Brett Turner and his wife, Gina, own Grocery Outlet in La Pine, and he’s been a La Pine Activity Center board member since he was elected to the position in August of 2022.  
“I decided to run for the board of directors because I wanted to step up and give back to the community and help Jamie and the Activity Center.  Jamie has always been so supportive of my wife and I and our business in the past,” said Brett.
“We’ve given the Activity Center food and monetary donations since Grocery Outlet first opened in La Pine.  We’re big supporters of the Rhubarb Festival, as well.  In July we’re having a fund raiser called “Independence from Hunger”  where people donate or buy food baskets for those who are struggling to make ends meet, and we split the profits from that fund raiser with the Activity Center, the Christmas Basket Association, and St. Vincent de Paul.  Most grocery stores fund-raise during the holidays, but there are hungry people out there during the summer, too, so what we raise goes to help during that time.”
Brett believes the Activity Center is headed in a great direction right now.  
“It’s a very important facility for this community, and  I believe that this board of directors is doing a really good job.  The money we’ve recently raised for the new kitchen remodel is huge; we’re securing grants and the future is very bright”
Brett and Gina have lived in La Pine since December of 2016 after coming here from California’s Bay Area.
“My wife and I were both store managers at Safeway and when Albertsons bought them out, we didn’t care for the new operation, so Gina moved on to Bed, Bath and Beyond as store manager.  Then some friends told us about an opportunity to own a Grocery Outlet franchise.  This is a very family-oriented company and they like couples as co-managers, so we looked into it, started the training program, and when this store was going to open we decided to buy it. We opened La Pine’s first Grocery Outlet in February of 2017.”
“We love the pace of life here in La Pine.  Just being able to take a walk in the woods is so awesome. Life in the Bay Area was very fast and hectic, and there came a time when we realized we didn’t want that anymore.”
“We also love La Pine’s small town vibe.   When we first moved here strangers would wave at us and we were taken aback, until we got to know the town better and realized that people still wave to strangers here!  This community really pulls together when the time arises and we’re very impressed with that.”
“The Community Kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul organizations pick up food donations from us several times each week, so we’re here for this community and want to keep our dollars local. “ 


Debbie Kreps is the Monday front desk volunteer at the La Pine Activity Center, greeting those who walk through our doors and pointing them in the right direction for what they need
“I started out two years ago by volunteering at Bingo on Monday nights, and then just kind of worked into running the front desk,” says Debbie. “I usually just come in one morning per week, but I will fill in for others when needed.
Originally from Newberg, Oregon, she and her husband moved to La Pine a little over four years ago.
“I really like the climate in La Pine and we needed to get out of the city,” says Debbie. “We would come here camping every summer for about five years and one year we just decided that we didn’t want to go back home!”
Before retiring, Debbie worked in food service at George Fox University for 19 years, right up until the day before she moved to La Pine. Her husband, Ray, worked for Chrysler Corporation also for 19 years, and was retired for 10 years before they moved here. Now he is a substitute teacher in Gilchrist, La Pine and Bend.
“I love being here and meeting the people who walk through our doors,” says Debbie. “It’s nice to chat and get to know them and I’ve met some truly wonderful people here at the Center. “
Recently the La Pine Senior Center changed its name to the La Pine Activity Center, with the goal of promoting more exclusivity within the community. The Center is here to fill the needs of the whole community.
“From my experience working at George Fox University, I think it’s beneficial to have older people interacting with those much younger than themselves,” says Debbie. “Older people feel younger, more energized, when they’re around those younger than themselves. I think the mixture of seniors and younger people benefits them both. There’s so much more opportunity having this place be an “activity center” because it draws more people from our community in, and if a senior needs help, there are younger folks who can help them out; conversely, younger people can learn from their elder’s wisdom. It’s a win-win for both groups.”
“This Activity Center is an excellent place to come for an exercise class, have lunch three days a week and visit with people, and just get OUT. In the winter, people come here and get warm, sit, relax, read or watch the fire in the ‘living room” we have in the front of the building. It’s a great landing spot.”

Christine Dishaw, Board Treasure & Bookkeeper

Christine Dishaw works at the La Pine Activity Center as their bookkeeper, paying the bills and doing banking duties, but she also acts as the Center’s Treasurer, attending board meetings and giving a report each month.
“Four years ago, a good friend wrote to me and asked if I’d like to help out at the La Pine Senior Center, and here I am today,” says Christine. “I really enjoy being here and the people are so wonderful. I usually work about 50 hours a month, sometimes only coming in one day a week, but most weeks I’m here for two days or more.”
Christine had a career as an accountant for many years while living in Los Angeles, until she and her husband moved to Sunriver about seven years ago.
“We used to vacation in Sunriver a lot because it was a central location for our family, so for about 15 years we would come here for various reasons. We have a daughter in Beaverton and one in Atlanta, Georgia, and the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids visit us here.”
“It’s nice working here because although I’m retired, this gives me something to do; I look forward to coming here each week. I like being here because it keeps me engaged in the community. I walk and hike a lot and I’m really looking forward to getting to the Fall River and Paulina areas now that spring is here. We have about 33 miles of bike paths in Sunriver that are safe and great to walk on with my big dog, so I love living there. It can get pretty busy in the summer, and winters can be very quiet, but we live in a really nice neighborhood with friendly people.”
Christine’s husband, Dennis, is a loan broker and at almost 82 is still working from their home, running his own business. He does apartment, industrial and commercial work.
“We have an amazing number of very generous people in this community, very giving,” says Christine. “As bookkeeper, I see the donations that come in. During the COVID pandemic, we had people donating their stimulus checks to us, if you can believe it. We have several extremely kind, generous people in the community who don’t want their name attached to their donations; that’s not why they’re donating. They just see a need here and enjoy helping us out.”
“Our Executive Director, Jamie is an amazing person, with lots of things constantly on her plate, and we’ve had some really terrific people stepping up and helping her out. She’s hard to turn down when asking for volunteers or donations!”
Christine continued, “If somebody shows an interest in some type of event, say knitting, and they have enough people that our interested, we’ll accommodate them here. They’ll have a place to meet. Right now we’re asking if anyone wants to start a book club; as an avid reader, I think that would be great!”

Zee Birthday Celebration (Celebration of Life)

Many of you knew Zee Gallagher, who celebrated her 100th birthday a couple of years ago during Covid.
Zee passed away not too long ago after her birthday, and family & friends were never able to officially celebrate the event.
Please come join us on
Tuesday, April 4th @ 11-12 pm at the
La Pine Activity Center, where we will celebrate Zee in style!
She loved pie & coffee!
$5 for 60+ • anyone else $6
Zee was our oldest volunteer!

Meet Matt Tarter, Newest Board Member!

Please join us in welcoming La Pine resident Matt Tarter to the La Pine Activity Center Board of Directors!
Matt is the owner of Matt Tarter Designs, a graphic design company with customers like Spike TV and Paramount+.
“I also work at the Crescent Fire Department as a firefighter/EMT and paramedic,” says Matt, “and when I’m not doing that, I’m the head coach for boys’ varsity soccer at La Pine High School.”
In addition, Matt runs the La Pine Soccer Academy, a nonprofit organization that starts children as young as three years old learn the sport of soccer.
I asked Matt why he volunteers at the La Pine Activity Center.
“In my graphic design business, I help local businesses with re branding, and that’s actually how I started helping Jamie. What Jamie does for our community really inspires me,” said Matt, “so I starting volunteering at the Activity Center, first designing the new Activity Center logo, and also doing the fliers for the Rhubarb Festival, Sportsman’s Show, and others.”
Matt has lived in La Pine for five years and wants to stay here and help out whenever he can at the Activity Center.
“I love this small town and the opportunity to help out and give back,” said Matt.

Glenna Gunn, Bingo Coordinator

Glenna Gunn is a Center volunteer who acts as the money taker and verifier during our Bingo on Monday night and after lunch on Tuesday. She’s been doing this for about six years, just one year less than she’s lived in La Pine.
“My husband and I retired and we wanted to be closer to our daughter and grandchildren in Redmond,” says Glenna. “We had been living in McMinnville, but my husband is an avid fly-fisherman, and he’s fished the lakes around here for years, so we settled on La Pine.”
Before Glenna and her husband Randy retired, she was a registered nurse, “mostly delivering babies. That was when we were well staffed and things weren’t as crazy as they are now. Randy was a steel factory manager at Cascade Steel in McMinnville. We bought a house here and the rest is history.”
“I’ve played bingo my whole life,” says Glenna. “I really enjoy helping people out during bingo sessions, and it’s a job that’s very much needed at the Center. Our Tuesday group is right after lunch, but the Monday group is a fundraiser for the Center, and we have payouts of $300 and $500. Our Tuesday regular payouts are about $10 minimum. We make a good amount each month for the Center because of our Monday bingo, and it’s a much-needed revenue source. But Jamie also wants everyone to have fun, too, so the Tuesday group is more focused on just having a good time.”
The Monday bingo session runs from 4pm when the kitchen opens until about 9pm. Available for purchase are hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, all very reasonably priced.
You don’t have to be a member of the Center to play bingo here. Our New Year’s Eve bingo had a $1000 payout and the place was packed.
“I’ve made more friends and formed more close relationships since coming to La Pine, and the Activity Center, especially, than in my entire 35 year working career. I love seeing the same smiling people at bingo each week!”

Connie Guyer, Membership Coordinator

If you’re wondering who keeps track of the 250-plus members of the La Pine Activity Center, here she is! Connie Guyer is our volunteer Membership Coordinator.
Connie says she started volunteering at the Center because she wanted to meet people and become part of this community. “I moved here in September of 2019 and by March of 2020 we were all in quarantine because of Covid,” says Connie, “so it was really hard to meet people. The Activity Center was closed intermittently during that time, too, which made it extra hard to become involved.”
Born in Burns, Oregon, Connie moved here from Keizer, Oregon because she has family that lives here. Before she retired, she worked for 30 years for the State of Oregon as an operation and policy analyst, retiring in 2018. “It took me about a year to get my house sold and buy one here, which was luckily just before the prices increased dramatically in La Pine. I am really happy to be on this side of the mountain,” says Connie.
As the coordinator it is her responsibility to coordinate with Jamie Donahue, our Director, and the front desk folks all things membership. What would we do without those wonderful folks! To track our membership she keeps a database of current members. This database tracks all the information that you provide on the membership application, including if you want to volunteer or not. The information is used for La Pine Activity Center uses only. She also sends information via email to the membership. You may have noticed getting information about upcoming events or other information from Connie. Center members can look forward to receiving our monthly newsletter by email starting in January of 2023, but about 1/4 to 1/3 of Center members don’t have email or a computer, so the Center also provides hard copies at the front desk.
“Our membership application form is kept at the front desk,” says Connie, ‘and we’re working right now with Jamie to have a working online membership sign-up in the future, to really make this process convenient for people. We really encourage people to come to the Activity Center front desk to sign up. We accept checks, cash, credit cards or PayPal online as payment.
Right now we have an EARLY BIRD MEMBERSHIP special during February and March where the membership fee is just $35 for the year instead of our usual $40. Our membership year runs from May 1 through April 30. And remember,any age person may be a member.
“It’s really important to fill out ALL the blanks on the membership application, or put N/A to indicate that particular field does not apply. And please try to be as legible as possible.”
Why be a member of the La PineActivity Center? Well right off the bat, new members get a free lunch, so that’s an instant perk of joining! Lunches are prepared homemade and fresh at the Center and by the way, are delicious! Our members usually are the first to know about the free dental bus for those without insurance, free clinics for flu and Covid vaccines and events that support the community like the fund raisers in support of the La Pine High School senior class, or a walk to support cancer research, and so much more. The Activity Center provides a great place to come visit and get warm or in the summer to cool down. A big bonus for members is that once a year you may rent a room for 20% off (based on availability) and vendors get 10% off space rental. And, who wants to miss out on bingo or line dancing or exercising with a fun group.
Members get 1 free 3 up on a game during Monday and Tuesday Bingo. Line Dancing, Body Groove are free but other classes like yoga are discounted to $5 from the non-member fee of $8. On February 10, the center will be offering a healthy walking/strengthening class. The first class is free but after that the cost per class is $10 for non-members, but as a member they are $5.
You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the Rhubarb Festival in the summer or Winter Traditions in the winter, but it sure is nice to see folks you know and hang out with at the La Pine Activity Center.
So, please come down in February or March or really anytime we’re open to become a member…your membership helps us to be able to be here in La Pine supporting our community!

Sandy Nicol, Volunteer

If you’ve come through the front doors of the La Pine Activity Center, then you’ve probably been greeted on Wednesday mornings by a friendly face that belongs to Sandy Nicol, one of our front desk volunteers.
Sandy moved here in the late 1990’s and has been volunteering since 2003, when the Center was housed where the Cub Corner is today, at the corner of Burgess and Huntington.
There have been a lot of changes since then, but Sandy has remained a constant helper and information provider.
“I really like being able to answer people’s questions about the Center,” says Sandy. “What I enjoy most about my volunteer work are the people I get to meet and help out.”
Sandy and her husband moved to La Pine from Arizona, but are originally from the eastern part of the U.S.
“I like the laid-back atmosphere of La Pine,” says Sandy. “Especially now that we’re older, La Pine is a great place to live…the people here aren’t in such a hurry to get on with things…but there’s always something to do here, and the Center is the heart of this community…I’m going to keep volunteering here for as long as I can!”

Carol Brewer

Carol Brewer has lived in La Pine since 1970, coming here from the Fall Creek area near Springfield to run the old general store on Hwy. 97 (called the La Pine HiWay Center). Her family purchased the store in 1946 but her whole family moved here in 1970.
“We had three children, and my husband was in the logging business,” says Carol. “He lasted just one year here full-time, choosing to spend weekends here and work over in the valley during the week. I stayed here with the kids and ran the store. At that time, my two oldest children had to travel to Bend for high school (three hours each day on the bus), while my fourth grader got to go to school here.”
I asked Carol if things have changed much in La Pine since then, and she replied, “That’s putting it mildly! When my husband’s family first came here in 1946, one of them had the job of counting the cars on the Dalles-California Highway each day. One day a total of 58 cars went by…and 38 customers came in the store. There wasn’t any electricity in town in 1946…and no telephones, police or fire department. La Pine was just a spot in the road.”
“Years ago we had a binder full of names of people who came here to vacation during the summers. But many streets weren’t paved yet and didn’t even have names. I lived in the back of the store for ten years.”
In 1997 Carol retired from the Hiway Center, and about five years after that, Homestead Quilts began renting her building. Carol still owns the Chamber of Commerce building next door, too.
“I moved to my current home on an acre and a half in La Pine in 1980,” says Carol, “and paid $12,000 for it, so I guess things have changed quite a bit since then.”
Carol stays busy helping out at the Center making Granny Pies and “helping wherever there’s a little job to be done.“

She decorates the tables at the Center for events and says “People really enjoy sitting down to lunch here, and it’s nice to have the tables decorated attractively. I come to lunch here at least twice a week.”
“There are a lot of places in town that really need help. We have a very unique little city, and we don’t always agree with everyone, but if somebody needs help, by gosh, they’re going to get it.”
“The people of La Pine are caring people, and when I ran the store, we would get the same people each summer coming up to vacation. And they would always say, ‘we love coming here because you’re real: friendly, honest, helpful…and that’s the best compliment you can receive.”

Amy Hill

If you attended the recent Winter Traditions Craft Fair in November of 2022, then you’ve seen Amy Hill’s wonderful work in decorating the Community Center. She also decorated the Activity Center itself for the recent Storefront Decorating Contest, so she’s a talented addition to our Center family of volunteers.
Amy and her family have lived in La Pine for 10 years, but she actually lived here 20 years ago for a brief time.
“My husband and I got married and moved to California for his job, but we decided we didn’t want to raise kids there, so we came back to La Pine,” says Amy.
When she’s not at the Center, Amy owns Hillstead Farm, a plant and gift shop she operates out of her home.
“I’m known as the Crazy Plant Lady, but I’m just a stay-at–home mom with two children,” says Amy, “and my husband is a Microsoft network engineer who works from an office on our property.”
“Last September my dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and I just wasn’t coping very well. Jamie invited me to help out at the Center and volunteering there really helped me through a tough time. It gave me something to do, something fulfilling and helpful to take my mind off things.”
Amy continued, “A big part of volunteering is setting an example for our children in what we do for others. We always donate meals at Thanksgiving and it’s really important to raise your children to appreciate how important taking care of our seniors is. And everyone at the Center is so happy to see you when you walk through that door! Everyone there knows my story and what I’m going through and Jamie has been a rock. She checks on me periodically, and I feel like I’ve made friends and belong to a family that I didn’t have before I started volunteer there. It’s a great place to be!