Mike McLaren Prepared
Salem For Tomorrow
By Jonathan Castro Monroy
The life of a heroic leader serves as an enduring monument for the leaders of tomorrow. Michael “Mike” McLaran, the former CEO of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, passed away on Saturday, March 30 at age 53 due to a likely heart attack while jogging.
His memorial service took place at the Salem Alliance Church on Monday, April 8, 2013 and over 1,000 community members attended the funeral service.
While so many city residents mourned the death of Mike, it was clear he was a priceless leader in the Salem community, and that his legacy will live for decades to come.
“IT IS ESSENTIAL TO INVEST
Mike was described as having numerous leadership skills and was a key player in various city projects. Some of these included developing the Leadership Youth Program, the bringing of the Salem Conference Center, the Grand Hotel and the Kroc Center.
IN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN ORDER
TO DEVELOP OUR FUTURE LEADERS”
Gerry Frank, an author, businessman and advocate of the Salem community, said, “Mike impacted the Salem community like very few others in the years he was a leader … all in a very positive manner. His legacy is using his life as a model for the citizens of our community...especially for the young leaders.”
Frank also shared that while he was the Chair of the committee for planning the Kroc Center, Mike’s help was crucial for the establishment of the center. They were very close friends and Mike was one of the finest and most capable individuals that he had ever known.
Today, the Kroc Center stands in north east Salem, where children and teens can enjoy a variety of services in a positive and challenging atmosphere.
“He was my first role model in leadership outside of my business. I learned my leadership style from him through conversation and observation. Gerry Frank and I will forever be in gratitude to him for that,” said Scott Sadler, the Executive Director of Sadler Coaching Group and also an active member of the chamber of commerce.
Sadler added, “He always took a holistic, collaborative approach for the greater good of the community to stimulate growth in Salem and the surrounding areas through good jobs, great schools, and quality of life while challenging us all to get more involved. His leadership was always quiet and powerful and he had a knack for surrounding himself with great people and making them all better.”
Lori Hilfiker, the former Director of Education and Leadership Development, who fi rst started working with Mike in 1997, said that she was pleased to help carry out Mike’s vision of a Chamber of Commerce Leadership Youth Program with the purpose of accommodating a positive impact on the Salem and Keizer youth and entire community.
Hilfiker said, “Mike and I believed that it was essential to invest in our young people in order to develop our future leaders. He had a leadership youth program at the Albany Chamber and he wanted to expand on what he learned there. We worked long and hard on the mission for the Leadership Youth program which says it best, ‘Building bridges between youth & community while instilling hope, inspiring vision, and opening doors of opportunity and commitment.’”
The Salem Chamber of Commerce Leadership Youth Program was established in 1999 after two years of careful planning. The program still operates up to this day and has fabricated hundreds of young leaders in the Salem and Keizer area. It has positively set up the blueprint of an auspicious Salem community for future generations.
Kathy Moore, the chamber of commerce’s current Leadership Programs Coordinator and owner of Crystal Image Photography knew Mike for over ten years;she said “Mike had the ability to hand pick individuals who carry the passion, strength, vision, and talents that collectively created a rock solid team of leaders to form the Chamber staff.
Often times those strengths and talents were discovered by Mike, before individuals themselves even knew they existed.” She also said that several years ago in one of the Leadership Youth programs, she misspelled the word “wrap” and wrote “Rap up with Mike McLaran,” on the program’s agenda. She had written, “One of our youth called Mike out and dared him to rap …
Mike did just that. Dressed for the part and armed with a microphone and crew, ‘Mike McDizzy,’ entertained the class like no other. The one hit wonder did not make the charts, but he delivered like a ‘STAR’.”
Several Leadership Youth graduates shared their thoughts about Mike and about the program. Hugo Nicolas, a McNary high school graduate, current college student and a Leadership Youth graduate of the class of 2011, said, “The way he influenced me in my life was that he helped me understand the need for Latino involvement in our community. But he also helped me by becoming more confident in public speaking. In the way he also mentored me by understanding why networking is a good skill you can have, he told me the pieces are always there you just have to put them together. I feel that Mike made our city better by bringing communities together.”
Merry Robinson, a Sprague high school graduate, college student and a Leadership Youth graduate of the class of 2012, said, “Leadership Youth provides an incredible opportunity to see all that goes into a successful community at an age far before most. Through the program I was able to meet several of our top leaders in the city of Salem as well as learn skills to prepare me for the professional world.”
Nolan Dehart, a South Salem high school graduate, college student and a Leadership Youth graduate of the class of 2011, said, “The number one thing I remember above everything else about Mike McLaren was his sincerity. No matter where we were, what we were doing, who he was with, or what was going on around him, Mike always seemed genuinely happy to see you and would give his full attention to those he was in conversation with because he legitimately cared about people and truly did want to know how they were doing. Something many of us can’t always say for ourselves. It made every relationship he formed a personal one, and made every acquaintance of his feel valued. I respected that deeply.”
Hilker said, “Because of Mike’s vision and commitment, the youth will continue to be positively impacted by identifying each of their unique talents and gifts, taking positive action for the good of others and teaching others how to do so. Mike started a ripple effect that will continue long into the future.
“Mike was a connector and influencer with great community vision and the ability to inspire so many of us to take up the challenge to make things happen. His legacy is thousands of people in our community that will continue to do so long into the future. That’s a sign of a truly excellent leader.”
Dehart also said, “It’s abundantly clear how Mike influenced the youth. Just ask any young man or woman who had ever met him and they will tell you the same thing. Mike was a powerful role model for many kids and young adults throughout the years or all the classes of Leadership Youth, especially in my experience. … His influence on the youth has helped infl uence a young generation of future city or state leaders to continue on the successes and progresses of our city for years to come.”
As requested by the McLaran family, anyone that would like to honor Mike is encouraged to send their donations to: Corban University’s student scholarships for Corban University’s Leadership and Political Engagement Program. All checks should be made payable to Corban University with “In Honor of McLaran” on the memo line and be sent to Corban University, Advancement Office, 5000 Deer Park Drive SE, Salem, OR 97317. ..
Jonathan Castro Monroy is a Class of 2011 Leadership Youth graduate and friend of Mike McLaran.
There’s A New Game in Town
BY JONATHAN CASTRO MONROY
The Salem Sabresis a new locally owned professional basketball team that has made their home in Salem, Oregon.
Rhonda Alexander, the National Account Manager for SYSCO Food Corpis the owner of the team, she said, “How the Salem Sabres came to be is an interesting story.
I was talking with a friend who lives in Bremerton, WA about a whole different business venture, when he mentioned he owned a professional sports team. He asked if I was interested and I thought he was referring to a recreational league, so I said, ‘Not interested,’ but he said, ‘No it’s a professional team.’ I then said ok tell me more.
“He told me how he was able to get established and then connected me with the Commissioner of the American Basketball Association. I spoke with the commissioner and he said, ‘Currently I don’t have a team in Oregon and I have never had one in the Salem area.’ That was the spark that ignited the flame of owning and establishing a team in Salem, Oregon.”
The team is managed by General Manager Joe Becerra, a sales consultant for a commercial lending company and trained by Head Coach Willie Freeman, who was the former head coach at North Salem High School.
Becerra said, “We strive to be role models in our community and provide local, national, and international players a quality franchise to assist in pursuing basketball jobs around the world.”
Freeman said,“I was coaching at North Salem High School before this and when God closed that door he opened up this door. I was the head coach at North and I believe that it prepared me for this opportunity to be a semipro head coach. I found out about the team from a lady that attends the same church as I do … she just helped make the connection.”
Being part of the American Basketball Association, The Salem Sabres will be competing in the Pacific Northwest Division. They kicked off their inaugural season on Saturday, November 10 against the Seattle Mountaineers. Since then, the team has played against multiple teams from Washington, Alaska and Canada.
All home games will be played at Chemeketa Community College in Building, 7, at the college’s main gym.
One of the players, Jeff Dunn, the Sales Manager at Willamette Valley Fruit Company, has been playing in the Dallas and Salem area for all his life. He has gone from being a McDonald’s All American at Dallas High School to a two time All-American at Western Baptist College.
He indicated that this is his fifth season representing the Salem area at a professional level.
Dunn shared what he enjoyed the most about being part of such a new team, he said, “It’s a new league and a new time of year for me at this level, and [it’s] always fun to see the excitement build around something new. I know the owners, management, and coach have great intentions and a heart for the game, this town, and the future; so I’m honored to be a part of it.
“I want to win games, but with that, enjoy the comprador, the fans, seeing my little boys watching in the stands and most importantly, I want to use the talent and opportunities that God’s blessed me with to be an example for Him.”
Brian Bahr, one of the Utility Analysts for the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) is also a player of the team, he has been playing basketball since he was a student at South Salem high school. He said that after high school he played in recreational and church leagues.
Bahr shared his thoughts about being part of the new team and what he liked and not liked, he said, “What isn’t to like? I get to play a game I love at a competitive level. I get to be part of a team of great guys with dedicated ownership. I get the opportunity to interact with the community and be a positive role model for kids. And another benefit of being on the team is access to the performance training program at the Courthouse Athletic Club, where I get to work with trainers who have designed programs specifically for athletes to improve their performance. And of course a little supplemental income never hurt anybody, but I can tell you right now that nobody playing semi-professional basketball does it just for the money.
“Knowing that I’m helping to build the foundation of what I see becoming a really successful, positive organization is a fantastic feeling. But probably the most satisfying part of the whole experience has been interacting with kids. We visit schools to do anti-bullying campaigns and host basketball camps and are about so much more than just playing basketball or trying to run a business for profit.”
Bahr also said, “I really recommend coming out to a game and enjoying the experience.
Ticket prices are very affordable for the whole family, the drive isn’t far, the quality of basketball is great, the Sabres dance team keeps things going during breaks in the action, and the game atmosphere is a ton of fun. And you can bring the kids out on the court after the game to meet the players. At the last home game we even had Michael Knight, a Michael Jackson impersonator, perform at halftime.”
The team has indicated that they are determined to make a positive impact on the local Marion/Polk counties and surrounding communities, businesses, non-profits & community-based organizations to help provide quality sport entertainment to families and children in the communities.
Rhonda shared that the team has three main goals, she said: “Our first goal with the team is to provide a platform for young men to play state-side and continue developing their skills to play at the next level. Whether it is to go overseas and play or to try out for a D-League team or the NBA. Already in our first season we have managed to send one player overseas.
Rich Smith former Salem Sabre signed an overseas deal with the Indonesian Warriors.
“Our second goal is to serve our Community. When we started this organization we knew that a semi professional basketball team would have an impact on the youth in our community. Our goal since the very beginning is to ensure that we positively impact our youth. We have had several members of our coaching staff, players and Dance Team member who have freely taken time out to serve our community.
We have partnered with the YMCA and have conducted basketball clinics for the youth. We introduced our first Anti Bully Campaign at one of the Elementary Schools. We have partnered with SMART and Marion County Reading For All and implemented a Read-AThon to encourage students to read more.
• “Our third goal is simply to provide affordable family friendly entertainment to the Willamette Valley. We really enjoy incorporating community members and organizations to assist in our game day ceremonies and entertainment. We have had North Salem JROTC and the Boys Scouts have presented the colors at all our home games. We have had a City of Salem Councilwoman, a Sprague student and two Willamette University students all sing the national anthem at our home games.”
Businesses and organizations have an opportunity to join and support the team as a network partner. Currently, the team has the following network partners:
• Red Lion Hotels
In addition, several community members affirmed they are enjoying the new team.
• The YMCA
• SMART (start making a reader today)
• Courthouse gyms
• John Stone Financial Advisors
• Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America (OPVA)
• Buffalo Wild Wings
• Sports Authority
• Little Caesars
• Jamba Juice
Ken Baller, an independent contractor at Clear View Oregon, said, “I really enjoy this new addition to the Salem community. Not only are the games very competitive but it is a great way for the community to get together and enjoy a show. It is also a great event that families can enjoy and spend time together.”
Sheryl Thomas, a Salem City Councilor, said, “I feel others should attend these games because it is exactly what the theme says, ‘It’s a New Game in Town.’ This franchise is the start of something new, exciting, entertaining and fresh; it has the potential to draw more events to the city of Salem. It is a family oriented event and is inclusive of everyone.
To show support of something that is positive, something that has the potential to unite a city and draw other cities and other states to Salem, Oregon as the Salem Sabres franchise seeks to build relationships and contribute to the growing and revitalizing of the city’s economy.”
Yesenia Romero, a student at Chemeketa Community College, said, “What I like the most about this organization is that they are reaching out to young students and prompting them to do the right thing. I believe that with support from the community the team can have a huge positive impact on young students.”
Willie Freeman said, “What I enjoy most about coaching this team is having the ability to see the progression that we have made not only as a team but as an organization. I enjoy seeing our players learn and grow and just work hard when they step on the court.”
Inside the court, the team’s season goal was to become Champions of the first PAC NW Division Championship Tournament, which was hosted in Salem, OR on April 12th, 13th and 14th and featured various teams from states in the NW.
The team came out victorious after defeating the Washington Kitsap Admirals in the championship game with a close 128-127 win, becoming the first champions for its division and well-representing the Salem community.
Businesses or organizations that would like to find out more about the network partner program are encouraged to e-mail the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next season will start in November, 2013, but in the meantime, anyone that is interested in supporting the team is encouraged to follow the team online. To follow and obtain information about the team, supporters can visit the team’s website at www.salemsabresaba.comor the team’s Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/ SalemSabres.
Statesman Journal Plans Big Move
Statesman Journal Media has announced plans to search for state-of-the-art office space and seek a buyer to redevelop its current facility.
“Our current building has served us well over the years, but we need a more modern, high-tech space now,” President & Publisher Steve Silberman said. “We have expanded what we do and have extensive digital offerings for our customers. Our work environment should refl ect that.”
The Statesman Journal has been serving the community since 1861 and has been located in its current facility at 280 Church Street NE since 1951. It is in located within blocks of the state capitol, state, county and city office buildings, and Willamette University.
“Our new space should position us for growth as our region’s leading digital media and marketing company.”
“This could be an exciting catalyst for downtown,” Salem Mayor Anna Peterson said. “This should be a very positive step for the downtown area. The building is in a prime downtown location. It’s a prime area for redevelopment.”
Alex Rhoten, principal broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial, added: “We are confident that a developer will see the unique opportunity for redevelopment because of the size and location of this property. It is not very often that a property of this size with such prime location is available for redevelopment.”
Statesman Journal Media has not identified a new location, its strong preference is to remain downtown if suitable space can be found. Rhoten and his partner, Tiffany Jones, will work with Statesman Journal Media to determine its needs in the next few weeks and will then share what might be available.
“We want to make sure we are in a convenient and visible location for our customers,” Silberman said.
No locations have been identified yet. “We are early in the process,” Silberman said.
“We are doing what lots of other businesses, government agencies and organizations have done and that’s lease space. State government does this extensively.”
“I am excited about the opportunity this move presents both for Statesman Journal Media and for Salem,” Silberman said.
Statesman Journal Media is Mid Valley Oregon’s award winning source of intensely local news, leading multi-media advertising and full-service digital marketing solutions provider.
Statesman Journal Media 280 Church St NE Salem, OR 97301 503.399.6611 www.statesmanjournal.com Media Contact: Steve Silberman, President & Publisher. silberman@ statesmanjournal.com. 503-399-6689