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May 2015 -- Vol. 109, No. 9

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 June
issue, with a deadline of May 21.
(The July issue has an ad and copy deadline of June 18.)


Want to subscribe to receive the PRINT version of THE BEE?
NOW -- subscribe securely, online -- by clicking

But, if you would rather not do it online, you can E-mail or telephone 503/968-6397. The 12-issue annual subscription rate is $14 per year for addresses located in Multnomah County, Oregon; and $24 for anywhere else in the U.S.(it's based on the differential postage rates for our class of postage). For international rates, inquire via that e-mail address just above!

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!

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!

Sellwood Bridge, arches, installaltion
A steel Sellwood Bridge arch is lifted into place, in this wide view from a boat – a bit north of the construction site, on the Willamette River. (Photo courtesy of Michel Bolsey)

Arches Installation: New Sellwood Bridge takes shape


“Today is a milestone for the Sellwood Bridge Project,” smiled Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen on Tuesday, March 31, while standing on the east-side work bridge.

“As another steel arch segment is lifted into place, for the first time we now have a structure completely crossing the center of the Willamette River.”

The pelting rain and brief hailstorm that day didn’t dampen Pullen’s enthusiasm for the progress, as THE BEE again joined him for a tour of the work area.

In construction, supervisors measure a project in terms of “Critical Path” items, Pullen commented. “The completion of these three steel arches is the most important thing to keep us on schedule.

“We still have a couple of the arch spans to install on the east side,” Pullen added. “With these arches being put into place, it’s looking more like a bridge, here, every week.”

High up in the air, the 300,000 pound steel arch segments looked smaller than when THE BEE documented their assembly in September, at Thompson Metal Fab in Vancouver.

“At each splice, workers install about 3,000 bolts to hold it all together,” Pullen revealed.

As users of the existing Sellwood Bridge know, the bridge was closed for two days, starting on April 17, as crews shifted traffic lanes from the detour bridge onto the new West approach to the bridge.

With that done, Pullen said, “Now we can complete construction of the interchange of the west side.”

Sellwood Bridge, piers crumbling, bents
After removing substandard concrete from sections of this new Sellwood Bridge pier, workers put forms in place to hold the new high-strength grout that will be pumped into the voids. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Bridge’s crumbling pier not a crisis, despite appearance


Shortly after concrete forms were removed from the new Sellwood Bridge project’s bents (piers), news reporters pointed out – some with considerable emotion – that large chunks of concrete seemed to be crumbling from the new columns.

At the worksite, relatively large areas of concrete appeared to have disintegrated, exposing the steel rebar and a few deep voids.

Multnomah County Sellwood Bridge Project Program Manager Ian Cannon, an engineer by training and trade, talked with THE BEE about it.

“During the pouring of those columns – those are fairly tall ‘concrete placements’ – the concrete in some areas was not fully consolidated,” Cannon began. “This means that the gravel, sand, and cement were not well mixed together in those places.”

This can happen as result of how the concrete was poured, how far it fell from the concrete pump hose, or perhaps how it was vibrated after it was poured. “We’re not exactly sure why it happened,” Cannon explained. “The result is that the concrete in some areas is not as solid as we would like it to be.”

The obvious holes in the skin of the bents didn’t fall out; it was workers who chipped out the weak concrete.

“After the contractors remove the concrete that does not meet our specifications, all the way back to solid concrete, they’ll fill those spaces with new, durable high-strength grout,” Cannon said. 

The chemical nature of this “non-shrink grout” is such that it adheres to the solid concrete and rebar, and will not pull away. “It’s more expensive than concrete, but the repair work is done at the expense of the contractor, not the county.”

The result: the repaired sections of the new piers will actually be stronger than the surrounding concrete, and will perform for the lifespan of the bridge. “It’ll be finished in a way that it will be virtually invisible to people looking at it,” Cannon added.

About the project in general, Cannon said that it remains on schedule. “We continue to see upward pressure on the budget. We’re expecting it to come in about three to four percent over the original budget.”

Red Castle Games, Natalie Caulkins, car into store
Red Castle Games Project Manager Natalie Caulkins says she was standing here, behind this counter, when the impaired driver’s car smashed into the store on Foster Road. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Accused DUII driver smashes into store, waddles away

for THE BEE 

Only three weeks after celebrating their fifth year in business, Red Castle Games on S.E. Foster Road was almost shuttered – when a car plowed into the front corner window on the afternoon of Thursday, April 2.

The misadventure started at 4:44 pm, when a plain-clothes Oregon State Police detective, driving an unmarked patrol car, spotted a possibly-intoxicated driver heading westbound on S.E. Foster Road in the Foster-Powell neighborhood.

“The detective requested assistance from the Portland Police Bureau to get the vehicle stopped,” recounted OSP Public Information Officer Lt. Josh Brooks. “As the detective continued to follow, the suspect’s driving became more erratic, forcing the detective to initiate a traffic stop, prior to Portland Police arrival.”

When the detective turned on his emergency lights to stop the driver, the silver Toyota Camry LE didn’t pull over – instead, the driver gunned the engine, bumped, then rammed, a car that was stopped in traffic at the S.E. 52nd Avenue signal. The errant driver then made a U-turn.

“The vehicle sped away from the detective, eastbound,” Brooks continued. “The detective caught up after it crashed into a storefront at S.E. Foster Road and 58th Avenue – a store profiled only last month in THE BEE.

Arriving moments after the crash, Red Castle Games’ owner Matthew Mičetić and Project Manager Natalie Caulkins invited THE BEE through the front door of the store. They both looked stunned by the crash.

Mičetić said he’d been working in his office when the car crashed into his store.

“I was working behind the counter,” Caulkins said. “Suddenly I heard the screeching of tires sliding on pavement.

“Then, I felt a change in air pressure – almost like a sonic boom, a concussion wave, or a shock wave pushing into the store,” mused Caulkins. “Then, the car crashed into the store window, and sent glass, bricks, and games flying through the shop.”

Caulkins pointed to the place where she was standing behind the counter, about ten feet away from the shattered window, now replaced by the front end of a car.

“I screamed, ‘Is everyone okay?’, and grabbed the phone to call 9-1-1,” Caulkins said. “Then, I saw out the front window of the store, there was this really big guy, in a light blue colored shirt, trying to run away.

“Actually, he was huffing and puffing and shuffling along, heading eastbound,” Caulkins said. “I forgot that I was still on the phone with 9-1-1, and went after him. I shouted to him, and he said something like, ‘I was just standing there’, to me.”

The OSP detective and PPB Traffic Division officer caught up with the now-winded suspect at S.E. 56th Avenue, where he was still attempting to retreat from the scene, and took him into custody in the Plaid Pantry parking lot.

While shackled in the back of a Portland Police patrol car, the suspect loudly proclaimed his innocence, saying he was only a bystander and witness to the wreck.  When he learned that he was under arrest, and being taken to jail, the suspect shrieked, claiming he was in pain, and demanded medical care.

He was prepared for medical transport, and rolled over to a waiting ambulance, while prudently restrained to the gurney.

Back in the store, Mičetić and Caulkins surveyed the damage. Glass, bricks and mortar, games, and display racks were strewn across the front of the shop, and more than half way to the back of the building.

“I’m glad that none of our employees or customers were injured,” Mičetić said. “But this sure is a mess.” 

After being medically evaluated and after a brief hospital stay, 37-year-old Myles Jacob Nees was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on April 3 at 6:03 pm on eleven charges – ranging from Driving while Suspended/Revoked, and Reckless Endangerment, to DUII.

During the arraignment the following day in Multnomah County Court, the judge upheld all charges against Nees except one. He remains in custody at Multnomah County Inverness Jail in lieu of a combined bail of $45,000 – and is also being held without bail for a Parole/Probation Violation.

Friends and customers came by Red Castle Games to help clean up the debris in the store, allowing it to reopen for the weekend. The following Sunday, Mičetić held a party for the volunteers, and those who supported them by contributing to their “Go Fund Me” campaign at: .

On April 11, Mičetić – who is also the current President of the Foster Area Business Association – told us he testified before a Multnomah County Grand Jury about the crash. “It was my first time testifying, and it was a good experience. I feel very confident the grand jury will indict the individual.”

Caulkins said that the shop is now looking forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible. “We hope to continue providing Foster-Powell with a welcoming place to buy and play games for a very long time.”

FIRST Robotics Team 1432
This year’s Southeast Portland FIRST Robotics Team 1432 robot makes it through the obstacle course at the regional finals after parts were loaned after the recent burglary of their workshop, and after all their code was rewritten. (Courtesy of Team 1432)

Despite burglary, Southeast robotics club competes


After burglars broke in to their basement workshop near S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses on the evening of March 18, and stole key components used to control their robot just days before the regional competition in Philomath, near Corvallis, it looked as if the FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1432, “The Metal Beavers”, was finished for the season. 

“Our team members are rewriting the code, so the robot will move again,” reported one of the team’s mentors, Rebecca LohKamp on March 27, the day the Regional Finals began. “This is with many thanks to the ‘Lake Monsters’ from Lakeridge High in Lake Oswego for loaning us a laptop and programmer interface.”

But the team faced even more challenges as they packed up their robot, borrowed computer and supplies, and headed south to Philomath High School for the regional competition.

The journey damaged the robot, so the team also had to fix the damaged parts, while finishing writing the needed computer code.

“Special thanks to FRC Team 847, ‘Phred’, from Philomath High School, for sending several mentors and students to help, as well as to FRC Team 957, ‘SWARM’, of West Albany, for helping us with our pneumatics,” LohKamp said.

“By the time the robot was fully functional, the competition was almost over but we got to compete,” LohKamp remarked. “And, we didn’t come in dead last!” 

The most important thing is that the students learned some valuable lessons, LohKamp said. “They learned gracious professionalism, cooperation, perseverance, and the generosity of others.”

The team has returned the borrowed equipment, are now raising funds to replace the stolen equipment items. You can donate to the team at:

Or, to learn more about FRC Team 1432, “The Metal Beavers”, visit their website:

Wanda Lovie Gyles Howard, SWAT
Arrested on multiple charges by SWAT officers, while hiding in her S.E. 17th Avenue attic, was Wanda Lovie Gyles-Howard. (Clackamas County Jail booking photo)

SERT arrest shuts down SE 17th Avenue near Garthwick


Motorists and transit riders accustomed to using S.E. 17th Avenue during their morning commute found themselves faced with an unexpected detour to other streets in the 6 am hour of Tuesday, April 14, when law enforcement closed the road between Highway 224 and S.E. Milport Street.

“Around 6 am Milwaukie Police, with the assistance of the Clackamas County Inter-agency SWAT Team, executed a search warrant at 9819 S.E. 17th Avenue in Milwaukie,” explained Milwaukie Police Public Information Officer Greg Elkins.

The large law enforcement presence was prompted by the need to serve two felony arrest warrants on 41-year-old Wanda Lovie Howard, one of which involved a pursuit in Portland, Elkins said, and was a precaution because of Howard's “elude history”. The suspect was also the target of on-going investigations of property crimes, Elkins added.

“The SWAT team ultimately made entry into the residence, and Howard was taken into custody,” Elkins reported. “She was hiding in the attic. No one was injured during entry.”

S.E. 17th Avenue was reopened to traffic at about 7:20 am.

“During the search of the residence, Milwaukie Police recovered three stolen utility trailers and a stolen vehicle,” Elkins later added. “Additionally, they located evidence of Identity Theft, and counterfeit U.S. Currency.”

Ms. Howard was booked into the Clackamas County Jail under her maiden name, “Wanda Lovie Gyles”, on the two open Felony arrest warrants for Failure to Appear, And also for Probation Violation, and Attempt to Elude Police. She remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 combined bail.

“The investigation is ongoing, and other criminal charges are pending,” Elkins told THE BEE.

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Note to readers: At some point, this, our original Internet website, will be replaced at this web address by our new website, as part of the Community Newspapers group. At that time, you will still be able to access this long-established and smartphone-friendly website, if you save this address: You'll still have your choice of which one to visit!

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