Field Notes

Forest Grove children killed: A plea for ignorance

Forest Grove children killed: A plea for ignorance
Abigail Robinson (left) and Anna Dieter-Eckerdt in a photo from Facebook.

It’s one of those rare stories that make me want to leave the news business because there are some things I just don’t want to know.

I really wish I had never heard the names of Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and her 11-year-old half-sister Abigail Robinson.

I would be fine if no one had told me how the two of them had been playing in a pile of leaves outside their home in Forest Grove on Sunday when a car plowed through the pile.

Former gang member: "There's nothing you can do to change what you've done"

Former gang member: "There's nothing you can do to change what you've done"
Robert Rean

"I was dealing drugs - crack - before I was a teenager," says Robert Rean, reflecting on how he got to where he is.

"I was a bad a man. Lots of people on the street knew who I was, what I was capable of and to be afraid of me."

Rean, who has been out of jail for almost a year, says that is no longer the case.

Scenes from a murder: The killing of Tiffany Jenks

Scenes from a murder: The killing of Tiffany Jenks
Tiffany Jenks (right) with her sisterJennifer. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Jenks)

In a flash, the gun went off and Tiffany Jenks, 35, was on the ground. Dead.

There were three people with her by Blue Lake Park in Fairview when it happened. And all will be behind bars Saturday when a memorial is held at Crane High School in Burns for Jenks.

Friends and family of Jenks have described her as having been a warm, caring, outgoing person who had struggled with addiction and depression ever since her father died in 2010.

She had worked as a hydrologist for the Bonneville Power Administration, a job she left around the time her father died.

In court documents released Friday, the story of the night unfolds like a movie. And since we know the ending, it’s easy to find yourself wanting to reach into the paper and shake some sense into Ms. Jenks before it is too late.

But no such luck.

Jessie Cavett just one of the many faces of domestic violence

Jessie Cavett just one of the many faces of domestic violence
Jessie Cavett (right) and her sister, Jennie Cochran.

Jessie Marie Cavett is just one of many.

The 27-year-old woman was shot once in the head and killed in front of her daughter on Saturday. Police say the man who pulled the trigger was her husband.

She had an order of protection against him - commonly known as a restraining order.

And while he is now under arrest and there will likely be a sense of justice – he told the police he had “just f****** killed someone” – the case highlights the unfortunate truth that, in the end an order of protection is just a piece of paper.

An industry that's the apple of Washington's eye

It all started in 1826.

Emilius Simpson was in London at a dinner party in his honor. He was the head of the Pacific Coast trade for the Hudson Bay Company and was getting ready to visit his cousin who was the governor of what is now Vancouver.

A woman at the party, having finished her apple dessert, took five of the seeds, wrapped them in a napkin and gave them to Simpson, asking that he plant them when he arrived on the other side of the world.

Why I walk: fighting ALS and working for a cure

Why I walk: fighting ALS and working for a cure
John Solomonson and his brother, Paul.

Sunday was one of those days that convince people Portland is a grey, miserable city where people exist in a bubble of rain.

It was coming down straight, sideways, at times hitting puddles so hard you would not have been blamed for thinking the rain was coming up from the ground. It was not pleasant.

And yet, for several hours, I was among some of the most pleasant, content people on the planet.

It was the annual walk put on by the ALS Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Police report paints grim picture of suicide in Portland

You know the old expression about the numbers speaking for themselves?

From April 2011 through June 2013, 202 people in Portland committed suicide. That’s roughly 34.4 people per 100,000, or three times the national rate, according to a report issued by the Portland Police Bureau.

Another way to look at that is there were approximately 7.5 suicides a month, or one every four days.

There were nearly twice as many suicides as homicides and traffic fatalities combined.

All atwitter over a stripper and a pol

All atwitter over a stripper and a pol
Lynsie Lee in a photo she posted on her Twitter page.

Lynsie Lee, a single, working mom in the Portland area, found herself Wednesday in the national spotlight.

A graduate of Reynolds High School, Lee went to Mt. Hood Community College where she studied philosophy and geology. She’s also smart and funny, which has attracted more than 10,000 followers to her Twitter account.

Her activity there – some 40,000 tweets - also brought her to the attention of a woman making a documentary about Twitter, Follow Friday.

Also in the film are such notables as Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed and Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark and candidate for the United States Senate.

Lee and Booker tweeted back and forth, sometimes flirtatiously and on Wednesday that became national news.


Guilty plea in crash that killed Oregon firefighters

Guilty plea in crash that killed Oregon firefighters
This Aug. 7, 2008, file photo shows the wreckage of a Sikorsky S-61N that crashed, killing one crew member and eight firefighters seconds after takeoff while ferrying firefighters from a remote helipad on the Buckhorn Fire in Trinity County back to base camp near Junction City, Calif. Jurors could return a verdict Tuesday, March 27, 2012 in a case that asks them to decide whether a problem with an engine was responsible for a 2008 crash. (AP Photo/Redding Record Searchlight, Greg Barnette, File)

As the rains come, it seems easy to forget how dry much of the state was and the fires that were raging just a few weeks ago.

With those fires were the hundreds of firefighters who traveled from all over to save homes, land, lives.

In the process, two firefighters in Oregon lost their lives.

Welcome to the rainy season

Welcome to the rainy season
A puddle fills up after heavy rain in Vancouver, Wash. on Sunday afternoon.

It starts slowly.

It will be a beautiful end of  summer day, barely a cloud in the sky, the temperature hovering in the 70s. You will look into the endless blue above, feel the gentle breeze and wonder why anyone would live anywhere else.

Then there’s a cloud. And another cloud. And then a cloud that looks somewhat ominous; dark. Suddenly you notice that the blue that had been everywhere has been reduced to patches.

The single dark ominous cloud seems to have joined with other clouds and they are gray, heavy, almost engorged on the now-absent sun.

And you feel a drop. And another drop. Before you know it, you have gone from wondering why anyone would live anywhere else to wondering why anyone stays.

At The Children's Center, waiting to help

At The Children's Center, waiting to help
Chris Smith (in purple) with some of her colleagues at the Children's Center.

More often than not, you will find Chris Smith on the floor.

The 45-year-old nurse practitioner at The Children’s Center in Oregon City makes it clear that it’s her choice.

“I am 5’11" and I am very careful to never ever be in a position where I might be towering over a child,” she says. “Just as often as not I will do an exam while sitting on the floor.”

Smith has been at the center for about four years. She has spent most of that time as the full-time employee who evaluates children and teens who are suspected victims of abuse.

Life lessons from a woman dearly missed

Life lessons from a woman dearly missed
My grandmother looking over my shoulder.

“No one is going to bite you, so you can just relax and after the first few minutes of talking I think you will probably get over your innate nervousness.”

It was Sept. 27, 1950 and the man talking, Myles Lane, was an assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  He was talking to a witness who was appearing before a grand jury investigating Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Lane may have claimed that the witness had nothing to worry about, but the whole situation was intimidating on several levels.


Horman divorce case returns to court

Horman divorce case returns to court
FILE - Kaine Horman stands in front of an age-progressed photo posted on the side of a truck trailer of what his missing son could look like now during an unveiling for media, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, at a trucking yard in Pacific, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

On Friday morning, in the courtroom of Judge Henry Kantor, we'll hear the latest in a case that has captivated Oregon for more than three years.

Well, sort of.

There will be a hearing in the ongoing divorce case between Kaine Horman and Terri Moulton Horman.

Of course, it is the disappearance of Kaine’s son – Terri’s stepson – Kyron that has captivated Oregon. The divorce proceedings are just a sideshow.

On September 11, remembering Father Mike

On September 11, remembering Father Mike
(AP Photo/Mike Segar, Pool)

He grabbed his collar, his firefighter’s hat and coat and headed to the World Trade Center.

He would die there a couple of hours later when debris fell on his head.

“Jesus, please end this right now,” he was reportedly saying. “God please end this!”

Mychal Judge, a Franciscan friar, was victim 0001 in an attack that would claim nearly 3,000.

Father Mike was the chaplain for the fire department. He was a willing listener to anyone who needed someone to talk with. I have not met anyone better at keeping his mood at even keel, putting things in perspective.

Owner of homeless camp property "hopeful but not optimistic" as settlement with city nears

Owner of homeless camp property "hopeful but not optimistic" as settlement with city nears
KATU photo.

 “I can’t figure out what I’ve won,” said Michael Wright, owner of the property where the Right to Dream Too homeless camp is located.

He is expected to join his lawyer along with Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Monday afternoon to announce the camp will move to a new location near the Broadway Bridge.

Since it became known that a deal was in the works, people have been asking Wright if he will see the settlement as a victory.

“I think I’m going to be right back at square one,” he says.