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Festival of Lights marks 25 years of Christmas joy
Hazelwood Plaza review continues
Work starts on Glisan Commons
Fall school activities round up
Laotians seek community center
Church finds home, takes in homeless

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Memo Pad...

To fully serve the community, the Mid-county Memo offers this section to showcase upcoming special events, celebrations of milestones in our readers' lives, those seemingly small accomplishments that often do not receive the recognition they deserve, and everyday events that should be shared with friends and neighbors along with opportunities to participate in the community. Memo Pad submissions for the January issue are due Saturday, Dec. 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at Or mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave, Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, call 503-287-8904. The fax number is 503-249-7672.

Principal's compassion, action recognized
June Vining, executive director of Trauma Intervention Programs of Portland/Vancouver, presented Mill Park Elementary Principal Rolando Florez with a Good Samaritan Award last month.
Last month, the Trauma Intervention Programs of Portland/Vancouver presented a Good Samaritan Award to Mill Park Principal Rolando Florez. The organization recognized Florez for his response to the tragic death of a Mill Park student last year.

His award read in part: “The extraordinary focus that Mr. Florez displayed in the aftermath of this tragedy drew the attention and admiration of TIP staff. His immediate mobilization, his insistence on protecting and caring for his elementary school community, his recognition of the importance of utilizing outside resources and his gentle, loving and compassionate demeanor is recognized and honored tonight.”

Florez is credited with rapid response to this tragedy and recognized for pulling together a team of counselors to support his staff and students as they processed news of the child's death.

Mill Park Elementary is in the David Douglas School District.

Curriculum innovators earn award, gets results
The David Douglas curriculum team accepts an excellence in leadership award at the recent OSBA conference. Board Member Frieda Christopher, from left, Earl Boyles Elementary Principal Ericka Guynes, Board Member Cheryl Scarcelli Ancheta, ESL Coordinator Kelly Devlin, Curriculum Director Brooke O'Neill, Title I and English Language Arts Coordinator Katie Beckett, Instructional Activities Coordinator Shelly Wilcoxen, and Board Member Kyle Riggs.
At the recent Oregon School Boards Association Conference, David Douglas School District Curriculum Director Brooke O'Neill was presented the 2012-13 Excellence in Curriculum Leadership Award. The award, from the Oregon Association of School Executives, recognizes outstanding leadership in implementing transformative curriculum initiatives. David Douglas and O'Neill were cited for the implementation of professional learning teams.

The district is in its 3rd year of late-start Wednesdays, which allow teachers across the curriculum to meet in teams, share data and collaborate on strategies to improve student achievement. O'Neill spearheaded the effort beginning in 2010-11.

By implementing PLTs, teachers are looking at student data and standards, setting goals, selecting evidence-based instructional strategies, creating common formative assessments, and measuring their outcomes.

Due in part to PLTs, David Douglas student achievement is on the rise. The district had no focus or priority schools in the latest state report cards grading school performance. In addition, the district had the two highest rated Title I middle schools in Oregon - Alice Ott, rated a model school, and Floyd Light.

Mobile food pantry rolls into Parkrose
Natalie Chong, left, counselor at Prescott Elementary, and Anniece Foster, manager of the SnowCap Community Charities mobile food pantry service prepare a box of non-perishable food items so Chong can respond when the need comes up.
Once a month, the SnowCap Community Charities mobile food pantry calls on the Celilo Court apartments at 4633 N.E. 95th Ave., to deliver to needy families.

The food service also serves Prescott Elementary School on an on-call basis, according to Anniece Foster, who is in charge of SnowCap's highly organized mobile food pantry service. “We are alert to immediate needs and can respond right away to requests from the school,” Foster said. "It is rewarding for all concerned to be able to provide healthy, nutritious food to a family in need."

School counselor Natalie Chong agrees and plays a pivotal role in getting a SnowCap-prepared food box into homes of families who are facing hunger. “It's really nice to be able to say, 'Hey, I can help with that' when a mother comes to inquire about food assistance,” Chong said.

The mobile pantry program is an overwhelmingly popular mainstay in SnowCap's childhood hunger program, Foster says.

In addition to serving clients in the Parkrose area, SnowCap delivers family food boxes to four other elementary schools and 10 public housing projects every month. More than 900 persons are served; 60 percent are children.

“The mobile food program reaches families in need who may have barriers of transportation or child care issues that preclude them from visiting SnowCap for regular pantry service,” Foster added.

SnowCap Community Charities is a philanthropic organization created to provide food boxes, clothing, advocacy and other services to the poor in most of east Multnomah County, including the communities of Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village, Troutdale and the Parkrose area.

Kimura, Nguyen receive Spirit awards
Linda Nguyen, Energy Assistance Coordinator at east Portland's Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, received a Sprit of Portland award last month from Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
Hazelwood Neighborhood Association chair Arlene Kimura and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization staffer Linda Nguyen were among those receiving Spirit of Portland awards from Portland City Council members at an October 29 ceremony.

The awards are given annually to individuals and groups who contribute to the city's livability. Some of the winners are selected by a citizen jury under the direction of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement from nominations submitted by the public. In addition, each council member can name up to two winners.

Kimura has been a Hazelwood volunteer since 1996, and the group's chair since 2002. She has also served on the Gateway Urban Renewal District Policy Advisory Committee, East Portland Action Plan, East Portland Parks Committee, the Portland Streetcar Citizen Advisory Committee, and many others. Receiving the award from Mayor Sam Adams, Kimura said, “This is an award for all the participants. I appreciate that they were willing to put up with me and get stuff done.”

Nguyen, who received her award from Commissioner Dan Saltzman, is IRCO's Energy Assistance Coordinator. She works with people whose heat and electricity are off, and she often works long hours to accommodate and assist her clients. “Thank you very much for this award,” she said. “It belongs to IRCO. If they hadn't hired me, this wouldn't have happened.”

Pederson receives training, mentoring
Representative-elect Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland) attended the National Institute for Newly Elected Officials in Washington, D.C. last month.
Representative-elect Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland) was selected to attend the prestigious National Institute for Newly Elected Officials in Washington, D.C. last month.

The three and half-day boot camp, hosted by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, provides newly elected officials with the opportunity to further enhance their governance skills and build relationships with fellow public servants and experts from all over the United States. The training will give Representative-elect Pederson a head start in effectively working to address the most pressing issues facing her constituents in east Portland.

National and local leaders who have been champions for their communities, including Florida State Senator and Hispanic Legislative Caucus Chair Rene Garcia, New York City Council member Julissa Ferreras and Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, will mentor Pederson. The training will provide tools for implementing effective service to constituents as well as tips for maximizing limited resources for our community.

Pederson will learn from experts on a variety of governance areas including budgeting, public policy and ethics among others. Through the Institute, she will gain access to national experts and resources that she can leverage for the benefit of Oregon.

Pederson was elected to serve Oregon's House District 47, the seat vacated by Jefferson Smith, last month after winning a contested primary in May.

She will be the first Latina to serve in the Oregon House of Representatives.

MHCC fills board postion
Paul Capell was appointed to the Mt. Hood Community College board of education last month.
The Mt. Hood Community College District Board of Education appointed Paul Capell to fill the at-large board position vacated by Ralph Yates, who resigned after serving the college for 13 years.

Capell was sworn in at the board's November meeting and will serve through June. The position will be up for election May 2013. The successful candidate from the election will serve the remainder of Yates' term, July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.

Capell has extensive experience in public service and has been a longtime supporter of MHCC. In Prineville, he served as mayor (1997-98), on city council and on the planning commission. He is a current member of the MHCC Foundation board of directors and a member and past president (2006-07) of the Central East Portland Rotary Club. He will resign his Foundation board position when sworn in as a member of the Board of Education. Capell has lived in East Multnomah County 11 years and is vice president/west region energy lead for HDR Engineering.

“I want to be on the board to serve the community with a focus on education. I agree with the mission of the board and want to support the continued success of MHCC,” says Capell.

Capell's experience will contribute to the board's ability to address many of the challenges currently facing the college, notes Shields. Capell will be especially helpful in the board's selection of the next college president when Mike Hay, the current president, retires June 30, 2013. Other challenges include budgeting, state funding, state regulations and collective bargaining.

The MHCC District Board of Education is comprised of seven members elected to four-year terms. Five of the positions are elected from specific district zones and two are elected form the district at-large.

Delivery drivers needed for meal service
Meals on Wheels People Cherry Blossom Center seeks volunteers to assist with delivering meals to homebound seniors.

“These volunteers are so invaluable because they not only help us feed our frail elderly, but they make sure these seniors see a friendly face at least once a week. Sometimes the Meals on Wheels People driver is the only person these homebound seniors see all day,” said Robert Bradley, Cherry Blossom Center manager.

Meals-On-Wheels are delivered Monday through Friday between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Volunteers are needed especially on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. Cherry Blossom Center is located 740 S.E. 106th Ave. in Portland. For more info, call Robert at 503-256-2381.

Since 1970 the Meals on Wheels People has provided a nutritional and social lifeline for seniors through 35 meal sites in Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties and Meals on Wheels delivery to homebound seniors. With the help of nearly 10,000 volunteers, the nonprofit organization now serves 5,000 meals daily and 1.2 million meals each year.

Visit to learn more.

Share the music
Maybe you bought yourself a violin thinking you would learn to play, but that goal has gone unrealized. Perhaps you still have the saxophone from marching band, but you no longer do much marching. If either or something similar is the case, the Parkrose Music Boosters will relieve you of any used or under-used musical instruments gathering dust in your home. The Boosters are collecting instruments in playable condition for use by Parkrose students. They can accept instruments needing some repair and will accept cash donations as well.

Music can be the connection that keeps a kid in school or inspires him to do well in the classroom. To support music in Parkrose schools, contact Louis Bybee at 503-936-1369 or

Students need you
The Parkrose Educational Foundation is a small group of dedicated volunteers who raise funds and distribute grant money in support of Parkrose students. The current board is seeking volunteers to fill board vacancies and to lead the organization for years to come.

If you support Parkrose students and teachers and work, live or play in Parkrose or if you are an alumnus who cares about the educational experience of Parkrose kids, you are the perfect candidate.

Download an application at

Trees available
It is tree-planting season again, and Friends of Trees is offering homeowners in many neighborhoods the chance to purchase trees for their parking strips at prices ranging from $35 to $75 depending on tree or location, a fraction of the normal retail cost. You can pick from a selection of trees, but all will be appropriate for the site, calculated not to do root damage or interfere with overhead wires. The price includes city permits and planting by volunteers. In return, the owner must pledge to care for and water the young tree for at least two years.

The following is a list of purchase deadlines and planting dates for mid-county neighborhoods. For Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert, sign up by Dec. 10 for a planting Jan. 12. For Hazelwood and Mill Park, sign up by Dec. 17 for a Jan. 26 planting. For Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner and Wilkes, the signup deadline is Feb. 24 for a March 9 planting.

For more information call 503-282-8846 or contact
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