Sense of Place Lecture Series Archive
Click on a lecture to view description and video recording.
Recordings of lectures began in Season 11.
February 17, 2021 - Black Pioneers on the Oregon Trail
If you are interested in learning more, check out these additional resources:
Written records, journals, and oral histories have given us an incredibly detailed understanding of the individuals and families who headed west on the Oregon Trail; what they ate, how they survived, even what they did to make butter while on the trail! But there is one group of pioneers who we still know very little about – the African Americans who traveled the trail. What might it have been like to come to Oregon, the only state in the union to paradoxically declare itself a free state, while also having black exclusion laws on the books? And who are some of the black pioneers that came to the Pacific Northwest and forever changed this place, its people, and history? Join Zachary Stocks as he shares stories of African Americans on the trail and in the Gorge, and find out why there’s still so much of this history yet to be uncovered.
Oregon Black Pioneers is Oregon’s only historical society dedicated to preserving and presenting the experiences of African Americans statewide. Since 1993, the organization has illuminated the seldom-told history of people of African descent in Oregon – inspired by the tenacity of Black Oregonians who have faced discrimination and hardship to make a life for themselves here over the past 400 years. In order to honor the sacrifices made by those individuals, Oregon Black Pioneers seeks to remember their stories and share them with the public.
Zachary Stocks is a public historian, educator, and museum professional from Astoria. Zachary has interpreted the experiences of people of African descent in the Pacific Northwest for over 5 years. He is a former staff member of the Northwest African American Museum and Historical Seaport, a volunteer interpretive ranger at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, and is the new Executive Director of Oregon Black Pioneers, the state’s African American Historical Society.
January 13, 2021 - Magical, Menacing, and Magnificent Wildlife: How to Ensure Their Future in the Gorge
Update! The following resources were shared during the lecture by Bill Weiler:
The Columbia River is home to some incredible wildlife species; some are unknown to many, while others may be common species, with surprisingly fascinating stories. Who are these creatures that share our home? Why are some considered magnificent, and others are feared or even misunderstood? Wildlife biologist and longtime Gorge resident, Bill Weiler, will highlight some of our local fauna and share some hopeful scenarios about how we can keep wildlife thriving throughout the Gorge, especially if we all contribute.
Bill Weiler has lived on 20 acres northeast of Lyle, WA for 30 years. He worked as a wildlife biologist with both the Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish & Wildlife. Bill created the environmental education non-profit Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute in Hood River 25 years ago, and he currently works as the Education Coordinator for the Sandy River Watershed Council. As a wildlife enthusiast, Bill regularly serves as a consultant for Gorge residents needing wildlife surveys or advice regarding animals showing up – sometimes unexpectedly.
This presentation includes a brief memorial for Darvel Lloyd, avid outdoorsmen and lifelong steward of Mt. Adams. For more on Darvel, and his brother Darryl’s commitment to wild places, check out this episode of Field Guide – The Lloyd Brothers of Mt. Adams.
December 16, 2020 - Meet Your Neighbor: A Conversation with Gladys Rivera
Below is a link to a community resource that Gladys shared during the lecture:
What’s it like to grow up in the Gorge? Gladys Rivera considers herself fortunate to have been born and raised in Hood River and over the course of her life here, she’s experienced firsthand the region’s growth and changes. As a bi-racial, bi-cultural, and bi-lingual member of the Gorge, Gladys brings a unique perspective on this place we call home and will share some of her history and experiences in a conversation with Sense of Place host, Sarah Fox. Join us for the conversation and Q & A that follows.
Cómo es crecer en el Gorge? Gladys Rivera se considera afortunada de nacer y ser criada en Hood River y durante el transcurso de su vida aquí, ha experimentado de primera mano el crecimiento y los cambios de la región. Como miembro bi-racial, bicultural y bilingüe del Gorge, Gladys trae una perspectiva única sobre este lugar que llamamos nuestro hogar y compartirá algunas de sus historias y experiencias en una conversación con la Presentadora, Sarah Fox de Sentido de Lugar . Acompáñenos para la conversación siguiendo con preguntas y respuestas.
Gladys Rivera was born and raised in Hood River and was appointed to the Hood River City council in 2019. She has served as a board member for Gorge Grown, a council member for United Way, is a member of Latinos en Acción, and works locally as a preventative health manager focused on underserved communities. Gladys brings a unique perspective on this region and the changes she’s experienced firsthand while serving this community.
Gladys Rivera nació y creció en Hood River y fue nombrada miembro del Consejo Municipal de la ciudad de Hood River en 2019. Ha servido como miembro de la mesa directiva de Gorge Grown, miembro del consejo de United Way, miembro de Latinos en Acción, y trabaja localmente como administradora de salud preventiva centrada en comunidades subatendidas. Gladys trae una perspectiva única sobre esta región y los cambios que ha experimentado de primera mano mientras que sirve esta comunidad.
November 18, 2020 - Klickitat County: The Cradle of Plant-Based Diets
In 1980, Seth Tibbott founded Turtle Island Foods, now the “Tofurky Company”, on $2,500 savings from his 8-year career as a teacher/naturalist. The company’s first product was a tasty fermented Indonesian soy product called Tempeh. Many people, including his midwestern Aunt and fellow elementary school teachers, thought selling moldy soybeans to the meat-centric American public was a very bad idea. For 15 years it appeared the naysayers were right as Seth pursued his dream while losing his shirt as a pioneer of the early plant-based foods movement. With an income of only $300/month, Seth built a 3-story treehouse that he called home for 7 years.
In 1995, also against the advice of his partners, Seth introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named “Tofurky”. The Tofurky brand now includes 43 different vegan products which are sold in 27,000 stores worldwide. Seth has chronicled his “40-year overnight success story” in a new book, In Search of the Wild Tofurky-How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool.
October 21, 2020 -Responding to a Pandemic: An Indigenous Perspective
Below are the COVID resource links that speakers Emily & Chuck shared during the lecture:
News sources have reported on the disproportionate ways that COVID-19 has affected populations of Indigenous descent. Join Emily Washines and Chuck Sams to hear first-hand stories of the different ways local Tribes have responded to the pandemic. Emily and Chuck will also discuss the unique Tribal history of pandemic response and how culture has driven grass-roots action. This conversation will go beyond statistics and headlines to consider the daily lives of Native people as they confront this most recent pandemic.
Emily Washines is an enrolled Yakama Nation tribal member with Cree and Skokomish lineage. She speaks Ichiskiin (Yakama language) and other Native languages. A scholar, with a Master’s in Public Administration, her research and work in film, writing, speaking, and exhibits focuses on the Yakama War, Native women, traditional knowledge, resource management, fishing rights, and food sovereignty. Yakima Herald-Republic lists her as Top 39 under 39. She is a board member of the Museum of Culture and Environment, Artist Trust, and Columbia Riverkeeper. Emily lives on the Yakama reservation with her husband and three children.
Chuck Sams is Cayuse, Walla Walla, Cocopah, and Yankton Sioux. He grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He is the Deputy Executive Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). Prior positions include Environmental Health and Safety Officer/Planner in the Tribal Planning Office for the CTUIR, Executive Director for the Umatilla Tribal Community Foundation, and National Director of the Tribal & Native Lands Program for the Trust for Public Land. He serves as Chairman to the Oregon Cultural Trust, Gray Family Foundation, and Columbia Land Trust. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served as an intelligence specialist.
Sense of Place is partnering with the Confluence Project for this special presentation. Confluence is a non-profit that seeks to connect people to the history, living culture, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices.
April 2020: Rajneeshees in Oregon - Postponed
An extraordinary time in Oregon history occurred in central Oregon when a religious sect from India set up an experiment on an abused cattle ranch outside Madras. In the 1980s, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh presided over a sect that professed self-sufficiency and love that morphed into a tightly-controlled organization that engaged in assassination attempts and plots, orchestrated the largest illegal wiretapping operation in U.S. history, and poisoned hundreds of innocent diners as a way to suppress voter turnout. Why did they come to Oregon and how did they descend into criminal conduct? Local, state and federal officials all were put under enormous pressure to confront the group, and they responded with varying measures of success. What are the lessons even today from those long-ago events? Two-time Pulitzer finalist Les Zaitz is an Oregon native. He started his professional journalism career right out of high school, hired in 1973 as a general assignment reporter for the Salem Statesman Journal. He continued writing as a staff reporter and correspondent while attending the University of Oregon, working for the Springfield News, the Oregon Journal, UPI, and the New York Times. From 1976-1987, he was a reporter for The Oregonian, handling various beats before taking an assignment in 1982 to the investigative team where he co-wrote a 20-part series about the Rajneeshees that was published in the Oregonian. More recently, he was included in the Netflix series Wild Wild Country, which looks at some of the history behind Rajneeshpuram in Oregon. Les is the editor and publisher of the weekly Malheur Enterprise newspaper, an award-winning newspaper based in Vale, Oregon. In 2018, he and a partner founded the Salem Reporter, a digital news service based in Oregon’s capital. He is the CEO and editor. Soon after its launch, Salem Reporter formed a collaboration with two other Oregon news organizations to create the Oregon Capital Bureau, focusing on state government reports. Les leads the team of three reporters as its editor. Les has won state, regional and national journalism awards for 40 years. In 2007, he was part of a team that won the prestigious George Polk Award. He is a five-time solo winner of Oregon’s Bruce Baer Award, the state’s top award for investigative reporting. The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association in 2016 awarded him its highest honor for career achievement – an award not given since 2010. Les lives on a remote ranch in Grant County, where he and his wife, Scotta Callister, run a small horse/cow operation.
March 2020: Salmon People: A Confluence Story Gathering of Native Voices - Postponed
First-person storytelling has a unique power to deepen our understanding of the histories, cultures, and environment that surrounds us. Confluence Story Gatherings are welcoming forums that feature the stories of Native elders, leaders and thinkers, told in their own voices, as a way to explore the interconnectedness of the people and places of the Columbia River system. These events feature video selections of first-person narratives and mini-documentaries, followed by discussions led by a panel of Native representatives. At this Story Gathering, speakers will share personal stories on Native fishing, resource management, and the Columbia River Indigenous cultures that have equally evolved from these practices and also continue to sustain them. Themes will include principles and practice, climate change and restoration. Carol Craig is an enrolled Yakama tribal member, Carol has 30 years of outreach experience related to tribal treaty rights, salmon recovery, tradition and culture. She has been nominated twice for the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership award. Currently, Carol is a reporter/photographer for the Yakama Nation Review and has received a number of journalism awards for her work. Wilbur Slockish is a hereditary Klickitat Chief, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. He serves as a commissioner on the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Wilbur was one of several men who were arrested along with David Sohappy for “illegally” fishing and selling their fish in a case known as “Salmon Scam”. He concentrates his efforts on water quality and health issues related to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. Buck Jones is an enrolled Cayuse member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). He was raised practicing sovereign rights including hunting, fishing, and gathering First Foods. Buck works for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) as a Field Marketing Specialist in the Salmon Marketing Program. This position allows Buck to work on markets, provide training for approximately 600 Tribal Fishermen, and be involved in national and regional Tribal Food Sovereignty Groups.
February 19, 2020: Debris Flows, Dam Removals, and Restoring Degraded Habitat: Shaping the Hood River Watershed Over the Past 30 Years
The Hood River Watershed sustains the Hood River Valley in countless ways – we depend on the river for agriculture, drinking water, recreation, industry, supporting native fish populations, and much more. Natural and human events have greatly impacted the watershed over time and shaped the way we connect with the river and each other. This lecture explored the pivotal events and actions over the past 30 years that have shaped the watershed as we know it today. Cindy Thieman has been the Coordinator of the Hood River Watershed Group since 2012, where she focuses on projects ranging from in-stream habitat restoration, irrigation district upgrades, and fish passage. Before coming to the Watershed Group, Cindy was the Restoration Program Director for the Long Tom Watershed Council in Eugene, where she worked with farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners in the Long Tom to develop restoration projects that improved water quality and habitat. Cindy received a MS in Biology and also in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. Les Perkins grew up in the Hood River Valley and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. He earned a BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College. Les has owned his own business and worked for a local laboratory as a microbiologist. In 2001, Les became the youngest person to be elected to the Hood River County Board of Commissioners, and he is now the longest serving Commissioner. Perkins also helped start Farmers Conservation Alliance, a local non-profit organization focusing on energy and water issues, where he worked for 10 years. In 2015 he became the manager for Farmers Irrigation District.
February 5, 2020: Finnish in the Gorge
In the early 1900s a Finnish community settled in the Hood River Valley. In particular the Annala, Hukari, and Jakku families. Why did they journey to the United States from Finland and then to the mines of Minnesota, plains of North Dakota, and finally to the West coast and the Columbia River Gorge? How did their migration change them as well as the community in which they settled? And what similarities and differences were there between the Finnish experience settling in the Gorge and that of another group, the Japanese? Maija Annala Yasui was born in Hood River in 1950 into an extended family of Finns. She enjoyed the traditions throughout her childhood without knowing that the culture in which she was growing up was different from others around her. The neighborhood of Oak Grove, where her father and extended family raised apples and pears, provided a sense of security and service. You couldn’t ride your bike around the block, Kenwood Drive, Reed Road, and Country Club without encountering an Annala, Hukari or Jakku home. Maija left Hood River to attend college, getting a bachelor of science degree in sociology and criminology from Portland State University. She returned when she married Flip Yasui and began farming and raising a family in the Odell area. She continues to live on Willow Flat Ranch with her husband of almost 50 years, a third-generation farmer, surrounded by her three children and seven grandchildren who continue to work on the farm as well. Maija worked in prevention research and practice for over twenty-five years, in the county as well as at the state and national level. She has written a monthly column for the Hood River News since 1992 recounting many of the stories of her youth, the Annala and Yasui families. She has also worked with author Lauren Kessler, The Stubborn Twig, with Lise Yasui on the documentary A Family Gathering, and her first writing adventure was in a writers’ workshop which resulted in several short stories Aakki Daakki to Zoomorphic, authored by Pat Krussow. Maija’s passion is social justice, working to right the wrong and to create a positive future for those suffering from discrimination and inequality.
November 20, 2019: Forgotten Toxic Waste Dump on the Columbia: The Bradford Island Story
Why are the fish at one of the most popular recreational fishing areas in the Mid-Columbia considered too toxic to eat? For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia’s shorelines at Bradford Island, located near Bonneville Dam. But cleanup has languished and the area around the island is now one of the most toxic sites on the Columbia River. Cancer-causing PCB concentrations in resident fish remain extremely high and the area is also contaminated with lead, mercury, pesticides, and petroleum chemicals. The cleanup story involves many players and perspectives. A panel of speakers will describe the history of Bradford Island’s past, planned cleanup actions, current fish advisories in the area, and what the future may hold if proposed budget cuts for this cleanup are approved. Rebeccah Winnier is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and owns Northwest Fish Hogs, a Columbia Gorge-based fishing business. Ms. Winnier fishes in the Columbia River upstream of Bradford Island and sells salmon and steelhead to local restaurants and the public. Rebeccah lives in White Salmon, WA. Lauren Goldberg is the Legal and Program Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. Lauren’s practice areas focus on reducing toxic pollution and protecting salmon habitat and river communities from energy projects, including oil-by-rail, natural gas, and coal export projects. Lauren lives in Hood River, OR. Laura Klasner Shira joined the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program in 2015 to assist in their efforts to honor, protect, and restore the Columbia River basin. Her work focuses on cleanup of contaminated industrial sites and other environmental issues that impact the Columbia River water quality and aquatic resources. Prior to joining the Yakama team, Laura worked on similar issues as a regulator for the State of Washington and an environmental engineering consultant in Minnesota. In a past life, Laura also taught high school math and science.
October 16, 2019: Traditional First Foods & The Creation Story
Each year, tribes in the Columbia River Basin celebrate the return of the salmon. It is part of an annual First Foods ceremony that honors the tribes’ Creation Story and their unique connection to the Pacific Northwest. This relationship has spanned thousands of years and hundreds of generations and their traditional First Foods give insight into how this coexistence between people and place has endured. Join “Smunitee” Mary Lee Jones as she shares her first-hand experience with Traditional First Foods and her tribe’s Creation Story. Mary Lee is a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. She has coordinated Traditional Food Seminars throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is a traditional gatherer herself. In her professional life, she works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Social Services Representative to those living and working along the Columbia River.
April 10, 2019 - Discovering the Architectural Heritage of Our Gorge Towns with Ellen Shapley
March 20, 2019 - Shifting Sand: A Journey Through Time at the Columbia’s Nichols Boat Basin with Lorri Epstein, Carina Miller and Arthur Babitz
February 13, 2019 - Schemes, Dreams and Teams: A Century-Long Saga to Protect the Columbia Gorge with Kevin Gorman
December 19, 2018: Crisis on the Columbia: Native-White Alliances & Opposition to The Dalles Dam with Katy Barber
November 14, 2018 - Native Voices of the Columbia River moderated by Colin Fogarty
October 10, 2018 - The Ice Age Oregon Trail with Rick Thompson
March 14, 2018 - River of Hope: Salmon Dreams and the Columbia River Treaty with Peter Marbach
February 14, 2018 - Steamboats and Captains of the Columbia with Captain Tom Cramblett
January 10, 2018 - Hanford: Our River Runs Through It, A Panel Discussion moderated by Columbia Riverkeeper's Dan Serres
December 13, 2017 - History Slam: An Improvisational View into our Past with Arthur Babitz and Scott Cook
November 8, 2017 - The Gorge Latino Experience: A Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Lynn Orr
October 11, 2017 - The Bridge of the Gods with Nick Zenter
March 15, 2017 - A Sense of Honor: How Community Members Supported Japanese Americans during World War II with Linda Tamura
February 15, 2017 - Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs & The Planned Promised Land In The PNW with Greg Vandy
January 18, 2017 - Connecting our past to our future: Tribal life along the river with Paul Lumley
December 14, 2016 - Crag Rats: Eight decades of mountain rescue from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River with Christopher Van Tilburg
November 16, 2016 - The Paradox of the Cascades Tribes with David G. Lewis, PhD
October 19, 2016 - Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice with Holly Yasui, Will Doolittle & Peggy Nagae
March 2, 2016 - The Trust for Public Land in the Columbia Gorge: The Untold Conservation Story with Bowen Blair
February 3, 2016 - The Hoppy History of Craft Brewing in the Gorge with Dave Logsdon and tastings from Breweries in the Gorge (BIG)
January 6, 2016 - What the Sam Hill? The Life and Times of a Legend with Colleen Schafroth
December 2, 2015 - Glacier Caves of the Pacific Northwest: Hidden Laboratories under the Ice with Eddy Cartaya
November 4, 2015 - A Fifty Year Trail of Ink: Newspapers, Boom Towns, and Mental Health in the Old West with Arthur Babitz
October 7, 2015 - Confluence: Teachable Places Along the Columbia River System with Colin Fogarty
March 4, 2015 - Oregon’s Special History in Conserving its Environment, Michael McClosky
February 4, 2014 - Mosier Centennial: A Small Town with a Big Story with Mosier Residents
January 7, 2015 - Native American Art of Oregon with Dr. Tracy Prince
December 3, 2014 - Taste of the Gorge Terroir with Scott Burns & Hilary Whitney
November 5, 2014 - Historic Columbia River Highway: A Story of Rebirth with Robert Hadlow
October 1, 2014 - Tales from the Mushroom Trail with Langdon Cook
April 2, 2014: A Nomad’s Sense of Place: The River and Sea Voyages of Amos Burg with Vince Welch
March 5, 2014: Mt. Hood: Shaping the People and Places of the Pacific Northwest with Jon Bell
February 5, 2014: Generations of Farming in the Hood River Valley: One Family's Story with Randy Kiyokawa
January 8, 2014 - 500 Yards: The Ghosts in Our Backyard (at Springhouse Cellar Winery) with Arthur Babitz
December 4, 2013 - One Block Through Time: The History and Archaeology of The Dalles Chinatown with Eric Gleason
November 6, 2013 - Launching the New Deal: The CCC in the Columbia River Gorge, 1933 with Rick McClure
March 19, 2013 - Visible Change: The Transformation of the Hood River Valley As Seen in the Photographic Record with Arthur Babitz
February 19, 2013 - Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods with Scott & Marjorie Burns
January 15, 2013 - Hanford's Nuclear Legacy: The Impact on our River Today with Brett VandenHuevel & Lauren Goldberg
December 18, 2012 - Timberline l with Jon Tullis
November 15, 2012 - David Douglas in the Gorge with Jack Lisbet
October 16, 2012 - Roots of Kiteboarding with Cory Roessler
April 4, 2012 - Salmon People and the Big River: Columbia with Jeanette Burkhardt
March 7, 2012 - An Introduction to Mushrooms and their Ecosystem with Dr. Michael Beug
February 1, 2012 - Time and Change on Mt. Adams with Darryl Lloyd
January 4, 2012 - The Future of What Used to Be: Historical Abundance and the Hope of Restoring Ecosystems with Steve Hawley
December 7, 2011 - Japanese Evacuation and Internment, the Hood River Story with Maija & Niko Yasui
November 2, 2011 - This Land was Their Land- the Life of Ellen Chenowith Underwood and the Early History of the Columbia River Gorge with Cheryl Mack
March 17, 2011 - The Columbia Gorge: Can we love it without loving it to death? with Kevin Gorman
February 17, 2011 - Seeing the Forest for the Place: A View on Forests & Timber Extraction with Jay McLaughlin
January 20, 2011 - Our Mid-Columbia Skies with Jim White
December 16, 2010 - Bird’s Eye View with Tim Pitz
November 18, 2010 - Sacred Landscapes & Traditional Cultural Resources with Rick McClure
October 28, 2010 - Marking Our Territory: How to Read Local Landscapes with Reiko Hillyer
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