2014: Forest Grove mayor seriously hurt in crash
Editor's note: This story is part of the News-Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that mattered to readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.
"I was going a little bit too fast around the corner, and the bike started drifting," Pete Truax told the News-Times. "I went over into some gravel, and the last thing I remember thinking is, 'This isn't gonna be good.'"
Truax, Forest Grove's mayor since 2009, was fortunate to be able to tell the story himself.
The 67-year-old mayor was riding his motor scooter, as he often did, along Northwest Thatcher Road near Forest Grove on May 7, 2014. While taking a turn onto Watercrest Drive, he lost control and crashed, breaking several ribs, lacerating several internal organs and compressing his diaphragm.
Fortunately, a neighbor heard the crash and came running to see what happened. The LifeFlight Network was activated, and Truax was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center by helicopter with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Truax said later he blacked out for a moment after the crash, but by the time emergency responders arrived on the scene, he was conscious and talking — badly hurt, but not without his usual dry wit. When one responder asked him how he was doing, Truax quipped, "I've felt better."
Truax underwent surgery at Emanuel Medical Center and had a breathing tube inserted. Within a few days, he was released to finish his recovery at home.
The crash didn't do any real permanent damage, but it put Truax off riding his scooter for life. It also reinforced his support for Oregon's state law requiring motorcycle and motor scooter operators to wear a helmet.
"The helmet saved my life," Truax told the News-Times. "There's no doubt about that."
Truax, at 73, continues to serve as mayor. After winning a close race in November 2014, defeating challenger Timothy Marble by just 107 votes — he later lamented that coming off his injury, he didn't make a strong case for another term — Truax was re-elected in November 2018 without opposition.
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