The "Events and Activities" for the month are below these featured stories!
|The “Sellwood Barbershop” on 13th Avenue, often called “Ed Trite’s Barbershop”, was one of the premiere shops on the entire east side of Portland. The four barbers shown, from left, are Jim Roberts, Bert Wescott, Ed Trite, and Martin Larsen – and a barbers’ assistant stands nearby to clean up after the barbers. This photo was probably taken in about 1930, when Jacob Schick patented the electric razor shown in the hand of the barber on the end, with a customer in the chair. (Courtesy of Harry May and SMILE History Committee)
The old-time barbershops of Sellwood and Westmoreland
By DANA BECK
Special to THE BEE
Saturdays were often the most popular day of the week for men in the 1920’s, and it wasn’t just because for many it was a day off. There wasn’t a week that you wouldn’t find a gathering of gentlemen at the local barbershop, weekends included.
It’s not that men a century ago were fastidious about their looks; it’s just that the corner barbershop was where men gathered to banter with each other, follow their favorite sports teams, and hear the latest local gossip. And, like many other local communities in the City of Portland and across the nation, Sellwood and Westmoreland offered a host of hair cutting establishments to choose from.
Over twenty hair cutting shops could be found along the 13th Avenue strip, and north in the Westmoreland district, so men had quite a choice of where to get lathered and shaved, get a comb and brush treatment, or even have their moustache waxed and curled. They came for the camaraderie, they came because they liked the barber, or they came because everyone there had the same political ideas.
Yes sir, they gathered at Tony’s Barbershop on S.E. 17th because that’s where all the Republicans hung out – or they might want to be the first to grab a chair at Bob’s on Milwaukie Avenue, before the rest of the Democrats had arrived and filled the joint up.
In the early 1900s, and well into the “roaring twenties”, crowds of people attended “Chautauquas” at Oaks Park or at Canemah Park near Oregon City, for political debates between local candidates. Political rallies could be found in almost any part of the city. And if that wasn’t enough, gentlemen with like-minded opinions could visit their local barbershop. It was here that you could complain about city officials, argue about the increase of taxes, or grumble about the Sellwood Sheriff who failed to stop roaming cows from trampling residents’ gardens and knocking down fences.
The barbershop was a hotbed of political action, and if you sat in a barbers’ chair and had a different point of view than Conservative Carl or Liberal Leon combing your tresses, you might be at risk of leaving with a lop-sided haircut. Or worse, you might get jabbed on the side of the head – by accident, of course.
Barbers have been around for a long time, found in almost any town and village. Cutting hair and shaving faces was a hard vocation in a little village like Sellwood in its earliest times. Farmers, tradesmen, and artisans could ill-afford such luxuries, and often let months go by between a shaves and haircuts. Barbers didn’t begin showing up on muddy Umatilla Street until as late as the 1890s. Sellwood was still a smattering of single dwellings huddled near the Willamette River waterfront, still accessed by ferry with the Sellwood Bridge years away from becoming a reality, six miles up the river from Portland.
One of the first barbers to arrive in Sellwood was C. A. Williams, who worked from a small square shed-like structure built next to his house. A large pane window in the front offered Williams the opportunity to view the action out on the street, as potential customers lumbered slowly by in a horse drawn wagons, or came to town for supplies. It took a cunning barber, like Williams, to convince men who were just traveling through to stop for a much-needed groom, let alone a bath.
During slow times between customers, when the steamboat or ferry had not yet arrived at the Sellwood waterfront, merchants along the street would gather outdoors to engage in idle conversation. Williams might strike up a conversation with any passing teamster, inquiring what grain was selling for on the market. Or, while watching the local grocer fussing with an outdoor display case, he would ask if any apples were available today.
After the small talk, he might suggest that it looked like they were due for a haircut.
To the youngster passing by on a horse he might remind that the Saturday night dance in Sellwood was coming up; a haircut with some rose water or a special hair tonic from Williams’ barbershop would certainly make him the dandy of the dance.
Not only did Barbers have to be good with hair, they also had to be convincing salesmen!
As the population began to grow around the start of the 20th Century, barbershops became more prevalent in the commercial districts – especially along the streetcar line on 13th Avenue. Shops like “Roberts and Larson” or “Disbro and Pierce” offered barbers working in tandem, to handle any rush of customers.
Often a barber’s day could last from sun up to sundown, seven days a week. With two barbers on hand, one could relieve the other for breaks, lunch, or even a long midday nap, as well as the times when they had to travel by ferry to the west side of the river for personal business.
As the times changed, so too did the barbershops. And, to attract high-end clientele, the exterior of these shops became flamboyant with colorful awnings, a candy-stripe barber’s pole, or a large display window for potential customers as they passed by to see the cleanliness and luxury they demanded of a barbershop.
And it was soon after that that men no longer entered the front door of a barbershop only for a fast shave and haircut – as mentioned earlier, they came for the camaraderie – to swap stories, tell jokes, or catch up on the latest news from the chatty man with the clippers in his hand.
If you lived south of Tacoma Street a century ago, you could choose between the “Roberts and Larsen” barbershop, or “Bill the Barber” on the next block. Upon entering either shop, you were greeted with the welcoming fragrance of Witch Hazel Rum and shaving soaps.
At William Moore’s, just to the north, there were barber chairs with fancy steel foot-rests and leather seats; and next door, at Grover Davis’s, a long and well-used leather strap hung from a nail in the wall. Before every shave, those seated in Grover’s chair with faces covered by a hot towel, could hear the stroke of the straight razor being sharpened back and forth across the strap, and then feel its cold steel shaving their neck.
Streetcar conductors and workers, the businessmen at the Sellwood Bank on Umatilla Street, and local grocers and pharmacists might then have patronized these barbershops. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Charles Ballard, Editor of THE BEE at the time, sat in one of those barber’s chairs, gathering local tidbits for the next edition of the newspaper.
North of Tacoma Street, residents also had many barbershops to choose from within easy walking distance. Hair cutting shops up the avenue included Walt’s Barbershop on Spokane Street, Wiebe’s a few doors down, Barneys near Miller Street, and Harry Houghtling’s shop on Nehalem Avenue. Clientele included mill hands from the Eastside Lumber Mill, drivers and workers from the Peerless Laundry Company, and the many merchants and residents nearby. M
en who lived in Inner Southeast and commuted to work on the west side of town, either chose a barber Downtown, or waited until the weekend for their weekly visit to the available barbers in Sellwood and Westmoreland.
Over the course of the following twenty years barbershops came and went, and some changed hands. W.F Stewart replaced Grover Davis, and Mick’s Hair Cutting Shop took over Tony’s Barber Stop.
The most established hair stylist for men was the Sellwood Barbershop, situated at Tenino and 13th, serving customers for over fifty years. The Sellwood Barbershop became known among locals as Trite’s Barbershop. When Edwin Trite and his wife settled in Sellwood in 1911, Ed was quick to reserve a barber’s chair at the Sellwood Hairstyling Shop, partnering with Bert Wescott and Martin Larsen. Two years later, Edwin became the sole owner, and for the next five decades he continued cutting hair for three generations of families, until his retirement in 1960.
Almost every barbershop along 13th Avenue was a simple one- or two-man establishment in the 1920’s, but few could compare to the Sellwood Barbershop, which was filled with luxurious features that rivaled most big-time operations in Portland’s downtown business district. The four-chair establishment of Jim Roberts, Bert Wescott, Martin Larsen, and Ed Trite – all dressed in starched white jackets with black ties – presented a taste of downtown luxury for customers who lived in what was still a rather rural southeast neighborhood.
To continue with our portrait of the swanky Sellwood Barbershop, a large wooden-framed mirror ran lengthwise on the south wall, set atop a wainscoted counter filled with shaving lotions, hair tonics, and barbers’ tools. Across the aisle, two sets of chairs were available for waiting customers, and a calendar with a smiling girl hung on the wall, along with a poster depicting different hairstyles patrons could choose from.
But that wasn’t all, ladies and gentlemen! The Sellwood Berbershop also had a western-style spittoon near the foot of the front barber’s chair, for customers to use. How classy is that!
An open wooden cupboard of shaving mugs lined the wall of the shop for weekly visitors who came for a weekly shave. Many barbers offered these for sale for 50 cents, while more elaborate shaving mugs were available up to $2.50. Shaving mugs were often decorated with flowers, sailing ships, butterflies, or birds, and most included the owner’s name, hand-embossed in gold!
Fraternity groups, firemen, and several other service groups could order specialized mugs depicting their occupation. The wall of Trite’s Barbershop would later be filled with scenes of firemen in action, brotherhood logos, or job-related scenes for the like of a trolley worker, a carpenter, or a mill worker.
During peak hours at the many barbershops in this part of town in that era, an assistant might be called upon to sweep up the tufts of hair that fell to the tile floor, as well as lather faces, clean the sink, wash out shaving mugs, and rinse out the combs and brushes. A barber’s assistant had many chores to perform, all to ensure the barbershop was appealing to new clients, or the regular members of the hair-cutting club.
Encouraged by the fashions and trends in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Red Book Magazine, “discerning ladies” in the 1920s raced to the local barbershop to have their hair cut and styled like the models on the front cover of the latest magazine. Barbershops became briefly dependent on female as well as male customers – until beauty salons began showing up next door, or across the street. As early as 1928, ladies’ hair salons – like Sara Jane Beauty Shoppe near the Moreland Theater, and Aleta’s Beauty Parlor in the Unique Antique structure – provided women an option in hairstyling techniques
In the 1920s, haircuts were 25 cents, and many men came in to barbershops four or five times a week for a shave. Preparations for a shave were time-consuming, and kept busy young boys serving as attendants providing three to four hot towels per customer from the heated towel-sterilizer machine.
In the 1920’s, television was a long way off yet, and few people could yet afford a radio – a medium that was just beginning to gain in popularity. So, entertainment it was another reason to spend a Saturday afternoon at the corner barbershop! A smart owner would have a radio tuned to sports broadcasts – perhaps baseball. And a boxing match broadcast was certain to draw a large crowd of men to almost any local barbershop. In addition to the radio broadcasts that many barbershops offered, what better place to compare stats, boast about your favorite team, or share your knowledge of professional athletics?
Then came the Great Depression, followed by World War II. By the start of the Great Depression, few patrons could afford the luxury of a weekly visit to the barbershop, and the introduction of the disposable-bladed safety razor by Gillette signaled the general demise of the custom shave. Clients could buy a hand razor and a pack of razors at the local drugstore, and shave themselves in the ease of their own bathroom.
And radio had gained in popularity and importance during those two decades, becoming part of every home, and was no longer useful to draw customers to barbershops – although an important sporting event, especially a broadcast of the World Series, would still be turned on inside as it took place.
Tony’s barbershop, at the corner of 17th Avenue and Spokane Street, was a pocket-sized two-man operation – and was handy for Kaiser shipyard workers who lived in this section of town during the war in the early to mid-1940s. Anton Rekart had partnered with Tony in a small space that many people remember in its later incarnation as the dining area of Bertie Lou’s Breakfast House.
When Anton Rekart came to the United States from the Old World – specifically, Russia – he and his family settled in Sellwood in 1914. Anton used his apprenticeship of learning barbering skills to later work alongside Tony, in his two-chair barbershop, but eventually John Rekart followed in his own father’s footsteps by going to barber’s college, and he began building up his own customer retail business.
The Westmoreland commercial district didn’t even get started until around 1910, but once a grocery, a meat market, a pharmacy, and a bakery had opened up around “Milwaukie Avenue and Bybee Street”, barbershops soon followed.
The metal sign of Dewey’s haircutting joint on Milwaukie Avenue welcomed customers, and George Lindemann’s small two-man shop on Rural Street also became popular, where “By the Bunch” flower shop is now located.
A visit to the barbershop was a part of growing up; and many who lived in Westmoreland in that era might remember getting their first shave or haircut at the Westmoreland Barbershop at Milwaukie and Bybee. Westmoreland resident Pat Ragnone later noticed, while waiting for his turn at the Westmoreland Shop in 1980, that the barber usually knew more of the kids in the neighborhood than did his own son.
In the 1970s and 80s, television had replaced the old radio in the barbershop, and now was often turned on, showing sporting events. It was at the proprietor’s choice, of course, what would be shown during business hours. And it wasn’t always sports! Locals Pat Ragnone and Marv Price today agree that the television set at the Westmoreland shop was always then set to an ongoing religious program – and once it was their time to sit in the barber’s chair, a free sermon was included with the haircut.
On several occasions, Marv recalls trying to start a conversation with the head barber, asking his opinion on current events – but by the time the barber was finished with the haircut, talk had reverted back to the religious topic of the day.
This choice of program would not seem to be a business-building idea; but the barbershop did continue to have customers. When it was his turn to sit in the “baptismal chair” for his haircut, Pat Ragnone would ask if there were ever any thought of changing the channel to another program. Shaking his head, the barber’s mournful reply was usually, “Why, there’s nothing worth watching on any of the other channels.” (Not that there were many other channels available locally at that time.) A visit to the Westmoreland Barbershop was certainly memorable for anyone.
As the times changed, so too did hair styles; and barbers of course had to keep up on the latest styles. From the “quarter shingle”,” military cut”, and “commodore” that your grandparents wore, to the “Mohawk Shear”, the flip, and the pompadour of the 1940s and 50s, barbers were constantly having to keep up on their customers’ tastes.
Between the 1920s and the 1960s, beauty salons began to outnumber men’s barbershops, and eventually stylish unisex hair salons and national chain salons had largely replaced the local barber – and the corner barbershop is mostly a fading memory.
The “Mop Top” haircut, popularized by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, gave conservative barbers fits, and the long haired, hippie look in the late 1960s pretty much doomed the hair cutting business for barbers. High school and college students liking the long hair look didn’t need to spend cash in the barber’s chair, forcing many of the old-time barbers to close shop for good.
Today, Barbershops catering to men are making a great comeback. “The Barbers” in Sellwood on S.E. 13th Avenue, and “Bishop’s Barbershop”, have revolutionized haircuts for the modern man, offering such luxuries as leather seats, chrome counters, personal televisions, and hand-held hair dryers. But for those wishing for a leisurely old-time barbershop feel, a visit to LoLos’s Westmoreland Barber Shop next to the Moreland Theater on Milwaukie Avenue is indeed a must. Polished stainless steel barbers’ chairs with rich red leather seats are reminiscent of the early barbershops that once punctuated the streets of Milwaukie and 13th Avenues, and like the old-time barber shops, it’s still open seven days a week. An illuminated revolving red, white, and blue Barbers’ Pole in the window helps you find your way there.
|This is one of 108 posters which adorned S.E. Gladstone Street during the first phase of an art installation called the “Empty Light Project” – which began in December, and will continue into March. (Photo by Paige Wallace)
Local artist brightens Gladstone Street with ‘empty light’
By PAGE WALLACE
For THE BEE
The first wave of an ongoing art installation appeared along S.E. Gladstone Street in early December.
Brightly-colored posters adorned 108 utility poles from 26th Avenue all the way past Cesar Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th). Each bore the same recurring image of a circular rainbow on a swirling blue background. The artist had signed, numbered, and titled the prints with a curious moniker: “Empty Light Project”.
Neighbors stopped for a closer look, as they walked their dogs or biked up the hill. Some snapped photographs and posted them to social media. Others carefully pried away the staples and carried prints home to frame and keep. And a few tore them down and threw them in the trash. Artist Jonathan Seiber said he’s seen many different responses, and he appreciates all of them. He wants people to react according to how his art makes them feel.
“I told myself, if just one person appreciates this, that’s great,” explained Seiber – a father and student who lives in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, and describes himself as a “non-professional artist with various college degrees that he doesn’t use”.
Seiber said his Empty Light Project will play out over the coming months, with the next round of new posters going up as this issue of THE BEE was going to press. He described the new design as “more vibrant” than the first. Each set of prints will appear in batches of 108, and will extend farther across Southeast Portland – eventually creating a loop back to the neighborhood where it all began.
The project is actually a tribute to Seiber’s mother, who passed away in March. “She very much loved art and beauty,” he reflected. After she died, he found himself making a lot of art, and searching for new ways to connect with other people. The idea to take his designs to the streets grew out of that period of creation and reflection. “I guess it was just part of my process of grieving her.”
As he contemplated his mother’s death, he considered the Buddhist concept of reincarnation – and this led to the design on the initial round of posters. The circular rainbow and wavy lines illustrate a Buddhist concept called “Thigle”, which the online Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia describes as “emptiness containing bits of energy.” Seiber thought about adding this explanation on the posters, but then opted out of using text because he wanted people to respond to the image without preconceived notions.
Seiber’s goal for the project is to offer the gift of art in order to brighten the emptiness many people are feeling amid all the pandemic and political upheaval. “The world just seems so hostile,” he remarked. “What I wanted, as a human, was to go out into the world and see beautiful things.”
He added, “I think that if more people were thinking about what they could share with the world, instead of what’s wrong with the world, we could really change things.”
Seiber is documenting these ongoing art installations on Instagram, hoping to connect with people who stumble upon the posters. He encourages the public to share their photos using the hashtag #emptylightproject.
|Woodstock resident Ned Holbrook is shown picking up a book from one of the 90 self-service “hold lockers” outdoors off the Woodstock Library parking lot. He entered his library card number on the screen, and his locker door popped open with his book inside. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)
Branch Library self-service ‘hold lockers’ now a pandemic option
By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE
The pandemic has brought many changes into our lives. Fortunately, some of them have been innovative and positive.
To accommodate public health during a time when physical distancing is necessary to stay healthy, Multnomah County Library reported right after the New Year that they have introduced a new and innovative way for patrons to pick up on-hold library items: Self-service lockers for library on-hold pickups have been added outside at two Inner Southeast Portland library branches. The Woodstock and Holgate branches were chosen for the experiment, based on several factors.
David Lee, Administrator of the Woodstock Branch Library since February of last year, told THE BEE, “The library locker project team chose these locations based on facilities; ‘holds’ data considerations; owned library buildings that have ample, secure outdoor space for a large locker system that could accommodate 24/7 access; and adequate access to Internet and power.”
Lee was a member of the Library Lockers Project Team, which consisted of twelve people from different workgroups in the library system. He explained, “The locker idea came about from conversations held about how the library could adapt its services to meet the needs of the community, back when the pandemic began.”
When placing a hold on items, library patrons can now choose to pick them up from a self-service “hold locker”. After a notice arrives by e-mail, phone, or text, telling the patron that items are ready for pickup at the locker, people can go to the library with their library card (or number) and their password within three days of the notice. They scan their card, or enter the number on the screen located at the center of the block of lockers adjacent to the parking lot.
This seems to meet the need. Woodstock resident Ned Holbrook says his family walks frequently in the neighborhood, so having three days to pick up an item from a locker is no problem for them.
These lockers make it possible for people whose jobs or childcare limit their ability to get out and pick up books, audio books, CDs, and DVDs during regular library hours. And, for people with concerns about COVID-19 contagion, this is a no-contact option.
It also seems that lockers are a fun way for individuals or families to pick up their items on hold.
However, picking up items at the front door by making an online or telephone appointment is still an option. Lee said, “If a patron misses their appointment and does not pick up their items at the front door, we will [still] hold them for 6 days.” Once at the front door, people are asked to wear a mask and distance.
The long-term future of “hold lockers” is not yet certain. Lee remarked, “The Library Lockers Project team will evaluate the success of the lockers, and then determine if we will continue to offer this service permanently after COVID passes.”
Learn more online at http://www.multcolib.org
– where information is available in Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese, and English.
|The 1950 Nazarene Church between S,E, Milwaukie and 17th at Lambert Street is to be the site of 85 new apartments, spread over three new buildings. (Photo by Eileen G. Fitzsimons)
Buildings coming and going in Sellwood-Westmoreland
By EILEEN G. FITZSIMONS|
For THE BEE
The 1892 “Benjamin Smith” house at the corner of S.E. 13th and Nehalem – the former location of “Sock Dreams”, whose history I traced in the February, 2020, BEE – is now an empty lot, awaiting the construction of a new 16-unit apartment building. A colleague asked me why it couldn’t be saved, so here is my response:
First you have to find a lot onto which it can be moved. This could be an empty lot, something in very short supply in the neighborhood, or a lot with an existing house onto which the house could be squeezed. A 50x100 empty residential lot in the SMILE neighborhood, if you can find one, will cost around $250,000.
Next you approach the Bureau of Development Services to determine what needs to be done to the lot to make it possible to move the house onto it. A new foundation poured to current building code, professionally-drawn plans, and permit costs all begin to add up. If you want to put a garage or accessory dwelling unit underneath, and need to excavate, the cost of your plans will increase, along with contractors’ estimates. Then add the cost of new utilities – water, sewer, electricity – and perhaps natural gas. If you are still determined to have the house, you may get lucky, and the existing owner might sell it to you for $1.00. This has happened in at least two other instances, because the owner doesn’t have to pay to have the structure demolished or deconstructed.
Finally, you begin getting bids from companies that can jack up the house, perch it on temporary “cribbing”, negotiate with the power company regarding overhead electrical lines, and obtain a permit to move the house. The greater the distance to its new site, the greater the cost. Moving day will be a festive occasion for neighbors and citizens en route; but a day of high anxiety for the new owner, as the trailer inches verrrry slowly to its new site. If all goes well, the structure will remain intact, with no shifting or cracked walls.
Once it’s at its new home, contractors will have to settle it onto its new foundation, et cetera – and it probably won’t be habitable for several more months. Someone who assumes such an undertaking must have a substantial bank account, and two large wings between their shoulders, because this is a labor of love.
As for some of the local lots being cleared for new construction….
The Nazarene Church structure, between S.E. Milwaukie and 17th Avenue at Lambert Street – a red brick building constructed in 1950, with seating capacity for 450 people – will soon be replaced with three new apartment buildings. In 2002, fellow BEE correspondent Rita Leonard described the sale of the church after its membership had dwindled to twenty. The parsonage, which was on the opposite (north) side of Lambert Street, and a parking lot were quickly replaced with six townhouse-style, single-family homes. However, following its sale by the Nazarenes, the church building was rented for eighteen years by a Spanish-language congregation, Casa del Padre. According to the sign in front of the church building, the site, which also includes a large parking lot to the south, will soon hold 85 units with 46 parking spaces below grade.
Although the Nazarenes moved into their newly constructed home in 1950, their membership had begun coalescing long before, in 1907; and as they grew, they occupied two earlier church structures. In 1907 the original 1885 chapel of the Methodist church was moved one block east of its corner at S.E. 15th and Tacoma, and the fledgling Nazarenes assumed occupancy. (It survives today as a single-family residence – it’s the structure with the tall, gothic-style windows, facing Tacoma Street.)
By 1922, when the members of the Sellwood Presbyterian Church moved to their new home at S.E. 18th and Bybee Boulevard, the Nazarenes moved into the original Presbyterian Church at S.E. 15th and Spokane, and remained until they finished their own church 28 years later.
Additionally, since a BEE reader recently inquired about the old K&K Photo Shop building, at the corner of S.E. 13th and Umatilla in Sellwood, which has been standing empty for at least eight years, there is a story to tell there too.
This corner has a long history of occupancy, stretching back to the earliest days of Sellwood, the subdivision/plat for which was filed with Multnomah County in 1882.
Initially this corner was the location of a small shack owned by Swedish immigrant and former shoemaker Oscar H. Wallberg. In a 1907 advertisement in THE BEE, he described his business as “Sellwood’s Pioneer Real Estate Dealer: Rents and general collectors of non-residents looked after with the same careful manner as if my own. No wildcat schemes, AND SAFE RETURNS ON CONSERVATIVE INVESTMENTS.”
Mr. Wallberg arrived in Sellwood in 1888, so if he was not the community’s first realtor, he may have been its first property management agent – even if that title had not been invented. He was a trusted resident; one of the charter members of the Sellwood Volunteer Fire Company; and in 1909 he became the superintendent of the Sellwood Branch Post Office, situated in the drug store next door.
By 1903 Mr. Wallberg had, as a neighbor, a modest frame structure that housed a drug store owed by Edwin C. Golden In June of 1907 Mr. Golden added ten feet to the south side of the building, “enlarging both the upper storeroom as well as the basement.” By 1914, druggist Peter Livingston was running the business, which was renamed the Beaver Pharmacy; and within ten years he had purchased the building, which included a soda fountain. By 1928 it was described as being “two-story brick.” It is not known whether this meant it was a newly-constructed building, or that the surface of the old building had been covered with brick.
By 1936, Joe Leveton was the owner/pharmacist. He was a Russian immigrant who earned his four-year pharmacy degree at the North Pacific College, then operated his business until 1965. In that year it became K&K Photo, owned by Bob Sells, which continued until approximately 2010. In a brief telephone conversation, the current owner – a realtor – commented only that he “has had the property too long.” But he is apparently not in a hurry to redevelop the corner or rent out the space.
More new buildings at two other neighborhood sites are well under way: The former Christian Science Church on S.E. 17th between Reedway and Knight Streets has been cleared away, and 23 single family homes with common side walls will soon be built on the large site. And the former south parking lot of Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial & Crematorium, on S.E. 14th between Glenwood and Bybee will soon contain nine homes.
In spite of the coronavirus pandemic’s slowdown for existing businesses, the market for new construction appears strong; otherwise why would redevelopment be so brisk? At the same time, a newly-completed apartment structure on S.E. 13th at Lambert St. still appears to be largely empty, and several others have “now leasing” signs in their windows. Is the market for rental properties now getting saturated, or – post-COVID – will we witness another in-migration of new neighbors? Time will tell.
|Artist Mason Parker poses next to the “Brooklyn Businesses” mural he painted on the front of Rose City Martial Arts on Milwaukie Avenue; that’s where the new after-school art and science class for kids is held. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
After-school art and science class opens in Brooklyn
By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE
An after-school art and science program for students between the ages of 6 and 13 has opened on Milwaukie Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
The cooperative community venture in space provided by Rose City Martial Arts, at 3432 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, is supervised by Jocelyn Gruppe-Mueller, who is also associated with the business next door, “Know Thy Food” grocery. Students attend between the hours of 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, although the program hopes to add a morning session as well.
The new community program includes exercise, storytime, arts, crafts, and science experiences provided by parents on a rotating basis. Jim Schmeckel, co-owner of Rose City Martial Arts, currently teaches a martial arts component for the program, which also includes games, chess, snacktime, freeze tag – as well as downtime, when kids can work on homework or read.
Former Sellwood resident Mason Parker, a local artist who normally works with ink and watercolors, recently completed a mural on the front of the building which depicts Brooklyn businesses along Milwaukie Avenue pointing out places to “Shop Local”.
Parker's “Regional Art of Oregon” illustrated notecards are sold at “Know Thy Food”, featuring colorful images of Oregon’s regional vistas.
For more information on the new after-school art and science classes, contact Jocelyn Gruppe-Mueller at 503/206-5766.
|As seen from the north end of the parking lot of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a large bald eagle nest perches in a fork near the top of a fir tree. It’s the dark mass in the middle of this photo. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to see the eagles there. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
|Nature photographer Jonathan Swanson shot this long-lens closeup of a bald eagle in a treetop at Oaks Bottom. (Courtesy of www.pdxnaturephotos.com)
Bald eagles nest at Crystal Springs Rhody Gardens
By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE
Bald eagles are no stranger to the area in and around Oaks Bottom, but are rarer elsewhere. However, a bald eagle family has become a regular near S.E. 28th Avenue, in the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, just west of Reed College, and has built a nest.
You can get a glimpse of them and their nest by standing in the north end of the parking lot on 28th and focusing on a tall fir tree with a flat top growing at the center of the peninsula in the Garden. Look about six feet down at a fork in the tree, and there you'll see the eagles’ nest of sticks. They build the largest nest of any American bird – it can reach over eight feet wide.
Philip Lofrumento, a worker for the American Rhododendron Society who has worked at the Garden for some sixteen years, tells THE BEE, “This is their sixth year here. Last year and the year before, they hatched two chicks per season. The year before that, there was only one eaglet. The young eagles ‘fledge’ in July; and, after learning how to hunt for themselves, the parents then kick them out. The youngsters tried to visit the following year, but were chased away by their parents.
“This is a great place to view the eagles,” he continued; “Even better than at Oaks Bottom, I think. We also have osprey here, a pair of red-tailed hawks, and other raptors. Bird watchers can also see great blue herons hunting in the shallows, and a wide variety of smaller waterfowl. The eagles’ nest is here to stay, apparently. You can see the birds at different times of day, soaring over nearby Reed College, fishing in the area, or roosting in nearby trees.”
Many folks boating along the Willamette River near Ross Island have seen two or three bald eagles flying near the south end of the island, or perching on logs sticking up out of the water. Some eagles nest on the island, as well. Johnathan Swanson [www.pdxnaturephotos.com], who lives on the west side of the river, has photographed many young eagles (dark plumage) and adults (white heads) near Oaks Bottom.
Sometimes you can even see eagles catching fish on the fly, from the river. All are great places to view our majestic national bird. Portland is fortunate to have such a wide variety of wildlife so near the city’s center.
Two legislators at WNA meeting tonight: This evening at 7 p.m. at the ZOOM virtual Woodstock Neighborhood Association February General Meeting, State Representatives Rob Nosse and Karin Power, from Districts 42 and 41 respectively, will discuss the 2021 term, with a focus on addressing homelessness. Open to all. To attend, the ZOOM link to put into your browser is https://zoom.us/j/97984723663. Meeting ID: 979 8472 3663. Or, go online for the link to – http://www.woodstockpdx.org
All Saints collects warming items and food today: Today, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is a time to drop off warming items (hats, gloves, jackets, blankets, sleeping bags at the All Saints Episcopal Church “Winter Warmth Drive”, at S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 41st – deadline extended due to need – and to contribute food items for the church’s “Woodstock Pantry”. Learn more at – http://www.allsaintspdx.org/winterwarmth – and at – http://www.allsaintspdx.org/pantry
Woodstock Neighborhood Assn. Bingo: Today, for Valentine’s Day, you can show some love for Woodstock by downloading the Woodstock Neighborhood Association Bingo game card, and begin to fulfill some of the squares – such as, “Order Take Out from a Woodstock Restaurant”, “Visit a Neighborhood Park”, “Sign Up for the WNA Newsletter”, or “Share a Pic of Something You Love About the Neighborhood.” Winners will receive a gift from a neighborhood business. To download the Bingo card, and for game instructions, go online – http://www.woodstockpdx.org
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