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Oregon Features Page
(with a bit of Washington)
©2003-2008 Mig Archey
(Last update of this page June 28, 2008)

 These cover Oregon history and trivia, tidbits of information meant for edification, and, or amusement.
  1. The Bly Tragedy: Balloon Bombs,  Firefly and Smokejumpers
  2. Flying, Saucer-Like: Kenneth Arnold's Story
  3. Perfect Blue: Crater Lake
  4. Attack of the 50-Foot Woman: Portlandia
  5. It Takes a Thief: How Salem Stole the Capital
  6. King Louie: An Unofficial Anthem
  7. A Bit of the Bubbly: Quenching Portland's Thirst
  8. Showing At a Theater Near You: Film in Oregon
  9. Packing Them In: Oregon Zoo's Asian Elephants
  10. Bridgetown: Portland's Bridges
  11. Homegrown - Oregon & Washington: Businesses & Companies That Began Here  Also contains lists of major products, etc.
  12. A.C. Means More Than Alternating Current: A Biographical Sketch of A.C. Gilbert
  13. (Actually on its own page, but listed here so you know to look for it, if interested.)                  Mt St Helens: An Eruption Remembered  May 18, 1980
After each article is a set of links about the subjects covered by the piece.

At the bottom of each set of links following each piece I've tried to supply a link(s) to a game, or other amusement appropriate (to my mind anyway) to the subject matter. Some are very simple and short while others are more challenging. They mostly require Shockwave, Flash or Java.

All links last verified, replaced, or updated, on:  August 2007.


The Bly Tragedy
Balloon Bombs, Firefly, and Smokejumpers
Richard Patzke, Joan Patzke, Jay Gifford, Edward Engen, Sherman Shoemaker, and Elsie Mitchell

During World War II the only deaths of Americans, brought about directly by Japanese action, within the contiguous US itself occurred on Gearhart Mountain, near Bly, Oregon. On the fifth day of March 1945, Reverend Archie Mitchell, and his pregnant wife Elsie, took five kids (ranging in age from 11 to 13) from the Sunday School class on a fishing expedition and picnic. While Rev. Mitchell parked the car the others went into the wood. The group went to investigate something one of the children had noticed on the ground. An explosion followed in which Elsie and all the children were killed. 

The Bly explosion was caused by the detonation of a Japanese "balloon bomb" or Fugo. The balloon bomb was one of 9000 constructed and released by the Japanese with the hope of setting the forests of the western States ablaze. Young people were taken out of school to build the 32-foot diameter balloons. Each balloon, through a series of hydrogen ventings and dropped sandbags triggered by an altimeter, would remain in a high fast moving jet stream, taking three days to arrive in the U.S. Balloon bombs were found as far east as Michigan and all but 148 remain unaccounted for to this day. The balloons were released when this jet stream would be at its most advantageous, which happened to be during winter. Since this was also the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest there was something of a reduced fire danger from any explosion.
Hanford Nuclear Reservation
[Washington State, March 10, 1945]
An exploding fugo causes a loss of power. Due to the fact that it is here they are forming the plutonium plugs for use in the atomic bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a short time the danger of a meltdown of the Chernobyl type exists before power is restored.
There may have been a reduced fire danger, but it was not eliminated. The bombs existence caused the U.S. to implement operation "Fire Fly" and create a unit of mobile firefighters to parachute to  the scene of any fires. These were amongst the earliest of what are called smoke-jumpers. Members of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, stationed at Pendleton, made more than 1,200 jumps into fires, under all sorts of conditions. The Triple Nickels were also the first black American paratroopers.

Storm King Mountain
[Colorado July 6, 1994]
14 members of a combined force of Hot Shots and Smoke-jumpers died. Nine of these individuals were from Prineville, in Oregon's high desert region.

In May of 1947 Mitchell remarried, to Betty Patzke¹, and two days before Christmas, as missionaries, they sailed for Indo-China. They were posted to a Leprosarium near Ban Me Thout, Vietnam, with Mitchell as an Administrative Officer.  Here, in mid-May of 1962, they  celebrated their fifteenth wedding anniversary. He now had four children of his own.

On May 30, along with two other members of the Leprosarium staff (Dan Gerber and Dr. Eleanor Vietti), Mitchell was abducted by the Viet Cong.
Although a real effort was made at the time to achieve the release of these civilian POWs, and despite reports of possible sightings through the years, what happened to them remains unknown. The Vietnam government denies any knowledge of their existence, and the current U.S. Government position is that after this long time none of the individuals held as POWs by the Viet Cong remain alive.

On August 20, 1950, Weyerhaeuser, who owned the explosion site back in 1945, dedicated a commemorative bronze plaque to the six victims. It is now part of a National Forest Service Recreational Area.

Post 9-11 we learned that al Qaeda had investigated the Bly area with a mind to create a training camp there. They obviously didn't fail to note the contextual significance of the location.

Postscript: 9 August 2005. (I've actually thought about adding this for sometime now.) For anyone who thinks that this connection (between any actions of the W.W.II Japanese military and al Qaeda) lacks any real significance, I have a word... Kamikaze. And in case you think that this method of delivery (plane as bomb) is nothing more than coincidence (since ships aren't buildings), or even that it merely serves as a extension of this original method, I would draw your attention to the following facts....

In 1976 the "Peanuts" scandal broke in Japan when it was revealed that American plane manufacturer Lockheed was bribing Japanese officials (peanuts were both these middlemen as well as the compensation they received, although the amounts paid certainly weren't small) to award contracts. These included Tanaka Kakuei, while he was still Prime Minister (for a total of $1.8 million), and ultra-nationalist leader (and convicted W.W.II war criminal) Kodama Yoshio (who was paid $2.1-million), the latter of whom had in fact been a stooge for various American business and government factions since 1969. The process of establishing the full facts of the case and assigning legal culpability stretched out until 1983. In the interim a lot of people expressed their outrage, disappointment, or shame in various ways. Mitsuyasu Maeno, an actor of pornographic films and an ultra-nationalist, deemed Kodama an embarrassing traitor—although why anyone would be surprised that someone with known ties to Yakusa taking bribes, even from foreigners, is beyond me. On 23 March 1976 he attempted to kill Kodama by piloting a plane directly into his home. He, of course, died in the crash. Kodama escaped the punishment, and lived until 1984. (I was reminded of the core of this in Ian Buruma's Inventing Japan 1863-1964 (2003), where he failed to identify Mitsuyasu Maeno and mis-identified the building he crashed into as Lockheed's Tokyo office. How many other details did he get wrong that my own ignorance cannot correct?)
Kakuei Tanaka: a political biography of modern Japan  by Steven Hunziker and Ikuro Kamimura
Kodama Yoshio (from the World Encyclopedia of Crime)

So, regarding Japan, the pertinent points are...
1. Japan was the last nation to successfully prosecute a military attack against the US on American soil.
2. Planes were then utilized as weapons themselves, rather than just as a delivery method for weapons, by their pilots — intensely devoted young men believing explicitly in their cause to the point of religious mania.
3. This was followed with a non-targeted aerial bombardment (fugos) of the enemy, which although random could be reasonably assumed to likely to directly impact mostly civilians, which was effective in actually killing Americans in only one instance; that instance taking place at an identified place in Oregon.
4. To protest US business and government involvement in what was seen as cultural contamination a plane was piloted into a building.

Regarding al Qaeda...
1. An ambition to attain
2. & 4. Plans to combine.
3. Maybe they made the mistake of assuming more tree coverage of the topography than actually exists (a common mistake by non-residents that goes hand in hand with the 'it rains all the time' fallacy), but the terrain is much too open, and whatever was planned specifically for Bly was abandoned.

This is how history is made. The present cannibalizes the past. Knowingly or unknowingly, for good or ill...

  ¹  Presumably a relative of two of the victims, but I haven't been able to confirm this.

    Places to Visit:
  1. Mitchell Monument  
    (National Forest Service: Fremont National Forest Recreation Area, where the deaths occurred and the plaque is installed.) See a photo of the plaque.
  2. Fort Stevens State Park  
    (Decommissioned W.W.II fortification with associated museum; has exhibits about fugos, the Bly tragedy, etc.)
  3. Naval Air Station TillamookTillamook Air Museum  
    (A small exhibit about Bly and a couple bits of a fugo.)
  4. Wildland Firefighters Monument       (Located in Prineville, Oregon.)
  5. Firefighters Memorial
    (Located in D.C.)

  1. Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons  (Site created Marshall Stelzriede and maintained by his family.)
  2. Fugos  (Descriptions of purpose and manufacture, with diagrams.)
  3. The Japanese Mission  (More information on the bombs.)
  4. Japanese Balloon Bombs  Wright Patterson Airforce Base
  5. Japanese Balloons (Fu-Go) on the Web.  bibliography of online resouces maintained by Michael Unsworth. (Michigan Unv.)
  6. Fu-go: War Surplus Hazzard (sic) for Hunters by John L. Perry (Recounts what happened to some specifc fugos.)
  7. News Clippings  (Scans from 1945/46 newspapers. John Covington's site.)
  8. The Strangest Weapon of W.W.II Useless Information site
  9. Airman Balloon Bomber  (This man made fugos as a teen, going on to work for the U.S. Air force for over 46 years.)
  10. The Triple Nickels  (A personal history of the 555th PIB)
  11. The Courageous Patriotism of the Triple Nickel (Michael Tremoglie "Frontpage Magazine", May 26, 2003.
  12. Engines of Our Ingenuity (A bit more about the 555, fugos, etc. 2 articles.)
  13. Missoula Smokejumpers: Operation Fire Fly and the 555th  (N.F.S.)
  14. Hanford Once Victim of Attack  ("Tri-City Herald" article, Sept. 12, 2001.)
  15. Weyerhaeuser   (Corporate site.)
  16. Hanford Nuclear Reservation  
  17. Archie Emerson Mitchell (Profile, primarily concerned with the abduction time period. There is no mention of the Bly tragedy.) 
  18. National Smokejumper Association.
  19. Where There's Smoke It's Good to Have a Smokejumper  (Anna Muoio "Fast Company," Issue 33, April 2000. Article about smokejumping & firefighting.)
  20. Living With Fire  (NFS site: a game where you control a firefighting team.)
(June 14, 2003; updated December 31, 2004; August 9, 2005; August 30,2005)  
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Flying, Saucer-Like
Kenneth Arnold's Story
December 10, 1946, a Marine Corps C-46 transport plane en route from San Diego to Seattle, with 32 people aboard, went down somewhere on the southwest side of Mt Rainier in Washington State. A $5000 reward was posted for discovering  the crash site.

Kenneth Arnold, a former High School football star out of North Dakota, was now a relief U.S. Marshall and a successful traveling fire-extinguisher salesman out of Boise Idaho. He had provided for his own transport by becoming a pilot and acquiring a plane. On June 24, 1947, Arnold was returning from a business trip when he detoured to search for the missing plane. About 3.00 in the afternoon he witnessed 9 unidentified objects flying high and fast near Mt Rainier towards Mt Adams, west to east. When he landed in Yakima, Washington, he described his experience to other pilots. After some discussion they decided it must be some new top-secret weapon. Later that day he traveled on to Pendleton, Oregon. He was intrigued by what he'd seen enough that he tried to contact the local F.B.I. office, but finding it closed spoke to a journalist he knew, the editor of the local paper. Later he would be greatly surprised to learn that the government was as confounded as he was as to what it was that he had seen. Arnold's story was publicly broken June 25, 1947 in Pendleton's "Eastern Oregon" newspaper. He said of the objects that they flew as a "saucer would if you skipped it across water", or as he later tried to clarify, "in a saucer-like fashion." He also said the formation moved like the "tail of a kite." He had actually described the objects to be as what we would call a boomerang shape, bat winged and tail-less. This incident is generally considered the beginning of the "modern" UFO era, and there were a rash of reported sightings throughout the country for the rest of 1947. The media's subsequent misinterpretation (or misrepresentation) of Arnold's account of this incident is the origin of the phrase "flying saucer."

On July 24, of the same year, in response to the report made 3 days earlier of a reflection on the mountain, a search party reached the 8,500-foot level to discover the tail section of the C-46, but none of the bodies. A month later melt-off revealed the nose section at the 10,000-foot level and the remains of all 32 individuals were found, mostly encased in ice. In a joint decision of the National Park Service and the families it was decided to leave the crash and its victims in-situ in the glacier. Ranger William J. Butler, who had made the July 21 sighting, declined the promised reward.

In Kenneth Arnold and the Flying Saucer Mythology  (James Easton, The Fortean Times #137, Aug. 2000) an interesting argument is made that what Arnold saw were White Pelicans.

The UFO festival in McMinnville (in the Willamette Valley) has been held for 4 years and is sponsored by McMenamins.  It's just for fun.

  Places to visit:
  1. Mount Rainier National Park
  2. McMenamins Annual UFO Festival  (Held in McMinnville, mid-May, where UFOs don't fly but parade.)
  3. Seattle Museum of the Mysteries  {This museum has a radio interview and other artifacts associated with Arnold's experience.) [Get a preview -- Seattle PI article]

  1. Mt Rainier National Park Timeline: 1940s  (An earlier, more complete account, of the discovery of the crash site is no longer archived.)
  2. Kenneth Arnold  (Biography and sighting account at the 1947 Project site.)
  3. UFOs: Kenneth Arnold   ( article.)
  4. "1947 Project"  (A database of sightings, including but not limited to 1947.)
  5. NICAP  (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.)
  6. Alien Clones (Shockwave shooter.)
(June 15, 2003, updated May 15, 2007)

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Perfect Blue
Crater Lake
The earliest names given the lake by, those of European heritage, were "Deep Blue Lake," and "Blue Lake." Later it was called "Lake Majesty," but in 1869 newspaper editor Jim Sutton, in an article recounting his part in a visit to one of the lake's cinder cone islands, chose to call it "Crater Lake." Water in its purest form is blue. When light hits water the red portion of light is readily absorbed instead of being reflected back, while the blue penetrates, and bouncing around is reflected back. The larger the body of water the more reflection. The more light on the body of water also the more reflection. More reflection means more blue. Whatever particulates are in a body of water partially block the light penetration, and this modifies the reflection and so the water will look aqua or teal or green or brown.  Shallow water seems colorless because there is not enough volume to reflect back enough blue to show you  its  true color. This is thought to be the purest water of any lake globally. The lack of particulates in Crater Lake, as well as its volume, allows for greater reflection so Crater Lake is very blue.

Yes, this blue!

The lake, 1,943-feet at its greatest depth, is the deepest lake in the States and the seventh deepest lake in the world.  About 6,850 years ago, in an explosive eruption, the ancient 12,000-foot tall volcano Mt Mazama lost as much as half its height as its top collapsed.  It left a 6 mile wide, 4000-foot deep, caldera that now holds the intensely blue lake, which was filled and is fed by no source other than precipitation — directly from rain or snowfall or indirectly from snow melt-off. On average 529 inches of snow add to the volume of the lake annually. The lake's almost constant total of 34 million gallons is maintained by seepage and evaporation rates that nearly equal annual gains. The very high clarity allows a Secchi disk (circular 8-inch black and white disk on a graduated line), used in measuring clarity, to be visible at a depth of 120 feet.  July 25, 1997 gave a record reading of 142-feet.

The lake has 2 islands, cinder cones formed by lava pumped into the caldera by the volcano: The Phantom Ship and Wizard Island, whose top stands 764 feet above the water. The ship is a phantom because it's such a narrow projection that when seen on end it nearly vanishes. The area has been inhabited since before the formation of the lake and both the mountain and the lake have been included in the mythology. Klamath mythology makes Wizard Island the head of the monster Le*w (off-white and octipoidal) who they believed resided in the lake. The lake's creation was the result of a battle between the Chiefs of the Worlds of Above and Below. This occurs when the Chief of Below demands a certain maiden marry him and becomes angry when the people shield her because she refuses him. The Chief of Above, in sympathy, intercedes. After an explosive battle the Chief of Below is cast down into the mountain which collapses on him.

With or without a monster in its depths the lake is not lifeless. Besides introduced fish (trout and salmon), 157 species of phytoplankton, and 12 species of zooplankton have been identified, although the quantity of each species is restricted by low levels of nitrogen. There are also fair sized colonies of moss existing at up to 400 feet deep.

Crater Lake became a National Park in 1902, when after a campaign of 17 years Teddy Roosevelt signed it into existence. The impressive Lodge was built in 1915, and a visitor center added in 1921. The Park gets more than half a million visitors a year. A 33-mile "Rim Road" encircles the caldera at its rim, some 2000 feet above the lake's surface, but is only open mid-April through mid-October. The rest of the year the lake is inaccessible. Besides the incredible views the park also offers wildlife viewing, hiking, scuba diving, camping, and other recreational opportunities — check the park website for info. Check also for the cloud level as the caldera can be obscured by low lying clouds.

To the Klamath people the lake is a sacred place (they managed to hide its existence until 1853) and I suggest you approach it with reverence and awe. This will not be difficult.  
    1. National Park Service: Crater Lake 
      1. Crater Lake Lodges   (Visitor services.)
      2. Nature Notes (official Crater Lake annual publication)   
      3. benchmarks  (pdf file)
      4. Geology Fieldnotes: Crater Lake  (Overview of Crater Lake's geological history.)
      5. Geological History of Crater Lake  (More detailed, almost a travelogue of the area's geology.)
        1. Map of Crater Lake
    2. Klamath Tribes
      1. How Crater Lake Came To Be  (Klamath tribes site.)
      2. Klamath Belief & Ritual of Crater Lake  (National Park Services site.)
    3. Why is Water Blue?  (Article from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.)
    4. Why is Water Blue?  (Another article, this one from Dartmouth University. And it has a photo of C. Lake)
    5. Secchi Disk (Site requires Shockwave, allows you to operate a Secchi disk.)
    6. Chasing Giants: On the Trail of the Giant Squid (Pilot a submersible in search of a giant squid. Think Le*w.)
(June 16, 2003)  
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Attack of the 50-Foot Woman
If this were the movies she’d step from her perch, stomp some people (hopefully bad guys) into Portland's pavements, tossing a few more into the Willamette River for good measure; they’d try to nuke her, and then she’d climb the 35-story Koin tower. Portlandia would be 50-ft tall if she stood fully upright. Well, a bit more, but 50-ft is typically the cited height. Designed by architect and sculptor Raymond Kaskey she crouches, holding an upright trident in one hand; with the other extended, finger pointing at the city. She represents Lady Commerce, a permanent fixture of the Portland City Seal. She is Portland's guardian. Some see her as very caring, reaching out to them. To me she appears stern and a trifle accusatory. I always want to say, "Yes ma'am, and I'll never do it again. I promise.” But don't get me wrong, I actually like her.

However you interpret her demeanor (there are number of people who refer to her as 'pull my finger,' a somewhat juvenille and obvious joke) the one thing that's plainly not open to interpretation is that she is very large. The sculpture is 36-feet tall, and the second largest hand-beaten copper statue in the world, behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City's harbor. Parts of her had to be transported by way of the Willamette River, she was too big to move otherwise. Incorporated into the Portland Building she perches atop a ledge created in a setback at the third-floor level above the main entrance. The only thing that diminishes her are the trees used in the landscaping that obscure a clear and total view of the statue until the leaves fall.

The Portland Building itself has been controversial from the start. Designed by Michael Graves, it has been described as an icon of post-modernism, and was the first major public building of the movement. The Portland Building has never been beloved as the municipal offices housed within are considered to be dark, gloomy, and cramped. The windows are far too few and much too small. As evidence of how this effects those working within, there is a higher incidence of workers calling in sick here than in any other Government office building; they find it depressing.

Peripheral trivia (via that other large lady cited above): Emma Lazarus wrote the poem on the plaque at the feet of the Statue of Liberty  —  Give me your poor, your huddled masses ... Her brother, Edgar, designed Vista House at Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge.

  1. If Sculptures Could Talk: Portlandia  (View of the statue and some information about it.)
  2. Portland Building (Photo of the Portland Building which places Portlandia in context.)
  3. Great Buildings: Portland Building Offers more information and a downloadable 3D model of the building.
  4. Portlandia Lyrics to the official (since 1989) city song.
  5. Reevaluating Postmodernism Brian Libby "Architecture Week," June 5, 2002. Article on the more controversial aspects of the Portland Building.
  6. Be An Architect (Online java learning game — designing a house. Includes drawing tools.)

(June 17, 2003, updated August 9, 2005)  
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It Takes a Thief
How Salem Stole the Capital
Oregon City, now a southeastern Portland suburb, was the first incorporated city west of the Mississippi River, established as a lumber mill in 1829 by Dr. John McLoughlin, factor of the Hudsons Bay Company, a British concern. McLoughlin is considered the "Father of Oregon." His mandate was to make money for the company, keep the Indians in line and dissuade further settlement, especially from America. The Canadian born McLoughlin was sympathetic to the arriving Americans, who he willing aided over the express wishes of his employers. He was, however, very austere and sometimes even arrogant, and ran the Columbia district "like a feudal baron," excluding the native population from even entering Fort Vancouver. In 1844 Oregon City was incorporated. In 1845 McLoughlin agreed to the inclusion of HBC interests under the provisional government. For this the company demoted him. In November of the same year he angrily resigned.

He had previously purchased from the HBC the claim he had made on their behalf at Willamette Falls. Now he retired there, building a home. Later he donated land for a female seminary and a jail. In 1851 he was elected mayor of Oregon City and also became a naturalized citizen. However, beginning in 1849, after Oregon became a U.S. territory a power struggle ensued aimed at stripping McLoughlin of his power, possessions, and reputation. This effort was, to some extent, a success.  After his death, in 1857, a portion of what had been taken was returned to his family.

In response to a personally presented request to be instructed in the Christian religion the Methodist Episcopal dispatched a Missionary to Flathead country.  Jason Lee, Canadian born and American educated, arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1834.  McLoughlin advised him that the Flatheads were too dangerous for him, and suggested he move down the valley. Here, some 12 miles north of what was to become Salem, he established his "Indian" Mission. In 1841 Rev. Lee moved his mission from the Wheatland area and built the very first house, in the as yet to be named Salem, on Mill Creek.  In 1846 the town received its name as "Chemeketa" ("meeting or resting place") lost out to the choice of Salem (Peace.).  By 1849 there were 16 buildings in town.  The following year the legislature declared Salem the capital of the Oregon Territory for the first time. In 1852 the US Congress confirmed the capital at Salem and the Territorial Library was moved to Salem.

Lee was recalled in 1843 for not having made enough converts. It was felt his results did not justify the large amount of money expended, so they suspected mis-appropriation of funds. This was certainly a bit unfair to him as there had been enormous casualties within the native population due to their susceptibility to diseases that had been  inadvertently introduced. Lee was returning from Hawaii when the news reached him after creating an informal commercial treaty with King Kamehameha III.  Lee died in Canada in 1845. His ashes were disinterred and he was returned to Salem in 1904, and in 1906 with great ceremony was reinterred in Lee Mission Cemetery, next to one of his wives.

It is worth noting that one of McLoughlin's more vocal detractors at one time was Jason Lee. Oregon City was the capital of the British Oregon Territory and then the capital of the U.S. Oregon Territory until this position was "stolen" by Salem. That this happened was due to very partisan politics, a virulent power struggle between the Democrats and the Whigs. It was the same vicious politicking that led to the Mexican-American War. The Democratic "Salem Clique" continually pushed for this change. Votes of the people were over-turned and declared invalid. Mud was slung, hard, and with a sting. A mysterious fire, in 1855, destroyed the newly constructed Capital building in Salem, spreading into the State library and destroying that as well. Yet after a number of these very ugly years a vote, in 1864, that established the capital at Salem finally stood. Oregon became the 33rd State on February 14, 1859. This date makes it somewhat easy to remember anniversaries each year.  
  1. The British in Oregon (End of the Oregon Trail article.)
  2. City on the Willamette Falls  (End of the Oregon Trail article covering the foundation of Oregon City.)
  3. Oregon City  (City site.)
  4. Welcome to Oregon City  (A brief history of the city and some links at this area guide.)
  5. John McLoughlin   (Biography from the Oregon Blue Book.)
  6. John McLoughlin: The Father of Oregon  (Biography from End of the Oregon Trail.)
  7. Dr John McLoughlin: The Father of Oregon  (Biography from the A Place Called Oregon website.)
  8. McLoughlin House  (The house that John built and lived in from 1846-57, when he died.)
  9. McLoughlin House  National Park Service site.
  10. City of Salem  (City site.)
  11. On this Day in Salem History 
  12. Salem History  (From the Salem History Net provided by the Salem Library.)
  13. Salem: Brief History
    1. John Minto's Salem History (Minto was an early Salem resident.)
  14. Jason Lee (Biography  from the Oregon Blue Book.)
  15. Jason Lee (Biography from End of the Oregon Trail.)
  16. Mission Mill (Lee's House and Parsonage are amongst the historical buildings that can be visited here.)
  17. Jason Lee House  (Bit of an online tour.)
  18. Stealing the Capital  (Article about how the State Capital was switched from Oregon City to Salem.)
  19. Sectional Conflict 1840-1852  (Historical Text Archive.)
  20. The Oregon Question  (Oregon Blue Book article.)
  21. Log Rolling (A group game to play off-line, requiring 2 decks of cards. Check out Coalitions too.)
  22. Chess (A java version you play against the computer.)
(June 17, 2003)  
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King Louie
An Unofficial Anthem
The history of the song is convoluted. Written by Richard Berry (1935-1997), it had been recorded by his group (guys he‘d met at high school in L.A.), The Pharaohs, as the flip side of You Are My Sunshine, for Flip Records in 1957, to middling success. After this it had some play by local bands throughout the Pacific Northwest until recorded by Tacoma, Washington's The Wailers with vocals by Rockin' Robin Roberts (who died in 1967) in 1960, becoming at that time very popular regionally and subsequently something of a standard for numerous Northwest bands before hitting world-wide definitive party-song status with The Kingsmen‘s 1963 version.

Recorded at Portland's Northwest Music Company, with vocals by Jack Ely, at a cost of $36 it was the first recording the band, formed in 1959, had ever made. It was meant as an audition for a job on an Australian bound cruise ship. In fact, theirs was actually the second version of the song recorded at the studio that very week. Paul Revere and the Raiders also recorded the song and the success of their version landed them a recording contract.

The cruise line did not like The Kingsmen’s record but the rest of the world did. This might have been partly due to the fact that many suspected (there was actually an F.B.I. Investigation) the song to contain "dirty lyrics," which it didn’t, although the same can‘t be said for some of the later versions. Regardless, the popularity of the song has outlasted the controversy, as well as changes of musical tastes over the years. It has actually proven itself highly adaptable to other styles. While those responsible for creating the song have not always received their fair share of the rewards this problem seems to finally have been rectified.

The song "Louie Louie," has been covered by different performers, including Frank Zappa and Joan Jett, in excess of 300 times by official count. Washington actually considered replacing their official State song with it at one point. It is now the unofficial anthem of Oregon, and any time you hear it played you can be sure  —  somewhere, an Oregonian (or a Washingtonian) is smiling.

For more background and information:

  • Louie Louie: The Saga of a Pacific Northwest Hit Song An overview of the history of the song in its various incarnations.
  • Louie Louie Net  Progress reports on documentary in production. Background, info on the song, etc.
  • The History of Rock
  • Oregon, My Oregon The actual Oregon State song.(Sheet music & lyrics.)  J.A. Buchanan, of Astoria, and Henry B. Murtagh, of Portland, wrote Oregon, My Oregon, in 1920; it became the official State song in 1927
  • Washington, My Home Written by Helen Davis, and arranged by Stuart Churchill, this became Washington's official state song in 1959. This site has links to both a Wav file and an MP3 featuring the Tumwater Girls' Choir, under direction of Jack Arend, as well as other state symbols.
  • Music Game (Play and create music. Easy.)

(June 17, 2003; updated August 9, 2005)  
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A Bit of the Bubbly
Quenching Portland's Thirst

Benson Bubblers are what the four-cupped public drinking fountains that dot the Portland downtown area are called. These fountains are on timers which supply a constant flow of water from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

One day in 1912, Simon Benson, walking through his lumber mill, noticed his employees smelled of beer. Challenged to explain why they drank in the middle of the day the men told him there was no fresh drinking water available there in the downtown area.  Benson then commissioned and donated 20 drinking fountains (at the cost of $10,000) to the city, where after, he once boasted, the beer consumption in Portland fell by 40 percent. Actual figures put it at around 25 percent. The city has supplemented the number of bubblers over the years to bring the total to 52. There are 130 city drinking fountains throughout Portland. 
  1. City of Portland Department of Water Works: Fountains  (Lists and gives information on all the public fountains.)
  2. City of Portland Department of Water Works: History
  3. Simon Benson   (Biography.)
  4. Simon Benson House (Information about Benson's home, renovated and relocated to Portland State's campus, includes visitors' information.)
  5. Benson Hotel  (Benson's hotel in Portland)
  6. Benson Polytechnic High School  (Began with a $100,000 donation from Benson.)
  7. Bubble Trouble (Flash. Bubble popping arcade game. (If the link defaults to the main page for this section the game's link is in the first dropdown menu.))
(June 18, 2003)  
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Showing at a Theater Near You
Film in Oregon

The first movie made in Oregon was 1915's "Where Cowboy is King" set in the northeastern town Pendleton, home of the big Pendleton Roundup (one of the world's largest) rodeo. Another early film was "The General" (1926) starring Buster Keaton; a rousing train chase movie, set during the American Civil War.  Since that time many films and some TV has been produced here. The PBS show "The Antiques Roadshow" began as a locally produced program. Even foreign producers have worked here. During the 80s the Japanese Fuji TV made the series "From Oregon With Love", about a young boy sent to live with relatives in central Oregon. The Will Vinton (Will was recently forced into retirement by people on the company's board, for no good reason that I can see, and Will is a gracious man) Studios are in Portland, so the Californian Raisons were really Oregonians. As were "The PJs."  Kubrick's version of "The Shining" may have been set in Colorado but the exterior of the great hotel was Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood. The bridge they pass under in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" is that of Depoe Bay; and the domed building is in Salem, with the "institution" building sited across the street. The "planetarium" in "Zero Effect" (1998) is actually Crown Point Vista House, a tourist interpretive and information center, in the Columbia River Gorge. It was while filming "Animal House" (1978), in Cottage Grove, that John Belucci and (a visiting) Dan Ackryod created The Blues Brothers characters. The guy with the buzz-cut who appears in all the films of Portland's own Gus Van Sant is Tom Peterson, btw, a Portland area retailer.

While the movie wasn't filmed in Oregon the submarine that appeared as the Dallas in "The Hunt For Red October" is resident at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI , in Portland), where it can be toured, and they do several sleep-overs a year for kids. In October, in keeping with the spirit of things, it becomes a haunted sub.

Other better known movies filmed at least partly in Oregon:
"Stand by Me"
, "Paint Your Wagon", "Black Sunday", "Breaking Away", "The China Syndrome", "Rooster Cogburn", "Five Easy Pieces", "Godzilla" (1998), "Maverick", "The Postman" (David Brin should've sued!), "The Ring" (just go rent the Japanese original — please), "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back", and most recently "The Hunted" (2003).

Online Resources:
  1. Oregon Movies  (List of Films and Television Shows filmed at least in part in Oregon.)
  2. Pacific Northwest Movies: Oregon  (This site is browsable by Title and or County.)
  3. IMDB Oregon films  (You can also look at specific titles to check for more specific info on the locations as well as on the cast, crew, etc. at the Internet Movie Database. Here's the search results. (311 titles at this update.))
  4. Astoria: The Map  (The museums (as well as the city hall) of Astoria have a pamphlet/map about the locations around town where movies that have been made the were filmed, which can be ordered via email for regular postal delivery. Some movies made there: "Kindergarten Cop," "Free Willy" (I and II), "The Goonies.")
  5. 25th Anniversary Animal House Celebration  (Cottage Grove. Now an annual event. 2005's event will be September3. )
  6. Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
  7. Official Film Boards, Commissions, etc.
    1. Oregon Film & Video Office
    2. Southern Oregon Film & Video Association  
  8. Trivial Pursuit: Silver Screen Online ( Flash required.)
(June 18, 2003)  
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Packing Them In
Oregon Zoo's Asian Elephants
At what is now called the Oregon Zoo, in Portland; on April 14, 1962, Packy became the first elephant born in the western hemisphere in over 44 years. Since then the zoo has had the most successful Asian elephant breeding program in the world, with 27 calves born. Packy himself is a dad too. The zoo's elephant herd stands at 6 today.  The most recent addition, with hopes of diversifying the breeding group, is an orphan from Borneo. Chendra arrived in 1997, after being rescued from the wild where she had been wounded and permanently blinded in one eye. The Elephant herd page, at the zoo's website, gives physical characteristics so that you can tell all the elephants apart.

Elephant in Latin means "huge arch." Asian Elephants are more common in zoos than African, yet are far more endangered — primarily due to loss of habitat. Occasionally you will hear someone claim that only male elephants have tusks. That only applies to the Asian. However, to further complicate things, Asians can have a long second incisor which protrudes (called a tush) which can be mistaken on females as very short tusks. Asian's also have smaller ears, which are flat across the bottom rather than fan shaped. At the end of their trunk the Asian have one only appendage, like having a finger, where as the African has two. Generally African's are larger. African's also have an additional lumbar vertebra. Both elephant species are matriarchal (although males above a certain age form their own groups), fun loving and very playful, communal, relatively long-lived, great parents and very intelligent.

The 64-acre Oregon Zoo began with pharmacist Richard Knight's personal collection of animals donated to the city in 1887. It was moved to a location within City Park which later became Washington Park. Park keeper Charles Meyer became Zookeeper, installing the world's first in-ground, barless, cage to house the bears. The zoo has been moved twice since, always placed within Washington Park. Currently the zoo has 1,029 individuals from 200 species of creatures and more than 1000 species of botanicals. The zoo's website will tell you: "Of these, 21 species are endangered and 33 are threatened. The zoo is currently active in 21 Species Survival Plans." Oregon Zoo is one of the attractions sited within the large Washington Park. The zoo hosts the largest zoo volunteer program in the country with more than 1500 individuals giving more than 117,000 hours every year.
    1. Notable Oregonians: Packy (Biography)
    2. Oregon Zoo 
      1. Asian Elephant factsheet  
      2. Elephant Museum  (The story of elephants — the only museum of its kind.)
      3. Elephant herd  (Vital Statistics for each elephants.)
      4. Oregon Zoo Elephant Breeding Program
      5. Event Calendar (For example: ZooLights at Christmastime is an annual event.)
    3. Elephant Information Repository (Very large site.)
      1. About Elephants (Comprehensive site.)
    4. Friends of the Asian Elephants  
    5. The Wild Ones  (Animal and conservation info.)
    6. National Zoo Conservation: Asian Elephants  (Interactive maps.)
    7. Born Free: Asian Elephant Orphan Home  
    8. American Zoo and Aquarium Association  (US zoological parent organization. Nice animated logo.)
    9. Washington Park  (129.51 acre park where the Zoo is,  in addition to all the normal park things, also includes the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Garden, the Children's Museum, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Pittock Mansion, and the Forest Discovery Center.)
    10. Switch Zoo (Flash (v7). Game lets you create new animals by rearranging heads and bodies.)
(June 20, 2003)  
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Portland's Bridges
Portland has ten automobile bridges spanning the Willamette River, two bridges connecting it to Washington across the Columbia, and a couple of railroad bridges.  Sometimes Portland is known as Bridgetown because of this. Of the Willamette bridges each is historic or unique in some way.  Some examples:
  • The Hawthorne (1910) is the world's oldest vertical-lift bridge as well as Portland's oldest bridge. 
  • The central span of the newest (1973) of the bridges, the Fremont, was built off-site, floated up the Willamette River where all 6000 pounds were lifted, using 32 hydraulic jacks, (a feat engineers came from all over the world to view) up 170 feet into place, in what was a record lift at the time. 
  • The Steel Bridge (1912) is one of the few dual-lift bridges anywhere. With autos on the upper deck, the lower is how Amtrak, and Max trains traverse the river, using the rails that the city's streetcars once used. 
  • The gothic-towered St. John's Bridge (1931) was, at the time of construction, the longest rope-stranded suspension bridge in the world. It was designed by Holton D. Robinson and David B. Steinman, the later of whom always claimed St John's to be his favorite bridge amongst all those he'd designed. Those other bridges included the Merrimac and the reinforcement design for the Brooklyn Bridge. It is named for local man James Johns who ran the first Portland ferry from a single rowboat, beginning in 1852. The ferry launched from a site within Cathedral Park, located below the bridge, and named for its Cathedral-like arches.
  • The Burnside is a Strauss-type bascule bridge. The Strauss in this designation not only describes the specific method involved in operating the bridge but the designer of that system, Joseph B. Strauss, who happens to also be the person who designed this bridge. A more famous bridge of his is the Golden Gate in San Francisco which opened 11 years after the Burnside did. The Burnside is also notable for being designed, in part, by an architect as part of the City Beautiful Movement of the early 20th Century. This accounts for its Italian Renaissance towers.
  • The Broadway Bridge's lift operational time span, from commencement of the opening process until when traffic can again proceed over it again, is more than twice that of any of bridge in Portland. The average for the other bridges is 8 minutes but the Broadway takes about 20. This is due to the Rall-type Bascule bridge engineering making the whole process for operating the bridge more complicated and more time consuming. At the time of construction the Broadway had the longest double-leaf bascule drawspan in the world. While most bascule bridges have their engineering hidden in the bridge's piers The Broadway's is above the bridge, partly in sheds, partly exposed.
    1. Portland Oregon Visitor Association: Bridges  (Info on 8 of the automobile bridges, including: length, type, dates opened, and "highlights" or interesting details or facts about each bridge)
    2. Portland Bridges  (Great photos and profiles of the bridges) 
    3. Light the Bridges  (A citizen's group wishing to establish permanent lighting on the bridges. The site also has an info section for each bridge that includes the lighting schemeas envisioned for each.)
    4. Portland Oregon in 3D  (3D images of the bridges. requires VRML capable (info onsite) browser.)
    5. Historic Bridges of Oregon
      1. ODOT: Portland Bridges ...  (ODOT: images and information)
    6. Bridge Walk Tour  (A 3-1/2 hour guided tour of all the Willamette bridges. Held once a month, spring through fall.)
    7. Geometry of Bridge Construction  (Explains the four basic kinds and combinations.)
    8. BridgePros (Site dedicated to engineering, construction and history of bridges.)
    9. ASCE: History & Heritage of Civil Engineering  (American Society of Civil Engineering site.)
    10. Inventory of Suspension Bridges
    11. Build A Bridge Game  (Shockwave learning game from PBS.)
(June 21, 2003, October 27, 2003)  
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Homegrown — Oregon & Washington
Businesses & Companies With Major Presence
Love `em or hate `em these are companies with a national or international presence that started somewhere in Oregon or Washington,  which relocated to the Pacific Northwest, or have headquarters here. Information given below is: Company Name. City where the business began. The year the first location opened or a product was first marketed. The location of the first outlet, if applicable.)  There is a  list  of other northwest products below that. (This list changes occasionally as I discover something previously overlooked, or corporate changes necessitate an update.)
  1. adidas  (North American headquarters, Portland, OR.)  Named for founder Adi (Adolf) Das (Dassler). 1920, First shoe made in Herzogenaurach, Germany. 1924, registered company Dassler Brothers OHG with brother Rudi. 1927, opened Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe factory. 1948, the brothers found competing companies adidas and Puma. 1990, company becomes public corporation; Bernard Tapie acquires 80% interest. 1993, Robert Louis-Dreyfus buys company.  1997 acquire Salomon-Group (Salomon Sports Salomon, Bonfire, Mavic, Arc'teryx, and Cliche (Skateboards) ), new company name adidas-Salomon AG.  2005, sells Salomon-Group (based Annecy, France) to Amer Sports Corp (based in Helsinki, Finland);.acquires Reebok.  adidas also owns Maxfli, adidas golf, and TaylorMade. [Their website history is suspiciously spotty.)
  2. Amazon  (Seattle, WA. 1995. (Incorporated in 1994, online 1995.))
  3. Benchmade Knife Company, Inc. (California. 1988. Moved to Oregon City, Oregon in 1990.)
  4. Blackstone Audiobooks  (Ashland, OR. 1987.)
  5. Boeing  (Seattle, WA. 1916. Spent 1st year as: Pacific Aero Products Company.)
  6. Columbia Sportswear  (Portland, OR. 1938. First location: downtown Portland.)
  7. Crown-Zellerbach (A convoluted history indeed: the Columbia River Paper Company (Camas, WA., 1883), and the Crown Paper Company, (Oregon City, OR. 1890) merged, in 1905, into the Crown Columbia Paper Company. In 1914 CCPC merged with Willamette Pulp and Paper Company (Oregon City, Or. 1889) to become Crown Willamette Paper Company.  In 1928 CWPC is bought by Zellerbach Corporation (San Francisco, CA. 1924) becoming Crown Zellerbach Corporation. In 1985 Sir James Goldsmith (why would anyone take pride in being called a 'corporate raider' let alone aspire to be one?) acquired CZC in a hostile takeover, retaining timber rights, he sold the rest of the company to the James River Corporation (Richmond, VA. 1969) in 1987. JRC merged with Fort Howard Corporation (Green Bay, WI. 1919), in 1997, to become Fort James Corporation. FRC was acquired by Georgia-Pacific (see below) in  2000. [Goldsmith's land use was debilitatingly detrimental to both CZ's1.6-million-acre forest and to the Washington State economy.] (The first listed company, Columbia River Paper Company, was founded by Henry Pittock to mill paper for The Oregonian newspaper.)
  8. Dark Horse Comics  (Milwaukie, OR. 1986.)
  9. Diamond Fruit Growers (Hood River Valley, OR. (Office in Odell, OR) 1913.) Over 100 orchardists make up one of the oldest cooperatives in the country.
  10. Entek (Lebanon, OR. 1986.)
  11. Expedia  (Bellvue, WA.1995-96) Started by Microsoft, ExpediaINC was purchased in two phases (2001, 2002) by USA Networks (now IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC)), led by Barry Diller. 2005 brought a division of IAC into two companies, and Expedia became a separate company headquartered in Bellvue, Washington in August. Members of the Expedia family include: (acquired August 2004), Hotwire (November 2003), Expedia Corporate Travel, TripAdvisor (March 2004), Classic Vacation® (?), and eLong, all headquarterd elsewhere. (IAC holdings still include HSN [Home Shopping Network], Ticketmaster, Reserve America,, Entertainment Publications, Citysearch.)
  12. Eddie Bauer  (Seattle, WA. 1920. First location: downtown Seattle.)
  13. Fantagraphics  (Seattle, WA. 1976.)
  14. Figaro's Pizza  (Salem, OR. 1981.)
  15. Game Crazy  (Business within a business, see Hollywood Video. 1995.)
  16. Garden Burger  (Gresham, OR. - website said 20 years in 2004, but no precise date given.)
  17. Garden World  (Hubbard, OR. 2003. Retail location: Woodburn, OR.)
  18. Georgia-Pacific  (Founded in Augusta, GA, 1927 as the Georgia Hardwood Lumber Company. Acquired large facility Bellingham, Wa in 1947, leading to a name change to Georgia-Pacific Plywood & Lumber, in 1948, and to Georgia-Pacific Plywood Co., in 1951. Re-headquartered to Olympia, WA 1953. Re-headquartered to Portland, Oregon, in 1954. Name change to Georgia- Pacific Corporation in 1956. Re-headquartered to Atlanta, GA, 1982.)  See also Crown-Zellerbach above.
  19. Gerber Legendary Blades  (Portland, OR. 1939.)
  20. Harry & David  (Medford, OR. 1934.)
  21. Henry Weinhard's (Hood River, OR. 1856) Corporate name now Blitz-WEinhard.
  22. Hollywood Video  (Portland, OR metro area, 1988.)  Acquired, along with Hollywood's Game Crazy (see above), and (see below) by Movie Gallery in April, 2005, but kept as separate entities until May 2007. Movie Gallery operates Game Zone stores. They also acquired MovieBeam in March, 2007.
  23. Jackson & Perkins  (Newark, NY. 1872. Now located in Medford, OR.) Now owned by Harry & David.
  24. Jantzen Swimwear  (Portland, OR. 1910. Began as Portland Knitting Company. Name change 1918.)
  25. Jones Soda (Seattle, WA.1987)  Urban Juice and Soda Company Ltd. started as a beverage distribution company operating in western Canada. In 1995 they began marketing two product lines: WAZU Natural Spring Water and their own sodas, both the more traditional flavors, such as root beer and cherry, and then, yes, their more exotic blends, such as Turkey & Gravy (and vegetarian turkey at that), one of the limited edition labels. In August, 2000, the company renamed itself Jones Soda Comapny.
  26. Kettle Foods (Kettle Chips)  (Salem, OR. 1978.)  Opened a second plant in the UK in 1988. Bought by British equity firm, Lion Capital LLP in August 2006.
  27. Liberty Orchards (Aplets & Cotlets)  (Vale of Cashmere, WA. 1920.)
  28. Marquis Spas  (Independence, OR. 1980)
  29. Microsoft  (1975. Operates out of Redmond, WA.)
  30. Miller Paint (1890. Grand Ave, Portland, Oregon.)
  31. Moonstruck Chocolates (1993. First location: 1996, downtown Portland.) Site has a location finder so you can determine if a chocolatier anywhere near you retails Moonstruck.
  32. Morrow Snowboards  (Salem, OR. 1989. Acquired by Granit Bay Technologies. Merged with International Display Works, Inc. They then divested themselves of all athletic product lines and turned to the manufacture of LCD displays?!  The spun-off Morrow Snowboards reclaimed its name and is now headquartered in Vashon, Washington.)
  33. Nautilus, Inc. (Vancouver, WA)  Nautilus; Bowflex; StairMaster*; Schwinn Fitness; Universal  Again, this is a complex intertwining of products, corporate acquisition and name changes. For instance: Nautilus (beginning with the name), founded in 1970, was acquired first by Delta Woodside Industries Inc.(Greenville, South Carolina), in January 1993, and then by Direct Focus, Inc in 1998, who had changed their name June 1997 from Bowflex of America, Inc, founded April, 1986 in Foster City, California. Direct Focus then became The Nautilus Group, Inc. in May 2002, and lastly (to date) Nautilus, Inc in March 2005. Universal Gym Equipment begins in 1957, founded by the first winner of the Mr California contest, Harold Zinkin and was acquired in May 2006. StairMaster, acquired in May 2002, was a product of  Tri-Tech, Inc (1983) out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Schwinn, began in Chicago as Arnold, Schwinn & Company (October, 1895). It's fitness division was acquired by Nautilus in September 2001. DashAmerica, Inc. doing business as Pearl iZumi USA, the domestic child (1981) of a Japanese parent, born in Tokyo (1951) was acquired in July 2005 and sold it to Shimano American Corporation, in April 2008. But the main thread through all these corporate beads is the Bow Flex product, invented by Tessema Dosho Shifferaw in 1979. He and an investor group founded Bowflex in 1986, in California. They signed an exclusive distribution rights deal with Schwinn in 1988, regained those rights when Schwinn filed for bankruptcy in 1993 and then (as already noted) Direct Focus acquired part of Schwinn in 2001. So when did Vancouver, Washington become corporate headquarters? 1988.   (* StairMaster currently has no individual website.)
  34. Nike  (Eugene, OR. 1964. Began as Blue Ribbon Sports with first retail outlet in 1968.)
  35. Nordstom  (Seattle, WA. 1901. First location: downtown Seattle. Began as Wallin & Nordstrom. In 1929 Wallin sold his shares to the Nordstrom family.)
  36. Oregon Chai  (Portland, OR. 1994.)
  37. Pendleton Woolen Mills  (Pendleton, OR. 1909.)
  38. Powell's City of Books  (Portland, OR. 1971. First location: Northwest Portland.)
  39.  (Owned by Hollywood Video, sales associate is Online.)
  40. Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door (Edmonds, WA 1976.)
  41. Seattle's Best Coffee  (Seattle, WA. ?[About 30 years ago]?.  Originally called ??, name change in ???) Yes, these people have a fabulously informative website, don't they?  And for everyone who thought they were avoiding Starbucks by going here instead  —  surprise! — they've been owned by Starbucks since July 2003, bought for $72 mil and stock options. How do you get more than 2 Starbucks to a block? Very tricksey, yes.
  42. Shilo Inns  (Wood Village, OR. 1974. (First location demolished due to highway construction.) )
  43. Starbucks  (Seattle, OR. 1971. First location: Pike Place Market.)
  44. Stash Tea  (Tigard, OR. 1972.)
  45. Tazo Tea  (Portland, OR. 1994) Now owned by Starbucks.
  46. Tillamook Cheese  (Tillamook, OR. 1909.)
  47. Torrefazione Italia Coffee (Seattle, 1986.) Once a subsidory of Seattle Coffee (see Seattle's Best Coffee), now they're all owned by Starbucks who has closed all the cafe units, but now market the coffee in grocery outlets across the nation.
  48. UPS [United Parcel Service of America Inc.] (Seattle, WA. 1907-- corporate HQ now in Altlanta, GA) Began as American Messenger Company in 1907; changed name to Merchant Parcel Delivery in 1913; expanded operations to Oakland, CA.  in 1922, becoming UPS at this time; nationwide service reached in 1975. And, while the official UPS history won't tell you, the company's headquarters were first relocated to Greenwich, CT., in 1975, and then to Atlanta, GA., in 1994.
  49. ViewMaster  (Beaverton, OR. 1939.)  Another convoluted history. First manufactured by Sawyer's Inc., then the product line was sold to General Aniline Corp (GAC)  in 1966, limited partnership with Arnold Thayer in 1981 created the new name View-Master International Group, which acquired the Ideal Toy Co. in1984, and was then bought by  TYCO, who still produce them, in 1989. ViewMaster is one of the toys enshrined in the National Toy Hall of Fame, originally located at A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, a children's Museum in Salem, Oregon, but now located at the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY. A.C. Gilbert is profiled elsewhere on this page.
  50. Washington Mutual  (Seattle, WA. 1889.)
  51. Weyerhaeuser  (Federal Way, WA. 1900.)
  52. Wrigley Cross Books  (Portland, OR. 1987. Business office in Gresham, OR.)  Physical store closed in 2005, online presence remains.
  53. Middopoly  (Java version of Monopoly based upon Middlebury College. Up to 7 people can play.)
And the company you'll never see nationally represented because, as their marketing blurb states, they are "inconveniently located for most of America" — Burgerville — a 'not so fast food' restaurant that stresses use of local products, higher quality food, innovation, and, yes, longer wait times. Begun in 1922 in Vancouver, Washington, as the Holland Creamery that expanded into the Holland Restaurant and finally became Burgerville USA in 1961. This family owned chain (39 locations), to help cut emissions, switched a part of their power source over, with a 30% cost increase for them, to wind power. They are also the first, and thus far only, restaraunt chain in America to exclusively use cage-free eggs. Thanks, Burgerville. (Ammended 12 Jan, 2007.)

Oregon Products where a large portion or even the primary source is the Pacific Northwest that are not produced by a single manufacturer or grower.

Oregon contains 40,000 farms, covering some 17,200,000-acres, which produced crops to the value of  $4.1-billion in 2004. One in every 12 jobs is in agriculture, and more than 80% of what is produced is shipped elsewhere for consumption  —  60% goes out of the country. Each grower, on average, produces enough food to feed 130 people annually, a considerably higher total than what is normal. There are some 200 specialty crops grown in the Willamette Valley alone. Only California has a larger variety of commodities than Oregon.

Due to soil and climate many of the food products are considered to be better tasting (containing a higher concentration of the sugars, or whatever, that make for better flavor) and even better for you (they often contain a higher concentration of nutrients too) than the same products produced in other states. And where these claims are made there is acutual proof to back up them up.

And all this is a state where 53% of the land is owned by the Federal Government, is about half covered in forest, has desert and high plains, as well as mountains.

Other sources for information on Oregon and Washington products.

Oregon is the nation's largest producer of:
  1. Berries  (More than 50 varieties of berries are cultivated here. Blackberries (95-100% of the US crop originates in Oregon), Loganberries (95-100% ), Black Raspberries (95-100%), Boysenberries (68%), Youngberries (62%), Marionberries (an Oregon native) Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission  Marionberries
  2. Christmas Trees (Oregon is the primary source of trees for the nation, producing 31% ($158,003,000 worth in 2005) of the trees in 2004.)  Oregon Department of Agriculture: It just isn't the Holidays without Oregon Agriculture
  3. Grass Seed  (60% of all grass seed globally is produced on Oregon's more than 1,500 grass seed farms, 95% of it in the Willamette Valley. 99% of all US originating Ryegrass comes from Oregon, and 97% of all Orchardgrass.)  Oregon Grass Seed (A grower's site with lots of information.)
  4. Hazelnuts (Aka: filberts. More than 99% of the US supply is grown in Oregon, and while this is a mere 3% of the world's supply these are considered to be, by far, the best tasting.) Oregon Hazelnuts, Oregon Hazelnut Industry
  5. Hops (66% of the world's hops supply, a vital ingredient in beer making, is grown in the Pacific Northwest. In descending order of amounts produced: Washington, Oregon, Idaho.)  Oregon Hops Commission, USA Hops
  6. Wine (There are currently 314 wineries, and 519 vineyards in Oregon. This places Oregon second in the number of wineries and fourth in wine production in the US.Oregon Wine Advisory Board  Oregon Wine Report  (News and reviews.)  Oregon Vineyard Database  Oregon Winegrowers Association  Resources (Links to more local organizations, and much more.)
Oregon is a major producer of:
  1. Blueberries (300 growers produced a record 34 million pounds in 2005. Oregon has the largest crop yield per acre of any US state.) Oregon Blueberry Commission  North American Blueberry Council
  2. Strawberries
  3. (Oregon strawberries are considered to be superior (and I agree) to such an extent that a 'Strawberry Seal' was created by the OSC for manufacturers to use to promote their product if it contains this Oregon grown fruit. They also have a produced a downloadable brochure (pdf file) touting the berries superior qualities.) Oregon Strawberry Commission 
    Strawberry Festivals in Oregon
    Lebanon Strawberry Festival  (Lebanon, OR.)
    Silverton Hill Strawberry Festival  (Silverton, OR.)
    French Prairie Gardens Strawberry Festival  (St Paul, OR.)
  4. Computer chips  The phrase Silicon Forest was coined for this region's connection to the microchip industry  Intel is one region's primary employers and Oregon's largest private employer — hence, your Pentium chip may have been developed or manufactured here. In fact, Intel Oregon, incorporating both research and manufacture, remains the largest of Intel's facilities worldwide. Although 90% of Intel's Oregon employees actually live in the Portland area, there are seven Intel facilities in Oregon; the earliest opened in Aloha, a suburb of Portland, in 1976. Washington has two Intel facilities.
  5. Pears The pear varieties grown within the US are almost exclusively done so in Oregon and Washington which produce 84% of all pears, 94% of winter varieties, and 92% of those fresh pears exported by the US. USA Pears (Pear Bureau Northwest) The website also has a nice comprehensive guide on how to select (at your grocery or a farm stand) and store fruit and vegetables.
  6. Spearmint Oil  Oregon, Washington and Idaho are responsible for the largest amount of domestically grown spearmint. In 2001 they collectively produced 83% of all US spearmint oil and were responsible for over 50% of global production. Farwest Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee

Other products (I just need time to find appropriate websites to go with them and then they'll go onto the list above) of regional importance.
- Oregon is the country's number one producer of: potted florist azelas.
- Oregon is first or second in production (neck and neck with Washington) of Peppermint.
- Oregon is second in production of Plums/prunes (a prune being a dried plum).
- Oregon is a major producer (I haven't seen the specific rankings on these so this may be modified up) of: sweet Cherries, Onions, Cauliflower, green Peas, nursery products, and wheat.

(June 21, 2003 & updated (I keep finding new companies to add) July 13, 2003; Dec. 2, 2004; April 30, July 30, Aug. 4, Oct. 11, and Dec. 1, 2005; April 13, June 27, and November 27, 2006; January 12, Sept. 14, Sept. 28, 2007; June 27, 2008; July 7 2008.)  
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A.C. Means More Than Alternating Current
A Biographical Sketch of A.C. Gilbert   (February 13, 1884 - January 24, 1961)

Alfred Carlton Gilbert could have been a doctor, he trained for it and graduated, but instead A.C. became a magician, an Olympian, and an inventor. Born in Salem in 1884, he showed an early ability for athletics, an interest in inventing things, and a proficiency in magic. Tricks, you understand, sleights of hand, and rabbits out of hats sort of things.

"My boy, you will be a great success."
A professional magician once said, after A.C. replicated all his tricks, apparently with ease. Another thing A.C. obviously was was observant. His interest in magic would remain with him for life.

In 1908 London hosted the Olympic Games. A.C. attended as a member of the U.S. pole-vaulting team. He had devised his own spike-less pole of bamboo to use in competition. His performance rated a gold medal. Officials objected to his pole, feeling it might have given him an unfair advantage over other competitors. They knew, one assumes, a good thing when they saw itup to a pointmeaning they knew the pole was good but were less certain of the man. They award the medal to E.T. Cooke instead. A.C. protested and was granted permission to repeat the competition using Cooke’s standard pole. Even though he bettered Cooke’s performance the officials chose to have them to share the medal, citing the fact that Cooke's preliminary vault equaled A.C.’s final. (What! What’s a final for then? Imagine the times you’ve seen longer, faster, higher before the final roundlets's just redistribute all those medals.) In spite of the implemented double medal scheme a magic moment Cooke gave his medal to A.C..


See the medal listings here. Choose the following options:
     London 1908
Click Search and choose page 5.
(His middle name is listed wrong, misspelled Carleton.)

In 1909, having paid portions of his tuition through magic performances, he graduated Yale medical school determined to make more magic. Leaving a traditional life behind he pursued other ambitions. So, instead of choosing a career in medicine he co-established, with John Petrie, the Mysto Manufacturing Co. in New Haven, Connecticut, to sell magic sets. Petrie would be bought out in 1916 and the company renamed A.C. Gilbert Company.

Hello Boys! Make Lots of Toys!
(As seen in Erector Set advertisements. Ignore the gender stereotype .... girls can use them too.)

At age 29 A.C. saw something from a train window that changed his world and ours. En route from New Haven Conneticut to New York he spied steel workers consturcting a power pylon. Inspired, he created the Erector Set. With Petrie disinterested A.C., nethertheless, found financing and began this operation on his own. The first set, marketed as the Mysto Erector Structural Steel Builder was sold in 1913. Its launch was accompanied by the first advert for a toy in the US. More than 30-million units would sell during his lifetime.

There would be more inventions, many fundamentally enabling those that followed as most of his inventionsimprovements for motors and suchwere made to solve a challenge in creating an educational toy he envisioned. By the time of his death, in 1961, A.C. held 150 patents.

Other Inventions & Innovations:
--Perhaps the most significant invention was the coated wire in 1916, and I don‘t mean for hanging up clothes. The coating on the wires (enameling back then) permitted the functional wiring of electric devices of all kinds. Basically anything with wiring in or connected to it owes its existence to A.C., at least peripherally.
--In the 1920s they sold radio sets. A.C. had his own radio station where he was a sports commentator. He once interviewed Babe Ruth.
--The first chemistry setsincluding one meant specifically for girls—and home microscopes.
--Marketed, from 1950 to 1952, the very serious U- 238 Atomic Energy Lab had “safe” radioactive particles and a working Geiger counter. But it was beyond the understanding of … well, just about everyone, and wasn’t a significant seller.
--Blow Hairdryer (These would be the cap type, not the more modern handheld models.)
--He pioneered coffee breaks, lunchtime entertainments, free health and legal information, job-protecting employee contracts, open employer/employee communications and conferences, and paid higher than average wages.

A.C. also purchased ailing companies, merging them into his own. The American Flyer trains line, which he improved upon and expanded greatly, being one. In 1916 A.C. founded the Toy Industry Association becoming the first toy lobbyist. A.C. loved toys and believed learning should always be fun. Remember that, it‘s important to what comes next.

How A.C. Saved Christmas

In 1918 the U.S. government considered officially canceling Christmas and banning toy manufacturing because of the ongoing conflict that was first called The Great War and then, later, World War I. Factories everywhere were turned to prosecuting the war. (The war machine was also lucrative.) A.C. became distressed, and then depressed at the thought of kids having nothing to play with come Christmas Day. Using his toys as visual aids he addressed the Council of National Defense with the argument that educational toys helped prepare youth for adulthood and that the impact from continued toy manufacture wouldn’t be significant. His argument was convincing. The press quickly diubbed him 'The man who saved Christmas'.

These events were dramatized in a 2002 TV movie, which I've not seen. But after reading several articles about it, including its entry at the IMDb (rating 4.7 out of 10), I'm not sure viewing it adds much to the tale.
During W.W.II, when no threats to cancel Christmas were made, his factories were also used to make flares and range indicators for anti-aircraft guns.

After A.C.'s retirement his company was unable to maintain its vitality and bits were sold off. After his death in 1961 the remainder was liquidated. It had always lived as an extention of his passions.

It's quite true that many kids chose careers in the sciences and engineering because they were directly inspired by A.C.'s toys. And the toys themselves played a vital role in the larger world. The first functional artificial heart was crafted with parts from a Erector Set by William Sewell. In fact the list of 'grown-up' innovations and inventions that have come from A.C.'s toys is quite impressive. You can read more  about A.C. Gilbert, his life, toys, and legacy in : The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made by Bruce Watson (Viking Press 2002). Or get it straight from the horses mouth in : The Man Who Lives in Paradise: Autobiography of A. C. Gilbert.

Convoluted Constructions:
When the first Erector Set went on sale a less versatile building toy was being marketed by the UK based Meccano Company. In 1929 A.C. bought their American manufacturer. Production of the line ceased during W.W.II and was never restarted in the US. But imports from the UK began agian after the war. Today the UK Meccano products come from Nikko. Sold to Gabriel Toys the Erector Set moved through various corporations and is now owned by Brio Corp., also seling “Bob the Builder” toys, and Brio passed through the hands of Meccano during the early 90s. But Meccano had purchased right to the Erector Set in 1962 and, so, what pass as Erector Sets today are actually Meccano building toys. Ouch

It was with the American Erector Set that in 1940 Royal Engineer Donald Bailey designed his eponymous portable bridge that  came to play such a vital role during  W.W.II.

     Places to Visit:
  1. A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village    A children's museum in Salem, OR., where the world's largest Erector Set has been constructed. Includes exhibits about A.C. and his toys. (My Discovery Village entry at IgoUgo.)
    1. Walking tour of Discovery Village
  2. National Toy Hall of Fame         This was orginally located at A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, but is now located at the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY.
  3. Any toyshop.

  1. A.C. Gilbert Heritage Society  Dedicated to keeping the  memory of A.C. and all his accomplishements alive.
  2. Photos of A.C.  Because many people like to have a face to go with a name, and a story.
  3. A.C. Gilbert (Salem History Online)  A.C. as presented by his hometown.
  4. The Story of the Magnificent Gilbert Company  (Thomas Barker, circa 1976). With focus on the American Flyer line. The 'where are they now' information is obviously a bit outdated.
  5. American Flyer Timeline  Is really an A.C. timeline with focus on AF.
  6. Inventor of the Week (Lemelson-MIT Progam)  An overview of AC's life and career.
  7. Desktops of the Future   Not so much a game as an interactive amusement. It manages, in its own way, to be appropriate to this site on several levels. It is, as the title suggests, a (somewhat whimiscal) look at what (computer) desktops could look like. But it celebrates creativity and imagination rather than functionality. Slow download on dialup (I know because it's what I use), more than 5 minutesso multi-task while you wait.
(Added April 19, 2006)  
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