Student winners include Elizabeth Stedman, Alyson Gassman, Janie Zook, Sophia Irvine, Freya Steed and Mira Jansen.

City officials and Oregon City Optimist Club members recently selected winners in the second-annual Preserve Our Past Contest for young artists.COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OC - Elizabeth Stedman's 'The Library' won first place in the city's Preserve Our Past Contest.COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OC - Alyson Gassman's 'Gems of Oregon City' received the second-place prize in this year's contest.

Emily Tierney, recreation programmer for Oregon City's parks department, appreciated how the contest shows that Oregon City has history to be captured around every corner.

"Part of preservation is the process of keeping something valued alive," Tierney said. "This is the goal of the Preserve Our Past Art and Poetry Contest. Not just to create a piece on a historic site, but to also keep the spirit of Oregon City's history alive through the creative outlet of art and poetry."

Preserve Our Past Art and Poetry Contest gave out prizes of $150 for first-place pieces, $100 for second-place finishers and $50 for and third-place entries in each category.

Tierney focused on the content of the contest, advertising and communicating with applicants. Optimist Club members provided support through outreach and provided monetary awards for the winners.

Optimist Club members helped the city choose the age range to target with the contest, as the nonprofit organization's mission is to support Oregon City youth. Three Rivers Artist Guild and a couple of Optimist members helped with the judging and scoring of pieces as well.

All six awarded pieces will be part of the Preserve Our Past rotating exhibit that will move to several Oregon City sites, including the Ermatinger House, City Hall and the End of the Oregon Trail. They were featured in the Oregon City Trail News Magazine and on the city's social media pages and website.

2021 student art winners

First place: Elizabeth Stedman's "The Library"

Second place: Alyson Gassman's "Gems of Oregon City"

Third place: Janie Zook's "Beauty Meets Man"

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OC - Janie Zook's 'Beauty Meets Man' won third place's $50 prize from Oregon City Optimist Club judges.

First place-poetry

Sophia Irvine

The McLoughlin Promenade

I have felt many footsteps of those who have followed my path.

The Native Americans hike up their treasured dirt trail,

I feel moccasins and bare feet, summer and winter, spring and fall.

Many seasons later, I hear the creak of wagon wheels and billowing canvas.

I see rafts docking at the edge of the river, and new people.

These are the pioneers, travelers from across the land.

There is now the thumping noise of boots and the swishing of skirts.

The new men build houses and new smells come when the women cook.

Factories and mills are built along the river, disguising the amazing view.

One man, John McLoughlin, recognizes the river's beauty from my route.

He reserves my path, dedicating it as a city park.

Years later, to give men work, the country decides to improve my trail.

An electric elevator is made, to replace the old one.

Basalt stone is hauled up the hill to build me a railing and stairs.

Now many walk my trail.

Years have passed, and now I rarely hear skirts and boots.

Now I hear joyful dogs barking, and people running, and others admiring the view.

I am the McLoughlin Promenade.

Second place-poetry

Freya Steed

The Oregon City Municipal Elevator

Most streets are horizontal,

Almost non go up and down,

But it is marvelous to see,

The elevator in our town.

1912 is when it all began,

Approval from the voters,

Approval for the land.

Three years of construction,

It took to build the lift,

In 1915 the elevator opened,

To take you up the cliff.

Water made the elevator glide,

Still faster than the stairs,

It took three minutes to ride.

In nine years it was 1924,

The elevator turned to electric drive,

It took 30 seconds,

It cut down on time.

That elevator is not the same as today,

In 1955 a new one was built,

Combining history with a new way.

It started as transportation,

Now people come for the ride,

It's truly a part of history,

So come and see inside.

Third place-poetry

Mira Jansen


Flowing rapidly and with grace

Such power, but she knows how to wield it

Don't mess with her, she won't mess with you

She's seen the kind of harm humans can cause

She cascades along sandy shores,

Kissing the land and playing with the wading families

She paddles with the sea lions and salmon,

And watches the ospreys in their nest from afar

Every year she grows and shrinks,

But she is not fazed by change

She swerves around shops and old paper mills,

Around the nature that she has outlasted and mourned

While she mothers all the life,

Her temper is not one to trifle with,

For she calms beneath the OC bridge,

But roars when she falls.

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