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Volume 8 Issue 5 / September/October 2017


Willamette Men’s Baseball League -Page 8

The Story Of Willie Keil Wagon train to Oregon was led by a dead man -Page 10 SALEM/KEIZER • EUGENE • PORTLAND • MCMINNVILLE • SILVERTON • ALBANY • CORVALLIS • DALLAS • NEWBERG • MT. ANGEL • STAYTON September/October 2017 • Willamette Valley Life


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Your Popular Favorites From Yesterday & Today PUBLISHERS Randy and Dawn Hill SENIOR EDITOR Jessica Gardner ASSOCIATE EDITOR Erin Grace ART DIRECTION Hill Design Studios

DISTRIBUTION Profile In Delivery CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Erin Grace, Finn J.D. John, Greg Hough, Kara Kuh

ADVERTISING SALES 503.507.1228 PHONE 503.507.1228 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 17264 Salem, Oregon 97305 EMAIL WEBSITE Willamette Valley Life Magazine is published quarterly. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Willamette Valley Life Magazine. This publication cannot be reproduced in any form without written consent from Willamette Valley Life Magazine. Although we have made very effort to insure the accuracy of the information in this publication, due to the passage of time and the anomalies inherent in the publishing process, we cannot be responsible for errors or incorrect information. Please contact the individual establishments to confirm information.

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September/October 2017 • Willamette Valley Life



Detroit Lake Mud Run

EZ Orchards Harvest Festival

October 10, 2017

Sixth Annual Event! This epic course will challenge you with mud, rocks, water crossings, hills, trails, stumps and amazing scenery all taking place on the lake bottom of Detroit Lake in the Cascade Mountain Range! You will be a filthy mess, after this event, so plan to wear clothing and shoes you don’t mind ruining! A sense of adventure is strongly encouraged! The roughly 5-mile course will be well marked and begins and ends in front of city hall in the town of Detroit. No experience necessary. All ages and abilities are welcome.

September 30 - October 31, 2017


ach October, the EZ Orchards Market and Farm pull together to host Willamette Valley residents and visitors at the Harvest Fest! This time of year brings a new meaning to “hustle and bustle.” Fresh apples and pears arrive from orchards daily and the pumpkin patch and corn maze are ready for visitors. The store is full of great local foods, as well as a large number of fun decorations, packaged foods, and fall gift items.

Chefs’ Nite Out

October 8, 4:00pm to 7:00pm Voted one of the best events in the mid-valley, Chef ’s Nite Out is renowned as an evening of fine food, beverages, dessert and music. Sample from 50 food and beverage purveyors located around the Valley. $75 admission. Salem Convention Center 200 Commercial St. SE Salem, OR 97301 503-581-3855

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” -Unknown

Willamette Valley Top Picks For The Fall...

EZ Orchards Doughnuts

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Willamette Valley Pie Company

Doughnuts... doughnuts... doughnuts... One of our favorite morning routines during the fall here in the Willamette Valley is floating into the EZ Orchards Market at the junction of Hazelgreen and Cordon Road just outside of Salem on an aroma wave of deliciousness. Apple cider, pumpkin–whatever. It doesn’t matter. It’s all too wonderful.

6oz Soy Wax Candle by Wooly Beast This Willamette Valley candle comes in a unique “wine country” scent. Aged in Etsy artist Wooly Beast’s home studio, the buttery scent with a slightly oaky back end will take you back to those relaxing summer afternoons with a glass of Willamette Valley wine.

What’s better than cobbler in the fall? Nothing! These cobblers are handmade with a traditional cake batter style recipe. Fresh out of the oven, these cobblers are the best you’ll find. Just pull one out of the freezer, bake and serve! Cobblers are available in 26-and 80-ounce sizes. 4

Willamette Valley Life • September/October 2017

september/october 2017 Sept 23-24

Our top calendar picks!

Thru Oct 28

Oregon Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Celebration Enjoy a relaxing day at the vineyard at the 27th Annual Oregon Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Celebration. The event will feature wine tasting, food pairings, grape stomping and live music. Teams of two can compete for the title and a chance to compete in the Wold Championship Grape Stomp. The whole family is encouraged to join in the fun with the Kids Stomp at 3 p.m. (Adult stomping occurs throughout the day). Admission: $15, $10 for Wine Club Members, Owners, their guests; $10 per team to stomp.

Salem Saturday Market Come for the fresh, local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods, stay for the flowers, plants, arts and crafts, foods and free parking. Live music in the summer months. Come explore, discover, and experience local growers and artisans. Salem Saturday Market 865 Marion St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 503-585-8264

Sept 14-17

Oct 13

Oktoberfest in Mount Angel–52nd Celebration

Aurora Colony Annual Quilt Show

A celebration of the harvest in German style. A wonderful blend of family fun, music, food and beer.

Experience local craft at the 45th annual quilt show in the Old Aurora Colony Museum. This beautiful gallery offers over 100 contemporary, vintage and antique quilts. Quilt block contest, quilting demonstrations. Old Aurora Colony Museum, 15018 2nd St., Aurora, Oregon. 503-678-5754

Oregon’s oldest and best-loved Oktoberfest began in 1966 as a traditional harvest festival to celebrate the bounty of the earth and the goodness of creation. It is the largest folk festival in the Northwest.

For more area events visit September/October 2017 • Willamette Valley Life


Celebrate the Bounty of Fall at Salem-Area Harvest Festivals BY




Airlie Farms hayride

Martha’s Pumpkin Patch, Salem, Oregon.


Willamette Valley Life • September/October 2017

s warm summer days give way to cooler nights and leaves go from green to shades of gold, our thoughts turn to autumn and the festivities that celebrate its arrival. From fresh apple cider to pumpkin patches and acres of corn mazes, the mid-Willamette Valley area boasts dozens of harvest festivals that draw thousands of visitors from around the region. (Admission fees and hours of operation vary. Contact the individual farms for hours, prices and other details.) The largest harvest festival in the region takes place in the Bavarianthemed town of Mount Angel every September. The Mount Angel Oktoberfest is said to be one of the most authentic outside of Germany and offers everything from Germaninspired culinary delights to musical entertainment, dancing and even Dachshund races. Giant slides, hay rides and a corn maze are just a few of the activities offered at the Fir Point Farms harvest festival in Aurora. Guests can also visit the gift store to find seasonal decorations or a cup of freshly pressed apple cider. Bauman’s Farm Garden in Gervais boasts one of the area’s biggest festivals, with more than 40 different activities, including their famous Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off, where competitors square off to see who grew the biggest gourd. Last year, the first-place winner weighed in at more than 1,900 pounds. At Salem’s E.Z. Orchards, harvest time brings delicious seasonal treats such as roasted corn on the cob, warm apple cider donuts and their awardwinning hard cider. They also offer plenty of activities including a corn maze, pony rides, pedal tractors, duck races and more. Fordyce Farm in northeast Salem goes all out in October with a haunted corn maze featuring “live” monsters lurking in dark corners. Visitors can also pick up fresh, seasonal produce

and tasty baked goods, including melt-in-your-mouth scones made with fruit grown right on the farm. At family-owned Wavra Farms and Nursery in southeast Salem, harvest festival guests can try their hand at pumpkin bowling or navigating the Living Forest Maze. Kids can also decorate their pumpkins, climb the hay tower and see what it’s like to roll around in a life-sized gerbil wheel. At French Prairie Gardens in Saint Paul, visitors will delight in watching the only pig races in Oregon, plus enjoy hayrides, slides, an obstacle course and more. The Sublimity Harvest Festival offers a twist on the traditional fall celebration by showcasing a monster truck showdown and tractor pull competitions. Festival attendees will also enjoy country music performances, a kids play zone and plenty of food and drink booths. With more than 30 varieties of pumpkin, squash and gourds to choose from, folks are sure to find something perfect – or perfectly unusual – to complement any fall decor at Airlie Hills Farm in Monmouth. The farm also offers tricycle racing, friendly farm animals and their special Dark Maze that

From fresh apple cider to pumpkin patches and acres of corn mazes, the mid-Willamette Valley area boasts dozens of harvest festivals that draw thousands of visitors from around the region. challenges older kids and adults to find their way out of complete darkness. In Dayton, Heiser Farms is open every day in October with lots of fallthemed fun, including train and fire engine rides, a giant pumpkin patch and a pumpkin cannon derby. In Woodburn, tricks and treats replace tulips as the famous Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm transforms into the Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Fest, complete with a giant corn maze, pumpkin cannon and more. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the maze takes on a spooky vibe and offers frightful fun for those who dare enter after dark! For more harvest festivals and fall activities happening in the Salem area, go to

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Step Up to the Plate The Willamette Valley Men’s Baseball League







n the summertime, on baseball diamonds across the midWillamette Valley, America’s pastime is alive and well among all age groups, and not just for baseball players considered in their physical prime. Since 2004, area players from college age to middle age, many with past baseball experience, have been given the chance to compete in the Willamette Valley Men’s Baseball League (WVMBL), based in Salem. The league features games played from June to September, on fields in Salem, Albany and Corvallis. “For one day a week,” said WVMBL president Ben Ward, “you get to be a kid again.” Ward, who said he’s been a baseball catcher since third grade, played earlier this year on a team of WVMBL players competing in a 45-and-older tournament in Las Vegas. The team won 5-1 in the Vegas competition and won the American Division


championship. It was the first time any team from the league had won a national tournament. “It’s a difficult tournament, and we’ve only had mixed success [in the past],” said Ward. He added that it’s not uncommon to see teams feature players with professional baseball experience. The WVMBL games feature players with past baseball experience ranging from Little League to high school to college to the professional minor leagues. The league grew out of the Oregon Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL), founded by Joe Johnson in 1988 and which lasted until the mid2000s. It is chartered by the national MSBL, an organization with more than 300 affiliates. WVMBL teams are split into three age-group divisions: 18-30, 30-40 and over-40. One of the over-40 league players, Kip Carlson, said he’s been playing in the league since 1994 and that it’s still a rewarding experience after all these years.

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once a week, if not twice a week,” said Kevin Chambers, player/manager of the Warriors, the WVMBL 18-30 team. The schedule is then set for a season of games typically played on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Chambers is a longtime player and Salem native who played in college at Northwest Nazarene and Chemeketa Community College. His father was also a baseball coach, and has helped provide gear for the team and offered

advice about dealing with players. “You’re dealing with adults here,” said Chambers, “and you can’t tell adults what to do.” Among the things you can do as manager, Chambers said, is offer guidance to players to not focus on the individual mistakes made during games, and to move past them and continue to learn and have fun while playing.

Willamette Valley Men’s Baseball League

When he started in the league, Carlson said he’d had one year of baseball experience at Crescent Valley High School in the late ‘70s, and experience playing softball for about 8 years. A longtime baseball fan with a continuing love for the game, he answered an ad in the Corvallis Gazette-Times for tryouts. “I could field okay, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to hit a baseball,” Carlson said. But, he added, “with more repetition, you can get better with anything,” and he improved his

game enough to hit a very respectable seasonal batting average of .300 one year. In those earlier years, Carlson said, the league featured metal bats and mixed teams of older and younger players. Since the WVMBL was formed, the age groups have been split into divisions; in the past decade, the league has gone to all-wooden bats. New players are drafted onto the different teams before the start of each season. Team managers then form practice schedules. “We try to practice

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Wagon Train to Oregon Was Led By a Dead Man The Story of Willie Keil




J . D . J O H N


he young man was the only person to have followed the Oregon Trail while dead, and it’s fortunate for his family – and the Aurora Colony – that he did. Willie Keil was 19 years old in 1855. That year, a party from Bethel, the Christian commune Willie’s father led in northern Missouri, packed up its wagons to head for the Oregon territory. Willie was terrifically excited for the journey. At the time, Missouri was the “jumping-off place” for westward-bound emigrants, and Willie had met plenty of them as they geared up for their journeys. Bethel craftsmen were famous for their quality and honesty, and they sold goods and supplies for the journey to hundreds of emigrants. The Oregon Trail was the great adventure of Willie’s generation, and he yearned to take part in it. His father, Dr. Wilhelm Keil, had promised he’d lead the train when they left. Then, just before it was time to leave, young Willie Keil became desperately ill and died. A father’s promise to his dead son A promise was a promise, and Willie’s grieving father had promised his boy he’d lead the wagon train. So, lead the train he would. The elder Keil arranged for a lead-lined coffin that would not leak, filled it up with the high-quality whisky (the ”Golden Rule” brand produced by Bethel’s distillery), and laid his boy to rest in it. Then a special trans-continental hearse was built. When the wagon train left Missouri, the hearse was at the head of the line. Danger on the Oregon Trail Unfortunately, 1855 was a bad year to be on the Oregon Trail. The Native Americans were growing exasperated with all the traffic, and they knew very well that the purpose of it was to kick them off their land. It might be the West Coast tribes’ turn today, but it would be the plains tribes’ turn tomorrow. In 1855, they were actively trying to do something about it. At several military outposts along the way, the Keil party was urged to turn back and wait a year. Dr. Keil would politely hear the speaker out and the wagon train would press on. The Lord 10

Interpretive sign that marks young Willie Keil’s final resting place in southwest Washington.

Word was spreading among the tribes that there was a particularly big wagon train led by a dead man coming through. Party after party of heavily armed Sioux and other plains Indians came to see. They’d take a peek into the coffin, look impressed, make gestures of friendship, listen to a couple hymns in German and be on their way. would protect His own, Keil would say. But then, by the time Keil heard this sort of advice, he’d already met many Indians. Word was spreading among the tribes that there was a particularly big wagon train coming through which was led by a dead man. Party after party of heavily armed Sioux and other plains tribes came to see. They’d take a peek into the coffin, look impressed, make gestures of friendship, listen to a couple hymns in German and be on their way.

Willamette Valley Life • September/October 2017

have happened to them without the protective presence of young Willie Keil. They stopped to bury and pray for the dead and moved on. Willie finally laid to rest

Dr. Wilhelm Keil

Friendship with the Indians But the Indians didn’t just leave the Bethel party alone — many were actively helpful and friendly. At one point, when some of the party’s livestock escaped, a group from the Cayuse or Yakima tribe drove the animals back to the wagon train. The party passed the charred remains of at least one less fortunate wagon train along the way. In the discolored iron bands and burned corpses, they saw what probably would

When the party arrived at its destination in the Coast Range of what’s now southwest Washington, Dr. Keil soon found its gray and misty weather tiresome. His scouts found a more suitable spot south of the Columbia, and the colony moved to what’s now Aurora, Oregon. As for Willie, he was buried upon arrival at the older site in Washington. His tombstone can be found in Willie Keil’s Grave State Park on Washington’s Highway 6 near the community of Menlo. He is, of course, the only person known to have traversed the entire Oregon Trail while dead. Many thanks to the Old Aurora Colony Historical Museum and to Stewart Holbrook for his book “The Far Corner,” both of which provided invaluable resources for this article.

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R September 19th 7 p.m. - Documentary “Old” shown on the big screen at Salem Cinema. (Advance Tickets Required at Center 50+, Free admission. Limited Seating.) Join us for a 55 minute documentary followed by an interactive, instant poll of feelings and stereotypes surrounding aging. Guests will learn the “Eight-domains to a Age Friendly and Livable Community.” This is the prelaunch party for the Age-Friendly City Initiative.

For more information and additional calendar events, visit:

Call 503-588-6303 for more information. October 7th 9-4 p.m. How To Retire And Live The Life You Want Retreat. ($10; Includes Lunch) Featuring: Morning Workshop: “What’s Next? Life Planning for Retirement” with Marky Ellen Hoeh, SPHR; “Start To Create Your Vision For The Future,” “Create Personal Goals And Actions Steps,” “Explore Your Resources. Removing Barriers To Fulfilling Your Retirement Dreams Begins With A Plan.”

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Willamette Valley Life • September/October 2017

Willamette valley life magazine sept oct 2017 issuu  

"Everything Great About The Willamette Valley"