Organization plans to put up four initial plaques in the downtown area at various historical sites

The Newberg Historical Society is working to commemorate the history of the city with a series of free standing pedestals in the downtown area, each describing a different aspect of the city's past.

Newberg Community Development Coordinator Doug Rux said the historical society had been conducting this project with the city, but the society was taking the lead on it. They have already appeared before the City Council, who are aware of the project, and will not have to return before the council for further approval. Rux said the historical society has been coordinating with Russ Thomas in the city's public works department over placement of the pedestals.

"The design on the pedestals is based off a project done in Silverton," he said.

Silverton has podium-style signs that feature historical images. The city also has 10 signs and is set up in a way to guide people through the downtown.

The Newberg Historical Society has been applying for grants for the historical markers. According to City Manager Joe Hannan's notes to the City Council, an agreement with public works, community development and the historical society has been finalized.

Rux said the society at this time is working on installing four pedestals, though the organization would eventually like to double that figure.

"There's historic resources in the downtown area," Rux said, adding that the benefit of these signs would be their having "verbiage on each of those that would give you a piece of history of Newberg."

Additionally, he said the signs will fit in with the city's downtown improvement plan and tourism strategy, in that visitors and tourists to the city could gain better historical perspective of where they are visiting and what they are seeing.

The pedestals will eventually become city signs, as they will be on sidewalks, which are public property. That's why the society is working with the public works department on installation.

Earlier this summer, Rachel Thomas, historical society president, said the signs will be "16 by 16 inches, laser engraved, stainless steel plaques. They can be mounted on podiums, like on the sidewalk or the side of a building."

She added that the cost was just over $400 each, plus the cost of mounting them.

"I also believe that it is important to know the history of the place that you are in," Thomas said earlier this summer. "Because, when you know that history, you can relate to it and connect to the town."

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