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Grant from Oregon Cultural Trust will help restore theater, which plans to reopen in April.

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - A grant of more than $24k will help Friends of the Bungalow Theatre preserve an historical part of Woodburn's downtown.When Oregon Cultural Trust announced a record-breaking grant award last month, Woodburn was not left out.

The Friends of The Bungalow Theatre received $24,962 to support the restoration of the Woodburn Museum and Bungalow Theatre — located in the 400 block of Front Street — to be usable, safe and functional for the public while preserving its historical assets and providing a space for participation in the arts.

Celebrating its 20th year, Cultural Trust delivered 140 awards to cultural organizations totaling a record-breaking $3,254,441. The gifts were made possible by Oregonians who invested a record $5.2 million in the cultural tax credit in 2020. This year's awards bring the cumulative total of Cultural Trust grants to more than $36 million since its 2001 founding.

"In its first 20 years the Cultural Trust has proven itself as a stable source of funding for Oregon's arts, heritage and humanities community," Cultural Trust Board Chair Niki Price said. "Thanks to the Oregonians who participate in the cultural tax credit we have raised more than $74 million in support of culture statewide. It is gratifying to announce our largest pool of grants ever as we celebrate this important milestone."

If numbers tell a story, it would be that Oregonians support the preservation of their state's heritage at all levels.

"We estimate we are now approaching 10,000 in total grants awarded since the Cultural Trust was formed," Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers said. "That is a truly remarkable number — and it doesn't include the 621 awards made last year through the Coronavirus Relief Fund for Cultural Support, nor the upcoming cycle of American Rescue Plan grant awards for cultural organizations made possible by the Oregon Legislature and administered along with Business Oregon. Our value and commitment to the cultural vitality of the state is clear."

Local impacts

Woodburn is certainly part of that vitality, and groups like Friends of the Bungalow Theatre are central to the cause.

Friends member Dagmar Kinne said the theater is currently going through renovations, and the seats — many of which came from a Woodburn High School auditorium remodel — that serve the theatre are being housed in the museum while the project continues. Hopes are to have a grand reopening of the museum in April.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - A fossil exhibit at Woodburn Museum includes a replica of the extinct Teratornis woodburnensis, which had a 14-foot wingspan.

"We are very excited to collaborate with the city of Woodburn in this great adventure to bring back the Bungalow Theatre to be used again for local theatrical production (and) music events, to play movies and other activities to enrich our multicultural community with affordable, wholesome entertainment," Kinne wrote in a press release.

The historic buildings used to house a hardware store, and Austin's grocery was on the same block.

Kinne described the theatre as an adjunct to the museum, but she believes once renovated, safe and usable, it will prove to be valuable for a multitude of uses.

"The sky is the limit," she said.

Local heritage

Meanwhile, the museum is focused on a handful of historical topics relevant to the area, such as a grocery exhibit, Hispanic exhibit, a vintage Woodburn Independent Linotype machine, an original Birdseye freezer and a fossil exhibit — the latter taking area history back some 13,000 years.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Friends of the Bungalow Theatre member Dagmar Kinne, who is a mechatronics engineer, explains the workings of a vintage Linotype machine at Woodburn Museum. The machine was once used to print out the Woodburn Independent.

Some tidbits a museum visitor can learn from its plaques:

• Austin's Grocery was located at the corner of Front and Grant streets in downtown Woodburn. People generally cooked from scratch and just bought necessities like flour, sugar and sometimes oat cereal. Many fruits and vegetables were home canned from the garden for winter use. Also, bread was usually made fresh at home.

• In the 1940s the United States entered World War II, and the men of Woodburn went to war. The Bracero Program, which was a series of laws and diplomatic agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, was initiated in 1942 to support the nation's food supply by inviting Latino laborers to work on farms and fields in the U.S. Many Braceros stayed after the war as there was plenty of work and opportunity in Woodburn.

• Today, 95% of the businesses in "El Centro," Woodburn's downtown, are owned and operated by Latino families.

• In 1999 the large hollow bones found in Legion Park were identified as a giant extinct bird called a Teratorn. The closest known bird of this kind was found in the LaBrea tar pits in southern California. But careful comparisons by two experts revealed some important differences — enough to call it a new species. It was named Teratornis woodburnensis.

• Teratornis woodburnensis has a 14-foot wingspan. There is a life-sized replica in the museum, but Kinne confesses that the replica only has a 12-foot span because it was made in her garage, which only afforded enough room to make it 12 feet in size.

• The freezer, invented by Clarence Frank Birdseye II and used at Woodburn Birdseye food processing plant, was the first industrial freezer of its kind in 1924. Birdseye's quick-freeze methods revolutionized the frozen food industry and moved Woodburn food processing plants away from canning to freezing. The Birdseye food processing plant froze fresh produce from all over the Willamette Valley.

• Clarance Frank Birdseye II (1886-1956) is considered to be the founder of the modern frozen food industry with 168 patents that revolve around quick-freezing processes.

History, heritage and culture

Cultural Trust's 140 awards help support a wide variety of statewide projects across the cultural spectrum. Some other awardees in the general region are listed below:

• Chehalem Center Association in Newberg received $15,299 to support cultural programming promoting racial equity and increasing access for traditionally underserved artists and community members through conversation series, youth arts workshops, art exhibits, artist talks and music, theatre, dance and spoken word.

• Salem Art Association received $5,918 to support access to arts and cultural experiences for 800 underserved fourth-grade students attending some of the most challenged Title I schools in Marion County by providing free field trips to the Bush Barn Art Center and the Bush House Museum.

• The Gordon House Conservancy in Silverton, received $13,325 to support stabilizing the sagging 20-foot beam in the living room of the Gordon House to preserve the integrity of the structure and protect the ability of the GHC to educate the public about the only house in Oregon designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

• Yamhill Enrichment Society in McMinnville received $22,882 to support a planning process so the group can expand the JOY music program by adding another grade at Edwards Elementary in Newberg, and also starting JOY at another Newberg elementary school.

"The Oregon Cultural Trust was established 20 years ago by the Oregon Legislature as an ongoing funding engine for the arts and culture across the state," Kinne noted. "Oregonians fund the Cultural Trust, which in turn funds the artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers who make Oregon, Oregon."

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Among the artifacts at the Woodburn Museum are the city's first telephone switchboard, left, and its first post office boxes.

Volunteer

Friends of the Bungalow Theatre welcome newcomers interested in the projects and activities preserving Woodburn's history. To volunteer, contact Dagmar Kinne at 503-710-4229 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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