When Hermiston residents’ grandchildren open the city’s time capsule 50 years from now, Mark Rose hopes they find a treasure trove of interesting Hermiston memorabilia that provides a window into 2018.
So far, the Hermiston Public Library director said, there haven’t been many offerings. A small collection of items ranging from a Hermiston Police Department patch to a commemorative coin from Hermiston’s 75th anniversary sits on display in a glass case at the library, but there is plenty more room inside the two-foot-tall metal capsule that will be sealed up Sept. 8.
Rose said there are a few plans in the works for more items — a city employee was going to gather up some menus from local restaurants, and a local teenager volunteered to submit some writings and photographs about everyday life as a teen in Hermiston in 2018. The photography club that meets at the library plans to take photos of places in the city they think may look dramatically different by 2068, such as the fields around the water tower north of town.
“There will be people that will watch this go into the ground that will watch it come out again,” Rose predicted. “But the city will be bigger. There will be different buildings. It will be a different place.”
The plan is to seal the time capsule in an underground vault behind Hermiston Public Library, next to the arch that marks the location of the old Armand Larive Middle School. The arch is getting new landscaping, LED lighting and an interpretive panel as part of the construction of the Harkenrider Senior Activity Center nearby. Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is donating a stone marker to place over where the capsule is buried.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new senior center will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, with the overall dedication celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rose said he plans to have photo boards or some other medium to show people attending the celebration what is in the time capsule before it is buried that day.
In the meantime he hopes people continue to drop off Hermiston-branded items, photos and other contributions at the library. He suggested service clubs could contribute a one-page writeup of their current officers and doings, or the schools could drop off items frequently confiscated from students as a slice of “human interest.”
Submissions will be accepted through Sept. 5.
The city is being careful to mark the location of the capsule and register its latitude and longitude with a national registry after a previous Hermiston time capsule went missing.
Jim Sexton, Hermiston Class of 1992, said he and his classmates submitted items for a Class of 1992 time capsule to be opened at their 20-year reunion, but no one knows where the capsule went. Some have speculated it was buried and then accidentally discarded during construction of a new school.
“The new HS was built and our capsule was never seen again,” he said in a Facebook message. “We have contacted several teachers of our era and nobody knows anything about it.”
City manager Byron Smith said the city was told that the capsule might have been buried in the area where the Harkenrider Center was being constructed and the arch was being re-landscaped, but contractors kept a lookout and never saw anything.
“People reported it was there, but we never found it,” he said.