For the first time in four years, this October the Moreland Monster March parade again formed on 14th Avenue in front of Llewellyn Elementary School, in Westmoreland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Monsters again march in Westmoreland, after pandemic break
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
For the first time since 2019, the Moreland Monster March parade rallied at Llewellyn Elementary School, in Westmoreland, on Saturday afternoon, October 29.
“People from the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance, Sellwood Moreland Improvement League, and the Sellwood Community House all reached out to ask if the Llewellyn Parent Teacher Association (PTA) would bring the March back to the north side of the neighborhood, here in Westmoreland,” said this year’s organizer, Llewellyn PTA President Melisa Pierson, Real Estate Broker with Windermere Realty Trust’s Westmoreland Office.
“Families who have been around the neighborhood, and remember the Moreland Monster March – including my own family – were stoked to be able to have it return; so the Llewellyn PTA jumped on the opportunity to host it this year,” Pierson told THE BEE. “I so much enjoy seeing the costumed kids and their parents having a great time in the parade!”
The organizers returned to the traditional 1.2 mile route; Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Motorcycle Officers closed off streets along the way.
The parade formed in front of the Llewellyn Elementary on S.E. 14th Avenue, and rolled out led by Westmoreland Fire Station 20’s Engine Company, turning east on Tolman Street – then turning south on Milwaukie Avenue, along the business district to Bybee Boulevard, where it turned west. At 14th Avenue the parade turned north, to return to the school.
As in years past, estimating the number of participants who showed up, mostly in costume, to march was pretty impossible Pierson recalled. “As the fire engine finished the route back at the school, there were still people marching along Milwaukie Avenue!”
She didn’t take on organizing the Monster March this year alone, Pierson pointed out -- she had the help of as many as 30 volunteers. “The Llewellyn Bake volunteers jumped in, in baking, selling, and ‘anchoring’ the parade. Their fundraiser will support our fifth graders’ annual field trip!
“Among the other volunteers, I especially appreciate the help of Elizabeth Milner with SMILE and the Sellwood Community House, Angela Morrow with SMBA, sponsor Tom Brown, and everyone in the Llewellyn PTA who helped host it!”
The Moreland Monster March began in October of 2001, when two housewives in Westmoreland dreamed up the all-comers Hallowe’en costume parade to lift the mood of people in Southeast Portland in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorism on the East Coast the previous month, with the costs underwritten by the SMILE neighborhood organization.
When the event got too big for the two housewives to manage by themselves, the Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance took it on, and ran it until the COVID-19 pandemic forced its suspension. In the last couple of years the Sellwood Community House revived the idea with a short citizen parade in Sellwood, but now it’s back at its point of origin in Westmoreland – with the help of the Llewellyn PTA, and other community organizations.
Here’s a brief BEE VIDEO of fun moments from this year’s renewed Moreland Monster March:
The driver of this stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee was clearly moving right along when he hit a tree in Eastport Plaza that was sturdier than it looked. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Shoplifting suspect crashes stolen car in Eastport Plaza
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
While tracking individuals through Inner Southeast Portland – who are suspected of shoplifting high-end merchandise from stores across the city – Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct and Neighborhood Response Team officers noticed two men, one of whom they’d been looking for, in an SUV that had been reported stolen, on Tuesday evening, November 7.
When officers spotted that gray late-model Jeep Grand Cherokee turning into Eastport Plaza from S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, on Gladstone Street – at 6:14 p.m. – they radioed for backup from more officers.
“Seeing the officers arrive, the subjects took off in the Jeep -- and eventually they crashed,” related PPB Public Information Manager Mike Benner afterwards.
The Jeep SUV had apparently raced eastward, passing the former Walmart store and turned north on an unnamed access road. The stolen vehicle was found smashed into a tree on the property of Eastport Plaza, facing northbound, just north of S.E. Francis Street, which runs through the shopping center and dead-ends into the parking lot of the theater complex.
“One of the subjects bailed out of the wrecked car, and ran into the neighborhood,” Benner said. “A second subject stayed in the car; that person was detained by officers before later being released.” That individual was allowed to take – under the watchful eye of an officer – his personal belongings out of the wrecked vehicle and depart on foot.
In the meantime, 26 officers were dispatched to help in the hunt for the suspect. The focus of the yard-by-yard search was north of S.E. Bush Street, primarily from 84th to 86th Avenues. Two Portland Police drones were up, flying watchfully over the scene.
After a methodical search lasting almost two hours, officers did find and arrest the driver who had fled the crash, identified as 24-year-old Trejaan Michael Harris.
Harris was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 10:43 p.m. – initially, on three Felony charges of Theft in the First Degree, Unauthorized Use of a Stolen Vehicle, and Attempt to Elude by Vehicle. He was also charged with five other Misdemeanors.
At his arraignment the next day, Harris found that a judge had chosen to “release” every single one of those Felony and Misdemeanor charges. Nonetheless, Harris continues to be lodged in the MCDC in lieu of $50,000 bail, on a Felony Hold.
This photo makes it clear just how the railroad “turntable” was built to move heavy locomotives from one set of tracks to any of several other sets of tracks, as needed. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Historic ‘Brooklyn Turntable’ installation completed at Rail Heritage Center
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
History was made on Sunday, October 12, at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, when the 100-foot-long steel railroad turntable -- originally integral to the Brooklyn Rail Yard in Inner Southeast Portland – once again rotated a steam locomotive to change railroad tracks in the facility’s front yard.
Supporters, and those interested in the project, began to drift into the museum to celebrate the official first operation of the 99-year-old, reinstalled, “Brooklyn Yard Turntable”.
“What makes this particular day special is that we’re finally celebrating the opening of the reconstructed Brooklyn Yard Turntable -- moved, restored, and now installed here,” said Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation (ORHF) President Rick Franklin.
“One of the missions of our Foundation and Center is preserving the history of railroads in the Pacific Northwest, for the future education of our children – and adults as well,” Franklin told THE BEE “It’s been five years [of planning and hard work], and thousands of volunteer hours, to change this dream into a reality.”
During the ceremony, ORHF Executive Director Renée Devereux served as emcee. In her remarks, she honored the memory of Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, who supported the construction of the rail history museum.
Devereux also extolled Rick Gustafson, who she said was instrumental in the design, construction, and ongoing operations for Portland Streetcar – and also managed the Brooklyn Yard Turntable project as a volunteer effort.
“[Former City of Portland Commissioner] Mike Lindberg and [legendary rail preservationist] Doyle McCormack, are real heroes to me,” Rick Gustafson, told those assembled, after he stepped up.
For the folks at the celebration, Gustafson detailed how the “turntable bridge” was salvaged from Southeast Portland’s Brooklyn Rail Yard, reconditioned with new bracing, trucks, and motors, and then was sandblasted and restored -- before the Carnegie steel bridge, track, and pivot base span were moved into a structurally-reinforced pit in the Center’s front yard.
‘All aboard!’ the Holiday Express You can see the Brooklyn Yard Turntable for yourself, when you and yours arrive at the museum, east of OMSI, under the Grand/McLoughlin viaduct, for a family ride on the annual Holiday Express steam locomotive train, from November 24 through December 17.
Revelers will ride in heated vintage rail cars, decorated for the Holiday Season, along with Santa – the train being pulled by the 1912 “Polson #2” steam locomotive from the museum along the Willamette River, through the Oaks Bottom Natural Area, to Oaks Park, and back.
Here’s a look through a telephoto lens along S.E. Woodstock Boulevard -- where cables and wires were sagging after a wooden utility pole was been snapped in two by a tow-truck (Photro by David F. Ashton)
Tow-truck crash closes SE Woodstock Blvd during evening commute
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
At 6:09 p.m. on the rainy evening of Monday, October 30, East Precinct officers were dispatched to a spot just east of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, on Woodstock Boulevard, for what was reported as a hit-and-run accident.
Arriving officers found a wooden utility pole snapped off at its base, and a Chrysler Pacifica SUV with major rear-end damage. Thick fiber-optic cables, as well as electric power and telephone lines, drooped onto the northern sidewalk, where the part of the pole supporting them had fallen to the ground.
Within 20 minutes, a Portland General Electric “Eagle Crew” quick-response truck was at the scene. The driver carefully untangled the still-energized electric power lines from the other cables. Then, chainsaw in hand, he began cutting away the shattered pole.
“Upon investigation, officers found that a tow-truck had struck and knocked down the power pole, causing it to fall on the parked car,” Portland Police spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Allen later told THE BEE. “PGE responded to fix the pole and raise the lines, which obviously takes a while, and required closure of Woodstock Boulevard.”
According to police reports, no one was injured. And it turned out not to be a hit-and-run, either. Apparently, the driver of the tow-truck had simply backed a safe distance away from the seriously sagging power lines after the crash.
“Mechanical failure is mentioned as a possible cause of the incident. No arrests have been made or citations issued,” Sergeant Allen said.
The stand of Pablo Munoz Farms in Dayton, southwest of Portland, was very busy during the last day of the Moreland Farmers Market this season. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Moreland Farmers Market concludes a ‘very sunny’ season
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
It was a cool, crisp, sunny day on Saturday October 28, and a large number of shoppers attended the Moreland Farmers Market on the last day of its season in Westmoreland.
Having started in 2005 as a mid-week market initially in the merchant parking lot opposite the Moreland Theater, later in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot across the street, and even later for some years in the parking lots of Wilhelm’s Portland Mortuary – the market evolved last year into a Saturday market, filling a block of S.E. Clayborne Street, between Milwaukie Avenue and 17th Avenue, with adjacent parking provided by Wells Fargo.
“We had a sunny season this year,” Market Manager Lannie Kali remarked, as the market wrapped up for the season. “Unlike other years, not one market day during our season was ‘rained out’, or had really bad weather!”
Kali said the Moreland Farmers Market Board was grateful for the support of their volunteers, the use of Wells Fargo Bank’s parking lot – and of course, the large number of loyal customers who came to shop, along with quite a few new ones.
Details about the forthcoming 2024 market season haven’t yet been revealed. Keep up with their plans for next year, whenever they announce them, online – http://www.morelandfarmersmarket.org
Dolores Tallmadge (at right) helps place a “Quilt of Valor” around Navy Veteran Myron Boyer, a Woodstock resident. This “quilt of comfort” was sewn by many hands. (Photo by Elizabeth Usser Groff)
‘Quilts of Valor’ ceremony brings comfort & healing to Veterans
By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF For THE BEE
A handmade quilt can be a comfort for many reasons: It may have been sewn by a beloved family member; it may have been purchased on a memorable occasion; it can provide warmth and beauty.
On Sunday, October 15th, in the American Legion Hall in Southeast Portland, eleven handmade quilts were presented -- and wrapped around senior men, one by one – men who had served in various wars or war zones during the past few decades. This was the first time that this ceremony had presented so many quilts at once.
The quilts, stitched by volunteers from the Woodstock, Montavilla, and other Southeast Portland neighborhoods – by women whose husbands or sons had served in various war zones -- displayed many original designs and colors.
These women with seamstress and organizing skills are members of “Quilts of Valor”, a nonprofit national organization that has awarded 348,550 handmade quilts to Armed Services members nationwide over the past twenty years.
The nonprofit was inspired in 2003 by an actual dream experienced by Catherine Roberts of Delaware, at a time when her son was serving in Iraq. Her dream is described on a “Quilts of Valor” brochure:
“It was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. [Then] I saw him wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well-being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was ‘Quilts = Healing’.”
The Southeast Portland American Legion Hall is rented by the Sellwood Breakthrough Auxiliary Post #4248 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on every third Sunday for a breakfast and meeting.
On this particular Sunday in October, eleven Veterans’ names were called. Each went up, one at a time, and two women – both quilt makers – unfolded a quilt from the pile on a table. The pair displayed both sides of each quilt’s designs to the sixty Veterans, family members, and friends seated at tables. Each quilt, marked with the recipient’s name, was then wrapped around each of the Veterans.
Veteran Jim Hale’s response was brief, and touched with humor, but held the weight of underlying past realities. “I was sixteen years in the Marines, and in Vietnam. There was never a dull day!”
A remembrance written by Linda Lutz, Coordinator of the Montavilla Quilts of Valor, described the meaning of the quilts. It was read by volunteer Judi McKamey. “The batting is the filler of the quilt center, and represents warmth, comfort, peace, and healing to the individual who receives it.”
Dolores Tallmadge, a Woodstock resident and Senior Vice President & Hospital Chairperson of the Sellwood Auxiliary, is an involved organizer of the Quilts of Valor ceremonies. Her husband is a Vietnam Veteran whose health has been severely affected by his exposure to the herbicide “Agent Orange”.
Tallmadge is a lifelong seamstress who has participated in making many quilts. She says, “A few are made from start to finish by one person, but most do have many hands working on them!” This collective effort, with each stage of a quilt sewn by a different person, makes the experience a community project.
Danny Case, a pillar of and the President of the Auxiliary, serves as the hospitality leader and food server at the monthly breakfasts. He was the last to be presented with a quilt on that October day. “Thank you all. This is a very, very good thing. For all of you who have served – thank you!”
A firefighter shows the battered and partly-melted smoke alarm that was still screaming a warning until he took the batteries out. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Smoke alarm saves lives in Woodstock house fire
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
One of three emergency incidents to which Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded on Monday morning, October 23, was in Inner Southeast – a house fire at 4620 S.E. 59th Avenue, in the Woodstock neighborhood.
The alarm sounded at 8:53 a.m., bringing out Woodstock Fire Station 25’s Engine and Ladder Truck companies, followed a minute later by rigs from other stations.
“The fire was in the converted upstairs area of the home,” informed PF&R Public Information Officer Rick Graves. “Crews quickly advanced [water] lines upstairs, extinguishing flames that were contained to a single room, leaving minimal structural damage to the home.”
Emerging from the front door of the residence, a firefighter was holding a melted plastic object in his hand. “It is melted, but this fire alarm, found installed on the ceiling, was still sounding, all during the fire.”
Two adult residents were taken to a local hospital for smoke-inhalation evaluations. PF&R crews arranged for the care of the family pets while the residents were receiving medical care. “Three residents and two dogs were displaced by this fire,” reported Graves. “At PF&R, we keep repeating the message, ‘Smoke and fire alarms save lives’. Here was proof that they do – but make sure yours are working!”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
While showing visitors “Snap”, a 34-year-old ball python, OMSI Exhibit Lead Sara Marsano explained that this snake curls into a tight ball to protect its vulnerable head and neck. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
OMSI’s new exhibition features live animals
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – OMSI – has a new featured exhibition, called “Staying Alive: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom”. This exhibit explores how wild animals defend themselves from other creatures and their environment. And it features live animals!
“This is an ‘all-live-animals’ exhibit,” pointed out OMSI Exhibit Lead, Animal Caretaker, and Educator, Sara Marsano. “The exhibition was created by the Foundation for Animal Rescue and Education, and it’s particularly good for smaller children, because seeing living animals – observing their behavior up close – can really inspire their scientific curiosity and desire to learn in children.
“A major focus of this exhibition is conservation,” Marsano continued. “Our hope is that people will see these animals, fall in love with them, and will decide that they want be part of taking care of them, right where they live, in the wild.”
Visitors will meet over a dozen live animals, both common and exotic – including a spiky four-toed hedgehog, an armored three-banded armadillo, and a two-toed sloth lounging in its steam bath.
Exhibit encourages conservation “My favorite part of working with this exhibit is when I take out one of the creatures, like a snake or a tarantula, which people are generally afraid of,” Marsano commented. “After telling about the animal, I let them touch it. Most people discover that they’re actually amazing, not disgusting or frightening, animals.
TheStaying Alive: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom exhibit will be on display through the winter holidays and into spring – and is expected to close next April. Exploring it is free with the museum admission. This world-class science museum is a major destination in Southeast Portland, located just north of the Ross Island Bridge, under the east end of the Marquam Bridge, on S.E. Water Avenue. For ticket information, OMSI’s exact address, and its hours and days of operation, visit their website – https://www.omsi.edu
Now, take a brief tour of this new OMSI exhibit in this exclusive BEE VIDEO:
Detectives found a lot of evidence, but as yet no suspect, in the fatal stabbing of a young mother near an apartment house on S.E. Powell Boulevard near 68th Avenue. (Courtesy of KPTV Fox 12 News)
22-year-old Tiara Atencio leaves behind her 1-year-old “special needs” son. (Tiara Atencio family photo)
Woman stabbed to death on S.E. Powell Boulevard
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
When a woman was heard screaming near apartments in the 6800 block of S.E. Powell Boulevard on Thursday evening , October 19, East Precinct officers were dispatched to investigate a reported assault at 11:05 p.m.
Officers found a woman with what a PPB official called “serious injuries”; she was rushed to a local hospital by ambulance.
PPB Assault Division detectives arrived to take over the investigation, which continued at the location late into the night.
Four days later, on October 23rd, PPB officials revealed that the stabbing victim had been 22-year-old Tiara Atencio, and that she had died of her wounds in the hospital. The Medical Examiner confirmed that the cause of Tiara’s death was stab wounds, and the manner of death was homicide.
Atencio’s sister, Fenicia Damian, told reporters that the victim was a single mother with a “special needs” 1-year-old son. “He was her whole life," Damian said. “She talked about him every day.”
No arrests have been made and no suspect information has been released at this stage of the active investigation. If you have information about this crime, please contact Detective Scott Broughton at 503/823-3774, or email him – Scott.Broughton@police.portlandoregon.gov – and please make reference to Case No. 23-274506.
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