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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Pet snake found in Westmoreland

Editor,

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Is this face familiar to you? Are you missing a snake...?I found this Western Hognose snake in my back yard on May 7. Calls to Multco Animal Control had an officer out in 30 minutes. The Hognose is a native of the central part of the United States; it is likely an escaped pet. They are venomous, but not a threat to humans (according to Wikipedia). Officer Jason Bryant told me he would be taking my friend to the Audubon society for identification and then released if native. The snake, not being native, will be held and then given to a local herpetology rescue. The snake was about three inches diameter and approximately three feet long. Maybe if you run the picture we can reunite it with its owner. Exciting morning all the way around.

Dave Hansen

Westmoreland

A “reprieve” for Sellwood Community Center

Editor,

The Sellwood Community Center has been serving four generations of Portlanders for over 90 years with a wide ranging offering of recreational and educational opportunities. We have good news to report that with the hard work, thoughtful comments, and the support of hundreds of users, residents, and others, who cherish and value what the Center delivers – the City of Portland will continue to fund operations for at least the next year. That won't be assured until a majority vote is cast at City Council after THE BEE goes to press, but the Mayor’s proposed budget now includes full funding.

Closing or even downsizing the Center would have meant the elimination of the only full-service, year-’round Parks facility between S.W. 45th and S.E. 72nd Avenues, and from the Multnomah County line to N.E. Knott Street.

We know the value this well-used Center provides, and what a gap in the community there would be if it weren’t here. Realizing that this would be too big a blow to neighborhood livability, the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association (SMILE) has agreed to step up and develop a business plan under which SMILE would take over operational control of the Center. We hope to be able to move away from the ups and downs of the City’s budget cycle. This is a big leap, and we intend to take this step carefully and thoughtfully.

While the Center now is well-run and well-used, we see this also as an opportunity to envision the services and benefits it can provide as we close in on its first century and beyond. Look for opportunities to participate (read THE BEE of course!) as we move forward.

Thanks, everyone, for your support in improving the livability of the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood as a place to do business, raise a family, and enjoy this great part of the world we call home.

Kevin Downing

Chair, Friends of the Sellwood Community Center Editor, First, I want to tell you how much I appreciate the support that you gave to the Sellwood Community Center and my staff during our challenging budget year! We are so pleased to get word from the Mayor’s office that we will be funded for the next fiscal year. SMILE volunteers worked very hard to garner support for us, and they eloquently defended the Center throughout the entire process. I look forward to continuing our partnership and discussions regarding the future of the Center.

Secondly, I want to announce that Patty Gaines is retiring! How cool is that for Patty! Patty’s absence will be quite an adjustment for me and for my staff, but we are all excited for Patty, and a little jealous!

Patty was hired by the infamous Nancy Walsh at Sellwood Community Center in October of 1996 -- part-time initially, and later as a full-time Recreation Coordinator. Patty worked for four Center Directors; Nancy Walsh, Janet McKenzie, Tim Hammock, and now for thirteen years, at Hillside and Sellwood, with me.

One of Patty’s specialties is her cooking classes for parents with their child and for kids. She also taught cooking classes at Sellwood Middle School. She always let the kids cook something that they could take home and cook for their own family. She was surprised when the kids picked Sonomo Salad, Chicken Kiev, and twice-baked potatoes, over pizza for their favorite meal.

In 2000, Patty was transferred to Hillside Community Center, where Patty became my first program coordinator in recreation. I was a new Center Director, having been in aquatics for thirteen years. Although I had worked recreation programs at the YMCA for years, I was grateful that they assigned me a seasoned coordinator. We worked well together increasing the Hillside program threefold. The Fourth of July Parade and Party was a yearly highlight with all the neighbors coming for a day of fun, games and food.

In 2003, she was transferred back to Sellwood. Patty has always loved working in the Sellwood community and was excited to move back. Patty started our Holiday Bazaar, called “Snowflakes in Sellwood”, 12 years ago. Now, Snowflakes in Sellwood is an annual tradition. Patty also began the infamous “Spooktacular Halloween” event. Serving over 300 kids each Halloween, it has become an affordable favorite family event for the Sellwood community.

In 2004, I was transferred to Sellwood and it was like a reunion! Together, we built the Sellwood program to new heights, more than tripling the program offerings even though Patty was my only coordinator.

Patty has been a part of your community for 13 years and has impacted the lives of the kids and families in Sellwood. She’s been a Portland Parks and Recreation employee for almost 19 years, and she will be sorely missed by the staff and the community. She and husband Terry plan on traveling to every state, geocaching, and spending time with grandkids in Texas and New Mexico. What a life!

Please join us to celebrate the years that Patty has dedicated to Portland Parks and Recreation and the Sellwood Community! It's the beginning her new adventures! Everyone is invited! Come and share your memories and wish her well!

Friday, June 14, 6-8 pm, at Sellwood Community Center. Check our FaceBook for more updates!

Kim Calame

Recreation Supervisor Sellwood Community Center Editor, As a member of SMILE and an advocate for the Mounted Patrol Unit (MPU) and Buckman Community Pool, I am exceedingly happy today. This is just a shout out to all of us who wrote letters, signed petitions, testified at the City budget hearings, and made our voices heard. Mayor Hales and the Commissioners have listened to public input. Who says we don’t have a say in local politics? Thank you Charlie!!!!

Phyllis Boyer

S.E. 19th Avenue

Traffic issues on Umatilla Street Editor, While PBOT is considering added traffic calming measures for the Sellwood neighborhood, I think priority should be given to S.E. Umatilla Street. This street, at one time the main east-west route in Sellwood, is still the most heavily-used for cut-through traffic avoiding S.E. Tacoma Street. There are several added burdens which contribute to the traffic there, which is much heavier than normal for a residential street: (1) It’s on a TriMet bus route. (2) It connects directly to S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, and is used as an alternative by trucks. (3) It has school buses on it, and pedestrians walking to school. (4) It is used by bicyclists, joggers, and even skateboarders, as a link in the Springwater Trail. (5) It has three taverns directly on it, and a few more close to it, and gets [a lot of] late night traffic, often going by at high speed.

One solution that might help is to simply close off S.E. Umatilla Street from S.E. McLoughlin. There are only a few streets that now directly connect to McLoughlin; most are either blocked by Westmoreland Park or by Johnson Creek. A crossway [north-south mid-street diverter curb] similar to S.E. 13th and Nehalem, placed in the S.E. 17th Avenue intersection, could also help. And I don't know why the Portland Police could not park a patrol car and catch late night speeders and extra-noisy vehicles. There are even speeders during school hours! The occurrence of accidents this spring at S.E. 13th Avenue and Umatilla Street point out that this has become an increasingly dangerous street.

Ron Swaren

S.E. Umatilla Street

Thanks for the landscaping

Editor,

Many of us in the neighborhood want to give thanks to the 7-Eleven store at S.E. Tacoma and 17th for planting trees along the west side of their property at the end of last summer. At the time, they were renovating their store and parking lot and although they were not required to landscape, they chose to do so after neighbors contacted them. They also committed to building a planter along the west wall, and have said that they would appreciate professional input from the community as to what plants might be best for that area. Is there anyone who can help with that?

Tacoma and 17th is a gateway to our community, and the efforts of 7-Eleven, as well as Miller Paint, to upgrade and BEAUTIFY that intersection have made a big difference. Thanks again, 7-Eleven.

Ryan Crosby

via e-mail

As Jean Cheney retires from Llewellyn School…

Editor, Jean Cheney was an exceptional influence on our three children – Iain, Onyx, and Evan. A story that highlights her indispensible nature involved Evan. Trying to impress a girl, Evan had swallowed a pin. Jean noticed him making frequent trips to the water fountain, and investigated. The next thing you know Evan was on his way to the doctor and we were, once again, extremely grateful for Jean's attentiveness. She will be missed. Thank you for honoring her [in the article in the May BEE].

Floyd Maxwell and Maleena Brown, Iain Lidster, Onyx Brown, and Evan Lidster, via e-mail

Another teacher retires

Editor, Jolene Gross has been an icon in the Sellwood-Westmoreland area for almost 30 years as the preschool teacher at Immanuel Lutheran Church, at 15th and S.E. Lambert. Her final graduation class was Thursday, May 23rd, at the church at 10 am, when she had her last graduation.

In the early 1980’s, Jolene convinced Immanuel Lutheran Church to start a preschool program to offer preparation skills for 3 through 5 year olds prior to entering kindergarten at the local public schools. With the initial intention of teaching while her own children were at this age, to be home after school to parent them before being in elementary school full time, 29 years later she was continuing to share quality learning skills, preparing her students to achieve in kindergarten and thereafter. With the school being part of the church, she also shared God’s love for them and exposed them to how He can be with them and support them throughout their entire life. Mrs. Jolene, as she preferred to be called after the children had fun calling her Mrs. Gross, put her heart and soul into teaching and loving each class and every student. Teaching letters, numbers, art skills, basic fundamentals of reading, while enjoying a fun and loving atmosphere, she helped her students get ready for their next step in education. Just mention Mrs. Jolene to most parents in the area and they will say, “Sure, we have heard of Mrs. Jolene”. Her two children have given her five grandkids, ranging in age from 7 to just under 1. What a great time for her to share with her own family the same care and learning attributes that she has given to over 600 children, which is one of the reasons for taking this major step in her life. The only issue is that the grandkids live in Boise and Spokane! Guess it will be time to use some of those air miles her husband (Mr. Jolene, as the kids called him) has saved in his business travels.

In addition to the regular classes Tuesday through Thursday, Jolene started a different and unique class on Friday mornings called Friday Bunch. This class was a special class lasting four hours, where the kids would learn cooking skills, some science experiences, and occasional field trips learning about nature. This class allowed students to take home wiener wraps, cookies, and special treats – especially at holidays – which they made themselves, and fun projects to share with parents. Rumor has it that it may be possible to continue this class – however, that is only in the works. Mrs. Jolene will be missed. There will be a retirement celebration for Jolene held at the church, on a date to be announced. Dale Gross via e-mail

Speech and debate achievements at Cleveland High

Editor,

I’m Sasha Santo, a representative of Cleveland HS speech and debate team. We’re contacting you to help us spread the word to the community: Cleveland High School won the 5A state championship this past April with 119 team points, beating the second place team by 85 points. A handful of members from our team will proceed to the national level this summer. It’s amazing the growth we’ve had over the past three years, as the team was started in 2009 and made official in 2010. The team was born in the mind of one interested student, and went from five participants in 2009 to over 140 in this past year. Because of the huge amount of interest in the team, Cleveland now offers Beginning and Advanced Speech and Debate electives, taught by coach and teacher Patrick Gonzales.

The team was in action at “Sweet Speeches” May 30-31st. This was a fundraiser to help raise the $2,000 needed to pay for the national finalists for 2013. For more information about making a donation to help with this goal, contact Michael Joseph at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We really need the community’s help!

Sasha Santo

via e-mail

Responds to prior letter on firearms

Editor, In response to the letter you printed from Ryan T. Miller: Mr. Miller suggests that you “Get past the lazy minded rhetorical cool-aid of pop-media reporting and challenge your readers to educate themselves and make their own decisions.” He also wrote: “I reject the demonization of an inanimate object as the cause for murderous tragedies.”

It does not take any special education to understand that [some of] these “inanimate objects” of which Mr, Miller speaks are designed, manufactured, sold, and intended for a single purpose – to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. As long as these particular weapons are manufactured and sold – that is exactly what they will inevitably be used for.

Recently the Oregonian published the sheriff's report on the December 11, 2012, Clackamas Town Center shooting. The suspect in that crime used a Stag Arms AR-57 semiautomatic rifle. It is not a stretch of reasonable thought that were this weapon and others like it not so easily available, this tragedy would have been far less likely to have occurred.

There is no place in a decent, moral society for mass-killing machines. Greg Snider via e-mail

Auto accident not as represented

Editor,

I am writing in response to the story about the car accident on S.E. 13th and Umatilla Street on March 8th, 2013. I was disappointed when I read the story to see the facts around the accident were misrepresented. I understand the bike shop owner is concerned about the safety of the community, and would like some attention brought to the situation. This does not excuse changing the facts of this accident based on previous activity he has witnessed. I was the victim in this accident of an irresponsible driver. I was not speeding, did not need to be told to turn my car off, as I drive a manual transmission, and I was not “bewildered”. I was unexpectedly T-boned, and was suffering from a severe headache and whiplash due to a negligent driver who bolted from a stop sign and was accelerating at the time she impacted my car. This was an accident, similar to those that happen in every community with a high volume of commuting cyclists. Sellwood has become a very high-traffic neighborhood, increasing the risk for both pedestrians and cars, resulting in many intersections with very poor visibility. Combined with an excessive amount of commuter drivers jumping off Tacoma Street, too impatient to wait in traffic, the side streets have become cut-through thoroughfares. We can’t continue to increase housing density in our community and expect not to have an increase in neighborhood accidents. If the city would complete the Springwater Trail, connecting Umatilla to Linn Street – this would eliminate the cyclists’ need to commute at this intersection.

Petra St John

S.E. Clatsop Street via e-mail

Fundraiser at Oaks Park a success

Editor,

We are excited to announce that this year's Portland Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, held on Saturday, May 11, at Oaks Park – our second in Portland – raised more than $12,000 to support the Preeclampsia Foundation’s mission to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness catalyze research, and improve health care practices. On behalf of the more than 130 participants, I hope that you will share this news with your readers.

May was Preeclampsia Awareness Month nationally, in the State of Oregon, and in the City of Portland. Sellwood-Moreland merchants supported our event with raffle prizes to help us raise funds, and with coupons to help us make our walkers feel special! Thanks to them all for their help! Brenda Ray Scott Promise Walk Volunteer & Preeclampsia Survivor

 

Influential teacher

Editor,

What do Mother’s Day and a hazelnut shell path to Sellwood Middle School music teacher Dan Arrayan’s classroom have in common? You wouldn’t think much of anything; but as I was spreading new shells on the path this past Mother’s Day, the connection between these unlikely dots became perfectly clear to me.

My wife was in New York City watching our son perform at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition at the Lincoln Center. My son’s participation in that prestigious event was greatly influenced by Dan Arrayan. Yes, the man whose classroom is accessed via the hazelnut shell path.

In fact, five members of the American Music Program’s Pacific Crest Jazz Ensemble playing in New York that weekend were alumni of Sellwood Middle School and Dan Arrayan’s music program. Just another boring story about how the right teacher in the right place will positively influence a child’s life (and that of their parents). Thank you Dan Arrayan for the wonderful Mother’s Day gift.

Garth Griffin

via e-mail

Construction on Tacoma Street questioned

Editor,

The City of Portland Building Department approved commercial permit #2012-202591 at 1721 S.E. Tacoma Street – which permits a project that significantly will decrease adjacent homeowners’ real estate property values. The developer, Everett Custom Homes, will build a 4-story 46-unit apartment complex, sans onsite parking. It will be located next to the 7-Eleven at S.E. Tacoma Street and 17th, near the S.E. Milwaukie Avenue junction. This project is seriously detrimental to the value of my contiguous property, established since 1900 at 1743 S.E. Tacoma Street. This apartment project is also damaging to the historic caliber of Sellwood, and will have a deleterious impact on the immediate Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood.

Although the City of Portland’s stated rationale is that apartments without onsite parking will encourage prospective tenants’ use of bicycles and public transport, it seems unlikely that all 46+ tenants will have no cars. It seems reasonable to assume that this will result in additional street parking in the surrounding neighborhood. This will likely cause exponential traffic congestion around this increasingly busy intersection as well as elsewhere in the Sellwood neighborhood. Despite the various permits necessary to oversee each stage of construction, City of Portland Building Department inspectors have ignored several safety infractions and/or code violations that have occurred.

Prior to commencement of excavations for the apartment complex, two unidentified surveyors trespassed on my property at 1743 S.E. Tacoma Street on June 1, 2012 at around 7:40 am. I registered complaints about the surveyors' trespass to City of Portland's Surveying and Permitting departments as well as the Mayor's office and the Portland City Police Department.

The new west boundary marker to my property is approximately one-foot further east than indicated by my privately hired surveyor 15 years ago, and 1.5-feet further east than the pre-existing chain-link fence that had marked the west boundary predating my occupancy and purchase of my property 20 years ago. The new south boundary marker at 1736 S.E. Spokane Street is approximately 2-feet further north.

My mature trees have been a prime feature of my property's aesthetic and economic value as well as providing climate modification, personal privacy, mitigating soil erosion, acting as a noise buffer, and filtering carbon monoxide emissions from street traffic. Nonetheless, several of my thriving mature trees including the featured copper beech tree have been felled.

Multnomah Tree Experts severely pruned the entire west half of my thriving plum tree to conform to a vertical line congruent with my newly flagged west boundary. Russ Lockrem previously had claimed that “Our landscaper says the tree is not in good condition and worth only $2,500”. In fact, my certified arborist Brian Horrigan of TreePeople provided at my cost a written appraisal of the plum tree as well as my other trees and vines removed by the developer's subcontractor. He estimated the value of the plum tree at $28,095.88.

With the exception of one subcontractor – Corbin – Everett Custom Homes has not only demonstrated significant disregard for this private property owner’s rights with regard to real property, but also normal and reasonable expectation for due respect. Finally, I have received no notification about specific restitution for trees, vines, and shrubs removed and/or extensively damaged. This lack of consideration and cooperation demonstrably amounts to contempt and injury to both my person and private property.

Honor Vallor

via e-mail

Cultural exchange opportunity

Editor, I have just returned from an enriching trip to Japan with 43 PPS eighth grade students. Witnessing these impressive teens become independent during their research residency is like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon.

Having been a homestay provider myself over the past 23 years, I am now trying to help Japanese students live and study in Portland for 2 to 14 nights this summer with a positive homestay experience, and that begins with the community’s willingness to open its homes for a short period of time to a student, or two, or three.

This is offered to families in Inner Southeast Portland, and indeed all over Portland and the surrounding area. If you think you know of someone who would enjoy this hosting adventure, more information can be viewed here: alturl.com/a7q4r. Please contact me for more details!

Sayonara,

Melanie Scheuermann

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Enjoyed “found railcar” story

Editor, What a great newspaper you have. I have a friend who showed me your paper, especially your May issue with the “train car” recently found. I did not know your paper existed! I have been “enlightened”! My husband's grandfather worked in the Brooklyn Yard and used to eat at that diner. He called it “The Beanery”. [Official name: Brooklyn Diner.] It brought back many fond memories for my 92-year-old mother-in-law. It was her father who worked for the railroad there. He worked for Southern Pacific for 47 years – he was George E. Long, a longtime Portlander. Sylvia Groce S.W. Stark Street via e-mail

Thanks to BEE readers from Red Cross

Editor, On behalf of the American Red Cross and all the patients we serve, thank you for listing the information about our blood drive at Moreland Presbyterian in THE BEE. We collected 30 units of blood – on our goal of 26 – on May 22nd. That is fabulous. We couldn’t have done it without THE BEE and its readers. Thanks for supporting our mission.

Jeanie Greisser Territory Representative

American Red Cross

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