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Leaving behind a legacy

City seeks items to be buried in time capsule beneath Plaza
 Posted: 2:00 AM January 28, 2013

The city of Ashland is giving community members a chance to put a little piece of themselves in a 100-year time capsule set to be buried beneath the Plaza in March.

Ashlanders will have until Feb. 25 to drop off items for consideration while the popular public gathering area undergoes extensive renovations. Items can be taken to the Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way.

The capsule will be about 3 feet long and 14 inches wide, so space will be limited, but an effort will be made to include all items submitted, said Ann Seltzer, the city's management analyst.

"It was an idea that just kind of surfaced internally, and seemed like it would be a fun thing to do, and this is the perfect opportunity," Seltzer said.

"We want it to be like a snapshot of this community and the people here."

No specific date has been set, but the capsule is expected to be buried in March as construction crews wrap up work there.

Seltzer said the city still is unsure how the capsule, which is intended to survive until the year 2113, will be built.

"The challenge is sealing the container and protecting it in such a way that it preserves the items for some time," she said.

The capsule likely will be buried no more than a few feet deep in a planting area on the south side of the Plaza, she said, so that it can be easily recovered in the future.

"What do we want people 100 years from now to learn about how we live today?" she said. "One idea was a cellphone. ... Right now, smartphones are the latest and greatest technology, but 100 years from now, they might be laughable."

Seltzer said she reached out to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland School District, the public library, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Southern Oregon University for items to be included in the capsule.

"It will be fun to see what people come up with, what they bring in," she said.

Anyone can submit items, but there are no guarantees on what will be included in the capsule, she said.

"No one wants to be the time capsule police, but we'll make every effort to put everything we can inside," she said.

The city asks that people research what items are suitable for a buried capsule and how to properly protect them, Seltzer said.

The Minnesota Historical Society offers a host of suggestions, including avoiding food, adhesives, wool and silk (which can tarnish metal), and using polyethylene zip-lock bags to store items. Visit to see the list.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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