A longtime friend to those in need gets deserved help
SNOHOMISH — Dean Ekloff was a biker; he rode hard and partied harder.
“I became pretty much one of the town drunks,” Ekloff said. “And for years, I just played that silly game. Then the Lord started speaking to me and said, ‘this ain’t what you’re supposed
to be doing.’ ”
Ekloff, otherwise known as Pastor Dean, is still a biker, but after getting sober in 1986 he left the partying days behind him. He found his true meaning in life, serving God by helping others and providing a place to live for those down on their luck for the last 30 years.
A year after he got sober, he decided he wanted to help others do the same and began letting people stay on his property who wanted to get help. Much like his stance on sobriety, you have to want it.
“I try to live it so they see it,” he said.
Jake Berg photo
Dean Ekloff has let people with personal struggles live on his property along the Lowell-Snohomish River Road for 30-some years, and is working with the county to be allowed to continue doing so after needing a property cleanup.
Ekloff says his biggest goals are to get people sober and eventually lead them to the Lord.
Despite wanting those he helps to find God, the only preaching Ekloff does is at the New Creations Church as a guest pastor. Although in 1994, he and another biker started the Midnight Cry Church after failing to find a church that accepted his style.
“I was wearing my leathers and stuff, and they wouldn’t let me in,” he said. “God just spoke to me and said, ‘you need to start a church that shows these people I take anybody.’ ”
Ekloff no longer preaches at Midnight Cry but continues to let people stay on his land, currently housing five people. He formerly served as Chaplain for the Sky Valley chapter of ABATE motorcycle club and is training the current Chaplain.
“It’s not about giving them a handout,” Ekloff said. “It’s about giving them the help that they need to try and get their life together.”
After decades of offering cheap lodging in his house or in one of the many trailers on the lot, Ekloff’s property took a turn for the worse. Snohomish County took notice of his property’s condition as well and sent a letter stating he was violating county regulations due to the amount of debris built up over the years and the number of trailers on his lot.
After receiving the first letter, Ekloff called the county and explained to the person handling his file what he was trying to do here. In true biker fashion, the Sky Valley Chapter wanted to help Ekloff as he has helped them so many times before.
“He’s acquired trailers and various motorhomes in his yard but you know it really took its toll on his property,” Sky Valley ABATE chapter treasurer Janet Hobelman said. “People would come and go, and he ended up accumulating a whole lot of garbage and junk and whatnot.”
A member of the chapter and construction worker, Blaine Muma, talked to his boss about the situation Ekloff was in. Shortly after their conversation, Jerry McArthur, owner of NightHawk Construction, was out at Ekloff’s house to see what needed to be done. McArthur came back to Sky Valley ABATE and said NightHawk Construction would help with the cleanup and rebuild the unsafe porches on the house.
On Nov. 13, NightHawk employees and Sky Valley members hauled away nearly three tons of garbage and scrap metal and cleared brush from the property. NightHawk Construction, with the help of a donation from Sky Valley ABATE, paid for the dumpster as well as labor and materials for the porches.
Ekloff says he keeps up with the county with progress reports every week and updates on how the clean up is going but they want the trailers gone.
“Man, you guys are killing me,” Ekloff told the county. “You know, it’s a ministry. I’ve been ministering to these people and helping people for over 30 years, and all of a sudden you’re coming in to tell me I can’t do this stuff?”
The county and Ekloff have been collaborating to find a suitable solution and are currently working to get two trailers and an RV off the property.
Photo courtesy Janet Hobelman
Volunteers from NightHawk Construction and Sky Valley ABATE cleaned up the property in mid-November.
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