To Beaumont-Wilshire residents it’s a quaint shopping street, to commuters it’s a thoroughfare, but the first Saturday in August, count on Fremont Street to turn into a friendly neighborhood scene.
Turning 16 on August 4 this year, Fremont Fest consistently draws hundreds of people for sidewalk sales and smorgasbords, entertainment, a display of local artisans’ work, and activities for the whole family.
According to co-organizer Byron Ady, the horses and their carriage will be back again to carry people along Fremont. DJs have also been recruited to play popular ’50s tunes and rock ‘n’ roll at either end of the festivities, at about 42nd and 48th avenues.
The Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association will have a table at its usual spot, at the northeastern corner of Beaumont Market. This year, board members and volunteers will collect nonperishable food to bolster the inventory of the Oregon Food Bank.
Fall is an especially lean time for many low-income people and social service agencies. The Oregon Food Bank provided emergency food boxes to 515,000 people last year (that’s one in seven people in Oregon and Clark County, Washington), a 30 percent increase over 1996.
In addition, the BWNA will have information available on the neighborhood’s upcoming tree planting. The last planting (1999-2000) put 150 trees in the ground, and the one before that (1997-1998) put in 105. We could shoot for 200 this year and ensure an even leafier future.
As usual, we’ll also have BWNA T-shirts and limited-edition postcards for sale, with proceeds going toward neighborhood projects.
When you come out for fun on Fremont this year, then, don’t forget to bring a few cans of food when you stop by the BWNA table to see what’s shaking in the neighborhood.
First of all, I would like to express my thanks to the PSU students who have provided us with a great start on a comprehensive neighborhood plan. For those interested, the project is available online at our website. If you would like a copy of the project but do not have online access, I have a limited supply of copies available, which I will be glad to distribute. The project is the result of significant interest in development along Fremont and elsewhere and will serve as a starting point from which we will develop a comprehensive plan for the future look and feel of the neighborhood.
The concern of neighborhood livability was very evident at the latest general meeting. At issue was a request that the neighborhood association take ownership of an appeal to a land use issue. The result was a great learning opportunity for all of us, especially me. What I learned was that bylaws are put in place because of previous experience and that to follow the bylaws is generally in the best interest of all. It was ultimately decided that to take ownership of an appeal without either authoring or adequately reviewing the appeal would be irresponsible of the board. Although this decision was not popular, we do feel that it was the most appropriate course of action for BWNA.
During the course of the meeting, I reflected on the unusually high turnout and wondered out loud where everyone was during the periods when his or her own corner of the world wasn’t directly affected. This prompted some good discussion and I think I was able to get my point across. Just like maintaining a lawn, the neighborhood association requires constant attention to remain a viable and available voice when situations such as the appeal request warrant. You wouldn’t mow and water the lawn only on the Friday before an annual barbeque and expect a lush carpet on Saturday. It is not enough that we participate only when directly affected. For there to be a neighborhood association, we must be willing to sacrifice a little time and effort on a continual basis. And, a great place to start contributing is at our National Night Out picnic on August 7th. We expect an even larger turnout than the 300+ last year.
We’ll see you there!
When our newsletter editor was passing out the writing assignments for this issue, I grabbed at the chance to write about Bravo. After all it would be an easy assignment since I eat Sunday breakfast there at least twice a month. I’ve found that a weekend breakfast from Bravo can pretty much hold me through a hard day of gardening or other weekend activity. And now that I work out of my house, I find myself wandering over there many days for lunch as well.
Lenore LaTour opened Bravo for business thirteen years ago after running an expresso and gelato business in Yamhill Market. Lenore, and Lisa who has been the manager for over six years, serve hearty omelets, eggs Benedict, scrambles, waffles, and other breakfast fare seven days a week.
The lunch menu includes soup and sandwiches, some huge salads, and a variety of homestyle hot dishes like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese. For dessert there are usually several cakes, bread pudding, and sometimes if you are lucky—baked custard. They also serve gelato. They made their own gelato until they found it simply took up too much space. Now Lenore imports it from Italy. She says, “The sorbet is even better than the kind she made.”
It really is impossible to go to Bravo and not see at least someone you know—a neighbor, the mailman, Beaumont teachers, etc. It is, as owner Lenore LaTour describes it, “a friendly hole in the wall”. If you have never rolled out of bed on the weekend and gone to Bravo, give it a try. Lenore says, “You can even come in your pajamas.”
Lenore also provides gallery space for neighborhood artists, including photographers, and is always looking for new talent. Right now, she is displaying Rochelle Richards’ oil paintings of larger than life dogs. In fact a pair of doe-eyed Dalmatians looked down at me as I took notes for this article.
Bravo is for open for business from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7:00 am to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. In addition to the café, they also do catering for weddings, meetings, open houses and other events.
(UPDATE: Bravo closed and Cool Runnings Cafe moved in.)
BWNA invites all residents and friends to the annual National Night Out Picnic. Bring a potluck dish to share. Local businesses have donated hot dogs, hamburgers, gardendburgers, and trimmings; these will be prepared, cooked up and served to you and your family by board members and volunteers.
Be sure to sign up for drawings for the door prizes that have been donated by local businesses. Don’t miss this annual neighborhood gathering. See you August 7 at Wilshire Park!
It’s a blazing hot, dry Sunday and the neighborhood is quiet, with most residents inside, staying cool and resting out the heat. But not Elaine Falbo, proprietor of Bella Flora. She’s pacing the length of her studio, which is artfully cluttered with botanical craft in various stages of completion, looking for a piece of mislaid basket material.
The work of the self-described “basket weaver, floral designer ... artist” covers a huge range, from typical florist’s jobs for weddings, parties, and funerals to the sculpturelike creations on display at her studio. There’s the diminutive “fairy furniture,” twisted out of elegant pieces of twig and decorated with wispy pieces of lichen and perfect rosebuds; rose hair garlands that are thick ropes of flowers ending in a vermilion ribbon; and baskets made of sinewy dried seaweed.
”It’s a little of everything,” she says, now working over the piece of fresh green branch that she has finally rediscovered. With a knife, she deftly slices into its middle to insert other branches, thereby forming a base for a basket. She’s scrambling to finish wares to take to the Oregon Country Fair, at least 150 garlands and 20 baskets.
Falbo got to know plants studying horticulture at Mount Hood Community College, working as a landscape designer, and then establishing a shop on Hawthorne called Wildflowers with herbalist Cascade Anderson-Geller. They sold the shop in 1995; a year later Falbo opened Bella Flora on Fremont Street.
The window displays rotate with the seasons, with riotous orchids in springtime, delicate orange Chinese lanterns in the fall, and wreaths come December (also a time for Falbo’s annual open house—look for a notice in the window). When Falbo recently moved out of her home of 19 years, she moved her well-established plants to Bella Flora’s generous back-garden space, even though she still goes into the wild to collect most of her materials and inspiration.
Falbo began experimenting with basket weaving 23 years ago, piqued by an article in Sunset magazine, and then spent the next 20 years attending workshops taught by German, Swiss, and Native American artisans. “I’m known for my pussy willow baskets,” she says, adding that it is her favorite material. One basket currently in her studio is a few feet high and carpeted with fuzzy nubbins. It looks practically huggable. In addition to creating tactile objects out of natural plants, Falbo teaches workshops on making fairy furniture, organizes “fairy birthday parties” for kids, and plans to teach a daylong basket weaving class in October (again, watch for a notice in the window).
In the meantime, visitors are welcome to see how plants can become fantastic artwork at Falbo’s studio, 4439 N.E. Fremont St. Hours are typically 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but may vary. Phone number is 503-493-2330.
This year, Bethany Lutheran Church and two church members, Mel Barrett and Ethelyn Koch, celebrate their 100th birthdays. Bethany is the oldest existing church in Portland with Danish roots, organized with 51 charter members on August 13, 1901 as Bethany Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. All services were in Danish language until 1930 when English language was substituted.
The first new church building (1903-1947) was on Union and Morris. By 1945, the church had outgrown its first home and construction of the current church building began on a large “brush and tree covered lot in a desirable neighborhood [Beaumont-Wilshire!]”. Some residents remember the construction, and many neighbors remember or know pastors who have served since the building was dedicated on August 1, 1948: C. Scriver Kloth (‘48-’70), Walton Berton (‘71-’74), Norman Dahle (‘74-93), and Joel Schmitz (‘94-present).
The neighborhood and the church have both changed a lot in 100 years. Today’s church welcomes people of every background and now offers both traditional and contemporary services.
Bethany invites you to a special 100th year celebration on August 12, 2001 at 10:00 a.m. Special guests include former Bethany pastors and interns and other out-of-town visitors. Pastor Norman Dahle will deliver a special message. For more information, call the church office at 503-284-3836.
This church’s architectural style is usually described as “20th Century Georgian” primarily because of its brick veneer. “Georgian” architecture is a general term describing English architecture from about 1700 to 1830. It is usually very symmetrical and somewhat stiff, often used for university buildings and other institutional structures. However, a look at the Bethany Lutheran Church’s modest wood-louvered steeple and multi-gabled roof also brings to mind the Northwest Regional style that Portland became famous for through the designs of local architects like John Yeon, Pietro Belluschi, and John Storrs.
The Northwest Regional style focused on an open-minded attitude to design, a use of local materials, and an attempt to mate the building with both the client¹s wishes and the surrounding environment. Northwest Regional buildings tend to focus on lumber and light. The roof overhang tends to be minimal, and there is a homage paid to native shapes like barns, combined with the influence of Japanese wooden architecture. Some of these elements are apparent in this church. The Bethany Lutheran Church’s fiberglass roof shingles, brick veneer, and aluminum cross were added in 1960.
The Bethany Lutheran congregation previously had a church at Union and Morris streets. Their mission statement: “To serve the community’s spiritual and social needs both financially and emotionally.”
(Bart King is a Beaumont Wilshire resident and author of "An Architectural Guide to Portland.")
Invest in the future with trees
You will be expected to pay for your tree (rates range from $60 to $85) and help with the planting in whatever capacity you are able. Planting will occur on March 16, 2002, but we need to know who is interested now. Friends of Trees is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring Portland’s urban forest. They work on neighborhood plantings, school plantings, and natural area plantings such as in regional parks.
If you are interested in getting a tree, or if you would like to donate your time and/or money to make this a successful Neighborhood Planting, please return the TREE PLANTING SIGN UP form. We need this information by September 15, so we can forward a list of addresses to the City Forester. Don’t send money for trees now—ordering will take place in the Fall.
TO SIGN UP CLICK HERE.
QUESTIONS? Please call or e-mail Heidi Blischke at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard day at work today. Sched ules, deadlines, demands, difficult people. T.G.I.F.! Now that it’s 5PM Friday, I can do what I want to do! Looking forward to dinner out, a top-rated comedy at the Cinema, a cold beer while watching the late show. And a whole weekend to loaf and dream and grow a great soul!
But what is this? A pesky little voice inside takes advantage of a quiet moment and inquires, “George, isn’t that what you did last weekend, and the one before that? Yes, you deserve to relax, but isn’t there more? What do you want your family to associate with your memory—an ‘expert’ at the office? And isn’t an ‘ex’ a has-been, and a ‘spurt’ a drip under pressure?”
“Why not break routine and use your weekends to leave some concrete evidence that you actually existed? Like your neighbor, who does beautiful woodworking? Or your old Sunday school teacher who compiled a book of her husband’s political satire after his death?”
“You got a kick out of the book of clever poetry your aunt composed while doing housework. And what a great Christmas gift it was to receive a family history from your cousin, complete with cherished photos and favorite family recipes?”
But that stuff isn’t me!
Well, maybe my exceptional skill in editing videos? What a kick it would be to organize the choice moments I’ve captured and make copies to share with the whole family!
Hey! Here is a feeling that is better than T.G.I.F. Here is the thought that when all is said and done, I will be remembered as George Jones, who left a colorful legacy, instead of George Jones, a drip under pressure!
(John Carson is a semi-retired gardener who has lived in the BW neighborhood all his life (since he was one!) He enjoys writing and has had some pieces published in the ‘East Bank Focus’ and other places.)