As we get deeper into spring — the change of seasons officially occurred on March 20 — the number of events and activities that we have around the community and region begins to pick up. Individual stories on many of these events will be published as the dates get closer but here’s a rundown of what’s on my radar in the coming weeks.
One of the organizers of the Summit Talent Show was excited to share with me the news of that group’s upcoming event, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 1. This will be the 39th talent show and it’s held at the Summit Grange Hall. The admission is $5.
“Oregon’s Largest Indoor Bounce Park” — an event organized by Rick and Danielle Bennet — is coming back on April 1-2 at the Benton County Fairgrounds. The Saturday session will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sunday, you can take in the fun from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. You can get tickets ahead of time online and save $5 off the price at the gate. These are the folks who donate the inflatables for the PYAC Annual Community Carnival, which is scheduled this year for Friday, June 2.
This next one is a month out but Alyrica is planning an open house and ribbon-cutting at 5 p.m. April 25. For those who might want to take a peek at the local company’s new campus on the other side of North 19th, they’ll be giving tours. If that’s not enough, I’m told there will be snacks and beverages.
Easter weekend is on the horizon and there will be Easter egg hunts for the kids. Philomath Frolic & Rodeo will host the Community Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8, at the rodeo grounds at Skirvin Park. Organizers will start the fun at 10:02 a.m. Peace Lutheran Church also invites the community to its Easter Egg Hunt at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 9.
In case you missed it, Oregon State Parks volunteers will be stationed at 17 sites along the coast from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 28 to April 2 for Spring Whale Watch Week. Every year thousands of gray whales pass through Oregon’s waters in the spring on their journey home from the calving lagoons in Mexico.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is coming up March 29. On that date in 1973, the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam. No special event is planned but I wanted to mention it here with it being the 50th anniversary. Don’t be surprised if you see a sign along Philomath Boulevard honoring these soldiers. Three Philomath High alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice: Paul Cochran, Larry Gassner and David Styles.
That’s a taste of some upcoming events. Others in the near future include the Spring Recycling Event (April 15 at Public Works), the library’s Big Book Sale (April 28-30 at the fairgrounds), Marys River Grange’s Plant Sale/Seed Swap (April 29) and it looks like this summer’s Music in the Park series gets started on May 18.
I probably missed something but keep an eye on the Philomath News Community Calendar for a rundown of other upcoming events, which includes the monthly Country Dance and Bluegrass Jam, various activities at the library and the school district’s public events and sports. And subscribe to the free Philomath News newsletter, which includes calendar listings.
2. Tree City USA
Philomath’s designation as a “Tree City USA” community has been in place for 29 years now — which seems appropriate considering this area is known for its timber. I’ve written various stories about this over the years most often in association with the city’s annual Arbor Day activities.
Philomath first received the Tree City label in 1995 (despite the reference to 1994 in the photo above). Hal Million was the city manager back when Philomath first earned the designation, which is awarded when specific standards are met. A story published in March 1995 reported that Million had been trying to reach the Arbor Day Foundation’s guidelines for years.
Philomath is planning to hold its local celebration from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on April 21 in the public works yard (the actual date of observance for Arbor Day is April 28). Here’s what the city shared with the Arbor Day Foundation on its website:
“During our Arbor Day celebration we work with local school children, local arborists, elected city staff and other citizens to enhance the importance of planting trees and what it means to the urban landscape. During the event the children are given a seedling that they plant in a pot and take home to plant in their yard. We have done this event for a few years now and we have had many kids come back and let us know that their tree is still growing.”
I’ve been to this event several times and it’s always a fun opportunity to shoot photos with Philomath and Kings Valley students in attendance.
3. Transportation news
Those of us who live and/or work in Philomath are well aware of some of the traffic issues that we experience — just getting to the grocery store in Corvallis can be a major time commitment. Last fall, an effort got started to identify school traffic safety concerns and this past week, the city hosted an open house on Climate-Friendly Area requirements handed down by the state, which has a transportation element to it (since the idea is to get people out of their gas-powered cars). Of course, work continues on Philomath’s downtown streetscapes project.
You might be interested in providing comments on the state’s 25-year Oregon Transportation Plan. A draft version of the transportation plan is now available online and you can submit comments through an online form.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said the plan is being created to address “important issues tied to transportation such as climate change, social equity, population growth, new technologies and more.”
Over the past week, I’ve received a number of ODOT press releases and I’ll include a few notes here in case you’re interested:
• Public transit has connected Brownsville and Lebanon. Called LINX, which stands for Lebanon Inter-Neighborhood eXpress, is on track to hit 45,000 rides this year. “The beauty of the Brownsville project is we’re not only bringing Brownsville residents into Lebanon, we also have Lebanon residents going to Brownsville,” LINX director Kindra Oliver said. “And it’s this charming little community with some really nice little restaurants and some shops and museums, and they have a nice walking area through town.”
• The Harrisburg bridge over the Willamette River between Albany and Junction City was updated with new weight restrictions signage. This is for commercial traffic and doesn’t affect passenger vehicles. That bridge dates back to 1925, by the way.
• The Safe Routes to School projects this year involves $32.4 million. Philomath is not among the cities with any upcoming work. Across the state, there are 26 approved projects, including one costing $70,925 for signage at Lincoln Elementary in Corvallis and $1.3 million for sidewalks at Newport Middle School.
(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).