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

Mill City man wins $1 million in Oregon Lottery

A Mill City man is $1 million richer and the local store that sold him the ticket has an extra $10,000 to spend.

That was the local payoff for the most recent jumbo Powerball jackpot frenzy, which ultimately resulted in a $1.765 billion payoff to a California player after the Wednesday, Oct. 11 drawing.

As that jackpot accumulated Thomas Willard of Mill City won a cool $1 million for getting the first five numbers correct on the ticket he purchased Oct. 9. He only missed the Powerball number, 14, on what would have been a $1.55 billion payoff. 

Willard, 77, told Oregon Lottery officials that he only plays when jackpots grow to large amounts and declared that “at our age (the $1 million) is just about right.”

Willard said he plans to buy a new pick-up truck and a riding scooter for Nancy Willard, his wife of 49 years. Lottery officials said he declined to be photographed.

It was Nancy who first spotted the windfall when she checked the couple’s numbers online on the morning after the drawing. 

At first, she thought the couple had won $100,000. Then she checked again, realized it was a $1 million ticket. She told her husband “wake up, you have to see this!”

The Willards purchased the ticket at the 7 Star Grocery outlet on First Avenue in Mill City. The store will collect a $10,000 commission for selling the prize-winning ticket. 

The large jackpot began building on July 22. Oregon players took home $7.75 million in prizes as the jackpot grew in the Powerball game, which can be played in 45 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The largest Oregon Powerball prize was a $340 million winner in 2005.

The estimate of the winning pot for the Wednesday, Oct. 18, Powerball drawing was $49 million.

The Oregon Lottery press release on Willard’s prize noted that since the state began selling lottery tickets in 1985, it has brought in nearly $15.5 billion for economic development, public education, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. 

Approximately a third of sales from Powerball are returned to state beneficiaries to support economic development, education, veteran services, state parks and other programs.

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