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Tag Archives: Oregon

Oregon’s Claim On Olympic Sports

Every state can boast qualities that transfer to sports, especially with the variety of Olympic sports. But even on that world stage, some states come up short.

For example, no event for breathing pollution? If there was, you’d see gold medals on every neck in LA instead of gold chains.

No event for sauna? That would put gold medals on every summer road crew in Texas.

What about Oregon? What are the characteristics that transfer to sports?

The first thing people ask about Oregon is the rain.

“Does it rain as much as we hear?” they whine.

Yes, it does, it’s wet, which explains our great swimmers. By now you’ve heard of Michael Phelps and his gold medals, Mark Spitz and his gold.

Before them came the great Don Schollander and his haul from the Tokyo Games of 1964. Four golds swam back to Lake Oswego. Not seven or eight, but four was a huge load for the times, the biggest since Jesse Owens’ take from the Nazi Olympics in 1936. Read the rest of this entry

Green, The New Blue

The State of Oregon, like the other forty-nine states, creates an image reflecting favorably on the region.

Part of the image is the Blue Book.

For some states it begins and ends with symbols and images. That’s their high water mark. 

Not Oregon.

Still a draw as a wonderland of natural beauty, Oregon also means football, big boy football, the sort of football you dream of for all your state colleges but never get.

Oregon gets it. You should too.

Oregon football isn’t a single season flash with junior college transfers making a one year stop before going pro. It’s either guys buying into the program and waiting their turn to contribute, or showing up ready to play on their first day.  

Due to the ever-inspiring feats of the University of  Oregon Duck football program, the word Oregon is on more lips than ever. With that in mind, why not upgrade, or re-imagine, the Oregon state symbols with UO influence. Read the rest of this entry

On The Wings Of Karl Friedrich, And History

Living in the city means hearing it all day and all night, urban voices from every cement jungle in history.

You hear voices from the sidewalk, inside the trolley.

Voices outside your apartment window wake you up.

It’s the charm of who’s who in the neighborhood.

Moving to the suburbs only changes the voice, from the actual words that sometimes annoy, to a distant buzz of a freeway that always annoys.

You hear airplanes buzzing overhead because you forgot to check if your new neighborhood lies under a flight path.

A human voice makes a difference.

We hear things as youths that stick a lifetime. That’s what happened to Karl Friedrich.

His mother told about women pilots in WWII. Like a good writer, it stuck with him.

Like a dedicated writer, he did something with it.

Karl Friedrich was the second writer I met while I was downtown for a Willamette Writers meeting; the first didn’t know he was a writer. Read the rest of this entry

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

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

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.