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March 15th, 2019

We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing powerful stories by and about women from our recent titles.

Paulus CoverThe Only Woman In the Room: The Norma Paulus Story is an inspiring look at the life and work of Norma Paulus, the first woman to be elected to state-wide office in Oregon. This book follows Paulus’ journey, which includes surviving polio, graduating from law school with honors despite not having a college degree, running for governor, and being elected Secretary of State. Paulus, who recently passed away, left behind a powerful legacy in Oregon politics.


Remembering the Power of Words: The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader tells the powerful story of Avel Louise Gordly, the first African American woman to be elected to the Oregon Senate. Throughout her career, Gordly worked to confront and renounce Oregon’s racist history. Her work and words will continue to inspire generations to come. Read more about Gordly’s legacy in our recent blog post.

Beyond the Rebel Girl by Heather Mayer sheds light on the important roles that women played in the Wobbly movement in the Pacific Northwest. Counter to the popular perception of International Workers of the World members as being mainly male, women were instrumental in Wobbly life and fights for justice. To learn more about Beyond the Rebel Girl, you can read our recent interview with Mayer.


Homing Instincts cover

Homing Instincts features essays by OSU MFA alumnus Dionisia Morales that investigate ideas of identity and home. Ranging from topics like rock climbing to love, and geography to pregnancy, Morales wonders what it means to belong in a world in which migration and social integration present urgent political and ethical questions. Homing Instincts is a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards for creative nonfiction.

In our current age of environmental unbalance, Stephany Wilkes weaves a fascinating and timely account of the origins and importance of a resource present in all of our lives. Wilkes shares her story of becoming a certified sheep shearer along with the ecological concerns of the textile industry in Raw Material: Working Wool in the West, which made the longlist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA) 2018 Golden Poppy Award.

March 7th, 2019

Today on the OSU Press blog, we are looking at an important conversation that is happening in community-based research.



In Giving Back: Research and Reciprocity in Indigenous Settings, R.D.K. Herman pulls together twelve case studies in order to provide ways for researchers to move forward while working ethically in partnership with communities, and to identify areas where there is still work to be done. Below, read excerpts from contributor Maria Fadiman and R.D.K. Herman on the ethical issues researchers face when trying to give back to the communities in which they work.


From Chapter 8: “Are You Making A Million Dollars?” Reciprocity as Cultural and Environmental Reconnection by contributor Maria Fadiman


“Are you making a million dollars?” Don Jorge asked.

            “No,” I replied.

            He laid his hand on the bark of the tree and said, “We heard that a researcher in the next village made a million dollars,” he paused, “and didn’t give any to the people.”

“No money for me.”

            “Then why are you doing it?” he asked.

            That was a good question.

Why do I do what I do? I am an ethnobotanist studying the relationship between plants and people. My overall goal is to promote conservation and cultural retention from within communities. Through helping local people maintain their own plant knowledge, this can lead to a more concrete re-connection to the plants themselves and raise the value of the ecosystems in which these plants live. One of the issues I need to address on every project is: how do I compensate people for the time they take out of their daily schedule working with me and sharing their information?


 R.D.K. Herman:

As Maria’s story illustrates, those of us who conduct field research in Indigenous settings know that our success depends upon the assistance, cooperation and even aid of peoples in those communities. The framework and methods of research have historically encouraged an extractive approach to data collecting: the researcher goes in, obtains the data and leaves, returning nothing to the community, and sometimes even publishing or patenting knowledge and “discoveries” derived from the local informants to the detriment of the local people. While newer research methodologies recognize that this is exploitative, and have developed approaches to at least engage the local communities as partners in research projects, the notion of reciprocity in research is slower to take root.  Especially for those of us who engage closely in the lives of the peoples we work with—building relationships for the short, medium or long term—we have to negotiate these relationships constantly.  And particularly in Indigenous communities, that involves giving.

The act of reciprocity in Indigenous research involves a cross-cultural encounter wherein two (or more) sets of values, senses of obligation, social rules and ritual protocols collide.  Western notions of individual ownership and intellectual property come up against Indigenous notions of collective ownership—or no ownership, for how can certain things be owned by anyone?—and responsibility. 

The growing field of Indigenous Studies recognizes that as scholars—whether Native or non-Native—we are entering into a relationship with a community and its members that is rooted in trust, responsibility, integrity, and genuine concern for the wellbeing of that community and its knowledge and traditions.  Meanwhile, Native communities themselves are increasingly demanding more say over or about the nature of research projects in their communities and on their lands, and are willing to say No to projects that do not clearly serve their interests.

The aim of this volume is to discuss how research with communities can better accomplish reciprocity with those communities.  Despite recent university and professional-association ethics policies, individual researchers must define for themselves what the quality and nature of their relationships will be with the communities with whom they work. They must ask themselves, What does reciprocity look and feel like in my working relationships with communities? What institutional barriers must be navigated in efforts to develop reciprocal relationships with community partners? How do you know when the outcomes of a research project have upheld your ethical obligations or goals of reciprocity? How do you navigate the unequal power relations inherent in academic research with Indigenous and “other” communities, in defining appropriate ways of ‘giving back’? How can research be mutually beneficial, given the historical and ongoing relationships of power in centers of knowledge production? How are the multiple perspectives within an individual community navigated in efforts to ensure positive outcomes for research partners? Even for researchers who are members of the communities with whom they work, ‘giving back’ may present unique challenges and opportunities. Can research itself be a form of ‘giving back’?

Many of us are never sure whether our attempts at reciprocity got it right, so this volume turns to those who have had more experience in this matter, or given it more thought, or engaged in innovative practices to create different paradigms from that of extractive research.  There is much more that can be said on this topic, and this is not a cookbook or a how-to. Yet we hope that some maps to this complex territory may emerge.


Pick up a copy of Giving Back: Research and Reciprocity in Indigenous Settings and learn more about the work that is being done to address unethical relationships between researchers and communities.

RDK Herman is senior geographer at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He has served the Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers since 2000, and has authored work on decolonizing research methodologies. In 2000 he created Pacific Worlds, a web-based indigenous-geography education project for Hawai‘i and the American Pacific. 

February 28th, 2019

It’s a wonderful time to be a writer or reader in the Pacific Northwest!

It’s March 1st, and in just a few short weeks the Association of Writers & Writing Programs will take place in Portland from March 27–30. We at OSU Press are thrilled to be part of this annual literary celebration along with several of our authors.

AWP can be overwhelming: there are so many authors, readings, panels, and booths to keep track of! Here’s a handy guide on how to connect with OSU Press at AWP:

OSU Press authors in conversation!

On Saturday, March 30, OSU Press author Ana Maria Spagna, author of Potluck and Now Go Home, is moderating the panel “Back to Basics: Untangling Environmental Stories”. OSU Press authors Sharman Apt Russell, author of Diary of a Citizen Scientist, and Stephany Wilkes, author of Raw Material, will be a part of this conversation with Ana.


The panel description: Writing the "environment" often means telling stories of people trying to fill basic needs—food, water, clothing, and shelter—in healthy and sustainable ways, but doing so also means tackling complicated issues of politics, race, gender, and work. This panel addresses how nonfiction writers can craft compelling stories that embrace this complexity. Panelists will discuss approaches to research, strategies for structure, ways to integrate sources, the role of the “I,” and the possibility of hope.


Visit us at the Bookfair!

Stop by the OSU Press booth at T10027 in the Bookfair to say hi! We’ll have sweet treats, books for browsing, and authors to meet.

Browse some books!  

We’ll be bringing lots of books for sale and perusal at the Bookfair. Check out a few of the titles you'll see at our booth!


Get your book signed!

We’re so lucky to get to feature several OSU Press authors in person at our booth. Stop by T10027 to meet and get your book signed by Bernard Quetchenbach, author of Accidental Gravity, Sharman Apt Russell, author of Diary of a Citizen Scientist, and Stephany Wilkes, author of Raw Material. Our author signing schedule is below:


Friday March 29

Bernard Quetchenbach from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

David Axelrod from 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM


Saturday March 30

Stephany Wilkes from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Sharman Apt Russell from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM

And more to Come…

We will be in touch in the coming weeks with even more ways to participate and connect. Let the countdown begin, and see you soon!


February 22nd, 2019

During the most recent midterm elections, there was a record number of women and diverse candidates who were elected into office. In light of these results and in honor of Black History Month, we'd like to highlight Avel Gordly, the first African-Remembering CoverAmerican woman elected to the Oregon State Senate.

Gordly served three terms as a member of the House of Representatives, and was elected as State Senator in 1996, retiring from her position in 2008. During her time in office, she worked on tasks forces and committees as well as on legislation. In her foreword for Remembering the Power of Words, Charlotte B. Rutherford highlights that Gordly worked to remove racist language from Oregon’s constitution, renounce Oregon’s legacy of institutional racism, proclaim Juneteenth a day for statewide celebration, and require every county police force to be trained in the use of appropriate deadly force, among other essential political work.

Remembering the Power of Words also explores Gordly’s personal experiences, and Rutherford writes that “Avel’s personal story is one of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity, while dealing with clinical depression. Anyone who has battled depression while holding down a responsible position will identify with Avel’s observations. Anyone who is faced with doubts about whether he or she is up to the challenge of single parenting or any single parent who wants more from life will gain strength from her story. Anyone who believes that social change is possible and that individuals can accomplish it will be encouraged by Avel’s story...Avel has lived a life of service and she has blazed a trail of Black female ‘firsts.’ Her story includes her personal challenges and growth and how that growth has affected and improved the communities she has served.”


To learn more about Gordly and Remembering the Power of Words, you can read an excerpt of the book here. Remembering the Power of Words is part of a OSU series that highlights women and politics in the Pacific Northwest.


February 14th, 2019

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in our own way at the OSU Press. We have a passion for literary projects that celebrate the earth and bring to light ecological issues, so what better way to show our love for eco-lit than by highlighting some recent and forthcoming books:



Speaking for the River: Confronting Pollution on the Willamette, 1920s-1970s by James V. Hillegas-Elting

Oregonians in search of a fascinating ecological history need look no further than the first book describing the causes and implications of the pollution of the Willamette River. This major Oregon river’s history of pollution and ongoing rehabilitation has affected local communities and ecosystems. In Speaking for the River, independent historian James V. Hillegas-Elting takes a close look at this ‘blot’ on the record of a state known for its commitment to environmental protection. Hillegas-Elting’s history of the iconic and imperiled Willamette focuses on the period starting in the 1920s through governor Thomas L. McCall’s push to clean up the river. Though progress has been made, protecting river quality, like love, takes constant care and maintenance. 


California Condors in the Pacific Northwest by Jesse D’Elia and Susan M. Haig

The California condor once soared the skies of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to British Columbia. While some people may not think agree that this bird of prey is gorgeous and glorious, we definitely do and this year, we choose the California condor as our true Valentine. In order to learn more about our scavenger Valentine, we’re revisiting California Condors in the Pacific Northwest. This book explores cultural relationships between Native American tribes and condors, investigates the condor’s history from prehistoric time to the early twentieth century, and evaluates potential causes of regional extinction. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves the California condor as much as we do.

If you’ve enjoyed us gushing over our nature, you’ll want to know about this two forthcoming Spring titles:

Field Guide to the Grasses of Oregon and Washington: an illustrated guide to all 376 species, subspecies, and varieties of grasses. Read more about the book here.

Same River Twice: The Politics of Dam Removal and River Restoration: three case studies of major Northwestern dam removals that share lessons for communities worldwide.



February 8th, 2019

The OSU Press team in Corvallis, Oregon is anticipating some very snowy days are on their way this week. Our Griffis Interns Zoë and Carolyn prefer to spend cold afternoons inside with a good book.

Check out their snow day reads below, and stay safe and warm when the snowflakes start falling!



I’m in the middle of Homing Instincts, a collection of essays by New Yorker-turned-Oregonian writer Dionisia Morales. As a fellow coast to coast traveler (I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania and moved to Corvallis, Oregon for my MFA at OSU) I deeply connect with her writing on identity, travel, and home. Below is an excerpt from the essay “Blue Means Water”, one of my favorites so far, in which Dionisia writes about the geographic particularities that make up her childhood home:

“When you grow up on an island, you can circumnavigate the limits of your world by following a forever-arcing line. There are different names for different kinds of islands, names like islets or keys. An island in a river is sometimes called an eyot or an ait, words I have never seen written on any map. We didn’t have a special name for where we lived; I didn’t know there could be a special name for it. We just called it the city.”


Homing Instincts is a wonderful read for a snow day when you might be imagining the spaces you call home, whether near or far away. This book is also longlisted for an Oregon Book Award! Congrats, Dionisia.



If you’re looking for a children friendly book for the cold days ahead, I suggest Ellie’s Strand: Exploring the Edge of the Pacific. While staying warm indoors, children can read a story set outdoors on a later winter day. The book focuses on Ellie and Ricky who travel to the Oregon coast, help with a one-day beach clean-up, and discover much about animals and tidepools.


Through Ellie and Ricky’s outdoor adventures, the story explores ocean conservation and the power of volunteering. Ellie’s Strand is beautifully and charmingly illustrated that may inspire young readers to sketch and draw. This book is a wonderful way to stay cozy inside and still enjoy the beach!

February 1st, 2019

Although it’s still winter, we are looking ahead to Spring and all that the new season brings: blossoms, brightness and books. Yes, books! We’re excited about our forthcoming releases and our Spring catalog is available now. The catalog highlights The Eclipse I Call Father, an essay collection on absence, Same River Twice, an examination of the politics of dam removal and river restoration, Edge of Awe, an anthology of personal impressions of the Malheur-Steens country, and many more. Today on the blog, our Griffis Publishing Interns each highlight a Spring book that they are looking forward to reading.



Gifted Earth Cover

This spring I’m looking forward to spending more time outside enjoying the beautiful Oregon outdoors, and the OSU Press Spring Catalog features a book perfect for my interest in the botanical culture of the Pacific Northwest. Gifted Earth: The Ethnobotany of the Quinault and Neighboring Tribes does more than help readers identify regional plants: it also promotes a sustainable relationship between readers and the environment.

This respectful and balanced attitude towards plant usage is a core value of the book. Collaboratively written by the Quinault Indian Nation and Douglas Deur, Gifted Earth captures the beauty of the plants it describes in over 80 color photos.

Each of the descriptions of the plants shared in Gifted Earth features a summary of the plant’s cultural significance and tips for gathering and using the plant. Throughout these entries you will find writing on ethical plant usage guided by Native American resource management principles, touching on issues from land access to Native American gathering rights.

Gifted Earth is as fascinating and comprehensive as it is user friendly, guiding readers through the foliage and into a new understanding of the living tradition of plant use in the Quinault Nation.


Red Coast CoverThis academic year I became slightly more involved in the Coalition of Graduate Students, a union at Oregon State University, and also read Beyond the Rebel Girl, a narrative that examines the role of women in the Industrial Workers of the World in the Pacific Northwest. Now I find myself interested in learning about the past and present state of unions and radicalism in the Pacific Northwest. This Spring, I am very much looking forward to the release of The Red Coast, a thorough and accessible history of activism in Southwest Washington from the late nineteenth century until World War II. While the book highlights radicalism, it also delves into anti-radical forces that fought against the work of organizers. I’d recommend The Red Coast to both academics and general readers who are interested in histories of activism and labor.

January 23rd, 2019

This winter we at OSU Press were thrilled to publish Governing Oregon: Continuity and Change, a close look at the systems of governance and policies that shape Oregon life. Featuring contributions from twenty seven political experts and insiders, this book is essential for any reader interested in understanding the current issues of our state. Today editor and author Richard Clucas is joining us on the blog for a Q&A with Griffis Publishing Intern Carolyn Supinka:

CS: What were some of your goals in editing and writing Governing Oregon? How did this book come about? Do you think it fills a gap in literature on Oregon politics?


RC: There are just very few books on Oregon politics and the ones that exist tend to be biographies. But there is just not a lot out there. The last book to offer a comprehensive view of Oregon politics was published more than a decade ago, and it was structured much more as a textbook.


Early on, the four editors got together and discussed what we wanted to do in writing a new edited book on Oregon politics. The one thing that struck us immediately was how much Oregon politics has changed over the past twenty years. We quickly decided we wanted to capture the change.


But as we got talking, we also recognized that there were some central parts of Oregon politics that had not changed, such as the lack of a sales tax and the state’s unique kicker law. Thus, we came up with the subtitle of continuity and change.


One of the things we did not want to do is to write a general textbook on Oregon politics. Instead, we wanted to capture some of the central characteristics that have defined Oregon politics since the beginning of the new millennium. We also wanted to be comprehensive. The result, I feel, is a much more dynamic and readable portrait of state politics than if we had gone the textbook route.


I have to give credit to Ed Weber at Oregon State University for playing a central role in helping bring the book together. He was the one who called for the first brainstorming meeting. He also spearheaded a two-day workshop with all the contributors, which was underwritten by the U.G. Dubach Chair endowment at OSU. Of course, this was a real team effort. Priscilla Southwell and Mark Henkels worked diligently on different parts of the project. We also had a great group of contributors.


CS: Governing Oregon highlights the polarization of political climate in Oregon and the divide between the rural and urban areas. What are some of the issues these areas are divided on and why is this essential to understanding Oregon politics?


RC: It is impossible to talk about Oregon politics without talking about the state’s political divides, especially between the rural and urban areas. The divide we see in Oregon among the regions is similar to that in other parts on the country, though there are some specific historical events that were important in creating this divide in Oregon. We talk about these influential events in different parts of the book. At the root of the divide are economic and social differences between the regions. Since the early 1980s, many of the rural parts of the state have faced continuous economic challenges, while the urban areas have enjoyed considerable economic growth and diversification. Along with the economic division, the urban areas have grown more populous and more racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. There are other differences that less frequently noted, such as in access to high technology and the media.


Many of the contributors discuss this divide, but the chapter by Alexandra Buylova, Rebecca Warner, and Brent Steel on “The Oregon Context” does the most thorough job in explaining why we see this divide and how the divide, in turn, shapes the state’s politics. As they and other contributors point out, these social, economic, and cultural differences create different public policy issues in the different parts of the state while also generating different ideas about the proper role of government in society. The result is a profound split between the regions.


We don’t just focus on the divide, though. One of the things that has changed in Oregon over the past twenty years is that the Democratic Party has become more dominant. Twenty or thirty years ago, the two parties were about evenly matched, creating conflict and gridlock in trying to govern the state. The polarization has not gone away. It is just that the more liberal side of the state—the parts electing Democratic Party candidates—has become more dominant.


CS: In your chapter on “Changing Partisanship, People, and Pressures in the Legislature,”you note the changing demographics of Oregon legislature, which has been and still is dominated by middle/upper class heterosexual cis able-bodied white male legislators. What changes and constants have you observed in the composition of the legislature, and what are barriers to further diversity?


RC: Yes, you are right, the legislature remains dominated by this demographic group, though there have been some significant changes. The most significant one has been in the number of women elected to the legislature. In the 1960s, there were fewer than 10 women in the legislature. Over the past decade, those numbers have grown significantly. Today, one-third of the legislators are women. Female legislators have also begun to control many of the top leadership positions, including serving as House Speaker and the majority leader in both chambers.


There has also been some improvement in the representation of racial and ethnic minorities. The big change can be seen not in this most recent election, but in the previous one. During the 2017 session, there were four African-Americans, four Latinxs, and one Native American serving in the legislature.


When you couple this along with the election of Oregon’s second female governor, it means that the state government has become more inclusive and representative. However, women and minorities are still underrepresented in Oregon government and there remain many barriers to improving these numbers. Some of this underrepresentation, especially among women, may reflect societal constraints placed on them, yet the challenges are also political. Women and minorities are often simply discriminated against in receiving financial and other support to run for office.


CS: Governing Oregon notes how Oregon’s progressive energy policies set it apart from many other states. How did clean energy come to be a priority for Oregon? Do you think Oregon’s policies may influence other states to adopt similar policies?


RC: Most of the nation’s attention has been focused on the federal government’s efforts, or lack of them, in addressing the environment threats we face. The reality, though, is that the vast effort to address these problems have been taking place at the state and local level. State legislatures have become the undisputed leaders in directing climate policy in America. One article I recently read said that it is as if the states have been on “steroids” when it comes to addressing climate change.


Oregon was the first state to impose mandatory limits on carbon dioxide emissions on power plants. It has taken steps to encourage the production and use of cleaner, more efficient, renewable energy. These steps include establishing a Renewable Energy Action Plan, expanding efficiency standards for state-owned buildings, and creating a quasi-governmental organization to provide cash incentives and technical support to encourage private investment in renewable energy. The state has also adopted a ban on coal-fired power.


While these are meaningful steps, it does not mean that there are not other important energy issues confronting the state. Among the big ones are the transportation of fuel, including proposals to construct liquified natural gas terminals and pipelines in the state.


Even though the federal government has been slow to respond, state governments recognize that the problems associated with energy, the environment, and climate change need to be addressed. Whether or not other states directly copy the legislation enacted in Oregon depends in large part on how successful our policies appear to be in addressing these issues.



CS: Governing Oregon addresses the destruction national and state governments have caused to indigenous communities, including the termination policy of 1953 in which Congress eliminated tribes as political entities. What are the current issues facing tribes today?


RC: Justin Martin and Mark Henkels put together the chapter on tribal government and provide a brief history of the challenges facing tribes in Oregon, though much of their chapter focuses on how Oregon tribes have become leaders in developing positive relationships with the state government, one that is based on government to government relations. This approach has benefited Oregon tribes, enhancing the independence of their governments and allowing them to play a more assertive role in local, state, and federal affairs. It is a very interesting story.


Of course, there are many challenges that still confront Oregon tribes. Justin and Mark focus particular attention on tribal gaming. The development of tribal casinos has helped Native American communities, improving job opportunities for tribal members and building tribal economies. Yet the future success of tribal gambling is not assured. Justin and Mark discuss some of the potential challenges that may affect tribal gambling in the future and reduce this boon in revenue and jobs. 


CS: This past fall midterm elections were held, and the incoming representatives elected to the House will be the most diverse class in history. Can you share your thoughts on the results of the recent elections in Oregon, and what do you anticipate the impact of these results will be?


RC: The increase in diversity is important because it brings in new and different perspectives on the issues confronting the nation and the state, and it leads to different types of bills being introduced and enacted. As I mentioned earlier, though, women and racial/ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in Oregon, as they do at the national level, which means that while their concerns are being better represented, there is still much progress to go.


The most significant impact the recent election had on Oregon politics is that it enabled the Democrats to retain control of the governor’s office, while expanding their hold over the Legislative Assembly. They now have a supermajority in both chambers, which means that they can pass tax measures without the support of any Republican.


There are, however, some roadblocks that will limit the Democrats’ actions even though they have the supermajority. While the political parties have been acting more like cohesive teams in recent years, the Democratic legislators and their constituents still do not agree entirely on how every issue should be addressed, so some intra-party differences may stop the Democratic leadership from steamrolling everything they may want. Plus, opponents can always use a referendum, or a threat of a referendum, to restrain the Democrats.


There is another roadblock too, which will limit what the Democrats can accomplish, and that is simply time. The legislature is only in session for a little over five months. As a consequence, the party leaders have to decide what issues to emphasize this sessions and which ones to hold off until later.


In our book, we talk about the conflict and gridlock that frequently threw Oregon’s government into chaos in the 1990s, making it difficult to govern the state. Despite the potential roadblocks that may limit the Democrats’ success in the current legislative session, the party’s success at the polls last year puts it in a strong position to get what it wants and to avoid the conflict which once hobbled the government.


Buy Governing Oregon: Continuity and Change here and read more about the issues Richard discussed with us today!



Richard A. Clucas is Professor of Political Science at Portland State University and the Executive Director of the Western Political Science Association. He is a co-editor of and contributor to Governing Oregon: Continuity and Change.


December 3rd, 2018

  We’re thrilled to feature some great news from OSU Press author Tim Palmer in this week’s blog post. In Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy, Tim shares 160 gorgeous photographs he has taken of wild rivers throughout North America. The photographs and histories of these rivers will soon inspire many more people outside of the pages of his book, as Tim will explain!



As an author, you never know who will see your book, or what might come of it.

            Last week I received news that the Postal Service will release twelve Forever postage stamps in 2019 and four of those stamps feature rivers illustrated in Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy. The four rivers are the Snake in Grand Teton National Park, the Skagit in Washington, the Flathead in Montana, and the Ontonagon in Michigan.


These new postage stamps commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In 1968, Congress passed this measure, which bans further damming or harmful developments that are under purview or funding of the federal government. The intent was to balance the momentum for development of rivers with conservation of the highest value streams. The initial act included the Rogue River's designation in southern Oregon, stopping a dam that had been proposed at Copper Canyon. Oregonians banded together to support protection instead, which was vital because our salmon and steelhead runs have enough trouble as it is. They would have been decimated if that dam had been built.


          Oregon has portions of 59 rivers and tributaries in the Wild and Scenic program—the most among all states, and yet the mileage involved is  less than 2 percent of Oregon's total stream miles. To adequately protect Oregon's finest natural rivers, much remains to be done. Additional rivers are eligible and worthy of inclusion in both the National Wild and Scenic program and in a similar state system. Streams that are especially clean can be designated by the state as "outstanding resource waters" with safeguards from future pollution. Further withdrawals from waterways where the flows are important to native life can be avoided, and better setbacks for clearcut logging and aerial spraying of herbicides can be established under state law.












I'm gratified to know that the Wild and Scenic Rivers program will be broadcast to Americans through these commemorative stamps.


See all the new Forever stamps here, and watch for them in 2019!




Tim Palmer is the author and photographer of three Oregon State University Press books: Field Guide to Oregon Rivers, Rivers of Oregon, and Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy. See his work at www.timpalmer.org.


November 28th, 2018

 The history of the Industrial Workers of The World (IWW) is a fascinating story of a radical labor movement in the 1900s. The members were referred to as “Wobblies” and fought tirelessly for social justice. While historians have focused on this movement and their work, the role of women in the IWW has long been overlooked.

 Heather Mayer researched the role of women in the IWW and compiled what she discovered in Beyond the Rebel Girl, one of our most recent titles. In this interview, Meyer shares her experience of conducting this important research, learning more about key figures in the movement, and the origin of her interest in radical history. This interview was conducted through email with Zoë Ruiz and Carolyn Supinka, our Griffis Publishing Interns.


Heather Mayer will be at Powell's on Wednesday November 28.






ZOË RUIZ: In this book, you’re challenging the predominantly male and masculine narrative about the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the Pacific Northwest. While IWW members are often depicted as young, single, and male, Beyond the Rebel Girl widens the lens and includes the history of members who were women. There were many members who were wives and mothers in the group. How did women who were wives and mothers, who had familial responsibilities, make a significant impact on IWW in the Pacific Northwest?

HEATHER MAYER: They had an impact in ways that I think have been easy to overlook. For example, in 1908 Wobbly Joe Walsh helped to organize the “Overalls Brigade” of hobo Wobblies who hopped trains from out west to join the national convention in Chicago. It’s a pretty standard story in the history of the union. But when I was reading an article in the Industrial Worker, they noted that his wife, Dollie Walsh, joined them and helped to organize meetings along the way. That’s pretty important to their success, and yet often goes unnoticed. Kate MacDonald edited the Industrial Worker when her husband was arrested. Edith Frenette arranged for boats to take Wobblies into Everett during the free speech fight. Women brought food and supplies to men in jail. Women with families couldn’t always risk arrest by speaking on the street, for example, but they could help with fundraising and spreading information about what was happening.

CAROLYN SUPINKA: Can you share about your experience researching the role of women in the Wobblies? What was it like researching a group that has been overlooked?

HEATHER MAYER: For my first big research trip, I was really excited to visit the Reuther Library at Wayne State University when the Industrial Workers of the World collection is held. They have 180 boxes of material, and I came away from that trip with maybe a few sentences that I used in the book. No wonder the previous histories of the union didn’t say much about women! I also realized that I was going to need to be a lot more creative in my research.

ZOË RUIZ: I’m curious about your historical research of the Everett Massacre and the Tracy Trial. In the book, you write, “The Everett Massacre is one of the most infamous events in the history of the IWW, but little investigation has been made into the role women played in the events…” How was this experience for you in terms of research and writing? Did what you discover through your research surprise you?

HEATHER MAYER: Studying the Everett Massacre is really where I started to think that there might be more to the story. When you read Wobbly Walker C. Smith’s book The Everett Massacre that came out in 1917, there were photographs of women at the funerals--there were 18 female pallbearers. Women testified during the trial, and Edith Frenette, one of the women, was portrayed as the ringleader by the mayor of Everett. It seemed like there was a story there, and the more I dug in, the more I found. But for every lead I was able to follow, there were a lot of names like Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones that I couldn’t find any more information about, which was, of course, very frustrating.


ZOË RUIZ: Throughout the book, you allow historical figures and histories long forgotten to come alive. I was fascinated by the historical figure Marie Equi. She was an “open” lesbian, physician, and local celebrity, who was tried and convicted and spent almost a year in prison at San Quentin. What were your first impressions of Marie Equi? Did those first impressions change or deepen throughout the research and writing process?


HEATHER MAYER: Marie Equi has always been a fascinating figure in local radical history, and she is finally getting the attention she deserves with the biography Michael Helquist has written about her for OSU Press. I think from what we know about Equi’s personal relationships she could be challenging to be around, quite temperamental. But the working people of Portland really seemed to love her--I think because of the care she provided, taking on patients who couldn’t pay and supplying birth control information and abortions when it was illegal to do so. She was more than just talk; she concretely helped people. And, she was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in, even at great personal risk.


CAROLYN SUPINKA: To end on, can you talk about how punk music introduced you to the history of radicalism?


HEATHER MAYER: Punk music has long been associated with politics but bands that I listened to in high school like Good Riddance and Propagandhi explicitly connected listeners to authors like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, the anarchist publisher AK Press, or included audio excerpts of famous speeches on their albums. In addition to the music I was listening to, I was a freshman in college when the 1999 WTO protests happened in Seattle, and that brought a lot of attention to the anarchist movement. I knew I wanted to study history, although I initially focused on Ancient Greek history. What was happening politically when I was in college really shifted my focus to radicalism, birth control activism, and anti-war activism, all movements that I then traced back to the early twentieth century.



Heather Mayer is a historian interested in social justice movements in the United States. Introduced to the history of radicalism through punk music and the antiglobalization and antiwar activism of the late 1990s and early 2000s, she decided to focus her studies on the intersections of gender and labor activism. She received her PhD from Simon Fraser University and has been teaching history at Portland Community College since 2008. She was born and raised in Oregon and lives with her family in the Portland area.

Member of AAUP