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Repaving starts on Ashland's Calle Guanajato

Parts of the Calle Guanajuato pedestrian walkway have been dug up for a repaving project, but work is expected to finish before an artisans market and popular outdoor dining resume in the spring.

Archaeological work to check for American Indian and early settler artifacts began in October, while construction work to install new water, gas and electric lines started at the beginning of December, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department Recreation Superintendent Rachel Dials said.

Crews are doing work along the walkway in sections, she said.

"We're really excited about how it will look. Right now it's a mess, but it's going to be beautiful when it's done," she said.

The walkway's uneven concrete surface, which posed tripping hazards, will be replaced with decorative pavers.

The project is expected to wrap up by April 1, she said.

The Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland typically starts in early April, according to the market's website.

Restaurants also begin serving outdoor diners in the spring.

The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office required the city of Ashland to have archaeological survey work done during the project.

Local archaeologist Jeff LaLande has identified a number of historically interesting objects, including a tooth that likely came from an early Ashland dental office and a metal bar that may have come from a printing press, Dials said.

Among other objects, he also found flakes of stone tools used by American Indians, glass and pieces of plates and bowls.

During last winter's reconstruction of the downtown Plaza, LaLande identified scrapers, obsidian flakes, hammer stones and other material that substantiated the past existence of a Shasta Indian village in the area.

The Plaza is located in front of downtown Plaza businesses while the Calle Guanajuato runs behind the businesses, next to Ashland Creek.

The walkway area was used as a dumping site by early European settlers of Ashland.

The Calle Guanajuato resurfacing and installation of electrical, water and gas lines is budgeted at $387,000, Dials said.

The archaeological work is not to exceed $35,000, she said.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. Follow her at twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Crews have started working on the utilities that run beneath the Calle Guanajuato. The resurfaced walkway will have buff-colored concrete with an 8-foot-wide strip of brick-like pavers running down the middle when the project is finished. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell