Oregon-AMS 60th Anniversary Paper


~This paper is a summary of past Presidents and the “issue of the day” for the Chapter~


Kyle Dittmer, 2005-2008 President:

  “This issue of climate change, in just the last three years, has gone from a narrow science specialty to a common household topic of discussion and public debate.  The successful Climate Change debate sponsored by the Oregon-AMS at OMSI in January 2007 was quite evident with over 400 in attendance.  The debate was covered not only by the Oregonian, but the Seattle Times, and New York Times.  I could not imagine any event that our Chapter would sponsor could generate that interest or media coverage. 


  The exponential growth of the annual Winter Weather meeting in recent years has been gratifying – each year we keep setting new records.  The November 9, 2007 Winter Weather meeting, with 176 in attendance, is evidence that our members, and the general public, continue to hunger for information on weather, climate, and hydro issues.


  I am also proud of trying to market our Chapter to the younger generations of students, via partnerships with OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), in sparking interest in weather and hydro issues.  I worked to strengthen our partnership with OMSI.  I have done my best to offer a variety of meetings, venues, and create a website, in order to create more interest amongst our members and entice new members.  It is a struggle sometimes to offer meetings that are informative and entertaining.  I am glad to have started the “Weather Sampler” meeting and hope that it’ll continue.”



Ron Thorkildson, 2004-2005 President:

  “I was president of the Oregon Chapter from May 2004 thru May 2005.  During that time the executive board spent most of its time planning technical and dinner meetings at various locations throughout the Portland area.  This included inviting speakers on a wide range of weather-related interests and securing sites for these monthly meetings, September through November and January through May.  Other activities included a summer picnic and putting together an occasional newsletter.


   In March of 2005, the Chapter participated in the Central Western Oregon Science Exposition, held in Monmouth, Oregon.  At this competition, I issued two AMS Certificate of Outstanding Achievement awards to the authors of a project entitled "Atmospheric Chemical Instabilities."


  I have always thought that the Chapter should somehow become more involved with OMSI.  Our arrangement with OMSI to hold our winter weather meeting there is excellent.  This gives greater public exposure to both the Chapter and OMSI.  But I think more could be done.  Had I not moved from Portland when I retired, I would have liked to serve as the Chapter liaison with OMSI.”



George Stephan, 2003-2004 President:


  “My one year as President went by in a blur, so I don't have many specific thoughts on the issues of the day.  One item that does come to mind is that the National AMS was beginning to reconsider its requirements and approach to their certification programs (Broadcast Seals and Certified Consulting Meteorologist) at that time.  This led to the new policies which began a transitional implementation in January of 2004, and are scheduled to be fully implemented in 2008/2009.


  However, looking (all the way) back to the time when I transferred membership from the Oregon State Student Chapter to the Oregon Chapter, a great number of things have changed.   Kyle’s question about the makeup of the Chapter - "...more technically oriented or social?" - is a good one.  I would definitely say the Oregon Chapter had a very strong social aspect to it in the early 80's (typically three dinner meetings per year and a summer picnic), but that the average member was more technically oriented.  Just about every member was a meteorologist, a hydrologist, or a student in these fields.  There was a strong university influence, thanks to, at least in part, the efforts of Fred Decker.  There were fewer meetings than we currently have now, but attendance was a little more consistent.  We had folks that traveled from locations such as Bend, Corvallis, and McMinnville on a regular basis, and some occasionally made the trip from Pendleton and



  A number of things have shaped our Chapter into what it is today.  I believe the loss of the undergraduate program at OSU has played a part, but more importantly the science of weather is a more accessible subject today with a wider public interest, and our membership reflects these changes.”



Mark Nelsen, 2001-2003 President:

  “Obviously that "presidency" would have straddled the changing of the Millennium if that was the case.  The period in which I was president was relatively quiet for the AMS as I recall.  There were no big issues on the plate either.  I remember that period was a time when our chapter appeared to be following a national trend.  The trend away from weekend social events to weekday professional meetings.  In the last 10 years people have been less willing to give up "family time" or other activities to attend an AMS meeting.  I even recall one meeting when someone asked me to avoid scheduling meetings on weekends, or else it would "mess up their weekends".”



Jim Little, late 1990s President:




George Miller, 1985-mid1990s, 2000-2001 President:

  “There were a few things that occurred during the several times I was president.  First of all, we were under "attack" by a certain Bob Lynott.  He was accusing the Chapter of being "run" by the NWS and that we were stifling intercession by the private industry. We tried to change the number of councilors at that time.


  Also, under one of my regimes, we started our technical meetings.  We were very successful and had one, and as I recall, two one year, where people would present their studies.  These were done at the customs house. We had people from PSU, private, and some even came down from U of W and up from Corvallis. Then after doing it successfully for about three years, the Seattle chapter started their meeting in early February.  This took people away from our meeting, and attendance and participants dwindled as their event blossomed into a two-day affair.


  I can't think of a real issue. I know, as you do, that the NWS was entering the age of computerized forecasts more and more and the "science" part of meteorology was fading. It is worse today.”