When Rich Greene’s daughters were ready for driver’s education, he discovered it would take a bit more effort than he had counted on.
“I knew Scappoose had a drivers ed program,” the retired Navy man said. “But there isn’t a program in St. Helens. That meant taking them to Hillsboro to get the classes they needed for the test.”
After that experience, Greene knew there had to be a better way. With that, he took matters into his own hands, hoping to make it easier for parents, but for students to become not only licensed drivers, but safer drivers as well.
“I looked into it and discovered that for the school district, the cost of setting up a program was prohibitive,” he said, pointing to the cost of a vehicle specifically outfitted for driver training and the cost of supplies, insurance, and other expenses.
“I talked to ODEC, the driving school my daughters attended, and they were willing to supply a car if I was willing to take the training to become a certified instructor and set up a class in St. Helens.”
Greene enrolled in a time-compressed course, allowing him to become certified quickly.
“I attended all day, five days a week for three weeks,” he said. The course normally takes place over a nine-week span.
“It was more than just learning to instruct new drivers in the proper techniques,” he said. “I learned that a lot of what I thought I knew about driving was wrong.”
“Safe driving is really about good risk management,” he said. “Taking the certification course changed the way I drive and I have had a license for more than 40 years.”
Greene then prepared to make his services available to the St. Helens community. After two sessions there, he is now expanding to north county, with twice weekly classes beginning Mar. 7 and running to May 9 at Rainier High School. The classes are open to those living in the area, particularly the Rainier and Clatskanie School Districts.
Greene said the classes will run on Mondays and Thursdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m.. There will be a week of no classes around the end of March for Spring break.
“There also will be scheduled driving times as well,” he said. Each student is required to do six hours of driving and six hours of observing in a car.
A student that successfully passes the course then only needs the state administered written examination—actually, a computer based test—to become a fully licensed driver.
“That is important,” said Greene. “The written exam can be done in St. Helens on a walk-in basis. Getting scheduled for a driving test can be difficult to schedule in a timely manner. That can be frustrating.”
North county drivers education classes
Mandatory parent/student orientation Monday, Mar. 4 7-8p.m. RHS Room 103
Cost: $475 for students aged 15-17. Other prices for older students
Contact Rich Greene, 503-367-6154, email Green_Rich@hotmail.com
Facebook: St. Helens Driver Education-ODEC