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April 2018 -- Vol. 112, 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!


The next BEE is our May
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Sellwood Community Center, Woodstock Community Center, rally, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Taking it to the streets: Marching in the St. Agatha St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sellwood and Woodstock Community Center supporters had their placards in hand. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood, Woodstock Community Centers rally to survive


All faced with the same fate, advocates of the threatened Sellwood Community Center were joined by supporters of the Woodstock Community Center and the west side’s Hillside Community Center at a well-attended rally on the morning of March 17.

The crowd swelled above 300 people, causing the rally to spill into the outdoor courtyard where the Sellwood Middle School Marimba Band was performing.

“This turnout shows how much families value their neighborhood community centers, and want to keep them open,” pointedly said SMILE Vice President Gail Hoffnagle, also chair of Friends of Sellwood Community Center Committee.

Leaders made speeches, kids and parents made protest signs, and many people took advantage of table stations where they could write personal messages to city officials. At noon, many of them walked down the street to march in the St. Agatha St. Patrick’s Day Parade, placards in hand.

Portland’s city budget deficit, which was forecast to be as much as $15 million, is partly due to a major contribution to the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services; Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered all Bureaus to present lists of which services and programs would be eliminated to make up the difference.

“And, once again, here we are; this cycle of closing threats has been going on for a long time,” mused Gail Hoffnagle.

“Unlike the Woodstock Community Center (which is run remotely from the Mt. Scott Community Center at S.E. Harold and 72nd), here at Sellwood we’ve been fortunate enough to have funding instructors, and classes and programs; but still, 15 years is a long time to have community centers threatened financially at regular intervals and to still be under financial siege,” Hoffnagle told THE BEE.

“In some way, it’s as if PP&R thinks of community centers like ours as being ‘optional programs’, instead focusing on large facilities such as at Mount Scott,” mused Hoffnagle. “But really, the purpose of the community center is to engage neighbors in the community where it’s located.”

True, Hoffnagle agreed, the building, originally built as a YMCA and a boarding house long ago, is old. “Still, generations of kids have gone to pre-school here, including my mother, and myself!” The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

PP&R has complained that the building is in poor condition. “That’s because they’ve been dragging their heels in this for some time, put off fixing things, and calling it ‘deferred maintenance’; but if they let it deteriorate to the point it becomes unusable, it will be closed,” Hoffnagle said.

The building has no elevator, but this and other deficiencies could be solved, she pointed out. “Our ‘Friends’ group wants to help with funding, but it kills the momentum of gathering money when, year after year, the city says it will be shut down.” Besides, the city wants the committee to hand over any money it has to the Parks Department, to use any way it wants, without restriction.

“These people coming to the rally really show how much they value all community centers, whether large or small,” Hoffnagle pointed out. “We really need to keep neighborhood-located indoor spaces where people can come and enjoy social time, and different kinds of activities, and learn sports and skills.”

By the time the rally ended, many people did take action: In support of keeping Sellwood and Woodstock open, “We collected 165 petition signatures and have nearly 500 postcards to send to the City Council,” reported Friends of Woodstock Community Center’s Financial Manager, Pete Adams.

Keeping the center going hinges on the involvement of even more Sellwood neighbors by writing, sending e-mails, and calling the Commissioners and Mayor, Hoffnagle suggested.

Also, neighbors are invited to sign a petition online –

And, it really makes a big difference, Hoffnagle said, when people just show up at City of Portland Community Budget Forums and “pack the room” with support for the Centers, since in those cases, city officials are there to see this support for themselves:

April 3, 2018, 6:30pm-8:30pm
David Douglas High School - South Cafeteria
1403 S.E. 130th Avenue

April 17, 2018, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Roosevelt High School
6941 N. Central Street

Elizabeth Ussher Groff contributed to this article.

Nehalem Street fire, neighbors rescue, postman photographed, Station 25, Station 20, PFR, Bruno Matulich, Portland, Oregon
Letter carrier Bruno Matulich came across this blaze on his route on March 15, and shared with THE BEE a photo of arriving Woodstock firefighters from Station 25 “pulling hose” to start fighting the vigorously-burning fire. The woman trapped in the house had already been removed by neighbors. (Courtesy of Bruno Matulich)

Woodstock neighbors save woman from burning house


If it hadn’t been for the pluck and determination of her neighbors – who saw smoke coming from the house at 7933 S.E. 42nd Avenue at Nehalem Street, on Thursday afternoon, March 15, and went in to rescue the owner – this story might have had a tragic ending.

9-1-1 calls led to a fire dispatch at 3:31 p.m.; neighbors later watching the firefighters at work remarked at how quickly the rigs rolled up from Woodstock Station 25 and Westmoreland Station 20.

“When the first units arrived, they reported heavy fire showing out of both the S.E. 42nd and the Nehalem sides of the residential home,” reported PF&R Battalion Chief Bill Goforth. “One patient had been pulled out of the house by neighbors before we arrived; she ended getting transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation.”

Crews were concerned that a fire, burning with such intensity, might have spread to the attic, so the crew of Ladder Truck 25 clambered to the roof and cut holes in the front and back of the house, to attack the fire and provide “vertical ventilation”, which lets hot and potentially-explosive and toxic gases escape.

After the fire was extinguished, crews pulled a “booster” line – a red hose on a reel attached to the top of Engine 25 – and attached a “Class A Foam unit”. “We do this to make sure we don’t have any further fire extensions, and to suppress any smoldering embers,” Goforth explained.

At 4:14 p.m., a PF&R Investigator arrived at the scene, and began the process of trying to determine how the fire began. The blaze appeared to have gutted much of the house.

As THE BEE went to press, there was as yet no damage estimate, and the fire was still under investigation.

Quakers, Franklin High School, mascot, controversy, Portland Public Schools, Oregon
During the school’s recent centennial celebration, the Franklin High School Quakers mascot gave a friendly hug to the then Franklin Alumni Association President Pam Knuth, a member of the Class of ’75. (Archive photo, David F. Ashton)

Franklin High mascot debate: Tradition vs. Policy


Since 2016, the question of whether or not “Quakers” is an appropriate nickname for Franklin High School (FHS) sports teams, and its seldom-seen mascot, has been simmering.

This issue came to a full boil at a February 27 Portland Public Schools Board meeting, held at Cleveland High School, when the topic of naming came up; specifically about the possibility of renaming Jefferson High – and the Franklin “Quakers”.

The PPS Board announced drafting changes to “2.20.010-P Naming School District Property” to include the responsibility and authority “as well as focus options school mascots, symbols, and other images considered for representation of a school or District is the responsibility of the Board of Education.”

Under the name convention “General Criteria” heading, subset:

(b) Names submitted for consideration shall not:

(iii) be a person, location, or character whose primary identification is of a religious nature or be a name of a religious group or members.

“This issue first came up about six years ago, and has been a continuing concern,” FHS Principal Juanita Valder told THE BEE in a March interview.

“From what I understand, there was one ‘formal complaint’, filed by Mia Pisano Yang; she did get some signatures on petitions, and the PTSA supported her assertion that the name be changed,” Valder said.

Principles regarding the separation of church and state seem to be the basis of Pisano Yang’s complaint and demand for changing the FHS nickname. Her church, known as the “Religious Society of Friends”, meets at a building on lower S.E. Stark Street, identified by a large sign reading “Multnomah Friends Meeting (Quakers)”.

On a Facebook page supporting the name change, a posting read,

“PPS has already received petitions from scores of parents, students, staff, and Quaker community members, who do find the ‘Quaker’ nickname disrespectful and offensive.”

But also on Facebook, more than one FHS Alum – who also claim membership in the Religious Society of Friends – expressed different feelings about the issue. In a post, Donna Gunter wrote, in part,

“I am filled with pride that the Quaker name is held in such high regard. ... To me, the Quaker name stands for honesty, integrity, justice, and honor, and I believe that those beliefs are also held by the Franklin community.”

Franklin High Alumni Association President Gary Lee, who passed away in February, had been a staunch defender of the “Quakers” moniker, and was a founding member of a group called the Committee to Defend the Quaker Name.

Another Franklin alum, Bob Earnest, who said he’s continuing Lee’s effort to oppose the name change, observed that his son was also a FHS graduate and a proud Quaker, and that he’s a true Inner Southeast Portland “local”, with his education, and that of his brothers, having started at Woodstock Elementary School.

“There are many of us who believe that changing our school’s nickname has far less widespread support as some would say,” Earnest told THE BEE.

He pointed out that no one seems to be offended that a former motor oil manufacturer used the name “Quaker State Corporation”, or that a major food producer is called “Quaker Oats Company”.

“Going back 102 years, including the 50 years that I’ve been connected with the school, I have no feeling that Quakers name has a connection to religion; it is an illustrated character on a box on oatmeal,” Earnest said.

Earnest also commented that Seattle’s Franklin High School, also known as the Quakers, changed their nickname – only to change it back some time later.

“The way I see it, at some point, someone, somewhere, is going to be offended by any name,” Earnest said. “If they change the name, be assured that many alumni will be offended, which may affect their support to the school in the future.”

The matter is still under debate. But, in the words of the oats’ Quaker spokesman, pitching cereal rather than religion, “Nothing is better for thee than me.”

MAX, light rail, collision, bicycle, beat the train, Brooklyn neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
In the Brooklyn neighborhood, the crossing signals were still operating as Portland Police Transit Division and TriMet officials investigate this crash between a MAX Light Rail train and bicyclist. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Cyclist fails to beat Orange Line MAX train to Brooklyn crossing


Traffic slammed to a stop on S.E. 17th Avenue near Pershing Street, on March 13 at 4:25 p.m., when a bicyclist rode across the grade into the path of a southbound TriMet MAX Orange Line Light Rail train.

“It looked like the guy was ‘racing the train’, trying to beat it through the crossing,” remarked Jeremy Daniels, who said he witnessed the crash “from the corner of his eye” while taking a break from his job nearby.

“I’d say he got thrown from 12 to 16 feet after he was hit,” Daniels told THE BEE.

Paramedics with Portland Fire & Rescue Westmoreland Station 20 medically stabilized the bicyclist who was transported by ambulance to OHSU with unspecified injuries.

As investigator from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Transit Division came to the scene, where the vehicle crossing arms were still down across S.E. 17th Avenue, the lights were still flashing at the pedestrian/bike crossing, and the warning bells were blaring.

“The train and bicyclist collided,” confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley. “Officers continue to investigate this crash; and, preliminary information suggests the cyclist sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”

An official statement by TriMet followed:

“Our thoughts are with the bicyclist, and we hope he makes a full recovery,” was the response to an inquiry about the incident by TriMet Public Information Officer Tim Becker. “We can tell you the MAX Orange Line was disrupted for about 45 minutes before service through the area could be restored.”

Oaks Bottom, culvert, rehabilitation, river access, Willamette River, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon, Army Corps of Engineers, Portland Parks Bureau
Inspecting the work area are City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Program Coordinator Ronda Fast, left, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Bennett. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Restoration project begins, in Oaks Bottom


After years of planning and budgeting, the Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration Project got underway in mid-March.

“Now that we have equipment in place, we have only six days to clear vegetation and about 145 trees from the work area before the March 19 deadline,” remarked US Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Bennett.

“The reason we are clearing these trees is to provide access to get our equipment and materials down to the wetland area,” Bennett told THE BEE. “We’re also moving the trees now, to ensure that birds that might have nested in them are out of harm’s way.”

The trees won’t be scrapped, Bennett assured. “When the project is complete, we’ll be putting them back to help salmonids and provide wildlife habitat.”

“After this early work is complete, we don’t anticipate much work in the area until July 1, the beginning of the in-water work window,” informed City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Program Coordinator Ronda Fast.

“This means that the Springwater Trail will remain open and accessible until July 1, before being closed to all users until October,” Fast pointed out.

“So, it’s not too soon for regular trail users, such as commuters, to be considering alternative routes – although signs showing alternative routes for bicyclists and pedestrians will be posted ahead of the closure,” Fast said.

The Bluff Trail, along the east side of the lagoon will remain open, Fast conceded, “but, it’s important to note that no bicycles are allowed on that path throughout the refuge.”

For current information on the project, go online:

Joseph Delsman, Foster Road, Everyday Food Mart & Deli, sword assault, victim pins assailant, Southeast Portland, Oregon
63-year-old Michael Joseph Delsman now faces two felony charges, after assaulting the clerk at a Foster Road market with a sword, and then being held by her for the police. (MCDC booking photo)

Man threatens market worker with sword; she takes him down


The day started off oddly at the Everyday Food Mart & Deli, 7020 S.E. Foster Road, on Wednesday, March 14.

At 6:44 a.m., a 6’1” man, armed with a knife and a fencing sword, entered and threatened – and then apparently attacked – a female employee.

It wasn’t difficult for Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers to find the man when they arrived, though; the attack victim took down her assailant, and kept him pinned to the floor while calling for police.

“Officers found the victim detaining the suspect, and took the suspect into custody without incident,” confirmed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.

Emergency medical personnel responded and provided first aid to the victim until she was taken to a local hospital with “what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries,” Burley said.

Looking a bit worse for the encounter was the man police arrested, 63-year-old Michael Joseph Delsman, who was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 9:50 a.m. that morning on a charge of Assault in the First Degree, a Class A Felony.

At Delsman’s arraignment later that day in Multnomah County Court, the judge upheld the charge, and the District Attorney’s office also filed a charge of Intimidation in the First Degree, a Class C Felony.

Delsman remains in custody at MCDC in lieu of $255,000 combined bail. His motive remains a mystery; and even with a knife and a sword, he proved to be no match for the woman he chose to attack.

Robots, harp seal robot, OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Southeast Partland, Oregon
Paro, a therapeutic, animatronic baby harp seal, purrs and wiggles when petted by OMSI Featured Hall Assistant Manager Jennifer Powers. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Robot Revolution’ takes over OMSI


There will likely be a robot in your future, if there’s aren’t a lot already; that’s what the experts at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) said, as they opened their newest featured exhibit – billed as the world’s largest collection of robots in action – “Robot Revolution”, on March 17.

This exhibition is alive with the newest and latest robots from some of the most advanced companies and universities, exploring how robots may change how we work, live, and play together, as companions or as colleagues.

At “Robot Revolution”, visitors will find four main sections:

$          Cooperation: Discover how engineering breakthroughs help create robots that work with humans effectively to enhance our lives.

$          Intelligence: Interact with robots that can sense, plan, and then act, while comparing and contrasting the ways in which humans and robots learn.

$          Skills: In this area guests will experience the skills that robots possess that mimic and often surpass human capabilities.

$          Locomotion: Explore the ways that robots can move, from those that climb, to ones which walk; even one that slithers like a snake.

This exhibit was first conceived in 2012, then created and opened in 2015 in the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry (CMSI) -- after which it was sent on tour around the country, to end its travels here in Portland. So explained Senior Project Manager Mark Ewing.

The impetus behind creating “Robot Revolution” was, in addition to showing how robots can work and what they can do, especially to interest people in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), Ewing told THE BEE.

Of all the electronic/mechanical marvels at the exhibition, watching the “Soccer Robots” play a game has been his own personal favorite, Ewing said. “Watching the robots play a game is fascinating because of its inherent complexity. I also enjoy seeing the guests’ reaction as they play and score goals, and get really involved with the game!”

What he hopes people will take away from their experience at the exhibition, Ewing remarked, is how robotics invites experimenters into the field, be it because of an interest in mechanical design, or materials development, wiring, electronics, computers, or perhaps the robots’ social interaction.

“Robot Revolution” occupies OMSI’s Feature Hall now through Labor Day, September 3. Tickets to this exhibit are at an additional charge over general museum admission.

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