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Founders’ Week starts today with big discounts
Photos and Story by James Hill
Today, Monday, May 14, Portland Community College Founders’ Week kicks off with some great deals at the PCC Bookstore locations. Start Founders’ Week off right with a trip to any PCC Bookstore – select “PCC Spirit Gear” and get 50-percent off all week. Plus, look around campus for free 50th anniversary buttons, pens and decals that will be handed out.
PCC Trivia Question of the Day:
In 1976, students demanded that the practice of using initials to name buildings end. They wanted better names such as Spruce Hall, Northwest Center or McCall Hall. What campus was this? (Answer in tomorrow’s web feature).
History Story of the Day: The Tug boat trip
In the 1960s and 1970s, John Lipney, program manager for airframe and marine technology, was known as the Sergeant Bilko of PCC. When his programs needed something, Lipney was there to scrounge it up. After slyly securing a dock from the city of Portland on the Willamette River for PCC to use its boats, Lipney realized he needed, well, a boat to make his marine tech program take sail.
Lipney and the college board believed boat repair and servicing would be a big industry in the future. So, enter: Tugboat TD-81. Lipney found the decommissioned tug up in Puget Sound near Ballard, Wash., and hired captain R.E. Young to bring it home. But Young needed a crew and Lipney stepped up, along with several deans and founding president Dr. Amo DeBernardis, to man the decks. The trip to the Willamette River, though, was not a smooth sailing.
A big storm was brewing off the Pacific Coast. On top of that, Captain Young had to soothe the nerves of his inexperienced crew, who would get alarmed they would hit other ships passing by.
“Then we passed Cape Flattery,” recalled Jack Weinbender, one of the crew members. “It got real stormy and it was crackers and dramamine that night. There were no lights in the cabin, no handrails to keep from getting banged around, and during part of the night we lost power to our steering.”
At Destruction Island, the ex-Navy man DeBernardis took the wheel, guiding the little tug toward Westport. But Dr. De got slammed too many times into the bulkhead from the big wheel, which was rattled by the choppy sea and 45-knot winds. He promptly handed the reigns back to Captain Young. Into the Columbia River, the crew caught some salmon and had their first real meal in days. They powered the tug down the river (almost hitting the Steel Bridge) into PCC’s Willamette River dock, and capped it all with a monkey’s fist (a good knot).
“We finally docked in Portland and were very proud of ourselves and that hummer,” Weinbender said. “Really, bringing the tug to Portland was a great experience.”
The tug boat survived, but the marine tech program did not. A few years later, the program was scrapped due to a lack of interest from students.
Read the “The PCC History Series.”