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Downs bids farewell to OC

The longtime high school sports enthusiast plans to travel in retirement
by: John Denny Linda Downs, who is stepping down as Oregon City High School athletic secretary next week, plans to travel, catch up on reading and do some gardening.

OREGON CITY - Linda Downs, a familiar face at Oregon City High School athletic events for nearly two decades, won't be around much next school year.

Downs, who has helped out in the wrestling program since 1993 and has served as athletic secretary for the past seven seasons, has decided to retire. Thursday, June 23, will be her last day.

'My husband [Ted Downs] has been retired for nearly two years and we'd like to do some traveling and spend time together,' Downs said.

Downs said that the school's district's decision to shorten the school year also played a part in her decision.

'Knowing that the district will cut 10 to 15 days next school year, that was a factor,' said Downs. 'It's hard to envision doing this job in 15 fewer days. There is not a lot to cut out.'

Downs says that it has not been unusual for her to work until 6:30 p.m. in the evening on a work-day that begins at 7:30 a.m.

'It's one of those jobs where there are things you have to get done and you stay until they are done,' she said.

Downs says she will miss the secretarial job at the high school.

'I have loved working at Oregon City High School,' she said. 'The kids, the coaches. Everybody, for the most part, who does athletics, wants to be here. It's a good positive atmosphere and I love being around the kids….

'I will miss it. I don't know what I'll do to fill my day. But I know this is what I want to do, and I'm looking forward to it.'

Downs says that while she'll miss the kids and coaches, she won't miss the long hours.

'People think there's down time, but there's not down time,' she said. 'There's always something to do - awards, getting people to work games, reports to the OSAA….'

Downs and her husband have already made some plans.

'We're going to do some traveling for sure,' she said. 'We've got a cruise planned for this summer - a family wedding in Alaska. My niece is graduating from nursing school in Denver in the fall and we'll go there for her graduation…

'Our son lives and works in Munich, Germany. I've got an extended visit planned to spend time with my grandson.'

Downs added, 'I love to read, which I haven't had time to do; and I love gardening, which I also haven't had time to do.'

Linda Downs, who grew up in West Linn and graduated from West Linn High School, began working for the Oregon City School District 22 years ago as an elementary school instructional assistant in the special education program at Candy Lane Elementary School. She worked there 14 years before leaving to serve as CIM testing secretary at Oregon City High School. After a year at that post, she replaced longtime athletic secretary Raylene Kennedy.

Linda Downs began working at Oregon City High School as a volunteer assistant in the wrestling program in 1993, when her son was a sophomore.

Her connections to the wrestling program have continued to this day, and she is a familiar face at the state tournament, where she has supervised Oregon City wrestling stat girls, who run the press room and copy room.'

Downs says that she won't be a total stranger to Oregon City High School.

'I told [wrestling coach Roger Rolen] I would definitely help with tournaments, and if they need help at state, I'll maybe volunteer for a day. It's going to be hard to stay away from wrestling after all these years, and I do think I will continue to help out….

'And I'll be available to help whoever takes over [as athletic secretary} in the transition.'

'I've got her on speed-dial,' said Oregon City athletic director Bruce Reece.

Reece said of Downs: 'Linda is a leader among her peers!

'Her knowledge and experience helped me survive my first couple of years. Once I got my feet wet or bloody, as I hit the ground running, I was able to get a handle on what this office's role is. She has been invaluable.

'She is always fair in the way she handles all of the activities and sports she deals with.'