Wilbur Ternyik Rejoins Clatsop Ancestry
Contact: Kathy Bridges, 503-743-2245
TURNER, OR, May 15, 2006 – Dedication of a life-size bronze bust of long-time coastal leader and planning pioneer Wilbur Ternyik of Florence will take place Saturday, May 27, at the Gateway Discovery Center near Seaside.
The bronze, recently completed by internationally-known sculptor Lorenzo Ghiglieri of Wilsonville, was commissioned by the Turner-based Bridges Foundation in cooperation with retired U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield to honor the 80-year-old Ternyik for his long record of work on behalf of the Oregon Coast and in particular a landmark planning effort to ensure a healthy balance between protection of coastal resources and development.
A dedication program will begin at noon and last until about 4 p.m. at the Discovery Center at the north edge of Seaside at Neawanna Point, an area rich in natural resources and important to the history of the Clatsop Indian Tribe of which Ternyik is a proud member. Ternyik is a direct descendant of Coboway, the Clatsop chief who provided assistance to the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the encampment near the mouth of the Columbia River. Leaders of the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe will play an important part in the dedication program, and attendees will be treated to a sampling of Native American food at the conclusion of the event.
"This will be a day to honor Wilbur," said Kathy Bridges, director of the Bridges Foundation. "And this beautiful bronze will help future generations of Oregonians remember the part he played in ensuring that the Oregon Coast remains a place of special beauty for visitors and residents alike."
The bronze depicts Ternyik in a fringed buckskin jacket and bearclaw necklace holding the tomahawk he used as a gavel to chair meetings of the Oregon Coastal Conservation and Development Commission (OCCDC), a 30-member group appointed by former Gov. Tom McCall in the early 1970s to draft standards to guide coastal development and assure protection of its unique resources. The commission's work helped Oregon gain national recognition for its coastal management program and established guidelines that remain part of state land-use laws in effect today. Ternyik is also a former Florence mayor and long-time Port of Siuslaw commissioner.
Ghiglieri, whose sculptures are prized by collectors around the world, has done artwork for celebrities ranging from former President Ronald Reagan to golfer Tiger Woods. The artist will be recognized at the dedication ceremony along with Portland artist Rainy Lehrman, who has sculpted a 600-pound base for the bronze from a 120-year-old slab of Douglas fir. Lehrman, whose work will be featured in "Oregon Art Beat," a PBS television show, in September, said she carved the base to appear as if it is "wrapping around itself" and the sculpture. "It's really supposed to be about embracing nature — like Wilbur," she said.
Ternyik, an internationally-known expert in sand dunes stabilization, wetlands delineation and restoration as well as a long-time wildlife rehabilitation volunteer has close ties to nature as does Ghiglieri, well-known for his wildlife sculptures and paintings. The artist said he tried to capture Ternyik's passion for nature in his sculpture. "Wilbur has a spirit like an eagle and the courage of a bear," Ghiglieri said.
Ternyik said the creation of the sculpture and the recognition he has received because of it has been overwhelming. It's a wonderful piece of artwork, he said. "It's a tremendous honor, no question about it," Ternyik said. "And it's a real tribute to the people of the coastal commission and those who helped us."
The sculpture will remain on display through May 21 at the Florence Events Center before being moved to the Gateway Discovery Center where it will stay until placed in a new coastal nature history center to be developed in coming years on an adjacent 20-acre site acquired in 2001 by the North Coast Lane Conservancy. The conservancy as well as the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe and other partners will oversee management of the new center. Ternyik said it is his hope that the bronze will help underscore the significance of the Clatsop Indians in the history of Oregon's north coast.
Presentation of the Bronze at the May 27 event will be made by State Senator Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose. The program will include participation by representatives of Congressman David Wu's office, Clatsop County, the City of Seaside, the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe, the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, the North Coast Land Conservancy as well as the Bridges
The public is invited. The proceedings will take place in a tent overlooking the Necanicum Estuary. Those planning to attend are requested to call the Gateway Discovery Center at 503-738-5618 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to help organizers plan seating and food preparation.