Congresswoman visits afer historic trade school and production shop catches her eye

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici looks over some equipment during a tour of Anvil Academy with founder Rob Lewis last week. Bonamici is on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and a strong supporter of career and technical education.
Most Newbergers and frequent users of Highway 99W are familiar with Anvil Academy, either from its large sign or the interesting creations on display for passersby at its location at the corner of the highway and Main Street.

However, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici wasn't aware of the facility, at least not before the historic trade school and production shop caught her eye on her way through town recently.

As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, it's Bonamici's job to know all things education in her district, so she was a bit surprised that she wasn't aware of it.

That led to an official visit last week and just minutes into the tour, it became evident that the congresswoman and founder Rob Lewis were very much on the same page when it comes to career and technical education.

"I hear again and again when I'm out talking with employers, they want people who can solve problems and who can come up with new ideas," Bonamici said. "All of those things come from a well-rounded education and that includes this hands-on, creative learning. I see the potential and I know there is a need here."

Lewis has been trying to transition the enterprise from an educational business to a nonprofit and Bonamici quickly offered the services of her office to help speed the process up.

"When she said she could help us with that, that was a really big deal to us," Lewis said.

This fall promises to be a busy one for Anvil as it renews its high school and blacksmithing programs while also structuring a cyclekart course.

Anvil has also been working for two years to set up a historic blacksmith shop at Champoeg Park and will be on hand for live demonstrations during the park's 19th Century Farmstead, Trades and Skills Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more information on the event, call the academy at 503-538-8123, email Lewis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the park at 503-678-6949.

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