County curbs street racing

Parkdale family pushes for stiffer speeding penalties after death of teen daughter

The family of a Parkdale teen who was killed in a street race last winter are on the move to prevent other deaths.

“Our greatest hope is that someone else doesn’t have to lose a loved one from an incident that never should have happened,” said Earl “Smokey” Mainwaring.

Smokey and his wife, Sharon, are the parents of the late Trisha Ann Thornton, 19, who was killed in January when the car she was riding in crashed into a power pole during a street race in Gresham.

That tragedy led the Mainwarings to form Families Against Speeding Drivers and launch a campaign to get stiffer penalties not only for those racing but for those observing the illegal activity.

On Monday, the Hood River County Commission passed an ordinance that authorized the immediate impoundment of both participant and spectator vehicles. The need for that local law was brought before the board by the Mainwarings several months ago.

“This is more of a preventative measure to bring attention to what is a growing problem statewide,” said Dave Meriwether, county administrator.

The new ordinance goes into effect on Nov. 7 and will allow law enforcement officials to tow away vehicles at street racing scenes on county roads and levy fines of up to $1,000.

Mainwairing said after his step-daughter’s death he learned that she had been a spectator at drag races for three years before she was killed. He believes that those watching the illegal sport are often lured by excitement into a car — or, at the very least, promote the risky behavior by their presence.

“I’m sure as a parent we would have taken very strong steps with Patricia if we had known what she was doing,” said Mainwaring.

Since there have been races among youth at the Hood River waterfront, Mainwaring also plans to approach the city about adopting the ordinance to present a united front against the activity. He was instrumental in pushing the ordinance through Multnomah County and is working to get a similar version passed into state law.

“All we’re trying to do is make a difference for other people,” said Mainwaring.

The new activist group has printed up more than 2,000 bumper stickers that carry the message, “Driving Too Fast Takes You Faster.” In addition, Smokey uses his eight years of experience as a school bus driver to deliver straight talk to Wasco and Hood River county students about the perils of irresponsible actions and the tragic consequences. “I shock them straight, it makes a big impression on some of these kids,” Smokey said.

He expects to have a web site up within the next month and welcomes any questions or requests for information at 386-1779 or

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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