Allen's Oregon Trail 10 Year Anniversary Summer 2009-2019

Spring of 2009. We wanted to do something remarkable to kick off our campaign. We announced our candidacy at an electric car dealership, long before Tesla, in Portland.

We also wanted to demonstrate that Oregon isn't only Portland. Oregon is a large diverse state with important constituents spreading over almost 100,000 square miles. How do we demonstrate that Eastern Oregon and their values, are just as important to our campaign as Portland?

Our first idea was to ride a bike across Oregon but we were met with a little resistance to that in Eastern Oregon. Then we thought how about riding a Harley? It worked for Mitch Daniels in Indiana! But the response in Portland was less than enthusiastic. I even inquired about the feasibility of riding a horse across the state. When I met with the Oregon Cattlemen's association and asked them about it, the senior member of the group said, "Do you ride horses?" I answered, "I have ridden a horse..." His reply was simply, "That's not what I asked you..." That was the end of Allen's charge of the light brigade.

So we walked.

We called it, "Allen's Oregon Trail". We would start in Baker City and wend our way across the state through Prairie City, John Day, Mitchell, Prineville, Sisters, Detroit Lake, Salem and finally to Portland.

We blogged, before we even knew to call it blogging. We posted pictures on Social Media but Social Media in 2009 wasn't what it is today. All of the pictures had to be down sampled to low resolution and Internet connections were not reliable. Luckly we saved all of the pictures, so now in 2019 we can enjoy full resolution (for 2009 that is). We are reposting all of the pictures as we reported them on our blog in 2009 with the captions. We may add a few contemporary comments, as we go along, but this is largely exactly what we posted in 2009.

Many of the folks you will meet along the way have grown and become politically involved on their own. Many are now married and some even have started families. I will always cherish the time I got to spend with our volunteers and the amazing citizens of Oregon as they shared their lives and aspirations with us for 4-5 hours a day in 2009.

I hope you all enjoy reliving the adventure as much as we had doing it.

It began on August 3, 2009, my 55th birthday in Baker City, Oregon. I didn't actually know if I could walk 400 miles, more than 800,000 steps in a little over a month. I had trained walking but going about 15 miles a day for a month could be difficult. It would be awful to start the campaign with a failure, especially with a failure that was derided as folly by all of the political types, "in the know". They said, "Why would you walk across a part of the state that has no people?" My answer was, "Because politicians from the Willamette Valley have forgotten that anyone East of the Willamette River or South of Lake Oswego even exists. We need to demonstrate to them, by investing time and energy, that a technology guy, from Lake Oswego, genuinely cares about them and their issues."

So we walked.

Bringing Oregon Together One Step at a Time! First Step - Day 1

August 3, 2009

Great day on the road. Daniel and AJ did an amazing job taking care of me and our guests. We saw some stunning terrain and had wonderful discussions about our state and our opportunities for the future.

Cutter's Edge Multi-Cut Fire Rescue Saw

I got to stop by and see a Baker City company called Cutter's Edge (click here for their link). They make fire rescue saws that can saw through reinforced concrete. They focus on the "secret sauce" chain and accessory design leaving the commodity parts to a variety of world wide suppliers from Europe, the US and Asia. A very interesting small business in Oregon, adding value, building jobs and producing GREAT products. I never would have met these guys if it was not for the walk.

Tomorrow we go visit Oregon Natural Country Beef. A group of ranchers who have banned together to differentiate what was previously thought to be a commodity, beef. I have heard about them but never have visited a ranch. Tomorrow, after my walk, I get to see the operation first hand. Here is the link to Oregon Natural Country Beef. Check them out, support our Oregon businesses!

AND - Tomorrow we are going to National Night Out in Baker City. 5:00PM in the Geiser Pollman Park. Hotdogs and burgers. No frozen lasagna for us.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 2

August 4, 2009

Much more difficult day walking than yesterday. Climb at the start and a 3 mile climb in 90 plus heat at the end. Tomorrow is a similar day but starts almost exclusively down hill ending with a 4 mile 1,000+ foot climb. I didn't think 1,000 feet would be that bad, I did it several times in Portland but Portland is at about 100 feet and we are just about a mile high. Makes a difference.

Powder River Water Quality Improvement Project

The highlight of my day was getting a tour of the Powder River Water Quality Improvement Project. A rather bland name for an extraordinary project executed by some amazing folks in Baker City. A story from the Baker City Herald follows with all of the details but the essence of the story is a group of ranchers restored a 14 mile stretch of the Powder River complete with swapping out their flood irrigation methods for pivot irrigation and moving their cattle off the river. They did it on their own, with nobody telling them to do it. They did it because it is the right thing to do. I am humbled to be able to meet Oregonians like these folks. They created a win-win-win solution. No compromises. The ranching is better. The habitat is better. The fish are better. The water quality is better. The cattle are better. This is collaboration not compromise. An amazing story. Congratulations and many thanks to Michael, Jan, Doni and Jeff.

Tour of troughs, By Ed Merriman, Baker City Herald July 03, 2009

Ranchers from across Oregon learn how a $3 million project near Baker City improved water quality in the Powder River and provided more water for cattle

Participants in the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Mid-Year meeting last week toured nearly $3 million in water quality improvement projects designed to benefit the environment and agriculture.

Laurie Owens, manager of the Baker Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, said the project was a cooperative effort involving the District, area ranchers, federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, Baker Valley Irrigation District and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

During the tour on June 27, ranchers from across the state got a look at the project and listened to local producers and agency officials describe the benefits derived from erecting fences to keep livestock away from the Powder River, building a small reservoir, installing a fish screen and several fish weirs in the river, replacing open ditches with pipelines and installing off-stream stock watering troughs.

Before the project was completed in 2006, said Rob Thomas of Thomas Angus Ranch, his family often ran out of irrigation water in late summer.

That problem was eliminated after they replaced open ditches and a flood irrigation system with pipelines, a pumping station and high-efficiency pivot irrigation.

“Since we put the system in, we have never used up all of our allotment (of irrigation water),” Thomas said.

The Thomas portion of the project initially included five irrigation pivots.

Thomas said the ranch received $60,000 in cost-share funding from the NRCS, which covered about one-sixth of the cost for his 300-acre portion of the project.

The Thomas portion saved so much water that the family has been able to grow a wider variety of irrigated crops, including corn and potatoes, under the supervision of their farm manager, Rob Thompson.

“I keep track of the crops and the irrigation. I let the cow guys play with the cows for the most part,” Thompson said.

Thompson told those attending the tour that all the pipelines installed as part of the Thomas irrigation project empty into big sumps, allowing the pipelines to be drained after the irrigation season so the lines don’t freeze during winter.

“The water drained into underground sumps is pumped out by a sump pump, so nothing freezes,” Thompson said.

At the second stop, tour goers learned about the concrete fish screen.

At the third stop, Tim A. Kerns, project manager and chairman of the Baker Valley SWCD, talked about what he described as the amazing cooperation among landowners along a 13-mile reach of the river who participated in the Powder River Water Quality Improvement Project.

“Every rancher in this stretch of the river had to agree to get on the pipeline and move their cows,” Kerns said.

The project runs from Thomas Angus Ranch on the south to Baldock Slough on the north. It includes parallel pipelines carrying water to and from 120 off-stream concrete watering troughs, which were visited on the fourth and final leg of the June 27 tour.

Kerns said gates were installed to keep river water from overflowing into the troughs when the river is running high, as well as shut-off valves and drains so the troughs can be drained and cleaned when not in use.

During the construction phase, Kerns said a factory in town was set up to pour the concrete troughs, which were hauled out on flatbed trucks and off-loaded at area ranches with cranes.

Kerns, who helped design the project, said the pipeline and off-stream troughs greatly expanded the number of cattle pastured in the area. Engineering on the project was done by Dan Axness, a former Baker City resident who works for McMillen Engineering in Boise.

“We’ve got enough capacity on the pipeline to handle three or four times as many cattle as we have on it now,” Kerns said.

Doni Clair, a pesticide investigator with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, who formerly served as Baker Valley SWCD manager when the project was under construction, said one of the primary environmental benefits was the removal of at least 6,000 head of cattle off the Powder River.

“It is a water quality project the landowners wanted to do,” Clair said. “Nobody told them they had to do this.”

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 3

August 5, 2009

Walk was pretty straight forward today. Not a lot of drama, so lets get to the fun stuff.

Government Inefficiency

Can you tell the difference between the Malheur National forest sign on this page with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest sign on on the next page? (scroll down)

Answer: The Malheur sign is obviously badly in need of a paint job. I saw it walking today and thought wow, that is disgraceful. Why don't we give a kid a bucket of brown paint and cream paint and get out there and paint the signs? As you can see the Wallowa-Whitman sign is in much better shape.

So what is the point? These signs are actually two sides of the SAME SIGN. Someone actually painted one side (the Wallowa side) and did not take the time to paint the other side. Was it a case of "I don't work for Malheur" or "They only gave me enough paint for my side." or whatever, it screams government incompetence. This is marketing fellows. The tax payers are our customers and we need to actually deliver value and convey to the "customers" that we deliver value or they will just stop paying.

By the way, you would never notice this driving by because you would only see one side at a time. Even a bike is moving too fast to see this. Yet by walking it is instantly clear.

Bovine Community Theory 101

I have not spent much time around cows. The time that I have spent, I really enjoyed. So when I saw this large herd on my walk I went over to the fence to take some pictures. Initially the cows were dispersed but almost immediately developed a curiosity about me. They began to come toward me and formed a circle. They started to bump each other to get a better view of this strange animal with baggy micro-fiber skin. AJ took the pictures of my friends forming.

This is the shot I got of the cows as they jostled for position to get a better look. I neither offered or gave them any food. I did not use some illegal cow pheromone to attract them. They just kept coming. I moved away before someone decided to give me some cool big green plastic earrings and an "8" tattoo. So much fun and no animals were harmed in the production of this blog.

I'll see your stinking 400 mi and raise you 2,600 mi.

This is a picture of our friends from Virginia Beach on a cross the US bike trek. They seemed very happy and in good spirits at 5:15am. They passed me yesterday (everything and everyone passes me). Seem like really nice folks. They started in Virginia Beach on April 1, 2009 and are heading to Florence. We may be lonely out here on the road, but we are not alone.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 4

August 6, 2009

Progressing really well. Over 60 miles in 4 days. Three 5,000 foot+ passes. Today was technically the most difficult but we had a pretty easy time with it. It should be about the most difficult on the trip so I am optimistic about the rest of the trip.

AJ and me on the Summit of Dixie Mountain Pass. Victory!

Governor Kulongoski "Tear up that veto!"

We toured the Prairie City electrical co-generation facility. It generates power using scrap byproducts of a lumber mill and trimmings from logging operations. The plant was built in 1985 and employs 35 people directly in Prairie City (FYI - 35 jobs in Prairie City is equal to 3,600 in Portland). It is literally the lifeblood of the community. There is a very high likelihood that the plant will close if Governor Kulongoski vetoes HB2940 that would allow co-generation plants constructed pre-1995 to count against the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (where we need to produce 25% of our energy from green sources by 2025).

The crazy thing is, if they tore down this plant and rebuilt it exactly to its current specifications, using exactly the same boiler and turbine, it would qualify. Governor K, do the right thing for the environment and the people of Grant County and the people of Oregon and do not veto this bill.

The plant was running at full capacity when the above picture was taken. You see the emissions (or maybe you can't). The other thing is, if they shut down, the fuel they use will still be burned in the forest with no jobs created and no power generated. We should be doing everything possible to keep plants like this open.

The mechanical engineer in me is coming out. Where is my slide rule?

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs-Prairie City

The John Day Basin Office of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon is dedicated to restoration of the John Day Basin and improvement of economic growth and stability in the area. I spent a little over an hour discussing their restoration projects. They are doing great work.

The most ironic thing is one of their major projects is removal of invasive juniper trees. They are looking at building a co-generation plant because there is so much juniper they believe they could keep a plant fueled (hummm does this sound familiar?). They would use the plant that is less than a mile away, but it does not qualify for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (see above). They could simply upgrade the current plant to burn juniper, but they may be forced to build their own plant. This nonsense is what destroys citizens' confidence in government.

Sumpter Community Meeting

We also stopped in Sumpter and met with folks in the community and had some of the best beef I have ever had. It was Country Natural Beef that I talked about the other day. It was so locally produced, the rancher who raised the cattle was at the meeting! I believe we have a responsibility to help all Oregonians develop economic plans so they can have a thriving community. These are great folks, hard working, smart and dedicated to making Oregon someplace where our children and grandchildren can live in harmony. Thank you Sumpter for a great evening!

Thanks to some of our most loyal group of supporters! They always were there for us.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 5

August 10, 2009

Nothing to say. A picture is worth a thousand words. The Strawberry mountains, 6:45 am, just outside of Prairie City. Such a privilege to be able to walk this amazing state. 75 miles down, 325 to go.

ODOT Trash Pickup Road Crew Spotted

We picked up trash today along 26 with the help of our friend Dave, and his dog Tom. Tom is quite the retriever specializing in the beer can fetch.

We found many, many beer cans along the road. Vastly more than pop cans. Are that many more people drinking beer than pop? Maybe. Or is it because it is against the law to have an open beer in your car, therefore when you finish it you toss it out? In any case, too much drinking and driving, but I probably did not have to tell you that.

The Shoe Tree

The world famous shoe tree made famous by Rick Dancer on his blog when he ran for secretary of state. I remember that Rick gives the best explanation of the tree I have seen but I don't see it on his website. Nobody else seems to know the story so I would suggest you all bombard Rick with requests at http://rickdancer.com/contact/. And no I did not throw a pair of my shoes up in the tree. With 325 miles left to go I need all of the shoes I can get.

My Friends

We have made some great friends here in Grant County. On this trip we have had time to really sit down (and walk) to discuss their issues from forest management, to the electrical co-generation plant, to wild horse management, to stream health and school funding. They have opened my eyes to issues and opportunities. We had much better depth of discussions than I could ever have blowing into and out of town.

We are all Oregonians with much more common vision and values than we have been led to believe. These are really good people, living in an amazing part of our state, looking for opportunities to build a life in a rapidly changing world.

They deserve attention and our time. We in the upper Willamette Valley are very good at being stewards of land and critters, why aren't we better partners and friends with our fellow Oregonians? I think the power of our state lies in bringing together the assets we have on both sides of the Cascades. We have extraordinary economic opportunities that I believe are unparalleled in the nation and the world. And further I believe we can do it in harmony with the ethos of what draws us all to this unique and wonderful piece of our planet. I believe it, Dave believes it, Tom (the beer can retriever) believes it and I hope you do as well.

Join me on our trail of discovery and opportunity. Bringing Oregon Together, One Step At a Time.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 6

August 11, 2009

Extremely busy day. So busy we only got 14.5 miles in. That means 15.5 tomorrow! Physically I am doing fine. How could you not be when you have this scenery. One bad blister but we are attacking it with our medical kit that Debbie put together. I think I need a medical license to use some of the stuff but she assures me I am OK. If I need to I am sure I can call Dr. Cramer and he can help me out. Just about 90 miles in and the smiles are as big as the miles are long.

Thought this picture of AJ and me was pretty neat. Early in the morning walking along 26. Look one way and see your shadow pacing you.

Look the other way and the light on the bluff almost turns the scene into an earthen rainbow.

Our Excellent Adventure with Boyd and Dave

Boyd has at least two claims to fame. He is one of the Grant County Commissioners and his mustache is way cooler than mine. He walked with us today and we got a tour of his welding shop. Great young men working in the shop. Makes me proud to be an Oregonian and an American. Boyd's wife retired from her job and is now working full time in the office. Boyd told me "I worked for 30 years, paid my bills but never made any money. Once my wife started working, I started to make money. She is the best thing that happened to this shop!"

This picture is me sitting in Dave's ultralight (yes that is Dave from Dave and Tom the beer can fetching dog fame). We got a tour of Dave's shop and he refreshed us with some water that he got specifically for us from a spring on his property. Dave is extremely entrepreneurial. He is quite an accomplished blacksmith and woodworker. His shop looks like Santa's workshop. Come to think of it, Dave looks a lot like Santa on summer break. With that twinkle in his ice blue eyes, maybe we know where Santa spends his summers.

SolWest and the John Day Hospital

We got to spend some time with Jennifer of SolWest. SolWest puts on a solar trade show every year in Grant County. Maybe I need to repeat that. SolWest puts on a solar trade show every year in Grant County and Jennifer pretty much does it herself. The picture shows me getting briefed by Jennifer on the solar system that runs her office. We had a wonderful discussion about our energy future with me being the "we can do anything we put our minds to" engineering optimist and Jennifer being the pragmatic solar pioneer.

We also talked about the Prairie City Co-Generation plant made famous in the Day 4 Blog. Her quote was "How can it possibly be better to burn the scrap branches or let the forest combust than to clear some of that kindling out of the forest and burn it in the electrical Co-Generation facility?" Isn't it interesting that folks with backgrounds as diverse as me, Jennifer, Boyd and Dave all agree yet the system (read government) will not allow it to happen? It just does not make sense. Another mile walked, another friend.

This picture is me talking to nurses and doctors at the John Day Hospital. A great little 16 bed facility and clinic. I always said that the hospital does not make the people, the people make the hospital and this hospital in John Day is one of the best I have seen. They have good equipment, not the state of the art, but they maintain it and they help folks get better. My informal poll on ObamaCare - nobody supported it. All said too much, too fast, too expensive.

Bikers in John Day

Sturgis, SD Oregon style. This is Oregon Bicycle Ride 2009 and they are in John Day with us. I stopped by their campsite to compare experiences, me with my walk and them with their ride. It was amazing how many people were from Washington and California.

We built a mutual respect and admiration for coming to Eastern Oregon to learn more about our state. Bringing Oregon Together One Step/Pedal at a Time.

And we walked...

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 6

August 12, 2009

We cracked the 100 mile barrier today @ 105 miles. One blister is the only physical issue. If you would have told me we would be 105 miles into the walk and my only issue was a blister, I would have jumped at it. As you can see the beauty of our state is still stunning. I have all of the higher resolution versions of all of these pictures. If you want one, just put a note in the comments and we can get one for you.


I have always been fascinated with horses. They are really beautiful creatures. I am learning about horse issues here in Grant County. It appears that while the state is custodian for all of the wild critters, the federal government is responsible for "wild" horses.

Further I learned that horses were not native to North America. Even our mustang is really just a feral horse descended from horses that the Spanish brought to the New World. This has lead us to deal with many issues with feral horses competing for resources with other critters and cattle. Who would have thought? I certainly didn't until I took my walk.

Old Friends New Friends

This is Bruce. He came out from Portland to walk with me. Bruce is special to me for several reasons. First he is a dear friend to my political mentor and friend Doug. I would not be doing this without Doug. And, Bruce (actually Renee his wife) bought my pink pig barbeque at a charity auction where I was the auctioneer. Thank you Renee for making our auction a success, getting me off the hook and giving our pig a good home.

This is Greg. He is an elk hunter, a Republican and a state employee working in public safety and an ASFME union member. Greg saw us walking and pulled over to say hello and to ask me some questions. We talked for about 10 minutes about a wide range of topics but mostly focused on how do we get our state back on our feet. I saw this evening that Greg posted a comment on our blog. Have you? Greg is exactly the type of voter we need to get engaged in this election and in the process. Bruce and Greg, Old friend and New... Bringing Oregon together, one step at a time.

Juniper Ridge Thanks!

On the left is Norbert and Mary our "dad and mom" for the last few days. They run the Inn at Juniper Ridge where we stayed and they were fantastic to us. Our crew keeps rather strange hours and Norbert and Mary always accommodated us with a smile. Norbert built their house and the guest house himself. It is simply beautiful. He also has done a very interesting stream restoration project on his property. Last night, we sat on the deck having a barbeque as we discussed the stream project below us. Thank you Norbert and Mary for a wonderful time.

Tonight AJ, Daniel and I stood out under the stars and watched the best fireworks show ever, courtesy of Mother Nature. What a special moment to be able to share with AJ and Daniel as we watched meteor after meteor flash by leaving shimmering golden diaphanous trails in their wake. We felt so small as we gazed into the sky watching God's light show and at the same time energized that we have an opportunity to make a difference for so many people and for our planet.


We toured the John Day volunteer fire station. What a dedicated and resourceful group. Everything piece of equipment they showed was pristine and was clearly loved. The best part, almost all of it was "recycled" from the federal government or larger city governments. The list ranges from trucks, to generators, to the fire engines themselves.

We talked and noted that some of the cash-for-clunker trade-ins are fairly late model Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans. With rural fire, rescue or ambulance services struggling to fulfill their mission with old "recycled" equipment, why would we not "recycle" some of the clunkers that qualify with rural public safety? We are sending vehicles that the rural communities would love to have to the shredder. Could we slow down just a little so better decisions get made?

Oregon our Oregon

Before I started the blog tonight I did not think I would have the spectacular opening shot that I have had for the past few days. Boy was I wrong. Either of these two pictures could have made it to the first page. We have a magnificent state with assets beyond imagination. Let's take a moment to appreciate our state and dream about a better future. A better future for us, our environment and for our children.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read all the way to the bottom. Tomorrow is a very challenging day time wise but we will do our best to get the blog out. Wish us luck and onto 120 miles!

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 8

August 13, 2009

Today was a little slow for a couple of reasons. We had more people spontaneously stop and talk to us as the word gets out about our adventure. And, take a look at these pictures from the Painted Gorge in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. I have two words wow and wow. You just cannot rush through this part of our trip.

It is an amazing thing to experience the Painted Gorge from a car, it is other worldly doing it on foot. Not only do things slow down and you can see details that you would miss, but you also add two additional senses to the experience, scent and hearing. You smell the fresh air and you hear the river, the stunning quiet and if you yell, you hear a wonderful echo. These pictures were taken with my phone and have been shrunk to less than a quarter of their original size.

We stopped today at the intersection of 26 and 19 about 12.6 miles from our day start (117.6 total miles). We will have to make up a few miles before the grind of the Ochoco Mountains. We drove the pass today on our way to Prineville and Wasco County. Pretty aggressive but not much worse than what we have already done in the Blue Mountains outside of Baker City.


We stopped in at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area headquarters. The guys were great and gave me a nice overview of the area. I continue to be impressed with the dedication and loyalty of state of Oregon employees. We talked about their management issues and opportunities. The Prairie City electrical co-generation facility came up again and guess what, we all agreed that we need to keep it open. It proved to me that reasonable people, with diverse backgrounds can come together to make good, common sense, decisions.

This is the Dayville City Hall. Dayville is a nice little town. We talked to several folks at the service station and the mercantile exchange. Everyone was very friendly and the town is imbued with the can do feeling of the old west. The only thing they are missing is a future. And that quite simply is why I am running for Governor.

Wasco County fair Red, White, Blue and Red

We stopped in at the Wasco County fair to talk to the Wasco County Republicans. We fielded questions about Obama-care, cap and trade and the state budget process. We had some great food (ribs!).

They even asked AJ and Daniel, my guys, what it was like to walk 115 miles with me. They said the best part is taking time with the people to gain a deeper understanding of their issues, opportunities and dreams (good wingmen they always have me covered).

Friends Like Ralph

Ralph is a friend who introduced me to the community of John Day during the treasurer's race. Today he was driving from John Day to the coast, saw us walking and stopped by to say hello. You do not get to know a community by just showing up. You need to spend time and you need help from respected community leaders like Ralph. To all of the Ralphs of eastern Oregon, thank you for having faith and confidence in me, our campaign and in our vision for Oregon.

Bringing Oregon Together, One Step at a Time

Our theme for the walk is bringing Oregon together one step at a time. I think you can see from these pictures, it really is one step, one small step after another. That is how we are walking 400 miles across the state and that is how we are going to solve our issues and capitalize on our opportunities. Just like our walk, it is not easy. It requires teamwork and collaboration. Every step we take I become more optimistic that we can and will do it. We will unite our state and we will be the shining example for the rest of the nation and the world.

Tommow is a "day off". We will be traveling from Prineville to Burns, spend the day in Burns and then back to Mitchell to get ready for a Saturday walk with several of our friends from the Willamette valley. Every day is an adventure filled with new people and ideas. Come and join us for a day or just a (s)mile.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 9

August 15, 2009

All is well after a quick trip to Burns on our "day off". My left foot blister was diagnosed by sending a picture of it via SMS on a cell phone. The doctor looked at it and prescribed a course of action. Pretty cool our own tele-medicine from rural Oregon! 135 miles in and all systems are go! Tomorrow will be an easy day. We start 15 miles to the East of Mitchell where we are staying and end up at our B&B (which is swarming with deer). We tour the city with the mayor and hopefully get in the sack early. Monday is the most aggressive day so far and maybe the entire trip. We have to climb over the Ochoco Mountains and it is basically 15 miles of a steady uphill climb. I am ready for it. Feel good and when we crest, we are figuratively and literally over the hump.

Elk! Elk! Elk!

Oh my gosh. On our way to the start point today, Mr. Dancer spotted a heard of about 100 elk traversing the canyon wall. It was very early in the morning so the light is not good but you can clearly see our elk friends. This is the first mass critter siting of the trip. Very majestic animals to begin with and to see that many was astounding.

Now I Know Why They Call it Burns

I visited the Harney District Hospital in Burns. Great new facility and Jim Bishop the CEO was my tour guide. This is a very nice asset for Harney County with plenty of lifesaving equipment but my favorite part of the tour was their heating system. Jim has a passion for business and making the hospital a thriving, growing, cash strong institution. He also is environmentally conscious and is a former wood products guy.

So when it came to heating Jim wanted to use wood pellets. Good news he was able to do it and the pictures above show Jim and me examining the hardware. Bad news the boiler assembly in the steel box came from Austria. We still clearly have a ways to go.

The tall contraption that looks like a silo, is a silo-for the pellets. They burn about two full silo's per year. The box in the front holds the burner and it is so clean inside, you could live in there. Jim is rightfully proud of his system. It is clean, renewable and CO2 neutral. Jim is saving operating cost and is delivering the same or better product. It is amazing to me that I had to go to Burns, Oregon to see this.

New Friends

Two examples of meetings yesterday and today. The first in Burns, well organized and efficient.

The second meeting was completely spontaneous. This gentleman saw us on Facebook, checked out the website and came out to find us. The power of the Internet to connect people is astounding.

Mr. Dancer Goes to Eastern Oregon

Our videographer today was Rick Dancer. Yes the Rick Dancer from the Sec. of State's race. He came out to help us tell the story of the walk. Rick and I got to know each other on our last races and it is really nice to work with someone who has been on both sides of the camera. It was a blast having him with us today. I cannot wait to see his work.


We had a fantastic day today. Great weather, great company an amazing place. But I realized today that the experience is not special solely because of the physical beauty of Oregon it is a life bending experience because of the people. How lucky am I to be able to spend several days or even weeks with my children, meeting folks and experiencing things that I have only read about?

Paige and AJ were with me today. AJ is now back at HQ getting things nailed down. Paige is off to Purdue tomorrow AM. Thank you both for coming out.

And, thank you to the citizens of Oregon for giving me the opportunity to run and hopefully with your help, win and serve.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 10

August 16, 2009

We are in the painted hills, could you tell? These pictures do not do them justice. The view is truly as spectacular as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon (OK so I am exaggerating a little. I am not running for the governor of Wyoming or Arizona.) and it is right in our own backyard. Mayor Humphreys gave us an outstanding tour of Mitchell and of the surrounding area. Mitchell is exactly the type of town and Mayor Humphreys is exactly the type of mayor I see all over Oregon. Entrepreneurial, smart, dedicated and getting stuff done. They have some issues but they are not victims. No whining, just gettin it done.

We passed 150 miles today! A nice milestone. Still my only issue is a pesky blister that has now fallen off only to form another blister under the old blister. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I have my medical kit and we are throwing our arsenal of blister remedies at it under the watchful eye of my doctor back home via pictures sent in text messages.

Tomorrow is the Ochoco climb. Pam and Scott from Portland came out and they will be walking with us. They could have picked an easier day but it is wonderful to have them. Thanks for coming and supporting us!

The Word is Out!

Folks are starting to stop by just to say hi while we are walking. The careful observer will note that our Nike + challenge times per mile are actually rising as we walk. This is not due to lack of fitness, it is due to getting stopped out on 26 by friends who want to wish us well. Every one is a wonderful experience. These folks are from Baker City and they remembered me from the Treasurer's race.

This family is from John Day and they heard about me from our visit. They brought us granola bars and good wishes. Hugs all around.

Mitchell - The Little City That Could (make that can and will)

I don't think those of you in Portland can quite imagine the economic devastation that many Eastern Oregon towns face. Ultra-high unemployment is not new to this area. They have been suffering for years.

Yet in spite of this, they have a can-do attitude that is infectious. Mayor Humphreys is very bright, is full of great innovative ideas and is willing to do what it takes. She has a vision for her city and is executing it. e.g. We are standing in front of a small clinic they just completed and staff it with part time dentists, doctors and nurses. Healthcare with an emphasis on "care". Thank you Mayor for your hospitality and for reminding me that the winning spirit of the West is alive and well in Mitchell. More tomorrow.

Another example of the can do spirit of this town is Bruce AKA "Juniper Guy". Bruce makes very special furniture from juniper trees (click here to go to his website). The juniper has a wonderful gnarled look that is perfect for creating rustic quality furniture. His workmanship is outstanding. He built the giant rocker that I am sitting on in the picture on the right. Please no "throne" cracks.

Bruce is a wonderful guy, making a good living working with wood that is basically a weed out here. He is doing well in a recession because as he puts it, business for unique, quality products is still good and he carries little or no debt. So a business with a defensible niche, quality products, crafted in Oregon when run with no debt, can thrive in a down economy. Imagine that. Good old fashion hard work and fiscal prudence pays off. Many businesses and our government could learn something from Bruce. Way to go Bruce and thank you so much for taking the time to show us around.

The Buck Stops Here...and There and Everywhere

In Mitchell deer are more like mice than majestic animals or Disney characters. The locals spend much time defending their flowers from the voracious deer. This picture was taken when I was sitting outside, writing this blog and a deer family comes walking down the street. You can see them in front of the white car between the trees.

I picked up my good camera and in a minute or two, I had the classic deer shot on the right not 40 feet from their original spot. I just about did not even have to stand up to get the shot. It is dark now and I can still hear them rooting around eating apricots off the ground. Not exactly Portland.

Thanks again for reading all the way to the bottom. I will have more tomorrow about Mitchell, assuming we make it up the hill and back.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 11

August 17, 2009

We made it through the the Ochoco climb! The blister update is "OK". Debbie's arsenal of first aid pharmaceuticals seems to be doing the trick. It is amazing how effective they are when you use them inside the expiration date :-) Our process works well where the truck with water and supplies jumps ahead 3 miles, and we walk to the truck waving an AA for Gov sign. When we get to the truck we refill water bottles, grab a snack (nuts, craisins or various power bar type things), rotate folks who may need to rest for a leg and then get back on the road. As long as I remember to re-innitialize my Nike + sensor I am OK. It has turned into a game with everyone reminding me "Allen did you turn on the sensor?"

Great fun, great adventure but as I have said in the past, it is all about the people. The level of interaction with folks is amazing. There may be something about being so vulnerable (walking, out of our element, no podium, no microphone ...) that makes it easier for people to talk and open up. Nobody gets defensive, every discussions is about working together - collaborating - to make our state, Oregon, a better place.

Champions of the Ochoco Summit

Very Special thanks to Pam and Scott Gibson. You join a small elite club of folks who made it for a whole day. And you did it on by far the most difficult day. Congratulations and many, many thanks.

A quick story - We had dinner with the Gibsons, Mayor Humphreys and Alan Humphreys. Alan is an ODOT employee, former logger, outdoorsman and an amazing resource for just about anything from diesel mechanics to animal habitat to logging history. Alan has welcomed us into his town and his part of the state and has given us invaluable insights. Thanks so much.

At dinner it was amazing to me to see folks from opposite sides of our state, almost instantly build a rapport. Mayor Humphreys outlined some of her ideas for Mitchell and although the scale was different, they were similar to the passions the Gibsons have for Portland. Examples: Gibsons - OHSU, Mayor Humphreys - School Clinic and Gibsons - Oregon College of Art and Craft, Mayor Humphreys - Colonial School in Mitchell. Although the scale is different, the community needs are the same. It was great to see community leaders come together to share their visions and understand that we really are at the core more the same than different.

Thank you to Carol, Alan, Pam and Scott, friends and fellow Oregonians.

New Friends

The state fire marshal for Eastern Oregon stopped by to say hi. At first we were sure we were busted for unlawful consumption of a power bar without a permit (permits are a big thing and in a place where the population density is about one per mile, some of them may make sense in Portland but they really do not make sense here). Gladly there was not such a statute and he just wanted to say hi. We had a nice chat about forest health and we were on our way.

The young man in the photo passed us and pulled over. He got out of his car and I was hoping he was a supporter. You cannot tell from the picture, but he is standing 4-6 inches below me. He is an Iraq war veteran, wounded and now home. His family owns a ranch in John Day. We talked about a lot of things from Iraq, to growing up on a ranch to the future of Oregon. We talked quite a bit about the growing cougar population and the effect it is having on deer and elk. The consensus here is a cougar kills one deer a week and that we are getting out of balance. I am going to talk to some people at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to find out what they are hearing. It would be nice to get some data on this subject. It comes up in almost every conversation I have here.

One Tuff Mother

The cow on the right in the picture is a female. Enough said.

Mitchell Moments

We are getting to the end of our stay in Mitchell. It has been wonderful. Here I am sitting in my wooden chair working on my blog while connected to the Internet. I sit here in the evenings and in the mornings watching deer eat tiny apricots that fall from a nearby tree. The temperature is perfect (for me about 63 degrees) there is no humidity and the deer are literally 30 feet away (a young buck just walked by and gave me the once over as I am typing). Even Disney could not pull this one off.

The picture on the right is me with the proprietors of the Little Pine Cafe. One of a couple of really good restaurants in town. All run by some of the nicest folks you would ever want to meet. The Little Pine Cafe also has a lodge upstairs. Three bedrooms and a balcony overlooking main street.

The people in Mitchell really care for each other, the way a family cares for each other. I think we have a lot to learn from Mitchell. If we cared for each other the way they do (as brothers, sisters, moms, dads and children) the world would be a better place.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 12

August 18, 2009

Day 12 is a day off, so maybe it isn't really day 12. Day 11.5? It is amazing how one day can help blisters. I am ready to get back on the road tomorrow. 165 miles in the books 235 to go.

Is it because they are really cool engineering feats, great drivers for rural economies, a clean source of renewable energy or just because politicians generate a lot of wind and the generators can always use a little more hot air? I hope in my case it is for the former rather than the latter.

We visited one of the older Oregon wind farms just outside of Condon. I got to go back to my engineering roots and really get an education. Even though this is one of the older farms and each of the 83 turbines produces "only" about 600kW it is quite impressive.

This wind farm is located in Gilliam County and everyone I talked to seemed to think wind power is a good idea. The farmers like the revenue, the county likes the taxes and most folks do not mind the look of the turbines (something that I find a wide difference of opinion of in rural Oregon).

Mr. Alley Goes to Condon

In a role reversal of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, today was Mr. Alley goes to Condon to visit none other than Gordon Smith (not that Gordon Smith, the other Gordon Smith) and his two brothers on their wheat farm in the shadow of the wind farm (look carefully in the background of these pictures and you can see the turbines).

We actually got to ride in the combine. It was great fun for this old mechanical engineer from that "cow college" in Indiana to finally get a ride in a combine and what an amazing piece of equipment it is. A monument to good old American engineering by John Deere (loaded with my classmates from Purdue).

The brothers Smith were gracious hosts and put up with me and my incessant questions about everything from the cutting head mechanics to the GPS guidance system. The Smiths also use some very sophisticated management practices. They do not till the soil. They directly inject the seeds in the ground. Almost like planting each seed by hand, except they do it with a "driller" machine. This process is much better for soil management and as Mr. Smith said, we may not be quite extracting every ounce of yield, but we will have soil for our children if we do it this way.

They believe they are now getting to the point where total yield is about the same as they had when they tilled the soil and they are much easier on the soil and the environment. Another example of win-win-win. Hummmmm, it seems like this win-win-win thing comes up over and over here in Eastern Oregon. Maybe we have a few things to learn in the West.

Pictures of me annoying Mr. Smith. What's that? What does this button do? How fast will this thing go?

What kind of mileage to you get? How much horsepower you got? Can we pop a wheelie?

Judge Judy Watch Out

We met with Judge Shaw in Gilliam County. She again exuded the can do get it done persona of the others we have met with. It turns out Gilliam County has advantages over some of the other counties here. Gilliam has wind power that creates a huge asset base. They also have a very large landfill used by Portland and Seattle. One thing she noted that receipts from the landfill will be down about 30% this year because of the recession. People are not buying as many things, therefore there is less trash. I never thought that landfills could be an economic indicator but it does make sense.

She also told me about a very cost saving measure they have taken in their schools. Two high schools Wheeler High and Condon High were too small to field sports teams, so they joined athletic departments. They compete jointly as the Condon/Wheeler Knights. At first folks resisted but as time has gone on the teams integrated and they became more competitive. She told me last year the kids voted to combine proms as well. Again a win-win-win. Lower cost, improved results, better community.

Another Can Do Town, Fossil

We met with Judge Jeanne Burch, DA Daniel Ousley and some of the staff in Wheeler County. We had a great discussion and again I found the self reliant can do attitude that is so prevalent here in Eastern Oregon. No whining, just getting things done.

One of the things they are getting done is the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute (OPLI). They built a great building right across the street from the Court House. The Executive Director is Anne Mitchell who started her career at OMSI Hancock Station. She spent quite a bit of time in Portland before returning to Eastern Oregon. She told us the story of a Plesiosaurus jaw bone found near Mitchell. We said that we saw the kids in a welding class in Mitchell building a Plesiosaurus and it turns out they are building it for OPLI. Small world, very cool project. Here is a link for more info. Another win-win-win, do you see a trend developing here?

Funny Road Story (At least I thought it was funny.)

Our office manager Jackie and one of our interns Lauren are here with us. They are staying across the road at a different accommodation. When we made the reservation, they told us they only had one room because they were full of "bikers". So when it came time for check-in, I went with the girls to make sure everything went well and to introduce myself to the "bikers". It turns out the "bikers" are a group of about thirty 50-70 year old ladies from all over the country who are on an Oregon bicycle tour. They immediately adopted Jackie and Lauren and I felt much better :-)

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 13/14

August 19/20, 2009

We are 195 miles in and only 5 to go to half way! My little toe is getting better with the help of Debbie's famous medical kit. You have heard so much about it I thought you should see it so here it is. Isn't she a beauty?:

I Scream You Scream we all Scream for Ice Cream!

(One of my dad's favorite and more irritating sayings but for the life of me I have no idea what it means or where it came from. Maybe a radio jingle?)

Bob Eberhard kindly hosted a little reception for me at his headquarters and then we took a factory tour. I loved getting out onto the factory floor to see how they make ice cream, cottage cheese and milk. The machinery is straightforward, sturdy, and very effective (just like it's owner).

The highlight of the tour, other than the cottage cheese making equipment was when we walked into the refrigerated milk storage and then into the ice cream storage. Jackie our office manager was taking pictures and following us around. When we walked into the 38 degree milk storage area she shivered and whined a little but she soldiered on. When the door opened into the zero degree ice cream storage she shrieked and literally vaporized. I turned around and there was not a trace. Therefore there are no pictures of the "coolest" part of the tour.

Bob and me are looking very serious in this picture. I always get this way when we are talking about what coolant Bob uses in his plant refrigeration system.

Bob thanks so much for showing us around and for surviving and thriving since before I was born.

The reception was great complete with three varieties of milk, cookies and ice-cream.

Old friends and new friends gather at Eberhard's.

Finally, I Meet Vickie

Vickie Fleming is the Superintendent Redmond School District. Folks all over the state kept saying to me that I need to meet her. I did this week and was not disappointed. We had a great discussion about a wide range of topics focusing on how to improve education delivery and better prepare our children for life in the 21st century. We did not have all of the answers but I completely enjoyed our discussion and look forward to working more with her in the future.

The Press - Press

Great media coverage today. Interviews with the Bend Bulletin, the Central Oregonian and KBND. Notice intense interest displayed by the staff in my interview.

Tahoe and Cash for Clunkers

The Tahoe has proven to be invaluable on this trip. We could not do the walk without it. It got me thinking. Take a look at the picture below of "Clunkers" collected. There are some pretty sturdy looking, very serviceable vehicles in that group.

I walk through Eastern Oregon and see volunteer fire departments and other community service groups holding real clunkers together with bailing wire and chewing gum. I cannot help but wonder why are we throwing away perfectly good cars and trucks when people in many communities could benefit from getting vehicles like these. In many cases they would replace some real "oil burners" or be the first decent vehicle a rural children's center ever had.

Cash for Clunkers Vehicles

Final Thought

People ask me what I am learning most from the walk. I think it is that I am becoming a better listener. When I first came to Eastern Oregon 12 years ago, it was like going to a foreign country. I spoke West-ese and folks here spoke East-ese. They sound alike and have many common words, but I was only grasping 25% of the meaning. I did not understand the economic drivers, the history, culture or the community.

12 years and 200 miles later, I am beginning to understand some East-ese and in the process, I am becoming a better listener. I am beginning to be able to grasp issues and participate in solution discussions in a meaningful way. The walk helped me slow down and really listen. Listen to the deer as they bound past me while I type my blog, to the newly weaned calfs who moo for their mothers, to the evening symphony of crickets and critters in the darkness beyond my porch light. I am listening and I also hear Oregonians proud of our place but not of our performance

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 15

August 21, 2009

We have passed 200 miles and we are more than half way to Portland! Thanks so much to everyone on our staff, friends and local communities who got us this far. It has been an exceptional experience on all counts.

This picture was an accident, but I realized this is the "my eye view" of the last 200 miles. I am getting quite good at identifying the various ODOT approved road surfaces, what the shoe wear characteristics are of each and what effect crown and camber have on your feet, ankles and knees.

Here we are taking that momentous (for me at least) first step of the second half. And for you geeky engineers, yes we are facing the wrong way. The sun was coming from our back so the make the picture better we turned around. Pictured Jackie, Ryan, Ken, me and Bob. Special thanks to Bob for coming all of the way from Eugene to walk with us.

First Starbucks Sighting

I know this is sooooo Portland stereotypical but I hope we have built enough Eastern Oregon street credibility to balance it out. We found our first Starbucks on the route since Baker City in Prineville. Very exciting for the team as they could get their Starbucks favorite. Funny thing, it does not taste as good as I remembered. Our friends in Eastern Oregon took good care of keeping the caffeine tanks full with home brewed java.

Honks and Waves

As we get further and further into the walk. The honks and waves are getting different. It started out that honk meant "get out of the way" and wave was "I hope you know what you are doing". Now they are done more forcefully and with gusto. They now mean "I heard about you, that walk rocks!" or "glad to see you were not taken by a cougar, keep on truck'in to Portland!". The waves have alway been returned all over Eastern Oregon, the honks are definitely growing by leaps and bounds.

We stopped in at the barber shop at 6:30am on Friday. Everyone welcomed us and said "no politician has ever come in here let alone walking 200 miles to do it, you've got our vote!".

This is "Walt the Farrier" as in puts shoes on horses. He was riding his Harley from Bend to Joseph for a "ride and shine" event. He saw us and stopped. As he walked up to me he said, "I had to stop and shake the had of the man willing to walk across our state. Thank you for running you have my support." Thank you Walt and to all of the folks who come out and support us.

News Blitz - A Twitter Story

KBNZ came out to do an interview with us and at the end of the interview I published this photo on Twitter with a Tweet about the interview.

A funny thing happened. In the next 30 minutes, we had KOHD and KTVZ. Each one did a really nice piece. They started airing last night and KBNZ will air on Wednesday.

Thanks guys for breaking up our day.


We opened the back of the Tahoe only to hear an extremely aggressive eeeeeeewwwwwwwww-wh from one of the interns. A tiny lizard had jumped into the Tahoe and was making a home in all of our road gear. Ryan came to the rescue and scooped up our interloper and delivered him safely to the confines of his sagebrush and juniper.

Sargent Savage

I finished up my day with a ride-along with Sergeant Savage of the Crook County Sheriff. We had a great time helping out a domestic violence issue (he did, I watched safely inside the truck with the doors locked) and we investigated a report of a bull lose on the highway. Some things are the same between Lake Oswego and Crook County the difference is the scale. Crook County - bull. Lake Oswego - chihuahua.

Thanks so much Sergeant Savage. The ride was informative but the discussion about our opportunities and challenges will last for years.

Big group today walking. Lots of pictures. Stay tuned!

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 16/17

August 22/23, 2009

225 miles done and 175 miles to go. I thought in honor of my family history of "Ford Men" (grandfather, father and me) that the above picture was appropriate. In one picture we have a classic Ford from the heyday of the company that has worn over the years, bullet holes in the windshield and all. What has happened to the American auto industry is sad but is also predictable. When I worked for Ford, they told us to design for cost and to make it so easy to assemble that a monkey could do it. Imagine how dehumanizing it is to have your job made more mind numbing every year, literally by design. It is no wonder that companies that did not design for performance, economy, quality or total ownership experience ended up where they did.

Today was a day off and my left foot is very thankful. I have taken to hitting it with every foot medication in Debbie's magic first aid box and developing some pretty exotic taping techniques. All in all, after 225 miles to have one localized small issue is not bad at all. I will take it.

Our Posse

Saturday was the Portland walk day. As you can see our group was quite robust. Our ranks rose and fell throughout the day as people joined us to walk a few miles and talk about our state.

This picture includes (left to right); Kelly (AJ's fiancee), Jackie (our office manager), Chris (friend from Pixelworks), Luke (Jackie's boyfriend and big fan of miniature horses), Jamieson (Tiffany's boyfriend) and AJ.

The includes (left to right); Jamieson, Tiffany (campaign development and resident food critic), Chris, Luke, me, AJ, Jackie and Kelly.

Close Encounters of an Unusual Kind

This picture is not as unusual as you might think. When we got over 100,000 votes in Multnomah County in the Treasurer's race, we set a record for gross votes for any Republican candidate, in any election, ever. There had to be many folks who voted for President Obama and for me. I am grateful for those who are willing to openly support us cross party lines. Thank you.

A Very Special Book

I found this Bible along the side of the road between Redmond and Sisters. I have no idea why it was there or why on earth I found it but it appears to be a very special Bible. It belongs to Jessica Marie Chandler. It is bound in light green leather and embossed with Jessica's name in gold on the cover. Inside it says it was presented to Jessica Marie Chandler by "me", dated Jul 31 2009. If anyone has an idea of who owns the bible please let us know and we will get it returned to Jessica.

Old Friends and New Friends

Genc and Nilgun Emre are the folks who built our house in 1996. Really Debbie and Nilgun built the house and Genc and I just used to pretend that we had something to do with it. Nilgun designed the house and was the general contractor. Through the process they became great friends. I am so flattered and pleased to have them come out and join us on the walk.

That is Roger and me at the High Desert Museum annual Rendezvous. Roger has an amazing family of super folks including his wife Karen and their incredibly bright and engaging children. Roger shared a story with me about his mother collecting "junk" American Indian beads and other clothing in the 1950's. He said his mom used to take him to buy these artifacts that at the time, seemed only to be valuable to his mother. To make a long story short, it is now one of the best collections of Native American art and artistry and it is the cornerstone exhibit at the High Desert Museum. We has a great night and it was a welcome diversion from my usual routine.

Momentum Builds - The Honk-o-meter Pegs

With the great media coverage we have had in Central Oregon the spontaneous horn honks and drop-in walkers is dramatically on the rise.

This is just a sample of the people who stopped by, brought water, cookies and well wishes. It is so gratifying to hear from you and see you on the trail. Please do not hesitate to stop by and say hello.

Thanks to Long Hollow Ranch

Our stay at Long Hollow Ranch is over but we had a great time courtesy of Dick and Shirley. Their ranch was stunning and a great change of pace.

I only wish we could have spent more time there. Many thanks to our hosts.

Sisters Motor Lodge Motel

Our new location is the Sisters Motor Lodge Motel on the outskirts of Sisters. The rooms are really nice and Mary takes excellent care of us. I am amazed at how the community has adopted us everywhere we go. It just reinforces how wonderful our state is. I had posted a picture of my room to give you an indication of how aggressive the trip is but I decided that Mary's rooms deserve much more. It looks like Radio Shack and Wallgreens exploded and believe me it is not pretty.

Tomorrow is a pretty easy day with the Santiam Pass lurking in my future. Wish us luck bringing Oregon together one step at a time.

2019 Update: There are a few people who were in the center of "Allen's Circle of Trust" on the campaign. The only one not with the surname "Alley" was Tiff. We couldn't have done it without her. I think she was saying to me, "Hey put down the camera and get back on the campaign! We have a race to win here dude!"

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 18

August 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to Debbie! I bought you a pretty cool (if I must say so myself) present at the High Desert Museum. If we are lucky, I will get it home in one piece.

Sisters to Black Butte amazing scenery. Right at the top of Central Oregon views. The walk was not difficult, but we are now face to face with the final major climb the Santiam Pass. We have not yet scouted our exact plan of attack. We plan to get 15 miles beyond Black Butte today and then scout ahead.

My foot is much better. I have come up with a new taping technique that is stabilizing my toe and making it much easier to deal with. Physically I am really solid and feel amazingly fortunate to be doing as well as I am doing. 240 miles down, 160 miles to go. Right on schedule. Is that home cook'in I'm smelling?

Amber Waves

I am somehow fascinated with the simple beauty we find here. There is something about basic textures, colors and shapes that I find very soothing and compelling.

Not all of the pictures come out on the PC the way I see them in my mind, but a few are close and I share them with you. I hope you enjoy them. By the way some of the very best pictures are taken with my iPhone. Stunning what technology can do these days.

I included the picture of the rocks and the sky on the right not because it is the best picture but because of the shadows. You might be able to see my shadow on the far right near the bottom taking the picture and Jackie's shadow next to me. She is gently encouraging me to hurry up and finish. It was in the high 30's or very low 40's, she was freezing and we were getting behind schedule. Every candidate needs a "Jackie" to crack the whip.

Allen and Elmer's Great Adventure

Elmer is the District Manager of the Tumulo Irrigation District. Several years ago Elmer took it upon himself to transform the district to use water more efficiently, deliver water reliably to his users, put water back into the streams, insure water rights, lower stream temperatures (to name a few). Many would have thought that his goals could not be achieved but Elmer and his team developed win-win-win strategies.

The contraption we are standing in front of is a fish screen. I saw a similar mechanism in Baker City. It looks like there is an opportunity to cost engineer the screen so we can lower the price and broaden their use.

While everyone was clamoring for more water, Elmer scientifically went through the entire system and determined that they did not need more, they just needed to eliminate waste (in water terms seepage). They had basically an open trench system where water could evaporate and seep into the ground. He proposed a system of pipes that would eliminate seepage. They are a little more than half way through their project and they have improved delivery to the users and have improved flow in the rivers. This is another example of this win-win-win project on the East side of the Cascades. I must bring this can-do attitude to Salem and apply it to other government projects.

Maple Bar Pig Out

That is my friend Duncan on the left of the above pictures with Ryan and Jackie. Duncan introduced us to a bakery in Sisters that may have the best maple bars on earth.

We sort of over did it with the rationalization that we were walking 15 miles and we could "afford" a maple bar. The "loaf of bread" I am holding is called a Pine Cone. I don't know what it is exactly but it tastes like a cinnamon maple bar, but it is twice as big. Ouch! As we say in Asia, "most aggressive maple bar".

I must admit we had a great time. I will make sure I do it every 10 years or so wether I need to or not.

Thanks Duncan and Cindy!

Why are the backs of my legs tan?

A picture is worth 1,000 words.

Sisters to Black Butte

This was a sobering sight as we left Sisters. Long straight stretches are psychologically damaging. With no curves to set goals you start to pick trees to walk toward to keep you going. We finished the day right at the foot of Black Butte (the cinder dome at the end of the road on the right.) Stay tuned for more adventures. Thanks for sticking with us.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 19

August 25, 2009

Santiam Pass summit! 255 miles in the books 145 to go. Seems to be dropping like crazy. I am not looking forward to it ending. Such a wonderful listening and learning experience for me.

On the health side, my new blister wrap and medicine is working really well. On the other hand, I had a little slip on some lose cinders on the decent from Santiam Pass. The result were some scuffs and scrapes. I think the only permanent damage is to my pride. I looked and looked in Debbie's medical kit and there does not seem to be any "pride braces" or "ego salve". I thought she had everything in there.

B and B Fire August 2003

Today we went over the Santiam Pass and got a good look at the B and B Fire of 2003. Wow it is absolutely stunning to see the destruction of a forest and the habitat not to mention the wildlife that must have died.

The other astounding thing is it does not look like we have done anything to help the forest come back healthier and stronger. Why not? It does not make sense to me that we apparently have largely left the forest alone to let "mother nature" heal it without our help.

As I walked along the charred remains of what once was a forest. I couldn't help but think about a recent faith healing case in Portland. A man was convicted and sent to jail for using faith healing with his sick daughter and not using modern medical techniques to help her. I got me thinking. Are we using the faith healing equivalent on our forests?

Shouldn't we consider using modern forestry practice to help bring the forest back? Couldn't we replant a forest that would be more disease resistant, provide better habitat and be less fire prone? The catastrophic release of CO2 the first time was bad enough.

By sitting still aren't we guaranteeing that it will happen again? I would be glad to hear your comments because this one really confounds me.

As you can see from my pictures, the scale and violence of the fire must have been almost too big to imagine. I became curious to see if I could find any pictures and I found the two below on the web.

The spooky thing is the fire was almost exactly 6 years ago to the day. I walked the road shown in the picture below left only a few hours ago. This is one of the most unexplainable and unimaginable things we have seen on the trip.

Healthy Forests and Healthy Trees

I am not a forester and certainly no expert but I wanted to include these pictures of what appear to be much healthier forests and trees very near the burn area.

It looks like there has been some active management in these forests. The result appears to be quite healthy and vibrant.

Morning Outside Sisters

Our entire team is falling in love with Sisters. Maybe it is that they have a couple of excellent Bar-B-Que establishments. Maybe because they are striking a balance between economic development and livability. Maybe because the same can-do and win-win-win attitude and philosophy we found in Baker City, Sumpter, Prairie City, John Day, Mount Vernon, Dayville, Mitchell, Redmond and Bend we are finding in Sisters as well. In any case it is a beautiful place. Mary has taken great care of us and I hope we have made a few friends.

Don't ask me about the boots on the pole. It is just as much a mystery to me as it is to you.

Final Thought

We were out at dinner tonight and I had several people walk up, introduce themselves and ask if they could ask me a few questions. I said of course that is why we are walking. We talked for a few minutes to each of them and they all ended by asking for bumper stickers. People appreciate straight forward discussion and practical, common sense ideas and philosophies. In each case that is what they told me they liked about our campaign. I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to hear that. I also cannot express what a wonderful experience running for office has been for me and how much we appreciate Oregon opening their communities and hearts to us. Thank you.

Final Picture

I shot this along highway 20 just after the Santiam Summit. I don't think you would ever see it driving because you had to look straight up to see it. Nothing spectacular just a massive rock formation. I love the change of color and texture from the lower right to the upper left. Another example of an earth tone rainbow. The other interesting thing is the top ridge is dotted with burned out trees. Looks like the fire was defeated by the cliff, but it did find another path around because the other side of the street is a bombed out looking fire zone as well.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 20

August 26, 2009

Pretty easy day. We are 270 miles in and 130 miles to go. All systems go physically. The scrapes are OK and my blisters are almost completely gone. We are in great shape for the home stretch.

I understand there has been some consternation over my spelling out there in blog land. Being an engineer, I was not very focused on spelling. Debbie on the other hand is a champ but she is not here to look over my shoulder. Please bear with me. If you see misspellings, feel free to point them out. I am always open to help.

This picture I think is about the best one to convey the tragedy of the B and B fire. We are all glad that we are past the worst of the fire and don't have to look at it any more. Although we cannot see it, it will always be in our memories. We can do better.

Another Friend

We were on a very desolate part of our walk yesterday and we made another friend. He stopped to get a picture and wish us luck. Thanks so much for supporting us. We appreciate everyone who stops by!

Special Thanks to Staff and Volunteers

Ryan (on the left) is an intern for us (Lisa is his girlfriend). Ryan has been by our side for the last couple of weeks doing whatever we need from keeping the Tahoe organized to helping me think through policy issues. He always has been ready to do what it takes. Lisa joined us yesterday and was a real asset to the team. Walking 15 miles from a cold start is not easy but she took on the challenge and it was great to have another set of hands.

Jackie (on the right) is our office manager. She has been incredibly helpful keeping us on task. You cannot imagine the logistics on the road coupled with me being easily distracted by a supporter, a great photo opportunity or some interesting rock formation. Terri our scheduler (not pictured) is holding down the fort back home and is doing an amazing job staying one step ahead of us with great meetings.

I could not be doing this without the support from the team on the road and the folks back at HQ. Thank you to everyone!

Lisa, Ryan and Jackie

Bend and Deschutes County Joint Meeting and Chamber After Hours

We visited the Bend Deschutes County joint meeting yesterday. Great to see a city and the county work well together. A great example of cooperation.

We also attended the Bend Chamber after hours reception. Great contacts and good friends. The walk is providing great opportunities to meet people at a pace that we would never be able to do if we were driving.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 21

August 27, 2009

285 miles down, 115 to go (wow we are really plowing through this). Walk was pretty easy today. I cannot tell if the walk is actually getting easier or if I am just getting stronger. (Jackie and Ryan say the walks are getting easier. Thanks for the support guys... :-)

We were welcomed to Detroit Lake by a forest fire. Very unusual and ironic to see and smell a fire up close and personal after spending the last two days walking through the destruction and desolation of the B and B Fire.

Detroit Lake Town Hall

Pat and John organized a Town Hall type meeting for us at Detroit Lake. The setting was stunning to say the least. We did Q&A for almost two hours! We had everyone who self characterized themselves as "raging liberals" to "staunch conservatives". The questions covered a wide variety if issues from health care, to forest health, to Detroit Lake water levels.

After the meeting I had a couple come up and say that they were "raging liberals" and had not voted for a Republican since the 1970's but they appreciated my straight forward common sense approach. They said they would "consider" voting for me. Later I saw them take a bumper sticker. I hope they are going to put it on their vehicle and not on their bulletin board and stick pins in it :-)

I also had a former Pixelworks employee who attended the meeting. I had not seen him in many years. He bought a restaurant near Detroit lake with the money he made from Pixelworks. He is also a self described "raging progressive" and he spent a few minutes telling people about his time at Pixelworks and what it was like to work with us. His bottom line, "Allen has my support."

Finally we also had several self described "staunch conservatives" at the meeting. They also said they appreciated my common sense values and objective views. They all said, "you have my support."

It was great to see folks walking to their cars, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives with Allen Alley for Governor bumper stickers, talking about our great state and how we can work together to make it greater. We really are bringing Oregon together one step at a time.

Stroll Through the Forest

Our forest walk today was beautiful. The sun playing through the trees was at times quite haunting.

The sun playing through the trees was at times quite haunting.

Rick and Karen stopped by. Their daughter is a good friend of Jenna's. Great folks and thanks for stopping by!

Detroit Lake Tour

We got a tour of the lake from the owner of Kane's Marina, Larry. Thanks for an amazing tour of a wonderful gem of a lake. We discussed water issues and balancing recreation, economics and habitat. I have a much better picture of the issues and opportunities.

We also dry ran our route for Saturday. To avoid the worst part of the road around Detroit Lake, we have rented a canoe that I will paddle with one of the staff from the marina all of the way to the dam. It will cut off about 7 miles of road but we figure paddling a canoe is in the spirit of Allen's Oregon Trail. We also rented a small power boat to follow us in case we get in trouble. Should be a fun adventure. Stay tuned.

Thanks for following along. We are having a wonderful time. I wish everyone could actually be with us but I hope the blog is allowing you to virtually be with us. I included the picture of Lauren and Jackie because to me it captured the spirit of fun and adventure of our walk. Everyone had pitched in and gone way above their explicit duties to make this walk possible and to make it a great experience for each other. Thank you to our staff, volunteers and to the communities who have opened their doors and hearts to us.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 22

August 28, 2009

Today we took a day off from the usual routine. We walked a couple of miles to Detroit Lake Marina and then rented a canoe to paddle the length of Detroit Lake. It was quite the adventure and provided a nice break from our walk. It was about 7 miles of rowing and it cut off a little more than that of roadway. All survived quite well, but we did sink the canoe twice (story below).

Detroit Lake Marina

Special thanks to our friends at the Detroit Lake Marina.

We could not have done it without you.

The Birth of a Baby Reduces Crew by 2

The weather was great with a little overcast at the start which made for some pretty spectacular pictures. Interns Loren and Ryan were with me the whole day. AJ and Kelly drove out to be with us which would have given us a great crew. But, Kelly's sister Hilary went into labor just as we were launching. We made the strategic decision to send them home and the three of us continued physically two short but confident that we could still pull it off. By the way mom and baby are fine. Congratulations Hilary and Chris!

Ryan and Lauren Save the Adventure

I could not have done it without Ryan and Loren. We had just enough for one person in the safety boat and one in the canoe. We were on a pretty tight schedule so everyone had to be on the top of their game. The lake starts out very calm in the morning as you can see in some of the early pictures.

By about noon the wind kicks up, especially by the dam, to the point where you have white-caps. We needed to finish before noon or we could have a long day ahead of us.

The significance of the picture of me with the cookies is our office manager Jackie had been with us for the past two weeks and during that time we discovered that she adores cookies. She was supposed to be with us on the canoe trip so Lauren baked really great chocolate chip cookies especially for Jackie but she was a no-show (she actually called us and let us know she had a conflict but we like to pick on her anyway).

So we were fueled by some excellent home made cookies which greatly increased the likely hood that we would finish by noon.

The Lake is Conquered

And finish by noon we did! Victory.

It took us a little more than 3 hours. Which is a little slower than our walking pace of 3 miles per hour. The wind did start to kick up as we rounded the final corner on our last leg to the dam. I had to keep the canoe pointed directly into the wind because if we got sideways, the wind would push us toward shore and away from our destination. So you may be wondering about the sinking...

The Canoe Sinks

We had to tow the canoe back to the marina. It seemed like a good idea, until the winds blew up and the canoe started taking on water. It sank as we towed it and the ensuing scramble to pull it to the boat, lift a water logged canoe, dump out the remaining water, untangle the lines which seemed to be magnetically drawn to the propeller and get the thing back behind the boat was quite comical. The sheriff came to our rescue but it only humiliated us more with the lights flashing and the bull horn blaring "Are You OK? Please Signal That You Are OK". We eventually dragged the canoe into the little fishing boat, which left almost no room for us and to add insult to injury crushed our beloved chocolate chip cookies into cookie dust.

We decided that rowing the entire length of the lake and having the only casualty be a soggy canoe and crushed cookies was pretty good. Thanks to all, mission accomplished.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 23

August 29, 2009

Heartbeat of America

Today was a day off so I did a little picture taking. The flag was on the side of a barn at the Elkhorn Inn our bed and breakfast.

Elkhorn Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast

I thought it looked great with our trusty Tahoe Hybrid and our Allen Alley for Governor logo. The Tahoe was not perfectly clean which in some ways added to the shot. This is a hard working, loyal and trusty truck that has logged tens of thousands of Oregon miles supporting us on the treasurer's race and in our run for governor all the while delivering 21+ miles per gallon in the city and on the road.

Here is to a great vehicle and a great country.

OSU Salmon Health Research

We visited with Dr. Jerri Bartholomew, Salmon Health Research Center. She had us tour the facility and then we received some excellent briefing from her grad students.

One in particular was doing research on parasites infecting salmon smolts in Klamath Falls. We discussed that the knee jerk reaction of people is we have to reduce these parasites to help the fish. The way to do this is to increase water flow and that means dumping more water over the dam and not spinning the turbine. As we got further into the discussion he told me that elimination of the parasites might in fact be bad for the birds. The birds find it easier to catch infected fish and it might be nearly impossible for the birds to catch enough of the healthy fish to survive. The dilemma may be that reducing the parasite will reduce the number of birds because they no longer have the weakened fish to feed upon.

We have to remember to use our position at the top of the food chain to make intelligent eco-system decisions, not just looking at one interaction and jumping to a conclusion.

Thank you Dr. Bartholomew and your great team of graduate students.

Wave Energy at OSU

We also met with Dr. Annette vonJouanne at OSU and reviewed the work she is doing on wave energy. It was an impressive tour. I completely appreciate that they are thoroughly researching many fundamental architectures for a wave buoy rather than pre-judging and jumping to a conclusion. Really an interesting engineering challenge. Thank you Dr. vonJouanne and your team.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 24

August 30, 2009

Dinner at Stoller Vineyards

This picture is of our friend Jane and I think captures more than just her silhouette. Jane is a wonderful water color artist and you can almost see her mind sketching the vineyard as she gazes through the open cellar door and out onto the vines, highlighted by the amber light of a setting sun.

I am starting with our evening activity and it was a most special treat. I got to see Debbie! We attended a dinner at Stoller Vineyards for the benefit of several charities (Metropolitan Family Service, New Avenues for Youth, Friends of the Children – Portland, Trillium Family Services and YWCA Clark County), All great organizations and worthy of the support of the community. It was wonderful to see Debbie after being apart for several weeks. I know our time apart is nothing for many families where spouses spend time serving in the military but for us it was the longest time we have been separated in 27+ years. We had a great dinner with friends and spent some time reflecting on our walk and the future of our state. As you can see from the pictures, we have some world leading vineyards and facilities here in Oregon.

Many thanks to Bill and Cathy for a wonderful evening.

Easy walk. In fact I think every walk is now easy. Difficult to say if it is easy terrain or I am just getting in much better shape. In any case the walking is much easier. I have a new set of blisters that are bugging me but are not catastrophic. More of an annoyance than anything else.

Zapproved Board and Old Friends

We had a walking board meeting today for Zapproved. Well it was not quite a board meeting because we did not have a quorum but it was fun to say we did. We were also joined by our intern Lauren and her mom who provided much needed local knowledge. We were also joined by our friends Shawn Lindsay and Taisoon Doctor for the day. Everyone made it a full 15 miles with a little help from athletic tape and mole skin :-)

New Friends

We meet new friends almost every day, usually in a restaurant. When you are walking 15 miles a day, you think you can eat anything and everything so you spend a lot of time in restaurants. Everyone we meet, seems to be genuinely pleased to support us and our trek.

Freres Lumber

I got to know the Freres family on the Treasurer's race. Kyle Freres gave us a tour of their Veneer Mill and Electric Co Gen plant.

The operation was clean, neat and really humming. This is a well run operation. You can see it on the faces of the employees.

Caution Another Co-Generation Rant

The Freres facility also has a very nice Electric Co-Gen plant on sight. It is a state of the art 10MW facility. Exactly like the Co-Gen plant in Prairie City. It uses scrap wood products for fuel, just like Prairie City. Their control systems are similar to Prairie City. Even the electric generators are similar.

The difference is because the Freres plant came online in 2007 the power is considered "green" and the almost identical facility in Prairie City came online in 1986 so it cannot be counted as "green" power (Since Governor K vetoed the bill this session that would have included it). So we have one brand new $20+ million facility built with the assistance of the state and its almost identical twin, built in 1986. It absolutely makes no sense at all that Prairie City is excluded.

As you can see from the pictures this is a very well run facility. Nothing goes to waste.

Extremely clean and modern.

I can attest that the computer controls and machine vision systems are state of the market. Thanks so much to the Freres family for treating us to a great tour and informative afternoon.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 26

September 1, 2009

Guess where we arrived today? No fair scrolling down.


Salem! It was an amazing feeling to walk up to the Capitol on such a beautiful day.

I was actually doing a radio interview via cell phone as I approached the steps. It was an other worldly experience to be standing on the Capitol steps, doing a radio interview immediately after completing over 350 miles of our 400 mile walk across our magnificent state.

Great to have my friend Damon stop by to welcome us "home".

2019 Update: The man who made it all possible. Our own "Badger". Couldn't have done 10% of what we accomplished without him. Thanks so much and happy 10 year Anniversary of "Allen's Oregon Trail"!

Olson Farms

On the way to the Capitol we stopped in at several businesses including Olson Farms. Not only did we have some amazing apples and peaches, we had a great discussion about Oregon and how we revive our economy.

The theme was the same, it is getting increasingly difficult to do business here. I don't even think it is malicious, most of the consequences are unintended. There is a general theme that as we impose rules, regulations, taxes and fees we increasingly must look at the global competitive environment to determine the effect they have on business. We can no longer only benchmark our region or our nation. The farmers I talked to are competing with South America and China. In many cases we are employing tariff age policies in a border-less Internet age and it simply will destroy our competitiveness.

Media and a Former Governor

We had a great media turnout to cover our arrival. I got the question aren't you upset that our former governor is getting more attention than you are after you walked 350 miles to Salem?

I said that I started my political career 15 months ago and in that time we went from almost zero name recognition to being the Republican nominee for a state wide constitutional office, coming much closer in a general election than anyone thought, garnered more raw votes in Multnomah County than any Republican has ever received in any election, received 9 out of 11 newspaper endorsements and am now thought of as one of the leading candidates for the highest office in the state. All in 15 months. Our former governor has been at this for 31 years so no I do not feel bad at all. I think we are making pretty good progress.

Staking our Claim

We climbed to the top of the Capitol and laid claim to it with our well worn walk sign. This sign has traveled with us from Baker City to Salem.

It was nice to hoist it above the Capitol for all to see (OK so it is a little small but we could see it).

I don't know who posted the sign on the governor's office. I thought it was a little presumptuous but the picture was in the camera so I thought I would include it.

Birdwood Inn Silverton

We stayed at the Birdwood Inn, in Silverton. It was an extraordinary experience. Again, the place is wonderful but what makes it is the hospitality of the Innkeepers Bobbi and Scott. Thank you for a wonderful time and for adopting us into your family.

Birwood Inn

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 27/28

September 3/4, 2009

Goodbye to Salem... For Now...

We started the walk today in Salem. All systems are go. My blisters are under control thanks to about a foot (no pun intended) of athletic tape. I thought this shot of the Capitol with the Tahoe was just beautiful. The sky and the clouds are just stunning.

Stick to Politics and Business

Here is a fun one. Rick Dancer and I spent a lot of time around each other on our respective races for Secretary of State and Treasurer. So much so, we started to be able to imitate each other and even give each other's stump speeches. This picture is me "doing Rick" and Rick "doing Allen". I think Rick "doing Allen" wins. I guess 23 years on TV makes it not a fair fight.

We said fair well to Salem after a perfect couple of days. We had a blast and great weather. I cannot wait for my next trip.

Tulips and Farm Issues

The above picture was from this spring. Please do not travel to Woodburn and expect to see this scene. I wanted to show you what the Iverson's farm looked like in full bloom.

We met with the Iverson's on their farm for about an hour talking about the challenges of doing business here in Oregon. The economy has really hit all farmers and ranchers and we have not done much in Salem to help the situation.

It is also stunning to me how much major agricultural activity exists so close to our major metropolitian areas of Portland and Salem. When you blow by on I5 you really don't get a sense of how important agri-business is to Oregon and our economy. Take hwy 99 next trip. Slow down. Stop at a few vegetable or fruit stands. Buy some produce and talk to the farmers. Ask them about doing business in Oregon. I guarantee you will get a different perspective.

On the Road Again

We hoofed it up hwy 99. The traffic was aggressive and a little dangerous but it was worthwhile.

It was like getting the backlot tour at Disneyland. If I5 is the "front" 99 is the "back" and in this case, "back" is best.

Christmas in September

We stopped by to visit a Christmas Tree farm. I had no idea about the technology involved in growing a good tree. It is also a very labor intensive process.

While some other forms of farming, like dry land wheat farming, have become mechanized to the point of becoming a "farm factory" Christmas trees and other nursery plants still require a lot of manual labor. One size does not fit all when addressing farm policy.

Grass is Greener

We did not stop at JB but we did see their farm. It was really beautiful. We did discuss grass farming issues with other farmers and the situation is a bleak as it is for other agri-business. Bottom line we talked to a broad cross section of farmers and ranchers (dairy, tulips, grass seed, peaches, corn, wheat, cattle and cherries to name a few) and they are all being devastated by the economy and feel Salem has turned its back on them.

These are great people. Hard working. Environmentally conscious folks who are trying to supply us with great products in a sustainable manner while competing with South America and China. We need to do a better job of understanding their issues and helping them to take advantage of opportunities. We have one of the most fertile states in the country but we are not taking full advantage of our assets.

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 29

September 5, 2009

There is No Place Like Home

Wow. 381 miles from Baker City to Lake Oswego. So many miles, so many smiles, so many new friends it was great to come home to some old friends and neighbors. Thanks to the entire crew for supporting me. I can hardly wait until Tuesday for our walk to Portland.

We had a wonderful wet walk through the Willamette Valley today. It was only fitting that we got soaked as we walked the final miles to our home. It illustrated the diversity of our state. We started in 100 degree heat in Baker City and ended up in a 60 degree cool mist in the Willamette Valley. They represent the diversity we found in our state.

Can it be a Ferry? Yes, it Canby!

When we first laid out our course, we realized that taking the Canby ferry would save us several miles. The only question was none of us had ever been on it. Turns out we were really missing a great time.

The ferry is fun, efficient and entertaining. Our captain was very helpful and although the ride was short, it was quite enjoyable. Highly recommended.

The kids would love it. And it is electric. How cool is that?

The Canby Dahlia Festival

We quite literally stumbled on the Canby Dahlia Festival. The fields of flowers were beautiful. We didn't realize that we were going to see something like this and it was a special treat.

It sounds cliche but it really brightened our day.

With only a handful of miles left I am overwhelmed by what the team has accomplished. I could not have ever done this without their support. They always were there to encourage, support and to lend me a hand if I needed it. They kicked me when I needed it. Kept me on schedule and gave me constructive feedback on my speeches. AJ, Ryan, Lauren, Daniel, Amos, Jackie, Rick and Terri. Thank you so much for turning a figment of imagination into one of the most important and interesting months of my life.

No pain, No gain.

Also a special note of thanks to everyone who came out to walk with us. There are too many to list here. You know who you are and your dedication and support kept us going. Every one of you brought us new energy and spirit. We could not have done it without your optimism and drive. Thank you!

One blog left. See you all Tuesday.

The Final Steps...

Allen's Oregon Trail Day 30

September 8, 2009

Allen's Oregon Trail End of the Walk Speech

This is the speech that I gave at Waterfront Park today. No blog just the speech and a few pictures. Thank you to everyone for making our idea, a reality. Bringing Oregon together, one step at a time.

Thank you so much for coming to help me celebrate the Finish Line of our Walk Across Oregon. Baker City to Portland 400 miles, 37 days! Bringing Oregon Together, one step at a time.

I want to thank my staff for executing this walk flawlessly on a very limited budget. We actually arrived ahead of schedule. 400 miles, 5 mountain passes, almost a hundred community meetings, unpredictable weather and challenging conditions and you still delivered ahead of time and on budget. That is the type of performance we need to take to Salem.

To all of my friends who walked with us, specifically to the members of the 15 mile club (those friends who made it 15 miles in a day), thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your spirit and enthusiasm made my walk a joy of body and soul.

I also want to specifically thank my wife Debbie who held our life and our campaign together as we trekked across the state.

Walking creates an intimacy that cannot exist in any other situation. The trappings of running for the highest office in the state create physical and mental barriers that preclude honest citizen-to-citizen exchanges.

Walking into a town in my sneakers, shorts, a tee shirt with my skinned knee broke down social barriers. People opened up to me in ways that they never would have if I had cruised into town in my freshly pressed shirt, cleanly scrubbed staff in tow.

We discussed concerns but we also talked about what an amazing place it is that we call home.

We have the greatest state in the nation. It is unparalleled in assets. We have: Natural resources, Forests, Rivers, Lakes, Farm land and Ranch land.

We have abundant renewable energy resources: Sun, Wind and Water.

We have: Multiple deep-water Pacific Ocean ports

A diverse economy.

A High Technology base in the Willamette Valley

Heavy manufacturing

Light manufacturing

Abundant cost-effective and CO2-free energy

Leadership in green buildings and public transportation

A pioneering spirit infused in our culture dating back to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

With all of those assets, I ask you, how can Oregon, our Oregon, be among the national leaders in unemployment, homelessness and hunger?

I understand why Michigan is in trouble. I lived in Michigan. I worked for Ford. I do not understand how Oregon could even be mentioned in the same sentence as Michigan.

It is also not a recent aberration. We have been above the national average in unemployment 95 percent of the time for the last 25 years. We talk about sustainability but I am telling you sustainability needs to start with a vibrant economy based on the values that have drawn all of us here.

Without jobs, without careers with meaning for our citizens, all of our aspirations of sustainable economic leadership are hollow.

It is easy to be sustainable when there is no industry. It is easy to be sustainable when the entire state is a park. Anyone can do that. Our challenge is to show the world how to have economic prosperity and do it in harmony with our environment. That is a challenge worthy of Oregon.

400 miles, three pairs of shoes, 37 days, skinned knees, 10 pounds and three inches off of my waist, 792,000 steps, a hundred or more community meetings Why? What did I learn?

I learned about the weaving of values and experiences that form our communities. I learned about the stories of perspiration and inspiration that built our families, businesses and economy. But more than anything else, I learned about listening.

I can tell you that, before I began this trek, I believed that I was a good listener. I thought I was someone who could hear any point of view with an open heart and mind. I am sure that many of you here today also believe you are also good listeners.

I am here now, 400 miles and 37 days after I started this walk, to tell you that we are wrong. It took me 400 miles to learn to slow down and to really listen to the problems plaguing our state. It took 37 days to be able to comprehend what Oregonians have been dealing with for the last 25 years of politics as usual.

What I heard is people are worried.

They are worried that their businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy. They are worried that banks continue to tighten credit.

And they are worried that at the same time Salem passed tax increases during the worst economic recession since the great depression.

They are worried that the un-regulated actions of speculators and criminals on Wall Street have taken our financial system to the brink of bankruptcy.

They are worried that American can-do is being replaced by “What can you do for me?”

They are worried that un-checked government spending guarantees our children will be indentured servants to our national and state mortgage.

They are worried that there is nothing healthy or caring about a medical system where costs spiral out of control.

They are worried that, as the world sprints ahead of our educational system, our children are relegated to the intellectual bench.

They are worried that hard work with your hands is being replaced by hand-outs and hay bales are replaced with bail-outs.

They are worried that, as we argue about enhancing our environment, our forests are tinderboxes and we continue to burn fossils as if the price will never rise and the flame will never extinguish.

They are worried that our children will not be able to pursue the dream we had, the American dream; the same dream that drew my grandparents to America, the land where the streets were paved with gold.

I am running for Governor of our great state of Oregon not because we are all worried, but because I know and you know how to do something about it. We know how to create an environment where jobs flourish.

We know the role of government is to provide the environment where jobs are created, not to create government jobs.

We know how to grow industries that create products that people aspire to own.

We know the foundation of our economy and our future is education.

But it takes much more than me.

It takes a community of Republicans, Independents, Democrats, workers, and managers - people who know how to create a job and compete in a global economy to step forward and get involved.

Supporters: we will run a strong and aggressive race for Governor that will make you proud. We will give no quarter; concede no vote. From the Pearl District of Multnomah County to the grasslands of Harney County. We will work for very vote in every county - even if I have to walk back across this state again.

If you are hearing my message for the first time, I ask you to join us.

Oregon has an opportunity to break from the stale politics of the last quarter century and bring a new perspective to Salem.

The Salem insiders simply cannot see through the lenses darkened by the soot of 25 years of politics as usual.

I ask you today - Are you willing to help?

Are you willing to lead?

Will you join with me to clean those lenses, to bring a new perspective to Salem and to raise the star of Oregon?


Allen Alley 2009