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April 2017 -- Vol. 111, No. 8

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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Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, Historic District, Sellwood Middle School
Hundreds of people packed the March Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Board of Directors meeting – held in the Sellwood Middle School Library. (Phaoto by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland proceeds with Historic District application

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Although a narrow majority of residents polled within the proposed Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) Historic District boundary – with only two thirds of the residents participating – voted against the national designation, the majority of the ENA Board of Directors voted to continue the application process during their regular monthly meeting on March 16 – held in Sellwood, to accommodate the large crowd attending.

Although the issue has been marked by a high level of rancor and acrimony by neighbors on both sides, the full house (some 240 people) at the meeting comported themselves with restraint and decorum.

Prior to this meeting, at a special ENA Board Meeting held at Duniway Elementary School on March 9, Anne Dufay, the Executive Director of Southeast Uplift, the neighborhood coalition office that oversaw the receipt and counting of the poll, had announced the results:

  • I don’t know 19
  • Support 666
  • Oppose 702

Of the 2,060 polling ballots sent, 1,400 were returned, meaning that only about 67% of those polled chose to respond.

At that time, ENA Chair Tom Hansen fielded questions only about the security and methodology of the poll – making it clear that the Eastmoreland Historic District application would not be discussed at the March 9 meeting.

From the beginning, the ENA Board had made it clear that the poll was to be advisory, simply seeking a neighborhood consensus – but, over the course of about seven months, many Board members publicly stated they would accept the majority opinion expressed by those who participated.

At its regular monthly meeting, held on Thursday, March 16 at Sellwood Middle School, the ENA Board of Directors considered the topic of whether to advance the Eastmoreland Historic District application.

After dispatching other business, Chair Hansen announced that the proponents and opponents of the Historic District had each been allotted a total of nine minutes to speak.

Those crowded in the Sellwood Middle School library – far more standing, than sitting in the available seats – listened respectfully, for the most part, to the presenters.

The opponents speak
“We’re here today as the Board decides whether to honor the expressed wishes of the majority of the neighborhood who do not want the neighborhood made a Historic District,” began Patrick Cummings, the first speaker in opposition.

Cummings gave the board kudos for “connecting a meaningful poll”, and pointed out that, “The majority said they do not want a Historic District.”

He then enumerated some of the 22 communications sent out by regular mail, e-mail, and social media by those supporting the Historic District, either directly by the ENA Board, or by a separate group called HEART (Historic Eastmoreland Achieving Results Together). “All these communications were urging a ‘yes vote’ on the Historic District poll.”

Speaking next, Chelsea Cummings thanked the Board for putting on activities such as the Fourth of July Parade, and taking care the trees and the green spaces.

“We’re concerned about saving homes, landscape and trees – what about the people, neighbors?” she continued.

Pointing out that the 702 who voted against the Historic District in the poll, and 725 neighbors signed notarized objections to the proposed designation, Cummings concluded, “Please show us that we aren’t a foe to be defeated – show us that you don’t care more about the buildings in this neighborhood then the people who live in them.”

Although he admitted to having voting in favor of the Historic District designation in the poll, Reed College Political Science Professor Paul Gronke said, “I am here to urge the board withdraw the nomination at this time. I think the only way real way to move forward, here, to bind those wounds, is to withdraw the nomination and bring the community back together in some way, to try to control the development in our neighborhood ... in a way we can all agree upon.”

The professor pointed out that “a small but significant majority” had voted to withdraw the nomination.

“We can continue down this road [of furthering the Historic District nomination] and continue to open this raw wound that is been open in Eastmoreland – or we can start a dialogue on how to move forward,” Gronke said.

Cindy McCann echoed the sentiments expressed by the previous speakers, and added, “Please do not vote because you’ve done all this work; please vote based on what the majority has told you. I cannot believe that this Board wants to go down in the record of voting against the majority in this neighborhood.

“I really want this Board to honor the majority of this neighborhood and let this neighborhood heal and find a good tool to protect us,” McCann said.

The proponents say
Proponent Derek Blum, co-founder HEART, began by reading a letter from an Eastmoreland neighbor regarding the “advisory poll”, who said the poll was “very confusing”.

“One thing I think we can agree on that there was a great deal of confusion in this process,” Blum said. “Some have been confused whether they should respond to the poll, or directly to the Oregon State Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation, or both.” Adding to the confusion, Blum said, was the physical presentation of the poll mailer.

He then decried “significant” confusion “generated from the communications of groups and individuals that continually indicated that ‘no action equals a yes vote’.”

The survey results “were inconclusive, and do not provide a clear verdict of the neighborhood’s view of the Historic District,” Blum added, “Other than pointing out what we already know: We are a neighborhood divided.”

Another factor the Board should consider, Blum suggested, is that “The nomination itself has merit ... the City of Portland Historic Landmarks Commission and the Oregon State Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation have supported the nomination.”

He also pointed to the City of Portland’s Residential Infill Project as a reason for the Historic District, saying, “This is a de facto rezoning of Eastmoreland from ‘single-family residential’ to ‘multifamily’. It is an aggressive overreach by the City of Portland in the name of increased density, and will encourage additional demolitions. Instituting an Historic District, under changes to Oregon LCDC State Rule 5, “the City of Portland will have to work with Eastmoreland residents to develop neighborhood-specific guidelines.”

Wrapping up, Blum commented on two pending demolitions in the neighborhood at this time, and said, “A National Historic District designation is the only thing that will stop these demolitions.”

Neighbor Katie Lamb testified that because she supported the Historic District, “I’m really nervous, and I’m afraid. I’m afraid of retaliation, I’m afraid a personal attack, I’m afraid of judgment. That fear kept me silent for a very long time. That fear is epidemic for supporters of the Historic District in our neighborhood. I don’t think any this fear and intimidation has been done on purpose, in an attempt to hush one side of the story, but that is what has happened.”

Commenting that the word spread that those that approve of the Historic District didn’t need to do anything, Lamb said, “This is a false narrative. It’s wrong to make people feel bad for supporting the Historic District, and wrong to tell them that did not have to participate in the conversation. It’s no wonder supporters were underrepresented in the poll.”

The ENA Board decides
Chair Hansen then called upon the 19 board members, asking them to briefly comment if they chose to do so. Most of them spoke in support of the Historic District, some voiced their disapproval, and a few chose not to speak.

Speaking last, Hansen said those opposed to the Historic District designation “were very good at raising doubts, and sometimes fears, obfuscating some of the issues” – adding that, “The Board was too complacent.”

He concluded, “I’m going to say, and I strongly feel this way, that the poll is not a mandate; it does not represent a mandate by the numbers. But we have received two mandates, though.

“One is from the Portland Landmarks Commission that unanimously voted that [Eastmoreland has] Historic District potential; and secondly and more importantly, that the statewide Advisory Commission voted unanimously to continue with the application, and cautioned us against giving up on the nomination process. So there we are,” Hansen concluded.

ENA Secretary George Bengtson then proceeded to conduct a roll-call vote. The motion to continue the Historic District application passed with thirteen yes votes, three no votes, and three abstentions.

Although he’s a longstanding proponent of establishing the Eastmoreland Historic District, former Chair and current ENA Treasurer Robert McCullough raised many eyebrows when he emphatically voted “no”.

After the meeting, McCullough told THE BEE, “I’ve said all along that I would support the majority of the poll; some of us live and die by our word, and I think I just died by my word – but that’s all right.” 

When asked after the meeting adjourned how the Board could reunite the neighborhood, Hansen said, “We will continue to try to meet more face-to-face with neighbors, no matter which side they’re on, because I think once the issue becomes more definite, a lot of the acrimony will fade.”

Part of Hansen’s closing statement didn’t sit well with neighbor Leo Frishberg. He said, “The Portland Landmark commission actually did not state that they approve this as a Historic District, what they recommended was that this Historic District proposal should be delayed until the June meeting, to fix the flaws in the survey of homes.”

“Keep Eastmoreland Free” advocate Patrick Cummings commented he was “extremely disappointed, but not surprised” by the Board’s decision.

It’ll be challenging for the neighborhood to reunite, declared Cummings. “It’s going to be difficult when your elected leaders ignore what they’ve been asked to do by their constituents. It’s very difficult to trust them going forward.”



Mikes Drive In, Tenino at 17th, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Here’s a rendering of the planned development on the “Mike’s” lot, prepared by Myhre Group Architects, and provided to Portland Bureau of Development Services. (Image by Myhre Group Architects, via BDS)

Apartment developer seeks to forego parking requirements in Sellwood-Moreland projects

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

According to records filed with the Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) on February 21, two new apartment developments – both of them from the same developer – might be built without any on-site parking.

The new four-story 89-unit apartment building to be constructed at 1707 S.E. Tenino Street – the former location of the historic Mike’s Drive-In – is one of those properties.

The BDS documentation (17-124307-000-00-EA) reads: “...there is already an existing building permit for the project, but he wants to add the affordable housing aspect to forgo [sic] the parking requirement. If he finds he can proceed with the project as proposed ... he will cancel the previously applied-for permit and get a new one, with the parking removed.”

The “he” referred to is Dennis Sackhoff, of the Beaverton-based Urban Development Group.

And, on the same date, an almost-identical filing was made by Sackhoff’s representative for an already-permitted 54-unit four-story apartment building on the southwest corner of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Yukon Street, prompting the SMILE Land Use Committee to start a discussion about community interest in starting parking permit zones near such projects, to preserve street parking for nearby homeowners.

The developer, who has appeared before the SMILE Land Use Committee, has also purchased land at 1635-1637 S.E. Nehalem Street in Sellwood, the former Sky Heating location across from the SkyBox Restaurant, for yet another 61-unit apartment house – and, on March 16, he pursued the on-site parking removal option at that location, too.

“The owner does not wish to make any public comment, or engage me to make any public comment, regarding any properties,” said applicant David Mullens, who represents Urban Development Group, in a cordial but brief telephone interview with THE BEE.

The basis for such changes goes back to February 10, 2016, when the Portland City Council passed Resolution 37187, put forward by Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, to commence an “Inclusionary Housing Program”.

And, last November, in an apparent effort to keep new development from coming to a standstill as a result of that program, the City Council decided to waive requirements for on-site parking requirements, for apartment building developers choosing to participate in that Inclusionary Housing Program.

Affording Housing proponents claim eliminating on-site parking can significantly reduce construction costs, and they believe that those savings will  be passed on to renters.

“Having 89 apartments here, with no parking, is insane!” remarked a homeowner living near the Tenino Street development, who declined to be identified.

“Even if only half of the people living here have cars, that still means about 40 cars will need to park somewhere,” he said, pointing out the lack of parking on S.E. 17th Avenue, together with the “one-side-of-the-street-only” parking on Tenino Street.

However, at this time, the Urban Development Group has simply requested guidance on this option from BDS staffers – and has not, yet, officially revised their permits to build these the apartment projects with some “affordable units”, and no on-site parking at all.



St Patrick, St Agatha, Tom Brown, parade, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
This year, St. Patrick was portrayed by St. Agatha Catholic School student Peter Fengeler-Johnson, who marched with the 2017 Grand Marshal, businessman Tom Brown. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Community turns out in the rain for St. Patrick’s Parade

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

As in many years past, a light but steady rain didn’t dampen spirits for those coming out for the 19th annual Sellwood-Moreland St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade presented by St. Agatha Catholic Church and School.

Just before noon on Saturday, March 18, a cadre of Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officers started fanning out to guide the parade south on S.E. 15th Avenue, west Tacoma Street, north on 13th Avenue, and eventually looping back around to the festival area at St. Agatha’s. Westmoreland Station 20’s Fire Engine crew pulled up just before the parade stepped off, to lead the procession.

“This year, our Grand Marshal is Tom Brown; we’re honoring him for all the things that he is done to support the community here in Sellwood and Westmoreland,” announced the day’s organizer, Heidi La Valley.

Marching in the parade, Tom Brown – the organizer and first President of the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance – was all smiles as he told THE BEE, “They asked me, and I said yes! I’ve never in a parade, and it’s a lot of fun walking with the kids, and enjoying it with all the people coming out here for this great community event.”

As has happened each year for the past two decades, people browsing in nearby Sellwood shops came out to watch the colorful parade pass by, and to hear the lively music by the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band.

As the festival was opening after the parade, with the skies gradually clearing, La Valley pointed to us that, since its origin, this event has asked everyone in the community – adults, kids, and families – to join in the fun. “This is a community celebration that we’ve established to help everyone get involved!”

New to the festival this year was the addition of food carts, which were doing a brisk business. And this year, organizers moved the Beer Hall tent – featuring live music throughout the afternoon – out of the street and into the parking lot next to the school gym.

Inside the gym, the carnival featured games of skill and chance, a cake walk, and cotton candy. In the Parish Hall, cooks were serving up Irish sausage rolls, Shepherd’s Pie, and other traditional foods.

Some 125 volunteers, working for months, had made the St. Patrick’s Day celebration possible; and many were on hand to help on the day of the event, La Valley said.

“It’s great seeing members the community coming together and making new friends, reaching out to everybody,” smiled La Valley amid the festivities.



Arson, Cleveland High School, Portland, Oregon, arrests
20-year-old Devyn Michaeljohn Julkowski, left, awaits trial on three felony charges; although he’s now free on bail, 20-year-old Patrick John Schrengohst, right, still faces trial on the same charges. (MCDC booking photos)

Former students arrested in Cleveland High arson attempt

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Apparently, the damage wasn’t substantial, but a burned odor was still noticeable in the air at Cleveland High School a full week after a pair of former students had allegedly vandalized the school. The incident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, February 15.

According to information provided by Portland Fire & Rescue, the duo vandalized the school and lit several fires inside the school, all while four staff-members were already in the building, getting ready for the day.

One of the two suspected vandals reportedly posted videos of themselves breaking a window and entering the school on “Snapchat”, according to a probable-cause affidavit leading to their arrests.

A week later, on February 22, Portland Fire & Rescue’s Arson Investigation Unit identified the suspects, and both of them were charged with Measure 11 crimes of Arson in the First Degree, and Burglary in the Second Degree.

20-year-old Devyn Michaeljohn Julkowski was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on those felony charges, and he remains in custody at Inverness Jail in lieu of $260,000 bail.

20-year-old Patrick John Schrengohst, who reportedly was the one who posted video of the crime on social media, was booked into MCDC the same day on the same felony charges. Schrengohst was freed on February 23, after $260,000 bail was posted on his behalf.



sellwood riverfront park, flooding, willamette river
WELCOME TO SELLWOOD RIVERFRONT PARK! In January, this park at the foot of S.E. Spokane Street was briefly a snowfield. In July each year, it’s the home of the Monday evening “Concerts in the Park”. It overlooks the Willamette River, and when the river rises – as it did in mid-March – the river returns the favor. On this particular day, the dog park was closed! This photo was taken and contributed by Sellwood resident and businessman Dan O’Flaherty, whose striking pictures of the Sellwood Bridge at sunset appeared in the December BEE.
Franklin High School, renovation, Portland, Oregon
With much of the new exterior work done on buildings at Franklin High School, work will soon begin on the sports field and track. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Franklin High: New buildings joining historic structures

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The $113 million Franklin High School modernization project continues on schedule, as THE BEE can verify from a campus tour on the first of March.

While work continues inside the historic buildings of the 101-year-old school, this tour focused on two new additions – the Student Commons, and the Gym / Biomedical / Culinary Arts building.

The school’s new Student Commons is located in a new structure located between where the old gymnasium once stood, and the exterior entrance to what was once the historic Franklin Auditorium.

“The walk-in freezer and coolers have been installed in the food service area; and upstairs, the counseling and student support service offices are almost finished, and are being painted,” pointed out Public Schools Bond Program Communications Manager David Mayne.

As we walked north, along the east side of the campus, the new Gym / Biomedical / Culinary Arts building came into view, alongside the reoriented sports field and track.

We entered the building on the second floor, where a glass-enclosed hallway provides a stunning view of the historic building and sports field. Near the entrance to the main gym, Mayne pointed out how the heritage school has been showcased. “These wood panels, salvaged from the original gym floor, are being used as a decorative wall panel system at the trophy case area of the main gym lobby.”

New flooring and bleachers have been installed in the main gymnasium, and the view from the second floor mezzanine fills the eye. This will be the new location for “all school” assemblies, Mayne observed.

“Franklin has a robust sports medicine program,” Mayne said. “With this new building, classrooms for this program are located here, where those taking these classes can work with student athletes learning physical therapy and sports medicine.”

On the lower level of this new building, workers were getting ready to install kitchen equipment in the “Culinary Arts” classrooms.

Inside the historic building, contractors were preparing to construct a grand staircase at the front entrance, and classroom areas have had all specialty equipment installed; this new building will be completed in mid-March, Mayne remarked. “It would be so nice to have events here, but once it’s finished, it will be locked up. With all of the construction still going on, there’s just no way to get students and guests in and around the campus.”

During our next tour of the Franklin campus, readers of THE BEE will get a look at the new Performing Arts Center, and will see how the former auditorium has been turned into the “Media Center and Maker Space”.



Shooting, SE 82nd, Golden Key Insurance, homeless, shooting, no true bill, grand jury
An officer escorts insurance company owner Charlie Win Chan, who did the shooting in this incident, from the scene. Chan was not arrested, and was completely cleared in the incident by the Grand Jury. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Man killed in 82nd Avenue business confrontation

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A homeless man is dead, and the person who shot him will not be charged with a crime – after the former confronted and threatened the latter at about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, February 20, near S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses and Ramona Street.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers – quickly followed by Portland Fire & Rescue units – rushed to the location, after a caller to the 9-1-1 Center reported he had just shot a man in the stomach.

Soon, red police crime scene tape strung to mark off the gravel parking lot between Cobbler Bill’s popular shoe store, and the house-turned-office of Golden Key Insurance Agency at 5821 S.E. 82nd.

“Detectives learned that 32-year-old Jason Gerald Petersen had entered the Golden Key Insurance Agency and confronted the business owner – 47-year-old Charlie Win Chan, and his wife – about some missing personal property he claimed to have left near the business,” explained Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

 “Petersen left the office, and shortly thereafter, Chan went outside and [south into] the parking lot next to the business, where he was confronted again by Petersen, leading to the shooting,” Simpson said.

Although he was quickly transported to a hospital, Petersen died that evening. “The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that Peterson died of a single gunshot wound,” revealed Simpson.

Throughout that Monday afternoon, 82nd Avenue of Roses was closed to traffic while the investigation progressed; it reopened to drivers at about 9 p.m.

One family member, Justin Petersen, told reporters he didn’t want to “rush to judgment” about the situation, and admitted that his brother had suffered from mental illness, and was homeless.

But the deceased man’s brother did wonder aloud why, after his brother left the office, Chan didn’t simply lock the door and call police, instead of venturing outside.

“Chan has not been arrested, and the case will be presented to a Multnomah County Grand Jury once the investigation is complete,” Simpson reported.

On March 10, a Multnomah County Grand Jury returned a “no true bill” in the shooting death of Petersen, finding that no criminal prosecution was warranted as a result of the use of deadly force by Chan.

The Grand Jury heard how detectives learned that Petersen entered the Golden Key Insurance Agency and confronted Chan, the business owner, about some missing personal property Petersen had left on the front porch of the business.

During this confrontation, Chan stated that Petersen threatened to kill him and burn down his business as he left the building. About five minutes later, Chan went outside where he stated that Petersen attacked him, resulting in the shooting.

Chan, a valid concealed handgun license holder, called 9-1-1 to report the shooting and cooperated with the subsequent investigation. Police later determined that Petersen had not been armed at the time of the shooting.



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