Community Features

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

Odd Fellows, Portland
The opening day celebration of one of Oregon’s oldest elder-care homes, the “Odd Fellows Home”, at 32nd Avenue and S.E. Holgate. Hundreds gathered for this celebration on April 26th, 1902. (Photo courtesy of Odd Fellows Lodge, Portland)

Odd Fellows of Portland – a heritage of caring

Special to THE BEE

Life on the east side of Portland in the 1880’s was decidedly rural, compared to the hub of activity on the west bank of the Willamette River. Italians and Japanese who immigrated from their homelands tended acres of vegetables along parcels of open land near S.E. Powell.

The countryside near the Kenliworth and Creston neighborhoods consisted of pasture and fields filled with abundant crops and cows, with a smattering of farmhouses. Communities like Woodstock, Lents, and Brooklyn were isolated from the populous Westside, struggling to grow – until the opening of the Morrison Bridge (1887) and the Steel Bridge (1888).

This is the landscape that the leaders of the fraternal group called the “Independent Order of Odd Fellows” must have seen stretching before them, when they stood on a slight hill at about 32nd and S.E. Holgate. It was here, however, that committee members and Lodge officials envisioned a final community home for aged and disabled members of their fraternity.

Here they would be away from the bustling commuter traffic and smokestacks of urban Portland, able to rest and enjoy the serenity of the bucolic countryside. And what they built then still stands there today, in a jog in Holgate where the modern street goes around the property that was already there.

But – who were these men called Odd Fellows, and where did they come from?

The Order of the Odd Fellows has its origins as far back as the 18th Century when it was first established in England. The official Odd Fellows members’ handbook relates that during this time a variety of tradesmen, craftsmen, and workers, banded together to form a guild that could help comfort those less fortunate than themselves.

It was the odd mixture of various occupations and different personalities in their membership that made them stand out from others, and gave them their name. Many people could not understand why these strange men had such a high compassion and regard for their fellow human beings. When they decided to form a group that would care for the sick, educate and support orphaned children, and provide hope for widowed mothers, the phrase Odd Fellows fit them well.

Together these men organized as the “Independent Order of Odd Fellows” (IOOF). This fellowship of good will eventually began spreading to North America, led by Englishman Thomas Wildey. With the help of four contributing members from the Order of England, they started America’s first order in Baltimore Maryland. April 26th, 1819, was the official date of the opening of Washington Odd Fellows Lodge #1.

The City of Baltimore was suffering through an epidemic of yellow fever and mass unemployment, and Wildey knew that through perseverance he and his fraternity of Odd Fellows could make a difference there too. The government had yet to set up any kind of welfare or social programs to help the less fortunate. Unemployment benefits were nonexistent, and if you died unexpectedly, where would your body be buried? If you were poor or down on your luck, you had to care for yourself.

Wildey became the relentless leader of the Odd Fellows, seeking people of the middle class to join his organization. Dues were collected from club members to be used in humanitarian projects in support of the order’s belief of Friendship, Love, and Truth.

An astonishing early milestone was achieved when ladies were accepted into the formerly male-only fellowship of the Odd Fellows on Sept 20th 1851. This ladies auxiliary, named the Rebekahs, was crucial to the continued success and growth of the IOOF.

The Order of the Odd Fellows became one of the fastest growing fraternal organizations in the nation outpacing groups like the Masons, Elks, Redmen, and Shriners, by a two to one margin. And, the IOOF was present in many small towns. The Oregon Grand Lodge Secretary of the Odd Fellows, Patty Fries, reveals that past Oregon IOOF records show there were 257 Lodges in the region, beginning with lodges in Washington and Idaho.

Oregon’s first Fellowship was granted to the Chemeketa Lodge of Salem in 1852. The Grand Lodge at Oregon City was instituted on May 23rd 1856, followed a year later by the establishment of the Portland chapter. Once the organization was established in Oregon, Grand Lodge Leaders’ main goal was to build a structure wherein the aged and disabled could be housed and open an orphanage.

Their plans were realized on May 21st, 1879, when leaders of the order announced the purchase of a framed building along 100 acres, near Fairview, Oregon. Those accepted into the “Odd Fellows Home for the Elderly” from Portland had to travel twelve miles on a country road by horse or carriage, while supplies and food to support the residents had to endure a time-consuming trip by wagon from the City of Portland waterfront.

Lodge officials realized that a new home had to be built closer to civilization! A movement was begun among members across the state to secure another site in Oregon, and the final decision favored the current Kenliworth neighborhood location.

During the planning stages of building, leaders of the Lodge received an unprecedented surprise in 1900. Mrs. Elsie Riley deeded seven acres of her estate along Holgate for the paltry sum of $6,500 to their cause, relieving the Fellowship of having to rent the property. A two-story craftsman-style house with nine comfortable rooms was also included in the sale, to house the elderly until a permanent home for them could be built. Men of the Fraternity were charged 30 cents and ladies of the Rebekah Lodge 10 cents to help raise funds for a new building.

With over 37,000 members in the various Lodges in Oregon contributing funds, augmented by many fund raising events, the IOOF Fellowship was able to dedicate a new retirement home.

On April 26th, 1902, in observance of the 83rd anniversary of the IOOF in America, thousands of citizens and Odd Fellows members from around the country gathered in Southeast Portland for the celebration. Rallies and speeches continued throughout the day, praising the opening of Oregon’s first orphanage and home for seniors and homeless wives financed by a fraternal group.

The Oregonian newspaper’s archives show that in 1915 there were 23 men, 10 women, and 19 children living at the Holgate House, with many of the children being orphans of deceased parents who once had been members of the Odd Fellows. IOOF Secretary Patty Fries reports that “the children roomed in one section, and the men lodged on the opposite side of the ward. Women who had lost their husbands were assigned rooms in between.”

The Kenliworth Home also included on its staff a matron and assistants; a nurse, cook, and wait staff; chambermaids, laundresses, and a “chore man” for outside duties. The Craftsman house first used as an elderly care facility was converted into a hospital, and a two story Queen Anne house located on the acreage was used as a dormitory for Lodge members.

Lodge anniversaries and special fundraising events at “The Home” were full of pageantry and pomp, and a children’s band was organized to perform for guests and visitors during such occasions. Since automobiles were scarce during that period, attendees were encouraged to ride the Woodstock/Waverleigh streetcar to Gladstone Street, and then hike the remaining distance to Holgate. Out-of-town visitors could ride the Southern Pacific Railroad (today’s Union Pacific), and disembark for a brisk walk up the hill to attend the festivities.

A self-supporting farm was formed, with tilled gardens to provide fruits and vegetables for the residents – and a co-op for local farmers was established on the grounds of “The Home”. An annual celebration called the Harvest Festival was begun, sponsored by merchants and farmers, and drawing many people from the surrounding communities. Delivery wagons filled to the brim with fresh produce arrived during the early morning hours, and booths were set up selling vegetables along with local arts and crafts. Music, bingo games, and other events were offered to attendees, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to the Odd Fellows Friendship Fund, to be used for maintenance or furniture for “The Home”.

Declining membership in the Odd Fellows after the Second World War strained remaining funds to support the Odd Fellows Home, and new state regulations required stricter rules for housing homeless children. GI’s returning after the war were not interested in joining fraternal clubs like the Odd Fellows or Masons.

Architectural historian Eric Wheeler, who has held classes on such fraternal organizations at the Portland Architectural Heritage Center, stated that, “the old cult stuff was passé. Wearing folded aprons, and using secret handshakes and passwords were tiresome, and young newcomers didn’t need to join a fraternal organization to enhance their social advancement”.

Television, movies, barbequing, interactive sports, and cars drew the interest of the next generation of possible lodge members. Wheeler summarized, “The Golden Age of fraternal organizations ended by the late 1930’s.”

When the 1970’s arrived, the Odd Fellows Board of Trustees for “The Home” were faced with an aging building and new federal laws requiring retirement facilities to follow strict regulations. Relying on federal and state funds for support, board members made major changes to the Odd Fellows Acreage.

A new Friendship Health Center was built in 1973 for people needing skilled nursing, followed by the completion of a modern Odd Fellows Home for independent care in 1978.

Meantime, the original Fellowship building was renovated into low income apartments, and renamed The Kenliworth Park Plaza. The Odd Fellows, their ranks leaner these days, continue to care for the elderly and less fortunate in their public works.

Duniway Holiday Home Tour, Duniway Elementary School, Mick Grover, Tamao Kai
Homeowners Mick Grover and Tamao Kai say they enjoy “giving back” to the community by being part of this December’s Duniway Holiday Home Tour. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Holiday décor, elegant homes, highlight Duniway Home Tour


For the 36th year, families opened their doors and gave tours as part of the Duniway Holiday Home Tour on December 5.

“This is one of the biggest fundraisers each year for the Duniway Elementary School PTA,” smiled the event’s Chair, Ann Gibbons.

“This is especially good because it incorporates the whole community,” she said. “Six homeowners open up their houses to let people visit; businesses in Sellwood, East and Westmoreland, and Woodstock support our school by advertising in our booklets.” 

All of the money raised goes directly to support Duniway Elementary School – its programs, teaching supplies, and field trips, Gibbons added. “It’s really important for our enrichment program.”

This best part about being involved in the event, Gibbons related, “Is meeting the families and the visitors. It's a lot of fun, and connecting with the community is just special.”

She introduced Eastmoreland homeowners Mick Grover and Tamao Kai.

“We decided to participate because we've had two kids go through Duniway,” Grover said. “And, we’ve completely remodeled our house. We've been wanting to give back to the school in some way, and we thought this would be a good way to do it.”

Members of the Duniway PTA say they expected raise as much as $25,000 from their combined efforts.

Grout Elementary School, bazaar
Shoppers and crafters gathered in the cafeteria for the Grout School Holiday Bazaar. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Grout Holiday Bazaar raises funds for student field trip


The Grout School Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 22, was held to raise funds to assist the school’s fifth graders to attend Science Camp. In the process, it drew some 150 people to an early pancake breakfast, and provided an outlet for local crafters.

The bazaar was organized by the Grout PTA, and drew performances by the Cleveland High School Choir, its own first and fourth grade singers, and a neighborhood marimba band, Mufaro.

Over the past 5 years, the pancake breakfast has been the main draw. Chairperson Sara Price told THE BEE, “The Odd Fellows across the street donated all the pancakes, sausages, and juice for the breakfast, and PTA members provided a light lunch of ‘sloppy joes’, chips, and pop.” PTA mom Sheila Custer created a harvest flower arrangement for the serving table. 

Local crafters tell us that they find that Holiday bazaars are a great venue for exhibiting their wares. Westmoreland seamstress Tamara Stevens displayed colorful pillows and potholders: “The bacon-themed ones were popular today, probably because of the pancake breakfast,” she laughed. Her table was sited beneath a school collage featuring a layout of nearby streets, parks and buildings.

Two local authors sold and signed books at their tables, while jewelry and clothing makers displayed a wide variety of jewelry, knit hats, silk screened T-shirts, and onesies. Aimee Blevins of SweetHeart Bake Shop featured an array of cakes, pies, cookies, and pink meringue hearts. “This is my first time here,” she commented. “I was trained at Portland's Cordon Bleu School, and we've made a family business of it.”

One hall of the school was dedicated to kids’ crafts, and a face painter was there to entertain busy youngsters. Raffle tickets for prepared gift packages were sold in the front hall, and hungry folks made themselves comfortable at cafeteria tables. Colorful student artwork, including Popsicle-stick snowflakes and a “Thankful Quilt” showed the talent of Grout school students. It was a fun way to spend the day and support the school.

Lewis Elementary School, Childrens Book Harvest
At Lewis Elementary School in Woodstock, Shawn Jaquiss chaired the second annual “Children’s Book Harvest”, which aims to provide free books to children in the third grade. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard

Lewis Elementary jumps into “Book Harvest”


Literacy was the November focus, as Portland Public Schools held its second annual “Children’s Book Harvest”, in partnership with the Children’s Book Bank. The program solicits donations of new and gently used children’s books to give to students, so they can build their own home libraries and develop a love of reading.

Melissa Goff, Assistant Superintendent of PPS’s Office of Teaching and Learning, explained to THE BEE, “The campaign is a key strategy in our ‘Read Together Third Grade Reading Initiative’. This year we’ve been excited to expand the number of schools that will receive donated books, and we’re thrilled to distribute 5,000 books through a new ‘Read Together at Home’ grant for teachers and librarians, to inspire reading at home."

The Portland Public Schools’ Central Office, together with 29 schools and PTAs, collected books until November 26th, assisted by volunteers who cleaned and refurbished them at the Children's Book Bank.

Goff continued, “Last year we collected 30,000 books. More than 2,000 students at the five schools in our initiative were able to choose eight books each to take home before summer break. This year, we will expand the number of schools that receive books.”

Thus it was that Lewis Elementary School in Woodstock was among the participants in the “Children’s Book Harvest” this year, collecting over 600 used books. Parent Shawn Jaquiss chaired the program that passed these books on to the Children’s Book Bank.

Jaquiss remarked, “We refer to these beloved books that have been outgrown as ‘those that were left behind’. One of the schools delivered thirty boxes of books to the Book Bank. That will certainly help pass on a love of reading to many children.”

On November 20th, PPS announced that Discover Books had donated 5,000 books to the current Book Harvest, and had pledged to donate 5,000 more after the drive reached 25,000.

“This is a wonderful gift to our district, and it will help us improve access to books for all students,” said PPS’ Goff. "We always need culturally-significant books, and books in languages other than English.

“Our priority goal is to ensure that all Portland Public Schools students read ‘at benchmark’ by the end of third grade, working toward being fully prepared to make productive life decisions. To learn more, go online to:”

Piece of Cake, Marilyn DeVault, Southeast History
Shown here is the interior of the 1920 addition to Smith’s Market – it’s now the dining area of “A Piece of Cake”. Gus Smith and his brother George Schmidt are shown behind the counter. (Photo courtesy of Terry Dahlquist)

An old Sellwood building holds many memories


As the year 2014 comes to an end, the economy is improving – which is good for individuals and businesses that have been struggling for the past five years, and my wish for New Year is that prosperity will continue.

There is a downside, of course.

As I wrote a few months ago, quoting a contractor friend, a poor economy is a gift to older buildings, because funds are not available to demolish and replace them. Now that loans are accessible, builders who had very little work (and who have had to lay off employees) during the recession are busy once again. Structures that appear to be in sound condition are disappearing across the city, including in Sellwood-Westmoreland.

While we may hope for sensitive remodeling and thoughtfully-designed “new builds”, those seem to be in short supply. As a self-described “despairing optimist”, I try to focus on houses, whether restored, remodeled, or replaced, whose owners have given some consideration to the character of their surroundings. 

In a similar vein, I would like to end the year by sharing a story thamight have been sad but turned into a celebration. It is centered on a building that is 107 years old, and is still operated by a local small-business owner.

The building is in Sellwood, at the southeast corner of S.E. 17th Avenue and Umatilla Street. Since 2000 it has been the location of “A Piece of Cake”, a bakery operated by Marilyn DeVault, who began her business in Lake Oswego in 1978. She has been forced two times to move when her leased premises were demolished for new construction.

After seventeen years in her first location, she moved into an old gambrel-roofed house at the corner of S.E. 13th and Lexington Street in Sellwood. Five years later, her bakery was again displaced by the construction of the Sellwood Lofts and the new Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library.

Moving a business, especially a bakery, is a disruptive and expensive process that DeVault did not want to repeat. For her third and final move, she purchased the building at 8306 S.E. 17th. It had been constructed, with a three-bedroom apartment on the second floor, in 1907. It is a mix of “live/work” space. That sounds modern, but it is an historic combination, and examples are scattered throughout the neighborhood – especially on S.E. 13th, S.E. 17th, and Milwaukie Avenue.

It is unclear who the original owner was, or what business first occupied the ground floor, but in 1918 a 30-year old butcher named Gus Smith opened Smith’s Meat Market there. And, he and his wife Maybelle, and their one-year old daughter Betty Pearl, moved into the upstairs apartment.

Gus was born as August Schmidt in Chicago in 1888. At the age of fifteen he moved west and first settled in Portland’s Lents neighborhood. He then worked for two years for Alexander Poole in his grocery and general merchandise store at the corner of S.E. 17th and Harney Streets. It was probably while he was working for Mr. Poole that Gus learned that the storefront at the other end of the block would soon be available.

In 1915 he and Maybelle (who was from Forest Grove) had married. Family descendents do not know why or when August Schmidt became Gus Smith. It could not have been simply because of the virulent anti-German hysteria that was increasing during World War I, because his brothers, one of whom worked with Gus, retained the Schmidt last name. The Gottschalk family, with whom the Smiths were good friends, ran their beer parlor and café on the opposite corner and retained their last name, too.

Perhaps Gus’ choice to adopt the name Smith was a whimsy to honor his new wife, whose maiden name had been Smith. In any case, their only child, Betty, had the last name of Smith, and her birth announcement in THE BEE in 1917 reported her parents’ name as Smith as well.

According to his 1944 obituary, in his almost 30 years as a Sellwood merchant, Gus was known as a “square dealer” who by featuring “quality merchandise” had built a loyal customer base. A 1934 advertisement in THE BEE boasted that he sold “wienies that are wienies.” It also included praise for Smith’s house-made lard. Mrs. Bryant of Bidwell Street had entered a pie-baking contest at the city auditorium; in a field of 2,000 entries (it was during the Depression) she won the award for Best Pie. Her testimonial gave credit to Smith’s superior lard, which she had used in her crust.

By 1919, just one year after he opened Smith’s Meat Market, Gus had prospered enough that he could afford to expand. A one-story section was added to the south side of the original meat market. While Gus ran the butcher shop in the older part of the building (the section that is now the bakery and service counter for Ms. DeVault’s business), the new section carried general grocery items. A photo that accompanies this story, with Gus and his brother George at the counter, shows canned goods, garden seeds, bread, and bulk goods such as flour and beans.

There was also a shed behind the meat market that was used to smoke sausages, turkeys, and hams. On the south side of the new addition was a large fenced area that served as a private garden and play area for Betty. She was able to go in and out of the store or apartment without her parents worrying about the increasing traffic on S.E. 17th Avenue, which until the mid-1930’s was the primary highway on the east side of Portland!

Smith’s Market managed to survive the Depression, especially with the help of Maybelle (who worked only in the grocery side of the business) and later, Betty, who attended Sellwood School and a local high school.

By the time Gus died, his daughter Betty had married Herb Dahlquist and produced the first of the Smith family grandchildren, Terry. Her husband also worked in the market. Through World War II Betty and her young son lived with her widowed mother Maybelle over the market, which they continued to operate. After the war Betty, her husband and two boys continued to live in the Sellwood neighborhood, and Terry attended Llewellyn School through the sixth grade. The family then moved to Lake Oswego.

Approximately five years after “A Piece of Cake” began operation on S.E. 17th, Terry Dahlquist brought his mother Betty back to the shop for cake and a conversation with its current owner. When Betty died in August of this year, Terry arranged to have his family’s post-memorial service gathering at “A Piece of Cake”.

With an invitation from the upstairs tenants, Terry was able to enter his childhood apartment for the first time in 60 years and share with Ms. DeVault and the residents how things had changed (which was not very much). For the Smith descendents, this sad occasion became an opportunity to share many family stories.

An old building can act as a touch screen to the memories of those who lived and worked in them, and walking through the space elicits so much more information than looking at a photograph.

This was one of those rare but happy occasions when an old building is still used for a purpose for which it was originally intended, and when the current owner values the connections.

On another subject – during the Holiday shopping season, it has been my custom over the years to suggest books of an historic nature by local authors that I have found interesting. I have two recommendations this year.

“My-Te-Fine Merchant – Fred Meyer’s Retail Revolution”, by Fred Leeson, is the first published biography of Fred Meyer, who built an empire of retail stores that began in Portland and spread as far as Alaska. He was a multi-millionaire who loved his work, but seems not to have taken much pleasure in the money he made, most of which he left to charity through the Fred Meyer Foundation.

Leeson’s account reveals many previously-unknown details about Meyer (like Gus Smith, he had a German name that he changed), how he created his business, and how he treated his employees. A former newpaper reporter, Leeson’s writing clips along at a lively pace, but his information is well-documented. It’s available at Wallace Books in Westmoreland, and the Architectural Heritage Center on S.E. Grand just past the Morrison Bridge.

A second choice is by Eastmoreland resident Thomas C. Hubka. His book, “Houses Without Names”, describes the homes that many of us live in, whose style just can’t be nailed down. What is my house, if not a Cottage, Bungalow, or Four-Square? And what, for heaven’s sake, is an “Old Portland” style house? Hubka, who taught historical architecture both at the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is well-qualified to lead the reader through a new way of considering and describing architectural styles. He has also been writing occasional articles on the subject in the Oregonian. The extensive photographs are helpful as well. It’s good guide for walking around the “checkerboard” neighborhoods of Southeast Portland. Available at the Architectural Heritage Center, and (if you must), on-line as well.

Portland Parks and Recreation, making wreaths, wreath sales
PP&R Teen Environmental Educator Kelly Rosteck here makes bows with volunteer Rebecca Sturges. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Parks volunteers again create hundreds of Holiday wreaths

for THE BEE 

For 25 years, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) volunteers have gathered on the last weekend in November at Tabor Yard, on S.E. Division Street, to decorate hundreds of Holiday wreaths.

“We make these wreaths to help children gain access to nature,” explained PP&R’s Coordinator for Environmental Education, Chrissy “Teacher Balsam” Larson.

“This year we’re using all of our proceeds to help fund preschool classes, as well as our summer camp program,” Larson told THE BEE

When we visited, volunteers and staff members were putting the final touches on 402 wreaths. “We decorate them with greens and pine cones that have been gathered from Portland’s parks. Then, we sell them at several locations around the city.”

One might not notice volunteer Keturah Pennington in the background, swiftly fashioning bows from colorful ribbon, working at a table in the greenhouse where volunteers are gathered. But she’s very busy.

“I’ve been coming to help out with this project for each of these 25 years,” Pennington said, still looking down at the work she was doing with her swiftly-moving hands. “I keep doing this because the Parks Bureau has so little money and so many needs; I’m glad to help support the children’s education programs.” 

They not only make wreaths, they teach how to make them. On November 30, ten people attended a wreath-making workshop.

“We teach students how to hand-wrap wreaths,” Larson said. “It’s not as easy as one might think. It takes hands and a lot of patience.”

For more information, go online to:

Indianfest, Native American Family Day
One of the “Native American Family Day” organizers, Sheryl Juber, spends a moment with her grandkids Nahela, Yazzie, and Andrew. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Food and crafts highlight PP&R “Native American Family Day”


As part of Native American Heritage Month, the fourth Annual Native American Family Day and Marketplace took place on November 1 at Portland Park & Recreation’s Mt. Scott Community Center, at S.E. 72nd and Harold Street.

“Native American Family Day is a wonderful event to recognize the indigenous people of Portland,” commented Katy Holland, an education specialist with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.

“It is tremendous that Portland Parks & Recreation continues to provide culturally relevant activities for the many Native American families who live here,” Holland added, “and to showcase the services that are available to help our families and youth.”

PP&R staff member, and also member of the Native American Community Advisory Council, Sheryl Juber said it all started with a recent idea.

“Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, issued a proclamation, declaring November to be Native American Heritage Month four years ago,” Juber said. “That’s when we decided to put on an event by, and for, the Native community.”

Some twenty vendors and community organizations set up displays in the auditorium, offering family activities such as arts and crafts, along with tables for jewelry and for the use of other vendors. 

“The best part of it for me, is seeing old friends,” Juber told THE BEE.  “And it’s great to see new people come in and learn more about the large Native community here in Portland.”

While visitors browsed, many of them partook in “Indian tacos” and fry bread, sold to benefit the Bow and Arrow Culture Club and the Delta Park Pow Wow.

At the end of the successful day, plans were already afoot for a repeat of the special event next year at the community center.

St Agatha School, Lions Club, Hot Wheels toys
St. Agatha Catholic School students Jared Hainley, Zakari Lutz, and Kiriahna Edline show the hundreds of “Hot Wheels” toys that church families donated to the Oaks Bottom Lions Club to take to a health clinic in Mexico. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

St. Agatha kids give Lions Club “Hot Wheels”


For several years, members of the Oaks Bottom Lions Club have joined with other clubs in the region to provide eye examinations and eyeglasses to patients they serve in Mexico or other Central American countries.

“Lions Club member Frances Shaw told how many of the older gentlemen of the villages, who come to get eyeglasses, like to wear neckties when they come to the clinic,” explained Jan Hainley, a St. Agatha Catholic School graduate, substitute teacher, parishioner, and the grandparent of a student.

“Last year, the school collected neckties for them to take with them, as gifts to the village men,” Hainley told THE BEE.

Hearing that children who also visit the clinics enjoy playing with “Hot Wheels” toy vehicles, Hainley’s grandson suggested that the school collect new and used toy cars.

“We put out a basket and sign in the front lobby, and people have been very generous,” Hainley said. “483 both new and gently-used ‘Hot Wheels’ toy cars will go down, when they visit the children in Mexico this year.”

To receive the gift was Frances Shaw, a member of the Oaks Bottom Lions Club. “Clubs from the region will be taking about 9,000 eye glasses this year to the Mexico Eye and Health Clinic at El Municipio de Juchipila, Mexico, where we provide services to about 2,000 people.”

Having toys helps at the clinic, Shaw said, “Because at the clinic we also check for blood pressure, and diabetes, well as do vision screening.  So, the clients see us at the clinic from three to four hours a day and they usually come in families.

“At the end of their visit, we like to give small gifts,” Shaw explained. “Some of our other Lions clubs donate toothbrushes and toothpaste as well.  But the kids have to wait a long time, so it’s nice to have small toys that we can take and give to them.

And, to the St. Agatha Catholic School families, Shaw said, “Thank you so much, for helping our mission.”

Learning Garden, Harvest Fair
Learning Gardens Laboratory educator Heidi Schmidgall gives prize drawing tickets to folks visiting the Harvest Fair. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Farm fun abounds, at Learning Gardens Lab’s “Harvest Fest” 


Families were making their way into the “Learning Gardens Laboratory” on the an afternoon near Hallowe’en, bent on attending the annual Harvest Party – and disregarding the steady drizzle. Organizers set up most of the activities – including snacks and craft tables – inside the spacious greenhouse, to keep participants warm and dry.

“This is a free community event we hold in the autumn,” said Learning Gardens Laboratory Volunteer Coordinator Megan Dickison. “It’s to celebrate the successful harvest in our garden with our students, colleagues, our site partners, and the community in general.”

It is important to offer the festival, Dickison said, “Because it gives us the opportunity to welcome the community into our space. It also gives us the opportunity to solicit community support for keeping our garden going!

The Learning Garden Laboratory is important, especially to this neighborhood, Dickison opined, because it provides garden-based education for about 150 Lane Middle School students every week. “We also have many ‘site partners’ here, including Multnomah County Master Gardeners, the Beginning Urban Farmer Partnership, and the Community Transitional School.

“Then there’s a Portland Community Fruit Tree Project Orchard in the northwest corner of the property,” Dickison added.

Just outside the door of the greenhouse was a favorite attraction – a working apple cider press, with volunteers squeezing out gallons of the sweet amber liquid. Under canopies in the garden, some of the partners met with visitors who were intrepid enough to brave the rain.

Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Jacob Sherman said he was concerned that the Learning Garden Laboratory, operated by Portland State University, might be “zoned out of existence”.

“We’re advocating to the city to rezone the twelve-acre property as ‘open space’ – which is what it’s been for the last forty years,” Sherman said. “You look around here, and you see that this is a vibrant community hub.  It is really important for our neighborhood; it’s probably our biggest asset – and it is part of place-making for Brentwood-Darlington.”

Inside the greenhouse, guests nibbled on chips, salsa, hummus, and artisanal breads as they visited other garden partners, played games, and crafted rosemary crowns.

“This place is where our community gets together to know one another,” Sherman said, looking at the activity swirling around him. “It’s where you see different organizations cross paths and have cross pollination with our neighbors.”

More information is available about the Learning Gardens Laboratory online:


Superhero Anime class for teens at Sellwood Library.
Draw your very own Japanese anime superhero characters in this introductory class at the Sellwood Library, S.E. 13that Bidwell Street, today from noon to 2 pm. Sketch manga-style illustrations, as well as create your own Japanese-style cartoon characters. This program is supported by Multnomah County Library's Summer Reading program. Submit your original artwork from this class to the Summer Reading teen cover contest, and maybe your masterpiece will be the front cover of the Summer Reading teen gameboard this summer! For teens in grades 6-12. Free, but registration required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5234.

“Long Winter Knights” today at Sellwood Library.
What did the passage of seasons mean to people in the Middle Ages? How did they survive, and what did they celebrate? Learn about these subjects and more, with Knights of Veritas. Subjects include how warfare changed during the winter months, the traditions and festivals which marked the passage of time, and what the change in seasons meant for the common people during long winter nights in that distant time. Free. For kids and families, at the Sellwood Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street, 2 to 3 pm this afternoon.

Homeschool Book Party at Sellwood Branch Library!
Calling all homeschoolers, ages 6-10: Make new friends, talk about great books, and make book-related crafts at a special party just for you, this afternoon, 1-2 pm, at the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.

New featured exhibit opens today at OMSI.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) opens its new featured exhibit today for museum-goers: “Mazes”. Explore 13 interactive mazes, and come face to face with mystifying illusions and mind-boggling puzzles.  Each maze features a dynamic environment in which guests will discover a surprise around every corner, and develop new methods of problem-solving through improvisation, trial and error, observation and testing, and logic and reasoning. Solve puzzles and patterns, challenge the relationship between the mind and the eye, and nurture your inner musician!  MAZES offers challenging and interactive maze experiences for all ages, including the Music Maze, Puzzle Maze, Color Maze, and Maze of Illusions. OMSI is just north of the Ross Island Bridge, on S.E. Water Street next to the Willmette River. Look for the big red tower under the Marquam Bridge.

“A Pet a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” at Woodstock Library.
You always did feel better with Fluffy around, but did you know that it’s a proven fact that pets provide numerous health benefits? This presentation will explore the research behind this phenomenon, and the growing field of human-animal interactions. Made possible by The Library Foundation. It’s this afternoon, 2-3 pm, at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard.

Lecture and Workshop: Rosemary Candelario at Reed College.
This evening at 6 pm at Massee Performance Lab at Reed College on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard east of 28th, Rosemary Candelario, Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas Woman’s University, offers an introductory workshop in the contemporary Japanese dance form, “butoh”. Admission is free.

Open House at Atkinson Elementary. Atkinson Elementary School, at 5800 S.E. Division Street adjacent to Franklin High, is holding an Open House for Prospective Parents this evening from 6 till 8 pm. Visit, and find out what Atkinson has to offer. Meet the staff, other parents, and students, and “learn about all the wonderful opportunities and offerings our school provides our K-5 students”. For more information, call the school at 503/916-6333, or go online to:

Adults: Paint Your Own Picasso Portrait at Sellwood Library!
You needn’t have painting experience to emulate techniques of the Masters. In this guided workshop, learn acrylic paint skills and a little art history, while creating your own unique version of an iconic Picasso painting, this afternoon 2 till 4:30 pm at the Sellwood-Moreland Library. Leave with a completed 12 by 16 inch canvas and introductory skills in color mixing, composition, and layering. Registration required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5234. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street in Sellwood.

Portland Baroque Orchestra at Reed College: Mozart’s Clarinet & Grand Sextet.
At 3 pm this afternoon in Kaul Auditorium on the Reed College campus, Monica Huggett, director and violin, and Eric Hoeprich, the world’s foremost period clarinetist, perform one of Mozart’s most popular works. The program includes W.A. Mozart Quintet for clarinet and strings, in A major, K. 581, and Mozart/Anon. Grande Sestetto Concertante (pub. 1808), after Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, K. 364 (1779). The program is preceded by a free preconcert talk at the same location at 2 pm. Tickets for the concert can be obtained by calling 503/222-6000, or by going online to:

“Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper” today.
Trinity United Methodist Church in Woodstock invites the community to its Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, 4:30-6:30 pm, featuring pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee. Free Will Offering. The church is located on the corner, at 3915 S.E. Steele Street.

“Breakfast Forum” warms to its topic this month.
The monthly, informal “Breakfast Forum” organized and hosted by Inner Southeast resident Ann B. Clarkson meets monthly at the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church Library, 5441 S.E. Belmont Street – 7:30-8:30 am.  This month, today is the day. The topic is “A Few Interactions Between Global Warming and Water”, and today the facilitator is David Tver, a former researcher in the Environmental Science Department at Tel Aviv University. He will lead the group in the discussion of the causes of overuse of pesticides, the contamination of sources of drinking water, and the interactions of these with global warming. The Breakfast Forum is an informal group whose members meet monthly to learn about and discuss political issues in respectful ways. Free. No registration required. For information call 503/774-9621.

Church preschool holds Open House. Blooming Garden Preschool’s annual Open House takes place 12:30-2:30 pm today – and also 5:30-7:30 pm tomorrow – in the lower level of Trinity United Methodist Church, on northeast corner of S.E. Chavez Blvd (39th Avenue) and Steele Street. Drop in, tour the school, meet the teachers, and learn about the program. You are more than welcome to bring your child. The telephone number is 503/775-4883.

Concert by “Astillero”, with the Reed College Orchestra.
Since their founding in 2005, “‘Astillero’ has revolutionized tango from within, creating highly original music that is urgent, aggressive, and bursting with rhythmic energy.”  They have since become one of the most important and influential tango groups active today. Tonight at 7:30 pm, in Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, they are making their West Coast debut and their only second-ever U.S. appearance. “Astillero” will be capping off a weeklong artistic residency at Reed College with a concert performance of music from their recent album “Soundtrack Buenos Aires,” featuring the backing of the Reed College Orchestra conducted by David Schiff.  Free Admission; open to the public.

Westmoreland Park Work Party.
Join Crystal Springs Partnership volunteers for a work party this morning, 9 to noon, at Westmoreland Park, removing weeds, mulching and furthering the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek. Coffee, tea, snacks, and camaraderie will be provided. Dress for the weather, and feel free to bring hand tools and gloves. Meet at S.E. 22nd Avenue and Bybee Boulevard at 9 am. For more information, go online to:, or e-mail:

Tech Help offered adults and seniors at Woodstock Library.
Do you have technology questions? Make a 30-minute one-on-one appointment with a friendly, knowlegable volunteer, and learn answers to your questions about mobile devices, websites, downloading, e-readers, getting started with tech, and much more. If possible, please bring the device you need help with. The consultations take place 5-7 pm this afternoon at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard. Registration required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5234.

Llewellen offers preview of upcoming Kindergartn. Llewellyn Elementary School’s “Connect to Kindergarten” event is this evening from 6 to 7:30 pm. Join the Principal and staff members in an introduction to the school. Childcare will be provided.  6301 S.E. 14th Avenue in Westmoreland.

Friends of Chamber Music: Jordi Savall concert. This evening at 7:30 pm at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, Jordi Savall, “one of the most multifariously gifted musicians of his generation and a revered viola da gamba player”, performs in a program featuring music from the Ottoman Empire, in dialogue with the Armenian, Greek, and Sephardic traditions. Co-presented by Friends of Chamber Music, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Cappella Romana. For tickets call 503/224-9842, or go online to:

Duniway School kindergarten open house.
Duniway Elementary School’s “Connect to Kindergarten” will be this evening, 6 to 8 pm, in the school cafeteria at 7700 S.E. Reed College Place in Eastmoreland. Incoming kindergarteners and their parents are invited to learn more about Duniway and its curriculum, tour the school, and meet the Principal and the kindergarten teachers. Enrollment forms for the 2015-2016 school year will be available.  IMPORTANT:  If you would like to pre-register your child at this time, please bring an original copy of the state-issued birth certificate or passport, current immunization records, proof of address, and emergency contacts and phone numbers.  If you are unable to attend tonight, additional tours of the school will be available later in the spring. Please call Duniway Elementary at 503/916-6343 for more information.


Master Class at Reed College by Paul Roberts.
Pianist, writer, lecturer, inspiring teacher, and a leading authority on the music of Debussy and Ravel, Paul Roberts “has earned the admiration of audiences, critics and fellow professionals worldwide”. Among his many accomplishments, Roberts was appointed artistic director of the international summer school for pianists “Music at Albignac” in southern France; he teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; and he performs regularly and gives master classes in Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, Singapore and Australia. This master class will be held at 4 pm this afternoon at “Performing Arts Building 320” on the Reed College campus, on Woodstock Boulevard east of S.E. 28th, and admission is free.


     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!

Click here to draw a map of anywhere in the United States!

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, Spybot 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!

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

Free marketing ideas for businesspeople from a Southeast Portland expert

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.


Local News websites:
The news TODAY

Local News

KATU, Channel 2 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 43)

KOIN, Channel 6 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 40)

KGW, Channel 8 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 8)

KPTV, Channel 12 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 12)

KPDX, Channel 49 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 30)

KPAM 860 News Radio

Your neighborhood online!

SMILE -- The Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League  and  its blog

"THE NEIGHBOR", the official monthly newsletter of SMILE, The Sellwood Moreland Improvement League, appears on page 3 of THE BEE each month. For the very latest version of this newsletter, click here!

Woodstock Neighborhood Association website

Woodstock Business Assn. business directory

Southeast Portland Rotary Club website

Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance website

Eastmoreland neighborhood website

Brooklyn Action Corps Neighborhood Association

Alternate Brooklyn Action Corps website

Reed Neighbors

Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association  and  its blog

From SMILE and Portland Parks: Historic Oaks Pioneer Church--available for weddings and events in Sellwood