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Volume 9 Issue 2 / March-April 2018 WillametteValleyLife.com
Discover the Willamette Valley's Unique Wildlife From Your Own Backyard -Page 8
Thomas Slate's Steam Powered Metal Airship -Page 10
SALEM/KEIZER • EUGENE • PORTLAND • MCMINNVILLE • SILVERTON • ALBANY • CORVALLIS • DALLAS • NEWBERG • MT. ANGEL • STAYTON March/April 2018 • Willamette Valley Life
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March/April 2018 â€¢ Willamette Valley Life
Our top Willamette Valley event picks!
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival: March 23 - April 30
McMinnville Art and Wine Walk - March 17 Monthly on the 3rd Saturday, the McMinnville Art & Wine Walk showcases the artists and wineries of the Yamhill Valley in charming local shops and award winning restaurants. NE 3rd. St., McMinnville, Oregon 97128 facebook.com/McMinnvilleArtAndWineWalk
he Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest is an invitation from the Iverson family to yours to enjoy all things that make spring in the Northwest. Stroll through 40 acres of stunning beauty and experience expansive views of vineyards, distant mountains, and a few mud puddles. Fresh flowers, food, and fun for the entire family, including well-behaved dogs on leashes! Bring your family and enjoy 40 acres of tulips. Eat your own picnic lunch or purchase food on-site and make it a day-long event. Try wine daily from Wooden Shoe Vineyards, ride a bouncy ride on their famous cow trains, and so much more. Only 45 minutes from Portland and 30 minutes from Salem. 503-634-2243. 33814 S Meridian Road, Woodburn, OR 97071. woodenshoe.com
Farm Fest And Plowing Competition - April 7 The largest plowing competition with draft animals on the West Coast! More than 20 teams of draft horses and mules, as well as blacksmiths, sawmill, farm demos, food, music, pioneer kids activities, vendors and more. Admission: $8 adults; kids under 12 are free. 503-472-2842. Yamhill Valley Heritage Center Museum, 11275 SW Durham Lane, McMinnville, OR 97128. yamhillcountyhistory.org
Omsi Star Party: Astronomy Day Celebration stronomy Day wouldn’t be complete without a free Star Party on Saturday, April 21 at Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park starting at sunset. From beginners to experts of all ages, here’s your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. Viewing highlights include Venus, waxing crescent Moon, Jupiter and more! Gaze at the spring night sky from Rooster Rock State Park, located 22 miles east of Portland on Interstate 84 just east of Sandy River at exit 25.
From beginners to experts of all ages, here’s your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. To reach L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, take U.S. Highway 26 west of Portland and turn right on state Route-47. The event starts at sunset and is free with $5 parking per vehicle.
Willamette Valley Life • March/April 2018
Warm clothing and a flashlight with red light are recommended. Personal telescopes and binoculars are welcome. Location Information Rooster Rock State Park.Take Interstae 84 east of the Sandy River to exit 25. The park is located 22 miles east of Portland. L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. Take U.S. Highway 26 west of Portland and turn right on state Route 47. The park is located 34 miles west of Portland. 503-797-4000. omsi.edu
PHOTO BY STEVE ANDREWS
E N T E RTA I N M E N T
Music in the Valley It’s music to our ears. Here are some artists in our neighborhood to check out.
Jonny Lang at the Historic Elsinore Theatre
t is hard to believe that at 36 years old Jonny Lang has already had a successful career for two decades. Easier to believe when you learn he released his first platinum record at 15 — an age when many young people are just beginning to play music. “Lie to Me” revealed a talent that transcended the crop of blues prodigies floating around in the late ‘90s. No flashy re-hasher of classic blues licks, even at that early age Lang was a full-blown artist with a style of his own. Also, setting Lang apart from the wunderkind crowd was a 15-year-old voice that sounded like a weathered soul shouter. Actual life experience was yet to come, and has been subsequently chronicled in a series of five uniformly excellent recordings. “I got married, had kids, and that arc has been recorded on albums along the way,” says Lang. “There is a lot of personal history in
PDX Jazz presents “The Incredible Journey of Jazz” Walter Cultural Arts
there, and also some things that relate to world events.” Since the release of his debut album, Grammy Award-winning Jonny Lang has built a reputation as one of the best live performers and guitarists of his generation. The path Lang has been on has brought him the opportunity to support or perform with some of
the most respected legends in music. He has shared the stage with everyone from The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Aerosmith and Buddy Guy, who he continues to tour with today. Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m. elsinoretheatre.com
azz, Family Friendly. This “living experience of jazz” is a “foottapping, heart-flooding, laughinducing” educational and fun evening exploring the classic genre’s rhythm, melody and history. The PDX Jazz Festival’s performance recounts America’s original musical art form as we celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with some of the region’s outstanding musicians. Explore the story of jazz from its beginnings in Africa, development in America and impact on our past and present. Along the journey gain a deeper understanding of jazz’s ability to weave global cultures together and excite audiences of all ages. 60 minute program. Recommended ages: 10 and up. Friday, April 20, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Walters Cultural Arts Center Hillsboro, Oregon 97123 hillsboro-oregon.gov/WaltersConcerts
John McEuen and Friends with special guest Mary Flower as Maybelle Carter, Elsinore Theatre
M Squirrel Nut Zippers Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute
n honor of the 20th Anniversary of “Hot,” the band’s visionary creator, Jimbo Mathus, along with founding member and partner Chris Phillips (drums), have crafted a brand new stage show including several leading musicians from New Orleans to serve up the band’s unique musical flavor which owes its roots to that city. The year 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ most celebrated and commercially successful album, “Hot.” Originally released in the summer of 1996, “Hot” was the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed debut, “The Inevitable.” By this time the group had already established a substantial live following across the country thanks to early support from NPR, college radio and non-commercial stations. “Hot” wound up selling over 1.3 million copies. Saturday, March 10, 2018, 7:30 p.m. The Shedd: Jaqua Concert Hall, 868 High Street, Eugene, Oregon, theshedd.org/
cEuen has assembled a unique cast, including Les Thompson on bass, vocals and bouzouki; John Cable on guitar and vocals; and Matt Cartsonis on vocals, mandola and guitar, for a special night to share the music and memories of the landmark “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” platinum album and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s incredible career. Explore the incredible journey of the NGDB through this multimedia show featuring archival photographs, film and narrative interwoven with rare Dirt Band favorites.
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Elsinore Theatre elsinoretheatre.com March/April 2018 • Willamette Valley Life
PHOTO COURTESY OF ENCHANTED FOREST
BY KARA KUH
f you’re a parent and haven’t planned any activities to keep the kids occupied during spring break yet, don’t worry. From treasure hunts to farm visits, the Salem area offers a wide range of activities to keep kids of all ages entertained throughout the week.
Pick up the Passport to Fun The Oregon State Capitol, Willamette Heritage Center, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, World Beat Gallery and Salem Art Association have teamed up to offer families the Passport to Fun, a free way to fill the week of March 26 – April 1. The passport is available at every stop, and stamps will be given at each location after you complete 6
an activity. Once participants have collected all five stamps, they can enter a drawing for prizes including admission tickets, books and assorted souvenirs. —The Oregon State Capitol will offer free building tours at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily. Free tower tours will also be offered to the observation platform daily at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., weather permitting. To visit the tower, you need to sign a waiver, and children must be accompanied by an adult. —At the Willamette Heritage Center, guests receive a stamp for
Willamette Valley Life • March/April 2018
At the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, kids ages 8-13 are invited to sign up for a special “Intro to Coding” class, where they’ll learn to create programs for robotic Spheros using block coding. Special hands-on activities exploring the science of erosion will also be featured the week of March 26 – 30.
stopping by the Visitors Center. The Center is also offering a special Spring Break Admission Pass for just $15. It includes entry to all buildings and exhibit spaces for two adults and three children. —Kids are invited to use their magnifying glasses and sleuthing hats at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and participate in “The Hunt is On.” A series of clues will help them locate and learn about the artwork housed in the museum. Admission to the museum is free during spring break for those who show their passport. —Families are encouraged to visit the World Beat Gallery to see the exhibit
entitled “Finding Home Again: Stories from our Refugee Neighbors.” The exhibit features the stories of people who have come to Salem after having to leave their home countries. The exhibit includes stories and artwork from students in Waldo Middle School’s English as a Second Language (ESL) class.
—At the Salem Art Association’s Bush Barn Art Center, the Young Artists’ Showcase features hundreds of pieces of art by K-12 students from Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. Also on display will be a photographic exhibit, “Braids and Brawn: The Power of Girls,” which features Diane Beals’ portraits of young women alongside quotes that begin with “I am empowered by.” For more information about the Passport to Fun, go to oregoncapitol. com or call 503-986-1388.
Enjoy the Outdoors —Situated on 40 acres of land, Ballyntyne Learning Farm in Salem offers children a place to learn about farm life, animals and the ecosystem. Two sessions will be held the week of spring break, including “Seeds” and “Beavers and Dams.” ballyntynelearningfarm.org —The Enchanted Forest, the midWillamette Valley’s eclectic theme park, will be open daily March 22 – April 1, and every weekend after that until May 17, when it opens for the summer season. enchantedforest.com
Get Creative At the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, kids ages 8-13 are invited to sign up for a special “Intro to Coding” class, where they’ll learn to create programs for robotic Spheros using block coding. Special handson activities exploring the science of erosion will also be featured the week
Gilbert House Children’s Museum
of March 26 – 30. acgilbert.org
Save a Life Youth 15 years and older can become registered lifeguards over spring break through the Dallas Aquatic Center. Participants must pass a pre-course skills test that will be given on March 14 and 21. Lifeguard training will be held March 28 – 31. www.ci.dallas. or.us
Basketball enthusiasts can work on their skills at The Hoop’s spring break camp, offered March 26 – 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Morning sessions will focus on basketball fundamentals, while afternoon sessions will
consist of 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games. hoopsalem.com For more information about things to do during spring break and beyond, visit travelsalem.com.
Do the Monster Mash At the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, monsterthemed crafts and activities are in store for kids ages 4 to 6. Kids ages 7 to 12 are also invited to come out for a week of Kroc Olympics with an Oregon twist. salem.kroccenter.org
Hone Your Hoops Skills
The Voice of the Santiam Canyon • WWW.KYACFM.ORG March/April 2018 • Willamette Valley Life
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Discover the Willamette Valley's Unique Wildlife From Your Own Backyard Creating a backyard habitat is not only fun, easy and educational, it’s a terrific way to jump into sustainable landscaping. B Y L I N D A W A L K E R
y adventure in backyard habitats began as a course assignment to combine my backyard pond, my passion for dragonflies and special time with my granddaughter. But the experience soon became one of the most rewarding endeavors I’ve ever undertaken. You too can invite wildlife into your own backyard and neighborhood. Any age can participate, you can go at your own pace, and everyone enjoys the lasting benefits. Young children especially can learn the basics of nature appreciation through their own window into the natural world. There are five key components to a backyard habitat: food, water, cover, places to raise young and sustainable practices.
PHOTOS BY LINDA WALKER
—Food: An exciting variety of wildlife can use native plants for their nectar, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, foliage, and pollen. Feeders can supplement natural food sources and are very helpful during harsh winters when other food is scarce. —Water: All animals need water to survive, as well as some for bathing and breeding. —Cover: Wildlife need places to shelter from severe weather, hide from predators or stalk prey. —Places to raise young: All animals need resources to reproduce and keep their species going. Some species – such as dragonflies – have totally
(Above) The male Libellula Saturata more commonly known as flame skipper. (Inset) Sharing the adventure of discovery.
different habitat needs in their juvenile phase than they do as adults. —Sustainable practices: The management of your yard effects the health of the soil, air, water, and habitats for plant, animal, and human communities. Providing a sustainable habitat for wildlife begins with your plants. When you plant the native species local wildlife depend on, you begin to make a positive impact on our environment. Well-chosen native plants conserve water and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers that pollute our rivers and streams. Native plant life attracts birds, insects and other creatures that control pests naturally. They also thrive without much care while bringing the beauty of the region closer to home. Native plants provide the best food and shelter for the Willamette Valley’s native animal species. Once you’ve selected the best plants for your habitat, expand on it. Add water sources, nesting boxes, and other
Willamette Valley Life • March/April 2018
Building a backyard habitat can be simple or elaborate. One simple habitat project uses a pot of soil and one or two well-chosen plants. features to enhance the appeal of your habitat. By choosing natural gardening practices, you make your yard a safe place for wildlife. Building a backyard habitat can be simple or elaborate. One simple habitat project uses a pot of soil and one or two well-chosen plants. You can place these on an apartment balcony to attract local wildlife. This small stage lets hummingbirds, butterflies, and the occasional curious squirrel perform freely for your entertainment. Another simple backyard habitat project is leaving your fall leaves in a pile and letting nature take its course. If you have more land and time, you
can also dedicate acres to elaborate landscaping. All these options and everything between are excellent habitats for our native species. You can find a vast array of resources on building a backyard habitat at your local library. The librarians are a helpful and often underutilized resource. Drop by your local nursery and talk to the staff or go online to find an abundance of worthwhile resources. The website oregonmetro.gov provides a downloadable PDF of their booklet “Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards.” During the spring and summer, visit one of the many expositions and shows that promote the use of native plant species. The vendors are very knowledgeable of the Willamette Valley’s plant and wildlife as well as which species will meet your individual needs. This spring, enjoy nature’s wonders while making a positive impact on your own community.
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Would an Oregon inventor's steam-powered metal airship have worked? The Linn County lad might have revolutionized air travel. But a launch-day disaster ruined his prototype, the Great Depression scared off all his investors and the Hindenburg disaster ended the era of airship travel. STORY BY FINN J.D.JOHN
homas B. Slate had left his native Oregon several years earlier for the East Coast and made a fortune by inventing and commercializing the production of “dry ice” – frozen carbon dioxide. Then he’d sold his company and moved to Glendale, California to launch a new venture: a nationwide line of passenger airships based on a revolutionary design he had worked out. At first glance, the design looked ridiculous, like a piece of science-fiction hopefulness sketched out by an amateur without the benefit of any scientific or engineering knowledge. This initial appearance, together with the fact that Slate was best known for his innovations in dry ice manufacture rather than his aeronautical work during World War I, fooled more than one observer into assuming its inventor was just another rich guy with too much money and not enough knowledge, trying to force the laws of physics to conform to his dreams. He wasn’t. Thomas B. Slate was the real thing. And so was his crazy airship. Slate’s dirigible was shaped like a colossal teardrop, with a big blunt front and a tapering tail. A long, streamlined cabin stretched along the bottom, with room for about three dozen passengers and crew to dwell in comfort and luxury during the anticipated 36-hour transcontinental journeys the airship would make. Its hull was made entirely of aluminum, built in strips that were folded together in a specially patented gas-tight manner and riveted in place, with deep symmetrical grooves leading from the nose back to the tail. On the tip of the nose was an improbably tiny, odd-shaped fan or propeller of sorts; at the tail, an equally improbably tiny set of rudders and horizontal stabilizers. These elements were at the heart of the revolutionary design that Slate had created. The fan on the front was an impeller – a steam-powered blower that sucked great volumes of air out of the space just ahead of the airship and blasted it out to the sides in a great sheet of wind. This sheet of wind would be drawn to curve around the front of the airship by the Venturi effect, creating a cushion of moving, partially-evacuated air that would suck the hull forward even as it buffered the big airship from atmospheric turbulence. This artificial wind would have abated considerably by the time it reached the tail surfaces, but would still be strong enough that only very small ailerons and rudders would be needed for navigation. This plan sounded like a pipe dream, but it apparently worked fantastically 10
well – at least on the scale models Slate had tested in the wind tunnel at New York University. If the models scaled, Slate reckoned the full-size dirigible would require just 400 horsepower to transport 21,000 pounds of airship, passengers, crew and luggage through the air at up to 100 miles per hour. This propulsion system would make Slate’s design ridiculously cheap to operate. In addition, the system of offloading passengers via an elevator car traveling up and down a cable hanging beneath would make it possible to operate with complete independence of airfields and other expensive ground infrastructure, except for hangars to park the big things in when not in use. Slate envisioned a nationwide airline network served with his big silverteardrop airships shuttling passengers anywhere and everywhere in comfort, luxury and profitability. And the first step toward that goal was to get his first prototype into the air so that all the doubters could see that his revolutionary propulsion system would work.
Slate’s dirigible was shaped like a colossal teardrop, with a big blunt front and a tapering tail. A long, streamlined cabin stretched along the bottom, with room for about three dozen passengers and crew to dwell in comfort and luxury during the anticipated 36-hour transcontinental journeys the airship would make. The inventor got busy in his giant blimp shed, working on construction of the first model. With an eye toward public relations, he dubbed it City of Glendale. Throughout the spring, summer and fall of 1929, City of Glendale took shape. City residents flocked to the airfield on each of the days Slate took it out for testing. Slate worked tirelessly to get the big airship ready for its maiden voyage. As the ship neared its launch date, Slate made a few changes here and there. The high-pressure boiler was giving him trouble, so he left it out and purchased a big radial aircraft engine. It’s not clear whether this was a temporary measure for testing, or if he’d actually given up on steam as a power distribution system. Finally, the big day came. In what would
Willamette Valley Life • March/April 2018
later seem a bitterly ironic twist, it was the first day of winter. But it was a warm day, and a beautiful one. Out came City of Glendale, ready to show what it could do. As the Slate Aircraft Company crews busied themselves getting the big airship ready, the warm southern California sun beat down on the aluminum hull. Soon the hydrogen inside was expanding, and it quickly became clear that the pressure-release valve had gotten stuck. A sharp, explosive pop rang out. Bystanders ducked; it sounded like a gunshot. And then came another, and another. Rivets were being torn out of the big dirigible’s hull. And then, with a sigh of escaping gas, City of Glendale settled wearily down onto the tarmac and lay over on its side. Slate was, of course, dismayed. But as yet he had no idea that his dream had just been destroyed. That came when the big dirigible was back in the shop, a week or two later, when he and his construction crews came to a horrible realization: the envelope was not fixable. Because of the way each piece of aluminum interlocked with every other piece, the only way to replace the missing rivets and torn strips of aluminum would be to disassemble the whole thing, like a jigsaw puzzle, and start from scratch. Had Slate used screws instead of rivets, that would have been do-able, though hardly pleasant. But when he’d engineered the big dirigible, he hadn’t even considered the need to periodically repair pieces of the hull. Slate got busy immediately, trying
to raise the funds he’d need to build a second model. But the world had changed radically just two months before, on October 29, 1929. The country was just plunging into what would become the Great Depression. Investors had stopped investing and started trying to salvage as much of their assets as they could. There was no money available. Slate made some attempts to restart the project after the disaster. Nothing worked out, though. Finally, in 1931, the Slate Aircraft Company filed for bankruptcy. After the company failed, Slate’s son Claude took the lead in trying to interest others in picking up where his father had left off, even sending a proposal to the U.S. Congress with an eye toward earning a grant. Nothing came of this at the time, probably partly because of the counterintuitive nature of the engineering systems Slate developed. After 1937, reviving the idea became almost an impossibility, as the Hindenberg disaster had soured nearly everyone on the very idea of airship travel. Eventually, Thomas Slate and his family found their way back to Oregon and settled back into life in Slate’s old home town of Alsea. He continued to invent things and his patent filings continued to show a Tesla-like ability to reimagine and innovate. They included a cyclone-generating device for removing smog from the air and a radically reimagined flying-boat design. He died a week before his 100th birthday, on November 26, 1980.
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Live Music | Exhibits | Crafts Garden Tours | Face Painting Local Food | Educational Demonstrations
March/April 2018 â€¢ Willamette Valley Life
Cherry Blossom Day y, Saturda 7 March 1 2018
2018 Wooden Shoe
Oregon’s Most Beautiful Event!
At The Capitol & State Park
Join us for acres of stunning beauty. March 23-April 30th.
10 am – 2 pm, Rain or Shine Free and Open to the Public – Free Parking What to Expect: Performances, Music, Cultural Activities, Children’s Activities, Tower Tours Event Details at Oregoncapitol.com 503-986-1388
• Tulip Display Gardens • Children and Family Activities • Great Food & Wine • Tulip Themed Gift Shop • Crafter’s Market Place • and much, much, more!
Asian & Pacific Islander Day at the Capitol Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Free oregoncapitol.com 503.986.1388
33814 S. Meridian Rd. Woodburn • 800.711.2006 Info/Field Conditions: woodenshoe.com
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Willamette Valley Life • March/April 2018
Toll Free: 1-800-589-9892 Fax: (503) 589-9850 3856 Center Street Salem, OR 97301
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