More stories from May's issue of THE BEE!


Multnomah County Fair, Oaks Amusement Park, Sellwood, Souitheast Portland, Oregon
Here, taking a break from planning the 2019 Multnomah County Fair, are its CEO Brandon Roben; Fair Vice President Francis Cop; Logistics Assistant Steve Higgs; Fair Manager Cheryl Jones; and Friends of MCF President Larry Smith. They are shown aboard the iconic Herschell-Spillman “Noah’s Ark Carousel”, at Oaks Amusement Park. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Volunteers prepare for 2019 Multnomah County Fair

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

“Honoring Those Who Serve” is the announced theme of the 113th Multnomah County Fair, coming to historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park this Memorial Day weekend.

“New at the Fair this year – on opening day, Saturday, May 25 – will be an event called ‘The Dog Days of Spring at the Fair’, featuring a dog parade, costume judging [to register, e-mail – junglewild@gmail.com], and also dog agility and canine training demonstrations,” happily reported Friends of the Multnomah County Fair Chair Larry Smith, during an April planning session.

“Also new this year is ‘Bugs Galore and More’, where guests can walk through a jungle atmosphere and view all sorts of creepy crawlies, including bugs and reptiles,” Smith told THE BEE.

The Oaks Dance Pavilion will feature the traditional Fair competitions for ribbons and cash awards. “To be more ecologically friendly this year, the MCF is not mailing out the Fair Exhibitor Handbook, so please get entry forms, times, and dates from our website – http://www.multcofair.org” Smith announced.

Saturday is also 4-H Day at the Fair, in which local kids compete for prizes. Sunday features a talent show where kids of all ages will vie for trophies and cash awards.

“Returning is our Vendor Midway, with great shopping and Fair food vendors,” reminded Smith.

Hours are 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day. Gate admission to the Fair and parking are free!



Holgate Boulevard, headon, accident, Woodstock, Creston Kenilworth, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Two trucks were damaged – one severely – In a Holgate Boulevard offset head-on crash, on the border between the Woodstock and Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Head-on crash closes Holgate Boulevard; no injuries

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

“I’m really surprised that no one was killed! But in fact, it looks like both drivers are walking around,” remarked witness Jose Vargas-Gomez, after seeing the offset head-on crash on S.E. Holgate Boulevard at 51st Avenue on Sunday, March 14.

Dispatched as an injury accident on the border of the Woodstock and the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods, police and fire units rolled into the area at 2:12 p.m.. However, the emergency first responders found no crash victims – just two very badly damaged pickup trucks. One was a new Ford F150, still with temporary tags; the other was an unidentifiable pickup truck.

Holgate Boulevard was closed to traffic for a time, while officers helped the drivers exchange identification and insurance information. “No citations were issued,” an officer said.

Because there wasn’t an injury involved, per long-standing city policy officers were not to investigate this crash – which appeared to have occurred when one vehicle crossed over the center line and smashed into the other, coming the other way. Since both drivers had insurance, their respective insurers will now be left to sort it all out.



Brooklyn Pharmacy, Pat Hubbell, Ron Wyden, drug prices, Brooklyn, Southeast Portland, Oregon
At the Brooklyn Pharmacy appearance March 18 on the subject of drug pricing were, from left: Fran Zimmerman-Kamn, Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Director of AARP Ruby Haughton-Pitts, and the owner of the historic Brooklyn drug store, pharmacist Pat Hubbell. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Senator visits Brooklyn Pharmacy for drug price discussion

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden came to Inner Southeast Portland on Monday, March 18, for a public press event on the subject of the cost of pharmaceuticals. Presumably, he chose as his venue the Brooklyn Pharmacy – on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, a half block south of Powell Boulevard – because of the store’s reputation for low prices on drugs, as cited in the Portland Tribune and elsewhere.

The pharmacy’s owner, Pat Hubbell, joined him at the podium, along with Ruby Haughton-Pitts, who is Oregon State Director of AARP, as well as former Brooklyn resident Fran Zimmerman-Kamn, who requires insulin for her health.

Wyden said there is too much price-gouging of patients of all ages. “Our entire supply chain is broken,” he said. “We can’t find out what ‘list prices’ really are, as they are cheaper in other countries.

“Drug prices are hitting our patients like a wrecking ball. Bonuses to ‘Big Pharma’ executives are tied to drug prices going up,” he charged. “They’re ‘doing it because they can’; Congress has not prevented it. Consequently, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and I are working to get a bipartisan bill out of the Senate to address the problem.”

Ruby Haughton-Pitts was next to speak: “We’re calling on Congress to step in and work against price gouging. Currently there are seven pieces of legislation going through the Oregon State Legislature on the subject. People need to get involved, to help make prescription drugs more affordable.”

Last at the podium was Milwaukie resident Fran Zimmerman-Kamn, who requires regular doses of insulin. “The medicine costs me about $400 per month, while it’s made for only about $3,” she believed. Sen. Wyden chimed in, “Insulin costs have increased 13-fold in recent years, and profits are going to the middlemen. Medical costs are requiring many patients to have to choose between pharmaceuticals and basic living expenses, such as food and rent. Patients are the face of this outrage.”

Following a Q & A session, Wyden concluded, “Affordable medicine is everybody’s concern. I've been getting into every nook and cranny for opinions, and just finished meetings across the state. I really admire community journalism that focuses on what the neighborhood cares about. I enjoy reading my copy of THE BEE when it arrives every month.”



Cat Hospital of Portland, Baker, orange tabby cat, dead, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
“Baker”, a longtime front-counter greeter at Sellwood’s Cat Hospital of Portland, died in April at the age of 17. (Courtesy of Wendy Stillwell)

Sellwood Cat Hospital mourns feline greeter

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

At the Cat Hospital of Portland in Sellwood, “Baker” – a large orange tabby cat who greeted clients at the front desk for 15 years – passed away in mid-April. Hospital owner Wendy Stilwell, who said he was 17 years old, told THE BEE, “He developed cancer recently, and went quickly in about two weeks. We really miss him.”

According to client Kimberly Koehler, a resident of Eastmoreland, “Baker basically ran the place. In his younger years, he interacted with cats and their people in the lobby. As he got older, he preferred to lounge on his large bed behind the counter, but he still kept an eye on things.”

Stilwell agrees. “We called him ‘the Manager’,” she says. “He and his friend Burt used to spend the night here. We don't know what Burt thinks of the situation yet,” she said, wiping away a tear.

The Cat Hospital has set up a memorial video for Baker on Facebook, and he has been cremated. The Cat Hospital, which opened in 2004 at 8065 S.E. 13th Avenue, treats cats exclusively, and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stilwell explains, “Our business serves as a non-emergency hospital – offering wellness, treating illness, and providing boarding and grooming services.” For more information, go online – http://www.portlandcats.com – or call 503/235-7005.



Grout Elementary School, computers, self directed behavior, Holgate Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Grout Elementary School “Climate Coach” Karey Kirk (left), Principal Annie Tabshy (center), and TechSmart coach and E.S.L. staff member Ashley Osborne (right) work together to enhance school learning and behavioral climate. (Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Computers and innovations enhance reading and behavior at Grout

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

Grout Elementary School seems to be flourishing under the leadership of Annie Tabshy, who has been Principal for five years. During her tenure, several programs are enhancing reading and behavior.

Grout, a K-5 school, serving several Inner Southeast neighborhoods, including Brooklyn, at 3119 S.E. Holgate Boulevard, has a population of 391 students who represent families from twenty different language backgrounds.

Because of its diversity, and because reading is such an important life skill, four years ago Principal Tabshy secured a TechSmart K-3 Grade Reading Grant. The grant has funded some 160 mini-laptops for students, with a ratio of one computer for every two students in K-3 classrooms. These laptops can be interacted with via a touch screen.

The mini-laptops are used to access the “My Own Reading Library”, designed to support literacy skills and reading comprehension.  The program gives students computer access to more than 6,000 digital books in a “digital library” that can match each student’s interests and reading level.

A second online resource being used is “Lexia Core 5”. This personalized digital literacy program can adapt to the student’s reading skills. Students use the program for 10 to 15 minutes each day in the classroom.

Ashley Osborne, the TechSmart coach and E.S.L. staff member, says having the TechSmart Grant has allowed teachers to provide additional targeted learning at the students’ individual levels.

Students at Grout are also privileged to have a school library with over 10,000 books and a cozy “reading nook” that Tabshy says kindergarteners and first graders especially appreciate.

A second program that Grout started this year, which is being implemented in a number of PPS schools, is the “MindUp” curriculum, developed by the Goldie Hawn Foundation. Its goal is to create a positive school culture and climate.

The curriculum is research-based, and includes fifteen lessons that begin by teaching students about how their brains work, and understanding how to “self-regulate”. The goal is to help students with self-management, and to improve behavior and learning for all students.

The result is to create a positive school “climate”, where students can learn in a positive and safe environment. The school “Climate Coach,” Karey Kirk – a staff person extensively trained in supporting students – helps to mediate small or larger conflicts.

In addition to the MindUp curriculum, the school Climate Coach is using a restorative justice model that helps students learn about the impact of their behavior on themselves and on others, and the need to repair any relationship(s) that they’ve impacted.  

“Restorative justice circles” provide students and staff with a way to look at each other and understand stresses, and where each other is coming from,” explains Tabshy.

“When kids are taught how their brains function, and how to think about ‘fight or flight’, taking a breath, and ‘finding the safe space in the classroom’, they can help themselves. It is another ‘tool in a student’s tool belt’ to support positive behavior throughout the school.

“We don’t have a behavioral specialist. We want children to learn to manage their own behavior. For example, how do you talk with someone with whom you’ve had a conflict?”

In addition to there having been a full-day staff development session for teachers to learn this Mind Up curriculum, Karey Kirk the “Climate Coach” receives additional monthly training in restorative justice and conflict resolution.

Tabshy says that “students learn what the problem is, who caused it, how to make it right. We do this one-on-one and in circle groups.”

Grout is also fortunate to have a full-time art teacher, Kendra Yao, who is funded by the Portland City Arts Tax. Her background includes working in museums and teaching all K-5 grade levels.

Last school year, Grout lost their Title 1 School funding, but will regain that status next year, based on school demographics. To learn more, go online – http://www.pps.net/groutelementary – or call 503/916-6209.



Woodstock, apartment house, development, The Joinery, full block, Woodstock neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Cassidy Bolger of Mill Creek Residential (left), and Robert Leeb of Leeb Architects, braved criticisms and answered questions at the April public meeting in Woodstock concerning the developer’s proposed five-story full-block apartment building. (Photo by Becky Luening)

Developers present Woodstock Modera’ apartment block plans

By BECKY LUENING
For THE BEE

Plans for the “Woodstock Modera” apartment building – a full-block, five-story development proposed to be built where The Joinery now sits – attracted close scrutiny and criticism from many who attended the developers’ presentation on Thursday evening, April 11.

Held in the Parish Hall of All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Woodstock Boulevard, the meeting was required by the city, and facilitated by the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA). Outreach efforts of an ad hoc group calling itself “Keep Woodstock Wonderful”, and local KOIN-TV coverage of the event, contributed to the turnout of a standing-room-only crowd of over 200 neighbors.

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. WNA Chair Sage Jensen reviewed the agenda, then announced the WNA’s upcoming board election (Wednesday, June 5: “Every seat is open!”) and plant sale (Saturday, May 11), before introducing WNA Land Use Committee Co-chair Thatch Moyle, who provided an overview of the development process, and ticked off a few project details revealed in the City of Portland’s pre-application conference in early March.

Mentioning his own urban planning background, Moyle underlined the WNA’s interest in helping decipher and translate the plans as they develop, and in conveying new information about the project as it becomes available, in order to keep the process as transparent as possible.

He explained that the evening’s meeting was required by city code, and that this would likely be the only open forum opportunity for the neighborhood to provide feedback, as no further public design review is required by the city for the project. He referenced the “by right” nature of the development – the fact that city zoning does allow what the developers have proposed.

He announced that the WNA would be collecting comments through May 15, which will be passed on to the developer for input into their design process. He invited folks to submit comments on the cards provided, or by e-mail – luc@woodstockpdx.org.  Finally, he passed the microphone to the Woodstock Modera development team.

First to speak was Cassidy Bolger, a Development Associate with Mill Creek Residential, which he described as a “vertically integrated company”. According to its website, Mill Creek is an investment company specializing in large, mixed-use apartment projects which they develop, build, acquire and operate.

Bolger is part of Mill Creek’s local Portland team, which has an office in Northwest Portland, and he stressed that he is a Southeast neighbor, residing in Portland’s Hawthorne district.

Robert Leeb introduced himself as the lead architect on the project. He said Leeb Architects has a working history with Mill Creek Residential, “a company known for its high quality, award-winning projects”. This team has developed several apartment buildings in Portland already; a slide of some of Mill Creek’s other projects appeared on the screen. While acknowledging the site’s accommodation of a “very large building” that would unquestionably bring more people and more business, Leeb promised they would try, “to the best of our ability, to make this the best possible project for the neighborhood.”

He described some of the project’s planned features: Seven thousand square feet of commercial space, enough for 6 to 8 shops; an exercise facility on the north side; underground parking for up to 120 cars, 12 motorcycles, and 195 bikes, with the entrance on the structure’s west side; an interior courtyard and rooftop deck for residents. Whether the entirety of the Martins Street block would be paved, with an optional curb added on the south side as suggested by PBOT, was still up in the air.

Leeb reported they are now looking at “up to 195 units”, and an overall 50-foot height, instead of the 45-feet originally proposed in the pre-app meeting. That change is made possible by a bonus the city offers, in return for including a taller retail space on the first floor. He reiterated that the numbers were still in flux, as they had just started working on design and scale.

After this brief presentation, Sage Jensen opened the meeting to public comment. She asked those who would speak to convey, in their comments, not just the things they didn’t like about the plan, but also what would be acceptable to them.

One of the first questions, posed by a man who lives twelve blocks south of Woodstock Boulevard, was whether one of the houses they expected to deconstruct could instead be moved to his empty lot. Bolger answered that it probably could, and the two exchanged business cards.

Then at least forty Woodstock neighbors, young and old, got up to give feedback and question the developers. One major concern was scale. Many commenters expressed opinions that the size of the proposed building was just “way too big” and out of character with Woodstock. Some suggested the developers needed to more carefully consider context and others pleaded with them to “scale it down”.

One woman wondered how much heat and light the building would emanate; another asserted the tall apartment building would mean loss of privacy for nearby homes. A common trepidation centered around the idea of so many people being added into this small-town neighborhood all at once.

Many people expressed dismay and aggravation toward the city for allowing full-block CM2 zoning, which they felt to be inappropriate for Woodstock. Those who took part in the neighborhood’s 2014 Charrette process recalled keypad voting that favored a lower profile main street for Woodstock, with building heights capped at 35 feet instead of 45, and softer transitions between large mixed-use buildings and the residential neighborhoods they bordered.

A number of nearby neighbors also expressed quality-of-life concerns about the impacts a two-year, large-scale construction project would have on the neighborhood. The only thing the developer could offer was a promise of good construction management and the willingness to abide by a Good Neighbor Agreement.

Another major theme was parking, traffic, and safety concerns, as people considered the prospect of so many more cars coming to an already congested thoroughfare. Placement of the parking garage entrance on S.E. 48th was repeatedly questioned, as the narrow street already poses navigation and parking issues, and numerous people warned it would be extremely difficult for cars to turn from 48th onto Woodstock unless a traffic light was installed at that intersection. “PBOT needs to be here!” a long-time resident exclaimed.

Existing traffic issues on S.E. 49th also got much airing during the comment period. Multnomah County Library representative Shawn Cunningham provided his card to Bolger in anticipation of future good-neighbor negotiations. Bolger’s lack of familiarity with the traffic issues around that block, exacerbated by Woodstock’s many unimproved road segments, prompted one or two people to suggest the developers “spend some time in our neighborhood” to study the situation.

Neighbors took some comfort in learning about PBOT’s requirement of a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan that encourages apartment residents to take advantage of multi-modal transportation options, i.e., car shares, biking and transit. Bolger confirmed a traffic assessment was required, and would be taken into consideration in the design process.

Not all comments were negative. Practical advice included designing for continuous awnings to cover pedestrians in the rainy season, and providing coverage for the nearby bus stop. Someone expressed wishes for a courtyard open to the neighborhood; another suggested reducing the footprint to allow for more trees, bioswales, and other natural elements. People were pleased to learn that all Mill Creek projects are LEED Certified, and that they plan to retain 12-foot sidewalks all around.

With regard to inclusionary housing – a requirement to provide a percentage of low-income units in the development – Bolger explained that eight percent of Woodstock Modera bedroom units will be priced at 60% MFI. In other words, a number of units will be affordable to persons or families whose income is at or below 60% of Median Family Income, an income threshold set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

One of the last neighbors to come to the microphone asked if the neighborhood could expect to be kept apprised of traffic assessment study results and subsequent plan changes. Bolger responded by saying that Mill Creek Residential, the developer, was certainly interested in “keeping lines of communication open, and helping where we can.”



Garthwick, Sellwood, roll over, crash, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The owner of the struck parked car, a police officer, and the driver of the overturned Honda Civic which hit it, talk over the situation, after the wreck in the Garthwick district at the south end of Sellwood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Errant driver manages to roll car in Garthwick

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

There aren’t many notable traffic accidents within the walls of “Garthwick”, at the south end of Sellwood off 13th and 17th Avenues, because it’s residential, quiet, and small.

But, at 7:03 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, emergency first responders were sent there on a report of a car hitting a parked vehicle and flipping onto its top, just a block west of the 17th Avenue gate – at the corner of S.E. St. Andrews Drive and Andover Place.

A police officer at the scene said the sporty, but now upside down, Honda Civic had been northbound on St. Andrews Drive when its driver drifted out of the traffic lane and struck the back corner of an Audi A4 parked at the curb – an impact which flipped it over.

Although the crash had been dispatched as a probable injury accident, the young man behind the wheel of the Honda had gotten out of the car and was standing near it, seemingly unharmed. The neighbor whose parked car had been hit had come out to talk with him; and someone from the same house brought him a glass of water.

The driver told the neighbor he was not looking forward to speaking with his father about this accident, when he arrived to pick him up.

The officer at the scene confirmed the details of the accident for THE BEE. No citations were issued in the mishap, and officers believed it unnecessary for the Traffic Division to come perform a sobriety evaluation.



Christian Science Church, Westmoreland, Immanual Lutheran Church, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, sell land, Oregon
The steps needed for Sellwood’s Immanuel Lutheran Church to sell this lot have been approved by city officials. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Changes approved for two Inner Southeast church properties

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The property on which one church sits will become a townhome development, and a parcel of another church’s land may soon be up for sale.

This is according to land use approvals issued in early in April by the City of Portland Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS).

One approval was of the plan for Christian Science Church redevelopment of 5736 S.E. 17th Avenue in Westmoreland, creating 23 lots on which townhomes will be built – a story previously covered in detail by THE BEE.

And, according to Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) Land Use Committee Chair David Schoellhamer, the Bureau has also approved a “conditional use change” for property owned by Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Sellwood at 7810 S.E. 15th Avenue, between Lambert and Bidwell Streets.

“It’s our understanding that this change was to remove [one of its five lots] from conditional use, to be able to sell it,” explained Schoellhamer. That lot consists of an open area, east of their parking lot, along Lambert Street, which currently is a grassy area with a play set.

“The SMILE committee did not take any position on the Immanuel Lutheran Church conditional use change,” Schoellhamer added.

In both cases, parishioners have commented to THE BEE that declining attendance had been the motivation for making the change. The Westmoreland church congregation has reportedly been given more time to continue meeting at the 17th Avenue address, despite having sold the property, since construction of the townhome development is not yet imminent.



dryer fire, Brentwood Darlington, townhomes, clean lint filter, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A full turn-out of firefighters and equipment limited fire damage to just one of the three townhomes. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Dryer fire briefly menaces Brentwood-Darlington townhomes

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

When neighbors caught sight of thick smoke rising from one of three townhomes at 7636 S.E. Henderson Street on April 12, they called the 9-1-1 Center to report it.

Minutes after the dispatch, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Lents Station 11’s crew was first to arrive, at 4:27 p.m., followed by six other units from three different stations which responded to the fire.

Firefighters made entry and searched the townhome for potential victims, while other crew members hooked up water lines and attacked the fire, said to be located in the residence’s utility room.

It took about eight minutes to put out the blaze. A PF&R Battalion Chief said the smoke was issuing from an operating clothing dryer.

“We’ve seen fires in clothes dryers and dishwashers; it’s a good idea to be home when operating these appliances,” he remarked. “And, please: Clean out your clothes dryer’s lint trap every time you operate it!”



Puplandia, Puplandia Dog Rescue, Oaks Park, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
At the Puplandia Dog Rescue “shopping fundraiser” in Oaks Park, visitor Mara Castro snuggled up to “Gilligan” at the “Doggie Kissing Booth”, as volunteer Carrie Wilson steadied the pooch. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Oaks Park hosts ‘Puplandia’ fundraising party

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

People with “Puplandia Dog Rescue” were sad when a winter storm cancelled their fundraiser at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park earlier this year.

But, with the park teeming with guests on the rescheduled date – March 30; fortuitously, on Saturday of Spring Break weekend – “Puplandia’s Spring Shopping Extravaganza” was a success.

“It’s been great that so many people visiting Oaks Park today are learning about our program,” exclaimed Puplandia Dog Rescue “Founder and Alpha”, Brook Benson, at the fundraiser held in The Oaks’ Dance Pavilion.

“To raise money, we hold this shopping fair – this year, with 50 vendors selling art, soaps, toys, dog treats, baked goods, and Puplandia merchandise. Plus our famous ‘Puppy Kissing Booth’!” Benson told THE BEE.

The group was hoping to raise about $2,500 that day; the money would go to pay medical bills, allowing them to save more dogs, Benson explained.

“Puplandia Dog Rescue is about three years old; we started as a rescue taking in dogs that families can’t keep anymore. We rescue about 100 dogs per year; so far, that’s 297 that we’ve taken in and found a home for, but we have ten other dogs currently waiting for their ‘forever’ homes.

“Now, we’re taking in a lot more dogs with medical needs – ones that are lame, with broken bones, and that need surgery and rehabilitation – and it’s expensive,” Benson said. “We’re thankful for the many people who support our mission to help these dogs, which otherwise would been euthanized.”

For more information about Puplandia Dog Rescue, or to get involved with the group, go online – http://www.puplandiadogrescue.org.



Sellwood, hit and run, crash, some returned, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The returned occupants of the smashed Cooper Mini Coachman mill around their damaged car, while police talk sternly with the driver, who hit the parked van. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Driver, passengers flee Sellwood crash – but some return to face the music

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

On the rainy evening of Thursday, April 4, a “Cooper Mini Coachman” crashed into a large, parked, “Sprinter”-style van on S.E. 17th Avenue in Sellwood, just south of Tenino Street. Emergency first responders were dispatched there at 9:55 p.m. for “an accident, with injuries”.

But, when Westmoreland Fire Station 20’s firefighters and paramedics arrived, they found only the smashed car – but no victims, nor any occupants.

“It was a big bang, like a car drove into a wall; but instead, it looks like it ran into a parked van,” recalled a nearby neighbor, looking at the scene.

“After hearing the crash, I came out – and saw the people in the car get out and run away,” a neighbor said. “And, they left their car running!”

Firefighters ripped open the hood of the smashed Cooper Mini, pulled the battery cables, stopping the engine and reducing the potential fire risk, as it leaked fuel and fluids.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. At least some of the people from the crashed car walked back to the crash. A Portland Police Central Precinct officer could be heard lecturing the returned driver about leaving the scene of accident.

A Traffic Division motorcycle officer arrived – but left without conducting a field sobriety evaluation. Police officials declined to provide more information to THE BEE about the incident. Not yet heard from, at that time, was the owner of the van which the small British car had smashed into.



Brooklyn, gas line, broken, street repair, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A N.W. Natural Gas worker checks the area where an excavator sliced through a gas line in the Brooklyn neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brooklyn road work ruptures gas line

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Street paving in the Brooklyn neighborhood came to a standstill at 12:28 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, when work crews broke a natural gas line on S.E. 10th Avenue, just south of Rhone Street. Construction equipment was shut down, and there was eerie silence, save the whistling of escaping gas.

N.W. Natural Gas crews arrived at 12:50 p.m., and assessed the situation.

“The break was caused by a contracting crew operating an excavator,” said N.W. Natural spokesperson Daphne Mathew about the incident. “The damage was to one of N.W. Natural’s half-inch polyethylene lines; it’s about the diameter of a person’s thumb.”

Gas company workers quickly stemmed the flow and repaired the damaged pipe.

“Anyone who plans to dig 12 inches or lower needs to call ‘8-1-1’ to have underground utilities marked first,” Mathew reminded. “And, if you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately – then call us at 800/882-3377, and we will come over and check things out.”



Precision Castparts, Structurals, Johnson Creek Boulevard, heater, fire, evactuation, Milwaukie, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
When a fire broke out in the Precision Castparts Structurals plant on Johnson Creek Boulevard in late March, workers briefly evacuated the building. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Heater fire briefly evacuates Precision Castparts

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

When dozens of employees evacuated the Precision Castparts Structurals plant in the Johnson Creek-Ardenwald neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, March 26, it appeared that a major incident had occurred in the facility.

At 4:27 p.m. Portland Fire & Rescue Woodstock Station 25’s crews were dispatched to assist Clackamas Fire District #1 concerning a report of a fire in the building. And it turned out that there was a fire.

“This was a relatively small fire; the company’s staff evacuated, per protocol,” said Clackamas Fire District Public Information Officer Lt. Brandon Paxton. “It was a fire in one of the heating units that vented to the roof.

“Firefighters took the unit apart and extinguished the fire; the incident was recalled [ended] quickly.”

At about 5 p.m., plant workers were cleared to reenter the plant, and Precision Castparts resumed normal operations.



Flavel Drive, crash, uninsured, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
While paramedics assessed two patients after this crash, a police officer discovered that one of the involved drivers had no valid insurance. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Minor injuries in Brentwood-Darlington crash

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Traffic was stopped along S.E. 52nd Avenue for a brief time on Sunday, March 24, while emergency first responders dealt with a collision at Flavel Drive. A Nissan Quest minivan had been struck on the passenger side by a Toyota Tacoma SRS pickup truck.

Two of the passengers in the minivan were medically evaluated at the scene by paramedics on Woodstock Fire Station’s Engine 25; it was determined that although they received minor injuries, they did not require transport for medical care.

Although airbags deployed in the vehicles, this was a relatively low-impact crash, said a Portland Police Bureau officer at the scene. “No citations related to the accident were issued. However, one of the drivers is being cited for driving without insurance.”



Crosswalk mission, enforcement, pedestrian safety, Powell Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The driver of this car, shown zooming past a PBOT employee, would soon be educated by nearby officers about the need to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

More drivers ‘educated’ at another Powell Blvd crosswalk

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

There are still too many traffic accidents on State Highway 26 – S.E. Powell Boulevard, many of them involving pedestrians being struck by vehicles.

With the goal of raising pedestrian safety awareness and Oregon traffic laws, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Portland Police Bureau (PPB) staged yet another “crosswalk safety education and enforcement action” on Powell Boulevard – this time at 54th Avenue – on Wednesday, March 27

“Under Oregon law, every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether it is marked or not,” reminded PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera while observing the mission. “People driving must stop, and stay stopped, for people walking – the entire time the pedestrian is in the travel lane or the adjacent lane.

“This marked crosswalk, the median island, and signage, are all near a number of pedestrian destinations – including Franklin High School, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, and local businesses.”

A PPB Traffic Division sergeant and two officers were watching vehicles as a PBOT employee, the “designated walker” for the day, crossed the street.

“It’s good to see most drivers are obeying the law at this crosswalk today,” commented PPB Traffic Division Sergeant Ty Engrstrom.

Holding missions like this one ae important to traffic officers, Engrstrom told THE BEE, because they’re the ones called on to deal with serious injury and fatal crashes between vehicles and pedestrians. “When it comes to getting hit by a vehicle, the pedestrian will likely face death or serious injury, much more so than those riding in vehicles that crash.”

Three citations and three warnings were issued for “Failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian” during the 90 minute mission. Officers also wrote three citations to drivers for using cell phones while driving. Other driving infraction warnings were issued as well.

And, six drivers were offered Drivers Safety classes in lieu of a citation.

“More than just writing tickets, this is an awareness campaign to get out and talk to motorists – and educate them about the road safety goals of the city, while helping them improve their driving behaviors,” Engrstrom remarked.



Garage fire, converted garage, apartment, Mt Scott, Arleta, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Soot above the upper window of this converted garage in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood shows where a fire briefly raged inside the structure. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fire chars Mt. Scott-Arleta converted garage

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Neighbors were on the phone to the 9-1-1 Center on Thursday afternoon, March 28, and fire crews responded at 5:57 p.m., about the black smoke rising at 7106 S.E. Mitchell Street in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood.

Woodstock Fire Station 25’s Ladder Truck arrived first, and reported to dispatchers that the blaze was actually in a detached structure – a garage which had been converted into a residential space.

PF&R Lents Station 11’s Engine Company hooked up water lines and took an offensive fire attack, while other crews made sure there was nobody trapped in the structure.

At 6:15 p.m., the Battalion Chief declared that the fire had been extinguished; firefighters then went about putting out hot spots.

“This fire did not extend to the main structure,” the Battalion Chief said at the scene. “There were no injuries.”

The cause of this fire remains under investigation, and no loss figure has yet been reported.






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