I grew up in the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood on 40th Avenue. I presently care for my 97-year-old mother, at the same address. When I reflect on changes in the area over the years, one that makes me chuckle is at the north end of our street at Alberta Court.
Presently Joseph Meek School occupies this location, but who remembers what was there previously? Back in the 1950’s this was one of the last remaining large vacant lots as the neighborhood built up. My guess is that construction in the area forced the snake and lizard population to take its last stand on this piece of real estate.
As a ten-year-old, it was not uncommon to find an occasional garter snake or blue tail lizard in the area, but not anything like what was to be found at the north end of 40th! Here, the reptile population was so concentrated that the neighbor kids called it the Snake Pit!
We would, on occasion, go to the snake pit to look under boards and rocks to see what we could turn up. But one summer, someone suggested we kids should make a project out of seeing how many snakes we could catch in one excursion. Our expedition rounded up over 100 specimens! We brought them home in jars and boxes, even treading some into the handlebars of our bikes.
Our new pets were placed in large screen-covered cardboard boxes in my backyard. We kids were quite proud of our accomplishment. But after a few days, it became apparent that feeding them would be next to impossible and we didn’t want 100 dead snakes on our hands. So the decision was reluctantly made to give them their freedom. The neighbors were furious! You would think we had initiated a Biblical plague on our block!
That episode was almost fifty years ago. Since then our wildlife population has dramatically shifted. I haven’t seen a snake on our block in decades, but now we are over-run with squirrels, raccoons, and possums. Maybe an ecologist like Rachel Carson could explain why.
Bart King wears many hats—history teacher in Beaverton by day, Beaumont resident, by night and architectural sleuth in whatever spare time he could find over the past three years. Following a “hot tip” from his wife Lynn, I took the opportunity to talk to Bart about the publication of his first book, “An Architectural Guidebook to Portland”.
Six years ago Bart and Lynn moved to our part of the world from Northern California. Bart started looking in local bookstores for a book that would help acquaint them with the buildings in their newly adopted hometown. He had seen guidebooks for other cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and New York.
When he could not find a good book on Portland’s architecture, he decided to take on the task himself. Bart had done previous freelance writing but had never ventured so far as to write a whole book. After looking at a variety of guidebooks published for other cities, he decided to approach Gibbs Smith, a well know publisher that among other things produces such a series of guidebooks.
Gibbs liked the idea and Bart was off and running… well not quite yet. First he had to buy a fancy digital camera to produce the photos for the book. Then he was off and running—to every building around Portland that perked his interest. He filmed the outsides and insides of the buildings. He solicited advice from a group of architects to help identify the buildings with architectural significance. All told, the project took three years.
While Bart is not an architect by training, he admits to being an “armchair architect”. He just enjoys being able to look at the buildings around Portland, knowing something about the people that designed and built them and the reasons they were built that way. His goal was to write a “friendly book” on Portland; my preview of the book says he achieved that goal.
You can check out Bart’s new book at Powells, Borders or most any other local bookstore. To get a preview, you can also look at the website for the book at http://www.teleport.com/~kilm2/home.html.
Kelly Masterson is on the road to recovery after a near fatal car accident in 1999. Kelly is the daughter of Karen Masterson, co-founder of BWNA and past BWNA president. Kelly used to help her mother distribute BWNA newsletters and helped with the monthly recycling which used to be held at Beaumont School. She attended Alameda Grade School, Beaumont Middle School and graduated from Grant High School in 1991.
The car accident occurred on Christmas day 1999. Kelly suffered a broken neck, broken collarbone, fractured pelvis, ruptured bladder, and traumatic head injury and wasn’t expected to live. Thanks to Doctor Chen at Emanuel Hospital, she received life saving surgery late Christmas night. Kelly is now in a care center recovering from the accident.
Kelly lay in a coma for several months. She is now out of the coma and beginning to re-learn to sit, eat, walk and talk. Her medical bills are enormous, but Kelly is making a remarkable comeback and is determined to make a full recovery. If you would like to donate to Kelly’s recovery fund, you can do so by making a donation at any US Bank in Kelly Masterson’s name.
by Janet Baker
We have a busy agenda for the next Beaumont Wilshire general meeting. The PSU team will present results from the community design workshops held in May and other parts of the planning study they are conducting for Beaumont Wilshire. The PSU project is an important piece to help us shape the future of NE Fremont and our community at large.
Our second speaker will be Jackie Dingfelder who was sworn in April 6th as the new representative for our district (House District 19). She replaces Jo Ann Bowman who resigned from the legislature to run for Multnomah County Commissioner. Jackie is eager to meet with everyone and wants to hear the issues and concerns that are important to each of us in our neighborhood.
The third speaker will be Pastor Marc Estes with the City Bible Church. The church is working together with Beaumont Middle School on a “Beaumont Community Caring Day”. On July 11th volunteers from the church and the Beaumont community will do major work on the middle school. The project will include cleaning, painting, carpet laying, landscaping and other renovation work greatly needed at the school. There will also be family oriented fun events such as a barbecue. Look for updates on our neighborhood web site www.bwna.org
by Mario Caoile & Helen Koba
Bill Markwart started it all in early April, asking, “Is someone going to update the BWNA webpage?” We proposed to create a newsletter site or even a whole new web site for BWNA. The options at Neighborhoodlink were limited.
Janet Baker favored having a different and independent site, one less boring and easier to access. She later provided photos and many useful suggestions.
Rob Vaughn, who owns a web server, came forward at April’s general meeting and offered to host the proposed BWNA web site for free. He suggested that we register “bwna.org” as our domain name.
Chris Hathaway Dzubay pointed out a lack of historical pictures of the BW neighborhood, and recommended we round up some photographic history to post on the new web site. If you have old photos of the neighborhood send them in for scanning—they will be returned.
Current features include: newsletter issues, business & neighbor focus, old & recent photos, etc. Some links are: Beaumont Middle School, PSU Fremont Project, CNN, and the BWNA Email List. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Check it out and send us your comments and suggestions. www.bwna.org
UPDATE: The website URL has changed to bwna.us
Wow—What a Year!
The April general meeting produced several new enthusiastic members to our board. I want to thank those members whose terms have expired and welcome the new board members. I anticipate the continuation of a great neighborhood association and look forward to working with all of you this year.
As I look back over the past year, the effort put forth by the association is evident. Our National Night Out picnic was very well attended and entertaining, we have distributed many tee shirts and postcards, we are cash flow positive, the newsletter has a new improved look, and we have made a great start on development and land use issues that will affect our neighborhood for generations.
In addition, we might just have the best looking website of any neighborhood association anywhere! If you haven’t been there, log on and check it out at www.bwna.org. All of this was made possible by the volunteer effort of our members and concerned neighbors.
But, as good as last year was, we can do even more this year. We are beginning to plan for our biannual tree-planting project to take place early next year. This is a huge undertaking and has been very popular in the past. If you are interested in getting a tree, planting a tree, or just getting dirty, please make sure to volunteer.
In addition to our presence at Fremont Fest and the National Night Out picnic in August, we will be continuing to work on the land use issues and helping to introduce projects to benefit the neighborhood.
If you are new to the area, we have new neighbor packets loaded with
useful information. Finally, we are here to help! Suggestions for improvement
are always welcome and if you have a project that we might be able to
help with, please let us know. I look forward to another great year!
Mark Borgeson and Grant Hutchins, real estate brokers at Beaumont Properties, met in fourth grade at Beaumont Middle School and continued as classmates through graduation from Grant High School.
Now they’re together again, this time buying and selling properties to the tune of about four transactions a month. Although Borgeson and Hutchins primarily trade in Northeast properties, they’ve been known to do business as far afield as Scappoose and Troutdale.
The company also does property management of buildings ranging from duplexes to single-family homes and a historic mansion.
Borgeson started Beaumont Properties out of his home in September 1999 and then moved the business into space adjoining Cellular Express in May last year. “I’ve always liked the small office environment,” he says. “And I missed the old neighborhood.”
Since then, the office has added a third real estate agent, Stacy Perry, and an assistant, Tanya, who helps with the property management business. Having grown up in the neighborhood, Borgeson and Hutchins say their knowledge of the area is a benefit to buyers as are the current low interest rates, they hasten to point out.
Borgeson, who once sold a house in two hours from the time of its listing to the time an offer letter was received, says another plus of the neighborhood is the range of homes available. There’s both the estates on Alameda Ridge and small, more affordable bungalows nearby.
In fact, Borgeson and Hutchins, who have 15 years of experience between them as agents, say they are seeing more multiple offers made on homes, with many selling for above listed price. Borgeson says the average sale price of listed homes in Northeast is $178,900. Buyers are advised to get preapproval for mortgage loans and try to amass a larger down payment.
The company is sponsoring a coed little league team, which plays at Wilshire Park. Baseball fans are encouraged to stop by and, of course, Borgeson and Hutchins are always looking to reunite with other members of the Beaumont School Class of 1974.
Beaumont Properties: 4425 N.E. Fremont St., 503-493-9699, www.beaumontprop.com
by Peggy Concillo
Did you know that Beaumont Middle School operated as a K-8 school until 1980? At that time, many of the district’s schools were reorganized into the present configuration more common today, of K-5 elementary schools and middle schools for grades 6, 7 and 8.
In honor of Beaumont’s 75 years of educating our city’s children, we are having a celebration of the students, the alumni and the neighborhood.
The event is scheduled for early in May of 2002, but we are already beginning the planning. Our first task is to find out where all of Beaumont’s alumni are, so that we can let everyone in on the fun! We will then enter names into our database and send out further information, as it is available.
This will be a time for celebrating our school, reminiscing, seeing old friends and teachers and creating new memories.
Please contact us at: 503-916-3609 voice mail, option #3 or by e-mail: with your name, address, phone number and/or e-mail address.
We ask that you pass this on to anyone you know who has attended or worked at Beaumont over the past 75 years to help us reach as many people as we can.
On July 21st, Mel Barrett, of Barrett Automotive will turn 100 years old. Mr. Barrett began his automotive repair career in 1913, as an apprentice in Springville, Iowa (near Cedar Rapids) at the age of 12. By age 20, he was competent enough to strike out on his own, as a Journeyman Mechanic. And strike out he did! Working his way to the West Coast, to San Francisco and finally landing in Portland, in 1921.
Being too young to be in WWI and too old to be in WWII, he worked at several auto and truck repair shops between 1921 and 1940. He married Mary Jane Masche in 1937 and they had one son Bill.
Several years later, a friend told Mr. Barrett of an auto repair shop on 44th & Fremont that was for sale. Thus, began Barrett Automotive. It was 1944 when Mel and Jane moved to their new home and automotive repair business. Together they opened Barrett’s Auto Service, with Mel the mechanic and Jane the bookkeeper.
Their son, Bill, attended Beaumont Grade School, Benson High School and Portland State University. He and his wife Jere, continue the business today as an AAA approved auto repair shop with four technicians, two of whom are ASE Certified Master Technicians. Mel began a very successful business, which continues with fourth generation customers.
After his retirement in 1971, Mr. Barrett took advantage of spending more time hunting and fishing, a pastime that he really enjoyed. He grew many vegetable gardens and especially liked taking care of the flowerbeds at Bethany Lutheran Church. Mr. Barrett still attends Bethany Lutheran.
Mr. Barrett will celebrate his 100th Birthday on July 21st at Bethany Lutheran. You are invited to join the celebration from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
You are invited to a free outdoor concert on Saturday, July 21, 4–6 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, celebrating the 100th birthday of Mel Barrett and of Bethany. Stop by to enjoy ice cream and hear a variety of uplifting music by Matt Weiers and other guest musicians, along with the Bethany Praise Music Team. Everyone is invited! Bethany, which turns 100 on August 13, is located at NE 37th and Skidmore. For more information, call the church office at 284-3836.
Not to Panic
By Debra Kennedy
Every day we read in the newspaper about the volatile economic situation our country is currently facing. The nightly news carries stories about the latest mergers, bankruptcies, layoffs and the ups and downs of the stock market. There is so much information; it’s often difficult to know what to do.
Willie Nolan, our BWNA President, is a financial advisor at PaineWebber. They have been in business since 1879 and recently became an international company after merging with United Bank of Switzerland. Willie advises clients on investments, pension plans, 401K plans etc.
His best advice is to stay calm, and to continue to contribute as much as you can afford to your investments on a regular basis. Willie says not to panic, and to stay away from mass media advice about the current situation.
Willie suggests the best way to ride out turbulent times is to have a well-balanced portfolio. Review your portfolio regularly and make sure you are well diversified. Working with a reputable company and experienced advisors doesn’t hurt either.
As a professional, Willie suggests you assess your own comfort level of risk, your financial goals, and think long term when making investments. If you would like an experienced point of view for your family’s financial goals, think of PaineWebber and give Willie a call. He can be reached at 503.225.9244
by Debra Kennedy
Every autumn, emergency food providers throughout the Portland Metro area report shortages in their food box inventories. Many people think about donating to agencies during the Christmas season but often don’t think of providing food at other times of the year.
Unfortunately hungry families don’t just have seasonal needs. This fall, many social service agencies around the state anticipate a greater demand for emergency food assistance. The increases in unemployment from layoffs and the expected increase in electricity rates could force many families to choose between heating their homes and buying food. Many households are already spending 70% or more of their monthly income on housing. That leaves few resources for anything else.
BWNA is kicking off our first annual Fall Food Drive during the Fremont Fest Celebration, Saturday August 4th. When you visit the BWNA booth, bring a donation of non-perishable food items to drop in our barrel. We will also have barrels at the Picnic August 7, and continue to collect food until our October general meeting on October 8. All foods collected will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank. They distribute food to agencies all over the state and have done so for more than 20 years.
More details about our food drive will follow in the August issue of our newsletter. If you have questions or want to help, please contact Debra Kennedy at 503-287-8060.
With summer calendars already filling, be sure to mark Saturday, August
4, as the day to take part in Fremont Fest. As usual, organizer Byron
Ady plans a full menu of art, sidewalk sales, kids’ activities, music
and food, starting with the traditional kickoff bicycle parade. He needs
some help, though. In particular, Ady welcomes input and participation
from people and neighborhood groups who would like to organize demonstrations,
as the fencing school did a few years ago. Contact him at 503-253-5031.
Come to the picnic at Wilshire Park, (7 to 9 p.m.) and meet your neighbors!
Each year, hundreds of neighbors and businesses show up, donate time and
food. The picnic coincides with the National Night Out event—an evening
for people to take to parks and public spaces. Roger Meyer, who is again
organizing this event, needs volunteers to assist with:
Over the summer, we need help watering the new trees and bushes the community planted at Beaumont Middle School this spring. If you can help with this, please contact Janet at 288-3441 or
Beaumont Wilshire residents now have an alternative to stapling those
garage sale notices to the telephone poles and setting up sandwich boards
at the street corner. You can advertise your garage sale to the whole
world on the new BWNA web site at www.bwna.org. Just email the information
(dates, time of day, and address for your sale) to .
You can also have a 50-word description of the items you have for sale.
All information must be submitted 10 days before the sale starts.