More stories from July's issue of THE BEE!

Ross Island Bridge, worker falls, injuries, OSHA, Portland, Oregon
In the February 8th fall, under the Ross Island Bridge, an injured worker was strapped to a gurney, which was lashed to the aerial platform of PF&R Truck 1 for lowering to a waiting ambulance. (Courtesy of Portland Fire and Rescue)

Oregon OSHA fines Ross Island Bridge contractor

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has fined Abhe & Svoboda Inc., of Minnesota, $189,000 for nine safety violations – two of them adjudged willful – that exposed employees to death or serious injury, as they worked on a project to restore the Ross Island Bridge recently.

Oregon OSHA cited the violations as the result of an investigation of a February 8 accident. Each violation, though different in detail, involved the same grave problem, according to the state agency: A failure to protect workers from falls that could seriously hurt or kill them.

The accident in question, reported by THE BEE at the time, happened underneath the bridge, where a suspended scaffolding system had been installed. An employee was working on an upper deck, 37 feet above a lower platform. He fell through a ladder opening, landing on an employee who was working directly below on the lower platform. Both employees survived the accident, suffering multiple injuries.

The employee who fell was not protected by a fall protection system, per Oregon OSHA’s rules. In fact, an estimated eight employees were exposed to this hazard when the accident occurred, according to the state investigation.

The investigation also found:

  • The company failed to provide proper access to work areas, forcing employees to climb up or down the scaffolding and bridge structure, and to sidestep or step over holes ranging in size from three inches to 24 inches.
  • The company failed to construct and install the scaffolding system according to the minimum bracing requirements, as outlined by professional specifications.
  • Scaffolds and related components were not set up, dismantled, and moved under the direction of a competent person.
  • Employees lacked rest platforms while climbing 37-foot ladders.
  • The company failed to ensure that employees had a work platform that was at least 18 inches wide.
  • Anchorages for fall protection equipment were not installed or used under the supervision of a competent person.
  • Scaffolds were not inspected for visible defects before each work shift by a competent person.
  • A makeshift device – a wooden step stool – was used on platforms to increase the working height of employees

During the investigation, the corporate safety manager for Minnesota-based Abhe & Svoboda spoke dismissively of Oregon’s workplace safety rules, saying “they change too much.”

Oregon OSHA cited two of the nine safety violations as willful: Failure to provide proper access to work areas, which forced employees to climb structures and step over holes; and failure to follow bracing requirements for the scaffolding. Each “willful” violation carries the legal maximum penalty of $70,000. A willful violation occurs when an employer intentionally or knowingly allows a violation to occur.

Seven of the nine violations were cited as serious, each carrying the maximum penalty of $7,000.

Brooklyn neighborhood, Brooklyn Action Corps, Portland, Oregon
The Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association’s Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, May 24, drew quite a crowd – not only because of its annual Board election, but also for the showcase of neighborhood businesses arranged by the revived Greater Brooklyn Business Association. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

GBBA offers local ‘Business Fair’ at BAC meeting


The revived Greater Brooklyn Business Association hosted a local business showcase as a special feature of the May General Meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association, on May 24th.

The two-hour evening meeting, at which the BAC’s annual Board election took place, drew scores of neighbors. Free donuts were provided by Vinnie Cifelli of Coco’s Donuts; free tacos were handed out by Oswaldo Bibiano of Upside Down Restaurant; and free plants were offered by Katie Light of Premiere Property Group LLC. 

Tables were set up around the meeting space at Sacred Heart Villa, and GBBA Board President Jesse Layton (of Edward Jones Financial Advisors) welcomed visitors at the door. Eighteen businesses were represented, although many more call Brooklyn home. Following general exploration of the featured businesses, BAC Chairman Eric Wieland held the Annual Meeting to elect a slate of BAC Board officers for the coming year.

And, the 2016-17 Board Members were all re-elected by unanimous vote. These included Eric Weiland as BAC Board Chair, Mike O'Connor as Vice Chair, Mark Romanaggi as Secretary, Don Stephens as Treasurer, with other Board members Melaney Dittler, Joanna Jenkins, Matt McComas, and Mike Erwin awaiting project assignments at the next Board Meeting.

As the election concluded, what had been called the “Brooklyn Business Fair” continued. Ashley Hoffman from Artist & Craftsman Supply Co. provided a raffle and activities for children; Josh Hetrick from Ross Island Brewing gave out free samples; Jane and David Schue, owners of Brooklyn Center Suites, described rental opportunities to interested visitors; and Windermere realtor Melaney Dittler offered information on selling or purchasing new homes.

Also part of the business showcase, Christie Gryphon of Westmoreland’s Rose City Coffee Co. handed out samples of organic roast coffee beans. Gryphon announced she had just purchased the True Brew Coffeehouse in Brooklyn. “Our new machines will be delivered next month, and we're excited to be here,” she said, before leaving the event with a bad case of laryngitis.

Jody McComas of Plexus Worldwide displayed a selection of “all-natural, plant-based” supplements; Matt McComas offered website development services; Janet Bartholomew from Bullseye Glass Co. demonstrated screen printing on glass surfaces, and invited those interested to call about classes at 503-227-2797.

Laurie Lewis and Renee Neely of Hip Chicks Do Wine acquainted residents with their winery near Holgate Boulevard – the oldest urban winery in the Portland. Becca Seitz, owner of Thrive Acupuncture, announced that she provides acupuncture to people as well as to animals – and has treated an owl, dogs, and a gyrfalcon. Maggie Mackenzie, MS, of Awakenings Studio, offered Movement & Relaxation services and “Date Night babysitting.” Craig Hopkins from Rayburt's Rug, Carpet, & Furniture Cleaning described the business’ many years of service to the neighborhood.

With the BAC Board election over and the Brooklyn Business Fair ended, the meeting was adjourned.

Lotsa Luck Tavern, robbery, Powell Boulevard, Portland, Oregon
Officers looked for, but did not find, the armed robbery suspects. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Armed thugs rob Powell Boulevard bar


As luck would have it, near closing time on June 3, two armed men burst into the “Lotsa Luck Bar and Grill” at 2136 S.E. Powell Boulevard, roughed up an employee, and ran off into the night with fists full of cash.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Precinct officers were called to the bar at 1:53 a.m., and began searching the neighborhood.

“Witnesses told officers that one suspect was armed with a handgun, and the other suspect with a knife,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

“The first suspect was described as a black male, 22 to 29-years-old, 5'10" tall, 250 pounds with tattoos on his left arm; the second suspect was described as a black male 5'10" tall.”

The employee who was assaulted did not require medical attention, Burley added.

The suspects are still at large; anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Robbery detectives at 503/823-0405.

Portland Pickles, Pickles baseball, baseball, Lents Park, Portland, Oregon
Clackamas Community College freshman Berry Hunt slides into home base, scoring another run for the Portland Pickles. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Portland Pickles’ baseball opens for season in Southeast


People in Inner Southeast seem largely unaware that folks are coming from all over the metro area, including Vancouver, to see baseball played by a scrappy, collegiate, short-season, wood-bat baseball team -- just a little east of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, off Holgate Boulevard.

The team plays at a renovated and expanded baseball field in Lents Park, and they’re called the “Portland Pickles”.

These “boys of summer” returned to the Charles B. Walker Stadium in Lents Park on Tuesday evening, June 6, for their first home game of the year.

For more than an hour before the 7:05 p.m. game time, people were lining up to present their tickets to enter the stadium – which features even more improvements this year – and to find their seats.

The baseball club’s owners – Alan Miller, Jon Ryan, and Bill Stewart – continue to invest in the team, and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has also continued to invest in upgrading the facilities.

In the Reserve Box, they’ve taken out the benches and installed 250 full seats; and, in the same area, they doubled the amount of ADA-compliant seating areas in a new raised section served by a new ramp, Stewart pointed out.

“In addition to the left field berm, set up for family-oriented fun, the new right field berm we installed will accommodate those enjoying an alcoholic beverage,” Stewart told THE BEE.

About the team, Stewart said that the team is part of the Great West League; their players are drawn from college teams.

“Playing with wooden bats is important; in college, they play with aluminum bats,” Stewart remarked. “By playing in our league over the summer, they can move more quickly through the development process towards Major League Baseball.

“This is very competitive baseball,” Stewart added. “Our players are treated like perfect professionals here and on the road, playing 60 games in 70 days, so it’s very much like minor league ball.”

The co-owners agree that the team provides “affordable family entertainment, and gives folks the opportunity to ‘step back in time’, reminiscent of going to the ballpark to see a game as one might have done in the 1950s and 1960s – and enjoy inexpensive hot dogs and beer.”

What most surprised the team’s front office is that the games attract people from around the greater metropolitan area. “Last season, online ticket sales showed that 23% of our fans drive over from Vancouver; most our fans do come from east of the Willamette River, and over the season, the Gresham Little League purchased a total of 3,500 tickets,” Stewart reported.

Stewart had high praise for PP&R. “They’ve been wonderful to work with, and you don’t always see that. We keep hearing that Walker Stadium and our ball field are the very best in our league.”

Hearing that compliment, PP&R Director Mike Abbaté lit up with a big smile. “That’s a huge compliment, and testament to the work of our staff who built it, and are doing a great job maintaining it.”

After team introductions and opening night ceremonies, including a presentation by the Royal Rosarians, and the singing of the National Anthem, it was time to play ball. 

Daniel Lopez hit the first home run of the season for the Pickles with a towering three-run shot in the fourth inning. Native Portlander Kelechi Anyanwu drove in three runs for the Pickles, despite having only entered the game in the 6th inning. Alec Leighton and Joey Cooper also drove in two runs for the Pickles.

When the game ended, and the fireworks display lit up the evening sky, the team had crushed the Marysville Gold Sox, 13-4.

The following night, the Portland Pickles won an improbable, come-from-behind game over the same Marysville Gold Sox. In the ninth inning, it looked as if the Gold Sox would take home a victory – but two Pickles players tied the score. In extra innings, the Pickles won 4-3.

There’s more Portland Pickles action to come this summer. To keep up with the team, to listen to games streamed online, and to securely purchase tickets, visit their official website:

Barricade, Holgate Boulevard, S E 28th Avenue, Portland, Oregon
The new traffic lights and signs, and a new concrete barrier, at S.E. 28th and Holgate Boulevard indicate a new northbound bike route. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

New on S.E. 28th – no northbound traffic from Holgate Boulevard


Commuters on S.E. Holgate Boulevard, and drivers on S.E. 28th, have noticed a new traffic pattern at the intersection of Holgate and S.E. 28th: A new concrete center island on the north side of Holgate, new traffic signals, and a “Do Not Enter Except Bus & Bicycles” sign facing south on 28th reveal a plan by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation to transition this route away from S.E. 26th Avenue as a safer new bikeway for north-bound pedallers.

Although the Oregon Department of Transportation normally has no sway over city streets, the new barricade ties in with the Powell Boulevard Traffic Flow Project, by realigning crossings of Powell between S.E. 20th and 34th Avenues. The S.E. 26th intersection at Powell intersection was the site of two serious bicycle crashes in 2015, as well as several vehicle/pedestrian accidents.

In fact, 26th Avenue has become a new route for large trucks hauling freight north to S.E. Gladstone Street, where they then turn west to a container transfer point on Union Pacific Railroad property. Neighbors along S.E. 26th Avenue have complained about the increased noise, vibrations, and diesel odors from these trucks. However, the bike safety issue is related to a decision to change northbound bike traffic from 26th to S.E. 28th Avenue, where bicyclists are expected to have a safer ride – particularly with that new barricade in place.

The City of Portland's Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) also has a stake in the S.E. 28th and Holgate intersection because of their 20's Bikeway Project. PBOT requested ODOT rebuild that intersection with a new traffic signal, which required approval of the State Traffic Engineer.

ODOT made this happen, hinging on the issue of transferring bike traffic from 26th to 28th. An ODOT spokesman reported, “ODOT’s agreement with the PBOT requires the city to remove the bike lanes on S.E. 26th Avenue by the end of the year, unless PBOT can demonstrate that the conditions have changed sufficiently to merit review of the decision.”

Sellwood Pool, renovation, Portland Parks and Recreation, Oregon
The newly-renovated exterior of the pool house at the historic Sellwood Pool makes it an even more inviting summer recreation destination. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Pool opens just in time for heat wave


The venerable Sellwood Pool, the first public pool of its kind in the city, has been in use every summer season since 1910.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) reopened it for the 2017 season on June 20, to the delight of a large number of Inner Southeast Portland residents – just four days before three days in a row above 90 degrees arrived in the Northwest as summer began.

“It all looks brand new!” exclaimed Westmoreland resident Mira Banks, who – with her kids in tow – had stopped to take in the new roof and paint job on the pool house, and the sparkling clean swim area.

The outdoor oval pool, heated to 84 degrees, is especially inviting on hot summer days, when kids of all ages can slip down the drop slide, and play under the spray water features.

Families can purchase a season pass, or pay for individual splash-and-swim sessions, as well as swim lessons.

“Swim free” times
But, as part of the PP&R “Summer Free For All” program, free Open Play Swim sessions are offered at two of the area’s pools this summer, and one of those pools is Sellwood. Offered through August 25, you’re invited in to “Drop in and have a splash” with no cost or registration needed:

  • Sellwood Pool, Wednesdays, 7:20-8:50 p.m., 7951 S.E. 7th Avenue
  • Creston Pool, Mondays, 1:00-4:00 p.m., 4454 S.E. Powell Blvd.

For more information, go online –

Brentwood Darlington, Portland State University, Capstone Project, neighborhood plan, Portland, Oregon
PSU Masters students Shannon Williams, Olivia Holden, Shannon Williams, Laura Combs, Olivia Holden, and Samuel Garcia say they’re confident that their work will serve as a guide to improvements in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington learns about ‘Community Assessment Plan’


After months of working in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, listening, engaging, and developing a “Community Assessment Plan”, a group of graduating students in the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program at Portland State University (PSU) shared their findings with the community on Thursday evening, June 1.

Some 25 people were in attendance at the Brentwood Darlington Community Center to hear recommendations intended to promote a more livable and inclusive future for the neighborhood.

“It’s called the ‘Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Assessment and Action Plan’,” revealed Andrea Pastor, one of the PSU students engaged in this “Capstone Project” as the last step before PSU graduation.

The group of six students began working on the project in January, because their “client” – the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) – had pointed out that Brentwood-Darlington’s last neighborhood assessment had been done in 1992.

“BPS asked us to begin engaging the community on a variety of topics, including infrastructure, transportation, housing, and economic development,” Pastor said. “We talked with students and families at Woodmere and Whitman elementary and Lane Middle School, and did a lot of focus groups with a variety of people.

“We made a point of doing workshops and focus groups with renters, who are sometimes overlooked part of this population,” she added.

Several notable challenges were uncovered, including:

  • Decreasing affordability – this traditionally a very affordable place to live is becoming less so, “catching up” with home prices across Portland
  • Infrastructure deficits – more sidewalks and improved roads are desired
  • Economic development needed – might it be possible to create a Neighborhood Business District along S.E. 52nd Avenue, potentially opening the area to economic development grants or programs from “Prosper Portland” – formerly known as the Portland Development Commission.

“Also of interest was information that came out when we dug into the history of the neighborhood,” remarked team member Amanda Howell. “Especially seeing how Brentwood-Darlington has long had an effective neighborhood association, for example, leading to the development of Harney Park, Haseltine Park, and to the Metro sidewalk grants.”

After the presentation, attendees provided feedback on their process to help the students further refine their final product, while considering whether this PSU graduation project might actually become a blueprint for a better neighborhood.

Woodstock Boulevard, annual cleanup, Portland, Oregon
Re-planting a flowerpot in front of Woodstock Wine & Deli, during the Woodstock Boulevard annual community cleanup are, from left: Jonathan Straus, Jordyn, Trevor Attenberg, and Ingrid Mather. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Community turns out for annual Woodstock Boulevard cleanup


On Saturday, June 3rd – a splendidly cool and cloudy morning – people gathered in front of the Woodstock Community Center to check in for the Woodstock Annual Cleanup.

For six years in a row, the Woodstock Stakeholders Group, a commercial property owners nonprofit headed by Angie Even, has organized various activities to spruce up the neighborhood: Litter pickup along and behind Woodstock Boulevard; a fresh filling of new plants into the large cement flower pots that dot the street; and weeding and pruning of trees in the medians and on the boulevard.

This year Ms. Even was pleased to report that eighty-five people had participated – fifty large SOLVE bags were filled with litter; two pickup trucks were filled with pruned tree branches; and six people helped weed and prune the Woodstock Community Center’s grounds. 

While munching on donated pastries from Grand Central Bakery before heading out, a few people shared with THE BEE their reasons for participating.

Jessica Seiders, owner of the nonprofit “Southside Swap And Play” indoor play space located in Our Lady of Sorrows Church at 52nd and Woodstock, remarked, “I’m pretty invested in the community. I spend almost every day here, and I like to see the neighborhood look good.” She was participating with her 2½ year old daughter, as well as with her cousin Lisa Haynes and her three year old son.

Jonathan Straus was on a planting crew with his blind housemate Trevor Attenberg. “For me, it was a chance to connect with my neighborhood and get to know the little details of Woodstock’s landmarks that I otherwise would obliviously walk past,” commented Straus.

Out on the streets, nine-year old Roxanne Iversen and her mother Beth were picking up cigarette butts, and pulling handfuls of litter out from weeds near the US Bank drive-up and behind the Delta Café. “I like cleaning up because it helps the earth to be clean”, smiled Roxanne, a Woodstock Elementary School student.

Her mother added, “We’ve done this the last four years in a row. We look to see who can find the largest piece of litter. Last year it was an old wooden scooter bike.” This year the cleanup’s biggest items found were a tire and a garden hose.

Daniel Iversen and his ten-year old son Jake were farther up Knight Street picking up litter. “I have to live in this environment where people throw trash, so I came to help pick it up. And,” he added half-jokingly, “I came for the free food!”

At noon, that Saturday, the litter and planting crews returned to the Community Center to partake in a generous free lunch.

Angie Even posted on the Stakeholders’ Facebook page: “Otto’s brought their grill and hot dogs, along with Double Mt. Pizza, New Seasons’ salads and chips, beverages and fruit from Safeway, and Cloud City Ice Cream. Yum!”

Woodstock Boulevard by that time was cleaned up to renew a sense of neighborhood pride, and for the opening of the Woodstock Farmers Market for the summer on the following day.

Heroin overdose, Heroin rescue, drug raid, Portland, Oregon
Officers headed towards a Brentwood-Darlington rental house to arrest a subject for whom they had a warrant, and found him overdosed on heroin. Their intervention saved his life. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Police save man in Brentwood-Darlington from drug overdose


It seemed unusual when what was listed by the 9-1-1 Center as a “Follow-up Call” drew ten Portland Police Bureau units, from both East and Central Precincts, to an address in the Brentwood Darlington neighborhood at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, June 15.

Their attention was focused on a rental house located on S.E. 68th Avenue, midway between S.E. Cooper and Ogden streets. Officers took positions around the neighborhood, forming a perimeter about two blocks away from the suspect residence.

Eventually, an ambulance came, and took away an individual.

“Officers observed a subject with a warrant at 7011 S.E. 68th Avenue, and the subject refused to come out of the house,” reported Sgt. Chris Burley, after looking into the incident for THE BEE.

“Officers entered the house, located the subject, and discovered he had overdosed on heroin,” Burley said. “Medical assistance was requested to the scene, and the man was transported to the hospital by ambulance.”

So, what started as a warrant service turned into a rescue in Inner Southeast. However, the suspect – who has not yet been publicly identified – will still face that warrant upon recovering and leaving the hospital.

Sellwood resident to represent Oregon at Youth Summit on Medicine

Kaya Bothe of Sellwood has been selected by Brandeis University of Waltham, Massachusetts, to represent Lakeridge High and Oregon at the Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine.

“We are in the midst of the most significant and fundamental change in health care delivery in our lifetime, and young people who start now will be the future leaders in the field of medicine,” remarked Steven Goldstein, MA, MD, PhD, FAAP, Chairman of the Global Youth Summit at Brandeis University, and dean of the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago.

Delegates to the Summit, according to the announcement, will gain “unique, behind-the-scenes insight into the dynamic world of health care through experiential learning, guest lectures and networking opportunities with leaders and innovators in the global medical community in order to build upon their already significant abilities and chart their path to becoming leaders in medicine.”

Woodstock Farmers Market, Emily Murnen, Southeast Portland, Portland, Oregon
New bakery owner Michelle Vernier from “Bella Mercado” spends a moment with Woodstock Farmers Market Manager Emily Murnen. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock Farmers Market opens to pent-up demand


As the opening bell for the Woodstock Farmers Market rang for the first time this season on June 4, shoppers were already lined up, ready to buy from the vendors.

“It’s our seventh season, here in the parking lot behind the Woodstock KeyBank, and it looks to be a good one,” grinned Market Manager Emily Murnen. “Look! The minute the market opens, it’s almost immediately full of people! I’ve been hearing from people, for longer than a month now, that they’re waiting and eager for the market to open,”

The market started off the season with a full complement of 36 vendors, offering a product mix that includes fresh produce, prepared foods, hot ready-to-eat foods, and a new bakery.

Wafting through the air was the savory scent of Spanish Paella, called the “cousin of jambalaya”, from a new vendor, La Mancha Paella, and prepared in huge woks. “We also have vendors offering breakfast burritos, and another has Somali food,” remarked Murnen.

And this year, the market is introducing a few smaller vendors, to give shoppers an even greater selection of products.

The market opened on time, as it does every Sunday, thanks to the help of their many faithful, and some new, volunteers. “There wouldn’t be a market without our amazing volunteers who run the information booth, assist with the kids Passport Program, staff the SNAP and EBT booth, and set it all up every week.”

She’s again looking forward to another good season, Murnen said. “Everyone who comes to this market is always so supportive.”

Woodstock Farmers Market
Every Sunday through October 29
10 AM – 2 PM
KeyBank Parking Lot
4600 S.E. Woodstock Blvd. 97206.

Buddhist Festival, Creston Park, Creston Kenilworth neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
Discussion groups, such as this one at “Buddhist Festival in Creston Park”, provided Buddhists the opportunity to share ideas and concepts. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Buddhist Fest’ moves to Creston Park


With Colonel Summers Park under renovation, the 14th annual “Buddhist Festival in the Park” moved south in Inner Southeast this year, encamping off S.E. Powell Boulevard at Creston Park on Saturday, June 3.

“We hold this festival every year, to bring together our friends of the Buddhist community and other Buddhist communities, and get to know each other better,” explained co-organizer Heidi “Enji” Hoogstra, of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Portland Chapter.

“There a lot of people here who been involved with their own communities for a long time, and welcome being able to talk to and meet other Buddhists,” Hoogstra explained.

About a dozen booths were set up on the wooded hillside in the park, and Buddhists and interested members of the community wandered among the exhibits, and attended lectures and meditations, all in keeping with the theme, “Practicing peace; embracing community”.

“Another important aspect of this festival is that it provides an introduction to Buddhism,” Hoogstra told THE BEE. “There is very little proselytizing of practices of Buddhism; we consider it important that this is a choice that a person makes freely and willingly. So, this is a low-key way to share about Buddhism, and its various practices.”

The best part of the day, for her, Hoogstra said, was being able to give back to her community. I do it because I am so grateful for what Buddhism has offered me and my life – compassion and kindness.”

Find out more about the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Portland Chapter, online:

Greta Bergren, Creston School, Teacher of the Year, Portland, Oregon
Creston Reading Specialist Greta Bergren shows THE BEE some of the books being mailed to kids this summer to encourage their reading skills. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Creston specialist gets PTA ‘Teacher of the Year Award’


Creston K-8 Elementary School Literacy Specialist Greta Bergren was presented a Teacher of the Year award by the Portland Council PTA shortly before the end of school for the summer. The award honors her for a special summer reading program, funded by the PTA, whose focus is to encourage lifelong readers – by mailing books to students over the summer break.

Bergren, a former Kindergarten teacher, has been in charge of the Summer Book Program for five years now. “A Creston parent, Elizabeth Israel-Davis – now another Reading Specialist – helped create the program, and brought a version of it to students at King School last year,” she explained. “Our focus is on kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade, to get them excited about reading.

“We introduce them to the first book in a series that they choose, which interests them. We help them read that book, and they get to bring it home at the end of the school year. Next, we mail them the other five new books in the series, at two-week intervals over the summer. Elizabeth does fundraising for the program for the PTA.”

Bergren has been teaching for 14 years, and is focused on helping kids love to read. “Two years ago I brought a dyslexia program – the Barton program – to Creston, to work with small groups of kids who have difficulty reading,” she revealed. “It's been working very well here. The Summer Book Program encourages reluctant readers to keep up their skills during the summer with topics they’ve already shown an interest in.”

Creston Elementary School is located at 4701 S.E. Bush Street in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

Adult Swim, Sellwood Riverfront Park, Portland, Oregon
Sellwood Riverfront was Portland’s official stop on the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim On The Green Tour”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thousands take in ‘Adult Swim’ in Riverfront Park


More than 1,500 people came for an “Adult Swim” held at Sellwood Riverfront Park on Saturday evening, June 17 – but they weren’t there to take a dip in the Willamette River.

The full name of the event was the “Adult Swim On The Green Tour”, hosted by the producers of the evening programming block of the same name on the cable TV “Cartoon Network”.

“Adult Swim” is derived from the phrase, used by public swimming pools, as the time when children are restricted from using the facilities – meaning, in the case of the TV network, they show animated series and movies with adult themes.

“‘Adult Swim’ is hitting the road, and wants to spend quality time with you in the great outdoors,” stated the evening’s promotional material. “Prepare to experience Mother Nature in all her glory, along with games, new friends, food trucks, and trivia for exclusive prizes.”

Workers spent the better part of the day putting up a perimeter fence, the banners and signs, a substantial sound system, and a huge LED screen used to promote the network’s programs. By early evening, local food trucks had made their way to the edge of the popular park, and prepared to serve the hungry visitors.

Once the gates opened, the guests played games such as croquet, corn hole, giant Jenga; spun the “Huge Eyeball of Fortune”; and participated in other activities. Others set up beach chairs and blankets on the lawn, and took in the setting sun amidst the buzz of activities.

When the evening was over at about 10:30 p.m., the crew packed up the traveling road show, and headed out for the next destination.

Art Bike, QFC Market, Westmoreland, Dan Seneres, Portland, Oregon
“ART BIKE” SPOTTED IN WESTMORELAND. Over the years, THE BEE has offered pictures of Art Cars spotted by our correspondents in Inner Southeast; but this is the first “Art Bike” we can recall. Parked at QFC Market on June 16, this pedal-powered “Dragonmobile” was created by its owner, Dan Seneres. It’s designed with blue, green, and black fur, with a single eyeball, and sleek purple wings on the rear wheel. The pink-lipped face is ornamented with horns and teeth, in a mouth that moves up and down when the bike is in motion. Music issues from the dragon as it passes down the street! (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Oregon Health and Sciences University, OHSU, Elks Eye Clinic, Oaks Park, Portland, Sellwood, Oregon
Visiting the OHSU Elks Children’s Eye Clinic’s “See to Read Summerfest” at Oaks Park were Brentwood Darlington neighborhood residents Andrea Emerson, holding baby Nathan, and Zeke, held by dad Ben. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tots get first eye exam at OHSU clinic in Oaks Park


It’s urgent for children ages 3 to 7 to have a vision screening – to discover and perhaps to cure sight problems. That was the message behind the OHSU Elks Children's Eye Clinic’s “See to Read Summerfest” clinic held in Sellwood on Saturday, June 17.

The morning included free vision screenings, Oaks Amusement Park ride wristbands for kids who were screened, hotdog lunches, crafts, balloons, clowns, and face painting.

“Since this program started in 2003, we’ve screened more than 25,000 children, and determined that about 15% of all children do have vision problems,” commented Elks Children’s Eye Clinic Preschool Children’s Screening Program Director Joannah Vaughan.

“The best time to treat children for eye disease is between ages 3 and 5; and some eye diseases, such as amblyopia (‘lazy eye’), can be reversed if detected before age 5.”

In a darkened room inside the Oaks Dance Pavilion, children found the exam process to be quick and easy – taking just a couple of seconds. Screeners use a hand-held photo eye screening device, similar to a digital camera, which screens both eyes at once from a non-threatening three-foot distance.

If the exam detects potential vision problems, the screener suggests that the child’s parents visit a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam.

“Also, some children’s vision needs to be treated by wearing glasses, and thanks to Miraflex® frames, these glasses are almost indestructible,” Vaughan smiled.

Brentwood-Darlington resident Andrea Emerson and her husband came for an exam of 3½-year-old Zeke, who – after his early vision screening – is now wearing glasses.

“When they recommended glasses for Zeke, it made us a little nervous at first, because he was so little when he got them,” Emerson told THE BEE. “But we love that they caught eye issues early enough that he won’t have trouble seeing for the rest of his life; we’re really grateful for that.”

To find out more about this early vision screening program, go online to this website:  

Balfour Park, Master Plan, Ardenwald, Milwaukie, Portland, Oregon
This illustration from the “Balfour Park Master Plan” shows how Ardenwald’s new park would be developed.

Hopes for ‘Balfour Park’ still alive in Ardenwald


Although they’ve been working for some years to improve a plot of land in the 3000 block of S.E. Balfour Street in Ardenwald – which neighbors already refer to as “Balfour Park” – the new park has yet to be realized.

But that doesn’t stop the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Chair, Lisa Gunion-Rinker, and many volunteers, from pushing ahead to try to make their dream a reality.

At their annual springtime plant sale to raise money for it, Gunion-Rinker they are still working to get sufficient funding for the park.

“Last year we reached $8,200, with an ultimate goal of $10,000,” Gunion-Rinker said. “When we reach the ten thousand, we’ll apply for matching grant to build a community garden in the park, and get that space done first; and then, in the next three years, we believe we will have some park construction!”

Other parks in the area – one of which is partially funded by ODOT – are moving ahead; but soon, the group believes, it will be their turn to start building in a part of Ardenwald that is parks-deficient. Ardenwald is a neighborhood south of Eastmoreland and east of McLoughlin Boulevard that is split between the City of Portland and the City of Milwaukie.

During the summer months, park boosters plan to hold another fundraiser, featuring fun and entertainment, in the undeveloped park space, Gunion-Rinker promises.

Share It Square, Sherrett Square, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
The finished 2017 street painting for Share-It Square – here, facing east on S.E. Sherrett Street in Sellwood. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Share-It Square’ painted intersection refreshed for summer


Neighbors around Sellwood’s celebrated “Share-It Square” painted intersection gathered on June 3 to complete their 21st annual community street re-painting. Paint Coordinator Sarah Heath revealed, “The design this year focuses on unity, diversity, and a strong love for the Earth and the environment. We’ve tightened up the design and are more organized this year, so we don’t waste paint.”

Many kids participated, painting the design sketched collaboratively by Naomi Kinnaird, Kian Nikzi, and Sarah Bellum. The Earth at the center of it separates views of the sky, with hands in multicultural colors holding flowers at the four intersecting streets at S.E. 9th and Sherrett. A red ribbon connecting the hands was enhanced with images of honeybees, butterflies, and a dragonfly. Flowers extended toward the Earth include a trillium, rose, lupine, and sunflower.

Heath told THE BEE, “We had a lot of food donations this year – from Starbucks, Bob’s Red Mill, Grand Central Bakery, New Seasons Market, and many neighbors. Volunteers were able to snack any time they wished while examining the progress of the work. We chalked the chevron designs for straightness, and shortened the red-brick surrounding areas.”

Sellwood's Mark Lakeman, who envisioned the community demonstration project nearly two dozen years ago, was on hand to view the artistic pavement effort. “Our ‘City Repair/Communitecture’ organization recently moved from S.E. 9th and Alder Street to a place that we purchased in March at 1421 S.E. Division Street. There are twelve different intersection paintings in progress today,” he recounted. “Most of those are on the east side of town. We're providing assistance to the street painting at S.E. 19th and Clinton today – the first one for that neighborhood.”

Lakeman has traveled several times to Japan to promote the concept of “community place-making”, which is becoming increasingly popular there he says. Yumi Sato, a writer, musician, and community organizer from Tokyo was also on hand to observe, and to learn more about the process.

“Since Japan is very crowded, it’s hard to stop traffic and create street paintings there,” Sato acknowledged. “However, we're starting with edible gardens as a way to engage the community and appeal to political interests. It’s a good beginning to support connectedness, and empower each other in a caring way.”

Portland’s street-wise artistic influence continues to spread!

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