OROVILLE — The Oroville Community Clock was dedicated in a ceremony May 13 that drew many people from Oroville’s present, and some from its past, who were in town to celebrate May Day.
“Good morning. My name is Lynn Chapman and I am representing Oroville Streetscape, the volunteer organization which is responsible for this beautiful clock,” said Chapman.
The ceremony took place at 11 p.m. near the clock which is located on Main Street in the sidewalk in front of Centennial Park.“My husband and I noticed all the small towns with clocks in our travels and thought Oroville should have one in the middle of town. Naturally a town clock would be a useful reference for town citizens, but more importantly, it would enhance the central hub of activity providing the town with another ‘meeting place’ landmark,” said Chapman.
She said town clocks first appeared in the U.S. around 1870 and today they stand for an American tradition.
“It’s a symbol of pride in workmanship, stability and sense of community. The street clock is both a reminder of our past and will be a legacy for our future,” she said.
Chapman took the idea to the Streetscape members in September of 2021 and they agreed, saying the idea had been brought up prior to her joining the group. Streetscape took the idea to the council and got permission to put it near Centennial Park and a tree whose roots were cracking the sidewalk was removed and the clock was installed in its place.
“With the help of Nairen Moreau, a member of Oroville Streetscape who has excellent social media skills, and the Oroville Chamber of Commerce, who helped with advertising, we proceeded,” she said.
As an incentive for people to donate Streetscape offered spots on the two plaques on the side of the clock that they could put their name or that of a business. These were $1000 each. They also offered bricks for $500 where a name could be placed. The bricks form the border around the bottom of the clock’s pedestal.
“To our amazement and the generosity of this community, the $20,000 needed to purchase the clock and do the concrete work needed was raised in two months. The clock was purchased in December of 2021 and installed in April of last year,” said Chapman.
She said there is an account at Wells Fargo where additional money can be donated for future clock maintenance and repair. The account is under The Oroville Initiative, which is the 501C3 organization Streetscape is under.
“Now we want to dedicate this street clock to the City of Oroville,” she concluded, introducing Mayor Ed Naillon.
“What does a clock represent to a city? A lot of things have been said about clocks that revolve around time, but I would like to share another opinion. When a group of citizens band together and put a structure like this in the middle of your city it speaks of commitment. It speaks of loyalty and it speaks to belief. Faith that the community is valuable, wonderful and worth committing your time and energy towards,” said Mayor Naillon.
The mayor extended his thanks to Streetscape, The Oroville Initiative, the volunteers and donors, as well as the council and city crew, for making the clock a reality. He also thanked Tamara Porter for making the space available for the city’s Centennial Park.
The mayor, who is a teacher at Oroville High School, recalled when the gazebo he designed for Centennial Park had its components constructed by his students. The city crew grabbed the fitted pieces and erected it “here in this perfect spot,” said the mayor.
“You see, commitment and belief can only be truly expressed with integrity. It cannot be expressed only when times are good. It must be proven, year after year, hour after hour, and indeed minute by minute, with our actions, in good times, during the average days of community and in challenging times,” said Naillon.
He said he respected those who contributed to the clock and all the citizens that invest positively in the community “because they continue to show us they believe in this wonderful story that is Oroville, Washington.”
“We have all found ways to hold the torch, never letting it touch the ground. We have all that we need in each other and in this city to succeed. This clock exemplifies that,” said the mayor.