Community Features

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

Historic climb, Mt Hood, Mantle Club, 1936, Mazama, airplane, picture
From an airplane circling Mt. Hood on August 9, 1936, Mantle Club member and professional photographer A.L. Junken captured the moment, as the 400 Club members labored to finish their triumphant eight-hour ascent of Oregon’s tallest peak. (Courtesy of Dave Elkin)

The Mountain, and the Mantle Club – Tales of the Elkin Family


This is the third and final part of a family story that began in the January issue of THE BEE with a pile of discarded photographs. I appealed to readers for help in locating descendants of Rev. Thomas and Dessie Elkins, who had arrived in Sellwood in 1906, so that a collection of their long-lost photos could be returned.  

A follow-up story in February reported on the success of that appeal, as the collection was handed over to Dave Elkin – a descendant who by coincidence now lives in Southwest Portland.

This month I am sharing two final stories that do not directly relate to the photographs, but which developed during my research for the two earlier articles. I think that BEE readers might find them intriguing.

The first recounts a remarkable ascent of Mt. Hood; the second summarizes what I have been able to glean about a mysterious fraternal organization with which two Elkin brothers, Ted and Ed, were involved.

The Climb
As I write, the Winter Olympics are headline news, and my initial story recalls an unprecedented, and unrepeatable, climb of Mt. Hood. Ted Elkin, one of three sons of the Rev. and Dessie Elkin, was one of the people who’d planned and participated in that 1936 climb, which also connects to the second story, an account of the Mantle Club.

In 1933-34 a branch of a national fraternal and social organization, called the Mantle Club, was established in Portland. The exact purpose of the club was vague, and records are sketchy. However, in Portland, its activities centered around athletics. Beginning in the mid-1930’s the sports sections of local daily newspapers – the Journal, Telegram, and Oregonian – listed bowling, ice hockey, basketball, and baseball teams that were all sponsored by the Mantle Club. Members were men between the ages of 21 and 40 who competed against other teams, and were sponsored by factories, banks, and insurance companies.

Edwin (Ed) Elkin and his younger brother Theodore (Ted) both joined the Mantle Club. Ted had been involved in sports since boyhood – last month’s BEE photo showed him at age 16, as a player of on a Sellwood Community Center basketball team – but Ed was more at ease with numbers, as an accountant or financial auditor. Ed became Secretary/Manager of the Portland Mantle Club, which had an office in downtown Portland.

In order to draw attention to the Club and increase paying memberships, the Club decided to organize an ascent of Mt. Hood. This would not be an outing for a handful of men, but would include the entire membership – which, by June of 1934, numbered four hundred.

A “practice” hike was undertaken on July 7, 1935, by 83 participants. Mantle Club leadership coordinated with the highly-regarded climbing organization the Mazamas. After the initial hike, Mantle Club members, including Ted Elkin, spent a year planning the second climb. On August 9, 1936, the 400 members traveled to the mountain; and, after a “hearty breakfast of porridge, coffee, fruit juice, and toast with jelly”, departed from the Mazamas lodge at midnight, in groups of twenty, at four-minute intervals. (Midnight continues to be the Mt. Hood ascent start time, so that hikers can reach the summit by approximately noon, to cope with snow conditions. Today, ascents do not take place after May, and recommence only when there is adequate snow in the late fall. Readers considering a Guinness Book record should know that the Forest Service now limits groups to a dozen climbers!)

The August climb was successful, and all 400 hikers arrived safely at the summit. Photos taken by Ted Elkin show grinning men, wearing sunglasses, their faces white with zinc oxide to prevent sunburn. By contemporary standards, their essential climbing gear was primitive – consisting of spiked leather boots and a climbing staff. Most wore ordinary canvas or wool work trousers, wool jackets, scarves and hats, with an occasional jaunty fedora. Small rucksacks contained metal canteens of water and lunch, followed (in many pictures) by a cigarette or cigar.

After eating at the summit, the party descended without incident. The most challenging point of the trip down was a three-foot leap over a “snow chute” (crevasse), achieved by clinging to a taut rope stretched across the gap.

The event merited front-page coverage in the Journal and Telegram newspapers but was ignored by the Oregonian. Movie footage was taken (the whereabouts of which is now unknown), and Mantle Club member A.L. Junken captured dramatic images of the hike from an airplane.

Conversation with Mazamas archivist Matthew Brock reveals that the signatures of the climbers are in the club summit logs, but they have no records of the advance planning or the event itself. According to him, this would have been considered an “acquaintance” hike – an event to encourage Mazamas membership. The most puzzling omission was that there was no story in THE BEE at the time. Elkin family members were well-known in the neighborhood, and one would assume that this event would have merited a Page One story and an interview with Ted. The only possible reason might have been that his mother Dessie was very ill at the time, and died just a week after the climb. Perhaps this story will belatedly make up for the omission.

The Mantle Club
A scrapbook owned by Dave Elkin’s father Tommy, the son of Ted Elkin, contains newspaper clippings and photos of the climb, as well as a few pages from a local Mantle Club membership publication entitled “The Squirt of Ink”. Understanding the organization’s activities, which apparently continued until the early 1950’s, is more challenging – to date, no club records have surfaced.

The predecessor of the Mantle Club was the Decimo Club, a fraternal and social club, launched in San Francisco in November of 1924. Its founder was an accountant named Hugh B. Monjar, who charged a $20 membership fee that he retained to cover the cost of managing club business. Within a year the Decimo Club had 300 members, and Monjar decided to shift club headquarters to the east coast, incorporating it in both New York and Delaware. By June, 1927 that club (also referred to in later accounts in the New York Times as the “Success Club”) claimed 1,000 members, and abruptly raised its membership fee to $100, with a $2/month dues payment for local club activities. For every new membership, Monjar kept $12.50.  

The Decimo Club also expanded beyond its original purpose of encouraging fellowship among its members, to educating them, through regular lectures, on how to “develop financial success”. Monjar formed two shell corporations in which he sold stock and whose finances he controlled.

It was at this time that the U.S. Attorney General for the State of New York acted on a complaint about the unfulfilled promises of the Decimo Club – complaints that were later attributed by Monjar to jealous associates.

In 1929 Monjar and eight employees were charged with using the U.S. Mail to sell stock to Mantle Club members. Court testimony revealed that the Club “instructors” lacked professional teaching credentials. In fact, one had been a tailor; another a repairman for the telephone company; and a third had worked as a shipping clerk. Monjar denied any intent to defraud club members, but consented to an injunction barring him from selling securities or new “memberships”, and by 1930 the Decimo Club was bankrupt.

However, by this time, the economic downturn which had begun with the stock market crash of October of 1929 was deepening into the Great Depression, which crushed the hopes of a generation of young Americans, and made them susceptible to high-flying financial schemes. As part of the settlement of the Decimo lawsuit, Monjar was still allowed to hold meetings and encourage his “disciples” on how to “develop strong character”, especially through the support and encouragement of fellow club members. Although Monjar was forbidden from selling memberships in the now defunct Decimo Club, he decided to establish a new fraternal and social organization – to be called the Mantle Club.

Hugh B Monjar, Decimo Club, Mantle Club, Portland, Oregon
This dapper individual is apparently Hugh B. Monjar, famous and ultimately nefarious national founder of the Decimo and Mantle Clubs, on a visit to Portland in the 1930’s. (Courtesy of Dave Elkin)

He no longer focused his efforts in New York or New Jersey, but began to disperse his “message” into other states, including California, Washington, and Oregon. Between 1933 and 1934, the Mantle Club arrived in Portland; its first Secretary/Manager, presumably a salaried position, was Ed Elkin. At this time, the Elkin brothers – Ted, Ed, and Ed’s wife – all lived with their widowed mother Dessie, in the family home on Tenino Street (the third brother, Arthur and their sister Susie had married and were living elsewhere in the Sellwood neighborhood).

In Portland, and probably Seattle, the Mantle Club was promoted as a fraternal and social organization. Members developed character and friendships at regular meetings, at which they listened to presentations on lofty topics such as Loyalty, Friendship, Courage, and Self-Control. The Club sponsored many athletic teams, in sports such as ice hockey, bowling, baseball, and basketball and tennis. The sports section of the daily newspaper in the mid-late 1930’s was packed with lively accounts of games between teams sponsored by banks, insurance companies, factories, and of course, the Mantle Club.

While Ed Elkin was engaged in the operations of the Mantle Club, Ted had found at least part-time employment as a manual arts instructor at the Catlin School in northwest Portland. And by 1939, he, too, was “with the Mantle Club” – presumably receiving some salary for organizing athletic events and selling club memberships. The positive ideals encouraged by the Club were on public display at athletic competitions, those two successful ascents of Mt. Hood, and service events – such as re-leveling the playing fields at Peninsula Park.

In June, 1937 Ted married Elizabeth Hobson, a P.E. teacher. The couple had met at an athletic event at a city park – she was a catcher on a woman’s softball team – and by their own accounts, they were “smitten” with each other. Their honeymoon was apparently brief, since the week after their marriage Elizabeth was co-leading children’s summer programs at Sellwood Park. During the school year she returned to her position at Sellwood School. She continued to teach for a year or two, until their three children began to arrive, and Ted, now in his mid-thirties, sought employment to generate a steadier paycheck.

They resided in the family home on Tenino Street, where they began raising a second generation of Elkin children. Ted continued to play on the Mantle Club basketball team – the “Mossbacks” – well into 1938, and was also involved in staging an “Annual Entertainment” at the “Public” (now Keller) Auditorium. By this time Club membership in Oregon had reached 3,000. The performance was composed of a series of skits and musical numbers, whose roles, male and female, were played by Mantle Club members. The evening’s profits were given to the Red Cross, to help the residents of Bandon, Oregon, whose town center had burned in 1936 and then suffered a massive flood.

Public records are sketchy between 1941-1946, but one entry indicates that during World War II, Ted worked in a foundry in northwest Portland, that manufactured parts for the engines of Victory Ships. By the mid-1940’s, between this job and family activities, it is doubtful if he had much spare time to spend on Mantle Club activities. It is also unclear how active the organization was during the war years, although Ed Elkin appears to have advanced to being District Leader of the organization, which included the City of Seattle.

It was in 1943 that H.P. Monjar again came afoul of the law. As a result of the market crash of 1929, federal laws had been passed in an attempt to curb future speculative trading (this sounds familiar). This time, Monjar was charged with violating the Securities Act of 1938, and “pyramiding” various businesses onto the Mantle Club. He was also accused of obtaining more than a million dollars in “loans” from Club members who believed it would be invested in their behalf, but which Monjar kept for his personal use. The trial began in February, 1943, and ended in June. A jury found Monjar guilty; he was fined $49,000 and sentenced to a five-year prison sentence.

It is not known how this turn of events impacted the members of the local Mantle Club, whose slogan was “Honesty, Loyalty, and Justice.”   The fate of its founder is clear, but the organization in Portland and Seattle appeared to continue, possibly independent of headquarters in the East. Perhaps meetings and friendships continued throughout the War, but without the level of earlier organized activities. According to listings in City Directories, the Club did maintain an office until the death of its last Portland Secretary, John M. Baranov, in 1955.

After the War, Ted Elkin left factory work, and became active in leadership in the Boy Scouts. In 1951-52 the Elkin family left Portland, living in several western cities before settling in Santa Monica, California. It was there that Ted died of a heart attack while playing football with his 15-year old son, Tommy, in late October, 1956.

Ted and Ed Elkin had a complicated relationship with the Mantle Club, whose extensive infrastructure and activities are still unclear. The stated goals of the Club were worthwhile, and many of their activities were positive. But the motivation of its leadership on the East coast was not so benign. I would like to hear from any readers who recall an uncle, father, or grandfather who was a member of the Mantle Club, because any additional information or records would help add fill in the many historical gaps.

My thanks to Dave Elkin, the City of Portland Archives & Records, and Mazamas archivist Matthew Brock for information in this article.

Anything Goes, Cole Porter, Franklin High School, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Nearly the entire cast of Franklin High’s musical show this month, “Anything Goes”, rehearse a stage-filling scene. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Anything Goes’ sets sail on Franklin High’s new stage


“Last call for boarding the SS American!” is the captain’s call – as “Anything Goes”, the daffy-and-delightful Cole Porter musical play, gets underway on March 9 in the spectacular new Franklin High School (FHS) Theater, and runs for two weekends.

Madcap antics abound in the show, in which an ocean liner leaves New York for London. The characters include a stowaway who’s in love with an heiress – who is engaged to marry a scheming industrialist. Add a nightclub singer working with a man labeled “Public Enemy #13”, and the farce broadens.

The 1934 musical features such familiar tunes as “Anything Goes”, “You're the Top”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You”.

For this production, FHS theater instructor Josh Forsyth is producing the show and also serving as artistic director; and directing the production is the hands of Portia Hall, who has choreographed or directed every musical play at the school since 2001.

“Anything Goes features love story escapades in a vaudeville-type play, with many silly jokes, and a lot of great songs,” Hall told THE BEE.

In addition to colorful costuming, skilled acting, and tuneful singing, the show features dancing – in fact, lots of tap dancing, Hall promised. “This show makes use, for the first time, our new theater’s orchestra pit, featuring live music by 15 student players, under the musical direction of new FHS instructor Jason Owens. The show features a cast of 55 actors, singers and dancer, and is produced by a crew of 20 student stage technicians.

“People walk away from the show having escaped the troubles of the day for the evening at the show feeling that they’ve gotten good dose of joy and laughter,” Hall promised.

While some of the jokes were considered “racy” in the 1930s, the classic show is now believed suitable for the entire family.

“Anything Goes” opens the evening of March 9 at 7 p.m., continuing on the evening of March 10 – and then returns for the evenings of March 15, 16, and 17. And, there’s a 2 p.m. matinee performance on March 11.

Ticket: $12 for adults, $6 for students and seniors; available at the door or online at EventBrite –

Smal Tall Ball, Llewellyn Elementary School, Father Daughter Dance, Valentines, Westmoreland, Portland, Oregon
Dancing the evening away, at the Llewellyn “Small Tall Ball”, were Nate and Linnea Wall. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Llewellyn hosts fourth Valentine-themed ‘Small Tall Ball’


Many area schools hold Valentine’s Day activities; but for the past four years Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland has distinguished itself by holdling a “Valentine’s Ball” on the Friday evening before the special day, which this year was February 9.

After leading a lively conga line snaking through the gym, hallway, and cafetorium, one of the originators of the ball – parent volunteer Bryan Buck – spoke with THE BEE after catching his breath.

“Our event is based on the idea of holding a ‘Father-Daughter Ball’; but, instead of limiting participation by gender, we came up with an even more inclusive event, where one of the “talls” – the parent – could have a fun evening with their “small”, a student here at Llewellyn – and came up with the name, the ‘Small Tall Ball’,” Buck recalled.

“In addition to it’s being a fun family-oriented dance, it’s also become a successful fundraiser to help subsidize fourth grade and fifth grade overnight field trips,” he said.

The size of this school activity has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. “And, many parents choose to make this a very special evening by taking their child out for dinner before the ball – or dessert after,” Buck pointed out.

The dance comes about thanks to the dedication of the two-and-a-half-dozen volunteers who put the event on. That includes staging items weeks in advance, to decorating during the afternoon prior to the event, and helping out that evening. “We really appreciate all of our volunteers’ help; there are a lot of hands to help make this work light,” he remarked.

By the end of the evening, the ball had raised about $2,000. And, added Buck, “I love helping create something where kids can have a great time.”

Woodstock, seniors, Better Bones and Balance, Steele Street, Portland, Oregon
Shown here are ten of the regular twenty or so Sellwood attendees of the Better Bones and Balance class, posing for stretching photo. The class will reopen in Woodstock on March 20th. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

‘Better Bones and Balance’ class moves to Woodstock


Lisa Revell, a retired chiropractor and Sellwood resident, seems to be on intimate terms with every bone and muscle in the body. For ten years she has used this knowledge while teaching Body Recall exercise classes at Immanuel Lutheran Church on S.E. 15th Avenue in Sellwood.

Now that class, retitled “Better Bones and Balance”, is moving on March 20th to Trinity United Methodist Church on S.E. Cesar Chavez Blvd. (formerly 39th) and Steele Street in Woodstock.

Certified in both the Body Recall and Better Bones and Balance curricula (the latter being based upon research from Oregon State University), Revell clearly enjoys teaching the two-day-a-week class that has been growing during the past year. She also has taught a class at the Odd Fellows retirement facility on S.E. Holgate for eleven years.

The new class includes exercises that focus on parts of the body that can atrophy with age if not properly used; and Revell sometimes adds new and modified exercises to keep the class varied and challenging. The goal is to improve balance, coordination, flexibility, mental acuity, posture, bone strength, and muscle tone. Classes are infused with appropriate music for some of the exercises, which participants reportedly find fun and stimulating.

The age range in the present class extends from people in their sixties to, at present, eighty-eight years old. Both men and women participate in the mix of standing, sitting, walking, and mat exercises. Those in the class come from surrounding Southeast Portland neighborhoods, as well as Milwaukie and Northeast Portland.

As for the reason for the move to Woodstock, a church spokesperson reports that Immanuel Lutheran is thinking of doing extensive remodeling, and then using the fellowship hall in other ways to serve the community. The class participants have enjoyed their time at Immanuel Lutheran, Revell says, and are grateful to the church for generously hosting them for a decade.

The precise address of Trinity United Methodist Church is 3915 S.E. Steele, and parking on-site is available in the lot on its east side.

If the class sounds interesting and useful to you, you are welcome to drop in for a first class at any time to see what it is like after classes, currently in hiatus during the move, resume at the new location on March 20th. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and the enrollment cost is $50 for eight weeks.

For more information or questions, e-mail Lisa – – or call 971/313-1021.

McLoughlin Boulevard, wacky, driving rules, 1913, Highway 99E, Portland, Oregon
This photo shows the opening of the new four-lane “Super Highway” in 1937 – McLoughlin Boulevard. Small trees were planted on either side of the roadway “to buffer the noise” for homes nearby. Supporters of “Rule 3” in this 1913 list would have approved of the tree planting, since it would eventually have provided a place for pedestrians to hide, to avoid scaring passing inexperienced drivers. Looking south apparently from the Bybee Bridge, we see the railroad tracks at left, and what became Westmoreland Park at right. (Courtesy of SMILE History Committee)

From the past: Amusing suggestions for driver safety, over 100 years ago

Special to THE BEE

My stories in THE BEE regularly reach into the past and describe aspects of the history of Inner Southeast Portland. But what of today? Future historians here will have to describe and explain aspects of our lives here today.

And it may take some doing to explain the rules our City Council makes. Take, for example, bicycle regulations. The greatest part of our transportation in the Rose City is done by automobiles on paved streets, yet – and I should explain that my perspective on this is probably affected by my career with the U.S. Postal Service – City of Portland officials are pushing to install bike lanes down streets that are already clogged with gas-powered four-wheeled vehicles.

The Springwater Corridor Trail and Tilikum Crossing were constructed for the joint use of light rail, cyclists, walkers, and joggers, yet every time I myself hike the Corridor I feel like I just stepped in to the middle of a Tour de France race. What do those “share the road” license plates actually mean, and whatever happened to pedestrian rights? Future historians, of course, may be looking back with amusement on such annoyance, while taking their self-driving cars, personal aircraft, and just possibly Star Trek “transporter beam” to work.

It kind of reminds me of an article that I came across in the 1913 edition of THE BEE. An auto enthusiast from Detroit, Michigan, sent in a set of regulations that he thought should be enacted into Oregon Law. It consists of just eight regulations; and today it appears quite humorous in its proposals, so I thought it provides an oblique comparison to what we are facing today.

Let’s take a look at what automobilists were thinking, back at the start of the 20th Century – with perhaps just a few brief comments by me.

Rule #1 – Pedestrians crossing boulevards at night shall wear a white light in front and a red light in the rear.

This sure raises a lot of questions. First off, how big is the light in front? Is it as big as a basketball? If too large and too bright, it could blind onlookers, or at least make you feel like a convict trying to escape over the wall. Today some joggers wear lights on their caps, or a set of bicycle lights. And what were the ladies of high society at that time going to be thinking when they had go out to the theater or to the opera in the evening? It would take quite the creative lady to create a fashionable outfit around those dangling lights about their blouses and skirts.

Rule #2Pedestrians, before turning to the right or left, must give three short blasts on a horn at least 3 inches in diameter.

Well, this one departs from today’s jogging practices altogether, and would pose an almost insurmountable challenge to those ladies of high society. You might be beginning to see the difficulties the automobile enthusiast who proposed these rules over a century ago had in getting these rules enacted anywhere. Let us speculate on how this could possibly work. How loud would the horn be? And what of the elderly couple driving their car when they are confronted by a crowd of 20 or more people, all blowing their horns?  Who blew what horn, did the toot mean right or left, oh no – watch out for that little puppy in the road. See what I mean? Trouble.

Rule #3:  Pedestrians must, when an inexperienced automobile driver is made nervous by a pedestrian, hide behind a tree until the automobile has passed.  

Was this guy serious?  How do you spot an inexperienced driver? I’m really wondering how much thought went into vainly suggesting this ordinance! If you are walking in the woods of Oregon, there would be plenty of trees to hide behind, but what if you are walking down Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland. Where are all the trees? Would you get credit for hiding behind a bush or a patch of roses?

Rule #4:  Pedestrians shall not carry in their pockets any sharp substance liable to cut automobile tires.

Here we have a darker suggestion. If the sharp object in pedestrians’ pockets are to be of any danger to automobile tires, it would only be when the driver of the car is driving over the pedestrian. In such a circumstance one could argue that having sharp things in your pockets was your only practicable means of self-defense.

Rule #5: Pedestrians shall not, in dodging automobiles, run faster than 20 miles an hour.

You see? Running over pedestrians must have been a primitive early form of sport for these automobile enthusiasts, all right, just as we suspected above. And one of the rules of this sport would naturally be that the pedestrians were not allowed to outrun the car. Twenty miles an hour was pretty fast for those early cars! The only way I learned I could run 20 miles an hour was when I encountered a bear on a trail near Multnomah Falls. He went one way, I went the other – at 20 miles an hour. But I digress.

Rule #6:  Pedestrians must register at the beginning of each year and pay a license fee of $5.00.

So pedestrians would have been required to wear a license if this guy had his way? Is that so you could later identify who you ran over? How would you wear it – like the number on the chest you see in old police mug shots?  Putting that aside, that would have been quite a high license fee, especially considering that vehicle registration was only $3.00 for Oregonian motorists in 1905, and that anyone riding a bicycle before that time was charged one dollar. A butcher and baker made between 35 and 40 cents an hour back then. Ladies could buy a corset at the Needlecraft Shop in Sellwood for $3.00 or buy 10 pounds of Petite Prunes at Knipes’ Grocery for 25 cents. It cost a nickel to ride the streetcar, and a dime for a bottle of Coca Cola.

Rule #7:  Pedestrians, before license tags will be issued to them, must demonstrate before an examining board their skill in dodging, leaping, crawling and extricating themselves from machinery.

And you know what machinery this guy was thinking of – he was driving it. Apparently this sport of running people down in your car was no fun if people were not good at dodging. After all, if they were too easy to run down, you’d be puncturing your tires all the time with what was in their pockets. Had all this actually been enacted, it would have posed special problems to youngsters who might have tried to sneak out at night without their license when their parents are asleep; if they remembered to empty their pockets, they might still have forgotten to wear a white light in front and a red light on their backside.

Rule #8:  Pedestrians not wearing a numbered license tags will be held responsible for all damages done to automobiles or their occupants by collision.

Today, this sort of outrageous liability disclaimer still exists, but it’s in the fine print of the license agreement you click without reading when installing anything on your computer. Disclaimers will undoubtedly be part of all legal agreements in tomorrow’s world, too, and it will be interesting to know if any of those ever get read either.

So maybe you found those suggestions fun. Somebody really did propose them – but of course they never became official ordinances here or ever, but the editor of the THE BEE in 1913 printed them and did suggest that they be submitted as serious considerations to the Portland City Council.

It’s also interesting to know that Oregon had less than 500 cars registered in 1913. (They were easily outnumbered by pedestrians with sharp things in their pockets.)

Hopefully we can understand what “sharing the road” should mean for all of us. Motorists should slow down, stop texting, and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. Bicyclists need to respect and share the roads with pedestrians and motorists, so that we can all arrive to our destination in a safe and timely matter. People using sidewalks and crossing streets need to put their cell phones down and cross in a timely manner – obeying traffic control devices as drivers must – and be on the lookout for distracted motorists who don’t see you.

Let’s all share the road safely together.

Marysville School, SMART, love of reading, volunteers, start making a reader today, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Opening up the SMART book rack at the beginning of another session is Marysville Elementary School program coordinator Apollonia Quale – to the joy of the kindergarten participants. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Southeast kids still have time to be a SMART reader


Founded in 1992, “Start Making A Reader Today” (SMART) has engaged volunteers in our neighborhoods, reading one-on-one with prekindergarten through third-grade children – and they also give participating kids books to keep and take home.

In Inner Southeast, a star SMART volunteer – Apollonia Quale – went on to become a SMART coordinator at Marysville Elementary School, just south of Holgate Boulevard in the Foster-Powell neighborhood. The school was in ashes, you may remember, after a major school-day fire that has never been explained. Nobody was hurt, and the school was rebuilt and reopened.

Quale said she started in 2009 as a volunteer in the SMART program, took a break, and then came back to the program in 2012. “I started, because I’m a big fan of reading; when I was a kid, reading provided ‘an escape’ for me, from the family that I was living in.

“As a mom, reading is so important to my kids and myself that I can’t imagine kids not having books,” Quale told THE BEE. “So I love being part of an organization that puts two books a month, fourteen per year, into the hands of our participants to take home, keep, and build their own personal library.”

As the SMART coordinator at Marysville, Quale matches volunteer adult “readers” with kids; helps select the books brought into their program; and makes sure both the adults and kids follow the SMART program rules.

Volunteers are vetted both by the SMART program, through a background check process, and again, through the school district’s background check process, before they’re allowed to participate.

“I don’t think it’s a difficult process for volunteers; but it’s necessary to have these screening processes in place to screen to help keep kiddos safe,” Quale remarked. “It is not difficult; it’s a simple application process, similar to one that one might encounter when getting a job.”

Give an hour a week
The program encourages readers to come in every week, but they decide what works best for them; different schools present SMART programs on different days during the school week, for seven months – October through May – during the school year.

“Our program here runs for an hour and a half, and many volunteers commit to the whole 90 minutes,” Quale said, “but some can only read for 30 minutes, and we’re happy to have them.

“And it is an October through May commitment, so we volunteers do have our summers free. We start about a month and a half after school starts, and finish about a month and a half before the school year ends.”

Not only do the participants learn to read better, it gives them a love of books she smiled. “I also work as a Volunteer Leader with the Children’s Book Bank; one of the student volunteers there said she comes in to help clean up books to be given to kids, because she herself is a SMART reader, and wants to help other kids, which I think is incredible,” recalled Quale.

As a professional educator, Marysville School Principal Lana Penley commented, “The SMART program helps academically, and it’s fun – which is one of the best interventions there could possibly be! It connects kids with academic learning, and also, the kids enjoy it and really look forward to going to spend time with their reader.”

There’s still time to try out being a SMART volunteer yourself at a nearby school. To learn more, go online –

Southeast Events and Activities
Flight and Space – Game Design Camp for Teens:
It’s not just a video game! It’s a world with infinite possibilities built by you! Come and design flying games today through Friday, 1-3 p.m. each day at the Sellwood Library, and be a pilot in a digital world you create yourself. For teens in grades 6-12. Free, but registration is required; register in the library or by calling 503/988-5123. It’s in the Sellwood Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street.

“Jolts, Volts and Wires” for kids and teens, in Woodstock: Electrifying activities get students charged! Students study the nature of electricity by engineering circuits using generators, batteries, bulbs, motors, and more. Topics for this afternoon hour include generation and transmission of electricity, safety, conductivity, and circuits. Best for middle schoolers. Free at Woodstock Library, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503.988.5123. There are two sessions – 2-3 p.m., and 3-4 p.m. The library is on the corner of Woodstock Boulevard and S.E. 49th Street.

Secret Coders Club for kids at Sellwood Library:
Kids in grades 2-5 will have fun with coding-related games and activities that encourage problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity, this afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Selwood Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell Street. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123.

Seder Dinner tonight at Trinity in Woodstock:
At 6:00 p.m. this evening, the community is invited to the Seder Dinner at Trinity United Methodist Church, S.E. Chavez (39th) and Steele Street – to celebrate some of the rituals that Jesus would have used in the Upper Room during the Last Supper – "while we enjoy a meal together".

Red Cross Blood Drive in Woodstock
: From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, the Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in the parking lot of the Woodstock Shopping Center, 4523 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, and walk-in donors will be accepted as space permits. It’s recommended, though, that you make an appointment to minimize wait times. Call 1-800/733-2767 to make your appointment. Recent disasters and weather extremes have left blood supplies short, so your donation is especially important this year.

Good Friday Worship in Woodstock: This evening at 7 p.m. the community is invited to attend “Good Friday Worship” – a traditional service of remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus, with songs from the Trinity United Methodist Choir. The church is on the corner of S.E. Chavez (39th) and Steele Street.

Boy Scout “Easter Breakfast” this morning:
Boy Scout Troop 143 will offer an “Easter Breakfast” at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, from 9 a.m. to noon today: Adults $10; under-11 and seniors $5; large families, $40; under age 2 free. All proceeds help scout summer camp and fund life skill activities.

Westmoreland Park “Easter Egg Hunt”: The longtime, traditional free Easter Egg Hunt for kids – divided into different age categories, to give all kids a chance – is at 10 a.m. SHARP this morning, sponsored by SMILE, the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association, and run by the Oaks Bottom Lions Club. Parents and kids are strongly advised to come early, to the south end of Westmoreland Park just east of the parking lot, since the start will be at 10 a.m. to the very second, and five minutes later, it’s pretty much over.

Sunrise Easter Service in Sellwood Riverfront Park:
At 6:45 a.m. this morning, everyone is welcome to come for an Easter Sunrise Worship Service at Sellwood Riverfront Park, at the foot of S.E. Spokane Street at the Willamette River – followed by breakfast at the Sellwood Faith Community House, located at 1535 S.E. Tacoma Street.

Easter Morning Service at Mt. Scott: “Whether you are in church every weekend or haven’t been in years, you’re invited for worship, music, and fellowship this morning at 10 a.m. at Mt. Scott Presbyterian Church. Our Community Choir will be making their debut during this service.” Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian Church is on the corner of S.E. 73rd and Harold Street. Call 503-771-7553 for information, or go online –

Easter Sunday Service in Woodstock: At 10:30 a.m. this morning, the community is warmly invited to join in a grand celebration of Christ’s resurrection, at Trinity United Methodist Church, S.E. Chavez (39th) and Steele Street in the Woodstock neighborhood.

Reed College students’ music recital:
This afternoon at 4 p.m. will be a regular recital featuring Reed music students performing a variety of works. The program is usually about 45 minutes long, and is free and open to the public, in Eliot Hall Chapel – on the third floor of Eliot Hall – and it can be accessed easily from any of the major Reed College parking lots on Woodstock Boulevard or on S.E. 28th. A different recital will be presented at 4 p.m. in the same location on April 13 and April 20.

Reed College play tonight and tomorrow night: When everyone carries a panopticon in their pocket, what does it mean to lose sight of the things closest to us? This is the question asked in British playwright Caryl Churchill's 2012 play “Love and Information”. The play's “open text” structure is constituted of more than fifty scenes and a hundred characters, each offering an ephemeral glimpse into the gossamer moments that thread the fabric of our lives. It’s at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night at the Diver Studio Theatre on the first floor of the Performing Arts Building, and can be most easily accessed by parking in the west parking lot off 28th Avenue. Ticket prices range from $3-$7. Open to the public. For more information, visit

Share-It Square Neighbors Garage Sale:
The neighbors near Sellwood’s Share-It Square are offering a small neighborhood garage sale during their annual intersection clean-up day. This is a fundraiser for this summer's street painting. Sale is today from 9 a.m to 2 p,m,, at the homes just north of S.E. 9th and Sherrett, on the west side of the street. “Our rain date, if it’s super swampy out there, is April 14th.”

Piggy Bank Ceramics Painting for kids and families: This morning at 11 a.m. at the Sellwood Branch Library, kids and families are invited to “come and paint your own piggy bank, and start saving money for that special something. We supply the ceramics, lead-free paint, colorful mats, aprons, water buckets, paint brushes and all that is needed. All you need is a child with an imagination!” Free, but space is limited for this 1-1/2 hour session, so best come a little early to be sure of a seat. The library is on the corner of S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street.

Adults, spot “Misinformation, Fake News, and Political Propaganda”:
At 6 p.m. this evening at the Sellwood Branch Library, this free hour-and-a-half workshop uses real-world examples of political ads, news headlines, graphs and charts, the effect of word choice in messaging, statistical data and other types of information, so you can learn to distinguish truth from fiction and become your own “fact-checker”. Made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities Fund of The Library Foundation. Come a little early to be sure of a seat. The library is on the corner of S.E. Bidwell and 13th Avenue.

Reed Orchestra presents a free concert:
At 7:30 p.m. this evening the Reed College Orchestra will be in concert in Kaul Auditorium – and it’s open to the public, and free. Kaul Auditorium is located off the main quad in the center of campus, and is most easily reached by parking in the west parking lot off S.E. 28th Avenue.

Dealing with family problems – “It's All About Love”:
At the Woodstock Branch Library, 2-3 p.m. this afternoon, you’re invited to an interactive family art workshop that also includes the latest brain science about the human heart in language kids can understand, but that parents will learn from too. “We’ll be creating heart and love inspired recycled and nature-based art, while also playing fun brain science games to learn more about the human heart – to transform common parenting challenges in your home with heart-based positive parenting tools. Love is all we need! Free. The library is on the corner of S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th Avenue.

Symphonic band concert tonight at Reed College: At 7:30 p.m. this evening, the Portland Gay Symphonic Band will present a program called “Earthrise”, which will include Smetatana’s “Moldau”, Ticheli’s “Vesuvius”, Copland’s “Outdoor Overture”, among others, to give the listener the opportunity to see how composers have created musical art in homage to the Earth. Ally Shuell, a senior at Madison High School and winner of the orchestra’s First Annual Young Artist Solo Competition, will be performing “Diversion” by Bernard Heiden. She will be awarded a $500 scholarship at the performance. The orchestra is offering this concert for free to the community – with a suggested donation between $15 and $40. The concert is in Kaul Auditorium on the Reed College Campus, off the main quad in the center of campus, and is most easily reached by parking in the west parking lot off S.E. 28th Avenue.

Woodstock Red Cross blood drive today:
There will be a Red Cross blood drive this afternoon, 2-7 p.m., at Woodstock Bible Church, 5101 S.E. Mitchell Street. Please sign up at to guarantee your appointment time. “Thank you for donating. Your blood helps save lives.”

Portland Parks’ “Drop-In Ladybug Nature Walk”:
This morning at 10 a.m., for interested families, Portland Parks Environmental Education presents a “Drop-In Ladybug Nature Walk” in Creston Park for ages 2 to 6, plus a grown-up. No reservation necessary; just meet at the trees by the parking lot near S.E. 43rd Avenue and Rhone Street. Cost is $3 to $8 per child on a sliding scale.

CHS presents hilarious musical “Legally Blonde”:
The spring student play at Cleveland High opens tonight at 7 p.m., and runs tomorrow evening, and April 27 and 28, at 7 pm. Matinees are Sunday, April 22 and April 29 at 1 p.m. Tickets at the door: $15.00 for adults, 10.00 Seniors, 8.00 students. For more information call Cleveland High l at 503/916-5120.

Reed neighborhood “roots music” concert tonight:
The Portland Folk Music Society this year is touting as its “new venue” the Reedway Friends Church at 2901 S.E. Steele Street, just north of Reed College – and this evening it is presenting the “award winning original roots music group” Kathy Boyd and Phoenix Rising. Doors open at 7 p.m. this evening, and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

For adults – “Braiding Trivets”:
Reuse your old rags by turning them into something practical and colorful at the Woodstock Branch Library, 2-5 p.m. this afternoon. Learn how to get a braid started, and begin stitching your work together. Have no fear, discover folk wisdom! You’ll leave with a finished trivet, and the knowledge to even make a full-sized braided rag rug to cozy up your home. Bring your own rags, or there will be some on hand to get you started. Free, but registration is required; register in the library, or by calling 503/988-5123. The library is on the corner of S.E. 49th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard.

SMS School Foundation 5K Run/Walk for Education: All proceeds benefit the Sellwood Middle School Foundation, which raises funds to support the Elective Programs at the school. Race registration is $25, starts at 8:30 a.m. at the school. T-shirts available for purchase on-site; raffle tickets for great prizes from local businesses are $5 each, or 5 for $20. At 9:30 a.m., the Kids’ “Fun Run/Walk 1K” begins with paid registration; and at 10:00 a.m. the “5K Run/Walk” begins. Both events start and finish at the school. To register online, or for more information, please go online – – or contact Lemmy Cooper with your questions via e-mail –  

Folk music from around the world at Reed College: At 3 p.m. this afternoon, a Chorus and Collegium Concert called “Folk Art: For the People, By the People” will take place in Kaul Auditorium on the Reed College campus, and it’s free and open to the public. The concert will feature choral arrangements of traditional folk melodies from North and South America, The British Isles, Estonia, Korea, Mongolia, Norway, Serbia, and South Africa. Kaul Auditorium is located off the main quad in the center of campus and is most easily reached by parking the west parking lot off 28th Avenue.

College Night at Cleveland High:
The Cleveland College & Career Center will host its annual “College Night” for students and families at 7 p.m. this evening in the Cleveland High School auditorium. The program begins with a panel of current Cleveland seniors discussing their college search and selection process, followed by several breakout session choices. The sessions include Inside the Admissions Office, Crafting the College Application Essay, Financial Aid Basics, Public Universities In-State and Out, and Community College Options.

Red Cross Bloodmobile at Moreland Presbyterian Church:
The American Red Cross brings its Bloodmobile back to the parking lot on S.E. 19th, just south of Bybee Boulevard, from 2 to 7 p.m. this afternoon. The need is great this year after a series of natural disasters across the country; drop-ins welcome as space permits, but reservations are recommended, to avoid waiting. To reserve a time, call the Red Cross at 1-800/733-2767.

VFW “ice cream social” this afternoon:
Celebrate Spring with a Fundraiser Ice Cream Social, 3 to 6 this afternoon at VFW Post 4248, at 7118 S.E. Fern in Southeast Portland. “There will be games, hot dogs, raffles, and of course ice cream!  Bring your friends!”

SMILE Open House midday today:
You are invited to drop in to the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League’s Open House at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th, today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. SMILE is the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhood association, and you’ll learn about all the good things SMILE volunteers do for the Sellwood-Moreland community. Members of the SMILE Board will be there to discuss the upcoming election and how you can run for a seat on the Board. You’ll also hear about the “Buy-a-Brick” fundraiser to have your business or family name engraved on one of the bricks in the pathway in front of the SMILE Station. Funds raised will be used to expand programs SMILE provides to the community. Free refreshments are provided by the New Seasons Market in Sellwood, and a drawing for gifts from neighborhood businesses is part of the fun.


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