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November 2018 -- Vol. 113, No. 3
Scroll down to read this issue!

Memories of THE BEE's first 100 years!
In 2006, THE BEE celebrated its centennial of serving Southeast Portland!  A special four-page retrospective of Inner Southeast Portland's century, written by Eileen Fitzsimons, and drawn from the pages of THE BEE over the previous 100 years, appeared in our September, 2006, issue.
Click here to read this special retrospective!


The next BEE is our Thanksgiving (Dec)
issue, with a deadline of November 8.
(The Pre-Christmas (JAN) issue has an ad and copy deadline of December 6.)


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Apartment fire, 2 alarms, one injury, Mt Scott Arleta, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After firefighters quickly doused a blaze inside this upstairs apartment in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, ladder truck crews pried up the roof to snuff out remaining embers in the attic and eaves. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

One injured in 2-alarm fire on SE Raymond


When fire broke out just before 1 p.m. on Monday, October 1, in an upstairs unit at the Firland Apartments – at 8012 S.E. Raymond Street – several residents called the 9-1-1 Center to report the blaze.

“The fire was burning out the window so much, a window across the way [in a building adjacent to the fire] shattered,” remarked witness Cindy Nelson, who said she’d been walking her dog when she noticed smoke and fire appearing from between the buildings.

“It seemed like the fire trucks were there immediately – so soon, it was just amazing!” Nelson commented to THE BEE.

In fact, the crews from both the engine and ladder truck company of Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Woodstock Station 25 arrived within three minutes of the alarm being sounded.

As they pulled up, firefighters reported back to the dispatcher seeing heavy smoke and fire rising from the smaller, most westerly, of the three apartment buildings that make up this ROSE CDC managed complex.

Some residents helped others, who were less physically able, out of the burning building, as arriving firefighters went through the affected apartments looking for any further victims.

Firefighters from PF&R Lents Station 11 worked with crews of Engine 25 to quickly pull hose lines up to the second story apartment and douse the flames, preventing the fire from spreading to other apartments and buildings.

The ladder truck companies clambered up to the roof, sawing and clawing the roof back and spraying in water, to extinguish the remaining fire that had extended into the building’s attic and eaves.

“Due to the amount of fire, and the proximity to other apartment structures, incident commanders requested a ‘second alarm’, doubling the number of engines, ladder trucks, and personnel called in,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. “The fast ‘fire attack’, and the additional resources, kept the fire from spreading.”

There were three occupants were inside the apartment in which the fire started – one elderly female, and two children – Chatman remarked. “All of the residents of the building, and the occupants of the originating apartment, escaped before PF&R crews arrived – but the elderly female sustained some smoke inhalation injuries.” She was stabilized at the scene, and transported to a hospital for medical care.

This fire is still under investigation, he added.

Disaster responders from the American Red Cross arrived to provide for the immediate basic needs of all those displaced by the fire – which included five adults, four children, and two pets. The assistance included temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits including toiletries, and information about recovery services.

Sellwood Bridge, patch, finishing work, Willamette River, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Perched overhead on scaffolding, workers finish patching irregularities on the face of a Sellwood Bridge pier. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Bridge, not quite finished, gets needed patches


When sharp-eyed neighbors noticed crews patching “bents” (concrete piers) below the new Sellwood Bridge in late September, questions arose about what they believed to be a completed project.

Asked why this new bridge needed these repairs, Multnomah County’s long time bridge spokesperson, Mike Pullen explained.

“When concrete was poured for the tall river piers, there was not good consolidation of the concrete mix inside some parts of the form,” Pullen told THE BEE. “This sometimes happens when concrete is poured inside a very tall form filled with steel rebar; so, the concrete did not fully mix along some edges of the form.

“After the forms were removed and time passed, we noticed that some areas of the outside surface of the pier were not in good condition. A thin layer of concrete in these surface areas was removed and replaced.”

The structure of the piers was not impacted, Pullen assured us, but the county’s bridge engineers wanted to make sure there is a good solid surface on the pier, so that water does not seep in over time.

While it might have looked as if workers were trying to break the bridge, workers on scaffolding were simply testing the concrete’s surface of the pier by “sounding” – that is, striking it with a hammer – to locate any areas that were not of good quality, informed Pullen. These areas were chipped away, then patched with new concrete.

“Interestingly, the repairs were not ‘warranty work’, although it may seem that construction ended a while ago,” Pullen remarked. “The contractor is still working through a long list of final work items, including these pier repairs.

“When this list of work is done, then the warranty period begins – covering repairs for anything that was not constructed correctly,” Pullen concluded.

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Far West Recycling, Reed neighborhood, Holgate Boulevard, 26th Avenue, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Far West Recycling has already closed its two recycling stations accessible to Inner Southeast. This one was in the industrial part of the Reed neighborhood, on S.E. 26th Avenue, just south of Holgate. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Far West Recycling’ closes down in Southeast


Monday, September 24th, was the last day of service at two public recycling stations accessible to Southeast Portland.

The Far West depot located most recently at 4930 S.E. 26th Avenue (it moved there when MAX light rail construction forced the closure of their S.E. 17th Avenue property), together with one in Lake Oswego, served the community for many years – taking in plastics that were not accepted by Metro, including Styrofoam and plastic bags, as well as metals and electronics.

China, which formerly purchased many recyclables from America, has stopped accepting them, due to what it said were high levels of contaminants in the shipments.

Far West Recycling, formerly known as Far West Fibers, posted a closing notice that read, in part, “With higher operational costs, freight rate increases, low commodity prices, and high contamination levels, we are faced with a very difficult decision. Effective 9-24-18 we will be closing both our Lake Oswego and Southeast depots.”

Contaminants overtaxed the sorting process, causing system delays and reduced profits, they said. Homeowners should carefully read guidelines for recycling provided by Metro (503/234-3000) to help curb contaminants in recycling.

There is much confusion about what is truly recyclable. Lani Kali, Director of the Moreland Farmers Market, reports they tried to get a speaker from Metro to clarify this, but since requests for speakers are so heavy, they haven’t yet succeeded.

Keep an eye out for neighborhood cleanup days, such as the recent Creston-Kenilworth event October 6, which accepted “tires under 21 inches, and recyclables such as metal, plastics #1 thru 7, bulky rigid plastics, small appliances, and lidless paint cans with dried paint.”

Longtime recycler Julie Wallace, owner of Wallace Books in Westmoreland, revealed she would continue accepting used household batteries, which she recycles once a month in Oregon City. Although she used to recycle Styrofoam, she no longer does. “The only place in Oregon that I know of that still recycles Styrofoam is Agilyx Corp, 7904 S.W. Hunziker Road in Tigard,” she says. “They're open 24/7.” You can reach them at 503/217-3160. UPS Stores often accept Syrofoam “peanuts” if they are clean, and not mixed with debris.

With the loss of the Far West service, consider creative new ways to recycle. Extra pet food can go to the Humane Society. Plastic bags are accepted for recycling by many supermarkets, and can be used for “dog poo bags” when you walk your pet, but take the bags home afterwards and put them in the garbage, instead of leaving them on the ground! Florists may use old newspapers (ask first) – and of course newspapers are still recyclable at the curb. Free Geek, at 1731 S.E. 10th Avenue, accepts old computer equipment and electronics for reuse. You can reach them at 503/232-9350.

Goodwill accepts usable castoffs such as furniture, clothing, housewares, toys, and intact operating electronics. “SCRAP PDX” at 1736 S.W. Alder, downtown – a recycling craft store – accepts fabric, yarn, seashells, ribbons, old mirrors, picture frames, etc. Call them at 503/294-0769.

During cool weather, shelters and churches may take blankets, raingear, hats, socks, and toiletries for the homeless.

Oaks Park, Oktoberfest, Pretzel Toss, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Sellwood neighbor Bob Goman successfully tosses the most pretzels onto the plunger handle held by his wife, Kelly, to win the “Pretzel Toss” contest! (Photo by David F. Ashton)

FallFun flows at Oaks Park’s famous Oktoberfest


Instead of traveling to distant locations to enjoy a traditional German Oktoberfest celebration, thousands of Portlanders continue to find music, food – and of course, beer – closer to home, at historic and nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park, as they did on the weekend of October 22.

Lively music played by groups ranging from small combos to the eight-piece, world-famous “Polkatones” filled the century-old amusement park from two festhalles – the main one a gigantic parking-lot-sized tent.

“What sets our Oktoberfest apart – we’ve been hosting them here since 1990 – from the many other celebrations, is that ours is entirely family-oriented,” pointed out The Oaks’ Marketing and Events Director, Emily MacKay.

“Here, you’ll find moms and dads, their kids, grandmas and grandpas, cousins and friends, all having fun together,” MacKay told THE BEE.

“Folks who visit us from Germany tell us that this has the feel of a ‘real’ Oktoberfest in their home towns; it’s in a setting surrounded by trees, with a river flowing past, where families, friends, and neighbors come together to celebrate in the fall,” remarked MacKay.

The “Wiener Dog Races” are still a popular attraction, with owners bringing their short-legged, long-bodied dachshunds to run the track. Meanwhile, other guests were browsing the shops set up in the small Alpine-village-like setting.

And, thanks to a new association with Portland-based Maletis Beverage Company, the Oaks’ Oktoberfest not only offered traditional beers imported from Germany, but also a “Portland style” of brew – an IPA made with imported German ingredients – direct from Lents neighborhood based Zoiglhaus Brewery.

“Also new this year was hard cider; it proved so popular, we quickly sold out of it,” MacKay said. “But it seems that everyone, including myself, just looks forward to feasting on sausages, schnitzels, strudels, and German chocolate cake!”

As afternoon turned to evening, families congregated in the Wichtigsten festhalle, sitting together at the long picnic tables, only arising for food, beverages – and to participate in the most lively of all Oktoberfest traditions, “The Chicken Dance”.

Powell Boulevard, project, 27th Avenue, Cleveland High School, intersection, barricades, Burgerville, ODOT, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Before long, ODOT assures THE BEE, this intersection at Cleveland High School on S.E. 26th Avenue will be completed. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Powell Blvd ‘safety project’ moves along, but slowly


After years of planning, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s “Powell Boulevard Safety Project” is well underway.

However, as many residents have pointed out to THE BEE, the work seems to have stalled recently, with several intersections along the $3,757,655 project still only partially completed.

THE BEE asked “ODOT Region 1 Area Manager, Central” Shelli Romero why the intersections at S.E. 33rd Avenue, 26th Avenue, and 21st Avenue remain barricaded.

“The intersection near Cleveland High School should be done in the next few weeks; some of the delays have to do with weather,” Romero told us. “At that intersection, not only is there a new signal that we put in, but on the southeast side, we’re also installing a new Pedestrian Platform, so there’s more space for students to wait, away from the street, for the signal to cross to the high school.

“And, we’re constructing a Truck Apron, an area of the road that looks a little different, to allow more room for longer trucks to make their turns,” Romero said.

About the work at S.E. 33rd Avenue – a signalized intersection that borders the Cleveland High athletic field – Romero remarked that some of the delay has to do with the sequencing of work that ODOT doesn’t have control over; the contractor can sequence its work in the way as it sees fit, while maintaining the overall construction schedule.

The narrow intersection at S.E. 21st Avenue has irked many who cross Powell Boulevard there. “That’s a really constrained area; that makes it a challenging place in which to work, while we do maintain temporary pedestrian access during construction at all times,” explained Romero.

THE BEE pointed out that the utility vaults at the 21st intersection have been installed, but remain open and empty. “Working with utilities takes coordination; we work with the City of Portland when installing new traffic signals, and we have to work around the different priorities and schedules of all of our contractors,” Romero responded.

Romero concluded the interview by reiterating that the project is still scheduled to be completed in early 2019. “I’m confident we’ll have good improvements on the ground shortly,” she assured us.

Davis Graveyard, Johnson Creel Boulevard, Ardenwald, Milwaukie, Oregon
The expensive new feature at the Davis Graveyard this year, the “Towering Chapel”, looms in the distance. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New feature rises up, in famed ‘Davis Graveyard’


Families from miles around flock to the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood each the Hallowe’en season to view perhaps the most spookily-themed private home in the region: The Davis Graveyard.

“It’s not a not a walk-through haunted house or maze; but instead, we present a free home Hallowe’en display through November 3,” explained a genial Chris Davis about the family’s spirited yard décor.

In addition to even more tombstones this year, Chris and Jeff Davis, the homeowners, sold “The Abbey” and now have replaced it with the “Towering Chapel”.

“We’re celebrating our 20th year, this season,” smiled Jeff Davis. “It started with my wife decorating for Hallowe’en the first year with a couple of pumpkins and a few store-bought decorations – and the display spun more out of control every year since!”

Creating the “Towering Chapel” was a major project, the Davis’ agreed. “We’ve been planning this project for a couple of years; so we came up with a design – but we realized we’d need a way to pay for the cost of a lot of Styrofoam and tools,” Jeff told THE BEE.

“So, we applied for and received grants from the Clackamas County Arts Alliance and the Milwaukie Tourism Board, sold ‘the Abbey’, and added to the investment with our own funds to build this really big chapel over the summer – which now graces our own driveway.”

It looks like carved stone, but it’s all Styrofoam – sealed, and detailed with exterior house paint from Metro Recycled Paints. It was created in sections, and assembled like a “giant Lego project”.

There are also some 75 tombstones on the property now, all with funny and witty epitaphs – a motif originally inspired, the Davis’ say, by Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion”.

“It’s nice to read the comment cards people leave for us; many tell us they bring their family and friends every year to see what’s new, and to enjoy the free display,” Jeff remarked.

Come November, the haunted yard will vanish over the first weekend, with the help of two dozen volunteers who help them set it up, and later help put it away each season.

“We’re glad people enjoy it; for us, it’s about the artistic expression, being creative, and coming up with new things,” Jeff said.

The Davis Graveyard may be found at 8703 S.E. 43rd Avenue, on the corner of S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard.

Learn more about the Davis’ spooky hobby, including about the classes they offer, online –

Oaks Bottom, rehabilitation, project, Springwater Trail, Oregon Pacific Railroad, box culvert, Oaks Bottom, lagoon, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Workers replace the fence between the Springwater Corridor Trail path and the Oregon Pacific Railroad tracks, one of the project’s final touches. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oaks Bottom rehab completes; Springwater Trail to reopen


As workers were putting finishing touches to control channel erosion, it was clear that the major work involved in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge restoration project was ending.

During a mid-October visit to the site, the Springwater Corridor Trail had been repaved in the construction zone and workers were installing the steel chain-link fence that separates the Trail’s pathway from the Dick Samuels’ Oregon Pacific Railroad line.

Down below, a cadre of workers were putting in erosion-control features, lining the tidal slough channels. “First, we’re seeding the area with a native grass; then, laying erosion control fabric over it and staking it in place to keep the birds from eating the seed, and to keep the soil from sloughing off when rain comes,” explained Kent Evans, representing the major contractor, LKE Corporation.

Of the 141-acre area, the $8.8 million project affected only about half of the refuge area – the part that needed to be renovated to make it a working tidal wetland.

“As we put the ‘finishing touches’ on the construction phase of this project, it’s turned out – well – spectacularly!” said Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Project Manager Sean Bistoff. “Every time I come out, the project looks a little more finished; and now it’s looking very much like a wildlife refuge again!”

The major work of replacing the small pipe that once connected the wetland to the Willamette River with a huge 16’ x 12’ box culvert, and then excavating the 2,000 linear feet of tidal slough channels, “will certainly improve water quality and wetland health,” Bistoff pointed out.

BES Environmental Program Coordinator Ronda Fast told THE BEE she was looking forward to the wetland being returned to its intended inhabitants. “Soon, this will be a place for wildlife to once again reclaim as their own.

“The otter will return; and the beaver, in particular, will begin sculpting and manipulating these channels, because that’s what they do. Waterfowl, migratory birds, and turtles will come back here, and make this place their home,” Fast mused, as she gazed over the area. “And. we are all eagerly anticipating watching the river levels come up, and see the improved connection between the Willamette River and the wetland, for the first time in 100 years!”

Such a massive restoration undertaking would not have taken place without the participation of their partners, Bistoff emphasized – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation. “We’re grateful for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ fiscal support [funding $4.9 million, or 65 percent of the cost], and their logistical expertise in carrying out projects such as these – without their help, this project would have been impossible.

“And, we worked extensively – especially in the design phase – with the staff of the land and trail owners, the Portland Parks Bureau, to make sure that this project mets their criteria – and we will continue working with them,” Bistoff said.

He also commended the crew of K&E Excavating, Inc., which did the heavy construction of digging out and refilling the levee, as well as restoration contractor LKE Corporation. “And, we are also appreciative of Richard Samuels, owner of Oregon Pacific Railroad, who worked so well with our contractors.”

The Springwater Corridor Trail should reopen on the first of November, Bistoff pointed out.

“And, in the spring, we’ll invite volunteers to come in and help replant about 8,500 trees and shrubs,” Fast added. “Over time, we will watch this place fill in with native vegetation.”

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