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Longtime columnist Donna Gramse pens her final article, reliving the 17 years she has lived in Woodburn

It is with great sadness that I submit my last article to History Bits. I am moving to Washington to be closer to my grandchildren, and am planning on selling my house here.

Consequently, I have been cleaning out a lot of memories that I have amassed in the 17 years that I have been in Woodburn.

When I first moved here we COURTESY PHOTO - Miles Chevroletwere known for our Car Corner; Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge were all located in one small area. Shortly thereafter the outlet mall opened and has since built on twice. We now have four new restaurants and many oCOURTESY PHOTO - Fairway Drugsther businesses where the cars used to be.

The highway interchange has changed completely, and has been greatly beautified, but most of the businesses which were around it when I moved here are either gone or moved. We lost Wendy's but gained Walgreens. Both the Chevron station and KFC rotated and built new buildings. Coffee service went from small kiosks to convenient drive-throughs.

I worked down on Front Street and watched as it had the sideCOURTESY PHOTO - Front Street before the 2009 upgradeswalks torn up and replaced and flowers put in. Engine 1785 got a new paint job and really looks spiffy. We added a new police station and added on to the fire station.

Safeway moved across the highway and became a superstore and added a gas station. Walmart also changed and became a superstore, adding food to their sales. We added a new medical facility, and a couple of large retirement communities.

Goodwill Industries moved down the street, and also became a superstore. We've added several new parks, and the Woodburn Aquatic Center had the pool bottom painted, and lights added underwater. They also started selling swimsuits and other water equipment. The city also added filters to their water system so that our water softeners were no longer needed.

There have been many more changes that I can't remember, but for all that, there is one thing that has not changed. That is the friendliness of the people of Woodburn. I have enjoyed learning about your town's history and passing on some of that knowledge through the paper.

I will always have very fond memories of the time that I spent here with all of you.

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