Page 1

r u O Helvetia

Issue 1 • December 2012 • Longitude: 122° 55’ 02” W Latitude: 45° 35’ 44” N • 14 mi west of Portland, O

Issue 2 • March 2013 • Longitude: 122° 55’ 02” W Latitude: 45° 35’ 44” N • 14 mi west of Portland, Oregon

Our Helvetia Spring 2013



From the editor................................................................3

Editor: Cherry Amabisca

The Burning of the Böögg............................................4

Design: Terri Wayne

Helvetia Spring map.......................................................7

Map design: Lee Newton

Our Century Farms..........................................................8 Farm Fresh Vegetables and more from CSAs..... 10 Traces of the Past by Ginny Mapes......................... 12 Dale Laitinen paints Helvetia................................... 14

Photos by: Adrian Amabisca Cherry Amabisca Faun Hosey Lyn Jacobs James Just

Cover photo by Adrian Amabisca Special thanks to Faun Hosey and Terri Wayne

“It ’s peaceful here in Helvetia, a rural haven that gives people strength for another busy week in the city.” —AB, Hillsboro

Comments? Ideas for future issues? Email the editor at or call 503.647.5334 Our Helvetia is a publication of Helvetia Community Association (HCA). HCA works to inspire others to appreciate, share and celebrate Helvetia’s treasured heritage, land and people. HCA is a 501(c)(3) cultural, educational non-profit organization which relies totally on tax-deductible donations and wonderful volunteers. To donate to HCA , to get involved or for more information about our activities, please go to: or call 503.647.5334.

2 Our Helvetia Spring 2013

© 2013

Helvetia state of


WATCHING THE SUPER BOWL THIS YEAR, I WAS CAPTIVATED by the Dodge Ram commercial that featured Paul Harvey reciting “So God Made a Farmer”. These proud, strong images of farmers reminded me of the perseverance, determination and commitment of our Helvetia farmers, racing the rains to cut and bale hay through the night, or up before dawn to harvest vegetables so their customers can enjoy same-day freshness. Family farmers are an integral part of Helvetia’s local, sustainable and diverse agricultural tradition. In the last issue of “Our Helvetia”, we profiled Helvetia’s Christmas tree farms. In this issue we proudly introduce Helvetia’s oldest farms, our six Century Farms, who have been honored by the State of Oregon for continuously farming their land for over 100 years. We also introduce our newest farms, our CSAs, who are following a new model for farming that has gained in popularity in the last twenty years. In subsequent issues, we will feature our U-pick, lavender, organic and hazelnut farmers. Helvetia’s family farmers have managed to feed people, replenish the land and preserve precious water for generations. Their commitment to growing good things, through careful planning and hard labor, provides us with a connection to rural roots that enhances our lives. As spring and summer approaches, why not plan an escape to Helvetia’s countryside and experience the bounty of our family farms? Cherry Amabisca, Editor

Our Helvetia Winter 2012  3


oin us in Helvetia for the ancient Swiss tradition of Sechseläuten! Originating in Zurich, Switzerland, Sechseläuten features the burning of a straw-filled effigy of the Böögg, the snowman that symbolizes winter. Tradition has it that once set on fire, the faster it burns, the warmer and sunnier the upcoming summer. Helvetia’s fifth annual Burning of the Böögg is set for Saturday, March 30 at the Helvetia Winery. Starting at 3:00 pm, this family event is a fun afternoon of food, Swiss music and wine tasting. At 5:30 pm, the burning of the Böögg begins. Expertly constructed by Bob McCormick, the Böögg can be as tall as ten feet. Bring some small pieces of paper and a pencil to write down your “troubles”. Swiss lore says your worries

4 Our Helvetia Spring 2013

will go up in flames once you toss them i the bonfire.


The roots of the festival go back to medi times when the first day of summer work hours was celebrated in the guildhalls ac Zurich, Switzerland. City ordinances stric regulated the length of the working day: during winter, the workday lasted as long as there was daylight, but during summe the law proclaimed that work must cease when the church bells tolled at six o’clock Sechseläuten literally translates into “The six o’clock ringing of the bells.” Changing summer working hours was a joyous occ sion because people had some non-work daylight hours. Sechseläuten is marked w


ieval king cross tly : g er, e ck. e g to caking with

Helvetia Winery

22485 NW Yungen Road, Hillsboro, OR 97124

Tickets: FREE, none required Parking: FREE (Helvetia has NO parking meters!) When: Saturday, March 30, 2013 Time: Eating, music, wine tasting from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Burning of the Böögg from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm Info: Diane Vireday at 503-803-8418

parades of the 26 guilds, children’s parade in historic costumes, horse drawn floats and lunch and dinner banquets. Culminating the festivities is the Burning of the Böögg. Source: Wikipedia

ABOUT THE BURNING OF THE BÖÖGG The custom of burning a ragdoll call Böögg (the German Swiss term for “bogey”) occurred in Zurich in the 1700’s each spring. In 1902, the Ssechseläuten and Burning of the Böögg were combined into one celebration. The time between the lighting of the Böögg and the explosion of its head is supposedly indicative of the coming summer: a quick explosion promises a warm, sunny summer while a drawn-out burning indicates a cold and rainy one. Source: Wikipedia

They’re still burning the Böögg in Switzerland! Our Helvetia Spring 2013  5


Vintner John Platt is the proprietor of Helvetia Winery, a second year sponsor of the Burning of the Böögg. The winery’s tasting room is housed in the historic 1905 Merz-Yungen farmhouse, offering rustic charm only 25 minutes from Portland. Nestled in a quiet wooded valley, Helvetia Winery offers locally grown and produced wines. The grounds and facilities are available for weddings, family celebrations and business meetings. Helvetia Winery also hosts Columbia River tribal fishers who sell freshly-caught salmon during commercial salmon seasons. Children and friendly canines are always welcome. Phone: 503-647-7596 Online orders: Address: 22485 NW Yungen Road, HIllsboro, OR 97124


Baker Diane Vireday and pastry chef Bob McCornick are proprietors of Helvetia’s only Swiss bakery, Sweetrock Farm. Fifth-year sponsors of the Burning of the Böögg, they’ll offer a variety of traditional Swiss breads at the Böögg for purchase. With help from Diane’s mother, Claire, Diane bakes up to 250 loaves a week of 15 types of traditional Swiss breads, plus Swiss cookies and sweets. Available at farmers markets throughout the area, or online, Diane also takes custom orders. Phone: 503-803-8418 Online orders: 11180 NW Old Cornelius Pass Road, Portland, OR


A fifth-year sponsor of Helvetia’s Burning of the Böögg, Portland Swiss promotes traditional Swiss heritage by keeping Swiss traditions alive in the U.S., including Swiss dancing, music, languages, Swissstyle wrestling (Schwingen) and food of the different cantons. You don’t need to be Swiss to attend events or to join!     For more information about upcoming events, go online at

6 Our Helvetia Spring 2013

bishop rd

logie trail

yungen road


meier road


6 11

dick road

9 ➼

helvetia road

jackson quarry road



phillips road




west union road




Here’s your Helvetia SPRING map. The Burning of the Böögg will be held at #10, Helvetia Winery. Enjoy a day visiting our fresh produce farms. See next page for info on Century Farms and CSAs in the area. Century Farms 1 ­— 6 not open to the public

CSAs: 7: La Finquita del Buho  8: Pumpkin Ridge Gardens

9 Sweetrock Farm Bakery

10 Helvetia Winery

11 Helvetia Tavern

Our Helvetia Spring 2013  7

Did you catch the “God Made a Farmer” ad that ran during the Super Bowl? It was a powerful description of the tenacity and perseverence that we’re proud to say is very evident in our Helvetia. Families such as Berger, Boden, Bettune, Furrow, Grossen, Huserik, Motz, Nussbaumer, Pasley, Riechen, Schaaf, Schoch, and Schoen have been farming in the Helvetia area for multiple generations. Some of these families are descendents of the German-Swiss settlers who came to Helvetia in several migrations in the 1870’s. You’ll notice some of our farms boast a metal sign proclaiming “Century Farm”. This indicates an honor and recognition by Oregon’s Century Farm and Ranch Program for families who have worked the same land for over a century. In Helvetia, our Century Farms are:

8 Our Helvetia Spring 2013


Helvetia’s oldest Century Farm was established one year before Oregon attained statehood. Bill and Judy Clyde are the 5th generation to care for the historic property on West Union Road.


The original barn built in 1888 by Fred Bischoff is still in use at the corner of Bishop Road and Helvetia Road but the house was moved in 1974 about a mile to the west and is now home to the Bishop House Lavender Farm. 3) GUERBER CENTURY FARM, 1882 Originally purchased by Alfred Guerber in 1882, the farm with the quaint Swiss chalet is still farmed by third generation owners, Don and Gladys Guerber. 4) CONNELL/GATES CENTURY FARM, 1886 Spencer and Pam Gates are the 4th generation to farm the 309 acres originally established by Joseph and Mildred Wood Connell II at the corner of West Union Road and Jackson Quarry Road.


One of three Yungen brothers who came from Frutigen, Switzerland, Abraham Yungen bought 80 acres. His stately farmhouse on Helvetia Road dates from 1906, where third generation Bob and Beverly Yungen care for the historic property.


Wayne and Judy Pieren are the fourth generation owners of the property with the iconic red barn visible from Helvetia Road.

Before being officially designated as a Century Farm, families must provide documentation to prove their farm not only existed for over 100 years, but that the same family continuously lived on the farm and actively managed farming operations without interruption (leasing or renting-out disqualifies the designation). Since the Century Farm and Ranch program was started in 1858 on the eve of the Statehood Centennial Celebration, over 1,100 farms and ranches across the state have been registered. Once approved, the family is honored during a special ceremony at the Oregon State Fair, where they receive a certificate signed by the Governor as well as a sturdy metal road sign to identify their historic Century Farm property. Watch for more in-depth coverage of each of Helvetia’s Century Farms in future issues of “Our Helvetia”. The map on page 7 shows where each of the farms is located on Helvetia Road and West Union Road, all within two miles of each other. However, please note that these farms are private residences and working farms and are not open to the public. Four of these Century Farms are represented in our set of five note cards, the “Historic Helvetia Barns” series, available for purchase through our website www. Click on “Market”.

Our Helvetia Spring 2013  9

The growing season has started and now is the time to sign up for a membership in one of Helvetia’s CSAs. Officially called

Community Supported Agriculture Also known as “subscriber” or “membership” farms, CSAs offer  farm-direct foods   the chance to build a relationship with your grower  a way of life for local small farmers

“People want to know where and how their food is grown, they want sustainably grown food and they want to take their children and grandchildren to the farms where that food is grown.

Proximity is essential, COMMUNITY CONNECTION is quintessential. We provide that opportunity to this community through weekly pick-up at the farm, school trips, after school farm programs, food preservation workshops and harvest festivals. We manage to feed people, replenish the land and preserve precious water without overhead irrigation. We manage this land with careful planning and hard labor and have proved that small acreage farming is possible and profitable. Lyn Jacobs

Subscriptions pays for seeds, supplies and labor. Subscribing reduces the resources used to transport vegetables while preserving local farmland. It’s a win-win solution: you and your family benefit from knowing the farmers who grow your food. And CSA farmers, with the seeds, supplies and labor, are able to plan for a consistent supply of great food.


Owners: Lyn Jacobs and Juvencio Argueta Interesting fact: Farm name means “little farm of the owl” in Spanish, named for the barn owl who lives in the 1915 barn on the property Growing season: 29 weeks, from Mid-April through October Location: 7960 NW Dick Road, Hillsboro, OR 97124 Contact: Lyn or Juvencio 503-647-2595 or email at Website: Pick-up is at the farm in Helvetia­—the menagerie of animals and heritage orchard make for a pleasant weekly outing with the family. In addition to subscriptions, La Finquita offers freerange eggs, gorgeous flowers and the option of a Thanksgiving share. Grass-fed beef, pork and lamb are also available for purchase. Each share comes with a weekly newsletter containing recipes and ideas on how to use La Finquita’s fresh seasonal ingredients. Also useful on the website is a description of the harvests, what you can expect in your weekly basket, upcoming activities and a membership enrollment form. Visit the website and sIgn-up now as space is limited for the 2013 season!


Owners: Polly Gottesman and James Just Interesting fact: The oldest operating CSA in the Portland metro area Growing season: 52 weeks Location: 31067 NW Pumpkin RIdge Drive, North Plains, OR 97133 Contact: Polly or James 503-647-5023 or email at Website: The farm’s refrigerated truck delivers vegetables directly to your home (see the website for delivery area).The garden produces a nutritionally balanced mixture of vegetables that includes some unusual varieties as well as perennial favorites, grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticides. The farm sells a variety of fresh and dried flowers, flower and vegetable starts and eggs laid by the farm’s pastured hens. See the website for subscription prices, discounts, seasonal basket planners, payment options, vegetable starts and recipes. Visit the farm, see how the vegetables are grown and ask questions. Deposits for the 2013–2014 subscription year are being taken now. Our Helvetia Spring 2013  11

Traces of the Past

By Ginny Mapes

HELVETIA HALL First Helvetia Hall was located across the road from the present-day Helvetia Tavern The following information was from the Daily Oregonian, 1910. “The building is a substantial two story frame structure, 38 by 60 feet on a stone foundation. The second floor is a Dance Hall with a stage. The main floor is finished with fancy grain mountain fir lumber hauled from the Nehalem Valley. All the work from the blasting and hauling of the rock for the foundation to shingling of the roof and finishing was done by members of the Consolidated German Speaking Societies of Oregon. Members noted are: President, Rudolph Tschanz; Vice President, Fritz Keller; Secretaries, Johann Nussbaum & Gotlieb Jugman; Treasurer, Paul Christiner. Otto Karl Kleemann, architect, and Gustav Schnoerr.”  The hall had a large flagstaff extending up from the roof with Swiss Colors surmounted by a large American flag. Rudolph Tschanz was born in Switzerland in 1882 and arrived in the United States in 1903. Settling in Helvetia, he helped build the Helvetia Hall. There was store on the main

12 Our Helvetia Spring 2013

floor. He owned and operated the Helvetia Store, did carpentry work, and also farmed. The Hall was the center for the community as a meeting place with dances and basket socials. On Saturday, October 15, 1910 a special program was presented with the local residents providing the entertainment. “Two one act comedies were given in the Swiss German dialect. First ‘The Swiss Automobilist’ was played by Heinrich Fritz Freitag and Ernest Staub, & the second a scene from a ‘Swiss Country School,’ by the two former and misses Anna Tschanz and Susan Segrist in Swiss Country costumes. Songs by the Tyrolean Yodelers and a dance concluded the exercises.”

JOURNALS OF MARY RYAN [MAY, MAGGIE & MATTHEW ARE HER CHILDREN.] February 10, 1917 Maggie and Matthew went to Basket social in the new hall. April 14, 1917 May and Maggie fixing Baskets [of] twigs all went to the old hall with Baskets June 9, 1917 Matt went to old hall to farmers meeting May 21, 1918 Christensen came to get money for the red cross. I gave him 2 dollars. Gave him Maggies letter to read then I went to call on Mrs. Christensen. The store in Helvetia is burned. Local lore repeated through the years— there was a piano up on the second floor for the dance hall. When the floor burned, neighbors could hear the sound of the piano keys plunking as they fell through the floor.

Thanks to Michael Christensen for Mary Ryan’s Journal documenting the fire. Thanks to Brian Lozano for the photo and the old news article. Do you have family stories, anecdotes, or photos from Helvetia? Ginny Mapes is writing a history of Helvetia and would love to hear from you. Please email her at email or call 503.647.2896.

Our Helvetia Spring 2013  13

One of America’s premier landscape artists, Dale Laitinen has fallen in love with Helvetia. Dale Laitinen has lived, moved, and traveled across the American West and this figures prominently in his work. Last fall, he photographed this area extensively. This summer, he’ll unveil a Helvetia landscape. His painting will be available for purchase and all proceeds go to HCA. So, between now and then, he’ll be posting work-in-progress shots on his website and ours! Above: Summer’s Promise Below: Conness Glacier

Properties For Sale





11141 NW Jackson Quarry

4445 NW Glencoe Rd

48 tillable acres in Helvetia with 1000 sqft ranch home just 10 mins to 3 intel plants.

5 Acres close to Hillsboro with a 3,700 sqft home and shop. Easy access to Hwy 26

11175 NW Saltzman Rd

30695 NW Pumpkin Ridge Dr

40 Acre Skyline Estate with 7,600 sqft residence plus horse barn. 15 minutess to Portland.

7.44 Acres with private setting for your dream country estate. 21 gpm well.

Helvetia’s Secret is out! The Rice NW Museum’s woodland setting, spacious lecture rooms, and beautiful displays offer a unique, fresh backdrop for all your events. •  weddings  •  receptions  •  memorial services •  seminars   •  workshops  •  company picnics Our customized planning and facilitation ensures your event will be an unforgettable success. Call us and we can brainstorm together! 503-647-2418 or for more info.

I’ve committed to keeping West Union Rd. and Logie Trail clean in the Adopt-a-Road Program. My team and I just finished our clean up. Come out and see what a “Born and Raised Helvetia expert” can do to keep Helvetia beautiful!

Kevin Mapes, Principal Broker Keller Williams Realty direct: 503.341.0267

For a FREE, no obligation online home evaluation visit

Helvetia Community Association

Inspiring understanding and enjoyment of Helvetia’s people, land and history. You CAn Help: Make a tax-deductible donation at and click on “Donate”. ContACt us: Email for specific questions, upcoming activities, events and preservation projects in Helvetia.

BuY our stuff: all proceeds go to Hca’s preservation projects. Go to and click on “Market”.

Harvest 1

NotE carD sEts

Historic Barns

Terri Wayne

grab customer’s attention rev up your marketing mix get results with: digital magazines brochures sell sheets brand tune-ups

503.612.1863 eye on the budget horse sense sweat the details resourceful triple bottom line

DON’T MISS THESE UPCOMING EVENTS! Saturday, March 30, 2013 Burning of the Boogg (see article on page 4) Saturday, April 20, 2013 SOLV Greater Helvetia Neighborhood Roadside Cleanup When: Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Registration: Registration questions: Morgan Parks at 503.844.9571 Coordinator: Jim Baggenstos at 503.648.5529 or email: jbaggen@pcez.conf Saturday, June 8, 2013 13th Annual Helvetia Half Marathon + 5K and 10K When: Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon Where: Meet at Hillsboro Stadium Registration:


Would you like to advertise in a future issue of Our Helvetia? Your advertisement will have a three-month exposure to thousands of people interested in Helvetia, as readers and advertisers email it to their friends, family and business contacts. Rates are $25 for 1/4 page, $50 for 1/2 page and $100 for a full page. Deadline for advertisements for the June 1, 2013 issue (good for the months of June, July, August) is May 1, 2013. Email the editor at or call 503.647.5334 for more information.

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Our Helvetia  

The Burning of the Boogg, Century Farms, local CSAs and more from the beautiful rural Helvetia, Oregon

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