Oregon Log Truck, 2010

Salute to

Oregon Trees,

Traditions and Chainsaws:

Chainsaw Art:

Josh Blewett uses a chainsaw for a paintbrush.  His sculptures reveal the beauty of the carefully selected wood and have a life and flow of their own.  He's located on Hwy 26, east of "The Junction," where the road from Portland merges into Hwy 101 between Cannon Beach and Seaside.  He's a few miles out.
Chainsaw Art, Josh Blewett, Seaside Oregon
Chainsaw Art, Josh Blewett, Seaside Oregon
Old Growth Forest, early 1900's Oregon

Tree Top Art:

Some of the best chainsaw art is invisible.  Skilled masters work in the tree tops, making tall trees shorter.  Without them, winter storms would bring down many rather than a few.  Dropping the top out of a 100 foot tree, while standing in it, is not that tricky.  Having it land without damaging anything is an art and extremely difficult. 
(Below) When a kite string escaped from the beach, sailed over several blocks to tangle in my tree, it was a blessing in disguise.  It caught my attention.  I realized my tree was twisting and leaning.  A previous topping had caused 2 branches to turn upward to become a new bushy wind catching highly unstable 24 foot top.  It probably would not have survived another big winter storm and it probably would have landed on the ridge beam of my home, possibly slicing my house in two.  I asked a master craftsman to come get that kite string out of my tree and while he was at shorten my tree without killing it, or damaging nearby structures.  He did.  Now, 2 years later the tree is alive and still standing.  (A smaller tree, cut by a different “expert” died months after the cut.)
Old Growth Pine Forest, Oregon 1900's
The true "Old Growth" was cut down long ago.  Most modern saw mills do not have saw blades large enough to cut the "old growth" trees.  Automation has drastically reduced the number of men required to cut a tree, transport it, mill it, etc.  In the 1960's the concept of farming trees like any other crop was introduced -  replanting would keep healthy forests for all to enjoy, with plenty of jobs, forever.  The theory failed to calculate factors such as blowdown, and that automation could pluck the tree crop faster than it could grow. 

A fellow once said to me, "Ever stand under a tree in the rain?"  He meant a big evergreen tree.  While there is a wide variety of trees on the coast, the big old spruces, firs, hemlocks, cedars, are the only ones that count as "trees."  I answered the fellow, "Yes."  He asked, "Did you get wet?"  I answered, "No."  I'm still trying to find out how many gallons of water a big Spruce drinks.  It should not be a surprise that as our big trees disappear, there seems to be more rain, more run-off, more flooding, more sliding.

The Old Growth Loggers pictured in photos above often sawed the trees off 8 to 12 feet above the ground.  Some believe the reason was to get above the brush and ground cover.  Perhaps.  However, there is no ground cover in an Old Growth forest.  The tops block the sunlight and nothing much can grow under them.  I would suggest that, while their saws were long, one man on each end, there were times when the saw was not long enough.  They had to climb up to a point small enough for the saws to cut through the center of the tree.
Forestry Building, Portland Oregon burned 1964
(Above) The replacement structure is about the same size, but not log cabin style.  There was not enough old growth left to construct such a massive structure - or at least that’s what I was told in 1964.  It is now the World Forestry Center located across from the Portland Zoo and Hoyt Arboretum. 
For more pics and info: Finn J.D. http://www.offbeatoregon.com/ 17 Jun 2012. Web. 19 May 2014.  More historical views of Portland: Mark Moore, www.pdxhistory.com; Grant Keltner, grantkeltner.com; worldforestry.org; Long, James Andrew. Oregon Firsts: Past and Present. North Plains, Ore.: Pumpkin Ridge, 1994)
Forestry Building replacement, Portland Oregon
Chainsaw Art, Josh Blewett, Seaside Oregon
(Above) True Old Growth Fir Forest of 1900 probably western Oregon.
( Below) One of Oregon's really big trees in 2003.

Blow Down on Oregon's North Coast:

  The coast forest used to begin at the shoreline with small trees - the big ones stood behind them.  Our winter winds were lifted from the shore over the top of all the trees, but no longer.  The human need for an ocean view from the living room window has cleared many of the small shoreline trees.  Clear cut logging has cleared many acres where the forceful wind can batter the trees left standing.  The prevalent spruce trees have no tap root (a central root growing down into the ground.)  Spruce roots branch out across the ground.  In a forest their roots over-lap making them very strong; together they stand, alone they are not so sturdy.  When one spruce goes down, he usually takes a buddy with him.  Even so, our big trees, when healthy, can stand through winds of 80 mph. But each time a big tree is cut, another tree will feel the wind more forcefully.

December Storm of 2007,
was a different kind of storm.  Those who live on the coast consider 80 mph winds routine.  Those who live through the Dec. Storm were on their knees praying for the storm to end.  Winds were clocked at 110 mph.  Few heard of it, for downed trees severed communication and power lines.  All roads leading inland were impassible from fallen trees.  Ask anyone and they will tell you that Oregon does not have tornados.  Ask anyone who lives in southwest USA where there are tornados and forest and they will tell you that when a tornado goes thru a forest, it looks like a giant lawnmower clipped off the tops of the trees.

(Below) Blow down, Dec. Storm 2007, on Hwy 26
a few miles east Seaside Oregon.  A sign marks the
date of replanting - helpful for judging speed of tree growth.
Damage caused by large tree falling on house
Forest, Blow down, Seaside OR, Dec 2007
Forest hiking north coast Oregon

Forests of North Coast Oregon

Hiking North Coast Trails:

There are many beautiful trails to hike in Oregon and the North Coast is no exception.  Some overlook the ocean.  Download a section of map or purchase one that covers the entire north coast.
It's a good ideal to stay back from the edge.  What appears to be solid ground when looking down, may not look the same when looking up.
erosion, north coast Oregon
erosion, north coast Oregon
erosion, north coast Oregon
(Above) Ikala Nawan, “Whispering Giant,”  in Astoria, Oregon, created by Hungarian-born sculptor, Peter Wolf Toth, who lives in Edgewater, Florida.  In 1988 he accomplished his goal of placing one of his works in each USA State.  The Whispering Giant is dedicated to the Clatsop, Chinook, and other Northwest Coastal Indian tribes.
(Left)  Root structure of spruce tree, blown down Dec. 2008.  House in background gives idea of size.

(Below) What big trees can do to a house.  Dec. 2008.
Chainsaw Art Oregon
(Above) From Lies, Logs, and Loggers, pub. 1961 by Loggers World, Chehalis, WA. Apparently the log contained 11,516 board feet of lumber and was headed for a show. Most log trucks of the 1960’s held 3 logs.  Today, most hold a dozen or more.
(Below) Salute to old growth forests, forestry, and history.

Oregon Forestry Building:

The Spruce Goose,

of Howard Hughes and WWII fame, was the largest airplane ever constructed and made almost entirely of birch wood due to wartime restrictions on metals.  It was flown only once with Howard Hughes on board.  It was airborne for about 1 minute, and traveled about 70 miles.  It was purchased in 1992 by Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, OR.  “The Flying Boat was disassembled and transported by barge up the West Coast, then down the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, to Portland, Oregon. It remained there for several months, until water levels permitted the huge structures to safely pass under the Willamette’s many bridges. Finally, in February 1993, the aircraft was transported by truck for the last 7.5 miles to McMinnville, Oregon. …In 2001, re-assembly of the Hughes Flying Boat was completed in its new home.”  It is now on display for all to see.
Old Growth Log, 1960's
(Below) North Coast Oregon Log Truck 2010
(Above ) Samples of the master artist's work.
(Right) carved from a single log.  I don’t mean, cut from the same wood and glued together.  I mean top and legs carved all in one.
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Ketchikan AK, 2010

Lumberjack Rodeos:

Logging skills developed before automation are demonstrated at lumberjack rodeos, or festivals.  Several Oregon locations conduct annual Lumberjack shows, including the Astoria Timber Festival.

(Below) 2010 Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Ketchikan.
It's a good ideal to stay back from the edge.  What appears to be solid ground when looking down, may not look the same when looking up.
(Above) The Old Forestry Building (1905-1964) was the “world’s largest log cabin,” located in Portland Oregon.  It died 17 Aug 1964, when a fire totally destroyed the 206 x102 feet, near 1/2 acre cabin of a “full million board feet of lumber.” 
There are still big trees, in protected places, to hike beneath.  The north coast forest is a mix of firs, hemlock, cedar, with a lot of spruce.  Shore pine are found close to the beach.
(Right) Old Growth Pine Forest of 1900 probably east of "The Valley," in "Southern Oregon Cascades."

(Below) The true size of trees at right are revealed in enlargement that shows the small dot in pic background is actually a cabin.
( Below) Same Tree as above, in 2003.
Whispering Giant, Astoria Oregon
(Above) Erosion of cliff along shore.  Hiking trail along edge above not visible
    It's OrEgun
Seaside, Oregon, USA
The Master of all Chainsaw Artists:
In 2007, hidden in the hills, along the winding road that links Bandon to Coquille Oregon, we found unbelievable chainsaw art.  Several of his works were located at the Red Rooster Restaurant in Coquille, including a very long table

Tides & Tide Pool Critters

Shore Fun

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Trees, Traditions & Chainsaws

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Logging Traditions

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Hiking North Coast
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Last revision: 10 Jun 2016
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