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Chef and Troutdale Lions Club president keeps a plateful of community

Jon Brown is awarded Troutdale Citizen of the Year for his efforts


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Jon Brown is recognized for his commitment to problem solving in Troutdale.Jon Brown has a knack for keeping people happy — including the city of Troutdale.

Chosen as Troutdale’s Citizen of the Year, Brown, president of the Troutdale Lions Club, will be honored at the city’s SummerFest Parade on Saturday, July 20.

He is recognized for his work in expanding the efforts and benefits of the club to the community.

A native of Estacada, Brown settled in Troutdale with his wife and three daughters in the summer of 2005 after spending six years in Kansas, where he had moved to learn how Kansans cook that delicious, slow-smoked barbecue.

A sense of community is what drew Brown, a chef by trade, to Troutdale. “You can walk down the street and say hi to people and they recognize you,” he said.

Brown began attending Troutdale Lions Club meetings to get involved with the town’s goings-on.

“I like knowing what’s going on in my community,” he said.

After nine months, the former president was on his way out, leaving the remaining five Troutdale Lions worried about the club’s survival.

Members voted in Brown, who served four years in the Marine Corps and graduated from Portland’s Western Culinary Institution, to fill the position.

As president of the Troutdale Lions for the past two years, Brown says his goal is to “keep the club happy and keep our community going.”

When he is not whipping up dishes in the kitchen as a full-time cook at Springdale Job Corps, a federal job training program for youth, Brown is running around town organizing fundraisers and working with the police to resolve community issues.

Brown has helped organize fundraisers such as the Lions club’s annual Troutdale Trot and Christmas canned food drive and party to benefit local nonprofit organizations. He also set up a spaghetti dinner to honor veterans.

He maintains a close relationship with the Troutdale Police Department, serving on Troutdale’s Public Safety Advisory Committee and volunteering at the police department and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department’s toy drive.

“If anyone needs anything, any time of the day or night, he will not hesitate to be at your side at a moment’s notice,” said Troutdale Lions Club Secretary Kristenia Johnson, who nominated Brown for the award.

While creativity in the kitchen is key to making hungry customers happy, Brown said communication is key in keeping the Troutdale community safe and happy.

As an example, Brown said, a man walked into the police department with a problem about graffiti. The police found out where he lived and addressed the issue, alleviating the man’s concerns.

Having that outlet is important, said Brown, so the community can find out “where the problem is and what can we do to solve it,” he said.

In a perfect Troutdale world, tourists shouldn’t have to lock their car doors, he said. Nobody steals the flags from flag poles on the historic highway. The chief of police walks through the community, available to the public.

“This is a great city,” Brown said. “It’s small, but it’s friendly and I want to keep it that way.”




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