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February, 2021 -- Vol. 115, No. 6
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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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In the darkness of the same morning as the Woodstock newsstand fires, a parked Chrysler 200 sedan was set ablaze along S.E. 72nd Avenue, near Martins Street.
In the darkness of the same morning as the Woodstock newsstand fires, a parked Chrysler 200 sedan was set ablaze along S.E. 72nd Avenue, near Martins Street. (Courtesy of Gene Dieringer)
Newsstands for THE BEE and the Portland Tribune, on the sidewalk by Papaccino’s Coffee Shop near 44th and S.E. Woodstock, burned after being torched by an arsonist early on January 7.
Newsstands for THE BEE and the Portland Tribune, on the sidewalk by Papaccino’s Coffee Shop near 44th and S.E. Woodstock, burned after being torched by an arsonist early on January 7. (Photo courtesy of KPTV-12 News)

Arson fires set in Woodstock

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An arsonist moved along S.E. Woodstock Boulevard in the early morning hours of Thursday, January 7, lighting several scattered plastic newspaper newsstands on fire in the early morning hours of January 7 along S.E Woodstock Boulevard from 52nd to 44th Avenues.

The newspapers in the newsstands burned included the Portland Tribune, an Asian newspaper, and THE BEE. Portland Fire and Rescue responded – and these fires were also covered by local TV news.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to the first fire at 1:11 a.m. that morning – and to another fire, in front of Papaccino’s Coffee Shop, at 1:46 a.m.

Although firefighters said they found the newsstands “fully involved in fire”, it didn’t take them long to extinguish each blaze – but by then the boxes had completely melted into a puddle of plastic and metal. A metal Willamette Week newsstand at Papaccino’s was singed by the nearby fires, with paint peeling off.

PF&R officials told reporters these arsons were “under investigation”.

What was not widely reported was that also on January 7, at 5:52 a.m., a Chrysler 200 sedan was set fire along S.E. 72nd Avenue near Martins Street.

Arson string started in mid-December
According to Gene Dieringer of Dieringer’s Properties, Inc., arson fires actually started in December.

“On December 15, a cardboard recycling bin was lit on fire on next to Woodstock Tax Service,” Dieringer said. “And, another cardboard recycling bin was set ablaze on Christmas – December 25 – that is used by Papaccino’s and Papa Murphy’s. So, it appears we certainly have an arsonist in the neighborhood.” Both those fires were on Woodstock Boulevard between 44th and 46th Avenues.

THE BEE has learned from the Portland Police Bureau that surveillance video has given them a potential lead in the case, but no further details were available as we went to press for February.



Starting in February, PPB Traffic Division officers – like Officer Goodrich, here – won’t be on the street stopping impaired and unsafe drivers.
Starting in February, PPB Traffic Division officers – like Officer Goodrich, here – won’t be on the street stopping impaired and unsafe drivers. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Traffic Division’ the latest police task force to go

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An unsigned e-mail arrived in THE BEE’s office shortly after the New Year. It is against our policy to print unsigned letters, but it made a surprising claim that we felt we should verify: “On February 4, 2021, the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division will cease to exist.”

The message further stated:

“This division has been an integral part of neighborhood communities, tasked with specific duties of traffic enforcement, speed racing, serious injury collision investigation, school zone speed enforcement, fatal collision investigations, DUII enforcement, traffic complaints and major traffic crime investigations.

“There will no longer be any officers dedicated to enforcing any traffic offenses. These violations will be allowed to take place and only until a serious bodily injury or death occurs will an officer be assigned to investigate. Proactive police work that limits the occurrence of these serious injuries will no longer transpire.” 

It also pointed out that the Traffic Division provides traffic control services for many community events including parades – such as the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, and the Moreland Monster March – or serving at demonstrations, dignitary motorcades – and sponsored “runs”, “walks” and bicycle events.

Further, the letter asserted that 2020 public records show 58 traffic-related fatalities, more than 550 DUII arrests, and 4,827 Speeding Tickets – with 231 them issued from January through March 2020 in school zones – which suggests that Portland’s streets still do need monitoring.

We contacted the Portland Police Bureau’s Public Information Unit, asking if all of this was factual.

“It’s true that all of the officers currently assigned to the Traffic Division for road safety enforcement are being reassigned to Precinct Patrol,” confirmed Portland Police Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen.

“However, it is not true that the Traffic Division will cease to exist, completely,” Allen told THE BEE. “Portland Police will still have a Traffic Investigation Unit, including our full-time crash reconstructionists, and sergeants to coordinate the Major Crash Team, federal grants, special events, and other duties.

“Community members will still see motorcycle officers out on specific missions, funded by grants – and in some cases they may be doing traffic safety enforcement in between other duties.

“But, indeed, the Traffic Division will be very different, as they will no longer be assigned to that mission full time,” Allen conceded.

We asked whether providing officers to help out at parades – whenever they’re allowed to resume – is still up in the air. “That’s a good question,” Allen acknowledged. “A lot of what will take place still being worked out; so, once those events start to happen, we will have to evaluate what we can realistically do.

“The plan is always subject to change, based on the needs of our community, staffing, and future funding,” Allen concluded. Nonetheless, please do drive safely, even if you’re not being watched.



An eyewitness shared this still frame from a video showing the truck ramming the police car, pinning the officer – who had been standing in front of her open door. She is still recovering from her injuries.
An eyewitness shared this still frame from a video showing the truck ramming the police car, pinning the officer – who had been standing in front of her open door. She is still recovering from her injuries. (Photo courtesy of KOIN-TV News 6)
Facing five felony charges including attempted murder and two escapes, is this man – 24-year-old David Michael Dahlen III.
Facing five felony charges including attempted murder and two escapes, is this man – 24-year-old David Michael Dahlen III. (MCDC booking photo)

Thief rams officer on Powell, flees, is caught, escapes – before Lents recapture

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An unlikely, lengthy, and potentially-deadly saga began on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 8:51 p.m., at the Astro Gas Station on Powell Boulevard at Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th).

That was when a Central Precinct officer spotted a stolen 1988 white Chevrolet pickup truck in the gas station, and reported it.

Shortly after that, arriving officers radioed to dispatchers that the pickup truck was occupied by two people – and then another radio call reported that an officer had been involved in a shooting at the location. Then, other officers at the scene reported that the suspect vehicle rammed a police patrol vehicle and hit an officer.

The incident eventually led 29 officers out to that location, as well as others who spread out to search for the stolen truck after it burned rubber of the gas station’s lot.

“The stolen pickup truck fled the scene, and was found unoccupied over an hour later near S.E. 54th Avenue and Belmont,” Portland Police spokesperson Officer Melissa Newhard told THE BEE. “Officers searched the area with a K-9 Team, but did not find the suspects.”

It was later revealed that a 15-year PPB veteran officer had suffered a fractured pelvis after being rammed by the truck and she is still in the hospital recovering from the injury; and that she had been the officer firing the shots.

Suspect captured, then escapes
Days later, during the investigation of the incident PPB detectives developed information that the suspect for whom they were looking was 24-year-old David Michael Dahlen III.

Officers found Dahlen in the Lents neighborhood, near S.E. 101st Avenue and Insley Street, and after a short foot pursuit, captured him near the south edge of Bloomington Park.

Dahlen was taken Downtown to Central Precinct in the Justice Center, and placed in a secured “holding room” for detectives to interview him. The officers were gathering the necessary paperwork for booking him into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on numerous felony charges.

But, when detectives returned at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon, they discovered that Dahlen had escaped.

“While Dahlen was in the holding room, two members of a contracted cleaning crew were doing COVID-19 disinfecting in the Detective Division,” later explained Portland Police spokesperson Officer Derek Carmon. “One of the cleaning crew members opened the door to the holding room, then closed it again wjhen they realized the room was occupied.

“We believe that the door did not fully latch after they closed it,” Carmon continued. “Sometime after the cleaning crew members left, investigators believe Dahlen pushed the door from the inside – found it to be unsecured, got out, found his way to a stairwell – which was unlocked for fire safety reasons – and exited the building from a south-side door.”

Captured again, in Lents
Days after that, in the early morning hours of Friday, January 8, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force again located Dahlen, the attempted murder suspect and escapee, once again in the Lents neighborhood. This time he was in the parking lot of Lents Park, along S.E. 92nd Avenue, just south of Holgate Boulevard.

The U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force was called in help from PPB’s Homicide Unit, Tactical Operations Division, and K-9 Division – and called for East Precinct patrol officers to assist.

“At 8:50 a.m., the U.S. Marshals attempted to block the vehicle Dahlen was in. However, he was able to escape the Marshals' efforts by fleeing eastbound on Holgate Boulevard,” Portland Police spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Allen told THE BEE.

East Precinct officers set up spike strips on Holgate Boulevard near S.E. 111th Avenue, deflating the tires of the vehicle driven by Dahlen.

“The driver attempted to swerve around another vehicle, lost control, and crashed into a retaining wall and a power pole near 114th Avenue,” Sergeant Allen said. “The impact damaged the pole, and knocked wires onto the street.”

Although escapee Dahlen hobbled out of the smashed vehicle, and did his best once again to run away, an East Precinct officer quickly took him into custody.

Claiming that he was injured, Dahlen was transported for an evaluation at a hospital, but his stay there was brief. He was booked into the MCDC on January 8 at 11:02 p.m., on two Class A Felony and three Class C Felony charges:

  • Attempted Murder in the First Degree
  • Assault in the First Degree
  • Assaulting a Public Safety Officer
  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
  • Escape in the Second Degree

Dahlen currently is still in jail at MCDC, in lieu of $560,000 bail.



Here is a sample of what we’re up against in Southeast Portland. These are guns that GVRT members confiscated, before the team was disbanded. They were not taken from legal “gun owners” – but from felons, who are prohibited from even holding a gun.
Here is a sample of what we’re up against in Southeast Portland. These are guns that GVRT members confiscated, before the team was disbanded. They were not taken from legal “gun owners” – but from felons, who are prohibited from even holding a gun. (Courtesy of Portland Police Bureau)
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell began a neighborhood conversation with the session host – Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association Board Member Jody Folkedahl – recently, in an online ZOOM meeting which THE BEE attended.
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell began a neighborhood conversation with the session host – Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association Board Member Jody Folkedahl – recently, in an online ZOOM meeting which THE BEE attended.

Mayor Wheeler mum about shootings surge; Chief feels the pain

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other members of the Portland City Council have mostly said little about the astonishing surge in shooting crimes, which rose ubruptly in the week that the “Gun Violence Reduction Team” of the Portland Police Bureau was disbanded in mid-2020. It’s been pretty obvious to everyone else, however.

The latest count of criminal acts committed with guns across all of Portland was – at last update – 852 incidents.

Statistically, almost half of these shootings have been east of the Willamette River. This is up from 187 in 2019 – reaching 423 shootings in 2020 – in our part of the city; that’s an increase of well more than double.

While the number of incidents of criminal acts committed with guns are mind-boggling, statistics mean little compared to the shock of witnessing of gun crimes on one’s own street.

THE BEE attended an online meeting with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association on December 22nd in which Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell disclosed that the Portland Police Burau had been tasked by Portland’s Commissioner of Police, Mayor Ted Wheeler, to submit a plan to reduce shootings, with a deadline of Christmas.

Following up on December 28 with PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Greg Pashley, we learned, “The plan was presented by the deadline”.

Starting off his comments during the meeting, Chief Lovell stated, “The shootings – the number that we’ve seen in the last six months or so – it’s absolutely unbelievable, compared what we’ve seen normally. I believe that on May 4, we were at three (3) homicides in Portland; now we’ve just hit 53 homicides – that is unheard of, here in Portland.”

What made the difference, Lovell shared, was having the PPB Gun Violence Reduction Team [GVRT] unit taken away from the Bureau. He explained that the unit worked primarily in the afternoons and into the evening, conducting “stops” to – as he put it – “do interdiction on people [which the GVRT members] believed to be involved in gun violence, or might be victims of gun violence.”

The GVRT, at that time, consisted of two sergeants and twelve officers – who worked with PPB detectives, in partnership with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, and other local law enforcement entities.

“It was fairly successful: [Having] a tool in place to address shootings, and be a bit more pro-active,” Lovell said. “When that went away on July 1, we lost that ability – the ability to go out and contact people – making interdiction and prevention a lot harder.”

The GVRT staff was blended into the PPB’s Detective Division among other places, and [its former members] continue to do follow-up work on shooting incidents, the Chief said. “This is been semi-successful, but not as impactful as was the team we had in place prior.”

‘Stops’ data cited to disband the GVRT
Asked by a meeting participant specifically why the Gun Violence Reduction Team was disbanded, Chief Lovell answered succinctly in two words: “‘Stops’ data”. [Background: All Oregon Law Enforcement Agencies are required to collect specific data, including demographic information, related to officer-initiated traffic and pedestrian stops.]

“One of the big issues with the GVRT was that the ‘stops’ data showed that African-Americans were being stopped at a higher percentage rate than they are represented in the population.

“That became a big issue,” said Lovell – who is himself an African-American. “I think the Mayor was dealing with that at the Portland City Council level.”

The PPB spent time and resources creating the GVRT, including working with the California Partnership for Safe Communities “Cease Fire” model, and a great deal of intensive training, Lovell reported. “It took us a couple of years to build that program, and get to where it was; and now it’s gone – leaving us with the largest increase in shootings I’ve seen during my entire career!

“As you look around the country and the call for racial justice, there’s not much appetite for police to be out doing stops of young African-American males,” commented Lovell. “That’s something that is frowned upon right now in our city, and in our country.”

Official training not the issue
Asked if “targeted training” regarding “racial disproportionality” could have kept the GVRT program from being dismantled, Lovell responded, “We do a lot of training around equity; we’re training around anti-racism; and, we have an ‘Equity and Inclusion Manager’ at the Bureau.

“I think the team members that were doing this work were really good people,” he continued. “If officers are doing interdiction work, they are going to come in contact with African-American males.

“[Then,] all of a sudden, people tell us, ‘Okay, we don’t want to do this work anymore’, because it’s being looked at as being biased because of the “‘stops ‘data’ – it makes it very hard to do interdiction,” he said. “I think we always have to be cognizant of biases, [while nonetheless] looking at the nature of the work were doing.

“And we, as African-American males, are also overrepresented on the victim side of shootings, too,” Lovell pointed out.

Repeated budget cuts hobble Bureau
Turning to the city budget cuts, Lovell commented, “You’ve heard about the ‘De-fund Movement’. When we submitted our budget on July 1, it was with a 5.6% cut, because of COVID-19; about $11 million.

“Then on top of that, we lost another $15 million as part of the ‘De-fund Movement’ – [for a total of] $27 million budget reduction.”

Later in the conversation, Lowell said, “We narrowly escaped an additional $18 million cut which the Portland City Council tried to bring forth; but, it did not pass, on a three to two vote.

“I think there is a lot of momentum behind [curbing] gun violence as a public health crisis,” remarked Lovell. “But, at this point, I think we have to be really mindful of how we work collaboratively with our [city and county] partners, who can provide additional resources or expertise that allow us to have some impact with families – prior to a person becoming a victim of a shooting – or, maybe, going out to do a shooting.”

Asked how the “De-fund Movement” money was being spent, Lovell said candidly, “I’m really not sure what happened to that $15 million they took from our budget.

“I hope that it went to something that’s going to be productive, and to help people on the ‘front end’, so they don’t have contact with the criminal justice system,” Lovell went on. “If will impact these people’s lives positively, and keep them from ever entering the criminal justice system, there is no way I could be upset with that, as a police chief.”

Bureau staffing woes hinder service
Turning to Portland Police staffing levels, in another portion of the conversation, Lovell pointed out that while the City of Portland has “grown exponentially over the last several years”, the Portland Police Bureau continues to operate with reduced staffing.

“I think we’re as ‘lean’ as we’ve ever been. About 20 years ago, we had about 1,020 officers – there are now authorized only 900 officers, and something actually closer to 870 officers working right now.” And, despite the increase in population in Portland in the last two decades, it’s still declining.

The Chief revealed that about 50 officers retired in August, and about 20 more retired in January – and there are also some additional officers “just leaving the department” for unspecified reasons. “So, we are trying to shore up our patrol functions,” Lovell said.

Asked about the shootings east of the Willamette River, PPB East Precinct Commander Erica Hurley took the question, responding, “All of that really goes back to what Chief Lovell was talking about – about the Gun Violence Reduction Team that we no longer have.”

Commander Hurley said that East Precinct doesn’t have the personnel to do the type of interdiction that might prevent shootings anywhere in East Portland.

“We have stepped up patrols in this area, to have a better presence when we can; but, again, with our current staffing levels, it’s incredibly difficult to do,” Hurley remarked. “With officers running from call to call, while [we’re] constantly understaffed, they’re trying “to get as much information we as they can [about the shootings] over to the Detective Division, so they can do the follow-up on the other side, and hopefully solve the crimes that are committed.”

Mayor Wheeler asks for a plan
Many questions are being asked, in different ways, in the community, about what the Bureau’s strategy is to reduce shootings. Chief Lovell responded, “People [with guns] feel like they can [now] go out and do the shootings, in all neighborhoods, at all different times of day, and get away with it – that is problematic for us.

“So, the Mayor asked us to come up with a new plan, ‘by Christmas’, to try to address this latest spate of shootings that we’ve had – [considering] the amount of shootings, and the brazenness [with which they take place].”

On December 28, THE BEE asked PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Greg Pashley if this “shooting reduction” plan had been completed. “Chief Lovell gave the Mayor’s office a proposed plan to reduce shootings in Portland. The plan was presented by the deadline,” he reported.

Also on December 28th, we respectfully asked Mayor Ted Wheeler to publicly reveal this “shooting reduction” plan to reduce shooting crimes, and ease the fear of gun-based crime here, east of the Willamette River in Portland.

So far, there we have had no response from Mayor Wheeler’s office.



In the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood East Precinct officers warned drivers that this large fallen tree limb was partially blocking S.E. Duke Street at 68th Avenue.
In the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood East Precinct officers warned drivers that this large fallen tree limb was partially blocking S.E. Duke Street at 68th Avenue. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
While most trees in Southeast withstood the windstorm, a big one came down here, at S.E. 18th Avenue and Claybourne Street – taking down electrical and other utility lines with it.
While most trees in Southeast withstood the windstorm, a big one came down here, at S.E. 18th Avenue and Claybourne Street – taking down electrical and other utility lines with it. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

High winds, heavy rain sweep through Inner Southeast

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The major winter storm that swept through Inner Southeast Portland January 11 and 12 brought winds gusting over 50 miles an hour, bringing down tree limbs all across the area – and it took down some trees as well.

Despite the wind, and a two-day rain total well over two inches in our part of town, the storm brought less precipitation than forecasters had expected – so said National Weather Service Portland Office Meteorologist Daniel Hartsock, after the sun reappeared on January 13.

“Over the greater Portland area, there were maximum wind gusts reaching 55 mph, with a peak of 47 mph registered at Portland International Airport,” Hartsock reported. “We were expecting up to 40 mph – but an unexpected squall line along the leading edge of the cold front produced the heavier winds [especially from late January 12 through 1 a.m. on January 13].”

The 48-hour rainfall total at the airport of 2.5” could have been more, Hartsock commented, “but the storm system moved through more quickly than our models showed” – so the precipitation shut down hours earlier than expected.

Under clear skies on January 13th, longtime Westmoreland resident Corinne Stefanick enlisted the help of Susan Schen to help clean up the tree debris that littered the small Oaks Bottom Overlook “pocket park” on the Bybee Boulevard curve to 13th Avenue.

The pair spent the late morning and early afternoon picking up branches and raking related debris. “We’re using the largest branches as edging for the park, and letting the other natural debris decompose,” explained Stefanick.

“This is Portland Bureau of Transportation property, but the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) has maintained it, after obtaining a permit to put in the picnic tables here,” Stefanick told THE BEE. “We’d love to have more volunteers help us maintain it!”

To volunteer to help, contact her by email – cstefanick@hotmail.com



An East Precinct officer searches for evidence, after a rare home invasion robbery on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard near 74th.
An East Precinct officer searches for evidence, after a rare home invasion robbery on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard near 74th. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Armed man menaces couple in Woodstock Blvd. home invasion robbery

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The sound of someone pounding on their front door, begging for help, aroused a Mt. Scott-Arleta couple early Sunday morning, December 27. Opening the door turned out to be a misstep that led to their becoming victims of an armed home-invasion robbery.

East Precinct officers responded at 2:48 a.m. Arriving at the home, in the 7400 block of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, they learned that when a resident opened the door, the male suspect had pushed his way into the house.

“The suspect threatened the victim and his girlfriend with a gun, while demanding all of their valuables; then left with a cell phone, laptop, wallet, and the victim’s 2019 Acura,” reported Portland Police spokesperson Officer  Derek Carmon about the incident. “There is no suspect information, and no arrests have been made.”

There is also no public information on why this particular home may have been targeted for such an unusual residential crime.

Anyone with information is asked to call Police Non-Emergency at 503/823-3333, or better yet, to send an e-mail to crimetips@portlandoregon.gov, and reference Case #20-380526.






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