Note: The following is the transcript of testimony Gazette-Times reporter James Day offered on the passing of Joe Raia of Corvallis Tidbits:
To: Mayor Traber and the Corvallis City Council
From: Jim Day
Date: Oct. 2, 2017
Subject: Copy of public testimony on Joe Raia
Good evening. Jim Day, reporter with the Gazette-Times, here. Yes, this is an unusual spot for me. Usually I am one row back furiously taking notes. Tonight I want to talk about a friend of mine who isn’t here. Joe Raia of the Corvallis Tidbits website. Joe passed away Sept. 11 at the age of 69. I met Joe early in my Gazette-Times tenure at an open house for council candidates. We hit it off right away. We both were interested in community events, we shared a passion for hiking and we both had a storehouse of questionable value of data on old ballplayers. We operated in different spheres, but it was always comforting when I came to a meeting and found Joe there, too.
Joe and I were colleagues more than we were competitors. We both thought that there was value in informing members of the community about what is going in their town. I felt we were kind of on the same team.
But there was more to Joe than just his Corvallis Tidbits work. He was also a community activist and volunteer. He helped the Kiwanis put on an election forum when the local option levy came up for renewal. He organized and led hiking groups, although, like me, he appreciated the value of a solo outing. Check out his You Tube channel for his classic “10 Reasons Why I Like to Hike Alone.”
Joe also was a fabulous and proud gardener. At certain times of the year his camera phone was alive with photos of his latest crops. He could show you pictures of trays of tomatoes that looked like they went on forever into the distance. And he was so enthusiastic about it. It was like he was showing pictures of his grandkids.
Joe’s family chose to keep his death private. There was only a small service notice in the Gazette-Times. That is their choice, and I respect that. If you are so inclined you can join me by posting a memory of Joe at www.demossdurdan.com. I, however, wanted his passing to be noted publicly. And I can see from the 3-minute clock that I have 45 seconds left. I would like to cede my remaining time to Joe and respectfully request that we close with a moment of silence for Joe Raia, journalist, community activist and volunteer, hiker and gardener.