Community Features

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

This photo, taken at 67th and S.E. Woodstock Boulevard in 1951, shows a road repair crew resurfacing a section of the boulevard in front of Dyers Grocery. While today heavy machinery is used to ease the work, as late as 1951 laying asphalt was still a back-breaking job.
This photo, taken at 67th and S.E. Woodstock Boulevard in 1951, shows a road repair crew resurfacing a section of the boulevard in front of Dyers Grocery. While today heavy machinery is used to ease the work, as late as 1951 laying asphalt was still a back-breaking job. (Courtesy of the Portland City Archives)

The stories told by the sidewalks and streets of Southeast

Special to THE BEE

There are hundreds of hiking trails on the Oregon Coast and in the Columbia River Gorge; lately they’ve been so popular that it’s best that you get an early start, since parking lots quickly fill to capacity. Such interest in outdoor adventures would have been scoffed at by many pioneering Inner Southeast residents in the late 1890s and early 1900s – simply because walking was an everyday occurrence. It was how you got around, and was not done for fun!

Automobiles were scarce back then, and you had to use your own two feet – to get to work, to visit the grocery store, go to the pharmacy, and even hike to school. Supplies were hauled by horse and cart or wagon, and most roads were nothing more than packed earth, so a trip on a wagon was necessarily slow and bumpy. People who lived in Inner Southeast, but worked upriver in Portland, early in the Twentieth Century could take the Sellwood Ferry across the Willamette – but doing so still entailed a brisk walk down to the ferry landing, and away from the landing on the other side.

And, upon arrival downtown, you might have to walk ten to twenty blocks through busy city streets to your place of employment. Now that was a hike!

In 1900, Sellwood School at S.E. 15th and Umatilla – it’s Sellwood Middle School today – was bulging, with close to 700 students. Parents were in an uproar when the School Board decided to have students living along Spokane Street transferred to Midway School, at Ellis Street and Milwaukie Avenue (it’s a parking lot today). Children would have to walk along the streetcar tracks to and from school, and there wasn’t even a sidewalk available for safety. Riding the streetcar to Midway School and back was too expensive for most residents, and it was considered dangerous for toddlers to be left alone on them anyway.

The townspeople of Sellwood complained loudly that the streets were clogged with mud and overgrown shrubbery in the winter, and were dusty and rutted in the summer. They demanded their roads be paved. The local businessmen’s club, the Sellwood Board of Trade, decided to take action for paved streets, new sewers, and sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists.

But lobbying the Portland City Council was not an easy task! Every household throughout the city also wanted paved streets and sidewalks; dirt roads were everywhere, and nearly 80 percent of Portland’s streets were in a varying degree of disrepair.

As can be seen in a paving map of Portland from 1895, which you can find in the City of Portland Archives, the only roads paved with asphalt were located between 1st and 4th Streets in the busy commercial downtown section on the west side of  the Willamette River. Other sections of downtown Portland were paved with stone blocks or macadamized material; the few streets on the east side of Portland that had any covering at all were mainly coated in loose gravel.

But, further south and on the east side of the river, the once-independent town of Sellwood and now part of Portland, only received grading and leveling its dirt streets according to city standards, without any coating for protection from the elements or from the damage by heavy wagons and commercial vehicles making deliveries. Gravel and sand used for surfacing was expensive, and city officials also had the excuse that Sellwood lacked a sturdy riverside dock at the foot of Spokane and Umatilla Streets to unload and store any paving supplies which could be used to improve the streets any further.

And, truth be told, most streets were not deemed eligible even for grading and leveling! The only roads which were so treated were 9th, 11th, 13th, and 17th Avenues between Spokane and Umatilla Streets – and only Tacoma, Spokane, and Umatilla Streets from the river east to 17th Avenue. However, Tacoma Street did have some improvements further eastward to the small town of Willsburg (about where McLoughlin Boulevard runs today) – and that improvement was granted only because between 60 to 80 men worked at Willsburg’s Lumber Mill,  and Shindler’s Furniture, and Brick Factory, while all of them lived in Sellwood.

Milwaukie Avenue was still a winding unimproved country road that residents in Milwaukie were using to haul products and produce north to the commercial district in East Portland; and even when the streetcar Rails were laid along Milwaukie in 1893, the wooden ties were set in nothing more than hard-packed dirt. You might save the wear and tear on your feet by riding the streetcar south from East Portland; but once you disembarked onto Milwaukie Avenue you could be stepping down into discarded lumber, broken bricks, a hole, or mud. (Or something else. Remember, there were horses in the neighborhood, then – their hitching rings are still set in curbs around Inner Southeast.)

During the 1890s,  the streets of Portland were filled with wagons, teamsters, streetcars, buggies, horse-drawn delivery vans, crowds of people going to and from to work, and hired hands delivering goods to vendors.

Residents’ and businesses’ demands to have Portland’s roads hard-surfaced weren’t yet joined by the Auto Club of Portland – because cars wouldn’t be present here until 1899, when E. Henry Wemme drove a one-seated buggy-like contraption down the cobblestones of Front Street without any horse providing the power.

No, instead, it was the bicyclists who were loudly protesting the state of the streets at that time; the Oregon United Wheelman’s Association and the Oregon Road Club were two of Portland’s most prominent bicycling clubs, and they pestered the Mayor of Portland for better roads and bike paths.

It wasn’t unusual to see monthly group outings in which over 3,000 bicyclists filled the streets – making their way through Portland enroute to Vancouver, Washington, or heading south to the State Capitol in Salem. Other popular rides were to Oregon City and over to Gresham, where a forested path was created especially for bicycle riders.

But the most common form of getting from one place to another was – as mentioned at the start – walking. And the pedestrians of Portland wanted sidewalks built beside the roadways, so they could to avoid splashes of water or mud raised by wagons passing in the rain.

In the late Nineteenth Century and early in the Twentieth, ladies wore long and flowing dresses with hems down by their feet. Merchants realized that if the city weren’t going to be building sidewalks near them, they’d best build their own wooden boardwalks in front of their businesses, to encourage more ladies into their shops.

In 1903, in response to demands from constituents all over Portland, Mayor George Henry Williams created a Street Committee to plan for improved roads and sidewalks, and he assigned a city inspector to head the group. Among other things, the committee was charged with ensuring that any private contractors hired to pave roads, build footpaths, and perform other street maintenance, were doing so in accordance with city guidelines.

Portland even went so far as to hire men employed by the city to pour concrete sidewalks, install street lamps, place sewer grates, and make needed road repairs. For BEE readers who live in this older section of town and today have cement sidewalks, you might find the name “City of Portland” engraved at intersections and corners into the surface. If so, your sidewalk was installed by city employees, and it was completed on the date shown.

Other early sidewalks are marked with the name of a contractor, and the date – including almost all sidewalks completed after September of 1917, when the Mayor decided to lay off the city sidewalk employees, in the belief that it was more economical to hire private contractors. By that time the demand for surfaced streets had led to construction of new roads and sidewalks by construction companies and individual contractors. But the streets were not yet reliably paved with concrete or asphalt.

Once street-surfacing started, the City of Portland accepted and made use of a wide variety of paving materials: Gravel, sand, clay, brick, granite, and cobblestones – even oyster shells; and even logs cut and placed perpendicularly to the direction of the road. However, During the course of travel, these “corduroy roads” made of logs proved to be extremely dangerous to horses and riders; the logs weren’t firmly held in place, and horses’ hooves could easily get caught between two or more boards causing them to trip, and the wagons they were pulling to tip over, injuring both horse and rider, and making a mess!

Too, during the rainy season, such street logs were slippery, making travel even more dangerous. Log roads were not popular, and eventually were replaced with hard paving.

However, a new surfacing material called Tarvia (based on coal tar) was introduced in 1911; and even today, in parts of the Brooklyn neighborhood in Southeast Portland, you can occasionally spot pieces of it showing through later paving – black tar, and pieces of broken brick.

The most efficient road-surfacing technique used on city streets in the latter part the Ninetheenth Century and early Twentieth Century was developed by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam, and his surfacing material led to what was often called “Macadamized roads”. Using small rocks and gravel, mixed with crushed stone, the mixture was laid on a firm base – a section of large stones laid in the ground along the intended road’s path.

Such a street was made slightly convex to ensure rainwater drained off on both sides of the roadway, and it was held to be important that such new roads should be raised above the surrounding ground to keep additional rainfall from damaging the road.

This process was used in building an early road that ran from Portland south to Taylor’s Ferry on the west side of the Willamette River. In 1863, the Portland and Milwaukie Macadamized Road Company started work on what today still is called Macadam Avenue. During these early years, that particular country road became a popular attraction for riders young and old, who were mostly untrained in the sport of racing, but challenged one another to races.

At the finish line stood the glamourous White House roadhouse, where spectators gathered also to watch horse racing, and where they could obtain overnight lodging. It was a haven for men wanting to dabble in music, spirits, gambling, and other raucous behaviors.

In 1904, in a quirky turn of events, the Carbolineum Arenarias Wood Preserving Company was paving streets in downtown Portland using a treatment for which the company was named: carbolineum avenarius. This wood preservative was supposed to protect the wood placed on a roadway from damage by rain, if it was laid correctly.

Other contracting firms tried to order this special coating, so they could compete on equal terms with the C.A. Wood Preserving Company on city bids for treated wood blocks on roads; but the C.A. Company refused to sell the secret formula. They also blocked attempts by rival agents to buy the product on the East Coast, where it was manufactured.

Representatives from the Miller and Bauer Company finally broke the monopoly, finding a business willing to sell them the carbolineum avenarius, and both companies ended up in court, battling over who could and could not use this magic wood preservative.

But, back to early Twentieth Century Sellwood! Plans were forming to “plank” Umatilla Street from the foot of the waterfront east to 17th Avenue. Since Umatilla was the first major commercial street there, and most of the members of the Sellwood Board of Trade owned a shop or store along this section of town, it was given priority. It would take another ten years before the Linden and Kibbe Company was hired to hard-pave Umatilla Street; so, in the intervening decade, residents and shop owners had to travel the street covered in wooden planks that often shifted and loosened after each trip over them.

Tenino and Spokane Streets were also surfaced with eight-foot planks three to four inches thick. The planks were laid out in parallel rows, and staked or tied with leather straps to try to keep them in place. Taylor Wayne, writing about the “Great Plank Road, from Tualatin Valley to Portland” in the Oregon Encyclopedia, reported: “Most plank roads lasted only a few years before deteriorating to the point of abandonment.”

To defray the cost of road work, the Portland City Council enacted a law that required residents and business owners to cover half of the cost of paving, grading, and installing sidewalks in front of their property. With road-building in Portland and the suburbs then at an all-time high, landowners had many contractors to choose from, and many of these companies deployed agents out in the field, going door to door offering residents the opportunity to improve their street.

Since property owners had to pay half of the cost of the road improvement in front of their home, the city allowed them to have a say in who was awarded the contract, and investigated any grievances about the work after it was finished. Construction companies were required to carry a bond on all contracts, so the City of Portland didn’t have to cover the expense of finishing the work of a contractor who had walked away, leaving a project unfinished.

In 1916, the Federal Government passed the “Aid Road Act” to give funding to states to improve roads – but cities still had to rely on local taxes to pay their share of road construction within their jurisdiction.

Portland roadways were built using a hodge-podge of materials from neighborhood to neighborhood. By 1913, Malden Street was paved in concrete – while those living along 11th Avenue in Sellwood had to settle for a gravel road flattened by a large steam roller – although the City of Portland did pay $29 a mile to have such streets oiled, which was to keep the dust down from passing cars and trucks.

Yet during this time, one of Sellwood’s most busy streets, 13th Avenue, still was not paved at all. The members of the Sellwood Board of Trade probably figured that since the streetcar tracks on 13th were owned by Eastside Railway Company, that firm would surely cover the cost of paving it – or would convince the city to do it for them. For quite a while nobody did it, so shopkeepers and merchants on 13th had to wait another six years until an asphalt surface was completed between Malden and Bybee Boulevard.

What is astonishing today is that so many Southeast sidewalks still show insert designs, paver steps, builders stamps, and hitching rings – all installed over 100 years ago. For those who are curious to find these vintage marks, one way is to find the name “Cochran Brothers” inscribed in the cement along Linn Street, placed there in 1919. Or, look along the sidewalk on Clatsop Street to find the “Warren Construction Co.” logo imbedded somewhere between 13th and 17th Avenues. The Kibbe and Welton Company was another firm which placed numerous builders’ stamps in the sidewalk along Malden, Rex, and Knapp in 1913. They are all out there to find on a scavenger hunt!

Although modern rebuilding of sidewalks and corners has removed many of these historic marks of the past, corners rebuilt by the City of Portland to provide corner ramps have included a reproduction of the stamps which had been in the old concrete before it was removed – preserved to remind those passing by of who paved the sidewalk and when – and sometimes, what the roads in the intersection had previously been called.

As mentioned earlier, something else that can be found when you’re out and about are all those rusty hitching rings still fastened to curbs, in Southeast and throughout the city. They were placed there for tethering horses, when carriages and milk delivery wagons drawn by horses were stopped in front of businesses and homes.

Iron bands were once very common on the corners of concrete sidewalks, too – installed by the city to guard against damage from wagons and vehicles turning too close to the curb and chipping away at the concrete. But, the city gives, and the city takes away: The recent installation of ramps on corners to accommodate wheelchairs and human-powered vehicles accessing the sidewalks has lost the city most of those iron bands.

The point of our story this month is: When you are strolling in Inner Southeast Portland, it is a good idea to look down! Not only to avoid the broken concrete edges forced up by growing tree roots – although that, in itself, is a very good reason for keeping an eye where you’re walking – but also, to see and appreciate what remains of the era when Portland was unevenly growing from a dirt-street town into a paved metropolis.

Over a hundred years of Inner Southeast History still lies at your feet!

It seemed as if the entire neighborhood turned out for this year’s revived Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade.
It seemed as if the entire neighborhood turned out for this year’s revived Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland’s July 4th Parade returns


A year ago, due to stringent state and county COVID-19 pandemic regulations, only a handful of Eastmoreland neighbors “paraded” – faces covered, and spread out a block apart – on July 4 [as reported last year in THE BEE].

However, this year, one could almost hear a cheer go up from neighbors, as lawn signs announced that the Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade was back “on” this year.

Because some COVID-19 constraints were still in place, there were no hot dogs and sodas, provided by Woodstock stores in the Duniway Elementary School parking lot again this year. Expect them in 2022!

On this year’s Fourth of July, neighbors gathered along S.E. Reed College Place – some with face coverings, but most unmasked – and everyone seemed excited about the return of this annual tradition.

“I’m sort of organizing the parade here,” said Andrew Centibear. “Steve Calderaro, the coordinator of the 2019 parade, couldn’t be here – so I’m filling in for him today.

“It came together as kind of an ‘impulsive notion’ just a few weeks ago – as COVID vaccinations are increasing, and outdoor activities are again allowed,” Centibear told THE BEE. “Although it’s ‘slimmed down’ a little bit, it does look like we’re going to have a pretty good parade!”

A line of antique and specialty vehicles was already lined up, with parade participants behind them, down the block as far as the eye could see.

“Our community let us know that they want the parade, that they love the parade – and, in fact, that they need the parade this year! So here we are,” remarked Centibear. “It’s a sign of ‘returning to normal’, I think.”

With the Portland Police Bureau officially disbanding its Traffic Division, including their Motorcycle Unit, to try to staff regular city patrols with a dwindled police force, it was unclear if the parade could have an escort. However, PPB Motorcycle Officers rolled up, they were met with friendly smiles, waves, and greetings.

“It’s really good to see our Portland Police Motorcycle Officers celebrating here with us today, and helping to keep our parade safe,” Centibear exclaimed. “And, speaking for myself, I’m grateful for all of the members of our Portland Police Bureau, and all they do for both our neighborhood, and the greater community, every day.”

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 4th, the Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade stepped out, headed north. As usual, there wasn’t any marching – it’s mostly just a casual saunter – but the joy expressed by both the participants and those gathered to watch was unmistakable.

For a sense of the celebration that day, here’s a brief exclusive BEE video of the parade:

Volunteers helping out at this year’s Balfour Park Plant Sale included Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair Lisa Gunion-Rinker, left, and Board Member Chris Holle-Bailey.
Volunteers helping out at this year’s Balfour Park Plant Sale included Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair Lisa Gunion-Rinker, left, and Board Member Chris Holle-Bailey. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Ardenwald’s ‘Balfour Park Plant Sale’ leads to development news


One of the things that make the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (A/JCNA) unique is that its boundaries straddle two cities – Portland and Milwaukie – as well as two counties, Multnomah and Clackamas.

A/JCNA neighbors have adapted to working with all four jurisdictions to get things done, including trying to establish an official Belfour Park, on the City of Milwaukie side of the boundary. Without funding, volunteers have held plant sales each year to raise money to move the project forward.

At their most recent plant sale, held at two homes on S.E. Balfour Street on a Sunday, earlier this summer, brisk sales added to their project’s coffers – to bring the total so far to about $12,000, according to A/JCNA Land Use Chair Lisa Gunion-Rinker, who is one of the annual sale’s organizers.

“As you’ll recall, the Balfour Park Master Plan is in place; but it will soon be reopened and reevaluated, because it was completed in 2015, and now – six years later – we have a lot of new neighbors in the area,” Gunion-Rinker told THE BEE, as she ducked under a canopy during a spring shower.

A sprinkle didn’t stop shoppers from browsing among, and purchasing, the many native plants, grasses, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs, and veggie starts that were on sale.

“And, the big news is that our Oregon State Representatives have found funding for a few parks in the area,” Gunion-Rinker said. “But, we won’t know if this funding will happen for Balfour Park for a while yet.”

After revising the park’s Master Plan, they’ll go into construction planning and permitting; these stalwart volunteers are hoping the new park will finally be developed in 2023.

Here making cotton candy, it’s a Sellwood Community House “Counselor in Training” – as well as a Sellwood Middle School student – Maya Bamford!
Here making cotton candy, it’s a Sellwood Community House “Counselor in Training” – as well as a Sellwood Middle School student – Maya Bamford! (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Community House hosts ‘Rose Fête’ street party


The Sellwood Community House – the former “Sellwood Community Center”, until that was closed permanently by Portland Parks and Recreation – was reopened and is now quite a success, under the neighborhood nonprofit formed for the purpose. THE BEE has kept you updated on its ongoing achievements in serving the greater Inner Southeast Portland Community.

One innovation has been the summertime “Thursday Markets” held this year, outside at its building, at S.E. 15th Avenue and Spokane Street. The market held on Thursday afternoon, June 24, was an expanded special event, previewed in the pages of this newspaper by Eileen Fitzsimons.

The Community House’s Director, Erin Fryer, told THE BEE that day: “We call this our ‘Rose Fête’, in honor of the tradition of the Portland Rose Festival.” Of course, most of the actual Portland Rose Festival did not happen for this second year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although few roses were seen at this Fête, the theme was floral, Fryer pointed out. “For example, many of our vendors have brought their floral-themed wares to share.”

Musically performing were the Pride of Portland Chorus, and later, Dust & Thirst. “The Henrik Maneuver” magically entertained; while the Sellwood Flower Company offered a floral crown and wand making station. Volunteers performed rose-themed face painting, and “Caesar, the No-Drama Llama” wore a rose lei during his announced visit.

“This is another way the Sellwood Community House provides ways for the community to connect in an enjoyable way,” Fryer beamed.

See a brief BEE video showing the fun and entertainment offered that day, right here:  

The “Bookmobile Babe” free summer literacy camp opened in early July at Lents Park with books and crafts. Adults helping the children paint rocks are, from left: Amanda Nelson, Anne Johnson, Judy Tester (seated) of Southeast Portland Rotary, and Steven Raymond.
The “Bookmobile Babe” free summer literacy camp opened in early July at Lents Park with books and crafts. Adults helping the children paint rocks are, from left: Amanda Nelson, Anne Johnson, Judy Tester (seated) of Southeast Portland Rotary, and Steven Raymond. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

A dream comes true for ‘The Bookmobile Babe’


Sometimes our dreams do come true. And occasionally, a dream points us to where we need to go.

So it was with Christie Quinn, who moved to Portland from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015, knowing no one here when she arrived. However, soon she had many friends – through her involvement in acting, volunteering at the Gregory Heights Library and at Friends of the Library, and by teaching music – all of this, in addition to her day job as a legal assistant at a large law firm.

“I have very vivid dreams. One morning I woke up in a daze from a dream, asking myself, ‘Where are the keys to my bookmobile?’ But I had no bookmobile! Suddenly, I realized that was what I wanted to do.”      

Quinn has fond memories of the bookmobile at her childhood home in Greenville, South Carolina. But she wondered how she could create a bookmobile in Portland – and how she could amass books for one, when she didn’t even have a car. 

Then a staff person at the nonprofit neighborhood coalition “Southeast Uplift” on S.E. Main Street just happened to steer her in the right direction. “If you really want to do something about getting more books into the hands of children, contact Portland Parks & Recreation,” was the suggestion.

That Uplift staff person told her about the free lunch and play summer program that PP&R has for children up to 18 years of age. Quinn envisioned a book exchange in Portland’s parks.       

“I started with nothing. If I hadn’t had friends helping me, and people donating books, I could never have done this.” The first summer of her book exchange was in 2018. 

“That summer we made a huge impact. We posted on social media that we needed books.  By the time summer started, I had a total of 500 books. I asked PP&R which parks are the most diverse [in Southeast Portland]. They gave us a list of parks, and we chose Creston and Lents, both of which are part of the free lunch and play program.”

So Quinn hung out at Lents Park for two hours a day, and told kids, “If you like these books, bring some from home and we’ll do an exchange.” Meantime, Quinn’s acting friends took on Creston Park for the book exchange. Soon book exchanges were being held for two hours twice a week, at both Creston and Lents Parks.

In 2019 Quinn attended a small nonprofit conference in Portland. When a couple attending the meeting heard of her dream of a bookmobile, they offered her their Dodge mini-van with 200,000 miles on it. She paid them $500, and her roommate built bookshelves in it.

That was the beginning of “The Bookmobile Babe”. Quinn chose the name because it was distinctive and alliterative. A “test drive” of the name on some of her friends sealed the decision. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the bookmobile went to Lents Park once a week – and adults would bring books too.

“It has exploded,” remarks Quinn with a smile. “We donated 200 books and magazines to Transitions Project, and will donate to Portland Homeless Family Solutions [in the future].”

Quinn’s latest project is a free summer literacy camp for all ages, which started July 6 and runs through August 20th at Lents and Columbia Parks, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from noon until 2 p.m. No sign-ups are required.

“We have weekly themes, and will lead discussions about books and have art activities, and also conduct book exchanges. Week One’s theme was indigenous people, and Week Two's theme was environmental issues. Week Three was BLM.” A grant from the Portland Parks Foundation is making it possible. Partnering with her are “Reading Is Resistance PDX” and “The Children’s Book Bank”.

At every turn, one thread leads to another, and people continue to jump in to help “The Bookmobile Babe” with its projects. Back in the pandemic summer of 2020, when Quinn volunteered at the Friends of the Library Store, she learned that volunteers were needed to help get the library bond measure passed.

She stepped up, and when Quinn spoke to the Southeast Portland Rotary Club about the bond measure, she says it was a “God-send”. In addition to pitching the bond, she mentioned “The Bookmobile Babe”. She needed a fiscal sponsor for The Bookmobile Babe’s summer camp, and the club’s nonprofit Southeast Portland Rotary Club Foundation became the fiscal sponsor.

When Christy Sweany from Northeast Portland came to Lents Park with her child and met Quinn, she started helping out with the book exchange. This past January she became Quinn’s assistant, storing and cataloguing all of the books on “Liblib”, a home library management system that can be operated on an iPad.

“I like to say we’re building the airplane as we’re flying it,” Quinn remarks. “But I love it; we’re doing the right thing.” We’ll look forward to where The Bookmobile Babe flies next.

For more information about The Bookmobile Babe’s free summer camp e-mail Christie Quinn at –

It’s a happy day – as the first Multnomah County Library building in Inner Southeast Portland finally reopened to the public on June first. These patrons were visiting the Holgate Branch Library.
It’s a happy day – as the first Multnomah County Library building in Inner Southeast Portland finally reopened to the public on June first. These patrons were visiting the Holgate Branch Library. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Holgate Branch Library reopens to the public


Patrons of Multnomah County Library system were delighted to learn that a few of their buildings had reopened to the public as restrictions eased after the COVID-19 pandemic began to subside just before the start of summer, on June 1st – and the first one to be open in Inner Southeast was the Holgate Library, on Holgate Boulevard just west of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses.

“Indeed, this is a big day for us; it is the first day that five of our public library locations are open for in-building access services,” exclaimed MCL Neighborhood Library Director Annie Lewis, in the Holgate Branch Library building. Both Woodstock and Sellwood branches were still closed at that time.

In fact, during the pandemic, all County Library branches closed their doors to the public, back in March last year. “But, that did not mean that our services to patrons ended,” Lewis assured THE BEE. “We started curbside ‘hold pickup’ service shortly after the closure.

“And, we’ve also been offering a lot of outreach services – delivering to locations outside of our physical buildings, to provide book access to communities,” Lewis pointed out. “Our digital [online offerings] circulation has increased significantly during COVID, as you might expect. We’ve increased the number of titles that are available to access digitally, as well as expanding our ‘virtual services’, including Online Storytimes, online tutoring, and a number of different services.”

After months of preparation for the reopening, the Holgate Library’s Administrator Silvana Gabriell announced that the building was ready again to receive visitors.

“We’ve shifted around books and digital materials, like DVDs, within the stacks to make sure that when people come in, they have space in which to browse – yet still remain socially distanced,” pointed out Gabriell.

It was a lot of work for her and her staff, Gabriell conceded. “But, seeing how it went, and how many happy faces we’ve had, it’s really paid off. It was the best feeling in the world. People said they were so thankful to be able again to come in!”

Holgate, and other library buildings permitting the public to enter, are allowing patrons to arrive in “shifts” that rotate throughout the day. The best way to find the current hours and days and the current library branches open is go online –  

Multnomah County Library Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Shawn Cunningham announced at the Holgate Library, “We’re working to open other library buildings in our system. The County Library will open more buildings in phases, and expand services over time.”

Celebrating being in-person for the first time in a year, at an outdoor picnic, were many members of nonprofit “Eastside Village” from different neighborhoods. Shown, from left: Pat Sanders, Montavilla; Mary Bedard, Cherry Park; Ann Gaffke (seen sideways with black mask), Richmond; and Shirley Clifford, Westmoreland.
Celebrating being in-person for the first time in a year, at an outdoor picnic, were many members of nonprofit “Eastside Village” from different neighborhoods. Shown, from left: Pat Sanders, Montavilla; Mary Bedard, Cherry Park; Ann Gaffke (seen sideways with black mask), Richmond; and Shirley Clifford, Westmoreland. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Eastside Village’s ‘nearly post-pandemic’ picnic


The members of “Eastside Village” – the local East Portland nonprofit that supports “aging in place” – not only help each other out with rides, post-surgery aid, the cleaning of yards, carrying heavy things, or screwing in very-high-up light bulbs, but they also have fun together.

On a Sunday noon before Oregon ended all pandemic restrictions, a group of sixty E.V. members met for a picnic in person for the first time in a year. All had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and were eager to see each other’s smiles in real life – rather than via ZOOM, or lurking behind a mask.

A few of Eastside Village’s technologically-savvy members had helped other members get vaccine appointments – so they could all mingle once again in person when the right time came. “Many were driven to appointments by our volunteer drivers,” Jin Darney informed THE BEE, while on a stroll in Woodstock.

The chosen day for the outdoor picnic turned out to be a bit drizzly; it was held at a location central to the group – Grant Park’s covered area off of N.E. 36th Avenue. Gathering from Southeast and Northeast Portland, everyone brought his or her own chair to sit in, along with something to eat.

Because E.V. members come from a large geographic area in East Portland – the E.V. office is at Trinity United Methodist Church on Steele Street and S.E. Chavez Blvd., the former 39th Avenue, in Woodstock – the five dozen people at the picnic were divided into four circles representing different neighborhood areas.

“That way we can get to know our close-by neighbors a little better,” observed Woodstock resident Anne-Marie Dallaire from her picnic chair. “We thought we might lose members during the pandemic, but instead 24 new people joined, because they realized they needed the Village.” 

“I am very grateful for the fruition of E.V.; it is bigger than we ever thought [it would be]”, remarked Derianna Mooney, who was an original founding member, and is a Creston-Kenilworth resident. 

“Derianna brought the Village idea to Portland,” confided Mooney’s neighbor, Marnie McPhee, referring to the original concept that began in Boston. “She had the energy [for starting it].  I already had a lot of friends; but now after joining a year and a half ago, I have many more of them, with the village. During COVID-19, E.V. was a lifeline.

“We had walks, backyard visits, and inspired each other with our gardens. We found we were getting to know each other better – both old and new members – by engaging with each other during ZOOM meetings. The E.V. Council found things the organization could do during COVID: People started making masks; and then each of us was given two masks.”

Woodstock resident Jim O’Connor said he and his wife had always enjoyed the lively and fun conversations with Eastside Village people.  O’Connor’s wife died last January and he was grateful to be a part of E.V. at that time. “E.V. members provided a lot of sympathy and support, as well as meals and flowers,” he remarked.

When the gathered members finished eating their lunch, Mary Beth Young, a Woodstock resident who had suggested the idea of the picnic – and had been a principal organizer, along with Peg Farrell and Derianna Mooney – announced that those present would break into different circles and play a game: Asking each other where they were born. 

After twenty minutes of the resulting animated conversations, Young – clearly a “picnic spark plug” – called out to everyone a few of the more distant places where members had been born: Calcutta, India; Johannesburg, South Africa; the Czech Republic; Germany; Manchester, England – and it turned out there was a large group present who had been born in the upper Midwest.

Ann Gaffke, a Richmond resident, commented that E.V. members working together can network, and get helpful and fun things done. “Our plant sale raised $5,128 for the Open Bible Church food pantry [in the South Tabor neighborhood] where I volunteer,” revealed Gaffke. “The Oregon Food Bank can only give so much, so the pantry was grateful.”

At the picnic’s end, Young remarked, “Despite the blustery weather, we had a good time hugging and seeing each other again. Now we can resume our lunches, potlucks, sing-a-longs, Hallowe’en mask contests, and Bunco – and knitting groups.”

To learn more about the village, and the ways it can help older residents to continue living in their own home, go online –

Events & Activities

SMILE free Summer Music Concert:
Featured are Marv and Rindy Ross (of Seafood Mama, the Trail Band, and Quarterflash), free to all, 6:30-8:15 p.m. at Sellwood Community House – S.E. 15th and Spokane Street in Sellwood. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.

“Children’s Book Nook” Story Time today:
Today, Wednesday, All Saints Episcopal Church’s “Book Nook” is having Story Time for young children: Pre-school 1-1:30 p.m., Grades K-2 1:30-2 p.m. It’s down the stairs on the west side of the church (41st Avenue at Woodstock Blvd.), into the Mustard Seed Thrift Shop and Book Nook. Come for the whole hour, while parents shop or listen to stories with their children. This will take place today and every Wednesday in August.

SMILE free Summer Music Concert:
Tonight’s performance is by the Annette Lowman Trio. 6:30-8:15 p.m.; free and open to all on the parking lot of Moreland Presbyterian Church, on S.E. 19th Avenue, a few steps south of Bybee Boulevard. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.

SMILE free Summer Music Concert: Paula Byrne, jazz vocalist, performs, 6:30-8:15 p.m.. at Sellwood Community House – S.E. 15th and Spokane Street in Sellwood. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there. 


More walking tours with Eileen and Dana:
Inner Southeast historians and BEE writers Eileen Fitzsimons and Dana Beck are leading two more of their popular walking tours of Sellwood this summer. Part I, “the early history of Sellwood”, is Saturday, August 14, from 10 a.m. till noon. Early registration is encouraged for all the tours since they often are sold out by the date of each tour. Part II, “the 20th Century development of Sellwood”, will take place on Saturday, August 28, also 10 a.m. until noon. Eileen and Dana will share information about the history of the neighborhood as reflected in its street patterns, transportation development, and buildings. Tours are organized through the Portland Architectural Center, which has dozens of other walking tours all over the city, which include the Garthwick district, and the Eastmoreland and Reed neighborhoods. To learn more and register, go online –

SMILE free Summer Music Concert: Tonight’s performance is by the Adlai Alexander Trio: Soulful Jazz guitar and vocals. 6:30-8:15 p.m.; free and open to all on the parking lot of Moreland Presbyterian Church, on S.E. 19th Avenue, a few steps south of Bybee Boulevard. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.

SMILE free Summer Music Concert: Robert Meade performs “Upbeat Americana, Rhythm ‘n’ Blues originals & classics”, 6:30-8:15 p.m.. at Sellwood Community House – S.E. 15th and Spokane Street in Sellwood. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there. 


Cleveland High’s “5K Warrior Walk” is today:
The Cleveland High School has organized its first “5K Warrior Walk”. The event starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon, starting and finishing at the Eastmoreland Golf Course overflow parking lot, just east of the Bybee Bridge over S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard. The walk will follow a route through both Eastmoreland and Westmoreland. The fund-raiser is “benefitting students of Cleveland High”. Register online at – – and registration includes a T-shirt. Organizers would prefer you leave your dog at home. Three major raffle prizes. “Everyone in the community is welcome”.

Annual CHS Alumni Golf Tournament today:
The decade-old “Annual Cleveland High School Golf Tournament”, after a year off for the pandemic, is back – and takes place today at the Eastmoreland Golf Course. It will not be a shotgun start; instead, tee times will start at 8 a.m., and then will continue until all players are on the course. “Open to everyone”. Funds raised go back to Cleveland High School in the form of grants, scholarships, and awards – for any group, not just athletics. Register online – – or e-mail for more information:

Today and tomorrow – it’s the famous Eastmoreland Garage Sale:
The 35th annual Eastmoreland Community Garage Sale usually happens in June, but due to the pandemic, this year it’s today and tomorrow instead, at over 100 homes across Eastmoreland. Today, the official hours at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday they will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each participating household is offering different things, but common items found in the annual sale are furniture, clothing, children’s items, sporting goods, kitchenware, antiques, electronics, “and more”. For further information, go online to –

SMILE free Summer Music Concert: Tonight’s performance is by Mary Flower, guitarist and singer. 6:30-8:15 p.m.; free and open to all on the parking lot of Moreland Presbyterian Church, on S.E. 19th Avenue, a few steps south of Bybee Boulevard. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.

SMILE free Summer Music Concert:
Carpathian-Pacific Express performs “Klezmer music, 6:30-8:15 p.m.. at Sellwood Community House – S.E. 15th and Spokane Street in Sellwood. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.

SMILE free Summer Music Concert:
Tonight’s performance is by Pete Krebs and the Catnip Brothers. 6:30-8:15 p.m.; free and open to all on the parking lot of Moreland Presbyterian Church, on S.E. 19th Avenue, a few steps south of Bybee Boulevard. Bring a picnic supper, or buy food there.


     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.