From The Editor

Reflecting on the SMILE Christmas Tree
SMILE, Christmas Tree, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

For longer than many people in Inner Southeast Portland can remember, SMILE – the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association – has underwritten the lighting, between Thanksgiving and New Year, of a certain tree overlooking Oaks Bottom on the Bybee Boulevard curve at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial in Westmoreland, and has arranged volunteer help to put up the lights, and later to take them down again.

The iconic tree can be seen from many points in Inner Southeast, and also from across the river to the west, including along a stretch of Interstate Five south of Downtown.

It came as a surprise that the lights did not appear on the tree this year at Thanksgiving, and possibly some wondered if it had something to do with the space around the tree this year officially becoming the Oaks Bottom Overlook “pocket park”. Happily, the answer to that question is “no”.

The problem is simply that on the weekend before Thanksgiving, when the lights were to be hung and the high-lift crane to help do it was on hand, the weather was too windy…that is, until a little later in the day, after the crane had left. So, it was put off for a week.

Then, obtaining the crane on a subsequent Saturday turned out to be a problem. As THE BEE was preparing to go to press, the convergence of volunteers, weather, and crane had not yet occurred.

Just in case the tree remains unlit as this issue of THE BEE reaches you, we provide, at right, a view of the tree from just last year – taken after sunset, with the lights of the tree reflecting in the waters of the Oaks Bottom Lagoon. It was taken by BEE correspondent David F. Ashton.

If the tree IS lit by the time you receive this, we hope you will nonetheless enjoy this photograph, and will reflect upon the “peace on Earth, goodwill to men” sentiment which the tree symbolizes each year.

May 2015 be a fine year for us all – each and every one.

Letters to the Editor

Salmon return to Crystal Springs Creek


Coho salmon are spawning in Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Creek this fall for the first time in decades. Salmon can find their way farther upstream because of recent projects to remove culverts that prohibited fish passage. Since 2008, Environmental Services has worked with several partners to remove seven Crystal Springs Creek culverts.

In October, Environmental Services fish biologist Melissa Brown used an underwater camera to capture video of a pair of wild coho salmon spawning just upstream from one of the culvert removal projects.

“This work has allowed wild salmon to return to the city for the first time in a generation,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “Crystal Springs Creek has Portland's best fish habitat, but it's been inaccessible to salmon for 40 years, until now.”

When the federal government listed Portland salmon and steelhead as threatened species in 1998, the Portland City Council directed Environmental Services to lead salmon recovery efforts. Environmental Services restoration projects not only improve water quality and manage high stream flows to protect public health and safety, but they also create inviting habitat that native salmon require.

Crystal Springs is an important tributary to Johnson Creek, which flows to the Willamette River. Its naturally cool and steady year-round flow provides ideal salmon and steelhead habitat. Native salmon have also been found in Johnson Creek as far upstream as Gresham.

Steelhead trout, coho and Chinook salmon spend part of their life cycle in Crystal Springs Creek. They migrate to the Pacific Ocean then return to their original spawning grounds where they lay and fertilize eggs, then die.

It's critical that observers keep their distance from spawning areas, keep dogs out of the creek, and do not disturb fish carcasses which provide nutrients essential to aquatic life.

Linc Mann
Portland Bureau of Environmental Svcs.


Victim needs financial help


On August 5, 25-year-old Kelsey Zionskowski got off of a TriMet bus onto S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard near S.E. River Road, a mile south of Sellwood. She was on her way home from work at Oregon Health Sciences University, where she is working as a Clinical Student Worker.

Kelsey walked to a crosswalk and was standing waiting to cross McLoughlin. She was struck in a hit-and-run incident by a southbound car when it left its lane of travel. Kelsey was seriously injured, with massive trauma to both legs. After being transported by AMR to OHSU, she lost her left leg. Her right leg was severely injured as well. She also suffered other injuries in the crash and will never fully recover. Several surgeries are still in her future.

Kelsey is a mother of a 5 year old son, Santino, and is also a medical student at Portland State University, majoring in Psychology.

Kelsey is facing overwhelming medical costs and needs help from the community. If you would like to donate to help Kelsey, an account has been set up at Clackamas Federal Credit Union in her name. You can donate in person at any branch of CFCU or you can mail a check to the Clackamas County Peace Officers' Benevolent Foundation at P.O. Box 678, Clackamas, 97015.

Donations are tax deductible and a tax receipt will be mailed to you promptly. Make your checks out to the CCPOBF and put “Kelsey” in the memo line. Or, to find branches of the Clackamas Federal Credit Union, go to their website at:

The Clackamas County Peace Officers
Benevolent Foundation


Visitor impressed by Woodstock’s “charrette”


As a visitor in Woodstock from Roanoke, Virginia, I very much enjoyed attending some of the October “charrette” sessions. The Woodstock neighborhood has huge potential for even greater achievements. Active neighborhoods are our best opportunity for quickly improving local life to benefit all people and the planet. Enlarging initiatives can be disorienting as new possibilities emerge. May the outcome of the charrette sessions be productive.

Pete Johnson Jr.
via e-mail


Speed enforcement on McLoughlin Blvd


I have just read the letter in the December BEE about a speed trap on McLoughlin Boulevard.

Your “Editor's Note” was incorrect.  The website tells me that the 11500 block is actually south of downtown Milwaukie, roughly at the sewage treatment plant.  There is no cross street there, and no building close to the road.

There is often a speed trap there for northbound traffic – McLoughlin is downhill approaching the River Road intersection, and traffic tends to be going faster than the speed limit of 40. The limit drops to 30 at River Road, and the railroad overpass provides a good hiding place for the radar car. I suspect the radar may be looking at southbound traffic also.

Keith Younger,
a long-time Oak Grove area resident

EDITOR’S NOTE: That location would be several blocks south of where we believed we saw an 11500 number on a building while driving McLoughlin to check out that letter. Since the Advantis Credit Union headquarters, located about where we thought we saw that number, is listed on its website as being at 10501 S.E. Main, and Main parallels McLoughlin, Mr. Younger may well be right. If so, the enforcement van the letter-writer deplored would still have been located just south of Sellwood, and a long distance north of the Oak Grove Fred Meyer store where the she believed that address was located. As a rule, it is good to observe the posted speed limit in and around the City of Milwaukie, since it is a lower limit than the ODOT-posted speed limit both north and south of the community on Highway 99E.

Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.

Darlene Violet Craig Evans
Darlene Violet Craig Evans

Darlene Violet Craig Evans

May 5, 1934 - December 4, 2014

Darlene Violet Craig Evans died peacefully with her family by her side on December 4, at age 80. Darlene was born in Milwaukie, Oregon, on May 5, 1934, and grew up in Milwaukie, spending her younger years at Wichita Elementary School, and then graduating from Milwaukie High School in 1952.

She was married to David Edward Evans, whom she met on the skating rink at Oaks Park in 1953. She always loved to tell the story of “falling” for him after seeing him spinning around in the middle of the rink and falling on his bottom with pennies flying all over the floor.

The pair traveled the West Coast for a number of years before settling in Oregon in 1975, and later living comfortably on Milwaukie Avenue at Bidwell Street in Sellwood from 1986 to 1997.

Darlene worked for several years at, and retired from, the Made In Oregon store. For the past 17 years Darlene had been running ACT Painting with her two oldest sons in Boring, Oregon.

Darlene's husband David passed away suddenly in 2006. Some of her fondest memories were spending time cruising the antique shops in Sellwood, and the many weekends spent listening to the organ music down at the Oaks Park skating rink.

Darlene is survived by sons David, Donald, Bill, Gary, and Johnny, daughter Deanna, and sister Donnis from Junction City. She had eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Darlene will be put to rest beside her husband David at Willamette National Cemetery.

Drew, Long Haired German Shepherd

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