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Evans comes most recently from Arcata, California, where he wrote for the Mad River Union

LINDSAY KEEFER - Patrick EvansApril might bring more showers, but it also brings a new reporter to the Woodburn Independent news team.

Patrick Evans started on the job April 2 as the paper's new general assignment reporter.

Evans, who originally hails from Santa Cruz, Calif., just moved to Oregon from Humboldt County, Calif., where he wrote for the Mad River Union community newspaper in Arcata for two and a half years. He is a graduate of the nearby Humboldt State University's journalism school.

Before moving to Arcata, Evans went to Cabrillo Community College. Possessing a passion for photography, he started to take photojournalism classes and then, on a whim, took a journalism class and got involved in the school newspaper. The paper's adviser had connections at Patch.com in the area, and Evans got involved as a freelancer for the company while he was there.

"Before class, I would turn on the police scanner and then get on my bike to follow the story," he said.

He decided to pursue the journalism path by continuing his education at Humboldt in Arcata, where he lived the next six years.

After taking an organic agricultural class, Evans found a summer job doing field work on a local farm. It was on the back of a potato harvester where he met his fiance.

The couple has traveled extensively in Central America, having spent a month working on an eco home build in La Paz, Mexico, and visiting Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica for nearly three months.

"There are a lot of opportunities to work on farms and help communities to be self-sufficient," he said about his travels.

Evans speaks some basic Spanish, but he and his fiance hope to take more Spanish language courses.

Evans landed the Woodburn job shortly after arriving in Oregon — he said he and his fiance wanted to live closer to a bigger city, and the Portland area is much more affordable than California's Bay Area.

Despite the big city draw, Evans prefers the pace of Woodburn when it comes to his job as a reporter.

"I like covering small towns, I like the community involvement and local government, how people know their city councilors, how they can make a change when they're in a smaller community. You don't see that in bigger cities, where you're more alienated from other people and local government," Evans said. "I'm interested in the development that's coming and I'll be interested to see how a small community handles it. I look forward to seeing what the town's goals are — as residents, businesses and individuals."

Publisher Al Herriges said Evans is the ideal fit for the Independent.

"Patrick has one of the most important qualities of a journalist, and that's a foundation in and understanding of community news, which is what we're all about," Herriges said.

In his free time, Evans enjoys the outdoors, specifically biking, backpacking, surfing and freshwater snorkeling.

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