Gresham In The News

  • OregonLive - News

  • Tuesday evening Portland-area commute: Crash on I-5 north near I-405 junction

    The latest Portland traffic updates for Tuesday night.


    PORTLAND, 5:41 p.m.: Interstate 5 north near Fremont Bridge

    The left northbound lane of Interstate 5 north is blocked by a crash at the I-405 junction. Traffic jammed back past Marquam Bridge. CLEARED.


    PORTLAND, 5:08 p.m.: Highway 26 east at Vista Ridge Tunnel

    The right eastbound lane is blocked by a crash at the Vista Ridge Tunnel. Interstate 405 jammed in both directions tying to enter tunnel. CLEARED.


    The Interstate 5 north on-ramp from Killingsworth is blocked by a crash. 

    UPDATE, 4:30 p.m: Sounds like the ramp is still blocked. Use Rosa Parks ramp instead.

    UPDATE, 4:55 p.m.: The crash is CLEARED

    It is another hot day, so some MAX slowdowns are expected to delay trains up to 15 minutes until it cools down.

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Teacher of the Year responds to $140,000 settlement with MESD

    Brett Bigham had filed multiple complaints against the Multnomah Education Service District in recent months. The district settled with Bigham on June 26.

    Legal representation for Brett Bigham, a former Multnomah Education Service District educator and 2014 Teacher of the Year, has released a statement on Bigham's behalf in response to his recent settlement with the district. 

    Matthew C. Ellis, a Portland-based lawyer representing Bigham, sent out the news release Tuesday afternoon. MESD's board voted to settle with Bigham for $140,000 on June 26. 

    The full statement is available here.

    Bigham was the first openly gay educator to be named Teacher of the Year and used the position as a platform to raise awareness of gay rights. In recent months Bigham, who taught special education at MESD, had filed multiple complaints against the district alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation.

    This spring Bigham was placed on leave, fired, reinstated and then resigned this month as part of the settlement. 

    "Despite MESD's  efforts to  restrict his speech and disparage Mr.  Bigham, he will continue  to advocate for students with special  needs, bring awareness to the critical national issue of suicide rates of LGBT  youth," the statement reads. "While  we are  confident Mr.  Bigham would have  prevailed on another challenge had the MESD  fired him again, he chose  to resign as part  of the settlement instead of  continuing to fight for his job with an  employer who so  clearly didn't  want him."

    MESD's board also put out a statement last week after approving the settlement. The district's chair and vice chair wrote that the district "abhor(s) discrimination" and approved the settlement to resolve the dispute. The district had cited concerns with Bigham's absences from the classroom due to Teacher of the Year responsibilities. 

    The board also felt it would have prevailed if litigation continued, according to the statement. 

    "We could continue this course and enter into an ultimately successful yet protracted and arduous litigation process," the board's statement reads. "Our mission, however, is not to win lawsuits."

    The district's statement is available online.

    --Laura Frazier

  • MESD parts with former superintendent with $167,000 severance agreement

    The Multnomah Education Service District approved a severance agreement with former Superintendent Barbara Jorgensen on June 26. The payment is equal to a year's salary and accrued vacation time.

    The Multnomah Education Service District will pay former Superintendent Barbara Jorgensen $166,612 per an agreement approved by the board June 26.

    The severance agreement outlines a payment of $149,262, or a year's salary, and an additional $17,350 for vacation time.

    The district separated with Jorgensen in March after superintendents that receive services from MESD shared concerns about her job performance. MESD provides special education, alternative education and other services to schools in the RiverdalePortland PublicReynoldsDavid DouglasCentennialGresham-BarlowParkrose and Corbett districts. 

    Jorgensen officially resigned June 17 in accordance with the agreement.

    The board approved the agreement unanimously with six votes in favor, according to Board Vice Chair Nels Johnson. Director Erica Thatcher recently moved out of the district and resigned her position, leaving an open spot on the seven-member board.

    The salary compensation figure outlined in the agreement is equal to the minimum salary Jorgensen would have been paid for the 2015-2016 school year, according to her contract. The district is required to pay a year's salary for ending her contract, either mutually or unilaterally, according to a clause in the document.

    The board felt that approving the severance agreement and payment amount was in the "best interests" of the district and students it serves, Johnson said.

    "This way, all parties can move on," he said.

    The agreement also includes a mandatory payment covering 24 days of vacation that Jorgensen accumulated before resigning.

    Jorgensen's contract was from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017. Her salary was $147,420 for last school year, the minimum required by her contract.

    Chief Operating Officer and Technology Director Jim Rose has served as interim superintendent since Jorgensen's departure. The district launched a search for a new leader and selected two finalists, but then postponed the process so incoming board members could be involved. Three new board members will take their seats on Wednesday.

    The board intends to re-start the search process within the next six to nine months, Johnson said.

    The MESD board also unanimously approved a settlement with fired Teacher of the Year Brett Bigham on Friday. The district settled with Bigham, who had filed multiple complaints against the district in recent months, for $140,000. 

    Johnson said the board wanted to address those issues before new members started their terms. He said the board plans to focus on building relationships with district employees and component districts and creating stability for MESD. 

    "It was really important for us to especially clear up as many of these outstanding problems that we could," he said. 

    --Laura Frazier

  • Frontier suffers big cable TV outage

    Service has been out since midmorning Tuesday, although local channels are coming in fine.

    Update: Frontier says it restored service at 3:40 p.m.

    Frontier Communications' cable TV service is out in Oregon and Washington  due to a severed communications cable.

    Frontier offers cable TV service in Washington County and east Multnomah County, and in several Seattle suburbs. It acquired those territories when it bought the regional operations of Verizon Communications in 2010.

    National cable networks have been out since midmorning Tuesday, although local channels are coming in fine.

    This issue appears to be with Level 3 Communications, which provides long-haul fiber-optic service to other telecom companies.

    "The Level 3 network is currently experiencing a service disruption due to a fiber cut in the Portland, Oregon, area," Level 3 said in a written statement. "Ensuring the stability of our network and communications services is our primary concern, and we are dedicated to minimizing customer impact during an outage. Our technicians are working to restore services."

    Frontier did not yet have an estimate on when it will restore service. Level 3 did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

    "National channels are affected while most local channels are working and available. Frontier technicians are onsite and working with our carrier partners to restore service as quickly as possible," said Cameron Christian, vice president of marketing for Frontier's western region. "We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

    The company's local franchise agreement requires it to provide credits to customers' bills after a four-hour outage if customers request it, according to Fred Christ of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, which regulates cable TV service in Washington County. He said a 24-hour outage triggers automatic credits.

    Update: This article has been updated with comment from Level 3.

    -- Mike Rogoway

  • Man accused of punching woman while driving through Gresham

    Lt. Claudio Grandjean, a Gresham Police Department spokesman, says several people called 911 at 6:20 p.m. Monday to report a man who was driving and punching a woman sitting in the car's front passenger seat.

    1343036.jpegGeorge Washington Hayes, 38. 

    A 38-year-old man who Gresham police said was seen punching a woman while driving erratically will be arraigned Tuesday on numerous accusations, including strangulation and kidnapping.

    Lt. Claudio Grandjean, a Gresham Police Department spokesman, said several people called 911 at 6:20 p.m. Monday to report a man who was driving and punching a woman sitting in the car's front passenger seat. The alleged assault was reported near Southeast Hogan Road and Ninth Street.

    A Multnomah County sheriff's deputy on a traffic stop at Southeast 267th Avenue and the Mount Hood Highway spotted the car and followed it to Southeast 282nd Avenue.

    At the intersection with Southeast Stone Road, Grandjean said, the deputy saw the driver punching the woman repeatedly while driving erratically. The woman then attempted to jump from the car, which was traveling at about 35 mph.

    "It just shows how badly she wanted out of that car,'' Grandjean said.

    The car continued on for about a mile before the driver, identified as George Washington Hayes of Boring, pulled over at Southeast Haley Road and was taken into custody by the deputy and Gresham officers.

    Grandjean said the woman jumped from the car and ran into a field when police stopped the car. She was not seriously injured. An 11-year-old in the backseat was unhurt.

     The alleged victim told police that she and Hayes had gotten into an argument about his desire to buy drugs and about a broken car, according to a probable cause affidavit. She suffered bruises to her face, and was seen with black eyes and a black-and-blue nose, the affidavit said. She said Hayes had punched her numerous times and tried to choke her by wrapping his forearm around his neck.

    Hayes was booked into the Justice Center Jail in Portland on accusations of second-degree kidnapping, fourth-degree assault, three counts of strangulation, carrying a concealed weapon, coercion, two counts of reckless endangering and reckless driving. Bail was set at $299,000.

    Court records show that Hayes was convicted of harassment and second-degree disorderly conduct in September 2014; fraudulent use of a credit card in October 2014; and second-degree criminal trespass in December 2014.

    According to court records, he also has convictions for drug possession and assault with a deadly weapon.

    -- Stuart Tomlinson

  • Man held in pellet-gun robbery at Dotty's Deli in Gresham

    Thomas Aaron Mortenson is booked into the Multnomah County Jail on robbery and other charges, police say.

    A man armed with a pellet gun was arrested within hours of an early-morning robbery at Dotty's Deli in Gresham, police said Tuesday.

    Thomas MortensonThomas Aaron Mortenson 

    Gresham police were dispatched at 1:31 a.m. after a man walked into the Dotty's  at 2420 S.E. Burnside, displayed a weapon and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    An officer spotted the suspect within minutes and soon a perimeter was set up.

    A police dog found the suspect, identified as Thomas Aaron Mortenson, and officers recovered the pellet gun.

    Mortenson was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on robbery and other charges, police said.

    -- Robbie Olivas DiMesio
    Follow @robbiedime

  • Monday evening Portland-area commute: NE Portland Highway remains close after earlier crash

    Also of note: TriMet warns of 15 minute delays on all MAX lines.


    PORTLAND, 6:50 p.m.: Interstate 205 south near Interstate 84

    The right southbound lane of I-205 is blocked just south of the I-84 junction. Not a huge backup there.


    TriMet announces 15 minute delays of the MAX Red Line due switch issues at the Gateway Transit Center.

    UPDATE, 5:38 p.m.:


    PORTLAND, 4:53 p.m.: NE Portland Highway

    Traffic is blocked in both directions near 60th Ave. due to a crash. Take Columbia Blvd. instead.

    UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.: The highway will remained closed for several more hours.


    PORTLAND, 4:50 p.m.: Highway 99E

    Southbound traffic slow on Highway 99E in Milwaukie near Harrison St. Slow back to about Tacoma St.


    TriMet warns of 15 minute delays on the WES Commuter Rail through the remainder of the evening due to signal issues.

    A Stall on Interstate 84 east near 33rd Ave was just cleared. Traffic backed up to Interstate 5 and more.

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Troutdale police transfer employment with Multnomah County Wednesday

    City councilors in March and county commissioners in April signed off on a 10-year deal for the sheriff's office to provide law enforcement services in Troutdale. As part of the deal, all existing officers will transfer to the county, and many will receive pay increases to match the wages of their county counterparts. Watch video

    The entire Troutdale police force begins its new employment with Multnomah County on Wednesday.

    City councilors in March and county commissioners in April signed off on a 10-year deal for the sheriff's office to provide law enforcement services in Troutdale. As part of the deal, all existing officers will transfer to the county, and many will receive pay increases to match the wages of their county counterparts.

    "They'll be going into the pay scale based on their years of services, as if they were employed with the sheriff's office," Sgt. Mark Herron, president of the Deputy Sheriff's Association, said Monday.

    Troutdale officers will give their new oaths of duty to the county during a 6:30 p.m. ceremony Tuesday at the Mt. Hood Community College Visual Arts Theater on Southeast Stark Street in Gresham. Sheriff Dan Staton will give the oath.

    Troutdale employs 26 police personnel, including 23 sworn officers and three administrative and support members.

    City leaders will pay the county $2.8 million for the full-time equivalent of 16.5 officers, materials and other costs. Another 3.5 positions will be funded through existing contracts with public transit agencies, the Reynolds School District, and a gang enforcement grant.

    Six other staff members will fill vacancies specifically left open by the sheriff as part of the deal.

    A Troutdale officer earns $62,852 a year compared with $71,729 for a Multnomah County deputy or $80,748 for a Portland officer, according to a presentation in March from city finance director Erich Mueller.

    Troutdale officers will not be transferred away from their existing patrol duties for six months, but will have to bid for their shifts beginning Jan. 1, Herron said.

    District Map.jpg

    Deputies bid for shifts -- day, evening and late night shifts - instead of geographic locations, Herron said. It's not guaranteed they'll continue working within Troutdale limits because decisions are based on seniority, he added.

    The sheriff's office also has a policy of hiring deputies with four-year degrees, but that requirement will be waived for new deputies from Troutdale, Herron said. They won't be required to seek a four-year degree after their transferred employment, he added.

    Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson would be given the newly created rank of commander to work under the sheriff. The commander would report to the City Council with performance measures such as response times, and Staton promised to keep Anderson after a six-month transition.

    The city will pay $3.2 million in total that also includes a $400,000 transfer for sick leave and vacation time accumulated by Troutdale personnel. Each year, city leaders have the opportunity to renegotiate the contract for more or fewer deputies to cover the city.

    The county will also lease most of the space at the Troutdale Police Community Center for $208,952 a year.

    Of the 19,214 square feet in the building, the county will use 72.5 percent of the Troutdale Police Department building for County and City of Troutdale law enforcement services and the city will continue using the rest, which houses the city attorney and legal staff, computer servers and a community room, according to city council records.

    -- Tony Hernandez

  • Class 3A baseball all-state teams: German George of Clatskanie is player of the year

    Ryan Tompkins of Clatskanie and Al Skinner of Glide share coach of the year honors.


    Player of the year: German George, Clatskanie

    Co-coaches of the year: Ryan Tompkins, Clatskanie, and Al Skinner, Glide


    Pitcher – Jacob Fricke, Glide Sr.

    Pitcher – Cody Coggins, Cascade Christian Sr.

    Pitcher - German George, Clatskanie Sr.

    Catcher – Pete Lahti, Taft Sr.

    Catcher – Andrew Webber, Vale Sr.

    First Base – Damien Strowger, Clatskanie Sr.

    Infield - Devin Freeman, Glide Sr.

    Infield – Griffin Haas, Clatskanie Sr.

    Infield – Harry Witwer-Dukes, Blanchet Catholic Jr.

    Infield – Daniel Hendrix, Santiam Christian Jr.

    Outfield – Tylan Dubois, Glide Sr.

    Outfield – Nick Orlandini, Blanchet Catholic Soph

    Outfield – JP Martinez, Nyssa Soph

    Outfield – Jared Ashley, Dayton Jr.

    Utility – Will Weaver, Cascade Christian, Sr.

    Utility – Dru Draper, Santiam Christian Jr.


    P – Koby Pearson, Horizon Christian Sr.

    P – Trevor Burnell, Blanchet Catholic Sr.

    P – Darren Crosby, Santiam Christian Sr.

    C – Kevin Beard, Glide Sr.

    C – Jordan Emerich, Salem Academy Sr.

    1B – Joe Johnson, St. Mary’s Jr.

    IF – Andruw Clark, Nyssa Sr.

    IF – Alex Mccallister, Clatskanie Jr.

    IF – Trent Pihas, Horizon Christian Sr.

    IF – Joe Griffin, Elgin/Imbler Sr.

    IF – Gregor Angstrom, Blanchet Catholic Sr.

    OF – Gavin Ross, Harrisburg Jr.

    OF – Tim Peters, Gervais Sr.

    OF – Nate McGill, Sr. Horizon Christian

    OF – William Beard, Glide Jr.

    OF – Thyler Monkus, Stanfield/Echo Soph

    Utility – Nikita Kalugin, Gervais Sr.

    Utility – Christian Rodriguez, Vale Sr.


    P – Evan Richey, Pleasant Hill Sr.

    P – Spencer McCabe, St. Mary’s Soph

    P – William Gapasin, Blanchet Catholic Sr.

    C – Dylan Grogan, Stanfield/Echo Soph

    C – Ty Mulholland, St. Mary’s Jr.

    1B – Ryan Bailey, Stanfield/Echo, Soph

    IF – Bryson Belloir, Glide Jr.

    IF – Tanner Macal, Santiam Christian Jr.

    IF – Mica Karber, Clatskanie Sr.

    IF – Hunter Michaelson, Warrenton Sr.

    IF – Jonah Leutwyler, Salem Academy Jr.

    OF – Trenton Gianella, Blanchet Catholic Sr.

    OF – Logan Gray, Scio Jr.

    OF – Taden Swing, Salem Academy Jr.

    OF – Garret Carpenter, Rogue River Sr.

    Utility – Landon Lampman, Lakeview Jr.

    Utility – Ben Robinson, St. Mary’s Soph


    P – Brock Johnson, Warrenton Sr.

    P – Klay Jenson, Stanfield/Echo Soph

    P – Matt Maynard, Catlin Gabel Soph

    C – Weston Groth, Horizon Christian Jr.

    C – Nate Cantonwine, Blanchet Catholic Jr.

    1B – Jarrett Putnam, Pleasant Hill Sr.

    1B – Cameron Stansfield, Colton Jr.

    IF – Mitchell Williamson, Pleasant Hill Sr.

    IF – Tony Flores, Stanfield/Echo Soph

    OF – Caleb King, Taft Frosh

    OF – Kevin Wheeler, Cascade Christian Jr.

    OF – Tanner Smith, St. Mary’s Jr.

  • Class 3A softball all-state teams: Kaylee Buhrkuhl of Santiam Christian, Sarah Probasco of Rainier claim top honors

    Buhrkuhl is player of the year; Probasco is pitcher of the year; Rob Umbenhower of Dayton is coach of the year.


    Player of the year: Kaylee Buhrkuhl – Senior – Santiam Christian

    Pitcher of the year: Sarah Probasco – Junior – Rainier

    Coach of the year: Rob Umbenhower – Dayton 



    Alyx Crager – Senior – Salem Academy

    Sarah Probasco – Junior – Rainier


    Cheyanne Rimer – Senior – Scio

    Cooper Ringnalda – Senior – Dayton


    Kaylee Buhrkuhl – Senior – Santiam Christian

    Kylee Hill – Sophomore – Dayton

    Aspen Norman – Freshman – Rainier

    Miah Slater – Senior – Elgin/Imbler


    Jessica Gibson – Senior – Rainier

    Teddi Hop – Junior – Dayton

    Traci Tolman – Senior – Vale

    Kelsey Wilkinson – Junior – Taft

    First Baseman

    Racheal Fluke – Junior – Dayton


    Sierra Ray – Senior – Dayton

    Designated player

    Corlynn Perry – Senior – Vale



    Katie McCardell – Senior – Taft

    Becky Patterson – Senior – Colton

    Shelby Saylors – Senior – Rainier


    Kami Gray – Sophomore – Rainier

    Babe Nash – Senior – Grant Union


    Jadyn Crape – Sophomore – Rainier

    Wednesday Lewis – Freshman – Taft

    Analyssa Ruiz – Sophomore – Blanchet Catholic

    Amanda Trenkel – Sophomore – Vale


    Jamie Christopher – Junior – Echo/Stanfield

    Megan Hackenberg – Junior – Rainier

    Darcie Kanoho – Senior – Elgin/Imbler

    Reagan Martinez – Sophomore – Nyssa

    First Baseman

    Krysta Slate – Senior – Blanchet Catholic


    Lexi Mulvaney – Sophomore – Vale



    Kelsey Hawley – Junior – Vale

    Karigan Wilhelm – Junior – Elgin/Imbler


    Olivia Warren – Freshman – Clatskanie


    Sage Miller – Senior – Clatskanie

    Hannah Mizuta – Sophomore – Vale

    Josie Pratt – Senior – Rogue River

    Kristyn Young – Senior – Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa


    Brittney Abbott – Senior – Clatskanie

    First Baseman     

    Kendra Cleaver – Senior – Nyssa

    Grace Reever – Sophomore – Vale


    Landree Miethe – Sophomore – Warrenton

    Sydney Stearns – Senior – Grant Union