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About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View This Issue
The INDEPENDENT, August 5, 2010
Published on the first and third Thursdays of each month by
The Independent, LLC, 725 Bridge St., Vernonia, OR 97064.
Publisher Clark McGaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Rebecca McGaugh, email@example.com
Mentor Noni Andersen
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based dyes
Looking forward to 2110
As Vernonia heads into the 54th Friendship Jamboree, a
look back at Vernonia’s past gives us this Welcome from our
centennial Jamboree issue in 1991:
As always, the annual Vernonia Jamboree tabloid is print-
ed on paper, an appropriate medium for recounting even a
small part of the timber industry’s history in the upper Ne-
halem River valley, since paper is one of the most important
products made from locally harvested trees.
When the pioneers hiked into this valley, the trees were
so thick that it was a formidable job to clear land for raising
crops. But clear it they did; then they farmed, trapped, fished
and hunted to provide for their families.
Other developments resulting from the efforts of pioneer-
ing this land and creating a community, aren’t as easy to
name, but are even more important. One is perseverance,
the ability to remain constant in the face of obstacles; anoth-
er is optimism, expecting and working for the best possible
outcome from any situation. Another characteristic is coop-
eration, with people working together toward a common
Where these characteristics prevailed, pioneering efforts
were successful. The same characteristics, deeply in-
grained in the people of the upper Nehalem valley, will serve
the community well as it faces the next 100 years.
Many logging families here are understandably fearful of
the uncertainty in the timber industry. They know that gov-
ernmental and environmental concerns will affect them, just
as they know that increased mechanization will affect them.
They don’t know exactly what the future holds.
Nevertheless, they will continue to coach youth baseball,
root for the high school teams, be active participants in
churches and organizations, go fishing with family and
friends, help with 4-H, work for community health and safe-
ty, and be the same good citizens they’ve always been, be-
cause perseverance, optimism and cooperation are part of
People waited many years for the jobs provided by a
large saw mill, then those jobs were lost during the depres-
sion. Many years later, after a long period of seemingly sta-
ble employment, the saw mill closed down for good; jobs
again were lost and many residents moved away to earn
their living elsewhere. Others stayed and found alternative
ways to support their families.
Throughout Vernonia’s history, timber has been the most
important factor in the community’s economic health. And
throughout Vernonia’s history, loggers, truck drivers and oth-
er timber workers, and their families, have provided the
drive needed to make the upper Nehalem valley a great
place to live.
From 2010: It’s still about character and still a great place.
Have a great Jamboree weekend. Don’t drink and drive.
By Dale Webb, member
Nehalem Valley Chapter, Izaak Walton League
The Nehalem River is
still experiencing the ef-
fects of the late spring and
early summer rains and is
still running about double
the average flow for this
time of year. This is very
good news for local fish
and could be setting the
stage for some very good
runs of salmon and steel-
head in the future.
While we have had some warmer tempera-
tures lately, the streams have stayed well below
lethal levels (75 degrees), with a high of only
72.2 degrees being recorded on the 26th of July.
With the days growing shorter, and if we can hold
off another week or so of extreme temperatures,
we should actually see the Nehalem River being
able to support juvenile salmonids in the main
stem, down to and probably past Vernonia, for
the first time in probably decades.
At the last watershed council meeting, the im-
portance of stream temperatures and the corre-
lation of fish presence was driven home by the
findings by Steve Trask, of Bio-Surveys, who
was hired by the Upper Nehalem Watershed
Council to assess the Nehalem River from the
confluence with Rock Creek to the head waters.
Rock Creek was also assessed, as were many of
the tributaries in the Upper Nehalem watershed.
The findings verified the suspicions of many peo-
ple who have collected stream temperature data
in the past and had deemed the Nehalem River
impaired from river mile 101 (a mile above Clear
Creek) downstream. With the extreme stream
temperatures of last summer we had no idea just
how impaired the Nehalem River was. Basically,
the Nehalem River is a salmonid desert from riv-
er mile 101 downstream. Rock Creek was also
similarly devoid of salmonids from river mile 5,
(Flack Road) down stream. What will be very in-
teresting this year is what the team will find when
they re-survey the Nehalem River from the con-
fluence with Rock Creek upstream. I would bet
they will find a greatly expanded area of
What was of greater interest was the usage
that was seen once stream temperatures fell
within the comfort zone of the salmonids. What
is theorized is that tiny juvenile fish swam back
upstream to find a cool water refuge and, in do-
ing so, they concentrated in a 3-4 mile stretch of
the Nehalem downstream from Highway 26.
Some of the side streams were further packed
with fish, with an astounding 10 Coho per
square meter being found in Robinson Creek.
The surveyors have never witnessed Coho this
abundant in any stream they had previously sur-
veyed. ODF&W deems a stream fully stocked
with Coho at a level of 1.7 fish per square meter.
The implications of this density of Coho are not
clear, but the message they were sending was,
they were desperately searching out cold-water
Please see page 3