Fort Clatsop
Administrative History
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Public Relations And The Local Community

Fort Clatsop has maintained an active and visible role in the local community. Memorial staff has traditionally been a part of local organizations, such as the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions clubs. The memorial has also maintained strong ties with the Astoria, Warrenton, and Seaside Chambers of Commerce. The superintendents of the memorial have served on a variety of local committees for county and city governments, dealing with such issues as economics, soil conservation, the Columbia River Estuary Study Team (CREST), and tourism development. [10] In recent years, these contacts have allowed the memorial to keep abreast of and have an impact on local management processes that affect the memorial.

Crown Zellerbach and Cavenham Industries. The memorial's primary neighbors to the west have always been active members of the timber industry. Crown Zellerbach, owners of the neighboring timber lands during the site's creation, openly supported Fort Clatsop and donated logs and services of significant value for the replica project in 1955. When the memorial was first established, Crown Zellerbach owned property around the Fort Clatsop site and at the canoe landing. Through the suggestion of Senator Richard Neuberger, the corporation donated land to assist in the memorial's creation. Crown Zellerbach continued to be helpful to the memorial, donating trees to the reforestation project as needed and donating the wood base for the "Arrival" statue. In May, 1986, Crown Zellerbach assets were acquired by Cavenham Forest Industries. Cavenham continues to own much of the timber land to the west of the memorial as a division of Hansen Natural Resources Company, Great Britain. The memorial holds a collection permit for native shrubs and trees on Cavenham property. Crown Zellerbach and Cavenham also donated time, staff, and labor assisting the memorial in various projects over the years.

The memorial has continued to keep constructive relations with Cavenham Industries since the company acquired the Crown Zellerbach properties, most recently trying to come to an understanding regarding conflicting land use issues. With the fort's new general management plan's proposed actions, a proposed for boundary expansion and commemorative trail to the coast would pass directly through Cavenham property. In recent years, Cavenham has been approached to sell lands to developers and the City of Warrenton. With the memorial also seeking to acquire portions of Cavenham property, the company is feeling pressured to relieve these issues and has negotiated with the memorial to reach an agreement satisfactory to both parties. The memorial sees not only future clear-cutting on this property as a threat, but also potential development should Cavenham decide to sell to other interested parties. [11]

The Oregon and Clatsop County Historical Societies. Both of these organizations were responsible for the preservation and management of the Fort Clatsop site prior to its designation as a national memorial. The Oregon Historical Society was the primary coordinator for the legislative movement which achieved that recognition. Since the NPS took over the site, both societies have remained supporters of the memorial. The memorial continues to coordinate with these two societies in the preservation of local and state history, especially regarding the preservation of the historic trail.

Columbia River Maritime Museum. Located in Astoria, the maritime museum is another local historical group which coordinates with the memorial, a relationship that proves mutually beneficial. The memorial and the museum have provided technical assistance to each other. During the visitor center expansion project, the museum stored a large portion of the memorial's collection. The memorial has loaned collection materials to the museum for exhibit purposes. Through Fort Clatsop, the museum was also provided technical assistance by an NPS conservator during the visitor center expansion.

A significant coordination effort between the two came in 1991 with the bicentennial of Captain Robert Gray's exploration of the Columbia River. The NPS and State of Oregon Columbia River Bicentennial Commission, developed a cooperative agreement for the production of the exhibit "This Noble River: Captain Gray and the Columbia" housed at the maritime museum from May through November 1992. Superintendent Orlando served for the regional director on the coordinating group for the exhibit. The exhibit was co-sponsored by the NPS and received $250,000 in federal funding.

Seaside. Due to the satellite location of the Salt Works site management coordinates with various Seaside organizations to ensure that NPS standards for the site are met. Prior to the site's designation in 1979 as a part of the memorial, the Seaside Lions Club had maintained and policed the site for the Oregon Historical Society. Since 1979, Fort Clatsop has retained agreements with the Seaside Lions Club through 1990 for their maintenance efforts. Due to increased visitation at the site, the memorial currently maintains an agreement with the City of Seaside for maintenance and policing of the site. The Lions Club continues to monitor the 15-star flag flown at the site.

The Chinook Tribe. Headquartered in Chinook, Washington, the Chinook tribe is the primary American Indian contact for the memorial. The memorial has kept in contact with this community since 1989 for proper interpretation of the Clatsop/Chinook people and for support of memorial programs. The Chinook Tribal Council reviewed the memorial's new exhibit plans during the memorial expansion project and has also been consulted on items regarding future interpretation at the memorial and the new general management plan.

The Chinook tribe is not a federally recognized tribe although they do have some land interest on the Quinault Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The Chinook Tribal Council represents the lower Chinook, Clatsop, Wahkiakum, Cathlamet, and Clatskanie people. It is a relatively young organization, consisting of about 1700 members as of 1990. They are currently working towards federal recognition.

Since the beginning of relations with the memorial in 1989, Mr. and Mrs. George Lagergren, members of the tribe, have come to the memorial to speak about traditional Chinook/Clatsop culture. Representatives of the tribe were a part of the dedication ceremonies for the new visitor center. During the temporary display of three baskets collected by the Expedition and on loan from the Peabody Museum at Harvard, the memorial hosted a special viewing of the baskets for the Chinook and all other regional tribes. The memorial is also in contact with the tribe regarding the future repatriation of burial items at Fort Vancouver N.H.S. The association between the memorial and the Chinook Tribal Council is mutually appreciated.

During the late 1970s until 1981, the memorial contacted Portland and Seattle area American Indian organizations, area colleges, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs trying to recruit an American Indian woman for the seasonal interpretive program. In planning for the bicentennial of the Expedition in 2003-2006, the memorial has created a listing of all tribal groups with connection to the Expedition in the Northwest and hopes to coordinate with all these groups in the bicentennial celebration planning efforts.

Youth Conservation Corps and Tongue Point Jobs Corps. Over the years, the memorial has utilized regional youth employment programs, which have provided staffing for a range of tasks, including administrative assistance. Without this assistance, a number of projects might not have been completed.

Between 1981 and 1991, the memorial employed 8 to 16 staff and enrollees from the YCC program. These teams worked at the memorial for a period of eight weeks. Programs completed by these crews included trail clearing, alder thinning, and building boundary fences. As a part of the YCC program, memorial staff required each enrollee to participate in the fort's interpretive program at the fort replica. This aspect of the program was extremely successful, resulting in some enrollees volunteering as interpreters on the weekends. [12] The memorial currently has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. Through this agreement, the memorial has employed several youths for administrative and maintenance positions. Students at the Tongue Point Job Corps Center cut, sanded, and applied a resin coating to the 12" base for the "Arrival" statue. [13]

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Last Updated: 20-Jan-2004