‘Unseen heroes’ make Linfield feel like home

Linfield’s night cleaning crew is made up of brave souls that clean the creepy academic buildings while they’re empty at night. The crew cleans different buildings and has their favorite spots, but they all enjoy their night shifts, even if it took a while to get used to the odd hours of work. They start at 10:30 p.m. and finish at 7 a.m.

Noel Kneeland

Kneeland is the night lead, which means he’s in charge of the whole night crew.

“I retired from the air force after thirty some years,” Kneeland said. “I’ve always wanted to work for Linfield. I’ve always wanted to be on the ground’s crew, just something I’ve always wanted to do hobby-wise, but this opportunity arose, and I figured it’d be a way to get a foot in the door.”

Kneeland grew up in McMinnville. “Linfield was my babysitter,” he said. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Linfield.” He has enjoyed his time on the night crew.

“I love the people that we’re working with,” Kneeland said. “They’re just awesome. I love what we do. We’re not out one on one with the kids, but we’re trying to sell Linfield in a different way. We’re kind of the unseen heroes of Linfield maybe.”

Balbina Duran

Duran’s favorite place to clean is the preschool in the garden level of Potter Hall.

“I get to see what the kids have made,” Duran said. She also takes those ideas home for her own daughter.

As soon as she gets out of work, she drives to Amity, takes her young daughter to elementary school then returns to her house to take her son to McMinnville high school. If she has something pressing to do after, she’ll do that before finally going to bed. She hopes her son, who is a junior at the moment, will choose to come to Linfield.

The worst time was the first week. “I started in January, and my first week, I got a fever,” Duran said, “but I had to keep going because it was a necessity, and I stayed. It wasn’t my plan, but it happened.”

Michael Marshall

The solitude of the night shift appeals to Marshall the most.

“At night, you get to do your thing. You don’t get all the interruptions that happen during the day,” Marshall said.

He has worked here for 10 years all together. Marshall didn’t think he would work for Linfield for so long.

“I must have seen an ad for a job, and then I wasn’t really planning on working here too long,” Marshall said. “My son was college-age at the same time, and there was the tuition remission thing. At that point, I kind of got stuck here for four more years.”

Outside of work, Marshall enjoys painting, and he has also done some photography over the years.

Reyes Navarro

Navarro has worked at Linfield for six years. He likes all the benefits he has received from the job and the time of his shift as well.

“I have four children, and I save money from babysitting like that.”  His children are used to him working nights. The oldest is 15. “They like that I work here and don’t want me to leave, so they can come to college here.”

Navarro has lived in McMinnville since 2003, making his way here from Woodburn. A friend recommended that he take the job.

Reina Naranjo

Naranjo began as a temporary worker for seven months. Now, she has worked at Linfield for four years.

“I’ve liked the work because  always going from place to place,” Naranjo said. “There’s always work. It’s never over.”

Naranjo tries to get some sleep, but it can be a little difficult to fit into her schedule while she’s caring for her children. She has to take them to school, sometimes sleeping six or four hours in the day.

“For me, the night shift is okay, because when my kids are in school I’m sleeping, and when they get there, I can then take care of them, whatever they need,” Naranjo said.

Jose Alcaraz

Alcaraz has worked here for two years. He enjoys the job, but like others, has found it a little difficult to work the night shift.

“Well, at first, it was a little a heavy. When 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. comes around, you already want to lay down, but you get used to it. There’s a break you’re like, first break,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz has a family, but his youngest is already 22 years old. At home, he has his wife and two grandchildren.

“Sometimes, they tell me, ‘Grandpa, do you have to work at night?’ and I say, ‘Yes,’” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz sleeps during the day, while his grandkids are at school. The only time Alcaraz finds the work a little difficult is when he’s by himself.

“Sometimes, I get a little scared,” Alcaraz said.

Rachel Rinehart

Rinehart has worked here for a year and a half. She likes how active the job is and the time of her shift.

“I sleep during the day when everyone else is working, and then I have evenings free to do whatever. I still get to go to concerts and other social events. On weekends, I switch over to the usual schedule, to the day shift,” Rinehart said.

Rinehart started as a temporary worker just like Naranjo. She has lived in the area her whole life. “McMinnville has been our shopping hub for as long as I can remember,” she said with a laugh. Currently, she lives in Sheridan.