Community Features

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

Sellwood History, 13th Avenue, south of Tacoma Street, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This is 13th Avenue, looking south from Tacoma Street, in the 1940s. Shaw’s Furniture Company on the left, and at right, Hatcher’s Chevron Station – at a time when you could find a gas station at many intersections. The Ardmore Candy Company is in the two-story building on the right, and you might just be able to see THE BEE’s office in the small building with the awning on the left. (Courtesy of SMILE History Committee)

Sellwood business and residential history: 13th Avenue, Part Two

Special to THE BEE

In the June issue of THE BEE, I told you about the start of the commercial district along 13th Avenue in Sellwood, focusing on the section north of Tacoma Street. Now, in part two, we do a smart about-face, and tell the history of merchants and shopkeepers and residents who were such a vital part of the Sellwood community south of Tacoma Street.

For the twenty years between 1880 and 1900, Umatilla Street had been the main street of Sellwood’s commercial district. For those living and working in Sellwood, trade and transportation were still very reliant on the nearby Willamette River.

Goods and supplies were distributed to merchants by boat, which docked at the base of Umatilla Street. Farmers hauled crops to the west side of the river where ocean-going vessels docked; or they could use the rough Milwaukie Road for travel north to East Portland – but this was nothing more than a dirt path, inaccessible during wet winter days. The river was still the way to go.

However, as rails were laid, merchant shops and small storefronts began slow but steady growth along the streetcar line along 13th Avenue. Shopkeepers boasted about the services they could offer locally that previously could only be found in Downtown Portland – south to the town of Milwaukie, or along the commercial district on Grand Avenue.

Although at first they were unfazed by the occasional resident or small storefront being built along 13th Avenue, certainly by the turn of the century the Umatilla Street shopkeepers were noticing the ascendance of 13th Avenue, and the decline of Umatilla.

Enter J. P. Zirngiebel, who arrived in the Northwest in the late 1890’s, when business was booming on the streets of Downtown Portland. Painted signs hung outside almost every merchant’s store in Portland’s busy business district. Signs could also be found overhead at retail shops, and painted large on the sides of five and six story buildings.

Painted signs were long a popular form of advertising – even before ads in newspapers became common. Zirngiebel learned that craft well, and soon amassed a fortune painting signs, and he went on to hire additional professional signmakers to create signs of all sorts around the city, sent out from his office on Stark Street.

Using the capital he earned in sign-making, Zirngiebel ventured into the real estate business, and he built a two-story structure on the northeast corner of 13th and Umatilla in Sellwood. The upper section was used as doctors’ and dentists’ offices, while other rooms were available for boarders. The Zirngiebel family lived temporarily upstairs also, until their own grand house was finished. Additional rooms were used as a music studio, which filled the hallways with piano music and elegant singing. Some of the first merchants in the new building included the Elite Dressmaking Parlor, Sellwood Pharmacy, and J.M. Canfield’s Dry Goods Store.

One of the well-known merchants who occupied the corner was Berlin Davis, who opened his shoe shop in 1910, and became a cornerstone of the neighborhood for the next 35 years.

High quality shoes and boots were a rarity here during the 1890s – a luxury that only those with considerable money could afford. Most shoes were “straight-fitted”, and could be worn on either foot. Finally, cobblers realized that a left-footed shoe and a right-footed shoe were a much more comfortable fit! By 1899, machines were invented to mass-produce shoes, and at last customers could have a wider range to choose from.

Berlin Davis benefitted from the hundreds of different styles and brands of shoes shipped from the East Coast which he made available for sale in his Sellwood store. Weekly ads in THE BEE kept ladies informed of the latest trends in adult and children’s shoes. Close-fitted top leather boots were a favorite during this era, and even today such boots have had a resurgence among ladies’ fashions around the world.

When the Depression Era began, most small independent storekeepers couldn’t afford to stay open. The Sellwood Shoe Store survived through the 1940’s – until the iconic, and only recently-demolished, Black Cat Tavern took over the space once reserved for small merchants. Piano music and ladies’ fashions were replaced with a bar, accompanied by music from the juke box, and shuffleboard tournaments. Most people soon forgot that The Black Cat originally started out as a café that served breakfast and lunch with hot black coffee, and was located on the opposite side of 13th Avenue. Today, a modern high-rise apartment house, with retail space on the ground floor, stands on the corner of Umatilla and S.E. 13th.

Following Zirgniebel’s lead, W.H. Morehouse opened a two-story Hardware and Grocery one block north, on the northeast corner of 13th Avenue and Tenino Street. The second floor of the building was a home for the Order of the Odd Fellows, City View Lodge – a fraternal organization where weekly political meetings, gatherings for neighborhood events and meetings, and rip-roaring Saturday night dances were held.

Theodore Nolf opened the first general store along the 13th Avenue commercial district south of Tacoma Street, with his elegant residence situated next door. The business complex lasted about twenty years and is no longer there, but the Nolf bungalow, with its low pitched roof, large front porch, and decorative woodwork is one of the few residential homes still standing in the business district on 13th south of Tacoma that hasn’t been replaced by condos or mixed use commercial development. The Mia Bella Beauty Salon and Sellwood Floral Company now occupy the Nolf Estate, across from today’s “SMILE Station”. More about SMILE Station coming up.

At the start of the Twentieth Century, Sellwood residents still used wood stoves for cooking and heating their homes. Electricity was available to most households, but the cost of hiring a professional to wire an established home for electricity was more than most people could afford at the time. So, home fires were common – from chimney fires, or when oil lamps used for lighting accidently tipped over.

The community desperately needed a fire station, and in 1895 the City of Portland donated a vacant lot on the southeast corner of 13th and Tenino to use for one. City officials also provided a used pumper and fire bell, but a fire station building and other firefighting apparatus was left up to the local residents to arrange.

The Sellwood Volunteer Fire Department was established, and ten to twelve strong men were called upon to haul the heavy fire apparatus through the unpaved streets of the neighborhood whenever the fire bell was rung.

With the help of the Sellwood Ladies Auxiliary, money was raised to construct a two-story wooden false-front Volunteer Fire House in 1896. The station provided cover and care for four horses, which replaced those husky men in pulling the fire-fighting apparatus. By then the new fire station was equipped with two fire engines and a twenty- foot-long fire hose – and had living quarters for a few volunteers to live in. The upstairs was used as a waiting and card room for firefighters, with space for storage of fire equipment, and there was a dance hall for rent on the weekends to help finance the firefighting.

Horses replaced men in propelling the fire engines – and then, in 1920, internal combustion engines began take over that burden. Fire Station 20 became the name of what was now officially a PF&R facility. By 1959, Fire Station 20 was relocated to a modern one-story building at 22nd and S.E. Bybee in Westmoreland, where it still is today – and the old fire station building in Sellwood became the Girls and Boys Club.

By 1990, the Boys and Girls Club had moved out into a new block-sized facility of its own on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, a couple of block south of Bybee Boulevard, which only now has been levelled to construct a full-block-size apartment building.

At the time that the Boys and Girls Club moved out of the former Sellwood fire station, an organization called the Sellwood Westmoreland Improvement League (SMILE) – which began as a “business booster club”, and later became the city’s first “neighborhood association” – stepped up to purchase and remodel that old Station 20 building on the southeast corner of 13th and Tenino, and gave it the name “SMILE Station”. It’s used today for community meetings. It can today can be rented for meetings of all sorts, wedding receptions, and other special events. 

But, back to the turn of the last century! Sellwood was growing so rapidly then, that by 1907 Peter Hume and a few associates had opened the first bank in Southeast Portland. Their attractive building with yellow brick and fancy dentil blocks along the roof line still stands on the southwest corner of Umatilla and 13th. Few neighborhoods could boast of having their own financial institution; until this bank opened, most people who lived in Sellwood had to travel to the west side of the river for business transactions – or at least south to the town of Milwaukie, south of Sellwood.

In 1925, the first Sellwood Bridge opened. Until then, Spokane Street was used as the landing for a ferry crossing the Willamette, and Tacoma Street just dead-ended at the river. Now, with the new bridge connected to Tacoma Street, a new commercial district was taking shape along Tacoma, which rapidly became the main thoroughfare for autos in the 1920’s.

Fearing erosion of its customer base, the Bank of Sellwood moved its operation north into a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Tacoma and 13th, hoping to get new customers in this newly-prominent location. Its former bank building became a Grocery store run by C.L. May, and housed a succession of other merchants over the following 90 years.

When the Portland’s World Fair, the Lewis and Clark Exposition, opened in 1905 in Northwest Portland, thousands of people flocked to the Rose City; and after the fair was over, many who’d come from the East Coast and from around the nation to visit, decided to settle here – and many of those chose in the cute little community of Sellwood.

That was partly due to the new trolley system. The owners of the “Oregon Water Power and Railway” profited by transporting visitors to the fairgrounds and to other points of interest around the city; and they also built a trolley park attraction under the Sellwood bluff at Oaks Bottom, laying tracks from the Hawthorne Bridge past their new Oaks Amusement Park and around south Sellwood to Golf Junction just north of the Waverley Golf Club. Over 30,000 people visited the new Oaks Amusement Park in its first year, and the trolley company decided that an interurban and streetcar garage was needed near 13th Avenue.

The resulting six-bay interurban “car barns” were finished in 1909, prompting many workers to move into the community, and with them came a need for grocery stores and living quarters. Flats and apartments quickly sprang up around the area, providing temporary housing for the workers, and small grocery stores opened nearby for their convenience. 

Addie Curtis opened a grocery store near the street car barns, anticipating patronage from the workers living in that section of town. Roy Clifford built a quaint two-story grocery with an old-west-style false front that still stands in the neighborhood today. The Clifford family lived above their tiny store, while Roy spent endless hours stocking the shelves and filling customer orders. “Roy’s Cash and Carry” was still serving the community well into the 1950’s, but by then its name had changed to the “Blue and White Store”.

For meals and lunches, local workers relied on McClincy’s Restaurant, which served hot meals; and Dell’s Café was a regular breakfast stop for those going to work, or going home from work. At one time, there was a small ticket shed at the end of the trolley line at Golf Junction in Sellwood, where waiting customers could purchase passage south to Oregon City, or sportsmen could travel by rail to prime fishing spots on the Clackamas River, and travelers could buy tickets for a trip to Gresham and Damascus. The ticket office also sold snacks and goodies for passengers waiting patiently for the arrival of their interurban train.

Taverns and bars tend to survive in both good times and bad. The southern section of 13th Avenue early on had a variety of entertainment and services for men. Stephen Gall’s pool hall was a late-night hangout in 1920 near Tenino Street, as was Otto Stuben’s Pocket Billiards just down the block. The Cozy Tavern (now the “American at Heart” store) replaced “Woolworth’s Sweet Shop”, which for many years had been the place for families to enjoy ice cream sodas, or for men to buy cigars – and right next door they could pick up their mail at the Post Office.

The first Post Office was located in Edwin Corners Grocery on Umatilla Street, up from where a river sternwheeler would dock to bring the local mail to residents. When a new Postmaster was assigned to the station, it was headquartered near the Bank of Sellwood on Umatilla Street. By 1914, it was relocated onto 13th Avenue at Tenino. This new location offered convenience for city carriers, who could ride the streetcar service from downtown, where the mail was sorted, to where they would be making their daily local mail deliveries.

On Saturdays, most chairs were filled at the barbershops along 13th south of Tacoma. You could choose between a Democratic barber or a Republican barber, and as you can imagine, many heated discussions took place as hair was snipped. A few of the barbershops there were “Roberts and Smith”, “W.F. Stewart’s”, “Disbro and Pierce”, and of course the longtime community supporter and barber Edwin. S. Trites, who was the top “tonsorial artist” in Sellwood for nearly 40 years.

When the population of Sellwood reached nearly 5,000, Charles Ballard decided to start a local newspaper, which he called the “Sellwood Bee”. On October 6, 1906, the first edition was distributed to the neighborhood. According to the report in THE BEE in an article on the newspaper’s 100th anniversary by Eileen G. Fitzsimons, Charles, as owner and editor, began printing the paper in the back yard of a grocery store on Umatilla Street. Within the next five years the Sellwood newspaper and its printing press were operating in a tiny storefront just north of Tenino Street on 13th. Besides printing a local newspaper, Ballard would offer business card printing and newspaper advertising, and the small office also served as a lost and found depot.

The newspaper was known at various times not only as the Sellwood Bee, but also the Milwaukie Bee and the Sellwood-Moreland Bee, before becoming just THE BEE in 1991, when it expanded its distribution to include most of Inner Southeast Portland.

The newspaper was long published in a still-existing building on the southwest corner of Tacoma and 13th under the Pry family’s ownership until 1989, when the Prys moved its offices to N.W. Hoyt Street, consolidating all their newspapers under one roof – shortly before they sold the whole lot of them, and retired. In 1991 John Dillin, a resident of Tualatin and an educator in Beaverton, bought THE BEE, made it a free widely-distributed monthly newspaper and, using new computer technology, ran it from his own home. In 2000 it was bought by Robert B. Pamplin to begin a group of newspapers that today includes the Portland Tribune and 22 other local Oregon newspapers – and for the past two decades it has been operated by its current editor from his own home in Westmoreland. But I digress.

Returning to the 1940s and 1950s, the Sellwood commercial district along 13th appeared to be losing appeal for shoppers and consumers. Westmoreland businesses along Milwaukie Avenue were offering shops and stores that seemed more exciting and appealing to young families and the public. Shops that prospered along 13th Avenue for years began moving their businesses north into Westmoreland.

T.R. Dunn, who sold cars, and the Hall Engineering Company, which offered auto repair and sold used cars, reopened in newly constructed buildings at Bybee and Milwaukie, where the U.S. Bank is now. Sellwood’s longtime furniture dealers Ken and Bob Shaw, of the Sellwood Furniture Company, decided Westmoreland was more consumer-friendly, and moved their entire inventory up near Dunn’s Auto Sales.

Thirteenth Avenue became more of a service district, with shops that included Sellwood Metal Finishers, Lloyd Wilson Floor Contractor, L and M Machinery – and even the Gospel Mission – all occupying buildings that once contained candy confectionaries, meat markets, mom and pop grocery stores, and movie theaters.

By the start of the 1960’s the commercial district on 13th was showing signs of its age. Most independent grocers had retired and closed up, and many of the once-busy shops south of Tacoma were vacant storefronts for a number of years. A major concern among new families moving to the area at that time was that Sellwood seemed like a rough neighborhood, and might not be a desirable place to raise children.

With cheap rent available for storefronts all along 13th Avenue, antique dealers and second-hand shops moved in, offering second-hand furniture and vintage clothes and treasures for shoppers.

However, things never stay the same. By the start of the 21st Century, Sellwood had risen from the ashes so to speak, and high-rise condos atop storefronts were a new addition to the neighborhood. New construction now reminds many of us of the early 1900’s, when “streetcar structures” were rapidly built along the streetcar rails. The “Black Cat Tavaern” was demolished and replaced by the “Madison at Sellwood” mixed-use apartment building, and the old car barns were converted into condos, along with the old L and M building property at 13th and Marion Street.

While Old Sellwood supported just one bank, people now have many to choose from, On Point Credit Union, KeyBank, and Umpqua Bank about six blocks north of Tacoma, all now crowd the commercial district. Ladies’ beauty parlors have taken over what was once the man’s domain of barber shops on every corner in the 1920’s, and restaurants and coffee shops can be found all over the neighborhood.

Thirteenth Avenue, both north and south of Tacoma Street, has certainly seen many changes, and many changes of fortune, since the first streetcar rumbled down its streets over a century ago.

Woodstock Farmers Market, opening bell, Woodstock Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Ringing the opening bell for the season’s first Woodstock Farmers Market on June 2nd was Volunteer Coordinator Anna Curtin. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock Farmers Market opens for season 9


From the moment the opening bell rang, shoppers and vendors were greeting one another at the Woodstock Farmers Market. It was opening day – Sunday, June 2 – for the nonprofit market, on the parking lot of the Woodstock Key Bank. With about eight shoppers per minute walking in right from the beginning, it was quickly bustling with activity.

Neighbors not only found a few new hot food sources and produce vendors, but also the many familiar sellers who returned to the market this year.

“It’s a little hard to believe, but we’re starting our ninth season here today!” exclaimed market manager Emily Murnen. “Neighbors have been really excited, looking forward to the market opening; it’s a wonderful time for neighbors to greet one another, and shop with all these amazing vendors!”

The market started off this season with a full complement of 30 vendors each week. Shoppers will find about a third of the vendors are farmers bringing produce and fruit; another quarter of them are the hot food sellers, and balance of the vendors are offering processed food, like meats and cheeses, Murnen calculated.

“I’m so excited that we have farms bringing in such good produce so early in the season, especially after the hard winter,” Murnen remarked. “We’re really grateful for our volunteers, who help us set up and take down the market, run our ‘SNAP Match’ program, as well as the kids’ activities. And, we’re fortunate to have the support of KeyBank, which provides us this great location.”

The Woodstock Farmers Market is open every Sunday through October 27, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., in the parking lot behind the Woodstock KeyBank – at 4600 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. For more information, go online –

Errol Heights, play area, Brentwood Darlington, southeast, Portland, Oregon
Ryan Carlson points out the ‘skate spot’ and play area proposed for the Errol Heights Park play areas. He’s the consulting project manager – and also a landscape architect with Mayer/Reed. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Neighbors chime in on Errol Heights Park ‘play areas’


Development and planning went forward for the Portland Parks & Recreation (PPR) Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood’s Errol Heights Park on Thursday evening, May 9, as officials held a “Play and Skate area discussion” at the community center.

“We’re here to get feedback from the public about the direction of the play area, and the ‘skate spot’ as well,” explained the project manager – PP&R Landscape Architect George Lozovoy.

To that point that neighbors have brought up – about installing a skate area in Brentwood Park – Lozovoy responded, “There actually is one in the Brentwood Master Plan, but unfortunately there is no money for that; but, there is funding for one at Errol Heights.”

Lozovoy continued, “But what we’ve heard from the public, and what has been supported so far at Errol Heights, is a small, beginner-level facility that we call a ‘skate spot’, not a large skate area.”

The city has been designing the play area to include play features that would be inclusive of children of all abilities. But, Lozovoy observed, due to the limited size of the park, the play areas would only be a “partially inclusive park” – including the natural play area – and that topic was discussed during the meeting.

The location of the skate spot and play area – just west of the Community Garden – rankled some of the neighbors present.

 “I live right on the periphery of the park, the last house on S.E. Tenino Street directly across the street from where the play area will be located,” remarked neighbor Terri Parkin. “I do want to have a place for kids to play safely, but not next to the community garden, and not in my front yard.

“I, and our other neighbors, prefer that they preserve that area, keeping it a peaceful refuge, as is the community garden and the pollinator garden.”

Instead, Parkin suggested, they establish the play areas “down near the basketball courts, where people can more easily access them [from S.E. 45th Avenue] – and then leave the peaceful place, peaceful.”

During the meeting, Lozovoy explained that PP&R staff and consultants have been primarily dedicated to obtaining the permits, from city and federal agencies, that are needed to work in the wetland areas of the park.

“We hope construction will’s begin in June or July 2020,” Lozovoy said.

The project’s Community Advisory Committee is reviewing the results of the meeting’s discussion; conclusions will be revealed in the future.

Keep up to date on this project online –

Julian Voss-Andreae, sculpture, stainless steel slats, disappearing sculpture, Sellwood, southeast, Portland, Oregon
“The Reader”, a sculpture by Julian Voss-Andreae, sits on the lawn between Mt. Tabor Hall and the Library at the PCC Southeast Campus. The eight-foot tall figure reading a book is made of stainless steel slats that “disappear” (on left) when viewed straight on. He used a Filipina PCC student as his model. (Photo courtesy of Julian Voss-Andreae)

‘Disappearing sculptures’ created in Sellwood garage


Julian Voss-Andreae creates very large, breathtaking, and mesmerizing sculptures that trick the eye. Have you ever looked at a life-size stainless steel sculpture that seems to almost disappear as you walk around it? His sculptures do that.

Voss-Andreae has his studio in Sellwood, and unless you have seen him or his some of his “team” occasionally working on a sculpture outside in the driveway area, you might not know that he inhabits a 6,000 square foot studio (an old auto repair garage) on S.E. 17th Avenue.

And you may not know that he is an internationally renowned sculptor.

Born and raised in Germany, Voss-Adreae was drawn to art and computers at an early age. At twelve years of age he acquired his first computer and started programming. Then he began making serious drawings and paintings in his late teens. Science also fascinated him, and in his twenties he developed a deep interest in quantum physics. “I realized that you could use mathematics as a tool to make designs.”

At the Universities of Berlin, Edinburgh, and Vienna he studied physics, mathematics, and philosophy. He was intrigued by how bizarre and weird the nature of reality can be. He earned a degree in quantum physics, and began combining art and physics in a very unique way.

He created his first sculpture in 1999 – and then moved to the United States in 2000 to study sculpture at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He graduated in 2004, and has worked since then as a full-time sculptor. His first studio was very small, so three years ago he moved to the large old auto service garage that he is renovating on S.E. 17th Avenue.

Now, with his team of eight – “all sculpture is team work” – he creates sculptures of stainless steel, titanium, or bronze, that are commissioned and shipped to locations all over the country and the world.

Voss-Andreae first learned to cut steel with lasers, welding the parts and sanding them to make sculptures in many forms – representations of molecules, proteins, and human forms.

Then, 3-D printing began to fascinate him in 2014. “You can represent any solid in the computer. You can 3-D scan and print, and basically turn anything you want into something you can touch.” Most of his life-size or much larger human forms can “disappear” when seen from different visual perspectives, due to the way light reflects at different angles on the metal “slices” or slats.

Today, the human forms start with a life model, whom he coaches to try different poses. From there, everything starts in the computer. Using multiple photos of the model taken from many angles, he uses 3-D printing as a tool for creating a small plastic model, which serves as a tool for his life-size and bigger sculptures made of slices of stainless steel, bronze, or titanium. In the maze of rooms in his studio, there are many large sculptures in progress at any one time.

To stand at the foot of the sculptures is awe-inspiring. “His sculptures are like a passage to another universe,” commented one woman who is quoted on his Facebook page.

Voss-Andreae’s work has been shown in more than 130 exhibitions in cities across the United States, as well as in Paris, London, and a number of countries including Italy, Russia, Monaco, Romania, India, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan, China, Israel, Spain, and Australia.

“Institutional” pieces are permanent and mostly-large-scale outdoor monument style sculptures, as at the Southeast Portland Community College campus on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses at Division Street, and at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington. Other permanently-located pieces are at the Linus Pauling Center for Science, Peace, and Health at S.E. 41st and Hawthorne Street, and at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

To see a full array of Voss-Andreae’s sculptures, make an Internet search for “Julian Voss-Andreae sculpture”.

Voss-Andreae has a busy artistic life, but also has a family and four children in Sellwood, and he says his family is “a major part of me – as big as my work.”

Sculpture Day, Body Memory, Alisa Looney, Brooklyn neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
In Brooklyn on “International Sculpture Day”, Alisa Looney displayed her work, “Body Memory”, enameled glass on steel. “It portrays my life history,” she told us. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘International Sculpture Day’ celebrated in Brooklyn neighborhood


Saturday evening, April 27, Portland joined in with cities around the world to celebrate all kinds of dimensional art. In Inner Southeast, artists and their guests celebrated International Sculpture Day in Brooklyn at an event called “Sculpture NOW!”

The worldwide driving force behind it was the International Sculpture Center; but, locally, the event was hosted at Solid Industries, LLC, at 1810 S.E.  Franklin Street, by “Pacific Northwest Sculptors” (PNWS).

“Sculptors in the Northwest have always produced a unique and diverse body of work; but Portland, in particular, has grown to be a recognized hub in the industry, these last few years,” remarked the owner of Solid Industries, Jesse Pierson – a Board member of PNWS.

One of the artists showing works was metal sculptor and enamellist Alisa Looney, who reminded THE BEE that the first two “Sculpture NOW!” had been held in Sellwood, although last year’s gathering was in Vancouver, Washington.

“It’s important have an ‘International Sculpture Day’ to bring awareness to the public of sculpture,” Looney said. “Here, we introduce our art form to people who might be interested in sculpting, or having sculpture made for them or to display as public art.”

For those who are interested in sculpture, and want to try it, PNWS welcomes beginners – and many artists will lend them tools, and show techniques, according to Looney.

To learn more about sculptors and their work, go online –

Woodstock Cleanup, Woodstock Stakeholders, Angie Even, Woodstock Boulevard, southeast, Portland, Oregon
Having picked up 23 cigarette butts in just one block astonished seven year-old Zev Busse, as he helped his family – Dad Ryan, Mom Jessica, and sister Amelie – to sweep along Woodstock Boulevard during the cleanup on June 1st. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

8th annual Woodstock Community Cleanup draws families


It was, once again, a beautiful and sunny day for the 8th annual Woodstock Community Cleanup – which is always set one day before the Sunday opening day of the Woodstock Farmers Market.

So, on Saturday June 1st, residents and business people and neighborhood families turned out for two hours of sweeping and cleaning around and along Woodstock Boulevard, and sprucing up the sidewalk planters.

Angie Even, organizer and former business owner – but still a Woodstock property owner (Grand Central Bakery building) – has given her time and energy to efficiently organize these cleanups since 2011.

As people arrived at 9 in the morning, pastries, fruit, and coffee greeted them on tables in front of the Woodstock Community Center. Ten grocery carts were lined up in front of the Center, waiting to be pushed away by volunteers.

Eight carts were filled with brooms, dustpans, and SOLVE plastic trash bags, and two carts contained plants, trowels, and weeding implements to help freshen up the boulevard planters.

Each cart had a number assigned to it, with instructions indicating where its work should start, and a check-off list to keep track of the work done.

Even told volunteers, “First of all, everybody have fun. Landscapers did the medians and tree wells last week, so we are focusing on cleaning the boulevard, and improving the concrete planters.” The medians and tree wells are maintained through funds from the Stakeholder Group – a nonprofit organization formed by Woodstock commercial property owners.

A dozen Advantis Credit Union employees from all over the city and the City of Milwaukie participated, as well as a representative from Woodstock OnPoint Credit Union, and Woodstock’s US Bank.

Rick Faber, a Portland City Arborist and Woodstock resident, pruned lower branches off new parking-strip trees, while his wife Sandy and two-and-a-half-year-old son Justin looked on, and supported four-year-old daughter Chelsea – who helped pull the branches to the sidewalk after her father sawed them.

Eastmoreland resident Jim Waud and son Jacob were there to help, too. For Jacob, and his friend Ian Williams, the cleanup provided an opportunity to get community service credit for Cleveland High School. Ian’s mother Karen Williams also participated.

Jessica and Ryan Busse swept sidewalks and gutters and picked up litter, along with their nine-year old daughter Amelie and seven-year old son Zev. Zev announced with some astonishment, “I found 23 cigarette butts in one block.”

This was the second year of participation for the Busse family, and Ryan said later in an e-mail: “We believe it is important to be in service to our community, and to teach our children that value as well. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout for the cleanup, and the support from the local businesses was amazing. Woodstock is a great community and we are glad to be a part of it. Many people passing by went out of their way to thank us for volunteering, which further made the experience more rewarding. We really enjoyed ourselves.”

The Garfield family – Garrett and Bayra, and their three children, Zack, Nathan, and Zyaa – energetically weeded sidewalk cracks, and swept gutters and sidewalks along Woodstock Boulevard just east of Cesar Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th Avenue).

At 11:30 volunteers returned to the Woodstock Community Center for a generous lunch of hot dogs, salads, and ice cream. Donors this year were Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, New Seasons Market, Papaccino’s Coffee, Grand Central Bakery, Double Mountain Brewery, Cloud City Ice Cream, The UPS Store, City Sanitary Service, Advantis Credit Union, OnPoint Credit Union, and Reed College. SOLVE was also a sponsor of the cleanup.

Angie Even reported afterward that 74 volunteers had filled 70 large bags with litter, and one large dropbox was filled with tree limbs.

Everyone claimed to have had fun; and the neighborhood, from Chavez Boulevard to S.E. 57th Avenue, was in good shape for the first day of the Woodstock Farmers Market on the following day.

Foster Powell Cleanup, SOLVE, Mt Scott, southeast, Portland, Oregon
Cheered by the unexpectedly large turnout of volunteers to the neighborhood clean-up were Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association Chair Eric Furlong, at left, and volunteer Chris Galvin. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Litter-picking Foster-Powell neighbors help clean streets


Early on Saturday, June 1, volunteers dressed in work clothes and headed for Essex Park in the Foster-Powell neighborhood – to participate in a cleanup called “Paint the Town Green”, sponsored by Southeast Uplift, Metro, the City of Portland Graffiti Abatement Program, SOLVE, and KINK radio.

“We started the litter pick-up and graffiti removal at the north end of the neighborhood at the S.E. Powell and 82nd intersection, and worked south along 82nd Avenue,” said Foster Powell Neighborhood Association Chair Eric Furlong.

“We had 22 preregistered, and about twice that number show up today,” Furlong told THE BEE. “Having twice the amount of volunteers allows us to do twice the amount of good; now we’re also able to do both sides of Powell Boulevard as well!”

A little after noon, the official end of the cleanup, the group gathered again at the park and were treated to lunch, while talking trash – that is, sharing stories of their experiences with neighbors from surrounding areas.

Christian Science, church, Westmoreland, 17th Avenue, history, development, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This interior photo of the elliptical nave of Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, in Westmoreland, shows the clerestory windows on the south side. (Photo by Eileen G. Fitzsimons)

First steps taken to raze historic Westmoreland church for condos


Although the developer who bought the property from the Tenth Church of Christ, Science – otherwise known as the Westmoreland Christian Science Church – has allowed its congregation to continue to meet there for the time being, the demolition of the church is planned. In May, heavy equipment turned up in the parking lot, and removed what appeared to be large metal tanks from the ground, before departing.

The replacement for the church, on S.E. 17th in Westmoreland, will be 23 new condominiums – and that will be the third transformation for the site. It was first developed in 1905 by William Sibson as a rose nursery. When Sibson retired in 1916, the property, which included seven greenhouses, a warehouse, a boiler house, and numerous sheds, was acquired by John Holden, who used the property to grow seasonal plant material for his floral shop in downtown Portland.

Holden died in 1946, and the greenhouses were demolished in early 1954. According to a BEE article, Holden’s daughter sold part of the property for a “huge parking lot” next to the Christian Science church, and intended to use the remaining lots for a new retail business. Her plan apparently came to naught, for in 1958 those three extra lots at the corner of S.E 17th and Knight were acquired by the General Petroleum Company for a new service station – now Space Age Gas and A-1 Auto Repair.

The members of the Westmoreland’s Christian Science Church met for fourteen years prior to the completion of the new Westmoreland building, which held its first service in June of 1954.  

On March 4, 1940, a group of Individuals met to discuss formation of a Sunday School and church in the Westmoreland-Sellwood area. A year later they began holding Sunday services in the Masonic Lodge on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. By 1941, they felt stable enough as a congregation to apply for, and in 1943 to receive, authorization to become a “Branch Church of the Mother Church”, First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.

In spite of having been established during the chaos of World War II, the group attracted new members – some from beyond the neighborhood. Church records indicate that during the war its members supported the Armed Services through a nationally-organized War Relief Committee. They wrote letters to prisoners of war, assembled and mailed food boxes, and knit and sewed garments that were sent to civilians in England. After the armistice ended the war, they continued to send food parcels to England and Europe as rationing in those battered countries continued well into the 1950’s.

As the church members met through the 1940’s, they planned construction of a permanent home, and began searching for property. They owned two rental properties – a “large and a small house” – whose precise location was not recorded. However, the income from renting those was used to sustain church operations, as well a public reading room in the Moreland Theater complex, which continues in operation today. In 1946 they took an option on a lot in the “City View Park Addition” (west of Milwaukie Avenue). However, they soon sold this lot and four others, which allowed them – with additional loan money – to purchase the former Sibson-Holden property, between S.E. 17th and 18th Avenues, and between Reedway and Knight Streets. Not long afterward, the Building Committee minutes refer to their architect as Mr. Donald Edmundson, although there is no mention of how he was selected.

By the end of the war in the Pacific, the property was described in Christian Scientist committee minutes as consisting of “four lots and two ramshackle greenhouses, an eyesore to the neighborhood.” At the time, the City of Portland required off-street parking, so the building committee used five of their eleven lots for parking, and six lots for the church itself.  By August of 1947 they noted that the architect’s conceptual sketches for the new building were ready for review, and a comment box was available for church members to offer their thoughts on them.

Design ideals included a “contemporary style; no steps to climb; low in height; informal and inviting.”  Architect Edmundson was in partnership with Neil R. Kochendoerfer; and, when a firm rather than an individual is involved in a building’s design, without any notes or correspondence it is difficult to determine who was responsible for which of the project’s elements. The firm was busy, and apparently the final plans were not moving forward as expeditiously as the congregation had hoped. No records have emerged that credit the final design, except for a line in Building Committee minutes. In January of 1948 it was noted that “an assistant in the architect’s office stepped in, and soon ideas took form.”

By August of 1952, plans were ready for a low one-story nave, of an unusual elliptical shape. Forming a U-shape, to the east were offices, a meeting room, and restrooms, then a separate Sunday School building. During construction, another smaller building was included to house an infant nursery. Typical of the “Mid Century Modern” style of the time, the one-story buildings covered a lot of space, with covered breezeways between structures, and a courtyard between the main building and the Sunday School. Acknowledging rainy weather, a covered port cochere provides a drop-off point at the main entry – its design more of its time than a more elaborate entrance, like that of the 1880’s horse-and-carriage-era Old Church, in downtown Portland.

Construction continued intermittently, as the congregation had the funds to pay their contractor, R.M. Robson, of S.E. Oatfield Road. When the building was fully enclosed, all funds had been spent, and construction halted while the church arranged a loan.

The contractor was amenable to church members assisting with the work; on Saturdays, men helped with construction while women did site cleanup. Materials were from local sources: Oregon Lumber Yard on S.E. McLoughlin; Inman-Poulson (now, the site of OMSI); Masons Supply on S.E. Tenth – and Nicolai-Neppach at N.W. Second and Everett, who supplied sash/doors/windows, moldings, etc.

The cornerstone was laid in a quiet ceremony on November 4, 1953, and the first service was held on Wednesday evening, June 15, 1954. Whether by a rule of the Mother Church, or just at the inclination of the congregation, the church was not dedicated until it was debt-free – on June 27, 1971, seventeen years after its first service.

A building is successful if it fulfills the requirements of its users. In the case of the Tenth Church, it worked very well. A few changes have occurred: In 1971, the original (war surplus) wooden chairs were replaced with comfortable and upholstered pews. On another occasion, the north wall was replaced with glass – which opens onto a narrow interior courtyard planted with shrubs and small trees. There is no choir or organ loft, altar, baptismal font, or processional aisle. Worshippers seated themselves informally via a center aisle or one of two side aisles. Two readers sat at microphones on a slightly-raised platform to read various Bible passages and interpretation written by the national church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy. A piano or small electric organ has accompanied hymn singing.  

For all of its lack of interior ornamentation, the nave, with a dropped elliptical ceiling and colored glass clerestory windows above the side walls, is well lit. There is little to distract the eye, but much for the mind to focus on – that is deliberate, and reflects the contemplative nature of the church.

It is unfortunate that this unusual building, one of only three post-WWII churches in the neighborhood, is to be demolished (the other two from the same era are the former Nazarene Church [1948] and the Latter Day Saint Church [1951], both on Milwaukie Avenue between Bidwell and Lexington Streets.

The Westmoreland church is a rare example of a mid-century modern church, whose low, sprawling form is more typical of metropolitan suburbs. As mentioned previously, the condominium developer has given the congregation up to a year to remain in their building while they search for a new gathering place.

While a special open house for the community is under consideration, if BEE readers would like to experience the building as it was meant to be used, services continue to be held at 10:30 on Sunday mornings for the time being. Church members are most welcoming.

Balfour Park, plant sale, fundraising, Ardenwald, southeast, Portland, Milwaukie, Oregon
Happily supporting the Balfour Park project at the annual plant sale are buyers are Zuriel Van Belle and Kezia Rasmussen, buying plants from Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association Arts Chair Chris Davis. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Plant sale moves Ardenwald’s Balfour Park project forward


It’s still just a dream for many Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighbors, but the long-planned Balfour Park is inching closer to becoming a reality.

That’s what Friends of Balfour Park Plant Sale organizer Lisa Gunion-Rinker told THE BEE at the annual fundraiser held on Sunday, May 19.

“With what we raise from this year’s sale, the total will be about $12,000 we now have for starting to develop our park – the only one, in this part of our neighborhood – and putting our Master Plan to use,” she said.

An immediate project is to partner with “Depave” to remove asphalt driveways from the otherwise vacant Belfour Street property – that is, after obtaining permits from governmental agencies.

“Also this year, we hope to get our Community Garden up and running,” commented Gunion-Rinker.

“Yes, I am tenacious,” she said with a smile, “But, that’s what it takes to create  a neighborhood ‘pocket park’ that will have a kids’ area and a natural space in this under-served area,” Gunion-Rinker reflected, as she turned to help another plant buyer.

The amount raised in this year’s plant sale totaled $1,725; over 400 plants were sold.

Duniway parade, end of school, Duniway Elementary School, Eastmoreland, southeast, Portland, Oregon
Led this year by their own school band, the Duniway Elementary annual Spring Parade stepped off for its march around Eastmoreland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Duniway kids march out of school to end scholastic year


Continuing a tradition that goes back longer than anyone can recall, the Duniway Elementary School annual Spring Parade took to the streets of the Eastmoreland neighborhood on Friday afternoon, May 31.

“It’s a little before the end of the school year – ‘snow days’ were added on – but we’re celebrating the end of the school year today, and the beginning of summer vacation, with our fun parade,” said organizer Heather Austin.

Although the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band, which usually provides the cadence, couldn’t attend, Duniway’s own band tunefully led the parade this year.

“It’s a beautiful day for our annual outing; this is one of the many activities that we do as a whole school, kindergarten through fifth grade,” explained Duniway Principal Matt Goldstein. “The families are invited to come, and our neighbors come out to watch as well, bringing our neighborhood together!”

Grade by grade, and class by class, the parade formed on S.E. Reed College Place, ready to march behind the Westmoreland Fire Station’s Engine Company 20.

The band began to play, and Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division motorcycle officers escorted the procession from the school, all the way up to S.E. Bybee Boulevard – and back to the school again, for the remaining classes starting the following week, before the summer vacation became real.

Llweellyn Carnival, end of school, Llewellyn Elementary School, Westmoreland, southeast, Portland, Oregon
Releasing pent-up energy near the end of the school year, these kids at the annual Llewellyn Carnival engaged in a tug-o-war. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

On the brink of summer – carnival time at Llewellyn Elementary


As the end of the school year neared, the playground of Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland was turned into a carnival midway on the late afternoon of May 31, to the delight of students and neighbors who came to play.

“Welcome to this year’s Llewellyn Carnival, where we’re celebrating the end of another great school year,” exclaimed Carnival organizer Georgia Muall-Keyser, who was in her fourth year of Chairing the celebration.

“We love doing this, because at the end of the year, the kids are so ready for summer!” Muall-Keyser grinned. “This is a time and place for kids get to be silly and fun, and enjoy this completely free event – and that includes all kids in the neighborhood who we invite to come and have a good time with us.”

In the background, the Sellwood Middle School Marimba Band was playing, rendering tunes both exotic and familiar. “We’re glad to have them here; when our students graduate, they’ll be heading there, and maybe some of them will join the Marimba Band,” Muall-Keyser remarked.

Some twenty parent volunteers helped out this year, as well as twenty-five additional volunteers from business and community organization partners, who set up and provided activities for the carnival. “We’re thankful for our community partners, who participate with us,” she said.

After playing field games, hopping around in the bouncy house, running from booth to booth and having a snack, quite likely lots of kids slept well that night after the excitement of the annual end-of-school carnival.

Moreland Presbyterian Church, Bybee Boulevard, Westmoreland, Pentecost ritual, southeast, Portland, Oregon
PENTECOST AT MORELAND PREBYTERIAN. On Sunday, June 9, directly following the morning worship service at Moreland Presbyterian Church, the congregation exited to the sidewalk to light written prayers on fire in celebration of Pentecost. The firefighters of PF&R Station 20, four blocks away, were not concerned about the plan, because Pastor Brian Marsh – at left – lit the paper safely in a barbeque grill.
Southeast Events and Activities
July Fourth Celebration at Oaks Park:
Today is historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park’s annual 4th of July Spectacular, from noon until midnight! Fill your holiday with rides, games, and mini golf from noon to midnight, enjoy live entertainment throughout the day, roller skate from 1-9:30 p.m., and – at dusk – enjoy “Portland's best fireworks display”! All picnic areas available first come, first served; gates open at 10 a.m. Outside alcohol and fireworks prohibited; bags and coolers will be checked. On this day, gate fees apply to all visitors: 5 & younger, $3; 16-61 years old, $6; 62 and older, $4. Attractions sold separately. Access the park on Oaks Park Way, north from the west end of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood; turn north just past the railroad tracks.

“Portland Bridge Swim” this morning in Sellwood:
This year’s Portland Bridge Swim, for the second year, is designated the U.S. Masters Swimming National Championship, with 100 solo swimmers and relay teams from across the country. The race starts at Sellwood Riverfront Park, just north of the foot of S.E Spokane Street, starting at 7:30 a.m. until about 8:30 a.m., and ends at Cathedral Park – where the first finishers will arrive by around 11 a.m. All racers must be done by 3:30 p.m. Swimmers will be gathering and preparing this morning at Sellwood Riverfront Park from 5 a.m. on, and spectators are welcome there, as well as anywhere else along the race. The Portland Bridge Swim has become a destination event in the world of marathon swimming, and it all starts in Sellwood this morning.

First Sellwood “July Concert in Sellwood Park”:
The first of four Monday evening July Concerts in upper Sellwood Park begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Sponsored by local merchants and community donations, these four concerts will, as usual, be free of charge! Secure bike corral and food vendors on-site. The band performing tonight – “Moody Little Sister” – with “new folk of the American West”.

For adults, at Sellwood Library, “PDX Death Café”:
“Death Café” is a growing international movement of people who come together, in a relaxed and safe setting, to discuss death and drink tea. Converse tonight, 6:30-8 p.m., about whatever is on your mind regarding death, in small groups. The goal is to increase awareness of death, with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives. Free; made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities Fund of The Library Foundation. Registration is required, though – register in the Sellwood Branch Library, S.E. 13th at Bidwell, or call 503/988-5123.

“Portland Picnic” today in Westmoreland Park:
From 11 a.m. till 9 p.m. today in Westmoreland Park, it’s the third annual and family-friendly “Portland Picnic and Wine Tasting Festival” – with 100 wines to taste, local beer and food, and live music. The event benefits nonprofit “Ride Connection”. For more information, go online –

Free kids’ soccer camp all week in Woodstock:
Today at 1 p.m. is the first day of a free soccer camp for kids, grades K through 6, held at Woodstock Park. This soccer camp will run each day this week through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Hosted by Woodstock Community Church. To sign up, go to online – http:// – or contact Patrick Grant via e-mail at –

Second Sellwood “July Concert in Sellwood Park”: This week, the featured artist is Rae Gordon, with her female-fronted blues and soul. Free. 6:30 p.m. in upper Sellwood Park. Secure bike corral and food vendors on-site.

“Mz. Pearl in Space” for kids and families in Sellwood:
This afternoon, 1-1:45 p.m., “Mz. Pearl” takes the audience to outer space and back again, in her imaginative show full of juggling, magic, and physical comedy. It’s in the Sellwood Branch Library, at S.E. 13th and Bidwell Street. Free tickets available at the desk starting at 12:30 p.m., 30 minutes in advance. Come early to be sure of a seat; tickets are limited to the available seating.

Third Sellwood “July Concert in Sellwood Park”:
The band featured tonight is “Grupo Masato” – “high energy tropical/Andean Chicha”. Free. 6:30 p.m. in upper Sellwood Park. Secure bike corral and food vendors on-site.

Leatherwork for adults – make a Sedum Planter:
In this hands-on workshop 5-7 p.m.  this afternoon at the Woodstock Branch Library, presented by “Purpose”, you will learn to make a leather planter. You will edge dye, wax, and burnish edges. Next, you will punch holes and stitch. Finally, you will choose a sedum, and plant it in a jar which fits nicely into your leather planter. It’s free, but registration is required; register in the library at S.E. Woodstock Boulevard and 49th, or call 503/988-5123.

Sellwood walking tour and Main Street discussion:
You’re invited to a free short walking tour in Sellwood near SMILE Station in which urban planner Heather Flynn Chatto and architect Laurence Qamar will point out elements of Sellwood’s architectural design and explain why they are representative of the neighborhood and streetcar era design. Open to all; it’s the second meeting of the Sellwood-Moreland Main Street Design Initiative. It will be this evening 6:30-8:30 p.m., and will begin with a short walk on 13th Avenue to point out specific architectural features of several buildings. It will be followed by a discussion at SMILE Station about these architectural features, why they’re important, and what they can bring to new development. Want to see an example of a clerestory window? It a transom window the same thing? Can you identify a chamfered door? What is a step back vs a setback? Sign up now online at –

Japanese Koto Concert at Woodstock Library:
Koto is one of the traditional musical instruments of Japan, and has a long history. “Oregon Koto-Kai” makes each performance a special gift to the community, 1-2 p.m. The program this afternoon includes Japanese Koto music in classical style to contemporary. It’s free, and open to all.

Fourth and last Sellwood “July Concert in Sellwood Park”:
“Miller and Sasser” perform upbeat originals and Country classics. Free. 6:30 p.m. in upper Sellwood Park. Secure bike corral and food vendors on-site.

“Living & Working in Space” at Sellwood Library:
Kids and families are invited to take part in a dramatic mission to another world at the Sellwood Branch Library, 1 to 2 p.m. this afternoon – as kids build and launch paper rockets, handle artifacts from the space shuttle, and try on a spacesuit. Space is limited, so come early – free tickets available starting at 12:30 p.m., 30 minutes in advance. The library is on the corner of S.E. Bidwell Street and 13th Avenue.

40th “Sundae in the Park” in upper Sellwood Park:
For the 40th consecutive year, on the first Sunday in August and presented by SMILE, the neighborhood association for Sellwood and Westmoreland, it’s “Sundae in the Park” from noon until 6 p.m. – with live music and entertainment all afternoon, various special events such as “Mr. Lizard”, and activities for children and families, food for sale, and of course the signature ice cream sundaes for a dollar each – vanilla and chocolate ice cream, with your choice of caramel or chocolate toppings. Bring everyone along, and bring some cash for sundaes and for lunch. It’s at Sellwood Park, on S.E. 7th north of Tacoma Street. No admission charge – come and stay all afternoon!


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