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January, 2023 - Vol. 117, No. 5
Scroll down to read this issue!

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 the special centenary retrospective!


Next BEE is our February
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Temperatures were recorded at 90 degrees, and even more, in some classrooms at Sellwood Middle School, as classes opened during a heat wave before Labor Day this past summer.
Temperatures were recorded at 90 degrees, and even more, in some classrooms at Sellwood Middle School, as classes opened during a heat wave before Labor Day this past summer. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Blazing hot classrooms, sick students, as school began this fall


Our all-time record 116 degree day in June of 2021 was nothing if not a wake-up call. And Inner Southeast residents who thought they’d never really need air conditioning clearly have changed their minds, and many acquired some cooling for homes and apartments in time for the hot summer we experienced this past year.

But there has not yet been a similar rush to add air conditioning to our schools. Perhaps the idea that schools are out in the summertime made the need seem a bit less obvious. And currently, the pressure is off because we are in the colder part of the year. So, with the first snowflakes of the winter already falling, maybe cooler heads will prevail, and this problem will find a solution before summer returns again.

As Portland Public Schools kicked off the new school year last August, teachers and students were met with sweltering classrooms. The district now faces an Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) complaint from the teachers union.

Many PPS campuses, including the majority in Inner Southeast, are old buildings with no air conditioning. Teachers took photos of thermometers in their classrooms showing more than 90 degrees – including at Sellwood Middle School – with some schools having a heat index of more than 100 degrees. That led to some students getting sick.

“We received reports of students and staff having heat-related illnesses, including a student throwing up until they passed out, and having a serious medical situation,” Jacque Dixon, Vice President of the Portland Association of Teachers, told the Portland School Board shortly after school opened for the fall, on Tuesday, September 6th.

She said that the teachers union requested a heat illness prevention plan from the District, in line with OSHA guidelines. PPS’s plan focused on students and staff staying hydrated, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and bringing reusable water bottles to school. Dixon said the district also asked custodians to come in at 6 a.m. and open the windows to let the hot air out – however, many teachers arrived at classrooms that still had the windows shut at 7:30 a.m. during that first week of school.

The union asked teachers to document the temperatures in their rooms. “We’ve got some pictures of temperatures of over 110 degrees in some of these buildings,” Dixon told the Board. “I'm just bringing this to your attention, because I know there have been complaints and concerns from family and community about the condition of our buildings for a long time.”

The teachers union published a list of concerns and recommendations, suggesting future school years once return to starting after Labor Day, to reduce the number of high-temperature school days, and to provide air conditioning units or fans for teachers to use in excessively-hot spaces.

While PPS has had some remodeled and new campuses around town this year – like the brand-new Lincoln High School building downtown – which do offer air conditioning, the majority of schools in the Portland Schools system still don’t.

Lincoln High School Principal Peyton Chapman welcomed the new climate-controlled building this year for students, observing that in prior years, the early fall heat was often a safety issue. “We used to be, you know, wondering by one o’clock if we had to close the school, and we were sweating -- and it was just really hard for students to learn,” Chapman told KATU-TV-2 news on the first day of school. “It’s hard to stay awake – they fall asleep in class.”

School Board member Michelle DePass remarked that the City of Portland is moving toward requiring air conditioning in all commercial buildings. “It seems like an urgent issue, because it’s really hot and it’s getting hotter,” DePass said. “At some point, we won’t have a choice, it’s just a human right. It’s one of those conditions where it’s getting hotter, and we haven’t prepared for it yet, but there’s quite a bit of action happening at the city level for buildings such as ours.”

PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero addressed the District’s hot campuses, acknowledging that extreme heat will only get worse in the future. Guerrero noted PPS plans to establish a heat wave protocol in line with the District’s climate crisis resilience plan.

“We recognize that the majority of our buildings, given our modernization efforts when we started in recent years, are not yet entirely ready for the changing weather patterns,” Guerrero said. “As your superintendent, I just wanted to assure you that we're working on a tangible solution for this in the long term.”

But the clock is ticking, and summer will again be here again before you know it.

After an armed robbery about twenty blocks east, officers closed in on the suspect’s vehicle in a parking lot just north of Reed College.
After an armed robbery about twenty blocks east, officers closed in on the suspect’s vehicle in a parking lot just north of Reed College. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Suspect dies in Reed neighborhood officer-involved shooting


An armed robbery near a gentleman’s club on S.E. Powell Boulevard at 50th Avenue just after midnight, early Wednesday morning, November 19th, led to an officer-involved shooting and the death of a suspect in the Reed neighborhood.

At 12:24 a.m. on that morning, East Precinct officers sere sent to investigate the report of an armed robbery behind that establishment. The suspect’s vehicle description was broadcast to officers responding to the incident. A short time later, an officer spotted a vehicle similar in description to the suspect vehicle being driven in a reckless manner through Inner Southeast Portland neighborhoods.

The vehicle stopped in the parking lot of the Reedwood Friends Church, just east of S.E. 28th Avenue along Steele Street.

Officers attempted to make contact with the occupants. Then, at 12:41 a.m., an officer-involved shooting occurred, during which the suspect was struck. What led up to the shots fired had not yet been disclosed at the time this issue of THE BEE went to press. The suspect was taken to a local hospital by ambulance for medical treatment, while other occupants of the car were detained pending further investigation.

On November 23rd, a PPB official revealed the name of the man struck in the officer-involved shooting, in a statement: “30-year-old Immanueal Jaquez Clark-Johnson has passed away due to his injuries. An autopsy performed by the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Clark-Johnson died from the gunshot wound.”

If you can tell more about this incident, and have not spoken with officers, please email Detective Sean Macomber – – or call him at 503/823-0404. Alternatively, contact Detective Rico Beniga – – or call 503/823-0457. You will be calling about Case No. 22-803367.

While other work continued on the “Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project”, the new culvert drainage system was completed in September of 2018. Both the Springwater Trail and the Oregon Pacific Railroad reopened soon afterward on top of the new berm above the new culvert.
While other work continued on the “Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project”, the new culvert drainage system was completed in September of 2018. Both the Springwater Trail and the Oregon Pacific Railroad reopened soon afterward on top of the new berm above the new culvert. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

2018’s ‘Oaks Bottom Rehab’ receives an award


The “Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project”, a major public work that turned the swampy lake area of the Sellwood wildlife refuge into a well-functioning marshland ecosystem in 2018, was honored on October 11 by the Oregon State Land Board in Salem.

At the 18th Annual State Land Board Awards ceremony, the large-scale cooperative effort by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers received a state award.

A major part of the project was removing the small pipe and ineffective drainage system that connected the Willamette River with Oaks Bottom, and installing a fish-friendly culvert in its place.

That, along with extensive grading and construction to improve the wetland habitat, resulted in providing cooler, calm waters that young fish seek during winter and spring conditions, when the water flow is high and turbulent in the Willamette River. It was also intended to reduce the presence of mosquitos in the area in the warmer months.

“The Springwater Trail, along the Willamette River, is a major bicycle arterial in the heart of Portland – and it had to be closed for roughly six months,” recalled Sean Bistoff, project lead from the Bureau of Environmental Services, at the Salem award ceremony.

“City staff worked with bike advocacy groups to gain support for the project, and to develop detour routes,” Bistoff continued. “The project also disrupted the service provided by the Oregon Pacific Railroad, a privately owned railroad that runs through Oaks Bottom – but the railroad became instrumental in delivering construction materials and equipment.”

Also recognized in the award was the new viewing platform along the Springwater Trail, adjacent to Oaks Amusement Park, that allows trail users to have an expansive view of the completed 75-acre project, including winding channels and native vegetation and trees.

And, of course, once again the SMILE neighborhood Holiday Tree, on S.E. 13th Avenue overlooking Oaks Bottom, is now shining out over the Willamette River until after the dawn of the New Year. That wasn’t mentioned in the award, but it happens at Oaks Bottom every year at this time!

On this picturesque college campus on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, Reed College’s President has announced that a tenured psychology professor is resigning over an incident that occurred some time ago off campus.
On this picturesque college campus on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, Reed College’s President has announced that a tenured psychology professor is resigning over an incident that occurred some time ago off campus. (Photo by Courtney Vaughn)

ReedCollege professor resigns after online video prompts investigation


A Portland college professor who was filmed berating fast food employees and inquiring about their immigration status earlier this year will leave his tenured position.

Reed College President Audrey Bilger announced in a message to faculty, staff and students Wednesday, November 30, that Paul Currie, a psychology professor who held permanent tenure, agreed to resign from his position, effective this coming January.

Currie came under fire from students and the broader community in March, when an online video showed him interrogating an employee from his vehicle at a drive-thru restaurant. Currie cited “rude behavior” he had allegedly encountered, and asked where the employee was born, then inquired about another employee's immigration status, calling them both “illegal immigrants”.

The video was circulated widely online, and led to student protests at the private liberal arts college at the north edge of the Eastmoreland neighborhood, along with calls for Currie's termination over the racist behavior.

President Bilger said the incident was investigated by Reed, but a committee had determined that Currie's off-work behavior didn't violate any college policies.

“Last spring, many community members expressed concerns – ones I shared – about a video circulated on social media that captured remarks made by a professor on leave from the college, Paul Currie,” Bilger stated. “Based on the content of the video, the incident led to calls for reconsideration of Professor Currie's appointment – a position he held, with indefinite tenure.

“Following the procedure outlined in college documents governing faculty employment, a faculty committee investigated the incident and found no violation of college policy. I have accepted the committee's decision.

“After receiving the report, I discussed the committee's findings with legal experts, and with Professor Currie. As a result of these discussions, Professor Currie has resigned from his position.”

Peofessor Paul Currie says medication caused the behavior that led to the calls for his resignation. Currie, whose research work focused on neuroscience, joined Reed College in 2007. He was on an extended sabbatical from the college at the time when the spring incident occurred.

Currie expressed remorse for the behavior in a statement provided to the Pamplin Media Group, of which THE BEE is a part, on Thursday, December 1st – saying he was impaired by a prescribed medication, and doesn't remember the event.

“I would like to thank the investigating committee (IC) for its thorough review of the facts and ultimately concluding I did not violate Reed College's policy or the Faculty Constitution," Currie said. “Over the last few months, I’ve been living with intense shame and regret from an event I – still to this day – do not remember. There is no excuse to ever engage in offensive or discriminatory behavior, and I accept full responsibility for my actions.

“Out of respect to my colleagues and students, I would like to share that the incident in question stemmed from a well-documented side effect of a popular medication to treat acute insomnia – a long-standing medical condition [of mine]. The video did not show my decades-long commitment to students' diversity and inclusivity, which dates to my time as a graduate student, and then a postdoctoral fellow. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, helping students from marginalized groups is personal for me.”

The Police Bureau’s “Mobile Command Center” arrived after the shooting victim died at the scene, to provide the investigating detectives and officers a base from which to work.
The Police Bureau’s “Mobile Command Center” arrived after the shooting victim died at the scene, to provide the investigating detectives and officers a base from which to work. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
The victim in this homicide has been identified as this man, 45-year-old Raja McCallister.
The victim in this homicide has been identified as this man, 45-year-old Raja McCallister. (Family-provided photo)

Shots in Creston-Kenilworth lead to homicide investigation


Gunshots at a four-plex in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood on Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, wounded a man who later died of his injuries before he could be taken to a hospital.

At 7:53 p.m., Central Precinct officers were sent to a “Shooting-with-Weapon” incident at the Cora Park Apartments, owned by the Housing Authority of Portland, at 4207 S.E. 37th Avenue. “There, officers located a victim; despite attempting life saving aid, the victim was declared deceased at the scene,” reported a PPB official.

Officers closed off S.E. 37th Avenue from Cora Street north to Gladstone Street as investigators from the PPB’s Homicide Detail responded to take over the investigation. Soon, 18 police cruisers had gathered there, including the Bureau’s Mobile Command Center, which rolled in at 9:58 p.m.

A man who ran breathlessly up to the police line cordoning off the crime scene on Cora Street blurted out to officers, “My dad’s been shot; I need to get in.”

As with many shootings, eyewitnesses to the crime couldn’t be located. However, several residents, whose homes surround the property, told THE BEE that they’d heard several shots. One person remarked that police had blocked off the road because, “there’s a lot of evidence on the street.”

Another neighbor reported, “I just talked to the police. They didn't disclose much except that a suspect took off in a brown Cadillac.” Soon, social media was abuzz with reports of the shooting.

On November 24, Portland Police officials revealed that they’d arrested 63-year-old Teddy Wayne Hall, Senior, for the crime. Hall was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 6:27 a.m., after being found and arrested by Portland Police Bureau Detectives. Hall has been charged with one count each of Murder in the Second Degree and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Currently, he’s still being held in jail without bail.

Then, on November 29, Portland Police publicly identified the victim as 45-year-old Raja McCallister of Portland. The Medical Examiner determined the cause of his death to be from gunshot wounds, and the manner of death “homicide”.

If you have information on this crime and have not yet spoken to officers, you’re asked to contact Detective Scott Broughton by email or phone – Scott or 503-823-3774. Alternatively, you can contact Detective Eric McDaniel – or 503-823-0833. Please reference Case No. 22-312816 when you reach them.

“FIT” leader comments
On Thanksgiving Day, the day after the murder, the leader of the Portland Police “Focused Intervention Team” (FIT), Lt. Ken Duilio, told reporters, “It’s discouraging.

“It’s been pretty consistent since June of 2020,” Duilio added. “What we’ve seen is an increase in the number of shots fired, and an increase in all sorts of different kinds of shootings.

“I never thought, even with the ‘defund and disband movement’, that we would ever see this level of violence – even though I would’ve guessed that [violence with guns] could double. Now there’s triple to quadruple the amount of the gun violence compared to what we saw 2018 in 2019. But, we are committed to doing the best we can,” Lt. Duilio sighed.

One week later, more shots fired
Central Precinct officers were again dispatched to the 4200 block of S.E. 37th Avenue – neighbors believed it was once again the Cora Park Apartments – on November 30, at 4:09 a.m., on a “Shots Fired” call. At least one neighbor said the sound of gunfire woke them up.

“Officers did respond on that day and time to that location on the report of shots fired,” confirmed Portland Police spokesperson Lt. Nathan Sheppard to THE BEE. “Officers searched an apartment that turned out to be empty.

“Evidence of a shooting was found both inside and outside of that apartment,” he said. “No one is custody, and there are no known injuries associated to that shooting.”

Paige Wallace substantially contributed to this story.

“Steaming up” on the siding, while Holiday Express passengers loaded beside the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, was the “Polson Logging Co. No. 2” steam locomotive.
“Steaming up” on the siding, while Holiday Express passengers loaded beside the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, was the “Polson Logging Co. No. 2” steam locomotive. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Holiday Express excursions reverse course this season


Hearing the haunting and nostalgic sound of a steam locomotive whistle along Oaks Bottom is one signal that the Holiday season is upon us – it’s the sound of the Holiday Express train again rolling between the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC) and Oaks Amusement Park.

Riders on this historically evocative excursion are again enjoying the vintage passenger cars decorated with Holiday lights, Santa Claus and his elves, and candy canes for all “good little children” on the train.

But a new wrinkle this year is that it is departing from, and returning to, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, near OMSI, and not from “Oaks Park Station”, which is now just a stopover on the trip.

When asked what was behind the decision to change the departure station, the museum’s Marketing Manager – Carolyn Meeker – told THE BEE, “We realized we have always had this perfect location right at our feet!

“Making the decision to run out of, and return to, the ORHC Engine House this year was agreed upon by our Board of Directors, and implemented by Renee Devereux, our Executive Director, with the support of our many volunteers,” Meeker explained. “We can now share everything this museum has to offer with all of our Holiday Express riders, which makes it extra special for everyone.”

Another change that may surprise some riders is that the Holiday Express is not being pulled by the ORHC’s best-known working steam locomotives – neither the famous and mighty Southern Pacific 4449, the Spokane Portland & Seattle 700, nor the Oregon Railway & Navigation 197.

“The SP 4449 has a very long wheel base – and that, combined with its massive weight, can cause Oregon Pacific Railroad (OPR) rails [which are used between the two destinations] to spread, particularly in the curves,” Meeker told us.

“An occasional run [of the SP 4449] on the O.P.R. track is fine, but with the 83 weekend runs we make after Thanksgiving in four weeks each year – it’s become too much,” Meeker went on. “We are very excited to have the “Polson No. 2”, an historic steam-powered logging locomotive on loan from the Albany & Eastern Railroad and Rick Franklin for the Holiday Express this year.”

The Polson Logging Co. No. 2 is a 2-8-2 "Mikado" steam locomotive built by the Baldwin locomotive works in 1912 for the Polson Logging Company in Hoquiam, Washington.

Unlike the last two seasons, there aren’t any special concerns about COVID-19 this year. “We’ll completely understand if our riders would like to wear a mask, but this is not being required either in the Center, or onboard the trains,” said Meeker.

More than 100 volunteers – many of whom have worked on every Holiday Express since its inception – help make the Holiday Express run – this year, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 18th.

“The Holiday Express is our #1 fundraiser; it literally funds the museum, and ‘keeps our lights on’ for the year!” Meeker exclaimed.

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