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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Pedestrian bridge mural done; artist says thanks

Editor,

I would like to thank THE BEE [October 2011] for all the support it gave to the Brooklyn Mural. Describing my approach with a story and picture was a great way to let the neighbors know what was taking place. I want to thank little Oliver's family for helping with the primer painting, as well as Mike O'Connor and everyone that pitched in physically and spiritually. I know I was walking upon a sacred brook below, and the footprints of all who lived in the area from the beginning of time.

I used to live on S.E. 9th in 1985-1986, and loved being a part of the Brooklyn neighborhood. My son and my nephew were kids then, and used to slip and slide at the park in the summer. We took care of a black lab named Zeke who could actually climb the slide and then slide down on his paws! A real Letterman pet trick!

The mural was built on Color Fields that reflected the natural 'Brook Land' area [for which the neighborhood was originally named]. The sidewalk by the mural is dated 1915, which is the era of Expressionism, which Vincent Van Gogh helped initiate. The world was more relaxed and was a sustainable place a hundred years ago.The Mural is a testimony to that place and its special time.

I cut out and designed most of the stencils myself, and enlarged them at Kinko's. Spraying them was much harder than I expected. Life is very fractal, so I tried to stay in the moment, just as if I were doing one of my oil paintings in the studio. The kinetic narrative of the mural was both calculated and random at the same time. I wanted the coyotes and ospreys to lead the charge, with other characters as counterpoints - such as fish, butterflies and playful cats.

I recently completed graduate degree work in Art at PSU. My main paper was on Vincent Van Gogh's painting 'The Sower' (1888 Arles). I see the Brooklyn neighborhood as charming a place as Arles in southern France. It seemed like a beautiful metaphor for the mural. I hope that the Graffiti artists give it the respect it deserves. It is there to bring love and color and movement to the world. I also put together a soft acoustic CD - 'Music for the Mural' by the Lew Jones Act - that is free to anyone from the Brooklyn neighborhood. Contact me [for it] at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and thank you for letting me be apart of your lives this past summer. Let the sun shine!

Lewton Thomas Jones, via e-mail

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you drive past the pedestrian overcrossing on Powell just east of the Ross Island Bridge and see no mural, that's because it's painted on the INSIDE walls of the overcrossing. You'll have to park, and walk across Powell Boulevard on the overcrossing, to enjoy the mural!

Parking problem

Editor,

As a long time homeowner in Sellwood I am writing to inform my fellow residents about the strong-arm tactics being taken by the owner of 'The Bank of England' on the corner of S.E. Tacoma Street and S.E. 11th Avenue. When this property was rezoned from residential to commercial back in 2005, we all went along with the change, as it bordered on a existing stretch next to the Baptist Church. Up until recently we have had no problems with people working in the house, as it has not impacted any of the neighbors to a large extent.

In the last couple of weeks though, the owner has taken it upon himself to approach me by yelling across the street demanding to know if I work at New Season's Market, and telling me not to park my vehicle on 11th Street if I did. Then on October 14, I found typewritten letters on my vehicle, my daughter's vehicle, and on the vehicle of one of our neighbors, asking us to make room for the clientele of his business.

Not to mention the fact that three of his personal vehicles are parked in the same right of way - and he parked his personal vehicle within an inch of my daughter's bumper so as to make it difficult to drive away.

If this is how a business owner in our neighborhood is going to behave, then maybe it is time for them to take their business somewhere else.

Ish Silva, S.E. Tacoma Street

EDITOR'S NOTE: We discussed this matter both with the neighborhood association and with the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance in hopes of working out a truce in this skirmish. We found that the north side of Tacoma on 11th seems to be a regular spot for New Seasons employees to park, including some who come quite early. The parking spaces are on public property and belong to the public at large. If a business has retail customers, it is possible to request a 'time-limited' space or two, but that is no help to employees who need to park for hours. In some zones in high-density neighborhoods, the City of Portland has established long-term parking for employees and residents by zone permit, but that would not be applicable in this situation. We have been led to believe that the business in question now realizes that they have no proprietary parking rights.

Barrels are the solution

Editor,

[Re: Sellwood's new sewers nearly ready for winter's rain, October BEE] If everyone used rain barrels we wouldn't have needed to spend the money on this project. They could have bought everybody one of these and it still would have been less.

Maggie Lester, via BEE online comment form

EDITOR'S NOTE: THE BEE admits to considerable doubt that even if everyone had a rain barrel on their property, enough rain runoff could have been avoided to make the Portland sewer expansion program just now completing unnecessary. There remain the paved streets, which are prodigious collectors of rainwater.

Cannot sell condo due to bridge project

Editor,

I have just sent a letter to Representative Earl Blumenauer… I told him that I'm writing with the hope that the power of his office might be exercised to influence Multnomah County to make some restitution for the ruin that has been wrought on my retirement financial planning by its Sellwood Bridge rebuild project.

My chief retirement asset is my townhome in the RiverPark Condominium Complex. My townhome is #3 (third from the bridge) in a row of ten stretching north from the bridge parallel with the Willamette shoreline.

I'm 74, my wife, Judy, was 71 when she died of cancer just this September 23rd. Judy's cancer was a particularly aggressive type, only having been diagnosed on June 9th. Until her cancer diagnosis we thought we could financially manage to afford living here through the bridge project, expecting that with the project completion our property would recover some of its value that was wiped out completely by the County's announcement of the project back in April of 2006. (Yeah, a full year before the property value "bubble burst" in 2007.)

Essentially, our property has been held in 'virtual' eminent domain status since that announcement, effectively sequestered away from our usage of it as capital asset. Actually, market records give objective testimony to the fact that prior to the bridge project announcement our property was marketed even above the then 'bubble' values that didn't collapse until the following spring of 2007.

Noting the sequence of dates is critical for framing the impact of the County's announcement upon my economic future. My wife and I had listed our property for sale just days before the announcement. Though we've kept it 'listed' over five of the six years since the announcement, we've gotten not a nibble, though we've dropped the price a number of times.

Aggravating the poor sales prospect has been the County's delay in deciding which of the six rebuild plan options it would follow - only deciding within the past several months. Though all of the options virtually eliminated our property's marketability, one would have actually involved demolishing of it.

We'd managed to continue to afford living here by drawing down on our retirement fund, and on the income from my wife's exercise studios. Since sale of our property had proven improbable, we did careful calculations that showed that we could manage to hang on through the project, expecting our property to once again assume premium property value. That plan, of course, ended with Judy's diagnosis.

The 'shoofly' bridge - a temporary bridge to serve during the replacement of the existing bridge - will be practically directly over my house. In addition, periodically a construction crane will be blocking my driveway access to my garage. Townhouse #1 has been purchased by the County and will be demolished to make room for constructing the bridge. Townhouse #2 has been purchased by the County also, but whether or not it will be demolished is not certain yet. My townhouse, keep in mind, is #3.

I've appealed to the County contending that it should either buy my townhouse or make restitution to me for having denied to me its marketability for these six years. Law firms I've consulted decline to take my case in a civil suit against the County contending that existing laws preclude prospect of success.

So understand, any pressure which the office of Representative Bluemenauer, [can] exert upon the County on my behalf will be appreciated. More to the point, I believe it would be fair.

Storie Mooser, S.E. Spokane Street, via e-mail

Sellwood resident in fundraiser

Editor,

I am a Sellwood resident and would like to let people here know about a fundraiser I am working on. It's the 2nd annual Holiday Wreath Fundraising Sale for The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, a nonprofit established in 1962 and located near Sandy. The Oral Hull Park provides life affirming and self confidence building summer camp programs to blind individuals who come from all corners of the world, with programs such as white water rafting, sky diving, and kayaking, to name a few. Popular two -ay weekenders are provided monthly for those with vision loss in the greater Portland metro area. No one is turned away because of lack of funds. As well as the varied activities, Oral Hull also provides nutritious hot meals and comfortable lodgings in the 48 bed Philbin Hall dormitory. The 49 year old shower and washroom facilities are outdated, and no longer meet the increased growth of the Foundation. Proceeds from the Holiday Wreath Fundraiser will provide funds necessary to qualify for matching grants to build a new American Disabilities Act accessible shower addition. I'd like to invite people in Inner Southeast to help with matching funds by placing an order for Holiday decorating needs, or as a gift for family, friends or co-workers. Order deadline is November 11th, for delivery through the week November 27-December 3. Orders can be placed with me, here in Sellwood - call 503/956-3426.

Lori Hansen, 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.