The past 12 months brought new events, businesses and leaders to the Estacada community

FILE PHOTO - Mayor Sean Drinkwine cuts the ribbon during Dollar General's grand opening in January.

From a firefighter receiving national honors to the launch of a new summer program for local students, it's been an eventful year in Estacada. New businesses opened, an election brought fresh faces to City Council and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office took over law enforcement operations in town.

As 2018 comes to a close, the Estacada News looked back at some of the year's memorable stories.

State Park turns 50

In June, Milo McIver State Park celebrated its 50th anniversary. An event in honor of the occasion featured Milo's grandson Malcolm McIver as a guest speaker.

As chairman of the Oregon Highway Commission, Milo advocated for the land near Estacada to be preserved as a park.

During the park's dedication ceremony in 1968, then-Governor Tom McCall said "Milo McIver was a great lover of nature and an active proponent of parks and recreation for the present and future generations of our citizens. It was during his term on the Highway Commission that many of the acquisitions and improvements of our existing state parks were accomplished and plans laid for continuing activities which are still being carried out."

During Milo's tenure on the Oregon Highway Commission, 40 new areas were acquired by the state parks and attendance at the parks increased by 240 percent.

Webb sentenced

For his role in a violent chain of events that occurred at Estacada Harvest Market and Colton on Mother's Day of last year, Joshua Webb was sentenced to the Oregon State Hospital and will be under the state of Oregon's Psychiatric Security Review Board for life. On Tuesday, June 26, at the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City, Webb, a 37-year-old Colton resident, was found guilty except for insanity on charges of murder, attempt to commit murder, first degree assault, first degree abuse of a corpse and first degree aggravated animal abuse.

On May 17 of last year, Webb had been seen via surveillance video at his family's home in Colton, where he killed his mother, Tina Webb, and dismembered the body. He also killed his dog. Webb then drove to the Estacada Harvest Market and carried his mother's severed head into the store. He stabbed Michael Wagner, an employee at Harvest Market, with the same knife that had been used to kill his mother.

During the sentencing, Wagner stood with his daughters while they shared a statement from their family with the court. They noted their "extreme gratefulness for the love and support" that had been shared with them.

Estacada volunteer firefighter receives national honors

Estacada volunteer firefighter Damon Faust was named the American Legion's National Firefighter of the Year and also served as grand marshal of the Estacada Fourth of July parade. After enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2000, he had received the Soldier's Medal for Heroism for saving Iraqi citizens from a burning building.

During his time in the army, one of Faust's duties was to patrol neighborhoods, searching for IEDS and other threats. During one instance of patrolling, he and his team discovered a building that was on fire. Faust entered the building carrying a small fire extinguisher.

"The building was smoke filled, and out of the back came an Iraqi citizen who started pointing me toward the back rooms. He took out an approximately 8-year-old Iraqi kiddo. We took him out and the whole way I was using the extinguisher to try to clear his pathway," Faust recalled.

The unit's doctor began treating the child, and the Iraqi citizen indicated to Faust that there was someone else in the building. They went back inside and brought out an elderly woman.

More recently, Faust has focused his efforts on the Estacada Rural Fire District's Veteran to Firefighter program. Launched two years ago, it connects veterans with the fire service as they transition back to civilian life.

As the American Legion's National Firefighter of the Year, Faust was honored in August during the American Legion's 100th National Convention in Minneapolis, and by the Clackamas County Board of Directors in September.

FILE PHOTO - Students at the Estacada School District's Summer Academy play with puppets in theater class. The new program ran for two weeks in August.

Students attend new Summer Academy

Summertime also saw the launch of a new program by the Estacada School District. For two weeks in August, approximately 300 students in kindergarten through eighth grade connected with a variety of hands-on activities in the district's Summer Academy. The program was free for families and included lunch and transportation.

Classes at Summer Academy included music, art, dance, theater, gardening, STEM, reading, math and physical education. Students also received a visit from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to create rocket cars and went to Milo McIver State Park for a nature walk and fish hatchery tour.

"I love seeing all the excitement. They love seeing the finished product," said Margie Arnett, who taught the program's gardening course.

Community says farewell to the Faraday Powerhouse

In September, Portland General Electric announced the removal and rebuilding of the Faraday Powerhouse, a long standing structure on the Clackamas River. The replacement powerhouse will have modernized turbines with the capacity to produce increased energy and be more fish friendly and seismically sound.

PGE leaders said the structure would be demolished next spring, and construction will begin in the fall and likely be finished by the end of 2020.

Built 111 years ago, the powerhouse has weathered two major floods, numerous windstorms and other poundings by Mother Nature.

"We have a tremendous legacy of hydropower," said PGE President and CEO Maria Pope.

Sheriff's Office arrives in town

October saw the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office begin law enforcement operations in Estacada city limits — again. Earlier in the year, Estacada City Councilors expressed interest in exploring options for law enforcement services, including continuing to work with the Sandy Police Department under an agreement with an increased level of patrol hours.

The Sandy Police Department never turned in a bid for the contact, while the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office did.

Estacada had contracted with the Sandy Police Department since 2013; prior to that, the city contracted with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Through the agreement with the sheriff's office, Deputy David Fooladjoush is stationed in Estacada 40 hours per week. Next year, an additional part-time deputy and a school resource officer will join him.

New candidates, incumbents triumph in election

The Nov. 6 election brought several new faces to the Estacada City Council. Newcomers Katy Dunsmuir and Jerry Tenbush, along with incumbent Justin Gates, were triumphant in the election. Mayor Sean Drinkwine ran unopposed and was elected to another term.

Additionally, Christine Drazan was elected to Oregon House District 39, and Alan Olsen was re-elected to Oregon Senate District 20.

A busy year for business

Many new businesses opened in town this year, including two as a result of the Estacada Urban Renewal Agency purchasing and renovating the former motorsports building on Fourth Avenue. Yo Treats Frozen Yogurt opened its doors in September, and Clackamas River Outfitters expanded to a new storefront in November.

Additional business happenings included new stores like Dollar General, Framework Plus and Crescendo Dance Studio, new owners at The Cazadero and The Artsmith, along with Planet Cup of Joe's expansion to a second location.

Logger comes home

After time away in which he underwent repairs, the beloved Estacada logger statue returned to its perch outside of City Hall just in time for the annual Christmas tree lighting. The statue had been taken to the city's Public Works Shop in March. In addition to the bottom of the statue being worn out, a hole on top of its head caused several interior sections to rot.

The logger returned home in December wearing a Santa hat for the holidays. When Mayor Sean Drinkwine announced his return during the tree lighting celebration, the audience cheered.

Happy New Year, Estacada. Have a great 2019.

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