Play Room April 2018

Take Five: Martha Strawn Morris

Northeast Portland’s Martha Strawn Morris is the director of the Gateway Center, which strives to prevent and reduce the impact of domestic violence. In 2017 they helped 3,223 women, 245 men and 675 children. Visit for more information.


Q: What are some of the services The Gateway Center offers?

A: We offer comprehensive safety planning, restraining orders, crime reports and prosecution, civil legal services, immigration legal services, mental health services for adults and kids, economic empowerment services, DHS self- sufficiency services, and housing placement and rent subsidy services, among others. Child care is provided during visits to the Gateway Center as well.

Q: Can a woman who has decided to leave an abuser just walk into the Gateway Center to receive help? What if she is not ready to leave, but might be thinking about it?

A: A woman or a man who is interested in our services can just walk in weekdays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm There is no requirement that somebody separate from an abuser either before or after receiving services. We respect survivors’ rights to make up their own minds about what is best for them. Almost half of our first-time visitors come in to explore their options.

Q: What advice would you give to a person who suspects a friend is being abused by a partner?


A: Support your friend in whatever decision she or he is currently making about the relationship, while being honest about your beliefs about healthy and unhealthy relationships. An abusive relationship on average will end and start again seven times. It’s important to understand this dynamic, and not judge a person. Call to Safety (503-235-5333) is our local expert crisis line.

Q: With the recent #MeToo movement, are you seeing more women coming forward to escape abusive relationships?

A: No, we have not experienced a particular uptick in service requests. However, many of us who do the work are deeply grateful to all the amazing survivors who are speaking up about their experiences, and being heard! We are lifted when we see oppressive people like Harvey Weinstein actually lose power and prestige because survivors are believed.

Q: Do you take donations of money or things like gently used baby and kids clothing, and gear?

A: Yes, we have a small foundation that accepts cash donations. We also have a clothing closet mostly for women’s and children’s clothes. We also accept diapers and feminine-hygiene products. — Denise Castañon

Good Deeds: Clean the Planet

You may know SOLVE Oregon for their flagship events, beach cleanups that draw thousands of people to the length of the Oregon Coast to help clean up trash and debris. But SOLVE’s mission has expanded beyond the beach, and this Earth Day, they’ll be hosting kid-friendly volunteer events all over the state, aimed at preserving wildlife habitat, beating back invasive plants and picking up trash before it floats away. You and the kids can help pick up litter, pull invasive plants and plant native trees and shrubs, among other projects. Supplies and instructions are provided, and all ages and abilities are encouraged to join in. Sign up at or call 1-800-333-7658. Most projects run between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday, April 21. — Julia Silverman

Playlist: Political Animals

Red Yarn has long been a major player in Portland’s thriving kindie music scene. We love his richly imagined world of the Deep Woods, complete with sassy animal puppets. His fifth album, Red Yarn’s Old Barn, still features the Americana rhythms he does so well, but Red Yarn, aka Portland dad Andy Furgeson, is clearly using his recognizable voice to champion inclusivity and standing up to injustice. Yup, Red Yarn is woke. His message is right there in the title track: “The new sheriff in the town, tried to shut us down, saying who could stay and who must leave, But if you ask me, the only place to be, is wherever with whomever you feel free.” While he’s on message for most of the album, he tucks in some fun, joyful tunes, too, like the raucous Zydeco song Down in the Meadow and the toe-tapping reel Barndance. Red Yarn’s Old Barn is available on April 27 on iTunes or at For more on his album release concert turn to page 56. — D.C.

TOP 5 Cool New Parks

➊ The groovy new play structure at Ventura Park in outer SE Portland is an interactive art installation/jungle gym. ➋ Luuwit View Park in northeast Portland has accessible play features and a water play area, just in time for warmer weather. ➌ Hidden Falls Community Park (pictured above) opens this spring in Happy Valley, with a paved trail leading to a pristine waterfall. ➍ Hyland Woods Natural Area in Beaverton has a mile of soft-surface trails to prowl and a nature play area for fort building and woodpecker spying. ➎ Climb 930 feet to the top of the new Hogan Butte Park in Gresham. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier. — J.S.

Gear Guide: Hot Wheels

Ah, spring. Sure we still have rain, but it’s warming up and you’re probably itching to get outside. Try taking your kiddo for a spin in any of these jogging strollers. (But remember, most manufacturers don’t recommend taking babies for a jog or off-road until they are at least 8 months old.)

BOB Revolution Flex Lunar There’s a reason you see so many BOBs around town. This jogger is versatile enough for everyday use, but also suitable for use on bumpy trails. New to the Lunar is reflective fabric for increased visibility during night runs and a one-hand seat recline so your kiddo can easily snooze. $469.99. At Bike and Hike, 400 SE Grand Ave., and REI, at multiple locations.

Thule Urban Glide 2 This is more of a paved-trail jogging stroller — think runs on the Eastbank Esplanade. The Urban Glide 2 has a sleeker profile and is lighter than other joggers. Magnetic closures on the peek-a-boo window allow you to quietly check on your kiddo. $479.95.

Schwinn Interval This budget-friendly jogger has a lockable front wheel and shocks like pricier jogging strollers, plus a removable child’s tray and an adjustable handlebar. The downside: It’s not quite as heavy-duty as the BOB and is bulky when folded up, so it may not fit easily in smaller car trunks. $199.99. — D.C.


Kid to Know: The Hospital Helper

No kid wants to go to the hospital, especially for an extended stay, but Cleveland High School junior Malcolm Asher has found a way to help make a trip to the hospital just a little bit better. Malcolm founded the nonprofit ArtPass, which allows kid patients the chance to create art and share it with each other. His inspiration came after volunteering at Oregon Health and Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital oncology outpatient clinic. Tasked with keeping kids entertained in the clinic’s play room, he organized art projects for them. “I expected the kids to make pictures for their parents or to take home, but I was shocked to see that some of the kids began sharing their art with other kids in the clinic. It was so inspiring to see the connection this created and the instantly more uplifted and confident mindsets of both sides,” Malcolm says. When he later volunteered at in-patient units, he saw the need for in-hospital activities that could help kids interact with each other and thought back to his experience in the play room. After nine months of research and collaborating he founded ArtPass.

While some might find it hard to spend time with children in the hospital, Malcolm is able to find moments of joy in it. “There is truly nothing like being there for a kid’s ‘cancer-free party’ or playing with a kid after a tough treatment to help them feel better,” he says. Up next, he’s taking ArtPass global to serve kids in developing countries. The icing on the cake: Malcolm is being recognized nationally by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards as the top high school youth volunteer in the state of Oregon. He’ll receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with other volunteers from around the country. Learn more about ArtPass at — D.C.

Getaway: Seabrook, Washington

A 3.5-hour drive from Portland, the beach town of Seabrook, Washington offers loads of easily accessible family fun. It was designed to be walkable with restaurants, shopping, the beach and a market within a quick 5-minute stroll from rental houses. Conservation is also part of the design, with 70 percent of land going to green space — even the choice ocean views are available to all via a public esplanade along the bluff. So bring your bikes (or rent some from Buck’s Bikes) and plan to explore the town by the trails and paths. You’ll also probably want to make a stop at the heated indoor South Crescent pool or the community firepits for s’mores-making in the evening. Check out Frontager’s Pizza for lunch. Or hit Red Velvet Bakery by the Sea for a snack. Want a little more adventure in your vacation? Head about an hour’s drive away to the Olympic National Park Quinault Ranger Station to choose from a selection of short rain forest hikes. Back in Seabrook, on April 7, lift your brelly and march in the Umbrella Parade. The next month they’ve got a Seafood and Wine Festival scheduled for May 5 and the Syttende Mai parade on May 12, celebrating the area’s Norwegian roots. (The town helped move and restore a historic cabin built by Norwegian immigrant Dorothy Andersen.) On the way back to Portland, get some car-ride wiggles out with a stop in Olympia at the Hands On Children’s Museum (if you’re a member at Portland Children’s Museum you’re eligible for discounted admission!) For information on rental houses, visit — D.C.

Apps We Love: Just for Fun

You know the feeling: You’re at a restaurant, the food is taking just a little too long and your kiddo is getting anxious. PDX Parent to the rescue with a list of fun, new apps that can be played in a jiff, just long enough to avert a meltdown.

ThinkRolls King and Queen You’ll want to play this one alongside your kid. The makers at Avokiddo have filled this app with a series of progressively trickier logic puzzles, where kids need to build on what they’ve already learned in order to advance. There’s a sneaky dose of STEM learning, too. Ages 5 and older.

Busy Shapes + Colors No bells and whistles, just a simple, clean interface that lets toddlers and preschoolers learn to ID 11 key shapes and colors. It’s just like the shaper-sorters you might have in the toy bin, but includes 150 levels and obstacles that can change the contours of a shape. Plus fun penguin animations to congratulate kids when they’ve mastered a level. For iPad and iPhone, from Edoki Academy. Ages 2 and older.

Hat Makers A light-hearted app from Sago Mini that looks ahead to the Kentucky Derby. Kids get to run their very own hat shop, and design ever-crazier toppers for the “customers” who come through the door. Ages 2 and older. — J.S.

Ask Dr. Corey: Speaking Out


Q: My elementary school son has a stutter. He covers it up by staying silent, or speaking in very short sentences, or trailing off and letting others pick up the conversational thread. His teacher seems to think it will resolve itself, but I’m not so sure. What do you think?

A: Like most things with kids, language is a learned skill following fairly predictable patterns. The tough part as parents, guardians, teachers, and care providers is that we have to identify children who are stuttering but will go on to develop language in typical way compared to those that might benefit from language therapy services and are less likely to outgrow the stuttering on their own.

One way we might try to tell the difference between typical or developmental stuttering compared to non-typical stuttering is to use the age of the child. The problem here is that developmental stuttering can persist as far as age 12 or sometimes even longer.

Because the age of the child isn’t a reliable way to tell whether speech therapy is needed, we need to more closely examine the type of stuttering involved.

Developmental stuttering can involve repeating either whole words or syllables but usually only lasts for about half a second, and occurs once in every 10 sentences or so. It tends to be more noticeable when the child is tired, excited, or talking about a new subject. Also, the child usually isn’t too bothered and neither are the teachers and parents. Children with these behaviors can usually be watched and will end up developing typical speech over a period of 6 to 12 months or so.

Mild stuttering that would benefit from speech therapy also can involve repeating whole words or syllables, but it is much more frequent, about
3 percent of all words. Stuttering episodes also last longer, closer to one second. These children may start to show facial tension, start to blink, or turn away as a way to cope with the stutter. The child might notice their stutter a little and most parents will get concerned by this point. Children with mild stuttering can be watched for a couple months to see if it goes away and if not, should be referred to a speech therapist.

Children with severe stuttering usually repeat parts of words or very short whole words very frequently, 10 percent of words or more. These stuttering spells last for longer than one second and are usually embarrassing for the child. Pretty much all parents or guardians will notice this behavior and children with severe stuttering should be referred to a speech therapist as soon as possible.

It sounds like your child might be exhibiting stuttering that falls into one of the last two categories. I’d encourage a visit with a health care provider to have a more thorough discussion, at which point, a referral to therapy might be warranted.

Chalkboard: Graduation Station

Oregon education officials aren’t exactly celebrating the state’s perennially low ratings for getting students to graduate from high school in time. But there were some encouraging trends in this year’s data from the Oregon Department of Education, based on the class of 2016-2017. For one thing, though they are still well below the rates for white and Asian students, graduation rates for both Latino and special education students both went up. Officials say schools statewide are doing a better job of monitoring student progress, and offering concrete and immediate support when students fall behind. For some students, things are especially bleak: According to the state’s numbers, just 51 percent of homeless teens can expect to graduate within the allotted four years and just 59 percent of kids in special education tracks. Officials say they are hopeful that those populations will see improvements in the years to come, especially after funding from the voter-approved Measure 98 kicks in. That measure sets aside money for career/technical education at the high school level, and for dropout prevention programs. — J.S. 

We Recommend
Spring is the perfect time to hit the trail, kiddos in tow. Author Wendy Gorton has your hook-up; her new book, Oregon & Washington: 50 Hikes with Kids, has dozens of trails under 4 miles that are perfect for short legs, including deep cuts like an abandoned mine on the way to Salem’s Henline Falls. — J.S.
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