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November 19th, 2019
On today’s blog post, author Gretel Van Weiren shares with us some tips for getting kids outside. Her new book, Listening at Lookout Creek, reveals her spiritual practice as it has evolved with her—and her family’s—changing lives. Listening at Lookout Creek additionally explores the development of her own deep connection with the natural world—and that of her overscheduled teenagers’, despite their hyper-tech, hyper-busy lives.

10 Tips for Getting Your Kids Outdoors


We all know the data, mostly from personal experience: kids today are spending an inordinate amount of time on screens indoors and it is not healthy. We also know that time spent off screen outdoors is incredibly beneficial for childhood well-being. One recent study showed that just 15 minutes spent outside, whether in an urban park or a forested area, had significant psychologically restorative benefits. So how do we get our kids outside in today’s hyper high-tech world? This is a question that I have pondered since my own three children, now teenagers, have been small. Here are some ideas that I have gathered over the years.

1. Take food. This is a trick that I learned from my father, who on almost every fishing expedition would bring a snack that we were not otherwise allowed to have at home. Even with teens, I have learned that taking food on outings makes a huge difference for morale and serves as an enticement for future outdoor activities. My son Carl likes jerky, and daughters, Inga and Clara, chocolate.

2. Invite friends. This is a great one for kids of all ages, most of whom are happier when they are with their friends. Pack a picnic, meet at a park or sporting event, go on a bike ride or hike. And when they are together, give them the freedom to do what they want and try not to intervene (within reason, of course).

3. Ask them what they want to do. I cannot tell you how many times my kids have refused to go outside because it was my idea, not theirs. Sure, tell them that they need to go outdoors at some point during the day, but let them do what they want to do and on their time. When they do get up the gumption, which I promise they will, even if with some gentle prodding, be truly open to what they choose—even if it involves the phone some of the time.

4. Do it with them. I am convinced that mother used to send me and my three sisters outdoors immediately after school (and I mean within 10 minutes) because she wanted some peace and quiet to make dinner. And believe me, I completely understand the need. But studies show that it helps to get kids outside if you are willing to go with them. Learn to be, at least occasionally, a “companion in wonder,” as naturalist Rachel Carson famously termed it. You will enjoy it more than you think you might, and be healthier for it.

5. Work it into their study schedule. This is something that I started to do when my children entered high school and began to have so much homework and so many extracurricular activities that there was virtually zero free time to do anything else. We live in Michigan, so the weather dictates this activity, but for a good chunk of the year, I have a small table set up outside the front door where they can sit and do homework, even if for a few minutes. A neighborhood park with a picnic table, coffee shop with outdoor seating, or quilt spread on the grass also works.

6. Reward them. Repay them with something that they like when they do go outside. I am not talking about a new iPhone or car. You would be surprised, actually, at how small the remuneration needs to be for this to work. Think extra time on the x-box or simply promising them that you will not badger them for the rest of the day. Yesterday, for example, I made Carl a milkshake after he had voluntarily taken our dog outside.

7. Take their phone. Or, better yet, have a designated drawer in the house where they (and you) put the phone when a little stress reduction is needed. I know this is an incredibly unpopular proposal, especially among teens, but remember, you are the parent and are likely paying for a significant portion of their livelihood, including their phone. The time frame does not have to be long—15 minutes or so will do. But tell them to unplug and go do anything outdoors. I promise, over time, they will notice a difference in their mental state. Eventually, I have learned, they may even come to do it on their own.

8. Do chores. Make sure you give a list of options. It can be as small as taking the dog or garbage out or collecting the mail. Monetary compensation is always a good incentive. But so is simply reminding them that they are an integral part of the family unit who is needed to make it all work on a day-to-day basis. I cannot tell you how many times I have forced my children to do yardwork and they have come away seeing the value in it, for themselves and the noticeable difference.

9. Surprise them! There is nothing like a good surprise to make your children appreciate the outdoors. And again, like many of the above, it can be something very small. A short walk with an ice-cream cone on the first day of spring or permission to stay up late to see the full moon.

10. Make outside somewhere they want to be. In his popular book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, journalist Richard Louv quotes a child he interviewed who said that the reason that he prefers it indoors is because that is where all the plugs are. Make your yard or patio a place that is enticing to be. Add a hammock, pot of flowers, bird feeder, or comfortable chair. And again, bringing food outdoors always seems to work.
November 7th, 2019

This Monday, November 11, marks the 100th anniversary of an infamous event in Pacific Northwest history known variously as the Centralia Tragedy, the Centralia Massacre, the Armistice Day Riot, or the Armistice Day Tragedy. Whatever name it goes by, a day that began with fanfare and parades in celebration of the first anniverary of Armistice Day ended in violence and six deaths, as members of the American Legion squared off against members of the International Workers of the World labor union (IWW, or Wobblies). In today's blog post, historian Aaron Goings provides background, context, and an excerpt from The Red Coast: Radicalism and Anti-radicalism in Southwest Washington, which he coauthored with Brian Barnes and Roger Snider.

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In the annals of North American history, few years stand out as much as 1919. That year witnessed workers across the continent striking, with employers and the state combining to halt labor’s progress. The aftermath of the First World War saw left-wing movements burst forth across the globe with general strikes, socialist political victories, and attempts to spread revolution beyond Russia.

With wartime unemployment low, American workers unionized and struck in record numbers. In Seattle, thousands of workers laid down their tools in one of the country’s best-known general strikes. But Pacific Northwest strikes and labor radicalism were not confined to the Emerald City. To twenty-first century readers, it might be surprising that many of labor’s most notable conflicts took place in southwest Washington, especially in its lumber towns and logging camps. Partly to commemorate that history of working-class activism and class struggle, I joined my coworkers Brian Barnes and Roger Snider to write a popular labor history of this region. It is our hope that The Red Coast: Radicalism and Anti-radicalism in Southwest Washington (published in June 2019 by Oregon State University Press) reminds readers of the rich history of radicalism and progressive activism in southwest Washington, so frequently identified with conservatism.

Few incidents speak more directly to the intensity of class conflict than the Armistice Day Tragedy in Centralia, Washington, a horrible event in Pacific Northwest history. On November 11, 1919, a mob of American Legionaires raided the Centralia Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) hall and later lynched Wesley Everest, an IWW logger. The Red Coast provides a working-class perspective on many of the labor struggles of the early twentieth century Pacific Northwest, including the Armistice Day Tragedy. What follows is a chapter from the book entitled “Class War: Centralia 1919,” lightly revised for this venue.

* * * * *

Around Centralia are wooded hills; men have been beaten beneath these trees and lynched from them. The beautiful Chehalis River flows near by; Wesley Everest was left dangling from one of its bridges. But Centralia is provokingly pretty for all that. It is small wonder that lumber trust henchmen wish to keep it all for themselves.

— Ralph Chaplin, The Centralia Conspiracy

The Centralia American Legion and the leading businessmen of that city had more than a parade in mind when they gathered on November 11, 1919, to celebrate Armistice Day. Apparently believing that the spectacle of political violence would enhance the patriotic experience, they concocted a plan to raid the Centralia IWW Hall. IWW halls were of great practical and symbolic importance to workers. As Wobbly activist and historian Ralph Chaplin explains, the halls were loved by workers, but despised by employers. These “churches of the movement,” as public historian Robert Weyeneth called them, represented the closest thing to a home for many wandering IWW members. Chaplin noted:

It is here the men can gather around a crackling wood fire, smoke their pipes and warm their souls with the glow of comradeship. Here they can, between jobs or after work, discuss the vicissitudes of their daily lives, read their books and magazines and sing their songs of solidarity, or merely listen to the “tinned” humor or harmony of the much prized Victrola. Also they here attend to the affairs of their union—line up members, hold business and educational meetings and a weekly “open forum.”

So, as the parading legionnaires passed the hall for the second time, they paused, then charged the hall, only to be surprised by the spirited defense they encountered. A volley of gunfire dropped three of the attackers, but the mob continued to press home its attack, capturing the hall. One additional legionnaire was killed in pursuit of Wesley Everest, who escaped out the back but was later captured and dragged by the neck to the jail. Later that night, he joined the ranks of IWW martyrs when he was lynched at the hands of Centralia businessmen and patriots, none of whom were ever prosecuted for his gruesome murder.

The Armistice Day 1919 Centralia event is perhaps the single most written about event involving the IWW in the entire state of Washington. Analysis of the event has been extremely polarized, as interests representing the employing class and the working class have contested its meaning. And because of competing accounts, affidavits, and testimony, even some of the most basic facts of the case will probably never be established conclusively. What is perfectly clear is that the Centralia story must be understood in the context of the class struggle that had been raging on the Red Coast for over a decade and which had surfaced in Centralia since at least 1914. As all of the working-class accounts of the Centralia event note, violence and lawlessness were defining characteristics of the employers’ approach to this conflict.

The IWW served as the most logical target of employers’ violence and repression because, since its inception in 1905, it represented the most advanced, class conscious, and revolutionary element of the working class in this country. The patriotic fervor of the First World War and fear that the Russian Revolution would heighten class consciousness among American workers only intensified persecution of the Wobblies. Sensing an opportunity, employers engaged both the state and the public in their efforts to crush the hated IWW. Nationally, the federal government enforced the wartime Espionage and Sedition Acts against the IWW and other radicals to imprison and deport many. In September of 1917, the federal government raided IWW halls across the country and indicted more than 160 leaders of the organization. At the state and local level, class warfare raged as employers mobilized both the state and the mob to lash out at class-conscious workers. Washington State was one of the great theaters of this conflict, as the teens witnessed the Grays Harbor and Pacific County Lumber Strike of 1912, multiple free speech fights, the 1916 Everett Massacre, and the 1919 Seattle General Strike.

In Centralia, this war against workers effectively merged employers’ traditional weapons—a cooperative police, a captive legal system, and vigilante citizens’ committees—with the anti-radicalism and patriotism of the American Legion, a veterans’ organization at the fore of anti-radical activities. The American Legion described Centralia like this: “The city is the center of a rich timber district and the logging camps of the northwest are infested with bearers of the red card, who boast that in many districts membership in the I.W.W. is a requisite to employment.” The leadership of the Centralia Legion read like a roster of Centralia businessmen and the Legion became essentially a front organization, even the vanguard, for Northwest lumber bosses. In the words of Wobbly Ralph Chaplin, “The American Legion began to function as a cat’s paw for the men behind the scenes.” Indeed, there was nothing secret about the role of the Legion in the class war. The National Commander of the American Legion declared in 1923: “If ever needed, the American Legion stands ready to protect our country’s institutions and ideals as the Fascisti dealt with the destructionists who menaced Italy. . . . Do not forget that the Fascisti are to Italy what the American Legion is to the United States.”

Representatives of capital did not shy away from class conflict. An IWW organizer was run out of Centralia by the sheriff in 1914, and in early 1915 more Wobblies were “escorted” out of town by police and vigilantes. According to historian John McClelland, the local paper, the Centralia Chronicle, applauded anti-Wobbly repression and stated that it was everyone’s responsibility to keep rebel workers out of Centralia. Tom Lassiter, a partially blind newsstand operator whose stock included labor and radical papers, was victimized by the business interest on several occasions. At various times, his radical papers were destroyed, he was threatened, arrested, kidnapped, and dumped in a ditch. Yet no one was ever prosecuted for any of these acts of class violence. In Centralia, it was clear, the law was a weapon in the hands of the propertied class.

Perhaps inevitably, class conflict in Centralia came to center on the struggle to establish and defend an IWW union hall. As Chaplin notes, the “union halls were a standing challenge to their [the employers’] hitherto undisputed right to the complete domination of the forests. . . . They were not going to tolerate the encroachments of the One Big Union of the lumber workers.” In 1917, an IWW attempt to establish a hall was met with great hostility in the employer-dominated town, and the landlord evicted the Wobblies on learning of their identity. In the spring of 1918, Centralia employers targeted the town’s new IWW hall. During a Red Cross parade, prominent businessmen, including members of the Centralia Elks, and political officials attacked and destroyed it. They beat IWW members and burned hall property and records in a street bonfire. F. B. Hubbard, the most prominent of the Centralia timber barons and president of the Washington Employers’ Association, stole the desk from the Wobbly Hall and donated it to the local Chamber of Commerce. Despite the intimidation of the business leaders, the local IWW secretary, Britt Smith, opened a new hall on north Tower Avenue on September 1, 1919. It was clear for all to see that the IWW was not easily intimidated, but neither were their enemies.

In July 1919, George Russell, secretary of the Washington Employers’ Association, called a meeting of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce to find a way to destroy the IWW. F. B. Hubbard was picked to head a group designed to accomplish that objective. Although this was not the first meeting of Centralia business interests to combat the Wobbly threat, it marked a new level of organization on the part of capital that would not tolerate the affront the new IWW Hall afforded to its dominance.

Plans to rid themselves of the enemy intensified with the formation of the Centralia Citizens Protective Association, the purpose of which, according to one local paper, was “to combat IWW activities in this vicinity.” Local businessmen were members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Centralia Elks, and the American Legion; many belonged to more than one of these organizations. Although the plans called for greater secrecy as to the specific methods to rid themselves of the Wobblies, too many people were aware of the plans to keep it secret. Word began to leak out, and soon it became public knowledge that the IWW would be driven out of town. Once the Armistice Day Parade was planned, the Wobblies knew that this was the pretense to attack their hall, destroy their property, and assault them.

Initially, IWW members acted with uncommon prudence in attempting to prevent a violent attack on their hall. The owners of the Roderick Hotel, which housed the union hall and from whom the IWW rented, went to the local police with information about the planned attack. IWW members requested police protection. A trusted attorney, Elmer Smith, sought help from Governor Louis F. Hart in Olympia. The Wobblies even made a desperate appeal to the entire community. They distributed a lengthy handbill “to the law-abiding citizens of Centralia and to the working class in general,” which said, in part, “The profiteering class of Centralia have of late been waving the flag of our country in an endeavor to incite the lawless element of our city to raid our hall and club us out of town.” But Wobbly pleas to avoid violence fell on deaf ears, and the police chief declined protection.

Finally, as a last resort, the Wobblies sought legal advice from attorney Elmer Smith to determine whether they had the legal right to defend their hall with arms. Smith affirmed that they did. This was a major move on the part of the IWW. Although it had always shown remarkable restraint, the IWW was a defiant and proud group of class-conscious workers, and by November 1919 in Centralia Washington the Wobblies had had enough of the beatings, enough of the tar and featherings, enough of the destruction of their meager property, enough of the humiliation, and enough of the criminally brutal business-patriotic element. They would defend their hall, and plans for its self-defense were laid. Radical historian Harvey O’Conner opined: “Prudent men, valuing their own skins, would have closed the hall in the face of the obvious threat. But prudence was not a Wobbly trait. Rather their shining glory stood out in audacity, courage, and stubbornness in defense of their rights, and for that they are remembered in history.”

As the Armistice Day Parade got under way on the drizzly and ill-fated afternoon of November 11, 1919, the Wobblies made ready to defend their hall. They positioned armed men inside the hall and also in three locations outside the hall: in the Avalon and Arnold Hotels on the opposite (east) side of the street, and on Seminary Hill which overlooked the street from some considerable distance away. The parade route took the marchers north on Tower Avenue past the main business district to Third Street, the next side street past the IWW Hall, in a section of town occupied by businesses catering to the working class. At Third Street the marchers reversed direction to return now southbound on Tower Avenue with the Centralia American Legion contingent making up the rear of the parade. In front of the IWW Hall, the marchers paused and then rushed the hall.

Shots rang out from the hall and then from Seminary Hill and the Avalon Hotel. Three Legionnaires—Warren Grimm, Arthur McElfresh, and Ben Cassagranda—received fatal wounds on the streets near the hall, and Dale Hubbard, the nephew of the lumbar baron F. B. Hubbard, was shot by a fleeing Wesley Everest at the edge of the Skookumchuck river. Hubbard died later that night. Several other marchers were injured, and the IWW Hall was smashed and its contents dragged to the street and burned. Wesley Everest was severely beaten and dragged back into town and thrown in a heap on the jail floor. One of the marchers who pursued Everest to the river and presumably helped drag him to the jail was Legionnaire Ed Cunningham, who was picked by the American Legion to become the Special Prosecutor in the trial against the Centralia Wobblies. According to the Legion account, “Cunningham was able to use his first-hand knowledge of the tragedy to telling effect.”

In many of their clashes with the working class, employers hired detective agencies or relied on local or state police to combat workers, but in Centralia the American Legion served as the armed guard of the employing class. As news of the event spread, the American Legion assumed control of the town, controlled the flow of information, formed vigilante groups to hunt down suspected Wobblies, and raided establishments and homes. In touting the Legion takeover, the American Legion Weekly stated, “Though the office of the Sheriff and the Chief of Police assisted as much as possible, their forces were small and their aid nominal,” and “Posses which scoured the country about Centralia in search of fugitives were made up almost exclusively of American Legion men.”

That evening, two meetings were held at the Elks Club in which the murder of Wesley Everest was conceivably planned. At about five o’clock a group of men was told to go the armory for weapons and return to the Elks at six o’clock. At the six o’clock meeting, all assembled men who were not members of the Elks or the American Legion were asked to leave. In effect, this left the established business class and the Legion, those that could most be trusted to carry out a class lynching and protect those involved in it. This meeting lasted until about seven o’clock. At seven-thirty, someone visited the city’s power station and shut off all the lights in Centralia. Meanwhile, a lynching party entered the jail where Wesley Everest was held. The lynching party—meeting no opposition from the jailer—seized Everest and dragged him to a waiting automobile.

The automobile that held Everest fell in with a procession of automobiles containing Centralia’s most prominent citizens, and proceeded to the Chehalis River Bridge. Radical author Harvey O’Conner graphically described the scene:

At the bridge Everest was dragged out and rope knotted around his neck, and his body flung over. Everest clutched at a plank; Legionnaires stamped on his fingers, and he fell. Dissatisfied with the knot, the lynchers pulled the body back up and used a longer rope, and hurled the body over again. Still dissatisfied, they hauled Everest body up a third time—by then he must have been dead—and tied a more professional knot on a longer rope and flung the body over. Then with carlights playing on the scene, they amused themselves awhile by shooting at the swaying body. Satiated at last, the mob left and darkness returned. Next morning somebody cut the rope and the body fell into the Chehalis River.

The next day, Everest’s mutilated body was retrieved from the river, dumped on the jail floor, and left for two days in plain view of his imprisoned fellow workers. As Centralia’s authorities were no doubt complicit in the lynching, no attempt was ever made to bring the Everest’s murderers to justice.

As the Legion-led posses combed the surrounding area for more Wobblies, state authorities interrogated the jailed Wobblies by day as the enraged mobs terrorized them by night. In the woods surrounding Centralia, one posse member was shot and killed when he was mistaken by another for a Wobbly. This shooting, first reported as a murder committed by a Wobbly, was later ruled an accident. As this reign of terror continued in southwest Washington, the commercial press continued to churn out propagandistic accounts of how the Wobblies ambushed and murdered America’s finest young men in the streets of Centralia. Characteristic of this treatment was the front-page article in the Chehalis Bee-Nugget: “IWW Shoot into Armistice Day Parade in Centralia Tuesday. Warren Grimm, Arthur McElfresh, Dale Hubbard, and Ben Cassagranda Killed by the Assassins.” Authorities, businessmen, and Legionnaires combined to attack workers in other parts of the state and in neighboring Oregon. In Seattle, the Department of Justice seized the Union Record, the official organ of the Seattle Central Labor Council, and arrested its staff, including Harry Ault and Anna Louise Strong, on charges of sedition.

The passions that this class war engendered were still highly visible on January 26, 1920, when eleven Wobblies, including Elmer Smith, the attorney who advised the IWW members that they had the legal right to defend their hall, were brought to trial in the town of Montesano, the county seat of neighboring Grays Harbor County. The defense faced many obstacles in the trial, beginning with a huge resource disparity. The Wobblies were represented by George Vanderveer with occasional help from his law partner, Ralph Pierce, and attorney Elmer Smith, himself a defendant in the case. Meanwhile, Special Prosecutor Ed Cunningham led a staff of six attorneys, whom Vanderveer referred to as the attorneys for the lumber trust. The Luke May Secret Service, a private detective agency paid for by lumber company funds, aided them. Finally, the American Legion recruited some fifty uniformed veterans to sit in on the trial by day, presumably to influence the jury. They were paid four dollars a day from funds contributed by the lumber companies and the Elks.

The prosecution certainly lived up to its reputation as the counsel for the lumber trust. Special Prosecutor Cunningham was himself deeply involved in the Armistice Day violence. He was one of the members of the mob that pursued Everest to the Skookumchuck River and helped drag him to jail. He watched while the mob broke into the jail and kidnapped Everest, and was alleged to have witnessed his murder. Historian Tom Copeland observed that “as Cunningham built the case against the Wobblies, he was also shielding himself from any potential legal action for his role in the raid and lynching.” Cunningham’s team successfully fought off a change of venue request, claiming there was no prejudice against the IWW in either Centralia or Montesano. In a clear attempt to intimidate anyone willing to testify for the defense, the prosecution had two defense witnesses arrested for perjury when they finished their testimony. The prosecution called on the governor to have troops from Camp Lewis sent to Montesano to stand guard outside the courtroom, thereby frightening the jury into thinking that an IWW attack was imminent.

The trial was, in fact, a mere extension of the class war, a political trial in which the authorities put the IWW on trial while pretending to adhere to the rule of law. The judge, John M. Wilson, insisted that he could try the case impartially, despite the fact that he had delivered an anti-IWW speech in the nearby town of Bucoda and had addressed the memorial service at the Centralia Elks commemorating the Legionnaires who had been killed during the Armistice Day Parade. Wilson rejected the defense’s request for a change of venue from Montesano, disallowed much of the evidence that Vanderveer tried to introduce during the trial, and made numerous prejudicial rulings that favored the prosecution and infuriated the defense. Vanderveer captured the trial’s essence in his closing statement. The prosecutors, he told the jury, “have told you this was a murder trial, and not a labor trial. But vastly more than the lives of ten men are the stakes in the big gamble here; for the right of workers to organize for the bettering of their own condition is on trial; the right of free assemblage is on trial; democracy and Americanism are on trial.”

“In view of such a charged atmosphere,” Albert Gunns contended, “the final verdict of the jury was moderate.” The prosecution sought a first-degree murder verdict for all of the defendants, but the jury did not agree. Elmer Smith, the Wobbly attorney, was acquitted, along with one other defendant. Seven defendants were convicted of second-degree murder, and one young defendant was judged legally insane. The jury attached to their verdict a written request for leniency in sentencing, but Judge Wilson rendered stiff sentences ranging from 25 to 40 years in the state penitentiary in Walla Walla. Irish immigrant James McInerney, himself a veteran of the Everett Massacre and victim of torture while in the Centralia jail, died while imprisoned, “murdered,” the Industrial Worker proclaimed, “by the Capitalist class.” Most of the remaining prisoners remained incarcerated until 1933, when Governor Clarence Martin commuted their sentences.

Several jurors were clearly uneasy with their decision, believing that they were not allowed to hear all of the important evidence. “Remarkably, two years after the trial,” Robert Weyeneth concludes, “seven of the twelve jurors voluntarily repudiated their verdict.” No member of the employing class or its “cat paws” was ever charged or even investigated for Everest’s murder or the Armistice Day hall raid that ushered in the Centralia Tragedy.



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Excerpt from The Red Coast: Radicalism and Anti-Radicalism in Southwest Washington by Aaron Goings, Brian Barnes, and Roger Snider, copyright © 2019.

November 5th, 2019

Our University Press Week blog tour post features author Marcy Cottrell Houle, whose new book, A Generous Nature, celebrates some of the individuals and institutions behind the state’s progressive land-use policies.

Below, she elaborates on her motivations for writing A Generous Nature and her aspirations for Oregon’s future generations.

* * * * * * * * * *

Many authors envision writing a bestseller. Some harbor a wish to have their work become required reading in academic circles. Still more long for stellar reviews in the New York Times or the Economist.

Those are not my intentions for A Generous Nature. The muse that inspired this book was bigger, more fanciful, even outlandish. Like a burr, though, it stayed attached to me for ten years, never shaking off even when my writing trail wound up mountains and through thickets, or crossed rivers of doubt.

Witnessing newcomers flocking to Oregon—which remains near the top in the nation for in-state ingress—I realized something. People are drawn to Oregon for reasons of its livability and beauty. At the same time, few, whether long-term residents or brand new to Oregon, know what lies behind the exceptional qualities that draw them here. They don’t see the years of struggle it took to make all 362 miles of Oregon’s coast public. They don’t comprehend the efforts to produce and defend the incredible ruling, Senate Bill 100—a law, first of its kind in the nation, that created statewide land-use goals protecting farm and forest lands from urban sprawl.

They don’t recognize the face behind the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Act that protected 292,500 acres of spectacular basaltic cliffs and flower strewn forests and was the only stand-alone conservation legislation ever passed during the Reagan administration. If not for one tireless woman who faced steep and vociferous opposition every step of the way, this national treasure would be covered with development.

Oregon’s fifty-nine designated wild and scenic rivers remain safeguarded because of the work of one man who took a serious challenge to their integrity all the way to the supreme court of Oregon—and won. A beloved park near Portland, Tryon Creek, would have become 650 acres of condominiums and homes if not for a woman who started a “kitchen counter drive” to save it—and succeeded.


The achievements go on, but the stories of the people behind them, who gave great gifts to all Oregonians, I saw with despair, were being lost. Without that understanding, I realized those things that make Oregon an outstanding place to live could easily be undone.

It is happening everywhere. Nationwide, environmental laws are being relaxed or eviscerated. Incremental loss of natural areas, agricultural lands, and forests is on the verge of happening in Oregon. For those of us who love this state, sitting back and watching Oregon’s inspiring model being whittled away is not an option.

That was my motivation for writing A Generous Nature. The book showcases what lies behind Oregon’s good fortune. It strives to elevate understanding that Oregon didn’t just "happen." Rather, the devotion, sweat, persistence, and commitment of many individuals made it the place it is today.

A Generous Nature is also an attempt to resurrect and revive the Oregon spirit, giving it life for a whole new generation of Oregonians. These stories highlight the citizens who did this great work—not for themselves alone, but for our benefit and for future generations of Oregonians. They are filled with inspiration and values for living. At the same time, however, they offer a challenge, reminding us of our responsibility to carry these values forward.

That is where my dream of the Five O’s begins.

The Five O’s are organizations, based in Oregon, that in every step of writing A Generous Nature I hoped would catch a glimpse of this vision and become partners to spread the word. Nearing completion of the book, I reached out to all five, asking for their support of this mission to help Oregonians develop an appreciation for what people have done in Oregon’s past. With that understanding, I believe the Oregon has a better chance of keeping its remarkable, progressive ideals alive.

What was my appeal exactly? That A Generous Nature would be published by Oregon State University Press. From there, that it would be picked up by the Oregon Historical Society, which could act as a repository for the valuable interviews and be a facilitator in launching the book’s purpose. I reached out to Oregon Public Broadcasting, asking if they might follow up these amazing stories and bring to life these individual’s work in other media forms in future programming. I adjured the Oregon Community Foundation—a generous organization that gives grants and scholarships throughout Oregon for the advancement of collaborate action, stewardship, equity, diversity, and inclusion—to lend their support. In my request I urged them to donate a copy of A Generous Nature to every public library in Oregon, through the Oregon Library Association, my fifth O.

What is wonderful to see is that each of the Five O’s has risen to this challenge. They have embraced the Oregon spirit and hope to pass it forward.

This clarion call is not just for Oregon. Every state has an opportunity to find its own Five O’s, to spread stories of citizens endeavoring to save this earth. Inspiring stories can act as a call to action. For they tell us this truth: we can be the future we wish to see.

November 1st, 2019

Joseph E. Taylor III is a professor of history and geography at Simon Fraser University. He earned his degrees at the University of Oregon and University of Washington, and his research investigates the intersection of social and ecological systems in the fisheries, outdoor recreation, gentrification, conservation, and politics of the North American West. He is the author of the recently released Persistent Callings: Seasons of Work and Identity on the Oregon Coast, which explores the history of seasonal labor and intertwined industries in the Nestucca Valley.

Ashley: Did you have the idea for the book first, and then begin your research, or did you start accumulating research, and then decide to put it together into a book?

Joseph: First of all, there’s never a plan. I am always living on Plan B or Plan C, whatever. In this case it’s a particularly shaggy dog story because I started this project in 1988 in an undergraduate seminar, extended as an honors thesis, and then promptly forgot it. Three years ago, a neighbor out of the blue suggested publishing it to make some money for a scholarship fund. The Nestucca Valley has a very low rate of sending kids to college. I thought that was a good idea, but it required a lot of work to transform it into a book, including many rabbit holes. So, I backed into this project, but that’s the story of everything I’ve ever done.

Ashley: What were some of these rabbit holes? Do you have any examples?

Joseph: Employment data, voting records—there were just a whole bunch of themes that still needed exploring. The thirty years between when I defended my honors thesis and right now has included a really tragic story of what’s happened to the rural West in general, and rural Oregon in particular. It includes stories about meth and opiate addiction and what economists call “deaths of despair.” Plus, I had to wrap my brain around the gentrification of the Nestucca Valley, especially the Pacific City/Neskowin area. And all those were stories that simply had not yet happened the first time around. Then, when I was done with the research, I had to rewrite everything because I’m a different writer now than I was as an undergraduate.

Ashley: A different writer in what sense?

Joseph: Better! There were moments when reading my undergraduate prose was really painful. I wrote a hundred-and-thirty-page honors thesis in nine days flat. I basically took spring break, kicked my roommate out of the dorm, cranked up the music, and wrote nonstop while living off of Track Town pizza and Coca-Cola.

Ashley: So I imagine your writing process is a little bit different now.

Joseph: Not that much, really. I wrote my dissertation on Coca-Cola and Hostess Fruit Pies, as well as my first book. The second book was sustained by Snickers and Coca-Cola. You can see the constant. Coke was big this time around as well.

Ashley: Do you have any other traits or qualities that have helped with this kind of work?

Joseph: Well, the most important thing for this project was dropping out of school and spending ten years climbing and fishing and living in the Nestucca Valley. That’s really important because it gave me a baseline understanding of the temperament of a place and the complexity of small-town life. But it also gave me the passion to carry this through.

Ashley: Do you think it’s important for other researchers who are doing similar projects to immerse themselves in that region the way that you have?

Joseph: It helps to see the landscape but also interact with people enough to get a sense of who lives in this world and how it works. Because the past is a different country. The past really is a different place you’re trying to write about. You can’t simply extrapolate back from your own experiences. So, yeah, I think you have to embed yourself at some level for some period. I know many people who go to see landscapes, but they don’t really interact enough, in my mind, with the people. Especially for a book like this which is so people-driven, I think you have to have some sense of that.

Ashley: How did you draw stories out from the people you interviewed?

Joseph: I simply asked questions and let them go. With many it took two or three interviews. They needed a comfort level and, in most cases, it helped that people were vouching for me before I went in, saying, “This is not a stranger; this is not an outsider.” And I am absolutely certain that made a huge difference in terms of willingness of some residents even to talk to me.

Ashley: What else did you do to set them at ease?

Joseph: In every case it started without the recorder. There were cases where we spoke two or three times before they said, “Okay, now you can start the recorder.” I had specific questions, but I let them go where they wanted because what they said was important to them and that’s what mattered. It became easier when I realized I had some baseline data and that they were as likely as not to err on certain facts. I realized that I would need a variety of research methods, basically, to nail down anything.

Ashley: If you had to give one piece of advice to other scholars who plan on writing similarly research-heavy books like your own, or books about a specific region, what advice would you give them?

Joseph: One of the advantages of waiting so long after the honors thesis for publication is that I had time to mull over what I had. The single best example is that is when I finally came back to it, what I thought was a history of the fisheries was much more about the entanglements among the valley’s many industries. I was able to see a story of seasonal labor that nobody has actually ever told. I had one of those idiot epiphanies, where I sat back and suddenly realized, “Why didn’t I ever see this?” It took me twenty-eight years to get to that point, so a scholar’s greatest resource is not necessarily money, but time. Having the time to actually think about what we have, and not rushing to judgment on things: I think that’s the best advice I can give.

October 22nd, 2019

In Sporting Oregon: A Pictorial History of Early Oregon Sports, Brian S. Campf presents a slice of history--spanning over twenty-five years--through photographs related to Oregon sports. Campf tracks the development and popularity of sports such as baseball, football, basketball, horse racing, track, hockey, tennis, and cricket, incorporating various artifacts along the way. Though the progression of many sports unfolded on a national level, Sporting Oregon provides local context and rich detail about the history of sports in the state.


Here we share an exclusive preview of Sporting Oregon--an excerpt from the foreword (written by Carl Abbott) and the author’s preface: 


****

                                   

Excerpt from the Foreword by Carl Abbott


Oregon was a very young state at the end of the 1860s—Oregon City was thirty years old, Portland was twenty-five, and the state itself was just completing its first decade with 91,000 people spread thinly over the landscape. Men outnumbered women by nearly three to two, a sign of the state’s frontier resource economy. Only three cities counted more than 1,000 residents—Portland, Salem, and Oregon City. Fifty years later, when the last photographs in this collection were made, the state had grown up, with the 1920 census counting 788,000 Oregonians who lived a much more settled life than previous generations.

                   

Competitive sports grew up with the state. The images that Brian Campf has assembled tell us about the growth of education, the establishment of a middle class, and the spread of railroads. They also testify to Oregonians’ love of the outdoors.

                   

If you wanted to play competitive team sports in nineteenth century Oregon, one of the big challenges was finding the competition. In the 1870s, Columbia River steamers plied the great river of the West; Willamette River steamboats connected river towns like Harrisburg, Salem, and Albany; and the first railroads connected Portland and East Portland to a string of Willamette Valley cities and towns. That was it for easy travel. Salem ballplayers could travel to Aurora with relative ease, or a McMinnville nine could take on a Portland team. Even in the 1910s, however, the only comfortable way to get from eastern Oregon to the western side of the state required changing trains in Portland. The images also remind us of the importance of Albany and Astoria in these decades. Albany rivaled Salem as the most important city in the upper Willamette Valley until Eugene nudged ahead in the early twentieth century, and Albany athletes make the third most appearances in this book. Astoria, which also appears repeatedly, ranked second only to Portland in the 1880s and 1890s.

                   

Outside the northwestern quadrant of the state, competition was local. Campf documents separate constellations of competition in the Coos Bay area, in Umatilla County where at least nine towns had teams in the early 1910s and there was fierce competition among the members of the Blue Mountain League and the finely named but short-lived Irrigation League. The Inland Empire League stretched more ambitiously from Baker City (the Nuggets) to Walla Walla. Prineville, Bend, and Redmond put in their appearance in 1909, reflecting the beginnings of central Oregon’s timber industry and anticipating the resolution of the battle between James J. Hill of the Great Northern/Northern Pacific and E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific/ Southern Pacific to be the first to control the Deschutes River railroad route.

                       

Sports developed in step with the developing infrastructure of public education. Teams from the University of Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College garnered plenty of attention, tiny as the schools were compared to the institutions of the twenty-first century. Even more telling is the way that the images reflect the creation of comprehensive public high schools as essential community institutions. Even though Oregonian editor Harvey Scott fulminated against public high schools as a waste of money (he fulminated against a lot of things), Portland established its first high school in 1869 in rented space, built a neo-gothic building in 1885, and then a modern Lincoln High School on the Park Blocks in 1912. Jefferson High School opened on the east side in 1908 and Gresham High School dates to 1906. And it was not only the larger cities, as we learn that Harney County High School had twelve seniors in 1911–1912, divided equally between boys and girls.

                       

Campf concentrates on the big three teams sports—baseball and its community and semi-pro teams, football and its college teams, and basketball with its high school teams for boys and for girls who refused to play by wimpy “girls’ rules.” Oregonians, of course, had plenty of other ways to enjoy exercise and the outdoors. There were elite sports like rowing, lawn tennis, and golf (the Waverly Golf Club dates to 1896). English immigrants and ex-pats sporadically kept their ethnic sport of cricket alive in Portland. And there were outdoor activities like fly-fishing where no one kept score (well, maybe the trout did). Energetic Portlanders joined the Mazamas, whose inaugural climb on July 19, 1894, took 158 men and 38 women to the top of Mt. Hood. If you didn’t have time to summit a mountain, you could join the bicycle craze of the 1890s. Thousands of people took to the roads on Sunday cycling expeditions—sedate families, daredevil wheelmen, and “scorchers”—young men who rode too fast and too recklessly for most people’s taste (what else is new).


Preface by Brian Campf 


I have loved sports for as long as I can remember. I enjoy the anticipation of the game, watching the drama unfold, and seeing a winner and a loser. There is nothing else like it.

                   

A few weeks shy of my tenth birthday I watched on television as the Portland Trail Blazers won the NBA title in 1977. My parents took us downtown for dinner that night. We found ourselves in the midst of a massive celebration. A picture of me near the podium at the Blazers championship parade the next day was published in Hoop magazine. My wife, Sandy, says that I remember the parade day as fondly as our wedding. I won’t say if she’s right.

                   

Baseball was just as important to me. Portland had no major league team, but I followed the big leaguers and also Portland’s minor league team, the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. When we were kids, my father, Alan, would take me and my brother, Andy, to their games at Portland’s Civic Stadium. I began collecting baseball, basketball, and football cards around 1978, the same year as my first trip to the Memorial Coliseum to see the Blazers play.

                   

A baseball card store opened in Portland in 1980. I insisted that my mother, Susan, drive me there. I must have been one of its earliest visitors. Though I was only about thirteen and had no money to spend, I loved my visit. Andy had come with us. A Wall Street Journal article published soon afterward described the store owner patiently answering the many questions from two unidentified youngsters (me and Andy).                                                                                                                              

Later in the 1980s, at the same store I stumbled across a baseball card. It showed a local player, a Portland player. The card was old and its history intrigued me. I snapped it up. This is the one: Miles Albion Netzel, issued in 1910 with Obak Cigarettes.I thought it would be a fun challenge to seek out cards issued of other Portland players during that 1910 era and research their base- ball careers. Around the same time I got to know several dealers of vintage baseball collectibles who helped me in that pursuit. They remain my friends to this day.

                       

Then something changed everything: the arrival of the Internet. The Internet gave me access to Oregon sports objects, such as photos and postcards, that were dispersed across America. What had been far away suddenly became a few mouse clicks away from reaching my mailbox. I also began to look for items associated with Oregon sports other than baseball. With the Internet my collection expanded by leaps and bounds. I continued to enjoy investigating the history of each new piece. Sandy stopped asking about the little boxes that kept arriving.

                       

The Internet also opened a door to new avenues of research. Keyword searches in century-old newspapers could be swiftly performed to reveal the stories behind a photo’s charm and mystique. Period photography ultimately became a focus of the collection because it offers interesting and varied content, as well as locations and a more personal kind of connection to its subjects than objects such as trophies provide. Over the decades I acted like a magnet for these images, bringing them home to Oregon and into the archive, usually one at a time.

                       

What emerged from my efforts is an archive of images I did not create but a collection I did create. I came to realize that anyone who says the fun is in the looking is seriously underestimating the satisfaction in the finding. It would be like saying the real fun of going on vacation is the plane ride. The pleasure for me came in adding some- thing to the collection that gave it more depth and dimension.

                       

I recall my mom asking me, “What are you going to do with all of this stuff?” I had no idea what to say so I answered, “Maybe a book one day.” I had to say something, and in the back of my mind it seemed that if I said “book,” there might actually be one. I also had begun to feel weird about squirreling this “stuff ” away and being the only one who could see it. It is, after all, Oregon’s history, and it deserves not just to be compiled, but preserved, seen, and enjoyed.

                       

A website instead of a book seemed like a good place to start, sort of like learning to ride a bicycle before you drive a car. I store the entire collection in an enormous bank vault, so I started bringing home boxes of goodies from the bank, scanning it all, returning the boxes, and retrieving more, back and forth until the scanning was done. It was during one of those bank runs that someone nearly sideswiped my car. Were it not for some defensive driving that would have made my driving teacher proud, the contents of this book would look very different.


Seeing the website go live made me feel that I had conquered the law of gravity. I conceived of it as a free virtual museum. I researched each item and added brief descriptions I hoped would approximate placards on the wall next to objects hung in galleries. I also left my name off the site so it would be about “the” stuff and not “my” stuff, something that has necessarily and somewhat regrettably changed with the publication of this book.

                       

The website (no longer active) showed Oregon sports material and also original images from my collection of early major league, minor league, and Negro league baseball. The site began receiving visitors who shared kind comments. The Oregonian even published a story about it. That encouragement helped push me toward making this book a reality. I liked the idea of a book offering a more permanent re- cord than a website, plus it gave me the opportunity (read: awesome excuse) to research early Oregon sports.

                       

After years of acquiring images and now sifting through them to decide what to include here, it occurs to me that if history is written by the victors, pictorial accounts are made possible by the collectors. I hope you enjoy this one.

               

 

 

 

 

October 10th, 2019

We’re starting off the beginning of fall by celebrating one of our new releases! Former US Congressman Les AuCoin’s debut memoir, Catch and Release: An Oregon Life in Politics, explores the intricacies of power, privilege and the importance of fighting for your community. Today on our blog, AuCoin—first Democrat to hold a seat in Oregon’s First Congressional District—shares with OSU Press interns Isaiah Holbrook and Ashley Hay the purpose of memoir writing, the current state of mass media, and the search for balance between personal and political narratives.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Isaiah: We noticed that you refrain from speaking explicitly about our current political climate in your memoir. Why did you choose to stay away from this topic?

Les: I set out to write a memoir, not an op-ed. I have a journalism background. I’ve written many op-eds, which are statements of opinion, which cover things like the inadequacies of standard journalism, the direction it’s heading, the critiques of politicians and political movements. If I had spent a lot of time banging Trump around, my book would’ve been no different than a thousand others that are doing the same thing, either banging him around or praising him. On the other hand, no one knows my life story except me. And my purpose was to tell my life story and let readers see what is relevant to them and in this moment in their personal life and our national life.

Ashley: Could you talk a little bit more about the audience that you envision for this book? Who are you writing to? Who do you think should be reading this?

Les: I did not want to write a textbook. It’s for the general public. I wanted to show how Congress once was, and how it can work, and how far we’ve drifted away from that so that people can realize that a return to better days is possible. I also wanted to show the basic daily sociology of the Congress. At any one moment, there’s five hundred and thirty-five lives living under Capital dome. You have cads and courageous people. You have normal people and despicable ones. I wanted to show the range of behaviors and the types of people that are there. Through the eyes of somebody who lived it. I think that today overwhelmingly people see Congress through the lens of the mass media. It’s always about political horse-races and the fight. But in the Capitol, life is not all about fighting. There are wonderful moments of quiet courage, along with moments of human duplicity. Most of the human moments are never covered in the news; they don’t make the definition of “news.”

Ashley: Do you have any particular moment that comes to mind as an example of what you would want to see in the news? I think this is an interesting perspective to take since you did start in journalism—what would you want to see reported?

Les: I think journalism has really degraded since my day and since its heyday in the 40s and 50s. Today, most decisions made in newspapers, and in TV news, are to get advertising revenue. But business values are not news values. The problem is that in a democratic republic, the media used to be considered the “fourth estate,” and it functioned as an intermediary between the elected and the electors. Its job was to report news from the life of the voters to those who are elected and to funnel information back to the electors, to explain why their elected representatives did whatever they did. That’s fundamental for a democracy. Former Supreme Court justice David Souter channeled Thomas Jefferson when he said “an ignorant people cannot remain free.” If we have a media that’s not edifying, that instead is titillating and entertaining, the public becomes more and more ignorant. So that’s my beef with the modern media. Please note the difference between criticism of the media and Donal Trump’s. In his view, uncomplimentary news is “fake.”

Ashley: We noticed that you’re not afraid of addressing your political opinions in your book at all. Did you ever want to shy away from any of those political opinions? Was there anything that you were debating about including in the memoir?

Les: This book is about my life, an intrinsic part of which involves my political values. They’ve changed and evolved but they’re part of me. If people get steamed and throw the book down, well that’s fine, this is America, they can buy Rush Limbaugh’s book. But I’ll say this and I won’t go into any more details. There was one passage in the chapter about Senator Bob Packwood, who defeated me narrowly in a Senate race that effectively ended my career. There was a segment about my early exposure to him, something that had happened. I decided it was so sensational it would eclipse everything else in the book. I cut it out so that it wouldn’t happen.

Isaiah: You write about how it was for you to be in Congress, and there are many threads in your memoir. What do you feel is the ultimate takeaway from your memoir?

Les: Well you know, the ultimate takeaway depends on each reader. A memoir is not an autobiography. It is slices of memory. In a memoir, you shouldn’t preach at people or forced-feed a conclusion. You want to lay out a story, or stories, that actually have been lived. They might inspire some folks and revolt others. Either reaction is fine. This book is story-telling--tales that one man lived, for whatever value it may be for others on their human journey.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Les AuCoin represented Oregon in the US House for eighteen years until 1992, when he gave up his seat to run for the Senate. He is an award-winning magazine editor and public radio commentator, and his articles have appeared in major newspapers throughout the country. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Portland, Oregon.

October 8th, 2019

mountains of parisDavid Oates is a writer and teacher currently based in Portland, Oregon. He’s the author of two books of poetry and five works of nonfiction, including his most recent memoir, The Mountains of Paris. He was a Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and is founder and general editor of Kelson Books in Portland, Oregon. Here, he introduces an excerpt from The Mountains of Paris.

When I lucked into a four-month arts residency in the heart of Paris, I wondered what I would make of it. This little extract is one answer. And it also points toward the wider exploration my Paris sojourn inspired, pursuing questions that had dogged me my whole life. Looking up into the starry night sky, or being simultaneously diminished and exalted before a sunset or the ocean’s roaring chaos . . . What is that big big feeling?

It seems half my life has been focused on hiking, climbing, getting beautifully lost in deep forest or on remote peaks. But the other half has been spent in very different obsessions: the music of Bach, a Vermeer painting, a poem that won’t let go of me. In all these terrains the same unanswerable lurked. What is this feeling? What is this tremendousness?

- David Oates



It appears I’ve come to Paris in order to go to church.

It’s a strange choice. Here I am in the world capital of culture, intellect, the chic of smartness. I’m living and working in an artist’s and writer’s residency: the Cité des arts international. All around me are those four hundred museums that Parisians like to mention. I try to tally them: museums for any taste, any period; museums of armor and weapons, hunting rifles and stuffed game, gizmos and technology; New Guinean fetishes, eroticism, medicine, Freemasonry; Balzac, Chopin, Picasso, in fact painters and writers without end; grandiose museums like Musée du l’Homme (anthropology) or museums that specialize in obsessions (locks and keys, smoking, playing cards, the thirties). New art is exhibited continually—big Palais, little Palais, Tokyo Palais. Of course, there is canonical painting and sculpture over at the Louvre and a feast of nineteenth-century kitsch across the river at the Musée D’Orsay, housed under its coffered nineteenth-century railway dome. And, within the tubed frightfulness of the Pompidou, all those seething moderns. There is cinema everywhere and photography shows big and little and edgy gallery-like little collections (Maison Rouge!)…and the insurmountable list of historic buildings, churches, parks.

And so much more. Isn’t all that the reason a guy like me comes to Paris?

There’s also the Paris of indulgence. Of shopping, which I simply refuse. Of food, if you can afford it. And of sex, ditto. Didn’t people used to come to Paris to have “a naughty weekend,” as Auden said? It must still be around here somewhere. But no . . .

Somehow I have managed to find the Puritan’s version of the naughty weekend. Here I am, sneaking off to church.



To speak plainly, I come for the organ. A particular organ, in a particular church. That was, and is, the great motive. It’s what gives me pleasure. And pleasure is really what’s behind everything, high art or base pursuit. So all this church-going, I might ask myself—is it fun? Well, not exactly. Satisfying?: yes. That’s what I have to explain.

How to get at it?

The lostness, off and on, for much of my life, despite massive good luck and frequent happiness. There was an emptiness and ways of filling it that were not always sordid. No, not always. But under the strange furor of living, and under the lostness, always there was something deeper yet. Something delicious. And possible.

I felt it. It could not be spoken.

Whose story doesn’t start in lostness, and perhaps end there too, in the emptied corpse? Pride, vanity, futility. It’s a lot of what we share, after all. Emptiness in its different forms has been tearing up the world for a long time. It is doing so now, accelerating even as we breathe and read and speak, our emptiness at work unmaking the air, burning up the globe, prying apart the ecosystems. Yet on we go, as if unable to imagine any change. We are that null, that empty.

Yet something there was that said: the last word of this tale is not vanity.

(excerpted from “St. Eustache” in The Mountains of Paris)
September 17th, 2019

In August this year Rainbow Honor Walk, a non-profit, all-volunteer group in San Francisco, installed a sidewalk plaque that recognizes Marie Equi as an LGBTQ individual whose life story represents groundbreaking achievement. The 3 by 3 foot bronze square was embedded along Market Street, one of San Francisco’s main thoroughfares, near the Castro Street neighborhood. An image of Equi and her signature accompany this inscription: “Marie Equi (1872—1952) American physician and political radical who fought for peace, an eight-hour workday, women’s suffrage and their right to birth control.”

OSU Press author Michael Helquist, the biographer of Marie Equi, assisted with the unveiling of the plaque. He commented, “All along I hoped my biography of Equi would reach a large number of people with her remarkable story of fierce independence and commitment to economic and social justice.” He added that his other motivation was to highlight LGBTQ history on the West Coast before World War II, since relatively little has been uncovered. Helquist makes the case in his book that Equi is the first publicly known lesbian in the Pacific Northwest and in Northern California. The American Library Association named Marie Equi a Stonewall Honor Book. Helquist noted, “The installation was quick but exciting and deeply gratifying.”

Since Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions was published by the Press in 2015, Equi has been recognized as a Notable Oregonian by the Oregon Secretary of State and has been honored by the National Park Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland for Pride Month. Equi has also been honored in New Bedford, MA, her hometown, as a significant suffragist in preparations for the 2020 centennial of women obtaining the vote.

In San Francisco, the Rainbow Honor Walk has embedded sidewalk tributes for fifty-two individuals since 2014. Honorees include artists, scientists, political activists, and writers such as Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing, Alvin Ailey, US Representative Barbara Jordan, Josephine Baker, Freddy Mercury, transgender activist Sylvia Rivera, and astronaut Sally Ride. The plaque for Marie Equi is located outside the building at 2282 Market Street near Noe Street. For more information, see marieequi.com or, regarding the plaque, rainbowhonorwalk.org. Michael Helquist can be found at michaelhelquist.com.

September 9th, 2019

Smokey the Bear is turning seventy-five this year! In honor of Smokey’s birthday, we (1) promise not to start any forest fires, and (2) want to share some of our favorite local forest-fire-related books with you. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re pretty big forest enthusiasts, so we have books for all types of readers:

 

For the History Buff . . . Money Trees

Emily Brock approaches the history of forestry in the Pacific Northwest through an interdisciplinary lens, exploring political and economic forces, ecological changes, and wilderness activism in the twentieth century. Money Trees is a key resource for those interested in environmental studies and the history of forestry management in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

 

For the Forest Service Enthusiast . . . Toward a Natural Forest

Part revealing memoir, part historical account, longtime Forest Service employee and leader Jim Furnish honestly and candidly explains the controversies assailing the US Forest Service in the late twentieth century. As he grows as an environmentalist, so does the Forest Service as an organization dedicated to the stewardship of our natural resources.

 

For the Young Reader . . . Ellie’s Log 

Judith Li and M. L. Herring have created an engaging book set in the Oregon Cascades that blends science and storytelling. Encouraging both natural curiosity and scientific practices, such as keeping a field notebook, Ellie’s Log is set to inspire future botanists, foresters, and researchers.

 

For the Forestry Student . . . Silviculture and Ecology of Western U.S. Forests, Second Edition

John Tappeiner II, John Bailey, Timothy Harrington, and Douglas Maguire compiled this introductory text that covers the biological, ecological, and managerial silviculture practices associated with western U.S. forests. With particular focus on contemporary research and practice, new and experienced silviculturists will appreciate this refresher on forestry management. 

 

For the Philosopher . . . The Way of the Woods

In this interdisciplinary text, Linda Underhill explores the ways America’s forests contribute to the health of the planet, and her own relationship with them. Meditative, thoughtful, scientific, and lyrical, The Way of the Woods inspires its readers to ponder the magnificence of our forests of all types.

 

For the Concerned Activist . . . The Tillamook

Gail Wells transcribes the history of the Tillamook Forest in this book. She explains how, after a series of devastating fires, foresters and ordinary citizens rallied to create one of the largest forest rehabilitation efforts ever. However, its fate is still undecided as competing perspectives of forest use continue to create controversy. Wells uses the Tillamook Forest as a touchpoint to explore the activism of ordinary citizens and the ways we conceptualize contemporary forest-use issues today.

August 28th, 2019

Interviewing: The Oregon Method (2nd edition), edited by Peter Laufer with John Russial, is one of our newest fall selections. With additional chapters featuring information for both digital and traditional journalism, it instructs readers on the art of interviewing. And what better way to share the best of the guide than by featuring our favorite parts? Here are seven stand-out tips from the faculty at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and other experts:

  1. “Cornelius Ryan, the novelist who wrote The Longest Day, said one of the basic rules of reporting was that you should ‘never interview anyone without knowing 60 percent of the answers’” (“The Art of the Interview,” Jack Hart, page 39)
  2. “If you catch sources in a lie, your impulse will be to call them out. Don’t—at least not right away. Your goal should be to keep sources talking until they’ve shared all the relevant details. That’s because the moment you confront them, they’ll likely get defensive.” (“How to Interview Somebody Who’s Lying,” Todd Milbourn, page 72)
  3. “The rules of interview discourse and interpersonal exchange have changed with the times. Contemporary audiences don’t want to be ‘talked to’; they want to be ‘engaged with.’ Engagement implies higher levels of participation and less formality. This is the essence of rapport.” (“Creating Rapport,” Ed Madison, page 202)
  4. “In many of my encounters with people in grief, my ‘technique’ was simply showing up and shutting up. That’s my five-word crash course on the topic. The showing up part is critical. It’s the one aspect that we have control over.” (“god bless the ded,” Alex Tizon, page 232)
  5. “Try this exercise: Sit down as you normally would, and write all the regular first-line questions that you expect to ask in your next interview. Then don’t ask any of those questions. This is going to force you to find new lines of questioning that will reveal facets of the story that are usually left unexplored.” (“Please Don’t Ask That Again,” Michael Swan Laufer, page 340)
  6. “Interviewing—if interviewing means asking questions to get responses—does have a function, albeit limited: If you want a quick opinion about something you deem important, a quote or a sound bite to fit into a story, then ask the appropriate person. Otherwise, I would suggest that journalists consider more authentic, more thoughtful ways of delving into the personality and the peccadilloes, the motivations and challenges, the beliefs, attitudes, quirks (you name it) of a person important to the story they are crafting.” (“Re-Thinking the Interview,” Lauren Kessler, page 377)
  7. “Control the architecture of the interview venue. Don’t accept a seat on a low couch while the interviewee choreographs a dominant role behind the massive desk.” (“Epilogue,” Peter Laufer, page 396)
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