Featured Stories

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

by: , Editor: Each year, the Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club members go into the Sellwood-Westmoreland, Brooklyn, and Woodstock elementary schools to distribute American Flags to first grade classes. The flags were successfully distributed again early this year. Here’s a photo taken at Llewellyn School, featuring first graders Zoey Nolan, Colter, Decker, Sebastian Hawley, and Natalie Marcum – all here waving their American flags. -- Fran Shaw, Oaks Bottom Lions

A friend moves out of the neighborhood

Editor,

I am not a Portland native; I migrated here about almost 12 years ago from Raleigh, North Carolina. After a brief stint downtown sharing a 1-bedroom studio with 2 roommates (which we aptly dubbed 'the sub'), I started renting houses in Southeast Portland. I remember the first time the mail was pushed through the slot on my front door and echoed the trademark 'Thud'! I had just been introduced to THE BEE, and so began my first true exposure to community. Simply put, there could be no better primer for "all things Southeast Portland" than THE BEE. In many ways, THE BEE has helped encourage me to become increasingly active in my community on a variety of levels....ultimately yielding a Director-ship with the Brooklyn Action Corps for the last few years. Even my own personal business increased by over 80% after advertising with you! Sadly, my family and I are moving to the other side of the river, largely due to my new career, and I can't begin to tell you how much we will miss Southeast and THE BEE. If you would so indulge me, I would like to A) buy a subscription to THE BEE so that I continue to hear the trademark 'thud' through the mailbox, and B) encourage your readership to stay alert and active. Southeast Portland is really a gem in my mind, and it is ours to refine. It only takes a cursory look around other areas and Portland to realize how good we have it!

Kip Larson, Treasurer and Webmaster, Brooklyn Action Corps, via-email

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have gotten to know Kip and we know how much the Brooklyn neighborhood will miss what he has contributed to it. Paid subscriptions for those outside our distribution area are $12 a year in Multnomah County and $24 a year to all other locations in the United States. You can order one at 503/968-6397. And, we hope you come back to live in Inner Southeast again one day. There really is no place like it.

Protests headline story

Editor,

I have been reading THE BEE for some twelve years now. I and many people in my Woodstock neighborhood have been more and more disturbed by the increasing number of sensationalized and graphic photos of negative incidents in the neighborhood. I just chalked it up to THE BEE's seemingly new journalistic approach, and turned the page. This time you have gone too far. Many people suffer from depression and mental illness. There is no need to turn this anonymous woman's tragic episode into front page news in our local neighborhood paper.. Many of us know the suffering this woman must have been experiencing, and to plaster her misfortune on a front page is not something I ever wanted to see in a newspaper that comes unsolicited to my front door. THE BEE has been a good paper, but I need to question this lack in judgment from [editor] Mr. Norberg.

Jill Torberson, Woodstock, via e-mail

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gee, we have received several compliments about this having been an 'affirmative and positive' story ['Too nice a day to die'], telling how many caring people and so many happy coincidences intervened to save a life. We can only hope that Ms. Torberson has been more satisfied with the two feature articles on her artwork in metal, complete with graphic photos of it, which we have run in recent months in THE BEE - also part of our 'new journalistic approach', whatever that might be.

Fire Dept. jet-ski donor writes

Editor,

Just a quick note to say thank you for the mention ['Too Nice A Day to Die', March BEE] regarding the donated jet-ski water rescue craft. Our company was honored to be able to donate it and actually will be donating the funds for the Portland Fire and Rescue to be able to purchase another one this summer. As you know, water recreation is high in the summer and having two vehicles to offer assistance when needed will help them better do their jobs while saving wayward citizens from imminent peril. As a small business owner, I am blessed to be able to give back to our community and can think of no better or harder working organization to donate to than those who put their lives on the line for us every day.

Dennis Fioravanti, CEO, Essential Wholesale/Essential Cosmetic Labs

EDITOR'S NOTE: We misspelled Mr. Fioravanti's name in the story. We regret the error.

More on speed bumps planned for S.E. 41st

Editor,

Regarding Wayne Proctor's letter to the editor, I wanted to offer a point of clarification. Wayne mentions, '...the reasons presented by this small group for installing speed bumps along 41st seem rather flimsy, almost silly'. I assisted with gathering signatures for the speed bumps. A strong majority was required for the project to be approved, and just short of 90% of affected residents signed. It was not a 'small group'. Also, I know of two pet deaths and another pet collision. If pets still fall under 'flimsy and silly', then please consider them to the canary in the coal mine, with respect to other small fast-moving creatures: Children.

Todd Sargent, Woodstock

Editor,

Regarding last month's letter from Wayne Proctor about the speed bumps on S.E. 41st: He seems to feel that these bumps reflect the interests of a small group of people. Not so. The speed bumps first had to be OK'd by residents of 41st using a formal petition provided by the City of Portland. The city requires a 67% majority approval in order to move forward on a speed bump project. The avenue residents between Holgate and Woodstock weighed in with an 83% approval.

Catherine Failor, Woodstock neighbor

About Sellwood P.O. mail theft

Editor,

My wife mailed our bills a few weeks ago directly at the Sellwood Post Office and was recently balancing her checkbook. None of the 12 checks had cleared two weeks later. Visiting the Post Office, she was told someone had stolen the mail out of the street drop box on 2-10-08. I'm sure other local residents will be affected by this. US Bank suggests we may need to change cancel and open new accounts to avoid identity theft.

[Name withheld]

S.E. 17th Avenue, Westmoreland

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report adds interesting information to our front-page article about the theft in March: The fact that stolen checks had not been cashed. This does not mean the victims are 'home free', since the culprit may use account numbers in fraudulent ways, and can potentially 'wash' payee info and amounts from checks and write new ones in, but it is provocative that these checks were not negotiated in the two-week period after they were stolen, so perhaps some circumstance led the thief to dispose of the stolen mail before opening it. One can only hope.

Sorry we have to leave

Editor,

We at Sunshine Liquidators want to thank our customers for their support while we were here in Portland. We have enjoyed the service we gave you, the savings you received, and the conversations we had. At this time, we do not have a new location in Portland. If you are in Washington in Tolego, Packwood, Tacoma, or Bellingham, we hope to see you there. Thanks again for your business, and do have a GREAT day.

Jim Douglas, President, Sunshine Liquidators, Inc.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sunshine Liquidators, which has been located just south of Woodstock Blvd. on S.E. 52nd, was forced to vacate the building they were leasing effective March 31st after Goodwill Industries bought it. Speaking for ourselves, we will greatly miss this excellent business, and we hope they find another location in Portland, at which we will again be a regular patron.

About tolling the Sellwood Bridge

Editor,

Just a note about tolling the Sellwood Bridge ['From the Editor', March BEE]. This has been studied by a consultant who determined that tolling only the Sellwood Bridge would cause a high percentage of traffic to divert to bridges without tolls, like the Ross Island Bridge. Tolling just the Sellwood Bridge would not raise enough money to replace or repair the bridge. To do that, tolls would need to be imposed on all the Willamette River bridges. If that were done, there would be money to fix the Sellwood and maintain the other bridges. But tolling existing infrastructure does not have much public support.

Mike Pullen,, Multnomah County

EDITOR'S NOTE: We appreciate Mike's input; he is no stranger to anyone who has attended any of the county's meetings about the Sellwood Bridge. As we said in the editorial, we prefer the proposed vehicle license fee as a means of raising the local portion of the Sellwood Bridge funding, but it will have to be paid for somehow, and a toll would direct the fee directly to the bridge users. Although the consultant quoted has a valid point, there is something to be said for using the most convenient bridge, and we suspect commuters would pay to use a bridge with less traffic and thus a faster trip than divert to a free bridge stuffed up with commuters avoiding a toll bridge. We think it's worth a try, if alternate plans for funding do not seem to be acceptable.

Wild in the city

Editor,

I love living in Sellwood in the midst of wildlife, good neighbors, great food, the Moreland Theater, and such. I also walk a lot, many mornings before daylight. I've added the smell of skunks to my walks, and have even seen one in our front yard, just before sunrise snacking under the bird feeder. I believe the population is growing with compost piles and chicken coops. There are the wonderful river otters, and the not so wonderful beavers. Since living here we've seen peacocks, and of course raccoons, nutria, and possums, plus more rats than you like knowing you share your space with. We love watching the osprey, hawks, eagles, and owls, though I'd never have an outdoor kitty again for its safety's sake. I've seen hawks take songbirds right out of my front yard, and birds bigger than most cats perched all over the place. A recent Wednesday morning took the prize! At about 5:15 I saw a coyote in my neighbor's yard. At first I thought my eyes were fooling me, but now I am certain. My little dog did a low growl and it turned and looked at us before making its way back towards Oaks Bottom. I still love, LOVE living here, but will proceed with a bit more caution while sharing the planet, especially in the dark.

Donna Kane, S.E. Rex Street

Cleveland Reads

Editor:

March 19th, I attended the inaugural 'Cleveland Reads' at Cleveland High School, which Rita Leonard wrote about in THE BEE. It was an amazing event. More than 100 Cleveland students, teachers, administrators and parents, and community members, crammed into the Cleveland library to talk about 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,' a novel written from the perspective of a young man with autism. First, Genevieve Athens of the Autism Society of Oregon gave us an overview of autism. Then we split up into groups of seven or eight to talk about the book. It was a true community event, with people of all ages connecting via literature. Big thanks to Cleveland librarian Theresa Quinn, Cleveland High School and Starbucks, which donated coffee, hot chocolate and hundreds of cookies. I look forward to next year's Cleveland Reads.

Katie Essick, Woodstock

Headline was worded backward

Editor,

Thank you very much for printing the informative article in the March BEE on Meriwether Lewis Elementary School's washable lunch tray initiative. I especially enjoyed seeing the story in print because I am a Lewis parent who spends a little time each week washing the trays. In fact, I got quite a kick out of seeing my picture on the front page of the BEE--until I read the headline with the picture! You will notice I am smiling in the picture, and believe me, it's not because the Lewis community chose 'recycling' over reusing, as the headline (mis)states! Ms. Ussher-Groff made it quite clear in her article that there is presently no market for recycled polystyrene, so our choice is between washing reusable trays and landfilling mounds of Styrofoam.

Furthermore, I don't think 'economy' or 'efficiency' drove our school's decision. We all smile quite a lot while washing those trays, despite the grubby aspects of the job, because we think we're doing a good and right thing! If I could rewrite the headline to appear with my picture, it would say something like: 'Ecological decision: Meriwether Lewis Elementary finds it's more sustainable to wash trays than landfill disposables.'

Susan Petersen, parent and volunteer, Lewis School, Woodstock

Rogue attendant victimizes a driver

Editor,

March 2nd I bought gas at the Shell station on 42nd and Woodstock next to Otto's. The attendant pumped my gas and after doing so, he said to me that my gas cap was missing. He said he could replace it for $5. Something didn't seem right, and I told him I would wait and let my husband take care of it. My husband quickly drove over to Mike's Auto Supply on 52nd and Woodstock. When my husband spoke to the salesperson in Mike's, the salesperson asked what gas station I had been to. My husband told him. He then told my husband I was the third person in two days who had been told the same thing after having gas pumped at that station. All 3 were women. It seemed clear to us that the gas attendant was dishonest, so my husband drove to the Shell station and approached the attendant and asked for his gas cap back. At first the attendant tried to act aloof, but as my husband persisted, he eventually reached into a box under the counter and handed my husband back his gas cap. We did inform the police and we were advised that the best course of action is to make people in the neighborhood aware.

[Name withheld by request], S.E. 51st Avenue

EDITOR'S NOTE: We contacted this person, and then were able independently to verify details of her story. We contacted Shell America in Houston, Texas, to report the problem. On March 19th they responded:

Editor,

We at Shell appreciate you bringing this allegation to our attention, as no reports of it had been made to the Shell Customer Care Center. This department is reachable via a toll-free number at (866) 447-4355, or e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - and we encourage customers to contact us there with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding branded sites. With regards to your inquiry, Shell does not condone the type of behavior alleged in the customer complaint. In addition, we expect that third parties selling Shell-branded motor fuels also do not condone that type of behavior. The station in question is owned by a wholesaler, and operated by an independent businessperson under contract to the wholesaler. The operator is responsible for all of the day-to-day operations of the station, and has a long history of exemplary service selling Shell-branded fuels. Shell has been assured the matter is under investigation and will be handled as the operator deems appropriate, in compliance with all laws relating to retail outlets and business conduct.

Karyn Leonardi-Cattolica, External Affairs and Issues Management, Shell Downstream US

Helping out Llewellyn

Editor:

Llewellyn Elementary School has 343 children attending kindergarten through grade five, and needs help from our community to ensure our students gain the best education possible. Llewellyn is a vital center of the Sellwood/Moreland community, with excellent teachers, a broad-based curriculum with an emphasis on reading and writing, active parents and volunteers, and a supportive and involved administration. Although Llewellyn has all this creativity, PTA funding, and parent and volunteer support, it still does not have the capacity to lower the class sizes under current District requirements. This is where the Llewellyn Foundation comes in. Only Foundation money may be used to help pay for certified staff positions such as TEACHERS. The Llewellyn Foundation's inception was in spring of 2004. Since then, the generous donations from our community have supported the hiring of math and reading specialist Mr. David Pack in 2004/2005. In 2007/2008 we supported the hiring of a 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Anna Streano. The Llewellyn Foundation can do this again, but will need the help of our community. The current goal for the 2008/2009 school year is to raise $30,000 to improve class sizes and preserve the new music program. As a local resident, proud Llewellyn parent, and owner of Zenful Monkey Holistic Massage Studio, in my own case I am donating 20% of all full-priced massages and gift certificate purchases during the entire month of April to the Llewellyn Foundation. I challenge other business owners to pitch in and help, too. For information on my studio, visit: www.zenfulmonkey.com, or call 503/484-7622. Of course, you may also make a tax-deductible donation directly to the foundation; call 503/916.6216 and ask about the Llewellyn Foundation.

Helen Knight, lmt# 13549, 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.