The Story of the Neighborhood Owl

Hornblower AKA, Muhammad Owli

The owl turned up on Tillamook Street right before Thanksgiving.

My wife, Shara, noticed some crows having a fit about something in an old birch tree in our yard on a Monday morning. To her surprise, there appeared to be a Great Horned Owl sitting on a branch 30 feet up. She told my cousin, Liz, an avid birder who lives behind us on Thompson Street. We pulled out the binoculars. We gawked. We pointed it out to passersby, including a troupe of children from a nearby pre-school. It wasn’t just the crows who were upset. A pair of hummingbirds that live in our yard buzzed the owl repeatedly. But the owl — he? she? — barely flinched. At one point, it moved its neck suddenly and — I swear — a crow that was squawking at it jumped. We saw the owl’s talons through the binoculars. They looked sharp and powerful. We figured a predator like that isn’t easily perturbed. I called the Portland Audubon Society. They were impressed. They said Great Horned Owls are rarely seen in the city. Shara and I continued to tell everyone we could find. The owl was still in the birch tree at dusk when our daughters got home from school, so they got a chance to see it. Liz had the great fortune of seeing the great bird fly off before the sun completely set.

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Get ready for Recycling Roll Carts

New recycling roll carts are coming to Portland neighborhoods between May and July. The heart of the new system is replacing the two yellow recycling bins currently used with a single roll cart. All material currently placed in the yellow bins can be combined in the roll cart, except glass. A lid keeps recyclables dry and sturdy wheels make the cart easy to set out. The carts also are easier and safer for trash haulers to collect, since mechanized trucks can tip the carts into the truck. Glass should be placed in one of the remaining yellow bins.

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More street car possibilities in Eliot

Portland transportation officials are looking at the Williams/Vancouver corridor and MLK as possible street car routes.

Officials are looking at neighborhood support and whether the street has under-developed property.

Mike Warwick, Eliot resident and longtime land-use committee chairman, says MLK fits the bill perfectly.

And clearly, the street car won’t be built on both streets.

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Possible changes at Boise-Eliot School?

Boise-Eliot School is our neighorhood school. The K-8 program feeds into Grant High School, but could a switch to Jefferson be in the works?

A recent article in The Oregonian looks at possible changes to the current feeder system, pointing out that Boise-Eliot School is a lot closer to Jefferson than it is to Grant.

The article doesn’t suggest imminent changes, but it’s worth noting that Grant is bursting at the seams while Jefferson is half-empty.

Street car property assessments (update)

An article in the July 6 issue of The Oregonian discusses how property owners near the Street Car will have to pay assessments to help cover the cost of the east side extension.

The article mentioned how much longtime Eliot resident Pauline Bradford will have to pay, and might leave some with the impression that all property owners near the line will be charged.

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Willamette Week article about Eliot

The July 4th issue of Willamette Week has a very interesting article about changes in the Eliot and Boise neighborhoods.

The author, Nancy Rommelmann, is a relatively new Portland transplant who lives on Northeast Cook Street between Rodney and Williams. She talks about the significant demographic changes she’s seen on her block in just the few years since she bought her house. I appreciated her nuanced attitudes about change and the wide range of people she quoted.

Coincidentally, the day before Willamette Week published the article, I bicycled along that very stretch of Cook Street. I noticed two houses next door to each other, both porches full of loud, revelers. One group was African American. The other was white. I thought it was a telling snapshot of our changing neighborhood.

The Bakery Blocks

The June 28 inPortland section of The Oregonian has an article about major development at the northern edge of Eliot.

Developer Ben Kaiser has two projects in the works: BackBridge Station, a $14 million mixed-use development with 41 units on Fremont between Vancouver and Williams; and Backbridge Lofts, a 39-unit residential project at the southeast corner of Williams and Fremont.

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Eliot Restaurants make 2007 diner guide

Several Eliot eateries made the top 100 in The Oregonian’s 2007 Diner’s guide.

The Eliot restaurants that made the list are: