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Tualatin time capsule sends messages to the future

Want to leave a message for the future?

The city of Tualatin’s 100th anniversary is coming to an end, but the city isn’t ready to stop celebrating just yet.

The city plans to bury a time capsule on Dec. 19 at the Tualatin Heritage Center and is looking for letters from local residents to help fill the box.

“One of the things we wanted to focus on is the human element,” said Carl Switzer, the city’s parks and recreation manager. “What does it mean to live in Tualatin today?”

All Tualatin residents are encouraged to write a letter for the time capsule.

The hope, Switzer said, is that when residents unearth the box in 2063, they will be able to get a first-hand perspective of what life was like in Tualatin in 2013.

The city hopes to create a detailed picture of that life through letters from residents.

“We want a broad range of perspectives,” Switzer said. “That will be interesting to people in the future, and people will be able to leave a trace of their lives for future generations to see."

Letters must be received by Friday, Nov. 29. Letters can be mailed or delivered to the city office at 18880 S.W. Martinazzi Ave.

If you do write a letter, the city asks that authors use high-quality paper and either write in ballpoint pen or use a laser printer to print the messages — letters printed with an ink jet printer will fade, the city claims.

The envelope should have “Tualatin Time Capsule” written on it.

Not sure what to put into your letter? Switzer said to just be yourself.

“We want personal info about what they do, what they care about, who they are,” he said. “I hope to get a bunch of them and include them all.”

The city has several suggestions for what to include in your letter on its website.

The Tigard-Tualatin School District will be including letters from students in the time capsule, Switzer said.

Those students will be able to return to the time capsule’s unveiling in 2063, if they are still in town, Switzer said.

“Many will be around to see these letters again in 50 years,” Switzer said.

And local letters aren’t the only things being included in the Centennial Time Capsule.

The capsule will also include a copy of local newspapers, a directory of local businesses, a photograph of the 100th baby born at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, photographs of town, books about Tualatin, a list of major employers, a commemorative coin, posters and a DVD chronicling the city’s centennial year.

“I may stuff a DVD player in there, too,” Switzer said. “Just in case they don’t have one.”

What Tualatin will look like in 50 years is anyone’s guess, Switzer said, but the city has done a lot of work to ensure that some of the current city amenities will remain in the next five decades.

“The city is doing a good job of protecting the natural environment and creating ways that people can understand the natural environment. I think the city’s natural resources will continue to have strong preservation,” he said.

This is the first time capsule the city has ever placed, Switzer added.

“If there has ever been another one, nobody knows where it is,” he said.

For some, 50 years may not seem like a long time, Switzer said, but it’s enough time to show real progress in a city.

“Things have changed quite a bit since the 1960s, and they will change again in 50 years,” he said.

Tualatin isn’t the first local community to bury a time capsule in celebration of its 100th birthday.

In 2011, Metzger buried a time capsule outside Metzger Elementary School, which won’t be opened until 2060.

Tualatin has spent the year celebrating its 100th anniversary through events at the Tualatin Crawfish Festival, the Tualatin Giant Pumpkin Regatta and other community gatherings throughout the year.

“Our theme for the centennial was ‘Past, Present and Future,’” Switzer said. “We’ve done a number of programs looking back in time and modern Tualatin life. This is our way of reaching out to the future. It’s a gift of the past to the future. People are fascinated and intrigued by the future, and they are able to leave their fingerprint on the future.”

This is the final centennial event of 2013, Switzer said.

“We had a robust program throughout the year, and I think this is a fitting touch,” he said. “We are sending the best wishes to the future. It’s a nice way to cap the program.”

The Centennial Time Capsule will be buried Thursday, Dec. 19, at noon at the Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 S.W. Sweek Drive.



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