At the September 5, 2023 Council meeting, Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon handed out the second annual Springfield Heritage Awards.

The awards, developed by the Springfield Historic Commission and the Springfield History Museum, recognize a broad array of stewardship activities that increase awareness, appreciation, and support an inclusive perspective of local heritage.

There are two award categories. The “Preservation Excellence Award” celebrates outstanding projects of many types including historic preservation, historical research, and community outreach. The “History Maker Award” celebrates a person or entity that demonstrates leadership in shaping, preserving, and fostering appreciation of local heritage – past, present, and future.

Nominations from the community included 19 different proposals. The winners of the awards are:


History Maker Awardrecognizes individuals, organizations, companies and public agencies that demonstrate leadership in shaping, preserving, and fostering appreciation of local heritage – past, present and future.

Recipient: Marta Clifford (Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde)

Nominator: Stephanie Tabibian

Marta has devoted her life’s work to bringing awareness of Native American issues in and around the city of Springfield, and strives to always be a good caretaker of Kalapuya Illihi.  For the last three years she has organized “Poetry in the Park” on National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Day – an event to advocate for the end of violence against Native Women and draw attention to the high rate of disappearances and murders of Native people.

Marta also collaborates with Willamalane, providing guidance on appropriate Land Acknowledgments and park signage, and conducting Kalapuya Talking Stones tours for staff.  In addition to all this, and a full-time job, she is the Elder-In-Residence at the University of Oregon Theatre Department and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Academic Residential Community.  In Springfield, she helped develop the Illihoo Native Theatre group – the first Native Theatre company in Eugene/Springfield.

Whenever there is a community discussion regarding making improvements for Indigenous and Tribal representation in Springfield, Marta is there – always willing to assist, teach and provide feedback.  She leads with joy, empathy, and compassion for all those around her.


Preservation Excellence Award recognizes outstanding projects, including but not limited to: restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive use of historic buildings, structures, sites or cultural lanscapes; or activities related to the identification, protection and interpretation of heritage resources.

Recipient: 215 Main Street

Nominator: Jenna Fribley

The main goals of rehabilitating 215 Main Street were to remediate severe blight, uncover and restore a rare midcentury asset for Springfield, and to support downtown revitalization by creating viable commercial space.  The original Timber Topper restaurant, built in 1957, housed different restaurants over the years at the corner of Main Street and Pioneer Parkway.  The façade was drastically altered in terms of color, material and profile that concealed the midcentury character of the original building.  The project removed many layers of added material and revealed the original structure, paying homage to the classic diner and creating a commercial space for Lee’s Mongolian Grill.  The corner has been transformed into an inviting, bustling eatery once again.

For additional information, contact Community Development Division Senior Planner Tom Sievers, 541-726-2333 or