From The Editor

Easy money for the City of Portland?
Wrong Way parking, parking across driveway. incorrect turns, Southeast Portland, Oregon
We went out with our camera to find a photo to illustrate our editorial, and it didnít take long. Since this is a two-way street, some of these cars must be parked illegally. And one of those is also parked across a driveway, too! Probably their own driveway, but itís still illegal. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Portland has an understaffed police force, which leads to most police attention being upon serious crimes. Small infractions are generally very low in priority, unless a citizen complaint is received. But some of those small infractions are subject to fines that could really add up.

Somebody at City Hall may soon realize that dedicating just one officer, or even a parking enforcement person, to the job of looking for and citing for some of these infractions would not only more than pay the salary of the person doing it, but actually could raise substantial sums for the city.

So now, perhaps, we should give Portlanders a chance proactively to avoid making these mistakes, and avoiding the fines!

The first one could be a real moneymaker, since as you travel around Inner Southeast or anywhere else in the city you see this infraction on, it seems, practically every block. It’s “parking facing the wrong way”.

What? You didn’t know that was illegal? Your editor must confess he never thought about it himself, having seen it all the time – until he, himself, got a ticket for doing it. This was one ticket he didn’t even think about contesting, since the purpose of the law is pretty obvious when you think about it: If you park with your vehicle facing into oncoming traffic, you had to cross oncoming traffic to park that way, and you will have to do it again as you depart. At night, turning on headlights before pulling out can certainly alarm an oncoming driver who sees headlights appearing in the same lane.

So, yes, it is illegal – not only in Portland, but practically everywhere.

What else?

Well, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that parking across a driveway is illegal, and we once knew a police officer in Inner Southeast who made a point of ticketing every car he saw parked like that. What seems to surprise some people is discovering it is illegal to park across your OWN driveway! And some people seem to do it all the time.

Not only is a driveway never to be subject to blockage by a vehicle – even your own – but it is not obvious that the blocking car is yours, so the law makes no exceptions.

Those two infractions could support a roving enforcement person or two as a fulltime job. Others probably would require posting them somewhere specific – like corners where people frequently “Turn right on Red”. At one time, long ago, that was illegal also, but Oregon and most states now permit it – with three important requirements:  First, you have to come to a full stop first. Second, you have to look to make sure no vehicle is coming. And third, make sure that there is no sign posted saying “No turn on Red”. (If there is a red turn arrow, then there is a solid reason for not turning there.)

Apparently a great many drivers in Portland do not know about those three requirements before proceeding, because most drivers do not follow one or more of them. Sometimes all three. And that is dangerous to the drivers who have the Green light. (This law is so constantly bent or broken, that perhaps it is time for a conversation about repealing the “Turn right on Red” privilege?)

Anybody posted at an intersection to enforce that rule could add to the revenue by ticketing those who “run” Yellow lights, and even Red lights! Once that was almost unheard of in Portland; now you see it constantly.

At one time, in the first half of the last century, traffic lights were only two colors – Red and Green. But the problem, then, was the lights would change directly from Green to Red with no warning, which meant that there had to be a lag before cross traffic got its Green light after your street’s light turned Red, to avoid collisions. A better solution appeared – add a Yellow light, as a transition to Red, so the intersection would have a moment to clear before the lights changed Green for the cross traffic.

But here’s what most drivers seem to think Yellow means: Speed up to beat the Red. Or, even, speed up to run the Red light after it changes! If you think that, you are wrong. You have committed an infraction, if you do either one. What Yellow actually means is: If you are in the intersection, complete the crossing; but if you have time to stop BEFORE you enter an intersection when the light has turned Yellow, then you must!

And that brings up an important point that many drivers obviously do not know. We once waited in the left turn lane on Tacoma Street in Sellwood through three Green lights behind a guy in a pickup who waited at the crosswalk line, signaling a left turn. When the third Green light appeared for him (in this intersection in which there is no left turn light), he peeled out ahead of the oncoming traffic, with tires squealing, to make his left turn.

That was illegal. He violated the right of way of the oncoming drivers, and he would have been cited, had an officer observed it. But he was apparently unaware of how the law would have permitted him to make his left turn way back on that first Green light – and it’s worth mentioning here, since we have seen many other drivers who seem unaware of it too.

Here it is. If you are first in line in a left turn lane at a traffic light which does not include a dedicated left-turn signal – then when you get the Green light, you are allowed to pull straight forward into the intersection, signaling a turn. You then either wait for a clear opportunity to turn, or you complete your turn when the oncoming traffic stops – even if your light is Red by then! You were in the intersection waiting to turn, when the light turned Red, and you are legally entitled to complete the turn before the cross traffic can proceed.

In this way, at least one vehicle may legally complete a left turn on every light cycle, even if the oncoming traffic is unrelenting.

Consistent enforcement of traffic laws at individual intersections will probably have to wait until Portland manages to get its police force back up to a staffing level similar to most other large cities in the United States – although residents certainly can ask for an “enforcement mission” at problem intersections, and from time to time officers will indeed spend some time there “educating motorists”.

But, for those two widespread parking issues with which we began this essay, Portland could easily make a lot of money with a dedicated enforcement officer or two just out patrolling the streets daily.

We don’t see how it could fail – unless drivers in Portland were to wise up and stop making these casual mistakes!

Letters to the Editor

Wildlife in the neighborhood


This eight-point buck greeted me in front of my house the other day, in the 8800 block of S.E. 10th.

Michael Pronold

Renters’ view disappearing


As I’ve watched the building of the new CVS Pharmacy on S.E. Tacoma & 17th, I cannot imagine their right to have [their wall] a little more than 5 feet from the apartments’ balcony. 

Did the apartment [building] owners know that this would happen? And, if so, would they have told renters?. . .

“Business is business” but [we] don’t have to like it.  Where is the consideration for:

1. The apartment owner who wants renters;
2. For renters who want light into their apartments.

Could you find out how the large, high wall was allowed on the west side of the CVS building?

Joanie Mastrandrea

EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked David Schoellhamer, the very expert Chair of the SMILE Land Use Committee, your question. Here is his response: “I have been asked this several times lately.  Both lots are zoned the same: commercial CM2.  Here is my reading of the zoning code for commercial (C) lots, 33.130.215.B.2.c – online at

“The CVS wall could be as tall as the apartment building (45 feet as measured by the city), the windows and balconies next door place no restriction on CVS.  For the apartment building next door, windows facing CVS had to be 5 feet back from the property line, unless the unit has other windows facing the street or a dedicated open space, in which case the side windows don’t need any setback. Balconies can be built to the property line.  The CVS property was zoned commercial when the apartment building started construction in 2015, so the builders of the apartment building must have known a building as tall as theirs could be built next door at the property line.

“33.130.215.B.2.c: Windows in the walls of dwelling units must be setback a minimum of 5 feet from a lot line that abuts a C, E, I, or CI zoned lot. Windows of dwelling units that also have other windows facing a street lot line or facing a dedicated open space that is at least 10 feet in depth, such as a required setback or required outdoor area, are exempt from this standard. The setback area must be a minimum width of 12 feet or the width of the residential window, whichever is greater.” Our thanks to Mr. Schoellhamer!

“Code-Change-speak” confuses


Thanks for the transcript from the city’s Code Change meeting [headline story, November BEE]. What the Dickens? I can’t make sense of what was said at that meeting with Suk Rhee and staff. There is so much remediation in verbal communication needed among the city staffers, one hardly knows where to begin.

It…is easy to understand why some [of those] present couldn’t make sense of what was stated.

Despite the language hurdles, one can barely see the outlines of a city agenda that is completely at odds with community residents’ and neighborhood associations’ needs and expectations.

Portland is not only staying weird, but growing more so.

Joan Barnes
via e-mail

Excessive supervision?


I’m sure we all, on occasion, have experienced callous employers. I thought I had seen it all until I witnessed the recent “speed audit” of US Postal Service letter carriers in our neighborhood. Taking place every day over the course of a few weeks, our carrier was shadowed and surveilled by an individual with an electronic clipboard who recorded how quickly he unloaded and delivered and moved on to the next house. Any missteps were detailed. It was appallingly dehumanizing to witness.

It turns out that carriers are pitted against each other with regard to completing their routes. It stands to reason that the veterans who have been out pounding the pavement from dawn to dusk, climbing stairs with heavy loads for many years, are perhaps not as spry as the youngsters just starting out; yet management wants to know why they can’t complete their routes in the same amount of time. When I complained to a mail carrier supervisor at the Sellwood Post Office distribution center on S.E. 17th Street, I was told that it was a program “for the benefit of the carriers”, and if they are taking a little too long, a portion of their route may be given to another carrier to ease their burden. Oh, right. What a great plan. Encourage the young guys to work faster. When they do, keep adding to their routes until they burn out. Then rinse and repeat. Meanwhile the older ones who are there for the long haul can’t keep up and get hassled for not performing.

Oh, and if that isn’t enough, I understand that mail carriers are required to carry a GPS so that management can track them. How conveniently Orwellian.

Are we so caught up in the lure of near-instant delivery that we are willing to forsake the invaluable intangible role the mailman has always played in our neighborhood? Who else knows more neighbors than you do? Who else will stop and chat for a few minutes, ask you how you are, or know of someone in the neighborhood who might benefit from your help. Who else knows how disparate personal stories intertwine to build a community? Where on the overseer’s electronic clipboard is the performance entry for that?

Let them know you are not pleased. I did. Ask them to back off.

Bob Schlesinger

Question for local governments


Is there any reasonable explanation as to why the City of Portland and Multnomah County refuse to remodel Wapato into a housing facility? The building was built as a facility with services, not a “jail”. Ted Wheeler and crew are looking pretty stupid at this point. The Portland area is now a HAZMAT site and that will cost the taxpayers lots of money directly and indirectly.

Another alternative would be to move the prisoners out of the Inverness facility to Wapato then turn Inverness into a shelter, since it is closer to stores and the like. There are lots of homeless (houseless) camps close to Inverness. It appears that Portland’s political leaders lack vision.

NOTE: The State of Oregon’s House and Senate is not without fault in this situation. Institutions that provided care for mentally ill were eliminated, resulting on patients ending up on the streets of our cities.

We can do better – as I think that the city, county and state have the monies to remodel Wapato. I also think that facilities can also be established in other cities in Oregon to lessen the migration to the Portland area.

Bruce Poinsette
via e-mail


TriMet discouraged by BEE editorial


TriMet was discouraged to see the recent [October] editorial in THE BEE and wants to set the record straight on changes made with the installation of the MAX Orange Line, which have improved safety for people walking and biking, while facilitating more efficient travel for thousands of people.

The MAX Orange Line came, not from a vote, but from decades of planning and persistent advocacy, as regional leaders worked to assemble the local funding that made light rail projects competitive for federal funding. First, the MAX Yellow Line, which opened in 2004, leveraged urban renewal dollars to serve North and Northeast Portland. Next, the MAX Green Line, opened in 2009, utilized existing right of way to serve Clackamas County and expand transit capacity in downtown Portland. Then the MAX Orange Line, which opened in 2015, was able to proceed with significant state and local investments.

In advance of opening the MAX Orange Line, TriMet worked with riders to define changes in the bus network to complement light rail. This included eliminating some lines that duplicated light rail service, and reinvesting those service hours into other bus lines in the Orange Line corridor. For example, the Line 99-McLoughlin Express was revived and eventually able to serve Tacoma Street and the Sellwood Bridge. Two low-ridership bus stops on McLoughlin that served North Westmoreland were closed, since lines that served them largely duplicated MAX service and alternative service existed nearby-Line 70 on SE 17th Avenue and Line 19 on SE Milwaukie Avenue.

A few years before the MAX Orange Line opened, Line 70, which formerly connected Downtown Milwaukie to Rose Quarter Transit Center, was extended to North Portland by connecting it with the former Line 73. This new, longer line was created in response to ridership demand for north-south service on the inner eastside. Line 70 continues to connect to multiple Frequent Service bus lines and MAX lines for access to downtown Portland. A more recent service improvement is the route change for Line 19 in Downtown Portland. In September 2019, it began serving SW Lincoln Street adjacent to the MAX Orange Line station, in order to avoid traffic congestion on SW Sheridan Street.

During planning for the MAX Orange Line, a potential future station at McLoughlin and Harold was considered, but was determined not to be an appropriate investment due to low ridership potential. Throughout many years of planning, zoning in this area has adjusted to reflect potential growth; however, even with more planned density, projected ridership for a Harold station remained low.

TriMet strongly supports the City of Portland's Vision Zero work, including the reduction in speed limits in residential areas to eliminate traffic deaths. We also support the City of Portland's efforts to manage growth and encourage appropriate development through zoning. In areas with robust transit service, sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure, land use policies encourage compact development that allow for shorter and fewer trips by car.

TriMet looks forward to continuing to serve Inner Southeast Portland with safe, affordable, reliable transit options that benefit our community.

Roberta Altstadt
Media Relations & Communications Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are sorry to have discouraged TriMet, and have previously heard and do understand TriMet’s positions on these matters. We nonetheless do stand by our editorial – the main thrust of which was not directed to TriMet this time, but to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which has lowered the speed limit from the correct 25 to 20 MPH on the Westmoreland segment of an important connector street, S.E. 17th – a street, once with a 30 MPH speed limit, which is the primary exit to McLoughlin northbound from Westmoreland for commuters. This change caused ODOT to slow the timing of the traffic light for 17th northbound drivers, resulting in long backups in the morning commute – inadvertently encouraging unsafe cut-around driving. It appears that editorial may have been responded to by ODOT, because the 17th-McLoughlin traffic lights seems to have been re-timed once again, and reportedly a more reasonable interval for 17th Avenue drivers has been restored…we’ll see.

Gert Boyle
Columbia Sportswearís Gert Boyle will be remembered as a tough businesswoman, who elbowed her way into a male-dominated global industry. (Pamplin Media file photo)

Gert Boyle

March 6,
1924 – November 3, 2019

Tributes have been flowing in for Portland legend Gert Boyle, whose family was early associated with Sellwood – and longtime Chairman of Columbia Sportswear, where the company’s outlet store is still located. Boyle was born in Augsburg, Germany, on March 6, 1924, and died Sunday, November 3, in Portland, at the age of 95. Her family fled Nazi Germany when she was 13, and immigrated to Portland, where in 1938, her father borrowed money from a relative, and bought the Rosenfeld Hat Company, changing its name to the Columbia Hat Company – later renamed Columbia Sportswear. Gert attended Grant High School, and later graduated with a B.A. in Cociology from the University of Arizona.

Boyle and her family – husband Neal, son Tim, and daughters Sally and Kathy – moved to West Linn in the early 1950s, at a time when Neal was CEO of Columbia Sportswear Company and she was a housewife. It was Neal’s untimely death in 1970 that catapulted Boyle into a business career that few women could surpass. “Our lives were upended,” said Tim.

Although her parents had started the company that evolved into Columbia, Boyle had no business experience – and she and Tim struggled for years to learn the ropes to continue to build the company. Eventually Gert Boyle would become the face of the company, appearing in advertisements as the “one tough mother” (also the name of her 2005 autobiography) behind Columbia. Regarding Columbia’s memorable advertisements featuring Gert and her son, then CEO of the company, Tim Boyle said, “There were very few women in business then. She recognized she had a pulpit, and she used it.”

The family never lost their affection for Sellwood, and a decade ago paid for an unprecedented ten-year, million-dollar corporate sponsorship to benefit Sellwood Park – the only such business relationship of a Portland city park to date.

Boyle left West Linn for a retirement apartment in Portland after a headline-grabbing home invasion incident in her home in 2010. Approached by a thief as she was entering her house, Boyle was forced inside, threatened with a gun, and eventually tied up. Quick-witted Boyle told the perpetrator she needed to disable the home alarm system – but instead triggered a silent alert that summoned police. The criminal jumped off a second-story deck to flee responding officers, and was later apprehended – leaving Boyle shaken, but calm enough to quip to a West Linn officer that the worst part of the experience was when another officer entered her home wearing a jacket made by a competing sportswear company.

“She was like June Cleaver,” responded Gert’s son Tim Boyle, when asked what might surprise people about his mother. As for running a company with your mother, and letting her abuse you in comical company ads, Tim remarked that it was “all for the good of the order. We both determined where our strengths were, separate from each other – and that made it easy to have a great relationship, both at work, and as a family.” Among her other survivors are five grandchildren.

Boyle was showered with awards over the years, topping it off with induction into the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame, the Global Business Hall of Fame, and the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. Tim said he expects his mother will still be present in Columbia’s branding. “She’s so iconic; she’ll always be closely connected, regardless.”

Columbia Sportswear has asked people with stories about Boyle to share them by e-mail – Donations to Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute are requested in lieu of flowers. Memorial details are still in the planning stages.

– Leslie Pugmire Hole, with assistance from Jim Redden

Mary Rower
Mary Rower

Mary Rower

May 8, 1964 – October 24, 2019

On October 24, Mary Rower, loving mother of two children – Harrison and Anna – peacefully passed away in her home at age 55.

Mary was born in Toledo, Ohio, on May 8, 1964 to parents Wayne and Violet Harrison. She was the youngest of six siblings: Dennis (Barbara) Harrison, now a resident of Massachusetts, Linda (Daniel) Oleksy, Arizona Mike Harrison, in California, Lorraine (Jon) Oswald, in Michigan; and Donna (Jim) Osborne, in Texas.

Mary graduated with an Associate of Business degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Toledo (1984) and landed her first professional position with Williams, Jilek and Lafferty in Toledo. She and her ex-husband, Kevan, moved to Portland nearly 30 years ago to establish their home and family. Mary worked 12 years with the Kell, Alterman & Runstein Law Firm in Portland, and simultaneously attended and graduated from Marylhurst University (1998), with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

For the past 20 years Mary has been a colleague of Markowitz Herbold PC Law Firm. One of Mary’s proudest moments reportedly was leading the remodel transformation of the Multnomah County Courthouse “CourtCare” room – an area that allows families to attend court without having to worry about childcare needs.

Mary enjoyed sharing outdoor adventures wither children, from whitewater rafting to tree house habitats, exposing them to life’s diversity. She loved to garden, to participate in yoga, and to creatively express her talents through sewing, quilting, painting, and creating collages. Mary also loved cooking, often times involving her children. She could often be found at the Sunday Woodstock Farmer’s Market.

Recently, Mary was delighted to be able to celebrate an early Thanksgiving dinner, which she visualized and planned, at her home, with her out-of-state family members including her 92 year old mother, her childhood friend Robin (Ormsby) Scott, and several other close friends. Her home, again full of life, chatter, and holiday aromas, she said, reminded her of the days she loved as a child.

Mary’s close friends Chris Weckel and Kristi Lopakka, among many others, assisted her throughout her illness. She conducted a silent auction fund-raiser in August for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Pizza Roma, raising over $11,000 for the cause. Mary’s participation in the recent Light the Night celebration offered her children and nearly 30 friends, neighbors, and colleagues an opportunity to support her fight against cancer.

Both her father, and oldest sister Linda, preceded her in death. In addition to her immediate family and surviving siblings, she leaves many nieces and nephews. It was Mary’s wish to express a personal note of gratitude to Dr. Gerald Segal and his medical staff at the Broadway Compass Oncology center. “Their kind and compassionate care throughout the years gave her hope, strength, and courage as she continued to receive treatment.”

There was a “Celebration of Life” event honoring Mary on November 23rd at the Markowitz Herbold law office in downtown Portland. Donations, in Mary’s memory, may be made to Michelle’s Love, or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – described as two organizations close to Mary’s heart.

– Elizabeth Ussher Groff

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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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