Welcoming guests on opening day were Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director Emily MacKay, and Guest Relations/Security Director Mike Soto. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
America’s oldest-operating amusement park begins its 117thseason in Sellwood
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
After being shuttered (although it was still staffed) for its 2020 season, and after been permitted to operate only on a limited basis in 2021, historic and nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park began its 117th season on Saturday, March 19 – and THE BEE was there.
All of the colorful sights, merry sounds, and appetizing aromas that families expect were filling the air as visitors entered the Midway.
“As in our past ‘normal’ seasons, we opened for Oregon Spring Break all week – and will now continue to be open on Saturdays and Sundays until our Summer Season begins,” explained the Oaks Park Association’s Marketing and Events Director, Emily MacKay.
“All your favorite rides, as well as mini golf and Midway games, are all here to entertain everyone in our famous family-friendly environment,” MacKay told THE BEE.
Free rides on the Train and Carousel Again this season, rides on the historic, American-made 1912 Herschell-Spillman hand-carved menagerie Carousel, and rides on the Oaks Park Train, will be free.
“As a community-minded organization, we realize that some families don’t have the time or resources to purchase all-day ride bracelets,” MacKay remarked. “So, we welcome everyone to come, bring a picnic basket, and take free rides on the Carousel and Oaks Park Train.”
Special events abound At the end of May, the Multnomah County Fair will return at Oaks Park over the Memorial Day Weekend.
“And this year, we’ll be doing something special for the Fourth of July, including fireworks,” confided MacKay. “And our beloved Oaks Oktoberfest will be back in a new format. After that, the Haunted Scare-Grounds returns, and will be open until we end our season on October 31.”
Team members wanted “Finding employees has definitely been more of a challenge,” MacKay acknowledged. “We’re one of the largest youth employers in Portland, hiring from age 16 (although the staffers who run amusement rides must be least 18 years old) – so working with us is perfect for students, or seniors, or anyone who’s looking to have a little fun on the weekends!
“And, a great benefit is that, if you work here a couple days a week, you get free rides and roller skating for your family throughout the season,” she pointed out, inviting applicants to check in at the employment section of their website: http://www.OaksPark.com
Along the Midway, Oaks Park Association CEO Brandon Roben – trash picker in hand – stopped to say hello. “Today couldn’t be better! Nice weather, and just the right amount of guests here to be easily accommodated by the many new workers with us this season.”
Buy tickets in advance As of when the park opened this year, visitor capacities continued to be limited. To avoid disappointment at the ticket booth, and to be guaranteed access to attractions, guests must purchase tickets online at – http://www.OaksPark.com
Oaks Amusement Park is operated by the nonprofit 501c3 “Oaks Park Association”, and is accessed from the road turning north at the railroad crossing at the west end of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood.
Relive the opening for 2022 of Oaks Park, in this brief exclusive BEE video:
A police dog tracked the suspects into the large nearby apartment complex. Two were found by the K-9, and were arrested. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Wild driver finally stopped in the Reed neighborhood; police find guns
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
A simple traffic stop in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, along S.E. Powell Boulevard near 115th Avenue, ended up 5.2 miles to the west – in the Reed neighborhood, with more than three dozen police officers involved, on Thursday afternoon, March 31.
At 4:42 p.m., two PPB East Precinct officers in a “partner car” initiated a traffic stop in the outer East Portland neighborhood due to a driving infraction.
Instead of pulling over and stopping, the driver hit the accelerator and sped off. As it turned out, the Portland Police aircraft, “Air 1”, was flying overhead in that area; and moments later the observation officer in the plane spotted the fleeing vehicle.
That “eye-in-the-sky” officer witnessed dangerous and reckless driving behavior, including high speeds, passing in oncoming lanes, and running red lights. At least one other driver's car was nearly struck by the suspect vehicle, even though no officer was pursuing the car.
Officers from East Precinct, Central Precinct, and the Focused Intervention Team (FIT), plus a K9 unit, responded to assist as the vehicle sped west – mostly on S.E. Holgate Boulevard – before turning south on 28th Avenue.
By this time, a total of 38 officers were involved. After the car stopped on Colt Street, just east of 28th Avenue, three suspects made a run for it on foot.
Getting their scent from the abandoned car, a PPB police dog sniffed out two of the suspects. The third person slipped away from the dragnet that included the large apartment complex at that intersection, and extended about five blocks in every direction, including the Reed College campus.
Two firearms were also found and seized as evidence.
One of those arrested was 19-year-old Yonis Jama of Portland. Jama was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 7:42 p.m. that evening on charges of Unlawful Possession of Firearms, Attempt to Elude Police by Vehicle, and Reckless Driving. However, after spending only a few hours in jail, Jama was released, without being required to post bail, on the morning of April 1. (Release Reason: Court Ordered Release of Charges.)
Also arrested was 18-year-old Sa'Maurion Niyannah Harris, who was booked into the MCDC at 7:43 p.m. on charges of Unlawful Possession of Firearms. However, Harris was also released, without being required to post bail, on the morning of April 1. (Release Reason: Court Ordered Release of Charges.)
The investigation is continuing by the PPB’s FIT and Enhanced Community Safety Team. If you can provide information about this incident, it’s Case No. 22-86121.
Picture the Moreland Farmers Market right here! This is the south parking lot of Westmoreland Park; but, on May 21, it’ll be the new Saturday midday location of the Moreland Farmers Market. It’s the largest space the market has yet enjoyed. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Moreland Farmers Market opens this month with a new day and location
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
With news that the parking lot near Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial which has hosted the Moreland Farmers Market recently is now unavailable, organizers searched for a new location.
“Our opening day will be on a Saturday – May 21 – from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Changing to being a weekend market is certainly new for us,” remarked the market’s manager, Lannie Kali, in late March.
The MFM opened in 2005 in the small parking lot across from the Moreland Theater in the Westmoreland neighborhood. Needing more space, they moved to the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, and later moved to space donated for years by Wilhelm's Portland Memorial in their south parking lot – and then their north parking lot – both along S.E.14th Street. The south parking lot was sold for development a few years ago, and now the second one has been as well.
On April 9, Kali told THE BEE, “Great news! Our new location is the south parking lot of Westmoreland Park, near the intersection of S.E. 23rd Avenue and Umatilla Street. “There is a great grassy area nearby where families can picnic and play in the shade, as well as abundant parking. We are thrilled!”
UPDATE: On April 26, after THE BEE had been printed and mailed, we received an email from the Moreland Farmers Market "clarifying" its new location as being on S.E. Clayborne Street, between 17th Avenue and Milwaukie Avenue. This is apparently the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot in Westmoreland. The Market will still be, as previously announced, on Saturdays, 10 to 2 middays, when its season starts on May 21.
Here are the team members of FRC Team 1432, the Metal Beavers: Elijah Smith, Caleb Corpron, Jonathan Hagen, team captain Ammon Corpron, and Toby Greene; and, lower on the floor, Levi Smith. And in the back, mentors Chad Smith, Alan LohKamp, and Patrick LohKamp back them up. Not present is mascot Declan Marks. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Scrappy former Franklin High robotics team wins district competition
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
It hasn’t been easy for Portland’s first high-school-based robotics club, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1432 – the Metal Beavers, since they were evicted from Franklin High School back in 2010 for reasons that are still unknown. The event made headline news in THE BEE, and drew anger from FIRST Robotics teams around the world.
However, the nonprofit, FRC-sanctioned, after-school robotics club has remained active, since moving the into the basement of Knights of Pythias Ivanhoe Lodge #1 in Lents, where it continues to this day.
In fact, this season, the scrappy Metal Beavers outscored many other teams in the region.
Pointing out that all of their team members were wearing medallions, team spokesperson Ammon Corpron – a junior at Paideia High School in Milwaukie – explained, “These are ‘Finals Metals’, because we went to the FRC Finals competition at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
“We did very well; best two of three matches, but we lost on the very last match – the tie-breaker around – but the score was very close.”
“We created our robot to meet the challenge of climbing bars – they’re like ‘monkey-bars’, but set on an incline, with the top rung being 8’8” high,” said Corpron. “Our robot climbed all the way to the top bar, which very few teams could do.”
The other way to score was to launch balls into goals. “Everyone else was using friction wheels and motors; we had the only spring-powered shooting mechanism,” said Corpron. “Our robot used elastic to shoot the ball into the high goal – an engineering challenge that we took on, that no one else did.
“All the teams we were playing were very well-funded – we probably have the least funding of any team in our district,” wryly acknowledged Corpron. “At one event, we were the fourth team to go to semi-finals; and at our next event, we went to State finals. I’m super proud of everyone here, and what we’ve been able to achieve as a team!”
Although they had won the right to play in the FRC Regional Competition on the first weekend in April at Eastern Washington University, a lack of funding to pay for the trip prevented them from trying to continue their winning streak this season.
“We plan to compete next season,” remarked Corpron. “Until then, it’s all about testing ideas, coming up with innovating new ways that we can improve ourselves as a team, and improving the mechanical abilities of our robots by developing new systems.”
After another shooting wounded a man in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood, officers gathered evidence. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Man wounded in another shooting near Mt. Scott City Park
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
After residents heard gunfire again near the southwest corner of Mt. Scott City Park, several called 9-1-1 on Tuesday evening, March 29, bringing 14 East Precinct officers to that location at 7:03 p.m.
There they found an adult male who had been shot several times – receiving what remarkably appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
So officers once again closed off S.E. Knight Street between 72nd and 73rd Avenues, and began placing yellow evidence markers over the spent bullet casings they found littering the street. Canvassing the homes in the area, investigators learned that one bullet had also pierced the exterior of an apartment building, and punctured walls inside, but had not struck anyone.
Witnesses told police that they’d seen the shots coming out of a vehicle, and were able to give officers the car’s license plate number. It turned out to be a car that had been reported stolen. Officers later found it abandoned less than a mile away, in the Lents neighborhood, near S.E. 83rd Avenue and Tolman Street.
At a Community Forum meeting that same evening in Brentwood-Darlington [reported elsewhere in this issue of THE BEE], Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbors who live just west of 82nd Avenue of Roses, near Mt. Scott City Park, said that their effort to halt almost-nightly shootings last summer – by reducing street access, with orange traffic barrels – has worked well, but shootings still do occur..
The suspect or suspects in this particular incident are still at large, and the case remains open. This is Case No. 22-84287: If you can provide information about this, or any other such incidents, please email them to – email@example.com
Here, looking toward towards Tacoma Street, S.E. 19th Avenue will be the main focus of this extensive water main replacement project, set to begin in May. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Sellwood water main replacement project inches forward
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
The Ordinance for replacing 4,800 feet – just under a mile – a of the aging water main under two streets in Sellwood was approved by Portland City Council on March 30.
Called the “S.E. 19th Ave and S.E. Lambert St Water Mains Project”, with the price tag of $2,553,920, will replace the water main installed in 1927. “It’s had six breaks in the last ten years,” Portland Water Bureau (PWB) Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti told THE BEE.
“The new ductile iron pipe will make Sellwood’s water service more reliable, reducing the likelihood of breaks in the future, and it’s expected to last at least another hundred years,” Cuti said. Additionally the project will also improve neighborhood fire protection by adding six new fire hydrants in the area.
PWB contractors plan to construct this project four to five blocks at a time. The affected areas are:
S.E. 19th Avenue from Marion Street to Lambert Street
S.E. Lambert Street from 19th to Milwaukie Avenue
S.E. Milwaukie Avenue on Lambert Street where it jogs a half block north to/south at Milwaukie Avenue
Neighbors living along S.E. 19th Avenue and Lambert Street will likely see some pre-construction activities by the Water Bureau, such as surveying, utility locations, and tree work by this month.
“Some neighbors might experience single-day localized water shutoffs while we prepare the water system for upcoming work,” reported Cuti. “Neighbors should keep an eye on their front doors for shutoff notices; our crews will be posting lsuch notices at least 24 hours before any shutoff.”
Construction is expected to begin in May or June, and hopefully will be ending by the fall.
East Precinct and FIT officers find evidence of the shooting where a neighbor said it began – as a traveling gunfight, alarmingly close to an elementary school, seen in the background. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
‘Road rage’ may have triggered shooting near Woodmere School
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
On Monday, March 28, at 4:01 p.m., East Precinct officers were sent to a “Suspicious-with Weapon” report – initially reported at the corner of S.E. Duke Street and 78th Avenue.
This incident turned out to be far more than that. In fact, it looked like a “car-chase shoot-out” – which, in fact, it apparently was. In three different areas, spent bullet shell casings were discovered by officers.
The first group of cartridges was indeed found at the Duke-78th intersection – at the corner of Woodmere Elementary School. However, classes were not in session at that hour.
“I didn’t see it, but I heard cars driving fast – like they were going [west on Duke Street] from 82nd Avenue – and hitting the speed bumps, and then gunshots,” neighbor Steve Barth told THE BEE. “I took my time getting out to take a look, because I didn’t want to get shot – by then they were gone; they drove on.”
The second shooting site was also along S.E. Duke Street, a half block east of 78th Avenue.
The third and final area where shots were fired was a half mile away – and southwest of the other two locations, on S.E. 72nd Avenue near Cooper Street.
After East Precinct officers had cordoned off all these crime scenes, members of the new “Focused Intervention Team” (FIT) investigated and documented the evidence.
“Investigating officers learned that, in this incident, an occupant or occupants of a car was shooting while chasing two victims (one adult male and one adult female) in another car,” Sgt. Allen told THE BEE.
“The victims were not injured, and reported that it started out as a case of road rage,” he remarked. No immediate arrests have been made, and the case is being investigated.
This is Case No. 22-83084. If you can provided any information about these incidents, or any other ‘Shots Fired” calls, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the Case Number.
Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith, and 2022 Multnomah County Fair Manager Mary Beth Coffey, say they’re planning “a grand and wonderful springtime county fair this year.” (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Prepare for big ‘in-person’ Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
After being shut down in 2020 – and after having visitors shut out from visiting the exhibition hall that was actually set up in 2021, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – organizers of the 2022 Multnomah County Fair say this year will be in-person, and full of fun and activity.
The historic fair again returns to nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park for three days in May, over the Memorial Day weekend.
“Given the past two years, this – the 117th Multnomah County Fair – will be three times as big, and three times as interesting! We’ll do this by diversifying our activities and vendors,” enthused Larry Smith, President of Friends of Multnomah County Fair, the nonprofit organization that nowadays produces the historic county fair.
Smith – as well as Mary Beth Coffey, who retired from the Oaks Park Association – and Tracy Burback of FunTastic Shows, have all been working together to create a unique fair experience this month.
“Since COVID restrictions have lifted a bit, and wearing masks outdoors is no longer required, the three of us – and volunteer members of the fair’s Board of Directors – have set about re-invigorating the fair,” Coffey told THE BEE during a planning meeting at Oaks Park.
The remaining COVID restrictions will keep 4-H and Future Farmers of America from exhibiting this year, Coffey conceded. However, the American Rabbit Breeders Association will be holding a major regional judging competition on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend.
“Considering the wide diversity of residents in Multnomah County, this year the fair presents entertainment and activities that represent the many native countries and cultures of the people who live in our region,” Coffey pointed out.
For example, on one afternoon, Chinese “Lucky Lions” will prance through the fair and down the midway. “And, we’ve reached out to Irish, Native American, Hispanic, seniors, and LBGTQ groups, among others, who will provide a diverse range of entertainment at the all-new Multnomah County Fair,” Coffey disclosed.
Smith chimed in, “Don’t forget that the fair hosts the Creative Living Exhibit Hall in the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion – where Arts & Crafts, Floral, Photography, Needle Crafts, and Foods will be competitively judged. Plan now to submit items, and win cash prizes!” To obtain entry forms, and sign up, go online – https://www.multcofair.com/pageserver/exhibits
Carnival rides and ‘fair food’, too “This is a really good partnership, because Oaks Amusement Park has amusement park rides for all ages, great ‘fair foods’, and acres of free parking all available to our guests,” Coffey observed.
Friends of Multnomah County Fair operates on donations; it was incorporated in the mid-1990s after its own county fair was totally defunded by the Multnomah County Commissioners. “This year, we’ve gone out of our way to invite members of the Multnomah County Commission to come to the fair and be part of this famous celebration,” Coffey said.
Find out how to enter the “Weiner Dog Races”, see the lineup of talent, and check out all of the entertainment scheduled for at the 2022 Multnomah County Fair – by visiting their all-new website – http://www.multcofair.com
The Multnomah County Fair – admission to it is FREE at Oaks Park – is open from noon until 7 p.m. on Saturday May 28, Sunday May 29, and Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th.
Historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park accessed on at S.E. Oaks Park Way – turn north at the railroad tracks, at the foot of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood. For more information about The Oaks, see their official website – http://www.oakspark.com
Andre Miller, Community Justice Organizer with Portland City Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty’s office speaks (center) while panelists Nadine Salama and Matchu Williams of the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood (left) listen – as do facilitator Dunja Markum, and PBOT Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Josh Roll (right). (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Brentwood-Darlington neighbors hold in-person public safety meeting
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
A “Brentwood-Darlington Community Meeting”, held on Tuesday, March 29, at the Brentwood-Darlington Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 291, at S.E. 52nd Avenue at Flavel Street, was all about public safety.
Although several people drifted in after this meeting began, eventually there were 28 people in attendance. The meeting was hosted by the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA), and was facilitated by Ms. Dunja Markum.
Setting the stage, Markum explained, “We’re not necessarily assessing things the way they are, but we’re looking forward to discovering things that we can do to increase safety in our community.”
After self-introductions, members of the panel shared their experiences and why they were attending the meeting.
Also present was Josh Roll, of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Pedestrian Advisory Committee. He remarked, “Since August, we’ve been working on ways for the city to install new traffic control devices, without increasing the risk to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, causing crashes.” But that was not the only safety issue on people’s minds. The topic quickly turned to gunfire.
Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbors share experience Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association Chair Matchu Williams described the problems encountered there, with “almost nightly shootings”. These had caused neighbors to reach out for help.
Nadine Salama, a Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbor who led the effort to create a pilot program on their streets involving orange traffic barrels [previously reported in THE BEE] was also on the panel. “I consider this entire area of Southeast Portland to be my ‘neighborhood’ – so public safety is as much a concern for those living in Brentwood-Darlington, as it is outside my door.
Salama recounted how encouraging PBOT to place the traffic barriers and signs on the road, restricting the ease with which vehicles passing through their streets near Mt. Scott City Park could leave the area, did reduce the volume of shootings. “Although most news reports have focused on ‘putting barrels in our streets’, that’s missing the point,” Salama declared. “This is only one activity, one approach, to improving community safety.”
The person from whom Mt. Scott-Arleta neighbors received help in obtaining the barrels from PBOT Andre Miller, introduced himself as Community Justice Organizer in Portland City Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty’s office.
Miller said, in part, “Growing up a black man, my friends and family have been directly affected by gun violence. You’re talking about gun violence, I know all about gun violence! My family, my friends, are being murdered.”
Says bullet paralyzed her neighbor Pam Hodge, who said she’s been a BDNA neighbor for more than 60 years, told how she’s been impacted by shooting violence. “I’ve heard gunshots, sometimes several of them within a short period of time.
“One of those times, after hearing gunfire, I found that my neighbor, who was out in her front yard, had been, and is now, paralyzed in a wheelchair [by a stray bullet],” Hodge stated.
The meeting continued with reported incidents, and ideas for informal mitigation.
After the meeting, THE BEE checked in with the facilitator, Dunja Markum.“There were some really good ideas coming from our brainstorming,” she said, “Including green space landscaping, with edibles, fruit trees, and bushes along the streets; and taking the lead to install traffic calming measures, such as barricades or street painting.
“These, and other ideas were tied to the notion that we need to take whatever actions we can – not waiting for ‘permission’ from the City of Portland.
“Overall, many people expressed that they were grateful for the meeting; and several stayed and chatted for a while about some of the concerns and solutions that were discussed.
She concluded, “If I were to organize future such meetings, it would focus on coming up with action-based ideas and strategies; rather than creating opportunities for people to complain without offering solutions.”
The impact of the crash broke this wheel off a pickup truck. Drivers of both trucks exchanged information, and called for tow trucks. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Crash in Brentwood-Darlington damages two trucks
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
A collision between two pickup trucks caused a resounding boom in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on Friday, April 8, at 6:54 p.m., at the intersection of S.E. Flavel Drive and 52nd Avenue.
A white Mazda SE-5 pickup truck had been northbound on S.E. 52nd Avenue, approaching the intersection. Just before it got there, the driver of a blue Ford F-150 pickup truck chose to accelerate eastbound across the intersection on Flavel Drive.
The front driver’s side of the Mazda struck the Ford directly on the front passenger’s side tire and wheel. When the Ford’s driver tried to move his truck out of the intersection, the wheel collapsed and ground down into the pavement. The Mazda proved drivable, but smoke was issuing from its engine compartment.
Although emergency medical first-responders arrived, paramedics were waved off by the participants. East Precinct officers were dispatched, but were delayed getting there due to the unusually heavy volume of 9-1-1 calls that evening.
Since there apparently were no significant injuries, those involved in the accident simply exchanged information and called tow trucks.
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