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  • 24 Oct 2014

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Falls fest kicks off with OC history

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bagpiper Wiley Swogger and Mayor Doug Neeley (as Dr. John McLoughlin) stand in front of Oregon Citys Carnegie Library.The Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition will celebrate the Oregon City area’s rich history with a two-day festival Oct. 5 and 6. The Willamette Falls Festival is preparing cultural and outdoor-recreational activities throughout Oregon City and West Linn.

The festival will gear up Friday evening, Oct. 4, as the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde presents the We Love Clean Rivers Benefit Dinner featuring Native Pacific Northwest foods prepared by Chef Matt Bennett at the Museum of the Oregon Territory.

Saturday, Oct. 5, will kick off with the farmers market followed by musical performances, including Grammy-nominated Ellen Whyte. Members of the public can pre-register for special guided tours of the West Linn Paper Co. and the former Blue Heron mill site. Festival attendees also will see industrial heritage re-enactments, as well as tribal demonstrations of Native American drumming and crafts. Carve out time at noon to join in the dedication of Mid Run, a We Love Clean Rivers RiPPLe Legacy Sculpture in Clackamette Park. The evening will end with a bang — a fireworks show over the Willamette River.

The Willamette Falls Festival’s partner events include Lock Fest in West Linn, and “BizFair and HarvestFest,” a fundraiser for the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Chamber members planned activities including: pumpkin slingshots by Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences; Maralee’s Dance Studio performances; bouncy house and face painting courtesy of BCT; music by the Turkey Creek Desperadoes; petting zoo by Wilco; Harmony Road Music Center performances; a chili cook-off and pumpkin-pie contest by Portland Catering Co.; pumpkin carving/decorating and scarecrow contest by Citizens Bank; and a scavenger hunt for prizes.

Also on Oct. 5, at 11:30 a.m. the museum presents “Moore & McLoughlin — Industrialists & Founders of West Linn & Oregon City,” featuring former West Linn Mayor Larry McIntyre as Robert Moore, and current Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley as Dr. John McLoughlin. Moore and McLoughlin were well-acquainted with each other as local entrepreneurs and were buried within a week of each other in 1857. Former Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris will moderate the discussion.

Then learn more about the Willamette Falls Canal and Navigational Locks in a free presentation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers speaker Pat Duyck at the Museum of the Oregon Territory Saturday, at 2 p.m. Oct.5.

Eat or exercise Sunday morning, Oct. 6, when the Cascade Pacific Boy Scouts of America pour on the syrup at a Pancake Breakfast, followed by a family-friendly Bike Rodeo. Fitness aficionados will want to head to Clackamette Park for a Fun-athlon (run/paddle/bike), as well as a 5K Fun Run (pre-registration required). Activities also will focus on the Arch Bridge. It will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon, allowing the public to walk, take photos and converse with plein air artists. A Heritage Parade will begin in downtown Oregon City at 11 a.m. and make its way to West Linn via the bridge. Festival-goers may take photos of the parade’s vintage cars when they pull to a stop in West Linn’s Historic Willamette District.

There also will be activities that stretch over both days: Willamette jetboat tours, carnival rides, a Willamette Falls Festival Geocache Challenge, self-guided heritage trail tours, plein air and RiPPLe art demonstrations and local food, wine and beer.

Proceeds from the Willamette Falls Festival will benefit We Love Clean Rivers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to both broadening public engagement with river restoration activities and increasing the recreation community’s understanding of threats to watershed health.

For more information, to volunteer at the festival, purchase a commemorative poster, or register for the We Love Clean Rivers Benefit Dinner, jetboat rides, industrial tours or the Fun-athlon and 5K Fun Run, visit WillametteFallsFestival.com.