State Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, has died.

Leif served portions of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties and was previously a Douglas County Commissioner.

A reliable source close to Leif said his death came at the end of a battle with cancer, but he was very private about it because he wanted to get through this year’s legislative session.

The three current Douglas County commissioners issued a joint statement this morning saying they were deeply saddened to hear of Leif’s sudden death and extended sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

“Gary showed up his first day as a county commissioner ready to hit the ground running. His enthusiasm about serving this county was infectious and he worked hard during his time as a county commissioner,” said Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice.

Leif was raised in Douglas County and owned a popular photography studio in Roseburg for more than 40 years. He took portraits of many local schoolchildren over the years.

Leif was elected in 2016 to follow Susan Morgan in the county commissioner seat. In 2018, he left that seat to take a seat in the state Legislature. There, he filled a seat that had been held by Dallas Heard, who is now a senator. It had also previously been served by Tim Freeman, who is now a county commissioner.

“I was honored to work alongside Gary as a county commissioner and proud of him for stepping up to the state level during a very demanding and difficult time. His dedication and willingness to serve the citizens of Douglas County and his district will forever be remembered,” Freeman said.

Leif had just completed the 2021 legislative session, during which he helped ensure money for a navigation center to be built here.

Commissioner TomKress said when he first was elected to county commissioner, Leif graciously reached out and offered assistance. He also noted they had served together on the United Community Action Network board of directors.

“He truly loved Douglas County and dedicated his life to helping and serving others. This is a tremendous loss for our county,” Kress said.

Former United Community Action Network Director Mike Fieldman, who worked with Leif on housing issues in the Legislature, said Leif had a good heart and his death is a loss to the community.

“He truly was somebody who cared deeply about our community and worked tirelessly to make it a better place and he thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing. He often said that he just really liked being a legislator so that he could make a positive impact for our community. So it’s going to be a real loss to our community, and it’s going to be a loss to me personally. I’ve known Gary a long time and worked with him in many different ways and felt he was always somebody who really cared about people in our community, cared for everybody,” he said.

Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(5) comments

Josh Tibbetts

An honest man!

Wretched722

Sad!

P&Z

He didn't wait for a new world in the morning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9nz_KfxSAM

P&Z

One of those who actually cared for his community and not for what he could personally get out of the position he was elected to which is rare now days. He will sorely be missed not just for what he has done for the community but missed for the person he was.

mworden

Shocking news. Condolences to his loved ones.

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