Community Features

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

Oaks Park, Roller Coaster, Blue Streak, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
“Hey mister, don’t lose your hat!” When roller coasters were new to the West Coast, participants often didn’t dress sensibly for the ride. Wallets, loose coins, glasses, and hats could be recovered at the Lost and Found booth. This 1918 photo of Oaks Park shows the famous “Blue Streak” roller coaster. (Courtesy of Myrtle McNiece family)
Amusement rides, new and old, along the boardwalk of Oaks Park

Special to THE BEE

Since “The Oaks” first opened in 1905, families have passed through the metal gates, past the giant wooden solder, as the end of school marked the start of summer days announced the return of long days of fun at Oaks Amusement Park.

Many of them arrived in anticipation of gliding among the clouds on a Ferris Wheel, holding their first-born while upon a carousel horse, or straining their vocal chords with their own screams as the roller coaster they’re riding plunges down a four story track.

This year park personnel introduced their newest and most exciting roller coaster, the “Adrenaline Peak” as reported by David Ashton in the May issue of THE BEE. (He has another story about it in this issue!)

Other updates to the historic park this year included a special concession area where visitors can relax in a Bumper Car from days gone by, or have a photo taken. Panels acknowledging the history of Oaks Park and its vintage amusement rides are also on display. Here is a look back at just a few of those amazing attractions.

Portland was a bustling and busy town in 1905. City officials were preparing for the opening of The Lewis and Clark Exposition, a world exposition, and hotels and merchants were sprucing up city streets and storefronts for the expected arrival of thousands of tourists and sightseers. Traveling by boat, train, horse, and streetcar – or on foot – were the only widely available forms of transportation then; automobiles were still a novelty, and a toy of the rich.

The Oregon Water Power and Railway was rushing to build an interurban track on the east side of the Willamette River that could take passengers on excursions as far east as Gresham and Estacada, or south toward Milwaukie and Oregon City, where a large part of the non-urban population lived.

Fred Morris, President of the OWP&R, wanted riders on his interurban cars, and was building a major attraction to boost ridership on his new east-side interurban trolley line – an amusement park at the end of his line, near the community of Sellwood. And he planned to offer free admission into his park for those paying to ride there on the interurban, while those choosing to attend the Expo in Northwest Portland would have to pay an entrance fee.

The new amusement park was being built on 44 acres of land just west of what many today know as Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Many of the rides in the park, and its wooden boardwalk, were built on twelve-foot pilings, since this section of land was close to the river’s edge. Some of the larger attractions were so close to the water, in fact, that during a rainy week passengers aboard the “Blue Streak” roller coaster sometimes received an additional splash of water into their car.  There would be serious consequences to this choice of location many years later during times when the Willamette River rose above flood stage.

Wikipedia chronicles, “In 1948, the flooding that destroyed Vanport submerged Oaks Park for thirty days, killing a third of the bluff’s oak trees, warping most of the rides, and resulting in damage to the rink that took five months to repair. . . The damage prompted the owners to rebuild the rink floor on airtight iron barrels, which would float in the event of another flood. The floats worked as planned during the area's Christmas flood of 1964 and the Willamette Valley Flood of 1996.”

But, back in 1905, Morris’s gamble paid off. With over a million visitors crowding the City of Roses during the four-and-a-half months the Exposition was open, nearly 300,000 people paid to travel the interurban to Oaks Park. Once there, they paid to play the carnival games, to roller skate, to swim at the natatorium – and to relax in the shade of the oak trees with a picnic lunch, while bands played popular tunes in the background.

But, the new park’s premiere attractions were its amusement rides.

Whirl, Lewis and Clark Expo, Oaks Park, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The Whirl was one of the amusement rides that opened at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905, and after the fair was over, it was barged across the river to Oaks Park. The Giant Whip was, as well. (Photo by Harry May; part of SMILE collection)

Early rides included the Chute the Chutes, the Merry Maze, the Scenic Railway, the Rodeo, the Joy Wheel, and a roller coaster. When the Lewis and Clark Expo closed and the buildings were torn down, an amusement ride called the Giant Whip (which had been part of the Expo) was saved and ferried across the river, where it became a popular ride in the summer months at The Oaks. The Whirl was another ride that made that journey as well.

The first amusement attractions were usually run by steam power, until electricity became available; and few men were experienced enough in the field to build one. Construction of a large two-story wooden structure like the Chute the Chutes demanded men with knowledge and skill. Other rides, like the roller coaster, required an engineer who could lay out complex twists and turns with steel tracks, while still keeping the riders from falling out of their seats! 

Jim Futrell, historian for the National Amusement Park Association, elaborated by e-mail that many of the first amusement rides were erected largely through trial and error. Few if any of the rides had any safety mechanisms installed to prevent passengers from flying off the tracks.

The trial and error period was evident during the construction of the Loop the Loop ride (one of the first looping roller coasters) at Luna Park at Coney Island, in 1903. As pointed out on the “Heart of Luna Park” website, up to four ticket holders could be seated in a passenger car with rubber tires on the coaster. As the car raced across the course and made its loop, the only safety device that held the car on the track was a small side rail.

Additional text on the story states that the owners of the Loop the Loop, “Made more money charging spectators to watch the frightened riders, than from selling the rides themselves.”

Few companies were experienced in the manufacturing of amusement rides, and orders were usually placed from companies on the East Coast or from Europe. At Oaks Park, Fred Morris rented out space to concessioners. They were responsible for building the rides and collecting the admission fees for them. Amusement owners were expected to earn a considerable amount of money on the popularity of their attractions – or they would be replaced the following season with more entertaining ones!

Ira Shellenberger and Edward Bollinger were among the first vendors at Oaks Park. Bollinger, who later became superintendent of the park, was so smitten by amusement parks that he eventually stepped up and bought Oaks Park in 1925. The Bollinger family lived at the park, and when Edward died in 1949 his son Robert bought ownership of Oaks Park from Edward’s widow. Over three decades ago, the owner of the park set up a permanent nonprofit foundation to operate Oaks Park in perpetuity, in hopes that the valuable land it was on would now never lead to its demolition for development.

Many of the first rides at the park built by the industrious Ira Shellenberger included the Scenic Railway, Mystic River, and the Fun House. The first version of the Scenic Railway, which opened at Coney Island in 1884, was created by LaMarcus Adna Thompson, and was initially called the “Switchback Railway”. Thompson had a patent on his ride, but during this period, other engineers could improve on an existing patent and not have to pay a fee. Creative engineers could recreate a slightly different model of the same ride, and lease it to another amusement park. Apparently they could use the same name the original inventor used. This is probably why Shellenberger was credited in the newspaper with building the Scenic Railway at Oaks Park.

The Scenic Railway was a roller coaster that ran at a leisurely pace, with few dips and turns. Glamorous scenes of the Swiss Alps, or the Rhine River were painted on panels that were placed at various points along the track. Riders felt, or were supposed to feel, as if they were on their own personal journey to a foreign land. Local artists were probably hired to paint the exquisite scenery in vividly bright colors, to be seen as the railway cars ran through a tunnel equipped with electric lights (which was a luxury few could afford in 1910).

Ira eventually sold his holdings in his amusement rides, and purchased a cigar stand at the Oaks, where he spent  his retirement days selling gum, post cards, tobacco products -- and handing out for free many political views to patrons who passed by his booth.

Attractions varied year by year, and some amusement rides seemed to become bland and outdated. Those were replaced with newer rides that were faster, steeper, and scarier, or which offered more thrills, and even raised the hair on the back of your neck.

Oaks Park had a variety of different “Fun Houses” – the Laughing Gallery, Hilarity Hall, The Haunted House, and the Barrel of Fun kept young folks busy with unusual antics. Corridors and hallways were dark and filled with mysterious challenges. Young people had to maneuver around floorboards that moved back and forth, or spinning discs on the floor that sent young boys flying through the air. It was the type of hijinx that boys and girls of the time looked forward to on each visit.

Other venues, like the Laughing Gallery, offered ticket-holders a maze of mirrors that disoriented them. Couples, locked hand in hand, bumped into one another, while others felt frantically along the row of mirrors until they stumbled on a way out – still in good spirits, but dazed with confusion.

A revolving barrel-shaped door way was a typical attraction in the fun house. The rotating doorway spun faster as one attempted to step across, and the safest exit was on hands and knees. Some determined young men would attempt to climb the sides or hop from side to side but most of their attempts were useless, and they came crashing down to the floor in uncontrollable laughter.

Frederick Bracher described his childhood adventures at Oaks Park in his memoirs “How It Was Then: The Pacific Northwest in the Twenties.” The Barrel of Fun concession was filled with dark corridors in which gleaming skeletons leaped out, and strange groans and muffled shrieks could be heard from vague directions above. Pathways led to a lighted room full of distorting mirrors that made young boys look tall and gangly or short and as rotund as a beach ball. Girls still wore skirts and dresses back then, and a room with an air grating on the floor caught many by surprise. Children exited the concession by way of a two story slide, which sped them back down into the sunlit park.

Older park patrons were drawn to the Ferris Wheel, which offered elevated views of the Willamette River and of downtown Portland to the north of the park. Young adults and teenagers preferred the challenge of climbing the numerous stairs on the “Chute the Chutes” ride. Their reward for the trek was a ride on a backless wooden seat, aboard a craft that rushed down the ramp and skidded across a small lagoon.

Not many people yet owned cars in the 1920’s, when the new Dodge’m Cars arrived at Oaks Park. For only a nickel, wanna-be motorists could practice their driving skills in these small oval-shaped cushioned cars. A solid rubber bumper surrounded the vehicle to protect against collisions, and drivers were quick to learn the value of a steering wheel that rotated 360 degrees. Cars turned in crazy directions, and often some youngster or timid kid would turn their vehicle in the flow of the traffic, causing the operator of the concession to run out onto the arena floor and get the lost soul headed back in the right direction.

In what we now better know as “bumper cars”, the plan of attack was to dodge and out-maneuver other cars, and avoid the drivers attempting to ram your car. Most of the fun was in the expected and unexpected jarring impacts. The dodge’m cars were run by electricity, and a mounted pole on the back of each vehicle ran to the ceiling to complete the circuit. An operator nearby turned the power on or off to get the contestants and their cars started or stopped. Occasionally, spectators waiting for their turn to drive got to witness the flickering sparks on the ceiling when the cars got into a pileup.

Miniature trains were first introduced at the Oaks in 1910, and are still as popular now as they were over 100 years ago. Electrical rides like the “Mad Mouse” and the “Spider” eventually replaced those first amusement rides when the park first opened. By 1999, almost all rides were operated by sophisticated computers. But have amusement attractions really changed over the decades?

Historian Jim Futrell suggests, “There are really no new ideas in the industry – just taking an old idea and making it better. Roller coasters and Merry Go Rounds have timeless appeal, and remain popular.”

When winter arrives each year, and Oaks Park closes for the season, people are still able to enjoy indoor activities.  The Oaks is active with Roller Skating, Dancing in the Pavilion, and partying at the annual Oktoberfest, as well as various private parties and public events.

But in winter, favorite amusement rides are shut down, asleep like hibernating grizzly bears. As cold winds blow and rain lashes the park, young children and bored teens still eagerly await the sunny days’ return, when new rides and old favorites come back to life at historic, everlasting, Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood.

Food Forest, Ardenwald, Southeast Portland, Oregon, Teague Cullen
Inspecting his small, but growing, Liberty apples: It’s Teague Cullen, co-founder of the Winslow Food Forest on Sherrett Street in Ardenwald, up the hill east of McLoughlin Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Ardenwald ‘Food Forest’ is taking root


Located on the northern City of Portland side of Milwaukie’s Ardenwald neighborhood, the “Winslow Food Forest” started up in March of 2017.

Although Teague and Melissa Cullen have been urban farmers for more than a dozen years, over a year ago they negotiated a long-term lease with the City of Portland for the .67 acre plot they are now farming at 3499 S.E. Sherrett Street, east up the hill on Tacoma Street from McLoughlin Boulevard.

“Since you last visited, it’s beginning to take root; we’ve put in about hundred crops and will end up growing and harvesting from one to three hundred crops,” Teague Cullen remarked, before a June Open House began.

Some of the “crops” are admittedly small, with only one or two plants, “but they are there, and they are part of the overall ecosystem,” Cullen assured THE BEE with a grin.

The fruit trees are still young, so the “food forest” isn’t in orchard production yet, but their vegetable crops are, he said. “We’re focusing on perennials; but annual plants are part of the system. Vegetables and flowers that self-seed around the garden do some of the work for us.”

To support themselves, the duo sells crops to regular customers – such as chard, a green leafy vegetable that can be used in Mediterranean cooking; and borage, a vegetable with a cucumber-like taste. The garden offers cherry tomato mixes, summer squash, salad greens, rare greens, quinoa greens, and Inca berries, too.

“One of our main revenue sources is restaurants; so we’re continuing to look for chefs and cooks who want to support this kind of regenerative agriculture, by buying vegetable specialty annual crops, edible flowers, and eventually orchard crops,” Cullen said. “We also offer workshops and classes and tours to help support our project.”

He and Melissa are proud, he said, of having transformed a “degraded piece of land into a healthier ecosystem. We’ve been speeding up the natural process of going from a bare field to a woodland ecosystem that majors in food plants.”

Many of the concepts they’re demonstration can be put to use in a backyard, Cullen remarked. “We invite people to come and learn about how to create their own ‘food forest’.”

Interested? Find out more online –

Sean Powers, shadow puppeteer, Sellwood, Portland Puppet Museum, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Using his voice, and simple props, master shadow puppeteer Sean Powers demonstrates his art during a show at Sellwood’s “Portland Puppet Museum”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Shadow puppeteer’ shines in Sellwood


Perhaps it’s because everyone has a shadow, that people of all ages are attracted to the ancient art form of “shadow puppetry”.

That’s what visiting artist Sean Powers said he’s surmised about his craft – as a professional full-time shadow puppeteer, while in residence at Sellwood’s “Portland Puppet Museum” in early August.

Coming from a family of storytellers, Powers told story after story about how shadow puppet shows affect people. For example, Powers recalled that at an outdoor arts festival, he hung a sheet over a rope between trees, lit a camping lamp, and put on an impromptu show for three little girls who asked to see him perform.

“After the show, when I came from behind the sheet, there were about 60 people standing there! Everyone from bikers, to teenagers, to old folks – watching in complete silence. It was so quiet, I’d been wondering if the girls had left during the show.”

In a room with an audience of hundreds of people, the power of shadow puppetry silences them, “except for laughter. I have a lot of visual humor in my shows,” Powers said.

Hailing from the Sacramento, California, area, Powers told THE BEE that he saw his first shadow puppet show in 1984 at a nearby university, featuring a huge screen behind which a single “dhalang” (master puppeteer) sat, performing all of the parts, while also leading a Javanese gamelan orchestra!

“They let people view the show from behind the screen, and I thought it was so cool,” Powers grinned.

While he took instruction to be an illustrator, Powers said that in the early 1990s, he read how shadow puppetry was disappearing. “How sad, that this art form – that’s entertained people for thousands of years – is going to disappear.”

When he tried out, doing a simple show at a preschool, he was amazed at how even the youngest tykes settled down, and paid close attention for as long as twenty minutes at  a time.

“It was then I decided that it was my mission, my crusade – to keep alive the art and craft of shadow puppet shows,” explained Powers.

Although some might say this art form is anachronistic in a digital age, Powers reflected: “It’s an art that isn’t expensive or complicated; I hold classes, teaching people how to make shadow puppets, so they can share their own stories with their families and friends. Everyone seems captivated by shadows.”

If you missed his show and workshop at the Portland Puppet Museum, you can learn more about him at his own website –

And, learn what other fun programs there are at Sellwood’s own Portland Puppet Museum, by going online –

Sundae in the Park, SMILE, Sellwood Moreland Improvement League, Sellwood Park, Southeast Portland, Oregon
As the featured magician this year at Sundae in the Park, Scott Davis – of the “All American Magic Theater” in Mall 205 – had the audience in stiches. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

All-day ‘Sundae in the Park’ fun in Sellwood Park


From noon to late evening, the 39th annual SMILE-sponsored “Sundae in the Park”, held at Sellwood Park on August 5, offered events, activities, games, food – and yes, ice cream sundaes – for all.

Starting off live entertainment was the Portland string quartet Quartetto Allegro performing a wide range of music, from classical to Beatles tunes, for the early-arrivers – who also were visiting at community organization tables, buying ice cream sundaes, having food from the St. Agatha stand, and relaxing on a the beautiful summer day. The attendance total at the end of the day was estimated at 2,000.

Beginning her interview with THE BEE, co-organizer Gail Hoffnagle, pointed out that Nancy Walsh headed the event, assisted by the SMILE committee, and additionally helped by dozens of volunteers both before, and during, the day of fun.

“The ‘Movie in the Park’ this evening is sponsored by the Sellwood-Moreland Business Alliance,” Hoffnagle added.

In different areas of the park, kids were getting their faces painted, making giant bubbles, visiting Mr. Lizard and all his reptile friends, and – with the help of adults – shooting off air-powered rockets.

And, of course, folks lined up for big scoops of ice cream sundaes with toppings, served by volunteers with the Southeast Portland Rotary Club.

“Our ‘Sundae in the Park’ festivity is one of the things really helps bring families together; it’s a way of letting neighbors connect with neighbors, helping us build a stronger community,” Hoffnagle smiled. “When people get together, it makes for a much friendlier and caring neighborhood.

“Please mention our raffle sponsors, which include Wallace Books, Cloud Cap Games, Tilde, Thai Cusine, Branches, New Seasons, SHWOP, Cat Hospital of Portland, Sellwood Pet Supply, Z-More Beauty, and Laurelwood Pub,” she requested.

As the sun began to set behind the tall fir trees in upper Sellwood Park, the Portland Parks & Recreation “Movie in the Park” program began – first with a Neil Young tribute band called “Harvest Gold”, and at dusk a showing of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.

JCWC, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, annual awards, Reed College, Paulann Petersen, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Sellwood resident, and former Oregon Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen was the keynote speaker at the Johnson Creek Watershed Council awards dinner at Reed College. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Johnson Creek volunteers celebrated with awards


Kaul Auditorium at Reed College was the location for this year’s Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) annual awards dinner.

Those attending included JCWC members, honored volunteers and their families, and representatives from governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations.

“Here, at our annual dinner, we gather with our partners, agencies, donors, and volunteers, and celebrate our successes over the last year – as we also celebrate our organization’s 23rd anniversary,” exclaimed JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

“One highlight is that we’ve been seeing a large increase in community volunteering; we logged just short of 2400 sign-ups over the year,” Newberry said. “And, this also speaks to the great work that our staff does, to encourage and support volunteerism.

“I think the reason for increased volunteer participation, especially on outdoor projects, is that it lets people know that they’re doing something good by serving their community – helping their watershed, and stewarding Johnson Creek,” Newberry told THE BEE.

Examples of such participation include this year’s JCWC 20th annual Watershed Wide Event, in March, in which 450 people did tree planting and invasive removal; and, last August, 240 people pulled more than five tons of trash out of the creek, Newberry pointed out.

This year’s featured speaker was former Oregon Poet Laureate – and Sellwood resident – Paulann Petersen. “I’m so pleased to be asked to speak, and to present poems about the wonder of waterways in our urban lives,” she said.

One of her original poems, entitled “Carried from the Current”, began:

“My house near the Willamette is only blocks from the river,

yet the sound of its rise and fall –
Its steady on-going into the Columbia, to the Pacific –

doesn’t loft into the air, and carry this far.”

One celebrant, JCWC “Volunteer of the Year” Emily Waters, said she had the greatest number of volunteer hours during the year. “I was an intern for a year, and became a Creek Crew Leader on the weekends.”

While Waters worked along the entire Johnson Creek watershed, “mostly I concentrated on the area from Milwaukie, through Inner Southeast Portland and Johnson Park.”

Organizations honored included Portland Parks & Recreation, Clackamas Middle College, and the Lao Buddhist Center Northwest.

In the future, Newberry said, JCWC is looking ahead three major projects during the summer, which will replace culverts along Johnson Creek.

Learn more online –

Moose Lodge, 52nd Avenue, mural, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The new mural painted on Moose Lodge #291 in Brentwood-Darlington depicts the ways that the organization supports the community. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Service mural’ completed on S.E. 52nd Avenue Moose Lodge


The Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #291, at 7414 S.E. 52nd Avenue, has completed a colorful mural on the south side of the building. Dan Barrett, Lodge Administrator, tells THE BEE that the mural depicts the various aspects of neighborhood outreach performed by the Lodge. Weekly events include a Sunday breakfast and evening social hours.

“The mural was designed and painted by volunteer artist Mark Criscione to highlight our services to the neighborhood,” remarks Barrett. “It was begun last year, and completed in July. We support both children and seniors; and the picnic setting [in the mural] shows local folks whom we represent. Nationally, we also support ‘Mooseheart Child City and School’, and the ‘Moosehaven City of Contentment’ senior housing project.”

The cartoon character “Tommy Moose”, in the center of the 24-foot-long mural, represents a stuffed animal toy that Moose members gather to give to Police and Fire Bureaus, to present to kids who are in distress.

Barrett reveals that Lodge #291 was the first Moose Lodge established in Oregon, over 100 years ago. It moved to Brentwood-Darlington in 1984 when the Lodge purchased and remodeled a former church on 52nd. The mural shows the Lodge in the shadow of Mt. Hood with the message, “Making a difference is what we do”, in the lower right corner.

“We have about 320 members, mostly seniors,” reports Barrett. “The mural is a compact presentation of the neighborhood services we support – including Boy Scouts of America, a Portland-Police-sponsored baseball team, and other services, such as Rebuilding Together, Food Drives for the Oregon Food Bank, Families in Need, and Hallowe’en, Christmas, and Easter programs open to the community.

“We are pleased now to have such a colorful representation of Moose Lodge #291 for the neighborhood.” For more information on the Lodge and its projects, call 503/771-6028.

Farm Stand, Learning Garden, Portland State, Brentwood Darlington, fresh vegetables, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The Learning Gardens Laboratory’s Huayu Wu, Riley Hamilton and Bryce Belinski show THE BEE the fresh, local bounty available right now at their Brentwood-Darlington Garden farm stand. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fresh veggies available at Learning Gardens farm stand


In late June, the Portland State University “Learning Gardens Laboratory” Farm Stand in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood again began offering vegetables and herbs to neighbors – and anyone else who travels to shop there.

The freshness of the produce they offer is unquestionable; it’s often harvested from these very gardens just minutes before it’s sold.

“We’ve had good early crops; and coming up in August, expect to see kale, collard, yellow summer squash, zucchini, carrots, and, of course, garlic and other herbs,” said the Garden’s Educator Bryce Belinski. “On this four-acre property, we have garden plots specifically dedicated for sale at our Farm Stand. Any remaining produce at the end of the day is donated to the Lane Middle School Food Pantry.”

The farm stand is open every Wednesday from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. near the Learning Gardens’ front gate on S.E. 60th Avenue, across the street from Brentwood Park.

Suggested donations are accepted as cash or check only – “please, no plastic!”

The Mars Rovers, Brentwood Park, Movie in the Park, concert, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
At the Bentwood Park movie event, The Mars Rovers band recreated “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel, drawn from his 1980 album “Glass Houses”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Very local band performs at Brentwood ‘Movie in the Park’


Due to the diligent efforts of the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Board Members, orchestrated by Gail Kiely, the tradition of hosting a concert plus a Portland Parks & Recreation “Movie in the Park” continued on Friday evening, July 27, at Brentwood Park.

Typically, organizing groups are offered a choice of musical acts from a list approved by the Parks Bureau. This year, Brentwood-Darlington petitioned that a very local band – a group that rehearses mere blocks away from the park – be the one to play for the event.

And so, “The Mars Rovers” came to play their eclectic classic rock, rock, and blues music for the gathering crowd. “I don’t know why I haven’t heard of this band, but they are great!” exclaimed neighbor Max Meyer, during their break.

Also unique to this event, Meals on Wheels volunteers served free barbecue chicken dinners to all who came – as a way of introducing their “Meals 4 Kids” children’s program to the people in the neighborhood.

And, when the sun set, at twilight, all eyes were on the “big screen on the green” as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” flickered to life for an audience munching on fresh popcorn, to complete a perfect summer evening in Brentwood Park.

Southeast Events and Activities

Eighth annual “Arab Festival” at Oaks Park:
Today, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Arab Festival is open to everyone at Oaks Amusement Park…featuring delicious Arab cuisine, Arab Souq (Bazaar), Children’s Activities, Henna painting, music, dance, poetry, arts and crafts, and raffles. Always plenty of free parking at Oaks Park, accessed from Oaks Park Way, just west of the Springwater Trail crossing at the bottom of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood.

Fourth annual “Taste of Latinoamérica” today: From noon till 7 p.m. today, at the Portland Mercado, 7238 S.E. Foster Road, it’s the fourth annual Taste of Latinoamérica, a food and cultural festival in the heart of Southeast Portland! A unique-to-the-region Latin American culinary and cultural experience. More than 25 vendors, representing different countries and regions of Latin America, offer native foods. In addition to the cuisine adventure, enjoy drinks, live music, salsa dance classes, a photo-booth, kids’ activities, and tables from community partners. The event is free and open to the public. All ages. All backgrounds.

Tai Chi – An Anti-Aging Exercise – in Woodstock:
This morning, and every Wednesday morning in September at the Woodstock Branch Library, learn about and participate in Tai Chi, the choreographed meditative exercises that have been a healing art in China for thousands of years. It is practiced by over 100 million people worldwide, and owes its popularity to it's being enjoyable and that it makes you stronger. Tai Chi is an easy form of exercise for people of all ages. This workshop includes four classes on all the Wednesdays this month, 10-11 a.m. Free, but registration is required; register in the Woodstock Library or by calling 503/988-5123. The library is on the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th Street.

Westmoreland food drive for Mainspring Portland begins:
Moreland Presbyterian Church is hosting a week-long food drive, starting today, to benefit the food pantry program of Mainspring Portland. Especially needed are canned foods, such as vegetables, fruits, soups, chili, and tuna; and packaged foods, such as peanut butter, cereal, rice, and pasta.  Anyone who would like to donate food can drop it off at the church today, or September 16 – or on September 10th through 13th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moreland Presbyterian Church is situated at 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard. For more information, call 503/234-8404, or go online to –

Anniversary party in Woodstock: This afternoon the Woodstock Community Center will celebrate its 60th birthday with a festive block party, 2-4 p.m. (Kids’ parade starts at 2 p.m. from the Woodstock Farmer’s Market, bound for the Community Center.) Zumba and Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, Marimba music, birthday cake and ice cream, and more, for all ages at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd, just west of BiMart.  Everyone welcome to celebrate with the community!

“Word Processing 1” for adult computer novices:
Learn how to use Google Docs and Microsoft Word at the Sellwood Library today, 10 a.m. to noon, to create and edit documents. By the end of this class today, you will be able to find and use templates, insert images into your text, create lists, and use the proofing tools. This class is for beginners, but you must be comfortable using a keyboard and a mouse. Registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. The Sellwood Branch Library is on the corner of S.E. 13th Avenue and Bidwell Street.

Join “Healing Voices Choir”, from Vox Academy, tonight:
Nonprofit Vox Academy is starting its Fall term soon, and you're invited to come sing, in rehearsal, starting tonight! “Healing Voices Choir” sings in beautiful four-part harmony and meets for rehearsal on Wednesday evenings, starting tonight, from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m., at the at The Community Church for Joy, 8051 S.E. 16th Avenue in Sellwood. There will be an end-of-term concert on December 16th, as well as one or more optional outreach concerts at senior care facilities, and a fun caroling event. All are welcome, although experience reading music, or singing with other choirs, will be helpful. Details and registration available online –

“Riverside Recreation” discussion at SMILE Station:
The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is updating its Willamette Greenway Plan (1987) for the South Reach of the Willamette River – from Ross Island to the south city limit of Portland. They’ve been seeking public input, and the latest chance to offer it on “Access to the river and riverfront, trails and scenic views” is at an Open House 6-8 p.m. this evening at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue, at Tenino. Consider attending.

Portland Folk Music Society concert on Steele Street:
The nonprofit Portland Folk Music Society begins this year’s season of concerts, all of which take place at the Reedwood Friends Church at S.E. 29 th and Steele Street, at 7:30 p.m. this evening – with a performance by Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore. Doors open at 7. General admission is $25; for those age 12 to 18, $12. The schedule for the season is posted online –

Creating Catapults for kids, in Sellwood:
Saturday Academy comes to the Sellwood Library to explore the physics behind catapults and trebuchets and what makes them hurl or launch. Working in small groups, participants will design and engineer their very own working models, and will create defense systems to be used in a friendly challenge between teams. Best for kids in grades 2 through 5. Free, but tickets are required – and can be obtained at the Sellwood Branch Library starting at 10:30 a.m. The catapult hour is 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell.

Oktoberfest for Eastmoreland and Woodstock: More than just a biergarten, the third annual community Oktoberfest at Holy Family School runs from 1 to 8 p.m., with carnival games for the kids, live music and entertainment, and local food and beverages for sale from Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, Zoiglhaus Brewery, New Seasons Markets, Kona shaved ice, and Burnside Brewery. Admission is free! Family friendly. Made possible by underwriting from Linda Skeele, realtor; Hunt Painting; Mike Goodell agency, American Family Insurance; Gene and Karen Dieringer; Elmer’s Restaurants; Fine Craft Masonry; Earthly Creations; Distinctive Dentistry; Power Electric; Ron Rust Drywall; and Johnson Creek Rentals. More information online –

Harvest Moon Festival this afternoon in Woodstock: Celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival), one of the oldest and best-loved holidays in many parts of Asia. Decorate a lantern with your family! Make wall art by coloring and stamping. Come, have a crafty afternoon, and enjoy some traditional mooncakes! It’s free at the Woodstock Branch Library, this afternoon 2 to 4 p.m., S.E. 49th at Woodstock Boulevard.

“Hands-on Henna” for Teens in Sellwood:
Henna is used by many cultures as a form of artistic expression. Henna is not permanent, but it does temporarily stain the skin for about two weeks. In this hands-on cultural art program, artist Raina Imig will share information on the art of henna in India, and will create a brief, authentic, intricate henna design on participants’ hands. For teens in grades 6-12. Free. Space is limited so come a little early to be sure of getting in. It’s tonight, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Sellwood Branch Library is on the corner of Bidwell Street and S.E. 13th Avenue. Monday, September 24, 6:30-8 pm.

Red Cross Blood Drive today in Westmoreland:
Moreland Presbyterian Church again hosts today’s Red Cross Blood Drive, 2:30 to 7 p.m. Reservations recommended – 1-800/ 733-2767, or go to, sponsor code MorelandPresbyterian – or just drop in, and be fitted in as appointments allow. The need is great; thanks for donating.

Portland Fresh Hop Beer Fest at Oaks Park:
The nonprofit Oregon Craft Beer Association brings its annual Beer Fest back to Oaks Park, both today and tomorrow; lots of parking and free admission, though there is a charge for the beer you’ll sample, and you must be 21 or older to do so. “Taste beers made by Oregon’s Craft Breweries, with hops fresh off the vine.”

Come to “Sing-A-Thon” tonight in Sellwood:
Nonprofit Vox Academy will be having its annual “Sing-A-Thon” this evening at The Community Church for Joy, 8051 S.E. 16th Avenue in Sellwood. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be provided. “Come to listen to a variety of great music. You are also invited to share a song. If you’re in interested in performing, contact Beth Kahlen via e-mail – Everyone is welcome!” Meantime, Vox Academy’s Empowered Voices Choir (for singers new to choral singing) resumes October 4, also at that same location.


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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!

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