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Three Centuries of Land Use, Society, and Change in America's Forests
With The Lumberman’s Frontier, Thomas Cox has reconstructed a groundbreaking history that stands apart from all previous studies of American forests.
Forests were ubiquitous in early America, but it was only in selected areas that trees, rather than farming, ranching, or mining, attracted settlement. These areas constitute the lumberman’s frontier, which appeared first in northern New England in the seventeenth century, followed by upstate New York, the Allegheny Plateau, the upper Great Lakes states, the Gulf South, and the Far West.
The forest frontiers generated capital and building materials important in the nation’s development, but they also left a legacy of environmental problems, class and urban-rural divisions, and economic frictions. The 1930s marked the end of the lumberman’s frontier, but these consequences continue to shape attitudes and policies toward forests, most notably the questions “Whose forests are they?” and “How and by whom should forests be used?”
Drawing upon recent work in social and economic history, as well as a wealth of historical data on forest industries and individuals, The Lumberman’s Frontier neither glorifies economic development nor falls into the maw of ecological gloom-and-doom. It puts individual actors at center stage, allowing the points of view of the workers and lumbermen to emerge.
The Chinese in Hells Canyon
In 1887, more than 30 Chinese gold miners were massacred on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. Massacred for Gold, the first authoritative account of the unsolved crime—one of the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese laborers in the American West—unearths the evidence that points to an improbable gang of rustlers and schoolboys, one only 15, as the killers.
The crime was discovered weeks after it happened, but no charges were brought for nearly a year, when gang member Frank Vaughan, son of a well-known settler family, confessed and turned state’s evidence. Six men and boys, all from northeastern Oregon’s remote Wallowa country, were charged—but three fled, and the others were found innocent by a jury that a witness admitted had little interest in convicting anyone. A cover-up followed, and the crime was all but forgotten for the next 100 years, until a county clerk found hidden records in an unused safe.
In bringing this story out of the shadows, Nokes examines the once-substantial presence of Chinese laborers in the interior Pacific Northwest, describing why they came, how their efforts contributed to the region’s development, and how too often mistreatment and abuse were their only reward.
Reflections on Healing the Willamette River
“Metzger’s keen insights spring from a lifetime of direct observation while growing up along the river and recording its most subtle changes and the impact of the scarring in the eco-region it passes through. Written with passion and grace, the book is, in a sense, a love story for a once-wild river now tamed. Metzger asks, ‘Who gives us permission to intervene?’ She concludes that in the great web of history, nature will ultimately decide, and that we humans are left only to imagine.” —Carol Ann Bassett, author of Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution
Abby Phillips Metzger’s book of personal stories recounts a forgotten Oregon river, the Willamette, as it was before white settlement. Once a rich network of channels and sloughs, the Willamette today bears the scars of development and degradation. Yet, through canoe trips and intimate explorations of the river, Metzger discovers glints of resiliency: a beaver trolling through a slough, native fish in quiet backwaters, and strong currents that carry undertones of the wild Willamette. Together with tales from farmers and scientists alike, these experiences lead Metzger to ask whether something scarred can fully heal, and whether a disjointed river can be whole again.
A story of re-discovery as told by a learner, Meander Scars will appeal to readers of literary nonfiction, river advocates, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts interested in sustaining healthy river systems for themselves, their children, and beyond.
Their Stories, Their Lives
Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives sheds new light on why migrants come to Oregon, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.
Although Oregon has had a settled Mexican-origin population since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of Latinos residing in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system and in agricultural and service occupations.
Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary sources, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, and drawing from multiple disciplines, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflects the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the mexicano experience in Oregon.
The Tumultuous Story of Oregon's Most Populous County
Covering people and events from 1854 to the present day, this definitive history of Multnomah County provides compelling details about public works triumphs and political scandals.
Founded as a convenience so residents of the fast-growing city of Portland wouldn’t have to ride by horseback to Hillsboro, Oregon’s tiniest county geographically soon grew to be the state’s most populous. Through nearly sixteen decades, Multnomah County’s history seldom has been calm and peaceful. From hangings that turned into grim public spectacles in the nineteenth century to a glaring failure to deal with urban growth in the middle of the twentieth, the county survived several attempts to revamp its structure or merge with Portland’s better-known municipal government.
Highlighted episodes include the construction of the iconic Columbia River Highway between 1914 and 1918, the tragic flooding of Vanport City in 1948, the employee strike of 1980, the library scandal of 1989-1990, and the same-sex marriage license debacle of 2004.
Historian Jewel Lansing and journalist Fred Leeson make effective use of archival sources, oral histories, newspaper articles, and personal interviews to create the definitive reference on Multnomah County history, politics, and policy. History buffs and informed Portland citizens will be particularly engaged by the regional trivia and narrative details.
Living on a Restless Coast
On a March evening in 1964, ten-year-old Tom Horning awoke near midnight to find his yard transformed. A tsunami triggered by Alaska’s momentous Good Friday earthquake had wreaked havoc in his Seaside, Oregon, neighborhood. It was, as far as anyone knew, the Pacific Northwest coast’s first-ever tsunami.
More than twenty years passed before geologists discovered that it was neither Seaside’s first nor worst tsunami. In fact, massive tsunamis strike the Pacific coast every few hundred years, triggered not by distant temblors but by huge quakes less than one hundred miles off the Northwest coast. Not until the late 1990s would scientists use evidence like tree rings and centuries-old warehouse records from Japan to fix the date, hour, and magnitude of the Pacific Northwest coast’s last megathrust earthquake: 9 p.m., January 26, 1700, magnitude 9.0—one of the largest quakes the world has known. When the next one strikes—this year or hundreds of years from now—the tsunami it generates is likely to be the most devastating natural disaster in the history of the United States.
Illuminating the charged intersection of science, human nature, and public policy, The Next Tsunami describes how scientists came to understand the Cascadia Subduction Zone—a fault line capable of producing earthquakes even larger than the 2011 Tohoku quake in Japan—and how ordinary people cope with that knowledge. The story begins and ends with Tom Horning, who grew up to be a geologist and return to his family home at the mouth of the river in Seaside—arguably the Northwest community with the most to lose from what scientist Atwater predicts will be an “apocalyptic” disaster. No one in Seaside understands earthquake and tsunami science—and the politics and complicated psychology of living in a tsunami zone—better than Horning.
Archaeological research has revealed much about Oregon’s history in the last twenty years. Oregon Archaeology incorporates this new knowledge, telling the story of Native American cultures in Oregon beginning with the earliest evidence of human occupation about 14,000 years ago and continuing into the nineteenth century. It includes selected studies in contact-historic period archaeology to illustrate aspects of first encounters between Native Americans and newcomers of European and Asian heritage, as well as important trends in the development of modern Oregon.
Oregon’s early human history is linked to four of the five major cultural regions of western North America: the Great Basin, the Columbia Plateau, the Northwest Coast, and California. Oregon Archaeology offers a coherent and unified history of an area that is highly differentiated geographically and culturally.
A historical narrative informed by evidence from critical sites, Oregon Archaeology is enriched with maps, photographs, line drawings, and an extensive bibliography. Oregon Archaeology is an essential reference for archaeology professionals and students, and also for general readers interested in Oregon’s Native American culture and history.
Because Oregon sits on the leading edge of a moving crustal plate, a striking diversity of geologic events have molded its topography. Over a century of study, a deeper understanding of the region’s tectonic overprint has emerged. In this timely update to the 2000 edition, Elizabeth and William Orr incorporate that new knowledge, addressing current environmental problems and detailing tectonic hazards. “Caught between converging crustal plates,” the Orrs write, “the Pacific Northwest faces a future of massive earthquakes and tsunamis.”
A comprehensive treatment of the state’s geologic history, Oregon Geology moves through Oregon’s regions to closely examine the unique geologic features of each, from the Blue Mountains to the Willamette Valley, from the high lava Plains to the Coast Range.
The book includes biographical sketches of notable geologists. It is lavishly illustrated and includes an extensive bibliography.
The Making of an Unquiet Land
Oregon Plans provides a rich, detailed, and nuanced analysis of the origins and early evolution of Oregon’s nationally renowned land use planning program.
Drawing primarily on archival sources, Sy Adler explores the dynamics of passing the key state laws that set the statewide program into motion, establishing the agency charged with implementing those laws, adopting the land use planning goals that are the heart of the Oregon system, and monitoring and enforcing the implementation of those goals through a unique citizen organization.
Adler brings to life the key actors associated with Oregon’s land use planning activities and organizations, highlighting the significant roles played by environmental activists, industry groups including homebuilders and realtors, local governments, and state officials. He reveals the conflicts and compromises that these parties with competing interests negotiated.
Oregon Plans both informs those new to Oregon and reminds long-time residents about controversial historic issues and the consequential choices that were made to address them during the mid-1970s. The book will interest anyone involved in land use, conservation, and environmental issues—from citizens to officials to developers—in Oregon and beyond.
In this rich and engaging history, Tami Parr shows how regional cheesemaking found its way back to the farm. It’s a lively story that begins with the first fur traders in the Pacific Northwest and ends with modern-day small farmers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
For years, farmers in the Pacific Northwest made and sold cheese to support themselves, but over time the craft of cheesemaking became a profitable industry and production was consolidated into larger companies and cooperatives. Eventually, few individual cheesemakers were left in the region. In the late sixties and early seventies, influenced by the counterculture and back-to-the-land movements, the number of small farms and cheesemakers began to grow, initiating an artisan cheese renaissance that continues today.
Along with documenting the history of cheese in the region, Parr reveals some of the Pacific Northwest’s untold cheese stories: the fresh cheese made on the Oregon Trail, the region’s thriving blue cheese and regional swiss cheese makers, and the rise of goat’s milk and goat’s milk cheese (not the modern phenomenon many assume it to be).