Archive for the ‘At the End of the Oregon Trail’ Category

Sunshine On Ki-a-Kut’s Bridge

Saturday, January 18th, 2014
It is said that Tualatin has a distinct Ice Age, Native American and pioneer history.
Now that I live here at the End of the Oregon Trail, I want to learn more about this area.

I haven’t been feeling all that well this week and have been staying in at home in my pajamas. It has been very foggy and cold day and night. But today the sunshine finally broke through and I felt compelled to take a walk. I had to combine that with going out to buy a wedding gift, so I went to Cook Park over on that part of town where I needed to shop.

And I like to walk there. Cook Park, along the Tualatin River in Tigard, is part of 250 combined acres of natural and open spaces, much of it protected wetland with great bird-watching potential. It is a community place, a fine meeting of the vision of city planners of Tigard, Durham and Tualatin, providing miles of walking paths and river access as well as soccer fields, picnic tables and BBQ grills, a dog park, skate park, basketball and tennis courts.

In 2007, a new walking path/ bicycle bridge was completed over a bend at the Tualatin River, connecting the Tualatin Community Park on the south side to Cook Park on the north side, where a memorial plaque was placed. It is a dedication to Ki-a-kuts, in tragic times, the final chief of the Atfalati band, part of the Kalapuya language group.  Native Americans who lived here long before. Before the pioneers came. Before the US government forced native Americans off their ancient homelands, marched them to the Federal Indian Reservation of Grand Rounde around 1856.

Jan. 22, 1855. | 10 Stats., 1143. | Ratified, Mar. 3, 1855. | Proclaimed, Apr. 10, 1855.

Read this excellent article: The Original Tualatins
about the Tualatin area native Americans written by Mary French, published in The Tualatin Life July 2013.

Long before native Americans and Ki-a-kuts, ice age mammals roamed these acreages. In 1962, John George, a PSU student working on a geology project, was clued in to dig up a mastodon skeletin from the Tualatin swamps. The story of how this amazing historical relic was discovered and came to be on display today in the lobby of the City of Tualatin Public Library can be read here:

I have a library card from there, so I have seen the mastodon display for myself.

Later, bones of ancient mammoth and sloth were also excavated and verified.

Ice Age Mammals Who Roamed Tualatin


At the End of the Oregon Trail

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Our 70′s house sits on 1/3 acre up on a mini mountain top above where the Tualatin runs into the Willamette River across from Oregon City, which is historically deemed “End of the Oregon Trail.” Now that we’ve finally purchased a house, I think it’s fitting for me to find a home here, at the end of a long trail of rentals, in that I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Oregon Trail begins. And I have made that convoluted journey over my life to this place, as many others have.

There’s a site where the Oregon Trail passes just south of Boise, Idaho. Many hot summer nights I spent under the stars out in the desert on the trail with my dog and friends when I lived in Boise. In those times I became very interested in the history of the American Indian natives and the early land grabs of the spreading West. But I had no idea I would follow to the end of the Oregon Trail myself.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent forth by President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to explore and document the uncharted lands west of the Mississippi River which had been acquired by the United States from France via the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Louis and Clark and team started their infamous journey near St. Louis, Missouri, setting out in boats up the Missouri River.

They ended their journey West at the mouth of the Columbia River where it crashes into the Pacific Ocean, paddling past what would become, more than 140 years later, Portland, Oregon at the confluence of the Willamette River.

Along the way they documented extensive facts on the Northwest’s natural resources, including minerals, animal species and native plants. One such plant was a woody shrub with fragrant clusters of white flowers which the expedition found growing and gathered for a specimen as they passed through Idaho. The shrub was later given the Latin name Philadelphus Lewisii, but today it is more generally known as Lewis’ Mock Orange, or the Syringa, state flower of Idaho.

The expedition also met along the way and recorded 48 different tribes of native Americans, peoples who had already long been living in these “undiscovered areas,” who had their own history along with extensive knowledge of the geography, plants and animals of their regions.

Among these tribes listed are the Willamette River Clackamas and the Columbia Chinook who lived in an area which is now Clackamas County, which includes the great Mt. Hood, salmon rich tributaries and surrounding magestic forests.

Thus began a flow of pioneer emigrants West. The native cultures were to face the devastating impact.

Robert Moore left Missouri and traveled the Oregon trail in 1839 and would become the founder of the first pioneer settlement in the area which would become today’s West Linn, across the river from Oregon City. Long ago, this was where tribes of Clackamas Indians lived and fished at Willamette Falls. It is recorded that the natural bounty of the area, game animals, birds, fish and over 100 kinds of edible plants, was so rich that the Clackamas had plenty for themselves and for trading. But by 1857, the few who had not by then perished from the ravaging diseases introduced by the early seafarer explorers, traders, and settlers were displaced, rounded up by the US Government and marched to Grand Ronde Indian Reservation 70 miles away in the Coast Range.

Guess I’ll have to say West Linn is my town now, ’cause that’s where this 70′s house was built.

It’s a long way from Missouri to Oregon, over many roads with varying difficult routes. In my life, as I’ve traveled all over the West, leaving Missouri in 1959, I know my path has crisscrossed those of the Oregon Trail pioneers and wandering Indian food gatherers all along the way.

In the present, one of my favorite people, with the name of Syringa, now attends Lewis and Clark College in Portland. :)

Intriguingly, we found there were a couple of old Syringa bushes growing on the property of the 1950′s era Lake Oswego house we leased for 6 years. Not a common landscaping plant, but there they were. I clipped and pressed the blossoms.


Our 70′s House

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Now that we have finally purchased a house, we are faced with the unique remodel challenges inherent with this typical split entry two-story rectangle. This ubiquitous model is listed in the “History of American Architecture.” Widely popular and afforable in the 1970′s, it is not a favorite design today. GOOGLE “1970′s house” and find many web sites which address new owners disgruntled attitudes fueling all manner of passionate remodel projects.

Now I join the ranks.

This house has alot of potential. But design-wise, it is definitely THAT 70′s HOUSE. Small bedrooms all clustered together, small hallways, small closets, small closed-off kitchen with drop ceiling, big downstairs rumpus room with drafty fireplace! Arrgg! So, first, for me it was more about this property’s Location Location Location. Sweet.

This 70′s house sits on 1/3 acre near the end of the Oregon Trail at the Willamette River in Oregon City. Fitting, in that I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Oregon Trail begins.

The street is named after the beautiful and peaceful Marylhurst University, founded in 1893, which sits at the bottom of the hill at the edge of the Willamette River south of Portland. Sometimes I can faintly hear the old clock tower bells serenely ringing out the hour.

I can also hear the whinny of a horse, the screech of a hawk, the whoot of an owl, the coo of mourning doves, and an occasional coyote howl. And at the top of this hill, our 50 foot tall doug firs heave in a high wind.