OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

April 2011

Posted on: September 23rd, 2011 by Madeline MacGregor in Newsletter | No Comments

Class of 2011 Heritage Trees

As spring approaches, TIC is looking forward to April 30, 2011. Two honorees have been selected for the statewide dedication: A Camp Oregon Caves Port Orford Cedar Tree and Harry & David’s Comice Pear Trees.

Please join TIC, special dignitaries, and tree lovers everywhere when we gather together in Medford at Harry & David’s at 1:00 p.m. on National Arbor Day.

For more information about the ceremony, please contact Annie von Domitz, TIC’s Community Assets Officer at 503-373-0864.

Camp Oregon Caves, Port Orford Cedar Discovery

Oregon is famous for its diverse star quality natural phenomena—and Port Orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) is one such deeply-rooted celebrity.

Native to Oregon, this unique tree’s bark and wood are legendary for its hardiness and resistance to the elements. Port Orford cedar’s bounty was shared by indigenous peoples and commercial entrepreneurs alike.

One very special member of this species will be honored this fall. The Camp Oregon Caves Port Orford Cedar located in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest will receive its formal Oregon Heritage Tree Program status this coming October 2011.

The Wild Rivers Ranger District is home to the 60 foot tall heritage tree, whose trunk measures six-feet in circumference. The tree was “rediscovered” less than two years ago by park District Ranger Roy Bergstrom.

Bergstrom was researching the history of Camp Oregon Caves Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) when synchronicity struck. Pouring over old camp photographs, Bergstrom thought he recognized a young twenty-something cedar next to a group of Douglas firs.

Bergstrom realized the cedar was still growing near the old CCC Cedar Guard Station and figured the tree must be close to 100 years old.

When the CCC mess and recreation halls were built in the early 1930s, the young cedar was an established part of the camp’s landscape. Several years later, the Douglas fir stand was removed. By 1941, the cedar’s fight for sunlight was over and it was free to reach skyward.

Corps Values Are Future Forward

During the CCC occupation of Camp Oregon Caves, as many as 200 corps members called the camp home. Established in the winter 1933, members were often called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army.”

As part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Emergency Conservation Work, the CCC helped employ Great Depression youth in soil erosion prevention and timber management.

The CCC had a direct impact not only to the National Park but also on Cave Junction’s economic development. The corps installed telephone lines and made much needed repairs to Highway 46. The troop also improved many features enjoyed by hikers and recreational users today. Park projects included stair restoration on the cave tour route, removal of large overhead cave rocks for easier access, and construction of a “Connection Tunnel” allowing deeper excursions into the cave.

Iconic Port Orford cedar siding on many old structures from the CCC era remains a rarity. Many buildings from that decade were stripped of their siding and the wood used elsewhere. Port Orford cedar wood was also used extensively in the mid 1900s for arrow shaft production since its wood does not splinter.

Port Orford cedar has been used in the manufacture of Venetian blinds, doors, hope chests, dock planking, and many other objects including musical instruments. The wood is light, strong, finely grained, and aromatic—affording it protection from destructive insects. The Japanese revere the wood and use it to construct temples, shrines, and beautiful homes.

In all its personas, Port Orford cedar has furnished both cultural and community development and preservation. What better species to maintain for generations to come?

The Oregon Heritage Tree Program is honored to accept the Camp Oregon Caves Port Orford Cedar as the latest inductee into its 2011 hall of fame.

For more information on the Oregon Heritage Tree Program, contact TIC’s Annie von Domitz at 503-373-0864.

Harry & David Comice Pears: A little orchard achieves greatness

Pacific Northwest weather is challenging for many farmers and especially so for fruit tree growers, yet the species Comice pear (Pyrus communis) thrives. Comice pears are renowned for their delicate sweetness and lush texture. These plump pears are spectacular in gift baskets, baked goods and fruit salads. Oregon’s fruit business pioneers, Harry & David, will celebrate the nomination of their Comice Pear Bear Creek Orchard trees at 1:00 p.m., Saturday April 30, 2011.

The Oregon Heritage Tree Program not only honors old growth giants, but also recognizes that memorial groves and fruit orchards possess historical and community significance. The Harry & David Comice Pear trees have qualified to be listed in the Class of 2011 and are a perfect example of the variety of trees found within TIC’s unique program. Located at 2500 South Pacific Highway in Medford, Oregon, ten trees remain from an original planting some 75 years ago. Sixteen feet in height, each tree measures approximately 50 inches in circumference and appear quite healthy in their golden years.

As commercial pear production soared in the late 1880s, much of its success was due to a combination of factors: weather, the advent of the railroad, and diligent farmers who recognized the Comice pear was a fruit to be savored internationally. In the early 1900s, Seattle hotelier Samuel Rosenberg purchased 240 acres next to Bear Creek in Medford during the Rogue River Valley’s pear boom. When their father passed away in 1914, sons Harry and David (Rosenberg) Holmes took Samuels’s dream to the next level by shipping pears to wealthy East Coast and European buyers.

When the arrival of the Great Depression caused fruit prices to plummet, the brothers devised an ingenious plan to deliver pears with simple handwritten messages. The idea was well received by major business CEOs across the US and sending gift boxes filled with the brother’s pears became a popular tradition. By 1936, gift box orders had increased from the original 467 to over 87,000 orders.

Bear Creek Orchards was instrumental to the success of Harry & David and continued to be the lodestone long after the brothers passed on from this world to the next.

Located at the rear of the Jackson & Perkins Rose Garden, the little group of Comice trees are all that remain from the original Bear Creek Orchards Block 1-A. Growing next to a railroad track, the trees are lucky to have survived the heavy irrigation required for the demonstration roses; the arid ground next to the track was a lifesaver for the orchard.

The trees have become a visible testament to the heritage spirit pioneered by the Holme’s brothers and their investment in Oregon’s economic well-being. Congratulations to Harry & David on the induction of the original Bear Creek Comice Pear Trees into the Oregon Heritage Tree Program.

For more information on the Oregon Heritage Tree Program and the statewide dedication at Harry & David, please contact TIC’s Annie von Domitz at 503-373-0864.

Historical Marker Committee: The Chair’s Journal

By Robert Keeler, Chairman of the Oregon Historical Marker Committee

The roadsides of my native state, Virginia, are studded with silver and black metal historical markers. I remember car trips with my parents and frequent stops to read a marker, look over the countryside and imagine how it might have been back when the events described on the marker took place there. I learned a bit of Virginia history that way, and the stops also served a second important function since I tended to get quite carsick when I was young!

It was with this background that I jumped at the invitation to serve on Oregon’s Historic Marker Committee nearly five years ago. It has been a busy and rewarding time and I look forward to continuing in the work.

I recently received information about the results of an 18-month long study by the Oregon Heritage Commission, making four key recommendations to focus the efforts of Oregon’s many cultural and historical heritage organizations and agencies. These recommendations are relevant to the work of the Historical Markers Committee.

First, the Heritage Commission recommends that the Legislature create a “task force to examine the issues facing city, county and state heritage programs and organizations and to recommend solutions for them.” The Historical Markers Committee needs to keep tabs on this process as it unfolds and develop written input about our work and program needs.

The second recommendation is to “determine the economic and cultural value of heritage in Oregon, including its direct and secondary effects.” The markers we place and maintain around the state, the process of working with communities to plan and create markers, and new innovations such as creating electronic access and links to our markers all have impacts on Oregon residents and visitors. Are there ways we can more systematically gather data on these effects, and perhaps even quantify them in some cases?

The third recommendation is to “strategically communicate consistent information about the value and importance of heritage to the economy and daily lives of Oregonians.” Interest in the markers themselves, the stories and historical insights they convey, and the community partnerships that lead to their creation, reflect and foster the importance of Oregon’s cultural and historical heritage.

The fourth recommendation is to seek ways to “increase the capacity of heritage organizations and businesses to collaboratively expand their leadership, development, preservation, community-building, communications, educational offerings and technology.” The work we do in developing, placing and maintaining Oregon Historical Markers all over the state touches firmly on each and every element in this recommendation.

Copies of the Oregon Heritage Commission’s Oregon Heritage Vitality Report are available at: http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/HCD/OHC/Vitality.shtml The Historic Markers Committee will be studying this document in the coming months and highlighting ways that our program fits into the broader picture of historical and cultural heritage throughout Oregon. If you have thoughts on these recommendations and how the Oregon Historical Markers contributes to them, please contact the Oregon Historical Markers Committee at 503-373-0864.

OTIC Quarterly Meeting Announcement

The Travel Information Council meeting will be held April 8, 2011 in historic Astoria, Oregon.

The council will convene in the Union Fish Meeting Room at the Cannery Pier Hotel. Members will review a draft of the agency 2011-2013 budget, hear updates from the TIC Chief Executive Officer and staff, and discuss plans for the next biennium.

For more information, and a final draft of the agenda, contact Tracie Gibson at 503-373-0155.

Baldock Rest Area: Revitalized With Community Involvement

“When community is the focus”
By Madeline MacGregor (reprinted from the Statesman Journal Guest Opinion)

Just when you despair that you will ever be able to define “community,” an event takes place affirming our connection to one another. A couple of weeks ago, the Oregon Travel Information Council’s (TIC) Baldock rest area assistant supervisor Grant Christensen grappled with a logistical question aimed at the very foundation of community: how could he engage local volunteers in what might seem like mundane agency chores?

Baldock’s supervisory and maintenance crew had scheduled much needed arbor care to Baldock (located just shy of Wilsonville) but needed help with cleanup following tree removal. Douglas firs on both sides of the rest area were so crowded they had formed a thick impenetrable canopy. Christensen said “Not only would folks gasp in awe, they actually treated the small forest like a regional attraction and snapped photos for their friends back home.”

As beautiful as the trees were, overcrowding had serious impact to their overall health. Without adequate sun, young trees in dense overgrowth become diseased. That’s when the light switched on in Christensen’s head. He was completely enthusiastic about involving local Wilsonville youth in the cleanup but was worried about their safety during the project. “The challenge was to efficiently harness their young energy without injury and also minimize any impact to the landscape,” Christensen said.

The solution was an ancient technique: a sling fashioned from two boards and two sections of rope. The ropes were tied in a loop and the board was used as a handle. The kids rolled each section of log onto the loops of rope, positioning the log in the center. The next step involved threading the board through the two closed ends of the loop. Four teens picked up each side of the board with the weight of the log in the sling between them. The log sections were then carried to the edge of the forested areas and stacked.

Results from this primitive “machine” were nothing short of amazing. Ten people stacked over 90 log sections in three hours. Christensen says, “The words ‘too heavy’ or ‘too big’ quickly faded away as each kid helped the coordinated effort to move logs weighing in excess of 300 pounds.”

We think Baldock’s teen volunteers demonstrate what is possible when communities and state agencies work together. All of the kids participating in the tree cleanup were from a local program designed for juvenile offenders from Clackamas County. The project was coordinated by Clackamas County Juvenile Corrections Department’s unique division “Individual and Community Empathy (ICE)” and the Baldock TIC rest area managers.

Hardworking teen volunteers not only improved the area for Oregon motorists and visitors to enjoy, but more importantly, fostered personal pride and a sense of reparation. As Christensen so aptly points out, “When state agencies like TIC take the initiative to form these connections, intangible values such as trust, teamwork, and purpose remain as the lasting effects long after the day is done. It was an honor to witness.” At TIC, we’re proud of the pioneering spirit of our local communities and salute the ICE program for its unwavering commitment to turning young lives around.

Madeline MacGregor is the Chief Creative Strategist for the TIC and is always looking for meaningful discourse on community coalitions connecting state agencies and regional infrastructure. Contact her at 503-373-0090.

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