More stories from October's issue of THE BEE!

Tacoma Street, traffic change
A traffic change prohibiting left turns from eastbound S.E. Tacoma Street onto 6th Avenue for the next year, is clearly marked, and now is subject to enforcement. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Drivers flaunt Sellwood Bridge traffic turn change 

for THE BEE  

Near the east end of the Sellwood Bridge, Multnomah County traffic crews did all they could to make it clear that that new left turn restrictions are now in place.

During the night of September 1, workers moved Jersey Barriers into the eastbound lane, and restriped the pavement to take out the left-turn lane at S.E. 6th Avenue, the road many Westside people take to reach Oaks Amusement Park. Signs were posted along the roadway informing drivers of the traffic change. 

However, on a recent visit to the site, THE BEE witnessed vehicle after vehicle breaking the law, and illegally turning at that intersection as they had before – resulting in numerous near-miss collisions and just-avoided rear-end accidents. 

“This traffic change was necessary,” explained project spokesman Mike Pullen, “due to widening of S.E. Tacoma Street west of 6th Avenue. The south side of the road will be built first between 6th Avenue and the bridge.”

Currently, the only two movements that will be prohibited are:

  • Eastbound left turn from Tacoma to S.E. 6th Avenue
  • Eastbound left turn from Tacoma to S.E. 7th Avenue

The following movements are allowed:

  • Southbound right turn from S.E. 6th to Tacoma
  • Crossing Tacoma on S.E. 6th Avenue (north and southbound)
  • Westbound right turn from Tacoma to S.E. 6th Avenue
  • Eastbound right turn from Tacoma to S.E. 6th Avenue
  • Northbound left and right turns from S.E. 6th to Tacoma 

Eventually not only will eastbound motorists be again able to turn left on 6th, but they will have a traffic light to help them do it. But, for the next year, they will have to move up a couple of blocks on Tacoma Street in order to turn left.

Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Officers have taken notice, and are monitoring those intersections. It would be wise to obey the signs.

Division Street, pedestrian killed
This wrecked car drew the attention of neighbors – who had heard the crash when it collided with the utility pole, after it ran down and killed a pedestrian. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Erratic driver kills a pedestrian on Division

for THE BEE 

Few people were on the sidewalk on S.E. Division Street at 3:00 pm on Monday afternoon, August 18 – just moments before 84-year-old Estelle Irene Fuman lost control of her green Buick sedan near 67th Avenue.

Those who witnessed the tragedy were trying to figure out just why Fuman, who was westbound on Division, had swerved into the eastbound lane, and across the bike path – where she struck and killed a pedestrian – before careening into a power pole.

“My friends and I were sitting in the apartment nearby,” said Matthew Downes. “We were just playing games.  My wife heard a screech of tires and a huge crash. I thought perhaps a vehicle hit the building.”

He saw a Buick that had smashed into a utility pole at the corner near their apartment building.

“Myself and another guy went over to the car and opened the door,” Downes told THE BEE. “We cleared out the smoke, and figured that we probably shouldn’t move the driver. We stayed, and made sure that she kept her airway open.” 

The elderly driver seemed to drift in and out of consciousness, Downes said. “I was concerned that maybe what had happened was some type of a medical problem, based on her complete unresponsiveness, and reports of her swerving between 72nd and here at 66th Avenue.”

He and his friends were so focused on the driver, they didn’t notice the pedestrian victim, Downes added. “Someone said a pedestrian was hit; I looked and saw that someone was performing CPR on the south side of the road.” 

Having lived at the campus of Warner Pacific College for four years, Downes said that, even with bike lanes, S.E. Division Street can be a dangerous place to cross the street or to drive. “There are times of day when you can walk across easily; during rush-hour it’s quite dangerous, and is packed with cars.

“But, at this time of day, it is usually quite safe,” Downes reflected.

Division Street was closed well past the afternoon rush hour, as the Portland Police Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team began reconstructing the accident. The officers made measurements, took photos, and used their “Total Station” surveying tool to make an accurate diagram of the scene. 

“The man killed in this traffic crash has been identified as 55-year-old James Dalton Porter,” revealed PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The driver, 84-year-old Estelle Irene Fuman, was transported to a Portland hospital for treatment,” Simpson added. “Preliminary information indicates that Fuman may have suffered a medical event prior to the crash, which led to the erratic driving. Fuman was not impaired by drugs or alcohol. Her condition remains unknown.”

The investigation is continuing, and once completed, the results will be presented to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review and possible charges.

Muddy water from tap startles Inner Southeast

Editor, THE BEE

The Portland Water Bureau responded to the report of a water main break at about 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon, September 17, at S.E. 22nd and Caruthers Street, due east of OMSI. 

The break had an impact on a large area of Inner Southeast, in that such an event causes sudden water pressure changes, and stirs up sediment naturally lying on the bottom of the water mains nearby. 

That means tapwater turns brown, and sometimes turbid, as the stirred-up sediment passes into home and business water pipes. The tide of brown water began immediately in the vicinity of the break – and slowly propagated outward from there. It cleared by itself after three to four hours. 

It reached Brooklyn in the early evening of the same day, and north Westmoreland in the later evening – at around 10 pm.  It cleared there by 3 am on the 18th. Water Bureau personnel expected the ripple effect in the water mains would have reached Sellwood after midnight and should have cleared by dawn on the 18th.

Such brown water is not thought to be unhealthy, but laundry done during the turbid period probably looked dingy and needed to be washed again when the water cleared.

Hood 2 Coast Run
At sunset, Hood to Coast runners jog across the Springwater Trail’s McLoughlin Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge, making their long, long way to Seaside at the coast. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Hood to Coast runners again jog through Southeast

for THE BEE 

As 12,600 runners made their way westward, on the evening of August 22, from Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon – in Portland, the Springwater Trail continued to provide the best and safest route for participants through Inner Southeast Portland. 

One of the “transfer stations” along the 197 mile route was located in the northeast corner of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood. Here, tired runners handed off their wrist straps to fresh participants who’d traveled to the area by van to prepare to run their segment.

But, many of the runners say one of the most beautiful settings of the entire trip comes at sunset, which happens for the early runners in the race as they travel between the Tideman-Johnson Nature Park transfer station and downtown Portland, and sometimes just as they head west along the Springwater Trail pedestrian bridge at Milepost 5, which crosses S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard.

Beautiful, yes – but they didn’t stop running to enjoy it!

Volunteers were stationed where the Springwater Trail turns into Sellwood, guiding further groups of runners as they arrived and passed through as the night wore on.

Motorcycle crash, Sellwood, Westmoreland
After being clipped by a truck’s bumper at this intersection, a motorcyclist was knocked off his bike, and flew head-first into the metal sign post in the median on S.E. 13th at Sellwood Boulevard, in Westmoreland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Cyclist struck at “dangerous” Westmoreland intersection 


Vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who frequent the intersection of S.E. 13th Avenue and Sellwood Boulevard in Westmoreland know that, because of a partially-obstructed sight-line to the north, it’s often difficult to see oncoming traffic. 

“I’ve nearly been hit here so many times,” remarked Jerry Sanderson to THE BEE as he watched paramedics tend to a motorcycle rider who was struck in the intersection at about 5 pm on Thursday, September 28. 

Sanderson said he was walking to the bus stop when he saw a man riding a Honda motorcycle come off the Bybee Boulevard curve, southbound on S.E. 13th Avenue, heading toward Sellwood. 

Meantime, a black Ford F150 Lariat pickup had come eastbound on S.E. Sellwood Boulevard, and was about to turn left, to go north on S.E. 13th Avenue to Bybee. 

“It looked like the truck driver was pulling out to see if the roadway was clear; the front, passenger-side of the truck’s bumper struck the motorcyclist,” Sanderson said. 

The rider tumbled off the cycle and was ejected into the median planter, where he struck his head on a median divider’s steel signpost.

Witnesses said that a young man, waiting for a bus, saw the accident. He went to the accident victim who appeared to be regaining consciousness and trying to get up. The passer-by encouraged the injured man to stay down until paramedics from Fire Station 20 and AMR could arrive to assess his condition, and to properly transport him to a local hospital.

A police officer at the scene said that the driver of the Ford truck remained at the intersection and had cooperated with the accident investigation. It is has not been reported whether any citations were issued in connection with this accident.

Oktoberfest, Oaks Amusement Park
Folks of all ages and species kick up their heels, dancing the polka to the music of a lively band. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Lively, local Oktoberfest again brought family fun

for THE BEE 

The sounds of live oompah bands emanating from the two “festhallen” at Inner Southeast Portland’s historic, and nonprofit, Oaks Amusement Park, on the third weekend in September, signals that it’s Oktoberfest time again. 

With the park transformed into a German village, daytime guests see cooking shows, and can shop among craft and import vendors. Kids of all ages can enjoy the park’s thrill rides, carnival games, roller skating, and much more.

 “What I like, most of all, is the food and beer,” smiled the event’s cheerful and vivacious hostess, Oaks Park Events and Promotion Manager Emily Mackay.

“I ‘save up’ all year so I can enjoy the German chocolate cake here,” Mackay told THE BEE. “And, I love seeing our guests in traditional German style clothing – the ladies in durdles, and gentlemen in their lederhosen. Especially when the children are costumed – I think it’s just darling.”

But like so many who come to the Oktoberfest Mackay said she loves the dancing. “I like to polka dance with the gentleman, kids, and of course with our mascot, Chipper the Squirrel.”

Keeping with its family-friendly tradition, Oaks Park features a “Kinderplatz” children's area, providing games, crafts, children's chicken dance party, and “Rocktoberfest” with the Radio Disney crew.

And, kids are encouraged to come in the main festhallen with their parents to dine, dance, and take part in the traditional pretzel toss, condiment art, and chicken dance contests.

“People tell us our Oktoberfest keeps getting better every year,” Mackay said. “Looking at all the smiling faces here today, I agree!

For more information, visit the official website:

Garthwick fire
Firefighters wait for orders to cut another hole for vertical ventilation, on the stately Garthwick home, just north of the Waverley Golf Club. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Aging wiring suspected in Garthwick house fire


A neighbor said she smelled smoke when she walked past the stately residence at 598 S.E. Manchester Place in the Garthwick, an enclave in the south end of Sellwood, on the morning of September 9.

A worker, who said he had been removing and replacing wallpaper in the house earlier in that day, remarked that he’d thought he smelled a little smoke – kind of like hot wires.

When he came back from lunch, he smelled smoke much more strongly, and started searching around for the source of it. After seeing smoke in one of the upper bedrooms, he called 9-1-1.

At 3:05 p.m., Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded. The crew from Westmoreland Station 20 on Bybee Boulevard was first at the scene, and radioed back that the structure was likely on fire.

“In total, eleven Portland Fire units responded,” later recounted PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons. “We received mutual aid from Clackamas County Engine 2.”

A Battalion Chief at the scene said that crews inside believed that the fire might have originated near a doorway or hall on the west side of the house, and spread upward into the attic. “It obviously took a while for the fire to grow,” he said.

The fire was extinguished at 3:31 pm; but some firefighters stayed on to remove smoldering or charred debris that could contain embers. The cause was believed to be aging electrical wiring.

Fire damages Woodstock house

for THE BEE 

A residential fire broke out, just after 1 pm on August 18th, in a single-story house at 6225 S.E. 70th Avenue.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews from Woodstock, Westmoreland, and Lents converged on the house and fought the blaze. 

“Everyone was out of the residence, by the time we arrived,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons. “It sounds like the majority of the damage was in the attic area. There was some water damage to the rest of the house.”

At press time, fire investigators had not yet revealed the cause of the fire, or made a damage estimate.

“From my understanding there were no injuries to humans or pets,” Simmons told THE BEE at the scene.+

Injury car crash
With both vehicles smashed in the intersection, paramedics got the injured driver onto a gurney. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Inattention at Woodstock Blvd intersection sends one to hospital


What might have been a moment’s distraction while driving sent a crash victim to the hospital, after a two-vehicle collision at 2:30 pm on Monday, September 1st, at the intersection of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 72nd Avenue.

An East Precinct officer agreed with several witnesses who said a green Ford Escort SE had turned into the path of a silver Honda Element.

It came out that the Honda was westbound on Woodstock Boulevard, coming into the intersection of 72nd Avenue with a green traffic signal. The Ford was eastbound on Woodstock, apparently was turning north on 72nd, failed to yield right of way, and collided with the Honda.

Paramedics from Fire Station 11 helped prepare an injured woman for transport via AMR ambulance to a local hospital. “It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury,” one of the paramedics said.

The cause of the inattention that led to the crash was not announced, but THE BEE has covered a number of collisions lately in Inner Southeast in which the offending driver seemed unaware that the light was red, or that a car was turning ahead, and a smashup resulted.

Be on your guard against distracted drivers who are oblivious to the obvious.

50 foot, banana split
“It takes a village” to make, and enjoy, a 50-foot banana split, like the one the Brentwood-Darlington Bethel Assembly of God church created and shared with neighbors. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

50-foot Banana Split shared by faith group


Faith-based organizations have tried many ways to connect with neighbors who surround their places of worship.

On Sunday, September 14th, the pastors of the Bethel Assembly of God church in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood tried something new – a promotional idea just right for a warm summertime Sunday afternoon.

“Today, we’re creating a 50-foot long banana split, to share with people here in the neighborhood,” explained Pastor Gary Russell.

Church members scooped vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream onto halved bananas into a food-wrap-lined wooden trough in the church’s back yard, at S.E. 72nd Avenue and Duke Street. A large tree shaded the mighty dessert from the sun, giving time for other helpers to apply mounds of fluffy whipped topping, followed by maraschino cherries, before it all melted.

They’d been preparing for the giant dessert – led by their Youth Pastor. Ryan Snyder – for about three weeks, Russell said.

“We're just letting people in the neighborhood know that we care about them,” Russell smiled.  “Part of our purpose is letting people know that our church is about bringing more true joy into people’s lives. And, everything in life to seems to go a little better when ice cream is involved!”

Neighbors, friends, and church members didn’t have to be asked twice to “dig in” to a section of the really, really, really big banana split!

Former SE resident pleads guilty to unlawful weapons sales

Justin Gage Jangraw, 34, who reportedly lived at the time near S.E. Bybee Boulevard east of McLoughlin Boulevard in Inner Southeast, has pleaded guilty in Washington DC of violating the Arms Export Control Act from 2009 to 2011 – by the unlicensed selling of restricted military weapons parts on the Internet, some to foreign nationals, using websites called “Heapeach” and “Sexyweapons”.

According to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, he also pleaded guilty to a separate charge involving “unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents while he was in the Army”.

Jangraw, who today lives in Rockford, Michigan, is a former U.S. Army Captain, once deployed to Iraq. His sentencing is scheduled for November 21. According to the ICE, “the export charge carries a statutory minimum of twenty years in prison, and the charge involving classified documents carries up to a year in prison. Both charges also carry potential financial penalties.

“In addition [to these penalties], Jangraw agreed, as a condition of his plea, to the forfeiture of an AR-15 assault rifle and 117 magazines [of ammunition], as well as various weapons parts which were seized by law enforcement during the investigation.”

The ICE was assisted by the Portland office of the FBI.

Dump truck hits car, Woodstock
It appears the airbags in the Honda were what kept the mother and her children safe, in this mid-intersection collision with a dump truck in Woodstock. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Dump truck smashes car at key Woodstock intersection


A mother’s trip to school was cut short just before 9 am on September 3, when a dump truck collided with a Honda Fit, in the middle of the busy intersection of S.E. 39th (Chávez Blvd) and Woodstock Boulevard. 

The large Kenworth dump truck appeared to be headed eastbound up the hill on S.E. Woodstock. It hit the Honda Fit, which appeared to have been headed southbound, with such impact that it skidded the car sideways and activated its airbags.

THE BEE could locate no witnesses at the scene, and the emergency first-responders could give no details about the crash. The drivers involved just didn’t want to talk about it.

“No one was injured in this motor vehicle accident,” later said Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “No other details are available at this time.”

Reed neighborhood, apartment fire
After firefighters put out the fire, a crew member wetted down the deck where the fire started, and the area below. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Careless smoking” the cause of Reed-area apartment fire


When the 9-1-1 Center dispatches Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to a fire in an apartment building, many units respond. So it was, at an apartment complex near Reed College at 5044 SE 28th Avenue, on Monday, September 8.

The first firefighters arriving for the 6:16 pm fire call were Westmoreland’s Engine 20. “They found an exterior fire between apartment units,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons. “Firefighters began fighting the fire and evacuating occupants.”

At the scene, a PF&R Battalion Chief expressed concerns to THE BEE about the fire occurring at this particular complex. He said that quite a while ago, shortly after they were constructed, there had been a fire that had turned into a five-alarm blaze.

However on this occasion, firefighters contained the fire to a deck and to an outside wall.

“All occupants were evacuated safely, and no injuries were associated with this fire,” Simmons said. “The apartments’ occupants were not displaced.”

On the charred deck, PF&R Fire Investigators were taking a long, hard look to determine the fire’s cause. Simmons later reported the cause as “Improperly Discarded Smoking Material (Cigarette).”

Vacant house burns in Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood


Flames were leaping from the rear of a house in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, at 5808 S.E. Flavel Street, as Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews arrived at 10:56 am on the morning of Saturday, September 20th.

“Firefighters found heavy fire on the back side of a vacant single story house,” reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Damon Simmons.

“The fire was also burning heavily in the attic,” Simmons added. “Firefighters simultaneously began searching the residence to ensure that no one was inside, while fighting the fire.”

The blaze was so intense, Simmons said, that the crew’s primary water hose line was burned through. “Firefighters operating a separate hose line were able to continue firefighting operations, while the primary company pulled out to replace the line.”

The fire was extinguished and firefighters began the overhaul process (searching for hidden fire and removing burning material). No one was inside the structure and no injuries were associated with this fire.

“A fire investigator was called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire,” Simmons added.

Tree splits, Eastmoreland
Another “main attachment” of another stately Eastmoreland tree fails, due to summer heat. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Summer heat claims another Eastmoreland tree


When Eastmoreland neighbors Will Mowe and Kathy Saitas came home the on the evening of August 18, they were surprised to see one of their “street trees” had fallen toward their house on S.E. 32nd Avenue.

“I saw this tree down, I hoped the house and the cars were okay,” said Kathy Saitas. “We weren’t home when it happened today.”

This appeared to be another failure of a “main attachment”, where large limbs grow out of the main stem (trunk) – a failure most likely attributable to the summer’s extended heat wave.

There were no warning signs, like creaking or groaning of the tree, Saitas said. “We lived here for thirteen years and, obviously, the tree has been here much longer.”

“Nobody was hurt,” Saitas said. “But, it is a heartbreak, though. This stately tree will not be replaced in our lifetime.”

Four youths arrested in Kenilworth Park fires 


Starting on July 12, Creston-Kenilworth neighbors grew more and more uneasy, as a series of fires occurred in Kenilworth Park on S.E. Holgate Boulevard, just east of Grout Elementary School.

They were mostly small trash fires, but one involved a burning mattress left at the northwest corner of the park near S.E. 32nd Avenue. Another fire damaged a fire hydrant. The last fire was reported on August 3.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon put up a reward, hoping to generate leads to the arsonist.

On September 11, there was a break in the case, when anonymous tips made to the crime reporting line paid off.

“Arson Investigators from the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue have arrested four juveniles in connection with these fires,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“The four male juveniles, ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old, face charges ranging from Arson in the Second Degree, to Reckless Burning,” Simpson reported. As they are minors, their names have not been disclosed.

SMOKE IN THE BUILDING. Six fire rigs responded to the report of smoke in a Brooklyn business on August 30th. The location was 1219 S.E. Lafayette Street, where Bill Scream, owner of Scream Music Recording Studio, was at work in his second floor office when he began to smell a smoky, burning odor, and called 9-1-1. Engines 20, 21, and 4, and Ladder Truck 4 responded; the firefighters tracked the odor to an overheated fluorescent light ballast, fixed the problem, then vented the smoke with large fans before returning to their stations to stand by for the next emergency. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Van into pole
The van smashed into both a utility pole after hitting a parked pickup truck, on S.E. 72nd in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Utility pole puts a stop to drunk driver’s trip


The sound of a vehicle crash brought out Brentwood-Darlington neighbors on the warm evening of August 26 – to find that a Dodge Ram 5500 van had plowed into a utility pole on the west side of S.E. 72nd Avenue near Lexington Street.

Police and an AMR ambulance responded at about 11 pm.

“Witnesses told officers that the van turned eastbound on Flavel from S.E. 62nd Avenue, then turned southbound on 72nd Avenue – lost control – hit a vehicle, then a light pole,” explained the Portland Police Public Information Officer, Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Medics looked over the crash victim, 39-year-old Marcos Cardenas-Bustos, and gave him minor first aid at the scene without transporting him to a hospital. But he got transported somewhere else.

“Cardenas-Bustos was arrested, and charged with DUII and Reckless Driving,” Simpson later said.

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