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Community in solidarity with Special Olympics


Benefit raises money, awareness about work with kids special needs

On Friday, officers, athletes, military personnel and community members came out in force for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.

On July 12, starting from the Milwaukie waterfront, hundreds of people ran or walked with Special Olympics athletes and police officers to help raise money for people with disabilities.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Heading down River Road to Oregon City before crossing the Arch Bridge into West Linn, the annual Special Olympics Torch Run began on Milwaukie's waterfront on Friday.While running nearly 13 miles across Clackamas County, about 30 Special Olympics athletes and 22 officers took turns carrying the torch. Those needing a break or waiting for their turn to run, could ride in the vintage open air tour buses that followed them along the course.

The Clackamas portion of the relay started with a “mission moment” of an athlete talking about how important the Special Olympics are, then an athlete ran in with the torch from Multnomah County.

“It’s a humbling moment, really,” Milwaukie Police Chief Bob Jordan said. For him, the run is personal. “My wife and I had a 4-year-old diagnosed with leukemia and died 14 months later. That experience is just a wakeup call that life is special. Life is precious; life is uncertain; every day is a gift.”

Jordan, who organized the Clackamas County portion of the run, ran the whole stretch. And, since the Oregon City-West Linn Arch Bridge is now open, the relay could run directly from one city to the next.

“We had a really good turnout,” Jordan said. “It was great to see so many folks coming together for such a good cause. ... This event is more about showcasing the Special Olympics and waving the flag just a bit.”

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Pictured is a 1925 White Motor Car Company bus that saw service in the National Parks before participating in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run on Friday.Residents showed their support by lining River Road at Oak Grove Boulevard, Riverside Elementary School and Jennings Lodge Elementary School. Also in attendance were Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas and Chad Kyser of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Lew’s Dairy Freeze Cruise-In followed from 5 to 8 p.m. Other events in the Summer Celebration included the Trolley Trail Market from 1 to 4 p.m. and Pete’s Lair Anniversary BBQ from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

The local segment of the Torch Run traveled south through the local neighborhoods via River Road to Oregon City. More than 40 officers and athletes then carried the torch north via Highway 43 from the West Linn Police Department to Lake Oswego.

Law-enforcement officers from Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City, West Linn, Canby, Lake Oswego and Clackamas County gave their time to raise money that will provide uniforms, equipment, transportation, lodging, facilities and competitions for the athletes. Last year in Oregon, the combined effort of nearly 70 agencies participating in the LETR efforts raised more than $650,000.

Lori Hall, editor of the West Linn Tidings, contributed to this report.