From The Editor

Here comes the eclipse!

This month’s “From the Editor” is actually from Jennifer Anderson of our sister area-wide newspaper, the Portland Tribune, on the total solar eclipse on Monday morning, August 21, which is expected to draw a million visitors to Oregon to experience “totality” in the narrow strip that includes Salem and Corvallis, extending eastward through Eastern Oregon in its journey across the country. Here’s Jennifer:

Jim Todd of OMSI is more than a little excited for Oregon’s total solar eclipse. He’s been looking forward to it since 1979, when he was a senior in high school in Goldendale, Washington, and a total solar eclipse crossed over much of the Pacific Northwest.

“I’ve had that date in my mind since then, honestly,” says Todd, who is now the Director of Space Science Education at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – better known as OMSI – on S.E. Water Street, on the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Ross Island Bridge, and under the east end of the Marquam Bridge.

Professionally, he and his team at OMSI began planning for the eclipse three years ago, as the astronomy community – and then the general public – started buzzing about this rare solar phenomenon, which happens two to three times per year, but is only rarely visible in the U.S.

The “path of totality” will be 62 miles wide, starting when it touches land between Lincoln City and Newport on the Oregon coast, stretching southeastward to communities including Salem, Corvallis, Albany, Madras, John Day and Ontario before continuing its path across the U.S. toward South Carolina.

It’s the first time the fleeting but spectacular event has touched the U.S. mainland since 1979, and the first to span our entire continent since 1918.

During the two minutes of totality – between 10:15 a.m. and 10:27 a.m., depending upon where you are in Oregon – we’ll see what’s called the corona, the atmosphere of the sun, extending outward from behind the eclipsed sun. “It’s an absolute spectacle!” Todd exclaims. “You’ll have a glow. The only time you can see that is when the sun is blocked.”

People in that path of totality in Oregon will see it during just two minutes of total darkness before it sweeps southeast, traveling almost 3,000 miles per hour and crossing the state of Oregon in just nine minutes.

In 90 minutes, it will cross the entire U.S., from the West Coast to East Coast. “It’s the length of a movie,” Todd says. “I don’t recommend anyone go watch a movie during the eclipse. They’ll miss the whole thing.”

One million people are expected to come to Oregon for the event, since it's poised for the best weather and viewing conditions – and they’ll all try to be in the narrow strip of totality, south of Portland. Traffic experts have predicted that the monumental traffic jam on Interstate 5, Highway 99, and other major and minor roads in the path of totality, will resemble a day when both OSU and U of O are playing critical home football games at the same time, multiplied by ten.

If you think you can just get up on Monday morning, August 21, and spend an hour motoring down I-5 to get a glimpse of it, you may not get there in time. And you are warned it is illegal and dangerous to pull over on the freeway and get out if you are still stuck in traffic when it happens. It is also very dangerous to look straight at it without special protective eyewear; more about that in a moment.

Over the course of the past two years, hotels, campgrounds and events in the path of totality have largely sold out, with international travelers, astronomy geeks and curiosity seekers driving the traffic.

The Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, which Todd is spearheading for OMSI in Salem, sold out quickly with 8,000 attendees. The best thing to do now? Watch it from Portland, where you will still have 99 percent darkness. A good place to do that is at OMSI’s Front Plaza, where the viewing party will extend from 8 a.m. to noon. Refreshments will be available from the “Empirical Café”.

In Portland, the sky won't fall pitch black, but it will drop to what feels like an overcast day, with a small glow of blue sky at the top where the moon's silhouette almost completely covers the sun.

You will still need to wear solar eclipse viewing glasses, certified by the ISO or CE. “Never take those glasses off for a partial (eclipse) ever,” Todd warns. “That 1 percent can still permanently damage your eyes.” You can buy eclipse viewing glasses at OMSI’s Science Store, right up to the morning itself.

You may also be able to see Venus during the partial eclipse in Portland; Venus, Mars, and Mercury will be visible for total eclipse viewers down the valley.

“Oregon is not going to have ever seen anything like this before,” promises Todd, who’s been at OMSI for 33 years.

And, once you recover from this year’s eclipse, you can start planning for Oregon’s “annular” eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023. That's when a disc of the moon will be smaller than the sun, meaning that at what would otherwise have been totality, the sun will appear as a ring of fire in the sky. As if that couldn’t get any more spectacular, the center line will be over Crater Lake. “It's not totality,” Todd concedes, “but it’s still an amazing eclipse.”

For more about the upcoming eclipse on August 12, and a map of the area which will see “totality”, go online: -- and to focus more specifically on the mid-Valley:  

An online source for certified eclipse glasses:

Letters to the Editor
Fireworks, Sellwood Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, Bengston

Roof fireworks


Thought that you might care to use this photo that I took on 7/4 over on Sellwood Boulevard. I was watching the Oaks Park fireworks when I heard some “amateur” fireworks go off behind me, in the general vicinity of S.E. 9th and Sellwood Blvd.

I turned around to see these guys watching the Oaks Park fireworks from a rooftop, with the backyard fireworks going off behind them.

George Bengtson

EDITOR’S NOTE: In checking the specs from the fire department, those do not seem to be legal fireworks. Hmm. Nice photo composition by Mr. Bengtson, though.


Shop local – or risk losing what makes neighborhood great


Tom Dwyer Automotive Services is a proud independent business with a 30-year history in Sellwood. Like most other small businesses, we try to be a true neighbor by not just serving our clients but supporting neighborhood schools, organizations, events, and causes. In particular we have a long history of promoting “buying local” to create strong local economies. We think spending money with our neighbors helps our neighbors, provides the local and responsive services we need, and localizes economic power to build vibrant communities that benefit everyone. Our Sellwood neighborhood is a shining example of that “buy local” philosophy in action, but I’m writing because I see a threat to all we’ve built together here. On the other hand, I also see a solution.

The Sellwood we love is a tree-shaded paradise of homes, businesses, and parks, but the proliferation of high-occupancy apartments means construction, parking, and traffic problems for residents and businesses alike. Neighborhoods need close-by, available businesses and services just as much as trees and parks, but unrestrained building is forcing out many of the local businesses Sellwood depends on. Once these businesses leave it may be impossible to bring them back. Portland is allowing this building boom, at least in part, to create affordable housing in walkable neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it makes little sense to build high-occupancy housing under the assumption that people won’t need cars, and then deprive the neighborhood of the products and services they need within walking distance. It defeats the goals of the City’s plan, and will turn Sellwood into little more than a “bedroom community” for Portland.

If that’s the threat, what’s the solution? The most effective long-term fix would change the way the City of Portland handles construction, planning and zoning, but that’s too slow to help businesses struggling right now. The biggest thing we can do, something that will help RIGHT NOW, is for Sellwood neighbors to SUPPORT THEIR LOCAL BUSINESSES! Almost any product or service is available within a mile of Sellwood, so explore your LOCAL options, pick one, and go give them a try! The Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance has a list of Sellwood businesses of all types to choose from. They’ll appreciate your business and you’ll appreciate the convenience and personal service they provide. We’ll all finally appreciate them if they’re forced to leave!

Tom Dwyer Automotive and the other local businesses of our neighbors, families, and friends want to be here for Sellwood’s future, but ALL our local businesses depend on local patronage. That patronage has never been more important than now, as change and growth squeeze us all. We don’t have to lose what makes our neighborhood great, but keeping it demands our conscious choice and effort. Take time to treat yourself to one of the hundreds of businesses that makes Sellwood everything we love. We’re all here for you today, and with your support, we’ll all be here for you tomorrow.

Tom Dwyer


‘Thuggish behavior’ questioned


In the July issue of THE BEE, I noted two different headlines. The first, “Police, K-9s, FBI, airplane track Woodstock Wells Fargo armed robber” (pg. 5) went on to describe the suspect only as having “a full gray beard”. The second headline read “Armed thugs rob Powell Blvd. bar” (pg. 9), and as soon as I saw the word “thugs” being used, I suspected the suspects would be described as being Black, and sure enough, that was the case. Both articles describe crimes committed by armed men, but only one uses an adjective that has recently become used more commonly among White people to apply to young Black men.

In fact, the first article mentions color only in respect to the man’s beard, leaving readers to assume, apparently, that lack of description must default to White. If the White robber, who stole money with the aid of a semiautomatic pistol, is only described as being “armed”, why are Black robbers, using a knife and handgun, described as “armed thugs”? All are certainly criminals here, but Oregon’s shameful history of racism, and its continuing presence in our city and state, dictates that we should be aware of not just explicit but implicit racism. Next time, how about just calling them all “armed robbers”?

Celeste Searles Mazzacano
S.E. Knight Street, Woodstock


I usually enjoy reading the local paper and seeing what the neighborhood is up to. As usual I was reading THE BEE when I noticed an article titled "Armed Thugs rob Powell Blvd bar" what follows was a description of the robbers, who happened to be black. The use of the word thugs to describe black men is code and totally racist. I have never seen this word used to describe white criminals in Sellwood ever. I know Portland has a large white population but this is not an excuse to not understand how minorities are described and how words matter and have impact.

Patrick Beard

EDITOR’S NOTE: For our seventeen years as editor, we have regularly called “thugs” any armed robber, of ANY description, who beat up the person robbed (as in this case, per the article), or who victimized bystanders. Our dictionary defines “thug” as “a cruel or vicious ruffian”, so evidently our usage is correct. For seventeen years, this has drawn no comment. That we have now received two this time must be significant. We do not intend to ignore such behavior by any armed robber in our reporting simply as a courtesy to the robber, but are certainly willing to use another noun to describe it, and are open to suggestions of acceptable synonyms….?


Eastmoreland Golf Course Centennial


I appreciate your [historical] article on the Eastmoreland Golf course, one of my favorite courses. However, the article states that Eastmoreland was Oregon’s first golf links available for public use. Perhaps you really meant "Portland's first golf links available for public use." Gearhart Golf Course was established as an 18-hole course in 1913, a few years before Eastmoreland.

Steven Armbrust
via e-mail


Bicyclists and the rules of the road


I have lived in the Westmoreland neighborhood since 1984. Great neighborhood. I’ve walked my dogs since I’ve lived here. Now, unfortunately, it is not as safe to do so because of the bicyclists. Yes, some will stop reading at this point. I WAS an avid cyclist in the day, so I’m not a hater. I AM sick and tired of the vast majority of the cyclists not obeying the same rules of the road as pedestrians and cars.

Just this morning [July 8] I was crossing 17th at a corner. Two cars had stopped for me but the three road racers merely WAVED at me and then said “Thanks” for my patience. In fact, I had the right of way. Another time I was crossing and a car had stopped, but as I stepped out off the curb, a cyclist zipped past me and then flipped me off. Really? The driver of the car and I both shook our heads. I do understand not wanting to stop because many are trying to do their personal best, but come on, cyclists: You are given the same right of way as cars, but that means you need to obey the same road rules as cars. In case you don’t know, PEDESTRIANS always have the right of way, not cyclists. When a pedestrian is at a corner, not even in marked intersections, you need to STOP and follow the rules of the road.

One hears about cyclists being in accidents and often permanently changed, or dead. It seems the blame is always placed on the car. If a car must stop behind a semi with the sign, “If you can’t see my rear view mirrors, then I can’t see you,” so must cyclists. It’s for safety. Safety seems not to be the goal of the majority of cyclists I see on the road, but instead the creed, “I have just as much right as the cars do.” Well, when there is an accident between a vehicle and a cyclist, the big metal machine always wins.

Teach your children well, and follow the RULES of the road [on a bicycle – just] as you have the same privileges on the road as cars.

Phyllis Boyer
S.E. 19th Avenue


Historic District issue


More than seven months after Eastmoreland’s nomination for Historic District designation was submitted to Oregon’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the status of its future remains uncertain. The July 3 deadline arrived and with it, the news that the National Park Service (NPS) was returning the nomination to SHPO because it was incomplete. And now, a lawsuit filed against the state by Tom Brown is preventing SHPO from conducting a count of owners and objections. There are things we know and things we don’t know at this point. Daily I am asked where things stand so, because SHPO cannot provide answers, I will.

Most importantly, we know that the majority of Eastmoreland supports the Historic District. We know this because responses to the nomination (in the form of objections and rescissions) are a matter of public record. Since December, opponents have garnered a lot of objections, but it’s still a minority of the property owners in the proposed Historic District. Though there’s still uncertainty around the process, if we look at the list of owners assembled by SHPO from May 15, 2017, cross-referenced with all submitted objections and rescissions we find…

Total number of Owners: 2,052

Majority (50%+1): 1,027

Objections: 1,022

Rescissions: 66

Net Objections: 956

The net number of objections represents only 46.6% of the owners and therefore falls short of a majority.

There are also things we don’t know at this time. We do not know when SHPO will conduct an official tally of owners and objectors. When this happens, it will likely change all the above numbers, but probably not the end result which is that a majority of Eastmoreland residents in the proposed Historic District boundary support the HD.

We also do not know how the lawsuit against the state will be resolved or whether individuals in the minority who oppose the HD will bring additional lawsuits. Up to this point, there was speculation about what the majority wanted. But we know this now, and efforts to thwart the desire of the majority using lawsuits, lobbyists and legislation will only delay closure on this phase of Eastmoreland’s pursuit of Historic District designation. Let us all insist on answers from SHPO and a swift resolution so that the NPS can formally respond and we can move forward as a neighborhood.

Derek Blum

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.

Norma Gabriel
Norma Gabriel

Norma “Kitty” Gabriel
Dec. 29, 1933 – May 10, 2017

83-year-old Sellwood resident died May 10 from injuries she suffered being hit by a FedEx van turning into the Milwaukie Transit Center

Norma Kathleen “Kitty” Gabriel is fondly remembered by all who knew the strong and witty woman from Sellwood; despite a disability that would have made many people homebound, she regularly made trips on TriMet to her favorite exercise facility in Milwaukie.

Gabriel, 83, died May 10 at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital from injuries she had suffered being struck by a FedEx van. The widow and mother of two was in the crosswalk at the Milwaukie Transit Center on her way to catch a bus home on April 26 when she received the fatal injuries.

On June 25, FedEx driver Jason James Fletcher (of Lake Oswego) pleaded “no contest” and paid a $260 for failing to yield to Norma Gabriel in that accident.

Despite suffering from progressively crippling scoliosis, Gabriel was a hero to many throughout Milwaukie and Sellwood-Westmoreland for the high level of activity and independence that she maintained, through her mastery of the TriMet public-transit system. Although bent over by her increasingly curved spine, Norma Gabriel pulled a rolling suitcase to help her balance, which also carried her swimsuit and towel between her home in Sellwood and the Nelson's Nautilus Plus facility in Milwaukie.

“She got around in a heroic way,” said Pete Walker, who lives near the Gabriel household in Sellwood. “She was quite the character, and it was just tragic what happened to her.”

According to several interviews with her friends, Gabriel was never heard complaining about her physical condition. She was known for her a wonderful sense of humor – more wit, than anything else – someone who made light of the travails of life.

“I finally had to get out; I couldn’t stand my own company,” Gabriel remarked after the January snow. Her jokes – and her loud laughter that followed – were a treat for fellow church members, TriMet passengers, and members of Nelson’s Nautilus Plus Milwaukie.

Nelson’s Nautilus member, and former State Representative, Carolyn Tomei said she and many others would not have found out about Gabriel’s death if it weren't for a flyer posted at the exercise club. Nelson’s Nautilus Plus Milwaukie Manager Angie Reynolds attended the celebration of life for Gabriel in Sellwood, and copied and posted one of the handouts for funeral attendees.

“Norma really made an impact around here to a lot of people,” Reynolds reflected. “She really got around the community in a positive way, and it’s so sad to not have her around.”

Gabriel loved tending her garden, particularly the hybrid roses grafted by her deceased father, John. She also enjoyed crossword puzzles, Scrabble, card games, and clipping coupons. She frequently donated food or toiletries to those she deemed less fortunate.

Gabriel regularly volunteered at St. Agatha’s Catholic Church in Sellwood, where she served as a greeter at services. Active in the St. Agatha’s Altar Society, she worked often at the church’s Adoration Chapel and Thrifty Cottage.

The church’s pastor, Father Nathan Zodrow, knew her personally, and gave a moving service at the May 20 celebration of life, according to Reynolds. A brief reception followed at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Gabriel was born Dec. 29, 1933, in Huron, South Dakota, the third child of John Kott and Bertha May Ayres. When she was 8, her family moved to Portland.

After she graduated from Washington High School, she married Virley Thurman Gabriel, Jr, on Nov. 14, 1953, at the Ascension Catholic Church in Portland. Her husband died June 14, 1977, in Portland.

She is survived by her son, Michael (wife, Debbie) Gabriel of Portland; her daughter Marilyn (husband, LeRoy) Gabriel Mills of McLean, Virginia; her grandchild Michelle Mills; several sisters-in-laws; a brother in-law; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family thanked the dedicated personnel in the OHSU intensive care unit for the great care they provided Gabriel in her final days after being struck by the vehicle in downtown Milwaukie.

In accordance with Gabriel’s wishes, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Agatha’s Preservation Fund, 1430 S.E. Nehalem Street, Portland OR 97202. Raymond Rendleman


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