Community Features

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

13th Avenue, Sellwood, history, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Here’s a photo of the Strahlman Building, built in 1907 on the northwest corner of 13th Avenue and S.E. Spokane Street – in which was located Sellwood’s first movie theater, The Alpha; and Strahlman’s confectionary. Until the building was torn down in 1942, the upstairs of “Strahlman Hall” was a favorite location for meetings, fancy dances and balls, and a variety of community events. The space today is a parking lot. (Courtesy SMILE History Committee)

Sellwood business and residential history: 13th Avenue, recalled

Special to THE BEE

At the start of the Twentieth Century, Portland was actually the second largest city on the west coast – dwarfed only by San Francisco, 700 miles to the south. But, at the time, most of the trade, warehouses, major banks, and job opportunities in the Rose City were centered on the west side of the Willamette River.

Hotels and boarding houses were available on the west side, but they were pretty expensive for laborers and blue-collar workers, who earned little and didn’t have much to save or devote to leisure activities.

Consequently, 80% of the population lived on the east side of the Willamette, and those who chose to live on the west side were usually of a higher class, and living close to the businesses they owned or at which they shopped. “Uptown” Portland, as it was referred to then, had vaudeville theaters, huge department stores, lawyers, doctors, and dentists – all the necessities for those living in the big city.

It wasn’t until the opening of the Morrison Bridge on March 2, 1887, followed by the Madison Bridge in June of 1891, that workers and their families on the east side were provided with more opportunities. They now had free access to cross a bridge to downtown, and didn’t have to pay exorbitant prices to ferry goods or themselves across the river.

Previously, vegetables grown in the numerous gardens of East Portland had to be hauled by wagon to the nearest boat landing, and for a fee hauled across the river to the market stalls along Yamhill Street. People living on the east side of the river and traveling to work on the west side also previously had to pay a daily toll, but the opening of the first bridge proved beneficial to all – except for the ferryboat owners, of course.

Streetcar companies also benefitted from the bridges, and they began laying rails along East Portland roadways, in anticipation of the neighborhoods to be built around them.

As more and more workers and their families began settling on the east side, neighborhood grocery stores, meat markets, hatter shops, blacksmiths, confectionaries, barbers, saloons, and even movie theaters and fire departments began showing up on main streets, creating commercial districts. A few of the many communities created around such busy commercial streets were Albina, Irvington, Brooklyn, Westmoreland, and “East Portland” – which ran along Grand Street, and was platted by James B. Stephens in 1887.

Property became more affordable; amenities were becoming available; and life was more tranquil on the east side of the river, away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby big city.

In the short-lived town of Sellwood (which quickly became part of Portland, in 1893), the commercial district connected to the Willamette River. Umatilla Street was still the major road for receiving supplies by boat, and the major route for farmers shipping out crops.   

In 1892 Umatilla merchants were faced with drastic changes – when streetcar rails were laid along 13th Avenue as far as Malden Street. The Eastside Railway Company streetcars heralded a more efficient and faster mode of transportation for people wanting to attend horse racing or baseball activities at City View Park, atop the Sellwood Bluff.

For a mere nickel, passengers could ride the streetcar from their residence in Sellwood along 13th Street via Bybee Street, thence north on Milwaukie Avenue, with a scenic commute past “Midway” through the countryside, connecting to 12th Avenue, and then to the Madison Bridge.

As sporting events began fading away at Sellwood’s City View Park – where homes and Sellwood Park would replace it – large wooden structures were being constructed along the major 13th Avenue corridor. These buildings were the start of a new commercial district in Sellwood, and the beginning of the “streetcar” building era.

Most of the two- and three-story buildings dating from the 1890s to the 1920s were made of brick, stucco, or wood – and were located along rail lines – and so were labeled by most architects as “streetcar construction”. Many of these structures still exist – today, those are over one hundred years old – and can be found scattered in local neighborhoods around Portland.

In the 120 years from 1900 to 2019, the commercial district along Sellwood’s 13th Avenue has seen many changes. In this issue of THE BEE and the next, together we’ll stroll through the history of this business district – and because 13th Avenue encompasses such a large section, I will divide this article into two parts. Starting from Tacoma Street, north to Malden Street, will be our focus this month; and the section from Tacoma Street south to Ochoco Street will follow in the July issue.

13th Avenue, from Tacoma Street to Malden
Traveling on a streetcar at the turn of the Twentieth Century, many passing through might have been enthralled by the beauty of Sellwood, and some must have considered opening a retail store in this growing neighborhood. The result was that people of all vocations and from all parts of the country began to settle along 13th Avenue.

Before zoning laws were implemented, residential houses and merchants’ shops were intermixed along the avenue. A single-story wooden structure, built to house merchants and shopkeepers’ products and goods, could be located next to a family house. But initially, most stores and shops were clustered around the well-traveled intersections at Tenino, Lexington, and Spokane. Umatilla Street and 13th Avenue were already well-established as commercial districts.

Merchants who set up their trade along 13th often lived next door to their store. Other business owners found temporary quarters in boarding houses, or rented dwellings within a few blocks of their shops, so they’d be within walking distance. Proprietors who couldn’t afford their own home lived in space in the rear of their businesses – usually, rather cramped quarters.

And those who built a family home along 13th Avenue later found the commercial district starting to encroach on their property. In response to this intrusion, some homeowners chose to build a store onto the front of their house which could be rented out to a merchant for extra income. Their own family functions were relegated to the back yard. Even today, many Four Square and Craftsman Style homes can be found in the commercial sections of Sellwood, Westmoreland, and Brooklyn – usually set back from the street, and sporting a small square storefront with a plate glass windows grafted onto it, right up to the sidewalk.

Among the early businesses along 13th Avenue were a fruit and preserves cannery established by A. Robertson near Malden Street. In 1900, women were no longer just relegated to household jobs or domestic duties; they had the choice of choosing a career, though the selection was small.  Women could find employment outside the home working in retail sales and factories, as well as clerks, typists, nurses, and school teachers.

And Mr. Robertson had the grand vision of building one of the largest canneries in the state, relying on women and young girls seeking work to provide the labor at his cannery. As announced in THE BEE at the time, his warehouse “would be supplied by sufficient produce from all of the vegetable gardens on the east side of the river”.

So much for grand visions. The cannery lasted less than five years before it closed.

Within hailing distance of that cannery was A.J. Henneman’s Grocery, and the Ideal Cash Grocery (it was ideal for the owner, anyway, because it required cash, and refused credit).

Three of Sellwood’s most successful and enterprising entrepreneurs were William Strahlmen, Alfred H. Griessen, and J.P. Zirngiebel – who each established the first two-story structures in the neighborhood.

Strahlman and Griessen decided to build next to each other. Strahlman built a two-story brick commercial building on the northwest corner of Spokane Street, and Griessen’s two-story building was made of stone block on the southwest corner of Spokane. Zirngiebel stayed away from his two competitors, and opted to build on the northeast corner of Umatilla and 13th.

Strahlman started a confectionary, a movie house (the Alpha Theater), and held charitable balls and parties, while renting the upstairs hall for fraternal groups and events. He loved to include his family in community functions – his daughter playing the piano, while William and his wife sang duets!

Other shops that rented space in the Strahlman Building, through the years, included a men and women’s dress shop, the Bishop Brothers; Alfred Williams’ drugstore; “Payn Takit” variety store; and the Leipzig confectionary, which opened in 1923 after Strahlman closed his candy counter.

By the 1950’s the slumping brick structure was deemed a fire hazard and torn down, replaced by a “Flying A” Service Station. But today, the spot where residents once gathered to celebrate community events is now a parking lot for merchants.

The Griessen Building was constructed in 1909 by Alfred H. Griessen who previously managed the Alpha Theater in 1907. As mentioned earlier, Sellwood’s first movie house had been the Alpha Theater; and it, too, was located in William Strahlman’s Building.

But, considering the rent too high, Griessen moved the family house, previously on the south side of Spokane and facing 13th Avenue, to a lot just west of his new stone-block building. There, he opened the Star Theater, and talked Williams into moving his pharmacy from Strahlman’s corner into his new building. Williams Pharmacy was replaced, through the years, by the Sellwood Pharmacy, and later the Spokane Avenue Pharmacy. The northeast corner of the Griessen Building is now occupied by The Leipzig Tavern, once owned by Peter and Helen Leipzig, and currently at its third location along 13th Avenue.

Once the Star Theater closed, H. W. Morgan Dry Goods leased the space for five years, and the Sellwood Masonic Lodge was temporarily located upstairs until they moved to a permanent location on Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland. After the Masons vacated the premises, the second floor became a dental office for Dr. Rey Ralph in 1914, and later Dr. Frank H. Smith in 1935. One of five Piggly Wiggly grocery markets in the neighborhood was also located in the Griessen Building in 1931. 

At the intersection of Spokane and 13th, residents in this era had no less than three movie theaters to choose from. Besides the renamed Alpha – the Isis – and the Star, the New Sellwood Theater opened to great fanfare on the southeast corner of Spokane and 13th, and this section of town became known as Movie House Row.

Unimpressed by the upstart theaters of Griessen and Strahlman, Bob Roach opened his Sellwood Theater to offer movies with sound and action. The Sellwood Theater was a favorite weekend stop for mothers and small children, who were enthralled with swashbuckling heroes, snarling pirates, and creepy horror films. Dashing heroines, as in the “Perils of Pauline”, and funny man Charlie Chaplin were among movie enthusiasts’ favorites. Popcorn, ice cream, sodas, candy, and prize drawings for free giveaways during intermission were all popular draw for attendees. The Sellwood Theater, ultimately the last movie theater in Sellwood, later moved around the corner onto Tacoma Street, where its building is now occupied by the Columbia Outlet Store.

Harry Black opened the first furniture store between Spokane Street and Nehalem on the east side of 13th Avenue. Alas, a fire in 1918 destroyed the building and his inventory, but Harry rallied and opened a new store on the southeast corner of Tacoma and 13th, and later added a showroom on Milwaukie Avenue which allowed more accessible parking for his customers.

At the start of the Twentieth Century it was hard for ladies to find a dressmaker, or a specialist in making the latest style in hats, on the east side of town. But by 1906, over 300 dressmakers were listed in the Portland City Directory; most of these businesses were run by ladies out of their own home, but a few shops opened along 13th Avenue. These included hemstitching by Mrs. Lile and Mrs. Marshall. By 1913 ladies desiring a hat could visit the Sellwood Hat Shop, or the Bonnette Shop run by Faith Henderson.

“The Manhattan” provided ladies’ fine tailoring and cleaning, along with “Suitatorium Cleaners”, near the corner of Lexington. Footwear of all styles could be purchased at the Pioneer Shoe Store; while J.T. Ayers, Alphonse Besner, and Sam Wollos offered shoe repair. Fine men’s wear was available at Worsted Mills Tailors; and Sellwood’s professional tailor, Cipricano Trentin, could fill specialty orders for the finest suits in the area from his little shop near Malden, where he did business for 30 years.

The Sellwood Racket Store and J.C Brill’s provided undergarments, working shirts, socks, and leisure pants for the working class who couldn’t afford expensive formal or social event attire.

Sellwood was relishing prosperity by the start of the 1920s, and shopkeepers wanted to eliminate the need for local residents to take a streetcar downtown to the major department stores – Old’s, King and Wortman, and Meier and Frank. The commercial strip in Sellwood by this time boasted selections of fashionable clothes, shoes, makeup, and jewelry for young to old, all north of Tacoma Street.

Few homes were equipped with refrigeration in the 1920s, so a trip to the grocery store was usually a daily occurrence. Needed staples like meat, greens, produce, and milk and other dairy items were purchased every other day, so the corner grocery needed to be close by. 13th Avenue had at least fifteen grocery stores by then, for the needs of busy housewives who lived within a few blocks.

Bored children were often sent down the street to pick up the daily grocery list, which might also include a stick of candy or gum as an inducement to go. Some “mom and pop” grocers had outdoor freezers to store customers’ perishables, available for rent on a month-to-month basis – and many staples could still be bought on credit until payday came around.

Grocery stores and meat markets (which were usually located next to the grocer) came and went over the years – to include J.W. Caldwell, Liberty Grocery, City View Market, Woolfenden Company, and the Sunshine Grocery. If you sent a youngster to the store with a list, you made sure he or she shopped at the right store, because among them were the Sellwood Grocery, the Sellwood Market, and the Sellwood Pharmacy.

And, if you were looking to buy a used bicycle, needed ammo for your gun, wanted your umbrella fixed, or needed someone to repair your baby buggy, then a stop at the Sellwood Bike Shop was in order for you.

From the early 1900s until 1950 there were a host of shops and services along 13th Avenue – barbers, beauty shops, bakers, jewelry stores, realty offices, restaurants, plumbers, cigarette and tobacco dealers – and the Kenworthy Funeral home was there too, still burying people the old fashioned way: In a fancy casket conveyed down the street to the graveyard by horse and carriage.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s many “mom and pop” stores were forced out of business because of their having continued to extend credit to their customers – whom now couldn’t always pay it back. The Second World War didn’t make being a grocer any easier, as many proprietors and clerks joined the military service, there was rationing of food, and even more shops closed up. The big burst of postwar prosperity came too late for many.

By the 1960s, many stores along 13th in Sellwood were showing their age, and many residents preferred to shop, buy, and eat in Westmoreland. That was where Kienow’s Market was a grocery destination on Milwaukie Avenue; Sellwood’s food market was now the Thriftway store which had replaced the Piggly Wiggly on Tacoma Street (today, it’s the site of New Seasons). 13th Avenue in the ’60s otherwise only had a few convenience stores, which people stopped in late at night or when they were in a hurry.

But renaissance was about to happen again. In 1965, Elizabeth Fowler opened her antique store “The 1874 House” in the former Sellwood Theater building. Hers was one of just three antique stores located along the then-struggling 13th Avenue commercial district. Those stores proved to have caught a trend at just the right time, and by the mid 1970s Sellwood had come alive with over 35 antique, secondhand, and collectable shops, and for the next thirty years 13th was Portland’s “Antique Row”, where people shopped from around the country.

Today, in the Twenty-First Century, only a few such shops remain there – but 13th Avenue continues to prosper as a walking neighborhood. Restaurants and pizza shops, coffee roasters, tea shops, bakeries, barber shops, banks, beauty salons, a library, real estate agencies, and mixed-use buildings with apartments above and sidewalk shops below have replaced many old buildings and houses.

One historic element that has reappeared in a new form in downtown Portland, but has not yet returned to S.E. 13th Avenue: A modern trolley, to bring back a sense of the old Sellwood streetcar which once traveled back and forth down the middle of the street.

In the July issue of THE BEE we’ll continue our history of Sellwood’s 13th Avenue – by turning around, and strolling the other direction, in an historical journey through the commercial district south of Tacoma Street.

82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Acting Commander Tasia Hager rode ahead of the parade’s Color Guard, which was from Lents Post 1412 Veterans of Foreign Wars. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

12th annual ‘Avenue of Roses Parade’ dodges raindrops


With dark clouds delivering waves of showers on Saturday morning, April 27, it really looked as if the “82nd Avenue of Roses Parade” might proceed, for the first time ever, in the rain.

But, a mere five minutes before the parade stepped off from the parking lot of the Century Eastport 16 Theater, the rain stopped. And there was no more rain that morning, as the 12th annual two-mile parade, presented by PDX Bridge Festival, along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses began.

Entrants of all kinds, representing the diversity of the greater Portland area – with some of them previewing Portland Rose Festival events – delighted the spectators who gathered along the route of this year’s parade, from Eastport Plaza north to the Montavilla neighborhood. Its theme this year was “Roses in the Heart of Portland”.

Among elected officials in the parade, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler chose to walk the route, greeting bystanders along the way.

“This is great!” Wheeler told THE BEE.“This parade brings the community together with businesses, neighbors, and more neighbors coming from all over the place to celebrate what we are as a community.

“I love the diversity in this neighborhood … with people of different backgrounds and different ‘lived experiences’ coming together and just having fun. In this day and age, this is something that we should do more of – come together and have fun. That’s how we get to know each other,” said Wheeler said, as he strolled along the parade route.

Churches, schools, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and businesses entered this year’s parade.

“This year, our parade featured 56 entrants – and, a total of about 600 participants walked, rolled, or rode in the parade!” exclaimed parade organizer Nancy Chapin. “It was so much fun for me too. For the first time, I actually rode along the parade route. From my vantage point, I estimate as many as 6,000 people lined the parade route.

“We are already looking forward to the 13th Annual Parade – on Saturday, April 25, 2020. So add it to your calendar now!” suggested Chapin.

Woodstock Plant Sale, Woodstock Community Center, PP&R, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
There were hundreds of plants to choose from – something for any garden or gardener – at the May 11th Woodstock Plant Sale, on the day before Mother’s Day. The sale raises money to cover annual maintenance and cleaning costs of the Woodstock Community Center, where it is held. (Photo courtesy of Tony Freixas)

‘Woodstock Plant Sale’, funding Community Center, breaks record


After the recent Woodstock neighborhood Plant Sale, Pete Adams – Financial Manager of the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center – reported gross sales of $7,851.00. “I haven't paid a single invoice or reimbursement yet,” Adams clarified, “And we certainly purchased more product this year than we have in the past, but that looks like a great day!”

And indeed it was. The weather was pleasantly hot on Saturday, May 11, and the sale broke all previous records, netting more than enough funds to cover all custodial costs for the Woodstock Community Center for the coming year – that’s what the funds were raised for. Taking care of the small Center is the main function of the Friends group, a committee of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA).

Terry Griffiths, who has been in the process of retiring from her longtime position as lead organizer for the annual plant sale, expressed gratitude for “so many, many people” who helped run this year’s sale, donated plants, and organized the volunteer power to ensure its success. A record number of volunteers included eight provided through Portland Parks & Recreation, as arranged by PP&R Volunteer Coordinator Steve Pixley.

Any casual observer of the buzz around the Woodstock Community Center on that Saturday morning – or on the day before, when a bevy of volunteers spent the day sorting and pricing plants – would have seen it was “definitely a team effort,” as Griffiths observed. She especially credited Sandy Profeta with being “way more to me than a right-hand person,” and “contributing phenomenal computer skills” to help organize and publicize the sale.

Pete Adams, and Friends of the Woodstock Community Center’s Chair Kitsy Brown Mahoney, were impressed by the number of credit card sales, made with the help of a smartphone app used for the first time this year. The amount of “swipes” they both made during the first nonstop hours of the sale convinced them that the availability of this option boosted sales greatly, as no one’s purchase had to be limited by cash on hand. But many buyers did come prepared with cash; and either way, gardeners went away feeling thrifty, as the vast majority of plants were priced under $5.

Another reason given for this year’s success was the many new neighborhood donors who brought very high quality potted plants to the sale, along with old-timers like Karen and Larry Krettler, who donated volunteer hours, in addition to the strawberry starts and tomato plants that they raised from seed. The Krettlers are the daughter and son-in-law of Jan Elliott, now in her 90s, who was raised in the neighborhood and was active as a WNA member for many years.

Of course, volunteers need to eat, and they were grateful for the  donations of pizza, donuts, orange juice, and coffee, from Papa Murphy’s, Safeway, and Papaccino’s, respectively; as well as “Terry Clements’ delicious quinoa salad,” which has become a tradition – like the plant sale itself.

Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt, SMILE, Westmoreland Park, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Dressed for the occasion, and scooping up the wrapped candy eggs, here’s Claire Spiteri! (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Easter Eggs snatched up quickly at Westmoreland Park


As it has for decades, rain or shine, the “Sellwood-Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt” delighted families who gathered at the south end of Westmoreland Park on Saturday morning, April 20, the day before Easter.

The annual fun is sponsored by SMILE, the neighborhood association for Sellwood and Westmoreland, and the Oaks Bottom Lions Club runs it, with help from several sponsors.

“This remains important for our members, helping to put on this event which generations of families look forward to and enjoy every year,” remarked Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club President Stella Brown.

“We come out and scoop up the bird droppings, rake away some of the prickly cones, cordon off the mud patches – and then scatter a whole lot of Easter Eggs in areas of the park sectioned off for kids of different ages,” Brown said, while some of their 20 volunteers continued spreading colorful foil-wrapped candy eggs.

“It’s a great service project for us,” Brown noted. “We love doing anything we can for the community, and this one is a favorite!”

Volunteers began counting down to the 10:00 a.m. start of the event; at 10 sharp the kids were off and collecting, and by 10:06 a.m., the egg hunt wound down to a successful conclusion.

This annual children’s event is underwritten by the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE), with help from the Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club, Sellwood New Seasons Market, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, as well as the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, which donated the park permit.

Brooklyn Easter Egg Hunt, BAC, Brooklyn Park, Milwaukie Avenue, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Kids and families gather at the starting line for the Brooklyn Easter Egg Hunt. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn Easter Egg Hunt previews Brooklyn Park Summer Program


The Brooklyn neighborhood’s Easter Egg Hunt was held promptly at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, on Brooklyn Park’s hill, overlooking S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. Neighborhood Newsletter Editor Marie Phillippi observed, “Easter came so late this year; but we’re glad we got a sunny day for this.

“Matt and Jody McComas organized the egg hunt once again, with the help of a group of neighbors who chipped in to purchase candy and stickers, and gathered to stuff all the plastic eggs,” she said.

Volunteers marked off three different age-appropriate egg-hunt areas, while scores of kids waited excitedly behind the lines for the signal to begin the hunt. The subsequent mad scramble was, as is always the case, over in a matter of minutes. Under the Park’s gazebo, empty plastic eggs were collected for next year’s egg hunt, while three young women performed face-painting for all comers. Chocolate-fueled kids swarmed the playground to work off energy.

Nearby, Friends of Brooklyn Park Coordinator Ben Tarne sat at a table with information on plans for this year’s neighborhood Summer Park Program, now financed solely by Brooklyn’s residents, various fundraisers, and local businesses. “With neighborhood, community, and local business support, the summer program will be free to all youth,” assured Tarne.

The program runs from June 17 through August 23, noon until 8 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. For more information on the program, and an opportunity to donate to it, go online –

Franklin High arts, Arts Alive, dance troupe, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Advanced Dance Class members perform a highly choreographed number, “I AM”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Franklin High’s ‘Arts Alive!’ shows skills; thrills patrons


Excellence in music, performance arts, and fine arts were all on display during this year’s Franklin High School (FHS) “Arts Alive!” on the first weekend in May.

“Our festival showcases the culmination of creative projects on which the students have worked for the entire school year – demonstrating how much they’ve learned in their technique classes, rehearsals, and studio art sessions,” explained FHS Dance Teacher Sonia Kellermann.

“The ‘Arts Alive’ showcase is a collaboration of the FHS dance department, music department, choral Department, and theatre department – including live performances in our new theater, and an extensive display by our fine arts students in a gallery, set up in our ‘Black Box’ Theater,” Kellerman told THE BEE.

Among the graphic arts, music, and dance performances, the spring showcase featured about 300 student participants.

“Art in school is vitally important to help round out students’ educations,” Kellermann remarked. “Art programs offer a place where every student can feel included and honored. We give them the opportunity to create original artworks that speak to their individual experience in life, and desire to learn.”

In her public introduction to the evening program in the theater, Kellermann thanked the school’s Parent Teacher Student Organization, “Because this wouldn’t be possible without our army of parent and student volunteers, with special thanks to theater instructor Josh Forsyth and the technical crew, whose efforts often go unseen, but are truly appreciated.”

Before the curtain parted to start the performance, Kellermann added, “I’m more proud of this show, that any other show I’ve done.”

Sellwood Middle School, 5K Run, Spingwater Trail, fundraiser, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Three of the many participants in the 2019 Sellwood Middle School 5K Fun Run smiled and waved for THE BEE as they jogged toward the Springwater Corridor Trail. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Middle School hosts ‘Cinco de Mayo 5K Run’


Instead of dodging the dicey early spring weather, volunteers with Sellwood Middle School (SMS) Foundation moved their annual “5K Fun Run” to May 5, which coincided with Cinco de Mayo observances in the Portland area.

Families started warming up before the official 10 a.m. sendoff – via a route which took runners, joggers, and walkers on a short out-and-back trek along the Springwater Corridor Trail.

“It seems like this is perhaps our 15th Fun Run; it was called, for years, ‘Run for Ed’,” remarked volunteer organizer Lemmy Cooper. “This year, in addition to including our sponsors, we’re adding even more ‘local flavor’ by bringing in a mobile bar, and having a teacher provide the T-shirt art.”

And, one way or another, around a dozen volunteers worked on 5K this year, Cooper observed – getting permits, sponsorships, and doing promotion, as well as handling day-of-the-run operations.

Tropical music provided by the well-known Sellwood Middle School Marimba Band kept the pre-run activities lively. And, before the 5K got underway, organizers held a short once-around-the-yard race for little kids to participate in.

As the main event’s start time approached, the Cleveland High School Cross Country Team fanned out along the route to serve as crossing guards, and to provide directional wayfinding.

“I’m so grateful; this is a win-win for everyone,” said SMS Principal Karl Newsome as the runners took off. “It’s amazing to see this outpouring of support for our school community. It’s spearheaded by our Foundation, along with the assistance of our PTA – with parents, community members and staff all working together.”

The result of the event isn’t esoteric, mused Newsome: “This provides real and tangible support for our students – by adding hours for school counselors, and elective education – so we see the results from this immediately.”

Through sponsorships, entry fees, and other sales, the 5K was expected to raise more than $13,000 for the school this year.

Sellwood Westmoreland neighborhood, cleanup, SMILE, Westmoreland Park, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Stacking a mountain of Styrofoam: Perennial volunteers Nancy Walsh and Gail Hoffnagle. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Volunteers are the stars in annual SMILE clean-up


After four decades of providing a “neighborhood bulky waste clean-up” day – it’s the oldest one in the state – the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) sponsored event is still going strong, as was evident on Saturday morning, May 18.

“It’s because we have great volunteers helping out; about 40 of them in all – with a third of them from Windermere Realtors,” said Bruce Heiberg, of Heiberg Garbage & Recycling.

“We’re taking metals, bulky refuse, and Styrofoam – that’s hard to get rid of, these days,” Heiberg said, pointing to a huge dropbox, nearly half-full of the sturdy white packing material.

“And, we’ve got ‘Free Geek’ coming to pick up discarded electronics, as well as a large ‘re-use area’ where neighbors are dropping off good usable stuff, so others can pick it up, take it home, and use it – and keep it out of the landfill.”

At BEE press time, organizers hadn’t finished tallying up the tonnage of trash taken in this year. “It seems to get bigger each year,” Heiberg remarked.

Brooklyn neighborhood, cleanup, BAC, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Displaying some of the scrap metal and Styrofoam collected at the Brooklyn Clean-Up were Tim Dittler, Daryl Phillippi, Melaney Dittler, Mark Romanaggi, and Eric Wieland. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Brooklyn Cleanup Day’ draws more trash than last year


The Brooklyn Neighborhood’s yearly “Cleanup and Haul-Away”, held on Saturday, May 4, this year, continues to grow. More neighbors are bringing more items to discard. In addition, reusable items are offered free for the taking at an adjacent table set up nearby.

This year, a new program was added: A recyclable bottle and can donation site, run by Ben Tarne to benefit the Friends of Brooklyn Park, the former summer Parks Department program that is now entirely financed by the neighborhood.

Brooklyn Action Corps member Marie Phillippi told THE BEE that fifteen volunteers worked hard at the collection location, S.E. 16th and Center Street, in two-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., helping unload vehicles and sort through the contents. “This year, we’ll also receive funds from recycling metal – which we will do at a site out near the Airport,” she said. “Marc Romanoggi will bring the discarded metal out there in a rented U-Haul. The pile of Styrofoam will have to be taken to Tigard.

“This year,” she continued, “unbeknownst to us, ‘Comcast Cares Day’ coincidentally scheduled their own SOLVE litter pickup event at the other end of Brooklyn School Park, at S.E. 15th and Center Street. Volunteers there gathered trash in a pile of white SOLVE bags. However, they were not associated with our event, at which all Board Members from the Brooklyn Action Corps participated.”

Comcast volunteer Samantha Brightman reported, “We picked up tons of cigarette butts, bags of trash, and even a car bumper.”

Meantime, the BAC neighborhood Clean-Up and Haul-Away was also sponsored by Metro, Southeast Uplift, and the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, cleanup, Southeast Portland, BDNA, Oregon
Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Board Members Derek Covey and Gerik Kransky flank neighborhood volunteer Fred Reck, as they close up another dropbox during the annual “Brentwood-Darlington Clean-up”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tons of trash taken on Brentwood-Darlington cleanup day


2019 was another successful year for the annual “Brentwood-Darlington Bulky Waste Clean-up” – this year, held on May 4th in the Learning Gardens Laboratory, across the street from Lane Middle School.

“We’re glad we took a season off two years ago to reorganize, because these last two years have been better and better,” enthused Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Chelsea Powers – pointing out that they’d taken 60 loads already by noon.

Again, help from hauler “Environmentally Conscious Recycling” made the process easier, Powers said. “Also helping us today are most of our new Board Members; it’s great to have lots of hands to help neighbors get rid of waste that isn’t collected curbside, and in a way that saves them time and money!”

Because the cleanup is funded by the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability and by Metro, all fees paid by those dumping trash go toward the neighborhood’s free Movies in the Park, National Night Out, and Hallowe’en “Spook-Tacular”.

By the end of the day, Powers had counted 132 folks dropping off waste – including one person on a bicycle – resulting in nine dropboxes filled with trash.

Jesse Lindley-Sanchez, Lewis Elementary School, Art Night, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Jesse Lindley-Sanchez, a Lewis fifth grader, likes the meditative quality of doing abstract colorful line designs. Jesse is also an experienced violinist, who played in this year’s talent show. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)
Cambria Owens, “art docent”, Lewis Elementary School, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Georgia O’Keefe, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Cambria Owens, a fifth grader “art docent” at Lewis Elementary School (who herself rather resembles da Vinci’s Mona Lisa), stands beside her red, purple, and blue flower rendering. The students studied the famous flower painter Georgia O’Keefe, and drew in her style. (Courtesy of Amiee Owens)

Thirty years of ‘art nights’ at Woodstock’s Lewis Elementary


The halls were packed elbow-to-elbow, as students, parents, grandparents, and friends wended their way through small spaces, admiring walls full of artwork by children from every classroom in the school.

Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, at S.E. 44th and Evergreen Street in Woodstock, hosted its 30th Annual Art Night on the “First Thursday” of May – a momentous occasion, celebrating three decades of successful student exhibits at the school.

The annual art exhibits evolved originally from the “Discipline Based Art Education” (DBAE) program that was begun in the 1980’s. While DBAE is no longer a district-wide curriculum, Lewis School continues to teach the principles of the program initiated thirty years ago by now-retired second grade teacher Debra Swan.

The word “discipline” in the title DBAE might be misleading. “Discipline” in the DBAE program has nothing to do with punishment, but refers to the practice of studying four different disciplines: Art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics.

A major part of DBAE over the years has been studying the works of classic artists. The art production by students can include paintings, drawings, sculpture, and fine and applied craft and folk arts – such as ceramics, weaving and other textile arts, and photography.

In the halls of Lewis School this year, some of all of those genres were represented and hung by parents and teachers in the hallways during the last week of April in preparation for First Thursday.

Teacher Sarah Kohn’s fifth grade class happened to study the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, an American artist best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers. Student art docent Cambria Owens from Kohn’s class said that she was excited to learn about O’Keefe, and to replicate one of her paintings. From age two, Cambria was given art lessons by her grandmother, an artist, who taught her about line, shape, and color.

“We study line, shape, color, like my grandmother taught me. And I really like that she [O’Keefe] was a woman artist when artists were mostly men. She was unique. I like flowers in nature, so I liked studying [and duplicating] her art,” Cambria told THE BEE.

Nathan Gilmore, also a student docent, said about O’Keefe, “I like all the different kinds of flowers she painted, and the way she zoomed in on them. Ms. Kohn let us look at pictures of her [O’Keefe’s] flowers on the computer, and we chose one to inspire us.”  The students used colored markers to draw their renditions of O’Keefe’s paintings.

Jesse Lindley-Sanchez, also a student docent in Ms. Kohn’s 5th grade class, described how he felt during another art project, in which each student drew a design using rich colors, and then cut it into nine pieces and rearranged them. “When I’m drawing those colored designs, I feel peaceful and calm.  The sensation of doing it, and seeing the colors pop out, is amazing!”

Each wall in every hallway of the school was filled with students’ art of all kinds.  One particularly Portland theme were illustrations of Langston Hugh’s poem “April Rain Song” done by Jill Brenan’s second grade class.

Lewis music teacher Tony Jamesbarry, who has been a part of the school’s Art Committee of parents and staff for twenty years, was a major organizer of this year’s First Thursday evening. Halfway through the evening, he presented a student musical performance in the cafeteria's “Paintbrush Café”, where desserts were available, with proceeds benefiting the art program.

If you missed it this year, the thirty-first annual Art Night at Lewis Elementary will be on the First Thursday of May next year.

Tucker Maxon School, Holgate Boulevard, greenhouse, bees, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With a snip of the garden shears, the new greenhouse at Tucker Maxon School is dedicated. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Tucker Maxon School celebrates Earth Day with new bees, and greenhouse


This year, Earth Day – April 22 – was celebrated at Tucker Maxon School on S.E. Holgate Boulevard in the Reed neighborhood with two ecology-related projects: A new indoor beehive, and a greenhouse.

Before the students and staff at this high-rated private school for both deaf and hearing children – which specializes in teaching spoken language to the deaf – dedicated the new greenhouse, science instructor Jordan Nuccio showed off the new beehive.

“We applied received a grant through ‘Whole Foods Markets’, and worked with the company that makes these prefabricated, observational beehives for schools,” Nuccio told THE BEE.

The actual glass-encased beehive is located inside a second-story classroom in the school; but conduits connect it with the outdoors, allowing bees to come and go as they please without having to pass through a classroom.

“This helps us have a better understanding of the significance of bees – a curriculum on which we’ve been working for the last four or five weeks,” Nuccio remarked.

The school’s hope is that the bees will also help pollinate its eight raised garden beds.

And, to give the garden a good start – thanks to grants from the Swindells Trust and from the Sturdibuilt Greenhouse Manufacturing Company – everyone gathered near the south end of school’s property, at the entrance to the new cedar greenhouse.

Several volunteers installed the foundation and helped erect the greenhouse, which is large enough for several students to work inside simultaneously, sitting on benches made by Lake Oswego “Eagle Scout” Aidan Wilde, and other scouts; with lumber donated by Parr Lumber.

A snip of the ribbon, and the greenhouse was dedicated – adding yet another “green” feature to the others we’ve previously reported, at Tucker Maxon School.

Learn more about the unique school online –

Southeast Events and Activities

Woodstock Neighborhood Assn.’s Board Election:
Woodstock Neighborhood Association will have its annual Board Election this evening at 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd (across from Bi-mart). Anyone who lives or works in the Woodstock neighborhood can vote, and/or volunteer for the Board. All positions are open, and serve for one year. Positions include: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition Rep, Area Representatives, and Committee Chairs – for the Land Use Committee, Events Committee, Communications/Media Committee, and Friends of the Woodstock Community Center Chair and Financial Manager. “Volunteer to get involved and have an impact on your neighborhood!”

Community work party in Foster-Powell:
Time to clean up the Foster Powell Community Garden on Powell at S.E. 62nd – volunteers are needed, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, to get out the weeds, while learning about Northwest native and invasive plants. No need to RSVP; just show up – dressed to work in the garden.

Help repaint “Share-It Square” in Sellwood today: Sellwood’s award-winning painted intersection at S.E. 9th and Sherrett Street, “Share-It Square”, needs repainting each year to get rid of the wear and dirt from being driven over all year, and each year the design changes a bit. Volunteers do it, and you can be one of them. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today; no experience necessary and all supplies provided. All ages welcome. Potluck to follow.

Alzheimer’s education event, free today at OMSI:
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s free “Concepts in Care” educational conference, with free memory screenings and much more, takes place in the auditorium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) today, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Open to families affected by Alzheimer's disease, caregivers – in fact, anyone interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease. Attendees have the opportunity to interact with Alzheimer’s experts, ask questions, network, and obtain a free memory screening. OMSI is at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue, on the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Ross Island Bridge.

“FUNdamentals” for kids and families, in Sellwood:
Join award-winning children’s educator and performer Aaron Nigel Smith at the Sellwood Branch Library, as he gets the whole family moving, grooving and learning. This class introduces children to the exciting world of music through creative movement, note reading and fun instrument play. Half hour performance starts at 11 a.m. this morning; free tickets available 30 minutes in advance. The Sellwood Library is on the corner of S.E. Bidwell Street and 13th Avenue.

Adults, make Summer-Scented Scrubs at Woodstock Library: Join this workshop this afternoon, 2-3 p.m., for adults – to make salt and sugar body scrubs, with sustainably and locally harvested herbs and flowers. Have fun making the body-care products, decorating the jars, and then going home with handmade all-natural summer-scented scrubs. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123.

Saturday Academy for students starts today at PCC Southeast:
“Hands-on summer camps led by Science-Tech-Engineering-Arts-Math professionals make learning fun at Saturday Academy. The Monday-Friday summer camps at PCC Southeast start today. Those at Central Catholic High School start on July 8, at Franklin High School on July 29, and at St. Agatha’s in Sellwood starts on August 5 – check the website below for details. All classes are filling up fast – register soon! Call 503/200-5856, or go online –

Blood drive today in Westmoreland: From 2 to 7 p.m., the Red Cross will be at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard. The severe blood deficit continues; donate, and help save a life. Walk-ins accommodated; but to avoid waiting, appointments are recommended – call 1-800/733-2767 to reserve your time to donate.

“Make a Light-Up Stuffed Alien” – 4-day Camp for Teens: Come to the Woodstock Branch Library, 2-4 p.m. today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday for this special “camp” for teens. You’ll learn about the amazing world of e-textiles by fabricating a stuffed alien monster, complete with an illuminated eyeball! In this camp, you’ll start by choosing from an assortment of thread and fabric colors to customize a simple monster design. Using a variety of hand-stitching techniques, you’ll fabricate a 10-inch-tall alien monster. You’ll learn how to construct basic circuitry, using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and coin cell batteries, to sew into your monster for a glowing eyeball. Upon completion, each participant will leave with a cuddly monster companion that lights up. The four-day teen camp is free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. The Woodstock Library is on the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th Street.

Sellwood’s “Portland Puppet Museum” turns seven:
Today is the seventh anniversary of Sellwood’s unique Portland Puppet Museum, which celebrates with a new exhibit, “Favorite Fairy Tales” which opens today at 2 p.m. Admission is free for the new exhibit, as it is for all of the museum’s exhibits. It features over 100 newly-donated fairy tale characters from across Europe and the United States, all showcased in the museum along with many others, transformed into a miniature replica of the enchanted Black Forest of Germany. Museum operators Steve Overton and Marty Richmond add, “We also plan to reopen the outdoor garden theater for the first time in two years, to run a series of our most popular shows, as well as an ‘adult night out’ (weather permitting, of course).” The small museum is situated at 906 S.E. Umatilla Street.

Start summer with a big book sale south of Sellwood:
The “Friends of Ledding Library” Annual Book Sale and Raffle starts today, and runs through Sunday – in the Portland Waldorf School Gym, 2300 S.E. Harrison Street, just east of McLoughlin Boulevard in Milwaukie, just a mile south of Sellwood.  Sale hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The raffle drawing will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. (you need not be present to win). Raffle tickets will be available for purchase during the sale, as well as at Milwaukie’s Ledding Library and at the Friends book booth at the Sunday Milwaukie Farmers Market. It’s all to raise money for the library.

Kids’ and families’ puppet show today: This evening at 7 p.m. (and repeating tomorrow and Sunday at 2 p.m.) Sellwood’s Portland Puppet Museum offers a Family Night presentation of “The Enchanted Ring” from the Olde World Puppet Theatre’s “Tales of Belvuria” series. This Live Marionette “Girl Power” story focuses on Princess Kathryn's ninth birthday party – when things take a turn for the worse, as Enchantra the Witch crashes on her vacuum cleaner while delivering her birthday gift. “Did she really get the entire birthday present thing mixed up? Enjoy a madcap adventure, as Princess Kathryn dons a suit of armor, battles spooky spiders, rescues a fairy, charms a pixie pirate, and bedazzles a unicorn – all in a single afternoon. Admission is $10 per person at the door, for everyone aged three and up. It’s at 906 S.E. Umatilla Street; reservations available by calling 503/233-7723.

Fourth annual “Save the Giants Jam” in Eastmoreland:
Everyone is invited to the free fourth annual “Save The Giants Jam” on Saturday, June 22, from 3 to 7 p.m. at 3666 S.E. Martins Street. The celebration will feature live bluegrass music, slow-cooked BBQ, pie, and cold beverages, as well as a raffle, and merchandise to support the park. “Each year we gather under the century-old giant sequoia trees to celebrate the efforts which saved them from destruction in September of 2015. We are only $7,000 away from paying off the loans on the property, and we hope to announce at the party that the debt is paid in full.” For more information, go online –

Milk Carton Boat Races in Westmoreland Park:
Inner Southeast’s Rose Festival event, the Milk Carton Boat Races start at 11 a.m. this morning at the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond, and ends with the Show Boat Parade finale. This free family-friendly event dates back to 1973. Cheer on competitors in human-powered boats participants have made from milk cartons and jugs, or enter your own craft. All entries vie for awards in “Artistry or Velocity” and “People’s Choice.” (This year, the Benson Polytechnic High School Alumni Association hosts an informal gathering for Benson alumni, staff, students, and extended community at these races. Stop by the orange and blue Benson Tech tents for free refreshments, and to catch up with fellow Techies.)

Kids and teens – learn to make Churros:
 You’re invited to the Sellwood Branch Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. this evening for a demonstration on how to make fresh churros by Chef Edurne Garcia-Andre. For teens in grades 6-12. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. The Sellwood Library is on the corner of S.E. 13th Avenue and Bidwell Street.

Emergency planning and preparation training for adults:
Emergency Preparation Training this afternoon, 3-4:30 p.m. at the Woodstock Branch Library, will help people understand the risks posed to our neighborhoods by earthquakes and other weather-related incidents. It will provide information from respected sources on the inevitability of a major earthquake along the Oregon/Washington coast, a clear list of items to begin accumulating, and resources available to assist in preparation, as well as many general suggestions. This is free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. The Woodstock Library is on the corner of S.E. 49th and Woodstock Boulevard.


     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

Stain removal directions

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:
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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 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)