More stories from August's issue of THE BEE!


Summer Jump!
SUMMER JUMP:  We’ve all spent most of this year getting used to new realities, and learning to cope with unprecedented change.  But, on Friday afternoon, July 3, for just one moment on the dock near Sellwood Waterfront Park, Tamara Rubin recorded an iconic scene that took us away to the summer we all wish we were having – as her four sons joined hands, and leaped into the Willamette River, with the Sellwood Bridge in the background.
FOR JUST A MOMENT, ON JULY 3, THIS SUMMER SEEMED…NORMAL. We’ve all spent most of this year getting used to new realities, and learning to cope with unprecedented change. But, on Friday afternoon, July 3, for just one moment on the dock near Sellwood Waterfront Park, Tamara Rubin recorded an iconic scene that took us away to the summer we all wish we were having – as her four sons joined hands, and leaped into the Willamette River, with the Sellwood Bridge in the background.


Ten year-old George Cowan, a Woodstock resident, is reunited with his four-month-old cockatiel Carl, after the bird accidentally escaped into the neighborhood.
Ten year-old George Cowan, a Woodstock resident, is reunited with his four-month-old cockatiel Carl, after the bird accidentally escaped into the neighborhood. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

Woodstock residents, sheltering at home, locate boy’s missing pet bird

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

When there is a coronavirus pandemic, it may not be necessary to use social media, advertisements, or flier postings to find something that is lost.

In the case of a lost cockatiel in the Woodstock neighborhood, the coronavirus stay-at-home community came to the rescue.

George Cowan, a ten-year-old Woodstock resident and a Woodstock Elementary school student, had been yearning for several months for a cockatiel – a bird native to Australia. Then in February, George received a one-month old cockatiel as a prized birthday present.

He named it Carl.

On the day before Mother’s Day in May, George emerged from his house with Carl on his arm to ask his mother a question. It was a beautiful day, and George’s mother Carey had been sitting on the lawn talking with a neighbor – at a distance, of course, since the pandemic protocols had been clearly set out by that time.

As George went outside, George’s father Harley, and his 14 year-old brother Henry, warned George that he should go back into the house so Carl could not fly away. But, remembers George’s mom, Carey, “I said it was okay [to stay outside] because I honestly didn’t think Carl could fly! He had only flown a few feet in our living room, where we keep him.”

Suddenly, to George and Carey’s surprise, Carl flew up over the neighbors’ roof and across the street into another neighbor’s backyard. Understandably, George was very upset.  “It was probably the scariest moment of my life,” remarked George several weeks afterward. Carl was by then a mere four months old.

“Because everyone is home right now [during the pandemic], George and I immediately started going door-to-door, telling neighbors that Carl had flown away, and asking them to call out ‘Hi Carl’ because that is what he is used to hearing,” reported Carey. “Three or four neighbors were looking up and down the street, and then George and I went over to 44th Avenue while Harley and Henry continued contacting neighbors down 43rd Avenue.

“We could hear Carl calling us when we were on 44th Avenue, so we assumed he was nearby, but we couldn’t see him. We started knocking on every door, asking if anyone had seen him.  Everyone was helping us look, just dropping what they were doing – like cutting the lawn or working in the garden. They started looking in their backyards, and up and down the street.

“Then George saw him perched up on a gutter of a house. Even though we had been asking permission to go into peoples’ backyards, at the sight of Carl I grabbed a lawn chair at that house without asking permission, and when I stood on it and stretched out my arm, he stepped onto my hand,” smiled Carey. “He’s very tame with us, and wants to be with us.  He had evidently heard people all over the neighborhood calling ‘Hi Carl’ [so he stayed in the area]. It was so lucky everyone was at home. They all said, ‘Sure, we’ll help’. It was kind of a miracle, because we thought we’d never see him again.

“So if it hadn’t been for COVID-19, we think we wouldn’t have found him!”

There’s nothing more cheering than finding a small silver lining to this devastating worldwide pandemic.



Participating in this year’s July 4th “Eastmoreland Promenade” on decorated bicycles were the members of the Agee family.
Participating in this year’s July 4th “Eastmoreland Promenade” on decorated bicycles were the members of the Agee family. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

NO PARADE; NO SAUSAGES
Eastmoreland neighbors host limited July 4th celebration

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

One of the most notable Independence Day celebrations Inner Southeast Portland usually kicks off a bit before noon each year in the Eastmoreland neighborhood.

But this year, on the 4th of July, what would have been the 26th annual version of this huge block party didn’t take place, due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. S.E. Reed College Place, the nexus of activity, was strangely quiet as the noon hour came and went.

This year’s event committee wrote, “However, the best part of the parade was bringing our neighbors together, and we can still do that while respecting the social distancing guidelines.”

So, between 11 a.m. and noon, neighborhood leaders suggested that people step up for what they called a “Eastmoreland Promenade” – with families strolling Reed College Place or riding decorated bicycles, and waving hello to folks in their front yards as they passed.

“We discourage congregating in groups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your community and maintain proper social distance,” was the advice given.

Cruising the area during the designated time, THE BEE found few participants. But those who did turn out for the “Eastmoreland Promenade” told us they were having a great time!



A pandemic change for the Woodstock Neighborhood Association is that even if and when coronavirus restrictions are lifted, WNA meetings will not be held at the Community Center, because PP&R has announced all Centers (and its public pools) will remain closed until at least June of 2021.
A pandemic change for the Woodstock Neighborhood Association is that even if and when coronavirus restrictions are lifted, WNA meetings will not be held at the Community Center, because PP&R has announced all Centers (and its public pools) will remain closed until at least June of 2021. (Photo by Elizabeth Ussher Groff)

COVID-19 changes how SE neighborhood and business associations meet

By ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF
For THE BEE

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced major changes on Southeast Portland neighborhood and business associations. Few, if any, have had any in-person meetings since March; and the neighborhood associations – which are required to have Board Elections in May – have each found different ways of discharging this important obligation while meeting online, mostly using the popular ZOOM application.

The Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) has shared in all these challenges, and in addition has decided to make permanent changes in its schedule and number of meetings as well.

At the May general WNA meeting, which was held virtually via ZOOM, nineteen people attended online, and the schedule and number of meetings for the year was changed to accommodate busy schedules. There will be nine General and six Board meetings per year from now on for the WNA. The General meetings will remain on the first Wednesday each month – but will no longer take place in the months of January, July, and August. Its Board meetings will be on the second Wednesday of these six months: January, March, May, July, September, and November. All General and Board meetings will be at 7:00 p.m.

At WNA’s June 3 General meeting, elections were held via ZOOM, with the assistance of Southeast Uplift staff liaison Mireaya Medina. The election resulted in every position being filled for the year except Chairperson; the service of Sage Jensen as Chairperson for two years was applauded, as she steps down. And, for now, meeting facilitation will be rotated among members. Anna Weichsel, who has been the WNA liaison with Southeast Uplift for one year and will continue in that position, said she would be willing in October to be elected chairperson for the remainder of the term until June 2021.  The vice chair position will be shared by Sonja Miller and Elisa Edgington.

Attendees emphasized that it is important to let the community know that anyone who lives (rents or owns) or works in Woodstock is eligible to be a member of the WNA. Board position terms are for one year. Any member can volunteer for a Board position if they wish. All WNA meetings are open to the public, and will be held virtually on ZOOM until further notice.  To log in, see the link at – http://www.woodstockpdx.org

An additional significant change for the WNA is that it will soon become a 501c3 nonprofit. For over two years, beginning in 2018, a committee of seven WNA members, guided by outgoing chairperson Sage Jensen, met twice a month in pursuit of this non-profit status.  The process included changes in the bylaws with the help of The Center for Nonprofit Law.  The new bylaws were presented in May and voted on in June. This fall, when the edited bylaws are submitted to the IRS for consideration of the 501c3 status, the process will be complete when the application is approved.  

The last of the neighborhood associations in THE BEE’s service area to have its annual Board Election this year is SMILE, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League – already a 501c3 nonprofit, which will be holding its election at its August 5 ZOOM online meeting at 7:30 p.m.

SMILE has worked out a plan for online voting with Southeast Uplift – following the meeting with a 24-hour online voting period – and also providing a designated time on the following day at SMILE Station in Sellwood where written ballots can be cast in person, supervised by Southeast Uplift, for those lacking computer access.

In the early morning of May 8, a breezy day with no rain, a large branch fell off a street tree in the 2100 block of S.E. Ellis, causing property damage. An inspection revealed the tree was rotting and partially hollow inside, and it was subsequently removed.
In the early morning of May 8, a breezy day with no rain, a large branch fell off a street tree in the 2100 block of S.E. Ellis, causing property damage. An inspection revealed the tree was rotting and partially hollow inside, and it was subsequently removed. (Photo by Eric Norberg)

Southeast’s weather in first half of 2020: Fairly typical

By ERIC NORBERG
Editor, THE BEE

On July 1, we closed the books on the rainfall statistics for the first half of 2020 in Inner Southeast Portland – and the 19.65” of precipitation we received is a little better than last year’s 17.27”, and almost exactly the same as 2018’s 19.93”.  2017 was a drencher, and we got 33.25” in the first half of the year alone.

But 2020 has been pretty typical so far. Our wettest month in 2020 up till now was January – with 9.55 inches, almost three times the January before – but every year is different, and we’re used to that here in Oregon.

Can we detect any pattern that would hint at the weather here for the rest of the year?  Last year, the annual total was 29.75”, or about twelve inches more than the first half. In 2018, the annual total was 35.35” here, or just a little more than fifteen inches more than the first half. And in the spectacularly wet year of 2017, the total was 52.28”, or about nineteen inches more than the first half of the year.

So, about the only rule of thumb we can give you is that recently, the first half of the year has been wetter than the second half. Don’t throw your umbrella away, though, since every year is just a little bit different from every other one in Oregon, and most notably, a substantial fraction of the annual total falls on just a handful of days each year!



In an unpublished BEE photo taken last August inside “The Hanger” at Oaks Amusement Park, members of the “Rose City Rollers” were busy warming up.
In an unpublished BEE photo taken last August inside “The Hanger” at Oaks Amusement Park, members of the “Rose City Rollers” were busy warming up. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

‘Paced restart’ for Rose City Rollers roller derby

By PAUL DANZER
Pamplin Media
For THE BEE

Their sport offers rewards for speed and aggressiveness. But Sellwood’s Rolse City Rollers are taking a deliberate approach to restarting their popular roller derby program at “The Hanger” at Oaks Amusement Park.

Even though she projects that the Rose City Rollers will finish 2020 with a loss of some $100,000, the organization’s Executive Director is taking a cautious approach to returning to skating as usual.

“I want Rose City Rollers to behave well. I want us to be good citizens first,” Kim Stegeman said.

With that in mind, the Rollers recently released a detailed, six-step return-to-skating plan. Stegeman observed that the timing for each step will depend upon COVID-19 trends, and will only occur when county and state rules allow. In addition, the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association, the international governing body for the sport, has implemented strict guidelines that its members must follow.

The first phase of the return-to-skating plan, which is still on hold, will allow individual skaters on the track for up to a half-hour.

Stegeman remarked that the organization chose protocols during this phase that are stricter than required, using guidelines that fitness centers and gyms must follow to reopen. In addition to social distancing and face coverings, participants will be required to fill out a health questionnaire, and have temperature checks before entering the building at Oaks Park.

Skaters will enter the facility on the east side, and exit through the west side of the structure. To improve ventilation, the large doors at each end of The Hanger will remain open when skating is in progress.

The second phase of the Rollers’ plan will allow groups of six to eight skaters on the track, but no contact. Stegeman emphasized that the timing of each phase depends upon factors outside of her control.

The other steps along the path to normal roller derby operations are: Small-group skating with contact, following by team practices; then scrimmage practice sessions – and finally, games.

Those games are likely to happen without fans present, but be live-streamed on the Internet to generate revenue. Stegeman said that about 80% of Rose City Rollers members have continued to pay their dues, helping the program stay afloat. And RCR has helped its members stay active through some online webinars, and it is adjusting its skate rental program.

Starting back in May, the “Rent-n-Roll” program was modified to the “Rent-n-Roll Outdoors” program. Members check out skates by appointment, and keep them until this modified program is no longer needed. To make it happen, Rose City Rollers changed the wheels on its rental/loaner skates so they can be used outside.

In addition to the plans for reopening, Rose City Rollers has several fundraising events planned, along with community-involvement ideas. A multi-day marathon skating fundraiser is in the works, tentatively scheduled for August 1, with a goal of having skaters on the track for 100 hours, and – through pledges – raising $30,000, according to Stegeman. The event will include skaters of all levels, from youths to members of the Wheels of Justice world championship all-star team.

The Rollers are also launching a Skatemobile – a truck, stocked with skates – that can bring roller skating parties to the community (while following guidelines on gathering sizes.)

A complete rundown of the Rose City Rollers’ return-to-skating plan can be found online – http://www.rosecityrollers.com

“A lot of fun things are afoot,” grinned Stegeman.

The gates are closed, and will stay that way, at the Sellwood Pool this summer – due both to the COVID-19 shutdown, and to the resulting loss of operating revenue.
The gates are closed, and will stay that way, at the Sellwood Pool this summer – due both to the COVID-19 shutdown, and to the resulting loss of operating revenue. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Neighbors sad about Sellwood Pool closure this summer

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Although this year’s summer weather didn’t “kick in” until mid-July, residents all over Inner Southeast Portland have been saddened that the historic Sellwood Pool will not be open this summer – for the first time in 91 years – due primarily to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.

“I really wanna go swimming again here,” complained 5-year-old Jimmy Cantor, as he walked past the still-covered outdoor pool, on the way to Sellwood Park with his mother, Janine.

Since the first version of the public in-ground swimming pool opened in 1910 – later reconstructed in 1996 – this Portland Parks and Recreation swimming pool has been open every summer, according to PP&R spokesperson Mark Ross. “After checking, we don’t think Sellwood Pool, or any other PP&R pool, has ever been closed for a full summertime.”

PP&R pools will likely stay closed the whole summer – “COVID effects notwithstanding” – because of city budgetary issues, Ross added. “Our ‘operating budget’ depends largely on fees generated from people taking classes, registering for camps and swim lessons, securing permits, and so forth. So, about 50 cents of every dollar in our Recreation division budget comes from those fees.

“We haven’t been able to earn needed fees, after closing pools and community centers,” Ross pointed out. “This meant that in Spring 2020 we had to lay off, or to not hire, hundreds of seasonal employees who normally help in our busiest season – summertime.”

This loss of revenue means PP&R’s pools will remain closed, and community centers shuttered, through the season, “Regardless of COVID reopening phases,” Ross said.



Woodstock resident Kimberly Barbara, flanked by her kids Elizabeth and Theodore, told THE BEE she’s thankful for the Portland Parks “Free Lunch + Play” program.
Woodstock resident Kimberly Barbara, flanked by her kids Elizabeth and Theodore, told THE BEE she’s thankful for the Portland Parks “Free Lunch + Play” program. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Portland Parks rolls out summer ‘Free Lunch + Play’

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Now, and throughout the rest of the summer – the ending date has yet to be set – Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is once again hosting food and fun for children in parks and other areas on most weekdays, calling it “Free Lunch + Play”.

“This year in addition to the free meals at lunchtime, or during the early afternoon, take-home activities are being offered, too – such as art kits, activity packs, free books, and games,” explained the PP&R Summer Free-for-All Supervisor, and the “City of Portland Emergency Coordination Center Food Security Lead”, Chariti Montez.

“Like here, at Mt. Scott Park today – our programs are providing both a breakfast and a lunch in one bag – the lunch for ‘now’, and the breakfast for tomorrow morning – free to each kid, up to 18 years old,” Montez told THE BEE. “Due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, we’re encouraging families to take the meals off-site – or they may still be eaten in the park, with appropriate social distancing. The child doesn’t even need to be present; a parent or guardian can come pick it up, and take it home to them.”

PP&R has been providing prepared meals for youngsters in the summers since back in the 1970s, she said – “Because at least 50% of the children in these areas go to schools that are eligible for free or reduced-fee lunches. In the summer recess, they don’t have access for those meals, so we are here to fill that nutrition gap.

“Due to COVID-19, we’re seeing that ‘food insecurity’ is one of the major repercussions of this pandemic – it’s five to eight times greater than what it would be normally.”

Although there aren’t any group activities provided, PP&R hasn’t forgotten about the “Recreation” part of the Bureau’s name, Montez assured. “We know that play is important as food! Providing creative play helps them be better students when they get back to school, for example.

“We’re starting off with ‘Grab-and-Go Activity Kits’, each one containing all of the materials needed to do an art or play project.”

Later in the year, the program will provide recreational items, such as jump ropes and foot bags, to keep kids physically engaged.

All art kits, activity packs, free books, games, and activities are designed so that participants can maintain six feet of physical distancing at all times while enjoying them, she said.

Inner Southeast Portland “Free Lunch + Play” park locations include:

  • Essex Park – S.E. 76th Avenue and Center Street; Monday through Thursday, from noon until 1p.m.  
  • Harney Park – S.E. 67th Avenue and Harney Street; Monday and Friday, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
  • Mt. Scott Park – S.E. 72nd Avenue and Ramona Street; Monday through Thursday, from noon until 2 p.m.

For more information, go online – https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69873



Here, helping to prune overgrown shrubs, we found LNLA volunteer Terry Lilly.
Here, helping to prune overgrown shrubs, we found LNLA volunteer Terry Lilly. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Clean-up volunteers cross neighborhood borders to help

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

The forecast rainstorms came into Southeast Portland with a vengeance on Saturday morning, June 20, as volunteers from the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA) unpacked their gear to help a resident of the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood catch up on his yard work.

Cold rain pelted the eight LNLA volunteers who began hacking away at an overgrown front yard, as well as the backyard jungle of chest-high grass and Himalayan blackberry vines.

“A case worker with Adventist Health told us that this homeowner, Bill, had a medical condition, and could really use a hand with his yard work,” related LNLA’s Char Pennie.

The organization’s name is associated with the Lents neighborhood, Pennie conceded; but, because the LNLA is not a city-affiliated neighborhood association, they’re not bound to any specific geographic service area.

“When we find people in Brentwood-Darlington, Powellhurst-Gilbert, and other areas around us that need the help, our ‘Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program’ volunteers are willing to go pitch in,” Pennie told THE BEE. “Since the start of the LNLA, our focus has been to help and inform people.

“Instead of getting involved with politics; we just help where we can.”

At their monthly meetings, which are held on Mt. Scott, the LNLA brings in city leaders and others to inform neighbors about current issues. Learn more, at their website – http://www.lentsneighborhoodlivabilityassociation.org



The signs on the table make the purpose of the two “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry” locations clear, in several languages: “Free Food”.
The signs on the table make the purpose of the two “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry” locations clear, in several languages: “Free Food”. (The signs on the table make the purpose of the two “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry” locations clear, in several languages: “Free Food”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
In front of her home, Chelsea Powers welcomes those looking for nutritious food to her “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry”.
In front of her home, Chelsea Powers welcomes those looking for nutritious food to her “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

NEIGHBORS FEEDING NEIGHBORS
‘Pop-up pantries’ provided by Brentwood-Darlington families

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Simultaneous Wednesday afternoon outdoor food pantries have appeared in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

These are not an official project of the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association – but, rather, they’re a personal project of the neighborhood’s Chair, Chelsea Powers, and another neighbor, Kristin Sassano, who lives 18 blocks away.

“We’re calling these the ‘Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantries’ – something that I started by accident,” Powers told THE BEE amid assisting neighbors in picking up needed food in front of her home, across the street from Lane Middle School.

Some time ago, Powers said, she started volunteering with the Woodmere Food Impact Northwest Pantry (as reported in the May, 2020, issue of THE BEE) to distribute food at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center.

“I picked up surplus bread donated by Grand Central Bakery for their pantry,” Power recounted. “To not discard the remaining bread that the pantry hadn’t given away during the summer, I decided to set up a folding table in my front yard, and let folks know via Facebook that it was available.

Kristin Sassano talks with neighbor Tina Kaiser at the second location of the “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry”.
Kristin Sassano talks with neighbor Tina Kaiser at the second location of the “Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-up Pantry”. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

“But, after about three weeks, like most of my volunteer projects, it evolved from there into being more than just bread, because our neighbors who lack food security are really in need of things that you can’t get in a food pantry – like eggs, and fresh produce.”

Because Rinella Produce gave them low prices, and delivered, the pop-up pantry was able to also provide fresh eggs, potatoes, and carrots for local residents in need.

During mid-July her pantry also offered greens and peppers, tons of squash from neighbors’ gardens, and apples from the Brentwood-Darlington Orchard in the Learning Gardens Lab.

This project so far has been sustained by neighbors contributing from their gardens, their kitchens, or their wallets,” Powers told THE BEE.

After collaborating with Powers, a few weeks after she expanded her pop-up pantry, Kristin Sassano opened her own companion outdoor pantry in the driveway of her home near S.E. 78th Avenue and Ogden Street.

“I’m sourcing items with Chelsea, and also from other places, including from people bringing in things they’ve grown in their gardens, to offer items that help people stretch meals a little bit farther,” Sassano said. “Today, someone went to Costco and asked if they could buy something and bring it, to help!”

Their effort shows that feeding hungry people doesn’t take a large organization, government grants, or a substantial payroll. All it takes is neighbors with big hearts, like Chelsea and Kristin, and those who are contributing to their “pop-up pantries”.





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