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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Vandals damage safety signs
Thank you for publishing my letter regarding our Eastmoreland neighborhood's effort to slow traffic in the March edition of THE BEE. Unfortunately, the evening after we received our newspapers in the mail with the picture of a sign, one of the signs was removed and destroyed. We are dismayed that vandals would be so callous as to ruin a very time-consuming and caring neighborhood effort.
Collin Murphy, Co-Captain, Bybee/Berkeley Park Neighborhood Watch Group
EDITOR'S NOTE: We drove by this location a few days later, and none of the innovative safety signs were left posted. We are disappointed one or more vandals were able to torpedo this thoughtful and valuable neighborhood effort.
Inner Southeast light rail
As a resident and booster of the Sellwood/Westmoreland neighborhood, your editorial [March BEE: 'Inner S.E. light rail--where it stands'] really hit home for me. My wife and I have lived here for three years, and in that short time the commute to Portland has become almost unbearable. I work downtown and have typically taken the 19 bus. But as reliable as TriMet can be, the bus ride has gone from 30 minutes 3 years ago to an average of an hour now for this relatively short trip. I, like many residents of Inner Southeast, desperately want MAX for our neighborhood. We know that light rail offers the kind of reliable service that buses just can't match. Every other neighborhood that MAX boasts high ridership and the MAX itself has stimulated positive growth in those neighborhoods. My feeling is that access to MAX over the next decade or so will become indispensable, much like access to information through the internet is now a necessity. I don't want our local, state and national representatives to take this issue for granted. To that end, and in the spirit of your editorial calling for 'an ongoing, tireless effort by Inner Southeast residents', I drafted an online petition to encourage other residents to make their voices heard. In just the past week [as of March 8th] I've gotten 21 signatures, many with very thoughtful and supportive comments. I intend to mail the completed petition to our representatives to show how strong the support is. Visit the petition site at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/Portland_Milwaukie_MAX, to read the text and see the signatures and comments, and to contribute to this effort.
Steve Effros, boora architects
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thank you. And in the meantime, don't overlook one of the great TriMet secrets: A dedicated bus, #41T, that runs from Tacoma Street to the foot of the Hawthorne Bridge downtown by the Courthouse and back at frequent intervals, with intermediate stops at S.E. Harold and McLoughlin, 17th and McLoughlin, and all other bus stops along the way. This bus often runs nearly empty because people are unaware of its intermediate stops and frequent service; if ridership does not pick up, TriMet will cut it back or eliminate it. Check it out, and if it meets your needs, enjoy the commute on it and spread the word. This bus replaced the bus that used to cross the Sellwood Bridge to downtown and is a special resource just for Inner Southeast.
'Rose Manor' site raises more questions
The Brooklyn Action Corps is seeking answers: It appears that plans are moving forward for the Rose Manor site at 4546 S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard. Demolition is in the final stages, with only piles of crushed concrete now left on-site. Portland Maps indicates that a sewer cap permit was issued on March 12th. This is usually the last inspection that occurs at a demolition site. A public registry request was opened on March 15th. The property owners have asked for zoning confirmation, and are trying to determine if a 24-hour use is allowed on this site. When the developer was last 'called to the table' by the Brooklyn Action Corps, he reported that there was no formal business plan for the site, and that they [were looking to] 'mixed-use residential and retail facilities.' The recent activity calls into question whether they have made a departure from that plan. Brooklyn Action Corps and Southeast Uplift have contacted the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) to learn more. We have confirmation that the code doesn't normally regulate hours of operation (exceptions are nonconforming uses, convenience stores, and home occupations). So, the applicant wants some type of 24-hour operation, the lender wants a letter to confirm it is allowed, and the BDS intends to produce such a letter stating that the zoning does indeed allow 24-hour uses, even though it is not defined in the code. To date, we have been given no indication as to what is actually planned for the site. BDS has shared with us that just about any commercial use could be allowed such as a restaurant, grocery store - hopefully, not an adult-oriented business. We have asked Eric Johnston, the developer's Public Relations contact, to brief the neighborhood on these recent developments -- although we have not received a response from him at this time. This Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday April 11th, at Sacred Heart Villa, at 6:30 pm. Additionally, we are asking anybody with interest in the development of this site to post comments at the new Brooklyn Blog site: http://blog.brooklyn-neighborhood.org.
Kip Larson, Secretary / Webmaster, Brooklyn Action Corps
Thanks for 'Learning Gardens' story
Re: Schools + 'Learning Gardens' = S.E. vegetables [March BEE]. Thank you for this story... it gave me a warm feeling all over to think of this multigenerational project which lets kids truly connect with their food and with their own culture and that of others. I just love this idea! Obviously not every school can achieve this on such a large scale, but even a small vegetable garden can teach us so much. Thanks for the inspiration!
Jane McLain, submitted via BEE website comment form
Good luck to a local champ
If you have not had a report about it, my son Andrei, who is an eighth grader at Sellwood Middle School, finished in first place All-Around in the Oregon State Gymnastics Championships held the weekend of March 17-18 in the 12+ age category. In addition, he finished first in Rings, Vault, and Parallel Bars in his age category. He now goes to compete in the Regional championships which are held in Boise, Idaho on April 13-15th.
Scott Lechert, S.E. 20th Avenue
More about railroad museum plans
There are two inconsistencies in the Editor's Note in response to Mr. Doyle McCormack's letter regarding the Holiday Express [THE BEE, February 2007]: The PRPA is not pursing the former dump site south of Oaks Bottom, and not building a railroad museum and/or restoration facility for the three historic steam engines. The tasks of acquiring property and building a facility are being pursued by the Oregon Pacific Railroad, d/b/a the Oaks Pioneer Transportation Museum (OPTM). The PRPA restores and operates historic railroad equipment for the education and entertainment of the general public. We are not in business to acquire land, or manage the finances, design, or construction of a restoration facility for the three steam locomotives.
Matt R. Baccitich, President, PRPA
EDITOR'S NOTE: Inasmuch as these plans were discussed with the public at length on the particular train ride we covered, which evidently was conducted for the benefit of PRPA, we understood more involvement by the PRPA in these plans than apparently was warranted, for which we apologize. However, whoever may be proposing the idea, THE BEE welcomes these plans for a railroad museum for the former dump site south of Oaks Bottom, and across the tracks from Oaks Amusement Park--a site originally proposed for such a museum by the City of Portland a half century ago. We also greatly enjoyed the train ride, despite its being cut short by the derailment in Oaks Bottom.
Liked the show
Last evening, March 18, 2007, we had the pleasure of attending the Cleveland High School's production of 'Guys and Dolls'. Our congratulations to the students and staff for an outstanding job in all areas. Both the performances of the singers and orchestra members were so well done. We were especially interested in learning that non-students were a part of the orchestra. Including more experienced musicians along with the students produced an outstanding sound. We are aware of the number of hours and hard work that goes into producing such a musical. We went especially to see our neighbor, Mia Long (who did a professional job as Adelaide), but ended up being impressed with everything about the production. Thank you Cleveland!!!
Frank and Margaret Olson, via e-mail
Misunderstandings about Dilafruz Williams' profile?
Re: 'Woodstock notable soars in spite of the odds' [March BEE]… Kudos to the lady for having achieved what she has. However, coming from the same community as her (Parsi), the same place as her (Bombay, India), and having grown up at about the same time period as her, I find that some of the statements in the first paragraph such as, '...my female cousins were married off by their parents at 15 and 16. They had no choice in selection of their spouses, nor in finishing their studies' and 'They would raise their eyebrows when our parents would say their daughter was getting an education instead' are not typical of the community at that time, and seem to be attempts at self- grandiosement [sic] and to increase the impact of the article. Besides that, the rest of the articles [sic] chronicles her achievements, of which she should rightly be proud. Her service to the Portland Public Schools seems to have been stellar, and I wish her success in all her endeavors. Good Luck. God Bless.
Dr. Cyrus B. Toorkey, submitted via BEE website comment form
By the'50's no Parsi girl would have been encouraged into an early marriage - in fact none of us would have dreamt of marrying before we had graduated from college with at least a B.A. degree! It would seem to me that this lady is trying a bit hard to gain some sympathy votes for her level of education. My mother was an MA, BEd and would have been 91 years old this year - and she taught till 24 hours before she passed away a few years ago! So whatever in the world is this woman trying to say about herself and her peers? I am sure she has earned her position in life today but I could hardly consider it as being unique - specially [sic] for a Parsi! As practicing Parsi Zoroastrians we do NOT stretch the truth to tell a fine yarn - specially [sic] about ourselves!
Shirin J Mistry [from Australia?], submitted via BEE website comment form
The previous posters have all made the same mistake of presuming that Dr. Williams is a Parsi. She is actually Irani Zoroastrian, the child of recent immigrants to India, and in a community much less established than the well-off Parsis.
N. R. Irani, submitted via BEE website comment form
EDITOR'S NOTE: The above comments (and severeal others similar to the first two letters included here) were received on the website comment form provided with the story on the newer BEE website, www.TheBeeNews.com, in March. We continued to receive similar comments from similar but not verifiable names in response to this article later in the month--all of them critical of Ms. Williams, who, it began to appear, was the target of an organized e-mail campaign triggered by our story. Several of the letters shared use of the same phrasings, which lends credence to the idea that perhaps this was the work of a very few individuals attempting to seem a multitude. Since the additional comments added nothing to the ones reproduced above, in the interests of space, we are not reproducing them here.
Sellwood Middle School student spells well
My daughter, Malia Salu, won the spelling bee at Sellwood Middle School in February, and went on to compete in the Regional Spelling Bee on March 17th at the Hollywood Theater. She was the one student there representing Sellwood. The winner from the regionals will then go to Washington DC for the National competition. Malia has also just recently been elected 6th Grade Representative.
April Salu, Sellwood
Hopes for Rose Fest event in casting pond
A new Rose Festival event is coming in 2007, and hopes are high that the casting pond at Westmoreland Park will be ready to host the race, scheduled for Sunday, June 24. [The Rose Festival has already ruled out bringing back the Milk Carton Boat Races in 2007-Editor.] The Portland Parks Bureau will be draining the casting pond in May for some maintenance work, and while it expects to have the pond refilled by late June, the bureau can't guarantee that the pond will be finished in time for the model hydroplane race organized by Electric Radio Controlled Unlimiteds (ERCU), and sanctioned by the Rose Festival. ERCU's event organizers and members are excited about the race--to be known as the Rose Festival R/C Regatta--and hopeful that the casting pond will be open again in time for the race. Plans are set to run the race on the casting pond if it's ready. If not, however, the race will be run at Tualatin Lake on the Commons in Tualatin.
Nelson Holmberg, ERCU
Historic photo available
Enjoy your on-line edition of THE BEE. I lived in that area 70 years ago, and graduated from Llewellyn in 1939. I have a class picture, and was wondering if anyone in that class was still around, and has an interest in the picture.
Croquet in Westmoreland Park
There is a newly formed (more accurately, newly re-formed) croquet club playing weekly at Westmoreland Park. While the Portland Croquet Club has existed is some form for over 20 years, the latest version made Westmoreland Park its home last summer. I am president of the Portland club. I have lived in Portland all my life, growing up in S.E., attending Sellwood Middle School, and graduating Cleveland High School in 1982. I also am Western Regional Vice President for the United State Croquet Association. In addition to weekly play, the Portland Croquet Club host several tournaments a year, including the Croquet Fools, March 31-April 1. Our members play in regional and national croquet events all year long. I wanted to alert your readers to the local club and its activities.
Patrick John Sweeney, via e-mail
Thanks from 'Friends of Trees'
Thank you for featuring Friends of Trees' Neighborhood Trees Manager Kylie Nero on the cover of the March issue of The Bee. I also appreciated David Ashton's story about Friends of Trees' Feb. 3 planting in the Eastmoreland, Woodstock and Reed neighborhoods. I wanted to mention a few individuals and groups who weren't named in the story but who contributed significantly to the planting's success. In addition to the Woodstock neighborhood, our Feb. 3 planting included the Eastmoreland and Reed neighborhoods. This was Reed's first neighborhood planting, and Reed Neighborhood Coordinator Carol Hazzard did a great job organizing and planting the seeds for future tree plantings in her neighborhood. Eastmoreland has planted with Friends of Trees for over a decade now, and Karen Williams and Susan Stambaugh have done a wonderful job organizing their neighborhood plantings. Friends of Trees would also like to thank Portland General Electric for sponsoring the February 3rd planting, Holy Family Parish and School for hosting the planters, and all of the following who helped make the planting a success: Lonnie Port, Michael Rocheleau, Tom Brown, Phil Lemons, Helen Jones, Cara Althoff, Terry Griffiths, Catherine Mushel, McFarlane's Bark, Schondecken Coffee Roasters, Noah's Bagels, Grand Central Baking, Bi-Mart, Safeway, New Seasons Market, Otto's Sausage Kitchen, and Island Creamery. Friends of Trees appreciates all of the work your community is doing to make our city greener and healthier. Clearly it takes a community to raise our neighborhood trees!
Teri Ruch, Communications Director, Friends of Trees
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.