Tag Archives: Willamette Valley

More than half a million Oregonians evacuate


SALEM, Ore. — Authorities in Oregon report that more than 500,000 people statewide have been forced to evacuate because of wildfires. That’s over 12% of the state’s 4.2 million population. The number includes convicts from at least three jails and prisons. None have been released, just relocated.


1941, Seattle

My great uncle, Everett Franklin Hay, lived in Seattle from 1939 to 1941, when he married his longtime girlfriend Grace Leek and his father George died from cancer.
My great uncle, Everett Franklin Hay, lived in Seattle from 1939 to 1941, when he married his longtime girlfriend, Grace Leek, and his father, George, died from cancer.

My great uncle died earlier this year, in February. He lived to the age of 101. Before his death, I interviewed him in-depth multiple times about his life and what he remembered.

He taught me a bunch, indulging what corn cribs are, the storms of the Dust Bowl, and a slew of humorous stories, his particular talent, which I wish had been documented in some way.

While living in Seattle, from 1939 to 1941, he was recorded in the phone book, which are quite hefty to lug around. He lived with the Neilson family, who came from the same South Dakota town as him, Lake Preston.

Nineteen forty-one was a pivotal year. Everett married his longtime girlfriend, his father died from cancer, and the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting America’s entry into the Second World War.

The death of his father, George Hay, impelled him and his newlywed wife to return to South Dakota, where he took over operation of the family farm, until doctor’s orders made him give it up in 1953, the year they returned to the Pacific Northwest, moving to a berry farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.


Adventures in the West Valley

Took a trip through the countryside yesterday, using Yamhill County Transit. I prefer it to the commuter busses on the other side of the river, operated by Salem-Keizer Transit and the city of Wilsonville. That route is often crowded and subject to traffic on the freeway. To get to Portland, one has to take the commuter train north from Wilsonville. It’s cheaper to take the shuttles operated by Yamhill.

The only problem is that it’s a long haul from the beginning of the line to the end. I started in West Salem, not far from my parents’ house, which made it very handy. Unfortunately, the shuttles leave every few hours so timing is important. Thankfully, I made my connection with no problems. In McMinnville, I transferred to another shuttle headed for Hillsboro and the Blue MAX light rail line.

I enjoyed gazing at the farmland, pastures with horses, a few bison, some cows, dilapidated barns, and the clouds casting shadows on the faraway hills topped with fir trees.. The scenery is serene.

There are many small towns along the way. I’ll have to stop and visit sometime in the future, though when I’ll be back to this part of Oregon, I really don’t know.

Among the highlights, places I liked just from looking out the window are Lincoln and the Lincoln Store — though there’s not much there, Carlton — a beautiful, little town, Cove Orchard, and Gaston. Forest Grove is closer to Portland, so I want to explore there, too.

I made my way onto the light rail in Hillsboro and dozed off here and there while riding into the heart of Portland. It was another long ride.

This morning I’m in Portland, at a friend’s place. After a good night’s sleep, I’m slowly waking up and getting ready to venture further north, to Kelso, where I am rendezvousing with my niece, nephews and sister and joining them on a trip to the Oregon Coast.