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SOUTHEAST

LA Fitness will open club

After sitting vacant for two years, the former Albertson's grocery store at Eastport Plaza will be converted to an LA Fitness health club.

The company plans to offer an indoor swimming pool, racquetball courts, a full gym, aerobics space and other facilities, said Dianne Gill, Eastport Plaza general manager.

LA Fitness plans to open the 55,000-square-foot center in October, but will begin selling memberships in September, Gill said.

Eastport, located on Southeast 82nd Avenue between Powell Boulevard and Foster Road, includes Portland's only Wal-Mart store plus Jo Ann Fabrics and Crafts, Century Theaters, and several smaller shops and restaurants.

SOUTHWEST

Natural area cleanup set

Three work parties to remove trash and invasive plants from natural areas in Southwest are scheduled for Saturday.

The first begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Terwilliger Wildlands, beginning at Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard and Hamilton Street.

The next two start at 9 a.m. One takes place in the Woods Memorial Natural Area at Southwest Marigold Street and 45th Avenue, south of Capitol Highway. The other will happen along the west bank of the Willamette River, beginning at the boat moorage in Willamette Park.

All work will be finished by noon. Volunteers are encouraged to bring heavy gloves and bottled water.

NORTHWEST

Light rail hits milestone

TriMet is holding a street fair to celebrate completion of the major light-rail construction on Northwest Sixth Avenue in Old Town/Chinatown.

The fair, which will include bands, a farmers market and a skateboarding jam, is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 1, along Sixth Avenue north of Burnside Street.

While the event will mark the completion of major work, construction crews will continue to work on street curbs, brickwork, wiring and lighting until the expected opening of the new MAX line in September 2009. The first trains are scheduled to test the track next summer.

NORTH

Senior gets college cash

A Jefferson High School senior last week was awarded the first Mayor Tom Potter Scholarship, which will cover the $21,800 annual tuition for four years at Northeast Portland's Concordia University.

Cinthia Hernandez is the varsity women's soccer captain at Jefferson, a senior class representative for the student body, and involved in tap dance, African dance and ballet at the school.

She's also been a volunteer mentor to Latino students at Ockley Green School every Thursday afternoon for the past four years, said Nate Waas Shull, who has worked with her as part of the Oregon Leadership Institute.

'She is absolutely one of the most dedicated students that I've ever met,' Waas Shull said. 'She's kind of a star among her peers.'

Potter had moved his office to Jefferson for a week in January, hoping to boost awareness of the school in the community. Concordia leaders came up with the idea of the annual scholarship.

NORTHEAST

Concordia breaks ground

Concordia University President Charles Schlimpert and a range of Northeast neighborhood leaders formally broke ground last week on Concordia's first new academic building in 16 years - and a building that represents the beginning of a new construction campaign for the university.

The Friday morning ceremony signaled the beginning of construction for the $15 million Library and Learning Center, which will be on the site of Concordia's former soccer and baseball fields.

The university is building a new athletic complex in a four-square block area just north of its current athletic fields.

Concordia also plans to renovate the building that houses the current library and build a new residence hall.

The new library building, scheduled to open in August 2009, will include various rooms and resources available to surrounding Northeast Portland neighborhoods. Concordia's campus is mostly between Northeast 27th and 30th avenues, and Liberty and Holman streets.

'Really, today was about the physical manifestation of all the work that's been done to reach out to the community and build relationships with the community,' university spokeswoman Jeanie-Marie Price said.

EAST

Argay gets transit choice

The Argay Neighborhood Association is alerting residents to options for voicing opinions on whether east Portland needs streetcar lines or more bus routes.

The topic is being raised concerning a workshop tonight in east Portland, one of a series being held around the city on a new 'streetcar system plan,' inviting residents to weigh in on whether they would like streetcar lines in their neighborhood.

That hearing is at 7 p.m. in Classroom No. 1 of the East Portland Community Center, 740 S.E. 106th Ave.

However, the workshop's timing conflicts with a 7 p.m. board meeting of the Argay group being held at the fire station at 4800 N.E. 122nd.

So Valerie Curry, president of the Argay group, is alerting residents that they do not need to attend the city workshop to voice their opinion on whether streetcars are preferable to improved bus service.

She suggests residents contact the streetcar system plan staff with a simple 'yes' or 'no' vote on streetcars. To do so, e-mail or call This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 503-823-5611; or Emily This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 503-823-7854.

- Tribune staff