THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

Observing Abe Lincoln's holiday in 2022
Abraham Lincoln, depicted at Gettysburg
Abraham Lincoln, depicted at Gettysburg

Over the more than two decades that your editor has been at the helm of this 116-year-old Inner Southeast Portland newspaper, when no more urgent need for an editorial presented itself for November, and especially after a major November election which had proven divisive, THE BEE has turned to presenting one of Abraham Lincoln’s great ideas in this space.

The Civil War was still raging, dividing and potentially destroying the country – and President Lincoln was brooding over the need to clearly explain the purpose of the war, which he would soon do at the battlefields of Gettysburg – in his remarkable, and very brief, Gettysburg Address.

But in October of 1963, that was still in the future. He chose to call for a day of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in the following month – November – and issued this in the form of a proclamation. It was only intended to be a single event taking place in 1863, but it almost instantly struck a spark in the public imagination, and it has been celebrated on that day every year since – first only in the Union, and later across the entire country.

Here is that proclamation once again, in the hope that the fourth Thursday this November will convey more meaning to us all than simply being the annual day on which we all sit down and have a really big dinner with family and friends . . .

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States
A Proclamation:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln


Letters to the Editor
 This is the concept drawing of the new expanded Pantry planned for All Saints Church in Woodstock.
This is the concept drawing of the new expanded Pantry planned for All Saints Church in Woodstock.

Letter of appreciation to community

Editor,

We would like to make this an open letter to our community. Living and working in Woodstock and the surrounding area these last four years, it has been moving to see how neighbors look out for each other. Whether it’s in times of need or celebration, people are eager to be supportive. I see people with good hearts committed to making this a good place for everyone. 

This was visible at the beginning of the pandemic, when neighbors organized to start the Woodstock Pantry in response to growing food insecurity. Not long after, $15,000 was raised by the wider community to get a refurbished shipping container, shelving, and refrigeration to sustain the Pantry operations when it was clear the need would exist beyond the pandemic.

More recently, with government COVID-19 related supports going away, we have seen a sharp increase in need. Since January of this year, the average monthly demand has increased from 396 to 457 households served. In the average month our food output has increased from 8,000 to 14,000 lbs. Our volunteer base of 59 active volunteers is growing, as are our community partnerships. 

To keep up with increased need, so that no one is turned away; to have a sustainable, climate controlled, ADA-accessible structure; to increase our capacity to involve choices, like culturally appropriate food options; and to make working or shopping at the Pantry a dignifying experience for everyone involved – we need to expand and complete our existing structure (see accompanying image).

Thanks to a generous grant from the Episcopal Bishops of Oregon Foundation, and money raised thus far, we are halfway to our goal of $83,000. This will cover a second container, electrical work, permitting, concrete, and architectural and engineering fees. Taking into account additional grants, pro bono work, and in-kind donations for the cover and landscaping, we still need to raise an additional $25,000 to make it all possible. 

If you are planning on Holiday giving, or if you have capacity to give in the remainder of this year, I can’t think of a better place. Every dollar is maximized and will go to the Pantry’s completion and expansion to support our neighbors and volunteers. No donation is too small. Tax deductible donations can be sent to 4033 S.E. Woodstock Blvd, 97202 with “Woodstock Pantry” in the memo or online – https://www.allsaintspdx.org/donate, and select “Woodstock Pantry Fund” in the drop down menu. 

In a neighborhood of such generosity, creativity, and compassion, there is no reason that anyone should experience hunger. Together we can end food insecurity in our corner of the world. It takes a community, and we are it!

The Rev. Andria Skornik, Rector 
Kristen Mägis, Outreach Coordinator
All Saints Episcopal Church

New wood-fired heating rules

Editor,

I’m writing regarding an item in the “SMILE Newsletter” published on page 7 in the October issue of THE BEE that said Multnomah County had passed a requirement making it “illegal to use fireplaces and wood stoves AT ALL” on poor air quality days. We appreciate the coverage of this important public health issue. But as a program specialist for the Health Department’s Wood Smoke Program, I would like to clarify that while burning may be restricted on poor air quality days, there still are qualifying exemptions. 

People with approved exemptions may burn wood on poor air quality days. Our new program has exemptions for people who cook, are burning for religious ceremony purposes, for emergencies, and for people who burn as their sole source of heat or are on a limited income. The restrictions are not limited to indoor devices – they apply to all wood burning devices. However, people can apply for exemptions at – http://www.multco.us/woodsmokestatus

As community members who share the same airshed, and want healthy air, it is never our intention to stigmatize or criminalize behaviors that people may have had for a long time. For that reason, we avoid using the word “illegal’’ if people burn during these days. While that is technically accurate, our wood smoke curtailment program's primary purpose is to educate and make people aware of this serious and persistent public health problem. I expect to explain all this in person, and to answer questions about it, at the January 4th SMILE General Meeting, 7:30 p.m., at SMILE Station in Sellwood.

As we all continue to learn more about the problem of air pollution, we must remember that having clean air is only possible when we all do our part in keeping our air clean and community healthy.

Jonathan Cruz
Air Quality Program Specialist
Environmental Health, Multnomah County


Adopted a block

Editor,

I just wanted to thank your paper for telling us about the Adopt One Block program, and I encourage others to sign up for it.  After reading about it in your paper, I went to the website (http://www.adoptoneblock.org) and signed up. It was super-easy, my block was still available for adoption, and within a week, they had sent me a free trash-grabber and bucket. I go out maybe once a week and it usually takes me 20 minutes or so. It's a pleasant walk, it makes the neighborhood look better, and hopefully it inspires the people who see me to also do something good for the community. I highly encourage everyone reading this to go to the website and sign up.

Charles Finks
S.E. Woodstock Blvd.


                                                   Thanks for editorial

Editor,

Thank you for the very informative [editorial in the November BEE] on TV and KPTV FOX 12. [In it I finally learned] why reception has returned to poor to non-existent. I live in the Pearl, and I have been fighting [this problem with channels 12 and 49] for three years. I am surprised they can do without Market $ Share.

[As for the new ATSC-3 transmissions:] I am equally shocked at the new decisions and the fact that the FCC approved [for voluntary use by TV broadcasters, shows] that backwards compatibility is NO LONGER A PRIORITY. TV is turning into Microsoft Windows, a new "more stable" version every year. DESIGNED OBSOLECENCE.

Many of us do not have new demands of TV technology, after color! We have issues with poor writing, poor plots, reruns that are the evening TV fare.

Michael Korte
N.W. 9th Avenue

EDITOR’S NOTE: KPTV and KPDX should shortly move to a high-powered UHF transmitter and fix the chronic reception problems. Just rescan your TV when they do, and they’ll be back at the familiar channel numbers on your TV set, stronger than ever. The new ATSC-3 signals promise higher resolution and more options, but since the format – which is now being broadcast in Portland – is not “backwards compatible”, the FCC requires that the current ATSC-1 digital signals be continued for the time being to make sure nobody loses service. For those interested in taking a look at the new technology, based on our experience we recommend the “Zapperbox” device we wrote about in that editorial.



Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

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


Obituary
Jan Elliott, nicknamed the “Hosta Queen”, is shown here with her popular hosta plants for sale at the Woodstock Neighborhood Association plant sale in May of 2003.
Jan Elliott, nicknamed the “Hosta Queen”, is shown here with her popular hosta plants for sale at the Woodstock Neighborhood Association plant sale in May of 2003. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock ‘Hosta Queen’ passes on; her plants and example linger

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

Every year in late March, Jan Elliott – affectionately nicknamed the “Hosta Queen” – would start to dig and divide her hosta plants growing on the shaded east side of her home in the Woodstock neighborhood. The work is not easy, and requires a certain facility with a sharp knife, and a keen eye to see where to make the dividing cut – but her gardening and community spirit were never deterred.

Just as hosta leaves turn yellow in the fall, and the plant disappears into invisibility underground each winter, the Hosta Queen has passed on peacefully, in late October of this year, at 97 years of age. Death came in the OSHU Hospital on Marquam Hill where she had gone for emergency heart arrhythmia care.

Jan was a founding member of the annual Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) plant sale thirty years ago – which, in the last two decades, has proven pivotal in raising the necessary funds for the neighborhood to keep the Woodstock Community Center open. Jan’s daughter Karen says her mother’s love of gardening was an inherited trait: “In addition to my mom, my great grandmother, grandmother, and her sister Elizabeth all have had a love of gardening, as does her grandson Justin.”

Each year in May, the forty or so hosta plants that Jan Elliott had dug, potted, and contributed were the first items to sell at Woodstock’s annual Saturday pre-Mother’s-Day sale. At $3 or $4 dollars apiece, they were considered “a steal”, and became treasured additions to many gardens in and around Woodstock.

Elliott spent her life here. She was born and raised in the Woodstock neighborhood, and attended Woodstock Elementary and Franklin High, before she went on to Reed College for two years.

Having been raised by hardworking Swedish and Norwegian parents, Elliott was the epitome of a community-engaged person. She served on the neighborhood association’s Foot Patrol in the 1990s, baked cookies for each WNA meeting for over twenty years, attended and reported on Southeast Precinct Police meetings for ten years, and peppered meetings and friendly encounters with her humor and down-to-earth wisdom.

The example of supplying the annual plant sale with mammoth quantities of hostas will be remembered each year, as the many past neighborhood purchasers of those plants now divide and pot them to be sold again at the annual neighborhood association plant sale.

The next WNA plant sale will be next spring on Saturday, May 13th, at the Woodstock Community Center.


 


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