More stories from February's issue of THE BEE!

Ardenwald, Van Water Street, house fire, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With the family safely out of this burning Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood home, firefighters attacked the smoky blaze. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fire burns Ardenwald home on Van Water Street


Neighbors were on the phone to the 9-1-1 Center when they began to notice smoke rising from a house in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood on Friday, December 27. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) dispatchers began sending engines and trucks at 4:26 p.m.

Just as PF&R Lents Station’s Engine 11 crew was reporting to dispatchers seeing thick, dark smoke as they approached from Johnson Creek Boulevard, a person claiming to be a resident of the smoking house at 3711 S.E. Van Water Street called 9-1-1 Center to assert that the “garage fire is under control” – but a neighbor across the street called the dispatch center moments later, to report flames in the attached garage.

“In fact, we could see fire coming from the garage, and heavy smoke pouring out the front door of the home,” the neighbor told THE BEE.  Other neighbors said they were concerned, because they believed that “several families” lived there.

Firefighters searched the house as smoke continued pouring out of doors and windows, but reported that they found nobody inside.

A young female ran up the street toward the burning house, screaming “My baby! My Baby!” – but it turned out to be that she was concerned about her pet.  Over the fire radio came the message, “Negative on the animals.”

Firefighters from Ladder Truck 10 made their way up to the roof, and stood by to cut vertical ventilation holes in it. As it turned out, they only had to cut a small “inspection hole” – they found the attic to be untouched by fire.

Eight occupants, ranging from 18 to 75 years of age, were displaced by the fire, and were assisted by volunteers with American Red Cross who provided temporary shelter, clothing, and supplies. No word on whether or not the missing pet was found.

Estimated damages and suspected cause of the blaze were not yet available from PF&R officials as THE BEE went to press.

Salmon fry, classroom, fish, release, Willamette River, Sallwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Several students at a time came to the bank of the Willamette to release their classroom-hatched salmon together. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Students release tiny salmon into Willamette, at Sellwood


Wind-blown rain didn’t discourage some 150 students and their teachers from four Portland grade schools from arriving at Sellwood Riverfront Park on the morning of December 20, to release salmon hatchlings – called “fry” – into the Willamette River.

“Our seventh and eighth graders, as well many students from Creston School, some from St. Rose Catholic School, and some from Sunnyside Environmental School were given salmon eggs to raise during the fall, by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department (ODFW),” Sarah Anderson told THE BEE. She’s the Fieldwork and Place-Based Education Coordinator at the Cottonwood School of Civics and Science.

“The Multnomah 4-H coordinated this in the schools, gave us tanks, and trained volunteers on how to raise fish from eggs into the ‘fry’ that they will release here this morning,” Anderson continued. “This is in conjunction with an eight-week program at nearby Oaks Bottom, learning about water quality, native vegetation, animals, and restoration projects there.”

Teaching youth environmental stewardship
“This project is important, because it gives students a meaningful way to understand their ability to be stewards of wildlife and of the planet, by connecting what they learned from raising salmon eggs to ‘fry’, to releasing these fish into the river,” said Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H coordinator Courtney Lobo.

“More broadly,” Lobo added wryly, “we’re providing young people teaching-by-doing, and hands-on ways to love their Earth – even as our 4-H programs in Portland continue to be on the [county] budgetary ‘chopping block’.” 

ODFW’s “Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program” (STEP) representative John Cox was there to tell the gathered students, “We appreciate your raising the fish in the classroom; we realize it takes a lot of effort. And, we really appreciate your working in this program to help return salmon to the Willamette River.”

Also at the park for the ceremony was Greg Archuleta, a tribal member of Clackamas Chinook, Santiam Kalapuya, and Shasta, and a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, who teaches history of the “Tribes of Western Oregon”.

“Fish are really important to our tribal people; we also appreciate your interest in the water quality, which is important for the fishes’ survival. It’s nice to see your connection with the fish; one of these days, tribal people may be able to harvest one of the fish you released today.”

As the students were releasing their fish into the water at the riverbank, Archuleta remarked to THE BEE, “This is really neat to see – that they took the responsibility to raise the fish, care for them, and now they get to see them released. It’s pretty neat.”

Holgate Boulevard, utility pole, crash, Reed neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A tow truck responded to clear the smashed car from the S.E. 28th and Holgate intersection, and get the morning commute traffic moving again. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Car smashes into power pole on Holgate Boulevard


It was a dry and overcast Wednesday morning, December 11, when a silver Honda Accord eastbound on S.E. Holgate Boulevard careened into a wooden utility pole, next to a Shell gas station at the corner of 28th Avenue.

The collision was so violent, it collapsed much of the front end of the car.

A Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct officer at the scene said it was a single-vehicle accident; the driver had been taken to a local hospital by ambulance for medical observation and treatment. There is no information on the driver’s condition.

Pedestrian witnesses at the diagonal corners of the intersection had different accounts of the accident.

One observer said perhaps a dark-colored SUV, westbound on S.E. Holgate, was attempting to turn south on 28th Avenue, which may have caused the driver to swerve and drive into the pole. The other witness told THE BEE that it appeared to her that the vehicle was going too fast for conditions, and that the driver was possibly “distracted” just before leaving the road and wrecking.

The officer commented, “This will be something for the insurance company to sort out.”

Australian fundraiser, Georgia, immigrant, Australian fires, Holy Family School, Eastmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Holy Family Catholic School newcomer Georgia (left) holds one of the firefighter boots filled with donations destined to help those affected by the massive wildfires in her native Australia – here, accompanied by students Ava, Alejandra, and Brooke. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Australian student at Holy Family starts ‘fire fundraiser’


New to the United States – and a new student at Holy Family Catholic School in the Eastmoreland neighborhood – fourth-grader Georgia became very concerned about the unprecedented wildfires recently sweeping over her native Australia.

“My family and I moved to the United States about two months ago,” Georgia told THE BEE. “When we left, it was the end of spring going into summer, so the fires hadn’t started yet.

“After I left, the fires started coming – a lot of them,” Georgia said. “There were 137 fires where our family and friends live, in New South Wales – a state on the east coast of Australia.

“I wanted to help by donating some money to the firemen for water, equipment, or supplies, so we held a ‘Free Dress Friday for Firefighters’ on January 17, and had help from older students who have been holding a ‘Cans for Koalas’ fundraiser,” said Georgia.

Holy Family eighth grader Ava joined Georgia with her classmates, Alejandra, and Brooke, and chimed in, “In our class, we heard about the fires in Australia and adopted an endangered species, ‘the Slow Loris’; some of the money we raised for it went to help the Australian firefighters.”

During any “Free Dress Friday” at the Catholic school, students may come dressed in clothing other than their traditional school uniforms, Ava explained, and are encouraged to bring $1 or more as a donation for the privilege of dressing casually.

With the help of money donated by older students at the school, and their “Cans for Qualities” program, the Australian firefighters will receive more than $200.

“I’m grateful that my new ‘school family’ helped raise money for this cause,” Georgia smiled.

Bullseye Glass, art glass, permit hearing, Brooklyn, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Exhaust from glass melting furnaces at Bullseye Glass Company, such as this one, are filtered to “far exceed” new Cleaner Air Oregon regulations, according to the company. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Bullseye Glass seeks renewal of air quality permit


On Tuesday, December 17, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) held a public hearing at TaborSpace, in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, where verbal and written comments were encouraged regarding any conditions for the Brooklyn-neighborhood-based Bullseye Glass Company’s draft air quality permit, known officially as “Title V” permit.

This “Title V” permit will carry forward the air quality emissions regulations that were required of the company beginning in June 2016, explained ODEQ Northwest Region Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Wirtis.

There are essentially two elements to an air quality permit, Wirtis said:

  • Applicable state and federal requirements
  • Monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping requirements to demonstrate compliance

“For Bullseye Glass, the applicable requirements include things like the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations regarding Glass Manufacturing, Oregon’s Colored Art Glass Manufacturing Rules, Bullseye’s Mutual Agreement and Order it signed with the state, and other DEQ air quality standards,” Wirtis told THE BEE.

The Bullseye Glass facility must continue to monitor its air emissions, and its equipment to control these emissions, submitting regular reports to DEQ.

“For example, Bullseye must monitor and maintain records about the type and amount of glass produced in each furnace [daily], the quantity of hazardous air pollutants used in each batch, type and amount of fuels used in each furnace [monthly], et cetera,” Wirtis explained. “ODEQ can perform unannounced inspections, and ask the facility to produce its records.”

Once the permit had been drafted, ODEQ issued a public notice that provides the public an opportunity to submit written public comments and request a hearing. In Bullseye’s case, a public hearing was scheduled for December 17; the public comment period ended on January 10, 2020.

“ODEQ is now in the process of reviewing comments,” Wirtis said.

In addition to about a dozen members of the public, and the regulators, Bullseye Glass Company staff – including Vice President Jim Jones – said they were attending to answer questions.

“Bullseye Glass representatives respond to specific questions regarding the company’s operations, and stated that Bullseye is more than willing to comply with the regulations under the new Title V air permit,” Jones explained. “The Title V permit will require some additional reporting and monitoring, but it will not change the current emission standards.

“The environmental protection control technology installed on company furnaces over three years ago [still] ensure that Bullseye far exceeds the new Cleaner Air Oregon regulations,” said Jones.

“It will likely take a couple of months to wrap up the response to comments to the application; ODEQ will make a decision on the Bullseye Glass Company Title V permit – certainly by the end of this first quarter,” the Bureau's Wirtis told THE BEE.

Brentwood Darlington, car crash, into apartments, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Witnesses said the driver of this Hyundai was speeding far beyond the 20 mph residential speed limit, before blowing through a stop sign and smashing into this Inner Southeast apartment building, on New Year’s morning. (Courtesy Rodney Rocker & KATU-TV2 News)

Driver smashes into Brentwood-Darlington apartment building


It was a jolting way to start the New Year. A family in the southern end of the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood were at home when a car crashed into their apartment building, just before noon, on January 1.

The resident of the apartment the car hit, Holly Pickens, told reporters they were relaxing watching television when they heard a bang that “shook the building” – a black four-door Hyundai had slammed into a bedroom. The collision reportedly broke water pipes, and flooded the apartment.

Fortunately, no one inside was injured.

A witness told the residents that she saw a woman driving the Hyundai “like 60 miles per hour”, blowing through a stop sign before ramming the building.

Police officials have not provided THE BEE with information regarding the crash, or whether the Hyundai driver was cited or arrested – but our guess is that, at the very least, she must have been ticketed for the multiple traffic infractions.

Kellogg Middle School, construction, Powell Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
From left, with the new Kellogg Middle School on S.E. Powell under construction behind them, are: “Oh planning + design” architect Timothy Ayersman, Todd Construction project superintendent Monte Carothers, and Portland Public Schools Office of Modernization project manager Steve Effros. (Photo by Jonathan House)

Lessons at new Kellogg Middle School will go beyond books

The Portland Tribune

When students arrive at the new Kellogg Middle School in fall 2021, they'll find their lessons go beyond books and classrooms.

The 110,000-square-foot building on the corner of S.E. Powell Boulevard and 69th Avenue has been designed to do more than provide spaces to learn. The school also will offer examples of how the elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) come into play in the real world – from a display showing how much water the building uses, to a plaque that explains how the exposed bracing in a stairwell will help protect the building in the case of an earthquake.

The school is the first to be built specifically to accommodate Portland Public Schools’ shift from a K-8 approach back to a middle school program geared specifically for students in grades six through eight. The school also offers some lessons for Portland Public Schools itself. In addition to being the school district’s first carbon-neutral school, Kellogg features systems that will allow water usage and energy efficiency to be tracked almost down to an LED light bulb.

While Kellogg isn’t necessarily the prototype for future middle schools that PPS might build, it is expected to serve as a model for “best practices” for PPS, according to Steve Effros, a senior project manager in the school district's Office of Modernization.

“I guess you could say that as a building, it’s going to encompass all the new ideas about middle school education,” he said

Old and new
The new school building is expected to help bring new vitality to a corner in an Inner Southeast Portland residential neighborhood that has been mostly inactive since the original Kellogg Middle School building was shuttered more than ten years ago. The old three-story structure, constructed in 1917, closed in 2007 as a result of district-wide enrollment and budgetary issues.

While PPS looked at reopening the school several times, those plans never moved forward. Other than being used occasionally for meetings, the building sat vacant for a decade.

In 2017, however, the district decided to ask voters to support a $790 million construction bond that, along with upgrading three existing high schools, would get Kellogg Middle School back open.

A common preference of the district and the community for a spate of recent construction bond projects has been to modernize existing buildings, such as the recent project at Grant High School, whenever possible. In the case of Kellogg, however, that wasn’t considered feasible. High costs associated with abating asbestos and lead paint in the century-old structure, as well as upgrading the building to current seismic standards, were just part of the problem.

“The classrooms were oriented wrong – you’d get glaring light,” remarked Tim Ayersman, a senior associate with Oh planning + design. “A second gymnasium area in the 1980s was attached to the exterior, where stairs went up and down, creating difficulty meeting modern-day [accessibility] requirements.”

“We did a thorough study between [modernization] and replacement," Effros added; “To meet all the programming needs and all the health and safety requirements, the cost actually came out better to build new. . . This gives us a chance to create a new shell and a new opportunity. I think there's a lot of flexibility being built into the design for that very reason.”

Maximizing minimal space
The old school building was demolished in 2018 to make way for the new school, which will sit closer to Powell Boulevard than its predecessor, to fall in line with street frontage design standards.

The Powell side of the school will contain three stories of classroom suites, also called “learning suites”. The structure will then “step down” into a single level containing administrative offices, a commons area, and a gymnasium and multipurpose area, which will be along S.E. 69th Avenue.

“By bringing up . . . the taller part of the building (along Powell), we were able to step the building down as it moved into the neighborhood, to work the scale down into [that of] the neighborhood,” Ayersman explained. The six-acre site on which the school is being built is smaller than acreage usually associated with modern-day middle schools. That required the design team and the school district to get creative when it came to designing in and around the building.

An outdoor area, required to provide emergency vehicles with access to a side of the building without direct street access, will serve double duty as an outdoor courtyard that students and staff can access via the school's interior commons area.

Meanwhile, the gymnasium will double as a performing arts space, with a stage set in one wall. Fold-up seating along an opposite wall can be opened up for students during plays and other events that use the stage. The seats can then be folded out of the way to accommodate basketball games and other sports events.

“It’s a very unique approach . . . but because of square footage, you can't build two separate facilities," Ayersman said.

Making effective use of space still allowed some unique features to be included in the design.

In the three-story learning suites section of the school, for example, hallways offer separate learning areas where students can work on projects in small groups, giving teachers more flexibility in structuring their classes, and how they teach students.

Individual classrooms also feature “safe spots” in the form of window seats that allow students who need a break to step away from the swirl of a full class while still being able to participate in activities. It’s an approach that the district has been using in more traditional classrooms, which is now being deliberately included in the new school's design, according to David Mayne, bond communications manager for PPS. “It's just one more tool in the toolbox for a teacher,” he said.

Sustainable specifics
A new PPS policy requires that all new schools be built to target a Gold rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). While Kellogg Middle School has been designed to hit that goal, the building’s design and construction take the concept of sustainability even further.

When it opens, Kellogg will become the district’s first carbon-neutral school building. Achieving that a came down to a simple, but major, step – switching from traditional gas boilers to electric ones. While achieving a carbon-neutral building wasn't a requirement for the project, the fact that it was accomplished for Kellogg means it likely will be a consideration when the district looks at building other new middle schools in the future, Effros said.

The building also has been designed and constructed so that it can be outfitted to become a net-zero building. Early energy savings will result in the short-term from approaches, such as using special materials between metal plate connections to reduce thermal bridging, and placing insulation beneath the concrete foundation and along the bottom of the building. In addition, when the school opens, the roof over the gymnasium multipurpose area will feature a photovoltaic solar panel array.

The roof of the learning suites section of the school has been set up to be outfitted in a final phase of the project with a photovoltaic solar array of panels that will allow the school to generate at least as much energy as it uses. While a timeline for that final phase hasn't been determined, it’s something that’s a goal for the school district, according to Effros.

“There are no specific plans yet; but certainly, there’s a desire to be able to [make it net-zero],” he said. “It’s been engineered to basically attach a separate component in the future.”

Blue skies
Todd Construction, as project general contractor, started work on the school in July of 2019. Construction is slated to wrap up in early 2021, which will give teachers and administrators time to get settled into the building before students arrive that fall. The building will have the capacity to handle 810 students. However, the average student enrollment is expected to be around 675 – what Mayne says is considered the building’s “functional capacity”.

The district is still figuring out logistics, including which students will attend Kellogg once it opens, and whether to bring all grades in at once, or introduce them year by year. In the meantime, the tilt-up concrete panels for the gymnasium were in place by the end of 2019, and crews are next worked the structural steel. Further down the line, the building’s exterior of Nichiha cement panels and metal will be tackled.

The project is on track, an accomplishment that Todd's project superintendent, Monte Carothers, contributes in part to the weather in the second half of 2019. “The drier-than-normal fall and early winter made a difference,” he reflected. “That was a big help.”

Memorial smashed, hit and run, Fallon Smart, Franklin High School, Hawthorne Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A mid-street memorial to slain Franklin High student Fallon Smart was itself struck by a hit-and-run driver who drove into the pedestrian island at S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard and 43rd Avenue sometime early Saturday, January 4. (Photo by Zane Sparling)

Memorial to FHS student, killed in 2016, itself demolished in hit-and-run

Pamplin Media

A memorial to a Franklin High School student who was run down and killed while crossing a busy road by a hit-and-run driver has now, itself, become the latest casualty of the city’s streets.

Pots of flowers, a pinwheel, a wreath, and a traffic sign highlighting the pedestrian passage were knocked over on S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard at 43rd Avenue in the first week of the New Year, leaving dirt strewn across the name of the student written on the cement: Fallon Smart.

A spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau said there was no record of anyone calling 9-1-1 to report the incident. The flower pots were righted later in the day, but a fresh dent could be clearly seen on the pole.

Cindy Zielinski, owner of the nearby Fyberworks store, told THE BEE she thinks a car hit the memorial sometime before she arrived for work on the morning of Saturday, January 4. “It feels incredibly disrespectful,” she remarked. “They just don't care.”

Zielinski said that particular area has become safer since the Portland Bureau of Transportation installed the pedestrian island in 2017, but drivers still make prohibited left turns off Hawthorne at 43rd.

Fallon Smart, then age 15, a talented singer known for her math and science skills, was preparing to enter her sophomore year at Franklin High School in August of 2016 when she was fatally struck by a driver.

“One car had stopped [for Smart to cross], and the other car just sped around it,” said Zielinski, who was there that day. And the driver just kept going, as the young student lay dying on the pavement.

A detailed investigation by The Oregonian later uncovered that the involved motorist – foreign exchange student Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah – was most likely spirited out of the country by his home government of Saudi Arabia before he could face a trial for manslaughter and other charges.

The former head of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, Tony Jordan, says the 1997 Hawthorne Boulevard Street Plan would have removed a traffic lane on the road in order to add more bike paths and other improvements. But that option, proposed by PBOT, never happened.

A spokesman said PBOT first learned of the January 4 incident after a phone call by the Portland Tribune.

“We are taking steps to assess and fix the damage,” said PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera. And it was repaired and restored soon afterward.

Twin drug raids, Southeast Portland, 18 arrests, Oregon
It’s an entire gallery of photos: These are the eighteen subjects arrested and booked, in the twin Southeast drug-house raids. (MCDC booking photos)

Eighteen arrests made in Brentwood-Darlington December drug busts


After neighbors complained about drug activity in the vicinity of the 8000 block of S.E. Harney Street, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers took action on Tuesday, December 17.

“The East Precinct’s ‘Neighborhood Response Team’ and their Street Crimes Unit were the lead investigatory groups for the warrants,” explained Portland Police spokesman Sergeant Brad Yakots. The warrant service apparently took place in the morning, and in the early afternoon, of the 17th.

“A total of 24 individuals were detained at the two locations,” Yakots reported. “18 of those individuals were transported, and lodged into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC), on various charges.”

Arrested and booked, in alphabetical order, were:

  • Baluta, Cameron Lee, 26 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Card, Christopher Arthur, 50 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Causey, Donald Ray, 39 – Frequenting a Drug House, and Warrant – Released to Clackamas County authorities
  • George, Brenton Alyn, 54 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Gunderson, Donald Allen, 58 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Hipple, Craig P., 50 – Frequenting a Drug House, and Meth Possession – Released on Pretrial Supervision
  • Killian, Marcy Dawn, 38 – Frequenting a Drug House, and Warrant – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Meeker, Randal, 55 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Milner, Cameron Wayne, 26 – Frequenting a Drug House and Warrants – Held at Inverness Jail
  • Osborn, Tabor Leigh, 25 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Riojas, Breezee, 30 – Warrant – Released to Clackamas County authorities
  • Ruble, William Gene, 49 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Schelin, Ronald Joseph, 38 – Warrant – Released to Washington County authorities
  • Spillers, Matthew James, 33 – Frequenting a Drug House and Delivery – Held at Inverness Jail in lieu of bail
  • Turner, Staci Lynne, 44 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance
  • Turner, Vince, 49 – Frequenting a Drug House, and Warrant – Held at Inverness Jail on Parole Violation
  • Underwood, Wendy, 38 – Warrant – Released to Clackamas County authorities
  • Wagner, Katiaha A., 23 – Frequenting a Drug House – Released on Own Recognizance

“Some of the items that were seized in the searches were: 28 grams of methamphetamine, 19 grams of heroin, drug paraphernalia, drug packaging material, a shotgun, and six suspected stolen bicycles!” tallied Sgt. Yakots.

New bridge, Springwater Trail, 45th Avenue, Johnson Creek Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon, Ardenwald
A new smooth concrete surface replaced the previous slippery timber deck on the new Springwater Corridor Trail footbridge near S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard. Examining it here are PP&R Parks Bond Community Engagement Coordinator Maija, and Capital Project Manager Marlo Medellin. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New Springwater Corridor Trail Bridge is open


After a half year of demolition and construction by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and their contractors, the new Springwater Corridor Trail crossing officially opened on January 15.

The new bridge, near S.E. 45th Avenue and Johnson Creek Boulevard, replaces the original 1900s wooden trestle bridge formerly used by the Springwater Division Line rail service, according to PP&R Parks Bond Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

“Just Bucket Excavating, Inc.”, a local minority-owned business, completed the $1.2 million project, which was funded through the Parks Replacement Bond, Spenser explained during a tour of the new bridge, just before it officially opened to bicyclists and pedestrians.

“As part of this project, we removed the old bridge’s seven support piers that were in Johnson Creek – hindering the flow of water, and catching debris,” PP&R Capital Project Manager Marlo Medellin told THE BEE. “With the new design, by ‘Fieldwork Design & Architecture’, there is only one pier from end to end, and it’s not in the water!”

While it appears to be a “cable-stayed bridge”, the bridge design is more for aesthetics, Medellin pointed out; the sturdy bridge was constructed with a steel frame that supports the poured reinforced-concrete surface, anchored to the landings on either side of the bridge.

“The exposed frame is ‘weathering steel’ that blends in nicely with the natural surroundings, while providing long-term durability,” Medellin explained. “And, it makes for easier maintenance because it doesn’t require painting.”

It “feels” wider than the old bridge, but it’s not, she said; the width of both is 14 feet. “It just feels wider, because the rails splay out from the bridge rather than coming up perpendicular to the deck surface.”

Spencer smiled as she examined the smooth concrete deck. “Instead of the old, slippery, timber deck bridge, now bicycle riders and pedestrians – including participants in the 2020 Hood to Coast Relay – will enjoy going safely over this new bridge for years to come.”

street trees stop cars, Brooklyn neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The Toyota Prius in the Brooklyn New Year’s incident was prevented by this Milwaukie Avenue street tree from endangering anyone on the sidewalk towards which it was headed. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Another good thing about street trees: They stop cars


Street trees are an important part of Inner Southeast Portland. In addition to providing shade, nesting areas, and oxygen (as a byproduct of photosynthesis), they can also come in handy in unexpected ways.

On the first weekend of the New Year, a street tree minding its own business in front of 4616 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue proved to be an impediment to a Toyota Prius that left the road, heading for the sidewalk and the parking lot fence of the Cambridge Square Apartments, just north of the McLoughlin Boulevard overcrossing.

The abrupt stop wasn’t helpful to the vehicle and its driver, but at least the pedestrian walkway and nearby parking lot were saved from potential damage. Investigating officers have not yet publicly revealed the cause of the mishap – although the damage to the car at its rear suggests that it might actually have been the victim of a rear-end impact, which propelled it off the road. At any rate, no major injury was reported.

But, to continue for a moment our appreciation of street trees and how they come to be there, the local nonprofit “Friends of Trees”, founded in 1989, is now a nationally-recognized regional leader in improving the urban tree canopy. Friends of Trees inspires volunteers to improve the natural world around them by helping plant a variety of trees. Together, the organization and its volunteers have planted over 800,000 trees and native plants in western Oregon and Southwest Washington.

At any rate, no tree was seriously hurt this time, in performing the public service of stopping the wayward Prius before it could run down someone. You might even want to make a donation, in honor of this helpful but anonymous tree, online –

Apartment construction, Woodstock neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
As described in the accompanying article, deconstruction is already underway on the property at 5105 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, where one house will be replaced with 28 studio apartments. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Woodstock landscape changing; apartment houses coming

Editor, THE BEE

As the residents of the neighborhood are well aware, the area of Woodstock Boulevard just west of S.E. 52nd is set for big changes, as several apartment house projects are in the works.

THE BEE offers the latest on some of these reported by Thatch Moyle of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee, as prepared for the January 8th meeting of the Woodstock Community Business Association:

“Mill Creek Woodstock” (former site of The Joinery)

  • The WNA Land Use Committee has reviewed the Building Permit Plans (Site Plan, Building Elevations, and Floor Plans). Plans are almost the same as previous submittals. Building elevations show traditional architecture. Two ground-floor commercial spaces are proposed at the corners of the building fronting Woodstock Boulevard. . . The Building Permit will likely be issued in the next month or so, allowing for Mill Creek to begin demolition work.

5105 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard

  • 28 studio units are proposed. The developer has begun de-constructing the existing house, and seems likely to begin site work within the next month.

“Chinese Presbyterian Church” site

  • Sale of this property will be going through by early March. Not sure when new ownership will submit for Early Assistance meeting with City of Portland, but we are tracking. The commercial broker representing the seller and the buyer promises that this is a “higher-end housing developer”. The scale will likely be something similar to The Joinery’s site redevelopment.

THE BEE thanks Mr. Moyle for this summary.

This sort of high density housing development has already taken place in the areas west and north of Woodstock – and now, it seems, it is Woodstock’s turn.

We notice that the major concern for both merchants and residents in Woodstock is that these developments will be drawing tenants who will largely have to park on the street – because of the city’s current predilection for not requiring enough, if any, off-street parking for those renting in such apartment developments.

shots fired, Meetinghouse Apartments, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
These two photos are close-ups of the apparent bullet holes we spotted on the west side of the “Meetinghouse” apartment block on Saturday, January 4. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Drive-by shots reported in Westmoreland


According to a former Board member of the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association SMILE, at about 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, January 4, shots were heard from a passing car on the west side of the new “Meetinghouse” full-block apartment house recently completed on the former site of the Meyer Boys and Girls Club.

Central Precinct officers responded, and reportedly found evidence of shooting. No further details are available currently from the police, but THE BEE stopped by the following morning, and walked entirely around the block looking for any possible damage from the reported drive-by shooting.

We spotted and photographed two apparent small-caliber bullet holes in the wall of an apparently-vacant second story apartment on S.E. 16th near Ogden Street.

Presumably, in light of a rash of shootings around the city in late December and early January, the matter has been turned over to the police Gun Violence Reduction Team, which reportedly has traced most of them to a “gang nexus, leading to an increased concern about retaliatory gun violence”.

The Gun Violence Reduction Team asking for the public’s assistance with information about any open cases, of which this would be one.

Candidates Forum, Portland City Council seat 4, Chloe Eudaly, Lents neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Portland City Council Position #4 candidates Alyssa Vinsonhaler, Mingus Mapps, and Jack Kerfoot await their introductions at the Candidate Forum recently held for Southeast Portland in Lents. Other then-announced candidates for the seat chose not to appear. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Lents forum shows race for Eudaly City Council seat is heating up


The incumbent Portland City Council Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, holding Council Position #4, will be facing numerous candidates in the May 19 Portland City Primary Election this year.

Three leading contenders for the seat – Jack Kerfoot, Mingus Mapps, and Alyssa Vinsonhaler – came to a “Candidate Forum” hosted by the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA) at the Community Connection’s Center on Mt. Scott on January 9. Two other announced candidates for Council Seat #4 – Robert MacKay and Keith Wilson, as well as Chloe Eudaly herself – did not appear.

The LNLA’s David Potts welcomed some 35 attendees to the evening’s meeting. “This is not a debate,” he said – “But, instead, an opportunity for each of the candidates to introduce themselves and take questions from our neighbors, and many neighbors who came this evening from Inner Southeast Portland.”

The candidates speak
interviewed each of the three candidates who appeared.

Candidate Jack Kerfoot told us he had retired a couple of years ago from the energy industry, continues to be an advocate for renewable energy, and wrote and self-published a book called “Fueling America, an Insider’s Journey”.

“Quite candidly, I decided to run for office because I’ve become increasingly concerned about the direction of our city. Issues of concern are the homeless crisis; no action regarding the renewable energy, or energy program whatsoever; and violence on the streets.”

He added that he’s also concerned about “fiscal irresponsibility” at City Hall. “When you talk about [as much as] 400% cost overruns, like we have on the reconstruction of City Hall; and a $500 million [water filtration] treatment plant that now is going to cost $850 million because ‘we forgot to include the cost for the pipes’ – this is important.”

Having spent more than 20 years overseas, Kerfoot remarked, “And working with a diverse groups of people and cultures from around the world, I believe Portland will benefit of my experience. I was sent in to turn around underperforming businesses; and this is how I see Portland. Our City government is underperforming.”

Kerfoot said that, of the four seats available, he chose to run for Portland City Council Position #4, because “I’m specifically concerned about Commissioner (Chloe) Eudaly, who has maintained an anti-police position for quite some time. We need the best and the brightest in our police force; and one of the reasons we have [so few applicants] is that they don’t feel there is any support from the City Council.”

During the forum Kerfoot told the group, “I’m a frequently asked why I’m running for office, and am asked, ‘Are you crazy?’ The response that I give is to ask another question: Are you satisfied with what Portland is doing in terms of the homeless crisis, safe streets, our environment, fiscal discipline, and responsive government? What I hear back is resounding ‘no’, as a reply.” Learn more about this candidate by visiting his website –

The second candidate at the forum, Mingus Mapos, PhD, began by stating, “This is an important election; truly something unique is happening here in Portland: Four of the five City Council seats are up for election. What is clear is that, as our city goes forward after the election, it will be new and different.”

Mapps said he had “three compelling reasons” for running for office.

“First, I love Portland, and I’m concerned about the direction that our city is going; [for example] the ‘war against the neighborhood associations’ is insane.

“Secondly, I’m a dad; and I’m worried about the city that my children will grow up in, and wondering if my children be able to afford to live here – or if they’ll even want to live in Portland.”

His last reason, Mapps said in an after-forum interview with THE BEE, “is that I have a background that can make a real difference. I have BA in political science from Reed College, and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. I have split my career between being a political scientist and a public servant.”

He went on to say that he’s worked with the City of Portland’s Crime Prevention Program, was a Program Coordinator for Portland’s neighborhood association system, served as Executive Director of the Historic Parkrose Prosperity Initiative; as well as having served on the Boards of non-profit organizations.

Asked about his position on the value of city-recognized neighborhood associations and local business districts, Mapps replied, “I am a huge fan of Portland’s neighborhood associations and neighborhood business associations – and I have deep roots in both of those communities.

“That’s why I oppose Commissioner Eudaly’s plans to change Portland’s neighborhood and business associations systems; her plan solves no problems, but creates a lot of new ones. [If elected] I will end City Hall’s wars against neighborhood associations, and call to reboot the code change process, with a new focus on creating a code that promotes healthy neighborhoods and vibrant business districts.” Learn more about this candidate by visiting his website –

Before the forum began, THE BEE asked the third candidate appearing at the Lents forum why she chose to go up against an entrenched Portland City Commissioner. Alyssa Vinsonhaler replied, “From 2016 to 2020, it seems that Portland has become a completely different city that the one I’ve grown up in.”

Vinsonhaler described herself as a “Second Amendment activist in Portland; a U.S. Army veteran, a Cavalry Scout with the 101st Airborne Division, trans gender, and a proud member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation.”

“After I enlisted in the military, I returned from service and was really disappointed to find the city that I love turning into something almost unrecognizable,” commented Vinsonhaler. “Our roads and sidewalks [are] falling into states of disrepair; I drive all over Portland and see lots of potholes, and I and my friends have tripped on sidewalks that are broken and busted. They’re supposed to be being repaired, but I don’t see much evidence of a benefit from our ‘Fix Our Streets’ tax.

“Another issue is roving bands of angry mobs downtown; I think this is absolutely ridiculous in the city that I grew up in. Here, in the city I love, I can’t believe that they go around beating people – that’s just really wrong.

“And, as of right now, I am the first – and only – ‘trans woman of color’ to run for office; I think that’s pretty cool,” Vinsonhaler said. “Yeah, it’s time for change.” Find out more about this candidate by visiting her website:

Breaking news: Sam Adams enters the race
Although it had been rumored that former Portland Mayor Sam Adams was interested in again seeking election to the Portland City Council, it came to many as a surprise that, on January 15th, he filed election documents to run for Council Position #4.

Speculation had been that Adams would instead run for the seat vacated by the passing of Commissioner Nick Fish.

To learn more about the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association, the sponsor of the candidates’ forum for Southeast Portland, find out more by visiting them online on Facebook –

82nd Avenue, of Roses, gunshots, Powell Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Just north of S.E. Powell Boulevard, along 82nd Avenue of Roses, a still image from this PBOT Traffic Camera showed the area that police had closed down for atime, after a pre-Christmas shooting. (Courtesy of PBOT)

Sunday morning shots close down S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses


When gunshots erupted along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, north of Powell Boulevard, on December 22 at 8:40 a.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers descended upon the area.

Officers didn’t find a shooting victim – or even witnesses. “Arriving officers did find evidence of gunfire,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Brad Yakots, however.

The thoroughfare was closed for about two hours, from S.E. Powell Boulevard, north to Tibbetts Street, while members of the PPB Gun Violence Reduction Team conducted an investigation.

It appeared that bullets had struck businesses along the west side of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, but apparently left little damage. The investigation continues.

Hit and run, car hits parked car, car on sidewalk, car removes gas meter, Woodstock neighborhood, Holgate Boulevard, 41st Avenue, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The owner of the parked car that was rear-ended, at far right, unhappily contemplates the damage, while a woman helps clean up the shattered glass. The broken gas pipes are visible just to the right of the car – and the gas meter is no longer there at all. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Hit-and-run driver smashes car, gas meter on SE 41st


When a car – southbound on S.E. 41st Avenue, just south of Holgate – rear-ended parked car on the street, on Sunday afternoon, December 15, at 3:44 p.m., its driver then did something odd.

Witnesses said the man first got out of his vehicle and talked briefly with the owner of the car he’d run into – then got back into his car, gunned the engine, popped up the west curb, and drove along the sidewalk southbound – in the process, dislodging a NW Natural Gas line and meter at the south end of the “Town Crier” building.

Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue crews responded to this fire hazard; firefighters located the whistling of escaping gas from the broken gas pipe, and closed it off.

Tacee Webb, who runs a vintage store at the location, told THE BEE that the investigating officer had reported back to her that the hit-and-run driver had been tracked down to his home, not far away – but needed medical care, probably from injuries related to the crash, and had been taken to a hospital.

It’s unclear whether charges will be filed, but the case does remain under investigation.

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