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November, 2020 -- Vol. 115, No. 3
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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!


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At the CHS athletic field, officials from the National Federation of State High School Associations present the banner proclaiming Cleveland High School this year’s national 2020 NFHS “Performing Arts School of Excellence”.
At the CHS athletic field, officials from the National Federation of State High School Associations present the banner proclaiming Cleveland High School this year’s national 2020 NFHS “Performing Arts School of Excellence”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

CHS honor: ‘U.S. Performing Arts School of Excellence’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

On October 8, at the Cleveland High School (CHS) sports field, representatives of the National Federation of State High School Associations arrived to reveal that the school had been selected as its 2020 NFHS “Performing Arts School of Excellence”.

“Every fall, just one high school in the entire United States receives this NFHS Performing Arts School of Excellence distinction, in recognition of its exemplary commitment to the performing arts,” explained NFHS spokesperson James Weaver. “Cleveland becomes the fifth annual winner of this award, and the first recipient based in an urban setting!”

On the playing field that day were CHS staff and students – representing the school’s choirs, bands, drama and theater program, dance teams, and its debate teams.

All smiles, behind his mask, was Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero. He exclaimed, “What an honor to be here as Cleveland High receives this national award! This is an excellent acknowledgment of this school’s emphasis on arts education.”

Asked about his enthusiasm for these programs, even though they’re not “core curriculum”, Guerrero told THE BEE, “As a classically trained violinist who was an education major in college, I understand the power and the potential of the arts in our schools. I will always continue to be a champion for arts in our schools, because they give us an opportunity to identify and cultivate the gifts of our students.”

During the ceremony, Guerrero acknowledged, “We are very proud of our students and educators Cleveland High. Kudos to the Cleveland community!”

Before the program began, CHS Principal Jo Ann Wadkins talked with THE BEE about the award. “Even as a new Principal here, this really shows me the dedication and the talent of our students and our faculty and coaches. It’s going to be a great inspiration!”

Now in his sixth year at Cleveland High, Director of Bands Gary Riler said the school currently has some 140 students in his music program. He described this particular school year as “a real challenge, for sure; but with Zoom, and other tools, our musical program goes on.”

CHS Choir Director Allison Bassett agreed – echoing that her program’s 120 students are also stepping up to the challenges of online education. “But, the kids are really positive; we’re continuing to create community, and our students are focusing on what they can do, rather than what they cannot do.

“It means the world to me that our school has been recognized as a place where students can truly express themselves artistically, as well as be in community with other students,” Bassett said.



Officers look at what’s left of two badly damaged Hondas, after a major crash on S.E. Powell Boulevard at the Ross Island Bridge. This car’s driver, cut out of the wreck by firefighters, was charged with DUII – she had 4-1/2 times the legal limit for blood alcohol.
Officers look at what’s left of two badly damaged Hondas, after a major crash on S.E. Powell Boulevard at the Ross Island Bridge. This car’s driver, cut out of the wreck by firefighters, was charged with DUII – she had 4-1/2 times the legal limit for blood alcohol. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Reckless, impaired driver hurt in Powell Blvd smashup

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A high-impact, offset head-on crash closed S.E Powell Boulevard, State Highway 26, for many hours. The smashup occurred just east of the Ross Island Bridge, on Saturday evening, October 10.

“I don’t see how anyone could have lived through that crash,” commented witness Alphanso Blackburn, who told THE BEE that he had been looking the other way, waiting for a westbound bus, when he heard the high-impact crash.

“It was a loud – I mean, a really loud smash – making me look over, and I saw to two cars spinning around in the road,” Blackburn recalled.

Ten Central Precinct squad cars and seven Portland Fire & Rescue crews were simultaneously dispatched at 7:47 p.m.

Emergency responders found a red Honda CR-V in the center lane, facing west, and a Honda Pilot against the north curb, sideways across the traffic lanes at the Lucky Devil Lounge, facing south.

“One driver was pinned in, until rescued by Portland Fire,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen. “That driver is in a hospital with serious injuries.”

That driver was responsible for the crash, Sergeant Allen told THE BEE. “Officers cited 27-year-old Rachell L. Barnhill of Beaverton [the driver of the CR-V] for DUII and Reckless Driving; her blood alcohol concentration was .356, nearly 4-1/2 times the legal limit to drive.

She has not been booked into Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC); but her injuries apparently were such as to lead to an extended stay in the hospital. If all she is subject to is that citation, the charges involved in her court appearance may nonetheless prove very expensive for her.

The CR-V’s front end was destroyed; the Pilot looked as if it had been T-boned in the driver’s side front quarter panel and front end. Exactly how and where the vehicles collided is still under investigation.

“There was a family, with kids, in the other vehicle; thank goodness they were not hurt,” Allen added. Their having avoided injury in this grinding smashup seemed to be something of a miracle.



Here, checking in an arriving family who’d ordered an Oaks Amusement Park “Oktoberfest-to-go” package, we found Marketing and Events Manager Emily MacKay.
Here, checking in an arriving family who’d ordered an Oaks Amusement Park “Oktoberfest-to-go” package, we found Marketing and Events Manager Emily MacKay. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oaks Park creates ‘Drive-thru’ Oktoberfest for pandemic year

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Famous across the Pacific Northwest, and a tradition since 1990, the Oaks Park Oktoberfest became yet another COVID-19 coronavirus casualty in 2020.

“Indeed, we’re sad that the COVID-19 pandemic has kept Oaks Amusement Park closed all season,” acknowledged Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director – and the ever-ebullient hostess of the Oktoberfest celebrations – Emily MacKay.

“When we learned we couldn’t be dancing to the beat of the Polkatones in the Festhalle, or raise our glasses in a ‘prost’ to the season, we knew we still had to do something to celebrate the season,” MacKay told THE BEE.

So, for just one weekend only, October 10 and 11, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park offered a drive-through pick-up celebration they called “Oktoberfest-to-go”, featuring their Portland-crafted German favorites, Edelweiss Sausage & Deli knockwurst from the Brooklyn neighborhood, and a growler-filling station for Lents-based Zoiglhaus Brewing Company beer.

Supporters – some 150 families – participated; each carload received a full meal consisting of four giant sausages and buns, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and apple strudel for dessert. (For larger families. it was possible to pre-order larger quantities.)

“With the loss of our entire 2020 season, this event goes a long way to help keep things afloat until we’re able to reopen,” remarked MacKay afterwards. “We exceeded our goal for the number of orders, and the community expression of support and hope for our future was a big pick-me-up in these very difficult times.

“People told us how much they’d missed Oaks Park, and especially the annual Oktoberfest celebration; and they told us that they would be back to ‘play with us’ again, as soon as we can open,” MacKay reported.

Whether or not you were among those who drove through to get an Oktoberfest meal that weekend, you still can get into the spirit with YouTube videos of Oaks Park’s usual Germanic celebration, online – http://www.oakspark.com/oktoberfest-playlist

The dates announced for next year’s hoped-for return to a live, on-site Oktoberfest at Oaks Park are September 24-26.



Patrons who have enjoyed food and beverages in Sellwood along S.E. 13th Avenue in the Portland Bottle Shop’s ‘Parking Plaza’ now can keep doing so at least through March – it has a new permit to remain for the winter.
Patrons who have enjoyed food and beverages in Sellwood along S.E. 13th Avenue in the Portland Bottle Shop’s ‘Parking Plaza’ now can keep doing so at least through March – it has a new permit to remain for the winter. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Parking Plazas’ to continue thru the winter

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Many business owners, who’d secured “Parking Plaza” permits from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to allow outdoor seating in parking spaces in front of their businesses, were worried about having to remove them at the end of October, when those permits were set to expire.

But on October 2, those merchants – mostly restaurants – got good news from PBOT’s Hannah Schafer: “Now, businesses can apply for free winter permits to use street space for physical distancing – from November 1 through March 31, 2021. It’s called the ‘Winter Healthy Businesses Program’ to enable businesses to safely stay open this winter.”

The new permit allows businesses to set up tents in on-street parking spaces; and also provides guidance for the use of extension cords and heaters.

There are some conditions, however, including:

  • Tents are prohibited within 50 feet of an intersection;
  • Six feet of sidewalk space must be kept clear for pedestrians at all times;
  • Businesses must adhere to Multnomah County COVID-19 safety guidance;
  • Electric cords must be routed at least 10 feet above the sidewalk, or underneath ADA-compliant cord-protector ramps; and,
  • Heaters must comply with requirements from the Fire Marshal’s Office.

“And, as winter weather comes, we’re asking businesses to be ready to move or secure items in these areas – for street snowplowing, for example,” Schafer told THE BEE.

Because PBOT’s winter permit isn’t an “automatic extension” of the permits that were issued since June, shop owners must apply for the new permit – and some, like Travis Motter of the Portland Bottle Shop, immediately did so.

His business had one of the first “Parking Plaza” permits, issued years ago, as part of a PBOT pilot study, Motter pointed out to THE BEE. “During the summer, having this outdoor space has been fantastic, because we can’t allow people inside to dine.  

“Our retail wine business is good; but we couldn’t have expanded a few years back without the restaurant area – that’s why we really need the seats,” explained Motter. “Without the outdoor pavilions, I don’t know how businesses like ours will survive.

“It’s been a nice addition to the neighborhood, and it gives our neighborhood a sense of normalcy, which has been good for the spirit,” he told THE BEE.

Wintertime ‘Street Plazas’ also possible
The Bureau hasn’t ruled out re-permitting the “Street Plazas” on side streets, either, PBOT’s Schafer said. “Like Parking Plazas, these permits don’t have ‘automatic extensions’; those who wish to pursue these permits would need to apply – and also, need to have plans ready to deal with winter weather.”

It’s not been announced whether the “Sellwood Square” volunteer coordinators have applied for such a permit for the locations off S.E. 13th, north of Tacoma Street that have enjoyed such activity this fall.



S.E. 13th Avenue was closed on the Bybee Curve in Westmoreland, while workers toiled to extract the huge, torn-off overhanging tree limb from inside the front top corner of a local delivery truck.
S.E. 13th Avenue was closed on the Bybee Curve in Westmoreland, while workers toiled to extract the huge, torn-off overhanging tree limb from inside the front top corner of a local delivery truck. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Truck clips Westmoreland overhanging limb, downs power line

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

When the top of a refrigerated box truck from New Seasons Markets struck an untrimmed, low-hanging tree branch on October 5, at about 7:30 a.m., the sound of the impact jolted some sleepy-eyed neighbors awake on S.E. 13th Avenue, on the Bybee Curve at Rural Street.

“It sounded like a combination of a huge tree splintering and a car wreck,” remarked neighbor Ron Maxwell, as he watched crews work to extract the torn limb from the truck’s roof.

One house lost power in the incident, when an electric service line was ripped from the home’s weatherhead by the passing broken limb, now impaled in the top corner of the truck’s box. The broken branch also yanked a street light off its base on a wooden utility pole before the truck could stop.

The truck’s driver told THE BEE he wasn’t injured, but he was a little concerned about his job because of the accident. He pointed out, however, that the low-hanging branch was looming over the street. “Several of our other trucks have been damaged by that limb; it’s been difficult to avoid, especially with oncoming traffic on such a narrow street.”

According to the Portland Maps website, the tree, located just south of Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial on the Oaks Bottom bluff, is on City of Portland property.

“It looks like this is another case of the City of Portland’s unwritten policy of ‘tree trimming by delivery truck’,” quipped neighbor Maxwell, as he watched the work continue.



According to US Bank, this – their stand-alone Woodstock “Drive-Up ATM”, a block west of the closed branch and just east of Safeway, at 5907 S.E. 47th Avenue – will be remaining open.
According to US Bank, this – their stand-alone Woodstock “Drive-Up ATM”, a block west of the closed branch and just east of Safeway, at 5907 S.E. 47th Avenue – will be remaining open. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

US Bank permanently closes Woodstock branch

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Customers of the US Bank Woodstock Boulevard branch, temporarily closed because the pandemic, learned that the decision had been made at the corporate level that it would never reopen. That information arrived in a letter sent to customers on October 1.

According to the message, “Understanding our customers are making preferences, and behaviors are changing, we continue to adapt how and where we operate. As a result we have made the decision to close this location permanently.”

Two other branches of US Bank were also permanently closed at the same time, including the one on S.E. 82nd Avenue in Happy Valley, and the venerated “Citizens Branch” on Grand Avenue.

Asked what goes into the decision to permanently close a branch, as the Minneapolis, Minnesota, based bank did in the Brooklyn neighborhood about a year ago, US Bancorp Vice President and Public Affairs & Corporate Communications Evan A. Lapiska responded, “A number of factors go into the decision to close a branch.

“This includes customer demand, as preferences and behaviors continue to evolve. But, taking a step back, the decision connects to a strategy the bank shared in early 2019 to optimize our branch delivery network,” Lapiska explained. “Our strategy continues to be to open branches in new locations and re-invest in our existing core markets, amplified by an enhanced portfolio of digital products and services, making banking easier and faster for all our customers.”

He summarized, “As part of the optimization efforts, the bank is closing or consolidating a portion of our branch network to allow for the reinvestment elsewhere.”

In Inner Southeast, the Woodstock Drive-Up ATM at 5907 S.E. 47th Avenue in Woodstock; the Bybee-Milwaukie Branch at 7000 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue; and the Eastport Branch at 4300 S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, are all to remain open.



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