Doug Newport

1997- 2010 Doug Newport

Doug Newport

I have known Doug Newport since 1997. He has assisted me over the years on my website. We I first stated toing html pages we did it the old fashion way. Doug has alway been my first source of internet information and a good friend. We are currently working on something that will help us both retire.

Memories of Dean S. Oshiro by Doug Newport

My first recollection of Dean was seeing him in his Hot Rods USA shop on Rothe Rd. in Gladstone circa 1997. I was there looking at parts for my garage-built ‘31 Ford 5-window coupe. Dean had his head down in the office, buried in paper work I assume. Someone was working the counter, not sure I remember who though. The counterman was minimally helpful that day, but I was taken by his selection of parts and the cars on display in his shop. He had plenty of customers browsing and everything was well organized and clean. The shop looked great. I later learned that Dean had taken an old body shop, stripped it down and rebuilt it for a store front. Lots of work!

I believe I visited the show just a few times before he moved to a new location near the Hillsboro Airport in Hillsboro OR in 1999. When I visited him there, he had both a storefront and a working fabrication shop. That is when I visited his website for more info on parts. Dean had taught himself how to build web pages and had a huge site. But being a professional web designer for Tektronix at that time, I had some suggestions to improve the site. When I approached him about some suggestions, he was mildly interested. But being the busy guy he was, I was not convinced he saw the value nor had the time to work on anything I had to say. I left him with my number and told him if he decided to make some site changes that he should call me. It took him about 2 weeks. We talked, I came back and our new found friendship was born.

There at the Hillsboro shop, I specifically remember one day dragging my small daughter along with me for a visit. Comparing both my kids, she seemed like the one that always had an interest in cars and I was more than happy for her to hand me wrenches in the garage. That particular day, Dean had a visitor looking over a ’32 Ford 3-window body. The prospective customer, while in front of my daughter Elisa, let loose a string of expletives that would make a trucker take note. Dean would have nothing to do with his language and scolded the guy right then and there. He wanted no part of that behavior in front of a child. My opinion of Dean was raised that day…risking the chance of losing the sale to protect my kid. As the months proceeded, Dean and I worked on his site, sometimes late into the night. Together we collaborated and tweaked the site, me learning from him and vice versa. Dean had created an impressive site that was all from self taught web knowledge. Back in those days, there were few good tools on the market for building sites…but that never stopped Dean.

At one point, Dean began to see the value in an electronic store front, as opposed to his past “brick and mortar” sales outlets. He asked me to investigate and find a solution for an online store. After nights searching for a solution, I found out about ShopSite. It was a steep investment but Dean had the foresight to invest in the solution. We both began using the tool and creating an all-new, ecommerce site for Hot Rods USA. He took the first order January 9th, 2004. I know because I still have a copy of that transaction pinned on the wall of my home office. The benefit was immediately apparent. As traffic grew, so did the orders. Year upon year the online business grew and it became more apparent that online was the way to go.

During those years, the shop moved several times, to the Linton area of Portland, and on to St Helens, Oregon. The trips to visit were less frequent due to the travel time from Tigard, but I continued to be amazed by the quality of the cars and frames Dean was building. Unfortunately, not everyone Dean employed had the same respect for him that I had acquired. Some bad things happened and I don’t believe that Dean had the capacity to keep all his ventures afloat and still keep watch on some of the employees. The days of the working shop were numbered. I arranged for Dean’s painter to shoot my ’31 Ford the very last thing before the Linton shop closed. I drive the car there with no fenders and windshield removed. The last 5 miles it had started to rain and it stung as it hit my bare face. The harder I pressed on the gas, the more it hurt but I did not want to miss out on the paint work. It proceeded that day after a bit of dry time, and the next day I swept the shop for Dean and rolled the car out. He locked the door and never looked back.

With a new attitude toward online sales, Hot Rods USA flourished. Both Dean and I got pretty good at playing off each other’s skills. We constantly pushed ahead in loading the site with parts from various manufacturers he represented. At one point, he even gave my high school son, Mitch, a chance to earn some summer money by learning and editing web pages. He still mentions this today as a positive memory and how much he appreciated the opportunity. Dean was always there with recommendations on how to build my car the right way. I trusted him to install my rear coil overs and create some ribbed trunk panels rather that attempt that myself. It took me 25 years of dragging that coupe around from rental to rental, then from house to house and while raising two kids but in 2000, it finally hit the road. I have many things still on the checklist to do to that car, but I have so much fun on the road I hate to do any teardown…at least for now.

Things have not changed all that much in the 15 years I’ve known Dean. He still burns the midnight oil to push forward his new ideas, ventures and parts designs. Many times it has been hard to keep up with him. We currently are collaborating on one of his newest ideas, which at this time I can’t give the details on. Let’s just say that it puts to use the over 500 domain names that Dean has acquired and protected over the years. He has graciously offered me a piece of this new venture, telling me many times that we “are both retiring to Hawaii when we hit it big.” The thing is, if anyone can make this a reality, Dean is the guy to do it. Stay tuned and watch for our joint retirement party announcement. ;{)

Doug Newport
Tigard, OR
Spring 2010

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