It's OrEgun


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.
Oregon has lots of really big trees, but most of Oregon’s 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.  Below are pictures of true “Old Growth.”  Be it a really big tree, or an “Old Growth,” it plays a critical role.  A fellow once said to me, "Ever stand under a big tree in the rain?"  He meant a big evergreen such as our North Coast’s spruce, fir, hemlock, cedar.  I answered the fellow, "Yes."  He asked, "Did you get wet?"  I answered, "No."  Our big evergreens are like sponges.  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 run-off, more flooding, more sliding.
Right: 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.


An Oregon Tradition

The Master of all

Chainsaw Artist


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

Tree Top Art

About the Above
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 slowly 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 it, shorten my tree without killing it, or damaging nearby structures.  He did.  Now, years later, the tree is alive and still standing.

Not All Big Trees are


Old Growth


Josh Blewett Chainsaw Sculptures

Bandon Oregon Sculptures

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. 

Selective Cutting

Clear Cutting


Clear Cutting

Not The Only Cause of Blowdown & Flooding

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.
Above: Today’s typical Oregon log truck load, photo taken about 2008.

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.

Left: 2010 Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Ketchikan
Left: Old Forestry Building (1905-1964), erected for Lewis and Clark Expo. Portland OR.  It 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.” 
Above: “New” Forestry Building.
There was not enough old growth left to re-construct the original 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. 17 Jun 2012. Web. 19 May 2014.  More historical views of Portland: Mark Moore,; Grant Keltner,;; Long, James Andrew. Oregon Firsts: Past and Present. North Plains, Ore.: Pumpkin Ridge, 1994)

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.

Loggers Clash With Tree Huggers

Faulty assumptions on both sides have created a barrier between two honorable caring groups who love forests.  While each group throws stones at the other, Oregon’s wild is being plundered by global corporations who bend the truth.  Since the 1950’s the timber industry has explained that they replant after logging so Oregon will never run out of trees.  It’s true that they do replant, but next time you see a sign stating the year of replanting, ask yourself, how long will it take for these trees to reach cutting size?  How quickly will they be cut down when they reach maturity?  How many loggers will find jobs cutting them down when one person operating a tree harvesting machine can cut, debark, de-branch, a  large tree in 30 seconds?  Do I want to hike, camp, fish, hunt, in a tree farm full of rows of trees, of the same kind, the size of overgrown Christmas trees?  Is this the view that brings tourists to Oregon (a 1.58 billion dollar industry.)?  As can be seen on this page, the trees being replanted appear to be varieties that produce valuable lumber, but do not stand upright against the wild winds of Oregon. They are tall and skinny compared to our native wild trees.  Also note that adds produced by the timber industry show pictures of beautiful forests, streams gurgling through big trees.  Such pictures are taken in areas that have been “selective-cut,”  or never been logged.  The timber industry rarely, if ever, posts a picture of a “clear-cut,” area because it portrays true carnage.  The truth is clear cutting rips the topsoil from the land, causes mud slides and blowdown.
Attention Tree Huggers:  It is possible to log and have a beautiful forest.  Loggers and recreational users of forests once had a symbiotic relationship.  In the old days of selective cutting, Loggers carved “cat tracks” (dirt roads left behind by tractors) through the wild forest.  They removed trees that were diseased, damaged, too close together.  They left the branches behind.  Hikers used the cat tracks to explore areas new to them.  Campers burned the branches left behind by loggers to fuel their campfires.  Together, loggers and recreational users left behind a beautiful scenic wonder.  The selective cutting system operated in Oregon for well over a century, kept the forest healthy and wild, produced no increases in floods, landslides, no harm to fish and wildlife.  So you see, loggers are not the bad guys, nor are the tree huggers.  Those who bend the truth deserve our full attention and blame. 

The Forestry Building

In 1910 the Long-Walls family homesteaded on a hill along Oregon’s Coast. Pic above their property 1930-1935.  The snags in background are from a forest fire.  The boy on pony in photo grew up and logged (selective cut) this property for at least 50 years before photo below was taken. He replanted. He made the pond in background.  During a century of ownership, there was never an increase in flooding or land slides.  The last time he logged, tree hugging protestors met him at his gate.  He hated that they thought he was a bad guy.  Of course they didn’t understand because he never let them on his property to see that he was a fine caretaker of the forest, his forest. Oregon needs more people like “Bob” R. T. Walls (1925 - 2011).
Above :
Long - Walls family homestead, 1930-1935.
Same place after 50 years plus
Selective Logging.
Oregon Blowdown in Clear Cut Oct. 2017
On my way home, almost home, OOPS!  What’s the red spot glowing in rain ahead?  Brake! Brake!  A tree down.  While waiting for chainsaw guys, I shot this video out my window, hoping another tree would not land on me.  The wind smashes broadside into trees left standing in or around clear cut areas, causing "blowdown."  Like dominoes, down they go.  You tell me.  Is this the vision you see in Timber Industry commercials where they tell you there will be plenty of trees, and clean water for all to enjoy?
See large HD:
Pics from a  record breaking storm that slammed into the North Coast Dec. 2007.  Trees went down everywhere, not just around  clear cut areas.  But along clear-cuts, lines of trees fell where in other areas one fell the one next to remained standing. Photo of house was an exception with 2 trees falling on it.  In that neighborhood there were about a dozen trees.  These 2 and another fell.  The others stayed upright.
Above trees are “2nd growth,” (meaning planted by humans after the area was previously logged.)  Notice these trees are thin with fewer limbs than Oregon’s “wild” trees (meaning nature planted.)  Perhaps a species was planted that makes good lumber, but is no match for Oregon’s winds.
Water color painting by Elsie B. White
Oil painting by Elsie B. White
Oil painting by Elsie B. White

Post Selective Cut Logging

Paintings by Elsie B. White (1909-1967) show areas that had been selective cut.  Her paintings were accurate in terms of tree sizes and numbers.  The road painted in her picture was carved by logging equipment.  The “cat track” then provided access to areas for camping.  The ground in her pictures is free of limbs “slash” left behind by logging, so the clear cutting probably occurred several years previous to being captured on canvas;  however, it does not take long for campers to burn up the slash in their cook fires.
Above: 1950s hiking in a selective cut area.  The amount of “slash” on the ground suggests logging occurred with a couple years before the photo was taken.  Yet, it was beautiful, with plenty of the wild and free still intact.
Above: Natural shoreline growth, was low along ocean, lifting the wind up and over the forest.
Above: Natural shoreline growth removed to enhance ability to see ocean.  Wind slams into vertical face of buildings; tall buildings create wind tunnels. Man made structures displace water rather than absorbing it.
Above: New construction levels ground, fills areas that pool water. Results: more water flows down hill, pooling in lowlands.
Above: Natural area next to pic at right.  This area pools water.  It’s muddy and swampy in places.  But, it absorbs water, releasing it gradually. Provides drinking water for wild critters.  Thick foliage blocks the sun.  It’s a dark place, delightfully cool on a hot summer’s day.
People have to live somewhere.  They like homes made of wood.  Clear cutting is the fastest way to log and keeps lumber prices down.  It does not provide many jobs for loggers.  It destroys the land’s natural ability to absorb water.  It destroys trees that drink gallons of water each day, trees that moderate temperatures, trees that are just durn pretty to look at.  Selective cutting preserves the land and trees, adds logging jobs, but increases lumber prices to consumers, and probably can’t fill the demand for lumber.  But then, who wants to build in a flood zone?  The time has come to figure out how to have our cake and eat it too.

No Easy Answers

Above: Fresh clear cut in foreground.  Old patch of clear cut in background, estimated age 20 years?  Tree-line at right, “2nd growth” reaching cutting size.  It will never be allowed to grow into a healthy forest full of really big trees.
Above: It aint officially clear cut if you leave some trees behind.

It took only weeks
to clear this area of trees.

A pile of  clear cut “slash.” 
This pile will be chipped, but slash is often burned sending plumes of smoke into the air.  Too bad it can’t be chipped, or given to campers for their fires..
Above: Shingle cut to represent waves in this wall mural at Leeward Surf and Sea, Portland Oregon.
Above: Shingle art covers exterior walls of an old building, Wheeler Oregon
Above: Portion of “Logging Mural” by Larry Kangas (1949 - 2014)  created 1994, covers exterior wall of building located at 1200 Main St., Sweet Home, Oregon.  (Kangus painted over 1,000 murals.)
Above: Old growth sugarpinge trees of southern Oregon, dwarf cabin in background which has been enlarged at right. Kiser Bros. photo, about 1903

Below: Enlarged from above, view of cabin
Above and Below: A really big sugarpine tree of southern Oregon, 2003, but not as big as the old growth of 1903.
Old Growth firs dwarf the loggers at their base, Kiser Bros. photo about 1903.
In the early days, the Logger’s 5 foot saw was too short, so they climbed up the tree to a narrower spot.  The cut notches in the tree to provide a place to stand. It took 2 men and a lot of sweat, to handle the long saw, but at last the shout was given, “Timber!”  Some believe they cut so high up on the stump to get out of the brush growing below.  Perhaps that’s true for later years, after some trees had been cut from an area, but not in a virgin old growth forest.  Old growth forests were dense.  Tree branches  blocked all sunlight from reaching the ground.  Nothing grew under them.
Above: A stump along Short Sands beach trail still has notches cut be early loggers.
Above: A muddle puddle covers an entire residential street constructed of gravel.  Caused by using “dirty” fill on a residential lot.  The fill probably contained some clay that washed down the street, blocking the natural drainage.  Paved roads and parking lots improve driving but only displace water. adding to the flooding problem.

Shingle Art

Above: Wood carver of Bandon Oregon carves small and large items.
Above: Creator unknown, this bear sets before a coffee stand in south Seaside OR.
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Updated: June 14, 2019
© = R. W. Faulkner