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Craig, Jurney honored at 2013 chamber awards

Two of Lake Oswego’s most valuable citizens were singled out at the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner and Auction held Wednesday night at the Oswego Lake Country Club.

Debbie Freepons Craig was recognized as the 2013 Community Leader of the Year, while Peter Jurney was named recipient of the 2013 Bob Bigelow Lifetime Achievement Award. Both have long been active as leaders in Lake Oswego’s community life.

Craig was called “Lake Oswego’s mandarin” (wise person) when she was presented her award by Mark Birge and last year’s honoree Mary Puskas. Craig was cited for her efforts in making Lake Oswego a much more livable city with her work on the educational system, arts, public spaces and more. Craig

Of Craig, Birge said, “She’s a lawyer, volunteer, community activist, energetic, passionate about the outdoors, strong advocate for our parks, always positive yet tenacious when she needs to be, terrific mother, fabulous spouse.

“Many of the parks, pathways, open spaces and other aspects that make Lake Oswego so livable are in large part due to her input and efforts over the years, working with city council, city manager and staff, and key community leaders.”

Birge said Craig embodied the best leadership attributes and also cited comments from unnamed community leaders who praised Craig for her contributions over 35 years. She was called extremely wise, a person who gets people to think about the bigger picture and an inspirational leader who found a way to balance community service with her family life, including raising four children.

Craig’s past activities include Lakewood Center for the Arts, Friends of the Gorge, Lake Oswego School Foundation, Three Rivers Land Conservancy, National Advisory Council of the National Land Trust and Meyer Memorial Trust.

“All of us have been benefactors of her generosity and perseverance,” Birge said.

Bill Kovach, superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District, as is tradition, announced the recipient of the Bigelow award. It is named for the late publisher of the Lake Oswego Review and a contributor to Lake Oswego public life. Korach called Jurney “a community treasure” who had continued the Bigelow tradition of lifting and inspiring others and standing up for what he believes in.

“The first words that come to me about him are his engaging personality, uplifting spirit and passionate commitment,” Korach said. “This year’s award recipient’s many accomplishments tell a long story of community service and helping others.”

Among Jurney’s leadership accomplishments are serving with the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, Lake Oswego School District, past president of Lakewood Center for the Arts, past president of Young Audiences of Oregon, U.S. Peace Corps director in Samoa and the Cook Islands, president of Westside Family YMCA and United Methodist Church. Jurney

Noting that this was an impressive list, Korach added, “But what is even more impressive is that he has always served with great heart, great spirit and great commitment.”

Other outstanding citizens were also honored at the banquet:

  • Headlee Beautification Award — Babica Hen Cafe
  • Dee Denton Excellence in Business Award — Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe (James Ewing)
  • President’s Award — Jim Franceus
  • Chamber Champion — Lynn Brokaw
  • Chamber Rookie of the Year — Lora Helmer
  • Chamber Networker of the Year — Tom Krueger



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