More stories from November's issue of THE BEE!


Maker Faire, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, OMSI, Portland, Oregon
The ground shakes as the 7-ton, 24-foot-long Walking Beast’s inventor and builder, Captain Martin Montesano, fires up the 454 cu. in. big-block Chevy V-8 engine that powers it, to take folks for a ride. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Creators flourish at OMSI’s ‘Maker Faire’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Said to be “bigger and better than ever”, the sixth annual “Mini Maker Faire”, hosted by the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), lived up to its promotion.

On September 16-17, both the “makers” – those who come to showcase their inventions, creativity and resourcefulness – and the visitors coming to see their work – were plentiful, at this family-friendly showcase.

“It’s true, we have a lot more ‘makers’ this year – in fact, more than 150 maker projects are on display this year, a lot more than ever before!” exclaimed OMSI Director of Events Andrea Edgecombe.

The Faire is a jamboree of fascinating and curious people who enjoy learning, and who love sharing what they can do, Edgecombe told THE BEE – from crafters and artists, to engineers and scientists. “The Maker Faire is a venue for these makers to show off their hobbies, experiments, and projects – and also a place to meet others with similar interests!”

Demonstrations, some of them hands-on, showed methods of 3D printing and robot welding, metalsmithing, knife-forging, electronic circuit building, and yes – even bee keeping.

“OMSI is all about design, innovation, and design-thinking,” Edgecombe said. “And at the same time, all kinds of science exploration is also part of OMSI’s mission – encouraging people to engage in experimentation – trying and trying again.”

At the end of the weekend, “makers” packed up their treasures, vowing to return next year with even more exciting and innovative creations.



ORHF, Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, Oregon Rail Museum, mortgage, paid, ceremony, OMSI, Portland, Oregon
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz came to the Rail Heritage Museum near OMSI to burn the now-paid-off mortgage provided by the city, as Commissioner Nick Fish applauds in the background. (Courtesy of the City of Portland)

Southeast’s Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation erases debt in five years

By JIM REDDEN
The Portland Tribune

Special to THE BEE

Portland is only city in the nation to own steam locomotives, and now those railroad engines have a debt-free permanent home.

Not so long ago, the fate of Portland’s three historic steam locomotives was unclear. Although two were used in the popular Holiday Express excursions, they were housed in a crumbling roundhouse in Union Pacific's busy Brooklyn Yard that was slated for demolition.

But on September 27, the board of the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation burned the city mortgage that helped build the Rail Heritage Museum to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the center, located near OMSI and adjacent to the transit center at the east end of the Tilikum Transit Bridge, at 2250 S.E. Water Avenue.

To build the center, the foundation raised $5 million, and borrowed another $1 million from the city. It now houses the locomotives, which are restored, maintained, and operated by volunteers.

“ORHF at after five years is debt-free, with money in the bank, and 300 employees who work for nothing!” ORHF Executive Director Greg Fitzgerald exclaimed, at the beginning of the evening ceremony.

Joining the ORHF Board, and other rail enthusiasts, were Commissioner Nick Fish – who was in charge of Portland Parks & Recreation when the loan was approved – and Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is in charge of the Bureau now.

The foundation presented Fish with a plaque as thanks for his help. The Commissioner then spoke briefly about the foundation's strong partnership with the city, and praised the many volunteers who open the center to the public, and provide tours to local school groups.

The ceremony is another milestone in a unique and unlikely story. Portland is the only city in the country to own steam locomotives – two of them operational, and the third being restored. Donated to the city in 1958, they had been stored outdoors near Oaks Park for decades, and were deteriorating. Nonprofit organizations were formed to help volunteers restore the locomotives, and Union Pacific allowed them to be stored in its aging wooden roundhouse in Southeast Portland. But with renovations scheduled to begin at the rail yard in 2012, a new home for the locomotives urgently had to be found.

Everything fell into place when plans took shape for TriMet’s Orange MAX Line from Milwaukie to cross into downtown Portland over a new transit bridge near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Land with a rail access was purchased, and a building large enough to house all three locomotives – and more – was designed.

With the deadline rapidly approaching, the foundation still needed $1 million to pull it all together. The City Council approved the loan on July 27, 2011, and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center opened on Sept. 22, 2012. It has been a popular attraction ever since.

For more information, or to plan a visit to the center, go online: http://www.orhf.org.

Foster Road, fire, house, Foster Powell, Portland, Oregon
Firefighters spray down a Jeep SUV in the driveway, set aflame by the burning house. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Flames char Foster-Powell home

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Neighbors called the 9-1-1 Center to report a large volume of smoke rising from a home in the Foster-Powell neighborhood at 4121 S.E. 64th Avenue. It was 1:26 p.m. in the afternoon of Thursday, September 28.

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Lents Station Engine 11 was first to arrive, and reported back to dispatchers there were “heavy volumes of smoke and fire” coming from the front of the structure.

The narrow street soon filled with seven additional rigs from three fire stations, as well as three Battalion Chiefs, while arriving crews searched the house for potential fire victims. A firefighter told THE BEE, “This home was occupied; but all appear to be out safely.”

Complicating the firefighting effort was that the blaze had burned through the electrical power service line, causing it to drop – arcing and hissing – into the street.

Some firefighters laddered up to the roof to provide vertical ventilation and quench the fire in the attic, while other crews attacked the fire from inside the house – as yet others extinguished a burning Jeep SUV in the driveway.

It took about 20 minutes for firefighters to get it under control; but they stayed at the location for several hours to find and extinguish any remaining embers.

This fire remains under investigation.



Mike Dardis, Brooklyn Pharmacy, sold, retirement, Pat Hubbell, Portland, Oregon
Brooklyn Pharmacist Mike Dardis points to the coveted “Bowl of Hygeia” award his drugstore received in 2000 for community service. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn Pharmacy’s Mike Dardis sells store, will retire

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

After serving Inner Southeast’s pharmaceutical needs for 53 years, Mike Dardis has finally decided to retire. His “Brooklyn Pharmacy” is one of very few privately-owned drugstores in Portland.

“Most others have been purchased by commercial drug companies, but it was very important to me that the Brooklyn Pharmacy retain its name and historical community traditions,” he says.

Pat Hubbell, a pharmacist originally from Kansas, has bought the business, and will continue to run it as The Brooklyn Pharmacy. “It was vital to me to have a neighborhood-centered pharmacy,” says Dardis. “That was a big selling point. In 2000 we received a coveted ‘Bowl of Hygei’ award for community public service. Only one is given in each state per year. That award will stay with the business when Hubbell takes over.”

Dardis tells THE BEE he is already semi-retired, stopping in only occasionally at his business; new owner Hubbell is expected to be taking over sometime in December.

Mike Dardis graduated with a B.S. Degree from Oregon State University in 1963, then spent a year as an intern at the original Brooklyn Pharmacy before receiving his license. The pharmacy was then located where the AM-PM Arco gas station now stands, on the southeast corner of Powell Boulevard and S.E. Milwaukie.

“After my first three years, the property owner decided to demolish the whole corner of the lot, and sell it to Atlantic Richfield,” recalls Dardis. “My partner Russ Miller and I wanted to stay in the neighborhood, and we eventually moved to 3370 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, where we worked for 25 years. When the lease came due, the landlord wanted to double our rent, and we couldn’t afford that.

“I talked to Paul Schuback, owner of the Violin Shop (now Classic Pianos), and a friend of his designed this space at 3131 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue just for us. My daughter Kelly, now a licensed pharmacist herself, interned here, and has been with us ever since. But after my 25 years in this location, it’s time for me to retire.”

Dardis’ community spirit is strong. He regularly contributes to neighborhood causes, and recently received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association for again donating funds to this year’s Brooklyn Ice Cream Social. He also supported the former Brooklyn Business Association, as well as the former Brooklyn Elementary School PTA – once donating toothbrushes and toothpaste for every child there, during Health and Fitness Week.

Through the years, Mike has freely told amusing stories and given advice and historical perspectives about the pharmacy business. In the early days, druggists had to mix and roll their own tablets. Around WWII, commercially-made pills became available. Another big change was when plastic bottles replaced glass containers.

A decade ago, Dardis established a permanent display of historic pharmaceutical memorabilia from the Oregon State Pharmacy Association in Wilsonville. Along with his own historic items, many of them received from Brooklyn neighbors, the display was curated by retired pharmacist John Kaegl and his daughter Susan. The collection displays such old medical nostrums as cactus juice, goose grease, swamp root, syrup of figs, and strychnine sulphate – many of them still in old glass bottles, with corks and bubble imperfections.

A robbery years ago led Dardis to install steel safety gates; and in 2013 – as reported on the front page of THE BEE at the time – a speeding pickup truck smashed through the front of the store in the early morning darkness, damaging the historic display. The little in-store museum was repaired and restored, and will remain in the Brooklyn Pharmacy under its new owner.



Sellwood, Tom Dwyer, Charles Leatherwood, Scott Kelly, cut through traffic, SMILE, City of Portland, 6th Street, traffic signal, Sellwood Bridge, Portland, Oregon
SMILE Transportation Committee Chair Scott Kelly presents information provided by PBOT, along with suggested solutions for cut-through traffic. Charles Leatherwood of Tom Dwyer Automotive, a business deeply concerned with this issue, takes notes in the background. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Neighborhood grapples to solve Sellwood cut-through traffic

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

At the end of last winter, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) Transportation Committee revisited the growing problem of drivers, trying to avoid the weekday morning traffic jam on S.E. Tacoma Street, cutting through the neighborhood on side streets.

At that March 22 meeting, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Capital Improvements Project Manager Rich Newlands described how the Bureau was changing the operation and traffic movement at the S.E. 6th Avenue and Tacoma Street intersection. Newlands also said they’d be doing traffic counts on side streets to help inform the solving of the cut-through problem.

Months later, at the September 27 SMILE Transportation Committee meeting, committee Chair Scott Kelly described the effort made by PBOT to solve the cut-through traffic problem.

“PBOT took a lot of input from residents in the neighborhood and businesses this spring, and started doing ‘traffic counts’ to collect data – speed, vehicle count, and videos –showing traffic maneuvers leading onto Tacoma Street,” Kelly said. “They also documented how traffic is finding ways around Tacoma Street when it is very congested.

“PBOT presented this material to us in August, including potential improvements, and asked us to prioritize their suggestions, and then let them know if more data needs to be collected or information can be provided,” said Kelly.

Two specific areas of study are what Kelly described as the “southwest and northwest quadrants” of Sellwood, from west of S.E. 13th Avenue to the eastern foot of the new Sellwood Bridge.

“But, areas west of 17th Avenue are seeing drivers cutting through various streets in the neighborhood to get to Tacoma Street to get around the congestion, trying to get in a little bit further in front of the queue.”

Not all of the traffic is caused by commuters coming from outside the area, he pointed out; in some cases the vehicles are driven by neighbors, trying to get across the bridge. “It’s difficult to say exactly what’s coming from inside and coming from outside the neighborhood,” Kelly said.

Solutions proposed by PBOT include:

  • Diverters – such as are now on Spokane Street. “Some people are in favor of them, other people don’t like them,” Kelly said. “They tend to push traffic off onto the other streets; but might be a solution on the Neighborhood Greenway, like Umatilla Street.”
  • Tacoma Street Median Islands – placed at S.E. 7th and 9th avenues, to restrict northbound traffic from turning west on to Tacoma Street.
  • Changing the traffic signal at SE 6th Avenue – One of the suggestions is to completely remove the new signal; another is to install some type of hybrid signal, as is found at S.E. 19th Avenue.

“Part of the consideration is that PBOT has to wait for federal funding tied to the Sellwood Bridge project. They have to wait for the final review,” Kelly said.

For more information, or to help work with the project, go to the SMILE website – http://www.sellwoodmoreland.org – and click on the “Transportation” tab.



Reed College, 5K, run and walk, charity, Fund Run, Eastmoreland, Portland, Oregon
The first wave of runners during the Reed College 2017 “5K Fun(d) Run/Walk” leave the timing gate. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Reed ‘fun run’ raises money for neighborhood schools

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Reed College hosted its sixth annual “5K Fun(d) Run/Walk” on the crisp, fall-like morning of Saturday, September 16.

As in past years, waves of runners and walkers began their journey at 9:00 a.m. But – new this year – the entire course was kept within, and around the perimeter, of Reed College. 

“The college started this event as a way to invite neighbors into our campus,” said Reed College Director of Communications Kevin T. Myers. “And, we’ve continued it to raise funds for neighborhood elementary schools: Lewis, Grout, Llewellyn, Woodstock, and Duniway.

“It keeps getting bigger and more fun and exciting every year,” Myers told THE BEE, “because it’s a great cause, and, it gives people a reason to come together as a community and help the local schools.”

As the participants continued to funnel through the timing gate, Myers pointed out that another new addition to this year’s event was live music.

Some of the more than 600 participants made it around the course in a record time; others came in through the race timing gate over the next hour.

“When participants return from the course, they, and their families, will be treated to a free hot breakfast provided by our Platinum Sponsor, Bon Appetit Management Company,” revealed Myers.

In the end, this year’s Reed College Fun(d) Run raised $20,000 for local elementary schools.

Part of those proceeds came from local sponsorship contributions by Foot Traffic Athletic, Papa Haydn, Advantis Credit Union, West Coast Event Productions, A Cena, First Cup Coffeehouse, Smucker Law, Woodstock VCA Animal Hospital, Toast and Bird & Bear Restaurants, New Seasons Woodstock Market, Opsis Architecture, Team Beasty, Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, THE BEE, Alsco Laundry Services, Reverend’s BBQ, and Gigantic Brewing Company.



Gary Hirsch, street mural, Brooklyn, neighborhood, street art, Portland, Oregon
In August, Gary Hirsch painted an interactive mural with a “Curiosity” theme at S.E. 17th and Rhine Street. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Murals take street art to a new level

By RITA A. LEONARD
for THE BEE

What is the difference between graffiti and street murals? Probably the most important difference is that graffiti is painted without permission, and murals are. In fact, they are often commissioned and paid for. Another difference is that graffiti is self-obsessed and repetitive, and is contemptuous of the surface it appears upon. It’s vandalism.

Although we may never see an end to graffiti – it even appeared on the volcano-buried walls of Pompeii, two millennia ago – we are seeing more of street murals these days in Inner Southeast Portland. The business owners of the Woodstock neighborhood are even commissioning them to create a neighborhood ambiance in a coordinated way.

Here are details of new murals in the area, and those who have painted them.

“Curiosity” mural at S.E. 17th at Rhine Street
A new 20 x 50 foot mural was painted in August, facing the MAX line at S.E. Rhine Street, and its artist, Gary Hirsch, calls it “The Curiosity Mural”.  That’s because large robotic figures in the painting ask viewers, “What makes you curious?” He actually wants to know – and your answers can be registered at #Botjoy.

Hirsch told THE BEE, “I like to make murals that are interactive with viewers. Hopefully, the art will give them something to think about. I look forward to reading their responses. This work is a labor of love, although the owners of the building covered the cost of my materials.”

Gary started sketching monster figures as a kid to help him address images from his nightmares. This allowed him think about his fears, and gave him a creative outlet for handling problems. He hopes his street art helps others with their own concerns.

Hirsch is co-founder of “On Your Feet”, a consultancy that uses improvisation to help people work together better. He also illustrated “Everything’s An Offer”, written by Robert Poynton, his partner in the consultancy. “Improv helps you to recognize opportunities, even in hard times,” he says. For more information and tips for using visuals for moving forward in life, check: http://www.botjoy.com.

Sellwood mural appears on brick wall
A colorful 7 x 40 foot mural by the artistic team “Rather Severe” now graces the south side of the Sellwood Market convenience store at S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street. The unusual aspect of the “Sellwood Market Mural” is that it is rendered on a bumpy brick wall instead of on a flat surface. A time-lapse video only a little over a minute long is posted online – http://www.dumbwall.com/rather-severe – and shows the duo creating sketches and then completing the mural with spray paint.

Its creators, muralists Jon Stommel and Travis Czekalski, who each earned BFA degrees at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, formed their business seven years ago. The duo has has created hundreds of murals, including two in Woodstock: The “peacock tail” on the side of Red Fox Vintage Clothing, and the mural at Cloud City Ice Cream.

Rather Severe's website – http://www.rather-severe.com – reveals, “We’ve worked together professionally since 2010 to bring our combined aesthetic styles to the worlds of murals, illustrations, and public art, in an effort to inspire the community and enrich the experience of being in public spaces.”

Ryan Bubnis completes mural at Classic Pianos
In August, Ryan Bubnis and his team painted a mural on the west side of the Classic Pianos building in Brooklyn. The 27 x 100 foot work was created for the fifth annual “Forest For The Trees Mural Festival” (#ffttnw), and features an assemblage of figures and common images from the artist’s portfolio.

Bubnis is a multi-disciplinary artist, illustrator, and educator, whose work is described as “urban folk.” He tells THE BEE that through a simplification of shape and form, he is commenting on themes related to the human condition. His work has been exhibited across the United States, and abroad. He is an Assistant Professor at Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art.

“Forest For The Trees” is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating contemporary public art, aiming to help viewers see their city as a literal canvas and gallery. The organization’s website – http://www.forestforthetreesnw.com – remarks, “We believe that by improving the visual landscape of the city through quality artwork and providing [artistic] opportunities...we can encourage continual growth of the arts in Portland.”

Two new murals in Brooklyn by Dominic Sigari
Two new murals by Dominic Sigari appeared this year in the Brooklyn neighborhood. One faces the MAX light rail line at S.E. 13th at Pershing, on the wall of the parking lot at Greencoast Hydroponics. The other, completed in March, covers the front of Artist and Craftsman Supply Co. at 3393 S.E. 21st Avenue. Sigari’s striking geometric designs add interest, color, and movement.

He is a prolific, but self-taught, artist – working mostly with spray paints. Each of his murals takes about a week to complete, and many are done for free. “The companies paid for the paint for the two Brooklyn murals,” he acknowledges. “I've loved to paint ever since I was young. I also tend bar. I usually sketch out a basic idea first on paper, but it often changes during the painting process, when a new idea pops up.”

Sigari lives nearby in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood on the north side of Powell Boulevard, and paints under the name “dominatah” when working alone.



Alesha Freeman, Cleveland High School, Powell Boulevard, Principal, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Ayesha Freeman is the new Principal at Cleveland High School. (Courtesy of Portland Public Schools)

New Principal at Cleveland High School

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

Ayesha Freeman is Cleveland High School’s latest Principal, replacing Tammy O'Neill, who is now Principal at Clackamas High School.

Freeman, a Vassar graduate, earned her MEd degree from the University of Michigan, and her Administrator’s License from Portland State. She tells THE BEE she has twenty years of experience – both as a teacher and an administrator, and has been Assistant Principal at Wilson High School for the past five years.

Freeman moved to Oregon in 2000 with her two teenage daughters. She remarked in her interview that she plans to work closely with teachers, staff, families, and all those involved in the “Cleveland community” to ensure that the school offers a “welcoming and cohesive learning environment”.

She says she is committed to racial equality, and has developed teacher leadership in matters of Equity. She adds that she is a practitioner of curriculum instruction and assessment, with “a primary focus of supporting teaching and learning at CHS as a preparation for fulfilling lives and careers.”

In her spare time, Freeman reports enjoying biking, snowboarding, and backpacking in the mountains. She also enjoys fine and performing arts, documentaries, and science fiction films. Freeman reads nonfiction books with a keen interest in international news. She is also a vegetarian.



Murder, Wilbert “Billy” Butler, gunshot wounds, Creston Kenilworth, Southeast Portland, Oregon, DMV
The victim: 27-year-old Wilbert “Billy” Butler, who died of gunshot wounds. His assailant is still at large. (Undated DMV photo)

Creston-Kenilworth murder remains unsolved

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

After gunshots shattered the late-night silence on S.E. 28th, a half block south of Powell Boulevard, at 1:30 a.m. on September 17, 27-year-old Wilbert “Billy” Butler lay crumpled on the pavement.

“Portland Police Officers directed Emergency medical personnel to the injured man, and he was transported to an area hospital by ambulance with life-threatening injuries,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Chris Burley. “Based on the severity of the victim’s injuries, the Bureau’s Detective Division's Homicide Detail responded, as well as criminalists from the Forensic Evidence Division.”

Witnesses, who’d been having a smoke break outside the apartment building, told reporters they’d heard “a little bit of commotion” – and rapid fire gun shots – and decided to head back into the building.

Pointing out three bullet holes, witnesses said one bullet came through the wall of a fourth-floor unit and hit the bed, but didn’t injure anyone.

Later that day, Butler died at the hospital, and the Oregon State Medical Examiner released a finding stating that he’d died “from homicidal violence, as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.”

At this time the motive and shooter remain unknown; anyone with information concerning this investigation should contact Detective Mark Slater at 503/823-9319, or via e-mail – Mark.Slater@portlandoregon.gov.  



Dan Valliere, Affordable Apartments, Foster Road, Foster Powell, 72nd, REACH, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Funding and development partners for REACH’s “72Foster” affordable housing complex wielded shovels for the groundbreaking. At center was REACH’s CEO, Dan Valliere. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘REACH’ breaks ground for ‘affordable housing’ at SE 72 and Foster

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

REACH Community Development broke ground Tuesday, September 12, on a new “affordable housing” complex at S.E. 72 and Foster Road. The new mixed-use building will provide 101 apartments, with commercial retail space on the ground floor. A portion of that space will be used to provide services and programs to residents of the building, with help from the Asian Health & Service Center (AHSC).

The new complex – to be called “72Foster” – will be built by LMC Construction adjacent to the Portland Mercado. The $24 million project is expected to be complete in about fifteen months, with apartment sizes ranging from studio to three-bedroom units, with some 35 parking spaces. The site will provide “intergenerational, transit-oriented, affordable living” to serve the growing Foster-Powell neighborhood.

REACH will be offering the apartments to people earning about 60% of the area's median family income: Less than $31,000, for a single-person household. There will also be twenty apartments with Project Based Section 8 vouchers, where residents will pay only 30% of their income in rent.

According to official reports, in 2015 the Portland Housing Bureau awarded REACH the land and $5.76 million in gap financing to help develop the building. Funding partners also include Key Bank, Metro, Home Forward, and Oregon Housing & Community Services. At the groundbreaking ceremony on September 12, REACH CEO Dan Valliere introduced speakers from these agencies and the AHSC.

“We’re excited to bring affordable living to Southeast Portland, and deepen our partnerships with other local organizations,” said Valliere. “We’re especially pleased to partner with AHSC...to better serve the diverse cultural communities in Southeast Portland.”



Postal carriers, dog treats, prohibition, dog bites, Glenn Forayter, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
Woodstock postal carrier Glenn Forayter gives a treat to Lucky, the dog in the law office of Diane Sykes, who is seen in the background. With a new biscuit, he is a lucky dog indeed. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Letter carriers discouraged from bestowing dog biscuits? THE BEE investigates

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

THE BEE has been hearing lately that the Post Office has discouraged neighborhood letter carriers from giving dogs on their routes dog biscuits.  Some research has revealed that indeed for many years it’s actually been the official postal policy for letter carriers not to carry dog biscuits.

However, as countless neighbors know, some carriers have used these biscuits for a very long time to help them befriend dogs on their routes. And as a side benefit, this practice creates good relationships between residents and carriers, not to mention between carriers and the dogs.

Evidently, a number of years ago, carriers working out of the Creston Station had some of the highest “bite counts” in the city; it was then that they were told they COULD carry biscuits.

A supervisor at the Creston Station now tells THE BEE, “It has always been postal policy not to carry dog biscuits; so early this month, for the sake of continuity throughout the city, we told carriers not to carry biscuits.” For some carriers, however, it was the first time they had heard of that policy!

One can assume that most carriers do what works for them, and for many, that is protecting themselves by giving out these tasty bone biscuits.

Local carrier Glenn Forayter, whose route is in the 97206 ZIP Code area, says he was taken aback when he heard the statement made in a recent morning stand up meeting. Forayter has been a letter carrier since 1966, and he does remember that day when carriers in the Creston Station were told they could carry dog biscuits. 

“From then on, bites went way down,” reports Forayter. “I buy six bags at a time at BiMart when the biscuits are on sale.”

Now Forayter is perplexed by the stated prohibition policy. It still seems to him, and a number of other regular carriers, that dog biscuits are a good and necessary protection.

An employee responding at the Sellwood-Westmoreland Customer Package window – one who prefers to remain anonymous – informed THE BEE that Portland Postmasters have changed frequently over the last few years, but that evidently the current Postmaster wants supervisors to remind carriers of the regulation.However, those who have successfully used biscuits over the years wonder about the rationale for prohibiting them. This reporter asked about that: 

“The reason is that carriers might go on vacation or take a day off, and the substitute may not have dog biscuits. That could put the substitute carrier at risk,” states the anonymous source at the post office; the rationale is that dogs might nonetheless expect the treats, and might become aggressive and bite out of disappointment.

“The postal service has trainings to teach carriers how to recognize aggressive dogs, but there are still a lot of bites,” says the anonymous source.

One carrier on a 97202 route confirms that the Postal Service holds workshops to teach carriers how to protect themselves against threatening dogs – and thinks there should be a uniform policy for carriers not to carry biscuits, and to emphasize the safety trainings. THE BEE knows from its own experience, however, that there are other carriers in 97202 who happily carry biscuits, and some of them do it just because they love dogs.

Longtime carriers this reporter has spoken with generally believe dog biscuits do reduce bites (and are fun to give). 

Calls to the Portland Postmaster were not fruitful – but it appears that, for now, many carriers plan to continue their practice of distributing dog biscuits to canines on their routes. Some carriers feel safer with the biscuits; and they make both dogs and residents happy. 

The last word on the matter, from the Creston postal supervisor – made half-jokingly – is that the USPS will not be checking carriers’ cars to enforce the dog treat prohibition.



Coffee with a cop, Westmoreland, Starbucks, Portland, Oregon
Celebrating “National Coffee with a Cop Day” at the Westmoreland Starbucks were Sgt. Sergeant Jeremy Price, Officer Chris Wheelwright, neighbor and former SMILE Board Member Brenda Ray Scott, and Officer Randy Hauskins. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Westmoreland enjoys ‘Coffee with a Cop’ day at Starbucks

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Some arriving customers looked a little surprised to see a contingent of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers smiling, and handing out badge stickers, in the Westmoreland Starbucks coffee shop at S.E. Bybee Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue, in the late afternoon of Saturday, October 4.

“We’re participating in ‘National Coffee with a Cop Day’, and engaging with the community,” said PPB Central Precinct Sergeant Jeremy Price, a 16½ year veteran of the Bureau. “This is an opportunity for us to come out and sit at a coffee shop in the community to talk with citizens here, and answer any questions they may have.

“With the recent fatal mass shooting in Las Vegas, and other incidents across the country, some people have a little anxiety about some of those type of situations,” Price said. “And also, they may have some have questions now that we have a new Chief of Police.”

The officers were “on duty” at the coffee shop starting at 5:00 p.m. that evening; some of them stopped to speak with the sergeant and district officers.

“One lady who I spoke with, said she’d moved here from the St. John’s neighborhood and now has her child in a nearby school. We talked about our community; how Sellwood and Westmoreland have kind of a ‘small town’ feel, compared to downtown,” Price explained. 

A district officer, Randy Hauskins, told THE BEE that he enjoys speaking with people here. “People tell us they’re concerned about police presence, because were staffed so thin. That can be an issue. I just love working with the neighbors here, they’re super friendly, and seem to be happy with our service, and hearing that makes us happy, too! While we don’t hear many negative comments here about what we’re doing, we always feel that we can do better; that’s what we strive for.”

With that, more customers came in, more conversations began, more coffee was drunk, and more connections were made.



Marysville School, fire drill, gas leak, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Its look mostly unchanged after rebuilding following its severe fire, Marysville School continues to serve Inner Southeast Portland. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Marysville School responds to gas danger with efficient evacuation

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

When your school has already burned down once, it’s a safe bet that students and administrators are up to date on fire drills and successful evacuations.

On Thursday, September 2, at around 2 p.m., Portland Public Schools’ Marysville Elementary School – situated south of Holgate Boulevard, and west of S.E. 82 nd Avenue of Roses – was quickly evacuated for about half an hour.

A custodian reported the smell of gas, and notified the school office. Shortly thereafter, all staff and students had exited the building, while responding Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters and NW Natural Gas officials sought a possible gas leak.

Although no gas leak was discovered, the event provided an example of the success of regular safety drills at Portland Public Schools. Marysville has about 50 staff members and some 400 students from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

The school has been fully rebuilt and updated after the catastrophic fire that nearly destroyed it several years ago, the cause of which has never been officially identified.

Regular visitors, such as substitute teachers, PTA members, class helpers, and Book Fair cashiers also assist at the school. Everyone participates in emergency exit drills, with a practical system of locating students who may be temporarily out of classrooms.

With the evacuation over, the students and personnel returned to the school, and class resumed.



Cascadia, Pisgah Home Colony, fire, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Later the same day, workers from a disaster restoration company mopped up buckets of water left inside the building, after a smoky but small fire in a room at the “Pisgah Home Colony” in Southeast Portland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fire evacuates Inner Southeast residential treatment facility

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Sleeping Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbors were aroused by fire truck sirens on Thursday, September 21 – responding to the Pisgah Home Colony, 7511 S.E. Henry Street, at 5:30 a.m.

“Arriving fire crews found a small fire in a room that had been extinguished by a fire sprinkler,” reported PF&R spokesman Lt. Damon Simmons. “Firefighters got all of the residents out of the smoke-filled building, and searched for any additional fire. One person was transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening smoke inhalation.”

The exact cause of this fire hasn't been revealed by PP&R Arson Squad investigators, but damage was contained to an object within the room of origin, said Simmons.

The single-floor building, built in 1961 as a senior care center, is now owned and operated by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., as “Secure Residential Treatment Facility”, under the name “Pisgah Home Colony”.



Holy Family School, Peace Pole, Southeast Portland Rotary Club, Pastor Fr. Rodel de Mesa, Kathy Stromvig, Portland, Eastmoreland, Oregon
BIG TURNOUT FOR PEACE POLE AT HOLY FAMILY. Southeast Portland Rotary has joined Rotary International’s effort to plant Peace Poles around the world. In Southeast Portland, the club has placed poles at PR&R’s Westmoreland Fire Station 20, At Southeast Uplift on S.E. Main Street, at Atkinson School on S.E. Division, and on September 28 at Holy Family School in Eastmoreland. Several classes of students turned out for the dedication by Kathy Stromvig of the Rotary Club; and students Jacob Mullett, Ella Harman, and Sara Hsu offered brief readings. The ceremony concluded with a sprinkling of Holy Water by Holy Family Catholic Church Pastor Fr. Rodel de Mesa, as shown here. The new pole carries a message of peace in English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese; see it at S.E. Flavel and Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th). (Photo by Eric Norberg)


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