Letters to the Editor Autumn 2013

Timber Memories

Daniel Lindley's "Logging Days" [Summer 2013] brought back vivid memories of my introduction into the world of Oregon lumber mills. Graduating in 1973 with a BBA, I started my quest to be a lumber broker with the then Oregon Pacific wholesale company in Wilsonville. Fortunately for me, OP had an excellent training program; it took us to many Oregon lumber mills to see firsthand how logs were sawn into timbers and lumber. Most of these mills are now long gone.

As Lindley also discovered, one of these mills was the famous Hull-Oakes Lumber Company, which I visited some 40 years ago and met the venerable founder, Ralph Hull. Lindley is absolutely spot-on when he describes Hull as "bearded like an Old Testament patriarch." When you shook this man's hand, you knew immediately it had touched many a piece of machinery and equipment in his sawmill.

My biggest takeaway from this mill was not only the iconic, patient Mr. Hull, but the fact that this ancient mill was still steam-powered! Thank you, Daniel Lindley, for the memories.

Daniel M. Bohrer '73
Lake Oswego

Eleanor, LBJ, and the CCC

I read with great interest the article by Kenneth O'Connell on "Stories Carved in Cedar" [Summer 2013]. O'Connell states that it was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp established at Skinner Butte in Eugene. Actually, it was a National Youth Administration camp. I know because my father, William L. Lyon, MS '38, was administrator of that camp. The camp was founded in 1935 and dissolved in 1943. When I was born in 1939, that camp was my first home.

In our home we have a wonderful wood carving created by three of the young men in the program, and several photos of my father with Eleanor Roosevelt, taken when she was at the camp on an inspection tour. There was one other large NYA camp, this one in Texas. The administrator of that camp was Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Coralynn (Corky) Lyon Huffsmith '61
Indio, California

Editor's note: Kathleen Duxbury, a researcher who has studied the history of the CCC camps, provides this clarification: The key to the question is the date, 1935. As Coralynn Huffsmith points out, the NYA did not come into being until 1935. It was under the administration of the WPA. The CCC, however, started in 1933—two years earlier. The first three Clough carvings were completed in 1934. The Skinner Butte camp in Eugene would be abandoned by the CCC and turned over to the WPA-NYA, which was not unusual.


Activism Today

In Mary DeMocker's piece, "Sidewalk or Street?" [Summer 2013], the editors introduced the article with their proclamation, "Compelled to step up her activism by the urgency of climate change . . ." These are not the far-left radical activist DeMocker's words. These words are yours, Oregon Quarterly.

Gentlemen, please. There is most certainly another side to the global warming debate, and contrary to Al Gore's entire basis for existence, the debate is most certainly not over. A significant portion of the world is skeptical about the exaggerated and phony sense of urgency that manmade carbon emissions are changing the temperature of the planet for the worse.

I don't really care to get into an argument about the climatic science, or lack thereof, on the part of the hysterical environmentalists who believe the sky is falling. But calling a sizable portion of their fellow citizens "deniers" and subsequently dismissing their position despite enormous amounts of scientific evidence that debunks the global warming hoax is simply madness.

Yet again, Oregon Quarterly editors show their liberal political affiliation by teeing up this radical leftist activist woman's point of view. One of these days you will come to understand that there are a great many conservative Oregon alumni who read your slanted publication, only because we are Oregon Ducks first and citizens second.

Steven K. Angvick '89
Burlington, Illinois

I found Mary DeMocker's "Sidewalk or Street?" a real eye-opener into the activists of today and the ongoing conflict between being an "activist mom" or a "soccer mom." When I was at Oregon in the early 1970s, protests were always in the street and the police were always directly in front and ordering us to disperse, which never happened. We usually then got fogged with tear gas. DeMocker seems to have always, in her words, "walked on the edge."

The Quarterly has allowed this writer to wander aimlessly down every environmental issue for six pages. It actually got to be fun, while reading it, to guess what her next point was going to be and how she was going to frame it. Milquetoast at best, well below what should be the Quarterly's standards.

My own political leanings have swung to the right as I have seasoned over the ages, but fighting the battles, no matter what side you are on, is always best done right down the center of the street.

Rick Pedley '76
Santa Clara, California

I've just read "Sidewalk or Street?" by Mary DeMocker—a great story of her commitment to the most important cause of our time. The dilemma she faces as a mom and the way she's come down on this issue will, I hope, resonate with a lot of other parents. And the way she described the dynamics of the February march in Eugene brought me right back to the anti-Vietnam War days, when I was in the thick of things in D.C. But this issue [climate change] is so much more dire and difficult for organizers. I respect her for tackling it head on.

Mariette Wickes

Good Cops

The article on Officer Ellis ["Marching to His Own Beat," Summer 2013] reminded me of Officer Dick Loveall, who patrolled the campus in the late '60s. I had both the fortune and misfortune of knowing (and of being known to) Officer Loveall, who stopped me more than once on my obnoxiously loud motorcycle. Loveall had a way of treating even this unkempt and rebellious college kid with respect and humor (even while writing a ticket), and his example inspired me to eventually pursue a career in law enforcement. I tried to look him up a few years ago to say thanks, and was sad to learn he had died. Officers like Loveall and Ellis, who sincerely know and care about their community and who approach the job with humor and creativity, are some of law enforcement's (and society's) greatest assets.

Pete Small '70
Ridgefield, Washington

Relevant Discourse

I was excited to see the article about Brigadier General Tammy Smith ["Ask, Tell," Spring 2013] in part because I have been hoping for this kind of movement on the part of the military for a long time, and in part because I was a friend of Smith when we went to school together at the UO in the mid-'80s.

Tom Shimshaw took the time to write a letter to the editor expressing his opinion that this article was irrelevant. I can assure him that it was not irrelevant to many of us. Smith's distress around the necessity of hiding her sexual orientation while at the UO was palpable to all who knew her well. The experience was ubiquitous: scary, sad, frustrating, and unfair. The reason lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people share their gender and sexual orientation is because if we do not (or feel that we cannot), then people do not know this critical part of our lives. This means we cannot be ourselves. Not only that, it is pretty hard to find a mate—or even good friends—if you can't tell people about your sexual orientation.

In our heteronormative culture, heterosexuals have the privilege of exercising "decorum" when it comes to sexual orientation because it is the custom to assume people are straight until proven otherwise. I wonder how Shimshaw would feel if people assumed he was gay and he was trying to find an intimate partner, but couldn't tell anyone he was attracted to women? I hear he was offended by this article. I am fervently hoping more people are offended by his letter than by the beautiful article offered by Oregon Quarterly about civil rights granted and long overdue.

Kaseja Wilder '12

Critical of Critics

I'm disappointed that the Quarterly would allow its letters section to become a venue for partisan political talking points, particularly demonstrably false ones. Not one but two responders to Robert Kuttner's Spring 2013 column ["Clear Economics, Muddled Politics"] blamed Dodd-Frank for causing the housing crisis by "forcing" banks to lend to unqualified homebuyers. This is apparently a popular current talk radio theme.

It is also, of course, inaccurate. The 2008 collapse could hardly have been caused by a bill passed in 2010. In fact, Dodd-Frank was a direct response to the crisis.) And it's a matter of public record that the banks eagerly, not reluctantly, made millions of unwise loans because they generated rich revenues.

The free exchange of ideas is always to be encouraged, but the Quarterly's self-described "right to edit for clarity" includes the responsibility to edit for documentable untruth.

Mike Gaynes '78
Moss Beach, California

Of the four critical letters you printed in the Summer 2013 issue, three did not indicate their graduation from any institution of higher learning. As a two-time Duck who is sick of stupid Tea Party drivel, I wonder if you print just anyone's diatribe. Robert Kuttner is a credentialed scholar whose contribution was brilliant, IMHO. I am interested in scholarly discourse from those who have bothered to invest in an education and serious work in their field. None of those critics demonstrated they knew anything about the area of their criticism.

I'm a big proponent of free speech. They can stand on the street corner or Fox News and spew that stuff all day long. And I can choose not to expose myself to them. Please set a higher standard for letters to the editor in Oregon Quarterly. Everything else was just great. Thanks for your good work.

Nyla L. Jebousek '94, JD '97

Philip Ratcliff's justification for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is way off base ["Letters," Summer 2013]. He mistakenly justifies this massive violation of civil liberties because [of the war with Japan]. He also explains that the American public was frightened of a West Coast invasion due to a "ready-made collaborationist population." We were also at war with Germany and Mussolini's Italy . . . why weren't German or Italian Americans rounded up as well and interned?

His rationale is flawed because he makes no mention of the fact that the majority of those interned were American citizens, who received no due process and were never actually accused or convicted of treason or any other crimes. The factors that led to this massive civil rights violation were heavy anti-Japanese sentiment along the West Coast, wartime hysteria, and lack of political leadership. None of the intelligence gathered during this time supported the notion of treason or collaboration among the Japanese living along the West Coast. I would direct Mr. Ratcliff to read the findings and report from the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. In this report, which was released in 1983, he will learn the truth and facts surrounding this period of our country's history.

David Maeda '94 

Uni High Forever!

Glen Knowlton laments that "Uni High is almost completely forgotten" ["Letters," Spring 2013]. There is a way to keep that memory alive. Former students are funding an endowed scholarship given to a secondary education student each year. Contributions can be made to the UO Foundation (541-302-0300) designated for the University High School Scholarship. This will keep the memory alive long after we former students are gone.

Delores Moreland (Helen Delores Damewood Moreland) '58, MA '74 
University High School '51