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Locals hear former South Korean leader speak at lunch function

When former South Korean President and Nobel Peace laureate Kim Dae-jung visited Portland last week, at least two Gresham residents had a seat at the table.

Lily Shelden, who is president of LTS Global Connections and is involved with Gresham's Sister City program, and Rod Park, who represents the Gresham area on the Metro Council, lunched with President Kim and heard him speak during his visit on April 17 and 18.

In one of his talks, Kim Dae-jung, who has been described as the Nelson Mandela of Asia, talked about his life struggles under past military dictatorships in South Korea. Among the events he termed 'challenges' were his kidnapping in Tokyo by Korean secret police, his three years on death row where his captors tried to kill him three times, and the four times that someone attempted to assassinate him. Despite those obstacles, he went on to be elected president and become the father of democracy in South Korea.

His trip to Portland - his third visit in 13 years - was sponsored by the Wholistic Peace Institute.

'His first speech (at the University of Portland) was very inspirational in terms of faith and how God helped him endure prison, spiritually and physically,' Shelden said.

At a second speech, Kim encouraged business people to begin working with North Korea in order to reduce its isolation and to change the nation's culture.

'That is a strong message that he sent to American business people and Portland business people,' Shelden said.

GARDENS WERE BLOOMING

EARLIER BACK IN 1928

Gregg Radford, who works in The Outlook pressroom, spotted an item in Sharon Nesbit's history column (Just the Other Day column, April 16) that brought back childhood memories and also reminded us just how downright cold this spring has been.

The item, dated 1928, mentioned that Mrs. Carl Goger arrived at The Outlook with a bouquet of her early sweet peas. Every year she made an effort to be the first to have sweet peas in flower, and in 1928, the first blooms appeared April 9.

It turns out that Goger was Gregg's grandmother, and contrary to the newspaper style of the day, she did have a first name: Lillian. Gregg says his grandmother was always proud of her garden, but the guess is that this spring, even Lillian Goger couldn't have sweet peas in April.

REMEMBER, IT'S A HURRICANE

ONCE THE WIND HITS 75 MPH

And while we're talking about bone-chilling weather, maybe this news from Friends of the Vista House will make someone feel a tad warmer. Louise Yarbrough, director of Vista House, says in the Vista House Views newsletter that the wind was clocked at 83 mph last winter during the 18- to 20-degree cold spell.

For those who prefer visiting during calmer times, the Vista House is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and will celebrate the 90th anniversary of its dedication in May.