Gresham In The News

  • OregonLive - News

  • Gresham leaders, entrepreneurs talk about Rockwood development

    City leaders hope a 5.5-acre development, wedged between East Stark and Burnside streets, will transform one of the state's roughest neighborhoods into an economic engine. Watch video

    The smell of beef fajitas, carnitas, corn chips and tortillas filled a room Thursday evening in the Rockwood neighborhood as a couple dozen Gresham residents listened to successful and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

    Lucy De Leon manages the Gresham-based food company Salsas Locas, which provided the dinner at the Sunrise Community Center. She spoke to residents during a panel and networking event hosted by the Gresham Redevelopment Commission that's charged with finding small business owners to fill a 5.5-acre development at the Plaza Del Sol.

    City leaders hope the development, wedged between East Stark and Burnside streets, will transform one of the state's roughest neighborhoods into an economic engine that trains people for local jobs or encourages them to open their own business.

    They're willing to spend $6.8 million from urban renewal dollars, find tax credits and partner with a yet-to-be-chosen developer to build the $30 million to $35 million project. If all goes to plan, expect shovels to start digging next year, said Josh Fuhrer, the commission's executive director.

    "We need this here," De Leon said about the development called Rockwood Rising. De Leon grew up in Rockwood and graduated from Reynolds High School.

    Combined, Rockwood residents speak about 70 languages and are among the youngest in the state, said Josh Fuhrer, the commission's executive director. Think of the food possibilities, he told the group Thursday.

    Despite the positive spin, many residents live in poverty or don't have good access to health care, he has said.

    There's plenty of crime, and just last week, another grocery store plans to close its doors to residents.

    "We will continue to search for additional, innovative ways to provide access to healthy foods," said City Councilor Lori Stegmann. "Many exciting things are on the horizon."

    Once built, people will find local meats, produce and grocery items, or find ready-made meals and other non-food products sold inside 320-square-foot shipping containers transformed into business fronts. There's space for brick-and-mortar restaurants in a plaza that also hosts Gresham's Farmers Market and the annual Rock The Block event.

    Aside from food options, residents should find technology laboratories open to all while others get trained in the medical careers at a health clinic, Fuhrer said. The project has room for a potential library and other resources, such as lenders, to help people open a small business.

    The cost to open a business in less than 1,000 square feet normally runs about $17,000 in city fees and charges, but entrepreneurs at the Rockwood Rising location won't pay a dime, according to materials given to people Thursday.

    People thinking of starting a small business have more resources today than in the late 90s, De Leon told people. De Leon's parents sold their home in Texas to pay for their food business in Oregon in 1999, she said.

    "My mother thought, 'what if it fails,'" De Leon said, "but my father would always say, 'what if it doesn't.' So, it's a risk they took, and now we've been in business 16 years."

    -- Tony Hernandez
    thernandez@oregonian.com
    503-294-5928
    @tonyhreports

  • Thursday evening Portland-area commute: St. Johns Bridge closed due to protest

    The Portland Police have closed the St. Johns Bridge as they deal with the Greenpeace protesters. The bridge will probably remain closed through the evening commute.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 6:20 p.m.: Interstate 5 south past Interstate 84

    A crash is blocking the left southbound lane of I-5 just after the I-84 junction. Jammed back to Fremont Bridge.

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    PORTLAND, 6:10 p.m.: Highway 26 west at Sylvan

    The right westbound lane of Highway 26 is blocked by a crash. Jammed back to the Zoo.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:23 p.m.: Interstate 5 north at Terwilliger.

    The left northbound lane of I-5 is blocked at Terwilliger by a crash. Quickly backed up to Capitol and growing.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:13 p.m.: Interstate 84 west ramp to Interstate 5 north

    A stall is blocking I-84 westbound traffic trying to merge on to I-5 north. Backed up past 60th Ave.

    ***

    TriMet warns of 20-30 minute delays on all MAX lines due to the extreme heat.

    ***

    The Portland Police have closed the St. Johns Bridge as they deal with the Greenpeace protesters. The bridge will probably remain closed through the evening commute.

    It also looks like a crash is slowing westbound traffic on Highway 26 near 185th Ave. 

    There is also slowing on Interstate 205 south near Sunnyside. 

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • $9.6 million lawsuit faults school bus company for stop on busy road, after car kills boy

    Jaquis Thornton died two days after he stepped off of a First Student school bus along Northeast Division Street in Gresham. He was struck by the driver of a Ford Focus, after the car careened onto the sidewalk on Oct. 31, 2014.

    The mother of a 10-year-old boy who died after a Ford Focus careened onto a Gresham sidewalk has filed a $9.6 million lawsuit against the driver who struck the boy and the school bus company that had just dropped him off.

    The lawsuit faults First Student bus company for allowing Jaquis Thornton to step off the bus along Northeast Division Street near Country Club Place.

    The location of the stop meant Jaquis and his 8-year-old brother had to walk three blocks home, across "busy, unregulated street intersections," according to the suit filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

    "Defendant First Student owed a duty to Jaquis Thornton to operate its bus line in a reasonably safe manner, including ensuring its drop-off points for school children are (in) reasonably safe, low-trafficked areas as well as within a reasonable walking distance from the school children's home(s)."

    A representative for First Student, which was operating the bus for the Gresham-Barlow School District, couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

    The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2014. Jaquis died two days later, on Nov. 2, 2014.

    His younger brother, Jayden Thornton, also was seriously injured in the crash.

    After getting off the bus, Jaquis and Jayden were walking along Division and still on the sidewalk when from about a block away, the 2004 Ford Focus driven by Kahmall Al Saegh turned onto Division, according to the suit.

    The suit states that Al Saegh, 36, was using the bike lane to merge into westbound traffic.

    That's when the driver of a 1999 BMW, headed east on Division, tried to turn left, according to the suit. The BMW, driven by Kelley Gilman, 50, T-boned the Ford Focus, according to the suit.

    The impact prompted Al Saegh to veer onto the sidewalk and run into the Thornton brothers, the suit states. Al Saegh's car drove through a fence before coming to a rest.

    The suit claims Al Saegh was driving too fast, was driving illegally in the bike lane and failed to maintain control of her car before and after the crash.

    Police don't appear to have ticketed Al Saegh, according to court records. She couldn't be reached for immediate comment for this story.

    The suit doesn't list the BMW's driver, Gilman, as a defendant. Gilman's insurance company settled with Jaquis' estate for the maximum amount allowed by Gilman's insurance company, $100,000, according to court records.

    Police cited Gilman for careless driving. She was fined $500 and ordered to take a high-risk driving course and complete 120 hours of community service.

    According to the lawsuit, an instant after the crash, Jaquis was found unconscious and curled up in the fetal position. He suffered massive pelvic fractures, chest trauma and bleeding near his brain.

    The boy was rushed to Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. His medical bills topped $130,000 before he died, according to the suit.

    His brother's medical bills have surpassed $93,000, the suit states.

    "Jayden Thornton was conscious at the scene, screaming and yelling about pain in his legs and bleeding in his head," the suit states.

    Jayden was rushed to Oregon Health & Science University with multiple fractures in each of his legs. He spent three months in a wheelchair.

    The suit states that in addition to the actions of Al Saegh, First Student's negligence was a "substantial factor" in both boys' injuries.

    The suit seeks $7.5 million for Jaquis' pain and suffering before death, his medical bills, his burial expenses and his family's loss of society and companionship.

    The suit also seeks $2 million for Jayden's pain and suffering, plus about $193,000 for past and future medical expenses.

    Portland attorneys Michael Wise and Blair Townsend filed the lawsuit on behalf of the boys' mother, Chrystal Davis. (Read the lawsuit).

    -- Aimee Green

    agreen@oregonian.com

    503-294-5119

    o_aimee

  • Gresham Cosmetic Laser Center employee accused of stealing more than $12,000 from business

    Elisabeth Kathrine Thompson, 38, is suspected of skimming money from the Gresham Cosmetic Laser Center since March, stealing more than $12,000, according to court records. She's accused of first-degree aggravated theft.

    A 38-year-old woman accused of stealing $12,303 from her employer, Gresham Cosmetic Laser Center, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon on a first-degree aggravated theft allegation.

    elizabeththompson38.jpegElizabeth K. Thompson, 38 

    Elizabeth Kathrine Thompson was asked to deposit clients' checks at the bank due to the business' limited staffing.

    She is suspected of skimming money from the deposits since March, according to Ryan Lufkin, a deputy district attorney, who wrote a probable cause affidavit.

    Thompson initially denied involvement, but then admitted to Multnomah County Sheriff's deputy Matt Jordan that she might have altered a deposit slip and kept the difference, the affidavit said.

    Thompson told the deputy that she started out small, stealing about $100 at a time, but then became more confident and took larger amounts.

    "I guess I've taken $2,000, $3,000, $4,500? I don't know. I lost track of what I took,'' she told the deputy, according to the affidavit.

    The business incurred a loss of $12,303.80.

    Thompson, of Happy Valley, was booked into the downtown Portland jail at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday and released on her own recognizance. She has no prior convictions, according to court records.

    Her next court date is Aug. 12.

    --Maxine Bernstein

    mbernstein@oregonian.com
    503-221-8212; @maxoregonian

  • Wednesday evening Portland-area commute: Crash on I-84 west at 60th Ave.

    The latest Portland traffic updates for Wednesday night.

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    PORTLAND, 6:35 p.m.: Interstate 84 west at 60th

    The left westbound lane of I-84 is blocked by a crash. Traffic backed up to 82nd Ave. and growing.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:18 p.m.: Marquam Bridge southbound

    A stall is blocking a southbound lane of Interstate 5 south at the beginning of Marquam Bridge.

    ***

    TriMet warns of 20 minute delays of the Green and Yellow MAX lines due to mechanical issue. They hope to return to normal by 6:30 p.m. tonight.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:09 p.m.: Interstate 405 south

    A crash is blocking the left southbound lane of I-405 near Glisan St.

    ***

    Reports of traffic signals out around the Capitol Highway/Beaverton Hillsdale Highway junction. Treat them as stop signs.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 4:30 p.m.: Interstate 5 north at Macadam

    A stall is blocking the right northbound lane of I-5 approaching the Marquam Bridge. Traffic backed up to Multnomah Blvd.

    ***

    We hit 90+ degrees today so all MAX lines will run a bit slower than normal.

    Highway 217 is slow from Highway 26 to Oleson Road. Don't see an incident to blame.

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • The state's top quarterbacks and running backs; the latest on Malcolm Porter, son of Trail Blazers great Terry Porter

    Here are the five most-viewed high school sports items on OregonLive for Tuesday, July 28.

    Here are the five most-viewed high school sports items on OregonLive for Tuesday, July 28:

    1. Poll: Which running back is Oregon's most intriguing for 2015?


    2. Poll: Which quarterback is Oregon’s most intriguing for 2015?


    3. Malcolm Porter developing ball handling, midrange game as college interest picks up


    4. Conner Mitchell's stay at Lake Oswego is brief, as the running back standout returns to Oregon City


    5. Oregon's most intriguing high school football players 2015

  • Tuesday evening Portland-area commute: Crash on I-84 east at 33rd Ave.

    The latest Portland traffic updates for Tuesday night.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:38 p.m.: Interstate 84 east at 33rd Ave.

    A crash is blocking the left eastbound lane of I-84 at 33rd Ave. Traffic backed up to I-5.

    TIGARD, 5:31 p.m.: Highway 217 north

    Looks like a crash on HWY 217 north at Scholls Ferry Road. Traffic backed up to Interstate 5.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 4:03 p.m.: Interstate 84 west ramp to Interstate 5 south

    A crash is blocking the I-84 west ramp to Interstate 5 south. I-84 west is jammed back to Cesar Chavez Blvd. CLEARED.

    ***

    Eastbound traffic on Marine Drive is slow trying to merge on to Interstate 5 due to a crash.

    Also of note: Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5 will be closed tonight through Thursday between Southwest Capitol Highway to Spring Garden Road for paving improvements. Look for those closures starting at 8 p.m.

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Molalla River schools chief out of the hospital after motorcycle crash with deer

    Tony Mann, 46, Molalla River superintendent since 2012, was riding his motorcycle from his home in West Linn to visit his in-laws in Bend when he collided with a deer Friday afternoon, Salitore said. Mann was rushed by Life Flight helicopter ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center – Bend.

    Tony Mann.jpgSuperintendent Tony Mann 

    Molalla River School Superintendent Tony Mann has been released from the hospital after a motorcycle crash with a deer in the Cascade Range Friday.

    "He's doing great," said Michael Salitore, director of supported education for the school district. "I just spoke to him today."

    Mann, 46, Molalla River superintendent since 2012, was riding his motorcycle from his home in West Linn to visit his in-laws in Bend when he collided with a deer Friday afternoon, Salitore said. Mann was rushed by Life Flight helicopter ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center - Bend.

    Salitore said Mann recovered quickly from what initially were assessed as critical injuries. However, he said he did not know specifically what injuries Mann suffered.

    He said Mann would be spending a couple of weeks with his wife, Allison, recuperating at his in-laws' home before returning to work. Meanwhile, Salitore temporarily will handle duties as district superintendent.

    Salitore said he was not sure which highway Mann was traveling on when the crash occurred. Oregon State Police were unable to confirm Mann's route.

    Before taking the Molalla River School District post, Mann served as assistant superintendent in the Reynolds School District. In addition, he previously taught in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, as well as at the University of Portland and Mount Hood Community College.

    -- Rick Bella rbella@oregonian.com

    503-294-5915; @southnewshound

  • Suspected serial purse-snatcher nabbed by Gresham police

    Police suspect Tyler Matthew Hodge, 39 of Boring, in six daytime robberies at either Fred Meyer or WinCo Foods in Gresham since June.

    A suspected serial purse snatcher was nabbed by Gresham police on Tuesday.

    They suspect Tyler Matthew Hodge, 39, of Boring in six incidents dating back to June.

    The most recent robbery was at 11:45 a.m. Monday. A woman told police her purse was grabbed from her cart as she was loading groceries into her car in the parking lot outside the Fred Meyer store at 2497 S.E. Burnside Road in Gresham.

    Tyler Matthew Hodge.jpgTyler Matthew Hodge, 39 

    Hodge was arrested just east of the store after police saw a purse in his vehicle. Investigators said Hodge used one of the victim's credit cards in the Minute Mart at 1555 N.W. Orient Drive and then went into the Lucky Deli next door, where he was taken into custody without incident.

    Hodge faces allegations of six counts of robbery and one count of theft. Investigators said evidence of previous robberies led to accusations in those cases as well.

    Hodge matched the suspect description in those cases. The robberies all occurred at the Fred Meyer or WinCo Foods at 2511 S.E. First St. in Gresham. They happened during the day and in a similar manner. And, in previous cases, the suspect also used the victims' credit cards at the Minute Mart.

    The robberies for which they suspect Hodge:

    • 5:15 p.m. June 17 at Fred Meyer.
    • 3:20 p.m. June 18 at Fred Meyer.
    • 3:55 p.m. June 19 at WinCo Foods.
    • 12:10 p.m. July 15 at Fred Meyer.
    • 3:18 p.m. July 20 at WinCo Foods.
    • 11:45 a.m. July 28 at Fred Meyer. 

    -- Lynne Terry

    lterry@oregonian.com

    @LynnePDX

  • SE Foster Road set for repaving in Clackamas County, including night work

    While most of the paving work will take place during the day, nighttime paving also is scheduled from 6 p.m. Friday, July 31, to 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. The traffic signal at Foster Road and Oregon 212 will be turned off that night, replaced by flaggers from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

    A stretch of Southeast Foster Road will be repaved from the Clackamas-Multnomah county line south to Oregon 212 through the end of August.

    While most of the paving work will take place during the day, nighttime paving also is scheduled from 6 p.m. Friday, July 31, to 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. The traffic signal at Foster Road and Oregon 212 will be turned off that night, replaced by flaggers from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

    In addition to daytime work, crews also will be striping the nights newly paved areas on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 10 and 11.

    The nighttime work is intended to increase safety for travelers and road workers, and to save money by finishing the project faster.

    In addition to adding a new overlay to Foster Road, the following three side roads are being rebuilt with a cement-treated base, then paved with asphalt:

    • Hemrich Road
    • Troge Road
    • Vogel Road

    Daytime paving is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday - Friday, with occasional Saturday work scheduled as needed. There may be delays in the area throughout the project. Travelers are encouraged to use other routes whenever possible.

    For more information, email project manager Vince Hall, call him at 503-742-4650, or visit the project website.

    -- Rick Bella rbella@oregonian.com

    503-294-5915; @southnewshound

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