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November 2014 -- Vol. 109, No. 3

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 issue will be our Pre-Thanksgiving/December 
issue, with a deadline of November 13.
(The Pre-Christmas (January) issue comes out a week before Christmas, and has an ad and copy deadline of December 4.)


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!

Woodstock murder, Michael William Olson
A Portland Police Bureau K-9 team tries unsuccessfully to track down a man they believe killed a Woodstock resident during an on-street robbery. (Photo courtesy of KGW NewsChannel 8)

Reward offered in Woodstock murder

for THE BEE 

The life of 30-year-old Woodstock resident Michael William Olson came to an abrupt, unexplained, and tragic end – just after 11 pm on Tuesday evening, September 30.

Police say he was robbed, shot, and killed, while walking along S.E. 52nd Avenue near Martins Street.

What the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) first called a shooting investigation quickly became homicide investigation.

“Olson died after suffering from a fatal gunshot wound,” revealed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Homicide investigators believe Olson was killed in the course of a robbery.”

Investigators said Olson and a friend were walking to meet others when he was attacked by what Simpson said witnesses described as a light-skinned African American or Hispanic male. Despite an intense investigation, few facts have emerged. Olson’s family spoke to the press in disbelief over the crime, describing the victim as nonviolent and friendly.

“Crime Stoppers” is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or in any unsolved felony.

Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at:  – or, text CRIMES (274637), and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by the tip. Alternatively, you can call 503/823-4357 and leave the tip information. Tips can be left in English or Spanish, and you can remain anonymous.

Sellwood Bridge, Bent 19
The first section of the old Sellwood Bridge’s Bent 19 support pillar is lifted free. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Goodbye Bent 19: Last old Sellwood Bridge pier dismantled


It was a sure sign that the last in-river vestige of the old Sellwood Bridge was about to be removed, on the afternoon of September 23, when the mighty barge-mounted, twin-boom Lampson 4100 Millennium Crawler Crane fired up.

“The last concrete in-river pier of the old bridge, called Bent 19, is about to come down,” agreed Mark Knieriem, a Multnomah County project manager, standing at the west end of the east Work Bridge. “It’s time to remove this pier, and get ready for putting the new arch span in place.”

They're not blowing it up with dynamite, or knocking it over with a wrecking ball, Knieriem commented to THE BEE. “A crew has cut it into very large sections, and we have a very large crane to pick them off. I believe each section weighs close to 200,000 pounds.”

Knieriem observed that they’d found very little rebar in the columns. “In fact, there wasn't any vertical rebar into some of the columns, just horizontal rebar – they were just a very massive concrete piers. In the new bridge, there’s more rebar in the bents and supports than one can imagine.”

Once they reached a barge, the huge concrete blocks were taken just a short distance north, Knieriem added. “They’re putting them in the Ross Island Lagoon. So, they’re going back to the place where their original materials came from.”

Once the above-water sections were removed, divers continued cutting Bent 19 into pieces below the Willamette River surface, using a wire saw, encrusted with industrial diamonds. “They’ll take them down to a couple of feet below the ‘mud line’ of the river,” Knieriem said. “Then, these sections will be lifted out of the water, and taken to their final resting place.”

In early October, Bent 4, the large in-water pier on the west side of the river, had been poured, including the “angel wings”, to which the steel arches being fabricated in Vancouver will be mounted. 

“In late October, there will be a large-scale continuous concrete pour of Bent 5,” project spokesman Mike Pullen told THE BEE. “This will form the main in-water pier just east of the center of the river.”

While observing the construction work, Pullen said that Multnomah County received no offers to buy the old Sellwood Bridge. 

“We did have a few odd e-mails from Europe and Africa,” Pullen conceded.  “Some of those who inquired indicated that they thought we’d deliver it to them

“A German lady wanted us to donate it to an African country – including the shipping.” No sale. The historic old bridge will be taken apart, when it is no longer needed, and recycled.

Cleveland High School, lockdown
Tracking one of the stolen items, police swiftly located the two daylight armed robbers who allegedly struck a home near Cleveland High: 25-year-old Robert McCollum at left, and 41-year-old James David Mack. (MCDC booking photos)

Nearby armed robbery locks down Cleveland High


Just as classes were getting underway at Cleveland High School on the morning of Thursday, October 2, the campus was placed into a precautionary lockdown after alleged armed robbers boldly made their way to a residence nearby – just three houses south of Franklin Street on S.E. 25th Avenue.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Central Precinct District Officers were called to the area at 7:30 am to investigate the report of three armed men walking along 25th Avenue. 

“At that location, a resident was robbed and assaulted in his home by three men armed with guns,” Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said. “The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the assault.”

Before police arrived, the suspects ran to a vehicle and made a successful getaway – but not without being photographed by an alert neighborhood resident. While classes resumed at Cleveland High, the police got down to business.

“With images of the suspects, and a good vehicle description, Robbery Detectives had a good idea of the men for whom they were looking,” Simpson observed. 

Perhaps the armed thugs shouldn’t have stolen their victim’s iPhone, however. “Using a ‘Find my iPhone’ app, the suspects and the vehicle were quickly located in a motel parking lot in Clackamas County,” Simpson added.

A rifle was recovered from the vehicle that detectives recovered, as they arrested 25-year-old Robert McCollum and 41-year-old James David Mack. A third person was released without charges.

The two robbery suspects were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center that evening on charges of Robbery in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, and Assault in the Second Degree.

After being arraigned in Multnomah County Court the following day, both McCollum and Mack were transferred to Multnomah County Inverness Jail, where they are now being held for their sentencing hearing in lieu of a combined bail of $1,310,000 each.

Vic Remmers, Sellwood building
This tentative design for the new commercial/apartment building on the Mordhorst site, prepared by TVA Architects for developer Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes, were unveiled at the October SMILE meeting. Remmers and the architects said they presented it at the meeting to get input from the community which could modify the design.

Sellwood buildings doomed by four-story development


As I first reported in my first article on this subject two months ago in THE BEE, two buildings that for many years have housed businesses on S.E. Thirteenth Avenue at Spokane Street, the former “Farmhouse Antiques” and “Love Art”, have been for sale and are part of an estate. When the estate is settled, the owner is expected to be Vic Remmers, and they will then be demolished, to be replaced with a four-story commercial/residential structure.

The proposal was publicly revealed at the October SMILE General meeting by developer Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes. It will be Remmers’ second project in Sellwood; his first, a four-story apartment building on S.E. Tacoma Street just east of 17th Avenue, was completed earlier this year.

That building, composed primarily of studio apartments with a few one-bedroom units, was controversial because it provided no on-site automobile parking, or even a loading zone. However, almost all its units were leased by September, and the full bicycle racks there testify to the transportation mode of its residents.

The new project on Thirteenth will differ, as it will be a mixed-use project, with businesses in its street-level first floor. Access to the elevator and three levels of apartments will be from an entry on Spokane Street. An interior courtyard is planned for residents and businesses. The building will contain approximately thirty studio and one-bedroom units, ranging from 300 to 500 square feet in size. 

As with the Tacoma Street structure, no vehicle parking is planned, but there is provision for many bicycle racks, including one inside each apartment. There is also, at present, some bus service on Thirteenth Avenue.

Remmers has chosen a new architectural firm for the new project – Portland-based TVA Architects, Inc., whose website emphasizes their twenty-five-year focus on commercial, medical, multi-family, and institutional new construction. They have designed many Nike stores, but their more familiar projects include the Fox Tower in downtown Portland, and the Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The closest they have come to repurposing an existing structure was their transformation of the old Sears Department Store on MLK Boulevard into a regional headquarters building for METRO in 1993.

If the new building is built as proposed at the October SMILE meeting, the structural materials – fiber cement and wood clad aluminum panels – will introduce a very 21st Century element into the early 20th Century streetscape along Thirteenth. Its style will push beyond other new buildings of similar scale, such as the Sellwood Lofts (in which the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library is located), of gray concrete and brick; the two-story offices at Bybee Boulevard and S.E. 15th (Windemere Real Estate) sheathed in red brick; and the three-story condominiums at S.E. Milwaukie and Martins Street, which are also sheathed in red brick.

Once the Remmers apartments on 13th are in place, these others may appear as conservative throwbacks to the late 20th Century by comparison. Construction at S.E. 13th and Spokane is scheduled to begin in the late spring of 2015 with completion in early 2016. 

The buildings to be demolished, whose history was described in the September issue of THE BEE, are what were originally a 1926 meat market/café/dry cleaners building, and the 1908 one-and a half story house originally occupied by the Mordhorst family. The single-story hollow tile meat market has probably outlasted it useful life. However, Mr. Remmers tells us he is willing to sell the Mordhorst house for one dollar. Only one dollar – to someone who will move it.

If a viable offer is not forthcoming by early December it will be deconstructed. The house is relatively small (roughly 22 x 25 feet), and might not be too difficult to move. But the challenge to the bargain seeker will be to find a place to put it, as close as possible to its current location!

If you are interested and can make a serious proposal (and have consulted with a house moving company), Mr. Remmers will consider your offer. He may be contacted at 503/726-7060, or via e-mail:

Barry Hansen, Doctor Demento, Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Reed College
Reed College graduate Barry Hansen, better known as “Dr. Demento”, tips his signature top hat, as he accepts his award and is inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oregon Music Hall of Fame honors Reed College grad “Dr. Demento”


Again at the Aladdin Theater in the Brooklyn neighborhood, the Oregon Music Hall of Fame (OMHOF) held its eighth annual “Induction Ceremony and Concert”, on Saturday night, October 4.

This year, OMHOF honored nine Oregonians who they’ve deemed to be a “major musical force and influence within the state,” as their president Terry Currier said, “But also, to encourage future musicians.

“Most of our organization’s support goes toward music education,” Currier explained while introducing the evening’s program.

“Through the past year we provided music assemblies at schools across Oregon that do not have a music program,” Currier added. “In doing so, we exposed more than a thousand students to music education with our ‘Music in the Schools’ program.”

Signe Anderson, the original female vocalist for the Jefferson Airplane, and a respected solo jazz and folk singer, was one of those inducted into the Hall of Fame. The bands Pink Martini and Dandy Warhols were also honored.

But the highlight for many was the induction of musicologist and Reed College graduate Barry Hansen – better known as “Dr. Demento”.

“I came to Portland in September 1959 to attend Reed College,” Hansen began. “I had no thoughts of being a comedy radio personality at that time. I immediately volunteered for KRRC, the campus radio station, with 10 watts of glorious power.  You could hear it in most of the Eastmoreland, part of Westmoreland, and on a good day, maybe in the Brooklyn neighborhood.”

Although the station’s programming was mostly classical music, he started a weekly half hour show called “Blues Unlimited”. “But, starting with a collection of only nine records – the show was very limited!”

After moving to Los Angeles to take part in a “Folk Music Studies” program, he also worked as a “roadie” for touring bands and as a record promoter for Warner Brothers. He credited the name “Dr. Demento” to Peter Wolf, lead singer for the J. Giles Band, when he began doing a weekly radio show in 1970 on a Los Angeles radio station.

“I didn’t start out wanting to be a promoter of novelty records,” Hansen told the audience. “It's just that, when we opened the phone lines for requests on my local radio show, the callers mostly requested these odd, comical songs.”

His show was syndicated in 1974 due to its high ratings, and actually launched the career of Weird Al Yankovic. He also created compilations for several record labels, including OMHOF Inductee John Fahey, as well as his own series of novelty compilations on Rhino Records. 

“1973, a student enrolled at Reed College asked if I’d be willing to come up and give a talk; that began my reconnection with my alma mater. I did more talks later, and in the 1990s, it’s become a more or less annual thing.  I’m always happy to come by and tell stories about the old days at the college, and hear what they’re up to. 

In closing, Dr. Demento announced that he would play the music for, and sing along with the novelty song “Shaving Cream” – “After which, you may want to withdraw and rescind my nomination to the Hall of Fame!”

Backstage, Hansen said he was glad that Reed College appreciated his lectures. About his award, he said, “I’m tickled pink and very honored. It was certainly a surprise! I am deeply touched and honored that they have given me this award.”

After the “signed guitar” auction, OMHOF Director of Music Education Programs Janeen Rundle brought forward a big check to the stage. “We appreciate the people who work behind the scenes, so we can pay tribute to the amazing musical legacies of Oregon.

“And also as important, $10,000 worth of OMHOF scholarships went out this year,” Rundle announced. “Since 2007, we’ve given $89,500 in scholarships. We do this because we want all young people to have the opportunity to study music.”

Musical performances included NU SHOOZ, who had an international hit in 1986 with “I Can’t Wait”, and who performed songs from their platinum album “Poolside”. 

Guitar virtuoso Jay “Bird” Koder not only accepted an OMHOF Hall of Fame award, but also sat in with Norman Sylvester’s band, as they played a tribute to Janice Scroggins, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee.

And, as is their custom to end the evening, all of the musicians who performed throughout the evening came to the stage to play, together, the Portland music classic, “Louie, Louie”. 

For five hours, the Aladdin, in Inner Southeast Portland, both honored and rocked with Oregon’s most fabulous musicians and music.

David Graveyard, Ardenwald
By common consent, Chris and Jeff Davis have the spookiest house in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Ardenwald’s “Davis Graveyard” celebrates 15 years of spookiness


For those who traverse the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood along Johnson Creek Boulevard, it’s difficult to miss the Davis home – on the corner of S.E. 43rd Avenue –during the Hallowe’en season.

It’s not the wrought iron fence that surrounds their 1930’s-era home’s lot that strikes the eye – it’s most likely the tombstones that that have erupted from their front yard every October for the past 15 years.

“We call it the ‘Davis Graveyard’,” smiled homeowner Jeff Davis, who these days is Chair of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association. 

“This year, we’ve added a few new monuments – including a new Eternal Flame and Celtic Cross – in addition to our collection of monuments, the mausoleum, and an updated large ‘ruined abbey’ display.”

Almost all of the props are handmade in the family’s oversized garage-turned-workshop, fabricated by local artists, remarked his partner and wife, Chris Davis. “We’ve held classes for several years, to help other homeowners to design and create their own creepy yard scenery,” she said. 

Come the first of November, once again the goblins and ghouls – along with their resting place markers – will disappear, like fog in the morning sun. 

Learn more about the Davis’ distinctive Hallowe’en hobby at their website:

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