THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

You really can make a significant difference

Coincidentally, last month – the same month our editorial comment was about the value of Portland’s 95 neighborhood associations in maintaining Portland’s “small town” character, which has proven to be such an attraction in setting Portland apart from other major cities – we printed a “Letter to the Editor” from a community member questioning the value of these associations.

The community member in question had actually served on one of the city’s most active neighborhood associations, and had advocated points of view that served to prod conventional thinking, and thus had been a valuable member of the association. We ourselves expressed the view, under his letter, that his provocative views were also on display in the letter, and were probably intended to spark thought and conversation, which is useful.

However, we continue in our view that to the extent that Portland is a city of small towns united by the concept of being part of a larger city – rather than being (like most big cities) a metropolis into which distinct towns had been pretty much absorbed – the unique charm of the Rose City has been and still is its neighborhoods, relating to each other and to the city government through the conduit of its 95 neighborhood associations.

We wish the City Council had not been prodded this summer to change the name of its Office of Neighborhood Involvement, which always worked directly with neighborhood associations to involve residents at the local level, to the Office of Community & Civic Life. 

A name change does not necessarily mean a change of mission; but when it is rushed through the City Council as an emergency, something is clearly afoot, and the removal of the “neighborhoods” from the name is rather ominous. Is Portland on its way to becoming a miniature Los Angeles, overrunning its neighborhoods and making them all generic? Having lived in that mega metropolis for nearly a tenth of our life before moving here long ago, we sincerely hope not!

But if it signals a policy change, it should not be a policy change we who live here must simply accept. If we love Portland for its neighborhood atmosphere, we should not abandon the neighborhood associations which advocate for us at City Hall, but instead we should bestir ourselves to strengthen them with our own participation.

We, ourselves, have participated in our own neighborhood association – it’s unpaid volunteer work – for some two decades now. We have also worked with other neighborhood associations, and have been active in several business associations in Inner Southeast as well.

We’ve noticed that what usually gets people involved in their own neighborhood association is strong concern about a specific problem, circumstance, or local issue. If they find they grow interested in other affairs of their neighborhood, and like to make a difference, they stay involved. And there are many ways to be involved!

First, every neighborhood association in Portland is led by a volunteer Board, and every one has Board elections in May; you can run for and serve on the Board. The length of the terms are short – a year or two – and require re-election if you’d like to continue.

But, if you just have specific interests and concerns that are more focused, there are many other ways to be involved, and all of them are very useful to your own community.

Concerned about demolition and new construction, or simply the way the land is being developed or used in your neighborhood? Most neighborhood associations have a Land Use Committee, which review such matters and may make recommendations to the city which are submitted through the neighborhood association’s Board for adoption.

The same for transportation issues, including roads, bike boulevard and traffic lanes, trails and sidewalks, and so forth: There’s usually a Transportation Committee to review such matters for potential comment to the city.

And it’s really true – up to now, such comments have often been effective in fine tuning city planning to be more in character for the neighborhoods in which they apply.

There are many other committees at most neighborhood associations, all of which rely on local residents volunteering their time to try to accomplish something positive for their neighborhood: Crime prevention committees, environmental committees, ad-hoc action committees, financial committees, fund-raising committees, communications committees, committees for a specific event or service, and so forth.

For example, in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood, there is an immediate need for a couple of residents to step up to coordinate two very-long-standing and valuable projects that may disappear without such a volunteer, and other volunteers to fill the appropriate committees: The oldest neighborhood cleanup in the state is every May in the Westmorland Park parking lot – but its longtime coordinator, Kris Heiberg, is ready to step down, and so far nobody has come forward to work alongside her for a year, to learn the steps needed to organize and pull it off. Volunteers will help do it; but somebody needs to direct and organize.

And, the first Sunday next August will mark the 40th annual “Sundae in the Park” in upper Sellwood Park – a neighborhood party which draws from one to two thousand people of all ages for a pleasant afternoon and evening of music, food and ice cream, and a movie and activities, all on the lawn and under the trees.

Nancy Walsh has been the Chair of the Sundae in the Park Committee for a number of years, but she too finally needs to step down. So, there may not be a 41st annual Sundae in the Park if some volunteer does not step up soon to work alongside her and learn the ropes during the coming year, and others step in to staff the committee and distribute the responsibilities to make it a success.  (If either opportunity sounds like fun for you, and if you’d like to make a difference in that neighborhood, call SMILE at 503/234-3520 and leave a message asking for more information about either of these.)

Here’s the deal. If you have the interest, there is a committee in YOUR neighborhood, wherever it is, that would welcome YOU. You need never do more than you want to do. You’ll get to know your neighbors, and learn what goes on where you live; and it often takes only take an evening or two a month to make a real difference.

If you’re open to just thinking about it, a good start would be to attend a meeting or two of your own neighborhood association, and see if something catches your interest.

You can determine your own neighborhood (if you don’t know it already), find out its neighborhood association, and determine when and where it meets in this part of town, by checking the website of the nonprofit “neighborhood coalition” that acts as a resource for the neighborhood associations in Inner Southeast, Southeast Uplift – which has its office on S.E. Main Street, a couple of blocks west of the parking lot of the Hawthorne Boulevard Fred Meyer Store along Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th).

So here’s the place to start – http://www.seuplift.org/connect-with-your-neighborhood.

Or, if you’d rather call for this information, they’re open Monday through Thursday, 10 to 5 – call 503/232-0010.

You – yes, YOU – can have a hand in keeping Portland, Portland.


Letters to the Editor
Monkey Puzzle Tree, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Courtesy of Ms. Kane, here’s what was left of the tree on July 27.

In memoriam – Monkey Puzzle tree

Editor,

My favorite tree in the neighborhood was removed July 26. I walked by it every day for 18 years to admire it, and always took my visitors to see it. S.E. 9th and Sellwood Boulevard.

Donna Kane
Sellwood

Traffic and parking dangers near Westmoreland Park

Editor,

I live at the intersection of S.E. 22nd Avenue and Rex, and I'm writing with a sense of frustration. Although I’ve reported both of the issues below to several city agencies over the past three years, they remain unresolved:

 1. Westmoreland Park is bordered on the west by S.E. 22nd Avenue. Parking is legal only on the west side of this street but despite several “No Parking” signs, people regularly and illegally park in the northbound lane on the east side of the street. This restricts north/south traffic to a single lane and it impedes fire truck passage from Station 20 at 22nd and Bybee. It also sets a precedent such as this morning when a City of Portland car illegally parked there for a meeting with Asplundh tree trimmers. Soon a second car – driver and two kids – took a cue from the City car and also illegally parked there to visit the children’s play area. This is not unusual. On busy weekends, we see the pattern repeated – illegal parking generating more illegal parking. This is not just an annoyance, it’s a hazardous situation. Solutions: a) Add additional "No Parking in This Block" signs.  b) Paint the curb yellow.

 2. There is no crosswalk at the main entrance at 22nd and Rex Street which dead-ends there despite the fact that this is where the bulk of Park users – most of them families with young children – enter and leave.  We're taking about hundreds of visitors a day.  I regularly see close calls as 22nd Avenue drivers speed by. It's a disaster waiting to happen – especially since the 20 mph limit is seldom observed.  Solution: 1) Add a crosswalk as well as highly visible signage, perhaps even a pedestrian-enabled crosswalk signal. 2) Add a stop sign on Rex so that eastbound drivers slow/stop before entering 22nd Ave. Currently, Rex Street drivers tend to look for 22nd Avenue traffic breaks rather than pedestrians.

The redevelopment of Westmoreland Park a few years ago turned a seldom-used drug trafficking site into a much-loved family gathering place. It's wonderful!  Usage has increased ten-fold – probably more.  But so have the parking and crosswalk issues indicated above. Question: will it take an injured or dead child to generate action by the City?  My previous call-outs have been ignored. Again, will it take an injured or dead child to generate action?

Roddy Cox
S.E. 22nd Avenue, Westmoreland

 

Oaks Bottom rehab & trail closure

Editor,

The oaks bottom lagoon rehab is scheduled to include replanting of native trees including Cottonwood trees. Living near Oaks Bottom, I can tell you that the Cottonwood trees already planted there create quite a mess, and can be a breathing hazard for some people when the cotton flies through the air a couple of months each summer. While I certainly approve of native trees and shrubs being replanted once the rehab is complete, I believe that there are already enough Cottonwood trees, and I have contacted the city to express that opinion. If anyone has an opinion on this subject, or other thoughts about the rehab, they can e-mail: Ronda.Fast@portlandoregon.gov and Sarah.P.Bennett@usace.army.mil

Kevin Moffitt
Westmoreland


Springwater Trail, closed, Oaks Bottom, culvert, replacement, salmon, Army Corps of Engineers, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The former level of the Springwater Trail in this area of Oaks Bottom – and the railroad tracks two – was a line level with the berm on both edges of this photo. What’s missing is in the middle!

Editor,

I was on my boat [off Ross Island on August 5,] and snapped this [of the Oaks Bottom rehab excavation location on the Springwater Trail, north of Oaks Park].  Ya, it’s pretty closed... 

Dan O’Flaherty
Sellwood

 

Woodstock runner crosses international finish lines

Editor,

I think you’d like to know about an emergency medicine provider who works for Providence Medical Group! His name is Kenric Craver, and he lives in the Woodstock area. Kenric works 13 hour shifts six days a week, seeing about 25-30 patients a day, and is active and in the Army.

What makes Kenric so unique is, with all his working hours, he still finds time to complete ultra marathons and marathons in the Portland area. You will also find him crossing finish lines all over the world to support the vision and mission of Providence, and to promote self-care. He is truly an inspiration, and motivates others through his actions, his running, his compassion, and his care of others. He speaks on anxiety and depression and how running promotes health. His next marathon is in mid-August in Iceland.

Justine Manley
via e-mail

 

About that “pedestrian struck” letter

Editor,

Regarding the August letter [to the editor] describing a black sedan whipping around a bus and striking a pedestrian on Bybee [at 17th], that's called lane splitting and is illegal, although people do it constantly. Motorcycles are best known for it when going between cars in traffic. Similarly, nobody waits behind someone attempting to make a left turn, they go around them and confuse the situation in the intersection for everybody. Impatience, distracted drivers, poor skills, and arrogance equal danger for pedestrians.

Jesse Argus
via e-mail

EDITOR’S NOTE: As well as for drivers and everyone else!

 

Thanks from Woodstock Community Center

Editor,

To neighbors and businesses of Sellwood and Woodstock and the surrounding communities...

The Friends of Woodstock Community Center want to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in our campaign to prevent the closure of four valuable Portland Parks & Recreation community centers: Woodstock, Sellwood, Hillside, and Fulton. While Sellwood and Woodstock have been threatened with closure for decades, this year all of these neighborhoods collaborated to let the City of Portland know that closing our sweet Centers is not an option. Our Centers are safe for now; but the work is not done. Several members of the #SaveOurCentersPDX community continue to stay in contact with city officials, and are working to help our Centers thrive.

The Woodstock Community Center has been a Portland Parks & Recreation resource for 60 years, so to express our deep appreciation for the outpouring of support, the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center are inviting all our neighbors to join a birthday celebration on Sunday, September 9. We’ll start with a kids’ parade from the Woodstock Farmers Market at 2 p.m. down the sidewalk to the block party in front of the Woodstock Community Center. Enjoy local entertainment, have some cake and ice cream, and see our class demos and displays.

Our 60th Birthday Celebration will immediately follow our community’s Fourth Annual “Woodstock Gives Back: A Coordinated Day of Giving” that begins at 10 a.m. The party is free and open to the public.

Dawn Haecker
Chair, Friends of Woodstock Community Center

 

Podcast based on Westmoreland location

Editor,

My name is Drew Beard and I’ve lived here in Westmoreland since 2010. After two years spent researching the history of the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, I became fascinated by the origins of the rural community of Midway and the particular intersection of people and commerce all dwelling so close to the edge of the bluff and Oaks Bottom.

Like Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow, this is a very special place. My fascination led me to create Annex, a weekly dramatic podcast presenting the serialized story of a particular block or two of “Delaney Avenue” in the fictional Pacific Northwest city of “Harborview” (a composite of Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco). Inspired by the history of Portland as a city and life along Milwaukie Avenue, Annex takes place over the course of the Twentieth Century, opening in 1913 and continuing into the 1920s, 1930s, and beyond. Each week, its residents feud and connive in the name of land and its development amid suspense, romance, and mystery. Recorded at a home studio here in Sellwood-Moreland and at Open Signal in N.E. Portland, Annex’s cast of voice actors is drawn from Portland’s wealth of trained stage performers. Our dedicated crew of producers, editors, and sound designers are alumni of Portland State University’s film program.

Our first season (13 episodes) is now available on iTunes and at http://annex.libsyn.com. Annex’s second season, taking place between 1916 and 1917, premieres on August 9 and will run through the fall, with our third season launching in January.

Drew Beard
S.E. Milwaukie Avenue
(in what was once Midway)


Our Lady of Sorrows School reunion September 15th

Editor,

I have this message for friends of the former Our Lady of Sorrows School in Woodstock:

You are warmly invited to join us for an “All-School Reunion” on Saturday, September 15th, at Our Lady of Sorrows parish [S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 52nd Street], at 2 p.m.  Our Lady of Sorrows School started in 1928, and successfully graduated students through 2007.

We will gather in the gymnasium for cookies and punch, with an added treat of wiener wraps made by our very own “Lunch Lady”. Not only did Mrs. Barbara Sheridan work in the school kitchen for several decades, but she herself is a graduate of Our Lady of Sorrows School.

This will be a time to walk down memory lane, stroll through classrooms, remember hard-won sports victories, and visit with follow students and staff. You can find your brick in the courtyard, and your donor leaf on the tree sculpture, which marked the campaign to build the addition in 2000. Historical memorabilia will be displayed throughout.

Everyone is also invited to join us in the church for Sunday Vigil Mass at 5 p.m.

Evelyn Brush, Pastoral Minister
For Our Lady of Sorrows All-School Reunion Committee

 

Please water and trim trees and bushes

Editor,

I think this is important info for all homeowners with trees, courtesy of Patricia Hoff-Clement: Several weeks ago, the City of Portland urged people to water small trees. Since then, there has been excessive heat, polluted air, and no appreciable rain. The result is that trees in the Northwest – indeed, throughout the West – are now actively suffering and dying. Please water any tree (young or old) you can, that is showing signs of dehydration. These signs include:

  • Curled leaves like potato chips
  • Red, yellow or brown leaves
  • Drooping limbs and leaves
  • Tops of trees fading in color
  • Conifers producing a lot of cones at their crowns

You can help the tree by (1) hosing its leaves (which not only hydrates and cools the leaves but cleans them so they can photosynthesize) and (2) running a slow-drip hose at the tree's base for hours each day.

Portland is one small part of the Northern Temperate Rainforest which runs from California to Alaska. This forest can tolerate 2-month droughts, but is threatened by a 4-month drought, which is our situation at this point. Rainforest trees like Western Red Cedars and Western Hemlocks are especially affected by drought. The best thing to do as a homeowner is walk your yard and look at all your plants. Lilacs and rhododendrons are also suffering from lack of water.

Ted Hoff
Westmoreland


Editor,

I enjoy morning and evening walks through the neighborhoods of Eastmoreland, Sellwood, and Westmoreland – however, I find that I have to do most of my walking in the streets, because many people do not keep the trees and bushes trimmed along the sidewalks in front of their houses. To walk down the sidewalk on most streets in Southeast Portland I have to constantly duck, or get poked in the head and shoulders by low hanging branches.

Walking in the streets is not the safest option, for obvious reasons. So my simple request is for people to please trim vegetation along their sidewalks to a height of at least seven feet, and to the whole width of the sidewalk. Thank you.

Tom Jardine
via e-mail




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Obituary
Nancy Ann Risher Musgrove Schmid
Nancy Ann Risher Musgrove Schmid

Nancy Ann Rusher Musgrove Schmid
November 18, 1928 – July 5, 2018

Nancy Ann Rusher Musgrove Schmid was born in Albany, Oregon, on November 18, 1928, daughter of Glenn Odell Rusher and Hermion Darling Rusher, and was raised in Tillamook, after the family moved there. She attended Oregon State College, as the University was then known, and then graduated from the University of Oregon College of Nursing.  She was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

After graduating from the College of Nursing, she married Lt. John D. Musgrove, USAF, on June 17, 1951 in Eugene. The couple transferred often to follow his career as a jet pilot in the Air Force. They lived in Japan, Okinawa, Arizona, Wyoming, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tampa, Florida. They had three children: Doug, Johnny, and Becky.

Capt. Musgrove was killed in action in South Vietnam on October 4, 1965. He was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and posthumously promoted to the rank of Major. He received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

In her own career as a nurse, Nancy worked over the decades at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, Centro Asturiano Hospital in Tampa, and in various doctors’ offices. She also worked for the Visiting Nurses Association and the American Red Cross.

Nancy married William Arthur Schmid on June 21, 1972, in Tampa. They moved to Clinton, Mississippi in 1978. Mr. Schmid passed away March 1, 2017.

Nancy returned to her home state in June of 2017 and enjoyed a year of special time with her children (all West Coast residents) and many other friends and family members, while an active resident of Brookdale Sellwood (now Elmcroft Sellwood). She moved to a small adult care facility in Milwaukie in late June of this year, and passed away at the age of 89 on July 5, of heart failure.

Ms. Schmid is survived by her children and their spouses: Douglas Musgrove and Harriet Hardiman of Portland; John Musgrove and Christina Murphy of San Francisco; Becky and Steve Irby of Port Orchard, Washington; four granddaughters: Alexandra Irby (Scott Daigle), Carly Irby, Hazel Kleingrove, and Ivy Musgrove – as well as two great-grandsons, Logan and Leo Daigle. The family notes she was also survived by her cat, Coquette.

In addition to her two husbands, she was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Jane Leonaitis, her sister-in-law Kay Musgrove, and her nephews John Steinbach and Tymen Steinbach. A memorial service was held at Musgrove Family Mortuary Chapen in Eugene on August 25. Memorial donations may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Creator in Clinton, Mississippi, or to Bailey’s Bones and Wishes in Portland.


 


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