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Crown Point Country Historical Society to host groundbreaking on Saturday, April 7

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - The Crown Point Country Historical Society was founded in 1970 and has about 200 members. The Crown Point Country Historical Society will plant a tiny seed — and dig a big hole — as it begins construction of its long-awaited museum.

Everyone is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 7, at 36901 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, across the street from the Corbett Fire Hall.

"Logging and lumbering, fishing and cannerying, farming, dairying," lists Latourell local Chuck Rollins, president of the society. "Almost every aspect of why people came to Oregon you can find right here."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Chuck Rollins, president of the Crown Point Country Historical Society, is still raising funds for a new museum.  Plans have already been drawn up for a 5,000-square-foot Interpretive Center that will chronicle the lives of the pioneers, explorers and indigenous people of East Multnomah County.

Outdoor displays will pay tribute to the industrial tools that built Oregon, organized around a looping Pioneer Path lined with bricks bought by donors. Indoors, the society will display the artifacts, postcards and records it has collected since its founding in 1970.

The nonprofit-organization also envisions a rock wall carved with hieroglyphics similar to those in the Columbia River Gorge made by the native population. A memorial to veterans and fallen first responders is planned, as well as a longhouse constructed in the traditional fashion.

The groundbreaking is a welcome step forward for Rollins, a 1968 graduate of Corbett High and U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

"Talking with a lot of the old timers, (you realize) they all have a story to tell," he explains. "Once the goal was to gather those stories, and once you start doing that you realize you're a part of something."

Workers will dig a basement, raise the roof and put up the walls during the first phase of construction, scheduled to be completed before next winter. The interior work and outdoor displaces await more funding. Rollins says they've reached about 60 percent of their goal.

The nearly three-acre property is being purchased by the society from Nancy Wilson, who lives next door in a house built by her grandfather in 1916.

"All the names that I grew up being so familiar with — people don't even know who they are anymore," she noted while gardening.

"I didn't think much about history back when I was in school," adds Curt Johnson, another member of the 200-person society and a former classmate of Rollins. "Your roots, and where you're from, start to mean a lot more as you get older."

For more information, visit www.crownpointcountrymuseum.org.

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