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October 2016 -- Vol. 111, No. 2

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 November
issue, with a deadline of October 13.
(The December issue has an ad and copy deadline of November 10.)


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Bullseye Glass Company, Dan Schwoerer, furnace baghouse filtering system
Bullseye Glass Company founder Dan Schwoerer shows the newest eleven-furnace baghouse filtering system the business recently installed. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Bullseye installs new filters, is resurgent 


Concerns about alleged health-hazardous discharges from Bullseye Glass Company, located in the industrial area of the Brooklyn neighborhood, resulted in a cease-and-desist order, issued back in May by Governor Kate Brown.

The governor’s legal papers demanded that the company halt, and not resume, making specialty art glass using elements such as selenium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, arsenic, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium, in furnaces lacking pollution controls. That all but shut down this respected worldwide supplier of art glass.

In June, Oregon state officials lifted the cease-and-desist order, allowing Bullseye Glass to resume limited glass production.

The company’s owners vowed to install a new high-efficiency filtration system, and clean or replace the exhaust air stacks, as required by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Shortly after an inspection, DEQ announced that Bullseye Glass met the September 1 deadline for the plant cleanup required by a June 6 “Mutual Agreement and Order”.

“Samples of residues collected from recent cleanout events showed a marked reduction in hexavalent chromium concentrations when compared to an earlier sample,” wrote DEQ Air Quality Director Keith Johnson.

On September 6, THE BEE received an invitation to tour the plant with company founder Dan Schwoerer and co-owner Lani McGregor.

“What we make is a material that is used by artists, hobbyists, designers, people with small production studios that make giftware lines, or make architectural components here, nationally, and internationally,” McGregor said.

“It’s ironic finding Bullseye in the position it’s been in, because when Dan started it in 1974, preserving the environment was always a huge part of Bullseye’s mission; the company started by recycling glass bottles into art glass.

“Over the years we’ve taken proactive environmental actions, long before regulations required them,” McGregor said. “For example, we put in an oxi-fuel system that massively reduced our carbon footprint.”

All three manufacturers in the Pacific Northwest that have become the “leading edge” worldwide for producing art glass were “hit with a double-whammy”: The recession, and changing environmental regulations, McGregor said.

In May, one of those manufacturers, Spectrum Glass, based in Woodinville, Washington, announced that it was closing, due to financial difficulties caused by increasing regulation.

“It was the straw that broke their back,” McGregor said. “We think of ourselves as having ‘stronger backs’ – or maybe we’re just more stubborn.

“We love what we do, we love the people that work for us, and we’re determined to see it through, and do whatever it takes to do the right thing to keep moving forward,” McGregor added.

THE BEE’s tour of the plant wound through a finished glass area. Company founder Dan Schwoerer pointed to the melted wavy edge of the sheets. “It tells the ‘heat history’ of the glass; you can tell a lot about the nature of it, just by looking at the edge.”

The company is investing in the new filtration systems, he said, because of the owners’ dedication to keeping the plant in the city. “To have a factory in the middle of an urban setting has always been a desire of mine,” Schwoerer said. “We have about 130 employees here; many of our employees live very close by, and walk or bicycle to work. It seems so wrong to move all of the manufacturing way out of town somewhere, so people have to drive or travel to get there.

“We think that, in the end, this will work for us – all of us – once we have everything in place.”

Our tour led past the area where workers use large, specially-made drums in which ingredients such as silicon dioxide, sodium oxide from sodium carbonate, and calcium oxide, are mixed with chemical elements such as cadmium.

“Red and orange glass is colored with cadmium,” Schwoerer explained, holding up a dollop of it spilled on the factory floor as a worker took a ladle full of cadmium/selenium molten glass over to a working table where it was rolled into a sheet.

The tour stopped at an air-conditioned booth where process-control computers and readouts showed the condition, temperature, and airflow from the furnaces, and out through the filtration system.

“All of these years, we were following the guidelines established for the permissible level for toxic metals [exposure] for employees, working 40 hours a week, over a 40 year period,” Schwoerer mused. “For instance, for cadmium, that would be 5000 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m³), and we weren’t aware that there were benchmarks being proposed that would be about 10,000 times less – like .6 ng/m³. I don’t think any business was aware of the benchmarks until just recently.

“We were focused on the health and well-being with the people that worked with those materials – now, we’re also focused on what is coming out of the stacks.”

He pointed out a good-sized rectangular unit, high over the control booth, that he identified as the first small “baghouse” filtration unit they had installed for one furnace in March, to test the system, and set up operating perimeters.

A “baghouse” isn’t some shack outside a factory. It’s the technical term for a device in which even very tiny particles are removed from a stream of exhaust gases passing through one of several large cloth bag filter cartridges.

Then, over the summer, in the west end of the plant, workers installed a scaled-up baghouse system which, after inspecting it in September, DEQ’s Keith Johnson called “...a pretty substantial piece of equipment. It's not something you just sort of throw in there...”

After several weeks of operation, the large baghouse, designed to filter the glass furnace exhaust diverted from 11 ovens, was successfully operating.

“We’re hoping to get the third baghouse up and running in mid-October for the rest of the furnaces on the east side; so a total of 18 furnaces will be on a baghouse,” Schwoerer said. “This means whether it’s melting potentially toxic materials or not, virtually everything will be captured by the baghouse unit.”

Not being able make green and aquamarine colored art glass colored by chromium has put them at a competitive disadvantage, he admitted. “Glass manufacturers in Indiana and West Virginia are not required to put on this equipment and are still using chromium as we speak.

“But that’s okay,” Schwoerer quickly added, “We want to be a good neighbor.

“We’ve long prided ourselves on being the leader in the field in terms of new products. Now, we are leading the field in also being the cleanest, and most environmentally-sound, colored art glass company in the world,” said Schwoerer.

Watching the developments at the plant are “Neighbors for Clean Air” President Mary Peveto.

“We’ve been watch-dogging industry since 2009, it’s been a long arc to get to the point where we see the kind of inspection and regulation that’s being done by Oregon DEQ,” Peveto told THE BEE in mid September.

“We’re taking a wait-and-see attitude, and expecting to see the results of c continued monitoring,” Peveto added. “We don’t take anything for granted; ‘trust and verify’. My sense is that, based on nearby neighbors, there is a sense of closure and accomplishment for getting this done.”

But overall, Peveto claims to be “cautiously optimistic. There were a lot of doom-and-gloom stories saying they couldn’t stay in business. But the fact that Bullseye Glass has made changes to stay in business is good for jobs and economy.”

On September 16, DEQ announced a spike of the amount of selenium detected at the Children's Creative Learning Center, down the street from the plant.

“A jump in selenium concentrations in the air has prompted state agencies to immediately conduct an inspection and secure the company's agreement to restrict use of the metal in its manufacturing process,” the agency wrote in a release.

A September 6 reading showed 887 ng/m³of air; Oregon's 24-hour screening level for selenium is 710 ng/m³. Oregon bases its 24-hour standard for selenium on the level set by New Hampshire – the most restrictive standard for the metal in the nation. Other states have set higher levels.

Oregon’s 24-hour thresholds are being reviewed by external health experts, and will be open for public comment in October.

On September 16, DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority sent a joint letter to Bullseye, confirming the company’s commitment to limit use of selenium in its art glass manufacturing processes to no more than five pounds per day, and only use selenium in furnaces controlled by a baghouse.

Meantime, arguably the most important remaining manufacturer of art glass in the world, Bullseye Glass in the Brooklyn neighborhood, remains in business – to the relief of glass artists everywhere.

Tesla, T-bone, crash, Westmoreland, blind curve
AMR ambulance paramedics prepare to transport a patent, after a Honda CRV broadsided a Tesla at the blind corner on Bybee Boulevard at S.E. 14th Avenue. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tesla T-boned at Bybee Blvd intersection


There aren’t many Tesla automobiles yet scooting around Portland; but one of them was involved in a side-impact collision in Westmoreland on August 29 at 12:56 p.m.

For those who have requested to have a crosswalk painted across Bybee Boulevard at S.E. 14th – with the intention of letting kids get to Llewellyn Elementary School from the south more directly – this car wreck suggests why it may not be a safe idea.

A white Honda CRV SUV collided with a black Tesla coupe at the intersection of S.E. Bybee Boulevard and 14th, which recently was reconfigured as a one-way street southbound between Llewellyn Elementary School and Bybee Boulevard.

The impact was of sufficient force to deploy the airbags in both vehicles.

When THE BEE arrived, one person involved in the crash – apparently the Tesla driver – was sitting against a tree in the front yard of the adjacent brick apartment house, awaiting transport by an AMR ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation.

Evidently, police issued no citations, which suggests the Honda was not found to have broken any laws – and that the Tesla driver, while undoubtedly shaken up, was apparently not significantly injured.

However, a novel and very expensive new electric car required considerable repair.

Hood To Coast, Springwater Trail, rerouted
To avoid garbage and “campers” along the Springwater Corridor Trail, “Hood to Coast” relay race participants were routed around it on the city streets east of S.E. 82nd. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Hood to Coast’ relay skirts Springwater Trail


When the than 20,000 runners from 37 countries participating in this year’s “Hood to Coast” relay race ran though Inner Southeast on August 26, they bypassed the Springwater Corridor Trail east of S.E. 82nd.

For the first time ever – instead of being routed along the Springwater Trail, participants ran, jogged, and walked from their relay station in Outer East Portland to the northwest on S.E. Foster Road, then south along 92nd Avenue, and west along Flavel Street, before turning south again on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses.

The route turned west and resumed along the Springwater Trail just north of “Cartlandia”.

This section of the race – “Leg 11” – is typically 4.51 miles long, but by going around what was considered to be a problematic section of the iconic trail, that leg increased to 6.64 miles in length.

“We did this for the safety of participants, volunteers, and spectators,” event spokesman Dan Floyd told reporters.

“It’s just too dangerous, and it would be a poor idea for us to send runners down that part of the trail, when we are trying to showcase our state in the best possible way,” Floyd added.

Neither the added leg length, nor running along busy 82nd Avenue of Roses, seemed to faze the participants who spoke with THE BEE.

“Because our team was slower, I was a bit worried about running along the Springwater Trail this year,” said Peggy Medrano.

“It’s far more picturesque running on the trail than running along city streets, but I think it was a good decision to make this year, especially because our team was running this leg close to sunset,” Medrano told THE BEE, just after she handed off her official wrist bracelet to a teammate at the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek transfer point.

At the exchange point, runners headed west along the Springwater Trail, into Sellwood, same as usual, and continued on their way to the finish line far away in Seaside.

A worker was injured on the Sellwood Bridge Project on September 13th when struck by a heavy duty forklift, like this one. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Bridge worker injured in mishap


Traffic on the Sellwood Bridge had been reduced to one lane, with flaggers letting vehicles pass, to facilitate an overnight work project, on Tuesday evening, September 13.

Traffic was still snarled early on September 14.

Media outlets reported the situation as having been caused by an injury auto accident – one report erroneously said that the crash had actually damaged the bridge. None of that was true.

The night’s project had involved moving the concrete “Jersey barriers”, to allow crews to safely work on another portion of the bridge.

What DID happen was that at about 10:30 p.m. that evening, a worker was injured when a heavy-duty forklift, moving forward, ran over his lower limbs, according to Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen.

The worker was transported to a hospital for medical care; his medical condition has not been revealed.

All lanes were reopened at 6:30 a.m. – but at 8 a.m. one vehicle rear-ended another near mid-span, again slowing traffic on the bridge, Pullen said.

“The worker injury was a rare incident, and probably the most serious project-related injury in nearly five years of heavy construction on the Sellwood Bridge project,” Pullen reflected to THE BEE.

“The contractor’s team is reviewing the incident to determine if any additional steps need to be taken to increase safety on the jobsite,” Pullen added. “The incident is a good reminder for the project team and the public to remain aware at all times, when working or traveling in any construction zone.”

Strut Your Mutt, Sellwood Riverfront Park, dog park
After the ribbon was cut, more than 100 participants – two-footed and four – headed out on the 2016 “Strut Your Mutt” walk on September 10th at Sellwood Riverfront Park. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Mutts strutted’ in Sellwood Riverfront Park


On a cool-yet-sunny Saturday morning, the lush grass of Sellwood Riverfront Park seemed the right place for the dog-oriented event on September 10.

It wasn’t a dog show limited to groomed and trained purebreds, with fussy judges. Although there were some purebreds in the crowd, most of these “best friends” were mixed-breed dogs, who – by their gently wagging tails – seemed very happy to be there.

“We’re holding our ‘Strut Your Mutt’ fundraising festival, presented by ‘Best Friends Animal Society’,” beamed the organization’s National Brand Manager Kari Hartkorn, as the park filled with participants.

“We work collaboratively with local shelters and canine rescue organizations, in local communities, to help them end the killing of [excess] dogs and cats in our nation’s shelters,” Hartkorn said.

The Portland event was presented by six local groups, including a “no-kill” cat shelter – although owners were encouraged to leave kitty home!

“We empower these organizations by providing them with information, grants, and events like ‘Strut your Mutt’, to help raise money that goes directly back into the local community,” explained Hartkorn.

Part of the event was for fundraising, Hartkorn said, but the more important aspect was to build community awareness. “It’s to help everyone understand that we can all participate in helping these organizations end the killing of these dogs and cats. By working together, our goal is to save them all.”

While taking care of last-minute details, local organizer Nancy Cheverton told THE BEE that the organization chose Sellwood Riverfront Park “because it’s a beautiful location, the right size, has a trail for the walk, and it’s well-known as a dog park.

“The setting here works well for this kind of Festival arrangement,” added Cheverton, who is a volunteer with the Portland Area Welfare team. “This gives us a real good opportunity to do something to support the Best Friends organizations, and all of their wonderful network partners who are here raising money.”

Although the owners of the pooches didn’t seem to be in any hurry, the dogs themselves were clearly ready to get started on the walk, and charged through the starting gate – setting off on the mile-long walk – right at 9 a.m., as scheduled.

September 11, anniversary, 9 11, Lt Neil Martin
PF&R Lt. Neil Martin recalls, for THE BEE, how he and three additional Portland firefighters traveled to New York to help out at “ground zero” fifteen years ago. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Southeast’s 9/11 remembrance evokes firefighter memories


Yes, it really has been fifteen years.

On Sunday, September 11, a gathering of firefighters at 5 S.E. Madison Street, just north of OMSI, held a special ceremony honoring the fallen heroes of that day fifteen years earlier.

Before the ceremony began, on the Eastbank Esplanade next to Willamette River Fire Station 21, PF&R Lt. Neil Martin, who has long served on Portland’s east side, remarked to us that he remembered that day well, and the terrible toll it took.

“Four of us in the Bureau had become good friends with Billy Quick, a firefighter from Rockaway, Queens, New York, who enjoyed visiting Oregon to climb mountains. We walked with him in their St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Martin reminisced to THE BEE.

When Martin, along with Portland firefighters Dwight Englert, Ed Hall, and Wesley J. Loucks, saw Quick being interviewed on television network news in the aftermath of the Twin Towers’ collapse, they decided to go to New York to help their friend.

“We got there on September 14, 2001, and worked hand-in-hand with Billy,” Martin said.

“Billy has passed away; he died of complications from working at that site. So, this day has a very personal significance for us.

“We are so removed, being on the West Coast! – But the four of us actually put boots on the ground, eyes on exactly what happened, and saw the emotional impact the terrorist attacks had on people we know personally.”

For their friends in New York, “it isn’t some program you see on television; many of them lived it, and are reminded it every single day,” Martin said.

“There is definitely a family – a brotherhood and sisterhood – when you join this profession as a career. We know exactly what we are getting into. We know the risks that we will be taking on in the job. And when we see someone who’s taken the same training and taken the same oath of service that we have, it binds us together.”

As the Portland memorial ceremony began, Portland Fire Fighters Association Vice President Jason Lehman stepped to the microphone. “Today marks the 15th anniversary of terror attacks on U.S. soil. We come together to give the highest honor to those who lost their lives that day.”

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, currently the Portland Fire Commissioner, followed. “We’re here to mourn those brave firefighters, civilians, police officers, and paramedics who perished on 9/11. [Those in the fire service] not only display extreme bravery and professionalism, but also compassion.

“There’s something about anniversaries, such as this one, that make us pause and think about what happened,” Saltzman went on. “We stand here today not only in honor of those who perished, along with their families, but I think we also gather here today to bring comfort to one another ... because we are all still traumatized by what happened on 9/11.”

Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Myers followed, recalling, “343 New York firefighters died that dreadful day. We feel a deep sense of love and respect for the families of New York City, and the others who were forever changed that day. It is up to us to pay tribute to the fallen firefighters, and also thank those who serve every day in our own great city.”

Myers proclaimed that this service was being held at the site of the “David Campbell Memorial” – a commemorative space dedicated to Portland firefighters who lost their life in service, or because of work-related injuries or illnesses.

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