Our drive from Portland to Eugene brought back memories of times past. We exited Interstate 5 at Woodburn to see the agriculture products in this part of the Willamette Valley, ranging from Marion berries to poppies.Growing Christmas trees is now a popular crop. A side trip to Mount Angel Abbey found us arriving as the ordination service for Brother John Paul Le finished. Most of the women visitors were attired in colorful Chinese fabrics. This Benedictine Abbey was founded by monks from Switzerland in 1882. After a major fire in 1926, the current monastery, the third, was opened in 1928. We visited the eclectic, eccentric museum which has the expected liturgical vestments but also has an impressive North American mammal collection donated by Larry Epping.

South Falls

South Falls

We continued on to Silver Falls State Park for lunch followed by a hike to and behind South Falls. This park is the result of work from 1935-1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Project Administration. “Conservation of our natural resources and conservation of our human resources,” President Roosevelt said, “both are sound investments for the future.” Indeed they are!

We visited several of my old haunts in Salem. We tried to visit the Oregon State School for the Blind where I worked as a college student. The school closed in 2009, the grounds were purchased by Salem Hospital, a blue fence keeps visitors away from the demolished remains. In contrast, my alma mater, Willamette University, has never looked better. Both Waller Hall and Eaton Hall appear well maintained. The Mark Hatfield Library looks stately with the Mill Stream winding in front of it.

Gold Man

Gold Man

The Oregon State Capitol continues to be an impressive presence immediately across the street from Willamette University. The Gold Man that sits atop the Capitol was shining in the sun. Also known as the Oregon Pioneer, this 8.5 ton, 22 foot hollow bronzed gold leaf statue designed by Ulric Ellerman sits 140 feet above the ground. Outside the Capitol a new to me circle with each of the U. S. state’s flag is supplemented with an adjacent posting of the flags from the nine federally recognized tribal groups. Inside the Capitol can be found this quotation from Proverbs 14:34: “In the souls of its citizens will be found the likeness of the state which if they be unjust and tyrannical then will it reflect their vices but if they be lovers of righteousness confident in their liberties so will it be clean in justice bold in freedom.” Words to govern by.

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