When Larry McIntyre was presented with the fourth annual Robert Moore Award for community service Feb. 28 at the West Linn Public Library, he pointed to a large West Linn-themed quilt hanging behind the podium.
"This quilt pretty much represents what I feel about West Linn," McIntyre said. "We're made up of a whole bunch of different pieces between each other, and it comes (into) a unifying piece."
The award was presented by Mayor Russ Axelrod just before he delivered the annual "State of the City" address. Named after West Linn's founder — who, ironically enough, is often played by McIntyre in historical reenactments — the Robert Moore Award is designed to "recognize individuals who contribute to the quality of life in the community without reward or recognition." To name the award after Moore was fitting; though he founded the city, Moore chose to name it after friend and mentor Dr. Lewis Linn.
Beyond serving as mayor from 1983 to 1986, McIntyre is best known for his tireless work with the West Linn Historical Society and the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation. He works as a docent at the Museum of Oregon Territory (M.O.O.T.) in Oregon City and also does occasional presentations at local schools.
"(McIntyre) is regularly described as kind, friendly, even-tempered and patient," Axelrod said before presenting the award. "His love for West Linn is exemplified in many different forms."
Axelrod also referenced a letter written by a resident in support of McIntyre, which stated that "he is an outstanding pillar in our town in too many ways to explain ... he is a man to look up to and emulate."
McIntyre joins former winners Dave Kruse, Lisa Clifton and Alexana Kachirisky.
"I'm a bit shocked," McIntyre said. "I'm obviously pleased, but I really had no idea I was even involved in it."
McIntyre and his wife moved to the Bolton area of West Linn in 1975 — "I'm one of those lousy Californians who moved up here," he joked — and it didn't take him long to get involved with city business.
"Shortly after we got here, we made friends with then-Mayor Alan Brickley," McIntyre said. "I said I would like to get involved."
He would eventually run for city council, but found himself facing an unusually formidable opponent.
"My combatant was (eventual U.S. Congresswoman) Darlene Hooley," McIntyre said. "I lost by five votes."
But Hooley and McIntyre later became friends. After the McIntyres moved into the Willamette area, Brickley suggested that McIntyre serve on the planning commission.
"I volunteered and served there for a while," McIntyre said.
He finally earned a spot on the city council in 1979; then, in 1983, he succeeded Brickley as mayor. For a time, McIntyre entertained even grander political aspirations before deciding to pivot in a different direction.
"I ran for county commissioner and decided, after I got into it for a bit, that 'this is not where I want to go,'" McIntyre said. "I just decided to go in a different direction and applied myself to business for some years."
The second leg of his volunteer career, if you will, began around 2005.
"We had our business operating out of our home, which allowed me at times to do things and leave in the afternoons and evenings," McIntyre said.
McIntyre returned to the Old Time Fair — which he'd volunteered at in the past — while also becoming a key member of the burgeoning West Linn Historical Society and Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation.
"(The Historical Society) was just getting started," he said. "Some people we knew, we talked and they said, 'You ought to come to a meeting.' That was a mistake, because the next thing I know I was on the Board of Directors."
McIntyre has long been known as one of the city's go-to historians, and he says researching and presenting findings is one of the best aspects of his volunteer work.
"I'm a ham," he said. "I like to do the presentations, be it at the schools or wherever. The docent work for M.O.O.T. — we'd like to do more in West Linn but there's not always the opportunity."
Even after so many years of volunteering, McIntyre was surprised to receive the award.
"I'm just very honored," he said. "And very shocked."
By Patrick Malee
Assistant Editor, West Linn Tidings
Pamplin Media Group
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