Ralph Painter, a long-time resident of Columbia County and most recently Chief of Police for the city of Rainier, Oregon, was an avid runner for many, many years. An alumnus of St. Helens High School, Ralph was a member of both the cross country and track & field teams from 1972-74, excelling in the half mile, mile and two mile events. He was always a top contender in any race he ran and earned honors as an All-League Athlete and was nominated to the Who’s Who in Track & Field his senior year.
From 1974-76, Ralph continued to run while pursuing a degree in criminal justice at Clackamas Community College. Even after joining the Rainier Police Department in 1988, Ralph continued his passion for running. In 1990, he ran in the Police & Firemen’s’ Olympics in Canada, finishing 2nd in both the mile and 1/2 mile events. Ralph also ran in the Hood to Coast Relay several times and had been in training for the Portland Marathon, as he had promised his daughter Jennifer he would run the race with her.
On January 5, 2011, Ralph Painter was tragically killed while in the performance of his duties. This 5k & 10k memorial run has been established in his honor and all proceeds from the race will go into a scholarship fund for deserving high school seniors in Columbia County.