This year was an eventful one for the Estacada community. The News reflects on 2017's top stories.

FILE PHOTO - This was all that was left of the Safari Club building earlier this year.

From saying goodbye to the Safari Club and saying hello to a new superintendent, this past year in Estacada was rife with everything from excitement and hope to change and sadness. The community rallied together after an unprecedented incident of violence, Southeast Fifth Avenue was renamed to honor a resident who died while serving in the Iraq war and the Chamber of Commerce began a new tradition.

As 2017 comes to a close, the Estacada News reflected on some of the year's top stories.

Changes in school leadership

There were several switches in school leadership positions during 2017.

In January, former Estacada School District Superintendent Marla Stephenson announced her retirement, and Estacada High School Principal Ryan Carpenter was named interim superintendent the following month. Carpenter and Stephenson worked together in the superintendent role until her retirement in the summer. In November, the Estacada School Board hired Carpenter as the district's permanent superintendent.

"My heart is truly in this district," Carpenter said during the November school board meeting in which he was hired at the district's


There were leadership changes in other areas of the school district, as well. Bill Blevins was hired as principal of Estacada High School, and Ben Hargrave was hired as principal of Estacada Middle School.

Additionally, Lisa Alves and Rochelle Shibahara were elected to the school board. Board members Jeromy Adamson and Joe Behrman were re-elected to their positions.

Farewell to the Safari Club

This summer saw the demolition of the Safari Club to make way for a new Dollar General store. The Safari Club, a nightclub that was open 24 hours during its glory days and featured a restaurant and coffee bar, had been closed since 2013 and saw its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. During its tenure, the establishment was a favorite spot of many Estacada residents.

Glen Park, who had at one time owned Estacada's Park Lumber Mill, founded the club to house his collection of animals from a series of big game hunting trips around the world. Hundreds of life-sized, taxidermied animals could be found inside of the establishment — complete with scenes recreated from their native lands.

From the club's earliest days, the animals dominated the atmosphere and set it apart from other destinations. As soon as they entered the club, visitors felt like they were in another land.

"You felt like you were in the jungle, and you could see what was happening," Estacada historian Kathryn Hurd told the Estacada News in May. "The scenes were beautifully done. They were well lit, and you could sit right next to them."

However, after being empty for several years, it was announced that the space that once held the iconic green building would become a Dollar General store, marking the retailer's first location in Clackamas County. The demolition took place during the summer, and the new building was built in the fall.

Estacada's Dollar General Store opened its doors to customers for the first time earlier this month, and a grand opening will take place sometime next month.

Next summer, Artback artists will complete their annual mural project on one section of the building.

Search for missing resident ends in tragedy

Many residents came together to search for 18-year-old Brandon Powell after he went missing in March. Several months later, his body was found in the Clackamas River.

In addition to professional search teams, numerous people in Powell's life had been searching for him as well.

Powell was a student at Clackamas Community College. He was a member of the school's track team and the First Year Experience program.

Powell's sister Tori told the Estacada News that her brother hoped to earn an associate degree in business and then transfer to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship.

She described her brother as "one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet."

"He would never intentionally hurt anyone," she said. "When he started playing football he had to be told it was OK to run into the other team."

Officials found no signs of foul play when Powell's body was discovered.

Spring Gala

In April, leaders at the Estacada Chamber of Commerce hosted a new event: a spring gala fundraiser with a "unique experiences" themed auction.

The evening's silent and live auctions featured everything from a year of free coffee at the Mason Jar and handmade art to private dinners with chauffeur service and a prize package to the Estacada Timber Festival.FILE PHOTO - Ryan Carpenter, previously principal of Estacada High School, was named interim superintendent in February. He then became the school districts permanent leader in November.

The event was well attended, with around 100 people packing the community center.

Mayor Sean Drinkwine was one of many attendees who thought the evening was a success.

Drinkwine felt the community had been waiting for an event like the gala "for a long time" and praised the way it brought people together.

"It showed the community we can all be one and come out successfully, and it showed that we work well together," he said. "I think everyone felt like they were a part of something."

Chamber leaders hope to host the event annually.

Violence in Harvest Market and Colton

On Mother's Day, the community was faced with horrific acts of violence that occured at Harvest Market and in neighboring Colton.

Joshua Webb, a 36-year-old resident of Colton, allegedly carried his mother's severed head into the Estacada grocery store. Witnesses described him as reportedly "covered in blood" and carrying a knife as well as the head. Once inside the store, they said, he proceeded to stab Harvest Market employee Michael Wagner before being restrained by store employees

until law enforcement reached the scene.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Estacada community rallied around Wagner in support. Numerous cards, balloons and other expressions of well wishes could be found at multiple locations around town. Many people also participated in a Meal Train for Wagner and his family, and others showed financial support through a charitable donation account for Wagner's medical expenses.

Wagner was released from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland a week after the incident.

"I'm feeling good, I'm not in a lot of pain and I'm looking forward to finishing up the healing process," Wagner told the Estacada News in June. "I never thought this was the end. I knew I was going to pull through, all because of other people."

Wagner returned to work at the store several months after the incident.

"The sooner (I can go back), the better," he said before his return. "I miss the people. I miss everybody."

Webb, currently being held in the Clackamas County Jail, has been charged with the murder of his mother, Tina Webb, in their Colton home; attempted murder for the incident at Harvest Market; and abuse of a corpse and aggravated animal abuse. His trial is scheduled to begin next summer.

Jeremy Loveless Avenue

In May, the renaming of Southeast Fifth Avenue was done to honor the late Jeremy Loveless, an Estacada resident who was killed while serving in Iraq with the United States Army in 2006. Loveless was also a volunteer firefighter with the Estacada Rural Fire District.

The street, which houses Estacada's fire department, is now known as Southeast Jeremy Loveless Avenue.

On Memorial Day of 2006, Loveless was serving as a medic on a Stryker vehicle during combat operations in Mosul, Iraq. Typically, medics ride in the patient treatment area of the Stryker, but Loveless preferred the turret so he could see people and throw candy to children while patrolling. On that day, however, the Stryker came under fire, and 25-year-old Loveless was killed.

"The story continues — people coming through will ask who Jeremy Loveless is and why the road is named after him," said Jason Crowe, a division chief at the Estacada Fire District.

Estacada goes Hollywood

In September, Willow Shields — known for playing Primrose Everdeen in the "Hunger Games" franchise — came to town.

Shields and fellow actress Meg DeLacy were filming scenes for the upcoming film "Woodstock or Bust." The story follows teenage songwriters Lorian (Shields) and Meryl (DeLacy) as they journey across the U.S. in their 1965 Mustang convertible to reach the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in New York.

Several of the scenes filmed in Estacada feature DeLacy and Shields driving along Currin and Broadway streets, and another was filmed inside Award Embroidery and Apparel on Broadway Street.

The film is currently in post production and is scheduled for release sometime next year.

Along with "Woodstock or Bust," TNT's Electric Entertainment series "The Librarians" filmed at Milo McIver State Park in August. Titled "The Librarians and the Trial of the One," the episode filmed is the penultimate installment of the show's fourth season and will air in January or February 2018.


Several Estacada mainstays celebrated significant anniversaries in 2017. The Spiral Gallery celebrated 15 years in town, and the Book Nook celebrated 25 years of promoting literacy.

The Book Nook was founded in February 1992 and has been selling books for $2 or less since its inception. Staffed entirely by volunteers, one hundred percent of the store's inventory is donated.

"We love when kids come to visit (the store), and being there for the community," Book Nook Manager Linda Arnett told the Estacada News in February.

Ten years later, Jami Berry founded The Spiral Gallery in October 2002.

Gallery members credit the organization's longevity to community support and its co-op model, which it adopted two years after opening. As a cooperative, each member shares ownership and pays monthly dues to cover the building's rent.

"The art buyers in this town are amazing," artist Carol Pulvermacher told the Estacada News in October. "They do not let us down. Other (businesses) have come and gone, but we've stayed. And we stay because of community support."

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