More stories from September's issue of THE BEE!

Oaks Park, Oaks Amusement Park, Adrenaline Peak, roller coaster, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
People were “head over heels” on “National Roller Coaster Day” at Oaks Amusement Park, as they took a spin on their new “Adrenaline Peak” roller coaster. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

National ‘Coaster Day’ celebrated at Oaks Park


Scores of families came out on Thursday, August 16, “National Roller Coaster Day”, to celebrate the occasion with a ride or two on the new “Adrenaline Peak” attraction at historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park by the Willamette River in Sellwood.

“I’ve been on a lot of ’em, and I tell you, this is a great ride!” exclaimed Ed McCabe, who said he’s here from New York, visiting family.

Some riders in his train were too ecstatic, or just too scared, to comment to THE BEE about their own minute-long ride.

Oaks Park, Oaks Amusement Park, Adrenaline Peak, roller coaster, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Some riders on this train looked thrilled, others terrified, as they entered the more-than-vertical first drop on the “Adrenaline Peak” on “National Roller Coaster Day” at Oaks Park in Sellwood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“Adrenaline Peak” was one of the smaller ’coasters listed on the website – although Oaks Park was mentioned twice there – but the ride certainly has been popular.

“We’ve had roller coaster enthusiasts from around the nation, and around the world, come to check out “Adrenaline Peak” – with its loops, inversion, and steeper-than-straight-down first drop,” grinned Oaks Marketing and Events Director Emily MacKay.

“It’s been a great season so far, due in no small part to “Adrenaline Peak”, MacKay told THE BEE – as another group of riders stepped into the ride. “Since it opened in March, it has given more than 50,000 rides! We call that wildly successful!”

Some patrons have taken full advantage of the Oaks Park “premiere ride bracelet”, which offers unlimited rides; “The record, to date, is one person taking 30 rides in a day,” MacKay said.

Although the end of summer vacation marks the beginning of autumn schedule changes at Oaks Park, there’s still plenty of fun to be had at the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in America.  Find out more at their website –

burned car, trash fire, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Whatever ignited the trash roll can – that pathetic little heap with wheels at the curb – not only burned the cart, but also gutted the adjacent Honda. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Trash fire torches Westmoreland car


Westmoreland neighbors along S.E. Knapp Street were disturbed when they discovered flames leaping from a burning car just east of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue on Tuesday, August 7, at about 2:00 a.m.

The fire burned so hot, it melted off an electrical service line above, causing it to drop onto the vehicle parked just east of blazing Honda CR-Z, which had been parked at the curb in front of “Sellwood Grooming”.

“Apparently an unknown person or persons tossed a lit cigarette or other burning object into the garbage roll-cart we had pulled to the curb of our grooming business, and that lit my car on fire,” said the shop’s co-owner Shawn Osmer, as he looked at the burnt out shell that remained of his car.

A neighbor reported two vehicles ablaze, but the other car apparently suffered only electrical arc burns to its side mirror from the fallen wire, and had been driven off sometime after the fire.

“My car had brand-new brakes, brand-new tires, a new battery, and we’ve been taking it camping; I’d just cleaned and fueled it before we left it here overnight,” Osmer sighed.

Although he said the loss of his car was difficult to accept, Osmer said he didn’t think it was set fire maliciously.

SMILE Station, bricks, pathway, engraved, SMILE, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
SMILE Board President Joel Lieb, with Board members Kim Borcherding and Kevin Palmer, examined the newly engraved bricks in the “SMILE Brick Pathway” – while the engraving was still underway, at far left. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

SMILE Station’s walkway bricks engraved


Hundreds of families, individuals, and even pets, became part of Sellwood-Westmoreland history on August 8, as their names were engraved on bricks making up the pathway leading from the 13th Avenue sidewalk to the Sellwood Bridge remnant on display at SMILE Station in Sellwood.

“We’re really enjoying the day, watching this take place,” smiled Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) Board President Joel Lieb.

The “SMILE Brick Pathway” project kicked off when they started taking reservations for engraved bricks in November of 2017, Lieb recalled. “And on August 5, at ‘Sundae in the Park’, we ended the drive with a total of 230 bricks reserved for the names and sayings of those who have contributed to make this happen.”

As Leib spoke with THE BEE, Lenny Huiras of “On the Rocks Engraving” used a product called “Green Diamond” – nickel slag with the correct grit – to sandblast names and slogans through a durable stencil into the face of the bricks.

Some of the money raised in the project paid for installing the bricks and the engraving. Excess funds from the project will be used to maintain the historic SMILE Station owned by the neighborhood association, and to fund events and projects in Sellwood and Westmoreland, Lieb said.

If you bought a brick, go by SMILE Station at S.E. 13th and Tenino, and admire it!

Drug bust, Sellwood Park, plea bargain, guilty plea, Joseph Schmeer, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
41-year-old Joseph Andrew Schmeer will serve 15 days in jail for pleading guilty to an illegal Sellwood marijuana grow operation. The methamphetamine possession charges related to the original search warrant were dismissed in his plea deal. (MCDC booking photo)

Illegal pot grower near Sellwood Park pleads guilty


After complaints from neighbors about apparent drug activity in a house directly across the street from Sellwood Park, at 704 S.E. Lexington Street, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers raided the house on the morning of June 16, 2017 – that was over a year ago, and it was reported in THE BEE at the time.

After his arrest that day, 41-year-old Joseph Andrew Schmeer was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 12:53 p.m. on charges of Methamphetamine Possession, Manufacturing Marijuana, and two other unspecified felony charges – but, at his arraignment, he was then released “on his Own Recognizance, with Pretrial Supervision”.

Official documents indicate that Schmeer revealed in court that he’d been evicted from the residence where PPB had executed its search warrant.

Following six court “continuations”, and months of legal negotiations, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Communications Director Brent Weisberg announced that, on the morning of August 14, Schmeer had accepted a plea deal – changing his plea to “Guilty” to one count of “Unlawful Manufacture of a Marijuana Item” – namely, having an illegal quantity of marijuana plants in his possession.

His official sentencing, Weisberg commented, was on August 20, after which Schmeer will serve 15 days in jail.

Woodstock Elementary School, 60th reunion, Woodstock neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
At the 60th year reunion were – back row: Jack Rhinehart, Gary Linn, Gene Shannon, Carol Hillesland Grant, Judy Fretta Wharton; middle row: Pat Miles, Don Wolf (behind), Richard Mayor, Claudia Ingalsbe Veddvic, Nancy Baker Hockert; and front row: Bev McCann, Christy Page Durham, Sharon Lockwood Lamvik. Attendees not pictured: Nancy VanWinkle Beaver and Doug Muhler. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock Elementary’s Class of 1958 reunites


Reunions are fairly common for high school classes, but they are rarer for elementary schools. Woodstock Elementary, however, hosted a reunion on August 10th for those who graduated SIXTY years ago.

Richard Mayor, one organizer on the reunion committee of four, attended the school from 1949 to 1958, starting kindergarten at age four. Mayor was born and raised in the Woodstock Neighborhood at S.E. 43rd and Reedway Street, until he left in 1962 after high school to join the Air Force. Now a retired attorney, Mayor says he is becoming more sentimental as he ages. He recently expressed what organizing the reunion has meant to him.

“It is bringing back all kinds of memories – not only about my classmates and the school, but about the neighborhood. The way things were in the 50’s; my family, and the home I was raised in. Being on this committee, and trying to locate old photographs of the neighborhood, is jogging my memory much more than just attending a reunion. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.”

The August 10th reunion is the third that his class has organized.  He says, “The first reunion was fourteen years ago. Out of a class of 78, we had about 35 show up. We then had a get together in the park about five years after that.”  

Mayor says this is his first time to help with reunion organizing. Classmates Pat Miles, Sharon Lockwood Lamvik, and Don Wolf have been very involved in organizing over the years.

As to why Woodstock Elementary has class reunions when other schools don’t, Pat Miles says, “I feel a strong connection with grade school friends, because we spent so much time together [nine years]. After school, and in the summer, we had many activities in Woodstock Park organized by some wonderful teachers.”

From the 78 living classmates, fifteen showed up this year for the reunion. Fourteen are deceased and twenty-one could not be located. Mayor says, “Of the forty-three that we did find, many would have liked to attend, but have health issues, or spousal health issues. Some live across the country and travel is an issue, too.” 

Woodstock is the oldest still-standing school in the Portland School District. Established in 1891 as a four-room building, it joined the Portland School District in 1909. In 1911 a new two-story eight-room school opened as a K-8 school in its current location on S.E. 50th between Ellis and Reedway Streets.

The school was originally two stories tall but was partially destroyed in 1980 when the school was undergoing repairs, and a worker’s torch caused a fire that destroyed the building’s two-story wood frame center. The School District wanted to permanently close the school, but the PTA and Woodstock residents protested and petitioned, and it was rebuilt as a one-story structure, opening again in 1981.

The 60th class reunion included a nostalgic tour of the school and an afternoon picnic in Woodstock Park. Many of the alumni commented on the childhood bonding that took place because of the tremendous freedom and safety they had – to ride together through the neighborhood, sleep outside in backyard sleepovers, and roam and play hide and seek in Woodstock Park. 

Attendees were energized by this year’s reunion, and plan to have another one next year.  Inquiries can be addressed to, or old neighborhood photos can be sent to:

Harley, motorcycle crash, Westmoreland, Milwaukie Avenue, Papa Haydn, Southeast Portland, Oregon
S.E. Milwaukie Avenue was closed for an hour after a motorcycle slid sideways to a stop at this Westmoreland intersection, across from the Papa Haydn restaurant. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Startled motorcyclist ‘lays it down’ in Westmoreland


On the beautiful summer afternoon of Tuesday, July 31, the rider of a Harley-Davidson “Softail” motorcycle – “road-dressed” with saddlebags – was breezing northbound on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, just before 3 p.m.

The driver of an SUV was pulling up to Milwaukie westbound on Knight Street, and stopped at the intersection. But – according to police – she said her vision had been obscured by a vehicle parked close to the intersection, so she started to pull across Milwaukie and then saw the oncoming motorcycle, and stopped abruptly.

The biker, perhaps startled by the sight of a vehicle partway into the intersection ahead of him, also attempted to stop quickly – but, instead, he laid the bike on its side and slid about 40 feet to a stop at the northeast corner of the intersection.

“No vehicles made contact during the incident,” assured a Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer at the scene – who told THE BEE that, after a preliminary investigation, no citation would be issued.

The motorcyclist was transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation. “He was wearing a helmet,” hopefully pointed out the officer. Due to recent new federal medical privacy laws, there is no further information on the rider’s condition.

S.E. Milwaukie Avenue was closed to traffic for an hour after the mishap, with vehicles detoured around on side streets until the investigation was complete.

Hazeltine Park, nature patch, split rail fence, upgrade, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Here, a few PP&R Youth Conservation Crew members work in Hazeltine Park to build a new split rail fence. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Nature Patch’ being built at Hazeltine Park


Under a new program started by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) called “Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes”, Hazeltine Park on S.E. Flavel Drive is the second location to get an area of added natural habitat.

“The purpose of a ‘Nature Patch’ is to create more-diverse landscapes that support native pollinators, increase soil and plant health, and offer educational and stewardship opportunities,” said the program’s coordinator, Eric Rosewall.

During one of several city visits to Hazeltine Park in July and August – the park is named in honor of the highly-venerated Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood resident Dick Hazeltine – unhealthy trees were removed, land was graded, and amenities were brought in for the Nature Patch.

“As you’ve seen over the past few weeks, we’ve begun the transformation of Hazeltine Park with many native plants, and new natural features for neighborhood kids and families to enjoy,” Rosewall told THE BEE as he oversaw the work. “We’ve also created some nice little nature niches, ready to be planted this fall.

On July 31, members of the PP&R Youth Conservation Crew, a group of high school students who joined the program to learn job skills, were installing a split-rail fence.

“Because we’ve moved some of the boulders that were in front of the park inside, this split rail fence is the new park boundary – which we think is more aesthetically appealing and inviting,” Rosewall remarked.

72nd Avenue, Duke Street, Brentwood Darlington, auto crashes, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Be it “cursed” or simply unlucky, this intersection in Brentwood-Darlington experienced yet another accident which totaled two vehicles. One ran a red light, and then took out a nearby merchant’s sign. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Another smashup at unlucky 72nd Street intersection


Neighbors, and those who travel through the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood intersection of S.E. 72nd Avenue and Duke Street, wonder if it is located in some sort of “vortex of unluckiness” as one resident reflected, or is “accident cursed” as another commented, after both witnessed yet another traffic collision there.

This crash, at the same cursed crossing we’ve reported on several times this year alone, was on Tuesday afternoon, August 7, at 4:47 p.m.

The driver of a Honda Element told THE BEE she’d been headed eastbound on Duke Street, and slowed at its intersection at S.E. 72nd Avenue, but had proceeded through on a green traffic signal.

As the Honda entered the intersection, the driver of a Ford Explorer SUV apparently didn’t notice it had a red light and smashed into the Honda – and momentum carried it over the sidewalk, and into a nearby convenience store parking lot, where it knocked over the market’s steel sign post, narrowly missing a Toyota Camry that was parked in the lot.

An attending police officer indicated a citation might be issued to the driver who reportedly ran the red light.

Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11’s paramedics checked over those involved in the smashup, and a waiting ambulance was eventually waved off from the scene – those involved weren’t seriously injured. 

But their vehicles, and the market’s sign, were not so fortunate.

Westmoreland Union Manor, old oak, limbs down, removed, Southeast Portland, Oregon, McLoughlin Boulevard
Large oak limbs down, from a 65-year old tree next to McLoughlin Boulevard, at Westmoreland’s Union Manor. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Old oak falls at Westmoreland Union Manor


This summer’s extended hot and dry weather has been rough on neighborhood trees, which often do not get watered. On the east side of Westmoreland Union Manor, a large oak tree limb fell on Sunday, August 5, leaving two other large limbs damaged and hanging. Since the remainder of the tree threatened to fall toward nearby McLoughlin Boulevard, a tree service crew was summoned to remove the hazard the following week.

Crew Chief Ryan Smith reported that the tree was a red oak, about eighty feet tall and likely about 65 years old. “We’ve been taking care of it for about ten years now,” he remarked, as the last of the limb debris ran through a nearby chipper. “We’re waiting for a permit to arrive so we can remove the rest of the tree, and then we'll replant with probably eight new trees – tupelos and red oak, among them – closer to the fence.” 

Office personnel at the nonprofit high-rise retirement community assured THE BEE that there had been no damage to the recently remodeled building.

Smith told THE BEE, “I left some of the oak wood for a Manor wood crafter who makes clocks. There is also enough wood to make souvenir coasters for each resident at the Manor, and a few walking sticks. We’ll be back to remove the rest of the oak after our permit arrives.”

Funeral Home, fire, Foster Road, Foster Powell neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After extinguishing an attic fire in this Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood funeral home, the crew of PF&R Station 25’s Engine Company stows their gear. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Electrical problem likely cause of funeral home fire


Smoke and fire coming from the roof of the Mt. Scott Funeral Home, at 4205 S.E. 59th Avenue, facing Foster Road in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, brought out crews from Portland Fire & Rescue at 4:20 p.m. on Friday afternoon, August 3.

On the ground Woodstock Fire Station 25’s Engine company readied water supply lines and began to attack the fire; Station 25’s Truck company clambered up onto the roof of the two-story building to remove roof vents along the entire east side of the building.

Working above and below the roof, firefighters quickly quenched the blaze.

“While not yet an official finding, we believe there was an electrical fire in the attic, above the second floor of the structure,” a PF&R Battalion Chief told THE BEE.

Brentwood Darlington, National Night Out, party, Gail Kiely, Southeast Portland, Oregon
BDNA Board Member Gail Kiely plates up jumbo gourmet hot dogs for dinner at the neighborhood’s afternoon “National Night Out” celebration on August 4. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington neighbors celebrate ‘National Night Out’


It was a fun, and delicious, afternoon for families – when the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) celebrated “National Night Out” while the sun was still shining, on Saturday, August 4.

“This free, family-friendly event was organized to encourage neighbors to get to know each other in a fun atmosphere,” smiled BDNA Board Chair Chelsea Powers, as the party was getting underway.

The aroma of jumbo hot dogs filled the Brentwood Community Center as volunteers opened food steamers, and began to set up a buffet centering upon beef, chicken, and veggie sausages for all to enjoy. Many neighbors brought salads and other side dishes to complete the meal.

“This is our fourth ‘National Night Out’ that I’ve attended; the first one is where I found out about, and decided to become involved with, our neighborhood association!” Powers told THE BEE.

Out in the yard, Meg and Albert had set up a canopy at which both adults and kids were encouraged to make “fence signs”, promoting neighborliness.

The lively beat of Reggae music and Jamaican oldies filled the air, thanks to “IMPACT! Sound”, featuring DJ “The Grand Yoni”, while parents conversed and kids had fun with a miniature bouncy house and played games.

“We’re giving a special ‘thank you’ to Advantis Credit Union, Woodstock New Seasons Market, and our neighborhood Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, for donating to this party,” Powers remarked.

All of this, plus a hula dancer, provided for a fun and neighborly afternoon in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

Gas leak, Holgate Boulevard, Ditch Witch, fire response, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Work stopped at this Holgate Boulevard construction site when a directional drill rig punctures a natural gas supply line a half block away. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Drilling mishap disrupts Holgate traffic


The pungent smell of the odorant “mercaptan” – that’s what gives natural gas its “rotten egg” smell – was thick, in the smoke-filled afternoon air of Tuesday, August 14, at 4 p.m., along S.E. Holgate Boulevard in the Foster-Powell neighborhood.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Battalion Chief, when asked why all the fire engines had responded, pointed to a Ditch Witch JT30 All Terrain Directional Drill rig located about a half block east of 74th Avenue, on the north sidewalk of Holgate Boulevard. It was a public utility under-street operation in which the drill punctured a gas line.

PF&R Woodstock Station 25’s Engine Company was on hand with water supply lines hooked up and ready to go, and four additional firefighting companies were nearby, ready for service.

Neighbors emerging from their homes, having smelled natural gas, were told to turn around and go back inside, to shelter in place.

Gas line “locating” had been done before the project began, said NW Natural Public Information Officer Daphne Mathew; but despite that, “A half-inch polyethylene pipe service, affecting one customer, was ruptured.”

S.E. Holgate Boulevard was closed from 72nd to 75th Avenues, pushing the evening rush hour traffic off into side streets, while NW Natural Gas crews made the area safe again, and completed repairs.

Harney Street, house, renovation, fire, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
From inside the burning house, firefighters shoot water into the ceiling and attic, and it sprays out the roof. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

House being renovated burns, on SE Harney Street


When flames were seen on a house under renovation in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, 9-1-1 calls brought fire crews to 8328 S.E. 64th Avenue at Harney Street, at 2:14 p.m. on Friday afternoon, July 27.

The first crew in, on the Woodstock Fire Station’s Engine 25, reported back to dispatch seeing heavy smoke and fire as they approached. These firefighters were soon aided by crews on five additional rigs that rushed to the scene.

“This was reported as a vacant structure, and a search revealed no one was inside,” said a PF&R official.

It took only about ten minutes for the firefighters to knock down the conflagration; but glowing embers kept firefighters busy putting out hotspots, and clearly the structure had been substantially damaged.

The cost of that damage is not yet available, and the fire is still under investigation.

Shuttle bus, Water Avenue, OMSI, Oregon Convention Center, complimentary, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The CEIC Water Avenue Courtesy Shuttle’s driver, Tamara Peterson and CEIC Executive Director Kate Merrill, are ready to welcome riders in the OMSI north parking lot. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Expanded ‘shuttle bus’ route serves Central Eastside


The Central Eastside – near OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, north of the Ross Island Bridge – has been quickly growing in popularity as a shopping, entertainment, and dining destination. Transportation and parking issues in the area have been growing, too

To make it easier to get around, the Central Eastside Industrial Counsel (CEIC) has established a free shuttle bus service in the district, according to the organization’s Executive Director Kate Merrill.

“The two CEIC Water Avenue Courtesy Shuttle Buses operate weekdays from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., and from 4 until 7 p.m.,” Merrill told THE BEE at one of its stops – in the OMSI parking lot.

The ADA-equipped busses run from the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation building’s parking lot, north past OMSI – all the way up to the turn-around point at the Oregon Convention Center.

“You can track the busses on a smart phone, giving you the option to use ‘BikeTown’, or walk, or wait for the shuttle,” Merrill explained. Or, check the map at their website –  

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