LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Neighborhood group erects 'slow down' signs
Last summer at their Neighborhood Night Out gathering, members of the Bybee/Berkeley Park Neighborhood Watch group [in Eastmoreland] decided on a plan to slow vehicles on Bybee between 39th and 36th Avenues. This block has entrances to Berkeley Park and many pedestrians, especially children, cross Bybee Blvd. to get to the park. This problem is especially acute during soccer and softball seasons, when hundreds of parents and children use the park. Despite a small traffic rotary and 20 MPH speed limit signs, vehicles are constantly going too fast for safety along this block. Neighbors feel that drivers appear to regard the rotary as a nuisance, and often speed up to get around it. The members decided to add new signs to call attention to the safety problem. The signs were designed by Collin Murphy, an artist, painted by her daughter Shannon, and cut out of plywood by Donna Giguere, a landscape designer. 52nd Avenue Hardware gave the group a discount on the plywood plus free delivery, and Woodstock Ace Hardware discounted the paint. The signs are shaped like running children, say 'Slow Down for Kids,' and are painted in bright colors with glow-in-the-dark edges. Residents ask that drivers respect all of the signs and keep their street safe. They will provide other neighborhoods with patterns for the signs on request.
Collin Murphy, Co-captain, Bybee/Berkeley Park Neighborhood Watch Group
Something lost if Winterhaven moves to East County
With regard to the Vicky Phillips' school consolidation/closure plan, I feel driven to share some of my perspectives. I moved into the Brooklyn neighborhood in close-in S.E. Portland, right across the street from the Winterhaven grade school playground/park, in October of 2006. When I would be out working in my front yard, I noticed camaraderie and positive interpersonal interactions of the kids at recess across the street. Most of the kids seem to be having the time of their life. One time after a game of what looked like football, I witnessed a group hug. The younger ones squeak with joy as they come running out of the building and jump on the monkey bars or whatever. Recess is where kids learn to play nice together, in a realm where someone wins and someone loses, and there's always another day. It may be more important than much of what they learn in the classroom. I wonder how that would be at the new consolidated place out beyond 82nd?
If they close the Winterhaven grade school, what will become of the building? It's a very nice building. Will vandals break in to the abandoned building and trash the place? What does real-world history say? How are the other abandoned schools in Portland doing? Imagine being a parent and finding out that now you've got to drive your grade school kids all the way out beyond 82nd, where drugs, prostitution and crime in general is higher, and then get out there again to pick them up later each day, both times being during your normal working hours at your job. Winterhaven grade school appears to be a very healthy situation that should be used as a model for other schools. It's been said that democracy can't work because it's too open to corruption. I wish we could prove that wrong. If Winterhaven closes, and the grade school kids have to endure their parents' having to drop off and pick them up out way beyond 82nd, every day, and they lose the kind of camaraderie I see going on over there at their recess, it will truly be a shame.
Robert Richards, Brooklyn
Angry over BEE story
The story 'Holiday Express Derails, Railroad Owner Shares Dreams of Museum' (February, 2007) was a misrepresentation of the Holiday Express event and the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. The Holiday Express trains were operated by the Oregon Pacific Railroad and the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation during the two weekends from December 8th to December 17th with the proceeds benefiting the ORHF. During this period we ran fifty round trips without incident bringing the holiday spirit to almost 9,000 passengers. The derailment you reported as the Holiday Express was actually the Winter Steam Special sponsored by the Oregon Pacific Railroad and the Pacific Railway Preservation Association, the caretakers of the SP and S steam locomotive # 700. The proceeds from this operation were for the benefit of the PRPA. The article implies that Portland's three historic steam locomotives are going to be housed in an Oaks Bottom transportation museum. This is not the case. ORHF's goal is to build a restoration facility and museum near OMSI, and negotiations are progressing toward the acquisition of this property. Nine years ago, seven interested volunteer organizations banded together with the mission of finding a permanent home for these locomotives and formed the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. The factual errors in the article are in insult to all the volunteers who put in many hours to make the Holiday Express a success, and were a disservice to your readers who look to THE BEE for accurate information about what is happening in their neighborhood.
Doyle L. McCormack, President, Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
EDITOR'S NOTE: We regret any error in reporting which organization benefited from the specific trip reported on. As the writer makes clear, there are two railroad associations using these historic engines in fund-raising events on the Oregon Pacific Railroad tracks, and both hope to provide a permanent home for them, since Union Pacific wants them out of the Brooklyn Yard to make more room for its own operations. Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation has been hoping for a facility near OMSI, as noted. The Pacific Railway Preservation Association has been pursuing the former dump site south of Oaks Bottom, which we correctly reported has been earmarked for a transportation museum for some fifty years by the City of Portland. Dick Samuels, owner of Oregon Pacific Railroad, is negotiating with Metro to trade his ownership of some of his right-of-way in Sellwood, for completion of the Springwater Trail, for a lease on the land south of Oaks Bottom and opposite Oaks Park, on which PRPA hopes to build the railroad museum and/or a facility to house the three historic steam engines. Presumably, the first group with a working facility for the engines will be housing them in it, when they are forced out of the crumbling roundhouse in the Brooklyn Yard.
Lewis kids getting into Kung Fu
As an Americorps Volunteer at Lewis Elementary this school year, I am required to spearhead a project of my own creation that would stand to benefit the community at large. Lewis Elementary had many great after-school options, but none that involved 'movement'. Interest in martial arts here at Lewis was high. Portland Public Risk management generally considers such offerings a liability, so we looked to The Academy of Kung Fu (where I have trained and volunteered for the past decade, and offers extremely high quality instruction) to sponsor and insure the program. Funding also fell into place very easily; it seems that there is great support out there for programs that promote wellness and function to combat childhood obesity while supporting students in developing positive life skills and conflict resolution strategies. At the end of Winter Term for the 30 students, families came to watch the final class, when students received certificates of participation, and everyone enjoyed healthy snacks donated in part by Woodstock Safeway. To date we have a Spring Break camp planned, have led seminars at Madison High, and we are looking to touch down at Duniway and Winterhaven schools.
Lara Hubschmitt, Education Coordinator, Lewis Elementary
Eastmoreland plans 'remodeling fair'
The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is producing its first-ever 'remodeling fair', to let area homeowners meet and talk with contractors who specialize in the nearby neighborhoods. The free event will run from 4:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, March 8th, in the cafeteria of Duniway School (7700 SE Reed College Place). Home remodeling and renovation continues to be a major activity in tree-lined Eastmoreland, as well as nearby Westmoreland and Sellwood neighborhoods; residents of all nearby neighborhoods are welcome. This remodeling fair will let residents meet with a dozen or more contractors, and help them find the best resources for their home renovation. It's a great way to save time and get all the information they need. In addition to local contractors, there will be representatives from the Architectural Heritage Foundation, who will discuss the unique home styles of the area, and ways to preserve the architectural integrity of the homes. The Eastmoreland Tree Committee will be there to offer information about maintaining and caring for the tree canopy which adds to the charm of the neighborhood. The Eastmoreland Garden Committee will be sharing news about the new public garden at the corner of 27th and Bybee streets. Similar Eastmoreland events may be coming in future months. We're planning other venues to help neighborhood residents find the best resources to maintain and enhance their home. We've had requests to sponsor forums for lawn and landscape care, and providers of home maintenance services such as plumbers, roofers, and electricians. For additional information, visit the website of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association at: www.eastmoreland.org.
Gretchen Sperling, President, Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association
Plants needed for May 12th Woodstock fundraiser
First of all, the Woodstock Neighborhood Association would like to thank everyone who made the February 10th Open House at the Woodstock Community Center a wonderful success. Thanks to the artists who sold work and donated prizes for the raffle and silent auction. Thanks to local businesses who donated food and raffle items. Thanks to the musicians who contributed their talents. And finally thanks to all who made it an event by coming to participate and enjoy. The Woodstock Neighborhood Association and the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center are already gearing up for the next fundraiser for the Community Center, which will be the annual pre-Mothers' Day Plant Sale, scheduled this year for Saturday, May 12th. Under the slogan, 'Sharing plants, growing community,' capable and generous gardeners from the community donate most of the plants for the sale. The donations are a result of dividing plants or of changes being made to landscaping. Anyone with plants to contribute may call me at 503/771-0011. The Woodstock Neighborhood Association needs to continue to raise funds for the Community Center since the cost of utilities and routine maintenance for the Center are its responsibility. We are very pleased that the neighborhood association has been able to partner with Portland Parks and Recreation to continue to provide classes and events at the Center. Thanks again to the larger community for its many contributions to helping us keep the Woodstock Community Center an integral part of our community.
Terry Griffiths, Woodstock Neighborhood Association
Sellwood educator plans tour
Michele Gibson, Sellwood