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April 16th, 2015


Like the smell of rain on wet pavement or the taste of a good microbrew, Douglas fir forests seem patently Oregonian. Trees feature prominently in our landscapes, in the Capitol building, and even on our license plates. Today, many lobbyists and citizens push for the conservation of old-growth forests that preserve such an iconic and integral aspect of our state. But forest conservation hasn’t always been at the forefront of Oregonians’ concerns.

Science historian Emily K. Brock joins us today to share a bit of conservation history within the Beaver state. Her new book, Money Trees: The Douglas Fir and American Forestry, 1900 – 1944, explores patterns of forest management and the complicated correlation between humans and nature.


If you look at satellite images of southwestern Oregon today, you can make out faint traces of a gigantic checkerboard design etched into the forest. The checkerboard is a still-visible remnant of management decisions made in the 1860s. The persistence of the checkerboard, and its relation to conservation, is a reminder that when you hike through an American forest, you are always walking through a landscape created by past decisions.

Foresters, loggers, landowners, politicians, regional planners, and many others have made decisions or taken actions that impacted forests. Whether to log, plant, or preserve, those forest management decisions will carry over to the present day. Because forests take so long to grow, decisions they made can resonate in the forest for decades, even centuries, into the future.

We can find an example of the value of forest history in the famously contentious case of the Northern Spotted Owl. Knowing the historical background of the case gives a new insight into why the owl became so threatened, and why conserving it became not just ecologically difficult, but economically and politically difficult too.


This story begins in 1866, when the federal government granted public domain lands to a company called the Oregon and California Railroad to build a rail link between Portland and California. These lands, like most railroad grant lands of the time, were divided into a checkerboard in which the railroad received every other square. In the case of the O&C, their checkerboard squares were mostly thickly covered with intact Douglas fir forest. Generally, as a railroad grew, it would sell off such grantland to raise revenue. However, due to various legal and financial difficulties, little of it was ever put up for sale. The forests eventually came under the control of the General Land Office, but remained mostly unlogged and undeveloped.

It was not until the late 1930s that the checkerboard survey would really have an effect on these forests. With the aim of showing how methodologically sophisticated his department was, the Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes spearheaded an effort to enact advanced system of forest management on the lands through the 1937 O&C Act. The checkerboard soon became an experiment in sustained-yield forest management and rural planning.

Those property lines caused more trouble than anyone expected when the checkerboard was first drawn. While the public squares of the O&C lands are now controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the successor agency to the General Land Office, the private squares have met various fates. Some are still managed for timber, some have been developed for agriculture or settlement, and some were incorporated into the BLM holdings through land swaps.

The O&C Act contained stipulations that county governments benefited more from O&C logging than from logging activity taking place on, for example, National Forest land. Instead of the 25% of gross receipts received from national forest logging taking place within a county’s borders, the county would receive 50% from O&C logging. Many of the eighteen “O&C Counties,” with O&C checkerboard land in them came to rely heavily on that revenue to finance county infrastructure, buildings, and government services. Further, many residents of the counties found steady, well-paid employment in the lumber industry.

Compounding the issue, the Bureau of Land Management habitually authorized more logging, and regulated it less, than did the U.S. Forest Service. As Forest Service regulation became more stringent in the latter half of the twentieth century, the logging on the O&C lands became more lucrative for logging companies to pursue. The rate of logging on O&C lands authorized by the B.L.M. was often well above what sustained yield calculations would have specified. Eventually the overcut would have forced the O&C Counties to a reckoning, but before that day arrived, a little gray owl changed the rules of the game.


The Northern spotted owl is a small, shy owl which lives in Pacific coast forests, and which depends on natural Douglas fir or coast redwood forests for nesting, foraging, and roosting. Its population levels had dipped low enough by 1990 to be federally designated a threatened species.

In the years following this designation, scientists predicted that the owl would go extinct if any more of its habitat was destroyed. The problem wasn’t just the acreage of habitat, but the fact that the owl didn’t like to nest close to buildings, roads, or any other sign of human development. While over seven million acres of federally-owned old-growth Douglas fir forest still remained in the Pacific Northwest, much of that forest was in the form of the O&C checkerboards and other heavily-fragmented landscapes. These forests were already so fractured by human use that much of their acreage was not suitable for the owls.

To save the owl from extinction, the federal government deemed further habitat fracturing had to be avoided. This meant a slowdown of logging in national forests, and an almost complete cessation of logging on the O&C lands. The O&C checkerboard design, which had initially been devised to promote economic growth and regional development, was now the very thing that necessitated a logging shutdown. Because local governments in the O&C Counties had grown dependent on revenue generated by B.L.M. lumbering, the shutdown affected not just those employed by the lumber industry but all citizens of the counties. Local anti-environmentalist sentiment rose as the full ramifications of the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan unfolded. The changes do seem to have slowed the decline of owl populations, although the species now faces new threats to its existence.

The residents of the O&C Counties had been pawns in the struggles between private companies and federal government since the 1860s, when their forests had first been gridded with the surveyors’ checkerboard. The federal government reversed the promises of the O&C Act, grounded in 1930s ideals of sustained-yield forest management, in order to enforce the Endangered Species Act, grounded in 1970s ideals of conservation biology. Victims of historical shifts in government goals, environmental values, and scientific agendas, the O&C Counties have still not fully righted themselves from the economic tumult of the twentieth century.

As the example of the spotted owl shows, to understand people’s relationships to forests, it helps to know not just what is going on in them today, but also their history. MoneyTrees

My new book, Money Trees: The Douglas Fir and American Forestry, 1900-1944, is about management of Douglas fir forests, but also about the ways the challenges of managing the Douglas fir forests of the Pacific Northwest influenced the profession of American forestry. The history of the O&C Lands is one part of this bigger story of forest management in this region. Knowing forest history can deepen our knowledge of these landscapes, and aid our understanding of the complex relationships between humans and forests.



Emily K. Brock is a historian whose research focuses on American natural resource management and the interconnections between industry, science, and conservation. After receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton University, Brock went on to teach at several academic institutions, including Stanford University. She currently serves as a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. Money Trees is her first book.


Image Captions & Credits

Checkerboard Landscape: The checkerboard patterning, a legacy of the O&C Railroad land grant, is still apparent in this contemporary Google Earth satellite image of the forestland directly west of Cottage Grove, OR.

Klamath Log Chute: Log rafts on the edge of the Klamath River in 1939, near the small town of Keno, OR. Photo by Dorothea Lange. Library of Congress reference LC-USF34-020953.

April 9th, 2015

Time for a little history lesson. Did you know Oregon has an official state flower? It’s the Oregon grape. How about an official state dance? We do indeed: the square dance. And what about our state book? No idea? Perhaps that’s because we don’t actually have one.


On March 23, The Oregonian’s editorial board created waves in the literary community by asking readers which title could be considered the state’s official book. Although no movement exists to push for such a thing, the editors were inspired by a recent bill in Mississippi that offered the Bible as the state’s official tome. Suggestions quickly poured in as passionate readers defended their favorite titles and debated definitions and potential categories.


In the end, Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion” emerged as victor, having garnered the most overall votes. Yet the beauty of the literary conversation lies not in its final consensus, but rather the extreme variety and quality of books suggested. Poignant classics and new favorites were unearthed to share the spotlight – including several OSU Press titles!


Oregonian online user AEsteve wrote: “What about ‘Honey in the Horn,’ H.L. Davis’s 1935 Pulitzer Prize winner? Not even Kesey caught the wanderlust at the core of Oregonians. Then ‘Sometimes a Great Notion.’”


User Boyd Osgood concurred, saying: “I propose ‘Honey in the Horn’ by H.L. Davis. It won the Pulitzer in 1936 for best novel … It is an extremely good read.”


Honey in the Horn, the only Oregon novel to win a Pulitzer, follows the story of orphan Clay Calvert as he journeys across the state in the early years of the twentieth century. Many of those who weighed in during the debate suggested Davis’s book, citing its unparalleled portrayal of the indomitable and restless Oregon spirit. You can discover its unique beauty for yourself this June, when OSU Press releases a reprinted edition, complete with a new introduction from historian Richard W. Etulain.


But Honey in the Horn wasn’t the only OSU Press title to receive some love from readers. Below are several of the suggested books, along with users’ comments.


·       Field Guide to Oregon Rivers 

o   “For field guide I would choose the new and amazingly wonderful Field Guide to Oregon Rivers by Tim Palmer, a must have for anyone who loves the outdoors of this beautiful state.” – Oregonian user Animist

·       Fool’s Hill

o   “ … it is a GREAT little book. I give it my highest recommendation.” – Oregonian user barttels

·       Listening for Coyote

·       A Majority of Scoundrels

·       Mink River

·       Wildmen, Wobblies, and Whistle Punks

o   “Two books I would add to the reading list are Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistlepunks, Stewart Holbrooke, and Fool’s Hill, John Quick. Both singularly outstanding and published by the estimable OSU press.” – Oregonian user barttels

·       Moontrap

·       Nehalem Tillamook Tales

·       Requiem for a People

·       Illahee

o   “Kay Atwood’s delightful short book called Illahee, which is about early settlers, trappers, and Native American lives along the lower Rogue River! GREAT NONFICTION!” – OPB user Puddleglum

·       Stubborn Twig

·       To Build a Ship

·       Trask

o   “Don Berry, specifically his novel Trask. Oregon in setting, authorship, and writing style.” – Oregonian user TuberousRootMan

o   “Trask by Don Berry. His description of winter in the northern coast range is enough to send me under the blankets to wait until spring!” – OPB user Barbara Wanores


Still not convinced you should pick up an OSU Press title today? Perhaps we should simply forget this whole debate business and follow the advice of Oregonian user bendbrilliance: “In other words, books are different than birds and rocks. So I say no to designating a state book. Just enjoy them all.”

April 2nd, 2015

Books represent large undertakings. The writing process is arduous, the time lengthy, and the research often difficult, even dangerous. So what leads authors to pour their hearts and souls into such laborious work? Author Kurt Fausch joins us today to share what drove him to create his recently published book, For the Love of Rivers. Staying true to his scientific background, yet venturing into the connection between nature and emotion, Fausch offers his audience a book that reads much like a journey—and today, he invites us to come along.


Why would a scientist write about love for rivers?  Don’t scientists normally stick to the facts? 

I became a fish biologist, and later a professor of stream ecology, so that I could do the studies needed to provide answers for the field biologists and natural resource stewards who manage fish and the streams and rivers they inhabit.  Along with teaching students about these ideas, and working together with graduate students and other researchers on these studies, this is really all I ever wanted to achieve. 

Somehow, along the way, I became drawn into a deeper relationship with the streams and rivers I was studying, the colleagues I was working with, and the need to communicate both the science and these emotions to others. 

In For the Love of Rivers: a Scientist’s Journey, I draw the reader into an international research FortheLoveofRiverscollaboration with Japanese stream ecologist Shigeru Nakano and his colleagues.  Nakano and I developed a deep friendship fueled by a common passion to immerse ourselves in streams, literally (by snorkeling), and understand how the native charr and trout in northern Japan and northern Montana coexisted in the same habitats in streams without driving each other extinct. 

Shigeru went on to do brilliant large-scale field experiments covering streams with mesh greenhouses to show how the insects emerging from streams into the riparian forest, and those falling into streams from the forest, created key connections that fed animals in both ecosystems.  Cutting these off with the greenhouses made half the fish in the stream, and most of the bats and spiders in the riparian forest, disappear!

But when Nakano was killed while visiting the field site of another scientist in Baja California, it set me back and I began to ask what was most important in my busy life as a researcher and teacher.  The loss of streams and fish that we were recording in several other studies, and our predictions of what we stand to lose based on those studies, loomed large in my thinking.

One day, out of the blue, former student-turned-filmmaker Jeremy Monroe (founder of Freshwaters Illustrated) approached me about making a documentary film on Nakano’s life and amazing career.  His idea was to draw the public into an engaging story, and teach them about how streams, fish, and their strong linkages with riparian forests work.  I was skeptical at first, but after the film had been beamed to more than 100 million homes on PBS stations, I realized the power of stories that include the emotional connections among scientists in capturing the attention of everyday people and providing a means to communicate complex science.  I decided to write my story -- of streams and the scientists who study them.

But when I thought about what would move people to actually want to conserve these beautiful ecosystems, I realized that I needed to move beyond the science of streams, and even the science of why humans are attracted to the sights and sound of running waters.  Stephen Jay Gould, the famous evolutionary biologist and great communicator of science, wrote that we only save those things that we love, and we only love those things with which we develop a deep emotional bond. 

In the end, I needed to take the risk to explore what it is that I love about rivers, even as a scientist who has been trained to study them objectively and focus on the cold, hard facts.  While not ignoring the importance of science to conserving rivers, I realized that I needed to move beyond this science if I wanted to inspire others to keep striving to understand what is essential about rivers to us as humans, and keep working with others to conserve them.


Kurt Fausch is a professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, where he has taught for more than 30 years. Collaborative research has taken him throughout Colorado, much of the western U.S., and worldwide, including to Hokkaido in northern Japan. A recipient of numerous awards from the American Fisheries Society and the World Council of Fisheries Societies, Fausch is a respected professional in his field. For the Love of Rivers is now available on our website or by calling 1 (800) 621-2736. Watch a full trailer for the book here.

March 19th, 2015

Kris Anderson is the co-author of State of Giving: Stories of Oregon Volunteers, Donors, and Nonprofits, along with the former president of the Oregon Community Foundation, Greg Chaillé. In anticipation of the book's imminent publication in April 2015, we asked Kris to share some of her experiences writing the book, as well as her take on what makes Oregon such an inspiring place.

Researching State of Giving meant a lot of time on the road. So we can tell you this with authority: Oregon’s scenic byways host some iconic roadside attractions. Petersen’s Rock Gardens, Harvey the Rabbit, and the world’s largest pig hairball, to name a few. But the Prehistoric Gardens on Highway 101 is one of the more arresting. Cruising along the southern coast’s wave-beaten monoliths and forested headlands, a bend in the road brings you face-to-face with a life-size T-Rex reaching with feeble arms and a cartoonish expression towards your car.

It’s a surreal moment, and a charming one. Like many of its roadside kin, Prehistoric Gardens seems a relic of a more credulous, less globalized era of travel. Its hand-painted sign has a typo; its concrete monsters have the lumbering, mud-tailed postures of long outdated paleontological theories. It’s less Jurassic Park, more Flintstones. And it’s a worthwhile stop, especially for fans of nostalgia and kitsch.

A few miles away is Port Orford, a small town that, like many small rural towns in Oregon, could easily be viewed by a stranger through similar lenses: as a quaint, appealing relic of something bygone—and as a nice tourist stopover. It has galleries on the main street, the ubiquitous myrtlewood shops, a beautiful adjacent bay and state park, a few derelict storefronts, and a message sprayed on the asphalt of a side road that reads “Ocean View This Way.”

That’s what you see when you cruise through at 35 miles an hour, at least, or poke around for the afternoon. But, as with many of Oregon’s rural communities, Port Orford deserves to be regarded as more than a roadside attraction for out-of-towners.

One of our key arguments in State of Giving is that across Oregon, there’s fascinating, inventive, and very contemporary work going on to enliven and sustain our state’s communities and landscapes. Much of it is entirely grassroots, created and championed by volunteers, local donors, and impassioned nonprofit and civic leaders. And some of the most engaged, progressive visions are coming out of tiny places like Port Orford: far from being sepia-toned backwaters, Oregon’s small towns are hotbeds of citizen activism and creativity.

State of Giving isn’t just about small town altruism and activism—its perspective is statewide, and it chronicles volunteerism, philanthropy, and civic leadership across many sectors and demographics. It is organized by sector, with each chapter detailing wide-ranging efforts to counteract what we regard as the key challenges facing Oregon: the urban/rural divide, education inequity, environmental degradation, poverty (and the hunger and homelessness it precipitates), dwindling support for Oregon’s cultural and heritage industries, and systemic social inequity and injustice. We profile organizations ranging from Basic Rights Oregon to the Jefferson County Historical Society to Albina Head Start to Wallowa Resources, a consensus-building environmental nonprofit headquartered in Enterprise. But while we outline why each organization is doing vital work, our profiles focus less upon the institutions themselves and more upon the volunteers, donors, and staff that are driving their work forward—first and foremost, this is a book about people.

Petite Port Orford, weighing in at a mere 1133 residents as of the 2010 Census, provides a number of outsized examples. Port Orford isn’t always an easy place to live: its once-vibrant forest products industry is now virtually extinct, its fishing industry has faced similar threats, it has an aging population, 54% of its residents are low-to-middle income, and it’s part of Curry County, which has one of the lowest tax rates in Oregon, meaning that investments in roads, schools, and basic services have all declined sharply. But the town also has a lot going for it: a stunning location, a temperate climate, a fertile ocean, a robust arts scene, a growing tourist economy, and most of all, a very close-knit, hands-on, git-‘er-done community.

Local artist and mom Allandra Emerson, for example, hated that the local schools had to cut arts education from their dwindling budgets but realized that the town had an untapped resource. “We have a healthy arts community here, but there’s not much overlap between the artists and parents of school-age children.” With her encouragement, the Port Orford Arts Council set up a Saturday arts program for children that eventually became incorporated—powered by volunteer labor from the arts community—back into the school day. “That way you can reach the maximum number of kids, not just kids whose parents are interested in the arts,” Allandra explains.

The Arts Council also runs a program at Port Orford’s library, itself the product of impressive civic leadership. For over seventy years, the Port Orford Library was just a room in a crumbling municipal building. But in 1995, residents of Port Orford formed the Library Foundation, a nonprofit established to find the library a permanent home. Led by the irrepressible Tobe Porter, the town raised over $1.8 million dollars and 70% of the community voted in favor a $450,000 bond to be used if needed. In 2008, on the day Port Orford Public Library opened it doors, “four hundred or so people lined up outside. They would just stop and look at it and cry with pride. It’s a library that the community built 100 percent,” Tobe recalls. Under Tobe’s leadership, the library now is a de facto community center, offering everything from job search training to yoga classes to town hall discussions.

The library has also hosted conversations that led to one of Port Orford’s most visible successes: the transformation of its fishing industry. Helmed by fisherman’s wife Leesa Cobb and supported by board chair Aaron Longton, a commercial salmon and black cod fisherman, Port Orford Ocean Resource Team [POORT] “arose out of necessity,” Aaron says. “Our town had lost its timber jobs, and the fishing was hit-or-miss… Everyone knew there’d be change, and that to weather the storms, we’d have to adapt [and] to organize ourselves.” With Leesa’s vision and with widespread support, including thousands of volunteer hours from local fishermen, Port Orford has taken a leadership role in marine conservation by creating a sustainable fishing industry and a locally administered maritime preserve. POORT has won regional and national conservation awards, attracted support from big-name funders, sells its sustainably-harvested fish statewide, and most of all, has helped place this little town on the cutting edge of triple-bottom-line solutions.

Allandra, Tobe, Leesa, Aaron, and many more like them have ensured that there’s more to Port Orford than meets the roadtripper’s eye. While it has tourist attractions and bygone industries, it’s no quaint throwback—it’s no concrete dinosaur. Rather, Port Orford is just one of hundreds of Oregon communities benefitting from the altruism and activism of folks who give time and money to help transform economies, conserve valuable ecologies, and improve lives.

If you want to hear more from Leesa and Tobe, if you want to learn more about the seminal challenges facing our state, if you want to read about vanguard citizens and organizations working to combat these challenges, if you run a nonprofit or are a volunteer or donor, or if you just want to glean some ideas about how you can engage more deeply with your community, State of Giving might be right up your alley. We had a blast writing it—world’s largest pig hairball notwithstanding—and hope it makes for an entertaining, illuminating, and mobilizing read.

—Kris Anderson

Photographs courtesy of Kris Anderson

March 12th, 2015

What is the inherent value of a forest? Is there an achievable compromise between human and preservation concerns within forest management? Jim Furnish, author of newly released Toward a Natural Forest, knows firsthand how difficult these questions can be to answer. A former US Forest Service deputy chief, Furnish draws greatly upon his own experiences in the agency to create a contemplative memoir that is as thought provoking as it is informative. Furnish joins us today to share his hopes for the future of forest stewardship in the United States.




What is the gestation period of a book? Several years in my case, made longer by being a forester, not a writer. The hurdle involved moving beyond stories and anecdotes to a real message. I believe that today’s conflicts over forest politics and policies speak to a deeper clash over values. Our national forests, managed by the US Forest Service, have become a crucible for a hoped-for solution to the age-old question: “How do we get what we need from our forests without ruining them?” My book attempts to answer this question.


Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and other far-sighted conservationists, the Forest Service is blessed (some might say saddled) with the responsibility of managing our national forests: a NorthernSpottedOwlstunningly beautiful and resource-rich public estate that accounts for nine percent of the country’s landmass. Devoted public servants – our legendary “forest rangers” – built a lofty, can-do reputation that crashed suddenly in the late 1900s, epitomized by the northern spotted owl controversy. Decades of ambitious logging in these vast, natural forests clashed with a growing awareness of heavy environmental costs and citizens clamoring for an agency that cared more about the values of common people than timber industry profits. The crash yielded a dispirited, wounded Forest Service confused about the future. Humpty Dumpty could relate.    


I observed the growing animosity through an internal lens; I was actually one of those guys responsible for all the trouble. Yet, my immersion in the roiling waters of conflict left me troubled, colored, and ultimately changed to become, yes, an environmentalist. Because the Clinton administration sought leaders with a stronger land ethic, this personal transformation resulted in my promotion to become a high-ranking deputy chief in 1999, a cherished honor. How strange though, after a 35-year career, to then find myself persona non grata and leaving the agency I loved for reasons of principle.


Toward a Natural Forest chronicles twin tales – mine and the Forest Service’s – of tumult and transformation, set against the restive environmental movement.


Environmentalists turned increasingly and successfully to the courts for redress, which imposed severe restrictions on logging public lands. The Forest Service seemed lost, floundering to fashion a future. As supervisor of Siuslaw National Forest on Oregon’s coast, I confronted an organization in free-fall with no viable vision.


TowardaNaturalForestMy memoir relates the journey from despair to hope, building a new forestry paradigm based on restoring naturalness to a landscape. We turned our focus to improving water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities, rather than simply producing wood products. The environmental community – former foes – enthusiastically supported the changes. The timber industry, whose supply of wood was much reduced, accepted a different and smaller role. For the first time in decades, the timber wars ceased.


I speak hopefully of a different and better future, a future that stewards forests humbly and respectfully to sustain their inherent functionality and worth. How much are our public forests worth? Far more than money. I contend they are priceless.




Jim Furnish is a consulting forester in the Washington, DC, area following a 34-year career with the USDA Forest Service. He has served in a number of leadership positions within the agency, including a stint as deputy chief and supervisor of Siuslaw National Forest. Passionate about the protection of forested lands, Furnish was instrumental in creating the Roadless Area Conservation Rule and garnering support for a restorative policy over timber production in the Siuslaw National Forest. You can purchase his new book, Toward a Natural Forest, here.


Photo of Northern Spotted Owl taken by Oregon State University student Kristian Skybak, used with permission from Oregon Wild.


March 5th, 2015



Happy World Book Day! Yes, it’s a thing and yes, it’s definitely worth celebrating. Books ignite passion across the globe, serving as catalysts for the spread of information and ideas. From the first cuneiform tablets to modern digital readers, the written word has proved to be an invaluable tool.


And it’s precisely that utility for creativity that World Book Day aims to celebrate. According to the event website, World Book Day is a “worldwide celebration of books and reading,” created to “encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.” With the help of dozens of publishers and booksellers, more than 14 million children will receive free book vouchers redeemable at participating stores.


Helping children discover the joys of reading? That sounds like a pretty excellent reason for us to get on board! So, in honor of World Book Day, here are ten reasons you should pick up a text of the tangible variety today:


1.     To rediscover the wonders of reading yourself! When was the last time you opened a cover just for fun? There’s a reason we fall in love with books at a young age.

2.     To share with a friend. Remember that favorite title of yours you keep meaning to lend out? Time to share the wit of your favorite author and wisdom of your marginalia.

3.     To learn something new. You don’t have to be enrolled in a class to cram your brain with knowledge!

4.     To escape. Let’s go to the Caribbean. Or eighteenth-century London. Or the highest campsite in the Himalayas. It’s easy to discover new adventures within the pages of a book.

5.     To bond. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but remember all those nights your parents read to you? Finding someone to read aloud with can be a powerful experience.  Cuddle up with your kiddo or pay mom a visit to return the favor.

6.     To teach. Use an instructional or academic book to share something you’re passionate about with others.

7.     To challenge yourself. We can’t grow if we always ingest information that aligns with our current beliefs; try exploring an opposing viewpoint to place yourself in someone else’s shoes for a change.

8.    To find inspiration. Discover a new muse! 

9.     To take a moment for yourself. Reading offers a great opportunity to pause the chaos that is life and regroup. Turn a page, find some serenity.

10.  To feel. Books have the unique ability to make readers run the gamut of emotions. Life can be more fulfilling when you allow yourself to embrace both the good and bad.


Need a place to start exploring? Start here on our website to discover educational and exciting titles you’ll want to keep around.

February 26th, 2015

On February 28, Oregon will officially recognize the birthday of one of its most prominent citizens with an eponymic day of remembrance. According to a proclamation signed by former governor John Kitzhaber, the state will celebrate Linus Carl Pauling Day this Saturday as “a time to recognize the life and work of [the] great Oregonian and American.”


Linus Carl Pauling was a renowned scientist and peace activist who would become the only individual to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes (one for Chemistry in 1954 and the other for Peace in 1962). A native of Portland, Pauling attended Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) and Caltech before achieving international acclaim for his work with chemical bonds, molecular biology, and Vitamin C.


Pauling and his wife, Ava, would use this renown to further their support of international peace and human rights. Staunch opponents of nuclear weapons and Cold War policies, the couple would face widespread criticism for their activism—and also earn the respect of thousands.


Biographer Tom Hager described Linus Pauling as “the greatest person [his] home state had ever produced,” a brilliant man who kindly “treated almost everyone like an equal.” This passion for science and concern for humanity blended to create a stunning, enigmatic man whose ingenuity would influence generations.


Fellow Oregonians are invited to honor OSU’s most famous alum by sharing birthday cake this Friday, Feb. 27, from noon to 1 p.m. on the ground floor of the Linus Pauling Science Center. The Linus Pauling Institute also sponsored a cake and ice cream party held this Thursday, the proceeds from which will be donated to the OSU Food Drive.


Those who are interested in learning more about the Paulings have several options. Scroll below to discover what resources the OSU community has to offer regarding one of the twentieth century’s greatest scientists and humanitarians.




LinusPaulingLinus Pauling, Scientist and Peacemaker 

Who: Edited by Clifford Mead and Thomas Hager

What: A concise, intricate biography that draws upon personal correspondence, sketches, papers, and recorded interviews.  Never-before published items and pieces from the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers archival collection offer intriguing illustrations and marginalia that add to the reading experience.

When: Published 2008

For: Those interested in an accessible, multi-dimensional look at Linus Pauling’s life.



AvaHelenAva Helen Pauling: Partner, Activist, Visionary 

Who: Written by Mina Carson

What: An overdue examination of Ava Helen Pauling, a dedicated activist and intellectual in her own right. The biography follows Ava’s balancing act of housewifery and a passion for movements that supported feminism, environmentalism, and global peace.

When: Published 2013

For: Those interested not only in the life of Ava Helen Pauling, but women’s and reform history during the twentieth century.



HowtoLiveLongerHow to Live Longer and Feel Better 

Who: Written by Linus Pauling, with an introduction by Melinda Gormley

What: Pauling’s guide to healthy living, first published in 1986. Suggesting simple and inexpensive daily habits like vitamin consumption, Pauling offers readers a regimen in order to be happier and stay healthier longer.

When: Fourth edition published 2010

For: Those interested in living a clean, healthy lifestyle or in the historical importance of Pauling’s work in nutritional science.





What: Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers

Where: Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives


What: Pauling Research Notebooks

Where: Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives


What: Linus Pauling: A Centenary Exhibit

Where: Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives 





Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives: http://pauling.library.oregonstate.edu/


The Linus Pauling Institute: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/


The Pauling Blog: https://paulingblog.wordpress.com/


The Pauling Catalogue: http://paulingcatalogue.org/

February 19th, 2015


Former governor John Kitzhaber resigned from his gubernatorial post last Friday in a published letter to Kate Brown, the Secretary of State at the time. Kitzhaber announced his resignation in response to investigations regarding alleged financial misconduct with his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. Accusations against the pair bubbled to a boiling point just weeks after Kitzhaber began his unprecedented fourth term in office.


Within the span of a single letter, Oregon lost a prominent politician, gained a new governor, and opened a groundbreaking chapter in state political history.


Although Kitzhaber is not the first Oregon governor to have stepped down, he is the first to do so amidst such controversy and confusion. According to the Oregon Blue Book, four other governors have resigned since the territory achieved statehood. 


“The current situation [of Governor Kitzhaber’s resignation] is without precedent,” said OSU Press author Tom Marsh via email. “True, several Oregon governors have resigned from office—Douglas McKay being the most recent governor to do so. In McKay’s case, he resigned to take the cabinet seat of Secretary of the Interior in the Eisenhower administration. Not so with John Kitzhaber. Never has a sitting Oregon governor resigned under these circumstances.”


Marsh, a former state legislator himself, is the author of To the Promised Land: A History of Government and Politics in Oregon, published in 2012. Marsh’s work serves as the first comprehensive political history of Oregon, following important political figures and ballot measures throughout the state’s undulating social and economic narrative. An essential volume for anyone interested in understanding the foundations of the modern political climate, To the Promised Land places Oregon within the greater context of national politics.


Following the state constitutional order of succession, former Secretary of State Kate Brown was sworn into the gubernatorial office Wednesday. With her inauguration, Brown became Oregon’s first openly bisexual governor and only the second female to hold the seat.*


“This is a sad day for Oregon,” Brown said in a statement published by CNN. “But I am confident that legislators are ready to come together to move Oregon forward.”


Oregon’s first female governor, Barbara Roberts, certainly knew a thing or two about progress during her governorship from 1991 to 1995. A “trailblazer in a state that knows something about pioneers,” as Sen. Jeff Merkley called her, Roberts recounts her story in Up the Capitol Steps: A Woman’s March to the Governorship. The book follows her own unlikely rise to power, documenting what leadership is like for a female in politics.


Both To the Promised Land and Up the Capitol Steps offer readers a unique and timely perspective on the current period of upheaval. In order to fully understand the complications and consequences of today’s world, a reflective look backwards is often useful.


To stay informed, here are four of OSU Press’s most topically pertinent and powerful titles:


·       To the Promised Land: A History of Government and Politics in Oregon by Tom Marsh

·       Up the Capitol Steps: A Woman’s March to the Governorship by Barbara Roberts

·       With Grit and By Grace: Breaking Trails in Politics and Law, A Memoir by Betty Roberts, with Gail Wells

·       Remembering the Power of Words: The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader by Avel Louise Gordly, with Patricia A. Schechter


You can purchase these items on our website by selecting the “Add to Cart” link on the respective book pages, or by calling 1-800-621-2736.






*Kate Brown will be the third female to sit as acting governor in Oregon, according to information gathered by the Statesman Journal. Carolyn B. Shelton officially served as acting governor for one weekend in 1909 when her boss, Gov. George Chamberlain, left to accept a U.S. Senate position and his successor, Frank Benson, was too sick to be sworn in immediately. Her unique position resulted from a small clause in state law that required a governor’s private secretary to become acting head of state in times of absence or illness. Ironically, it would not be until 1912 that women were given the right to vote in Oregon. Most personal secretaries at this time were male.

February 11th, 2015

It’s raining. It’s pouring. The old man is snoring. And you? You, my friend, are searching for a book with which to curl up by the fire. You’re looking for the perfect title to alleviate the drudgery of a drizzly Oregon day, something to excite your senses and spark your synapses. And what better way to spend a day indoors than snuggled beneath a blanket, hot cocoa in hand, eyes glued to a page? I’ll answer that one for you: none.


Still not convinced? Then here’s some inspiration from your fellow book lovers at OSU Press. Grab your heated blanket, prepare the hot water, and read on to hear some of our staff’s recommended rainy day reads.




Marty Brown, Marketing Manager


Trask by Don Berry


I’m a sucker for historical novels and all things Oregon, so how could I not love Don Berry’s TraskTrask? Loosely based on the life of Elbridge Trask, an early fur trapper and mountain man, the novel follows its eponymous character as he treks in the early 1850’s from the Clatsop Plains, near Astoria, to the mouth of Tillamook Bay. Trask takes the form of a hero’s journey, but this is not your typical myth of manifest destiny. The story is sensitive to the many complexities of native culture and has a strong spiritual thread running through it. It’s full of adventure and the search for meaning at the wet edge of the continent. For best effect, read it while wrapped in a Pendleton blanket.


The Next Tsunami by Bonnie Henderson


As long as we’re on the north coast of Oregon, I have to mention The Next Tsunami by Bonnie TheNextTsunamiHenderson. Like a lot of other people, I have a certain…  prurient fascination with natural disasters. I thought that Henderson might offer a cautionary tale, a dark vision of how our coast will look after its bays and estuaries are scoured out by the next big tsunami, with marinas reduced to match sticks, collapsed highway bridges, underwater shopping districts, and etc. Instead, I finished this book with an uncanny sense of calm and hope. Henderson tells the story of how scientists came to discover the Cascadia Subduction Zone and definitively proved the Pacific Coast’s long geological history of earthquakes and tsunamis. Thanks to Henderson’s skillful telling, this history of science unfolds like a mystery. Who knew that geologists could be such fascinating characters?


Up all Night by Martha Gies


What else? We have so many worthy books and authors on our list, I could go on all day, and all then all night. Which reminds me of Up all Night by Martha Gies, another personal favorite. This collection of stories about swing- and graveyard-shift workers takes readers on a guided tour of one city’s nocturnal professions. That city happens to be Portland, but it could be anywhere. Night workers live in a country all their own, and Gies is a friendly, companionable guide.




Tom Booth, Associate Director


Three books that I’m likely to pull from the shelf during the dark, wet days of an Oregon winter:


Mink River by Brian Doyle

Doyle’s debut novel brings to life a wet Oregon coastal town through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people. Rain, “in every form from mist to sluice,” is a constant presence in the book: 


"Rain slips and slides along hawsers and chains and ropes and cables and gladdens the cells of MinkRivermosses and weighs down the wings of moths. It maketh the willow shiver its fingers and thrums on doors of dens in the fens. It falls on hats and cats and trucks and ducks and cars and bars and clover and plover. It grayeth the sand on the beach and fills thousands of flowers to the brim. It thrills worms and depresses damselflies. Slides down every window rilling and murmuring. Wakes the ancient mud and mutter of the swamp, which has been cracked and hard for months. Falls gently on leeks and creeks and bills and rills and the last shriveled blackberries like tiny dried purple brains on the bristle of bushes."


Up All Night by Martha Gies UpAllNight

Martha Gies guides readers on a nocturnal tour of Portland, offering fascinating profiles of the graveyard shift workers who keep our city running after dark. I grew up here and have lived in Portland for most of my life—but Gies shows a side of the city that even longtime locals haven’t encountered. It’s one of the great unsung books about Portland.


Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest by Thomas Burke, with photographs by William P. Leonard LandSnails

An essential tome for understanding and identifying terrestrial slugs and snails in the Pacific Northwest. Know thy neighbor.





Faye Chadwell, Director


Breaking Chains by R. Gregory Nokes BreakingChains


Greg Nokes explores an important aspect of Oregon’s history that I don’t believe a lot of Oregonians know.  That includes Oregonians who moved here like myself 20 years ago.




Ava Helen Pauling by Mina Carson AvaHelenPauling


Mina Carson’s biography is the first ever to reveal more of the personal side of the Paulings’ life together.  More importantly, she rightfully establishes or acknowledges Ava Helen’s contributions to Linus Pauling’s anti-nuclear stance for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Arguably many feel like this should have been his 2nd shared Nobel Prize.



Mink River by Brian Doyle Kesey


I love reading and rolling along with Brian Doyle’s lyrical prose.  I would actually recommend reading this title and Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion.  Together the two provide two worthwhile perspectives on coastal communities in Oregon albeit separated by time and imagination of their respective authors.






Still looking for the perfect rainy day read? Browse our online database, read some previous blog post synopses, or request a print copy of our Spring 2015 catalog. Questions, comments, or concerns? Shoot us an email!


February 6th, 2015


The opinions expressed below are those of intern Victoria Hittner and not necessarily those of OSU Press.


I despised the phrase “look it up in the dictionary” as a child. We’ve all seen it happen: intrepid young student asks teacher for spelling advice, only to be sent toward the giant tome on the shelf. A tome that’s alphabetized. With a student who’s questioning the letter arrangement of a word.


While the illogical practice may have infuriated the obstinate younger me, it also fulfilled the purpose my teachers had intended. Each time I shuffled to the shelf, I Dictionarybecame lost in the cadence and mystery of words I didn’t know. Flipping pages was no longer such a chore because I fell in love with the intricate English lexicon. The written word quickly became a personal fascination, one that has followed me into adulthood.


And so, to appease my inner logophile (and offer silent salute to my elementary school teachers), below is a brief list of words, inspired by our Spring 2015 new releases.* Each new title has been assigned a single descriptor. It’s like our very own Merriam-Webster, OSU Press special edition. Alphabetized and all.




connectivity (n): the quality, state, or capability of being connective or connected


For the Love of Rivers by Kurt Fausch


In his latest publication, Fausch explores more than just the ecology of stream environments. Expounding upon the beauty and mystery so entangled with our world’s water systems, Fausch uses his own field experience to link fact with emotion. For the Love of Rivers explores how science connects aquatic ecosystems to their streamside forests and the organisms found there—including humans.



consciousness (n.): the normal state of being awake and able to understand what is happening around you


Silviculture and Ecology of Western U.S. Forests, Second Edition by John C. Tappeiner, et al.


The modern concept of silviculture has grown to encompass a multitude of important topics, adding forest health and aesthetics to traditional ideas of reforestation and timber harvest. Four esteemed forestry professors combined research and passion to create an updated edition of this comprehensive reference—the only text that focuses on silviculture in western U.S. forests. Silviculture and Ecology adds a new dimension to conservation and consumerism, showing how contemporary silvicultural practices help prevent the two concerns from becoming mutually exclusive.



continuity (n.): something that is the same or similar in two or more things and provides a connection between them 


Environment and Society in the Japanese Islands, edited by Bruce L. Batten and Philip C. Brown


Brilliant thinkers from fields like history, geography, and climatology lend their knowledge to this compilation, exploring the historical connection between environment and the Japanese people. Through these essays, Batten and Brown introduce readers to the idea of continuity, challenging previous notions that pre-modern and modern environmental history cannot be compared in tandem.



drive (n.): an impelling culturally acquired concern, interest, or longing 


Money Trees by Emily K. Brock


What fostered the modern American conception of forests and their value? Emily Brock explores this question in Money Trees, following traditional political debates to the current wilderness movement. Using the forests of the Pacific Northwest as a guide, Brock provides an interdisciplinary history of industrial and public views of American forests, adding provocative commentary on the driving forces behind political currents and forest management practices.



essence (n.): the basic nature of a thing; the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is


Honey in the Horn by H. L. Davis


Beloved Oregon author H. L. Davis’s award-winning work returns to print in this new edition, containing an introduction by historian Richard W. Etulain. Honey in the Horn chronicles the adventures of Clay Calvert, a young ranch hand who journeys across Oregon in search of a new start. Along the way, he meets a score of fascinating characters from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. Perhaps even more poignant than when it was first released, Davis’s work captures the true essence of Oregon’s pioneer spirit in a way that avoids melodrama but smacks of veracity.



mold (v.): to give shape to; to determine or influence the quality or nature of 


Toward a Natural Forest by Jim Furnish


The verb, not the kind that grows in old, damp apartments! Jim Furnish’s memoir follows his rapid career rise through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service at the turn of the century. Working in a field mired in controversy, Furnish struggled balancing his growing passion for conservationism with loyalty to his employer. As the department as a whole was being shaped by changing public interests, so, too, was a man molded by his environment. Offering a unique inside view to the industry, Furnish explores the pitfalls—and important potential—of the Forest Service in global conservation efforts.



perseverance (n.): the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult


American Dreamers by Ken Austin, with Kerry Tymchuk


How did a kid from rural Oregon turn a tiny kitchen-based operation into a global manufacturer? Ken Austin and his wife, Joan, founders of dental equipment company A-dec, reflect on the journey of perseverance and dedication that led to their current business and philanthropic success. Following the renowned “A-dec way,” the Austins prove that good ol’ hard work and compassion truly do pay off.



purpose (n.): the aim or goal of a person; what a person is trying to do, become, etc.


Naked in the Woods by Margaret Grundstein


Utopia or dystopia? Or somewhere in between? Margaret Grundstein reflects upon her time in a hippie commune in the backwoods of Oregon, living off the land in harmony with the environment and other people—at least initially. Disillusionment, rifts, and reality eventually invaded the small community, tearing apart a settlement founded on unity. Naked in the Woods explores the interrelated ideas of human nature and social change, leaving readers with much to think about beyond the final page.



stewardship (n.): the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care


Building a Better Nest by Evelyn Searle Hess


Evelyn Searle Hess’s latest book explores sustainable living on a personal and detailed level, following the construction of Hess’s cabin in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. Throughout the process, Hess determined that a sustainable life involves more than just recycled products; it requires cooperative and healthy human relationships, too. Building a Better Nest asks readers to think outside the box to ponder whether the quality of the local watershed and quality of human life are truly separate issues at all.



syncretism (n.): the combination of different forms of belief or practice


At the Hearth of the Crossed Races by Melinda Marie Jette


Melinde Jette delves into the syncretic explosion that occurred within the French Prairie area of the Willamette Valley during westward expansion. Far from undeveloped during the 1850s, the French Prairie area teemed with a complex culture all its own: the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyan people and French settlers who lived in comfortable mingled communities. This synthesis of cultures fostered a hale and happy valley, which was later disrupted by the Anglo-American pioneers’ institution of settler colonialism and racial exclusion. At the Hearth of the Crossed Races provides a glimpse of oft-unseen Oregon history and underlines the complexity of differing social values and traditions.



trailblazing (adj.): making or pointing a new way


A Man for All Seasons by William G. Robbins


Go Blazers! And while we do root for the red-and-black adorned basketball team, we’re talking about political trailblazers here. In A Man for All Seasons, William G. Robbins documents the incredible career of politician Monroe Sweetland. A prominent Oregonian during the twentieth century, Sweetland left a lasting legacy upon the region through his involvement with the modern Oregon Democratic Party and National Education Association. A champion of those whose voices were often marginalized, Sweetland pushed for the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and successfully propelled the ratification of the twenty-sixth amendment in 1971. Robbins’s portrait shows a compassionate, yet conflicted, man whose passion helped shape the modern American political landscape.



universal (adj.): existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions


State of Giving by Greg Chaille and Kristin Anderson


Compassionate people and projects exist around every corner, yet very rarely receive adequate recognition. State of Giving follows the stories of numerous civic leaders, grassroots organizations, and volunteers who make a difference every day, all across Oregon. Covering topics like hunger and homelessness, the urban/rural divide, and education inequity, State of Giving demonstrates there are ways in which anyone, regardless of background, can give back to the community.





Want to learn more about our upcoming titles? You can browse our online Spring 2015 catalog or request a print copy here.



*All definitions taken from www.merriam-webster.com.

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