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Marie Medley Gray

A descendant of pioneers who arrived by wagon train, Marie Medley Gray learned to ride before she could walk on the 5000-acre Medley Ranch east of Oakland, Oregon. A star athlete at Oakland High, she organized a Eugene women's softball team that played at Civic Stadium when she arrived for college. "I spent two years at the U of O," she says. "I disagreed with the professors." She married "Red" Gray, a returning WWII vet from Arkansas, raised two kids, and worked for Mutual of Omaha. From the late 60s until the 2000s, she did market research and political surveys for more than 200 companies from her home office. A member of the River Road community since 1949, she has been active as a watchdog for neighborhood interests at city council and county commission meetings. She and her friends Wanda Simmons and Betty Donaldson were the bane of developers, the "three musketeers" who drove to Salem to testify at land-use hearings. "The governors knew me by name," she notes. After 30-plus years on the board of the River Road Water District, Gray will retire this year. You will recognize her in the Jan Spencer mural on the south exterior wall of the River Road Goodwill Store.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 28 May 2009

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