Four years ago, 13-year-old Carlie Steele of Amity, Oregon, caught a vision for helping people in need. Watching a telethon for children’s cancer “sparked an interest,” Carlie explained to KOIN reporters. “I thought these kids might want something to play with or something to do when they’re in this rough time.” Carlie faithfully pursued her vision, collecting $2,000 worth of donated gifts for young chemotherapy patients.
After her first project, Carlie felt inspired to keep on giving. She founded “Carlie’s Kindness Campaign,” a certified non-profit organization, to structure her charitable efforts. One Christmas, she organized a drive to collect gifts and card games for overseas military personnel. She developed a 5K run fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Oregon. And she held multiple assemblies at her school “to raise awareness and respect for those who have disabilities.”
Carlie’s campaigns have earned her national recognition: this May, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive a Presidential Spirit of Community Award for community service and to meet Senator Ron Wyden.
Carlie, however, intends to pursue goals much broader than national recognition and fame. “I want to try and end the negativity in the world and show kids my age that being kind is cool, and volunteering is a great thing to do.”
In the month of March 2017, two local Portlanders separately discovered $100 bills hidden in copies of the book, The Cloud Seekers, in stores around the city. Jeffrey Winton, one of the lucky discoverers, found the money in the book at the Goodwill located on Southeast 52nd Avenue. Along with the money came a small note that stated:
“This book is free. If you need the money, please keep it. If you don’t, please give it to someone who does. You are not a Leftover. None of us are!”
The note was signed by Dustin Banks, a fictional character from the book.
Initially, the person behind these generous actions remained anonymous; however, the author of The Cloud Seekers, James Zerndt, eventually admitted when asked by KGW News that he had hidden the money along with his five-year old son, Jack, who had come up with the idea while watching Willy Wonka and the Charlie Factory.
In a tweet, Zerndt exclaimed “I’ll just say that my five year-old’s favorite movie is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He says everyone deserves a golden ticket!” Jack later said in an interview, “I had an idea from ‘Willy Wonka” when we watched it that I think everybody should get a golden ticket. That’s not fair if only five people do. So my dad had the idea of going to put the money in his books to help people get money.”
Money was placed in five books. So far, only two of the lucky books have been found; three books stuffed with $100 bills are still waiting to be discovered.
Bicyclists in Portland were out in force on Sunday, September 25, to ride in support of an African American family that was attacked in what police called a racially motivated incident.
A passing bicycle rider attacked Patricia Garner and her daughter, Foia Frazier as they were helping Foia’s three sons into a car on September 13. The man on the bicycle used pepper spray on the children and screamed racial slurs at the family. The oldest child had to be taken to a hospital later that evening due to breathing difficulties from the pepper spray.
The rally was organized by bicyclist Taz Loomans and as it got underway, Ms. Garner sat in front of a home near where the attack occurred. Ms. Garner was given notes of support written by those participating in the rally.
“I’m so grateful for the bicyclists who came together so that my grandkids know that everybody who rides bikes is not bad,” she said. “I’m just so overwhelmed with the love and support.”
“We’re out to support a family who’s part of our local community,” said Kelly Decklar, a rally participant who attended with her husband and their two young children. “On a micro level, this is just our community and our people. And on a macro level, it’s easy to feel very powerless. And when we can step up and support and just show that we care, I think that’s a good first start for our family and for the local community.”
An exhibition of the Portland Grid Project, a sustained Portland photography endeavor, will be open to public from March 31 through May 1st at the 12×16 Gallery in Southeast Portland. Sixty images will be on display from the project, showing pieces of Portland and how the city has changed over time.
The Portland Grid Project was started in 1995 when Christopher Rauschenerg, a local photographer, cut a map of Portland into 98 pieces and invited 12 other local photographers to help him capture one randomly selected square per month.
“Everyone brings something completely different to the table,” says Castle, a full-time student at Portland State University who joined the project in 2013. “Especially how fast the city is changing and growing, it’s an opportunity to see Portland — the little places that aren’t highlighted as tourist destinations but are really cool parts of the city.”
The photographers use a variety of digital formats in their project to capture the city, but each focus on the same grid square, using their own perspective and aesthetic in the process.
George Kelly works with film and has been part of the project since 2007. “My goal is to make things more recognizable, focus less on specifics — more broad. I would see a slug in Forest Park but wouldn’t be able to take a picture of it with a wide-angle lens.”
Other photographers enjoy connecting with the community through the project.
“I love photographing people, documenting people and the environment. I also love Portland,” Castle said. “This is an awesome opportunity to get to know the nooks and crannies of Portland — places I’m sure I would never venture to.”
One time, while Castle photographed outside a Baptist church, the pastor came out and asked him what he was doing. After Castle explained the project, the pastor invited him to attend the church service on Sunday.
Castle attended the service and found a welcoming environment. “The congregation and pastor were so welcoming and excited to have me there,” Castle remembers. “They gave me hugs. There was so much passion. I think I even danced a little bit.”
Once a month, the photographers meet and share their work. This month’s artists are Scott Binkley, Nancy Butler, Carole Glauber, Nathan Lucas, Missy Prince, Faulkner Short, Pat Bognar, Daniel Castle, George Kelly, Alberta Mayo, Steve Rockoff and Jeffrey Thorns.
The Grid Project photos can be viewed on the project’s website.
The archive will stand as a wealth of local cultural history.
When an oncoming car hit Laura Palmeter one year ago on her way to work, firefighters had to labor for an hour to cut her from her totaled car. At OHSU, doctors fought to keep her alive despite multiple fractures and muscle fiber necrosis. But Laura wasn’t the only one fighting for life: inside her, a little baby was fighting too.
Doctors said Laura’s growing baby girl had a 10% chance of surviving after the crash. They encouraged her to abort, but Laura and her husband Chris refused.
“They chose their words very carefully and never said abortion,” said Laura. “They stated her odds of living, challenges she would face and then listed off how it would be better for me.”
Though the couple was well informed of the risks the baby faced, including possible x-ray-induced cancer, they soldiered on, determined to save their child. Laura even avoided pain medication in order to protect her daughter. After two months, the hard work paid off.
On December 1st, 2014, Aria Palmeter entered the world in mint-perfect condition. While the family still has much to do to regain stability, they are grateful for the support of the community and their family. Laura is facing several more surgeries, but she finds strength in her new daughter: “Hearing the doctor speak shattered my heart in ways I never thought possible. My baby was going to live! She had to! I would not have survived if she did not.”
To support the Palmeter family, visit their Gofundme page here.