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Oak Hills newsletter celebrates 45 years


Micki Sparr takes pride in creating neighbor dialogue

The Oak Hills Oracle, a monthly neighborhood newsletter printed and distributed in Beaverton’s Oak Hills neighborhood, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this month.

First published in January 1973, the Oracle has been printed every month since then, carrying local news and information to the more than 650 residences affiliated with the Oak Hills Homeowners’ Association. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Micki Sparr has edited The Oak Hills Oracle neighborhood newsletter since she purchased the publication in 2001.

Independently owned and operated by local resident Micki Sparr since 2001, the publication is printed each month and hand delivered by local teens to the front porch of every home.

The Oracle is delivered to the homes in the neighborhood bounded by Northwest Cornell Road to its south, West Union Road to the north, Northwest Bethany Boulevard to the west and 143rd Avenue to the east.

“I remember finding my first issue of the Oracle on my front porch soon after moving into our home there in 1989,” Sparr said. “I was delighted to find a source of news and information to help our family adjust to our new neighborhood. I always looked forward to receiving my copy every month.”

When previous owner Pat Trattles, ran an ad looking for a buyer, Sparr decided she wanted to be part of what she called the Oracle’s “tradition of service” to the community.

Because previous editors kept files of back issues, Sparr noted there is a nearly complete collection of every issue published, starting with Volume 1, Issue 6, from June 1973. A few copies of newsletters under different names and published somewhat sporadically date back to the mid-1960s, when the Oak Hills development was first built.

While primarily concerned with neighborhood news items, the Oracle has also provided information to the community on issues such as the controversial widening of Northwest Bethany Boulevard bordering the Oak Hills neighborhood and recent efforts to have the neighborhood officially designated an historic district.

Most of the content, however, is local, Sparr said, including neighborhood events such as the Fourth of July activities, the family holiday party and events at the nearby Oak Hills Elementary School, Meadow Park Middle School, Westview High School and the Oak Hills Community Church. The monthly “Neighbors” column features a profile of a resident, while “Growing Organically” offers garden advice by Oak Hills resident Margie Lachman.

Born in Wisconsin, Sparr and her husband, Dr. Landy F. Sparr, lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., for three years before moving to Portland, and on to Oak Hills in 1989. Their three children attended Oak Hills Elementary, Meadow Park Middle and Westview High schools.

Working for Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, she dove into volunteer work through the Beaverton School District and currently volunteers with the Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) program at Barnes Elementary School.

“When people share events and experiences, it helps them feel connected to each other and the Oracle is part of that sharing,” she said of the newsletter. “Keeping neighbors informed about what is happening in the neighborhood helps them all feel connected and included.

“It’s very gratifying to have that role in my neighborhood.”