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Passionate about history, art, Troutdale, councilor is tapped as citizen of year

Dave Ripma will be recognized at the Troutdale SummerFest parade
by: John Klicker, Troutdale City Councilor Dave Ripma sits on his Harley Davidson motorcycle in front of his Troutdale Road home, which is on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.

TROUTDALE - Although he is known around town for his tenure as a city councilor and his contributions to the historical society, Dave Ripma wears many hats.

But it is for his role as Troutdale's newest Citizen of the Year that he will be recognized at the city's annual SummerFest, on Saturday, July 15.

The award nomination came as a bit of a surprise for Dave, who has donated countless hours to the community and the organizations he serves.

'This is very special,' Dave said. 'I was blown away by it. It's a great honor.'

Although the Citizen of the Year traditionally rides in a classic car during the SummerFest parade, Dave plans to pull the Troutdale Historical Society's float with his antique tractor.

Dave's involvement with the Troutdale Historical Society began almost immediately after he moved to Troutdale in 1989, when he inquired about the history of the 1920s home he purchased.

Although the house sits just off Troutdale Road, the giant sequoias, the historic barn and the chickens, which were inherited from the previous home owner, make the property feel removed from the busy street and the rest of the city.

The historic house - which was the first Dave looked at when moving to the state from California - once belonged to the grandfather of former Troutdale Mayor Helen Althaus. Althaus died Feb. 2, 2006.

Moving into the old house and joining the Troutdale Historical Society were natural choices for Dave.

'I'm not good at throwing things away, which is why I am good at preserving history,' Dave said.

Although he no longer has time to volunteer at the Troutdale Historical Society's museums, he still serves on the organization's board of directors, and was president of the group for a number of years.

'One of the most exciting things about working with the historical society was getting the caboose,' which is the society's largest artifact, Dave said. 'It's perfect there next to the depot. I like the way it sits prominently at the end of the main street.'

Dave, an arts enthusiast, has served on the Mt. Hood Repertory Theater board of directors for five years.

He also has served on a downtown Troutdale task force, was a member and one time president of the Troutdale Planning Commission, and has been a Troutdale City Councilor for almost 16 years. He will be up for reelection in November 2008.

Dave also serves as an alternate on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee and has been part of a number of other local and regional committees including the Mount Hood Parkway Citizen Action Committee and the Metro Green Spaces Citizen Action Committee.

Although his many volunteer pursuits could certainly fill enough hours to constitute a full-time job, Dave is a patent lawyer, and holds both an electrical engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Georgetown.

'Patent law is an attraction,' he said. 'I like it because I get to work with very positive, creative and technical people.'

When he is not tied down by his numerous commitments, Dave also enjoys spending time on his property in Lyle, Wash.