenue) have been excluded from the proposed Historic District, although they are considered to be within the neighborhood association’s boundary.

Hansen explained, “We’d hoped that the Historic District boundaries could be the entire Eastmoreland neighborhood, as defined by the city. That may not be possible because, over the last ten years, especially in Berkeley Addition, this area has been disrupted by demolitions and changes. So, it looks as if not enough of the houses remain there that are of an historic enough nature.”

Those against the suggested district point out that the “'period of significance” is much wider than is typical, ranging from 1910-1961 (95% of homes within the boundary); yet, the oldest and most historic neighborhood properties – four homes built prior to this period, in 1892, 1907, and two in 1909 – are not protected.

“The situation is that the Historic District has to be contiguous,” responded Hansen. “The qualifying area must be a whole, not ‘historic pockets’.”

To the point that ENA hadn’t scheduled an assembly regarding the Historic District, ENA Land Use Co-Chair Rod Merrick announced a meeting to present the National Historic District draft nomination on Thursday, December 8, at 6:00 p.m. in the Duniway Elementary School Auditorium.

The presentation will be provided by ENA Historic District consultant AECOM, Merrick said. Diana Painter from the State Historic Preservation Office, Brandon Spencer-Hartl from the historic resources program for the City of Portland, and Hillary Adam, responsible for providing design review for properties with Historic Districts for the City of Portland, will all attend.

“The presentation is very important for all ENA neighbors, especially those living within the proposed boundaries of the district,” Merrick said.

“In addition to presenting the research findings and the significance of the district in the national context, there will be a discussion of the formulation of design guidelines,” Merrick added.

Stay informed: check the websites created by those for, and by those opposed to, establishing an Historic District in Eastmoreland:    (and)

homeless camp, southeast portland
This Inner Southeast property, earmarked by the City of Portland as the new site for the “Right 2 Dream Too” tent camp downtown on Burnside, has now been legally ruled out for that, and remains fenced off. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

City’s OMSI-area homeless camp plans quashed


You read about the idea on the front page of THE BEE some time ago: A permanent homeless encampment area, proposed by the city for some PBOT land not far from OMSI, below the long viaduct just north of the Ross Island Bridge. In August, hat plan hit a major roadblock, and is now off the table.

The city’s concept was to move the “Right 2 Dream Too” (R2D2) encampment from Northwest Fourth Avenue and Burnside Street to land below the S.E. MLK Boulevard Viaduct along 3rd Avenue and the stub of Harrison Street, was blocked by a recent decision by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), with LUBA finding that the camp was a prohibited use in an industrial zone.

THE BEE started covering this story in October of 2015, when organizers announced that the rededicated city land would shelter 14 “ongoing members” and 70 “guests” at the site.

At the end of January, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz invited neighbors, business owners, and the “houseless” to participate in a “community conversation” about the potential move.

Realizing the potential land use restrictions, the Portland City Council voted to advance the plan by a 4-to-1 vote in late February.

Not being able to move the camp has not yet become the “tragedy” predicted by Commissioner Fritz; the Portland Development Commission has now allowed the tent camp to remain at its current site in Chinatown until at least April 7, 2017.

City officials are again looking for other places where R2D2 could relocate. And, what the City will now do with the lot they reallocated from PBOT for the camp is unclear.

Official or not, campers have ignored the LUBA ruling and moved into the area, just to the south of the proposed campground, and it looks likely to be there for the foreseeable future.

Carts On Foster, Jurassic Cart, food cart burglaries, vandalism, Portland, Oregon
Zack Booth shows the damaged door at his “Jurassic Cart” at Carts on Foster. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Three SE food cart pods vandalized, plundered


Smash-pry-and-grab burglars have been on a thieving spree, breaking into a total of 28 food carts at Cartlandia, Portland Mercado, and Carts on Foster, as well as other carts around the city.

Because food cart owners make a practice of leaving no cash in their micro-businesses overnight, the thieves got virtually no money; but the damage they left behind – smashed windows, pried-open doors, and ransacked kitchen equipment, is costing them thousands of dollars to repair.

Although the cart burglaries at the recently-opened Portland Mercado on S.E. Foster Road received most of the media attention, the first set of break-ins took actually took place at Cartlandia, on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, just south of the Springwater Corridor Trail crossing, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

We had eight carts broken into, at about 4 a.m. on Friday, October 21,” reported Cartlandia owner Roger Goldingay.

The carts are owned by the operators at Cartlandia, so when they arrived to start cooking, they were shocked to find their carts damaged, with small items taken. The loss from theft was minor, but the damage was great, Goldingay said.

“We do have good video of the perpetrator here,” Goldingay told THE BEE. “There may have been more than one person, but one of them is clearly seen on the security video,” he said, and it has been reviewed by the police.

At Portland Mercado, on S.E. Foster Road just east of 72nd Avenue, the break-ins in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 23, involved six of the ten food carts. Two more carts that the burglars couldn’t enter were vandalized. These cart owners were chosen from minority communities to start small businesses at this site, which is owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and leased to operator “Hacienda CDC”.

The merchant victims – including the “Fernando’s Alegria” owner, Fernando Rodriguez – noticed the damage when arriving to open for business on that Monday morning.

“When I first saw the damage, I felt really sad, because running our cart is how we decided to live our lives, and this business is all we have,” Rodriguez reflected, glancing at the broken door at the back of his cart.

“Our business is the way we provide for our families, through our hard work here every day. So, we are feeling frustration, and sadness,” Rodriguez said. “But, you can only keep feeling badly for so long; then you need to get out of it.”

So, Rodriguez maintained an upbeat attitude about the situation. “While they hurt all of our families, I think the people that came and took our money or our things, and damaged our carts, actually united us, and are making us stronger.”

Fernando pointed out that his cart is called “Fernando’s Alegría”. “In Spanish, ‘alegría’ means joy. They can take my things, but they cannot steal my joy of serving my customers.”

Much of the damage at the Mercado, estimated at $25,000, will be made whole by a special $20,000 grant from the PDC; and the agency’s insurance will cover the cost to repair the damaged carts.

As for the third victimized cart pod – like Cartlandia, Carts on Foster is a privately-owned pod, and serves customers from the corner of S.E. Foster Road and 52nd Avenue.

Sometime after midnight on Tuesday morning, October 25, ten of the carts, and the main commissary building, were ransacked.

“They broke into my side window, and rummaged through the cart. Everything was on the floor in disarray, but they apparently didn’t take anything,” said John Nashlund who has operated “Maunukea Hawaiian” at this location for the last five years.

After “learning the hard way”, Nashlund said he now leaves no cash, laptop computers, or other easy-to-fence items in his cart overnight. “I’m sad to say this is not new, we’ve been hit before, but it’s been a couple of years since anything like this has happened,” he said.

Having been closed for a few days, the owners of “Jurassic Cart” said they were stunned to see their cart’s door bent open when they returned from taking a few vacation days off.

“We found that the door had been pried open and the window busted,” said co-owner Brian Schultz. “They got inside and knocked everything around, but all they took was about $12 in change. Now, we’re left with hundreds of dollars in damage to fix it up again.”

“Our profit over costs pretty much just pays the rent, so this is really going to put a damper on things, especially going into the winter months, a generally a slow time for food carts,” Schultz noted.

Carts on Foster owner Steve Woolard confirmed to THE BEE that the items stolen from inside these carts didn’t amount to much; “But those who did this caused thousands of dollars damage to the carts. Most of these carts are custom-made, so it’s very difficult to find replacement parts.”

All of vendors there are “very, very small” business operators, Woolard observed. “Some of them are handy and can fix the damage, but this is very tough for them; it is for all of us.”

Woolard didn’t blame the police for not having yet stopped this Southeast cart pod crime wave. “The police are short-staffed, and that’s a fact. It took 3½ hours for an officer to arrive the day after the break-ins. Normally, even if we just had vandalism, like electrical cords cut, they’d be here in 15 minutes.”

And those aren’t the only recent food cart burglaries. In recent weeks, food carts at Tidbit Food Farm at S.E. 28th Place and Division Street, The Piedmont Station Food Carts at N.E. 6th and Killingsworth Street, and the 42nd Avenue Food Carts at N.E. 42nd Avenue and Killingsworth were also burglarized.

Burglary detectives are investigating these incidents but have not confirmed they are all related to one another.

Managers of Portland Mercado and Woolard met later in the week. “We’re looking at different ways to address the problem; in a way, what hurts one of us harms all of us.”

Asked about these break-ins, Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson told THE BEE, “Detectives are looking at video and other evidence to see if they can make a case. Right now it remains unknown if these burglaries are connected.”

Each one of the food cart owners who spoke with us stated that they didn’t want pity or charity – but did want to encourage readers to come by and try their food.

“Whether it’s here at Carts on Foster, at Portland Mercado, or Cartlandia, come by and see us,” Woolard said. “Everybody eats three times a day – enjoy the diverse food we offer our community every day!”

On November 11, at 1:02 a.m., Portland Police booked 32-year-old Charles Lawrence Johnson after finding several burgled units at Mississippi Gateway Food Carts. Police aren’t saying this is also the individual responsible for Southeast Portland food cart robberies, but it is possible. 

Portland Police Spokesman Pete Simpson said that a theft victim provided police with tracking tips coming from his stolen cell phone that led officers to catch Johnson. He was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center on November 11 at 1:02 a.m. on charges of two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree, and remains in custody at Inverness Jail in lieu of $10,000 combined bail.

Johnson was previously arrested on October 26 for burglarizing Tina’s Corner Restaurant located at 5515 S.E. 122nd Avenue.

Bullseye Glass Company, new filters, pollutants, DEQ, Oregon, air toxic levels, OHA
Special piping connects furnaces in Bullseye Glass Company factory to its new highly-efficient air filtering equipment. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

OHA, DEQ: Air toxic levels drop near Bullseye Glass


The additional filtration systems installed at Bullseye Glass Company are paying off, in terms of cleaner air around the Brooklyn neighborhood based glassmaking plant.

That’s what official with the Oregon Health (OHA) announced in late October.

Although the percentage drops announced sounded huge, the original levels were not far off state benchmarks to begin with.

“Air monitoring data collected in southeast Portland indicate that levels of airborne heavy metals near Bullseye Glass are at least 98 percent lower than first measured (including an estimated 99.8 percent reduction in levels of toxic hexavalent chromium), based on data recorded over the past seven months,” announced OHA spokesperson Robb Cowie.

“Average concentrations of hexavalent chromium are more than 580 times lower than when they were first measured,” confirmed OHA public health toxicologist David Farrer. “Levels of cadmium are more than 230 times lower, and arsenic is 49 times lower. While we’re still assessing the long-term health impact on the community, we’ve seen a significant reduction in overall exposure to air emissions from different toxic metals since last winter.”

DEQ Air Quality Monitoring Laboratory Manager Tom Roick added, “We are encouraged by the dramatic drop in metals concentrations in the air near Bullseye. The decline tells us new regulations and close oversight of facility operations are making a difference.”

Based on the current readings, regulators from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will move two of the four monitors that currently ring Bullseye Glass, the agency revealed on October 24.

Monitoring will continue at the Fred Meyer Corporate CCLC (soon to become KinderCare Learning Center) at 2215 S.E. Gladstone Street, and at S.E. 22nd Avenue at Powell Boulevard, the DEQ made known. But, “Monitors near Winterhaven School have been removed for routine maintenance, and will then be then to other locations,” remarked DEQ spokesperson Jennifer Flynt.

Johnson Creek Boulevard, police, standoff, custody, handcuffs
With the suspect in handcuffs, a Milwaukie Police Department officer has taken him into custody. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Long Johnson Creek Boulevard standoff ends peacefully


A man fleeing from police took refuge in a shop along S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9.

It was a fairly long standoff; the suspect finally gave up and came out quietly over four hours later, at 5:21 p.m.

During those long afternoon hours, as police from Portland and Clackamas County waited outside for developments, S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard and the Springwater Corridor Trail, from S.E. 45th to 52nd Avenues, were completely closed down – and the nearby Precision Castparts Structuals campus went into lockdown.

According to Milwaukie Police Department Detective Tony Cereghino, it all began when neighbors on the Clackamas County side of the Johnson Creek-Ardenwald neighborhood contacted police regarding a prowler in the area of S.E. 43rd Avenue and Howe Street.

“When officers located the subject, he originally lied to officers about his name – and then took off,” Cereghino told reporters.

Making his escape on a bicycle, the suspect rode north. When a police car cut him off, the suspect crashed his bike, took off on foot, and ducked into the shop across the street from the main location of Johnson Creek Rentals, near S.E. 43rd Avenue and Johnson Creek Boulevard.

“Our employee heard a man outside the shop – it’s located across the street from our main lot – who was shouting, to no one in particular, ‘They’re chasing me!’ before he ran into the shop,” Johnson Creek Rentals Assistant Manager Joe Monaghan told THE BEE.

A disheveled, “homeless looking” man ran in the shop’s “people door”, startling the employee who was working inside, Monaghan said. “Although it’s not our rental office, regular customers do go into the shop all the time, so that wasn’t unusual – but the frantic-looking man concerned the employee.”

The staff member skirted around the intruder, activated the electric overhead garage door opener, and ran across the street to the main store.

“On our video surveillance, we could see him crawling around the shop floor, and then sitting at the desk,” Monaghan recalled. “He didn’t look as if he was trying to steal or damage anything, but he looked frantic and scared,” he added.

Before it was all over, the suspect did an odd thing – he tried to clean himself up.

“He didn’t take a shower; there were still buckets and mops in the shower stall,” Monaghan remarked. “But he tried to clean himself and his clothes; the floor was all wet outside the shower.”

By dusk, members of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team and Hostage Negotiations Team were trying to talk the man into peacefully surrendering.

Their tactics were successful; the man surrendered without incident.

“This ended successfully,” said a CCSO sergeant, still dressed in SWAT gear. “Everyone goes home safe, and no shots were fired.” And traffic on Johnson Creek Boulevard had finally resumed.

Officials have not yet released the subject’s name, or pending charges against him, if any.

Winter Forecast, Portland, Oregon, Kyle Dittmer, Boy Scouts, OMSI, What Will Winter Be Like
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission hydrologist and meteorologist – and also a PCC Earth Sciences Professor – Kyle Dittmer told us to expect four “snow events” this winter, as he was surrounded by Boy Scouts. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Winter weather forecasts revealed at OMSI


As sure as the fall storms line up in the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will host their annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference in October at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s main auditorium.

This year it was the 24th annual conference, and it took place on Saturday, October 22.

“This morning, we will hear from forecasters from the National Weather Service, private industry, and some news media weather people, all giving their prognostications and forecasts for the upcoming winter,” said the chapter’s President, Steve Pierce – now also a KOIN News 6 meteorologist.

The event attracts upward of 300 people every year, Pierce said; it’s because weather affects everybody. “Weather affects humans, animals, crops, transportation, housing – everything.” And that led him to begin the conference with his own forecast:

“I say there’s a greater than 50-50 chance that we see at least one significant Valley snow event this winter,” Pierce ventured. “By significant, I mean 3” to 6” of Valley snowfall, all the way down to sea level in Portland. We haven’t seen this in three years, since December of 2013, and 2014 was the last year we had any significant snow in the Portland area.

“I also expect around seasonal normal conditions in the Cascades for snowpack,” Pierce added. “That’ll be music to a lot of the ears for people who love skiing, and the ski resort operators.”

Portland National Weather Service unsure
Meteorologist Colby Neuman from the Portland office of the National Weather Service said his agency forecasts “a wide range of possibilities; at this point, there is really nothing indicating that we’re going to see something, versus something else.

“We could have either above-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation, or we could have below-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation levels over the winter,” Neuman continued.

“There is no strong indication that we will be going in one direction or another. We do not have a good feel yet for what is going to happen this winter; people here should be prepared for just about anything this winter.” And that’s your National Weather Service forecast! At least normal conditions seemingly are ruled out.

University professor forecasts snow
Another speaker on the panel, Kyle Dittmer, said he is the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s Hydrologist and Meteorologist, and also as a professor of Earth Sciences at Portland Community College.

“I’ve just earned my 25-year teaching certificate this year, and this will be my 17th year presenting my Winter Weather Forecast here,” Dittmer said, before unexpectedly being surrounded by a Boy Scout troop.

“As far as this year’s winter condition, it’s kind of a ‘borderline La Niña’ winter condition,” Dittmer hazarded. “I’m looking for a little bit colder than normal weather, and slightly above normal rainfall and snowfall.

“I’m looking for four snow events in Portland, two major snow events and two minor ones, from mid-December through mid-February,” predicted Dittmer. “Get your snowshoes and snow shovels ready!”

There you have it: three meteorological professionals and three different forecasts for the upcoming winter months (or, at least, two forecasts). If the two specific forecasts come true, it might be time to get the snow tires on the car.

Illegal turns, 6th and Tacoma, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
A van, followed by a pickup truck, make prohibited left-hand turns at the intersection. (David F. Ashton)

Motorists constantly making illegal turns onto Tacoma Street


As the Sellwood Bridge construction project nears completion, the nearby neighbors, as well as the motorists and bicyclists, have noticed an increase in neighborhood cut-through traffic.

It’s not surprising, since during peak hours vehicles creep along S.E. Tacoma Street or come to a complete stop, for minutes at a time.

“Tacoma Street and side streets near the bridge are often congested, even when construction is not occurring,” acknowledged Multnomah County Sellwood Bridge spokesman Mike Pullen. “The Portland Bureau of Transportation will work with SMILE,  the Sellwood neighborhood association, on the traffic issue, after bridge construction is completed. The plan is to assess where congestion is occurring after construction is over, so solutions can be considered.”

But the biggest problem at present is an illegal driving maneuver constantly taking place at the new traffic signal at S.E. 6th Avenue and Tacoma Street.

“One of the main reasons for adding the signal was that the project wanted to help bicyclists and pedestrians cross Tacoma Street,” Pullen explained.

Drivers heading south on S.E. 6th Avenue from Spokane Street are allowed to turn left, right, or continue through the intersection across Tacoma Street.

However, northbound drivers coming to Tacoma from Tenino Street are allowed a “right turn only”, putting them eastbound on Tacoma Street. Many have cut down Tenino to turn west, despite the signage and signal to prevent it.

“The decision to handle motor vehicle traffic this way went back to the Citizen Advisory Committee, and has always been involved in the project as part of the ‘Preferred Alternative’,” Pullen reminded.

The problem is, Pullen said, motorists are still making illegal left-hand turns from northbound S.E. 6th Avenue to westbound Tacoma Street, to cut ahead of Tacoma Street traffic and cross the Sellwood Bridge.

To the check out the claim that motorists were constantly flaunting the law in commute hours and making illegal left-hand turns at the intersection, THE BEE traveled there in early November near the end of the morning rush hours.

It 22 minutes of observation, we saw 17 drivers make illegal left-hand turns; only one car correctly turned right at the intersection. We had a camera to document these transgressions.

“Why are you taking pictures of me?” demanded a woman, after making the prohibited turn. She was incensed to learn that THE BEE was doing a story about illegal driving practices at the intersection, and threatened to sue if the photo of her flagrant disregard for the law appeared in the newspaper. Go ahead, lady, you’re the one who broke the law! All we did was prove it.

Cars, a pickup truck with a trailer, and a delivery van driven by a professional driver made illegal turns; a commercial garbage hauler’s truck went straight through the intersection, instead of making the mandated right turn.

“We’ve informed the Portland Police Bureau about the situation,” Pullen said. “They’ve said they’re aware of it.”

The understaffed nature of the Portland Police at present may make monitoring a specific situation difficult, but there are “enforcement missions” planned at S.E. 6th and Tacoma, and in the view of THE BEE – given the additional congestion caused by cut-through motorists trying to sneak ahead of other motorists on Tacoma, to get to the head of the line – these missions cannot come soon enough.

Immanuel Lutheran Church, free document shredding, Scott Tom
Volunteers at the secure document shredding site pose with Ken Ausmus (in black jacket, third from left), the driver of the truck. Otherwise, from left: A neighbor bringing documents to be shredded; Barbara Huber-Pearson; Rev. David Zemke; Ruth Nachtwey; and Tom Pearson. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Sellwood radio personality and family help Ugandan orphans


Sellwood residents Scott Tom and his wife Adele, and their twenty-six year old daughter Veronica, have never been to Africa. But, through a Facebook encounter, they have become passionate about helping orphans in the town of Iganga in eastern Uganda.

Scott has appeared on a variety of stations over the years in Salem and Portland, but today he is a radio personality on the classic hits station “106.7 The Eagle”, and he says that these days – he has been in radio 43 years – radio DJ’s are encouraged to build a “social media” base.

Thus it was that three years ago Scott met Kirunda Daniel Moses on Facebook.

Kirunda Daniel Moses, Uganda, orphanage, Scott Tom
Orphans in eastern Uganda wave greetings to the Sellwood residents half a world away who are helping them, with funds raised by benefit concerts and paper shredding events at Immanuel Lutheran Church. (Courtesy of Kirunda Daniel Moses)

He learned that Kirunda is the “Director of Light” for Orphans Ministry, an orphanage currently housing fifty children and three widows in Iganga in the Eastern District of Uganda. Many of the orphans lost parents who died of AIDS, as did the husbands of the three widows. Moses told Scott that he always searches first to find relatives who can care for the orphans; but, in the absence of family, he himself takes them in.

Meantime, the Tom family has lived in Sellwood for twenty years, and previously attended a Lutheran church in Northeast Portland. When it occurred to them that they might instead attend Immanuel Lutheran Church in Sellwood, they tried it and liked it.

Being new members, Scott had some hesitancy about broaching the topic, but nonetheless he stepped forward to share his enthusiasm for helping the orphans – and the church showed interest in participating in some way.

They decided to designate for the orphans all donated proceeds from Immanuel Lutheran’s annual paper shredding event on the church parking lot. (The shredding is free, but donations are accepted.)

On Saturday, October 23rd, four volunteers and Rev. Semke were on the church lot where a “ShredNW” truck accepted and immediately shredded documents and personal papers that were brought to them by neighborhood residents and church-affiliated people.

Scott reported that the donated proceeds for the day added up to $150.

Coupled with proceeds from a benefit concert held at the church in September, the total funds available to the orphanage were $650 for September and October. Scott wired the money directly to the orphanage, to help purchase medicine and food, and pay school expenses.

Scott Tom, Adele Tom, Veronica, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon, Uganda
Sellwood’s Tom family – from left: Adele, local radio personality Scott, and Veronica – are passionate about helping orphans in Eastern Uganda. (Courtesy of Scott Tom)

Over the past three years, Scott and his family have been generous with their own resources. For example, when Kirunda’s cell phone became inoperable, daughter Veronica found a used phone online, and sent it to Kirunda. And in the last month, Scott was presented with fifty-five T-shirts by the Portland Trailblazers to send to Uganda. When the women at the orphanage made jewelry, Kirunda sent it to Scott, Adele, and Veronica, and they sold it at the church to raise more funds to send back.

Asked by THE BEE if he might ever go to Africa, Scott said the better use of his funds would be to help the orphanage from here. He says he finds joy in looking at photos that Kirunda sends of children opening boxes. “Some of the money was also used to make bunk beds, which we viewed on the phone,” reported Scott.

Scott is aware that, “All of these things don’t happen overnight. We know we can’t save the world, but we can move the meter by doing little bits here and there.”

The Tom family and Immanuel Lutheran Church would welcome anyone from the community who might like to meet for coffee every other month or so to learn more about the orphanage. E-mail Scott at:

“When you know you have done something to put a smile on the faces of children, there is no better feeling than that,” reflected Scott.

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