Arlie Elliott to be parade grand marshal

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

In recognition of a lifetime of community involvement and leadership, the Chamber of Commerce has selected Arlie Elliott to be the Sportsman’s Holiday Parade grand marshal this weekend.

“It’s a real honor,” Elliott said. The community has plenty of people who are active now and deserve the honor, but “I know it’s kind of a tradition to get an older person into this position. I’m honored to be recognized this way.”

“Arlie was very active in everything here for 30 years,” said Billie Weber of the Chamber of Commerce. “Still is. He’s been here since 1963, and he’s worked real hard always for Sweet Home. He’s been a very busy man, and he has kept himself very active and very busy.”

“How many men will pack an oxygen tank as they’re digging holes,” said Glenda Hopkins, who is active with the East Linn Museum. That’s how we worked on installing the museum’s new sprinkler system, all “to make Sweet Home more attractive. He’s a great guy, deserving of the honor.”

And he still plays golf, Hopkins said.

Elliott, 83, helps keep up the grounds and serves on the board of directors at East Linn Museum.

He was Sweet Home’s First Citizen in 1975.

He was a member of the Order of the Sportsman, also known as TOOTS, a group of men who marched alongside the Sportsman’s Holiday Courts in parades. Sportsman’s Holiday included an “old miner,” someone in the community who would dress up with a beard, glasses and mining gear and march with the parade. Members of the community would have fun guessing who it was in any given year.

Elliott worked with Ozzie Shaw for a term on the county Parks Board and in other activities. He also worked with Shaw organizing the Foster boat races and then eventually led the organization of the Sportsman’s Holiday event.

He said the races were shut down about 25 years ago as the expense began getting too high. A driver was killed in an accident the last year of the races, he said, but that had nothing to do with the end of the event.

“The boating association loved Sweet Home, and they always gave us real high marks,” Elliott said.

Elliott was born in Oklahoma in 1925. He moved to Oregon with his parents in 1933.

He served in the Navy for three years during World War II supporting shore-based Navy B-24 and B-25 units.

During the island-hopping campaign, the main forces would bypass some islands. A small force was held behind to keep enemy forces on those islands inactive.

Elliott served in a supply company for those forces as a storekeeper, a supply clerk.

He settled back in Oregon and drove truck for the company that was carrying away material from Camp Adair near Corvallis as it was torn down. That company owned a logging concern, and he went to work for Simpson Timber Company.

He eventually moved to Scio, he was a volunteer firefighter and a municipal court judge.

Small towns didn’t have an abundance of lawyers, he said, adding that he served as judge because it was a community responsibility.

Elliott moved to Sweet Home in 1963 from Scio, he said.

Elliott and his wife, Margaret, who died in 1998, looked up and down the Willamette Valley for a place to settle with their three boys, who include Steve of Sweet Home, who works at Hewlett-Packard; Bob, who lives in Lebanon and works for Lebanon Fire District; and Martin, who works for a publishing company in Forest Grove.

“The three boys, we wanted them to grow up with the right background, which was church and community; and you did that in a small community,” Elliott said. Sweet Home was that community. He worked for the Causby Agency, based in Albany, when he was sent to work the branch office in Sweet Home.

Green Peter Dam was two-thirds complete. In those days, the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 228 was a Y shape. In the center of the intersection was a Richfield service station.

“My first real estate office was a junker on that corner,” he said. “It was the only thing available.”

“Back in those days, you did real estate and insurance,” he said, so he was also a Farmer’s Insurance agent. “I’ve had a really busy life in Sweet Home. The business we were in, you needed to get involved quickly.”

That meant he joined the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club and other activities. He served in all offices with the Chamber and Kiwanis and was Kiwanian of the Year. He also served on the board of the former Linn County Chamber of Commerce, an organization whose demise he regrets.

The county chamber gave local chambers the opportunity to communicate with each other and let other communities know what’s going on in cities around the county, he said.

He also served with numerous Realtor groups, local and state.

Sweet Home has largely grown the way Elliott expected, he said.

“I see what I pretty much assumed when we moved to Sweet Home.”

After about a year, Green Peter Dam was completed, and there was a downturn in Sweet Home for a short period, and then Sweet Home grew steadily long term until the past decade or so – “Solid growth, solid community.”

“Timber was our thing,” he said. “We thought it would go on forever. When it went bust, it hurt Sweet Home, and the community got through it pretty well.”

The last 10 years’ residential growth has been among the biggest changes, he said, and it compares very well to any other small community.

The best thing about this community is “Sweet Home,” he said. “It’s just that simple. It has been for my whole family.

“I always supported community activities because the community gave my family so much I felt I had to give back,” he said.