OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

BRIDGE PROJECT HONORS BENTON COUNTY PHILANTHROPISTS

05/06/1996

CORVALLIS - A Philomath foot bridge being built by Oregon State University volunteers will honor Benton County philanthropists Rex and Ethel Clemens.

"With the way the Clemens scholarship fund has helped so many OSU students, we just wanted to find a way to honor them, and we decided to name the bridge in their honor," said Paul Amato, an OSU senior in civil engineering who is leading the bridge project.

Married in 1922, the couple owned and operated Clemens Forest Products in Philomath and established the Clemens Foundation. The foundation provides education grants equal to the amount of OSU tuition to students from Philomath, Alsea, Eddyville and Harney County.

Their generosity helps many OSU students, Amato said. Rex Clemens died in 1985 at the age of 84. Ethel Clemens, 92, died last year.

The bridge project started last year when the OSU student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers searched for ways to help the community as well as gain experience, Amato said. Looking for ideas, Amato called Philomath Public Works Director Beau Vencill, who mentioned the bridge project.

The 30-foot-long, 800-pound structure is expected to be installed in mid-May across the river in Philomath's Mary's River Park, Amato said. Philomath High School students will aid in the installation.

While Georgia-Pacific donated lumber for the bridge, and students are providing free labor, the project is short of cash and students are seeking donations. For information, contact Amato at 541-929-6369.