Community Features

The "Events and Activities" for the month are below these featured stories!



The Eastside Railway was built along 13th Avenue in Sellwood in 1893, where few  homes and business were yet established. Here, three motormen of the Sellwood Branch Streetcar are shown taking a break. While only 800 people lived in Sellwood in 1890, three years later – because of the arrival of the streetcar – the population had ballooned to 1,800. (The PGE Power Station in the background is still there!)
The Eastside Railway was built along 13th Avenue in Sellwood in 1893, where few homes and business were yet established. Here, three motormen of the Sellwood Branch Streetcar are shown taking a break. While only 800 people lived in Sellwood in 1890, three years later – because of the arrival of the streetcar – the population had ballooned to 1,800. (The PGE Power Station in the background is still there!) [Courtesy Dana Beck collection]

SOUTHEAST HISTORY
Remembering the streetcars of Sellwood and Westmoreland

By DANA BECK
Special to THE BEE

Those who live in Sellwood and Westmoreland know what it’s like to contend with the morning bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Sellwood or Ross Island Bridge, or to battle returning commuters from downtown Portland. Milwaukie Avenue and S.E. 17th become clogged as workers from elsewhere wend their way back to their homes in Clackamas County.

But, in 1890, the town of Sellwood, with a population close to 800, was a pretty peaceful place to live. Townsfolk complained to the Sellwood City Council (the town had its own Volunteer Council from 1890 to 1897) about neighbors’ cows trampling fences to get at home gardens, or about wild animals raiding local chicken coops in residential backyards. But that was soon to change.

Portland’s first streetcar line started up on the west side of the Willamette River as early as 1872. Wooden railway cars drawn by horses and mules lumbered across the business district on First Avenue, taking passengers on a slow ride across just a few blocks of Downtown Portland. It wasn’t until the streetcar lines were electrified that investors began building tracks leading out from Downtown into the various neighborhoods around the Rose City.

Few people lived on the east side of the river, and most of the working class lived in cramped quarters – boarding houses and dilapidated apartments – close to where they worked, in the busy industrial sections Downtown. Transportation options were limited for those who chose to live more than a mile outside the city limits.

But crafty businessmen and bankers on the west side of the river already had their eyes on the little community of Sellwood. It was a hefty hike for workers living there to walk to work, so many residents in Sellwood had to pay for transportation by ferry from the Umatilla Street Landing – usually at least a 30 to 40-minute commute each way – after the boat arrived. Those who lived a bit closer to town, such as in the communities of Brooklyn, East Portland, or Richmond, could board the Stark Street Ferry to commute Downtown. It wasn’t until March 2nd of 1887 that the new Morrison Bridge was opened to pedestrians and horses and wagons, which was a substantial improvement for those on the east side of the river – but a substantial toll was required.

Tolls varied from five cents for pedestrians to twenty cents for a driver and two horses, a fee much more expensive at the time, than it sounds today. Plus, those paying it still had to do a lot of walking before and after crossing.

Electric-powered streetcars ushered in a new era in transportation. Many of Portland’s “streetcar suburbs” were blossoming entirely because of the presence of a trolley line in their neighborhood. Investors knew that land located near a streetcar line could be sold, at a considerable profit, to merchants planning to open a bakery, barbershop, grocery store, or drug store in a growing community. Streetcar owners also planned on robust income from the fees paid by passengers getting aboard in Milwaukie, or Oregon City, or Gresham, who wanted to ride the trolley into Portland.

Of particular interest to the Eastside Railway executives was the opportunity to take riders to and from one of the state’s busiest venues at the time – the City View Horse Racing track in Sellwood, sited where Sellwood Park is today.

Work on a new east-side electric streetcar railway was begun in 1891. As work started moving south from the Morrison Bridge, the construction was briefly halted in the Brooklyn neighborhood, as work crews dealt with the marshy and swampy land and the Southern Pacific Railroad crossing at S.E. 11th Avenue.

A wooden trestle for pedestrians and the railway was built across what locals called “Brooklyn Creek”, allowing the rails to extend as far as the Sacred Heart Church at S.E. Center and Milwaukie Avenue before winter set in – but rains and cold didn’t stop construction, as the owners of the Interurban were rushing to complete the tracks before the start of the next horse racing season in Sellwood.

After a brief stop at the Midway community, at the north end of today’s Westmoreland, rails were laid down the largely empty countryside to the intersection of Bybee and Milwaukie Avenue. This area, too, was still mostly vacant land, occupied by the Jersey cows of William Ladd’s 500-acre Crystal Springs Farm. Westmoreland as a community wouldn’t be formed until about 1909.

On July 5th, 1892, the Eastside Railway was finished as far as S.E. 13th Avenue and Miller Street – barely past the start of the City View Horse Race season – and now the railway was able to deliver a profitable return to the stockholders of the Eastside Streetcar Company for the remainder of the season.

The completion of the Eastside Railway Company sparked additional interest in the new transportation system, and in such neighborhoods as Woodstock, Laurelhurst, Albina, Westmoreland, and Irvington, where rail service helped grow the new communities. The Sellwood streetcar helped create a commercial district in the newly-named Westmoreland district around Bybee and Milwaukie, followed by a construction boom to the south, as the Columbia Trust Company offered over 700 buildable lots for sale. By 1893 Sellwood’s population had doubled to over 1,800 people.

To keep the streetcars repaired and in running order, a maintenance “car barn” was built in Milwaukie, just south of Sellwood. Workers who lived in Sellwood walked over to the town of Milwaukie, or rode the trolley from Golf Junction, south to the car barns. Golf Junction was a popular stopping point when the Waverley Golf Club built a clubhouse and an 18-hole golf course, on what was once Luelling Fruit Orchards. Once the railway was completed the following year to Oregon City, commuters could spend the weekend at Willamette Falls, or attend special events and political rallies and Chautauquas at the end of the car line in Canemah Park.

Merchants, whose shops had been lining Umatilla Street westward to the Sellwood waterfront, were faced with having to make drastic changes, when the streetcar line was complete, and pedestrian traffic changed. Two and three story structures began showing up north along 13th Avenue, and soon residential housing and small shops filled the remaining empty lots along that street. Residents now had two commercial districts to choose from – and much later, a third one, along S.E. 17th.

Meanwhile the Eastside Railway Trolley Company was soon sold and consolidated into the “Portland City and Oregon Railway”. The new railway would change names many times, as it was repeatedly sold to different investors. But, to local residents, it was considered just the Sellwood Streetcar Line, and that name always showed on the signs over of the trolley when it came rolling down Milwaukie, Bybee, and 13th Avenues.

For only a nickel, a passenger could travel to work Downtown in less than twenty minutes. Rides were available every thirty minutes, and passengers could board the trolley cars at every other block – making it a more convenient trip than the former wait wait at the cold riverfront for passage on the Sellwood Ferry, which often took ten minutes longer.

Between three and four uniformed motormen and conductors were assigned to each streetcar, but the life of a trolley man could be made difficult by the unsupervised young boys who spent their free time skating at Oaks Park, crawling on log jams near Ross Island, or hunting for crawdads in Johnson Creek – and who gathered around streetcar stops looking for a free ride. When the hawk-eyed conductor’s attention was distracted elsewhere, they jumped onto the back rail, where they held on for dear life until the streetcar slowed for the stop they wanted and they jumped off, running to safety before they could be caught.

In 1905 the Lewis and Clark Exposition was officially declared open in Northwest Portland – drawing thousands of World’s Fair visitors to tour the town. Streetcar transportation was in great demand as a way of getting there and back. Richard Thompson, in his book “Portland’s Streetcars”, reported that the Portland Consolidated Railway Company carried over a million passengers a week to the Exposition’s grounds.

Meantime, the owners of the new Oregon Water Power and Railway had an idea how to draw the World’s Fair visitors across town to Sellwood, and thus increase fare revenue. On a twenty-acre peninsula next to the Willamette River in Sellwood, they built an amusement park – today’s historic Oaks Park – to draw Expo visitors away from Downtown. As part of it, an Interurban line was constructed along the east bank, winding around Sellwood and connecting up with the Sellwood Trolley on Ochoco Street.

In this way, visitors to Portland could visit the World’s Fair, spend a day at Oaks Amusement Park, and then perhaps continue out into the countryside heading off for Gresham or Damascus, where they could spend the day picnicking, hunting, and fishing, among other sporting pleasures. That eastbound Interurban line followed what is today, with the rails removed, the Springwater Trail.

And what to wear on the streetcar…? Long harem pants with wired skirts and long lampshade skirts were the fashion of the day for ladies, in the first decade of the Twentieth Century – and these garments proved to be particularly hazardous when boarding or departing a moving streetcar. Men were dressed in business suits and slacks, and could easily board a moving vehicle without any trouble; but ladies wearing the “Hobble skirt” which narrowed at the bottom, were more prone to missing the platform or even falling off the last step when the streetcar was in motion.

Fare inspectors had to come to the rescue of such damsels in distress, and to stop the train if need be, to administer first aid. When that happened, the aid given often ended with a brief but stern lecture to those whose actions had delayed the trolley’s schedule.

By 1909, Sellwood had become a bustling community – and by then it was an established part of Portland, instead of the separate town it had briefly been. The Oregon Water Power and Railway, seeking to consolidate their rolling stock, bought a section of property – between Linn and Ochoco Streets, and between 11th and 13th Avenues – for the construction of a six-garage streetcar barn. A power station was constructed across the street on 13th Avenue (it’s still there). The following year a two-story brick building was erected on the block just west of the new barns to serve as a combined Car Men’s clubhouse, temporary living quarters, and time schedule office for employees of the OWP and Railway.

The Car Men’s clubhouse is still there, too – and late in the Twentieth Century it would become one of only three buildings in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood to be listed on the National Historic Register. (The other two are the Oaks Pioneer Church, and the Sellwood Community House.)

A commercial district continued to grow rapidly along Sellwood’s 13th Avenue, as also were more apartment and boarding houses, along with the “Electric Hotel.” Construction was booming, and buildings were appearing as fast as contractors could build them.

At the intersection of Bybee and Milwaukie, an historic metal arch stood grandly across the road proclaiming it to be “Westmoreland” – but the informative arch’s time there was brief; it was soon removed to make way for the widening of a corner to accommodate an easier turn for the new streetcar line that was being installed for the Eastmoreland development just east of that intersection – and now you know why the northern corners at Bybee and Milwauie still boast gently curved buildings set well back from today’s more-squared-off curbs.

Ladd’s Real Estate Company, which was selling homes in both Westmoreland and Eastmoreland, helped pay the subsidy needed to complete the streetcar tracks eastward to Eastmoreland, bringing transportation to students at Reed College, where the campus was just being completed.

Ridership on Portland streetcars reached an all-time high between 1905 and the early 1920s. The trolleys’ first serious challenge to their monopoly on transportation was the introduction of “Jitneys” in 1914. As Carlos A. Schwantes explained in his article in the “Western Historical Quarterly”, “‘Jitneys’ were Ford automobiles which had been converted into busses”. Anything from delivery trucks to homemade autos could be altered into becoming a passenger service vehicle, and so could be used as a Jitney. There were no safety regulations or set fees, so drivers could demand their own price for a trip, and most of these Jitneys were driven by their owners. Let’s just say riding in a Jitney could sometimes be as thrilling as buying a ticket on an unsupervised roller coaster ride.

Jitneys proved to be a nuisance to big corporate streetcar owners by cutting severely into their profits. Much like the taxicab business of today, customers didn’t have to wait long to catch one, and they didn’t make the frequent stops the trolleys had to, when they were full to capacity. Since Jitneys also weren’t confined to where rails went, Jitney drivers could drop off passengers closer to their destination in a timely manner.

In response to the uncontrolled Jitney business, the Portland City Council decided to require a permit – at a substantial fee – to operate them, and also to require the posting of set schedules and times of operation. As a result, early in the the 1920s, private Jitneys largely disappeared into history.

Meantime, the streetcars proved to be beneficial to the Post Office Department. During the early years, all of the incoming and outgoing letters and packages were sorted in one location – at the Main Post Office in North Portland. After making the trip to collectthe mail at that main office to distribute on their daily route, mail carriers then had to make the considerable trip to their assigned routes in Sellwood, Montavilla St. Johns, or elsewhere, on foot – or in their own vehicle, if they had one. If they didn’t, or didn’t want to use it for business, mail carriers could use the new urban rail services to get to their routes faster and with much less effort.

Farmers found them very helpful, too – the urban rail service allowed them to get their milk and produce to customers and merchants while still as fresh as possible. Delivery by horse and wagon had been slow and cumbersome, but produce and dairy goods shipped on the Oregon Water Power and Railway Interurban got there faster and more efficiently. Fresh milk and eggs from farms in Oregon City, Sandy, and Boring could arrive in time for a customer’s morning breakfast!

In 1929 the streetcar was again faced with competition, when buses running with gasoline motors were starting to replace them as the nation entered the historic ten-year Great Depression. Portland’s prestigious urban railway system was in danger of disappearing.

If there was money for anything during the Great Depression, Portlanders would scrimp and save to buy a car – so fewer and fewer people were inclined to ride the rails. Even worse, Americans began to dislike the streetcar system, which still used old cars had not been kept up to date, and were worn out and uncomfortable to ride in. Passengers were further put off when the Portland Electric Power Company, which now had complete ownership of all of Portland’s trolley system, announced a fare increase of six cents!

It wasn’t until the United States entered World War II, and many things like gasoline and rubber tires became severely rationed, that ridership on the Portland Trollies returned to the levels of 1920. The population here grew, as thousands of people were recruited to move from the East Coast to Portland for jobs in the Kaiser Ship Yards, building ships for the war effort, for wages higher than most other businesses in the United States at the time. Workers who hired on for this wartime opportunity needed cheap transportation to their work sites, and many chose to ride the rails to work, for shifts that ran 24 hours a day.

But once the war was over in 1945, Americans again began to have disposable money as prosperity returned, and they were still fascinated with owning an increasingly affordable automobile. The end of the trolleys was near.

On June 21st, 1953, railway enthusiasts and past streetcar workers crammed aboard the last nostalgic streetcar ride out to the Cazadero Dam in Estacada, and back. That seemed to be the end, forever, of streetcars and urban rail transportation in Portland. But, as you already know, it wasn’t.

However, it would be over thirty years before a new generation of Oregonians would support construction of a brand new urban “light rail line”. In 1986, voters approved a bond issue to begin the construction of what was called “MAX” light rail, between Portland to Gresham. (“MAX” is an acronym for “Metro Area Express”.)

In 1998 the west side MAX light rail service followed, giving Portlanders easy access to the Portland Zoo, and providing commuters to and from Beaverton and Hillsboro the option of riding to work by light rail instead of spending time in commuter traffic and having to pay to park their car.

Today’s TriMet MAX light rail offers five different routes, encompassing over 60 miles of tracks and 97 station stops. Particular to Inner Southeast residents, the recently-completed Portland to Milwaukie “MAX Orange Line” gives visitors and workers the chance to glimpse sections of Portland’s eastside terrain between the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and northern Clackamas County.

Not only that – but, just like the golden era of the electric street railway, Portland now also has a 3.9-mile-loop true electric frequent-stop streetcar that circles the Downtown area and Pearl District, and crosses two bridges to serve the Inner Eastside Industrial District and OMSI as well – a route along which riders can still see buildings that are only there because there had been convenient and reliable streetcar service nearby, a century or more ago.



We caught up with Anna Weichsel at New Seasons Market in Woodstock.
We caught up with Anna Weichsel at New Seasons Market in Woodstock. (Photo by Becky Luening)

Woodstock resident invites Portlanders to share their ‘Urban Dreams’

By BECKY LUENING
For THE BEE

Are you a dreamer? A visionary? Do you perceive your surroundings through a lens that strives always to make things better?

Woodstock resident Anna Weichsel – an architect, a university instructor, and a Southeast neighbor who herself exhibits these qualities – has developed a community project to collect Portlanders’ big and small ideas for positive change, in the places they frequent in the course of their daily lives.

This community project is explained online, and is called “Active Cloud”. Her project strives to first amass a “Collection of Urban Dreams” – to account for the diverse desires and needs of many different individuals – and then, to help make some of those dreams come true!

As a transplant from Germany who lived for a while on the East Coast before relocating to Portland with her photographer husband, Anna has puzzled over cultural differences between cities – and the way in which communities develop and adapt over time, based on human activity.

She feels that the urban environments of European and East Coast cities more successfully encourage human interaction with the types of spaces and features that enable people to make the casual connections that enliven public life, and eventually lead to familiarity and perhaps friendship.

Now, as a member of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee, Anna has found herself critical of the lackluster design of some recent developments in that neighborhood, and has been surprised by the lack of community vision shown by those in charge of overseeing redevelopment of Portland's neighborhoods.

Her concern arises from an understanding of the huge impact that city design has on the quality of the lives of its inhabitants, and vice versa.

Changes within our urban growth reality that have tended to overlook concerns of many residents are what led Anna to dream up “Active Cloud” – a proactive process by which regular Portlanders can exchange dreams and visions of future urban design, related to their own routine activities here within Portland.

Some of the resulting collected ideas may even come true, since her goal is to compile a selection of “urban dream” submissions into actionable designs – and into recommendations to be presented to the City of Portland.

The project is open to YOU, and invites no-holds-barred brainstorming -- offering great latitude in terms of expression. “I hope for a wide variety of contributions,” Anna explains, “from drawings and writings to music, dancing, even baking – whichever creative outlet one finds appropriate for [explaining their] urban dream.

“It is important for me to work with this collection in a way that elevates voices out of the ambient noise of marginalization, and supports a multitude of cultural visions within our city's bureaucratic processes.”

This summer, Anna launched the website to broadcast the project to the greater Portland community, while actively reaching out to local schools and community organizations. She looks forward to receiving idea submissions from people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and income levels.

Again, any and all Portlanders – including YOU – are welcome to share their urban dreams. The only stipulation is they be affirmative! The submission deadline is October 22, late this month. For more information, you are encouraged to visit the project website – http://www.activecloudpdx.com



As part of this year’s Johnson Creek Clean-up – here at Errol Heights Park, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood – a group of volunteers waved, before they headed up the trail and got to work.
As part of this year’s Johnson Creek Clean-up – here at Errol Heights Park, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood – a group of volunteers waved, before they headed up the trail and got to work. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

30th ‘Johnson Creek Clean-up’ happens despite coronavirus

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

August 22nd was a pleasant Saturday morning for people to get out into nature; and what those people were doing was helping clean up the areas around Johnson Creek at numerous Southeast sites – from near the confluence with the Willamette River in Sellwood, on out to Gresham.

It took place due to some “out of the box” thinking by the staff of the Woodstock-based Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) – accomplished while strictly following State and Multnomah County COVID-19 coronavirus guidelines.

“This, our 30th annual ‘Creek Clean-up’, has typically been done with volunteers working together in the water in late summer, because the creek levels are lower then – and it’s within the State ‘in-water work window’, where we can be in Johnson Creek pulling out trash and debris, while not endangering fish eggs and fish nests,” explained JCWC Creek Clean-up Co-coordinator Melanie Klym.

“But in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of putting teams into the water where it might have been challenging to keep them six feet apart – especially when removing larger trash items from the Creek, such as lounge chairs and mattresses – we made the decision to do a land-based clean-up, working in the parks that border the creek, and along the Springwater Corridor,” Klym told THE BEE.

Thus, the year’s cleanup was strictly limited, with teams of ten people or less at each of the sites. “While we’ll all be helping, by cleaning areas around the creek we’re all a little sad we’re not doing the kickoff, and the big volunteers’ lunch, this year; so, we’re missing the community celebration aspect of the day,” Klym sadly pointed out.

In addition to volunteers cleaning up the banks of Johnson Creek, others were helping out by driving from site to site, retrieving bags of collected trash for disposal.

“It’s still helping the creek, because picking up trash along side the banks keeps it from eventually getting into the water, and therefore reduces hazards for wildlife – things that fly, walk, and swim – beyond just the fish,” Klum remarked. “And we also pick up discarded paint, batteries, and chemicals, which, when it rains, might wash into the creek and degrade the water quality.”

It certainly was a challenge, organizing this year’s clean-up, acknowledged its co-coordinator, and JCWC Volunteer Program Manager, Courtney Beckel. “It seems like every few days, we’ve run into a new logistical hurdle – in order to make sure that we’re following all the regulations by all the governmental bodies, and providing the necessary personal protection equipment.”

Even so, the cleanup was a success. Two trash dropboxes and two metal recycling boxes – containing a total of 2.17 tons of refuse – were collected, and everyone remained safe.

For more information about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and to learn about their volunteer opportunities, go online – http://www.jcwc.org

Competition exhibits are taped up on the sides of old rail coaches for public display – to be voted on by people attending the event.
Competition exhibits are taped up on the sides of old rail coaches for public display – to be voted on by people attending the event. (Image provided by TriMet)

Repurposed MAX train designs debated at Oregon Rail Heritage Center

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Instead of junking its oldest trains, TriMet worked with Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design to set up a competition envisioning how its oldest MAX light rail cars might be used when retired in a few years.

“MAX” is an acronym for “Metro Area Express”. The recycled trains will likely be parked near Lloyd Center at some point in the future.

A brainstorming session called the “2020 Re-purposing Light Rail Cars Design Competition” was held in Inner Southeast Portland’s Oregon Rail Heritage Center, just east of OMSI, on August 25. A limited number of people were invited – on a first-come, first-served basis – to view the designs, and vote on their favorites.

The organizers gave little coaching or input to the participants, other than to offer suggestions that the old trains might be used to help address issues such as homelessness, climate change, racial inequality, or other social, environmental, or public health issues – Including the COVID-19 pandemic, which hopefully will be history by then.

The competition grew out of an idea by TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey to find a way to re-purpose the Type 1 light rail vehicles while addressing a public need, and if successful, keeping the trains from becoming scrap. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a new way to re-use these old trains that advanced the legacy of transit – connecting people with services, with opportunities, with the community we so value?” he asked.

The original 26 “Type 1” trains in the MAX system, each with 680 sq. ft. of interior space, have now been in service for nearly 34 years. However, because of stairs at every door, these trains must be paired with more modern units, providing ADA accessibility. “We will begin to retire these vehicles in 2022, as we begin bringing in the next generation of light rail vehicles,” Kelsey revealed.

When the votes were tallied that evening, the first place prize went to the concept called “MAX Village”. To see the layout suggested by this and the other entries, visit the webpage – http://www.centerforpublicinterestdesign.org/max-reuse-design-challenge



Here’s some of the original and very unique art that, on Labor Day weekend, hung in front of the Creston-Kenilworth house of Efrain Palermo – artist, and “citizen scientist”.
Here’s some of the original and very unique art that, on Labor Day weekend, hung in front of the Creston-Kenilworth house of Efrain Palermo – artist, and “citizen scientist”. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

One-man Southeast sidewalk show of ‘fantastical’ art

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

On white cloth along his house’s fence, Efrain Palermo’s works of art were hanging on display over Labor Day Weekend to create a “sidewalk gallery”. Now that museums and galleries are closed, and art shows are cancelled, he loves putting out his self-described “fantastical” art to bring some positivity into the neighborhood during the pandemic, and to lighten up what can be a rather dismal COVID world.

He calls these sidewalk gallery displays in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood “An Evolution of an Art Style”.  When he describes the process of creating what he calls “sculpted oils”, the amount of unique creativity and patience involved almost defies belief. By steaming and bending thin strips of wood, he creates custom frames – then fills them in with plaster, carves out the plaster, and paints the forms.

Each of these art pieces has a theme – often science-based – because Palermo has loved being a “citizen scientist” ever since high school. “All of my art work and science inventions come from being self-taught,” he tells THE BEE.

One piece of his art hanging on the fence features sculpted parts of a cell – the nucleus, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum. And several years ago a number of television channels showed the public Palermo’s unique solar projector for use during the total solar eclipse.

An inventor, author, and artist, 66 year-old Palermo was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Puerto Rican parents. Fascinated by both space and science from his childhood, he integrates these interests into his art, into books he has authored, and into his inventions.

He expressed his thoughts about his art and life – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – in these statements during a recent interview with KGW-TV News Channel 8:

“Actually, what happens is, in some cases, things break – actually break in half, or are totally destroyed. But I use the breakage as part of my work: Yes, they break, but how do I put it back together? 

“And I think that’s actually a lesson in life, as well. Life is hard; what do you do when things happen? Do you throw it away? Or do you actually use that ‘scar tissue’ or whatever it is, to enhance your next phase?”

To learn more about this talented Inner Southeast resident – and to see his art, inventions, and books, go online – http://www.palermoproject.com

Kevin Myers has been at Reed College for fourteen years, working as college spokesperson and community liaison. This past July, his debut novel “Hidden Falls” was published by Beaufort Books.
Kevin Myers has been at Reed College for fourteen years, working as college spokesperson and community liaison. This past July, his debut novel “Hidden Falls” was published by Beaufort Books. (Courtesy of Nina Johnson)

Reed College Communications Director publishes novel

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

Reed College’s Communications Director, or College Spokesperson – Kevin T. Myers – faithfully attended the monthly meetings of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association, the Woodstock Community Business Association, and the Woodstock Stakeholder Group, for years in his role as college community liaison. But no one then knew that he also had a history of being a stand-up comic and comedy writer. 

In fact, Myers has been featured in his more distant past on the Comedy Channel and on “20/20”, and his jokes have been used at colleges, clubs, and even on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, and on Broadway.

In July of this year Myers wrote his debut novel, “Hidden Falls”, published by Beaufort Books.  Summer book tours were planned, but were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hidden Falls” takes place in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is rich in description of characters and places which resemble the context of Myer’s New England upbringing in Peabody, Massachusetts, and his years in his 20s in Boston.

When the father of the main character, Michael Quinn, dies and Quinn flies from Portland, Oregon, to Boston, and then drives to New Bedford for the funeral, he finds himself navigating old, difficult, knotty family and friend relationships. 

At one point, in all of the family and neighborhood gatherings, he is handed an unopened letter held in secret for two years by one of his father’s friends – and the letter leads him to harrowing information about his father’s past.

Humor is sprinkled throughout the novel, making the book “a good read” during this pandemic, when everyone can use some good laughs – as well as complete absorption into a complex father-son relationship, and even some tentative romance, and murky mystery.

Throughout the novel one is left wondering how much of it is potentially autobiographical detail, and how much is the creation of Myers’ imagination. Michael Quinn, the main character, is a journalist and is romantically unattached after a divorce – reflecting Myers’ own professional and personal history. 

Myers has worked as a journalist and editor in newsrooms from New Hampshire to Alaska. In th e 49th state, he ran the Capital City Weekly. In higher education he has been a speechwriter, a media figure, involved in government, and a public relations liaison. He has been at Reed College for fourteen years.

Myers is affable and modest, but one of his posts on social media reveals a rather high-profile explanation for his path into successful comedy.

“Throughout my life I've been very fortunate to be surrounded by talented and supportive people, like comedy legend Judd Apatow, who said: ‘ “Hidden Falls” is as if Dennis Lehane and David Sedaris got together to write a romantic comedy. It’s intelligent, charming, and the perfect combination of funny and thrilling’.”

To purchase “Hidden Falls” for yourself, or to learn more about Myers’ writing, his favorite authors, and more, go online – http://www.kevintmyers.com   

And, to read his moving account of his childhood, in his “This I Believe” essay on compassion, see – http://thisibelieve.org/essay/139925



Liz Dally, a resident of S.E. 10th Avenue in Brooklyn, has removed her lawn and replaced it with a garden of plants beneficial to pollinator bees.
Liz Dally, a resident of S.E. 10th Avenue in Brooklyn, has removed her lawn and replaced it with a garden of plants beneficial to pollinator bees. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn resident responds to the decline of pollinator bees

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

“Last year, bees had their worst summer on record, with beekeepers losing 43% of their hives during the summer of 2019. These pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystems, but they face serious threats: pesticides, habitat loss, global warming and more.” So says Wendy Wendlandt, Acting President of Environment America.

In the Brooklyn neighborhood, Liz Dally – who lives at 3340 S.E.10th Avenue – has been trying to address that crisis by converting her yard into a pollinator habitat. “About three years ago I scraped off my lawn, and began planting many of the native plants that I liked seeing while out on hikes. The organization suggests using shrubs and flowers native to your area, and avoiding pesticides and herbicides. Or you can convert your lawn to a rain garden.

“I’ve also been a volunteer at Metro's Native Plant Center, which is like a nursery that grows plants for Multnomah County's restoration project. That's where I took some workshops and learned about plants native to the Willamette Valley that would convert my yard into a natural pollinator habitat.”

Dally started her project by removing camellias and other plants shading her yard. She planted butterfly weed, black-eyed susans, yarrow, blanket flowers, cone flowers, mock orange, pearly everlasting, columbines, and native purple asters, among others.

“I started in May, and my goal is to have something blooming here all year around,” she says. “BEE readers can participate by taking the Pollinator Protection Pledge, and registering your habitat online at – http://www.bringbackthepollinators.com

“My fall project is to turn my front parking strip into even more native habitat!”



Events & Activities in October

OCTOBER 3
Portland Chamber Orchestra concert at Reed College:
The Portland Chamber Orchestra has scheduled its first concert of the season tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Kaul Auditorium on the campus of Reed College. Check on the orchestra’s website for late information; the concert could be cancelled if Reed is still officially closed to the public on this date – http://portlandchamberorchestra.org)

OCTOBER 7
Neighborhood cooperation on agenda at WNA tonight:
Tonight at the online Woodstock Neighborhood Association meeting, there will be a discussion about creating closer collaboration with the neighboring Brentwood-Darlington, Mt. Scott-Arleta, and Foster-Powell Neighborhood Associations.  Click on the ZOOM link found at – http://www.woodstockpdx.org – by 7 p.m. this evening to attend the meeting.

OCTOBER 17
New October dates for Multnomah County Fair:
  “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. This is all subject to change, so for the latest updates, go to the Multnomah County Fair website: http://www.multcofair.org

OCTOBER 21
Red Cross blood drive at SMILE Station in Sellwood:
This afternoon, 1:30-6:30 p.m., the Red Cross returns to Sellwood at SMILE Station, S.E. 13th at Tenino (a block south of Tacoma Street), to take much-needed donations of blood. This has been a year of disasters, and the need for blood is great. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are accommodated as possible. Consider giving blood today.

IF YOU HAVE A NONPROFIT ACTIVITY COMING UP IN NOVEMBER FOR THE PUBLIC TO ATTEND, DON’T FORGET TO TELL THE BEE ABOUT IT!





SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LIST OF COMMUNITY HOTLINKS -- AND USEFUL, AND JUST PLAIN FUN HOTLINKS -- IMMEDIATELY BELOW!

     Useful HotLinks:     
Your Personal "Internet Toolkit"!


Charles Schulz's "PEANUTS" comic strip daily!

Portland area freeway and highway traffic cameras

Portland Police

Latest Portland region radar weather map

Portland Public Schools

Multnomah County's official SELLWOOD BRIDGE website

Click here for the official correct time!

Oaks Amusement Park

Association of Home Business (meets in Sellwood)

Local, established, unaffiliated leads and referrals group for businesspeople; some categories open

Weekly updates on area road and bridge construction

Translate text into another language

Look up a ZIP code to any U.S. address anywhere

Free on-line PC virus checkup

Free antivirus program for PC's; download (and regularly update it!!) by clicking here

Computer virus and worm information, and removal tools

PC acting odd, redirecting your home page, calling up pages you didn't want--but you can't find a virus? You may have SPYWARE on your computer; especially if you go to game or music sites. Click here to download the FREE LavaSoft AdAware program, and run it regularly!

What AdAware doesn't catch, "Malwarebytes" may! PC's--particularly those used for music downloads and online game playing--MUST download these free programs and run them often, to avoid major spyware problems with your computer!

Check for Internet hoaxes, scams, etc.

Here's more on the latest scams!


ADOBE ACROBAT is one of the most useful Internet document reading tools. Download it here, free; save to your computer, click to open, and forget about it! (But decline the "optional offers" -- they are just adware

Encyclopedia Britannica online

Newspapers around the world

Convert almost any unit of measure to almost any other

Research properties in the City of Portland

Local source for high-quality Shaklee nutritionals

Note: Since THE BEE is not the operator of any of the websites presented here, we can assume no responsibility for content or consequences of any visit to them; however we, personally, have found all of them helpful, and posted them here for your reference.


 

Local News websites:
The news TODAY

Local News Daily.com

KATU, Channel 2 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 24)

KOIN, Channel 6 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 25)

KGW, Channel 8 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 8)

KPTV, Channel 12 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 12)

KRCW, Channel 32 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 33)

KPDX, Channel 49 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 30)