More stories from April's issue of THE BEE!


Standing by at the back of Brentwood-Darlington four-plex, firefighters kept watch for fire flare-ups – near where the deadly blaze killed one resident.
Standing by at the back of Brentwood-Darlington four-plex, firefighters kept watch for fire flare-ups – near where the deadly blaze killed one resident. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woman dies in Brentwood-Darlington apartment fire

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

An apartment fire proved deadly, late on Monday morning of February 15, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on 72nd Avenue, just south of S.E. Cooper Street.

9-1-1 callers reported hearing explosions and seeing fire from an individually-addressed unit at 6844 S.E. 72nd Avenue – the second of four units on the north side of an unnamed four-plex – and that summoned numerous Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) apparatus and firefighters at 11:16 a.m. that morning.

Minutes later, three fire trucks had arrived – including both the engine and the ladder truck from Woodstock Fire Station 25, which radioed to dispatchers as they pulled up, “Fire showing from the back side of the apartment building”. While the crew of the Engine 25 began hooking up water lines, firefighters from Ladder Truck 25 began searching both the burning apartment, and those adjacent, for any victims.

Twelve other fire rigs pulled up along S.E. 72nd Avenue. Some of those firefighters helped with a second search of all four apartments to look for more victims, but found none.

Alarm tones warbled on the crews’ communicators, following by the announcement that the roof had collapsed into the apartment where the fire was believed to have started.

After a firefighter reported finding a deceased victim in that particular unit, crews were eventually joined by four PF&R Investigators.

“There were multiple reports that there might have been a child trapped inside,” PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Chatman later told THE BEE. “Crewmembers made a very complete search of all the affected units; we eventually accounted for the child, and all other residents, outside. But one female was found deceased in [the burned] unit, unfortunately.”

Although this report has not yet officially been confirmed, reportedly the victim was 49 years old, was said to be experiencing a mental health crisis, and is believed possibly to have intentionally set the fatal fire which eventually caused small propane tanks in the apartment to explode, and led to her death.

Firefighters were at the apartments for hours, as were investigators – combing through the ashes and rubble. All surviving residents of the four-plex were displaced, because fire had burned through the attics and into all the other units.

“It’s a difficult time for the residents here,” Chatman observed.



Families from all over the area, including those involved with the Woodstock Elementary School Mandarin Immersion Program participated in the “Lunar New Year Parade”.
Families from all over the area, including those involved with the Woodstock Elementary School Mandarin Immersion Program participated in the “Lunar New Year Parade”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock neighbors hold family Lunar New Year Parade

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Many Woodstock neighbors were both surprised and delighted to see a procession of families carrying colorful lit Chinese-style lanterns, along S.E. 44th Avenue from Steele to Woodstock Boulevard, on Friday evening, February 26.

“The idea of doing this came about because our kids attend Woodstock's Mandarin Immersion Program, and we celebrate Chinese New Year as a family, as do many of our friends,” explained its chief organizer, Kelli George, as participating families began to gather.

“I’ve always loved the idea of having a lantern parade like you might see in China, but I’ve never organized one before – and this one is so informal!” George said. “With the COVID-19 coronavirus still being a concern, and with everyone being home, it seemed like a good reason to do this!”

It all started with a conversation between a couple of neighbors on their street, after she had suggested it to another parent of a child in the Mandarin Immersion Program who also lives in their block.

“With 2020 being such a rough year for so many, and then 2021 not starting off much better, holding a Lantern Parade to celebrate the end of the two weeks of Lunar New Year feels like the right way to bring light and joy to our neighborhood,” George told THE BEE

“It's a visual way to say ‘We see a light at the end of the tunnel’; and to bring light and joy after a difficult time.”

By the time the parade started out, a little after 7 p.m. that evening, at least 70 kids and adults had arrived to join in the fun – all of them strolling along S.E. 44th Avenue, lanterns in hand, lighting up the night.



Brother and sister Tony Cassinellli and Pegg Cassinelli-Beeson had to replace many antique wooden shelves (such as at right) with pegboard and metal shelving (seen at left) after a pickup smashed through the wall into Wichita Feed & Hardware last November.
Brother and sister Tony Cassinellli and Pegg Cassinelli-Beeson had to replace many antique wooden shelves (such as at right) with pegboard and metal shelving (seen at left) after a pickup smashed through the wall into Wichita Feed & Hardware last November. (Photo by Elizabaeth Ussher Groff)
Here’s the huge mess caused by the errant pickup truck inside Wichita Feed & Hardware last November on Johnson Creek Boulevard. It took months to clean up, reorder, and repair – all done while also staying open during regular hours.
Here’s the huge mess caused by the errant pickup truck inside Wichita Feed & Hardware last November on Johnson Creek Boulevard. It took months to clean up, reorder, and repair – all done while also staying open during regular hours. (Courtesy of Pegg Cassinelli-Beeson)

Wichita Feed & Hardware – resilient, after the crash

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

Imagine working after hours in your store -- and suddenly a pickup truck thunders through the wall and crashes into shelves, sending merchandise hurtling and smashing in all directions.

As reported at the time in THE BEE, Tony Cassinelli was still at Wichita Feed and Hardware at 8:15pm on Thursday, November 19th, when that very thing happened.

The driver of the pickup experienced a medical emergency which impaired his driving, causing him to veer off Johnson Creek Boulevard into the building.

Recovery, for the historic business, has not been easy. For the past four months, while still keeping its regular hours for customers, Wichita Feed and Hardware has been repairing not just its east wall, but also has been replacing five aisles of 25 to 30-feet-long wooden shelving inside the store. 

Of course, all the merchandise on those aisles was knocked to the floor and damaged – including the entire inventory of light bulbs.  Much of the merchandise had to be re-ordered.

“We are still working on getting merchandise back on the shelves,” reported Pegg Cassinelli-Beeson, who co-owns the store with her brother, Tony. “We had to replace all of that shelving. It was antique wooden shelving that is no longer available. It took a month to replace, because the pegboard and metal shelving were not available right away, during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it took ingenuity to figure it all out.”

With one foot firmly in the past and the other in 2021, this venerable feed and hardware store has been in business for 84 years. It was founded in 1937 by Tony and Pegg’s grandfather, Peter Cassinelli. Then their father, Henry Cassinelli, took over, working with an Army buddy, Art Hawkins. Their current staff includes three full-time employees and one part-timer, in addition to themselves.

Tony worked part-time at Wichita during his high school years; and, after graduating, he pitched in full-time to help his dad. Pegg went to Oregon State University for a degree in education, and filled in at the store as needed. After OSU, Pegg worked for two years at the Christy School for emotionally disturbed teenage girls. After that, she said, her dad needed help in the store, so she started working part-time – and finally one day he said, “Pegg, how about working here full-time?”

That was more than fifty years ago! Since then, Wichita Feed and Hardware has continued as a family-owned business, serving their customers with personal care, providing supplies for farmers and homeowners, and equipment needed by residents, builders, and contractors.

“We aim to give our customers complete satisfaction and to provide them with help”, states their website. Pegg explains, “They [customers] come in with electrical and plumbing parts, and we give them advice about how to put them together.

“We either help them with their problem or direct them to where they can get help, recommending someone who does know if we don’t,” Pegg tells THE BEE.  She has found it to be a two-way street – the customers and the owners educating each other over the years.

Tony and Pegg remark that they are glad the repairs, re-stocking, and extra purchasing are coming to an end after a challenging few months. But they are resilient, by all measures, and are happy to continue the longtime family business which has served so many customers, and been such an area landmark at 6089 S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard for almost 90 years.

To reach the store, call 503/775-6767. Or, to see their products, photos of the store, and to learn more, go online – http://wichitafeedandhardware.com



A bullet from this drive-by shooting tore through the wall of a Brentwood-Darlington house where a boy was sleeping, and lodged in his mattress.
A bullet from this drive-by shooting tore through the wall of a Brentwood-Darlington house where a boy was sleeping, and lodged in his mattress. (Courtesy of Portland Police Bureau)

Bullets rip through Brentwood-Darlington boy’s bed

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

One of the first cases to which the new Portland Police Bureau (PPB) “Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST)” was assigned after its formation was in early morning hours of Friday, February 26, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. It was along S.E. 66th Avenue, midblock between Cooper and Duke Streets.

East Precinct responding to that location at 3:10 a.m. found that at least eight shots had been fired into a house occupied by two adults and two kids.

More alarming, several of the bullets had penetrated the walls – and one of them struck the very bed where a 12-year-old boy was sleeping.

PPB officials told THE BEE that all of the occupants did escape injury in this drive-by shooting. And, at that time, there was no suspect information available.

If you have any information about this incident please contact the ECST by e-mailing to crimetips@portlandoregon.gov – or by calling 503/823-0400 – referencing Case No. 21-51891.



The outdoor seating area in front of Fat Albert’s Breakfast Café on Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland has helped the business survive the pandemic, its owner Vickie Walsh tells THE BEE.
The outdoor seating area in front of Fat Albert’s Breakfast Café on Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland has helped the business survive the pandemic, its owner Vickie Walsh tells THE BEE. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Outdoor dining permit’s extension boosts Inner Southeast restaurants 

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Being able to offer outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic has likely saved many Inner Southeast Portland restaurants and cafés over the past year.

So proprietors were relieved to learn that the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) free “Healthy Businesses” permit program, set to expire after its first extension to March 31, will be continued over the summer until Hallowe’en, for those who have reapplied.

“To help Portland businesses continue to endure the economic impact of to the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Healthy Businesses’ permits will be active from their issue date through October 31,” confirmed PBOT spokesperson Hannah Schafer.

A very popular amenity
In Southeast Portland, outdoor dining spots have sprung up in parking spaces in many areas.

PBOT permitting data shows that the Woodstock business district hosts seven permitted establishments along S.E. Woodstock Boulevard alone; Foster Road offers five.

Currently, there are eleven permitted spots in Sellwood, along S.E. 13th Avenue. The first in that area, The Portland Bottle Shop, started as the Inner Southeast’s pilot project site in the second year of the program.

“As soon as we learned it was available, I filled out the forms for the permit extension, and sent it in that same day,” proprietor Travis Motter told THE BEE. “For us, it has been lifeline, for sure; having the outdoor seating has helped with keeping all of our employees on.”

He found it interesting that customers came out in all kinds of weather, including rain and snow. “They tell us they love it, and compliment the design and look of our outdoor seating – which is really nice to hear,” Motter acknowledged. “Being here, and open – I think it gives everyone a feeling of being a ‘little bit normal’, even if it’s just for an hour or so.”

And, along S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland there are eleven businesses operating under the permitting program.

Vickie Walsh of Fat Albert's Breakfast Café said that, even with just seven tables, the option of offer outdoor dining has been “incredibly helpful; it’s allowed us to serve customers, instead of only being able to offer take-out food.

“And, our customers really seem to enjoy it! With some decent weather this winter, especially on the weekends when we do business, it’s really helped.”

Even as society begins to “open up” to indoor seating, it appears the outdoor dining option will likely keep its appeal – particularly for dog owners, who enjoy having their canine companion dining with them, as is commonly done even indoors in Europe.



Relatives of the residents of the burned Brooklyn home told THE BEE, at the scene on the morning of March 20, that they believed this fire was mostly confined to the upper story of the house. No injuries were reported.
Relatives of the residents of the burned Brooklyn home told THE BEE, at the scene on the morning of March 20, that they believed this fire was mostly confined to the upper story of the house. No injuries were reported. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

All safe, after blaze chars Brooklyn house

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Neighbors and family members report that when a fire erupted in a house in the Brooklyn neighborhood, on Saturday morning, March 20, the phone lines into the 9-1-1 Center were “busy” for some time.

By the time the residents reached managed to reach dispatchers to report the fire, they learned that the first of many Portland Fire & Rescue crews had already pulled up outside their 1910-built home at 3421 S.E. 10th Avenue, near Brooklyn Park – previous callers had already reported it.

The official time of dispatch was 9:51 a.m.; Westmoreland Fire Station 20’s Engine Company was first to arrive shortly afterward, soon followed by Woodstock Station 25’s Engine crew, as well as by third pumper truck. Eventually there were 14 PF&R units on hand to combat the blaze – including no fewer than three Battalion Chiefs.

While some firefighters charged into the burning structure checking for occupants still inside, Engine 20’s crew did a “rolling lay-in” of a water supply line along S.E. 10th Avenue, all the way from Rhone Street up past Rhine Street, using all but one of the hose bundles they carry on the engine.

A PF&R Investigator arrived at 10:03 a.m.; after a primary evaluation, she discussed her findings with the Battalion Chiefs at the location, but those conclusions were not made available to press at the scene.

“We think the damage to the house was pretty much confined to what you see, on the second story, here in the front,” a family member told THE BEE. “Everyone is okay, including the pets.”

“We’ve got a really good fire department here, because there were here really fast!” another relative commented.

However it appeared as the firefighting effort wound down that the fire, smoke, and water damage would displace the family while repairs are being made.

The fire occurred just as this issue of THE BEE was being prepared; and, as of that time, there had been no further information about the fire from PF&R officials.



Inside the “Impact Northwest” Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, organizer Kristin Sassano was arranging the refreshments, and urged, “Recharge! Get warm!”
Inside the “Impact Northwest” Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, organizer Kristin Sassano was arranging the refreshments, and urged, “Recharge! Get warm!” (Photo by David F. Ashton)

In late winter, Brentwood-Darlington hosted ‘warm-up center’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The lives of many Inner Southeast Portland families started getting back to normal after the major winter snow and ice storm in mid-February.

But, even by February 19, there were many Brentwood-Darlington homes still without electrical power – and were offered scant hope that their electricity would soon return.

“That’s why we decided to host a four-hour warming opportunity here at the ‘Impact Northwest’ Brentwood-Darlington Community Center we’re calling ‘Recharge! Get warm’!” explained organizer Kristin Sassano.

The furnace was on, making it cozy-warm inside the Community Center. Tables were set up – with proper social distancing – each with its own electrical outlet strip, where neighbors could recharge their communication and entertainment devices.

It seemed like it would be a good idea to open the Community Center, so neighbors without power, and often without heat, could get warmed up while they charged their phones, had a cup of coffee, and talked with others – all socially distanced, of course,” Sassano told THE BEE.

Among those taking them up on the offer, Stephanie Torgerson remarked that she was glad to get warm. “We haven’t had power for five days; so, it’s really nice to be able to come here and ‘recharge’ for a few hours.

“This is a good place to warm up – and get on the Internet through the Community Center’s wi-fi, to catch up on e-mail, and contact folks!”

Five volunteers hosted the warming party. One of them made a big pot of fresh soup which was simmering on the stove. “In addition to the help of our volunteers, the coffee, pastry, and other treats were donated by Starbucks in the Gateway Fred Meyer Center,” Sassano explained.

Smiles returned to the faces of those taking advantage of the invitation, as they “thawed out” and enjoyed some Brentwood-Darlington hospitality.



Portland Police patrol cars blocked in this Mercury sedan when the refused to stop over a license plate issue – and then ran off. Whatever officers then found in the trunk has led them to keep the investigation open while they look for the missing driver.
Portland Police patrol cars blocked in this Mercury sedan when the refused to stop over a license plate issue – and then ran off. Whatever officers then found in the trunk has led them to keep the investigation open while they look for the missing driver. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Man flees police in Brentwood-Darlington traffic stop

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

At first, it was unclear just why a silver Mercury sedan was stopped by East Precinct officers – and boxed in! – at the Space Age gas station parking lot on S.E. Duke Street, just west of 52nd Avenue, at about 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, February 20.

But it led to a search that started at that location, and included not only the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood but also Woodstock. Six patrol cars were stationed along neighborhood streets west and north of that location for a considerable time afterward.

Officers searched the car; its trunk lid was open, with bags of something on the ground behind the car.

“This incident started as a ‘traffic stop’ for a license violation,” Portland Police spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Allen was later able to tell us. “But the driver ran off, and was the subject of an area search which included a PPB K9 team.”

A passenger did stay in the car, Allen told THE BEE, and he was not charged. “The driver was not located at the time; however officers are still investigating, and he may be arrested at a later time,” Allen said. It appears that he’s known to the police.

What was found in the bags in the truck was not disclosed, but apparently it’s part of the ongoing case.



Mick and Hollie Scanlan’s home suffered major losses after ice on top of snow on power lines brought down powerlines at S.E. 42nd at Ramona Street. Vigilant neighbors alerted them of the danger of hanging wires after the fiery power transformer explosion.
Mick and Hollie Scanlan’s home suffered major losses after ice on top of snow on power lines brought down powerlines at S.E. 42nd at Ramona Street. Vigilant neighbors alerted them of the danger of hanging wires after the fiery power transformer explosion. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Aftermath: Snow & ice storm revealed neighborhood vulnerabilities

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

On the dark and stormy night of Sunday, February 14th, at 8 p.m., a huge fiery explosion burst into the sky in the Woodstock neighborhood. Tree limbs made brittle from a summer of heat and wildfire smoke had snapped off under the weight of ice and snow.

As the limbs fell across power lines and upon a power transformer at Ramona Street and S.E. 42nd Avenue, neighbors from across the street contacted Mick and Hollie Scanlan to tell them that wires were touching and sparking near their house. A power surge accompanying the transformer explosion had in an instant done quite a bit of collateral damage to nearby home wiring and applainces, as later became apparent.

Scanlan called 9-1-1, and a fire engine from Woodstock Fire Station 25 eventually responded and roped off the street. They were told they’d had to wait for PGE. But, since many other Inner Southeast Portland houses and neighborhoods were also thrown into darkness from fallen wires on that night, PGE personnel did not arrive until 22 hours later. And even then, a PGE lineman said this wait for power restoration was “relatively short”, because residences near businesses that have lost power are prioritized.

When power returned to Ramona Street and the surrounding blocks Monday evening, on February 15 at 7:15 p.m., the Scanlan home did not have power immediately. “So I reset the circuit breaker, and the lights came on,” Mick told THE BEE. “Hollie went into the kitchen and noticed the night light by the back door was out, so she re-set the GFI switch on the outlet – and smoke and flames came out!”

This time when they called 911, a fire engine arrived within ten minutes. Scanlan reported, “They evaluated the circuit breakers, and when they flipped the kitchen switch, the outlet flamed again. They turned the breaker off, disconnected the wires to the outlet, inspected behind the outlet in the wall, and told us to call an electrician in the morning.” 

In spite of the Scanlan house having been built only 12 years ago with new wiring, evidently the GFI outlet had become overtaxed in the surge of electricity when the transformer on the street failed. As a result of that power surge, the washer, dryer, oven, cooktop stove, microwave, and dishwasher were also “fried”, and need replacement. Fortunately, Scanlan’s insurance from his past military service will cover replacement of all appliances, GFI outlets, and the furnace circuit board.

As many residents in the city have discovered since the ice storm, appliances are in short supply during the pandemic, and the Scanlans say some of them will not be available for up to two months.  There may also be damage to the compressor of their air conditioning unit that may have to be replaced. One precaution residents can take to minimize such collateral damage is to order a “whole house surge protector” from PGE; it is mounted on the electrical meter, costs a couple of hundred dollars, and has to be replaced if it is destroyed by a surge – but that’s cheaper than replacing all the electrical appliances and equipment in a house.

The Scanlans say they are thankful for the vigilant and helpful neighbors who came over with a chainsaw on Tuesday morning, February 16, to cut up huge branches to clear their driveway. “Oure thanks to our neighbors, the awesome fire department, and hard-working crews at PGE,” remarked Mick.

A week later, Damon Hiser, raised in Woodstock and now a 51 year-old PGE journeyman lineman and chairman of PGE’s in-house apprentice committee, came out to inspect the wires. When asked how many hours PGE crews had been working during and after the storm, he said, “16 to 18 hour shifts, for 14 days straight.”

Power was out for many days for some people because of the extremely widespread damage. “It started with a snow storm and high winds, and ended up with an ice storm adding thick ice to our lines and trees.”

Hiser, who has been at PGE for 33 years, remarked that prevention of such incidents in future storms will require that weak tall trees, and branches over wires will have to be taken out or trimmed extensively – even more so than is routinely done by contractors from Asplundh.

Hiser explained that underground wires are not a solution not only because of the very high cost involved, but because when something does goes wrong, utility workers have to dig down into streets to remedy the problem.

PGE workers said this storm had been taxing, and such work is not for the faint of heart. Utility workers are well paid for their work, but they have to love it, to do it.

An online article in a local newspaper three years ago quoted Hiser as saying, “When it’s dark and rainy and snowy, you have to want to be out there. Within a few months, you find out if a guy is developing that love of being out there in any conditions. It can’t be about just chasing a paycheck.”



Taking notes at meeting, Commander Erica Hurley jots down ideas to improve policing of neighborhood streets.
Taking notes at meeting, Commander Erica Hurley jots down ideas to improve policing of neighborhood streets. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Latest East Precinct Commander, Erica Hurley, tackles difficult job

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Since there were no public, in-person community meetings being held by East Precinct during most of 2020, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – it went mostly unnoticed that Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct Commander Tashia Hager had retired from the Bureau, and Erica Hurley had replaced her.

East Precinct not only serves most of Outer East Portland, but also Inner Southeast, west to Chavez Boulevard (formerly S.E. 39th).

Commander Hurley told us that she worked a variety of odd jobs while in school to pay for college – before she started with the PPB in September, 1994 at 21 years of age. 

“My father was a sergeant in the Portland Police Bureau for over 30 years,” Hurley reported. “He would come home with stories of helping people and making a difference. Although I wanted to eventually go to law school, I fell in love with police work, and never went to law school.”

While all new officers are assigned a seasoned PPB officer as their mentor starting out, hers turned out to be her father. “He always gave me the best advice – even if I did not always follow it.

“The most important lesson I learned from my father is my faith in the Lord, and at how I look at the world,” recalled Hurley. “He would say, ‘Here, by the grace of God go I’; and, he advised me to remember that the people I encounter in my job are people, and that they deserve respect. Although some of these people may have done bad things, I have not walked in their shoes, nor do I know their pain.”

What she took from that was, “I will do my job, protect the community, and sometimes that means arresting people and taking them to jail; but I will always treat them as people, and with respect,” Hurley said.

Before being named East Precinct Commander, Hurley had previous assignments here: “I was a patrol officer from 1994-2002, then spent a short time in specialty bureau units before going back to patrolling the streets until 2009, when I took my first promotion test.

“Since then, I have worked in the Chiefs’ office, Personnel, Auto Theft Task Force, Detective Division, and Elder Crimes unit,” Hurley recollected. “Then, I became Captain of the Training Division, and then Commander of Transit Division, before coming to East Precinct as Commander.”

In a sense, this assignment means “coming home” for her, having worked at East Precinct in the past.

Gains from on-the-street experience
“I have tried to learn everything I can, at each of my stops along my career,” Hurley informed. “One of the keys to being a good leader in law enforcement is not forgetting what it was like to be an officer on the street.

“Remembering how hard that job is, and remembering that my job is to take care of my people, so they can take care of the community.”

Asked by THE BEE about her views regarding the much-used phrase, “Community Policing”, Hurley thoughtfully responded, “Community Policing means different things to different people.

“When I was a young officer in the PPB, it meant having enough officers for them to ‘take ownership’ in their district – meaning having relationships with the business owners in their area, knowing the community, and knowing where problems existed,” expanded Hurley. “It meant helping to prevent crime and work with the community – as opposed to just responding to crime.

“Today, with our [current, lower] staffing levels, we do not have the ability to spend much time on proactive police work – as officers run from 911 call to the next 911 call,” Hurley pointed out. “Although our officers do their best to form relationships with the community, they have little time for it, and do not have time to deal with smaller livability issues, because they are responding to shootings, homicides, and other violent crimes.

“This does not mean we cannot do community policing again; however, to do it properly, and in the manner I think the public expects from us, we will need many more police officers.”

Strives to provide ‘servant leadership’
Asked to describe her philosophy of leadership, as East Precinct Commander, Hurley responded simply, “I try to emulate ‘servant leadership’.

“This means taking care of my officers and employees by listening to their needs; doing my best by them; believing in them; and, letting them know I trust them to do the excellent job they do every day,” Hurley continued.

“It also means listening to their ideas, as they are often smarter than me. I believe if I take care of the officers, they can take care of the community. And, I also believe in modeling my expectations – including treating others as I want to be treated, and working hard myself, as I expect them to.”

Thoughts on reducing shooting violence
According to 2020 PPB statics, about half of all Portland shooting incidents occurred in just one jurisdiction – East Precinct – last year. 

Asked what, given the resources available, can officers and command staff at East Precinct do to reduce the criminal behavior of people who use guns, Hurley responded frankly, “We do not have the resources or ability at this time to be proactive in helping reduce the shootings and criminal use of weapons.

“My officers make stops and seize guns all the time; but, without a dedicated unit, that’s is not enough to make a difference – as of the end of January we had 100 shootings in 2021 in the City.”

Turning to significant challenges East Precinct officers and command staff face in Inner Southeast Portland, currently, Commander Hurley replied, “I think livability issues are what I hear about most from the community, in all of S.E. Portland.

“The number of homeless camps, and the crime and garbage that is a result of these camps, is the one thing most affecting the ability of our community to live and raise their families in Portland.”

Inner Southeast Portland residents can best help law enforcement to solve, or to help reduce these crimes, by creating or joining groups in the community and/or neighborhoods, the Commander suggested.

“Everyone needs to meet and know their neighbors, and work together to ask for the resources from the city to address the individual issues in their neighborhood. Residents need to get their voices heard by the Portland City Council, as well as by the Police Bureau; and the only way to do that is to speak up at City Council meetings, and join community groups.”



Doing a “sound check”, for the first “Mix-tape Revival” Friday evening concert for the series outdoor music shows held at Oaks Amusement Park, were members of that week’s band, “The Hair Jordans”.
Doing a “sound check”, for the first “Mix-tape Revival” Friday evening concert for the series outdoor music shows held at Oaks Amusement Park, were members of that week’s band, “The Hair Jordans”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brief drive-in ‘outdoor concert season’ begins at Oaks Park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The evenings of March 12 and March 13 saw the kick-off of two brand-new, but short, live music concert series being held this spring at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood. These will run only through mid-April.

“We had so much fun creating the drive-in ‘Cinnamon Bear Show’ during the Holidays, and playing our ‘Drive-in New Year’s Eve Concert’ that we’ve created a series of drive-in concerts for Friday and Saturday evenings here at historic Oaks Amusement Park,” explained the concert series’ producer, Warren Dexter of “Webracadabra Events”.

They haven’t moved the stage they used for the Holiday performances – it’s still right in front of the new and colorfully-illuminated “Adrenaline Peak” roller coaster –  but they did raise the surface of the stage considerably, to provide better sight-lines from anywhere in the “audience” area, in which concert-goers park their vehicles to enjoy the show.

“On consecutive Friday nights, we’re presenting bands who play the best music of the 1980s and 1990s – concerts we’re calling the ‘Mix-tape Revival’ – presented by some of the best retro-rock musicians in the area,” Dexter told THE BEE.

The opening concert for the “Mix-tape Revival” series, on Friday evening, March 12, came off without a hitch. The audience showed their enjoyment of that night’s band, “The Hair Jordans”, and their comedic banter and spot-on musicianship, by flashing their vehicles’ headlights and honking horns between songs – a pandemic-friendly but somewhat unnerving form of applause!

Then, on Saturday evenings, in the other series of concerts, they’re bringing in other music acts of the Pacific Northwest to perform with their bands in shows they’re calling the “Oaks Park Live! Concert Series”.

On March 13, the this series featured Gabby Holt, a well-known Portland rocker who’s performed with Gabby Holt & The Hedges, as well as Hivemind, and is featured artist with King Black Acid. Her opening act, “Van Lavish”, got the audience going with their energetic music.

Then, electricity filled the air as Gabby Holt and band took the stage and played their original songs. Gabby’s performance was dazzling, with iridescent vocals – sometime hard, sometime lilting; and vibrant guitar virtuosity.

Here's just a small taste of Gabby Holt and her band, live, one of many talents performing in Oaks Park’s drive-in concerts now through mid-April. This was recorded at Oaks Amusement Park on March 13 – http://youtu.be/cy2OFmmCbww

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Concert goers must purchase their tickets in advance online – because there’s no “ticket office” at the gate. You’ll show your receipt at the gate to be admitted.
  • “Mix-tape Revival” tickets are $49 per vehicle.
  • Oaks Park Live! Concert Series” tickets are $59 per vehicle.
  • Ushers guide drivers to the parking areas.
  • Guests may sit outside near their vehicle if they wish – provided they socially-distance from others.
  • There is an outdoor sound system at these shows, but the crystal-clear live music is “piped in” to the attendees’ vehicles via FM radio.
  • You can bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages; but there will be a concession stand open with hot food during the concerts – featuring delicious, inexpensive snacks for purchase.
  • Gates open at 6 p.m.; the shows are from 7 until 9:30 p.m. Access the park from Oaks Park Way, north off the foot of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood at the railroad tracks.
  • Concerts are currently scheduled through April 17 and 18; but we’ve learned that those final two dates, featuring The Garcia Birthday Band, have already sold out! Other dates are still open for ticket purchase, however. Act fast if you want to go.

To buy a tickets securely online – as well as to read important information about the concerts, go to – http://www.oakspark.com/concerts



This is the Plaid Pantry store in the Woodstock neighborhood where a man wanted in a prior shooting brandished a gun at the clerk in anger, leading ultimately to his arrest.
This is the Plaid Pantry store in the Woodstock neighborhood where a man wanted in a prior shooting brandished a gun at the clerk in anger, leading ultimately to his arrest. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Facing numerous felony charges, and still in jail, is 32-year-old Cole Tyler Miller.
Facing numerous felony charges, and still in jail, is 32-year-old Cole Tyler Miller. (MCDC booking photo)

Man with ten guns busted, after Woodstock store ruckus

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Police hadn’t yet made an arrest in an injury shooting that took place on Monday, February 1, at 5:37 a.m. along E. Burnside Street, near 105th Avenue, in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

But, they got help from the suspect himself – on Wednesday evening, March 10 – when what turned out to be the same guy got annoyed at a clerk at the Plaid Pantry store on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at 42nd Avenue, and pulled a gun at 11:19 p.m.

Arriving officers learned from a store employee that a man had tried to microwave food inside the business, which is against their policy. During the incident, the suspect pulled out a gun, he said, and pointed it at him. He described the vehicle and the suspect to investigators, but he had left, and at first they couldn’t find him.

But at 12:51 a.m., later the same night, officers were dispatched to make a “Welfare Check”, 1.5 miles north of the Woodstock convenience store, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. They found a vehicle stopped near Creston Park, where the driver was reported by residents to be acting suspiciously.

Observing that the driver and vehicle matched the descriptions given by the Plaid Pantry clerk in Woodstock, officers detained 32-year-old Cole Tyler Miller.

Miller was subsequently booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 11:02 a.m. on March 11, on a variety of charges – including the Misdemeanor of Menacing, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, a Felony charge.

But, surprisingly, there were soon several more felony charges – Attempted Murder, Assault in the First Degree, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon – added to Miller’s booking. THE BEE found out why, on Friday, March 12. That’s when Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that Miller had been charged with that February 1st Hazelwood attempted murder and assault, as well.

“It was Cole Miller who shot me”
According to court documents, the victim of the Hazelwood shooting had told officers, “In case I die, I want someone to know that it was Cole Miller who shot me.” The shooting victim learned at the hospital that the bullet had lodged near or in his spine, and that doctors were unable safely to remove it, but at this time he has not died of the injury.

During the first investigation, court papers also said, detectives learned that Miller and the shooting victim were known to each other, and had been involved in a dispute.

Additionally, Miller was now identified as the suspect in the Woodstock store menacing occurrence on March 11.

Suspect had an arsenal of weapons
During a search of Miller’s vehicle in the wee hours of March 13, officers were shocked to find no less than five AR-15 rifles, a Glock 17 handgun, two Glock 43 handguns, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. They also found a “ghost-gun” (an assembled firearm that lacks serial numbers) resembling a Glock 19 pistol – in addition to other gun paraphernalia, including a rifle scope.

According to court records, Miller is a convicted felon, and therefore is prohibited from being in possession of any firearm, let alone ten of them.

Although some charges were dropped, Miller is still charged with one count of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree with a Firearm, one count of Assault in the First Degree with a Firearm, two counts of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm with a “Firearm Enhancement”, and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon with a Firearm.

And Miller is still lodged in the MCDC jail, awaiting trial, in lieu of $515,000 combined bail.



Young Ezra Cohen is the leader of the newly-reactivated “Friends of Oaks Bottom”. These are participants in the March 6 cleanup, held in the wildlife refuge by the revived “Friends of Oaks Bottom”.
Young Ezra Cohen is the leader of the newly-reactivated “Friends of Oaks Bottom”. These are participants in the March 6 cleanup, held in the wildlife refuge by the revived “Friends of Oaks Bottom”. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Tidying the wilderness: ‘Friends of Oaks Bottom’ holds cleanup

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

The “Friends of Oaks Bottom” organization gradually lost impetus over the years, eventually becoming inactive; but as of late last year, the group has reassembled with a new logo and leader, and is ready to get to work. Ezra Cohen, a young Sellwood bird-watcher, is the new head of the core group of five.

Last fall, Cohen and fifteen volunteers, with help from SMILE’s Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC), cleared a large amount of trash from Oaks Bottom. SMILE is the neighborhood association for Sellwood and Westmoreland, and is the oldest of Portland’s 95 neighborhood associations. Elizabeth Milner, Chair of SNAC, favors the idea that the new Friends of Oaks Bottom become a SNAC subcommittee of SMILE.

The group, encouraged by the earlier response, scheduled a similar event for March 6.

On that Saturday, some two dozen volunteers of all ages assembled at Sellwood Riverfront Park to stage for a second cleanup. The Oregon nonprofit SOLV (“Stop Oregon Litter & Vandalism”) provided gloves, vests, bags, and grabbers.

A brief introduction described the process to the assembled volunteers: “You don't have to pick up anything you're uncomfortable with. We have sharps containers available, so notify us if you spot any used hypodermic needles, and we’ll handle it.” The group separated into two teams, one led by Joshua Meyers covering the cliff trail, and the other led by Ezra Cohen which followed the paved Springwater Traill used by bicyclers and joggers.

Volunteers picked up everything from discarded trash to golf balls, and even an old saw blade. Stragglers focused on cigarette butts, and small bits of glass and metal. Many passersby thanked the volunteers, who said they enjoyed the views – and pointed out a few notable birds, including red-tailed hawks and a juvenile bald eagle.

For about an hour, teams proceeded roughly to the north end of Oaks Amusement Park, where a stairway through the blackberries gave access to a paved street below. Then volunteers returned to the starting area, sharing thoughts and pointing out areas where homeless folks were camping, which were deemed out-of-bounds for this cleanup.

Back at the starting point, bags and equipment were gathered, and contact information was collected for further cleanup occasions – leaving the volunteers to enjoy the rest of their day, and to reflect on their good deeds and exercise.



Firefighters laddered up to the roof of the store, taking care to avoid the nearby downed electric power lines.
Firefighters laddered up to the roof of the store, taking care to avoid the nearby downed electric power lines. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Stubborn store fire on Powell a challenge for firefighters

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Late Thursday morning, February 25, heavy dark smoke began billowing from behind “Berry’s Southeast Coin & Jewelry” at 8119 S.E. Powell Boulevard. Moments later, several Portland Fire Stations were alerted and dispatched at 11:44 a.m.

With as many as 15 PF&R rigs arriving, traffic was completely blocked off on Powell between 82nd Avenue of Roses and 81st Avenue.

The Engine Companies of Lents Station 11 and Woodstock Station 25 were first in, and the Lents’ Engine 11 was designated the “pumper truck”, to which firefighters hooked up their water supply lines and pulled hoses.

Other firefighters pried open the store’s front steel security door and searched inside for victims, taking a water line in with them.

Laddering up to the roof of the one-story concrete block building, to fight the blaze that emerged near the rear of the structure, was the crew of Woodstock Station 25’s Truck Company.

Mill Park Fire Station 7’s Ladder Truck Company stood by, with an aerial ladder extended over the apartment building just west of the involved structure, in case the fire were to spread. In the end, that precaution was not necessary because firefighters’ fast work had confined the blaze to the business building, despite being hampered by the burned-off electrical wire lying, live, on the ground.

Fire crews battled the flames for nearly an hour: On the roof – pulling up shingles, and spraying water inside – as well as on ground level. Eventually, after the fire was out, a PF&R Fire Investigator arrived to begin an investigation.

“No injuries reported,” was all that we have officially learned from an unnamed PF&R official. But, more than likely, the stubborn fire is still under investigation.



An East Precinct officer examined the two wrecked cars, after they collided on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard.
An East Precinct officer examined the two wrecked cars, after they collided on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Woodstock smashup totals cars; drivers escape injury

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Modern automotive safety features likely were all that kept their occupants from injuries, when two cars collided in the late morning of Saturday, February 27, on Woodstock Boulevard at S.E. 60th Avenue. East Precinct officers were dispatched at 11:04 a.m.

An Audi A4 sedan had crashed into a wooden utility pole at the northwest corner of the intersection; a Mazda 3 was also involved, and was stopped in the middle of the intersection. Both vehicles were severely damaged.

The driver of the Audi told THE BEE that she was driving westbound on Woodstock Boulevard, when the Mazda, northbound on 60th Avenue “darted out into intersection” and collided with her car.

Because the smashup was dispatched as an injury accident, paramedics from Woodstock Station 25 arrived and examined the drivers involved in the crash, but found no significant injuries. “I did bump my head pretty hard,” reminded the Audi’s driver.

Afterward, an East Precinct officer told THE BEE that, with no injuries involved, no citations would be issued. “This is an incident that will be handled by the insurance companies,” he explained.




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