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Local woman crowned Miss Clackamas County

by: Ron Dingman/Five Gables Photography, Jessica Burris

Lake Oswego native Jessica Burris, 21, was crowned Miss Clackamas County Saturday night.

Earning the title seems to be preordained.

'I met Hea-ther Whitestone, Miss America 1995, at the age of nine and have been inspired by Miss America ever since,' she said. 'I chose not to pursue a modeling career, choosing instead to pursue ways to be a role model in my community and for my younger siblings.'

And she has set a fine example. She received four scholarships to Clackamas Community College, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa (Alpha Xi Zeta chapter) Honor Society and maintained a 3.6 GPA.

She has been the assistant coach for Lakeridge High School's water polo team for the past three seasons as well as served as a Special Olympics swim team coach, water safety instructor and lifeguard in Lake Oswego.

Burris manages her family's band Rivers Rising and runs her own business teaching piano, guitar and bass lessons to students in Lake Oswego. She has been a semifinalist at the Gospel Music Association: Music in the Rockies two consecutive years (2005, 2006) and performed at more than 50 venues in 2007 with the Rivers Rising, which she manages.

She was a member of Lakeridge's varsity swimming, water polo and track teams, a district swimming champ and All-American recognized swimmer in 2003.

For her talent, Burris chose to play a piano piece 'Concerto De Aranguez' by Rodrigo. For her platform issue she researched 'After School Education: Keeping Music in the Community.'

She will be competing for the Miss Oregon crown in Seaside this summer, and hopes to represent Oregon at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas, Nev.

Burris is a graduate of Clackamas Community College and will transfer to the University of Oregon this fall. She plans to earn bachelor's degrees in business marketing and fashion design and eventually establish a fashion design company.