84-year-old tradition seeks financial help
After 26 years of adorning downtown streets, Newberg scrolls need restoration
In 1929, Newberg firefighters began a long tradition of adorning downtown streets with Christmas flair. Firefighters wanted the town to look good for the holiday season. In fact, that first year there was a decorated tree right in the middle of the intersection of First and Howard streets, back when it was a two-way street.
Eighty-four years later, there are no Christmas trees in the middle of intersections, but the tradition is still going strong. Sadly, after 26 years of withstanding Oregon winter weather, the traditional decorations are in need of major and expensive repairs.
It adds to the tradition of Newberg, said retired fire chief Al Blodgett. The tradition of scrolls on poles dates back to 1966, when custom decorations were named the Newberg Scroll.
The scrolls were purchased following the first and last fundraising event for decorations held by firefighters, said a brochure created by the Newberg Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Twenty years later, the scrolls were destroyed in the 1986 Newberg Bowling Alley fire. They then were replaced, thanks to funding from insurance settlements.
The Newberg Fire Department owns 69 scrolls, and 40 wreath decorations, plus lights to decorate the trees located at the Newberg Public Library and at Highway 99W and Elliott Road. The cost to restore the 69 scrolls is $750 each, including restoration of the garland and replacement the existing lights with new high-efficiency LED lights.
I want to keep the tradition going, Blodgett said. I am encouraging citizens to do the same.
Our fundraising goal is $40,000, said a brochure released by the Newberg Volunteer Firefighters Association. For the first time since 1966 we are asking for your help in continuing the tradition of the Newberg Scroll.
Decorations will go up Dec. 1. Firefighters will have breakfast at United Methodist Church, sponsored by the churchs mens group, and will hit the streets, specifically First Street from Dairy Queen to Villa Road, and along Hancock Street. After completing the work, volunteers and their families will carry on another tradition: theyll return to the fire station for a potluck dinner.
To make a donation, stop by the Newberg Downtown Coalition office at First and School streets.