Dear Columbia County,
It has been an honor and a privilege serving all of you over the past one year and eight and a half months. When I came to this town, I had no idea the community I would be reporting for would be full of so many stories to tell and so many good-hearted people to tell them for.
I will forever be thankful to Country Media for taking on a cub reporter and for teaching me so much in the short time I was here.
My news stories have been numerous: from the Columbia County fairgrounds hosting evacuees from Oregon’s wildfires, to the Black Lives Matter protest, to NEXT Renewable Fuels finally signing a ground lease with the Port of Columbia County, to the air quality permits controversy with Global, to COVID-19 coverage, to the PCC Campus opening in Scappoose, to the myriad construction projects coming to St. Helens and the farmers market in Clatskanie, I have covered so much of what’s been going on in the county. I have enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.
My position as “watchdog” for the county has enabled me to become familiar with the various government organizations in the county and the politicians who run them. It’s clear to me that most elected officials here are hard-working and honest people who genuinely care about their constituents. St. Helens, Scappoose, Rainier and Clatskanie residents are lucky to have them.
But what I perhaps have enjoyed most of all has been interacting with all of the county residents and the care each one of you shows for your community. The care can be seen in collective actions, like the thousands of donations that arrived at the fairgrounds during the Oregon wildfires and the residents who turned out for The Columbia Theatre night after night in support when it was forced to shut down for COVID-19.
It can also be seen in individual actions, like the woman who delivered lunches to families when the pandemic began, or the couple who started their own pirate-themed ice cream truck without gaining a profit, or the local seamstresses who volunteered to make masks for businesses.
Excuse the cliché, but for a small community, you all have big hearts.
I hope you have enjoyed my reporting as well. It can be hard work putting together complex stories in a short timeframe, and I have tried my best to be as accurate as possible. I took my job as reporter very seriously, and always double-checked every fact. The articles you’ve read have been trustworthy, accurate, and as objective as possible.
As far as my future plans go, I plan to stay in journalism and take my reporting to even higher levels. Reporting in this community has given me leads, sources and most importantly, ideas for future stories. You may see my byline elsewhere in the near future if you follow other Portland-based media.
No matter where else my career takes me, though, I will always be grateful for my roots. There’s something about reporting for a local newspaper that gives you a firm foundation in journalism in the broadest sense, whether you’re talking about AP style, or how to contact a source.
And maybe someday my path will take me back to where I started: Columbia County and all the stories, large and small, you have to offer.