Opinion & Editorial

This, that & the other …

The redevelopment of Creswell’s 76 Station has garnered tremendous interest far and wide. The project got underway in May with the demolition of the old Dairy Queen/Joe’s Diner building. While chatting with station owner Bill Spencer a few weekends ago, he invited me to take a final behind-the-scenes tour of the building just before it was leveled. 

This is one of the great perks of my job.

Spencer took me through the restaurant area, pointing out the thick 3-by-12 wood beams and the fact that there were “no cracks in the concrete!” 

Old buildings hold memories, and some secrets, too. 

Spencer said he and his crew were surprised at the extensive fire damage that occurred in the early 1970s. The flames cooked and baked large sections of the second floor and the trusses. Fortunately, he said, the old structure was built to last. 

“It was beautiful craftsmanship,” he said, “but probably ‘over-built’ a little.” 

We took the wide stairwell upstairs, and then Spencer pulled a ladder under an opening that revealed the sky above. Before I knew it, he had scrambled up the ladder and was on the roof, and asking if I could manage it myself. It wasn’t hard to imagine him as a younger man, right then, with pointy elbows akimbo going up for a contested rebound in a basketball game. 

As he stood on the roof in the late afternoon, his thin, wiry frame cut through the wind and cast a long shadow. He looked out over Creswell, and explained how Forrest Solomon and his son Jerry helped build the town. “They were the straws that stirred the drink,” to borrow a phrase, he told me later. They owned the Mazama mill, known for having the most efficient peeler in the industry. You could almost hear the lathe whirring in the background during his retelling. “I remember seeing logging trucks lined up from Mazama down Mill Street all the way to Oregon Ave.,” he said. 

The Solomons’ impact is seen everywhere in Creswell. After the Dairy Queen, they constructed the building that My Boys Pizza occupies today, and the former Super-8 hotel that now sits vacant. Emerald Valley was another project.

The thing about the Solomons, Spencer emphasized, is that “they took pride in only bringing missing pieces in terms of building businesses in town. They never looked to pick a fight with a local person. I admired that!” 


Dee Dee and I finally made a long overdue visit to Mt. Pisgah last month. We didn’t know what we’d been missing. 

At Pisgah, we veered to the right, toward Buford Park, and ended up walking along the riverbank and creek trails, out past the Seeps. The parking lot was active and cars were filling most spots. On the trails, however, we witnessed physical distancing and mask-wearing as appropriate. We didn’t attempt any trails that required a change in elevation, this time.

A few weeks before that we made it down to Dorena and walked the trails around the Row River. 

Friend, photographer and Chronicle contributor Brad Cook took Dee Dee, editor Erin Tierney and I for a tour of the Wildwood Falls and surrounding area. 

It was cool seeing Brad in his natural habitat, too, risking life and limb for the perfect shot. We’re looking forward to going back when it’s safe and warm enough to enjoy the swimming hole. 


I’ve been impressed with the way many of our small-business owners have responded to the pandemic. There are inventive and practical solutions in almost every store that demonstrates care and concern for employees and customers.

I was fortunate to get a peek inside the Round Up Saloon before its Phase 1 reopening. Owner Kelly Coughlin already had taken advantage of the stay-at-home order to refurbish many parts of the business, including a new kitchen, the latest appliances, brighter lighting, updates to the walk-in cooler plus new fans and hands-free fixtures in the restrooms. 

Walking through the empty bar and lottery area, it was easy to notice the reduced furniture to maximize space, and physical-distancing barriers hung unobtrusively throughout the room. The pool table had chairs neatly stacked on top, instead of striped and solid balls splayed across green felt. 

Back then, he was waiting for state lottery approval of his changes, and was optimistic he had done everything possible to make the saloon safe and comfortable for staff and clients. And, he said, the changes were made with the long haul in mind.

“The virus is highly unpredictable, and there could be a resurgence,” he said. “This could be a long-term thing. I have a responsibility to my customers. This bar is a component of our community and it was important to reopen safely.”

A few weeks into Phase 1 and Coughlin said he’s still trying to get answers from the state on several fronts. “I’m constantly readjusting the physical structure of my business,” he said this week. “Half of my seating is in my garage.”


Several area realtors say the market remains active – mostly thanks to low interest rates. Potential buyers continue to express interest, even through virtual tours. However, buyers and sellers alike are a little hesitant to ultimately make the final call. 


The Lane County Sheriff’s Office’s contract with Creswell has proven to be a career boost for many deputies. Sheriff Cliff Harrold was the Sergeant when Sgt. Scott Denham – who oversees the operation here in Creswell and beyond – first worked under the contract scenario. “Harrold worked in Creswell, the current chief deputy worked in Creswell. Regardless of who the leader is, the Creswell (situation) is often a stepping stone because of the type of community and investigative work you can do,” Denham said. “I am just seeking to provide every guidance and opportunity to young deputies to continue in that tradition.” To that point, LCSO deputies Stephen Naber and Chris Gardner are moving on to new opportunities. Naber has been selected to go into a new contracted domestic violence operation under the District Attorney and Gardner was selected as a K-9 officer. Besides filling those positions, Denham hopes to be onboarding a fourth deputy soon; the position will be discussed at the next City Council meeting. “I hate losing good people,” he said. “Working in the Creswell or Veneta contracts is a stepping stone to investigative positions as well as other specialized positions.”


The Springfield-area Chamber of Commerce has been actively supporting its members and the southern Willamette Valley’s economy. It maintained one of the most robust websites with details on the status of area businesses during the pandemic. Once the Phase 1 plan was put in place, the Chamber helped create and distribute a free “Back to Business Guide.” The Chronicle is one of the Chamber’s members to take the business pledge of maintaining a safe environment for our staff and customers. Check out its website at springfield-chamber.org.


A final thought. I was struck by this fact: Coors Light is – by far – the most popular beer sold in Lane County.

Noel Nash is the publisher 

of The Chronicle. 



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos