More stories from February's issue of THE BEE!

Steve Novick, street repair, base repair, Milwaukie Avenue, Westmoreland, Portland, Oregon
Outgoing Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick says he’s proud of having worked to pass the Portland fuel tax, dedicated to the repair of Portland streets. The “base repair” made to the pavement of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue is visible behind him. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

City street repair program touted in Westmoreland


Outgoing Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick took a few minutes from packing up his office to “celebrate the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) ‘Fixing our Streets’ milestone,” as he put it on Thursday, January 29.

Media was out in force as Novick and PBOT Director Leah Treat displayed a completed “base repair” project near the intersection of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Ramona Street.

“A ‘base repair’ fixes failing streets in areas like TriMet bus stops. A new concrete pad was installed here, at a stop for TriMet Bus 19,” Novick told THE BEE.

“And, we’re also here to officially release the list of ‘Fixing our Streets’ street repair and safety projects that are slated to begin in 2017, funded by the passage of Measure 26-173, a ten-cent tax on motor vehicle fuels, and Portland’s first local funding source dedicated to street repair and traffic safety projects,” Novick said.

THE BEE learned that the other completed base repair in the area was at 6045 S.E. Lafayette Street. In the coming year, PDOT will put in new concrete bus pads at four more locations:

  • S.E. Harold Street & 41st Avenue
  • 8805 S.E. 17th Avenue
  • 6336 S.E. 40th Avenue
  • 4527 S.E. 51st Avenue

While numerous street repair projects are planned throughout the city, the only other project scheduled for Inner Southeast Portland is a bicycle crossing on S.E. Holgate Boulevard at S.E. 41st/42nd Avenues, to provide a protected intersection, buffered bike lanes, ADA compliant curb ramps, marked crosswalks, and “crossbikes”.

Asked if focusing on passing the gas tax was more important to him than winning reelection, Novick said, “It was definitely worth it. I’m the first City Commissioner 24 years to lose an election. But I’m also the first Transportation Commissioner in 30 years to get a local dedicated source of funding for street repair and traffic safety!”

An interactive map featuring all of the “Fixing Our Streets” projects can be viewed on the official PBOT website – at

Water main, break, Westmoreland, Portland, Oregon
S.E. Reedway Street became flooded just west of McLoughlin Boulevard, after a water main burst under the pavement. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Westmoreland water main ruptures, Reedway awash


A resident of S.E. Reedway Street, just east of 22nd Avenue in Westmoreland, was standing outside her house watching a growing pool of water form in the street, on Tuesday evening, December 13.

“They worked on all of the pipes in this part of Westmoreland, but stopped just a block away, and now look at this,” the woman said, observing water bubbling up from her street.

The work the lady referred to, however, was repairs to the sewers in the neighborhood, not the water mains. What was ponding on the road was not, very fortunately, sewage.

While repairs to this leak were underway, THE BEE requested information about the problem from the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) Senior Community Outreach and Information Representative, Terry Black – who said that what had broken was an 8-inch diameter cast-iron pipe. “The break was a vertical split.”

“The Bureau, along with most other water providers, experiences more main breaks when the weather changes,” Black added.

PWB crews peeled back the pavement over the leak, and repaired the ruptured water main. If changes to the weather are involved in creating such problems, the water mains (as it turned out) hadn’t seen anything yet, in this unusually snowy winter!

Portland Parks Bureau, budget cuts, Mike Abbate, Amanda Fritz, Gail Hoffnagle, Nancy Walsh, Sellwood Community Center
Portland City Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz told how difficult cuts to the PP&R budget are to make, while Director Mike Abbaté looked on. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Community Center again on chopping block


The second of two public meetings about this year’s Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) budget, and the need to make cuts in it, took place at the Mt. Scott Community Center on Wednesday evening, January 4.

“We’re meeting with the community to get their input on what we should submit in our budget that meets the direction that Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland City Council has given us,” PP&R Director Mike Abbaté explained before the meeting began in the auditorium.

“We were told to put together our annual budget to include least a 1% cut, but it could be as high as 5%,” Abbaté conceded. “What we are doing today is asking for the community’s help in identifying what kind of things should be involved in those budget cuts.”

Making cuts is difficult for the Bureau, Abbaté acknowledged. “One of the things about Portland Parks & Recreation is that almost everything we do, every program and facility, is loved dearly by some group of folks.”

Funds from the 2014 Portland Parks & Recreation Replacement Bond Measure can’t help make up this shortfall, Abbaté explained. “It gave us about $68 million to fix our parks; and we had at that time around $400 million in repairs that needed to be made. The list of things that needs to be done is far bigger than that bond funds provided by the measure.”

During the formal program, Abbaté provided an overview of the upcoming City of Portland budget. His presentation showed that $8.3 million in additional revenues will be coming into the city over the next fiscal year from property taxes and business licenses.

But, there are $12.3 million in additional commitments, including:

  • $6.6 million in increased police pay
  • $3.5 million additional housing
  • $1.2 million for financing campaigns (passed by the voters)
  • $1 million due to changes in overhead

“This creates $4 million ‘funding gap’, which is why Bureaus are being asked to cut their budgets,” Abbaté told the some-120 people at the meeting.

Portland City Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz echoed Abbaté sentiments about the difficulty of cutting the budget. “When we’re making cuts we also look in terms of equity and inclusion. There is ‘equity criteria’ on all the packages we’ll be discussing tonight.”

Two Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association representatives were at the meeting, SMILE Vice President Gail Hoffnagle, and Board Member Nancy Walsh – both former Parks employees.

“Once again, they want to close Sellwood Community Center,” Hoffnagle remarked with visible rancor. “We’ve been going through this year after year, and again – our community center’s ‘neck’ is on the ‘chopping block’ for this budget cycle.

“This is a well-used, and beloved, Community Center,” Hoffnagle continued. “The Parks Bureau had to pay a lot more money there recently because they used part-time staff, having cut the full-time people in their last budget! For this reason, it only appears that there’s a large number of employees at the Community Center.” She pointed out that the Center actually brings in more money from neighborhood programs than the city pays to keep it open. The Community Center building is listed on the National Historic Register.

Nancy Walsh remarked that the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood has gained about 1,400 new housing units this year. “Now that we’re becoming the ‘Sellwood Sardines’, you’d think they would give some money to neighborhood groups and organizations who are trying to do the right thing for the people living in, and moving to, our neighborhoods.”

Woodstock neighbors have expressed similar concerns about the possible impacts of the budget-cutting process on their own Community Center, which is now staffed and run from the Mt. Scott Community Center – but is cleaned and maintained by a neighborhood volunteer group, at no cost to the Parks Bureau.

The “Public Budget Survey” closed on January 9, and the Parks Bureau was to deliver their “Requested Budget” on January 30.

As in past years, the Portland Budget Office will hold Public Budget Forums; one on April 11 and another on April 18. Those locations have not yet been announced.

When these meeting times and locations are announced, those interested can go and speak up for the Sellwood Community Center, or the Woodstock Community Center, or any other Parks programs they value.

Powell Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, underpass ice, Union Pacific, overpass
After skidding on ice on S.E. Powell Boulevard, in the dip beneath the 17th Avenue overcrossing, drivers slid and wrecked – two nights in a row – in December. Witnesses say this car lost control, struck others, skidded, rolled, and then flipped back on its wheels. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Underpass ice causes two Powell crashes in Brooklyn


Two nights in a row, ice forming on S.E. Powell Boulevard, in the underpass beneath the S.E. 17th Avenue flyover ramp and the Union Pacific and MAX rail lines, caused traffic collisions – one of them with injuries.

On Tuesday evening, December 3, at 9:08 p.m., cars slid on a sheet of what drivers called “glare ice”, resulting in an inconvenient fender-bending accident.

And again, less than 24 hours later, at 7:34 p.m. on December 4, three vehicles that had been eastbound on Powell Boulevard were involved in a similar accident, at the same location.

The line of cars began to slow, as drivers noticed the patch of ice in the low point of the underpass. “I slowed down,” said the driver of the second car. “But another [third] car came up, really fast over the rise and down the incline, and hit me.”

That collision drove the second car into the front of the first car; the third vehicle flipped over and then back onto its wheels. The driver of the third car was medically evaluated in an AMR ambulance at the scene.

“A policeman said the water caused a wreck there last night,” the driver told THE BEE, trying to drive her damaged car from the scene after being released by police. “I can’t believe the city would leave a dangerous patch of ice without treating it – or at least, putting up a warning sign.”

Eastmoreland, parking permit, MAX, parking
These “restricted parking” signs now line S.E. 27th Avenue in Eastmoreland, near the TriMet MAX Bybee Light Rail Station. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastmorelanders get ‘Parking Permit’ zone near MAX line


After a year of neighbors complaining that S.E. 27th Avenue, just south of Bybee Boulevard, had turned into an on-street TriMet MAX Light Rail parking lot, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) workers posted “2 Hour Visitor Parking” signs along the north side of the street, and around the block, late in December.

“My guess is that Mayor Charlie Hales had this done, while he was still mayor, so cars wouldn’t park in front of his house,” groused Sellwood-Moreland resident Shelly Nickerson. “I ride MAX to help cut down congestion and reduce pollution; having to walk for blocks [to the Bybee Station] is unfair.”

Asked why she believed that Hales had a hand in pushing through the new parking program, Nickerson told THE BEE that she’d read about it “in social media”.

But, it’s not true. In fact, the process to establish the parking zone began eight months before the signs were posted.

As published in the January, 2016 issue of THE BEE, and illustrated with our photo of a line of parked cars – neighbors, bicyclists, and motorists had been upset by vehicles lining the street, making safe passage through the winding avenue precarious.

The “Portland Area Parking Permit Program” began in 1981 in response to citizen concerns about commuter parking in neighborhoods, pointed out PBOT Communications Director John Brady.

“It starts a community initiative petition,” Brady told THE BEE. “The process is that neighbors have to get a majority of the residents in the affected area to petition for the restricted parking zone through their neighborhood association.”

Looking up the application for the 27th Avenue area, designated “Zone R”, Brady revealed that the process had been initiated in April of 2016, when PBOT received a letter of support from the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association.

“It’s true; the ENA Board of Directors did receive a request from neighbors,” then-ENA President Robert McCullough told THE BEE.

“The Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting permit parking ‘along 2,400 feet of 27th Avenue measured south of Bybee Boulevard’, and informed PBOT Parking Operations’ Jay Rogers of that resolution in a letter dated April 25, 2016,” McCullough said.

In the application PBOT received, there were 28 petitioners for the zone, informed Brady. “PBOT then worked with the residents to determine the boundaries of the proposed permit zone,” he said.

In October, PBOT mailed ballots to the residents of the proposed zone. The ballots, due November 11, 2016, were counted and 78% were in favor of the zone, observed Brady. “At that point, the zone was approved.”

As this issue of THE BEE went to press, few applications for the $60/year resident or guest parking permits had been received by PBOT, perhaps because the homes along the avenue already have driveways and garages. One “Resident Parking” permit is registered to a vehicle; a “Guest Parking” permit can be provided to visitors or contractors working in homes along the permitted stretch.

For non-residents of the avenue considering applying for a permit, note that “Proof of Residence” is required, and is subject to verification by PBOT.

Find out more, online:

SE 82nd Avenue, broken water main, Foster Road, Ellis Street, Shell Gas Station, Portland, Oregon
As we looked across S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, a lake of Bull Run water was forming at Ellis Street. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Major water main break closes SE 82nd Avenue in icy weather


Along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, just south of Foster Road, motorists and police officers alike began noticing water bubbling up through the pavement on Thursday, December 15, at about 8:30 p.m.

Neighbors living along Ellis Street, as they became aware of the problem, said they were concerned that their basements might be flooded, because much of the water coming up from several cracks in the street was flowing westward down their street, and running into the combined sewer system drains.

A handful of Portland Water Bureau (PWB) workers were soon at the scene, and with long rods in hand, worked to shut off the broken water main at valves a block or so south, at S.E. Woodstock Boulevard.

By midnight, PWB crews had brought in heavy equipment, including a front-loader tractor with a backhoe, and S.E. 82nd was completely closed down in both directions in preparation for the needed excavation to find and replace the broken pipe.

According to the Water Bureau, the burst water main was an 8-inch cast iron pipe, and had been installed in 1912.

The work continued overnight, and into the following day, as Water Bureau workers explored the excavated area for the ruptured pipe. “The volume of water in the break suggests that significant sections of the pipe will need to be removed and replaced,” a PWB spokesperson remarked.

Water to several businesses in the area, and to homes along S.E. Ellis Street between 78th and 82nd, was shut off, as repairs got underway.

Throughout the afternoon of Friday, December 16, crews plumbed in about thirty feet of new water main pipe, and replaced a line valve. After the pipe was repaired and water service restored, the PWB turned street repair over to Oregon Department of Transportation’s road crews, and before long the busy highway was again filled with cars.

Jin Darney, Eastside Village, aging in place
Jin Darney is a volunteer staff member in the Southeast Portland “Eastside Village” office. In 2015, “Light a Fire Foundation” awarded Villages NW (all seven “villages” in the Portland Metro area) a total of $7,500 for being the “best new nonprofit”. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

‘Aging in Place’ SE nonprofit making strides


“Eastside Village” is growing. It’s not an actual village – it is a nonprofit organization that’s part of a national movement to make it possible for people to stay in their homes as they age.

A little over a year ago Portland’s “Eastside Village” was launched to serve people in twenty-three Southeast Portland neighborhoods. Now, having just passed its first anniversary, it is up and going – and growing.

In January 2016, there were 35 members and 40 volunteers. Twelve months later, in January 2017, there are 60 members and 65 volunteers. The village is growing!

What do people need, to be able to “age in place”? Jin Darney, a Woodstock resident who has been active with the Woodstock Farmers Market and the Woodstock Community Business Association, has also been involved with Eastside Village from the start -- and is one of its important organizers and supporters. She says that there are three major services that Eastside Village offers to members to make it easier to age in place.

One is having a pool of volunteers to draw upon when help is needed – help with transportation to appointments, a trip to the grocery store, or whatever is needed. For example, in the late fall and early winter season a number of requests, came in from people needing help with moving potted plants from outside to indoors. Others have needed help with computers. The list of miscellaneous jobs is expansive, and includes anything that a member can’t do. There have been requests for help changing a high ceiling light bulb.

Secondly, members have access to a list of recommended contractors, handypersons, plumbers, gutter cleaners, etc. Some professional people are recommended by members of Eastside Village; in addition, members have access to a list of service vendors suggested by the City of Portland.  Members can use the organization’s website – – to access Club Express, a database that directs members to needed services. Darney says the Club Express site is very helpful, and is careful about protecting members’ privacy.

Third, Darney says, “Eastside Village helps organize social outings and events for its members. Social isolation can be a serious problem for elders, so Eastside members can benefit from organized gatherings and outings. For example, they can join a movie group that arranges for members to meet at the theater, and then go out afterwards to socialize and discuss the film.  A book group meets once a month.  ‘Men’s coffee’ meets every third Wednesday, and ‘women’s coffee’ on the first and third Fridays. Happy Hours meet at different locations.”

Fran Daggett, a founding member of Eastside Village and active participant, is happy with how the organization has taken off. “I have used a few services, and I enjoy the social activities – coffee, breakfast every second Wednesday, Happy Hours, and potlucks in peoples’ homes.”

Full Service Membership is $540 per year for individuals, $800 per year for couples.  Social Members pay $300 per year for individuals, $500 for couples. Payments can be made monthly or quarterly, if needed.

Group information sessions called “Eastside Village 101”, held for prospective members, are held on the third Saturday of each month, alternately at the Woodstock Wine & Deli on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, and at Hot Lips Pizza on Hawthorne Boulevard. The next session is Saturday, February 18th, 10:30-noon, at Hot Lips Pizza, S.E. 22nd and Hawthorne Boulevard.

For more information call 503/866-0571, and leave a message if necessary – or go online to:   

The Eastside Village office at 1402 S.E. Cora is staffed by volunteers, with some office hours each week day. Call ahead.

Creston Kenilworth, sinkhole, 49th Street, Portland, Oregon
Contractors examined the sinkhole on S.E. 49th Avenue, and began to develop a remediation plan. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Creston sewer sinkhole startles neighbors


A garbage truck driver, making his early morning rounds on December 20 near the Creston Post Office, got a scare – when the pavement on S.E. 49th Avenue, just north of Rhone Street, started to give way.

The truck’s rear wheel fell through the asphalt at about 6:30 a.m., but the truck’s momentum allowed it to pull clear of the quickly-growing sinkhole.

Neighbors painted “Don’t Enter” on the pavement near the hole before the crew from the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) arrived and put up yellow warning tape to cordon off the area.

“The sinkhole is about sixteen feet deep and four feet wide,” revealed BES spokesperson Diane Dulken.

The street had been slated for sewer pipe replacement in July, as part of the Powell Sewer Repair project, a multi-block capital project that began last May and is expected to finish in November 2017. It will repair and replace aging public sewer pipe in Southeast Portland, remarked Dulken.

After a BES crew and a contractor opened up the street, they began replacing a damaged section of 97-year-old sewer pipe, and filled the sinkhole.

“They also found another deteriorated section [of pipe] 15 feet north of the sinkhole, and are extending the temporary repair project to include that,” Dulken later announced.

Days later, at the site, a contractor told THE BEE that they could only work on one section of the sewer at a time. “It’s because the power, telephone, and cable lines overhead made it impossible for the heavy equipment to dig it all out at one time and replace the broken sewer line,” he said.

Smaller equipment would not be able to do the job, the worker added. Asked how they would attempt to complete the job, the response was, “very carefully”.

Later, Dulken commented that BES had moved up a planned sewer replacement project for that area from next July to early this January, to create a long term solution.

Jeff Milkes, Portland Public Parks Bureau, Portland, Oregon, Cupertino
Jeff Milkes speaks with supporters at his going-away party at Mt. Scott Community Center. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Parks Supervisor honored at Mt. Scott going-away party


The activity room at Mt. Scott Community Center began to fill with people on Wednesday afternoon, January 4, to wish Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Supervisor Jeff Milkes farewell on his last day on the job.

After having previously worked for 15 years in Germany, Korea, Guam, and Spain, Milkes spent the last eleven years with the Portland Parks Bureau, supervising the care and maintenance of Southeast Portland parks.

“Actually, I’ve been I’ve been a Portland resident most of my life,” Milkes reflected. “However, my wife and I took advantage of the opportunity to work overseas, before coming back to town.”

But, Milkes became known for more than just his job, as he providing day-to-day supervision of Portland Parks in Southeast and Outer East Portland.

Many Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood residents recognize him as the person who worked to turn a vacant plot of land into what is now Hazeltine Park, named in honor of longtime neighborhood resident Dick Hazeltine.

“It was great, working with directly Dick Hazeltine, Gail Kiley, and the rest of the wonderful folks in the area, and the neighborhood association,” Milkes remarked to THE BEE. “The best part of that experience was the friendships and partnerships we made in the community. Because of the material support and volunteer labor, together we created the park for less than $20,000 – giving this neighborhood a new usable park.”

Milkes was the one who took on the job bringing back a popular citywide event – the Portland Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Races, at the Westmoreland Casting Pond. “It’d sat empty for a number of years; we were able to have the plumbing repaired, refill the pond, and bring back this iconic event,” Milkes reminisced.

In addition to supervising his Bureau’s outdoor event crew setting up sound systems there, Milkes attended all of the Milk Carton Boat Races as a knighted Royal Rosarian, and helped judge the events.

Seeking to create summer activities for kids, Milkes led the effort to start the Bureau’s “Portland Teen Idol” competition, drawing from high schools all over the metropolitan area.

But the biggest projects on which he worked, outside of overseeing the maintaining of the parks, were the “Movies in the Parks” and “Concerts in the Parks”, now presented under the banner of ‘PP&R Summer Free-for-All’ festivities.

“At our very first ‘Movies in the Parks’, I remember wondering if anyone would come; but by dusk there were at least a thousand people in the park,” Milkes smiled. “It started from nothing, to now it’s one of the top programs of its kind in the country – as far as the number of events, the neighbor participation, and the sponsorships,” he said.

PP&R Director Mike Abbaté was one of the about 60 guests on hand at the going-away party, and lauded Milkes, saying, “He’s creative, innovative, and the genius our major summer program. He’s going to make a phenomenal parks director, because one of his great strengths is building relationships with the community. Portland owes him a huge debt of gratitude.”

Milkes responded, “It’s been a fabulous journey, with fantastic groups of people to work with – both within the Bureau and our volunteers. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for those folks.”

Milkes is off to Cupertino, California, near San Jose, where he’ll become the community’s Recreation and Community Services Director.

Stolen car, recovery, Woodstock neighborhood, alert neighbors, Portland, Oregon
An officer placed some of items the occupants had with them, in the stolen car, on the hood of his police unit. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Alert neighbors help nab car thieves in Woodstock


It’s unusual for five Portland Police Bureau East Precinct units to respond to an address in the Woodstock neighborhood, but it happened on S.E. Steele Street near 57th Avenue on Tuesday morning, January 10, at 10:29 a.m.

Neighbors nearby had thought it suspicious that a dark blue Lexus was parked at the curb, its motor running, with three people inside.

“Thanks to neighbors paying attention, we’ve found a reported stolen car, and have taken the three occupants into custody,” remarked an officer at the scene.

Arriving to examine the recovered stolen car was Stein Nielsen, who said his daughter was its owner.

“Her car was stolen about two weeks ago from where she lives in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood,” Nielsen told THE BEE, “and today, somebody saw the car here in this neighborhood, and called the police.”

Officers found several suspicious items in the car, including several hypodermic syringes with needles. “I’m glad officers took out the stuff that doesn’t belong to my daughter,” Nielsen commented gruffly.

The names of those arrested had not yet been disclosed by police as this issue of THE BEE went to press.

Greg Weigel, All Saints Episcopal Church, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
After 15 years, Greg Weigel cooks his last dinner at Woodstock’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock ‘Hot Meals’ chefs retire


Since 1988, Woodstock’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church has been operating its “Hot Meals” program every Saturday at noon, and on special holidays as well.

There are no qualifications to come and be served the meal at 11:00 a.m.; all who wish a hot prepared-on-site meal are welcomed to the program, volunteer organizer Nancy Patrick told THE BEE.

And, the program has grown over the years. “In the past seven years, we’ve had about a 30% increase in the number of people coming here, and depending on us.”

On December 3, this all-volunteer group honored a couple who have cooked that meal, every first Saturday of the month, for 15 years.

“We are presenting to Ellie Krieger and Greg Weigel a plaque and gift card today – their last day working with the program,” Patrick shared.

Greg Weigel smiled and waved us off, as he put the finishing touches on a meatloaf that smelled delicious, and other volunteers scurried about just before the doors opened to admit the day’s diners.

Wife Ellie Krieger said that 26 years ago she, her daughter, and her husband volunteered to cook on the first Saturday of each month for Saint Ignatius Catholic Church’s community dinner on Powell Boulevard. They later shifted to the Woodstock church.

“Back then the kids started helping out, and kept doing so; then, when my granddaughters were old enough, they started helping out too,” Krieger recalled. “The girls went to college, and my daughter moved to Hawai’i, so we carried on ourselves, with these wonderful friends that we’ve made for working with this program here in Woodstock – although we attend St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Southwest Portland, where we live.”

The meal program is a “great human services project”, Krieger reflected; one which she and her husband have had the pleasure to support. “We’ve been doing this because we eat very well; my husband is a great cook,” explained Krieger. “And, because he does meals like what you would have in a restaurant, he won’t serve cheap, poorly prepared, low quality-food to people who, perhaps, are down on their luck.”

But now, it was time for them to give up their Saturday in the Woodstock church’s kitchen, Krieger said. “The hardest part about this day, having gotten to know all of these wonderful people, both volunteers and the guests, is that when we leave today, it will be our last time serving them.”

The program continues. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Nancy Patrick at 971/271-1339, or e-mail her at:

Fatal car crash, Tenino Street, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Portland Fire & Rescue Westmoreland Station 20 paramedic/firefighters stand by, after rescuing the female passenger from the crash, while a police officer guards the scene. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Driver dies as car flips on Tenino Street in Sellwood


A red Honda Odyssey hit several parked cars prior to its rolling over on S.E. Tenino Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue, on the south side of that Sellwood street, on Friday evening, January 6, at about 6:30 p.m. 

Neighbors coming out to find out what caused the commotion first muttered that the crash was due to another speeding driver, cutting through their neighborhood via the very narrow street. 

The investigation took on a different tone when, after an ambulance took the female passenger away, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Precinct officers cordoned off the area and called for the Bureau’s Major Crash Team to respond the Sellwood street.

Later that evening, Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson revealed that the male driver involved in the crash had died at the scene. “Preliminary information indicates that the driver might have suffered a medical event prior to the crash,” Simpson said.

The female passenger, who is the driver’s wife, remains in a Portland hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Simpson added.

This crash remains under investigations; the names of the couple involved in the wreck had not been released as this issue of THE BEE went to press.

Futel Phone, Karl Anderson, free calls, street phone, Portland, Oregon
Karl Anderson, operator of the public “Futel” telephone system, stands by the first phone booth he set up for free use by those who could not afford a cellphone – at S.E. 13th Avenue at Clinton Street. It appears to be used for visual communications purposes too. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Futel’ offers free public phones for the needy 


While local homeless folks may struggle finding shelter, they can always make a free phone call – thanks to the ingenuity of Karl Anderson. (If that name rings a bell, he was the fellow whose “bicycle boats” wedding THE BEE covered a couple of years ago.)

The “Futel Phone Company” created by Anderson and his friend Elijah St. Clair began with a salvaged phone booth placed on S.E. Clinton Street at 13th Avenue. The second phone was set up to serve residents of the “Right 2 Dream Too” homeless encampment.

Earlier this past year, “Futel” was awarded a $6,000 grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) to support the operation and install additional public telephones.

Anderson, a software engineer for Duo Security, says he missed the ubiquitous public phone booths that used to dot the city. (There still are a few around, but they do require coins.)

He wondered if such discarded phone booths could be re-purposed for people who can’t afford cell phones. He and St. Clair experimented with old Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) audio equipment, office phone software, and salvaged pay phone parts, and eventually created a workable system using an Internet connection to offer free domestic telephone service.

The first “Futel” booth is located on private property, but is publicly accessible from the sidewalk. Anderson and St. Clair themselves are the main “operators” responding, when someone presses “O”. Callers are assured that the phone call is free after they press “1”. Service are mostly available for domestic calls and for up to half hour periods.

“Providing a public service was a key objective of the project,” explains Anderson. “We also offer free voice mail service, through any ‘Futel’ phone or incoming line.”

Occasionally, “Futel” users just want to chat with the operator or ask questions about the system. They appreciate the service, which costs Anderson & St. Clair less than $100 a month to provide. “It's sort of a social experiment to see how people use the service,” remarks Anderson. “A $1,000 grant from ‘Awesome Portland’ helped finance our second ‘Futel’ phone, and now we have a third one at N.E. 8th & Ainsworth Street. We’re hoping to have one in every quadrant of Portland.”

Anderson is also looking to find two more sites for his free phone booths, as well as additional sponsors to help support their operation. “We have to make sure the project is sustainable – something we can continue to run for cheap. We're all volunteers here,” he grins. “We’re trying to create more interactive and artistic things with ‘Futel’, although we know that at least one 9-1-1 call has been made from the Clinton Street phone, for an overdose emergency on Powell Boulevard.

“Right now, people are making sixty to eighty calls per day with ‘Futel’. We’re actively trying to secure more funding, or to find someone interested in hosting the system. It’s now a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and offers a real service to the community. It also focuses on a nostalgic element of earlier communication, before the proliferation of cellphones,” he adds.

For more information, hey, use a phone: Call 503/468-1337.

Rollover, inattentive driver, Foster Road, Portland, Oregon
Firefighters and paramedics surround the Mazda that drifted off Foster Road, crashed into a parked car, and then rolled onto its top. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Car drifts off Foster Road, smashes, rolls


Workers and customers inside the “I Heart Retro” store at 6927 S.E. Foster Road were startled by a loud crash outside on Wednesday evening, December 21, at 6:24 p.m.

When they ran out to see what had happened, they saw a Mazda 3 four-door sedan on its roof – and the driver crawling out of the smashed vehicle.

A Portland Fire & Rescue lieutenant from Woodstock Fire Station 25’s Truck Company later confirmed that the driver had self-extricated herself, and had declined paramedic attention.

Apparently, the Mazda was traveling westbound on Foster Road, drifted out of the traffic lanes for still-unknown reasons, and clipped the driver’s side rear quarter panel of a Hyundai Elantra GT parked at the curb. It struck the parked vehicle so hard, the impact bent in a wheel of the Elantra.

“Because I just stopped by just for a few minutes, I left my dog in the car,” remarked the driver of the Elantra. “The pooch is okay, but is now hiding under a table in the back of the store.”

The Portland Police Bureau was not immediately able to tell THE BEE whether the responsible driver had received a citation in the mishap.

Brooklyn neighborhood, house fire, roofer fire, vacant house, Portland, Oregon
After setting up ladders in the day’s strong east winds, firefighters were advised to fight the blaze from inside this vacant Brooklyn neighborhood house, rather than atop it. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Roofers inadvertently spark fire at Brooklyn house


Alert neighbors called 9-1-1 just after noon on Tuesday, January 3, when they spotted smoke and flames erupting from a vacant house at 3602 S.E. 8th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Workers were scrambling to get out of the burning structure as Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) pulled up.

Engine 4 from downtown and the Hawthorne Bridge Fire Station’s Engine 21 were the first to arrive, and reported back to dispatch seeing a column of smoke while en route to the location. Westmoreland Station’s Engine 20 was on the scene two minutes later.

As they sized up the fire and deployed crews, PF&R command staff reported that the fire had spread throughout the attic space and roof line, and was being whipped up by the strong winds blowing across the two-story house.

“This fire shows how wind can move flames quickly through a home, and make it difficult for firefighters to conduct our normal operation, remarked Deputy Chief Dan Buckner. “For safety reasons, I could not assign a crew to be on that roof.”

After battling the blaze for about 45 minutes, the fire was declared contained at about 1 p.m.

“PF&R Arson Squad Fire Investigators have determined the fire was caused by a combination of roof work that was being done, and the presence of high winds,” later reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. “Total damage is estimated at approximately $200,000.”

Foster Road, hit and run, crash, Portland, Oregon
This Hyundai’s front end was ripped off by a Chevy pickup truck that reportedly ran a red light at S.E. Foster and 52nd and then overturned, its driver running away. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Red-light runner hits-and-runs on Foster Road


Traffic was rerouted around the intersection of S.E. 52nd Avenue and Foster Road, on Thursday, December 22, at 2:57 p.m., after a pickup truck smashed into a car and flipped.

A man and woman, looking slightly dazed, were standing near their Hyundai Sonata, where the front end of the car had just been torn off.

The driver said they’d been headed eastbound on S.E. Foster Road, and had a green traffic signal as they approached 52nd Avenue. “Like a flash, a [northbound] Chevy truck blasted through a red light, ripped off the front of our car, and then rolled over and slid on its side,” the driver told THE BEE. 

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct units flooded the area, looking for the female driver of the pickup truck who’d run eastward on Foster Road, according to witnesses, after climbing out of the wrecked vehicle.

While a passenger in the pickup truck was treated for a cut hand – and told officers he didn’t know the name of the driver. No official report yet on whether the hit-and-run driver had been found and arrested.

Jessica Vega Pederson, Multnomah County Commissioner, number 3, sworn in, Portland Community College, Oregon
New District 3 County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson is sworn in by Multnomah County Judge John A. Wittmayer. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New Southeast Portland County Commissioner takes oath twice


Although new Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 Jessica Vega Pederson had already taken her oath of office the previous day in the Board of Commissioners chambers on S.E. Grand at Hawthorne, she held a second swearing-in ceremony on the morning of January 4 – at the Portland Community College Southeast Campus at S.E. Division and 82nd Avenue of Roses.

“I’m thrilled to have an event open to the public in the heart of my district,” remarked Vega Pederson with a smile.

The ceremonial area on the second floor of the college’s library was filled to capacity, as the second swearing-in got underway, just after 9:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the New Year.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury thanked Vega Pederson for inviting her to speak at the occasion. “Serving on the Board of Commissioners is a tremendous responsibility; one that is both humbling and inspiring,” she began. “This is hard work, and I’m very glad that the voters saw that Jessica has what it takes to help solve those problems.”

Part of being a successful elected official, Kafoury opined, is “knowing how to bring the community to the table; and, this is where Jessica excels. She knows the challenges facing families in her area.”

A day after taking the oath of office, administered by Multnomah County Judge John A. Wittmayer, Vega Pederson spoke at PCC: “I’m here today to dig into the job. [Yesterday’s ceremony] was very nice, but in my heart, I knew that for my office to be most meaningful, it needed to be done here, in the district with our people.”

District 3 covers a good portion of Inner Southeast Portland – from S.E. Cesar Chavez Boulevard (39th) east, extending well into Outer East Portland.

“In my district, we’re not looking to be exceptional, but we are tired of being the exception!” Vega Pederson said.

Conditions on the street where she and her family live in the Hazelwood neighborhood inspired her to run for the seat, she said. “The [Shel Silverstein] poem, ‘Where The Sidewalk Ends’, isn’t just a poem – it’s the reality on our street.

“While I want to be a commissioner for all of Multnomah County, I know that the residents of Southeast Portland need a strong voice advocating for the issues that most affect their lives: Affordable housing, transportation, equity, and a working social safety net,” Vega Pederson told the group.

In her remarks, she called for the people of her district to have an “equal shot”. After completing her remarks, Vega Pederson defined what she means by “providing an equal shot” for THE BEE:  “It is that everyone has a safe and sustainable community, anywhere they live, in Multnomah County.

“This means everyone, no matter how long they’ve lived here, has an equal opportunity for economic success and [obtaining] services,” Pederson continued. “I think it’s also making sure that Multnomah County is a leading voice for critical issues in our state, such as in transportation and the environment.”

Learn more about Commissioner Vega Pederson by visiting her website:

Car pole, matchbox cars, Ardenwald, Portland, Oregon, MAX
This “Car Pole” street-art installation is situated high on a utility pole at 3377 S.E. Roswell Street, in the Ardenwald neighborhood just east of McLoughlin Boulevard and the MAX Tacoma Street Station. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Car pole’ oversees car pools – in Ardenwald

For THE BEE        

Folks in the Ardenwald neighborhood – which is partly in Portland, and partly in the City of Milwaukie – have been enjoying an unusual new “car pole” landmark on S.E. Roswell Street.

Set up about fifteen feet upon a utility pole, someone – probably without official approval from the utility company that owns it – has fastened a cluster of nearly 70 colorful Matchbox Cars and Trucks over the past couple of years.

THE BEE dispels the mystery. That someone is Jeff Crowther, who lives at 3377 S.E. Roswell – right across the street. “I like seeing the smiles it brings when someone notices it,” he says.

“I used to work in Amarillo, Texas. A couple of brothers there developed a roadside attraction in 1974 called ‘The Cadillac Ranch’. They set up a line of ten vintage Cadillacs, half-buried at an angle, nose-down in a wheat field. In 1997 the installation was moved to a cow pasture along Interstate 40. Thousands of people have seen it, and its history can be read on Wikipedia. I thought it would be fun to have something like that here, too, just to be goofy.”

Crowther collects die-cast metal vehicles, and had a surplus of small cars and trucks hanging around. “They’re just novelties; they’re not worth anything,” he says. “I know there’s a famous ‘Gum Wall’ in Seattle, where people put their chewing gum. There’s also a ‘Doll Wall’ in North Portland that attracts some attention.

“I just thought it would be fun to have something like that here, too, so I mounted them up high enough to be out of the way, but still visible to passersby. I figure, if you can put a smile on somebody’s face, you've done something good for the day.”

Arleta Triangle, Mt. Scott, car to car shots, Putter's, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
Police closed off S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, just east of the “Arleta Triangle”, on December 23 – when gunfire erupted between two cars. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Car-to-car shootout on Woodstock Boulevard


When ten Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers swarmed in front of Putter’s Bar & Grill on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard near 73rd Avenue, just after 8:00 p.m. on December 23, neighbors watching the scene speculated that the popular neighborhood restaurant had been robbed. But that was not what had happened.

“East Precinct officers responded and located evidence of gunfire but no victims,” Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told THE BEE. “Witnesses described the occupants of one vehicle shooting at the occupants of another vehicle; both left the area.”

Crime scene tape marked off a two-block area in which officers and K-9 teams searched for evidence, talked with witnesses, and made notes. Some officers searched the area west and north of Mt. Scott Park, others remained at the scene.

Further investigation indicated that the shooting might have been gang related, Simpson said, so the PPB Gang Enforcement Team investigators responded and took over the investigation. No further information is available as this issue of THE BEE goes to press.

Brentwood Darlington, Housefire, Station 20, Portland, Oregon
The crew from Sellwood-Moreland Station Engine 20 stands by in the snow, ready to remove charred debris. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Snowy streets, burning garage – in Brentwood-Darlington


Even though Portland’s firefighters were going from call to call in their chained-up rigs after the week’s big winter storm, crews responded quickly to a residential fire in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on Friday morning, December 13, at 10:51 a.m.

Moving through snow-filled and ice-packed streets to the home at 6824 S.E. 63rd Avenue, crews riding PF&R Woodstock Engine 25 were first to arrive, and notified Dispatch of smoke coming from a semi-attached garage.

The engine company crewmembers started pulling out water lines and hooking them to a nearby hydrant; a minute later, they were joined by their colleagues on Truck 25, and those from the Sellwood-Moreland Station 20 on S.E. Bybee Boulevard. 

“When crews arrived, they found fire on the first floor of the garage,” PF&R spokesman Lt. Rich Chatman told THE BEE. “While some firefighters worked to knock down the fire, others searched the area, including the living quarters above the garage.”

The resident of the apartment above the garage wasn’t home, and there were no injuries. “Because the homeowner called 9-1-1 promptly, the fire did not extend to the upper level of the garage, or to the attached house,” reported Chatman.

A PF&R Investigator came to the scene to determine the cause, but the findings in that report were not yet available as THE BEE went to press.

Sprit of Portland, award, Foster Road, Portland, Oregon
Commissioner Amanda Fritz [far left] presents the 2016 Neighborhood of the Year Spirit of Portland Award to Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association Chair Brian Balla, Past Chairs Christian Smith and Erika Bjerning, and Board Members Ellie Russell, Natalia Barwegen, and Rebecca Lavelle-Register. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

SE neighborhood and business given ‘Spirit of Portland’ awards


At the 32nd annual “Spirit of Portland Awards”, held on December 13 at the Doubletree Hotel in North Portland, two Inner Southeast Portland entities were honored by Portland City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman.

“Neighborhood Association of the Year”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced that the Spirit of Portland Neighborhood Association of the Year award was being presented to the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association (FPNA).

Fritz told how the FPNA promotes positive change within their area, and has worked to enhance a sense of community through projects and events supported by the neighborhood association.

“They facilitate communications between residents and appropriate agencies for addressing various livability concerns,” Fritz said “The Association strives for inclusiveness and engagement of all people [while being] one of Portland’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.”

Accepting the award was FPNA Chair Brian Balla. “This Award symbolizes all the hard work that we’ve done over the years to create an inclusive environment for all of our neighbors,” Balla told THE BEE. “It represents many hours of volunteer service trying to create a neighborhood for all, not just a few people.

“We have a very diverse neighborhood,” Balla added. “There are a lot of livability concerns that come because of the many new families moving here. We are really focusing on making it a place where all people can live, feel safe, and feel welcome.” Learn more about the FPNA at their website:

“Business of the Year”
Later in the program, Commissioner Dan Saltzman presented the Business of the Year Spirit of Portland Award to “People, Places, Things”, also located on Foster Road.

Though his business, “People, Places, Things”, headquartered at the Portland Mercado, Patrik McDade and his partners “provide English language learning programs for adults that bring education to an under-served, highly-diverse population,” Saltzman commended.

“This model uses real-world materials, such as a curriculum, and proves to be effective in overcoming common barriers, such as culture, legal status, ability level, and income, to bring people together and build multi-ethnic communities that celebrate their diversity.”

After McDade received his plaque, he told THE BEE why his organization chose not to be set up as a nonprofit organization. “We wanted to invite lots of people to participate, so I needed to share ownership – and you can’t do that in the same way, using other kinds of organizational structures.

“So, we’ve brought in a number of leaders, who are also learning to teach classes, into what is actually a professional guild of people who are supporting each other for economic benefit, but also for the benefit of immigrants and refugees,” McDade added. “It’s for anyone who wants to cross bridges and live in a multicultural society like we do.”

Find out more about this unique organization online:

Powell Boulevard, SUV, crash, light pole, Portland, Oregon
The curb and median strip on S.E. Powell Boulevard didn’t stop this SUV, but a steel street lighting pole at 64th Street did. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Truck rams pole on Powell Blvd at 64th


Although this smash-up happened during the early snowy weather on Friday, December 16, officials said this single-vehicle crash on S.E. Powell Boulevard near 64th Avenue had nothing to do with the bad weather.

For reasons that still remain unclear, the driver of an eastbound Chevy Blazer SUV drifted out of the traffic lane, drove over the curb and into the median, and was finally stopped by a steel street lighting pole in the middle of the boulevard.

The impact was sufficient to deploy the airbags in the truck. 

“We’ve called PGE to come take a look at the pole, it seems to be leaning a little,” a Portland Police officer remarked at the scene.

The officer didn’t speculate for THE BEE why the driver involved in this single-vehicle accident had wrecked his vehicle; but he seemed quite clear that it had not been some routine snow accident. No injuries were reported.

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