LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Milwaukie Avenue 'racetrack'
I own a unit in the Westmoreland Court Condos complex at the corner of S.E. Insley Street and S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. When I bought the unit four years ago, I noticed that S.E. Milwaukie north of Carlton was becoming a 'racetrack', with vehicles speeding both day and night. I thought there should be a crosswalk at S.E. Insley and Milwaukie, especially with bus stops on both the West and East sides of the street. Months later I heard from the city that there wasn't enough foot traffic to warrant a crosswalk. They seemed unwilling to discuss any other possible solution.
Fast forward four years later....I have noticed a huge jump in reckless and dangerous driving on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. In the past two years alone, I know of five cars that were hit-and-run by other vehicles at night. Last year one car, parked on Milwaukie Avenue, was almost totaled at 2 am by a woman who claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Last week my neighbor's car was hit by someone late at night with no note or indication of fault. Three weeks before that a Honda Civic parked on Milwaukie near these condos had a bumper bashed in and pieces of its lights all over the street. About a year ago a car parked in almost the same spot had been hit so hard in the rear that it rammed up against the van parked in front of it. It's hard to remember all the accidents because there have been so many.
I am writing because I am growing increasingly worried about the safety of not only our vehicles parked on the street but also bicyclists and pedestrians with children and/or dogs crossing the street. I have almost been hit several times when trying to exit my vehicle or crossing Milwaukie Avenue to get to my vehicle. The popularity of the Oaks Bottom trail has also led to an increase in walkers and cyclists trying to negotiate S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. People seem to be driving way over the 30 MPH speed limit - I would guess averaging 45 MPH. At night it seems to get just that much worse, with less visibility, fewer cars (so people seem to think they can go faster), and presumably some drunk drivers.
It seems to me that once people make it north of S.E. Carlton St, they seem to let go of anything holding them back from driving faster like it's a highway. I know the city has given a lot of attention to S.E. 13th Avenue and S.E. Milwaukie south of Carlton, but we seem to have been forgotten north of there.
I seriously feel like we need either more police setting up speed traps or photo radar vans or speed bumps or a flashing yellow light warning of a crosswalk that would be installed at S.E. Milwaukie and S.E. Insley. I really hate to think that someone is going to actually get injured or possibly killed at some point because of the lack of enforcement on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.
Lynn Ferguson, President, Home Owners Association, Westmoreland Court Condos, via e-mail
Hazardous tree complicates parking on 13th
I want to call attention to a tree that is a serious hazard in Sellwood. On S.E. 13th in between Miller and Nehalem Streets - almost directly across from the Tea Chai Te red caboose - is a tree that is growing out from the curb in such a way that anyone with a non-compact vehicle will hit the tree before getting close enough to the curb to park safely. Furthermore, this tree is in the 'blind spot' if one is parallel parking into it. I had this happen to me and my vehicle was severely damaged, and it is infuriating to me that the city has allowed this tree to remain untrimmed or not removed. I was parallel parking to visit Tea Chai Te and, after I backed my car in and began rotating my steering wheel to park, I heard a loud CRUNCH before I was significantly close enough to the curb. I was actually parked more poorly in that I could have fit in better and the result of my parking would have left me further from the curb than I would have liked. Despite that, this tree damaged the top part of my vehicle - not only in my blind spot but essentially above the roof of my car. I want to let other drivers know about this hazard, and I hope the city or somebody does something about it.
Carly Koebel, via e-mail
County Commissioner writes
The November issue of THE BEE includes an article that describes recent progress on Multnomah County's Sellwood Bridge Project. The article mentions that I was not present when the Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt the project's 60% design package. I did leave the meeting to attend the Woman of the Year award presentation at Portland State University - the award was presented to my mother, Gretchen. The County Board had a quorum to approve the Sellwood Bridge design and had an extensive briefing on the design on October 4.
Replacing the Sellwood Bridge is a top priority for me and the other county commissioners. I'm pleased your article describes the progress we are making as we near the start of construction in December. Thank you for your detailed and thorough coverage of the Sellwood Bridge Project.
Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County District 1
EDITOR'S NOTE: Indeed, Commissioner Kafoury has been in the vanguard in supporting the Sellwood and Westmoreland goals for the new Sellwood Bridge throughout the process, and all five commissioners were on record prior to the vote as supporting the Sellwood Bridge design that was the subject of the vote.
Anything new on non-conforming sewer lines?
Is there any recent news on the BES non-conforming sewer problems? I read the article in THE BEE about the meeeting of Brooklyn residents and others with Commissioner Salzman. We just got a notice early in October about a non-conforming sewer line - we're in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood - and we wonder what other people are doing about it at this time.
Maia Gay, S.E. 30th Avenue
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We referred the question to Marie Phillippi in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Her response: 'Right now, everything is on hold until these meetings have come to a close. Below is what I am putting in our neighborhood newsletter, out the first week of November:
'Some non-conforming sewers may be conforming! After three two-hour-long meetings, the Citizen Advisory Committee and the BES will be addressing some real issues with our sewer lines. The first meeting consisted of a history of sewer lines in the city, summarizing what is really out there and why. The second meeting was all about setting an agenda for the next meetings which may go into December. The agenda items include the following:
• An accurate identification of Portland's Nonconforming Sewers NCS (What exactly is non-conforming and what are the options)
• Cost Sharing
• Outreach and setting a new timeline for repairs.
The meetings have been attended by [representatives from] the Brooklyn, Buckman, Sunnyside, and Westside neighborhoods. Also attending have been two people from PURP (Public Utility Review Board), a Representative from Commissioner Saltzman's office, and of course at least four people from BES.
About that vandalism in Sellwood Park
I'd like to comment on the vandalism at Sellwood Park and the Parks Bureau's response. I'm familiar with the current and previous slide problems along the Bluff Trail, and I'm surprised that it's remained closed for months. I've done trail building and maintenance in the Gorge and the Coast Range, and I know that a few days of work with hand tools by volunteers could restore the trail to usability. I'm thinking that this needless delay in reopening the trail is a major factor in the rise in so-called vandalism, as frustrated trail-users take matters into their own hands. I expect that the problems would disappear if the trail were reopened. I can't imagine how closing the connector trail to the top of the bluff [at the north end of Sellwood Park] can have any positive result. A lot of time and money was spent creating that connector, which provides the only reasonable link between the top and bottom of the bluff at the south end of Oaks Bottom. If it is closed [permanently], there's bound to be more 'vandalism' and an increase in short-cutting as people continue to find ways to get where they need to go.
Bo Nonn, Sellwood
Stumped, in Woodstock
I wonder why three maple trees, in the prime of their autumn beauty, were cut down in front on fire Station 25 on November 8th. In a time when Friends of Trees, the City's Treebate and Gray to Green programs, and others are attempting to add to the city's forest canopy and reduce storm runoff, why would these young and apparently healthy trees be cut down?
Portland Online Fire and Rescue says of Station 25, 'This station is a "Green Building. Solar panels have been installed on the top of the station which produce electricity that is either used or sold back to the power grid' - so I know there is some environmental concern there.
I can't see how the trees would have interfered with emergency services provided by the station in any way. Now there are three ugly stumps in front of the station. If there is a valid reason other than that nobody wants to rake the leaves, I would really like to know what it is.
Ray Taylor, S.E. Tolman Street
Bikers with toys to roar over the Sellwood Bridge this year
We are very excited about going through Sellwood this year! On a wet day we can have 600 motorcycles and on a dry day we can get 2,500+ motorcycles. The day of Toy Run will be December 3rd (It is always held on the first Saturday in December).
This is ABATE's 32nd year of bringing toys to the children of the Shriners' Hospital. This is how bikers and motorcyclists kick-off Christmas. We will have a drawing at noon for a new Harley Davidson, and then will be leaving our run site at approx 12:15. Motorcycles should start arriving in Sellwood at approx 12:30 to 1 pm, heading over the Sellwood Bridge and then on up the Marquam Hill via Taylors Ferry and Terwilliger. Santa will be leading the parade on his Harley.
The toys collected for the children of the Shriners' Hospital are used year-round to provide comfort for the kids and their siblings that may attend appointments, etc. There is even a room set-aside within the hospital called the 'ABATE Toy Room'. Additional information regarding the toy run can be found online at: www.abatetoyrun.com .
Chaplain Mike Friend, Bikers For Christ, NOTW
Thanks to Monster March sponsors
The Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance would like to thank those responsible for making this year's Moreland Monster March parade such a success. Our Monster March poster artwork was again generously donated by the talented Gary Hirsch. Like last year, the T-shirts were a big hit, and sold quickly. Joel Fields, of the UPS Store on Tacoma Street, printed Gary's posters to announce the march. Thanks also to Ron and the Westmoreland QFC for all the cookies and juice distributed by Brent Heeb from Stars and Splendor; Tom Brown, President of the SWBA; and Lynne Murphy, Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty. We would also like to thank the merchants along the parade route who got into the spirit of the day and handed out candy to all the marchers, and of course all the marchers who showed up in the drizzle and made it our biggest parade ever!
Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance, via e-mail
Orphan boom reported
Any idea what caused the extremely loud boom on Sunday, October 23, at about 11:50 am? I was walking my dog in Sellwood Park and there was a huge boom that sounded like it was coming from the Bottom (it was probably just echoing there). A bunch of dogs in the park were freaked out, and folks were trying to figure out what it was. Any clue?
Elizabeth A. Joffe, via e-mail
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We checked with police and fire departments, and no reports were made to them; they were unaware of this. We also have not heard about it from anyone else. There was an explosion set off on the west bank of the Willamette River south of the Sellwood Bridge a year ago by persons unknown which, due to freaky acoustic circumstances attributed to a low cloud cover and the weather, was heard over a fifty-mile radius. Perhaps these explosive guys were trying it again, and got much less spectacular results.]
Woodstock Elementary School reunion planned
Stephen D. Carlile, via e-mail
Comments about tea shop article
I'm writing regarding the article by Mary Campbell about our new tea shop in Sellwood, Tea Chai Te. We are very excited to be in the Sellwood neighborhood and have been thrilled by the community reception. We are very grateful to have received press by your publication; however, there were a few inaccuracies in the article. . . . In the first paragraph, we are introduced as 'Chai Tea Te', when in fact our company name is 'Tea Chai Te.' Our [own] last name is repeatedly misspelled - our name is Valdes (not Valdez). The article states we are carrying some of Grand Central's baked goods. This is not true. We are carrying more dessert-oriented offerings, specifically to avoid competing with Grand Central's menu. This has already become an issue, as customers are asking us for Grand Central goods as a result of the article.
Angela Valdes, Tea Chai Te, www.teachaite.com
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We regret the misspelling of the family name, which apparently occurred as a result of a rogue spell-check action. We also regret that the name of the shop was misstated in the first instance, although it was correct in the article after that. Mary Campbell responds: 'In a long discussion with Ms. Valdes we talked about the bakery [next door] and the bee shop in back, which we walked over and looked at. I asked if they planned on possibly carrying any of Grand Central's offerings, and she answered in the affirmative and I remember her saying 'some' -- and she explained at length about her philosophies, and that people could also bring food in from the bakery and from food carts [and eat it there], as I stated in the article - adding that they offer a 'small food menu with vegan option'." The article is extremely clear it's a tea shop.' Perhaps readers should visit the shop, and see what they offer, for themselves.]
Great story about local, small business owners. It's all a bit too precious for me, but they are proving that a little tea and empathy goes a long way. I'm always glad to see a Mary Campbell byline, whether it is local media or national. A thorough researcher who makes any subject more interesting; she can make a cup of tea hot. Thanks for the story.
Chris Loffel, via e-mail
Liked Golf Junction retrospective
I enjoyed the article on Golf Junction [November BEE]. I have operating models of the old trolley cars that Portland Traction ran, on the Oregon City and Bellrose Lines.
Keith Stephenson, Milwaukie
Westmorelander successfully ferments at festival
The Portland Fermentation Festival is an annual local celebration of all things naturally fermented - otherwise known as live-fermented - and this was its third year. The categories are: Pickled vegetables, kraut, Asian, bread, liquid dairy, solid dairy, liquid (alcohol/non-alcohol, soy (tempeh, natto and miso), and other ferments unknown to most. This year's festivities were held on Thursday, October 20th at the Ecotrust building on N.W. 9th Street from 6 - 8pm. It was organized by Liz Crain (wrote Food Lover's Guide to Portland), David Barber (of Pickleopolis), and George Winborn (advertising/copy writing/designer).
I learned about it about three weeks before the event, and signed up to be a presenter. I always thought that my aunt's kimchi recipe would appeal to a much larger audience than just our family, and based on the feedback received at the event, others seem to agree! Some of the produce (Napa cabbage and onions) were purchased at the final Moreland Farmers Market in the week before the event, and Winter Green Farms were gracious enough to donate some of their Napa cabbage for the kimchi. I feel very fortunate to have a farmers market in our neighborhood with such generous farmers who are willing to support this neighbor's efforts to showcase a family recipe, and was proud to have my 'assistant' wear an apron with the Sellwood-Moreland logo on the front.
Anna Stulz, Westmoreland, 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.