Celebrating Women’s History Month: Iconic women in Lincoln’s history

Kate Haddon


Sara Boone – Fire Chief, 1987 graduate 

In 2019, Sara Boone became Fire Chief of the Portland Fire Bureau, 24 years after becoming Portland’s first Black female firefighter. For Boone, serving as a firefighter and being on the frontlines stemmed from her passion to serve. 

“My service comes from my heart… I have been given an enormous responsibility when it comes to protecting all lives, people, property and the environment,” she said. “My passion is the protection of this city and the people that live here.” 

Boone said the community of friends, educators and coaches at Lincoln helped shape her passions as she was growing up and learning to understand herself. 

“Lincoln really set me up for success…I think that’s where, for me, I tried to figure out my identity and how to navigate the world,” she said.

Despite the supportive atmosphere, Boone still faced hardships navigating a majority white school in a primarily white city. 

“I have to navigate [the world] as a Black woman—all the hardships, all the bias—and then I have to pick myself up and know that I’m not here to wallow in my grief. I’m here to be a light for everybody else,” she said. 

Boone realizes the importance in recognizing the beauty and positivity in our city, especially the pockets of Portland that are filled with art, music and food. She sees the potential to come together through joint appreciation for these positive aspects of the city, and the possibility to overcome the negatives that do make the news. 

“I don’t think there’s a more beautiful city than Portland,” she said. “If we only focus on the negative, we miss all the good things that people are doing in their communities and their neighborhoods… I hope people don’t just focus on the distraction, because we will rise. We will. I know.”


Therese Bottomly – Editor-in-Chief of The Oregonian, 1979 graduate 

Therese Bottomly, Editor-in-Chief of The Oregonian, says that being a Lincoln alumni has given her a sense of community. She started in journalism her junior year at the University of Oregon, and, since her internship at The Oregonian after graduation, she hasn’t looked back. 

“I was lucky to have mentors at The Oregonian who were always looking out for me and moving me along in my career—challenging me, supporting me, looking out for what the next best job was for me within the paper,” she said. 

Bottomly found a similar support system at The Oregonian as she did when she attended Lincoln, and she still feels connected to this day.

“The Lincoln community for me has always been just a really supportive and warm connection to alums, current students and faculty. I always feel great when I hear from people that I went to school with, when I run into them around town or when I see their successes,” Bottomly said. 

She thinks that this sense of community extends beyond just Lincoln and into the greater Portland community.

“When somebody has an idea for something, or they have a glimmer of an idea, they can make it happen, they get support from friends [who] connect them to other friends,” she said.

Bottomly’s family and her love for her hometown has kept her in Portland, but she sees the challenges Portland is facing too. One of her biggest concerns about Portland is the lack of support for those struggling. 

“I’m very concerned about homeless people who are experiencing mental health or addiction crises,” she said. “The despair that you see on the streets [and] the conditions some people are living in [is saddening]. [Many people] feel a sense of despair around what is possible, what each of us can do to try to help alleviate the crisis.”


Peyton Chapman – Longest serving female principal of Lincoln High School 

Peyton Chapman, the longest serving female principal in Lincoln’s history, has taken on a job that she sees as one of the “best” and “most stressful” jobs, but it has connected her to Portland in a variety of ways. 

“I love being a part of our school community. Everywhere I go, I meet people who graduated from LHS or have a friend or family member who went here,” she said. “The connections and shared experiences are really meaningful, and hearing so many different peoples’ stories has been a gift.” 

This connection to her community has brought Chapman a sense of passion for the public school system and building a strong base for her students. 

“I am probably always most passionate about preserving our public schools,” she said. “Protecting a strong public school system is important to me, as our schools are the bedrock of democracy and the most likely arena to continue to support students and communities to help create a better world.”

Beyond Lincoln, Chapman loves Portland for the nature, beauty and all of the opportunities to get outside. 

“Portland has beautiful hiking and running trails that are accessible to the public,” Chapman said. “I love walking the riverfront loop to the Sellwood Bridge and back, or walking the Wildwood, and I really appreciate being able to get to the Gorge, Mount Hood or the beach in an hour. Nature is really healing and grounding.”