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Exhibits document the past, present and future of the former Blue Heron Mill at Willamette Falls



SUBMITTED PHOTO - Mark Fitzgerald's photograph Main Street was selected for the $500 jurors award, which honors an artwork that memorably and effectively captured, evoked and conveyed the spirit of the former Blue Heron mill site.

Clackamas County Arts Alliance offered 30 artists a unique opportunity in October 2014: a private tour of the 26 acres and 40 buildings comprising the former Blue Heron paper mill on the banks of Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

On that gloriously sunny day, the artists — selected from a pool of 94 applicants — had time to explore and absorb remnants of the past, gleaned from the empty buildings. Their task was to interpret and document what remains, and to capture the spirit of the mill before it vanishes.

The 45 artworks produced from that day’s experience are on display through April 2 at Oregon City's City Hall, located at 615 Center St., and through April 9 in the lobby of the Development Services Building, 150 S. Beavercreek Road.

One of the pieces, Mark Fitzgerald’s photograph “Main Street,” was selected for the $500 juror’s award, which honors an artwork that “memorably and effectively captured, evoked and conveyed the spirit of the former Blue Heron mill site.” It’s on view at the Development Services Building.Mark Fitzgerald

The paper mill closed its gates for the last time in 2011, ending more than 100 years of continuous industry on the site, beginning with a woolen mill and including multiple paper mill operations. In the early 20th century, this site was a bustling hub of employment, commerce and shipping, and was an active part of downtown Oregon City.

During the past three years, all machinery and other contents were sold at auction, and the site sat idle while a new owner was sought.

The City of Oregon City, Clackamas County, the State of Oregon and Metro all participated in building a 21st-century vision for the site’s future, including public access to the falls, adaptive reuse of buildings on the property and mixed-use purposes throughout. In early 2014, George Heidgerken purchased the property; his own ideas and prior experiences are aligned with the public vision.

Exhibiting artists include: John Allgood, linocut print, Wilsonville; Thea Kuziemski, photograph/metal, Estacada; Gabe Babcock, sculpture, Corvallis; Michael Lanz, photograph, Clackamas; Robert Bresky, photograph/book, Oregon City; Gary Michael, pastel, Milwaukie; Peter Carlson, mixed media, Eastsound, Wash.; Christopher Mooney, oil painting, Lake Oswego; Leslie Cheney-Parr, watercolor, Sandy; Henk Pander, oil painting, Portland; Mark Crummett, photograph, Portland; Sandra Pearce, watercolor, Manning; Fernanda D’Agostino, photograph/video, Portland; Leslie Peterson, mixed media, Lake Oswego; Ben Dye, sculpture, Oregon City; Garrett Price, silkscreen/steel, Portland; Mark Fitzgerald, photograph, Portland; Peter Rand, mixed media, Bellingham, Wash.; Chip Greendale, photograph, Oregon City; Micheline Ronningen, mixed media/written article, Happy Valley; Eric Griswold, mixed media, West Linn; Susan Schenk, mixed media, Wilsonville; Kevin Gwozdz, poem, Portland; Jeff Schnabel, sculpture, Portland; Friderike Heuer, photo collage, Portland; Julia Barbee Suplee, social media, Portland; Leland John, oil painting, Oregon City; Gary Wilson, photograph, Portland; Phillip Juttelstad, oil painting, Tigard; Lisa Wiser, acrylic, Lake Oswego.

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