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July, 2020 -- Vol. 114, No. 11
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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Woodstock march, drawing thousands, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A family-focused group of an upwards of 2,000 people marched peacefully on Woodstock Boulevard on June 5 in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Passing cars and a very large truck honked in support of the marchers. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Two thousand march on Woodstock Blvd

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

While “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations were being held downtown, as well as throughout Oregon and even the nation – at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5th, an estimated one to two thousand people marched east on Woodstock Boulevard from S.E. 40th to 52nd Avenue.

As marchers flanked the sidewalks, pushed strollers, and rode bicycles, there were no disruptions nor need for police. A few cars tried to wend their way through the crowd, or turn from the boulevard onto a side street, but there were no mishaps, and a car lane remained open on Woodstock Boulevard.

Wearing protective coronavirus masks, carrying signs, and physically distancing as much as possible, the predominantly white band of adults and children of all ages chanted “Black Lives Matter” for the ten blocks.

The plan for a march had been publicized on fliers in the neighborhood, on social media, through neighbors e-mailing other neighbors, and at the Woodstock Neighborhood Association meeting a few days before. 

In addition to expressing support for police reform and an end to systemic racism in the U.S. and around the world, it seemed that neighbors were also relieved to get out together, after having been in relative isolation for almost three months due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Publicized as a family-focused and “intentionally quiet” march in solidarity with those in mourning for the life of George Floyd and other black men and women who have been unjustly killed by police, it was low key – but not exactly quiet. A drummer kept beat with the chanting, as everyone turned around at 52nd Avenue and returned westward to All Saints Episcopal Church at 40th Avenue where the march had begun. Cars and several large trucks honked loudly in support as they passed by.

All Saints was not a sponsor of the march; but the main organizer – Woodstock resident Jake Dockter – started attending the church a few months ago, and remarked to THE BEE that he is impressed with the church community. The Rev. Andria Skornik, who has been priest and rector of the church for just over a year, helped publicize the march, and agreed to allow the church parking lot as the gathering spot.

Dockter describes himself as “a writer, reader, father/husband, and hopeful activist,” adding, “I am a parent of a 6 and 3 year old and we have been trying to talk to them about these issues. It is important for us to show our kids ways they can get involved and how they can learn about compassion and justice. I am a white neighbor and need to acknowledge my own place in this system. We are complicit and need to dismantle so much.”

While planning the march, Dockter and others had been expecting perhaps 100 people to show up. “I was amazed by the number of people. All were people I recognized from the neighborhood [where Dockter has lived for eight years], or my daughter’s school, or the library. The Woodstock and Southeast neighborhood really showed up to say, ‘Black Lives Matter’, and to voice our call for police accountability.”

Woodstock resident Jessica Nelson, who had never been to any protest or march before, attended with her five and seven year-old daughters. “They asked a lot of questions along the way like children do, and I just kept telling them that we were marching because of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. They were confused at first where we were marching and why we were silent (besides those honking cars). We told them it was as a sign of great respect to a man's life who died. My husband and I have taught them to choose kindness and love and treat everyone as equal.”

Sara Kirschenbaum, who once organized 200 peace groups in Ohio in the 1980’s, told THE BEE, “We walked out our front door, and we couldn't believe what we were seeing – people were pouring into the street from all directions… The care and creativity that people put into their signs were amazing. I was so astonished that this predominately white neighborhood seemed to care so deeply about black and brown people!”

Asked about his hopes for the future, organizer Dockter replied, “Look at what is happening in Minneapolis. Change is already underway. Look at Portland Public Schools, addressing issues of armed officers in schools. This shows pressure and action can impact and make change. In Portland, and Oregon, we can drive change for our community. It is crucial that these communities stand and follow the lead of Black leaders and their call.

“For folks interested, they can e-mail – SEPDXAction@gmail.com – to discuss ways we can work together,” Dockter concluded.

Oaks Park, new thrill ride, AtmosFEAR, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The historic Oaks Amusement Park Midway served as the staging area for large and small parts being used to erect the new “extreme thrill ride”, AtmosFEAR. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New Oaks Park thrill ride goes ‘over the top’ (some assembly required)

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

After riding the waves across the Atlantic Ocean from a manufacturer in Italy, then making a trip through the Panama Canal, and finally arriving in Seattle, a new thrill ride is coming to Oaks Park. Trucks started pulling the six 40-foot shipping containers into the parking lot at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park on May 26.

“We’re excited that our newest attraction, called ‘AtmosFEAR’ – which is similar to, and replacing, the renowned ‘Screamin’ Eagle’ ride – is finally here!” exclaimed Oaks Amusement Park Chief Executive Officer Brandon Roben.

The difference between AtmosFEAR, and the ride it replaces, is that can be set to swing riders completely over the top – making a full 360° arc. “I’ve ridden it; and, in that mode, it truly is an extreme thrill ride,” Roben told THE BEE.

But, because the ride uses computerized controls, it can also easily be set so that the main arm instead swings only about 180°, for the riders who are less adventurous, and shorter in stature.

During the unloading process, The Oaks’ historic exhibit building served as a temporary shelter for numerous boxes of parts, controllers, and lighting panels.

Planning for opening day
With COVID-19 coronavirus “Phase 1 reopening” still pending for Multnomah County in mid-June, Roben said the season’s opening date remains uncertain.

“When Multnomah County goes into ‘Phase 2 reopening’, we’ll be able to open; but on a very limited basis, with our capacity set at only 250 people.

“And, for a facility like ours, with very large outdoor grounds – as is also the case with the Oregon Zoo, and Salem’s Enchanted Forest – that cap of 250 people won’t permit very many paying customers inside, because the staff must also be included in that total,” Roben pointed out.

So, he said, their executives are in contact with other large attractions in Oregon, working on strategies to reopen sometime this summer.

“We’ve considered potentially shorter ‘attendance blocks’, where we would host 250 people for shorter times; but that brings us other logistical challenges,” Roben observed. “While we’re eager to have families come visit us again, we want to do it safely – by having a sensible capacity that allows us to enforce social distancing.”

Instead of having long lines at the ticket booths, and potentially having to turn away families who’ve traveled some distance to visit the park, The Oaks is likely to offer online-only ticket sales this season. “It helps us gauge the number of guests coming on any given day,” Roben explained, “So, when we’ve reached capacity, tickets will no longer be available online for that day.”

Additionally, because people can see, online, how many tickets have already been sold for a given day, they can easily choose a less busy day to come and enjoy the park.

“While other ticketed outdoor attractions are scrambling to put in place online ticketing systems, Oaks Amusement Park actually launched our system at the start of their 2019 season; so it is already tested and ready to go,” Roben told THE BEE.

Check for updates on their website – http://www.oakspark.com



Scene of stabbing near MAX in Brooklyn, Southeast Portland, Oregon
In the Brooklyn neighborhood, an officer began spooling out crime scene tape, as other officers exchanged information, at the TriMet MAX Orange Line Station at S.E. 17th Avenue and Rhine Street – where a stabbing attack left a victim seriously wounded. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Ronald Leestarr McCloud, suspect in Brooklyn stabbing, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Accused of “Assault II” – a Class B Felony – in a Brooklyn stabbing is Ronald Leestarr McCloud. (MCDC booking photo)

Stabbing near Brooklyn’s Rhine Street MAX Station

By DAVID F. ASHTON
|For THE BEE

In the Brooklyn neighborhood, TriMet MAX Orange Line trains rolled past – and didn’t stop at the 17th Avenue and Rhine Street Station – for quite some time after a man was found near the tracks, seriously injured by a stabbing, on Tuesday afternoon, June 16.

Central Precinct and Transit Division officers, dispatched to the scene at 5:36 p.m., closed off the MAX platform; and then shut down vehicle and pedestrian traffic on S.E. 17th Avenue between Rhine and Haig Streets.

The focus of their investigation appeared to be the area between the TriMet MAX Orange Line tracks, nearest to Haig Street.

“An adult male was located and transported by ambulance to an area hospital with serious injuries,” reported Portland Police spokesperson Lieutenant Tina Jones.

Officers found a man nearby – later identified as 53 year-old Ronald Leestarr McCloud – believed to be the suspect involved in the incident.

“McCloud had a stick-like object approximately, 2.5 feet in length, in his hand – and challenged officers to shoot him,” Jones told THE BEE. “Officers were able to de-escalate the situation, and safety take him into custody, without force being used.”

McCloud was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 7:36 p.m. that evening on one count of Assault II, a Class B Felony. At his arraignment, McCloud learned that he’s also to be tried on another felony, Unlawful Use of a Weapon. His combined bail was set at $255,000; and as THE BEE went to press he remained in custody at MCDC.

The victim, not publicly identified, remains in an area hospital in serious condition. No motive has been disclosed in the incident.

If anyone has information about the incident and has not already spoken with investigators, they are asked to call Detective Chris Traynor at 503/823-0451, or e-mail him – christopher.traynor@portlandoregon.gov



Eileen Fitzsimons, Oregon Heritage Award, Sellwood Community House, National Historic Register, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Award-winning Inner Southeast historian Eileen Fitzsimons wrote the nomination that led to the Sellwood Community House building to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Historian Eileen Fitzsimons given ‘Oregon Heritage Excellence Award’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Since 1995, readers of THE BEE have enjoyed articles about the history of Inner Southeast Portland, carefully researched and well-written by Westmoreland resident Eileen Fitzsimons.

Beyond her writing about local history for more than 40 years, Fitzsimons has been recognized as an accomplished expert in the areas of Oregon architectural history, Oregon pioneer trails, public gardens, and being the co-chair of the Oregon Quilt Project – an organization which has documented some 1,800 quilts, and their stories.

In the nomination for her to receive a 2020 “Oregon Heritage Excellence Award”, Fred Leeson wrote, in part, “She has shared her expertise often in public lectures, on walking tours, in newspaper articles, and on the Internet. She has a firm belief authentic history needs to be shared publicly, rather than be ‘hoarded’ for narrower uses.”

The Oregon Heritage Commission was to present their “Heritage Excellence Award” to Fitzsimons at a banquet in Corvallis – but it was scheduled to take place shortly after COVID-19 coronavirus concerns cancelled all such gatherings. “We hope to reschedule it, but are uncertain of when,” remarked Heritage Commission Coordinator Beth Dehn.

After providing so many fascinating stories about Portland of the past, THE BEE was delighted that the typically-modest Fitzsimons agreed to an interview about herself.

BEE: What attracted you to the study of Portland’s historic architecture?

“I was working my way through PSU, and had a work study job with the City of Portland Landmarks Commission.  It was just after a very significant synagogue on the South Park Blocks had been demolished overnight by its owner – for a parking lot. The Commission, which was pretty new, was concerned that it was the beginning of a demolition ‘trend’, so I was asked to research the history of the entire Park Blocks [on the west side of downtown Portland], as well as every building then facing the length of the park.

“I realized that historic buildings could act as ‘pivot points’ around which an extensive community history could be arranged.”

BEE: What led you to research, and write nominations for, numerous buildings in Portland to be included in the National Register of Historic Places?

“In 1984-85 I was researching and writing the narrative portions of ten buildings for nomination by their owners to the National Register of Historic Places. Then, these nominations had to be approved by the City Landmarks Commission, followed by the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation. If a building passed both hurdles, the nomination went to be listed nationally.

“These were all commercial buildings, including [Portland General Electric] Station L (now part of OMSI), and Montgomery Park – and, all ten are now on the National Register.”

BEE: What motivates you to study and “save” older buildings?

“To me, buildings are ‘touch screens’ to our collective history.

“You can see photos of a building; but there is nothing like seeing it up close, or moving within the space, to give you a ‘feel’ for a period of time, and make you wonder how our predecessors lived.

“For instance, go to an estate sale inside an older home of the 1920's or 30's, and observe the small size of the bathroom and closets, with virtually no storage space. It seems that ‘life is coming full circle’ when one thinks about ‘tiny homes’.”

BEE: What do you consider to be the most significant and interesting Inner Southeast Portland historical buildings you’ve studied?

  • The Howard Vollum home – Located at 1115 S.E. Lambert Street. He lived here from his birth to marriage in his 30s. He was the founder of Tektronix. While a very modest home, it shows that greatness and achievement are not reliant on grand surroundings.
  • The Sellwood Library – The first purpose-built Sellwood Library (which had several previous temporary storefronts), located at 1406 S.E. Nehalem Street was in a bungalow-style building, built in 1915. It was used until 1965. Now restored, it is a private home.
  • The Moreland Theater – This neighborhood movie house in the Westmoreland Business District at 6712 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue opened in 1925, and is still in use today – whenever it is allowed to reopen [after the coronavirus closure].
  • Oaks Amusement Park – Opened in 1905, it’s one of the very few “trolley parks” in the United States, opened in that era, that is still entertaining families today.
  • The Springwater Corridor – This “40 Mile Loop” for non-motorized use and pedestrians was, by the 1920's, the route of one of the country's most extensive, electrically-powered interurban train lines, originally operated by the Oregon Water Power & Electric Company.

Now you’ve had the chance to meet the woman behind so many BEE stories – Eileen Fitzsimons – and to learn just why she is receiving a statewide honor: The Oregon Heritage Award!



Couple ends fund-raising walk for Dougy Center in Sellwood Park, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Their dawn-to-dusk trek around Portland completed, and still drying out from the morning showers they’d slogged through, Tatyana and Richard Sundvall caught their breaths at sunset on the bluff overlooking Oaks Bottom. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sixth ‘Dawn-to-Dusk for Dougy’ 30-mile walk raises funds for nonprofit

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

What started in 2015 as an exercise challenge for Richard and Tatyana Sundvall, has turned into an annual hike around Portland on the “Summer Solstice” – the first day of summer. This was its sixth year, and the first day of summer was the sprinkly June 20.

Stepping off at sunrise – 5:22 a.m. – in Irving Park, the Sundvalls again this year ended their trek at sunset – 9:03 p.m. – in Sellwood Park.

What made it different this year? “Well, from our start until about noon, Tatyana and our supporters walking with us got soaked by passing rainstorms,” Richard said wryly.

“And, it was more difficult than we’d thought it would be to find open bathrooms along the way,” he told THE BEE, as friends broke out the champagne to celebrate the completion of another successful hike and fundraiser.

From the start, the Sundvalls dedicated their fitness challenge to building awareness of, and raising funds for, the nonprofit “Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families”, on S.E. 52nd Avenue, just south of Foster Road, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

“From the first year, we’ve called it our ‘Dawn to Dusk Walk for The Dougy Center’, encouraging people to pledge money to help this great organization,” Tatyana pointed out. “The loss of someone you love is truly one of the longest days of anyone's life; so our ‘Dawn to Dusk’ walk – on the longest day of the year – is also symbolic those grieving a death. We do this to support Dougy Center programs for grieving children and families.”

As the couple and friends wrapped up their sixth annual 30-mile walk around Portland, Richard said they’d hoped to raise $10,000 for the Dougy Center programs to help grieving children and teens, including families affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus; the final count of the money raised, however, was not yet available.

To learn more about The Dougy Center, go online – http://www.dougy.org





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