Community Features

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

Early days of the Gottschalk Café and Beer Parlor. When Prohibition was enforced in Oregon from 1916 to 1933, saloon owners had to rely on soft drinks and food to pull in customers. The two men here in the bar are Wilhem Gottschalk on the left, and his son George Gottschalk.
Early days of the Gottschalk Café and Beer Parlor. When Prohibition was enforced in Oregon from 1916 to 1933, saloon owners had to rely on soft drinks and food to pull in customers. The two men here in the bar are Wilhem Gottschalk on the left, and his son George Gottschalk. (Courtesy of Elsie Gottschalk family)

Cheers! For the taverns, bars, and pool halls of the past

Special to THE BEE

Since the forming of the “American Colonies”, taverns and public houses have been popular gathering places, and an important part of Americana.

As early as the American Revolution, rebels gathered secretly in the back rooms of local taverns to discuss their dissatisfaction with English Law in the colonies. Later, during the taming of the Wild West, Saloons were the gathering place where ranchers, lawmen, cowboys, and townsfolk came to discuss the weather, cattle prices, who’s hiring, and who’s on the dodge.

Sometimes, the movies tell us, they came to listen to the piano player, watch the dancing girls, or just get involved in rowdy drunken brawls to let off some steam – but, you understand, the weather and cattle markets surely were more important!

Pool was once a game played in high society and by wealthy gentlemen – and that was also popularized by the movies. “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money” helped tell that story. But pool later became an amusement for young dropouts in their twenties who liked to waste their days gambling on billiards and consuming hard liquor. Westmoreland, Sellwood, Brooklyn, Woodstock, and other communities in Inner Southeast had a little of all of these.

Saloons began appearing along Umatilla Street in the onetime town of Sellwood around the late 1890’s. Taking advantage of the horseracing and other sporting events held during the summer at City View Park (once located in parts of what is now Sellwood Park), Saloon owners and hotel mangers began raking in the cash.

Spectators looking for drinking and entertainment after the day’s excitements were over didn’t have far to go. Mrs. Randall’s saloon and hotel was open for business just a few strides from 11th and Umatilla; Andrew J. Nickum built his boarding house around 1890, offering the upstairs as lodgings for residents, workers, and folks who just arrived in the area.

Those waiting for their house to be built couldn’t afford to stay very long in expensive hotels on the west side of the Willamettre. And a boarding house like Nickum’s offered home meals, cheap rental rooms, and a short walk to make daily inspections of one’s new house under construction in Sellwood..

Then Mrs. Randall took over control of Nickum’s boarding house, and began setting up whiskey bottles and turning it into “Randall’s Saloon”, while she retained the home-cooked meals and clean sheets and towels upstairs.

The enterprising Mrs. Randall also took advantage of her location close to the town of Willsburg, about a mile east of her hotel and saloon, by offering her hospitality to workers at the Willsburg Lumber Mill, as well as to the skilled employees at the Shindler Furniture Factory, who were looking for a nearby place to call home. It was an easy commute by foot to where they were working. In addition, teamsters and farmers traveling to and fro through the neighborhood to ship goods or obtain supplies at the steamboats stopping at the foot of Umatilla Street could drop in for a drink at Mrs. Randall’s, and there stay current on the news in the area. 

It turned out that Mrs. Randall’s was also a good place for Sellwood City Council members to gather after an intense meeting at their city hall – which happened to be located just next door to the saloon. A shot or two of bourbon, or of Randall’s special blend, might be all it took to settle down residents called to testify in front of Sellwood’s Town Marshall, or to fire up some neighbor to complain about some injustice they had experienced. .

But, more about the now-vanished community of Willsburg: When George Wills and his son Jacob established their little community of Willsburg a mile east of today’s Sellwood neighborhood, father and son were creating a prosperous enterprise. Their two sawmills and a brick factory that followed supplied enough work to attract a couple hundred men to work in Willsburg. The California and Oregon Railroad through made daily trips through the town and stopped there, offering easy access for workers and the shipments to and from Gabriel Shindler’s Furniture Factory nearby on Johnson Creek.

Known as a dedicated Baptist minister who supported the building of a schoolhouse and a church, George Wills made sure that liquor was not freely used along the streets of his town! Word was that George never allowed business activities to interfere with “the word of The Lord”. (That might be one of the reasons why his workers never settled in Willsburg as laid out by George and Jacob.). There also weren’t any boarding houses there. Since Willsburg was declared a dry town, labor had to go elsewhere for their nightly fun and entertainment.

Mrs. Randall’s in Sellwood was certainly one place they went. Even closer, at Umatilla and 17th, there were two saloons and a hotel. Jules Rostian operated his saloon on the west side of 17th Avenue, and W.S. Woods’ drinking establishment was on the east.

And, there was the St. Charles Hotel run by Charles Bellegarde at the same intersection, and almost all of its 26 rooms were rented to workers from Willsburg, as well as the furniture factory employees. Small ramshackle houses and cottages at that time made up of the rest of the area on 17th, along with some other businesses – Welch’s Market, Welches’ horse stable, a meat market, a blacksmith shop, and Sellwood Feed and Hay Store run by Mr. Gardiner.

As weary travelers checked into the St. Charles Hotel for the night, and as workers at Willsburg trudged home from their busy workday, the two corner saloons offered a place where they could stop and order a cold beer or hard cider, and dinner too if they desired. Lumbermen, railroad workers, sailors, sawmill laborers of all nationalities, and local residents gathered at Rostian’s and Woods’ taverns to mingle, hold assemblies, transact business, gamble, gossip, and discuss sporting events or political issues.

To supply beer to their customers, Portland taverns and saloon owners in the 1880’s had relatively few local breweries to choose from: German immigrant Henry Weinhard’s Brewery, the U.S. Brewing Company, and the Gambrinus Brewery – all of them located in the Northwest section of Portland.

So Southeast bartenders were thrilled when John G. Wilhelm built one of the first breweries on the east side of the Willamette River. It was a two-story false-fronted Brewery on 9th and Marion in the town of Sellwood, opened in 1889. Rostian’s and Woods’ customers no longer had to wait sadly at the bar for a new supply of cold draught beer to arrive when what they were drinking was running low! In 1905, when John Wilhelm unexpectedly died of tuberculosis, Sellwood’s Wilhelm Brewery was sold, and renamed the Mt. Hood Brewery.

One of the early regulations adopted by the city leaders of Portland required all saloons and breweries to buy a liquor license before they could sell liquor to consumers. For public houses and taverns located close to the residential section of Portland, where prominent businessmen and their families lived, it wasn’t that easy to get the proper license.

Often City Officials tried to allow saloon owners with establishments located farther away from the downtown area (like Inner Southeast!) an easier time in obtaining a liquor license. But just like Willsburg, as the years progressed, tavern owners found it increasingly difficult to renew their license, as local religious leaders and parents began demanding removal of Sellwood’s saloons. It was just another effort by the Temperance Movement, which formed in the 1870’s, to preserve “Christian Morality” by ridding society of alcohol consumption.

By 1905 Portland policemen patrolled the streets of Sellwood and other neighborhoods to make sure they complied with the blue law requiring them to be closed on Sunday. The Methodist Brotherhood, who held services at 15th and Tacoma, held various meetings at Campbell’s Hall -- above Campbell’s grocery store on Umatilla – to discuss closing all saloons. In 1913, a “Sellwood Dry” mass meeting was held at the YMCA (now the Sellwood Community House), and Reverend James K. Hawkins presided over a group of residents there to call for action against the saloons in Sellwood.

The alert Mrs. Randall, seeing which way the wind was blowing, had earlier converted her tavern into strictly a boarding house – even holding temporary Sunday School classes in one of her spare rooms on the second floor! But the owners of the bars on the corner of 17th and Umatilla were holding to their principles and keeping their saloons open.

A July 1913 issue of the “Oregon Daily Journal” declared that, “There is a movement afoot among the better class of Sellwood citizens to oust the two saloons.” “Prohibition” passed in Oregon in 1914, but it wasn’t put into effect until January 1st of 1916. On that gloomy New Year’s Day, bartenders were relegated to only offering prepared meals and soft drinks to their customers.

In 1918, W. S. Wood sold out to Gus and Maybelle Smith, who opened a meat market and grocery store, and the couple used the upstairs portion of the old saloon as their living quarters. Jules Rostain sold his own saloon in 1909 to Wilhelm (Bill) Gottschalk, who had arrived in Portland after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 had destroyed his home there. Calling on his family in-laws, the Tshcidas, together they built a new structure, and officially launched the Gottschalk Café and Beer Parlor.

But when Prohibition became the law of the land, the Gottschalks were forced to serve meals without beer – although legend has it that (gasp!) wine was dispensed from a shed in the backyard of the café. Family members insist the wine was used only for family engagements and celebrations, though. That café is now the Sellwood Inn, Pub, and Eatery.

With local bars and taverns unable to serve alcoholic beverages, men in want of hard spirits or looking for a drink with a kick, had to turn to Portland’s many illegal underground bars – “speakeasies”, as they were called.

During the next twenty years Portland’s patrolmen would be constantly battling illegal stills, and private clubs in the area that were serving hard drinks.

Many bars secretly provided alcoholic drinks for personal friends, or held private parties behind locked doors, during the Prohibition years. It wouldn’t be surprising if history revealed that some of the fraternal clubs in Sellwood, or even the Sellwood Commercial Club, had served alcoholic beverages during their private nighttime gatherings. Few if any reports were printed by THE BEE of the Portland Police Bureau raiding neighborhood taverns or bars during this time, although assuredly they did happen.

But on the other hand, local police officers often ignored the local establishments if unsavory celebrations there were kept to a minimum. Sometimes the patrolman might already be participating in the get-togethers. Or, he might have been a valued member of one of the fraternal groups.

As drinking establishments struggled to survive through Prohibition, Pool Halls and Billiard Parlors began popping up where taverns once were. Vasco Christy opened up his Sellwood Pocket Billiards on the corner of 13th Avenue and Tenino – in a space that now is Spencer’s Antiques Store. Later, John Pettyjohn took over ownership of that pool hall, as workingmen and young, restless, college-bound students began visiting his place of business.

But Prohibition proved to be a failed social experiment, and ended in 1933. Portland soon saw many new taverns, bars, and saloons once more. More than just being a working man’s bar, taverns saw new clientele in college students, businessmen during the afternoons, and considerably more women could be found in there too. Taverns were still considered more formal drinking places; bars were the considered to be more of a place where local residents could loiter, looking for a cheap drink and a place to socialize.

Sellwood and Westmoreland had a slew of new taverns that became neighborhood fixtures, as well as a few viewed as places that a family man probably wouldn’t visit.

The Black Cat Tavern was a mainstay in Sellwood for over 60 years. It first opened in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, as a café -- when Edanna M. Myers began serving breakfast and lunch at the “Black Cat Sandwich Shop”. Geraldine and Oliver Morgan purchased the place eight-years later, moving it to the northeast corner of 13th Avenue and Umatilla Street, as longtime residents probably still remember.

Later, when William and Jean Larsen became the proprietors of the Black Cat, they changed it from a sandwich shop into the “Black Cat Tavern”. Shuffleboard tables and dartboards were installed, and weekly tournaments were held. The Larsens faithfully supported the community, sponsoring Sellwood baseball and basketball teams.

After William retired, the Black Cat went through a series of owners: First Mrs. Elva Haugen, and later Violet VanCamp – until Susan Moreland and Nancy Shire became the new owners in 1991, on April Fool’s Day. In 2013 it was sold and demolished to make way for a multi-story mixed retail and apartment complex.

Another restaurant-turned-tavern was the Penguin Café, located until recently at 17th Avenue and Tacoma Street. Marie Whatley opened this restaurant in 1939, and it became a regular eatery for the shipyard workers who stopped by for breakfast on their way to the Kaiser Shipyards, in World War II. Many workers were temporarily housed in the Kellogg Division near Sellwood built specifically for new workers who had moved to Portland to work at the military facility in North Portland.

Once the war was over, its new owner of the Penguin, Fred A. Pisquale, attracted new clientele by setting up color television sets around the counters for customers to watch sports. In the 1950s many people did not have television at home, and those who did had only black and white models. Color TV sets were a major luxury in the 1950s (even though people had an unnerving tendency to look green on them), and these color sets helped pack the barstools at the Penguin. Boxing matches and basketball games were what the customers watched at what by now was now called the Penguin Tavern.

Robert and Marcella Corbin bought the Tavern in 1974, and renamed it the Penguin Pub. It was torn down in 2017 to make way for the CVS Pharmacy there now.

Taverns and bars continued their steady rise in the late 1950s and early 1960s, often converting former restaurants into taverns. What was once Kinney’s Siberian Restaurant in 1942, and later became the Moreland Restaurant near the corner of Milwaukie and Glenwood, eventually became one of many Portland’s bars and watering holes – “Pogo’s Tavern”, which began offering beer, liquor, bar food, and cocktails in 1960. Pogo’s is now the “Cosmo Lounge”.

The Portland City Directory reveals that over 250 bars were scattered throughout the Portland area. Jack Fawcett’s Cosy Tavern at 13th Avenue and Tenino occupied what was once the Sellwood Sweets Shop location, and is today home to Portland’s treasured Americana furniture and knick-knack store, “American at Heart”.

And Jake’s Place across the street to the north from Bertie Lou’s, at Spokane and 17th Avenue, was once the Spokane Avenue Grocery – and later was a place where do-it-yourself husbands could have their radio tubes tested or their televisions repaired at Bandy’s Radio and TV Service.

Since the early days of Westmoreland (1909), when the Sellwood streetcar rumbled along the tracks of Milwaukie Avenue, what is today Kay’s Bar and Grill has become a part of the historic merchants of the neighborhood. But it has seen a long list of names and changes before it became Kay’s.

The trolley made hourly stops near this intersection to allow passengers to disembark and go shopping on both sides of the street. Long-remembered stores there included The Moreland Drug Company and Bybee Grocery to the south, the Monarch  Drugstore Pharmacy on the northeast corner, and the Piggly Wiggly store – later Crantford’s Flower Shop; and today a frozen yogurt store – next to where Kay’s is still open today.

Kay’s location started out in the 1920s and 1930s as the Moreland Bakery, but once Prohibition was over it was converted into a bar known as Tony’s Place, where patrons could order a lunch, enjoy wine and beer, and play a game or two of pool.

Once Tony left, the new proprietor -- seeking to attract a more sophisticated clientele – named it Oppie’s Recreation Parlor (Oppie was short for Oppenheimer). There was a short time later when it became Millie’s Club, and then Foxes Café, until 1963 when Ed and Sharon MacGregor partnered with Lloyd and Luana Russell to reopen it Kay’s Bar and Grill. Eventually Ed and Sharon acquired sole ownership, and Kay’s became one of the flagship taverns in the neighborhood for the next forty years.

A review of these pioneering taverns and bars wouldn’t be complete with mention of the iconic Yukon Tavern. Nobody knows for sure where the name Yukon came from from when the tavern opened. Local folklore suggests it was named for the Yukon Indians, or after the wild and wooly Yukon Territory where mountain men, gold seekers, and trappers battled the harsh winters of the north and overcame both terrain and wild animals. It may not have been named for nearby Yukon Street, though, because the tavern is closer to Ramona Street.

But, like most taverns, it started out as something else. The Dependable Grocery occupied this location in 1930. When Ernie Beers purchased the old market at the start of the 1940s, he decided to remodel it into a bar for eating, drinking, and smoking. Jimmie and Gayle Pruitt purchased Ernie Beers Tavern and renamed it “Yukon Tavern”. But it wasn’t until Naomi Thomas and Vivian McCarthy arrived as the latest new owners that the Yukon Tavern would become the liveliest tavern in town.

You see, Vivian handed out songbooks to all of her customers! And she insisted they sing along with her all-female Dance Band, “The Four Femmes”.

As the Oregonian newspaper writer Linda Vogt revealed in a 1981 article, for most of her career Vivian was a talented saxophonist and band leader for a traveling girls group called the San Su Strutters. After they broke up, Vivian began performing with the Four Femmes. Traveling the Northwest, these fascinating ladies entertained audiences with big band tunes in small towns, at hotels and celebrations, and even at grand opening of the Bagdad Theater in Southeast Portland.

Once the touring stopped, and most of the ladies had retired to be homemakers and raise a family, Vivian bought the Yukon Tavern and invited the Four Femmes to play every Saturday night. You could say that was the start of real Karaoke in Westmoreland! For the next ten years, big band favorites and Glenn Miller tunes could be heard up and down Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland on Saturday evenings – it was just The Four Femmes at the Yukon Tavern.

After 49 years of entertaining, serving drinks, waiting on tables, and flipping a hamburger or two, this fiery redhead with a bubbly personality and infectious laugh hung up her microphone in 2000, and sold the Yukon Tavern. But that didn’t end its story; it’s still there – a favorite Westmoreland watering hole under the current owners.

When your busy work week is over, and the weekend arrives, it might be time to stop by your favorite bar or tavern. Be it The Yukon Tavern, Kay’s Bar, Jake’s Place, The Sellwood Inn, The Cosmo Lounge, or Leipzig Tavern, or one of many others – you might simply be drawn, as the theme to the popular TV comedy suggested, just to go where everyone knows your name.

This year’s ‘Open Studios’ in Southeast spotlighted five artists


Five Inner Southeast Portland artists turned their private creative spaces into free public displays for the 2022 Portland Open Studios Tour – as usual, held on the first two weekends of October. Visitors watched as the artists created ceramics, paintings, pottery, and sculpture.

Two Brentwood-Darlington artists were featured this year, along with one each from the Reed, Eastmoreland, and Foster-Powell neighborhoods.

Each artist takes a unique approach to her work. One lights gunpowder to burn a base design that will later become an oil painting. Another repurposes crocheted doilies to press intricate patterns into pottery. A third decorates ceramics using magnetic sand from the Oregon Coast.

Portland Open Studios is a local nonprofit that fosters art appreciation by hosting this tour each October, except for the time off they took during the height of the pandemic. The event is in its 24th year.

More than 100 artists participate across the metro area. Online maps guide visitors to each studio location.

Lents resident Mary Everitt was one of the art enthusiasts who checked out Southeast Portland’s offerings during opening weekend. She called it a delightful experience: “What I find so inspiring and encouraging is that you get to see people's process, as much as you're seeing their finished work.”

We visited the five women who opened their studios within THE BEE’s service area, to learn about their art and their inspirations.

Isabelle Soulé

Eastmoreland neighborhood

Soulé works her pottery wheel in a sunny studio near Berkeley Park. She creates vessels such as bowls, cups, and vases. With her background in nursing, she admits that public health affects her art. In response to the pandemic she created brightly colored items; and now, amid the chaotic return to a more social world, she’s producing stark white pieces.

Having participated in years past, Soulé happily returned for this year’s tour because she enjoys expanding her community. “Many of these people walk by my house all the time, and I haven't met them yet, because they're going to the park or whatever. So it's fun to actually interact with somebody I might even recognize but don't know.”

She observed that the variety of art featured in the Open Studios tour ranges from printmakers to metalsmiths, which allows visitors a unique opportunity to see different artists’ many creative processes.

Heather Fields
Oil Paintings

Reed neighborhood

Heather Fields quite literally creates explosive artwork. Her process incorporates gunpowder, fire, and smoke. She demonstrated this technique outside her studio near S.E. Cesar Chavez Blvd. (formerly S.E. 39th) on the first Sunday of the Portland Open Studios Tour, by sprinkling gunpowder on a primed wooden board, tossing gravel on top of it, and lighting it all on fire. The result is a unique texture and pattern burned into what will be her canvas. She later fills in the piece with oil paint and wax, creating unique landscapes or abstracts out of the burn marks.

This artist has a history with fire – as a glassblower for many years. The pandemic took its toll on that business, but she can’t stop pursuing her art. She especially missed the social opportunities that Portland Open Studios offered. “I wanted to go back into it,” she explained. “You meet people. It’s fun!”

This is her first time exhibiting her paintings in Open Studios. She also set up her pottery pieces for the tour – just one more outlet this prolific artist has delved into, over the last few years.

Isabelle Soulé works her potter’s wheel in her Eastmoreland art studio during this year’s Portland Open Studios.
Isabelle Soulé works her potter’s wheel in her Eastmoreland art studio during this year’s Portland Open Studios. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
Reed neighborhood artist Heather Fields pours gunpowder on painted wooden boards, and then sets that aflame, to create a base for her unique oil paintings. She demonstrated her incendiary technique during the Portland Open Studios Tour in early October.
Reed neighborhood artist Heather Fields pours gunpowder on painted wooden boards, and then sets that aflame, to create a base for her unique oil paintings. She demonstrated her incendiary technique during the Portland Open Studios Tour in early October. (Photo by Paige Wallace)

Carrie Carlson


Carrie Carlson had to hand off her two-year-old twins to her husband, so she could talk to THE BEE about her art. She often does this, carving out moments amid motherhood to sit at her potter’s wheel and design dishes, vases, wine glasses, and ornaments.

Some of her works feature ornate lace patterns made by pressing the clay with crocheted doilies. The imprints complement the colors of Oregon that she uses to glaze her pieces. She exhibits her work – and that of other artists, at times – in a converted garage on S.E. Harney Street that now serves as her gallery.

Carlson participated in the Portland Open Studios tour just prior to the pandemic, and is happy about the tour’s return. “There’s so many people who are working artists, who create spaces in their own homes to be creative,” she reflected. “It’s so fun to open it up to the public and invite people in.”

Monika Vitek

Foster-Powell neighborhood

First-year Open Studios participant Monika Vitek has a hint of sparkle, and so does her art. It seems she comes by that personality naturally; but her porcelain’s glimmer is due to the intentional addition of ilmenite, a magnetic black sand that Vitek hand-gathers from the Oregon Coast.

In her studio space near S.E. Holgate Boulevard she showed off the ilmenite, and how it collects in a clump around a magnet. That display was surrounded by plates, bowls, cups, and even watercolor paintings that she creates using this unique substance.

Vitek said she’s been impressed with the support Portland Open Studios gives to participating artists. “You get educated for a few months, and you can ask questions: Should I do it in my home? Should I join another artist in their studio? Advice on advertisements and promotion? And there are classes from other artists,” she gushed.

For those interested in learning about pottery, and making your own, Vitek offers personalized workshops for up to four people. Learn more, and see her work, at her website, above.

Brianna Tarnower

Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood

Brianna Tarnower is a sculptor who uses clay to create an array of unique designs. Some are utilitarian while others are abstract. She often uses biological and environmental science as the inspiration for her work.

Venturing into her backyard studio space, Open Studio visitors encountered a large swirling sculpture that represents DNA, beside a large planting pot. Both feature a linear design that Tarnower forms into the side of the clay as a recurring theme in her pieces.

As a recent transplant to the Rose City, she hoped the Portland Open Studios Tour would give her the opportunity to share her art with a wider audience. She also wanted to awaken neighbors to environmental issues in this area, such as air quality concerns. “One of the goals of this is to get more people interested in following me and being involved in what's happening,” she explained.

Brentwood-Darlington artist Carrie Carlson showed THE BEE one of her pottery pieces at Portland Open Studios event in early October.
Brentwood-Darlington artist Carrie Carlson showed THE BEE one of her pottery pieces at Portland Open Studios event in early October. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
Monika Vitek, left, conversed with guests outside her Foster-Powell neighborhood art studio. She uses magnetic sand from the Oregon Coast to create porcelain pottery, jewelry, and paintings.
Monika Vitek, left, conversed with guests outside her Foster-Powell neighborhood art studio. She uses magnetic sand from the Oregon Coast to create porcelain pottery, jewelry, and paintings. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
A few works by Brianna Tarnower, who creates clay sculptures and pottery with a “repeating line” theme. The larger, twisting pieces represent DNA. Her art is on display at her own Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood gallery.
A few works by Brianna Tarnower, who creates clay sculptures and pottery with a “repeating line” theme. The larger, twisting pieces represent DNA. Her art is on display at her own Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood gallery. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
Although PP&R required that the this newly-refinished court in Sellwood Park also accommodate tennis players, this aerial view shows eight games of pickleball being played on it simultaneously.
Although PP&R required that the this newly-refinished court in Sellwood Park also accommodate tennis players, this aerial view shows eight games of pickleball being played on it simultaneously. (Courtesy of Steve Richmond)

Ribbon cut for Sellwood Park Pickleball facility


After what seemed like an eternity for players in our area, the refinishing of courts on which members of PDX Pickleball club worked in Sellwood Park was finally completed and celebrated on October 1.

Located behind (west of) the Sellwood Pool, the tennis court, according to Pickleball players, had fallen into disrepair due to years of neglect and misuse.

As BEE readers may recall, after the club raised about $9,000 to buy supplies for resurfacing the courts in the summer of 2021, Portland Parks & Recreation (PF&R) stopped the volunteer effort since the group had not obtained permission for the work.

The club members had resurfaced about a quarter of the fenced-in area, amounting to the size of one pickleball court, as a “proof-of-concept” of their ability to do the job to PP&R. Eventually the Parks Department permitted the resurfacing work to complete, on the condition that the repurposed tennis court would remain available for tennis use as needed..

“On October 1st, these courts were officially opened; as work was started two years ago by the PDX Pickleball Club was finally completed,” announced Pickleball enthusiast  Henrik Bothe, who lives within walking distance of the park.

“Since the official opening, many people have frequented the park during its hours of operation; it’s been enjoyed by both young and old,” Bothe continued. “You’ll find families, retired people, and those with a ‘relaxed work schedule’ coming to play in the morning in the afternoon.”

Other tennis courts do remain available in Sellwood Park for use by tennis enthusiasts, and as a venue for Cleveland High School tennis competitions.

For more information on Pickleball, visit the local club’s website:

Woodstock resident Wilkison Nascimento da Silva is an experienced teacher of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira; he taught at Woodstock Park this summer, and now has classes at the Woodstock Community Center.
Woodstock resident Wilkison Nascimento da Silva is an experienced teacher of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira; he taught at Woodstock Park this summer, and now has classes at the Woodstock Community Center. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

‘Capoeira’ martial arts classes taught in Woodstock


The martial art of Capoeira is not as familiar in North America as some other martial arts. But this traditional Brazilian martial art involving dance, music, play, physical discipline, and competition has been gaining recognition as a practice from which people of all ages benefit.

Woodstock resident Wilkison Nascimento da Silva began teaching Capoeira this summer to young people on Saturday mornings in Woodstock Park. Before that, he taught in the Roseway neighborhood at Jason Lee Elementary School. He will teach at Woodstock Community Center now that school is back in session.

Wilkison Nascimento da Silva is the founder of “Bridgetown Capoeira”, and has been practicing Capoeira for 32 years – teaching it for 22.

He says his Capoeira name is CM Tiziu, and CM is a title meaning Contramestre – or “Before Master”. To acquire the CM level, one has to have many years of practice – which his 22 years of teaching qualifies him for.

On the second day of fall – Saturday, September 24th, Wilkison was in Woodstock Park with three five-year-old students. Two of them have been practicing the art with Bridgetown Capoeira for a year.

Virginia Weeks, who had come to the class from Northeast Portland with her son Charlie, told THE BEE, “We have tried every other Capoeira teacher, and he [Wilkison] is by far the best.  He’s the epitome of the masculine model I want for my son – strong, gentle, and kind. And he is really in tune with kids’ needs, and meets them where they are.”

As Charlie ran off a short distance into the park for a few minutes, Wilkison continued teaching the others. Elwood, whose son Elias also transferred to Woodstock Park this summer, remarked: “He [Wilkison] is really good with the kids, teaching them to control their bodies. I’m surprised that more people are not coming here, but I think [the Bridgetown class in the park] is not well advertised.” 

However, it should be pointed out that the Portland Parks & Recreation class by Wilkison at the Woodstock Community Center – listed online, and in the PP&R catalogue – is limited to ten participants, and is currently full – with a waiting list.

Roberta, who began bringing her son to Woodstock Park from the St. Johns neighborhood this summer, after a year at Jason Lee, confirmed the others’ opinions about CM Tiziu being “good with kids”: “He has patience with wild energy. He teaches the kids to be respectful of each other and each other’s bodies.”

Wilkison was born in Brazil, and moved to the U.S. to New York City in 2016 from Denmark, where he taught Capoeira for six years and gave workshops in Austria, Italy, and Germany.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Capoeira classes by CM Tiziu are taught at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd Avenue, on Mondays at 4 p.m. To register call:  (503) 823-3163 – call between 9 and 1 every weekday, except Wednesday.

For a schedule of Wilkison’s Bridgetown Capoiera classes, look for Bridgetown Capoeira on Instagram, or email

These bright yellow ash trees were an early harbinger of fall while we were still setting October heat records. They’re on S.E. Glenwood Street near Portland Memorial in Westmoreland.
These bright yellow ash trees were an early harbinger of fall while we were still setting October heat records. They’re on S.E. Glenwood Street near Portland Memorial in Westmoreland. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Some of the first trees to turn red-leaved this autumn were in Sellwood, on S.E. 11th Avenue.
Some of the first trees to turn red-leaved this autumn were in Sellwood, on S.E. 11th Avenue. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Autumn colors in Inner Southeast finally catch up to the season


We set heat records and didn’t have a drop of rain until October 21st, but somehow trees figured out it was autumn and we began to see the color and the leaves that we associate with this time of year.

Strips of yellow ash trees, such as those on S.E. Glenwood Street in Westmoreland, near Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial were the first to show traditional fall colors. And the colors were not limited to the trees. Many gardeners grow their own pumpkins in various shapes and sizes, and zinnias were emerging in all their beauty – such as we found on S.E. Flavel Steet.

In the cool depths of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a nice display of pink crape myrtle flowers were in bloom near the low bridge.

Fall asters in a range of purple shades appeared in many gardens, along with brilliant orange trumpet vine flowers, but the bright reds of autumn were few and far between until late October. Sunflowers, of course, grew tall and bright in many gardens, and tomatoes showed up like red jewels.

With the start of the fall rains on October 21, the trees that had been lagging suddenly hurried up and started dropping yellow and red leaves, and autumn had finally arrived for real in Inner Southeast Portland.

Frank Trees, the aptly-named Head Gardener of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in the Reed neighborhood, here stands with a selection of the many plants that were sold this fall to help fund the famous garden’s operation
Frank Trees, the aptly-named Head Gardener of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in the Reed neighborhood, here stands with a selection of the many plants that were sold this fall to help fund the famous garden’s operation (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Rhododendron Garden’ fall fundraiser deemed a success


A special treasure of Inner Southeast Portland is Portland Parks and Recreation’s famed Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden on S.E. 26th Avenue, between the west end of Reed College and a section of the Eastmoreland Golf Course. Although it is a PP&R resource, it is run by the nonprofit Portland Rhododendron Society.

One of the ways the Society funds its operation is through plant sales – particularly the main annual plant sale held in the spring, timed with Mother’s Day. But that’s not the only one – there’s one in the fall, too, which is currently held in partnership with Van Veen Heritage Garden & Nursery – where a number of rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants are sold to benefit the Garden, along with discounted Garden memberships, and items branded with the Rhododendron Garden logo. This year the fall sale took place at the Garden on the first weekend in October.

Head Gardener Frank Trees was on hand to chat with visitors and discuss the comparative merits of the plants on sale. “This is a great time to plant things that aren't sensitive to the cold,” he explained. “It gives them time to settle in before winter. The companion plants we had on hand – crepe myrtles and magnolias – sold out quickly. Most plants here were offered at twenty-four to thirty-six dollars – but with a 10% discount for annual members and new yearly members.”

A guest services greeter named Hannah stood near the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden office, also helping in the fundraising effort by selling a variety of T-shirts, hats, umbrellas, and greeting cards. There was also a book available entitled “The Pacific Coast Rhododendron Story” for about $15.

And, since the sale plants were not in flower, Hannah also had available a computer program that showed buyers what their flowers would look like in the spring. “There are lots of whites, pinks, and coral colors here,” she pointed out.

The turnout was such that it seemed clear that the fundraiser was successful once again at the famous garden.

Events & Activities

Michael Allen Harrison Christmas Concert in Southeast:
This year’s annual Christmas Concert in Southeast by Portland’s own Michael Allen Harrison, featuring Julianne Johnson, takes place this evening at St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 S.E. 16th Avenue at Division Street, at 7 p.m. Phone 503/231-4955 for more information and tickets.

“Holiday magic” at Sellwood Community House:
Today at 10 a.m. and again at noon, the “Nutcracker Tea Party” features Classical Ballet Academy dancers – as well as handmade treats, savories, and specialty teas. Then, 2 to 5 p.m. this afternoon, “Decemberville Crafternoon” gives you a chance to drop by the Community House for a fun craft activity which you can then bring home. The location is S.E. Spokane Street at 15th Avenue; it’s part of the Sellwood and Westmoreland merchants’ Saturday of “Decemberville” shopping and sales.

Advent service at All Saints in Woodstock:
Today, and on December 4, 11, and 18 everyone in the community is welcome at All Saints Episcopal Church at S.E. 40th and Woodstock Boulevard for Advent services on these Sundays at 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. 

“Frosted Féte” at Sellwood Community House: “
Frosted Fete” vendor market and Holiday event at nonprofit Sellwood Community House takes place midday today, 10 a.m to 2 p.m., featuring handcrafted items from dozens of local vendors, a confection boutique, live music and a holiday drag sing-a-long!

Woodstock community tree lighting: At 5 p.m. this afternoon, as it’s getting dark, community members will be gathering to prepare for the new tradition of the community tree lighting at the Homestead School House, 4121 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, across the street from Otto’s. There’ll be vendors, food and drinks, and Christmas carols – with the lighting of the tree at 6 p.m. Open to all; bring the family.

Portland Folk Society concert this evening: The nonprofit Portland Folk Society presents, in concert, the New World String Project – at 7:30 p.m. this evening at Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 S.E. Steele Street, just north of Reed College. General admission tickets $25 at the door. Doors open at 7. For more information, go online –

Woodstock cleanup today:
A Holiday litter cleanup will take place today. Those wanting to help will meet at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd Avenue just west of BiMart, at 9:30 a.m.  Weather permitting, it will go until noon – or whenever bags are full. Equipment is provided by “Adopt One Block”, and trash removal is provided by 1-800-Got-Junk. This is a great opportunity to meet neighbors, and pitch in and do your part for the amazing Woodstock neighborhood.

Sellwood ballet students present downtown shows: Classical Ballet Academy in Sellwood returns to Lincoln Hall at Portland State University, 1620 S.W. Park Avenue, today and tomorrow for four performances of “The Nutcracker” – suitable for all ages. Today, the shows are at 2 and 6 p.m.; tomorrow at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are being sold exclusively through the PSU box office, but you can buy them online –

Christmas Eve service at All Saints in Woodstock:
The community is welcome to attend Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at All Saints Episcopal Church this afternoon and evening 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The church is at S.E. 40th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard.

Celebrate Christmas at All Saints in Woodstock:
The community is welcome to attend the Christmas Day service this morning at 10 a.m. The church is on the corner at S.E. 40th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard.


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