More stories from December's issue of THE BEE!


Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn neighborhood, Freak Mountain Ramblers, Portland, Oregon
Starting off the concert portion of this year’s Oregon Music Hall of Fame concert in the Brooklyn neighborhood was a tribute to Jimmy Boyer, featuring the Freak Mountain Ramblers. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tributes and awards at ‘Oregon Music Hall of Fame’ show

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The Aladdin Theater in the Brooklyn neighborhood was packed with celebrants, at the 11th Annual Oregon Music Hall of Fame (OMHOF) Induction and Concert.

One of the standout musical performances was a tribute to Jimmy Boyer, featuring the Freak Mountain Ramblers – with Fernando, Bingo Richey, Turtle VanDemarr, and Pete Krebs sitting in. Another featured set was the “Louis Pain All-Star Band”, with Andy Stokes, Peter Dammann, Dan Balmer and the smooth-but-powerful blues voice of LaRhonda Steele.

Closing the show was the band Floater, known for their progressive concept albums, stylized storytelling, intense live performances, and devoted fan base.

“OMHOF has dual missions,” explained the organization’s Education Chair Janeen Rundle, at the show. “In addition to honoring our musical legacies, the other part is promoting student and youth musical education.

“We awarded five music scholarships this year; one of the recipients went to Harvard, the other one went to Yale – beautiful, isn’t it?” Rundle exclaimed.

In addition to providing scholarships, she observed that OMHOF also brings music assemblies to schools all over the state – especially valuable for schools lacking in music education. These assemblies feature noted Oregon rock violinist Aaron Meyer.

During the Hall of Fame show in Brooklyn, Rundle held up a giant check, illustrating that OMHOF has raised a cumulative total of $203,000 for music education to date – and told the audience, “By buying tickets to the show this evening, buying raffle tickets, and participating in the guitar auction, you are helping support this program – and we certainly couldn’t do it without you!”

This year’s Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductees were:

  • ARTISTS: Floater, Jimmy Boyer, King Black Acid, Mickey Newbury, Quasi and Sean Croghan
  • SIDE PLAYERS: Louis Pain, Peter Boe, and Richard Cousins
  • INDUSTRY: Chris Monlux, Lisa Lepine, and Tres Shannon

The music artistry awards include:

  • ARTIST OF THE YEAR – “case/lang/veirs”
  • ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Lisa Mann:  “Hard Times, Bad Decisions”

Learn more about OMHOF by going online: http://www.omhof.org.



Franklin Street, fire, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
When the fire was out, the home was uninhabitable, but the Red Cross responded to assist the displaced residents with emergency lodging and supplies. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Outdoor fire on Franklin Street spreads to home’s attic

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A fire that broke out behind a home in the 4800 block of S.E. Franklin Street was reported at 8:48 a.m. on Thursday, October 19, and that summoned nine Portland Fire & Rescue units to put it out.

The first responding company reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the back of the structure, as well as from the eaves of the two-story house.

While some firefighters searched the house for potential victims, others started connecting water lines and began the firefight. By the time the fire was fully extinguished, there were charred areas above the upstairs windows.

A firefighter told THE BEE that it appeared the fire had started behind the house, traveled up both sides, into the eaves, and then into the attic.

Ladder Truck company crews climbed to the roof and cut vertical ventilation holes to help provide access to the flames in the attic, and to release the resulting hot toxic gases.

Neither occupants nor firefighters were injured in the fire. But, according to American Red Cross Cascades Region, the blaze did displace four adults, five children, and five pets. They provided emergency lodging and supplies to those displaced.

Fire investigations have yet to release their determination of the cause of this fire, or a damage estimate.



Tom Potter, Mayor, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
Ex-Mayor and Mayoress: Tom Potter and Karin Hansen hosted their fifth annual summer potluck at their Woodstock home and backyard in August, at which this photo was taken. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

After leading the city: Catching up with Tom Potter, in Woodstock

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE 

They could be described as a dynamic duo: Former Portland Mayor Tom Potter, who grew up in the Southeast Portland Brooklyn Neighborhood and went to Cleveland High School – and his wife Karin Hansen, a graduate of Grant High, and the U. of O. and PSU.

They have had their home in Woodstock for over two decades. From that base, after retiring nine years ago, they’ve been doing a lot of traveling, and working with diverse communities.

At an early August potluck picnic in their home and backyard, a diverse group of friends – former city employees, and community activists – among whom were Somalis, Hispanics, African Americans, many Cambodians, and other Asians – became acquainted with one another, and reveled in conversation taking place amidst a multicultural selection of good food.

In a new fall interview with THE BEE, Potter and Hansen explained how they have come to know so many Cambodians in particular.

“We were in the Clackamas Town Center parking lot after the 2004 November election at Christmas time, headed for a bookstore,” remembers Potter. “Suddenly someone yelled, ‘Aren’t you Tom Potter? I didn’t vote for you. But if you have nothing planned for New Year’s Eve, you’re invited to our Cambodian celebration’.”

“We were scheduled to go to a Native American Pow Wow on New Year’s Eve, but we managed to go to both. It was a Khmer Heritage event,” explains Potter, “and we had a marvelous time.”

The person who had invited him, Kilong Ung, coincidentally also turned out to be a Cleveland graduate, as well as a Reed College graduate and author of a riveting memoir, “Golden Leaf, A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor.”         

Potter and Hansen have become good friends with Ung. Potter steered him in the right direction to help him realize his dream of becoming a Royal Rosarian, and later a Rotarian. Now Potter and Hansen go to the Cambodian New Year’s celebration every year.

Ung likes to give back to the Portland community that educated him and has given him so much. He introduces people to Cambodian culture, and has set up the Golden Leaf Education Foundation that builds schools in Cambodian villages, and enables Americans to visit.

“The Golden Leaf Foundation sets up regular trips to meet people in Cambodia, and I was able to go three years ago,” recounts Hansen. “We now spend quality time here with the Cambodian American Community of Oregon (CACO).”

“That trip [to Cambodia] was a humanitarian tourist experience for the ground-breaking of a new school. I was struck by the Cambodians’ resilience, their heart and love, joyfulness, and goodness. They are not angry,” observes Hansen.

For time on their own, the couple loves to travel the state and nation in their Airstream camper. “We just celebrated our 600th night in it!” says Potter. (Hansen keeps a journal.) He adds that they have a good time deciding, “Where do we want to stay this time?”

At home in Woodstock, when not traveling in their Airstream or visiting family in France and Germany, Potter and Hansen continue a “mentorship” role of helping to open political doors for people of color.

“Since Tom’s [mayoral] term ended, we have found our values are in bringing people together,” says Hansen. One of their activities is meeting with people who may need to learn the ropes for entering politics, or who need advice and help with networking.

Throughout his years of Portland Police work, Potter made a point of listening to the community. (He started his beat in the 1960’s in Southeast Portland’s Brooklyn neighborhood, when it had a gang problem.) That experience led him to start the Community Policing program while he was Chief of Police, and to emphasize diverse community connections while Mayor – all of which prepared him for volunteer work in diverse communities.

The couple is involved with NARA (Native American Rehabilitation Association), Unite Oregon (which helps strengthen immigrant communities), IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization), and CACO, among other groups.

Summing up, Potter says “We think Portland is a better place when diversity is reflected in public policy.” This dynamic duo vows to continue doing their part.



Moreland Woods, SMILE, Corinne Stefanick, Elizabeth Milner, Wilhelms, Portland Memorial, Oregon
These women met with THE BEE to discuss their hopes for “Moreland Woods”. From left: Ann Scott, with dog Radar; Corrine Stefanick; and Elizabeth Milner. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Moreland Woods’ project advances, with encouragement of property owner

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

Since the “Moreland Woods” project at S.E. 14th and Claybourne Street in Westmoreland was reported by David F. Ashton in the October issue of THE BEE, more interest has developed. 

The two-acre wooded parcel is owned by Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial, and is just south of the Llewellyn School playground. Wilhelm’s was acquired by the “Foundation Partners” of Florida a year ago – although it remains under the same management – and after the purchase, the new owner put two “surplus” lots up for sale.

One is been the Wilhelm’s south parking lot on Bybee Boulevard, where the Moreland Farmers Market has been held recently; and the other is this “Moreland Woods” parcel, just north of Wilhelm’s Mausoleum. The former lot was sold some time ago for development; the latter lot, zoned R5, has been for sale just as long, but has not yet found a buyer.

The new group “Friends of Moreland Woods” want the land to be acquired and administered as a city natural area. Currently the cleared area with over twenty mature fir trees is used as an informal community resource by neighbors, dog-walkers, and those wishing to enjoy the view across Oaks Bottom. The property extends downhill, and crosses part of the Oaks Bottom “cliff trail”.

Westmorelander Amrita Kumar is neighborhood team leader of the Friends of Moreland Woods. Another team member, Elizabeth Milner, is also Co-Chair of the Stewardship of Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC) of the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association.

Milner met with THE BEE to discuss the project.

Milner says the property owners have been very cooperative, and are willing to sell the lot to a public or charitable entity for a bargain price. They will allow the Friends group six months to a year to develop a plan and start arranging for financing. “We have till September of 2018 to plan. We’re exploring establishing a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) entity, and several small businesses have offered to help us.

“We are asking for the financial and management support of the City of Portland and Metro Regional Government to help purchase and manage this treasure for the benefit of the neighborhood, wildlife, Llewellyn Elementary students, and the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge,” she continued. “If we do not act, we will lose the opportunity for a valuable natural resource and a lasting community legacy.

“Neighbors have suggested that the north wall of the Mausoleum might be a great place to project summer movies. And, with so many new homes going in in our area, people will need more green spaces. With improvements such as water and electricity, the site could be a new home for a community garden or the now-displaced Moreland Farmers Market.”

She told us that hundreds of visitors to the site have signed a petition to “save the scenic natural area for future generations”. On October 22, some thirty neighbors met at the site for a Forest Party & Cleanup. According to former SMILE President Corinne Stefanick, one of the original organizers of the group, “People came with kids and garden equipment and did a significant job of transferring trash to dumpsters provided by Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial.

“We had face-painting and sugar cookie decorating, horseshoes, and [games of] petanque,” reported Stefanick. “Teams pulled out ivy, picked up branches, litter, and dog poop, and raked up debris. Many thanks to Wilhelm's for their help, Starbucks for coffee, and all the folks who assisted. If you wish to get involved, please attend an update meeting at 6 p.m. at November 29 at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th, and visit the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/friendsofmorelandwoods.”

Another online source of information is – http://morelandwoods.nationbuilder.com.



iPads, stolen, Whitman Elementary School, thief, Southeaast, Portland, Oregon
Children here, at Whitman Elementary School, were suddenly scrambling for pencils and paper, after a thief made off with their classroom’s iPads. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sneak thief steals ‘iPads’ from Whitman Elementary School

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Robbing school children of their ability to learn using computer technology apparently isn’t beneath the thief who made off with a handful of devices on the afternoon of October 30.

“At 2:48 p.m. that afternoon, a staff member at Whitman Elementary School reported a theft of multiple Apple iPads from a classroom inside the school,” confirmed Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

School officials are still reviewing surveillance footage, and a PPB School Resource Office also came by to investigate the theft.

“As yet, there is no suspect description,” Burley said.



Baseball Day, Lents, Sellwood, clinic, Portland Pickles, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
Sellwood Middle School sixth-grader Bryce Fujimoto showed his professional-looking “batting stance”, as the “Play Ball Portland Clinic” got underway. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Inner Southeast kids learn from experts, at ‘Baseball Day’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

That the weather was cold and blustery didn’t stop more than 125 kids from Inner Southeast and other parts of the city from coming out to Walker Stadium on S.E. Holgate Boulevard at 92nd on October 7, for the “Play Ball Portland Clinic”.

The event was put on by the nonprofit group Friends of Baseball, partnered with Major League Baseball’s Play Ball initiative and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“Friends of Baseball enhances children’s lives through baseball’s power to teach, and by providing after-school and summer programs with the help of trained volunteer coaches and mentors,” remarked the organization’s executive director, Nova Newcomer. “We want more kids to have access to active sports, because there’s been an 8% decline over the last eight years in team sport participation.”

Fewer kids playing team sports can be attributed both to low income and lack of access, she said. “We want to make sure that the sport of baseball is accessible to youth and their families in all parts of Portland.”

On hand to kick off the midday clinic was Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who read a proclamation passed by the Portland City Council, declaring the day to be “Play Ball Day”.

“This is a really great opportunity for kids in Southeast Portland neighborhoods,” Wheeler told THE BEE. “This helps the city, because it helps engage young people in athletics; baseball is a platform for bringing people together, bringing families together, encouraging kids to get away from video games and be active.”

The baseball clinic gave him a welcome break from dealing with Portland being called “Tent City USA”, and other issues, Wheeler reflected. “This is blissfully different from what I get asked during the week!

“I understand why people and angry about the homeless situation, and transportation congestion, and these other major issues, I get that,” Wheeler went on. “But, there are also a lot of great things happening in our community, and it’s important for us all to step back, and recognize these opportunities.”

On their way in, each child received a T-shirt, wristband, and Franklin plastic bat and ball set.

After hearing the dignitaries and taking a “team photo” together, the kids divided up into game stations – where they batted balls, ran the bases, and practiced catching. With the help of more than a dozen coaches, the youngsters spent the next two hours learning more about the game of baseball and having fun.

To learn more about the nonprofit group Friends of Baseball, go online: http://www.friendsofbaseball.org.



Duke Street, shooting, bus stop, southeast, Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler
Officers look for evidence in a yard near where the bus stop shooting took place. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Duke Street shooting not a ‘drive-by’, Mayor says

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Brentwood-Darlington neighbors were concerned when they learned that a woman had been shot while waiting for a bus on S.E. Duke Street, near the 67th Avenue TriMet bus stop. It happened on October 20, 2017, at 2:05 p.m.

Portland police officers cordoned off the intersection for most of the afternoon. “Officers and medical personnel arrived and contacted an adult female suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot injury – the victim was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment,” reported Portland police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. “Based on information learned in the investigation, officers believe the victim was standing at the intersection when she heard a ‘pop’, and realized she had been shot.”

For days following the daylight shooting, officials said they had no suspect information, saying only they believed there was no danger to the community. There the story seemed to end – until Mayor Ted Wheeler, speaking at a meeting in the neighborhood, provided more information.

“It was speculated that it was either gang-related, or drive-by shooting, but, it was neither of those things,” Wheeler said in the November 3 meeting. “This took place between two people who knew each other; a firearm accidentally discharged.” And apparently the woman shot was an innocent victim of the stray bullet.


Eastmoreland Historic District? Still ‘on hold’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Legal action surrounding what opponents say is a lack of clarity in the rules continues to stall the process of declaring a large part of the Eastmoreland neighborhood a National Historic District.

Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association President Rod Merrick didn’t respond to a request for comments in regarding the issue, but, in an e-mail, dated October 27, issued a “Report on the Eastmoreland Historic District”.

Merrick, representing the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, officially in favor of the Historic District, wrote in part:

Careful analysis of the letters of objection and support reported in July indicate that the Historic District has the definitive support of the neighborhood. During the August ENA Board meeting, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to the Historic District nomination, and its support for SHPO to conclude their certification and resubmit the application to the NPS.

Additionally, he wrote:

One neighbor continues legal action intended to block finalization of the count – first in Marion County, and subsequently in the Oregon Court of Appeals. His suit demands (without evidence) that the work of SHPO is incompetent and should be stopped or "stayed". The suit was dismissed by Marion County, and the demand for a stay has been dismissed, but other claims have yet to be ruled upon by the Court of Appeals.

Merrick’s message continued:

Your President and a representative from HEART [Historic Eastmoreland Achieving Results Together] traveled to Salem on October 20 to remind the SHPO and Statewide Commission on Historic Resources during its fall meeting that a count and final decision is needed without further delay. Staff concurred, and also expressed frustration with the inexplicable nearly six-month delay by DOJ in providing direction.

Early in November, Oregon Parks & Recreation Department of Oregon Heritage’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Historian Ian Johnson talked about the progress of the application.

“We have reconciled the [property ownership] records with those collected by the National Parks Service, and found only found one difference,” Johnson told THE BEE. “We’re still waiting for information from the National Parks Service that was supposed to get me a letter two weeks ago, but has not; issues with the Oregon Department of Justice (ODOJ) has been taken over with my supervisors.

“National Parks will give us guidance on how to submit the application for Historic District designation, based on their interpretation of the regulations,” said Johnson. “We have the resources in place to take action once we get direction.”

On November 6, the attorney working on the behalf of Eastmoreland resident Tom Brown, Nathan Morales of the Perkins Coie law firm, spoke with THE BEE, informing from Brown’s point of view.

“There are two separate lawsuits,” Morales began. “One is a request that SHPO create a rule that describes the process they will take while counting property owners; it’s in the Oregon Court of Appeals and we’re waiting for a briefing schedule of the court.

“The other is that we’ve requested to SHPO that we’re provided with ‘Contested Case Hearing’, because the Oregon Court of Appeals dismissed the case – and we intend to petition the Oregon Supreme Court to review that order.

“No court in Oregon has addressed this issue [defining property ownership]; it’s of great importance, because it affects the rights of property owners across the state,” he said. “We think we have a pretty good chance of granting a review.”

They’ll learn whether or not the Oregon Supreme Court will review the case in a few months, Morales told us. And while they’re expecting the briefing schedule from Oregon Court of Appeals “any day now”, a decision may not be handed down for a year or so, he remarked.



Ramona Street, fire, closure, 82nd Avenue of Roses, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses was completely closed to traffic at Ramona, to allow fire hoses to snake across the thoroughfare from the nearest hydrant – on the other side of the busy highway. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fire displaces apartment residents on Ramona Street

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A quiet Saturday morning was disrupted by the sudden appearance of fire, for residents of the apartments at 8120-8126 S.E. Ramona Street on Saturday, October 28.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews were called to the building by a passing AMR ambulance, the driver of which saw smoke rising from the apartments – which are tucked in behind the Al’s Shoes and Boots store – at 10:22 a.m.

Inasmuch as the building is a multi-family dwelling, about a dozen PF&R units raced to the scene, while Portland Police Bureau officers closed S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses entirely -- because the closest hydrant was across the busy street.

The crew of PF&R Woodstock Station Ladder Truck 25 arrived first, and reported to the dispatcher seeing heavy smoke and flames coming from the building.

While some firefighters pulled water supply and delivery lines, others went door to door inside, making sure all residents had left the building.

“The fire appeared to have started near the ground level on the east side of the building, and ran out the outside wall, and into the attic space,” said PF&R Public Information Officer Ron Rouse. “The main body of the fire was on the ground floor, where it was extinguished by the on-scene crews.”

While the fire was extinguished quickly, firefighters took their time “overhauling” the charred areas – removing burned material to make sure no live embers remained.

“There were no injuries reported in this incident,” Rouse told THE BEE, but he commented that several residents had been displaced by the fire, and they were being assisted by the Red Cross.

“Damage estimates are $90,000 to the building, and $25,000 to its contents. The fire investigator has yet to release the cause of the fire,” he said.



Krista Lee Rossi, burglary, Brooklyn neighborhood, Southeast, Portalnd, Oregon
After being found in the basement of a broken-into Brooklyn neighborhood home, 35-year-old Krista Lee Rossi is now facing a felony charge of burglary. (MCDC booking photo)

Brooklyn burglar smashed windows, arrested in basement

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An alert Brooklyn neighbor, noticing that a nearby home’s windows had been broken, called the 9-1-1 Center to report it on Monday afternoon, November 6.

At 2:58 p.m., officers arrived at the home – near S.E. 7th Avenue and Haig Street – and spoke with the neighbor who reported the damage.

They did, indeed, find multiple broken windows at the home – and learned from neighbors that no one should have been in the residence.

“Officers searched the home with the assistance of a police K9 team, located a suspect in the basement, and took her into custody, assisted by the Bureau’s Detective Division's Burglary Detail,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.

The suspect, Burley told THE BEE, was identified as 35-year-old Krista Lee Rossi, who was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 8:06 p.m. that evening on charges of Burglary in the First Degree, and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.

The following day, at her arraignment, the presiding Multnomah County Court judge dropped the Criminal Mischief charge, relating to the broken windows. She remains in custody at Inverness Jail, however, in lieu of $50,000 bail, on a Class A Felony Burglary charge.



Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance, SMBA, Moreland Farmers Market, SMILE Station, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Moreland Farmers Market Board Member Kristin Eberlin and Market Manager Lannie Kali presented ideas for the necessary relocation of the market at the October 19 SMBA meeting. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Moreland Farmers Market seeks new site in off-season

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Since the Board of the nonprofit Moreland Farmers Market learned that the parking lot they’ve been using recently has been sold for development by the new owners of Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation – although that business remains under the same management – they’ve been looking for a new spot for next season.

At the October 19 general meeting of the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA) – formerly the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance (SWBA) – at SMILE Station, some 35 members and guests at the meeting heard about the progress of the search.

“We’ve been looking at many different locations to relocate the farmers market; many of the places we’ve looked at haven’t panned out for us,” conceded Market Manager Lannie Kali. “For example, we found that Portland Parks & Recreation is not interested in having a farmers market in any of their parks.

“We don’t actually have a lot large enough in Sellwood or Westmoreland to contain our medium-size farmers market, common area, and parking; we also need electricity and running water – which really does narrow down the possibilities,” said Kali. “We are working the Portland Bureau of Transportation to see which streets in the neighborhood might be able to be closed, and hopefully to partner with some of the businesses on that street to extend the market partly into a business and partly onto the street.”

Being a mid-week market, finding sufficient space to host some 50 ten-by-ten-foot spaces is challenging, she said. “For example: We could use half of the Westmoreland Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, and part of the street [S.E. Claybourne] right next to it; we can’t use the whole parking lot, because they’re open for business,” commented Kali.

Another space they’re considering is at SMILE Station – closing the block of S.E. Tenino Street between 13th and 15th during market days. The SMILE Board is cautiously supportive, but there are residents living on both sides of that long block who would have to approve that idea.

“We’re also looking other partnership opportunities in which we’d be able to promote both businesses,” Kali added. “I’m quite certain we will find a space; right now, we are the point where we are looking at trying to see where we have the necessary support.”

Have a suggestion? Get in touch with Kali by e-mail – Info@Morelandfarmersmarket.org.



Javontae Rogers, pedestrian holdups, Powell Boulevard, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
20-year-old Javontae Rogers has been arrested as a suspect in the Powell Boulevard pedestrian armed robberies; a gun has been recovered. (MCDC booking photo)

Two pedestrians held up on Powell; suspect caught and jailed

By ERIC NORBERG
Editor, THE BEE

On Saturday morning, November 4, Central and East Precinct officers responded to reports of two separate pedestrian robberies on S.E. Powell Boulevard. 

Officers arrived and found both victims. An adult female reported that she had been robbed by a suspect with a gun at 6:32 a.m. in the 3100 block of Powell Boulevard. The second victim, an adult male, told officers he’d been robbed at gunpoint at 6:46 a.m.  The second victim told officers he was near S.E. Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th) and Powell at the time.

During the investigation, officers learned that the victims were approached by a man who made demands and brandished a firearm. Neither victim reported being injured during the robberies.

Both victims provided a description of the suspect. Officers conducted an area search and found a suspect matching the descriptions leaving Creston Park. He was taken into custody.

Detectives with the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division's Robbery Detail responded to assist with the investigation. As detectives searched an area near Creston Elementary School they found and seized a firearm believed to have been used in the robberies. 

The suspect in these robberies has been identified as 20-year-old Javontae Rogers.  Rogers was lodged at the Multnomah County Jail on two counts each of Robbery in the First Degree, and Robbery in the Second Degree.

Brooklyn Yard, Union Pacific, trains blocking streets, HAND, Hosford Abernethy, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
Union Pacific Railroad Director of Public Affairs Aaron Hunt attributed many stalled trains at Inner Southeast crossings on the use of manually-operated switches in the Brooklyn Yard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Train-blocked streets irk Inner Southeast neighbors

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

It was the October board meeting of the Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood District Association (HAND), on the evening of October 17, but Brooklyn neighbors, and those from other nearby neighborhoods, had been invited to attend – to discuss long delays sometimes encountered at the S.E. 8th, 11th, and 12th Avenue railroad crossings.

“The agenda tonight includes a representative from United Pacific Railroad (UP), which is why we’ve invited people from other neighborhoods to come,” announced HAND President Susan Pearce. “We want to learn what’s going on in the Brooklyn Yard; and why we see the patterns of train movements that we do, where the roads are blocked for long time.

“We want to know whether it’s due a long, slow train moving by, or if the trains are idling, or if – in the process of ‘building trains’ – the locomotive comes out far enough out to trigger the [crossing] arm, even though the train is not visible,” Pearce explained. “TriMet’s MAX Orange Line trains go through quickly; but when long UP trains come through, followed by another light rail train, “motorists, pedestrians or bicyclists can wait to cross the tracks for as much as 45 minutes to an hour!”

After introductions, Pearce introduced Union Pacific Railroad Director of Public Affairs Aaron Hunt to the 25 people attending the meeting.

Asked to address the chronically-blocked crossings, he responded, “There are about twenty railroad tracks in Brooklyn Yard, where we’re sorting containers and building trains, or taking trains apart. That – putting cars together and taking them apart – is how we build trains, so trains can arrive at their destinations with the correct cargo. Throughout all that process, we’ve had some situations where you’re seeing 8th, 11th, and 12th avenues blocked for half hour, 45 minutes, an hour or more,” conceded Hunt.

“We have a hypothesis for what’s causing that; we still have manually-operated track switches in Brooklyn Yard,” Hunt explained. “As trains are being built the conductor has to get off the locomotive, hand-throw switches, and then walk back to the locomotive and get into the locomotive and pull it back into the yard.

“These kind of operations take a long time, and it’s being done as it has always been done – partly because when the conductor walks to the front and back of the train, the conductor can inspect the train while doing the walk,” Hunt said. “So, our hypothesis is that if we converted those switches to power switches, operated remotely by our dispatchers, it could mitigate this issue at these intersections.”

The cost to upgrade the switches in the “millions of dollars” he said, and added that, “TriMet and Union Pacific have been meeting for several months and collecting data from the crossings, and analyzing the data, to make sure that we have the information we need to see in order to confirm that this hypothesis is accurate.”

They’ll continue to “collect data” for another half-year, he said. Should their hypothesis be accurate, it would then take another year to modernize the railyard switches.

Asked about slow-moving freight trains that also unpredictably block the intersections, Hunt pointed that long trains can often be going to, or coming from, the Steel Bridge. “The Steel Bridge allows only a very limited speed. We own the bridge; it has limited speeds because of the physics of the curvature of the railroad track as it goes onto the bridge.

“So, a very slow moving freight train could be approaching the Steel Bridge, while a significant portion of the train remains in distant crossings,” Hunt said.

One person at the meeting, neighbor Jeff Rames who lives near S.E. 15th Avenue and Woodward Street, complained, “We’ve had a long ongoing struggle with Union Pacific to stop parking the locomotives there, where they idle for hours on end – often eight or ten hours – shaking our home all the time they’re parked there. You talk about safety; you don’t talk about our safety; we can’t sleep and can’t breathe clean air.”

Hunt replied, “We have a crew-change pad right there by Jeff’s house; we spot locomotives there, where the crews come and disembark. And Jeff is right, we do idle trains there. We keep the locomotives running because it maintains the ‘air test’ in the brake system, so that train will stay in place when parked there.”

Other than perhaps installing an air brake pressurizing system next to the tracks, Hunt didn’t offer a solution to that problem.

So, the next time you’re stopped at one of these crossings, waiting for a slow-moving or stopped freight train, now you’ll know why – and perhaps you might find comfort in the thought that the situation could change in a year or two.



Stabbing, Mt Scott Presbyterian Church
The victim of the stabbing, just outside Mt. Scott Presbyterian Church, was secured to a gurney and taken to a waiting ambulance. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Darlene Louise Allen, stabbing, garden shears, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
49-year-old Darlene Louise Allen is charged with two felonies, after a stabbing outside Mt. Scott Presbyterian Church. (MCDC booking photo)

Transient dispute leads to stabbing near Mt. Scott Park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Families walking to the Mt. Scott Community Center on Friday evening, October 20, looked surprised and concerned to encounter a large police presence on S.E. 73rd Avenue, outside Mt. Scott Presbyterian Church.

At the church, volunteers were holding their regular “Mt. Scott Meals” supper, providing food service for people in need.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were called to church at 5:51 p.m., after 9-1-1 callers reported a stabbing outside.

“Officers located a woman with a stab wound; emergency medical personnel were called to provide medical aid to the victim, who was transported to a hospital by ambulance with what is believed to be a non-life-threatening injury,” affirmed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. Burley said a suspect was located at the crime scene and was taken into custody, and the suspected weapon had been confiscated. And it was not a subtle weapon.

“Officers learned there has been an ongoing dispute between the victim and suspect; the suspect stabbed the victim with garden shears.” Both assailant and victim are identified as transients.

Police took 49-year-old Darlene Louise Allen into custody, lodging her in the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 8:54 p.m., on charges of Assault in the Second Degree.

At her arraignment, Allen learned she’d also face an additional charge: Unlawful Use of a Weapon. She remains in custody in MCDC in lieu of combined bail, for the two felony charges, of $255,000.



Juggling Festival, Reed College, Eastmoreland, Portland, Oregon
Inside Reed College buildings and out, jugglers do what they came for – juggling. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Reed’s ‘Juggling Fest’ celebrates silver anniversary

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

One of the largest events of its kind celebrated its 25th anniversary in the last week of September at Reed College: The Portland Juggling Festival.

This year’s festival again attracted about 300 participants, and was like many of these events over the past two-and-a-half decades, reflected Festival Director Michael Klinglesmith – with one exception.

“We have a unique situation this year – an unexpected challenge – because the roof on the large gymnasium broke the day before our Festival, and water poured in there,” Klinglesmith said. “So, we’ve had to find new workshop spaces, and everyone is scrambling to adjust, giving this year’s festival a little different feel. We have people spread out all over different places on the campus!”

This year’s Festival began on Friday evening, September 29, and wrapped up on Sunday, having provided more than 50 workshops. “We have all-volunteer workshop instructors; these are people come here to share what they know, and to teach their friends things that they’ve learned,” explained Klinglesmith.

Why people come from all over the world to attend this juggling event, Klinglesmith thinks, is a combination of the Festival having had a long history, and friendships. “There’s now a whole circuit of regional festivals across the country; they all have their roots in a very small number of festivals the started it all, like ours.

“The best part of this Festival is that all of my friends get to come here to juggle,” said Klinglesmith. “Here, I get to go to a Juggling Festival without having to pack or travel, and I get to sleep in my own bed!”

You can learn or practice juggling and circus arts skills every Wednesday night at Reed College. Learn more, at the local group’s website: https://www.portlandjugglers.org.



Rural Street house fire started in carport, firefighters say

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A fire that firefighters report began in a covered carport spread into the attic of a home in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on the afternoon of Monday, October 16. The 3:13 p.m. call to 9-1-1 brought Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to 5304 S.E. Rural Street.

Although family members assured firefighters that all occupants were out of the smoking structure, one crew searched the house to make sure, while others hooked up water lines and began fighting the fire.

Although firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze, smoke continued to billow from an attic vents of the house for some time afterward, while the “overhaul” of the burned materials took place.

Because the fire remains under investigation, the cause and estimated damages have not yet been announced.


Electrical problem suspected in Brentwood-Darlington house fire

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A house fire at 6231 S.E. Flavel Street brought Portland Fire & Rescue crews to the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood at 5:03 p.m. on Friday afternoon, October 20.

The crew of PF&R Lents Station 11 arrived first, followed a minute later by Westmoreland Station 20’s crew.

Although firefighters hooked up a water supply line to Engine 11, it took very little spraying to put out the fire.

“It’s mostly smoke,” a firefighter said in passing, as the crew stowed their equipment.

An Investigator wasn’t dispatched to the scene; the fire crews determined the small blaze to have been “electrical in nature”.


Rural Street, Southeat Portland, Brentwood Darlington, carport, Oregon
Many fire units responded to this Rural Street house fire, believed to have started in the carport. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Flavel Street, fire, Southeast Portland, Brentwood Darlington, Oregon
After putting out the small electrical fire in this house, some firefighters departed while others headed back inside to make sure all embers had been extinguished. (Photo by David F. Ashton)


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