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Newsline, January 17, 2015

Skyline Rural Watch Newsline 

Mailbox: newsline [at] srnpdx [dot] org
Urgent: alert [at] srnpdx [dot] org
Phone: (503) 621-3501

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January 17, 2015


GASCO - A Neighbor's Reminiscing
Our neighbor sent the following to SRN Newsline. He asked that it not be considered “journalism” but the recollection of a pre-school age boy as he remembers it.  He comments: “The "wartime" part is the hazy recollection of a pre-school age, probably factually a bit off, but that's how I recall it. Since I wrote that a little research has suggested that maybe those "Russian Engines" were there for a while.....a war materiel shipment that never got sent....but again I'm uncertain about that.” He writes:

I enjoyed your series on the old Gasco site and building in the Ridge Runner.  I grew up near Reed College in Eastmoreland, but I¹ve lived on Skyline (near Springville Rd.) for 25 years and have often reminisced when driving past the old Gasco Building.

When I was a young boy, during WWII, I can remember very clearly trips to Portland Gas and Coke to buy ³Gasco Briquets² which my folks burned instead of wood in our fireplace.  I vividly remember that old building with the clock tower (it looked old even in the early 1940¹s!).  And watching my Dad
load a big burlap sack of briquettes into the trunk of the car.  I can also remember the look, smell and strong heat of a glowing bed of Gasco Briquettes in a basket like grate in our living room fireplace.  I¹m not sure, but I think their briquettes were a coke like by-product of their oil gasification process.

Possibly one reason I remember those trips so well is what my Dad would sometimes treat me to on the trip to Gasco.  Like a lot of young boys in those days, I was ³train nuts.²  I went into orbit (of course we didn¹t know what an orbit was in those days!) if I got to sit beside a railroad track and watch a big steam engine pulling a heavily loaded train.  Actually, anything ³TRAIN² strongly attracted my attention.  And, on the way to Gasco out St. Helens Rd., during wartime, was a river terminal FULL of railroad engines.  It was about where Greenbrier/Gunderson is now and it MAY have been Gunderson (or a predecessor?). But, whatever company it was, they were building railroad locomotives as fast as they could for export to Russia via Vladivostok, to help them with their war efforts.  I remember I called them ³The Russian Engines² and I would ALWAYS plead with my Dad to detour to ³see the Russian Engines² on NW Front Ave. on the way out to to get briquettes at Gasco.

Another thing I remember about Gasco and their product, that may surprise a lot of younger folks who didn¹t live in this area before about 1958, is that the gas they distributed in those days was NOT ³natural gas² (mostly methane and some hydrogen and non-poisonous) but rather ³syn gas² (synthetic gas
produced by a steam heating coal or oil in a limited oxygen environment).  Syn-gas (or ³coal gas² or ³water gas²) is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide.  Because it had a lot of hydrogen, it could be used to fill toy balloons that were ³lighter than air² just like helium balloons commonly seen today.  When I was a kid, some people did fill balloons with Gasco¹s household gas (if they had a gas jet available at home) but it was DANGEROUS!  (because of the hydrogens ..think Hindenburg!!).

Of course the other dangerous component of Gasco¹s gas was the carbon monoxide, which was potentially deadly!!  In those days, the danger of a leaking gas appliance was not so much explosion and fire like it is with natural gas or propane but rather the much greater danger of carbon monoxide
poisoning!!  Fortunately, syn gas had a bad smell, which I think, unlike natural gas, was not added but was one of it¹s characteristics.  Not sure about that but, added or not, it DID stink, as bad or worse than the ³odorized² natural gas we have now.

Just a few recollections that passed through my head on reading your series on the Gasco building!!

W. J. Prendergast, MD
NW Skyline near Springville Rd.


FPNA Meeting
7 PM at 360 NW Greenleaf Ave, Portland on January 20

Jerry Grossnickle, President
Forest Park Neighborhood Association

I have attached the proposed agenda for next Tuesday's FPNA meeting

We have invited Patt Opdyke to tell us about the North Star Village project, a program designed to help aging seniors in our neighborhood remain in their homes comfortably.  I have attached a press release that gives alternate dates for introductory presentations of this topic.

We are also pleased to announce that Erika Nebel, of Commissioner Novick's staff, will also attend Tuesday's meeting.  I expect she will provide a productive link to the commissioner for our neighborhood's concerns.  I have provided her information about the forest deferral issue (Portland's environmental zones have been interpreted to preclude tax deferrals for forest land) and the jurisdictional problem between BDS and PBOT regarding unauthorized development (especially fences) within Portland's right-of-way along Skyline Blvd.  With your participation, we can expect that other issues of significant neighborhood interest will be discussed.

See you Tuesday!


360 NW Greenleaf Ave, Portland OR
Jan 20, 2015

1.Call to order; motion to accept Nov minutes
2.Introductions; attendance list
3.Scheduled Agenda Items
  a.Jan and Dennis Burkhart –Land Division proposal - (5 min)
  b.Patt Opdyke – North Star Village project – (20 min)
  c.Erika Nebel – Policy & Outreach Advisor for Portland Commissioner Steve Novick (20 min)
4.Committee Reports
  a.Neighborhood Clean-up (Solv sign-up due Jan 31) - Leslie
  b.Neighborhood Planning – Carol
     i.Reserves Update
     ii.Meetings with Mult Co Comm Jules Bailey, Rep Mitch Greenlick, Sen Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
c.Neighbors West Northwest – Les, Mark
d.Land Use Planning, other business – Jerry
     i.Forest Deferral mtg with Sen Johnson, Mayor Hales - Arnie
     ii.Mult County Comp Plan process, Paula & Jerry CAC appts
     iii.Hodel Land Division Application, March hearing
     iv.Letters written – FPNA board ratification needed:
         1.FPNA letter re Portland residential demolition policy, dated Dec 2, 2014
         2.FPNA letter supporting additional public review of proposed street fee, dated Nov 19, 2014
5.Other new business

North Star Village Press Release:

If you are interested in remaining in your home as you age, North Star Village may have the answers to those questions that have been in the back of your mind, like:
Who will come to the doctor with me?
How will I get a ride to and from appointments?
How will I manage the yard work?

North Star Village is hosting an introduction to the local Village Movement on the following dates:
Sunday, Jan . 25th 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Saturday, Feb. 7th 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Saturday, Feb. 21 2:00 – 4:00 pm
NOTE: Space is limited. RSVP for location at northstarvillage [at] comcast [dot] net or 503.978.0540.
These are just some of the concerns that come up as we consider remaining in our own homes but just are not quite sure how to make that happen. Whether your are a home owner, renter, share housing with family or others, the Village may be just what you're looking for. The North Star Village boundary will include neighborhoods in North Portland and Inner Northeast, plus Linnton, Forest Park and Sauvie Island.
Please come to learn more about what North Star Village will offer and how you can join with others to create our own virtual village. We're in the planning phase and need more folks to step forward to make our Village a reality.
Remember! Space is limited so reserve your place now by contacting Patt at northstarvillage [at] comcast [dot] net

For further information, contact Patt Opdyke, 503.978.0540 or northstarvillage [at] comcast [dot] net. Age in your own home comfortably, safely & affordably!


Woodland Management: 
A basic forestry shortcourse from OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Columbia Soil & Water Conservation Dist 35285 Millard Rd., St. Helens
Course Dates/Times:
Feb. 2nd, 9th, 23rd, & Mar. 2nd, 2015
Monday evenings, 6:00 –8:30pm
Sat field session, March 7th, 9 am – 2pm
· Cost for the course is $40 for one participant/$50 for two or more participants from the same family.
· Instructor is Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent - Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties
· To attend you must pre-register no later than January 26th
Use the form below or register online at:
· Questions?
Contact Amy Grotta, (503) 397-3462 or  amy [dot] grotta [at] oregonstate [dot] edu


Woodland Management Shortcourse Registration or, register online at
Name(s): ______________________________________________________
Mailing Address: ________________________________________________
Phone: _______________________________________________________
Email: ________________________________________________________
Acres of forestland owned: ________________________________________
County: ____________________________________________________
Make checks ($40/one individual; $50/two or more individuals) payable
to OSU Extension. Mail this form to: OSU Extension Service, 505 N. Columbia River Hwy, St. Helens, OR 97051
Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, disability, and disabled veteran or Vietnam - era veteran status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Small Farm News Winter 2015
Oregon State University Small Farms Program Oregon
Available on line:

In This Issue:

  • 2015 OSU Small Farms Conference
  • How Human Values Affect Views on Genetically Engineered Crops
  • Composting: Great Promise that Comes with Challenges, is it a fit for your farm?
  • Tasting Tables in the Gorge: Sourcing Local Produce for Schools
  • Pigs: Home on the Range?
  • Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Series Offered NOW!
  • NMPAN webinar on International MSUs
  • Rogue Valley Grown: Local to Wholesale in Southern Oregon
  • Hooping it up in Central Oregon
  • Recipe to Market: Creating Your Own Food Business
  • Livestock Producers and Climate Change


Advisory committee appointed for Comp Plan update
This news release is available online
January 6, 2014

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has appointed a sixteen member community advisory committee to assist with policy development for the county’s Comprehensive Plan update that is now underway.  Originally adopted in 1977, the current Comprehensive Plan needs to be revisited and revised to reflect the times and to better guide future land use, transportation and capital improvement decisions in unincorporated areas that are outside the urban growth boundary.

The sixteen residents of Multnomah County who were appointed to serve on the committee were selected based on information provided in their applications. The composition of the committee is evenly divided between east county and west county representatives. The county Planning Commission will have a non-voting, ex-officio position on the Community Advisory
Committee.  Committee members are listed online at

The Community Advisory Committee members are listed below:

  • Aaron Blake
  • Andrew Holtz
  • Catherine Dishion
  • George Sowder
  • Jerry Grossnickle
  • Karen Nashiwa
  • Kathy Taggart
  • Lindin Burk
  • Marcy Cottrell Houle
  • Martha Berndt
  • Paula Sauvageau
  • Rayford Davenport
  • Sara Grigsby
  • Stephanie Nystrom
  • Tim Larson
  • Will Rasmussen
  • County Planning Commission Representative (Ex-officio member)

The committee’s first meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21 in Room 126 of the Multnomah County Building, located at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. The meeting is open to the public.  The agenda for this first meeting will be an overview of the project, including the process that will be used and the protocols that committee members will
follow.  The committee will meet throughout this year with the expectation of completing work on the plan update at this time next year.

For up-to-date meeting dates, times and locations visit:

# # #

Mike Pullen <mike [dot] j [dot] pullen [at] multco [dot] us>  |  Multnomah County Communications
Office  |  503-209-4111  |  newsroom <>
 |  twitter <>  |  facebook



Community Calendar  


Skyline School Bottle and Can Drive
Sat, 01/10/15 - 10:00am - 2:00pm
Skyline 8th graders are collecting bottles and cans that have an OR 5¢ refundable deposit.  Collections are at the Skyline Grange on the following dates: 1/31, 2/28, 3/21, 5/16 and 7/11. If you have a large collection or can't make one of the above dates, please contact us and we can make alternate arrangements.   

SRN Board Meeting - Thursday, 1/15/15 @ 7 pm.
18030 NW Johnson Road, Portland OR 97231 
All are welcome to attend.

In need of pet sitting services while traveling? Conscientious and doting care for your furry buddies available from local business professional satisfying his passion for pets through house-sitting on the side. Older pets, no problem. Experienced, has veterinarian contact on call, multiple local references available.  Contact  David Dayton  at david [at] daytoncom [dot] com
or phone  503-781-1702.

As a service to neighbors, SRN publishes a listing of local government agencies and businesses in the Skyline Resource Directory. Follow the links in this section to view its contents and learn how to add a business or agency listing.
Listing of organizations and businesses herein does not imply any endorsement of SRN nor does it imply a lack of endorsement for similar organizations or businesses not included.

Skyline Grange:
Forest Park
Linnton Community Center:

About the Newsline: Skyline Rural Watch Newsline is a part of Skyline Ridge Neighbors (SRN) and has been produced since June 1994 as a means to communicate neighborhood information. The Newsline is produced by Laurel Erhardt (editor) with help from Miles Merwin and Sen Speroff
The Newsline depends on you as a source of accurate information about local crimes, upcoming events, and other news pertinent to the area.  If you have information you would like considered for the Newsline, you may do so by e-mailing the information to newsline [at] srnpdx [dot] org, or leaving a message at (503) 621-3501. Urgent, timely items (crimes, lost pets) should be emailed to alert [at] srnpdx [dot] org.
If you would like more detailed information about any item on the Newsline, request that information & SRN will e-mail it to you if available.
You can subscribe to the Newsline at the Skyline Ridge Neighbors Website, Tell your neighbors about this free Newsline service.

About Skyline Ridge Neighbors: SRN is a neighborhood association serving much of unincorporated northwest Multnomah County and some adjacent areas within the city of Portland.  SRN is registered as a neighborhood association within Multnomah County, registered as a non-profit public benefit corporation with the State of Oregon and approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the IRS Code. SRN is operated by volunteers and with donated funds entirely.
If you would like to donate to SRN in support of its activities, such as this free Newsline service and the publication of its quarterly Skyline Ridge Runner, send your donation to “Skyline Ridge Neighbors”, c/o John Eskew, 15604 NW Rock Creek Rd, Portland OR 97231 or donate through PayPal. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.




Publication date: 
Sun, 01/18/2015