Lisa Channel photo

Lisa ChannelLisa Channel

Lisa Channel photo

February 2021 ~

With six older brothers, Lisa Channel was always around sports, especially basketball. She’d follow a brother to Unthank park and get in on the intense hoops action, honing her early skills.

After attending grades K-8 at Boise School (now Boise-Eliot/Humboldt), she had to choose between her new boundary high school, Washington-Monroe, and Jefferson, only two miles away … or follow older brother Craig to newer Jackson.

She chose Jackson, and starred there immediately, pacing the Raiders’ girls basketball team to a 25-3 record as a freshman. She played three sports (basketball, softball and volleyball) before graduating in 1982 and heading to Oregon State on a basketball scholarship, widely considered the best prep guard in the Northwest. The 5-10, defensive-minded Channel played four years for the Beavers and coach Aki Hill, and achieved a degree in education.

In 2004, the ’82 state high school player of the year was inducted into the PIL Hall of Fame.

Channel says Jackson, now a middle school, was a welcoming place with strong camaraderie among her graduating class of about 200 (the last senior class before the school shut down). And she credits fellow PIL Hall of Famer Jim MacDicken, who coached girls basketball and softball, with being a key influence in her life.

“He was the best person I could have met at that time,” she says, “just for his philosophy on the game and on life. He could have told me to jump in the Willamette River and I would have. That’s how I felt about him. He taught me so much about being a competitor, a person, and being humble.”

Basketball was her favorite sport. “I felt like it came really easy,” she says.

But her “second love” was softball. She was a standout pitcher and played in the infield. “If I could have done it at Oregon State — been healthier and found the time — I would have loved to be a two-sport athlete there,” she says.

A self-described “homebody” who grew up as “a momma’s girl,” she has spent the past eight years in Camas, Washington. With partner/wife Danette, she owns Grapes ’n Hops, a taproom in Vancouver. She also is a customer service manager for KEEN Footwear in the Pearl District with 18 years experience with Nike. 

During the pandemic, she has been working at home, “and watching a lot of Netflix and Prime Video and reading books.”

She also is “totally into college sports,” and while watching them recently, “I got that overwhelming, homesick feeling — I wish I could be out there now, playing.”

Mel Renfro (Jefferson, 1960)

Mel RenfroMel Renfro

If you’re having a dinner party for the greatest all-around athletes in Oregon high school history, Mel Renfro (Jefferson, 1960) has to be on your invitation list. And very possibly

Harry Demorest, Jefferson, 1959

Harry DemorestHarry Demorest

To say Harry Demorest’s (Jefferson, 1959) school days in Portland were pretty good is an understatement. Demorest was the all-state first baseman on a powerhouse state championship baseball team at