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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

A memory of Country Bill’s

Editor,

Thought you might enjoy this photo of the old sign revealed under the 1970’s (I'm guessing) Country Bill’s façade, at 45th and Woodstock. Great job on the February issue. I really appreciated the detailed coverage and local slant on the Sellwood Bridge move, the followup on that poor guy whose house was destroyed by the crazed SUV driver, the Rhody Garden lake issue, and the Ogden Street “remodel”, which is (again, I’m guessing), less than 300 feet from my house.

by: REVA BASCH - Take a look.  It, and the restaurant, are gone now.

Reva Basch via e-mail [EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Reva for documenting this, already vanished with the completion of the remodeling of the building, between Papaccino’s and Safeway in Woodstock. But what we wouldn’t give for one of Country Bill’s incomparable steaks, right about now...]

About those “reconditioned” violins…

Editor, Thank you for David Ashton’s story “Sour notes emanate from Christmas gift in Southeast” [February BEE]. After reading it, I came upon this vendor at the PCC Sylvania campus. He was telling students the same story Nancy Gilius was told about his “reconditioned” violins, his grant to give students access to instruments, and the photos of his workshop were prominently displayed.

To be sure he was misrepresenting, I questioned him about the origins of the very violins on the table (four of them, obviously brand new, and identical), asking if those particular violins were restored and was told that yes, they were. I then, in front of two potential student customers, mentioned your article, and enjoyed watching the smug look disappear from his face. I announced to all who were standing there how the instruments were misrepresented, and that this was not, in fact, some sort of service he was doing for students as he claimed.

There is nothing wrong with an ornamental Chinese violin if that is what you are in the market for, but that is not what Bill Mehees is claiming to be selling. Thank you, Nancy, for coming forward to share your experience. I’ve taken steps to try to get him off of my school campus and hope that anyone else who sees him will do the same.

Deborah in Westmoreland

via e-mail

Peacocks in Woodstock

Editor,

We live off S.E. 41st and Glenwood and have been visited several times lately by roaming peacocks. They seem to love our back yard, probably due to our low-hanging bird feeders and our curious indoor cats. The peacocks usually wander through the front yard, then quickly fly over our fence into our back yard. Our cat, Harlow, greets them at our deck doors and they spend the next 20-30 minutes staring at each other through the glass.

Scott and Sheri Karnopp

via e-mail

[EDITOR’S NOTE: People apparently get these birds as pets, and then release them when they get tired of them. Westmoreland saw wandering peacocks for an extended period of time a number of years ago – but they have not been around for quite a while. There is still a “peacock crossing” sign on S.E. Ellis near 20th. Neither the Zoo nor Animal Control is interested in picking them up; in our opinion the Zoo could use a few. Those there were disposed of after a little boy was bitten by one, but the boy himself said he had harassed the peacock, and he hoped they could stay at the Zoo. We hope they will eventually be welcomed back there too.]

Plant sale to return in Woodstock

Editor,

The twenty-year-old tradition of a Woodstock Neighborhood Association “pre-Mothers’ Day Plant Sale” will continue this year on Saturday, May 11th. In recent years, all of the plant sale proceeds have been used to support a Partnership Agreement between Portland Parks and Recreation and the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA). The Agreement enables the Community Center to remain open and active, by turning over the responsibility for routine maintenance of the Center to the WNA.

Funds from the Plant Sale help to pay for custodial services and supplies, chemicals for the boiler, and for expenses associated with grounds keeping. Generous gardeners in the community donate most of the plants that are sold. Donations often include perennials or seedlings that have “volunteered” from plantings of previous years. Sometimes, as gardens are being redesigned, people have contributed plants they have decided to replace. Some of the plant categories we have been able to provide are: Many varieties of perennials (some quite special), vegetable starts, herbs, native plants, ground covers, grasses, houseplants, and small trees and shrubs.

Contributions for the Plant Sale can be dropped off at the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 SE 43rd, on Friday, May 10th, between noon and 7:00 pm. Anyone needing empty pots or an earlier drop-off time should call Terry Griffiths at 503-771-0011 (or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

This year a small group of volunteers is working on creating hyper-tufa planters for the sale. We are in need of Sedums and other appropriate plants to fill those pots as soon as we can get them. If you have Sedums that have spread enough to share, please contact Terry (above) and we will send a small posse out to collect them. Thank you, neighbors and gardeners, for any help you can give.

Terry Griffiths

Friends of the Woodstock Community Center Volunteers

Cat, remembered

Editor,

If you have been to Gino’s, you have more than likely seen Lazarus, the fluffy brown cat, either sitting in the bar area or hanging around outside, waiting for sweet offerings of shrimp or mussels. Laz is no longer with us. He passed away early Thursday evening on January 31, 2013.

I own a business near Gino’s and shared the love of Laz. Laz and Curtis (Laz’s step-brother, a white short-haired cat) walked into my business when I went through a tough time with my personal life. They both found a place to hang out every day and brought love and joy to my co-workers, clients, and me. I personally had a deep bond with Laz. Rain or shine, every morning he sat at my door at work waiting for me. On my days off I couldn’t bear to not show up because I knew he was there. He was the reason why I got out of my house every day. He brought me love and taught me patience. He was the reason I got distracted from my tough personal life.

Laz had a rough life until he was adopted by his mom, Barb. He got lead poisoning from living in a warehouse. He ended up at the vet and was abandoned due to his vet bill. The vet graciously kept and treated him, and he lived there for a year wearing a diaper. He had kidney and liver problems and crystal build-up in his urinary tract. His mom adopted him despite the fact that he wasn’t healthy. She gave him a beautiful home and plenty of love. He discovered Gino’s down the street and loved the bar ever since.

I started my business in Sellwood over three years ago. Laz found me two years ago and I just fell in love with him. Those of you who love pets and have been through the pain of losing them understand why I write this. They are in our lives for a reason. Regardless of the fact that they can't talk, they do feel and communicate to us in many different ways. They brought us such unconditional love. If Laz could talk, he would have said, "You’re well now and I’m done with my duty, so it’s time for me to go." Laz was 17 years old.

As for Curtis, he continues to come see me at work and hang out at Gino’s in the summer. He also has a special story of his own that I’ll write down another time. I want to thank Barb for sharing them with us. Laz’s love was vast and oceanic!

Fawn Raab

via e-mail

Alarmed at possible loss of restaurant

Editor,

In early February my husband and I went to our favorite restaurant spot for breakfast, Lili Patisserie Cafe. This is one of the most darling, delicious, efficient and friendly places in Sellwood. We just heard that it may be forced to move as the landlord is doubling the monthly rent! What a sad thing it would be for Sellwood to lose this wonderful restaurant.

We are hoping with this notification and you printing this information, others will be as upset as us! We would love others to do what they can to persuade the landlord to reconsider doubling the rent for this wonderful establishment. An increase is understandable, but doubling the rent seems way out of line.

Rebecca and Richard Duncan

Lake Oswego

via e-mail

Milestone for “Holy Family” student

Editor, Students at Holy Family Catholic School are expected to complete an Independent Learning Project (ILP) in their eighth grade year. The student picks an area of study, recruits a mentor familiar with the subject, writes a research paper, completes the project and makes an oral presentation to the school following completion. Alex Shank elected to train for a half marathon. As a parent of a friend, a physical therapist, and someone who had recently completed her second half-marathon, Alex asked me to be her mentor.

We began our training the first weekend of December, following the “Hal Higgins Novice 2” regimen. Our initials runs were through Eastmoreland, progressing onto the Springwater Corridor and back through Westmoreland. In order to decrease our mile times we did sprint training along Reed College Boulevard. We also trained on hills. Our goal was to complete the half marathon in 2 hours or less. Alex showed considerable dedication for a 13-year-old girl, as all but our over-seven-mile runs were completed before school on Wednesday and Friday mornings. We ran approximately 123 miles together during 21 hours of training. Also of interest is that it only rained on us 3 of our 25 training runs between December 2nd and February 3rd. We ran in the “Providence Heartbreaker Half” on February 9th, along with 472 other competitors. Our official time was 2:00:01, a pace of 9:09. We placed 218th in the combined field, and 108th out of 292 female competitors.

Alex placed first in her age division. Colleen Gilroy

via e-mail

The lake at the Rhododendron Garden

Editor, I am a volunteer of The Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and I am writing in response to the article in the February Bee titled “Failing dam”. The statement “A dam built many years ago plugged the creek, and created the Rhododendron Garden lake” is not true. Our lake was created as a mill pond years ago, before the Garden existed. The dam is holding back the waters of the many springs in the area. Our lake is not on Crystal Springs Creek – our lake’s dam spills into Crystal Springs Creek.

A nasty can-of-worms could open up if the lake is drained. We could be trading one mess for another. Stagnant water in clay soil breeds mosquitoes and rotten smells. Purple loosestrife and a sea of yellow flag iris could take over. Not only that, but iris could float downstream and infect lower bodies of water. These are just some are some of the nightmarish possibilities.

What about our otters? We also have Western Brook Lamprey (a species of interest) and a list of about 75 bird species. We have a wonderful viewing platform and outdoor classroom for these species. Where else can you view wood ducks up close in an urban setting that is also wheelchair accessible?

The issue is that the water is too warm for the fishery. How can we cool the water?

1. By forgoing feeding the waterfowl we have one way to clean up the lake. Less feeding means a reduction in warming of the water (less waterfowl and less nitrogen in the watershed).

2. By removing the iris we have a second way to cool the water – by reducing the buildup of land mass and sediment. Would the city please get serious about eradicating the iris? Eradication has worked in many other areas of the city. There is a program for it and it works.

3. By creating a new dam that draws water from the bottom (if a deep water temperature reading determines that this might work). I don’t know much about this, but it has worked on the Crooked River in Central Oregon.

I am not an expert on fisheries. All I know is that our Lake is a beautiful place in Southeast Portland. How can we work to keep both our Lake and nurture the fish run? Does anyone have an answer?

Donna Giguere

via e-mail

Distinction for Eastmoreland students

Editor,

We wanted to share with you the news that a Southeast Portland resident was one of four St. Mary’s Academy students recently named National Merit Finalists. Her name is Kate Brouns, and she lives in Eastmoreland. In addition, Maddison Makin, also of Eastmoreland, was one of 15 St. Mary’s Academy students who collectively won 22 writing awards in this regional competition (competing against students from Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). St. Mary’s is in downtown Portland. Mary Ann Albright St. Mary’s Academy

Fund-raising for a new K-9

Editor,

This last December the community of Milwaukie (which includes Ardenwald, partly in Multnomah County just east of Sellwood) lost their beloved Police K9 “Jag”.

Jag was a real community Police Officer in that he was purchased through a community fundraising effort. But bone cancer cut his service short.

Since Jag’s purchase, the Milwaukie Community continued the fundraising, knowing that we never wanted to be without a K9 on our Police force. K9’s enhance the ability to respond to certain types of calls that are highly beneficial to the community, and are deployed to help other departments when their K9 officers are not available. Likewise other departments send their K9 officers to Milwaukie when we need assistance.

Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation (a 501c3 nonprofit) is actively campaigning to raise funds to purchase a K9 officer as a replacement for Jag. We are seeking donations of any size, and have a 100@$50 campaign in which we hope to encourage 100 people to donate $50.

We will be having our 5th annual 9K for K9 Walk on July 27th for people and their “K9’s”, which has turned in to an anticipated event for dog owners. For further information go online to: www.9KforK9.com – and: www.milwaukiepsf.org .

Sue I. Richardson

Fund Raising Committee

via e-mail

CORRECTIONS

Jennifer Koozer of TriMet writes of our “MAX Momentum” article in the February issue of THE BEE: “The article states that the January 17 meeting of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project Citizens Advisory Committee was chaired by Rick Williams and included a presentation by Rob Barnard. In fact, Rob Barnard did not attend this meeting, and Rick Williams retired from the committee in the fall of 2012. The article refers to the upcoming signature of the project’s Full Funding Grant Agreement, which was actually finalized in May 2012.” We investigated and determined that these errors, which we regret, occurred due to a very unusual error during the editing process. The reporter, Mr. Ashton, had been present at the meeting, and had made sound recordings for reference in writing. Some of a previous article appeared in this one due to the error. The major section of the article, dealing with cost-cutting engineering changes made to the Bybee Boulevard MAX Station design, was accurate.

In our story in the February issue about the reopening of the Oaks Bottom Bluff Trail, we misspelled the last name of the Portland Parks and Recreation Capital Projects Manager and Landscape Architect involved in the project, Travis Ruybal. That is the correct spelling. THE BEE regrets the error.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.