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August 2014 -- Vol. 108, No. 12

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!


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Daily news!  The all-new daily PORTLAND TRIBUNE website  is updated throughout the day, every day, when news breaks out.  Click the banner at left to keep up to date on the banner news throughout the Rose City!

THE BEE has a second website -- it's searchable for past stories.  The content for the current month is similar to this one, presented in a different format.  To visit the other website, click the banner at right!




Eastmoreland, demolition
When “demolition morning” dawned, the bulldozer was confronted with a phalanx of cars, parked end-to-end down the block, preventing access. The developer was not pleased, but agreed to a one-week delay in his tear-down. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Park-In” delays Eastmoreland home’s demolition

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE 

When Renaissance Homes filed an application to demolish an Eastmoreland home at 3620 S.E. Rural Street and replace it with two narrower homes, the company had to file for a permit and post a notice. 

This entitled the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association to file for an additional 120 day extension before the house could come down – and according to ENA Board Member Kimberly Koehler, the paperwork to do so was obtained from Southeast Uplift and filed with the city, on the grounds that the property involved is shorter than is typical.

Then, however, on July 15th, the builder took advantage of what the ENA considers a “loophole” in the city code, set aside the 120 day delay, and prepared to demolish the house immediately. 

Koehler explained for THE BEE, “The only mandatory notification requirement for residential demolitions was a reinterpretation of the code that says if a developer takes down ONE house and replaces it with TWO or more, he must post a 35-day Demolition Notification sign on the property. The code also allows neighborhood associations to file for a 120-day delay, which we did – by the deadline. 

“So, the developer simply says, ‘I changed my mind. I only want to build ONE new house.’ The 120-day delay is thrown out, and the demolition proceeds with no notice to neighbors about the change of plans. Shameful.

“They refiled, and will build only one house. But this is an end-run – they will then add a permit for the second house. Randy Sebastian, owner of Renaissance Homes, said in front of everyone that he is building two houses, but building them one by one. He should have to wait to build that second house.”

So, on Thursday morning, July 17, the demolition crew arrived to find vehicles parked all the way down the street in front of the home to be demolished, as news media, which had been notified by ENA of the plan the night before, covered the impasse.

Sebastian of Renaissance Homes shook hands with ENA President Robert McCulloch, saying the company would delay demolition by a week. McCulloch told him, “We’re not angry with you, but angry with the city which changed the rules and didn’t have the courtesy to tell us.”

This did not end the demolition plan, or the story. THE BEE will report what happened next in our September issue.



Tire vandalism, Woodstock
Tires on both a minivan and a car were among many flattened in early summer, along S.E. Schiller Street in Woodstock. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tire vandals strike Woodstock

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Although it’s narrow and the pavement is cracked, S.E. Schiller Street – just up from S.E. 39th (Chavez Boulevard) seems like an unlikely route for late-night pedestrian traffic.

But, on June 24th, neighbors awoke to discover that someone had strolled up their steep street during the night – flattening tires of vehicles parked on both sides, from S.E. 40th to 42nd Avenues.

Near the intersection of Schiller and 41st Avenue, all four tires on a minivan, a car, and a utility trailer were flat. Neighbor Henry Wolf told reporters that he has had 24 tires slashed in recent months on four vehicles. “Those were almost brand-new tires on the minivan,” Wolf sighed.

Portland “Office of Neighborhood Involvement” (ONI) Crime Prevention Specialist Jacob Brostoff told THE BEE that he’d asked the Police Bureau’s Statistics Unit to look into these tire-flattening incidents. 

“We don’t believe at this time that these are connected to the nearly 500 incidents of this same type that occurred last year,” Brostoff said. “There was not an apparent trend. As devastating as they are to neighbors in the area, these tire damage incidents occurred over a relatively short period of time.”

Connected or not, Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or of any unsolved felony, and you can remain anonymous.

Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at: http://www.crimestoppersoforegon.com – or text CRIMES (274637), and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip. Or, you can call 503/823-4357 and leave your tip information.

At last report neighbors in the affected area of S.E. Schiller were installing camera systems in hopes of capturing video, if the vandals strike their street again.



Sellwood power failure
The first-arriving PGE crew shines a light up at a suspected high-voltage “feeder” line taken out, when a transformer electrical breaker blew in south Sellwood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Breaker blows: Sellwood plunged into darkness 

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Sellwood residents near S.E. 13th Avenue and Linn Street were treated to a brief and unofficial fireworks show – just before the neighborhood went dark, at 9:45 pm on Monday evening, July 7.

“I heard a huge explosion, and saw a brilliant flash of blue light,” said Eloise Reed, who was by then standing with a group of friends looking at the block-long Portland General Electric (PGE) electrical substation.

“It was like a bomb going off,” Reed told THE BEE. “Then, all the lights went out – even the street lamps.”

On this warm summer evening, many neighbors were in the streets, mostly equipped with flashlights, after their homes were plunged into inky darkness.

Because so many people reported sing a brilliant flash and fire at the substation, 9-1-1 operators had dispatched Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 20 to the scene. But, when they arrived, the firefighters found no fire – only a dark neighborhood. 

When THE BEE arrived, one PGE “Eagle Crew” was at the gates of the substation. Within minutes a caravan of electric company trucks was rolling into the station’s yard.

Electrical power was off as far east as S.E. Harney Drive and Johnson Creek Boulevard, but the power failure didn’t extend north of S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland.

“About 6,700 PGE customers were affected, at the height of the outage,” PGE Corporate Communications staff member Steven Corson told us the following day.“The sound and flash was associated with failure of a circuit breaker on a transformer at the substation,” Corson revealed. “Power was restored to all customers by around 2:30 am later that night.”

The blown breaker damaged one of the high-voltage “feeder” lines being served from that substation, Corson said. “Power to customers served by that feeder was rerouted from another source; customers will remain unaffected by the subsequent repair process. Other feeders served by the substation were not affected.” 

Squirrels have lately caused more than one power outage in Washington County recently, by inadvertently shorting out a power transformer; it remains unknown whether or not a hapless squirrel was to blame for this one.

Kisser arrested, OMSI
Police identified and arrested 44-year-old Jerry Johnson in the rash of unwanted advances towards women at OMSI and nearby in mid-July. (MCDC booking photo)

“Unwanted kisser” suspect found and arrested

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Since July 12, a man appearing as a security guard has been stalking women in the Inner Southeast Portland area. The subject was seen driving a van, with a crudely-printed sign the spelled out “SECURITY” taped to the side. 

The first incident occurred on Saturday, July 12th, at approximately 3 pm, when the man approached a volunteer at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). He allegedly made suggestive comments to her, and attempted to hug her and kiss her while she was trying to pull herself away from him.

Then, at 7 pm the same day, a second woman reported that she left work at OMSI and was walking to the streetcar. “She saw a dark-colored security van parked in the OMSI lot, with a security guard lingering by the vehicle,” said Portland Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“The victim told police that it seemed obvious that the man was a security guard but she was certain he did not work at OMSI,” Simpson said.

The victim told police she thought it was odd that a security guard would suggest an intimate rendezvous while he was on duty. “The victim continued walking, and the man did not follow her,” Simpson said. 

At about 9 pm that same evening, in the Brooklyn neighborhood at S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Powell Boulevard, a third victim told police she was driving northbound on Milwaukie, and stopped in the left turn lane for westbound Powell Boulevard.

“The victim said the suspect pulled up to the light on the right side of her vehicle and engaged her in conversation – asking her if she was interested in ‘hooking up’,” Simpson reported. “The victim told police that she politely declined, the light turned green, and she drove away.

The fourth reported incident took place on July 14, at S.E. Clinton Street and Milwaukie Avenue. “The reporting party described being approached by the suspect, asking her to pull down a side street,” Simpson said. “She declined the offer.”

On Friday July 18, 2014, at 11:12 pm, Central Precinct officers arrested 44-year-old Jerry Johnson after detectives from the Portland Police Sex Crimes Unit determined that he was the suspect “who kissed a woman at OMSI and approached other women there and nearby”.

Officers arrested him at his home in the 2600 block of N.W. Upshur Street, and transported him to the Detective Division.

Detectives learned that Johnson had indeed been working as a security guard, but that he had quit his job on the previous day, due to the intense public scrutiny on the case.

Johnson was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on a charge of “Sex Abuse in the Third Degree”, but was released under Pre-Trial Supervision the day he was arrested. He was to be arraigned the following Monday.

Sgt. Pete Simpson told the media that “the Portland Police Bureau would like to thank the public for sharing information about this case, and coming forward with information that assisted in identifying Johnson.”



Westmoreland Park
Many Westmoreland and Sellwood residents are already enjoying the boardwalk that now runs through the north end of Westmoreland Park. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Westmoreland Park’s north-end project ends

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE 

The project undertaken back in the summer of 2013 to turn Westmoreland Park into a natural wetland area is completed. Starting in late June, workers started taking down the temporary steel fencing, and began opening the park in phases.

Through most of July, neighbors began walking through and exploring the “all new” Westmoreland Park, including its paved and bark chip paths, curving boardwalk, and the new “overlook” walk.

This joint project, undertaken by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, by Portland Parks & Recreation, and by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, took quite a while to finish, but agency representatives say they’re pleased with the result.

“It has taken a little bit longer than expected, because the selected areas were successfully turned into wetlands which were flooded by the springtime heavy rains,” said US Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Michel Helms. “But it is doing what we expected it to do.”

Helms told THE BEE, “The project turned out beautifully. The concrete duck pond is gone, and the park has been restored to its original wetland environment, more suitable for more native fish and other species to be in the area.

“I hope people in the area are as happy with finished project as we are,” Helms said. 

Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Environmental Program Coordinator Ronda Fast was also at the park looking over the project, during our visit.

“It is a dynamic site,” Fast pointed out. “We’re keeping a close watch, as things settle in.  We're learning how the site behaves in response to rainfall – we want to see if the wetland acts like the ‘sponge’ it was designed to be.”

While, overall, the habitat is looking up, Fast noted that some of the new plants are not “growing and thriving. We will pull some of those out and replace them this fall. But the creek is staying in the channel!”

Strolling along the boardwalk Fast saw that some of the wetland area appeared to be a bit waterlogged. “We’re still ‘dialing in’ the irrigation schedule; having the watering properly set will help.”

Because they don’t begin fish and mussel monitoring until fall, when salmon and other fish return to the creek, Fast said they haven’t yet been doing “counts” of water creatures.

 “We’ve been able to keep the native ducks,” Fast observed. “And, we’re still discouraging domestic ducks from the site.

“Please, don’t feed the ducks,” Fast requested of BEE readers. “And, don’t ‘set free’ any pet ducks – or any other animals – in our parks.”

A BEE reader with a dog recently called us to protest the use of chicken wire on the wooden deck of the elevated boardwalk in the park. We explained that this was intended to keep people from falling – when the wooden deck gets wet, it is slippery. This is not a particularly dog-friendly surface, however, so we will discuss the matter with park officials to see if another sort of non-slip surface might work.

The agencies are planning an official reopening with what they’re calling a “Salmon Homecoming Festival” to Crystal Springs Creek on Saturday, October 18, 11 am until 4 pm. Look for more information about this in the September issue of THE BEE.



Ardenwald pursuit
This Portland Police Transit Division Supervisor successfully executed a “PIT maneuver” – making the fleeing Ford spin out, and leading to the capture of the three fleeing teens. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Teen driver flees Ardenwald; taken down in Lents 

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Neighbors annoyed by a trio of teenagers allegedly shooting off fireworks at Ardenwald Elementary School on S.E. Roswell Street in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood finally had enough, and called the Milwaukie Police at 11:10 pm on Tuesday night, July 2.

A Milwaukie police officer tried to contact the occupants of a white Ford compact car near S.E. 36th and Barba Street – but they didn’t want to be contacted.

“The driver attempted to elude the officer and sped away,” said Milwaukie Police Information Officer Ulli Neitch. “But, the driver turned into a dead-end cul-de-sac near the east side of the school. When the officer pulled in behind the vehicle, the driver turned, and twice rammed the front of her patrol car head-on, while trying to elude the stop.”

Ardenwald pursuit, Lents
The alleged driver, a 17-year-old, bolted after his fleeing Ford was stopped by a police “PIT maneuver” – but he didn’t escape the law officers who chased him down. Here he is shown, sitting on a curb, in custody. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

The driver managed to navigate to S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, and then up S.E. Bell Avenue into Portland – thence heading west on S.E. Luther Street, near 82nd Avenue, when he turned south on 76th Avenue – another dead end street.

It was there that the suspect driver struck a Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office patrol car that had arrived in the area to assist in the pursuit.

Escaping the law once again, the driver headed north on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses. 

According to reports coming over the police radio, the suspect driver appeared to steer the car toward a Portland Police officer who was preparing to throw a “spike strip” to deflate the car’s tires. 

The car turned east on S.E. Flavel Street, then north on 84th Avenue. Portland East Precinct and Traffic Division officers continued the pursuit, and a Transit Division officer ended it with a successful PIT (“Precision Immobilization Technique”) maneuver in the 7200 block of S.E. 84th Avenue.

The suspect driver still wasn’t ready to surrender, and took off running north up the street.

But the two passengers, a male and a female, stayed and surrendered to the police. The female told officers that the suspect driver took her Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone on which she had been recording the events of the evening.

More Portland Police officers pulled into the area, and officers caught the suspected driver about four blocks north, on S.E. 84th Avenue near Duke Street.

“Three occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody,” Neitch reported. “The driver and the passengers in the vehicle were all juveniles.

“The 17-year old driver was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries that resulted from the incident,” Neitch added. “The two juvenile passengers were released to legal guardians.” 

A criminal complaint will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office. The charges will no doubt include the damage sustained by one Milwaukie patrol car and one Clackamas County patrol when rammed by the suspect vehicle.

Eastmoreland, Fourth of July
The 2014 Eastmoreland July 4th Parade rolls out from the Duniway School staging area. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thousands again celebrate July 4th in Eastmoreland

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

For as long as anyone can remember, Eastmoreland neighbors have gathered to celebrate the July 4th holiday. The difference is, in the past few years, this event has grown to be a party of thousands. 

The 2014 “Eastmoreland Parade and Hot Dog Barbecue” was once again very well attended.

Newly-minted Eastmoreland July 4th Parade Chair Steve Baker paused from his organizing activities to remark, “I've headed up the committee for our parade today.

“The best part for me is seeing so many people turn out,” Baker told THE BEE. “Our goal is to have as many neighbors come out, and have a good time, as possible.”

As summer weather smiled on the event, the unofficial “mayor”, Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Chair Robert McCullough, was all smiles. 

“As always, Steve Baker stepped up and did a wonderful job,” said McCullough. “It takes place every year because of dedicated volunteers.

“I've looked through our records, and I can't find the date when this parade started,” McCullough added. “I would say this tradition has been going on for about five decades. 

“It's good to have events like this,” he added. “It’s clear by the turnout today that patriotism has not gone out of style. I am pretty deeply patriotic. We are very fortunate to be living here.  It's a wonderful feeling.  I'm afraid I'm just naïve that I actually take this celebration of our independence very, very seriously.”

With the aroma of hot dogs from Otto's Sausage Kitchen & Deli in the air, some folks temporarily abandoned lining up for the parade, to snatch red hots, fresh off the grill, from members of the Eichentopf family. 

And, new this year, Scott McDonald of Local Farmer's Delivery secured 2,400 Franz Bread hot dog buns, and donated 500 cartons of chocolate Alpenrose Dairy milk for the kids.

A few minutes after 11 am, the procession, led off by a Portland Police Traffic Division car, started north on S.E. Reed College Place from the staging area at Duniway Elementary School.

Watching the parade, two Traffic Division sergeants agreed they believed this to be the largest neighborhood-organized parade in the city. As in past years, the start of the parade had already marched north to S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and returned to the starting point – before the final participants had even left the rally area.

As the marchers returned, most made a bee-line to the Duniway parking lot, and got in line for an Otto’s hot dog. With that, Independence Day was again well-celebrated in Eastmoreland.



Brentwood Darlington, Fourth of July
Volunteer event organizer, and neighborhood association board member, Kendall Palmer serves ice cream at Brentwood-Darlington’s first Independence Day event. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington July 4th tradition begins

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Volunteers from the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association decided it was time for them to start an Independence Day celebration of their own. So, at 11 am on the Fourth of July, families gathered at the north end of Brentwood Park, and organized themselves into a parade inside and around the two-block long city park.

And, after they paraded, the gathered in the play area for games, and ice cream.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream for me,” smiled event organizer Kendall Palmer. “It was to have an event on July 4th to bring about community connections, and celebration, here at Brentwood Park.”

About seven years ago, Palmer said she was turned down by the neighborhood leaders at the time, when she broached the idea of a parade and gathering.

“But then, this year, I approached our new Chair, Jacob Sherman, and he said ‘Yes, of course! Let's go for it!’ So, we had about 87 kids, and a total of at least 120 people, here for our first parade.”

The best part of it for Palmer, she said, was seeing residents together, and making connections. “When neighbors meet, we feel safer, and we trust each other, and we build community. Really it’s all about knowing each other. I do believe that we are safer, and our kids are safer, and we learn to trust one another.”

And, as a neighborhood association board member, Palmer said, “The goal is to tap the diversity of our community; of all age levels and all walks of life. I think this is a pretty good start.”



Sellwood Bridge
A first look at where you’ll be driving, in a year or so! Workers have been building forms between the concrete girders for the new eastside approach of the new Sellwood Bridge. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastside Sellwood Bridge construction defers to interchange 

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE 

During July, most of the work on the Sellwood Bridge construction project was focused on constructing the new interchange and bridge approach on the west side of the Willamette River, at Highway 43. 

Nonetheless, some crewmembers were scrambling around the on the east side, building concrete forms to support the deck of the bridge’s approach.

As we looked up from under that approach on the Sellwood side, the pre-stressed girders installed in May were completely obscured by wooden beams and plywood. Workers at the area told THE BEE that that temporary structure is a safety walkway for crews to use, while they build the concrete forms. 

Over at the western end of the east-side “work bridge”, other workers prepared the box caisson on Bent 5 near the center of the river.

“They’re installing forms and rebar for the last section of Bent 5’s pier wall, and the ‘angel wing’ attachments that will stretch out from the sides of each pier to support the steel arch spans,” observed Multnomah County project spokesman Mike Pullen, who was our guide.

Our tour at the end of the work bridge abruptly ended, as an enormous crane started lifting a massive rebar cage, ready for it to be lowered into place, and we were shooed out of the way. 

Keep up to date on the project by regularly visiting online: http://www.sellwoodbridge.org





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