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September, 2020 -- Vol. 115, No. 1
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!


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Franklin High School Principal Chris Frazier says he and his staff will continue to build and nurture relationships with students, even if it has to be through remote interactions.
Franklin High School Principal Chris Frazier says he and his staff will continue to build and nurture relationships with students, even if it has to be through remote interactions. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fall term a challenge for Inner Southeast schools


With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Inner Southeast Portland in March, schools – both public and parochial – abruptly closed their doors and began online “distance learning” programs. Some schools got off to a faster start than did others, as teachers and staff rushed to prepare materials to finish out the 2019-20 school year remotely.

According to a message sent out by Portland Pubic Schools (PPS) Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero near the end of July, “... After reviewing the best available guidance from health officials, and following the announcement by Governor Brown regarding new health metrics and standards for opening schools, we have determined that the PPS fall semester will begin online, using a new, comprehensive distance-learning model.

“This means all Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 students will participate in an online learning model from September 2 (the first day of the 2020-21 school year in PPS) until at least November 5, which is the end of the first quarter,” Guerrero reported.

But, when school starts up for PPS students, the “comprehensive distance learning ... will be different from the student learning experience of this past spring,” Guerrero said.

During the first two weeks of school, students will connect with their teachers, become oriented to their learning platforms and participate in activities that support interconnectedness with their classroom and school communities. “After the first two weeks, students will follow a regular weekly schedule and will have daily interaction with their teachers. Grades will be given and attendance will be taken,” Guerrero said.

For more about PPS schools’ opening, go online –

Local Principals comment
We attempted to contact additional Inner Southeast public and private schools, but some were too busy preparing for the new school year in mid-August to chat. Woodstock Elementary School Principal Seth Johnson made time to express his feelings about the start of this school year to THE BEE.

“Ultimately, we are excited to see students again, whether in person or virtually. Although, like many families, we are very anxious about the start of the school year, our teachers and support staff have been working over the summer preparing for continued distance learning in the fall.

“In addition to some of the new approaches with distance learning, we also look forward to engaging with our students and families in conversations and discussions around social justice and anti-racism,” Johnson told us. “We know this is a shift in the traditional instructional approach, but we are ready to continue to provide, even at a distance, engaging and meaningful learning at Woodstock Elementary.”

In Eastmoreland, Duniway Elementary School Principal Matt Goldstein and this staff were also busy getting ready for the new school year, but paused to speak with THE BEE.

“Our number one priority will be to connect with families and make sure that teachers are working hard to build relationships with their new students and their families. Even in non-pandemic times this was vital, and with distance learning it is even more important.

“We are spending extra time coming up with ways to welcome our 74 incoming kindergarten students. This will be a unique and certainly memorable way for those five-year-olds to start their schooling,” Goldstein commented. “We have 18 incredible classroom teachers and a great collection of support staff who will work really hard to meet the needs of our families – it will undoubtedly be a community-wide effort.

And, it’s not only the young students who will be facing the challenge of online learning, pointed out Franklin High School Principal Chris Frazier. “At Franklin High, we’ll continue our work of offering a robust educational experience for our students, in a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment – supported by caring adults.

“In our distance-learning model, we focus our support for students through socio-emotional learning opportunities, to continue to build and nurture relationships with our students; allowing students to engage and interact with the curriculum and in our community.

“We honor our commitment to our school-wide beliefs of maximizing engagement, maximizing relationships, and maximizing evidence of student ability for all of our students – with a specific focus on serving our traditionally-underserved students,” concluded Frazier.

On the edge of the Eastmoreland neighborhood, Holy Family Catholic School Principal Joe Galati was holding a ZOOM online meeting with his staff when THE BEE stopped by.

“These are the most challenging of times,” Galati acknowledged. “I watch the Governor’s metrics extremely closely, and realize that we are now ready and excited to welcome our young students and families, regardless of the way we have to start our year.

“For me, by far, it’s most important to keep our kids and our staff healthy and safe,” said Galati. “Here at Holy Family, we are prepared either for a hybrid of part classroom and part distance learning, or for a full digital experience, as we start the school year. More than likely, we’ll be starting with the comprehensive digital learning plan.

“As always, Holy Family is ready to serve, support, and strengthen the learning for all our students.”

Holy Family Catholic School is online at –

Woodstock Elementary School Principal Seth Johnson stands next to a “Then and Now” exhibit in his school – one that may eventually have to be updated to include the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Woodstock Elementary School Principal Seth Johnson stands next to a “Then and Now” exhibit in his school – one that may eventually have to be updated to include the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Ready to head into the start of “a new school year like no other” is Duniway Elementary School Principal Matt Goldstein.
Ready to head into the start of “a new school year like no other” is Duniway Elementary School Principal Matt Goldstein. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Confident his staff is fully prepared to start the new school year online is Holy Family Catholic School Principal Joe Galati.
Confident his staff is fully prepared to start the new school year online is Holy Family Catholic School Principal Joe Galati. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Doctor points out online learning concerns
The Executive Medical Director of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Dr. James A. Polo, MD, enumerated three “challenges” faced by students and families as the new school year begins.

As schools will engage in distance learning for the first quarter of the school year, “For most kids (and their parents) this will be a disappointment,” he began. “First of all, it will be harder for some students learning and being outside of the classroom environment. Second, this will create challenges for parents in terms of supervision of kids at home.

“Finally, socialization and social connectedness are important and necessary for a child’s growth and development. So, in addition to having to adapt to academic learning in a ‘virtual’ environment, children will also miss the social environment which includes extracurricular activities, clubs, and athletics.”

Scrambling for time on computers, laptops and pads can be another stress-inducing challenge, he said.

To solve the stressful situation, “I recommend having conversations with your children to talk about this now; they will have many concerns and questions. It is not critical that you know all the new changes or even have all the answers – the goal is to let them talk and ‘feel’ heard.

“Keep in mind that if you have children in different age brackets, you will likely need to have separate conversations – as ‘the issues’ are very different in grade, middle, and high school,” Polo pointed out.

“Finally, if you have college students, don’t assume that they are “old enough and will be okay – if fact, in the long run, this may be more stressful for them [than younger students], although they are less likely to ‘tell you’, or ‘show it’,” the doctor said.

“Remember, the goal is not to have answers or tell them how to feel; [but instead], to let them express their feelings so that they can begin to understand themselves within the context of what is happening around them.”

As the school year gets underway, there is the possibility that some in-classroom learning will be approved later on, depending on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Portland area. But the very earliest that could begin, according to the Governor’s office, would be November, if then.

It’s likely that this year’s Fair will be confined just to the historic Oaks Amusement Park Dance Pavilion, says FMCF Board President Larry Smith.
It’s likely that this year’s Fair will be confined just to the historic Oaks Amusement Park Dance Pavilion, says FMCF Board President Larry Smith. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Mid-October dates now planned for Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park


Although the situation remains fluid, for the all-volunteer Friends of Multnomah County Fair – those who organize this annual fair – they say they’re currently planning what they’re calling the “2020 Multnomah County Mini-Fair and Harvest Festival” for the first of October at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park.

“It’s been postponed twice already this year, but our event is tentatively scheduled for September 30 through October 2, in the Oaks Park Historic Dance Pavilion,” said FMCF Board President Larry Smith, while surveying the area in mid-August.

SECOND UPDATE:  “Due to a change in schedule at the Oaks Park Historic Dance Pavilion, the dates of the Multnomah County Mini Fair and Harvest Festival, announced in the September BEE, have been changed to October 17 and 18, Saturday and Sunday.  Entries in the departments of arts and crafts, photography, foods, floral and garden, and fiber arts are due between 1 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 16.  Public viewing hours will be Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Exhibits may be picked up on Sunday between 5 and 7 p.m. These dates are subject to Oaks Park being cleared to open the Pavilion for events in October.  Due to pandemic restrictions and prior reservations of the outdoor areas, this year's event will be confined to the Pavilion.  All social distancing and pandemic safety measures required at the time will be in place," Smith informed THE BEE on September 3. For the latest updates, go to the Multnomah County Fair website:

“Although its Fair was abandoned [and no longer funded] by Multnomah County in the mid-1990s, the Fair continues to be an annual tradition since 1907, thanks to the hard work of volunteers, and has never been cancelled,” he pointed out.

Smith said the organizers are committed to providing a modified Fair this year – dedicated to “front line” medical workers and emergency first responders who have continued to provide services right through the current pandemic.

“This will be a much different event with respect to social distancing, disinfecting, and sanitation requirements,” Smith remarked. “With the majority of the usual outdoor areas at the park being unavailable, most of the activities will take place inside the Dance Pavilion – including traditional competitions in arts and crafts, foods, needlecraft, and photography exhibits, as well as the bounties of autumn gardens.”

Some information remains fluid, Smith pointed out – so he advised keeping up to date with their plans by visiting the official Friends of Multnomah County Fair website –

A Pontiac sedan, left, ran the stoplight and collided with Volvo sport van, disrupting the afternoon commute traffic at S.E. 17th and Tacoma Street in Sellwood on August 5th.
A Pontiac sedan, left, ran the stoplight and collided with Volvo sport van, disrupting the afternoon commute traffic at S.E. 17th and Tacoma Street in Sellwood on August 5th. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Suspended, uninsured driver crashes, snarls traffic, at 17th and Tacoma


The busy intersection at S.E. 17th Avenue and Tacoma Street in Sellwood has experienced traffic delays for many construction-related lane closures this year, both before and after the new CVS Pharmacy opened on the southwest corner. Drivers used to congestion got even more of it for a while on Wednesday, August 5th, at about 3 p.m.

It happened when two vehicles collided in the middle of the intersection as the traffic light was changing, with both veering over and crashing into the southeast corner, in front of the “Mio Sushi” restaurant. Traffic was stopped for a time, forcing a detour.

In the mishap, a Volvo sport van ended up facing east, wedged between a power pole and an evergreen tree, while the Pontiac sedan that was adjudged to have caused the accident was wedged on the other side of the same tree, wedged against a ground-level Mio Sushi sign.

Westmoreland Fire Engine 20 was first to arrive, and medically checked out those in the crashed cars – shortly followed by the arrival of an investigating Central Precinct officer.

Both vehicles were disabled and required tows, although no significant injuries were reported for either driver.

The person at the steering wheel of the Pontiac, which appeared to be registered in Illinois, was cited for “Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device, Driving While Suspended, and Driving Uninsured”.

Cleveland High School’s new Principal, Jo Ann Wadkins.
Cleveland High School’s new Principal, Jo Ann Wadkins. (Courtesy PPS PIO Karen Werstein)

Cleveland High's new Principal: Jo Ann Wadkins


In the course of the past school year, Cleveland High School had three different Principals.

Last fall, Leo Lawyer was recruited for the position from the same role at a middle school on the Oregon coast. However, he resigned after a few months, and was replaced on an interim basis by Paul Cook, who had retired as C.H.S.’s Principal back in 2015. This summer, Cook returned to retirement, was replaced by Jo Ann Wadkins – who had most recently been Vice Principal at Lincoln High School.

Prior to that, Wadkins had spent fifteen years as a teacher and instructional leader at Lincoln. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic having closed all area schools this past spring, most of the District’s nine comprehensive high schools are going to have a new Principal this fall. Portland Public Schools has yet to determine all the details of exactly how classes will proceed; how many hours and classes will be held on-site, and how many will be taught online via distance learning. [See separate BEE article for the latest information at press time.]

Wadkins has taught IB Physics, Astronomy, and Theory of Knowledge. She also played lead roles in such key programs as School Improvement, IB, Site Council, and Freshman Success. In July she met with the C.H.S. PTA, assuring them she was eager to meet staff, students, and families, and to move equity work forward. “We also have some hiring we need to do,” she revealed. “It’s important for incoming freshmen to feel connected, and part of the C.H.S. community.

“During these stressful times, with the pandemic and Portland's protests, strong emotions and feelings have arisen,” Wadkins remarked. “We must not remain silent. We need to allow student discussions, and a safe space to process tense moments, in order to move on to a constructive resolve.”

But since the Governor has postponed any general in-classroom classes until at the very least November, forcing all schools to start out “online only”, it appears that – for most Cleveland High students – their initial connectedness may just be to the Internet, and their new acquaintances may mostly be made virtually.

At the meeting, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis listens to concerns about the sharp uptick in East Portland gun violence. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” he says.
At the meeting, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis listens to concerns about the sharp uptick in East Portland gun violence. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” he says. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Deputy Police Chief attends Southeast Q-and-A session


Residents of the Woodstock, Brentwood-Darlington, Woodstock, and Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods have regularly joined Outer Southeast residents in attending meetings of the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA) – a regional group which THE BEE reported on last month, as they performed a volunteer yard cleanup for a Mt. Scott area resident who had been reported unable to do the work himself.

The group usually meets inside the air conditioned building of the Community Connections Center, on the slope of Mount Scott. But, on Thursday, July 9, they held an out-of-doors, socially-distanced meeting – strictly limited to fewer than 25 people.

Their primary speaker was Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Deputy Chief Chris Davis, who said he he’d come to answer questions as well as to listen to the concerns of Southeast Portland neighbors.

“Right now, the big challenge for us is the Police Bureau’s resources,” Davis told THE BEE. “Between the COVID-19 crisis, and all the really serious civil unrest that we’ve had downtown and in other parts of the city, our resources are really, really stretched thin.

“And then, with budget cuts in the budget development process – and then things put forward by a couple of our Portland City Commissioners, in terms of budget modifications – we’ve lost $27 million out of our budget,” Davis reflected. “So, now, we’re one of the ‘leanest’ major city police agencies in the entire United States. All of these things have come together, putting a lot of stress on our ability to deliver police services.”

A concern raised at the meeting was the 240% increase in shootings in July, compared to the same crimes one year ago, as reported by the Bureau – and, of course, the disbanding of the PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team.

“We are seeing some alarming increases in gun-related violence; but we deal with the situation that we have,” Davis responded. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have.

“While I would anticipate call-response times going up a little bit, we do our best to respond promptly for highest priority emergency calls. We do ask for people’s patience with longer call response times due to shrinking resources.”

The LNLA is not a neighborhood association, and does not limit its efforts to Lents, as their recent cleanup demonstrates. You can learn more about this nonprofit group at their official website –

The 2020 Portland Rose Festival Court of Princesses, including the four from Inner Southeast, gathered for a photo before the Queen’s Coronation ceremony began in the Washington Park “International Rose Test Garden” on July 30.
The 2020 Portland Rose Festival Court of Princesses, including the four from Inner Southeast, gathered for a photo before the Queen’s Coronation ceremony began in the Washington Park “International Rose Test Garden” on July 30. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

2020 Rose Fest Princesses choose their Queen themselves


This year, all Portland Rose Festival events were cancelled or heavily modified due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns – including the Queen’s Coronation, originally scheduled for Saturday morning, June 6, just before the start of the Grand Floral Parade, which didn’t happen either.

However, at last, on Thursday, July 30, in the Washington Park International Rose Test Gardens, a new Portland Rose Festival “Queen of Rosaria” for this year was crowned.

“This afternoon, after a nearly two month delay, Mya Brazile, one of the Rose Festival's longest-reigning Queens, will hand her crown to the newly-selected 2020 Queen, in a special coronation ceremony,” exclaimed Portland Rose Festival Association spokesperson Rich Jarvis, just before the event got underway.

“Due to the pandemic restrictions and the limitations on activities or gatherings, we couldn’t get the judges together in one place and at one time to evaluate our candidates,” Jarvis told THE BEE. “So, this year’s Queen was selected by those who know these candidates best – the members of the 2020 Court Princesses themselves!

“The last time the Court elected its own Queen was in 1930, the first year that the Festival started featuring high school students on the Court,” Jarvis said. “Of course, this year’s Queen will not get to ride in a 2020 parade – but she’ll definitely make it into next year’s parade!”

Under the unrelenting heat of the midday sun, the members of this year’s Portland Rose Festival Court were individually introduced as they entered the Royal Rosarian Garden section – specifically, the area featuring the “Walk of Queens” – and then they were seated along an aisle among the rose bushes.

All of the Princesses wore summery, off-the-shoulder, floral print dresses; and, in keeping with the times, matching face coverings as well. Organizers thoughtfully provided white parasols to shade the princesses as the program got underway.

After the invocation, 2019-2020 Royal Rosarian Minister of Rosaria Kimberly Bown addressed the group, saying in part, “After working for a long time on it this year, we’re coming together to deliver a unique and special celebration for the Rose Festival in our city today.”

After being escorted to her throne, 2019 Rose Festival Queen Mya Brazile told of the many activities that had highlighted her extended reign.

“You ladies you look lovely with your parasols,” Queen Mya said with a warm smile. “I am grateful to my Rose Festival family for providing such a great year. We’ve had many hurdles, but we hopped over every one successfully.”

Those scattered around the garden, under the hot sun, looked pleased that the program was abridged – as Lincoln High School Princess Anya Annon was announced the 2020 Queen of Rosaria.

Even though it’s been a most unusual Portland Rose Festival season, all four of the Princesses who reside in Inner Southeast Portland told THE BEE that their experience has been positive and uplifting.

Cleveland High School Princess Zoey Weesner commented, “The most memorable part of the Rose Festival, and an amazing gift for me, was getting to visit and explore parts of Portland I never knew existed. I’ve lived in this city my whole life, and I’ve never visited places such as Portland’s White House or the Pittock Mansion.”

About the coronation ceremony, Princess Zoey commented, “I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful and fitting place to crown this year’s Queen. Being able to incorporate the Queen’s Walk in this ceremony made this year even more memorable; it was a perfect place to crown our new Queen Anya.”

Woodstock resident and Central Catholic High School Princess Melyssa Okazaki described both the ceremony, and the newly-crowned queen, as “absolutely gorgeous”.

She added, “My most memorable part of the Portland Rose Festival this year was travelling with 14 of my fellow amazing Princesses, and being able to meet and get an insight into the lives of the inspiring men and women who make Portland such a beautiful place to live, work, and visit.”

St. Mary’s Academy’s Princess Grace Gentner, a resident of Eastmoreland, said about her participation in the Rose Festival Court, “I think that everyone’s perseverance and compassion have been incredibly memorable! Despite all the challenges put in front of us, the Rose Festival has adjusted to overcome obstacles with the grace, kindness, and civic-minded thinking that defines the organization.”

After the coronation ceremony, Princess Grace observed, “I regarded the ceremony as a special gift that set our 2020 Court apart. Not only was the venue impeccably beautiful, but it allowed for a return to historic Rose Festival tradition.”

Franklin High School Princess Doré Young observed about the ceremony, “It was very warm here today, but the historical significance and our chance to honor Queen Anya in the Rose Garden made it all worthwhile.”

What she’ll always remember, Princess Doré said, “Will definitely be the meals I shared with the other Princesses. We always had so much fun and, for some reason, everyone’s sense of humor really came out at those lunch tables.”

So once again, congratulations to all four of Southeast Portland’s 2020 Princesses – Zoey, Melyssa, Grace, and Doré!

Keep up to date on the future plans of the Portland Rose Festival, online –

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