There have been many stories about problems with law enforcement personnel. It’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of these public servants are dedicated and conscientious individuals who deserve our support. Two examples are related below:
City of West Linn
We live in this suburb of Portland. While it might not seem to be a big deal, I initially contacted the City in 2015 with a letter expressing concern over lack of adequate signage/lights at a crosswalk across a busy arterial two blocks from our house.
My letter stated, in part:
“There is a crosswalk which is heavily used by a diverse group ranging from school kids to runners to residents like us who use the crosswalk on exercise walks or just to walk to the nearby commercial district….The warning light for the crosswalk is totally inadequate and does not serve the purpose of warning drivers that the crosswalk is occupied…”
As you could glean from the December 2021 post about my Dad’s long battle with the City of Madera, Ohio regarding the sewage system, when I was in grade school, he taught me that one needs to be persistent to resolve a problem. ( (External photo attribution at end of the post #3)
Two appearances at the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee and essentially annual letters helped result in a speed limit change but no change in the light or signage.
Unlike in Ohio, the City of West Linn was very responsive in communicating and admitted that both the placement of the crosswalk and the light were problems, but budget constraints precluded resolution.
That is until 2022, when the City informed us that new lighting had been ordered and would be installed in August. Police Chief, Peter Mahuna and Captain Oddis Rollins also were very communicative about enforcement of speed limits and the plans for a new motorcycle traffic officer. Supply chain issues delayed the installation until October, but the effort was finally rewarded.
Having worked in local government for seven years, I understand the constraints, but also know when a government unit is just blowing off a citizen initiative. This was not the case with any of the multiple City personnel with whom I dealt. Take a look at the change! (In the video, the pedestrian had already finished crossing.)
The Chief – Overcoming Bad News with Good News
West Linn had very serious problems with its Police Department prior to Chief Mahuna assuming the position. It resulted in the termination of a sergeant against whom criminal charges were subsequently filed, the former Police Chief was fired and a substantial law suit settlement was paid by the City.
Chief Mahuna realizes a major part of his job is regaining the Department’s credibility with the community and communicating with its citizens. This effort was quite apparent in my dealings with him as evidenced in these e-mails. (The first one is an excerpt).
May 26 – “Mr. Williams, Thanks for your letter and I completely understand your frustrations. I wanted to address the speeding and crosswalk concerns you mention in your letter. The PD conducted crosswalk missions last year and we were able to educate several drivers about the safety concerns in crosswalks.
Unfortunately, with our severe personnel shortages we don’t currently have enough people to conduct them until our staffing gets back up.
………Due to the geography of West Linn and access routes, Salamo Road gets more police cars up and down it throughout the day than most streets in our City. That being said, we will ask our troops to keep an extra eye out on Salamo. Respectfully, Peter”
Sept. 2 – “This is great to hear. Thanks for the follow up. Just a reminder that we will be hiring our motorcycle officer on September 12th. Once he gets settled in his focus will be traffic related issues around the city to include monitoring crosswalks. Thanks for the email. Peter”
He is a very busy man and I’m a retired guy, so I was impressed with his communication and responsiveness and told him that I hoped to meet him at some point. Within an hour I got the following response:
Sept. 2 – “Would love to meet. Sign up for “Coffee with the Chief” on our website. We can meet at PD or Salamo Starbucks. Peter”
Well, I signed up and at 8:00 on October 13th, I spent almost forty minutes with Chief Mahuna in his office – we had a great chat, which I both enjoyed and appreciated. (#4)
Chief Mahuna is a native of Maui and a former college athlete (basketball) at Pacific University where graduated with a BS in Social Work. He has extensive law enforcement credentials and is sincere in his efforts. For example, he’s asked citizens to participate in interview panels for new officers.
Soon after I met with him, I saw that two reps from his Department were meeting with a Citizens’ Group and his personnel are getting involved in the community.
I wish him success in these efforts.
And Speaking of Good Law Enforcement Administrators
In my January 2020 post on our road trip through the Southwest including several days in Pueblo, Colorado (home of some of the best dive bars I visited since the start of Beerchasing), I mentioned having a beer with Kirk Taylor and his family.
At the time, Kirk was the Sheriff of Pueblo County with responsibility for law enforcement and corrections – first elected in 2007 and re-elected three times. (#5- #6)
Kirk is a USMC Veteran and started as a patrolman in the narcotics division for the City of Almarosa, CO. After earning his associate’s degree and while ranching full-time, he completed his BA.
While working as an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, he attended and graduated from law school at the University of Colorado. He has been a leader in law enforcement serving on numerous state task forces in addition to teaching at the State Police Academy.
Kirk is a man of faith, family, an avid outdoorsman. He coaches youth athletics and is active in civic and non-profit organizations such as 4-H. He’s also a national authority on the impact of legalizing marijuana including an appearance on a CBS 60 Minutes special.
I’m happy to report that on October 20th, Kirk was sworn in as 31st United States Marshal for the District of Colorado after being nominated by Pres. Biden and confirmed by the US. Senate. He and his wife are moving to downtown Denver in November. (#7- #8)
Congratulations to US Marshal Taylor!
The Cycle of Life – Puppy Version
As I related in a June 10, 2022 blog post, Janet and I during the forty-three years we’ve been married, have never had a pet. That said, our two daughters and their spouses each had wonderful dogs and they became our “Grand-puppies.”
We always looked forward to our visits with Sullivan – an amazing thirteen-year old Havanese and Wesley – a beautiful six-year old Golden Retriever.
First there was “Sully Bear.” He lived in Lake Forest Park, WA and always waited with anticipation at the window for his “parents” to come home and was the ultimate lap dog – he loved to cuddle with his two young “sisters.”
“Wesley Walter” loved to run and swim especially at the river near his home in Portland and the beach – a big dog, but he always gentle with the babies at his house.
Our granddaughters and their parents loved these pups and family get-togethers were always enhanced by their presence. They got along with each other very well.
We were grief-stricken on March 10, 2021, when Wesley, after a few cardiac episodes, died of a heart-attack. Exactly one year later, his “brother” Sullivan succumbed to multiple health issues based on his advanced years.
The memorial stones below will always provide memories of these wonderful members of our family.
The good news is that this coming weekend we’ll meet the new addition to the Magnusson family. Archie was welcomed to their family on October18th as you can see from the photos below. The new puppy is a Golden Cavapoo
His appearance brings back memories of Sullivan, who we still hold in our hearts. There will be an extended family welcome with the four granddaughters et. al. in Portland.
Okay, but What About Beerchasing!
The pandemic in 2020-1 and then major back surgery in June this year severely curtailed my Beerchasing exploits other than scattered reviews and one recent road trip, but I’m back on the trail again. Stay tuned for the next post and I’ll give an update and some future plans.
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to Those Who Celebrate It! (#9)
External Photo Attribution
#1. Wikimedia Commons – (Male_wild_turkey_(Meleagris_gallopavo)_strutting.jpg (3861×3861) (wikimedia.org) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Frank Schulenburg 24 March 2019.
#2. Courtesy of Pam Williams
#3. Wikimedia Commons (sewer) – (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wylot_kolektor%C3%B3w_ burzowych_przy_mo%C5%9Bcie_poniatowskiego.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Panek 31 July, 2021.
#4. Linked-in (images of police chief peter mahuna – Bing images)
# 5 -#6. Pueblo County Colorado (https://county.pueblo.org/sheriff/kirk-taylor)
#7 – #8. Photos courtesy of John and Barb Senger.
#9. Author: Redcruiser – Trader Joe’s – Monrovia, California.