BRAD COOK / THE CHRONICLE - From left: Erin Tierney, executive editor; Ryleigh Norgrove, reporter; Noel Nash, owner and publisher; and Denise Nash, chief operations officer and co-owner at the Cottage Grove ribbon cutting event.

What’s that saying? Is it always darkest before dawn?

We haven’t been shy about sharing our struggles as a locally-owned newspaper in the wake of a pandemic. We’re also not shy about sharing our successes. 

This week, I am pleased to be writing about the latter. 

Just like a pendulum swing, those struggles turned into rejoicing on April 7 as leaders, readers and community members gathered around to celebrate not one, but two ribbon cuttings for The Chronicle – one in Cottage Grove, and another in Springfield – in addition to the release of a Creswell-centric magazine.  

The weather was great. The company was better. We couldn’t have anticipated a better experience at either of our ribbon cutting locations. 

The day began in the bustling Bank Building, a historic, renovated structure that demands the attention of anyone who passes through downtown Cottage Grove. The building serves as a shared workspace, a hub for several businesses to operate from – now including The Chronicle. We’ve got a cubicle space there now, and conference rooms at our disposal for meeting with community members. 

BRAD COOK / THE CHRONICLE - A busy scene inside the Bank Building in Cottage Grove, community members and leaders came to mingle and share their well-wishes.

Cottage Grove Chamber ambassadors, like Valerie Nash and Ruth Linoz, attended the event, bringing sunshine to an already bright day in their pink Chamber ambassador shirts. Debbie Monsive, president of the Cottage Grove Genealogical Society, shared kind words of support, in addition to gifting us a bouquet of sunflowers with dainty sprigs to welcome us to the block. Atop the bouquet, she pinned an historical postcard of downtown Cottage Grove – a sweet sentiment demonstrative of her excitement. 

ERIN TIERNEY/ THE CHRONICLE - A gift from Debbie Monsive.

I learned that Jake Boone, assistant to the city manager, has a booming voice fitting of his towering stature, as he called out to assemble the attendees for a quick photo opp outside of the building. The pipes on that guy – impressive! 

BRAD COOK / THE CHRONICLE - A beautiful, bright day, on Thursday, April 7, The Chronicle hosted a ribbon-cutting event at its new office space inside the historic Bank Building in downtown Cottage Grove. Encouragement came from all over South Lane County, with supporters that included mayor Jeff Gowing; councilors Mike Fleck and Chalice Savage; assistant to the city manager Jake Boone; Chamber ambassadors Valerie Nash, Alyssa Gomez, Georgia Haskell, Ruth Linoz; Mary and Jim Gilroy, manager for both Creswell and Cottage Grove Banner Banks; and former longtime Chronicle employee, Pamela Palmer-Farmer and husband, Les, to name a few.

We also stopped into the Creswell Chamber office to pay a visit to Chamber leaders RuthAnn Seim and Sandi O’Brien, giving them well-earned props for their release of the Chamber’s Creswell Visitors & Newcomers Guide that day. We missed helping the Chamber produce that publication last year in the height of the pandemic, and are thrilled to be back partnering with them once again. 

In many ways, it feels like dawn at the Creswell Chamber office, too. 

With a newly-assembled, dedicated crew, they are full-steam ahead with planning their next premier events: the community-wide yard sale event on Mother’s Day weekend and, of course, the traditional Fourth of July Celebration. I’ll stop there to avoid any spoilers, as our business reporter, Michael Dunne, is in the midst of reporting out a story on the Chamber’s revival … stay tuned for that read. 

Of course, we look forward to the day we open up a third office space in Creswell, with the goal of having an office in every city we serve. 

The ribbon cutting that afternoon in Springfield may have felt like deja-vu for some attendees, like community leader Mark Molina and Springfield councilor Steve Moe, who both attended a ribbon cutting for us in the same building in October 2020. We have since transitioned upstairs to the space formerly occupied by All Occasion Insurance. With private office space, a conference room and a newsroom station, we were excited to open our doors to the public to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner-workings of our business. 

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE - Chronicle staff get ready to cut the ribbon out front of its Springfield office at 655 A St. From left are: Jessica Lemmon, social media, marketing and sales rep; Ryleigh Norgrove, reporter; Spencer Williams, designer; Erin Tierney, executive editor; Springfield councilor Steve Moe; publisher and owner Noel Nash; chief operations officer and co-owner Denise Nash; sports and entertainment reporter Ron Hartman; office manager Dana Ufford; Chronicle representative Robert Baguio; and business reporter Michael Dunne.

On the corners of 7th and A streets, John Garbett, who is the manager of membership development for the Springfield Chamber, primed us up with a kind speech about supporting local news – one that was capable of making anyone in the industry blush.

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE - It's all smiles for The Chronicle crew during the Springfield ribbon cutting event.

Elora Kelsh, manager of marketing and communications with the Chamber, came ready to mingle and capture the moments through her camera lens, and Vonnie Mikkelsen, Chamber president and CEO, stopped by – chic and poised as ever – with support that has been unwavering since our early days of expansion. Amber Fossen, public information officer for the City, also came to show her support, and while mayor Sean VanGordon was out of town that day, he penned a lovely note to us congratulating us on the expansion. 

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE - Everyone was invited to check out the new Springfield office space and get to know the staff.

It takes a village - or in our case, three communities - to support local news. We thank everyone who came to support us, sent emails and notes of congratulations, and believed in us. It makes all the hard days up until this point worth it. 

Erin Tierney is the executive editor of The Chronicle. 

Chronicle photographers – rarely seen in front of the lens – include Bobby Stevens, left, Brad Cook, and Bob Williams, right.