LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A hawk family lives in Sellwood
Here is a picture of one of the three baby hawks nesting in the 700 block of S.E. Lexington, in the tall trees. They live across the street from us. This baby had somehow landed on the roof of our neighbor's house. All the while, the Mom or Dad were watching from the branches of the tree. The next morning, Baby H was back in the nest.
Barbara Pahl, via e-mail
Appreciates new skate park
Thank you for the article [July BEE] about the 'Skate Spot' at S.E. 16th and Brooklyn Street. I appreciate the positive press about this addition to the neighborhood, and also appreciate the men who started the project. My son and his friends are just a few of the skaters who gave a few hours to help build it. Skaters tend to face a lot of negative stereotypes, and it is a really supportive gesture of THE BEE to give this 'charming little skateboard park' the notice it deserves. The more legitimate places we provide for young people to skate the better, and they usually are those who love the sport and put their own time and resources into it.
Jennifer Talney-Needham, S.E. Nehalem Street, Woodstock, via BEE online letters form
Woodstock neighbors help nail hit and run driver
Thanks for printing our story [June BEE Letters to the Editor]. I thought I'd let you know that a neighbor knocked on our door the night of June 30th to tell us he saw a green Dodge Durango driving down S.E. 44th Avenue [presumably after striking the parked truck near Woodstock Boulevard] with a collapsed front end. We hopped in the car and starting cruising the neighborhood in search for it and we found it parked not too far away. After calling the police and waiting for them to arrive, we were sent home, and the officer said he would follow up with us. She [the driver of the damaged vehicle] was arrested later that evening on several charges including DUI. Her car was impounded and the fiberglass piece she left behind at the scene of the hit and run one week prior [the photo of this was printed with the letter in THE BEE] was an exact fit to the front end of her Durango. Now we sit and wait to hear from the DA's office. The community really helped us out on this one. We are grateful for everyone's efforts in helping us track this woman down.
Letanya Bjonskaas and Erik Young, via e-mail
Cat killed in Sellwood
I just wanted to bring attention to a disturbing event in Sellwood. On July 8 our neighbor's cat was decapitated.....the police officer I called said that this type of thing has been going on in the neighborhood for about a year. Please let your readers know about this horrible tragedy and to keep their pets indoors if possible!
Gretchen Browne, S.E. Clatsop Street, via BEE online letters form
[EDITOR'S NOTE: About a year ago we had several reports of killed and dismembered cats - in Eastmoreland, where coyotes were believed responsible, and in Westmoreland just north of Bybee. Coyotes have repeatedly spotted near Reed College, and another cat killing suspected of a coyote occurred recently in Eastmoreland. A cat killing was reported in East Portland in the Cherry Park neighborhood, and a string of malicious cat killings have taken place at Oregon City, involving skinning - and on July 21 the knifing and skinning of a Jack Russell Terrier, customarily spending the night outside, in Happy Valley, was reported. Obviously some crimes were committed by a disturbed individual, while others seem to be slayings by other animals - but in any event, these sorts of tragedies do provide an incentive to keep pets indoors at night, and under supervision anytime they are outside.]
Two views of recycling bin scavengers
I wanted to echo the concern expressed by another reader [July BEE] about people going through recycle bins. When we first moved here some 6 years ago, I too thought it was a harmless when people went through my yellow glass recycle bin; but in the last few years I have changed my view. I see some very sketchy characters rooting through not only the glass recycle container but also the big blue bin. I was upset by the recent rape just a few blocks from my home by one of those [scavengers], and as I watched a man bend over my neighbor's blue bin, head and both arms deep inside, hauling things out, I thought of how much information can be gleaned by looking through discarded mail and other papers; whether you are married or single, household composition - possibly financial information, and who knows what else - making targeting your home for criminal intent fairly easy. We started keeping the glass bin in the back yard, taking it out the morning of pick-up, and likewise with the blue bin. Maybe if we all began being a little more cautious with how much information we offer up [in our trash] we can minimize the attraction of our neighborhood to those with criminal intent, or those looking for opportunistic crimes.
Susan Tipton, S.E. 20th Avenue, via BEE online letters form
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We have seen very well dressed teens drive up to recycling bins in nice cars and root through; they are evidently not homeless. It appears that a variety of people are scavengers for a variety of different purposes.]
I would like to response to the 'misplaced charity' writer [July BEE] which encouraged residents to not place cans or bottles outside that homeless people collect for money. Leaving out cans is the very least that we can do as residents of this neighborhood for those that have nothing but the clothes on their back or the shopping carts they push. Homelessness is perhaps one of the worst forms of social deprivation and is one of the darkest experiences anyone can face. The life of a homeless individual is a struggle for everyday survival, and often people are dogged by any number of additional problems such as alcohol or drug dependency, depression and mental illness, financial ruin, marriage/family breakdown. Yes, a few of them have been in and out of jail, and some are dangerous, but this does not mean we should shun all homeless people. I have three young sons and try to instill kindness by teaching them to share food, money, and yes, even a smile and small talk with the residents of Westmoreland that live on the streets. I have worked as a RN and Nurse Practitioner with the homeless for more than ten years in homeless clinics and prisons and can count on one hand negative experiences where I felt threatened or in danger. Here are some other ideas that may make life a little bit easier for some that have less than those of us that live in houses:
Donate your professional clothes to an organization that helps people get back into the workforce. Give gently worn home furnishings or household appliances to a person or family who might need them or donate them to an organization that helps people with housing. Take warm clothes, blankets or food to a homeless person that you often cross paths with. Donate toys, books, shoes, rain-gear, or backpacks to a homeless organization. When shopping, buy a couple extra non-perishable food items and take them to a food drive or pantry. Make an extra serving of dinner and bring it to a homeless person in your neighborhood.
Brooke Fitzgerald, S.E. 17th Avenue, Westmoreland, via BEE online letters form
Family history in BEE a surprise
I was so surprised to have opened the July BEE and seen an article on the Gottschalk family. Anna Gottschalk Poole was my grandmother; Stanley my grandfather; Donald Poole, my father. Anna and my father went to Sellwood Grade School. And in 2010, my daughter, Bryn, graduated from Sellwood Middle School. My father, who still lives nearby, will love this piece of nostalgia! When I was growing up reading THE BEE, it wasn't uncommon to see stories about the old family stores, and how much food cost back in the day. And by the way, what a small world! Here Dana Beck from the post office is writing this story, and little did he know that a Gottschalk family member works right across the street from him! Thank you so much for this article! I am so proud that my family roots run deep in this community that I love, and where I live and work today.
Dana Poole McKillop, Eastmoreland Resident, Moreland Windermere Real Estate Agent
Being ready for disaster
I appreciated your editorial in the July issue. It gives a sobering account of the earthquake we are due for, and begins to suggest how individuals can prepare. I'd like to point out that the SMILE Sustainability Committee has developed 'Be Prepare', a simple, straightforward, do-it-yourself program to assist households and blocks to get prepared. You can find it online at: http://beprepared.sellwood.org . 'Be Prepared' requires no special training, and consists of three phases. Individuals and blocks can do whatever parts of this program they wish.
Its three phases are:
1. Personal and Family Preparedness - tells how to create a family disaster plan, what kinds of emergency supplies to get, where to get them, and how to identify hazards in your home that you can remedy right now.
3. Staying Prepared - insures that you know what to do, that you have accurate information on the neighborhood, and that you have the needed safety equipment, through a series of drills that are fun to do.
We gave a presentation to the community on this program last spring. We will have presentations on lessons learned from Japan and on natural disasters in this area by Jay Wilson at the SMILE Station on August 24 and 31.
I fully agree with your statement that we need more people to take the 21-hour Neighborhood Emergency Teams training. The next open training is in the spring of 2012 - see the Portland Office of Emergency Management website at: www.portlandonline.com/oem for information. But, due to the time commitment involved and the limited availability of trainings, most of us will still need something more immediate. 'Be Prepared' provides this for anyone, in any neighborhood, at any time and at no cost.
Stan Hoffman, SMILE Board Member, via e-mail
Fate of Eastmoreland caution tape?
What will become of the miles of yellow plastic caution tape used [to protect the new grass seeding] on Reed College Place? Straight to landfill? Seems contrary to the purpose of keeping people off the plantings.
Steve Malone, Jesse McGuillicutty, S.E. 32nd Avenue, Eastmoreland, via BEE online letters form
Sellwood student a cultural ambassador
I would like to pass along some exciting information about our daughter. Jordan, who is a rising senior and honors student at St. Mary's Academy, has won a fellowship from the State Department to represent the U.S. this summer in a month-long program that brings 35 kids her age from the Middle East (Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan), and 10 from the U.S., to Washington, D.C. The program is designed to help these students develop global perspectives and a sense of civic responsibility; to develop relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious and national groups; to increase understanding and acceptance of different viewpoints on global issues; and to develop a cadre of young leaders. They learn to work toward resolving conflicts and building consensus among their groups.
I believe that Jordan was chosen out of the 70 semi-finalists because she had already exhibited an openness and desire to understand other cultures and religious. For example, one of her close friends at St. Mary's is Muslim. Last year, Jordan decided to observe Ramadan so that she, as a Catholic, could better understand her friend's religion. She fasted, as Ramadan dictates, from dawn to sunset for the entire 30 day period, and then celebrated the end of Ramadan with her friend's family in their home. She plans to observe Ramadan again this year, which I believe starts August 1.
As I write, Jordan is just starting her third week in the program, and the experience has already opened her eyes and her mind to a world very far and different from hers here in Portland. This innovative program is called the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute (BRSI), and it brings together analysis with practical, hands-on training and skills development. It is funded by the State Department and administered by the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University (GMU). This has been a life-changing program for Jordan, and I'm sure for the other students as well. The program ends and the kids head back to their homes in Oregon, North Carolina, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and so on, on July 26.
Barbara Pahl, S.E. Lexington, Sellwood, via e-mail
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.