News & Information from the City of Albany, Oregon
Time to party!
Help plan and celebrate Albany's birthday October 12

It takes a community to throw the community a birthday party. Albany resident Stephanie Low is heading up efforts to celebrate Albany's 150th birthday with a party at Albany City Hall on Sunday, October 12, 2014, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.



Albany was officially incorporated as an Oregon city on October 14, 1864.

Low is asking for help with:

  • Providing cake and ice cream
  • Nonalcoholic drinks
  • Paper supplies (paper plates, cups, plasticware, napkins)
  • Decorations
  • Games
  • Entertainment
  • Music
  • Advertising
  • Prizes
  • People with historical stories about Albany
  • Setup, serving food, or cleanup
  • People who know how to get the word out on social media

Want to help? Email


Photography, paintings, poetry, artifacts, and children's art focused on Albany's 150th anniversary will be displayed at City Hall through the month of October, sponsored by the Albany Arts Commission.


Laura Ouellette, Stacy Torres, Louis Weinstein and translator Ana in Huatulco
Sister cities:
Albany connects with Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

The Albany City Council adopted a resolution on August 13, 2014, establishing a sister city relationship between Albany and the Mexican municipality of Santa Maria Huatulco on the southwest Pacific coast.


Albany physicians Louis Weinstein and Laura Ouellette proposed the alliance to Mayor Sharon Konopa earlier this year. Here is the doctors' story:


"We first ventured into Huatulco about eight years ago. A planned family vacation to Oaxaca, which is north of Huatulco, served as an opportunity to take in the Pacific coast. Huatulco is the coastal area of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. We were enchanted with the beautiful surroundings, people, and culture. This was the first of many return trips.


"On one of our trips, we made arrangements to have Spanish lessons. We had the wonderful good fortune to encounter Ana, our teacher and guide. Not only did she teach us Spanish, but she connected us to local culture and people on a more personal level. Other friends in Huatulco informed us about unmet medical needs in the community. We expressed our interest in volunteering and were introduced to the President of the local Red Cross, Guillermo, and his lovely wife, Rosio. Relationships and discussions with our friends in Huatulco fostered the development of our Sister City project.


"The Sister City project is in its infancy. We hope to coordinate volunteer medical outreach. Our local medical school, residency programs, and health system have been supportive with this project. We are excited about the opportunity to provide medical services and education.


"We have made contact with other groups that are working to benefit the local populace, including El Sueno Zapoteco and Rotary. These groups have ongoing programs that would welcome international support.


"We are excited about sharing our ideas and programs with our friends in Albany. We look forward to this journey in mobilizing health resources and education at a global level. We would welcome insights from locals who have their own experiences in Huatulco and international program development. Please feel free to contact us at, or follow our work at"

Pull invasive plants, clean up rivers, and creeks in September 


Volunteers who like working outdoors have two opportunities to join community projects in Albany in September:


September 6 

'Let's Pull Together' 


Invasive plants affect hikers, gardeners, farmers, and anyone who loves nature. Join other volunteers throughout the mid-valley from 9:00 a.m.-noon Saturday, September 6, 2014, to get rid of weeds in Albany and Benton County.


Ivy clippers

Let's Pull Together is a statewide invasive plant eradication event, sponsored locally by the City of Albany and Benton County Cooperative Weed Management Area. Albany's pull will be at Takena Landing Park on the Willamette River in North Albany. Benton County pulls will be held at five locations in Corvallis, one in Monroe, and one at Independence. Albany's post-pull celebration will be at Takena Landing also.


Sign up at

September 27 

'Down by the Riverside'


River cleanup volunteers

Rivers and creeks often become dumping grounds for urban waste such as fast food containers, shopping carts, or tires. The goal for the 15th annual Down by the Riverside cleanup, 9:00 a.m.-noon Saturday, September 27, 2014, is to remove as much waste as possible before rain swells the creeks and carries the debris into the Willamette River.


The event is a great way for students to each community service credits, an excellent project for Scout groups, and an opportunity for families to learn about the ecosystem and work together to help the community.


SOLV volunteers at
Bryant Park

Volunteers will meet at Bryant Park, 801 Bryant Park Way SW, shelter No. 2, to register and pick up equipment. A free celebration lunch will be provided there when the cleanup concludes.


Down by the Riverside is presented by the City of Albany, Calapooia Watershed Council, and SOLV.


For more information or to preregister, contact Heather Slocum, 541-791-0058 or

Albany's first off-leash dog park opened in late July with a grand opening celebration on Saturday, August 16, 2014. 

Visitors check out the small-dog area of Albany Dog Park.
The 2.3-acre fenced area is at the north end of Timber-Linn Memorial Park, adjacent to Timber-Linn Lake.  Fencing creates separate areas for dogs under 25 pounds and dogs over 25 pounds; a special run allows up to two dogs that may not be used to other dogs or have special needs.  The fenced areas include bench seating, drinking water for humans and canines, pickup bags, and trash cans.  A dog-washing station is also available.  Dogs can also be off-leash beside the lake and can swim in the lake itself.  Parking is available at the west end of the fenced area. 

The dog park is open daily from 5:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. for all licensed and vaccinated dogs four months and older.


12-foot bench near the Talking Water Gardens' west beaver marsh

Rock benches give places to rest, reflect at Talking Water Gardens 


6-foot bench at the weeping wall

Come visit Talking Water Gardens, 577 Waverly Drive NE, and take a seat on the new rock benches while viewing roaring waterfalls, meandering streams, and plentiful wildlife. The treatment wetland has a two-mile network of trails to enjoy walking, biking, and wildlife watching. The trails at the Gardens tie into Albany's existing Waverly Lake and Simpson Park trail system.


The wetland is currently open to the public seven days a week, sunrise to sunset.


For more information, contact Michael Neal, Natural Treatment Systems Specialist 541-791-0062,, or visit  

Laying the cornerstone at William Henry Gray Hall, Albany College.
At right, C.W. Green, college president, and David Mason, Albany druggist.

Orange and Black: Albany College

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum volunteer


A college in Albany that closed its doors 76 years ago once fielded the best women's basketball team in the Willamette Valley and employed a professor who later became the grandfather of Matt Groening, the creator of the animated sitcom,The Simpsons.


The college was first known as Albany Collegiate Institute and later as Albany College. 

The Oregon Legislature chartered the Albany Collegiate Institute in 1867, and enthusiastic residents responded by raising $8,000 in cash and promissory notes to build a preparatory school and an institution of higher learning on land donated by the pioneer Monteith family.


The site consisted of four city blocks bounded by Ninth and 11th Avenues and Ellsworth and Ferry Streets. 


The first building measured 50 by 66 feet, contained two stories, and was crowned with a tower. 

Presbyterian minister William Monteith was picked to lead the school. 


College officials noted that the school would be a good place for "timid" souls who wouldn't be at home in a larger institution, those wanting a Christian environment, without funds willing to work to pay for their educations, and those looking for a town with a "home atmosphere and high moral and intellectual standards."


School opened in the fall of 1867 with 40 students. The first class graduated in 1873 and was comprised of four women: Maria Irvine, Cora Irvine, Weltha Young, and Mary Hannon.


By the early 1870s, college-age students studied the sciences, English, Latin, Greek, French, German, mathematics, political science, history, and bookkeeping, among other offerings.  

The school's colors were orange and black, the mascot was a pirate, and the yearbook called the "Orange Peal." The school song was "The Orange and the Black."


In 1892, the Presbyterian Board of Aid for Colleges wanted the school's name changed to Albany College to better reflect the high caliber of its teaching staff and to recognize the recent inauguration of its advanced curriculum. The switch was not official, however, until 1905. 


Girls basketball practice, 1910.

Also in 1905, the women's basketball team won nearly every game it played even though it had only five players, allowing for no substitutions. Team members were Elsie Francis and Flo Nutting, forwards; Gertie Bussard and Wilda Starr, guards; and Rose Ficklin, center. 


Arthur Wilson, a former high school player in Portland, was persuaded to coach the women. College teams in those days played against anyone available, even if it meant high school or community groups. 


Despite boasting outstanding sports teams, debt and financial problems always dogged the school. Teachers sometimes went two months without pay. 


May pole dance, 1912.

The college nearly closed several times due to lack of money and a roller-coaster enrollment that left administrators wondering how much student tuitions would bring in year to year.  Competition for students grew as similar institutions opened in Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, McMinnville, Newberg, and Forest Grove. 


The school also found it difficult to stay accredited because of frequent deficiencies in the curriculum, and some facilities were ruled inadequate, such as the library and the science labs.  


Nevertheless, in 1925, the school decided to sell its property to the public school district and reopen on an expanded 46-acre campus at Broadway Street and Queen Avenue. 


Unfortunately, the new campus did nothing to resolve the financial crises, and the school's demise began to take serious shape in the early 1930s, though enrollment had reached an all-time high of 214. 


Trustees attempted to secure more funds during the Depression era by offering classes in Portland, but that didn't help, and the threat of war in Europe made continuing problematic. The school's doors closed forever in 1938, and operations eventually moved to the Lloyd Frank family property in Portland. In 1941, the institution became known as Lewis & Clark College. 


It was Matt Groening's grandfather, Abram A. Groening, who joined the Albany College faculty in 1930 and was named dean in 1935, who suggested the school rent space in downtown Portland with professors traveling there twice a week to hold classes.


After Albany College closed, Groening went on to head the physics department at Lewis & Clark. He died in February 1981 in Portland.


The Albany College property was sold in 1942 to the U.S. Bureau of Mines for $143,500. Most of the proceeds went to retire the school's debt. 


At one of the last Albany College reunions, graduates remembered what it was like to go to school in a small town.  They recalled enjoying tea at the homes of college professors in the afternoons and in the evenings sitting in front of their instructors' fireplaces talking of books and the problems of the world. 


The college atmosphere was quite different back then, they said.

Albany Fire crews and Albany Police officers visit North Pointe neighborhood

Albany neighbors celebrate National Night Out


Thirty-seven neighborhoods and community groups celebrated life in Albany on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, by taking to their streets, lawns, and parks for a night of camaraderie and connection during National Night Out.


Sgt. Ron Parker reviews crime map at the Mennonite Village

Uniformed Albany Police officers attended every gathering with a goal of education. APD provided a five-year crime statistic report for each neighborhood to give residents an opportunity to see trending crime near and around their homes. Officers were available to discuss trends, concerns, and possible solutions for each neighborhood.


APD K-9 Jager

Making a positive connection between police officers and residents at a no-pressure event is something that does not happen every day, said Sandy Roberts, Police Community Education Specialist. "We are in the business of responding to calls for service that often involve a negative contact for our residents. We appreciate the chance to sit down with citizens and discuss crime issues, police work, and crime prevention."


Volunteers from Target and Albany Fire Department personnel also attended a number of the  functions.


"We look forward to next year's event and continuing to build connection with our community," Roberts said.

Learn about black people in Oregon September 7 at the Library


Author and educator Walidah Imarisha will visit Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Avenue SE, on Sunday, September 7, 2014, to lead a presentation and discussion of black history in Oregon. The public is invited and participation is free.


"Why are there so few Black people in Oregon?" is scheduled from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the Library's Community Meeting Room. Imarisha will lead participants through an interactive timeline of black history in Oregon, addressing race, identity, and power in Oregon and the nation. Participants will discuss how history, politics, and culture have shaped and continue to shape the landscape for all Oregonians.


Imarisha has facilitated poetry and journalism workshops in schools, community centers, youth detention facilities, and women's prisons. She directed and coproduced the Katrina documentary "Finding Common Ground" in New Orleans. She has taught in the Portland State University's Black Studies Department, Oregon State University's Women's Studies Department, and Southern New Hampshire University's English Department.


The event is hosted by Occupy Albany, the Rural Organizing Project, and the Oregon Humanities and cosponsored by the Albany Human Relations Commission and Linn-Benton Community College Department of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

For more information, contact Peter Goodman, 541-981-2882.

Outdoor lawn
watering tips

Allow grass clippings to stay on the lawn instead of bagging them. 

The cut grass will quickly decompose and return to the soil, helping the lawn stay healthy.

Mow high; taller grass saves water. 

Let the grass grow and raise the mower blade to at least 3 inches.  A taller lawn will help shade the soil, so it requires less water.  When grass grows taller, its roots grow deeper and makes a healthier lawn with less time and money spent on lawn maintenance.
Willamette River Relay draws 100-plus


More than 100 competitors participated in the first Willamette River Relay and Paddle Me Plunge in Albany on Saturday, August 9, 2014. The paddle, bike, and run event started at Hyak Park and ended with a post-race river celebration at Monteith Riverpark.


The Calapooia Watershed Council and Calapooia Brewing Company partnered to create a family-friendly event that highlights outdoor recreation and many restoration projects happening around Albany to improve the health of the Willamette River.  The day featured music from the Crescendo show, local food vendor Stuffed Cheesy Burger, and a beer garden with Calapooia Brewing Company and 2 Towns Ciderhouse.  Booths for local conservation and nonprofit groups provided activities and information. 


Proceeds will benefit local river restoration and conservation.


Additional sponsors and partners included the Nature Conservancy, City of Albany, Oregon Community Foundation, Albany Downtown Association, ATI Wah Chang, Patagonia, No Dinx, River Design Group, Cabela's, Hammer Nutrition, Greenbelt Land Trust, McKenzie River Trust, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, Luckiamute Watershed Council, Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, US Army Corps of Engineers, Mary's River Watershed Councils, and Linn Soil and Water Conservation District.

Relay results are at, and more information about local river restoration projects is at

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