More stories from June's issue of THE BEE!


Unipiper, Bike Train, Llewellyn Elementary School, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After arriving at Llewellyn Elementary School, the “Unipiper” continued to entertain. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Unipiper’ leads Llewellyn ‘bike train’ to school

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

To encourage both kids and their parents to get regular outdoor exercise, the Llewellyn Elementary School Bicycle Club promotes Friday morning “bike trains”.

“We found a lot of people who want to ride or walk to school, but sometimes they feel like they can’t because they don’t have the time,” commented Llewellyn parent, and a volunteer with the club, Adam Seidman.

“What made it special today we had the ‘Unipiper’, as well as Principal Joe Galati. riding with us,” Seidman said about the May 18 ride.

“With a regular ‘bike train’ every week, parents know that there will be a sizeable group meeting up in which they can safely ride – especially like today, with about 100 in our group – and, their kids will have fun with others who are doing the same.”

In the Llewellyn Elementary School playground was set up a mini-bicycle fair, with staff from the Westmoreland Bike Gallery store airing up tires; folks from Providence Milwaukie Hospital selling bike helmets of all sizes for $5; and the school’s bike club providing snacks.

Arriving at the school, after taking selfies with parents and students, the “Unipiper” – who in real life is Brian Kidd – took off his Darth Vader mask and told THE BEE that, after a dozen years of performing by riding his unicycle while playing flaming bagpipes, he still enjoys entertaining people.

Kidd, who has performed as the Unipiper on “Good Morning America”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, and other national TV shows, confided that he has settled down, now that he’s married with a child and has a regular job. “Being a dad, I’m a bit more cautious – so I wasn’t shooting fire today, because there are so many little kids around.”

Too soon for many students, the school bell rang, and classes started for another day at Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland.



ODOT, Oregon Department of Transportation, Highway 26, Powell Boulevard, safety, upgrades, Southeast Portland, Cleveland High School, Oregon
ODOT contractors with the “Powell Boulevard Safety Project” pour concrete that will become a larger street-crossing waiting area for Cleveland High students. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Powell Boulevard Safety Project is underway

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

With the arrival of weather more suitable for making street improvements, the Oregon Department of Transportation began work on U.S. Highway 26 – S.E. Powell Boulevard – in April, and it’s continuing for the next few months.

It’s called the “Powell Boulevard Safety Project”, and contractors for ODOT are focusing on the stretch of Powell Boulevard between S.E. 20th and 34th Avenues.

The $3,757,655 project promises increased visibility for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists; sidewalk ADA ramp improvements, as well as repair of some sidewalks; and improved signage, and more visible street names, among other fixes.

At the end of April, contractors were busy building a new and wider pedestrian waiting area on the southeast corner of 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard near Cleveland High School, providing more space for students to safely wait to cross Powell.

And, at the same intersection, they were installing a “truck apron”, so that large vehicles could make the turn without encroaching on the pedestrian zone, or swerving into other vehicle lanes.

Keep an eye out for lane closures; the construction there will continue through early 2019.



Brooklyn neighborhood, shooting, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After the unsuccessful search of the Brooklyn neighborhood for the assailant, a Central Precinct officer return to his vehicle. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brooklyn shooting leaves one wounded

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Shots heard in the Brooklyn neighborhood led to calls to the 9-1-1 Center at 12:41 a.m. early Wednesday morning, May 23. Central Precinct police officers responded to investigate.

Near S.E.16th Avenue and Rhine Street, officers came across a wounded adult man, and evidence of gunshots – but few clues as to who had done the shooting, or why.

“Emergency medical responders provided the man medical aid and transported him to an area hospital by ambulance, suffering from what was believed to be a non-life-threatening gunshot injury,” Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley later told THE BEE.

Officers unsuccessfully searched the area for the assailant. “The suspect was reportedly last seen leaving the area in a dark colored sedan with tinted windows,” he said, without providing any suspect description.

The case is now in the hands of the PPB Detective Division, which requests that anyone with information about the shooting contact the Assault Detail at 503/823-0479.



Fenced bench, Sellwood Riverfront Park, quarantined bench, memorial plaque, Mario Martinez, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
While visiting Sellwood Riverfront Park, Sellwood resident Mimi Davisson was among the many who wondered why this bench was, seemingly, quarantined. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Solved: Mystery of ‘Fenced bench’ at Oaks Riverfront Park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

In mid-March, people who frequent Sellwood Riverfront Park noticed that a bench, facing the Willamette River, had been temporarily but painstakingly fenced off. Regular BEE reader and photo contributor Dan O’Flaherty was the first to bring the anomaly of this “quarantined bench” to our attention.

Portland Parks & Recreation Public Information Officer Mark Ross looked into the situation for us.

The reason the area had been cordoned off, Ross told THE BEE, is that the bench had been fully refurbished and a memorial plaque had been recently installed at the location. “When we install plaques within gravel instead of concrete, the plaque must cure solidly within the gravel; so, the bench was taken temporarily out of service and fenced, to protect the plaque as it dried.”

Of the more than 2,000 park benches, more than 250 of these benches have been adopted and maintained by community members, to provide a place to sit, reflect, celebrate, and remember as part of the PP&R Adopt-a-Bench program, Ross pointed out.

Now unveiled, the plaque reads:

In memory of

MARIO MARTINEZ

CHS Class of 2014

We lost a brother

But never the memories

As reported at the time, in a front page story in THE BEE, Mario Martinez drowned while swimming in the Willamette River near the Sellwood Bridge construction barges on the afternoon of August 1, 2014.

Ross said he’d reached out to the individuals who organized the memorial, but they had not yet responded to our request to the interview.

“If readers of THE BEE wish to learn more about the Adopt-a-Bench program, an opportunity to share a meaningful space while enhancing our parks for everyone’s enjoyment, please see program information online,” suggested Ross. Visit – https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/44413.



82nd Avenue of Roses, Parade, Rose Festival, Southeast Portland, Eastport Plaza, Montavilla, Oregon
Here comes the parade, north along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses! (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Avenue of Roses Parade’ returns; delights thousands

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

As planned, the two-mile 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade rolled from Eastport Plaza up into the Montavilla neighborhood – from Holgate Boulevard north to S.E. Stark Street – on the morning of April 28, delighting thousands of spectators, and the hundreds who participated in the joyful procession.

The early Rose Festival event went off without a hitch, putting to rest a rumor that the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade had been killed off forever by the groups of rowdies who’d promised menacing behavior the previous year.

After a decade of bringing the East Portland community together, and being the first major Portland Rose Festival celebration of the year, last year’s parade was cancelled at the last minute due to escalating threats of violence and disruption. But it was only a one-year break, as it turned out.

“The 2018 parade theme was ‘Play Happy’, and this year the parade was truly a happy day, thanks to our volunteers, parade entrants, and all of the people who came out to enjoy the parade,” grinned Dianne Gill, Eastport Plaza Manager, and a member of the Parade Committee. “Even though sprinkles were forecast, there wasn’t a hint of rain as our 54 parade entries – with about 950 walkers or marchers, and more than 100 vehicles and floats – enchanted people along the parade route!”

During the parade, folks waved to members of the elegantly-dressed contingent of the Royal Rosarians, waved at members of the Portland Rose Society and their “Mobile Rose Garden” as they passed, and smiled at the many pageant queens and princesses who rode in the parade.

And, when music provided by Kells Irish Pipes and Drums Corps, the Creston School Marching Band, and the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers echoed far and wide, crowds of people from surrounding neighborhoods were drawn to 82nd to cheer on all of the participants.

Working year ’round, a dozen dedicated volunteers on the Parade Committee, this year Chaired by Johnni Jones, labored behind the scenes to put on this spectacle.

“We do it because it brings a fun activity to 82nd Avenue of Roses, and the east side of Portland,” said Nancy Chapin, the Board President of “PDX Bridge Festival”, the nonprofit organization that stepped up this year to serve as the parade’s fiscal sponsor.

“Bringing together civic groups, businesses, and neighbors for a day of celebrating East Portland, is what makes this unique,” remarked Chapin, a founding member of the Parade Committee.

The parade public address  announcers this year, stationed at the starting point at Eastport Plaza, were Patrick Provant of the nearby Holgate Branch Library, and Eric Norberg, Editor of THE BEE.

“Save the date!” organizers say – for the 12th edition of the “82nd Avenue of Roses Parade”: Saturday morning, April 27, 2019.



Red Yarn, Brooklyn Park, youth program, benefit, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Andy Ferguson, appearing as “Red Yarn”, performed dance music for kids at the Brooklyn Park benefit concert in May. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

‘Friends of Brooklyn Park’ holds concert fundraiser

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

Scores of supporters, young and old, gathered at Rose City Coffee House on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue across from Brooklyn Park on Saturday, May 12, to enjoy a show and concert presented to benefit “Friends of Brooklyn Park”, and the effort to continue a summer youth program at the park after Portland Parks and Recreation defunded it.

The two-hour event featured nationally known children’s entertainers Red Yarn (Andy Ferguson, and puppets) and The Alphabeticians (Jeff Inlay and Eric Levine) – as well as the raffling of prizes donated by local businesses.

The concert followed the annual Brooklyn Neighborhood Cleanup at S.E. 16th and Center Street. Cleanup Coordinator Marie Phillippi commented, “Hardly anybody showed up till about noon, but then came the big rush! This year we made more money [for the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association] than we ever have before.”

Phillippi and concert organizer Ben Tarne chatted about the two successful events, while The Alphabeticians played and sang with guitars and kazoos.

Rose City Coffee House contributed a portion of their sales that day to the Friends of Brooklyn Park. The nonprofit organization’s chairman, Ben Tarne, acted as master of ceremonies at the affair, played a “Heads and Tails” game for prizes, and even played a song of his own on guitar. Families donated $10 each, and also bought raffle tickets for items displayed on the front counter. These included gift certificates, children’s game packs, adult beverages, and a ukulele donated by nearby Artichoke Music.

Other local raffle donors included Artist & Craftsman Supply, Bullseye Glass, Stone Barn Brandy Works, Windermere realtor Melaney Dittler, Hip Chicks Do Wine, US Bank, and Coco Donuts. Raffle winners were drawn at various times during the concert. Children present were invited to come forward and dance in front of the entertainers, and provided much entertainment themselves.

Those who want to know more about, or help with, the community’s effort to retain the summer youth programs no longer supported by Portland Parks and Recreation at Brooklyn Park are invited to go online – http://www.friendsofbrooklynpark.org.



Woodstock, holdup, Plaid Pantry, young bandits, masked, Woodstock Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This “still” from the Woodstock Plaid Pantry’s surveillance system shows the May 19 early-morning holdup in progress. (Courtesy of Portland Police Bureau)

Three young armed bandits rob Woodstock Plaid Pantry

By ERIC NORBERG
For THE BEE

On Saturday, May 19, at 4:50 a.m., East Precinct officers responded to an armed robbery at the Plaid Pantry, 4214 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, a store that has been targeted by bandits before. 

Officers learned that three suspects had entered the store and demanded money, while one of them brandished a handgun. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash they left.

Officers performed an area search but were not able to find anyone matching the suspects’ descriptions, as verified by the store’s surveillance video system. The suspects were described as black males, all in their teens, and all of them with slight builds. There were no reported injuries in the holdup.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division's Robbery Detail at 503/823-0405.

“Crime Stoppers of Oregon” offers cash rewards for information – reported to Crime Stoppers – that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime, and tipsters can remain anonymous. Information about any unsolved homicide is eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,500, and information about any other unsolved felony crime is eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. You can report online – https://www.p3tips.com/823.  

Police advise that information learned from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube should be shared, as these tips may lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects.



Sellwood Middle School, parade, thank you parade, Sellwood, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Before the parade, Sellwood Middle School students made “thank you cards” for local businesses, which they displayed during the parade. Here, they were marching through the Sellwood business district. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Middle School marches in ‘Thank-You Parade’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

For those who hadn’t heard of the annual Sellwood Middle School (SMS) Spring Parade, seeing the kids march was a pleasant surprise on Tuesday morning, May 22.

One could hear the joyous procession from blocks away, as the SMS Marching Band played lively tunes that echoed down the streets, bringing out many onlookers.

With members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division Motorcycle Corps blocking streets along the way, the parade stepped off on schedule at 11 a.m. Again this year, all of the school’s students and staff walked north through Sellwood along S.E. 13th Avenue, turning east onto S.E. Bybee Boulevard to continue through Westmoreland, before turning south and marching back to the school.

“In past years, we’d created a promotion in which businesses agreed to donate a portion of their sales on parade day,” said SMS Foundation President Eilidh Lowery – also the parade’s coordinator. “But, our business community does so much for us, we decided to go back to how this started – a parade to say ‘thank you’ to our businesses and neighbors who give us so much support!

“We live in such a great neighborhood; we enjoy celebrating it with the students,” Lowery told THE BEE. “So, we so much enjoy doing this ‘small town thing’, with the band marching through the streets of the neighborhood, giving a true neighborhood feel, while within a big city.”



Sellwood, Westmoreland, Antique Row Map, Southeast Portland, Oregon
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Errol Park, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With some seventy-five plants installed, the volunteer group gathers for a team photo. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Volunteers replant Errol Heights Park’s lowland

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Along S.E. Harney Drive, a half-block east of 45th Avenue in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, a group of volunteers from “Friends of Errol Heights Park”, as well as the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, were planting native shrubs on the drizzly Saturday morning of March 17.

“We’re installing about seventy-five plants today, all of them native to Oregon, including red flowering currants, Rubus parviflorus – commonly called thimbleberry – and Mahonia aquifolium, our state flower, the Oregon grape!” grinned Portland Parks & Recreation’s Stewardship Coordinator for the Johnson Creek watershed, Susan Hawes.

The hearty volunteers struggled in the rocky soil which covers the debris previously left at an area that had become a de-facto dump site.

“Doing this helps the beaver pond down below by holding the soil in place, so it doesn’t go into the pond – and it helps reduce erosion, which in turn helps keep the water clear for the critters, fish and insects,” Hawes explained. “Volunteers are critically important; there is no way that we would’ve been able to do all of the restoration work that’s been done in Errol Heights Park with staff alone, so we really thank the volunteers from the community for helping.”

More cleanup and upgrading is in the offing, from Portland Parks and Recreation, for this urban wetland in Inner Southeast Portland.



Crash, dangerous intersection, Milwaukie Avenue, Holgate Boulevard, Brooklyn neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After being smashed in the side, this Ford pickup rolled over onto its top, in the treacherous intersection of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Holgate Boulevard. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Two cars smashed, in roll-over wreck at SE Holgate at Milwaukie

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

What was dispatched to emergency first responders as an “injury accident”, on May 21 at 1:13 p.m., turned out to be a roll-over, two-vehicle smashup at the perilous intersection of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Holgate Boulevard.

By the time THE BEE arrived, a blue Ford F150 pickup truck and a red Jeep Grand Cherokee had been pulled off to the side by wreckers.

The intersection was obstructed for an hour or longer as police sorted out the smashup. It appeared to be a “T-bone” side-impact crash, for which this intersection is well known.

The Jeep SUV looked to have smacked into the side of the Ford, causing the pickup truck to roll onto its top.

“The officer reports described this incident as a non-injury accident, with a vehicle that had rolled-over,” later said Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley, after checking the paperwork for THE BEE.

It seemed that the vehicles’ airbags had saved the occupants from serious injury despite the violent crash. Without an injury involved, the police did not issue citations, and left the matter up to the insurance companies to untangle, as is longstanding city policy.



Grout Elementary School, play structure, replacement, upgade, Holgate Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon
On Friday, May 11, Portland Public Schools demolished the aging former play structure at Grout Elementary School on Holgate Boulevard – to make way for new and improved play equipment, which should be installed this summer. (Courtesy of Kristin Kjome)

Grout play structure demolished – new one on the way

By NATASIA CHAN
Special to THE BEE

Portland Public Schools demolished Grout Elementary School’s aging wooden play structure on Friday, May 11. It was taken down as the first step to make way for a long-planned new structure, to update the play area with “safer and more engaging equipment”. The school is on S.E. Holgate Boulevard in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

Grout PTA, a nonprofit that supports the school, has been fundraising for this project since the spring of 2016. With the Grout PTA annual auction in March, the organization was able to reach its fundraising goal of $60,000 – the estimated amount intended to cover preparation of the site, the purchase of equipment, and its installation.

Fundraising by the PTA included support from the community through two auctions, and rallying students around the project through a spare change collection that raised $1,300. The school also received significant support for the project through a $15,000 promise of funding from PPS Head Start, which has two preschool classes in the Grout School building.

“This new playground will be age-appropriate for 3 to 11 year olds, with inclusive pieces added to the design,” assured Principal Annie Tabshy.

Portland Public Schools was able to pay for demolition, if work on the project could start before the end of its fiscal year, which it did. Grout PTA President, Susan Ledgerwood, says she is hopeful that a new structure will be installed this summer, before the start of the next school year in late August.

The new equipment will stand alongside a remaining structure that was built in 1999.



Michael William Olson, unsolved murder, Woodstock neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
This man, Michael William Olson, was gunned down during a robbery, police believe. Share information with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, and help bring his killer to justice. (Family-supplied photo)

Woodstock murder unsolved; investigation continues

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The life of a Woodstock resident, 30-year-old Michael William Olson, ended at about 11 p.m. on September 30, 2014 – on S.E. 52nd Avenue between Martins and Carlton Streets, in front of the Tristin Square apartment complex – as was reported by THE BEE at the time.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers who rushed to the scene found Olson deceased from a fatal gunshot wound. At the time, a witness told reporters that a man had grabbed Olson’s arm, pulled out a pistol, and shot him once in the head.


Unsolved murder, reward, Woodstock neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
If you recognize this man, or have any information about the robbery and murder of Woodstock’s Michael William Olson three years ago, Crime Stoppers of Oregon wants to hear from you. You can remain anonymous. (Portland Police artist sketch)

“Homicide investigators believe Olson was killed in the course of a robbery,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley. The case may be cold, but investigators haven’t given up.

“In cooperation with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, the Police Bureau is asking for the public’s help to solve this homicide that occurred three years ago,” Burley said.

An eyewitness described the suspect as possibly being a light-skinned African American or Hispanic male, Burley added.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering cash rewards of up to $2,500 for material information to help resolve this unsolved homicide. To submit an anonymous tip, visit the “Tip Form” page, online at https://www.p3tips.com/823 – or call 503-823-4357.



Plant start, Earth Day, Learning Gardens, PSU, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
On Earth Day, in the Multnomah County Master Gardner’s area, Sydney Savage learned how to pot a “plant start” with help from her dad, John. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Earth Day celebrated at ‘Learning Gardens’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The spirit was joyful at Portland State University’s Learning Gardens Laboratory (LGL), across the street from Lane Middle School, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. It was April 21, and their annual “Earth Day Celebration” was getting underway.

“It is a gorgeous day, just right for our outdoor celebration – filled with lots of activities – including crafts, kids planting with the Multnomah County Master Gardeners, food, live music, and a bouncy house,” beamed the Garden’s Faculty Coordinator, Sybil Kelley, PhD. “This is a good way to celebrate our interactions with the planet, and at the same time we’re celebrating, with our community, the natural world.

“We believe every day should be Earth Day,” Kelley reflected. “Humans are a vital part of this planet, and, we live on the Planet Earth! Sometimes people forget that, and think of ourselves as separate from nature and the natural world.”

Some 75 volunteers pitched in to help the staff present the celebration that attracted more than 100 visitors that day.

“What we hope people take away from this today, above all, is a feeling of connection and community with each other, with this place, and with the larger ecosystems – and that they have a good time!”



Brooklyn Action Corps, BAC, Brookjlyn neighborhood, business fair, new officers, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Here’s the new Brooklyn Action Corps Board, from left: Chair Ben Tarne, new members Josh Hettrick, Lily Gilbert, Mike Erwin (Secretary), Guy Berliner, Melaney Dittler (organizer of the concurrent Business Fair), Don Stephens (Treasurer), and Mark Romanoggi. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn Action Corps installs officers, includes ‘business fair’

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

The monthly meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association at the Sacred Heart Villa meeting hall featured the installation of the newly-elected BAC Board. After the ceremony, Chairman Ben Tarne introduced special guest speaker Molly Mayo, new Executive Director of Southeast Uplift, the nonprofit “neighborhood coalition” serving Inner Southeast’s neighborhood associations.

“At our headquarters [on S.E. Main, a short distance west of the parking lot for the Hawthorne Boulevard Fred Meyer Store], we now have conference rooms and office space for rent,” reporteid Mayo. “We’re hoping to become more well-acquainted with local organizations.”

Tarne, who manned a table for the Friends of Brooklyn Park at its recent fundraiser, revealed that that organization now has $17,000 in donations – very close to the $18,500 needed to support this year’s Brooklyn Park Summer Youth Program.

As the reactivated “Greater Brooklyn Business Association” gains traction, they are becoming more publicly prominent, and once again the group organized a neighborhood Business Fair in conjunction with this monthly meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps. Fifteen members participated.

Before the meeting ended, Brooklyn Neighborhood Newsletter Editor Marie Phillippi thanked all the BAC volunteers and the new Board Members. She announced that in June, the nearby Sacred Heart Church plans to finally break ground for a new Fellowship Hall, which will be located adjacent to the Rectory.



Cheryl MacDonald, librarian, retiring, Llewellyn Elementary School, Southeast Portland, Westmoreland, Oregon
Llewellyn School Librarian Cheryl McDonald retires this month after 20 years’ service in the Portland Public Schools – fifteen of them at Llewellyn. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Beloved Llewellyn School librarian retires

By RITA A. LEONARD
For THE BEE

Cheryl McDonald, long a fixture in the library at Llewellyn Elementary School in Westmoreland, is retiring after twenty years in the Portland School District – five years at Sunnyside School, and fifteen years at Llewellyn. She tells THE BEE she worked alone for most of those years, but she has been assisted by half-time Librarian Susan Robertson for the past two years.

McDonald has been teaching both library and computer technology skills to help students develop a love of reading. “She's very supportive of both teachers and students,” smiles third grade teacher Caroline Coholen; “She’s been a touchstone for reading for every kid here over the years. If anyone wants to leave a [farewell] note for her, come to the Llewellyn School office and fill out a memory postcard.”

“I ran book fairs at my kids’ schools for many years,” recalls McDonald. “I fell into this job as a volunteer, years ago; but I’ve also taken many Library classes and have a BA in English. I've also done fund-raising for the Children’s Book Bank, and outside of school I volunteer with groups involved in refugee resettlement.”

In addition to her regular job, McDonald has spent twelve years developing an after-school book club for fourth and fifth graders. “The Club is held at Llewellyn,” she explains, “but I work closely with Brianne Williams at the Sellwood-Moreland Branch Library to build interest, with book talks about our favorite mid-grade books. This can help students develop the research and independent-thinking skills needed in Middle School.”

Sellwood Library’s Williams tells THE BEE of McDonald, “She’s really knowledgeable, and she’s on top of the field of children’s literature.”

McDonald also teaches an after-school sewing class for third graders and older students. Those in this class are taught how to read a pattern and use a sewing machine, as well as how to iron and how to sew notions. They can then choose to make a skirt, apron, or pajama pants, and they leave the class with a basic sewing kit and reusable fabric bag. She points out that sewing skills are not only useful for clothing repair and design, but they can lead students on to further artistic development.

As she leaves the school in early June, Llewellyn’s longtime Librarian already has plans for her retirement. “I’m planning a Fall vacation to Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, and the beautiful Adriatic coast,” she says with a smile. “I'll make contact with relatives back there, and will visit my grandparents’ village. Back home, I plan to volunteer at my grandkids’ school, and I’ll do some hiking, sewing, and gardening.”

From conversations around the school it’s clear that McDonald will be sorely missed at Llewellyn Elementary School, but she has a clear vision of her future adventures.



, dryer fire, Southeast Portland, Oregon
The firefighters on the roof reported on what they’d found there. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Reed neighborhood commercial laundry catches fire

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

A call from the Alsco Portland Industrial commercial laundry, at 5225 S.E. 26th Avenue in the Reed neighborhood, brought out fire crews on May 1 at 12:41 p.m.

Shortly after the alarm was sounded, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters from Woodstock Station 25 and Westmoreland Station 20 arrived to find employees standing outside the building.

Some crews went inside; others laddered up to the roof. It didn’t take long to extinguish the fire, but the firefighters spent some time making sure no embers remained in the plywood roof and beams.

“This fire was contained to a commercial dryer, and the ducting for the ventilation system,” later said PF&R Public Information Officer Capt. Louisa Jones.

“It appeared that either the equipment overheated, or the material that was being dried had hydrocarbons soaked in – which lowers the ignition temperature, and can cause the material to ignite at normal dryer heat levels,” Jones told THE BEE. “The company is looking into the cause of the fire.”



Arbor Day, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With a little help from a group called “Expedition Old Growth”, Lily Lockard “climbed” a tree in Mt. Scott Park on Arbor Day. (David F. Ashton)

Arbor Day celebration marks second year at Mt. Scott Park

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Finding the place excellent for the purpose, after holding an Arbor Day celebration for the first time at Mt. Scott Park last year, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) again hosted “Arbor Day 2018” at this wooded hilltop park in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood on April 21.

“At PP&R, we want our programs to be accessible to all Portlanders, and this amazing park is located close to the actual center of the city’s boundaries,” said its organizer, Urban Forestry Education Stewardship Coordinator Dan Gleason.

“Having the festival in this location allows us to bring people from all over the greater Portland area; and, when they arrive, visitors are finding many multicultural events and services,” Gleason told THE BEE. “Another reason for hosting the city’s Arbor Day celebration here is that there a lot of nice trees in this park, making it an ideal spot for a festival – set underneath the towering Douglas firs, where people have an ‘up close and personal connection’ to trees growing in Portland parks.

“And, in addition to having our arborists here answering questions for guests, nonprofit organizations are providing visitors with a wide range of environmental information – including how to protect salmon, recycling, and how to be sustainable in everyday life,” Gleason remarked.

Instead of amusement rides, visitors were given the opportunity to rise high into some of the park’s trees – with the help of an organization called “Expedition Old Growth”, whose staff helped both kids and adults ascend as high as 80 feet into some of the park’s trees, without damaging either the trees or the people.

“The best part? Seeing all the people come out and have questions answered – and watching kids discover and explore, as they learn a lot about trees,” Gleason smiled.



Three Brothers Yard Maintenance, Portland, Oregon
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