Wheeler talks mountaineering, not county politics, in Parkrose

And, see how the fun folks from the Parkrose Business Association have been promoting the only Portland Rose Festival event east of 82nd Ave‚ the June 24th Parkrose Cruise-in

Lt. Joe Rossi, Parkrose Posse, shows around a poster for their “most wanted man”‚ retiring Parkrose Schools superintendent Michael Taylor. The Posse tried to capture him during the Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade. Remember, the Rossi Barn Bash is coming up on July 14!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The lighthearted members of the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) are always dreaming up was to have fun‚ while they work hard to beautify their area and provide scholarships for high school seniors.

The group learned about Portland Commissioner Sam Adams’ tour of Parkrose, work progress on the “Sandy Triangle” being renovated by the group, and the upcoming Parkrose Cruise-in.

PBA president Mark Eves, Eves & Wade, LLP welcomes vice president Jon Turino, Farmers Insurance, to the podium to present his “Member Moment”.

Before the guest speaker could be introduced, the meeting was interrupted by members of the Parkrose Posse looking for their “most wanted” man, Michael Taylor, outgoing superintendent of Parkrose Schools. In doing so, they promoted their participation in the May Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade and Fair — and the BARN BASH on July 14.

County chair speaks, but not about county
Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler was the guest speaker. While it may have disappointed some, Wheeler didn’t spend even one minute talking about the county’s budget, the Sellwood Bridge’s needed repairs, nor opening the Wapato Jail.

“I’m glad I was invited to talk about mountaineering,” began Wheeler, “instead of fielding questions about the Executive Budget.”

Wheeler said his father often took the family on “death marches”‚ long hikes. “But these outdoor experiences started a life-long interest in mountain exploring,” said Wheeler.

Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler shares his experiences on Mt. Everest.

“I climbed Mt. Everest, not because I wanted to get to the top, but for the adventure,” Wheeler continued. “When I was young, I read adventure stories‚ especially about expeditions and adventures that ‘went wrong’. My bookshelf is filled with books about explorations that went wrong. It has given me a good knowledge of exploration.”

Wheeler says he joined Portland Mountain Rescue. “Here, I developed skills needed to be a mountaineer. After 25 years of experience in rescue, I decided it was time for me to climb Mt. Everest.”

Spring is the best season to climb Mt. Everest, Wheeler went on. “This year, many people have climbed the mountain, the weather has been good. To date there have been only three fatalities on the mountain this year, compared to nine last year‚ a typical number.”

The County Chair said he’s visited Mt. Everest on three different occasions.

“I was part of an expedition seeking explorer George Mallory’s lost camera. Although Mallory was found, we didn’t find the camera, film, nor his lost climbing partner. I’m glad the mystery [of what happened to them] remains.”

Wheeler’s next Mt. Everest adventure was a summit attempt, he went on. “I felt good, did well at altitude, and maintained a good appetite. You need to eat, at 26,000 feet; you burn 10,000 calories an hour.”

Third time not charmed
In 2003 Wheeler said he mad his third, and final, attempt to reach the top of Mt. Everest via the north face.

“This did not go well,” Wheeler stated flatly. “No one died, but the mountain beat the expedition badly. I felt terrible. Summit day requires one to be well, rested, hydrated‚ it didn’t work well. We were stranded on an ice face, then exposed to deteriorated weather. The ropes disappeared under an avalanche. My frostbite has healed, but I still need to be careful in cold weather.”

Wheeler added that he’ll never return to Mt. Everest. “I’ve gotten out of my system.”

Wheeler says weathering the trials of mountaineering helps keep him grounded while presiding over the county’s matters.

Life lessons learned
Asked what he has learned from his mountaineering experiences, Wheeler replied, “Very little fazes me. You survive on the mountain‚ and in business‚ by working and sticking together.

“Mountaineering has taught me to take advice; work with team, and follow a plan. As I wrestle with the budget deficiencies, I can’t know every item in the 800-page [county] budget. I rely on our department heads to help guide me. I let go a little, and trust their judgment.

“And, I remember that no matter how bad your day is going, someone on this planet is having a worse day than you are. I can be in a meeting where people are disagreeing, yet still feel grounded.”

Parkrose Cruise-in fever heats up June 24

At their June 21 meeting, the PBA will be making their final plans for the Portland Rose Festival Parkrose Cruise in on Sunday, June 24.

Event Sponsor, Rex Hollingsworth, Rex Heating & Air Conditioning, rides in the Gateway Fun-O-Rama parade promoting the Parkrose Cruise-in.

In addition to being able to walk among hundreds of antique and special interest vehicles of all kinds, folks can enjoy:

  • The famous Swedish Pancake Breakfast;
  • Butch & the Buicks’ live music playing all day;
  • Food and Fun Vendors;
  • A Kids’ Area with activities, compliments of Cascade Athletic Club;
  • Two “Blowup Car” Contests ‚Äì guess how long the junkers will run without water, and win cash prizes — compliments of Portland Imports;
  • Visit the “Company Store” and shop for 2007 Cruise-in T-shirts, tank tops, and polo shirts, hats, posters, and souvenir Shirts from the event’s first 5 years;
  • Raffle Tickets drawn all day long for great prizes.

Longtime PBA supporter and past president, Gordon Boorse of Compaction & Recycling Equipment, is about to fire up the hot rod engine Gail Bash donated to be raffled off at the Parkrose Cruise-in on June 25.

Grand prizes include a $1,500 barbecue donated by event sponsor Rex Heating & Air Conditioning; $2,500 worth of Bob Brown Tire Center tires and wheels sponsored by West Coast Bank; and a 383 cubic inch small block Chevrolet Engine, valued at $18,000, donated by the event’s creator, Gail Bash.

“Proceeds benefit scholarships for Parkrose High School seniors,” said PBA board member Marsha Lee, “and for community enhancement projects here in Parkrose. Come meet our five 2007 scholarship winners at the Cruise-in.”

Show off your vehicle
Registration is just $20; and the first 150 registrants get goodie bags and dashboard plaques. With 55 categories of trophies, many entrants go home winners.

It’s open from 10 am until 3 pm. The group asks you pitch in at least $1.00 for general admission

We’ll see you at the 2007 Parkrose Cruise-in at Parkrose High School and Community Center, 12003 NE Shaver Street (a block west of NE 122nd Ave.).

Meet the PBA
One of our favorite groups meets at one of our favorite restaurants. Come at 11:30 a.m. on June 21 and meet this group of fun, energized business people. You’ll get the best business lunch at town at Steamers Restaurant, 8303 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. Info: www.parkrosebusiness.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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