Community Leaders Honored at Lane Council of Governments’ Member Appreciation Dinner

Courtesy photo

March 17 - The Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) held its Annual Member Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, March 4, at the historic Cottage Grove Armory. More than 130 elected and appointed officials, business and community members, and public employees from across Lane County attended the dinner, which also included a silent auction that raised more than $3,500 for the LCOG Senior Meals Program.

Each year, LCOG celebrates regional accomplishments for the prior year and recognize Elected Officials, Public Employees, Citizens, Intergovernmental Teams, Economic Enhancement work, and those who have dedicated their lives to public service.

The annual award for Outstanding Elected Official was given to Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch who has done incredible work to aid the Holiday Farm Fire recovery effort. The Outstanding Citizen Award was presented to Ashley Espinoza, Lane Workforce Development’s Interim Executive Director, for her passion and expertise in workforce and economic development, public & private sector collaboration, and community engagement.

Mo Young was recognized as the Outstanding Public Employee for her exemplary performance and service. The award for Outstanding Public Career was presented to Joseph Leahy, retired lawyer who spent more than 50 years serving as legal counsel for local public agencies.

The award for Outstanding Intergovernmental Team was presented to Holiday Farm Fire Collaboration. Their work has brought in millions of dollars in state and federal aid to support the recovery of the McKenzie Valley. Matt McRae accepted the award on the group’s behalf.

Also recognized were Cottage Grove Public Works Director Faye Stewart and City Planner Eric Morgan for the Cottage Grove Revitalization Project, which received the Outstanding Economic Enhancement Award. The project intends to create a more dynamic Main Street Historic District to boost local businesses, promote community engagement, and create a safe and beautiful experience for everyone in the City of Cottage Grove.

Tom Cotter of the City of Veneta was recognized for his longtime service to the LCOG Board of Directors. 

Special recognition for Lifetime Public Service was given to Ray Smith, former mayor of the City of Coburg. Mr. Smith passed away in October 2022.

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