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Museum reopens with free food, native art, photos and more

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, the Museum of the Oregon Territory, 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City, presents “Willamette Falls: Where the Future Began,” a full day of new exhibits, papermaking, crafts, workshops, music, arts and culture.

by: PHOTO COURTESY RAY TATYREK - Art capturing the transitory beauty of the post-industrial ruins surrounding Willamette Falls will be exhibited and for sale at the indoor festival at the Museum of the Oregon Territory honoring the falls Saturday, Feb. 1.Overlooking Willamette Falls, this free indoor event is a collaboration among The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Portland General Electric, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, West Linn Paper Co., the Clackamas County Historical Society and others who recognize the need to balance the ecology, cultural relevance and economic potential of the falls.

In MOOT’s new PGE Theatre Exhibit, visitors enter the power of Willamette Falls through PGE’s film: “Willamette Falls; Where the Future Began,” an up-close experience of the “Niagara of the West,” and a timeless study of the falls’ ecological, cultural and industrial relevance. PGE operates the T.W. Sullivan Power Plant at Willamette Falls, distinguished as the oldest in the West, the site of the nation’s first long-distance transmission of electricity, and one of only two power plants in Oregon designated as “green.” Proven to have minimum ecological impact, with a fish smolt survival rate of nearly 98 percent, the first primitive fish-passage channels at Willamette Falls remarkably were made back in 1885, cut through solid basalt rock.

Native art

At noon, contemporary Native American issues will be presented in an acoustic folk-music concert for youth. Spider Moccasin is the stage name of 48-year-old Wasco/Warm Springs Oregon tribal member and modern folk songwriter Marcus Moseley. A graduate of the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Spider Moccasin is a frequent performer on KBOO 90.7 FM and a prolific cartoonist, with several published comic books and wall paintings including the new, large historic mural for the Grand Ronde Tribe, created under Karl Abramovik.

Before the falls were dammed, it was a vibrant social and economic gathering point for tens of thousands of years by the Clackamas and other Salmon Nation tribes. At 1 p.m. new tribal art will be unveiled and dedicated with a blessing song from representatives of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Descendants of the relocated indigenous tribes of the falls area will present their contribution to the museum in the form of two original, hand-carved, salmon benches honoring the fish’s sacred tie to the falls, a relationship older than man.

Cultural education specialists Bobby Mercier and Brian Krehbiel teach the tools and technique of traditional-style carving, creating canoes, paddles and Chinookan-style faces, at the Tribal Carving Shed on the CTGR Reservation in Grand Ronde. The two brothers volunteered to design benches for seating in the MOOT exhibit theater, which was funded in part by grants from both Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory and PGE. Cedar bench foundations were collaboratively carved by Toby J’s Art of Aurora.

‘Lost Mural

Fans of both fishing and Captain America unite in the unveiling of the once-lost mural by comic-book legend Alex Schomburg (1905-1998), “Principal Fishes of Clackamas County,” revealed to the world Feb. 1. PGE has loaned this oil painting to the Clackamas County Historical Society, following its discovery at an abandoned fish-viewing station near the Clackamas River’s North Fork Fish Ladder, and its subsequent professional restoration.

“Alex Schomburg was to comic books what Norman Rockwell was to The Saturday Evening Post,” said Stan Lee, creator of “Spiderman.” The exhibit explains Schomburg’s significance as a Marvel Comics artist of international distinction, and how this renowned science-fiction icon, creator of the Human Torch and contributor to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” came to provide a mural in 1963 for PGE and the schoolchildren of Clackamas County.

“One of the new exhibits MOOT is proud to present is “Industries & Engineering: The Power of Willamette Falls and the Progress of Clackamas County,” said CCHS exhibit designer Mark Hurlburt. “It presents stories, artifacts and photographs of the enterprises and people that developed Clackamas County’s mills, with a focus on the monumental importance of Willamette Falls to the industries its power supported.” The entire museum has been repainted with colors that correlate with the different exhibit areas.

History and ecology

At 2 p.m., West Linn Paper Co.’s Environmental Manager Penny Machinski presents an inside look into the history and sustainability of the WLPC, the oldest operating enterprise of its kind below the Willamette Falls. The first of many papermaking operations once drawn to the area by the readily available energy of the falls, easy river transport and abundant wood from Oregon’s forests, West Linn Paper, established in 1889, now stands alone on the Willamette’s western shore.

Since paper manufacturing always has been located near the large bodies of water it requires, the industry has developed a notoriety for its impact on river ecosystems and temperatures. Machinski will explain how West Linn Paper has evolved with the times to operate in increasingly environmentally sustainable ways.

Just for kids

Children will enjoy a crafts table and take-home coloring books that explore the themes of the day. In honor of the original trade-highway marketplace of Willamette Falls, kids and adults are encouraged to bring an item to trade or a gift “offering” to honor salmon of the Willamette.

At 3 p.m., prepare to get your hands wet, with a free papermaking-arts workshop from Pulp and Deckle Paper Co. Kids and adults can make a truly homemade valentine from the paper they make by hand.

Photos, paper history, food

Photographer Ray Tatyrek has documented the intricate and transitory beauty of the post-industrial ruins of Oregon City’s Blue Heron paper-mill site in architectural photos, which he enhances to resemble fine watercolors. Tatyrek’s art will be displayed and available for purchase.

In conjunction with the new Industries Exhibit, historian and author Sandy Carter will read excerpts from her book “$1.09 An Hour and Glad To Have It,” which chronicles the oral histories of Crown Zellerbach paper-mill workers.

In the museum’s Murdock Gallery, “Dished — Tastes of Clackamas County” will be on display from opening day through mid-2014. “With spotlights on the pioneer days, early businesses, prohibition, World War II and the Cold War era, the exhibit showcases how historical events have shaped what we decide to cook,” designer Celia Baker explains. From heavy cast-iron cookware to ration stamps and Wonder Bread’s scientific laboratories, Baker’s research invites contemplation of the nuanced relationship between food and

history.

“The exhibit has its lighter side, too,” she said. “If you want to know whether you can eat an orange after a nuclear attack on Portland, or if you love bacon and want historical justification for your indulgences, go see “Dished!” Local recipes from different eras in Clackamas County’s history will be available for visitors to keep.



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