2021 Year End Updates
Dear Heritage Area Supporter,
The Willamette Falls and Landings Heritage Area Coalition is excited to share some of its 2021 accomplishments and our plans for 2022. The Coalition is dedicated to enhancing and promoting a 56 river-mile region of the Willamette River and is made up of a board of directors with public and private partners. In addition to sharing our recent work, we would also like to ask you to consider contributing to us financially.
2021 brought many changes for the Willamette Falls and Landings Heritage Area Coalition, as it did for everyone. Some happy and some sad, but all helped to strengthen our resolve and prepare us for new opportunities ahead.
Our most difficult challenge this year was the tragic loss of our long serving Executive Director, Siobhan Taylor. Siobhan resigned in March 2021 due to her progressive illness and sadly passed away in August. She will be deeply missed by the Coalition and the community, but her legacy will live on as we continue to work towards opening the Multi-Cultural Center in the Historic West Linn City Hall building and pursue National Heritage Area Designation. Additionally, a fund has been established in her honor dedicated to providing for necessary renovations.
While Siobhan could never be replaced, a new Executive Director was hired from a regional pool of candidates. Britta Mansfield stepped into the role in June and is an enthusiastic addition to our team. With years of public history and non-profit management experience, she is well suited to carry out the Coalition’s mission. Additionally, the Coalition hired an intern to assist with our heritage trail research project and we welcomed four new Board members this year.
The Coalition, with new personnel in place, took time to thoroughly examine its operations, with specific attention towards issues of race, diversity, equity, and inclusion. This work began early in the year with a self-survey and adoption of an Equity Lens. In October and November Board members participated in educational workshops and action planning sessions led by a consultant. A fresh and informed perspective on RDEI will guide our work as we strive to understand the heritage of the area by identifying and telling difficult and unrecognized stories and perspectives from the region.
We are also excited to share that we have begun to tell the various stories of the region in a dynamic and accessible way. Our physical space in West Linn’s Historic City Hall is not quite ready to be opened to the public, but we have been working to present the heritage area to the public virtually. The Coalition contracted Timelooper, a company that specializes in virtual tours primarily of historic sites, to build an app for our heritage area. This app features 360-degree images of heritage sites as well as three-dimensional models and an interactive map of the
entire 56 river mile area. Be sure to look for the Willamette Falls and Landings app on the Google Play store and the Apple App store in the near future. You will also be able to access this content on our website www.wflha.org. We hope this will become an engaging avenue for anyone to access the heritage area. Regardless of your physical location you can tour a nationally significant portion of our state.
Connecting people to the heritage area has benefits beyond simply education. Heritage and preservation work have significant economic benefits as well. In 2022 we plan to contribute to local economies by increasing visitor interest in the area and by recognizing businesses who have been operational for 50 years or more. Every five years the Coalition awards longstanding businesses and since our last celebration was postponed due to the pandemic, we will pick up where we left off during the first quarter of the new year. This means that even more businesses will be included, and we will have the opportunity to host a celebratory event both virtually and in person. With a strong marketing campaign leading up to an in-person event, our goal is to drive business to local companies that have contributed not only to the region’s economy but also its history.
None of the work that has taken place over the past year and nothing that is planned for the year ahead could happen without the support of our partners. Our current partner cities include West Linn, Wilsonville, Oregon City, and Lake Oswego. We also receive support from METRO, Clackamas County, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Portland General Electric. In addition to support from local governments and organizations, the Coalition thrives from contributions of our individual supporters such as yourself. We encourage you to head to our website and make a donation. Whether it’s a one-time gift or an annual contribution, every dollar that you and the rest of our partners contribute directly impacts our work and helps us build a thriving community along the river.
Jon Gustafson Britta Mansfield
President Executive Director