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Forman bids fond farewell to LOPD after 31 years on duty

by:  Forman

Police Capt. Don Forman's final day at the Lake Oswego Police Department Aug. 31 was not a tidy affair.

It was filled with cardboard boxes, old photos, party decorations from the flood of people coming into his office for the past two weeks, and even a large plastic palm tree. Yes, saying goodbye after 31 years was difficult.

'I could never have dreamed I would have had so much fun in law enforcement,' said Forman, the longest-tenured employee of the LOPD. 'It has been such an adventure. Where did the time go?'

Forman was never one of those little kids who dream of being a cop. But starting out 35 years ago in Seaside, one step at a time, he eventually became a stalwart of the LOPD. Forman began by meeting some police officers while taking classes at a community college. They encouraged him to give police work a try.

'I found law enforcement by accident,' Forman said. 'I enjoyed the people I met doing it.'

After four years with the Seaside force, Forman decided to move to Portland and earn his four-year college degree at Portland State University. However …

'In a short time I realized how much I liked police work,' Forman said. 'I ended up in Lake Oswego. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.'

In his three decades here, Forman handled a vast variety of cases, but his last few years on the force were perhaps the most memorable for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons was a triumph. The other was a tragedy.

The first was the Volk double homicide, in which an elderly couple were murdered in 1980. But it was not solved until only a few years ago.

'It haunted me,' Forman said. 'I said, 'I'll leave and it won't be cleared up.' But it was.'

The second major event was the shockingly sudden death of longtime friend and comrade LOPD Chief Dan Duncan from a heart attack in 2010. It was Forman who stepped into the gap and held the fort for many months.

'That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my career,' Forman said, 'because of my long relationship with Dan. It was tough for many of us here. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. But it was tough.'

Forman is going into retirement (he plans on salmon fishing, salmon fishing and more salmon fishing) with great pride in Lake Oswego's police force. He says the department has never been better.

'I am so proud of the people here,' Forman said. 'The new ideas that have been brought in, the education people now have - it has grown by leaps and bounds. That includes everybody. Not just police officers but LOCOM, community service officers and our new chief of police.

'It is an honor to work with folks like that.'

Yes, the LOPD is at a high point. But Forman will be missed.

'I can say with certainty that Captain Forman always poured his heart and soul into the LOPD,' said Chief Don Johnson. 'It was his steady hand that guided our department through some very tough times.

'We are all better for his outstanding efforts.'