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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 30, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017
Founded in 1873
HEIDI WRIGHT, Interim Publisher
JIM VAN NOSTRAND, Editor
JEREMY FELDMAN, Circulation Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
Pamplin Media Group
Oregon’s future increasingly depends on new arrivals from else-
where in the U.S., according to the new state economic and reve-
nue forecasts issued Wednesday. With an aging population, ana-
lysts say it is important to integrate these aspiring Oregonians into
our economy and culture.
Vote? Not so fast!
By TOM WILSON
For The Daily Astorian
Oregon’s future T
he English poet John Donne famously wrote, “No man
is an island,” in 1624. His belief that all humans are
intertwined applies equally well four centuries later in
Although Donne wasn’t mentioned by name, his message —
in 21st century language, “we’re all in this together” — was an
underlying theme of the state economic and revenue forecasts
presented to the Legislature on Wednesday.
The message from Oregon’s state economists was dark
humor: Oregon’s economy will continue growing, although at
a slower pace, unless something happens like war with North
It was surprising: As Oregon’s population ages, by 2029
more people will be dying than being born in the state. That
makes Oregon’s economy increasingly dependent on people
moving here from other states.
It was obvious: The issue of housing affordability has spread
from urban Oregon into rural areas, and Oregon’s situation is
worse than in many states.
It was reassuring: Jobs are increasing in rural Oregon as
companies in urban areas confront a lack of workers and an
inadequate supply of land for expansion.
And it was ironic: The federal tax reforms making their
way through Congress will reduce Oregonians’ federal income
taxes. That, in turn, will increase their state income taxes
because they have less federal tax to deduct. The state gov-
ernment could gain so much more revenue that it causes the
income tax “kicker” to take effect, providing taxpayers with a
rebate in two years.
These changes create challenges for employers and commu-
For employers, how can they mentally retool their opera-
tions to take advantage of Oregon’s aging population, includ-
ing the retirees moving in from California and other states?
The experience and work ethic of older Oregonians make them
a valuable commodity — if employers adjust their business
operations, such as offering part-time and seasonal work for
For communities, the challenge will be to integrate these
new arrivals into a culture that might seem alien to them. For
example, many will be used to paying sales taxes and pump-
ing their own gas. Unaccustomed to “Oregon nice,” some will
flaunt their car horns at the slightest irritation. Rain may be per-
ceived as an excuse not to enjoy the outdoors.
Their economic presence is needed to keep the economy
growing; otherwise, the economy will retreat and neighbor-
hoods will die.
These new arrivals will adapt and change. And they will
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P.O. Box 210, Astoria, OR 97103.
hroughout time, historical
events have been recorded in
many ways. From oral tradi-
tions, to books, to movies, history
has been passed from one generation
to another, told and retold.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
of 1803-1806 is no exception.
There have been numerous
books, films and documentaries as
well as various publications writ-
ten of this famously epic expedition.
Many of these accounts were done
through tireless reading, research
and digging, while others have
been primarily historical fiction and
stretched the truth to please readers.
Whether fact or fiction, many
writers choose to change “consult-
ing” and “opinion” to “binding
Dr. Gary Moulton’s 13 volumes
of every surviving journal of the
expedition is known as the most
accurate and inclusive edition of the
Lewis and Clark journals ever pub-
lished. Even with everything that
was written during the nearly three
year expedition, there still is plenty
of room for speculation and wonder.
Authors use the journals as
springboards for telling a more per-
sonal account of the journey, as
well as trying to fill in some of the
missing pieces such as emotions
and feelings, which journals do not
always take into account. In doing
so, too many authors and speakers
attempt to use modern day beliefs
and mores that far too often do not
reflect the times of the actual events.
Such is the case when critical deci-
sions needed to be made by the offi-
cers of the expedition, Meriwether
Lewis and William Clark.
One of these critical decisions
was made near the mouth of the
The expedition had finally
reached its main objective: the
Pacific Ocean. However, winter was
drawing dangerously near, they were
extremely low on provisions, not
having killed an elk since crossing
the Rocky Mountains. Their leather
clothing had nearly rotted away, and
they were extremely low on trade
goods which were vital in obtain-
ing food, information and whatever
else the native people could supply.
The Clatsop and Chinook people
were perhaps the most skilled trad-
ers they had encountered and had set
their prices with the ship captains
who had been trading with them for
roughly 13 years.
The expedition had 33 mouths to
feed and could not rely on obtaining
all of its food through trade with the
natives. It was too late in the year to
attempt heading back up the Colum-
bia and cross the Rockies before
A decision of where to winter
needed to be made. Many accounts
that have been written in books
and films say the officers took a
vote of the entire party, a demo-
cratic vote, to determine what to do.
This is where one needs to do more
research rather than relying on the
retelling of historic events simply to
add drama to the story.
Lewis and Clark had relied on
the entire party throughout the
roughly 4,000 miles they had trav-
eled. Decisions of which rivers to
take, Sacagawea’s help with obtain-
ing horses from her Shoshone tribe,
which man would replace Sgt.
Floyd after his death early on, were
all critical decisions made by this
group who had been hand-picked
by the officers. They had reached
Decision at Station Camp.
Tom Wilson portraying William
Clark at his desk.
what we want
it to have been.
the Pacific by working as a team,
trusting each other with their lives,
and not letting egos get the better of
them in making critical decisions.
However, to think that this mil-
itary party was a democratic one is
a mistake. As officers in the Army,
Lewis and Clark knew that they
ultimately were held responsible
for any and all decisions, right or
A few years ago, I was hav-
ing this discussion with a group
of officers from Joint Base Lew-
is-McChord who were studying the
Lewis and Clark Expedition as a
great example of leadership. Some-
one asked me why famous authors
and filmmakers use the word “vote”
when referring to this decision. They
said it has never been and will never
be military protocol for officers to
conduct such a vote. After discuss-
ing the expedition’s situation and
what was needed, a young officer
added something. She said the offi-
cers certainly did not call for a vote,
but rather were gathering intel from
the men, Sacagawea and the natives,
which offered information regard-
ing where elk could be found, as to
where they should winter.
Ever since this discussion, using
the word “vote” in this situation
has bothered me. When my group
includes military veterans, I often
ask if any of them have ever had
an officer put forth a vote, whether
in a critical situation or otherwise.
Rarely do I get words, usually just
Stephen Ambrose writes in
“Undaunted Courage,” that “This is
the first vote ever held in the Pacific
Northwest … the first time a woman
had voted.” However, this statement
does not take into account that the
native women who lived along the
Lower Columbia River actually had
influence in the decision-making
policies of their people.
This in no way diminishes the
corps members’ input. In fact, I
believe just the opposite. The offi-
cers consulted each and every mem-
ber including York, a slave, and
Sacagawea, a trapper’s native wife,
about what they thought because
they greatly valued their input. They
would not have chosen or brought
Moulton’s journals record every-
thing written on that day, Nov. 24,
1805. Not one of the entries men-
tions the word “vote.” Joseph
Whitehouse, the only private who
journaled that day writes, “ … In the
evening our officers had the whole
party assembled in order to consult
which place would be the best, for
us to take up our winter quarters at.”
Sgt. Patrick Gass records, “ … At
night, the party were consulted by
the commanding officers, as to the
place most proper for winter quar-
ters”. Sgt. John Ordway writes, “ …
our officers conclude with the opin-
ion of the party to cross the river and
look out a place for winters quar-
ter.” Also from Whitehouse, on Nov.
25, “ … Our officers had concluded
on crossing the river, & endeavor to
find a suitable place, for our winter
Even though Clark records each
person’s opinion, this does not make
it a democratic vote as some speak-
ers and authors suggest. I strongly
believe it is more uplifting that each
person was “consulted,” thus show-
ing the trust that each member has in
the officers, and vice versa.
There is only one account in the
journals where a vote was taken.
That is when Sgt. Floyd died, and a
new sergeant needed to be chosen.
In the militia as well as the regu-
lar military, it was not unheard of to
have the men choose from a selected
group, who could be trusted and fol-
lowed as a leader among them.
We should not make history an
account of what we want it to have
been, nor should we add drama and
modern-day attitudes upon it. We
may like it, or dislike it, but we can-
not change it, and hopefully, we
learn from it. This was a military
expedition and was so successful
because of the chain of command
making crucial decisions based on
the experience and intuition of those
who were chosen to be part of per-
haps the greatest expedition our
country has ever seen.
Tom Wilson is a retired teacher
and park ranger who worked at
Lewis and Clark National Historical
Park. He wrote this article for the
park association’s newsletter.