Elected officials race on the Tualatin River
As runners passed through Tigard's Cook Park on the Crawfish Crawl half-marathon Saturday morning, a very different kind of race unfolded on the Tualatin River with Hillsboro and Forest Grove political leaders.
The Tualatin Riverkeepers, a local nonprofit group that promotes river health in the Tualatin Valley, has been organizing an annual Tualatin River Political Paddle Race for more than a decade. The lighthearted canoe and kayak race pits elected officials from throughout the area against one another, this year drawing in a field of six participants from as far away as Forest Grove.
We like it, you know, because these people make policy decisions that affect the river, and so the more they love it, the better decisions they make, said Tualatin Riverkeepers' advocacy manager, Brian Wegener, who organized the race. And we like to get them out here to do this.
The course began at the Cook Park boat ramp and ran half a mile downriver before returning to the start point.
Tigard City Councilor John Goodhouse, appearing in his first Political Paddle, won the race going away. Placing second and third, respectively, some distance behind Goodhouse, were state Rep. Joe Gallegos of Hillsboro and (in a tandem kayak) Washington County Commissioners Roy Rogers and Dick Schouten.
It was hard to let him win, Rogers joked afterward. We held back.
It was a nice day, and the water's warm, said Goodhouse, who rowed solo in the race. It felt good.
Also participating in the race were Steve VanGrunsven of the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District board of directors and Forest Grove City Councilor Victoria Lowe. Wegener said other local officials were slated to participate but ended up withdrawing before the race.
Goodhouse's win keeps the title in Tigard for another year. Last year's winner was Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen, a former Tigard mayor.
This weekend is also the annual Tualatin Crawfish Festival. Half-marathoners streamed from Tualatin Community Park across the river and through Durham and Tigard as part of the festival's popular Crawfish Crawl on Saturday.
By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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