Community News June 2017

Southeast school shines

Asking struggling readers to compete in a national reading contest used to be unheard of at southeast Portland’s Bridger School. But now that Bridger kids with learning challenges like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism have access to audiobooks specially designed for their print disabilities, the Wildcats are electing to compete with their peers across the country … and succeeding!

Bridger recently placed in the top 13% nationally for the number of pages read in Learning Ally’s Great Reading Games. More than 1,200 schools read 5.3 million pages during the seven-week games, with Bridger placing 175th for pages read.

Third grader James loves books, but decoding words takes effort due to a print disability. But with the audiobooks, James can make the typeface larger, highlight sentences in yellow so the letters stand out, and use the technology to repeat words with which he is unfamiliar.

“I like reading,” said James. “My reading has gotten better using the audiobooks.”

Bridger Speech Language Pathologist Betsy Shaughnessey loves audiobooks as a way for students to keep up with their peers. Experts say audiobooks help build students’ access to content and vocabulary, enhancing their reading comprehension, and building the confidence and skills to help them progress to print text.

“I love the audiobooks, especially for students whose strength is auditory,” said Betsy. “It’s another tool for students to get excited about learning.”

The audiobooks were provided by The Shadow Project, as part of Portland Public Schools’ Read Together program designed to boost third grade literacy achievement.  The Shadow Project is a local nonprofit that helps public school students with learning challenges gain access to the tools they need to set goals and succeed in the classroom.

Additional southeast Portland schools participating in The Shadow Project include Abernethy, Buckman, Harrison Park, and Pioneer. For their efforts, the Bridger readers received certificates of accomplishment, and a SubZero Mad Science party.

Recycling tip– Check Before It Goes

By Bonita Davis, Master

Recycler and Sunnyside resident

Parting with our possessions can be tough.  Sentimentality, memories, and longevity can all factor into how we prize an item and assign it value.  Experts suggest that some of us will devalue an object because it is “used,” while others will value it more because of our experiences with the object and the possibility it may now be a collectible, antique or now a rarified object that someone else would want.  After all, we wanted it, right?

A friend in a nearby community expressed surprise on FaceBook when his truckload of donations were not all accepted for donation.  To him, it was great stuff, but he learned that many items would not be resalable.

Shel Mae, Habitat’s Portland Retail Director, offered an explanation of how this might happen.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores offer quality materials at a low price to the public.  Resale of donated items helps keep useable items out of the landfill and generates money to support their mission of building new homes.   ReStores, like other resale outlets, incur a cost from time, labor, space and disposal fees when handling unsaleable items.

A test to see if an item is appropriate for donation; if you can’t sell it, and you can’t give it away, you probably can’t donate it either.  Sometimes, it is hard to face the reality that an item we have used even recently no longer is desirable to others.   Reasons for not accepting items might be that they pose a health or safety hazard (lead and asbestos for example,) have been recalled or banned, are in poor condition, not up to code, or are of insufficient quantity.  Non-profits depend on our donations to support their mission and at the same time, look out for our safety.

Look to retail outlets such as Habitat’s ReStores (,) Goodwill (,) and the ReBuilding Center ( for excellent detailed websites that outline by category what can be accepted.  Every day at The ReBuilding Center, eight tons of building materials pass through The ReBuilding Center every day, diverting useable materials from the landfill and providing the community with a great resource.

Consult with an expert at the Metro Recycling Hotline at 503.234.3000, or visit their Tools-for-Living at for a solution for those hard to “re-home” items,  including finding haulers who make it a priority to recycle when possible.

After searching very hard to find a new home for several items, I now ask myself; What am I going to do with this item when I no longer need it?

Smart water use: graywater gardens

By Jen Cole

Almost half the people on our planet do not have water piped into their homes. They have to go find their daily supply and carry it back for drinking, washing and bathing. If Oregonians had to do that, we might find ways to use a lot less than our current average 52 gallons (416 pounds!) per day.

As it stands, our city water systems do a great job of delivering a seemingly abundant supply of water to our faucets and showerheads. But, guess what? In parts of Oregon, wells and streams are going dry, and people have been promised more water than nature can provide. Even in western Oregon (often thought of as the “wet” side of the state), drought and water scarcity are growing concerns.

It’s time to rethink how to ensure that our water system is resilient to change. And when it comes to conservation, it’s time to get more creative than just shutting off the water while you brush your teeth.

This summer, the PDX Graywater Partnership (including our friends at Recode) is hosting workshops, courses and tours that will help people make big strides to lighten their water load. The idea is to deliver gently-used water from laundry, showers or sinks”—graywater—to backyard bushes, trees and gardens. By putting graywater to good use, we can help reduce stresses on water supplies, lower home water usage and costs, and support a thriving landscape.

5 things you do when you send water from your laundry and household sinks into your yard:

(1) Save a stream.

Even with the proliferation of water-efficient appliances and water-wise landscaping, water use by residential customers in Portland typically surges two- to three-fold during summer months. When your plants are the most thirsty, so are our rivers, native fish and wildlife that depend on them.

(2) Turn pollution into plant food.

Graywater systems not only water your yard—they also feed it. The nutrients in water from your sink and laundry (traces of food scraps, dirt, grease) act as fertilizer for your plants, and in return, plants and soil filter water before it trickles back into the natural water cycle. When the same nutrients end up in our rivers and lakes, they add up to pollution that causes dead zones, encourages harmful algal blooms, and kills fish.

(3) Let your yard absorb the bills.

Besides what goes down the toilet, most of the water that goes down the drain is essentially wasted. Giving graywater a second life before sending it away can cut your total water usage – and water bill – significantly. If you’re a gardener, that means more food at home and more money in your pocket at the grocery store. By reconnecting our backyards to the natural water cycle, we can build greater resiliency in our communities.

(4) Become toxics aware.

When you reuse graywater in your garden, your plants become a litmus test for how toxic the chemicals are that you use in your home on a regular basis. Switch out cleaners that contain salts, boron or chlorine in favor of gentler products to ensure that your plants do not wilt or turn brown.

(5) Set the next trend.

Although reuse of graywater has been legal in Oregon since 2012, there are only 26 residential systems permitted in the state. Jackson County is leading the pack with more than half of these home systems, and there is only one residential system in Portland, delivering water from Ted Labbe’s washing machine to a row of raspberries thriving in his backyard. Who will be Oregon’s next green leader to harness the power of water reuse?

PDX Graywater Partnership is hoping you will be! Even a simple household system, costing less than a hundred dollars, can provide a reliable water source for bushes, trees and large plants. This summer, Depave, Graywater Action, Recode and other local groups are teaming up to introduce curious homeowners and installers to real installations, help simplify the permitting process, and educate on where to find appropriate parts.

Find out more about summer workshops and tours at

Sons of Norway’s Grieg Lodge recently celebrated its 107th birthday with a special Viking Pancake Brunch and Scholarship Awards Ceremony.  Fifteen scholarships of $2,000 each were awarded.  

Scholarship recipients were Jannike Allen, Raymond Baldwin, Nathan Bergfelt, Sophia Caesar, Chelsea Davis, Laura Gifford, Millie Hobaish, Nissa Jensen, Nicole Kister, Chad Lipka, Tyler Pederson, Elizabeth Solheim, Ian Schipper, Robert Stoddard and Logan Wahlstrom.  In addition a $500 Bernhard and Johanna Fedde Grant was awarded to The Portland Scandinavian Chorus, which will be performing on tour in Sweden and Norway this summer.

 Seeking historic photos, documents and stories

The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) seeks your historic photos, documents, and stories about Mt. Tabor Park’s historic open reservoirs.

We are interested in collecting photos, stories, documents about:

Mt. Tabor’s open reservoirs, from construction to today;

The Bull Run watershed, from the late 1800’s to today;

The original engineering and construction of the Bull Run system, from the watershed to the city.

If you have materials in your own personal collections, please consider sharing them with our team.  You can email: with your digital files.  Or, if your materials are not digitized, send us a note to that same address with a description of what you have and a way to contact you and someone will get in touch.

As you may remember, the land use review for the disconnect construction project at the Mt. Tabor reservoirs mandated that the Portland Water Bureau capture some of the story of Mt. Tabor’s reservoirs, and their role in the Bull Run water delivery system.  This story is to be made available through on-site educational materials.  This kind of effort is known as an “interpretive program.”  MTNA is part of the joint team (which includes professional historians and PWB staff) that will help craft this interpretive program over the next 2 years.

Business Beat

SUPER NATURAL, an eco-boutique lovingly curated by the ladies of the PDX based organic line, Tinctoria. Originally located in the Alberta Arts District, are newly relocated to 3435 Hawthorne.  We feature a large selection of organic clothing and accessories by Indie designers from the West Coast and beyond. We’ve done the shopping for you, so you can be sure that every item is super stylish and super

FOR PAWS HAS MOVED!  We’re so grateful to our SE neighborhood family for supporting us these past eight years.  We look forward to continuing to help keep your cats and dogs happy, healthy and spoiled rotten in our new location at 3340 SE Division Street.  See you soon!

OHHONEYCOOKERY.COM offering cooking classes around SE Portland. Relaxed, hands-on, sign up now for June and July classes. Gumbo 101, Jambalaya, Quick Italian pasta sauces, meatballs two ways, $45 per 2-hour class. Thursdays from 11 – 3 pm come by the Eagle Aerie at Hawthorne and 50th for Jambalaya, pecan pie, and more. Mention SE Examiner for lagniappe! See website to order quarts and gallons of made-from-scratch gumbo, crawfish etoufee, shrimp creole, red beans, jambalaya, pies and more. Contact Bonnie at Oh Honey Cookery for details. 503.432.1021 or email

BEGINNING CALLIGRAPHY INSTRUCTION in SE Portland. Fun and relaxed classes in one of the most adaptable lettering forms. You will be learning to draw letters (a different dynamic than your everyday writing). After mastering the alphabet we will work on your particular interests such as place-cards, envelope addressing, poems, gardening stakes, and more. We will also try out different kids of pens at the final class. All supplies are furnished. 3 two-hour classes. $75. Call to register or for more information. 503.432.1021.

KARUNA CONTEMPLATIVE LIVING, 1725 SE Hawthorne will celebrate it’s Two Year Anniversary on June 7 at 6:30 pm. Karuna will offer a 10% discount on all products which includes cushions, clothing, jewelry and books. This party also coincides with a showing of paintings from local artist, Mary Garvey. See her art at Over 40% of Portlanders say they are religiously unaffiliated and yet, with a city brimming with yoga studios and meditation groups, there seems to be an immense interest in seeking meaning through these ancient traditions. Karuna owner, Anandi Gefroh, hopes to encourage the “mindfulness movement.” While there is increased interest in meditation, there is also an all time high in distractions stemming mainly from our modern devices. Anandi says, take a pause and contemplate your life. What motivates you? How do you relate to your life and those in it? How do you feel?

HUGE BOOK SALE – Montavilla United Methodist Women will be having a HUGE book sale June 24, 2017 in the church parking lot at 232 SE 80th Ave. between Stark and Burnside. The hours are 9 am – 3 pm. The price is $5 per bag filled with as many books as can be packed in one brown grocery bag. There will be several hundred books to select from.

KENYAN PEACE ACTIVIST and social change agent Getry Agizah will make two presentations in June at the Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse, 4312 SE Stark in Portland. Sunday, June 11 at Noon “Overcoming Election Polarization: Lessons from Kenya”;  Friday, June 16 at 7 pm “Healing and Rebuilding our Communities: A Kenyan Perspective.” Getry Agizah is the Director of Transforming Communities for Social Change and the Friends Church Peace Teams Coordinator in Kenya.  She will tell the stories of peacebuilding organizations working together to prevent violence in the August 2017 Kenyan Elections and of the Mt. Elgon Community Peace Center working to heal and rebuild communities damaged by trauma and violence. There will be a potluck at 6 pm before the presentation on the 16th.  Both presentations are sponsored by the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Multnomah Friends Meeting.  For more information contact Ron Marson at

HAWTHORNE DIABETES GROUP: “Taking a Vacation with Diabetes & from Diabetes” –  Thursday, June 15, 7 – 8:30 pm, 2828 SE Stephens St. Ahhh…Vacation time…Taking a break from the daily routine keeps us feeling fresh. But what does time away mean for your diabetes care? How can you take a vacation with and from diabetes? Is that even possible? Join us for the June gathering to discuss practical ways you can take a diabetes vacation. Sunshine awaits! $10 donation requested. No one will be turned away. RSVP through or by contacting Julia Hanfling at / 503.504.5050.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 8705 E Burnside is July 10-14, from 9 am – 12 pm. Ages 4 to 5th grade welcome! Register at or call 503.254.8705. If you register before June 26th, it’s FREE. Registering after June 26th is $5/per child.

 OREGON BICYCLE RACING ASSOCIATION (OBRA) Bicycle Circuit Races Every Wednesday evening at Mt. Tabor. River City Bicycles and OBRA host this popular annual racing series. The first race is at 5:45 pm. For a complete schedule, visit Other Mt. Tabor events: June 18, Sunday – Free Tree I.D. walk. Join Bob Rogers on the third Sunday of every month as he leads visitors on a tour of some of the park’s most notable trees. Meet at the Visitor Center at 2 pm rain or shine. June 24, Saturday – Weed Warriors Habitat Restoration, 9 am – noon. Join us on the last Saturday of the month from May–October as we restore health to the park by removing invasive plant species. Meet at the Visitor Center by the main parking lot, and wear durable long pants and long sleeve shirt. Join the Weed Warriors on facebook.

PORTLAND’S OFFICE OF NEIGHBORHOOD INVOLVEMENT reports that a new web-based version of PBX Reporter has been launched that replaces the existing IPhone and Android app. The new version is available at . 

Important: You cannot report crime using PDX Reporter. 

Use the following tools to report crime: 
 For emergencies call 9-1-1 • For non-emergencies call 503.823.3333 • Use the online reporting tool to report car prowls, theft and vandalism (except graffiti) if an incident meets the criteria for online reporting. Use the PDX Reporter to report the following complaints: 
• Graffiti 
• Campsite Reporting-Please note that the online reporting template at asks more detailed questions about problems at a campsite. 
• Street lighting 
• Abandoned Autos 
• Illegal parking 
• Potholes 
• Debris in the roadway 
• Work zone concerns 
• Park maintenance 
• Plugged storm drains 
• Sidewalk vegetation 
• Sidewalk trip hazard

Richmond Graffiti Task Force

By Adam Meltzer

About two years ago, I moved to Portland and the Richmond neighborhood. At the time I was wearing my rose colored glasses: I saw the dog park and playground at Sewallcrest Park, and restaurants, bars, a supermarket and a movie theater were all within walking distance – I was in love with our new home. What I did not see was the tagging and graffiti.

Recently I started noticing the tagging and graffiti everywhere. It’s like someone turned on a light and all of a sudden I could see. The specific incident that set me off was the tagging of Edwards Elementary with Trump themes and clear signs of ignorance and uncaring.

Richmond, like most neighborhoods in Portland, has had its share of homelessness, drug use and criminal behavior, but graffiti can be particularly damaging psychologically and physically to the community.

I decided to do something about it. I posted on Nextdoor asking for help to clean up the graffiti in our neighborhood. Immediately people responded and I knew I had to organize. I contacted  the Richmond Neighborhood Association (RNA) and the Graffiti Abatement Program of Portland.

Richmond now has a small team of volunteers and we had our first graffiti removal day on March 19.  When we could not remove all the graffiti, we used PDX Reporter app to report the graffiti so that the city would come to remove the graffiti.

It is common knowledge that the sooner graffiti can be removed, the less likely that location will be tagged again. Here is what you can do it about graffiti:  Join a local team or form your own team; learn about how to remove graffiti and what the graffiti means on the city’s graffiti abatement program website.; get a graffiti removal kit for free from the city by contacting the program coordinator; download the PDX Reporter app and start reporting graffiti that you cannot remove

Let’s take our neighborhoods back!

For more information, contact: Juliette Muracchioli, Graffiti Abatement Program Coordinator, or Graffiti Abatement Program (







Community News June 2017

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