THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

Welcome to ‘The City Wild’
Owl, in tree, Westmoreland, November 15, Southeast Portland, Oregon, Oaks Bottom
An owl in a tree in Westmoreland, seen in daylight, in the later afternoon of November 15. (Photo by Eric Norberg)
Ever since cats and small dogs began disappearing years ago, it has been clear that there are coyotes here, as in fact there are in many large cities in this country. These clever canids survive on what they catch, and some of them in Portland look well fed indeed.

But coyotes are not the only wildlife in Portland that we live with. Last month, in our Letters to the Editor we printed a photo of an eight-point buck deer, seen between two parked cars on S.E. 10th in Sellwood, out on the street in broad daylight.

Many of us have seen raccoons, opossums, and skunks. We have pigeons, crows, the occasional duck, and even now and then a released pet peacock wandering our streets.

Not to mention the flocks, if not herds, of Canadian geese which migrate daily between Oaks Bottom and the Eastmoreland Golf Course and Westmoreland Park.

We have printed in THE BEE images of hawks and eagles taken near the Willamette River (and also nesting on light poles near McLoughlin Boulevard, and on a cellular tower near Brooklyn) in years past.

In November, BEE reader Marvin Price called our attention to an owl sitting in one of his street trees in Westmoreland. It obligingly stayed put until we could get there with a camera, and it examined us carefully from aloft as we snapped its picture – which appears on this page. (From a bird book in Mrs. BEE’s possession, it appears this may have been one of Oregon’s famous, but endangered, Spotted Owls.)

City life certainly does not insulate us from the natural world, nor would we want it to; part of our humanity is developed through relationships with animals. But if you have cats or small animals, it is probably best to make sure they are indoors at night and when coyotes are nearby.

And these members of the dog family do not limit themselves to the hours of darkness; shortly after 9 a.m., earlier this year, we were visiting with Dr. Beeson at Beeson Chiropractic in Sellwood and were startled to see a nice, sleek, self-assured coyote come up over the edge of the Oaks Bottom Bluff behind Dr. Beeson’s practice, and trot around the building out towards S.E. 13th Avenue.

That same week, we heard that a very similar animal was seen on S.E. 18th in the north end of Westmoreland. And it is well-known that coyotes have been living near the headwaters lake of Crystal Springs Creek on the Reed College campus.

This might be the place to tell anyone who has not strolled the Bluff Trail around Oaks Bottom that doing so is an experience that takes you far away from any sense that you are in a big city. Remarkably, it seems as if you might be somewhere in the Cascades! It probably is more fun to stroll it in the warmer and drier months of the year, but undoubtedly its pleasures draw walkers even in the winter.

Take a camera, and take your time. It’s a therapeutic experience.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us at THE BEE.

Letters to the Editor
Owner of historic house writes us
Editor,

What a surprise to see a picture and article about the house I recently purchased on Lambert Street! [“Southeast History: The story of a Sellwood cottage, linked to Tektronix”, December BEE]. I’m currently giving it the TLC it needs in preparation for my 80-year -old mom to move into and make it her home.

Knowing the history of it is a bonus, and it will now forever be known as the Vollum House. The agent who had the listing made no mention of the background you shared. I just know the seller was gifted the house from a woman with whom she was the care giver.  I believe that was about 20 years ago.

It appears there was a remodel in the 1950’s when the fireplace was added (I found a pink marble slab hearth after stripping four coats of paint), the kitchen [was] customized with clear maple cabinetry, and [there was] a room addition or patio enclosed in the back with fir floors and wall paneling.

In the basement, someone built nice rows of deep cabinets that are still there. Maybe Howard?  I was just painting the basement floor today [Thanksgiving Day] and thinking what a nice vibe this house has. Thank you [Eileen Fitzsimons] for sharing the history of Vollum House.

Laura O'Hearn
S.E. Rural Street

“Goat Park” completion
Editor,

I am proud to announce the near-completion of the “Tucker Maxon Goat Park” project on S.E. 28th Place between S.E. Pardee and Long Streets in the Reed neighborhood. This project has been over two years in the making, involving an initial grant from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), with additional grants from Portland Metro and the East Multnomah County Soil and Conservation District (EMCSWCD), and generous donated labor from multiple individuals and businesses.

The project has seen the transformation of an almost-impassable section of unimproved road into a neighborhood focal point, closed to vehicular traffic, featuring dedicated pedestrian and bicycle paths, with raised planting beds (featuring juniper timbers salvaged as part of sage prairie reclamation efforts in eastern Oregon by Sustainable Northwest Woods), benches (sourced from local company Huntco Supply), a bocce court, and public facilities – including a dog station, and little lending library open for neighbors and the general public to enjoy and utilize, all while engaging with Tucker Maxon’s charming goat residents.

Many thanks to the CEO of Tucker Maxon School, Glen Gilbert, who has been instrumental in completion of the project. A local landscape architect, Jane Alexander, generously and unceasingly helped lead the overall design and concept of the park. A local artist, Dylan Miller, is designing and painting the concrete bollards that PBOT installed to close the street to vehicular traffic. Matthew Lowrance, owner, of Environmental Works, graciously helped with initial grading and rough-in of the project.

And “Dennis’ 7 Dees” is due tremendous credit for making the idea a reality by generously donating the labor and expertise to bring the final project to fruition – not only were they technically proficient and able to supply the necessary fruition labor, but also the creativity and resourcefulness provided by their staff was astounding, and enabled the project to exceed all expectations.

The craftsmanship and ingenuity (and good cheer) exhibited by their crew was without equal. The plantings, native specimens with a focus on pollinator habitat, in the raised beds, will be in place by spring, and a “Party on Pardee” for the project, hosted by Tucker Maxon School and funded in part by PBOT will occur in June of 2020. We hope that everyone in the area can enjoy and benefit from the new neighbor space. Bocce anyone? Cue the goat sounds!

Tobin Bottman
S.E. Pardee Street

Appreciated Dana Beck article
Editor,

We are new to S.E. Portland and really enjoy getting THE BEE and reading about our new neighborhood. I especially appreciated the article about the Native Americans who were here before us – written by Dana Beck [November BEE]. I agree – it would be wonderful to share this story with local schoolchildren so they can learn the true history of those who lived here first. While it’s not an easy story to read it’s so important for us to understand and remember what really happened. Perfect timing for Thanksgiving!  I hope many families read this, or referred to it over their Thanksgiving meal. Thanks again!

Carole Miller
via e-mail

Questions editorial
Editor,

In response to Eric Norberg’s editorial “Easy money for the City of Portland” which was attempting, in part, to increase the understanding of some obscure traffic laws, it seems that more confusion was created with one item in particular. Under ORS 811.260 and 811.360 it is perfectly legal to turn right on a red arrow, as long as that red arrow is treated like any other red light (coming to a full stop first, etc.). It’s apparent that a large number of people are not aware of this law, much to the frustration of others stuck behind them on a red arrow.

Pierre Jourda
via e-mail

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course, most drivers making a right turn on red don’t stop and look and yield to cross traffic, which is itself a problem. However there is some ambiguity in Oregon law on the right red arrow, since there is an Oregon traffic statute that reads: “Steady red arrow signal. A driver facing a steady red arrow signal, alone or in combination with other signal indications, may not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the red arrow signal.” Really, there is no reason for the state to USE a red right arrow instead of a standard round red light unless there is a special reason not to turn right on red – and in most cases it’s at a tangential right turn where the driver is angled right, or is on a blind curve, and the driver has limited vision of what’s coming from the left, with peripheral vision or otherwise. Two examples of this are the west end of Highway 224 and S.E. 17th (bicyclists can appear to come from the left out of nowhere, and can be hit by someone turning right on the red arrow), and eastbound S.W. Barbur at Terwilliger, where there are TWO red right arrow lights on this right-turn-only angled ramp, PLUS a sign saying “no turn on red”, and yet drivers still do it – we’ve even seen a school bus doing it there! If there is any point at all to using red right arrows, it is to warn of special danger in turning right on red; and this ambiguity in Oregon traffic law should be resolved by making red right arrows a signal of “no turn on red”, in our opinion. As we mentioned in that editorial, we ourselves do not ever turn right on a red arrow – even when it might be “legal”. It’s dangerous. That’s why it’s a red arrow.

Thanks from Southeast’s “Neighborhood Emergency Team”

Editor,

At a time of the year when thoughts often turn toward what we are thankful for, I want to publicly thank the members of the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE). I'm a member of the Sellwood-Westmoreland-Eastmoreland-Brooklyn Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET), and for the last several years, SMILE has very generously provided much-needed meeting space for our team’s monthly meetings at SMILE Station. I recognize that there are many SMILE folks who do so much that benefits our neighborhood, without fanfare or acknowledgment. In terms of direct support to NET, I'd like to specifically express the team’s thanks to Lorraine Fyre and Nancy Walsh, for tending the SMILE Station's calendar and ensuring we have a comfortable, reliable meeting space every month. (Also, I’d like to point out that Nancy, in addition to fellow SMILE Board member Bob Burkholder, is an active NET member too!) Our community is stronger and better because of SMILE’s contributions.

Allan Cordova
and members of the Inner Southeast NET Team
Via e-mail



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All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


 


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