Early school board resignation creates vacancy
The David Douglas School Board seeks applicants to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Shannon Raybold effective June 30.
Raybold’s term expires in June 2017. The appointed applicant will fill the remaining year on a 4-year term and also must agree to run for election in May 2017. Applicants must be residents of the David Douglas School District for at least one full year and registered voters.
Applicants should submit a letter of interest to the superintendent’s office, 11300 N.E. Halsey St., Portland, 97220. The letter should contain information about the applicant’s involvement in school and district activities, as well as his/her intention to run for a 4-year term in May 2017.
Applicants will be asked to give a 5-minute presentation to the board during its May 12 meeting. During its June meeting, the board will nominate, discuss and vote to appoint a qualified applicant. The appointed applicant will take her/his seat at the July board meeting.
Ride Connection seeks volunteer drivers
Every weekday morning, Mid-county resident and Ride Connection volunteer driver Ronn Willits sits in his tidy truck and readies himself for the day by sorting through his notecards, which contain the information of each ride he is scheduled to provide for the day.
First there’s Tom. His wife of 30 years had a stroke two years ago and now lives in a skilled nursing home where she can receive the care she needs. Tom relishes his once- or twice-a-week visits with his wife and shares with Willits that he needs this time with her just as much as she needs him.
Volunteer drivers like Willits are crucial in helping Ride Connection fulfill its mission of getting people where they need to go, said Lydia Corran, Ride Connection’s outreach and development manager. “He’s been driving for three years and says he finds it rewarding,” she said in an email. Willits agrees. “I feel useful,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Ride Connection, a lot of these folks couldn’t stay in their homes.”
The second ride of the day is for Daniel, who needs a ride three times a week to his dialysis treatment. Despite living close to the clinic, using public transportation isn’t an option. Not only is the monthly cost prohibitive, but the hardest part is getting home after the physically exhausting treatment effects begin.
Willits’s schedule varies from day to day and he gives rides to different types of customers, which equals varied and colorful conversations. “That’s the best part of the job,” he said, “getting to know people.” He’s met three WWII vets and has heard stories about escapades in an Army Jeep and about naval transportation. He’s had some backseat drivers and many people who are just pleased to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Some of his favorite riders include Irene, who goes to physical therapy two times a week; and then there’s Miss Ann, who at the robust age of 93 goes to the library each week to volunteer. Having made a special connection on their frequent trips, Willits calls her even when he’s off duty to check in.
Willits learned about Ride Connection’s Vets Driving Vets program from a friend. Because of his longtime commitment to helping veterans, he was drawn in by the opportunity to assist them in this unique and essential way. “Once on board, he started driving five days a week and went above and beyond the veteran program and continues to do so, filling in wherever he is needed,” Corran said.
Ride Connection works with individual schedules and many volunteers pick one or two days or an afternoon a week to spend their time as a volunteer driver. The need for transportation in the east Portland area is great and Ride Connection needs more people to get those who can’t drive where they need to go. If you are interested in volunteering or want more information, contact Ride Connection’s Volunteer Outreach Spet, Pam Monahan, at 503-528-1738 or email@example.com.
Choir honored at festival
Portland Christian High School band and choir students performed at the Anaheim Heritage Festival at Disneyland last month. Performances were adjudicated by three nationally acclaimed judges. The choir took gold and has been invited to the National Youth Choir Festival at Carnegie Hall next year. The band was awarded silver.
Student conductor Bronte Gordon chose “De Profundis” by Russell Robinson as her performance piece and was rewarded with special maestro award. Matt Caldwell is the choir and band director.
Argay Terrace Green Street project
Portland Bureau Environmental Services is designing a stormwater management project in the Argay neighborhood. When it rains, water flows over streets, drains into the stormwater system and flows to the Columbia Slough. This project will build 53 Green Street planters next to sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. The planters will filter the stormwater before it enters the slough, helping to protect water quality and control stormwater runoff during heavy rain events.
The first part of the project involved utility location work. Crews drilled small holes in the pavement to help the design engineers understand the conditions underground. When they finished, they filled in the holes. Neighbors likely noticed brief periods of noise, dust and mild vibration during drilling. This work began last month and was anticipated to take a few weeks.
The next steps of this project will include construction of curb extensions followed by installation of appropriate plant materials.
In addition to protecting water quality in the Columbia Slough watershed, these biofiltration planters also divert stormwater from the sewer system, reduce basement flooding, increase green space, improve air quality and reduce air temperatures. To learn more, visit portlandoregon.gov/bes/argay.
Historic event canceled again, probably permanently
Despite last year’s promise by Gateway Area Business Association chair David Panichello to bring back the group’s Fun-O-Rama, which had been dormant after a second revival in 2012 (“Fiscal sponsor drought dooms Fun-O-Rama” MCM April 2015), GABA board members obliquely told the Memo at their March meeting that not only is Fun-O-Rama not returning in May, it’s probably never returning after its last comeback in 2012.
Karen Montez, the group’s longtime treasurer, said yes, it would return this year but with no traditional community fair or parade. In addition, GABA former chair and forever figurehead Fred Sanchez said yes, it is returning, but that involvement/responsibility is now down to GABA’s event for first responders in September.
The Memo—which vocalized the public’s earnest wish for the return of the original, spectacularly sentimental version—surmises those qualified yeses add up to a definite no.
Held in May before Rose Festival’s start, the original Fun-O-Rama, which began in 1951, grew to nearly a week-long carnival held in Fred Meyer’s parking lot that was capped with a Saturday parade from Northeast 125th and Halsey Street to the carnival site. After losing the carnival site in the mid-80s —the group’s major fundraiser—the parade hung on for a few more years, but it also went away in the in the mid-’90s. First revived in 2002 with a parade and added community fair and golf tourney, this paler version of Fun-O-Rama expired in 2008. Re-revived in 2012, this albino version of Fun-O-Rama had a parade route a few blocks long and no marching band the first year. It expired in 2014. Probably forever, despite facile protestations to the contrary, since the group struggles getting members to monthly meetings. At their March meeting—lunch isn’t served anymore—besides the paid staffer and three GABA officials, three paid members attended.
Learning through music and drama
Portland Christian School’s fourth- and fifth-grade students performed in a very personal musical last month. The production, “Livin’ Inside Out in an Upside Down World,” was set in the school where the P.E. and health teachers instructed the students on how to take care of their bodies and their spirits. Throughout the play, the teachers and students, along with the somewhat silly school nurse, help one of the students learn that living for Christ means putting others first. That’s what it means to live inside out in this upside down world. Lisa Singleterry directed.