Time capsule, filled with current-era objects, buried in Northside monument

By Sean C. Morgan

Lebanon Local

Heads up, kids! Approximately 50 years from now you’ll want to be on top of this.

Representatives of the city, the Lebanon Museum Foundation and the community sealed a time capsule inside the new Northside Welcome Monument on Oct. 17, to be opened on Founders Day in 2078, the 200th anniversary of Lebanon’s incorporation.

The State of Oregon officially recognized Lebanon, which had a population of 247 at the time, as an incorporated city on Oct. 17, 1878, said City Council President Jason Bolen. The city and the foundation partnered to celebrate Founders Day this year by placing the capsule in the monument.

In the spring, the city put out a call to the community for suggestions of items to put in the time capsule, Bolen said.

“As you know, a time capsule is a collection of objects put together to preserve the memory of a place, experience or group of people at one point in time. Our hope is on Oct. 17, 2078, Lebanon’s 200th anniversary, our time capsule will be opened and insight from the past, our present, will serve as valuable reminders of one generation for another.”

In 59 years, “when it’s opened, they can see us in this moment, putting the time capsule into the monument for future generations,” Bolen said.

“Many things have changed in Lebanon in the past 141 years,” said Mayor Paul Aziz, who was unable to attend the ceremony, in a letter to the mayor and citizens of Lebanon 2078. “And I am sure things will continue to change in the next 59 years when you open this capsule. We have tried everything we could to preserve these items so you can see a glimpse of life in Lebanon in the year 2019.

TIME CAPSULE contents are photographically displayed for visitors at the burial to look at.

“Lebanon has come through a tough time and big changes in the 1980s with the timber industry all but dying here in the foothills of the Cascades. This was due to the federal government declaring the spotted owl an endangered species and halting logging operations here and across the country. Stores were vacant, and people were moving to other locations. And a lot of people in the valley were out of work.

“Thankfully, around 2000, things started to turn around for Lebanon and Linn County. The widening of Highway 34 was a huge help, allowing us to attract businesses such as Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse.”

Noting that if she is still around, said Rep. Sherrie Sprenger in a letter, she would be 104 years old when it’s opened. Sprenger was not able to attend the ceremony.

“Our new identity is a beautiful combination of the past and present,” Sprenger said, discussing Lebanon’s development in recent decades.

Leigh Matthews-Bock places a Polaroid photo in the capsule.

“One of the best examples is Cheadle Lake Park. When I was growing up, the lake was a mill pond at the site of Champion Lumber Mill, one of the largest employers in the area.

“After the mill closed in the mid 1980s, it seemed its only purpose was to remind us of an industry we feared no longer existed. Through the hard work of a handful of dedicated folks, Cheadle Lake Park emerged.

“This town has never lost its sense of tradition; nor have we forgotten our history and heritage. We have wrapped up all the lessons and accomplishments from our past and carried them into the future so other generations can grow while maintaining a sense of heritage and identity that makes this town the special place that you now enjoy.”

Attendees at the burial pose for the Polaroid photo taken by Leigh Matthews-Bock before sealing the deal. From left are Cassie Cruze, Michelle Steinhebel, Thonni Morikawa, Kendra Antila, Jason Bolen, Jami Cate, Amy Waite, Alysia Rodgers, Mary Gentle, Karin Stauder, Larry Majors and Jeff Fitzwater.

Fire Chief Gordon R. Sletmoe wrote: “While we are sure that many things will have changed between 2019 and 2078 and that many events, both large and small, have transpired, we are certain that the mission, vision and values of the Lebanon Fire District remain the same, namely to protect you.”

Among children at the Boys and Girls Club who sent letters to be included in the time capsule, Madison wrote, “I like Lebanon because I like the parks. I also like Lebanon because they have a Boys and Girls Club.”

Jeff Fitzwater, city senior maintenance worker, takes the final steps to putting the time capsule to rest.

“Lebanon is a beautiful place. I love colors and TV. I am thankful. I love TV because it relaxes you when you are frustrated. The colors of Lebanon is beautiful.”

The time capsule was created by Larry Majors and Jeff Fitzwater of Public Works using a length of pipe.

Inside the capsule, the city included an SD card and a flash drive with photos and videos, including “Lebanon, the Perfect Choice,” and “Lebanon, Open for Business.”

“The question will be, do you have the old technology to play any of this and see the files,” said a letter included with the storage media.

“As we put this together, computers are becoming smaller and smaller, and tablets have recently taken off. Many people are using their ‘smart’ phones for surfing the Internet, getting email and sending text messages. We hope you can enjoy.”

Also inside are current editions of the Lebanon Local, Albany Democrat Herald, and Lebanon Express; a Lebanon Warriors hat; the mayor’s business cards; brochures and publications about the Chamber of Commerce, Lebanon Museum, Boulder Falls Inn, Oregon’s covered bridges, Build Lebanon Trails and Santiam Excursion Trains; and a publication about the new Water Treatment Plant.

Additional contents included information about the PEO; a photo of the Lebanon Garden Club, which was organized in 1936; a photo of the Kitty Angel Team; information about and a photo of the Linn County Arts Guild; information about and a photo of the Fortnightly Book Club; commemorative coins; information and painted stones from Dala’s Blue Angels; information about Scroggins Mill; a Brewfest cup and T-shirt; a Lebanon Police Department patch; and other photos and items.

Jeff Fitzwater aligns the cement post that encloses the time capsule.