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Bemer Pague; a defender of “cycle paths” over a century ago

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This is our second column by Oregon bicycle historian Eric Lundgren. He last wrote about T. T. Geer, an Oregon Governor a century ago who was an early adopter of the bicycle for commuting and touring. This column is about the career of Bemer S. Pague, a weatherman, bicycle advocate, and lawyer from the same period — including a case he won against a cart driver who tried to use a cycle path.]


Bemer S. Pague

Writing about rain in the national imagery of the Pacific Northwest, historian Richard Maxwell Brown notes that during the late 1800s “the specter of incessant rainfall epitomized in Webfoot lore seriously handicapped efforts to attract settlers.”

In his “landmark” Biennial Reports of the Oregon Weather Bureau, Forecast Official Bemer S. Pague “provided exhaustive data on precipitation and temperature in minute detail [and] revealed that Portland’s rainfall was not at all excessive.”

According to Brown, Pague “played a pivotal role” in refuting the myth of Portland’s dismal raininess.

That’s not the only time Pague was pivotal. Bemer S. Pague was also a bicyclist.[Read more…]

Guest article: Oregon’s first bicycling governor: T.T. Geer, 1899-1903

Monday, February 16th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Eric Lundgren is Oregon’s preeminent bicycle historian. He is working on a book about Portland’s “golden age of cycling,” and has provided his historical perspective to this site in the past. He provided this article about our first bicycling governor in honor of the state’s Sesquicentennial this week.]

Governor T.T. Geer
(Image courtesy of the
Oregon State Library)

When the problems of road repair and good transportation seem most intractable, most stuck in the mud, there is often a temptation to move forward with fancy new gadgets. Today, Governor Kulongkoski leads the charge for electric cars and batteries. A century ago Governor Geer led the way for another kind of high-tech ground transportation.

In 1899 at his inauguration, Oregon Governor Theodore Thurston Geer said:

Few questions demand more serious consideration at your hands than the enactment of some system that will give our people better roads…

[Read more…]