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Time Capsule Set To Seal In October

Deadline is Oct. 5

If you're interested in sending a little piece of White Salmon 100 years into the future, the deadline to do so is Oct. 5.

"We'll close the capsule in October," explained John Mayo, a member of the Time Capsule Committee, an offshoot of the White Salmon Centennial Committee. "We're not sure yet when it will be buried."

The capsule will be placed in the ground with instructions that it be opened 100 years from the date the city was officially incorporated. That date would be June 3, 2107.

Part of the celebration of the city's 100th anniversary as an incorporated city, the time capsule project is envisioned as a way to leave physical mementos from residents living here in White Salmon in 2007 to the citizens of 2107.

According to Mayo, the collection of items now slated to go into the capsule includes a Columbia High School yearbook, coins, photographs of White Salmon's streets and buildings, newspapers, mementos from the centennial celebration, and letters from CHS students.

"We're also looking for other ideas," Mayo added. "Even essays about what it means to be a White Salmonite right now."

Mayo pointed out that the idea is to reflect life in White Salmon in 2007, not necessarily the history of the area.

All the items will go into archival preservation bags, and the bags will be inserted into a stainless steel vessel donated by Norm Deo, owner of Versatile Supply Co. in Bingen.

The capsule will then be welded shut and placed into the ground next to the stone monument the Centennial Committee placed in Rhinegarten Park in August.

Before the capsule is buried, the city will move a flagpole next to the centennial monument on the east side of Rhinegarten Park.

The capsule itself is an oblong object with a stainless steel finish. Deo supplied the materials and the welding for the project.

"We had some government surplus, all stainless steel, and put it all together," Deo said. "It's stuff we bought over the years. We save all the stainless steel materials because we're always fabricating and building different things."

Deo said the main section of the time capsule came from a hydraulic test stand previously used for military aircraft, the nose cone came from a test pod off a C-130 doing high-altitude air sampling, and the feet came from electrodes used in deep well probes for gas and oil.

Deo said the bright silvery finish to the time capsule was something extra.

"My boys and myself worked on this. We spent a little extra time polishing it," Deo said.

Mayo added that anyone writing an essay should use pencils, not pens, when putting their thoughts down on paper.

"Write in pencil on acid-free paper," Mayo explained. "Inks can disappear over time. Using pencil or graphite is the most reliable approach."

Those wishing to bring in items for consideration for inclusion in the time capsule can bring their artifacts to The Enterprise office, at 220 E. Jewett in downtown White Salmon, during the hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. Submissions for the capsule can go into a box at that location; Oct. 5 is the last day donations will be accepted.

Once all the items going into the capsule are chosen and ready to go, the time capsule will be purged of oxygen to help reduce deterioration of the items within.

"At that point, we'll do the final weld on it and purge it with nitrogen to keep the moisture out," Deo explained.

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