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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

SMILE Station is recertified

Editor,

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A group photo of the volunteers who cleaned up SMILE Station for its recertification.In 2009, the Board of Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association voted to obtain a Gold Level Certification in the Backyard Habitat Certification Program for its facility, by installing a raingarden and native hedge row along the side area of SMILE Station. It’s been three years since the project and the station was up for recertification.

I helped coordinate a work party on Saturday, October 27th, along with community volunteers, to clean up weeds that had crept into the gardens. After a few hours spent in the rain, the property was again awarded Gold certification, which lasts for another three years.

The objective of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program is to assist property owners through three levels of advanced habitat restoration: Silver, gold, and platinum. At each level, the program focuses on removal of aggressive weeds, naturescaping with native plants, stormwater management, and wildlife stewardship. The certification process involves an initial site assessment from a Backyard Habitat Technician. Property owners then receive a written Site Report recommending site specific habitat enhancements. Property owners receive continued technical support and encouragement as they restore their property, they are given access to a variety of incentives to assist with their restoration efforts, and they receive a sign identifying their property as “certified” when the process is completed.

Since its inception more than 1,400 urban residents have enrolled in the program and these properties cover more than 285 acres. Any BEE reader interested in learning more should visit our websites: www.columbialandtrust.org and www.audubonportland.org

Gaylen Beatty

Manager, Backyard Habitat Certification Program

and Sellwood resident

Clarification about “Eastmoreland Little Library”

Editor,

I was delighted to see an article about my library in your December issue. It has been a source of great pleasure since we put it up, watching our friends and strangers alike sharing their books. However there is an error in the article that needs to be addressed. The plaque identifying my library as a participant of the Free Little Library movement was donated by the Gift It Forward Team (GIFT), not by the Library itself. It was built by my sons and husband, and initially stocked with books from our own personal library. I wanted to clarify that point, as the article appears to suggest that the Free Little Library provided the library. Once again, thank you sharing our story.

Pam Lamirande

Eastmoreland

Counseling Center stirs letters

Editor,

The responsibility and honor of a community newspaper like THE BEE is to inform its readers of facts that have an impact on our lives and livelihoods. By choosing to ignore and not report the opening of the Whole Systems Counseling Center, which began serving levels 1-3 convicted sex offenders in December of 2011, you failed us. You missed a critical opportunity to empower this neighborhood in safeguarding our families. Shame on you. How can we trust THE BEE to report what matters? You owe this neighborhood an apology.

Cara Walker & Shannon Quimby

via e-mail

Editor,

We moved to Sellwood last year and THE BEE has been so helpful to us in getting to know the area. It is a wonderful community newspaper that really DOES report the news. I think it is a testament to how much the community enjoys and relies on the paper that people were upset that the opening of the clinic wasn’t in THE BEE! Community newspapers are very rare and I just wanted to let you know how much our family appreciates the paper and the work that you guys do. We are very fortunate to have your dedicated staff and this great resource. Keep on keepin’ on!

M. Mattern via e-mail

Editor,

I was told that THE BEE has not reported on the opening of the counseling center at 7304 S.E. Milwaukie because no laws have been broken. How does this reasoning correlate with the recent reporting of the plans to build apartments in Westmoreland on SE 15th Ave and in Sellwood on Tacoma. The coverage focused on the lack of on-site parking and impacts on the neighborhood, but specifically noted that the plans did not break any city building code.

I think that the impact to the community of the counseling center for sexual offenders being located in close proximity to the Boys & Girls Club & a pre-school is bigger news than new apartments.

I have also been told that some clients waiting outside the center have been cat calling, whistling, blowing kisses etc. at some middle school girls as they walk to & from school.

I look forward to hearing your perspective on this “non story”.

Andy Taylor

via e-mail

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We explain our news coverage policy in “From the Editor” this issue, and how our coverage of this matter is very consistent with all of the others we have covered. As for the cat calls, we spoke with a girl who had made that comment, and after some thought she decided that it had not happened in front of the counseling facility, but in front of a convenience store at some distance from it. There is much hysteria on this subject which is unjustified by the absence of any police reports whatever centering on the counseling center’s address.]

“Childswork” receives an accolade

Editor, I am writing to let you know about a feel-good story from Childswork Learning Center. The school, which serves 260 3-6 year olds in Southeast Portland [in both Westmoreland and Sellwood], was recently designated as an Eco-Healthy Child Care Facility by the Children’s Environmental Health Network.

The school took several steps to achieve the eco-friendly certification (cleaning supplies, no pesticides, partnership with Energy Trust to replace light fixtures), but it’s also integrating environmental lessons into the classroom, teaching kids not only the ABCs of recycling and composting, but also why it’s important.

Tiana Dixon, Childswork

via e-mail

Land use concerns in Eastmoreland

Editor,

What sort of spectacular event could have drawn nearly 150 people to the Duniway School auditorium on a recent dark and rainy night, a few days after Thanksgiving? The Eastmoreland Land Use Committee invited concerned residents to discuss what we are calling the “Reconstruction of Eastmoreland”. Within the past year, at least ten houses have been substantially or completely demolished to make way for largely speculative projects which have neighbors worried. There appears to be a lack of design standards that respect the historic nature of Eastmoreland. Homes are being built that are twice the size of their demolished predecessors. Mature landscaped yards are being replaced by duos of narrow-lot homes that tower over and cramp their neighbors. Southeast Malden has been particularly hard hit. No sooner had one developer finished excavating than another began demolishing a bungalow a few doors to the west.

When older homes are flattened, materials such as asbestos and lead paint are released into the air unless careful abatement procedures are followed. Indeed, an engineer who serves on the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Board of Directors discovered asbestos on one Malden Street job site (the DEQ was notified). So, what can we do about it? Eastmoreland is zoned “R5”, and that USED to mean, “no lots smaller than 5,000 square feet”.

NOT ANY MORE. Due to a series of zoning changes voted in by the Portland City Council a few years ago, many historic properties originally platted in clusters of 25-foot-wide lots can now be broken up and sub-divided. Hundreds of corner lots in Eastmoreland can be LEGALLY turned into duplexes without the 25-foot setbacks that characterize our neighborhood. Visit S.E. 37th and Claybourne to see an example of corner lot development that has neighbors riled. Several speakers at the Nov. 29th meeting wanted the Portland City Council to declare a moratorium on certain types of infill projects (especially demolition/narrow lot houses/monster houses) until the city’s new Comprehensive Plan is assembled. The Eastmoreland Land Use Committee has adopted goals for what we are calling our “Plan District”. They include, but are not limited to: Maintaining distinctive neighborhood character by promoting an architecture of street trees, paying attention to the scale of homes so that yards and plantings are featured, and de-emphasizing the visual impact of garages.

We want demolition of existing housing to be minimized. New housing is consistently more expensive. As lots are redeveloped at higher density, taxes on nearby homes go up, encouraging further demolition. The ENA wants to preserve historically significant structures, and to remove code provisions that encourage development on lots smaller than 5,000 square feet. We want to minimize the stream of building materials hauled to the landfill. And we want developers to respect the context of the new homes they are building. Please send comments and suggestions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . A second meeting is planned at Duniway in a few weeks to discuss the final draft of our neighborhood goals.

Kimberly Koehler ENA Board of Directors

Crime increase in Woodstock perceived

Editor, I've noticed an uptick in crime in the Woodstock area over the last few months. Examples in the neighborhood: Racist and threatening graffiti at the Woodstock School in November 2012; a large fight between a large group of adolescents in which a knife was drawn, in summer 2012; two hold-ups in fall 2012; man beaten in the park in fall 2012.

Examples at my own home: We’ve had three child items stolen from our front porch or front yard (a child’s red wagon, a child’s tire swing, and a Bob stroller). The wagon was stolen during the daytime, as I saw it at noon on my way out of the house and noticed it was gone when I returned around 6 pm. I also witnessed a man rummaging through a neighbor’s car at 6 am recently. The timing of these thefts seems fairly brazen to me, as the thieves seem largely unconcerned about being caught.

These personal incidents, combined with the stories of crime that have been reported in the neighborhood, have me concerned for the safety of my family and the livability of the neighborhood. I love so many things about this neighborhood (the elementary school, the library, the walkability of the neighborhood, the friendliness of the neighbors), but I’m becoming increasingly disturbed by the crime in this area. I would appreciate input from others in the neighborhood about it.

Catherine Miller

Woodstock resident

“Ghost Mail” story gets noticed

Editor, As it happens, I was mentioned in a dozen West Coast papers this past week – L.A. Times to the Bellingham Herald – but the best buzz is from THE BEE. [Page one, December issue.]

Now I know where the star quality resides . . . Robert McCullough

Eastmoreland

“Interesting use of old space”

Editor,

I am a regular BEE reader, and a Sellwood resident. I went in to Vintage Design Collective today – they opened up a vintage furniture store in the old Scottish Rite Masons building on Milwaukie across from the Boys and Girls Club. Similarly, Stars is operating a super cute pop-up (temporary) shop that has beautiful displays right next to Starbucks on Milwaukie. I know you sometimes make note of new businesses in your community happenings columns, and I thought these two should be included. (I am not affiliated in any way with either – I was just impressed, and am glad to see some more

vintage/antique places open up – I think it helps maintain the character of our neighborhood.) Thanks for your time and a great neighborhood paper! Keri Piehl

via e-mail

Misguided charity?

Editor,

I would like to thank my fellow Woodstock neighbors for attracting more homeless people to our neighborhood by giving money to them. I continue to see these people holding up signs begging for money because they are “so hungry” or “need money for weed”. Well, if they would not smoke weed maybe they wouldn’t be so hungry? In all seriousness, should you feel the desire to help, please consider giving to a homeless organization who actually use the money to try and get these people off the streets, and their life in order. Giving money directly to them does not help anyone, it is half of the problem and hurts our neighborhood. If you like having these people begging and ruining the livability of our great neighborhood please continue giving so more will come.

Dan Detloff

via BEE online letters form

Readers responded to “Body Recall”

Editor,

The outcome from the November article in THE BEE about Body Recall exercise classes has been quite significant. There have been six new students. In addition, several former students have returned to class who were motivated by the article. It is both rewarding to have a growing group and also to see people beginning to increase their strength and ability. Your article described the class in such a way that the new students are very well suited for the moderate level of the classes. With careful instruction, all but one of the new students were able to get down and up from the floor for exercising last Thursday, November 15, and I suspect it won’t be long before everyone feels ready and able. This is such an important skill for fall prevention and recovery. Thank you for doing such a nice article about Body Recall. I think it inspired quite a few people to believe they could become healthier and stronger!

Lisa Revell

via e-mail

Don’t park too near corners

Editor,

I'd like to piggy-back on the recent letter from Christine Olson and extend a gentle reminder to our neighbors that it is illegal to park within 20 feet of any crosswalk. And, since every corner is a designated crosswalk (marked or not), there should never be a car within 20 feet of any corner. It is extremely difficult to see oncoming cars, bikes, and pedestrians, when cars are parked right up to the intersections.

Pamela Orser

via e-mail

Middle School angst on stage in Sellwood

Editor,

I’m Ann Singer, educational outreach coordinator of Lunacy Stagework’s Lunatic Fringe: theatre workshops for at-risk youth, based in Sellwood. I am a resident of Sellwood, and Lunacy also teaches a theatre program at Llewelyn Elementary.

I’d like to alert the public – and invite their attendance – to “Stories: From the Trenches of Middle School”, to be performed by the kids at the Sellwood Playhouse, 901 S.E. Spokane Street, during Fertile Ground on January 25 and 26. A reception follows the January 26 performance. Tickets are $5, and may be obtained online at: www.lunacystageworks.org – or call 503/528-4188. Ann Singer

via e-mail

City of Portland reports recycling success

Editor,

We’ve recently passed the one-year anniversary of Curbside Composting in Southeast Portland and across the city, which changed the Curbside Collection Service – with the the addition of food scraps along with yard debris in the green “Portland Composts” roll cart, allowing a switch to every-other-week garbage pickup. Over the past year, the City has been gathering data to see how the new service is going, and the results are impressive!

• Portland households are throwing away almost 40 percent less garbage.

• The amount of yard debris plus food scraps collected for composting has tripled.

• Nearly 80 percent of Portland households are including food scraps in their green compost roll cart.

• Portlanders continue to be fantastic recyclers. More than 85 percent of all recyclable materials are placed in the blue recycling cart.

Great work Portland! The City has resources available to help manage your waste and answer your questions. Visit online: www.portlandcomposts.com – to view the full one-year report, find your collection schedule, and sign up to receive weekly email reminders.

Jocelyn Boudreaux

Portland City Hall

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.