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News Releases
Gresham Reads program offers free books to children - 09/19/17

GRESHAM, OR. -- Mayor Shane Bemis will launch the new Gresham Reads program, which offers free books to children at select local restaurants, at a kick-off event on September 21 from 1 p.m to 2 p.m. at Sugar Cubed Cakes, 101 N. Main Avenue.

Through Gresham Reads, five local restaurants have agreed to host a bookshelf provided by the City. Children and families visiting the restaurant may read the books during their visit and may also take a book home with them. The City and partners have provided 300 free books to launch the program.

At the launch on September 21, Mayor Bemis will be joined by his wife Alix; Darlene Frazier, 2016 Oregon Council for the Social Studies Elementary Educator of the Year; and superintendents and other representatives from Reynolds, Gresham-Barlow and Centennial school districts. The Mayor and Mrs. Bemis will read stories to 2nd-graders from Hogan Cedars Elementary School. All children in attendance will get to take a book home with them. Free cupcakes will be offered.

"Studies routinely show the critical importance of childhood literacy. Gresham has a laser focus on our children and families right now, and the Gresham Reads program will give us a new and exciting way to make age-appropriate books accessible for our youngest residents," said Mayor Bemis.

In a report to the City Council in 2016, the City's Commission on Children and Families highlighted the importance of reading as a critical component of early childhood development, as well as a method to improve academic outcomes.

"I deeply appreciate the restaurants who've agreed to partner with us and host a Gresham Reads bookshelf. As a mother, I can attest to the fact that there is no greater joy than watching a child grasp the keys to literacy and build a true passion for reading and language. In agreeing to host a Gresham Reads bookshelf, these businesses are demonstrating to our children that reading and education are high priorities in Gresham," said Alix Bemis.

"As a business owner, I am proud to be a Gresham Reads location. Not only do we get to support local kids and encourage their love of reading but this program will hopefully bring in new customers to all of the participating restaurants. I think it is a win-win for the community," said Kayla Brown, owner of Sugar Cubed Cakes.

Donations of new or gently used children's books are welcome to keep expanding the program and ensure new reading choices. Community members may drop off their donations at City Hall, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"Our hope is that this program will expand to even more Gresham businesses in the coming year," said Alix Bemis.

Gresham Reads bookshelves can be found at the following restaurants:
* Sugar Cubed Cakes, 101 N. Main Avenue
* Blondie's Pizza, 112 N. Main Avenue
* Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon, 16223 NE Glisan St.
* Shari's Café & Pies, 881 SW Highland Dr.
* Burgerville, 2975 NE Hogan Dr.

Many thanks to our community partners for their generous support that helped launch this program:
* The Children's Book Bank
* Friends of Multnomah County Library
* Title Wave Books

Long-anticipated Hogan Butte Nature Park opens to public - 09/14/17

GRESHAM, OR. -- Experience a new, spectacular park, featuring sweeping views, perched on top of an extinct volcano at the grand opening of Hogan Butte Nature Park, September 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors are invited to experience for themselves stunning views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier and the Columbia River Gorge.

"Hogan Butte Nature Park will quickly become Gresham's crown jewel. I am so proud to open this amenity for our residents to take in its sweeping views of every nearby mountain, the Columbia River Gorge and the city of Gresham," said Mayor Shane Bemis.

Just half an hour from downtown Portland and minutes off I-84, this 46-acre park feels a world away from its urban surroundings. Towering native trees shade a dense understory of sword ferns and salmonberry, while red-tailed hawks soar high above. A ?1/2 mile paved interpretive loop trail winds through the forest up to the top of Hogan Butte. Break out the binoculars at the Volcano Viewpoint, and enjoy a picnic lunch with views of the trees and city below.

Hogan Butte is part of the Boring Lava Field and the "East Buttes," a cluster stretching from southeast Portland to Damascus. Gresham is one of the few places in the United States to have extinct volcanoes within its city limits.

The City began the process for acquiring land on Hogan Butte more than 25 years ago, through a 1990 City bond measure and two later Metro bonds. Visitors can enjoy this park today thanks to considerable effort from Gresham citizens, the City, and many community partners such as Metro, the Trust for Public Lands, the U.S. Forest Service and the Buttes Conservancy, who all advocated for the conservation of Hogan Butte lands over the years. Special thanks to our funding partners Metro and Oregon State Parks, who helped build the park.

At the grand opening event, take a self-guided tour of the new park and enjoy free, family-friendly activities, including a bird demonstration by the Audubon Society, scavenger hunt with prizes, and an activity table to create a special keepsake. Due to the limited number of parking spaces, the City has closed public parking for the event. Free five-minute shuttle rides will be offered, departing from Springwater Trail High School, 1440 SE Fleming, Gresham, and taking visitors straight to the park. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes starting at 10:30 a.m. Activities will be held for the duration of the event.

More information at www.GreshamOregon.gov/Hogan-Butte-Nature-Park.

Media opportunities for the grand opening:
* Mayor Shane Bemis will welcome visitors with a short speech around 11:15 a.m., and will be available for interviews immediately afterwards.
* Parking on-site is not open to the public for the event. However, members of the media with heavy equipment may check in at the park at 757 SE Gabbert Road and park their vehicle. Be aware it is a steep walk from the parking lot up to the park.

Mayors unite to combat hate, extremism and bigotry - 09/07/17

GRESHAM, OR. -- The Metropolitan Mayors' Consortium (MMC), a coalition of Portland metropolitan mayors, joined a new nationwide initiative to fight extremism and bigotry. The Mayors' Compact, formed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, concentrates on ten action-items that promote the fundamental principles of justice and equality that define America.

"As mayors, we interact with our neighbors every single day, be it at the grocery store, the high school football game, or while we are grabbing lunch in our downtowns. That closeness to the people we represent goes a long way to combat hate and intolerance, and holds our collective social contracts together," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, the 2017 MMC Chair. "The collective force of the Region's mayors coming together is a clear demonstration of our values for the people we represent."

Key principles of the compact include:
* Expressly rejecting extremism, white supremacy, and all forms of bigotry.
* Denouncing all acts of hate wherever they occur.
* Ensuring public safety while protecting free speech and other basic constitutional rights.
* Calling for fully-resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
* Elevating and prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our nation's schools.
* Supporting targeted communities and bringing together civic and community leaders to build trust.

"This Compact clearly demonstrates that the mayors of this region are standing strong together to let it be known that hate of any kind will not be tolerated in our communities," said King City Mayor Ken Gibson.

Read more about the compact, including all ten principles, at http://www.mayorscompact.org.

More than 300 mayors from 45 states have signed onto the Compact.

The MMC consists of 25 mayors from throughout the Portland metropolitan area who advocate for collective local government priorities at the state and regional level.

Available for media inquiries today:
Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis: Contact Jessica Harper, 503-618-2584, mailto:Jessica.Harper@GreshamOregon.gov
King City Mayor Ken Gibson, Contact 503-639-4082, mailto:kgibson@ci.king-city.or.us

Attached Media Files: Signed Mayors' Compact