Fall 2016

Issue 117:3

The OHQ Fall 2016 issue includes articles exploring historical evidence of fish distribution in the Upper Klamath River watershed, early movie theaters in Eugene and Springfield, and a photo essay featuring a selection of political photographer Bette Lee’s Oregon images. The issue also includes a special section celebrating the National Historic Preservation Act’s fiftieth anniversary with essays highlighting the act’s significance in Oregon, historic preservation and community in Bend, Oregon, a review of Style, Space, and Structure, and a timeline of significant historic preservation events in the state. To celebrate Historic Preservation Month, the entire special section is a free download for the entire month of May!

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In this Issue 

The Persistence and Characteristics of Chinook Salmon Migrations to the Upper Klamath River Prior to Exclusion 

by Dams by John B. Hamilton, Dennis W. Rondorf, William R. Tinniswood, Ryan J. Leary, Tim Mayer, Charleen Gavette, and Lynne A. Casal  

In this research article, John Hamilton and his co-authors present extensive new research and information gathered since a 2005 publication on the historical evidence of anadromomous fish distribution in the Upper Klamath River watershed. Using historical accounts from early explorers and ethnographers to early-twentieth-century photographs, newspaper accounts, and government reports, the authors provide a more complete record of past salmon migrations. The updated record “substantiate[s]  the historical persistence of salmon, their migration characteristics, and the broad population baseline that will be key to future commercial, recreational, and Tribal fisheries in the Klamath River and beyond.” During a time when salmon restoration plans are being considered in the region, the historical record can serve as guidance to once again establish diverse and thriving populations.

The National Historic Preservation Act at Fifty: How a Wide-Ranging Federal-State Partnership Made its Mark on Oregon

by Elisabeth Walton Potter

Since the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was signed into law in 1966, its “benefit to the nation has been far-reaching.” In this introductory essay to a special section celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the NHPA, Elisabeth Potter explores how historic preservation incentives were adopted and advanced in Oregon. The NHPA established a nationwide framework for cultural resource management that is used by individual states to set preservation priorities. Oregon, for example, is notable for Goal 5 of Senate Bill 100, an early land-use law requiring comprehensive planning to include provisions for protecting historic resources. That law greatly expanded state inventories of historic resources until it was amended in 1995. Although Oregon’s early historic preservation programs under the NHPA were productive, Potter suggests that “some of the most apparent challenges ahead for Oregon preservationists boil down to counteracting erosion of protective measures… and expanding state and local incentives for investment.”

Big Red: The Crane Shed, Community Identity, and Historic Preservation in Bend

by Kelly Cannon-Miller

Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director of the Deschutes County Historical Society, examines the fate of “Big Red,” or the Brooks-Scanlon Crane Shed building (demolished in 2004), and historic preservation in Bend, Oregon. Constructed in 1937, the crane shed stood prominently in Bend’s mill district, representing the city’s origins as a lumber town. Beginning in 1993, a confluence of events jeopardized Big Red’s existence — the mill closed, Bend became a popular destination for retirement and outdoor enthusiasts, and the district was rezoned and purchased for redevelopment. Even though the crane shed was a significant remnant of Bend’s past, denying a demolition permit was seen by some as a government intrusion on private property rights.  As Cannon-Miller describes, “the story of how the community debated the shed’s value reveals the complexities and pitfalls that exist in balancing the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) with owners’ rights and with local and state land-use regulations.” 

A Look Back at Oregon’s Future with Style, Space and Structure

by Christine Curran

In this review essay, Oregon’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Christine Curran describes the importance of Space, Style and Structure: Building in Northwest America, a bicentennial commemorative study published by the Oregon Historical Society. Containing over one thousand images of the built environment in the Pacific Northwest, the two-volume book of essays is extensive in scope, providing analysis of both past and then-contemporary projects — some of which had yet to be constructed. While “Style, Space and Structure was conceived as a dispassionate planning tool, it is unapologetic about its preservation bias....without resorting to self-indulgent nostalgia.”  Curran credits the book with providing contexts for conserving the region’s built environment, including resources of the recent past, while helping us all “understand that the past is a moving target.” 

Significant Events in the Historic Preservation Movement in Oregon

compiled by Elisabeth Potter

In this extensive timeline, Elisabeth Potter documents significant historic preservation events in Oregon, which range from the founding of the Oregon Historical Society in 1898 through recent historic preservation court rulings in 2016. Potter was an original staff member of the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and served the program until she retired in 1998. Her breadth of knowledge and experience is reflected in this detailed account of national, state, and local historic preservation initiatives and provisions that have impacted Oregon’s landscape. 

Hometown Show: Early Movie Theaters in Eugene and Springfield

by Elizabeth Peterson

Nickelodeon theaters appeared in many storefronts in cities and towns across the United States in the early twentieth century in response to the growing popularity of movies. Research on movie theaters during this time period focuses mainly on large cities such as Portland, and as Elizabeth Peterson explains in this Oregon Places article, small towns and rural areas such as Eugene and Springfield had differing movie exhibition experiences. Peterson examines theater locations, physical attributes, and programming in Eugene and Springfield as examples of “the ways small-town theaters could be responsive to their communities, and the ways local audiences could influence the programming they consumed.” These movie theaters were both economically and culturally significant to the customers they served.

An Activist with a Camera

text by Sandy Polishuk and Bette Lee
images by Bette Lee

Bette Lee, a Portland photographer, began her career in the 1980s, photographing political events around the country, and she has recently donated several of her images to the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) collections. In a recent oral history interview with Sandy Polishuk, held at the OHS, Lee discusses her life as an activist with a camera, using her experiences and images to “to show the passion, the emotions of people involved in the struggle [and] their commitment to social change.” Polishuk introduces this photo essay and provides context to Lee’s photographs of protests and political gatherings in Oregon.

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