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October 2017 -- Vol. 112, No. 2

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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Daily news!  The all-new daily PORTLAND TRIBUNE website  is updated throughout the day, every day, when news breaks out.  Click the banner at left to keep up to date on the banner news throughout the Rose City!

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Vandalism, school, broken windows, broken planters, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A glazier, replacing three of the many broken windows at Woodmere Elementary School. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

School vandalism dismays Brentwood-Darlington

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

What could best be described as a widespread school vandalism spree swept over the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood in the first week of September.

Neighbors and Lane Middle School PTA Board Members Esther Crowell-Duncan and Lesley McKinley told THE BEE they were dismayed to find that three of four large ceramic planters in front that school were toppled and smashed on Saturday, September 9.

“During the 2016 ‘Community Cares Day’, the planters were donated by Portland Public Schools Franklin PK-8 Schools supervisor Jennifer Patterson, who personally purchased and donated the planters,” Crowell-Duncan said.

“Teenage vandals who pushed over two planters and shattered them, were actually caught in the act by a passerby; but the kids denied it and ran off,” Crowell-Duncan said. “When they came back later, a neighbor across the street heard the third one being smashed, and caught them before they smashed the fourth planter.”

McKinley said that officials caught a young female remaining who claims not to have participated in the vandalism, but watched it happen. “We’re told she gave her own name, but refused to name the two teenage boys.”

But the planter smashing pales in comparison to damage done to other buildings in the area, the past Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association President said.

“My husband and I caught kids breaking windows at our Community Center – but we have no idea who broke windows, ripped up community gardens and damaged outdoor areas at Whitman and Woodmere elementary schools,” McKinley said.

Glaziers were busy replacing some of the many shattered windows at Woodmere Elementary.

One of the workers stopped and told THE BEE, “We were also called to estimate replacing six broken windows at Whitman Elementary; but when we arrived on September 8, we found a total of nineteen windows had been broken.”

“What’s most upsetting is when that this vandalism plays into the stereotypes of our neighborhood being ‘Felony Flats’ when, in fact, there are many wonderful kids,” McKinley said.

And, in addition to restitution, Crowell-Duncan suggested community service for the vandals. “If you’re going to destroy something, you need to make something better,” she said.

McKinley chimed in, “We’re asking everyone to join Neighborhood Watch, come to community events, talk to your neighbors, keep your eyes out on the street, and if you see suspicious activities, report them.

“Don’t let this break your spirit about our neighborhood; keep your spirits high we will rebuild,” McKinley said.

On a positive note, McKinley reported that on September 15, Portland Nursery donated and installed four new planters – already filled with flowers. “And, with money we raised to replace the broken planters, we’ll be able to put additional ones behind the school, at the Head Start entrance.”



Eclipse of the sun, OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, Oregon
David F. Ashton During the nearly total solar eclipse at OMSI, the light changed more toward the blue part of the spectrum and the sky darkened, many sat silently watching, while others responded with delighted laughter, and some wept openly. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Eclipse of the sun, Westmoreland, pinhole camera effect, projection eclipse, trees
In Westmoreland, the sharp light of the nearly-eclipsed sun descending through leaves of trees projected many images of the nearly-eclipsed sun on the ground underneath. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Solar eclipse captivates Southeast Portland

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Monday morning, August 21, began like many others this summer, with clear skies and bright sunshine illuminating Southeast Portland neighborhoods – and nothing yet to hint that the long-awaited and much-publicized solar eclipse was about to begin.

But, by 9:30 a.m., the view of the world had begun to change, as the moon began to cross in front of the sun from our perspective – slowly but surely blocking its rays.

Although it wasn’t an official holiday, traffic was light all over the area, as people skipped work to observe the astronomical phenomenon. In the near-empty parking lots of retail stores and office buildings, workers donned special eclipse viewing glasses and stood, transfixed, looking up to watch the eclipse unfold.

The largest “viewing party” in the metropolitan Portland area was just east of the Willamette River at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

By the time the moon started to cover the sun, more than 1,500 people had gathered in the plaza in front of the science museum on S.E. Water Street, just north of the Ross Island Bridge – most with eclipse viewing glasses in hand, waiting for the eclipse.

As it took place, especially-commissioned soundtrack music played, produced by KQAC-FM, “All Classical Portland”, for the solar eclipse, while OMSI Education Matthew Steiner narrated the spectacular natural event.

Although Portland didn’t experience a “total” solar eclipse, 99.47% of the sun was covered here, giving those at the OMSI viewing party a satisfying experience when the maximum eclipse occurred at 10:17 a.m.

The ambient light dimmed, and its color tilted a bit towards blue; the temperature cooled; street lights started to come on. Tiny images of the eclipsed crescent of the sun appeared underneath trees, as leaves acted as “pinhole cameras”; and some observers noticed “shadow bands” rippling across the ground.

Martha Meyer told THE BEE she’d brought her kids, and some of her neighbors in Sellwood, to see the solar eclipse. “I don’t care if it’s ‘total’ or not; this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us,” she exclaimed.

The darkened skies and distinct shadows created eerie visual effects – until minutes later, as the moon continued on its path, the light and heat of the sun began to return.

Too soon for some, the eclipse was over in Southeast Portland – as the moon’s shadow raced eastward across the United States, reaching the Atlantic Ocean just over an hour and a half later.



Deron Albertdupre Crain
32-year-old Deron Albertdupre Crain now awaits trial, facing a large number of Felony charges. (MCDC booking photo)

Violent tavern robbers: 139 felony counts, and 34 million dollars bail

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An armed ruffian, who brutalized some of this victims while robbing countless bars and taverns in Portland and Milwaukie, was finally arrested on August 31.

Among those many holdups, 32-year-old Deron Albertdupre Crain is accused of robbing the “Lotsa Luck Bar & Grill” at 2136 S.E. Powell Boulevard at 1:32 a.m. on June 3, and the “Lodge Bar” at 6605 S.E. Powell, on June 11 at 2:10 a.m.

“Members of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT), Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT), and the East Metro Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team assisted the Detective Division’s Robbery Detail with arresting Crain in the 600 block of Northeast 178th Avenue,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.

Crain was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Thursday, August 31, at 11:26 p.m., on charges of Robbery in the First Degree (13 counts) and Robbery in the Second Degree (14 counts).

At his arraignment the following day in Multnomah County Court, more charges were filed against Crain, bring the total to 139 Felony counts – including Robbery, Kidnapping, and Assault. Crain remains in custody at Inverness Jail – in lieu of a combined bail of $34,750,000.

As part of this investigation, Robbery Detail detectives also applied for, and obtained, an arrest warrant for 33-year-old Johntae D. Hammond.

“Hammond was already lodged at the Clark County Jail on August 24 on a parole violation for a previous Assault in the First Degree conviction, and is awaiting extradition to Oregon,” Burley said.

Anyone with information on the robberies alleged to have been committed by Crain and Hammond should contact Detective Tracy Chamberlin at 503/823-4783 or by e-mail – Tracy.Chamberlin@portlandoregon.gov.

Given the monumental size of the bail assessed, it is likely that the accused will be staying behind bars for the time being.



Hood To Coast, foot race, Oaks Park, Portland, Oregon
Across from Oaks Amusement Park along the Springwater Trail, Woodstock resident Amy Win and her new friend Spencer Malone handed out water to passing runners. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Thousands run through Sellwood, from Mt. Hood to Coast

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The Springwater Trail was crowded on the afternoon and in the evening of Friday, August 25, as 12,000 participants sprinted, ran, and jogged along the course of this year’s “Hood to Coast” relay race.

Runners came in to Inner Southeast Portland along Leg #11, from Lents to S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, at which they handed off to runners who set off on Leg #12, taking them across S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, through Sellwood and past Oaks Bottom, as they headed toward Downtown Portland.

At the “exchange point”, runners – looking exhausted as they entered Tideman Johnson Park in Ardenwald – handed off numbered wristbands to the next jogger, during this, the 36th running of the epic race.

“This year, participants from all 50 states and about 43 different countries will compete on 1,050 teams, in the now-199-mile event,” smiled founder and organizer Bob Foote.

While at the Tideman Johnson Park exchange point, runners from Beijing were surrounded by a crew from China Central Television (CCTV) who were documenting their journey.

No mishaps occurred on the Inner Southeast portion of the race – although there was a bizarre and unprecedented sideshow early the next morning west of Portland, when a 36-year-old Hood to Coast runner was arrested following the theft of a vehicle, at one of the race’s exchanges in Columbia County.

On August 26, at about 2 a.m., a runner that race participants identified as David Jon Blackmon of Bend, was involved in the theft of a pickup truck belonging to a portable restroom company that was servicing its portable units at Exchange 24 in the Birkenfeld area.

Witnesses said Blackmon drove the stolen pickup through a nearby field where runners were resting. Three of the resting runners were able to jump out of the way, but one (Cynthia Gillespie, of Canby) was not able to do so and was run over and dragged a short distance before the truck stopped, resting on her leg. She was not, apparently, seriously injured, however.

The original driver of the pickup confronted Blackmon after chasing the vehicle down. Blackmon reportedly then ran into the woods nearby, fleeing the scene. A K9 located him nearby, and he was lodged in the Columbia County Jail on charges of Assault-Second Degree, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Driving while Revoked, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle, and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

The sideshow then over, the race went on in the early morning darkness, heading toward its final destination in Seaside on the coast.



Lambert Street, house fire, revive, pet, cat, oxygen, smoke
A family member holds her cat, named “Little One” – giving it oxygen from a special pet rescue rig carried in all PF&R Battalion Chief vehicles. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Investigators probe cause of Lambert Street house fire

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

It’s still not been revealed how a fire started at 7916 S.E. Lambert Street in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, September 5, but the damage was devastating for the residents.

The first call to the 9-1-1 Center came in at 5:44 p.m., bringing Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews to the scene.  Driving up, the first arriving unit reported seeing “smoke from two blocks away”.

The homeowner told THE BEE that several of his family members were at home when the fire broke out. “I’ve no idea how it started, but it started behind the house,” he said.

PF&R rigs from Woodstock, Lents, and Westmoreland fire stations battled the smoky blaze – joined by crews from as far away as Southwest Portland.

Complicating the firefight was an electrical power line that fell, arcing and spitting on the ground. A further complication was the heavy smoke already in the air in Portland that day, blowing in from the Eagle Creek wildfire to the east, and limiting visibility.

Firefighters confirmed that residents had all escaped the house as they continued to fight the blaze.

By 6:10 p.m., the flames had been knocked down; crews used heat-seeking infrared vision equipment to find and extinguish hot spots.

One of the house’s residents, fearing her cat had perished in the fire, was overjoyed when a firefighter brought it out, along with a pet oxygen unit to revive the kitty.

A PF&R Investigator was called to the scene. However, at press time, the suspected cause and the estimated damage had not yet been reported.



Strut Your Mutt, benefit, shelters, Sellwood Riverfront Park, Portland, Oregon
With a snip of the ribbon, the “mutt strut” walk in Sellwood Riverfront Park began. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Hundreds of pooches walk in Sellwood, to save dogs

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Again this year, Sellwood Riverfront Park was the scene of canine cavorting, as the 2017 Best Friends “Strut Your Mutt” Walk and Dog Festival got underway early in the morning of Saturday, September 9.

“This event brings together passionate people who raise money to save the lives of homeless pets,” smiled Best Friends Animal Society National Event Planner Annie Laubernds. “It’s a great way to bring awareness to the hard work the local animal welfare groups are doing in this community here in Portland.”

This is important, she said, because every day in America’s shelters, nearly 5,500 dogs and cats are put to death, simply because they don’t have safe places to call home.

“Many people come to this event because they have a family dog and it sounds like fun; when they arrive they also learn about some of the work that the local groups are doing in there promoting animal adoption, transportation, and other hard work they’re doing in the community,” Laubernds told THE BEE. “We have a two-mile walk this year, and as many as 600 people – and at least as many dogs – went on the walk!”

The nine participating groups started their own fundraising efforts in July, and came to celebrate their success: Raising a combined $100,000 in funds that stay here in the Portland area.

For more information about the sponsoring national organization that has links to local affiliates, go online – https://www.bestfriends.org.



McLoughlin Boulevard, Westmoreland Union Manor, ODOT, paving project, Crystal Springs Creek
As seen from Westmoreland’s Union Manor, Crystal Springs Creek was diverted while workers installed the new overcrossing. That work is now complete. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

McLoughlin Blvd paving project makes progress

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

With the new Crystal Springs Creek overcrossing installed opposite Westmoreland Union Manor, the “OR 99E Paving Project: S.E. Harold Street to S.E. Harrison Street” continues to plug along nicely, according to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 Community Affairs Coordinator Lili Boicourt.

Through late August and into September, drivers on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard contended with lane switchovers, closures, and limited access to or from S.E. Tolman Street, Bybee Boulevard, Ochoco Street, and Tacoma Street, while crews tore up and replaced pavement – and, in some cases, rebuilt the deep roadbed itself.

“The northbound weekend closures are complete,” Boicourt revealed. “In October, road users will experience single and double lane closures weeknights and weekends, with traffic shifted into various configurations,” she said. But two way traffic will be maintained on McLoughlin throughout the rest of the project.

“Work is still on track to be complete by the end of the year, with the major work done by the end of October,” Boicourt pointed out. “But unexpected wet and cold weather could extend the timeline.”

Keep in mind that the speed limit on S.E. McLoughlin between Harold Street and Ochoco Street has been temporarily reduced to 35 MPH, and that’s being enforced. Drive safely!



Wildfire smoke, Southeast Portland, Oregon, Sellwood Bridge
EAGLE CREEK FIRE SMOKES SOUTHEAST. The massive Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge, evidently started by teens playing with fireworks, not only burned thousands of acres and closed Interstate 84 for an extended period of time – but, when the winds were easterly, it brought a heavy pall of smoke into the Rose City repeatedly in September. BEE reader, and Sellwood businessman and photographer, Dan O'Flaherty caught this hazy view of the west hills from the east end of the Sellwood Bridge at 6 p.m. on September 5. The DEQ said the smoke led to some of the worst air pollution ever seen here.


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