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The Project


A year-long video art installation projected on Oregon City's historic municipal elevator.

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The Project


A year-long video art installation projected on Oregon City's historic municipal elevator.

The year-long lighting begins January 22, 2014. Join us for the opening event! Click here to learn more.

The Artist

Artist Tiffany Carbonneau has made a name for herself mapping large-scale, outdoor video projections to prominent architectural features. She has worked all over the world and was selected from many artist applicants to create Oregon City's installation.

Meet the Artist →

The Process

Nearly two years ago in early 2012, Main Street Oregon City, Clackamas County Arts Alliance, and partners began the application for the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. One of only 80 nationwide recipients in 2012, the $100 thousand match spurred investment in one of Oregon City's most important icons and an art creation process to tell the Oregon City story.

Learn about the Process →

Project Team

The Illuminate Oregon City project team is a diverse group of public and private organizations representing local and regional governments, the arts, higher education, and downtown Oregon City.

Meet the Project Team →

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Downtown
Oregon City


Shopping, dining, history, and nature.

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Downtown
Oregon City


Shopping, dining, history, and nature.

Shopping

Downtown Oregon City has an eclectic mix of vintage and antique stores, boutiques, art, jewelry, and more. Paired with excellent salons and dining options, its easy to spend an afternoon or evening here.

Explore Shopping →

Dining

Enjoy neighborhood taverns, sports bars, brick oven pizza, regional wine, relaxed cafes and delicious cupcakes.

Explore Dining →

Attractions

Oregon City is a hotbed of history. It is the first city west if the rockies and the end of the Oregon Trail. Set on the beautiful Willamette River there is a lot to explore.

Explore Attractions →

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Elevator History


First built in 1915 the elevator has a long history.

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Elevator History


First built in 1915 the elevator has a long history.

In Oregon City's early years, most of the city was located on the “first level” along the Willamette River. As the city grew, it became apparent that an easier way needed to be found to travel to the upper levels of the town. By 1867, steps were built up the bluff to supplement early Native American trails used by city residents. More steps were constructed over the years, but the climb was still difficult because the preferred route had 722 steps from the base of the cliff to the top of the bluff.

On May 10, 1912, the City Commission decided to place before the voters a ballot measure asking if the City should be authorized to issue bonds for “A Public Elevator at the Bluff.” The first vote on funding a public elevator was defeated on July 8, 1912. Considered again on December 2, 1912, the voters authorized $12,000 in bonds “to construct and operate an elevator from the lower to the upper town at some point to be selected.”

A committee of City Commissioners was appointed to “investigate the elevator proposition.” Most city residents thought an elevator was a great idea; however, none of the wealthier residents who lived on the bluff wanted the elevator near their property. By March, 1913, negotiations had started to acquire access between 6th and 7th Streets for the upper portion of the elevator. The owner of the property objected to locating the elevator in front of her residence and refused to sell access to the City. The City took the matter to the State Supreme Court and the Court decided in the City's favor. The property owner remained opposed to the elevator and never did ride on it.

The City surveyed and platted the vertical “Elevator Street” and entered into a contract with Oregon Bridge and Construction Company to construct the elevator. The elevator could be operated by either electricity or water power. Water power was cheaper than electricity, but the City's Water Board refused to allow the connection, fearing the elevator would diminish the integrity of the water system. The City Commission resolved the matter by removing and appointing a new Water Board composed of City Commissioners. The issue went to court and the elevator committee was instructed to procure water from the Water Board to operate the elevator.

(Source: http://www.orcity.org/publicworks/municipal-elevator)

Learn more about the elevator's history →