Untitled Story
by Karen Esvelt
  • July 18, 2022
  • 6 mins story
1. Maybe you have an idea for a story. Feel free to tell that story.

I, Karen Esvelt, moved to Madras with my family, former husband Ed Sites, James, and Allison in Summer, 1980.   Brian was born at Mt. View Hospital in October.  Madras was a young-aged town and Ed and I had grown up  near Portland, the big city. There were 4 attorneys in town that had gone to UO Law School with Ed, and we knew many people right off the bat.  The school district was one of the best east of the Cascades and the economy was good; agriculture, forestry, Brightwood Mill, and PGE mills were main businesses.  Warm Springs was one of the wealthier tribes in the nation, Ken Smith being CEO at the time.  When I returned to teaching, I discovered the school district paid more than most districts, their idea being to attract families to come, teach, and stay, becoming involved in the communities.  We had several stores in town, Ransoms and Hatfield Department stores, a men's store, a couple of dress shops, Ben Franklin Variety. Different restaurants abounded, The Stag being popular, not only to locals, but out-of-town friends knew of it.  DQ was the only fast food in town, and after games, families met there.  Small markets were around the area, and Aherns was another "mini-mart" out-of-towners knew about.  Mt. View hospital accommodated our needs, Madras Medical Group had five doctors that took care of us from "birth to death".  Kiwanis was a service group that sponsored Kids Basketball and Soccer.  Jefferson County Youth Baseball was run many years by Rick Utter and George Neilson to serve T-Ball, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 grades, and parents ran concessions to support fields.  The Townies and Farmers met weekly at Stevenson's farm baseball field and played while moms visited and kids played.  Locals helped "build" tennis courts while 509J paid the paving and fences.  Kids earned money changing pipe in the farm fields,  and were warned never to jump into the canals to cool off, (currents took a few away), or raise pipe to carry to another field as it might come in contact with electric wires.  Mike Ahern and Dan Phillips raised money to have fireworks on July 4th at Madras Elementary playground and fire department volunteers set them off, until an accident showed the need to hire pros to do it.  Madras, and outlying communities, were a wonderful place to have families and run into friends at the stores and events.  It's larger now and things evolve and changes happen, but I didn't retire and move elsewhere.  I made lifelong friends, became involved in the community in many ways (committees, boards, work, and play), and I love living here.  I could NEVER move back to the valley.  Too much rain and too many people.  Madras is home.

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