West Linn will celebrate a special centennial birthday next week

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The centennial celebration will pay homage to a number of historic events unique to West Linn, such as the discovery of the Willamette Meteorite. In the background is Willamette United Methodist Church, which was built in 1909 and precedes the city of West Linn.If events deemed “once in a lifetime” are often anything but, West Linn residents can experience something that truly falls under that designation next week during the city’s three-day centennial birthday celebration.

The festivities will kick off Aug. 15 — West Linn’s official birthday — during the weekly Music in the Parks concert at Tanner Creek Park, and continue through Aug. 17. The birthday party on Aug. 15 will feature cake and fireworks, with a special 100 Years of Music concert following on Aug. 16 and “A Day of Centennial Celebration” scheduled at Mary S. Young State Park on Aug. 17.

“The goal was just to give all segments of the population an opportunity to celebrate with West Linn as it turns 100, just reach as many people as we can with the celebration throughout those three days,” Recreation Director Ken Warner said.

Warner and city officials joined hands with the West Linn Centennial Planning Committee to plan the celebration. The committee was formed back in 2010, and is co-chaired by Roger Shepard and Linda Neese.

“We’ve been having activities all year long, and we’ll continue to have some through the rest of 2013,” Shepard said. “But this is the big celebration.”

After the Music in the Parks concert — performed by Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts — centennial birthday cake and ice cream will be passed out. At around 8:45 p.m., according to Warner, fireworks will light the sky in celebration.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: OLD OREGON PHOTOS - Restored photos will be on display during the celebration, like this one which shows the Willamette Falls Mill in action, circa 1908.

As its name suggests, the 100 Years of Music concert on Aug. 16 at Hammerle Park has a distinct historical theme. The Portland-based music production company Moon Vine Music will take listeners on a journey through the tunes that defined West Linn’s 100 years.

“It’s going to cover music from 1913 to 2013,” Warner said. “So they’ll cover ragtime, the blues, rock and roll, pop and more.”

The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and, according to Warner, it is a call-back to 2008, when Moon Vine Music front man Reese Marshburn presented a “100 years of music” concert for the Willamette area’s 100-year anniversary. Marshburn and Moon Vine Music will put on an updated version of that show for West Linn’s centennial celebration.

To close out the weekend of celebration, Mary S. Young State Park will host “A Day of Centennial Celebration” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. After a pet parade to kick things off in the morning, attendees will be free to enjoy an array of food options — including the famous West Linn Lion Burgers — as well as exhibits like the Centennial Museum.

Put together by Shepard, the museum made a successful debut at the Old Time Fair in July and contains a detailed timeline as well as restored photos and video.

“We had it at the Old Time Fair and it got a great response,” Shepard said. “One of the things we heard a lot was, ‘I didn’t know West Linn had so much history.’”

Aside from Shepard’s display, families can enjoy an inflatable bounce house, a climbing wall, disc golf and a juggling show.

At the stage area, the roots band Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising will perform at 3:30 p.m.

Though unrelated to the centennial celebration, the first “Great West Linn Outdoor Adventure” will also be taking place at the park on Aug. 17, which allows people to camp overnight at the park. The idea, Warner said, is to offer centennial activities while simultaneously allowing people to check in at their camping area between 2 and 5 p.m. This way, the events will not interfere with one another in any way, and attendees can explore both of them if they so desire.

For more information on the centennial celebration, visit or

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CLACKAMAS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY - An early school bus sits outside of the first Sunset School, then known as West Oregon City School, in 1904.

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