Community Features

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

Sellwood house
As it looks today, this is the home at S.E. 11th and Nehalem into which Barbara moved, with her family, at age 3, after it was built. (Photo by Eileen G. Fitzsimons)

Vintage home in Sellwood a touchscreen to history


There are many reasons to save older buildings, if they are well-constructed and their materials are sound.

Prior to 1970, they were probably built of locally-milled, old-growth Douglas fir. In addition to the quality of materials, there is the physical energy expended by the builders. Until well after World War II when power tools became common and affordable, most houses were built by hand, with saws and hammers.

It feels both disrespectful and wasteful to see hand-crafted structures reduced to bio-fuel.

Finally – if the building disappears, a point of contact for the exchange of information vanishes: If you live in, or have a business in, a vintage structure, perhaps a previous owner or resident has dropped by to offer stories.

In a previous issue of THE BEE, I shared an exchange between the former owners of Smith’s Meat Market, and the owner of the current store on the site, “Piece of Cake Bakery”, on S.E. 17th Street.

This month, the stories emerged from the childhood home of Barbara Vanlaningham, at the southeast corner of S.E. 11th and Nehalem Streets in Sellwood.

Early this summer, the current owners of that house answered their doorbell to find a polite, white-haired woman on their porch, who told them she had lived in the house just after it had been built for her parents. Kenan and Peter welcomed the visit: They wanted to know of changes that had been made in the intervening six decades; and Barbara was curious about the home’s current state. They all enjoyed the tour and conversation, and soon after, I conducted an interview, and here is what I learned.

Barbara was one of two children of Emil Schwoch and Emily May Strain. Emil was born in Wisconsin, and Emily in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. After Emil arrived in Portland he got a job as a motorman and conductor on the city’s streetcar lines.

After living on S.E. 17th Avenue, the Schwochs moved into a bungalow at 1116 S.E. Nehalem while their new house next door was under construction.

They moved in when Barbara was three, in 1927.

Barbara described her mother as an energetic woman who enjoyed trying new projects. One involved digging three small ponds in the back yard, one with a small lighthouse and bridge (it is interesting that the current owners have two small water features in their front yard).

When Barbara and her younger brother Fred reached school age, they walked to Sellwood School, which offered kindergarten through eighth grade. Their morning stroll included a shortcut between the fire house (now SMILE Station) and the empty yard behind the former Black Cat Tavern (recently replaced).

Reaching her upper grades, Barbara worked in the school cafeteria, arranging special dishes for the teachers. After graduation in 1939 she continued her education at Commerce (now Cleveland) High School, focusing on a bookkeeping course. Summers were spent at the Sellwood Pool, where she “kind of” learned to swim.

But her favorite pastime during high school was roller skating at the Oaks Amusement Park. She became one of a sixteen-member skate dancing team known as The Oakettes. Between 1940 and 1941 Barbara traveled and competed, both as an individual and team member; she was skillful enough to win a bronze medal in a National Skating Association competition. She was also secretary of the state association, and worked in the Oaks’ Rink refreshment stand for owner Bob Bollinger. She remembered several occasions when the Willamette River flooded the rink, and during the one in 1964 she finally retrieved her skates, fitted into their special metal suitcase.

During the Depression, her father continued working as a streetcar conductor on the Sellwood line, and she frequently met him at a small waiting stand and coffee shop at Golf Junction, at the end of Thirteenth Avenue.

She told me that around 1928 the power company that operated the carlines, PEPCo (the Portland Electric Power Company), began offering company shares for sale. A share cost $6.00, and Emil began selling them to fellow employees while he still worked on the cars. Two years later he left his motorman position and moved into the company’s downtown office, where he continued to increase his knowledge of the investment brokerage business. By 1933 he had left the PEPCo office and, in spite of the worsening economy, became a stock and bond salesman for the Glenn Francis Company in the Mead Building.

In the year before she graduated from high school in 1943, Barbara put her bookkeeping skills to good use. Her mother had “impulsively” launched a business in the former Mary Ann Dress Shop on Milwaukie Avenue (now “Buttercraft”). It seemed to be a trend for Westmoreland businesswomen to personalize their shops, and in March of 1942 Emily May’s Dress Shop opened near Sara Jane’s Beauty Shop. It featured a variety of women’s clothing, greeting cards, notions and fabric yardage.

Emily May apparently had a good head for business and soon moved across the street (the location is now “Digital Vision”), expanded, and added clothing for infants, children, boys and men. Alterations were made on-site by skilled seamstresses. The business continued after the war, but Emily closed her shop in 1952, a year after her husband’s death.

Barbara recalled many other businesses in Westmoreland and Sellwood. Her family shopped at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store (later Thriftway, and now the Sellwood New Seasons), and attended movies at both the Moyer family’s new theater (built in 1937) on Tacoma Street, and the Moreland (1925).

Other fondly remembered businesses on S.E. 13th Avenue included Ed Trites’ Barber Shop, Brill’s Deparment Store, the Sellwood Hospital, and Wall’s Hardware Store. In Westmoreland, Fox’s restaurant (now Kay’s) was next to her mother’s dress shop, and across the street was the Rexall drugstore and soda fountain, and Wizer’s Market. Crantford’s Flower Shop was on the corner of Bybee Boulevard (today a yogurt shop), and next to it (and still in operation) was Dral Cleaners.

Barbara has been married to her husband John Vanlaningham for 66 years. After the war, he joined the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Instead of meeting through an on-line dating service, the JCC members escorted young women to dances. He and Barbara met at Thanksgiving, 1948, became engaged on New Year’s Eve, and married on June 18, 1949, when Barbara was twenty-four.

After living in an apartment on Powell Boulevard they bought a small house in Eastmoreland, where they remained until their two-bedroom dwelling proved inadequate for three small children. 

They then moved to the Burlingame neighborhood, where they stayed for 49 years. Emily May Schwoch sold her home on Nehalem Street and moved into a house across from the Vanlaninghams, where she lived until her death in 1977.

Barbara and John recently moved into one of the towers that rise above the west end of the Ross Island Bridge.

From her condominium she can see the new Orange light rail line that connects her new home with her old one, in Sellwood.

Cleveland High School, drama, Night Of Ashes
It’s not mayhem! It’s a fight scene rehearsal – for Cleveland High’s “Night of Ashes” play, to be performed Thanksgiving Weekend onstage at the Winningstad Theater, downtown. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

CHS action play opens at Winningstad Theatre, downtown


Getting ready to mount a physically-challenging new play, over the Thanksgiving weekend, is the “Company of Warriors” – the student actors and crew of the Cleveland High School (CHS) Theater Department.

“We’re getting ready to open of a new play I wrote called, ‘Night of Ashes’,” reported CHS Theater Instructor Tom Beckett, during a “fight rehearsal” at the school.

“Night of Ashes” was intended as a prequel to Paizo Publishing’s videogame “Hell’s Rebels”, and was written in conjunction with the game’s publishing company – the creators of the popular Pathfinder series called “Adventure Path” – an immersive role-playing game, along the lines of Dungeons & Dragons, Beckett told THE BEE.

“As the play unfolds, we see how a young female knight comes to the aid of a group of performers, after their town has been taken over by the forces of the infernal ‘Cheliax’.

“These forces are trying to take over the town of ‘Kintargo’, and squash the freedoms that their people have enjoyed for a long time,” Beckett revealed. “In short, we might say it’s ‘Hitler invades Seattle’!”

In addition to six live-action, highly-choreographed “Swords & Sorcery”-styled fight scenes, the story as spoken and acted out will be accompanied by elaborate special effects, as when spells are being cast. “So, it’s acting, combined with live action and vibrant special effects, including some created by the CHS Pig Mice Lego robotics team.”

Onstage, “Night of Ashes” features 29 actors, supported in the wings by six technicians. “We couldn’t have done this without the help of adult volunteers, including four armourers, and a couple of weaponsmiths. The show also features fantastic costumes by our own Kimberly Smay.”

The theater company raised $7,810 from 204 backers via a crowd-funding campaign to be able to mount this play in the Winningstad Theatre in downtown Portland.

The curtain goes up on “Night of Ashes” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 25, 27, and 28. And, they’ll also present 2 p.m. matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday, November 28 and 29.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for students. Due to the hundreds of crowd-funding supporters of this production, to be sure of a seat, best to get your tickets early, online, by visiting the Winningstad Theatre’s website:

Franklin High School, Shakespeare, Winningstad, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Franklin High student actors Max Platt-Devlin (who plays Nick Bottom), Anna Bell (as Tom Snout and the Wall), and Jared Roper (as Francis Flute), together work out a scene from the school’s upcoming production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Franklin High actors in “Fall Festival of Shakespeare”


Student thespians of the Franklin High School (FHS) Drama Department – currently operating from the Marshall High campus in Lents, while their own high school is updated and reconstructed – are preparing to present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, in a professional theater in downtown Portland on Saturday, November 21.

The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is a non-competitive, region-wide collaboration between Portland Playhouse and area high schools, held at the Winningstad Theatre.

In the Franklin High production, a cast of thirty actors play out the love stories and marriages of the Shakespeare comedy, complicated by mischievous fairies plying love potions.

“What’s great about this show is the opportunity for many different types of roles,” remarked the show’s Director, visiting instructor Jake Merriman.

For those who’d rather not drive downtown, the FHS Drama Department’s Josh Forsythe told THE BEE they’re preparing the stage at the Marshall Campus for six additional “local” showings of this production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

The curtain for those shows goes up at 7 p.m. on November 6 and 7, then again on November 12, 13, and 14. And, they’re also presenting a matinee show on Sunday, November 8th, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10.00 for adults, and $5.00 students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at the student store.

Remember, if you’re going there for the show, Franklin High is now temporarily located at 3905 S.E. 91st Avenue in Portland, on the Marshall High campus.

And to see their production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” downtown, be at the Winningstad Theatre (1111 S.W. Broadway at Main Street) on Saturday, November 21st, at noon. Tickets there are $15, and can be bought online at:

Tim Dieringer, Woodstock Boulevard, WCBA, flowerpots
Lori Donovan, Woodstock Papa Murphy’s Manager, is one of several businesspeople who have stepped forward to water Woodstock Boulevard flower pots as a tribute to Tim, as well as continuing his personal mission of keeping Woodstock’s business district beautiful. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Tim Dieringer passes; Woodstock flowerpots a memorial 


Tim Dieringer – of the Dieringer family which owns the two shopping center blocks in Woodstock, where the BiMart and Safeway stores are located – died unexpectedly on August 14th at age 61

Tim worked for years in his ice cream shop, located where today Cloud City Ice Cream is found; and then in the last few years he helped in the office of Dieringer Properties.

He had become a fixture on Woodstock Boulevard, where he could be seen with gallon jugs of water, regularly watering the plants in pots up and down the street. These pots, created for the beautification of the boulevard, were underwritten by the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA).

The day that Tim died, his brother Gene wrote an e-mail to a couple of business owners and to Ann Sanderson, current President of the WCBA:

“It is with heavy heart that I am writing this. We found my brother Tim passed away this Friday morning. This was totally unexpected. Tim enjoyed the fresh air and exercise he got while he was watering the flower pots along Woodstock Boulevard over the past many, many years.... Sadly, he is no longer available to complete this needed task, and other arrangements will need to be made to assure the health of the flower pots.”

When the owner of Papa Murphy’s, Craig Cameron, received the e-mail, he forwarded it to Lori Donovan, his Store Manager, and she responded positively: “Yes, absolutely, I could do that.” From that day forward Lori has been watering daily the container on the sidewalk south of BiMart. “We all knew Tim, and I figured it was a good tribute to him,” remarked Donovan.

A few other businesses responded positively as well.

Ann Sanderson, of the WCBA, commented that the care of the pots can be difficult, because they are a distance from each other, and in some cases even a distance from the business that adopts them. “Tim was so generous to take that on for so many years, and we are grateful,” Sanderson said.

Since Tim’s passing, Cory Hansen of City Sanitary has set up a self-watering system in each of the pots that decreases the need for frequent waterings. He went to each of the businesses nearest to the pots and asked them to adopt one since they do need watering, in spite of the system he installed. In the spring there will be a renewed effort to pair each pot with a business.

In the meantime, volunteers are needed to water one or more of the boulevard garden pots that have not yet been adopted.

Lori Donovan says that each day while she waters her container she thinks of Tim. The WCBA is hoping that others will follow Donovan’s lead in beautifying the boulevard and remembering Tim. If you would like to help, e-mail Ann Sanderson at:

David Hopkins, Southeast Portland, History
This 1950's family photo shows David Hopkins taking a small break from his bike riding to pose for the photographer. David is on the left, his mom Mary in the middle, and stepdad Lloyd is on the right, on Sellwood’s S.E. Tenino Street. (Photo courtesy of David Hopkins)

David Hopkins – and memories of travels in Inner Southeast

Special to THE BEE

All of us have fond memories of when we were young.

For David Hopkins, it was playing football, fishing along the river bank, and exploring the swamp at Reed College.

Born in Sellwood, but raised in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, David – like many of us when we were young – spent time on most of his days on his light blue vintage Hercules bicycle, exploring the world.

The Hopkins family has a long and storied tradition in Sellwood, starting as early as 1905, when David’s great grandparents George Lyon and Flora first settled on Tenino Street, just shy of the commercial district of 13th Avenue.

Sellwood was in the early stages of a building boom, as workers were needed to fill positions on the interurban railway that was being constructed along Ochoco Street. Conductors, repairmen, linesmen, and general laborers were needed – to work on the Oregon Water Power and Railway, which ran south from Oaks Park and stopped at Golf Junction in Sellwood. From there, tracks extended south to Milwaukie and Oregon City and east to Damascus and Estacada in the Cascade Range.

Boarding houses and new homes were springing up in the neighborhood, in anticipation of the arrival of families and newcomers, and the Sellwood street car barn garages on 11th and S.E. Linn were completed in 1909.

Large craftsmen and four square houses were built so that grandparents and their children, and their children’s children, could all live together under one roof. Even relatives and inlaws were invited to share housing until they could afford to own their own residence and move on. It wouldn’t be unusual to see many people related to each other living within a few blocks, or right next door.

David Hopkins’s great grandparents, George Lyon and Flora Hopkins, were the ones who started it all when they first settled on Tenino Street. Next door to them was David’s grandparents Robert and Ruth Hopkins, and across the street was where David was born to his proud parents, George and Mary Hopkins. In fact, while the Sellwood Hospital just two blocks away on Harney Street could have easily delivered David in 1943, he recalls that his grandmother Ruth, Aunt Grace Hamlin, and Vera Scofield – the lady down the street – were called upon to do the honors in the family home.

Although David’s great-granddad died before he was born, he learned that George Lyon once worked as a helper and blacksmith with the streetcar railway company, and later spent time as a janitor – possibly at the nearest grade school. David still has the blacksmith tools that his great grandfather once owned. Flora continued to live on Tenino Street until her children Robert, Raymond, and Grace, were graduated from Sellwood School, married, and then chose to stay close to their mother in the neighborhood.

David’s granddad Robert married Ruth and began working as an operating engineer for the Oregon Electric Company, and later with the Portland Gas and Coke Company, after a brief stint as a chiropractor, which just didn’t bring in enough money to support his family. 

According to David, his granddad was working for Froskist Ice Cream in the former, and now-vacant, Mt Hood Brewery Warehouse at 11th and S.E. Marion Street. Robert suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns when a pipe carrying ammonia, which he was painting near, burst and scalded him. Robert survived this ordeal.

David remembers the many shared stories of old-timer Sellwood neighbors, who were regularly awakened by the alarm from the Sellwood Fire Department just a few yards away, and the wafting smells of vanilla, cinnamon, and fresh baked bread from the Sellwood Bakery at the end of the block.

Fishing along the banks of the Willamette River was always a favorite pastime for the Hopkins men. On weekends granddad Robert Hopkins or David’s dad George would head down a path from the Sellwood bluff with fishing reels in hand, headed for their favorite spot in Oaks Bottom. David recalls that a small red shack, probably owned by the Portland Parks Bureau, was the secret place where the Hopkins men started their morning fishing tradition.

And of course there are many other strong memories of those day. “I remember that Oaks Bottom was used as a dump. Rubbish, waste and odds and ends were taken by truck just south of the Milwaukie offramp from McLoughlin Boulevard, and taken down a dirt road to the bottom of the slough. Trash could also be dropped off from the entrance to Oaks Park and placed in the landfill below Sellwood Park.”

During the 1950’s, new housing adjacent to older communities was opening up and offering new and modern homes for young couples and military personnel who used their G.I. benefits to purchase a house.

The Kenilworth and Creston neighborhood that David’s parents were looking at was built in the streetcar era. David’s parents decided it was a good time to move away from the old style houses of Sellwood into the newly-built housing along Cora Street.

The old rustic Waverly-Woodstock street car that once traveled from 28th and rounded the corner at 42nd and Gladstone Street heading over to Woodstock Boulevard had now been replaced by the trackless trolley, or the electrified bus coach that maneuvered easily around traffic. David could ride from 13th and Tacoma, east on Bybee Boulevard and then north past Eastmoreland and Reed College, and arrive at his new home on Cora Street in a matter of minutes.

Creston-Kenilworth residents had a host of retailers to patronize. Four grocery stores, two barbershops, a beauty shop, the Acme Bakery, the Gladstone Pharmacy and Market, a shoe repair business, a print shop, and a car garage were all available within a 15-block area.

The Kenilworth Presbyterian Church was built in 1909 for its congregation, and fire service was provided by the Francis Street Firehouse, just one block north on 33rd street. The Francis Street Firehouse was the last building constructed for horse-drawn firefighting equipment, and is home to the Community Music Center today.

Morley C. Huff opened one of earliest lunch counters along Gladstone Street, serving weekend drinks and light buffet meals for his patrons. By 1939 his sandwich shop had been purchased by J.M Dobyns, and locals today may recognize his new establishment as the Ship Ahoy Tavern, still a landmark along Gladstone Street.

Daniel Grout Elementary School was just a short walking distance down the road. Grout had two gyms – one for the boys and one for the girls – with a long hallway running the distance on both sides of the school. During lunchtime, David recalls that students had to walk downstairs to the cafeteria. “Some of the children that were crippled or handicapped entered the rear on the lower floor of the school,” added David, “We never knew why they were placed in there.”

Some of the teachers during David’s years included Mrs. Denikee; Mrs. Hackworth, his 3rd grade teacher; and Mrs. Nigel, who he remembered as being thin but muscular.

Kenilworth Park on the east side of Grout Elementary was the center of kid action, being used as an afterschool playfield for football in the winter and for baseball in the summer. The park opened on September 27th, 1909; and, according to a report in the Oregonian of the time, a special ceremony was held, drawing over 2000 people. The park’s grounds were manicured, with an abundance of dogwoods, maple trees, and alders. Ice cream was served to the ladies and children, and free cigars handed out to the gents, while band music played and speeches were made.

David’s Kenilworth Park memories include a small building cut into the hillside containing the boys’ and girls’ restrooms on either side. A flat cement roof, level with the grounds, was called the “Lookout” by the local boys, who used this as a home base for hide and seek and other outdoor games. Football games were always David’s favorite, he told THE BEE: “The muddier it got, the more fun we had.”

After a long day exploring the Creston Gulch along 27th and Cora Street, playing games with the boys and racing bikes through the neighborhood, David’s favorite stop for candy and a soda was Farley’s Fountain and Remedies at the corner of 39th and Gladstone. Other memories of the area for David include visiting Geo Evans the Gladstone Barber, and stopping at the Signal Service Station to pump up a tire low on air, on the northeast corner of S.E. 39th (now Chavez Blvd) and Gladstone Street.

David fondly remembers that it was a simpler time for children; active kids ran through empty lots and through neighbor’s back yards without inhibition, since few fences existed to stop them. “Everyone knew each other on a first-name basis, and if an adult really trusted you, you were permitted to call them by their first name too,” David summed up.

The Anderson family was one of just a few African American families living in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood then, he recalls. Dan and Diane were the names of his young playmates from that family, and they lived near 39th and Holgate.

In the summertime extra money could be earned picking strawberries along the flourishing fruit fields of Reed College, in the area now used as an athletic field for college students. His grandmother took David along with her to pick berries when he was as young as seven years old. By the sixth and seventh grade David was packing a brown bag lunch and catching the early morning bus to pick raspberries in Milwaukie, blueberries in Gresham, and green beans at Blue Lake Park.

While the ripe berries grown at the Odd Fellows field at Holgate and 32nd proved tempting for an energetic 10-year-old boy, glaring looks from the groundskeeper at the Lodge discouraged the theft of any crops. 

David Hopkins enjoyed the best of both worlds, inasmuch as on the weekends he would still pedal over to Sellwood, where his grandparents lived at 11th and S.E. Tenino. He was kept busy with errands for his relatives, mailing letters and picking up packages at the Sellwood Post Office – then located at Tenino and 13th – or visiting the Five and Dime run by Errol McNair and his wife, or perhaps the Morris Market and Grocery.

Denver and Hyde owned the Morris Market, which started out as a small meat shop in 1939. Few people had freezers to store fish and meat products, so often children or grandkids were sent to the store to get something every two or three days. David was on a first-name basis with the Morris Brothers, and whatever orders filled were billed to his relatives’ account and paid in full at the end of each month.

By his freshman year, David worked as a busboy at the Anchorage Restaurant, then located along the waterfront of Sellwood; and he also cleaned tables and counters at the Town Crier, a popular restaurant between the Woodstock and Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods. David Hopkins continued his interest in graphic art, taking advanced classes at Benson Technical School from 1957 to 1961, and later at Clark College in Vancouver. He spent over thirty years working at Trade Litho, Inc., until his recent retirement.

At the age of 72, David traded in his old Hercules racing bike from his younger years for a 2008 Bonneville T100Triumph motorcycle, and he now spends his free time driving the back roads of America, hunting lost airfields – now hidden on farmland around the state.

He’s making new friends, and sharing memories about the streets of Inner Southeast. A boy and his bike…and his dreams never end.

Arleta Triangle
Volunteers work to renew the Arleta Triangle Project, at S.E. 72nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Neighbors give “Arleta Triangle” a makeover


Ten years ago, neighbors looking at the big “traffic island” in the intersection of S.E. 72nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard, said they thought it looked more like a desert island than a gateway to the neighborhood.

“At the start, this island was a patch of dirt, and a lone tree standing in the middle,” recalled Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association volunteer Meghan Humphreys.

So, she and several other neighbors set out to create the “Arleta Triangle Project” back in 2005.

“Originally, we wanted to put a crosswalk across a wide area, and we are told that it wouldn’t be safe to have a marked crosswalk there,” Humphreys told THE BEE. “So we tried to start thinking about bringing this triangle into a more ‘pedestrian walkable’ scale.”

Project organizers came up with three goals for turning that barren traffic island into a community space, volunteer Sarah Iannrone revealed:

  • Increased safety; making certain the people coming from the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood to the south had access to the Mt. Scott Community Center;
  • Creating positive neighborhood identity; and,
  • Community building and creating pride in this revitalizing neighborhood.

That was then; this is now. On August 29, a crew of nine volunteers was hard at work remodeling the Arleta Triangle – now well-known to travelers through the area.

“Building with cob walls, this was intended to be a ‘sustainable building technique’ demonstration project,” Iannrone said.

“The maintenance of these walls became quite onerous for the neighbors and volunteers that maintain it,” Iannrone explained. “So, as we get rid of the cob and put in new building materials, we are thinking that sustainability is more than just the materials with which you build. In this case, part of it is making sure volunteers can maintain it over time, as it fends off the sun, rain – and automobiles.”

One of the walls was damaged, Humphreys chimed in, by a car that jumped the curb and hit it.

“Luckily for us, the driver that hit the wall was insured; their insurance was able to provide us with some funds,” Humphreys said. “We also got about $1,500 from the neighborhood association to rebuild the cob walls with stacked ‘engineered stone’. It’ll make it more durable, and give it a more polished look.”

Volunteers meet at the Arleta Triangle Project on the last Saturday of every month. “We welcome people to come help us finish the project before winter weather really sets in,” invited Iannrone.

Brooklyn, Powell Boulevard, overpass, cleanup
Volunteers at the September 26 “Pride of Place Brooklyn” assignment cleaned up around the base of the Powell Boulevard pedestrian overpass. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn neighbors clean litter and weeds at pedestrian overpass


Brooklyn residents chose Saturday, September 26, to clean up weeks and overgrown blackberry bushes, and pick up litter, that had accumulated at the base of the pedestrian overpass on S.E. Powell Boulevard at 9th Avenue.

This “Pride of Place” event was organized by Kathy Orton, founder of Brooklyn’s Adopt-A-Block program, to help beautify the neighborhood, and over two dozen volunteers were on hand to do the work.

“We’re being co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Action Corps and by Southeast Uplift,” she remarked. “We received a small grant from SEUL to pay for orange safety vests and some tools, and volunteers brought many of their own tools and gloves from home. The dumpster was donated by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and the BAC helped finance a special deal we received from Hot Lips Pizza for a lunchtime incentive.”

Volunteers signed liability waivers to participate in the the five-hour cleanup, then organized into teams focused on specific tasks. One crew trimmed overhead branches, while another tackled overgrown blackberries. “We’ve got one crew for litter and another shoveling debris from the gutters,” commented Orton. “We found a lot of bottles, cardboard, and papers – even a few shoes. There are also quite a lot of dead junipers here – probably the remains of some planted by the City for landscaping.”

More volunteers of all ages arrived in increasing numbers as the day wore on, working to beautify this small corner of the historic neighborhood. By closing time, the dumpster was full, the landscape was much cleaner, and another successful beautification adventure was chalked up for Brooklyn neighbors.

All Saints Episcopal Church, Woodstock, pet blessing
Maggie, a Jack Russell and Maltese mix, received Rev. Truby’s blessing, while her owner, Belinda Missen, Family Choir Director of All Saints’, continued the hymn with which the blessing began. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

St. Francis celebrated at All Saints’ “Pet Blessing” service


The usual Sunday morning services at Woodstock’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church were followed, on October 4th, by an additional short ceremony on the lawn fronting Woodstock Boulevard at 2 pm – celebrating the Patron Saint of Animals, St. Francis, and featuring the blessing of pets that had been brought for the purpose. 

The half-hour service, overseen by Rev. Laura Truby, began and ended with song, which continued into the blessing period, and had a “Love the Animals” theme.

Over a dozen pets were brought by their owners for the ceremony – mostly dogs; although there was Lily, a cat, brought by Rebecca Borsh, which seemed content to be blessed with dogs as long as she stayed in her carrier; and there was a bearded dragon – resembling an iguana – brought by “Aulani”, on whose shoulder he stolidly perched.

All received a personal blessing, and a treat, from Rev. Truby; and, as the celebration ended, the owners were offered animal crackers, that they also might enjoy a treat as part of the annual lawn service.

Trinity United Methodist Church, Woodstock, pet blessing
Carolyn Thurman’s cat “Rocket Girl” is blessed by Rev. Sandy Storment at Trinity United Methodist Church’s annual “Blessing of the Animals”. Carolyn says the blessing is like a thank-you card, expressing appreciation to animals that enrich our lives. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Trinity United offers “Blessing of the Animals”


A popular event at local churches has become the “Blessing of the Animals”. On a recent Sunday morning, Trinity United Methodist Church held theirs – and about a dozen dogs and cats (mostly dogs), and one hamster, sat with their owners in the pews of Trinity at S.E. Steele Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard (39th).

All of the pets were well-behaved, waiting for the segment of the service devoted to the blessing of the animals.

“These pets have a way of being able to help take away some of the stress of the day –bringing about a deep, gentle joy,” smiled Rev. Sandy Storment, whose topic of the sermon that day was joy. It was clear that pet owners enjoy the companionship and solace of their pets, and even find joy in them.

Woodstock resident Carolyn Thurman brought her cat, “Rocket Girl” – nicknamed for the feline’s habit of sporadically jetting about the house. Thurman participated in this particular ceremony because, “I think of our pets as a blessing to us, and it seems only fair that they get a blessing in return. You could think of it as a thank-you card to them.”

The ceremony of Blessing of the Animals is a tradition followed by congregations nationwide on or near October 4th, a day of feast marking the death 789 years ago of St. Francis of Assisi, whose love of all creatures gained him recognition as the patron saint of animals. This was the Trinity United’s fourth annual blessing of the animals.

Trinity United Methodist Church was formed in 1956 when two local Southeast Portland churches –Woodstock and Clinton-Kelly Methodist Churches – were merged. It is committed to spiritual growth through worship, education, outreach and service.

In addition to weekly Sunday morning services, the church provides space for AA meetings, the Blooming Garden Preschool, the Southeast Indoor Park, and a worship space for the Vietnamese Bible Church. Twice a year, space is provided for naturescaping workshops given by the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District.

The church is also involved in the “Back Pack Buddies” meal program, providing donated food for weekend meals for school children from a couple of local schools. On the fourth Wednesday of each month, Trinity joins with the Reedwood Friends Church in preparing and serving a meal for the homeless. Anyone interested in helping with that can contact the church at 503/777-3901, or through e-mail:

Events and Activities
Hallowe’en Organ Concert.
At 6:30 pm this evening, Dr. James Denman and Dr. Tamara Still present a Hallowe’en Organ Concert at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. Open to all. Free.

“Chinese Language Exchange” in Woodstock.
This afternoon, and every Monday, 5:30-7 pm, adults are invited to Practice Chinese or English and help other learners in a friendly atmosphere. Participants speak half the time in English and half in Mandarin. Free. Beginners welcome. It takes place at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard.

“Holiday Craft & Artisan Fair” at Manor.
Today and tomorrow, the nonprofit Westmoreland Union Manor is holding an “All Handmade” Arts & Crafts Marketplace, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. A variety of vendors are offering unique Handcrafted Arts, Crafts, and Homemade edibles – such as jams, candy, and baked goods. “Find great creative gifts for yourself or others!” Soup, sandwiches, and refreshments will be available for purchase. 6404 S.E. 23rd Avenue, just north of the Bybee Bridge. Parking on-street only.

Book Fair at All Saints’ in Woodstock.
Find books to interest you at the annual Book Fair at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. It’s both today and tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Concert: Ellington & Strayhorn – a Celebration. This concert, at 7:30 p.m. in Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, features performances by Darrell Grant (piano) and David Shifrin (clarinet), arranged by David Schiff; Matt Cooper (piano); and Darrell Grant (piano) and Rebecca Kilgore (vocals). The concert is open to the public, and is free.

Christmas Bazaar at St. Agatha’s.
Today, 9 am to 4 pm, and tomorrow from 9 to 1, it’s the annual St. Agatha Altar Society Christmas Bazaar, at St. Agatha Parish Hall, 7959 S.E. 15th Avenue. Handmade arts and crafts, plants, baked goods, “thrifty cottage treasures”, gifts of the spirit – and vendors’ homemade lunch. Don’t miss it.

Families: It’s Your Neighborhood Storytelling Show.
Today, and every second Sunday thereafter, come to the Sellwood Branch Library at 1 p.m. for 45 minutes of songs and fun led by the “Oregon Tellers”, Sellwood’s own Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke. “Come, listen, learn, laugh, and leave with a story to tell!” Free. The library is situated on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street. Seating is limited, so come a little early to be sure of a seat.

Adults – need some help with your resume?
The Sellwood Branch Library invites you to meet with an experienced volunteer, this afternoon, 2:30-4:30 p.m., for free one-on-one help. Come early; it’s first-come, first served. If you have a paper copy of your resume, please bring it along. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Earthquake Preparedness workshop in Woodstock.
In this workshop, 6-7:30 pm tonight at the Woodstock Branch Library, you will learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake. Discussions will be on how to make a family plan, build an emergency kit – and what items should be included, and the proper way to store it. Free, but registration required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5234.

Free concert this afternoon at Reed College.
At 4 p.m. today in Reed College’s Eliot Hall Chapel, the public is welcome for a free 45-minute concert featuring the college’s music students. “The concert is perfect for people of all ages.”

Sanctuary Presbyterian’sAnnual Holiday Craft Fair.
“Finish your gift shopping in one stop today at Sanctuary Presbyterian Church's annual holiday bazaar. We won't tell anyone if you find a little something for yourself, too. Then relax and refuel with hot soup or a quick snack. Don't leave without some homemade jam, fresh-baked treats, or traditional-recipe candy to enjoy later.” 9 a.m. - 4.p.m., 5512 S.E. 73rd Avenue, on the north side of Mt. Scott Park. During the same hours, the church will offer a clean and well-lighted place ford quiet reflection, free of everyday distractions, at the same address.

Reed College Orchestra Fall Concert.
Under the direction of David Schiff, this evening at 7:30 p.m. the Reed College Orchestra performs works by Handel, Boccherini, and Schubert. The concert is in Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, is open to the public, and is free.

Grout Elementary Holiday Market today.
Grout Elementary will host its 5th Annual Holiday Bazaar today, starting with a pancake breakfast, 8-10 a.m. At 9 a.m., some fifty vendors of arts, crafts, and gifts will open their booths until 3 pm. Throughout the day, visitors will enjoy life music, bid on silent auction items, and enter for raffle prizes. Kids can also make free Holiday-themed gifts. Funds raised by the Grout Elementary PTA will benefit science programs at the school. The address is 3119 S.E. Holgate Boulevard. For more information, go online:

Llewellyn Holiday Market today.
Llewellyn Elementary School’s ninth annual “Holiday Market” takes place today, 10 am to 5 pm, at the school – 6301 S.E. 14th Avenue. Free entry, and 50+ artists will be selling handmade arts and crafts. Start the Holidays right.

Native American jewelry-making class at Sellwood Library. Instructor Mary Bodine is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Southwest Oregon. Make your own jewelry in the Native American way by using traditional items, such as bone beads and leather, to create a beaded necklace. For families; free; from noon till 2 p.m. this afternoon at the Sellwood Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.

Portland Baroque Orchestra performs at Reed College.
This afternoon at 3 p.m., at Reed College’s auditorium, under the title “Blazing Strings”, the Portland Baroque Orchestra’s Concertmaster Carla Moore leads the soloists of the orchestra in a “thrilling display of fire and passion in Italian concertos, capped by Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 BWV 1048, perhaps the most Italian of the six.” There’s a pre-concert talk, 2 p.m. For tickets, go online:

Teens: Create your own Drop Earrings!
This afternoon, 2:3:30 p.m. at the Woodstock Branch Library, make your own beautiful basic drop earrings for pierced ears. Teens will learn basic wire bending, cutting of metal, and filing, to complete an earring set. Free; for teens in grades 6-12. Registration required – in the library, or by calling 503/988-5234. The Woodstock Library is on the corner of S.E. 49th and Woodstock Boulevard.

Make your own Advent Wreath this morning.
The Children of All Saints’ Episcopal Church invite all members of the community to an “AdventFest” this morning, in the Parish Hall after the 8 am service and after the 10:15 am Service. Completely free, although offerings are accepted. Materials provided. Making your own Advent Wreath may take up to an hour, so allow for the time. This a gift to the community from the Children and Children’s Ministry at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, S.E. 41st at Woodstock Boulevard.

Sellwood Family Book Group – for the younger set. Read “How to Raise and Keep a Dragon” by John Topsell. Boys and girls in grades 2-4 and their parents come together to share excellent books and learn about each other. Free. It’s this evening, 6:30-7:30 pm, at the Sellwood Branch Library, 13th at S.E. Bidwell Street.

Michael Allen Harrison concert at St. Philip Neri.
Portland’s famed musician and songwriter Michael Allen Harrison will be performing his contemporary piano music, combined with Julianne Johnson’s powerful and joyful singing, this evening – at 7 pm at St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 S.E. 16th Avenue, at Division Street – “which has especially good acoustics, making the concert a bargain at $25 preferred seating, $15 regular admission. This will be the only Holiday concert Michael will be doing in Inner Southeast.” Proceeds of this benefit concert support the work of the Altar Society. An array of traditional homemade cookies, from the family recipes of the ladies of the Altar Society, will be featured at the reception following.


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