Despite Murphy’s First Law…

Logging Truck – Spruce Division

Today’s History Forum was one of the best yet — not necessarily subject-wise (although that was fabulous) and not necessarily because of the visual aids (there were technical problems).  But this Forum, our sixth, definitely involved the most participation– conversations, questions and answers, “show and tell” items, and general give and take — of any of our Forums to date.  We are all finally getting the hang of what a Forum is!

According to the OED, A forum is a place, situation or group where ideas and views on a particular subject can be exchanged.  A History Forum is a community for historians and history enthusiasts.  And that was us today in the proverbial nutshell — about thirty-five of us, I think, although it never occurred to me to count.  Among those who spoke of their experience in the timber/logging industry was Steve Rogers of South Bend who described himself as “the son of a son of a logger’ and whose father had the last logging operation on Long Island here in Shoalwater Bay.

Roy Nott of Aberdeen  — whose career with Weyerhaeuser began at their Raymond Sawmill pulling lumber — which he described as “the most boring job he ever had.”  But he stuck with it,  He was a contract logging supervisor for Weyerhaeuser after college and his responsibilities included the Deep River and Naselle areas.  He managed the logging operations for Rayonier on the Northern Olympic Peninsula and went on to become the VP, Pulp and Forest Products for Rayonier with an office in Stamford, Connecticut. — but has since spanned the globe and some 50+ years.  He shared a paper he wrote, “The Logging Eras of Pacific County, Washington,” and I suspect that we will eventually see it as an issue of The Sou’wester, Pacific County Historical Society’s quarterly magazine.

Jean Nitzel of Surfside, after listening to some of the exchanges between members of that corporate lumber world, described her husband Bill’s work as “a real logger” — a choker setter who worked day-in and day-out in the Naselle area, “unless it snowed,” she said.  She remembered a period in the sixties when it snowed for an unprecedented time here in Pacific County “and he got a full two-week vacation!”  Debby Halliburton of Ocean Park talked about another aspect of the industry —  a box factory that literally kept Cathlamet from becoming a ghost town during the Depression.  It’s importance went far beyond the paychecks that people earned– “it created the basis for a real sense of community>”

And Bob Rose talked about the logging operation(s) on the Rose Ranch which has ‘s celebrated its centennial year.  “There were times,” he said, ” when the dairy business was more or less subsidized by our logging operation, even though it’s fairly small.” Dave Williams and Steve Rogers spoke a bit about the forestry conservation efforts of Columbia Land Trust and there was general discussion about the effect of climate change on the growth of “traditional” species and what that might mean for the future.

It was a rich discussion and the time flew by.  Quietly, back in the northwest corner Michael Lemeshko recorded the Forum and he says it should be up on YouTube by Saturday.  Murphy’s First Law, “Anything That Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong” had struck just as the Forum began when Steve’s Power Point Program could not be run on Michael’s computer and we are all hopeful that the remaining techy magic was working properly. You can check it out by Googling Pacific County History Forum on YouTube!

Leave a Reply