Category Archives: Lane County

Forty-five years of memories, brings out a youthful generation of memories

Eugene's Allan Bro's Coffee - The Beanery 5th and Olive St.
Eugene’s Allan Bro’s Coffee – The Beanery 5th and Olive St.

I sit in a familiar coffee house in Downtown Eugene on a chilly Sunday afternoon, as the air entraps Oregon’s famous fog, which likes to linger longer than its usual paid astronomical visits during the fall months – just as winter looks to start burst its door in less than a week – the chill factor of the winter cold isn’t much of a deterrent to those who live in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon. Evidently, it remind of those days where the fall solstice is about to walk out the door and off the job and transforming its duties to the Winter solstice until Spring.

I’m not talking about the utterly winterstorms just yet, I’m admiring my past, when kids used to tease me back in the days of my childhood, when I had once predicted – it would snow that very day. They not shrugged and brushed it off, they made all kinds of noise and music, that it wouldn’t snow has I had predicted. But, the most amazing thing happen along the way, a few tad hours later, it started snowing as we were out and about on our recess either before lunch or thereafter, the flakes started falling slowly and the snow started piling up as the day went onward.

By the time, we got out of school – the city was heavily blanketed with white power – indeed the snow had fallen! What a beautiful sight to see as the snow stuck to the ground, my prediction had come true, it was later thought, I had some kind of magical power to predict anything? – but, it was the empowering thought and the wisdom of one’s sub-conscious of mind bogging knowledge of predictions, the psychic mind was at it’s best to begin with and with the help of some kinds souls across the universe, the prediction of snow that day was the presence of Christmas magic or was it?

5th Street Public Market with fresh winter snow.
5th Street Public Market with fresh winter snow.

Why I can’t remember the exact date or the exact year, when this story took place. But, it has been such an inspirational thought of my childhood, where I once stood my ground and predicting the most wonderful even in memory, while growing up.

I’m still reminded of the Winterstorm of 1969. I recently read an old newspaper clipping of how the storm came about in the middle of nowhere, as a Pineapple Express whirled up a fanfare of destruction and large amounts of snow in a phenomenon that could never be explained – A link to the Eugene Register Guard news story of the surprising impromptu winterstorm to ever hit the Pacific Northwest came about with chaos, school and business closures, since dumped nearly three to four feet of snow in parts of Eugene-Springfield, Lane County and a trail of destruction from Oregon to British Columbia.

West 13th Ave. Circa Jan 1969
West 13th Ave. Circa Jan 1969

It was January 1969, when it all happened. Three days of non-stop snowfall practically shutdown the entire region, as if it was just hit with one of those heavy banded Nor’easter’s, folks on the east coast experience each winter – but, it was close in a way, more of a Nor’wester to say in a way.

But the day, I predicted the winterstorm of the early 1970’s as a young child during my wonder years, I lay back in my office chair reminding myself – those where the days, when we were kids, had “the most wonderful time of the year,” as January 1969 took us into the post-Christmas winter wonderland.

I remember the roof of my grandfather’s barn caved-in – due to the heavy weight of snow, shattering the roof big time. It took my grandfather and my Uncle an entire Spring and Summer to replace the roof before the Fall semester kicked a few months later.

Nearly a half century of memories is a stark reminder, we live in a world where our lives are shared with the memories of our past and future generations.

Passing down the stories we tell from generation to generation is the historical significance of the life we live today. The future is very much different, than, what we experienced as a generation, that was born in the mid 1960’s and seventies.

I believe the twenty-first century is looking to leave a lasting mark, as a new generation of stories are to be told by the offspring of those we bear as children and their grandchildren – as we witnessed it today in our lifetime.

Future generations telling the stories of past generations to come.
Future generations telling the stories of past generations to come.

Perhaps, that was the prediction that endured me to reach into my past and tell the story of a generation, that lived through one of the most surprising snowstorms of their generation? How we perceive the future and to preserve it with the stories to be told is – something to be witnessed by the offspring we bear and that of their town as we muster into a later years as adults, parents, grandparents, writers and bloggers, it is yet to be carved and etched in stone has history is written.

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.”

CERT Training as an instructor proves vital

March 2014This past weekend, after eighteen hours of training, that began on Friday morning at 9 A.M. sharp at Eugene’s Fire Department Training Facility in Eugene – twenty plus students all veteran CERT Trainers except for two of us myself and a friend from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit and Commander of Central Aid Agency, all came together as an entire unit of instructors taking FEMA’s Train The Trainer (TTT) Course for the Eugene-Springfield Community Emergency Response Team.

What was interesting was the instructors that taught the class were from Polk County, Oregon, CERT Team just outside of Salem, Oregon. The four, Kimber, Dell, Dave and Wendy all threw their knowledge, experience and awesome instruction on how CERT Trainers should be teaching the basic CERT Training to their students.


We all learned the right and wrongs and what to improve during our training and learned about ourselves along the way, as well..

For some of us, we’ve never taught a CERT class full of students, but we learned in front of our own peers and colleagues along the way – that there was no easy way out, we all had to learn how to trust our own instincts and fears – at the end we actually found out, “we could actually do this!” I said to myself, late Sunday night after getting some much needed sleep from three days of eight to nine hours for a total of 18 hours of classroom lecture and lab work with the two “teach-backs” as they are called – I came out learning from the best that have been traveling the state teaching other CERT Teams around the state of Oregon the same things they were teaching us in Eugene-Springfield CERT.

It could get any better than that. It was awesome and a lot of fun – I’m actually looking forward in teaching those in the community what it’s like to a prepared member of CERT and what they can do to help their communities, neighbors and family in the event of a disaster or emergency.