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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

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You Know It’s Oregon When…

The pioneers keep on showing up.

It might not be a covered wagon, but they don’t stop.

It might be I-5, but they’ve still got the spirit.

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

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