(Douglas County, Ore.) – Douglas County Commissioners Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress celebrated National Historic Preservation Month and National STEAM Education Week by issuing proclamations today at their weekly Business Meeting, honoring and recognizing the people, places and programs in Douglas County that work every day to celebrate our history, as well as provide creative educational experiences that engage and inspire our youth. A copy of the live video presentation can be found on the Douglas County Government Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyeGovernment.
National Historic Preservation Month, celebrated during the month of May every year was established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with a goal of promoting historic places in order to invigorate national and community pride, promote heritage tourism and show the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. This year’s theme for National Preservation Month is ‘People Saving Places’. The Commissioners recognize that historic preservation is a reinvestment in our past for our future. They know it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives, and honor the contributions made by dedicated local individuals who help to preserve the tangible aspects of our heritage that has shaped us as a people, as a county and as a community.
Dale Greenley, Board member with the Douglas County Historical Society, Douglas County Museum Foundation and publisher and author of the Umpqua Trapper, offered a few bits of historical facts to the board, “A lot of you know that this year is the 150th birthday of the City of Roseburg, the 150th Anniversary of the Coos Bay Wagon Road and more importantly that the railroad arrived here 150 years ago. While I was doing research on the Coos Bay Wagon Road, I made an interesting discovery. Do you realize that the Lookingglass Store is the oldest continuously operating store in Oregon? The store was started in 1852 and there is no other place in Oregon that can say that!”
National STEAM Education Week is celebrated May 14-22, 2022 this year and hearkens back to 2006, when Georgette Yakman, a middle and high school teacher in Virginia saw the usefulness of incorporating the ideas of creativity and innovation into the original 2001 STEM education model by adding Art & Design to the equation. The Commissioners agree with our local educators and community leaders that advancements in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) are transforming nearly every aspect of our daily lives, our communities, and our economy at an accelerated pace, and our children need to be prepared to lead us into the future. Umpqua Valley’s STEAM Hub was established in the summer of 2014 and was one of the first of six STEAM Hubs established in the State of Oregon. There are now 13 STEAM hubs in Oregon that are part of a network. Currently there are 28 robotics teams in Douglas County representing 26 high school/middle schools and two homeschool teams with youth ages 9 to 14.
“The partners represented here today from all over Douglas County truly show what our local STEAM Hub is all about - and that is a community partnership of a whole variety of different organizations that are all a part of bringing quality STEAM education to our youth and their families,” commented Gwen Soderberg-Chase, the Director of Douglas County Partners for Student Success – Umpqua Valley Steam Hub.
The Commissioners are grateful for the work done by all who dedicate their lives to preserving our past and educating our future. They presented National Historic Preservation Month and National STEAM Education Week proclamations certificates to the following individuals and organizations:
NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH
Douglas County Planning Department: Joshua Shaklee, Planning Director and Jeff Lehrbach, Planning Manager
Douglas County Historic Resource Review Committee: Anne Bacon Wickersham and Judy Bacon
Douglas County Museum and Umpqua Lighthouse Museum: Karen Bratton and Eric Winslow
Douglas County Historical Society-Floed Lane House: Maria Crince, Board President, Dale Greenley, Ken Deatherage
South Umpqua Historical Society/Pioneer-Indian Museum: Susan Waddle, Vice President; Christine Morgan, Secretary; Donna Witt and Ron Witt
NATIONAL STEAM EDUCATION WEEK
Douglas County Partners for Student Success - Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub: Gwen Soderberg-Chase, Director and Grace Lyons, Robotics Coach
Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub - Core Leadership Team: Jared Cordon, Superintendent Roseburg Public Schools; Bryan Lake, Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley; Missy Denzer, Southern Oregon Workforce Investment Board’s “Recruit Hippo” Program; Amber Lomascola, Cow Creek Tribal Expanding Horizons Youth Center
Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub - Educator Champions: Jared Cordon, Superintendent Roseburg Public Schools; Emily Veale, Principal, Tri City Elementary; Amanda Brown, STEAM Teacher, Green Elementary; Nate Young, 6th Grade Teacher, McGovern Elementary
Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub - Community Champions: Coach Grace Lyons, Sean Pakros and Robot #9567, Elkton Robotics Team; Leila Goulet and Animal Ambassadors – Bandit the thirteen year old American Badger and Irwin the Australian Blue Tongue Skink from Wildlife Safari and Emily Brandt, Executive Director, Umpqua Valley Arts Center
“We do these events to remind people of what a great community we live in. You all are a great example of why we do this. Even though we have had a tough couple of years, the great work you have done and continue to do is just fantastic for this community. We recognize that as a Board of Commissioners, and we want to take a minute and thank and honor you for that work!” – Commissioner Tim Freeman.
Douglas County Community Unity Campaign
The story behind the series of proclamations since 2021 to help raise community morale. The Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress recognized that the pandemic traumatized our country, state and county on so many levels in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The impact was not only felt physically, but also mentally, emotionally and financially. They saw evidence that this trauma had resulted in severe anxiety, anger, frustration, isolation, depression and loneliness amongst our residents. It had clearly divided and separated our community. They saw far too many residents that were experiencing difficulty, and those that were focused on negativity.
The Commissioners knew that there was a desperate need to bring positive energy back to our County in order to reconnect, refocus and reengage our citizens, and to reenergize that incredible sense of community unity that we are known for. The Commissioners collectively decided to start this series of proclamations, and have dedicated themselves to bringing back the ‘good energy’. They plan to continue to highlight the amazing work being done by local individuals and organizations in Douglas County in order to encourage our residents to do the same. The incredible stories being told during our proclamation events shine a huge spotlight on the amazing work that continues to be done by dedicated individuals and organizations, even when they were working in the isolated shadows of the pandemic. It is no secret that many organizations have struggled to stay relevant, disseminate information, engage our community or raise funds in the past two years due to the pandemic. We hope to change that cycle and focus on what really matters, our people.
In 2022, the Commissioners have issued 18 proclamations and honored over 600 Douglas County individuals as a part of our Community Unity Campaign. They hope you will join them in supporting, thanking and perhaps volunteering to help these wonderful individuals and organizations, so we can come together to rekindle and restore our sense of community, our faith in others and the joy that makes Douglas County the best place to live, work and play.