By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Tim Roberts at Linfield

He lived in Hewitt Hall. He first studied education, then shifted to the sciences, figuring that would help him get into dental school. He also played basketball in the old Riley Gym under the direction of Ted Wilson.

Wilson had his players run five miles a day. Roberts recalled running out West Second, turning onto Hill Road and eventually looping back into town — a route that was almost entirely gravel at the time.

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McMinnville had about 8,000 residents. And he had no idea he’d return a decade later to add to its swelling ranks.

During his college years, Roberts went looking for a job to help cover his expenses.

He discovered a bus barn at Highway 99W and 19th Street. He had experience driving farm trucks to a cannery in Forest Grove, so thought he should be able to handle a bus.

Company manager Joe Dancer, who would go on to become McMinnville city manager, pointed to a parked bus. “If you can pull that out and back it into the parking shed, you’re hired,” he said.

Roberts did and was. With no additional training, he soon was earning $3 an hour to drive students to and from school.

Morning routes were best, he said, because the kids were sleepy and quiet.

“The best gig was driving the sports bus,” he said. “I got paid for the whole time I was on the trip. I’d do homework in the stands during the game, all while being paid.”


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