The "Events and Activities" for the month are beneath these featured stories!
|70 years, and still going strong: Dale Matthews, not the car! This photo was taken just outside today’s Matthews’ Memory Lane Motors, at S.E. 26th and Holgate Boulevard. (Photo courtesy of Dale Matthews)
Dale Matthews: Once the youngest car salesman in the Northwest
By DANA BECK
Special to THE BEE
Those who love cars, and many who don’t, still remember the first auto they ever bought.
From a pristine black Studebaker to a 1963 Chevy Impala SS, or a once-in-a-lifetime 1932 Ford Roadster, that first purchase would be a memorable lifetime highlight.
For Dale Matthews, as he described in his book “Every Deal’s Different”, his most memorable prize was a 1932 Black DeSoto Coupe, with dual side mounts and shiny silver grille that he purchased back in 1954 for a cool $165.00. Not a bad price, considering Dale was earning only $15.00 a month washing cars at Ray Rathbone’s on S.E. 82nd Avenue at the time. Dale was then a mere 13 years old – and he was the proud owner of a car he couldn’t legally drive!
That was one of the many incidents in the “school of hard knocks” as Dale Matthews learned the used-car business, eventually leading to the ownership of one of Portland’s premier vintage car shops – Matthews’ Memory Lane Motors, at 25th and S.E. Holgate Boulevard.
Before he became consumed in the world of cars, growing up during the 1950’s, Dale spent endless hours playing catch on the baseball diamond at Woodmere Grade School, and in the many open fields then to be found in Southeast Portland. His unrestrained energy and persistence in his early years contributed to the success he attained in the car business.
Picking berries and shoveling snow off wintery sidewalks, he collected enough cash to make his first purchase of a wheeled vehicle – a “News Boy Special” Schwinn Wasp bicycle that he could use on his paper route near S.E. Duke in the vicinity of 72nd Avenue.
Matthews’ first taste of car fever occurred when he spotted a Doodlebug scooter in the basement of a friend’s house, and in the next few months he was buying old and used miniature motorbikes at $10.00 a pop – and Dealin’ Dale resold them to other kids for from $20.00 to $35.00. The price of each bike depended on the time he’d spent fixing it up.
Dale graduated to the four-wheel type of vehicle when he practiced driving his mother’s 1938 Chevy Coupe when she parked it at the Rodgers Five and Dime where she worked. According to Dale, she never found out – but these private, self-directed driving lessons came to an end when the police started receiving calls about a youngster driving a car around town.
You could say that Dale literally grew up on the streets: The streets of S.E. 82nd Avenue, where used car lots proliferated during the 1950’s. Some 45 new car dealerships offered the latest models available around Portland and its outskirts. For the teenager, or families with little disposable income to spend on cars, Union Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.), or along 82nd Avenue, was the place to see and test-drive the largest selection of used vehicles; nearly 150 used car lots offered anything from Chevy Nomads to your father’s Packard.
As a punk kid of age 11, when most teenage boys were riding bicycles, reading comic books, or finishing homework for school, Dale was more interested in cars. Every spare minute, he was pestering the salesmen at Ray Rathborne’s dealership about the makes, models, or years of the cars that came in. It was a time when you could distinguish between a Ford and a Chevy simply by the sound of the motor.
He learned the ropes of the business from his mentor, Paul Stukey, who hung around buying cars from customers who’d been turned away by the low offers of other salesmen along the strip.
Ray Rathborne hired Dale to be “the Ginga Din of the car lot” – cleaning the interiors of cars, polishing the chrome fenders, or running errands for the sales staff. He even sold Dale a used 1932 Chevy two-door sedan, with a bad clutch, for $40.00, that he knew he wouldn’t be able to drive. But it was the prized black DeSoto that Dale traded in his ’32 Chevy for, that led to the downfall in their relationship.
The coupe was being stored in the back lot of Rathborn’s car lot, so Dale’s parents wouldn’t know what he had invested in – and until he was old enough for a learner’s permit to drive his dream car. In his book Dale recalled, “On my usual trek to Rathbone’s after school, one day the ’32 De Soto was gone. Ray had sold it. I got my first taste of reality in the used car business.”
His enthusiasm for cars was not dampened by this unhappy experience, but he did leave Rathborn’s to hire on at Pacific Car Sales owned by Tom Wortindyke, where he helped sell cars to customers overlooked by salesmen too busy with their own transactions, or drove the company vehicle around Portland to pick up parts and supplies for the shop, even though he was still underage and still without a legal driver’s license. The staff tended to look the other way when he drove off on an assignment.
In 1959, Tom Wortindyke, and his new partner Bill Moak, decided to open a Volvo dealership in Gresham – and an eighteen-year-old teenager named Dale Matthews was put in charge to run it.
With few car-buyers traveling to Gresham, and little interest at that time in buying a Volvo, sales were dismal; and, with no customers, Dale only became experienced at playing a guitar and singing country and western music. Dale turned into a salesmen by day and a singer by night.
When the Volvo dealership finally closed, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity opened before him. His boss Tom decided to go back into the used car business with a new partner! He opened a car lot at 72nd and S.E. Foster, and the big sign overhead read, “Tom and Dale’s Used Cars – City’s Youngest Car Dealer”. How could a kid refuse such an offer? He didn’t, of course. At age 19, Dale was on top of the world.
Cars, girls, music, and fast food were a big part of life as a teenager in the 1950’s and early ’60’s, and there was no better place to meet than at the local drive-in restaurant.
Cruising was a popular pastime for Portland teens, and anyone with a nifty car was to be found parked under the bright neon lights of the Tik Tok Restaurant at Sandy and Burnside, or The Specks Drive-In at Foster Road and S.E. Powell. These were the perfect places for a salesman like Dale to show up in his latest classic car, and have it sold or traded for a better vehicle within the week.
Dale was living in the fast lane: Married at 19, father to two young boys by 23, and divorced by the next year. Jamming with the boys and those late nights out were taking their toll on his car sales, and finally Tom Wortindyke decided his kid partner wasn’t quite the right fit for their dealership, and the partnership was dissolved.
Next stop was Ernie Wakehouse Motors. Ernie was a former military pilot who flew dangerous missions during the Korean War. His strict military training and attention to detail, and his requirement that Dale show up to work on time, kept Mr. Matthews in line. No more late nights; no more party time.
But Dale’s training was cut short by the Army, and he wound up in a uniform, assigned as a NCO in charge of training. Nonetheless, he did continue his wheeling and dealing ways, working part time at the front desk of a nearby Motel 6, and playing gigs in taverns in the evening. He even found time to sell a car or two that were parked in front of the motel. It was as if he never slept – he was a man on a mission.
When his stint in the military was over, it was back to Wakehouse Motors, doing what he does best – selling cars. With his experience under his belt, and tons of confidence, Dale felt there wasn’t a customer he couldn’t talk into thinking of buying a car.
But it turned out to be a pretty young girl from Vancouver, Washington, who proved to be the one tough cookie for him: Try as he might, he couldn’t sell Patty Kemp any of the Wakehouse Motors specials, but he did sell her on his music. She showed up at the nightclub where he was performing, and eight months later they were married.
From 1967 to 1971 Dale continued working for Ernie Wakehouse, but the urge to run his own dealership was just too strong, and he went looking for a good spot to do so on McLoughlin Boulevard. In the end, his old friend Bill Moak made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and for the next 7-1/2 years Dale Matthews was part-owner of a Chevrolet dealership in Canby.
In the end, he wanted to be the sole owner of his business, and he found a vacant spot at S.E. 52nd at Foster Road, and it was for rent. In the late summer of 1979 Matthews Car Company opened for business selling classic cars. In the following 37 years, Matthews became ever more certain that buying and selling low-mileage classic cars was the only business he wanted to run.
After spending fifteen years on Foster Road, Dale bought an established classic car business – now renamed Matthews’ Memory Lane Motors – on the southeast corner of S.E. 26th and Holgate Boulevard. There he sells some of Portland’s most classic cars.
The secret behind Dale Matthews’ success?
Honesty, and a buy-back policy. With a wide grin on his face, Dale strictly follows his own motto: “I tell ’em how much I paid for it, and how much I want, and what I’ll buy it back for – if they return the car in the same, or better, condition.” He has sold over 7,000 cars in his lifetime…so far!
The 21st Century has brought changes to the classic car business, and to Matthews’ Memory Lane Motors. Teens today no longer have an interest in owning a cool ’67 Corvette, or a souped-up Mustang Mach II with pin-striping and wide mag wheels. As Dale relates, “Most buyers today have grey hair, or no hair at all.” These car enthusiasts are nostalgic about the past, and they love the car they are looking at, says Dale. Finalizing a deal with Dale Matthews is like shaking hands with a good-hearted uncle or a close friend.
Now 70 years of age, Dale spends his days keeping track of his inventory of classic cars, looking up old friends, and of course, selling classic cars. But he can still sing a song and handle a guitar; he wrote and sang a Memory Lane Motors tune posted on his website.
Dale Matthews is true to himself and to his values. As the old song reminds us, “Be nice to everybody on your way up, ’cuz you’ll meet ’em coming down again.”
|Joe Barter had fun making a “Clay Dumpling” seed ball at the Llewellyn Earth Day observance. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Llewellyn Elementary’s Earth Day draws politicians
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
When school let out for the day on Friday, April 22, the courtyard and Learning Garden at Llewellyn Elementary School on S.E. 14th Avenue in Westmoreland was abuzz with activity.
“Today is Earth Day, and we’re recognizing it, celebrating it, and exposing kids to what is most important – taking care of our planet,” beamed Llewellyn Principal Joe Galati, as he handed out stickers to students, family and friends.
As part of the activities, Oregon Governor Kate Brown – a Woodstock resident – and Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley all stopped by to make brief speeches on the subject of climate change, their hopes for a “cleaner and greener future”, and to greet the attendees of the afternoon event.
Taking moment from supervising all of the activities, organizer Alexia Wellons, parent of a second grader, told THE BEE about the school’s Earth Day.
“I am the organizer for the school’s ‘Green Team’, and with the help of many parent volunteers, we put his party together to celebrate the efforts we’ve made toward getting Llewellyn to be ‘Green School Certified’.”
Several parent volunteers hosted a snack table, where they served “healthy after-school treats” – involving fresh vegetables, fruit, and chips.
A main event was planting native-compatible seeds in biodegradable “peat pots” to take home. Another was learning about, and making, “seed balls” – an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up the soil with cultivation tools – these are commonly called “Clay Dumplings”.
Others of the students were in the Llewellyn Learning Garden, planting herbs, vegetables, and flowers in the plots.
“Our parent volunteers have taken this on, going beyond the regular school topics, to help kids learn ways they can truly make a difference, each in their own way,” Principal Galati told THE BEE. “We are giving kids an opportunity to learn about how to best serve our planet.”
|Duniway student Charlie supplies the pedal power, to help his mom – Wendy Foster – make smoothies in a bike-mounted blender.
Earth Day 2016, at Duniway Elementary School
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
Students and parents at Duniway Elementary School on S.E. Reed College Place in Eastmoreland celebrated Earth Day with a number of activities, on the afternoon of Friday, April 22nd.
A threat of rain caused the school to move most of the activities into the Duniway gymnasium, which was ringed with displays and crafts.
A parent of both a Duniway second-grader and a fifth-grader, Nicole Murray, was one of the organizers of their celebration.
“This year our theme is ‘Changing Climates, Changing Actions’,” Murray said. “As in past years, community members to come and talk to the students about different environmental issues that are relevant for our neighborhood, and for the planet as a whole.”
Dana Visse, another parent of two Duniway students – a preschooler and a third-grader – described some of the activities.
“We have a bicycle-powered smoothie-maker at one station. And students can make a pledge to the earth, and put it up on a tree,” Visse said.
She pointed out the booth set up by “Save Our Local Trees” representatives, which included a craft table where kids were making key fobs from recyclable materials.
“We’re also showing what our ‘Green Team’ accomplishes in school every day – recycling milk cartons, composting food scraps, and recycling,” Visse remarked. “We are one of the 24, out of 86, Portland Public Schools that composts, and one of only four that recycles milk cartons and that recycles plastics.”
Two former Duniway students – Charlie and Jeremy, who created the “Two Green Leaves” website –came back to the school for the afternoon, Visse added. “They are adept at explaining climate change in a way kids understand, so they learn what choices they can make.”
The fourth and fifth grade leadership team sponsored booths featuring seed planting, and creating fairy houses from recycled materials.
“What impresses me most is that our Earth Day event has grown from our kids out through to the parents,” smiled Duniway School Principal Matt Goldstein. “This gives our students an opportunity to be part of something that happens outside the school classroom – something positive for the environment.”
|Glass artist Kevin Horney went from simply manufacturing glass, to creating beautiful artworks using it. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Southeast “ArtWalk 2016”: Strolling through creativity
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
The first weekend in March each year is when art aficionados combine their passion for viewing the work of talented people with exercise – during two-day Southeast ArtWalk.
“Can you believe that this is our 13th annual event?” mused its founder, and exhibiting artist and crafter, Rin Carroll Jackson – at her “Sleeping Bee Studio” – while greeting guests at 2016 Southeast ArtWalk’s Stop #23.
“I’m one of 75 artists at 37 different locations,” Jackson told THE BEE with some pride.
“I do a variety of different art forms,” Jackson said, holding up a colorfully decorated parasol; “One of them is doing batik, which is using wax, and then dye, to create designs on cloth and other materials.”
Thinking back to the beginning of the Inner Southeast’s annual art-fest, Jackson recalled how she and friends put a map out at the Division-Clinton Street Fair and asked artists to put pins in it to mark their studios or locations.
“We had 20 people put a dot on the map, and then we all started meeting, and now here we are, 13 years later,” Jackson grinned.
“We have a bunch of first-time artists joining us this year – as well as a lot of people who’ve been with us for all 13 years,” she reflected.
“This event is important, because it gets people to interact and talk to artists at each location, as they learn more about the process, and their art,” Jackson said. “It is a vital community event to help support artists. It also crosses over into supporting our local businesses, too, because it brings people.”
One house; three artists
The next stop was at a home where a husband and wife were displaying their unique talents – and they’d also invited a glass artist in for the weekend show.
Retired school teacher Pat Denny said his medium is oil on canvas.
“When I painted, probably 20 years ago, I was being more realistic then. But, being impressionistic is way more fun; it’s meditative,” Pat remarked.
“Walking around this fall, and seeing the leaves changing on the trees, I decided to try to replicate that. My painting has grown from natural-scene painting, since November, to creating paintings of buildings, like this one.”
His wife, Bettie Denny, who worked in television before retiring, showed off her photo collages – she calls them “enhanced digital art”, bringing together images in Photoshop.
“As a younger person I always loved art,” Bettie commented. “As I get older, I could not handle a paintbrush or a pen for very long. I discovered that I could still use a computer, though. I taught myself Photoshop. With television as my career, I worked with many artists and art directors. So when I retired, the first thing that I wanted to learn to do was to create images like this.”
Meantime, set up in the Dennys’ kitchen was “glass artist” Kevin Horney – who works in stained glass, fused glass, and blown glass.
“I've always loved the beauty and the ‘organicness’ of glass, as art,” explained Horney. “I worked at both Bullseye Glass Company and Uroboros Glass Studios, and so I had the opportunity to work with very intelligent people, where I could learn a lot about glass.
“I have been away from glass work for about eight years, and worked with the Transportation Safety Administration up until a couple weeks ago,” said Horney. I’m just getting back into it, because I need something to do with my few relatively free hours.”
“Turning” out the art
As we traveled further west, next was a visit to Stop #1, the wood-turning shop of Hamilton Byerly.
“Some of what I do is more artistic, and some of it is more craftwork,” Byerly said. “The bowls I make are more on the craft end of the spectrum; the turned flowers or other pieces are more like art to me.”
When he moved to Oregon twenty years ago, he attended the Oregon School of Arts & Crafts to study furniture-making, but he went on to start a remodeling company, “fixing houses to make a living. Now I make pieces, and turned wood, for fun,” Byerly said. “It’s a creative outlet. I am continually amazed at what one can do on the lathe.”
If you missed this year’s Southeast ArtWalk, there will be lots to see and artists to visit in their studios once again about the same time next year.
|Mayoral candidates Jules Bailey, Ted Wheeler, and Sarah Iannarone appeared at the March Brooklyn Action Corps meeting, and answered questions from those present. (Photos by Rita A. Leonard)
Brooklyn’s annual cleanup coming May 14
By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE
The Chair of the Brooklyn neighborhood association, the Brooklyn Action Corps, Eric Wheelan, opened the organization’s March 23rd monthly General meeting, by introducing BAC’s newsletter editor, Marie Phillippi, who promoted the Adopt-A-Block program, and gave details of another cleanup of the area around the pedestrian overpass at S.E. 9th and Powell Boulevard on April 23.
Wendy Miller reported on Brooklyn’s annual Neighborhood Cleanup and Rummage Sale coming up on May 14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at the corner of S.E. 16th and Center Street. “Last year we disposed of nine tons of garbage,” she said. “This year we hope to do more. We need volunteers in two-hour shifts; it’s a great way to meet your neighbors.”
But, she cautioned, “The city and Metro have cracked down on acceptable waste: Absolutely no asbestos or hazardous waste will be taken.”
The BAC is joining other Southeast neighborhoods in getting its residents ready for disasters of all sorts, with particular concern about the next Cascadia Zone Subduction Earthquake off Oregon. Liz Bryant sought neighbors to host block party workshops for disaster preparedness.
“We need to be ready when the overdue big earthquake finally arrives,” she said. “We anticipate a late May kick-off to host trainers in three one-hour sessions.” For further information on all these matters, check www.brooklyn-neighborhood.org
Along with these neighborhood cleanup and preparedness plans, the March meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps featured three mayoral candidates: Jules Bailey, Ted Wheeler, and Sarah Iannarone.
Jules Bailey, raised in Southeast Portland, said, “With more people coming to Portland, we have to re-engage the community, create pathways to home ownership, and prioritize livability concerns such as clean air, water, energy, and sustainability. We can end homelessness in Multnomah County, if we set clear goals and pursue them long enough.”
Former Multnomah County Chair and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler spoke next: “We need more flexibility in building regulations to increase the supply of affordable housing and new workforce housing options for a growing population. We also must restore Portland as a national leader in innovative environmental policy. We need to think of better, cheaper ways to do things more efficiently, focused on available funds.”
Sarah Iannarone was the third mayoral candidate to speak: “As Mayor, I would focus on more flexible housing and zoning, working to establish more mixed-use density. It’s also important to focus on Climate Action Planning, and disaster preparedness.”
The presentations of the three candidates, augmented by many audience questions, lasted two hours.
|Remodeled between 1935 and 1937, this version of the Hyde home at S.E. 15th and Lexington Street is what you see there today. (Photo by Eileen G. Fitzsimons)
A Sellwood Family’s “Dream House”
By EILEEN G. FITZSIMONS
For THE BEE
May is national Historic Preservation Month, and as older buildings go down and new ones go up in Inner Southeast, it has been a relief to visit with the surviving member of a family that has been deeply rooted on Lexington Street for more than ninety years.
Their home, built by three generations of the family, still stands at 1584 S.E. Lexington Street (formerly “634 Lexington” in Portland’s original street-numbering plan). It was the home of Albert and Hester (Armstrong) Hyde, and their four children – Jim, Jean, Irene, and Ray.
After reading about the replacement of the 1925 Sellwood Bridge, one of Irene’s nieces contacted THE BEE to suggest that her aunt Irene had many memories of life in the earlier days of Sellwood.
Indeed she did; and her recollections of the Hyde home and its “remodeling” were among the many topics we discussed….
Albert Hyde grew up in Kalama, Washington; and, following military service in World War I, he moved to the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland. Hester Armstrong was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but came to Oregon with her parents when she was eleven months old – her family settled in Oak Grove.
In addition to being a master carpenter who completed much of the interior work on Portland’s U.S. Custom House, Hester’s father, Louis E. Armstrong, played the violin. In 1910 he organized the Oak Grove Girls Band, which Irene believes was the first all-female musical band in Oregon.
Hester played the cornet and one afternoon, after finishing orchestra practice in downtown Portland, she was waiting for the Oak Grove streetcar. Albert, carrying his a saxophone, noticed Hester’s instrument case, and used their mutual interest in music to strike up a conversation, and ended up “escorting” her home on the streetcar.
The couple married in 1921, and lived with her family for two years while Albert commuted to his job with Standard Oil in Willbridge, at the opposite end of the city. Jim, the first of Hester and Albert’s children, arrived in 1922, and the new parents purchased their Lexington Street lot in 1923, with a down payment in the princely sum of $5.00.
They decided on the design of their home-to-be: A small bungalow, with large knee brackets supporting a sloping roof over the front door – they had spotted a similar one on S.E. Division Street. As family members stepped forward to build their house, Irene used a small notebook to record every phase of its construction.
Under the supervision of her father Louis, his brother Warren Hyde, and a cousin, Guy DeGolia, as well as Albert, work started on December 19, 1923, with excavation of the basement by hand. The concrete was poured in April of 1924, followed by delivery of the lumber for the one-bedroom house. The total cost of the lumber was $78.17.
On January 24, 1925, linoleum flooring was laid, and by February 5 the family was able to celebrate with their first dinner inside the finished home. Three days later they assumed occupancy, just in time for Irene’s birth. Irene joined her two other siblings (sister Jean was born in 1924 in Oak Grove, as was brother Jim two years earlier).
By 1932, with the arrival of their fourth child, the single-bedroom house was feeling a bit cramped. Irene and her sister Jean occupied a bedroom on an enclosed sleeping porch at the back of the house, while brother Jim slept on a cot in the living room – moving into the back yard under a grape arbor in fair weather. Infant Ray initially shared his parent’s bedroom, but Albert and Hester knew they needed more space.
Consequently, in 1935, the Hydes undertook the remodeling of their ten-year-old house. According to a 1957 BEE article, the family did not want to leave Sellwood because they liked the school, the parks, and the businesses. So, with their children helping, they deconstructed the house, all the way to its 2x4 walls and horizontal board sheathing. The roof was removed and a second floor was added – containing three bedrooms and a second bath. The enlarged living room featured a new leaded-glass window.
Then the tiny cottage completely disappeared, as the house was covered in red clinker brick, installed by a mason named Mr. Orwig. For an additional six dollars he included a matching outdoor fireplace/barbeque in the backyard. The grapevine was saved and a goldfish pond was built, with a low seat surrounding it.
An inventive man, Albert Hyde designed, poured, and molded, a unique driveway in front of the matching garage: It is laid out as a huge tree, its branches rising in relief from the surface of the concrete. His ideas were expressed in other ways: Irene still has her father’s 1934 automobile registration for an “assembled sedan” – the family car that he cobbled together from five different car models! They were perhaps salvaged from Bowman’s Garage on S.E. 17th at Tacoma, where Albert began working as an auto mechanic, after retiring from 25 years at Standard Oil.
With new windows, and a winding front walkway, the house now resembled the one on the cover of the 1926 sheet music “Dream House”, an architectural style known as “Storybook”. The refrain of the song echoes the romantic wish, “I have built a dream house, cozy little dream house, happiness is there, hiding everywhere…and tho’ it’s big enough for you and me, someday there may be Tea for THREE, in that little dream house that I’ve built for you.”
Irene’s photos indicate that when the Hyde family purchased their lot in 1923, there were many that were vacant – the one to the west was empty until 1930. She recalled Mr. Riley, a house painter, who lived across the street, and Helen Peterjamus, who played the bugle in the Army in 1942. A fish seller and a junk man made regular trips along the streets.
One highlight of the work week was “Friday Surprise” at Meier & Frank (now Macy’s). Bargain sales were offered, especially in the basement and sub-basement, and Irene and her mother would take the streetcar on S.E. 13th Avenue to downtown Portland for some competitive shopping. She recalls the human street sweepers who tidied the city. A big truck had a low platform extending from the back of the vehicle. On it stood a man with a broom, who would jump down, sweep up debris, and then throw it upwards into the back of the truck.
Irene, like her siblings, walked to Sellwood School (then grades 1-8). The school had a 4-H Club, and Irene reported its activities in THE BEE. Beginning in the seventh grade, she began playing the trumpet in the school orchestra. The Hyde children spent many hours at the Sellwood Library on Nehalem Street, and in the Community Center.
With other neighborhood kids, they also spent a great deal of their time outdoors. Walking the “monkey trail” along the north edge of Sellwood Park, they entered The Oaks Amusement Park, while avoiding payment of the nickel entry fee if possible. Other excursions included crossing the Sellwood Bridge to hike the wooded ravines around the cemetery on the west side of the Willamette.
Irene’s brothers made “golf clubs” from lengths of 2x4s, attached a small scrap of angled wood to the bottom, and played their own rounds in Sellwood Park.
And of course they spent hot summer days at the Sellwood Pool; but Irene really learned to swim at the indoor pool at Neighborhood House, across from Lair Hill Park, in Southwest Portland. Her instructor was a Mr. Tate, who had taught movie star Buster Crabbe to swim before moving to Portland.
In the late 1930’s the Portland Parks Bureau held annual swim contests at Jantzen Beach Park (then a vast amusement park, with several large open swimming pools, but now the site of a shopping mall). Swimmers from Sellwood always competed, but because they only had three months to practice, they often finished at the bottom of the match.
This changed in the early 1940’s, with assistance from Westmoreland resident Tye Steinbach, a talent scout for the Multnomah Athletic Club. Coached by Steinbach, the Sellwood swimmers began serious training, and Irene adopted the challenging breaststroke. In late August of 194l, the Sellwood swim team was triumphant, sweeping the annual Swimathon event at Jantzen Beach.
Becoming city champions was a happy memory for the Sellwood team to savor, as the United States soon became involved in World War II. During the war the Hyde family and other neighbors cultivated a Victory Garden in an empty lot across from the Hyde’s home.
Irene graduated from Washington High School in 1944, and worked at a series of office jobs, on early IBM systems – for the State of Oregon and for Consolidated Freightways.
After the war she went to Hawai’i to visit a girlfriend, but only stayed for six months because she “missed the seasons” in Oregon. She then lived on a houseboat on the Columbia River, and it was at a moorage Christmas Party that she met Ray Little, a merchant seaman, whom she married in June, 1961, at the Sellwood Methodist Church.
Her husband became an employee of the Bechtel Corporation in its marine oil division, and then Irene’s life of adventure really began. Soon after their marriage, the Littles moved to Iran, where they lived for seven years – in Abadan, and then Tehran. They were transferred to Libya, and it was while they were on a vacation in Spain that they received word from the company that Muammar Gaddafi had seized control of the government and they were not to return. The company put them in luxurious limbo at the Hilton Hotel in Rome for two weeks, followed by stint in Malta.
Finally, in 1974, the Littles were sent to Brazil. Irene recalled their three years in that country as her favorite posting, as she greatly enjoyed the people and culture. She was learning to speak Portuguese when they were transferred for a final seven years in London. Ray retired in 1983, and after a short period of time in California, the Hydes moved back to Oregon – first to Raleigh Hills, and then Tualatin.
Irene’s siblings made lives of their own beyond Sellwood, with older sister Jean remaining closest to home. She graduated from Girls Polytechnic High School, married, and lived on a farm near Salem with her first husband and their seven children.
Brother Jim graduated from Benson High School, became an architectural draftsman, married an English woman, then had a Naval career in communications and radar.
Like his sister, Irene’s youngest brother Ray attended Washington High School, where he developed his skills in baseball as a left-handed pitcher. He graduated from Lewis & Clark College, played baseball for the U.S. Army team, and pitched in the 1955 Pan American Games.
Ray did some traveling on his own and landed in Munich, Germany. Here he taught fifth and sixth graders in U.S. Department of Defense Dependents’ school and married a German woman, but he returned every year to the family home on Lexington Street.
Albert Hyde remained in the home he had helped to build until he had to move into a nursing home after suffering a stroke; he died in 1978. His wife Hester stayed put until she, too, required care, and passed away in 1982.
The parents willed the house to their four children, and Ray bought the shares of his three siblings. After his retirement he spent part of his time in Munich and the rest in Sellwood, where renters kept an eye on the house in his absence. He died in 2015, and while the house is rented, it has now fallen to Irene to help determine the future of the historic Hyde family home still standing today at 1584 S.E. Lexington Street.
|Focused on her task at this year’s SMILE Easter Egg Hunt in Westmoreland Park was Lillian Watts. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Generations return for Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
There was excitement in the air as families gathered at the south end of Westmoreland Park on the morning of Saturday, March 26, members of the Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club had been spreading foil-covered chocolate candies in preparation for the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association, with assistance from the QFC Market.
Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club President Irv Smith reflected, for THE BEE, “Our Lions Club has been associated with this for many years, rain or shine. We help out because one of our areas of service is to youth. Any time that we can be involved with the community, we think it’s a really worthwhile thing to do.”
Smith said the club also hosts a food bank collection at egg hunt. “And, being here also gives us the opportunity to tell about ‘Lionism’, and the things we do.”
Decidedly too young yet to be a Lion’s Club member, Sellwood Middle School seventh grade student Reuben Bisagna was out spreading eggs in the three age-based zones as the 10 a.m. hour approached.
“Yes, I’m too old to participate, but I thought it would be fun to help out, because my two little sisters are here this morning,” Bisagna told THE BEE. “I remember having so much fun, starting when I was about seven years old, and my parents took us down here to do this. I’m happy to help today.”
Another legacy participant was this year’s “Easter Bunny”, Karly Kent, the newest member of the Oaks Bottom Lions Club, representing a third generation of family members of the Lions Club.
The SMILE Easter Egg Hunt began at 10 a.m. sharp, and as usual the thousands of candies were all gathered up six minutes later – not quite a record, but very close. Many families went home with Easter candy – and also memories that will last for generations.
|Heidi, 7 months, and Cameron, age 6, posed with their Dad, Garrett. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Brooklyn’s kids flock to third annual Easter Egg hunt
By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE
After a week of rainy Spring Break days, Brooklyn neighborhood kids were ready for the excitement of their third annual neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
The event, sponsored by Mosaic Church and the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association, was held at the top of Brooklyn Park hill on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. Kids under 10 gathered eagerly with boots, baskets, and in Easter finery, for the 11 a.m. start. They expected a good time, and were not disappointed.
The Park was divided into three areas based on age and ability. Parents and friends were ready with cameras and supportive cheers. Egg hunt volunteers had met earlier at the home of event organizer Matt McComas to fill over 1,000 plastic eggs with candy, prizes, and for a lucky few, four gift certificates to Nectar Frozen Yogurt in Westmoreland.
Face-painters and helpers gathered in gazebo to assist with activities. As is the tradition with all public egg hunts, less than ten minutes after the “start” signal, it was all over except for the munching.
Families visited, played on park equipment, and examined the heavy equipment parked nearby – ready to start the Lower Powell Green Street and Sewer Construction Project.
Then parents gathered their kids and headed home for the Easter weekend.
|A helicopter swoops in over Brentwood Park so that volunteers aboard can shower the area with orange plastic Easter Eggs. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Easter eggs again rained down on Brentwood Park
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
Once again this year, the leaders and congregation of Hope City Church held a “Code Orange Easter” celebration for the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, at Brentwood Park.
At the March 19 Easter-themed neighborhood party, Lead Pastor Brian Becker said that instead of creating a different event each year, they “strive for consistency in the neighborhood, connecting with the people here. But, every year, we make it bigger and better.” And, it always requires a helicopter!
But before the eggs fell, this year there were even more activities for kids – adding face-painting stations to the mix. Also in the park were kids’ favorites, including carnival games like Plinko, beanbag toss, and “Pin in the cottontail on the rabbit”. Volunteers also had set up several bounce houses and attractions for the more active youngsters.
“The reason we do this in Brentwood Park is that families in this area previously never had a fun event like this of their own,” Becker said. “We wanted to make it fun, and maybe better than anyplace else’s, which is how we came up with the idea of having a helicopter drop Easter Eggs.”
About a third of the church’s congregation, about 125 people, worked the celebration. “We do it because the event matches the mission of our church,” Becker noted. “Jesus Christ cared about people, cared about his community, and reached out to address ‘felt needs’. We’re reaching out because we want to show that we love this part of our city – in actions, not words.”
Sure enough, at 11:15 a.m., a helicopter appeared on the western horizon and rapidly approached the park – and then, when arriving overhead, started dropping hundreds of orange-colored plastic Easter Eggs, dropped from the air in two areas of the park.
Kids scrambled after the 25,000 empty plastic eggs thus scattered. It’s an egalitarian process – each child receives the same amount of candy, whether they gather and turn in one egg or a dozen.
“I’m not sure what’s better, the smiles of the kids’ faces, or the big grins on the faces of our volunteers,” Becker observed.
Poetry, storytelling, and more coming to Sellwood-Moreland Library
By LARRY WILL
Special to THE BEE
All branches of the Multnomah County System, including Sellwood-Moreland Library and Woodstock Library, will host some very exciting, and free, events in May.
At Sellwood-Moreland, there will be a poetry reading by Sellwood resident, and former Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen. She is the author of six full-length books and five chapbooks of poetry. Local poet Melanie Green will also read at the event. That is Tuesday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m.
The “Oregon Tellers” (a.k.a. Sellwood’s own Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke) are still presenting “Your Neighborhood Storytelling Show”. Come listen, learn and laugh at this event for families and kids in grades K-5. That’ll be on Sunday, May 8, at 1 p.m.
Rena Marthaler will read from her fantasy novel “Magic The Crest”, which she wrote and published while she was in the fourth grade. Currently a sixth grade student at Sellwood Middle School, Rena will also take questions about how children can write and publish their own stories. Saturday, May 14, noon.
Learn how to reduce lead exposure and lead poisoning in your life. Get booklet and a kit with lead-safe cleaning and testing equipment. Please register for this workshop by calling 503/988-5398. Sunday, May 15, 3 p.m.
And – introducing a new monthly series, “Scrabble at the Library”. Have fun while exercising your brain, improving your vocabulary, and making new friends. Bring your board or use one at the library – on Sunday, May 22, at 2 p.m.
You’ll find highlights of the free offerings at both the Woodstock and the Sellwood-Moreland Libraries each month posted in THE BEE’s monthly calendar of events and activities.
|With an enthusiastic and reassuring smile, artist Raina Imig begins teaching her “Intuitive Painting in Watercolors” class at the Woodstock Branch Library.
Stormy day: The setting for “Intuitive Painting” in Woodstock
By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE
A stormy Saturday afternoon seemed an appropriate occasion for area residents to come to a class in watercolor painting.
At the Woodstock Branch Library, on a weekend not long ago, students came to learn “Intuitive Painting in Watercolors” from artist Raina Imig, who says she teaches students ranging in age from babies to 90-year-olds.
“The way I teach ‘intuitive painting’ is that I assume that people know how to paint,” Imig explained. “Having lots of teaching, academics, and structure, can actually delay is the progress of students.
“I take pride in that I help people start at the beginning of class with a blank piece of paper, and leave the class with paintings they enjoy,” she smiled. “It's not just a class where they learn some basic techniques.”
As much as she enjoys painting, Imig told THE BEE, she also loves to teach. “It's a winning experience for me and, I hope, a fun and educational experience for the students.” Those who attended the free class that afternoon seemed to agree.
|Southeast Events and Activities|
Portland Public Schools “Greenthumb” plant sale:
The PPS “Greenthumb” Community Transition Program will be hosting its annual plant sale from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today – and also on Friday May, 6th, 9:30-2:30; Thursday, May 12th, 9:30-5:30; Friday, May 13th, 9:30-2:30; and Friday, May 20th 9:30-2:30. Both the program and the sale are located at 6801 S.E. 60th Avenue between Duke and Flavel. There is a wide assortment of ornamental plants, flowers, and organic vegetable starts for sale at bargain prices. “Greenthumb” is a transition program for young adults that emphasizes vocational experience and life skills; students in the program are responsible for starting, caring for, and maintaining the plant stock in the greenhouse. Your purchases return to the greenhouse program to support student learning. For more information call 503/916-5817.
Reed College Concert, open to the public:
This afternoon at 4 p.m. in Reed College’s Eliot Hall Chapel, Reed College chamber music ensembles are performing in concert. Admission is free, and the concert is open to the public. Reed College is situated on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard just east of S.E. 28th.
Reed College’s Spring Dance Concert, open to the public:
Tonight and tomorrow night, 7 to 10 p.m., Reed College’s Dance Department presents its Spring Dance Concert, featuring choreography by Reed students, faculty, and special guests. It takes place on the Greenwood Performance Stage. Tickets are $3 to $7, and may be purchased online at: http://reed.ticketleap.com/springdanceconcert – and the venue itself is located near the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and S.E. 28th.
Cystic Fibrosis fundraising walk at Oaks Park:
“Portland Great Strides 2106”, the year’s fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Portland, is a fundraising walk taking place this morning at Oaks Amusement Park. It starts at 7 a.m., and is over at 3 p.m. Open to the public. For more information, or to inquire about participation, call the organization at 503/226-3435.
Woodstock Community Center Plant Sale:
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd, just north of Woodstock Boulevard. Perennials, house plants, native plants, small trees, tomato plants, herbs, vegetable starts, and more. Most of the plants are donated by nearby gardeners. Hyper-tufa designer Shelly Keach will display and sell her sedum planters along with a variety of Abutilons. Woodstock metal artist Jill Torberson will be offering her welded garden sculptures. Proceeds from this Plant Sale benefit the Woodstock Community Center Maintenance Fund, part of the Partnership Agreement with Portland Parks and Recreation that is keeping the Center open for community use.
Brentwood-Darlington annual neighborhood cleanup:
The Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood association is holding its annual neighborhood cleanup today, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Green Thumb Learning Garden Lab, 6801 S.E. 60th Avenue, between Duke and Flavel Streets. Also open to residents of nearby neighborhoods. Most bulky waste accepted, including scrap metal, scrap wood, furniture, yard debris, and more. Dump mattresses, $5; tires, $5 each (with rims, $6). Not accepted: all construction, remodeling, or demolition materials; anything potentially containing asbestos strictly prohibited. Loads that do not conform to these rules will be refused. Dumping fees: $20 per car per load; $30 per truck or van per load; larger loads, $40.
Eastmoreland Plant Sale:
The Eastmoreland Garden Club’s annual Plant Sale – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, at the Eastmoreland Garden, 2425 S.E. Bybee Boulevard – offers a large variety of perennials, herbs, native plants, and organic tomato starts. Kids might enjoy the free children’s gardening corner, where they can pot-up a special free Mother’s Day gift while parents browse the plant selection. Net proceeds support local community gardens, horticultural education, and food-aid programs.
“The Music and Life of David Bowie” at Woodstock Library:
This program, 6-7:30 p.m. this evening, at the Woodstock Branch Library, explores the impact of David Bowie’s music on the world, through the examination of his life and musical upbringing. Music, writings, and interviews will be included in the lecture. Free, but registration required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5234. The library is on the corner of S.E. 49th and Woodstock Boulevard.
Public invited to Boy Scout ceremony in Westmoreland:
Boy Scout Troop 64 will be holding its semi-annual Court of Honor at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard, tonight at 7 p.m. Local scouts from the Sellwood-Moreland area will be receiving rank and merit awards. It’s a great time for interested youths and their parents to meet the Troop and its leaders, and learn more about its annual activities. The Troop meets every Monday evening at the church at 7. For information, contact Scoutmaster Tom Armstrong at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free film at Cleveland High School:
This evening at 6 p.m. a student organization called “Students Active For Ending Rape” (SAFER), a club working to educate students about sexual violence and rape prevention through an analysis of society, and Cleveland High School, will be hosting a free showing of “The Mask You Live In”, about “Navigating Masculinity in Our Society” in the Cleveland Auditorium, S.E. Powell Boulevard at 28th. “The movie follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. ‘The Mask You Live In’ ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.” The evening ends at 8:30 p.m.
Free film in Sellwood:
A nonprofit organization called “hcao.org” is presenting a film called “Healthcare at the Tipping Point” at 7 p.m. this evening at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue in Sellwood which, according to the organization, “makes the case for universal, publicly-funded health care from a businessman’s perspective.” The showing of this one-hour film is free, and will be followed by a question and answer period.
Free kids’ vision screening at Woodstock Library:
This today, 11:30-12:30 noon, come to the Woodstock Branch Library for a free kids’ vision screening. The Elks Children’s Eye Clinic at Oregon Health & Science University’s Casey Eye Institute is partnering the Oregon Library Association and the Oregon Lions Clubs to provide free screenings, as a part of a statewide initiative called “See to Read” – to catch vision problems that can only be treated successfully if caught before age 7. Oregon law now requires that public school students 7 or younger provide proof of vision screening or eye examination before entering school. Children who are screened for vision problems at the event will receive a certificate that can be used as proof of vision screening. Free, but time and space limited, so come early if you can. S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard.
Young author meets young readers
Rena Marthaler wrote the 128-page middle-grade fantasy novel “Magic The Crest” in fourth grade, while participating in National Novel Writing Month, a free annual competition that takes place each November, and is open to both young and adult writers. Rena, who is now in sixth grade, visits libraries and schools to read from her book to kids ages 7-12, and answer their questions about how children can write and publish their own stories. Her noon-hour appearance at the Sellwood Branch Library today is free, but space is limited, so come early to be sure of a seat. 12-12:45 p.m., at S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.
Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Plant Sale:
Today, from 11 to 4, join the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood for a plant sale! Bring your plant list, and plant enthusiasm, and buy some lovely plants for your garden. Plants have been donated from accomplished neighborhood master gardeners, and some neighborhood HPSO gardeners. This is a fundraiser for development of a new park in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood, and is located near the future new park at 3012 S.E. Balfour Street. Please bring cash or check only, as there will not be a debit/credit machine available at the checkout. If you have questions, contact Lisa at: 503/754-1655.
Lead Poisoning Prevention Workshop at Sellwood Library:
Get the tools and resources needed this afternoon – 3 to 4:30 p.m. – to locate lead sources within your home and occupation, stabilize or eliminate hazardous lead conditions, and find additional organizations that can help to further limit lead hazards. Participants receive a booklet and kit of lead-safe cleaning and testing materials. Free, but registration required; register in the Sellwood Branch Library, or by calling 503/988-5234. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.
Philosophical discussion about politics:
The monthly free Southeast “Breakfast Forum”, organized and moderated by Reed Neighborhood resident Ann B. Clarkson, today presents attorney Nicholas S. Reed, who will speak on “Leo Strauss’s analysis of Plato’s noble lie, Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities theory, and G.A. Cohen’s Analytical Marxism, and how they relate to the coming presidential election.” Mr. Reed’s undergraduate major was philosophy. The Breakfast forum takes place 7:20 to 8:30 this morning at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church Library, 5441 S.E. Belmont. No registration required. For information call 503/774-9621.
Sellwood-Westmoreland clean-up day:
The 37th annual neighborhood clean-up is today – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. only – in the parking lot at the south end of Westmoreland Park, S.E. Nehalem at 23rd. Throw-away junk accepted include appliances, tires, yard debris, unwanted furniture, metal, aluminum, block Styrofoam and Styrofoam peanuts (no meat trays) – and e-waste from households but not businesses. Not accepted are any Metro prohibited materials, including food garbage, plaster, concrete, dirt, sheetrock, batteries, construction or demolition materials, and hazardous materials. No material accepted which could possibly contain asbestos. Cost depends on volume dumped; $7-$13 small sedan or station wagon, $13-$20 small pickup, $20-$30 large pickup, $30 and up for larger vehicles. $15 extra charge for appliances containing Freon. Up to five tires per vehicle, free; no tires over 21 inches. Curbside collection for seniors and disabled: call 503/794-8212, and pay fee to driver. Proof of Sellwood-Westmoreland residency required – driver’s license or utility bill will do.
Public information meeting about “Eastside Village PDX”:
Eastside Village PDX is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization helping people age in their home and in their community. Those interested in finding out more are invited to a meeting this morning, 10 a.m. to noon, at Woodstock Wine and Deli, 4030 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. You can also learn more online at: http://www.eastsidevillage.org
Portland Puppet Museum presents a show:
Sellwood’s nonprofit Portland Puppet Museum, and the Dragon Theater Puppets, present “The Big Bad Wolf Has a Big Bad Day” – a puppet show this afternoon at 2 p.m., and again tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., for all ages. “Everyone keeps thinking that he’s trying to eat everybody, so the Big Bad Wolf’s three sons must find a way to bring them all together to hear the truth about what really happened. $10 per person admission; babes in arms free. The Portland Puppet Museum is situated at 906 S.E. Umatilla Street.
Scrabble at the Sellwood Library:
Attention word lovers – have fun while exercising your brain, improving your vocabulary, and making new friends, by playing Scrabble. Beginning, intermediate and advanced players are welcome this afternoon, 2-4 p.m., at the Sellwood Branch Library. Bring your own set, or use one of the library’s. Free, but space is limited, to come early to be sure of a seat. The library is situated at S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.
Sellwood Middle School parade this morning:
The annual Sellwood Middle School Community Appreciation Parade sets out from the school at 11 a.m., traveling around Sellwood and southern Westmoreland. The SMS band, dance team, and students are march through the neighborhood in celebration of all the support the school receives from the community. In addition, local businesses will be donating a portion of the day's sales to the Sellwood Middle School Foundation; look for the big “red apple” poster in the windows of participating businesses. “Please join in the fun, and support our generous local businesses.”
Annual Woodstock Community Cleanup day:
This year, with the support of SOLVE, today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. is the day for you to join other community volunteers to pick up litter, sweep sidewalks, and spruce up landscaping. Gather at the Community Center in the morning to sign up for clean-up duties. Coffee, water, and pastries are provided. Lunch is provided for all the volunteers at noon. This is a fun day for all. Bring your own work gloves and reusable water bottle. Children must be supervised by an adult. For more information, or to register, go online: http://www.solveoregon.org/get-involved/events/woodstock-community-annual-clean
Huge LEGO Physics Show at Zoo today & tomorrow:
Westmoreland Science Specialist and LEGO Physics Teacher Jane Kenney leads her OES Students into their 16th annual "LEGOS at the Oregon Zoo" display, 10 to 5 today and tomorrow, in the Skyline Room under the Cascade Grill, to the right of the Zoo main entrance, across from the Zoo Store. No admission fee required to visit it. The many constructions use Robolab, Lego Logo, Pico Crickets, and many motorized and computerized Lego original Lego constructions. The Lego Logo board is all new again this year, controlled by sensors, motors, and two computers.
Sellwood Garden Tour today; benefits Sellwood Middle School:
The 2016 Sellwood Garden Tour will be held today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Five beautiful gardens will be featured during the tour. The Sellwood Garden Tour is the Sellwood Middle School PTA's largest fundraiser of the year. Tickets are $25, and are available at Dennis' 7 Dees, at New Seasons Market, and online at: http://www.sellwoodmiddle.ejoinme.org/gardentour16.
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