News & Information from the City of Albany, Oregon
Left: Center Street water line; Right: Main Street roundabout.

Construction projects underway around
Albany this summer

Three major road construction projects are underway this summer in Albany neighborhoods.  Traffic patterns will be disrupted for a few months, and detour routes are in place.


Main Street Rehabilitation and Roundabout


Work includes street and storm drain improvements on Main Street between First and Fourth Avenues, as well as improvements to intersecting streets including Salem Avenue and Santiam Road.  A roundabout will be constructed in order to intersect Main Street with Salem Avenue and Third Avenue and will address capacity and alignment issues at this intersection that have contributed to unsafe traffic conditions.  


Streets in the area of the roundabout will close in late June to accommodate construction of the street improvements.  City staff anticipates the closure will continue until the end of August; all work on the project will be complete by October 1, 2014.  Affected property owners and the public will be notified before the streets close and detours are posted.


Mid Valley Gravel, Philomath, is the contractor. Cost of the project is $1.7 million.


Engineering Technician Lindsey Austin is managing the construction of the Main Street project.  For more information, e-mail lindsey.austin@cityofalbany.net or call 541-917-7651.


Center Street Rehabilitation and Water Line Improvements


Center Street Southeast is being reconstructed between 15th and 18th avenues.  Pacific Excavation, Eugene, is the contractor and the cost of the project is $455,000. 


The pavement on these streets is in very poor condition.  Existing water lines are undersized and do not provide adequate flow for firefighting or system connectivity.  The water lines will be replaced before the street surface is rebuilt.  Work is expected to be complete in early August.


Engineering Technician Segundo Sam is managing construction of the Center Street Project.  For more information, e-mail segundo.sam@cityofalbany.net or call 541-917-7643.


Belmont Avenue Culvert Replacement


In January 2012, a significant flooding event resulted in the complete failure of the two 48-inch culverts in Oak Creek at Belmont Avenue Southwest.  Since the flood, the existing culverts have been temporarily bridged to allow for traffic to continue accessing the adjoining neighborhood and local businesses. 


The two 48-inch culverts are being replaced this summer with a three-sided box culvert.  The sewer line crossing Oak Creek is being rehabilitated, and the 12-inch water line is being replaced at the same time. 


The contractor is North Santiam Paving of Stayton and the cost of the project is $484,000.  Seventy-five percent of the costs will be funded through a FEMA grant that the City secured due to major flood damage.  Work should be completed in October.


Lead Engineering Technician Manny Kurtz is managing construction of the Belmont Culvert project.  For more information, e-mail manny.kurtz@cityofalbany.net or call 541-917-7662.

Albany City Manager Wes Hare; CARA Chair Rich Catlin; neighborhood leader Larry Nelson; Innovative Housing Inc. representative Sarah Stevenson; and Mayor Sharon Konopa break ground for Woodland Square housing project.

Woodland Square Project Underway


The Woodland Square Apartment project broke ground for construction Monday, June 16, 2014, at the project site, 1440 Second Avenue SE.  Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa and Rich Catlin, Chair of the Central Albany Revitalization Agency Advisory Board, were among those who shoveled up the first ceremonial bits of earth.


The project will include 54 workforce apartments (1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom units), 85 parking spaces, a community room, children's playground, a classic design that blends with the historic neighborhood, and restoration of the canyon along Periwinkle Creek that will include a public path.


Funding for this project is being provided by the Central Albany Revitalization Area, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Raymond James Tax Credit Fund, JPMorgan Chase, and Network for Oregon Affordable Housing and Energy Trust.


The project team includes developer Innovative Housing, Inc.; ORANGEWALLstudios architecture+planning, and general contractor Greenberry Construction.  

Celebrate the Fourth on the Third at River Rhythms 


Don't forget: the 2014 River Rhythms concert series opens Thursday, July 3, at Monteith Riverpark in Downtown Albany.  Soul and blues artists John Nemeth and the Bo-Keys featuring Percy Wiggins open the series' 31st year.  A community fireworks show will follow the concert in celebration of Independence Day.


Music begins at 7:00 p.m.  The fireworks show is expected to begin about 10:00 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.


Bryant Park will be closed to the public until 10:00 a.m. July 3 to allow setup for the fireworks show.  Fireworks fans can park at Bryant beginning at 10:00 a.m. for $5.00 per vehicle.


The lower (north) Bryant shelter area will be used as the fallout zone for the fireworks and will be closed all day.


The community fireworks are made possible entirely by donations from Albany-area businesses.  The show is presented by Lassen Toyota, Northwest Toyota Dealers, Toyota Let's Go Places.


For information about the rest of the concert series, visit www.riverrhythms.org.

Sign up now for Willamette River Relay and Paddle Me Plunge August 8-9

The Calapooia Watershed Council presents the inaugural Willamette River Relay, a paddling/bicycling/running race, and Paddle Me Plunge in Albany August 8 and 9, 2014, to raise awareness and funding for river restoration efforts in the Willamette Basin, attract visitors to historic Downtown Albany, and highlight outdoor recreation opportunities in the mid-Willamette Valley.


The City of Albany and The Nature Conservancy are partners in the events.


For information on event registration, volunteer opportunities, and sponsorship, visit www.riverrelay.com or contact Kyle Smith of the Calapooia Watershed Council at 541-466-3493 or ksmith@calapooia.org.


Mondays @ Monteith concerts begin July 7


Albany Parks & Recreation is proud to present the Mondays @ Monteith concert series July 7-August 4, at Monteith Riverpark in Downtown Albany. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy live music beside the Willamette River.


Concerts are free of charge, but donations are encouraged.  Music begins at 7 p.m.  Food will be available for purchase.


For additional details on the performers, visit  http://www.mondaysatmonteith.org

Top: Wildhorse Lake, Allan Doerksen; Bottom: Homestead Root Cellar, Rich Bergeman
Eastern, Central Oregon photos featured in July exhibit


Willamette Valley photographers Rich Bergeman, Kurt Norlin, Dennis Galloway, Allan Doerksen, and Bob Ross will exhibit photographs of Eastern and Central Oregon at Albany City Hall for the month of July.


The Albany Arts Commission coordinates and sponsors City Hall displays of art from around the mid-valley and the Northwest in exhibits that change every month, year-round.  Art work in a variety of media is displayed on both floors of the building and is available for viewing weekdays during business hours and a few evenings each month when public meetings are held.


For information about the exhibits and the Arts Commission, contact Commissioner Billie Moore, 541-928-6182, or Debbie Little, 541-917-7778, or debbie.little@cityofalbany.net . 

Albany history comes alive at Masonic Cemetery July 23


By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum volunteer


J. K. Weatherford, Delazon Smith, Nicholas Riazance, Felix O'Toole, and Reuben Coleman Hill are long dead but telling of their life stories will almost bring them back during the History in Headstones tour at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at the Albany Masonic Cemetery. 


The free 7th annual event is sponsored by St. John's Lodge No. 17, AF & AM, and the Albany Regional Museum.  The cemetery is at the west end of Seventh Avenue at Broadway Street. 


The program begins with a short ceremony conducted by the Masons to dedicate a newly installed interpretive sign.  Afterward, visitors can wander the cemetery until 8:30 p.m., visiting the graves of seven former Albany residents whose histories will be recounted by volunteers. 


Balloons will mark those gravesites, and fliers and maps will be available to help guide participants to those buried in the cemetery established on the Harvey Gordon Donation Land Claim. 


J.K. Weatherford

Darrel Tedisch will portray J.K. Weatherford, founder of the Weatherford, Thompson, Cowgill, Black & Schultz law firm.  Mike Cowgill is Weatherford's great great grandson.


Weatherford was born in Missouri in 1848.  In 1864, Weatherford was offered the chance to drive an ox team to Oregon with a wagon train, and he took it.  Upon arriving, he went to work for the Thomas Kay Woolen Mills in Brownsville and later hauled supplies to miners in Boise.  Realizing the importance of an education, he enrolled at Corvallis College, now Oregon State University, graduating in 1872. 


Weatherford Hall, built in 1928, is named for him. 


Weatherford taught school in Linn County and was elected county school superintendent.  While serving his term, he read law, paving the way for the Oregon Supreme Court to admit him to practice in 1875, a job he continued until he died in October 1935.  It is said he particularly liked to defend people charged with murder.


Delazon Smith

Delazon Smith will be portrayed by Richard Hammel. 


Smith was born in 1816 in New York and arrived in Oregon in 1852.  He was a farmer, lawyer, and newspaperman, founding the Albany Democrat newspaper and editing it until his death.  He also served in the Territorial House of Representatives, was a delegate to the state constitution convention, and served as a U.S. senator but was not elected to a second term.  He wrote a letter to his wife on February 14, 1859, from Washington, D.C., stating that Oregon had been voted into the Union.  He died in 1860. 


Nicholas Riazance will be recalled by his daughter, Jeannine Riazance Lawrence.  


Riazance was born in western Russia not long before his father was killed in World War I.  Shortly after, he and his mother moved to Strasbourg, France, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering.  Later, while studying at the University of Caen, he was recognized for his athletic ability after he swam the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 18 hours. 


He could play three games simultaneously while blindfolded.  He spoke Russian, Latin, German, and English. 


After finishing his education, Riazance worked in the textile industry in France and later moved to Poland to become assistant professor of hydrochemistry at the University of Cracow.  During World War II, he was sent to Germany to work as a metallurgist for the Messerschmidt aircraft plant. 


He, his wife, and three children emigrated from Strasbourg to the United States in 1958.  He joined the Bureau of Mines and came to Albany in 1966.  He died in 1980. 


Felix O'Toole will be portrayed by Larry Bardell. 


O'Toole has the largest monument in the cemetery.  He arranged for the marker before he died in August 1888 at age 74.  The gravestone cost $2,500, and payment came from his estate that was valued at $43,000.


O'Toole, whose friends called him "Doc," was born in Ireland about 1820.  He was a shoemaker in Detroit and sold boots to fishermen in Au Sable.  O'Toole moved to Albany in 1878, where he lived on proceeds generated by rentals and the interest on many accounts. 


A bachelor, he was respected for his social nature, his good word for everyone he met, and he was well known for his courage and generosity. 


R.C. Hill

Reuben Coleman Hill will be portrayed by David Fitchett. 


Hill, born in 1809, died in 1890, was a physician, a Baptist preacher, and a schoolteacher.  Educated in Kentucky, he married Margaret Graham Lair in 1832, crossed the plains to the California gold mines in 1850, and came to Oregon in 1851. 


He lived in a tent in Corvallis but soon moved to Albany, where he preached in the Monteith House.  He taught school in Albany and organized the Corvallis Baptist Church, the North Palestine Church in Benton County, and the Good Hope Church on Oak Creek in Linn County.  He assisted in organizing the First Baptist Church in Albany in 1867. 


Mary Arnett will tell the story of Rufus and Bessie Hale, African Americans,  who operated the Deluxe Shoe Shine Parlor in Albany for years.


Bessie Hale

Bessie Wyatt Hale was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, in 1899 and moved to Idaho in 1922, where she met her husband-to-be, who was employed by the railroad.  Rufus Hale was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1897.  The couple married in Idaho and moved to La Grande and then to Albany in 1931.  During the Great Depression, he worked as a chauffeur and she kept house for her husband's employer. 


Tired of working for others, the Hales opened the shoeshine parlor at 213 First Avenue SW in 1939 and operated it together until Rufus died in 1971.  Bessie kept the parlor open until she died from a stroke in 1990.  She believed she was the first woman on the West Coast to make her living shining shoes. 


Help clean headstones 


Those at least middle school age and older are invited to help preserve some of the cemetery's headstones during a cleaning party from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 12. 


Materials will be provided, but participants are asked to bring their own gloves. 


To sign up, contact Kathy Griffiths at jkgrif@comcast.net or call the Albany Regional Museum at 541-967-7122.


APD bike registration program online


Bicycle owners in Albany are encouraged to register their bikes with Albany Police as extra protection against theft.

  • In 2013, APD received reports of 202 stolen bicycles; only 21 were returned to owners.
  • In the last five years, APD has sent 1,000 unclaimed bikes to auction.

Registration is online only:  http://www.cityofalbany.net/departments/police/forms


Questions?  Contact Sandy Roberts, sandy.roberts@cityofalbany.net or 541-917-3206.

Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan available for review


On January 26, 2011, the Albany City Council adopted a revised Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.  The plan was approved by FEMA Region X in December 2010. 


The City's hazard analysis identifies eight natural hazards that can have an effect on the City and it citizens to varying degrees.  These hazards include high winds, floods, ice and snow storms, droughts, landslides, volcanoes, and earthquakes.  These hazards are included in the City's Hazard Mitigation Plan along with action items that, when implemented, can help the City identify methods to reduce the hazards' impact on property and lives. 


A Hazard Mitigation Steering Committee meets twice a year to review progress on action items to assure the City is moving forward and doing what it can to reduce the impact of each natural hazard on the city.  The plan will be reviewed and updated again in 2015.


FEMA and the City of Albany encourages citizens to read, understand, and comment on this plan.  An electronic copy of the 2010 Natural Hazard Mitigation plan can be found at http://www.cityofalbany.net/fire/.  Hard copies are available at Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Avenue SE, and at City Hall in the Public Works Engineering and Community Development offices on the second floor.


Engaging in mitigation activities provides jurisdictions with a number of benefits, including reduced loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities, and economic hardship; reduced short-term and long-term recovery and reconstruction costs; increased cooperation and communication within the community through the planning process; and increased potential for state and federal funding for recovery and reconstruction projects.


For more information about the plan, call Darrel Tedisch at 541-917-7725 or e-mail darrel.tedisch@cityofalbany.net.


Lunch available for Albany kids through August 15


Greater Albany Public Schools is providing free lunches to Albany children, age 1-18, June 23-August 15, 2014, at locations throughout the community.  Here is the list of meal sites and serving hours:


Takena Elementary, 1210 12th Avenue SW

11:15-11:35 a.m. in front of the school


Lafayette Elementary, 3122 Madison Street SE
11:30-Noon, in front of the school


Waverly Elementary, 425 Columbus Street SE
11:30-11:50 a.m., south of the school


Central Elementary, 336 Ninth Avenue SW
11:00-11:20 a.m., east of the school


South Albany High School, 3705 Columbus Street SE
Noon-12:20, courtyard by the gym


Boys & Girls Club of Albany, 1215 Hill Street SE
Noon-12:30, inside


Sunrise Elementary, 730 19th Avenue SE
Noon-12:30, in front of the school


Meadows Apartments, 5001 Pacific Boulevard SW
12:10-12:30 p.m., play area


YMCA, 3311 Pacific Boulevard SW
5:00-5:30 p.m., inside


Free breakfast is also available at the Boys & Girls Club from 8:30-9:00 a.m.  


All meals must be eaten on-site.  No meals will be served on Friday, July 4, due to the holiday. 


Previous issues of City Bridges are available at:
General Information: 541-917-7500
Mayor Sharon Konopa: 541-791-0300
City Manager
Wes Hare:  
Ward I Councilors:
Dick Olsen,

Floyd Collins,

Ward II Councilors:
Bill Coburn,

Ray Kopczynski,

Ward III Councilors:
Bessie Johnson,

Rich Kellum,

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City of Albany, Oregon