News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Mike and Jan Long named Mill City parade Grand Marshals

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

Mill City residents since 1993, Mike and Janice Long are this year’s Grand Marshals for the Fourth of July parade. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized as Grand Marshals of Mill City’s Fourth of July celebration,” Mike said. “I want to thank everyone for their support of all of our efforts and initiatives and look forward to working with all of the other community leaders as we continue to improve the quality of life for all Canyon residents.”

The Longs believe holding the festivities is another step in the Santiam Canyon moving forward.

“It’s not just Mill City that benefits from the celebration, but everyone in the Canyon who has been through so much over the past several years,” Mike said.

The couple moved to the Canyon after Jan, hailing from St. Paul, Minn., fell in love with the Santiam River during a visit to Mike’s family. The couple found property on the river and moved their family and business shortly thereafter. 

The move, locals believe, benefits everyone in the Santiam Canyon, said Beverly Thacker, with the Mill City Fourth of July Committee. 

“Their energy and enthusiasm have touched the lives of residents young and old for nearly 40 years,” Thacker said.

The couple were instrumental in starting the Canyon Senior Center, serving as officers for many years. Jan began the “Breakfast with Santa,” an annual event sponsored by the center. 

They also encourage education, reading to third- and fourth-grade elementary students for about 10 years. Their grandchildren Jakira and Joshua Ballard are both Santiam High School alumni.

Mike served 16 years on the city council for the City of Mill City and has served for more than 25 years on the North Santiam Canyon Chamber of Commerce board of directors. 

Over 20 years ago, with Jan’s urging, Mike approached the North Santiam Chamber of Commerce and Senior Board of Directors to sponsor a golf tournament to benefit area youth. This past August, the 21st Annual Youth Benefit Golf Tournament surpassed $286,000.00 in funds for scholarships and programs for the youth in the Santiam Canyon. The tournament is widely recognized as one of the area’s most enjoyable, according to sponsors.

The couple met while working for the U.S. Census Bureau. After completing business school, Jan began her career working with the State of Minnesota, then moved to an administrative position with the Census. Tired of St. Paul’s brutal winters, Jan moved her four children to California where she joined the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles regional office.

Mike, born and raised on a small farm three miles from Lake Oswego, was very active in the Future Farmers of America, even winning a trip to Kansas City, Missouri to judge the national poultry contest. 

After graduating from Oregon State University, with a degree in agricultural economics, he served as a medic in the Air Force before beginning his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and subsequently the U.S. Census Bureau, first in Portland, Ore., then in Sacramento, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; Denver, Colo.; and Dallas, Texas, where he served as Deputy Regional Director for the Dallas Regional Office and managed the 1970 Census operations for Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

In 1971, Mike was promoted to Regional Director for the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles region, directing the 1980 Census operations for California and Hawaii where he met Janice. Mike was elected to chair of the Los Angeles Federal Executive Board and was recognized for his service in a presentation in the West Wing of the White House. 

Jan worked as the administrative supervisor for the Los Angeles Census Bureau until being promoted to manage the space acquisition for the 1990 Census. Jan received a Superior Performance Award for every year of her government service and in 1980 she received the Bronze Medal award. 

After completion of the 1990 census, Jan joined Mike in his small research firm that he purchased after leaving government service.

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