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Category Archives: Oregon News

Oregon Historian History

OR, “YES, I KNOW.” (Thank you RICHARD ETULAIN )

The question: Where are the historians of Oregon and why don’t we hear more from them?

Blame confusion.

Oregon is not England.

There is no long and dramatic history of the King and Queen of Oregon, deciding battles in the Oregon Channel, or telling timelines of Oregon colonizing the rest of the world.

For some, Oregon is a cherished Eden far beyond the power of common words. The aching beauty of a beach at sunset; the ghostly drama of shadows dancing through the Columbia Gorge; the noble fierceness of the Cascades.

History happens somewhere between the natural environment of Oregon and a forgettable county commissioner meeting in Hillsboro, Coquille, or Vale.

Images of Oregon could fill a calendar a thousand months long, but it wouldn’t be history. Notes from county meetings fill archival storage all over the state, but that’s not history either.

What is history, then? Read the rest of this entry

Portland, Oregon: America’s Hot Spot, Or Wishful Thinking?

Inspired By Time

I'd ask for your number, but I didn't bring paper or pen or a pocket

(With history, it’s either hard or soft. Hard history comes with footnotes, citations, and references; soft is anecdotal word of mouth. Some go both ways.) 

Time Magazine ranks Portland #1 for less than meaningful relationships by researching okcupid.com.

And you thought the heat came from the number of Volcanoes In The City Limits 

Their investigative journalist looked at boxes checked for the sort of relationship okcupid members wanted, then cross-checked where the members lived.

Portland apparently leads the pack by more than a nose.

Before listing the Top Ten friendliest locations in America, let’s look at okcupid first.

When you land on the sign-up page you’ll learn that over 56,000 people are currently using the service, or “online now.”

The drop down menus are pre-filled for Gender, Orientation, and Status. With no corrections you are female, straight, and single. So far, so good?

Anyone wondering if okcupid is OK will see the blurbs from The Boston Globe – “The Google of online dating,” which means you’ll get 6,340,986 matches in 0.5 seconds?

About.com calls okcupid “The best free dating site.” You know you’ll get your money’s worth, and then some in Portland.

The Village Voice shows a certain hippness by calling okcupid “A favorite hangout for internet goers.” It makes you want to break out the beret, shades, and snap your fingers to show you’re cool. Internet Goers?

Time says, “Completely free.” The co-pay comes later at the itch clinic.

Boston didn’t land on the top ten, neither did New York, yet they still pump okcupid. Where’s the Oregonian and Willamette Week?

Here are the top ten cities in America for most promiscuous residents (MPR) according to the experts: Read the rest of this entry

Quartzville Creek Camper

In The Zone

In Army boot camp, they spelled camping b-i-v-o-u-a-c.

Guys carried a tent pronounced ‘shelter-half‘, which means half a tent. You find someone else to make up the other half and set it up.

Hardware in Army camping included an M-16 and an entrenching tool, a folding shovel.

Once you get your tent staked, you dig a shallow trench on the uphill side to divert water. If it’s summer you dig the trench to divert urine in case the campers above you on the hill can’t find their way to the can.

Army camping is the standard for all camping to those who’ve done it. Read the rest of this entry

Bruce Springsteen, Museum Director

If The Boss ran a museum, what would it look like?

Bruce Loves Oregon History, He's Got Some Of His Own

We know his themes; he’s reminded us for thirty-five years.

Bruce likes cars. He likes to race them:

I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She’s waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store

Bruce likes Rock and Roll:

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk

Sometimes he combines them:

Driving in to Darlington City
Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne’s
We drove eight-hundred miles without seeing a cop
We got rock and roll music blasting off the t-top singing

Is it safe to say any museum Bruce ran would have to include cars and rock? Read the rest of this entry

History For 2.5 Million, Alex

INSPIRED BY THE STATE OF OREGON

Inside the Jeopardy studios, Alex Trebec welcomes one contestant.

Alex: Welcome to Jeopardy. Let’s get started.

Golden Pioneer: Hello Alex. I’ll take Portland for a thousand.

Alex: Easy now, we’re limited at first to $500.

Goldie: Let’s cut to the chase, Alex. Portland for $1000.

Alex: Fine. The answer is, “The Oregon Historical Society.”

Goldie: What is the most important museum in the city?

Alex: Yes. Based on the recent funding, OHS is the leader. Let’s go again.

Goldie: Oregon Social Impact for a thousand, please Alex.

Alex: Going big, eh? And the answer is, “The Oregon Historical Society.” 

Goldie: Which museum has the potential for greatest change in Oregon?

Alex: Yes, OHS. With all the neighborhood problems in Portland, they can all meet at OHS since it is free admission to Multnomah County Residents.

Goldie: I’d like… Read the rest of this entry

The Oregon Bridge

View From The Oregon Bridge (Ross Island)

Portland, like many cities, changes street names to honor the times we live in.

But there’s more to do.

Union Avenue became MLK, and the city celebrated.

SE 39th became Cesar Chavez Blvd., and the city celebrated.

Front Avenue became Naito Parkway, and the city celebrated.

Instead of limiting the celebrations to Portland, why not invite the rest of the state to the party by renaming Ross Island Bridge.

My suggestion: The Oregon Bridge. Read the rest of this entry

OREGON ON D-DAY

Cambridge, England

Some of the most peaceful places on earth are military graveyards.

The Cambridge American Cemetery in England is no exception.

The sense of peace on these grounds feels eerie considering the extremely violent war-time deaths.

Paths on either side of the reflecting pool lead to the memorial.  You don’t expect something unusual in a memorial, especially if you’ve seen a few.

No one expects to see their state symbol in a foreign country.

Finding it means someone from Oregon is buried here?

For Oregonians, as it is for those from other states, the seal has never been more somber.

When you consider those who served and died from your state, it hits home.  You might be memorialized if not for the circumstances of time and birth.

Think of your parents and grandparents, those closer to the fire, when you walk the grounds.  The Greatest Generation got that way by what they did in WWII.

That they left so many of their comrades in so many sites speaks to their drive and fervor. 

WWII did that. Read the rest of this entry

Portland Becomes THE Portland

Janet Guthrie and Rolla Vollstedt talk it over

On opening day, June 1, 1905, the Lewis and Clark Expo shifted Portland, Oregon into gear.

The race to modern times began with the old surveyors on their first visit; they were still on the job a hundred years later.

To some, Lewis and Clark belong on top of the American secret agent list for their crafty mission to claim the west coast.

To others they are the greatest field scientists of their time.

On June 1, 1905 Lewis and Clark meant only one thing: PARTY.

Anything kicking off with a parade is a good time, this year and yesteryear, with the roar of the crowd and thunder of the wagons rolling by.

In perfect Lewis and Clark step, the Oregon Historical Society opened their own parade on June 1, 2011, complete with the roar and the thunder of race cars and race car people steering between Rolla Vollstedt’s Indy 500 cars and the Benson.   

Not what you expect from history? Read the rest of this entry

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

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