Category Archives: Feature Story

Disaster Relief Trials – Cargo Bike Style

disaster bike

When it comes to being prepared for a disaster the unexpected could happen at anytime and at any moment and time of day or night, no matter what season of the year it is, Summer, Fall, Winter or even Spring – disasters are bound to happen, depending on which part of the United States or somewhere in the world, it’s a matter of time when.

A disaster is waiting to happen – are you prepared to survive three days without conventional food, water, medical help and professional assistance if a major disaster or were to hit the Eugene-Springfield, Lane County area unexpectantly?

Your likely answer is probably going to be, “no,” as many seem to say and think, it’ll never happen here in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1993, the upper Willamette Valley experienced one of the strongest earthquakes, just outside of Salem, Oregon in Scott’s Mills. It was later coined by geologist’s as, the “Spring Break Quake of ’93.”

On March 25th, during the early morning hours of 5:34 a.m. Pacific Time, a strong 5.6 magnitude earthquake rattled the Willamette Valley as the quake was largely felt as far away as Seattle, Washington and in the southern Willamette Valley in Eugene and Springfield, the Puget Sound in Washington – not to mention, Portland, Oregon also felt the ground move as many slept through the night and we’re awaken by the early morning jolt of earth.

The 45 second quake caused over $28 million in damages and no one was killed, but several people were treated at local hospitals for minor injuries after the quake.

2014 DRT flyer Last weekend, the Second Annual Disaster Relief Trials and Cargo Bike Fair was held at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. Participants in this year’s, Cargo Bike Fair and DRT’s showed the cities of Eugene-Springfield and Lane County, that bicycles and cargo bikes can be effective tools in the event of a disaster, any disaster according to Emergency Managers from Eugene and Springfield.

Emergency Managers say, “infrastructure in the event of a disaster can be severely snarled of directly cutoff from the outside world setting things back to the stone age, but having bicycles, especially cargo bikes can be an effective tool in a disaster for such needs as supplies, food and water to the effected areas that need them most.”

This year’s event netted nearly seventy participant riders registered for the various classes of Family, Citizen, Resilience and Responder classes in the trials that took more than thirty miles of race course and checkpoints throughout the city.

Not only was the DRT’s just an event, it was also a community event held at Alton Baker Park at the covered picnic shelters where a community fair in disaster preparedness and bicycle expo showcasing some of the local bicycle makers of cargo bikes were graciously displayed by local businesses.

With favorable weather for a Saturday morning stroll in the park and an afternoon cargo bike race, riders headed out under partly cloudy skies with mild fall temps and a nearly clear sky toward the end of the trials, all that mattered, the many who were challenged to the task of proving that bicycles and cargo bikes can make effective emergency responders in getting much needed gear and supplies from one location to another, if a disaster were to happen in the Willamette Valley, especially in the Eugene and Springfield area.

certlogoThe fleet of sixty-one cyclists proved just that and it was well worth it at the end. But, that wasn’t all, planning for the 2014 DRT came almost immediately after the first Eugene DRT took place last year in 2013 at Sheldon High School – this year’s venue was moved to Alton Baker Park to accommodate the larger response of riders and additional participant classes and vendors wanting to support the 2014 DRT’s, organizers say.

It was all about fun and it was all about coming together as a community, cyclist Alex Hongo said, during a RG Interview via a YouTube video taken at the Saturday’s event, said, “people in the Pacific Northwest are definitely pre-occupied with disaster preparedness, not just because we live near a fault line, but because of other natural disasters that can happen in the Willematte Valley,” he said.

Hongo’s statements ring true of the Pacific Northwest being vulnerable to disasters, the 1993 Spring Break Quake in Scotts Mills, Oregon makes a powerful statement in being prepared for the unexpected, many say, including Emergency Managers.

2014 Eugene DRT Alton Baker Park 1As a young child, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of Richmond, California, a familiar ground zero of one of the most devastating earthquakes to ever hit the West Coast in 1906.

“Disaster preparedness is not about the unexpected, but when to expect the unexpected,” I recently told a vistor back in the spring of this year at the National Neighborhood Conference in Eugene.

Being prepared is about being self-reliant and the unexpected, no matter where you are, there’s always the unexpected, something most people tend to think it would never happen to them or during the lifetime.

SF EQ 1989When the San Franscico Earthquake in 1989 took place during the World Series between the SF Giants and the Oakland Athletics, the battle of the bay became the battle for life and safety, as the destruction of the Bay Bridge and the I-880 in Oakland was televised nationally on literally every television network and the Marina District Fire that brought out throngs of volunteers helping the San Francisco Fire Department battle a raging fire that literally went out of control, the community came together to help those in need, especially the fire department.

“When all else fails, everyone should be prepared for the unexpected,” I recently quoted saying to a number of folks who came by the Eugene-Springfield CERT table during an outreach event at the Jerry’s on Highway 99 North two weeks ago with Lane Fire Authority hosting the community event.

“Rather your prepared or not, disaster can strike at anytime and anyplace where the unexpected can literally become a scary situation for all, now is the time to prepare yourself and your family, friends and neighbors, before the big one hit’s the fan,” Emergency Managers say.

As the laws of common sense says, “expect the unexpected, be prepared, don’t become a victim.”

Remembering the Great Gordon Wickstrom

Gordon M. Wickstom 1924-2014

I thought this was a pretty good story for the love of Fly Fishing over on the Orvis website, this story is so remarable it’s worth a print on my blog for everyone who love’s Fly Fishing and fishing in general. Remembering the Great Gordon Wickstrom.

Thirteen yeas later: Are wee still safe?

WTC 911 flag

Thirteen years ago, the world watched in horror, as one of the most famous landmarks in New York City disappear into the world of darkness with nearly 2,000 live that were never again to be seen, including 343 fire fighters of the Fire Department New York (FDNY).

Today, we mark the thirteen year anniversary of that infamous infamous day, that brought America into war with terrorists, whom have gained momentum and brutality and dangerous agenda’s to innocent men, women and children, including the beheadings of two innocent American Journalist’s who had nothing to do with the war, but with their reporting of covering war and the fight against terrorists.

America stands strong since that day, but wishes they had never happened and the world has become a hostile place compared to how the world lived before the attacks shocked the world.

We shall never forget the memories of those who tried to save others so they can live their lives as we do today with their families, friends and co-workers and more. “We shall never forget,” is has powerful as it was back in September 11th, 2001, as it is today in 2014.

30 year reunion brings the best of all

30 year reunion #4I couldn’t imagine not going to my thirty year class reunion this weekend. It brought a lot of joys and silent tears that never before made me so overwhelmed to be with a great group of friends – some, I’ve known since childhood, some I’ve known throughout my scholastic career of twelve years to my high graduation in 1984 and some for life.

The best part of it was sharing the memories, the hugs, handshakes and the arts and craft of catching up with one another, since we all walked out of the “Lancer Dome,” at Winston Churchill High School on warm spring evening in June 1984, as we prepared to start our lives as adults into the late twentieth century and into the early stages of the twenty-first century and beyond.

Lancer Rock!Many of us have been friends longer than we can remember, while many of them have been perfect couples with their high school sweethearts every since.

It felt like the right place to be, as some have been married for more than 25 years or longer or near there and some nearing twenty years in the making since graduation.

A bright and powerful reunion, brought many from all walks of life from various parts of the country or even the world, we all came together as a whole – more than a 100 of us, along with spouses, girlfriends, husbands or just our merrier self with the spouses left behind to let a parent enjoy their time with friends for a change of pace and a life of reconnecting. Even those of us that have been best friends, even came to the reunion as well.

I know my buddy Kevin Stacy had a blast as this was his very first reunion in thirty years since graduation. From the moment Kevin and I walked through the door on Friday night, the fireworks lit off a firestorm for many, who haven’t seen our beloved best friend and favorite Lancer drummer in what looked like yesterday transformed into a different reality thirty years later at his first and my third reunion. Kevin was completely blown away as the reunion unfolded in front of him!

30 year reunion #4Has this was Kevin’s first reunion and my third, this photo at left was taken of us by another of our classmates from the reunion that justifies the dent Kevin made in making reunion history! An epic shot of a lifetime, that we both could not only cherish, but can also remember for many years to come, as best friends and high school buddies – this probably goes down as the epic of reunions to say.

In fact these four handsome guys you see in this picture, have known each other since the third grade – yes, you heard me right, the third grade! Amazing! I dunno what I’m more amazed about the third grade figure or the entire lifespan of our friendship every since the 1970’s! I’m totally, but literally blown by the new found knowledge! Wow…!

Amazed and surprised at how many he hadn’t kept in touch with since high school and college, he literally made a dent in the lives he saw this past weekend and his first reunion. “It was joy and it was fun,” I couldn’t have said it any better than that – with a graduating class over 300 in attendance on graduation day, more then 100 of those graduates returned for their 30 year reunion, some for the first time and for other’s, many have been keeping in touch and attending each and every reunion there as been within the Winston Churchill Class of 84.

30 year class reunion #4

Over the last 30 years, we’ve rejoiced the memories of those that have left us behind and couldn’t make the journey to join us for our 30th anniversary reunion – but, we shall never forget their memory of the love and friendship they provided us during the time we spent with them before they passed on.

13 fellow students have passed away since the day we all graduated – I’m so grateful, that I was friends with me of them and their friendships and love would be missed until we see one another an another time and place.

30 year reunion #6Finally as the reunion came to a close on Saturday night we all gathered for the class picture as we have in the years we’ve been through each reunion year – I’m hoping by the time the 35 or 40 year reunion rolls around we’ll even be bigger! Hopefully?

Special thanks!

A special thanks goes to the awesome planning team of Kim Edlund Allworth and Michele Horseman-Biernat, your dedication and hard work paid off handsomely in bringing back so many of us that have renewed some faithful friendships after thirty years since the walk down the isle at the Lancer Dome in June 1984 – even though it was my kickstarter idea (if) were going to have another big year reunion, the girls jumped the gun and started the planning and all, the rest is history as it took like two years to plan such an event of this magnitude for our class, I’ve heard the rumors among other classes on how we do it? Well there’s a little secret, “we can tell you, but we’ll have to kill you, if we tell you our secret,” it all begins with an idea and some awesome planning – it’s just that simple.

Has I said before, “I’m blessed to be friends with many of them today,” as I was back thirty years ago in 1984 and the memories will last a lifetime, not only just mine, but that of others. I look to the many more reunions in the works in the years to come. ┬áMichele and Kim, Jack, Amy and Gary, thanks for the memories and the extravaganza of a well played out reunion, it was awesome – love you all! And thanks to those whom pitched in to help as they couldn’t be there, but helped sponsor the event as we needed, you folks were awesome, we thank you for your generosity, kindness, love and continuous friendship!