A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Building down: Where’s the time capsule?

Written March 29th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This was the northeast corner of the former First National Bank of Albany. Is there a time capsule under that rubble?

If you were hoping for a glimpse of the 1912 time capsule buried in the cornerstone of the First National Bank, prepare yourself for a disappointment.

The last corner of the building, most recently the downtown Albany branch of Wells Fargo Bank, came down this morning. And before I could even ask, Sophie Adams sent an email:

“The building is down,” she wrote. “We went through the corner column and did not find a time capsule. They will sort through the rubble in that corner as well as excavate the footing, so there’s still a chance it’s hidden in there somewhere.”

Demolition of the building is a project of CARA, the city’s downtown urban renewal district, and Adams does much of CARA’s staff work.

The city bought the property for $1.5 million after Wells Fargo closed the branch. When proposals to redevelop the building fell through, the council decided to have the structure razed. Once the site is cleared, the city hopes to find a buyer who will build a residential/commercial building.

The so-far elusive time capsule was reported to have been inserted in a block of sandstone that formed the cornerstone of the five-story bank and office building when construction was begun in 1912.

The bulding was greatly remodeled in 1973 and ’74. The top five floors were taken off, and the bottom was enlarged. Maybe the time capsule was recovered or moved then.

Or, maybe, it’s still buried under the rubble of that corner. (hh)

Same corner as above, except as viewed through the construction fence at First and Broadalbin.


31 responses to “Building down: Where’s the time capsule?”

  1. Cap B. says:

    Does anyone (except CARA people) really believe that someone is going to buy that lot and build something in quiet (except for wrecking ball sounds and chain saw sounds) downtown Albany? If CARA types had had an iota of sense among them and sold the building to Linn County, it would still be standing and have county offices and other entities occupying it. (Ok, guys, blast me with your comments, but spare me the blah, blahs, yawns, and the hogwashes, please. Not original and not interesting.)

    • Tim Siddiqui says:

      Whenever a solid structure is wasted away, especially in a low cost neighborhood it’s definitely questionable.
      Is the bare land worth more.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    I’ll bet you a dinner of your choice at local restaurant that it will get developed & be back on the tax rolls. Obviously, you’d have to identify yourself for that to happen, so I won’t hold my breath…

    • Al Nyman says:

      And I’ll bet you a dinner that the money CARA spent on the property will never be recovered if you add interest into the equation. It was a total moon shot from the beginning and they should have cut their losses and sold it to the county. Of course when it is not your money, it is easy to waste!

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        You do know & understand how TIF worlks Al…

        • Cap B. says:

          TIF, SMIF, Ray. Are you afraid to type “Tax Increment Financing,” which has been outlawed in California in regards to urban renewal districts, which is what CARA is?
          TIF is frozen property tax rates for the urban renewal district, and that money that would otherwise have been collected is skimmed off by the urban renewal district (CARA in Albany’s case) and used to service CARA’s loans and projects for their beautification? and gentrification of places such as downtown Albany. The rest of the entities in Linn County and Albany are shorted of tax property money while this is going on…for 20 plus years!!! Those entities are schools, fire depts., police depts., road repair, government services for children and the poor, etc.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            As if “we” should try and emulate CA… We should jump off a cliff just because they did? LOL Vast majority of states do use/allow TIF financing. And since Albany and surrounding communities have also used it very successfully for many years, there is zero reason we should not do so.

            I get your (and others) disdain for representative government. Since its inception, a large number of subsequent and different councils have all signed off on using this tool to help Albany. Kudos to them!

        • Al Nyman says:

          It is not as if we are dunces, Ray. The question is about wasting taxpayer monies without getting any sort of return. The county buying the building would have put people into the downtown area for lunches, etc with no cost to the taxpayers other than the county. CARA has now wasted close to $2,000,000 with a bare lot to show for it. What is the lot worth on the open market, Ray?

    • Matthew Calhoun says:

      Ray, I don’t agree with you most of the time politically, but I will say at least you have the balls to comment here under your real name, unlike “Anony Mouse”, “Cap B”, et al. Cowardly keyboard jockeys every one of them.

      • Ray kopczynski says:

        I’ve never understood the fear of using one’s real name. But there it is…

      • Cap B. says:

        Anony Mouse! Love your name. Have a good day, Anony.

      • Anony Mouse says:

        Your hurtful comment is outside the norm of civil discourse and marginalizes those of us who simply want to be anonymous.

        Given the barrier to belonging you evidently want to build, and the harm it causes, I must ask: What motivates your desire to cancel another person’s speech? An inability to consider a differing viewpoint?

        Hasso recognizes that a name does not define a person. So please stop with the attacks.

      • James Engel says:

        I agree with you about “hide behind names” I’m surprised that our host allows this??

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It was on the tax rolls until you and your cohorts decided to waste the taxpayers money and REMOVE IT from the tax rolls!

      How many decades to recoup the loss of all this wasted money. You personally owe all the citizens of Albany several dinners!

  3. Aaron says:

    The time capsul is under the main entry threshold if it’s not in the cornerstone.

  4. Cap B. says:

    Ray, could you, with your “vast” wisdom (what is your advanced degree in? I’ve forgotten), name the projects that Albany has used Tax Increment Financing on in the past? Portland has used it and it has come back to bite them….their fancy, schmancy old town gentrification into snobby shops where the well-to-do drop vast sums for knick-knacks is now full of homeless people and crime. I have read that most states and communities have done away with TIF.

    • Matthew Calhoun says:

      What’s your advanced degree in “Cap B”? Or your real name for that matter? It must take a lot of energy to be this upset all the time. If you hate Albany so much, why do you stay? If you want Albany to change, have you ever run for office, volunteered, or done any work to make it the Albany you think is “great”? Oh right, you’d have to step out from behind the keyboard and that seems to be a step too far. Too much work for you and the rest of the regular anonymous commenter curmudgeons to do. So you’ll continue to shout into your little HH cavern of irrelevance while the rest of us live in the real world.

      • Cap B. says:

        Woah!! What a piece of work you are! I don’t need to discuss any aspect of who I am with the likes of you…a mean, accusatory, name-calling… (I could end that with a true swearword that describes you to an “A,” but Hasso would not allow it.

        • Cap B. says:

          Forgot to say, Mr. Matthew Calhoun, that I will be pretty much offline next week because I will be glued to the TV watching the indictment of the “Big Elephant in the Room.” Tee, hee! (And, it goes without saying that the elephant is a well-known “Republican”!) I love sparring with you, though, over things I passionately support such as trees and “sensible” decisions in Albany. So, I will be back.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Go to City web site. Search for “Urban Renewal Projects” Open the link. Link on right says “Past Urban Renewal Projects” You can dive in to see lindividual Iocation & cost.

      • Cap B. says:

        My point is that an urban renewal “project” is not necessarily an urban renewal “district” where tax incremental financing has been set up with property taxes frozen in that district for 20 plus years, and the amount that would have been paid into overall tax coffers without the “tax district being in effect” is used by that district to finance their pet projects. I’m asking you, since you are the champion of tax incremental financing, to please tell me if the past Albany urban projects used tax incremental financing. Just a yes or no would be nice. Thank you, Ray.

        • Sharon Konopa says:

          I can answer that one! Yes! The whole South Albany area around 34th/Waverly/ the high school was an urban renewal district. The bonds were retired in the late 90’s.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “… an urban renewal “project” is not necessarily an urban renewal “district”…

          I can only speak to our URD in that it has *always* had multiple “projects” in and part of it. It was not formed to have a single project. I’m not aware of any URD that is formed that way. They all have multiple goal (projects) to pursue over their lifespan – and those do change over time.

          “…please tell me if the past Albany urban projects used tax incremental financing.”


          • Cap B. says:

            I didn’t say CARA was a single project. I know there are many parts of CARA’s redoing of downtown. I meant project in a “blanket,” overall sense. You seem to always find a way to change the subject, of modify it, so that you don’t have to admit to a wrongful or misguided aspect of anything.

  5. MarK says:

    Means the building is down why not put a water park there for them hot summer days the people going to river rythems have a chance to cool off. Or even use it for a park with picnic tables and have a spot for food trucks. Instead of having them all around monieth park have them all in one spot

  6. Mark S. says:

    Well if they were going for a empty field I would suggest putting in a water park so people can cool down on the hot summer days, during river rythens ( oh wait they are tearing that up for new remodel).with clean water(not the river never know what is in there) if not that several other options have a pay for parking parking lot so during concerts at least people might be able to get around downtown. Or put in a small park with tables and a area for food trucks ( speaking of food trucks why are they in millersburg and North Albany is there something wrong with in town besides the few that are here and there)

  7. Diane says:

    The story is about the time capsule and where it might be not CARA, TIF, or Urban Renewal. Cap B and Ray – maybe you could take your discussion/argument off line.

    • Cap B. says:

      Well, one person said the time capsule is probably where the front door was. No one else had any suggestions. Yours are welcome. The time capsule is after all supposedly in the building they tore down. So, we were all talking about our dismay over the building being torn down in the first place!! I do not want to talk offline to the people who answer Hasso’s blog, and we are not allowed to have their e-mail addresses, and that is an excellent rule, Hasso. (Thank you, Hasso.) So, Diane, thanks, but no, thanks!

  8. Dave Huskey says:

    Looks like a proposal for affordable housing


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