More stories from September's issue of THE BEE!

Tillikum Bridge, transit bridge, safety, drill, Portland, TriMet
Actor/participants walk away from the train, stopped in the middle of the Tilikum Crossing transit bridge. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tilikum Crossing “safety drill” challenges emergency first-responders


A little more than a month before its official opening, the new Tilikum Crossing transit bridge was the scene of a full-scale TriMet emergency response drill, on the morning of Sunday, August 2.

The drill’s “operators” and volunteer “actors” in the drill scenario gathered for breakfast at the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum, near OMSI and just east of the new transit-only bridge.

“We do [drills like] this because, unfortunately, things do happen on occasion, on public transit,” said TriMet Executive Director of Safety and Security Harry Saporta, before the drill began. “This is the third and final full-scale drill, as part of our comprehensive safety certification program for the new MAX Orange Line.”

“We are rehearsing our plans, should there be an emergency,” Saporta added, “so that everyone understands their roles – including our staff, and medical, fire, and police emergency-responders.”

Only a handful of “event operators” had the entire “script” in hand, detailing the emergency situation about to unfold on the bridge, said drill coordinator John Sylvester of Chinook Prevention and Preparedness Group.

“All of the actor-participants are given a card that details their own ‘personality and problem’ during the exercise,” Sylvester explained.  “It'll be interesting to see how the other passengers react to them, as they play out their roles – and to the emergency first-responders.”

At about 9 am, passengers boarded a westbound MAX train at OMSI Station, as the exercise got underway.

About mid-span, the light rail train came to a quick stop. MAX crew members opened the train’s doors, and started helping passengers out, and onto the deck of the bridge. Some of the passengers seemed confused, while others followed directions.

One of two women walking westbound from the stopped train “broke her ankle” after she stepped into a track groove; the other woman helped her down to the concrete; and then called, using an exercise cell phone, for medical assistance.

As Portland Police Bureau Transit Division officers arrived, they did their best to herd the actors to safety; but some of those resisted, saying they were too weak to walk.

The crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Truck 4 waited for orders on the east end of the bridge. And when the Portland Metro Explosive Disposal Unit pulled up, it became clear that part of the simulated threat was a bomb on the train.

All the while, both the woman with the “broken ankle” and her helper became more frantic, as 25 minutes passed, with no ambulance in sight. Sylvester “escalated” the incident by cueing the victim to lose consciousness. By the time reporters were escorted off the bridge, medical help had not yet arrived.

Both cars of the train had been successfully evacuated, and the bomb squad made its way to investigate the situation.

TriMet Safety and Security Director Saporta said earlier, “One of the things that we have learned is that communications is essential; sometimes those communication avenues do not always get well coordinated. We’re hoping what happens today improves on what we've learned from the past, and we can improve those coordination efforts.”

When the exercise was over, it appeared all needs had eventually been met, but no evaluation of the exercise has yet been received from TriMet by THE BEE.

Eastmoreland, remodel, house demolition
Ready for the “remodel”: With the back concrete foundation extending for a considerable distance, neighbors had been wondering how what was left of the “old” house would be incorporated into the “new” renovation. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Neighbors startled by extensive Eastmoreland house remodel


As deconstruction began on an Eastmoreland home at 7440 S.E. 34th Avenue on July 22, neighbors expressed strong concerns via e-mail, telephone, and via social media.

The house and property – purchased in September, 2014, for $405,000 – was resold six months later on March 11, 2015, for $560,000, according to public warranty deed information.

As THE BEE photo-documented the resulting neighborhood demonstration, several residents came up to tell us the developer had no right to demolish the building.

Indeed, the home had not been permitted for demolition. However, an extensive renovation had been approved by the City of Portland for a “Single Family Dwelling Addition” at that address, per Permit #2015-150150-000-00-RS, issued on July 15, 2015; so the work being done was, in fact, legal.

That permit allowed for: “Addition to the northwest side of the house, to infill between the house and garage; all house walls to be removed; main floor framing to remain; basement to include new storage room; main floor to include great room, office, dining, mud room, bathroom, and kitchen with pantry. Second floor to include three bedrooms, master bedroom, rec room, laundry, master bath, and bathroom.”

And, a “Tree preservation plan” is in effect.

We continued to monitor the situation, and a month after the extensive renovation began, it still appeared that the contractor was working within the permit issued for the home.

Area north of Ross Island Bridge set to draw “hipper” new businesses

The Portland Tribune
Special to THE BEE

Portland’s Inner Eastside will become more of a magnet for software and other companies seeking hip warehouse spaces, after the Portland City Council voted 4-0 on Wednesday, July 29th, to approve a 20-year land use and development vision for the industrial area north of the Ross Island Bridge and south of Burnside Street.

The “Southeast Quadrant Plan” will bring a host of changes, ranging from new bike routes, to waterfront improvements, to rezoning land to take advantage of new Orange Line MAX stops near OMSI and Clinton Street.

But the main feature is adding a new “overlay zone” to about 200 acres east of Third Avenue. That step retains the area’s current industrial zoning, in keeping with the city’s vision of having an industrial “sanctuary” in the central city.

But the new “Employment Overlay Subarea” will allow more flexibility, enabling existing engineering, design, and software companies to expand, and to attract more office-type users to the warehouse and other industrial spaces in the Inner Eastside.

Some existing business owners are concerned the area will become gentrified, adding bicycle traffic that competes with freight trucks, and ultimately raising rents so they will be forced out of the popular district. The Audubon Society of Portland criticized the city for thinning its industrial land base, out of concern that this puts more pressure to industrialize on areas like West Hayden Island that are prized for their natural habitat.

The new overlay zone is intended to continue attracting new jobs to the area, and many existing property owners supported the idea. They also stand to benefit from greater property values and vitality in the district.

Despite some of the worries of critics, city councilors observed that there has been broad consensus among stakeholders in favor of the plan.

There are “compatible” uses in the Inner Eastside that should be allowed, remarked City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, as long as the city seeks to retain the area’s industrial character.

Mayor Charlie Hales said the city can’t “freeze” the existing district, and ignore changes in the economy that are bringing new types of businesses to the area.

On the one hand, Hales praised the city for having “real manufacturing still happening in walking distance of City Hall, law firms and great restaurants” – but, on the other hand, Hales said the city needs to find more places throughout the city to encourage the new “maker” movement of small scale manufacturing. “Not everybody has to find a cool building in the Central Eastside to start their business,” Hales said.

As Portland looks to rezone parts of the city following the expected adoption of its pending new Comprehensive Land Use Plan, he said “makers” could also locate on under-utilitized parts of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses now relegated to used-car lots.

For more information on the new “Southeast Quadrant Plan”, go online to:

Foster Road, t-bone crash
The patio was open, but S.E. Foster Road was closed – as police investigated a crash in which a Honda Element was smashed and on its side, after an Acura 2.3 CL couple barreled into it at the intersection of S.E. 79th. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Van overturns – as inattentive driver hits it on Foster Road


There seemed to be no good reason for the two-car collision that took place at about 1:15 pm on Wednesday afternoon, August 5, on S.E. Foster Road.

The sightlines were clear and so was the weather. The wreck didn’t involve any pedestrians, but it did send two people to the hospital.

When THE BEE arrived, a burgundy Honda Element was lying flipped on its side on S.E. 79th Avenue, about 20 feet north of Foster. A smashed white Acura 2.3 CL coupe (2-door) was nearby in the intersection.

The crew of Lents Fire Engine 11 was on hand, extricating the driver of the upturned Honda SUV. Both drivers were transported to a hospital for observation and treatment.

An investigating police officer told THE BEE that, based on the initial investigation, the Honda Element had been traveling southbound on S.E. 79th Avenue.

“Either it didn’t stop before entering Foster Road, or didn’t heed the oncoming westbound Acura,” the officer said. “The Honda was struck on the driver’s side, rolled over, and slid away from the intersection.”

It has not yet been reported whether any citations were issued in the case.

Seth Johnson, Woodstock Elementary School, new Principal
Seth Johnson, who was appointed Principal of Woodstock School only in mid-August, was already living with his family in the neighborhood, and had been for the past three years. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

New Principal announced for Woodstock Elementary


When Seth Johnson and his young family moved to the Woodstock neighborhood three years ago, to a home just a few blocks from Woodstock School, he had no idea he would someday become Principal of this distinguished neighborhood elementary school. But that is exactly what came to pass in mid-August of this year.

Of the coincidence of getting a job so near to his home, Johnson says, “We moved here three years ago because we knew Woodstock Elementary was a great school.”

Johnson and his wife have one son in the regular neighborhood program, and one starting in the Mandarin program this year. “As a member of this community, I’ve always been excited about what’s happening here,” he says.

Johnson began his career as an educator in the Estacada School District in 2001, where he taught language arts at the high school level, then alternative studies at the middle school level. He eventually became coordinator of the Estacada alternative program, then Assistant Principal at an Estacada elementary school. One year later he was Principal at that school.

Johnson grew up in Madras, where he attended elementary and high school. He later coached soccer at Madras High School, and basketball in Estacada. Both his parents are educators.

He says he thinks growing up in a diverse community – with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Hispanic population that was in the Madras area for agricultural work – has prepared him to communicate across cultural and socio-economic differences. He is looking forward to working with the Woodstock Community and its dual-language immersion program.

Johnson replaces T. J. Fuller, who spent two years heading Woodstock Elementary, and is now Principal at Rigler Elementary School in Northeast Portland.

ARuth Tucker, Whitman Elementary School, new Principal
As the new school year opens, Ruth Tucker is the new Principal at Whitman Elementary School. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Ruth Tucker new Principal at Whitman Elementary School


The new school year begins with many adjustments. One of those changes is a new Principal, Ruth Tucker, at Whitman Elementary School, at S.E. 72nd and Flavel, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

Ms. Tucker is the former Assistant Principal at Rigler Elementary School. She replaces Lori Clark, who announced last spring that she was moving on from Whitman to lead Glencoe Elementary. Clark had been at Whitman for eleven years.

Ruth Tucker has spent sixteen years as an educator to date, with a focus in Title I schools. Her education includes a BA in Elementary Education from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Portland State University. She taught in Texas and New Mexico prior to coming north to Portland in 2005 to teach at Atkinson Elementary School.

Most recently, during her time at Rigler School, Ms. Tucker was a dual-language Spanish immersion teacher for two years, then Student Management Specialist. In 2013, she became Rigler’s Assistant Principal, and she now moves on to lead Whitman.

In making the appointment, Portland Public Schools commented that “Ms. Tucker’s extensive and varied career in public schools gives her a unique background to become principal at Whitman.” She tells THE BEE that she feels that the key to ensuring each child's academic achievement, social and emotional needs lies in embracing the community's diversity and strengths.

With an open-door policy and a collaborative decision-making style, she says, “Having consistently high expectations for teachers and students allows every child to reach his or her full potential.

“I look forward to spending time in classrooms and getting to know Whitman's students, staff and families.”

Three car crash, Milwaukie Avenue, crosswalk
Three cars are damaged, after one vehicle stops – to let a pedestrian pass in the crosswalk. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Stopping at crosswalk crashes three cars on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue


It appeared to be merely a “fender-bender”, at 4 pm on July 27 – but one person was transported to a hospital by ambulance, as the result of a three-car pile-up in the 5000 Block of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland.

It took place at the crosswalk just south of the S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard exit ramp to Milwaukie Avenue.

“From what we’ve learned so far,” said a Central Precinct district officer, “the driver of the first car stopped abruptly at the crosswalk – we believe, for a pedestrian.”

The next car crashed into the first; and, a third car smashed into the rear of the second car.

The crew of Westmoreland’s Fire Engine 20 arrived to evaluate the medical condition of those involved in the crash. AMR ambulance paramedics prepared one patient for “precautionary transport” to a local hospital for medical evaluation.

This is a busy crosswalk, and a difficult intersection. Police advise caution when driving in the area.

TriMet, service dogs, bus training, Moose, Amy
Service dog Moose, wearing his booties, chills out at once on the TriMet bus, while owner Amy reassures him. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Service dogs” learn bus-riding in Brooklyn neighborhood


“Moose”, a black Labrador retriever, was specially equipped for the blazing hot summer day – by his trainer, owner, and companion, a young lady named Amy. He was wearing booties on his paws to protect them from the steaming hot tarmac.

On Friday, July 17, Moose and Amy were part of a “Service Dog” training program put on by TriMet in their Brooklyn bus yard on S.E. 17th Avenue.

“Because Moose goes everywhere with me, in all kinds of weather, I make sure his paws are protected,” Amy said.

Over the past 18 months – ever since he was a puppy – Moose has been with Amy through basic obedience training, and then into Medical Alert and Medical Response training.

“Teaching a service dog is about a two-year process,” Amy said, while she and Moose rested in an air-conditioned TriMet bus. Part of this is ‘public access training’, like going to grocery stores, hospitals, and amusement parks. The dogs have to be familiar with any situation.”

But public transportation can be a challenge, Amy explained. “There are a lot of stimuli in transit, and a lot of distractions coming through the doors,” she said. “A bus is a 40 foot long ‘tin can’ from which there is no escape. If someone takes interest in, or hassles, the dog he can’t escape down another aisle, like he can in a grocery store.

“Being ‘trapped’ in this way on a bus, or light-rail car, the dog has to be able to tolerate the stress, stimuli, and distractions,” added Amy. “A calm dog helps us by being able to provide necessary service, while being safe around the public.”

This training builds a bond of trust between trainer and animal, she remarked. “Trainer Paul Smith, of Service Dogs of Oregon, says Moose would follow me off a cliff,” Amy avowed. 

One of the most interesting training techniques was to have the owner/trainer encourage the service dog to put his front paws up the back of the bus, and also upon the front of the bus.

The training exercises were simple. Amy and Moose, and Jessica Day and her Labrador “Otto” practiced getting on and off a bus, taking a seat, and moving inside the bus. They also rode around the parking lot.

At different points in the ride, the driver swerved, stopped quickly, and accelerated. In this way, the dogs became familiar with the sound of the bus motor, the air brake, and other noises. Both the dogs and their owners took it all in stride.

“For a person with a disability, a service dog dramatically changes their life. And so too does accessing transit,” pointed out TriMet Public Information Officer Roberta Altstadt. “We’re pleased to provide these trainings.”

Truck vs pedestrian, Johnson Creek Blvd, Precision Cast Parts
Police investigate a truck vs. pedestrian accident on S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard in the early morning hours which sent a man to the hospital. (Photo courtesy of KATU-TV-2)

Pedestrian hit by truck on Johnson Creek Boulevard


It’s still unclear why a 68-year-old man was walking along S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, across from the Precision Cast Parts Structurals plant about 3:30 in the morning early on Tuesday, August 18.

Milwaukie Police responded to that report, and found that the adult male had just been struck by a westbound box-truck delivery vehicle.

“The man, identified as Albert Duane Daney, sustained life-threatening injuries, and was transported to OHSU,” reported Milwaukie Police spokesman Officer Greg Elkins.

The driver of the box truck, 59-year-old Hilario Yanez-Mondragon, remained on-scene, and fully cooperated with the police investigation, Elkins said. “Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor,” he added. 

Later the following day, Elkins told THE BEE that Daney was listed in critical condition but is expected to live. “The accident is still under investigation.” No citations have been issued at this time.

Lego display, Oregon Episcopal School, Division Clinton Street Fair, Jane Kenney Norberg
Kids and adults alike are drawn to the hand-built Lego constructions at the Division-Clinton Street Fair, highlighted by the “Lego Logo Board” partially visible at upper left, which animates a student story – “Zuri the Rhino Travels the World”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Pop-up Lego display enchants Street Fair visitors


Many of the families who dashed into the building on S.E. Division Street near 30th Avenue were ducking out of the rain that washed across the Division-Clinton Street Fair around noon on Saturday, July 25.

But, those who ducked in the lobby were delighted to discover a gigantic “pop-up Lego display”, put on by Oregon Episcopal Schools (OES) “Lego Physics” students.

OES science teacher, Jane Kenney-Norberg, the program’s founder and a Westmoreland resident, says the program has been captivating students’ interest for 25 years now. “I think this is our seventh year in association with the Division-Clinton Street Fair; and it’s our 83rd public show.”

As kids confront the giant story-themed display, Kenney-Norberg said that she, the students, and parent volunteers enjoy watching the childrens’ eyes grow wide with wonder. “Many kids and adults have no idea what can be built with Lego systems.”

Often, it is a display such as the one these kids showed this past May at the Oregon Zoo and then on that rainy Saturday on Division Street, Kenney-Norberg suggested, that interests young students in pursuing science and math courses.

After Ian B., an eighth grade OES student, finished his turn narrating this year’s computer-controlled LEGO display – “Zuri the Rhino Travels the World”, he spoke with THE BEE.

“I’ve been involved with Lego Physics for five years,” Ian said. “I’ve stayed with it so long because it is a lot of fun, and I’ve learned a lot of physics principles, such as how counterweights work.

“And, I’ve learned about working with many other students,” continued Ian. “From this we get a lot of good team-building skills, working together on projects. Sometimes it means compromising to come up with a project that works out well.”

Although he’s still young, Ian said he’s now thinking about becoming an engineer as a career.

Johnson Creek, boardwalk, MAX, light rail, Tacoma Street Station
Extending out into the newly-created wetland at the TriMet MAX Orange Line Tacoma Street Station is this new Johnson Creek observational boardwalk. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Johnson Creek boardwalk ready for MAX Orange Line opening


Long before any MAX track had been spiked in place, back in 2010, staff and volunteers at the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) were beginning a process to develop a special area of the TriMet MAX Orange Line Tacoma Street Station.

After a series of community charrettes, the project became known as the “Salmon Habitat and Boardwalk Project”.

JCWC began fundraising for the ambitious project, which includes a 220-foot-long boardwalk, leading from the station platform a Johnson Creek natural habitat site, overlooking a new “side channel” excavated along the creek.

On Monday, August 17, new JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry met THE BEE at the site, to see how the boardwalk turned out.

“We had two objectives in the restoration,” Newberry said. “One included putting large wooden logs into the channel to slow down the water, providing habitat for fish during higher water flow.

“The other part of the project, now completed, was excavating the side channel, by digging out about 2,400 cubic yards of dirt. “It’s hard to see when it’s covered by growth, but the side channel will fill with water from the creek when the creek is running high.”

Lastly, the restoration project included planting more than 12,000 trees and shrubs in the newly formed wetland. “This will make sure there will not be any soil erosion here, and will ultimately help to provide additional shade over the creek,” Newberry explained.

Standing on the Interpretive Boardwalk, Newberry pointed out where five interpretive signs will be mounted, telling about the history of the area, and explaining the ecology of the watershed.

“JCWC raised about $160,000 for the project,” Newberry said. “We thank partners, such as the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association, which helped us raise the money for this project and were involved in the initial planning with TriMet.”

Also soon to be installed are handrails, engraved with donors who contributed at least $100 to the project. “From some of our largest donors, such as the Oregon Worsted Company, to individual donors, we thank the wide range of people and organizations who helped make this a reality.”

When you ride the MAX Orange Line after it opens on September 12, take a few minutes to check out this new community amenity near the Tacoma Street Station.

Find out more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council online:

Harold Street, Woodstock, rollover, crash
Firefighters and paramedics stabilize a Woodstock crash victim they say crawled out of an overturned Jeep on her own, before they arrived. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Victim crawls out of Woodstock roll-over crash


A side-impact crash rolled over a car on a Woodstock neighborhood side street at 4:20 pm on Thursday, August 20.

THE BEE arrived shortly after the call was dispatched to police and fire emergency first-responders. We found a red Jeep sub-SUV on its top in S.E. Harold Street, just east of 57th Avenue. Paramedics were tending to the woman lying on the ground next to the upended Jeep.

A Firefighter/Paramedic with Woodstock Fire Station Engine 25 explained, “The woman in the rolled-over jeep had crawled out of the car by the time we arrived. We are making a precautionary entry into the medical trauma system, due to the ‘mechanism’ of the crash.”

Meantime, a black Honda CRV was stopped on S.E. 57th Avenue, just south of Harold; the front of that vehicle had been ripped off during the impact.

Police declined to comment, but bystanders told THE BEE the Jeep had been eastbound on Harold Street when it was struck in the side by the Honda CRV, driving southbound on 57th.

Because there are stop signs at S.E. 57th Avenue, the Jeep did have the right of way in the intersection. However, it’s not yet reported whether any citations were issued because of this crash.

Share It Square, Sellwood
This year’s new street painting at Sellwood’s “Share-It Square” features honeybees and bee trees – intended to represent “nature, home, and the health of our planet”. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Sellwood’s “Share-It Square” street art now features honeybees


Neighbors at S.E. 9th and Sherrett Street in Sellwood – “Share-It Square”, a “Community Demonstration Project” – recently painted the 19th annual version of community interests on the street at their iconic intersection.

This year the design focuses on the honeybee – appropriate to summer gardens, and the nearby cob-designed bee skep cabinet that holds community handouts.

Neighbor Mark Lakeman, Co-Director of the City Repair Project which originated the intersection 19 years ago, encourages similar community building activities around Portland. “Everyone needs a ‘town square’ to give identity to their neighborhood,” he remarks.

And, new this year, an aerial video presentation of the intersection, featuring dancers enjoying the new mural, can be viewed online:

The center of the design is a honeybee resting on honeycomb, encircled by the intertwined roots of two bee trees painted north and south of the intersection. The art further mirrors the compass, with a rising sun painted on the eastern side, and an ocean scene painted to the west. The concept of honeybees is intended as a symbol of community: Workers building something together, to signify “home”.

Lakeman indicates that the purpose of the common area serves as a meeting place for play and celebrations, but also has other positive effects. “It’s a pretty effective traffic calming device, as well as symbolic of a more creative and healthy village-building experience,” he says. “It appeals to families with children, and addresses caring for the planet through permaculture and gardening.”

Honeybees traveling in circuitous paths across the mural remind us of the weaving together of individual interests and pursuits, a metaphor for community. It’s no secret that it is also a metaphor for community news – since you are reading a BEE right now.

Apartment fire, 17th Avenue, Portland
Using a powerful fan, a firefighter evacuates smoke from the apartment above the fire unit. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Westmoreland apartment fire displaces four


The report of an apartment fire on Wednesday evening, August 19 at about 8:15 pm, on S.E. 17th Avenue just south of the McLoughlin Boulevard intersection, brought out Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews in force.

The engine companies from Woodstock Fire Station 25 and Westmoreland Fire Station 20 arrived first, minutes after the fire was called in, and 17th swiftly became blocked by fire equipment, hoses, and flashing red lights.

“Neighbors in the complex told us they’d seen smoke coming out of the window of a ground floor apartment,” PF&R spokesman Firefighter Tommy Schroeder told THE BEE at the scene. Indeed, smoke was roiling above nearby trees by the time first-responders arrived.

“Fortunately, one of the neighbors touched the door before trying to get in, and said it felt hot,” Schroeder said. “So instead, they called 9-1-1; that was the right thing to do.”

Making entry to the burning unit, firefighters found no one inside.

PF&R’s Kim Kosmas picked up the story: “While some of the firefighters worked quickly to evacuate the tenants that lived above and on either side of the unit on fire, others swiftly knocked down the fire.” No one was injured.

American Red Cross Cascades Region volunteers provided food, clothing, lodging, comfort kits, and recovery information to four adults who were displaced by the fire.

By 9:00 p.m., S.E. 17th Avenue began to reopen, as the four Engines, two Trucks, the Fire Investigator, and two Chiefs, drove their rigs back to their respective stations.

The cause of the fire, and a damage estimate, have yet to be announced.

Eastmoreland, traffic circle, painted street, Bybee Boulevard
Retired Lewis Elementary teacher Cindy DiCenzo paints in some coins around the new “Pot of Gold”, added at the end of the rainbow, in Eastmoreland’s Bybee traffic circle. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland paints street: Pot-o-Gold on Bybee circle 


It’s becoming an annual event for Eastmoreland neighbors to gather sometime in the summer to clean, repaint, and add to the street art in the traffic circle on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, where 37th Avenue would intersect – if it went through there.

“This is the third year we’ve worked on this,” recounted Collin Murphy, the artist who’d originally designed this street mural. It just keeps getting better every year.” And attracts more volunteers, too.

New this year, the background color is much brighter, Murphy pointed out. “You can probably see it from up on 39th Avenue [Chavez Blvd] now!”

A small-but-fun detail added this year was a “pot of gold”, now painted at the end of the rainbow that sweeps around half of the circle.

“More than anything, we hope people will slow down and look at it when they come to the traffic circle,” Murphy said.

Woodstock Boulevard, 82nd Avenue of Roses, T-bone crash
A police officer talks with those involved in the T-bone crash at the busy corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 82nd Avenue of Roses. The sedan ran a red light, causing the crash, officials told us. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Red-light-runner collides with truck at S.E. Woodstock and 82nd


A two-vehicle collision shut down northbound traffic on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, and blocked those trying to drive westbound on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, just after noon on Wednesday, August 19.

Police officers arrived and found a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck with relatively minor damage to the front driver’s side of the vehicle. However, the front end of a late-model two-door Saturn nearby was nearly torn off by the crash, and the airbags had deployed.

Lents Fire Station Engine 11’s Firefighter/Paramedics evaluated the driver of the Saturn, who declined medical assistance or transport to a hospital.

A police officer told THE BEE it appeared the driver of the Saturn “ran a red light” just before colliding with the pickup truck.

The intersection was closed to northbound traffic for nearly an hour before tow trucks could remove the damaged vehicles.

The officer said citations are typically not issued in cases like this, unless law enforcement sees the crash; just who was at fault would ultimately be decided between the insurance companies, he said. Perhaps our report will help clarify the matter of fault.

Dr Patricia Kullberg, novel, 1930s Portland, Girl in the River
Now retired, longtime Sellwood resident Dr. Patricia Kullberg has written a novel of historical fiction depicting the seamier side of life in Portland in the 1930’s and ’40’s. She also facilitates writing workshops for women assigned to the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Sellwood physician’s first novel prowls Portland 1930’s history


Longtime Sellwood resident Patricia Kullberg’s first novel, “Girl in the River”, is making a quiet splash in the literary world: Full of fascinating and unforgettable characters, colorful depictions of people struggling to manage their lives, and probing insights into Portland’s corrupt and seamy sides in the 1930’s and ’40’s.

A Portland native, Kullberg worked as a primary care physician for thirty years. Simultaneously, in the last two decades of her career, she served as the Medical Director for the Multnomah County Health Department.

Kullberg has always been drawn to understanding the lives of the disenfranchised people she served as a physician – the homeless, disabled, unemployed, and undocumented. 

“I was the personal physician to a host of amazing people,” she says of her experiences. “As a writer of historical fiction, my passion lies in exploring the interplay between people’s lives and the worlds they inhabit.”

Kullberg is particularly interested in the lives of women who are negatively affected by adverse circumstances.

“I am interested in women who are marginalized, impoverished, who don’t have a lot of options, and who land up in jail or on the streets,” she says. “I developed an appreciation for women who had to negotiate difficult circumstances.  I developed a lot of admiration for how these women survived.”

Facilitating writing workshops for women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility has further aided her understanding of those whose lives are unlike hers.

Kullberg weaves depictions of the marginalized together with Portland history, creating a backdrop for her unique characters and riveting story. The novel includes a few allusions to Sellwood in some of its scenes and descriptions.  “As a Portland native, I love to excavate local history, for neglected stories and characters,” she reflects.

Part of what makes her book so compelling is that it provides, as one reviewer said, “a portrait of the intimate lives of women during one of the most corrupt periods in Portland history.”

Maebelline, the main character, inhabits a world unfamiliar to most of us, but one that comes alive through Kullberg’s narrative.

“I fell in love with the process of storytelling.  It’s very powerful and a way to bring alive history,” she says.

Kullberg comments on some of the women in the book: “These are the women who shaped the lives of Portland – but they are women who are absent from books.” Until now.

The “Girl in the River” release date was August 20. The book is now available for purchase online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from the publisher, Bygone Era Books. It will be available in bookstores later on.

Henderson Street, fireplace fire, fire, Brentwood Darlngton
The living room fire was quickly extinguished, but firefighters continued to check for fire extension in the walls. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Overheated fireplace sparks house fire in Brentwood-Darlington


Smoke and fire in a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood row house, reported at 8:23 am on Monday, August 10, brought Portland Fire & Rescue crews to 5227 S.E. Henderson Street.

The original dispatch was for a multi-family dwelling, although it was a free-standing house – so the call-out sent additional units to the fire.

Minutes later, Woodstock Fire Station’s Truck 25 pulled up, followed immediately by the Engine 25 crew, and three additional rigs from Lents, Hawthorne, and Westmoreland.

While some firefighters searched the interior of the house for potential victims, others looked for the seat of the fire. The truck crew extended ladders to a second story window, and also to the roof, in case they were needed.

In minutes, the fire had been extinguished.

“The house had a gas fireplace in the living room,” said PF&R spokesman Lt. Rich Tyler. “Somehow, the fireplace got turned on. Combustibles were against the glass of the gas fireplace. It overheated and started the fire.”

This potentially damaging blaze was called “unintentional” by Fire Investigators; quick response by the fire crews kept the flames localized, so they did not spread through the drywall or to the structure, Tyler added.

“The combined loss was estimated at $70,000,” he said.

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