President's Corner

Bud "Whoop Whoop" Clark, The People's Mayor

By Scott Harvey

Scott Harvey.jpg

Greetings fellow club members,

One of Portland’s most eccentric and colorful political figures passed away earlier this month at the age of 90. John Elwood “Bud” Clark Jr., a Marine, successful business owner “ The Goose Hollow Inn” and Portland’s 48th Mayor who served two terms from 1985 to 1992 after defeating incumbent Frank Ivancie, was also known as “The People’s Mayor” who had a deep love for his city.  Most individuals who have lived around the Portland area for quite some time will remember Bud as the handlebar mustached mayor who could been seen peddling his bike to city hall or on occasion, clearing out sewer drains with a golf club or who might be best remembered as the trench coat poster boy model in the famous “Expose yourself to art” poster.

However, there was another interest that Bud Clark had that not too many folks were aware of and it was his love of rivers! That’s right, a veteran boatman who engaged in canoe trips on the Willamette River and an occasional rafting trip or two. He made news headlines back in 1997 while on a remote rafting trip on the South Fork of the Owyhee River in Southern Idaho. On the fifth day of a multi-day over night trip, Bud fell on a sharp sagebrush stump and had ruptured the femoral vein in his left leg. The unfortunate incident quickly covered his lower body with blood from the ruptured vein. Luckily for Bud, the group of veteran boaters in his party sprung into action immediately and quickly divided up responsibilities. One individual started applying pressure to the wound and to a pressure point. The others started considering ways to get medical help into the remote and isolated Upper Owyhee River Canyon.

So, two individuals in the boating party decided to hike out of the canyon for what they thought could be a multi-day 20 mile hike out in search for a road and some help. The hikers got lucky when they stumbled upon a remote ranch only a few miles away. It just happened to be the only ranch in the Owyhee canyon at the time that had two cowboy caretakers. Word was that the caretakers were from Chile and spoke very little English. Using rough sign-language to communicate with the Chileans, they soon became aware that there was a truck parked on a hilltop that was several miles away where they could make radio contact with a near-by base ranch. There were no vehicles at the ranch, so they set out on horseback from the ranch to reach the parked truck where they dispatched a call for help. In just less than an hour after the call for help, a helicopter swooped down to pick up the individual who radioed for help and flew to the site where Bud Clark was still having pressure applied on the wound from the other party members. The well-prepared rafters had cleared a landing site for the helicopter and even marked an “X” with the boating gear to assist the pilot. The word from the other boaters is that when the helicopter landed, Bud let out an enthusiastic “Whoop Whoop." Clark was flown to a hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the damaged section of vein and spent several days recuperating in the hospital before returning home to rest.

It just goes to show that having experienced, cool-headed boaters along on a multi-day trip with proper first aid skills and a common sense approach to emergencies can be a game changer when the unexpected occurs on remote river trips. Having the proper safety equipment for the unexpected emergency can also make a difference. The River Safety Training (RST) class and the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) class each offered once a year through OWA at a deeply subsidized rate for members has been a positive educational experience for those boaters seeking to sharpen their emergency skills for day-runs and remote river trips. Consider enrolling in both of these classes if you haven’t already done so.

Also, the club offers two comprehensive Wilderness First Aid Kits and AED units that are available for club members to take on private trips. There is a big demand for these first aid kits and AED units so inquire and sign up early to hold them for your next river trip. You can check them out by contacting Steve Oslund, the First Aid Kit Organizer who can be contacted at firstaid(at) Also, if your plans change and you no longer need to reserve the kits, please let Steve know as soon as possible if you already have a first aid kit and AED unit reserved. Also, please return the kits in a timely manner as you arrive home so they can be inspected and put back out for use for the next adventurous boater. If you used anything out of the first aid kit while in your possession, mark down on the note pad provided any medication, bandages or items used so they can be replaced.   


Cheers and Safe Boating,

Scott Harvey