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To serve the community, the Mid-county Memo offers this section to highlight 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. When you send submissions, please include all details that apply: full names of any individuals mentioned, details of the milestone and everyone affected by the event, and a contact name and phone number or email address. Send a photo if you have one. Please identify each individual from left to right (large group shots can simply be identified by the group name) and provide the name of the photographer so we can give proper credit. Memo Pad submissions for the July issue are due Monday, June 16. For best results, email 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 Mid-county Memo fax number is 503-249-7672.

Math, engineering, science student of the year
Teachers Kerryn Henderson (left) and Damon Jansen (right) nominated Parkrose High student Pedro Juarez as MESA student of the year. He was awarded the honor based on his leadership, creativity, problem solving, and teamwork....
Parkrose High School student Pedro Juarez is the MESA student of the year. Juarez was nominated by his Math, Engineering, Science Achievement teachers at Parkrose: Damon Jensen and Kerryn Henderson.

Juarez was chosen from among students in four districts in the Portland metro area. “Pedro rose to the top. He showed leadership, creativity, problem solving, and teamwork, all critical areas we strive for our students to have when they leave our program,” said MESA Executive Director David Coronado.

Juarez received his award at the annual MESA Day competition at Portland State University last month. MESA Day is a middle and high school engineering and science competition. This year, students competed to design a working prosthetic arm that would display design efficiency and dexterity.

SnowCap looking to cause a row
If you're planting a garden this year, SnowCap Community Charities invites you to plant one more row than you originally planned and donate what sprouts to the hungry of east Multnomah County.

“What you eat is even more important than how much you eat,” said Judy Alley, the agency's executive director. “Teaching children to like vegetables at an early age will guarantee them better health and the rest of us fewer healthcare bills. Sharing your abundant harvest can have a huge impact for the good.”

SnowCap's clients are often working folks who struggle to make ends meet, people who fall through the cracks of our area's social service floor.

Take Loren, a landscaper who battled cancer when he was young and has suffered a variety of health ailments since. He said he usually grows a garden each year to help feed him and his wife, who works at a sporting goods store. “I just needed food,” he said, noting the couple had just paid their rent. He would love to enjoy any onions folks decide to donate.

“I eat 'em raw,” he said with a smile.

A woman named Donna and her four-year-old granddaughter Emma picked up food at SnowCap to feed themselves and two other grandchildren who live in the household. The single woman has a job, she said, but with so many mouths to feed, sometimes her income is not enough. Her eyes teared up a little as she described the challenges she faces.

“I'm trying to catch up with all my bills,” she says. “I paid my rent, my telephone and my car insurance.” Food comes last in her budget, as it does for many SnowCap clients. However, her face brightened when asked if she would appreciate some fresh vegetables from time to time. “Cherry tomatoes,” she said, “I can toss them in anything.”

To drop off donations, visit 17788 S.E. Pine St., one block north of Stark Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 503-674-8785 or visit

Latin students excel on national exam
Fourteen PCHS students sat for the National Latin Exam in March. Ten of them earned commendations. Back row, left to right: Emma Lambert, Marena Helgerson, Alex Xue, Tim Long, David Guild, Dario Zea Front row, left to right: Rachel Humphrey, Kelsey Whalen, Amy Swenson, Marie Kolenski, Morgan Lee, Diana Beke, Anastasiya Korovskaya, Demi Guild, Payton Taylor.
Portland Christian High Latin students took the National Latin Exam this spring. This timed test composed of multiple-choice questions quizzed students on Latin grammar and comprehension, Roman life and history and Latin usage in the modern world.

Freshman Payton Taylor was one point shy of a perfect score. He and two others earned gold medals, five earned silver medals, and two others received certificates of merit. Rachel Humphrey teaches the Latin class at PCHS.

Winter Shelter serves record number
The seasonal Family Winter Shelter at Human Solutions closed its doors April 30, after serving a record number of homeless parents and children since Nov. 1, 2013. A total of 287 families made up of 463 parents and 456 children-919 people in all-had only the Winter Shelter as a place to sleep on some of the coldest and rainiest nights of the year. That is an increase of 350 people over the same six-month period last season. Moreover, while winter may officially be over, family homelessness is still a grim reality for many families in Mid-county and throughout the greater Portland Metropolitan area. The Family Winter Shelter is part of the emergency shelter system being developed by Multnomah County and the city of Portland.

A record number of people were served at Human Solutions' Family Winter Shelter inside Parkrose Community United Church of Christ in Gateway this year.
Memo photo/Tim Curran
“The Winter Shelter may be closed, but the need for services has not gone away,” said Jean DeMaster, Human Solutions' executive director. “There are still a lot of homeless families in our community. They don't stand at freeway entrances or on street corners, but they are here.” Some homeless families double up with family and friends-often in overcrowded or unsafe conditions-while others resort to living in their vehicles, in campgrounds, or in abandoned buildings, DeMaster noted. Parents are trying to cope with the stresses of being homeless and care for their children at the same time. The children are still trying to go to school and keep up with their peers.

The good news is that almost all of the homeless families who stayed at the Winter Shelter this year were able to find permanent housing or received a temporary placement before the shelter closed so that they could continue to seek permanent housing, DeMaster said. She thanked Dennis' 7 Dees Landscaping and Garden Centers for raising funds through a fall golf tournament that supports Human Solutions' Homeless Families Program, which includes the Winter Shelter. Without the support of Dennis' 7 Dees, the Family Winter Shelter would have closed a month earlier than it did, DeMaster said.

The faith community was also essential to the success of the winter effort to keep homeless families safe. Parkrose Community United Church of Christ generously allowed Human Solutions to operate the Winter Shelter at the church for the fifth consecutive year. Highland Christian Center opened its doors to create additional overnight sleeping space, and served as a new day shelter so that families staying at the Winter Shelter had a safe place to go during the day. Peace Church of the Brethren and 30 other local churches form the Daybreak Shelter Network, which Human Solutions operates to provide year-round shelter to 15 people in homeless families.

Throughout the year, homeless families in need of help may call 211. The public has historically been very generous supporting homeless families in shelter, and DeMaster urged people to stay involved even though the Winter Shelter is closed. “Cash donations are always needed to help make the shelter more responsive to the needs of the guests,” she said. “And we have a special need right now for towels for people to use when they take a shower. Imagine taking a shower without a towel. This is one of the problems of being homeless that we can eliminate.”

For more information or to donate to Human Solutions' Daybreak Shelter, visit or call Jean DeMaster at 503-548-0288.

Royals moving on to higher ed
Saturday, June 7 is graduation night for Portland Christian High. Sixty-two Royals will accept diplomas and move on to nearly 50 different colleges and universities in the fall. Thirteen will take on the dual role of student athlete. Congratulations to the class of 2014.

Daybreak Shelter gets kitchen makeover
Human Solutions is the winner of a complete makeover of the kitchen at its emergency Daybreak Shelter, courtesy of IKEA. Staff from the Portland IKEA store selected Human Solutions and two other local nonprofits to participate in the national IKEA Life Improvement Challenge, and Human Solutions emerged as the winner during online voting that took place in March. The contest provides both products and design services to remodel space at local nonprofits to improve the lives of the people served. Human Solutions works to alleviate homelessness and poverty in outer East Portland and East Multnomah County.

“A much-needed kitchen remodel at our Daybreak Shelter will help contribute to a cheerful, comfortable environment for homeless families to stay in until we can help them find permanent affordable housing, and will make it convenient for families to prepare healthy meals and eat together during a very challenging time,” said Jean DeMaster, executive director at Human Solutions.

The Daybreak Shelter operates out of Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, which has been in that location since 1956. The outdated kitchen-that is in almost constant use-lacks storage and counters space and is not configured for multi-family living. A community dining area is needed as well. As the kitchen also doubles as the laundry area, a remodel will make it possible to separate the two spaces and designate space for recycling.

“We believe in creating a better life for people, and by making this contribution, IKEA Portland and our co-workers are able to support Human Solutions and its mission to get local families into permanent homes in our community,” said Alessandra Zini, IKEA Portland Store Manager. “The kitchen is the heart of the home, so we weren't surprised that so many people responded in such a strong way by voting for this worthy project.”

Grant moves PLHS closer to STEM goal
Portland Lutheran High School science teacher Kieffer Tarbell- pictured with wife Mary at the Portland Lutheran Schools Blessed to Bid Dinner Auction-earns grant to help PLHS enhance its engineering program.
Kieffer Tarbell, science teacher at Portland Lutheran High School, 740 S.E. 182nd Ave., is the recipient of a $7000 2014 M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust grant through the Partners in Science Supplemental Award Program. The funds are intended to enable science teachers to strengthen laboratory instruction with a greater degree of student inquiry and hands-on science for their students. The award also includes funds to attend two national Partners in Science conferences, where teachers share these implementation ideas with peers, and listen to and discuss current research being conducted across the country. Tarbell was a recipient of a prior grant, which funded his research over the past two summers, guided by mentors at Oregon Health and Science University.

Portland Lutheran plans to use the money to help strengthen its Project Lead the Way program, adding a class that can potentially give students college credit. As the school moves toward becoming a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) school, enhancing its engineering program is critical.

Portland Lutheran School is an independent pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school grounded in the academic tradition of Lutheran education. Find more information at
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