|This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of participating in a Mortgage Burning Ceremony for the Coos History Museum. The Ceremony was part of a culminating event of a weeklong celebration of the Museum’s five-year anniversary.
This event caused me to reminisce about the history behind the creation of our community’s museum. Approximately 20 years ago, the City and the Coos History Museum embarked on the process to build a new museum in Coos Bay. While we had initially planned to build the museum where the Coos Bay Visitor Information Center now sits, that plan changed in 2004 when a portion of the old Central Dock became available. We could not pass up the opportunity for the museum to be located on the bay! Acquiring the property was just the first step in a long process to get the property ready and turned over to the Museum. From 2004 through 2010, the City jumped through a number of hoops, mitigating some environmental issues on the former brownfield site, clearing up a clouded title issue with the Division of State Lands, and removing an old blighted industrial warehouse, in order to make the property developable. In 2015, the hard work of the Coos History Museum Board of Trustees along with many volunteers in the community concluded in the development and opening of the museum.
While it took fifteen years from the start of the work before achieving our goal, the extensive time and effort was certainly worth it. I feel fortunate to have served as your Mayor when the Coos Bay Urban Renewal Agency purchased the property and continue to be serving in that capacity for the Mortgage Burning Ceremony this past weekend. Our community is blessed to have such an awesome facility to house and exhibit our rich history. We certainly have a lot to celebrate in our community!
-Joe Benetti, Mayor of Coos Bay