Breaking news and the folks at the digital desk at KGW have taught me a ton. I'm forever grateful.

Breaking news and the digital team at KGW have taught me a ton. I’m forever grateful to this station and its crew.

After only ten months at KGW, I’m moving on to become Director of Digital Content at GoLocalPDX, a web-based news platform set to launch this summer. 

GoLocalPDX will offer a range of lifestyle, entertainment and news coverage.  We expect to have a good deal of investigative and data driven stories. So please stay tuned.

Having said that, I owe a huge debt to KGW NewsChannel 8, where I spent the better part of a year grinding it out as a digital producer and breaking news reporter for KGW.com.

The station has been the most energetic, supportive and positive place I’ve ever worked. I was constantly surprised by the depth of talent and skills employed there.

The reporters are astute and work under deadlines that would make most others faint.  I’m especially thankful that I worked with Kyle Iboshi, who is not only one of the best reporters I’ve met in Oregon, but who also paid me $5 to mention him.

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Meet me in St. Louie: The last of Portland's red trolleys will be shipped off to St. Louis after over 20 years of service. TriMet said they don't have the resources to run them. Critics say Portland and TriMet just wants to be rid of them.

Meet me in St. Louie: The last of Portland’s red trolleys will be shipped off to St. Louis after over 20 years of service. TriMet said they don’t have the resources to run them. Critics say Portland and TriMet just wants to be rid of them.

PORTLAND – Later this year, TriMet will send the last two of Portland’s four old-timey street trolleys to St. Louis. When it does, downtown Portland will lose a local icon and a little piece of its streetcar history. TriMet, which owns the streetcars, said in an era of cutbacks, it’s unavoidable. Critics say “you’ll regret it.”

The trolleys have been clanking through downtown for more than 20 years. While the City of Portland is gearing up to pay up to at least $1 million for a new streetcar for its own rail system, TriMet said it just doesn’t have the resources to run what are essentially tourist attractions.

Critics, however, believe transit bosses have been looking for a way to get rid of the streetcars for years and are giving away an emblematic asset.

An overlooked icon
The trolley have been a symbol for Portland for decades. They’ve adorned everything from postcards to refrigerator magnets.

Story, photos and videos at KGW.com

The tree attracts the homes and dreams of hundreds of strangers.

The tree attracts the hopes and dreams of hundreds of strangers.

PORTLAND – Some people wished for love, some for world peace, a lot of people wished for a pony.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of wishes hanging from a Horse Chestnut street tree at the corner of Northeast Morris Street and 7th Avenue.

On a cold Tuesday evening, a young couple walking down the block stopped and examined the tree with bemused interest. A sign, clipboard, marker and plastic bag of manila shipping labels beckoned for them to contribute their own desires.

The Wishing Tree, has been an oddity at this intersection since last fall. A photo of it recently sparked a trending post on the Portland Reddit pageMonday, garnering the kind of cheers and jeers that one would expect from something so quintessentially Portlandia.

The tree is the handy work of Nicole Helprin and sits directly in front of her 1926 Irvington home.

Read the rest and see the photos at KGW.com

Roof rats are darker and smaller than most rats. They climb trees and like to nest in attics.

Roof rats are darker and smaller than most rats. They climb trees and like to nest in attics.

By Cornelius Swart

PORTLAND –The roof rat, also known as the black rat or ship rat was once famous for spreading Europe’s Black Plague.  The nocturnal rodents spend about 90 percent of their lives four or more feet off the ground. They’re dark grey or black with no hair on their ears and can measure 15 inches long from their heads to the end of their long scaly tails.

Roof rats nest outside in trees, wood piles, and dense vegetation. But they also climb power lines and can run right into a house. They can squeeze through any hole larger than a quarter.

Chris Roberts is Multnomah County’s lone rat inspector. He takes about 1,000 calls for rat problems each year. The majority turn out to be for the larger common ground rat, or Norway Rat.

“Normally I get about four or five calls that turn out to be roof rats,” Roberts said.

This year, so far he’s seen 40 to 50 roof rat cases.

Read the rest at KGW.com

This photo was found at Lee Perlman's home after his death. It shows Perlman (at right) during the 1970s, when he was active in the group Portland Tenants Union. (Courtesy of Bill Perlman)

This photo was found at Lee Perlman’s home after his death. It shows Perlman (at right) during the 1970s, when he was active in the group Portland Tenants Union. (Courtesy of Bill Perlman)

Two weeks after the death of Lee Perlman, his rundown, 110-year-old Portland bungalow is a swarm of activity. Former friends, contractors and city staffers scurry around the property dividing up the rundown home’s contents.

Every surface is covered. Newspapers are stacked four feet tall in the corners. A mound of magazines three feet high subsumes a bed. Workers shuffle through narrow spaces on a carpet of paper four inches deep.

Lee’s brother Bill Perlman, just arrived from his home in Massachusetts, stands in one corner. “It’s a shock,” he says, “but not a surprise.”

In August, Lee Perlman, at the age of 64, killed himself in his Eliot neighborhood home. The death of the well-known reporter and 40-year neighborhood activist sent shock and dismay through Portland.

Perlman — recognizable for his snowy hair and beard, button-down shirt sleeve, jeans and work boots — recorded a generation of neighborhood activism that helped transform Portland’s once-neglected urban core into one of the most livable cities in the U.S.

Read the Rest at The Oregonian/OregonLive

Mayor Charlie Hales announced Monday that the city would begin enforcing sidewalk rules to keep campers from sitting and sleeping during daylight hours outside Portland City Hall. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

Mayor Charlie Hales announced Monday that the city would begin enforcing sidewalk rules to keep campers from sitting and sleeping during daylight hours outside Portland City Hall. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

Portland has long struggled with homelessness downtown. The good weather and liberal environment also makes the Northwest a popular place for travelers and transients in the summer.

Two weeks ago, while mouthing off about this or that, I told Susan Nielson of The Oregonian’s Editorial Board about my experiences as a freight-hopper and hitchhiker back when I was young.  I said I never thought that I had the right to sleep on city streets, and even if I did, the rules of the road were to just move on if police asked. She invited me to write an essay which is the rare public editorial from me that you see below.

A good traveler knows when it’s time to hit the road

Portland’s downtown remains a fairly livable place by my East Coast standards. But the recent assault on Larry Allen by a skateboard-wielding kid and last December’s battle between street kids and food cart vendors has highlighted that downtown is increasingly cultivating a lawless atmosphere. An overly tolerant policy toward camping on the street and “travelers” is greatly to blame. Now that City Hall has made moves to clear protesters from its front steps, it should go further and enforce bans on camping on public streets. I say this as someone was a bit of a traveler, hitchhiker and freight train hopper back in the day.

In 1994, as a New Jersey-raised young man, I arrived in Portland on a sparkling summer afternoon with a backpack smelling of campfire, a deep tan and a smile on my face. Two friends and I had just jumped a freight train from Eugene to Albany and hitched into Portland on the latest leg of a thousand-mile trek from San Francisco to the western shores of Canada’s Vancouver Island.

Read the rest at The Oregonian/OregonLive

Oh, the irony. This article I did on April 13, culminated about ten months of reporting dating back to when I still did work for the Oregonian’s hyperlocal team.

I basically went to cover a community meeting in August and a year later wound up with this sprawling transportation piece that encompassed the Washington DC-like gridlock mentality that has recently seized the region.

The article prompted an editorial follow up, which can often happen after large enterprising stories, but the editorial ran in The Columbian, the newspaper in neighboring Clark County, not the Oregonian. Perhaps the O will write an editorial about Vancouver’s Bus Rapid Transit coverage.  We’ll have to see.

FROM OregonLive

The I-5 Broadway/Weidler project is generating controversy, though it's overshadowed by the CRC. (The Oregonian)

The I-5 Broadway/Weidler project is generating controversy, though it’s overshadowed by the CRC. (The Oregonian)

Local freeway commuters know the spot where traffic grinds to a halt almost every day. It’s where Interstate 84 ends its 773-mile long journey from Echo, Utah, to Portland by slamming headlong into Interstate 5. And it’s where northbound and southbound I-5 travelers find three or four lanes of traffic slimmed down to two.

The city calls it The Gateway of Portland’s freeway system. Combined with the chokepoint a few miles north at the Interstate Bridge, it creates regular backups that can send gridlock deep into city streets.

During the past two years, as the region’s public officials, voters and activists have clamored over the fate of the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing, a plan to address Rose Quarter congestion has slowly inched forward like so much rush hour traffic.

The I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plan may be the biggest transportation project most people have never heard of. In December, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved a plan that aims to both alleviate I-5 traffic and remodel neighborhoods near the Rose Garden with new surface streets, a cap over the freeway with a possible park, and new bike- and pedestrian-friendly improvements.

Read the rest at The Oregonian/OregonLive