From The Editor

Free broadcast TV an endangered species?

Broadcasting, in the United States, has been free and ad-supported almost from the beginning, when radio station licenses began being issued in 1921 – although provisions for noncommercial operation have been present from the beginning as well.

Indeed, we have one of the oldest radio stations in the country right here in Portland. It’s one of the very longest-owned by a single entity, too:  KBPS 1450 AM, the Portland Public Schools station at Benson High, started broadcasting on March 23, 1923, and it has been owned by PPS since a year or so after that. (Benson students held bake sales to buy it from the radio repair shop which put it on the air, and they then donated it to the school district.)

When TV was getting started, just before WWII, 14 VHF channels were allocated to the service – although Channel 1 was deleted shortly after that when it proved to have interference problems, so now the TV band starts in the United States with Channel 2.

As demand for TV grew after the war, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added the UHF band – Channels 14 through 83. The first TV station in Portland was also the very first licensed UHF station in the world, KPTV Channel 27; it later moved down to Channel 12.

The UHF band was very slow to succeed, but the FCC stuck with it until relatively recently when – somewhat ironically – as more and more stations went on the air, the federal agency began to chip away at the available channels. It was mostly done in order auction the TV frequencies off to fill Federal coffers, and provide more bandwidth for cellular services.

The first reduction took the top of the UHF band, down from Channel 83 to Channel 69. The second one chopped it down to end the TV band at Channel 51.

Now, the FCC is engaged in a lengthy process to whack it down further – cutting the top channel to potentially as low as Channel 36. (Channel 37 is permanently restricted for radio astronomy purposes only, although in today’s new digital TV world, stations are free to say they are on Channel 37, or any channel higher than 51, just as long as they are using other authorized frequencies.)

The current years-long “reverse auction” process is designed to get TV stations to give up their channels for cash, so these channels can be auctioned off to wireless companies. The auction process so far suggests that fewer channels will be given up than the FCC had expected, but we won’t know for at least a year or more what the outcome will be.

TV stations wanting to remain in business may be required to move to lower frequencies to make room for the new wireless services, even though they may still say they are on the channel number you know them by. Moving from one transmitter frequency to another is usually a very expensive process for the stations involved.

The FCC has hinted in the past that since fewer people watch free TV with an antenna than used to, it would be more efficient for stations simply to provide service through cable and satellite systems, and clear the broadcast frequencies for wireless services – but, the fact is that ever since the transition to digital TV broadcasting several years ago, the trend has reversed – and more and more people are going back to free broadcast TV.

After all, not only are digital TV pictures perfect, even if your receiving antenna is less than great – if you can get the station at all, it will be like a photograph – but digital broadcasting permits TV stations to broadcast extra channels within their assigned channel space.

One station here is broadcasting SEVEN different channels in the space of just one – and one of these is in high definition. Other local stations have more than one high definition service in one channel space, plus at least one standard definition channel. You can get well over 40 channels, free right off an antenna, here in Portland right now, with probably more coming.

So, the audience for free broadcast television is really growing. However, the government, having discovered it can make tons of one-time money auctioning off channel space that it used to grant to broadcasters for relatively little money, wants more space to auction – and the wireless companies are not yet tired of paying for it.

The outcome is still uncertain, but the fact that existing TV stations have a license to broadcast in the public interest creates a problem in auctioning off their space, and that’s why the current tedious FCC “reverse auction” includes selling off the TV frequencies for enough money to pay off any broadcasters willing to get off the air – while still leaving lots of bucks for the government. The remaining stations will then be “repacked” again, in what’s left of the TV band.

If you would like to see some of the TV band left for broadcasters – and more importantly, for the viewers who prefer to get local TV for free from an antenna – you might want to let your Senators and Representatives in Congress know about it.

In the meantime, if you are one of those off-the-air viewers, and if you haven’t “re-scanned for channels” lately, you really should.

You will probably find that there are some new channels available to you now in Portland that you didn’t know about, and which you might like!

Letters to the Editor

More opinions on Eastmoreland “Historical District”


In the latest issue of the Eastmoreland newsletter, Robert McCullough argues that putting the neighborhood into a national historic district would “preserve the character of the area” with little cost to current residents. He might have a point about the costs: Historic designation would be cost-free for some people – like him. You see, in an historic district, it’s very difficult and sometimes impossible to make changes to the outside of your home. Exterior changes are generally prohibited. But McCullough isn’t planning any changes of that sort. It’s “unthinkable,” he says, to alter the look of his “Jameson [sic] Parker”-designed house. And he’s already built an “accessory unit” in back, demolishing the existing structure, so he could build something much larger – a two-story, two-car, combined garage and office. He's now content with how his house looks and functions – at least on the outside. So he needn’t worry about the restrictions that historic designation would impose on remodeling and re-landscaping.

Life in an historic district would not be so pleasant for everyone else in the neighborhood. If you live there and are still planning some home improvements, as your family grows, an ailing parent moves in, or you save enough for your home office, you should be concerned – very concerned – about historic designation. The restrictions on exterior changes would, of course, limit your ability to make interior changes as well. How do you add a bedroom upstairs, if you can’t adjust the roof line? Enlarge the breakfast nook, if you can’t move an outside wall? Turn your garage into a garage-office combo, if you can’t make the structure bigger overall?

Even when exterior changes are possible, you still have to go through a “review” process with the city to make sure your plan complies with the district’s new “design standards”, which are rules about style that, in at least one Portland historic district, go so far as to regulate house colors. Those rules might not suit your taste, even if they please the eyes of people who appreciate a really good Jamieson Parker.The review process could take a long time – maybe months, if the city, a neighbor, or the neighborhood association doesn’t like what you’ve got planned and lodges objections. And it could get be expensive too. For example, if your old garage "contributes" to the historic district – and, being old, it probably does – the fees for review of plans to replace it with a new structure – to do what McCullough did – would be over $8,902, according to the city official in charge. And the plan would probably be turned down. The odds of that are so great that the same official “strongly advises” people not even to try to get permission to replace a “contributing” garage.

Make no mistake about it, historic designation would not be painless for everyone in Eastmoreland. It might be for those who've already fixed up their homes, but not for others. There might be winners, but there would be losers.

Tom Christ


I live in Eastmoreland and have enjoyed THE BEE for the 35-plus years I’ve been here. I am glad to hear that the ENA and critics of the proposed Historical Neighborhood plan can talk to each other in a civilized way [Sept. BEE, front page].

But I find the arguments that the critics put forward are mainly based on ignorance of what would really happen. I was particularly interested in the letter [to the editor] by Chris Chen [Sept. BEE] about his house – the former Little Store. His description of all the work he did to make it a house is wonderful, but I doubt that men with clipboards would descend on it, demanding huge sums for review [as he feared]. Houses have changed over the years, and it is that variety that we cherish in Eastmoreland.

I love the light rail station atop the Bybee Bridge. But nobody wants a neon orange house next to them, or an apartment house in the neighborhood, or narrow homes crammed together with no space in between. Those who have followed Robert McCullough’s efforts to get zoning from the City Council will understand his concern. He spent a lot of time and effort trying to get proper zoning, and finally the Historic District seemed to be the only way to ensure that our neighborhood would remain a neighborhood.

Developers have only one basic interest – to make money. And if they can do that by tearing down an old house on a large lot and replacing it with two or three quickly-built houses, that’s what they’ll do. That’s their job.

Our job is to continue to have a neighborhood where people want to live as neighbors, and where we have pride in our houses and property. Let’s find out what being in an Historic District really means.

Judith Wyss
Crystal Springs Blvd.



A letter to the editor in the September BEE from Stuart Campbell, in support of the proposed Eastmoreland historic district, was not accurate on one key point. Mr. Campbell apparently supports the proposed historic district as a bulwark against the perceived ills of Portland’s draft residential infill project. He believes this City project will cause Eastmoreland to “become an experiment in residential densification” by allowing “multifamily buildings” and “townhouses.” He is wrong about what the draft infill project would allow.

I was a member of the City’s Residential Infill Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which helped develop the proposal. I am also a resident of Eastmoreland. While the city staff has presented a proposal to allow smaller and attached housing types (for example, duplexes, triplexes, additional accessory dwelling units, and courtyard apartments) in parts of some single family neighborhoods (those areas closest to transit corridor and stations), it does NOT propose these for Eastmoreland. In fact, the ONLY recommendation the city staff is proposing that would impact all of Eastmoreland – and all other single family neighborhoods – is one that presumably Mr. Stuart and others advocating for an historic district would strongly support: The proposal would significantly limit the height and size of any new houses or remodels, so they will be consistent with a neighborhood’s character and lot sizes. The size and height limitations address head-on the concerns that committee members heard about the scale of new housing and large remodels. The proposal details can be found [online] at:

The infill project is not a reason to support the historic district; in fact, the residential infill project eliminates one reason given for the historic district: The size of new homes. Residents of Eastmoreland are gathering information, talking with their neighbors, and drawing their own conclusions about the merits of having the neighborhood designated as a National historic district. For this to be a meaningful process, it is critical that we all have accurate information.

Mary Kyle McCurdy


My husband and I bought our home in Eastmoreland in 2012 after saving and dreaming for a family home. Unfortunately, in July of 2014, the beautiful English cottage next door to us was bought by Level 3 Homes, and demolished. Developers [had] posed as a family, and the home was placed in a dumpster. Unfortunately, this is not a unique story.

We have watched next door as two years of gross negligence in building has taken place. The framing sat for an entire winter season, bombarded by water. The roof and windows were open for another year. Two to ten workers came intermittently, without proper safety equipment, labeled trucks, or full building crews. A dumpster sat on the street for six months. On a typical day, there were up to ten cars parked on the street. There were multiple times the police were called due to disagreements between workers and Level 3 management. Profanity was common (with the owner of Level 3 yelling at both my husband and myself), as was smoking, mostly in front of our property. The home was broken into two months ago. For the last two years, twice per week, the “Honey Bucket” was emptied, blocking traffic.

The new home is closer than five feet from our property (minimum set back), but the City of Portland signed off on the plans. Worst of all, when we arrived home from a birthday party last year, the framers had cut down 20-year-old arbor vitae trees that straddled our shared property line. In the back of the property, a 20 foot tall laurel was cut, stripping another home of their private back yard.

We are thankful for a beautiful neighborhood with lovely friends and an excellent school. I support the Historic District because our home is our dream, but our dream home has significantly changed due to a demolition [next door]. Indeed, Level 3 Homes is not an average developer (the home is still not complete, as of 26 months from project start), but I write to others to inform of our story, and for support of the Eastmoreland Historic District. 

Elizabeth Rogosin
S.E. Reed College Place


There are “trash angels” here


We've been “maintaining” the area under the bridge over Johnson Creek on Umatilla Street for a couple of years now, but it’s gotten soooo much worse. I actually found my first needle ever about two months ago. Before I left for a week’s vacation last month, I spent several hours housekeeping there; hauling a single mattress out of the creek up on the rocks so it could dry, doing the same with an old sleeping bag, piling up the “useable” stuff and metal to be taken separately, hauling out about four bags of trash and making arrangements for Abandoned Shopping Cart Retrieval (1-888/552-2787) to pick up the three abandoned shopping carts also.

I left for the week with a silent wish that everything would disappear while I was gone (I can dream can't I?). Well, I’m here to report, wishes get granted, and “trash angels” do exist. I came home to find EVERYTHING, down to the tiniest gum wrapper, had been cleared out. No one seems to know who is responsible, other than “a group of volunteers”, but I would like to send them a hearty THANK YOU for making a dream come true, and getting rid of stuff I had no idea how to move. Bless all their gracious hearts.

Renee Daphne Kimball

Southeast neighborhoods prepare for disaster


Neighbors throughout Brooklyn and Eastmoreland have been meeting to learn how to get their households ready to make it through a major disaster, and to plan for helping each other effectively afterwards. Neighbors report that discussions have been lively and that they have appreciated not only what they have learned but also the opportunity to better connect with neighbors. Brooklyn resident Maggie McSwiggen says, “It’s so much less overwhelming to get prepared when you can do it together with neighbors.”

The program is sponsored by the Brooklyn Action Corps and Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association. Coordinators Liz Bryant from Brooklyn and Jaci Mull and Jessica Kemmis from Eastmoreland schedule trained presenters to lead two 90-minute discussion sessions at the host’s convenience. Jaci says, “The main point of this program, for me, is making connections with neighbors and having each other's backs. That's invaluable whether the next big earthquake happens tomorrow or long after we are all gone.”

To sign up to host your block or apartment neighbors, or just for more information, e-mail:, or, with your address, phone number, and which month you think you would like to host. The program runs through December.

The first session will help you think about all the “What ifs”, and plan with your household for any emergency. The second session addresses gathering supplies needed to “Go” or “Stay” where you are, in the event of disaster. You and your neighbors will also learn how to plan to help each other after a disaster, and to keep maintaining and improving your block’s preparedness. In the end you will have a plan and be ready for anything!

Liz Bryant

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sellwood and Westmoreland have already hosted similar programs, and SMILE and Woodstock also have ongoing preparation trainings of this nature. With a huge earthquake in the future a certainty, such steps are wise and necessary.  “NET teams” exist in most Southeast neighborhoods for this purpose. Whichever neighborhood you live in, seek out those planning these steps there. In the event of a major emergency, outside help is often a long time coming.


CHS school tour and reception to celebrate school’s century


Calling all alumni of Commerce/Cleveland High School! As part of the school’s 100-year celebration, here’s an opportunity for another look at your old classrooms, and places where you used to hang out all day! The school tour and reception will be on Saturday, October 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. If you are interested in attending please contact Nancy Carr at 1-916/202-7132, or by e-mail at: That will allow us to have enough tour guides ready to lead tours that afternoon.

Neshia Cameron
CHS Class of 1963

Cultural experiences recommended


As a parent, I find the diminishing arts and cultural education in our city's schools depressing. Conversely, I am pleased to find many wonderful supplemental programs – for kids, parents, and all adults – encouraging. In surveying the landscape of cultural, art and heritage, I wanted to share some information with my neighbors in the Southeast about a jewelbox of a museum and cultural center that is under the radar, and worth a visit.

I wanted to share two quite interesting events coming up at the small but impressive Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum (HACCM). Portland has a deep history of Greek immigrants (including the Greek immigrant artist behind our beloved Lovejoy Columns).

The first HACCM item is an up-close exhibit and a fascinating look at how traditional Greek clothing was influenced by the rich cultures of the many people who traveled there – and where clothing was symbolic and where garments and accessories contained expressions of faith, mementos of history and emblems of those who wore them. It is an extraordinary up-close representation of dress spanning time, circumstance, and location, touching the range of human experience. The free exhibit, “A Voyage Through Greece: Traditional Dress of the Hellenes” is running now through year-end – and students, educators, and other groups can book a docent-led tour.

The second must-attend is a rare two-day celebration and background covering Smryna, Asia Minor, and Greece. From Piraeus to Portland will include a performance by the esteemed musical group, Christos Govetas & Drómeno (music will span Asia Minor, Rebetika, and mainland Greece). Historical and rare instruments such as the oud, bouzouki, kanonaki, laouto, defi, and doumbeleki will be featured in their performance, and Mr. Govetas will share a lecture to kick things off. This event is scheduled November 19, and a screening of a film describing the destruction of Smryna is booked at HACCM the day prior, November 18.

We are fortunate to have this treasure of a cultural center and museum in our community, and I encourage our neighbors to enjoy this sneak peek to our shared cultural history. The Hellenic-American Cutural Center & Museum of Oregon and Southwest Washington is on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3131 N.E. Glisan. Tickets and other info can be found by contacting them at:, or by phone: 503/858-8567.

Anastasia Mickelson
via e-mail

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.

Frederick John Kupel
Frederick John Kupel

Frederick John Kupel

April 22, 1929  -  August 27, 2016

Fred Kupel, until recently a resident of Eastmoreland, was born in Glendale, California, on April 22, 1929, to Martin Charles Kupel and Lorene (Scott-Murray) Kupel, and his early education was there – that was also where he earned his first job at age 13, helping his grandfather deliver bread from a truck. He started his higher education at Claremont Men’s College in Claremont, California, and received a degree in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, California.

After a stint in the Army, he married his first wife, Nancy (Eubank) Kupel, in 1952, and worked in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries in Los Angeles, before taking a job as President of the Nicaraguan subsidiary of a large building products company – which led him to further his career in the forest products industry in the Northwest for a time. In the late 1970’s he was named Vice President of Finance of Plantronics, Inc., in Santa Cruz, California.

After his successful business career, Fred remarried and returned to college to earn a Master’s degree in Psychology, which led to a variety of consulting projects and a return to Oregon, and a forest products manufacturing company in Eugene in the 1980’s. In 1990 he remarried and was granted his professional counselor license in Oregon – practicing first in Cottage Grove, and then in Portland.

His nonprofit work included developing credit management training for minorities, and the Presidency of Portland Industrial Rotary, and then – around 2010 – President of Southeast Portland Rotary, at the time it was meeting at Our Lady of Sorrows in Woodstock (it now meets at the Eastmoreland Golf Course clubhouse).

Fred’s hobbies included hiking and mountain climbing, snorkeling, fishing, woodworking, glass art, and ceramics. He remarried and discontinued his therapy practice at the turn of the century, and he continued operating Kupel & Co., assisting business clients until 2006.

Fred passed in Happy Valley on August 27, 2016. He is survived by brother Martin B. Kupel, sons Jim and Doug Kupel and their spouses, five grandchildren, and by Karen Kupel. Memorials may be sent to the Mazamas Hiking Club.

Song Thach
Song Thach, in a photo taken shortly before his death

Song Thach

May 5, 1950  -  July 31, 2016

Mr. Song Thach was born in Travinh, Vietnam, on the fifth of May in 1950. After living his early life in Travinh, Vietnam, he emigrated to Portland, and lived in Southeast Portland for eighteen years at 10921 S.E. Franklin Street.

In the United States, he pursued a career as a small business owner, with expertise in landscaping. His family remarks, “His clients greatly enjoyed Song’s work ethic and kindness. Song left behind a legacy of grandchildren. Many of Song’s friends will always remember him as ‘the hardest working man anyone has ever met’.”

Song suffered a serious accident at his home on July 31 of this year, and died at OHSU Hospital on Marquam Hill two hours later.

Song is survived by his partner, Sophane Thach; four sons, Binh, Minh, Lai, and My; and a daughter, Son Thach. A funeral service was held at his home.


Comments? News tips?

Click here to e-mail us!

Note to readers: At some point, this, our original Internet website, will be replaced at this web address by our new website, as part of the Community Newspapers group. At that time, you will still be able to access this, our original -- and smartphone-friendly -- website, if you save this address: You'll still have your choice of which one to visit!