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August 10th, 2011
While the Economy Hit's Bottom and Starts Digging

First lady, daughter pay Oregon visit
The details of Michelle Obama’s trip to see her brother in Corvallis are being kept from the public
By Jack Moran

The Register-Guard

While local authorities kept mum, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama confirmed Monday that the first lady is in the Willamette Valley this week to visit her brother, Oregon State University basketball coach Craig Robinson.

An airplane carrying Michelle Obama — who is Robinson’s younger sister — touched down Monday morning at the Eugene Airport.

Semonti Stephens, the first lady’s deputy communications director, said Obama is being accompanied on the trip by one of her two daughters.

Stephens said she could not say which of the girls came to Oregon with her mother, or disclose the length of their planned stay.

“She’s on a private, family trip to meet with her brother and his family,” Stephens said.

No public appearances have been announced.

Spokeswomen for the airport and the Eugene Police Department said they could not reveal any details concerning the first lady’s arrival. A spokesman for the Corvallis Police Department did not return a message seeking comment.

On Monday afternoon, the airplane in which Obama landed sat on the tarmac outside Lawrence Air Service, which is situated near the airport’s south end.

Federal Aviation Administration officials used pickup trucks to patrol the area surrounding the plane, which bears a U.S. flag on its tail and the words “United States of America” across its side.

An employee of Lawrence said he and others who work at the business — which provides ground service to aircraft — were instructed that they could not say how long they expect the plane to remain in Eugene.

Robinson and his family live near the Corvallis Country Club. Two neighbors who spoke with The Register-Guard said a number of police and security officials were stationed along streets in the area on Monday.

“We couldn’t go out and get our mail without first telling them our names,” neighbor Joni Berry said. She said she initially didn’t know what brought police to the neighborhood, but later learned of the first lady’s visit to Oregon.

OSU hired Robinson in 2008 to coach the men’s basketball team. Since then, President Obama and his family have attended a pair of OSU road games — including a 2009 victory over George Washington and a 2010 win over Howard. Both games were played in Washington, D.C.

President Obama has visited Western Oregon several times since March 2008, when he made a campaign speech at McArthur Court on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene. His last visit to the state came in February, when he toured Intel Corp.’s manufacturing plant in Hillsboro.




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