Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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‘Farmer Terry’ helps to make Harvest Fest a great celebration

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When asked what he likes best about his job, he says he doesn’t have a boss who sets his schedule, which allows him to, “Do what needs doing.”

When you’re Terry Lookabill, PCC’s farm coordinator and Veterinary Technology Program support staff at the Rock Creek Campus, there’s a lot that needs doing. Before he came to Rock Creek, Lookabill was a locksmith at the Sylvania Campus from 1991-94. Replacing locks and lost keys pales to his current responsibilities that include: animal husbandry; machine maintenance; kennel management; Learning Garden support; assisting with the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals Program; and helping with the annual Harvest Festival. This year’s festival will mark his 20th year on the campus.

Before Lookabill was a farmer and before he was a locksmith, he worked for 15 years in a Newberg paper mill.

Before Lookabill was a farmer and before he was a locksmith, he worked for 15 years in a Newberg paper mill.

This year’s Harvest Festival is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Rock Creek Campus. The event is free and open to the public. It offers pumpkin pulling, face painting, hayrides, music, a petting zoo, Learning Garden tours and more. Face painting, pumpkin decorating, and children’s art and crafts will be held in Building 3. The event is sponsored by Rock Creek’s ASPCC office.

“The students do a great job of organizing this event, but you can’t predict the weather,” Lookabill said. “When it rains, 50 or 60 people will come out. When the sun shines, we can welcome more than 1,000 people.”

Having the annual Harvest Festival at Rock Creek speaks to the natural amenities of the place, he said. Before it opened as a campus in 1976, it was a 260-acre farm with 44 acres of woodlands, 11 acres of wetlands and 44 acres of grassland. Much of the openness of the property has been protected. The land supports on average 30 sheep, 15 cows, five alpacas, one goat, one lama and one horse. The animals play a significant role in the college’s Veterinarian Technology Program and they keep Lookabill busy around the clock. Some of the animals will be available at the petting zoo during the festival.

“And then there’s the pumpkin thing,” Lookabill added about the cornerstone of the event. “The first year we had crop failure and didn’t harvest a single pumpkin. We called on a local farmer to help us out and we picked up about 500 pumpkins to place in the pumpkin patch. We didn’t want to disappoint the kids and they never thought to ask why the pumpkins weren’t attached to the vines.”

Before Lookabill was a farmer and before he was a locksmith, he worked for 15 years in a Newberg paper mill. These significant career changes qualify him as an expert in risk taking and second chances. It’s one of the reasons he appreciates PCC.

“The college provides opportunities for people to have a shot at a career,” he said. “For many people, PCC is their only shot at something better.”

“Farmer Terry,” as he is known around the campus, plans to retire in about four years and his current plan is simple: “I have a 37-foot motor home and I plan to point it down the road.”

He said no pumpkins will be involved with that plan.

  • Before Lookabill was a farmer and before he was a locksmith, he worked for 15 years in a Newberg paper mill.
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Comments

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x by Terri Barnes 2 years ago

What? No photo of Terry’s sidekicks Billy and Ernie?! Thanks for doing this story. Terry is one of the special people who make Rock Creek the fantastic place that it is.

x by Joe 2 years ago

Terry looks like a good old boy and I cant wait to introduce my 7yr old son to him and his animals.

x by Becca 2 years ago

Terry is fantastic and super-funny. If you’re at the Harvest Festival and get the chance to talk with him, be sure to do so–ask him for some farming anecdotes and Vet. Tech. student bloopers.

x by Doreen Hanna 2 years ago

This is yet another reason why the Rock Creek Campus is so special! Terry is a wonderful jewel and great steward for all the Rock Creek stands for!

x by Josephine 2 years ago

This is a beautiful story. It captures so much about why many of us love PCC in general, and the Rock Creek campus in particular. Every day, driving onto campus we are greeted with the site of living animals and beautifully landscaped plants and even an organic garden.

x by Nora 2 years ago

Terry is the greatest. This article makes me so happy!

x by Jenn 2 years ago

“Farmer” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface to describe all the talents that Terry has as an individual. What is truly remarkable about Terry is his tremendous generosity of time and help–he embodies the true meaning of “community”. Thanks Terry for making so many things happen here at PCC Rock Creek!

x by Jeff Lamont 2 years ago

Terry is one of our cornerstone people at Rock Creek. Without Terry, Rock Creek just wouldn’t be Rock Creek. So glad to see this article.

x by Melissa Duke 2 years ago

Retiring?? I can’t imagine the farm without Terry! He is so much a part of our wonderful campus. I guess I’ll have to make time to enjoy more of his stories over the next four years.

x by Bob Cook 2 years ago

If all of the employees at PCC were even half as good as Terry, and did half as much as he does, no employee would ever leave here, and it would be a perfect place to work.

x by Elaine Cole 2 years ago

Thanks Janis for capturing the spirit of Terry in this article and photos. We consider him in integral part of our team and I can’t imagine working on campus without his support, humor, institutional knowledge, creative problem solving, scabillion tools, generosity and work ethic. I know that today, Harvest Fest 2014, he will be out there in the this wet weather with his warm heart shining through is rain gear. Thanks Terry for all you do.

x by russell 2 years ago

It gives me PAWS to think where Rock Creek Would be without Terry. He is a wonderful co-worker and some one I am proud to call “friend.” The animals agree: Sheep: “There’s not a BAAAAAAAD bone in his body.” Random Cow: “This guy is a MOOO-ver and shaker.” Chicken #73: “It is nice knowing someone gives a CLUCK about you.” The accolades go on and on. “Neigh, I say.” (Pacto the Horse.).

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