Community Features

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

The Wilhelm cottage is on the left, and the relatively small Wilhelm Brewery is on the right, at 9th and S.E. Marion Street in Sellwood. John and Mary operated their Wilhelm Brewery from 1889 to 1904, when it changed hands and was renamed the “Mt. Hood Brewery”. It’s very possible those are members of the Wilhelm family out front!
The Wilhelm cottage is on the left, and the relatively small Wilhelm Brewery is on the right, at 9th and S.E. Marion Street in Sellwood. John and Mary operated their Wilhelm Brewery from 1889 to 1904, when it changed hands and was renamed the “Mt. Hood Brewery”. It’s very possible those are members of the Wilhelm family out front! (Courtesy of Donald R. Nelson)

Beer, Prohibition…even (gasp) vote fraud…in Sellwood!

Special to THE BEE

When we think of some of our favorite beers, some of the names that come to mind these days are Heineken, Budweiser, Corona, Samuel Adams, Bud Light, and Coors. Or you might remember your father or grandparents chugging a can or bottle of the “common man” beers, such as Red Lager, Hamm’s, Olympia, Rainer, Schlitz, Brown Derby, Miller, and Lucky Lager. But how many BEE readers know about a lager drink called “New Life Beer” – brewed in Sellwood?

Portland is a town famous for its beer-making, and some of its memorable early breweries were Gambrinus Brewery, the Portland Brewery, U.S. Brewing Company, and Henry Weinhard’s Brewery.

But few today remember the Mt. Hood Brewery, sited in Sellwood at 9th and S.E. Marion Street; and there was a brewery, even older than that, here too – the John Wilhelm Brewery.

In the book “Wilhelm Trucking and Rigging Company: A century of Solution” by Donald R. Nelson, we learn that John G. Wilhelm emigrated from Austria; and when he arrived in Portland, he began working at Weinhard’s City Brewery in North Portland.

It’s been said that Portland has become one of the world's great beer cities, but many may wonder when the beer-swigging, oompah-music-playing, hand-clapping, and hip-slapping first began in Portland.

We can thank the Germans for that. The 1880s and the 1890s marked the beginning of a wave of Germans emigrating to Portland and its suburbs. Encouraged by the construction of new railroads, and the start of the city streetcar system, both skilled and unskilled workers were needed to build and run the transportation system in Portland. Many families came to Portland then, because of the excellent economic opportunities, the availability of cheap farmland, and to avoid conscription into the German military.

Some Germans had already emigrated to America and settled in the Midwest, but when they found the land there wouldn’t support the farmland practices they’d followed in their fatherland, they looked westward for greener pastures. Germans and Austrians began moving on to Oregon

Many who arrived in the “Rose City” settled in East Portland, and in parts of the Albina, Brooklyn and the Richmond neighborhoods. They brought with them their religious values, their language and customs, and of course their consumption of German beer. German Beer was an important part of the Bavarian lifestyle. Drinking beer gave them a feeling of “gemütlichkeit” – a sense of belonging and good cheer. Breweries began popping up in downtown Portland, with plenty of work available for all.

Saloons and taverns could always be found along the Portland waterfront near the turn of the Twentieth Century, but once the first Breweries opened, more followed in profusion – especially in the downtown commercial district, and along popular routes on the east side of the Willamette River. These provided places where working men could relax, and meet to socialize, after a long day on the job.

Saloons also became the primary way of distributing beer from the local breweries.

But, let’s get back to when John G. Wilhelm arrived from Austria in 1880. He initially hired on to be a brewer at Weinhard’s City Brewery, learning the trade for the next four years. According to author Don R. Nelson, it was there that John met Maria (Mary) Stieringer. After a long courtship they married in 1884, and began a family. John took a new job working as a laborer at the Trenkman Machine Works Company, but by the following year he’d turned his attention back to beer, and hired on as a watchman for the U.S. Brewing Company.

During this time, John aspired to build and operate his own brewery, and somehow both John and Mary together were frugal enough to have saved enough start-up money to launch such a big venture.

But all the breweries were then operating on the west side of the river, and any land available to build a substantial warehouse was expensive downtown. So where could he buy land cheap, but still close to the big city? On the east side of the Willamette in the town of Sellwood, is where!

In Sellwood, life was bustling with activity. Thousands of people weekly made the trip to the City View Race Track (roughly where upper Sellwood Park is now) in the summertime to bet, have fun, and watch horse racing and other sporting events. This was the place where the elite and well-to-do people of Portland gathered for a day of gambling, spirits, entertainment, and horse racing.

Baseball games, the English sport of Cricket, and “trap shooting” were popular sports in addition to the horse racing, and the biggest crowds gathered during the Fourth of July celebrations. A dance pavilion, picnic tables, and a fine restaurant – with a resort reserved only for ladies! – could all be found nearby. But during public events, beer and spirits were hauled in by horse and wagon to quench the thirst of the spectators, because there just weren’t enough saloons around yet for the job.

John probably also noticed that the intersection of Umatilla and 17th Avenue (back then called 9th Avenue) in Sellwood had only two saloons. One on the east side, and the other on the west side of Umatilla Street, at that intersection – But they served as a stopping point for partygoers and revelers who wanted to continue celebrating after the day’s races and games were over, and as dusk was approaching.

To other merchants who had “respectable” shops between 11th and 13th Avenues in Sellwood’s early commercial district, around that Umatilla intersection was where “the common workers” lived and played. To some effete people it was considered “the industrial section of town, where malcontents gathered to drink, sing loud songs, and bother any ladies walking by”. 

The Sellwood Hotel at that same intersection rented mainly to single men looking for work, or overzealous young men who had drunk too much and needed a place to sleep it off until morning. John Wilhelm thought to himself, “What better place to start up a brewery, than the middle of the Sellwood neighborhood!”

So, in 1889, John and Mary moved into the new house they had built at 9th and S.E. Marion Street, and began operating a small two-and-a-half story clapboard brewery built next to their home. According to Donald R. Nelson’s book, a wagon was purchased to deliver beer to all parts of Portland, and wooden kegs filled with their brewery beer were hauled to a nearby bottling company to create the final product. John and Mary’s son, Rudie Wilhelm, in his recollections of the Sellwood Brewery, boasted that there was a Beer Garden in front of the brewery, and hundreds of prominent people from Portland often attended gala events there at Wilhelm’s.

It wasn’t uncommon for breweries to sponsor saloons – supporting them financially, if they’d guaranteed to serve only their beer. When the “Old House At Home Saloon” on the S.E. Corner of 17th and Umatilla burned to the ground in December of 1898, John Wilhelm – who owned the property – used his own money to buildt a new two-story tavern in its place.

The Wilhelm family continued its success in Sellwood, with Mary helping run the business behind the scenes – and plans were afoot to enlarge the capacity of the Sellwood Brewery. They built a beer bottling plant, and a huge wagon shed with horse stalls to help with deliveries.

But the cold Northwest weather began playing havoc on John’s health. By the start of the Twentieth Century, John was suffering from lung trouble, and took a sabbatical from the family business – journeying to Arizona, hoping the warmth of the climate would improve his health.

Mary stayed in Sellwood to run the business and look after their five children – George, Peter, Rudolph, Anna, and Emma. Their son Rudolph “Rudie” Wilhelm, by now twelve years old, filled in – working in the bottling department, and making deliveries as wagonmaster in the absence of his father.

Rudie spent a lot of time looking after the horses, a fondness that continued through the rest of his life. Golf became another interest: He even skipped school, at times to caddy at the Waverley Country Club, where he would eventually perfect his skill into being a semi-pro golfer.

Well, Arizona didn’t help. On October 15th, 1901, Mary Wilhelm received a dispatch from Phoenix, notifying her that her husband had died of tuberculosis at the young age of 46. The Oregonian reported that a funeral was held at St. Francis Church, with many in attendance.

By inviting additional investors to help underwrite the brewery, Mary was masterful in raising her children while continuing to be the main stockholder of the Wilhelm Brewery – until she finally sold her portion of the business in 1905. William C. Kiltz and Gottlieb Plass were appointed to run what was now renamed the Mt. Hood Brewery. To expand the business, they tore down the Wilhelm home, and extended the Brewery for a full city block in length, which included a bigger beer bottling storage warehouse, a print shop for beer labels, a malt mill, three cold storage lockers, and a water washing room, plus large offices on the second floor.

The Mt. Hood Brewery introduced a new beverage – it was that “New Life Beer” we made mention of as we began this article – and advertised it to improve health, build strength, and calm nerves. Cases of the bottled beverage could be delivered to your doorstep (giving the milk man some surprising competition), and was available at most grocery stores. Of course they kept making all their established beers as well.

Starting early each morning, Sellwood residents living near the brewery were awakened by the sounds of the brewery: The shouts of men loading wooden beer barrels into wagons; and horses clomping down the cobblestones of Marion Street. Horse drivers cracked their whips, beginning the delivery for the day of kegs to the network of saloons and taverns selling Mt. Hood’s proprietary selection of beers.

With a population of over 1,000 people, and with six churches scattered around the area, by the 1900s Sellwood was pictured around Portland as a family-friendly neighborhood. Brewing and selling beer began to draw opposition from within the community, as Sellwood leaders were pressured to clean up the section of town where there were “seedy bars and hotels”, along 17th Avenue.

New city ordinances were imposed on saloons, and the Portland Police began staging raids of taverns and bars “to clean up the boisterous activity”. It was an ongoing campaign for the next fourteen years – including, in Sellwood, the saloons, the Sellwood Brewery, and other public venues where – at that time – alcohol was openly served to customers, to the frustration of families.

Beginning in 1904, the Oregon Legislature passed a law which gave local communities the right to choose whether or not to ban alcohol, and also conferring on communities the right to vote for their own sheriff to enforce the law in their area. Though Sellwood had been incorporated into the City of Portland in 1893, it was still being treated as a separate town, with the citizens having considerable voting power over matters in their own neighborhood.

In late June of 1904, Sellwood went to the polls and voted the community to be declared a “wet town”, where saloons and taverns could serve customers as they wished, and a new more conservative sheriff was elected. But Sellwood Precinct Officials suspected something was amiss with the ballots, and police were summoned for an investigation.

The officers actually found proof of fraud. Local newspapers reported the scandal: Twenty-six men who didn’t live in the neighborhood were given a free night’s stay, with meals included, at the Sellwood Hotel, on the day before the election. The men were sent to vote the next day at the Sellwood Precinct in favor of the neighborhood being declared a “wet district”, and to vote against the incumbent Sheriff – who had led many raids against the local beer joints. Officials of the interurban railway, along with the Secretary of the Mt. Hood Brewery, were found to be behind the scheme, and were prosecuted.  

However, the saloons did remain open, and the Mt. Hood Brewery continued to dispense its bottled beer – but always under the suspicious eyes of the local clergy, as well as the congregations who supported them. Citizens continued to advocate against the serving of alcohol in the community.

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.” On November 3rd, 1914, five years before the start of national Prohibition, Oregon passed an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting the manufacturing, and the sale or advertisement, of alcoholic liquor. But it wouldn’t be put into effect until two years later, on January 1st, 1916.

Faced with the prospect of a looming liquor ban in Oregon and then nationally, saloons and drinking establishments in Oregon were relegated to offering only prepared meals and soft drinks to their customers. Other nightclubs and taverns just closed down for good. Some breweries, like the Mt. Hood Brewery, chose to switch to manufacturing non-alcoholic tonics, like “near beer”, while others began experimenting with sweet beverages like ginger ale, lemonade, cream soda, and flavored carbonated fruit drinks.

As saloons and taverns closed their doors, the emergence of soda fountains and ice cream parlors began early in the 1920s. Unable to find a viable business to run during Prohibition besides liquor manufacture, and tired of waiting a few years for the citizens of Oregon to come to their senses and repeal the law, the owners of the Mt. Hood Brewery basically walked away from their huge plant, leaving it vacant on Marion Street for the next several years.

The closed brewery stayed that way until 1919, when two Canadians, both from Prince Rupert in British Columbia – J.A. Thompson and J.F. Mathieso – became interested in reopening the brewery building, bur repurposing it to be a fish-packing plant. With twenty years of expertise in preparing and selling fish in Canada under their belts, these gentlemen believed that the three large cold storage rooms in the old brewery would work well for the pickling and salting process that they planned to use on the fish. They quickly signed a five-year lease, and went about hiring up to 50 men to start the new operation – called Oregon Fish and Cold Storage.

The new business expected to buy fish caught in Astoria, on the Lower Columbia, and in Seattle’s Puget Sound – and then have them transported back to Sellwood to be dried, smoked, and salted, and made available to the public for sale. Not much information can be found in city directories or in newspapers about the Oregon Fish and Cold Storage after its first five years. Either it closed because regulations on food in cold storage were tightening in Multnomah County, or else it proved too impossibly costly to transport fish from where they were caught to Sellwood to be prepared for resale, and still make any money at it.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Sellwood Ice Company was next to move into the old brewery building – where they installed ice-making machines, and repurposed the cold storage units for storing ice and other frozen products for customers.

Yes, ice delivery was an important business in the early part of the Twentieth Century, because electric refrigerators were still an expensive novelty. Ice was delivered to homes and businesses to be used in “ice boxes” and chests, to store dairy products and other perishables. For most people, any excess money after paying the bills was used to buy firewood for heating and cooking. In fact, the majority of homes did not yet have electricity or telephones, either! There was little money left over for electric clothes washers and driers, or refrigerators, and often no electricity to run them, so the old ice box was still in use.

A 50-pound block of ice would last about a week before it was all melted away and a new one had to be ordered. But for many local residents being introduced to the marvels of the new century, telephones actually preceded the installation of electricity, so many customers could use their new phone to call the Sellwood Ice Company and ask for the husky driver to arrive with a piece of ice for their ice box. And telephone sales must have been brisk, because Sellwood Ice had two of the new-fangled telephone numbers available: Customers were encouraged to call either SELLwood 2586 or SELLwood 5714 for prompt delivery of ice of 25 pounds and up.

The company advertised that their ice was made from the purest Bull Run water, using modern machinery. And their ad in THE BEE at the time announced that the Sellwood Ice Company “Produces Ice Not Exceled Anywhere”.  Customers were reminded to order an “ice card” with their next delivery, with the idea being they were to hang it a house window to let the drivers knew they had found the correct address for their next delivery.

The cold storage units of the Sellwood Ice Company were rented for the storage of frozen products by the neighborhood grocery stores. To get discounts, stores like the Moris Brothers Butcher Shop ordered massive amounts of meat, chicken, and fish, for future use – but didn’t have the capacity to store the extra products. So, by storing the excess in a locker at the Sellwood Ice Company, they could just send over a worker during the day pick up what extra meat they needed – or they could even pay the company to deliver it directly to the meat market or grocery store.

Pharmacies, confectionaries, and grocery stores were always in need of extra ice daily. Sellwood Sweet Shop, and Leipzig Confectionary, always ordered ice for the cold drinks they served, and also to fill their ice cream freezers. Other shops like The Sellwood Café, White Owl, Millers’ Restaurant, and the Black Cat Café always needed ice on hand for their customers, and were known to send a stock boy over on bicycle to pick up a pound or two of ice as needed.

Clifford’s Blue and White store, Sunshine Grocery, and “Naborhood Grocery” were always wanting ice to keep their vegetable bins fresh in the front of their stores, especially during the hot summer months.

Sellwood Ice and Storage served the Sellwood community well into the 1950s – but, as grocery stores were increasingly using electric refrigeration, there was no need to order ice anymore. So, by 1954, Rogers Ice Cream Company had become the new owner of the cold storage warehouse on Marion Street; and brothers John and Tony Rogers began selling and distributing their secret recipes of hard-pack ice cream to various stores around town.

Rogers Ice Cream was sold in hard-packed pints, quarts, and half-gallons – with a re-usable container, if customers brought them back for refilling. The ice cream flavors offered were strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, with the only other variety being “Londonberry” – all for 29 cents a quart. A “Grand Pac” of ice cream cost a soaring 73 cents.

The Rogers brothers also made ice cream for other national companies, but their own brand was a favorite in Portland, and could be found at most local grocery stores. Their slogan was, “Once you’ve tried it, you’ll always buy it.” Other frozen treats were stored by Rogers and shipped out to vendors – Ducky Dubble, Fudg-Frost, and Kreamy-Frost – all of which were manufactured by the Fruit Products Company in New York.

But in the end, the maintenance of the ice cream factory, and the constant need to update the manufacturing to use new and better machinery, was too expensive for a small business like Rogers Ice Cream, so eventually it closed, and the old brewery building was again vacant – and shortly afterward, gone.

The old wooden walls of the remaining brewery building were pulled down and replaced by a cement storage warehouse for the next thirty years, until about 2003 – when two- and three-bedroom condo units, in the “Sellwood Village Condominiums” were built in its place on the site.

The hustle and bustle of rolling beer barrels, the sounds of men at work and trucks coming and going, have all now been replaced by a serene residential development of green lawns and blossoming trees. Bicyclists ride lazily down the street; neighbors walk their dogs. And occasionally a car or two goes by.

Yes, the early beer history of Sellwood is all but a fading memory now. But the next time you celebrate Octoberfest, you might want to raise your mug in memory of John and Mary Wilhelm, who established the first brewery in Sellwood,

And add “Cheers!” for the Mt. Hood Brewmasters, with a special nod to the ice made for Sellwood’s ice boxes, and the Rogers Brothers and their creamy ice cream – all of them had their day in the old brewery building, now long gone.

Standing behind their latest machine, this year named “Chimera”, here are the members of the Cleveland High FIRST Robotic Competition Team 2733, the “Pigmice” – shown after their first competition.
Standing behind their latest machine, this year named “Chimera”, here are the members of the Cleveland High FIRST Robotic Competition Team 2733, the “Pigmice” – shown after their first competition. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

CHS’ FIRST Robotics team starts competition with a new robot


Having followed the student robotics teams named “Pigmice”, since the team name originated at Brooklyn’s Winterhaven Middle School when, in 2007, they won the FIRST Lego League Robotics World Championship, THE BEE checked in with “grown up” students – at Cleveland High School who continue the club at Cleveland High

This year’s FIRST Robotic Competition Team 2733 Pigmice attended their first competition at the Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences, on the first weekend in March.

There, they placed 24th after qualifying rounds. But, after being chosen to join an “Alliance”, and making it into the playoffs pushed them up to 22nd overall, they were to go on to the next round of competition – after this issue of THE BEE went to press, on March 21-23 at Wilsonville High School.

In addition to going on to the next competitions, Pigmice also won the “Imagery Award” – which celebrates attractiveness in engineering, and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.

“We felt we did pretty well, pretty great, actually,” commented CHS senior Owen McNary-Sprague, the Pigmice Team Captain, in the workshop the day after that contest. “We had a really good ‘build season’ where we stuck our deadlines really well with really good time management.

“The robot was working super well; we were able to score quickly and efficiently,” McNary-Sprague observed. “Even though we did break down a couple of times, we were able to use that to help us better understand what forces were acting on the robot, and what to improve.”

Rather than trying to build a robot that can do all of this year’s tasks during the game, Team Pigmice has chosen to focus on performing one task very well, allowing other robots in their alliance to focus on other tasks.

There are some 30 students associated with Team Pigmice this year, and about 20 who come regularly. “But, every single member helps in different ways so important to our team; every single person’s job is an integral part of the team,” McNary-Sprague remarked.

As for himself – “From being with Pigmice for four years, I’ve learned a lot about leadership – especially providing leadership through hard times and adversity,” he said.

Before taking the stage to begin the benefit concert, the classical PDX Saxophone Quartet members introduced themselves to THE BEE: From left, Stacy Friedman, Catarina New, Dr. Ray Griffin, and Jim Sussman. The second half of the concert featured jazz by the Catarina New Band.
Before taking the stage to begin the benefit concert, the classical PDX Saxophone Quartet members introduced themselves to THE BEE: From left, Stacy Friedman, Catarina New, Dr. Ray Griffin, and Jim Sussman. The second half of the concert featured jazz by the Catarina New Band. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

SMILE, Moreland Presbyterian, and SMBA present ‘Winter Concert’


Along with its many partners, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) has become well-known for underwriting free neighborhood concerts in the summer.

However, on the Sunday afternoon of February 18 at the Moreland Presbyterian Church, a sizeable crowd was seated in church to enjoy a Mid-Winter Concert by the Catarina New Band.

“We’ve been wanting to host music along with Moreland Presbyterian in this space for a while – in fact, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began,” explained SMILE Board Member Jim Friscia. “And, we thought that having a concert in the winter would be great for the neighborhood, instead of waiting until summer.”

Concert benefits Willamette Center
At a table in the lobby, SMILE Housing Solutions Committee member Marianne Nelson was telling concert-goers that the money raised by the program would be used to assist the Willamette Center shelter in Westmoreland, at Milwaukie Avenue at Mitchell Street.

“Funds from this concert will be placed in a special fund held at SMILE, to be used to supply needs there that are not in the regular budget,” Nelson told THE BEE. “For example, it could help furnish their outdoor patio; or, be used to put flowers in the flower beds – things they want that are not in their budget.”

Moreland Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Marsh looked pleased to see people coming to the concert. “We are a church community, but we’re also part of the neighborhood. We’re so thankful this neighborhood has such a great fabric of different groups – and having us come together like this has been a dream of ours for a long time.”

After warming up, Ms. Catarina New told us, “I played at a funeral here a couple years ago – and many people have heard us at the Corkscrew Wine Bar, and Jim Friscia had us to play ten years ago at the Summer Concert Series – so, this concert is bringing us all together again!” By the way, she’s also the band teacher at Llewellyn Elementary School.

Before the show, guests enjoyed beverages and snack boxes vended by Corkscrew Wine Bar. Then, the two-part concert – the first half was classical music, the second half was jazz – started off featuring the PDX Saxophone Quartet; and continued with the Catarina New Band.

The concert was underwritten by SMILE, by the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA), and Moreland Presbyterian Church, to permit all the ticket sales to be donated to the Willamette Center fund.

At the “Indigenous Marketplace of Love” pop-up marketplace, a shopper buys an artwork from Pynaekot of “Neecee’s Ancestral Art”.
At the “Indigenous Marketplace of Love” pop-up marketplace, a shopper buys an artwork from Pynaekot of “Neecee’s Ancestral Art”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Indigenous Marketplace of Love’ appears briefly on Foster Road


Some artists and creative “makers” who often aren’t seen showcasing their wares at fairs and shows, had the opportunity to do for two days  – on the weekend before Valentine’s Day, on February 9 and 10 – at the pop-up “Indigenous Marketplace of Love”.

It was unique – a pop-up market that popped up in two different neighborhoods at the same time! The venues were both situated on different sections of S.E. Foster Road. One was at Bar Carlo, in Foster-Powell; and the other was four blocks west at the Southeast Family YMCA, in Creston-Kenilworth.

At Bar Carlo, we found several people showing and selling their works. “We, of the nonprofit organization called Portland Indigenous Marketplace here in Portland, are putting this on,” Nickolas Yellowhorse acknowledged. “Our organization serves vendors who are of the BIPOC [Black Indigenous People of Color] community, to help them sell their works.

“What is offered at our pop-up markets can be any type of creative work,” Yellowhorse continued. “It doesn’t have to be jewelry, beadwork, or prints. We also have quite a wide variety of product vendors as well.”

Both at the Bar Carlo, and at the Southeast Family YMCA, visitors were browsing tables filled with all kinds of artistic endeavor. Many shoppers went to both sites during the one day that the limited-time market was open.

“We create a no-barrier marketing situation, so that people who have art to offer, but don’t have the money for an entry or a table fee which they’d be charged at other venues, can offer it here,” Yellowhorse pointed out. “Because of this, our pop-ups have grown significantly! We now have a waiting list of artists who are asking to join our collective.”

“I think the best thing that has come out of this, is all the community and communal support that we’ve received,” mused Yellowhorse. “We’ve had people come from all over the metropolitan Portland area – and we have vendors who have come from as far away as Oklahoma to be here!”

Learn more about the Portland Indigenous Marketplace pop-ups by visiting their website –

On a cloudy early morning in late February, workers were removing moss from the Woodstock Community Center’s roof, a job requiring balance, careful scraping, and stamina! The small gable on the roof gave access to the hose-drying rack, when this was a fire station decades ago.
On a cloudy early morning in late February, workers were removing moss from the Woodstock Community Center’s roof, a job requiring balance, careful scraping, and stamina! The small gable on the roof gave access to the hose-drying rack, when this was a fire station decades ago. (Photo by Elizabaeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock ‘Friends’ group rescues Community Center roof


When spring comes, moss on Southeast Portland roofs starts growing again, and can eat into roofing shingles. This was the worry about the roof of the Woodstock Community Center this year – but the building’s owner, Portland Parks & Recreation, had its hands full with maintenance tasks elsewhere, which raised questions about how soon the moss could be removed from the Woodstock building – which once was a “bungalow style fire station”, as was SMILE Station in Sellwood.

So the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center (FWCC) came to the rescue.  This is an all-volunteer group which, along with the Woodstock Neighborhood Association, has a partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation. In the partnership, the FWCC assumes responsibility for the building’s grounds maintenance. Across the twenty years since the partnership agreement was established, FWCC volunteers and other members of the community have kept the attractive landscaping around the structure in good shape.

Anyone who gazed up at the building’s roof in the last year no doubt spotted the bright green covering of moss all over the north side, and some on the south side.  While what’s growing on the roof is not actually “landscaping”, the FWCC decided to get it removed.

To do the removal, the group got in touch with Benjamin H. Jones, LLC, who has been taking care of roof gutters and performing moss removal throughout Portland since 1996, when he was first licensed. At 8:30 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, February 25th, he and his crew of three arrived at the Woodstock Community Center. (When learning that this article was being written, Jones said they are quite busy so he is not looking for any additional work. But he said he was happy to help the community center by taking on this job.)

Rain was predicted for the afternoon but volunteers organizing the moss removal were hoping it would hold off until evening. The moss removal was to be an all-day job, and rain could make the steep roof even more slippery for the workers. The crew worked all day and finished the job at 4 p.m.  Serious rain held off until an hour later!

Cleanup afterward led to a shocking realization – fully 800 pounds of moss had been dislodged from the roof and raked up for disposal! A powdered moss killer with zinc sulfate monohydrate as a main ingredient was sprinkled on the roof to help prevent future moss from growing. Later in the spring, Jones will come back to spray on more of the preventative at no extra charge.

The Friends of the Woodstock Community Center was able to pay for the moss removal because for the two decades of annual fundraising, FWCC has carefully managed its finances and saved money for unexpected maintenance work at the Community Center. This partnership has made it possible for the building to stay open, avoiding many threats of closure over the years due to PP&R budget shortages.

The FWCC is seeking more volunteers for raking leaves and the burr balls from Sweetgum trees, extracting a few weeds, and contributing advice and ideas for expansion and improvement. To offer your help, email –

In a preview of 2024’s weather year, this photo showed the intersection at McLoughlin from a little south on S.E. 17th, around noon on Sunday, January 14. The previous day’s wind-driven snow and sleet had stopped, but the skies were slate grey, the temperature was still in the teens – and the wind chill was still down in the single digits.
In a preview of 2024’s weather year, this photo showed the intersection at McLoughlin from a little south on S.E. 17th, around noon on Sunday, January 14. The previous day’s wind-driven snow and sleet had stopped, but the skies were slate grey, the temperature was still in the teens – and the wind chill was still down in the single digits. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Looking back: The 2023 weather year in Southeast

Editor, THE BEE

The 2023 weather year in Inner Southeast Portland was a little drier than usual, but not notably so. The precipitation total for the year was 33.94 inches – almost identical to the 2020 total (33.88 inches), but a bit below the average of what we’ve recorded annually between 1998 and 2020 – 41.04 inches. There might be a slight trend here towards drier years, but not in any statistically significant way so far.

What is clear is that we used to have winter ice storms every single year, and more snow – January of 1979 was below freezing for the whole month, and ice chunks were floating down the Willamette River before it ended – but we have such cold events only occasionally and more briefly now. Winters now tend to be less severe, although what remains is often more severe – just as April 2021 was the driest April ever recorded in Portland, and June 28 of that same year saw the almost unthinkable record high temperature of 116 degrees – a full nine degrees higher than the Portland area had ever before experienced since records began to be kept.

As for 2023, possibly the best-remembered highlight of the year for many in Inner Southeast  actually occurred in the last week of 2022 – the sleet, rain, and high winds which may have spawned what some in north Westmoreland believe was a small F0 tornado that moved northward, snapping off a street tree at its base at S.E. 20th and Ellis, taking down a hemlock tree a block north, and then shortly afterwards snapping off ALL of the regional distribution PGE power poles on the Holgate viaduct over the Brooklyn train yard, dropping the high voltage power lines connecting the nearby PGE power station to much of Southeast Portland. That not only darkened part of the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, but large sections of many neighborhoods to the east, all the way out beyond S.E. 82nd and along Highway 224, for up to 27 hours. It was our headline story in THE BEE one year ago.

Getting back to our recap of 2023, in addition to some snow early in the year, we had snow as late as March 8, thunderstorms on April 1, May 4, June 18, and June 23 – and record heat in May: Not only more days over 80 degrees in May than ever before by a wide margin, but also an all-time Portland May record high of 91 degrees on May 17. 

We also had a hot August with readings of 90 degrees on August 2, 101 degrees on August 13, 103 degrees on August 15 and 16, and 105 degrees on August 14 – a hotter day on that date than in Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Temperatures in the 90s continued into September; the warmest day of the month here was September 15’s 94 degrees. It really didn’t cool down until the second week of October.

As concerns precipitation, there were six days in the year when Southeast Portland experienced over an inch of rain in one day in Inner Southeast (measured from 4 pm, to 4 pm on the date recorded):

  • 1.96 inches on March 13
  • 1.63 inches on December 6
  • 1.12 inches on November 3
  • 1.09 inches on December10
  • 1.08 inches on May 9
  • 1.05 inches on November 6

As is usually the case, the overall rainfall total for the year was strongly influenced by those few days of rainfall of over an inch – which is why it is hard to generalize about rainfall trends year-to-year.

This year began with a notable weather event in January – a unique combination of very cold temperatures and very high winds, which resulted in hundreds of downed trees in the metro area, and with more than 160,000 PGE customers out of power at its height.

The temperatures plunged in the first “arctic blast” here in several years on late Friday, January 12; and although snow and sleet was limited to Saturday, January 13 (plus a freezing rain event late January 16 until the morning of the 17th), the temperatures did not moderate to above freezing, and start thawing us all out, until midday on the 17th. We’ve told you all about it in the previous two issues of THE BEE; many are still recovering from widespread downed trees and destructive water-pipe breaks.

In fact, this report on last year’s weather was delayed two months by the work we were doing on this year’s January weather and its aftermath! It will be interesting to see how the year 2024 proceeds from here.

At the Lane Middle School “Community Resource Fair”, Anay Aceves Martinez told visitors what Metropolitan Family Service offers to families in Southeast Portland.
At the Lane Middle School “Community Resource Fair”, Anay Aceves Martinez told visitors what Metropolitan Family Service offers to families in Southeast Portland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Community Resource Fair’ draws a crowd at Lane Middle School


In excess of 100 families in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood attended a Community Resource Fair at Lane Middle School on Saturday, March 9.

In the school’s gymnasium, organizers had set up tables where representatives from 42 governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations were busily providing information to attendees.

“We’re hosting this Community Resource Fair today, in partnership with Lane Middle School,” said the fair’s overall organizer, Community Services Network (CSN) Executive Director Annie Lindekugel.

“At this fair, we have nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community organizations coming together in a ‘one-stop shop’ opportunity for the community to ask and learn about employment, health, and food assistance; get vaccines onsite – as well get food boxes to go – and to have some fun, and get free things, like get face painting and enjoy a burrito lunch,” Lindekugel told THE BEE

In a way, these Community Resource Fairs are filling in the void left when the City of Portland decided to stop hosting “Fix-it Fairs”, Lindekugel said; adding that CSN is hosting about 20 fairs across the city.

“We believe it’s important to keep the spirit of these fairs going, because providing multiple resources in one location reduces the barrier to needed information. In fact, in April, we’re hosting five fairs!”

To find out dates and locations of upcoming Community Resource Fairs, see the CSN webpage at –

“And a thank-you to today’s sponsors, CareOregon, The DPI Group, Dave’s Killer Bread, and City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability,” added Lindekugel.

Events & Activities

Brooklyn Easter Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m.: The Brooklyn neighborhood “Eggstravaganza” will be held at the top of Brooklyn Park Playground today at 10 a.m. sharp. Bring your own basket, and join in the fun. Costumes are not required. Younger egg hunters will scout the area around the playground structures, while older egg-hunters will cover the rest of the hill in search of plastic eggs with treats and surprises. Organized by the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association.

SMILE Annual Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. sharp:  The SMILE (Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League) Annual Egg Hunt returns to Oaks Amusement this morning at 11 a.m. (An hour later than was originally announced.)  Come as early as 9:30 for candy and photos with the bunny – but don’t be even a minute late at 11, or you’ll miss out on the egg hunt fun. Oaks Amusement Park is offering discounted ride bracelets (available online at: – PRIOR to this morning’s event, using the discount code EGGHUNT24. And don’t forget that parking at Oaks Park is now charged for, at pay kiosks. More information available online –

The Great Vigil of Easter Service at All Saints Episcopal Church: Tonight at 8 p.m. at All Saints, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, there is a special service dating to the Fourth Century, which begins at the door of the Church in darkness, with the lighting of the new fire – from which we light the Paschal Candle, hear the ancient Exsultet, and then hear a dramatic retelling of biblical stories. With the announcement that the Lord is risen and the ringing of bells, celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. Incense is used at this liturgy. All are welcome. More, online –

Easter Sunday Services at All Saints Episcopal Church:
This morning at 8 a.m., and again at 10:30 a.m. come to All Saints, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, for the Festive Easter Eucharist with Chancel Choir, Brass, and Easter bags for kids. All are welcome. More, online –

Easter Sunday service at Moreland Presbyterian: At 9:30 a.m. this morning, a celebration of Love resurrected, with Chancel Choir, and intergenerational Easter choir, and instrumentalists, at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland. Come as you are; all are welcome.

Rhododendron Garden “Early Blooming Show and Sale”:
The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden’s Early Blooming Show and Sale is this weekend – with the show open from noon until 5 p.m. today, while the sale is from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. today.  The sale continues and concludes tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a PP&R park property, but it is maintained by volunteers; it’s located at 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue, a block north of Woodstock Boulevard, and just west of the Reed College campus. 

Woodstock Library’s free tax help ends today: Today, 11:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m. is the last Saturday for free tax help at the Woodstock Library this year. Still available: Ongoing Tech Help Drop-in is every Tuesday 1-3 p.m., in English and Chinese. “Tween Council” is every other Friday 4-5 p.m. Last Sunday Crafting Club is April 28th noon-2 pm. And a Día de los Niños celebration, with a music concert, is on Saturday, April 27th, 2-3:30 p.m.

Be ready for the Woodstock Neighborhood Elections on May 1st:
  A vibrant neighborhood depends on good people getting involved in keeping their own neighborhood clean, active, and in community. Everyone is welcome to contribute their energy and talents toward neighborhood events and projects such as Movies and Concerts in the Park, Right of Way Improvements (ROW project), or the committees of Land Use, Houseless Action, and Neighborhood Accessibility. Go online to – – for meeting info and Zoom links, and the neighborhood newsletter.

Folk music concert with Cary Morin tonight: The nonprofit Reed-based Portland Folk Music Society presents its eighth monthly concert of the season tonight featuring Cary Morin, an international touring artist, who is also a tribal member with Assiniboine Sioux and Black heritage. He’ll perform his “roots-infused Native Americana, with hits of bluegrass, folks, blues, and rock” tonight, at the Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 S.E. Steele Street. Doors open at 7, concert starts at 7:30. Tickets at the door – and, discounted in advance, online at –

Portland Chamber Music performs at All Saints tonight: All Saints Episcopal Church in Woodstock (41st at Woodstock Boulevard) once again welcomes Portland Chamber Music this evening at 7 p.m. Performing works by world-renowned women composers including Louise Farrenc, Clara Shumann, Amy Beach, Undine Smith Moore, Madeleine Dring, and more. This Woodstock concert is free to attend; at-will donations at the event to nonprofit Portland Chamber Music are gratefully accepted. Their spring season is supported in part by Oregon Community Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission.


     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

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

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

KGW, Channel 8 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 26)

KOPB, Channel 10 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 10 and 28)

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

KRCW, Channel 32 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 24 and 25)

KPDX, Channel 49 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 12 and 26)

"Next Generation TV", in the incompatible ATSC-3 format, is currently duplicating (in the new format) KATU, KOIN, KGW, KOPB, KPTV, KRCW, and KPDX on channels 30 and/or 33; you will need a new TV or converter box capable of receiving the new ATSC-3 format in order to see these broadcasts.  The one we use and can recommend is the Zapperbox -- learn more at: