University of Oregon

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments

Canyon Conversations: Ghosts, gatherings, books & dolls

Settling into his third week in town, Isaac Kort-Meade acknowledged that he knew little about Stayton prior to moving here.

Originally from Santa Rosa, Calif., Isaac is a recent graduate of University of Oregon’s Planning, Public Policy and Management school. An AmeriCorps-connected program, Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) lured him to Stayton where he’s applying new knowledge while learning some ropes as an intern.

Earlier this year the city of Stayton partnered with Friends of Old Town Stayton (FOTS) to split costs and services from RARE. Isaac will spend half of his time helping FOTS as a program coordinator and the other half with various city tasks.

Isaac sat in with the Canyon Conversations at Moxieberry downtown on Sept. 27 to apprise us of the upcoming Friends of Old Town Stayton hosted “Ghost Tour & Chocolate Walk” and other business while sharing thoughts about his new gig.

His first impressions are favorable.

“I’ve met many people here with a lot of (civic) passion. We can benefit from having that,” Isaac said.

Visitors that day illustrated the passion of which Isaac spoke.

Carol Tabor was in attendance to remind us of the upcoming Stayton Friends of the Library book sale, coming up Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 5-7 at the Community Center.

Wendy Stone imparted the latest at the Brown House, including a “Nutcracker and Collectable Doll Sale” scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.

United Methodist Church parishioners Don and Carol Robinson brought us information about the upcoming discussion topic, “What Does it Mean to be American?” slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the library’s Community Room, 515 N. First Ave.

Mark Kronquist also sat in with some added input and ideas surrounding the Friends of Old Town Stayton Ghost Tour, at which his castle home on the edge of downtown will be the final stop.

Isaac provided the latest regarding the Ghost Tour plans and fielded some ideas, such as possibly having some local thespian students taking part in a skit. The Ghost Tour, he said, may have some parallels to a similar event that takes place in Independence, but plans are for this to have a distinctive Stayton stamp.

What we know now is the Ghost Tour walks are scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. They will start at the Brown House and follow a Victorian costumed guide by candlelight to Old Town. There will be considerable chocolate involved with a paid $15 ticket/passport. Participating chocolate-stop merchants include Rusty Daisy Boutique, Trask Mercantile, Break the Chain, Friends of the Library Bookstore, Art Gone Wild Studio, Durk’s Barber Shop, Star Theater, Monte’s Coins & More and Quilt ‘N Stitch.

Isaac shared a glimpse of what’s planned:

“You’ll hear about the mysteries surrounding the town, and learn about the ghosts who haunt our old buildings today.

“Stayton’s history extends back to 1855, and some of those who were alive then may still be around today. Our downtown’s rich and extensive history holds tales of murder, betrayal, and ghosts.“

The event is family-friendly and geared for the curious. Participating businesses will be adorned appropriately, and ghost-goers can vote on their favorite decor.

Information is available online at

While visiting downtown, check out the new, universal font for street addresses recently applied to downtown buildings. The application provides a touch of character and serves to make the numerical addresses more visible.

Originally Published in Statesman Journal
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