MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- RAINBOW: On Saturday, December 1st, the switch will be activated to light the Belknap Covered Bridge for the holiday season.

Mrs. Lou Deebel, a long-time resident of McKenzie Bridge, will turn on the lights at the Belknap Covered Bridge at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 1st. When asked to do the lighting, Lou replied; “this is such an enjoyable surprise and honor to be chosen to light the bridge!”

Lou has been a resident of McKenzie Bridge since Christmas of 1961. Lou, along with Bob, her husband, three sons and her mother Alice, left Redondo Beach to become owners of the “Wishing Well Motel” on the McKenzie Highway at milepost 51. The family managed the motel until its demise in 1985.

Lou and Bob’s sons, Randy, Rob and Ron were all students at McKenzie School. The boys are now grown with families of their own and living in different states. However, Lou thoroughly enjoys seeing her extended family whenever possible.

Lou always worked hard with the demands of motel ownership and also being a wonderful mom to three active sons. Then in the ‘90’s, she wanted to do something special for the community. Becoming a board member of the Upper McKenzie Community Center, “fit the bill,” according to Lou. She is still an active board member. In addition, her hobbies include, knitting, gardening, reading, bingo and bunco.

Back in ‘61, according to Lou, she was reluctant to move her family to McKenzie Bridge from the warm sunny California town of Redondo Beach. However, 50 years later, her opinion has changed – “It would take a blast of dynamite to move her away from McKenzie Bridge and all her dear friends.”

The Community Potluck Dinner will start after the Bridge Lighting Ceremony at approximately 5:30 p.m. People should bring a hot dish, side dish or salad and their own table service for the dinner. Potluck dishes and table service can be dropped off prior to the Bridge Lighting at 4:30 p.m. at the Upper McKenzie Community Center. Desserts, bread and hot beverages will be provided.

Christmas tree ornament making for the children and families is scheduled earlier - from 3:40 to 4:45 p.m. at the Community Center. Donations of canned or packaged foods for the McKenzie River Food Pantry would be greatly appreciated. A container will be provided.

Residents should note that the Belknap Covered Bridge will be closed for a short period on the morning of Thursday, November 29th, and again during the lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 1st. It is suggested motorists use the route from King Road to Horse Creek Road to Hwy. 126 during those time periods.