Looking back at Lebanon in 2022

Olivia Eden and Michael Littlefield hold their daughter Elora Lynn Littlefield, the first baby born at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital on Jan. 1, 2022. Photo courtesy of Samaritan Health


♦ The first baby of the year born at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital was Elora Lynn Littlefield to Olivia and Michael Littlefield at 6:24 p.m. Jan. 1.
♦ The Lebanon School Board’s meeting adjourned early after a public-comment period developed into a near-shouting match between audience members and Board Chair Mike Martin. The disturbance centered around the District’s proposed health clinic at Lebanon High School, a project that was planned without public knowledge or involvement in a situation that fell under the scrutiny of public meeting laws. Parents vehemently opposed the clinic and the government’s overreach into their family’s lives.
♦ Michelle Duncan made history as Linn County’s first female sheriff when she was sworn in to serve out the final year of Sheriff Jim Yon’s term following his retirement.
♦ The city council discussed ideas for a new city hall and possible upgrades to the Senior Center after Mackenzie, a Portland-based architecture firm, presented drawings for a city hall to be erected next to the senior center at Academy Square.
♦ The Lebanon Gleaners alerted the community of a desire for a permanent location. The group has served Lebanon since 1980 and currently works out of a church.
♦ Andrew Aaron Lloyd of Lebanon was sentenced to four years in federal prison after reportedly stealing millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds.
♦ Shannon Miller opened one of the area’s few remaining tea houses with her Bloom Boutique and Tea House in Lebanon.

HENRY POINTER stands with Ed Neustel, father of the late Mark Neustel, who set the record in 1979 that Henry broke.


♦ Kris Latimer announced her retirement as executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam after a decade. She had accepted a position as director of the new Knife River Training Center in Albany.
♦ The school board agreed to place a measure on the ballot for a $20 million general obligation bond for facility repairs and a pool upgrade.
♦ After Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released nearly 1,000 convicted felons from prison early, Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny joined a lawsuit filed in Marion County seeking a judge’s order that she and state agencies be required to follow state clemency laws.
♦ Lebanon Community School District hosted an online forum in conjunction with a town hall meeting hosted by concerned citizens to discuss the proposed student-based health clinic at the high school.
♦ Linn County Deputy District Attorney Keith B. Stein was appointed judge to the Linn County Circuit Court.
♦ The state announced the general mask requirement for indoor public places would be lifted by the end of March.
♦ High school senior Henry Pointer made Lebanon hoops history when he scored the most points ever in a single Warrior game. His 46 points in a game against the North Salem Vikings propelled his team to a 69-60 win and topped Mark Neustal’s longstanding 44-point performance over (ironically) North Salem in 1979.

The Lebanon High School Cheer Team poses with their trophy for earning the 5A state championship title Feb. 12. This is the school team’s first championship win. From left (back row) are sophomores Annabelle Wells, Kamille Dysinger, Sydney-Anne Graves, Jaiden Horton and Ireland Miller, and (front row, from left) freshmen Brooklyn Dickerson, Dakota Whitacre, Cadence Graves and Hannah Savedra. Provided photo


♦ Lebanon resident Mike Pomeroy received a Department of the Army Civilian Medal of Valor for what the Army Corps of Engineers termed his “heroism” at Detroit Dam during the 2020 Beachie Creek fire.
♦ Lebanon’s school superintendent Bo Yates attended a second town hall meeting to further discuss plans for a school-based health center.
♦ At the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Awards, Dave Madarus was awarded Senior First Citizen and the Junior First Citizen title was given to Tyler Grove. KJ Ullfers earned the Frankie Gray “Answering the Call” while Gamael “Mr. G” Nassar and Kris Latimer took the Man and Woman of the Year awards. Hazella Bake Shop won the Small Business of the Year and ENTEK was named Large Business of the Year.
♦ Western University Fire Emergency Alliance was recognized by the Special Districts Association of Oregon, and Lebanon Fire District received the SDAO Outstanding Special District Program for its partnership with the medical college to place students in volunteer firefighting positions.
♦ The Family Assistance and Resource Center, in partnership with River Center, opened a warming shelter at the church when temperatures were expected to drop to 16 degrees.
♦ The high school cheer team won its first Class 5A Championships at the 2022 OSAA Cheerleading State Championships at Oregon City.

Darryl Black spreads bark around a newly planted tree. Photos by Sarah Brown


♦ High school senior Kyler Boyce topped all military branch shooters and became the first Oregonian to achieve the title in the sporter individual class at the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps National Air Rifle Championship in Arizona.
♦ School District Business Director William Lewis III explained that construction and repair costs were on the rise when he showed that a Seven Oaks Middle School expansion for sixth-graders was estimated to cost $2.5 million pre-COVID-19, but had increased to $8 million.
♦ Ward 3 Councilor Jason Bolen announced his resignation after accepting a job as Bend Fire & Rescue’s deputy chief of fire prevention.
♦ Lyola Rae (Moore) Mechals celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family.
♦ Members of the public asked Mayor Paul Aziz to sign a LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation for June, which had never been done in the city.
♦ Derry and Celia Breeden opened Breeden Family Farms after acquiring a portion of the former Van Essen Nursery.
♦ The city council explored ways to use an “unexpected” $2.3 million state grant for Cheadle Lake Park accessibility improvements. The district’s House Rep. Jami Cate secured the grant through House Bill 5202.
♦ The 56th Oregon State Open Fiddle Contest was held at the Lebanon Mennonite Church.
♦ Dala’s Blue Angels held its 10th Walk A Mile For A Child event, which raises awareness of and funds for the prevention of child abuse.
♦ Build Lebanon Trail volunteers planted 50 trees along the new mile-long Old Mill Trail.

TYLER RODGERS, the last to address the City Council on May 11, shows his colors while telling its members that it’s their responsibility to make the future better for the city. Photos by Sarah Brown


♦ Carlynn Wells and Dale Dietz shared a story about their son born in 1972 when Carlynn was 12 years old and, they assumed, put up for adoption on the black market by her mother. Kim Perkins also shared her story as a baby illegally adopted in 1970.
♦ A $20 million bond measure to improve school facilities failed in the election.
♦ Mayor Paul Aziz denied the request to proclaim June as Pride Month, and the following city council meeting attracted both supportive residents and others who urged him to support the LGBTQ community.
♦ Army veteran and author Jake Sansing walked through Lebanon during the beginning of his “Jake Walks America” book and awareness tour in an effort to raise funds to open a campground for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
♦ The Chamber of Commerce launched its “Explore Lebanon” app.
♦ The city council approved changes to the Lebanon Public Library’s policies that did away with overdue charges on children’s materials.
♦ The planning commission heard a report that the number of Lebanon households categorized as “severely rent burdened” dropped from 35.8% in 2019 to 29.2% in 2021, and was currently sitting at 26.1%.
♦ The Spinone Club of America’s “Nuts Over Spinone” National Specialty Dog Show took place at the Boulder Falls Inn Event Center.

McGuigan kneels on a cushion to receive her honors.


♦ A healthy downpour highlighted the Strawberry Festival Grand Parade, and Laurel McGuigan was crowned the 2022 Strawberry Festival Queen.
♦ New businesses around town included Cafe Rock, Makers Studio, The Reptile Room, South Santiam Recreation Rentals and Tallman Brewing.
♦ East Linn Christian Academy alumni Austin Kleint and Whitley Nelson graduated from College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest.
♦ Low attendance shut the virtual doors of the school district’s newly-formed Santiam Academy online school.
♦ Mayor Paul Aziz announced that he would no longer make proclamations at city council meetings.

KIERSTEN ERICKSON, Tawni Pfaff, Barlow Carper and Deb Fell-Carlson share a happy pose in Carper’s new home. Erickson, Pfaff and Fell-Carson are members of the Lebanon-based Faith Community Health Network. Photo by Sarah Brown


♦ The Lebanon Public Library’s Summer Reading Program included outdoor activities such as juggler Rhys Thomas of Portland and animals from Wildlife Safari.
♦ Faith Community Nurse volunteers helped secure a home for 69-year-old Barlow Carper and his dogs shortly before he was to land on the streets when his sister sold the property where he was living.
♦ Due to staffing shortages, the city council approved “weekend passes” for inmates at the Lebanon Police Department. Sending inmates home for the weekend was to free two officers for street patrol.
♦ Kyler Boyce, Luke Gibbs and Jonah Peake earned Eagle Scout badges after completing their projects. Boyce built a wrap-around bench for the Veterans Legacy Camp in Alma, Gibbs built a raised planter at the library and Peake updated the American Legion Post 51 parking lot and built an arbor over a flag-donation box.
♦ A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new Western University of Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences Northwest physical therapy college in the former Hometown Furniture building.
♦ Lebanon Downtown Association hosted the city’s first major Pride observance event at Academy Square.

FORMER MEGADETH GUITARIST Chris Poland, left, swaps guitars with Vincent Helstrom during a guitar clinic at the Guitars Under the Stars music camp experience. Photos by Sarah Brown


♦ The body of Carlos Adriano Pereira-Valenzuela, who was reported missing in June, was found in the Santiam River. Police did not suspect foul play. A candlelight vigil was held at Lebanon High School.
♦ Ronald Andrew Mowdy, 28, was sentenced to life in prison for the February 2021 murder of Clayton Keith Reed II.
♦ The Lebanon Fire District revealed updated plans for the new Fire District Station No. 31. Voters had approved a $16 million bond in 2019 for the new building, but construction costs had since quadrupled, forcing LFD to pare down the building’s size.
♦ The Guitars Under the Stars Music Festival returned as a nonprofit and offered its first music camp for young campers, featuring former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland, as well as musicians Larry Mitchell, Christian Martucci (Stone Sour/Black Star Riders), Brandon Cook (Black ’N Blue), Phil Demmel (Machine Head), Mark Mendoza (Twisted Sister), Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick), Jeff Scott Soto (SOTO) Mark Heylmun and Ernie Iniguez (both of Suicide Silence).
♦ Raymond Farrell celebrated his 101st birthday.
♦ After Mayor Paul Aziz announced that he would no longer make proclamations, the city council approved a resolution recognizing Sept. 11 as Patriot’s Day, 9/11 Day Flag of Honor Across America and a Day of National Service. This was the council’s first “back-door” act to take former proclamations and turn them into city positions or policies.
♦ A new dock was installed at Gill’s Landing after its former dock floated away during a heavy rainstorm in 2019.

File photo


♦ City Manager Nancy Brewer informed the city council that the Army Corps of Engineers would not repay the city for expenses incurred from the release of a significant amount of water from Foster Dam without warning.
♦ Weyerhaeuser employees went on a strike affecting production for the Pacific Northwest.
♦ Tiegan Seery completed his Eagle Scout project by reinstalling the original Linn County Veterans Memorial plaques at Timber Linn Memorial Park in Albany.
♦ James Newport was arrested in connection with an incident involving gunfire at a home on West Vine Street.
♦ Multiple agencies battled a six-acre natural cover fire on Brewster Road near the Grant Street bridge.

PHOTOGRAPHERS capture images of the Santa Maria Valley No. 205 steam locomotive as it chugs past the Santiam Travel Station. Photos by Sarah Brown


♦ Lebanon Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its newest house build at Ridge Street in Sodaville for a Sweet Home family of four.
♦ Opponents and proponents of a Pride proclamation continued to speak at city council meetings.
♦ Lebanon Downtown Association Manager Cassie Cruze announced that the organization had won Oregon Main Street’s new “Open Door Award” for its Family Pride Day event.
♦ Lebanon High School alumni Don Carroll, Col. Michael Lynch, Mike Rex and Angelita Surmon were honored for their contributions to the community and world during the Bud and Dorothy Page LHS Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
♦ A 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook homes when it struck east Linn County, centered about nine miles east/southeast of Lacomb.
♦ LHS students Katelyn Hacker and Taryn Cornell were individual winners, and Lebanon swept the team competitions, in an FFA Soils Contest.
♦ About 50 photographers from around the United States quietly entered Lebanon during a photo charter tour to snap shots of railroads and trains, including Lebanon’s new Santa Maria Valley No. 205 steam locomotive.
♦ Conversion Brewing celebrated its seventh anniversary with an “Octobeerfest” party, which was designed to help fill a gap left by an absent Brewfest this year.

LEBANON MUSEUM board member Thonni Morikawa, right, looks through an old scrapbook assembled by the Junior Women’s Club in the 1970s, while Joli Root, left, gets distracted by the colorful pages.


♦ A delegation of city leaders and landscapers from Kobe, Japan, visited Lebanon to tour Hoichi Kurisu’s healing gardens at Boulder Falls Inn and Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, looking for ideas to implement for revitalization efforts in their own city.
♦ Ken Jackola won a majority vote to become the city’s new mayor. Carl Mann and Dave Workman won seats on the city council, and incumbent Michelle Steinhebel ran unopposed. Jami Cate defeated Mary Cooke to retain her House District 11 seat, and Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan retained her position with almost 7,000 more votes than her opponent, Jon Raymond.
♦ The Lebanon Museum presented four speakers from 100-plus-year-old Lebanon women’s clubs. Board member Linda Ziedrich collected stories for an oral history project.
♦ Weyerhaeuser workers ended a nearly-seven-week strike for contract negotiations.
♦ The city council approved the purchase of the National Guard Armory building on Maple and Oak streets, as well as a parcel of land next to River Park owned by the City of Albany.
♦ Build Lebanon Trails’ Rod Sell said volunteers had cleaned up 27 instances of graffiti on trails since April.
♦ City staff announced an upcoming project to install a rapid flashing beacon at a pedestrian crossing on Tennessee Road near the wastewater treatment plant.
♦ LHS agriculture teacher Mike Wilson received an Honorary American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention and Expo.
♦ Sheriff’s Senior Sgt. Chris Fairchild helped place Air Force veteran Rufus Butler into the Oregon Veterans Home after launching an eviction process for the 91-year-old, who had fallen behind in his rent payments.
♦ The library installed a Nintendo Switch gaming system in its young-adult section to encourage teens to use the library as a safe space to hang out.
♦ A fire broke out at Lebanon Towing, injuring owner Dan Kingsbury.

JOLENE BURCH embraces her son, Thomas Radley. Photo by Sarah Brown


♦ Three Marines walked through Lebanon as part of “The Long Road” en route to their final destination in Newport. They’d started the 4,000-mile journey in Boston six months earlier to raise awareness of and funds for bringing home the remains of missing military personnel.
♦ Police Chief Frank Stevenson told the city council that he would have to close the municipal jail for a year due to staff shortages, as about half of his current staff trained the other half of new staff.
♦ An ad hoc committee developed new language for city codes in order to be compliant with new laws regarding illegal camping or, more specifically, homelessness. City-owned locations were also identified as potential “designated sleeping areas.”
♦ Linn County stepped in to clean up an abandoned property at Mill Street (near Porter Park) after neighbors complained about the debris and homeless camps, and property taxes remained unpaid.
♦ Lebanon schools’ superintendent Supt. Bo Yates announced his early retirement due to a health condition that made it difficult to continue his work.
♦ LHS basketball star Henry Pointer signed to play for Chemeketa Community College.
♦ An electrical pole fire behind Sugar Vibes caused a temporary closure for the donut-makers.
♦ Thomas Radley, 14, died after battling a rare cancer for one year.