My Home – All things Willamette

Our married life began in Minnesota in 1965. Then we spent 28 years in California, escaping from there in 1993 back to Minnesota farm country where we were for 18 years until moving to Oregon in 2011.

One of the fixtures of every move we made, including more than one within California, was that on move-in day at the ‘new house’ the very first order of business was to get the beds assembled, made up, and fully ready for occupancy by exhausted humans, child or adult.

We came to Oregon with a great sense of satisfaction and completion – it was the culmination of a longed-for plan to get to our final home on this side of the Jordan sort of. The real estate agents we worked with after our arrival assured us there was no way we could find a house with the payment we had established as reasonable – and this fact (in their minds) combined with the fact that we had already been approved for a payment almost twice what we were choosing to pay, caused them to quietly accompany us to horrible little houses that we would never have the strength to refurbish as needed, but that were within our price range.

We got better at computer real estate searches and found things within our price range.

Grant found the house I am now living in. The payment came in 20% below what we had set as our maximum. That maximum was 40% below what we were pre-approved for.

With the assistance of family and new friends, we moved in on January 15, 2012 and immediately assembled the big bed so it was ready for two exhausted adults when they couldn’t do any more.  I got the drapes up in the bedroom before the sun went down and we went happily to bed in our new home. Grateful.

The Willamette Valley – The Willamette River – The Willamette Falls

Just beautiful

Two years later, Grant left this life from our home here from within the encirclement of my arms and our son’s arms – and now I am into my sixth year of being at home in Oregon.


Newcomers in Oregon need to get two things straight:

It is Oregun – not Oregone

All things Willamette are pronounced with the emphasis on the -am syllable.


Now Highway 99E is the zipper that closes and opens all of the little towns between my hometown and the place known as Portland. If you grew up in flyover country as I did, these little towns will seem familiar the first time you drive into them.

Of course, I could take I-5 and 205 to get to Portland and surrounding areas where so many docs’ offices are – but why would I?

Taking 99E reminds me of the other end of it – in SoCal where we lived for twenty-eight years.

Taking 99E gives me the sight of a high and huge bird’s nest on top of a utility pole. 99E takes me through hops and nut orchards, over little bridges crossing little rivers with signs that warn ahead of time, “Bridge is bumpy”.

99E takes me past tiny white clapboard churches and old two-story houses set back in fields that have been under tillage since the 1800s.

99# goes right past the front doors of two DQs, a MickyDs, a variety of auto parts stores and a couple of sweet little sandwich shops.

And just before I have towm falls commit to the freeway on the edge of metro-stuff, 99E has a wonderful overview of Willamette Falls.

On the west bank (the right side of this photo) are the remains of the first power plant in Oregon, soon to be refurbished by a developer who loves history and will be re-presenting these massive works to the public, featuring their original usage as well as restaurants overlooking the falls. Oh, I appreciate wealthy people who use their money and influence to preserve such things!

In season, and sometimes out of season, there are dozens of fishermen a quarter mile below the falls either enjoying the catch of the day or memories of a more successful outing.

Before I arrived at the falls, I drove through Hubbard, then Aurora, Canby, and Barlow, and the little bridge that carries me across rivers like the Pudding.

The highway could be Montana SH 16. The towns could be Bainville or McCabe.

The little bridges that cross South Fork First Hay Creek and North Fork First Hay Creek in eastern Montana, between Culbertson and Sidney,  look just like the one across the Pudding.

The one difference is that the Pudding has water in it most of the year and heavy tree coverage on both sides and looks like chocolate pudding, while South Fork First Hay Creek and North Fork First Hay Creek in Montana are comfortably dry at all times except when there has been a real gully washer in the hills to the west, causing a stream to flow for a day or so and then puddles to stand for another few. And there’s not a tree in sight as far as the eye can see across that short grass Montana prairie.

Such highway zippers that hold this land together 

are where we are from,

most of us not being from where we are.


This first link provides the history of the falls area, beginning in the mid-1800s.

And this link will provide some more wonderful photos. In the high-water spring, oh, this is wonderful to watch!

I have the daily fish count site on favorites so I can follow the salmon traffic.


This entry was posted in History, Journaling, My Oregon Home, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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