Concordia News

News articles Tamara  has written for the Concordia Neighborhood Association, a community-based newsletter in Portland, Oregon.

Click on the photo to go to the complete article.

Pandemic suspends Cully market

When Ted Snider first moved to Portland by way of Portland, Maine, farmers markets served the communities of Beaverton, Gresham and Hillsboro. It was 1975, and there were none within Portland city limits.

Ted got a few friends together to start Portland Farmers Market, and he managed that downtown event for its first five years..

Videos target nutrition, activity for children

Just because local children were schooling at home until last month – and continue to be isolated from normal routines this summer – that’s no reason to drop good health and wellness habits. Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) is the largest in-school health and wellness program

Neighbors exercise, get connected

Sam Balto knows you can social distance without losing social connections. Beginning March 16, he’s led his Concordia neighbors – children and adults alike – in workouts five afternoons a week. The physical education teacher at Cesar Chavez School in Portsmouth Neighborhood has been teaching for more than 10 years at schools in Boston and Washington, D.C. – in addition to serving as a Playworks coach.

Part-time Concordian writes

Peter Chilson wanted to be a writer ever since junior high school. He can’t recall wanting to be anything else. When he was 14, he read a column in the local weekly newspaper in Aspen, Colorado, that painted an unflattering portrait of teenage youths in town. Peter, being one of those teenage youths, wrote a response in the form of a letter to the editor.

There’s no absence of titles in this new shop

Travel down a whimsical dirt path surrounded by lush greenery and you will arrive at Melville books, a charming new addition to Alberta Street. Mitchell Melville is the owner, and he has never owned a bookstore before; however, “I have been scouting books for about 10 years and selling online as well,” he said.

There’s no slowing this tortoise

When Rita and Ross Davis first met Bump, Bump was sick, blowing bubbles out of his nose and lying all by himself in a cold and wet backyard. He was an African spurred tortoise in need of rescue. Bump only weighed 3.5 pounds and was still a baby. Rita had to spoon feed Bump medicine mixed with small tortoise food (small kibbles) for two weeks.

Ready, Set, Grow offers services to families

Ready Set Grow (RSG) is a new movement, art, education and wellness studio dedicated to families. Classes are offered for new parents, ones well past postpartum, for parents who didn’t give birth to their children and for kids, including those with sensory and learning differences. Opened in February, RSG is the creative brainchild of Daniele Strawmyre, a professional dancer, choreographer, yoga instructor and installation artist.

Concordian doctors pets, both on and off the job

The fear is that the day may come when only the wealthy can afford pets. With the rising cost of pet deposits and rents, as well as veterinary care, that time might not be far off. Enter Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team. PAW Team provides free veterinary care to the animals of people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty. PAW Team offer vaccinations, some surgeries as well as spay and neuter services, and has been a part of the Portland community for the past 10 years.

They’re bringing joy to children

Dean Johnston, retired Portland firefighter, once played a helicopter-delivered Santa. It was during the 2012 holiday season. The event, held in Washington County, was put on by Tualatin Fire & Rescue with Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R). “When you are dressed as Santa Claus, it’s amazing how many people wave at you,” Dean said. Although less dramatic but more impactful than playing Santa is his work with PF&R’s Toy & Joy Makers. Dean has been with the group headquartered next door in Cully Neighborhood since 1969, and he became director in 1984.

Biking evolves from passion to vocation

When bike enthusiast Dave Stoops moved to Portland from Connecticut in 2002, he was 18 and ready to get out on his own. Dave’s two sisters had already moved here and, when visiting them, Dave had the opportunity to experience the Pacific Northwest. He’d fallen in love with the wilderness outside the city — the Wallowas’ meteor showers, the high desert, the beautiful coast line and the forests. Discovering cycling as a young adult showed Dave he could live a healthier life by changing his mode of transportation. He began making a living as a bike courier.

It’s all in a day’s work for lobbyist

A lobbyist’s day at work can be long, and it can be varied, accord ing to Courtney Westling, Portland Public Schools government relations director. In just one day, she: Worked on the logistics of an upcoming visit to the school district by the Oregon Joint Legislative Committee on Student Success; Met with city officials to talk about ways to strengthen the district’s relationship with the Portland Parks & Recreation; Conferred with a colleague from another school district to discuss ways to collaborate during the upcoming legislative session

Bike polo is popular Alberta Park sport

“Beer is very important,” Maria said. “If you’re not drinking, you’re cheating,” Pete added with one of the rules from the early days of the game. And so began the Friday night Bike Polo Happy Hour rounds in Alberta Park. Maria sat on the bench. She is officially retired after playing 1½ times in 1½ years. She was indoctrinated when she started hanging out at a community cycling center.

Writing eases stress, builds community

Barbara Kelso describes herself as a sleep-deprived mom, writer and amateur paparazzo of her neurodiverse autism spectrum disorder family. She started her blog, Kelso Kids, 7 1/2 years ago as a journal for her daughter Leonora, now 7, in case something happened during Barbara’s pregnancy with the girl. Barbara had gestational diabetes, and the medical professionals were scaring her about being pregnant. At only 34 years old, they labeled her pregnancy geriatric. If anything happened, she wanted Leonora to know who she was, and what her hopes and dreams were.

PCC workforce center due redevelopment

There’s about to be a lot more activity at the corner of Killingsworth Street and 42nd Avenue. Thanks to the ongoing support of Portland voters, a $185 million bond measure was passed last year to provide Portland Community College (PCC) the opportunity to demolish the Metro Workforce Center’s two outdated buildings on that three-acre site and combine the programs into one multi-story facility. PCC is currently staffing up its Planning and Capital Construction Office and beginning the initial planning and coordination meetings with the team at Metro Center.

Filmmaker prefers Concordia, new career

Shannon Guirl lights up the world. And it all started with inspiration from Alberta Street. Shannon grew up in Chicago and traveled through Europe prior to landing in Brooklyn to work on film and television documentaries like “Bowling for Columbine” and “Shut Up and Sing” about The Dixie Chicks, plus reality TV shows like “American Pickers” and “Cash Cab.” She worked primarily as an editor, but also assisted with filming on documentaries and documentary-based TV shows. After 12 years in the film & TV industry, Shannon found she had hit a wall. She needed something different. In 2009, she took a ceramics class in Brooklyn and learned the basics of slip casting and mold making.

Concordian enjoys cats, people at OHS

What do you do if you have spare time and love animals? You volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS). Concordian Diane Hogan has been volunteering at the OHS cattery for the past 23 years. Her love of animals started when she was four with a dog, a cat and a chicken. It was also when Diane was four that her father got her mother a Siamese cat. It was the late 1940s and Siamese cats were extremely rare. He was a pure bred named Woo Yang of Jericho. Currently, Diane’s cats – whom she adopted from OHS – have less outrageous names. Both Isaac and Aurora are participants in OHS’ Friends Forever Program. “In return for a bequest from the pet parent’s estate, OHS will receive, provide all necessary care and find appropriate homes for the pets,” Gary Kish, explained development vice president of development.

Intentional community nears completion

Organic. Non-GMO. Humane pet food. And now intentional communities are the wave of a green future. One is in next door neighborhood Cully. An intentional community is a cluster of private homes, with shared interior and exterior spaces, designed to benefit groups of people of all ages. This makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and to carpool. Cohousing facilitates interaction among neighbors and thereby provides social, practical, economic, and environmental benefits. Members share common amenities such as garden plots, open outdoor areas, tools, a common house for large gatherings, guest rooms and more. They work together to enhance and beautify the landscape. That also creates a sense of being part of something larger than themselves – while they also enjoy private homes to retreat to with family and friends. Cully Grove is the most recent, full-scale intentional community built by Eli Spevak, the owner of development company Orange Splot LLC, a company named after a favorite children’s book.

Daruma doll inspires Daruma sushi fare

Daruma (duh-roo-muh): a hollow, round traditional Japanese doll. Daruma dolls are seen as symbols of perseverance and good luck. When acquired, the figure’s eyes are both blank/ white. An owner will then select a goal or wish and paint in one of the figure’s two eyes to “keep an eye on it.” Once the desired goal is achieved the second eye is filled in. Daruma is also the name of a local sushi restaurant. It moved recently from 42nd Avenue and Fremont Street to 1640 N.E. Killingsworth St. Owner Andy Diaz, originally a broadcast engineer at NYU Law School, had no food background when he opened it.

Lighthouse is 100 miles from open sea

Richard Roberts sure loves his brother Jerry. Sadly, Jerry passed away in summer 2016. The only thing Richard loves more than the memory of his brother is the legacy Jerry left behind: a 38-foot-tall lighthouse in Richard’s backyard at 4334 N.E. Holman St. Jerry, who suffered from alcoholism most of his life, moved in with Richard five years ago. Richard wanted his kitchen remodeled, and Jerry offered to construct it. Richard agreed – but only if Jerry stopped drinking. Jerry did. The job included rebuilding the cabinets and installing new tile. Jerry shared his basement apartment with his collection of about 100 mini lighthouses. He mused to Richard he would like to build one. A big one. A life-size one. Richard knew he could not say “no” to his brother. “If you want to build one, build one,” Richard told him. Jerry set about to build himself a lighthouse.

Concordian changes job, not his purpose

The problem is concrete. Paved surfaces contribute to storm-water pollution, whereby rainwater carries toxic urban pollutants to local streams and rivers, greatly degrading water quality and riparian habitats. Pavement also disconnects us from our natural world. The solution is clear. The removal of impervious pavements will reduce storm-water pollution and increase the amount of land available for habitat restoration, urban farming, trees, native vegetation, and beauty, thus providing us with greater connections to the natural world. – Eric Rosewall traded hats recently, leaving Depave and joining PP&R. But his job continues to concentrate on greenspaces. Eric Rosewall grew up in southwest Michigan and moved to Oregon in 2003 after visiting Seattle and falling in love with the lush botanic wonders of the Pacific Northwest. He earned a University of Oregon degree in landscape architecture.

Ladybug walks are part of ponds’ charm

The small crew of two year olds and five year olds embarked on their journey around Whitaker Ponds. Part of Ladybug Nature Walks, they set out to discover what moss feels like, what a beaver chew is, how to touch thistle so it won’t poke you. Rain or no rain. Wind or no wind. They strapped on their tiny, borrowed ladybug backpacks, and off they went. Each backpack contained the tools needed for this all-important mission: plastic magnifying glass, thick paintbrush, plastic cup and beaded multi-colored bracelet to be used as a color wheel. These four ecologists and their parents and grandparents left the Whitaker Ponds gazebo at 10 a.m. on a Thursday. Their red ladybug backpacks bobbing in the wind, they were not to be distracted.

Finn still missing, wanted at home

“He’s my baby. He’ll come back.” Nic’s positive. Nic is the parent of Finn, the cat who hangs out at New Seasons on 33rd Avenue and Killingsworth Street. Finn is so well-known he even has his own Facebook page. Finn made himself the local ambassador at the store. He would stand at the front doors greeting all who wanted to shop. People started leaving food out for him which store employees would discourage, because that would attract rodents. Ever the adventurer, Finn loved to jump into cars. New Seasons employee Keith said Finn had been holding court there for about three months before he disappeared.

Writer hangs his hat in Concordia

Winston Ross travels the world writing for Newsweek and, when his assignment end s, he comes home to Concordia. He’s lived in a charming home next to Fernhill Park for the past 1½ years. He knows he is lucky. Once the original deal for the house fell through for another buyer, he was able to snap it up. Winston first began writing in junior high in Berkeley, California, when he joined the student newspaper. The faculty adviser gave Winston a lot of leeway. He was able to write opinion pieces, and felt like he had a voice – very rare for a 13-year-old kid. Winston felt he mattered.

Find repairs, resources at Fix-It Fair

“The Fix-It Fairs are a great resource for neighbors who want to learn how to save money, keep their families healthy and improve their homes,” Arianne Sperry reported. She should know. Arianne is a city employee and nearby neighbor – just four blocks into Woodlawn neighborhood – who has volunteered for more than five years at the events. You may see her at the Saturday, Feb. 24, fair between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Madison High School. “There are exhibitors who can answer questions and point you in the right direction on a number of topics from pesticide-free gardening, to recycling, to how to get around by bike,” she said. “You can even pick up free helpful tools like a faucet aerator or a lead paint test kit.”

Online furniture goes brick and mortar

You are sure you hear Frank Sinatra croon “My Way” as you enter furniture store A Life Designed (ALD). Owner and curator Randy Sloan created ALD 4.5 years ago while living in Scottsdale, Arizona. His style leans toward “sophisticated man cave,” Randy explained. “Martinis, the Rat Pack, low lighting, leather.” But, when he makes purchases for ALD, Randy does not speculate. He buys only what he loves, what speaks to him. And, as this is the case, many clients find more than one piece to purchase. They all work together.

OFB coordinator is passionate about food

When her brother took his wedding vows in the Willamette Valley in July, Allison Bansen took the opportunity to move back from Washington, D.C., to her beloved Oregon. Two weeks later, she started work at the Oregon Food Bank (OFB). “It was the perfect transition time,” she said. Allison is one of five volunteer coordinators working full time on the OFB team. Coordinating volunteers isn’t new to her. She’d been at it for five years in Washington before moving to Concordia. “I live right off Alberta. It’s less than a two-mile, six-minute commute.” Her passion is food and food access, which makes sense as Allison’s favorite part of her job is the food repack. Produce arrives at the warehouse in 48-by-48- inch bins. Volunteers then repack the food down into family-sized portions.

I’ve learned so much and become a better author working with Tamara. We met years ago because of our love for companion animals. During one conversation, I mentioned that I’d been working on a historical science fiction series with four novels and an anthology already written. One of the steps I needed before publishing was the services of an editor. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I had Tamara edit a few short stories from my anthology. If she was reasonable to work with and gave helpful editing and counseling, I would have her work on my first full length novel. As it turned out, her encouragement, sage suggestions and challenges have me appreciative and eager to continue working with Tamara. We’ve gone through my first novel and are into the next, a few chapters at a time.

Alan Smith, author, The Spark Legends 

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