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Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community. The Mid-county Memo offers this section to our business neighbors for news, advancements, promotions, expansions and other noteworthy events to be shared with the community at-large. Business Memo submissions for the September issue are due by Friday, Aug.15. For best results, email Darlene Vinson at You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, dial 503-287-8904. The Mid-county Memo fax number is 503-249-7672.

Grillin’ on Halsey
Bradford’s Sports Lounge owner Brad Fouts plates a hamburger for server Lindsey Adams during his outdoor barbecue in July. Fouts hosts another parking-lot party Sunday, Aug. 24 at his Gateway restaurant.
Memo photo/Tim Curran
Bradford’s Sports Lounge, 10346 N.E. Halsey St., serves up an extensive breakfast menu along with burgers, steaks, chicken, seafood and pasta dishes for lunch and dinner daily. During the summer months, owner Brad Fouts likes to host backyard barbecues in his back lot where he grills up hotdogs and burgers as well as smoky barbecued chicken and ribs from his Traeger grill. The next one is set for Sunday, Aug. 24 beginning at 5 p.m. Drop in before then for a plate of ham and eggs, a tasty salad or what Fouts swears is the best burger in town. Pick up a coupon for food and beverage discounts at the August barbecue while you’re there.

Grotto names new executive director
East Portland’s National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, or The Grotto as we locals call it, has welcomed Thomas Fullmer as its new executive director. Servite Fr. Jack Topper, executive director since 1991, will remain at The Grotto serving as rector. While Fullmer will become the administrative leader of The Grotto, Topper will be the spiritual leader and will continue to lead the religious ministries.
Fullmer is a Portland native who has been a frequent visitor to The Grotto all his life. He has always been involved, to some extent, in non-profit organizations, including serving as board president of Michael Allen Harrison’s Snowman Foundation and as director of business development for the Total Development Center, a non-profit center working with youth.
Portland native Thomas Fullmer, left, has stepped in as The Grotto’s executive director. Fr. Jack Topper will stay on as the spiritual leader.
Fullmer brings event management experience to The Grotto. Working with Peter Jacobsen Productions, Fullmer was tournament director of many large-scale events, including the PGA JELD-WEN Tradition Golf Tournament and the USGA 2003 U.S Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course.
Among his many associations are the Blanchet House of Hospitality and Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and he served on the board of the Oregon International Air Show. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School and the University of Oregon.
“My parents brought me and my brothers and sisters to The Grotto frequently back in the 60s and 70s. It was my Mom’s favorite place. I am humbled to have been selected to carry on the 90-year tradition of The Grotto,” said Fullmer.
The Grotto, formally The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a ministry of the Servite Friars. In 1991, a few short years after his ordination in Chicago as a Servite priest, Topper was named executive director of The Grotto.
In a letter to the archbishop, Servite Fr. John Fontana, Prior Provincial for the Servite USA Province, said: “Father Topper’s ministry there has been stellar, in terms of the hospitality and ministry he has provided. He has been the public face and voice of The Grotto, representing the Servites and this place of solitude, peace, and prayer, to the Church and to the city of Portland. He has also reached out in a spirit of multiculturalism and ecumenism to a broad variety of people.”
The shrine has seen many major improvement projects since Fr. Topper’s arrival. He oversaw the addition of a new welcome center and gift shop, the construction of a visitor complex and conference center and an exterior elevator to make the offices and plaza more accessible. General aging of the shrine required restoration of the main plaza, and a new and expanded parking lot was built following a destructive winter storm.
In the upper level gardens, Topper oversaw the installation of Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish shrine and the Filipino Dambana shrine. Shrines in honor of Our Lady of Lavang and Our Lady of Guadalupe are in the planning stages.
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights grew and flourished over the years under Topper’s guidance; this favorite Christmas event now welcomes 60,000 people each year to enjoy the lights and music presented by choirs from around the region.
“Throughout my years here at The Grotto, I’ve often thought that my ministry was a ministry in reverse; I so frequently felt that I received as much or more ministry from those who came to The Grotto than what I offered them,” said Topper, reflecting on his 23 years at The Grotto.
The Grotto will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Sept. 20 with a dinner and auction at the Multnomah Athletic Club; the following day, Sept. 21, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample will preside at an anniversary Mass at noon in The Grotto Plaza.
“I invite people of all faiths and cultures to visit this Portland treasure, and I encourage those who have visited in the past to return with family, friends and out-of-town visitors throughout the year. It is one of Portland’s best-kept secrets, and summer and fall is a beautiful time of year to visit,” said Fullmer.

Kitzhaber recognizes excellence at east Portland school
Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System recently awarded Early Childhood Education Department at Portland Christian Schools’ a five-star rating, the groups highest.
Portland Christian Schools’ Early Childhood Education Department recently received a five-star rating after participating in Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. QRIS aims to raise the quality and consistency of childcare and early learning programs across the state. PCS was the only Christian school to receive a five-star quality program rating, which is the highest rating in the state.
In order to receive the rating, the ECE program participated in an on-site evaluation to demonstrate that they are using the best possible practices in adult-child interaction. Experts assessed the program using research-based standards that address student learning and development, health and safety, personnel qualifications, family partnerships and administration and business practices.
PCS Elementary Principal Rhonda Rogers and her outstanding team ensured all students have the necessary foundation for lifelong learning and success. More than 80 percent of the staff holds a minimum of an associate’s degree, and over half hold higher-level degrees. Principal Rogers holds a masters degree in educational leadership from Concordia University; factors contributing toward the top rating.
Governor John Kitzhaber sent a letter to Portland Christian Schools congratulating the ECE on their dedication to the state’s youngest citizens. “Programs throughout Oregon will look to you and programs like yours for the quality practices and professionalism your program has demonstrated,” he wrote. “Our collective investment in children’s success in school provides a foundation for Oregon’s future.”
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