Community Features

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

For over 21 years, a century ago, Newman and Tarbell Realtors provided continuous service for residents seeking for a trustworthy realtor. This 1940 photo shows their office at the corner of S.E. Bybee Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland.
For over 21 years, a century ago, Newman and Tarbell Realtors provided continuous service for residents seeking for a trustworthy realtor. This 1940 photo shows their office at the corner of S.E. Bybee Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society)

Realtors’ role in building Southeast’s two-century American Dream

Special to THE BEE

To many of us, owning a home is still an essential part of the American Dream. We contact a real estate agent, figure out what type of down payment is needed, and what kind of house and neighborhood we want to live in, and it proceeds from there.

But back in the 1880s, looking for the perfect home for living in Inner Southeast Portland wasn’t quite an easy task as it is in the 21st Century. Few homes could be found south of Downtown on the west side of the Willamette River, and those which were available were much too expensive for the average wage-earner.

 For people who had enough money to make a down payment, the east side of the river was an easier place to go – even though houses were in short supply over here too. There was an abundance of land – but few houses. The only option for most homebuyers then was to paurchase a piece of land and build their own home on it.

When an upstart realty group, the Sellwood Real Estate Company, began pasting broadsides around Downtown advertising lots for as little as one to two hundred dollars, newly-arrived immigrants with working-class backgrounds recognized that this could be the start of their own American Dream.  

Prospective homeowners and investors could simply walk in to the Sellwood Real Estate Company’s office in Downtown Portland and make an appointment to view available land on the east side of the Willamette. To accommodate customers, real estate agents would rent a horse and carriage, and then book passage aboard the steamer “Dolly”, which made three trips a day from the foot of Stark Street to a landing that was built at the foot of Spokane Street in Sellwood. It cost a mere fifteen cents for a one-way trip, or twenty-five cents for the round-trip.

In the summertime, when the bleachers at Sellwood’s City View Horse Racing Track were filled with racing enthusiasts, horses and carriages could be rented from the Misner and Unckles horse stables just north of the newly-developed community of Sellwood. Since thousands of spectators came to see the weekly sporting events at the racetrack, real estate agents were easily able to sell lots to interested buyers. The dream of owning a cottage away from the confines and noise of busy streets in Downtown Portland led some, who already lived there, to buy a lot in Sellwood for a vacation home!

Lots were also quickly being snatched up by merchants wanting to operate a successful business catering to all these new residents. A commercial district was forming along Umatilla Street, and waterfront property was reserved for industrial uses – like lumber companies, a Wool Pullery and Tanning Company, a Furniture Factory, and other such ventures which relied on river transport to get their goods out.

So, for a variety of reasons, in the late 1800s buyers flocked to Sellwood. Its dirt streets were filled with wagonloads of goods sent to, or rumbled off of, docked steamboats. The shouts of busy carpenters could be heard as the framing of new houses grew every day. Sellwood merchants couldn’t get their shelves stocked with goods fast enough.

Self-proclaimed real estate salesmen like Joseph M. Merchant and A.J. Nickum, took it upon themselves to buy lots, build homes, and then sell them to the public. Mr. Merchant offered to rent a bed, including meals, to traveling salesmen, millworkers, sailors, carpenters, and other artisans looking for temporary quarters. He advertised his small three-room, one-bathroom residence as the “Merchant Hotel”. Boarders usually stayed for a few weeks, or a couple of months, until they could find a permanent residence. Sorenson and Young, who operated a lumber mill at the foot of Tacoma Street in 1888, were known to have themselves stayed at the Merchant Hotel for a time.

Only four years after it had begun, the Inner Southeast real estate market was hot, and close to 200 families were living in Sellwood. The new community hosted two furniture factories, one sawmill, three stores, a hotel, a school, three churches, and a volunteer fire company. Rumors were going around about a streetcar line to be extended into the community and John G. Wilhelm was in the process of constructing a large brewery building on Marion Street. There were even rumors of a housing development coming to the golfing greens of the Waverley Country Club; but of course even today people are still golfing, rather than living, on the Waverley fairways!

Portland had one of the largest streetcar lines on the West Coast at the start of the 20th Century. It was turning outlying areas into new neighborhoods – and Sellwood was no exception. Once tracks were laid in the dirt along 13th Avenue, and regular service to Portland was complete, homes and shops began appearing close to the “Eastside Street Car Railway”.

Energized by all this growth, realtors and real estate companies aggressively increased the opening up of offices, wanting to get a piece of the action and of the profits that at first exclusively belonged to The Sellwood Company. When a new business began selling land and homes – the Sellwood Townsite Company – they hired an experienced and shrewd salesman named H.P. Palmer. Palmer had amassed a personal fortune by selling mining stocks to clients throughout the United States, and he was particularly successful in California during the Gold Rush, and later in and around Spokane, Washington. As the new manager of the Townsite Company, he offered customers the option of putting down only five dollars for the property they wanted, and then paying only five dollars a month until it was paid off.

Acting as its own loan company, the Sellwood Townsite Company attracted low-wage workers with the prospect of affordable home loans, too.

Until 1919, anyone at all could call themselves a real estate broker. But as professional standards began to be talked-of, colorful individuals like Robert Welch, Oscar Wallberg, and H. E. Sellwood, were still wildly successful as self-proclaimed real estate agents, because they had rooted themselves as neighbors in the community. Let me introduce you to them!

Robert Welch was one of the first to open a grocery store along S.E. 17th Avenue, building a stable alongside the store to house horses he could use to deliver groceries to his customers. After finishing his home near the market, he found that selling homes and vacant lots was more lucrative than running a retail store. Welch sold his little market and stable in order to concentrate on his real estate business.

Oscar Wallberg was well-entrenched with Sellwood residents, having arrived well before the people of Sellwood voted to incorporate their town into the City of Portland, in 1893. A man of many hats and occupations, he dabbled as a real estate agent, selling property from his office on Umatilla Street, until he was chosen as Superintendent of the Sellwood Post Office  in 1909. After this brief stint, Oscar hopped back into the real estate field, operating from a small shack by the streetcar rails at the corner of 13th and S.E. Umatilla. In his spare time, he was a volunteer fireman for seven years with the Sellwood Fire Company. In 1922, Oscar continued as a realtor, leasing a space in the Sellwood Bank on Tacoma Street, where he managed the Wallberg and French Real Estate Company.

Harold E. Sellwood was a natural-born salesman from the day he born down the Willamette Valley in Salem. A distant relative of the Reverend Sellwood, after whom the new community was named, he hired on with a real estate firm, and within a year had started his own real estate business. Harold integrated easily into the town, joining the local fraternal organizations, being named the Master Artisan of the Sellwood Artisans Club, joining the Sellwood Chess Club, and helping to build floats for Sellwood’s entry in the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. Harold took particular interest in raising poultry – ever since he was ten years old he’d entered his animals in the Oregon State Fair – and, as an adult, every year he still did so, winning many honors.

Harold was instrumental in securing additional land for the growing Sellwood School; he’d convinced those living on the sought-after expansion property to sell their homes and move, “for the good of the students”. Two complete blocks were involved – between S.E. 15th and 16th, and between Umatilla and Harney, on which eight houses and some outbuildings were. Some were demolishsed, and some homes were bought to move to vacant lots elsewhere – all so that a playground and baseball diamond could be created for the Sellwood School students.

The Inner Southeast real estate market continued its trend upward, as sales in Sellwood and the neighboring districts nearly tripled – especially after the final days of Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Thousands of people from the East Coast who’d come to visit the World’s Fair liked it here, wanted to stay – and some of those singled out Sellwood as one of the more desirable neighborhoods in which to settle and raise a family.

In 1909, the Columbia Trust Company created a new development on what had been largely farmland. They called it Westmoreland. Claiming that it would have the best streetcar transportation facilities in the city, the Columbia Trust’s managers promised in various newspaper advertisements that “every home in Westmoreland would be unique”.

Unlike the older Sellwood neighborhood, Westmoreland – they said – would be offering new building concepts and technology. Homes would include electrical lighting, indoor plumbing, modern kitchen layouts, concrete sidewalks, streetlights, shade trees, and all the streets would be paved! What particularly stood out for new homebuyers was the fresh, clean drinking water piped in from the Bull Run Reservoir – and, in many spots, a view of the top of Mt. Hood.

By 1910 newspapers declared eighteen families had moved into newly-built homes in Westmoreland, and thirty more were expected by the following year. The remaining plots of land in Westmoreland were sold in 1925, when the first Sellwood Bridge was finished and opened, so commuters could safely drive by car to and from the west side of the Willamette River and Sellwood and Westmoreland, in record time.

The real estate field was ripe for change. Administrators of the Portland Reality Group rejected applications from women to become members, which was short-sighted because women had already been successful sales agents in this field for decades. But this male-only professional policy meant that women selling property and homes had to do so on their own, and they were shunned from partnering up with other reality groups or companies.

The ladies responded by organizing into Portland’s Women Reality Group, and announced to the public they were holding informal gatherings in honor of their new members, which numbered close to 100 women.

But there was even worse discrimination in the profession, and the time was still a ways off when which it would finally be abolished. By 1919 those accountability changes we referred to earlier were taking hold as standard practices, leading to Reality Boards’ “code of ethics.”  But those ethics did not then apply in matters of equality. Red lines were drawn on Portland maps to indicate where people of color could live and where they could not. Banks were urged not to grant home loans to Black families attempting to buy in areas of Portland outside those red lines. Even in Westmoreland and Sellwood, realtors tended to discourage Black families from buying a home.

It wasn’t until over thirty years later – the 1950s – when U.S. laws and policies changed to prohibit discrimination against groups of people. And these odious practices were slow to change unofficially in some places for a time after that.  

But the time eventually came for up to 500 real estate agents from across the state to gather and attend a convention promoting the establishment of an Oregon Reality Board, which among other things would admit women, and to discuss other pertinent problems to be addressed in the profession, particularly in matters of equity.

Sellwood, Westmoreland, and the other neighborhoods of Inner Southeast Portland still have a share of that American Dream today – much as it did the Sellwood Real Estate Company first started offered scenic views of the river and forestland in 1882. Great schools, restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores – along with hardware stores, beauty parlors, banks, and retail shopping – are all within walking distance from Inner Southeast homes. Even a new streetcar has appeared – in the form of the MAX Light Rail system, providing easy transit to and from Downtown.

Walking paths and paved bike trails composing the Springwater Corridor Trail – where once the old Interurban train rails ran – demonstrate that what was old is new again, and the attractions that brought people here when development began have not really disappeared – they’ve just adapted to the times. And today, legally and morally, everyone is finally free to follow that American Dream in Inner Southeast.

Illusionist and physicist Jason Latimer began setting up his “Invisibility” screen.
Illusionist and physicist Jason Latimer began setting up his “Invisibility” screen. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Impossible Science’ magic show featured at OMSI in February


Although it may well have been the best magic show you’ve seen, you’d likely not guess that the magician – Jason Latimer -- is more than a “World Champion of Magic”; he’s also a science teacher! And that’s why he was not performing downtown, but at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, on S.E. Water Avenue, just north of the Ross Island Bridge.

Latimer, originally an Oregon native from Roseburg, brought his show – “Impossible Science LIVE” – for a run during the month of February. Actually, it was a return booking.

“I am a scientist who happens to love magic,” Latimer told THE BEE as he was unpacking his show outside OMSI’s Empirical Theater. “It’s a combination of magic and science, combining my background in science with my love of magic to inspire kids!”

Finds flaw in internet research
In 2013, Latimer was a speaker at the “TEDx Wall Street” conference, where he presented a talk entitled, “Seeing beyond the illusion of knowledge”. The subject of his talk was the necessity of questioning the answers you get from questions researched on the Internet.

“The problem with Internet research is that the ‘most popular answer’ is moved to the top of search results by the algorithms. Thus, ‘true-but-revolutionary’ ideas fall to the bottom of the search results.

“But, the person searching the question does not know that a ‘new’ and perhaps ‘better’ answer exists, so they grab onto the ‘already popular’ idea,” continued Latimer. “And, clicking on that top link makes it even more popular, to the next person searching!” That “popular” answer might not be right at all! Or it could be out of date, and no longer valid.

Turns TEDx talk into show
He presented his first version of the show in the Fleet Science Center in San Diego, where it ran every weekend for two years. Then, Latimer created what he called the Impossible Science Festival. “This involved experiences with invisibility, levitation mind control, and levitation that looked like magic illusions. But all of it was accomplished with no magic tricks.

“Since that show only ran on weekends, we applied the Impossible Science stage show, and all the experiments of the Festival, into creating ‘Next Generation Science Centers’ for schools for students in public schools nationwide. Now, our show runs concurrently with school, so kids can come here during school, and satisfy a science education requirement,” explained Latimer.

OMSI shows return from COVID
He came to Portland in February of 2020 and sold out 50 shows. The month that COVID regulations started locking things down, Latimer closed the show and went back to Los Angeles.

“This is my first stop with a tour of live shows, here at OMSI, since the COVID pandemic started,” Latimer said enthusiastically.

“If you want your kid to be more curious, this is the show to see – because it takes magic in a totally different direction than what people are expecting,” Latimer exclaimed. “What you are going to see are 21st Century things – illusions that did not exist a handful of years ago – and each illusion is actually a demonstration from different fields of science. I’m thrilled to be teaching young people to raise questions about applied science!”

Lots of folks, holding the 115 illuminated lanterns, gather for a group photo before heading off on Woodstock’s Third Annual “Lunar New Year Lantern Parade”.
Lots of folks, holding the 115 illuminated lanterns, gather for a group photo before heading off on Woodstock’s Third Annual “Lunar New Year Lantern Parade”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock neighbors join 2023 ‘Lunar New Year Lantern Parade’


Even though rain was forecast, as many as 100 kids and adults turned out on Friday evening, February 3rd, to participate in the Third Annual Woodstock “Lunar New Year Lantern Parade”.

“This started as a way for families on our block, and those who live along nearby streets, to come together as we were emerging from the COVID pandemic,” recalled founder and organizer Kelli George. “The idea was to ‘light up the night’, and welcome in the Lunar New Year – making it a time for families to come together, and for kids to run around after dark with friends, in a safe and family-friendly space.”

While it was a good idea for the marchers to meet on the front steps of Woodstock Elementary School last year, Mrs. George decided to move the starting point back to their home, where it had all started, on S.E. 44th Avenue, so they could again pre-stage the lanterns for the march.

“The most exciting thing for my husband Jeremy and me was to see the diversity of families – including some from Woodstock Elementary, Hosford Middle School, Cleveland High, and at least one family from the King Elementary School Mandarin Immersion Program – as well as ‘friends of friends’ who had come in past years,” she told THE BEE.

So on February 2rd, after gathering for a group photo, the marchers headed south to S.E. Harold Street, then west to Woodstock Elementary, north through Woodstock Park, and back to the starting point along S.E. Steele Street. Most of the parade had returned to the starting point and disbanded, before the rain showers began.

“The best part of this is the excitement on people's – especially the kids’ – faces, when they pick their favorite lantern, and then see all of the illuminated lanterns beautifully gathered as we parade along sidewalks through our streets,” Kelli George smiled.

“I also really love when we surprise cars on the street, or people out on their porches, with this long line of beautifully lit lanterns,” she added. “We love ‘making a little magic’, once a year, for everyone who wants to come and be a part of it.”

In the year since the last parade, she reported raising about $170 to buy this year’s lanterns. “But we need about $300 more to hire a Lion Dance team.  Donations are welcome at any time of year. ( And we would love to partner with a business, or other community partner in Woodstock, to turn this into more of a festival than a parade!”

If you missed this year’s parade and want to get a taste of it, below is a brief and exclusive BEE video!  (If it fails to appear, click here:

The date of this photo is not precise, but this shows the northeast end of Crystal Lake in Milwaukie, with the park’s grandstand and dance pavilion above. Thanks to Jo Lynn Dow, at the CCHM in Oregon City.
The date of this photo is not precise, but this shows the northeast end of Crystal Lake in Milwaukie, with the park’s grandstand and dance pavilion above. Thanks to Jo Lynn Dow, at the CCHM in Oregon City. (Courtesy Clackamas County Historical Museum)

Crystal Lake Park, Part II: Endings and Beginnings


In the February issue of THE BEE I sketched out the genesis of the now-forgotten “Crystal Lake Amusement Park” which opened in 1908 on the north side of Harrison Street, between 26th and 29th Avenues, near downtown Milwaukie. Attractions on the 15-acre property included boating, adult and children’s swimming tanks, a baseball field with grandstand, a two-lane bowling alley, a large dance hall and picnic grounds – but it lacked the mechanical rides of the Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood. 

The facility was launched and operated by Otto Witte for almost thirty years, until approximately mid-1936. According to an account by one of his sons, his father could not make the payment on a $6,000 loan, and the First State Bank of Milwaukie foreclosed. This debt may have been assumed to purchase three acres for on-site car parking in the 1920’s.

If this was indeed an accurate reason for Witte’s loss, it raised questions which I have been unable to answer. He was a Milwaukie resident (the Witte house was on the park’s grounds), operating a popular business for decades, who was apparently “cut off” by his local bank. Were multiple payments missed?  It was the middle of the Great Depression, but thousands of people continued to crowd the park every weekend throughout the summer and they did pay to be there. The place remained popular even after Witte lost the property.

The September 10, 1936, “Milwaukie Review” newspaper provided no explanation, but simply reported that “a new corporation had purchased the Crystal Lake Park, formerly operated by Otto Witte. The President is Ray Lamb, Treasurer is G.C. McPherson. Owing to leases and options which have not yet expired, the deal will not be complete until the beginning of the year.”

The new partners were connected to the food industry: Lamb and family members owned a grocery store at 22nd and West Burnside in Portland, as well as a meat market across town at 72nd and Foster Road. McPherson was executive secretary of the Grocers & Merchants Association, and editor of their trade magazine. For many years the Association held their annual picnic at Crystal Lake Park, drawing thousands of employees and their families for a day-long frolic.

Did the partners hear rumors that Witte was not doing well financially, and moved to acquire the property as a future investment?  The men hired a manager for the 1937 events, many of which had been booked a year in advance. Their manager didn’t last long, leaving after the Clackamas County Sheriff discovered four illegal slot machines at the site.

Despite this glitch, the booked events went on. A June, 1938, “Oregon Journal” article reported thousands of attendees, while locals flocked to the dance pavilion on Saturday night.

A friend called me to say that her mother, who lived in Oak Grove, often enjoyed the dances which were open to the general public. When there was no live music, a gramophone provided melodies throughout the evening.

Then, for an unexplained reason, revenues flattened not long after Witte’s death in 1939. According to comments by a subsequent owner, the park had “been abandoned”. But soon a new use for it was established – the focus of which would no longer be worldly entertainment, but instead eternal salvation. That shift in direction extended for another 40 years.

In July of 1940, the North Pacific district of the Church of the Nazarene closed its summer encampment at the park, as a renter, by purchasing the 18-acre property as a permanent camp for religious programs. There were other similar enterprises in the area: The Evangelical Church of North America campground on S.E. River Road near Jennings Avenue, and in Portland that of the Apostolic Faith Church on S.E. Duke Street, between 52nd and 57th, which is still there.

Future plans for the property included converting the dance hall into a meeting space for as many as 2,000 people, while retaining the swimming tanks for use especially by children and teenagers. Two years later, in June of 1942, the Crystal Lake Gospel Park Association bought the property, which now was reduced to 15 acres in size. It would no longer be used exclusively by the Nazarenes, but it would be nondenominational. The dance hall would become a “tabernacle” to seat 1,500, and the old bowling alley would be transformed into a cafeteria. The new enterprise was under the directorship of a husband-wife team, the Reverends Maurice and Edna Brock (Although both used Rev. in front of their names, for clarity I will refer to them as Mrs. and Mr.)

According to his later obituary, Mr. Brock was ordained at the age of sixteen by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. However, he was affiliated with a specific church for only the first eight years of his career as the pastor of a Christian Church in California. After arriving in Portland in 1933, the couple became freelance evangelistic ministers, attempting to establish congregations, but with limited success. Finally Mr. Brock founded the Hawthorne Tabernacle in a storefront next to what is now the Hawthorne Movie Theater at S.E. 20th Street, opposite the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood. He expanded the range of his message via the medium of radio – a new technological innovation that was rapidly appearing in thousands of homes. In addition to Sunday services at the Tabernacle, he launched a daily Christian radio program called “The Amen Corner”. 

It is unclear where the funds came from for the purchase of Crystal Lake Park in 1942, but the Brocks continued converting buildings on the grounds, while continuing to operate the Hawthorne Tabernacle for the duration of World War II. In June, 1945, a dynamic young evangelist working as President of the “We the People Crystal Lake Gospel Park” was fired, when he was discovered in a local hotel with a woman who was not his wife. Soon afterward, a new entity (probably the Brocks) -- the “Bible Broadcasting Company” – acquired the former Crystal Lake Park. It is not known if this was a simple renaming of the existing ownership, or if there were other investors, but camp meetings did continue in the summer.

A year later, on December 1, 1946, the Brocks moved most of their Hawthorne Avenue enterprise into temporary quarters at the Crystal Lake property. Now in his mid-40’s Mr. Brock was constructing a large building on a knoll above the lake to accommodate Sunday school rooms, a sanctuary, a pipe organ, and a professional soundproof broadcast studio. He probably intended to start earlier, but building materials and carpenters were scarce during the war. The design was unique – described as “Old English” in style, and attributed to architect Ira Washburn, who left Portland to serve as a missionary in South America.  It was a long rectangular building of split and peeled logs, with a gable roof, Gothic-style amber glass windows, and tall bell tower. The interior was finished in knotty pine, and featured a series of curved ceiling trusses.

On Sunday, December 11, 1946, Mr. Brock finished his work at the Tabernacle on Hawthorne, returned to Milwaukie, changed into work clothes, and went to the building site. Unfortunately, he tripped over a pile of lumber and the fall triggered a heart attack.  Although he was rushed to a hospital, he died at the age of forty-eight. His wife Edna was small, but was a strong-minded woman. Coping with her husband’s sudden death, that same day she made the daily “Amen Corner” broadcast, in which she also informed listeners of her husband’s passing. She then labored on for years as the sole “Reverend Brock”.

The source of her religious training is unknown, although she and her husband were both natives of Indiana. Under her guidance The Little Log Church was completed, and from a permanent headquarters she expanded the radio broadcasts and revival services, and continued the summer campground program. Church membership grew to such an extent that in the 1950’s a large addition was constructed for Sunday school classes. It remained nondenominational but evangelistic, attracting itinerant Christian musicians and healers whose reputations developed through nationally-broadcast radio programs. 

In addition to her purchases of advertising space in the church pages of the Oregonian, in 1952 Rev. Brock erected a large cross on a 30 foot pole at S.E. 26th and Harrison Streets. The horizontal arms were twelve feet wide, and there was a black and white illuminated box featuring the phrase “Jesus Saves” in neon lettering. An article in the “Oregon Journal” newspaper invited the public to attend the activation of the sign on Sunday, February 23. It is not known what happened to Rev. Brock’s sign; perhaps it fell during the destructive October 12th “Columbus Day Storm” in 1962

However, external forces brought more serious changes to the park in the mid-1960’s. The State Highway Department launched plans for the “Milwaukie Bypass”, a viaduct that passes over the old Southern Pacific railroad tracks (and, decades later, also the MAX Orange Line), linking Highway 99E to Highway 224. The ramps sliced through the northern part of the park, eliminating the swimming tanks, dance hall, grandstand, and baseball field.  Presumably Rev. Brock received compensation for the loss of her property. Church membership was dwindling, but new revenues developed when the nondenominational church was rented for weddings, with other ministers welcomed to perform marriage services.

Rev. Brock may have sold some of the acreage to the east of the lake, towards 29th Street after her husband’s death, because there are houses in that area that date to the pre and post-war era.  She did have at least one daughter, and may have needed money to support the family and finish the log church. By 1975 the property was reduced to eight and a half acres, owned in rough thirds by Rev. Brock/“Bible Broadcasting”; Lynnwood Lumber, a business registered in the State of Washington; and Orville Robinett, owner of the Lumber Company as well as builder of six units of condominiums in 1975.

By 1986, Rev. Brock had little property left there, and in May of that year she closed the religious institution for which she had toiled so faithfully, in partnership with her husband and then long after his death. She died in 1988, at the age of eighty-eight.

By this time the only remnants of the onetime Crystal Lake Park and the later evangelical ground were Crystal Lake itself, and the log church. Three years earlier, in 1983 Orville Robinett had died, and his share of the property was purchased by Bowen Financial Services. In September of 1986, four months after Rev. Brock closed her church, Bowen announced plans to construct seven buildings totaling 150 units of apartments. This apparently doomed the “Cathedral of the Pines”, although Bowen stated willingness to donate the building to anyone who would move it – and as quickly as possible!

The feasibility of moving a 46-year-old log building of tongue and groove construction appeared unlikely, but if you believe in miracles – or at least in serendipity – another religious body stepped forward: The Eastern Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. In early June of 1987, the log church was lifted from its foundation onto an enormous trailer, and began inching very slowly out Highway 224 to Rusk Road, a distance of over two miles. It was settled on a small property owned by the congregation just beyond what is now the North Clackamas Park, near the upper reaches of Kellogg Creek.

The new owners had acquired a former blueberry farm, and the log church still sits on eleven acres of open grassy natural area, with many trees and at least one picnic table. Eight years after it arrived at its new site, an arson fire destroyed a wing housing offices – but, fortunately, the main edifice of the “Little Log Church” was unharmed.

As this story concludes, the church is undergoing extensive exterior remodeling – but if you visit their website ( you can view aspects of the building.

A footnote: After an appeal to readers in Part I of this story for photos of Crystal Lake Amusement Park, one person contacted me about a large framed photo she rescued some years ago from the Goodwill bins on S.E. Ochoco Street. Taken in 1922, by the Acme Studio in Portland, the view is northeast across the baseball ground. The lake was behind the photographer, but the roof of the children’s swim tank is in the center distance, and to its right is the changing room for the adult swim tank. This photo is three feet wide, but you can examine it, resize it, expand it to see sections of it in full resolution, or download it – right here:

Jonathan Cruz, of Multnomah County Environmental Health Services’ Wood Smoke Program, laid out county’s new restrictions on wood and debris burning to reduce air pollution, in a talk at the January 4th SMILE monthly General Meeting in Sellwood.
Jonathan Cruz, of Multnomah County Environmental Health Services’ Wood Smoke Program, laid out county’s new restrictions on wood and debris burning to reduce air pollution, in a talk at the January 4th SMILE monthly General Meeting in Sellwood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Fireplace czar’ explains county’s rules limiting wood fires


Most area residents have known for years that backyard burning of trash or yard debris, such as leaves, has been illegal – even though smoke plumes are frequently seen arising from behind Inner Southeast Portland residences.

However, you may not be aware of a recent Multnomah County ordinance, instituted two years ago, which also forbids burning wood in stoves, furnaces, fireplaces – and even backyard fire pits – on designated “Red Days”, when overall particulate pollution is high.

“The main message that I talk about is simple: Wood smoke is a health hazard,” Jonathan Cruz, of Multnomah County Environmental Health Services’ Wood Smoke Program, told THE BEE just before appearing at the monthly SMILE General Meeting in Sellwood meeting on January 4.

He pointed out that smoke from wood-burning is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles that lodge in the lungs of humans and animals. In addition to particle pollution, wood smoke contains several toxic air pollutants including:

  • benzene
  • formaldehyde
  • acrolein
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

“I educate neighbors about how smoke not only impacts your physical body, but it also affects the entire community in the area,” Cruz continued. “In February, 2020, the Multnomah County Commissioners extended the wood burning ban ordinance to being year-’round. That is, we post daily advisories about whether it’s okay to burn wood.”When we asked how this ordinance is being enforced, Cruz replied, “We do have enforcement of this ordinance, but it’s only on ‘Red Days’ – days when air quality is the worst.”

Penalties and Warnings
Between March 2, 2021 and March 1, 2022, Multnomah County received a total of 288 wood smoke information requests and complaints from community members. (203 of these were between October 1, 2021 and March 1, 2022).

  • A violation complaint occurs when wood smoke is reported on a “Red” or “no-burn” day. No violation fees were issued, as there were no repeat offenses.
  • A site visit occurs when multiple complaints or violations are reported on a “Red” day.

“Nevertheless, we’re hoping that people will get an understanding of the health risks caused by wood smoke, and then will make good choices for their health and for the health of others,” Cruz told THE BEE. “A real problem is caused by burning wood for recreation, and we find that takes place in the more affluent areas.”

Questions, and answers
About modern “smokeless” fire logs, he spoke up against them; there are still burn products in the air. When queried about switching to burning “pressed logs” of compacted materials, Cruz stated, “The fact is that you just don’t know what they’re made out of. It could be wood chips, sawdust, bark, or other things that emit pollutants.”

We asked if inserts and new woodstoves reduce smoke pollution; Cruz said, “Woodstoves, even with different types of filters, have not been verified to meet the manufacturers’ own specifications for reducing smoke-containing particulates.”

By the way, this ordinance does not apply to cooking food using charcoal grills, smokers or wood fired ovens, Cruz asserted.

Bust a burner
First of all, before you burn, or complain about a neighbor’s “recreational wood burning”, check online on the pollution level – Or you can call 503-988-0035 to find out; updates are made by 11 a.m. daily.

  • Send complaints via email to –
  • If you see a fire that is unsafe and still burning, call 911
  • If a fire is an unsafe area and has the potential to catch other things on fire, call the non-emergency number –503-823-3333
  • Report dangerous fires at homeless camps

 “Shared Air, Shared Action” recommendations:

  • Don’t burn on the worst air quality days
  • “Burn better”: Burn clean and dry wood
  • Spread the word; educate others about the problem, and how to protect health
  • Choose other ways to stay warm – such as heat pumps, or electric heat
  • Avoid using methane gas in your home
  • Insulate and winterize your home
  • Buy portable air filter units to keep the air in your home clean, and change furnace filters regularly
  • Advocate more action for clean air in our airshed

So, in summary of the presentation:  While a cheery fire is fun on a cool evening, consider the effect it could have on your health and that of your neighbors.

The Woodstock Elementary coed Cub Scout Pack, the childrens’ parents, and other members of the community spent two hours picking up litter on December 17th in the Woodstock Neighborhood.
The Woodstock Elementary coed Cub Scout Pack, the childrens’ parents, and other members of the community spent two hours picking up litter on December 17th in the Woodstock Neighborhood. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Coed ‘Cub Scout Pack’ helps in Woodstock cleanups


In Woodstock on Saturday morning, December 17th, the sun was shining, the frost was melting from the streets and sidewalks, and the winter wind had died down, so street litter In Woodstock stayed in place.

The front of the Woodstock Community Center was filled with adults and children by 9:30 a.m. ready to take the donated Adopt One Block grabbers, gloves, and plastic bags and buckets to clean litter from the neighborhood streets until at least noon. 

Some volunteers were “repeat neighborhood litter cleanup” adults who had already helped out in October, and a few were new. Twenty were students – both girls and boys – from Woodstock Elementary School’s coed Cub Scout Pack 206. (The Pack also includes students from Woodmere and Lewis Elementary Schools as well.)

The Scout group had gotten started just before the pandemic hit, but then did not meet for two years until this past June. This cleanup was the young Scouts’ work towards earning a badge.

Since 2017, the National Boy Scouts organization – which includes Cub Scouts -- has welcomed both boys and girls into the Scouts. Woodstock Elementary’s Cub Scout Pack 206 welcomes younger boys and girls. This past June Beth Lutz, Jen Scherzinger, David Jellis, and others started it up again post-pandemic.

All those gathered at the Community Center that day set out for the morning’s cleanup. When they returned from the task around noon, cleanup volunteers warmed up and refreshed with hot chocolate, fruit bars, peanut butter pretzels, and mandarins donated by organizers and Woodstock residents Mike Morrison and Kellye Bruce.

The Cub Scout Pack’s organizers told THE BEE that the young Scouts who will receive a badge for Community Service as a result of their cleanup efforts are: Caleb and Emmett Jellis, Dean and Julian Owens, Alden and Carina VanDerSchaaf, Nico and Kai Roberts, Sutton Mathys, Sam Matheis, Crystal Parsley, and Alexander Cai.

The next Woodstock Cleanup will be this month, weather permitting, repeating throughout the Spring on the third Saturday of each month. For updates in case of inclement weather on the specified date, visit the Woodstock Neighborhood Association website – Also, while there, you can click in the lower right corner of the webpage to sign up for the monthly neighborhood online newsletter.

Events & Activities

Sign-ups in Woodstock start today for fitness classes:
Today at 12:30 p.m. is the time to begin signing up for Spring fitness, and other Spring classes, from Portland Parks & Recreation, and at the Woodstock Community Center. Among them: “Cardio Dance Workout” (Mondays 5:40-6:30 p.m.) for adults, a playful fitness class with moves from jazz and modern dance, martial arts, and yoga; and “Relax and Restore” (Mondays 6:40-7:30 p.m.) for adults, which focuses on breathing and moving mindfully through gentle stretches and rejuvenating poses. The best way to sign up is online – – but you can also call 503/823-3633.

Oaks Bottom volunteer planting event:
Join Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Friends of Oaks Bottom, this morning from 9 to noon for a planting day at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. You’ll be helping plant native trees and shrubs to improve habitat for local wildlife. Dress for the weather, wear layers and sturdy waterproof shoes, bring raingear, a personal water bottle, and snacks. Enter Oaks Bottom from the small parking lot just south of S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard on the west side of Milwaukie Avenue. Look for the white sandwich-board “EVENT” signs, with arrows directing you to the work site. Registration is required – for the registration form and more information, contact Marie Santos at 503/729-0318, or email her at:

Another monthly Saturday WNA litter cleanup this morning: The Woodstock Neighborhood Association’s March volunteer cleanup is this morning, starting at 9:30 a.m., at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd – just west of BiMart. The equipment you’ll need if you participate – grabber, bucket, bag, gloves – will be available. All ages are welcome. Refreshments of hot cocoa, energy bars, and mandarins will be offered until noon, when the cleanup ends. “Have fun, meet neighbors, and help keep the neighborhood clean.” 

St. Agatha’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is back! After the long pandemic break, once again Sellwood’s St. Agatha’s Church and School are again celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with its festival this afternoon! It starts with the parade winding through Sellwood at noon, starting and ending at St. Agatha’s School – followed by the carnival for kids and festival for adults, with live music, food carts and beer garden until 4 p.m. 7960 S.E. 15th Avenue in Sellwood.

CHS grad on making medical care equitable and accessible:
The Southeast Portland Rotary Club invites the community to hear a talk entitled “discrimination in the rendition of medical care”.  Not just limited to racially-based differences in treatment, but gender-based as well. The speaker is Ceann Romanaggi, a Cleveland High School graduate who will be entering medical school this August. This meeting is open to everyone and starts at 1 p.m. today in the large Community Room at Moreland Presbyterian, S.E. 19th and Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland. Enter down the ramp from the parking lot on 19th. No charge; refreshments served.

“Music exploring together” classes for kids in Woodstock: Sign-ups start today for “Music Exploring Together” classes for kids 2-4 years old, with adult, on Friday mornings 9:30-10:10 a.m. and 10:15-10:55 a.m, at the Woodstock Community Center. Classes include musical games, movement, percussion play, and songs to develop self-expression, and cognitive, social, and musical skills. The best way to sign up is online – – but you can also call 503/823-3633.

“Folk Music Society” presents John Reischman and the Jaybirds:
The nonprofit Portland Folk Music Society, based in the Reed neighborhood, presents John Reischman and the Jaybirds in concert this evening, at 7:30 p.m. in the Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 S.E. Steele Street. General admission tickets are $25 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m. For more information, go online –

Today, “Spring electronic recycling – and more”:
The Brentwood-Darlington  Neighborhood Association invites all BEE readers to bring their discarded electronics and also get secure data destruction; the event will also feature a seed and plant swap, bicycle repair advice, a free maintenance workshop from Bikes 4 Humanity, and useful information on recycling from Master Recyclers. It’s all happening this morning at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, 7211 S.E. 62nd Avenue, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. today. Making the event possible are Green Century Recycling, Bikes 4 Humanity, Community Gardens, and the Masters Recycling Program. Donations gratefully accepted!

Easter Egg Hunt in Brooklyn this morning:
The Brooklyn neighborhood’s annual Easter Egg Hunt for the kids takes place at the top of the hill on the west side of Brooklyn Park at 10 a.m. sharp – don’t be late; it’s over in about five minutes! Kealin Freund is managing it this year. Kids under age 12 who bring their own baskets will have the most fun. The plastic eggs they collect were filled by the Brooklyn Girl Scouts, and neighbors will be on hand with candy, stickers, temporary tattoos, and some special gift certificates donated by local cafés. Two kid face-painters will be on hand. No charge.

Sellwood-Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt: The annual Sellwood-Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt will take place this morning at 11 a.m. SHARP, at Oaks Amusement Park in picnic area 9. The this event for kids is sponsored by the Sellwood Community House and Oaks Amusement Park – in partnership with SMILE, the Oaks Bottom Lions Club, and Moreland Presbyterian Church. No charge.


     Useful HotLinks:     
Your Personal "Internet Toolkit"!

Charles Schulz's "PEANUTS" comic strip daily!

Portland area freeway and highway traffic cameras

Portland Police

Latest Portland region radar weather map

Portland Public Schools

Multnomah County's official SELLWOOD BRIDGE website

Click here for the official correct time!

Oaks Amusement Park

Association of Home Business (meets in Sellwood)

Local, established, unaffiliated leads and referrals group for businesspeople; some categories open

Weekly updates on area road and bridge construction

Translate text into another language

Look up a ZIP code to any U.S. address anywhere

Free on-line PC virus checkup

Free antivirus program for PC's; download (and regularly update it!!) by clicking here

Computer virus and worm information, and removal tools

PC acting odd, redirecting your home page, calling up pages you didn't want--but you can't find a virus? You may have SPYWARE on your computer; especially if you go to game or music sites. Click here to download the FREE LavaSoft AdAware program, and run it regularly!

What AdAware doesn't catch, "Malwarebytes" may! PC's--particularly those used for music downloads and online game playing--MUST download these free programs and run them often, to avoid major spyware problems with your computer!

Check for Internet hoaxes, scams, etc.

Here's more on the latest scams!

ADOBE ACROBAT is one of the most useful Internet document reading tools. Download it here, free; save to your computer, click to open, and forget about it! (But decline the "optional offers" -- they are just adware)

Encyclopedia Britannica online

Newspapers around the world

Convert almost any unit of measure to almost any other

Research properties in the City of Portland

Local source for high-quality Shaklee nutritionals

Note: Since THE BEE is not the operator of any of the websites presented here, we can assume no responsibility for content or consequences of any visit to them; however we, personally, have found all of them helpful, and posted them here for your reference.


Local News websites:
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Local News

KATU, Channel 2 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 24)

KOIN, Channel 6 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 25)

KGW, Channel 8 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 26)

KOPB, Channel 10 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 10 and 28)

KPTV, Channel 12 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 12)

KRCW, Channel 32 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 24 and 25)

KPDX, Channel 49 (Digital/HDTV broadcast channel 12 and 26)

"Next Generation TV", in the incompatible ATSC-3 format, is currently duplicating (in the new format) KATU, KOIN, KGW, KOPB, KPTV, KRCW, and KPDX on channels 30 and/or 33; you will need a new TV or converter box capable of receiving the new ATSC-3 format in order to see these broadcasts.