A unanimous 5-0 vote sends the idea for Borings statewide recognition to the Senate

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - In a nearly empty hearing room at the State Capitol, testifying before the Oregon Senate Rules Committee are, from left, Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City; Steve Bates, chairman of the Boring Community Planning Organization; Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby; and Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River.Later this week it is expected that the Oregon Senate will vote on a bill to name Aug. 9 each year as Boring and Dull Day throughout the state.

In the next-to-last step through a long process, last week the Senate Rules Committee gave a unanimous thumbs-up to HB-2352, which already has passed with a unanimous vote from the Oregon House of Representatives.

The bill represents a move to bring credibility to the pairing of Boring, Oregon, with Dull, Scotland.

Last year, the same proposal received acclaim and positive votes from the Boring Community Planning Organization (CPO) and the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.

Among those testifying to the Senate Rules Committee by telephone Wednesday, March 27, was Emma Burtles of Dull, Scotland, who endeared the committee to her because of her enthusiasm and a description of her small community’s zeal for what she called the twinning of the communities.

She talked about the ceremony they observed with the unveiling of the road signs that announced the twinning and the street party the community of slightly more than 80 residents enjoyed in celebration of the placement of the large road signs.

Burtles mentioned there is interest in making some more connections between individual people — similar to pen pals — both children and adults.

“For example,” she said, “my neighbor, who is an artist, is keen to link up with a Boring writer to put words and pictures together.”

Burtles described the countryside near Dull, saying a visitor can get a “real sense of Scotland from Dull.” Her reasons for saying that include two venues within 3 miles of Dull: a distillery and an ancient castle.

Rules Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said he initially thought of the proposal as worthy of the annual “Turkey Bill” award, given to the bill with the “least value and greatest potential for ridicule.”

But he turned a 180 during the committee meeting.

“Normally I detest this type of effort, deeming them to be a waste of resources and time,” he told The Post. “But after hearing the sincerity with which the proponents have argued their case — especially the sweet woman from Dull who described the 80 or so residents’ excitement over the promotional possibilities — and after listening to the potential for cultural exchange, I concluded that the ‘twinning’ was worthy of legislative support.”

In the hearing room, the Rules Committee heard from Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City; Steve Bates, chairman of the Boring Community Planning Organization; Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby; and Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River.

Kennemer, Thomsen and Olsen told the Senate committee members this pairing of two rural communities was more than just what Bates called “jocularity,” although the humor does gain attention.

They spoke about the benefits to both communities that are already being felt and are expected to grow. Those benefits include increased commerce, continued growth of businesses, a rise in tourism for the entire area, economic growth and the building of an unmatched community atmosphere.

“The pairing of Boring and Dull,” Bates told the Senate committee, “is helping us reach for a spirit of community.”

Among the signs of that growing sense of connection, he said, is media interest on every continent in the pairing as well as the sale of embroidered shirts and hats and beverage mugs honoring this pairing. These products are being ordered at and shipped all over the country.

This merchandise, Bates said, is purchased from a local Boring business.

Boring has scheduled a Boring to Dull group tour next October to Scotland, administered by a Boring travel agent.

The Boring Oregon Foundation is raffling a trip with that group tour to Scotland to help raise money for a Boring Community and Senior Center.

Bates also said he is encouraging the owners of one of Boring’s newest businesses, the Boring Brewing Company, to create a recipe and brew a Boring and Dull Scottish ale.

When HB 2352 receives a positive vote from the full Senate, which could occur late this week, it will be sent to Gov. John Kitzhaber for a special ceremonial signing — arranged by Kennemer, Olsen and Thomsen — that will include representatives from Boring.

Over in Dull, Scotland, Burtles said the locals would be organizing an Aug. 9 celebration of their own — to complement the Boring festivities, which is scheduled to be an ice cream social in the park followed by a movie in the park.

For more information, call Bates at 503-663-6271.

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