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The Beaverton Valley Times brought home five first-place awards and a top award in general excellence (third place) in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association's 2013 Better Newspaper Contest.

The association's awards were announced Friday during ONPA's three-day gathering in Bend.

Managing editor Christina Lent won first place for best personality feature story with a two-part profile about Pfc. Andrew Keller, a Tigard soldier killed in Afghanistan, and the story of his "storybook" relationship with his fiancé Marissa Jones. She also took home first- and third-place awards for best spot news coverage for articles she wrote about the tragic fatal shooting of Ryan Johnson and reflections of Jared Townsley's family after a climbing accident on Mount Hood claimed his life. The articles also earned Lent a second-place best writing honor.

Beaverton reporter Shannon O. Wells earned first place for best enterprise reporting with his ongoing coverage of Garden Home neighbors appealing a plan for a Portland sewage pumping station in their neighborhood. He also took first place for best general feature story with his "Mass Appeal" article about Madalyn Boultinghouse's effort to help park rangers count frog-egg clusters.

Staff photographer Jaime Valdez earned second place for best photo essay with a collection of images called "Tribute to a hero," documenting the memorial service honoring the life of Pfc. Andrew Keller. Valdez also won second place for best news photo with his image of Jeff Keller at the patriotic memorial for his son that also ran in The Times serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood.

Former sports editor Miles Vance secured first place for best sports story with his "Un-four-gettable" article.

In all, Pamplin Media Group’s 24 newspapers collected more than 70 awards in the contest that covered newspaper articles and photos published in 2012.

The Times, which shares the same Living Here section, editor, page designer and photographers with the Valley Times, also won a second-place top award for general excellence in its circulation category in addition to awards for best sports stories, sports photos, educational coverage, spot news coverage, lifestyle coverage, feature photos, page one design and photo essay.

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