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GENA KITTNER – State Journal Clarice Christensen, 96, of Oregon, sits with the decorative plate she recently painted to commemorate the Oregon Public Library’s 100 anniversary, being celebrated Saturday, Oct. 9. The library is celebrating its centennial this year, however Christensen chose the year 1907 as the date to put on the plate because that’s the earliest date found in written record referencing a traveling library coming to Oregon.

OREGON — Clarice Christensen is almost as old as this village's library, which has its centennial celebration Saturday.

To commemorate the event, Christensen, 96, has painted a decorative plate that will hang in the library — one of the many ways this longtime Oregon resident has left her mark on the community.

"When you get this old, you're supposed to stay in the background," Christensen said of her involvement in the celebration. "I'm enjoying it."

Christensen, who has lived in the town of Oregon practically all her life, has never taken an art class. She was taught rosemaling by her mother and over the years gained inspiration through pictures family members would send her from Norway.

Many rooms in her home hold examples of her craft: painted tables, baskets, chairs, wooden spoons and many decorative plates. Even the walls of her basement are painted with Norwegian themes.

In addition to rosemaling, she's painted and created logos for both the village and town of Oregon.

Christensen said she was never given a specific direction of what to paint on the library's plate, so she decided to include some iconic village fixtures — the old water tower (on which she painted the village's name because she thinks it should be there, although it's not on the actual tower) the World War I monument and downtown buildings. Surrounding the scene is a slogan she created: "Oregon Public Library, In the Heart of the Village."

Lisa Hustad, Oregon Library Board president, said the sentiment is something she hears often in the village and fits in perfectly with the celebration.

Christensen's plate isn't the only piece commemorating the library's 100 years. A local woodworker rebuilt the library's circulation desk using different pieces of wood donated from Oregon residents and library patrons.

The old circulation desk had been "loved too much," said Susan Santner, Oregon library director. "Hopefully (the new desk) will be here for another 100 years."

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