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Memo Pad...

To fully serve the community, the Mid-county Memo offers this section to showcase 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 impacted 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 December issue are due Friday, Nov. 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.

Jogathon raises money for tuitions, maintenance
St. Therese fourth-graders Drew Unis, left, Jorge Uribe-Jauregui and Aleena Barnett ran laps to raise money for their school at the annual Jogathon.
You may have spotted the St. Therese School student body circling the field at Northeast Halsey Street and 132nd Avenue on a sunny Friday last month. The kids, dressed in black and green t-shirts, were participating in the annual St. Therese Jogathon. Each year, all pre-school through eighth-grade students and their teachers run laps to raise money for the school.

Money raised goes to the school's Parent Club to help keep tuition costs down and for building maintenance expenses. Longtime parent volunteer Steve Jones played DJ and kept all the kids motivated and moving for 45 minutes. Prizes for most laps, largest class participation and most money donated were awarded. Parents Kate Hadley and Nicole Springer organized this year's Jogathon.

Astrophysicist named Teen of the Month
The first Gateway Elks Teenager of the Month for this school year is Denis Russu, a David Douglas High School senior. Despite a rigorous schedule that includes Advanced Placement classes, rocket club, volunteer work at OMSI, and playing clarinet in his church orchestra, Russu maintains a 4.0 GPA.

He participated in a summer science program that included theoretical physics and astrophysics, and observed and created prediction programs, which calculate future positions of asteroids. He was also part of a Portland State University independent study program in which he studied cold nuclear fusion. Russu enjoys hiking, reading, stargazing and astronomy. He hopes to attend Stanford University or Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania to study physics, astronomy or new energy.

Gateway Elks Lodge honors a local teen each month during the school year. Learn more about the Elks and the Teenager of the Month program at or call 503-255-6535.

Dembrow seeks State Senate seat
Democratic State Representative Michael Dembrow, who represents House District 45 in Northeast Portland, wants to succeed Jackie Dingfelder, who resigned her Senate seat to take a senior staff position in Mayor Charlie Hales' office.
Mid-county Memo photo/Tim Curran
Democratic State Representative Michael Dembrow, who represents House District 45 in Northeast Portland, announced he is seeking the appointment to fill the State Senate seat vacated by Jackie Dingfelder, who announced last month that she is leaving the Senate to take a senior staff position in Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' office.

“Jackie has served this district extremely well for the last 12 years,” Dembrow said in a news release. “She has led the effort to keep Oregon's environment safe for our children and grandchildren. I intend to do all I can to continue her work, while bringing to the Senate my own strong background in education, human services, and workforce development.” He added, “I know how to get important legislation passed and have worked closely with senators of both parties. I will be an advocate and a progressive voice for the residents of Senate District 23.”

Dembrow was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2008. He currently serves as the chair of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, and sits on the Rules Committee and the Energy and Environment Committee. He is the House assistant majority leader for policy.

During the 2013 session, Dembrow played a critical role in the House passing tuition equity legislation and designing a reorganization of Oregon's public higher education system. He also led the charge on Pay It Forward, an alternative to dealing with the student debt crisis.

Dembrow continues to teach part-time at Portland Community College's Cascade Campus, where he has taught writing and film studies for 32 years and previously served as the president of the faculty and academic professional union. He lives in Northeast Portland with his wife, Kiki, and their two whippets.

So far, only one person, Calvin Walsh, has officially approached Dembrow about filling his current seat, should he ascend to the upper chamber of the legislature. However, sources tell the Memo that former Parkrose board of education member James Woods, an assistant professor of economics at Portland State University, has expressed interest in the seat.

FoT kicks off planting season
All that good, squishy soil means its tree-planting time, and Friends of Trees is ready to hit the ground in area neighborhoods this fall and winter. Homeowners in the Argay, Centennial, Glenfair, Hazelwood, Madison South, Mill Park, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner and Wilkes neighborhoods should sign up now to get trees for their street or yard in order to meet deadlines leading up to their neighborhood planting day.

To sign up for trees, residents can visit

“With us, you don't just get a tree,” said Whitney Dorer, Neighborhood Trees Manager with Friends of Trees. “You get delivery, hole-digging, staking and follow-up visits to keep it healthy.” Each planting starts with breakfast and ends with a potluck. “Plantings are like a party with your neighbors. It's all about good food, good people and being able to say 'I planted that.' ”

For those who have seen the Friends of Trees tags on street trees but do not know how to get involved, here are some common questions:

How much do trees cost?
$35-75. This includes delivery, planting by volunteers, mulch, stakes and follow-up maintenance (a $200 value).

What if I can't afford a tree?
Call 503-595-0212 and ask about scholarships. If you'd like to donate a scholarship, visit

What kinds of trees are available?
You can browse a wide selection at Factors like the size of your sidewalk-planting strip determine the list of trees you can plant.

To get started, visit or call to sign up and shop for trees.

Can I help plant in my neighborhood?
Yes-it is highly encouraged. Visit or call 503-595-0213 to help dig, drive, cook or coordinate just about any weekend this fall and winter.

To view planting dates and deadlines for each neighborhood, visit

Why plant trees?
Trees beautify neighborhoods, soak up stormwater, lower energy costs and increase home values. Each dollar spent planting trees becomes $3 or more in benefits to the community.

STEM classes receive boost from Daimler
David O'Neill and Christy Sepich (a 1989 PHS grad) of Daimler Trucks North America congratulate Parkrose High principal Jared Freeman for Parkrose's selection as one of the first schools in the area to benefit from the Daimler Education in Motion campaign.
Daimler Trucks North America launched its Daimler Education in Motion campaign in September with a donation of $7,000 each to David Douglas, Madison, Parkrose and Reynolds high schools. The campaign supports education in science, technology, engineering, and math.

As a company with a reputation for technological innovation in engineering, safety, and sustainability, DTNA designed its Daimler Education in Motion campaign to support educational initiatives focused on manufacturing career path development. Like many manufacturers in the United States, DTNA recognizes the need for a stronger talent pool from which to build its future workforce as the current generation prepares to retire in coming years.

Earl Boyles boasts distinguished principal
Ericka Guynes is among 61 best elementary and middle school principals in the nation.
Ericka B. Guynes is among 61 outstanding elementary and middle school principals from across the nation and abroad who have been named as 2013 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Guynes is principal of Earl Boyles Elementary School in the David Douglas School District. The NDPs were honored Oct. 25 at an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The distinguished principals are selected by NAESP state affiliates, including the District of Columbia, and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly commended the honorees for being exemplars of successful school leadership. “Only a principal can move a school from good to great, simultaneously championing children and uplifting the communities they serve,” she said. “We congratulate this class of NDPs for their steadfast dedication to educating our nation's children to their fullest potential.”

David Douglas superintendent leads the way
Don Grotting, David Douglas School District superintendent was recently named 2014 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives.
Named by the Oregon Association of School Executives, which represents all Oregon superintendents, and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting is the 2014 Oregon Superintendent of the Year.

Grotting, who has served David Douglas as superintendent since 2010, was nominated by his administrative team. The elected leaders of OASE selected him from among more than half a dozen worthy nominees.

“Don's leadership, transparent communication, passion for student outcomes and relationship building are a revelation for the David Douglas community. His determination that all students, regardless of ethnicity or poverty, can and will succeed has transformed not only our practices but our culture,” the David Douglas leadership team wrote in their nomination letter.

David Douglas is a diverse school district. More than 70 languages are spoken by students as their first language; a majority of students are either an ethnic minority or first spoke a language other than English; and more than 80 percent of students quality for free or reduced-price meals. “For Don,” wrote the David Douglas leadership team, “these all represent opportunities, not obstacles.”

Grotting is recognized by other leaders statewide for his passion for preventing the achievement gap and for being on the cutting edge of incorporating early childhood programs into the district's K-12 structure. David Douglas's Earl Boyles Early Learning Project is a state model for delivering free pre-kindergarten education within an elementary school. Superintendents from throughout the state have visited Grotting and David Douglas to learn more about the district's success in connecting early childhood to K-12.

Grotting's leadership has resulted in changing the district's model for English-learner delivery from a pull-out program to one that serves all K-5 students as part of their regular classroom lessons, which also serves to enhance the language skills of many English-speaking students. During Grotting's tenure, student achievement results in David Douglas have continued to improve.

Grotting will be honored at the annual Oregon School Boards Association Convention Nov. 16; at the Oregon Superintendents and Central Office Administrators Annual Conference at Salishan in January; at the 2014 AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn. in February; and at the annual COSA Conference in Seaside in June.

Lee Perlman receives posthumous award
Former Mid-county Memo reporter Lee Perlman is receiving the first posthumous Spirit of Portland Award next month. Perlman and 20 other groups and individuals are honored Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the East Portland Community Center, 740 S.E. 106th Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m., for their community work.

Hazelwood Neighborhood Association members Dave Hampsten and Linda Robinson are also receiving SOP awards for their work with the HNA and Friends of Gateway Green, respectively.

SOP winners are chosen from nominations submitted by individual citizens, a selection committee comprised of representatives from the city commissioners' offices, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Neighborhood Associations and other diverse community organizations. The Mayor and commissioners also select special award winners to recognize specific works and achievements.

Originally nominated four years ago when the offices of the Mid-county Memo started a campaign to recognize him for decades of work-unbeknownst to him-Perlman received more nominations than anyone in the history of the awards. However, when notified of the honor, he declined it. This year, all seven of Portland's neighborhood coalitions nominated him.

In an email, Brian Hoop, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's Community and Neighborhood Involvement Center manager said, “Before we even began receiving phone calls from neighborhood leaders and the seven or so nominations for Lee, we were already thinking he was in a special class and needed to be recognized for his contributions to the history of neighborhood involvement in Portland.”

In a statement, Mayor Charlie Hales said “'Good Citizens are the Riches of a City,' is inscribed on downtown's Skidmore Fountain. I think that is also the message behind the Spirit of Portland Awards. For truly, where would we be without those citizens who step up, volunteer, lead, and find solutions to problems in their community?"
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