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1993: Timber Festival embroiled in financial scandal


1963: Estacada's Clackamas County News celebrated Christmas with a front page reprinting of the 1897 “Yes, Virginia” editorial that appeared in the New York Sun.

In 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote:

"Dear Editor: Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Popa says, “If you see it in the Sun, it's so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?"

The editor replied:

"Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth, and knowledge.

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

"Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus but, even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but there is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable to the world.

"You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Our faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else more real and abiding.

"No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

1983: At a city council meeting, Mayor John Rowley moved to cancel the city's law enforcement contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff's office in favor of starting an Estacada city police department again. The motion died when it failed to get a second.

1993: The Timber Festival hit another round of scandals.

The nonprofit Timber Festival organization had been investigated by the Oregon Attorney General's office earlier in the year after a taxpayer-funded stage built by former Timber Festival member Steve Strawn collapsed in a storm.

Strawn's wife, Dennice, had handled the group's finances. The Strawns were no longer officers of the organization.

While the case remained open, District Attorney's office personnel admitted that it was “on the back burner.”

Leadership had gone through a shake up, but rumors of the group's financial trouble abounded.

The then Clackamas County News received an anonymous tip that the Festival was “missing” as much as $18,000.

City Manager Shelley Jones urged the group to publicly respond to rumors about its financial trouble.

Becky Thwreatt, who had run the group's entertainment arm, resigned abruptly.

She said a Washington reporter had called her earlier that day. His use of words like “embezzlement” spooked her.

“There are things I feel are being swept under the carpet,” Thwreatt said. “(It's) affecting each of our reputations.”

In other news, Estacada was one of four Oregon cities being considered for the site of a rest-care facility for retired veterans.

City leaders hoped that if the facility landed in Estacada it would spark significant community growth in the 1990s.

The thought of the week came from Woodrow Wilson: “Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the only way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world.”

2003: Though Randy Ealy had already been city manager for three years, the city signed a formal employment contract with Ealy in December 2003.

Marsha Naegeli-Moody discussed her impressive collection of Hollywood, presidential and humanitarian memorabilia with the Clackamas County News.

The collection included Elvis Presley's 1969 pink Cadillac registration and a hand-written letter from Mother Theresa.

2012: Four days after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, the scene at the mall was returning to normal.



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