More stories from February's issue of THE BEE!

Freddies, Fred Meyer, Foster Road, 82nd, gold bars, Salvation Army, kettles, Christmastime, Portland, Oregon
These two solid gold bars, placed in red kettles at the Foster Road Fred Meyer store, will be used to help people right here in the community, say Salvation Army officials. (Courtesy of The Salvation Army)

Salvation Army strikes gold at Freddie’s, on SE 82nd at Foster


During the final week of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, an anonymous donor stopped at the soon-to-close Foster Road Fred Meyer store on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, and dropped two one-ounce solid gold bars into Red Kettles there.

One gold bar was found in the kettle by near the grocery door on the north side of the store, the other at the main door kettle on the south side of the building.

“Each bar is valued at approximately $1,300, making this a most generous gift!” exclaimed Corps Officer of The Salvation Army Captain Angel Marquez, adding, “This is all very exciting, and it’s completely unexpected; it’s amazing to think that two objects so small could bring so much help into the community.”

As with other valuables deposited in their kettles, the nonprofit organization will have it professionally appraised, and then will determine how to best use the golden gift to provide the most help here in our community, Marquez said.

Meantime, the Foster Road Fred Meyer store is now history. The nearest Freddie’s now is at Johnson Creek Boulevard and S.E. 82nd, in Clackamas County.

Tyler Wayne Nees, arrested, jailed, stabbing murder, his father, Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon
Tyler Wayne Nees is now in jail on a charge of murder, for the stabbing death of his father at a Woodstock Boulevard apartment. (MCDC booking photo)

Mt. Scott-Arleta murder suspect found and arrested


As reported last month in THE BEE, police were called to the Marwood Plaza apartments in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood on December 2 at 1:55 a.m., in response to a report of a stabbing.

When officers arrived at the apartment complex, which is at the corner of S.E. 72nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard, they discovered the victim, 64-year-old Brian Nees, suffering from traumatic injuries. He died at a hospital several hours later as a result of those injuries.

“Homicide detectives investigating the case determined that Tyler Nees, Brian’s son, was the suspect in the stabbing homicide, and obtained an arrest warrant several hours after the initial call,” reminded Portland Police spokesman Sergeant Peter Simpson.

But, at that time, he was nowhere to be found.

Police got their break in the case on Thursday December 14, when Central Precinct officers located and took into custody the younger Nees, after an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Oregon led police to an address in Northwest Portland, Simpson said. “The suspect, 31-year-old Tyler Wayne Nees, was arrested near N.W. 23rd Avenue and Lovejoy Street, and officers also discovered that Nees was in possession of a realistic-looking replica firearm in his waistband.”

Nees was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 1:33 a.m. on the same night on charges of Murder and Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and was also ordered held on a charge of Possession of Methamphetamine (Felony), as well as a parole violation.

At his arraignment, a Multnomah County Court judge ordered that Nees be held on the charges without bond, and he continues to be incarcerated at MCDC.

Reed College, new dormitory, north side, Steele Street, construction, Reed neighborhood, Portland, Oregon
This is the staging area for construction materials to be used in building a new three-story Reed College dormitory on the north side of the campus. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Reed College building new three-story dorm


Travelers along the north side of Reed College have noticed large piles of dirt and rock in the field adjacent to S.E. 29th Avenue at Steele. According to Kevin Myers, Reed College Public Information Officer, this is the staging area for the equipment and supplies to be used to build a new dormitory on the north edge of the campus.

“This will be our biggest dorm to date,” smiles Myers. “It will be a three-story building, covering 60,000 square feet, and will house about 180 students. Construction will begin this year, with completion expected in 2019. After it’s finished, we’ll be able to house 80% of our 1,425 students on campus.”

While the fenced staging area is convenient for vehicles entering and leaving via S.E. Steele Street, construction of the new dormitory building will be located a little further south. “The new dorm will be going in where the basketball and tennis courts are now,” says Myers. “We refer to the area as ‘The Grove’, since nearby buildings are all named after trees.

“But, there is no name yet designated for the new structure.”

Camper, cleanout, City of Portland, Woodstock, Ardenwald, cleanup, toxic, Oregon
Neighbors at the scene of the campsite picked up items that had been dropped by the trash removal team. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Camper cleanout’ on SE Umatilla fills truck with debris


People living near S.E. Umatilla Street west of 45th Avenue, in the area shared by the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek and Woodstock neighborhoods, called THE BEE on January 11  to report a “hazardous material” clean-out in progress at a transient campsite along the unpaved road.

The property, now owned by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, has become a transient campsite, even though signs are posted in the area advising, “NO Dumping, NO Trespassing, NO Camping, NO Motorized Vehicles.”

By 10 a.m. that morning, Portland police officers were watching as a crew from a commercial trash removal company completely filled a large stake-bed truck parked across the rutted road from two RVs.

While it wasn’t an official “haz-mat” clean-up – those are done by an elite team of highly-trained Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters – mounds of possibly hazardous trash were removed that morning. And, four days later, the site was still vacant – for the time being.

Safari Club, closed, Powell Boulevard, Southeast Portland, Oregon, affordable housing
The city bought and closed the Safari Strip Club on S.E. Powell Boulevard, with plans to build on the site a large apartment building offering “affordable housing”. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Safari strip club to be demolished for ‘affordable housing’


The City of Portland has purchased the Safari Strip Club near the Motel 6 in the 3000 block of S.E. Powell Boulevard with plans to redevelop the 50,000-square-foot site into a large building offering 200 to 300 “affordable housing” apartments.

Funds for the project were drawn from the $258.4 million bond that voters approved in 2016. The location has good access to education, transportation, economic opportunity, and other amenities.

In mid-January, Martha Calhoon, Public Information Officer for the Portland Housing Bureau told THE BEE, “We haven't yet begun pre-development of the site, but we’ll work closely with the community as the design process moves forward. We are currently engaging with the neighborhood coalition, Southeast Uplift.”

City officials said the site met the housing bond criteria because it was “in an area at risk of gentrification”, but was also close to such amenities as parks and transportation. Mayor Ted Wheeler explained, “Our strategic framework focuses on creating housing opportunities for families and individuals impacted by racism, housing discrimination, homelessness, and displacement.”

Calhoon added, “It's too early to determine what types of units will be built there, or whether there will be on-site parking. This is our first project under the Portland Development Bond; but those interested in our progress, or seeking information about public meetings, are encouraged to go online to –"

The Interim Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, Shannon Callahan, remarked, “We look forward to working with the Bond Oversight Committee and the community on the development plans.”

Construction is expected to begin in early 2019. Safety improvements to the S.E. Powell Blvd transit corridor should allow safe access to nearby Cleveland High School and to the new small Target store now under construction at 3031 S.E. Powell Boulevard. In the meantime, Powell now has one less strip club.

Lorenzo L Jones, arrested, murder, Creston Kenilworth, Southeast Portland, Oregon
44-year-old Lorenzo L. Jones was found and arrested in Eugene on a warrant charging him with murdering a man in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood last year. (MCDC booking photo)

Arrest made in 2017 Creston-Kenilworth murder


A volley of gunshots in the early hours of last September 17 ricocheted off pavement, struck buildings, shattered windows – and fatally wounded  27-year-old Wilbert “Billy” Butler – near apartments on S.E. 28th Avenue a half block south of Powell Boulevard.

Butler died the next day at a hospital from “multiple gunshot wounds”, according to the Oregon Medical Examiner, but – until January 19 – no suspects had been located in the murder investigation.

“On January 19, 44-year-old Lorenzo L. Jones was taken into custody by members of the Eugene Police Department in their city, during a traffic stop, and he was arrested on a Multnomah County warrant related to Butler’s murder,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley.

Information gathered by the Bureau’s Detective Division Homicide Detail during the investigation led to the warrant for Jones’ arrest, Burley said.

Lorenzo Laron Jones was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 1:47 a.m. on January 20th on felony charges of Murder, and the Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

Jones was to be arraigned in Multnomah County Court two days later, after this issue of THE BEE went to press, and was being held without bail at Inverness Jail.

Sasha Kirovksy, developer, apartments, Brooklyn neighborhood, Milwaukie Avenue, Portland, Oregon
Developer Sasha Kirovsky, from The Bindery, shows architectural plans for a mixed-use development planned for the corner of S.E. Cora Street and Milwaukie Avenue. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Brooklyn: Three apartment complex developments underway


At a General Meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps (BAC) neighborhood association late last year, developer Aleksandar “Sasha” Kirovski, Principal at The Bindery (3115) LLC, displayed initial architectural design plans for a project he plans to begin this year. He said the new 10,542-square-foot project will consist of two three-story buildings, with a courtyard between.

The eastern building, on Cora Street, will have six two-bedroom apartments, six one-bedroom apartments, and four studio apartments, with about 12 parking spaces provided. The western building, along Milwaukie Avenue, will have three retail spaces on the ground floor, four offices on the second floor, and four studio apartments on the third floor.

Meantime, after demolishing a one-story home at 3539 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, Deform Northwest in Brooklyn is currently constructing a new mixed-use apartment building in its place. The new three-story structure will have sixteen units above a single ground floor retail space, with bike storage provided, but no extra parking. The living spaces are planned to be nine one-bedroom units and seven studio apartments.

Yet another developer has plans for a new, four-story, 44-unit apartment building at the corner of S.E. Pardee Street and Milwaukie Avenue, to be built where, last year, a house and accessory structure at 4540 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue were purchased by the Yoshida Group and then demolished. The lot, which has been re-assigned the address “1415 S.E. Pardee Street”, has been leveled and fenced off, but construction has yet to begin.

Also at that monthly BAC meeting, neighbors learned about landlord/tenant legal regulations, and problems faced by “house-less” people. They also met new Brooklyn Pharmacy owner Pat Hubbell, and heard from yet another developer who is planning two new mixed-use apartment buildings in the neighborhood.

And, Melaney Dittler revealed that the recently-revived Greater Brooklyn Business Association is temporarily on hiatus, but has applied for a grant from Venture Portland.

Sergeant, Martin Nance, Oregon Air National Guard, missing, Clackamas County, Milwaukie, Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Sgt. Martin Nance, age 49, is missing. He recently moved to the City of Milwaukie, but his car was left in Sellwood on the second weekend of January. (Family-provided photo)

Local Air National Guardsman missing; search underway

Editor, THE BEE

A former Sellwood resident – an Oregon Air National Guard Sergeant – is missing, and family and longtime friends and colleagues say it is not like him to disappear.

Sgt. Martin Nance, age 49, recently moved to the City of Milwaukie near Park Street after selling his house on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood; his “hangouts” remain in the Sellwood area, even though he moved to Clackamas County – and his car was found in Sellwood.

Nance is now listed as missing on the national database. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is the lead investigative agency, and has a case open – but they say they can't do much at this point, family members say, because there’s no evidence of imminent danger or signs of foul play.

Consequently others are searching, including many fellow air guard members. His family says Marty was a full-time air guardsman for nearly 30 years, going part-time just a few years ago. He's a mechanic who works on the air guard’s fleet of F-15 fighter jets.

In semi-retirement, Sgt. Nance has also been driving for Lyft. Family believes he left his car at S.E. 17th Avenue and Miller Street sometime Saturday, January 6, but they don't know why. Nor do they know why he failed to show up for guard drill on the following day, missing drill for the first time in 30 years. Those unanswered questions have his Wing Commander and family very concerned.

“I've known Marty for many years and it's personally difficult for me,” said Col. Duke Pirak, Commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard. “And it’s very frustrating that we’ve haven’t figured out what's going on, and where he is right now. Obviously, we’re thinking about the family.”

Nance’s sister, Lisa Veber, agrees that her brother is dependable, and not at all likely to disappear for no reason. “My concern is that time is passing. . . and, the more time passes, the less we’re going to know; the further away he could be, or the further in danger he could be.”

If you have any information about Nance’s whereabouts – or if you see him – call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at their non-emergency line, 503/655-8211.

snow, Christmas Eve, sleet, snow angel, Westmoreland, Southeast Portland, Oregon, weather
The snow and sleet mix in Inner Southeast on Christmas Eve added up to only a quarter inch at most, but it was enough for someone to sculpt a snow angel in a Westmoreland Street that night. Will there be any more snow this year? (Photo by Erilc Norberg)

Southeast’s rainfall in 2017 edged past 2016; it was a wet year!

Editor, THE BEE

Since the first full year we began keeping daily precipitation readings – 1998 – the year 2017 was the third wettest of the two decades. That surprised us – we’d recorded only .11 inch of rain between June 1 and July 31, and the year ended with a December having twelve days with no precipitation at all, and a monthly total of only 3.98 inches in our Westmoreland gauge.

Nonetheless, largely on the strength of a very wet February, in which 11.76 inches of rain fell in only 28-days (42% of it in just three days), our annual total for 2017 – 52.28” – squeaked by 2016’s 51.89”, and was bested only by 2010’s 56.04” and 2012’s 59.29”.

To provide context, several of the years in those two decades tallied much less – The year 2000 put only 30.01” in the gauge, and 2001 came in even a little lower: 29.67”. But something in the low 40’s would be more typical of what we expect here each year.

The wettest days of 2017, in order, were:

February 5      – 1.96”

February 16    – 1.81”

October 22      – 1.58”

February 9      – 1.20”

September 20  – 1.18”

November 20  – 1.01”

November 15  – 1.00”

Our daily readings are taken at 4 p.m., and thus may vary from those in the area taken from midnight to midnight, or at some other time each day by weather observers.

Weather highlights of 2017 came early – with a little snow on January 8 and 10, and then eight inches of snow on the evening of January 11, stic

High temperatures began with 70 degrees on April 21 and 86 degrees on May 3; the summer was hot, highlighted by 98 degrees on June 24, 96 on August 4, and 90 degrees in Southeast on August 21 – the day of the total solar eclipse! The Weather Bureau proclaimed this August the hottest-ever August at the airport.

Smoke was an issue here from the end of July through August 10, from fires burning to the north in Canada; smoke returned on September 3, accompanied by ash, from the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia Gorge, and smoke continued intermittently in Southeast Portland through September 16.

The year ended with an unforecast “White Christmas Eve” and following morning – with a mixture of snow and sleet. But as noted, December ended with only 3.98” of precipitation, so it is possible the first half of 2018 may be a bit drier than we had in 2016 and 2017. Just a guess. We’ll see what happens.

Lee’s Automotive, Flavel Street, fire, burned cars, Brentwood Darlington, Portland, Oregon
As the fire was brought under control, firefighters stood in a shop bay door opening, examining one of the charred vehicles, still on a lift. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Flavel Street auto shop singed by daytime blaze


The 9-1-1 Center received a flood of calls just before 11 a.m. on Monday, December 18, reporting “eight-foot high flames shooting out the door” and “hearing loud explosions” at Lee’s Automotive, 7210 S.E. Flavel Street.

Portland Fire & Rescue Lents Station’s Engine 11 moments later, and reported to dispatch seeing heavy smoke and fire from the commercial auto garage. Crews quickly established that everyone had escaped the building.

The firefighters were soon joined by Woodstock Station 25’s Engine and Ladder Truck companies, as well as crews from as far away as Mill Park. S.E. 72nd Avenue was closed to traffic as rigs tapped fire hydrants and hooked up water lines to resupply engines that were already pumping water out of their onboard tanks.

Thick, acrid smoke bellowed from the building’s doors and the roof, after Truck 25’s crew cut holes to fight the fire in the attic, and to provide vertical ventilation.

It took about 30 minutes for firefighters to extinguish the blaze, but crews stayed on scene for quite some time to make sure all of the embers were quenched before leaving.

Surprisingly, the shop was again open a couple of days after the fire. The cause and extent of damage have not yet been made public.

Eastmoreland Historic District, application, State of Oregon, lawsuit, Tom Brown, Derek Blum, HEART, Portland, Oregon
Not many, but a few signs still remain on lawns to show Eastmoreland homeowners’ feelings – pro and con – about being named an Historic District. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fate of Eastmoreland ‘Historic District’ nomination still hazy


Whether or not a large section of the Eastmoreland neighborhood will wind up on the National Register of Historic Places remains unclear.

Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Historian Ian Johnson told THE BEE in mid-January that the office had received an email from the Oregon Department of Justice (ODOJ), indicating that a letter has been drafted – and the ODOG is in the process of “circulating a letter” on this issue, the step before it being finalized.

“This letter is a response to the questions we put out to them in August about counting owners and counting objections,” Johnson explained. “We don’t know what kind of directions this letter will provide; but when it is received, we’ll match up the instructions from the federal government, and then create a way of implementing it.

While the litigation brought by Eastmoreland neighbor Tom Brown is on appeal, Johnson said he didn’t believe that was directly related with the issues with which he is dealing.

Derek Blum, who is associated with Historic Eastmoreland Achieving Results Together (HEART) commented in a telephone interview, “From our standpoint, we’re waiting to hear from SHPO. It is disappointing that, months later, and we don’t have a resolution; it would be good to have closure and clarity about what is going on – a lot of people here, both pro and con the Historic nomination, put a lot of effort into this.”

About Brown’s litigation, Blum commented, “I think the legal actions are a reflection of the fact that some people not in favor of the Historic District didn’t muster up enough objections to stop it.”

But Brown’s attorney, Nathan Morales of the Perkins-Coie law firm, reminded THE BEE that there are two separate lawsuits in play.

One requests that SHPO create a rule that describes the process they will take while counting property owners; the other is “Contested Case Hearing” litigation filed after the Oregon Court of Appeals dismissed the case.

“The case asking that SHPO create to create an ‘administrative rule’ about how they will count objecting property owners – SHIO has refused to do so,” Morales said. “Last Week, we submitted opening briefs [written legal arguments in support of the appeal] in the Oregon Court of Appeals; they have 45 days in which to respond.”

About the second case, Morales said, “We’re asking the Oregon Supreme Court to review the decision of the Oregon Court of Appeals that dismissed the case. They’ve had it for more than a month, and we expect to hear from them any day.”

Summarizing, Morales said, “We’re hoping that SHPO will wait for the courts to respond before they act on the nomination; we believe that SHPO should not do anything to undermine getting answers on these issues from the Oregon state courts.”

Pedestrian badly hurt at ‘dangerous’ Duke Street intersection


A pedestrian was severely injured when two vehicles collided at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, January 15th, at the intersection of S.E. 72nd Avenue and Duke Street, where nearby residents say collisions often happen.

According to an East Precinct officer at the scene, traffic northbound on S.E. 72nd Avenue – which included a Kea Soul – was traveling through the intersection with Duke Street on a green traffic signal.

A red Chevy Equinox 1.5, stopped eastbound on Duke Street, and started to make a legal, right-on-red turn when the driver saw a pedestrian in the intersection, crossing against the light.

“The Chevy’s driver said she tried to hit her brake pedal, in an attempt to stop for the pedestrian, but instead, accidently hit the accelerator; her car smashed into the pedestrian, pinning the victim against the northbound Kia,” the officer told THE BEE.

Emergency first responders quickly arrived, assessed the pedestrian’s injuries, and transported the person to the hospital, reportedly with – at minimum – a broken leg.

“It was kind of a ‘trifecta of trouble’ – with a dark rainy night, a driver accidentally hitting the gas, and a pedestrian walking against the traffic signal,” the officer observed. There is no word on whether any citations were issued in the mishap.

Speeding biker clips car, crashes at 72nd and Duke


Neighbors in the area agree that the intersection in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood at S.E. 72nd Avenue and Duke Street seems to be a “magnet” for accidents.

“We see wrecks here all the time,” Danno Martin told THE BEE, after observing a crash at that intersection on Friday afternoon, January 19, just after 5 p.m. Involved were a Harley Davidson “Softail 1900” motorcycle, and a Toyota Corolla LE.

It appeared as if the Harley had struck the passenger side rear fender of the Toyota, and had ripped the bumper from its mounts.

The Corolla’s driver said he was traveling north on 72nd Avenue, and signaled a left turn. He then waited for oncoming traffic to clear to turn west, and proceeded into the turn as the signal turned yellow. The motorcycle, southbound on 72nd, clipped the back of his car as he completed the left-hand turn.

“It sounded like the Harley’s driver really gunned it – them bikes make a sound that’s hard to miss – like he was trying to skate through the yellow light,” Martin said. “He hit [the car] pretty hard.”

The crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Lents Station Engine 11 paramedics arrived to stabilize the motorcycle rider, before he was taken to a hospital by ambulance for evaluation and treatment.

Police are investigating the collision, and a citation may be issued when it is completed.

Duke Street, 72nd Avenue, collision, pedestrian struck, pedestrian at fault, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This smashup, initiated by a driver accidently hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, pinned and injured the pedestrian who caused the accident by crossing against a red light. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Duke Street, 72nd Avenue, collision, Harley smash, cycle hits car, motorcyclist at fault, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Where a motorcycle and car collided on S.E. 72nd and Duke on January 19, an East Precinct officer arrived to document the scene. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Foster Road, homeless shelter, Transition Projects, Multnomah County, Deborah Kafoury, public hearing, Southeast Portland, Oregon
There on December 18 to listen to questions and concerns about a new homeless shelter proposed for Foster Road near 60th were Joint Office of Homeless Services Director Marc Jolin, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Transition Projects Director George Devendorf. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Foster Road homeless shelter plan raises curiosity and fear


When leaders of Multnomah County and the City of Portland convened a meeting on December 18 to introduce the plan of a new Multnomah County homeless shelter on to Foster Road, organizers said they had no idea how many people would attend.

As Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury walked up to the venue – the SEIU Local 503 building, at 6401 S.E. Foster Road – she framed the meeting for THE BEE, saying “This is our first opportunity to talk to the community about we’re considering, and to hear their feedback about how we can make this a mutually beneficial location.”

Asked about the location of the proposed shelter, 6144 S.E. Foster Road, in the former “Winly Cash & Carry” storefront, Kafoury replied, “As you know, we’ve sited many shelters recently; we’ve heard from the community that they do not want people sleeping on the streets, and feel compassionate about having people sleeping indoors at night.

“We agree; and we’ve put shelters all around our community,” Kafoury continued. “Instead of concentrating shelters in downtown Portland, as they have traditionally been, and spreading them around the community – where people live, work, and have their friends and family – it’s a place-based way to get people who are experiencing homelessness integrated back into the community.”

Outgoing Foster Area Business Association (FABA) President Matthew Micetic, owner of Red Castle Games, and also a brand-new property owner in the area, said – speaking only for himself, he pointed out: “I think there can be a knee-jerk reaction of ‘not wanting this in my backyard’ – this shelter will be located between my store’s current location and its future location.

“If this can be a space where people can sleep, instead of ‘camping’ in front of businesses, on sidewalks or backyards, it could be a positive,” Micetic mused. “I’m trying to take a pragmatic approach, trying to see what if the whole story this coming out of this, and learn what the game plan is.”

Eric Furlong co-chair of the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association (FPNA) and a resident of the neighborhood – living near the corner of S.E. 60th and Francis Street – commented that FPNA had not yet taken a position on the shelter. “Speaking for myself, my personal feelings are that I feel the homeless situation needs to have solutions. I am open to all solutions that could work for all the stakeholders involved.”

The meeting room quickly filled, leaving standing room only. For public safety concerns, the outside entry doors were locked after the legal occupancy capacity for the hall had been reached.

As the meeting began, and government officials introduced themselves, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson said, “I know there’ll be a lot of questions here tonight; we’re here to talk about what this shelter might look like, and how it meets the community’s needs.”

She pointed out that she and her family live near the “Family Shelter” on S.E. Stark Street, and the Hansen Shelter on N.E. Glisan Street. “We do have homeless problems and we’re working on ways to solve them; the ultimate goal is finding permanent housing for people.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler began his remarks with, “Let’s start with the obvious; I think that everyone agrees we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands here in Portland.”

Wheeler said that he hears requests for his help to “get people who are living on the streets off, and help them stay off” – and, with the added request, “Whatever you and your colleagues do, make sure that what you do is compassionate, in terms of the approach.”

With that, the meeting was opened to questions and comments from attendees. Many forcefully stated opinions and concerns of how opening a shelter in the area would reduce the quality of life in the community.

Alex Krebs, of Tango Berretín, asked if disturbances within 500 feet of the shelter would be prevented or abated.

“Research has led me believe that many times, within 500 feet of the shelter, there is an increase in disturbances, not necessarily crime, but disturbances,” Kreb said. “My business is 350 feet away [from the proposed shelter site], and the idea of coming into my business and hose down urine off the sidewalk is something I don’t want. . . How we make sure it’s clean and safe within the vicinity of the shelter?”

Chair Kafoury was repeatedly shouted down as she attempted to reply to this, and other questions posed.

“There are a lot of decisions that have yet to be made,” Kafoury said, before a chorus of loud remarks again caused her to stop.

Joint Office of Homeless Services director Marc Jolin took the microphone and said, “The reason this meeting is important is to get clarity around this shelter. . . At the proposed Foster Road shelter, Jolin explained, lodgers with reserved space come in, store their belongings, take a shower, have an access to services that they need to move out a shelter and back into permanent housing.

“This is an opportunity for people to rebuild their lives, and they take that opportunity seriously,” Jolin said. “We’re trying to create a shelter to address the very specific concerns you have about impacting neighborhood livability. We will absolutely work with you between now, and when it opens in the fall, with a public safety plan, public safety partners, and the neighbors, and other stakeholders.”

A heckler in the audience shouted, “You don’t care at all!” Jolin replied, “Yes, we do care, that’s why we’re doing it in this way.”

Mason Layman of Boro Art Supply, located in the large Watershed Building just north of the Willamette Shelter was next to testify. “Since the shelter opened, there people stealing our property, and our customers’ property,” Layman said, adding that many businesses and a trade school rent space in the building. He insisted that garbage and needle problems arise from proximity to the shelter; but Westmoreland residents living near that shelter firmly dispute his charges.

In a follow up telephone interview, THE BEE asked Layman if it was possible to differentiate between homeless people coming up to the area from the Oaks Bottom Natural Refuge area and the by-reservation current residents of the Willamette Shelter.

“It’s a mixture; looking out my window, I see tents in the bushes right now,” Layman replied.

What motivated our question was that the by-reservation-only residents of the shelter are provided with 24/7 accommodations, including clean sleeping quarters, dining, laundry and garbage service, showers, as well as job and Internet services, and assistance in finding permanent residences – so there should be no need for any shelter resident to camp outside, or to trash the area nearby. And, since homeless without reservations are not admitted, there is no reason for those without reservations to be drawn to that shelter, either.

When Mayor Wheeler started to respond to a question and was shouted down, he said, “If you don’t want to hear me, I don’t want to take your time.” He later related how, in less than a year in office, he’s “put resources” toward more police patrols, park rangers, removing abandoned RVs, and picking up biohazards such as needles, as well as graffiti abatement. “So, I understand the police and livability thing; my [city] budget [proposal] reflects my desire ... to go back to a full community policing model, which means foot patrols,” Wheeler said.

Before wrapping up the frequently disrupted meeting, Kafoury again said that the officials present had been there to listen, and to be responsive, to the concerns of those present.

At a follow-up meeting of the Foster Powell Neighborhood Association in early January, two residents who live within four blocks of the Willamette Shelter in Westmoreland, and who are both on the Board of the SMILE neighborhood association – Tim DuBois and Eric Norberg, there by invitation – told those present that there had been no problems arising from the presence of the shelter for nearby residents, in its first year of operation.

Both that shelter and the planned one on Foster Road are owned by Multnomah County, and operated by the local nonprofit organization “Transition Projects”.

Apartment fire, Milwaukie Avenue, Pardee Street, Brooklyn neighborhood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Working in close quarters, firefighters from several stations around Inner Southeast made sure this fire didn’t spread to the apartment units above or around it. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Fast fire response saves Brooklyn apartment complex


When fire broke out in the 4616 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue apartment complex at Pardee Street, on January 17 at 5:13 p.m., firefighters from six stations worked their way through the unusually heavy rush hour traffic to fight it.

Because these particular apartments are designed with a courtyard, and most of them face inward, firefighters pulled into the driveway behind the complex, and drove to the south end of the southeast building of the large complex to reach the flames.

“We were ready to head out for the evening, when we saw flashing lights in our windows, saw the fire trucks, and realized there was a fire here,” exclaimed one of the residents, as he watched the crews at work.

Responding fire apparatus filled Milwaukie Avenue just north of the McLoughlin Boulevard overcrossing; police shut down Milwaukie from Holgate Boulevard south to Schiller Street, which caused a major – if temporary – traffic jam in the area.

“As it worked out, this wasn’t a major incident,” PF&R Public Information Officer Captain Louisa Jones later told THE BEE. “The fire was contained to a single room of a first-floor apartment in this three-story building, so with quick action, the fire didn’t extend up to other units.”

“There were no injuries, but the occupants needed other lodging while their apartment is repaired.” The Red Cross responded to assist the displaced.

The fire remains under investigation, and there had been no damage estimate or cause announced as THE BEE went to press.

Precision Castparts, Castparts Structurals, smoke, fire response, no fire, Johnson Creek Boulevard, Portland, Oregon
Firefighters discovered that the plume rising from the roof wasn’t smoke, it was steam – due to a burst steam pipe inside the Precision Castparts Structurals plant on S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard. In the end, there were no injuries, no real damage, and no fire. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Steam release causes fire callout at Precision Castparts


S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard was closed off at Harney Drive, clogged with fire apparatus in the street, on Sunday morning, January 7

Neighbors looked on quizzically, and people at a nearby restaurant came out, as fire rigs pulled into the “Precision Castparts Structurals” plant.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PP&R) and Clackamas Fire District #1 crews had been dispatched to the plant at 8:59 a.m., and upon arriving reported seeing what the bystanders pointed out – volumes of what appeared to be white smoke billowing off the roof near the west end.

The Westmoreland Fire Station’s Engine 20 was first to arrive, followed by units from Lents, Mill Park – and University Park, across the Willamette River.

Crews from Woodstock’s Truck 25 extended A ladder, and firefighters climbed up onto the roof to investigate, while their colleagues went inside the plant.

Interestingly, crews didn’t hook up water lines to fight a fire at that time; firefighters outside watched and waited.

Then, word came via the PF&R Twitter account: “Broken steam pipe leaking water creating an electrical hazard; crews fixing.” No fire; the crowds dispersed; and the firefighters returned to their respective stations to await their next call.

Motorcycle Crash, 52nd Avenue, Flavel Drive, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
AMR Paramedics assess the motorcycle rider, after he crashed in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Motorcyclist struck in 52nd Avenue intersection crash


Emergency first-responders were called to the corner of S.E. 52nd Avenue and Flavel Drive on Saturday evening, December 16, at about 10:15 p.m. when a motorcycle and a Toyota SUV collided.

Police had not yet arrived, but paramedics riding Portland Fire & Rescue Woodstock Station’s Truck 25 pulled up and provided emergency first aid, as did a responding ambulance.

It’s unclear how the accident occurred, but it looked as this was a relatively low-speed, head-on collision.

The motorcycle rider was sitting up, and paramedics continued a lengthy assessment before the ambulance was dismissed. Apparently, no serious injuries. There is no public record of whether a citation was issued to either driver.

Water main, 82nd Avenue, Avenue of Roses, cast iron pipe, main break
After the water to the broken pipe was shut off, and the location in the middle of S.E. 82nd was excavated, Water Bureau workers examined the ruptured cast-iron water main. (Courtesy of KOIN-TV-6 News)

Christmas Eve water main burst closes 82nd near Ogden


The “wintery-mix” storm with snow, sleet, and ice on Christmas Eve kept many folks from merrymaking away from home this year, but workers on call with the Portland Water Bureau bundled up and went out – to repair, if not make merry – on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, between Ogden and Cooper Streets.

Digging under the usually-busy street, workers found that an 8-inch cast-iron pipe, said to have been installed back in 1912, had ruptured.

Four businesses and two homes lost water service while the main was repaired; what traffic there was on the thoroughfare had to make detours around the excavation along icy side streets.

After working all night, the city workers had the pipe repaired, and S.E. 82nd was reopened on Christmas morning – making this just another of the 200 water main breaks that PWB crews have to fix each year.

Robbery, Powell Boulevard, Pizza Hut, Portland, Oregon)
Officers speak with area residents, asking if they’ve seen the man who employees say robbed a Pizza Hut store. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Armed man robs Powell Blvd ‘Pizza Hut’


When a man walked into the Pizza Hut store located at 7901 S.E. Powell Boulevard just after 10:00 p.m. on Friday December 22, the gun in his hand made it clear he wasn’t there to pick up an order – or to wish employees a Merry Christmas.

After the holdup, East Precinct officers were alerted by store employees; some responding police interviewed workers; others fanned out through the area looking for the suspect.

“Employees told officers that the suspect displayed a handgun while demanding money; and, after obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, he left the restaurant without further incident,” reported Portland Police spokesman Sergeant Christopher Burley.

“The suspect was described as a black male in his late teens to early 20's, five feet six inches tall, armed with a handgun,” Burley told THE BEE, adding that the investigating officers did not find anyone in the neighborhood who matched the suspect's description.

The case is still open, and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Robbery detectives at 503/823-0405.

Comments? News tips? Click here to e-mail us!

Note to readers: At some point in the future, this, our original Internet website, will probably be replaced at this web address by our new website, as part of the Community Newspapers group. At that time, you will still be able to access this older, but still operative, website, if you save this address: Right now, it leads you to our new website. Eventually, it will lead you back to this old one! Both will be up to date and current, and you'll still have your choice of which one to visit!