Gresham In The News

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  • Marysville school shooting: Reynolds high school prepares grief counselors 4 months after its own tragedy

    News of another school shooting in the Pacific Northwest has Reynolds High School preparing for grief counselors.

    Reynolds School District officials are gearing up to provide emotional support to Reynolds High School students and staff after the news of a school shooting north of Seattle on Friday.

    The tragedy in Marysville, Wash., comes just four months after a shooting rocked Reynolds.

    Superintendent Linda Florence, posted a statement and list of resources on the district's website.

    "We are sorry to learn of today's tragic news of a school shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School," Florence wrote.

    On June 10, Reynolds freshman Emilio Hoffman was killed by a fellow classmate, who then turned the gun on himself.

    "It can be difficult to accept the unexpected loss of a young person," Florence said in the statement. "Each individual handles tragic news differently.  Some children may experience a rush of feelings right away, while others may be in a state of disbelief for a while and may just appear dazed and confused. Some may initially be angry or fearful, while others may be so uncomfortable with their feelings that they act silly or giggly, even though they are hurting inside. All of these reactions are normal ways of dealing with grief. Please recognize that your child may need to spend some time in one or more of these emotional states, while they work through these different feelings."

    Florence's message includes contact information for Multnomah County crisis lines for both students and staff.

    Andrea Watson, the district's spokeswoman, said news of the fatal shooting in Washington state hadn't started to bubble up throughout the district as of the noon hour on Friday, but she expected more students and staff would become aware during the afternoon.

    "This could be a place where people pause and relive what happened here," Watson said.

    This is homecoming week at Reynolds, Watson said, with the homecoming football game this evening and the school's dance tomorrow.

    "Unless it bubbles up and people become aware of it, we should keep the day as normal as possible," Watson said.

    Watson said it's a little disappointing to hear the news of the school shooting Friday given that homecoming week is an important time for the Reynolds community to bond together. "We've never done this before," she said of coping with the pain of the events of June 10.

    High school officials made no formal announcement Friday of the shooting, Watson said, and had no plans to. After school, the district plans to connect with staff and students to make sure they know of resources available to them.

    — Andrew Theen

  • In Fairview, business group's preferred candidates battle rivals for 5 positions in city government

    The races reflect a singular divide, pitting a slate of candidates backed by the Fairview Business Association and a host of opponents largely united against them for the unpaid city leadership positions.

    Every race for Fairview city government on the Nov. 4 ballot is contested, and hotly so.

    Beyond the rhetorical battles, interviews with nearly all of the 11 candidates vying for four council seats and the mayor's office revealed general agreement on which issues matter most:

    • encouraging economic development to increase city tax revenues;
    • guiding consistent redevelopment of Fairview's stretch of Northeast Halsey Street in conjunction with Wood Village and Troutdale; and

    But the races also reflect a singular divide, pitting a slate of candidates backed by the Fairview Business Association and a host of opponents largely united against them for the city leadership positions.

    Conversations with candidates in both camps quickly lead to accusations that the other side is involved in deceptive and negative campaigns, or is hiding special interests, or is the true polarizing force behind the council in recent years.

    Jabs thrown

    Fairview council races
    See all the candidates running for Fairview City Council in The Oregonian's Voters Guide.

    Typical of such skirmishes was candidate Brian Cooper's criticism of incumbent Tamie Arnold, who's supported by the business association, for her use of uniformed Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in campaign work and images.

    The race between Arnold and Cooper reprises a 2012 matchup between Cooper and Arnold. Cooper had been appointed to the council earlier that year to temporarily fill a seat vacated by his father, Larry Cooper, who died in office. Arnold, who lost an election to the elder Cooper two years earlier, unseated the son narrowly.

    Ed Bejarana, administrator of the Fairview Business Association's Facebook page, recently launched a Facebook attack on mayoral candidate Lisa Barton Mullins.

    Bejerana placed the candidate's photograph alongside a picture of Mr. Burns, Homer Simpson's boss in Matt Groening's enduring television cartoon series.

    Bejarana, who lost a past city council race to Barton Mullins, said the comparison with a comically loathed nuclear power plant executive was appropriate. He noted that none of Barton Mullins' fellow council members endorsed her.

    "I just have the basic belief that all is fair in love and politics," said Bejarana. "Nothing here is personal."

    Barton Mullins, the who has been endorsed by a number of regional politicians, responded, "I have basically just been ignoring all the negative stuff."

    3-way mayor's race

    Barton Mullins' rivals for mayor are Ted Tosterud, a council member appointed last winter, and Curtis K. Burnett, a realtor and political newcomer.

    Tosterud promises to remain neutral but has the Fairview Business Association's endorsement.

    The association has strongly promoted Tosterud's experience in upper- management for a large medical diagnostics firm. But the affiliation also has come with some cost for Tosterud.

    The Outlook newspaper endorsed Barton Mullins, citing Tosterud's backing by the business association as a negative.

    Bejarana, on the business association's Facebook page, lashed back at that newspaper's endorsement and followed it up with a string of attacks on candidates opposing the business association's slate.

    Tosterud said he wants to get the council working together with better communication and clearly is uncomfortable with the negativity from all sides.

    "What they do is their business. What I do is my business," he said. "I am trying to stay neutral all the way down the street here."

    Meanwhile, candidate Burnett hopes his status as the relative unknown in the mayor's race actually plays to his advantage.

    "I've just heard from a lot of citizens that there was a lot of discord on the council and with the mayor," he said. "I'm just not getting involved in that nonsense."

    Weatherby's takeaway

    Endorsements by retiring mayor Mike Weatherby show that some of the lines separating factions on the council have the potential of blurring.

    While Weatherby maintains a long-held concern that some Fairview Business Association members hope to wield improper influence over the council, he has sided with the group's endorsements for Tosterud, Arnold and Leslie N. Moore. But Weatherby also broke with the business group in endorsing Steve Owen and Keith Kudrna for the council.

    Weatherby said he hopes his preffered candidates will "be independent, do what they want."

    -- Eric Apalategui
  • Fairview city councilor is asked to stop using Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts in her campaign

    "A big thank you to a local group of Junior Girl Scouts working on their Government Badge!" Tamie Arnold posted on her campaign's Facebook page Sunday, with a photo of her surrounded by girls and holding a campaign sign. "They helped me prep and deliver campaign materials today, so full of energy and lots of fun."

    A Fairview city councilor is taking heat for using Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help her re-election campaign.

    "A big thank you to a local group of Junior Girl Scouts working on their Government Badge!" Tamie Arnold posted on her campaign's Facebook page Sunday, with a photo of her surrounded by girls and holding a campaign sign. "They helped me prep and deliver campaign materials today, so full of energy and lots of fun."

    Another Facebook post showed Arnold in a Boy Scout leader's uniform and hugging her sons in Cub Scout and Boy Scout uniforms.

    "It's not OK," said Karen White, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, whose staff on Monday told Arnold to stop after other Fairview candidates complained.

    The Cascade Pacific Council of Boy Scouts also contacted Arnold on Monday to say she violated a rule against uniformed scouts and their leaders creating the perception they endorse a political cause. That includes campaign photos.

    Arnold called the Facebook posts "an innocent mistake" and quickly removed them. She blames her opponent, Brian L. Cooper, for making a campaign issue of the episode.

    "In my opinion, I think it was very silly," Arnold said. "Any little, tiny thing that he can possibly bring up, he does."

    Tamie Arnold and Girl ScoutsView full size 

    The Arnold-Cooper dustup is emblematic of the political furor unfolding this election year in Fairview, a town of 9,000 with contested races for four out of six city council seats plus the mayor's office.

    On one side is a slate of candidates who, like Arnold, are backed by the Fairview Business Association. On the other stand their opponents, four of whom have teamed up against what they describe as inappropriate influence from the private association.

    Arnold and Cooper are in a particularly hard fight, and Cooper says the scouting issue is fair game.

    "It is not inconsequential," he said by email, "when a person uses their position and influence in a cherished American institution for their own political benefit."

    Scouts' honor

    Nationally, the issue of using scouts in campaigns arises from time to time.

    Mitt RomneyView full sizeRepublican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets boy scouts as he arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) 

    Republican Mitt Romney stepped off a plane in Salt Lake City en route to a fundraiser for his 2012 presidential campaign when he was videotaped greeting a lineup of Boy Scouts. His running mate, Paul Ryan, similarly greeted Boy Scouts at another Utah airport a few weeks earlier.

    How aggressively the rules on campaigning should be enforced is open to some interpretation.

    The chief executive for the Cascade Pacific Council of Boy Scouts, which asked Arnold to take down her Facebook pictures, did not sound outraged.

    "Throughout my career of nearly three decades, this policy has rarely come up and hasn't been a big issue at all," Matthew Devore wrote in an email to a reporter.

    "There is a thin line between advocacy and citizenship in my opinion," Devore continued. "The BSA's policies on this subject are likely not widely known by many people. Generally speaking a 'gentle reminder, is all that is needed and I would imagine people don't realize the policy exists."

    Sarah Miller, spokeswoman for the local Girl Scouts chapter, said the Girl Scouts must refrain from taking sides in political campaigns to maintain the group's tax-exempt status under federal law -- so officials act quickly when they learn of policy violations.

    Arnold initially addressed concerns from Girl Scout leaders by editing her Facebook post by deleting the reference to campaign work.

    "A big thank you to a local group of Junior Girl Scouts working on their Government Badge! They were full of energy and lots of fun," the edited version said.

    She later removed the post altogether.

    "Inside Government"?

    As it turns out, Arnold could make a for having Girl Scouts work on campaign activities.

    A nationally produced printed guide for Junior Girl Scouts says that one activity girls might use to help earn "Inside Government" badges would be to "work on someone else's campaign." The activity description goes on to instruct: "Make posters or buttons, or assist with a speech about the reasons you think this person should be elected."

    The guide, which is sold at the Girl Scouts' Portland store, seems to contradict the Girl Scouts' national policy.

    The guide does suggest examples of government suitable for Girl Scout involvement as "your school, sports league, place of worship, or other community group."

    But Miller, the Girl Scouts official, acknowledged that the activity instructions don't expressly exclude participation in certain types of elections, unlike rules posted elsewhere.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Gangs in Gresham: How has your neighborhood changed?

    We want to know what major changes in your neighborhood stand out to you in regards to crime and public safety. In the comment section below, please share your thoughts about the changes you have seen in your neighborhood.

    On Sunday my story about one of the two Gresham gang outreach workers takes a look at the city's new approach to curbing gang violence.

    The story follows the city's first gang outreach worker who goes by the name of Coach. His job is centered around connecting with kids on the streets and getting them into school or jobs.

    On an average night, he can spend time cruising in his car looking for potential trouble or working one-on-one with an at-risk youth. His role on the street plays into a goal of cutting the pool of gang recruits.

    Coach's story and work highlights the challenges of battling Gresham's gang problem and the change in the city over the last few years.

    Gang violence in Gresham isn't new. The city was combating Blood and Crip rivalries by 1989. But in 2013 the city that for the past 25 years has averaged less than three homicides a year had six traced to gangs. 

    The activity reflected a shift that began when the Portland gangs formed in the '80s moved farther east toward Gresham's core. East Multnomah County has 450 documented gang members.

    In response to the shift in gang activity, Gresham police added a new police substation in the Rockwood area, and the city and local non-profits have taken on a new role in curbing gang violence.

    We want to know what major changes in your neighborhood stand out to you in regards to crime and public safety. In the comment section below, please share your thoughts about the changes you have seen in your neighborhood.

  • Portland forecast: A bit of a break in the rain this morning

    A bit of a breather today with only light showers in the forecast as a warm front moves through.

    Friday morning's weather offers a bit of a breather with only light showers in the forecast as a warm front moves through. Although the rest of the weekend looks rainy and sometimes windy, it's a far cry from yesterday's tornado in Longview, Wash., that produced winds between 86 and 110 mph.

    If the crazy weather of the last couple of days makes you wonder what this winter holds in store, check out The Oregonian's Stuart Tomlinson's story on the annual Winter Weather Conference.

    And if you'll be traveling around the state this weekend, note that the National Weather Service says snow levels should drop to Cascade pass elevations on Sunday.

  • Thursday evening commute: Heavy rains subside but problems remain

    The heavy afternoon rains have turned into a drizzle momentarily, but the problems they brought with them still persist. Reports of streets flooding are coming in across the area.


    Check back before you head out to get the latest commuting updates from The Oregonian.

    Lots of crazy weather in the area today including a tornado touching down in Longview, Washington. The heavy afternoon rains have turned into a drizzle momentarily, but the problems they brought with them still persist. Reports of streets flooding are coming in across the area.

    Portland, 6:45 p.m.: Max lines

    TriMet reporting a delay of 15 minutes due to switch issue on the blue, green and red lines. Expected to last until 8 p.m. tonight.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 5:16 p.m: Downtown

    We have hit the usual slowdowns heading out of the downtown area. Highway 26 Westbound doesn't look too bad as of now, but getting there might take a few. Getting on to Interstate 84 from Interstate 5 is backed up pretty far in both directions, but that clears up a little until you get close to the Interstate 205 junction.

    ***

    CLACKAMAS, 4:12 p.m.: Interstate 205 and Sunnyside Road

    An accident was reported on Interstate 205 Southbound around the Sunnyside Road exit. We will keep an eye on it and update this post if it becomes a major problem.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 3:56 p.m.: Ross Island Bridge Update

    Looks like the police have cleared the bridge, but traffic remains backed up both ways.

    ***

    TUALATIN, 3:40 p.m.: Interstate 5 at Carmen Drive

    A crash is blocking the shoulder for those going southbound. Traffic backed up to Highway 217.

    Possible detour: Southwest 72nd Avenue might get you around it.

    ***

    PORTLAND, 3:26 p.m.: Ross Island Bridge

    An accident on the Ross Island Bridge is causing slowdown in both directions. Westbound is backed up to 22nd Avenue.

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

    -- Ryan Fernandez

  • Gresham homicide suspect, also wanted in Lake Oswego, Canby bank heists, arrested in Portland

    Portland police officers took Stivahtis into custody without incident after contacting him at Burlingame Fred Meyer, 7555 S.W. Barbur Blvd., around 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 4.53.51 PM.pngTeddy Stivahtis Jr.

    Teddy Stivahtis Jr., a 36-year-old man identified as a suspect in a Gresham homicide as well as bank robberies in Canby and Lake Oswego, has been taken into custody, Gresham police said.

    Portland police officers took Stivahtis into custody without incident after contacting him at Burlingame Fred Meyer, 7555 S.W. Barbur Blvd., around 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

    Stivahtis is suspected of stabbing his 70-year-old aunt, Deanna Stivahtis, who was found dead on Oct. 11, Gresham police said. Stivahtis was seen driving his aunt' s dark green van away from her mobile home at Bellacres Mobile Estates off Southeast Division Street before her body was discovered.

    A few days later, on Oct. 13, he was caught on video surveillance passing a demand note to a teller at the Chase Bank branch at a Canby Fred Meyer at 1401 S.E. First Ave., authorities said. He ran off with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

    Lake Oswego police also identified Stivahtis as a suspect in an Oct. 18 bank robbery at the Key Bank, 16210 Bryant Road. Police said Stivahtis used a note to obtain an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled.

    On Tuesday a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Stivahtis, accusing him of stealing $6,419 from the Canby bank and $1,356 from the Lake Oswego bank. 

  • Heisman watch, prep football-style: 5A offensive player of the year contenders

    With two games remaining before the state playoffs commence, we’re adding a little bonus to the Heisman watch: who’s in the mix for Class 5A offensive player of the year. One important factor to keep in mind: the state’s best teams usually produce the player of the year. Often what it takes is one breathtaking performance in a big...

    With two games remaining before the state playoffs commence, we’re adding a little bonus to the Heisman watch: who’s in the mix for Class 5A offensive player of the year.

    One important factor to keep in mind: the state’s best teams usually produce the player of the year. Often what it takes is one breathtaking performance in a big game, particularly the state championship game, to sway coaches who vote.

    There are exceptions; in 2012, West Albany’s Jake LaCoste won the award even though the Bulldogs didn’t advance past the playoff quarterfinals. But LaCoste’s numbers were so overwhelming – 2,741 rushing yards, 38 touchdowns – he was impossible to ignore.

    Here are previous Heisman watches for Class 6A:

    Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

    The Class 5A contenders, with the latest line:

    Cole Chandler, Silverton: Since no one appears to be on the statistical path of LaCoste, winner of the past two player of the year awards, this year’s offensive player of the year is likely to come from one of the state’s best teams. Through seven games, Silverton is best of the best. Chandler has a lot to do with it. He’s a three-year starting quarterback who, while lacking eye-popping numbers, does a fantastic job of managing an offense and not getting in the way of the Foxes’ terrific defense. Chandler has completed 76 of 119 passes for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. Odds: Even

    Trever Watson, Springfield: Probably no more dynamic player in 5A than Watson, the Millers’ quarterback who beats teams with his arm and feet. Last year, Watson accounted for 46 touchdowns, while throwing only three interceptions. Two weeks ago in a 46-0 win over Churchill, Watson passed for three scores and ran for two. Through seven games, Watson has accounted for 22 touchdowns, 14 through the air, and has 1,926 total yards. If the Millers make it to the semifinals or finals, Watson will likely have the state’s best quarterback numbers. Odds: 5-2

    Chase Knutz, Hermiston: The Bulldogs are definitely in the mix to reach the 5A finals, if not win it. Knutz is going to have a big say in Hermiston’s finish. Like Chandler, the 6-foot-3 Knutz is a three-year starter, who has passed for 1,608 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Knutz has surpassed 6,000 passing yards for his career. Odds: 3-1

    Sam Kuschnick, Silverton: If the Foxes win the state title, the player of the year is likely to go to someone at Silverton. Chandler is the favorite, because he’s played a big role over the past three years in developing this team. But Kuschnick’s numbers are beginning to mount, and he cannot be ignored. The Silverton running back has 129 carries for 970 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Odds: 10-1

    Wesley Riddell, Central: The Panthers’ running back is coming off a 101-yard performance against Silverton, but that’s the state’s best 5A defense. This season, Riddell leads 5A rushers with 1,677 yards and 21 touchdowns. Riddell has good numbers, but they’re not LaCoste sensational. Central will need a playoff upset or two to boost Riddell’s candidacy. Odds: 15-1

    Matt Jones, Hillsboro: Jones has had a nice season in leading Hillsboro to its breakout campaign of 2014. Coming off a four-touchdown performance against Parkrose, Jones has passed for 22 touchdowns and nearly 1,700 yards in leading the Spartans to a 7-0 record. But in order for Jones to significantly raise his POY stock, he'll need a big performance against one of the state’s heavyweights. Jones should get that opportunity during the state playoffs. Odds: 15-1

    Jonathan Boland, Parkrose: A long shot to be sure, but if Parkrose does anything in the playoffs, it will happen behind the production of Boland. He’s the North Oregon version of Watson, a quarterback who can hurt defenses with his arm and legs. This season, Boland has passed for 1,611 yardsand 17 touchdowns, and run for 506 yards and six scores. Odds: 25-1

    Under the radar: Derek Brown, Redmond; Cole Wilson, Wilsonville; Logan Munson, Silverton; Carson Morter, Hermiston.

    Twitter: @nickdaschel

  • Multnomah County election: All voters should have ballots by now

    All Multnomah County voters should have received ballots in the mail as of Thursday. Here's what to do if you haven't.

    Oregonian Voter Guide
    Ballots for the Nov. 4 election are out.
    Voters, it's now in your hands. And The Oregonian is here to help with our interactive online voters guide.
    Enter your address and you'll receive a customized ballot showing what races and measures you'll vote on. You can go to any race and compare candidates side by side. The guide also outlines statewide ballot measures and local initiatives, explaining what happens with a yes or no vote.

    If you’re planning to vote in the Nov. 4 election, you should have received a ballot in the mail by now.

    Multnomah County elections officials began mailing out the ballots on Oct. 15 to give voters ample time to fill in their choices and drop the envelope into one of the many drop boxes located throughout the county.

    If you’re registered to vote in Multnomah County, but still haven’t received a ballot, there’s still time to get one in time to vote. Call the county elections office at 503-988-3720 for help.

    Voters who plan to mail their ballot need only mark it with a first-class stamp and put it in the mailbox. You can also drop your ballot at any official drop site statewide, as long as you get it there before 8 p.m. on Election Day.

    This year’s election includes several high-profile races and ballot measures. The governor’s race tops the list, but Oregon voters will also decide whether Jeff Merkley or Monica Wehby should represent our state in Congress, consider legalizing recreational marijuana, and decide whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to get driver cards. In Multnomah County, voters will decide whether to re-up the Portland Public Schools bond and whether to pay Portland to “fix our parks.”

    The Oregonian will be covering those and all other Oregon races in real time on election night. Visit oregonlive.com beginning at 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 for results.

    --Kelly House

  • Central Catholic boys, girls sweep team titles at Mt. Hood Conference meet: Photos

    Central Catholic boys romped to victory, while the Rams girls won a tie-breaker against Oregon City during Wednesday's rain-soaked Mt. Hood Conference meet at Centennial High School. Centennial's Thomas Morrell III and David Douglas' Kennedy Allen won individual titles. The MHC meet is a qualifier for the state cross country meet Nov. 1 at Lane Community College.

    Central Catholic boys romped to victory, while the Rams girls won a tie-breaker against Oregon City during Wednesday's rain-soaked Mt. Hood Conference meet at Centennial High School.

    Centennial's Thomas Morrell III and David Douglas' Kennedy Allen won individual titles. The MHC meet is a qualifier for the state cross country meet Nov. 1 at Lane Community College.

    Here is a complete recap of the meet.

    Twitter: @nickdaschel

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