Community Features

The "Events and Activities" for the month are beneath these featured stories!

Electric Hotel, Sellwood, history
Constructed in 1914, Sellwood’s Electric Hotel introduced the innovation of electrical lights and heating for its guests. Just to the left of this building, which once was the Electric Hotel, is one of many original rooming houses, today converted to apartments. Then mainly occupied by laborers, conductors, and mechanics who worked on the streetcar or interurban lines during the early 1900's, these rooming houses offered affordable homes for the new urban working class. (Photo by Dana Beck)

The hotels and boarding houses of old Sellwood

Special to THE BEE

When the West was young, almost every town had at least one saloon, general store, and barbershop, plus a two-story false-fronted hotel – with a balcony.

While Sellwood might not be pictured as a western-type town with cowboys riding up to the hitching post after a long day on the dusty trail, there were a few hotels for them to room in if they did. And a few of those are still standing in the neighborhood.

Picture this, in the 1880’s: The independent town of Sellwood was still a small rural community. People traveled by wagon, by horse, or on foot, along winding dusty roads and through streets bordered with small dwellings, and false-front stores that offered goods and services to passersby.

Most of the merchants in these tiny shops lived above or behind their storefronts. In 1887, a Sellwood City Council was set up to deal with home owners’ complaints. Problems to be addressed centered on the need for clean drinking water, corralling wandering cows, the foxes that roamed the streets, and the need for paving the dirt streets.

Visitors who came through the rural countryside to Sellwood came for the pleasure of watching and betting on the horse racing at Sellwood’s track, investing in a summer cottage, or finding employment at any of the small business along the waterfront – or, east of the new town, in unincorporated Willsburg.

Boarding houses, extra rooms provided by residents, and a few hotels, were offering lodging for travelers.

The St. Charles, the Merchant, the Sellwood Hotel, and Randall’s Hotel were the first available formal lodgings for weary travelers. While primitive in comparison to the elegant hotels that newcomers and prospective businessmen were used to in the downtown Portland of the day, they did serve the needs of Sellwood during its early years.

Sorenson and Young were two such men looking to start their own business. Viewing the Sellwood hillside spangled with trees, and with a watercraft landing near the river by which one could ship lumber aboard sail boats along the Willamette, they opened the first lumber mill in the area, at the foot of Spokane Street, in 1888.

They duo were boarding at the Merchant Hotel owned by Joseph M. Merchant, on the northeast corner of Sherrett and 11th Streets. Taking advantage of the shortage of lodging available in Sellwood, when Joseph first built his home he had included additional rooms upstairs to rent out.

Born in Manchester, England, in 1829, Joseph Merchant had arrived on the East Coast in 1849 at the age of 20. He went on to serve three years in the Union Army, during the Civil War, under the leadership of General Ulysses Grant – and then, when the war was over, he married Miss Sarah E. Holland in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1866.

Not long afterward, the couple moved to California, where they lived for a decade until the adventurous Joseph decided to move his family north – to Portland, Oregon. Credited as one of the most esteemed and reliable carpenters, contractors, and builders in the city, Joseph’s accomplishments included the construction of the Perkins Hotel, the Selling-Hirsch Building, and the Washington Building, along with the Grand Central Hotel and the Portland YMCA building.

Locally, Joseph helped in building parts of the Sellwood School, additions to the Brooklyn School, and building numerous homes still standing in the neighborhood today. Check your deeds, residents; you might find his name on yours!

While the Merchant Hotel provided accommodations for millworkers, sailors, carpenters, and artisans, for those working in or near the area, the St. Charles Hotel – which was located farther down the street, on Umatilla, at the end of 17th Street – was a favorite for well-to-do men seeking frolic and fun.

The fun in question frequently included attending horse races. This was a time when the City View Racetrack, located in parts of what today is Sellwood Park and the adjoining area, was providing entertainment for the rich and famous from Portland’s downtown core. A luxury ship took spectators up the river to a landing on Spokane Street, to allow athletic young men to climb the hill and partake of the weekend’s events.

Afterwards, a trip down to Rosaer’s Beer Garden provided liquor, spirits, and games of chance – and those who came for the weekend could check into the St. Charles for the night. 

Workers employed at the Wills sawmill, the brick factory, or the Schindler Furniture factory, in the community of Willsburg, also stayed at the St. Charles until accommodations could be found elsewhere. 

Charles Bellegarde operated the hotel briefly in 1888, but when the profits proved not as handsome as he’d expected, he moved on to other ventures. Bellegarde had faced some imposing competition from Mrs. Mary Thomas, who was then running the Sellwood Hotel at 9th and Umatilla – she brooked no funny business from tenants, but cooked fabulous meals. When the St. Charles was put up for sale, she bought it, and renamed it the Sellwood Hotel, moving her operation there.

Situated at the crossroads of 17th and Umatilla, the Sellwood Hotel was the perfect place for overnight guests arriving from Portland to the north, or Milwaukie to the south. Mrs. Thomas also provided housing for travelers who came by boat, and arrived in Sellwood by way of Umatilla Street. For over 30 years The Sellwood Hotel served the area until a new owner, Mrs. Emma Cash, followed her purchase by planning to tear down the structure and replace it with more-modern cottages.

But, when monetary backing for her project fell through, Harold F. Miller bought the old hotel and opened a mail order business in it. Collecting remnants of old rugs, he recycled them into new rugs that were sold around the country. A weaving room, containing some fourteen looms, was located upstairs where the hotel guests once slept – and that Portland Rug Factory was then offering one of the few employment opportunities in Sellwood for women.  

While there never were any reports of any famous celebrities staying at the Sellwood Hotel, Mrs. Agnes M. Thibodeau, its owner in 1909, did provide scandal for The Oregonian’s society pages. Mrs. Thibodeau had just been granted a divorce from her sixth husband – that’s right, her sixth – and had her maiden name restored, so that she could continue her life as she desired, as Miss Agnes Thibodeau. That was scandalous in 1909!

Elsewhere in old Sellwood, Randall’s Hotel was located in the heart of the Umatilla business section, allowing its guests to venture over to Campell’s Grocery, or repair a broken horseshoe at Hamilton’s Blacksmith, or get a prime cut of meat at the Umatilla Meat Market. You also could stay put and pay for a round of drinks At Randall’s Hotel, which operated as a saloon, according to local folklore. 

But beer and hard drinks were probably prohibited on Sundays at Randall’s, as the first meetings of the Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood, including Sunday School classes, were held at the hotel that day each week.

Activity near the Spokane Street Ferry Landing began to increase when the Eastside Lumber Mill replaced the pioneer sawmill of Sorenson and Young, and employed over 200 men. Temporary housing was needed for the newcomers, and the Commerce Hotel at 542 Spokane Street was among the hotels and boarding houses along Tacoma and Spokane Streets to provide lodging for the millworkers, who only had to walk five or six blocks to their quarters.

Prior to the opening of the Sellwood Bridge in 1925, the Palatine Hotel and Cafeteria also offered a room and meals for the workers of the Eastside Lumber mill. Owner John P. Miller built this two-story structure on the east end of what would soon open as the Sellwood Bridge, on company-owned property on Tacoma Street. Company employees like Adolph and Gustav Schotz ran the restaurant and rented rooms there.

By the 1930’s, William and Stefe Klar were operating the now-converted hotel as the Palatine Apartments and Grocery for residents, and for workers at the mill.

The Oregon Water Power and Railway was one of Sellwood’s major employers when it erected a six-bay car-barn garage in 1909 along the tracks at 11th and S.E. Marion. A carmen’s clubhouse was built at 11th and Linn, so off-duty streetcar workers could play cards and pool, and use cots that were located downstairs in the building to catch some winks.

Enterprising residents built two large structures called “flats” near the streetcar lines, renting furnished rooms to the extra workers hired on at the car barns. Rooms to rent were advertised locally in THE BEE, or were made available by word of mouth, or were posted in the small stores and pool halls in the neighborhood.  These boarding houses contained sweeping balconies in the front and rear, and still can be viewed today along 11the Avenue between Marion Street and Umatilla.

An open yard at the rear of the boarding houses was ideal for families or single men wanting to grow and harvest their own vegetables during the summertime. These spaces also provided ample shade during the evening for renters to escape the oppressive heat, since electric air conditioning had yet to be invented.

Accommodations in the boarding houses provided the simplest of living conditions for the renters: The basics included kerosene lamps for lighting, a wash stand with a bowl, and a pitcher of water for washing up.

In 1914, electric lighting and heating was introduced to renters, when the state-of-the-art Electric Hotel opened, providing top-notch living quarters.

Those days of old Sellwood’s hotels and boarding houses have passed – but their colorful stories, and in many cases the structures themselves, remain for us today.

Eastmoreland, Independence Day, parade, Robert McCullough
Eastmoreland’s “first lady” Karen Tosi rode in the parade with “hizzoner” Robert McCullough – only seconds after this photo was taken, the brakes on the vintage car gave out, and the couple finished the parade cheerfully on foot. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland observes July 4th with parade and hot dogs


For at least two decades, Eastmorelanders have gathered to celebrate Independence Day with a march through their neighborhood, followed by a hot dog feed.

“Our Fourth of July Independence Day Parade seems to get bigger every year,” observed Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) Parade Chair Steve Baker. “When the community comes together for events like these, it helps make this a good place to live.”

The parade entries – mostly marching units, with decorated bicycles, wagons and carts – gathered on S.E. Reed College Place, forming in front of Duniway Elementary School. Robert McCullough, Eastmoreland’s “honorary mayor” (and Chair of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association) was all smiles.

“I'm glad to have been reincarnated as an American,” McCullough grinned to THE BEE. “Happy birthday Uncle Sam, and to our country! This is important, because this gathering and parade is a naked, primitive, naïve display of patriotism – in which I believe, heart and soul.”

It’s also important, McCullough added, because “it increases communications among neighbors. You get to know who lives down your block, you get to know their kids. As our sense of community builds, we’ll eventually get pitchforks and torches, and march on City Hall!”

This year, they chose a young neighbor, Jasper Hanley, to be the Grand Marshall. “He’s been dealing with health problems, and our thought of honoring a young man who's had a bit of a hard time of it makes perfect sense today,” said McCullough.

A new feature this year found Dharini Balajee starting the parade by beautifully singing the National Anthem, with the help of Jim Alexander, who held up a bullhorn to reach the crowd. “I’m dressed like this,” Alexander explained, “because I am a sixth-generation descendent of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Witherspoon.”

In the Duniway School parking lot, the extended Eichentopf family already had their grills set up, and was serving some of the 1,500 hot dogs they’d prepared overnight in their Otto’s Sausage Kitchen and Meat Market.

This year, families didn’t even wait until after the parade – they eagerly dined on hot dogs for breakfast.

“The family does this because they love and respect the neighborhood,” said Dean Hostetter, Gretchen Eichentopf’s dad. “This is something they can do to recognize how wonderful people in this neighborhood are to them.”

Shortly after the parade set off northbound, the car in which “mayor” McCullough was riding lost its brakes, and coasted into the back of the vintage car ahead of it. The collision caused no significant damage; McCullough and “first lady” Karen Tosi disembarked and walked the remainder of the route.

It took some encouragement, but neighbors encouraged Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division motorcycle cops to “savor the season” – they brought the officers made-to-order Otto’s hot dogs to enjoy while working at the parade.

Saying he had no official – or unofficial – duties in the event, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Nancy Hales, themselves Eastmoreland residents, came to watch the merry procession as it headed north on S.E. Reed College Place – and then back again.

“We love Eastmoreland, and we love this tradition,” Hales told THE BEE. “Obviously other people do also; this parade gets bigger and more successful every year. It’s a fun, safe way for everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July.”

As the temperature started to climb during the parade, volunteers helped representatives set out coolers filled with soft drinks donated by New Seasons Markets. As participants circled back, they queued up for the ice cold beverages, and consumed them with glee.

Although many of the families later left the neighborhood for a few hours to celebrate the holiday elsewhere, they’d already begun the day with robust patriotism, cool drinks, and wieners.

Ross Jackson, Independent Publishing Resource Center, IPRC
At IPRC, Ross Jackson (with the stack cutter) teaches the Comics Class, in the “Youth Sunday” Program. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Publishing Resource Center recovers from smashup, offers youth program


Sometimes one story leads to another.

In the July BEE, we told you about how a driver suffering a seizure veered to the curb at 1001 S.E. Division Street, drove right over a passenger car, and lodged his pickup in the front of the Independent Publishing Resource Center.

An employee told this reporter after that, “Our whole office is buckled, but the glass didn’t shatter. . .  We’re all still planning on coming back to work tomorrow.”

The building was declared safe and has been repaired, and the business survived a startling mishap. But covering that story caused us to learn more about the Independent Publishing Resource Center, and one of the things we learned is that this 17-year-old business has a special program for youths from age 8 to 18 who would like to learn more about independent publishing.

It’s called “Youth Sunday”, and it occurs every Sunday from noon till 5 pm, when employees on-site assist youths in creating their own print media. The program aims to help novices understand the fine points of the growing field of independent publishing.

The Youth Sunday program was established in 1998 under the direction of Rebecca Gilbert: “It’s an inspired way to give young people basic training in a field that could turn out to become a life’s passion.

“Here they can learn practical aspects of printing and publishing, while watching and questioning others who are actively immersed in the process. There is also an on-site reference library of ’zines, including other materials produced at the IPRC.”

The company also produces fliers, advertising inserts, pamphlets, and newsletters – although it is a publishing resource center, and NOT a publishing house. They tell THE BEE that they can provide all the tools and equipment needed for anyone of any age to publish a fine quality book yourself – one you can then distribute as you see fit.

Students in the youth program learn to operate machinery such as printers, binders, industrial paper cutters, and creative design software on the Macintosh computers. They learn to “make, mail, print, compute, archive, exchange, research, publish, browse, create, talk, and bind,” says Program Director A. M. O’Malley.

IPRC offers access to workspace and tools to aid production and distribution of ’zines, comics, hand-bound books and artwork. And, we are told, “It is one of the only self-publishing centers of its kind, and includes computer workstations for writing, scanning, graphic design and desktop publishing. We also offer high-speed Internet access for research and networking purposes.”

Students can use two copiers, five table-top letterpresses, a Bind-Fast 5 Perfect-Binding Machine, and various other tools for creating, binding, and assembling publications.

IPRC also has two art galleries, and the nation’s largest ’zine library.

For more information, or a tour of the place, just stop by any day between noon and 6 pm. But leave your vehicle outside!

Elms, Eastmoreland, Dutch Elm Disease
When a large elm limb fell in Eastmoreland on June 27, blocking S.E. 29th at Knapp Street, Urban Foresters John Watkins and Jerome Johnson responded to cut up the fallen elm limb for the chipper, to clear the street. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Eastmoreland elms still suffer from Dutch Elm Disease


Much attention has been given lately to three ancient redwoods endangered by development plans on a lot in Eastmoreland. They may yet be saved. But that is hardly the most critical tree-related issue in this neighborhood.

Due to Dutch Elm Disease, many of the nearly one hundred Eastmoreland elm trees are under threat of damage, and even eventual removal. Neighborhood volunteers annually inoculate the elms to improve their health, but periodically limbs fall, and the trees need to be pruned.

A large limb cracked off a parking-strip tree on Saturday evening, June 27, at S.E. 29th Avenue, blocking Knapp Street. That occurred during the same weekend as the annual Eastmoreland Neighborhood Garage Sale, but luckily, no other damage occurred.

Portland Parks & Recreation spokesperson Mark Ross told THE BEE, “There’s a moratorium on pruning of elm trees between April 15 and October 15; but since the downed limb was blocking the street, it had to be removed.”

Stenzel explains, “June 20 was our last scheduled treatment day. Elms are damaged by a fungus carried by the Dutch Elm Beetle, which enters the tree at damage sites. The fungus ruins the tree’s vascular system, and parts of the tree subsequently die off.”

A nearby homeowner observed that this particular elm had already received numerous treatments. “However, the canopy still looks sickly, with wilted leaves and bare branches. My neighbor already had three elms removed,” she said, adding philosophically, “It’s an old tree – I guess they can’t live forever – but it looks awfully bare up there, where the limb came down.”

John Watkins and Jerome Johnson were part of the Urban Forestry crew that sectioned the fallen limb the following day, and fed it through a chipper.

Elm tree inoculations cost the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association about $10,000 a year, so tax-deductible donations and volunteers are always welcome. If the fate of the elms are of concern to you, contact Denny Stenzel at 503/777-6651 to volunteer.

Sellwood Riverfront Park, Riverfront Concerts, SMILE, Portland Parks and Recreation
The music of Chervona gets spectators onto their feet and dancing, at this year’s first Sellwood Riverfront Park Concert. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eclectic lineup at Riverfront Concerts appeals to many tastes


Music, food, beverages, and neighbors magically combined to provide five memorable outdoor evenings again this year, as the Sellwood Riverfront Park Concerts got underway on Monday, July 6.

It’s part of the Portland Parks & Recreation “Summer Free for All” Concerts in the Parks series, but it’s planned – and sponsored – in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood.

Starting an hour before the 6:30 pm show time, families and couples came into the area, many on foot or by bicycle. With them they are picnic suppers, including beer and wine – which are allowed during the concerts – and they then settled in for a pleasant evening’s entertainment.

“We have a ton of local supporters that make this happen,” said Jim Friscia, one of the committee members who recruits the sponsors and chooses the bands.

“Part of what makes this successful is that we have a really long list of sponsors who contribute to our concert season,” Friscia said.

In-kind sponsors help out as well, he added, thanking historic Oaks Amusement Park for opening their south lot for overflow parking, and Heiberg Garbage & Recycling taking care of the trash. “And, the Adsideo Church provides volunteers to monitor our ‘bicycle corral’, and to keep an eye on our parking areas. This could not be done without the people in this neighborhood pitching in.” SMILE, the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association, is also a sponsor.

Having these concerts provides a place where people from our community can get together, remarked Friscia. “It’s a fun, safe, family-friendly place to come and hang out on a nice summer evening.”

As Friscia spoke with THE BEE, itself a co-sponsor of the concerts, Chervona – the band featuring “Eastern Euro Carnival Insanity” tunes, with Klezmer, gypsy and rock-and-roll influences – began to play, enlivening the audience.

The following week, the Windermere Stellar Moreland office presented “Portland’s Pillar of Soul”, Ural Thomas & the Pain. On July 20, singer and acoustic blues band Mary Flower & the BBQ Boys took the stage, sponsored by OnPoint Community Credit Union. The following week, the Roseland Hunters played their brand of New Orleans Funk.

And, finishing up the season on Monday evening, August 3rd, was Catarina New & Brazilian Touch – a Swedish saxophonist with a Latin band – sponsored by the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance (SWBA).

“One of the great additions this year has been our local food vendors,” Friscia pointed out. “This year we have Atlas Scoops serving their ice cream, and food by Sellwood charcuterie Feastworks.”

It you missed this July series of Monday evening concerts in Sellwood’s Riverfront Park, well – there’s always next year. They’ll be back, with new artists performing.

Brooklyn Park, water slide, Craig Montag
Brooklyn Park’s hill has always made it an ideal place for a water slide.

Brooklyn Park’s water slide returns – for 38th year of beating the heat 


The exceptionally hot days at the end of this June and early in July made the perennially-popular Brooklyn Park water slide “cooler” than ever.

Park Director Craig Montag has watched generations of kids slide down the slippery slope for 38 years now, and it never gets old. Excited cries of “It's awesome!” and “Oooh, I was so scared” ring out over the line, as kids wait their turn to slide down the hill.

Montag reflects, “You know, the very first time we had a water slide here, it was just on the grass. We put a bucket over a park sprinkler, and kids slid down the grassy slope in their jeans.

“Finally, one of the neighbors came over and asked if I knew about something called ‘visqueen’, a strong plastic film available at Rose City Awning. I picked up a roll of it for the water slide, and we’ve used it ever since.”

Over the years, rules for the water slide have changed – but always on the side of safety and efficiency. It’s usually set up once every other week to help preserve the grass. Regular times are 2 to 8 pm on the forecast hottest day of the week.

Nowadays, kids slide one at a time instead of in groups; and, as usual, no metal is allowed, to protect the plastic from tearing. While the Park Bureau now assigns two regular summer assistants, Joseph and Jessica, many parents also volunteer to sit at the top of the slide to streamline the flow of eager sliders.

“Jessica is a former park kid from the ’90’s,” reflects Montag. “She's a graduate of the Oregon School of Arts & Crafts, and now directs the Arts and Crafts program here.”

Many kids return to the park every year to simply greet Montag, and some now are even bringing their own kids.

Montag has achieved “royalty” status to many who learned trust, sharing, self-worth, and cooperation under his park guidance. He’s kept in touch with many of “his kids” over the years, assisting them with jobs, transportation, and real-world advice.

He’s also been invited to many of their graduations and weddings as a valued mentor and friend. And on the hottest days of the summer, all of them still know where they can find him.

Sellwood Pool, Rebekah Sabzalian
Rebekah Sabzalian is ready to catch her son, Javier, as he takes the plunge into the Sellwood Pool. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Pool opens in time for early summer heat


For many Inner Southeast residents, a favorite way to “chill out” during this, one of hottest summers on record, has been to splash in the Sellwood Pool with hundreds of their neighbors.

“Just after we opened, people wanted to know why we didn’t open for the season before June 15!” said Portland Parks & Recreation Assistant Pool Manager Ian Elliott-Engles.

“The reason is, that many of our employees are students, or they work in schools, so we can’t open until the school year is over,” Elliott-Engles told THE BEE.

A student himself, Elliott-Engles said this was the “perfect job” for him, as during the school year he attends Portland State University as a History major, with plans to become a teacher.

The posted capacity of the pool during an “open swim” is 450 splashers, and during their weekly evening “free swim” early this summer they frequently had capacity crowds in the pool.

“When it’s absolutely packed in the pool, we have as many as ten lifeguards watching it,” Elliott-Engles said.

Now a veteran summertime employee, having started at age 15, Elliott-Engles commented that the best part of the job for him are his co-workers. “Coming here over the past seven years, I really love my staff. They are like a family to me.”

The hardest part of the job, he said, “Is when you're standing out near the pool in 100° heat, and you're watching other people swim and have fun and cool off.” 

As Elliott-Engles watched families frolic in the pool, he mused to THE BEE, “I love this job!”

The Portland Parks’ Sellwood Pool is situated at the south end of Sellwood Park, at 7951 S.E. 7th Avenue. For more information, call 503/823-3679.

OMSI, Believe It Or Not, car made of matchsticks
Arturo and Maria Lagos examine the Silver Ghost automotive model made of many, many matchsticks; it’s part of the “Ripley's Believe It or Not” collection. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

OMSI still offers adult summertime “date nights”


Although the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), on the waterfront just north of the Ross Island Bridge, is primarily known as an exciting kids’ and family destination – many grown-ups have been learning about the monthly evening activities geared exclusively for adults.

Before the doors opened for the June 24th festivities, the line of people awaiting entry wrapped around the building.

 “We’ve been holding ‘OMSI After Dark’ for seven years now, but many people are still only just learning about it,” commented OMSI Director of Events Andrea Edgecombe on June 24th.

“Our monthly ‘After Dark’ evenings are becoming more popular than ever, but this is perhaps the first time we’ve sold out in advance; there are no tickets available at the door. It’s an awesomely good problem; and it makes for a crazy fun evening.”

During these “adults-only” evenings, OMSI Educators put on science-themed activities. They also feature vendors and organizations associated with the month’s theme.

Each evening features a different topic, Edgecombe observed. At this particular After Dark, it was “Seeds and Cider”. “We have 19 cideries here this evening, providing samples of their hard ciders.”

Regardless of the theme, because the After Dark events are for people 21 years of age and over, many adults enjoy it as a “date night” opportunity. “Kids are great, but during our After Dark evenings, you’re not being elbowed out of the way by seven-year-olds who, in their youthful enthusiasm, are pushing past you.”

And, all of their exhibit halls are open. Many guests enjoyed exploring OMSI’s current featured exhibition, artifacts from the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” collection; it’s a 6,000 square foot highly-interactive exposition.

Upcoming: OMSI After Dark on August 26
The theme of the August adults-only evening is “Explosions! – Things that make you go boom.” Explore all things explosive, as OMSI blows the lid off the science behind blasts.

It’s from 7 until 11 pm, at the science museum on S.E. Water Street, tucked under the Marquam Bridge. Remember, this is for those 21+ only, and ID's are required. The cost is $13 for non-members, $6.50 for OMSI members. For more information and advance tickets (recommended), go online:

Trackers Earth, comic books, publishing
“Trackers Earth” students Kat, 10, and Alex, 12, display the first mini-comic given free to them – and to all of Trackers’ student campers. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

“Trackers Earth” produces comic and how-to books; plans more


Tony Deis, founder of “Trackers Earth Wilderness Training”, is expanding into the book business, with the hope of encouraging children to become devoted readers.

A few months ago, “Trackers Earth” moved north on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue from the Watershed Building just south of McLoughlin into the former Barbo Machinery building, near Holgate Boulevard in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

And, in March, Trackers released its first comic book, “The Four Doors of Cascadia”, detailing the four master focus classes at Trackers’ camps.

The mini color comic, first released online in March, is given to every student at Trackers, now situated at 4617 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. It serves as a graphic cartoon introduction to the kinds of wilderness training camps offered at the school. Illustrated by professional comic artist Amelia Davis, it features a brother and sister whose names are the same as Deis’ children.

The storyline was created by Michelle McCann, a professional writer and editor who lives in Sellwood. McCann formerly taught a publishing class at Portland State University, but now works from her home. In July, Deis started producing a monthly web comic that can be viewed at: All Trackers books will be available through Amazon, the Trackers website, and at the camps.

Deis has also written two How-To manuals: “Wilderness Woodcarving for Kids”, and “Wilderness Shelter Building”. He plans to develop a series of such pocket-size paperbacks. Future books will address campfire cooking, animal tracking, archery, and more.

Deis is also working on a children’s novel called “The Remembering”, planned for publication later this year. The futuristic middle-grade adventure is set in Sellwood – 100 years after a post-apocalyptic occurrence. Deis plans for the characters to display various wilderness skills learned at Trackers camps.

Future fiction titles will combine wilderness skills and story-based adventures that Trackers students and staff have created during outdoor camp sessions. McCann reveals, “In winter, we'll publish two middle-grade novels written by Trackers’ staff about the worlds that kids have created through Trackers’ adventure/fantasy role-playing.

“These novels are based on the classic theme of a hero’s journey while overcoming various challenges. Our goal is to produce four or five action/adventure fantasies each year.

“Between the cartoon elements of the graphic comics and the exciting ‘hero journey’ storylines, we hope to engage students into becoming avid and successful readers with lifelong reading habits.”

Zenger Farm, Mike Wenrick
New Zenger Farm Executive Director Mike Wenrick (yes, he’s the big carrot, wearing sunglasses) plays with his three-year-old daughter Eleanor. “She loves her vegetables!” (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New Zenger Farm Executive Director has deep Inner Southeast roots


Mike Wenrick traveled the world before settling down near his original family home, to head a notable nonprofit – “Zenger Farm”, on S.E. Foster Road.

“I am an Inner Southeast Portland native,” Wenrick told THE BEE. “My father went to Grout Elementary school on S.E. Holgate Boulevard; my mom went to an all-girl Catholic school that, at the time, was located in deep Southeast,” Wenrick said.

Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South America were some areas where Wenrick performed public health work for the last ten years, while with Portland-based nonprofit Medical Teams International.

“I travel all over,” Wenrick continued. “But also, I have cooked professionally! I studied in Portland with Robert Reynolds of ‘The Chef’s Studio’, who trained many young chefs in Portland, some of whom are now at Portland’s top restaurants.”

When his wife was attending school back east, Wenrick operated a small business in Connecticut called The Farm Bistro. “For two years I prepared foods made from locally-sourced ingredients, held private dinner parties, and did catering.”

However his passion for food and “food justice” brought him back to East Portland, where Wenrick was recently named Executive Director of nonprofit Zenger Farm, on S.E. Foster Road east of 82nd.

Zenger Farm promotes environmental stewardship along the Johnson Creek Basin and Watershed by operating a “teaching farm”, which serves as an open-air classroom.

“My profession and personal passions are really in line with those of Zenger Farm,” Wenrick said. “In addition to my career of helping some of the most vulnerable people around the world, I also feel a strong commitment to serve the needs of people here, in East Portland, where my family lives.”

He’s happy to be “back home”, Wenrick added. “We live near S.E. 18th Avenue and Taggart Street, just north of Powell Boulevard; and both my grandparents and great grandparents also made their homes in the area.”

To learn more about Zenger Farm, and the new Urban Grange on its grounds, go online:

Millie Layman, ukelele
Group leader Millie Layman strums on her “cigar box” ukelele. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock group promotes joy – “uke joy” 


Just because the ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawai’ian adaptation of a small guitar-like Portuguese instrument, doesn’t mean it isn’t popular today – right here in Inner Southeast Portland.

On April 25, a group of “uke” enthusiasts gathered to show off what they’d learned in just a few weeks, and to try to recruit new players.

“Even though we started on the first of April,” said organizer Millie Layman, “This group is really taking off. We have parents and children learning – with the help of an adult who really knows how to play ukulele.”

Layman, a physical education teacher at Lewis Elementary School in Woodstock, said that the ukulele is a relatively easy instrument to learn to play, even for young kids.

“And, I’m just crazy about the ukulele – that’s why decided to start a group,” Layman explained. “I think it’s so much fun; and I wanted to make sure little ukuleles could get in the hands of kids before they were too old and start thinking that they can’t play it, or that it wouldn’t be much fun.”

The group doesn’t yet have a name, Layman commented. “But it doesn’t matter! I’m really happy we’re getting together this group of kids and adults, learning to play the ukulele together, here in Inner Southeast Portland.”

Interested in getting in on the fun? Contact Layman via e-mail:

Events and Activities

“Sundae in the Park” noon today at upper Sellwood Park.
For a third of a century, the SMILE neighborhood association for Sellwood and Westmoreland has been presenting its “thank you” celebration for the neighborhood on the first Sunday in August, which this year is today – starting at noon, when the 75-cent ice cream sundaes begin serving, and when the live music and entertainment all afternoon begins. After the ice cream runs out – usually around 5 pm or a little later – the rest of the day is presented by Portland Parks and Recreation, with more live music and entertainment, leading up to a showing starting at dusk of the Oscar-winning movie of 2013, Walt Disney’s “Frozen” – the “Sing-a-Long” edition, which means there are on-screen lyrics as the songs are sung – sponsored by the Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance business association. Food will be available all afternoon, so bring a little cash for that and the ice cream. Grab the whole family and spend the day in upper Sellwood Park, on S.E. 7th in Sellwood, just north of the swimming pool!

Final 2015 Sellwood Riverfront Concert this evening.
The annual summer series of five live, free concerts in Sellwood Riverfront Park, at water’s edge just north of the Sellwood Bridge just off S.E. Spokane Street, concludes at 6:30 pm this evening with a performance by “Catarina New and the Brazilian Touch”, described as “Saxafriendly Latin Rhythms”, and sponsored by the Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance business association (SWBA). Overflow parking is available at nearby Oaks Amusement Park. Hands-on activities for kids start at 6:15 pm.

Mz. Pearl’s Variety Show at Woodstock Library.
It’s a free family clown show, filled with magic, physical comedy, juggling, underpants, and dance. “Mz. Pearl's inventiveness and abilities astound and surprise all ages.” 1 pm this afternoon at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard, and the free show lasts 45 minutes.

“Music in Action” at Sellwood Library.
A freewheeling fiesta of songs for the family, with creative movement, comedy and audience participation led by bilingual Rich Glauber (English and Spanish). Using guitar, accordion, and his own personality, “he turns every show into a community celebration”. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes before the program, which starts at noon at the Sellwood Branch Library – and lasts for 45 minutes. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Red Cross Bloodmobile in Sellwood today.
The Bloodmobile of the American Red Cross will be parked at RE/MAX Realty Group, S.E. 13th at Lexington, today from 9 am to noon. Appointments may be made by calling Stephanie Wilde at 503-233-8883. After noon, the Bloodmobile will be headed to New Seasons Market on S.E. Tacoma Street for the rest of the day.

All-You-Can-Make Art Bar at Woodstock Library.
Kids of all ages and skill levels fill up trays of seemingly endless supplies, from 1 to 3 pm this afternoon – and it’s free. Kids create at their own pace, as ideas are transformed into masterpieces. It happens at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 49th Street.

Woodstock Farmers Market’s “Kids’ Day”.
Today from 10 am to 2 pm, it’s Kids’ Day at the Woodstock Farmers Market, in the KeyBank parking lot at 4600 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. Bring the whole family for delicious food, kids’ music, and free kids’ activities – including rock climbing, crafts, live animals, balloon-twisters, and face-painting! And of course, as every Sunday during the season, there will also be fresh produce, meat, cheese, hot food and more. For more information, call 971/208-5522, or go online:

Commerce/Cleveland High School Reunion this morning.
The CHS classes of 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, and their guests, are invited to the annual school reunion at Oaks Park, at the Area 1 covered shelter, starting with registration at 11 am, at $15.00 per person. Catered chicken meal is at 12 noon. For more information, call 503/492-0772.

Peter Pan at Sellwood Branch Library.
“Traveling Lantern Theatre Company” presents the treasured tale of an adventurous boy who never grows up. Fly away with the Darling children to Neverland, where Peter battles with a band of pirates and his arch enemy: The villainous Captain Hook. Free tickets for seating will be available in the Sellwood Branch Library 30 minutes before the program, which starts at noon and lasts an hour. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Annual Cleveland High School Auction and Golf Tournament. The annual CHS shotgun golf tournament is set for 2 pm this afternoon at the Eastmoreland Golf Course, S.E. Bybee Boulevard just east of the Bybee Bridge over McLoughlin Boulevard. Your entry fee also includes the exciting auction and social event on the previous night, August 19th, at 6 pm, also at the Eastmoreland Golf Course. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A GOLFER TO ATTEND. For non-golfers, the charge in $20 per person and includes hearty hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar. Join the social with your neighbors and meet Tammy O'Neill, Cleveland High School’s new Principal. For more information and registration forms visit – or call Terry Wiesner at 503/260-5226. This event benefits activities for Cleveland High School students.

Adult workshop: Belt-making, at Sellwood Library.
This afternoon from 1 to 4 pm, it’s a Belt-Making Workshop at the Sellwood Branch Library. Beginning with a blank strip of leather, you’ll learn the basic leather-craft skills such as skiving, punching, and edging. Belt-making is a great starting-point for leather projects; beginners are welcome. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5234. The Sellwood Branch Library is on the southeast corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Help for those close to someone suffering mental illness.
NAMI Multnomah, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer its first-ever “Family-to-Family Education Program” starting today, 6:30-8 pm, and running at the same hour on Wednesdays through November 18th, at All Saints Episcopal Church, S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 41st. NAMI Family-to-Family is a FREE 12-session education program for family members and loved ones of adults living with mental illness. Participants will come to understand that mental illness does not involve just one person, and that entire families are affected. NAMI offers help and hope to families. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. For registration information or more information, e-mail: – or call 503/228-5692.


     Useful HotLinks:     
Your Personal "Internet Toolkit"!

Charles Schulz's "PEANUTS" comic strip daily!

Portland area freeway and highway traffic cameras

Portland Police

Latest Portland region radar weather map

Portland Public Schools

Multnomah County's official SELLWOOD BRIDGE website

Click here for the official correct time!

Oaks Amusement Park

Association of Home Business (meets in Sellwood)

Local, established, unaffiliated leads and referrals group for businesspeople; some categories open

Weekly updates on area road and bridge construction

Translate text into another language

Look up a ZIP code to any U.S. address anywhere

Free on-line PC virus checkup

Free antivirus program for PC's; download (and regularly update it!!) by clicking here

Computer virus and worm information, and removal tools

PC acting odd, redirecting your home page, calling up pages you didn't want--but you can't find a virus? You may have SPYWARE on your computer; especially if you go to game or music sites. Click here to download the FREE LavaSoft AdAware program, and run it regularly!

What AdAware doesn't catch, "Malwarebytes" may! PC's--particularly those used for music downloads and online game playing--MUST download these free programs and run them often, to avoid major spyware problems with your computer!

Check for Internet hoaxes, scams, etc.

Here's more on the latest scams!

ADOBE ACROBAT is one of the most useful Internet document reading tools. Download it here, free; save to your computer, click to open, and forget about it! (But decline the "optional offers" -- they are just adware

Encyclopedia Britannica online

Newspapers around the world

Stain removal directions

Convert almost any unit of measure to almost any other

Research properties in the City of Portland

Local source for high-quality Shaklee nutritionals

Note: Since THE BEE is not the operator of any of the websites presented here, we can assume no responsibility for content or consequences of any visit to them; however we, personally, have found all of them helpful, and posted them here for your reference.


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