Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jahrzeit, 7:30 Wednesday evening, 14 April 2010

A small gathering will be held at Roots Organic Brewing at 7:30 pm Wednesday, 14 April 2010, to mark the anniversary of Steve Nelson's passing. Nothing fancy, just a flame from Brigid of Kaldare and a chance to visit over a pint at 1520 SE 7th Avenue, Portland 97214.

"Jahrzeit" is a phrase referring to the time of year or one year's time since a death, and is often observed by lighting an evening candle in remembrance. This one will fall on a new or dark moon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Memorial Day Garden Tour

As was discussed at the People's memorial, a group of us is planning some sort of memorial ride to see a few of the gardens that Steve worked on in southeast Portland. We'll leave from People's at around 3 or 4pm to end around 5 either a garden barbeque (weather permitting) or at Roots (weather prevailing).

The exact details will depend on how many gardens we can line up, but we'll probably leave People's Food Co-op around 3pm on Monday, May 25, to finish around 5pm. If you would like to take part in the garden party barbeque afterwards, please email Elinor to let us know if you are a vegetarian and what (if anything) you would like to bring. More food = more fun, eh? Extra points for the most bizarre and tasty combination of Asian ingredients and/or seaweed.

Also, please bring photos and memories of Steve to share.

There shall probably be one final memorial gathering after probate is complete, at Steve's house, in October.

People's Food Co-Op is at 3029 SE 21st Ave, Portland OR 97202, (503) 674-2642. Roots Organic Brewing is at 1520 SE Seventh Avenue, Portland OR 97214, (503) 235-7668.

For a PDF copy of the tour map, please email Rory.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reach the Beach 2009

Anyone who had spoken to Steve in the past three years or so had probably heard about the "Reach the Beach" fundraising ride for the American Lung Society and his good friend, Brian Reynolds. Brian had fought lung cancer for fifteen years, and the disease had taken one lung by the time he and Steve met. Brian got around with the aid of an oxygen bottle, yet managed to ride in this fundraiser over 100 miles each year, aided in later years by helpers who would ride alongside and push on the uphill bits. Steve was one of those helpers and would often speak of Brian's courage and inspiration. When Brian died near the winter solstice in December of 2007, Steve was devastated, and a brochure for the 2009 Reach the Beach ride was the top paper on Steve's desk when he went into the hospital.

Brian's obituary is online, as is information on this year's Reach the Beach event, which shall include many of Steve's mates from Team Beer.  Those who may wish to honor Steve are encouraged to consider riding or supporting an RTB rider this year or next, in memory of Steve and his good friend, Brian.

This year's Reach the Beach takes place next Saturday, May 16, 2009.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

At Handmade Bike Show, October 2008

A delightful picture of Steve taken at Oregon Manifest's handmade bike show last October. Thanks to Jonathan Maus of BikePortland. Original at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thanks for Attending

Thank you to everyone who attended Steve's memorial at People's this past Saturday, April 25, 2009. Forty or so people gathered in the community room to share stories of the brave, authentic and passionate man variously referred to as "Youngtree," "Century Steve," "Encouraging Steve" or "Too Much Information Steve." If folks have memories they'd like to capture here, please do so, and provide links to any photos that you would like to share. 

As mentioned at the service, there are plans for a few more honorings of Steve in the coming months, including participation in Steve's beloved "Reach the Beach" ride on May 16, a possible plaque to be placed somewhere at People's and a tour of gardens or garden party either at Steve's house or one of the gardens he helped design. More information about those events will be posted here as it becomes available.

Thank you very much to Lori and Cari and Dusty of People's for coordinating such a wonderful tribute to Steve and the opportunity for many of his friends to meet each other and learn more of the man who touched our lives so deeply, as well as many others.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

People's Memorial Gathering 1-3pm Sat, 25 April 2009

Among other things, Steve Nelson was an occasional staff member and long-time working member ("HOO" or "hands on owner") at People's Food Co-op in SE Portland. Among his many contributions to the co-op were various parts of the green roof gardens, curbside rain plantings and the banana tree that dies and is reborn.

There will be a brief gathering to honor and remember Steve this coming Saturday from 1-3pm in the Community Room at People's, 3029 SE  21st Avenue (just north of Powell in) Portland, Oregon, 97202.

Please bring pictures and memories of Steve (at work and at play), even music. Don't forget the Nina Hagen and other delightful oddities!

Steve Nelson Memorial Gathering
1-3 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009
People's Food Co-op Community room
3029 SE 21st Ave
Portland OR 97202

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friends & Community Invited to Join Tribute Ride this Sunday, April 19

Team Beer Celebrates Life of Teammate "Century" Steve Nelson

On the evening of Tuesday, April 14, Team Beer lost a beloved teammate, Steve Nelson. The news came after 6:00pm, just as the team gathered for its traditional Tuesday meeting. After a battle with illness and a stream of hospital visits from friends and teammates - which one nurse observed to be the deepest collective care witnessed in his career - Steve succumbed precisely in time to join his beloved Team Beer in spirit. As the call came and news was shared, heads bowed in quiet grief and meditation, and glasses were raised to quietly salute a teammate whose smile, wisdom and support would be sorely missed but never forgotten.

"I looked up to Steve, and he'll always be with me," said John Howe, a founding member of Team Beer. "I feel good knowing that I now have someone out there who I can talk to, laugh with and ask questions that I can't ask my grandpa, who’s in a similar place," he added.

I vividly remember my first impression of Century Steve. It was at Mount Tabor last year; we both joined Team Beer at the same time. I have an indelible impression of the warm-hearted, quick-witted man who encouraged me before my first stab at racing - pinning a number to my shabby hand-written tank while experienced racers wore official gear. I remember the enthusiasm and support he provided at that moment, which remained and even expanded when I completed my attempt, rolling in -  and laughing at myself - in second-to-last place. Steve was among the circle of teammates who hugged and congratulated me regardless. I remember his tight and prolonged embrace, and I remember realizing that there was no need to feel self-conscious about the layers of sweat and grime on my body. He was proud.

Fondly known as "Century Steve" because of his passion and endurance for epic long-distance rides, Steve was an ever-present member of the Team Beer family. Rather than racing competitively, Steve preferred adventuring in Oregon's stunning expanse of scenic roadsides, often slating hundred-plus mile rides into his mental notebook of life journeys. His endurance and dedication manifested not just on the road, but also in the countless ways in which he fed and embraced the camaraderie and compassion of his team. Steve rarely missed an opportunity to support his fellow Team Beer mates at the races. Whether laughing with mud-coated friends in the cyclocross season rain, or lounging in the curb-side grass on summer evenings at Mt. Tabor, "Century Steve" was always there to observe, support and share thoughts and insights with those fortunate enough to spend time with him. Also, because Team Beer was founded on principles of community participation and plain-old fun, Steve was often the first to sign up for volunteer events, from the Worst Day of the Year Ride to the Filmed By Bike premiere, which he was eagerly slated to support again this year. He loved attending all kinds of events, including parties and "bike crawls" to celebrate teammates' birthdays. 

In addition to his love for team, Steve embodied and all-encompassing passion for cycling that is difficult to match, even in the bike-enamored Portland community. He not only rode distance rides, but approached them transcendentally. For example, he completed Cycle Oregon in 2007, and he rode Reach the Beach last year while helping his dear friend Brian who was battling lung cancer. At times Steve, with his his hand on his friend's back, helped him up the hills so that they could complete the distance together.  Seeing as he spent so much time on bikes, Steve loved, acquired and fully deserved some remarkably fine rides.  Among the most memorable was a custom-made single-speed road bike, its frame exquisitely crafted entirely of stained bamboo. 

In addition to his passion for cycling, Steve relished the daily ritual of cultivating plants and the meditative beauty that they brought to his home, yard and garden. He was also a craftsman and skilled tradesperson. An active member of the People's Co-op, Steve was interested in holistic health and wellness, which he demonstrated as an individual and as a member of his Southeast Portland community. 

This Sunday, April 19, Team Beer invites friends and the community to join us in honoring the life and spirit of our fallen teammate, Century Steve. As a fitting homage to a man who loved the challenge of hill climbs and the breathtaking vistas that they bring, the ride will route will feature three vantage points that Steve loved: Mount Tabor, then Rocky Butte followed by a continued ride west to Council Crest. Please note that the ride will be open and accessible to anyone who would like to participate: we will ride as a group, and no one will be left behind, no matter one's speed or capability, just as Steve would have done. Participants can ride to one, two or all three points with the group, breaking away at any point preferable. Some of Steve's closest friends were not as involved in cycling as he, so Team Beer hopes to make the ride approachable and possible for all, especially those who made the past week's transition easier to navigate, thanks to their care and kindness. 

As we ride together, we will reflect upon the life and enduring spirit of our dear friend, and we will savor the scope of sky, hillsides and valley views with Century Steve with us in our hearts, on the climbs and in the rewarding rush of wind as we peak and head back home.

Ride Begins at 4:00pm

Starting/Ending Location: Roots Brewing, 1520 SE 7th Avenue, Portland OR 97214.

Questions? Email