Community, Springfield

Ribbon-cutting event brings slice of normalcy, joy


From left: Councilman Steve Moe, Vonnie Mikkelsen, Chelsea Greenway, Jordan Cora Lampe, Aliya Hall, Noel Nash, Denise Nash, Ron Hartman (back), Erin Tierney, Emma Routley and Robert Baguio on Friday in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – Rocked by a pandemic during uncertain economic conditions, yet buoyed by readers and advertisers, The Chronicle marked another milestone Friday, Aug. 28, when it celebrated its new office at 655 S. A St. in Historic Downtown. It came one year after renaming the weekly newspaper to “The Chronicle” and its website to “,” embracing both its future and its 110-year anniversary. 

These past 12 months have been a remarkable journey, and demonstrate how important a community newspaper is, particularly in rural and small-town America. 

Before cutting the ribbon on Friday, I remarked that this was not the end goal, but rather, we were just getting started. The Chronicle looks forward to growing with residents and small businesses throughout Springfield, a city of nealry 70,000 people. We remain excited about covering Creswell, and doing even more in Cottage Grove, and Pleasant Hill, too.

Our mission has been clear from Day One: Deliver hyper-local news and information, prioritize education-related coverage, and support local, small businesses. 

When we do that successfully, we’re providing unique-and-differentiating content. Readers like that. And advertisers like to reach those readers.

These past few months have felt as if we were all driving around with the optimism needle resting below E. But it was different on this day; a chance to congregate again, even with masks and at a distance. It was the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s first ribbon-cutting event since the pandemic generally put an end to public gatherings. But as we spread out across the parking lot, snacks and drinks under a tent, familiar faces helped create a sense of normalcy for an hour.

And in those moments, something struck me. This event wasn’t really about The Chronicle as much as it was about everyone who had gathered, supporters from Springfield to Creswell to Cottage Grove and Pleasant Hill. The back parking lot of our building that Friday was a diverse mix of leaders and readers, of friends and family. 

Vonnie Mikkelsen, president & CEO of the chamber, openly shared in the joyous occasion. She’s been a champion of The Chronicle from the beginning, and was a big part of making our expansion possible. She took the time in July to chat and have a coffee, and stroll the streets around downtown Springfield. That led to an incidental meeting with Adrial Graves, owner of The Professional Building on the corner of A St. and 7th Ave. He had just recently remodeled part of the building, and was about to list the space for rent. The rest is history.

ELORA KELSH/SPRINGFIELD CHAMBERRobert Baguio, right, Chronicle salesman and Greeters member, with Paige Sharpe, director of Development & Talent Initiatives for the Springfield chamber.

Mikkelsen is an inspiration. As we walked around the area that day, she shared not just a vision for business growth in the area, but specific action steps the chamber was taking to bring it all to fruition.

The Greeters, an outreach arm of the chamber, also was in full force at the ribbon cutting. Judy Clark of the chamber was there, and Steve Moe, councilman for our office’s district, had encouraging words for us. Strong support came from noted downtown developer David Loveall, Robert Killen of the Small Business Development Council at Lane Community College, “Mr. Springfield” Mike Eyster and Mark Anthony Molina. 

Paula Free of “Power On With Limb Loss,” Craig Ford, an audiology professional, Marco Pena of Atlas Construction, Michelle Hisler and her team from Northwest Community Credit Union, Jessica Ahrenholtz of NextStep Recycling, Jan Mann of Emerald Valley Bowling, Letty Maldonado of Reynolds Electric and Cohen Plumbing, and Karen Lyons of Oakmont Dental. Carmella Swinney, a friend and supporter of the chamber, attended, as did avid reader and Springfield resident Aloha Heart. 

Familiar faces from Creswell were there, too, including realtor Susan Bennett, and Sheriff Clif Harrold and Sgt. Carrie Carver of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. There were a few folks who couldn’t attend, and sent their congratulations, including Don Williams and Karen Munsell of Cottage Grove. And there are others who prefer to remain in the background, and yet their counsel and support have been invaluable in so many way. Bill Spencer, Alan Bennett, Kelly Coughlin, Mary Ellen Yost, and the Pasani family. 

They all understand the importance of a free press, and why every town deserves to have a local newspaper, reflecting the people and values of a community. 

A year ago the Nieman Lab published findings regarding the public’s engagement with local news and the value it places on it: “While local newspapers accounted for roughly 25 percent of the local media outlets in our sample, they accounted for nearly 50 percent of the original news stories.”

A Pew Research Center survey in July showed that more than 60% of Americans relied on their local news for COVID-19 information.

Reliable, credible information is more important than ever. While large media companies have abandoned coverage of our communities, The Chronicle is here to serve, without bias or favor.

We are in an election season now, and The Chronicle does not endorse political candidates or partisan causes. It’s our goal to profile candidates and present information so you can make an informed decision. 

Planting our flag in Springfield is confirmation of our service to the entire region. And it’s the result of tremendous talent and effort by a small team of people wearing multiple hats, dedicated to a labor of love and a commitment to serving others: Denise, my wife and co-owner, executive editor Erin Tierney, creative director Chelsea Greenway, reporters Aliya Hall and Emma Routley, sales representatives Jordan Cora Lampe and Robert Baguio, writer and editor Ron Hartman and Pamela Farmer, who attended Friday with husband Les, and all of the people listed on the left side of this page.

Thanks to all!

Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos