Downtown Oregon City Association officials recently hired Sam Levi Munger to manage the operations of the historic Municipal Elevator and to establish a visitor services program within the city's unique public "vertical street."
According to the official description of the position, the Elevator & Visitor Services manager is responsible for the successful year-round, seven-day-a-week operation of the facility. The position making $33,000 to $35,000 annually is covered by Oregon City taxpayers through a contract with DOCA since 2017.
Munger said his predecessor, Carrie Crook, who's best known for her effort to get the "free elevator" sign placed in the public library, is "leaving big shoes to fill" in the job that offers him the everyday pleasure of getting to know Oregon City residents, meeting folks from all walks of life and from all backgrounds.
"Over time, I've even started to consider some regulars as friends," Munger said. "But of course it's always a thrill to meet new faces, too, whether they're visiting from Buffalo or Budapest."
Munger said the best part of the job is getting to be part of history and learning something new daily. At noon on Friday, June 18, he will host an event at the elevator celebrating the life of Sarah Chase.
"She's perhaps most well known for her battle with the city over the elevator being placed essentially in her front yard, but we hope to shine a light on the other aspects of her life as well," Munger said.
On Memorial Day, Munger moved to an apartment on Washington Street, in part to be walking distance to his job at the elevator. Munger, who used Sam Levi as a stage name, came to Oregon City for the first time circa 2010 to get into the acting program at Clackamas Community College. He grew up in Battle Ground, Washington, and had never heard of Oregon City before that time.
"There are loads of community college theater programs in the Portland Metro Area, but CCC was and still is the only one that offers the opportunity to get professional, real-word work experience in the field during the summers with Clackamas Repertory Theatre," Munger said. He went on to work with CRT, primarily as an actor ("Good People" in 2014, "One Slight Hitch" in 2016 and "Sense & Sensibility" in 2018) but he also worked on several productions as either a stage manager, box office manager or house manager. He worked as artist in residence at CCC for two school years from 2014-16.
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