Sad to say I only have one more week to go before I wrap up my AmeriCorps term as coordinator for the Reedsport Main Street Program. It’s been a flurry of a year, but I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to serve. I’ve enjoyed how the Main Street Program invites everyone to the table to look for solutions, no matter where we come from, our political beliefs, what kind of education we have, or the other small things divide us. The Main Street Program is about finding common ground to pursue a common goal, the goal of making Reedsport better. Everyone I have worked with over the past year shares that goal. Although we have different ideas about how to get there, we’re all working towards the same end result. A small town can sometimes act like an echo chamber, where one little insult or argument bounces around, growing larger and larger, until certain people refuse to listen to certain other people. With all of our other challenges, we can’t afford to do that to ourselves. The Main Street Program has been a great platform to keep our ears open and the conversation going.
So many good things have happened over the past year, and one of the most exciting ones is the creation of the Reedsport Cycle Stop. Over the past weeks Public Works has installed nautical-style fencing, a picnic bench, and a work stand with a set of tools for bicycle repair. The next couple of weeks will see the addition of a bike rack, trash can, benches, and two prototype Bike Pods. The Bike Pods are single-bicycle parking units with a hard plastic shell that protects bicycles from the elements. These two prototypes are generously on loan from Huntco Site Furnishings, a Portland-based manufacturer of commercial outdoor furnishings. We’re very excited that Reedsport has been chosen as the test site for the Bike Pods! Go and check them out when they’re installed – you won’t be able to miss them! Also a big thank you to Reedsport Public Works for all the time they have put into this project.
I’m just about to order the last shipment of engraved bricks before I leave, so if you want a brick to put in the sidewalk along Fir Ave/Hwy 38, now is the time to order it! You can order bricks at any time in the future, but if you order it after next Friday, it may be several months until it ships. The easiest way to order a brick is to use our online template, but you can also print out a paper order form and drop it off here at Reedsport City Hall. Visit our website at:
Have you seen the new downtown walking map of chainsaw sculptures? It highlights almost every carving in the Old Town area. How many do you think there are? Guess a number, then visit the map to see how well you did:
If you’ve been checking the RMSP Facebook page, you already know this, but this week marks the 40th anniversary of Bicentennial Park. Happy 40th, Bicentennial! The park was created by the City of Reedsport, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard, the Jaycees, the Lion’s Club, and many, many local volunteers in honor of America’s 200th birthday. For about two years Reedsport was embroiled in planning a massive Bicentennial celebration (I learned about it while uploading the 1970-1970 City Council minutes to the history archive.) Except for the park, the evidence of that celebration has faded away. But you know how celebrations work - the moment one is over, another comes to take its place! That’s why we should all be starting to have one thing on our minds….Reedsport’s 2019 Centennial! “Centennial, centennial, centennial” – I’m going to whisper it in every ear until it turns into a thundering roar across our community. How many of you have lived in a town that got to celebrate its 100-year birthday? It’s not just Reedsport’s only chance for a centennial, but it might be our only chance to ty our hand at throwing a centennial party! So the next time you find yourself in a group of people here in town, I challenge you to ask, “Hey, what do y’all want to do for the celebration?” (“Y’all” is optional.)
Here are our upcoming RMSP meetings:
Tuesday, July 12 – Promotion Committee, 5pm at the Waterfront Restaurant
Wednesday, July 13 – Economic Development Committee, 5pm at the conference room in City Hall
Tuesday, July 19 – Board of Directors, 5pm at the conference room in City Hall
The Design Committee is on hiatus until the current cycle of the Façade Improvement Grant is finished.
AmeriCorps is a wonderful program, and if you ever find yourself with 11 months and nothing to do, I encourage you to look into it. The first time I served with AmeriCorps was as a work team leader at a residential treatment program for adults with mental illnesses. The people on my team learned how to cope with their challenges by doing work around the farm that helped them regain their self-confidence and sense of purpose. I would often grab someone on my team to help me deliver eggs to a local general store, and on one of these trips I was tuning the dial in the truck, trying to find some kind of music, when my teammate – let’s call him Ed – said, “Wait, let’s listen to that.” It was static. “I like it,” he said. We listened to it for a few minutes, radio white noise. It almost sounded like something – my brain struggled to make it sound like something – but it never quite got there. He said, “It’s got a good beat.”
What would you have said? Would you have turned off the radio?
That happened early in my time there. Later I learned that Ed, who struggled with so many things, was actually something of a musical genius. He would sample short clips of sound and loop them back on themselves using an electronic keyboard, repeating them and building them to form complex, beautiful patterns. He held concerts, working with other musicians, folding their sounds in with his patterns. I truly believe he heard something in the static that I could not. It was a good lesson. We’re all uniquely equipped to “hear” different things in our community. Being a lover of nature, I appreciate things in the forest and field that I know not everyone picks up on. Others have told me how much they love the small industrial look of our waterfront, something that escapes me but is true all the same. What is your unique way to appreciate Reedsport?
Reedsport Main Street Program Coordinator