The looms continue weaving in Washougal, Washington, as the mill celebrates 100 years as a key part of Pendleton Woolen Mills’ operations. Running three shifts a day, the mill’s 190 employees keep the dye house, looms and sewing rooms humming to produce the virgin wool fabric used in Pendleton products.
Washougal sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Pendleton was already operating a mill in Pendleton, Oregon, when the company acquired the Washougal mill in 1912. The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics. Sir Pendleton worsted and Umatilla woolen fabric are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line. “The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill and has supported Pendleton ever since,” said Charlie Bishop, VP of Mill Operations. In turn, the mill has been a major employer in this small Washington town since it opened.
Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven a special blanket for the Girl Scouts’ 100 year celebration. “We are extremely honored to have been chosen to weave this blanket to help celebrate and raise funds for the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington,” says Robert Christnacht, manager of Pendleton’s Home Division and father to two former Girl Scouts.
Each custom blanket will have a commemorative label signed by Girl Scout alumna and former Governor of Oregon Barbara Roberts. The design, initiated by Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, features the official anniversary logo at the blanket’s center.
On Friday May 25th, the OSU design students will put on their eighth annual runway show. Student collections for Spring will be shown to peers, faculty and family, as well as representatives from Oregon apparel companies.
Last year, the star of the show was Amanda Grisham, who was also selected as one of Portland Monthly’s “Fifty Most Influential Portlanders.”
Amanda’s collection featured Pendleton fabrics from Pendleton’s Woolen Mill Store. She went on to win Portland Fashion Week’s Catapult: Emerging Designers Competition.
On Friday night, all eyes will be watching to see who Oregon’s next rising star might be. You can read more here, but for now, enjoy a look at Amanda’s work from 2011. We are probably just as proud of it as she is.
Twenty-three scholars at the White Clay Language Immersion School worked hard for their new school uniforms: coats made of Pendleton’s “Big Thunder” wool. Students and their parents fundraised with bake sales, raffles and silent auctions. They didn’t just buy the fabric; students actually helped design and sew the coats.
The White Clay Immersion school was founded in 2003 under the guidance and direction of Dr. Lynette Chandler. It’s located in the Aaniiih Nakoda (Fort Belknap) College Cultural Center in Harlem, Montana. The school’s mission is to revitalize the White Clay language.
Dr. Chandler is an enrolled member of the A´aninin tribe. She has helped raise the amount of White Clay speakers from only eight to several hundred, bringing the language back from the edge of extinction.
For the students, the advantages are more than cultural. Students who learn their daily lessons in White Clay test high on standardized tests, due to the demands of learning a complex language.
This year, Dr. Chandler was selected as the Indian Educator of the year by the Montana Indian Education Association. Her inspiring story can be read here in “Circle of Hope,” the bulletin of the American Indian College Fund.
The story is just as clearly read in the proud faces of her young scholars.