Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current, July 05, 2019, Page A10, Image 10

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July 5, 2019
The future of American track is strong
For Seaside Signal
Gary Henley
A celebration of Gene Gilbertson’s life takes place July 13
in Seaside.
Seaside mourns former
coach Gene Gilbertson
Seaside Signal
Seaside Hall of Famer
Gene Gilbertson, who
coached four state cham-
pionship teams, and 35
individual state champi-
ons, earning him Track and
Field Coach of the Year
three times for the state.
Gilbertson died June 12, at
the age of 79.
Gilbertson graduated
from North Salem High
School in 1959, where he
was a state champion in
track and fi eld. He received
scholarships in track and
fi eld, football and academ-
ics to attend Linfi eld, grad-
uating in 1964.
Gilbertson moved to
Seaside in 1965 to teach
physical education and
coach basketball and track.
After earning a library
degree from Portland State
University, he served as
librarian at Central School,
Cannon Beach Elementary
School, Broadway Middle
School and Seaside High
In 1973, he was hired as
head track coach at Seaside
High School, retiring in
2007. “Mr. G,” in his years
of teaching and coaching,
numerous students and
athletes were affected by
his encouragement, inspi-
ration and his ability to see
the potential in all.
Family described him
as “an educator, mentor,
friend, master gardener,
golfer, carpenter, cook and
adept salmon fi sher, which
resulted in many amazing
salmon dinners. He had
unconditional love for all,
even when occasionally
out-fi shed or bested on the
golf course.
A celebration of Gene’s
life will occur on Satur-
day, July 13, at 3 p.m., at
Beacon On Broadway in
EUGENE — Because of
the demise of Historic Hay-
ward Field and the raising of
a new state-of-the-art track
facility at the University of
the Oregon, the Prefontaine
Classic — stop seven of 14 in
the Diamond League series
of track meets — was moved
to Cobb Track and Angell
Field on the campus of Stan-
ford University.
From the media updates
I was getting, it was obvi-
ous that the best athletes in
their respective events were
going to compete. My ques-
tion was, will fans show up.
Answer, yes.
The facility is much
smaller than Hayward,
so temporary seating was
brought in. Not enough. All
seats and standing room
were sold out with 8,128 in
As I hovered near the
will call window I saw many
a disappointed fan turned
away. No doubt in my mind
a good 9,000-plus people
would have attended given
the opportunity.
While I was waiting for
the meet to start I conversed
with a few fans wearing “Go
Pre,” “Stop Pre,” or “2016
(or earlier) Olympic Tri-
als, Eugene” T-shirts to gage
their anticipation for the Pre
in this different venue.
While each one was look-
ing forward to the competi-
tion’s return to Eugene, they
knew in their bones the ath-
letes would perform to the
highest standards.
What about novice attend-
ees? What would their take
be on this high caliber meet?
Contributed photo
Former Seaside High School track coach Neil Branson.
I caught up with sisters
Chloe and Caitlin along
with their father Conrad.
They were certainly excited
to watch and learn yet were
most impressed with the
T-shirts they picked up for
being in a USA Track and
Field promotional video.
When it came to watching
the meet, with dad’s encour-
agement, the two girls kept a
keen eye on the multitude of
events going on at the same
time. I wasn’t sure if they
fully grasped the quality of
what was happening in front
of them, but they assured me
the entertainment was worth
the price of admission.
Athlete of the Meet was
Darian Romani of Bra-
zil, who had all six shot put
attempts over 70 feet with a
winning effort of 74 feet, 2
¼ inches, setting a fi eld and
Brazilian National Record.
Previous to Romani’s
win, the women were in the
ring with Lijiao Gong of
China setting the stage with
a fi eld record. She took con-
trol of the competition in the
second round at 63-10¼ and
wrapped it up in the fi fth
with a 64-11 ¼ put.
World leading times were
posted in the 100 meters by
Christian Colman as he sped
9.81 seconds. Going lon-
ger and topping the best so
far this year was Timothy
Cheruiyot of Kenya with
a 3:50.49 mile. Running
twice that distance, Ugan-
dan Joshua Cheptegei came
home in 8:07.54 for the eight
laps of the two mile.
Meet records were estab-
lished by USA’s Rai Benja-
min (47.16 in the 400 hur-
dles), two-time world indoor
and outdoor gold medal-
ist Marlya Lasitskene of
Russia cleared 6-8 ½ in
the high jump, Kenyan
Beatrice Chepkiech dusted
the fi eld by nine seconds
in the 3,000-meter steeple-
chase (8:55.58), and in the
women’s 800, South African
Caster Semenya completed
the two-lap race in 1:55.70.
The future of America’s
speed is strong. In the high
school boys 100 the eight
competitors fl ew down the
track with the winner cross-
ing in 10:41 and eighth
place fi nishing in 10:68. The
girls had a bit more space
between them, going 11:43
to 11:75.
No question Track Town
USA will be happy to have
the Pre Classic back in
Eugene next year, and yet I
am sure a few more people
in the Bay Area were con-
verted to track fans and may
well work their way north
for the 2020 edition of the
Pop Conrad assured me
he would be bringing daugh-
ter Chloe and Caitlin up for
the meet.
Marlantes: New novel explores coastal logging culture, immigrant experience
Continued from Page A1
And Astoria was basically
logging and fi shing and ply-
wood mills, and, you know.
That’s the era I grew up in
and I love my childhood.
I think that I also wanted
to talk about the darker side
about growing up in that cul-
ture. I mean fi shing and log-
ging today are still the two
of the most dangerous pro-
fessions in the world. And
fi ve of my friends in a tiny
little town, Seaside’s maybe
2,800 people when I was
Five of my friends lost
their fathers in the woods to
logging accidents. And my
step-grandfather got his legs
crushed in a log boom acci-
dent, had one amputated.
My Greek grandfather lost
an eye in a sawmill accident.
They were dangerous times.
So I wanted to try to
express the juxtaposition
of what a wonderful time
it was: there were dances,
there was community. Those
loggers made their own vio-
lins and they played them
with their friends. The men
and women mended nets
What I feel is just the
irony of the heroism of these
You think about it they’re
little, 5-feet-9-inches tall,
and these trees are 14 to 15
feet in diameter, over 200
feet high.
My great-uncle told me
sometimes it would take a
couple of days to get these
things down, because all
they had was axes and
One of the things I loved
about the research is that
somebody estimated the
caloric consumption of a
logger was 16,000 calories
a day.
Think about that physical
kind of work. They worked
from dark to dark and six
days a week — and still
went dancing.
The irony is there’s no
more old-growth forests. We
cut it all down. And the same
goes for the damn building,
heroic effort. Seventy-two,
73 guys died building Grand
Coulee Dam. So we could
fl ip a switch and get electric-
cookies in any language.
Q: Speaking of your fam-
ily, you talk a lot about the
immigrant’s experience in
your book. Can you tell me
a little more about that?
Marlantes: Absolutely.
There’s two things. First
of all, I wanted to show
the immigrant’s experi-
ence from the immigrant’s
political view was that capi-
talism was bad and she had
very sound reasons for it.
She grew up under the Rus-
sian czar, an extreme form
a capitalism that hadn’t
been mitigated by laws. I
could understand that. But
she’s not a demon, she’s my
grandmother! So my charac-
ter Aino, she’s a radical com-
“Aino, it doesn’t make any
difference whether we’re
communists or capitalists,
it’s whether we have good
people or bad people run-
ning the place.”
Q: Exactly. So, to change
gears here, describe what it
was like growing up in Sea-
side? I hear your dad was the
Karl Marlantes
ity. But there is no Columbia
River anymore, it’s a series
of dams and lakes.
And then I have my own
background. My mother’s
fi rst language was Finn-
ish and my step-grandfather
was a Swedish speaker but
born in Finland. My biologi-
cal grandfather who inspired
one of the characters in the
novel, was a Norwegian
speaker. My brother and I
called it cultural-linguistic
schizophrenia because there
were fi ve languages in the
Q: That’s a lot.
Marlantes: We ended up
speaking English because
it was just too crazy, you
know. I wish I had learned a
couple of those languages. I
tell people I can name all the
side and just the diffi culties
of language. In the novel,
whenever they’re speak-
ing from outside their own
culture, they have a diffi -
cult time speaking. The have
like three words like “Good
worker” or something and
it’s pretty tough and they
don’t catch what people are
saying. Having a novel gets
you into the skin of people
like that. And another thing
is that I’ve also thought
about is that it’s human
nature — not America, it’s
humans. We are so capa-
ble of demonizing anybody
other than ourselves.
And my grandmother
was a communist, right? She
baked cookies and danced
on Friday night. I mean,
she was a grandmother! Her
munist, but she’s just a girl.
We have to get over demon-
izing because we won’t get
anywhere with that.
Q: It’s just very divided
Marlantes: Yeah, but the
thing that’s interesting is that
it was that divided 100 years
ago, too. It may have been
worse. Look, we have prob-
lems with income inequal-
ity, but we’re not shooting
each other. The National
Guard isn’t wading in with
axe-handles. I mean it’s
pretty bad, but we’ve been
there before.
Q: Yeah, I mean you
could say division kind of
defi nes America.
Marlantes: It is human
nature. Aksel is the charac-
ter that keeps telling Aino:
That’s true, yeah. Where’d
ya hear that? Who’d ya talk
Q: Oh, I’ve been asking
Marlantes: He was,
much to my chagrin. I
mean he was a high school
teacher. When I was a little
kid he sold insurance and
worked at the bumper cars,
which I thought was mar-
velous. It was amazing for
a seven-year-old’s view of
their dad.
I was so proud my daddy
ran the bumper cars in the
He went to school on
the GI bill, got his degree
to teach, was a high school
teacher, then became prin-
cipal just as I was about to
go to high school — which
was just horrible.
He was a really good
principal. To this day peo-
ple talk about what a won-
derful educator he was. I’m
very proud of him. And, you
know, my mother started the
Lutheran church in Seaside
because there wasn’t one.
And so she was very sort
of “active.” She left school
when she was 14 and she
was the brains of the family,
everybody knew that, even
though my dad got the edu-
cation. And I had a paper
route with the Astoria Bud-
get when I was in second
grade. Nineteen customers.
Q: Do you have any plans
after Deep River? Are you
going to keep writing from
this personal perspective?
Marlantes: I do have
plans. The next novel is
actually going to explore
what I call “American
naivete.” That’s what I’m
sort of thinking about right
now. I’m going to set it in
the American embassy in
Helsinki. I might take one
of the characters from Deep
Q: So still exploring
your roots a little bit, but in
a different setting.
Marlantes: Way differ-
ent! I’m going to have to
do some research on what
life was like in Helsinki
in 1947. But I have been
cross-country skiing so I do
know a little bit about that.
But I really do tend to agree
that good writing is to write
what you know about.
Marlantes now lives
near Duvall, Washington,
but he’ll be coming to the
Cannon Beach Book Com-
pany on Thursday, July 11,
at 7 p.m. as well as Beach
Books in Seaside on Tues-
day, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. as
part of his nationwide book
tour. “Deep River” comes
out this week.