Each day members of our community quietly celebrate milestones, achievements and accomplishments—big and small. This department highlights these triumphs for the community.
If you’re sending a submission, include all details that apply: individuals’ names, details of the milestone and a contact name and phone number. If you have photos, send them. The submission deadline for September is Saturday, Aug. 15. For best results, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. Call 503-287-8904.
A mighty oak has fallen in Parkrose
Saturday, June 27, at 4:15 a.m., retired Parkrose schoolteacher and longtime Parkrose resident Mary Lu Baetkey, who lives on Northeast Beech Street at 105th Avenue, awoke to a loud “clunk-like” sound. It didn’t register with her what the sound could have been, but a short time later she was reawakened by a neighbor banging on her door. It was then she discovered that two huge sections had split from a 100-foot oak tree in her backyard. Half of her large backyard was filled with one section, while the other piece had fallen on her fence and into her neighbor’s yard.
She quickly turned off power to her garage, as she could see the lines on the ground, and checked for damage. Surprisingly, there was little. About three eight-foot sections of cyclone fence between her and her neighbor were twisted and broken, and there was some minor damage to her neighbor’s house. To Baetkey’s relief, the two four-foot-diameter pieces of her tree had landed neatly on opposite sides of the upright hose bib in her garden.
Baetkey’s next move was to call her insurance agent, her arborist and the power company.
By Saturday afternoon, Davey Tree Service had removed the tree from the neighboring property. They advised her to request a city permit allowing her to remove the rest of the diseased and damaged tree. She did so Monday morning, June 29 and waited.
By July 4, no city permit to cut the rest of the tree was forthcoming. Baetkey was concerned about the plethora of airborne fireworks going off all around her. She and what was left of her tree made it through the night; however, a few days later around 11 p.m. on Friday, July 10, Baetkey heard a loud crunching sound. The last large section of the tree had come down across Northeast 105th Avenue, leaving a 100-foot-high trunk poking into the night sky. Live wires were down in the street, but once again, there was no personal or property damage to Baetkey or her neighbors.
The street was soon filled with emergency service vehicles, police and representatives from Pacific Power. At 3 a.m., a crew arrived with a large chipper that quickly dispatched the tree and cleared the street. At 5 a.m., a Pacific Power crew arrived to replace the power pole that split when the wires were pulled down. Davey sent an arborist early Monday morning to begin the process of removing the five-foot-diameter, 100-foot-high spur that remained. More than two weeks after the application, the long-awaited permit from the city landed in Baetkey’s email inbox Monday, July 13.
Frustrated by the delay in getting the permit, Baetkey points out that the drama of the previous Friday night and Saturday morning could have been avoided with a more responsive permitting system.
The giant oak was estimated to be 75 to 100 years old, according to Davey. It was the major shade tree for the house and yard, and while the shade was highly valued, Baetkey said the tree created year-round work in the yard. She raked sticky catkins in spring, acorns in summer and leaves in fall and winter.
With the tree gone, Baetkey is planning new plantings for her new full-sun garden space.
Neighborhood-wide garage sale a hit with residents
Last month, the Argay Neighborhood Association revived an annual tradition: its neighborhood-wide, weekend-long garage sale. Al Brown, one of the event’s organizers, said 41 households officially signed up to participate, and at least a dozen more participated but did not sign up.
Portland’s long-absent summer rain returned Saturday, July 25, making the event problematic since neighbors had either yard sales or sales where much of the material was outside. As with all neighborhood-wide garage sales, some did very well, some not so well, Brown said.
However, it proved to be a way for neighbors to meet each other and connect either going from sale to sale or just walking up and down the street to see how the other neighbors were doing. “It was a good ice-breaker, as everyone had a common interest and were participating in the same activity,” Brown said in an email. “Neighbors could stay and talk as long as they wanted to, and that appears to be what people did.”
Brown said it cost the association $50 to produce—$30 for advertising on EstateSale-Finder.com and $20 for 400 copies of neighborhood maps with sales locations highlighted.
The maps were helpful and many shoppers asked for them, according to Brown. Others accessed the maps via smartphones. “It was a very good, low-cost community builder that was pretty simple to put on,” Brown said.