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Portland, Oregon
Recent Activity
Record rain to begin the New Year - 2.26" fell at the Olympia airport on the 2nd of January, 2021, the day I started working on this post. Our backyard rain gauge showed more than 6" for the week (12/28/20 - 01/02/2021). I plot rain totals sporadically, and by the time I got to the gauge Saturday, it had long since been filled to overflowing. I decided to visit Beatty Creek and see what it was up to. I headed for the place I've come to call The Bend. It's a great place to study basic stream dynamics. All but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at WatershedEvents
The 2020 chum run on Betty Creek is fast coming to a close. Only a few very late arrivals are still trying to push their way upstream - the rest are either dead or in their last throes. I'm not sure how productive it's been. I've only been watching this stream since April of 2014, so this is just my 7th year of witnessing the spawning cycle. It's certainly been way better than last, when not a single fish made it into Beatty Creek. The rains came very late that time around, and the creek didn't begin carrying water until... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2021 at WatershedEvents
This block of butternut has been tucked away in my wood cabinet for at least three years. It is 4x6x15 inches and very well dried. Something inside it is itching to be released, I am sure of it - I just have no idea what it may be. Actually, anywhere... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2020 at Avian Days
It's been five years, nearly, since I last posted on this site. I'd almost forgotten I even created it. Shame on me. I've carved a few birds since then, but can't find the documentation. So much water over the dam and under the bridge since then! Take a look at... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2020 at Avian Days
(double click for a better view) The chum have been working their way up Beatty Creek for the better part of the month. At the moment they are only to be found at around the 150' level of the creek, well below the elevation where I've most often observed them. This summer, when I walked down stream from The Bend (my favorite observation site, and only a quarter of a mile up stream from where they are today) I came across a pretty massive blockage with a deep splash pool on the downstream side. I'm guessing that it was high... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2020 at WatershedEvents
On August 11th I had a "small" stroke and temporarily lost control of most of the muscles on my left side. Luckily, recovery was amazingly fast. Within a matter of hours almost all my fine motor skills had returned, and within 36 hours I was back home, hard at work getting back to pre-stroke condition. Things went well - until August 27th, when I had a second stroke, this one much more serious. Again it was the left side that felt the bulk of the attack. It took almost 72 hours for me to gain enough motor control and balance... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2020 at WatershedEvents
It's hard to get angry at Stinky Bob, even as pernicious as it can be at times. It is such a lovely little plant, and its flower has such a charming little face...but don't be fooled - it is a Class B weed and should be controlled as much as possible. The general idea is to get after it before that pretty face changes into the seed pod. It is pretty easy to get out of the ground after a good rain...but like a lot of nasty weeds, it has the habit of breaking off just above the root line... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2020 at WatershedEvents
My standard creek-crawling kit - waterproof camera bag, black coffee, good gloves, and crackers. I went down to the creek this afternoon and put in a little sweat-equity pulling ivy and archangel. In the process I took the time to remember the legacy of Sandy Diedrich, an environmental advocate who lead the charge against vast stands of English ivy that were enveloping large areas of her beloved SW neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. I never knew her personally; she passed away a year or so before I got involved with the advocacy side of Fanno Creek issues. But she made a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2020 at WatershedEvents
Yesterday was the first day of spring, and a lovely day in all physical respects – clear, calm, 59 degrees. I put aside my electronically induced angst, and spent some time at Beatty Creek – just an hour or so, but long enough to observe a number of interesting things. Also long enough to remember that life is good. Cutthroat Trout No picture for this one, unfortunately. The little guy went under cover almost the minute I spotted him. But I am reasonably sure it was, indeed, a cutthroat – bronze back, pale sides, and a torpedo shaped body. It... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2020 at WatershedEvents
Buddy and I took advantage of a break in the weather to visit the creek today. The temperature was in the upper forties, until we entered the woods. Brrrr. I'm not sure where the weather will take us this year. November was too dry; December rains came too late; January rainfall pushed the record books; February...well, it may end up a pretty dry month. That sense of organic impatience characteristic of the pre-spring woods is simmering just below the surface of things. The Indian plums are putting on leaves, and the big leaf maples are festooned with pollen hangers...but only... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2020 at WatershedEvents
"Transient Chaos #3" - Copyright by Juliet Shen and reproduced by permission of the artist. I want to heap unsolicited praise on a friend of mine whose art career has been fascinating to follow. I met her in 1984, when she was working at Hornall-Anderson Design (now Sid Lee). She was an exceptional art director, one of the best I ever had the privilege of working with. More than that, however, she was (and is) a gifted designer and fine artist. Visit her truly wonderful (and still affordably collectible)work HERE. The theme of her latest work is "Transient Chaos." The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2020 at WatershedEvents
Buddy just turned 12 this week. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUDDY! Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2020 at WatershedEvents
Beatty Creek's watershed is in relatively good shape, so the creek is not inherently "flashy." But when a series of damp weeks are followed by a stretch of days in which the rainfall exceeds .1 - .25", the creek swells to the point of overflowing. We are 48 hours into such a stretch, and the creek is running full bore right now. Downstream view Upstream view I am writing this at end of day, January 6th. So far it has rained measurable amounts locally five out those six days. By midnight, the total in the last 24 hours will be... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2020 at WatershedEvents
A visit to one of my favorite places on Beatty Creek this morning turned up this interesting development: A new tangle of “big wood,” which has created a fairly extensive gravel bar smack in the middle of this section of the creek. In this downstream view of the channel, the tapered shape of the bar is just visible behind the debris pile: Here’s the downstream tail-end of the gravel bar: Note the reddish color along the far side of the stream, where a portion of the channel’s bank is being removed at a rapid rate: The heavy rains also helped... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2020 at WatershedEvents
Above, a before and after photo of the impact of a good rain on Beatty Creek. In the brief interval since my last post about Beatty Creek, a substantial amount of rain has fallen - enough to cause flooding in many of the low-lying areas around Olympia, and more than enough to turn the creek into a torrent. Wednesday-Thursday, in fact we set a record for rainfall for the period - almost four inches in a 48 hour period. The watershed for Beatty Creek is not very flashy, meaning it doesn't operate like an on-off water valve the way badly... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2019 at WatershedEvents
Roughly 2.8 stream-miles (Smi) lie between Beatty Creek’s headwaters in the Capitol State Forest and its confluence with McLane Creek. A few days ago I performed a quick survey of 6 viewpoints located at easily-accessed locations on the stream’s corridor. All but two of these were at places where a roadway crossed the main body of the creek. Designated and ranked by elevation, these included: VP 1130’ / Headwaters – no direct access, not visited VP 679’ / Smi 0.5 – no direct access, not visited VP 374’ / Smi 1.3 – Bridge on Westhill Drive SW Northill Drive (corrected... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2019 at WatershedEvents
The two photographs below require a bit of explanation: The first was taken at the confluence of Beatty and McLane Creeks. I was standing at water's edge of McLane, and the view is directly into the mouth of Beatty Creek. For the second shot, I stepped over all that debris and pointed the camera directly upstream. What's important here is what's NOT to be seen, specifically the dark, sinuous motion of several large chum salmon fighting their way up Beatty Creek to their natural spawning grounds. It is nearly mid-December. In a typical year I would not be able to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2019 at WatershedEvents
I'm always amazed by how rapidly time seems to fly these days. I haven't been on this site for months...been keeping my whining mostly to myself. I'm still writing about Bretz, and just recently made what I hope will be the breakthrough that will let me get this publication monkey off myback. More about all that as it develops - in the meantime, if you are interested, check out this LINK. It will take you to a podcast by Nick Zentner of Nick on the Rocks. One of the issues I deal with continually is the surprising fact that I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at WatershedEvents
After months of avoiding the Bretz book, I'm back to writing. It's a wonderful feeling - I just hope I can keep it going. I owe my recovery to John McPhee, at least in part. I've alsways known the only way out of writer's block is to write, write, write. But try as I might, I wasn't able to get the first words to stick to the paper. Then I read McPhees Draft 4, which has a wonderful section containing the cure. Here's a segment from the the several pages I worked on before I was sure I could actually... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at WatershedEvents
At the end of last year I decided to give up my .COM address for the UP FANNO CREEK blog I'd been more or less (usually less) maintaining since 2008. Several folks have asked how to get to the material, which may still be accessed here. Not all the links are serviceable, for reasons unknown, and I am not planning to re-activate the entire blog - what's done, is done, and my book on the creek is pretty outdated by now. My active advocacy days are behind me - unless something local to Thurston County dicatates otherwise. I'm more fully... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at WatershedEvents
The chum run in Beatty Creek struggles. November’s rains came too late, and in quantities too small to provide much traction for fish intent on spawning in the mid-to-upper reaches of the creek’s three-mile channel. We are well into December now, and it's been over a week since the last meaningful rainfall. Water levels in the stream have been dropping steadily, to the point that the future of late arrivals is seriously in doubt. Here – at an elevation of 160 feet above sea level – long stretches of the stream are so shallow that the tops of the gravel... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2018 at WatershedEvents
We store our travel trailer at a local mini-storage lot. This beast sits right next to our rig. The owner and I bumped onto each other one day when we were both on the lot. "Try not to scratch the side of my police car when you're backing that trailer into your slip," he'd joked. I told him I'd do my best not to damage the fascinating patina. He laughed, then went on. "I'll bet you're wondering why anyone would bother to store a POS like this one, right?" I demurred. "I bought it for the engine," he said, "I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2018 at WatershedEvents
Bretz, J Harlen. Papers, Box 7, Folder 3, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Segment from a 1922 field book. I’ve been reading Bretz’s handwritten materials (letters, notes, journals, lists, etc.) for almost two years, and have become fairly adept at deciphering his strong and generally “honest” handwriting. Unlike many well-educated people from that period, Bretz never mastered the calligraphic approach to his script, thank god. There is only the slightest forward slant to any of it, rarely a flourish, and most letters are well-formed, most of the time. As a result I tend to read more or less... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at WatershedEvents
Thanks to a reader who caught an error of fact in this post and brought it to my attention in the kindest sort of way - The title of the paper from which I took the Bretz quote was Washington's Channeled Scabland (not "Scablands" as I wrote it.) The quote itself is correct, however - Bretz used the singular of the term in the title; but both forms appear within the text. More on this interesting little tidbit later, perhaps.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2018 on THE GRAND COULEE at WatershedEvents
Thanks, Avice. I'm glad you liked the post. Please keep me in your loop, and I will for sure let you know if I ever learn more about the origin.
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2018 on Drumheller Channels at WatershedEvents