Sunday, July 31, 2011


It appears that we may not go over the cliff, at least not this time.

Trouble with spending your way out of a recession is that you have to have something to spend the money on. From the thirties to the sixties we did it by building dams, levees, locks and freeways that provided, for better or worse, opportunities for development and entrepreneurship.

Local example. Not too long after my folks were married there was a flood so bad that dad had to park in Glenwood and hoof it across the river on foot. Ah Glenwood, a little hole in the wall between Eugene and Springfield. Used to be a lot of trailer parks located there. Because every time there was a heavy rain shower everybody packed up and moved to higher ground.

Between the late forties and early sixties the Army Corps of Engineers built four dams on the Middle Fork of the Willamette and six dams of various sizes on the McKenzie and its tributaries. These dams provide some electricity, but they’re mainly for flood control. For better or worse this opened up large sections of land next to rivers between Eugene and Springfield for development. Two large malls and all the businesses that surround them have been built. There are housing developments, apartment complexes, small businesses and retirement complexes that couldn’t have been built without those dams.

Much of the infrastructure needs repair, but the era of the big digs is pretty much over. It can provide jobs but not on the scale of the original projects.

So, as we try to create new jobs we may have to look a lot closer to home. Oregon has built up quite a wine industry. Large enough that the wineries can supply other services; event venues and restaurants. In turn, these provide a market for locally grown meat and produce. It’s finally sinking in that if you want to save the land you have to save the farmer. If you want to save small business you have to give them your business.


marigolds2 said...

Hey Jackie, wonder if you know the vineyard started by my friends David and Diana Lett - Eyrie Vineyards? David has since died, and their son Jim is running the vineyard, and I don't know how much Diana keeps her hand in, we have sadly lost touch. But if you ever go there, and you see her, please tell her you are my virtual friend and compaƱera. They make a fabulous pinot noir I worked in this vineyard many many years ago, one summer, when it was just beginning, long before any wine had been made, pruning and tying up vinew. It was a wonderful time of my life.

Lisa :-] said...

Mary Ellen, that is fascinating! I just googled Eyrie...their winery is in McMinville, which I have driven through about six times in the past month. I will have to go out there on my Autumn wine tour this year, now that I know you have a connection.

JACKIE said...

I haven't been there, but it sounds like a wonderful place to visit. The wineries have really been adding to this state's economy while protecting the land.

marigolds2 said...

Lisa, do please go there and get some of their wonderful wines. And if you happen to see Diana, please tell her I miss her, still love her, and will never forget that she once cooked a meal for James Beard, which makes her the bravest woman I know.

marigolds2 said...

I just realized I said that Jim Lett was running the operation at Eyrie - which is so wrong - it is their younger son, JASON, who is running it. So, if you go there, it is Jason you may meet. I met Jim when he was a small baby, but have never met Jason.