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Our Valley April 24, 2016

Moments that shaped the Rogue Valley

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Our Valley

Moments that shaped the Rogue Valley An exploration of historical events and people that had a lasting effect

8 Inside Our Valley People, places and events that defined our valley

22 The future came by rail The Rogue Valley owes its life to the railroad

49 Islands in the sky The Table Rocks are icons of geology, geography and botany

52 Eruption of Mount


Crater Lake is tranquil today, but it won’t always be that way

54 Reinventing the

region’s oldest hospital Asante Ashland Community Hospital started 107 years ago as Southern Oregon Hospital

56 Voltage for the valley Electricity came to Medford in 1894

22 26 A creek runs through it

12 Trail to today Applegate family’s loss was Rogue Valley’s gain

16 Gold town Jacksonville still feels impact of gold

OUR VALLEY 2016 Section editor David Smigelski Copy editor Cathy Noah Photo editor Jamie Lusch Photographers Jamie Lusch, Denise Baratta Contributing writers Vickie Aldous, Tammy Asnicar, Tony Boom, John Darling, Mark Freeman, Kris Henry, Dan Jones, Sarah Lemon, Damian Mann, Nick Morgan, Ryan Pfeil, Greg Stiles, Bill Varble 4

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58 Still no truce

in timber wars

Spotted owl was a ‘poster species’ in bitter feud

62 Kicking open the

Ashland Creek led to the founding of the area’s first still-existing settlement

boys club

30 The engine that is SOU

Four women who changed the face of Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon University pumps money and graduates into the region

66 Fruit on your

34 Road to everywhere How Interstate 5 changed time and distance

42 The city that isn’t Few today realize how much White City has changed our lives

46 ‘Beauty on a scale

that is unusual’

Crater Lake was so remote it once took days to reach, and it’s still uniquely wild


Southern Oregon’s largest employer is evolving

68 Living high on the hill Rogue Valley Manor changed the way many seniors viewed retirement

70 Mercy Flights earns its wings

The air ambulance service has filled the gap between life and death

Our Valley

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73 Passion of the grape Some people chuckled at early Southern Oregon grape growers. Who’s laughing now?

76 Valley of the pears Pear boom led to a real estate boom

78 Pears to wine The mission of the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center continues to grow

80 House of memories Spiegelberg Stadium connects past, present

82 Going live TV in the Rogue Valley owes its life to Bill Smullin and KOBI

84 Drive to succeed Starting as an Ashland dealership, Lithia


Motors is now a Fortune 500 company

86 The emerald necklace The Bear Creek Greenway was a long time coming


88 We built it and they


US Cellular is a home run for Medford

The Britt Music Festival was started by a

90 The big

couple of Portland guys


Artisan cheesemaking is putting Southern Oregon on the map, led by Rogue Creamery

92 Clickable Shakespeare

The Rogue River was the foundation for our valley

The effects of marijuana legalization are just starting to be realized

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Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument sits at a giant intersection of mountain ranges

102 Home water

Oregon’s latest cash crop


to biodiversity

Takelma Indians told legends about local landmarks

94 Southern

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98 Monument

100 Takelma tales

A treasure trove of history from Oregon Shakespeare Festival archives are going online


96 Music on the Hill

104 Highs and lows Lost Creek Dam has helped balance the Rogue River’s fierce unpredictability

Our Valley

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Our Valley

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Inside Our Valley

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How did we become who we are? By Bill Varble For the Mail Tribune

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door,” fashion icon Coco Chanel once said. Bringing something new into the world is a tricky thing. Beat on the right spot at the right time and a door swings wide. Other times that thing won’t budge. A community is defined by many things. What made us the way we are? How did things get this way? When you begin tracing such notions back in time, you’re looking at the legacy of doors that swung open, people who opened them and things that came through that we can still see today. Some of the developments that would define southwestern Oregon came about with surprisingly little fuss. When the Southern Pacific determined to run a railroad through Southern Oregon in the 1880s to link Portland with California, the company simply bought up land along Bear Creek through the flattest part of the Bear Creek Valley and laid its track. It was a decision that put Medford on the map — much to the chagrin of Jacksonville — and it might not have happened. The center of commerce and population was Jacksonville, and the logical place to lay track in terms of geography was Klamath Falls, avoiding the difficult pass over the Siskiyou Mountains. Without the railroad, Medford wouldn’t be here as anything like we know it, and the history of the valley would have been different (40 years later the railroad would run tracks through Klamath Falls). But without the railroad, there probably would be no Highway 99, no Harry and David, no Interstate 5, no Southern Oregon University, no White City, no Oregon Shakespeare Festival, no Britt Festivals, no Walmarts or Costcos. And Medford and Ashland might be villages like Gold Hill or the city of Rogue River. Our Valley

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In the founding of Ashland, the door swung open almost by mistake. When Lindsay and Jesse Applegate brought settlers over the newly blazed Applegate Trail in 1851-52, the party was bound for the Willamette Valley to the north. But the settlers looked around, liked what they saw and decided to stay. Once a lumber mill was established on Ashland Creek by what’s now the Plaza, a town began to grow, although it hadn’t been anybody’s destination. A more recent example of a door that swung right open was the founding of the Britt Festivals. John Trudeau had his first look at the hillside estate of pioneer Peter Britt in August 1962. It was overgrown with weeds, and much of Jacksonville didn’t look much better. But by summer 1963, a classical music festival had sprung up, with a stage, professional musicians, a director (Trudeau), a board of directors, tickets, programs and all the peripherals of a real arts organization. It’s hard to imagine anything like that happening today. A door that couldn’t be kept closed opened with the discovery of gold in 1851, a magnet that drew a flood of people from around the nation to the streambeds of Southern Oregon almost instantly. Ditches and tailings still can be seen all over the area. As usual, the bankers and merchants who also flocked to the area made the money, not the miners. Gold fever struck again in the Great Depression of the 1930s, when cash-strapped folks began digging for gold under the streets of Jacksonville, sometimes causing sinkholes that still can be seen. Yet another thing that sprang up overnight with little resistance was Camp White, the U.S. Army training camp that rose in the Agate Desert near Medford after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The site quickly housed a population several times larger than Medford. The endemic racism of the day found some merchants refusing to serve black soldiers, but in general the community was eager for the money the camp brought. As logging boomed after World War II, White City became the valley’s industrial hub, luring Boise Cascade, Weyerhaeuser and other companies.

Our Valley




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Some of the landmarks we see today may seem to have appeared quickly but actually resulted from a lot of hard work. The building of U.S. Cellular Community Park south of Medford began years before it materialized, with the county selling the old Miles Field site to Walmart on the eve of the Great Recession. The plan was four ball fields. Today there are 14 spread over 132 acres generating millions in economic activity. But it took years. Other things came to fruition only after long, sometimes bitter struggles. The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was opposed fiercely by ranching, logging and off-road vehicle interests, and some politicians called it a “land grab” (although the land already was owned by the government). Located at the junction of three bioregions, it’s one of the most diverse sites in the world. Completion of the Bear Creek Greenway was another project that seemed, at least to its supporters, to be something like pulling hen’s teeth. It proceeded in drips and drabs for more than 40 years, facing obstacles from derelict cars piled in Bear Creek to legal issues. It’s another example of something that might not even be possible today. Lithia Motors is another story of progressing in fits and starts but never stopping. Sid DeBoer bought it from his mother in 1968 for $60,000. Almost half a century later, it’s an industry giant with $8 billion in annual revenues and a shiny new corporate headquarters that may signal a boost in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Medford. So look around and see what you can see that came through a door that might not have opened. There’s Southern Oregon University, Lost Creek Dam and its scuttled sister at Elk Creek, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the once crucial but now declining pear orchards, the vineyards and marijuana fields that are replacing them … The valley is full of these things, each with its own story, links between a living present and an ever-receding past.

Reach freelance writer Bill Varble at Our Valley

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Dropping nearly 650 feet in less than a quarter-mile, the Jenny Creek Wagon Slide, the steep hill behind the Pinehurst Inn, was a difficult barrier for pioneers on the Applegate Trail. 2013 Mail Tribune file photo

The Trail To Today Applegate family’s loss was Rogue Valley’s gain By John Darling For the Mail Tribune


n the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, wagon trains had to find a way around the ferocious whitewater of the Columbia River, either by trekking over the steep, wooded wilds of Mount Hood or rafting the river. In 1843, two children from the pioneer Applegate family drowned on the Columbia, a tragedy that changed the future of the Rogue Valley.


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Our Valley

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Because of the Applegate children’s deaths and others’ over the next few years, Applegate brothers Lindsay and Jesse won permission from the Oregon Provisional Legislature to blaze a “southern emigrant trail,” heading in 1846 from the Willamette Valley through the Umpqua and Rogue valleys, then across a low point in the Cascades near the present Green Springs Inn, then down across the deserts of Northern California and Nevada, joining the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall, Idaho. On their return trip, they brought the first party of settlers, bound for the Willamette Valley. But when they got to the Bear Creek Valley — present-day Ashland — many of these boneweary folk said, “Ah, this looks pretty good. There’s no reason to go up north,” says Ashland historian George Kramer. “Everything comes from that moment. It was the first major emigrant route to include Southern Oregon. Arguably, the valley was settled very differently and earlier because of that success,” he adds. The route was soon known as the Applegate Trail and it followed Bear Creek through the valley. When gold was discovered in 1851, Jacksonville was born and a stagecoach route was established on what are now South and Old Stage roads — which carry traffic from Phoenix through Jacksonville to Gold Hill to this day. Medford bloomed in the 1880s, displacing Jacksonville. In the decades following the arrival of the automobile, the main north-south route through the Rogue Valley became Highway 99. The interstate was completed here in 1966, though Kramer notes, “It would be inaccurate to say the Applegate Trail led to the interstate.”

The route was soon known as the Applegate Trail and it followed Bear Creek through the valley. When gold was discovered in 1851, Jacksonville was born and a stagecoach route was established on what are now South and Old Stage roads — which carry traffic from Phoenix through Jacksonville to Gold Hill to this day.

Our Valley

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Southern Oregon University archaeologist Chelsea Rose and former Jackson County surveyor Roger Roberts walk on what may have been part of the Applegate Trail near Sunny Valley. The pair were part of a team trying to identify the trail’s path prior to a widening of I-5 in the area. 2010 Mail Tribune file photo

Reminders of the old trail survive, but you have to know where to look for them. Tub Springs State Wayside, just east of Green Springs Inn, still gushes with the same water — considered among the purest waters on Earth — that slaked the thirst of struggling wagon train pioneers. You can take jugs there and fill them any time of year.


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The Applegate Trail went along Bear Creek, and where Ashland’s East Main Street and Talent’s Talent Avenue are now. But “the important thing,” says Kramer, “is not where it was located but how it opened up the route through the valley. It was the beginning of a major transportation corridor in the Bear Creek Valley.” Reminders of the old trail survive, but you have to know where to look for them. Tub Springs State Wayside, just east of Green Springs Inn, still gushes with the same water — considered among the purest waters on Earth — that slaked the thirst of struggling wagon train pioneers. You can take jugs there and fill them any time of year. The Mountain House on Old Siskiyou Highway, half a mile south of Highway 66, built in 1852 by three pioneer men who filed donation land claims with a common corner, still exists as a

bed-and-breakfast and, says Kramer, is the oldest house in Jackson County. Ashland City Councilor Pam Marsh, co-owner of the Green Springs Inn, says the Applegate Trail and its pioneers “are a tremendous legacy, especially when you live nearby. You are well aware how rugged the terrain is and how rough the weather. Families struggled to get over the mountains to the valley. It’s quite stunning to contemplate. “We have a very concrete tie with history here. … The women willing to take off from farms in the Midwest, carrying children, drawn to adventure, driven by the stories that came back to them. They were literal trailblazers. We’ve added our imprint with roads on the basic imprint, but they created it.”

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

Our Valley

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THE SOUTHERN ROUTE The Applegate Trail, also known as “the southern route,” was built to make it both safer and easier for people traveling to the Willamette Valley. Covering more than 1,000 miles, it cut off from the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall in what is now Idaho, headed southwest through presentday northern Nevada and the northeastern corner of California into Oregon. However, the route called the Applegate Trail was long used by American Indians before brothers Jesse and Lindsay Applegate — along with Levi Scott and others — were credited with punching through the trail in 1846, said archaeologist Chelsea Rose. “When it was first established, there was still a border dispute between Britain and the United States,” she said. “There were a lot of Americans coming out to settle the Willamette Valley. People were concerned that the main way people were coming west was along the Columbia River, which had a series of forts operated by the Hudson’s Bay Co., a British enterprise. “They were interested in finding an alternative route in case things went south with the British and the Americans got stuck up there without any way to get supplies to them, “ she added. There was also the danger posed by the Columbia River, where two of the Applegate children drowned in 1843, historians note. “The Applegate cutoff as a means to the Willamette Valley was used for only a couple of years, “ Rose said. The reason it was short-lived was because of the discovery of gold in 1849 in California, causing a southern rush, she said. But that rush was reversed several years later when gold was discovered in what is now Jacksonville, she said. In 1992, Congress named the Applegate Trail as part of the National Historic Trail system. — This article by Paul Fattig originally ran in the Mail Tribune in 2010 Our Valley

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Gold town Jacksonville still feels impact of gold By Tony Boom For the Mail Tribune

Whether it’s from tourists flocking to see preserved buildings that stand from early days, sinkholes caused by mining tunnels dug during the 1930s under roadways and property, or hikers viewing the remains of mining operations in Rich Gulch, gold continues to have an impact on the town of Jacksonville. The discovery of gold on Daisy Creek is usually listed as 1851 by James Clugage and James Poole. But research suggests others discovered the gold, and Clugage and Poole were the ones who filed donation land claims for the area that became Jacksonville once Clugage spread word of the metal’s presence. A monument at the discovery site stands near the corner of Applegate and Oak

streets a few blocks from the town’s center. In addition to drawing miners, gold attracted those who stood to profit from the needs of miners. It is their heritage of brick business buildings, many erected in the 1880s, that attracts visitors today. “The ones who actually got rich were the merchants who sold to the landowners and the miners,” said Carolyn Kingsnorth, president of Historic Jacksonville Inc. and history writer for the Jacksonville Review magazine. Cornelius Beekman’s 1863 bank still stands on the corner of California and Third streets. The scales he used to weigh gold are still inside, along with other items that were in the building when he died in 1915. Beekman tried his hand at mining in 1853 but soon realized he could make more money buying and transporting gold, said Kingsnorth. Beekman’s bank is one of a few

Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Dennis Seipp checks out an adit to a gold mine a few miles south of Jacksonville. Seipp was part of a team working to identify and mitigate dangerous mine passages on BLM land. 2011 Mail Tribune file photo

Enterprises such as the Sterling Mine outside of Jacksonville operated into the 20th century. Huge nozzles washed away the hillsides, flushing out bits of gold. Photo courtesy of the Southern Oregon Historical Society


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Our Valley

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wooden commercial buildings to survive Jacksonville fires. A grant for Jackson County Cultural Coalition will allow the bank to be open during summer months two days per week. Another legendary figure, Peter Britt, came to the area initially to mine for gold. He became better known as a photographer and agriculturalist who experimented to see what would grow in the Rogue Valley. The Britt Music & Arts Festival is located on his homesite. “Most of them did come to mine and then found out it was cold, hard, wet work,” said Kingsnorth. “Basically you did it in the winter when the creeks were running.” Oregon’s oldest surviving brick structure is the 1855 city-owned Brunner building on Oregon Street. The first two-story brick building in town is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall, built just across the street from the Brunner building in 1856. A sinkhole that opened behind the post office in February may have been related to digging done during the Great Depression in search of gold. Sinkholes have plagued the town since the gold-mining days. In February 1996, a 5-by-20-foot sinkhole 6-feet deep opened up at a home near Daisy Creek, destroying a garden. The cause was a forgotten mine tunnel. Tunnels were usually 4-by-6-feet and up to 20 feet deep, the late Lou Applebaker told the Mail Tribune in a 2009 interview. His father leased mineral rights on family property during the Depression with the provision that the miner not tunnel under the family barn. Dirt removed from the shafts was processed in sluice boxes. The sound of gas engines driving pumps to suck water out of the mining holes could be heard each

An unidentified miner crouches on a board over a small creek in Jacksonville while he pans for gold. Photo #375 courtesy of the Southern Oregon Historical Society

Our Valley

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morning, Applebaker recalled. Near the gold discovery site on Applegate Street are mounds of tailings from mine operations that were conducted during the Great Depression. There are also several rock piles near the creek bed, signs of earlier mining when rocks were tossed from sluice boxes. The site was worked over several times beginning in the 1850s. Jacksonville Woodlands Association has created trails south and west of downtown that take visitors to mining sites in Rich Gulch. The main Rich Gulch Trail begins at a parking lot near the Britt Festival grounds and leads to an area with “glory holes” and hydraulic mining operations. “Glory holes” are the remnants of holes dug during the Depression, but mining in the area probably began in the 1860s. At the bottom of one glory hole is a 1950s GMC pickup. A see-through metal cover has been placed over that hole. Parts of the Petard family mining operation in the area were recreated by Eagle Scout projects in French Gulch. The Petard Ditch Trail off the Rich Gulch Trail leads to the sites. Original mining equipment was installed by one scout, while another recreated a sluice box. The equipment includes a “monitor” — a cannon-like device that shot water to break loose rocks and dirt that could be checked for gold. A staircase of railroad ties created by another scout makes access to the features easier and reaches the top of a reservoir head wall. Mining at the Petard site started in the 1860s and continued into the 1940s. Remnants of Petard’s ditch that took water from Jackson Creek can still be found, along with excavations. At the Chinese diggings, old water ditches and piles of mine tailings left by Chinese workers are visible. This was the most extensively mined area in Rich Gulch and is one-third of a mile from the end of Oregon Street.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at 20

A truck lies in a “glory hole” in Rich Gulch in Jacksonville. The pit is one of many dug by backyard miners looking for gold during the Depression. A fence keeps hikers from falling into the pit. 2007 File Photo

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This circa-1909 photograph of Medford shows Main Street at the railroad tracks, with the depot on the left. Southern Oregon Historical Society photo

The future came by rail The Rogue Valley owes its life to the railroad By John Darling For the Mail Tribune

If it weren’t for the railroad, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival probably wouldn’t exist, Harry and David never would have shipped pears around the world, and Interstate 5 never would have gone through Medford. The railroad that arrived in the Rogue Valley in the 1880s gave the region a future, providing a way for people and pears and other products to get to big cities. But it almost didn’t happen and was likely a mistake made by railroad chiefs, one they corrected 40 years later by rerouting trains through Klamath Falls and skipping the steep and expensive Siskiyou Mountains. If the railroad had gone with the Klamath route to start with, Highway 99 could 22

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well have followed the railroad tracks, with Interstate 5 later doing likewise — and the Rogue Valley might have ended up as a pleasant, scenic little spot, sort of like LaGrande in Eastern Oregon, but not the hub of things. That’s the view of Ashland historian George Kramer, a longtime student of the improbable chain of events that put our valley in the mainstream of commerce and culture over the last 165 years. The sequence goes like this: Emigrants on the Oregon Trail faced a dangerous bottleneck around Mount Hood. Many rafted the whitewater of the Columbia River. The Applegate family lost two young sons to this perilous crossing and won permission from the provisional Legislature to create a Southern Emigrant Route across the Cascades to the Rogue Valley, where they were supposed to head north to the larger

Willamette Valley. However, some liked it here and stayed, creating Ashland Mills. Muleteers on the wagon trail found gold up tiny Jackson Creek, which started a gold rush, leading to the founding of Jacksonville, which became a stop on the stage route between California and the Portland area. Gold is what locked in the route over the rugged Siskiyous through this valley, said Kramer. An easier route would’ve been from Weed, Calif., north through the relatively flat Klamath Basin. But the die was cast in gold, and when Southern Pacific, three decades later, built the railroad south from Portland (and north from California), it went over the big mountains and followed the stage road toward Jacksonville, which was, by the 1880s, one of the major cities in Oregon. “People from Jacksonville were considered state leaders, gubernatorial

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candidates,” said Kramer. “They knew if they didn’t get the railroad, they were going to die.” Well, they didn’t get it. The rail barons didn’t want to divert up to a corner of the county. They laid track along Bear Creek through the flattest part, buying the cheap farm and ranch land from wealthy men in Jacksonville. “Without the railroad, Medford wouldn’t be there,” Kramer said. “Well, something would be there, but the history of the valley would have been very different.” The railroad laid out the town, with Center and Front streets as the main drag, and the depot sitting in the middle of an intersection, fronting the tracks. The railroad agent in charge, David Loring, named it Medford after his hometown in Massachusetts. At this time, 1883, Jacksonville city fathers built their fancy courthouse, hoping it would help them keep their town as the county seat. It didn’t. Medford exploded, becoming the biggest burg in Southern Oregon. Jacksonville shriveled and became frozen in time, now a charming frontier town with an annual summer music festival named after Peter Britt, a pioneer photographer. In their first mention of Medford, local newspapers called it “the new town in the center of our valley.” Medford for years resisted having streets cross the tracks, east and west. The railroad didn’t want to uncouple the trains. No one minded, though, because the train was the reason the city was there, Kramer noted. “Finally, in 1926, the railroad allowed Sixth Street to cut across the tracks. It was a big deal, and they had a parade.” Medford and Ashland quickly developed a rivalry that persists to this day, with the former a thriving, practical commercial center and the latter a scenic, cultural and educational hub. Ashland wouldn’t support a public vote on making Medford the county seat until Medford joined in Ashland’s drive to get the Legislature to fund its college, which the state recently had abandoned. In the 1920s, they helped each other, and both got their wish. After many starts and stops, Southern Oregon Normal School got on track for good in 1926 and thrives now as Southern Oregon University. For Ashland, the building of the Our Valley

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Crews take a break during construction of the Oregon and California Railroad through the Siskiyou Mountains in 1887. Southern Oregon Historical Society photo railroad completed the rail loop of the entire nation. “The valley was fairly isolated,” Kramer said. “It was hard to get goods or people in or out. After 1887, we opened to the rest of the world, though it was still hard to get here. You could ship timber, pears and produce. It was no surprise that the fruit boom so affected the valley after the turn of the century. Before then, pears rotted by the time they got to San Francisco. You could see changes in architecture here. You could order manufactured windows. Kit homes arrived on flatcars. Many still stand.” Train crews were needed for extra engines to pull trains over the Siskiyous, so the Railroad Addition was built in Ashland, rapidly doubling its population. City leaders thought downtown would relocate by the tracks, and that’s why the farmland was platted with wide streets of Fourth and B, Kramer said, and scores of small, simple vernacular homes line the streets of what’s still called “the Railroad District.” The Oregon & California Railroad (later Southern Pacific) had amazing power in the 1880s, prompting Gold Hill to move to the east side of the Rogue River to be on the tracks, and spurring Grants Pass to move from Jackson to Josephine County by moving the county line, so it could become the county seat and get a railroad depot, he said. “Towns lived or died in that era based on whether they got a depot or not,” he said. “If you got one, property values soared. Josephine County wasn’t going to get a depot. The railroad didn’t come to Josephine 24

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County; Josephine County came to the railroad.” When the state of Oregon built its Pacific Highway in 1915, it followed the tracks, and the federal government used the same route in building the U.S. highway system. However, because of the expense and slowness of the Siskiyou route — and the opening of the Klamath Indian Reservation to logging — Southern Pacific in 1926 built the Natron Route from Weed, through Klamath Falls, then over the Cascades to Eugene. Passenger trains still ran locally, but the Rogue Valley was cut off from the world by train. “Grass will grow in our streets,” warned the Ashland Daily Tidings. The number of trains through Ashland dropped from 20 to four. All railroad workers living in town pulled out. Only goods made here got shipped around the valley. “Ashland and the valley took a big hit. Klamath Falls boomed,” Kramer said. “It stayed that way till the mid-’50s.” When I-5 was planned, the same argument played out: Wouldn’t it be cheaper,

flatter and straighter to follow U.S. 97 through Klamath Falls? “I’m sure the U.S. Department of Transportation thought that would be easier, but the Rogue Valley wasn’t going to put up with that. The Pacific Highway had always been through this valley. Yes, the miles of I-5 over the Siskiyous would be the most expensive freeway in Oregon, but we got our freeway.” “Just think what our valley would be like without it,” said Kramer. “And just think what we’d be like if O&C Railroad had not built through the valley. But we were more developed back then. There was more money to be made from the land they (railroad) were given. Southern Pacific bought O&C and decided to keep the route. If everyone were smarter, they would have built it through Klamath Falls in the 1880s, and our valley would have had a totally different history. Medford wouldn’t be Medford. The fruit industry, a major economic engine of the 20th century, would not have taken off. We would not have gotten Highway 99. We would have been like LaGrande, a nice town with a university and on a highway, with skiing nearby, but so what? “It was a miracle of coincidences that OSF developed in Ashland the way it did. If we didn’t have the railroad, 99 and I-5, it would have been much harder for it to have succeeded. What is fascinating, besides the absolutely beautiful location and high level of culture, is it’s a so-called micropolitan community, a small town with a big-city potential. Ashland attracts people, retirees, equity emigrants with lots of disposable income … and I don’t think you can credit that to anything but our access to the outer world,” Kramer noted. “We get this because the railroad, probably in error, chose to go over the Siskiyous instead of through Klamath Falls, and we’re still benefiting from that error.”

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at The first passenger train is shown in 1884 in Ashland, where construction on the railroad stopped until March 1887. Photo courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society

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Ashland Creek drew pioneers who saw the water as a source of power for a mill, which is why the settlement was called Ashland Mills. Mail Tribune file photo

A creek runs through it Ashland Creek led to the founding of the area’s first still-existing settlement By Tony Boom For the Mail Tribune

The creek that led to the founding of the Rogue Valley’s first real community is still central to the vibrancy of the town today. Ashland Creek drew pioneers who saw the water as a source of power for a timber mill, which is why the settlement was called Ashland Mills. Today the creek is the backbone of Lithia Park, which entices both valley residents and tourists. Adjacent to the creek, the Plaza serves as a favorite gathering spot, and in the first days it was the location for those dropping off and picking up items from the mill, which later produced grain. Historian Jeff LaLande says Ashland can be viewed as the first settlement in the Rogue Valley, although he admits Jacksonville’s creation occurred at nearly the same time. While Native American Shastas also had settlements, some located where Ashland stands, none 26

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Ever-increasing Chautauqua audiences led SOCA president G.F. Billings and others to suggest that a new amphitheater be constructed. The building was enlarged a third time in 1917 at a cost of $15,000, largely financed by a city bond. The new building included a 14-foot reinforced concrete wall, dressing rooms and a ticket booth. (Courtesy of Terry Skibby Collection).

Our Valley

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Cascade Research archaeologist Dennis Gray peers into a hole excavated at the future site of Ashland Creek Park near East Hersey and Water streets, where fragments of American Indian artifacts were found. Mail Tribune file photo survives. Abel Helman, Robert Hargadine and Eber Emery started their settlement in January 1852, just a little before gold was discovered in what became Jacksonville, says LaLande. Newspaper accounts from later times put the gold discovery in Jacksonville from December 1851 into 1852, with most mentioning February. In 1851, Capt. Thomas Smith undertook a venture that is also a sign of community: planting crops and returning to harvest them. “He made a deal with the head of the Shastas, putting in potatoes and other hard crops in what is now the railroad district,” says LaLande. “You could argue that may be the first settlement.” After the mill was built, the Plaza area developed, says Ashland historian George Kramer. The loop in the Plaza came about as wagoneers moved up alongside the creek but then needed to head teams out from the mill, he says. Today, storefronts and restaurants surround the Plaza. Still housing businesses, the IOOF building on the Plaza was the first constructed of brick. This followed an 1879 fire that destroyed the area, prompting Our Valley

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city fathers to rebuild in a more fireproof mode. Other brick buildings followed, giving the Plaza the historic character that tourists and locals know today. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival annually draws nearly 400,000 guests to performances in three theaters over a nine-month span. It has nearly 700 employees. The plays pack the town with visitors who stay in hotels, eat at the restaurants and enjoy Lithia Park and other area attractions. Festival roots arguably go back to 1893, when Ashland was selected as a site for Chautauqua performances over other towns. Chautauqua was a traveling circuit with lectures, dances, music and other events that went all over the country and followed train routes out west, Kramer says. “Cities lobbied to have them come,” he says. “It was an economic development thing in a way. People traveled and pitched tents to attend.” A domed building was erected in 1917 on the Chautauqua site for its annual visits. A large, concrete wall was built on the hillside just above the Plaza and Lithia Park to support the dome. Although Chautauqua was


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The new brick Masonic building and IOOF hall can been seen in this photo, taken sometime after the city was electrified in 1889. Also visible is the flagpole where President Rutherford B. Hayes and Civil War Gen. William T. Sherman spoke Sept. 27, 1880. Photo courtesy of Southern Oregon Historical Society

Our Valley

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Ashland’s flour mill, shown here in the 1890s, was one of the first businesses to thrive in the young town. Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society

discontinued in the 1920s, the wall still exists and surrounds the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, and patrons pass through it to see outdoor performances each summer and fall. Southern Oregon Normal School professor Angus Bowmer in 1935 looked at the wall of the failing structure and had a vision that Shakespeare plays could be performed on the site, which reminded him of drawings he’d seen of theaters

in Shakespeare’s days. He put on three performances that first summer. Running past Southern Oregon University is a broad street that Ashlanders call “The Boulevard.” Created in 1888, Siskiyou Boulevard is a tree-lined thoroughfare with landscaped center islands and flanked by older houses, Ashland High School, the university and businesses. It was originally two lanes. Old photos show a broad road leading

out through vacant land. The boulevard was paved in 1910. Later narrowing of the center island to accommodate four lanes was condemned by the town’s newspaper publisher. In the 1960s, young developers envisioned commercial establishments along the route, but preservationists prevailed.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@

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Southern Oregon University student Alex Rudd, 22, a communications major from North Bend, Wash., eats lunch under sunny skies on campus. 2014 Mail Tribune file photo

The engine ThaT is sOU Southern Oregon University pumps money and graduates into the region, but it nearly went belly up several times 30

By John Darling

For the Mail Tribune

With 6,200 students, 750 faculty, staff and administration, Southern Oregon University is Ashland’s largest employer, with approximately $55 million a year in payroll. Total annual revenue for the university is almost $95 million, creating an economic powerhouse for the town and Southern Oregon. When the region’s first “college” was started by the Rev. Joseph H. and Annie Hill Skidmore in 1872, only 20 years after Ashland was born, it was called Ashland Academy. Located where the defunct Briscoe School is now, it was run by the town’s Methodist Episcopal Church. It went through nine name changes and multiple death-rebirth experiences as its mission shifted and it rode the rollercoaster of recessions. After the college closed down in 1886 because of financial troubles, the state took it over in 1887, making it the Ashland State Normal (teachers) School. But the state

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didn’t fund it, so it folded after three years. The Methodists got it going again, then the state took it over again, defunded it again and it went down the tubes again, in 1909. In the flush economy of 1926, the city created the college’s present site, and the state again took it over as Southern Oregon State Normal School. In 1945, when Elmo Stevenson was hired as the college president, enrollment had plummeted to fewer than 100 students because of World War II. The college again was threatened with closure. But by the time Stevenson retired 23 years later, enrollment had soared to 4,903. “What saved it was the GI Bill,” says Don Laws, a retired SOU political science professor who also served on the Ashland City Council. “It started growing very rapidly, and they decided to leave it open. “It grew and grew through the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. I got here in ‘68, when they were just starting to offer degrees in something besides teaching. We started getting students from other countries, like Saudi Arabia and Russia. That’s all gone now because of tuition costs.”

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Southern Oregon University students cross campus on a perfect spring day. 2015 Mail Tribune file photo Southern Oregon State College, as it was called starting in 1975, went through sieges of budget-cutting along with voter-mandated defunding that introduced young students to the new concept of starting life deep in debt. “It was all about teaching,” says Laws, “then the emphasis shifted, trying to be more like large universities, with professors doing research, writing papers and presenting them at conferences.” It became Southern Oregon University in 1997 and focused on being more integrated into the regional community, partnering with Rogue Community College so those students could move seamlessly into upper division work. The two institutions built the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford in 2008. 32

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A Southern Oregon University student walks near two residence halls and a dining hall built in 2013. Denise Baratta / Mail Tribune SOU created a popular Masters in Management degree and made it possible for local residents to keep full-time careers while going to college at night and taking classes on the Internet. “We’re really the regional university and see it as our mission to provide an educated workforce for

the community,” says Joan McBee, chairwoman of the SOU Business Department. “Businesses and students gain more value from their classes when they can apply it in the workforce.” Employers say SOU students bring a positive attitude, have good organizational skills and

help them be more productive, says McBee, adding that 40 percent of students are paid for their work. SOU encourages more paid internships, she said, because tuition is so high. SOU is the only four-year institute of higher learning along Interstate 5 between Eugene and Redding, notes Mike Beagle, director of SOU Alumni Relations. “Where do you get your pool of teachers and business leaders?” Beagle asks. “Right here. We have 50 SOU alums in Lithia Motors headquarters. We help drive the economy of the valley and wouldn’t have the growth or population without SOU.” John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

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Downtown Medford

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A semi heads north on the Interstate 5 viaduct above Jackson Street in Medford. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

Road to everywhere

How Interstate 5 changed the concepts of time and distance By John Darling For the Mail Tribune

We now take the interstate highway system very much for granted, but when it was completed in 1966 — making Oregon the first state to have a border-to-border freeway — it radically changed the way we viewed time and distance, making it possible to pop into Grants Pass in half an hour and Los Angeles in a day. If an earthquake took out a bunch of bridges on I-5, we’d instantly find out how critical it is to life in the Rogue Valley, because the vast majority of our food comes from out of the valley, and most of it comes in big semitrucks on the freeway. The arrival half a century ago of four-lane, limited-access travel at 65 mph in private vehicles quickly obsolesced the railway, which 34

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itself caused a radical shift in 1887, supplanting the stagecoach — and stretched the minds of its first travelers, who were quoted in newspapers of the day marveling at how amazing it was to just keep going and going with nothing in their way. “It eliminated the need for train travel,” says Gary Leaming, Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman, “and it homogenized our country, eliminating parochial mannerisms. You suddenly could go anywhere and do anything. It provided great benefits, supercharged our economy and was intended to bypass a lot of communities so it wouldn’t impact them.” In Oregon, they achieved this with most cities, except Portland and Medford, creating an unusual viaduct through the center of Medford. “It divided our town, although it has nine crossings. It made it east and west

Medford,” says Leaming. The proposed freeway plunged Medford into a huge controversy as some favored the central route, feeding traffic into downtown businesses and restaurants and preserving farmland, while others liked a route through the eastern foothills. The new Rogue Valley Hospital on Barnett Road in that undeveloped area didn’t want the fumes and noise of freeway traffic, Leaming notes. In a 1956 editorial, Mail Tribune Editor Eric Allen, describing five options, wrote, “It boils down (as so many decisions of a public nature do) to a choice of something which will do the least amount of harm. And while some people will be unhappy no matter what is decided, a decision must be made. No route can be perfect, and there will be a marked

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Directory (1) South Stage Cellars 125 S. Third St. Jacksonville, OR 541.899.9120 Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sun 1-7 Wed, Fri, Sat, 1-8

(9) RoxyAnn Winery 3283 Hillcrest Dr. Medford, OR 541.776.2315 Mon-Thurs, 12-7 Fri 11-9, Sat-Sun 11-7

(2) DANCIN Vineyards 4477 South Stage Rd. Medford, OR 541.245.1133 Oct-Apr, Thurs-Sun 12-7 May-Sept, Thurs-Sun 12-8

(10) Trium Wines 7112 Rapp Ln. Talent, OR 541.535.4015 April & Oct Fri-Mon 11-5:30 May-Sept Daily 11-5:30

(3) Daisy Creek Vineyards 675 Shafer Ln. Medford, OR 541.899.8329 May-Oct, Thurs-Mon, 12-5

(11) Main Street Wine Tours 800 N. Main St. Ashland, OR 541.482.9852 Open Daily 11-5

(4) Le Petit Tasting Room Ledger David Cellars 245 N. Front St. Central Point, OR 541.664.2218 Open Daily 12-5

(12) Paschal Winery 1122 Suncrest Rd. Talent, OR 541.535.7957 Jan-Apr, Closed Tuesdays Apr-Dec, Open Daily

(5) Eden Valley Orchards 2310 Voorhies Rd. Medford, OR 541.512.2955 Sun-Thurs 11-5 Fri-Sat 11-6

(13) Dana Campbell Vineyards 1320 N. Mountain Ave. Ashland, OR 541.482.3798 Thurs-Sun, 12-5

(6) Aurora Vines 2287 Pioneer Rd. Talent, OR 541.535.5287 May-Sept, Thurs-Sun 12- 5 (7) Pebblestone Cellars 1642 Camp Baker Rd. Medford, OR Dec-Mar, Sat & Sun 12-5 Apr-Nov, Wed-Mon 12-5 541.512.1704 (8) StoneRiver Vineyards 2178 Pioneer Rd Talent, OR Nov-Apr Sat & Sun 12-5 May-Oct Wed- Mon 12-6 541.535.4661

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(14) Grizzly Peak Winery 1600 E. Nevada St. Ashland, OR Apr-Oct, Thurs-Sun 12-4 Nov-Apr, Sat-Sun 12-4 541.482.5700 (15) Eliana Wines 158 Gaerky Ck. Rd. Ashland, OR 541.690.4350 Mar-Oct Thurs-Sat, Noon-5 (16) Belle Fiore Wine 100 Belle Fiore Ln. Ashland, OR 541.552.4900 Wed & Sun 12-8 Thurs-Sat 12-9 Seasonal hrs subject to change

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Green Springs

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coastal states and is, for each, the path to coastal states and fornation. each, the path to the whole rest ofis, the the whole rest of the nation. “The recent earthquake stories “The recent stories frighten us toearthquake contemplate what life divergence of opinion on which one is frighten us to contemplate what life ... divergence of opinion on which one is would be like if I-5 were destroyed the best — or, rather, the least bad.” beget likesupplies if I-5 were the Medford's best — or, rather, the least bad.” how to intodestroyed the valley....We Glenn Jackson, the power- would how to get supplies into the valley. We all Medford's Glenn Jackson, the powerhave rail again, but it’s limited. We’re ful chairman of the State Highway have rail again, but it’s limited. We’re all ful chairman of the State Highway about the trucks and that freeway. WithCommission, approved the viaduct about the trucks and that freeway. WithCommission, approved the viaduct out it, life would change dramatically.” option, agreeing with those who said it out it, life would changewas dramatically.” option, with those who it When the freeway designed, would agreeing destroy fewer houses andsaid have When the freeway was designed, would destroy fewer houses and have or thought less of an impact on orchard and agricul- Leaming says, no one knew says,the no one knew or thought less of land. an impact on orchard and agricul- Leaming much about seismic menace, and tural about the seismic and tural few thought there weremenace, earthquake “Itland. was so new, it was hard for anyone much few thought there near werethe earthquake was new, it was hard forLeaming, anyone faults anywhere I-5 corridor. to“It get thesofull grasp of it,” says faults anywhere near the I-5 corridor. tobut getfreeway the full planners grasp of it,” says Leaming, That changed with scientific advances in had the vision to That changed scientific advances in but freeway planners the be vision to the 1980s — with and the viaduct could never know that four laneshad would needed the 1980s — and the viaduct could never know that four lanes would be needed be built today. in the distant future, which has now be built today. inarrived. the distant future, which has now ODOT did a seismic upgrade a dozen ODOT seismicpancaking upgrade aof dozen arrived. years agodid to aprevent ele“I was looking at photos from 1974, years ago to prevent pancaking of “I was looking at photos from 1974, vated structures in a quake. It is elesearching and you could count the cars on one vated structuresinexpensive” in a quake. Itreinforceis searching and youbut could count theup.” cars on one for “relatively hand, now it’s full for “relatively inexpensive” reinforcehand, but now it’s full up.” ments and fixes, such as shoulders and a Asked to describe the nature and ments and fixes, as shoulders and a Asked toofdescribe the nature and twin viaduct bysuch the present one. Hugely meaning the freeway to us now, twin viaduct by the present one. Hugely meaning of the freeway to us now, expensive fixes — a billion-dollar price Ashland City Councilor Pam Marsh expensive fixesbandied — a billion-dollar price Ashland City Councilor Pam Marsh tag has been about — include says, “It’s a ribbon that ties together all tag has been bandied about — include says, “It’s a ribbon that ties together all putting Medford’s freeway in a tunnel. the metro areas of the West Coast. For putting Medford’s freeway in a tunnel. the metro areas of the West Coast. For many of us in Ashland, I-5 is the access many of us in Ashland, I-5 is the access John Darling is a freelance writer to the homes of our children, who tend John Darling is a freelance writer to the homes of our children, who tend living in Ashland. Email him at to move away. We get on it and are at living in Ashland. Email him at to move away. We get on it and are at their homes rapidly. It defines the three their homes rapidly. It defines the three

Continued from page 34 Continued from page 34

A semi passing a Pacific Power transformer on A Interstate semi passing Pacific PowerSummit transformer 5 atathe Siskiyou gives on some Interstate 5 at the Siskiyou Summit gives sense of the size of the 200-ton packagesome shipped sense of the of the 200-ton shipped in 2011 by asize Riddle company topackage the Copco Dam in inNorthern 2011 by aCalifornia. Riddle company to the Copco Dam in Mail Tribune file photo Northern California. Mail Tribune file photo

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Clockwise from left, a worker welds pipes high above a concrete bunker at Timber Products in Medford, one of the major White City employers who benefitted from the infrastructure left behind when Camp White was closed. Development after the war created tremendous employment in White City. Boise Cascade’s Medford plywood plant is one of White City’s industrial stars. Mail Tribune file photos

The city that isn’t Few today realize how much White City — once known as Camp White — has changed our lives By John Darling For the Mail Tribune

White City, that thriving industrial complex north of Medford, sprang into being immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew America into World War II. Though the United States had been reluctant to get dragged into the war, the U.S. Army already had been busy checking 42

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out potential sites for a giant camp to train soldiers just in case. The Agate Desert, as the area was called, had flopped as orchard land and was marginal for ranching, so local businessmen and the Medford Chamber of Commerce promoted it as a training area with every type of terrain — mountains, river (the Rogue), desert, forest — plus it was accessible by rail, highway and plane (with the Medford airport just a few miles away).

The Army loved it, said Ashland historian George Kramer, and within weeks of Pearl Harbor the military had condemned the land for Camp White, named after Adjutant Gen. George White of the Oregon National Guard. The name lives on as White City, and so do the sturdy, rapidly constructed, squarish military buildings that now house Jackson County roads and parks crews. After the war, many of those handy structures also went to area schools, churches

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Soldiers from the 91st Infantry Division based at Camp White marched into Medford Sept. 12, 1942, at the conclusion of a six-day, 91-mile march. Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society and governments and still can be found there. “The Dom,” a giant hospital for veterans, survives as Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics. Now, 75 years later, part of the old base is the Camp White Military Museum. “The Army came in and just took the area by eminent domain, paying fair market value. It was huge, 77 square miles,” said Kramer. “They were busy building the first streets in January 1942 and naming them, military style, with the letters A through G. They still have those names. For a while, it was the secondlargest city in Oregon.” The big impact of Camp White was the fact that the Army dropped 40,000 raw recruits in the middle of a “kind of isolated, rural, insular valley that didn’t have a lot of dealings with the rest of the world,” Kramer said. “It would be like dropping the city of Eugene (pop. 160,000) on us today. They built 1,300 buildings. We could never go back to what we were.” In the 2002 documentary “Camp White: World War II in the Rogue Valley,” 44

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by Southern Oregon Public Television, Kramer said, “It was pandemonium. People were thrilled. It was a huge job to undertake. … People from all over the West flooded in. Anyone with a restaurant had 10,000 new mouths to feed. People lived in tents. Single men used the hot-bed system, rented rooms together and beds were full 24 hours a day. When one would come home, someone would go off to work.” Many fell in love with the valley, married locals before going off to war and returned here when it was over. This included many nurses and WAACs (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps). After training soldiers, the camp shut down and morphed into a prisoner-of-war camp for enlisted German fighters. They worked in local orchards, made friends and some of them came back here to live, too. In the documentary, Medford sodafountain worker Betty Zander described meeting her ardent suitor, soldier Ed Zander, noting, “He was an MP (military police), and he kept coming in and wanting a chocolate malt and winking at me. It

embarrassed me to death. I made it a little richer each time. He walked me home at midnight and we sat by the library. We got engaged on our second or third date, and that December we were married.” Our valley had to shake hands with the modern world in a big hurry, Kramer noted. “The military drafted many AfricanAmericans, mostly from the South, and it was the classic story: Racism was rampant, merchants refusing to serve blacks. They were not allowed to be on streets after dark, not just here, but in all Western Oregon,” Kramer said. “The commanding general of the 91st Division at Camp White basically told the chambers of commerce of Medford and Ashland: ‘If you want to serve my troops, you’ll serve all my troops, and if not, your whole city will be put off-limits to all of them.’ The merchants got over it fast.” Another positive step, little known in regional history, is that locals found many of those young soldiers were barely literate, took them in and changed their lives by teaching them to read and write

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proficiently even as the men were learnproficiently even warriors, as the men were learning to become Kramer said. ing toWith become warriors, Kramer peacetime, White City,said. an uninWith peacetime, White City, anstrapped unincorporated area then and now, corporated area then and now, strapped on its new moniker and made itself into onaits new monikerarea and with madetimber itself into vast industrial proda vast industrial area with timber products — Boise-Cascade, Weyerhaeuser, ucts — Boise-Cascade, Burrill Lumber — at Weyerhaeuser, its core. Later came Burrill Lumber — at its core. Later came 3-M. 3-M.“Obviously, Camp White was very good “Obviously, Camp White wassaid veryformer good for the valley, economically,” forJackson the valley, economically,” said former County Commissioner Tam Jackson Commissioner Tam sigMooreCounty of Medford. “But the most Moore of Medford. “But the most sig-after nificant thing was its development nificant thing was its development after the war. Glenn Jackson, an executive thewith war.California-Oregon Glenn Jackson, anPower executive Co., was with Power was theCalifornia-Oregon developer. It resulted in aCo., trementhedous developer. It resulted in a tremenamount of mostly forest products dous amount of Mills mostly forest products employment. sprouted. The old employment. Mills sprouted. The oldthe Camp White steam plant became Camp White steamfor plant source of power the became mills.” the source of power for the mills.” “What it did was give us a running start “What it did was give us Kramer, a running start in the postwar era,” said “exposing in us thetopostwar era,” said Kramer, “exposing new people, new ways of dealing with us things to new— people, new ways dealing with and growth. Weof pulled it off, and things — and growth. We pulled it off, and Medford was never the same. The impacts Medford the same. The impacts are stillwas felt.never Few things in the valley’s hisaretory stillwere felt. Few things in the valley’s his- It as big and all-encompassing. tory were aseverything.” big and all-encompassing. It changed changed everything.” White City is overseen by Jackson White overseen by Jackson CountyCity andishas its various districts, County and has its various districts,and such as a street-lighting district such as a street-lighting district law-enforcement district, but,and added law-enforcement district, but, added Moore, it should be made into a municiMoore, should be made a municipalityitfor the good of theinto people who pality good of the people who live for andthe work there. live and work that there. “It needs direct governance, and “It needs that direct governance, the county commission is doing aand lot of theother county commission is doing lot of things,” said Moore. “Buta given other said Moore. “But it given howthings,” we develop in the West, probably how we develop in the West, it probably will never be a city, as we think of cities.” will never be a city, as we think of cities.”

John Darling is a freelance writer John Darling is a freelance living in Ashland. Email writer him at living in Ashland. Email him at

Heinz Bertram, center, and two fellow POWs stand outside the Camp White POWBertram,, Rogue Valley residents were stand curious and a bit of the Heinz and two fellow POWs outside thefearful Camp White German POWs, butValley soon found thatwere theycurious were hard and many POW laundry. Rogue residents andworkers a bit fearful of theof them “just kids.” Courtesy offound the Southern Historical Society German POWs, but soon that theyOregon were hard workers and many of them “just kids.” Courtesy of the Southern Oregon Historical Society

Camp White soldiers march through the Agate Desert past Lower Table Rock. Courtesy Oregonthrough Historical Camp WhiteSouthern soldiers march theSociety Agate Desert past Lower Table Rock. Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society

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Two runners hit the 19-mile mark of the 2006 Crater Lake Marathon. 2013 Mail Tribune file photo


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Our Valley

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A Crater Lake tour boat inspects Phantom Ship. Mail Tribune file photo

‘Beauty on a scale that is unusual’ Crater Lake was so remote it once took days to reach, and it’s still uniquely wild By Ryan Pfeil Mail Tribune

In late August 1869, Oregon Sentinel Editor Jim Sutton emerged from a Klamath County forest into a colorful wild garden of grasses, shrubs and flowers. The deepest lake in the United States — and one of the deepest in the world — sat just beyond, a sapphire expanse that stretched for miles and reflected the sky. “To say that this wonderful lake is grand, beyond description, is to give an idea of its magnificence,” Sutton would write a month later in a piece titled “Trip to Creater (sic) Lake.” “Everyone gazes at it for the first time in almost tearful astonishment.” Despite the misspelling, it was the first time the name “Crater Lake” was used. Thirty-three years later, on May 22, 1902, Crater Lake became Oregon’s first — and only — national park.

More than a century later, park officials say, the lake and 183,224 acres of surrounding parkland maintain a unique persona because of its remoteness. Horse-drawn wagons that once had to ford creeks and rivers to reach the park have given way to cars zipping over tree-hemmed stretches of rural highway, but civilization still seems far away for the most part. The park is still distinctly and uniquely wild, even with the annual haul of 500,000 or so visitors through its gates. “Just walk about 100 yards in any direction, and you’re by yourself,” says park historian Steve Mark. It seems everyone had an opinion of what to call the body of water leading up to its national park designation. The first story about Crater Lake came in the 1860s in a newspaper article written by Oregon prospector J.W. Sessions for the Jacksonville Oregon Sentinel after an 1862 exploration of the Cascade range: “The waters were of a

deeply blue color, causing us to name it Blue Lake.” Another account came from Capt. F.B. Sprague of Fort Klamath, who climbed down into the caldera with Sgt. Orsen Stearns and dubbed the body of water “Lake Majesty.” “I shall visit it this week and blaza (sic) trail to it from the summit, and give you my impressions of its depth, etc.,” he wrote to the Sentinel in 1865. “I have heard of no name being given it except ‘Hole in the Ground.’ It should have a name commesurate (sic) with its merits as a curiosity.” “Crater Lake” came about after Sutton ventured out to the lake and explored Wizard Island in August 1869. “One hour’s hard rowing against a heavy wind brought us to the island,” Sutton wrote. “Forty-five minutes more took us to the top of the island, where we proclaimed it to the winds that on the 4th day of August, 1869, we ... landed on the Creater (sic) Lake Island, and Our Valley

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then and there claimed to be the first human beings that ever set foot on its soil.” Crater Lake Park founder William Steel reportedly read about the lake the next year while eating lunch in Kansas, his food wrapped in a newspaper that contained a story about the lake. He saw it for himself 15 years later and vowed to protect it by turning it into a national park. He had ample drive to do it, Mark says, a trait he may have inherited from his parents, who were staunch abolitionists. “He didn’t marry money, unlike two of his brothers,” Mark says. “I think Crater Lake just gave him a cause ... to focus his life around.” By 1893, the park had some protections after it was made part of the Cascade Range Forest Reserve. Nine years later it became a national park. Construction on a lodge for the park came next, a daunting project due to the severe winter weather that tends to hang over the park for much of the year. “Steel finally convinced Alfred Parkhurst, a Portland developer, to take on the project,” according to Crater Lake documents. “However, Parkhurst had no experience constructing buildings that needed to withstand the weight of 15-foot snow depths that accumulate during Crater Lake’s long winters. Unlike Portland,


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construction work was limited to a short, three-month summer season. Labor and materials had to be brought great distances into the remote and largely undeveloped park.” Despite the challenges, the lodge opened in summer 1915. Later upgrades included more rooms and plumbing expansions in the 1920s and landscaping improvements in the 1930s. A $15 million rehabilitation came decades later. The route to the park also improved, aided by Oregon’s gas tax and licensing fees, and Jackson County’s pioneering action in using bonds to make road improvements. By 1925, it looked somewhat like the road system in place today, Mark says, minus the realignments, maintenance and improvements. “You didn’t have to ford the creek at Union Creek,” Mark says. “Which you did at one point.” Construction on Rim Drive started in the 1930s, replacing the Old Rim Road built in the early 1900s. Rim Drive was the first federal highway project in the state. It replaced a route that was closer to an old wagon road than a modern highway, and it was constructed with wood-burning steam shovels that needed water tenders nearby in case a fire broke out. “Rim Drive is much more an example of a modern approach to highways in that all the

Crater Lake National Park is known for its winter snow totals, and this winter the park set a new December record, with 197 inches of snow for the month. Mail Tribune file photo segments were contracted,” Mark says. “You had landscaping, you have all those things you have now.” The park has seen myriad changes over the past century, but the breathtaking view of the lake’s cobalt waters remains. It’s a sight Mark hopes will continue to instill admiration and curiosity in all who see it. “The number one draw is beauty,” Mark says. “And then you could say beauty on a scale that is unusual. Beauty plus, ‘All right, so how did this happen?’ ”

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune. com. Follow him at ryanpfeil.

Our Valley

4/13/2016 5:12:49 PM

The Table Rocks rise nearly 2,000 feet above the Rogue Valley floor. Mail Tribune file photo

Islands in the sky

The Table Rocks are icons of geology, geography and botany By Sarah Lemon For the Mail Tribune

Rogue Valley residents think they know the Table Rocks. Icons of the region’s geology, geography and botany, the Table Rocks also are reference points within the local lexicon. Businesses, community groups, public entities and man-made features throughout Southern Oregon take their titles from the Table Rocks. Yet for all their familiarity, the Table Rocks still maintain an aura of mystery. “They’re intriguing; people want to know more about them,” says Molly Allen of the Bureau of Land

Management’s Medford District. “They make people ask questions.” Restoration and preservation are among the main questions facing government, conservation groups, Native American tribes and other stakeholders in the Table Rocks. From thinning vegetation to improving trails and installing more informative signs, numerous efforts are helping to safeguard the 4,864-acre natural area. “Because it is so unique, it is an area of critical environmental concern,” says Allen. Standing alone — literally and figuratively — in a complex geologic landscape, the rocks are home to threatened species, including one plant found nowhere else in the world. Dwarf woolly meadowfoam,

endemic to the Table Rocks, encircles vernal pools that sustain threatened fairy shrimp. The species number among more than 3,400 plants, including about 200 species of wildflowers, growing on the rocks. “You always see something new,” says Allen, BLM’s environmental education specialist, who treks to the rocks almost every day from April through June. Spring brings the majority of Table Rocks visitors, greeted by the vibrant hues and delicate perfume of wildflowers. Some of the most common are western buttercups, desert parsley, bicolor lupin and California goldfields. “It’s one of the top-10 things to do in the Rogue Valley,” says Allen, whose agency has Our Valley

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organized a springtime series of guided hikes in partnership with The Nature Conservancy for the past 30 years. Free to the public, Table Rocks hikes are planned through April and May and highlight a different aspect of the landmarks each weekend. Hosting nearly 8,000 participants since 1986, the weekend hikes commenced early this year with a February event and two in March. “People may not realize that the use has skyrocketed in the past decade,” says Allen, explaining that the rocks collectively draw about 50,000 visitors annually. “They are in such close proximity … to the city centers,” says Allen. “People are kind of just used to going there.” Popularity puts any natural environment at risk. Despite public-education campaigns to “leave no trace,” the misconception persists that one person’s actions don’t make much of an impact, says Allen. “Then it’s 10 people; then it’s 100 people,” she says. “And then you have a problem with people picking flowers and removing things.” Removing some types of vegetation, however, is an ongoing effort at the Table Rocks to “create more resilient landscapes in the face of climate change,” says Allen. For the past year, the Lomakatsi Restoration Project has been thinning, pile-burning and “freeing up legacy oaks” to reduce the threat of wildfire on 1,200 acres, she says. Slated seasonally into 2019, the work ultimately will return native oak habitat to how it looked 100 years ago, before modern-day fire suppression, says Allen. “We’re bringing fire back to the Table Rocks for the first time in a long time.” More than 7 million years in the making, the Table Rocks formed from lava that flowed about 44 miles from an eruption near present-day Prospect to Sams Valley. Over millennia, the ancient Rogue River eroded about 90 percent of the valley’s lava rock, leaving only a few scattered masses and two horseshoe-shaped mesas, Upper and Lower Table Rocks. The volcanic remnants whose tops were once the valley floor now rise approximately 2,000 feet above sea level. “They call them the islands in the sky,” says Allen. “They look like they’re in the Southwest.” Worlds apart in their form, flora and fauna, the Table Rocks remain within 50

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Vernal pools like these on Lower Table Rock contain fairy shrimp. Mail Tribune file photo

More than 7 million years in the making, the Table Rocks formed from lava that flowed about 44 miles from an eruption near present-day Prospect to Sams Valley.

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Lower Table Rock pokes through the clouds. Mail Tribune file photo reach for many Rogue Valley residents. Rewarding hikers with a peerless panorama, the Table Rocks ascent still feels like an “accomplishment,” says Allen. The trek up Lower Table Rock is 1.75 miles with a 780-foot gain in elevation, while the Upper Table Rock Trail is a mere 1.25 miles long with an elevation gain of 720 feet. “They keep getting wider and wider and wider,” says Allen of the designated trails. The wide-open prairie atop the Table Rocks suggests that visitors can stroll anywhere, and they often do, says Allen. Cordoning off certain areas, using environmentally and aesthetically sensitive methods, isn’t a measure to discourage visitors but rather erosion, she says. “The Table Rocks are constantly eroding,” she says. “They’re not going to be around forever.”

Dwarf woolly meadowfoam is endemic to the Table Rocks. Mail Tribune file photo

Reach freelance writer Sarah Lemon at

Our Valley

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Sunday, April 24, 2016 |


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“Mount Mazama Erupting” a Paul Rockwood Painting. Image Courtesy of National Park Service. Original in Crater Lake National Park Museum and Archives Collections.

The eruption of Mount Mazama Crater Lake is tranquil today, but it won’t always be that way By Vickie Aldous Mail Tribune


ount Mazama erupted so violently 7,700 years ago that American Indians of the time explained the cataclysm in terms of gods battling each other.


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According to legend, the chief of the Below World grew angry when a beautiful woman refused to come live with him in his lodge below the mountain. Intent on destroying human beings, he hurled fire down from Mount Mazama. Feeling pity for the people, the chief of the Above World stood atop Mount Shasta and battled the chief of

the Below World. They threw red hot rocks as big as hills, triggered earthquakes and caused landslides of fire from their respective mountains. The chief of the Above World drove the chief of the Below World back into Mount Mazama and caused the mountain to collapse upon him, leaving a large hole that filled with water to become Crater Lake.

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“The Klamath Tribe lived south of Crater Lake National Park,” said park ranger Dave Grimes. “They tell stories that were passed down from their ancestors generation by generation about the eruption. The stories are couched in supernatural terms. They talk about gods battling each other. The sequence of events in the stories matches the sequence of events that happened. A big eruption was followed by the collapse of the peak. It’s pretty remarkable that the oral history matches the geology. It’s strong evidence that people saw and survived the eruption.” Sandals and other artifacts buried under layers of ash, dust and pumice show people close to the eruption site were not so lucky. The eruption was so violent it blew away most of 12,000-foot-tall Mount Mazama. It was the largest eruption to occur in North America in a half-million years, according to the National Park Service. Other smaller eruptions continued, with the most recent 4,800 years ago, Grimes said. One of the smaller eruptions produced Wizard Island, a miniature volcano in the caldera that rises above the surface of Crater Lake. At 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and holds 5 trillion gallons of water. Fed by snow and rain, the lake is also one of the clearest in the world. Crater Lake and the surrounding land was designated as Crater Lake National Park in 1902 and now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Whether they ever visit the park, human beings are having an impact because of climate change, according to the National Park Service. Over the decades the park is seeing less snowpack, which acts as a water reservoir, releasing water in the spring and summer as the snow melts. “Without that melting snow, forests are more susceptible to fire and insect outbreaks,” said Mac Brock, Crater Lake National Park chief of natural resources. Disconnects between plants, animals and insects that evolved to work together can also emerge. With warm, early springs, plants can flower before their pollinators emerge, he said. Scientists have seen impacts on populations of pikas, small mammals that look somewhat like hamsters but are related to rabbits. Equipped with dense fur and adapted to high alpine habitats, pikas can die after spending a few hours in the sun at temperatures as low as 78 degrees, according to the National Park Service. Whitebark pines are also under threat from warming temperatures. The hardy, high-elevation trees were hard-hit by the introduction of blister rust in the 1930s and 1940s. In about 2005, scientists started seeing more whitebark pines succumbing to

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mountain pine beetle infestations, said Crater Lake National Park botanist Jen Beck. A trend toward warmer temperatures is allowing the beetles to spread to higher elevations and reproduce more quickly, she said. “The beetles attack the biggest, cone-producing trees. The beetles prefer those because they can have bigger broods,” Beck said. The whitebark pine has become a candidate species for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, she said. The decline of the whitebark pine has impacts on other species, including the Clark’s nutcracker, a bird that stores seeds from cones in food caches. Whitebark pine seedlings, which can sprout and thrive in cold, harsh, treeless parts of the park, are now facing competition from less hardy trees that favor warmer conditions, Beck said. Brock said the long-term impacts of climate change on Crater Lake National Park are unclear. “A lot depends on what emissions continue to be in the future,” he said of greenhouse gas emissions. Looking thousands of years ahead, the volcanic forces that destroyed much of Mount Mazama and created Crater Lake will continue to play a role. “We don’t consider this volcano to be extinct — just dormant. This volcano erupts every 10,000 years or so,” Grimes said. “There’s no reason to think it won’t erupt again.” In 2005, the U.S. Geological Survey examined 169 volcanoes and compiled a list of the top 10 most dangerous volcanoes in the United States based on the potential damage to human life and property, he said. “We made the top 10. Mount Mazama is the 10th most dangerous volcano in America. Because the peak is gone, people think it’s extinct,” Grimes said. “But there is still magma several miles below Crater Lake.” He said today’s humans are fortunate to live in a time when the volcano is dormant and they can visit Crater Lake. “There are hundreds of crater lakes around the world from collapsed volcanic peaks. Most are nasty, noxious places with gasses bubbling up from below,” Grimes said. “Ours is unique because the water is so incredibly clear and clean. That’s one of the most amazing things about the park for the present time — that a beautiful, clear lake was produced by such a violent eruption. It’s quite a dramatic contrast between the violent eruption and the current peace and tranquility we feel today. It won’t always be like this in the future. We’re here at a special moment in time.” Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or Follow her at

Our Valley


Sunday, April 24, 2016 |


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Reinventing the region’s oldest hospital Asante Ashland Community Hospital started 107 years ago as Southern Oregon Hospital By Sarah Lemon For the Mail Tribune

Southern Oregon’s oldest hospital received infusions of financial support, medical expertise and appreciation in its second century of operation. Under the region’s largest health care provider, Asante Ashland Community Hospital succeeded in keeping its doors open, says Chief Executive Officer Sheila Clough. Admitting fewer patients, however, will help to safeguard that success. “We think the hospital should be for the people who are more sick,” says Clough. “We are attempting to lead the way … to reduce the amount of need for acute care.” Visits to Ashland’s emergency department increased by 20 percent over the past two years, says Clough. Also driving demand is the country’s aging population. Moving management of more medical conditions from the hospital to clinics will ensure that critical care is available in the future to those who need it most, she says. “The hospital is integral to our quality of life,” says Sandra Slattery, executive director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. “People want a hospital in their own community.” Ashland’s hospital has been a community fixture since 1907, when Dr. Francis G. Swedenburg founded it in a former private residence on the town’s Main Street. Christened Southern Oregon Hospital, the building later was towed by a team of horses up Second Street to the present-day site of Winchester Inn. A fire that ignited March 11, 1909, by a defective flue ravaged the hospital. But it reopened just days later at 586 E. Main St. 54

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Ashland Community Hospital was taken under Asante’s wing in 2014. Mail Tribune file photo Land for a new hospital was purchased on Siskiyou Boulevard, and the building — roughly located on the current site of Southern Oregon University’s Stevenson Union — opened April 30, 1910. The new Granite City Hospital started a school for nurses in 1912, and surgeries, including appendectomies, tonsillectomies and procedures for ovarian cysts, carcinomas, abscesses and broken bones, were performed weekly, according to Swedenburg’s record book. More than 100 years later, surgical services are key to the hospital’s growth, says Clough.

Between 2013 and 2015, surgeries numbered about 2,300, a 10 percent increase, she says. Urological and gynecological surgeries are the latest additions to hospital specialties that include retinology and orthopedics, according to Asante’s November report to the Ashland City Council. The city took the hospital’s helm in 1930 with a ballot measure that passed by an overwhelming majority. Numerous challenges had strained hospital operations, beginning in 1918 when Spanish influenza struck Ashland residents at an unprecedented rate. Many died before the

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epidemic began to wane after raging for several months. Efforts to refurbish and modernize the facility in 1921 sprang from the leadership of New York advertising tycoon Jesse Winburn, who bestowed the name “Community Hospital.” But financial hardships followed Winburn’s purchase before the city intervened. Thirty years later, councilors approved construction of a new hospital at its current Maple Street site, on the north end of Ashland. It was Oregon’s last city-owned hospital when, in 1996, officials transferred operation to a private, nonprofit corporation. The city still owns the land and related facilities, leased to the independent corporation. But it wasn’t enough for the hospital to survive, says Slattery, past president of the hospital foundation. To thrive, the hospital needed to strengthen its financial base by collaborating with a larger health system. Asante, owner of Rogue Regional and Three Rivers medical centers, emerged as the preferred partner and assumed ownership of Ashland’s hospital in June 2013. In the first year under Asante’s umbrella, the hospital slashed its annual operating loss from $3.8 million to $1.5 million, according

to reports to the City Council. The following year brought a small operating gain of $115,862. The hospital’s improved finances roughly coincide with the timeline when more Americans obtained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Profits will climb to $1 million in the 2015 fiscal year, says Clough. “Those dollars get reinvested,” she says, referring to the hospital’s nonprofit status. Reinvestment strategies likely will arise from surveys the hospital is conducting, says Clough. But requests for more obstetric care already have been “heard loud and clear” at the hospital, which hosts about 300 births annually and offers the region’s only waterbirth center. “It’s been so popular for us,” says Clough, explaining that the hospital’s capacity for water births will double by the summer. A new midwifery program with three employees soon will complement the hospital’s obstetrics, says Clough. And principles of complementary medicine that the hospital adopted a decade ago continue to hold sway. “Humanizing” and “personalizing” the patient and family experience comes through emphasizing nutrition, healing touch, music, art and other alternative therapies, including

visits with trained therapy dogs. Picking and choosing from this menu adds nothing to a patient’s hospital bill. “We believe those therapies complement the care,” says Clough. Keeping prices “affordable” is the hospital’s challenge, as so many households find it difficult to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, says Clough. “Grassroots” efforts to become more efficient are aiding Ashland’s bottom line, she says. Expenses for office supplies have been cut by 40 percent, and energy usage pared by 25 percent. Standardization of pharmaceuticals has saved $100,000 annually in one physicians group alone, she adds. Paying the largest average wage in the city — hospital wages total $17 million annually — the hospital has “huge economic importance,” says Slattery. And while employee satisfaction ranked near the bottom of industry surveys when Asante took over, it soared to the 80th percentile as of last July, says Clough. The “top tiers” of customer service and workplace conditions are within reach for the hospital’s 110th year of care, she adds. “Our patients have felt that.”

Reach freelance writer Sarah Lemon at

Our Valley

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Sunday, April 24, 2016 |


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An aerial photograph shows backwaters from the Rogue River’s Gold Ray Dam, which was removed in 2010. Mail Tribune file photo

Voltage for the valley Electricity came to Ashland in 1889, Medford in 1894 By Tony Boom For the Mail Tribune

Power lines are such a common feature in today’s Rogue Valley that most people don’t even notice them. At the flip of a switch, our many electrical appliances and accoutrements hum to life, and only during power outages do we become aware of how integral the service is to daily life. But proliferation of the energy grid began only a little over a century ago. “Almost all things started really locally. A town would say, ‘Hey, we want some of the electrical lights,’ ” says Tom Gauntt, media spokesman for Pacific Power, which supplies most local electricity. “In the Rogue Valley, there was almost always some hydraulic power 56

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and almost always a mill.” By August 1904, the Condor Water and Power Company was putting up poles along the highway that linked the new Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River with Medford. Medford first got electricity in 1894 when the city paid to have some lighting and a few residences and stores had lights. There were no electrical appliances at that time. Even if people had only two lightbulbs, the cities were getting electrified, and at some point they needed more power, says Gauntt. But municipalities were reluctant to take on the additional costs and obligations of expansion. By 1910, utilities started to emerge and looked at building bigger dams up in the hills and running power lines, he says. Major physical features from the early years of electric power still exist in the landscape. Two of the most prominent are the Prospect hydroelectric project and the Lone Pine

substation, says Monte Mendenhall, regional business manager with Pacific Power. The powerhouses at Prospect and associated dams and large pipes, the latter known as penstocks and visible from Highway 62, continue to supply power more than 100 years after construction. Pacific Power’s hydroelectric facility near Prospect includes four powerhouses and three dams generating power with water diverted from the Rogue River. The complex includes canals, pipes and forebays. Work on the first stages began in 1911 by the Ray Brothers, who sold their interest to the newly formed California-Oregon Power Co., known as COPCO. While the powerhouses are mostly visible only to those traveling the river, North Fork Park, operated by Pacific Power, is located on a reservoir off Highway 62 just east of Prospect. It includes swimming and fishing areas,

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barbecues and picnic tables. The Lone Pine substation on Foothill Road in Medford is one of the largest and steps down voltage. Constructed in 1928, the plant has been enlarged several times. “It’s a regional substation,” says Mendenhall. “It distributes voltage to a number of substations throughout the Rogue Valley.” Jackson County’s first electrical service was in Ashland. In January 1889, the Plaza was lighted by a 1,200-candlepower arc light suspended in an upper doorway of the Ashland Flouring Mill. The city has had its own electric utility since 1909. The 1908 Reeder Gulch hydroplant is still in operation and produces about 2 percent of Ashland’s electricity. Since 1982, most city power comes from the Bonneville Power Administration, while the rest of the valley is served by Pacific Power. Other features of the power system are gone but once had an impact on life in the valley. Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue above Gold Hill was removed in 2010 to improve fish passage. Built by the Ray brothers in 1902, the electrical generation plant provided power to a number of valley towns. Off Highway 62 near Prospect, redwood stave penstocks that sprang leaks once produced a fountain-like sight for passing motorists. The redwood pipes, which had an internal diameter of 87 inches, were replaced in 2002 with metal pipe. “You’d walk by the pipe, and you were getting sprayed,” says Gauntt. As a kid, he and his brother used to fish the reservoirs and river and walk to town along the pipeline. Consolidation of a number of small electrical companies in the area resulted in COPCO, which merged with the forerunner of Pacific Power in 1961. The COPCO name lives on in Copco Road, which runs from near Pinehurst on

John Vial, Jackson County roads and parks manager, walks through relics of the old powerhouse that was once part of Gold Ray Dam. Mail Tribune file photo

Jacksonville’s first powerhouse brought electricity to town from 1905 until the 1940s. Mail Tribune file photo Highway 66 to Copco Lake on the Klamath River just over the California border. Future changes in valley electrical features probably won’t be highly visible. As technology improves, there may be

more compact power-generating solar arrays on homes and businesses, says Gauntt. “It’s a ripe area with a fair amount of sunshine, and there are higher amounts of use in the summer,” says Gauntt. More small solar may also be used in irrigation systems to run pumps, he says. Multi-acre solar-generating operations, such as those appearing in Eastern Oregon, are unlikely here due to the high cost of land, Gauntt says. Though a 68-acre solar farm is proposed in North Medford. Large wind turbines to generate electricity are also unlikely to appear here. “The surveys that have been done don’t show this as being a good wind area down here,” says Mendenhall. “You don’t get the steady flow of wind. The valleys are sort of protected.”

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at

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Sunday, April 24, 2016 |


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An adult northern spotted owl dives for a mouse offered by wildlife biologist Dave Roelofs. Mail Tribune file photo

Still looking for truce in timber wars Spotted owl was a ‘poster species’ in bitter feud By Tammy Asnicar For the Mail Tribune


he 1990 listing of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species is considered the first shot fired in the timber wars. The shot heard ‘round the Pacific Northwest still reverberates more than two decades later. And the 58

1994 Northwest Forest Plan, meant as a détente in the Cold War among environmentalists, the timber industry, scientists and politicians, is still a hot-button topic in rural communities on the front line. A University of Washington ecology professor named Jerry Franklin was among the first to show that Pacific Northwest oldgrowth forests were teeming with diverse species, including the endangered northern spotted owl. Many point to his research in the 1980s as the spark that ignited the bitter feud between environmentalists and the timber-dependent communities of Western Oregon. As public awareness of the value of old-growth forests grew, lawsuits were filed seeking permanent protection of millions of acres of mature timber. Grassroots environmental groups, such as the Grants Pass-based Headwaters, went to court to halt timber sales, while the more radical Earth First! went head-to-head with loggers. Activists sat in trees, blocked logging roads, disabled equipment and were arrested at protests. Julie Norman, Headwaters’ director from 1988 to 1997, was part of the legion of environmentalists who brought logging operations in the Northwest to a complete standstill. Federal District Judge William Dwyer’s May 9, 1991, ruling in their favor banned new timber sales on 24 million acres in 17 national forests in Oregon,

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Washington and Northern California. The court action, Norman says, forced “an honest consideration of the new science” that drew attention to the dramatic decline of an entire ecosystem due to decades-old logging practices. She points to a 1988 Department of Fish and Wildlife survey of the national forests and Bureau of Land Management timber lands as “a real eye-opener.” “It was made clear how quickly the forests would disappear,” she says, due to unchecked clear-cutting. “Unsustainable past logging levels had to decline, regardless of spotted owls.” The declaration of the spotted owl as threatened “was the impetus we needed to make policy changes” in forest management, she says. Lee Webb, a retired U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist, had boots on the ground in the Rogue River National Forest (now Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest) between 1975 and 2004. In 1975, when he landed his job with the Forest Service, timber was king, and management policies were more about harvesting timber. During the logging industry’s heyday, more than 15 billion board feet of timber was cut each year from private and public lands in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. The spotted owl listing, Webb says, “changed things for sure.” Logging operations in mature and old-growth forests were constantly challenged, and timber sales scrutinized to see whether they “ran afoul of the Endangered Species Act,” he recalls. The northern spotted owl, which prefers areas with large trees with broken tops, deformed limbs or large cavities for nesting, is “a good indicator species,” says Webb. Because of the owls’ diet of flying squirrels, wood rats, mice and other small rodents, and its appetite for other birds, insects and reptiles, they are “a good indicator of the overall health of the ecosystem in which they live,” he says. Dwyer’s landmark ruling also upheld protections for other species, including the marbled murrelet, but it was the spotted owl that became the “poster species” of the timber wars. During her 16-year tenure as Jackson County commissioner, Sue Kupillas saw the listing of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species in 1990 and heard 60 | Sunday, April 24, 2016

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Four protesters, from left, Steve Marsden, Mike Roselle, Kevin Everhart and Pedro Tama, stop a bulldozer from carving a road at Bald Mountain on April 26, 1983. Mail Tribune file photo

A spotted owl peers through the branches at Nueman Gap in June 2008. Photo by Lee Webb

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the battle cry: jobs vs. owls. “It was pretty exciting for a while,” she says. “Protestors on both sides of the issue showed up at county commissioner meetings, and convoys of log trucks rolled into town. “People were very emotional,” she adds. “There was no in-between.” President Bill Clinton called a timber summit in Portland in 1993 and declared a cease-fire. Norman was among the two dozen environmentalists, timber industry interest groups and scientists who heard Clinton tell the crowd that it was time to “move beyond confrontation and build consensus on a balanced policy to preserve jobs and protect our environment.” Marching orders were given to the “Gang of Four” — Jack Ward Thomas, John Gordon, Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin. They were to craft a plan that would balance social, economic and environmental issues. The result was the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan. Encompassing 24.5 million acres, the plan set out to protect the spotted owl and hundreds of other species by preserving most of the remaining federal old-growth forest within a network of reserves in Oregon, Washington and Northern California while leaving nearly a million old-growth acres for logging. And there were provisions to help shift timber-dependent communities into new, more sustainable livelihoods. Kupillas believes that while the plan was well-intentioned, its social and economic impacts were given lip service. She testified before Congress 15 times in favor of federal forest management policies that would ensure healthy forests, sustainable timber production and jobs creation in the wood products industry. While Norman defends the policies of the NWFP as “still the best idea as far as the ecosystem is concerned,” she says the economic effect “has been devastating in the rural areas of Jackson County.” The American Forest Resource Council states that the allowable harvest has been half or less than the 1.1 billion annual board feet promised in the original plan. In 1975, there were 22 sawmills in Jackson and Josephine counties. In 2013, Rough and Ready Lumber Co., the last remaining sawmill in Josephine County, closed its doors. After reopening a year ago, company officials are

threatening closure again because of the sharp decline in timber harvests. “Those are all direct jobs in the mills,” she says, adding that there were “half as many support jobs (i.e. trucking and timber harvesting and cruising) lost, too.” Webb admits the NWFP “didn’t quite come off as we expected.” He adds that “various lawsuits and challenges have kept us from ever coming close” to the projected timber harvests. Under the NWFP, the Forest Service and BLM haven't been able to sell enough trees to satisfy the timber industry, or enforce more stringent rules to protect the river corridors and ancient stands of forest to the environmentalists’ satisfaction. “They’re still going at it,” Webb says of the warring factions. Eight lawsuits — four from each side — have challenged the NWFP, but all have been denied. After years of ongoing litigation and protest, agencies have turned to thinning forests as a middle ground between loggers and environmentalists. Saving the forest hasn’t saved the spotted owl. Despite the protection of critical owl habitat, “we’ve never seen an increase in

(spotted owl) population, or even seen it stay stable,” says Webb. Both Norman and Webb point to the unexpected invasion of the barred owl. Bigger and more aggressive than the spotted owl, this East Coast transplant now outnumbers its smaller cousin 5 to 1. Kupillas says the spotted owl is threatened by an even deadlier foe — wildfire. In 2002, the Biscuit fire blazed through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, burning 500,000 acres of critical habitat. Quoting statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Kupillas says more than 10 million acres were burned by wildfire in 2015 — in part because of the dramatic decline in timber harvests. “Unfortunately, after 20 years, it is clear that the hands-off approach to forest management has failed,” she says. “This is a train wreck waiting to happen, which means more and bigger fires, and increasingly we’ll lose habitat for the northern spotted owl.”

Reach Grants Pass freelance writer Tammy Asnicar at tammyasnicar@q. com.

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Kicking open the boys club Four women who changed the face of Southern Oregon By Tammy Asnicar For the Mail Tribune

Southern Oregon politics has a reputation of being a “boy’s club,” but the region has had a number of strong women leaders who have worked hard to dispel that notion. Among them are Carol Doty, Sue Kupillas, Cathy Shaw and Lindsay Berryman — all longtime residents but none Southern Oregon natives — who stood up for issues such as air and water quality, schools, crime prevention, land use, economic development and health care. Doty and Kupillas presided over Jackson County Board of Commissioners sessions, and Shaw and Berryman over City Council meetings as the first female mayors of Ashland and Medford, respectively. Today, their fingerprints and footprints can be seen along the trails they blazed.

of fate, the first vote she cast on her first day in office in 1977 was to approve construction of a new county jail. Despite the support she received during her campaign for commissioner, Doty later discovered that “being on a female-controlled commission was a challenge for some residents.” “We were definitely not one of the good ol’ boys,” she said. “At least one attempt was made to recall Isabel. Two attempts were made on me before one was successful.” Doty believes land-use planning was the tipping point. In her role as board chairman, she took to task those who violated state land-use planning laws. “Working without an administrator to make the county’s comprehensive plan comply with Oregon statutes was the greatest challenge,” she said.

Even after she was forced out of office in 1979, she continued to work with groups, including the 1000 Friends of Oregon, to monitor the county’s land-use decisions and policies. Maintaining a balance between preserving agricultural land and allowing commercial development remained a fiery hot issue at public hearings. “Rooms were always packed, with people standing around the edges,” she says. Though her time in the county commissioners’ office was short-lived, Doty is proud of her achievements, including the construction of Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville. Her most notable accomplishment, however, was the establishment of the first air-quality committee with fellow commissioners Sickels and Tam Moore. “Jackson County’s air is clean today because that committee was the most effective one I’ve seen operate in county government,” she says.

Carol Doty Carol Doty, with her husband and toddler son, moved from Pennsylvania to the hills above Talent in September 1970. Six years later, she was elected to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. Her co-commissioner, Isabel Sickels, was elected as the first female commissioner in 1974. “Isabel and I served together for two years. We were the first county commission in Oregon with a female majority … at least that’s what Ms. Magazine published,” Doty recalled in a recent interview. Doty said her interest in the county’s early land-use planning process prompted her to seek office in 1976. She was buoyed too, she said, by her success in turning around the Jackson County Head Start program during her five years as director. Doty credits various mentors with giving her the confidence to “do anything, even repair the Head Start program that was threatened with defunding. “Before I left, it was the highestrated Head Start program in Oregon and was receiving funding for innovative programs.” When she became Head Start director in January 1971, the center was situated where the Jackson County Jail sits today. In a twist 62

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Carol Doty

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A cooperative relationship with the city of Medford and mayors Al Densmore and Lou Hannum helped the county introduce vehicle-emission testing and reduce woodstove smoke by helping residents meet state and federal air-quality standards. The committee also worked in concert with the wood products industry to reduce sawdust and carbon particulates, and with the fruit growers to replace smudge pots with windmills. “People were made ill by the air quality, and we wanted to make sure everyone understood about the extent of the health problems that worsened during an air inversion.” “I believe my legacy, and that of Moore and Sickels, was to get the air clean enough that the White City industrial park area could begin to attract much more industry.” Today, Doty serves on the board of directors for the Jackson County Library District and is working on a five-year strategic plan to expand library services. “I have lived and continue to live a very fortunate life,” reflected the woman who spent her childhood some 70 years ago in Virginia’s Appalachians.

Sue Kupillas Sue Kupillas served four terms as Jackson County commissioner. Her 16 consecutive years on the board is matched only by the late Jack Walker. Kupillas, with her husband and children, moved from Salem to an Eagle Point cattle ranch in 1976. She entered politics almost immediately, not by design, but with determination to save the floundering Eagle Point School District. With children in first and fifth grade, Kupillas was appalled to find that the District 9 tax levy had failed and that schools were closed. During the eight-week closure, the former teacher home-schooled her children, as well as neighborhood children. She also showed up at school board meetings, began knocking on doors and making telephone calls to stress the importance of education, she said. “It was an overwhelming task, and a bit daunting,” she said. “That was my beginning.” She later served several terms on the District 9 board and was president of the Oregon School Boards Association. Elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1988, Kupillas lists the formation of the White City Community Improvement Association and the White City Urban Renewal Agency in 1990 among her achievements. When she took office, White City was “a mess,” she said. Area schools were experiencing a high rate of turnover and declining enrollment, and “children were coming to school hungry, without shoes,

Sue Kupillas unprepared as far as social skills and school-readiness,” she recalled. White City’s alarming crime rate also gave the area a black eye. “It was a dangerous place,” she said. The challenge to turn White City around was one “nobody (on the Board of Commissioners) wanted to take on,” she said. “Improving the area proved to be a challenge.” “Roads were in such bad condition that school buses wouldn’t run and mail delivery stopped along some routes,” she continued. “Industrial and residential areas were classic examples of blight.” Community development grants shored up the urban renewal district. The area’s infrastructure was upgraded, residential areas were renovated, and the industrial park revitalized. A community policing district was created, and within the first year crime and vandalism dropped by 10 percent.

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Kupillas also launched the Rogue Family Center in White City, bringing state and county health and human services under one roof and creating Oregon’s first one-stop program. Her work in White City earned accolades across the state, and she received a planning award from the state of Oregon. During her tenure as county commissioner, Kupillas saw the listing of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species in 1990, lived through the timber wars that followed, and was in Portland when President Bill Clinton convened the 1993 timber summit that led to the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994. Since then, as commissioner and on the executive board of O&C Counties and various natural resources councils and committees, Kupillas has testified before Congress 15 times in favor of federal forest management policies that ensure healthy forests, sustainable timber production and jobs creation in the wood products industry. Kupillas said her work has afforded her the opportunity to meet three presidents: “Both Bushes and Clinton,” and “some amazing women leaders like Geraldine Ferraro and Elizabeth Dole.” Pretty heady stuff for a “small-town impressionable girl,” she said.

Cathy Shaw Cathy (Golden) Shaw discovered she had an aptitude for organizing and running elections in 1986 during her then-husband’s successful campaign for Jackson County commissioner. However, it was an offhand remark made by an Ashland Public Works director that launched her 1988 campaign to become Ashland’s first female mayor. “Everything began to die off,” she said, of the once pristine wetland on the 2-acre Ashland property she shared with former husband, Jeff Golden, and her children. “I suspected a broken sewer main because of the smell and called the city in to inspect. I was assured there was no sewer main running in that area and further assured that what I smelled was just decomposing vegetation.” Unconvinced, she asked the Public Works Department to inspect the impacted area. “He told me, ‘if I inspected what every housewife asked me to inspect, I’d get nothing done.’ With that remark, the die was cast,” she said. “It was my opinion that government should be in service to the people it serves.” As it turned out, there was a broken sewer main, and the “housewife” won the 1988 election, serving as mayor for three terms, 1989-2000. Two years on the Ashland Budget Committee had given her a primer in collaboration with the city’s administrative departments. She was able to make many changes in both policy and management, she said, with the “help of the many, many citizens of Ashland.” “Without that help … nothing would have succeeded,” she said. During Shaw’s 12-year tenure, Ashland implemented an Open Space Plan, and along with the Parks Commission established a park within walking distance (one-quarter mile) of every home and an extensive trail system. Hillside development standards also restricted unlimited development on the city’s steep, forested hillsides. “It’s important to note that Ashland’s tourism isn’t just about the plays,” she commented. “It is also about the city and activities that are immediately available in and around Ashland. Open space and protection of natural features are part of the allure.” Other initiatives saved timberland above Southern Oregon University, encouraged affordable housing beyond the commercial district and promoted pedestrian traffic downtown. Innovative water conservation

Cathy Shaw

programs also were implemented. “We hired staff to help citizens with water inefficiencies in their homes and landscaping; the city did the same,” Shaw recalled. “Residents were given money to replace toilets, and in conjunction with Bonneville Power, we replaced shower heads at no expense to the residents or the city. There were lots of moving parts to water conservation. When I left office, we were using less water per capita than we did in 1970.” Under Shaw’s tutelage, Ashland residents approved tax levies other municipalities rejected. A meals tax supported the parks system and paid for upgrades to Ashland’s wastewater treatment plant. After Measure 5 limited local money going to schools, a Youth Activities Levy funneled money through the city into Ashland school programs. Late in Shaw’s tenure, Ashland voters approved a proposal to fund renovations of the crumbling Carnegie Library, “but we waited to float our bonds until the county had an opportunity to pass a capital improvements measure on all of the branches the following year,” she said. The move inspired the future renovation of all 15 Jackson County libraries. While in office and in the decade or so since, Shaw honed her skills as a political strategist. She spearheaded successful campaigns to elect state legislators Alan Bates and Peter Buckley and county Commissioner Dave Gilmour, as well as pass a Medford school bond levy. Her book, “The Campaign Manager, Running and Winning Local Elections,” first published in 1996, is now in its fifth edition. In 2014, Shaw led the successful Libraries for All campaign that established a library district independent of Jackson County government. “I love the collaborative aspect of political campaigns,” she reflected. “Having a competent and capable campaign committee that helps get the ball up the hill — people I love spending time with. And then there’s the whole thing about activating a community to rally around a common cause.”

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Lindsay Berryman Lindsay Berryman’s foray into city government, much like Shaw’s, began in her own backyard. “When we first moved to Medford in 1974, we thought we’d moved to the country,” said the Midwestern transplant. “Pretty soon, there was a huge subdivision being planned.” Though she was dismayed about the encroachment, Berryman was even more alarmed by the lack of roads and infrastructure to support the development. “I did my research and discovered that the City Council was not enforcing its own comprehensive plan,” she said. She organized a neighborhood group, hired a lawyer, and filed and won a lawsuit against the city of Medford. The decision set a precedent for the city’s future land-use planning. It also spurred Berryman to run for a seat on City Council. Berryman served on the council for three terms,1980 to 1986, and was council president twice. She was a driving force behind the Medford Urban Renewal Agency from 1988 to 1998, which initiated the city’s first strategic plan. It included the removal of the Jackson Street dam and rehabilitation of Bear Creek, creation of the Bear Creek Greenway, improvement of the city’s aging infrastructure, and “restoration of downtown’s history and purpose.” Berryman’s own sense of purpose launched her campaign in 1998 to become Medford’s first female mayor. Berryman loathed Medford’s reputation as “Deadford” and “Dreadford.” “It was a sickness that spread,” she said, recalling empty storefronts, rundown buildings and not much downtown traffic. “The city had lost its heart, its sense of self-worth. Nobody felt that Medford had

a future,” she added. She was inspired, however, to Lindsay Berryman revive the spirit of commerce and culture that timber barons, farmers, orchardists, and business men and women brought to the corner of Main and Central in the early 1900s. Berryman’s decade-long push for revitalization while sitting on the MURA board continued from 1999-2004 during her four years in the mayor’s office. “I was up to my earlobes thinking about projects,” she said. The goal, she said, of an ambitious agenda that began in 1996 with the $5.2 million restoration of the historic Craterian Theater was to draw more folks downtown to shop, dine, patronize the arts and experience the diverse culture she said, recalling a fundraiser gala, in “Medford’s neighborhood.” where the actress, then living in Southern “We wanted to get more feet on the Oregon, made an appearance. street,” she said. Berryman believes the formation of the A cultural and education district encom- cultural and education district and major passing the revamped Craterian Theater, construction projects undertaken by Lithia the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Motors, One West Main, the Holly Theater the Medford library and the Rogue Comand many others sends a message that munity College and Southern Oregon Medford is alive and well. University campuses was created. Also, “We have been able to send a signal an annual arts festival, Art in Bloom, was that business is thriving, and the arts are born. embraced,” she said. Although the Craterian was “the corAfter Berryman left office, she was nerstone” of the district, Berryman said appointed twice by Gov. John Kitzhaber to the restoration project was the biggest serve on the Land Use Conservation and challenge of her career. After much “push Development Commission, as well as the and pull,” more than 600 individuals, Oregon Progress Board. businesses, foundations and agencies But she is most proud “that we have eventually “caught the vision.” And, been able turn around the attitude of with “tremendous support” from Ginger downtown Medford.” Rogers, whose early career included performing on the Craterian stage, the theater Reach Grants Pass freelance writer reopened in 1997. Tammy Asnicar at tammyasnicar@q. “She got people to open up their wallets,” com.

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Fruit on your doorstep Southern Oregon’s largest employer is evolving By Nick Morgan Mail Tribune

The story of how homegrown fruit became a driving force for a gift-industry juggernaut has multiple beginnings. One start was in 1840s Angers, France, when horticulturists Hilaire Dhomme and Pierre-Aimé Millet first bred the pear known as Doyenné du Comice, roughly translated to “The Fruit of Kings.” The fruit, known for its succulent flavors and fragile constitution, became a delicacy among aristocrats and was served in fine European restaurants. The pear required a very particular set of soil and weather conditions to prosper, but by the late 1890s, Rogue Valley orchardists had discovered Southern Oregon provided an ideal climate for the pear, especially when the variety was grafted onto the roots of sturdier Winter Nelis trees. At the turn of the 20th century, the Rogue Valley and award-winning pears drew newcomers to the fruit industry. Among them was Seattle businessman Samuel Rosenberg, who in 1910 purchased Bear Creek Orchards’ 237 acres of fruit trees for $300,000. Four years later, Rosenberg died of pneumonia, so Rosenberg’s sons, Harry and David, both recent Cornell graduates with agriculture degrees, took over the orchard. By the end of the 1920s, the orchard had a cold storage plant and modern techniques that kept pears fresh for weeks, making

Workers harvest pears at Harry and David’s Coleman Creek Orchard near Phoenix in 2013. Mail Tribune file photo it possible to sell them at higher values in Europe and on the East Coast. But supply is only one half of basic economics, as the brothers learned by the early 1930s. As the Great Depression closed restaurants and resorts that once had been the orchard’s customers, Harry reached out to West Coast businessmen, offering to ship boxes of choice pears through the mail as gifts for $1.95. In 1934, the company issued its first mailer to promote its gift baskets. Meanwhile Harry headed to the East Coast to promote the gift idea. He had a meeting with New York advertising executive G. Lynn Sumner. It was Sumner who suggested Harry send his pear boxes to

captains of industry at Chrysler, NBC and others, including a folksy note written from the voice of two brothers. Sumner also advised they advertise in Fortune magazine, with a similarly down-home message and the heading, “Imagine Harry and Me advertising our PEARS in Fortune!” Fast forward to 2014, when Harry and David was purchased by 1-800-Flowers. com. Harry and David makes up about three quarters of 1-800-Flowers’ Gourmet Food and Baskets group, which 2015 reports show as a growth driver for the Long Island, N.Y. gift company. The story of 1-800-Flowers began in 1976, when Jim McCann opened his first Flora Plenty shop in New York City. The

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florist had grown into a chain of 14 stores in the New York metro area by the time it merged with Rosalia Florist in 1983. In 1986, McCann purchased the assets of a Texas company that owned the phone word 1-800-Flowers, which he adopted as the name for his company. In the early 1990s, the toll-free number and company became a household name, thanks in part to prominent CNN advertising during the Gulf War, and AT&T highlighting the company in a campaign during the 1992 Summer Olympics. Back when laypeople thought of Amazon as a river and the Web as something for spiders, 1-800-Flowers was pioneering the ordering of gifts by home computer. It partnered with the CompuServe online service in 1992 and America Online in 1994 before launching the website that now bears the company’s official name in 1995.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune. com.

About 8,000 pounds of peaches are ready to leave Harry and David for ACCESS Inc., which distributes them to hungry families throughout the valley. Mail Tribune file photo Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 67

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Taken March 22, 1960, this photo shows Rogue Valley Manor rising above a decidely different landscape than the one seen today. Photo courtesy of Rogue Valley Manor. inset, the original Rogue Valley Manor building is shown before its recent color change. Mail Tribune file phoTo By Nick Morgan


high Rogue Valley Manor changed the way many seniors viewed retirement

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Mail Tribune

When Rogue Valley Manor opened in 1961, it blew the doors off the contemporary model of senior living. Lush, heavily carpeted entrances, chandeliers in the dining room, a wealth of recreational programs and amenities such as a library made the facility a dramatic departure from institutional, hospital-style nursing homes available to seniors unable to live at home. “To foresighted persons, Rogue Valley Manor is concrete assurance that, when the time comes to retire, they need not lead lonely lives or be dependent upon others,” said a pamphlet in 1961. In the six decades since Methodist

minister Ross Knotts spearheaded the building of an interdenominational retirement facility, the 10-story structure atop Barneburg Hill has done more than change the way we view retirement — it has helped shape the Rogue Valley. “Retirement home” wasn’t a category in the Yellow Pages when Walter Higgins was appointed administrator for Rogue Valley Manor in 1955, so he had to describe the proposed high-rise as an “apartment-hotel” for retirees. Although Higgins had just completed Willamette View Manor in Milwaukie before becoming the Rogue Valley Manor board’s only paid staff member during the building’s construction, the concept of a facility that could serve a retiree’s wants and provide the same medical care of a nursing home was ahead of its time.

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Former Pacific Retirement Services executive Tom Becker, who led Rogue Valley Manor in various capacities from 1978 to 2010, cites several reasons for the Manor’s success in improving the outlook for retirees in Southern Oregon. It started with the facility’s groundbreaking approaches to senior care. Becker said some may be drawn to the privacy and independence of cottages — an industry first, according to Becker — while others may be drawn to the more social Skyline Plaza. “We tried to create niches,” Becker said. “It was just trying to keep people as independent as possible.” Before “assisted living” had strictly defined terms in the state, Rogue Valley Manor used the term for residential living, offering seniors and retirees assistance when they needed it and independence when they wanted it. Rogue Valley Manor has retained the same ownership, allowing the facility to continually expand and make improvements rather than being flipped and sold. The concept of inclusive senior care at the Manor has expanded over time. The Manor built its own medical facility in 1982, which reduced delays in scheduling medical appointments with specialists, particularly important for frail patients. And it added attractions such as a golf course and cottages, which drew in younger retirees. One of the Manor’s biggest draws is its broad assortment of activities for residents. “There’s dozens and dozens and dozens of committees,” Becker said, citing history, water polo and pinochle among examples. “In the 10-story building or on the 15-acre grounds will be just about everything you need for living in comfort, dignity and security, surrounded by congenial friends doing things you enjoy,” an early pamphlet stated. Becker sees it as only natural that an influx of residents whose interests drew

them to the Rogue Valley would make an impact beyond Barneburg Hill. “It attracted people to the valley who supported the arts and culture,” Becker said. Many Manor residents had talents or expertise in the arts before they moved to Southern Oregon, or at least knew they had something to contribute. “A lot of them know they have been fortunate in their lives,” Becker said. Whether they ended up at the Manor, many retirees discovered the Rogue Valley in the 1980s and 1990s at marketing seminars for the Manor that Becker helped organize, particularly throughout Southern California near San Diego and Orange County. The programs were designed as a way to fill vacancies at the Manor, which were at all-time highs when Becker joined PRS in 1978, one of many problems the Manor faced in the late 1970s as inflation and increasing rules and regulations pushed the organization close to bankruptcy. But the seminars were a rising tide that lifted many boats. Even if the Manor was outside a retiree’s budget, Southern Oregon’s temperate climate and close proximity to hospitals were available at other assisted-living facilities, which grew to dozens in the Rogue Valley in the 1990s after the state of Oregon began subsidizing a portion of many residents’ costs. “A lot of people from Southern California moved up to Medford,” Becker said. Although the number of retirement facilities have grown across the country, Becker believes nothing compares to the comprehensive, nurtured facility atop Barneburg Hill. “I don’t think you can find a better program or value,” Becker said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune. com.

The Manor buildings catch the setting sun in this view from Highway 99 near Phoenix in 2013. Mail Tribune file phoTo

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Mercy Flights fleet in the 1960s. PhoTo courTesy Mercy FlighTs

Mercy Flights earns wings For many people, the air ambulance service has meant the difference between life and death By Tammy Asnicar For the Mail Tribune


n untimely death during the polio epidemic of the late 1940s inspired George Milligan’s vision of an air ambulance service.

Mercy Flights has a new Bell 407GX helicopter in Medford. Mail Tribune / JaMie lusch

In a Nov. 7, 1983, interview for a Southern Oregon Historical Society oral history project, the founder of Mercy Flights recalled the “terrible ordeal” that polio victims suffered en route to a Portland hospital — the nearest medical facility equipped with an iron lung. Because the polio vaccine wasn’t developed until the mid-1950s, an iron 70 | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | Our Valley

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lung was the only option for those with the paralyzing disease that often compromised a patient’s respiratory system. Ambulances at that time did not have oxygen on board, Milligan recalled, and so the trip north required stops at hospitals in Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene and Salem to give the patient oxygen. In the days before the construction of Interstate 5, the journey from Medford to Portland was a horrendous 12-hour trek — one that often made the difference between life and death. Such was the case in 1949 with Milligan’s mechanic — a casual acquaintance he referred to as “Mr. Winetrout.” “He was the last person in the world you’d expect to die from polio,” Milligan told a historian. “He was 6-feet, 2-inches tall and husky. In a week he was gone.” Milligan attributed his death within days of arriving in Portland to the “shock” of the slow, arduous, 12-hour ambulance ride. Winetrout was among the 2,700 Americans who died in 1949 of polio, out of more than 42,000 polio victims. Doug Stewart, Mercy Flights current chief executive officer, said Milligan saw that Southern Oregon and Northern California were not immune. A Medford air traffic controller and former military flight instructor, Milligan “rallied the community” around the idea of transporting polio victims and other critically ill or injured patients to medical facilities by airplane. Fundraising efforts by the Boy Scouts, schoolchildren and civic clubs enabled Milligan to purchase a twin-engine Cessna — a military surplus plane that had earned distinction as the “Bamboo Bomber.” On Aug. 24, 1949, Milligan launched Mercy Flights — the first nonprofit civilian air ambulance service in the United States. A licensed pilot, he transported his first

A polio patient is loaded and transported to Portland during Mercy Flights’ early days. Photo courtesy of Mercy flights patient in 1950 with volunteer medical personnel and medical equipment on board. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio paralyzed or killed more than a half-million people worldwide each year. In 1951, “polio was stronger than ever” in Southern Oregon and Northern California, and according to Stewart, “the demand was even greater” for the air ambulance service. However, the fledgling all-volunteer operation had racked up an $800 debt. “The operation was upside down,” Stewart said. “Eight-hundred dollars in those days was a lot of money, and money was a serious problem.” Milligan’s mission was again helped by communitywide financial support, he said. Through the efforts of local businessmen,

Milligan was able to initiate the first-ever pre-paid membership program in the country. Paying just $2 a year, subscribers could keep the operation aloft and ensure transport to comprehensive medical facilities. “Colonel Burns (a local auctioneer) walked the streets and sold 2,000 subscriptions,” Milligan recalled in the 1983 interview. “He raised $4,000 and took us out of debt.” Turned right-side-up again, “we flew ourselves silly,” he added. The demand for Mercy Flights’ services required Milligan to purchase a second aircraft, and soon “the two planes were meeting each other coming and going,” he said. The most famous of Milligan’s fleet,

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“Iron Annie,” arrived in 1959, and by 1980, the C-45, also known as the “Band-Aid Bomber,” had transported 1,150 patients from Southern Oregon and Northern California to big-city hospitals. The plane also flew missions to locate downed aircraft and assist in firefighting operations. Milligan, Iron Annie’s chief pilot, once boasted that the plane had flown the most missions of any civilian airplane. Stewart said Iron Annie was first on the scene when a Aug. 7, 1959, fire in downtown Roseburg ignited a two-ton load of dynamite and four-and-a-half tons of ammonium nitrate. Fourteen people died and scores of others were injured in the blast that leveled eight city blocks. The plane delivered urgently needed pints of blood, medical supplies and equipment, and quickly evacuated the critically injured. Milligan, who flew more than 11,000 patients to medical care, died in a fiery air crash just one mile north of the Medford airport in February 1985. Engine trouble was blamed for the crash that claimed three others, including the patient on board. Before his death, Milligan was writing his memoirs. He recalled the burgeoning Rogue Valley medical community of the 1970s and 1980s. “Without Mercy Flights, the local hospitals would just be county hospitals, in effect,” he wrote. Stewart agreed. As the two area hospitals (Providence Medford and Asante Rogue Regional medical centers) gained national recognition as high-quality regional medical facilities, he said, Mercy Flights began flying in patients from all over western North America. “They were flying in patients as much as they were flying them out,” he said. All of this, for the most part, on a volunteer basis until the 1980s. Today, Mercy Flights has 115 employees, including 80 medically trained staff and eight pilots, and “no volunteers,” Stewart said. Stewart, who was recruited as a paramedic in 1994, has witnessed Mercy Flights’ evolution into a regional medical transportation network that includes 20 ambulances, two fixed-wing crafts and a helicopter. With the purchase of Medford Ambulance Service in 1992, the acquisition of Rogue Ambulance in 1993, and cooperative agreements with other Jackson County first-responders, Mercy Flights covers some 2,000 square miles. It also coordinates ground ambulance services in Josephine

A 14-year-old boy who was struck by a vehicle at Ninth Street and Riverside Avenue in Medford is loaded into a Mercy Flights ambulance in 2010. Mail Tribune file phoTo

and Douglas counties. In 1995, Mercy Flights partnered with Timberland Corp. to provide emergency helicopter service to calls within a 150mile radius of Medford. In fall 2015, Mercy Flights went solo with a brand new, stateof-the-art Bell 407GX-EMS helicopter. The need for helicopter rescues became crystal clear in 1994 when Stewart, then a paramedic, and his colleague failed in their first attempt to bring a hunting accident victim out from “way deep” in the Applegate Valley by truck. Stewart credited the subsequent evacuation by airplane as saving the patient’s life. Mercy Flights responds to some 200 emergencies each year by helicopter, most of which are heart attacks, car crashes and injuries related to hunting and outdoor sports. In the logging industry’s heyday, accidents in the woods and mills kept Mercy Flights busy, Stewart said. In an average year, 400 patients are flown by plane to and from medical centers throughout the western United States; another 18,000 are transported by ambulance to area hospitals. Subscriptions have grown to include 15,000 households in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Keeping in the spirit of Milligan’s goal

to improve patient-centered medical care, Mercy Flights has partnered with Asante Rogue Regional and Providence Medford. Mercy Flights’ paramedics are wired in to Asante’s STEMI (Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) program — a regional heart attack response system that Stewart said mobilizes Asante’s cardiology staff before the patient’s arrival at the hospital. The STEMI program “has saved more lives than you can count,” Stewart said. A Jackson Care Connect grant is underwriting a mobile integrated health care partnership between Mercy Flights and Providence. Paramedics are making house calls to assist patients who make frequent, often unnecessary, costly visits to the emergency room. Patients receive education in medication management and home safety, and are connected to health care and community resources. Like Milligan’s early grassroots operation, this program, Stewart said, “will fill a huge gap in patient care.” And, it might very well be a matter of life and death.

Reach Grants Pass freelance writer Tammy Asnicar at tammyasnicar@q. com.

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Smoke hangs over Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill. 2013 Mail Tribune file photo

Passion of the grape Some people chuckled at early Southern Oregon grape growers. Who’s laughing now? By Greg Stiles Mail Tribune


ommercial winemaking enterprises in the Rogue Valley can be traced back prior to the Civil War.

Peter Britt was perhaps the most famous of the half-dozen vintners centered in Jacksonville during the region’s first wave of grape growing, which ebbed in the early 20th century before fading into Prohibition. Although a smattering of hobby farmers planted vines after World War II, it wasn’t until the 1970s the industry as we know it today took root. Frank Wisnovsky, an engineer, traipsed globally from one major construction project to the next before making his way to Southern Oregon with his wife, daughter and three sons. Wisnovsky, facing a desk job with his firm, had asked for a year’s leave instead. He packed up the family and headed west, arriving at a trailer park outside Ashland just in time for school. He had discovered Southern Oregon during a trip to Crater

Virginia, Al and Naomi Silbowitz of Grizzly Peak Winery. 2012 Mail Tribune file photo Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 73

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Eric Weisinger is shown in the barrel room at Weisinger’s of Ashland Winery and Vineyard in 2013. Mail Tribune file photo Lake while working on the Astoria-Megler Bridge in the mid-1960s. A couple of years later, while working on the Bay Area Rapid Transit tunnel, Wisnovsky spent time familiarizing himself with vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. There were a handful of vineyards in the Willamette Valley and one in Roseburg, but the Rogue Valley remained fallow, along with the Valley View name associated with Britt a century before. Wisnovsky knew he wanted to plant grapes but was unsure of what variety would work best. In 1972, he planted six varieties — cabernet sauvignon, gewürztraminer, pinot noir, syrah (which turned out to be petite sirah) and merlot — on 12 acres in Ruch, and provided the Oregon State University Extension Service with an acre to plant 11 other varieties and hybrids. Another 14 acres were planted two years later. The first commercial vintage was a 1978 cabernet sauvignon. “Back in those days, the main wine people drank was Mateus, a sweet rosé that came in a clay bottle,” recalled Mark Wisnovsky, now the president of Valley View Winery, the family operation. “It was a sweeter, soft wine. The

vast majority of people didn’t drink more sophisticated wines.” Frank Wisnovsky considered gewürztraminer a likely long-term winner for the area, save for a minor detail. “People couldn’t say the name,” his son said. Still, it was gewürztraminer that Wisnovsky suggested to John Weisinger when the Texan moved to the valley in 1978. Weisinger took the advice and planted gewürztraminer in each of his first two years. While the modern pioneers exchanged ideas, Wisnovsky broke out drawings of the winery he planned to build. But the engineer-turned-vintner didn’t see its completion, dying in a drowning accident at Lost Creek Lake in 1980. Weisinger had acquired acreage on the southeast edge of Ashland and figured the climate was perfect for growing grapes. The temperature range and consistent end of frost season were conducive to grapes. “I felt like it was a no-brainer,” Weisinger recalled. Yet during the next decade, before Weisinger began producing commercially, locals were bemused.

“They laughed at me,” he said. “You’re not going to do a winery, it’s crazy.” But he knew the county already had proven itself as a wine region a century earlier. “One of the things I was trying to discover was what we could do best in our area,” Weisinger said. “I didn’t realize there were so many other incredible varieties. We were babes in the woods.” Those babes have since grown up, and the valley’s planting, production and wineries have mushroomed. The latest Oregon Wine Census data showed there were 80 wineries in the Rogue Valley in 2014, with 3,226 planted acres that produced 8,667 tons of grapes. The region always has attracted newcomers looking for a slower pace and, perhaps, a second career. The growth of the wine industry has attracted people from all walks of life who want to try their hand in working the land and making wine. Tasting rooms can be found in and around just about any town in the valley. Today’s vineyards and wineries want to produce good wine, but they also want to make a profit, rarely an easy thing in the agriculture world. The challenge for

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the industry is to not only the industry is to not only grow demand, but to satisfy grow demand, but to satisfy the market, said Al Silbowitz the market, said Al Silbowitz of Grizzly Peak Winery on of Grizzly Peak Winery on Nevada Street in Ashland, Nevada Street in Ashland, who had done everything from who had done everything from broadcasting and education to broadcasting and education to construction before relocating construction before relocating from Berkeley, Calif., in the late from Berkeley, Calif., in the late 1990s. 1990s. “We’re producing more wine “We’re producing more wine than we can drink,” Silbowitz than we can drink,” Silbowitz said. “Some of the increase will said. “Some of the increase will go to the tourist trade. Othergo to the tourist trade. Otherwise, how do you get your wine wise, how do you get your wine sold in other areas? There is no sold in other areas? There is no simple solution to it. Wherever simple solution to it. Wherever else you go, you’re competing else you go, you’re competing with San Francisco, the Napa with San Francisco, the Napa Valley View Winery bottles its Rogue Red wine for Costco stores. Mail Tribune file photo Valley, Sonoma and all the rest Valley View Winery bottles its Rogue Red wine for Costco stores. Mail Tribune file photo Valley, Sonoma and all the rest of the California competition. of the California competition. “They are barely aware of “They are barely aware of Southern Oregon, as opposed to Southern Oregon, as opposed to Oregon and pinot noir. Many of Oregon and pinot noir. Many of the businesses are small-scale. the businesses are small-scale. The break-even point, if you are The break-even point, if you are trying to be in a business, is a trying to be in a business, is a very long way out. very long way out. “When we got here in 1998, I “When we got here in 1998, I would say there were maybe six would say there were maybe six real wineries, and now there are real wineries, and now there are more than 10 times as many,” more than 10 times as many,” Silbowitz said. “We have a Silbowitz said. “We have a whole range of artisanal foods whole range of artisanal foods — chocolate, beer, bread, cheese — chocolate, beer, bread, cheese — that are taken quite seriously — that are taken quite seriously here. Our whole region prides here. Our whole region prides itself on having a good quality itself on having a good quality of life, looking at living well and of life, looking at living well and decently, and in a good way, decently, and in a good way, taking care of the land.” taking care of the land.”

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at Reach reporter Greg Stiles at The latest Oregon Wine Census data showed there were 80 wineries in the Rogue Valley in 541-776-4463 or business@ The with latest3,226 Oregon Wine acres Census data showed8,667 theretons wereof 80 wineries in Tribune the Rogue 541-776-4463 or business@ 2014, planted that produced grapes. Mail fileValley photoin 2014, with 3,226 planted acres that produced 8,667 tons of grapes. Mail Tribune file photo

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Smoke settles into a pear orchard along South Stage Road in Medford. Mail Tribune file photo

Valley of the pears Pear boom led to a real estate boom By Tony Boom For the Mail Tribune

The reservoirs at Howard Prairie, Hyatt Lake and Emigrant Lake are one highly visible legacy that can be attributed to the pear-industry boom of the early 1900s, which helped Medford’s population increase nearly fourfold from 1900 to 1910. The pear industry played a significant part in the development of the reservoirs and miles of canals that now serve three irrigation districts that supply water for pears and other crops, says Phil VanBuskirk, retiring director of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center.

“There are 11 mountain lakes and about 600 miles of canals,” says VanBuskirk. “About 1935 was the peak of the pear orchards at about 12,000 acres.” Between 1915 and 1921, seven irrigation districts were established in Jackson and Josephine counties. The Rogue Valley, Talent and Medford irrigation districts are the primary sources of agricultural water today. In 2012, the Rogue Valley had 3,707 acres in pears, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture census. The previous census, in 2007, showed 5,796 acres in pears. When VanBuskirk started work in 1984, about 10,000 acres were in pears. Medford historian Ben Truwe says the pear boom was really something else. Medford’s population went from 1,891 in 1900 to 8,840 in 1910, then fell to 5,756 by 1920. “It wasn’t a pear boom, it was a real-estate

boom,” says Truwe. “Like many booms, it was followed by a bust.” Real estate agents in the area who had a piece of land would shove trees in the ground and advertise it as great orchard land, says VanBuskirk. Ads in magazines from the era offered people the opportunity to purchase a 10-acre orchard parcel so they could participate in the economic windfall. Talent orchardist Ron Meyer, now in his sixth decade of producing Meyer’s Pride pears, says his grandfather arrived from Illinois at the height of the pear boom in 1910. “In the paper was an article from the Medford Chamber of Commerce about growing pears in the Rogue Valley,” says Meyer. His grandfather gave up coal mining and developed 40 acres, half in pears and half in field crops. When irrigation increased, all the land was converted to pears.

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Pear acreage brought a need for labor in the fields and businesses to handle the product and move it to markets. Harry and David, with a large plant just south of Medford on Highway 99, is one of the most visible components of the pear industry. Founded as Bear Creek Orchards in 1910, the company sells through direct mail, online and in retail stores nationwide. It is owned by Companywide, including an Ohio center, the firm has 8,000 employees, counting seasonal workers. The firm marketed pears in Europe and built a packing house and cooling plant in the 1920s. With the 1930s Depression, mail-order sales in the United States were established. In 2007, the firm had 2,000 acres of pears. Data on employment for the pear industry is hard to come by because some agricultural employment is excluded from unemployment insurance coverage, says Guy Tauer, regional economist with the state Employment Department. There were 2,830 farm workers in Jackson County, according to the 2012 census. Of those, 537 were migrants. State estimates from 2014 found a monthly average of 1,810 employees, with a high of 2,440 in September and a low of 1,490 in December. “There are only two packers left in the valley, Naumes and Bear Creek,” says Meyer. “We used to have our own packing shed here. At that time there were 14 packers. There has been a big consolidation in the pear business.” Labor trends also have changed.

“There’s still a big demand for seasonal help during the winter months when they prune, as well as at harvest,” says VanBuskirk. But changes in the fields have reduced the number of farm workers needed overall. Fields were once flood-irrigated, then a switch was made to systems that used pipe. Both were labor intensive. Now most fields are covered in sod rather than bare ground, and irrigators use more sophisticated drip or mist systems to cut down on water use and labor. Field worker makeup also has changed. Meyer says most pickers are Hispanic workers who live in the valley, although some come from California. Before World War II, so-called "fruit tramps,” people displaced by the Dust Bowl, worked the orchards. When they left for the war, laborers from Mexico began picking the crop. “Many immigrant workers, when they became legal, found better jobs with better benefits,” says VanBuskirk. “Their kids are going to college. They are going to get degrees. They don’t want to be agriculture workers.” Another major change, although not visible to the public, has been a 75 percent reduction in the use of pesticides since the early 1990s, says VanBuskirk. Instead, orchardists now rely on devices that release pheromones to help to control pests and disease.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@

Pears are processed at Harry and David in Medford. Mail Tribune file photo

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Grapes grow in Del Rio Vineyards and Winery in Gold Hill. Wine grapes are close to overtaking pears as the Rogue Valley’s largest crop. At right, pears grow in an orchard off of Fern Valley Road in Phoenix. Mail Tribune file photos

From pears to wine The mission of the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center continues to grow By Sarah Lemon For the Mail Tribune

A hundred years after seeds were sown for the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center, the region’s residents ensured they would keep growing and bearing fruit. Commercial agriculture warranted the Extension’s 1914 inception. From horticulture to food science, from youth activities to support for seniors, the Extension’s mission expanded in the following century across Southern Oregon’s social strata. Asked to approve special funding for the Extension, or to watch it close, Jackson County residents in May 2014 overwhelmingly pledged their loyalty to its legacy. “Seventy-five percent of the voters saw a value to us,” says Phil Van Buskirk, the Extension’s director, who is retiring this year. “Because we have a taxing district now, it will remain forever.” The permanent tax base — about $8 per household per year — restores funds cut from the Jackson County budget, which previously paid for facilities upkeep, grounds maintenance, custodial service, clerical support and various operational costs. The tax district also supplies several staff positions that went unfilled for several years, putting several popular programs in peril.

“The (tax) district has allowed us to come back and rebuild,” says Van Buskirk. “You’re gonna see a lot of growth.” The growth of pear cultivation precipitated the presence of Oregon State University in Jackson County. The state’s land-grant college founded the Southern Oregon Experiment Station in 1911, just two years before a severe fire blight epidemic destroyed large tracts of the region’s pear orchards. Fruit growers joined forces with county officials, appointing inspectors and carrying out eradication measures against the bacterial disease. Now known as the Fruit Growers’ League of Jackson County, the group welcomed the assistance and oversight of OSU Extension Service, established in Jackson County a year after fire blight reached crisis levels. By 1930, pears became the top orchard crop in the Rogue Valley, where warm days, cool nights and heavy clay soils favor the fruit. Production peaked at 11,700 acres. The valley’s longtime flagship fruit, pears currently constitute about 5,000 acres of its farmland, says Van Buskirk. “We rely on agriculture to maintain the beauty of our valley,” he says. “The growth, however, is truly going to be the viticulture.” Local grape-growers soon will gain

the first staff position dedicated to the Extension’s Viticulture Program, says Van Buskirk. The valley’s vineyards, almost equal with pears in acreage, have grown steadily for the past 40 years with few problems, he says. But issues, including harmful insects and viruses, that have arisen in California are migrating north. Interest in agriculture also is migrating to the younger generation, as evidenced by participation in the Extension’s Small Farms Program. Fostering food security through local production and distribution, backed by organic practices, or at least a reduction in pesticides, is farming’s future, says Van Buskirk. More than 3,000 participants attended 200 classes hosted by the Small Farms Program over a five-year period, according to Extension publications. “These folks coming straight out of college … they want to go back to farming,” says Van Buskirk. The farmer’s way of life starts even earlier for more than 3,000 youth involved in local 4-H clubs administered by the Extension. Beyond the care of livestock, 4-H clubs help “youth from all walks of life to be more successful,” says John Punches, Extension regional administrator for four counties in Southern Oregon.

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Rick Hilton, an entomologist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, checks out a spotted wing drosophila, a type of fruit fly that can devastate berry and cherry crops. Mail Tribune file photo

Recent surveys of Extension programs noted that 4-H, above all, encourages kids to engage in community service, says Punches. The organization stands to grow in the coming years, particularly in local schools and after-school programs. Classes for caregivers, both of children and seniors, is a new request of the Extension, says Punches. That need likely will be addressed by a new faculty position in the area of family and community health, which will double the program’s capacity, he adds. Last year, SOREC faculty, staff and volunteers provided more than 1,000 educational opportunities, including classes, workshops and projects, says Punches. Perennially popular, and still ranked high

among Extension priorities, are food preservation and gardening, particularly growing one’s own food, he adds. Master Gardeners and Food Preservers soon may be joined by “Master Naturalists,” says Punches, indicating the continued vitality of SOREC’s unique Land Steward Program, which has trained 120 local residents since its 2009 inception, affecting 5,000 acres of private land. The program’s next iterations, he adds, could be urban or youth land stewards. “We hope you will see more presence,” says Van Buskirk, “across the county.”

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Matt and Ryan Retzlaff hold up their mom, Shawn Spiegelberg-Retzlaff, at Spiegelberg Stadium Feb. 12, 2016. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

House of memories Spiegelberg Stadium connects past, present By Dan Jones Mail Tribune

It’s a one-of-a-kind feeling for South Medford quarterback Robbie Patterson when he steps foot inside Spiegelberg Stadium. The history of the place can be seen everywhere, Patterson says. In a world that seems to be quickly changing, the stadium remains a giant reminder of simpler times, when Friday night football reigned supreme. “It is a great experience playing there,” Patterson says. “It is definitely the best high school stadium in the state of Oregon, no doubt about it.” Spiegelberg Stadium, at 1551 Cunningham Ave., is the longtime home field for Medford high school football teams. It holds 9,250

people in its home and away grandstands, both of which are covered. Along with North and South Medford high schools, St. Mary’s also uses the field. The stadium is home to Newland Track, which has a blue track surface. The semi-professional Southern Oregon Renegades and several Pop Warner teams also use the field, along with the North Medford and South Medford soccer teams. And behind the stadium is the name: Spiegelberg. The late Fred Spiegelberg is an Oregon Sports Hall of Famer who led the Black Tornado to a record of 253-62-10 in 31 seasons. During his run, the school won four state titles (1959, 1962, 1969 and 1977) and played in nine championship games. An accomplished football player and boxer, he also was inducted into the Washington State University Hall of Fame in 1983. “One of my earliest memories of the stadium

is standing next to my father on the sideline for Friday night football,” says Scott Spiegelberg, Fred’s oldest son, who is now director of Beyond Football at Oregon State University. Before Patterson and Spiegelberg, a passion for football was brewing in the Rogue Valley that would ultimately lead to the construction of a relic called Medford Stadium. Medford’s first team emerged in 1919. In the early 1930s, Prink Callison and Darwin Burgher coached the football teams at Medford. Back then (and until 1966) Medford High existed at what is now Central Medford High. Before 1936, Medford High games were played on Van Scoy Field at what is now McLoughlin Middle School. The team was called the Tigers prior to the 1940s, but the program also was occasionally referred to as the Pear Pickers after the region’s chief crop. The field was a muddy mess covered with sawdust.

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Bill Bowerman replaced Bill Bowerman replaced Burgher as Medford High head Burgher as Medford High head coach in 1935. One year later, concoach in 1935. One year later, construction began on a 1,250-seat structiongrandstand began on adesigned 1,250-seatby covered covered grandstand designed by Medford architect Frank Clark. Medford architect Frank Clark. Medford Stadium opened in Medford 1936 Stadium in September withopened Southern September 1936 with Southern Oregon’s first turf field and grandOregon’s first turf field and grandstand, which, in the middle of the stand, which, in the middle of the Great Depression, cost $1,497 to Great Depression, cost $1,497 to build. The lawn was beautiful, build. The lawn was beautiful, closely clipped, green grass. closely clipped, green grass. Bowerman did plenty of Bowerman did plenty of research before the stadium’s research before the stadium’s creation, making the rounds to creation, making the rounds to football fields while on his honeyfootball fields while on his honeymoon in Southern California. moon in Southern California. In the first official prep game In the first official prep game ever played on grass in Southern ever played on grass in Southern Oregon, Oct. 3, 1936, the Medford Oregon, Oct. 3, 1936, the Medford Tigers beat Eureka 19-0. Tigers beat Eureka 19-0. One year later, lights for night One year later, lights for night games installed at at Medford Medford games were were installed Stadium, and in 1939 the old Stadium, and in 1939 the old scoreboard was replaced with scoreboard was replaced with aa well-lit, version featuring featuring well-lit, modern modern version an and numbers. numbers. an electric electric clock clock and In Ragsdale became became In 1948, 1948, Lee Lee Ragsdale head Medford High, High, head coach coach of of Medford replacing when replacing Bowerman Bowerman when Bowerman to coach coach track track at at Bowerman left left to Oregon. Oregon. In Spiegelberg In 1952, 1952, Fred Fred Spiegelberg replaced as head head coach, coach, replaced Ragsdale Ragsdale as beginning historic tenure tenure with with beginning his his historic the the program. program. By then, Spiegelberg already already had coached several teams teams while while stationed in Berlin. He had had served served as a captain in the Army during during World War II in France. “He touched a lot of lives,” lives,” Scott Scott Spiegelberg says. “He is one one of of those World War II veterans veterans who who

instilled a lot of discipline and instilled a lotHe of discipline and confidence. cared deeply.” confidence. He cared deeply.” In 1962, Medford Stadium’s In 1962, Medford Stadium’s west grandstand was renovated west grandstand was renovated with help from the Medford Linewith helpclub. from the Medford Linebackers backers club.Scott Spiegelberg led In 1969, In 1969, Scott Spiegelberg led the Black Tornado to the state the Black Tornado to the state championship. That was a spechampionship. That was a special year, Scott recalls, because cial year, Scott recalls, because the day after Medford beat Corthe day after Medford beat Corvallis for the big-school title, the vallis for the big-school title, the squad came back to watch St. squad came back to watch St. Mary’s win a championship by Mary’s win a championship by beating Newport that Saturday. beating Newport that Saturday. Prospect also made a title game Prospect also made a title game that year. that year. In 1971, Fred Spiegelberg was In 1971, Fred Spiegelberg was named national coach of the named national coach of the year. year. In 1982, during Spiegelberg’s In 1982, during Spiegelberg’s final season, a wild windstorm final season, a wild windstorm came in from the south that came in from the south that knockeddown downtrees treesand andlifted lifted knocked the roof off the stadium as the the roof off the stadium as the Tornado took on Roseburg. The Tornado took on Roseburg. The game had to be postponed and game had to be postponed and playedthe thenext nextday dayatatCrater Crater played High. High. Whenthe theroof roofslammed slammedback back When downon onits itssupport supportstructure, structure,aa down pieceof ofititfell felloff. off.Jerry JerryAllen Allenand and piece MarcBayliss, Bayliss,the theradio radiosportsmen sportsmen Marc ofKYJC, KYJC,later latergave gavethe thepiece piecetoto of Fred. Fred. FredSpiegelberg Spiegelbergretired retiredafter after Fred the1982 1982season. season.One Oneyear yearlater, later, the MedfordStadium Stadiumwas wasnamed named Medford afterhim, him,thanks thanksto tothe theefforts efforts after ofthe theMedford MedfordLinebackers Linebackersand and of severalother otherindividuals. individuals. several “Itwas wasaasurprise surpriseto tohim,” him,”says says “It daughterShawn ShawnMarie MarieRetzlaff, Retzlaff, daughter whowas was23 23and andliving livingin inPortland Portland who atthe thetime. time.“He “Hedidn’t didn’tsee seethat that at

Fred Spiegelberg, second from left, led the Black Tornado to Fred second from left, the Mail BlackTribune Tornado to 253 Spiegelberg, wins and four state titles in 31led years. file 253 wins and four state titles in 31 years. Mail Tribune file photo photo coming.” coming.” A roast was held for SpiegelA roast was held for Spiegelberg before the honor, Retzlaff berg before the honor, Retzlaff recalls. recalls. wasatatthe theretirement retirementparty partyinin “I“Iwas March of 1983," recalls Scott, "and March of 1983," recalls Scott, "and they kept that a surprise from me they kept that a surprise from me and my father. When that was and my father. When that was announcedbybyour ourschool schoolboard board announced chair at the end of that retirement chair at the end of that retirement partyatatthe theMedford MedfordArmory, Armory,it it party wasquite quiteaasurprise.” surprise.” was 1989,an anall-weather all-weathertrack track InIn1989, wasinstalled installedatatSpiegelberg Spiegelberg was Stadium.The Thetrack trackisisnamed namedafter after Stadium. coachBob BobNewland, Newland,who wholed ledthe the coach Tornadototonine ninetrack trackand andfield field Tornado stattitles titlesover overa a10-year 10-yearperiod period stat endinginin1957. 1957. ending FredSpiegelberg Spiegelbergdied diedatatage age7676 Fred 1996.His Hisservice servicewas washeld heldatat inin1996. thestadium stadiumthat thatMarch. March. the “Thatalways alwaysholds holdsa aclose closeplace place “That ourhearts," hearts,"Scott Scottsays. says.“All “Allthe the ininour formerplayers playersthere therewore woretheir their former

jerseys. There was a lot of red and jerseys. There was a lot of red and black that afternoon.” black that afternoon.” In 2004, Spiegelberg Stadium In 2004, Spiegelberg Stadium had FieldTurf synthetic surhad FieldTurf (a(a synthetic surface) installed, and the track was face) installed, and the track was resurfaced. It is currently being resurfaced. It is currently being renovated. renovated. Matt and Ryan Retzlaff, two Matt and Ryan Retzlaff, two of of Shawn’s three boys, played many Shawn’s three boys, played many games Spiegelberg Stadium. games atat Spiegelberg Stadium. Seeing those boys play and Seeing those boys play —— and before them, watching classic before them, watching classic rivalries unfold adds rivalries unfold —— adds toto thethe memories the stadium memories ofof the stadium forfor Shawn, who was a cheerleader Shawn, who was a cheerleader in in high school. high school. think just brought “I“I think it’sit’s just brought thethe community together,” she says. community together,” she says. “I “I have nothing but fond memories.” have nothing but fond memories.”

Reachreporter reporterDan Dan Jones Reach Jones 541-776-4499, email atat541-776-4499, oror email Findhim himonline online twitter. Find atat twitter. com/danjonesmt. com/danjonesmt.

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Patsy Smullin is president of California oregon Broadcasting inc. With her is Jerry Poulos, who remembers how Patsy’s father, the late William B. Smullin, informed him of his promotion to general manager by giving him a new set of business cards for Christmas in 1954. 2003 Mail Tribune file photo

GoinG live

Rogue Valley TV — including public broadcasting and cable — owes life to Bill Smullin and KOBI By John Darling For the Mail Tribune

Patsy Smullin, longtime president and owner of KOBI-TV, says she still hears from people who remember driving the bumpy dirt road up to the station's transmitter on Blackwell Hill and playing games, eating cake and having fun with other kids on “Uncle Bill’s Show,” a live television production put on by her dad, William B. Smullin. "William B.," as he was known, created the first VHF television station in Oregon in 1953 and launched the kids' show because he needed live productions, as these were the days before videotape. KOBI is still going strong today as part of Medford-based California Oregon Broadcasting Inc., whose affiliates include KOTI in

Klamath Falls, KLSR and KEVU in Eugene, Crestview Cable in Central Oregon and Pilot Rock Digital Production Co. It’s the longest continuously independently owned broadcast group in the West and one of the three oldest in the nation — and the founding giant of the television industry here. “Dad was a Renaissance man,” reflected his daughter, the youngest of five Smullin children. “He was always putting on live shows. Another was 'Aunt Polly’s Show,' a children's birthday show hosted by my mother (Patricia). He would put visiting politicians on the air, anything that would help people here be better informed and make better decisions about their lives. We call it localism, and it’s still our guiding principle.” William Smullin, a native Oregonian, studied journalism at Willamette University

in Salem, where he was editor of the Willamette Collegian, then went on to write for the Oregon Journal in Portland and the precursor to the Coos Bay World. Then he got into radio in Eureka, Calif., in 1932, said Patsy Smullin. “What he loved was communications. It didn’t matter if it was radio, TV or cable — or the college newspaper,” she said. “He loved to offer viewers, listeners, readers communication in any form, with the idea of making it a better community. He took it step by step. He hired excellent engineers, lawyers, CPAs, then made it his business to excel in those arenas, as well.” Starting KOBI (it was KBES at first) took a lot of investment, was a whole new kind of technology and was a big gamble, one that changed the Rogue Valley, said Ashlander Ron Kramer, author of “Pioneer Mikes: A

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History of Radio and Television in Oregon." “William B. was a rugged individualist, a true pioneer in broadcast communication,” said Kramer. “Through his newspaper associations, he met Amos Voorhies, publisher of the Grants Pass Daily Courier, and they became 50-50 partners in KUIN radio there. That was his first ownership. Bill carefully watched the market as TV approached. He and Amos founded KBES in Medford up on Blackwell Hill. “I remember the story. The construction crew was gathered there, north of Medford in the spring of ’53, waiting for his signal to break ground. He was off conferring with his lieutenants, then decided to give them the signal, and off it went. It was a very small community to make such a large investment, but what he perceived that others did not was the economic power in television to serve the whole region, which he called the Redwood Empire.” In building Jefferson Public Radio, starting in 1974 at thenSouthern Oregon State College, Kramer understudied Smullin and used the same model, he said, eventually building to 23 public radio stations with 36 translators to reach into all the remote valleys. “I just copied what Bill did,” Kramer said. So committed was Smullin to the principle of local ownership — the family is one of the few left in the nation to make that claim — and to the widest possible communication that in 1961, he consulted with close friend Ray Johnson in creating the valley’s second TV station, KMED (now KTVL), and granted him space on his tower. “Bill told Ray what he needed to know,” said Kramer. “He knew a second station was coming and he wanted to help. They were fierce competitors, but the best of friends.” Tam Moore, a KOBI news and program director in the mid20th century, recalls the station’s transition to color TV and videotape capability, as well as expansion to cable in Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg and Klamath Falls. “KOBI was a significant institution from the time it went on the air,” said Moore. “It provided many community forums, with significant viewer involvement. That carries on to this day.” “William B. was the consummate multitasker,” said Moore. “Typically, he had a couple TV sets going in his office, with the sound low, working on several phones at once. He maintained three homes — in Medford, Eureka and Redding — and was a presence in all three communities.” William B. and Ray Johnson formed a nonprofit corporation to launch public television here in 1977. It was, said Moore, “a benevolent act and a significant contribution” to the culture of the region, and it continues today as Southern Oregon Public Television. Kramer added, “Bill created a large, multimedia corporation that was much more than television. It ran from Grants Pass to Redding and Klamath Falls. When the Justice Department made him divest in 1981, he sold off Charter Cablevision and said, ‘You gotta dance with the one who brung ya’ — and that was television.” The considerable footprint of the family is seen through the Patricia D. & William B. Smullin Foundation, grantmakers in education and health in many counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Early television equipment was as bulky as it was expensive. Photo circa 1950s. Courtesy of KOBI

William B. Smullin At bottom, when no one had a television set in the Rogue Valley, William B. had them delivered by train from New York to give to his advertising clients so they could view their own commercials at home. Photo 1950s, courtesy of KOBI

William B. takes his turn behind the news desk at Channel 5’s first studio in the 1950s atop Blackwell Hill in Gold Hill. The mural behind him matched the view from behind the building. Photo courtesy of KOBI

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 83

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From a single dealership in Ashland, Lithia Motors has grown to be a Fortune 500 company with dealerships across the country. Mail Tribune file photo

Drive to succeed Starting as an Ashland dealership, Lithia is now a Fortune 500 company By Greg Stiles Mail Tribune

Plenty of attributes have enabled Sid DeBoer to build Lithia Motors into one of the nation’s largest automobile retailers. The gamut runs from astute decisionmaking to zeal for his industry. But over the long haul, DeBoer’s resilience has repeatedly come to the fore, whether it was taking over a small dealership in Ashland after his father died, overcoming doubters when taking the company public two decades ago or revamping the firm during the credit crunch of 2008 as the nation slid into the Great Recession. “There are a lot of things that come at us

in life,” said DeBoer, 72, now chairman of Lithia’s board. “I’m not a guy who ever gives up. There is always a solution, you just have to keep finding them.” Today, the small-town dealership has grown into one of the nation’s top auto retailers with annual revenue nearing $8 billion. After his father died in an accident, he returned from Stanford University. He paid his mom $60,000 for the dealership in 1968 and built the company into a $100 million business before taking it public in 1996. Four years ago, DeBoer turned over the day-to-day corporate keys to his son, Bryan, CEO and president. Lithia long ago grew beyond the Rogue

Valley. During 2015, the company’s dealerships retailed 137,486 new vehicles and 99,109 used vehicles in 15 states and joined the Fortune 500 list, debuting at No. 482. Sid DeBoer firmly believes in teamwork and not making excuses, a trait he shares with vice chairman and longtime right-hand man Dick Heimann. “Dick and I have always believed people can solve things, and it’s no different for people running big companies,” he said. “There are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t do everything. You have to surround yourself with people able to do things that you aren’t great at. With Dick, he did the blocking and

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tackling so I could be the quarterback, and it never bothered him. We always needed him and we still do.” One of the first major decisions DeBoer made was to move Lithia to Medford in 1970. There were more customers and opportunities. As the company grew, DeBoer had to hire employees, eventually managers who hired others. “Understanding and reading people is important, so you can know who won’t make it,” he said. “In some cases you have to turn them around or let them move on. So many people can’t get past ‘life is unfair, and I didn’t get a chance,’ or their mother or dad didn’t train them Sid DeBoer, shown right, or they didn’t in July 2010. Mail get the education Tribune file photo they needed. None of those arguments are very valid. Almost anyone with average IQ can succeed. It always starts with attitude and their approach in how to deal with others and how they feel about themselves.” Bryan DeBoer, and the entire next generation leadership team, has guided the company to new heights. The younger DeBoer still recalls simpler times. In his formative years he remembers a veteran technician who always seemed to have a piece of candy for him whenever he visited the Ashland dealership. When Lithia moved its headquarters to East Jackson Street, he and his brothers picked up nails around the construction site. As he grew older, he stuffed customer mailers in the days before social media. At the point when Lithia Motors shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1996, the company had five stores, all within a few hours’ drive of Medford. By 2008, the company had more than 100 stores west of the Mississippi. But the ensuing credit crunch that plunged the country into the Great Recession took its toll, and Lithia sold off or shuttered 15 percent of its holdings. By adapting to changing times and finding solutions that plagued auto dealers across the nation, Lithia got back on its feet, and by 2013 Lithia revenue topped $4 billion. In 2014, Lithia expanded its reach from coast to coast when it purchased DCH

Claycomb Motor Co., a Ford dealership, is shown at left in this photo taken in the 1940s sometime before Lithia Motors turned the property into a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in 1948. Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society

The Commons, a joint effort of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency and Lithia Motors, was finished in 2014. Lithia’s headquarters stands on the right. Mail Tribune file photo Auto Group for $362.5 million, growing the company by nearly a third. In 2012, Lithia moved into its sparkling new headquarters building on the Medford Commons. “So many years we have watched downtown Medford grow,” Bryan DeBoer said. “I remember going to Hart’s Jewelers and Parker Woods dress shop. Then there was a time when there wasn’t a lot of business

downtown. Now we’re seeing Medford revive itself and companies like Pacific Retirement Services and others reinvigorating it.”

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-7764463 or Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter. com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at Edge. Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 85

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Phil Gagnon rides along the Bear Creek Greenway near the Ashland dog park. 2013 Mail Tribune file photo

The emerald necklace By Ryan Pfeil Mail Tribune

It would be apt to call the Bear Creek Greenway a Rogue Valley jewel. It’s practically how designers first referred to it, after all, calling it the Rogue Valley’s “emerald necklace.” And this necklace, nearly 20 miles of paved, multiuse trail that runs through five Jackson County cities and connects users to a multitude of parks and scenic views, may not be done growing yet. The endgame could be even grander: a route for bikers, walkers and runners that would wind all the way from Emigrant Lake outside Ashland to Grants Pass. The route has become a lesson in perseverance, with 40-plus years since the path’s start in 1973. Running from Ashland to The Expo in Central Point, it’s its own freeway, though you don’t need four wheels and an engine to navigate it, just a bike or a pair of comfortable shoes and some time to get outside. “It connects our communities as a whole now,” says Greenway coordinator Jenna Stanke. “The fact that it’s connected is so super

Harlan Bittner, left, and Phillip Kolczynski ride bikes on the Bear Creek Greenway. 2014 Mail Tribune file photo important.” But it wasn’t always that way. The Bear Creek Greenway’s progress has been slow and steady. While trail construction began in 1973, its

roots go back about 80 years prior. “Bicycles were still fairly rare contraptions around these parts when Jackson County commissioners first envisioned a bike path from Central Point to Ashland through Jacksonville,”

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the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation website says. History tells us the idea fizzled, despite the county’s levy of a buck and a quarter against all bicycles — about 400 or so, according to old tax records — in 1899 intended to pay for it. Chicago-based architect and planner Jacob Crane pitched a similar idea in the 1930s when he worked in Medford as an adviser. “He had proposed a parks system along Bear Creek,” says Karen Smith, Greenway coordinator from 1978 to 2008. But again, nothing happened. In 1964, things finally started to take shape. That’s the year the idea for the “Bear Creek Park Chain” started being tossed around. It was envisioned as a series of city parks along Bear Creek connected via a paved path. Neil Ledward, hired three years prior as the county’s parks director, said the idea grew into the emerald necklace concept by the early 1970s. County officials went after funds from the Land & Water Conservation Fund, receiving $898,729 in grants — just under $3.5 million today after inflation — by 1980. “We were greatly fortunate to always be able to have some fairly large grants available to us,” Smith says, adding they also received some funding from the state. In 1973, the Oregon Department of Transportation built the first 3½ miles of the path through Medford. Then came the section from Talent to Ashland, a section that was not without its challenges. “There was a lot of mess in the creek,” says Ledward, retired since 1991. “There were old cars, a whole bunch of them from a wrecking yard up in Talent. They just dumped the cars they couldn’t do anything with over the bank into the creek.” Ledward says the mess was so severe the National Guard had to be called in. “It was awful,” he adds. But they got the job done, and that section got paved, too. Construction of the emerald

The pedestrian bridge over Barnett Road, one of the biggest obstacles on the 20-mile Bear Creek Greenway, opened in September 2010. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch necklace was underway, link by careful link. “Little by little, we got going,” Ledward says. The Bear Creek Greenway Foundation was formed in 1986 in an effort to acquire funding and land for the project. “I think it’s one of the biggest projects that the cities along Bear Creek have ever collaborated on,” Smith says. “I think it was really a wonderful thing that the county was able to do that. I think that’s the reason the program was successful.” She adds the project is not one she could see being completed today. Grant sources that helped keep momentum going have diminished considerably, and there’s also a lot more development in the area, a lot more hoops to jump through. “We were just in the right place at the right time,” Smith says. The necklace’s final link was built in Central Point in 2014, connecting East Pine Street to Upton Road. The trail currently boasts a daily average of about 300 users, based on data collected by trail counters. Jackson County Parks Manager Steve Lambert says it’s become a path of contrasts — a stretch of path by a quiet, untouched creek that eventually flows into an urban setting.

Though he lives in Ashland and works in Central Point, he occasionally makes the ride to work. “I enjoy the full length of it. It’s totally different experiences along the way,” Lambert says. The goal is to eventually tie the path to the Rogue River Greenway in Grants Pass, but there’s more to consider. “There’s also a lot of interest in connecting the communities — like Eagle Point and Jacksonville — and having better on-street connection to the trail,” Stanke says. Other additions, such as a parallel, softsurface trail for slower walkers, have also been suggested. But when it comes to amenities versus extension, Stanke says community support typically gets behind extension. “That’s not saying that those things couldn’t happen,” she says. Either way, the trail that’s been more than a century in the making is there, and it belongs to every resident of Jackson County. “I think it’s really a neat thing,” Ledward says. “It was kind of a long time coming.”

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-7764468 or Follow him at

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A drone was used in February 2016 to capture this aerial view of U.S. Cellular Community Park in Medford. Mail Tribune file photo

We built it and they came U.S. Cellular park is a home run for Medford By Damian Mann Mail Tribune

Since it opened in 2008, U.S. Cellular Community Park has been a winner for Medford, putting cash into the hands of local merchants. “It really has exceeded everybody’s expectations,” said Gary Miller, president of the Medford Youth Baseball Society. The 14-field, 132-acre facility cost $32.4 million to build, but it has generated more than $67.7 million in economic impact for local businesses between 2008 and 2016, including more than $11 million in 2015, according to the Medford Parks and Recreation Department. A separate effort helped build Harry & David Field, also in the park. Nearly 1,600 teams competed on the 14 artificial-surface fields at the park last year, including 776 from outside the Rogue Valley. The number of visiting teams rose in 2015 for the fifth consecutive year. Since the park’s May 2008 grand opening, 31,500 games have been played there,

drawing more than 1.3 million participants and spectators, according to figures from Medford Parks and Recreation. The $29.6 million estimated total spending by visiting teams since 2008 approaches the $32.5 million in park construction costs. The number of games and matches hit the 5,000 mark in 2015, up from 4,400 in 2014. Attendance in 2015 jumped to 154,248 people, up from 137,721 in 2014. Total attendance at the park topped 217,000 in 2015. Additional fields and lower gas prices paved the way for a 21 percent increase in local participation and a 3.7 percent increase in teams traveling to Medford for 45 tournaments and events. In 2014, Parks and Recreation estimated, U.S. Cellular’s impact was more than $10.2 million, following four years when its impact was between $8.8 million and $9.6 million per year. Those figures are calculated using a 1.85 multiplier on dollars circulating through the community. It wasn’t an easy road for Medford to get

these ball fields. In 2004, Jackson County sold Miles Field and surrounding properties to Walmart for $15.6 million. To build a replacement field, $2.3 million of the purchase price was set aside by the county. The money was eventually invested in Harry & David Field in U.S. Cellular Park. In 2004, Miles Field was dismantled, and the south Medford Walmart was built. “We opened right at the start of the recession in 2008,” said Rich Rosenthal, the parks and recreation assistant director. “Even though the recession held on longer in this part of the country than other parts of the country, when people made the decision how to spend their discretionary dollars, they sacrificed family vacations and made their children’s tournaments their vacation.” “It was a tough time,” Miller said of the four years between the demolition of Miles Field and the opening of the new fields. “We didn’t have a place to go. Fortunately, the city of Medford stepped up and offered us a place in the new U.S. Cellular Sports Park.” Miller remembers playing on Miles Field

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U.S. Cellular Community Park has generated more than $67.7 million in economic impact for local businesses between 2008 and 2016, including more than $11 million in 2015, according to the Medford Parks and Recreation Department. Mail Tribune file photo when he was in high school in the 1960s. At the time, the infield was located in the horse track of what was then the fairgrounds before it moved to Central Point. Miller said he was classmates with Danny Miles, the renowned coach at the Oregon Institute of Technology whose father is the namesake for Miles Field. Miller eventually moved back to California, but he returned to Medford in 1989 when he began helping out with local baseball. Brian Sjothun, director of Medford Parks and Recreation, said the initial proposal for the park was to build four fields to provide enough space for the adult and youth leagues playing around town. Over time, the master plan morphed into a five-field complex based on a wagonwheel design.

“It was built first and foremost for the community,” Sjothun said. The demand for tournaments drove the need for more fields, he said. With completion of the park’s $6 million Phase IV, opening three new diamonds last February, the park saw increases on several fronts. “We expanded our capacity for everything,” he said. “But it didn’t take long to reach capacity during our peak season, March through May.” Total spending for lodging and other items during tournament days last year came in at just under $6 million. The five largest producers were the Amateur Softball Association’s 12-yearold Western National Tournament, which drew 39 teams and generated spending of $489,500; Rogue Valley Timbers Memorial

Challenge soccer tournament, which drew 68 teams and generated spending of $480,665; Valley South College Exposure Tournament, a fastpitch softball event with 56 teams that brought spending of $412,720; Yogurt Hut Memorial Day Tournament, a youth baseball competition with 51 teams that spurred $344,619 in spending; and the Medford Spring Break Classic, a fastpitch softball tournament that drew 27 teams and generated spending of $288,059. Parks and Recreation estimated those five events produced a ripple effect of more than $2.8 million.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune. com. Follow him on Twitter at www. Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 89

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Cheeses available for tasting at the 2010 Oregon Cheese Festival at Rogue Creamery. Mail Tribune file photo

The big cheese

By Sarah Lemon for the Mail Tribune

New food trends didn’t compel Rogue Creamery to make organic cheese. Longtime commitments to quality and the community are behind the creamery’s new line of organic blues, cheddars and curds, says owner David Gremmels. Operating its own certified organic dairy “really connects our visitors to traditional agriculture,” he says. “It’s been a decade and a half of working toward our values.” The creamery’s 2002 transfer to new owners came with their pledge to uphold the values of founder Tom Vella, whose business brought stable employment during the Great Depression and renewed small farmers’ lease on their livelihood. The Rogue Valley offered primarily seasonal work in orchards and lumber mills during that difficult era.

More than 80 years later, artisan cheesemaking is helping to put Southern Oregon on the map. Several smaller creameries have joined the region’s “big cheese” over the past decade. And Rogue Creamery has furnished no small amount of encouragement and support for start-ups, who have used its equipment and gained exposure at its Central Point cheese shop. “We’re open to helping others start their business,” says Gremmels. About a dozen small dairies were candidates for the creamery’s milk supply when Gremmels took over with former partner Cary Bryant. But as the creamery quickly garnered industry accolades, local dairies were closing at a similarly rapid rate, recalls Gremmels. “It was really a difficult market for dairy people.” Rogue Creamery kept Rogue View Dairy of Grants Pass in business for about a decade until its owner wanted to retire. The

neighboring property afforded an ideal site for the creamery’s own dairy and the opportunity to manage every aspect of herd management and milk production. After several years of improvements, including a transitional year to obtain organic certification, the 75-acre Rogue Creamery Dairy opened for public tours last year. “Oregon is known for its quality in dairying,” says Gremmels. “We hope to inspire others.” Industrywide, more and more dairies are becoming certified-organic, says Gremmels. As new farmers return to traditional methods of agriculture and uphold sustainable principles, he says, Southern Oregon is fertile soil for the growth of dairies. More goat dairies should emerge, he adds, and the region is ripe for its first sheep dairy. Nigerian dwarf goats are behind the state’s first “off-the-grid” dairy. A farmstead creamery near Rogue River, Pholia Farm earned early

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Cheesemakers at Rogue Creamery in Central Point are up to their elbows in product. 2008 Mail Tribune file photo acclaim for its small-batch, Old World-style cheeses, which were snapped up by big-city cheese shops. After several years of shipping nearly all its inventory to metro markets, Pholia re-evaluated its mission and decided to keep its very limited quantities closer to home. “I don’t mind the cheese going elsewhere, but it always seemed sort of silly,” says Pholia co-owner and cheesemaker Gianaclis Caldwell. Home to “so few” small, local creameries — Mama Terra, Oak Leaf and By George, chief among them — Southern Oregon has a developing taste for artisan cheese, says Caldwell. Among the most recent and exciting developments are winemakers branching out into cheesemaking, she says, citing Crushpad Creamery at Wooldridge Creek Winery in Grants Pass. As artisan foods pervade the mainstream consumer consciousness, she adds, customers will visit more local farms to observe the animals and to buy products. “More of us will have farm stores,” she says. “We’re open more than we ever used to be.” Recognizing more value in organic and sustainable enterprises, says Gremmels, consumers are prepared to pay more. Converting cheese to organic increases costs by as much as 20 percent, he says. But that pricing is far less “volatile” than pricing for conventional counterparts, he says. While customers will pay more for Rogue Creamery’s products, “per pound, it’s not a lot,” he adds.

Brandz Spencer turns blue cheese wheels as they age in a man-made limestone cave at Rogue Creamery. 2008 Mail Tribune file photo

“There’s great opportunity and great demand,” he says. “Right now, there’s a void in the shelf space that is in need of products in retailers nationwide.” Rogue Creamery’s ultimate goal is to meet demand with an entirely organic operation, says Gremmels. Next year, he says, will bring an organic pedigree for the creamery’s flagship Rogue River Blue, which made history in 2003 as the first American cheese to win World's Best Blue at the World Cheese Awards in London. Still other signature cheeses, including Chocolate Stout and Hopyard cheddars, likely won’t be organic because ales that

flavor them are not, says Gremmels. Beyond cheese, a new treat awaits customers of the farm stand at Rogue Creamery Dairy. Organic, custard-style ice cream is sweetened with honey from the dairy’s own hives. Absent from the Central Point cheese shop, Rogue Creamery ice cream can be tasted only at its source, open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. “For us,” says Gremmels, “it’s really full-circle.”

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A scene from OSF’s 2016 production of “The Yeomen of the Guard.” Photo by Jenny Graham

Clickable Shakespeare A rich treasure trove of history from Oregon Shakespeare Festival archives are going online By Sarah Lemon For the Mail Tribune

More than 80 years of Shakespeare history in Southern Oregon soon will be at the public’s fingertips. Online access to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival archives could preview as early as this summer. The "microsite" of www.osfashland. org is envisioned as a more “vibrant” experience than expected of traditional archives, says Randolph Jones, OSF’s digital content manager. The project, he says, likely will be completed early next year. “Imagine searching … for ticket information about ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and being able to browse a photo gallery and listen to archival audio of past performances,” says Jones. “Being able to draw on a rich collection of digital material about past performances will allow us to reacquaint our audience

with certain works of Shakespeare and other classics.” Digitizing OSF’s audiovisual archives has been a three-year effort, backed by a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Public access was among the grant criteria, says lead archivist Maria DeWeerdt, adding that she couldn’t locate another theater in the country that specializes in Shakespeare and links its archives to the Internet. “If you’re a Shakespearean enthusiast, it’s going to be a very, very rich source.” Radio broadcasts from the ’40s, films from the ’50s, recordings of actor interviews and behind-the-scenes footage all are likely to be popular, says DeWeerdt. Shakespeare scholars and longtime festival members will delight in the home movies of OSF founder Angus Bowmer, engaged in stage-fighting and arrayed in some of the earliest costumes, she adds.

“I have a theory that people like history more than they think they do.” In the 1930s at Southern Oregon Normal School (now Southern Oregon University), Bowmer was an enthusiastic, young teacher who proposed staging plays on the former site of Ashland’s Chautauqua building. The domecovered structure hosted entertainment and cultural lectures from 1917 until its 1933 demolition, which spared the cement walls, still standing today. Recalling sketches he had seen of Elizabethan theaters, Bowmer noted the Chautauqua walls’ resemblance and potential as the foundation for a “festival” of two plays in concert with the city of Ashland’s annual Fourth of July celebration. City officials skeptically advanced Bowmer a sum “not to exceed $400” for the project. Funds furnished by the SERA (State Economic Recovery Act) paid a construction crew to build the stage and

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A scene from OSF’s 2016 production of “The River Bride” by Marisela Trevino Orta. Photo by Jenny Graham

improve the former Chautauqua grounds. OSF officially debuted July 2, 1935, with a production of “Twelfth Night,” followed July 3 by “The Merchant of Venice” and a July 4 encore of “Twelfth Night.” Adults paid 50 cents for general admission, children 25 cents; reserved seats cost $1. Ticket sales more than covered expenses for the festival, which also absorbed losses from the city-sanctioned boxing matches held onstage during the day. Documenting those earliest days of OSF, several scrapbooks are among the “treasures” in the archives collection, says DeWeerdt. Black-and-white snapshots mounted in the circa-1937 scrapbook of costumer Frances Schilling depict rehearsals, excursions to Crater Lake and picnics on Neil Creek. “It was a fun crew,” says DeWeerdt, leafing through the pages. “It wasn’t stodgy Shakespeare.” Classical interpretations of Shakespeare, however, held sway during OSF’s first few decades. Elizabethan costumes are prominent in the archives’ approximately 250,000 photos and negatives, which constitute about 15 percent of the collection and are DeWeerdt’s next priority for digitization. Most of the requests that OSF archivists field, she says, are for photos from past productions.

“When it comes down to it, a picture really is worth a thousand words, because it contains so much information,” she says. “We’ve got a lot of excellent backstage photos, as well.” The inner workings of each production are revealed in prompt books, aka the stage managers’ scripts, dating to the late 1930s. Official publications, such as souvenir programs, were saved from the festival’s genesis, says DeWeerdt. Along with a “very robust collection of newspaper clippings,” she says, the archives contain a variety of organizational documents and records, including Angus Bowmer’s family papers. “It’s like a treasure hunt every day for me,” says DeWeerdt. Still other portfolios contain fabric swatches, patterns and drawings from the costume shop, she says. And an entire room, she adds, is filled with models created by the scenic design department, which also has saved every drawing during the 65-year tenure of Richard Hay, OSF’s senior scenic and stage designer. “Most of what we have in here is paper,” says DeWeerdt, explaining that the medium is a fairly reliable means of preservation, particularly inside a box and stored correctly. Far more fragile are the archives’ reel-toreel tapes, 8 mm and 16 mm films and videos

deemed “at-risk” under the NEH grant. Threequarters of the 2,655 obsolete audiovisual materials were in various stages of deterioration and generally unusable when NEH awarded the grant in 2013. Digitizing entails shipping items to a Pennsylvania company, which also restores the original in some instances, then ships them back. Grant funds covered the transfer of half of OSF’s audiovisual collection to digital storage, says DeWeerdt. “It’s expensive to digitize.” About $10,000 has been allocated annually, says DeWeerdt, to finish the job at a rate of about 60 pieces per year. Waiting their turn are films just “rattling around in cans” and lacking reels needed to play them. The adhesive used for splicing sections of film is failing, and the magnetic coating on tapes is flaking off, she adds. “A lot of the editing is falling apart,” she says. “A lot of it doesn’t have much more time.” More than 100 digital recordings already have been uploaded to YouTube. Search OSF Archives playlists to hear and view clips from the entire Shakespeare canon.

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Blake Rogers maintains an organic crop of marijuana. Mail Tribune file photo

Southern M Oregon’s latest cash crop

By Damian Mann Mail Tribune

The effects of marijuana legalization are just starting to be realized

arijuana became legal in Oregon only recently, but its legacy in Oregon has deep roots.

Marijuana’s long road to legalization culminated in Ballot Measure 91, passed by voters in 2014. Now anyone 21 and older can possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants. Most medical marijuana dispensaries in the county have also begun selling recreational marijuana. In 1998, Oregon voters approved medical marijuana under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, opening the floodgates to pot production, particularly in Southern Oregon

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because of its long growing season. After 1998, illegal grow sites still dotted the valley, and every summer law enforcement swooped in and scooped up bumper crops. Even after medical marijuana became legal, grows in forests and large tracts of land were routinely seized, and local law enforcement warned of drug cartels. In Southern Oregon, the center of pot production has been in rural Williams, and Laird Funk has been one of the most outspoken proponents of legalization. The 70-year-old Williams resident said, “I’ve been growing lawfully since ‘98, and I may have done some research earlier.” When he arrived in Williams in 1977, he said it was pretty common to see marijuana growing behind someone’s house. At the time, the Josephine County sheriff wasn’t particularly concerned about marijuana crops because he had more pressing concerns. “He figured these long-haired people who smoke marijuana are a lot easier to deal with than the drunks,” Funk said. When aerial surveillance and civil forfeiture became common, cannabis growers moved their crops off their properties and into the woods to avoid detection. Funk began going to the Legislature in 1988, making his pitch for reform of marijuana laws in the state. He eventually became one of the leading voices pushing for marijuana legalization. Marijuana was legal in Oregon during the early years after statehood was declared in 1859. Once the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act of 1935 was passed, Oregon joined the rest of the nation in making marijuana illegal. The Oregon Decriminalization Bill of 1973 abolished criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. As a result, possession of up to an ounce in Oregon was a violation punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000. Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana. In 2004, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed retail sales. But in 2005, the Legislature increased the possession limits for medical marijuana to 24 ounces, with the ability to grow six mature plants and 18 immature plants. Another ballot measure in 2010 to legalize retail sales of pot was rejected by voters. In 2012, the Legislature approved a medical marijuana dispensary system. The Legislature further decriminalized cannabis, making possession of more than an ounce but less than 4 ounces a misdemeanor. It

Mike Welch of Siskiyou Medical Supply says he follows all the rules concerning marijuana and has no problems with neighboring businesses. Mail Tribune file photo previously was considered a felony. A law that suspended a driver’s license for possession of more than an ounce was repealed. Around this time, cannabis supporters tested the limits of marijuana laws in Oregon, sometimes running afoul of police. In May 2013, a highly publicized raid on a local marijuana dispensary led to the arrest of a local couple on racketeering and money laundering charges. Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia in 2014 dismissed a slew of racketeering and money-laundering charges against Laura “Lori” Duckworth and her husband, Leland A. Duckworth. Mejia found each of the Duckworths guilty of a single count of felony delivery of marijuana as part of a plea bargain. A previous indictment against Lori Duckworth on another 22 charges was dismissed, and an indictment against her husband for another 27 charges was also dismissed. The Duckworths each received 11 months’ probation, after which their felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor. Despite initial opposition to dispensaries in Jackson County, more than a dozen have now opened, and law enforcement officials have said they’ve seen few problems with them. Since legalization, the Legislature, along with the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Liquor Control Commission, has created a regulatory apparatus that will track recreational marijuana from seed to sale. As of January 2016, the Oregon Medical

Marijuana Program reported, 77,520 people had medical marijuana cards. Jackson County had the second-highest number of marijuana patients in the state at 9,517. Multnomah County had 12,989 patients, followed by Lane County with 8,241 cardholders and Josephine County with 6,503. Jackson County also had the second-largest number of cannabis growers in the state at 5,949, with Multnomah County at 6,985. With cannabis now legal, marijuana is being grown throughout Jackson and Josephine counties, and many of the grow sites with the tell-tale black fabric fences are easily visible from roads. In Williams, which is considered one of the biggest pot-growing areas in the state, Funk said there haven’t been reports of crops getting ripped off for many years. Funk said he suspects that Mexican drug cartels started becoming a problem only about five years ago, but with legalization the cartels have moved on to more lucrative drugs such as heroin. Funk said the attitudes toward marijuana have changed, and a new crop of pot activists has taken up where Funk left off. “Until it became lawful for medicine in 1998, there was a lot still growing in the woods,” Funk said. “But the draw of doing it in the woods started to diminish.”

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune. com. Follow him on Twitter at www. Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 95

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Britt Pavilion. Photo by Al Case

Music on the hill The Britt Music Festival was started by a couple of Portland guys By Bill Varble For the Mail Tribune

When music lover Sam McKinney stumbled across Jacksonville in August of 1962, the town’s frontier vibe knocked his socks off. And because he loved classical music as much as historic buildings, he was struck by a vision of the one-time frontier mining town — even if it was a bit down at the heels — hosting a summer music festival. After all, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was going great guns in nearby Ashland. And Jacksonville was only about five hours from Portland and a little farther from San Francisco. Sometimes a getting a big new idea off the ground seems next to impossible. This one was the other kind. From the first, things just fell into place.

The next night McKinney was banging on the Portland door of his pal John Trudeau with his brainstorm. They threw sleeping bags in the car and headed south. In his memoir, “Touches of Sweet Harmony” (2006), Trudeau wrote that when the two hit Jacksonville it was as if one of the nine daughters of Zeus took them under her wing, and they drove straight to the hillside where pioneer Peter Britt’s house once stood. There were magnificent trees and that view over the Bear Creek Valley. And the acoustics. McKinney stood at the top of the hill, and Trudeau walked down to where the stage now stands. They could carry on a conversation without yelling. “It was as close to perfection as one could ever find … ” Trudeau would later write. And so it was that the two set about

selling the idea of a summer music festival and enlisting the support of officials and opinion leaders — a task Trudeau would later remember for the ease with which they got the green light. A board was formed, work started on the hillside (the Britt house had burned in 1960), and the recruiting of an orchestra began, complete with a housing committee to find volunteers to put up visiting musicians — a practice that continues. “You have to describe him (Trudeau) as a visionary,” says Jerry Evans, who has run the Jacksonville Inn for many years. Musicians treated the festival as a busman’s holiday, as it was the first outdoor summer music festival in the Northwest. Trudeau left the Portland Symphony Orchestra, where he was principal trombonist, and took the director’s baton.

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An early decision was to adopt the repertory concept of programming that had worked so well for OSF. Visitors could “stay three days, hear three programs.” A plywood stage was built on a real foundation, big enough for a 40-piece orchestra, a 35-voice choir and a grand piano. A canvas roof was stretched over cables strung from telephone poles, and 75-watt lightbulbs were hung inside ordinary No. 10 tin cans. Britt’s first concert kicked off Aug. 11, 1963, with a fanfare by former Medford resident Ernie Hood, played by musicians who started up the hill and strolled to the stage. The concert, which offered compositions by Mozart, Peter Rennin and Handel/ Harty, began at 4 p.m. The temperature was 103. After that, Trudeau started the music at 8 p.m. The first two-week season featured music by Bach, Brahms, Haydn, Purcel, Rossini and other composers. A season ticket good for any four performances cost $6. The second season’s program ran 28 pages with photos, a history of Peter Britt and an essay on the arts by President John F. Kennedy. One night in Britt’s sixth season, when the orchestra was playing Wagner’s intimate “Siegfried Idyll,” the heavens opened and a huge pocket of rainwater began a downward bulge in the canvas roof. When the seam burst and the cold cascade poured down, Trudeau said that sounds emanated from those horns that would never be heard again. Another time a skunk came onstage during a performance, and audience members began moving up the hill. Trudeau turned to them. “Thank God he doesn’t write our reviews,” he said. Evans says from the first Trudeau had little trouble enlisting community leaders such as the Carpenter Foundation’s Jane Carpenter. “He was talented,” Evans says. “But he also had great support.” One night in 1972, the orchestra hit a music break, and at the moment of silence, one of the hillside’s outhouse doors slammed, and the hillside erupted in laughter. In 1978, a permanent pavilion was built, and in time the festival spread over four months and presented top artists not only in classical music but pop, folk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, country and dance. Britt also commenced educational programs. By 1979 the orchestra boasted more than 80 musicians, some coming from Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. Attendance

Pianist Ingrid Fliter opened the 2008 Britt Classical Festival with music by Chopin, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Mail Tribune file photo

surpassed 15,000, and Mark Nelson became Britt’s first professional manager. The Oregon Symphony’s James DePreist took the conductor’s baton from Trudeau in 1988. He was followed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s Peter Bay in 1993. Young, up-and-coming Teddy Abrams took over in 2014. Although the classical season remained the festival’s heart, Britt soon found that with popular music both the season and the crowds grew. The festival’s first jazz concert was the Dave Brubeck Quartet in August of 1979 (tickets were $10), and a Mail Tribune reviewer pronounced the experiment “a rousing success.” In 1980, presenters Steve Sachs and David Maslow brought in Count Basie’s Band. In 1980 David Shaw joined as general manager. By 1987, the festival was presenting shows like “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and acts such as the Paul Winter Consort, Alex De Grassi, Pat Metheny, Mel Torme and Diane Schuur. Britt was soon booking the likes of Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte and other big names. Later, as the recording industry tanked with the rise of the Internet and recording artists took to touring as never before, Britt would welcome Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Judy Collins, Bruce Hornsby,

Britt Orchestra conductor Teddy Abrams. Photo by Josh Morrell

Willie Nelson, Mickey Hart, Dr. John, Kenny Loggins, Ringo Starr, Michael Franti and many more. And it all started with a couple Portland guys with a big idea.

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The views can be breathtaking in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Below, a cow in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument eats leaves off an elderberry bush. Mail Tribune file photos

Monument to biodiversity Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument sits at a giant intersection of mountain ranges By John Darling For the Mail Tribune

Created by President Bill Clinton in 2000, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument survived opposition to its creation and a later attempt to dismantle it. Now the calls are for expansion, not extinction, of the protected place in the mountains a dozen miles from Ashland. The monument faced strong opposition from ranching, logging and motorized-recreation interests but, says Dave Willis, a coordinator of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, when the Bush administration a year later held local hearings to check out possible support for reversing it, it found that backers outnumbered opponents by more than 22 to 1. “At the hearing in White City, supporters outnumbered anti people 110-to-5. They tried to alternate for-and-against speakers but fast ran out of anti. Same in Medford and Ashland,” Willis said. “The county Board of Commissioners didn’t like to see less land get commercially logged and called it a government land grab, but the land was already public, owned by the BLM. It was a change in management rather than degradation of it.” The vista-rich, 135-square-mile reserve contains Pilot Rock, much of Hyatt Lake and the entire 38-square-mile Soda Mountain Wilderness, created in 2009. Its biggest appeal was its biological and geological diversity, derived from its location at a giant intersection of mountain ranges — the Siskiyous, uplifted from ocean floors, and the volcanic Cascades. That, says ornithologist Pepper Trail of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, creates several different ecological regions. The Siskiyous are much older and aren’t volcanic, so they have different soils, fostering different plant communities. To the southeast lies the Great 98 | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | Our Valley

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The Oregon Gulch fire burned part of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in 2014. At right, Erik Runquist looks for monarch butterfly eggs on showy milkweed plants in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. He was one of a team of scientists who studied the impact of livestock grazing on the monument. Mail Tribune file photos Basin, with its distinct plants and animals, many of which, he notes, reach their range limits in the monument, meshing into the rich conifer areas of the Cascades. “The Siskiyous are so old, so nutrientdeficient areas have adapted,” he says. “They bring gold and nickel from that long history of uplift from the seafloor. Serpentine (rock) is characteristic of it, and plants have adapted to that.” The monument is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, he points out, with 110 species of butterflies and more still being discovered. It’s very diverse for birds, with four species of chickadees and titmice, which alternate through different elevations. It has canyon wrens and rock wrens, typically found in Eastern Oregon and the Great Basin, mixing with the Pacific wren. “It’s a very important corridor connecting species that move between the Cascades and Siskiyous, such as the Pacific fisher they just found by Hyatt Lake, tagged in the Ashland watershed,” says Trail. Efforts are underway to double the size of the monument, driven chiefly by fears of climate change that have arisen in the last 15 years, says Trail, adding that the term “climate change” wasn’t even mentioned by anyone when Clinton created the refuge.

“There’s an attempt to make the monument whole, with all its watersheds, because these are the basis of ecological units and help the monument to be resilient in the face of climate change by increasing its range of elevation,” says Trail. Monument supporters want it expanded to include Grizzly Peak, the mountain only a few miles north of Ashland. Studies would have to back up what this would do for preserving species as warming increases, says Trail. “This will be needed if we’re going to protect what the monument was created for,” he says. “Even if we double it in size, the monument would be relatively small. Doubled, it would be around 120,000 acres. That’s less than the range of a male mountain lion.” It would be done by the president’s executive order under the Antiquities Act, which all presidents have used, Trail says. “We’re looking for Obama to do it. Ashland’s City Council has sent a letter in support, and our two senators support it. There are hopeful signs, but no definite commitment yet.” “I’m attracted to it because it’s a remnant of the wilderness,” says Willis. “We started working to protect it because of its ecological values. It’s a mulligan stew ecologically.

… It’s hard to put into words. Peacefulness. Relief that it’s not likely to be further degraded. Powerful beauty. Gratitude to all the people who worked with me to protect it.” Trail’s love of the monument is expressed in a poem called “Alone Under the Sun,” from his 2015 book, “Cascade-Siskiyou: Poems,” which was nominated for the Oregon Book Award in Poetry. It is no difficult thing, to be alone among the trees Between their heavy boles, shadowed by drooping limbs It is easy to hide by standing still Easy to find a narrow solitude But how rare is this empty valley Folded between the stone-faced hills The trees standing at a respectful distance The broad green meadows full only of water-silence This is where I come to be alone beneath the sun Sole inhabitant, for that time, of a whole home range Advance scout into an unpeopled land Explorer back into a lost, lost world

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 99

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For hundreds of years, a Native American burial ground and village site lay on the south side of the Rogue River across from Gold Hill, but the 1964 floods washed them away. Mail Tribune file photo taken in January 2009

TakelMa Tales By Vickie Aldous Mail Tribune


ong before European settlers arrived in the Rogue Valley, American Indians told each other mythic tales about local landmarks.

The Takelmas called Mount McLoughlin, a 9,495-foot volcanic peak, Mal-si and Alwilamchaldis. Alwilamchaldis was also the name of a mythic figure who, according to legend, came up the Rogue River “making things better,” said Jeff LaLande, an archaeologist and historian retired

from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It’s not clear what Alwilamchaldis did to improve the area, but he may have brought salmon to the river and acornbearing oak trees to the land, LaLande speculated. In another story, Alwilamchaldis fancied himself to be a warrior, but ended up causing trouble. “He was turned into what we call Mount McLoughlin. He was immobilized way off on the edge of the valley,” LaLande said. Takelma storyteller Frances Johnson (Gwisgwashan) is photographed just before her death in 1934.

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In his mountainous form, Alwilamchaldis was said to be wearing his hair tied up and to have white make-up on his face. When Takelma warriors went on a raid, they would tie their hair in a top knot for combat. They painted their faces white to mimic grizzly bears, which can have a grizzled appearance due to fur with white or silver tips, LaLande said. In another myth related to Mount McLoughlin, the Takelma said the mountain was home to Talsunne, or “Acorn Woman.” “She was a mythical figure who would come down in the spring and tear off pieces of her flesh to grow acorns,” LaLande said. Acorns were a staple of the Takelma diet. Tribal members collected large quantities in the late summer and early fall, shelled and cleaned the acorns, then pounded them into a meal or flour. The material was rinsed repeatedly with water to leach out the tannins. The flour or meal could form porridge, breads and cakes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Takelma name itself means “those dwelling along the river” — a reference to

the Rogue River, according to the BLM. Other key landmarks in Takelma legends are Upper and Lower Table Rocks. In one story, the Takelma hired Khukhu-w, the rainmaker, to ease a drought, according to BLM. “The weather became terribly dry. The drought lasted a long time. The Rogue River just about dried up,” LaLande said. Khu-khu-w danced on Lower Table Rock and the rain began to fall. The Takelma had a disagreement with Khukhu-w about payment for his services, and he continued dancing, flooding the valley, LaLande said. The Takelma asked Beaver to get Khukhu-w down off Lower Table Rock. Beaver tried to chew down the rock formation, but had to give up because the stone was too strong, he said. According to legend, Beaver’s teeth marks are still visible as scars along the base of the formation. Khu-khu-w was turned into a cedar tree on the rocks, and his son and grandson were transformed into stone and became prominent pinnacles on the south side of Lower Table Rock, according to the BLM.

After the arrival of European settlers, battles broke out between the new immigrants and native people. The Takelma were forced onto a temporary reservation near the Table Rocks. In 1855, most Takelma were forcibly relocated to reservations in northwestern Oregon. However, some managed to stay behind, and many Takelma descendants have returned to their homeland in Southern Oregon over the decades. LaLande said other landmarks that figure in Takelma history and legend include: •Bear Creek, which was called Si’kuptpat, or “dirty water.” •Pilot Rock, known as Tan-ts’atseniphtha, or “standing rock.” •Jackson Hot Springs, called T’akaw, or “poison lake.” •Kelly Slough, known as Hayawak, or “place of chokecherries.” •Timber Mountain, located west of Jacksonville and called Usiyuwot, or “deerhide bucket.”

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@ Follow her at www.

Archaeologists found hundreds of Indian stone flakes and tools on Hanley Farm in 2010.

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Rafting guide Arden Prehn of Momentum River Expeditions in Ashland leads Jim Kleckner, Denise Kleckner and Jennifer Kleckner down Nugget Falls on the Rogue River near Gold Hill. Rafting is a major industry on the Rogue. Mail Tribune file photo

Home water

The Rogue River was the foundation for our valley By Mark Freeman Mail Tribune

The Rogue River gave the Rogue Valley more than its name. The river gave its water, its gold and its power. The Rogue has given its ability to frighten and entertain and has given Southern Oregon some of its most most majestic salmon and steelhead, chased by generations and lauded by authors. While it still gives all of that and maybe more, it’s slowly becoming less of a draw in

a valley where interests are expanding far beyond the river. “The entire Rogue River system was the foundation for this valley,” says Jim Bittle, a valley native and owner of Willie Boats in Medford. “And I’d like to think it’s still the magnetic pull to the valley. But I don’t think the lure is what it once was.” While the Rogue was the backbone of early industry here — and man’s harnessing of it at Gold Ray Dam brought electricity to Medford as early as 1904 — the river and its mighty salmon and steelhead fisheries

aren’t the one-man band they once were. While the Rogue still sports strong salmon and steelhead fishing opportunities for residents and tourists, it finds itself with far more competition for people’s time than ever before. “When I was a kid, you went fishing, that’s what you did,” says Bittle, 62. “But this area has diversified, and this generation is less interested in fishing. You’ve got wine country, everything about Ashland. And with this generation, even if the river was chock full of fish, I don’t think the kids of

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today would be as interested as we were.” The kids of today might not know that the Rogue sports eight wild runs of anadromous fish — animals born in freshwater that enter saltwater for some time in their life cycle. Pacific lamprey, a species of eel, is the least known of them, followed by green sturgeon and white sturgeon found in the lower Rogue canyons. The big five are the wild salmon runs — spring and fall chinook salmon, coho salmon, and summer and winter steelhead. Chinook are king on the Rogue, accounting for robust fisheries from the mouth of the Rogue at Gold Beach to the last fishable slice of water called the Hatchery Hole along the Cole Rivers Hatchery dike 157 river miles from the sea. All but the fall chinook run are complemented with hatchery fish released from Cole Rivers Hatchery to mitigate for lost wild salmon spawning habitat from the building of Lost Creek Dam in 1977 and Applegate Dam in 1980. The two dams create lakes that supplement summer flows to the Rogue and Applegate rivers, helping create cooler, more fish-friendly conditions in the hot season. They have also helped an ever-increasing subset of river-runners who board driftboats, rafts, kayaks and now even stand-up paddleboards to generate the adrenaline of whitewater river running. The summer and winter steelhead runs provide catchable steelhead in the Rogue every month of the year. While the kids of today might not know much about the Rogue, the kids of earlier generations were taken to its banks and boulders by Western writer Zane Grey, a larger-than-life sport angler who was very fond of steelhead fishing in the Rogue and Umpqua rivers. “The happiest lot of any angler would be to live somewhere along the banks of the Rogue River, most beautiful stream of Oregon,” Grey wrote in 1928’s “Tales of Fresh-Water Fishing.” “Then, if he kept close watch on conditions, he could be ready on the spot when the run of steelhead began.” And for the thousands of river-users who know the Rogue, it remains that coveted draw.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or Follow him on Twitter at MTwriterFreeman.

Hikers set out on the lower Rogue River Trail, which runs 40 miles from Grave Creek to the Coast Range. Along the way, hikers stay in remote lodges or campgrounds sprinkled through the Wild and Scenic section of the river. Photo courtesy of Carlyle Stout

Taylor Grimes, with Rogue Jet Boat Adventures, leads a crew up the Rogue River at TouVelle State Park. Mail Tribune file photo With winter and summer runs, steelhead can be caught any time of year in the Rogue River. Combined with fall and spring chinook, coho salmon, trout and sturgeon, the Rogue has long been a draw for anglers. Mail Tribune file photo

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The Rogue River flows out of Lost Creek Dam above Shady Cove. Mail Tribune file photo

HigHs and lows

Lost Creek dam has helped even out the Rogue River’s fierce unpredictability By Mark Freeman Mail Tribune

There is rarely a day when Jackson County’s largest artificial structure doesn’t affect Charlie Brown. A Rogue River fishing guide and river-lover, Brown is one of many Rogue Valley residents who live on or near lands directly impacted by the placement and operation of Lost Creek dam. The structure helps control floods, boosts summer water flows in the Rogue River, and helps some wild salmon survive and prosper while harming others. Some like the way it tames the Rogue, others worry it has beaten the wild Rogue close to submission. Regardless of your view, the dam’s fingerprints are everywhere as it helps eliminate the highest of winter flows and the lowest of summer flows. “This valley wouldn’t be the same without it,” Brown says between

Lost Creek dam by the numbers What: Lost Creek dam was officially renamed William L. Jess Dam in 1994 Height: 327 feet Length: 3,750 feet Lake: When full, 10 miles long with 30 miles of shoreline and surface area of 5.36 square miles Authorization: By congressional act in 1962 that specifically lists its primary benefits as flood-control and downstream fishery enhancement. Secondary benefits include reservoir recreation. First year of operation: 1977

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The marina at Lost Creek Lake. Mail Tribune file photo

steelhead-fishing trips on the Rogue. “And it’s amazing to me how many people have lived in this valley forever and don’t know anything about it.” Completed in 1977, Lost Creek dam — officially called William L. Jess Dam — spans the Rogue north of Trail, 158 miles from the river’s mouth at Gold Beach. The earthen dam rises 327 feet and backs up the Rogue and its tributaries for 10 miles, blocking the wild salmon and steelhead that once spawned there. It was built primarily in response to a devastating flood in 1955 and was authorized by Congress in 1962 as part of a three-dam project envisioned for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was joined by Applegate Dam in 1980, but Elk Creek Dam was scuttled because of the cumulative impacts of three impoundments on the Rogue’s ecology. The dam’s primary operations as laid out by Congress are flood control (now called flood reduction by the Corps) and downstream fisheries enhancement, and evidence of each lies in what you see and don’t see along the Rogue now that the dam is in its 40th year of operation. And both benefits come at a price. Brown sees the dam’s flood-control benefits every time he launches his driftboat at the public ramp in Shady Cove for the seven-mile float to Dodge Bridge, where Highway 234 crosses the Rogue near Eagle Point very close to Brown’s house. During high-water events, Corps hydrologists regulate the Rogue to curb flooding at three places, and Dodge Bridge is the first. It takes roughly four hours for water to flow from the base of the dam to the gauge on the bridge, and regulators juggle releases

Fishing guide Charlie Brown helps Carl Treseder land a winter steelhead below TouVelle State Park on the Rogue River. Mail Tribune file photo to keep flows there below 20,000 cubic feet per second — about 10 times the standard summer flow. Since Lost Creek dam went live in 1977, the Rogue has hit flood stage at Dodge Bridge just three times. Only one of those — New Year’s Eve in 2005 — was higher than 3 inches above flood stage, according to the Corps. Evidence of the dam’s impact is everywhere, Brown says. “You float down the upper river, there are houses right there next to the water,” Brown says. “You don’t live that close to a river without a dam. If you live in the floodplain, you’re glad it’s there.” But curbing peak flows means less gravel and other substrate is moved Our Valley | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 105

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downriver each winter. That has led to reduced gravel in the far upper Rogue, to the point that gravel actually has been dumped into the river to replace what the dam traps. But reams and reams of studies suggest the impacts on the Rogue’s most venerable denizens — wild salmon and steelhead — are more complex, with benefits and debits riverwide, with winners and losers in constant change. Studies show the biggest benefits of the dam to fish is supplemented summer flows that rise and cool the Rogue. The higher, cooler-than-normal flows have allowed the basin’s wild fall chinook salmon to expand throughout the middle Rogue and portions of the upper Rogue. Those same cooler summer waters help all wild salmon and steelhead juveniles while rearing in the Rogue. And in drought years such as 2015, the release of stored water at key times helps stave off disease outbreaks that would have wiped out much of the Rogue’s spring chinook run in pre-dam years, researchers say. But research also shows the biggest loser of the dam’s placement and operation are wild spring chinook. The dam’s placement cut off 30 percent of its natural spawning habitat. For that alone, some still talk about Lost Creek dam with four-letter words. But it could have been worse, says Pete Samarin, fisheries biologist who studies the Rogue water releases for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and makes flow recommendations to best serve Rogue fish. “We lost habitat, but we didn’t lose 90 percent of the habitat like some of those dams in the Willamette Basin,” Samarin says. The wild fish are replaced with hatchery-bred spring chinook, which a new study shows are genetically inferior to wild chinook. Also, the solar warming of the reservoir in the winter means winter water temperatures are higher than natural, causing chinook eggs to incubate faster than normal and to hatch earlier than normal. To make up for the unnatural winter river temperatures, late-summer flows are artificially cooler than normal. This constant tweaking of water flows and temperatures to make the outcome for wild salmon as natural as possible means the Rogue is almost never in a natural state. Water flows are only natural during about three weeks each fall when the Corps releases as much water from the reservoir as is flowing in. It’s called “passing inflow,” but it’s no passing matter. “The river looks completely different, and how people use the river is completely different,” Brown says. “And the river is completely different.”

Pete Samarin, a state fish biologist, stands along what’s known as the “holy water” section of the Rogue River below Lost Creek dam. Mail Tribune file photo

Water is released into the Rogue River from Lost Creek Lake to make room for storm runoff. Below, about 66,000 rainbow trout mill about in the Hatch House of Cole M. Rivers Hatchery. Mail Tribune file photos

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Our Valley 2016  

Moments that shaped the Rogue Valley

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