Based in Tillamook, Oregon, the Pioneer is a free-to-read, online-only news outlet focused on Tillamook County, from Cape Falcon to Cascade Head.

We want to bring the power of technology and digital media to the people and stories we see in the county every day.

In many ways, Tillamook County exists at a slower pace than many other parts of the world, but in other ways ours is a community of innovative thinkers with strong backbones who want to know what they need to know quickly and efficiently. With that in mind, we believe our friends and neighbors deserve easy access to local news.

We are three local media professionals with deep roots in Tillamook County. …

LeeAnn Neal
LeeAnn Neal

LeeAnn Neal is a sixth-generation Tillamook County resident whose great-great-great grandfather Elbridge Trask and great-great grandfather Warren Vaughn were among the pioneers who settled in the county in the 1850s and helped to build the Morning Star. They were also characters in Don Berry’s historical fiction series. She has been a journalist on the north Oregon coast since she graduated from Tillamook High School in 1988, having been an award-winning reporter and managing editor at several regional publications, including the Headlight Herald and Coast River Business Journal, and a freelance journalist for a variety of national publications. She founded and maintained the popular North Coast blog for OregonLive.com, the Oregonian’s online affiliate, for a year-and-a-half. She earned her undergraduate education at the University of Oregon, Portland State University and Linfield College.

Kelly Benson grew up in Nehalem, where her mom owned an art gallery for many years, and graduated from Neah-Kah-Nie High School before earning her degree in journalism/advertising at the University of Oregon and her MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Kelly PioneerShe has worked as an advertising and marketing professional on the East and West coasts for companies ranging from startups to national corporations. Her professional background also includes eight years in banking, both as a loan officer and branch manager. She co-owns Rocky Intertidal CoCreative with Neal. Her three children all attended Nehalem Elementary and Neah-Kah-Nie High School (the youngest will graduate next year).

Will Seymour’s family goes way back in Tillamook County as well. His great-great grandfather Samuel (Hardy) Rock settled in Oretown in 1876, serving as a mail carrier between Oretown and Grand Ronde for a time. He experienced a particularly memorable trip in 1 foot of snow between the two communities one winter. Rock’s wife was a school teacher and postmistress (that’s what they called them back then) who wrote, “Short History of the Little Nestucca River Valley and Its Early Pioneers” in 1949.

Will Seymour
Will Seymour

Seymour, who grew up in south Tillamook County and graduated from Nestucca High School, earned his degree in electronic media from the University of Oregon before going on to earn a graduate degree in specialized journalism from the University of Southern California. He has worked as assistant sports and news director at KWVA in Eugene, as well as sports editor at the Tillamook Headlight Herald. His freelance work includes profiles on two members of Special Olympics Team USA written prior to the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea.

Among the three of us, we have north, central and south Tillamook County covered.

You’ll notice that the Pioneer still has a lot to figure out. What exactly will we cover? How will we do it? How do we involve the entire county in producing its own news? We don’t pretend to have all the answers, that’s why we’re putting this early site out there – to ask for your ideas.

We don’t know the exact form the Pioneer will take, but we do know it won’t succeed unless it serves you.

So please, if you have any thoughts or would like to contribute to the Pioneer in some way, blogging, sharing social media, starting a discussion, or anything else – please get in touch.

Thank you!

We look forward to blazing this trail together.

LeeAnn Neal
Kelly Benson
Will Seymour

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