Community Features

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

Oregon Yacht Club, clubhouse, Oaks Park, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
On a dismal and murky early Twentieth Century morning on the Willamette River, we see the three-decked Oregon Yacht Club clubhouse, built in 1905 at a cost of $5,000, just north of Oaks Amusement Park. (Courtesy of Oregon Yacht Club)

Oregon Yacht Club – sailing strong after 118 years

Special to THE BEE

On any given day, especially during the summer, Portland’s waterfront abounds with speedboats buzzing along the water, the Portland Spirit riverboat cruising up and down the Willamette, and jet skiers – and even dragon boats – filling the waterway.

Portland’s history with the Willamette River can be traced back to its beginning in 1845, when Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove canoed up to the banks of a landing on the west side of the river, and flipped their famous coin to determine whether the future city would be called Boston or Portland.

Flash forward over a century: Motor boating and speed racing were especially popular during the 1950’s, as suggested in many men’s magazines. Advertisements included a smiling-faced man amid bikini-clad women enjoying the spray of the water in a speedboat, with a tag line, “Why not own your own island of Adventure”. Another showed mom and the kids enjoying an outing on a lake, with dad at the helm of a classy wooden speedboat, and the suggestion, “What a sensible way to make every weekend a family experience.”

The golden era of leisure boating was in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, when speed boats became affordable for the middle class, and competitive boat racing drew crowds. But boat racing in the 1890’s on the west coast was just as popular – although an expensive hobby. Boating was becoming such a favorite pastime that clubs were started, for those interesting in enjoying water activates year round.

Thus it came to be that the Oregon Yacht Club was unofficially established in March of 1899 by a group of boaters who wanted to share ideas on boat-building, to find suitable equipment for boating, and to share in the camaraderie of water activities.

While the Oregon Club wasn’t the first boating organization on the Willamette – that honor belongs to the Columbia and Portland Yacht Clubs – it would become one of the oldest ongoing Yacht Clubs in Oregon.

The Oregonian newspaper credited Captain C.F. Todd with being the founder of the Oregon Yacht Club, when it officially opened on October 1st, 1900. Most of the original 22 Charter Members of the new organization came from the Portland Sailing Club, which had ceased operations the previous year. Club activities were held in a structure south of the old Madison Bridge – where today’s Hawthorne Bridge is located.

Sailing competitions and racing regattas were popular spectator sports during the summertime then, often attracting thousands of to the Willamette’s banks from as far away as Corvallis, Salem, Albany, and other parts of the state. Special excursion trains were available for people who bought tickets to the regatta competition, and a grandstand was built near that old Madison Bridge for viewing the weekend events. 

Boat manufacturers weren’t around yet, and most boats were built by the owners themselves – sometimes with help from other boating enthusiasts. Contestants were arranged in two separate categories: Those who owned large 19-foot sloops, and those who brought small canoes. Competition started at the Madison Bridge and sprinted southward toward Ross Island, where a buoy was situated at the north end After circling around the marker, they headed back to the starting line, where rousing applause from the spectators greeted the winners.

An annual Labor Day regatta was begun by Oregon Yacht Club members, which included competitive boat races, an evening dance, and plenty of activities during the day. During the first few years, races were limited to large boats and canoes; but, as boating evolved, more classes of boats were added – including sailboats, launches, and speedboats, along with the yachts. In the course of one year, water craft ranged from a 40-foot yacht, to a catamaran, to a special folding canvas canoe that could be tucked away in an ordinary suitcase – and was the highlight of that year’s event.

Women were welcomed into the club, and it wasn’t uncommon to see ladies piloting boats and, strangely enough, some of the new enrollees in the club were allowed to be members even though they didn’t own a boat.

As enrollment increased through the years, Board Members proposed building a new clubhouse, and finding a new location that benefitted water excursions. The Willamette River was a busy area as schooners, riverboats, launches, and ferries trolling the river daily delivering supplies, and carrying passengers to destinations. Leisure craft captains had to weave in and out of the congested waterway, and yacht club personnel wanted to find a more private landing for their boating, away from the rush of downtown.

The site the club settled on was a small point of land located north of where construction was just completing of an amusement park, to be called Oaks Park. In 1905, a new three-deck clubhouse was built at a cost of $5,000 to serve over a hundred club members. The first floor of the new building served as a reception hall, where annual events like the Commodores’ Dance were held, and where billiard parlors were close by.

The upper floor of the new structure provided several sleeping apartments for bachelors, and dressing rooms that could be used to clean up after boating activities. Open-air verandas surrounded both first and second floors of the clubhouse, on which groups of partygoers could watch a romantic sunset, lie about on chaise lounges, or view the river as boats leisurely moved along the river.

Something unusual occurred in 1911 – Yacht Club member W.G. Collins captured two baby bear cubs while on vacation in eastern Oregon, and he brought the cubs back to the clubhouse. The furry twins were quickly adopted by the bachelors who were residing there. They were given the names Romulus and Remus, and they spent most of their time climbing a small tree that was cut down and nailed to the boat dock near the club house. News reports about the bears centered on the humor and carefree activities of the wild bears, which swam in the Willamette and startled visitors who tied up a boat to the docks near the yacht house.

No mention can be found in the newspapers of 1911 – including in THE BEE, which was five years old then – about whether the bear cubs were finally taken back to the woods and released, or were donated to the Portland Zoo – but apparently there weren’t any incidents involving any missing club members at that time…

Canoeing apparently was a favorite pastime at the Oregon Yacht Club, as groups of 20 to 30 members packed provisions and camped out along a point near Lake Oswego. In fact, canoeists outnumbered yachtsmen – club records reported nearly 30 boats of various sizes belonging to their members, as well as 100 canoes being used in various activities.

As the second decade of the Twentieth Century proceeded, large crowds lined the riverbanks and multitudes visited the new clubhouse for the yearly water events and regattas sponsored by the Oregon Yacht Club. By 1914, its races included sailboats, cruisers, and motorboats that raced at high speeds across the water and splashed the spectators.

Other side competitions during the yearly regattas included diving contests, a 50-yard swim for men and women, donkey rides, greased pole contests, and plenty of jousting and clowning.

Portlanders got to witness the first hydro racing boats coming down from Seattle to the Yacht Club for an event co-sponsored with the Rose Festival Committee in 1916. These new inventions were designed to glide over air bubbles above the surface of the water, instead of floating on top of the water like most boats. They were fast and loud, and many spectators were thrilled by their speed. Their appearance in 1916 helped make that year’s Rose Festival exceptionally memorable.

Boaters loved the river so much that many were given the opportunity to live in houseboats near the clubhouse in the summer months. It wasn’t long before members were so enthusiastic about living on the river that the Yacht Club granted year-long residents slips built especially for such purposes. Houseboat residents survived the Columbus Day Storm in 1962, and also the various floods along the Willamette in the 1960’s – as well as Portland’s memorable 1996 flood, when the Willamette River rose 10 feet over the flood stage at Oaks Park.

A fire in 1943 destroyed the majestic wooden clubhouse and ended the annual regattas, the Commodores’ Ball, and many other traditional events that were widely enjoyed.

The Oregon Yacht Club is steeped in history, and was for a long time the master of river racing and the source of regatta trophies. Today, it is mainly known for the 38 floating houses that now line the Willamette’s eastern banks just north of Oaks Park.

In 2018, luxurious floating homes have replaced the small one-story houseboats that once hugged the muddy river bank.

And the sound of the City of Portland’s historic steam locomotives on the nearby tracks offering summer passenger excursions from OMSI and back, or the Holiday Express Christmastime excursions, remind one of the days when the Interurban took thousands of commuters to and from Portland’s premier amusement park – The Oaks.

Echentopf, Otto's Sausage Kitchen, Eastmorlenad, Fourth of July, parade, grand marshalls, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This year’s Eastmoreland Neighborhood Independence Day Parade Grand Marshalls – Jerry and Gretchen Eichentopf of Otto's Sausage Kitchen – waved to the crowd, which shortly afterward would be back at Duniway School enjoying the hot dogs the Eichentopfs have always provided.

Fourth of July parade unites Eastmoreland neighbors for a day


For all the discord and acrimony among many in the neighborhood regarding the controversial Historic District proposal THE BEE has been reporting on since last year, neighborhood residents came together in harmony to enjoy their annual Eastmoreland Neighborhood Independence Day Parade.

Early on July 4, the extended Eichentopf family brought down their crew from Otto's Sausage Kitchen in Woodstock to set out barbeques, to light charcoal, and to get ready to serve a massive number – perhaps a record number – of frankfurters.

Again this year, Steve Baker and Steve Calderaro organized the celebration that staged in front of Duniway Elementary School, along S.E. Reed College Place.

“This is just good clean fun; a nonpolitical event that attracts everyone – including many who live outside the neighborhood!” commented Calderaro.

“And, it’s so good to see people coming together all at once,” Baker chimed in. “With our neighborhood being ‘on edge’ about the proposed Historic District, it’s delightful to see everyone just get together to have fun.”

“Special this year – we’ve elected our Grand Marshals to be Jerry and Gretchen [Eichentopf] from Otto’s Sausage Kitchen,” Calderaro announced. “They and their family have been here, feeding people as many as 2,000 hot dogs, every year of the parade – including today, the 24th year!”

“I’ve kept working with this for so many years because it’s so much fun – and seeing our neighbors at their best,” Baker grinned, as the two organizers readied to start the parade.

Brentwood Darlington, Fourth of July, parade, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This year’s Brentwood-Darlington Independence Day “unofficial parade” proceeded on foot along S.E. Ogden Street. (Courtesy of Chelsea Powers)

Brentwood-Darlington neighbors join in celebrating July 4th


The organizers didn’t claim it as the largest or most involved local celebration to mark the patriotic holiday, but the Brentwood-Darlington Independence Day Celebration was thoroughly entertaining for some 100 participants.

It began with a brief walk – it was not an official “parade” – from the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center eastward a couple of blocks along S.E. Ogden Street, and then back. The stroll featured an antique electric car, and kids on decorated bikes, wagons, and scooters.

“It’s so much fun having our Fourth of July celebration here at the Community Center, where we provide snacks, face painting, games, bubble play, and all kinds of family fun,” smiled Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Chelsea Powers.

“We’ve been a little surprised at how many showed up with so many families coming to participate,” Powers told THE BEE. “For us, this continues to be a great community-building event founded by a Board Member probably four or five years ago.

“Most importantly, it’s totally inclusive – welcoming all ages, all abilities – so everybody is welcome; it’s just a free event to ‘build community’ and get to know our neighbors a little better, in honor of our nation’s birthday!”

And if you missed it, you can count on the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association to do it again next year.

Sellwood Riverfront Park, Riverfront Concerts, July Concerts, SMILE, SWBA, SMBA, Lloyd “Have Mercy” Jones, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Taking a break from entertaining the crowd during their Sellwood Riverfront Park “Concerts in the Parks” gig, Lloyd “Have Mercy” Jones and his all-star band pose for THE BEE. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Cornucopia of music at this year’s Riverfront Park concerts


This summer, the July Sellwood Riverfront Park “Concerts in the Parks” volunteers, now an official ad-hoc committee of SMILE – the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association – programmed what they think may have been their best musical lineup ever.

“Our five volunteers who serve on the committee are truly excited about this year’s series of concerts, which offers a diverse mix of musical entertainers addressing different genres, with appeal for a broad spectrum of audiences,” exclaimed the committee’s Chair, Jim Friscia, as the July 9 concert was about to begin.

“We’re grateful for the major sponsors lined up by Portland Parks & Recreation; and for us, it’s our local sponsors who really make this happen,” Friscia told THE BEE. (Disclosure: THE BEE is one of the sponsors.)

That first night of the four, Farnell Newton & the Othership Connection lived up to their promise of “revitalizing funk and soul with a new twist”. As they began, rain showers briefly swept over the park, but everyone stayed put and enjoyed the music.

Next, on July 16, the concert was by internationally-renowned local music living legend, Lloyd “Have Mercy” Jones, who holds a Cascade Blues Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Before he went on stage, “Groove Merchant” Jones told THE BEE that he is, indeed, a “local” – having lived near Westmoreland Park for 44 years now.

“I’ve played large venues, such as the Portland Blues Festival, for 29 years, and I’ve toured in Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Holland, and Germany – but that’s for business – the show, here tonight, is my fun,” Jones grinned.

“Here, it’s my back yard! And I feel so relaxed and joyful playing music with my friends,” Jones said. “I’m so in love with this area; in fact, after the concert, I’m going to play at the Muddy Rudder [on S.E. Tacoma Street] on the way home!”

Jones didn’t come to Sellwood Waterfront Park alone that night; he invited 2017 Oregon Music Hall of Fame “Sideman of the Year” Louis Pain, who brought his Hammond B3 organ, complete with a genuine Lesley speaker; Ben Jones provided bass and vocals; drummer Carlton Jackson came along, and also provided vocals; Rudy Draco played tenor sax; and trumpeter Joe Macarthy was also on stage.

In addition, part-way through thei first set, Jones invited “Portland’s First Lady of the Blues”, singer LaRhonda Steele, to join the band on stage, and she went on to wow the crowd with her songs and stories.

It didn’t take long for hundreds of folks in the audience to get on their feet as the band entertained with songs that combined New Orleans rhythms, the simplicity of Memphis music, and the rawness of the blues.

On the third Monday evening, the original harmony-driven Americana trio Skybound Blue enthralled the audience; and on July 30, at the fourth and final Monday night concert of the year, the passionate, acoustic Latin funk music of Sabroso had audiences up and dancing again.

Cheers to the volunteers who put on this year’s concerts; one would ordinarily pay dearly to hear these bands – but the neighbors who filled the park enjoyed all these concerts, beside the Willamette River, for free.

Master Gardeners, Learning Gardens, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Volunteers from the Multnomah County Master Gardeners program worked to complete a path from the new “Annex Garden” to S.E. 57th Avenue. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington ‘Master Gardeners’ prepare new plot for tour


As many as twenty Multnomah County Master Gardeners gathered for a work party in their corner of the “Learning Labs Garden” property, across from Lane Middle School in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. It was Saturday, June 16, and they were working diligently, preparing for their “Share your Garden” tour, which took place a week later, on June 23.

After their plan for it was approved last spring, these gardeners have been creating their large “Annex Garden”, just to the northwest of their “Demonstration Garden” on the same property.

“It’s been quite a process; first we had to kill the weeds, and lay the garden out,” recalled the Annex Garden Project Manager Pete Jacobsen.

Then came installing irrigation, and finally installation of pea-gravel paths – the project on which volunteers were working that day.

“Now we also have five raised beds here – with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers and squash in them – and we’ve already harvested some of the vegetables for The Meals on Wheels People,” Jacobsen told THE BEE.

“Our Demonstration Garden that faces the street is for vegetable gardening only; in the Annex, we’re demonstrating all kinds of gardening,” Jacobsen said, excusing himself as he prepared to dump another truck-load of gravel.

The weather was good for the hard work at hand: Carting wheelbarrows full of gravel to the staked-out paths, raking the gravel, and replacing the dirt outside the trail against the forms that lead through the Annex Garden west to S.E. 57th Avenue.

To find out more about gardening, from growing artichokes to xeriscaping, stop by there for a visit, or go online –

Abernethy School, murals, restoration, WPA project, Oregon history, Erich Lamade, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A piece of Erich Lamade’s four-wall mural painted in an Abernethy Elementary School classroom shows part of Oregon history. The mural, subsequently covered by six layers of paint, may be restored during this summer and next through art-conservation efforts. (Courtesy photo)

Abernethy School mural emerges after 50 years under paint

Special to THE BEE

Funding is falling into place to restore Abernethy School’s depression-era artwork that has been hidden in plain sight for more than 50 years. The school is just north of S.E. Division and 14th, at the south end of Ladd’s Addition.

The efforts by Portland’s Heritage Conservation Group and the Abernethy Elementary School PTA to fund the $71,274 restoration project for artist Erich Lamade’s 1940 “Pageant of Oregon History” mural on four walls of Abernethy School’s library got a boost late last year from a $20,000 Oregon Heritage Commission grant. It was the largest single contribution to the project, matching $20,000 in PTA funds, which include a $15,000 planning grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and $5,000 from the Autzen Foundation.

Early this year, Heritage Conservation Group and the PTA launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise more money. Plans are still on the drawing board, and Nina Olsson, President of Heritage Conservation Group, says the grassroots effort could focus on the artwork’s place in history and its connection to today’s education. “The project has relevance beyond the Abernethy School community, because of the significance of the artist and mural in the historical context of Oregon 20th Century art, and above all the subject matter, that reaches into every elementary school curriculum statewide,” Olsson says. “It is an incredible cultural heritage asset for all Oregonians.”

History on four walls

For the past ten years, Olsson and others have worked to uncover Lamade’s mural, hidden beginning in the mid-1950s under at least six layers of interior paint. The painstaking work of removing the paint and restoring the mural costs thousands and will take at least two summers to complete (work can't be done during the school year). Lamade painted the mural as part of a Works Progress Administration commission in the 1930s and 1940s.

The WPA’s Federal Project Number One employed artists, writers, musicians, and actors during the difficult years of The Great Depression. Artists like Lamade were commissioned by the WPA to paint and create art for public buildings across the nation. Lamade, who lived in the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier and was influenced by nature, took several WPA commissions in the Portland area and other parts of the state. He joined artists John Ballator and Louis Bunce to paint the 1936 mural “Early History of St. Johns” in the St. Johns Post Office. He also painted another mural in the Grants Pass Post Office and created a mantle wood carving for Timberline Lodge's dining room.

Lamade’s “Pageant of Oregon History” at Abernethy School included complex and chronological details of the state’s history. Between the mid-1950s and 2007, the mural could be seen only in black and white photographs. Ten years ago, Olsson carefully cleaned a 12-inch square of the school’s wall, revealing the intact mural, and touching off a campaign to restore the artwork.

Olsson will begin this summer to restore pieces of the 300-square-foot mural on the classroom’s southeast and south walls, using cleaning and restoration processes developed through Portland State University’s Regional Laboratory for the Science of Cultural Heritage Conservation. More work would be done in the summer of 2019. The ambitious project is “unprecedented in state history”, Olsson says. “It is the location of the mural within an elementary school, and its unique subject matter of Oregon history – so relevant to fourth- and fifth-grade curricula – that makes the project even more compelling.

Through the interpretation and dissemination of the restored mural, the mural will become an invaluable teaching tool.” Portland historian Chet Orloff, who supports the restoration project, agreed that it would have an impact on elementary school students. Orloff says it is “quite difficult to understand how such an inspiring artwork could have been covered with wall paint so long ago.” Restoring it will provide lessons not only in the state’s history for the school’s students, but it will also connect them to work by WPA artists during one of the nation's most difficult historic periods, he says.

“Even though the kids, who will be privileged to see it every day, might not fully appreciate what they are seeing, over the years spent at the school they will absorb the image and remember it,” Orloff believes. “I believe this will inform their sense of place and knowledge of Oregon history; and such things are all for the good.”

Dougy Center, Mike's day at Oaks Park, benefit, children, Oaks Amusement Park, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Payton Erickson held balloons, along with his grandfather, Larry Freres, who was the founder of “Mike’s Kids Day at Oaks Amusement Park”. Many balloons were released that that day at The Oaks, in memory of lost loved ones. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Dougy Center’ client again hosts ‘Oaks Kids Day’


For the eleventh consecutive year, Larry Freres hosted a “Mike’s Kids’ Day at Oaks Amusement Park” – this year, on July 6 – for families and children who are served by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families, on S.E. 52nd Avenue near Foster.

The work of The Dougy Center, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, includes internationally-recognized services for helping youngsters through the grief of losing a loved one. And that’s what inspired Freres to sponsor the first “Mike’s Kids’ Day” a decade ago, in honor of his late son.

“My son, Michael, was killed on his way home from work one day – now, many years ago – leaving behind our three-year-old grandson,” Larry Freres told THE BEE as this year’s celebration was getting underway.

“A neighbor told us about The Dougy Center, and his mom began taking his older siblings there,” Freres explained. “On the way home from the Center one day, as we were approaching the one year anniversary of my son’s death, I was inspired to want to do something to help out the families and kids who’ve lost a loved one.”

When he got home, he started making phone calls. “And the next thing you know, we put together the first ‘Mike’s Kids Day’ for the kids at The Dougy Center. The first year we hosted about 185 people, and it leveled off about 300 for a couple of years; but now, we’re providing as many as 600 [Oaks Amusement Park ride] bracelets,” Freres smiled. “Creating this event helps me keep my son’s legacy alive; he enjoyed seeing families together having fun, and he loved having a good time with his boy and his nephews.

“This special day at Oaks Amusement Park with rides, a free pizza lunch, face painting, and entertainment by Cha Cha the Clown – well, these are all things that perfectly exemplify what Mike would have loved to see.”

He and his family hadn’t the resources to put on such an event, Freres said, and lauded the many community merchants and donors who stepped up to sponsor the day. This year, the RE/MAX Equity Group Foundation paid for the ride bracelets, Voodoo Doughnuts gave dozens of their famous pink boxes of goodies, and Baskin-Robbins provided ice cream.

Now, at the eleventh year of this special party, “I feel very rewarded about how our personal tragedy has turned such a positive experience in my son’s honor, and for so many families – especially young ones, who are experiencing loss,” Freres reflected.

Learn more about Inner Southeast’s The Dougy Center, itself, online –

Car prowls, preventing, burglary, tips, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Southeat Uplift, Hawthorne Blvd, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Car prowls and thefts are a real issue in Inner Southeast Portland. Don’t leave any items visible in your car, including phone cords – the drug-addicted will break in and steal anything they think they can pawn for a dollar or two. (Courtesy of City of Portland)

Stopping Inner Southeast car prowls and theft


“Car Prowls” – the breaking into of cars and trucks to steal items left visible inside – have long been a real problem in various parts of Inner Southeast.

At one of the recent monthly Woodstock Neighborhood Association meetings, Marianna Lomanto, Crime Prevention Coordinator from what until recently was known as the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, gave a presentation on that subject.

Of the twenty-three people in the room, a dozen hands went up when she asked if they had personally – or if they knew of someone – who had been the victim of a car prowl or theft.

Some of the information about prevention of car prowls is fairly common knowledge, but the advice given is not always followed, in our busy lives, so here it is again:  Don’t leave ANYTHING in your car visible to prying eyes, including your phone cord; don’t leave your car unlocked, although previous advice had suggested leaving it unlocked to avoid broken windows by car prowlers! That would depend on your priorities, no doubt – intact glass or possessions. 

Current information shows that any obstacle to a quick theft can send car prowlers on to more convenient locations. And of course, parking in a garage or well-lit area is preferable to leaving your car standing in relative darkness. 

Lamanto also discussed car theft.  She reported that vehicle theft in Portland is the third highest in the country, possibly encouraged by the legal ruling discussed on the front page of April’s BEE. The fact is, there were 7,171 cars stolen in Portland in 2017. 

Motives for stealing cars include using them for transportation, or selling parts, according to Lamanto. “The Club”, or a brake lock or wheel lock, are some methods of deterrence.  Seeing “The Club” locked across the steering wheel usually makes thieves turn away, because of the time it takes to get it off, even if he has a “master” key.

Reporting car prowls or car theft follows the same rules for any crime, which are:  Call 9-1-1 if you see the crime in action, or report it to Police Non-Emergency at 503/823-3333 if the crime has already occurred, or if there is just suspicious activity.

When reporting a crime in action, it is important to make clear to the 9-1-1 dispatcher: WHERE, WHAT, WHEN, WHO, WHY – and WEAPONS or WARNINGS.

One of the best steps for car prowl and theft prevention is to organize your block into a “Neighborhood Watch”.  Two-hour trainings are available for groups of neighbors gathered together to create one. This also provides a good way to get to know each other better, if the block is not already cohesive.

For more information about forming a “Neighborhood Watch” call 503/823-4064.  Call the same number for general information about crime prevention, or to request presentations on car prowls and thefts for groups or businesses.

Tim Calvert, Shakespeare Truck, truck mural, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Tim Calvert and his cat, Ruby, pose with the new nature scenes he’s painted on the left side of his pickup truck. (Rita A. Leonard)

Sellwood’s ‘Shakespeare Truck’ gets a touch-up


Sellwood resident Tim Calvert, whose painted Mazda pickup was featured as “The Shakespeare Truck” in a previous issue of THE BEE, has updated his vehicular artistry.

“References to Shakespeare still decorate the right side of the truck, but the left rear panel seems to get chipped up the most,” he comments. “Consequently, I’ve repainted the whole left side.”

Calvert is the owner of a home-based business called “The Bike Bucket”, making bicycle “saddle bags” out of covered, food-grade plastic buckets. “I also repair and sell bicycles out of my shop here,” he says. “My painting now is more focused on the natural world, so there are lots of mushrooms, snakes, and other wildlife, on the left side mural. It’s my way of being creative and communicating my love of nature to the public.”

Calvert is fascinated with the new Sellwood Bridge, and the swifts that fly around it and call it home. He’s creating a mural on the subject in his backyard garden.

“On my truck mural, however, I’ve painted a hawk pouncing upon a mouse as part of a celebration of the ‘circle of life’,” he says. “That image leads into a forest scene with a girl on a swing. The tree roots descend underground, with skeletons indicating a pattern of life and death.”

The left front quarter of the “Shakespeare Truck” shows a scene from one of Calvert’s favorite philosophical movies, “A Waking Life”. “In the film, two male friends undergo a sort of ‘holy moment’ where they transform into clouds,” he recalls. “The cloud image leads into the wildlife scene with the hunting hawk.”

In addition, since Calvert has always been fascinated by snakes, many species of them appear in the background of his nature scenes.

“People stop to complement the paint job wherever I go,” smiles the artist. “I feel it’s a way to honor our environment, while encouraging others to be more creative. This truck is a 1997 model with over 200,000 miles on it, and maintenance is getting tricky. However, as long as it brings a bit of adventure and thoughtful conversation, I'll try to keep it going.”

And, if you are interested in learning more about Calvert’s home business, it’s online –

Flower fence, Samantha Breen, teacher, 69th Avenue, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
Teacher Samantha Breen has created a “flower fence” at her home on S.E. 69th Avenue – but the flowers she’s displaying are actually recycled ceramic plates. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Artistic ‘Flower Fence’ sighted on SE 69th


A charming “flower fence” made of recycled plates can be found on S.E. 69th Avenue in the Kern Park neighborhood. Woodmere School Teacher Samantha Breen installed some thirty ceramic “flower” plates along the fence of her home there.

“The soil on that side of my house is too poor to grow the roses that I love,” she says, “So, over the past four years, my mom and I have created an alternative type of garden. We add new plates when the old ones become damaged. I like the idea of reusing things, and this is an ideal way to do that.”

The colorful array of dinner-plate-size flowers ranges from images of roses and daisies to sunflowers. Breen and her mother purchase the flower plates at Goodwill and at garage sales. “I prefer using real flower images instead of abstract ones,” says Breen. “I like the idea of a year-round flower garden, and the colors on my fence make me smile.”

Southeast Events and Activities

“Summerville” merchant promotion today:
Today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the nonprofit Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA) business association presents all-day, all-neighborhood activities and sales as “Summerville”. Typical of the community activities is one taking place on the sidewalk outside the Sellwood-Westmoreland Branch Library on S.E. 13th – with big paper, colorful markers, and using words that come quickly to mind, the nonprofit Rogue Pack Storytelling Theatre for youth will help passersby tell your own unique story – fun for all ages. For information on everything at “Summerville”, go online –

“Sundae in the Park” all day today in Sellwood:
Upper Sellwood Park is the location of SMILE’s annual party in Inner Southeast, with free entertainment starting at noon in the park, under the trees – with Quartetto Allegro playing tunes from classical to pop, followed by three other major entertainment acts all afternoon, plus many family activities, and inexpensive ice cream sundaes served all afternoon by Southeast Portland Rotary. Food will be available at reasonable prices courtesy of St. Agatha’s, too. In the evening, there’s more live entertainment by Harvest Gold, a Neil Young tribute band – finishing with a Portland Parks and Recreation “Movie in the Park”, sponsored by the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA): 2017’s “Star Wars – The Last Jedi”. It’s Southeast’s biggest all-day family party, and open to all.

“Aussie Funk Jam – Learn to Play the Didgeridoo” in Sellwood:
The didgeridoo, usually a hollowed-out tree trunk or branch, has been played by Aboriginal Australians for at least 1,500 years, and is known for its mesmerizing sound. In the Aussie Funk Jam, teens learn how to play the didgeridoo – including vocalizing and creating simple rhythms – using PVC pipe or cardboard tubes. For teens in grades 6-12. Free; 6:30-7:30 p.m. this evening at the Sellwood Branch Library, S.E. Bidwell at 13th Street.

“Spectacular Arcade for Kids” project in Sellwood:
Kids and families, plan to attend “Tinker Camp” at the Sellwood Branch Library this afternoon – where kids will imagine, design, and create their own one-of-a-kind arcade game, using cardboard, recycled materials, and electronic components such as LED lights and motors. Free, but tickets are required, due to limited seating. Free tickets will be available 30 minutes in advance in the library – which means starting at 1:30 p.m. “Tinker Cam” is 2-4 p.m. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Creston-Kenilworth “Night Out” this evening: The Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association is holding its annual National Night Out neighborhood picnic this evening from 6 to 8 p.m., near the lower play area in Kenilworth Park. The neighborhood association will provide main dishes, but neighbors are encouraged to bring a side dish or dessert to share. There will be ping pong, music, face painting, and maybe even a fire truck will stop by for the kids to climb on. Open to everyone in the neighborhood.

QIGONG Practice in Mt. Tabor Park:
“Build your energy and life essence in the beauty of Nature, and find balance in all areas of our life. In Mt. Tabor Park, S.E. Lincoln Street (off 60th) just beyond the community gardens. Starting today, weekly through the summer. Drop in; no experience necessary. By donation.

Learning Gardens’ “Farm to Fork” fundraising dinner:
Support the local “sustainable food systems” educational work of the Learning Gardens Laboratory by attending this special supper. Included is a guided “edible tour” through the garden, and a multi-course meal prepared by PSU Eats Executive Chef Matt Steele – with wine and beer pairings, and live entertainment. Admission: $75 per person; order tickets online –– or e-mail Brittnee Gilbert, at

Manor residents offer encore of “Used Furniture Sale”:
Following up the successful June sale, the Men’s Club at the nonprofit Westmoreland Union Manor retirement community is having a second “Used Furniture Sale” today, from noon until 2 p.m. only! Get a bargain! The Manor is situated at 6404 S.E. 23rd Avenue, just north of Westmoreland Fire Station 20. Plenty of free parking – on the street only, please.

Disaster-housing “Shelterbox” spotlighted at Rotary Meeting:
Southeast Portland Rotary Club, which meets for an hour at noon today in the downstairs meeting room at Moreland Presbyterian Church (off the parking lot on S.E. 19th, just south of Bybee Boulevard), will hear from Terry Joley – with a new report on the worldwide emergency housing options offered by the nonprofit “Shelterbox” program, which is supported by Rotary International and by this club. Guests welcome; lunch catered by Laurie Austin; no charge to visitors. For more about the club, go online –

Lego Robotics – “Robo Pets Camp for Teens” in Woodstock: Like Legos? Like robots and pets? Combine those together and you get a Robo Pet. Come to this week-long afternoon camp at the Woodstock Branch Library, and build a robotic pet using the Lego Mindstorms system. It’s today through Friday, 2-4 p.m. each day. Construct your pet and program it to move and walk. Make full use of light and touch sensors to make the interaction with these pets as realistic as possible. For teens in grades 6-12. Free, but registration required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5123.

Summer Crafting for adults at Woodstock Library:
Join this summer gathering to make lovely seasonal art and crafts with recycled and nature-based materials, this afternoon, 2-3:30 p.m. Have fun designing pieces to beautify your home, and connect with the natural world this summer season! Whether you're an expert crafter, or this is your first time crafting, you'll enjoy this workshop, and will go home with lovely pieces to decorate your life. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5123. The Woodstock Branch Library is on the corner of Woodstock Boulevard and S.E. 49th Street.

Holy Family Crawfish Boil – All You Can Eat: For dinner tonight, get your Cajun on at Holy Family’s traditional Crawfish Boil – with potatoes, corn, sausage, carrots, and garlic bread. Additional fixings for purchase include beer, cider, wine, and pop. It’s “all you can eat” – $20 for adults; a suggested $5 donation for kids 12 and under. Prepay is available online – It’s on the Holy Family field, near S.E. Cesar Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th) and Flavel Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Questions? Call 503/774-1428.

11th Annual Johnson Creek Clean-Up this morning:
Volunteers are meeting at 8:30 a.m. before dispersing in groups to designated sites. Participants of all ages invited. Closed-toed shoes are required; dress in appropriate clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy; tools and bags are provided. The first 100 volunteers to arrive will receive an “11th Annual Clean-Up” T-shirt! Meet at Mill Park in Milwaukie, at S.E. Lynwood Avenue at Overland Street. Barbecue follows, from noon until 2:00 p.m., for volunteers. RSVP, please, on this webpage –

Today and tomorrow, Dahlia Show at Oaks Park: Again this year, the Portland Dahlia Society presents its annual show today and tomorrow in the Oaks Amusement Park Dance Pavilion in Sellwood (north of the foot of Spokane Street, on Oaks Park Way). As a spectator, it is an opportunity see the hundreds of varieties of dahlias displayed at their very best. As an exhibitor, it is an opportunity to show your flowers in competition with other growers. Certified dahlia judges evaluate the entries and determine the winners. In addition to prizes for individual entries there are awards for higher levels of competition that lead to the selection of the best entries in the show. The best entries in the show are placed on a “head table” with very best entries at the top of the table. Admission is free, and parking is free at Oaks Park. For more information, including how to enter your dahlias, call Ted Kennedy at 503/655-6951. Or go online –

Hawthorne Blvd. Street Fair features Lego display:
Westmoreland-based science teacher and Lego Physics instructor Jane Kenney-Norberg brings her students’ “best of the 2018 Oregon Zoo show” Lego display to the Hawthorne Blvd. Street Fair this afternoon; look for it in the Fred Meyer Store. Hawthorne Boulevard’s 35th Annual Street Fair runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., in its 35th year. Join Hawthorne Merchants, local nonprofits, and local vendors for live music, excellent children’s activities, family and adult and fun, and great food. Today’s Street Fair extends from S.E. 30th Avenue to Cesar Chavez Blvd. (formerly 39th). Activities extend further east to New Seasons Market, The Fernie Brae, and more.  A detailed map will be available at the Information Booth on S.E. 34th and Hawthorne.

Red Cross Blood Drive in Woodstock:
The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive this afternoon 2 until 7 p.m., at Woodstock Bible Church. The church is located at 5101 S.E. Mitchell Street in Woodstock. Sign up online – – if you would like to secure a specific time. Walk-ins are welcome, also.  


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

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