Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

A new byline belonging to another Oregon Duck has been added to the news columns of the Baker City Herald.

Casey Crowley (sounds like the bird: CROW-lee) joined the staff July 16 and went right to work covering local government and other topics of community interest. He replaces Josh Dillen, who left the newspaper in late April to take a job with the Oregon Department of Human Services in Baker City.

Crowley graduated from the University of Oregon Journalism School in June with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. In addition to editor Jayson Jacoby, a 1992 UO Journalism School graduate, Crowley is working this summer with Becca Robbins, who has passed the halfway mark of her 10-week stay at the Herald through the UO’s Snowden Internship program for journalism students. Robbins will return to the Eugene campus at summer’s end to complete her senior year at the University of Oregon.

Crowley and Robbins worked together at the Daily Emerald, the university’s student-run newspaper.

Crowley, 22, grew up at Charbonneau, a private planned community that is part of Wilsonville. He is a Canby High School graduate and despite his U of O credentials, he started his college career in Southern California at San Diego State University.

He was attracted to the warmer climate of San Diego and had visited the city several times, he said. His father, Ken, a senior attorney general for the Oregon Department of Justice, had attended law school there.

Crowley says he enrolled in pre-computer science, but quickly found out his desire to create video games was a long ways from the study required to reach that goal.

“It was not work that I’d like to be doing and I was not that good at it,” he said.

His mother, Terri, who is retired after a career as a product manager for several companies, earned her degree in computer science.

But that wasn’t for him, and after a year at San Diego State, Crowley said he decided to return to Oregon.

Continuing his college degree was never a question. He says he knew when he graduated from high school, he would attend college, just like his parents, and grandparents (who also attended the U of O) and older brother, Nick, 24, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Nick works as a brewer for Rogue Brewing in Newport.

Once enrolled at the U of O, Crowley said he still wasn’t set on a journalism career. He was considering teaching or international communication as well.

But it was during his Communications 101 speech class that he began to realize how much he enjoyed the creativity required.

And it’s the creativity that journalism allows that he most enjoys.

“It’s interesting to go and talk to someone and tell their story,” he said. “This felt like a more personal job. It feels creative.”

And as he got further into his studies, he realized that he appreciated the work of journalists whose goals he believes are “to help make the world a better place and to help people be aware of the bad things that happen.

“I want people to be as informed as possible,” Crowley said. “I like to be informed.”

One story he is especially proud of while working for the Daily Emerald was based on a four-hour ride-along with a campus police officer the Friday before Halloween last year.

During the night, the officer responded to a scene where a student was in danger of alcohol poisoning, and arrested a man in possession of heroin, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

“That was the first time I’d ever seen meth or heroin up close,” Crowley said.

He watched the officer make the arrest, process the evidence and then complete the paperwork necessary to send the suspect to jail.

Shortly before his ride was scheduled to end, about 11 p.m., Crowley said the officer got a call reporting that a woman nearby was in cardiac arrest.

They found the woman, who had a stream of blood coming from her head, dead on the ground.

“I was pretty shocked at first,” he said.”I didn’t really know what to do about that.”

The officer’s response impressed him, though.

“I don’t have time to be in shock or to be emotional,” the officer told him. “I just have to do my job and react.”

The case was turned over to the Eugene Police Department and though Crowley’s ride-along had ended, his work was just beginning.

He said he spent all day Saturday writing the story and then spent Sunday with his editors preparing the story for Monday’s edition.

“I was very tired when it was done,” he said. “But I was really proud of that story.”

Crowley said he was eager to come to Baker City because of the encouragement he received from Jacoby.

“He seemed really cool and he cared about the town and the paper,” Crowley said.

And he was excited to be able to go right to work on important stories, such as the community’s first townhouse subdivision.

He learned of the sale of the city’s grass tennis courts when his father signed up to play in a recent tournament and was able to get that story thanks to his inside source.

Crowley also is interested in meeting the cats that greet customers in area businesses. His own cat, Grayson, accompanied him to his new home in Baker City.

“I’m really excited to start my new job,” he said. “I really like it so far. I really like the town and I’m excited to do some awesome journalism.”