Gresham In The News

  • OregonLive - News

  • Fairview, Troutdale field full ballot for City Council as east Multnomah County filing deadlines arrive

    Voters in Fairview and Troutdale will have plenty of decisions to make with at least two candidates for every open position on their city councils.

    Voters in Fairview and Troutdale will have plenty of decisions to make with at least two candidates for every open position on their city councils.

    Fairview voters also will face a decision among among three mayoral candidates for the first time since retiring mayor Mike Weatherby won his first term 12 years ago.

    Meanwhile, just two candidates filed to fill as many open seats in Wood Village as the filing deadline passed for all three cities in east Multnomah County late Tuesday.

    Gresham's filing deadline came and went last week, setting up contested races for two of three open council seats but leaving a clear path for Mayor Shane Bemis to win a third term unopposed.

    Click the links at right for a full listing of the candidates in each city. We will bring you coverage of all the races into the fall.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Multnomah County shelter overflowing with cats; officials appeal for help

    The shelter is equipped to handle less than 100 felines. It had 112 this morning, with many of the kittens coming in without mothers.

    Cats are overflowing at Multnomah County's shelter in Troutdale, with kennels stacked in hallways and tucked into offices as administrators scramble to find them homes.

    It's peak kitten season, and the shelter is overcapacity.

    "It's urgent," said Mike Oswald, director of the shelter. "We're seeing 30 to 40 cats a day from the public."

    Cat up for adoption.jpgView full sizeMany adults cats are up for adoption. 

    The shelter is equipped to handle less than 100 felines. It had 112 Wednesday morning, Oswald said. Many of the kittens being brought in have no mothers, are just a few weeks old and need to be bottle fed until they're big enough to be adopted out.

    The shelter has about 50 foster households for felines. Oswald said it could use double that.

    "We need more foster parents," Oswald said. "We need more volunteers. We need more people to choose to adopt an animal from here."

    The county is on pace to take in or surpass the numbers last year when it accepted 900 kittens from the public and was also forced to appeal for help.

    The shelter, which cannot refuse any animals, works with other facilities in the area to save all healthy and treatable animals in an effort to stem euthanasia. Normally, they shuttle dogs and cats amongst themselves but right now all of the shelters, from the Humane Society for Southwest Washington to the Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, are full of felines, Oswald said.

    Some businesses in Portland, including Pets on Broadway, Sellwood Dog Supply and Cat Annex, Natural Pet Food Solutions in Sellwood, Meow House and Beauty for the Beast in North Portland, are even pitching in by offering cats for adoption.

    Though the shelter is located in Troutdale, at 1700 W. Historic Columbia River Highway, most of the felines come from Portland, Oswald said.

    He urged the public to check with neighbors or the county's lost and found section before bringing in a stray.

    "If you find a strange cat in your neighborhood, don't bring it it," he said. "It probably lives in the neighborhood."

    The county helps foster households, providing free medical care, kitten formula and supplies and other support. Foster parents have to fill out an application and are screened to ensure they can provide proper care.

    As for adoptions, most of the felines waiting for a home are adults. The $12 adoption fee includes a license, microchip, shots and spaying or neutering. Kittens, which need to weigh about 2 lbs. and be about 12 weeks old before they can be adopted, cost $100 to take home.

    -- Lynne Terry

  • Gresham police officers attack livability issues with neighborhood enforcement team

    Gresham police Chief Craig Junginger said he formed the so-called NET Team to "manage the increase in livability calls – without pulling officers away from emergencies."

    Two Gresham police officers spent 3 months this year as members of the Gresham Police Department's newly established Neighborhood Enforcement Team.

    The team was created by Chief Craig Juninger to address complaints from residents about abandoned properties, transient activity, drug dealing, chronic noise and other problems.

    Junginger said he formed the so-called NET Team to "manage the increase in livability calls – without pulling officers away from emergencies."

    Rather than respond to 911 calls for service, Officers James Leake and Daniel Estes worked to establish contacts within the community and through city enforcement agencies and other police officers help enforce existing statutes regarding chronic nuisance, abandoned property and exclusion orders.

    From May 1 through August 1, Estes and Leake made 2,066 citizen contacts, spent 50 hours at community meetings and fielded 54 phone calls on the department's tips line.

    More tangibly, Juninger said in a news release Wednesday, Estes and Leake also—

    —Boarded 4 vacant properties and secured 32 abandoned properties

    —Tagged or cleared 17 transient camps

    —Issued 9 traffic citations

    —Recovered 5 items of stolen property

    —Made 18 arrests, mostly for criminal trespassing

    "In some ways, we're going back to the basics of police work, talking to people on their porches, in the parks, at their businesses," Leake said. "We listen and often work together with residents to solve a problem. What's satisfying is that we're not reacting to an issue and putting a Band-Aid on it. We're getting deep into the community and looking at lasting solutions."

    -- Stuart Tomlinson

  • Tiny Wood Village has uncontested races for two open City Council seats in 2014 election

    Wood Village's roughly 4,000 residents will have a very quiet campaign season when it comes to City Council races this fall.

    Wood Village's roughly 4,000 residents will have a very quiet campaign season when it comes to City Council races this fall.

    Barring a successful write-in campaign, a couple of council newcomers will replace veteran incumbents Mark Clark and Stanley Dirks, neither of whom filed for re-election.

    Clark is the current council president and had served eight years. Dirks was appointed to the council in 2007 and won re-election.

    Bruce Nissen, a firefighter, filed for Dirks' seat at Position 1. He is a longtime member of the city's planning commission.

    Jimmy Frank, a commercial banker, filed for Clark's seat at Position 4. He has no prior governmental experience.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Fairview: Three-way mayor's race, contests for every City Council seat on ballot lead off 2014 election

    Fairview's three-way competition for mayor is just one indication that this year's races could be as hotly contested as the 2012 election, which resulted in some razor-thin finishes and produced a divided council that struggled to make decisions.

    Fairview's three-way competition for mayor is just one indication that this year's races could be as hotly contested as the 2012 election, which resulted in some razor-thin finishes and produced a divided council that struggled to make decisions.

    At least two candidates had filed for every position on the City Council ballot by Tuesday's deadline to compete on the Nov. 4 ballot.

    Here is a breakdown of the candidates and their races.

                                                    Mayor's race

    The mayor's seat opened with the retirement of Mike Weatherby, who won his first term 12 years ago.

    Longtime council member Lisa Barton Mullins, the current council president, must fend off fellow councilor Ted Tosterud and newcomer Curtis K. Burnett if she hopes to become the first woman mayor in Fairview history.

    Barton Mullins, a retired small business owner, must give up the council seat she first won in 2006 to run for mayor because candidates can only run for one seat per election.

    Tosterud, a retired medical laboratory executive, was appointed to the council in January but also chose a mayoral bid over running for re-election as an ordinary council member.

    Burnett, a realtor, is a more recent addition to this race and lists no prior governmental experience.

                                                    Position 2

    This is the seast that Tosterud is vacating.

    Veteran City Council member Steve Owen, currently in the council's Position 4, played coy with his plans until turning in his application 12 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday.

    Instead of filing to keep his current spot, which already has two candidates, Owen will take on Balwant Bhullar for the seat. Unlike the other races, the winner of this contest will serve just two years, finishing out the term Ken Quinby won in 2012 but left last fall to take a job out of state.

    Owen, a senior director for an automotive services company, is Fairview's longest-tenured council member, serving continuously since 1997.

    Bhullar, a gas station and convenience store owner, was elected to the council in 2008 but resigned after less than a year in office. He currently is a member of the city's public safety advisory committee.

                                                    Position 4

    This is the seat Owen is vacating to run for Position 2. Leslie Moore and Ted Kotsakis are competing.

    Moore, who ran for the City Council in 2012, is a pastor and business owner who has served on Fairview's budget and public safety committees.

    Kotsakis is a retired college dean and former manager for Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality who has served on city and national committees.

                                                    Position 5

    This is the seat that Barton Mullins is vacating to run for mayor. Keith Kudrna and Natalie Voruz are competing.

    Kudrna, a home designer, has served on several city committees, including a long stint on the Fairview Planning Commission.

    Voruz, a federal employee, currently serves on the city's advisory committee for arts and community events.

                                                    Position 6

    This seat is held by Tamie Arnold. For the third time in four years, Arnold will take on a member of the Cooper family as she faces a challenge from Brian Cooper.

    Two years ago, Arnold beat Brian Cooper by a margin of just two-dozen votes. Four years ago, she lost a bid to unseat Brian Cooper's father, veteran council member Larry Cooper.

    Arnold is a registered nurse and small business owner currently studying for a master's degree in healthcare administration.

    Brian Cooper, a business owner, was appointed to council in early 2012 after Larry Cooper died in office. Brian Cooper also founded the civic booster group Friends of Fairview.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Three Troutdale City Council incumbents face challengers in 2014 election

    Troutdale has no mayoral race this year, but current council members David Ripma, Norm Thomas and Rich Allen all must out-poll an opponent to retain their seats.

    Troutdale has no mayoral race this year, but current council members David Ripma, Norm Thomas and Rich Allen all must out-poll an opponent to retain their seats.

    The contested races were locked in place with the passage of Tuesday's filing deadline to run for the Nov. 4 election. The following is a brief rundown of the candidates and their races.

    Position 1

    Ripma, a patent attorney, has served on the council for all but two years since 1993 and also has served on other city and regional boards.

    Josh Moriarty is challenging him. Moriarty, a project manager for the Port of Portland who previously worked for the city, has served on budget committees for the city and Reynolds School District.

    Position 3

    Thomas, a software engineer, has been on the council since 2003 after serving on several other civic committees.

    Larry Morgan filed to run against him. Morgan is a real estate broker who served as Mt. Hood Community College's student body president and on city and state level committees.

    Position 5

    Allen, an engineer, served on several city committees before winning a five-candidate race to claim his seat in 2010.

    Ray Eppley is trying to unseat him. Eppley, who retired from a management position in sales and marketing, has no prior governmental experience.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Would you pay $35,000 for this Oregon Duck sculpture? (poll)

    Ready to put your money where your mouth is, Ducks fans?

    Today, we profiled Alison Brown, a 25-year-old University of Oregon graduate who's making her way as an artist creating sculptures of the university's mascot.

    The Troutdale resident's work is in demand, and it is not inexpensive.

    Ready to put your money where your mouth is, Ducks fans? Would you pay the big price to show your devotion to the school and to its teams?

    Take the poll. Share your thoughts here in the comments.

    Oregon Duck sculptureView full sizeThis sculpture retails for $35,000. 
  • Young Troutdale sculptor's University of Oregon Duck mascots fly off the shelves

    University of Oregon graduate Allison Brown's bronze Oregon Duck mascots sell for thousands of dollars and decorate the desks and homes of some of her university's most influential people, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Oregon's biggest donor.

    Alison Brown finished the first two sculptures she sold while still living in a dorm room and wrapping up her University of Oregon degree in Spanish.

    Three years later, her bronze Oregon Duck mascots sell for thousands of dollars and decorate the desks and homes of some of her university's most influential people, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Oregon's biggest donor.

    As another football season opens Saturday, the 25-year-old Troutdale woman considers herself one lucky Duck.

    "I feel really fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living," Brown said recently while putting the finishing touches on the clay original for one of her latest sculptures, the Oregon Duck in pushup position to celebrate another Oregon touchdown.

    Brown grew up in Gresham, graduating from Centennial High School in 2007. But even after several years studying in Eugene, she didn't have a clear career path.

    She fell in love with clay sculpture as a young girl, but her practical nature didn't allow her to think of art as a way to earn a living.

    "I would always compare new things to how much I loved working in clay," she said.

    She was still considering professions when her mother told her about visiting Caswell Gallery in Troutdale, about 15 minutes from the family's home in Gresham.

    "She never dreamed that it would change my life instantly," said Brown, who went to take a look for herself during Spring Break of her junior year at Oregon.

    Gallery owner Rip Caswell, a well-known sculptor of wildlife and historical figures, offered her a summer internship and eventually became a mentor as she launched her own business, Campus Sculptures. She also is a client at Caswell's Firebird Bronze foundry in Boring.

    Oregon Duck sculptureView full sizeThis sculpture retails for $35,000. 

    That summer she mostly did cleaning and clerical work while learning about the gallery business, but she also took a sculpture class from Caswell.

    "She showed a real talent," said Kathy Toynbee, general manager for Caswell's businesses, including the gallery and foundry. "We're all really proud of her here."

    At first Brown wasn't sure what to sculpt, so Caswell encouraged her to find a niche.

    "He's like, 'Sculpt what you know and what you love,'" she remembered.

    "I knew that I love the University of Oregon," she said. "That's what my gut told me to do."

    Those early sculptures were primarily of Disney version of the Duck mascot. She had to work through Walt Disney's licensing and creative staffs before selling them.

    A year later she completed the university's rigorous licensing process to start producing replicas of the costumed character who pumps up the crowd at athletic and special events and tends to get some significant air time when ESPN's "Game Day" comes to Eugene.

    Besides the Duck pumping out pushups, other versions in Brown's Oregon line include the Duck riding a motorcycle and another of the Duck making the ubiquitous "O" symbol with his hands.

    She sells Duck sculptures through retail and online versions of The Duck Store, on whose board of directors Brown served as a student member. She also sells sculptures through her company's website, including special commissions and non-Duck animals caught in cute poses. A small number of galleries carry her works.

    Brown may expand Campus Sculptures to other university mascots, but so far the Ducks are keeping her busy. The university's highly ranked football program, in particular, has fueled greater fan interest and brought national attention to the Duck's sideline antics. In turn, that spotlight helped Brown get her business off to a fast start.

    Not all fans can afford Brown's work, because these Ducks cost bucks.

    The many-stepped process of from sculpting to bronzing is time-consuming and expensive, which is reflected in the prices of Duck sculptures, she said. Her desktop models often cost $2,500 to $7,900. She casts no more than 15 bronze replicas for most of her original clay sculptures.

    "I feel like it's something that should be rare and exclusive," she said.

    A larger finished sculpture that reaches nearly to the shoulders of Brown's University of Oregon shirt retails for $35,000. An in-progress version that's twice that height will be much pricier, said Brown. She didn't divulge the cost or buyer.

    "I have really, really great customer relationships with the big donors," said Brown, who has been invited to some of the best game-day tailgate parties.

    But the sculptures also have landed in homes of more typical fans.

    "I feel like it's re-creating the 'Game Day' experience," she said, referring to ESPN's college football road shows that have made stops in Eugene. "It's re-creating that moment of being in Autzen Stadium with throngs of screaming fans."

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Controversial Damascus mayor won't run for third term re-election

    Steve Spinnett said he decided not to run for a third term to focus on his family businesses. His absence leaves an opening for competing factions in the city to gain control. Damascus, a city already used to in-fighting, is on the brink of slowly splintering as property owners on the boundaries of Happy Valley and Gresham secede under a recent state law.

    stevespinnett.jpgView full sizeSteve Spinnett 

    Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett announced Saturday he plans to leave office at the end of his term.

    Spinnett said he decided not to run for a third term to focus on his family businesses. His absence leaves an opening for competing factions in the city to gain control. Damascus, a city already used to in-fighting, is on the brink of slowly splintering as property owners on the boundaries of Happy Valley and Gresham secede under a recent state law.

    The residents who support de-annexations have talked about running a candidate who wants to dissolve the city. Of those who want to pass a comprehensive plan and stay incorporated, Spinnett's departure leaves the opportunity for a leader who might be less divisive.

    Spinnett drew significant criticism from people who saw him as either wanting the city to run his way, and from people who said he hindered the democratic process.

    However, he also commanded a large swath of supporters, who could boost a like-minded candidate to the vacant seat.

    I'll be updating the story as I know more. In the meantime, here's Spinnett's parting letter:

    Greetings,

    I want to let you know that my final decision is not to seek a third term as Mayor of Damascus.

    The reason is that my family businesses have been continually growing over the last four years. I am grateful to experience this increase.

    My three adult children who have done an excellent job managing my businesses need my full attention.

    However, it is with a certain sadness that I will not run again. I have been honored to be able to serve the great citizens of Damascus, Now, with the City on the threshold of development, I must leave and look forward to others to complete the task of creating a thriving city. If I chose to run, I believe I can win, but my heart is towards my family and businesses.

    I am optimistic about the future of The City of Damascus. I believe principled leaders should continue on to fight for the true wishes of its citizens and their interests.

    Below is a list of some accomplishments:

    Advocating and developing a Comprehensive Plan that respect the rights of property owners. This Plan is now the City Plan, passed by the majority of Council, to be voted on by the people of Damascus this November.

    Lowered the tax rate from $3.30 to $3.10 and then to its current rate of $2.80 per $1000 of assessed value. To my knowledge no other city in Oregon has done this.

    Consistently lowered city spending in each of the four years I was mayor.

    Restructured government- Establishment of Finance Committee to work on budget issues throughout the year.

    Stood up for the majority of the citizens of Damascus by defending against the taking of their property, such as over reaching open space requirements, extra wide stream buffers at the expense of a few, forced easements for walkways on private property, unlawful "taking of private property," stopped the discrimination of religious institutions in land use zoning. Relaxed multiple burdensome development codes.

    Supportive of seven successful charter amendments and a referendum that strengthened property rights and limits the size of government.

    I wanted to thank my wonderful wife Cindy who tirelessly campaigned for me in countless campaigns in the last four years. I believe it was through her efforts that saved the city from disincorporation.

    Respectfully,

    Steve Spinnett

    Mayor, City of Damascus

  • Reynolds School Board seeks applications for vacancy

    The Reynolds School Board is seeking applications to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Heather Chao from Position 1. The replacement will serve through the end of Chao's term on June 30, 2015.

    The Reynolds School Board is seeking applications to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Heather Chao from Position 1. The replacement will serve through the end of Chao's term on June 30, 2015.

    The board meets the second Wednesday of every month. Additional meetings and workshops are typically held the fourth Wednesday of most months.

    Because board members are elected at large, anyone who has resided within the Reynolds School District boundaries for at least a year may apply. Applicants also must be registered voters.

    Applications are available online. The deadline is Sept. 30. Interviews will be Oct. 1 at a special board work session.

    -- Susan Green

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