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Monthly Archives: May 2011

FARMER IN THE DELL

AND EVERYWHERE ELSE

You’ve noticed the explosion of local produce and perishables showing up in parking lots near you?

They’re called farmers markets.

Portland has one. 

So do other cities, but after the PSU campus/Portland Farmers Market, what else is there? 

Beaverton, but that’s later.

Where else but Portland do you see guys dragging their sleeping bags draped like capes and asking for coffee money.  All PSU alums know the drill.

Homeless?

Portland?

PSU grad?

It happens around all college campuses.  They’re usually history majors lost in an era. 

Portland Farmers Market is more than an organic, free roaming, flower child, or a soup kitchen in the Haight.  It’s not some clan offering their love in the form of fresh salsa and smoked salmon.

The goods are there, but what stands out most? Read the rest of this entry

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MAIN STREET, OREGON

St. Johns

In a gathering of people you can ask one question they all know:

“Where is main street where you come from?”

Every town, from ranch and farm hubs like of Sprague River to bustling cities like Pendleton, has a main street.  

In places like Tigard it’s even called Main Street.

That’s where you find what a city is all about.

Take this test: drive to a town near you, park your car in the city center, and walk a few blocks.  Note the environment. 

Does it make you want to run back to your car and speed away? Read the rest of this entry

OREGON DIRT TRAIL

A FARMER’S DREAM

Why would mid-western farm families pack up and walk 2000 miles beside their painted wagons?

Of all the reasons for them hitting the Oregon Trail, one stands above the rest. 

They didn’t come for the fur industry.  It wasn’t the fishing or logging opportunities, either.

Farmer Bob and his family joined the western migration to farm new land; they came for the dirt.  Now Oregon has its own official state brand.

Before you ask why designate dirt, keep in mind Oregon isn’t the first, or only, state doing it.  Twenty others have official state soil. 

Which states? Read the rest of this entry

THE GRANDDADDY OF ‘EM ALL

Inspired by:  http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2011/05/21/news/01top_05-21-11.txt

Ian St. Clair writes about a film discovery in Oregon. 

It’s news in Wyoming because the film shows Cheyenne Frontier Days from 1911.

Consider the timing. 

“The first feature-length film to be released in its entirety in the US was the 69-minute epic Dante’s Inferno (1911, It.) (aka L’Inferno), inspired by Dante’s 14th century poem The Divine Comedy.  (from filmsite.org)

It opened in New York on December 10, 1911 at Gane’s Manhattan Theatre.”

New York gets Dante’s Inferno and Wyoming gets The Daddy of ’em All

Go with The Daddy.

How the film of the 1911 Frontier Days came to Oregon is a mystery.   Even Michael Kassel, the curator of collections at the Old West Museum, has no idea.

Discovery is like that

Watch a clip of Antiques Roadshow for a sample of that excitement.  When an appraiser says you ought to insure the old painting you brought in from your garage for $200,000, something happens. Read the rest of this entry

OREGON MAGIC

What’s In A Name

Two books earn their ride in every car driving Oregon roads:

     – Oregon Geographical Names.

     – Oregon Roadside Geology.

OGN puts names and places together. 

ORG travels time.

For example, does it matter that the majestic Cascades are so new that the ancient ruins of an earlier range lay buried under your car when you drive the Santiam? 

 Don’t worry, they won’t erupt.

With ORG you will notice every road-cut, every scraped hillside exposing rock layers for your enjoyment, in a whole new light.  The uninitiated will tire of your narrative, but press on.  They’ll get it. 

Will it matter more if you know the date the post office first opened in the next town you drive through?  Maybe, but OGN is more than that. Read the rest of this entry

Are We There Yet

When Is The End Really The End

President Kennedy asked for a man on the moon.

When American Presidents demand bold action, they get bold results.    

You hope he checked with his engineers.

Apollo 11 happened early on President Nixon’s watch, followed by Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. 

Each one had a moon-walker.

With a similar request, President Thomas Jefferson told Lewis and Clark to find a waterway to the west.

Done. 

Or was it?

From a distant perspective we seem we know enough about Lewis and Clark, that all the scholarship on their journey of discovery is complete. 

It’s not.

Rex Ziak says it’s not.

Maybe you want to listen to him, or read his books.

Who asked the most of their countrymen, Jefferson or Kennedy?  Which journey would you rather take, a walk into the wild, or a flight into darkness? Read the rest of this entry

ASTORIA KICKER

Or Why Astoria Matters So Much

Through a lens of cinema style digressions, the story of John Jacob Astor played across a super-sized world map on a Portland church stage.

Colored sticky notes marked the way.

It wasn’t high-tech, or low-tech.  It was visually engaging correct-tech, something you don’t often see.

A story as grand as Astor’s doesn’t need much help.  Most presenters fail when they won’t exit the frame. 

How often do you hear a narrative where the medium outshines the message; where you get a ‘why did they do that’ moment, instead of the ‘ah ha’ moment you expected?

Like a blackjack dealer on a high-end table, historian Rex Ziak flipped a paper trail of the Astor lineage from Waldorf, Germany, to New York City, to Oregon.  In turquoise, fuchsia, and blue squares, Mr. Ziak tracked the routes of the richest man in America across the stretched map.

John Jacob Astoria was in the house. Read the rest of this entry