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September 2017 -- Vol. 112, No. 1

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!


The next BEE is our October
issue, with a deadline of September 14.
(The November issue has an ad and copy deadline of October 12.)


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THE BEE has a second website -- it's searchable for past stories.  The content for the current month is similar to this one, presented in a different format.  To visit the other website, click the banner at right!

McLoughlin Boulevard, repair and upgrade, ODOT, construction delays, traffic problems, Portland, Oregon
S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard here was closed down to one lane, while contractors worked to remove the old Crystal Springs Bridge and replace it with larger box culvert sections. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Construction delays trigger a surprise McLoughlin closure


During the three weekends that the “OR 99E Paving Project: S.E. Harold Street to S.E. Harrison Street” project closed S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, Sellwood and Westmoreland neighbors noticed a marked increase in vehicular traffic cutting through their neighborhood.

But, commuters driving into Portland on McLoughlin Boulevard on Wednesday morning, August 9 got an unpleasant surprise when two lanes – one northbound, and one southbound – were shut down from Tacoma to Harold Streets.

“This was not planned, expected, or permitted; the contractor is required to reopen all lanes by 5:00 a.m. on weekdays,” remarked Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 Community Affairs Coordinator Lili Boicourt.

Apparently, crews had struggled to fill in a hole they’d dug as they were installing the new Crystal Springs Creek culvert sections – and that kept the travel lanes closed until about 10:00 a.m.

“Due to unexpected work issues, the contractor was not able to reopen the lanes on time,” confirmed Boicourt. “We are very sorry about the inconvenience and the backups.”

While rebuilding the shoulder and center sections of the state highway have gone pretty much according to plan, the work installing the new Crystal Springs Creek culvert sections has turned out to be challenging.

For example, ODOT Public Information Section Manager Dave Thompson looked into when the first section of the old, unstable Crystal Springs Bridge would be replaced with a new section of box culvert, under McLoughlin.

The contractors had told Thompson they estimated it would be lowered in place about noon on August 5. However, at that time, crews were still struggling to remove steel shoring plates. When THE BEE checked back in the afternoon, and then in the evening, that section of box culvert hadn’t yet been placed.

The neighborhoods braced for an onslaught of traffic August 18-21, the last week the northbound roadway was scheduled to be completely closed to vehicles.

But, the work isn’t finished. “In September, drivers can expect nighttime and weekend lane closures and shifts in traffic lanes,” said ODOT’s Katelyn Jackson. “There may be a need for another full northbound closure in September.”

The project is expected to be completed in late December this year. And remember, the temporary lower construction zone speed limit is 35 MPH – heed it, or face a substantial fine.

Franklin High School, remodel, update, Benjamin Franklin, track, Portland, Oregon
This new track on the north side of the school has been rotated 90 degrees and expanded to full regulation size, making it at last appropriate for track meets. The new gym, about which many Franklin High students are enthusiastic, is visible at right, and the field beyond the track is the as-yet unfinished softball and baseball field. That’s Ben Franklin himself, towering above the athletic field. (Photo by Eric Norberg)
Jeremy London, Franklin High School, reopening for Fall, Portland, Oregon
Jeremy London, a junior at Franklin High this fall, was unrestrained in his enthusiasm for the renovated and updated campus – and stood for THE BEE at an arch that represented one of the many historic touches retained, in this redesign of the century-old high school. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Franklin High reopens after remodel and upgrade


For two years, the students of Franklin High School have had to traipse out east of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses for their education – to the Marshall High School campus – while their century-old high school underwent an upgrade and full facelift. Now, the remodel is done, and the school reopened for registration on Monday, August 14, with classes scheduled to resume by the end of August.

On the 14th, THE BEE visited the campus, now once again abuzz with students, beheld the final touches, and spoke with a few of the students at registration.

One was Lucy Shadburn, who is a senior this year. She attended the old Franklin High in her Freshman year, spent two years at Marshall, and now is coming home to FHS for her senior year. She told us she loves the new Franklin, commenting that the school had been “falling apart”. She’s glad the remodel held on to so much of the historic feeling of the previous campus, while adding light and space and modernizing the whole school.

As for Marshall High – which now will be hosting Grant students while their school undergoes the same sort of upgrade – Lucy said “it was not as nice as the old Franklin High, but it was okay for the time we were there.”

Franklin High, opening after remodel, student registration, Portland, Oregon
Franklin High students gathered on the morning of August 14 to begin registration for the fall term in FHS’ new Student Commons. (Photo by David Mayne)

Jeremy London is a junior this year, so he never went to school in the old Franklin, but he finds the new Franklin “amazing – coming from Marshall to this is crazy – this is miles better!” In particular, he likes the new gymnasium a lot, and he shares Lucy’s enthusiasm for the retention of many historical details in the new Franklin High.

The morning that THE BEE was there, the campus was awash in enthusiastic, happy, and courteous students, who seemed more than ready to start making the much shorter trip to their new campus.

Two special events are scheduled to celebrate the opening of the modernized Franklin: Franklin’s Grand Opening Ceremony is on Saturday, September 2nd, at 10:45 a.m.; the night before, on Friday, September 1, another ceremony will celebrate the opening of Franklin’s new Track and Field.  (Eric Norberg contributed to this story.)

Mootness, Eastmoreland, legal battle, Historic District, Portland, Oregon
Here are both the “Notice of Probable Mootness” and the “Petitioner’s Response to Respondent’s Notice of Probable Mootness”. The legal battle continues. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland Historic District nomination still in litigation


It appeared as if the nomination application by which a large portion of the Eastmoreland neighborhood would become a federally-recognized “Historic District” might be cleared to move forward on August 9, when the Oregon State Court of Appeals gave their “response” to litigation begun by Eastmoreland resident Tom Brown. 

But, when no new information was posted by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on the “Oregon Parks & Recreation Department: Oregon Heritage: National Register: Eastmoreland” webpage for days after August 9, THE BEE started looking into where the matter stood.

“The short answer is that nothing new has happened; motions are being filed back and forth,” said Oregon Parks & Recreation Historian Ian Johnson. “So, we’re ‘on hold’ until we hear from our legal department from the Oregon Department of Justice; and, there isn’t a new date for when this will be resolved.”

Tom Brown’s attorney, Nathan Morales of the Harrang Long Gary Rudnick law firm, spoke with THE BEE on August 16 and provided information about the status of the case.

“On August 9, SHPO filed its ‘final reply’ to the motion to dismiss,” Morales said. “In that reply, they raised a new issue, related to the recent letter from the National Parks Service to SHPO.

“In addition, SHPO also filed a “Notice of Probable Mootness”, arguing that the Oregon Parks Service’s letter to SHPO rendered the entire case moot,” Morales continued.

As a result of those two things, the following day, the law firm filed a “sur-reply”, a post-brief reply added to a legal motion, along with a response to the “Notice of Probably Mootness” rebutting the assertions regarding the Parks Service’s letter, Morales said.

In summary, Morales said there are three different motions in front of the court at this time:

  1. Motion for a stay filed by his law firm;
  2. Motion to dismiss filed by SHPO
  3. Notice of probable mootness

“SHPO has asked the court to dismiss the case,” Morales said. “One of the main things we’re asking for in this case is a ‘contested case hearing’.  We believe that the nomination procedure is a ‘contested case’; but if the SHPO motion to dismiss is accepted, we wouldn’t qualify for a contested case hearing because it wouldn’t qualify as a contested case.

“What it comes down to is whether or not this is, or is this not, a contested case; if it is, we get a hearing, if not, the court dismisses our case,” Morales clarified. “If the Court of Appeals does not accept this as a contested case, we have other avenues to move forward on this case.”

While “orders” on “motions” come out of the Court of Appeals fairly quickly, an “opinion” may not come out for a longer time. “This could be a matter of weeks, because it so complicated,” Morales concluded.

Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Board President Rod Merrick commented, “The problem the opposition [to the Eastmoreland Historic District] is facing right now, is that the objections are substantially behind [in quantity], as reported in Derek Blum’s Letter to the Editor, published in the July issue of THE BEE.

“Presumably, at some time, there will be an Eastmoreland Historic District, and we’re looking forward to that,” Merrick added.

Motorcycle wreck, 52nd Avenue, Steele Street, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
A Woodstock Fire Station firefighter/paramedic assigned to Engine 25 speaks with a police officer at the scene of the crash. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Wreck on SE 52nd sends motorcycle riders to hospital


Traffic on S.E. 52nd came to a standstill at 8:37 p.m. on Friday evening August 18 when a Honda four-door sedan hit a touring style motorcycle, at 52nd Avenue and Steele Street.

A witness told THE BEE that the Honda was northbound on S.E. 52nd Avenue, and made a fast, sharp turn west on Steele, clipping the motorcycle stopped at the traffic signal, before turning south.

The Honda stopped in the intersection, facing the eastbound lane of Steele Street, indicating that the driver had cut the corner sharply while turning.

Woodstock Fire Station 25’s engine, stationed nearby, was there in about two minutes, later followed by Truck 25.

The firefighters called for two ambulances, and arriving paramedics agreed that both the motorcycle’s driver and passenger had traumatic, but probably not life-threatening, injuries. The two were taken to OHSU for evaluation and treatment.

The female driver of the Honda stayed at the scene and spoke with police. This accident remains under investigation, and there was no information as THE BEE went to press on any citations that may have been issued.

Hot weather, pool closed, Sellwood, Portland Parks and Recreation, Evan Lind, Oregon
After leaving early from work to go for a swim, Evan Lind told THE BEE he was disappointed to find the Sellwood Pool closed, and so was his son, Kailind. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Southeast’s sweltering summer heat wave brought air quality concerns


Unusually early and unusually warm summer weather in Inner Southeast gave way to a genuine heat wave in early August, and although the worst of the heat broke after a light overnight rainfall on August 13, THE BEE learned from a professional weather forecaster that it could remain warm into September.

NOAA National Weather Service Portland Bureau Science and Operations Officer Bill Schneider explained the unseasonably hot spell for us.

The science behind hot summers, Schneider said, is that high pressure systems in the atmosphere compress the air, causing it to heat up, and forcing it outward.

The hot air scours out clouds that can shield us from the hot sun’s rays. “And, we have more of an ‘offshore’ flow, so the winds are coming from the east and going to the west, and blocking the cold, moist marine air which often influences weather here – keeping away this kind of a natural ‘air-conditioning’ we often enjoy,” explained Schneider.

It’s not totally unprecedented weather, he said -- it has been comparable to the heat wave of August of 2009, when high temperature records were set.

Surprising many, Portland Parks & Recreation closed outdoor swimming pools on August 3rd and 4rd, “due to the metro area’s Air Quality Alert and current Unhealthy Air Quality Index rating,” said Portland Parks Bureau spokesman Mark Ross.

As the first week of August progressed, unusually high temperatures were accompanied by unusual smoke and haze, caused by wildfires burning in British Columbia 300 or more miles away. That caused the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to issue an “Air Quality Alert” which stayed in effect for nearly two weeks. However, the worst of the smoke had cleared in Inner Southeast by Sunday, August 6.

Asked to look into his crystal ball and forecast this fall’s weather, Schneider said, “It’s a little bit early to tell what is going to be. We look at large-scale weather patterns to give us an indication how conditions might be in the future. Right now, we’re in a ‘neutral phase’, as far as El Niño and La Niña weather patterns are concerned; so I expect we’ll have fairly close to ‘normal’ conditions.

“But, there are many things are going in the atmosphere that can influence that,” Schneider hedged.

OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Pompeii, volcano, explosion, baking soda and vinegar, Guinness Book of \World Records
“Mt. OMSI” erupts streams of pink-colored “foam lava”. Is it enough for a world record? The Guinness folks will have the final say on that. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Giant ‘volcano’ erupts on OMSI patio


It will take months for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to find out if its 34-foot tarpaulin-and-scaffolding simulated mountain, spurting pink foam, will set a new Guinness World Record for the “World's Largest Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano”.

But, at the spectacle on July 23 on S.E. Water Street just north of the Ross Island Bridge is likely the largest gathering the science museum has seen for a single, outdoor, five-minute event – an estimated 3,000 spectators crowded into OMSI’s front plaza to see the show.

“We’ve wanted to attempt breaking a Guinness World Record for a few years now; and with the ‘POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION’ now open here as our inspiration, we pulled a team together, and hopefully we’ll break the record today,” smiled OMSI Event Planner Sonali Shivdasani. 

The “eruption” was a chemical reaction caused by mixing 66 gallons of vinegar and 50 gallons of a baking soda/water mixture – plus some food coloring, Shivdasani explained. “We hope the foam will spray up between six and eight feet above the structure, beating the previous record of a four-foot ‘eruption’.” 

This “eruption” will be just like similar science experiments, only on a much grander scale, OMSI Science Educator Matt Miller commented.

“We’re using sodium bicarbonate with vinegar, which has a lot of acetic acid in it,” Miller told THE BEE. “When those ingredients mix, one of the reaction products is carbon dioxide gas, and that creates lots of bubbles which expand as it rises out of the solution mixture, and we get lots of foaming – and hopefully a big eruption.”

The crowd grew anxious when the 3:00 p.m. scheduled eruption was delayed, as team members scrambled to make final preparations and start the chemical reaction. Then “steam” from the top of the mountain signaled that the eruption was about to commence.

Finally, two streams of reddish-pink foam shot out, high above the mountain, causing the crowd to cheer.

Some giggled and guffawed, as if they had been expecting to see some sort of a massive lava flow to come rolling down the sides of the tarp. Others backed away – a shift of the wind had covered parts of the crowd with a strongly vinegar-scented mist.

OMSI had team members stationed on the roof top and other locations to document the hopefully record-breaking eruption. Will they be recognized for setting the record? “We’re 100% confident,” Shivdasani said.

Art car, eclipse, painted van, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
ART CAR APPEARS IN “ECLIPSE MONTH”. A unique hand-painted van with Washington license plates was parked recently near the Post Office Substation on S.E. Linn Street in Sellwood. Perhaps inspired by the looming total eclipse of the sun in Oregon, the artist included ancient details – such as a Sphinx, a pyramid, and Mayan imagery on the left side, and on the right rear quarter, images of Stonehenge and a man exploring the sky with a telescope. The art car reminds us that there is always something new “under the sun.” (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

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