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Building a Better Community: The Canby Women’s Heritage Trail

March 6, 2018

Written by: Carol Palmer, Chair of Canby’s Heritage and Landmark Commission

BuildingABetterCommunity-Invite-March22_optThanks to the work of the City’s Heritage and Landmark Commission (HLC), Canby is launching Oregon’s first heritage trail dedicated to women: “Building a Better Community: The Canby Women’s Heritage Trail.” The trail will tell the stories of the women who shaped and reshaped the community’s economic, social, cultural, and political landscape.

According to Carol Palmer, HLC chair, “The nine women featured are representative of the hundreds of women who played a significant role in making Canby a better place. Often their accomplishments went unrecognized and/or unrecorded. The Canby Historical Society provided assistance and access to their archival material, which made this project possible.”

The HLC partnered with the Canby Public Library and the Canby Kiwanis to give this ‘first in the state’ achievement an appropriate introduction. The heritage trail will be unveiled at a March 22nd event where Barbara Roberts, the first woman to serve as the state’s governor, will be the featured speaker. It will take place in the Canby Public Library’s Willamette Room at 4:00 pm.

According to Irene Green, Canby Public Library Director, “our library owes its existence, in part, to the hundreds of women who dedicated themselves to establishing and maintaining public access to a library. Holding the heritage trail introduction here is another way of honoring them and recognizing what they accomplished.”

On March 13th at 6:30 pm, at the library, Peggy Sigler will present, “Canby Women’s Civic Club: An Enduring Legacy.” Prior to her retirement in 2015, Sigler was the Oregon Field Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and she has been active in heritage projects at the city and county level for over two decades.

Per Sigler, “Over the course of four decades, the Canby Women’s Civic Club made an indelible mark on the city. I think it is important for people in our community to hear their story, which includes a remarkable list of accomplishments.”

Legacy and Memory – Community History in Portland and Willamette Valley Cemeteries

January 2, 2018

A unique Oral History Project at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education


Written by Judy Margles, Director of Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

We think of cemeteries as places of contemplation, and rightly so – they are places of rest, forever concerned with the end of life. Amongst their peaceful and serene settings we can only imagine a multitude of untold stories. Our interest to uncover a living link to a past that few people remember led us to this project, to bring Oregon Jewish community members into Jewish cemeteries to talk about friends and family buried there. Their poignant, sometimes humorous, and always informative reminiscences provides a unique record of the legacy of Oregon Jews. The project mined valuable information triggered by the names on cemetery grave markers and linked generations through memory. The culling of 30 hours of raw footage with 42 individual interviewees resulted in a 55-minute film, a permanent record of the stories told by elders of the Jewish community.

Group in CemeteryLegacy and Memory–Community History in Portland’s and Willamette Valley Cemeteries grew out of OJMCHE’s ongoing Oral History Project – nearly 700 oral history interviews of Jewish Oregonians from around the state – in which volunteer interviewers and transcribers collaborate to document the experiences of everyday Oregon Jews. Cemeteries, we discovered, provide multiple opportunities for historical research. As we anticipated, the number and importance of the stories told defied description. The manner in which interviewees engaged with each other, combined with the data and stories that the interview questions elicited, confirmed our hopes that this would be a powerful way to add to our knowledge of deceased community members and their impact on Portland’s history.

Foggy Cemetery Project_optThe project provides a glimpse into a generation that is no longer with us from the unique perspective of people who are elderly themselves. The film is an invaluable source of information, imparting not just historical facts regarding one of the earliest immigrant groups but also demonstrating the importance of cemeteries as public placeholders of private memories of historical importance.

Visit OJMCHE’s calendar for information about upcoming events.

“The Lionesses” – A Tribute to Women in Military in Springfield, Oregon

December 5, 2017
DSC_0274 Committee Members_opt2

Committee Members and Crowd with “The Lionesses”

Women have served on behalf of our country in many roles.

In honor of their commitment, the City of Springfield, Oregon and the Springfield Women Veterans Committee worked together over the last 18 months to develop a bronze sculpture that honors all women who have served in the United States military.

Neil Laudati and Artists

Bronze artists Rip Caswell & Alison Brown with Neil Laudati (staff)

The committee developed objectives and characteristics for this public art piece. They wanted it to reflect and represent all women in the military who embody courage, tenacity, leadership, loyalty, honor and strength. Bronze artists Rip Caswell and Alison Brown of Campus Sculpture captured the spirit of women in military by meeting and learning from the women veterans involved in this effort. This collaboration resulted in something that is truly special.

20171110_110040 Committee at Dedication

Committee Members at the Dedication

The Oregon Women Veterans Memorial sculpture, called “The Lionesses,” is one of only a handful of memorials in the entire nation dedicated to women in the military. It is possible thanks to a State of Oregon Veterans & War Memorials Grant and transient room tax funding.

The three lionesses depicted together are symbolic of all women veterans past, present, and future. Underneath the lionesses’ paws, all five branches of the United States military service are symbolically represented.

National Guard Color Guard

National Guard at Dedication

The sculpture was dedicated on Friday, November 10, 2017 with the support of hundreds who attended the event.

Next time you visit Springfield, Oregon, take a moment to visit this new memorial. Remember the many women who dedicated their lives on behalf of their fellow Americans. Think of the women currently in service and of those who will serve in the future. They are all our heroes.


The Oregon Women Veterans Memorial sculpture is located at the corner of “I Street” and Mohawk Boulevard in Springfield, Oregon. The sculpture was installed in the Springfield Veterans Memorial Plaza, which is within Willamalane Park and Recreation District’s park.

About Springfield Veterans Memorial Plaza

The memorial plaza provides community members and guests a place for reflection, education, and events. It is ADA accessible and within a beautifully maintained park to serve as a space to honor those who have served our country. The memorial plaza also features a memorial to Vietnam Veterans and will be the site of future memorials.

Written by Amber Fossen, Public Affairs Coordinator for the City of Springfield

Thankful for the Main Street Grant!

November 28, 2017

Written by Shannon Thorson, business owner in downtown Carlton, Oregon


Photo of Carlton & Coast Tavern after Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant improvements.

In October of 2016 we bought an old 1932 building in downtown Carlton which was one of the original Safeway stores that swept across the West in the 30s. Although originally a Safeway, the building spent most of its life housing different bars.

Time had not been kind to our new acquisition as a series poor repairs and bad remodels left it in a dire state. Although located in an energetic little downtown, our block had a 70% vacancy rate based on square footage and was performing poorly comparative to buildings on the East end of downtown.

Before photo of building that is now Carlton & Coast Tavern.

Our plan was to run the bar and make slow and steady improvements, but as plumbing pipes burst, toilets backed-up, breakers tripped and water trickled through the roof we realized we needed to close the business and find a way to give this old building and struggling block much deserved attention.

As the building sat, we applied for the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant. Our project was designed to both rehabilitate the building, revitalize the West end of Main Street and create much needed jobs in Carlton.

Carlton & Coast Tavern 2017 Once we obtained approval from the folks at the State Historic Preservation office, the project moved at a rapid pace and we have just recently launched the Carlton & Coast Tavern which offers 38 taps of local beer, ciders and wines. Not only did we achieve our stated goals but we’re also supporting the local economy by featuring mostly beverages produced in Oregon which of course stimulates job and industry growth across the state.

We’re thrilled to share before and after pictures of our project and can’t thank the Oregon Legislature and State Historic Preservation Office enough for supporting small town revitalization and job creation efforts.

Don’t forget to shop in your local downtown this holiday season!

Who Knew Sharing Cemetery History Could Be So Much Fun?!

October 25, 2017

Written by Dirk Siedlecki, President of Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery

MTP 2015 CastWhat started out in 2006, as an idea for a onetime event to raise some much-needed funds for restoration work in our cemetery, turned into a very popular annual event. After my wife Mary and I attended a similar program in Grants Pass, Oregon in 2004, we thought it would be a fun and interesting project to take on to benefit Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery. We discussed the concept with members of our Cemetery Committee who all seemed very interested and excited with the idea. So in October 2006, Meet the Pioneers, guided Living History Walking Tours was launched and has been playing to sell-out audiences since.

Emma & David BW 01We have Players in period dress or costumes who are at  grave-side and portray the Spirits of the dearly departed and share their life stories with the audience. In addition to personal stories we also cover the important topics and happenings of the day, mid-late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Such as the small pox epidemic that struck Jacksonville in 1868, or the last hanging in Jacksonville in 1886.  This year we covered the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, and its impact on Southern Oregon along with ten other stories. Each year we offer new stories and tend to “kick-it-up-a-notch” by adding props, Narratives and this year’s Vignettes.

This program Steve & Mary Ann BW 02has not only provided us with ongoing funding for cemetery restoration and preservation projects, but equally important it has introduced the cemetery and its value to  the community. These Living History Tours, along with our History Saturday in the Cemetery and Tuesday Evening Cemetery Strolls, have greatly increased the number of visitors and supporters of Jacksonville’s Cemetery.

Meet the Pioneers attracts approximately 700 visitors during its two-day run and helps the community merchants during a time of the year where visitor numbers are usually down. The continued success of  Meet the Pioneers has inspired the local Chamber to promote other fall activities in Jacksonville such as Haunted Trolley Tours and Historic Jacksonville Inc. to offer Haunted Walking Tours, all to the benefit of the community and its residents.

Don’t forget! It’s Historic Cemeteries month and there are bound to be historic cemeteries near year having events this weekend, such as the ones listed below:

The Power of a Cemetery Clean-Up Workday

September 7, 2017


What do dump trucks, 10 shovels, and 900 strawberry plants have in common? SOLVE! In 2005, several community groups partnered with SOLVE for the first of many workdays at the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery in Coos Bay. With a grant from SOLVE, a small cache of tools, including ten shovels, was put together. On May 7th, 2005, virtual army of volunteers descended on the cemetery to attack the vegetation that over-topped every headstone. By the end of the day, three and a half dump trucks loads of invasive species had been hauled off, heritage roses – including one that was barely two inches high – were identified, and the task of recording information on the headstones was begun. The efforts of the more than 100 volunteers did not go unnoticed: the project was selected from over a thousand other volunteer projects for a Join Hands Day Excellence Award, one of the twenty national awards given in 2005.

MPC-dumping.jpgFor many years, the cemetery was open only for Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day, so twice a year inmate crews would would arrive at the cemetery to cut back as much vegetation as possible. As a result of this single workday, visitors could at least walk through the entire cemetery and could make arrangements to visit at any time of the year. On the workdays that followed, volunteers used weed wrenches and a lot of muscle to remove more of the unwanted vegetation. The cache of tools expanded from the first ten shovels to include lopers, rakes, and small hand tools, some of which were purchased with another SOLVE grant. The crumpled, chain-link gate that had been padlocked most days of the year was replaced with a new gate. With the assistance of a OPRD Historic Cemeteries Grant, a new, black picket fence stretches along the new sidewalk, a project of the City of Coos Bay, and along that sidewalk – nearly 900 native strawberry plants were planted during the SOLVE workday last April.

Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery has been able to have workdays sponsored by SOLVE for the past 12 years. This year is the first attempt at a SOLVE coordinated historic cemetery workday. It will be paired with the 34th Annual Beach Clean-up on September 23rd. SOLVE is anxious to make it clear it promotes responsible care for all of Oregon, not just its beaches or the Portland metro area. Cemeteries are located in every community throughout Oregon and can give everyone an opportunity to become involved in a worthwhile event.

Our clean-up at the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery will actually take place on Friday, September 22, to accommodate the high school’s schedule and homecoming events. Work at the cemetery is on-going, and a single workday day can’t undo years of neglect, however, in the case of the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery, a single, awesome workday did serve as a catalyst for renewal. Now, under SOLVE’s banner, historic cemeteries may be remembered and cared for at least once each year. Who knows what may evolve!

For more information on how to join the volunteer effort or a list of participating cemeteries, visit

Plan + Process = Success!

August 31, 2017

St. Helens grant process.jpgBy Jasmine Jordan

When members of St. Helens Economic Development Corporation (SHEDCO), the downtown association in St. Helens, first heard about the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, we immediately recognized the potential impact such a program could have on our local businesses. The scenic riverfront and beautiful historic buildings attract many visitors to our little town along the Columbia, yet several properties have degraded over the years and are due for both aesthetic and safety improvements. The challenge with this grant was creating a process to select a project that aligned with their priorities and would be competitive.

Of the 212 properties that are within the Designated Main Street District in St. Helens, SHEDCO had to select one project for the grant. Given the limited time left before the grant application was due, I created a four-week selection process. First, I sent personal letters to all of the property owners within the district. I asked the owners to send me proposals for projects that would both help St. Helens advance its community development goals and meet the state requirements for the grant.

Of the proposals we received, eight of them seemed feasible and urgent enough to proceed to the next round. All of the businesses that sent proposals that met the basic requirements were asked to present their ideas in front of our board. They were asked to bring building drawings, plans, and any other documents that would help us with our decision. The proposals were scored on four aspects:

  • Does it meet the goals of the grant program
  • Does it help SHEDCOs mission to provide the leadership and coordination necessary to enhance the economic viability of St. Helens
  • Does it meet logistical requirements (deadlines, funding, contracting, permitting, zoning)
  • Does it fit with larger city economic development plans

After the four-week selection process, SHEDCO chose a proposal presented by the local restaurant El Tapatio. During the winter storms this past January, the El Tapatio building sustained significant roof damage, limiting operations. The grant will help fund the roof repairs, rehabilitate the building, and expand the inner and outer dining area.  The project will enhance the pedestrian experience along Columbia Boulevard by adding an outdoor patio with a fountain and flower pots.

The entire community was ecstatic when we learned that the El Tapatio project had been selected as one of the grant finalist. SHEDCO hopes to expand its selection process for the 2018 round of the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant by encouraging more properties owners to submit proposals.

St. Helens is part of the Oregon Main Street Network. In 2015, the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant program was established by the legislature with a $2.5 million infusion of lottery bond funds. 27 projects were funded across the state. In 2017, $5 million for this grant was included in a lottery bond bill. This funding will be awarded in spring of 2019. To learn more about Oregon Main Street and the grant program visit

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Hillsboro

August 16, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Hillsboro are being carried out by the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Out with the Vacant, In with New Business!

Us Main Street folks too often hear complaints from community members about vacant businesses and lack of desired merchandise in our Downtown districts. Because of this, The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership (HDP) partnered with the City of Hillsboro to take action by filling vacancies in the Downtown business district and diversifying the business mix. The City conducted a Retail Market Analysis for the district, with the goal in mind to pass recommendations to HDP’s Business Development Committee to implement. And the process is already working.

Initial findings from the market analysis show gaps in supply and demand and help us understand perceptions from different sectors of the community. Among the findings, bakeries, clothing stores, breakfast and brunch restaurants, home furnishings and anything related to natural and healthy products made the top of the list of community desired businesses.

PropertySellSheets_July2017_Page_01.jpgActions the Business Development committee is undertaking fall under the umbrella of helping existing businesses succeed, focusing on the top 3 to 5 retail ready vacancies and filling them, and finally organizing and implementing a target business sales campaign. Specific projects include workshops for business and property owners, developing a restaurant “boot camp” and restaurant week promotion, creating Downtown marketing packages for potential investors, and filling vacancies through aggressive marketing to successful existing businesses looking to expand and open in new locations.

We are just in the beginning stages of implementation; yet, we are already seeing success. Sharing market analysis findings with property owners has helped them


Decadent Creations, a new bakery in Downtown Hillsboro.

identify better fit tenants to bring into their buildings. We have since had a new bakery called Decadent Creations, and a home furnishings store called The Sofa Studio open. Furthermore, D’Anu Wine Bar and a clothing shop, Nan’s Glad Rags, are opening in the month of August. The clothing shop is the first women’s clothing shop to open in Downtown in decades, and they were recruited by our own Business Development committee member, EJ Payne, who used market analysis findings to recruit the new business.

We are excited to see where this project leads us in the next year and beyond in our efforts to fill vacancies and diversify Downtown’s business mix.

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Port Orford

July 6, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Port Orford are being carried out by the Port Orford Main Street Revitalization Association and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Port Orford has one gallery for every 100 people. Capitalizing on art, our Main Street organization uses public art to help the revitalization effort of down town and brand Port Orford as a designated Art District. Movable murals help to solve problem buildings in distress until the problem is resolved. Other murals depict history or are just fun – giant flowers on fences, story book characters on murals at library and much more. Art walks improve pedestrian traffic and show off the galleries.

Public art in Port Orford expanded from murals and a mosaic to whimsical fire hydrants. Our most recent art addition turns rusting fire hydrants along Main Street into pieces of art. Residents and visitors can obtain a map at the visitor center and other places in order to find all of the art enhanced hydrants: Oregon Duck, Starry Night, Minion, Dotty, Quilt, Dalmatian, and many more. Artists did their thing to refurbish rusting hydrants to the delight of the fire department. School children submitted designs so that more will be done with their designs with hydrants close to Main Street. The fun hydrants add to the character of the community with its painters, poets, musicians, and many galleries.

Port Orford is now a designated Art District. Both the Main Street organization and the Art Council promote art with Art Walks, First Fridays and special exhibits.Be sure to stop by next time you are driving up or down the Coast and see what art treasures await in Port Orford!

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Canby

June 14, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Canby are being carried out by the City of Canby and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Canby Main Street – a program of the City of Canby – serves as the liaison to the city’s Historic Review Board. As the staff liaison, the Main Street program leverages its funding to complete programs and projects that are unique to Canby’s history.

On May 5, 2017, the City of Canby’s Historic Review Board hosted “Re-discovering Canby’s Roots: Baker Prairie Cemetery”. The re-dedication event celebrated the completion of Phase One of the repair and cleaning of Baker Prairie Cemetery, and to kick-off Phase Two. It was held in conjunction with Canby Main Street’s May First Friday event.

BPC Program_Page_1In April 2016 the City of Canby’s Historic Review Board applied for and received a $6,200 grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries (OCHC) to pay for Phase One of the Baker Prairie Cemetery Rehabilitation Project. The catalyst for the project was a phone call from Jeanine Kersey, the great-great granddaughter of Philander Lee, who is buried in Baker Prairie Cemetery. In addition to regularly visiting her ancestors, she has participated in efforts to maintain the grounds and the markers since 1949.

In October that work was completed. Twenty-six broken or tilted markers were repaired and/or reset. Another 30 markers were cleaned using products and tools that remove moss and dirt but do not harm the stones or the environment. Volunteers from local non-profits, engaged citizens, descendants of those buried at Baker Prairie Cemetery, and Historic Review Board members came together to learn the proper techniques for cleaning the headstones.

Baker Prairie Cemetery has been featured as one of ten sites listed in the City of Canby’s first heritage trail, “Exploring Community Connections: The Downtown Canby Heritage Trail,” a self-guided walking tour. Baker Prairie Cemetery was established in 1863 after J. Wesley Joslyn sold one-acre of his 1852 Donation Land Claim to the community for $1.00. Out of 131 gravesites, 86 individuals died before 1900. Members of many of the first families who settled in and around Canby are buried in Baker Prairie including Lees, Knights, Macks, Waits, Parrotts, Mays, and Joslyns.

The Historic Review Board invited descendants of those buried at Baker Prairie. Per Jamie Stickel, the Canby Main Street Manager and staff liaison to the Historic Review Board, “as Canby continues to grow, it’s important for us to look back and honor Canby’s unique history and the people who created this town. I look forward to continuing the work we have started.”