The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, December 03, 2009, Page Page 7, Image 7

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    The INDEPENDENT, December 3, 2009
Story by local women wins 1st place
Nancy Burch and Noni An-
dersen were informed last
month that a story they had
submitted to the Oregon Rural
Communities Explorer story
competition placed first, earn-
ing a cash prize of $200. It will
surprise no one who knows
Burch, the Vernonia librarian,
or Andersen, a “semi-retired”
journalist and editor, that they
plan to donate their prize to the
Friends of the Vernonia Library.
The award letter described
the story, Vernonia: Rising over
Adversity, as “well-written, in-
teresting, and awe-inspiring,…
an exceptional job illustrating
the intricacies of life in a rural
Oregon community.”
The Vernonia story will be
featured this winter, along with
other winners, on the Rural
Communities Explorer website.
The story will be accompanied
with photos taken by Donna
Webb, president of the Vernon-
ia Chamber of Commerce.
Senior News
By Karen Miller
Left to right; Noni Andersen and Nancy Burch, authors of
prize-winning story.
Oregon Rural Communities be permanently archived in
is part of Oregon State Univer- ScholarsArchive@OSU, Ore-
sity’s Extension Service pro- gon State University’s digital
gram for Family & Community service for gathering, storing
Health. No date was specified and making available the work
for when the stories would be of the OSU community.
For local readers, the story
on the website: www.oregonex
is in this issue of The Indepen-
The Vernonia story will also dent, starting on this page.
Ve r n o n i a : R i s i n g o v e r a d v e r s i t y
Vernonia is both blessed
and cursed to be located in a
“Pocket in the Woods”. When
Portland State University Pro-
fessor Ann Fulton chose this ti-
tle for her book, published
in1997, she was referring to
Vernonia’s location at the con-
fluence of the Nehalem River
and Rock Creek, and to the
surrounding trees that make it
truly a “pocket in the woods”.
The early settlers to this
area were mostly farmers
whose first order of business
was clearing land for crops and
livestock. While they marveled
at the majesty of the old growth
timber, they sometimes cursed
the trees as they struggled to
prepare tillable land needed to
provide the necessities of life
for their families. At the same
time, these early farmers felt
blessed by the mild climate, fer-
tile soil and endless streams of
clear water.
To utilize the plentiful supply
of trees, small mills were built
to supply lumber for the devel-
oping community. Then, in the
early 1920s, the value of this
seemingly endless supply of
trees (mostly Douglas Fir) was
recognized by the “outside”
world and exciting news came
to the valley: The largest all-
electric sawmill in the world
would be built in Vernonia! As
the news spread, a huge influx
Page 7
of people arrived, bringing with
them businesses, hotels,
churches, schools and civic or-
ganizations, and Vernonia was
promoted as “the fastest grow-
ing city in the northwest.” Pop-
ulation soared from 150 to
2500 residents when the mill, at
the peak of its operation, em-
ployed 750 workers. Railroads
were built to haul logs from the
forest and take milled lumber to
markets. The city prospered.
Vernonia was blessed by being
in the midst of these remark-
able trees…until the 1929
crash of the stock market and
the Great Depression. With no
market for lumber and the re-
sulting curtailment of produc-
tion in the timber industry, the
mill closed and the jobs were
gone. Although the mill re-
sumed operations with full em-
ployment, devastating fires in
the nearby Tillamook forest in
1933, 1939, 1945 and 1951,
combined with the vast amount
of timber that had already been
See Vernonia on page 8
Enjoy a quiet weekend with us.
Queen Beds • Private Bath • Separate Entrance
Cable TV • Phones • Handicapped Access
• Commercial Rates
1-800-354-9494 / 503-429-4006
Gift Certificates Available
Just one block off scenic Nehalem River Hwy. (Oregon 47)
Christmas happenings at the Center:
• December 16, Wednesday, join us for
Christmas lunch.
• December 25, 1:00 to 7:00 p.m., fourth
annual Free Christmas Dinner, here at the
Vernonia Senior Center. All are welcome to
come. Brought to you by the Friends of Ver-
Join us Mondays for Bingo at lunch.
Maple bars available daily for $1.00. Con-
nie’s Breakfasts on Friday mornings from
7:30 to 9:00 a.m. for $3.50.
Christmas decorations for sale, along with all the other great
deals in the Thrift Shop here.
Get your ticket to win a decorated Christmas tree. Tickets are
$1.00 each or six tickets for $5.00. Drawing the winner on Decem-
ber 9.
Congratulations to Ruth Grimsrud of Vernonia, the winner of
the Senior Center Quilt Raffle. Thanks to all who bought tickets as
the raffle earned $1,100 for the center.
Welcome back to the Golden Oldies Band, Eleanor Thompson.
We love you!
Vernonia Senior Center: 503-429-3912.
In The Service
Army Pvt. Jeffrey A. Wal-
ston has graduated from basic
infantry training at Fort Ben-
ning, Columbus, Ga.
During the nine weeks of
training, the soldier received
training in drill and ceremonies,
weapons, map reading, tactics,
military courtesy, military jus-
tice, physical fitness, first aid,
and Army history, core values
and traditions. Additional train-
ing included development of
basic combat skills and battle-
field operations and tactics,
and experiencing use of vari-
ous weapons and weapons de-
fenses available to the infantry
Walston, a 2007 graduate of
Vernonia High School, is the
son of Suzanne Paleck of Ver-
She shall bring forth a song and you shall call his name Jesus, for
he shall save his people from their sins.' Matthew 1:21
'If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in
your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is
with your mouth that you confess and are saved.' Romans 10:9-10
Lee Anne Krause