Community Features

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

Locomotive, Southern Pacific, SP 4449, tour the country, Portland, Oregon
Portland Traction Company No. 100, owned by Richard Samuels whose Oregon Pacific spur line tracks it is on, pulls the Southern Pacific 4449 from Oaks Park in a ceremonial re-enactment of the day it did so back in 1974. (Jaime Valdez)

Train enthusiasts plan second national tour for SP #4449

The Portland Tribune

Special to THE BEE

Forty years ago, Portland’s city-owned steam locomotive toured the country during the United States’ bicentennial celebration. Millions of people saw the Southern Pacific #4449 – as part of the “American Freedom Train” that pulled commemorative exhibits through all 48 contiguous states back in 1976.

But, a little less than six months before that tour began, the SP 4449 had been rusting away, parked near Sellwood’s Oaks Amusement Park, where it had been sitting out in the elements since being donated to the city in 1958.

Last fall, some 150 of the people who’d rebuilt the 75-year-old locomotive in those six months, and who helped arrange its tour, gathered in town for a reunion with that refurbished symbol of our national heritage.

Among other things, they participated in a re-enactment of the day the SP 4449 was towed out of the park to be fixed, and heard from the man who made it all possible – Ross Rowland, founder of the “American Freedom Train Foundation” – a former Wall Street commodities broker and steam locomotive fan, who came up with the idea for the tour, and raised much of the money that made it happen.

Rowland, 76, also used the occasion to discuss his plans for another “American Freedom Train 2.0” tour coming up in 2018, this time to thank American soldiers for their overseas service, and to raise money for those who came home wounded.

And, he wants the SP 4449 locomotive to be part of it.

The original American Freedom Train tour cost $50 million, with half the money coming from a handful of corporate sponsors, including Pepsi-Cola – and half from ticket sales.

Rowland estimates the 2018 version will cost $100 million. He hopes to raise all the money from sponsors, with all of the ticket sales benefiting veterans. “I think it’s a proper way to thank those in uniform, and help the wounded warriors and their families,” Rowland says.

Anchoring rail museum
That weekend’s events kicked off a new exhibit on the “American Freedom Train” at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, situated across from OMSI and near the transit center at the east end of the Tilikum Crossing bridge, where the SP 4449 now resides. This locomotive is the only remaining operable “streamlined” steam engine of the Art Deco era.

“The American Freedom Train of 1975-1976 was a heroic effort by private citizens to put together a suitable celebration of the bicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776,” says the interpretive material at the exhibit. “To lead the American Freedom Train, a locomotive suitable to the dignity of the Bicentennial Celebration, and with the power to handle a 26-car train weighing over 2,200 tons, had to be found. Locomotive No. 4449, awaiting restoration in Portland at Oaks Park, was the first choice.”

Two other city-owned steam locomotives are now on display there, too: The Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. 197. Maintained by volunteer railroad enthusiasts, the SP 4449 and the SP&S 700 make occasional excursions – including the popular “Holiday Express” runs with Santa aboard, through Oaks Bottom, in early December each year.

The Oregon Rail Heritage Center might not even exist without Rowland’s vision. His idea of using historic locomotives to celebrate the bicentennial prompted Wes Camp, another fan and employee of his at the time, to track down the SP 4449 in Oaks Park, and determine that it could be restored.

That success eventually led to the restoration of those other two locomotives, which also had been sitting in the park – and then to the fundraising for the new building where all three, and more train memorabilia, are housed today.

“I really think that without Rowland’s vision for the American Freedom Train, none of this would exist today,” remarks Arlen Sheldrake, a longtime locomotive and center volunteer.

Herculean restoration task
The story would be dramatic enough if it only included the SP 4449, the last surviving example of Southern Pacific’s “GS-4” (General Service/Golden State) class of steam locomotives. Built in 1941, these pulled passenger cars throughout the West Coast, until being switched to freight service in 1956.

In early 1958, Portland officials asked Southern Pacific (today, it’s the Union Pacific) for an engine to place on permanent display in Oaks Park. The president of Southern Pacific asked his men to choose the best one remaining, and Locomotive No. 4449 arrived on April 24 of that year.

The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was tasked with the locomotive’s general upkeep. Although longtime official Jack Holst, a Multnomah County employee, is known to have cared for it over the years, the lack of use and vandalism had taken their toll. By the time the foundation located and chose the SP 4449 as one its three locomotives, the restoration cost was estimated at around $250,000 – which was $75,000 more than the engine’s original construction cost!

Restoration work was a race against time. As the money was being raised and the work crew was being finalized, the SP 4449 was towed out of Oaks Park by a newer diesel electric locomotive to Burlington Northern’s Roundhouse on N.W. 9th Avenue, in what is now the Pearl District. The goal was to restore the locomotive to factory specifications in just 90 days – a plan that would require the core crew to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Over 125 volunteers also donated more than 10,000 hours to the rebuilding effort. The final cost for the restoration came in under $100,000.

The restored SP 4449 was fired up for the first time on April 21, 1975. Remarkably, everything worked perfectly. Numerous tests and exploratory runs followed, each one successful. On May 16, just four days shy of its 34th birthday, SP 4449 was dedicated anew. It departed Portland on June 20.

As part of an American Freedom Train, it hauled ten display cars across much of the country. In converted New York Central and Penn Central baggage cars, the train carried more than 500 historic American artifacts – including George Washington’s copy of the Constitution, the original “Louisiana Purchase” document, Judy Garland’s dress from “The Wizard of Oz”, Joe Frazier’s boxing trunks, Martin Luther King Jr.’s pulpit and robes, replicas of Jesse Owens’ four Olympic gold medals from 1936, and even a rock from the moon.

The tour lasted from April 1, 1975, until December 31, 1976. During that time, more than seven million Americans visited the train at stops in all 48 contiguous states, while millions more watched it steam by, with its mournful steam whistle blowing.

“Part of my plan was to be able to operate a steam locomotive ‘at speed’ on main rail lines,” says Rowland, who served as the engineer on roughly half the tour. “The other part was letting children see historic artifacts from their country’s past, so they would appreciate everything we’d accomplished in 200 years.”

Storage and service
After returning to Portland, the SP 4449 spent much of the following years with the other two city-owned historic locomotives inside a large and decaying wooden roundhouse in Union Pacific’s Brooklyn Yard, which was demolished only recently to expand the yard for container service.

Volunteers continued to maintain the huge locomotive for the “Holiday Express” runs and other outings, while private funds were raised for a new and permanent home. The Rail Heritage Center finally opened just east of OMSI on September 22, 2012.

Those who worked on the “American Freedom Train” project hold regular reunions around the country. They had not come together in Portland for many years, however; and gathered in mid-September for the first time at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, where many saw the SP 4449 again for the first time in forty years.

To commemorate the occasion, the SP 4449 was ceremonially pulled backwards from Oaks Park to the center by the original diesel electric locomotive that did the job back then, the former Portland Traction Company 100. That locomotive was built in 1952, and is now part of the local Oregon Pacific Railroad short line that hauls freight and occasional excursion trains between Portland and the City of Milwaukie. It is owned by local businessman and self-confessed “rail nut” Richard Samuels.

Speaking to participants at the Rail Heritage Center, Rowland, who had never seen the center before, praised it as a proper home for the three steam locomotives. “As someone who will soon be called by the Lord to the great roundhouse in the sky, it’s reassuring to know these machines we all know will be well-cared for into perpetuity.”

To learn more about the Oregon Rail Heritage Center at 2250 S.E. Water Avenue, as well as Portland’s historic steam locomotives, go online –

Multnomah County Fair, Oaks Park, The Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, Oregon
At Oaks Amusement Park, to stake out the outdoor exhibit space, are Multnomah County Fair Board President Larry Smith and Courtney Lobo, Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Education Program Assistant. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

County Fair celebrates 111 years on Memorial Day weekend


The 111th annual Multnomah County Fair will be held on Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29, at historic Oaks Amusement Park, on the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Sellwood Bridge. As usual, parking and admission are free. And this year's fair will make a point of honoring military and first responders.

“This year, 4-H clubs will play an even more important role in this year’s fair, and will bring several new attractions,” said Courtney Lobo, Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Education Program Assistant.

In addition to the usual animal judging and craft displays, there’ll be a “Maker Space”, Lobo told THE BEE. “This will be a hands-on learning area where kids can come up and learn skills such as rope-making and knot-tying, and there will be an electronic area with small circuit board projects,” Lobo said. “Also, we will be hosting a project with Portland Urban Beekeepers, who will have an educational display called ‘Catch the Buzz’.”

And this year, members of the 4-H Youth Advocates for Health program will provide healthy cooking demonstrations for fairgoers too, Lobo added.

“We’re bringing three days full of entertainment to the fair,” said Multnomah County Fair Board President Larry Smith. “Plan now to enter your crafts into the competitions in arts and crafts, photography, floral and garden, foods, and needlecraft in the Historic Dance Pavilion.”

Returning attractions include camel rides, Professor Bamboozle’s magic show, local musicians and dancers, the “Walk on the Wild Side” exhibit, and – new this year for adults – a beer garden, Smith pointed out.

The midway will be open during the fair at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park, with rides available at family-friendly prices. The Multnomah County Fair will be open from noon to 7 p.m. each day, May 27-29; and, again – with free gate admission and parking. If you’re not sure how to get there, go west on Spokane Street, past Oaks Pioneer Church and cross the railroad tracks – then turn north on Oaks Park Way.

If you would like to enter an exhibit, or would like additional information about the fair, go to the website – – or call 503/737-4921.

Brian Becker, Hope City Church, Code Orange, Easter Egg Hunt, helicopter, drop, Brentwood Darllington, Portland, Oregon
The crowd cheers as Hope City Church Pastor Brian Becker is pelted by hundreds of orange Easter Eggs dropped from a hovering helicopter over Brentwood Park. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood Park showered with orange Easter Eggs


The local Hope City Church created the “Code Orange Egg Drop” six years ago, to help Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood kids feel appreciated and valued. This year, that event also raised funds to support the work of the neighborhood’s association.

That’s what Pastor Brian Becker of Hope City Church told THE BEE, at the April 8 egg drop, held again in Brentwood Park. (This year, it was arranged for a week before Easter weekend.)

“Kids here used to have to go to other neighborhoods to participate in an event like this; we wanted to give them their very own,” Becker smiled. “And to make it great, we decided to get a helicopter and drop the plastic eggs from it.”

“A ‘Code Orange’ event means it’s really important – and this one is. More than 100 volunteers work to put on this on here, and hundreds of volunteer hours go into planning this event every year,” Becker explained.

After family members registered and received their wristbands, kids were free to play carnival games and win treats, visit with the Easter Bunny, and participate in other activities.

A light rain began to fall; but families were ready for the weather; rain slickers and umbrellas popped up.

“The members of Hope City Church raise funds to pay for all of it, because we believe that Jesus came to love the people, and help them in areas where they needed help,” Pastor Becker reflected. “We want to follow that example by finding areas of concern, and then help by loving our neighbors with no strings attached.”

The church keeps adding to its trove of plastic eggs each year, Becker said, “and we lost count at 25,000 eggs; we think we may have as many as 30,000 of them.”

It’s not about how many eggs kids collect, he said. “Regardless of how many eggs the kids gather, whether they got one egg or fifty, each child exchanges his or her plastic eggs for a bag of prepackaged candies, to reduce the competitive nature of the event that one might otherwise see.”

And, by having enough volunteers on hand – each one wearing a bright “Code Orange” shirt or jacket – the Code Orange morning continues to be safe and fun for families. But, they strictly limit the number of youth allowed to sign up to 1,000 kids.

“Our free reservations ‘sell out’ in about five hours, so there’s enough demand to host four or five times the kids,” Becker said, “But safety is our number one priority, and limiting the number helps.”

This year, there was also a social media component. When Becker announced over the PA system that live video was being streamed from the helicopter as it took off in Hillsboro and was flying to the park, and all of that was being shown on the event’s Facebook page, Smart Phones all over the park came out as people watched the helicopter’s view of the city as it flew east.

At 11:00 a.m., as a preliminary to the main event, there was a special Easter egg dash for toddlers and their parents. Then, older kids were invited around a giant circle, staked out in three sections, in the center of the park where kids gathered into age groups.

“We’ve added a new neighborhood component,” commented Becker. “Because we knew that the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association was trying to figure out ways to raise funds for community projects, we came up with an idea. This year, we offered a limited number of ‘early bird’ registrations for those who wished to make a donation – one dollar, a hundred dollars, the amount was up to them.”

That effort raised $1,000, all of which was given to the neighborhood association. Receiving the check was Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) Chair Lesley McKinley.

“Speaking for myself, because I am a neighbor as well as a member of the BDNA Board, this speaks to how we’re building great connections here,” McKinley said. “These people have worked really hard for Brentwood Darlington kids, and we’re so grateful for that, and for the church’s generosity.”

BDNA will put some of the money into school programs, a neighborhood clean-up and other efforts, McKinley said.

Minutes before the helicopter arrived, the rain stopped and the clouds began clearing. By the time the chopper was overhead, the sun was shining, glinting off the whirling blades, and illuminating thousands of orange Easter eggs that floated down, welcomed by the cheering crowd.

Section by section, hundreds of laughing kids enjoyed being awash in plastic eggs and gathering them up. Then the helicopter turned in the air and headed back to Hillsboro.

Westmoreland, Easter Egg Hunt, SMILE, Oaks Bottom Lions Club, Westmoreland, Portland, Oregon
The countdown reaches zero, and the SMILE Easter Egg Hunt at Westmoreland Park is underway! (Photo by David F. Ashton)

SMILE ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ still draws big crowds


For as long as most can remember, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association (SMILE) has hosted an annual Easter Egg Hunt at the very south end of Westmoreland Park.

The hunt’s location changed a little this year – as it was held at 10 a.m., on April 15 – volunteers had moved it about 200 feet north into less muddy ground.

“It was just too muddy under the trees, and I’m sure the families will find us here, in the sunshine,” beamed Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club President Irv Smith.

A half hour before the starting time, many of the 18 Lions Club volunteers were busily raking the area, clearing it of natural debris; others were stringing up orange ribbons, marking off the areas to be set aside for kids in specified age groups.

“We volunteer at this event is a way to give back to the community, partnering with the SMILE,” Smith said. “It’s something that we enjoy, and that the kids enjoy – making it a nice event for the community.”

Right up until the start time, families were swarming into the area from all directions. Lions Club members emptied box after box of foil-wrapped chocolate candy eggs bought by SMILE as a crowd swelled at the starting line.

“There’s always a connection between Lions Club members and kids; this is one of the most important ones for us,” Smith observed.

Seconds before 10:00 a.m., Smith began the countdown, and the crowd chanted along. “Five, four, three, two, one!” and the kids were off.

By 10:07 a.m. the entire area was stripped of eggs, and everyone looked happy and satisfied after participating in this eternal neighborhood Easter-time celebration.

Brooklyn neighborhood, Easter Egg Hunt, Audry, Easter Bunny, Brooklyn Park, Portland, Oregon
Audrey, age 11, dressed as the Easter Bunny. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Fourth annual Easter Egg Hunt held at Brooklyn Park


Cementing a new tradition – for the fourth consecutive year, eager egg-hunters arrived on Saturday, April 15, for an Easter Egg Hunt at Brooklyn Park – sponsored by the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association, and Mosaic Church.

It was hard to tell who was the more excited: Basket-gripping kids ages 1 to 10, or their parents, wielding cameras. In spite of the exceptionally soggy spring, volunteers were able to set up three hunting areas in the grassy park, divided according to ages – and then spread nearly 1,300 plastic eggs containing candy and stickers, as well as a few gift certificates.

Coffee and cookies were brought along by volunteers, who also helped to set up the scene and scatter the eggs. The three “golden egg” prizes were again $5 gift certificates to Nectar Yogurt in Westmoreland. Kelly Goodwin entertained the crowd with accordion music; 11-year-old Audrey dressed up as the Easter Bunny; and Jenna McComas created at the face-painting station. Young egg hunters came equipped with baskets, bags, and even an empty bike helmet.

As visitors scrambled to the top of the hill in Brooklyn Park, fronting on Milwaukie Avenue just south of Powell Boulevard, event coordinator Matt McComas gathered the crowd and explained the rules.

At 11:00 a.m. sharp, egg hunters were given the command to start – descending like locusts on the colorful scene. Within a very few minutes, the field was cleared of plastic eggs, and folks assembled under a gazebo to unload their loot and pose for photos. 

The contents of the plastic eggs were the kids’ to keep, but the plastic spheres were returned to storage boxes for next year’s use, while the children enjoyed the playground equipment. Adults chatted about neighborhood news, such as the winter storm damage and the upcoming Neighborhood Cleanup, scheduled for May 13. And everyone was already anticipating the fifth annual Brooklyn Easter Egg Hunt, just one year away.

Connection Fair, Brentwood Darlington neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
Jena Hughes, from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, learned about a community engagement and action plan for BDNA from Portland State University students Shannon Williams and Samuel Garcia. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington hosts ‘Connection Fair’


It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill meeting, on the evening of April 6 – that’s why some 70 neighbors turned out at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center.

“We’re calling this a ‘Connection Fair’, to bring collaborative energy to our neighborhood,” explained Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) Chair Lesley McKinley.

This well-attended meeting came about because she and the BDNA Board members are looking for ways for neighbors to feel more connected, Mckinley said.

“Brentwood-Darlington is a wonderful neighborhood already; we don’t need to change anything,” McKinley told THE BEE. “It’s more about moving in synchronicity, and enhancing what we already have here. And also it’s about working smarter, not harder, to further improve our neighborhood – and working collaboratively is part of that.”

Smiles abounded as neighbors moved among the 14 exhibitors at the fair. Those displaying ranged from governmental agencies to nonprofit organizations, as well as the local Girl Scout Troop, and representatives from the Learning Gardens Lab.

In addition to the informative conversation, attendees sampled from a buffet of fresh and prepared foods and snacks put out by BDNA Board members.

 “My expertise is community organizing; I struggle with the Board Meeting-and-Agenda format,” McKinley said. “We’ll hold a Board Meeting after the fair, but as you can see, this meeting concept has worked out very well.”

Find out more about this active neighborhood association and its activities online:

Peter Ford, Youth Librarian, Natalie Shilling, Woodstock Branch Library, Portland, Oregon
Outgoing Woodstock Youth Librarian Peter Ford (left) and incoming Youth Librarian Natalie Shilling both love reading books to preschoolers during library storytimes. Many books have relevant themes – such as friendship, in “Extraordinary Jane”. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock’s ‘Youth Librarian’ transition


The Woodstock Branch Library’s popular Youth Librarian, Peter Ford, stepped down in April.  Ford had replaced Youth Librarian Joan Smith when she retired in 2013.

“I am leaving to have a chance to re-balance my portfolio,” says Ford.  The portfolio he is speaking of is one of his interests and passions. “I'll work part time and enjoy more gardening and work around the house. I hope to start up some type of children's music project. And play with trains,” Ford adds with his good humor.

After three decades of library work, such a step seems well deserved. Thirty years ago Ford began his upward trajectory in the library world, starting as a Library Assistant at the Clackamas County Library. He then worked fifteen years at the Gresham Library and later got his Masters in Library Science.

Ford describes his gradual transition to being a Youth Librarian: “After a while [at Clackamas], one of the staff members – a former teacher – suggested I get more involved with the children’s programming, because I seemed to relate well to children. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was providing storytime, and helping plan the Summer Reading Program.”

Asked what he likes about being a storytime leader, he answers, “Paying attention to what's happening in the room. and helping children make sense out of each book. Also, I enjoy song leading and baby taming.”

For two weeks in late March, Ford overlapped at the Woodstock Library with Natalie Shilling who has now taken Ford’s place. The two had worked together previously for ten years at the Gresham Library.

Shilling worked from 1990 to 1997 at the Woodstock Library, and then from 1997 to 2017 at Gresham Library. As an experienced Youth Librarian, she loves to find books with themes like friendship and loss that help children of all ages in their daily lives.  A particular joy for her is watching children grow and change over time, as they return year after year for storytime.

Whereas some people like predictability, Shilling says what she likes about being a storytime leader is the unpredictability.  “I never know what a group will be like until right before we start,” she smiles.

In addition to regular Youth Librarian responsibilities at the Woodstock Library, Shilling will be leading Preschool Sensory Storytimes, which Woodstock Branch Library Director Carol Uhte describes as “especially welcoming for children on the spectrum, and families who are looking for a smaller, more adaptive library experience.”

For information about events and activities at the Woodstock Library, call 503/988-5399 and ask for the Woodstock Branch, or go online to:   

Llewellyn Elementary School, Mad Hatter, auction, Portland, Oregon
“Mad Hatters” T.J. Slansky and Jason Mullenix pause for a picture with the “Red Queen”, Jennifer Slansky. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Llewellyn Elementary School in ‘Mad Hatter’s Ball’ fundraiser


It was a festive, “down the rabbit hole” experience at the historic Oaks Amusement Park Dance Pavilion, on Saturday evening March 18, when volunteers with the Llewellyn PTA and the Llewellyn Foundation held a “Mad Hatter’s Ball and Auction”.

Ball organizer Erika Morales credited her decorating committee for coming up with the theme, and praised the hundred parent volunteers who pitched in to make it a fun and successful fundraiser. “This is been in the planning process for about a year – really, since last year’s auction. So many people in our school have been working together for the benefit of our kids.”

The annual fundraiser is vital for the school’s support groups, Morales told THE BEE. “Because of budget cuts, we lose teachers and classroom programs; this year we’re looking at losing two or three teaching positions at our school.

“Our ‘bidder’s paddle raise’ gathers money for directly funding teachers, and many of the auction item sales will go to help the PTA supplement educational learning tools and classes and activities.”

Guests, many of them sporting extravagantly elegant haberdashery, circulated around the tables laden with scores of items up for bid in the silent auctions. As they did so, they chatted, while keeping an eye on their bids.

Then the buffet opened, and guests enjoyed an elegant dinner catered by Westmoreland’s “Tinna’s Classic Thai Cuisine”.

Llewellyn Elementary School principal Joe Galati was all smiles. “I’m an educator in my 30th year; but coming here tonight, I feel young as spring – especially seeing the love the parents and community are showing for our school! To watch the enthusiasm, the passion and the desire for our parents to be here, and do what is best for kids – this night is magical.”

By all measures, the fundraiser was successful -- with more than 240 tickets sold, Morales said. “Beyond just our parents, it’s clear that everyone in the community has been so generous, and want to see our school succeed.”

In total, the “Mad Hatters Ball” raised about $70,000 that evening to help the school.

Southeast Portland Rotary Club, grants
LOCAL ROTARY CLUB MAKES CASH GRANTS. The Southeast Portland Rotary Club annually uses funds drawn from its December “Wreath Auction” at Oaks Park to fill grant requests from Southeast nonprofits. At its meeting of April 17, grants were presented. Shown – from left – are Club President Joel Fields; Alan Lohkamp from FIRST Robotics Team 1432; Ann Singer of the Rogue Pack drama program for troubled youth; a representative of Explorer Post 58; Pamela Kennedy, a Lewis Elementary School teacher; Amy and Linda from the Portland Muscular Dystrophy Association; and Janeen Rundle, of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, representing the school music education program the club helps to fund. (Photo by Eric Norberg)
Southeast Events and Activities

Moreland Farmers Market underway today for 2017:
The nonprofit Moreland Farmers Market opens for the season today, again this year at S.E. 14th and Bybee Boulevard, in front of Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial. Today and every Wednesday through October 18, the hours are 2-7 p.m. “Local produce, community fun, fresh dinner options, $10 SNAP match, kids’ events.” Volunteers welcome. More information online at:

“Pom Pom Flowers for Mom” for kids and families:
This afternoon at the Woodstock Branch Library, create a beautiful pom pom flower bouquet made with colorful yarn. This special gift is easy to make and perfect for spring and Mother’s Day. Free. It’s 2-3:30 p.m. this afternoon. Come a little early to be sure of a seat, since space is limited. The library is on the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th Street.

Portland Baroque Orchestra’s “Vivaldi’s World” at Reed:
 Vivaldi was not the only composer writing virtuosic concertos in the early 18th Century; Monica Huggett  (Director and violin) explores the sonic world of Vivaldi and his contemporaries, in this tour of concertos, featuring Monida with Nate Helgeson (bassoon), Tanya Tomkins (cello), and John Lenti (lute). It’s at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium at 3 p.m. today. For more information and ticket information, go online:

Green Thumb Plant Sale starts today:
The nonprofit Community Transition Program of the Portland Public /Schools, “Green Thumb” in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, presents its annual fund-raising plant sale today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week – featuring Mother’s Day baskets, annuals and perennials, veggie starts, and houseplants. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day (except this Saturday, 10 to 4), at 6801 S.E. 60 th Avenue. For information on Green Thumb, call 503/916-5817 – or go online:

“Beginning Cybersecurity” class at Sellwood Library: Curious about the basics of staying safe online? Come to this free class to learn what you can do to protect yourself. This class is for beginners; you don’t need any prior knowledge to attend. Bring your own laptop or mobile device, or use one of the library’s computers. Registration required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5123. It’s this evening, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.

MAY 10
“Compassionate Friends” support group meets in Westmoreland:
The Compassionate Friends nonprofit support group meets at Moreland Presbyterian Church tonight from 7 to 8:30 p.m. – and on the second Wednesday evening each month at the same place and time. This particular group is specifically for family members who have lost a child to substance related causes. For more information, go online –

MAY 11
St. Agatha hosts annual salad luncheon and fashion show:
 At noon today, the St. Agatha Altar Society’s annual fundraising Salad Luncheon and Fashion Show takes place at St. Agatha Parish Hall, 7959 S.E. 15th Avenue, this year sporting the theme “Birds of a feather flock together”. Fashions are courtesy of Christopher and Banks. Tickets are ten dollars each, are reserved, and are only available by calling Marie Zavada at 503/238-2139.

MAY 12
Plant donations sought today in Woodstock:
Anyone with plants to donate to the Woodstock Neighborhood Association Plant Sale tomorrow should bring them to the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd, between noon and 7 p.m. today. This plant sale is a principal means of support for the Partnership Agreement with Portland Parks and Rec. that is keeping the Community Center open for community use.

MAY 13
Annual fundraising plant sale in Woodstock:
The Friends of the Woodstock Community Center, who use the proceeds to fund the maintenance of the Center to fulfill an agreement with the Parks Department to keep it open, hold their annual plant sale today – the day before Mother’s Day.  Perennials, house plants, native plants, herbs, tomato and vegetable starts, and more. Hyper-tufa designer Shelly Keach will display and sell her sedum planters, along with a variety of Abutilons. Woodstock metal artist Jill Torberson will be offering her welded garden sculptures. The hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, and it’s held at the Woodstock Community Center at 5905 S.E. 43rd, just west of the BiMart entrance and a half block north of Woodstock Boulevard.

Mother’s Day plant show and sale at Rhody Garden: The Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society is holding its annual Mother’s Day Show and Sale today and tomorrow. The plant sale is 9 to 5 both days; the show is 12-5 today, and 10-5 tomorrow. It’s at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue, just west of the Reed College campus.

MAY 14
Sellwood Library Storytelling Show:
Enjoy stories, songs, and fun for kids and families, led by “The Oregon Tellers”, Sellwood’s own Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke. It’s this afternoon, 1-1:45 p.m., and it’s free – but come a bit early to be sure of a seat, since space is limited. The Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

MAY 17
Free Tech Help today at Woodstock Library:
Do you have technology questions? Meet one-on-one for 30 minutes with a friendly, knowledgeable Tech Helper who will help you find answers to questions about mobile devices, websites, downloading, e-readers, getting started with tech, and more. If you need help with a smartphone, iPad, or tablet, please bring it with you, along with your username and password, or the techs may not be able to help. Free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at the Woodstock Branch Library, S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 49th Street.

MAY 19
Cleveland High School Football fundraiser:
The Cleveland High Football Boosters is trying to raise about $6,000 to send the upperclassmen to a Summer Football Camp. To raise it, they are having a fundraiser tonight at Hip Chicks Do Wine – the local winery at 4510 S.E. 23rd; go to S.E. 26th and Holgate, and follow the directions on the A-frame sign. Wine tasting and light appetizers for $15 admission. Three Portland wineries – including Hip Chicks do Wine, Tiernan Connor Cellars, and Fausse Piste Winery – will pour a selection of wines paired with light appetizers. 100% of the admission plus 50% of any bottle sales will be donated to the CHS Football Boosters. Minors are only allowed if accompanied by a parent, and there will be non-alcoholic beverages for them. Advance tickets are not required, but are available online: – and they are also accepting donations of all kinds via the website for those who would like to support the team but cannot attend the event.

Sellwood ballet dancers perform downtown: The students of Sellwood’s famed Classical Ballet Academy present “Don Quixote” and “Visions”, today through Sunday, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 S.W. Park Avenue. Tonight at 8, it’s “Visions”, featuring the jazz, contemporary, modern, fusion, and hip hop dance students. Tomorrow at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., “Don Quixote” – choreographed by Academy Director Sarah Rigles – features fancy footwork, authentic Spanish flavored dance, and comic interludes. This story of love, illusion, daring, and adventure is suitable for the whole family. Tickets sold through PSU ticket box office (503/725-3307; Tickets are $24 for adults (18+), $17 for seniors (ages 65+) and youths (ages 10-17), and $13 for ages 2-9.                                                                                                  

MAY 20
Sellwood-Westmoreland clean-up day:
The 38th annual SMILE neighborhood clean-up is today – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. only – in the parking lot at the south end of Westmoreland Park, S.E. Nehalem at 23rd. Throw-away junk accepted include appliances, tires, yard debris, unwanted furniture, metal, aluminum, block Styrofoam and Styrofoam peanuts (no meat trays) – and e-waste from households but not businesses. NOT accepted are any Metro prohibited materials, including food garbage, plaster, concrete, dirt, sheetrock, batteries, ANY construction or demolition materials, and hazardous materials. No material accepted which could possibly contain asbestos! Cost depends on volume dumped; $7-$13 small sedan or station wagon, $13-$20 small pickup, $20-$30 large pickup, $30 and up for larger vehicles. $15 extra charge for appliances containing Freon. Up to five tires per vehicle, free; no tires over 21 inches. Curbside collection for seniors and disabled: call 503/794-8212, and pay fee to driver. Proof of Sellwood-Westmoreland residency required – a driver’s license or utility bill will do.

Ardenwald plant sale fundraiser today: Today, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 3012 S.E. Balfour Street in the Ardenwald neighborhood just east of Sellwood – and near the planned future neighborhood park, the design for which has just been completed and approved – join the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood for their plant sale! “Bring your plant list, and plant enthusiasm, and come buy some lovely plants for your garden. Plants have been donated by accomplished neighborhood master gardeners, and neighborhood HPSO gardeners. Lots of native plants this year! This plant sale is a fundraiser for development of a new park in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood and will be located near the future new park.” Please bring cash or check only, as there will not be a debit/credit machine available at the checkout. If you have any questions, contact Lisa at 503/754-1655.  For more information, you can also go online –   

“Aging in Place” help for Inner Southeast seniors: “Eastside Village” information meeting at Woodstock Wine and Deli this morning, S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 41st, 10:30 to 12 noon. This is a nonprofit service to help seniors age at home. Anyone living east of the Willamette River, south of Interstate 84, west of 122nd, and north of the Clackamas County line is in the Eastside Village area. The meeting today is free.

Stencil Screen Printing for adults, at Sellwood Library: Screen printing with stencils is a fun and easy way to make limited-edition runs of prints while getting familiar with screen printing materials! Learn the fundamentals of stencil making, how to use a silkscreen, and how to pull a print. Participants will leave with screen-printed posters and fabric patches. Participants are welcome to bring a T-shirt to print on (light color cotton fabric only, please). It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5123. It’s 2-4 p.m. this afternoon, at the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.

MAY 25
Informal seminar on “Helping Teens with Stress & Anxiety”:
Community organizer Rachel Ginocchio offers a talk on ways parents can help teens deal with stress and anxiety; teen expert Yshai Boussi will provide valuable guidance and tools. Presentation followed by Q&A and open discussion. Held this evening, 7:30-9 p.m., at 13 Virtues Brewing, 6410 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, across the street from QFC in Westmoreland. Limited to 20 participants; $25 per person. Sign up online:

MAY 27
Multnomah County Fair, today thru Monday at Oaks Park:
The 111th annual Multnomah County Fair runs three days only – today, Sunday, and Monday (Memorial Day) – at Oaks Amusement Park, just north of the east end of the Sellwood Bridge; take Oaks Park Way just west of the railroad tracks, from S.E. Spokane Street. Plenty of free parking. The fair opens at noon and closes at 7 p.m. each day; admission is free. No pets please. The theme this year is “Honoring our Military and First Responders”; the old-fashioned fair includes animal exhibits and all the other things you expect of a County Fair. The fair is a nonprofit, run by volunteers, with no county assistance. For more information, go online –

MAY 28
Cruise-In at the VFW today:
You’re invited to a Cruise-In today, 10-3, at the VFW Sellwood Breakthrough Post 4248 – at 7118 S.E. Fern. There will be raffles, food, and music, and inside there will be a Marketplace “with lots of fun items”. Come and support our Veterans.

Youths present their stories tonight at Sellwood Playhouse:
Nonprofit “Rogue Pack” presents “Birth of The Creative Warriors” tonight at 7:30 p.m. – written and performed by an eclectic group of students from Madison High School and Jester Educational Theatre (JET). Youths with physical and developmental disabilities, and from other cultures, will share their personal stories written during workshops conducted by Rogue Pack and JET—exploring personal and societal understandings, and coming to appreciate our differences and commonalities. Rogue Pack provides an open forum for these youths. The audience is invited to remain for a talk-back and reception after the show. It’s at the Sellwood Playhouse, 901 S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood. Tickets are $5 in advance, and $8 at the door. To purchase online, go to –

Annual repainting day at Share-It Square:
Today is the day this year for the annual repainting of the Sherrett Square intersection in Sellwood. “This year’s design celebrates unity, with four hands holding four different flowers that are significant to the Portland area, surrounding the planet above a field of dark night sky. All of the hands are tied together with the red thread, a recurring theme from years past. And lastly, around the border are pollinating insects, to signify our continuing appreciation for the small creatures that we depend on.” Volunteer painters will get to work at 10 a.m. until the work is done, which is usually between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. All supplies provided, all are welcome! Contact Sarah Heath for information by e-mail:

Opening day for Woodstock Farmers Market:
Today, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is the opening day for this year’s nonprofit Woodstock Farmers Market – still behind the Key Bank on their parking lot, on Woodstock Boulevard. The market will reappear every Sunday at the same place and time through the last market of the year in October.


     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

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