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Milwaukie City Hall's diamond jubilee

Milwaukie City Hall is turning 75 with a grand birthday party, and you’re invited.

Join the City Council, former city officials and other dignitaries from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, as cake and lemonade are served and U.S. Congressman Kurt Schrader presents the building with a commemorative flag from the U.S. Capitol.

Festivities and speeches will take place in the Milwaukie City Hall Fire Bay, 10722 S.E. Main St.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: CITY OF MILWAUKIE - Milwaukie City Hall is seen in the 1950s when it still housed a fire department.Cars constructed circa 1938 will park in front as a barbershop quartet strolls Main Street and serenades partiers. City Hall will be open, as it always is for First Fridays, but local historians will be on hand to guide folks around the building. First Friday events will go on at the same time, but mostly after 6 p.m.

by: FILE PHOTO - Milwaukie City Hall in a historic photograph from its 1938 construction.Earl Burdick Jr., the son of Mayor Earl Burdick who authorized the building of City Hall on a $27,226 contract in 1937, will join the festivities. On the same block as one of the city’s original public school buildings, City Hall was the last Oregon project built by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (WPA). Parades, diving competitions and dinners featuring “Clackamas Cool” punch followed a formal dedication ceremony on July 7, 1938.

Burdick Jr., 91, who’s still a Milwaukie resident, has seen City Hall change a lot in the past 75 years. Its fire bay is used for storage and community events and the library has moved to 21st Avenue. City Council, administration and Municipal Court offices continue to reside at City Hall.

Prior to 1938, the City Hall was located at 21st and Monroe and included a fire station. Clackamas Fire District No. 1 now serves Milwaukie out of the Public Service Building at 32nd and Harrison Street, which also houses the police station that used to call City Hall its home base.

Burdick Jr. has memories of 1930s Milwaukie with his father as mayor.

“When he was in office, he wouldn’t let me play under the desk, because he was pretty strict,” he said. “But I’d go down with my dad once in a while and watch them construct the building.”

After serving in the South Pacific in World War II, Burdick married Betty, from Northeast Portland, and they’ve remained together for 68 years. They lived on 37th Avenue between Harrison and Monroe streets for 51 years, and now their great-grandchild will attend Rowe Middle School on Lake Road.

“The city is very well-organized, and I’d like to see that continue with quiet zones,” Burdick said. “I was born in Milwaukie, and when I die, I hope I’ll have my ashes scattered over Milwaukie.”




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