Roger Shepherd receives award from WL Rotary Club

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Roger Shepherd recently received the West Linn Rotary Service Above Self award, in large part to recognize his work on West Linn's centennial celebration.Growing up in Lake Oswego, Roger Shepherd drove through West Linn hundreds of times, but he never stopped.

It was simply a neighboring town he knew little to nothing about — “a place to pass through,” as he remembers now. That feeling never changed until Shepherd and his wife moved to West Linn in 1994.

The Shepherds spent part of their early time in West Linn working as caretakers at the McLean House, prompting Roger Shepherd to become fascinated with the history of West Linn and dive head-on into community work that made him well known throughout the city. Twenty years and countless projects later, Shepherd was honored with the West Linn Rotary Club’s Service Above Self award Feb. 26.

He received the award after being nominated by staff members at West Linn City Hall.

“Since we work with a lot of the volunteers in the city, I asked some of our staff who would be a good fit for this,” Parks and Recreation Director Ken Worcester said. “And Roger came up hands down.”

The award came as a surprise for Shepherd, who is not a Rotary Club member and arrived at the Feb. 26 meeting under the assumption that he was only going to show a presentation.

“I was honored to get it,” Shepherd said. “It’s nice to be recognized for the effort I’m making in the community, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to tell the Rotary about a lot of the heritage activities that are happening in the city.”

The award came on the heels of Shepherd’s tireless efforts to help the city celebrate its centennial birthday in 2013. As the co-chairman of the West Linn Centennial Planning Committee, Shepherd’s goal was to educate residents on West Linn’s history in an engaging fashion. To that end, he created attractions like the Centennial Museum, which featured a detailed timeline of West Linn’s history alongside restored photos and video.

“Putting together the Centennial Museum was very interesting,” Shepherd said. “It taught me a lot about West Linn’s history — I think it’s that’s one of the most interesting things I’ve done.”

Shepherd, who works as a geographic information system specialist for the city of Lake Oswego, used his time working at the McLean House in 1994 as a jump-off point to get involved in an array of local activities. “The heritage (at the McLean House) really got me interested in West Linn,” Shepherd said. “I got involved in the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation — the locks, the mill, all that history was very fascinating.”

Beyond his work on the centennial committee and as a board member for the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation, Shepherd has also spent 10 years leading monthly “discovery walks” around West Linn, showing off parks, viewpoints and historic areas that often go unnoticed by the casual passer-by.

As West Linn Recreation Director Ken Warner wrote to the Rotary’s award committee chairman, Jim Schaub, “Roger’s efforts and time commitment went above and beyond the call of duty for all volunteers that I know.”

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Shepherd grew up in Lake Oswego, and it wasn't until he moved to West Linn in 1994 that he became fascinated with the city and its history.

By Patrick Malee
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