More stories from September's issue of THE BEE!

Milwaukie Avenue, McLoughlin Boulevard, offramp upgrade
An ODOT crew installed ADA-accessible sidewalk ramps, and realigned the Milwaukie Avenue exit ramp and the curb at the top of the ramp from McLoughlin Boulevard southbound, in a recent three-week state-funded project. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

McLoughlin offramp at Milwaukie Avenue rebuilt and upgraded

for THE BEE 

Motorists unpleasantly surprised by the sudden closure of the Milwaukie Avenue southbound exit ramp from S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard in July are now resting easy; it’s open again. 

Crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation were installing ADA accessible ramps for the sidewalk at the top of the ramp, realigning the ramp, and moving the curb back. The project, which involved heavy earth-moving equipment, was completed in early August.

A spokesman for the ODOT crew working in the hot sun told THE BEE that they were replacing the sidewalk to realign the pathway and putting in two ramps to accommodate requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project took less than three weeks, and was funded by ODOT.

Charrette, Woodstock
The empty lot in the background is one of several along Woodstock Boulevard from S.E. 39th (Chavez Blvd) to 57th Avenues that are ripe for development. Some neighbors say they don’t want a “Division or Hawthorne here”. An upcoming “charrette” will tackle issues of development. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

“Charrette” visioning planned – to refine Woodstock’s development


Woodstock residents and businesspeople are being invited to refine the vision for the future development of the Woodstock neighborhood commercial district, and the residential areas closest to that commercial strip.

For several months, a “Woodstock Charrette” – a neighborhood visioning session – has been in the planning stages by the Woodstock Neighborhood Association and the Woodstock Community Business Association 

These four days of design planning – set for October 16-20 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, with the hours not yet announced – can help make a difference in the development of the Woodstock village center over the next few decades.

With the recent rapid changes in the Woodstock business district – the coming of a New Seasons Market, Grand Central Bakery, and the Portland Fish Market, among other stores – there is a need to address issues of traffic flow, parking, the scale of multi-story buildings, design, the interface of commercial and residential properties, and the identity of the commercial district on Woodstock Boulevard.

The October planning sessions are open to the public and will be facilitated by a reputable charrette organization based in Portland. All community “stakeholders” will be brought to the table – Woodstock commercial property owners, business owners, neighborhood residents, and Reed College.

Charrette professionals – an architect, urban planners, an economist, and others, including Portland city staff – will have expertise in design, planning, transportation and economic development.  All are local, or know the neighborhood.

Timing of the charrette is in sync with the fall 2014 hearings for the Portland Comprehensive Plan, which has been in the works for many years and is due to be completely finalized sometime in 2016. The charrette will help inform the parts of the Comprehensive Plan that will affect Woodstock.

The end result of the charrette will be a comprehensive document, which will include suggestions for development, map overlays, illustrations, and more.  A professional design team has already spent some time with residents and business people in Woodstock, gathering information to help with the process.

During the charrette process, everyone will have a chance to share ideas, visions and dreams for the Woodstock village center.

The process in some ways resembles the much longer two-year effort during 1993-95, when the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) and Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA) gathered community input to write up a 125-page Woodstock Neighborhood Plan.  Many feel it is time to update this plan, and the charrette can help provide some needed new information and vision.

If you are interested but want to know more, a pre-charrette lecture will take place at the Woodstock Branch Library on September 20th at 2:30pm to help people understand how the charrette process works, and how individuals can be involved before and during the charrette.

Members of the WCBA, WNA and Woodstock Stakeholders group have been planning and fundraising for several months to bring this design team and process to Woodstock, but additional funding is needed to bring it about.

Contributions made toward this unique opportunity will help make it a reality, and can be sent by check to: Woodstock Stakeholder Fund, 4410 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, #250, Portland 97206, with “charrette funds” written in the memo line. 

A receipt can be sent if requested. If insufficient funds are raised, and the charrette is cancelled, contributions would be returned.

Holgate and Milwaukie, T-bone crash
The intersection of S.E. Holgate Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue was once again closed down, while police investigated yet another injury accident there. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Another crash at Holgate and SE Milwaukie


With seemingly increasing frequency, motor vehicle accidents occur at the intersection of S.E. Holgate Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue. For example, at 9:34 pm on Sunday, August 3, a Kia Rio and a Subaru Outback tangled there.

The smashup was originally called in as a “head-on collision”. However, Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct officers arriving at the scene reported instead that one vehicle was making a turn, and the other car ran into it.

The direction of travel of the vehicles was unclear, but the front drivers’ sides of the vehicles sustained the most damage. Airbags deployed in both vehicles, and one victim was transported to a local hospital for observation and treatment.

And that was just one of two such accidents reported there in August, in addition to the one THE BEE covered in July. Better drive extra defensively around that busy intersection!

Silver Maple, tree failed, Eastmoreland
After a main attachment of this Eastmoreland silver maple tree failed, major limbs came crashing down. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Aged Silver Maple tree fails in Eastmoreland 

for THE BEE 

With an earth-shaking crash, part of a giant Silver Maple tree gave way, and came crashing down in Eastmoreland, during the late afternoon of Thursday, August 14. 

Few of the giant limbs fell into S.E. 28th Avenue, two houses north of Knapp Street – Instead, the branches fell into the adjacent house, and over an SUV parked in the driveway.

“Heat has a tendency to make older trees fail,” commented a City of Portland arborist who arrived at the site.

Technically, he said, a “main attachment” of the tree failed. “This is where many of the large limbs grow out of the main stem (trunk).”

It appeared that the area under the main attachment had rotted out, and, with the weight of the limbs, caused the failure.

Woodstock Park, dog off leash, dog problem
Are Woodstock Park signs regulating dog use hard to see or find? This sign, listing rules and hours for dog use, is at the far east end of the off-leash area – a considerable distance away from the west end where most dog owners congregate.

Woodstock Park dog concerns dominate WNA meeting 


Although he was scheduled to attend the August Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) meeting, Dog Off-Leash Administrator for Parks & Recreation Brian Tierney found himself not able to be there. He had been invited due to the concerns reported in THE BEE previously, about conflicts between dogs and other users of Woodstock Park. 

Those who attended the meeting specifically to present Tierney with their concerns were disappointed, but were appeased upon hearing read this e-mail message from Tierney:

“I truly do apologize for missing the meeting, and will most definitely attend the September meeting. I will be spending some time in the park this week encouraging people to follow the rules. I will be there during random times all this week, chatting with dog owners and non-dog owners about the issue. 

“I will additionally be assigning some patrols to this park for the foreseeable future, and [will] continue to do outreach in the park until the level of compliance with the leash law increases.”

In Tierney’s absence at the WNA meeting, Gary Bankston, volunteer liaison with Woodstock Park Responsible Dog Owners, led a discussion – and a lively exchange and heated discussion ensued. Some attendees described stories of close encounters with unleashed dogs, and others related measures taken by responsible dog owners, as well as suggestions that could be implemented to avoid incidents.

A WNA member shared her experience of being bitten by a dog in the neighborhood, and was informed that when someone is bitten, the victim or family is legally required to call county animal control, which will come out to track the dog down and talk with the owners.

When there is an incident in the park or elsewhere, the offended party should get the dog’s license number if possible. (If the dog is aggressive, trying to read a number from a tag on its neck may prove a challenge, however.)

One attendee described how his son had been knocked down by a big dog – and three years later, the boy is still afraid of dogs.

Attendees were in favor of forming a committee consisting of responsible dog owners and people with children who use the park to be able to better understand each other’s points of view, and to come up with constructive solutions to the problems.

Further discussion revealed that the park is used by people from all over the city, and many users do not know which area is designated off-leash, and which areas are on-leash (those include soccer and baseball fields, picnic areas, and children’s playground). Three wooden posts telling park users they are leaving the off-leash area are faded and hard to notice, and one is obscured by a garbage can, so there was broad consensus that the park needs improved signage to more clearly indicate off-leash areas.

In addition, Bankston suggested having “ambassadors” for the off-leash area who could help park users and especially dog owners understand the boundaries, the rules, and the hours. A group of ambassadors was designated as the discussion ended, and they were to report back at the September meeting.

Power line fire
It’s not the electrical transformer on fire, according to PGE; it’s just burning insulation on shorted electrical wires. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Construction crew sparks electric fire 

for THE fBEE

The smell of burning electrical wire insulation filled the air in Eastmoreland on Wednesday, August 13, followed by an electrical service line falling and arcing.

At 11:12 am, the crew at Portland Fire & Rescue’s Westmoreland Station 20 was dispatched to S.E. 37th Avenue, where they found the burning and arcing wires lying in the street between Ogden and Knapp Streets.

On a utility pole at the north side of S.E. Knapp Street, a quarter block west of 37th Avenue, flames were spewing from of the bottom and sides of an electrical transformer.

“Apparently, the trigger for this was a construction-related event,” Portland General Electric spokesman Steven Corson told THE BEE. “This seems like a pretty unusual situation.”

At a house being “extensively remodeled” on S.E. Ogden Street, just east of 37th Avenue, an electric meter and meter-base were somehow dislodged from the structure, Corson explained.

“It happened in such a way that it created slack in the service drop,” Corson continued. “This allowed the line to contact the weather-head on the house, causing an electrical short and overloading the wire, which caught fire all the way back to the transformer. 

“The transformer itself did not actually catch fire; the leads on the outside of the transformer overheated and were smoking,” Corson said.

The transformer was taken out of service while repairs are made, which affected about a half-dozen or so customers for most of the day.

Juanita Valder, Franklin High School
Juanita Valder has been chosen as the new Principal at Franklin High School, replacing Shay James, who was promoted. (Courtesy of Portland Public Schools)

Juanita Valder named Principal of Franklin High School

for THE BEE 

As reported in the August BEE, Franklin High School's Principal Shay James has been promoted to being Regional Director of the Franklin Cluster, making it necessary to appoint a replacement. And she is now revealed as seasoned administrator Juanita Valder, who previously served seventeen years as a high school vice principal for Portland Public Schools. During the last three years, Ms. Valder has been Vice Principal at Cleveland High School. 

Ms. Valder has a long history in Portland-area education. She taught Social Studies in Parkrose before coming to teach Special Education at Grant High School in 1987. She became Vice Principal at Madison High in 1997, followed by similar positions at Jefferson, Benson, and then Cleveland.

Her extensive experience in Portland high schools includes developing school improvement plans, hiring and supervising teachers, and targeting supports to raise student achievement, and offering student behavior support. 

Ms. Valder is described by PPS as a collaborative problem solver, known for creating a welcoming school environment, with a focus on learning. “She strongly supports creating access for all students to a rigorous and relevant high school education, working hard to create opportunities for students to take risks and push themselves to succeed.”

In a conversation with Portland Schools Superintendent Carole Smith, Valder said she is ready and excited “to lead Franklin at this important time in its 100-year history, as the school is being modernized.”

A welcoming “meet and greet” gathering was held at FHS on the afternoon of August 12 to introduce Ms. Valder to the community, and to congratulate her on her new leadership position as Franklin’s Principal.

Sizzler fire
The smoke pouring over this Sizzler restaurant wasn’t from burned steak; the back of the building was on fire. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Careless smoker sets 82nd Ave “Sizzler” ablaze


That wasn’t an overdone steak or burned chicken on the charbroiler that filled the Sizzler Restaurant with thick dark smoke, on Tuesday evening, July 29, and hustled all the customers outside. No, the place was on fire. 

The employees and customers gathered in the back of the parking lot of the restaurant at 3700 S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, just north of Eastport Plaza, while firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze, which had been reported at 7:02 pm.

“I was in a walkway next to the kitchen when I smelled smoke,” an employee told THE BEE. “We noticed that the lobby was filling up with smoke, and it started coming into the dining room. Everything was okay in the kitchen; someone looked into the attic, and saw the fire.”

Four minutes after the dispatch, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Lents Engine 11 arrived, and radioed in the “size-up” – the initial report. The lieutenant said that fire was burning up the siding at the back of the restaurant, and extending into the attic.

Firefighters from four additional stations were there within minutes. 

“The restaurant was occupied at the time, but everyone was able to evacuate safely,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman. “No injuries were reported.”

After the fire was extinguished, Chatman said that fire investigators were able to determine that the fire had started from a cigarette improperly discarded in barkdust near the building.

“Damage estimates are set at $40,000,” Chatman added. “PF&R reminds that, due to unusually dry and warm weather, [you should] use caution when smoking near combustible vegetation. Discard cigarettes in proper fire-safe containers with a lid.”

Watching the firefighters pull burning cinders from the back of the restaurant, the employee said, “This is something that I used to think happened to other people. It was pretty intense.” The Sizzler is temporarily closed for repairs.

Brooklyn neighborhood, development, Brooklyn Yard
Solterra designer Andrea Wallace and intern Jeff Dellis presented information to the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association about the planned 46-unit, 4-story apartment complex on Milwaukie Avenue just north of McLoughlin Boulevard. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn neighborhood learns of new urban construction coming its way


The July 23rd meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps (BAC) neighborhood association focused on issues of transportation and development.

Jay Higgins and Jennifer Koozer from the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail project reported that progress continues on development and access along S.E. 17th Avenue. Some bus service changes will occur after the Portland-Milwaukie MAX line begins using the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, including the elimination of Buses 31-32-33 on McLoughlin Boulevard; but Bus 19’s route will be unchanged.

“We are currently awaiting Federal response on the proposed 36-unit development plan presented for the Boise-Mall Street strip of land,” Higgins said. “Our selection committee will consider developer proposals for the [former] Advantis Credit Union site, and will list them in early fall. TriMet has an official agreement for developers, but we have no control over the subsequent tenants there; that is a zoning concern.”

Radcliffe Dacanay from Portland's Bureau of Planning and Dana Lucero from Metro next updated neighbors on the Metro Powell-Division Transit & Development Project, which seeks to bring important investments to Southeast Portland, East Portland, and Gresham, by making it easier for people to get around.

Finally, Andrea Wallace, a designer from Solterra, and intern Jeff Dellis, gave information about a new 46-unit apartment complex Solterra is building on Milwaukie Avenue across the street from Salvador Molly’s Restaurant at S.E. Milwaukie Ave. and Schiller Street.

The project, which carries the Brooklyn Yard name that is also applied to the nearby shopping center at McLoughlin and Holgate, is planned as a “LEED Platinum” building project, with two commercial spaces, one of which is planned to house Bushwhacker Cider.

Solterra is an ecological design/build firm founded in 2008 that specializes in green roofs, living walls and solar electric systems.

There were several questions from the floor about providing parking for residents and visitors. Wallace observed, “The city only requires 12 parking spaces for this project, but we're planning to install 16. We initially wanted more, but the city made us cut the number back in order to include a loading zone. There will also be storage space for 53 bikes.”

Following a question on permits, Wallace assured, “We do have the proper permits; however, we’re currently under review due to the thousands of toilet seats and canisters of resin discovered at the site during excavation. [A custom toilet seat operation was previously located on the property.]

“We expect to secure building permits by mid-August. The height limit for residential units in this neighborhood is four stories,” she continued. “Originally we wanted to have raised garden beds on the roof, but this was disallowed by the city due to the height of the complex, so now we have a shallow ‘green roof’ planned instead, for storm water management.” Those with further questions for Solterra can call 503/360-1109.

BAC Chairman Mike O'Connor remarked that neighborhoods should be notified whenever there’s a permit issued for a project of this size. And, when that happens, there should be an opportunity for review and public comment.

Brooklyn, like other Inner Southeast neighborhoods, is keeping a wary eye on residential infill and new home development projects.

Nature Play, Westmoreland Park
Workers check level of the runnels (small channels) that will direct a stream of water once covered with sand. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Westmoreland Park “Nature Play” area takes shape


Even after one had attended several workshops and open houses, it was difficult to picture the Westmoreland Park’s new “Nature Play” area, based on drawings and images of other “Nature Play” areas.

The textual descriptions of this project simply evoked an zone with piles of sticks, rocks, and sand.

But now that actually building it is well underway – it may even be open in September – It’s become clear that Westmoreland’s Nature Plan spot will likely be a spectacular attraction that will draw visitors from all over the city.

For example, “Rock Mountain” isn’t a pile of boulders – it’s more like a climbing structure constructed of fitted rocks, complete with ropes to help kids of all ages who are attracted to it to climb and belay down the side.

“Those boulders were recycled from the excavated area at the Johnson Creek Wetland area out near Foster Road.,” remarked Portland Parks & Recreation Capital Project Manager Sandra Burtzos.

“The design called for in this project has always been to make a ‘created nature’ area,” Burtzos told THE BEE. “Because Westmoreland is a highly-developed park that gets a lot of use, we needed to make sure that everything was very sturdy, safe, and – when the time comes – easily repairable or replaceable.”

With many things to climb on, slide down, swing around, and play in, the “Nature Play” area seems to provide activities for kids with every level of energy and adventurousness.

“It is specifically designed for active play,” Burtzos pointed out, “from the sandy Creek Channel with water pumps and runnels leading to the wetland on the north end – to the Forest Mound and Mountain Mound in the south end.” 

As the project is being constructed, rising from blueprints to a realized project, Burtzos commented, “It took my breath away to see how it looks, as we're building this great big play areas with logs and boulders.

“Kids are just going to go crazy for this,” continued Burtzos. “Certain kids will be up for the larger challenges; others will be more wanting to play with the sand and water. There will really be something for everyone.”

Also at the site during our visit, inspecting the progress, was Adam Kuby of Adam Kuby LLC, a member of the project’s Design Team.

“I designed some of the elements, including the Mountain Mound,” Kuby said. “It is great to see it at full scale. I think this park is going to be rad! When it’s finished, people will see how we worked to infuse the whole play area with a sculptural, creative use of natural materials that visually express the joy of play!”

When the fence comes down, and that could be soon, the play will begin at this kids’ area in Westmoreland Park – a park area unique in all of Portland.

Motorcycle fatality, U turn
S.E. Powell Boulevard was closed near the Ross Island Bridge, in the late evening of August 5th, as police investigated a deadly motorcycle crash. (Photo courtesy of KATU-TV)

Powell crash kills U-turning motorcycle rider


For two friends, out for a late-night motorcycle ride, the evening of Tuesday, August 5th, ended tragically when one of them died in a crash on S.E. Powell Boulevard, near the east end of the Ross Island Bridge.

Arriving officers found the rider down at S.E. 7th Avenue, and bystanders performing CPR on the crash victim. 

“Medical personnel were unable to save 27-year-old Edward Paul Reis of South Carolina,” said Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Reis died at the scene.”

The PPB Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team investigators learned that Reis and his friend had been riding motorcycles westbound on S.E. Powell Boulevard when Reis suddenly applied his brakes, evidently to make an unannounced U-turn to avoid the bridge and return eastbound on Powell.

“Reis’ friend was unable to stop in time and rear-ended him, which sent Reis off of his motorcycle into oncoming traffic, where he was struck and killed by a 2001 Jeep Wrangler.

“The driver of the Wrangler remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators,” continued Simpson. “Reis’ riding companion and friend, 32-year-old Jeremiah Lee Kloss, also remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. Neither displayed any signs of impairment.” 

The case remains under investigation and, upon completion, will be forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review. 

Providence Bridge Pedal, Sellwood Bridge
As the sun comes up, Providence Bridge Pedal riders gear down for the Sellwood Bridge crossing over the Willamette River. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Pedaling at dawn across the Sellwood Bridge


Again this year, two of the “rides” of the “Providence Bridge Pedal” put bicyclists on a path through Westmoreland and across the Sellwood Bridge in the early morning hours of August 10.

Although officials said the last riders would make their way west across the Sellwood Bridge just before 9:00 am, THE BEE arrived at 7:45 am – just in time to see the Portland Police Bureau end-of-route pace car come through just after 8.

While it was the 19th annual event, this is the ninth year the Bridge Pedal has routed riders on the two options that include Sellwood’s iconic bridge: The 36-mile Fremont Express route, and the 33-mile 10-Bridge Ride.

“About 8,000 riders signed up for these two routes,” remarked event coordinator Rick Eauman. 

Unlike a marathon foot race, “One doesn’t have to train vigorously for the Bridge Pedal,” Eauman said. ”Everyone can enjoy it; one of our routes is only three miles long.”

About the slogan “Keep Portland Geared”, Eauman smiled, “Portland would still be a great place without it, but it’s a better place with it. The Bridge Pedal has become an iconic event.” 

Although it’s not set up to be a fundraiser, the beneficiary of the Pedal is the Providence Health Foundation, focusing on childhood health.

Shots fired
Police investigate the report of a gunshot, fired on or near S.E. Harney Street. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Shot fired ends dispute, but not legal action

for THE BEE 

The sound of a single gunshot brought Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers to the 6100 block of S.E. Harney Street in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood at 10:41 pm on Friday night, July 25.

A neighbor, waiting to return to his home near the disturbance, reported that a resident had been arguing with another individual, and discharged a handgun. 

PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson looked up the police report on the incident for THE BEE

“After interviewing witnesses and an involved person, officers learned that two men were involved in a dispute,” Simpson said. “One man reported to officers that he felt threatened, so he fired a handgun once into the ground.”

The other party left the scene before police arrived.

“Witnesses confirmed the account of the shooter,” Simpson added. “No one was injured, and there were no arrests.” The case has been referred to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office – presumably because of that illegally-fired shot.

Mistaken identity leads to shooting in Creston-Kenilworth


It was apparently a case of mistaken identity that led to at 28-year-old man being shot multiple times at a residence in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. But that it was a mistake does not make the incident any less criminal – or any less potentially deadly.

The shooting took place on S.E. 49th Avenue, just south of Powell Boulevard, at about 8:30 pm on Friday evening, July 22. After the incident, a friend drove the victim to Providence Medical Center.

“Officers and medical personnel arrived just as the victim was being prepared for transport from the Providence Emergency Department to a Portland trauma hospital for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds,” remarked Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“Officers spoke with the man who brought the victim to the hospital, and he said that the suspect fled the scene,” Simpson added.

 “Detectives believe that the shooting is a case of mistaken identity, [with the victim mistaken] for a previous tenant who has not resided at the home for quite some time.”

The gun-toting suspect is described as a white male, 5'9" to 5'10" tall, thin build, unshaven, wearing a maroon hoody and sunglasses.

“The victim is continuing to recover from his injuries and is expected to survive,” Simpson said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or in any unsolved felony, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at – or call 503/823-4357 and leave the tip information.

“Shots” report locks down Creston-Kenilworth street; nothing found

for THE BEE 

Just up the street from Grout Elementary School, police barricaded the 4200 block of S.E. 32nd Avenue at 10:20 pm on Friday night, July 25th.

At least ten squad cars responded to the area, and the avenue was closed from the edge of Kenilworth Park – about where Cora Street would be, if it continued in that area – on, north, to S.E. Gladstone Street.

As THE BEE approached from the south, an officer shouted, “Active shooter!” – certainly a good reason for an immediate withdrawal from the area. Police vehicles lined Gladstone Street, on either side of S.E. 32nd Avenue. 

After nearly an hour of searching yards and interviewing residents, police withdrew from the area themselves.

According to Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson, “There was a report of shots fired. No confirmed victim or crime scene was located.”

Jane Kenney Norberg, Oregon Episcopal School, Lego Physics
OES Science Instructor Jane Kenney-Norberg of Westmoreland, center, narrates the computerized LEGO Logo Board display which tells the story of the Oregon Zoo’s centenary. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

LEGO Display wows Division Street Fair visitors


After years of showing off their annual Lego display at the Providence Richmond clinic during the Division-Clinton Street Fair, this year the Oregon Episcopal School (OES) display moved south nine blocks to a newly-renovated mixed-use building at 3026 S.E. Division Street.

The display – which also appears in much greater depth and detail on a weekend in May at the Oregon Zoo each year, and has also turned up at the Oregon State Fair – is created by the students of the Lego Physics after-school classes of Westmoreland science teacher Jane Kenney-Norberg, who is also the Lower School Science Specialist at OES. This was the 80th public display by the students since the start of the program many years ago. 

Prominent outdoor banners brought in a steady stream of families on Saturday, July 26, to enjoy this year’s animated Lego story, which was based upon the 100th anniversary of the Oregon Zoo and created entirely by the students.

“The best thing about this for me about ‘Lego Physics’ is building things that are not in kits,” said Fifth-grade OES student Alex. “I like experimenting. You can’t learn everything from books, like how to do gearing.” 

“Next year,” Alex said, “I look forward to building Battle Bots.”

Flavel Street, T bone crash
After reportedly running a red light, the gold Outback was hit by the Chevy Tahoe, jumped the curb, and took out a crosswalk sign at Flavel and S.E. 72nd. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Another red-light runner T-Boned in Southeast


For the second month in a row, THE BEE is reporting a local collision caused by an inattentive driver never noticing – apparently – that the traffic light at the upcoming intersection was already red. The result of that mistake is all too predictable.

So it was, that the peace of a quiet summer afternoon in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood was shattered by a grinding side-impact vehicle smashup just after 2 pm on Thursday, August 7.

Portland Fire & Rescue paramedics from Lents Station 11 rolled to the intersection of S.E. Flavel Street and 72nd Avenue, as did East Precinct police officers.

The driver of the Chevy Tahoe involved told THE BEE that he he’d been westbound on Flavel from 82nd Avenue. As he approached the traffic light, “I took my foot off the gas to slow down as I came near the intersection.”

He said he spotted a southbound car that had stopped for the red light at S.E. 72nd Avenue. But, he noticed a dark bronze car was driving northbound toward the intersection. “By the time it was clear to me that she wasn’t stopping [for the red light], I hit the brakes, but couldn’t avoid the collision,” the driver/witness said.

It appeared as if the primary impact of the Chevy’s front bumper was to the passenger’s front wheel well of the red-light-running Subaru Outback, breaking off the wheel. The Outback then slammed into the side of the Chevy – before climbing the northwest curb of the intersection. 

The Outback’s front end next snapped off a crosswalk sign, and sent it flying about eight feet, into bushes.

Other witnesses at the scene corroborated the Chevy driver’s description of the situation.

The two occupants of the Outback were transported by ambulance to local hospitals – first the passenger, and then the driver. Neither patient was considered to be a “trauma entry” into the medical care system at the time, and their current conditions are unknown.

The accident is under investigation. But the important lesson is clear: When the light is red, for heaven’s sake, stop.

Eastmoreland’s “Bybee Circle” gets a makeover 


The Eastmoreland traffic circle intersection of S.E. Bybee Boulevard at 37th Avenue that neighbors turned into a street mural last year was repainted on August 2.

“The paint really had faded in a year,” commented the artist behind the project, Collin Murphy. “It looked a bit brighter after we washed it, before repainting it today!”

The design is pretty much the same, Murphy admitted. “But, we’ve had a slight modification in our colors from last year. This bright turquoise [in the design] has now been played down.”

In total, about a dozen volunteers worked on the project, Murphy told THE BEE.  “There are several neighbors here today. We have had people who were just walking by and decided to paint for a while! And, some of my friends, who live on other neighborhoods in Portland, are having a great time doing this.

“This is good because it brings the neighborhood together,” Murphy reflected. “And it slows down the traffic, which is the main purpose of a traffic circle. And, people do drive into the area to look at it.”

A barbecue ended the day, in celebration of their success.

Motorcycle accident stops Powell Blvd traffic 


Scrape marks where a chopper-type customized motorcycle when down told the story, police say, in an accident that closed eastbound Powell Boulevard at S.E. 20th Avenue, just east of the Union Pacific railroad viaduct, at about 3:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon, July 29.

A blue Toyota Corolla was also involved; but there was no visible damage to the vehicle. The driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with Portland Police Traffic Division investigator.

A Portland Police sergeant at the scene suggested that the motorcycle driver may have been driving inattentively while coming up from the underpass, or perhaps might have been trying to pass traffic improperly.

The motorcyclist was transported to a local hospital for treatment and observation, with injuries not considered life-threatening.

Heritage apple tree damaged in Brooklyn 

for THE BEE 

A heritage Gravenstein apple tree in Brooklyn was damaged in the windstorm of Wednesday, July 23.

The historic tree is thought to be one of the only surviving orchard trees originally planted by Gideon Tibbetts, pioneer “Brook Land” orchardist, whose donation land claim was subdivided to become the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The tree abuts the lot at S.E. 9th at Center Street, where the Krapes home sits. Luckily, the huge southernmost limb that fell landed on a lawn rather than on vehicles or buildings.

But, the damage reduced the girth of the historic tree by nearly half, and the fallen portion was the part on which the city's”"Heritage Tree” plaque was placed. Presumably the plaque will be remounted on the remaining portion of the tree.

Homeowner Sarah Krapes said she was out doing errands when the limb fell, but her neighbor told her that the impact shook her house.

The City Forester arrived the following day with a crew to cut up the fallen limb and branches. While the tree still produces lots of apples, the core of the fallen limb showed a lot of core rot, and according to the city official it was only a matter of time before the limb fell.

Krapes estimated the tree's age as “Around 150 years. When I moved here about twenty years ago, there was also a huge Queen Anne cherry tree in back of the house,” she reflected. “It was nearing the end of its productive life, so we had it cut down a couple of years ago. There’s still a tall cherry wood stump in the back yard. Both trees have probably been there since the Gold Rush days.”

Brooklyn is currently working on establishing a small orchard to be named “Gideon's Orchard” on TriMet property bounded by S.E. 16th, 17th, and Pershing Street, and hopes to secure scions from the historic tree in an attempt to reproduce heritage Gravenstein apples.

Gideon Tibbetts was a strong presence in neighborhood history, and this last vestige of his farming talents is an important living reminder of our Inner Southeast pioneer roots. 

Bybee Circle, Eastmoreland
Volunteers touch up the “Bybee Circle” on repainting day. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Motorcycle crash, Powell Boulevard
A Portland Police Traffic Division officer talks with the driver of the car also involved in this accident. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Heritage Gravenstein, apple tree, tree damaged, Brooklyn neighborhood
This “Heritage” Gravenstein apple tree in Brooklyn, dating back to the pioneer days, was damaged in a July windstorm. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Brentwood Darlington, Sawyer's, robbery
Portland Police Bureau officers converge on Sawyer’s Market, after it was held up for cash and cigars. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Southeast stickup men grab cash and cigars 

for THE BEE 

Two men strode into Sawyers Market on S.E. Flavel Street at 60th in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood and looked around, at 4:28 pm on Tuesday afternoon, July 29.

They made their criminal intent clear to the manager from the moment they arrived – even though it was a hot summer afternoon, these shoppers were wearing full-head ski masks. 

“It was a robbery at gunpoint,” remarked Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The suspects took cash – and cigars.”

One suspect, a male African American, 16 to 20 years old, described as 6’00” tall and weighing 180 pounds, brandished the handgun. The other suspect was a male African American, about the same age, 5’9” tall, weighing an estimated 160 pounds. 

Ten Portland Police units, including a K-9 team, converged on the scene and started tracking the suspects, who witnesses said traveled north, into the neighborhood. 

Officers stopped a person who matched the description at S.E. 72nd and Cooper Street, but found no evidence that the individual was involved in the robbery.

“The case remains under investigation,” Simpson said.

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