Gresham In The News

  • OregonLive - News

  • Medical marijuana dispensary moratoriums approved in Gresham, Fairview

    Troutdale City Council members appear poised to follow suit at their meeting next Tuesday, after supporting a similar ordinance during a first reading April 8.

    As expected, the city councils of Gresham and Fairview have adopted one-year moratoriums on medical marijuana facilities.

    The Gresham City Council on Tuesday afternoon approved the moratorium, recently allowed under state law, with a unanimous vote following no more discussion. The council had signaled its support last week during discussion at the ordinance's first reading.

    Fairview's council did much the same during a work session Wednesday night, unanimously passing an emergency ordinance after a public hearing with no testimony.

    Troutdale City Council members appear poised to follow suit at their meeting next Tuesday, after supporting a similar ordinance during a first reading April 8.

    Wood Village was the only east Multnomah County city where at least some council members seemed willing to consider allowing marijuana businesses. But the council ended up voting 3-1 last week for a moratorium. Like many cities and some counties across Oregon, Wood Village opted to impose a moratorium while legal issues are sorted out.

    Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, but the Obama Administration has largely taken a hands-off approach in states that have legalized the drug for medical or recreational use. State lawmakers, meanwhile, so far are not allowing cities and counties to impose permanent sales bans.

    Previously, Gresham and neighboring cities blocked dispensaries through their business license rules or zoning ordinances that required business to comply with all state and federal laws.

    East county residents with a medical marijuana card still have ways of obtaining cannabis, including buying it from dispensaries already operating in Portland, which is among cities that have not tried to block sales.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • East Portland: State Representatives Fagan and Vega Pederson secure $1.9 million for 18 new pedestrian safety crossings

    Eighteen dangerous intersections in East Portland will be a lot safer thanks to $1.9 million in news pedestrian crossing beacons, state legislators say. Watch video

    Oregon State Representative Shemia Fagan, the first-term Democrat representing a large chunk of East Portland and beyond, said she's already attended "multiple vigils" for pedestrians run down on busy thoroughfares in her first term.

    Just this year, Fagan said, three residents were killed in the span of weeks in East Portland.

    On Tuesday, Fagan and fellow State Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson announced a $1.9 million "down payment" to address the worrisome trend of pedestrian safety issues in East Portland.

    "Too often, Fagan said from Ventura Park in East Portland, "News out of this part of the city is sad, or scary, or downright tragic." But Fagan and Vega Pederson said they secured $1.9 million in state general fund dollars to start making real change happen immediately.

    Working with Portland Bureau of Transportation leaders, the state legislators identified "the 18 most dangerous" pedestrian crossings in East Portland. Construction will begin this summer on installing flashing pedestrian beacons on the first of those 18 problem areas.

    "I'm proud to stand with my colleagues and neighbors today, as we continue to deliver on the promises we made to East Portland," Fagan said.

    The state funding comes as PBOT officials, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick make a push to invest more money in maintenance and transportation across the city.

    Fagan said the $1.9 million is really cost savings from another $5 million planning project in East Portland. The 2013 legislative session included a $5 million study to look at what transportation and safety improvements are needed on Powell Boulevard. Fagan said that project came in under budget. Fagan and Vega Pederson had a "sense of urgency" to see something happen immediately and pushed to use the excess planning money in East Portland as soon as possible.

     The crossing beacons produce a flashing effect once activated by a pedestrian. The first five projects could be finished by the time school begins this fall.

    Each intersection is different. Some need a pedestrian island in the median, others don't. Cost estimates run from $80,000 - $100,000 for each construction project.

    Vega Pederson said "too often" East Portland is left behind. "It's about giving East Portland the basic infrastructure it deserves to keep our communities safe and to grow our businesses," she said. In 2013, Vega Pederson said, seven out of 10 pedestrian deaths happened east of 82nd Avenue.

    PBOT officials said the investment is "huge" compared to the typical year. On average, PBOT assistant director Greg Jones said, the city can construction five crossing beacons, citywide in a given year.

    Jones acknowledged other parts of the city need pedestrian safety improvements as well, but East Portland is a particular concern. "We will be continuing to work for funds in other parts of the city," Jones said.

    Last summer, Fagan also helped pull in $3.6 million for sidewalks along Southeast 136th Avenue in the wake of the February 2013 death of 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook. Work on those sidewalks, part of a larger $4.8 million effort, is already underway. Fagan said she never thought she'd be so moved by slabs of concrete. "These sidewalks are one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen," Fagan said.

    PBOT officials helped identify the intersections, and the list was prioritized based on proximity to schools, churches and parks.

    Fagan called the investments a "down payment on the long overdue debt" to East Portland residents.

    Here's a full list of intersections (11 are near a church, school or park, according to the legislators)

    - SE Foster Rd. & 120th Ave.

    - NE Halsey St. & 106th Ave.

    - NE Weidler St. & 106th Ave.

    - NE 122nd Ave. & Oregon St.

    - 122nd Ave. & NE Stephens St.

    - NE Glisan St. & 141st St.

    - SE Powell Blvd. & 168th Ave.

    - NE Glisan St. & 117th Ave.

    - SE Stark St. & 113th Ave.

    - NE Halsey St. & 136th Pl.

    - SE Division St. & 105th Ave.

    - 122nd Ave. & NE Stanton St.

    - SE 122nd Ave. & Boise St.

    - SE Division St. & 165th Ave.

    - SE Stark St. & 142nd Ave.

    - NE Halsey St. & NE 140th Ave.

    - SE Stark St. & 151st Ave.

    - NE Glisan St. & 130th Pl.


    -- Andrew Theen

  • Gresham will kick off bike month today

    Gresham is gearing up to celebrate May’s National Bike Month and will host a kickoff event for the Bike Commute Challenge from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Hoppy Brewer, 328 N. Main Ave.

    Gresham is gearing up to celebrate May’s National Bike Month and will host a kickoff event for the Bike Commute Challenge from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Hoppy Brewer, 328 N. Main Ave.

    The event will include free pizza and door prizes, as well as information about how to join the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's Bike Commute Challenge as part of the Gresham League. During the May challenge, participants compete to see who can commute the most days or the longest distance, logging trips on the BTA’s challenge website. Gresham will give its own awards at the end of the challenge.

    The city has scheduled a variety of free community activities to get children and adults involved. There will be a community bike wash and lube event April 30 at the loading dock at City Hall and a bike safety booth, with free helmet giveaways, at the May 10 farmers market in downtown Gresham. There will also be bike appreciation breakfasts and group bike rides. See the complete list of events and volunteer opportunities at

    Throughout May, volunteers conduct bike counts on local trails. There are more than 117 miles of bike lanes and trails throughout Gresham, including the Springwater Corridor, Gresham-Fairview Trail and Main City Park Spur Trail.

    "In 2010 the League of American Bicyclists named Gresham a `Bicycle Friendly Community' for our extensive network of bike-friendly routes," Katherine Kelly, the city’s transportation planning manager, said in a news release. "Gresham has earned this honor four years in a row by continually improving cycling infrastructure and providing activities for cyclists."

    -- Susan Green
  • Oregon high school tennis scores for Monday, April 21

    All reported tennis scores for Monday, April 21

    Below you will find all reported tennis scores for Monday, April 21, and if you would like to see your team's scores listed here, please email on game nights.

    Girls Tennis

    Central Catholic 6, REYNOLDS 0

  • Pee in reservoir; reverse 9-1-1 issues; Japanese Garden growth; Common Core jitters: City week in review

    What DIDN’T happen in the city last week?

    A police dog died in the line of duty. Google Fiber edged closer. A new bridge was named. Someone peed in the water supply.

    What DIDN’T happen in Portland last week?

    City Hall

    Pee in water. We learned that a security camera at a Mt. Tabor reservoir caught a man urinating, and the Portland Water Bureau planned to flush away 38 million gallons of water as a result. That’s a lot of water. Our readers responded, “What a waste!” while everyone in the world made fun. The episode reminded us Portland’s open-air reservoirs can face contamination -- which is why the city is under federal orders to yank Mt. Tabor offline in 2015. Questions? We covered a lot of ground with a quick “What you need to know.”

    Emergency alerts. Wednesday’s police shooting (see below) raised questions about the city’s reverse 9-1-1 system, which failed to alert some residents in Southwest to stay inside. Officials said the system, run by contractor FirstCall, had a history of glitches. The company blamed Portland operator error in this case. Commissioner Steve Novick acknowledged managers didn’t listen in advance to a message telling recipients, “This is a weekly test.” Learn how other area cities handle emergency alerts.

    Google Fiber. Hyper-fast Internet service took a step forward when Google inked a tentative franchise agreement with the city.

    Fired administrator. Former chief Portland administrator Jack Graham, fired by Mayor Charlies Hales last year, said he plans to sue the city.

    Multnomah County

    New courthouse. We will learn by this winter where the new, $200-million-plus Multnomah County courthouse will be, officials said.

    Jailed immigrants. Sheriff Dan Staton decided Wednesday to lift prisoners’ federal immigration holds after a court ruling curtailing their use.

    Sheriff in east county. The sheriff also spent time pitching his plan to take over policing in two east Multnomah County cities. Fairview responded with some interest.

    Chair's race. Jim Francesconi released his first television ad, which we analyzed. He and opponent Deborah Kafoury brought dueling messages to a Democratic debate.

    Commissioners' races. We delivered profiles of Brian Wilson and Jules Bailey plus an overview of their race in District 1. The two appeared with Commissioner Loretta Smith and one challenger in District 2, Teressa Raiford, at a City Club of Portland debate that focused on Obamacare. All four also said how they'd vote on issues unrelated to county government.

    Portland Public Schools

    Common Core concerns. School board members voiced worries about the Common Core standards coming next school year. Foremost were Ruth Adkins, who urged caution in Common Core testing, and Steve Buel, who wants to delay implementation for three years. Read full coverage of Wednesday's board discussion.


    Police shooting. We published an extensive account of Wednesday's pre-dawn burglary attempt, shootout and neighborhood manhunt. Bullets struck a home in the gunfire, and a resident said he faced down one armed suspect. Police later found Mick, a police dog, dead in the yard of a homeowner who sheltered inside. The shooting also wounded Officer Jeffrey Dorn. Read full coverage.


    Japanese Garden growth. A significant expansion announced by the Portland Japanese Garden is drawing concerns among neighbors over parking and traffic.


    Grove Hotel ideas. We showed you five finalists in the competition to remake the vacant Grove Hotel at Chinatown’s entrance, with ideas ranging from Icelandic hostel to market-rate apartments. Choose your favorite. You can also see six applicants who didn’t make the cut.


    New Columbia win. An elderly activist pushed through the bureaucracy to victory, persuading the city to designate new a wheelchair zone in the New Columbia community.

    PCC Cascade decision. Portland Community College announced a new president for the Cascade campus.


    Hacienda solar. In Cully, Hacienda's community fusball facility could get solar-powered lighting under a new crowdfunding effort.


    New bridge. TriMet unveiled a name for its new Willamette River transit and pedestrian bridge linking Southeast Portland and the South Waterfront: Tilikum. Why that word? Why that spelling? Historian Chet Orloff offered his take. A Tilikum banner briefly failed to unfurl, but the ceremony ended triumphantly.

    What next?

    If you feel weary from the newsy week, you may find inspiration in the story of two women with Parkinson’s disease who make intricate art.

    Now, until next week... Keep your eyes peeled for costumed unicyclists, hoop dancers and figures in Neanderthal wear. A few might be something more than your average Portlander.

    -- Steve Suo
  • Centennial rallies for an 11-9 win over Central Catholic, David Douglas' Joshua Kellebrew sets a state best: Mt. Hood Conference weekly rundown

    St. Mary's Academy and Central Catholic take the league's early lead in girls and boys golf

    Here are some of the week’s best sports stories from schools in the Mt. Hood Conference:


    Barlow boys and girls sweep a dual track and field meet from Central Catholic.


    Seventh-inning rally gives Centennial an 11-9 baseball win over Central Catholic

    Central Catholic

    The Rams pay the price for Jesuit fracas with eight suspensions in an 11-9 loss to Centennial

    Central Catholic continues to dominate MHC boys golf despite a rebuilt roster

    Rams senior John Nizich throws a national best in javelin.

    David Douglas

    The Scots’ Joshua Kellebrew establishes a state best in 400 meters in a dual meet against Centennial.

    St. Mary's Academy

    St. Mary’s hopes to restart a winning streak in MHC girls golf after losing the title in 2013 for the first time in eight years.

    Blues dominate a three-way track and field meet against David Douglas and Centennial.

    CeCe Wooten on the roster for this year’s Northwest Shootout.

    Twitter: @nickdaschel

  • Sam Barlow prom; Corbett's stellar national rankings; Earl Blumenauer’s Centennial homecoming: East Multnomah County schools

    Charter school drama, prom and a congressional visitor: Here's what's happening in east Portland and east Multnomah County schools this week.

    Charter school drama, prom and a congressional visitor: Here’s what’s happening in east Portland and east Multnomah County schools this week.

    Corbett earns stellar ranking; charter school woes continue

    Corbett Charter School again ranked high in a unique rating system from The Washington Post that aims to spotlight “America’s most challenging high schools,” according to the newspaper.

    The annual ranking looks at the number of college-level tests such as Advanced Placement that students take in a given year, divided by the number of graduates in the same year.

    The result in 2014? Corbett Charter ranked third out of more than 1,900 public schools across the country.

    That didn’t surprise Bob Dunton, the charter school’s founding director. The school, which launched in 2009, has ranked high on The Washington Post’s list for the past four years because it encourages all students to enroll in AP classes, Dunton said. Last year, the average student took three AP classes, he said.

    Not all rating systems measure worthy goals, Dunton added. “I like what this one tries to get at, which is opening the doors to AP classes to as many students as possible,” he said.

    Corbett High School also performed exceptionally well in the rankings, coming in at No. 13 on the list.

    The two schools performed similarly because they currently share a building, a common practice across the country known as co-location. Unlike other school systems, Corbett’s charter school and the community school also share teachers. In an additional twist, charter school students sit next to community school students in the same classes.

    However, the Corbett School Board voted in February to stop leasing space to the charter school beginning in the fall.

    Thursday, Dunton said the charter school would not offer a high school program next fall. It’s not clear yet what will happen to the elementary and middle-school programs, he said. “There are other components that are still up in the air,” Dunton said.

    Sam Barlow High School sends girl to Junior Olympics; seniors celebrate prom

    Joey Cooksey, a 16-year-old student at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, recently qualified for this summer’s Junior Olympics in — wait for it — cup stacking. She’s hoping to raise $1,500 to help pay for entry fees and travel expenses.

    Cooksey learned about the unique sport, which is also known as speed stacking, by watching videos on YouTube. Competitors stack and unstack small plastic cups in a series of pyramids of various sizes. The goal, of course, is to build and unbuild the sequences in as little time as possible.

    Joey’s personal goal is to one day make it into the Guinness Book of World records.

    While Joey was focused on her upcoming competition, fellow Sam Barlow High School students celebrated prom at Portland’s Left Bank Annex. Check out The Oregonian’s continuous coverage of metro-area proms.

    Centennial homecoming for Earl Blumenauer

    U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a 1966 graduate of Gresham’s Centennial High School, is scheduled to visit the school Tuesday when he will award a scholarship in his name to a current student.

    Blumenauer (D-Portland) also will meet privately with Centennial’s school board and, separately, the high school’s student council, a press release from the Centennial School District read.

    No bow ties required, we assume.

    -- Beth Slovic

  • Man accused of dragging off-duty homeland security officer in vehicle has drunk driving history

    Sean Hacker, 32, is accused of driving while suspended, driving under the influence of intoxicants, recklessly endangering another, reckless driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver.

    A motorist accused of driving off Thursday night as an off-duty homeland security officer hung onto the door of his car was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court Friday.

    Sean Patrick Hacker, 32, is accused of driving while suspended, driving under the influence of intoxicants, recklessly endangering another, reckless driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver.

    seanpatrickh.jpegSean Patrick Hacker

    During Hacker's arraignment Friday, a prosecutor told Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Dailey that Hacker has four prior convictions for driving under the influence of intoxicants since 2003.

    The judge ordered Hacker to participate only in a pre-trial supervision evaluation. If he is to be released from custody, he must wear an electronic bracelet that monitors his alcohol intake, Dailey said.

    "Obviously no driving - you don't have a license,'' Dailey told Hacker.

    Hacker, of Gresham, was driving a black Lexus Thursday night when the car spun out and hit a tree north of the intersection of Northeast Glisan Street and 223rd Avenue, Gresham police said.

    The off-duty homeland security officer saw the crash and tried to intervene. The officer reached into the vehicle to remove the keys in an effort to prevent the driver from fleeing the scene, police said.

    The officer was hanging onto the door while the car traveled in reverse southbound on 223rd for about 150 feet before the driver stopped, and the officer was able to let go without injury.

    The driver continued to drive in reverse until he reached the driveway of Crunch Fitness, at 355 N.E. 223rd Ave. Hacker ran from the scene, police said. A police dog tracked him to a swampy area west of the crash, and he was taken into custody.

    Hacker is scheduled to return to court April 28. He's being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

    --Maxine Bernstein
  • Authorities respond to person making threats near David Douglas High School

    The individual was suffering mental health issues, the family told police.

    Portland police responded to calls of a person making threats near David Douglas High School at about 1:40 p.m. Friday.

    When officers arrived, the individual had already returned home. The individual was suffering mental health issues, the family told police. The family transported the individual to a mental health facility for treatment.

    Those who know someone who is experiencing a mental health crises or wants to help avoid a crises can call Multnomah County's Mental Health Call Center at 503-988-4888.The line is staffed 24/7.

    -- Kasia Hall

  • Does my city have the same system? A look at Washington, Clackamas and Clark County's emergency notification programs

    Emergency officials are discussing whether teaming up on a regional emergency alert system is the most cost-effective and reliable way to alert the nearly 3 million residents of the Portland Metro region of potential disasters.

    Emergency officials are discussing whether teaming up on a regional emergency alert system is the most cost-effective and reliable way to alert the nearly 3 million residents of the Portland Metro region of potential disasters.

    Even before Portland has a less than desired outcome with its emergency notification system this week during an early morning shooting on Wednesday, city emergency preparedness officials were discussing of a regional plan.

    "We intend to go out to bid," Dan Douthit, spokesman for the Bureau of Emergency Management said. "Whether the end of August or sometime next year, with some of the other regional partners."

    The timing is right.

    Portland's contract with FirstCall, a Louisiana-based emergency notification company, expires in August. The city paid $73,000 to the company for services this year, PBEM officials said, to provide targeted emergency alerts to notify residents in times of crisis.

    Other counties are also open to the discussion. Clackamas and Washington counties, in particular, seem to be on board with the plan.

    Nancy Bush, director of emergency management for Clackamas County, said the tri-county already works together, and it makes sense to "move in this direction."

    "It will just make it that much faster and efficient in notifying our residents," she said, pointing out that disasters "don't know boundaries."

    Aerial view of Oregon City shooting An aerial view of the Oregon City neighborhood where reserve officer Robert Libke was shot and killed. The Clackamas County emergency alert system successfully notified residents of the incident and told them to remain indoors, officials said.
    Clackamas County used its emergency notification system successfully just this week on a test exercise, Bush said. The county also deployed the alert system in November to warn residents to stay inside their homes just minutes after Oregon City Police Reserve Officer Robert Libke was shot and killed.

    Bush said the county preprograms a series of potential disasters and other incidents into the system. They have messages for  water-boil orders and potential disasters involving a dam failure at Timothy Lake dam or other dams in the county.

    If the region suffers a catastrophic event, Bush said, the current system wouldn’t suffice.

    The counties emergency management leaders already met a couple times to discuss options. They're meeting against next week.

    “There are some benefits in going together regionally,” said Carmen Merlo, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management director.

    The counties would likely agree to buy the same service, saying costs and helping to streamline communications.

    Clark County is also at the table, although the Washington county is already teamed up with three neighboring counties across the Columbia River to provide services. Cheryl Bledsoe, emergency management division manager for Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency said teaming p has to make sense. "unless it saves me considerable time and money or time and effort, there's no benefit for me to change systems."

    Bledsoe, who recently switched systems to a company called Hyper Reach, said "so far so good,"

    "But I'm a little nervous watching Portland," she added.

    "Nothing is certain in the technology world," Bledsoe said.

    A reminder: these alert systems allow counties (or cities) to send out specific targeted alerts to neighborhoods or other geographic areas. In contrast, the alerts sent out in February for the snow storm went out to all wireless customers in the county.

    But for the targeted systems, they rely on landline phones, plus the typically small handful of wireless users who opt in to receive alerts (You can sign up for alerts in your community at this website).

    OK, so what's the lay of the land as we speak in the metro area?

    Clackamas County:
    System: Twenty First Century Communications
    Estimated Cost: Roughly $15,000 annually
    How it's doing: "This system has been working very well for us," said Bush. "We have been very fortunate that when we've been sending out messages, we haven't had any issues."
    Expires: July 2015.
    Why use it: "When people get this call, we want them to know, this is really important. Listen to this," Bush said.
    Landlines: 132,063
    Cell phones/other devices: 4,601

    Washington County
    System: CityWatch
    Estimated Cost: Roughly $20,000 annually
    How it's doing. "We haven't had any issues," said Larry Hatch, assistant director of the Washington County 911.
    Expires: June 2014
    Why use it: "I've taken a position of questioning the value of these systems with the move of a lot of our population to cell phone only," Hatch said. "We're going to keep it, I just think its good to questions where we're spending our money."
    Landlines: 207,000
    Cell phone/other devices: 5,400

    Clark County    
    System: Hyper-Reach (recently switched from Twenty First Century). Clark County teams with Skamania, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum County
    Estimated Cost: roughly $21,000 - $22,000 annually
    How it's doing: Too soon to tell. On Twenty First Century, the county switched because of rising costs and other problems. "It worked pretty well, but we were beginning to have some customer  service issues," Cheryl Bledsoe, emergency management division manager for Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency said.
    Number of Landlines: 160,000
    Number of signed up: not available

    Multnomah County/Portland
    System: FirstCall
    Estimated Cost: $73,000 annually
    How it's doing: The city has said there is "growing concern" with the software's reliability. PBEM is asking for $100,000 in ongoing general fund dollars next fiscal year, partly due to these concerns.
    Expires: August 2014
    Number of Landlines: roughly 303,000
    Number of signed up: 17,000 signed up

    -- Andrew Theen