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December 2018 -- Vol. 113, No. 4
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Memories of THE BEE's first 100 years!
In 2006, THE BEE celebrated its centennial of serving Southeast Portland!  A special four-page retrospective of Inner Southeast Portland's century, written by Eileen Fitzsimons, and drawn from the pages of THE BEE over the previous 100 years, appeared in our September, 2006, issue.
Click here to read this special retrospective!


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Springwater Trail, Oaks Bottom, reopens, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The Springwater Corridor Trail reopened on Hallowe’en – a day ahead of schedule. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

OaksBottom done; Springwater trail reopens

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) didn’t cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of the “Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project” – but they did hold an on-site press conference on Monday morning, October 22.

Promises that the Springwater Corridor Trail would open on schedule came true; in fact, it reopened a day earlier than planned – on Hallowe’en.

“It is great honor to be here today to complete this major restoration project to bring salmon back to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and benefit other wildlife – and the citizens of Portland,” exclaimed the overseer of both BES and PP&R, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “Instead of a small culvert, we now have a ‘salmon subway’ that reconnects the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Willamette River for the first time in over 100 years!”

All of those who later spoke at the ceremony thanked those on foot and on bicycles for their “patience and understanding” during the trail’s closure through Oaks Bottom in the previous four months.


Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner, reopening, Springwater Trail, Oaks Bottom, end of construction, salmon, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish “unofficially welcomed” juvenile salmon into the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge through the newly constructed waterway – at the Oaks Bottom reopening ceremony. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“This is another ‘home run’ that we’ve hit with the Army Corps of Engineers here in Inner Southeast Portland – who previously oversaw the Crystal Springs Creek Restoration project, and now, restoration here in Oaks Bottom,” Fish told THE BEE after the congratulatory speeches had concluded.

“Oaks Bottom, right here in Sellwood, is one of our great natural areas, and is reflective of the values of our city,” Fish reflected. “It was initially slated for development, but instead is now a properly-functioning natural area, thanks to the partnership between BES and the USACE, and their contractors.

“Juvenile salmon now have a rest stop on their journey to the ocean. And, I look forward to biking here with my son and enjoying nature, in the heart of our urban environment.”

Still to come along the trail, a bit closer to Oaks Amusement Park, will be a “viewing deck”, said PP&R Natural Areas Supervisor Lynn Barlow. “On the viewing deck, folks will be able to get up above and off the trail to look at the birds and animals in the wet [lagoon] area of the wildlife refuge.”

The public is also welcome to hike the other trail – the Oaks Bottom Bluff Trail, the path that snakes along the toe of the Willamette Bluff on east side of the wildlife refuge – but otherwise, people are not allowed in that area, she said. “The wildlife area is a waterway channel and wetlands for wildlife use, and not for human recreation; so, we do want people to enjoy this area by looking at it from the trail, without walking down into it.”

However, in the spring, citizen volunteers will be invited into the area for “planting parties”, to add additional native species to the area.




Roller Skating, Oaks Park, International Competition, coach Amy Hamblin, David Hamblin, Annie MacKay, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With their coach Amy Hamblin, international roller skating competitors David Hamblin and Annie MacKay pause in their practice for a BEE photo. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oaks Roller Rink teens compete internationally

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The historic Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink is home to two more teenagers who have competed at the World Skate Artistic Skating World Championships.

From October 3-11, Oaks’ skaters Annie MacKay and David Hamblin were in Europe competing in the Vendéspace Arena, in Mouilleron-Le-Captif, France.

After catching up on their studies, Annie and David spoke with THE BEE about the experience in an interview on the evening of November 5th at the rink.

15-year-old Annie MacKay, a sophomore at Cleveland High School, is the daughter of Oaks Amusement Park’s Marketing & Events Director Emily MacKay – herself, a highly-ranked competitive skater.

“I got my first pair of roller skates when I was nine months old, starting in a ‘Tiny Tots’ program; David and I have been skating together since I was very young,” Mackay recalled.

“Yes, I’m younger brother of Charlie Hamblin, who competed internationally, but is now taking time off for college, and is serving a mission for our church right nowe,” said 16-year-old David Hamblin, who is currently a student at Roosevelt High School.

Skating runs in families
“Our moms are sisters, we’re cousins. I, too, started with ‘Tiny Tots’, and was in my first competition – at that age, really a showcase – when I was not quite two years old!” Hamblin smiled.

At a time when many toddlers still are learning to walk, MacKay and Hamblin began training in couples skating.

“Our parents thought this would be a good match, because we’ve always been best friends – inseparable, in fact – and we both love skating,” MacKay remarked.

Being cousins who get along better than most siblings, gives them an advantage over other teenagers, they believe – in that romance has nothing to do with their partnership; their focus is on skating.

“I have a kind of connection with David that’s kind of a ‘twin sense’…” MacKay mused.

“…like since we were little, we had our own special way of communicating, sometimes without language,” Hamblin completed the thought.

Only a few competitors make it to the championships held by the World Skate Organization, the international governing body for roller sports. Entrants first must win regional awards, then come out on top at their country’s national contest, before being chosen to represent their nation at the World Championship level.

“My mom, our coach, has helped us transition into the new system being used by our new governing body; so, not only have we learned to skate the kind of show that takes us to the international level, we’re done it while learning an entirely new system of skating,” Hamblin explained.

The amount of time that his mom, Amy Hamblin, and their other coaches have spent researching and teaching the new skating system, Hamblin estimates to be more than 700 hours.

World competition highlights
“We’ve been to the national competitions many times; but going to our first world competition was definitely a highlight for me – so this was super cool,” voiced MacKay. “But, the most influential part of the trip was watching the top teams in our event; we learned so much from them, just by being there and being part of that environment.”

Hamblin pointed out that they’d competed as a team, and he was also a solo contender.

“The first major thing for me was meeting people from all over the world, who love the sport is much as I do,” Hamblin said. “I can walk up to anybody, and start talking to them, and they’re happy to talk to me.

“Secondarily, this was the largest crowd before which we’ve ever performed. I love performing for a crowd, I seem to feed off of their positive energy – and, there was a lot of great energy in this crowd of at least 1,000 people in the stadium.”

At first, the crowd made her nervous, MacKay admitted, “But, out of the floor, skating with David, I felt this big smile on my face, and then I loosened up and realized there are so many people watching who were there because they love the sport, and they were appreciating my skating – that was an amazing feeling.”

Gives pleasing performances
In couples competition, the team’s first performance put them in the 7th spot; after their final show, the judges moved them up to 6th place – 6th among the best roller skaters in the world.

“In solo, I’m happy with my performance, and came in 11th; I consider that this was a good foundational year, where I made a good ‘first impression’,” Hamblin reported.

“We don’t feel bummed out, even a little bit; for ourselves,” MacKay said with a twinkle in her eye. “It wasn’t about the placement, it was about the wonder and excitement of being there, with highly-talented people. Although we don’t all speak the same language, we all ‘speak skating’, a universal language!”

Just weeks after coming back to Portland, Annie and David were once again gliding around the historic Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink, already hard at work on next season’s program.





Precision Castparts, air pollution, D E Q, Johnson Creek Boulevard, Portland, Oregon
A public meeting to discuss the findings of the study of emissions from this Precision Castparts Corporation “PCC Structurals” plant, located on S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, is planned for November 29 – 6 p.m. at the Lane Middle School Library. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Quality of air near Precision Castparts found ‘not likely to harm health’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Based on environmental samples collected in 2016 and 2017, measured concentrations of metals and other chemicals in air, soil, and water “aren’t likely to harm health” near the Precision Castparts Corporation PCC Structurals plant on Johnson Creek Boulevard. That’s the conclusion of an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Health Assessment Program report, which was released on October 29.

The report was the result of a request in June, 2016, by a neighborhood advocacy group, the South Portland Air Quality Group (SPAQ), that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) conduct a public health assessment for the area surrounding Precision Castparts in Southeast Portland.

The resulting public health assessment found that levels of metals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and nickel detected near the metal components manufacturer’s S.E. Harney Drive facility are below any levels that would be expected to harm public health.

Whether or not those living near the plant could have been harmed before the studies began remains unclear, the report states.

“Based on currently available science, guidance from federal agencies, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality environmental monitoring data, we concluded that the risk to the health of people living and working in the area since 2016 is low,” wrote Susanna Wegner, Ph.D., the OHA public health toxicologist who led the Precision Castparts assessment.

OHA pointed out that a scientific appraisal of potential negative health effects from exposures to the metals and other chemicals prior to 2016 was not possible, due to a lack of historical sampling data.

“What we are unable to say confidently is the extent to which people were exposed, or whether their health may have been harmed, before the air, soil, and water samples were collected starting [in 2016],” Wegner commented.

Other limitations the report cited were uncertainties about how well the available monitoring data represents typical ongoing exposures, uncertainties about potential effects in sensitive populations, and an inability to differentiate between emissions from the Precision Castparts plant and those from other sources in this industrial district.

This recently released report has not been certified by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) – because, in early 2018, that body changed its criteria for certifying public health assessments, which allow only assessments of Superfund sites through the certification process – and Precision Castparts is not a Superfund site.

Because of that development, the OHA Environmental Health Assessment Program allocated $5,000 to hire, in consultation with the community advisory committee, an external consultant who will conduct a third-party review of the assessment, OHA says.

“We have ensured the Precision Castparts public health assessment follows ATSDR methodologies for health risk assessment,” Wegner assured.

OHA has scheduled a public meeting to share the results of this Precision Castparts public health assessment on Thursday, November 29; with an open house involving OHA and DEQ staff starting at 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m. an OHA presentation on the findings followed by question and answer time, led by external facilitators.  It takes place at the Lane Middle School Library, 7200 S.E. 60th Avenue.

The public health assessment is available to read on the Public Health Division website – http://www.healthoregon.org/pccpha  



Marv and Rindy Ross, Quarterflash, Seafood Mama, Trail Band, concerts, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Although they may be moving away from producing any more large shows with their bands Quarterflash and The Trail Band, Marv and Rindy Ross say they’ll still be playing music. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood’s ‘Trail Band’ to hang up its spurs after Christmas

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Two Sellwood musicians, Marv and Rindy Ross – whose rising local pop music band “Seafood Mama” led to a new incarnation as nationally famous “Quarterflash”, with its major hits in the 1980s – later went on to start “The Trail Band”. But, now, they have announced they are about to retire – not from music, but from their popular bands – winding down late this year and next spring.

Unusual for professional musicians, the couple has been in only four bands during their career that’s spanned five decades, remarked Marv, in an interview with THE BEE in their home’s dining room.

It started in the early 1970s at the Oregon College of Education (now called Western Oregon State University) where they met and performed as a duo, then started their first band, “Jones Road”; in Portland they organized a band called “Beggars Opera”, which became “Seafood Mama”, and which then was re-formed as “Quarterflash”.

“In 1991, we began working with the State of Oregon people, who asked us to put together a touring band that could re-create music of the Oregon Trail for Oregon’s Sesquicentennial celebration,” recalled Marv.

After 10 years of being rock ’n roll stars, the couple decided they’d really enjoy forming a band to play mid-19th century popular music, and the eight-piece acoustical “Trail Band” was formed.

“From 1991 through 1993, we toured the state extensively; and, I wrote music for the band as well,” Marv recalled. “After our three-year tour, we created and produced an old-fashioned Christmas show, like one might see in the 1800s; and while the program has changed over the 25 years, we’ve been doing the Holiday presentation every year.”

In December, “The Trail Band” will play its last Christmas shows, Rindy announced. “25 years just seemed like a good time because, although the band is healthy and we still enjoy playing this music, we’ve decided it’s time to let it go, as we move on with our professional and personal lives,” she explained.

In addition to presenting the band’s annual Christmas show at Brooklyn’s Aladdin Theater, the group has been touring the Pacific Northwest with the concert during the Holidays.

“Because our company books, produces, and tours the Christmas show – as much as we enjoy making the music, and being with the band members, it’s really tiring doing all of the work it takes to produce big shows like these,” remarked Marv.

$1 million raised for charity
“Being neighbors with Duncan Campbell who had just founded Friends of the Children, we decided the first year to partner up, and make the Christmas show a benefit for that nonprofit organization,” Marv said. “Now, 100 shows later, and $1 million raised for the cause, it’s phenomenal that this show has been popular for a quarter of a century!

“By the time folks read this, our shows at the Aladdin Theater, December 14 through 16 might be sold out; but many people travel to see us at our other venues in Canby, Silverton, Forest Grove, and in Salem,” Rindy told THE BEE.

For all of the Christmas show’s locations, dates, and times, go online – http://www.trailband.com/calendar.htm

Perhaps adieu to Quarterflash, too?
Their most well-known band, “Quarterflash”, has had a good run, the Rosses reflected – starting in with their first hit release, “Harden My Heart”, which in early 1982 hit #1 on the Billboard magazine “Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks” chart.

“We’ve been talking about letting go of Quarterflash as well; maybe in the spring of 2019 we’ll do our last show,” Rindy mused aloud.

Marv injected, “For me it’s just 40 years of producing large shows …”

“It’s interesting how Marv’s music writing has transformed, and we see how music has changed for us over the years. That has us considering coming back to playing as a duo, or perhaps a trio,” said Rindy.

Marv responded, “Thinking back to when we were 18 years old, doing our first duet as an acoustical set, has us coming back to performing with just us two – that’s something that we haven’t done in a long long time, up until recently, and we’ve found that we’re really enjoying it.”

Having lived in seclusion west of the Willamette River for some time, the Rosses moved to Sellwood about five years ago, where they enjoy walking over to Westmoreland Park and down into the Oaks Bottom Natural Area, and dining in local restaurants.

“Now that we’re older and we’re not necessarily in the public eye so much, we enjoy the company of our neighbors; I even helped organize our Block Party this year,” smiled Marv.

“We love everything about Sellwood,” nodded Rindy.

In addition to rehearsing every day for their Christmas shows, Marv disclosed that he’s written a collection of songs for Rindy, and another album of music – likely to be sung by Jon Koonce, of Portland band “Johnny & The Distractions” fame.

“While we have a lot of projects going on, we’re looking forward to making everything a bit ‘smaller’ these days,” Marv said; Rindy added, “I’m looking forward to our music together, continuing for a long time!”

You’re invited to keep up with Quarterflash online, at their website – http://www.quarterflash.net



Marijuana, pot, strore theft, getaway, crash, photo, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
No one was at home at this Brentwood-Darlington house when the speeding getaway car smashed through the fence, drove through the yard, and was stopped hard by a sturdy tree. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Marijuana, pot, strore theft, getaway, crash, photo, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After exiting the smashed getaway car, a neighbor snapped this photo of a suspect as he ran away, and shared it with THE BEE. If you recognize him, you might share his name by calling the Portland Police Non-Emergency number, 503/823-3333. (Neighbor-contributed photo)

Southeast pot-store theft ends with car into tree

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

What started as theft from cannabis retailer – “La Mota Southeast”, on S.E. 52nd Avenue near Henderson Street – ended in the front yard of Brentwood-Darlington neighbor just before noon on Sunday, October 14.

The store’s manager later told told THE BEE she’d been off the premises, getting change for the store, when she got a call from a co-worker telling her of the incident, and he said that she would be sharing their video security footage with the police.

“Officers responded to the store on a report of a theft in progress,” confirmed Portland Police spokesperson Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

The suspects’ gold four-door Buick took off westbound on S.E. Henderson Street; as the getaway driver saw police units arriving in the area, just as the car arrived where the street dead-ends into 48th Avenue, the driver swerved wide, in an attempt to turn south.

But, traveling at high speed, the Buick failed to make the turn, and crashed through a home’s fence – dismembering a Hallowe’en skeleton in the front yard – and crashed with a mighty thud into the trunk of a sturdy tree at the far end of the yard.

The impact activated the Buick’s airbags.

“Officers were not in pursuit of the vehicle at the time; [some] of the suspects ran from the vehicle after the crash,” Burley told THE BEE.

“It didn’t look like there was any effort to stop; the car went full speed into the yard before it crashed into the tree,” reported a neighbor, who had been walking a dog along Henderson Street when the car flew past.

The crash’s concussion brought neighbors out to the street – some of whom had been in their yards enjoying the sunny fall morning.

One alert neighbor grabbed his cell phone and took a photo of one of the two fleeing male suspects, backpack over his shoulder – an image he shared with THE BEE.

Two juvenile females, reportedly riding in the back seat of the car “got out and stood around, and got really [verbally] nasty with us neighbors who came to see if anyone needed help,” a neighbor commented.

As more police units pulled up, the suspect girls started running. “Two of our female officers chased them down on foot, and took them into custody without further incident,” an East Precinct officer told us.

After being handcuffed and put into the back of a cruiser, one of the female suspects suddenly developed “really bad medical problems”, and demanded to be taken to the hospital – instead of to jail. The other young woman joined her in the ambulance.

“The girls told officers they’d ‘just gotten a ride’, and didn’t know anything. About anything!” a neighbor reported.

The male suspects escaped into the neighborhood, and were not located. “It’s not very likely that the suspect photographed by the neighbor is still wearing that bright red jacket,” drily observed an officer at the scene.

“A firearm was also recovered from the vehicle; officers forwarded their reports to the District Attorney’s Office,” Burley said.



Kyle Dittmer, Winter Weather, forecast, OMSI, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Forecaster Kyle Dittmer tends to present his annual forecast in tiny type. This close view will help you read his somewhat divergent forecast for the upcoming winter; he was the most accurate winter forecaster two years ago in the annual conference in October at OMSI. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

‘Winter weather’ forecasts again vary at OMSI’s annual summit

By ERIC NORBERG
Editor, THE BEE

Last year in this issue, when reporting on the late-October “What Will Winter Be Like” forecast-palooza hosted by the Portland Branch of the American Meteorological Society and by OMSI – which again this year hosted the event in its auditorium on October 27th – we reported a sharp divergence between the forecasters. In fact, the sharpest we can recall in our many years of attending this annual public meeting.

A year ago, other forecasters were generally predicting a repeat of the sometimes-snowy, cold and wet winter of 2017 once again in 2018, but KGW-TV forecaster Rod Hill – saying that he uses the same method they did, of using “similar years” winter patterns, but he adds one more factor – disagreed with them.

He had gone on to look up the kind of winters Portland had experienced following a summer such as we’d had in 2017, and he found those were always warmer and drier winters than usual. So he forecast a relatively dry water year in Portland – right around 30 inches for the year – and not much snow here, together with a warmer winter.

And he was the one who’d turned out to be right; in fact the Portland Airport recorded almost exactly 30 inches for the water year just past!  But he conceded he did not foresee the VERY warm January we had this year, and like all the other forecasters a year ago, he expected it to be a normal snow year in the ski areas, and it was disappointing instead.

So it was, this year, at 10 a.m. on October 27 in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s auditorium just north of the Ross Island Bridge, that the same three featured forecasters stepped up to make their new forecasts for the coming winter – going into considerable illustrated detail on their methods, and showing what they took into consideration in reaching their conclusions.


OMSI, what will winter be like, Southeast Portland, forecasters, Oregon
After the forecast presentations, the forecasters gathered in the front of the stage to answer attendees’ questions. Shown, from left, are Kyle Dittmer, Tyree Wilde, KGW’s Rod Hill, and Mark Nelson of KPTV and KPDX television, who opens the day each year at this event with a droll summary of the winter and the weather year just past. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

First once again was Tyree Wilde, Meterologist for the National Weather Service in Portland. The NWS forecasts primarily based upon computer models, water temperature trends in the equatorial Pacific, and prior year patterns. Wilde expects the weather pattern this winter to switch from last winter’s “La Nina” to a “weak El Nino”, although at the moment it is ENSO neutral, he said – and so he expects above normal temperatures and generally below normal rain in the first half of the winter, rising to normal in the second half. The mountain snowpack will be “a little below average”, he thinks.

Second to present was Rod Hill, who celebrated a little for his correct but divergent forecast last year, since nobody else had noted it, but went on to forecast a winter this year not much different from Wilde’s: A bit warmer winter, a bit more rain than this past year (he now expects 35-40” for the full new water year), but not much snow in the Portland area, and maybe one wind event. He remarked that we had not had an “Arctic Express” in several winters, but is not specifically predicting one this year. As for the ski areas? Alas, even worse than last year, says Rod: Maybe 66% of normal snowpack.

Last to forecast was Kyle Dittmer, Hydrologist/Meteorologist for the Columbia River Intertribal Fishing Council, whose forecast for the winter of 2017 was the one that was most correct. He agreed that the emerging pattern in the equatorial Pacific resembles a weak El Nino developing, but he pointed out that sunspot activity has an established effect on Earth’s weather, and our current sunspot minimum had gone for 174 days, as of the date of this conference, with absolutely no sunspots at all.

This factor, he said, means to him that instead of a weak El Nino the weather pattern instead would be ENSO Neutral, a time when Portland experiences a variety of unusual and unexpected weather events from time to time.

Therefore, his prediction is that temperatures this winter will be near normal – maybe slightly warmer than usual in January – and rain will be “near normal” through January and then slightly less than normal starting in February. He expects a season total of 5.5” of snow in the Portland metro area, in three snow events, two of them minor.

For skiiers, Dittmer holds out hope – he thinks there will be good snow in the mountains, especially in the spring.

Most interesting, he expects “high variability” in the weather in Portland during the winter, while the other two thought it might be a fairly bland season. Among the sort of events he envisions are “intense rain, floods, fog, windstorms, gorge wind, freezing rain, etc.” But just now and then, you understand – he does not expect the apocalypse!

So, who will be right? In a few months we’ll know. In the meantime, don’t forget to steer in the direction of a skid to regain control; and watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, as well as motorized kids’ scooters carrying adults (who would have guessed!) – whose riders are invariably not wearing the required helmets.





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