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Pints from the Past to detail Willamette Falls Industrial Archaeology findings

August dig at North Woolen Mill to be explained Jan. 19


SUBMITTED ART - Attend Pints from the Past, a free discussion series and ongoing collaboration between Clackamas County Historical Society and Oregon City Public Library. The event takes place at the Midway Bar, 1003 Seventh St. in Oregon City. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the talk starts at 6:30 p.m.

The archeological discoveries made last summer at the Oregon City Woolen Mills will be discussed at a Pints from the Past event, a free discussion series and ongoing collaboration between Clackamas County Historical Society (CCHS) and Oregon City Public Library (OCPL). The event takes place at the Midway Bar, 1003 Seventh St. in Oregon City. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the talk starts at 6:30 p.m.

CCHS collects, preserves and interprets the history and culture of historic Clackamas County, and the nonprofit organization operates the Museum of the Oregon Territory and the Historic Stevens-Crawford Heritage House. The library, established in 1842, offers scads of local events and activities.

Attendees of CCHS and the library’s Pints from the Past event can purchase dinner and drinks with friends while listening to expert lectures on topics related to the rich history of the Oregon Territory. CCHS and OCPL have partnered with the Willamette Falls Legacy Project (WFLP) for this latest iteration.

Titled, “Industrial Archaeology at Willamette Falls: Exploratory Investigations at the North Woolen Mill, Oregon City, Oregon,” it will include information experts obtained during archaeological investigations this past August at the Oregon City Woolen Mill foundation. For more than a century, this site at the base of Willamette Falls was an industrial area closed to public access.

“If you like learning new aspects about the history of Willamette Falls while sharing a beverage or meal with friends, then we have the event for you,” CCHS Executive Director Claire Blaylock says. “Willamette Falls is the key to the past and future of Oregon City. It’s amazing and exciting to still be able to discover new ways this area was used.”

The featured event lecturer will be Rick Minor, senior archeologist on the dig. Minor’s training includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from California State University-Fullerton and both a master’s and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from the University of Oregon. As senior archaeologist and co-founder of Heritage Research Associates, he has more than 40 years of experience as a professional archaeologist. His record of research reflects a long history of collaboration with professionals in other fields, especially geologists and historians, making his partnership with WFLP an easy choice.

With the help of WFLP, the city of Oregon City sponsored a two-week program of archaeological discovery investigations at the Oregon City Woolen Mill site in August 2015. The woolen mill operated from 1865 to the mid-20th century. While the mill was torn down in the early 1980s, large basalt foundations remain onsite and the space was used as a storage yard until February 2011, when the Blue Heron Paper Company went into federal bankruptcy protection.

WFLP has a goal of transforming the 22-acre former Blue Heron mill site into a mixed-use destination that embodies the four core values of public access: economic redevelopment, habitat restoration, historic preservation and cultural interpretation.

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