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Diane Benner

Soon after she and her family moved to their west Springfield neighborhood 12 years ago, Diane Benner took a job delivering the Register-Guard's weekly ad circular. "I knocked on doors and said, 'I'm your paper person,'" she relates. "I like to know everybody. I'm a listener, too." Years later, when elderly neighbors were threatened with eviction by the city after a fire damaged their home, Benner brought in a TV crew, and the harrassment ended. When unruly kids roamed unsupervised at all hours, she went door-to-door to get adults to take responsibility. "We mow some of their lawns," she notes, "if they can't do it." Raised near Harrisburg, Benner bussed to school at Cal Young and Sheldon. She has three grown children from an early marriage and three school-age kids living at home, along with her husband of 25 years, Jay Benner, and an adopted grandson. She works as a custodian at Bethel's Home Source School. Early this year, Benner called police to report odors coming from a nearby house. "Diane busted a meth house," says Head Start family advocate Chava Kronen. "She put herself at risk to make her street safer."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 3 June 2004

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