More stories from January's issue of THE BEE!

Holiday Express, steam engine, rides, Christmas, Oaks Bottom, Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
After one of its daytime weekend runs, the Holiday Express pulls into Oaks Station.

‘Holiday Express’ train excursions delight families


Depending on atmospheric conditions, the steam whistle of Portland’s Southern Pacific 4449 locomotive can be heard on December weekends for miles, as the powerful and historic train engine makes weekend excursions, pulling the “Holiday Express” passenger cars every December through Oaks Bottom.

“We’re now on our 12th season offering the Holiday Express outings, sponsored by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation,” said this year’s Volunteer Coordinator David Cautley, speaking at the “station” set up at Oaks Amusement Park beside the east bank of the Willamette River.

“The Holiday Express provides a unique experience for ‘kids of all ages’ – enjoying the thrill and unique experience of traveling on a steam-powered train, much as people did decades ago,” Cautley told THE BEE.

Over the course of each trip, a small army of 300 volunteers staff the railroad ride that takes passengers, in Holiday-lit antique decorated cars, from Oaks Bottom to the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum near OMSI and back.

“This includes the train crew, customer service personnel, safety and parking positions, and those who staff our concession stand, where we sell memorabilia, T-shirts, booklets, and model trains,” remarked Cautley. “And that’s not counting Santa Claus and some of elves, who also ride the train.”

These Holiday Express jaunts are a major fundraiser for the nonprofit Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, which in turn supports the working machine shop in the museum, where they maintain the locomotives and rolling stock, and fund other public activities.

After being dismantled for inspection and rebuilding, “America’s Bicentennial Locomotive” – the iconic SP 4449 steam locomotive, now owned by the City of Portland – is again powering the train which takes 210 passengers on the roughly 50-minute round-trip journey.

Holiday Express excursions left on the hour from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, through December 18. They depart from the heated Oaks Station, at 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way.

As another group was boarding, Cautley smiled and said, “The best part is when you’re up there, seeing the faces of the little kids all lit up and aglow as they disembark from having this unique Holiday experience.”

Franklin Street, t bone crash, Chavez Boulevard, 39th Street, Powell Boulevard
As they gather information about the T-bone crash, officers examine the smashed Lexus and overturned Toyota 4-Runner. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Intersection crash near Powell rolls SUV


Late rush-hour traffic was snarled on S.E. Chavez Blvd (Formerly S.E. 39th) near Powell Boulevard on Thursday, December 1, when a two-vehicle crash at 6:14 p.m. left a Toyota 4-Runner SUV on its side in the middle of the road.

A witness told THE BEE he saw this crash unfold as he was coming down the hill, traveling south Chavez from S.E. Kelly Street: “The 4-Runner was about a half block ahead of me as we came up to Franklin Street.

“A [westbound] Lexus came out into the intersection, causing the SUV to swerve, but not enough to miss it; and it clipped the 4-Runner, which it rolled onto its side and slid to a stop.”

This intersection has a pedestrian traffic control signal to halt traffic on Chavez Boulevard; but only stop signs control traffic on S.E. Franklin Street.

The witness said he stopped and ran up to the SUV to check on the driver. “The woman inside was conscious, but not doing very well,” he reported.

Woodstock Fire Station 25’s Ladder Truck crew were able to extract her from the overturned vehicle without the need to use their powerful Holmatro Rescue Tools, said the Bureau’s Public Information Officer, Sgt. Rich Tyler.

“Firefighters broke out the sunroof with a window punch, and safely pull the 30-year-old female from the Toyota,” Tyler reported. “The victim wasn’t entered into the trauma system, but was transported to an area hospital by ambulance, as a precaution, for medical evaluation.”

Interestingly, the crash was not severe enough for the airbags in the Lexus IS 250 to deploy; the driver stayed at the accident site and cooperated with police.

Bybee Boulevard, Crystal Springs Creek, culvert replacement, salmon, construction
S.E. Bybee Boulevard is again free of construction, now that work on the last Crystal Springs Creek project has been completed. (David F. Ashton)

Crystal Springs Creek culvert projects near completion


The Bybee-Glenwood Culvert Replacement Project is drawing to a close – to the considerable relief of those who regularly use the Bybee Bridge – and that signals the completion of all the Crystal Springs Creek projects designed to help fish passage up to the creek’s headwaters on the Reed College campus.

Along the length of the 2.5-mile-long creek, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) oversaw the replacement of nine culverts from 2010 until the end of 2016, according to the Bureau’s Environmental Program Coordinator, Ronda Fast.

“It’s a lot of work that has been completed, up and down Crystal Springs Creek, in a relatively short amount of time – considering the six week mid-summer [in-water] work windows,” Fast reflected. She pointed out to THE BEE some of the features at the Bybee-Glenwood project, next to the Westmoreland fire station, in mid-November.

At the start, BES estimated the cost for simply replacing nine culverts would be upwards of $20 million, Fast revealed. “We were able to add a lot of restoration work, thanks to our grants and partners, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – and, with the Westmoreland Park project, Portland Parks & Recreation as well – we did all the work for only $16 million, including major park restoration.

“This means more than half the entire length of the creek was improved by the project, in about six years, which is pretty amazing!”

Along most of the area that was restored, BES removed concrete “curbing” along the creek bank. “We replaced it with native plants, and gave Crystal Springs more room – a buffer – that really helps protect water quality, and provides some shade,” Fast said. “This restoration work has positive effects on Johnson Creek, and eventually the Willamette River.”

The result: Salmon are coming back and spawning. And all the work is protecting “this cold water source”, ensuring that the creek will be protected for the long haul.

By the way, before the end of the year, the traffic cloverleaf connections between S.E. 23rd Avenue and McLoughlin Boulevard at the west side of the Bybee Bridge will finally again be open.

To neighbors and others who use the Bybee Bridge, Fast said, “Thank you all for making this a safe project; we appreciate your patience as we complete this important work!”

Native American Bazaar, Indian Fair, Mount Scott Community Center
Katherine Quartz, a member of the Paiute tribe, shows her beadwork belt buckle. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Native American Bazaar in Inner Southeast the biggest yet


Back for its fifth year at the Portland Parks & Recreation (PF&R) Mt. Scott Community Center, in the Brentwood Darlington neighborhood, was the “Native Family Day & Marketplace” on Saturday, November 26.

“This is a wonderful event put on by and for the Native American community, featuring a marketplace and entertainment,” observed PP&R Native American Community Advisory Council member Sheryl Juber.

“We have about 30 vendors here today; some came from as far away as Arizona to attend this year,” Juber told THE BEE, as guests swirled among the exhibits in the events room, and spilled out into the hallway.

“People coming here are finding beaded jewelry, pottery, clothing, smoked salmon, crafts, paintings and other art, etched glass – and the list goes on, of the items brought here by our Native American artisans,” Juber smiled.

“It’s important to have this here, because it’s good for the Native American community to have an a special place to gather,” Juber reflected. “And, holding it here invites everyone to be introduced to the community, especially if they haven’t been here before. So, part of the idea is to get them here for the ‘family day’, to go roller skating or swimming, and come back again on their own.”

This outreach program proved successful; many guests came to browse and buy at the Marketplace, while their kids played at the Community Center.

Joshua Nathan Nice, Winston Oscar Mcleod, Seth Laban Williams, burglary, marijuana dispensary
Joshua Nathan Nice, Winston Oscar Mcleod, and Seth Laban Williams were all booked for burglarizing a Powell Boulevard marijuana dispensary early on Thanksgiving Day. (MCDC booking photos)

‘Pot shop’ burglars busted near Ross Island Bridge 


A burglar alarm early on Thanksgiving Day brought Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Precinct officers to the “Allied Patient Care Dispensary”, a marijuana retailer located near the eastern foot of the Ross Island Bridge, at 729 S.E. Powell Boulevard.

When officers pulled up the building at 4:16 a.m., they saw three suspects running from the business.

“One suspect was apprehended quickly, while the other two suspects hid in the neighborhood,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “A Canine Unit from the Washington County Sheriff's Office responded to assist with the search; the two outstanding suspects were located and taken into custody without incident.”

The burglars had anticipated a fast get-away, officers learned – when they located a van, with the engine running, parked right across the street from the dispensary. “Inside the van, officers observed marijuana plants and a rifle; the van and contents were seized as evidence,” said Simpson.

23-year-old Joshua Nathan Nice was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 6:58 a.m. that morning on charges of Burglary in the Second Degree and Conspiracy to Commit Burglary in the Second Degree. Additionally, Nice had an outstanding parole violation warrant.

During his arraignment the following day, the judge dropped the conspiracy charge, but upheld held the count of burglary, and assigned $5,000 bail. But Nice remains in custody at Inverness Jail on the outstanding parole violation warrant.

23-year-old Winston Oscar Mcleod was booked into MCDC at 11:56 a.m. on two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree and an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for Driving While Suspended. At his arraignment on November 25, the judge released Mcleod without posting bail on a Pre-Trial Supervision Program.

Also booked, on two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree, was 26-year-old Seth Laban Williams, who was also processed into MCDC at 11:56 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Williams, too, was freed by the judge without posting bail on November 25 in the Pretrial Services Program.

Gratitude Tree, Sellwood, Gary Sanders
Gary Sanders created a “Gratitude Tree” near his Sellwood home, and enjoys reading the regular comments that are posted there. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Not locked to any season: Sellwood ‘Gratitude Tree’

For THE BEE        

In late summer, a “Gratitude Tree” was set up at the corner of S.E. 15th and Clatsop Street by Sellwood resident Gary Sanders. Passersby were asked to fill out a manila shipping tag with personal comments, and attach it to ropes and webbing hung on the tree.

There are now over a thousand grateful comments fluttering from the branches, and more appear each day.

Sanders reveals, “I teach Meditation at the Portland Insight Meditation Community, and gratitude is a big part of that. I love the whole ‘Keep Portland Weird’ concept, and wanted to share something positive with my neighbors. After I saw a ‘Love/Wish’ tree in North Portland, I decided to set up a Gratitude Tree near my home.

“It's been a wonderful experiment in gratitude,” he muses. “I posted several signs on the tree inviting, ‘Always give Thanks’, ‘Grateful hearts gather here’, and ‘Gratitude turns what we have into Enough’.  I provided 100 shipping tags to people in my class – and if they filled out and returned them, I hung them on the tree. A sealed paint can hanging from a branch provides additional tags and pens for people to add their own comments here.”

Browsing the notes on the tree we saw gratitude for Democracy, Love, Poetry, Connections, Family, Mountains, and Fresh Air, among other thoughts. One note states, “Grateful that I got to know you on this Earth”. Another declares, “Grateful for a husband who believes in me, shows me affection, and makes me laugh.” Yet another is grateful for “education, opportunity, health, birds, science, and the vastness of Life.”

Sanders admits that his favorite comments are “The kids’ ones – those hanging lower down on the tree. Many of them are thankful for friends and family: Those really warm my heart. I didn’t want to censor any comments except for vulgarity, but some visitors have removed inappropriate notes from the tree.

“Gratitude is a daily practice for me,” admits Sanders. “I shift my perceptions daily. The real power of Gratitude is that we can recognize it even during the difficult and painful moments of our lives. One respondent here was even grateful for a cancer diagnosis, since that provided impetus to appreciate the special moments of each day.” 

“During summer, the leaf canopy of the tree sheltered the notes, but now that the leaves have fallen, the tree is demonstrating Life's inevitable impermanence. The small prayer flags are fraying in the wind, and rain has blotted out some of the comments, but there are always new ones showing up.

“I'd love for people to continue adding their thoughts. We all benefit from realizing the small things in life that keep us grateful, and we can learn from each others’ gratitude as well,” reflects Sanders.

Trailer fire, oxygen use, flames, fire rescue
If neighbors hadn’t pulled the victim from his burning trailer, he likely would have perished in the blaze, officials say. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oxygen-using Brentwood-Darlington smoker sets his trailer ablaze


All that remains of the travel trailer which – until the morning of December 1 – was home to a 70-year-old man, is just a burned-out shell. The fire was spotted and reported just after 9:00 a.m. that morning.

The resident, who fire officials said was using therapy oxygen in the trailer in the Shady Lane Mobile Home Park on S.E. Henderson Street, just west of 82nd Avenue of Roses, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, escaped death when a neighbor pulled him from his smoke-filled, burning trailer.

“The neighbor that rescued the resident stated that he initially tried to put out the fire, but it became so big so fast that he knew he and the victim needed to get out,” reported Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Tyler. 

The first fire crew to arrive, from Lents Station Engine 11, saw flames and smoke coming from all of the trailer’s windows and doors as they pulled up, Tyler told THE BEE at the scene. 

“Firefighters had to back off, after a power line fell on the unit, electrically energizing the metal trailer. Fire crews protected a nearby structure and other trailers from fire exposure with water, until PGE cut the power,” said Tyler, as he pointed to a coiled electrical power line at the side of the street.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital in stable condition, Tyler revealed.

“PF&R Arson Squad Investigators determined that this fire was caused by smoking while using home-therapy oxygen,” Tyler said. “The fire ignited when the victim lit a match, which started the fire in the enriched oxygen environment inside the trailer.”

Feast For Southeast, Mount Scott Community Center, free Thanksgiving meal, Thanksgiving
A half-dozen volunteers served a complete Thanksgiving dinner, including two entrees and side dishes, at no charge, to over 500 guests at the Mt. Scott Community Center. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thanksgiving ‘Feast’ in Inner Southeast still open to all


Diners and volunteers alike were anticipating the now-annual Thanksgiving Day tradition called “Feast for Southeast”, with 2016 being its seventh year – it’s still held on the day itself, at Portland Parks & Recreation’s “Mount Scott Community Center”. This year Thanksgiving fell on November 24.

Even though founders Rob and Carolina Selva have stepped back from the project, volunteers have stepped forward to make sure it continues to thrive, smiled Project Director Kendall Palmer. “In fact, for the last five years, many volunteers have wanted to start an official nonprofit organization – so we can serve our community in more ways, and in more places.”

So it is that, now, the Feast for Southeast is held under a new banner – “Gather”. This organization includes “Project Socks” and “Project Bookworm” – both which have actively participated at recent Feast for Southeast gatherings.

“We also want to work with new projects, such as gardening and music, expanding into the community and bringing people together,” Palmer said. “There are so many people who want to volunteer; we want to provide more opportunities year ’round. We expect to host additional activities in 2017.”

As she told about the new organization, a steady stream of volunteers came into the Community Center, and the kitchen crew started unloading food.

They’d planned to serve 700 people during the afternoon, but the day’s heavy downpour – Thanksgiving was the second-rainiest day of the year, to date, in Southeast Portland – reduced the number of guests who found their way to the event somewhat. “We have about 300 volunteers involved in this, so it’s almost a two to one ratio of volunteers to participants,” Palmer remarked.

Returning this year was Chef Melissa Payne of “KitchenCru Culinary PrepSpace”, who oversaw the food preparation for the Feast, including:

  • 137 pounds of ham
  • 170 pounds of turkey
  • 80 pounds of glazed carrots
  • 216 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • “A whole lot” of dressing

As the guests were being served, Chef Payne paused to comment to THE BEE that the Feast for Southeast is now her Thanksgiving Day “home”, and she is already looking forward to next year. “When I was a teenager, I lost my mother; ever since then I really haven’t had a place to go for Thanksgiving Day,” Payne reflected.

“Once I found out about ‘Feast’, and heard that they needed a chef, I was happy to step in,” she added. “I’d rather spend the day with 800 strangers than spend it alone – I just love seeing the smiles on their faces, as they receive a fresh hot Thanksgiving Day meal.”

Even though some of those who arrived looked uncomfortable about its being a free dinner – it still is open to all, regardless of need – almost all of the guests were cheered by the upbeat attitude of the volunteers, some of whom were designated as “table hosts” to chat with the folks who were dining alone.

Other volunteers served beverages, and still others provided desserts, delivered right to the table.

“We want everyone who comes here to feel like they’re getting treated to a great dinner, as if served in a really good restaurant,” Chef Payne explained. “It’s more than charity; it’s about building community together!”


This year’s sponsor Honor Roll for “Feast for Southeast”:

       Southeast Uplift ~ Portland Parks

       Great Harvest Bread in Clackamas

       Marsee Bakery ~ New Seasons Market

       Trader Joe’s Market ~ Hope City Church

       Scratch Made Market ~ Papaccino’s Coffee Shop

       Space Monkey Coffee ~ Pacific Foods

       Starbucks ~ Kitchen Cru

       Access Community Church

       Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association

       Portland Police Sunshine Division

And, you can find out more about the new nonprofit “Gather” by visiting their website:

Post 5 Theater, Mark Feuerherdt, Sellwood theater, theater closes
Volunteers helped Post5 Theatre personnel pack up their equipment as they got set to leave their Sellwood location, said Board Member Stefan Feuerherdt. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Last curtain’ falls on Post5 Theater in Sellwood


On November, 2014, the arrival in Sellwood of the “Post5 Theater” company, from its original location in Montavilla, was heralded in THE BEE.

Now, two years later, this theatrical company – which has been performing in a former church gymnasium at the corner S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Lambert Street – is closing down.

“We’ve lost our lease,” explained Post5 Theatre Board Member Stefan Feuerherdt, standing amid folded sets and seating risers. 

“The space was just too much for us,” Feuerherdt told THE BEE. “It was going to need too much work, and we just couldn’t keep up with it financially. We thought now is as good a time as any to get out.”

The Board decided not to continue in this space in mid-November, causing their final two shows of the season, the “Spectravagasm Holidazed” show and the “A Christmas Carol” production, to move to other spaces.

“So, we’re in the process of picking up and moving out,” Feuerherdt sighed. “The company is not folding; we’re hoping to ‘take a breath’ after we close this theater space, before deciding what to do next.”

brentwood darlington, mural, Clean O Rama, 72nd, Flavel, Portland, Oregon
Artist Steven Borron shows off his newest, and largest, artwork, now gracing the wall of “Clean-O-Rama!” in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

New mural graces Brentwood-Darlington’s ‘Clean-O-Rama’


For about five years, ever since Jeff Dood purchased the Brentwood-Darlington self-service laundry called “Clean-O-Rama!” on S.E. 72nd Avenue just north of Flavel, he says he wanted a mural on the wall of his business.

“Artists involved with the neighborhood association took notice of our food cart pod and our patio, and asked if I’d be interested in having art facing the courtyard,” Dood explained. He agreed, and the “Artistic Darlings” went to work, recruiting artist Steven Borron, who lives “just around the corner” from the site.

“I got together with Meesa Long and Gem Ginger [Martinsen] at the first ‘Artistic Darlings’ meeting that I attended, and this project came up,” Borron told THE BEE. “Because I’ve never done a mural before, I was feeling kind of intimidated. But I like the idea of the artistic direction they were proposing, so I volunteered.”

In fact, Borron said he is fairly new to painting in general, and had picked it up and begun creating vivid sci-fi images and vintage themes. “So, it seemed like a perfect fit, because it’s a vintage theme going on the wall of a vintage Laundromat.”

Recently, the Artistic Darlings and friends gathered to celebrate this new work of art in their neighborhood. Go by, and see it for yourself!

TriMet, be safe be seen, twilight, pedestrian safety, blinky lights, Sharon White
PBOT Outreach staffer Sharon White and bike activist Duane Wong arrive in East Portland, ready to help pedestrians and bike riders “Be Seen. Be Safe”.

Standard Time – and an early sunset – puts pedestrians at risk


With the end of Daylight Savings Time on November 6, and with the sun setting before 5 p.m., the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PDOT) is urging both drivers and pedestrians to be careful. “We’re calling the campaign, ‘Be Seen. Be Safe’,” explained PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera.

“It’s an effort in which we’re sending out volunteers and staff to busy intersections, high crash corridor roadways, and other key locations, handing out safety lights and reflective stickers – while encouraging Portland’s more vulnerable road users to ‘brighten up’ their attire, during the darker fall and winter months,” Rivera explained.

PBOT’s indefatigable test-pedestrian Sharon White came to the intersection of S.E. 80th Avenue and Foster Road on November 7, bearing bags full of reflectors and LED “blinky lights”. This section of Foster has been the scene of several tragic vehicle-pedestrian accidents over the years.

People walking and biking can increase their visibility during low-light hours by wearing such reflective gear and using safety lights, White remarked. “Did you know that you’re first visible to people driving from 500 feet away when you’re wearing reflective clothing? Compare that to a mere 55 feet away, when wearing dark colors with no reflective gear or lights?” said White.

Drivers need to take note, Rivera said, and remember to:

  • Practice patience and slow down;
  • Stay in your lane and beware of drivers who dart from lane to lane;
  • Even though the route may be familiar, don't ‘go on autopilot’; stay alert and always watch for vulnerable road users, such as people walking, biking and rolling; and,
  • Don’t touch your phone, eat, drink, or do other things that are distracting.

And, of course, if you’re driving on a multilane road and someone has stopped to your right or left, the law requires you to do the same, until you are certain they aren’t stopped for a crossing pedestrian you haven’t seen yet.

“It’s time to step up your visibility, and make sure you’re doing your part to travel with care,” Rivera advised.

Know Thy Food, co op grocery, Brooklyn neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
NEW MENU, ONLINE OPTIONS, AT CO-OP GROCERY. Brooklyn’s co-op grocery store, Know Thy Food, launched a new café menu at a celebration and silent auction before Hallowe’en. The new menu features organic seasonal items, kid-friendly plates, new salads, homemade grass-fed bone broth, and more. Here, Jocelyn Mueller hands out free samples of cob salad with meat and eggs, in the café. KTF General Manager Aliza Tuttle revealed, “You can order turkeys, organic and local vegetables, produce and meats, online using our online membership software at: (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Wildlife sign, Spokane Street, Crystal Springs Creek, Patrick Norton, SMILE
This new wildlife interpretive sign is installed at a byway along Crystal Springs Creek, at S.E. 21st and Spokane Street in Sellwood. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Signs of wildlife identified in Sellwood 


A new durable wildlife interpretive sign has been installed at S.E. 21st and Spokane Street in Sellwood.

The full-color depiction of wildlife in and around nearby Crystal Springs Creek includes birds, fish, invertebrates, a beaver, and a northern river otter. The 2x3-foot display is entitled “Nature in the Neighborhood”, and describes some of the year -’round and migrant wildlife that can be seen there.

Supported by SMILE, the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association, and by the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, with a grant from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, the informative sign was created by science illustrator Patrick Norton. The small byway near the creek where it is placed is described as a special place for people, waterfowl, and wildlife. Neighbors who maintain the area gathered November 27th to clean up fall debris.

In addition to pictures of a selection of birds and waterfowl, the display points out, “Numerous species of fish and mammals, including salmon & steelhead, live here. Hundreds of species of invertebrates (animals without backbones) also make the creek their home, and help complete the food web.” A note adds that to become involved in watershed stewardship, visit the Watershed Council online:

The scenic area chosen for the sign is adjacent to a public pathway bordering the creek. The path features a hand-painted salmon mural, which is part of the same project, and leads to a new bridge supporting traffic on S.E. Tacoma Street.

The City of Portland reports itself pleased that creek restoration has allowed salmon to return to their historic spawning grounds near Reed College, in the center of the city.

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