The mayors of two Gorge cities were bristling this week over a sweeping challenge that centered on a hotly contested football game.
As of press time on Friday, neither Hood River Mayor Paul Cummings nor The Dalles Mayor Robb VanCleave knew the outcome of the competition between their respective high schools (complete details will be available in Wednesday’s Sports section.) However, both were willing to take up a broom and agree to use it early Monday morning for menial labor in the rival city if their team lost that night.
But not without a little good natured ribbing over the skills of their elected opponent.
“Since I’m an old shop teacher with a vast amount of experience in teaching people how to clean up, I am confident that I can even help the Mayor of The Dalles learn how to use a broom,” said Cummings, who whisked City Manager Lynn Guenther into the fray.
VanCleave, who will partner with Nolan Young, his city manager, issued the challenge this week via a radio broadcast and said it was initiated in a spirit of “good, clean fun.”
“I didn’t think any Hood River mayor knew how to use a broom so I got an easy-to-use model with visual instructions that have no big words,” said VanCleave.
However, Cummings said his background clearly shows his superior abilities — which will more than qualify him to provide the proper oversight.
“We do intend to supervise this work to make sure it is done right since we are very particular about how this town looks,” he said.
VanCleave said a steaming cup of Mocha will be waiting for Cummings and Guenther when they arrive on Monday to sweep the steps of city hall. However, Guenther said Hood River is going to offer the two officials from The Dalles something a little more hearty — and medical attention if necessary.
“We will welcome the mayor and city manager with open arms and will have a roll and juice to keep their blood sugar levels up and allow them to drive home safely,” Guenther said. “We may even have paramedics on standby just in case they seize up.”
Both he and Cummings are pondering where VanCleave and Young will apply their labors since the city administration building has no front stoop. However, they are considering the steps between Montello Avenue and State Street as a worthy substitute.
Guenther, who grew up in The Dalles, said hosting officials from his native city will be both a pleasure and an honor.
“I always enjoy going back to The Dalles to see the new changes but it’s going to be absolutely wonderful to have the mayor and city manager contribute to the beautification of our downtown,” said Guenther.
VanCleave displayed great empathy for the plight of the Hood River officials and promised to go easy on them after the defeat of their revered team.
“I’d like to remind Paul and Lynn to bring gloves because we don’t want any workers’ compensation claims,” he said.