Skip to content

Oregon Heritage Reflects on 2021

January 6, 2022

First and foremost, Happy New Year from Oregon Heritage!

Oregon Heritage includes the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries and many other programs supporting efforts to identify, evaluate, designate, preserve, and recognize Oregon’s historic resources. To reflect on the past year, we are sharing our experience, noting primary plan (Oregon Historic Preservation Plan and Oregon Heritage Plan) progress, and looking to the future.

Despite the continuing COVID-19 health emergency, state office closures, travel restrictions, budget limitation, and nearly a 30% staff cut related to the pandemic, staff moved many goals forward. Oregon Heritage saw a general increase in demand for services. We continued support related to COVID impacts and responded to 2020 and 2021 wildfires; providing support to heritage organizations, assisting federal and state agencies seeking to identify and protect historic properties, and participating in working groups.

These challenges created an opportunity to re-evaluate agency priorities and how we do our work. The results are reflected in achievements of plan goals, noted below.

Fewer resources and greater demand did reduce responsiveness. In addition to our general services, primary projects that lagged include implementation of the state National Register rule, oversight of inter-agency agreement documents, and response to issues of confidentiality of culturally-sensitive. Training, communication, and outreach program services were also limited.

In 2022, with full staffing for the first time since May 2020, we expect to continue current efforts. The Compliance Bureau will emphasize administration of cultural resource laws and related policy issues including the state archaeological permit law and confidentiality of culturally-sensitive information. Preservation Bureau will address the identification, evaluation, and treatment of historic properties. The survey program will integrate the processes and documentation for archaeological and built-environment resources and continue to broaden the types of documented historic places. Work will continue on two statewide National Register nominations for properties related to African American and Depression Era history. Three major studies will be completed: an evaluation of the Oregon Main Street Network, a study of the economic value of heritage, and an exploration of unused upper floors in historic downtowns.

Our two guiding plans will remain central to our work. The current State Preservation Plan ends in 2023, so we will bring our partners together across the heritage community to develop goals for the new plan. We will also begin an exciting evaluation process for the Oregon Heritage Plan. Perhaps most importantly, we look forward to a time when we can again open our offices and begin meeting with you in-person, on-site in support of the many good things each of you do for Oregon’s communities.

We also want to recognize the efforts of those we serve, all of you who are doing heritage preservation work in Oregon. While 2020 was a year of resilence and pivoting, 2021 was a year of perseverance for heritage organizations and efforts. We saw all of you moving forward, keeping an eye on the ebbs and flows of the pandemic situation, but ultimately working with the current reality and doing the best you could and thriving within it.

Let’s take a look at a snapshot of our programs from 2021 and some of the results for heritage preservation in Oregon:

Project Review

  • 218 Archaeology permits were issued and 1003 compliance review letters were issued to help determine if a project will have impacts on properties of historic significance
  • 19 Memorandum of Agreements and 5 Programmatic Agreements were signed. This allows partners to complete preservation, education, and documentation projects that address or minimize negative impacts to historic resources while also streamlining processes


  • 2,848 properties and sites were surveyed that will be added to our databases such as the Historic Sites Database available for the public to view.


Darcelle XV
  • 18 listings in the National Register of Historic Places including:
    • The African American Resources in Portland, Oregon from 1851 to 1973 MPD
    • The Oregon Trail, Oregon, 1840 to 1880 MPD
    • Portland’s Mallory Avenue Christian Church. Located in Portland’s Albina neighborhood, the 1949 Mallory Avenue Christian Church is recognized for its notable early postwar modern architecture and association with Portland’s Black Community.
    • Portland’s Darcelle XV. Nationally significant for its role it played in creating acceptance for drag and gay rights and as a safe place that anchored the LGBTQ community far beyond the reach of any LGBTQ bar. Learn more about the larger scale and award winning Darcelle Project here.
  • Two National Register nominations, one for the The Rex in Vale and one for the Dallas Cinema in Dallas, resulted from the National Park Service Historic Theater Grant awarded to our office in 2019.
  • The Oregon Main Street Network had 7 new communities designated at the Exploring Downtown level and 2 applications for the Associate level
  • The Aumsville Corn Festival was designated an Oregon Heritage Tradition having been carried out every year since 1968
  • Grants Pass joined the ranks of Oregon’s designated Certified Local Governments
  • Governor Brown signed into law a bill passed by the Oregon legislature to change the designation date for a historic cemetery beyond the original date of February 14, 1909 to 75 years or older.


  • Value of Heritage Resources in Disaster Recovery document and communication tools were added to the Value of Heritage Toolkit
  • The current Preservation Plan and Heritage Plan continued to be woven throughout our programs (stay tuned in 2022 for outreach to begin for the next Preservation Plan and a 3 year evaluation to begin for the Heritage Plan!)
  • The 2021 Virtual Summit focused on collaboration and featured a pre-conference event to help provide a networking opportunity for those working on preserving Latino and Hispanic heritage in Oregon
  • The 2021 Oregon Main Street Conference engaged the Main Street network with inspiring keynote speakers and relevant topics


  • Process initiated to revamp state tax incentive program
  • Completed 9 federal tax program projects
  • Preserving Oregon and Diamonds in the Rough Grant programs were back this year after a hiatus related to COVID-19 budget impacts.
    • Diamonds in the Rough – Awarded $75,000 for 4 projects in 3 counties
    • Preserving Oregon – Awarded $200,000 for 13 projects in 11 counties
  • Oregon Museum Grant program awarded $74,278 for 13 projects in 10 counties
  • Oregon Historic Cemeteries Grant program awarded $62,500 for 15 projects in 13 counties
  • Oregon Heritage Grant program awarded $380,000 for 32 projects in 17 counties. We successfully increased the number of applications this year by more than 20 applications over our highest ever number.
  • The 2019 Oregon Heritage Grant funding projects successfully wrapped up despite scope of work adjustments in response to COVID-19 challenges. In the end, there was only one cancellation.
  • Oregon Heritage All-Star Communities received $18,000 resulting in 6 projects in 6 counties.
  • Launch of the revamped Oregon Heritage MentorCorps Program, matching Heritage Mentors with eight organizations for nine months of sustained technical assistance.
  • 2021 saw the first approved permit for working in a historic cemetery. German Hill Cemetery in Clackamas County with the beneficiary of work provided by James Moriarty.


If our emergency management professionals aren’t planning for our heritage resources, who is?

December 2, 2021

National Register listed Hanscom Hall, Talent, Oregon– Before and After Alameda Fire

Heritage resources connect us to each other and our collective past. They support our local economies and strengthen social bonds. Heritage resources serve as physical, spiritual, and psychological manifestations of identity, and the loss of such resources can be devastating to a community. We also know heritage resources are highly vulnerable to damage or loss from disasters. But planners and emergency management professional rarely consider and prioritize the impact of disaster on heritage resources. If our emergency management professionals aren’t planning for our heritage resources, who is?

That question was meant to be alarming. But don’t panic.

As heritage advocates, the opportunity to be at the table during disaster planning conversations and share the value of our state’s heritage resources helps solve a missing piece of the puzzle. The Oregon Heritage Commission recently released the Value of Cultural Heritage in Disaster Resilience Report and Messaging Guide with sample messages you can copy and modify to begin these conversations to safeguard our collective heritage.

FEMA’s Tips for Communicating Risk in Disaster Planning are great reminders of how to frame these discussions:

  1. Relate to your audience: Determine from your audience the places and experiences most important to them; does heritage play a role? What do they envision for their community in 10, 20, or 50 years?  Again, it’s about the community’s beliefs and values, so start the conversation by discussing what matters most to them.
  2. Avoid jargon: Speak plainly and limit discussions on technical topics. Share with the audience what is most at risk from disasters — their homes, their businesses, their cherished spaces, their community identity. Importantly, don’t lead with data.  Showing disaster statistics and sea level rise charts and graphs isn’t a compelling introduction to the message of heritage-based disaster resilience.
  3. Tell stories: Charts aren’t compelling, but stories of personal experience are, so be prepared with those stories. Better yet, if possible, have those individuals personally share their stories. Sharing disaster resilience and recovery stories allows people to make the emotional connections so important to believing that disaster risks to their community’s heritage are real.
  4. Answer questions honestly: When you don’t have all the answers to the questions, admit it and follow up. While you may have prepared with facts, information, and compelling stories, you’ll never have all the answers to the community’s questions. Take those opportunities to learn from your community members and decision-makers what’s important to them and use it as a reason to conduct follow-up, whether one-on-one or through another public event.

Ready to start communicating the importance of heritage resources in disaster planning? Check out the Value of Cultural Heritage in Disaster Resilience Report and Messaging Guide with sample messages you can copy and modify to begin these conversations. These tools can also be used in conjunction with the Community Disaster Resilience Planning for Heritage Resources Guidebook to kick-start a community-wide disaster planning effort focused on heritage resources.

Three Steamboat Captains of Pleasant View Cemetery

October 26, 2021

Written by Charlotte Lehan, Pleasant View Cemetery President & Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries

Pleasant View Cemetery, located on Ladd Hill between Wilsonville and Sherwood, is the final resting place of several Willamette steamboat captains, among them two brothers and their nephew, descendants of the Zumwalt, Geer, and Short families of early Oregon immigrants.

William Penn Short  1852 – 1938

William Penn Short was the eldest of the three surviving sons of R.V. & Mary (Geer) Short who crossed the plains in 1847. His two younger brothers, Sherman and Marshall, both “went upon the boats” several years earlier while William Penn was left to inherit the family farm in Wilsonville. After only a few years on the farm, William Penn followed his brothers, answering the siren call of the River to became a steamboat captain. At one point all three brothers were captains on the Columbia-Willamette system. For many years he worked the northern part of the Columbia out of British Columbia before spending his final years running the Bailey Gatzert between Salem and Astoria.

William Penn Short’s grave currently has only temporary markers at Pleasant View Cemetery while his descendants are working on a permanent replacement.

Pictured above: Cover of sheet music for “Bailey Gatzert March”; 1938 article in the Salem Capitol Journal; US Post Stamp

Marshall B. Short  1866 – 1892

Marshall B. Short was the youngest son of R.V. and Mary (Geer) Short and was one of the youngest steamboat captains ever to work on the Willamette/Columbia system. He was the captain of the Ocklahama and was killed in an accident on the docks in Astoria as described below in the front page article in The Oregonian:

“The following is a correct account of one of the most distressing accidents that has taken place for some time in the boating line.  It was the wrecking of the barge Columbia at Astoria last Saturday morning by which Captain Marshall B. Short, one of the best known men on the river, lost his life, together with one of his deck hands.  The barge, loaded with wheat, had just been towed down the river to Astoria by the steamer Ocklahama, of which Captain Short was master.  In making the landing the barge ran against the wharf, injuring her bow and making a hole through which considerable water entered her hold.  She was made fast to the wharf, and Captain Short, together with several others, went into her hold to ascertain the extent of the damage.  A bulkhead was built around the leak with sacks of wheat and boards, and while this work was going on the barge began to list and settle.
     The men below were warned of their danger, as the barge was a round bottomed one and easily listed to either side by shifting a very small part of her cargo.  The barge settled slowly until she rested on the bottom, when she began to roll considerably.  All the men except Captain Short and August Peterson, a deck hand, realizing their danger, left the hold and came on deck.  The two latter had started, and Captain Short was almost out of the hatchway, when the barge gave a sudden lurch, bringing down the wheat, which was piled eight sacks high about the hatchway, in an overwhelming torrent.  The unfortunate man gave one cry, and then a confused mass of sacks and broken timbers sank from sight, carrying with it what was now no longer the fearless young captain, but only a crushed and lifeless human form.
     Captain Marshall B. Short was aged 26 years, 5 months and 16 days at the time of his death.  He was one of the youngest captains on the river, and was known and liked by the river men.  He has been in the employ of the Union Pacific company for six years, and was mate on the steamers Lurline and Bonita for nearly three years.  Last August he took out captain’s papers, and was soon assigned as master of the towboat Ocklahama, the largest and best towboat on the river.  He was generally regarded as a careful and competent master, and was in the midst of duty when death overtook him.  He had been married less than three years, and leaves a wife, parents and six brothers and sisters to mourn his loss, his two remaining brothers being both captains.  He was the youngest son of Hon. R. V. and Mary Short, Oregon pioneers of 1847.”

Pictured above: Marshall’s monument at Pleasant View Cemetery beside those of his sisters, Orra and Mary who died as toddlers.

Arthur H. Riggs  1870 – 1941

Arthur Riggs was the nephew of William Penn Short. Georgiana was one of the last steamboats on the historic Portland-Astoria run. Her last captain on the run was Arthur Riggs, (1870-1941) whose own life spanned the great days of steamboating on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Captain Riggs had begun in steamboating in 1887 on the Isabel on the Willamette and Yamhill rivers, and later served on many famous boats throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Multnomah, Telegraph, and Telephone. Georgiana had been an interim boat between the flamboyant old paddlewheelers and the modern steel excursion boats, and her trade might have continued had war not disrupted it. Arthur Riggs was one of the last steamboat captains operating on the Willamette.

Emergency Preparedness and the Importance of Tracking Heritage Resources

September 30, 2021

Written by Rebecca Ziegler, Adaptive Preservation

Last year the Community of Cottage Grove, a designated Oregon Heritage All- Star Community, participated in a Oregon Heritage pilot project to develop a Disaster Resilience Plan For Heritage Resources (DRHR). Four heritage organizations, the City of Cottage Grove, and emergency response teams came together with the goal to increase community-level decision making related to disaster resiliency. The result was a plan for the community with recommendations and action steps in addition to a guidebook to help other communities to create a similar plan based on their unique heritage resources. The project and the resulting guidebook has won a state award and a national award.

One of the action steps that came out of this process was recently completed. Oregon Heritage hired a consultant to research and prepare a spreadsheet and maps for cultural agencies in Cottage Grove to track their organizational assets and heritage collections. The asset inventory collections were appraised for asset type volume or number, location, materials, and risk factors. That data was then inputted into each organizations master inventory matrix and will be used by these organizations and emergency response teams to prioritize relocation, protection, and recovery efforts in case of an emergency or disaster.

As part of this project, Downtown Cottage Grove Historic District’s 41 buildings, numerous historic murals and signs, and other cultural assets were documented and assessed for vulnerability in the case of a disaster. A complete property owner and business inventory of this area was created along with pinpointing the location of Downtown residential units.

You can view the entire plan and guidebook, including the disaster resilience organizational inventory tool & report model, here.

This plan is the first of its kind in Oregon and intends to serve as a model for disaster resilience planning in other Oregon communities.

Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Preservation in Oregon: Building a Network Summit Event – Connections Made and Lessons Learned

August 16, 2021

by Oregon Heritage staff

Last April, Oregon Heritage hosted an online event to bring people together who want to work on increasing the research, documentation, designation, and interpretation of Latinx and Hispanic history in Oregon. The idea of the event was to connect people who have this shared goal, share some existing resources about this history, and explore how to go about expanding this effort.

In connecting people, the intention was to bring people together for a conversation and build a network by showing models of networking. The event was facilitated be two members of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, a national, grassroots organization of Latinx people doing preservation work. Despite being a young organization, they are a good example of a network and were able to share other examples from around the country. Other networking examples included the Oregon Women’s History Consortium and the Oregon Folklife Network models.

Existing resources for finding Latinx and Hispanic history include Oregon State University Oregon Multicultural Archives, University of Oregon Latino Roots, and the Oregon Historical Society. Hearing from these resources was a highlight to the day by showing work people are already doing and information accessible to all. It was informative and inspiration.

The discussion provided useful conversation that was used by the facilitators to summarize and provide recommendations for moving forward.

  1. Center the Latinx community. Compile an inventory of existing Latinx community organizations and heritage/history-related initiatives. Include present-day organizations and initiatives, as well as any resources for Latinx heritage. The purpose for this exercise is to identify potential partners, build relationships, and identify what is already being done related to Latinx heritage in Oregon.
  1. Focus on building interest and relationships. As a follow-up to the April 2021 event, host a limited series of virtual events (3-4) centered on Latinx community organizations in Oregon (perhaps identified in the inventory above). Many attendees enjoyed learning and sharing information about existing Latinx heritage work being done in Oregon. Additionally, attendees noted interest in hearing from present-day community leaders representing long-standing Latinx community institutions. Invite representatives from such organizations to share their stories. This programming could be formatted as a speaker series focused on a different theme each time (e.g. Community Organizations, Historic Sites, Labor, Visual & Performing Arts, etc.).
  1. Foster continued dialogue. Create an online mechanism for networking and resource-sharing. This might take the form of a listserv, Facebook group, or other online platform. This can help lay the groundwork for any potential statewide network and allows it to happen organically.
  1. Invest in Latinx community and bolster heritage conservation. Build a foundational effort around Latinx heritage in Oregon. While Oregon’s story is different, a relevant example is the creation of the Latinos in 20th Century California MPDF. This document laid the groundwork for several nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
  1. Center and engage youth. Invite young people (high school through graduate school) to future events, programs, and initiatives related to Latinx heritage in Oregon.

The event brought together people who want to increase Latinx and Hispanic heritage in Oregon. The participants included librarians, archivists, archaeologists and people who with museums, historic properties and downtowns, cemeteries, and more. Many attendees identified as Latinx or Hispanic. People who intend to work on the recommendations above have been connected. It started meaningful dialogue.

The event itself did not meet the above recommendations, the primary one being centering the Latinx/Hispanic community. People from that community were invited and participated and presented. Centering is more than an invitation. It is building relationships, offering resources, adjusting cultural practice, and doing the work on the terms of the community we are working with. And, in the case of the Latinx and Hispanic community, language is involved in centering. This lesson became more and more apparent in planning for the event, during the event, and from the event evaluation.

Oregon Heritage is committed to continuing this work, supporting those who what to move this effort, sharing our resources with more organizations, and changing our practices and materials to better serve more people. A big thanks to those that participated and those who gave us critical feedback to consider. We look forward encouraging this work into the future.

For upcoming Oregon Heritage Conferences and Summits, visit here.

The story of Henry Dosch, born June 17, 1841

June 17, 2021

Written by Jim Carmin, John Wilson Special Collections Librarian, Multnomah County Library

Although little known today, Henry Ernest Dosch had a lasting impact as one of the leading promoters of Oregon in the first years of the 20th century. Born on June 17, 1841 in Kastel, Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 1860, first to St. Louis where he fought on the side of the Union Army led by John C. Fremont; after his discharge he signed up as a bullwhacker and drove oxen from Omaha to Salt Lake City, and then joined the Pony Express in Virginia City, Nevada. After a brief interlude in Northern California Henry ultimately landed in Oregon in 1864, initially in The Dalles, then Canyon City, and finally in Portland in 1875.

His interests and knowledge of horticulture was widespread and influential; most notably he introduced a hardier English Walnut into the state, and served as Oregon Superintendent of Horticulture for multiple terms. It also was the focus of much of his work promoting the state at world’s fairs and expositions during this time. He directed Oregon’s efforts at the Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, New York, where he was present when President William McKinney was assassinated); Inter-State and West Indian Exposition (Charleston, South Carolina); Trans-Mississippi Exposition (Omaha, Nebraska); National Industrial Exposition (Osaka, Japan); and Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, Missouri). He served as Commissioner General and Director of Exhibits at the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition and Oriental Fair in Portland  (which was open from June 1-October 15, 1905); and in 1909 he served as Director of Exhibits at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle.

He and his wife, nee Marie Louise Fleurot, had many children including Roswell, who was a successful sculptor and art professor at the University of Oregon before he died in 1918 during the influenza pandemic; Camille, who became the Society Editor at The Oregonian; and Arno, who was recognized as an important international news correspondent covering wars and revolutions in the first half of the 20th century. The papers of the family are part of the John Wilson Special Collections of Multnomah County Library.

Henry Dosch lived a long, productive life, dying at age 81 in 1925, and is interred at River View Cemetery in Portland.

This story was provided to the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries by the Multnomah County Library. More information about Henry Dosch and the history of the Lewis and Clark Exposition can be found at the Library’s Gallery.

Cemetery Connections: Fannie Fairchild Arbogast

June 4, 2021

By Sarah Silbernage, Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries

While some people prefer spending their lunch breaks at a nice restaurant, my favorite lunch break is spent wandering through a historic cemetery, if there is one in the vicinity. On this overcast fall day in 2018, I was driving by the Ritter cemetery and decided to take my lunch break and spend some time visiting this well-kept cemetery. The small community of Ritter, Oregon is located south of Pendleton and North of Mt. Vernon along the Middle Fork of the John Day River, and is known for the Ritter Hot Springs. Walking around the cemetery and wondering about the lives of those who now rested there, I was drawn to this beautiful stone. Upon closer inspection I read “Fannie Arbogast Beloved Wife of H. H. Arbogast Born Jan. 25, 1863 Died Aug. 7, 1916.” On the lower inscription it wrote “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would not have told you I go to prepare a place for you.” I thought to myself, I will have to do a little research and see what I can find out about Fannie, whose family clearly loved her so much.

On my way home I was also drawn to an older white house further south from the cemetery that looked like it must have been quite stately in its day.  I took some photos of it to capture the architectural features.  It wasn’t until a year later, when I finally sat down to research Fannie, that I learned the house I admired on my drive had actually belonged to her, and was the home she and her husband built when they moved to Ritter! 

The Arbogast home as it appeared in 2018
69750017 -1073732485 9 0
Arbogast Family on the porch of their home.  Photo taken from the Blue Mountain Eagle 20

Fannie and H. H. Arbogast.  Photo taken from

According to Fannie’s obituary, published on August 8, 1916 in the East Oregonian, she was a “prominent Umatilla County pioneer.”  Fannie Fairchild was born on January 25, 1853 in Hancock County, Illinois (East Oregonian 1916).  She was 14 when her family moved to Kansas, and at the age of 16 she married Henry Herman Arbogast on October 28, 1869 in Linn County, Kansas (Kansas Marriages 1840-1935).  Henry Harmon Arbogast joined the 116th Volunteer Illinois Infantry, F Company, of the Union Army in 1862, fought at Vicksburg, was wounded at Kennesaw Mountain and was discharged in June 1865 (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020).  Fannie’s first nine children were born in Kansas; Eva, Ira, Ora, Era, Asa, Marie (who died young), Henry, John Lewis, Roy (United States Census 1880).  The family moved to Oregon via railroad in 1888 and their last child, also named Fannie, was born in Oregon in 1891 (Family Search 2021).  Fannie and her husband farmed, ranched and operated a sawmill in Ritter.  They were issued a homestead patent for the property on June 11, 1896 and the home was built around that time as well (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020 and BLM GLO Records 2021).  It was clear while searching through old East Oregonian newspapers that the Arbogast family was well known and respected in the Ritter area as well as Umatilla and Grant counties.  Fannie and Henry moved to Pendleton when she started getting ill in April of 1916 (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020).  Fannie was seriously ill for many months and passed on August 7, 1916.  Multiple news articles mentioned that the family and multiple friends were accompanying the body of Fannie to her final resting place at the Ritter Cemetery.  For so many friends to also travel with her for the funeral, she clearly touched many lives.  It is interesting what stories can unfold during a quick lunch stop in a historic cemetery!


Blue Mountain Eagle

2020      A Civil War Veteran’s Legacy, written by Jason Arbogast

BLM GLO Records

2021 Land Patent Search,

East Oregonian

1916      Mrs. H. H. Arbogast Called by Death, East Oregonian, August 8, 1916.

Family Search

2021  Fannie Fairchild Family Tree

Kansas Marriages

1840-1935 database, FamilySearch ( : 14 January 2020), Henry H. Arbogast, 1869.

United States Census

1880 database with images,  FamilySearch ( : 19 February 2021), H H Arbogast, Lincoln, Linn, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district ED 127, sheet 41A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,386.

Collaborations During a Pandemic

April 7, 2021

In March we released the results of the first of three COVID-19 Impact to Heritage Organizations Survey results. Some of the stories we gathered from that survey give us some insight into how local organizations partnered together during these extraordinary times.

Just a few of the stories from the survey include:

  • A heritage organization partnered with their local library to offer an online book club.
  • A heritage organization partnered with a community access television station to produce programming.
  • Nine museums in the same region teamed up to offer a shared admission pass. This program helps offset some of the financial impact of the EO 20-12 closures, encourages visitors to return to museums, and offers admission at a significant discount. The participating museums split the revenue evenly.
  • Genealogical societies in Oregon have been developing cross-promotion of online events in order to boost attendance and support each other.

Pre-pandemic, partnering with other organizations was a way to maximize capacity and money to have a greater community impact. The pandemic has brought out how it’s even more important than ever to connect with other organizations in your region in order to survive and continue to provide a valuable service to your local communities.

The COVID-19 survey #1 results showed that during the period of March 2020-November 2020 respondents partnered with the following types of community organizations:

  • Other heritage organizations
  • Other nonprofits
  • DMO/Tourism organizations
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Main Street organization
  • City Council
  • Schools
  • Local Health Authority
  • Social Service organizations
  • Local Tribal Governments
  • Neighborhood Groups
  • Tenants
  • Ports
  • For profit businesses
  • Libraries

At the state level, these challenging times have helped us realize the importance of a statewide heritage network and we witnessed a lot of positive interactions during several COVID-19 Commiseration Calls we did starting in March of 2020. It’s our hope that we can continue strengthening this network so that it can benefit heritage organizations during the recovery from the pandemic. We really are stronger together.

Volunteer Appreciation – More Important Than Ever!

March 26, 2021

We know that volunteers have a huge impact on our heritage organizations (no really, we do know because we did a study of it last year. Check out the results here). Due to social distancing, state guidelines, and risk of infection, engaging volunteers has been incredibly hard for many heritage organizations this year. With 2021 National Volunteer Week approaching April 18-24 we have got you covered on ways to appreciate your awesome volunteers!

Volunteer Appreciation Language Template – Direct Thank You to Volunteers:

Dear (name of awesome volunteer):

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and we can’t say enough how much the time and effort you give helps us succeed. This year has challenged us in many ways but your constant support, enthusiasm, and ability to adapt has helped us keep moving in this ever changing world. From following the state guidelines to keep all of us and our visitors safe, to doing projects from home, to collecting stories of history happening now, to helping us plan our reopening, every hour, every minute—makes a difference. 

And it’s more than that. Your volunteer work supports our community’s identity. Heritage organizations like ours help community members remember and learn from the past. They provide spaces for reflection and critical thinking about our future. They make vibrant communities.

Thank you for your contribution to us and the community and we look forward to seeing you soon!

(If you can include a personal note for each volunteer, even better!)

Volunteer Appreciation Language Template -Social Media Post Template:

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week! Join us in thanking our dedicated volunteers!

Volunteers provided _(total hours)__ hours of service to our organization this year.
Volunteers allowed us to serve_(insert number)_of virtual visitors through our online exhibits and programs!
We’re proud of the major projects our volunteers helped us accomplish: ______________.

We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. Help us thank our heritage heroes in the comments below!  

Volunteer Appreciation Ideas During Social Distancing

  1. Write and mail a thank you letter.
    1. Add a gift.
      1. Lifesavers – “You are a lifesaver!”
      2. Mints – “You mean a mint to us!”
      3. Chocolate Coins – “Your work is solid gold!”
      4. Gummy Bears – “We can’t bear to be without you!”
      5. Coffee Packet –” You keep us going! You keep it perky!”
      6. Fortune Cookie – “You are our good fortune!”
  1. Do a drive by and hang a sign at their house.
  2. Alternatively, have a reverse parade and have your volunteers drive by to get an appreciation card and/or gift.
  3. Share with the world. Tell the number of volunteers and hours of work, and where appropriate and with permission list them individually.
    1. Newsletter announcement
    2. Social media post a thanks
    3. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper
    4. Put a big thank you sign on your window
  4. Have an awards program
    1. Mail the award
    2. Feature individual stories in newsletter and social media
    3. Hold an online ceremony – in formal gear and all to make it fancy!

For some long term volunteer appreciation planning, don’t forget to submit nominations for local, state, and national awards, like the Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards and the Excellence on Main Awards.

Additional Volunteer Resources

Creative Collaborations Support Vibrant Downtowns

February 5, 2021

By Sheri Stuart, State Coordinator, Oregon Main Street

A healthy and vibrant historic downtown or neighborhood district doesn’t just happen. It takes the dedicated efforts of a broad spectrum of partners who value the central role these district’s play as the heartbeat of the community: a place to shop, eat, work, live, invest, and play. Collaborations take many forms – from one-time partnering on a specific project or activity to deeper partnerships forged over time. Here’s some ways local programs collaborate with other community entities:

  • The City of Woodburn collaborated with Republic Services to address the unsightly condition of the very visible downtown alleys – a primary concern of downtown business and property owners. The collaboration included painting over graffiti; installing motion-sensor lighting, security cameras, and dumpster enclosures; and adding color accents.  Republic Services was at the table from the start and provided support including cleaning up debris, replacing damaged and vandalized containers, installing the enclosures, and providing soil for planters. Thanks to the partnership, the City has achieved their goal of providing safe, clean, and pedestrian-friendly alleys.
  • Astoria Downtown Historic District Association (ADHDA), the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department, and Astoria Parks and Recreation Foundation have been solid partners on many different activities for over eight years. Collaborations include use of the city watering truck to maintain downtown planters; providing tools, staff, and expertise for the “Love Your Streets” downtown clean-up; support for ADHDA’s main fundraiser, the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup, by allowing use of hose bibs and tables and chairs which saves a significant amount of money; and supporting Movies in the Park sponsored by ADHDA with all proceeds going to the Foundation to underwrite fitness activity fees for residents who can’t afford them.
  • The Klamath Falls Downtown Association and the City of Klamath Falls both have a vested interest in a flourishing, vibrant downtown and have demonstrated an ability to leverage limited resources into meaningful, impactful outcomes. The City contracts a number of downtown activities to KFDA, including management of banners and flowers, programming and scheduling for downtown parks, and marketing and promotion. Beyond that, KFDA staff and key City staff meet every two weeks to discuss ongoing projects and new ideas and to escalate issues of mutual concern; they regularly share content via email and social media to ensure that appropriate information is received by as many interested consumers as possible; partner to administer surveys and disseminate information related to regulatory issues in downtown; and include two city staff members, one City Councilor and the Chief of Police, as ex-officio members on the board. Rather than creating obstacles, the City is regularly a catalyst for ideas that support preservation-based revitalization under the Main Street framework. Learn more more about their partnership here in their video for 2020 Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Award.

All forms of collaborations are important to build understanding and awareness of each partner’s goals, use scarce resources wisely, and create a network for future collaborations.