ReMARKable Rider Day: Meet Leslie Lewis

ReMARKable Rider Day! Meet Leslie Lewis, Member of the Yamhill County Fair Board of Directors, and former County Commissioner.
View from the Past by Cynthia Thompson, Yamhill County Transit Manager

If you attend the Yamhill County Fair every year, you can thank Leslie Lewis for being a member of the team that makes it happen. She has served on the Yamhill County Fair Board since 2013. Leslie was a Oregon State Representative from 1995 to 2001 and a Yamhill County Commissioner from 2001 to 2013.

Leslie’s friends would describe her as doing what is right, believing in the truth and never wanting to do anything to lose public trust. It is no wonder she spent her career as a public servant striving to improve the quality of life for all those who call Yamhill County home.

Leslie bought her home in Yamhill County in 1982. She grew up in Medford, Oregon with her mom, dad, sister and brother. She was involved in 4-H and the annual County Fair throughout her young life. Leslie continues to believe in the importance of 4-H. Programs like 4-H and FFA can provide a positive lifelong influence for young people.

It was a winding path that led Leslie to be involved in public transportation. When she became County Commissioner in 2001, her first assignment was as liaison to the Special Transportation Committee. This committee’s role was to improve transit services for older adults and people with disabilities. There were two non-profits providing transit in 2001: Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) primarily serving the McMinnville area and Chehalem Valley Transit (CVT) serving Newberg and surrounding communities. The Yamhill County Transit Advisory Committee received a grant from the Council of Governments to conduct a needs assessment for transit in Yamhill County.

Leslie recognized that if the County was going to continue to have a viable transit system something needed to change. She helped form a blue-ribbon committee and they made presentations to the ten cities in Yamhill County and the outcome of the study, surveys, and public outreach was the formation of a County Service District.  They explored various government structures and decided the best approach was the County Service District where the Board of Commissioners serves as the Board of Directors. The service district was approved by resolution by all ten cities in March of 2007. A local funding source was not part of the formation of the district. Most funding for Yamhill County Transit (YCT) is through federal and state grants and this is still true today.

“I am very proud of the transition I helped initiate and facilitate from multiple non-profit providers to a County Service District, then hiring a professional transit service provider. It was time to shift from disparate providers to one provider with experience in public transportation. This shift was critical to creating a strong foundation for the future of Yamhill County Transit so public transportation is available to residents and is safe, accessible, and sustainable long-term.”

 Leslie’s father was idealistic and taught her to “go for it” and her mother was very practical and adventuresome. I think these traits were passed along to Leslie because you can see them in her vision, tenacity, and practical approach to helping Yamhill County Transit leap to the next phase of its evolution.

 “We as human beings have amazing opportunities and if you look, they will come to you. We are all so different and there are so many ways to find what works for you. Don’t give up on your dreams.”

In closing, I asked Leslie to share something about herself that most people don’t know.

She said, “People might be surprised to know I am an avid bird watcher. Everywhere I go I see how many different types of birds I can see and hear. I enjoy all birds and love to identify new birds for my life list.”



Routes 44 & 44X -
New bus stop locations went into effect Monday, April 15. Click for details ►

Route 5 & 7 - Newberg and Saturday Routes 22 and 44 are suspended until further notice
To schedule weekend Dial-a-Ride service, please call (503) 474-4900 (McMinnville) or (503) 538-7433 (Newberg).

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