Springfield man wins $8.9 million 

SPRINGFIELD — On Christmas Eve in 2021, Springfield resident Wilbur Brown was with some friends at the Moose Lodge in Springfield. And thanks to a friend’s tutoring on how to purchase a multi-drawing Megabucks ticket, Brown became Oregon’s latest Megabucks millionaire when he won the $8.9 million jackpot in the Jan. 29 drawing.

While at the Moose Lodge Dec. 24, a friend of Brown’s bought a “26 for $25” Megabucks ticket. This option lets players buy a single Megabucks ticket for 26 consecutive drawings for just $25. Brown was not aware of the “26 for $25” option, and decided to buy one, too.

Now, armed with a Megabucks ticket that covered 13 weeks, each drawing from Dec. 25, 2021, to Feb. 19, 2022, Brown tucked the ticket into his billfold. 

“After the first few drawings, I’d check my ticket,” Brown said. “Then I just kind of forgot about it and wasn’t checking.”

In February, Brown was at the Moose Lodge again and remembered his ticket. Brown scanned his ticket on a self-check terminal at the Lodge and the message “See Customer Service” popped up. Not knowing what that meant exactly, Brown then gave the ticket to the server to scan. This time the message was “Large Lottery Winner.”

Still not sure what he may have won, Brown and other friends sitting with them at the Lodge began using their phones to check the web for results. It soon became clear that Brown was indeed a “Large Lottery Winner” having won a $8.9 million jackpot.

Brown opted to take the 30-year annuity option for his prize when he picked up his first check at the Lottery office in Salem on March 8. After taxes, he will receive an annual check for slightly more than $200,000. Brown has set up a trust for his prize winnings. 

Brown won his big prize on the eighth drawing on his 26-drawing ticket and his winning numbers were 15, 33, 34, 40, 42, and 47.

Chronicle partner, Springfield birth center earn grants: GRAND RONDE – The Spirit Mountain Community Fund awarded $862,835 to 28 nonprofit organizations in Benton, Clackamas, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties on March 9, including $7,5000 for Center For Community Counseling. The counseling service in Eugene is a regular contributor in The Chronicle, in which interns and experts explore topics of mental health and wellness. Springfield’s Our Community Birth Center is also among grantees, and were awarded $26,700. Other Lane County award winners include: Florence Food Share for $7,500; Every Child Lane County for $10,555; Eugene’s Long Tom Watershed Council for $50,000 and Eugene’s Ophelia’s Place for $50,000. 

Cottage Grove ‘tree city’ again: The City of Cottage Grove has been recognized as 2022 Oregon Tree City of the Year by Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry, for the City’s efforts to maintain and improve its urban forests. On March 14, mayor Jeff Gowing presented Reilly Newman, projects manager and urban forestry chair for the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council with the Arbor Month Proclamation. The proclamation declares April 2022 “Arbor Month,” with the purpose of encouraging community members to plant and care for trees, helping to promote the well being of present and future generations. This year marks the 28th year the City has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation, and the fifth year the city has received the Growth Award.

Funding secured for key local transit projects: Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio have delivered federal support for Lane Transit District to buy zero-emission buses and charging equipment, and develop technology that makes all modes of transportation easier for the public to use. Congressman DeFazio, with Senators Merkley and Wyden, sent letters to the Department of Transportation in support of LTD’s grant application to secure $4,891,676 to replace four of the District’s aging diesel buses with new battery-powered buses. The funding comes from the federal Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program that is available to states and transit districts to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment as well as to support the construction of bus-related facilities, including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities.In addition, Senators Merkley and Wyden secured $1.5 million in Federal funding for LTD through the FY22 Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress.The funds are for an electric battery-powered bus and to support the development of new trip planning technology. LTD has 11 electric battery-powered buses in its fleet with 19 more on order, which are expected to be delivered by the end of 2022. After they arrive, 30 of LTD’s 100 buses will be electric battery powered.

 ■ LTD approves ‘MovingAhead’ plans: At its Board Meeting on March 16, the Lane Transit District Board of Directors approved the Locally Preferred Alternatives for five key corridors, MovingAhead, including – Highway 99: Enhanced corridor; River Road: EmX; Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard via downtown: Enhanced corridor; Coburg Road: Enhanced corridor, which will require additional study and community engagement; and 30th Avenue to Lane Community College via downtown: No build. “After extensive study and community discussions, there is a tentative plan to improve transportation and increase safety along each corridor,” said Caitlin Vargas, president of the LTD board of directors. Staff will work on refining the designs for the project, which includes more community engagement, so that staff can work towards implementing investments along these streets.

Tadeo building LatinX Parent group: SPRINGFIELD – SAfER organizer Johanis Tadeo has been meeting with Spanish-speaking parents. He is building a LatinX Parent group to encourage parents to voice their concerns within the Springfield School District. Tadeo has been meeting with administrators and families to listen to their concerns. According to SAfER organizers, some of the families feel alienated by the SSD, noting that it does not provide translated documents or a straightforward way for Spanish-speaking families to voice their concerns to either the school or board. On Feb.8, Johanis held a forum called “Junta para Padres de Hijos que Asisten a las Escuelas de Springfield,” which 16 families attended to help families learn how to navigate the school system. This forum will meet again on March 28. SAfER’s goal is to build trust between Spanish-speaking families and the Springfield School District. Along with Escudo Latino and Citywide Union de Activistas, CALC’s teen program, SAfER also is also working in partnership with the Willamalane Park and Recreation District to make Willamalane services more welcoming and accessible to Latinx families. SAfER endorsed a letter from Springfield Shelter Rights Alliance (SSRA) to council members with a list of specific things we hope the city will do. Among the list SSRA is asking the City of Springfield to schedule a work session with community participation to address the needs of the unsheltered.