Community Features

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

Jasper and Cleo Whelan, rowing, Oregon Rowing Unlimited
Sellwood twins Jasper and Cleo Whelan love everything about rowing. They’ve learned the fundamentals of rowing, terminology, boat-handling, skills and safety. Competing, winning, and feeling the joy of being on the water, are all a part of the fun. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Twin teens drawn to Sellwood Rowing Club


“We get up and start practice at 6 am in the summer. It’s hard, but a good way to wake you up in the morning.”

Are these really teenagers speaking? What could inspire teenagers to get up at six in the morning?

Identical fourteen year-old twins Cleo and Jasper Whelan, Sellwood residents, have been rowing with the Sellwood-based nonprofit “Oregon Rowing Unlimited” club since they were eleven years old.

“It’s a lifestyle,” says Jasper. “I couldn’t imagine not rowing,” adds Cleo.

The twins graduated from Sellwood Middle School this past June with a 4.0 grade point average. They are nonchalant about that achievement, and modest but excited about having qualified for the nationals with their rowing team. They went to Sarasota, Florida, recently for the National Women’s Junior Quad race.

Their mother, Carolyn Whelan, is also a strong advocate of rowing. She claims it strengthens muscles – legs, arms, core – and is a “low injury sport”, compared to soccer and basketball. Indeed, the twins have also played soccer and basketball, and went to the state championships – but rowing is their real passion.

The girls work out for two and a half hours, five days a week, all year long – practicing inside on the ergometer (indoor rowing machine) during the fall and winter; but then heading out to the river in the spring, where they row with a view of sea otters and great blue herons.

They talk about rowing’s high points, and their dedication. “It’s really a team sport, and a bonding experience. You put in all your effort! It’s like a family. And the coach makes sure everyone is working together,” remarks Jasper.

Asked by THE BEE what it’s like to be in the boat, four of them, rowing in a “quad” race, Cleo responds, “We strive to be synchronized. We communicate nonverbally.”

“After the race, we are so happy together. If everyone pulls their best, you can tell,” says Jasper.

Oregon Rowing Unlimited got its start in 1988 when Frank Zagunis, in his retirement, founded the club, and began as Director. He is now President. He keeps the nonprofit organization affordable, and makes scholarships available to those that need them.

The club is open to both youth and adults.

A bonus, points out parent Carolyn, is that rowing is a collegiate sport which helps participating students qualify for college scholarships. And, Carolyn has praise for Zagunis: He was the neighbor who helped the twins become interested in rowing.

“We knew Frank. He was a neighbor guy who has given back to the community. It [managing rowing] fulfills his life. He’s the one with a big heart [and enthusiasm] who pulled us in,” smiles Carolyn.

Practice hours are 4-6:30 pm during the school year, and 7-9:30 am during the summer.

For more information, go online: To register, e-mail Frank Zagunis at: – or call 503/419-7222.

The ORU boathouse is located on the south side of Oaks Amusement Park, at 7815 S.E. Oaks Park Way, at the foot of Spokane Street in Sellwood.

Rodney Pfleiger, Clean Team, Brummel Enterprises, Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance
SWBA “Neighborhood Clean Team” Chair Rodney Pfleiger, along with colleagues Karen Tam and Heather Deacon, remove trash from the sidewalk along S.E. 17th Avenue. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood-Moreland “Clean Team”: No ifs, cans, or cigarette butts


Instead of just wishing and hoping the streets of Sellwood and Westmoreland would someday be free of litter and debris, a band of volunteers began taking action against the problem in May.

These efforts have become known as the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance (SWBA) “Neighborhood Clean Team”, and have not gone unnoticed. More individuals and businesses are joining in this volunteer walk-about street-grooming effort.

Although SWBA President Tom Brown initiated and organized the program for Sellwood and Westmoreland earlier this year, one area business has stepped forward to spearhead the effort.

Started with the inauspicious title of “Litter Patrol”, Rodney Pfleiger of Sellwood’s Brummell Enterprises – a family real estate holding and maintenance business in Sellwood since the 1960s – has, along with his staff, been regularly picking up litter and debris along sidewalks, parking strips, and street gutters near their offices on S.E. 17th Avenue.

“It’s important to us that we have a clean and safe community,” Pfleiger told THE BEE. “We realize that if we all do our own little part, it makes a big difference. If we can take charge of the public right-of-ways, sidewalks, and public areas, and give them the appearance of cleanliness, it will attract more people to our area, and encourage people to patronize local businesses.

“In the long term,” Pfleiger added, “the improved appearance of our area will increase the value of our homes and businesses. We feel that it’s a good investment for us to put our time and energy into.”

Clean Team members walk, for about an hour each week, in areas selected by each team, picking up trash, Pfleiger explained. “Now we have more than a dozen other businesses and individuals doing a weekly walk, in their own selected areas, picking up trash.”

SMILE Crime Prevention Committee Chair Karen Tam, who is also from Brummell Enterprises, said that the clean-up effort does more than remove refuse. “Having volunteers out in bright orange vests, picking up trash, provides ‘eyes on the street’. When there is positive activity taking place, it discourages people from causing problems.”

On August 14, Lee Cannon American Family Insurance agent Heather Deacon demonstrated her dexterity with a “pick-up stick”, neatly nabbing – one at a time – a hundred flattened cigarette butts found along the street, and depositing each in the bucket she carried.

“This is about more than just picking up trash; what we do out here makes people are aware that we pay attention to our streets,” Deacon said. “We’re sending the message, ‘We live here, and we're picking up after you; so don't toss trash’.” 

The effort has also inspired four businesses to adopt and “sponsor” Tri-Met bus stops in front of their businesses – including Brown Properties LP, Brummell Enterprises, American Family Insurance, and Oaks Bottom Forge.

Beyond businesses taking an interest, Pfleiger said, community members are stepping up to patrol the Oaks Bottom bluff, and areas around Westmoreland Park.

“The idea seems to be spreading,” Pfleiger said. “We’ve already ordered additional vests!”

Join up, or get more information, by e-mailing Pfleiger at:

Thanks to Gus Hill, of “Make It So Printing”, who brought this story to our attention.

SMILE, Sundae in the Park
After getting a beauty makeover, Adeline and Elodie Alifanz enjoy ice cream sundaes at Sundae in the Park on August 2nd in Sellwood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Sundae in the Park” feeds, entertains – ends with “Frozen”


As it has for thirty-six years, SMILE’s “Sundae in the Park” on the first Sunday in August brought together all of the ingredients needed for a delightful summer family outing: Ice cream, entertainment, food, and neighbors.

The day kicked off at noon on August 2, filling the southern half of Sellwood Park on S.E. 7th Avenue.

The signature ice cream sundaes, after which the party is named, cost 75¢, and there was no shortage of buyers who recognized a good and tasty value – the ice cream was sold out by 4:40 pm. The sundaes were prepared by members and friends of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club, with help from FIRST Robotics Team 1432, for which the Rotary Club’s foundation is the fiscal sponsor; about 1,500 sundaes were assembled from 28 three-gallon tubs of Umpqua vanilla and chocolate ice cream, raising about $1,100.

Throughout the day, live music emanated from the bandstand, with Master of Ceremonies Dana Beck again introducing the acts, and encouraging participation in the raffle and other activities.

The Chair of the event for the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association (SMILE), Nancy Walsh, said she still enjoys organizing it. “I keep doing this, because it’s a really good way to give back. I've lived here for 32 years, and I continue to be impressed by the neighborhood.” 

In addition to the ice cream, which is largely a benefit for the Thelma Skelton “Meals On Wheels People” Center, there is always tasty food available. “The Meals on Wheels People brought back their food booth, featuring old-fashioned hot dogs and hamburgers,” Walsh said. The Westmoreland Papa Murphy’s sold pizza slices; and DeMolay offered fresh hot popcorn to the throngs in the park.

The SMILE History Committee table was again a popular booth, as were various informational tables run by nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.

What makes it all work are volunteers, Walsh observed. “There is a core committee of five people who organized it, but on the day itself, about sixty volunteers help make this possible.”

New this year was games and fun provided by Sellwood’s Violet Garden Certified Waldorf Preschool, which is located a half-block from the park. Another new feature was basic medical screenings, provided by Practical Nurse students at Concorde Career College. 

“Our students are providing a community service by giving blood pressure readings, health education and answering general health questions,” explained the school’s Director of Nursing, Lesa O’Dell, RN. “We’re also encouraging children to exercise and have fun while doing it. We are enriching the horizons of our students, while we help our community.” 

As afternoon faded into evening, the Portland Parks & Recreation “Movie in the Park” entertainment took over. First came live music from the “Portland Teen Idols”, followed by the band “Echoes of Yasgurs”, which is comprised of the primary members of the former River City Band. 

Then, as twilight turned to dusk, families – over a thousand people strong – gathered for a presentation of Walt Disney Animation’s Oscar-winning worldwide smash, “Frozen” – the Sing-a-Long Version – underwritten by the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance business association.

If you missed it, Sundae in the Park will happen again in 2016 – in upper Sellwood Park, on the first Sunday afternoon in August.

Pig N Pie, Southwest Portland Rotary, Southeast Portland Girls Basketball Club
“Southeast Portland Girls Basketball Club” members Riana Lancaster Grace Pytynia-Hillier, Mika Lancaster, and Sophia Jones say they’re proud to support the fundraiser benefiting their team at Westmoreland Union Manor. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Girls’ basketball boosted by “Pig n’ Pie” dinner in Westmoreland


It seemed unusual that the Southwest Portland Rotary Club – they meet at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, in Southwest Portland – would be holding their annual Pig n’ Pie fundraiser in Westmoreland.

So, on July 25, THE BEE went to the venue, Westmoreland Union Manor, to learn more.

“There are several reasons we hold it here,” said the event’s Chair, S.W. Portland Rotary Past President and Sergeant at Arms Steve Cooper.

“First, I've lived in the area, and all of my kids went to Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, then to Sellwood Middle School, and then on to Cleveland High School,” Cooper said. “I’m a local!”

Another reason, he said, is that this event supports the “Southeast Portland Girls Basketball Club” (SPGBC).

“We of Rotary have a commitment to youth, and supporting youth activities,” explained Cooper. “I was told how this basketball club is having a having a positive impact on young girls lives in Inner Southeast Portland. I suggested that they look at our club and become a partner with us.”

Here’s the connection: Cooper has coached girls youth basketball for 23 years. During that time he has coached eight different teams – all, Sellwood Middle School Panthers – taking them from the 3rd or 4th grade through the 8th grade, and then watching them go on to play at Cleveland High.

And so, this Rotary Club set out to host their sixth annual Pig n’ Pie fundraiser to support girls’ basketball.

Unfortunately, a predicted rainstorm did sweep over the area, dampening what organizers expected to be an outdoor event on the south lawn of Westmoreland Union Manner.

Under the cover of canopies, the intrepid barbecue cooks started two full sized pigs on rotisseries, at 3 am that morning. S.W. Portland Rotary President Robert Caress and Past President Chip Richardson began slicing up the tender pork and barbecued chickens about 5 pm that afternoon.

With more clouds threatening a late afternoon downpour, organizers decided to move the festivities and activities indoors at the Manor.

One of Cooper’s “Panthers”, Sarah Gredvig, graduated from Cleveland High School, went on to college, and then into her work life at the Oregon Clinic. Because of her positive experience playing basketball, she became one of the club’s founders.

“I’ve been coaching with Steve since high school,” Gredvig said. “In just a few years, we’ve been growing quickly; and now we have 23 teams. All of these are Inner Southeast Portland students, from first grade up through eighth grade. The support of great organizations, like S.W. Portland Rotary, makes this possible.”

One of the basketball club members helping out at the event was Cleveland High freshman Grace Pytynia-Hillier. “I was in fifth grade at Woodstock Elementary when I started with the program, and have been with it through Sellwood Middle School.”

In addition to learning how to dribble and shoot the ball, Pytynia-Hillier said she’s also learned she learned communication skills. “It helps you learn how to make new friends. It’s a really fun and rewarding experience.”

As for the “pie” part of the “pig ’n’ pie”, more than a dozen pies were eventually lined up for judging and auctioning. Music soon filled the air, provided by Stump City Soul, with Cleveland High grad Dustin Baumgartner as the lead singer.

Although moving the revelry indoors compacted the revelry, it didn’t seem to diminish the celebration.

Learn more about the “Southeast Portland Girls Basketball Club” online:

Kids Book Bank, Moreland Farmers Market
Grace Poole and Nikki Cohen, sitting at left, assist two-year-old Evelyn, and her mom, Catatena, at the Children’s Activity Booth of the Moreland Farmers Market. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Children’s Book Bank collects at Moreland Farmers Market


Most of us don’t think of books when we visit a Farmers Market – but on July 29th and August 5th, the Children’s Book Bank (CBB) was at the Moreland Farmers Market, seeking donations of “gently used” children’s books.

CBB Community Engagement Manager Grace Poole, and volunteer Nikki Cohen, spent the afternoons manning the Children’s Activity Tent. In addition to helping kids make their own little books, they also collected published children’s books to rehabilitate for kids who otherwise might not have books of their own at home.

The organization – online at : – is an award-winning program providing free books to kids in preschool through middle school. Their focus is to ensure that all children, regardless of means, are surrounded by and experience books during their early years of development.

Poole remarked to THE BEE, “To establish an early love of reading, we provide young children with their own books to keep at home. This way, they spend more time reading, developing the literacy skills needed for success in school. This leads to improved education for all students, higher literacy and graduation rates, and stronger communities.”

The program was developed by Danielle Swope, who sought a way to donate the stacks of books her own children had outgrown. Inspired by her experience as a teacher and parent, she targeted the books to kids who might not have many of their own.

She contacted a local Head Start program, then took her own kids along to deliver the books. Within a week her phone was ringing off the hook, asking for the “book lady” and her give-away program.

Realizing there was both a strong need for books as well as a local resource of available books, Swope created a system of collecting, processing, and distributing kids’ books and named it the “Children’s Book Bank”. Since becoming a non-profit in 2008, CBB has organized over 6,500 volunteers to channel more than 475,000 books to over 35,000 Portland children.

At the Moreland Farmers Market, Poole and Cohen helped children make and color mini-books about their favorite vegetable. “There are different activities every week here, all relating to nutrition, wellness and children's health,” said Cohen. "I've been volunteering for two years, and really enjoy restoring books, so kids can feel like it’s a true gift. We remove all extra marks, and repair books, before they’re given out.”

Poole continues, “We're most in need of books for younger kids: Picture books, board books, and books in Spanish. We focus on Multnomah County Head Start programs and preschools, and also visit thirteen target schools in the Portland Public Schools system. Each child receives 6 to 14 books per year from us, and they are just delighted. We feel this helps them to become eager readers and successful students.”

The Children's Book Bank also partners with clinics and other agencies that support literacy for low-income families. If you would like to volunteer, or to donate gently used children’s books of your own, phone 503/616-3981.

Brentwood Darlington, National Night Out, barbeque
Volunteer grill chef Tami Cheng keeps hot dogs and hamburgers coming for the hungry neighbors present for this year’s “National Night Out” party in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington “Night Out” features big barbecue


The Brentwood-Darlington Community Center was alive with activity, the sound of children’s laughter, and the smell of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, on the evening of Saturday, August 8.

“We’re celebrating ‘National Night Out Against Crime’ with a community dinner,” explained Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) Chair Eric Wikoff.

“It’s where neighbors can meet one another, learn about local businesses, and find out more about our all-volunteer neighborhood association,” Wikoff told THE BEE.

BDNA provided the burgers, sausages, and soft drinks; “Cartlandia” on S.E. 82nd contributed salads; and Voodoo Donuts brought lots of their trademark pink boxes filled with treats. And many neighbors toted in side dishes and desserts to share.

“Portland Nursery donated plants for a raffle,” Wikoff said, “And, we have representatives here from our Brentwood Darlington Farm Stand, a collaboration between the neighborhood and the Learning Gardens Lab.”

While kids played games in the park just outside the community center’s back fence, adults talked, browsed the raffles, brought and took items from the “free swap” area, and met local businesspeople.

“It’s worth the effort,” Wikoff reflected, “because this is a collaborative, roots-driven method to help people get to know one another, and create a good small-business environment where people want to come and enjoy our goods and services they can't find anywhere else.” 

Great results can come from this kind of collaboration, he added. “When you know your neighbors, on a first name basis, it creates a better living environment. That’s what were striving for here in Brentwood-Darlington.”

Learn more about BDNA online:

Events and Activities

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.

“Legos @ the Library” in Woodstock this afternoon.
Kids, ages 5 to 11: Bring your mad Lego skills to the Woodstock Branch Library this afternoon from 3 to 4 pm, and let your imagination flow – build a new structure to put on display. Bricks and supplies provided. Donations welcome. Free. The Woodstock Library is on the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th.

“Anyone’s Domain: A Writing Workshop” at Sellwood Library.
“Poetry is not the domain of just a few; it’s as natural and accessible as heartbeat and breath. Writing poetry requires nothing more than a love of words and a willingness to let your pen move across a page, following language wherever it takes you,” says the staff of the Sellwood Branch Library. Join Paulann Petersen in a workshop for adults, 1-4 pm this afternoon, devoted to generating new poems. Free, but registration is required; in the library, on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street, or by calling 503/988-5234.

Food Drive for “Mainspring Portland”, in Westmoreland.
Moreland Presbyterian Church is hosting the third annual week-long neighborhood Food Drive, starting today, to benefit “Mainspring Portland” (formerly FISH Emergency Services).  Especially needed are canned foods such as vegetables, fruits, soups, chili, and tuna; and packaged foods, such as peanut butter, cereal, rice, and pasta.  Food donations can be dropped off at the church this morning or Sunday, September 20, or Monday-Thursday from 9 to 4. Moreland Presbyterian Church is located at 1814 S.E. Bybee Blvd. For more information, call 503/234-8404, or go online to:

“Pageturners Book Group” tonight at Sellwood Library.
The adult Pageturners book group invites you to read “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans, and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown – and then come tonight, 6:30-8 pm, to the Sellwood Branch Library, on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell street, to engage in stimulating conversation about books. Free. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

“Breakfast Forum” features “Innocence Project”.
The monthly “Breakfast Forum”, organized and hosted by Reed Neighborhood resident Ann B. Clarkson, takes place this morning, 7:30-8:30 am, in the Mt. Tabor Pressbyterian Church Library, 5441 S.E. Belmont. This month’s topic is “The Innocence Project”, and the presenter is Nicholas S. Reed, a recent graduate of the University of Washington Law School, and a volunteer for this national organization which has helped to reverse convictions of hundreds, some of whom were in death row. Visitors are welcome to join in the discussion. 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.

“Mothers of Preschoolers” (MOPS) starts this morning in Westmoreland.
For all moms of young children, from birth to kindergarten: Moreland “MOPS” starts meeting today – and thereafter will meet on the first and third Friday of each month. The hours are 9:15 to 11:15 am on each of these days, at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard. Childcare is provided. This morning, “begin your year of Fiercely Flourishing with a community of moms sharing, learning, and growing together.” For more information, e-mail:

Tech Help for adults – free, this afternoon – in Woodstock.
Do you have technology questions? Meet one-on-one with a friendly and knowledgeable Tech Helper, who will help you find answers to questions about mobile devices, websites, downloading, e-readers, getting started with tech, and much more. It’s this afternoon, 5:30-7:30 pm, in the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard. If possible, please bring the device you need help with. It’s free, but registration is required; register by calling 503/988-5234.

“Huge rummage sale” to support Immanuel Preschool.
Lots of children's toys and clothes, plus lots more. Taking place at Immanuel Church Fellowship Hall, 7810 S.E. 15th Avenue in Sellwood from 9 am to 1 pm today and tomorrow.

Reed College 5k “FUNd RUN/WALK” this morning.
For the third year, Reed College is having a fun run and walk this morning at 9 am, with all funds raised being donated to local elementary schools (Duniway, Grout, Lewis, Llewellyn, Woodstock). Registration is $30 (age 15 and under, $15). Pancake breakfast and activities, 9:30 to 11:30 am, are free to all who attend. Open to all, at all skill levels. “Volunteer at the event, cheer for your loved ones, devour free pancakes, and tour Reed’s beautiful campus.” For more information, go online: .

 “Shred your documents today – for free.” Free Document Shred – and Electronics Disposal Day – at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7810 S.E. 15th Avenue in Sellwood, today from 11 am to 2 pm. Free, but donations accepted. Rummage sale at same site today, 9 am to 1 pm.

2015 Salmon Celebration, and Tilikum Crossing Sunday Parkways.
From 11 am to 4 pm today, in Westmoreland Park, it’s the second annual Salmon Celebration – marking the return of salmon to the city – combined this year with the celebration of the opening of the new Tilikum Crossing Transit Bridge near OMSI, as part of Sunday Parkways today. The Salmon Celebration will include a Native American Blessing, tours of the rejuvenated Westmoreland Park, games, crafts, and inter-tribal activities. “Come learn about our region's ecological and cultural history, and our connection to natural systems, in a fun and interactive way – then hop on your bike and enjoy an 8-mile loop of traffic-free streets and festivities along the Sunday Parkways route.” The Salmon Celebration is free and open to all.


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Your Personal "Internet Toolkit"!

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Portland area freeway and highway traffic cameras

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Latest Portland region radar weather map

Portland Public Schools

Multnomah County's official SELLWOOD BRIDGE website

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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.

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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

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