Celebration events planned all year

by: OLD OREGON PHOTOS - Two couples stand along the bluffs overlooking early West Linn.West Linn turns 100 years old this year and is getting ready for a yearlong party.

Incorporation of the town sites of Bolton, Sunset City, West Oregon City and Willamette Heights was made official by Clackamas County on Aug. 15, 1913. To celebrate the centennial, the West Linn Centennial Planning Committee has been meeting for more than two years to plan a year’s worth of activities throughout 2013.

From walks to talks to enough birthday cake to feed the city, there is something for everyone in the upcoming year to recognize West Linn’s 100th birthday.

The centennial planning committee believes West Linn residents value the city’s rich heritage, according to Roger Shepherd, committee member. The centennial gives the city an opportunity to remember its history while celebrating community and creating a legacy for tomorrow. The committee planned events to honor the past through fun and educational activities while capturing the images and stories of yesterday.

On Monday, the West Linn City Council will read a proclamation declaring 2013 to be the city’s centennial year and encouraging all West Linn citizens to recognize the importance of the community’s history and join in this yearlong celebration. The Oregon Legislature and U.S. Congress will make similar proclamations.

A walk on Saturday begins a series of monthly Centennial Heritage Walks on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. Each walk will include tidbits of historical information found along the route.

According to Shepherd, the Centennial Heritage Walks are a revamping of the monthly Discovery Walks, which have been held for the last 10 OLD OREGON PHOTOS - Children rode to school via horse and wagon in early West Linn.

The walk in January will start at the McLean House at 5350 River St. The group will walk across the newly refurbished arch bridge to Oregon City to reach the promenade, where views of where it all began with the Willamette River and falls will be seen.

“We are going back to the very beginning of civilization on the river,” Shepherd said.

Other planned walks include routes through the Willamette, Bolton and Sunset neighborhoods, which are some of the earliest settlements in West Linn.

On Jan. 13, the West Linn Centennial Heritage Series will begin a monthly run of speakers on the second Sunday of each month throughout 2013 at 3 p.m. at the West Linn Adult Community Center. The January series will include Sandy Carter, local historian, discussing the Willamette River, locks and floods throughout the years. Other talks will explore Native Americans along the river and white settlers in February, which will tie in with the West Linn Reads pick for 2013, “Sometimes a Great Notion” by Ken Kesey. And March’s speaker, Larry McIntyre, will talk about the beginning of West Linn in character as founder Robert Moore.

Over the course of 12 months, different aspects of the city will be showcased, said Shepherd.

An old-fashioned centennial quilting bee will occur Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the New Life Church at 1854 McKillican St. Everyone is invited to help put together the 100-square centennial quilt, featuring squares created by citizens and organizations throughout the city. The finished quilt will be shown at various events and locations throughout the year and will be raffled off in August.

In August, the main centennial celebration will occur, beginning at the Music in the Parks concert in Tanner Park on Aug. 15 with a singing of “Happy Birthday” and birthday cake for all. The weekend celebration continues on Aug. 16 with an event at an undetermined location and a citywide event at Mary S. Young Park on Aug. 17.

Many other events are planned throughout 2013, including a showing of historic photographs at the library in February, a Century Garden event at the McLean House in April, Veterans Day activities and centennial-themed activities at the Old Time Fair, Lock Fest and other community events.

To learn more about West Linn centennial activities or to learn how individual or organizations can get involved in the celebration, visit

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