The Year in Review
A look back at 2007
It was a year of amazing triumphs. State and national attention came to town to recognize outstanding postal workers, teachers, agriculture enthusiasts, local leaders and youngsters trying to make a name for themselves in the world of artistic expression.
Students made us proud, whether it was raising money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital, amassing more than 55,000 cans for Christmas Baskets or defeating leukemia.
It was also a year of immense tragedy. There were far too many fatal and devastating car crashes for any one community to bear, and yet, in the midst of those horrors and others, the community time and again showed its ability to stand united and to help those in need.
As we look back at 2007, we think about the things that are now with us that weren't a year ago: the billboards at Highway 26 and Haley Road, the large trenches that eventually will house our utility wires and replace overhead lines, the completed Dubarko Road, Sandy High School's dress code -and the people and things no longer with us: City Business Manager Larry Stohosky, Roslyn Lake Park, Hi-School Pharmacy and Measure 37.
So much happened, and there's definitely not enough room here to list everything, but here's a look back at the stories that defined 2007:
Sandy fire calls hit all-time high
The Sandy Fire District answered a record number of calls in 2006 - a milestone that simultaneously illustrates firefighters' impact on the community and their ever-growing workload. In 2006, the district responded to 1,728 calls - more than 200 calls over 2005.
School uniforms discussed
Oregon Trail School Board member Dan Thompson presented a proposal in favor of uniforms at all district schools at the Jan. 8 board meeting. Thompson's idea included khaki trousers for boys, khaki trousers or culotte skirts for girls, and a solid-colored polo shirt. 'What I've found is that (with uniforms,) discipline is increased, the students pay attention more, and it builds character not with what you wear, but as an individual,' Thompson said. Ultimately, the contentious issue was tabled indefinitely.
Crash kills 21 year old
Gary Johnson, 21, died Friday afternoon, Jan. 5, after his blue 1992 Toyota Corolla collided with Gresham resident Shelley May Uptain's maroon 1986 Volvo station wagon on Southeast Bornstedt Road, near Algeier Road. Police said they suspect that Uptain was driving under the influence when she crossed the centerline and hit Johnson head-on.
Blacklist 40 tours with Everclear
After being together just four years, Sandy-based rock group Blacklist 40 embarked on a national tour with Everclear for the 'Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj' tour. The band, which changed its name to Neon Culpa in January, was the opening act for 29 shows from coast to coast. The band, which was in negotiations with Universal Records for a record deal, called the tour 'the opportunity of a lifetime.'
Basketball team exodus
Five players from the Sandy High School boys basketball team quit. Talented athletes Andrew Verheyden, Blake Bithell, Kevin Warren, A.J. Schnell and Jake Fenwick cited problems with the coaching style of Chris Meyers. 'They made a decision and had to make it in their own best interest,' Meyers responded, noting that he believed the students took many factors into consideration before leaving. The team finished the season 4-10.
It's snow problem
The city was covered in a blanket of snow not once but twice in January. Locals enjoyed snowfall on Thursday, Jan. 4, and on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The latter winter storm dumped 3 inches of snow on the ground, closing schools from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17. Students had to make up for two days of their seven-day weekend.
City parking lot opens
The city of Sandy's 54-space free public parking lot - which stretches between Bruns and Scales avenues along Pioneer Boulevard - opened Friday, Jan. 26. The lot was supposed to have opened the previous summer, but setbacks and delays from the city's contractor delayed the project.
Airplane makes emergency landing
Ohio resident Rick Gray was flying an RV4 - a small, two-seat plane - when he was forced to make a miraculous emergency landing on a Fairview residential road, shortly after taking off from a Sandy-area airstrip Jan. 31. Gray purchased the plane from Mike Martin of Sandy, who built it and flew it for many years.
Pool closes for a month
The Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center ended its five-and-a-half year relationship with the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette on Jan. 31 due to a $40,000 budget shortfall. The pool closed to the public for more than a month as new operators Oregon Swim Camp prepared the facility for its reopening.
High school implements new dress code
On Monday, Jan. 29, Sandy High School tightened its student dress code in a move that administrators said would improve student safety, maintain an environment conducive to learning and identify outsiders trespassing on campus. The new rules dealt with many aspects of clothing, from hats to undergarments, and also banned brands of apparel associated with gangs. Students protested the changes, saying the rules violated their freedom of expression.
Shuler Building opens
After a massive, 13-month renovation of the former Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jason and Cecil Shuler opened their Cascadian-themed Shuler Building. The professional plaza later won development of the year from the city of Sandy.
Brache named Citizen of the Year
AEC Inc. President Ernie Brache was named the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year at its annual banquet Feb. 17. Then-Chamber Director Lynn Cabe cited Brache's numerous financial and volunteer contributions to the annual Hometown Holiday Festival and Parade as part of the reason he was chosen. Inga Pachukes was Business of the Year, Geren's Farm Supply was Pioneer Business of the Year, Random Acts of Kindness won the Community Service Award and Canned Food Drive organizers Lauren Gilbertson and Brenna Hoffman shared the first-annual Youth Citizen of the Year award.
Sandy ski team tops the conference
The Sandy High School boys ski team clinched the top spot in the Mt. Hood Conference after its final conference race of the season Feb. 17. The girls team claimed the No. 2 seed in the conference with its performance.
High school editor Oregon's top journalist
Tiffany Fegel, editor of the Sandy High School newspaper The Mountain Echoes and an intern for The Sandy Post, won the Oregon Journalism Education Association's 2007 High School Journalist of the Year award, the second time a local student won the award in three years.
Lawmakers push 'Beacon Bill'
Gresham-based state Rep. John Lim led an effort to pass the 'Beacon Bill,' legislation that would require climbers who go above Mount Hood's 10,000-foot level between November and March to wear a locator device. The bill was a response to the deaths of three climbers in December 2006.
Mountain Express goes to Oregon City
The Mountain Express bus service started a run to Oregon City on March 5. The run leaves Sandy at 362nd Avenue and Industrial Way at 7:35 a.m. every Monday, returning at 2:25 p.m.
Sandy boys take state ski title
The Sandy High School boys ski team defended its state title March 2 and 3 at the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association championships at Mount Ashland. Sandy's top finisher, senior Colby Hopkins, won third place overall, and two other local boys made it into the top 10 (out of 101 competitors).
Measure 37 allows billboards
After several weeks of speculation, locals finally learned why two, large steel poles appeared at the intersection of Highway 26 and Haley Road in Boring: Billboards were going in. The family of Florence Erickson, who owns the land, used its all-inclusive Measure 37 claim approval to construct two 76-foot-tall billboards - one of the first such applications of the measure. The city of Sandy, upset at development in the so-called 'Green Corridor,' responded by filing a lawsuit against Clackamas County for allowing them.
Pool reopens with new operator
The Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center reopened quietly Monday, March 5, after being closed for more than a month. Oregon Swim Camp had a limited reopening after massive cleaning efforts and setting up shop.
Photos and Frappucinos
Sandy Starbucks Barista Colin Reay was chosen as one of 23 artists to display his photography at the special 'Avant Grande' event held at Wieden+Kennedy in Portland on March 1.
Hall of famer
Longtime Sandy wrestling coach Ron Calhoun was awarded the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award by the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame at a special banquet April 28. Boring's Steve Stratton, a former Gladstone coach, also was inducted into the hall of fame.
A controversial 22.79-acre annexation measure in the March election was defeated soundly by Sandy voters, 773-415. About 18.5 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots. Opponents claimed that the annexation would give developer Joe Spaziani the ability to cram 'tacky houses on small lots.' Proponents said the development would have added family-friendly, affordable housing.
Redinger hired at OTSD
Thirty-nine-year-old Shelley Redinger, executive director of teaching and learning at the Richland School District in Richland, Wash., was unanimously picked by the Oregon Trail School Board to serve as the school district's superintendent, replacing Clementina Salinas. Redinger began her new job July 1.
Maltman principal of the year
Boring Middle School Principal Scott Maltman received the National Association of Secondary School Principals award for Middle School Principal of the Year. Maltman, a 12-year employee of the district, is the second principal in the district to win the honor in as many years. Sandy High Principal Jim Saxton took the honors for high school principals in 2006.
Lawsuits pile up
The Sandy Post revealed that the Sandy Police Department and its officers were facing six lawsuits - including five filed in federal court - that accused officers of excessive force, harassment and violating constitutional rights. The city and the police department denied any wrongdoing and in some cases,filed countersuits. Before the first lawsuit, the department hadn't been sued for 20 years.
Suspected burglar nabbed
Police arrested Mark Ian Keith, 23, on March 30 at his grandparents' home on Strawbridge Parkway. During the two months since Keith moved to town, police noticed an increased number of residential burglaries in the area. A tip from the suspect's ex-girlfriend led police to his room, where they discovered stolen goods from at least 20 burglaries. He reportedly admitted to everything.
Legacy takes over Firwood
Sandy's largest medical facility, Firwood Medical Center, got a new name and a new operator April 1.
Portland-based nonprofit medical group Legacy Health System assumed control of the 20-year-old Industrial Way clinic earlier this month, changing the facility's name to Legacy Clinic Firwood and vowing to add staff, maintain the clinic's atmosphere and explore expansions in service.
Saxton announces retirement
After 31 years at Sandy High School, Principal Jim Saxton announced that he would retire at the end of the school year. The announcement was the latest in a series of retirement announcements that hit the district in 2007, including Superintendent Clementina Salinas and Assistant Superintendent Russ Hasegawa. Sandy Grade School Principal Rayburn Mitchell also left at the end of the year.
Ops center breaks ground
Government officials, elected representatives and interested local residents gathered at an empty field near the Sandy Cinema on Friday, April 20, to break ground on the $5.93 million combined public works/transit operations center, which is expected to open in 2008.
DeWolf leads SBA
Sandy resident Harry DeWolf, a former employee at AEC Inc., became the Oregon District Director for the Small Business Administration, becoming the youngest person in the nation to lead a state SBA office.
Mountain festival chooses court
The Sandy Mountain Festival chose Alberta Allen as its queen for 2007, with princesses Susan Knotts, Lisa Sheppard-Ekstrom, Alyssa Gurney and Taylur DeWolf making up the Five Generations Court. The Mountain Festival Committee picked the ladies based on their contributions to the Sandy community.
Pastor arrested for frauds
A pastor was arrested at the Sandy Public Library on May 4, charged with theft and securities fraud. Detectives from the Oregon State Police and Oregon City Police Department as well as an inspector from the U.S. Postal Inspections Service took Corey Jerry Pritchett, 44, of Sandy into custody on 18 counts, including two for aggravated theft, three for selling an unregistered security and three for securities fraud. Pritchett reportedly took money from a number of people after promising to invest it.
Baseball wins conference
After beating Centennial 17-7 on May 9, the Sandy Pioneers were assured a conference title in baseball. With the victory, the 2007 team became only the second in school history to win the conference.
City opens Dubarko
The final 1,545-foot leg of Dubarko Road opened for traffic the second week of May, allowing residents south of Highway 26 to, for the first time, travel 2.35 miles from 362nd Avenue to Langensand Road without having to use the increasingly congested highway. The road includes a serene crossing of Tickle Creek and an intersection with Bluff Road. City officials handed out coffee and muffins on the road for an official opening May 24.
John Drew and his wife jokingly wrote his name in the ballot for the wide-open Boring seat on the Oregon Trail School board. Two votes were enough to tie him with fellow Boring resident Kenneth Naas. Both individuals turned down the position, and Randy Carmony ultimately was appointed to the seat.
Homeless report released
Clackamas County released its 2007 Homeless Count figures, which reported that nearly 8,300 of its residents are homeless. More than one-third of those individuals, the report found, were children. Simultaneously released with the report was an action plan that deals with issues such as employment and affordable housing.
Marmot Road crash kills three
A one-vehicle collision June 9 resulted in the deaths of three young men from the Sandy area. A Marmot Road resident awoke to find 20-year-old Samuel Kosta's pickup severely damaged, having slammed into a large fence post. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the truck was fully engulfed in flames, killing Kosta and his two passengers, Matthew Baylis, 24, and Matthew Cook, 20.
New principal picked
The Oregon Trail School District hired St. Helens High School Principal Brian Heinze to replace outgoing Principal Jim Saxton at Sandy High School. Heinze started his new position June 29.
OTSD turns 10
The Oregon Trail School District celebrated its 10th birthday July 1, marking a decade of triumphs and challenges.
Crash injures Brandon Scarth
The community was stunned to learn that the talented, affable 20-year-old musician, Brandon Scarth, was seriously injured after Ronald Lane Caldwell slammed into the car in which Scarth was riding. In the months to follow, Scarth would make 'miraculous' steps towards recovery, but family members say dealing with his brain injury will be a lifelong struggle. Caldwell, who was under the influence of intoxicants at the time of the crash, was charged and sentenced.
A summer of horrific crashes continued July 7, when a head-on crash led to the deaths of five people and injured six others. A 68-year-old man crossed the centerline for an unknown reason in a stretch of road known as 'Blood Alley,' setting off a chain reaction that involved three vehicles. A crash in Boring killed a Milwaukie teen, and a fallen tree on Dodge Park Boulevard claimed the life of Gresham's Mike Freres as he was driving.
City Councilor Roberta Kennedy resigned her seat to move closer to her family in Hillsboro. Eventually, Planning Commissioner Lois Coleman was appointed to replace her and finish out the remaining 3-1/2 years left in her term.
Police bust pot grow
Police discovered a 'considerable' marijuana plant growing operation and other illegal substances in Brightwood on July 12. At Kevin Chelsa's home, officers found 52 marijuana plants and some packaged drugs, valued at approximately $162,000. Chesla reportedly admitted to the grow.
Strike up the band, break out The Post
The Sandy Post won the 'best use of theme' award for the 2007 Sandy Mountain Festival Parade. Editor Marcus Hathcock and Reporter Garth Guibord embraced the 'Strike Up the Band' theme by writing a newspaper-focused rap and performing it in the parade. We had to brag.
First police lawsuit settled
The city of Sandy and Juan Rubio settled his Clackamas County Circuit Court suit against the Sandy Police Department. Rubio walked away with $500 and a letter of apology that acknowledged no wrongdoing by police.
After 58 years of dreaming, the Sandy Historical Society finally opened its museum building to the public in a grand opening celebration July 28 and 29. The opening 'exhibit' detailed the future plans for the museum, giving just a taste of artifacts and exhibits to come.
Acoustic Music Series debuts
To take advantage of the new amphitheater in Meinig Park, the city of Sandy booked a group of special acts to take part in the first Acoustic Music Series. A classical duo, a Persian band and a slide guitarist were among the bands that played.
Fly-in celebrates 50 years
The Sandy Kiwanis Club's annual Fly-in Cruise-in celebrated 50 years as the area's largest and most successful service group fund-raiser.
First climb celebrated
The mountaineering community celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first documented climb of Mount Hood with the 'Mount Hood Expo,' an event that included climbing demonstrations, a variety of climbing vendors and history displays at Timberline Lodge.
Hi-School says farewell
Economic pressures, declining profit margins due to Medicare Part D coverage, changes in lease options, stiff competition and other factors led Sandy Hi-School Pharmacy owner Jack Holt to close the store on Aug. 22. The store's closure was met with tears from customers and employees alike. Manager Mark Spears transferred to the Hood River store.
School adopts new logo
Courtney Murphy, Sandy High School vice principal and athletic director, spearheaded an effort to replace the school's various logos to a unified 'S' as part of a new 'Pio Pride' program. The program, implemented at the beginning of the school year, is designed to reinforce positive behaviors while instilling school pride in students.
Safeway shut down after bomb threat
On Thursday, Aug. 23, the Sandy Safeway was shut down after a male - who falsely identified himself as Michael Knott - threatened to blow up the store after an employee would not wire money to Portugal. Authorities determined there was no immediate threat. The FBI got involved and later learned that the Sandy threat was just one of many that happened around the country that day. The suspect has yet to be apprehended.
'Tough Mothers' save a life
The 'Twelve Tough Mothers,' a Sandy-based team of runners participating in the Hood to Coast Relay, helped save the life of a woman who collapsed on the course in the early hours of Aug. 25. Off-duty Oregon State Police Det. Terri Cassebarth of Boring and Trooper Dee Rzewnicki of Warrenton administered CPR and directed others' efforts to save Kathy Ryan.
Three Villages board members quit
Members of the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors quit in August, angry at the passage of new village bylaws that they said stripped the village of its uniqueness and representative structure. Steve Graeper, Susan Corwin and Don Mench left the board, complaining that the process for creating and passing the bylaws was flawed and disingenuous.
After Bull Run resident Doris Anderson went missing for 13 days in the unforgiving terrain of the Wallowa Mountains, hope of her survival dwindled. But Hope, like Anderson, didn't die. Rescuers plucked the 76-year-old out of a steep box canyon about 25 miles northeast of Baker City Sept. 6. Two off-duty law enforcement officers found her while searching a canyon near Eagle Creek, about 25 miles northeast of Baker City. Anderson's family said Doris' survival was the work of the Almighty.
Roslyn Lake Park closes
As part of the decommissioning of Portland General Electric's Bull Run hydroelectric project, PGE closed Roslyn Lake Park to the public forever on Sept. 23. Boaters and anglers will be able to access the lake from areas outside the park, including the boat launch near the intersection of Bull Run Road and Ten Eyck Road, until summer 2008, when the Little Sandy Dam is destroyed. That will eventually cause the lake to dry up. The future of the property has yet to be determined.
Sandy Finance Director Larry Stohosky died Sept. 3 at his home in Sandy. He was 62. Stohosky, a city employee since January 2001, died 'after a brief struggle with a rapidly expanding growth in his brain,' City Manager Scott Lazenby wrote in an e-mail to city leaders.
Violent crime up, property crime down
The city of Sandy saw an overall drop in serious crimes between 2005 and 2006, according to an FBI report released in October. Within those figures, violent crimes tripled in Sandy from five cases to 15, and locals saw a 10.5-percent drop in property crimes
Sandy mulls move to 5A
The Oregon Trail School Board directed Sandy High School Principal Brian Heinze and Athletic Director Courtney Murphy to research the advantages, disadvantages and public opinion regarding reclassifying the Pioneers from 6A to 5A. Proponents of the move said it would level the playing field, while opponents said it shouldn't give up on Sandy and keep them from their traditional rivals. Ultimately the Oregon School Activities Association decided that Sandy wouldn't be able to reclassify until 2010.
SHS grad gets on TV
Grant Alan Ouzts, a 2003 graduate of Sandy High School, landed a potentially career-making role on the CBS hit drama 'Cold Case.' His episode, where he plays a murderer, aired Oct. 14.
Chamber breaks ties with Cabe
The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors severed its professional ties with Executive Director Lynn Cabe at its Oct. 24 meeting. Chamber President Lacy Renard said the decision was difficult, but that in the end, the organization was 'taking a different direction.' The North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce hired Cabe soon afterward.
Sandy man attacked on MAX
On Nov. 3, 71-year-old Sandian Laurie Chilcote was beaten with a baseball bat by a 15-year-old suspected gang member at the Gresham Central Transit Center. Abel Antonio Chavez-Garcia, who had been riding the same eastbound MAX train as Chilcote, followed him off the train and began taunting him before beating him with the baseball bat he was carrying. Chavez-Garcia was arrested at the scene on charges of first- degree assault, attempted murder and first-degree criminal mischief. Chilcote was sent to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital. He has since been released but has had a difficult recovery since. The attack spurred changes in security on MAX trains.
Gas tax rejected
Sandy voters overwhelmingly decided that a gas tax increase was not the way to pay for the city's road maintenance program. Sixty-three percent of ballots cast in the Nov. 7 special election opposed a 0.9-cents-per-gallon increase, while 37 percent supported it. More than half the city's registered voters cast ballots.
Community Presbyterian turns 100
Sandy's Community Presbyterian Church marked 100 years of faith and fellowship with a special service and potluck on Sunday, Nov. 18. The day was marked with a special reunion and the unveiling of a book detailing the church's history.
Voters expand commission
Sixty-three percent of Clackamas County voters approved an ordinance that will expand the county Board of Commissioners from three to five members and create a new chairperson position. Voters will fill those seats in the November 2008 election.
Metsger going for state's No. 2 job
Welches-based state Sen. Rick Metsger announced Tuesday, Nov. 20, that he was joining the increasingly crowded Democratic race to become Oregon's next secretary of state. Metsger, the former teacher and television journalist who has represented the Mount Hood area the past nine years, made his intentions known at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland before making similar statements at the state Capitol and in Eugene.
Luttrell elected national Grange leader
Sandy-area resident Ed Luttrell made history Nov. 16 when his peers from across the country elected him as the 22nd president/master of the National Grange. Luttrell, 47, is the first Oregonian to lead the 141-year-old agriculture-based organization and only the second picked from west of Nebraska.
The Portland State University Population Research Center released its annual population estimate for the city of Sandy, which determined that between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, the city grew from 7,070 residents to 7,595, an increase of 7.4 percent.
Two men shot after road rage in Zigzag
Two Gresham men were shot Dec. 10 while stopped in their minivan on the side of Highway 26 near Lolo Pass Road in Zigzag. Clackamas firefighter Joshua Gehrke, 32, and his brother-in-law, 33-year-old Joseph Langley, pulled over to let a tailgating car pass, but the car pulled over, too. At least one man got out of the car, and shots were fired after a verbal exchange, police said. Gehrke was shot in the chest, and Langley was shot in the hand. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Thorson leads Wolves to bowl victory
Sandy High School graduate Mark Thorson completed his impressive college career at Division II Western Oregon University by leading the Wolves to a 26-12 Dixie Rotary Bowl victory over Colorado School of Mines on Dec. 1. Thorson finished his career at Western as the school's all-time leader in passing attempts, completions, touchdown passes and all-around touchdowns.
New faces at Sandy P.D.
The Sandy Police Department welcomed four people to new positions in December. New officer Lewis Sytsma and reserve officers Matt Niemeyer and Michael Skelton were sworn in at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting. New records clerk Juli Smith came aboard earlier in the month.
Students hit can goal
Yet again, Sandy High School students proved their can-collecting abilities by beating their goal for the annual canned food drive. Teens surpassed the 50,000-can goal, bringing in 55,254 for the Kiwanis Christmas Baskets. It wasn't a slam dunk, though; two days before the end of the drive, students were 15,000 cans behind. They pulled it together in the clutch.
Chamber hires new director
The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors chose Hollis MacLean-Wenzel, a longtime non-profit executive and licensed marriage and family counselor, as its new executive director. The decision, made at the board's regular meeting Dec. 18, was unanimous. MacLean-Wenzel, a Sandy resident for the past year and a half, brings to the position more than 12 years of executive leadership experience with non-profits and corporations, including Kids on the Block, Friends of the Children, the Hanna Andersson Children's Foundation, Mercy Corps and the Collins Group.