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Graham takes reins of Oswego Heritage Council

by: CLIFF NEWELL, 
Jude Graham finds time to appreciate the beauty of Oswego Heritage House, even though she has been extremely busy since becoming executive director of the Oswego Heritage Council.

Some people hit the ground running on a new job.

Jude Graham has been practically flying since she became the new executive director of the Oswego Heritage Council last month.

'It's been a chaotic 12 days,' Graham said. 'But I've had a great time. It has been so exciting.'

The Oswego Heritage House is the historical heart of Lake Oswego, and Graham is now a historical figure herself: She is the first non-Headlee sister to be executive director of the OHC.

First it was Susie, then it was Nancy who led the council through its first 10 years with the Heritage House as headquarters. Graham may not be a Headlee, but OHC board president Alice Schlenker thinks Graham has just the qualities needed for the job.

'Jude will continue the wonderful effort begun by the Headlee and Campbell families,' Schlenker said. 'This is a changing of the guard, and the Headlee sisters can't be replaced. But we have found someone with a great love and sensitivity for our historical culture in Lake Oswego.'

Only someone with Graham's background could handle the large slate of new OHC projects:

n A Furnace Preservation Project update was given by Jerry Knippel of the city of Lake Oswego.

n An exhibition of antique radios. It is truly a fun project, with council members gathering radios from their childhood.

n The Heritage House will have its first-ever art festival on the Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 29-30) after Thanksgiving. It will feature local painters, sculptors and jewelers .

n The brick sale, in which families can buy bricks with their named engraved on them for placement on the patio with the American Flag.

n The oral history project featuring interviews and videos of older members of the community.

n The Pioneer Cemetery project done by Richard Santee and Steve Dietz, who have put in 'thousands of hours of work' amassing photos and historical documents.

'It's just amazing the amount of history that this little place holds,' Graham said.

It's also amazing that Graham is the new executive director. She was just settling into retirement when Nancy Headlee announced she would be stepping down as OHC director. A seven-year resident of Lake Oswego, Graham worked in historic preservation in Denver, Colo. She later worked with community associations in conservation and restoration. She also has a background in art.

With 'all of these combinations and years of experience,' it was almost like the job was looking for Graham.

'I seemed to be a good match, so I applied,' Graham said. 'It has been just a delight getting to know all of our supporters.'

Graham has found plenty of examples of how she has stepped into a remarkable situation. One of them came when a man asked about an airport that had once been located near the current site of Kruse Way.

'In about 15 minutes, Susanna Kuo and Pete Stidd had the entire history for him,' Graham said.

More about the Oswego Heritage Council and Oswego Heritage House can be found at the Web site http://www.oswe

goheritage.org/ .