More stories from April's issue of THE BEE!

Irish dancers, St Patricks Day, St Agatha, celebration, dancing above the floor, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
In their second performance at St. Agatha’s on St. Patrick’s Day, this troupe from the Murray School of Irish Dance were not actually dancing ON the floor! Only the Irish can defeat gravity like that – and only on St. Patrick’s Day, to be sure. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

St. Patrick’s Day celebrated under dry skies this year


The phrase, “Everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” looked to be true in Sellwood on March 17, as St. Agatha’s Catholic School held their 20th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

Everyone, including this year’s Event Chair, Kurt Krasneski, was pleased that – for the first time in years – the sun broke through the clouds as the annual parade stepped off at noon, with nary a drop of rain. The annual march was guided by a cadre of Portland Police Traffic Division motorcycle cops.

The parade, featuring the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band, kicked off thed afternoon festival as hundreds of visitors, including children with decorated bikes, headed out for their circuit through Sellwood north to Westmoreland and back.

Tiny Irish hats, parade, St Patricks Day, St Agatha, Sellwood, parade, Portland, Oregon
Pausing for a photo during the St. Patrick’s Day parade were Nicole Nares, holding Nathan, while Chelsea walked. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“When our guests return, they’ll find that we’ve really focused on packing the day with music and dance, provided by eleven groups, throughout the day,” organizer Krasneski told THE BEE. Krasneski said his favorite part of the day is seeing the kids having fun. “Ours is a festival where all of the members of the family know they’ll have fun when they come every year.”

In the kitchen, Chef Brian Quinn, also in his 20th year at the task, was hard at work. “We’ve made more than 200 sausage rolls so far this morning. We have 40 pounds of corned beef ready to go, and there are gallons of mashed potatoes to make more ‘shepherd’s pie’ servings than you could count. We’re feeding least 300 people!”

St. Agatha’s Catholic School’s Principal Chris Harris remarked that he, too, was looking forward to the day. “I’m so excited that this is our 20th year; and, it’s amazing how far this festival has come! It started out as a small parish dinner! And, I love the community support of this event, including all of local businesses and neighbors.

“One of the ways we ‘live our faith’ is through service; and one of the ways we are of service to our neighbors and our community is this festival!”

As for the day, was it sunny and dry throughout? Of course not. But it was pretty dry, and – like the Emerald Isle itself – green, and looking ready for spring!

Flavel Drive, crash, Brentwood Darlington, 52nd Avenue, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A witness to the accident looks after the Honda’s driver, waiting for emergency medical first responders to arrive. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

52nd Avenue smashup clogs commuter traffic, draws a crowd


The slam of a vehicle collision in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, at the intersection of S.E. 52nd Avenue and Flavel Drive, at 7:35 a.m. on Friday, February 23, drew a crowd of neighbors to see what had caused the loud thump-and-crunch noise outside their homes.

A witness said that a blue and gray Honda Element had been driving northbound on S.E. 52nd Avenue. As it passed Flavel Drive, a southbound Ford Econoline plumbing truck made a “fast turn” east, or left, toward S.E. Flavel Drive, striking the Honda broadside in the driver’s-side door.

“The impact was so severe, the Honda was lifted up by a foot or two, moved sideways about three feet, and landed within inches in front of our car,” recounted another driver, who was stopped westbound on Flavel Drive at the intersection.

Before emergency responders arrived, a passing driver stopped and directed traffic. Most drivers at this busy rush-hour intersection appreciated his efforts – except for the driver of a small car, southbound on 52nd, who – when driving past – opened his door in an attempt to smack the Good Samaritan, while shouting at him.

Shortly afterward, Woodstock Fire Station 25’s engine company arrived, closely followed by an ambulance. After medically evaluating the female driver of the Honda, the paramedics left the scene without transporting her, indicating that she had not been significantly hurt.

At 8:02 a.m., a Portland Police Bureau East Precinct unit arrived, followed by another officer at 8:07 a.m. The officers facilitated an information exchange and took over directing traffic. In Portland, citations are not generally issued for traffic accidents in which nobody is hurt, nobody is impaired, and nobody is without insurance.

Netflix, movie, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
These crewmembers carefully roll a cart, loaded with RED high-definition cameras, up to the filming location. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Netflix show shoots in Sellwood


In January, a local casting company held an “open call” for actors who looked to be of high school age for the second season of “American Vandal”, a Netflix-released, true-crime parody.

The production company, a partnership of “3 Arts Entertainment”, “Funny or Die”, and CBS Television Studios, let it be known that that this show – one of 80 Netflix original shows coming out in 2018 – would be shot in Portland.

And so it was that on the morning of March 3, Sellwood neighbors awoke to find to find a half dozen production vehicles, some labeled “CBS Television Studios”, parked up and down both S.E. Lambert and Bidwell Streets, on the west side of 13th Avenue.

Grip crewmembers pointed out that the day’s shoot would be in and around the Sellwood Market convenience store, diagonally across the street from the Sellwood Branch Library.

As some of the production crew gathered in the parking lot in front of the store, workers with the audio recording cart rolled up, soon followed by a camera “crab dolly”. Finally, a crew from a truck labeled “Weirdo Productions” rolled in a cart loaded with tripods and two RED high-definition cameras.

Soon, the crew and actors moved into the store, and began the day of shooting, away from the public eye.

“American Vandal” co-creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault haven’t revealed the storyline of their second season, but did confirm to reporters that their new tale takes place far from the original location – and, as it turns out, will be shot in the greater Portland area.

Brooklyn thief, purse snatch, fire and police cooperate, arrest, Brooklyn neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
Portland Police officers and Portland Fire Bureau paramedics cooperated in the apprehension of a Brooklyn burglary suspect at S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Woodward Street on Sunday morning, March 4. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Police and Fire teamwork helps nab Brooklyn burglary suspect


Portland Central Precinct police officers and Portland Fire Bureau paramedics teamed up on Sunday morning, March 4, to help apprehend a burglary suspect on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue near Woodward Street.

According to Officer Sze Lai, the incident began shortly before 8 a.m. when a woman at Sanborn's Restaurant, at 3200 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, began opening for business. As she left the back door unlocked, a female burglar entered, stole a phone and a purse with money, and then fled.

Responding officers responding spotted a woman who resembled the broadcast description of the suspect on Milwaukie Avenue just north of Powell Boulevard, although by that time the woman had attempted to alter her clothing somewhat. As the officers detained her for questioning, she claimed to be having a heart attack.

By chance, paramedics from Portland Fire Bureau Engine 23 were available just a block away, and they quickly responded to evaluate the woman. An ambulance was also called to the scene. While the suspect was being examined, other officers returned to Sanborn’s to bring the victim over to S.E. Woodward Street, where she identified the thief, as well as some of the items she had in her possession.

Meanwhile, the paramedics from Engine 23 quickly determined that the suspect was not suffering a heart attack, so the ambulance was cancelled, and Central Precinct officers transported the suspect – identified as 26-year-old Sarah Brown – to the Multnomah County jail. Brown was booked there on charges of 2nd Degree Burglary and 2nd Degree Theft – as well as on a standing warrant for “Failure to Appear”.

Bike lane protest, Cleveland High School, Powell Boulevard, snowstorm, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Folks protesting against removing bike lanes on S.E. 26th Avenue were hard to see in the heavy snowfall, as they stood near Cleveland High on Powell Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Save Bike Lane’ rally held in snowstorm on SE Powell


While drivers along S.E. Powell Boulevard were straining just to see the roadway through falling snow on Tuesday, February 20, people associated with “The Street Trust” (TST) – formerly known as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance – were at the corner of S.E. 26th Avenue, holding signs and trying to get the attention of passers-by.

“We’re here because a plan has been approved by the City of Portland to completely remove the bike lanes, both north and south of Powell Boulevard, along 26th Avenue, including right here, in front of Cleveland High School,” explained TST Policy Director Gerik Kransky.

“The Oregon Department of Transportation said the bike lane had to be removed, the city agreed, and we think these bike lanes should remain,” Kransky said, as large snowflakes drifted down.

In February, Kransky remarked, TST launched a petition to prevent the removal of the bike lanes, and – as of that date – about 1,000 supporters had signed on.

“We’re doing our best to point out that the bike lanes have a critical role in making the intersection safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, students, and motorists,” Kransky told THE BEE.

If you are interested in signing the petition, it’s online –

Or, to learn more about The Street Trust:

Franklin High School, gun on campus, photo, arrest, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After sending a photo of himself with a gun on the Franklin High School campus, the FHS student was (surprise!) arrested. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Franklin High student arrested for posting gun photo


Around the time of the general school “walkout” demonstration held on Wednesday, March 14, a Franklin High School (FHS) student reportedly shared a photo that showed him with a handgun inside a classroom. It was sent via Snapchat, a social media platform.

The student who received that photo showed it to FHS authorities, which led to a Portland Police Bureau School Resource Officer investigating the incident. An officer later arrested the photo-sending student at home.

“We are thankful that one of our students took the ‘see something, say something’ credo to heart and reported the photo,” wrote Franklin High School Principal Juanita Valder, in part, in her subsequent letter to parents.

She concluded the letter with, “We will continue to talk about ways we can keep our schools and students safe, and we encourage you to talk to your students about what happened here and let them know they are free to ask questions and let their feelings be known to our staff.

“I am truly sorry to have to report this news to our wonderful Franklin community, but we want to be transparent with you about this event. I am always bolstered by the support you have shown and continue to show me, the school, and our students.”

Shannon the Cannon, fire, business, Foster-Powell, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After struggling to remove metal security bars, firefighters gained access to this burning house, now converted into a business, in the Foster-Powell neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Foster-Powell business in converted house burns


A residence converted for business use called “Shannon the Cannon’s Windows & Other Works, Inc.,” at 4961 S.E. 73rd Avenue in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, caught fire in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, March 2.

At 5:25 a.m., the crew riding Woodstock Fire Station’s Ladder Truck 25 were the first to arrive, and reported seeing heavy smoke from the structure.

As some crewmembers attempted to get into the blazing building through windows and doors secured with metal bars, a firefighter cut into the side of the house and flames shot out of the opening,

“Although this fire came in as a residential fire, it turned out to be a business in a converted house,” confirmed PF&R Public Information Officer Capt. Louisa Jones. “The security bars on all windows and doors delayed firefighter access, allowing the fire to continue to grow, unchecked, for several more minutes as they worked to cut the bars off.”

Once inside, firefighters determined that fire which began in the basement had spread up through the walls and into the attic. “Anytime firefighters are faced with fire below them and above them, the danger is increased; and, combined with the access delay, it was imperative to carefully coordinate tactical efforts to minimize any further risks,” Jones told THE BEE.

Search and rescue, extinguishment, and ventilation efforts went as planned, and they extinguished the fire fairly quickly; the fire was “recalled”, standing down the fire crews, at 6:52 a.m.

“There were no occupants in the structure at the time of the fire,” Jones said, adding, “The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.” Meantime, the business reports that it is getting underway repairing the damage and opening its doors again.

Phillip George Mawhiney, Woodstock Plaid Pantry, robbery, pursuit, capture, arrest, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Arrested for robbing the Woodstock Plaid Pantry, 39-year-old Phillip George Mawhiney faces four Felony charges. (MCDC booking photo)

Knife-wielding Woodstock market robber caught


A man, brandishing a knife, stalked into the Woodstock Plaid Pantry store at S.E. 42nd Avenue on Woodstock Boulevard, on Friday, March 2, at 10:39 p.m., and demanded money from the clerks.

After bagging some cash, he headed out the door, and hopped into a white, four door vehicle and drove off.

East Precinct officers swiftly arrived; and, while an officer took a statement from the clerks, others started looking for the car in the area.

“Responding officers searched the neighborhood, and with the assistance of a community member, located a white four-door Kia being driven near S.E. Bell Avenue and Johnson Creek Boulevard,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Christopher Burley.

The car doubled back west to S.E. Stanley Place – a short dead-end street, running north from Johnson Creek Boulevard – where an officer attempted a traffic stop.

“The driver of the Kia crashed into a canine officer's patrol vehicle, exited the car, and ran off,” Burley reported.

Officers, including a canine team, pursued the fleeing suspect due north, and tracked the man to the 5700 block of S.E. Westfork Street.

“The driver was taken into custody, and officers located evidence of the robbery in the Kia, as well as in the possession of the suspect, at the time of his arrest,” Burley said.

After a medical evaluation, the suspect, 39-year-old Phillip George Mawhiney, was lodged in the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on March 3 at 4:06 a.m., on charges of Robbery in the First Degree and Robbery in the Second Degree.

At his arraignment in Multnomah County Court later that day, Mawhiney learned that he was facing a total of four Felony charges, with an additional charge each of Robbery in the First Degree and Robbery in the Second Degree, as well as a Criminal Mischief charge, with combined bail set at $1 million.

In addition, Mawhiney remains in custody at MCDC, on a no-bail Federal US Marshal’s Service “hold”.

Russian Immersion program, Portland Public Schools, Lents neighborhood, Danika Stochosky, Kelly School, Portland, Oregon
Russian Immersion teacher Olessia Bordioug leads her Kelly Elementary class in Lents through a Russian lesson. (Photo by Jonathan House)

Southeast PPS Russian Immersion program needs more students

Special to THE BEE

Tucked inside a squat brick building in one of Portland’s lower-income neighborhoods is what just might be a key to our national security problems.

At least, that's what the United States government believes – it granted about $45,000 to boost a unique program many don’t even know exists in the Lents neighborhood.

It’s not a secret. In fact, there’s a concerted effort to get more people aware of this program, before it disappears.

Kelly Elementary School’s “Russian Immersion” program is one of only a handful in the country — the others being in Alaska, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland – and, just to the south of Portland, in Woodburn.

Starting in kindergarten, students can acquire a near-native knowledge of Russian, taking school subjects using the language all the way through college, at Portland State University.

But, gentrification has caused the formerly-popular program to shrink. The Russian-language New Life Church near the school moved farther east – and, with it, its tight-knit congregation. Kelly's Russian program was still in demand, but by last year, 68 percent of its students lived outside of the service area. 

Considering the overcrowding in Portland Public Schools, last summer – over the protests of hundreds of people – the school district limited the number of new out-of-district transfers. That shrunk the Russian Immersion program, from two classes in each grade to a single class in incoming kindergarten.

Kelly parent Danika Stochosky wants more in-district parents to sign their kids up for the “invisible” program. Stochosky lives in Woodstock, and formerly was an executive at the Woodstock branch of Chase Bank. She is also a former member of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club.

“We’re working on getting more visible, but it’s all these little pieces that need to get pushed around, and pushed around again," Stochosky says of the volunteer effort.

Though Stochosky is of Slavic descent, her child is one of the few in the program who didn’t know any Russian when she started. Most of the students have parents or grandparents who speak to them in Russian.

Stochosky says the benefits of bilingual instruction that cause parents to clamor to get into the Chinese immersion program at Woodstock Elementary School are just as valid for the currently-less-popular Russian program.

“People here like Chinese, because they think that’s where the market is,” Stochosky remarks. “But there’s no room in the Chinese or Spanish programs. [With Russian,] you’re getting those same benefits. All the brainwork is the same. You build the same ‘muscles’.”

Benefits of bilingual instruction
PPS Dual Language Director Michael Bacon agrees with her. The research shows the benefits of being bilingual include better problem-solving skills, more mental flexibility, better literacy, and faster acquisition of other foreign languages. For both English learners and native English speakers, “It’s a win-win. Both sides win,” Bacon explains. “Both sides get the values of being bilingual and biliterate.”

But the point of the district’s dual language programs is not to give already-privileged students a leg up. They are aimed at narrowing the achievement gap for what are now called “emerging bilingual students” – those whose native language is not English. “Gentrification has certainly impacted [the ability of] some of our linguistic minority groups, including Russian, to live in our district,” Bacon says.

Some feel that the decision to cut the Russian program was politically-motivated, given the timing with President Trump’s election and the suspicions of Russian meddling. But, while acknowledging that Russia has an image problem locally, Bacon refutes that.

“The rub has been because we had so many kids coming from out of the district,” he said. “It was a tough decision.”

Currently 11 percent of students – about 5,400 – are in a language immersion program in Portland Public Schools. The district gives immersion instruction in five languages, with a sixth – Arabic – possibly on the way. Parents sign their kindergarteners up through a lottery system, which this year extended from February 7 through March 2. Kelly’s Russian program has open spots, while the three Chinese and ten Spanish programs turn away scores of kids every year.

Bacon says the cultural and linguistic opportunities provided by Portland's varied immigrant communities are an asset.

“Investing in those and really leveraging those for our community is extremely important,” he says. “I would encourage families to really consider [bilingual education]. We feel like this is a strength of our system and a strength of what we can provide to our community, our schools, and our world.”

Yulia Brooks, a second-grade teacher at Kelly, wants PPS to keep up two strands of the Russian classes. Attrition means that only a handful of the program's first class of students – now in 10th grade at Franklin High School – are left.

Brooks worries her native language is undervalued in American culture. “It is really special. Russian language is a very rich language. It’s classical language: Tolstoy; Dostoyevsky; Pushkin; Classical music. It’s a very, very beautiful language. It brings a lot of culture with it.” Brooks says she would like to see more native English speakers in her classroom, in part, “to understand Russia better. With language, you have the knowledge of that country as well.”  That understanding, she says, “will hopefully bring our countries closer together.”

Look for information on signing up for PPS language programs here:

Assault, SE 39th, Cesar Chavez Blvd, robbery, theft, injury, cat, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Portland Police K-9 team walks into the search area, preparing to explore the house and property for any suspects who might still be there. But all had left. (

Home invasion and assault bring police to Chavez Blvd.


A home invasion at a residence on S.E. Cesar Chavez Blvd. (formerly 39th) near Liebe Street, just south of Holgate, turned into a vicious assault on Sunday afternoon, March 11.

At 4:01 p.m., some twenty Portland Police units arrived. Based on what they learned from the victim, he’d answered his door, was assaulted, and he believed the suspects were still inside the home.

As the investigation began, police closed off Chavez, between S.E. Steele Street and Holgate Boulevard, and the street soon filled with both law enforcement personnel and emergency medical teams.

“Officers attempted to contact the possible suspects inside the location through the use of ‘loud hail’ and phone calls; however, no suspects exited the location,” said Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. “Officers used a canine team to search the location, and determined the suspects were no longer inside.”

As police were standing down, reporters spoke with the victim’s dad, John Morrison, who said that his 45-year-old son was hit in the eye with the butt of a shotgun, and may need surgery.

The victim didn’t know the two men and a woman who barged in to his home after he opened his door to them – battered him, then tied him up, as they ransacked the house, looking for money or valuables, his father said.

BEE news partner KOIN-TV-6 interviewed the victim himself, Josh Morrison, in the hospital. They report he said that the men bound him with zip ties while the woman went through the house looking for his safe, where he keeps his life savings. “They knew exactly what they were doing and looking for,” he reflected, even though he apparently didn’t know them. Once she found the safe, the men grabbed Morrison's own gun and demanded more money.

“There was a shotgun in my face,” he told KOIN-TV. They pulled the trigger but the gun wasn’t loaded, so they kept hitting him. “Hitting me all over my head with the shotgun, hit me right here where the staples are and started working on my eye.” 

The intruders trashed the house, putting holes in the walls. They threatened to kill his cat, Watson, and broke the 15-year-old cat’s shoulder. He finally had a chance to get out of the house and found people to call 911.

“I'm so thankful I'm alive, and have my cat,” Morrison remarked. “Yes. I'm so thankful.”

The suspects’ descriptions have not been disclosed. “Members of the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division are continuing this investigation,” Burley confirmed.

construction theft, theft list, unregistered truck, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Police saw the man who drove this Washington-licensed pickup truck loading stolen building materials into the back, and trying unsuccessfully to flee the area. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Cops foil construction site thief in Foster-Powell


Neighbors in the Foster-Powell neighborhood near the intersection of S.E. 64th Avenue and Rhone Street thought activity in the alley behind a house under construction there looked odd, on the morning of March 5.

More than one person called the 9-1-1 Center, dispatching a “Theft-Priority” call to East Precinct officers at 7:23 a.m. that morning.

“As I was coming on-duty this morning, driving to this district from East Precinct, I took the dispatch about a ‘sketchy’ looking guy loading building materials into a truck, before workers were at the site,” a PPB officer recalled.

In this neighborhood, a paved alley runs behind the lots, and the officer told THE BEE she spotted the suspect, and drove closer to him.

“He got into the truck, drove north in the alley to S.E. Powell, turned east, and then south on 64th Avenue where I ‘lit him up’ [turned on overhead lights] and he stopped – and bailed out,” the officer said.

A police K-9 team tracked the suspect for some distance before they lost him, as he leaped over fences and cut through backyards.

“What was interesting,” the officer said, “was when searching the truck, we found a notebook listing various sites and materials that would appear to be a ‘shopping list for thieving’,” she said.

And, the Washington license plates on the truck did not come up as stolen. “Many times, we’ve found, criminals buy cheap old vehicles from Craigslist or other sources, pay cash, and then don’t register the vehicle in their name; if they’re caught, the vehicle can’t be traced back to them.”

Although workers at the building site declined to be interviewed, they did say they were grateful for watchful neighbors, and for rapid police action that helped them recover their building materials and tools.

Amaya Gustave, Franklin High, Rose Festival Princess, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Introducing 2018 Portland Rose Festival “Franklin High Princess”, Amaya Gustave. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Princess Amaya’ is Franklin High’s Rose Fest pick


In the brand new and elegant Franklin High Auditorium, the school’s ambassador to the 2018 Portland Rose Festival was announced on Wednesday afternoon, March 14.

“Every year, our candidates to become our Portland Rose Festival representative has gotten better and better; I’m very excited about all three of these talented young ladies,” exclaimed FHS Principal Juanita Valder.

“Whoever is selected, she’ll be a fabulous representative of what we have to offer here at Franklin,” said Valder, just before the special program started.

Candidate Emma Friemark was escorted on the stage by Spencer Kimber, followed by Amaya Gustave escorted by Jeremy London, and it was Augustin Tiana who escorted candidate Cory Thompson.

After a brief introduction concerning the Portland Rose Festival Foundation, followed by the introduction of officials at the program, the ceremony revealed that FHS junior Amaya Gustave had been selected this year.

Princess Amaya smiled as FHS Vice Principal Emily Mather placed on her head the tiara, and assisted her into the royal robe.

“The time I’ve been involved in this already has been really eye-opening,” Princess Amaya told THE BEE. “I was super shy, and participating in this brought out a lot of my confidence and personality – as I went through the judging, preparing a speech, practicing my presentation, and improving my public speaking.

“But, I decided to do this because I really want to represent my school, and get involved in the Portland Rose Festival to represent Franklin’s diversity and the community we have here. I belong to so many different groups and organizations, and this allows me to bring what I’ve learned working with those groups,” Princess Amaya smiled.

Above all, the new Princess said she looks forward to working with her mentor, and being involved in community service, as well as having the opportunity to make new connections throughout the community.

“I’m so thankful that people really believe in me, and I gained the strength and confidence to really believe in myself, too,” Princess Amaya remarked.

She plans to attend a four-year university, go to veterinary school, and make a career as a veterinarian; she will be aided in that effort by a $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group.

Wave to her during the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade the evening of June 2; and cheer her on at the Queen's Coronation on June 9 at 8:30 a.m. in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

For information about Portland Rose Festival, see their website:

Domestic dispute, Creston Kenilworth, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Creston-Kenilworth neighbors were surprised to see police responding to what they said is ordinarily a quiet street. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Creston-Kenilworth domestic dispute turns violent


Neighbors looked on as Central Precinct officers cordoned off the porch and side of a neatly-kept house in the 4100 block of S.E. 29th Avenue, just south of Gladstone Street on Wednesday, March 7, due to an “Assault with Weapon” call dispatched at 10:58 a.m.

“I heard the brothers who live there squabbling, then the police and an ambulance came,” a resident walking in the area told THE BEE.

“Preliminary information suggests this was a disturbance between brothers,” agreed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. “Both brothers were injured during the disturbance, and both men were taken to a local hospital by ambulance suffering non-life-threatening injuries.”

The Domestic Violence Reduction Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation until about 5:00 p.m. that day.

Sellwood, car fire, camper, uninjured, PT Cruiser, registered in Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon
Parked at the curb next to the Sellwood Community Garden, this car caught fire – with a person sleeping inside – in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 1. The person escaped. The car appeared to be registered in Wisconsin. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Camper’ fire destroys car near Sellwood Community Garden


Neighbors walked past and shook their heads as they looked at the burnt-out shell of a PT Cruiser at the northwest corner of S.E. Harney Street at 21st Avenue on Thursday morning, March 1.

The car was parked at the curb adjacent to Sellwood Community Garden, on property owned by Portland Bureau of Environmental Services sewage pumping station, when Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Westmoreland Station’s Engine 20 crew was summoned at 5:01 a.m. by calls reporting a car on fire.

“We’ve had transients parking there, on and off, for quite a while,” neighbor Edna Pasternak remarked to THE BEE as she walked by with her dog after the fire crew had left. “I hope nobody was hurt, this looks pretty serious.”

“This vehicle fire began in the interior of the car, where one occupant was sleeping at the time of the fire,” later reported PF&R Public Information Officer Capt. Louisa Jones. “Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire just after arriving on scene, and then called for an investigator. The occupant was treated for minor injuries related to the fire.”

The investigator has not released the cause of the blaze yet, Jones added.

Illegal U turn, traffic crash, International House of Pancakes, IHOP, car into building, S.E. 82nd, Portland, Oregon
This vehicle, in the shrubbery in front of the IHOP restaurant on S.E. 82nd between Holgate and Foster, was kept out of the restaurant itself by the presence of decorative but sturdy boulders. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Illegal U-turn forces car into 82nd Avenue IHOP


Southbound traffic on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses was backed up near Liebe Street starting a little after 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, by a smash-up that caused one vehicle to careen against the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) building located there.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and a Portland Fire & Rescue crew responded to the IHOP at 4931 S.E. 82nd, a bit south of Holgate Boulevard, after numerous calls to 9-1-1 reported that a car had driven over the sidewalk and into the building.

Emergency first responders found a black Volvo four-door sedan popped up over the curb and across the sidewalk, into the bushes near the IHOP’s front door. The car had been stopped before penetrating the building itself by a number of prudently-placed large decorative rocks.

While emergency medical personnel tended to the Volvo’s driver, who was transported via ambulance to a local hospital for medical evaluation, a flatbed tow truck quickly scooped up the other car involved, a Chevrolet Cobalt, to clear the wreck and get traffic moving again.

“Reportedly the driver of the Chevrolet Cobalt performed an illegal U-turn, and the Volvo crashed into the Cobalt,” later explained Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. “After the cars collided, the Volvo did leave the street, and was stopped by a boulder in front of the IHOP. The driver’s injury is believed to be non-life-threatening.”

The driver of the Chevy, apparently not significantly hurt, was cited for the illegal maneuver. And inside the restaurant, customers resumed eating pancakes.

Art car, Lucky's Joyride, Joy Johnson, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Joy Johnston and her rescue dog, Lucky, pose by her current Art Car – “Lucky’s Joyride.” (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

New local ‘Art Car’ named for dog rescued from a California desert


Joy Johnston has been part of the Art Car scene since 1989. She’s named each of her decorated vehicles; the names have included “Swirly,” “Flivver,” and “Speedy Serendipity.”

Her current vehicle, an '88 Toyota sedan, is named after her 10-year-old black Lab/Rottweiler pet, Lucky. The name she has given it is “Lucky’s Joyride.”

Johnston, who now lives in Inner Southeast Portland, has visited Art Car shows all along the West Coast, and she says she enjoys the unique, freewheeling style of fellow artists. “We call those who drive undecorated vehicles ‘Mundanes’,” she says with a smile.

“About ten years ago I was on an Art Car trip to Slab City, California, which is known as ‘the place where Art Cars go to die.’ It’s a dry, desert-y area, and there, under a scrubby desert tree, was this little black puppy. No one seemed to be taking care of her, so I adopted her, and she’s been my pal ever since.”

Lucky’s Joyride is decorated with paint and glued-on ‘found objects’, and has a front bumper that’s lush with fake flowers. “I’ve got some bells attached to the rear bumper,” confides Johnston. “They jingle nicely when I drive over bumps.

“Eventually,” she continues, “I want to cover the whole car, including [putting] a fake ‘tree’ on the roof made of mannequin parts. I locate unusual items to decorate my cars with at the Goodwill Bins, like the one here on S.E. Umatilla Street in Sellwood. This vehicle has a collection of buttons and beads along the back window and trunk, a collection of doll heads on the right rear quarter, and a toad in a pebbly scene on the hood.”

While earlier living in California, Johnston worked as an industrial seamstress. “I’ve got a big collection of neckties, and I plan to reupholster the interior with them,” she grins. She adds that she has always enjoyed working on crafts, crocheting, and other handiwork. “I've decorated several kinds of vehicles as Art Cars. Each one seems to have its own personality.”

Whenever she visits the Sellwood Goodwill Bins, she always makes sure to buy a few new toys for Lucky. “If I don’t give her something, she’ll nose through all my bags,” says Johnston.

But her best gift, of course, was being rescued from abandonment in the California desert.

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