Hillsboro won a coveted General Excellence award, along with awards for photography and writing.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Hillsboro Tribune photographer Christoper Oertell received a third-place award for best photography for this photo of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue spokesman Stefan Myers helping 4-year-old Kazuma Eisenberg with a fire hose during an open house on Aug. 5, 2017.The Hillsboro Tribune was awarded a coveted "General Excellence" award by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association on Friday, July 20.

The Tribune brought home three third-place awards, including an award for general excellence, during the newspaper group's annual summer convention in Madras.

The General Excellence award is one of the state's top journalism honors, and is presented to newspapers which exhibit outstanding work all areas, including reporting, photography, design, and how well the publication serves its readers.

The awards come on the heels of a similar General Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists in June.

Hillsboro Tribune editor Geoff Pursinger won a third-place award for best news writing for his story on the Hillsboro School District's newly launched public safety department. Hillsboro is one of only a handful of school districts in Oregon to form its own police department to oversee the safety of district staff and students. The department is overseen by a chief of police, Alex Oh.

Photographer Christopher Oertell brought home a third-place win for his photos of firefighters in Tanasbourne enjoying an open house at the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue station in Midway, after the area joined the large fire agency last year.

The Tribune's sister publication, the Forest Grove News-Times, shares several staff members with the Tribune, and also brought home a handful of awards from ONPA. The Tribune was judged in the ONPA's Associate Member contest, while the News-Times was judged in the organization's Better Newspaper Contest.

The News-Times brought home a second-place award for General Excellence, and former Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune reporter Stephanie Haugen brought home two first-place awards for her writing, including an investigation into the death of David Bauders, a Forest Grove High School graduate who committed suicide in 2016 while deployed in Iraq.

Haugen also received a first place award for her story exploring the Oak Grove Academy — formerly the Gales Creek Elementary School — and its impact on the local community, which has mourned the loss of its local school for years. The Academy works with Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Beaverton and Banks special education students who have behavioral concerns or developmental disabilities.

The Tribune's parent company, Pamplin Media Group, brought home nearly 100 awards, including General Excellence nods for two other Washington County newspapers, the Beaverton Valley Times and the Tigard Times.

A full list of winners is available on the ONPA website.

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