THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

The pace of change, in the news business

Two centuries ago, news arrived on horseback or via ship. People learned what had happened a month or two before, and that was news, because they hadn’t heard about it till then.

A century ago, the telegraph was a novelty – but quickly became essential, because news could travel at the speed of light, as long as there was a wire to carry it there, as well as a Morse Code expert to convert it to words. Abraham Lincoln was famously the first President able to wage war with up-to-date and accurate information: Telegraph lines were strung up to hot air balloons for instant information on battlefield conditions and enemy placement.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, the first experiments with electromagnetic waves – radio, they called it – freed news reports from wires. Robert Sarnoff, later the Chairman of RCA and NBC, became famous as a young radio operator by intercepting and reporting, from atop a building in New York, ship radio transmissions concerning the sinking of the Titanic.

Commercial radio broadcasting began in the early 1920’s, and television was getting started by the late 1930’s.

It’s now the Twenty-First Century. Throughout all this period of change, newspapers have stayed pretty much the same. They were the easiest and most widely-distributed way of getting the news, and for a time they managed to prevent broadcasters from ready access to the newswire services. When they failed at that, however, broadcasters turned out not to be the threat they feared, since news was not a high-priority service for them, and was commonly presented in short capsules and only at long intervals.

The U.S. Defense Department changed all that when, with the help of a few major universities, it developed the Arpanet – which later became the Internet. (The U.S. Defense Department also developed GPS, originally to help precisely locate troops anywhere in the world. Has any other defense department developed such compelling consumer products?!?)

With the Internet, people began to gain direct access to news around the world, and as they put aside computers in favor of smartphones, increasingly they are getting access to the news wherever they are, even before news professionals. Unfortunately, they are also gaining access to propaganda, false news reports, and inaccurate gossip, too. The news media still does have a role curating and putting into perspective the actual news, if they choose to.

So where does that leave newspapers? This quandary has led to some odd decisions by the print media. One large metropolitan daily newspaper, for example, has chosen to print its editions seven days a week, same as before, but to deny its paid subscribers access to more than four of them. The result of that is that they have taught their devoted paid readers that they can live without their daily newspaper, and some no longer subscribe; yet meanwhile these folks continue to print three newspapers a week for newsstand distribution that have little if any advertising in them, since advertisers know most of the readers are not seeing those issues.

What leads to such decisions? In this case, apparently the belief that they are better off getting their readers to read their newspaper on the Internet, and apparently they are trying to force them to do that. However, their paid subscribers tended to be older, and value the experience of reading a hard copy of the paper, and do not want to read it on the Internet.

Since most of this daily newspaper’s advertising remains in their print editions, whether this is a sound strategy or not remains to be seen.

Here in Portland, our own company’s flagship newspaper, the Portland Tribune, has taken an opposite tack – updating the local news on a daily basis on its Internet website, and then offering in print semi-weekly summaries of the most important and compelling stories. They thus serve both the electronic and the hard-copy readers, and have doubled the number of issues printed every month, just this past year.

In the case of THE BEE, we are proud that we have very high readership of our print editions – all 20,000 of them printed each month, with 16,500 distributed by mail – and that our parent company estimates we have over 46,000 readers to every issue each month. And we seem to be growing. Are we a fluke?

Maybe. But THE BEE does have a different approach than most newspapers, in that our editor comes from radio broadcasting, and applies radio broadcasting principles to this newspaper. One of these principles is that “filler” news items and different “sections” are out. Only stories that can be justified as being of interest specifically to BEE readers are considered; the paper presents basically nothing but hyper-local news from one end to the other – and we ask our readers to help us with this mission, through their letters to the editor and other contributions. 

To succeed, we believe, this newspaper needs to fill a unique need – which is to provide the full spectrum of what happens here in Inner Southeast Portland each month, and to ignore what happens elsewhere. By so specializing in what we do best, THE BEE offers a unique news service not available elsewhere.

We, the oldest newspaper in our group, were actually the first newspaper in it to offer its own website – www.readthebee.com, which started in 2001, and which still carries the stories in each monthly BEE. However, when Community Newspapers Inc./Pamplin Media developed a master website service for all two dozen of its Oregon newspapers, THE BEE was included, and our stories also appear each month online at www.thebeenews.com

Why keep our original website around? Well, it still offers a different way of consuming the same stories, and we have heard from readers – as well as from a noted national web advertising expert, just recently – that the old site is particularly friendly for smartphone users. So, two sites, two purposes.

Nobody in the print business has all the answers in this rapidly changing media landscape, but all two dozen of our weekly and monthly newspapers at Community Newspapers/Pamplin Media believe we have some of them, and we are listening hard to hear what you want us to do better.

In the meantime, we are proud that you are in the readership of this one – one of the most resilient little newspapers in the country.

We and our advertisers thank you.

And we’re listening.


Letters to the Editor
Dog rescue
Ms. May captured the whole rescue in pictures – and this one shows Barney emerging from the brambles to greet the boys.

Dog rescued near river, in Sellwood

Editor,

Barney was missing for several days before neighbors discovered he was trapped in the blackberry brambles along the river. It took hours for neighbors to prune the tangled hedge, and create a tunnel in order to try and coax Barney out. Barney was offered water and treats, but did not budge from his den in the brambles, until his owner's two little boys showed up and joyously called to him. When he saw and heard them, Barney quickly emerged from the hedge and eagerly greeted the boys. It was a very happy reunion in Sellwood on Saturday, September 16th, at around 1:30 pm.

Jeanne May
via e-mail

Crossing Milwaukie Ave. in north Westmoreland

Editor,

I believe this topic was raised by a reader of THE BEE some time ago, but I hope to reignite this issue and better understand how to address it, if you please...

As any runner, walker, skateboarder, skipper, wheelchair driver, bicyclist, or tall bicyclist is aware, crossing S.E. Milwaukie Avenue north of Tolman Street in Westmoreland is often a very difficult task – particularly now that some commuters are opting to take the Ross Island Bridge in an effort to avoid the backups on the Sellwood Bridge.

With many great local services and businesses; wonderful nearby schools, daycares, and farmers markets – and the oh-so popular Oaks Bottom Park/Wildlife Refuge and Springwater Corridor Trail – in conjunction with ever more limited parking, many Westmorelanders are walking or biking or strolling around the neighborhood. Inevitably, they will have to patiently (or frustratingly) wait to cross S.E. Milwaukie at some point.

Personally, this had a daily impact in my routine for years, but it was manageable and, to be honest, commuters seemed more willing then to pause for a pedestrian. Now my husband and I walk our baby girl to and from daycare, with no crosswalks allowing us to safely cross Milwaukie. And, with sincere respect to all the commuters who battle traffic getting to work and who are eager to get to home to their own pets and families, [nonetheless] my family and I have few opportunities to cross this road in a prompt, calm, and safe manner. In this daily dilemma, we have learned that many of our neighbors experience the same struggles under similar circumstances, hence the hope of highlighting this issue once again.

I am eager to hear the extent that others, both commuters and pedestrians, feel about adding another crosswalk or two along S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. Rather than fighting for lights, signs, bells, and whistles – can we all agree that a simple crosswalk on heavily pedestrian-traveled portions of this road will not pose too many problems or delays for commuters, and will tremendously help pedestrians safely get to their destination?

Brooke K. Howard, Ph.D.
via e-mail


Sellwood Post Office

Landscaping? What landscaping?

Editor,

Why is the Sellwood-Moreland Post Office letting the bushes get so overgrown that one cannot even read the sign?

Mike and Carol Korgan
via e-mail


                             More about Sellwood Pool House roof

Editor,

I would like to thank Susan Armstrong in the August edition of THE BEE for echoing my concern for the roof of the pool house. As a contractor who has been in the business since 1980, it has been for quite some time evident to my eyes that that roof has been in dire condition. The degree to which it has been allowed to become degraded would, however, hardly require a contractor to recognize.

The individuals at the city who make decisions about maintenance have made sure that the maximum cost will be paid when inevitably the job gets tackled. I fear that by now the project will not be limited to just the roof itself, but to the historic wood roof trusses as well as other damage. Apparently funds have been available to put in some fancy rockwork gardens nearby, albeit from corporate donors. Those donor funds would have been more wisely directed towards the preservation of what is the single most critical part of this historic building. It cannot be stressed enough how the city in its apparent negligence has allowed the cost of this repair to magnify to perhaps double what it should have been.

I tend to be a fairly liberal supporter of all the urban infrastructure that our tax dollars pay for, but when such inexcusable neglect results in a significantly inflated cost expenditure, I say it's no wonder that so many if our citizens are cynical about government. Sadly, the result is even less dollars to pay for important things like this. The city’s performance here, to me, is nothing short of inexcusable. 

Owen Steere
S.E. 8th


EDITOR’S NOTE: Again, the Parks Department states that the pool house roof, and the other badly degraded roof in Sellwood Park, are to be repaired if the Parks Bond is renewed at the next election. Its supporters point out that this would continue the existing funding, rather than raise any taxes.

Concerned about housing trends in Southeast

 Editor,


I was interested to see that neighbors were getting involved trying to block demolition of the house on S.E. Rural. I am hoping that this signals the beginning of a real movement to take back our neighborhoods. For some reason people are expecting help from city government, but Hales and the Portland Bureau of Development are the ones who have made the rules that are destroying our quality of life. He has championed neighborhood density for years, why should he want to change the zoning that has been so carefully put in place to make us wall to wall with no place for a tree or blade of grass? Portland, the city of trees, what a joke.

How can we expect help from people who make a rule stating that if you leave one wall standing from a demolition, you don’t need most of the building permits you would otherwise need for building codes? How about splitting lots? Who made that possible? How about new apartment buildings in busy neighborhoods with no parking? If put to a vote, who do you think would vote for such a stupid idea? 

Between the Slivers, the McMansions and the apartment buildings with no parking we will soon be elbow to elbow, and if you call and ask about building codes for new structures you will be told, as I was, that our codes are average with the rest of the nation. Average. Thank you Charlie Hales and the Portland Bureau of Development for making contractors adhere to codes that are average.

Seriously, Hales and the contracting companies will continue to do more and more damage unless we put a stop to it. We need to get referendums on the ballot to save our quality of life. Why do we need density? Is it so contractors can continue to build and line their pockets? I have yet to hear a reason for needing to house everyone who thinks they want to live here. Either buy what is here or go somewhere else. Where is Wayne Morse when you need him?

Teddi Carbonneau
S.E. Ogden


EDITOR’S NOTE: In fairness, it should be pointed out that the rule that if any wall of an existing structure on a site is left standing, it is considered a “remodel” and not a teardown, has been accepted throughout Oregon for decades. If Portland actually restricts this procedure to requiring at least half the building remain for it to be considered a “remodel” and not new construction, that would indeed be a substantial change from standard practice in Oregon.

 

Bike thefts continue in Eastmoreland

 Editor,


At 5:30 am on September 2nd, I was the victim of bike theft from my Eastmoreland garage. Unfortunately, the side-door had been left unlocked. The thieves opened my gate, invaded my breezeway, went into the garage and moved some recycling, in order to lift an unlocked bike that was hanging high in the rafters over my car. If my dog had not barked and alerted me, they could have climbed on my car, dented it, and taken two other bikes! The dog scared them off; I now call her my “bike saver”. 

I reported this incident to the police [non-emergency number], and 40 minutes later the responding officer told me that I should have called 911 instead, because – however insignificant I may have thought a bike theft was – the police could have attempted to apprehend these thieves.

Lock your garages. Lock your bikes, strollers, and carriers. Thieves use strollers and carriers to transport stolen goods. Don’t think that on recycling day, the noise you hear outside is the can and bottle collectors. And, write down the serial numbers of your bikes, and mark your property – so if your items show up at the police warehouse, you can claim them.

(Name withheld by request)
Eastmoreland


Rotary, PolioPlus, S.E. Portland Rotary
At its weekly noon meeting of September 8, at the Eastmoreland Golf Course Clubhouse, Southeast Portland Rotary’s members, guests, two sponsored Exchange Students, and District Governor Doug Taylor (standing at far left), all joined for a group photo showing – with a pinch of the fingers – how close Rotary’s “PolioPlus” worldwide vaccination campaign now is to ending the dread disease polio forever.

Rotary “this close” to ending polio forever

Editor,

In 1985, “Rotary International” promised every child a world free from the threat of polio. Since then, the number of countries that continue to be polio-endemic has declined from over 125 to just four countries.

It hasn't been easy. Rotary, its local clubs worldwide, and its partners, will have invested over $1.2 billion in the effort. And that doesn't include the money spent by individual Rotarians in travel and the value of time spent to personally inoculate children in those nations.

But all that money and all the time will be wasted if we don't complete the task of eradicating polio in the remaining nations – including Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria now.

Since 2003, polio virus outbreaks have spread to 27 previously polio-free countries. Thankfully, most outbreaks have been stopped. But the fact remains, so long as polio virus exists anyplace in the world, it is a threat to every nation in the world. In a global economy, polio is only a plane ride away.

The eradication of polio remains urgent! As Bill Gates said, in announcing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s challenge grant, “[Rotary has] to keep all these immunizations going as long as there’s any of the disease spreading within a region. We’re pretty close to the end on polio. Time makes so much difference.”

Since 1985, the Rotary Club of Southeast Portland has donated over $100,000 to this effort, and it continues to do so today. Those who attend the club’s annual Wreath Auction in Woodstock and other fundraising events are helping the world reach this goal.

Kathy Stromvig
S.E. Portland Rotary Club

via e-mail

 

Sewer repairs moving into Sellwood and Westmoreland

Editor,

I want to remind BEE readers that the Bureau of Environmental Services will begin construction on the Sellwood and Westmoreland Sewer Repair Project in late October. The project will replace approximately 25,000 feet of public sewer pipes in the neighborhood that are between 84 and 104 years old, and failing due to age. The work will also include repairing and constructing service laterals that connect houses and businesses from the curb to the public sewer in the street. Taking these actions now will help protect the public and the environment – by reducing the possibility of costly breaks, leaks, blockages and sewage releases to homes, businesses and streets.

In the coming weeks, city staff or contractors will be surveying, marking, and moving utility lines, and trimming trees throughout the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood to prepare for construction. Door-hanger notices will be posted a few days before work starts on each street. The construction will create noise, vibration, dust, and traffic impacts. Some equipment and materials may need to be stored on city streets. On-street parking in the work area will be prohibited during work hours.

Typical construction hours will be 7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, with occasional work on Saturday if needed. The contractor will work at night to complete the pipe lining in several locations. Those living nearby will be notified in advance of this night work.

A map of the project area and more information about the project is available online at: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/sellwoodmoreland. A project schedule will also be posted online. During construction, regular e-mail updates will be sent to keep you posted about the schedule, construction activities, possible traffic detours and delays, parking restrictions, and other impacts. We encourage you to sign up now to receive updates by e-mailing: amy@loisdcohen.com – with “Sellwood-Moreland” in the subject line.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is grateful for your cooperation during this project. Please let us know if you have concerns regarding business operations, disability issues, medical or business deliveries, or other matters, by contacting me. 

Amy Higgs
503/975-7073
amy@loisdcohen.com

 

Keep Inner Southeast walkable

Editor,

I recently moved back to the Sellwood neighborhood and was looking forward to enjoying such a wonderful, walkable area. While on my walks and jogs, I have noticed a variety of landscaping and fun yard decorations, but I’ve also noticed a large number of yards with plants that seem to be creeping onto and above the sidewalks. The city does require this sort of property maintenance (Title 29 of Portland City Code: “Property Maintenance Regulations”). Neighbors should be encouraged to take a fresh look at their own their yards, to see if that lovely lavender has crept across half of the sidewalk or possibly the shady tree has a stray branch right at eye level.

While we are checking the areas around our own home, we could also check in on the yards of neighbors, and lend a hand if they are unable to maintain the sidewalk area in front of their home.

Lorie Leeson
via e-mail

 

Friends of Trees anniversary 

Editor,

I would like to let THE BEE’s readership know that this year is Friends of Trees’ 25th Anniversary! To celebrate, FoT is offering street trees for only $25, while supplies last. That makes it even easier to bring all the benefits of trees to your planting strip – shade, clean air, wildlife habitat, and more. If you have any questions please send me an e-mail at: sellwood@plantitportland.org.

Chris Dunning
via e-mail


Nesbitt's sign, Woodstock, New Seasons

History revealed – and removed

Editor,

As the buildings were torn down to make way for the New Seasons on 45th and

Woodstock Boulevard, an old Nesbitt's Orange soda sign was revealed on the side of what had been Putter’s Bar & Grill (08/18/2014).

The next day it was all gone! 

Ray Taylor
S.E. Tolman Street
 

Dislikes THE BEE

Editor,

I used to read THE BEE and thought it to be a decent neighborhood newspaper, but your front-page article about the [drowning] death of Mario Martinez was completely insensitive and unnecessary. When I saw it, I instantly felt sick to my stomach and hoped Mario’s closest friends would not see it. Instead of showing a picture of the painful moments following his death for those closest to him to relive, why didn’t you show a picture of his always smiling face? THE BEE had a chance to honor a fine young man but instead printed an article that was an insult to friends and family.

Brenda Gunderson
S.E. 33rd Avenue

EDITOR’S NOTE: We had hoped the article would call attention to the considerable danger of swimming in the Willamette River; even on a hot summer day, the water is cold enough to incapacitate, and swimmers braving it should at minimum wear a flotation device. The facts we presented were those we gained on the scene – both of the drowning, and the later recovery – and from the police and fire spokespersons. We had no access to such a photo of Mario as you suggest, or we would have included it in the story; and we regret that this swimming incident led to a needless death. The photo we chose presented, we thought, the compassion of the Station 20 firefighters who lent the young man emotional support.

 

Likes THE BEE

Editor,

Having just received and thoroughly read the September 2014 issue of THE BEE, I thought it was time I sent you an e-mail telling you what a great paper this is and how much I enjoy reading it every month. It always has articles about things I’ve not seen elsewhere, although I read four or five papers a week.

So, thank you providing us with such an excellent source of our neighborhood news.

Regina Hannon

via e-mail

 

With the approach of winter…

Editor,

As the weather cools, the Psalm 139 Prayer Shawl Ministry at All Saints Episcopal Church invites the knitters and those who crochet in the community to join in making hats and/or scarves to give to those in need. On November 22 we hope to give each of our Hot Meal guests a hand knitted or crocheted hat and scarf. This is a good way to use your yarn scraps and help someone less fortunate. There is greater need for masculine colors than feminine colors. 

Due to the generosity of the community in the last two years, this project has been a big success. Please help again this year. You may drop hats and/or scarves in the basket located at the church office Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 2:30 pm. The church address is 4022 SE Woodstock Boulevard.

If you are in need of some yarn scraps or would like more information, please call the Church Office at 503-777-3829 during office hours. Thank you to each of you knitters and crocheters! 

Bev Curtis, Psalm 139 Prayer Shawl Ministry,
All Saints Episcopal Church
via e-mail

Back in the running

Editor,

I want everyone to know it’s back – the annual Sellwood 5K is Sunday, October 19, 2014 (9:30 a.m. Kids fun 1K run/walk, 10:00 a.m. run/walk time). This is a family-friendly and fun community event benefiting the Sellwood Middle School Foundation. All proceeds go to funding educational staff for our amazing Middle School! The run/walk starts and ends at Sellwood Middle School looping through the Springwater Corridor. Come and get your personal best 5K time, or just take the kiddies on a super fun 1K (free for ages 8 and under,) to show your support of public education. We are so lucky to have a public school that can offer vibrant electives and a well-rounded curriculum; we couldn’t do this without our amazing, supportive community of residents and businesses. To everyone in the area – please come and join in the fun!

Monica Harding, on behalf of the SMS Foundation
https://Sellwoodmiddle.ejoinme.org/sellwood5K



Thanks to all involved in Sundae in the Park!


Editor,

This summer’s Sundae in the Park on August 3rd was a resounding success, due to the hard work of dozens of volunteers and donations from many businesses and organizations in the SMILE neighborhood!

Dana Beck did a wonderful job of coordinating talent on the stage – including Celtic music (Darby O’Gill duo), tricks and illusions (magician/comedian Hart Keene), songs of the 70's (Jam Iz On), and music for every taste (The Noted). Guy Yankovitch and his crew from Audio Visual Productions provided top quality sound for the artists.

Numerous crafts and information booths provided activities for adults and kids. Booth participants included: “Giggles” the Clown, Fred Meyer Boys & Girls Club, Sellwood Community Center, St. Vincent DePaul Society, Portland Waldorf School, Violet Garden Preschool, Multnomah County Library, the 40-Mile Loop Project, the Oregon Zoo's Zap program, Christ Church Sellwood, and Beth the butterfly & bird lady. SMILE committees with displays included: SNAC, Land-Use, History, Emergency Preparedness, and the SMILE raffle and information table.

SMILE would like to thank the following businesses for donating fabulous prizes for the raffle and BINGO games: Grand Central Bakery, The Moreland Theater, Mike's Drive-In, Blue Kangaroo, Tilde, The Savory Spice Shop, Real Deals, PDX Sellwood-Moreland Sliders, UglyMug Coffee House, Yarntastic Fiber Arts, Wallace Books, New Seasons Market and Sellwood Dog Supply and Cat Annex. Thanks to QFC Market for special help on the day itself. Local churches lending help with setup and recycling included Adsideo and Eckankar.

Besides the delicious ice cream sundaes served by the able-bodied men and women of the S.E. Rotary Club (the freezers worked a little too well!) – pizza, Polish dogs, hot dogs, and hamburgers were provided by Papa Murphy’s and the Meals on Wheels people. The food for the Meals on Wheels booth was donated by local vendors, allowing for a more successful fundraiser for them (they also received proceeds from the Ice Cream Sundae sales).

Businesses lending invaluable assistance included Heiberg Garbage & Recycling, Umpqua Dairy, The UPS Store on Tacoma Street, Barbur Rentals, Umpqua Bank, and Rent-A-Center (Foster Road). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

An event of this size (2,000++) takes organization and coordination with Portland Parks and the City of Portland. Thanks go to the Park Bureau staff, especially David Chen, for coordinating stage setup, the climbing wall, and the movie night schedule, as well as Betsy Redfearn for staffing the park with park attendants. Park permits and noise variances were arranged by neighbor, and past Sundae in the Park coordinator, Pam Orser.

The SMILE Board stepped in and assisted with various tasks as zero hour approached, and helped staff the SMILE tables. We appreciate the help of: Gail Hoffnagle, Eric Norberg, Pat Hainley, Corinne Stefanick, Nancy Champlin, Ellen Burr, Miriam Erb, Mat Millenbach, and Brian Posewitz – hard working residents!

And last, but certainly not least – a very grateful thank-you to the SELLWOOD-WESTMORELAND BUSINESS ALLIANCE for stepping up and sponsoring the entire cost of the Movie in the Park, which followed Sundae in the Park! Attendance figures were estimated at 800+ people who stayed to watch “Back to the Future” under the stars!

Great summer, great event – see you next year!

The Sundae in the Park Committee
SMILE neighborhood association


CORRECTION

We are informed that the article “Trees Trimmed” in the September BEE, which reported on the process used by PGE to clear tree limbs that could interfere with power lines, carried an incorrect number for the PGE “Tree Hotline”, and that the correct number is 503/542-8818. We regret the error.




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.


 


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