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May 2019 -- Vol. 113, No. 9
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Memories of THE BEE's first 100 years!
In 2006, THE BEE celebrated its centennial of serving Southeast Portland!  A special four-page retrospective of Inner Southeast Portland's century, written by Eileen Fitzsimons, and drawn from the pages of THE BEE over the previous 100 years, appeared in our September, 2006, issue.
Click here to read this special retrospective!


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Eastmoreland Historic District, controversy, trusts voting, court ruling, trusts ruled out, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Will the latest ruling be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, or will it stand? Either way – what next? (Photo illustration by David F. Ashton)

Eastmoreland ‘Historic’ vote: Court disqualifies ‘trusts’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An Oregon Court of Appeals ruling filed April 3 – in the case of Eastmoreland resident, and opponent of the Eastmoreland Historic District application, Tom Brown vs. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department – settled little, except that the court decided that the Oregon State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) had improperly created a “rule”, and disqualified counting “trusts” as owners.

At the end of the court’s ten-page opinion, the justices made their findings clear:

In sum, we conclude that the part of the ownership counting standard published on SHPO's website that adds trusts to the list of eligible owners for the purpose of voting on nominations of districts for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places constitutes a rule. 

Because SHPO promulgated the standard without complying with rulemaking procedures, see ORS 183.400(4)(c), the provision of the standard that designates trusts as eligible owners is invalid.  

Provision of State Historic Preservation Office's ownership counting standard that designates trusts as eligible owners held invalid.

This invalidated the SHPO’s ruling, reported in a headline story last July, that it had determined the opponents of the proposed Historic District had indeed submitted enough objections to prevent listing Eastmoreland as an Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places. That, as a result of a handful of neighbors having created many modified trusts to “own” their properties, by which they could cast 5,000 votes in opposition, thus massively defeating the proposed District.

Now, once again, there is the contested matter of establishing whether those in favor of the District have, or have not, obtained a majority vote in favor of establishing the Historic District. Presumably the previous vote can be recounted without those trusts.

But, immediate action of any sort seems unlikely. When we asked for a status update on that Eastmoreland Historic District nomination, Oregon Parks & Recreation Department Associate Director Chris Havel told THE BEE, “The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office staff has been working to apply state and federal provisions, to resubmit the proposed Eastmoreland Historic District nomination for potential listing in the National Register of Historic Places – and will incorporate the recent court decision into the process.

“Because the Eastmoreland nomination presents several unusual characteristics, we cannot predict how long the final preparation will take, other than to say the staff is working consistently to ready it for submission to the U.S. National Park Service,” Havel said.

Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Chair Rod Merrick, making it clear he was speaking only for himself, issued a brief statement headlined, “Eastmoreland HD moves a notch closer”. In it he wrote, “This decision moves, or certainly should move, the Eastmoreland Historic District approval forward. The question of who is manipulating this process behind the scenes remains of interest.”

The organizer of “Historic Eastmoreland Achieving Results Together” (HEART), Derek Blum, himself a proponent of the Historic District nomination, spoke with THE BEE about ruling: “This has been an interesting development; however, it’s inconclusive, as far as the next steps for the neighborhood and the Historic District nomination will take.

“I don’t know the implication of the latest ruling; SHPO and the Department of Justice will determine what comes next,” Blum said. “It’s somewhat ironic that the lawsuit was brought by someone opposed to the district. The way I read the ruling and understand it, SHPO did not go through proper rulemaking process, which would prevent them from counting [votes from] any trusts.

“SHPO needs to follow a process of rules, and not make them up as they go. Both sides agree that there needs to be transparency about what the rules are,” Blum said. “Until we find out more, HEART is in ‘wait and see’ mode.”

Meantime, the Eastmoreland neighbor who brought the lawsuit, Tom Brown, commented to THE BEE that his understanding is that SHPO can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, or let the ruling stand.

“The court ruled in my favor, but nothing was won!” Brown said. “SHPO knew two years ago they needed to do rulemaking, because as far as I know they never have done rulemaking for this program. SHPO seemed to tell us that they’d work on rulemaking, but do it after the Eastmoreland nomination was finished. . .  SHPO should have stopped this process almost two years ago, when the National Park Service sent it back the first time.”

Whether or not Eastmoreland is designated an Historic District could now take some time, he observed.

Explaining his position, Brown said, “Those opposed to the Historic District just want Eastmoreland to be part of the city and change over time, like the rest of the city. We are not special, but we are fortunate; and we should not try to be more of an exclusive enclave than we already are.”



Pigmice, Robotics Team 2733, FIRST, Cleveland High School, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Victor Huynh, Hunter Key, Dexter Carpenter, Caleb Eby, Brendan Burkhart, of the Cleveland High “Pigmice” FIRST Robotics Team 2733, show off their robot. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Cleveland High’s robot team makes US finals competition

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Few Portland high schools had teams who qualified for the “FIRST Robotics Competition Oregon” regional games this season, which were held once again at Lake Oswego High School on March 29-30.

But two local teams proudly did qualify to participate there again this year.

One of the two was the FIRST Robotics Team 1432, the “Metal Beavers” – formerly affiliated with Franklin High School, before they were inexplicably cast out in 2010, only to find a home at the Lents Knights of Pythias Ivanhoe Lodge, and fiscal sponsorship from the Southeast Portland Rotary Club Foundation. The other team was once again Cleveland High’s FIRST Robotic Team 2733, the “Pigmice”.

The FIRST Robotics Competition program, calling itself “A Celebration of Space, Innovation & STEM Inspiration”, is presented by Oregon Robotics Tournament Outreach Program (ORTOP).

“This is the last district event here in Oregon; and, after today, and the teams are ranked, and the top teams will go to the championships in Olympia, Washington,” said ORTOP Executive Director David Perry. One of them did; the Cleveland High “Pigmice” advanced through levels of competition to the Nationals in Houston, in in the third week of April.

It all begins in January of each year, when each high school robotics team is challenged to build a robot that will fulfill the mission of a story line; this year's competition was called “Deep Space”, Perry explained. The object was for robot remote-control operators to cross an alien planet (the playing field), gather “cargo”, and load it onto space ships, all within less than three minutes.

“In addition to giving students the opportunity to learn math, scientific, technical, and business skills, this program connects young people with the local business and tech community, who support the program,” Perry said. “Both the Metal Beavers and Pigmice teams made strong robot entries this year.”


FIRST Robotics Team 1432, The Metal Beavers, Franklin High School, robotics team, Southeast Portland, Oregon
In their pit, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1432, the “Metal Beavers”, are crew members J.R. Surban, Jacob Purvis, Nathaniel Lyons, and Ammon Corpron, getting ready for another match. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Metal Beavers” compete well
“I’ve been really happy to see the ‘Metal Beavers’ with a real solid robot,” Perry commented. “As a Lents neighborhood native, I love seeing them doing well – as their team is growing, and continues to have great mentors.”

In the pit area, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1432 “Metal Beavers” were readying their robot for competition.

“We’ve done pretty well up until now,” remarked J.R. Surban, now a senior at Franklin High School, as well as the team’s captain, driving coach, and part of the mechanical team.

“My personal goals are to help develop our team members by sharing what I’ve learned with those with less experience, helping them learn both the technical aspects of robots, and the strategies needed to do well in competition,” Surban said.

The a team technician and player, Ammon Corpron, a student at the First Class Clackamas Teens School, added, “Even if we lose, we have good teamwork opportunities. A lot of being in these competitions is learning to become graciously professional, while learning how to do better next sea

In the local competition held earlier in Oregon City, the Metal Beavers ranked #8 out of 36 teams. In Lake Oswego, out of 36 teams, they moved from the #32 rank up to the #21 rank; so they didn’t go on to the Regional Finals in Spokane.

Learn more about the Metal Beavers online – http://team1432.com.

Pigmice go to U.S. Nationals
About Cleveland High’s team, ORTOP’s Perry said, “I have a special place in my heart for the Pigmice, too; I was working at OMSI in 2006, the year that Pigmice swept FIRST Lego League World Championships in Houston.” At that time they were based at Winterhaven School in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

Pigmice Team Captain Dexter Carpenter spoke with THE BEE in their pit before heading out to compete. “It’s going pretty good this year. It’s one of our best seasons yet – being able to do everything well this year.

“The best part of this competition is working with our student team’s members,” Carpenter said. “Instead of adult teachers, it’s older students teaching younger ones, which helps both the teachers and the learners prepare for life after school.”

Being involved in the competition gives students both “hard” technical skills and “soft” personal relationship proficiency, Carpenter observed. “Beyond learning the hands-on stuff of designing, building, programming, and operating the robot, our team members also learn business like communications, and finance – training that’s difficult to get in a classroom setting.”

The Pigmice did accumulate enough points through the season that they qualified for the PNW championships in Spokane, ranking 18 of 36. From there, they headed to Houston for the 2019 FIRST Championships, April 17-20, being ranked 37th out of 66 teams after one day of qualifications.

“In Houston, the Pigmice were Finalists in the Turing Division; and advanced from Qualifications to Eliminations, and won in Quarter and Semifinals, which advanced us to Finals – where we lost,” reported volunteer Cindi Carrell.

“We received the Turing Finalist award with a statue, plaque, and medals, for all the team,” Carrell said after the competition. “We’re grateful for Team 1432 [the Metal Beavers], which loaned us their robot crate for shipping our robot to Houston; it was great to have their support!”

Keep in touch with Pigmice online – https://www.pigmice.com.



Portland Parks and Recreation, Sellwood Community Center, closing, budget, Julie Currin, Southeast, Portland, Oregon
“Friends of Sellwood Community Center” supporter Julie Currin advocates keeping the Center open, addressing members of the Portland City Council. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Community Center supporters at city budget session

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Appearing before members of the Portland City Council at community meetings on April 2 and again on April 9, supporters of the Friends of Sellwood Community Center advocated for keeping the heavily-used Center open, after the Portland Parks Bureau announced it would be closed permanently on September 1.

The only “public testimony” City of Portland Budget hearing was held, oddly, in the undersized Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization gymnasium in outer East Portland on Tuesday evening, April 2. The doors were closed when the room reached capacity, leaving almost as many people standing outside in the courtyard as were allowed in the building.

Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked those packed into the room, observing, “There are probably more entertaining things one could do with an evening, rather than go to a budget session. But this budget is a moral document – a directive to the city, and collectively a prioritizing of the things we want to see in our community. So, I thank you for taking the time to come and share.”

When Wheeler commented that the Parks Commissioner, Nick Fish, would not be attending the meeting, many parks advocates in the audience loudly murmured.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz stepped up to the podium and told the audience, “Commissioner Fish is been actively engaged in the City Council, even though he’s been undergoing treatments for cancer for the last year, making it difficult for him to attend this evening.”

Wheeler opened the meeting saying, “No decisions have been made, yet, in regard to this budget. The next step for me is to actually issue a proposed budget [on May 1], based on everything that I hear.”

Portland City Budget Office Interim Director Jessica Kinard provided a quick overview of the city’s budget, illustrated with a parade of projected charts and graphs.

Kinard pointed out major budget items, including:

  • Rising personnel costs
  • Increases in full time workers, adding more than 100 workers to the city payroll
  • Homeless services and rental services budgeting $6.9 million for the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and $1million for the Rental Services Office.

Members of the Portland City Council politely listened as speakers allowed into the room presented their testimony.

Appearing on behalf of saving the Sellwood Community Center (SCC) was stalwart supporter Julie Currin, who, in addition to voicing her sentiments about the importance of the facility, also read letters from the Center’s kids.

“I hope these letters strike a chord with you as they do with me,” said Currin, as she began to read: “You should not close our Community Center, because you just cannot have a community without a community center.”

Another: “Please do not shut our Community Center down, because us kids will have nowhere to go.”

“And this is my favorite; it gets to the point,” Currin said: “We love it here!”

“I hope you care enough to take the time to discover some long-term fixes for these budget problems,” Currin said, looking up at Portland’s leaders. “We don’t want a city where one neighborhood stands on the heads of others. Community Centers keep families in the city center. There are solutions out there. Just take the time to care, and to find solutions.”

Others speaking on behalf of the Sellwood Community Center reminded Portland’s top politicians that their stated goal is “walkable neighborhoods” – but walking to the nearest Community Center remaining open would take longer than an hour. Another supporter said the key to keeping Centers open is “partnership”. “Partnerships take political will, and the ability to be flexible to work with your committee.”

Supporter Jamie Colvard acknowledged, “I know that the budget shortfall is real; and I ask respectfully that you will reconsider the [closing] option.” Colvard read a letter from her daughter, who sat with her: “Keep Sellwood Community Center open. I love our Community Center. Their gym games are awesome, their outside space is totally awesome, and the friends are nice. If you don’t close [the Center], we will be happy.”

At the next City Budget meeting held April 9 at David Douglas High School, “Friends of Sellwood Community Center” Chair Gail Hoffnagle was, along with representatives from about 15 other organizations, invited to speak for three minutes.

“The City Counsel members said that they were there to hear us. We are all hoping for a good outcome, after this unprecedented outpouring by the community,” Hoffnagle said. “I am so grateful to all the people, both young and older, who have written, e-mailed, started petitions, gave us their opinions and ideas, showed up for meetings, and showed up for marches, to save our Community Center.

“We are so blessed to have a group of people who are willing to stand up and demonstrate their support, and to publicly express how the Community Center has impacted their lives, both in the past and in the present,” commented Hoffnagle. “I am so proud to call this neighborhood my home.”



Bybee Boulevard, Eastmoreland, truck crash, hit and run, perpetrator, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After scraping the bark off a tree, losing a wheel, and coming to a hard stop on the sidewalk, the stolen Chevrolet Silverado Z71 truck was set for a tow. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Stolen truck crashes on Eastmoreland sidewalk; suspect bolts

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Police were still investigating the single-vehicle smashup just south of the intersection of S.E. Bybee Boulevard and Tolman Street on Saturday morning, April 13; but neighbors told THE BEE that, at about 9:30 a.m., an eastbound, full sized pickup truck ran off the road, smashed into a tree, and came to rest on the sidewalk.


Stolen car, hit and run, witness photo, perpetroator, Eastmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon,
Do you recognize this man? A Westmoreland neighbor, who saw the suspect strolling away from the crash and snapped a photo, shared it with the police and THE BEE. (Witness photo)

“No one is sure how or why the driver missed the curve and went between the trees,” said neighbor Ed Smith. “You can see that the left front wheel was torn off, and the right front wheel was completely destroyed in the accident. But apparently the driver got out, pretty much uninjured, and headed (west) down Bybee toward the golf course.”

But the suspect did not escape in anonymity; a Westmoreland neighbor – who did not want to be identified – snapped photos of the suspect leaving the crashed Chevrolet Silverado Z71 truck, and shared them with the police and with THE BEE.

A police officer at the scene confirmed to neighbors that the truck had been reported stolen.

It took time and careful maneuvering, but a flatbed tow truck eventually managed to remove the damaged truck. The police are still at work tracking down the apparent vehicle thief who departed the scene the crash.



Sellwood Gap, Springwater Trail, paving, trees removed, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Supervisors checked their plans at S.E. 9th Avenue and Linn Street, as trees were being felled to make way for the “Springwater Trail Sellwood Gap” improvement project. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Work underway filling Springwater Trail’s ‘Sellwood Gap’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Over the objections of a nearby Sellwood resident, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) began construction on the “Springwater Trail Sellwood Gap” – the unimproved segment of the trail between S.E. 9th and 11th Avenues in March.

At meetings, neighbor Edith Mirante had heartily objected to cutting trees adjacent to her property near S.E. 9th Avenue and Linn. She suggested making a narrower path, or installing a retaining wall, to preserve the trees in that right-of-way.

PP&R acknowledged that, while they were indeed removing 38 trees, 54 trees would still remain. And, they say, they will plant 37 new native trees nearby, to help mitigate the impact – along with making a payment to the City’s “tree mitigation fund” for a further 39 new trees in the Rose City.

Then, in the third week of March, the project began. PP&R’s Ken Rumbaugh updated THE BEE on the progress of the program. “The site excavation and grading is complete, and the contractor is planning to start asphalt paving on April 18.”

Work on sidewalks and ADA ramps in the project zone continue. “Landscaping and tree planting is planned to start within the next two weeks; the project completion is scheduled for July 1st,” said Rumbaugh.



Easter Egg Drop, Hope City Church, Brentwood Darlington, helicopter, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Empty plastic Easter eggs, to be redeemed for candy, rained down on Brentwood Park at the eighth annual “Hope City Egg Drop” on April 13. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Dropped from ’copter, eggs reign at Easter party in Brentwood park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Those near Lane Middle School, in the Brentwood Darlington neighborhood, might have wondered why a crowd was gathering on the stormy Saturday morning of April 13. The answer would soon become clear above.

“We’re so glad to be back, hosting our eighth annual ‘Hope City Egg Drop’,” smiled Hope City Church Pastor Brian Becker, in Brentwood Park.

Until they started the festive event that includes field games and activities, photos with the Easter Bunny – and then thousands of bright, orange Easter eggs being showered down from a helicopter – Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood kids had no Easter-themed events.

“We want to do something for these kids, and we wanted to make it amazing,” Becker said. The crowds have grown each year.

Indeed, it didn’t take long for more than 1,300 kids register this year. “It’s still free for kids who live in the neighborhood,” Becker remarked. But for those outside the area, we do ask for a fee donation.”

And, as in past years, 100% of donations go directly to help support activities of the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA), the pastor reminded.

“We are very excited, thrilled, and thankful for this,” beamed BDNA Chair Chelsea Powers. “Just think: this group raised $3,400 – a thousand more than last year – toward our advocacy and outreach programs, such as our Movies in the Park, National Night Out Celebration, and Hallowe’en ‘Spook-tacular.”

Some 150 volunteers helped this year’s “Egg Drop” run smoothly. Some helpers had packed more than 800 pounds of candy into bags so that, whether a child collected one egg or a dozen, they all got an equal amount candy, keeping it from being competitive.

Before the aerial Easter Egg drop, families with toddlers scooped up eggs in an area set aside from the “drop zone”.

As the blades of the helicopter could be heard approaching in the distance, the pastor looked, and smiled; a forecast rain shower had held off. 

“We do this because we like to love people,” Becker said. “When we see how Jesus loved people, with no strings attached, we want ourselves to distribute the love we feel from God. When we see these kids smiling and enjoying themselves, with their families, we think it’s a pretty good opportunity that shows that kind of love that we feel.”

Learn about Hope City Church online – http://www.hopecityPDX.com.  

And learn more about the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association at their own website – https://brentwood-darlington.org.

All other Easter Egg events in Inner Southeast occurred one week later, on the day before Easter – after the deadline for this issue of THE BEE. Look for more photos next month!





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