1994: Following accident, 2,000 students march to town to condemn drunk driving

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The Portland Zoo was planning to shed its “bright paint, which gave a carnival atmosphere,” in favor of a more natural appearance.


There were several “gaping holes” in the budget prepared by departing Estacada City Manager Clayton Schmitt, which he gave to new City Manager Duane Robinson the day before heading off to his new city manager role in Florence.

The paper reported that some total figures were off by as much as thousands of dollars in expenditures for the current year and the next in the sewer fund system improvement reserve, resources for 1984’s city improvement fund and ependitures for 1983-84 and 1984-85 in the city improvement fund.

“I thought computers were good at adding,” said a frustrated Robinson as he explained a document that wasn’t his. Robinson added that he didn’t blame Schmitt.

The document raised so many questions that Robinson was hesitant to give a total figure for the budget.

“We’re really starting over,” he said.


Estacada was shaken by a tragedy.

On March 27, 1994, a woman and three children were killed as they walked along the shoulder of Highway 224 when a suspected drunk driver ran into them.

Ramona Rae Golding, 36, her daughter Monica Golding, 5, neighbors Kenny Leo Meyer III, 6, and his brother James Allen Meyer, 3, were all killed.

The boy’s mother, Linda Sue Meyer also was hit by the car. She was taken by Life Flight to the University Hospital in Portland with two broken legs.

The driver, William Michael Patton, 29, of Portland was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Following the examination of a blood sample, he was arrested.

Patton was indicted by a Clackamas County grand jury on charges of manslaughter, drunken-driving and assault in connection with the accident.

Though bail was set at $400,000, Patton could not be released from jail due to a probation violation.

Patton pleaded innocent. His trial was set for May 25.

On the Thursday after the accident, 130 people gathered for a vigil at Estacada City Hall to mourn the victims.

Mayor Dave Vail shocked the crowd by confessing- as a reformed alcoholic- to having driven drunk years ago before getting help.

“I’ve driven drunk so many times I can’t even remember how many,” he said. “That could have been me up there. Thank God I stopped drinking when I did.”

The next morning, 2,000 students marched to town to condemn drunk driving bearing hand-written signs.

Mourners attended the victims’ funerals by the hundreds.

The paper offered this “Thought of the Week” from an anonymous source: “A small town is a place where everyone knows who’s check is good and whose husband is not.”

by: ARCHIVE PHOTO - 1994: More than 2,000 students marched through Estacada to make a statement against drunk driving.


“Mean Creek,” a movie partially filmed in Estacada, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

It didn’t receive awards but it got glowing reviews from critics such as Mike Goodridge for and Scott Foundas in Variety.

“One of the hidden treasures at the Sundance Film Festival this year, “’Mean Creek’ is a haunting teenage take on Deliverance in which a prank turns to tragedy,” Goodridge wrote. “Sombre, gripping and often painfully true is its evocation of teenage concerns, it marks a stunning directorial debut from Jacob Estes, the kind of provocative young voice which Sundance is renowned for introducing to the world.”


City Manager Bill Elliott and City Councilor Sean Drinkwine acknowledged that several of the city’s streets were in grave disrepair.

“Our streets are hitting the failing stage,” Drinkwine said. “They’ve been in disrepair for a number of years.”

Two years earlier, the city had sealed cracks on several streets, but the effort was only a temporary fix.

“If we don’t do something, we’ll be worse off,” Drinkwine said. “There’s no patching that we can do at this point.”

Elliott said the deferred maintenance costs of repairing the streets was in the millions of dollars.

In the past the city had pursued small cities grants to help fund the repair work, but competition for the grants was now much greater.

“We’ll keep applying for small cities grants and anything else that comes along,” Elliott said. “But everything is competitive now with grants. The state is in just as much trouble as the counties, which are in just as much trouble as the cities. Money is very, very tight.”

Drinkwine and Elliott suggested that a local gas tax might be the answer for acquiring the money to fix city streets.

Elliott told the Estacada News in December the city had received grant funds to renovate Laurel Road and Wade Street.

Laurel Street will be paved and sidewalks and curbs will be installed in spring or summer 2014.

The city received $140,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, which will be applied to the project.

A $50,000 Special Cities Allotment Grant was awarded to Estacada to resurface and repair Wade Street.

“We will hopefully be doing that by next summer,” Elliott said.

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