Racing at stake amid Alpenrose Dairy dispute

Community

"I don't want to see it go," said a 12-year-old driver

Three children race around the Alpenrose Quarter Midget Track. September 21, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The legal battle over the potential sale of Alpenrose Dairy continues on in court. But the property that has a family feuding has consequences for many more people outside of the courtroom.

KOIN 6 spoke with folks at the Alpenrose Quarter Midget Racing Track about what the sale of the dairy lands would mean for them and the community that has spent decades at the raceway in the center of the property.

Senior members of the Portland Quarter Midget Racing Association and their children who still race on the track have a deep affection for the kid-sized track.

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The Alpenrose Dairy property also holds baseball fields and multiple racing tracks. (KOIN)

Vice president of the Portland Quarter Midget Racing Association Scott Davis said he was disappointed to hear about the dispute going to court. His son Zane has just completed his third year of racing—starting out as a novice driver, now in the senior class.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” said Davis. “I think that we thought this was behind us. We’re going to do everything we can to stand behind the family and support them just like they have supported the community in the past.”

Davis describes Midget Racing as a great opportunity to spend time with his son, family, and friends in a “very safe, pleasant atmosphere.”

Losing the track would not only signal a change for the surrounding Portland community, but would also have rippling effects throughout the entire Pacific Northwest. Davis said that people travel from Canada, northern California, and Idaho to race at the Alpenrose Quarter Midget Track.

Three children race around the Alpenrose Quarter Midget Track. September 21, 2019 (KOIN)

“I don’t want to see it go,” said Morgan Ball, Portland driver and daughter of club president Shawn Ball. She’s 12, almost 13 years old, and has been a driver for two years now.

“I instantly loved racing,” she said. Ball talked about the bond that was forged between the young drivers when she first started racing. She and the other drivers would hang out after competitions and play games. Those were friendships that she still keeps today, even though some of those drivers live in places like Spokane and Canada.

“I don’t want to see it go because it’s such a great track and I—it’s been one of the most exciting things in my life, racing. It brought me and my dad closer together,” said Ball.

Like Ball, many young children are introduced to racing through the track’s Saturday Ride Day event, where anyone can pay 20$ and race around the track ten times. Once the racing bug bites, they can start as novice drivers, and move up through the ranks from there.

Alan Hawkins, who declares himself the oldest, longest member of Midget Racing said he wouldn’t trade a minute of his time at the track for anything.

A flagger waves on young drivers as they race around the track at Alpenrose. September 21, 2019 (KOIN)

“My membership goes back 32 years,” said Hawkins, who was introduced to the raceway when his youngest son took an interest in driving. “Well, being involved with Alpenrose for as long as I have, it would be an absolute cryin’ shame if this place were to meet a demise.”

Hawkins said he doesn’t care how much the land is worth—what Alpenrose has done for the community far outweighs any cost.

“If the community loses this, it’s just gonna be a sad day,” said Hawkins. “I’m going to do everything and anything that I can to keep that from happening.”

The local community has already collected nearly $25,000 that they donated toward the legal fight to keep the dairy.

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