End of an Era in Canby History

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Back to the year 1989

Local History: Canby Historical Society
By Dawn Eleen, Oregon Historical Society | Photos courtesy of The Canby Herald

From our collection of Canby Herald newspapers, The Canby Historical Society looks back 35 years to 1989 — a simpler time for many that consisted of long evenings on the porch, hanging out at bonfires, reading the paper and kids playing outside. The Canby Telephone Company was just introducing “Voice Mail” for its customers. It’s crazy to think in just a few years people would be consumed by the WWW (World Wide Web), AOL and dial-up services. Of course, this era had its own distractions with TV, picking a movie from Blockbuster and Nintendo!

On Jan. 11, 1989, Canby said goodbye to Canby’s Farm Store, located at 208 S.W. First, across from the Highway Market on Highway 99E. It was the area’s main source of farm supplies, opening in 1957. In 1975, it was moved to 23300 Highway 99E. Built in 1932, its primary use was a warehouse. Southern Pacific Railroad owned the property and was selling the land, which made it difficult to lease the building. Stevens made an offer to buy the land “but we’re 900 miles apart on price,” he said. So that was the end of the Canby Farm Store. With an end comes a beginning.

Hi-Way Market began its transformation to a mall that would include 16 shops. It would be called the Hi-Way Market Place. Wayne Scott hired Rufus Kraxberger as the main contractor.

Local celebrity Joni Harms headed to Nashville in the Jan. 25 edition. She signed on to a major record label, Universal Records. Her first national single, “I Need a Wife,” was scheduled to hit national airwaves on Feb. 6. She states that the family ranch her great-grandfather homesteaded in 1882, Harms Road, was her favorite place to call home.

With the lightheartedness of the aforementioned stories and photos, it’s unfortunate we have to remember that was a grisly time for the Pacific Northwest, as the notorious murder trial of former Canby-area resident Leroy Rogers, also known as the Molalla Forest Killer, was about to begin in 1989. He was convicted and sentenced to life for the 1988 murder of his last victim, Jennifer Smith. In 1989, he was convicted of an additional six murders. Between 1988 and 1989, Rogers was convicted of 14 counts of aggravated murder and sentenced to death. This sentence has since been overturned.

In the time of the message of “Just Say NO,” our town was also plagued with drugs, gang crime and vandalism. Rip City was a victim of vandalism and record-breaking drug busts were reported. There are numerous arrests reported in the public record. The Herald is full of these records. Whether you were speeding, ran a stop sign or, obviously, committed a serious crime, you would have been featured.

Some will say the ’80s were the best time of their lives; others were grateful to get through it. Like all decades, it was a unique time with different memories, events and milestones for those who lived it.

The Canby Historical Society preserves our rich heritage and inspires an appreciation and understanding of Canby area history. To learn more and to support us, please visit us at canbyhistoricalsociety.org. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and are currently looking for talented volunteers and new membership. Join us.