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Air Oregon My Oregon Paradise West Of Cascades

 

Air Oregon

 

 

For a moment let’s skip the romanticized view of the state. The brown patches across these images are clear cut lumber sections, replanted with more trees. Why are they brown? It’s not because of brown trees. Air Oregon shows too much.

 

Oregon, My Oregon via Oregon Blue Book, music by Henry B. Murtagh, words by John A. Buchanan.

 

Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West;

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

 Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the best.

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

 On-ward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

Land of the rose and sunshine, Land of the summer’s breeze;

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

Laden with health and vigor, Fresh from the western seas.

 

 

Air Oregon

 

 

Blest by the blood of martyrs, Land of the setting sun;

 

 

Air Oregon

 

Hail to thee, Land of Promise, My Oregon.”

 

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Cut and run was the logging practice of days gone by? Why are the sections still brown? Talk to old loggers and they’ll tell you they knew what they were doing, what they were leaving. But that was the job.

 

Talk to conservationists who’ve never ridden the crummy out for a day’s work that started at four in the morning. Theirs are voices of reason, not necessity with a wife and kids counting on the old man’s labor. Trees were money in the ground; the brown spots are the ground.

 

Anyone who grew up in logging towns know the people. My father was an insurance adjuster. He grew up in a logging company town. His dad was one of them until he broke his back. He knew loggers. His first job was in the woods.

 

These images speak to people who marvel at the beauty of air Oregon, or feel compelled to rejoice for the miracles they find in Portland, the best city in America. Portland is a logging town. Eugene is a logging town. The thin veneer of modern day hides the fact like bark on Doug Fir, which is more than a lounge on the eastside.

 

The wonder of Portland is it’s location. Mountains one way, beach the other, volcanoes in the city limits, and rivers all around. What’s not to like? Just give loggers their due in a logging town. You’ll probably never see them, or meet them, but in metro-sexual fashion you’ll mistake a bearded guy in flannel for something in hipster paradise.

 

What’s done is done, and Oregon is Oregon because of the industry. None of it’s easy, from trees to fish, from processing in mills and fisheries, to delivering the finished products, but it made air Oregon what it is.

 

For all the health benefits of a walk in the forest, have you ever heard of the same effect of strolling a clear cut? Me neither. Instead of a state song rejoicing the version of Oregon from behind a desk, I want to hear something closer to the bone. John Prine wrote a song that could be a template.

 

 

“Paradise”
When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there’s a backwards old town that’s often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

 

[Chorus:]
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

 

Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

 

[Chorus]
Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

 

[Chorus]
When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
Just five miles away from wherever I am.
[Chorus]

 

About David Gillaspie

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  1. […] of trees, and plenty of piles made by Oregon loggers. Visitors from around the world need to see the beauty of Oregon, and the clear cuts. A close up […]

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