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August, 2010 -- Vol. 104, No. 12

Memories of THE BEE's first one hundred 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 issue will be our
 September issue, and has a deadline of August 26th.
(The October issue has an ad and copy deadline of September 23rd.)


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Daniel Hunter, wheelchair stolen
Brooklyn neighborhood resident Daniel Hunter, whose customized electric wheelchair was stolen while he shopped in Westmoreland, is using a loaner chair from Westmoreland Union Manor until his replacement arrives. He still walks his dog, Syu Chiu, and works in the Sacred Heart Villa garden, but not as much as he could with his old chair – which he is still seeking, and for which there is still a reward. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn victim still searching for stolen electric wheelchair





A disabled resident of the Brooklyn neighborhood, Daniel Hunter, still misses his customized electric wheelchair – stolen two months ago, while he was shopping in Westmoreland – but he is resigned to having to get a new one.


The 56-year-old Sacred Heart Villa resident has used a wheelchair for nearly 25 years, due to a chronic nervous system disorder. He is able to walk a bit with a cane, or use a manual wheelchair, but they hurt his hands.


His electric wheelchair was stolen from the Westmoreland QFC Market parking lot, on June 4, while Hunter was inside, maneuvering on foot down a narrow grocery aisle.


“I was only gone about 15 minutes,” he says, “But someone must have figured out how to turn on the battery, and drove it away. It weighs about 600 pounds, and the batteries were low. It only goes about 7 mph, and I assume it’s somewhere in the neighborhood within a few miles.


“It’s been adapted to my physical comfort, during the past 16 years I've owned it, and it wouldn't be much use to anyone else. It requires a special charging mechanism, and you can’t take it out of gear.


“There’s still a $50 reward offered for its return, but so far there’s been no sign of it. After hassling with my medical insurance, I’m finally going to get a new chair paid for through my renters’ insurance. It’s a more-current model, but has most of the same features. The missing chair is labeled ‘Action-Torque by Invacare’ on a side bar, just in case anybody spots it – and it has black upholstery and two large batteries.


“The metal colors have faded over the years to a dull navy color, but I loved it. Although it only works on paved surfaces, it had a good turning radius, and I could hang more groceries on it than on the chair I'm now using.”


Hunter’s best friend, Robert “Boots” Miller, a fellow Sacred Heart Villa resident, brought Hunter’s groceries home from QFC that day, and put up the reward money. Staff at Westmoreland Union Manor provided Hunter with a small, recycled electric wheelchair from a storage area which houses items left by prior residents.


“There’s no adequate wheelchair rental place in the area,” explains Hunter, who is appreciative of the help of the people at the Manor. “Electric wheelchairs are adapted to the specific needs of each user.

“The chair that I’m now using is harder for me to operate, and I can’t do the proper pivots to use it on the bus without bumping into seats or people. After news articles appeared on the theft, dozens of folks offered me replacement chairs – but, as a trained architect and disability studies teacher, I can assure you that a wheelchair as comfortable as the one I had is darn near irreplaceable. It was computer-operated to 100 different levels. With the batteries dead, it would be useless to anyone else.”


Among the letters and donations sent to Sacred Heart Villa following the theft were several memorable ones.


Hunter relates to THE BEE, “Some of the donations said, ‘If you can’t use this for the chair, just go out and have some fun.’ One check with no note on it came from a downtown law firm,” says Hunter, “But most were from people in small towns outside the Metro area. A Gresham artist sent me some hand-made animal cards, along with a note that her husband had also used a wheelchair, so she knew the problems I was having.


“The donation that came from farthest away was from a woman in Lincoln City. She sent me two gorgeous handmade cards, money, and an invitation to visit. My friend Boots even got a couple of cards directly, thanking him for being such a good friend.”


Hunter, who raises canaries and works in the garden back of the residence, also has a pet Pekinese named Syu Chiu, which means “Morning Light”. He is still able to walk his dog for exercise, but not very far. Consequently, he's looking forward to receiving his new electric wheelchair.


“Fortunately, the donations I received helped pay the insurance deductible, as well as for a medical appointment. I feel so thankful for all the letters, donations, and good wishes,” says Hunter. “In spite of the bad things that happen to us, there are still a lot of good people out there.”


After Hunter's chair was stolen, police followed tips that a scruffy-looking man had been seen near it in the QFC parking lot. They followed up on three leads that pointed to local homeless camps – which the police visited – but with no results.


If you have any information on the missing chair, you can call Sacred Heart Villa at 503/232-1466.


Drowning at Sellwood Bridge
U.S. Coast Guard and Portland Fire & Rescue watercraft search for a man, later identified as George Robinson, who paddled in the Willamette River south of the Sellwood Bridge. The missing man was located in the area where he was paddling, in eight feet of water. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Drowning in Willamette River near Sellwood Bridge





The return of summer heat brought at least five drowning deaths to the Portland region on July 24 and 25 – one of them off Sellwood.


Whitney Robinson lost sight of her husband George, 55, who was paddling on a wake board in the Willamette River near the Sellwood Bridge, when he apparently slipped off his board on the evening of Friday, July 23.


“They found his board, but there was no sign of the man,” said Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Justin de Ruyter. “We received the initial call at 8:14 pm. Portland Fire & Rescue provided a rescue boat and our dive team – and we had additional help from Multnomah County and the U.S. Coast Guard to search for the missing man.”


The search was focused around a dock south of the Waverly Surf Apartments, at 612 S.E. Linn Street.


“The body was recovered at 9:33 pm,” de Ruyter told us on-scene. “The deceased was found in about eight feet of water; the body was turned over to the medical examiner by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.”


Lt. Mary Lindstrand, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said, “Unfortunately, we’ve had several water-related incidents within 24 hours. It is very important to use personal flotation devices whenever a person is in or near the water – especially the rivers.”


McLoughlin Boulevard
Portland Fire & Rescue’s Engine 20 crew wades through the rising water after the water main break on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Broken water main undermines McLoughlin





Just as commuters started home on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 7, the northbound side of the 8300 block of S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard – in front of the Pendleton Woolen Mill store – between S.E. Clatsop St. and S.E. Umatilla Street, began erupting water.


The brown, murky sludge led police shut off all of McLoughlin’s northbound lanes – and one southbound traffic lane – as they watched sidewalks buckle and the pavement sink. The 3:45 pm closure backed up afternoon traffic as far south as the City of Gladstone, as officers detoured all northbound traffic west on S.E. Umatilla Street and north on S.E. 17th Avenue to Tacoma Street, returning to McLoughlin there.


While the only business affected when the Portland Water Bureau shut down the water supply to begin repairs was the Acropolis Steakhouse, on the west side of the street, the art studio “Cowgirl at Heart” at 8550 S.E. McLoughlin, and the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store next door, were shuttered for days while the water main – and then the street – were repaired.


McLoughlin Boulevard
The northbound lanes of the highway heave, as water bubbles up from under the pavement. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Surprised by pipe collapse

A Water Bureau spokesman told THE BEE that the broken 12” cast iron main pipe was about 60 years old, about half of its 125 year lifespan.


It took one full day just for PWB workers to locate the broken sections of pipe and to excavate the spot.


“There are many factors that can cause a water main to break,” said PWB’s Sarah Bott told us weeks after the repair. “It can be the age of the main, seismic disturbance, or stress. At this point we don’t know what the definitive cause of this [water] main break was – and the fact is, we may never know.”


The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the agency responsible for S.E. McLaughlin Boulevard, also known as Highway 99-E, was left with a massive rebuilding project after the main was repaired, according to spokesman Bradley J. Wurfel.


McLoughlin Boulevard
This machine grinds down existing concrete and asphalt to prepare for repaving. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“The contractor, Wildish Standard Paving, was given the go-ahead to begin work about 8 pm on Thursday, July 8th,” Wurfel told THE BEE. “Wildish shut down a construction project they were doing in Cascade Locks. and brought in construction equipment overnight. So, actual construction work started at the site about 7 am on Friday, July 9th.”


First, workers from Hatch Western had to remove tons of broken pavement, explained Wurfel. Then, after the pipe repair, the new pavement installation was done by contractor Knife River, in a project that ran on a 24-hour-a-day basis.


Crews moved in about 1,700 tons of rock and then installed 2,000 tons asphalt, Wurfel said. “To give an idea of what 2,000 tons of asphalt is – 2,000 tons of asphalt will pave a twelve foot wide lane that’s one inch thick and five miles long.”


S.E. McLoughlin was again reopened for traffic in the predawn hour of 4 am on Monday, July 12th.


Woodstock Parade, Eichentopf, cow, Otto
Christie Eichentopf leads “Bell” during the parade – and assures both her and us that the bovine lass won’t become an Otto’s sausage. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Parade, fair, and fun found at this year’s Woodstock Festival





Music and mirth were at every turn, as the Woodstock Parade and Festival returned on Saturday, July 17.


Sidewalk vendors were set up on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard an hour before the parade got underway at 11 am, and a substantial crowd of neighbors lined the street to watch the colorful procession.


This year’s parade featured two marching bands, the colorful and graceful Deviant Dancers, exotic costumed Lewis Elementary School kids and adults,  and a cow – all led off by Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.


After the parade passed by, folks found a days-worth of music and entertainment along the boulevard in “downtown” Woodstock village.


Theresa Gahagan, of the local Edward Jones financial office, and the co-producer of this year’s extravaganza as well as a board member of the sponsoring Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), said the event is a way for the area’s businesses and merchants to “give back” to the community.


“And, at the same time, it brings neighbors and visitors to our ‘main street’ in a way that promotes the Woodstock neighborhood as a good, family-friendly village.”


WCBA President and the co-organizer of the Festival, Lori Boisen of “Advertise In The Bag”, said, “We, and a host of volunteers, put on the festival because it brings the whole neighborhood together, and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. That’s essential in the community, especially these days.”


The two planners gave special thanks to Don McKenney of The Woodstock UPS Store; Grace Constantine of Deviant Dance; James Emond of Bike Gallery; Karen Keeling, Farmers Insurance Agency;  Kristin Schuchman, Mixed Media Marketing Communications; Mariya Jones,  Mt. Scott Nutrition Central; Sean Daugherty, Papaccino’s; Tom Vice & Josh Johnsen, Lifehouse Church; Virginia Petersen, First Aid; and Wendy Turner, Plue.


THE BEE and the Southeast Portland Rotary Club were also among the sponsors of the event.


“I think we've had a great turnout today,” Boisen said. “It looks like it’s been great, and we’re very happy with it.” 


Who was that great jazz trumpet player in the March Forth Marching Band at Woodstock Festival...?


It was Katie Presley, who said, “I’m a proud product of Sellwood; SE Rex Street to be specific. My introduction to music was in the Duniway Elementary School Band!”


After later studying at the University of Oregon and Portland State University, she got the gig playing professionally with the band. “We’re headed to Europe in the fall, it’s great.”


By the way, her dad is Dan Presley, leader of “Tall Jazz”, the band that serenades annually at Sundae in the Park, and will do so again this year on the afternoon of Sunday, August 1st.  (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Katie Presley, Woodstock Festival

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