THE HONORABLE DONALD C. ASHMANSKAS
Today, I stopped at a local community garden and reflected.
It was 1987 and my first real trial. At age 43, court staff assumed that I knew what I was doing, but Judge Ashmanskas knew better. Just a few weeks before, I was supposed to be doing something at Beaverton Municipal Court and on the way there I realized that I didn’t know where the courthouse was.........!!
This first real trial was before Judge Ashmanskas. How to offer an exhibit into evidence was an unknown to me. As I waved my first exhibit in the air and mumbled something, Judge Ashmanskas gave me a slight wry smile. Trying to hand the thing to him, he casually looked at his clerk, then back at me then back to her. I finally got it.
Several years later as I got involved with my local bar association, we held an informational booth on behalf of the Washington County Bar Association at the Beaverton Good Neighbor Days. It was a mundane day of brochures and lawyer jokes until Judge Ash stopped by. It was very comforting to chat with him on a casual basis rather than being in the artificially austere surroundings of county court. Few local judges regarded the local bar events as important. Judge Ash always participated fully and it was appreciated by all.
At one of the last of these local bar events that he attended before being promoted, Judge Ashmanskas told a joke. A drowning man was saved by a Republican who threw him a life ring and pulled the drowning man in. In contrast, if it had been a Democrat, the liberal would have thrown the drowning man twenty more feet of rope than he needed, then leave the drowning man to drown while the Democrat went off to do another good deed.
But, I had something on Judge Ashmanskas. At one of these local bar picnics, someone convinced Judge Ashmanskas to put on a balloon hat. Being a good sport he doffed this ridiculous looking thing to his head just in time for me to snap a picture. We always kidded as to whether I might just pull that picture out at his swearing -in ceremony or some such event.
It is my final Washington County memory to have gotten the word of his elevation for federal court magistrate and to find that his last act as a Washington County Circuit Court judge ---- was small claims court!
With mutual respect of all -- Lauren Paulson 2011