The stories that dominated our headlines in 2013

by: CONNECTION PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Claire Carder and Sue Strater survived the Boston Marathon bombings. 2013 got off to a relatively quiet start in Southwest Portland, with West Portland Park resident Amanda Fritz starting her second term as Portland city commissioner after defeating state Rep. Mary Nolan in a runoff election Nov. 6, 2012. Five months into Fritz’s second term, Mayor Charlie Hales would reassign the bureaus of the city of Portland to members of the Portland City Council, taking the Office of Neighborhood Involvement from Fritz and assigning her to the Bureau of Parks & Recreation and Bureau of Development Services, among other assignments.

In February David Dalla Gasperina, a 23-year-old rapper known as David Dalla G who was raised in Arnold Creek and now lives in Montana, returned to Portland for his first hometown show at Ash Street Saloon in Old Town. The show was a huge success. Later that year, in September, Gasperina would again head to Portland for his headlining debut at the Alhambra Theatre in Sunnyside.

Early the following month, FBI agents arrested Reaz Qadir Khan, a 48-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen living in West Portland Park and working at the Portland Bureau of Development Services as a wastewater operator. According to a federal indictment, from December 2009 through June 2009 Khan conspired with Ali Jaleel and others to provide support and resources to kill, maim or kidnap people in Pakistan. His two-week jury trial is set to convene on May 6.

The tragic Boston Marathon bombings, on April 15, 2013, had an impact throughout the nation and right here in Southwest Portland. Maplewood resident Claire Carder and her friend, Arnold Creek resident Sue Strater, both ran the marathon that day, and without realizing it at the time, Strater finished her race just five minutes before the bombs detonated. She and Carder were unharmed, though, and two months later Carder ran the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival Marathon in Sunriver.

In May the Portland School Board approved a revised budget proposed by Superintendent Carole Smith. According to the new budget, Wilson High School was to lose only 0.63 of a full-time equivalent (FTE) position compared to the year before — far less than originally projected — and was able to add a little over five FTE back to the building. In late August Wilson Principal Brian Chatard announced that in fact the school had 11 new staff for the 2013-14 school year.

After dropping hints for months, The Portland Ballet announced in June that it would be undergoing an approximately $170,000 expansion to include a new 1,200-square-foot studio, new flooring in the 1,850-sqaure-foot and 800-square-foot studios already in place, two dressing rooms and more stretching and warm-up space and an enlarged lobby with a new office and meeting room. The expansion was expected to last three months, with The Portland Ballet reopening at its Hillsdale location on Sept. 16, but due to delayed construction the completion date was pushed back to mid-November and then again to Jan. 25.

In July Jackson Middle School Principal John Ferraro was transferred to a new school for the 2013-14 school year, East-West Sylvan. That September his replacement, Kevin Crotchett, started his tenure as Jackson’s new principal.

On Aug. 22 Miriam Ann Clinton, 29, of Lake Oswego turned herself in and was arrested for the hit-and-run of 20-year-old Lewis & Clark student Henry Schmidt. In November, a month after changing her plea from not guilty to guilty, Clinton was sentenced to three years in prison.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Woods Park Advocates have spent the last few months trying to stop the sale of the Freeman Water Tank.September 2013 marked the start of a large grassroots movement in Southwest Portland formed by a group known as the Woods Park Advocates to stop the sale by the Portland Water Bureau of the decommissioned Freeman Water Tank due to what they called insufficient public notice and a lowball sale price — $140,000. Commissioner Nick Fish was inspired to strengthen public notice about city property sales in the future, but held his ground on continuing with this sale to Renaissance Homes. After forming an ad hoc subcommittee of the Multnomah Neighborhood Association, the Woods park Advocates was able to hire a litigator, poised to pursue legal action, just weeks before Jan. 4, when the sale was set to close.

October brought the unexpected — and for many, saddening — news that Megan Braunsten was being laid off from her post as executive director of Hillsdale Main Street due to downsizing. The reason given was that the nonprofit could no longer realistically fund a full-time position. A few weeks later, in November, Hillsdale Main Street announced that JoLonna Windsheimer had been hired as its new district manager, a part-time position.

A little over a month after 27-year-old Quinn Sivage, a Lincoln High School alumnus, died after driving 80 to 100 mph in the 9000 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard and crashing his Toyota Prius into a TriMet bus shelter, another person was killed Nov. 25 in a collision on Barbur Boulevard near Miles Street. Improving Barbur Boulevard’s safety is sure to be a hot topic under discussion in the coming year.

As the year drew to a close, so did Lori Sweeney’s tenure as longtime columnist for The Southwest Community Connection; on Dec. 3 she announced that her January column would be her last, at least for now.

Happy New Year, Southwest Portland. Welcome to 2014.

Drew Dakesian can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 108.

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