The Clackamas print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1989-2019, April 29, 1998, Page 6, Image 6

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April 29, 1998
A taste of history from the Native Garden
Contributing Writer
pale blue to deep purple, with many blooms to a stem
and they stand conspicuously above the surrounding
native flora.
The blooming continues this week in the Native Gar­
Camas is an herbaceous perennial from a deep bulb
den. In view for all to enjoy is the lovely, early blue with an extraordinary history in this area. In ajournai of
flower, Camas, Camassia quamasch. The flowers are Meriwether Lewis, early explorer of our region, dated
June 12, 1806, he hints at the abun­
dance of flowers the camas meadows
once held. “The quawmish is now in
blume (sic) and from the colour of its
bloom at a short distance it resembles
lakes of fine clear water, so complete
in this deception that on first sight I
could have sworn it was water,” he
Its blue, aquatic effect bathes
the Rock Garden in front of the Chem­
istry Lab and also the bed northwest of
the pond. Camas is found naturally in
low to middle elevations in meadows
that are moist in the spring but dried
out by late summer. Its bulb held great
value for many Native American tribes
as an important staple. Many camas
beds were owned and inherited, and
each season they were cleared of
stones, weeds and brush, and often
were controlled by burning in the sum­
mer. Several deadly conflicts resulted
between tribes over harvesting rights,
trade discrepancies and religious is­
When roasted, the bulb tastes
sweet, and the plant’s common name
is derived from the Nootka word
TIMOTHY BELL / Clackamas Print
chamas which means “sweet.” Camas
Meriwether Lewis enjoyed its beauty, and now so can you:
shares a similar appearance and often
high-reaching Camassia quamasch flowers add a blue and
the same habitat with its deadly rela­
purple flair to the Native Garden.
tive, death camas (Zigadenus elegans).
TIMOTHY BELL / Clackamas Print
Also appreciated by Meriwether Lewis, these
popular, sun-seeking Columbia lewisia flowers
even share his name.
The two are easily distinguishable when in bloom, differ­
entiated by death camas’ creme-white flowers. Although
Camas had great ethnobotanical uses, there are no known
medicinal uses.
Another beauty in the Rock Garden this week is Colum­
bia lewisia, commonly called Lewisia. Its flowers are white
with pink striped veins through the petals. This perennial
likes sun and exposed sites usually found from middle to
high elevations. Lewisia was actually named after
Meriwether Lewis. It is a favorite among gardeners today.
Along with the additions of local art, this week the gar­
den offers a rich palette of colors filled with movement of
water reflections and wind in nature. Take the time to expe­
rience the Native Garden. Enjoy.
‘I Can’ workshops build women’s self-sufficiency
The second in the series of four “I
can” classes sponsored by Connec­
tions: Focus on Women took place
last week.
“I can take care of my car” was the
topic for this hands-on learning
The class started out with a brief
introduction of the class instructors
who were both established in the au­
tomobile repair industry. Liz Dally
has her own shop in Portland called
Hawthorne Auto which she has
owned for 15 years. She worked
hard to attain the level of knowledge
that her shop requires. At one time
Dally was the highest scoring female
ever to take the National Institute of
Automotive Service Excellence
Dawn Slama has been in the indus­
try for 15 years. She works in the parts
department at Diesel Service Unit.
From there we went out to the cars
— er
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Wednesday, April 29, 1998
which were owned by the Clackamas
Automotive Department. They were
classified as junk cars so we couldn’t
mess them up too badly. We later
found out that those cars were very
badly cared for. Most fluids were not
only low but empty and the air pres­
sure in the tires was extremely low.
Next we learned where all of the
basic parts of the car are located.
From the dipstick to the spark plugs,
we learned it all.
We each took our turn at checking
the oil and then up the car went.
Once it. was at a comfortable height
for us to walk under we began to
identify some of the parts visible
from underneath the car. We exam­
ined the tires and exhaust system.
We all got to try our hand at check­
ing the air pressure in the tires; it
worked better for some than others.
Now came the fun part. We loos­
ened the bolt on the oil pan to drain
the oil and so our adventure began.
The rest of the night was basically
watch, learn and then try it yourself.
For an idea of how to perform the
basics on your car such as a lube and
oil change, changing a tire, and
checking your fluids this class was
definitely informative and fun for
women of all ages.
On May 5, ladies will try their
hand at plumbing with “I Can Fix the
Toilet,” which will cover basic
plumbing skills. And on May 19 “I
Can Use a Chainsaw,” will be the
topic. For more information on these
workshops or other Connections
sponsored events contact coordina­
tor Linda Vogt at ext. 2310.