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Lauren B puts West Linn on the map

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Not only was Portland, and to a lesser extent West Linn, prominently featured on Episode 8 of the hit reality show “The Bachelor,” but it was represented well, as native daughter Lauren Bushnell (Lauren B) earned the first rose of the climactic rose ceremony, making her just one of three remaining contestants on the quest for Bachelor Ben Higgins’ heart.Lauren Bushnell

The “hometown” episode, which aired Monday, Feb. 22, began with a trip to Laguna Beach, Calif., where Higgins met with contestant Amanda and her two daughters. The four spent a day at the beach, making sand castles and chasing one another around, before the real challenge presented itself. Amanda took Higgins to her home to meet her family, where her father grilled the software salesman on whether or not Higgins is ready to be a stepfather.

Higgins told Amanda’s parents he’d given it a lot of thought, and that if he chose Amanda it would mean he is up for the challenge. The date ended well, but Higgins seemed unsure about the proposition of suddenly becoming a father to two children.

With Amanda’s date out of the way, it was time for Higgins to travel to the City of Roses, where Bushnell hoped the day she had planned would earn her a red-colored flower Portland is known for. Bushnell showed Higgins Pioneer Square before leading him to the bevy of food trucks synonymous with downtown. The pair shared a variety of buttery foods — Bushnell’s favorite — before heading to the Multnomah Whiskey Library, much to Higgins’ delight.

After some talk about Bushnell’s initial skepticism with the show, she told the camera that she was indeed in love with Higgins, but that she wanted to wait to see what her family thought of the Bachelor before telling him. Next up was what West Linn fans of the show have been waiting for all season, as glimpses and snippets of the city were shown before Bushnell’s family was introduced.

From the start it was Lauren’s sister, Mollie Bushnell, who seemed to be the most concerned about Higgins’ true intentions, as she led him to a private room to discuss his relationship with her sister immediately following dinner. She asked Higgins what made Lauren stand out from the other remaining contestants. Higgins said he couldn’t put his feelings for her into words and became tearful. That was enough for Mollie.ABC VIDEO - West Linn native Lauren Bushnell brings the Bachelor home to her parents in Episode 8 of the hit reality show 'The Bachelor.'

Lauren Bushnell told her sister she was in love with Higgins, and that she felt Higgins was the person for her. While Higgins had passed the sister test, he still had to get approval from Bushnell’s father, Dave Bushnell. Naturally, he had many questions related to the legitimacy of Higgins’ relationship with Lauren, and how he was coping with meeting four other families that same week. Higgins admitted it was harder than he had anticipated, but that when he first saw Lauren “the world stood still.”

Dave Bushnell seemed content with the response and told Higgins he had felt the same way about his wife, Kristin, but that they had dated for years before marriage. He asked Higgins if he felt the show’s timeline was enough to ensure a successful marriage, to which Ben said “I would only get down on one knee at the end if I was positive it was the right decision.” Satisfied, the family said its goodbyes to the Bachelor, before Lauren Bushnell had enough time to reveal her true feelings to Higgins.

Higgins visited Caila next in her hometown of Hudson, Ohio, where the pair toured her father’s toy company. Like Bushnell, Caila told the cameras she had fallen in love with Higgins, and told her mother the same thing later that night at the family dinner. Things transpired fairly smoothly, something that can’t be said about the final hometown date.

JoJo’s hometown date in Dallas, Texas, rounded out the episode, and started out with a bang. JoJo returned home to roses, which she assumed were from Higgins, but were actually from her ex. Emotional when Higgins arrived, things got off to a rocky start, and only got worse when the pair headed to meet her family. JoJo’s brothers didn’t approve of the show’s format from the start, leading to some testy conversation with the Bachelor. Higgins didn’t want to make any promises, but said he did not want to hurt their sister.

Conversation became so heated at one point that JoJo’s mother took a long swig straight from a bottle of wine, much to the delight of social media, and prompted a quick exit from Higgins. He said he understood where JoJo’s family was coming from, but wasn’t sure what his decision at the upcoming rose ceremony would be.

Caila received the second rose, and JoJo the third, meaning it was Amanda that was sent home. Promos for next week show Higgins telling two different girls he had fallen in love with them, as well as scenes from the fantasy suite, the most controversial part of “The Bachelor,” where Higgins and each contestant are given an entire night alone, away from cameras, if they so choose.

Next week’s episode will air Monday, Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Check back in with the Tidings next week to find out if Bushnell advances to the show’s finale.