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McMinnville has grown to be an internationally recognized city in the heart of Willamette Valley known for its best small town main street, its place in the rich Willamette Valley wine industry, early UFO sightings, and the resting place of the Hercules (Howard Hugh’s Spruce Goose).
With all this attention it seems few have pondered why it bears the name of McMinnville? Did anyone of importance in city history have that name? Are there Scottish or Irish roots?
As it turns out, no one in the city’s history was named McMinnville. The city’s founder William T. Newby (1820–1884), an early immigrant on the Oregon Trail, named the city after his home town McMinnville, Tennessee. He must have cared for his home quite a bit to establish a city across the country with the same name.
McMinnville does indeed have Scottish roots however; McMinnville, Tennessee was named after Governor Joseph McMinn (1758-1824). His grandfather, Robert McMinn (1690-1757) emigrated from his home in Perth, Scotland, to make a home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
By importing the name of his hometown, William Newby intentionally, or unintentionally, brought a bit of Scotland to our city, McMinnville.
The Celtic Heritage Alliance is going to build on that Scottish connection and bring the “Mac” back in McMinnville in 2019 with the McMinnville Scottish Festival! Join us June 13th & 14th at Linfield College.
As the current President of the Celtic Heritage Alliance, Chris welcomes you to the first annual Scottish Festival and Highland games in his home town of McMinnville. Community leadership is a passion for Chris as he actively serves as past chair of the Board for the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce, Chris has spent over the last 6 years at Oregon Mutual Insurance Group as their Government Affairs and Project Manager. He enjoys getting outdoors with his family, fishing, camping, and playing golf. Chris lives in McMinnville with his wife Niki and three children, Lauren (16), Ava (14), and Davis (12).
Ray, a MacLaren and McLean, is the Vice President of the Celtic Heritage Alliance, the non-profit organizing Scottish events in McMinnville this year, including the McMinnville Scottish Festival. A Scottish Heavy Events athlete, he has competed in over 80 highland games in the US, Canada and Scotland. He has won championships in Palmer, Homer, and Sitka Alaska, Victoria BC, Prosser Washington, and Portland, Athena and Winston Oregon. Ray is a graduate of Oregon State University, a Professional Engineer and a manager with the Oregon Department of Transportation. He has been blessed with two daughters currently 15 and 18.
Dave is currently an IT Specialist who works for Hagan Hamilton Insurance Solutions in McMinnville. In addition to volunteering as Treasurer for the Celtic Heritage Alliance, he serves on the board of directors for the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce, he and his wife Naomi own and run an IT consulting Firm (My System Shield LLC) and a property management company (Mahn Property Management LLC). When Dave isn’t working he enjoys spending time with his wife Naomi and three boys Isaiah, Gabriel, and Corban.
Gretchen enjoyed attending Highland Games as a spectator before being dared in 2012 to go to her first practice and was immediately hooked. She was honored to attend the 2014 World Masters in Inverness, Scotland. She has been an Athletics Judge for 3 years Originally from Boston, her Scottish roots go back to Middle Ages and also include connections to each of the six Celtic Nations.
Chris is Celtic Heritage Alliance’s marketing aficionado. He is the mastermind behind the festival’s website, social media presence, and ongoing promotions for CHA sponsored events. When Chris isn’t buried at his office on 3rd St fighting the gods of Google and social platforms to help put the “Mac back in McMinnville,” he is setting up at other festivals around the state offering a plethora of delicious treats from his own line of food trucks at Durig Catering. Chris enjoys wine barrel woodworking, playing on his tractor, and traveling with his wife Niki, and 5 children.
Tony has lived in McMinnville since 1997, moving to McMinnville after getting out of the Marine Corps. After seeing ads for the Highland Games he always thought it would be something he would love to try. It wasn’t until 2015 he was invited to a practice by an old High School friend who was competing in the games, that he came out to try it. That was about all it took, he checked out the Newport Celtic Festival, and Portland Highland Games as a spectator but couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer. He competed in the last 4 games of the 2015 season and has competed in as many games as possible from Northern California to Northern Washington every year since.
After realizing Rick couldn’t make it in professional bowling he started his cooking career in Salem. Moved away to the Midwest. Continued his obsession with providing friends with fresh, approachable food and well prepared drinks. Skip ahead a few years and one day he realized his heart was calling him back to Oregon.
Started searching for his ideal location to share his combined passion for food and drinks and stumbled across a business on McMinnville’s historic 3rd Street. With the help and support of a fantastic group of people he created 411 eatery into what it is today: Four walls that house a restaurant and a cozy lounge to stop by after work for a couple drinks with life long or newly found friends, then bring your significant other back in for a memorable dinner. I truly treasure every person (well most everybody) that comes through my doors.
Heck, he was even lucky enough to have met his beautiful bride and new mother to be Katelyn(Flora) while she was sitting at his bar top sipping a cocktail. Rick says McMinnville has truly become “my” hometown. Still to this day you can find him in the bowling alley in his off time. He also loves spending time with his oldest daughter Mena. Stop by, I’d love to pour you a whisk(e)y and begin a new friendship.(ask about the gold shoes)
Originally, from Michigan, Bill is a pastor and a real estate broker. He has been pastor at Sunrise Church in McMinnville since 2001. He holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and is currently working on a Doctorate degree. Bill is also a licensed real estate broker in the State of Oregon with Bella Casa Real Estate Group in McMinnville.
In Bill’s personal life he enjoys international travel and has visited 43 different countries… so far. He regularly travels abroad to teach and train pastors. He has taught many times in Ukraine, Romania, India and Indonesia.
Bill’s travels for a ministry conference took him to Scotland for the first time in 2014. When his plane touched down in Edinburgh he immediately felt at home. While in Scotland, Bill visited his maternal family roots near Loch Lomond. (Clan Buchanan) Later Bill discovered that his DNA is 50% Scottish (in spite of the English last name!) It also finally made sense of his attraction and appreciation for fish n’ chips, sticky toffee pudding, single malt and Reformed theology.
In addition to international travel Bill enjoys the Oregon outdoors, fly fishing and sharing fine food and a good beverage with friends and strangers alike.