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Posts Tagged ‘Clackamas River’

Estacada, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on August 12, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2288; A Landing A Day blog post number 718.

Dan:  Doh!  (said in your best Homer Simpson voice).  Today marks my 6th Oregon hit since I changed my random lat/long methodology.  You know what that means – OR is a solid OSer, and my Score went up (from 731 to 736).

In fact, OR is number 1 on my current OSer list.  Here’s my list of OSers (don’t worry about the numbers, but they do reflect the relative magnitude of the OSer-ness of each state):


Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” to answer any questions you might have about the above.

Time for my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Clear Creek; on to the Clackamas River (3rd hit), and on to the Willamette (13th hit):

landing 3a

Before I go on, remember how to pronounce Willamette:  will-AH-met.

Zooming back a little, you can see that the Willamette makes its way to the mighty Columbia:

landing 3b

  FYI, Portland is on the Willamette, just upstream from the confluence with the Columbia.

Well, boys and girls, moms and dads, and friends of all ages, gather around the ol’ computer screen, because it’s time for that family favorite, the Google Earth (GE) rocket ride from outer space to northwest Oregon.  Just click HERE, enjoy and trip, and then hit your back button.

I think I’ll zoom in for a closer look:

ge 1

Well, looky there.  I landed just behind the house at 23260 S Hillsview Lane.  I hope that the good folks who live there don’t mind a huge yellow push-pin in their backyard . . .

Unfortunately, there’s no Street View coverage on South Hillsview Lane.  But I did find a view of Clear Creek, about three miles north of my landing:

ge sv clear creek map

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv clear creek

About 8 miles due north of my landing, a bridge crosses the Clackamas.  Here’s a lovely downstream view:

ge sv clackamas

Even though Estacada made it all the way to titular status, it is pretty much hookless. 

As is my custom, I investigated the name origin.  This, from PDXHistory (as reported in Wiki), about the name:

Estacado is a Spanish word and it means staked out or marked with stakes. It was suggested by George Kelly at a 1903 meeting associated with laying out the town.  Kelly selected the name at random from a U.S. map showing Llano Estacado in Texas. Kelly’s suggested name (along with others) were written down on pieces of paper and placed in a hat.

If Kelly’s suggestion had not been drawn from the hat, the town could have been named Rochester, Lowell or Lynn.

The above quote was from PDXHistory.com.  PDX?  It turns out that that’s the airport code for the Portland airport.  So why the X?  Well, here’s the X story (from an article by Dave English in Air Line Pilot, the journal of the Air Line Pilots Association):

The National Weather Service tabulated data from cities around the country using a two-letter identification system. Early airlines simply copied this system, but as airline service exploded in the 1930’s, towns without weather station codes needed identification. Some bureaucrat had a brainstorm and the three-letter system was born, giving a seemingly endless 17,576 different combinations.

To ease the transition, existing airports placed an X after the weather station code. The Los Angeles tag became LAX, Portland became PDX, Phoenix became PHX, Jacksonville JAX and so on.

Incidentally at the historic sand dune in Kitty Hawk where the first flight occurred the U.S. National Parks Service maintains a tiny airstrip called FFA—First Flight Airport.

By the way, I found a comprehensive list of airport codes, did a search for “X”, and discovered that there are about 30 airport codes worldwide that end in “X.”

 One in particular caught my eye:  The Sembach, Germany airport code is SEX.  (Apparently, the same X thing happened for some cities outside the U.S.)

And many people don’t like the airport in Sioux City – it SUX.

Enough about airport codes. Back to Estacada.  Just west of town is the Milo McIver State Park.

I took a look at the park brochure, and saw this map:

milo mciver bat trail and barn

The loop trail is known as the “Bat Trail,” and also note there is a “Bat Barn.”  What’s going on here?

From OregonStateParks.com:

Did you know that Milo McIver is home to one of the few nursery colonies in the state for a special type of bat? It’s the rare Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, which looks as amusing as it sounds. Its Latin name is Corynorhinus townsendii (try saying that five times fast), and it’s listed as a sensitive species in Oregon.

Park staff discovered the bats living at Milo McIver about 15 years ago. Each summer, female big-eared bats gather to roost in a weathered horse barn that was once part of an old homestead—you can still see fruit and nut trees that were planted by the former owners in the surrounding meadow.

Here’s a picture of a Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, from eNature.com:

eNature bat

And here’s a GE Panaramio shot of the bat barn, by Pamela Elbert Poland:


I’ve been generally aware about echolocation:  how bats miraculously “see” in the dark and how they are able to track down and catch insects.  What the heck!  Here’s a bat video from the BBC (with a segment featuring long-eared bats):


Truly amazing.  We can’t imagine what’s going on in teeny bat brains, as they pull maneuvers our technology can’t replicate.

Moving right along . . . to the Clackamas River.  If you look up at my local landing map, you can see a reservoir at the south edge of the map – this is the North Fork Resevoir, formed by the North Fork Dam.  Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the dam by Michel Mercier (Monsieur Mercier, j’assume).

pano Michel Mercier

Well, it turns out that the Clackamas has historically contained significant salmon spawning grounds for several species of salmon, including Coho (in the spring) and Chinook (in the fall).  Interesting how the two species “learned” to share the river by spawning in different seasons. 

Anyway, as we all know, dams like the North Fork block the upstream salmon migration to spawning grounds.  But when the dam built in 1958, there was enough ecological awareness that a salmon fish ladder was built at the same time.  From the OregonEncyclopedia.com:

At two miles in length, the North Fork Fish Ladder on the Clackamas River is among the longest such features in the world. Built as part of Portland General Electric’s North Fork Dam project, the fish ladder was completed in 1958.

In the early years of hydroelectric generation, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was little attempt to mitigate damage to fish passage; and dams of all sorts—including those built for hydroelectric power, irrigation, and flood control—were viewed as necessary improvements, even where they eliminated fish migration.

As dams grew in scale, however, so did their impacts on fish populations, and sports and commercial fishing interests began to press utilities and irrigators for improved fish protection measures. Many early dams were retrofitted with fish ladders, and other efforts, from operating hatcheries to transporting fish around river obstacles, became a standard part of dam construction and operation.

Here’s a GE Pano shot of the North Fork salmon ladder, by FarCorners:

pano FarCorners

Along with how bats catch insects, most of us are generally aware that salmon return to the same fresh water spawning grounds where they were born in order to lay their eggs.  And this is after migrating out to the ocean. 

From Wiki:

Salmon spend their early life in rivers, and then swim out to sea where they live their adult lives and gain most of their body mass. When they have matured, they return to the rivers to spawn. Usually they return with uncanny precision to the natal river where they were born, and even to the very spawning ground of their birth.  After spawning, all Pacific salmon die.

The Clackamas River salmon are anadromous, a term which comes from the Greek anadromos, meaning “running upward”.  Anadromous fish mature in ocean saltwater. When they have matured they migrate or “run up” freshwater rivers to spawn in what is called the salmon run.

The life cycle of an anadromous salmon begins and, if it survives the full course of its natural life, usually ends in a gravel bed in the upper reaches of a stream or river. These are the salmon spawning grounds where salmon eggs are deposited, for safety, in the gravel.

The eggs of a female salmon are called her roe. To lay her roe, the female salmon builds a spawning nest, called a redd, in a riffle with gravel as its streambed. A riffle is a relatively shallow length of stream where the water is turbulent and flows faster.

She builds the redd by using her tail (caudal fin) to create a low-pressure zone, lifting gravel to be swept downstream, and excavating a shallow depression. The redd may contain up to 5,000 eggs, each about the size of a pea, covering 30 square feet.

One or more males will approach the female in her redd, depositing his sperm, or milt, over her eggs.  The female then covers the eggs by disturbing the gravel at the upstream edge of the depression so that the gravel covers the fertilized eggs.  She then moves on to make another redd. The female will make as many as seven redds before her supply of eggs is exhausted.

Very interesting, but how do salmon find their natal spawning grounds after spending years out in the open ocean?

Once again, from Wiki:

In the ocean, it is theorized that the salmon are sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field, and create an internal map of magnetic variations as they swim in the ocean.  They are then able to find their way back to the general vicinity of estuary where their natal freshwater stream discharges to the ocean.

They then rely on their sense of smell.  Salmon (and all fish) “smell” by sensing water that flows across sensory organs located in their heads.

Once in vicinity of the estuary or entrance to its birth river, salmon use chemical cues (which they can smell), and which are unique to their natal stream.  They use this mechanism to find the entrance of their natal stream.

Salmon are able to locate their home rivers with such precision because they can recognize its characteristic smell. The smell of their river becomes imprinted in salmon when they first migrate out to sea.

Homecoming salmon can also recognize characteristic smells in tributary streams as they move up the main river.

Remember what I said about bats?  Well, here’s the same statement about salmon:

Truly amazing.  We can’t imagine what’s going on in teeny salmon brains, as they pull maneuvers our technology can’t replicate.

I’ll close with this shot of the Clackamas just upstream from Estacada (at Milo McIver Park) from OregonStateParks.com:

index (1)

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Gladstone, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on March 21, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Dan –  I’m on a lousy 1/6 run, with this OSer landing in . . . OR; 76/64; 4/10; 2; 155.6.  Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed in northwest OR:

 glad landing1

Here’s my close in map, showing that I landed in an urban area, on the east side of Gladstone:

 glad landing2

My even-closer-in map shows that I landed right along 82nd Drive:

 glad landing3

Funny –  I thought all numbered streets were either “streets” or “avenues.”  And then again, where’s 81st?  83rd?  OK, so I figured it out.  Head way up north, and 82nd Drive turns into to 82nd Ave (in Portland), and all the other expected numbered avenues are there.

 Oops – I’ve tipped my hand – yes, I landed in the greater Portland area.  Here’s a regional Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed in the far southeast portion of Portland suburbia:

 glad GE7

Here’s a much-closer-in GE shot, showing that I landed very close to the Clackamas River (my 2nd landing in the watershed):

 glad GE1

The Clackamas flows into the Willamette just west side of Gladstone (10th hit).  Then, as you can see by looking at the regional GE shot above, the Willamette flows north through Portland, and then discharges into the Columbia (140th hit).

 I was hopeful that GE StreetView included 82nd Drive, and it turns out it does!  I have been treated with a close-up view of my exact landing location.  So, here it is:

 glad GE2

Is that cool, or what?  I landed in a little landscaping patch next to the parking lot of Scuba RX (see the sign on the far right).  I checked, and lo and behold, they have a website:

 glad scuba rx

Scuba RX is apparently run by a couple of divers, Barry & Andrew.  These guys have obviously followed their passion (they have bios on their site).  I hope they are successfully earning a good living doing what they love!

 Dan, I noticed this DAN logo on their website:

 glad - DAN

 It turns out that DAN is Divers Alert Network.  From the DAN website:

glad - DAN 2

DAN’s website has an on-line store with a bunch of DAN gear.  Dan, you should check it out; you might find something you like (and I bet you wouldn’t be the first non-diver named Dan who perused the merchandise).

 Back to things landing . . . take a look back at my closest-in landing map.  Just to the west, you see a body of water with the name  “Chautauqua Lake (Historical).”  That caught my eye.  What the heck is a historical lake?  Of course, I looked at GE, and it shows a dark splotch in the middle of a park of some sort, which looks like the lake:

 glad GE8

Here it is, zooming in closer.  I don’t know why the word “historical” appears next to the name of the lake . . .

 glad - GE

Anyway, checking out the “history” section of the City’s website, it turns out that the founder of the City of Gladstone (one Harvey Edward Cross) was heavily involved in the nationwide fad known as the Chautauqua movement (more about that in a minute), and in 1894 he granted a 50-year lease of substantial acreage around a small lake to the Willamette Valley Chautauqua Association for its annual summer assemblies. The property became known as Chautauqua Park and the lake was named Chautauqua Lake.

 So, what is Chautauqua?  Here’s some background, which I’ve gleaned from Chautauqua.com (the website for the Colorado Chautauqua Association): 

The Chautauqua movement started at Chautauqua Lake, New York back in the 1870s.  Chautauqua is way out in western NY, not far from Erie PA.  Anyway, there was a Methodist church camp there that begin holding a wide range of adult education lectures and seminars, that came to be organized as the Chautauqua Institution.  The whole idea caught on, and began to include cultural as well as educational events.  It became non-denominational (mildly Protestant), and nation-wide.

 Here’s some material from the  Chautauqua website:

Before radio and television, the Chautauqua Movement united millions in common cultural and educational experiences. Orators, performers, and educators traveled a national Chautauqua circuit of more than 12,000 sites bringing lectures, performances, concerts, classes, and exhibitions to thousands of people in small towns and cities. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauquas, “the most American thing in America.”

As its members and graduates spread the Chautauqua idea, many towns—especially in rural areas where opportunities for secondary education were limited—established “chautauquas.”  “Chautauqua” had a degree of cachet and became short hand for an organized gathering intended to introduce people to the great ideas, new ideas, and issues of public concern. “Independent chautauquas,” those with permanent buildings and staff could be found throughout the US by 1900, with a concentration in the mid-West.

The movement pretty much died out by the mid-1930s. Most historians cite the rise of the car culture, radio, and movies as the causes.

Here’s some more info about Chautauqua Park from the City website:

The first auditorium built on the property (in 1895), seated 3000 people; the second, erected in 1917, seated more than twice as many.  Because of Chautauqua, Gladstone became a cultural and social center.  Railroad and street cars brought people from Portland and other towns and communities for concerts, ball games and other events. Speakers and performers included band master John Phillip Sousa;  presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt and the most popular speaker of all, William Jennings Bryan.

Gladstone’s Chautauqua Park was the third largest permanent park in the United States. Its auditorium was often jammed with $2.00 season ticket holders for morning, afternoon and evening sessions. Lake Chautauqua, described by one observer as “very silent and still,” added to the beauty of an already beautiful and pleasant park.

The decline in the popularity of Chautauqua was partly due to music and vaudeville acts which came to Portland.  The Park closed in 1927.   After Judge Cross passed away in 1929, the Chautauqua Park grounds and buildings were sold to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

There’s a Seventh Day Adventist church on the property; and the church uses the land as a campground (for retreats, I assume).

Here’s a picture of auditorium, circa 1906 from OregonEncyclopedia.org:

 Chatauqua Building at Gladstone Park, Oregon City, postcard, abo

I want you to know, that in preparing this post, I resisted the urge to go geological.  I certainly could have, because majestic Mt. Hood is only 40 miles due east (and visible on a clear day), as shown on this Panoramio shot (by Suzi with a zoom lens) taken less than a mile from my landing:

glad mt hood suzi panoramio from 0.5 mi s of landing 

That’ll do it.





© 2013 A Landing A Day

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