More stories from May's issue of THE BEE!


Multnomah County Fair
Friends of Multnomah County Fair VP and 4-H Relations Director Mark Thomas, its President Rick Paul, and Board Member Larry Smith, say they are really looking forward to this year’s fair. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Even more exhibits, entertainment at 109th County Fair in Oaks Park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Since the fair found a permanent home at Inner Southeast’s historic Oaks Amusement Park several years ago, families are already looking forward to this year’s Multnomah County Fair, running for just three days over Memorial Day weekend – May 23, 24 and 25. 

“The theme of this fair is ‘Treasured Traditions’,” said Friends of Multnomah County Fair Board Member – and award-winning backyard gardener – Larry Smith.

This, the 109th annual Multnomah County Fair, is again made possible through the tireless efforts of a small-but-dedicated group of volunteers. The county itself doesn’t put a dime into it.

“Because we’ll be hosting as many as 150 4-H kids this year, their judging and exhibition area will be expanded,” remarked Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Rick Paul. “We’ll have a larger tent and display area for their animals and presentations.”

Paul, a resident of Southeast Portland, as are many of the volunteers, revealed that they’re bringing back the racing pigs. “And, we’re also featuring the wonderful family entertainer, Professor Bamboozle.”

Friends of Multnomah County Fair VP, and 4-H Relations Director, Mark Thomas chimed in – informing that the American Rabbit Breeders Association will hold a sanctioned competition. “Their nationally-recognized judges will be grading and awarding ribbons for the first two days of the fair,” Thomas said. “And, there will be rabbit demonstrations on Memorial Day itself.”

Smith added, “Remember, our main exhibit hall will again feature competitions in art, crafts, floral, foods, needlecraft, and photography. It’s easy to enter the competitions, and cash prizes will be awarded for the best exhibits.”

You need not be an “expert” to enter the competition, Smith assured. “Just bring your exhibits and join the fun! Special competition classes will be available for youth (age 18 and under), senior citizens, and the physically challenged.”

Find out more about the 2015 Multnomah County Fair – and learn how to enter the competitions, online at: http://www.multnomahcountyfair.org.



Flagger struck, impaired driver, Warner Pacific College
Officers say this was the sedan that swerved onto the sidewalk, struck a flagger, and then spun out on the lawn of Warner-Pacific College. Notice the considerable impact damage on the passenger side of the windshield. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Impaired driver runs down flagger on Division St.

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Those who regularly drive along S.E. Division Street near Warner-Pacific College know it’s wise to pay attention to signs warning of huge holes in the street.

The in-street lane detours, provided by the Portland Water Bureau, divert vehicles around city digs to install new valves and pipes.

Just minutes after noon on Wednesday, March 25, 47-year-old Margot Davis, a safety flagger working for Water Bureau contractor SSC Construction, was standing on the north sidewalk of Division Street, slowly waving a “SLOW” sign to encourage drivers to slow down in the construction area.

“Investigators say that a vehicle was westbound on Division, weaving in and out of the traffic lane, as it approached S.E. 68th Avenue,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The driver apparently didn’t see Davis, dressed orange safety vest, nor did he heed her “SLOW” sign.

Nor did he stay in the lane of travel.

“The vehicle swerved towards Davis [on the sidewalk] as it continued westbound, and struck her at 68th Avenue,” Simpson said. “The vehicle then continued westbound, over a curb and through a grassy area, before coming to a stop.”

Daniel Moyer said he was waiting for a bus when the flagger was struck. “There was a ‘thud’ and ‘crack’ sound that made me look over, and this flag person was thrown in the air.”

He was too startled and unnerved to call 9-1-1 right then, Moyer said.

“She was lying in the street; and the other [construction] workers ran right over,” Moyer told THE BEE. “But, she didn’t move at all for quite a while. I thought she’d died.”

The driver, later identified as 49-year-old Patrick S. Miller, sat in the silver four-door sedan as PPB District and Traffic Division officers surrounded his car, which was stopped facing the street on the college’s lawn, Moyer told us.

“Miller was taken into custody after investigators located evidence that he was ‘huffing’ nitrous oxide,” Sgt. Simpson later said, “and, possibly using controlled substances.”

Those looking for a quick, cheap “high” may try to inhale food-grade nitrous oxide, a propellant often provided in small aluminum canisters sold to power “Whip-it®” brand whipping cream dispensers.

Miller was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 6:53 pm that afternoon, on charges of Assault in the Third Degree, Reckless Driving, and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII).

However, later that evening, a judge released Miller “On Own Recognizance”, under a “Pretrial Release Supervision” program.

The victim is likely to be in the hospital for quite a while; Davis is said to have received multiple injuries. “But she is expected to survive,” Simpson said.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that an employee of SSC Construction was injured on the job today,” outgoing Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff told reporters. “The safety of our employees, partners and the public is the Portland Water Bureau’s #1 priority.”

On the way out of his arraignment in Multnomah County Court on the afternoon of Thursday, March 26, Miller told reporters, “Sorry doesn’t begin to cover it.” This, after having just pleaded “not guilty” to all of his charges in court.



The Hutch, Casa Diablo, strip club, marijuana dispensary
“The Hutch” on Holgate has been empty for the past two years, but may soon be a vegan restaurant and marijuana dispensary. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock worries about future of Holgate restaurant

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
for THE BEE

Concerns about a potential strip club in Woodstock drew fifty people to the Woodstock Community Center on Wednesday evening, March 25th. The Woodstock Neighborhood Association called the public meeting in response to a liquor license application for the establishment that most recently was called “The Hutch”.

The Hutch, 4513 S.E. 41st Avenue, at the corner of S.E. 41st and Holgate Boulevard, has had several lives over the past decades – first as Ye Olde Towne Crier, then Hollyhurst Neighborhood Grill, followed by Grandma’s, and most recently The Hutch. It straddles the borders of the Woodstock and Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods.

The full service liquor license application was filed by Johnny Diablo Zukle – who prefers to be called Diablo – and his wife, Emily Zukle. Zukle purchased the property two years ago, and it has remained empty (with a for sale sign on it) since then.

At the Wednesday meeting, the Zukles were faced with fifty residents of both the Creston-Kenilworth and Woodstock neighborhoods. “We just learned about this meeting,” claimed Zukle; he had agreed to come and answer questions and concerns about the liquor license application and their plans for the Hutch, which they plan to rename “FigMint”.

Neighborhood concerns expressed at the meeting were based on the record of some of the Zukles’ other establishments, where there have been violations of various sorts. One of these establishments is Casa Diablo, described as a “vegan strip club” in Northwest Portland. He also plans to open “Casa Diablo II” on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard just south of Umatilla Street, next to The Acropolis.

Some say that a vegan strip club is an unlikely combination, but Zukle says he is proud to have opened one of the first, if not the first, vegan strip club in the United States. He is a committed vegan – has been a vegan for thirty years, he asserts – and is quoted online saying of his Northwest Portland club, “You're not going to find any fur, feathers, wool, or silk, or any other animal products. We’re all about love and compassion. That’s what we do at Casa Diablo.” That is not all he does there, since it is a strip club.

At the Wednesday meeting a neighbor attendee asked, “Why has the Hutch been left empty for the past two years?” Zukle replied, “We’ve been really busy.” True enough. In addition to being the owner of two vegan restaurants that include strip clubs, he has been dealing with opposition from neighborhood associations that oppose his opening another strip club.

The one closest to Woodstock is Casa Diablo II in Sellwood on McLoughlin Blvd. The building has been empty for the past three years, in part because the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, Sellwood Moreland Improvement League, and Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Associations protested the issuance of a liquor license in an attempt to stop the opening of a strip club. Several community figures and state legislators also opposed it.

Opposition was partly based on concerns that prostitution, drug abuse, public nudity, noise and public intoxication can accompany strip clubs, but the SMILE objection to the liquor license was based on its very close proximity to Johnson Creek Park, where children play, in apparent contravention to OLCC rules. However, the liquor license was granted two years ago, and Zukle has recently paved the driveway and starting fixing up the interior. Zukle said in a private conversation that the McLoughlin establishment will open on April 30th.

At the Woodstock meeting, Zukle spent twenty minutes describing the Holgate Boulevard restaurant they plan to open. He insisted that there would be no strip club at S.E. 41st and Holgate. “I would never open a club there because there’s no parking… The bottom floor will be retail for my marijuana dispensary, but never for a strip club,” he added.

Silence from attendees followed this announcement, as this was his first mention of marijuana sale on the site. At a subsequent meeting Zukle has said that the dispensary would be for medical marijuana. He concluded by saying, “I want a beautiful [vegan] restaurant in the neighborhood.” And the marijuana sales would be “from the basement”.

Several days after the initial Woodstock meeting a member of the Calvary Bible Church, which is directly across from the Hutch, expressed concern in a telephone conversation about the proximity of a marijuana dispensary to church youth, and to children who sometimes play in the area outside the church.

Subsequently letters have been written by the Woodstock Neighborhood Association and the Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association, both in opposition to the liquor license application.

Mike Boyer, Liquor License Coordinator with the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) reported he had a meeting on April 9th with the Zukles and representatives from the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire and Rescue and the Oregon Liquor Control.

Boyer reports, “The City will be submitting a ‘no endorsement’ recommendation to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on the Zukles’ application for 4513 S.E. 41st Avenue, based on the considerable neighborhood opposition that was received. A ‘no endorsement’ is a step above ‘unfavorable’ recommendation. The application will likely go before the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in May or June.”

The hours given by Zukle for the proposed restaurant and dispensary are 11 am-9 pm on weekdays and 11 am-10 pm on weekends.

Questions or concerns can be directed to Mike Boyer by calling 503/823-3092 – or via e-mail: michael.boyer@portlandoregon.gov).

Marty Howard Powelson, careless robber, drugstore holdup, oxycodone
42-year-old Marty Howard Powelson remains in jail in Clackamas County. (Clackamas County Jail booking photo)

Careless robbery suspect brings SERT to Brentwood-Darlington

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Brentwood-Darlington neighbors were surprised when police blocked off S.E. 69th Avenue, between Ogden and Cooper Streets, at about 6:30 pm on Friday evening, April 10.

Portland Police listed their presence as an “Agency Assist” – their officers were maintaining a perimeter around the area in support of the Milwaukie Police Department. One told THE BEE he didn’t know the nature of the call – only that it involved a “possibly armed man in a house, near the southern end of the containment area.”

Milwaukie Police Department patrol cars were at the scene, as Portland Police officers quietly evacuated residents from homes immediately surrounding the subject’s house. Within ten minutes, members of the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) started rolling into the area.

By 7:45 p.m., an armored SERT truck was heading west along S.E. Ogden Street; members of the Portland Police Crisis Negotiation Team were also on hand.

After what was described as a “brief standoff”, and after he reportedly was struck with a Tazer, the man being sought surrendered without further incident.

Milwaukie Police Department spokesman Officer Greg Elkins later revealed the story behind this incident.

“Earlier in the day, a male subject, who we identified as 42-year-old Marty Howard Powelson, walked into the pharmacy at Haggen Food & Pharmacy (the former Albertson’s store) in a Milwaukie shopping center. 

“He stated he had a gun, although no gun was seen,” Elkins added; “and he allegedly demanded Oxycodone.” 

Powelson left the store before Milwaukie officers arrived, perhaps in the belief that he’d made a clean and successful getaway. 

Such was not the case. The police quickly found a key clue. “At the store, Powelson left behind a credit card with his name on it,” Elkins said.

When police first approached his Brentwood-Darlington house, Powelson was heard to warn the officers that he had a gun; and that was what brought out the heavily armored response.

Upon his arrest, Powelson was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on multiple charges. During his arraignment in Clackamas County Circuit Court, several of the charges were dismissed.

But not all of them. As THE BEE goes to press, Powelson remains in custody in lieu of $255,000 bail – on charges of Robbery in the Second Degree, and Failure to Appear: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.



Portland Mercado, Foster Road
People from all over Southeast Portland came to the Foster-Powell area for the Portland Mercado Grand Opening. (Photo by David F. Ashton)get underway, people line up to sample foods from Latin America. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thousands welcome Portland Mercado to Foster Road

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

It did take a little longer than expected for Hacienda Community Development Corporation to turn a used car lot along the border of Mt. Scott-Arleta and Foster-Powell neighborhoods into the vibrant, new Portland Mercado, but the job is done.

Although they’d had a “soft opening” for about a week before it became official, the corner of S.E. Foster Road at 72nd Avenue was teeming with as many as 3,000 people drawn to the Portland Mercado grand opening on April 11.

The grand opening offered nineteen new full-time businesses to the area, revealed Hacienda Marketing Coordinator Jamie Melton. “We’re welcoming families and people of all backgrounds and ages to attend this monumental day, featuring the flavors, sights, and sounds of a Latino public marketplace.”

Some people stood patiently in the seemingly never-ending line to get a free gift card for future shopping and dining at the Mercado. Many others purchased snacks and lunches from one of the eight new colorfully-painted food carts parked on the lot. 

And, the dances and drumming by the Mexica Tiahui Aztec Group, which kicked off the afternoon festivities, drew a true standing-room-only crowd.

Inside the Portland Mercado building, General Manager Manuel Marin-Foucher Gomez was all smiles as he welcomed new customers.

“This is a wonderful, amazing day,” Marin-Foucher Gomez told THE BEE. “We could not be doing better than to see all of this support for our project from the community.”

Marin-Foucher Gomez recalled that this project has been five years in the making. “A previous Hacienda executive director had a vision of having a place where Latino entrepreneurs could develop, and then formalize, their business. We started the ‘Micro Mercantes’ program, our multicultural incubator, which shows people how to ‘do it right’. That is, learning how to get appropriate certifications, and licensing, and learn how farmers markets work.

“This has evolved from helping people set up a little stand at a farmers market, into this that we have here today,” he said.

The food carts, Marin-Foucher Gomez pointed out, represent foods from regions of Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Argentina, and El Salvador. “Inside, we have seven retail businesses, including a butcher shop, a snack bar, a beer and wine shop, a grocery store, and a Mexican-style candy shop. All of the products and businesses here are Latino themed.”

Guests were also given tours of the new certified commercial Micro Mercantes’ Kitchen, and also the office space used by an insurance agency, an Intercultural communications company, and a sign maker.

“This is very good, happy day here,” Marin-Foucher Gomez said, looking over a sea of smiling faces that crowded in and around the Portland Mercado.

MORE INFO:

Portland Mercado
7238 S.E. Foster Road
9 am until 9 pm, seven days a week
www.portlandmercado.com
www.facebook.com/portlandmercado



Two state pursuit, crash, Southeast Portland, Holgate Boulevard
S.E. 92nd was closed, just south of Holgate Boulevard and across the street from Lents Park, as a pursuit that started in Vancouver ended violently in Southeast Portland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Two-state chase ends violently on Holgate Boulevard

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

A Portland woman, reportedly driven to Hazel Dell in Washington State by her boyfriend, didn’t want to continue the trip, on Saturday evening, April 4.

About 8 pm, the girlfriend locked herself in the bathroom of a convenience store near Washington Highway 99, and called 9-1-1 asking for help, reported Clark County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Fred Neiman.

When a deputy arrived and tried to stop the driver, his white Chevy four-door sped away heading east, and then turned south on Interstate 205.

As many as ten law enforcement vehicles, from both states, joined in the pursuit.

“Portland Police Bureau officers from East Precinct, North Precinct, and a Canine Unit, responded to I-205 southbound to assist Clark County law enforcement officers,” revealed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The officers were in pursuit of a possibly-armed kidnapping suspect.”

The fleeing driver chose the Division/Powell exit, and continued to S.E. Powell Boulevard, where he was forced to turn west. At 92nd Avenue the driver turned south, banging into a vehicle while making a turn against the light.

The pursuit ended on 92nd Avenue, a half-block south of Holgate Boulevard, when police cars converged on the Chevy using a combination of a “Pursuit Intervention Technique” and a blocking maneuver.

“I saw the police cars screaming past the [convenience store] where I was getting a drink,” remarked Able Archer, who shook his head looking at the mangled cars in the street.

“There was a really big bang,” Archer told THE BEE, “not like a crash, but a ‘boom!’ explosion. When I got outside, I saw a guy, about 5’ 7”, struggling with police, like he was hell-bent on escaping.”

There was damage to several police cars and the suspect vehicle, confirmed Simpson.

The PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team responded to the scene, and documented the position of the vehicles using their “Total Station surveying system”, then going on to collect other evidence. 

“The suspect was taken into custody and was transported to a Portland hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” Simpson said. “Two Portland Police officers – also with non-life-threatening injuries – were taken to a Portland hospital by fellow officers.”

At 2:18 am on Easter Sunday, April 5, Portland Police detectives booked 25-year-old Brandon Jacob Gooding into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on charges of Attempt to Elude by Vehicle and Possession of Methamphetamine, with a combined bail set at $10,000 for the two charges. A kidnap charge may also be pending.

In addition, Gooding remains lodged at Multnomah Counter Inverness Jail on a no-bail Parole Violation charge.

“Both injured officers were treated and released from a Portland hospital,” later reported Simpson.



Homeless, encampment, Woodstock
Mike’s Auto Parts has been serving customers from a location not far south of Holgate Boulevard, and west of 28th, in the Reed neighborhood, since a fire forced their move. The burned building at 52nd and Woodstock has been demolished, and rumors have suggested the site could be targeted for a city homeless encampment site. Apparently, however, that is not true. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Encampment rumors perturb Woodstock

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
for THE BEE

People in the Woodstock Neighborhood were surprised recently when the “Portland Mercury” newspaper reported in its March 25th issue that the city was considering a property at the corner of S.E. 52nd and Woodstock Boulevard for a homeless encampment similar to the controversial “Right 2 Dream Too”, located in Old Town/Chinatown.

According to the Mercury, Trena Sutton, an advocate for the homeless on Portland’s east side, went to Mayor Hales’ office to ask what could be done for that population.

Josh Alpert, an aide to the mayor on homeless issues, reportedly surprised Sutton by saying that yes, the Eastside needs a site similar to the Right 2 Dream Too, and a second site could be a lot near 52nd and Woodstock.

This assertion in the Mercury stirred a very intense but civil online discussion via the social media network “Nextdoor Woodstock”.  It is safe to say that the number of participants and comments surpassed anything ever seen on this website in nearby Southeast Portland neighborhoods.

A number of Nextdoor respondents said they were not in favor of that site for such an encampment.  They claimed that the neighborhood is just now finding its footing, and they didn’t see how an encampment would improve it.

Others objected to a homeless encampment in Woodstock, but recognized the need for more services and affordable housing in Southeast Portland.  Only a few thought that Woodstock should host such a site, however.

When Angie Even, a longtime Woodstock businesswoman, a former officer of the Woodstock Community Business Association, and neighborhood activist, contacted the city about the encampment rumor, she received two responses via e-mail. 

Cindy Reyes, Constituent Services Specialist, said “While we stand by the comments in the Mercury article that everything should be on the table to help the situation along the [Springwater] Corridor, there is no plan to use that particular land [52nd and Woodstock].”

Josh Alpert, the city aide on homeless issues, clarified the process that the city would use.  He said it was unfortunate that the homeless advocate who initially spoke with him went straight to the press: “HAD there been interest from groups in the potential of using that land, the next step would have been to THEN talk with the property owners, and THEN the neighborhood.

Greg Woodruff, a Woodstock neighbor, called the owner of the former Mike’s Auto Parts lot at 52nd and Woodstock and was told “a two-story commercial building is planned for the site, and is in the last stages of permit approval, and already has a coffee shop and yoga studio as future tenants.”

Briefly, at the time there was discussion of a homeless encampment for 52nd and Woodstock, it was rumored that the lot across the street, the former “All Battery and Electric”, 5931 S.E. 51st, could be a possible candidate.  However two conversations with the owners, an Eastmoreland couple, prove it to be just that – only a rumor.  The building is being upgraded for a future purpose or tenant.

In more recent e-mails, the City of Portland has emphasized that they are looking for a site farther east of Woodstock, in a location where there is a greater concentration of homeless people. So, for now, that appears to settle the rumors.



Ladybug Walks, Portland Parks and Recreation, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
PP&R City Nature educator “Gnome” (actually, Dee Dee Turner) shows youngsters some of the bugs she’s found. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Ladybugs” hike Oaks Bottom to learn nature

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Parents from all over Portland, bringing kids two through five years of age, introduce the children to the wonders of nature at the weekly Portland Parks & Recreation “Ladybug Nature Walks”, held on Friday mornings at 10 am in various city parks.

On April 10, such a group gathered at the north entrance to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, just south of McLoughlin Boulevard.

“They’re called ‘Ladybug Nature Walks’ because we loan each of the participating children a little red backpack that looks like a ladybug,” explained PP&R City Nature hike leader Cara Althoff. “My ‘teacher’ name for this event is ‘Pika’,” she said, pointing to her engraved wooden badge.

“Inside each backpack are cool things, like bug boxes with magnifiers, paint brushes, and spoons – kid-sized tools, to help them explore what they find along the way,” Althoff told THE BEE as the group assembled.

The idea is to take a slow-paced hike, Althoff continued. “During the hour, we explore the nature we find in whichever park we’re visiting that day. We might lift up rocks and look for bugs. We look around, feel the bark on trees, and check out what we see.”

Although it’s geared for toddlers, parents can bring siblings along; they become “special helpers” during the hike. 

After a quick briefing by one of the PP&R educators, this Oaks Bottom Ladybug Nature Walk was off and running – not walking! The excited kids ran full speed down the trail, and into an adventure with nature.

No pre-registration is required to participate, and the fee is $4 per preschooler – no charge for adults.

The next Ladybug Nature Walks in our area are on May 8 in Woodstock Park, and July 31 in Brentwood Park.

For more information, search the PP&R website for “Ladybug Nature Walks”, or call 503/823-3601.

Launderette break in, pursuit, Brentwood Darlington
At left is 26-year-old Jarid Dean Easton, who was released “on parole” by the judge who dismissed all charges but one involving the burglary and pursuit in which he was involved. At right is his companion in the stolen truck, 24-year-old Karissa Rose Wetzel, who was also released, despite her involvement in the pursuit, as well being in the stolen truck, and despite heroin having been found upon her person. (MCDC booking photos)

Fleeing burglary suspects lead police on miles-long chase

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

It was 6 am on Tuesday, March 31, when a burglar alarm was tripped at “Maids by Trade”, at 4439 S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard. East Precinct District officers responded to the small strip mall, along with a back-up unit from Milwaukie Police.

As the officers arrived, a pick-up truck pulling a flatbed trailer took off out of the parking lot. “Concerned that the occupants of the vehicle might be related to the burglar alarm, officers initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle,” Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told THE BEE.

The driver did not stop for the officers – and led them on a pursuit throughout Southeast Portland. An officer was eventually able to deploy spike strips to deflate the vehicle’s tires.

At S.E. Grand Avenue and Couch Street, the driver crashed into a Broadway Cab, ending the chase.

The driver, 26-year-old Jarid Dean Easton, and his passenger, 24-year-old Karissa Rose Wetzel, got out of the truck and attempted to run, but were quickly captured.

Back where the pursuit started, PPB Burglary Detectives found no problems at the housecleaning business’s office – but the business next door, “Sparkles LaundryMat”, had clearly been burgled.

“It had been a laundromat for a long time, then was closed for several years,” owner Laura Heinson told THE BEE. “We reopened it about four years ago, and have been installing new equipment to upgrade the business.” 

Looking around at the damage the intruders had caused, Heinson estimated that the burglars got away with less than $40 in change – but did thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to her new front-loading washers and vending machines. “It’s really upsetting and disgusting,” she said.

Security cameras got the break-in on tape, but evidently the intruders were not identifiable on it, although the ripped-off vent cover hanging from the ceiling made it clear how the burglars had broken into the shop. 

Easton, the fleeing driver, was taken to a Portland hospital for treatment for a drug-related medical issue. Then, after being released from the hospital, he was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 9:46 am that morning, on ten charges.

However, during Easton’s arraignment, according to court records, the only charge that stuck was “Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle”. Easton was released on April 9 for the stated reason: “Time Served on a Sentence”, and put on parole.

The passenger, Karissa Wetzel, was booked into MCDC on charges of Possession of Heroin, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Escape in the Third Degree, and Interfering with a Peace Officer.  She has also been released from custody.

“Investigating officers discovered Franz Bakery Outlet was also broken into that night,” Simpson said. “Also they learned that the pick-up truck Easton was driving was stolen overnight from a business in Tigard, and the trailer was stolen from a U-Haul lot from the Johnson Creek Market across the street from the burgled businesses.”

Burglary detectives are continuing to investigate the connection of this crime to other commercial burglaries, Simpson said.



N E T, emergency practice
Not many people know that this baseball diamond, and the surrounding area at S.E. Steele and 50th Avenue, is designated as the Woodstock Neighborhood Staging Area during a disaster or emergency – but now YOU do. A May 4th exercise will bring dozens of volunteers to this area, dressed as you see here. It will not be a real emergency – this time! (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Emergency training coming up – in Woodstock Park

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
for THE BEE

When a disaster of some kind happens – such as the enormous earthquake we will most assuredly experience one of these days – we all hope to be prepared enough to survive and help our families. And now, a growing number of people also are preparing to help their communities when that time comes.

On Monday evening, April 6th, sixteen NET (“Neighborhood Emergency Team”) volunteers met at the Woodstock Branch Library to discuss an Operations Plan that details what NET volunteers would actually do in an emergency.

The group at the meeting consisted of NET volunteers from seven neighborhoods: Brentwood-Darlington, Creston-Kenilworth, Eastmoreland, Foster-Powell, Mt Scott Arleta, Reed, and Woodstock.          

All those present had taken the Basic NET volunteer training at one point during the past eight years. The training currently represents a commitment on three Saturdays, totaling 28 hours. 

During the training, volunteers learn what to do in case of an earthquake, tsunami, power outage, gas explosion – a variety of natural and unnatural disasters.

They learn evacuation strategies, how to care for the injured, how to assess building damage, and how to communicate via walkie-talkies with others in the neighborhood.  All these trainings are given by staff from Portland NET, and the Portland Office of Emergency Management.

Coming up on May 4th, instead of that usual monthly meeting that takes place at the Woodstock Library, Mark Ginsberg, the Woodstock NET team leader, has called for a get-together at the emergency staging area in Woodstock Park. Attending volunteers will don all of their NET gear – orange vests, hard-hat helmets, identification tags – and then will be given three different emergency exercises to do. 

Since emergencies are not announced in advance, Ginsberg is not revealing the exact nature of these exercises, but if you see people in bright orange vests and helmets running around in Woodstock Park on May 4th, don’t be alarmed – this time it’s not a real emergency.

Consider being part of the team, in your own neighborhood. For more information about NET and these trainings, go online: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/58587.

Questions can be addressed to: Jeremy Van Keuren, NET Program Specialist, at 503/823-4421, or via e-mail to: Jeremy.vankeuren@portlandoregon.gov

Powell Boulevard, two car crash, car wrapped around a tree
S.E. Powell Boulevard was closed eastbound, after a two-car collision during the morning commute on April 2nd. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Two-car smashup slows commute on Powell Blvd

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Westbound drivers heading for work on S.E. Powell Boulevard on the Thursday morning of April 2nd found their trip slowed – and the eastbound drivers had to detour off Powell at S.E. 52nd Avenue – when a two-car collision shut down the thoroughfare at 56th Avenue at 6:48 am.

The one remaining westbound traffic lane slowed, as drivers gawked at a white Honda Accord LX, its passenger’s side partially wrapped around a tree in the median.

A blue Toyota, with light damage to the passenger’s-side front end, was stopped eastbound at the scene.

Those nearby were left to speculate how the mishap had occurred, and the police officers investigating the incident offered no comment.

“It appears as if there were no life-threatening injuries from this accident,” later remarked Portland Police spokesman Greg Stewart, who researched the incident for THE BEE. “It looks like officers investigated the incident, but did not make an arrest at the scene.”

However, many delayed motorists will remember the lengthy traffic snarl that resulted.

(BEE correspondent Rita A. Leonard contributed to this story)



Holy Family School; Science Night; Space Station
In the sixth-graders’ “International Space Station”, Lilly Mildenberger takes a tour through the “eating station”. “This is an interesting project, especially when thinking about living in zero gravity,” she said. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Holy Family students shine on “Science Night”

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

The building was teeming with activity, the evening of April 16, when Eastmoreland’s Holy Family Catholic School presented its 6th Annual “Science Night”.

“This is the first year that we’ve had seventh graders and eighth graders in charge of all the experiments that are being presented to the younger kids,” said Margaret Dickinson, who is the school’s sixth, seventh, and eighth grade Science and Religion teacher.

“The students planned the experiments, researched the science of how and why they work, gathered all the supplies, and came here this evening to do this for the younger kids, as well as members of the community,” Dickinson told THE BEE.

In the school’s cafetorium, students – working in groups – demonstrated 14 STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) principles, mainly in the fields of chemistry and physics.

Upstairs, Dickinson revealed there was an “Invention Convention” in progress: “Our fifth graders have been working on this for a month. It’s amazing, the variety of useful and fanciful inventions that are on display.”

Additionally, in the hallway and in two classrooms of the school’s wing, sixth-graders had created a walk-through model of the International Space Station.

“They have been studying about the Space Station, and how you are able, in weightlessness, to accomplish everyday activities on the space station like working, eating, and sleeping,” Dickinson explained.



Cruz Ortiz Jr, coin shop, burglar
The burglary suspect booked into jail was identified as 30-year-old Cruz Ortiz, Jr. (MCDC Booking photo)

Powell Blvd coin store burglar captured

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

In March, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Burglary detectives were kept busy investigating numerous commercial burglaries along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses.

The overnight sneak thieves slipped away with goods from a number of stores, after cutting open roof hatches or vents to climb down into the stores.

On April 1, when a burglar alarm sounded at 3:15 am in Berry’s Southeast Coin & Jewelry at 8115 S.E. Powell Boulevard, East Precinct police officers found a man had been inside the store – and it wasn’t the owner.

“Multiple officers arrived in the area and located a suspect at S.E. 81st Avenue and Powell Boulevard,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “He was taken into custody without incident.”

As in the other burglaries, officers discovered that the business had been entered by way of a rooftop opening, Simpson said.

At 7:47 am that morning, 30-year-old Cruz Ortiz Jr., was duly booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on a charge of Burglary in the Second Degree. At his arraignment on the following day, Ortiz’s bail was set at $5,000 and he was assigned to Multnomah County Inverness Jail.

Ortiz posted bail and was released on April 2.



Electrical wire theft
Police investigate the scene where a man was seen trying to steal wire from electrical boxes. (KOIN News 6 image)

Bad swimmer fails to flee cops in river dive 

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE

Folks riding their bicycles just north of OMSI along the Eastbank Esplanade, near the Tillikum Crossing bridgehead on March 29th, called the 9-1-1 Center to report a man who looked to be stealing wire from an electrical junction box.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Precinct officers pulled into the area at 2:39 pm, and quickly located a suspect matching the reported description.

“The suspect gave officers a false name,” recounted Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “But, that name came back with a warrant! So officers told the man he was under arrest.”

So after making a very poor choice of a fake name, the suspect bolted toward the Willamette River, and plunged in the icy water from the riverbank. There he continued to display poor skills.

“The suspect did not appear to be a good swimmer,” Simpson said. “He came back to shore and hid along the riverbank in the bushes.”

It isn’t clear if the suspect’s shivering in the bushes was what gave away his location, or if it was the sensitive nose of a Police K-9 Team that located the man, but he was soon taken into custody without further incident.

“Medical personnel transported him to a Portland hospital for treatment, after exposure to the cold river water,” Simpson said.

The suspect, later correctly identified as 39-year-old Randall J. Hartwell, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 6:24 that evening, after being released from the hospital, facing numerous charges.

The following day, when arraigned in Multnomah County Court, Hartwell was charged with Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, Escape in the Third Degree, and Illegally Jumping from the Seawall, with a combined bail of $27,500.

Hartwell was “released” from additional charges of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Furnishing False Information to a Police Officer, Offensive Littering, and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, by a Multnomah County judge for reasons unclear.

However, because of an additional charge of Parole Violation, Hartwell remains in custody without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.



Tenino Street fire, Portland
The Battalion Chief’s SUV provides extra air bottles for firefighters as they battle the flames in the Brentwood-Darlington house. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Early morning fire chars Brentwood-Darlington house

By DAVID F. ASHTON
for THE BEE  

When Portland Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to a house fire at 6901 S.E. Tenino Street on April 5 at 3:57 am, firefighters knew they’d arrived at the right address when they beheld flames in the rear of the home and smoke coming out of the front door.

“Firefighters quickly looked for the root of the fire, while another crew verified that the house was empty,” said PF&R spokesman Inspector Ron Rouse.

“In addition to fighting the fire, Rouse said, “firefighters had to contend with 20-pound propane bottles that started to vent during the fire. The Incident Commander also sent a crew to protect the neighboring structure.”

The fire was extinguished by 4:30 am.

“No one was injured during this incident,” Rouse said. “The cause is still under investigation.”




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