Video about city’s best qualities to be shown to mayors

SHELLY BOYKIN walks along Main Street, one of the places where she found inspiration for her winning theme for the “Why I Love Lebanon” video.

A Lebanon woman’s love for her town will be showcased in a video premiering at the Oregon Mayors Association’s Summer  Conference, July 28-31.

The video is the result of the City of Lebanon’s “Why I Love Lebanon” video contest.

Mayor Paul Aziz came up with the idea as the city was developing its 2040 vision plan.

He kept hearing people say they loved the hometown feeling of Lebanon.

Aziz wanted to convey to visitors the hometown feeling of Lebanon. He also wanted to use the video to display to the mayors “why Lebanon was successful.”

Shelly Boykin submitted the winning idea, a poem that touches on different places important to the Lebanon community, such as Strawberry Park, Marks Slough Trail, The Lobby coffee house, Washburn Heights and other favorite spots.

Boykin is working with videographer Jeff Silverman to turn the poem into a video.

“She lives and breathes Lebanon,” Silverman said.

Community is important to Boykin. She was born in Germany and never had a hometown.

“I was an Army brat and Air Force wife,” she joked.

She moved around the country frequently.

“Everywhere we lived I tried to get involved,” Boykin said. “I take a lot of walks no matter where we’ve been. That’s how I get to know a town.”

After her husband retired, they decided to move to Oregon as they had family in the area. They drew a circle on the map from McMinnville to Cottage Grove and began house shopping.

“We fell in love with this town,” she said.

Boykin continued her tradition of walks and enjoyed learning about the history of Lebanon in her conversations with neighbors and shopkeepers, she said. She got to know various people enough to get a feel for the city.

“I consider Lebanon my home,” Boykin said.

Boykin has been writing short stories and poems since she was a teenager. Some of her work has been published, but she mainly writes for her own enjoyment.

When Boykin read about the video contest, she said she wanted to “write a poem that has the cadence of my walks and incorporates as many things as possible from my walks.”

Her original poem included places she missed, such as Mrs. B’s Special Teas, which closed in 2014,  but she said she was asked to remove the mention of those places as the focus should be “positive and moving forward.”

Silverman’s goal is to “make the poem come to life.”

He said the poem has “diversity.”

“There are so many different layers,” he said.

Silverman worked with Boykin through the creative process, making the poem flow with the video, which Aziz said he appreciated.

“The videographer worked so well with Shelly to convey her thoughts and ideas,” he said.

“I want the video to be something Boykin and the city can be proud of,” Silverman said.

To view the video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxFoC9ta3q8&t=6s.