The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, April 05, 2018, Page 6A, Image 25

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Walking in the path of glory and ruination
Lewis and Clark national park is a great historical stage
e who reside at the mouth of the
Columbia River live in the midst of
one of America’s great adventure
stories. Between November and March of
each year, we may relive the arrival, daring
deeds and departure of the Lewis and Clark
Friday, March 23, was the day the expedi-
tion put their canoes into the water of what the
Chinooks called Netul (our
Lewis and Clark River)
and headed back upriver.
In the midst of William
Clark’s journal entry for
that day, these words
leap out. “We… left Fort
Clatsop on our homeward
FORRESTER bound journey.” After
nearly five months at
the western edge of the
continent, the Lewis and
Clark Expedition set off
back to the United States
— its western frontier then
defined by Missouri, and
St. Louis in particular.
Six of us commemo-
rated this consequential
day in our regional history
by reading from the journals written by
Clark, Capt. Meriwether Lewis, Sgt. John
Ordway, Sgt. Patrick Gass and Private Joseph
Whitehouse. We also reflected on the differ-
ences between our pampered lives and those
of the rough and ready explorers.
Our group was led by Jon Burpee, super-
intendent of the Lewis and Clark National
Historical Park. Joining in reading from the
journals were Matt Winters of the Chinook
Observer; his cousin and fellow Western
history enthusiast Bob Bell; Darrell and
Merideth Brann of Enterprise; and Steve
Forrester, retired publisher of The Daily
Astorian. Of all the Fort Clatsop superinten-
dents of the past three decades, Burpee is one
of the most enthusiastic interpreters of this
After lunch in the picnic area near the Fort
Clatsop Visitors Center, we walked down the
hill to Netul Landing, from which the canoes
departed on that day 212 years ago.
By the time we reached Netul Landing,
the expedition had been waterborne for 10
minutes. Clark had sent elk hunters ahead to
Point William, known to us as Tongue Point.
(By the date this is in print, the expedition was
in the vicinity of modern-day Troutdale east
of Portland, stocking up on wild game meat,
including an unlucky family of bears.)
In our layers of contemporary outerwear
but still feeling the chill of rain and snow, we
reflected on how hardy the explorers were —
clothed in one layer of buckskins and wearing
moccasins of elk hide. Burpee commented
that making many dozens of these moccasins
for the return journey was one of that winter’s
prime activities.
Time travel made easy
At its best, Lewis and Clark national park
presents many such opportunities for a kind
of personalized time travel. Aside from our
small party, we encountered no one else at
Netul. The National Park Service hasn’t
erased all evidence of civilization from Fort
Clatsop’s viewshed. But as nesting ducks
puttered around the quiet wetlands, the rustic
setting made it easy to imagine the bustle that
would have accompanied departure — men
lugging heavy loads through the forest from
the little nearby fort and securing supplies in
their canoes for the arduous journey home.
There was no napping in the backseat for
anyone on the homeward leg of that seminal
American “road trip.”
Infamously, one of the canoes they
departed in was stolen from the Clatsop
Indians, after one of the expedition’s own
clunkier watercraft drifted away on the tide.
By the time the expedition arrived at the
mouth of the Columbia, they were running
low on barter items. Burpee spoke of how the
Chinook/Clatsop people were sophisticated
traders and consumers, having run one of the
Northwest’s mightiest mercantile empires for
centuries. They began trading with European
ship crews starting in 1792. By 1805-06, it’s
possible to imagine them exclaiming, “We
don’t need no stinkin’ blue beads” or more
eloquent words to that effect. So unable to
buy a canoe, the explorers merely swiped
Like the vast majority of the physical
culture of Columbia estuary tribes, that
richly symbolic canoe wasn’t cherished by
its new owners and faded away into anon-
ymous oblivion. You will scour the world’s
great museum collections in vain for much
tangible evidence of the Chinooks. There is
a marvelously carved house post that some
passerby found in a tangle of river driftwood
in the 19th century. There are a few elegant
leaf-shaped Chinook cups and ladles in the
collections of the Smithsonian and other
major institutions. These probably only sur-
vive because some trader plucked them out of
context and tucked them away out of reach of
the disaster soon to envelop the Chinook. All
Matt Winters/For The Daily Astorian
Stephen Forrester, right, reads from Lewis and Clark Expedition journals on March 23,
the anniversary of the explorers’ departure from Fort Clatsop on their return journey to
the United States as it was constituted in 1806. Jon Burpee, left, superintendent of Lew-
is and Clark National Historical Park, participated in the journal readings.
who see them wish we could step back 200
years and barter for one of our own, perhaps
for a big box of deluxe abalone buttons.
Burpee reflected on surviving accounts
of the comforts and supreme stylishness
of Chinookan plank houses, which were
described as cozy works of art. How odd
it must have been for local native residents
in that long-ago winter to have a strange
encampment of hairy, smelly, hungry white
transients show up in their neighborhood —
carrying big firearms! This considered, the
estuary’s original residents responded with
remarkable tolerance.
Light and dark
When visiting Fort Clatsop, Dismal
Nitch, Station Camp, Cape Disappointment
and our area’s several other premier Lewis
and Clark sites, our first thoughts may be of
the explorers and how they set the stage for
U.S. westward expansion. They are unsur-
passed in terms of individual tenacity and
exciting encounters with the West’s unsullied
But our most lingering and troubling
thoughts are of the horrific losses suffered
by the First Peoples of the Columbia estuary.
Within 25 years of the expedition’s visit,
plagues on the scale of a Stephen King
nightmare had turned the lively villages here
into fallen ghost towns. By the time Sgt. Gass
died in 1870, many civilizations contacted
by Lewis and Clark were barely clinging
to a kind of hungry, twilight existence.
Descendants of the magnificent Chinook
and Clatsop were left to scour the mudflats
beneath white men’s canneries in search of
castoff salmon heads.
Learning of the light and dark sides of
the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the
good people they once met here, is one of
greatest privileges of living on this glorious
coast. We absolutely should celebrate the
past in evocative places like Netul Landing.
And we absolutely should support, learn and
perfect what we can of the nearly lost art of
living as the Chinook and Clatsop did. People
with eloquent hands should still produce
profoundly simple cedar cups here on the
Lower Columbia, and we all can use them,
rubbing them smooth with our fingers and
lips, imparting to them the rich character that
will someday make them truly beautiful.
We must never overlook the plain fact that
some of the families who hosted Lewis and
Clark live on. More than dead explorers, it is
they who deserve our most rapt attention.
Youth are the leaders
of tomorrow
hank God for our children. Though I have
none, I have been fortunate to work with
many, and watch my nieces and nephews grow
up. Kids are amazing. Some follow a straight
path, and seldom veer off the course laid out
for them, and others take the road that leads to
wonder, excitement and life’s adventures.
I am pleased to watch and listen to the cur-
rent youth force, March For Our Lives, the
#NeverAgainMovement promoting respon-
sible gun ownership. To read and hear adults
utter statements saying the students are being
fed into it by teachers or adults so underesti-
mates the true value and intellect of our chil-
dren, the leaders of tomorrow.
I am impressed and motivated, as I have
almost but given up on the adult child who is
currently leading this nation. Just a simple look
back at history proves that students are the
ones who have led monumental change in this
country and our world.
To name a few, the U.S. civil rights move-
ment with student lunch counter sit-ins; the
Arab Spring, students rise up in Cairo’s Tahrir
Square; the turnaround of the Vietnam War
brought upon by student protests; the 1969
Stonewall riots for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) rights; and many more.
I applaud these courageous young peo-
ple for their focus and enthusiasm who are
mobilizing a divided nation, and unintention-
ally showing how weak our leaders are. “May
integrity and honesty be their virtue and pro-
tection.” — Psalms 25:21
Be the change.
Vote Wev for
county commissioner
f I lived in District 3, I’d be voting for Pam
Wev for Clatsop County commissioner.
As I don’t, let me urge those who do to grab
that ballot and do so, when you it hits your
Pam is thoughtful, articulate, well-orga-
nized, and puts her concern for others first.
She has owned a small business, worked as a
city planner, and raised her children as a sin-
gle mom. Since arriving in our county, she has
become actively involved in our community.
Pam’s values are organized around collab-
oration, connectedness and civility. If you pay
attention to county happenings, all seem to
be sorely needed. She is a woman who jumps
in to help, and bring solutions that work. For
more details, go to her website: wevforcounty-
We’ve now lived here for nearly 24 years,
and as a former public employee and always
news junkie, I’ve paid attention to how things
are done at cities and at the county. I’ve
observed those running against Pam Wev, and
have no faith that they would be as effective,
or have the strength and energy she brings
to this new role. So, I encourage you to sup-
port and vote for this remarkable woman, Pam
Wev, for county commissioner.
Pick up your beach litter
t all starts with parents, who should teach
their children about picking up after them-
selves. We spend a lot of time on Sunset
Beach. Each time, within 50 feet of our vehi-
cle, I can pick up two grocery bags of water
bottles, bottle caps, beer cans and bottles, plas-
tic from cheese, toys, cigarette butts, and plas-
tic of all kinds.
What is particularly bad is people burn-
ing fence boards and pallets with nails and
long screws, left behind in the sand for peo-
ple to drive on them. Broken glass bottles from
wine and/or beer and cans are left in fire pits.
We all love seafood. What do you think they
are ingesting? It is some of the trash left on the
In the national news is a huge article on
the plastic the size of Texas left floating in
the Pacific Ocean. Where does it come from?
Those people who don’t care about what they
leave on our beautiful beaches.
It is everyone’s responsibility to, instead
of jogging or driving by when they see this,
to pick it up. Take a bag, always, and if you
see it and don’t pick it up, you are part of the
For those of you who bring plastic, glass,
cans, wood pallets, fence boards with nails and
screws, throw cigarette butts on the ground and
leave them behind: Shame on you. Pick it up!
Post at school brings
back memories
n response to the article “Longtime Knappa
residents recall origins of mysterious base-
ball field post” (The Daily Astorian, March
29): I well remember the day we, at Knappa
Elementary School, set out stones in the wet
cement at the base of the Commemorative
Oregon Trail Post. My friend and I put our
rocks side by side.
Several years ago, I drove by with one of
my grown kids to show them the post, and try
to find “my rock,” which was shaped like a
molar. After clearing away the mat of grass and
dirt, voila. There it was, and Gladys’ too.
At the time, we were studying from a lit-
tle social science book, “Stories of Oregon,”
that had many short wonderful tales of early
Oregon events in history. Our early grade
school teachers — first and second and third
and fourth grades — were two great teachers,
Mrs. Vlastelicia and Mrs. Solvin, who gave us
such a good beginning. They were marvelous
The “boys” in the photos were all about
three years younger than I was, as I was about
10, and in the third or fourth grade. I’m sure
there are many others from the time we put our
stones in the cement who remember it as well
as I do. I think the post should be kept and
restored. I’m willing to help. It’s a very pleas-
ant memory.
Vote Orr for state
ohn Orr is running for District 32 state rep-
resentative, and I want to tell you why I am
voting for him. I have known John for almost
20 years. During that time I have found him
to be honest, compassionate, brilliant and
He tackles problems with the same integrity
and research that he used back when he was a
lawyer. When he had his law practice, his nick-
name among his fellow lawyers was “won-
der boy,” because of the his dedication in get-
ting positive results. He will be fighting for a
healthy Pacific Northwest.
I am excited that John Orr is running for
office at this critical time in history, and will
be voting for John, for our future and our chil-
dren’s future. Join me.
If you want to know about John’s beliefs
and passion, go to “John Orr State House” on
Affordable housing one
of our greatest challenges
hank you to The Daily Astorian for
reporting and editorializing on mat-
ters of concern to the public. Your attention
helps involve and educate all of us, and it’s an
essential part of our representative democratic
process and of a robust community.
One of our greatest challenges is the lack
of affordable and available housing. I’ve been
advocating and working to address housing
issues for years as a community activist, as a
Clatsop County planning commissioner, and
now a county commissioner.
Currently, I work with state and local hous-
ing agency people. I also sit on the board of
the regional Community Action Team, which
addresses housing needs and solutions in Clat-
sop, Columbia, and Tillamook counties.
I also co-chair the Association of Ore-
gon Counties’ Housing Subcommittee, which
works on defining needs and developing solu-
tions for housing shortages all over Oregon.
This is a problem all over the state, and we
need good teamwork with partners all over
the county, the region, and the state to solve it.
I’m passionately devoted to the well-being
of people here, beginning with housing needs.
As a community, we can and must work
together and use the best in all of us to cre-
ate conditions that result in meeting our hous-
ing needs.
Commissioner, Clatsop County, District 5
Orr is great choice for state
proudly endorse John Orr as a responsi-
ble, considerate, and compassionate deci-
sion maker for a state representative. Mr. Orr
has certainly been a very down to earth person,
with our better interests in mind, for a great