LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Classroom Project Really Gets Teacher's Goat
It all began when we read an article out of the new Portland Public reading adoption. We read about one boy who made a big difference in the lives of others. Well, that was the start for us. Christmas was nearing. Ms. P, Gail Peterson, our 3rd grade teacher, sent out a letter to our parents saying that a donation could be made to an organization called Itafari, in lieu of gifts to her. Itafari helps doing many different things in the country of Rwanda. More that a decade ago, genocide there claimed nearly 1 million innocent men, women, and children. Our class decided we would help in buying goats for children who are heads of the household. Wow! We had a real HAPPENING in room 203. Goats cost $25.00 each and believe it or not, we bought 15! We are also penpals to students in Rwanda, and just sent our first letter with our picture. We are making a difference in the lives of many children.
Jean Cheney, Llewellyn School, via e-mail
Celebrate community schools
Another Portland Public Schools 'Celebration' has thankfully passed. Now, as parents vacillate on schools, I hope to persuade them that this event is only remotely tied to the definition of the event's title, and that they should invest their remaining energy into their neighborhood school. No matter which edition of the Webster's Dictionary you have, there is no mention of the word sales or marketing in relation to the word 'celebrate.' When I represented Llewellyn Elementary 2 years ago, my goal was to speak with parents who lived in Westmoreland and Sellwood, in hopes that they would stay within their community. While I did 'praise' my own school when speaking with prospective parents, I also took the time to steer parents toward their own neighborhood school. If one truly wants to commemorate a school, you go to that school to see its value and feel its pulse. You look at what each diverse class has to offer, and you meet the teacher. Realistically, these brief, impersonal tours should not be the only catalyst in committing to a 6 year relationship, as you are not really able to solemnize with the school until you have a relationship with it. That time arises after being part of the school or class experience.
At Llewellyn and many other schools, the true celebration happens at fundraisers, such as our auction, in the spring. This is a time where parents and teachers sit in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy food and drink together. It also happens in my classroom, as we celebrate completing steps to a yearlong theme. We acknowledge student progress on personal goals and we eat healthy treats while we take time to reflect on how far we've traveled. You cannot do this at the 'Expo Center' with a majority of unfamiliar people, nor can you experience it if you're intensely searching for a salesman who markets the 'best' school. In all, I am in favor of dropping any type of event where teachers have to sell their building. It would save a great deal of money, and it would encourage parents to see the closest schools first. In community-conscious Portland, this should be a no-brainer. If PPS still wants to hold a Celebration, the Kindergarten Round-Up, which still leans too heavily on marketing, should be the only major event in getting to know a school. That way, if parents want to shop, they can still attend all of the 'sales.'
Scott Rozell, S.E. Raymond Street, via BEE website 'letters' form
Diverse views on speed bumps on S.E. 41st
Mayor Tom Potter, Karin Hansen, via BEE website 'letters' form
I've been following the articles on the installation of speed bumps a SE Portland group feels is necessary. I'm a bit concerned about the slant of the articles. Apparently, the bumps are needed because some pets got run over (Feb 2008, Bee) and someone went 50 mph, in a zone that used to be 35 MPH, now 25. And for the quote of 'one transportation official', unnamed, 41st has a huge problem with speeders. I've lived 1/2 block off of and driven on 41st for 25 years. I've never noticed any problem with speeders, let alone one of the worst in the city. I can't recall seeing any wrecks or evidence of wrecks. And I can't recall any pedestrian being ran [sic] down. The world is full of vague threats. Earlier, last year, THE BEE reported that 41st was an emergency access route and speed bumps either weren't allowed. This was because they would decrease the response time of emergency vehicles (which might be a negative factor if someone's house was on fire). Has this changed, or was it reported incorrectly? All in all, the reasons presented by this small group for installing speed bumps along 41st seem rather flimsy, almost silly. I have noticed myself watching my speed more carefully when I see the two small plastic signs nailed to the utility poles. I wonder how much they cost? Couple of bucks apiece maybe?
Wayne Proctor, Woodstock
EDITOR'S NOTE: We have no editorial position on the speed bumps, and even if we had, they would only be reflected in our Editorial, and not in any articles, which are written with objectivity as our goal. The speed issue on the street has been the subject of several past stories, reflecting neighbor efforts, and with one story we printed a photo we ourselves took, of a car blazing past demonstrators holding 'slow down' signs - and the car was going so fast it was just a blur in the picture. The city transportation official we referred to in the January article was Will Stevens of PDOT - and in the story with photo which we printed on page 15 of the October 2007 BEE, the quote from him about speeds on S.E. 41st, in Merry MacKinnon's article, was, 'It's egregious - among the highest I've seen in the seven years I've been doing this work'. As for speed bump effects on fire response, we don't recall the report you mention, but speed bumps and fire response routing are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as the crew of Westmoreland's Station 20 can ruefully attest about S.E. 17th, which they must frequently use, despite the speed bumps there.
More 'sneaky pruner' comments
I too live in Sellwood, and find my walks and driving hampered by overgrown vegetation encroaching sidewalks and streets. Some city code violations (as discussed last month by other readers) are more than a nuisance, they are dangerous. They include obstructing visibility when driving or walking. Last spring I observed a visually-impaired individual who used a cane walk into tree branches growing over the sidewalk. Fortunately, he didn't fall or visibly hurt himself; he just let out a mind expletive, collected his dropped effects, and went on his way.
I must confess that in the past I have been lax about allowing my boulevard tree branches to grow too low - although not to the point where people had to duck or dodge. I suppose I was living an illusion, trying to feel secluded by blocking views of pavement and neighbors. It's easy to overlook shortcomings in our personal creations - gardens. Even SMILE Station, the bastion of our neighborhood, has tree(s) too low and Rhodies growing over ¼ of the sideway width (my personal tolerance limit).
Those wishing to enquire on such matters can call Multnomah County Info, 503/823-4000. It's my understanding that different departments are responsible for different flora violations - i.e., over sidewalk vs. over streets, trees vs. shrubbery, etc. With this number you can be transferred to the correct department.
Cathy Mahle, Sellwood, via FAX
Want to help with an Iowa school project…?
Hello! My name is Alex B. I am a fifth grader in West Ridge Elementary School in Harlan, IA. My class is studying geography and history of the United States. I would appreciate it if your readers would send me a postcard, state map, souvenir, or any information about the wildlife, plants, foods, sport teams, or the state of Oregon. My teacher would appreciate it if you would send a car license plate for a project if possible. I appreciate your time. Sincerely,
Alex B., for Mrs. Newlin's Social Studies class, West Ridge Elementary School, 1401 19th Street, Harlan, IA 51537
Thanks from the Scouts
Boy Scout Troop 64 and Pack 64 would like to thank our community for supporting our annual Christmas Tree recycle. This event helps to fund our programs for the upcoming year. We would like to thank Rich's Tree Service for chipping the trees, Heiberg Garbage and McFarland's for disposal, The Bee Newspaper for artwork for the ad, and Holy Family Church for hosting us for the two weekends.
Jill Craig, via e-mail
The Sellwood Bridge - speaking in 'first person'
People of Portland, here I sit connecting the East to the West. My aches and pains are unbearable. I beg of you to take a closer look at my underbelly. I have sat here for eighty-two years. My western approach is settling and sliding. My concrete girders shimmy as 30,500 vehicles travel over my deck daily. I am the only four-span continuous truss highway bridge in Oregon. To my embarrassment my sufficiency rating is 2 out of 100. I was not built to resist earthquake force. Every day I look at the Ross Island and Marquam. How happy they look. Shiny and proud. Any vehicle can travel on their decks. And here I am a disgrace with a ten-ton limit. Trucks and busses turn around in hopes of finding another way to cross the Willamette. Boats travel under my deck. People point and laugh. Some have a look of worry in their eyes as they notice the crumbling concrete and cracks underneath me. Oh how I dream of being a modern truss bridge. Imagine me made with galvanized steel, shiny nuts and bolts, fresh concrete. Oh how I would love to carry four lanes of traffic, pedestrians, and bicycles too! Light me up like the Morrison Bridge. I could be the jewel of the city. Please hear my cries for help.
Nadine Trinchero, Chapman Elementary School teacher
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ms. Trinchero writes, 'Over the summer I took a writing class, and I chose to write about the Sellwood Bridge since this connects with my classroom work. My students would get a kick out of seeing it in a newspaper.' The above letter is what she wrote for her class. Among other things, you will note, is that she imagines that the Sellwood Bridge would like to have four lanes. Neighborhood residents are far from sure on that particular point, but it probably would love to have its aches and pains resolved!
Llewellyn party planned
For Llewellyn School Class of 58: Save the date of Saturday, Aug.16th, 2008, for a very casual reunion at the home of Jim and Linda Rhoton Schwartz - 1505 S.E. Rex Street. The time is from 1 - 4 pm, and will include snacks, music, and memories! Questions: Call Jim or Linda at 503-236-7502 or Barbara Keeling Liniger at 503-238-1963.
Jim and Linda Rhoton Schwartz, via e-mail
Art and exercise
I work for Judy Wiltgen, the owner of Sellwood 'Curves' [on Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland], and have been mounting art on the walls here in our space since last summer. It's all art by local folks, paintings and photos, most by Curves members. In Februrary, we had our first quilt show of quilts made by Curves members, who then donated them to hospitals. In March we'll have wildflower photos from a neighborhood nature photographer, Tom Nelson. The reaction to the changing exhibits has been very good, and I thought you might be interested to know how much creativity is going on here.
Corinne Stefanick, via e-mail
Moreland Farmers Market is looking for YOU
Laura Wendell, Moreland Farmers Market, via e-mail
Party for Lois
Kathleen Maunder, via e-mail
Local students get art recognition
January is an important time for serious art students at schools in the Sellwood/Moreland neighborhood. Students at Sellwood Middle School and Cleveland High School won top honors in the 2008 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which showcases outstanding work from students in grades 7 through 12. This year these Sellwood Middle School students sent in drawings, prints and paintings: Elizabeth Ankeny, Matt Clark, Alyona Chubok, Colin Faunt, Jessica Faunt, Christian Hagner, Claire Holley, Andrew Jarmen, Cara Murray, Carson Ralls and Madison Sankovitz. Cleveland High School student artist John Ankeny also submitted work. Upon receipt of the students' entries, a team of local artists and art educators judge each entry for originality, technical proficiency, and the emergence of an authentic vision or voice. Gold Key awards are given for the most exceptional works in each category; Silver Key awards represent high honors in each category. On January 17 all of the students who received Gold and Silver Keys for their artwork gathered at the Pacific Northwest College of Art to receive their awards. The Gold Key recipients from Sellwood Middle School were Claire Holley for crayon resist, Jessica Faunt for a reduction print, and Madison Sankovitz for two paintings of different styles and techniques. Collin Faunt was recognized with a Silver Key award for a series of reduction prints. Carson Ralls and Madison Sankovitz were recognized with Honorable Mentions awards. Carson was recognized for a drawing of a sunflower and Madison was recognized for a color pencil drawing. John Ankeny, freshman at Cleveland High School, won a Silver Key award for a reduction print series. Each Gold Key recipient's work is forwarded to New York City to be assessed on a national level along with work from all over the country. Only 20% of the local work is forwarded to New York for further awards. The winning student art will be displayed at Sellwood Middle School through the end of March.
Liz Capps, Art Teacher, Sellwood Middle School, via e-mail
Wheelchair organization for kids
I am co-leader of the Oregon Chapter of Winners on Wheels. Winners-On-Wheels, or WOW, is a scouting-type organization for kids ages 4-17 who use a wheelchair part time or full time. The focus of the meetings is on discovering and enhancing the abilities of each individual child. When a child discovers he/she CAN make a difference, they dare to challenge their limitations and can achieve their dreams. WOW gives kids who use wheelchairs a place to gather and be part of the majority, because everyone at the meetings has a wheelchair. They have true peers who understand the daily challenges of life on wheels as well as the successes. Being a part of a club and making a difference builds self-esteem and confidence as kids grow into adults. WOW is about Abilities, achievement, friendships, and fun. [To get acquainted with our group,] our website has a wonderful photo slideshow of our current group participating in the last year of events: www.freewebs.com/woworegon.
Chrissa Syverson, via e-mail
Home-based Head Start available in Inner Southeast
Since it also serves Southeast Portland, I want to make readers aware that Albina Early Head Start is recruiting for our Home-Based program for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers to age 3. The service area includes North, Northeast and Southeast Portland. This Home-Based program includes weekly home visits with parent/child activities (biweekly home visits for prenatal mothers) - discussing family goals, health and wellness, and available community resources, with a curriculum focused on your child's age and development level, as well as group socializations twice monthly offering opportunities for you and your child to explore. For more info, contact 503/236-9389.
Diane Doerfler, Albina Early Head Start, via e-mail
We inadvertently clipped the last sentence of the 'Holiday Express' railroad article, in which contact information was included, in the print version (though not the Web versions) of the January BEE. The complete final sentence should have read: 'To make sure you're on their list for 2008, or to learn more about this new holiday tradition, or learn how you can support ORHF, check their Internet website at: www.TheHolidayExpress.org.' Further, a reader has pointed out an error in the caption of the photo accompanying the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association meeting report. She informed us: 'The caption under the picture states that the men in the foreground are Robert McCullough and Bud Oringdulph, when they are actually McCullough and Jim Neill. The center gentleman leaning on his arm is Mr. Oringdulph.' We regret the errors.
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.