By: Chris Vial
It's my honor to serve as the voice of the family and tell you a little bit about our Dad, Rich Vial. Our Dad is running for State Representative in House District 26 and he’s exceptionally qualified to represent us. He shown a deep commitment to this community over the last 30 years and has spent his life building businesses, farming and volunteering to serve on countless boards and commissions. He's not a career politician and he's committed to making a difference and finding solutions, not advancing his own personal agenda.
Rather than tell you about his politics, I'd like to share a little bit about our family history with the hope that I can shed some light on the man, rather than the candidate.
RICH AND PAULA
Rich's story really can't be told without first mentioning our mother, Paula. Our parents recently celebrated 40 years of marriage together and they've built quite a life together. In addition to raising myself and 5 other siblings, our parents, through circumstances they never could've imagined, came to welcome 7 additional children who came to America as refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and 80s. Our large family is very committed to one another and we're all very proud and supportive of our father in his desire to serve.
Rich and Paula met in high school in their hometown of Grants Pass. They immediately fell in love and dated for a number of years. They were married in 1975, after Rich’s return from a church mission to Japan. He went on to attend BYU, graduating in 1978 with a degree in Business and Accounting, and followed that up with the law degree from Willamette University in Salem. It wasn't easy for them, and with three children at home by the time he graduated from law school, Rich set out to begin his career broke, in debt, and yet, supremely happy!
My Mom, Paula, has always been the rock in our family, handling the daily tasks of caring for a husband and 13 children with grace and a ton of patience. I know my Dad would give her much of the credit for his success and be the first to tell you that she’s exceptional in every way.
THE EARLY YEARS
Rich Vial landed a job with a prominent law firm in downtown Portland and became a specialist in community law, having worked for the condominium section of the Oregon Real Estate Division during law school. They began to finally get ahead and even expand their family, but they had no idea what was about to occur and how much their family would grow in the next few years.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE FAMILY
In the early 1980s, many refugees from the war in Southeast Asia had found their way to Oregon. Because of Rich's experience during his church mission to Japan, Rich was asked to help coordinate his church's efforts to assist these people. It was through this work that he met my oldest brother, Hoa.
While coaching the young men in basketball, Rich and Paula begin inviting young Hoa over to eat with the family and quickly realized that he was not getting his basic needs met. They arranged to have him become a permanent member of the family and took guardianship over him. They had no idea how this would lead to a complete transformation of our family.
THE MOVE TO SCHOLLS
With the addition of Hoa, it became apparent that the home they were living in was just too small. Rich and Paula began looking for the small farm they'd always dreamed of raising their family on. One day, an advertisement in the Oregonian caught their eye; describing a beautiful 24 acre parcel in the farming village of Scholls. They drove out to take a look at this property and were immediately struck by the natural beauty of the farms and homes around them. Unfortunately, the home advertised in the paper was actually a barn in the very, VERY early stages of conversion to a house.
Having been through several remodels in the past, it was a difficult decision whether or not to buy this property and finish the conversion. Despite some reservations, the entire family felt a strong connection with the property, and young Hoa even felt like he'd been there before. It was settled. Within a few short days, a deal had been worked out with the owner of the property, and the family got to work getting the “barn” livable enough to move into.
RENOVATING THE LODGE
Over the years they cleared land, started a farm raising livestock and crops, and gradually got the “barn” to resemble a home. Meanwhile, Hoa had received a letter from 2 cousins currently living in a refugee camp in the Philippines.
The Vial family discussed it, and after considerable effort the family was finally able to welcome Thuan and Tiet into the family. Later, cousins Chuong, Chinh and Cuong all joined the family, followed by, Hai. These children blessed the Vial family tremendously and with the arrival of 2 more birth children, Rich and Paula had quickly become parents to four girls and nine boys. It became clear why they needed a “barn” to house their family.
STARTING A LAW FIRM:
Beginning in the late 80’s, Rich decided to take the unique law practice which he had developed in the area of supporting community associations and form his own firm. At first, Paula was the bookkeeper, and he did everything else. With their good friend Denese Jensen (who still works at the firm) and founding partner, Rob Fotheringham, the little firm quickly established themselves and experiences a lot of success.
The firm continues to grow and has become one of the premier law firms in the nation with an emphasis on supporting condominium and planned communities. With offices in 5 western states and still growing, the firm now employs more than 100 people and serves tens of thousands of homeowners and thousands of communities throughout the region. Rich is a recognized leader on matters of community operation throughout the United States, and his expertise has helped countless clients navigate difficult challenges and protect their homes over the years.
A NEW CHAPTER
After more than 30 years of commitment to advocating on behalf of these communities, Rich began in December of 2015 to transition ownership and control of the law firm to the next generation of lawyers, and now finds himself in a position to serve even more significantly in his region and state.
He just finished helping Paula put together the “grandkid preschool and piano studio” facility, and now is ready to get to work on the issues facing the larger community.
And the barn? Well, after the tornado of kids, friends, dogs and weather, it was getting a little tired (needing some work).
When my youngest brother, Nathan moved out in 2008 to start his own family, Mom and Dad decided that they wanted to share the home with the community. They got to work on the biggest remodel project of their lives in 2009, and after several years, renamed their home the Scholls Valley Lodge.
Today, they share their home with many families who celebrate everything from weddings to funerals in the midst of the Vial family farm. They love feeling the spirit of community and love that permeates from this home that’s quickly become a mainstay of the community.
Rich spends more of his time with the farming operation, and is proud of having provided fresh table grapes to children in the Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro public schools through the innovative “Farm to School” program. Rich and his family were some of the early pioneers of this great program that provides nutritious food to our public schools.
PREPARING TO SERVE AT THE LEGISLATURE
Rich is ready to be immediately effective as a legislator. He has the right blend of private sector and public sector service to inform his decisions at all levels and he’s had a front-row seat looking at the biggest challenges facing our region, transportation and land-use.
As mentioned, Rich Vial’s served on numerous community boards and committees, but he’s also appeared before the Oregon Legislature as an advocate for his clients on matters of community dozens of times over the last 20 years. He’s written landmark legislation and helped protect homeowners and associations by working with Legislators on both sides of the aisle to achieve workable solutions.
His current public service includes (all volunteer):
- Chair; Washington County Planning Commission
- Member; Clean Water Services Advisory Committee
Rich’s previous volunteer service includes (but is not limited to):
- Former Member; Washington County Land-Use Advisory Committee
- Former Chair; Groner School Board
- Former Chair; Washington County Fair
- Former Board Member; Washington County Farm Bureau
LEAVING A LEGACY
With nearly 42 children (baby on the way) who call them Grandma and Grandpa, Rich and Paula are blessed to have a life rich with meaning and joy. They often tell us that they only hope “they can teach their children and grandchildren as much as they learn from them.”
Blessed with excellent health, (Dad tries hard to make it to his twice weekly Jujitsu class), my parents feel like they have entered the most exciting phase of their life thus far and look forward to continuing to contribute to their community.
Rich and Paula don’t feel particularly special. They remark that they are glad to be just one of many families in this community who love their children, and love sharing with their neighbors the challenges and joys of life. What does feel special to them is that they have found a place where they belong, and are lucky enough to be part of such a wonderful community.
Many years ago I asked my Mom why she chose Dad to marry. Her response describes him well. “He was the smartest and hardest working person I had ever met.” I believe that her faith in him has given him the drive to push and find himself in a position to serve and lead.
We have been grateful as children for his example of hard work, vision and wise decision-making. While we as a family would not describe ourselves as particularly political, the issues in our community are important to us. We are proud that Dad is seeking yet another opportunity to make a positive difference.
It boils down to this. We don’t agree with our Dad on everything, but we trust him implicitly. He’s proven over his lifetime that he cares deeply about the needs of others and we know he’ll continue that dedication to service as a Legislator.
We’re proud of our father, and we’d like you to join us in voting for Rich Vial for State Representative.
Thank you very much!