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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (June 29, 2016)
Appeal Tribune, www.silvertonappeal.com
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
HIDDEN ‘FAMILY’ OF WATERFALLS
SUBJECT OF NAMING CAMPAIGN
There is no trail to Family Falls, and
it can’t be found on official maps.
Clues about the location are whis-
pered between friends, a secret known
only to those willing to bushwhack into
a canyon of high cliffs and thick forest
deep in the Opal Creek Wilderness.
The journey is not easy.
A trip requires scrambling up and
down steep ridges, crossing a creek
multiple times and crawling head-first
through a cave.
But the reward arrives with the dis-
covery of one beautiful waterfall after
the next, the family of seven waterfalls
living together in a setting so primeval
you’d swear you were the first person
to lay eyes upon it.
But, of course, you’d be wrong.
Almost five decades ago this spring,
a Salem barber named Maynard Draw-
son became the first person to docu-
ment these waterfalls on upper Henline
Creek in the Little North Santiam can-
yon east of Salem.
A World War II veteran, author, fa-
ther of seven children and lifelong Sa-
lem resident, Drawson was best-known
for exploring places overlooked by the
masses. He wrote about his experienc-
es in a series of books, “Treasures of the
“His name is Maynard Drawson and
his hobby is Oregon — literally,” reads a
story published in the Medford Mail
Tribune on Dec. 26, 1977. “Oregon’s hills
and valleys and histories and old towns
and forest and places names intrigue
him, and he delights in sharing his find-
ings with others.”
Drawson’s discovery of the water-
falls set in motion a small-scale drama
over the question of who gets to name
Since Drawson was the first person
to document the series of falls — it had
been overlooked by surveyors and
didn’t appear on any map — he decided
to take a page from the explorers of old.
He named each waterfall for one of his
children, plus his friend Jerry.
He dubbed the entire area “Family
Falls,” and his discovery made the front
page of the Capital Journal on June 6,
But getting a name affixed to a spe-
cial place had become more complex,
and after years of wrangling and waf-
fling, the Oregon Geographic Names
Board rejected Drawson’s names by
“My contention of discovery has
been ignored and my name suggestions
officially refused,” Drawson wrote.
Without an official designation on
the map, the fanfare around Family
Falls was mostly forgotten, the water-
falls becoming a blank space on the
map once again.
Drawson would still become famous
for exploring and writing. His discov-
ery of numerous gigantic trees kick-
started Oregon’s Heritage Tree pro-
gram, and he’s credited with helping
save some of the state’s oldest groves.
Yet when he passed away in 2012, at
the age of 87, the “Family Falls” issue
His fight is not forgotten. Inspired
by Drawson’s books, Tom Kloster fol-
lowed Drawson’s footsteps to Family
Falls in the early 2000s. The pictures he
took, and website he created, brought
the area to life for a new generation of
Oregon waterfall hunters.
ZACH URNESS / STATESMAN JOURNAL
Dan Falls, Family Falls on Henline Creek.
COURTESY OF TOM KLOSTER
Maynard Drawson, known for big-tree hunting, discovered the "Family Falls" waterfalls
some 50 years ago. He's seen here in the early 2000s at Whites Restaurant.
Now Kloster is planning to take an-
other run at the Oregon Geographic
Names Board, seeking to right an old
wrong by changing “Henline Falls” to
“Drawson Falls,” and “Henline Creek”
to “Family Creek.”
“I believe that maps should contain a
living history,” said Kloster, who lives
in Portland. “A lot of the names the For-
est Service applied are a little static. I
think that names should be updated
with people who’ve had a positive im-
pact in more recent times, and I think
Maynard fits that category very well.”
The rules for renaming a landmark
in Oregon — when it comes to an indi-
vidual — are fairly straightforward.
The person must be deceased for at
least five years, a person’s surname is
preferred and that person must have
some historic connection or have made
a significant contribution to the local
Kloster believes all of those circum-
stances will apply to Drawson in 2017,
the five-year anniversary of his death.
While he concedes it would be diffi-
cult to get the waterfalls named for
Dawson’s children — they are still
alive, after all — he envisions naming
two landmarks in Maynard’s honor.
Henline Falls, the popular 126-foot
waterfall that lunched the expedition,
would become “Drawson Falls.” And
Henline Creek, where the Family Falls
collection of cascades is located, would
become “Family Creek.”
“You couldn’t even say we were dis-
respecting Mr. Henline,” Kloster said.
“There would still be a mountain named
for him right there.”
Kloster will likely face an uphill
Phil Cogswell, the current president
of the OGNB, said existing names are
rarely changed, except when a deroga-
tory name is involved. In recent years,
for example, there has been movement
to change the name of places that carry
the name “Squaw,” a denigrating word
used for Native American females.
“There is a pretty firm policy about
changing established names, unless the
name is derogatory or redundant — like
there were two Elk Creeks within a few
miles of each other,” Cogswell said.
“That said, every proposal is consid-
ered on its merits and maybe there is a
good case to be made here. We’ll never
say no, and we’re always happy to help
people navigate the process.”
Cogswell said Kloster, were he in-
clined, would have a difficult time ap-
plying the name “Family Falls” to the
hidden waterfalls as well, because they
now reside in a federal wilderness area,
where naming new features is discour-
Kloster said he’s OK with the diffi-
“I always like a challenge, especially
when it’s against an entity like OGNB!”
Kloster said. “My back up plan might be
legislation, and I do think I could pull
that off, too.”
Zach Urness can be reached at
Mill City softball tournament returns to plate
MILL CITY - The Mill City Fourth of
July Softball Tournament will make a
comeback after being on hiatus since
The idea of the tournament was
kicked around for several years before
the community added it to the Fourth of
However, the city had some issues, in-
cluding a lack of interest and finding a
tournament director, so the plans were
scrapped in 2013.
Interest in bringing back the tourna-
ment was spearheaded by Mill City
board member Melinda Flatman.
“We’re rebuilding our core and trying
to get people involved in the communi-
ty,” Flatman said. “This year we have
more involvement from the various or-
ganizations in the community. It’s a re-
Flatman is an avid baseball fan and
knew the town was missing out by not
having the softball tournament, so she
pushed to get it restarted.
This year’s version of the tournament
will be played on July 2-3 with games be-
ginning at 9 a.m. on both days. All of the
games will be held at Kimmel Park. It
The Mill City Fourth of July Softball Tournament returns this year.
will be a six-team, double-elimination
“A two-day tournament is about all we
can run at this point,” Flatman said. “If
we got a lot of interest we’d have to
REACH US: Cliff Kirkpatrick, ckirkpatr@Salem.gannett.com
switch to a single-elimination tourna-
There is a $75 registration fee per
team to play in the tournament. The fees
will help pay for the trophies and the cer-
tified umpires who are being brought in
for the tournament.
Individuals who are not part of a team
may show up the morning of the tourna-
ment to try and join a team.
“Individuals are welcome to show up
because we may have spaces on teams,”
Flatman said. “We want people to have a
minimum of 12 players in case there is an
injury or if someone doesn’t show, but
then there are also four alternates posi-
The hope is to garner enough interest
in the tournament to keep it running in
the foreseeable future. Flatman is also
interested in getting more summer soft-
ball tournaments in the Mill City area.
“We hope to continue doing it for the
Fourth (and) we hope that everything
runs well and we get the interest level
that we’re hoping for,” Flatman said. “If
we can get enough people interested, we
would try and run weekend tourna-
ments. We don’t have a lot of steady ac-
tivity up here so it would be nice to ex-
pand it and keep it going.”
For more infomation in signing up a
team or for other questions, contact Me-
linda Flatman at 503-897-2302 or by
email at email@example.com.