More stories from March's issue of THE BEE!

Gideon Street Overcrossing, Southeast Portland, Oregon
By the afternoon of February 17th, all four towers were set at both ends of the new Gideon Street bike and pedestrian rail overcrossing. Eventually there will be stairways and elevators at both ends. Construction will continue through this summer. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)

Progress made on TriMet’s new Gideon Street overpass


As confirmed by TriMet’s Public Information Officer, Tyler Graf, much progress has recently been made on constructing the new 24-foot-high Gideon Street pedestrian and bike overpass just north of the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The structure is designed to span both MAX light rail and the Union Pacific tracks at S.E. Gideon Street between 14th Avenue and 13th Place. The overhead bridge span was placed with a crane on February 13 at 1 a.m., to minimize the impact on traffic.

Graf tells THE BEE, “The two towers on S.E. 14th Avenue were raised on January 22nd, and a third tower was erected at 13th and Gideon Street on January 27th. The bridge’s main span was installed on February 13th using a 155-foot boom crane, and crews placed the south elevator tower on Gideon Street, adjacent to Portland Fire Bureau Engine House 23, on February 17th.”

The new overcrossing replaces a wood and concrete pedestrian overpass near S.E. 16th Avenue which was demolished back in 2013 to make room for the MAX Orange Line construction. Scores of pedestrians and bicyclists for seven years have been forced to cross the tracks in an inconvenient situation at S.E. 11th and 12th Avenues, monitored by flashing red lights and railroad barrier arms. Many of those crossing ignored safety concerns in order to cross the tracks.

“When construction of the MAX Orange Line finished ‘under budget’ in 2015, TriMet sought approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to use the remaining money to construct a replacement pedestrian and bike bridge,” Graf reports. “With strong support from the surrounding community, the backing of the City of Portland, and help from Senator Jeff Merkley, the FTA approved the project in 2017. There is no public art planned at the site of this project.”

The new overpass will be similar to the Rhine-Lafayette pedestrian and bike bridge which was completed in 2015. It will be serviced by stairs and two glass-enclosed elevators. Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to choose between using elevators or stairways at both ends of the 103-foot-long truss-style bridge. People with wheelchairs, strollers, and other mobility devices will have plenty of room inside the lifts, which will include two entrances to allow bicycles to pass through without having to turn around.

Graf adds, “This is a joint project between TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Construction will continue through the summer, with the overall cost expected to be $15 million. We anticipate the bridge, situated a few feet above the overhead MAX wires, will be open to the public by October 2020.

“The City of Portland will own and operate the structure, providing a north-south link connecting the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood to the Willamette River, and completing the City’s vision of the ‘Clinton to the River’ project. Next, crews plan to install structures, canopies, and electrical systems to connect each elevator tower to the bridge deck and support towers.”

THE BEE will continue to follow this project to completion.

Glenn Forayter, mailman 50 years, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
After his fifty-year celebration, USPS mailman Glenn Forayter lingered to enjoy the collection of “congratulations” and “thank you” cards made for him by preschool children attending Woodstock’s “Homestead Schoolhouse”. (Courtesy of Sara Kirschenbaum)

Mailman’s celebration breaks through neighbors’ anonymity


It is possible to live in a neighborhood for many years, and not know people whom you regularly see in their yards nearby, or who walk by you on the street. Sometimes we don’t even know someone who lives next door!

On Sunday, February 9th, there was a celebration for someone who frequently cuts through such anonymity in neighborhoods, and whose party finally brought neighbors together to become acquainted.

As reported in the February BEE, letter carrier Glenn Forayter was to be celebrated for his fifty years of postal service, and for finding a wedding ring while delivering mail.  Thirty-seven of his years on his route in the 97206 zip code have been in Woodstock, where he is known for watching out for the welfare of neighbors, and dispensing treats to dogs (for his own safety, as well as for fun and enjoyment).

THE BEE was among some sixty people at that celebration on Sunday, February 9th, in the All Saints’ Episcopal Church Parish Hall, S.E. 41st and Woodstock Boulevard.  There, neighbors mingled with people they knew, as well as with others in the neighborhood they’d seen but never actually met.

Although she is not on Forayter’s route, Woodstock resident Suzanne Johnson stopped by anyway. She said that, over the years in which she has walked her dog in the neighborhood, Forayter would offer the dog a treat when she encountered him.  “Scout would see Glenn two blocks away and start pulling really hard [on his leash] to get towards him!”

But the three Woodstock organizers of Forayter’s party are all on his route, and in fact live within three blocks of each other: Sara Kirschenbaum, Mary Frazel, and Gail Gutzler.

Kirschenbaum made cookies in the shape of envelopes. She also baked cookies resembling Forayter in his shorts (which he wears while delivering mail, even in the coldest weather). Gutzler created a poster-sized postcard with his 97206 route shown in outline, as well as smaller cards on which attendees could write a note for the mailman.  Their printing was free, as a donation from the Woodstock UPS Store.

The three organizers also received in-kind donations from Grand Central Bakery, Safeway, the Woodstock Laundromat, Dick's Kitchen and Primal Burger, Portland Fish Company, First Cup Coffee, Delta Café, and Otto’s Meats and Sausages.

The guest of honor, Glenn Forayter, there in his ever-present Bermuda shorts, was hugged and congratulated by people ranging from those for whom he has delivered mail over the years, to those he’s done so for just a short time. Gutzler remarked after the party, “I want to point out that Glenn is pretty modest, and was a good sport about letting us throw the party once Sara hatched the idea. I don't think he seeks out the spotlight, but he was very gracious.”

Many attending the party asked to see Kirschenbaum’s ring – which Forayter had noticed in her yard and retrieved for her, after she had lost it while gardening. Kirschenbaum’s spouse was not able to be there, as she was working.

As the four o’clock ending of the party neared, the sun broke through outside the church, after ten days of gloom, and lit up the large Parish Hall – a bright touch added to the celebration of a mailman’s kindness, and of neighbors breaking through anonymity. The gathering, reflected organizers and attendees alike, had helped them realize how even such simple social functions can help knit a community together.

Jami Resch, Chief, Police, Portland, Oregon, Southeast Precinct
Despite a considerable shortage of officers, Portland Police still do respond to many non-crime calls – including homelessness, mental health, and drug issues – assured the new Portland Chief, Jami Resch, in her Southeast Portland appearance. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

New Portland Police Chief speaks in Inner Southeast


Although the Portland Police Bureau folded the original “Southeast Precinct” into the Central and East Precincts in 2009, volunteers have their “Southeast Portland Citizens Advisory Council” meeting on the second Thursday of every month.

“We’ve kept this going, to continue the regular dialogue between Southeast citizens and the members of the Portland Police Bureau,” explains its Co-Chair, Dave Hillman. “It helps build trust between both parties.”

Its February 13 meeting in the old Southeast Precinct building on East Burnside was attended by some 30 people. While their featured speaker, new Portland Police Chief Jami Resch, was delayed in heavy traffic, East Precinct Commander Tashia Hager acknowledged that the Bureau’s “Street Crimes Unit” was now being disbanded because of budgetary issues.

“Our Neighborhood Response Teams – these officers work diligently, and are very productive,” Hager told the group. “But, the bottom line is this: The most important thing is to make sure we have officers available to answer 9-1-1 calls. At East Precinct, we are down to one of the lowest levels of staffing we’ve ever had since I’ve gotten here.”

As she entered the room for her appearance at the meeting, new Chief Jami Resch told THE BEE, “I’m here because I’m trying to meet as many members of the community as I can – so they can get to know me, and I can see what their wants and needs are for the Portland Police Bureau.

“What I’m learning, so far, is that while most people are very supportive of the Bureau, they’d love to see us more – and not just in crisis situations – on a one-to-one level, to get to know us.”

Freeing officers and command staff to meet with the community isn’t easy, Resch conceded. “This will take some creativity; because – as everybody knows by now – we’re short on officers, and will remain short for a while. We are concentrating on our primary duty, which is responding to calls for service.”

When we asked what she’s learned in Inner Southeast Portland so far about policing concerns, Resch responded, “It’s a lot of the same issues that I’ve been hearing around the city – which is ‘houselessness’. We’re working with all of our city, county, and nonprofit partners to come up with ways to help serve these people, as well to serve the impacted communities.”

Queried about the specialty policing teams currently being disbanded, Resch replied, “When our staffing shrinks, we have to put those officers back into patrolling districts.”

Neighborhood Response Teams not cut
She quickly added, “Our ‘Neighborhood Response Teams’ (NRT) are still intact, because these teams have been ‘carved out’ in precinct staffing – but I’m not saying that we won’t get to that point, [where] staffing is low enough, that those officers will have to reabsorbed into the precincts.

“We know how effective NRTs are, and we also know how important they are to the community, and the relationships they’ve had,” Resch assured.

During the meeting Resch let people know that the Police Bureau is expanding the online reporting system, so community members can more easily report crimes themselves, and free up officers to respond to emergency calls.

Previously, community members could report only a select number of crimes online, including thefts, hit and run crimes, and vandalism, in which there was no suspect information.

Now, additional crimes can be reported online, including:

  • Fraud/Identity Theft: (when there is no suspect) including identity theft, identity theft ($5,000), fraudulent credit card use, forgery, including forged checks, and telephone scams.
  • Theft: including shoplifting, mail theft, bicycle theft, and non-felony level thefts (except for theft of drugs calls, such as of prescription medication).
  • Miscellaneous: including illegal dumping, and burglary of unoccupied detached garages, sheds, and storage units.

“Empowering community members to submit an online report will save the victims significant time – and it will save officers’ time too, which allows us to redirect resources to focus on highest priority areas, and displays the Police Bureau's stewardship of public dollars,” Resch explained.

If it IS an emergency, community members should still call 9-1-1 said Resch. And, crime victims can still call the police non-emergency line, 503/823-3333, and an officer will respond in person as soon as available.

Make a note of the newly-expanded online crime reporting webpage available to you –

Woman crushed, woman pinned, against own car, byi drug-affected driver, Steele Street, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A Woodstock woman was getting things from the trunk of this Kia when she was hit and seriously injured by the car of a woman who was subsequently arrested for Driving while Intoxicated (Drugs). (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Crash crash, drugged driver, pinned pedestrian against car, Steele Street, Woodstock, Portland, Oregon
Although she’s no longer in custody, 35-year-old Hayley Renee Jean Morg will face serious charges in court, regarding the Woodstock injury accident. (MCDC booking photo)

Impaired driver injures woman near Woodstock Park


A Woodstock pedestrian is in the hospital with serious injuries after being pinned between her own parked car and the vehicle that hit her, on the Martin Luther King holiday, January 20 – but the impaired driver who caused the accident was released from custody long before the victim was able to leave the hospital

East Precinct officers were called to the intersection of S.E. 48th Avenue at Steele Street that afternoon at 1:18 p.m. “Officers found a 75-year-old woman, pinned between two cars,” reported a PPB spokesperson. “The victim was treated by paramedics and then taken to a hospital; her injuries are serious.”

When the Portland Police’s Traffic Division arrived to investigate, officers determined that the victim was standing behind her parked car on the north side of Steele Street. As the crash victim was getting things out of her car’s trunk, the suspect drove into the victim and her car, causing traumatic injuries to the victim’s legs.

Officers arrested 35-year-old Hayley Renee Jean Morg, and booked her into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 9:15 p.m. that evening, on charges of Assault in the Second Degree (a Class B Felony), Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Drugs), Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment.

At her arraignment, the combined bail for Ms. Morg was set at $257,500.

According to the Multnomah County Sheriff Sergeant Brandon White, Morg “bailed out of jail” on January 22, pending her trial. The injured victim of the crash has not yet been publicly identified.

Precision Castparts, layoffs, 150 laid off, Boeing, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Boeing’s recent problems have contributed to some 150 Precision Castparts Structurals employees being laid off at this Brentwood-Darlington plant on Johnson Creek Boulevard. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Precision Castparts layoffs blamed on Boeing’s woes


As many as 150 workers were laid off at the Johnson Creek Boulevard Precision Castparts Structurals Inc. Large Parts Campus in early February.

This was apparently due to the cancellation or delay in delivering parts made there for the presently stalled “Boeing 737 Max 8” airplane’s production.

Asked about the staffing reduction, Precision Castparts Director of Communications David Dugan told THE BEE, “In relation to the recent personnel reductions in Portland, we routinely adjust employment levels based on our operational needs. The production curtailment by Boeing was a contributing factor.”

Dugan didn’t comment on whether laid-off employees might be rehired, should Boeing restart production.

Irene Carrillo of Clackamas Community College’s Workforce Development Services “Rapid Response” program confirmed that the college was gearing up to help as many as 150 Precision Castparts Structurals employees.

“We’re trying to reach as many laid-off employees as possible,” Carrillo told us in a telephone interview.

These sessions provide workers with information regarding Unemployment Insurance; the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace; and on-the-job training, and other services. It takes place at the college’s Harmony Campus.

Rear ender, Holgate at McLoughlin, closed McLoughlin for 50 minutes, Southeast Portland, oregon
In the crash at McLoughlin at Holgate, it appeared that the burgundy pickup truck in front of the ambulance had skidded and rotated so its right side had smashed the rear end of the dark hatchback partially visible at far left. Southbound traffic was halted for 50 minutes. (Photo by Eriic Norberg)

Skidding smashup closes McLoughlin Blvd for close to an hour


Southbound traffic backed up for quite some time along S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard on February 15, about 4:30 p.m., after Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers closed the road due to a rear-end collision, just north of S.E. Holgate Boulevard. Southbound vehicles were stopped at the scene for some 50 minutes, while cars and trucks backed up into the Inner Eastside Industrial District.

Apparently a blue hatchback stopped for a red traffic signal – causing a burgundy pickup truck, trying to make a sudden stop, to fishtail and slam into the hatchback. A white SUV may have also been involved in the wet-pavement smashup.

An ambulance arrived shortly after the police officers. Because “trauma” crash victims are usually whisked away to a hospital quickly, and because this ambulance was at the scene for quite some time, it’s possible that the injury sustained was minor, and was treated in the ambulance.

“According to the records, this was a three-vehicle crash,” Portland Police spokesperson Lieutenant Tina Jones told THE BEE. “It appears information was exchanged; and, since it was not a trauma [injury] accident, this incident did not require a detailed police report.”

But it did require traffic control by officers, while tow trucks were summoned and were used to safely get the two disabled vehicles out of the middle of the very busy intersection. Southbound traffic movement was restored after that.

Science Bowl, Sellwood Middle School, rehearsal, University of Portland, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
With his student team’s thumbs on the buzzers, Sellwood Middle School science teacher Craig Naze watches as the students practiced answering science questions, preparing for the “Regional Science Bowl” at the University of Portland. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Sellwood Middle School STEM kids compete in ‘Science Bowl’


It’s been more than simply book-learning, for the students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum at Sellwood Middle School.

Once again this year, a group of the school’s students participated in the Northwest regionals of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National “Science Bowl” competition, involving students from as far south as Ashland, and as far north as northern Washington State.

The Sellwood kids and their mentors got up early to be on the campus of the University of Portland at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, to participate in the “Bonneville Power Administration Regional Science Bowl”.

This was a fast-paced academic quiz game which tested the students’ knowledge in all aspects of science: Math, geology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and more, said local eighth-grader Theodore Hildebrand-Faust, who served as the spokesperson for the group. Sellwood Middle School was one of only two Portland Public schools to participate this year.

“All of us who do this have fun, and we all learn more about science,” Hildebrand-Faust told THE BEE. “I’m glad our school does this, because I think it’s really important that kids have a place to learn, and to compete in this kind of setting. Most competitions in school are sports oriented; very few involve cerebral pursuits, and this is cognitively oriented!”

He, and many of his teammates, will likely move on to Cleveland High School next year, Hildebrand-Faust said. “With advances in technology and science, I think it’s important to be ‘ahead of the game’ in learning these topics as we go from middle school into high school.”

Although the local students did not make the regional cut to move on to the national finals this year, “It really was still a lot of fun,” smiled Hildebrand-Faust.

Nehalem Street, failed remodel, trash heap, dumpoed dropbox, cleanup, Sellwood, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This is the mess we beheld at the old house on Nehalem Street a few minutes after receiving a neighbor’s call that a “rehab gone wrong” had been blighting the block for quite some time. After our photo, and an inquiry at City Hall, the next day the owner’s family began a belated cleanup. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Mountain of debris irks Sellwood neighbors when house renovation stalls


When a house, built in 1923 at 1634 S.E. Nehalem Street in Sellwood, was sold last August, the publicly-listed owner – Oleson Road Investing LLC – apparently had plans to rehabilitate the aging home. 

That project stalled in January. And, to the chagrin of neighbors, the owners of the large commercial dropbox that had been in front of the property dumped its contents in the driveway when they removed their dropbox later that month.

On January 22 a neighbor called THE BEE to report the problem – and, asking not to be identified by name, was on the sidewalk the next day to meet us, and said, “The stench coming from the piled-up debris was almost overwhelming.” He used the past tense, because it was, that very day, being cleaned up.

As it happened, THE BEE had stopped by the property previously, right after the original call, and took some pictures – and then made inquiries the following morning at City Hall. Perhaps coincidentally, another dropbox from a different company had appeared on Nehalem Street on January 23rd, and workers had begun loading it with rubble. Another man who was on hand, identifying himself only as the brother of the woman who owns the property, and took responsibility for the new cleanup.

This man, who also did not want his name used, said his sister had hired a contractor to “rehab” the house – one who had demanded full payment up front, which his sister, perhaps foolishly, had paid. That contractor then absconded with the money shortly after beginning the tear-out part of the project; and the “crooked contractor” had not paid the dropbox company, either, which had come to retrieve their box, dumping its contents on the driveway in doing so.

The brother told THE BEE he wanted to apologize to the neighborhood for what had happened. “If this happened in my neighborhood, I’d be very upset,” he agreed. “I’m now doing the best I can to help out my sister, and to help the neighbors.”

True to his word, the remaining debris was soon shoveled off of the property, and into new dropboxes within a couple of days.

Hopefully, the house rehab project will now go more smoothly, albeit more slowly – as the new owners now plan to renovate the house on their own.

Creston Kenilworth, stabbing, arrest, Southeast Portland. Oregon
70-year-old Darrold Alan Riddle faces a felony assault charge in the knifing incident. (MCDC booking photo)

Man stabbed on 32nd Avenue in Creston-Kenilworth; assailant arrested


After reports of a stabbing were called in to the 9-1-1 Center at 5:38 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4, Central Precinct officers responded to 32nd Avenue, between S.E. Powell Boulevard and Francis Street, to look into it.

“Officers found an adult male victim with a stab wound; the victim was taken to a hospital by ambulance,” remarked PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Brad Yakots. “Officers secured the crime scene, and detectives assisted in the investigation; a suspect was has been detained in this incident.”

The following day, Yakots revealed that the victim had suffered a non-life threatening injury – and that 70-year-old Darrold Alan Riddle had been arrested. “Detectives are still piecing together what occurred,” he said.

Riddle was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 8:10 p.m. on the 4th, on one count of Assault in the Second Degree.

After hearing the details of the crime, a judge increased Riddle’s bail from $50,000 to $250,000 for this Class B Felony charge, and the suspect remains at Inverness Jail in lieu of bail.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, at left, answered questions about neighborhood issues at the Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association’s January 27 meeting. He touched on homeless camps, affordable housing, and neighborhood associations – like this one. (Photo by Paige Wallace)

Mayor in Inner Southeast: Addresses homeless camps; other issues


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler came to Inner Southeast, and says he believes that “homelessness” and “affordable housing” rank highly among Inner Southeast Portland’s most pressing issues – and he has plans to work on both.

He shared his thoughts about these and other current affairs at the January 27 meeting of the Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association (CKNA). Some 25 local residents turned out at the Community Music Center, at 3350 S.E. Francis Street, to hear the Mayor’s comments. 

The question-and-answer session was part of neighborhood association’s ongoing 2020 “election speaker” series. Each monthly meeting features one or more candidates running for a political office in the area. Wheeler, the current Mayor, is up for re-election in May. 

CKNA Chair Rachel Davies queried Wheeler throughout the evening, working from written questions neighborhood residents had submitted in advance via e-mail. Most of the questions were combinations of similar questions submitted by several different people. A few meeting attendees also asked verbal questions during the meeting. 

Homelessness came up first – particularly asking what the city is doing to mitigate unauthorized camping in Inner Southeast Portland. The Mayor called homelessness a “catastrophe” locally and nationally, and said it’s an issue that matters deeply to him. He commented that some neighborhoods are making efforts to reach out to homeless populations, and engage with the people living on the streets. “That really seems to de-escalate some of the tensions,” he said. However, those tensions remain a big issue across Portland.

“Part of the reason that people are so angry – so frustrated by the camps that they're seeing – is because they're seeing a lot of trash and needles and biohazards,” Wheeler said. The city uses what he called “a complaint-driven system” to assess and respond to homeless camps; and he urged residents to report their concerns via – although it is necessary to sign up and create an account to use it.

“If you’ve reported on a camp, the chances are really good that 100 other people have reported the same camp. And we prioritize the mitigation and the cleanup of camps based on environmental public health and public safety.”

Wheeler also responded to questions about housing issues in Creston-Kenilworth, including the rising cost of living, and Portland’s controversial Residential Infill Project (R.I.P.), which would allow for higher residential densities. 

Several meeting attendees expressed frustration that developers come into their neighborhoods and tear down a single older home to build multiple new houses or large apartment complexes – and this new housing ends up being more expensive than the original older home. It’s also often more than local residents feel they can afford, so they worry about being priced out of their neighborhoods. 

Wheeler said he’s concerned about that, too. “I don't want Portland to end up like San Francisco,” Wheeler responded. “What San Francisco is today is a very expensive place for very wealthy people to live.”

Wheeler remarked that the R.I.P. is designed to address affordability issues. He claims the program would offer residents more housing options citywide, according to a recent analysis. However, he pointed out that the program could be problematic in three Eastside neighborhoods – Brentwood-Darlington, Lents, and Montavilla – where R.I.P. is expected to displace a total of 44 households over 15 years. He said most of those are minority households, and the city has a “moral obligation” to address that displacement. He said the city is working on creating policies to mitigate that potential problem.

The future of Portland’s neighborhood associations also came up at the meeting – a recurring contentious issue in Inner Southeast Portland since it was discovered that a City Counselor had been working behind the scenes to end their official relationship with the city.

Wheeler expressed ongoing support for these groups. “Under my leadership, neighborhood associations will never be abolished,” Wheeler promised. “They play a very important role in terms of engagement at the community level – and particularly given our form of government, which doesn't have geographical representation.” Portland’s City Councilors are elected citywide, rather than serving a specific section of town.

While Wheeler supports neighborhood associations, he thinks some are not as inclusive as they could be. He worries they may not adequately represent their area’s renters, people of color, and those who have lower incomes. 

Another written question addressed the quickly-growing State Highway that forms Creston-Kenilworth’s border to the north: “How do you see the transformation of Powell Boulevard to become the next major city thoroughfare, with retail and residential potential?”

“It’s not just a neighborhood – it has the opportunity to actually be a place where everybody in the city could come gather,” Wheeler said of recent and upcoming development along Powell Boulevard. “It has all the makings of the next great success story, in my opinion, and you guys are helping lead that charge.”

The Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association has reached out to all Portland mayoral candidates with campaign websites, Davies said. They’ve received commitments from Sarah Iannarone and Teressa Raiford to attend a meeting prior to the May 19 election. If you’re interested in attending, upcoming CKNA meeting dates, times, and locations can be found at the association’s website –

Tyler Nees, murder of father, convicted, Mt Scott Arleta, Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
A jury has convicted this man, 33-year-old Tyler Wayne Nees, of the fatal stabbing of his father near Woodstock Boulevard. (MCDC booking photo)

Man convicted of killing father, in Mt. Scott-Arleta


On Thursday, February 13, Tyler Nees was convicted of murdering his father in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood on December 2, 2017.

THE BEE covered this tragic story at the time. It started when emergency first responders were called by the manager of the Mt. Scott Pub, at S.E. 72nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard. He said Brian Nees had pounded on the door at 1:54 a.m., begging for help, as he was closing for the evening.

According to court documents, Nees had limped from his residence in the Marwood Plaza Apartments, just east from the tavern across 72nd Avenue, after he said he was stabbed in the back with a “large butcher knife” by his son, 33-year-old Tyler Wayne Nees.

The elder Nees died in surgery several hours later; court papers showed that the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office determined his heart had been punctured by the weapon used to stab him.

According to Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill, a 12-person jury in February unanimously convicted Tyler Nees on one count of “murder, constituting domestic violence” and one count of “unlawful use of a weapon” for intentionally killing his father.

The alleged murderer was found on December 14, 2017, in the 900 block of N.W. 23rd Avenue, and police took him into custody.

“Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for March 17 at 9 a.m.,” Underhill said. In the meantime, Tyler Nees is still being held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Gas leak, closure, 82nd Avenue, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Natural gas, escaping from a damaged main line, closed S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses to all traffic for hours on January 23rd. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Damaged gas main shuts down S.E. 82nd Avenue for hours


When a Northwest Natural Gas “main line” was damaged – at the northwest corner of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses and Lambert Street, on the rainy morning of January 23 – the highway remained closed for hours. Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters and gas company crews stood by until the rupture was repaired.

82nd Avenue is actually a State Highway; and from S.E. Crystal Springs Boulevard north to Flavel Street, it was completely shut down to all traffic and pedestrians during this lengthy incident.

From as far as two blocks away, one could easily hear natural gas whistling and detect the foul smell of the odorant “mercaptan”, which is placed into natural gas to aid in the detection of leaks; its stink is reminiscent of rotten eggs, or sulfur.

“We received a call from a contractor around 9:30 a.m. letting us know that they’d damaged a pipeline,” explained NW Natural Public Information Officer Stefanie Week.

“At this point, what we know is that a one-inch gas main was damaged,” Week told THE BEE at the scene. “NW Natural crews responded, and we had the gas leak controlled by about 12:30 p.m.”

Approximately 80 customers were affected as crews worked to repair the line and to begin restoring service, Week told us.

Asked by THE BEE why it seems so many gas lines are cut these days, Week responded, “Third-party dig-ins [excavation, near a gas line] are the most common cause of natural gas pipeline damage.

“In our service territory, there are about 700 dig-ins that occur each year; and that’s why it’s so important for homeowners and their contractors to call ‘811’ to have underground gas lines and other utility lines located, before they dig,” Week pointed out.

By early afternoon, S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses was again open to traffic in both directions, although for a while one lane was still closed to fill in and repave the excavation.

Reid Leland Stephens, stolen RV, found in Woodstock, Southeast Portland, Oregon
This man, 38-year-old Reid Leland Stephens, now faces numerous charges – including allegedly stealing and joyriding in an RV he later abandoned in the Woodstock neighborhood. (Clackamas County Jail booking photo)

Stolen RV lands in Woodstock – leads to big arrest


After taking a New Year’s Holiday tour around the greater Portland area and eastward, in a stolen 2006 Jayco Seneca motor home, a man accused of a string of burglaries and thefts over the past few months in the Rhododendron community, including that RV, was finally taken into custody in January.

“Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies had been investigating this case, and developed ‘probable cause’ – and during the course of these investigations, deputies narrowed down the crime spree to a suspect: 38-year-old Reid Leland Stephens of Brightwood,” revealed CCSO Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Marcus Mendoza.

When Stephens showed up for a court date at the Clackamas County Courthouse on January 8, on charges including Forgery, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, and Theft I, deputies arrested him.

Questioning Stephens about his “new string of crimes”, as Mendoza put it, the suspect was asked about the motor home taken from a residence in Rhododendron.

“Stephens denied being involved in any of the crimes, but he made an interesting offer! While denying any knowledge of the stolen motor home, he told the deputy he knew that he would be able to find it for him, if he were given a little time,” Mendoza related.

As it turned out, the keys to the motor home were found right in Stephens’ own pocket. They were, indeed, the keys to the stolen RV found parked near S.E. 52nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard.

“The owner didn’t give anyone permission to take [the motor home] from their house in Rhododendron, and drive it to Southeast Portland for a week,” Mentza told THE BEE.

Stephens was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on 11 charges, including Burglary I, Burglary II, Unlawful use of a Motor Vehicle, Theft I, and Theft II. And he will face trial on those charges.

shots fired, woman wounded, Creston Kenilworth, Southeast Portland, Oregon
Members of the Portland Police Gun Violence Reduction Team look for bullet strikes on the retaining wall below the new Starbucks in Creston-Kenilworth. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Gunfire wounds woman in Creston-Kenilworth


Neighbors reported gunshots near S.E. 28th Place at Powell Boulevard on Friday evening, January 28. Thirteen Central Precinct officers responded to that area at 6:31 p.m.

“At first, I thought someone had lit off a string of firecrackers! That is, until all of the cops started showing up,” a resident nearby told THE BEE. “Then, we realized that we’d had another – yes, another – shooting on our street.”

“Officers secured the crime scene, and the PPB Gun Violence Reduction Team responded to assist in the investigation,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Brad Yakots.

Investigators and officers were using flashlights in the early evening darkness as they looked for bullet casings, and strikes along the retaining wall under the new Starbucks at the corner, as well as for bullet holes in vehicles parked along the street.

Officers paid a great deal of attention to a house on the west side of S.E. 28th Place, just south of Powell.

“An adult female, suffering from a non-injury gunshot wound, was located by officers,” Yakots later said. “We are not releasing suspect information at this time.” No arrest has yet been announced, but an active investigation remains underway.

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