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Lock Fest and industrial history group seeks new home


A lot of wonderful things have happened since Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation received its nonprofit status in 2002. Our small volunteer board has depended on the kindness of its friends in the communities at the falls for the space needed to run its creative heritage initiatives, which have been many.

In addition to seven Lock Fests, some of the projects conceived and developed by the foundation since 2006 include an extensive oral history of Crown Zellerbach in West Linn (in two documentary movies and a book, available through county libraries); three Art Contemplates Industry “Art Jam” events that resulted in fine art collections visually documenting PGE’s historic powerhouses at the falls and Bull Run; five middle school lesson plans focused on local mill work as described in the Crown Zellerbach project; and a collection of striking commemorative Lock Fest posters with images by Daniel Robinson. And always in the background, or foreground depending on current events, we pursue our tenacious advocacy with the Corps of Engineers for a brighter future for our 1873 navigation canal and locks.

In 2006, Blue Heron Paper Company’s Kate McCutchen found us our first two rooms on their corner in Oregon City, enabling our projects until that mill’s unexpected closure in February of 2011. Then, through the generosity of Jim Edwards and Keller and Keller properties, we found a two-room suite in the Promenade Building in Oregon City. Now, unfortunately, we need to move by Feb. 15 to make room for remodeling, but we are forever grateful to Jim and Keller and Keller.

Board members would like to explore the possibility of partnering with other local heritage nonprofits, most of whom seem to be short on space for collections and/or operations, but we already had to move Lock Fest’s “kit” into a month-to-month small storage unit, and we may have to relocate the office itself to an interim shared location if a new longer-term partner, at low or no cost, can’t be found by the end of January.

So once again we are turning to our friends around the falls. The space needed to house our part-time administrative functions, inventory, archives, furniture and supplies is approximately 300-400 square feet, preferably in two rooms. If you own or know of such a space, which could be an in-kind tax-deductible donation to the foundation or a year-to-year low-cost lease, please let us know.

Our work over the past 12 years has been lifted on the figurative shoulders of our volunteers and friends in this community, and we believe we’ve repaid that gift with the legacy of our service, preservation and advocacy here. Now we hope, once again, to feel the love that will propel our work into the future.

Contact Jim Mattis, our foundation board president, at 503-557-1039 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have an idea or suggestion that could help in our search. And thank you, for bringing us so far already, by your support and your stories.

Sandy Carter is a Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation board member and a West Linn resident.