From The Editor

The origins and spirit of Thanksgiving
Abraham Lincoln

Your editor has been in the BEE office for fifteen years now, which is in itself a cause for Thanksgiving in today’s employment world. We like it here, and we are thankful for our readers – some 45,000 strong each month – and for the many worthy advertisers who pay the costs of bringing it to Inner Southeast Portland free each month.  Thank you all!

November 26th is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, but this day has not always been part of the American experience.  The Declaration of Independence in 1776 formalized the war against Great Britain which led to this land becoming a nation – and although that war was won, bellicose British troops were last attacking us on our soil as late as 1814, when they burned the White House.

The White House endures, as does the nation – after passing through the hell of a Civil War.  It was the President of the United States at the time that war being fought, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, whose proclamation made Thanksgiving a day for Americans to appreciate all this land means to them. And he made it so, before that war was over.

On October 3, 1863, presiding over a divided nation, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation making the Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday. Over 150 years later, Lincoln’s words are a timely reminder that our country’s ongoing internal conflicts are, comparatively, quite manageable – while the blessings from our “fruitful fields” remain, indeed, “extraordinary”.

Although the proclamation designates only the “next” last Thursday in November for a day of Thanksgiving, it has been celebrated on that day each year ever since. He considered it a religious observance, but you don’t have to be religious to give thanks for what we have here, compared to much of the rest of the world.

In case it has been a while since you’ve read it, here is the proclamation of that former Illinois lawyer, who went on to become one of the most hallowed Presidents in the history of the republic…

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

Letters to the Editor
Llewellyn Elementary School
Ms. Slater submitted several photos showing disrupted asphalt at the school, as here, and holes in the playground surface marked with white paint.

About Llewellyn School’s playground…


I live across the street from the Sellwood Middle School, and am responding to the letter in the September issue from Principal Brian Anderson. Mr. Anderson objects to neighborhood residents using the schoolyard as a dog park because he claims it is dangerous for his students. I wish he was so concerned about the horrendous overall shape of the schoolyard which is riddled with broken pavement and sinkholes. This is dangerous to everyone and is eventually going to cause a serious accident, if it hasn’t already.

I most certainly agree that dog owners have a responsibility to clean up after their pets and to leash aggressive dogs. The vast majority of neighbors who bring their dogs to the park are fastidious about cleaning up, have well-socialized dogs, and use the park after all students are long gone. The removal of two garbage pails a few years ago has exacerbated the problem of keeping the schoolyard clean and free from litter. In light of the massive property taxes we all pay, it’s not unreasonable to expect that this space be shared by all community members, since our taxes support the school system.

Helen Slater
S.E. Harney Street


NASA’s Mars water announcement has Sellwood connection


I’m an independent Mars researcher, and in 2001 I wrote and presented a paper to the Mars Society about the dark streaks of Mars and their relationship to water. I’m living off of 42nd Street and S.E. Boise now, but I did that research when I lived in Sellwood, off the corner of 15th and Lambert.

Efrain Palermo
via e-mail


Westmoreland’s rude note-leaver strikes again


Someone has taken it upon themselves to post notes on the windshields of parked cars stating (paraphrased): “SE 22nd is NOT a park and ride zone for the Orange Line so stop parking here”. The coward did not sign the note, so the receiver – who was parked in front of my house – thought it was me and left me a reply.

I do not care who parks in front of my house. They can even be from California (gasp!), and it still wouldn’t matter to me. They are legally allowed to park there.

I wonder how the note-writer reasoned that this person rode the Orange Line, and was not simply one of the many visitors to Westmoreland Park across the street.

Alisa Timmerman


Eastmorelander: “Go Park in Westmoreland”


It appears the residents of 27th Street are not happy about cars parking in front of their homes. I assume it’s the disruption of their view, as all of the homes on this street have ample off-street parking. Below please find a note found on my car, and the response I plan to leave this afternoon [October 1]:

“Dear Orange Line Commuter,

“Residents of 27th Ave. respectfully ask that you not park on this street. There are designated areas for this, that TriMet has provided. Thank you for understanding.

“You can park across from the fire station 22nd/Bybee. Or tennis courts – same hours.”


My reply:

“Dear 27th Street Residents,

“I realize the parking situation on 27th Street has changed, and that change can sometimes be difficult.

“The city has not designated this area as part of its Residential Parking Permit Program. This is a program designed to balance the needs of residents and businesses in congested areas of the City where availability of street parking is limited and residents do not often have off-street parking.

“It is currently permissible for residents and non-residents to park on 27th Street for up to 24 hours. Rest assured I will not be parking for more than 24 hours, and will not be blocking driveways, and will adhere to all other applicable laws.

“Thank you for understanding.”


Sellwood street, partial paving
Mr. Bolsey shows us what a partially repaved street looks like.

Why not pave the entire street…?


As in many Portland neighborhoods, our streets have deteriorated badly over many years of neglect – to the point where most of them have become a mass of cracks and fissures.

To add to this, late last spring, sewer work began in our corner of Sellwood. Our street, in particular, was torn up repeatedly over the summer, traversed daily by large, heavy machinery, and even collapsed in places from the constant abuse.

A few days ago, the city began preparing for repaving. The process started with city engineers laboriously marking out lines on what was left (very little) of our pavement.  It seemed inconceivable to me at the time that any of our crumbling pavement was going to be preserved, but that’s exactly what happened. Yesterday [October 13] the old pavement was scraped off – leaving all the marked areas untouched – and today new pavement was laid.

Altogether, the process of marking out areas to be spared and carefully avoiding those areas during scraping took far longer than it would have to simply scrape the whole street. When one adds in the fact that the saved pavement was nearly as full of flaws as other parts of the street, and that the new seams have now created weak spots for new problems to form, the whole process seems short-sighted and pound-foolish.

I’d be curious to hear the city’s explanation for this strange approach to renewing our roadways, which so desperately require a complete revamp.

Michel Bolsey
via e-mail

Happy 100th birthday to Commerce/Cleveland High


Cleveland High School was built on property donated in 1860 by Oregon Pioneer Clinton Kelly (1808-1875), with the stipulation that the property would always be used for education purposes. While it went through several transitions and structures, it was always the home of a school. By 1929 the school was empty, and the building then became the temporary home of Commercial High School, which was created in 1916 and had originally been located on the current PSU campus. The school’s name was changed in 1917 to the High School of Commerce. In 1929, this school moved across the river to the current Cleveland High School site. In an impressive show of transition, the High School of Commerce students marched from the old site downtown over the Ross Island Bridge, up Powell Boulevard, and into the new location.

Once again, a name change; the school's name lengthened to Clinton Kelly High School of Commerce, and in 1929 the cornerstone was laid for a new, much larger building and the former school was torn down. While the Clinton Kelly High School of Commerce was originally designated as a school for students pursuing business education, it gradually added courses until it became a comprehensive high school in 1948. 

Following the practice in Portland of naming high schools after United States Presidents, in 1948 the school was named for the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, and it became Grover Cleveland High School. Everyone is now invited to join us, in the upcoming months, in celebrating 100 years of this grand old school. Here are some of the scheduled events…

  • "A" Choir  December 13, 2015 - Grotto 6 pm
  • Band Winter Concert December 15, 2015 - CHS Auditorium  7 pm
  • Choral Winter Concert December 17, 2015 - CHS Auditorium  7 pm
  • "The Groundling Festival" - Theatre  January 22-24; January 26-30, 2016- sites/times TBA
  • Mel Krause CHS Athletic Hall of Fame - CHS  February 13, 2016
  • "The Fables: The Rock Opera" - Theatre  March 3-4, 10-11-12, 2016, 7 pm; and March 5 and 16, 2016  2pm    Site TBA
  • PTA Auction March 5, 2016 - Melody Ballroom 5:30 pm
  • Distinguished Alumni March 6, 2016 - Portland Golf Club; time TBA
  • "The Tempest" - Theatre - Powell Park - May 20-21, 2016, 5 pm; May 28, 2016, 2 pm
  • Springtasia/Art Exhibit - CHS Auditorium, May 26-27, 2016, 7 pm
  • Band Concert May 17, 2016 - CHS Auditorium  7 pm
  • Scholarship Luncheon May 22, 2016 - Monarch Hotel 12:30 pm
  • Starlight Parade May 28, 2016 - downtown parade route, Portland
  • Senior Recognition Assembly June 3, 2016 -CHS Auditorium, 9:30 am
  • Graduation of 100th Class June 6, 2016 - Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 8 pm

And the 2016-2017 school year will start with a 100 Years Celebration Golf Tournament and Auction at the Eastmoreland Golf Course, August 17th-18th.

Neshia Branson-Cameron
Commerce-Cleveland High School Association

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