The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

More than 59 million Americans have already cast their ballots ahead of Election Day – but some might be wondering if they can change that vote, according to Google Trends.

Google searches of the phrase “can I change my vote” peaked Tuesday morning in the U.S. around 6 a.m. ET.

One of the subregions where the phrase began trending at one point was in Delaware, the state Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden represented in the Senate for 36 years.

Other subregions included battleground states such as Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin and Arizona, according to Trend data at various points throughout Tuesday morning.

While most states do not allow voters to change their early votes, there are some that do, with restrictions. . . .

In Michigan, voters who have sent in a ballot can submit a written and signed request to their voting clerk by 5 p.m. Oct. 30 requesting to have the ballot nullified, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Minnesotans who mailed in an absentee ballot had until Oct. 20 to request a new ballot from their county or city election office.

In New Hampshire, voters who submitted an absentee ballot can go to the polls on Election Day during the first hour they’re open and vote in person, or before their absentee ballot is processed.

In Wisconsin, if time allows, a voter can cancel their original absentee ballot and request a new one – but they have until Oct. 29, the legal deadline for requesting absentee ballots by mail.

As of Sunday, the nearly 60 million Americans who have voted early in the 2020 presidential election suggest a record turnout this year. In 2016, 47.2 million early votes were cast in the presidential election, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project. . . .

While Trump suggested the Google trend started “immediately” after his debate with Biden on Thursday, data showed the search did not spike until Tuesday morning, five days later.

In the following states, you can change your early vote. Continue reading

President Trump boards Air Force One in La Crosse, Wisconsin | October 27, 2020

Donald J. Trump won the presidency by challenging both the Republican and Democrat Party establishments. For too long, the political class—including party leaders, paid consultants, lobbyists, donor-funded think tanks, partisan media, and more—ignored the concerns of millions of working- and middle-class American families.

These families didn’t see themselves as Democrat or Republican. They saw themselves as Americans. And they wanted change.

Career politicians didn’t get the message. Rather than listen to the American people, the establishment chose to lecture them instead. Democrats in Congress could’ve joined with President Trump and Republicans to work on infrastructure, immigration, healthcare, the economy, our military, and more.

Instead, Democrats spent four years obstructing that agenda, wasting time—and tens of millions in taxpayer dollars—on political and media stunts.

While the left resisted the American people’s will, President Trump went to work.

He replaced NAFTA, something both Republican and Democrat politicians promised to do for years. His United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement rebalances trade, protects American labor, and levels the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and automakers. Continue reading

Scot Faulkner

Dominated by a fraudulent reality created by a Leftist media and academia echo chamber

2020 is the single most important election since 1860.

This is not hyperbole. The future of America’s representative democracy is at stake.

The Left plans to change fundamental policies that will cripple earnings and economic vitality. More ominous, the Left is planning to change the rules that have governed America since 1789. Their sole purpose is to achieve permanent all-pervasive power.

More frightening is that these threats are being successfully hidden from the electorate – thanks in large part to “legacy” media, social media, academia, and the Deep State. They have collaborated nonstop for years to advance liberal-progressive-socialist agendas, protect their favored candidates, and censor, cancel, shame and intimidate moderates and conservatives into silence, meekness and irrelevance.

America’s news media took a sharp left turn in the 1960s. During the 21st Century, what is now considered the “Mainstream Media” (MSM) dropped all pretense of being professional journalism. They are now overtly the Left’s propaganda arm. Continue reading

Victoria Larson, N.D.

We all get a thrill out of being scared sometimes, hence the popularity of ferris wheels, zip lines, and Halloween. Though this year may take the cake for ‘scariness” lets look at some of these things. Some you may have heard before and some you may not know. In no particular order, here are some things that are scary, wacky and weird…but always interesting.

We don’t always use good moral judgment.   The goal of our society has become commerce—the god of greenback corporations—must make money or the shareholders abandon it. Now there’s a thought, next month, on how to vote with your dollars.

Did you know that wooden cutting boards and spoons are “less germy” than glass, or especially plastic? Wood “self heals” minor cuts, whereas plastic takes much longer to do so.

Whether you live in an area that went to level 3 during the fires or not, pay attention to your community. Any firefighter, policeman, or ER worker will tell you that in the event of any major disaster you will undoubtedly have to rely on neighbors for help, and not our heroes, as they will be overwhelmed with the big stuff. Continue reading

Helen Doran

Did you know that more than three-fourths of Metro’s park lands purchased with bonds since 1995 are hidden from the public? You might as well call Metro’s lands haunted.

Metro has no problems with this fact, no matter how shocking this number is to its residents. In fact, with its newest land acquisition — an 86-acre property in the Sandy River Basin — Metro makes it painstakingly clear that this land (along with its 1,400 acres already in the area) is not for human use.

What will the land accomplish for taxpayers? Unfortunately, the answer is a bundle of vague promises, none of which help the average Oregonian. For example, Metro promises that the land will “improve landscape connectivity and climate resilience” as well as “provide potential opportunities for native plant harvest by Indigenous communities.”

These promises have very little to do with Metro’s residents and everything to do with Metro’s mission creep. You might as well call it “nature creep” because the restoration and conservation work supposedly occurring on 88% of Metro’s properties has no end date. Even Metro’s promised Chehalem Ridge park, which has been undergoing supposed restoration for over a decade, will periodically close to visitors for restoration once finally opened.

It’s time for Metro to stop investing in haunted lands and end its nature creep. Taxpayers should encourage Metro to use its 2019 bond money to build more parks that are useful to the public.

Helen Doran is a Program Assistant, External Affairs at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.


Frank Maguire, The Northwest Connection

(While trying to not be noticed)
In the eyes of a canine companion
One might see sympathetic salinity;
But, the leer in the eye of the cat
Is one of disdainful felinity.
When it wants what it wants, when it wants it,
Its demands are still aristocratic;
And, its cynical act of affection
Generates but dispassionate static.
In the sly, cunning mind of the feline,
A biped is merely a “cog.”
So don’t be the least bit chagrined,
When a cat treats you just like a dog.
© Frank Maguire, July 2000

Frank and little Sutton. Photo credit: Erin Maguire

Helen Maguire

One of our daughters is a “Cat Rescuer” – I cannot count the number of stray, abandoned, furry critters that she had brought home in order to nurse them, care for them, and, ultimately find good homes for them. She will be happy to read that we actually have a National Cat Day to celebrate her favorite, what I call, “Rotten, Miserable, Beasts” (RMB’s). Of course, I am kidding, because I think they’re awfully cute and we’ve had several as pets, from time to time.

In 2005, Lifestyle writer Colleen Paige took credit for establishing October 29th as National Cat Day. Her stated mission: “To help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their lives for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.”

Science magazine reports that cat domestication goes back 12,000 years. That encompasses a lot of toys and even more naps. The process appears to have taken place in the Middle East — think Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. Domestication did not happen overnight. Continue reading

Jim Wagner, The Northwest Connection

After all the bitter recriminations that have been fired at Donald Trump (and fallen far short of the mark), it puzzles me that no one has written an expose on the conspicuously criminal network of Hunter Biden associates. They are legion, so let’s take a look.

But first let’s consider the evidence from Hunter Biden’s own writing that he deliberately chose not to register as a foreign agent, as he was legally required to do.  Paul Manifort was prosecuted for violation of this very same law.  Like Hunter Biden (and John Podesta), Manifort had unreported business in Ukraine. But unlike Manifort, Biden and Podesta were never prosecuted.

While we’re at it, I suppose we should also take a cursory look at the information released from last year’s Senate Finance Committee Report on Biden family activities in Ukraine, China etc.  While I realize that garden variety Know Nothings and Trump haters on the left would not ordinarily put much stock in a report from the Republican controlled Senate, I thought even they might consider an exception in this case given that the report corresponds item for item with the information obtained from Hunter Biden’s emails and the documents and statements provided by his former partners.  Hunter has also been named (but not charged) in a $43 million fraud scheme against the Oglala Sioux.   All of his former partners in that scheme have been convicted. Continue reading

President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Jesse Barrett, and Justice Clarence Thomas | October 26, 2020

American leaders from both parties stood down to China for 40 years. The Chinese Communist Party broke the rules on global trade, allowed Chinese firms to steal technology from American companies, and in turn destroyed entire sectors of our economy.

The corporate class and its chosen “experts,” for their part, turned a blind eye to China’s human rights abuses and crackdowns on speech. Washington politicians fell in line: Just open America’s markets to China, they said, and the CCP will change its ways and become a responsible global citizen as it grows richer and stronger.

They were wrong. Under President Trump, America is fighting back.

Earlier this year, as the Coronavirus spread from China throughout the world, President Trump acted quickly. He restricted travel from China and launched a White House Coronavirus Task Force in January. At the time, Democrat leaders and liberal pundits called President Trump’s strong response to the virus “xenophobic.”

The World Health Organization continued to stand by Beijing’s side. A little over 2 weeks before President Trump’s actions, the WHO irresponsibly parroted the CCP’s claim that the Coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans.

In reality, if China had acted on the virus just three weeks sooner than it did, up to 95% of global cases from COVID-19 could have been prevented, according to a study from the University of Southampton in England. Continue reading

Much of the focus of the Hunter Biden/Joe Biden family story, as it has been marginally covered, has been on the inappropriateness of the relationship between Hunter Biden and the Obama Administration. Rightly so–selling access to the administration to enrich and benefit the Biden family (and who knows who else) is huge news. Then there is the whole other thread of the illegality of drug-fueled underage sexual relations between Hunter Biden and others–very illegal and very concerning. But a thread that has emerged should have some prominence in reporting is the shocking discovery of treasonous selling out of American technology to China through sales approved of by the Obama administration. Technology created by Americans that have clear military applications was being shared with China via Hunter Biden’s advocacy of these Chinese firms. Why isn’t anyone reporting on this? Let’s pray that there would be subpoenas issued and more about this exposed.

Watch this recent interview by Maria Bartiromo on Fox News with author Peter Schweizer about how it all happened:

From Breitbart:
Bartiromo asked, “Let me ask you about [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] and the approval that a foreigner needs in order to do an acquisition in the United States. That’s one of the things that you’ve reported on that these Chinese companies needed, right? They wanted the influence of Joe Biden so that they could get approval to acquire companies. This is what Continue reading

Susan Gallagher, Parents Rights In Education

We are proud to endorse candidates for their stand to protect parent’s rights. It is our first act exercising our political muscle, and it feels great!

The primary issue today with public schools is the shift of influence in our public school system away from parent involvement.

Parents, today care about curriculum. They care about state and district policies infringing on their rights to make decisions about and with their minor children. The government has infringed upon those rights and it’s time to re-establish, to restore our rights!

It’s time to re-establish parent’s rights in education!

Karen Hardin

What did you feel as you watched the debate? Certainly, I think we can all agree it wasn’t as contentious as the first debate with the two-minute muted mic rule. Immediately following the debate, it was announced that fifty million people have already cast their vote. That’s a huge concern and why I’m not a fan of early voting. Because as the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and the amount of knowledge and breaking news we have received about the Biden family and information from this last debate is a game changer that may well have changed the minds of some early voters.

Let’s fact-check candidate Biden, using his own words:

(Note: There are hyperlinks throughout this article supporting this fact-check, often using video footage of Biden contradicting his debate statements.)

1) Biden: said he never called Trump “xenophobic” regarding the travel ban, but that it was a different context.

FALSE: President Trump was one of the first, if not the first, to place a travel ban on China which took place on January 31. Of that ban, Biden criticized him and called him xenophobic. Although Biden now claims that was in a different context, it was completely in response to the travel ban.

2) Biden: “40 nations had already moved” to restrict travel from China “before the president moved.” “We started off awfully slow.”

FALSE: On January 30, WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern. They did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions against China or other affected regions at that time. However, President Trump, in an early and bold move, instituted a travel ban on China the next day. The president was mocked for his actions by Biden and the media.

3) Biden: “I’m not banning fracking! I never said it!”

FALSE: Not only did Biden say it, so did his running mate, Kamala Harris. And they have both said it a multitude of times while out campaigning.

4) Biden: “No one lost coverage with Obamacare.”

FALSE: Right here at Intercessors for America, one of the staff members shared, “Our perfectly good plan was deemed illegal because it didn’t have maternity coverage. We were forced into the Marketplace. Further, another employee had coverage through a spouse’s job with Microsoft. Once Obamacare was passed, Microsoft dumped their ‘Cadillac’ coverage for employees and the deductibles have steadily risen since then. They now offer what is basically catastrophic coverage, which is what I have with the Marketplace. As a result, neither of our families go to the doctor.” Continue reading

In social media and evening TV and radio news this year, about the most overused word this year is — “expert.” On 31 Dec 2019, “experts” in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) declared that a new respiratory illness, centered in the city of Wuhan, had been identified.

During the next few months, “experts” in the World Health Organization, together with those in the CCP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and those opposing President Trump — all came out with their “expert” opinions on [a] degree of human-to-human transmissibility of the virus, [b] whether wearing masks, blocking travel between countries, isolating senior citizens, and isolating school children, would help prevent spread of the virus, and [c] whether business lockdowns are important, versus too damaging to the country’s economy.

Many “expert” physicians from multiple countries provided their opinions on [a] whether respirators and oxygen were beneficial to hospitalized patients, [b] how many feet apart was regarded as “safe social distancing,” [c] how long should people be quarantined after apparent exposure, and [d] whether remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, zinc, large doses of vitamin D and/or many other “therapies” were beneficial to unhospitalized patients versus hospitalized seriously ill patients. Continue reading

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

At 11:56 am on Thursday, October 15, Portland General Electric (PGE) pulled the plug on the Boardman Coal Plant, PGE’s largest power plant. Boardman had a nameplate capacity of 550 firm megawatts of power and was decommissioned 20 years prematurely.

While environmentalists celebrate the plant’s closure, utility executives are still trying to figure out how they will keep the lights on in our region.

That’s because the more coal plants our region removes from the grid, the more likely we are to experience future blackouts. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is tasked with running models to determine whether there is enough electricity supply to meet demand in the future during a “worst case scenario.” The Council considers the supply adequate if the Loss of Load Probability (LOLP) is 5% or less. In late 2019, the Council found the LOLP by 2026 to be 26%. This means that more than one out of every four simulations run by the Council shows the region facing a shortage of electricity.

To put that percentage into perspective, the LOLP during the 2001 energy crisis was predicted by the Council to be 24%. During this crisis, the Pacific Northwest experienced a prolonged drought that resulted in the loss of 4,000 megawatts of hydropower compared to the average year. To balance the grid, Bonneville Power Administration took back electricity previously sold to the aluminum industry, effectively putting 5,000 aluminum employees out of work. Continue reading

Mark Ellis, NW Connection

In May of this year, political light-years ago, a syndicated piece by David Limbaugh was published on this website, “Trump Supporters: Fear Not Those Discouraging Polls.”

Light years, yes, and much has changed since May. But the fact remains that the polls could not be reliably trusted then, and cannot be trusted now. Many of them are intentionally designed to dishearten and dispirit voters who support the president. Their designers and the people who work for them are in the business of seeding the ground with hopelessness.

The idea that Joe Biden’s catatonic campaign could be eclipsing the invigorated Trump sweep across America seems patently counterintuitive. While Biden struggles to attract a clutch of die-hard Democrats into a gymnasium, Trump is pulling up in Air Force One to overflow crowds and rock-star excitement.

Crowds on the ground do not necessarily a winning ticket make, that’s true. But enthusiasm gaps cannot be dismissed.

Some leftist pundits have floated the notion that since Biden supporters are more likely to harbor realistic fears about COVID, they are astronomically less likely to turn out en masse. Even if that’s true, it registers as impolitic. It creates a contrast that doesn’t do the Biden campaign any favors: Biden’s base cowering in their homes, and walking dogs in parks with masks on, while Trump’s base refuses to allow an admittedly nasty but ultimately surmountable virus to stop the workings of the country, or forestall their willingness to brave a virus to show support.

It’s a pretty good metaphor for the whole election. More alarmingly, it’s a good metaphor for the respective fate awaiting the republic dependent upon which candidate prevails on November 3rd.

Fear not the polls? Mr. Limbaugh is, of course, correct. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

“Get ready for bed.” “I don’t want to.”

“Eat your vegetables.” “I don’t want to.”

“Brush your teeth.” “I don’t want to.”

“Come in from play and wash your hands.” “I don’t want to.”

“Put that candy back.” “I don’t want to.”

“Get dressed for church.” “I don’t want to.”

Every parent has been frustrated by these obstinate interactions with their children. Wouldn’t it be nice, we think, if we could rewire their little brains and change their “want-to.” When a person repents of their sin and invites Christ to come into their life, that’s what God does. The Holy Spirit enters the person’s life, bringing with Him a new set of “want to’s.”

This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he quoted Jeremiah in order to explain the New Covenant that the Lord Jesus instituted. “‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,’ says the Lord. ‘I will put My laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’” (Hebrews 10:16) Instead of limiting God’s instructions to ink on a page, He’d write them deep inside our hearts, always to be with us and to change the way we respond to life’s situations. Continue reading

Jerry Newcombe

One of the most substantial issues of Election 2020 is the Left’s pledge to pack the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) if they win—a scheme neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris will disavow.

Most people don’t realize how seriously this could undermine our entire democratic republic.

In one fell swoop, they could undermine the United States, which President Lincoln labeled the “the last best hope of mankind.”

The founders gave us checks and balances in the government so that no one group would have too much power.

But we have already seen in the last half of the last century an abuse of power by one branch of government, the Supreme Court—until (for the most part) William Rehnquist became Chief Justice in 1986, thanks to Ronald Reagan. Rehnquist was able to at least slow the tyranny to some degree.

Beginning in the 1950s, the court of Earl Warren (appointed by Eisenhower) and the court of Warren Burger (appointed by Nixon), often trumped the will of the people in many significant cases.

  • They outlawed school prayer and Bible-reading as devotions (which has had the effect of outlawing the Bible in the schools—thus, banning the very book that historically gave birth to schools in America).
  • They removed the Ten Commandments from the schools and later were shocked when kids without any values violated the “Thou shalt not kill” command that they never were exposed to.
  • The runaway Supreme Court unleashed pornography on society and ordered by judicial fiat abortion on demand. To this day, abortion is still a controversial issue because we the people did not make this ruling.
  • Another whopping example of judicial tyranny (post-Burger Court) was the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling.

Continue reading

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Vlad Yurlov, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Metro’s Transportation Tax Will Overspend on Underused Projects

What could you do with $7 billion? That’s the question on a lot of people’s minds as the Metro regional government pushes a permanent transportation tax this November. The tax will be paid by employers at workplaces with 26 or more workers, including nonprofit organizations. Metro, however, exempted itself and other local governments from paying the tax. Many of these projects will end up causing more problems in the future, creating congestion and redundancy and saddling us with more public debt.

The crown jewel of Metro’s transportation tax program is the Southwest Corridor light rail line extension, which is expected to cost $2.8 billion. This project encapsulates many of the problems in this measure. Southwest Corridor is an 11-mile extension of the MAX Green Line from Portland State University to the Bridgeport Village luxury mall. The draft environmental impact statement for the project concludes it will increase congestion at 46 intersections during the PM peak and 30 intersections during the AM, compared to only 36 and 14 intersections otherwise. Multiple I-5 ramps will see increases in congestion during both peak hours.

While some argue that light rail investments will get people out of their cars, much of light rail ridership comes from commuters who already ride public transit. Furthermore, light rail ridership has decreased by roughly 65% since the beginning of the pandemic, and many riders won’t return because CDC recommends that employees avoid transit. Roughly $2.8 billion will be spent on a rarely used facility that will worsen our region’s congestion. Continue reading

Elephants smash and eat giant pumpkins during the Oregon Zoo’s annual Squishing of the Squash. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Micah Reese

Some of the world’s largest land animals demolished a couple of the area’s largest pumpkins this morning, during the Oregon Zoo’s 22nd annual Squishing of the Squash.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our ability to gather in large groups, we couldn’t invite visitors this year, but we couldn’t let the elephants miss out on the fun,” said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo elephant area. “Our elephant family got one 800-pound pumpkin and another 600-pound one to stomp on, munch on and play with.”

To see video from this morning’s Squishing, go to:

The event is a precursor to the zoo’s annual Howloween celebration, presented by The Oregonian, which takes place starting this weekend. Kids can show off their costumes and learn about wildlife in a fun and safe setting, Oct. 24­–​25 and Oct. 29­–Nov. 1.

The giant pumpkins for this year’s Squishing of the Squash are being provided by Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Club members Larry Nelson and Jim Paino. Enrichment items such as pumpkins help keep the zoo’s animals mentally and physically stimulated. Continue reading

You may have heard about the “found” laptop full of information on Hunter Biden’s dealings with China. Pictures. Videos. Emails. Maybe you have heard about the 26,000 emails that have been shared with Peter Schweizer by one of Hunter Biden’s former associates. If you haven’t, you are in the majority. The news is NOT reporting about it. Social media is censoring it. Few Americans are aware of the truth. That is a story in itself. The media is censoring and suppressing the truth about the Hunter Biden, (and Joe Biden) big money relationship with China and Russia.

From Breitbart News:

In an op-ed published in the Hill titled “Censoring the Biden Story: How Social Media Becomes State Media,” legal scholar Jonathan Turley criticized social media giants Facebook and Twitter for their censorship of a recent story from the New York Post which could be damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign.

Breitbart News recently reported on the story that indicated that Joe Biden may have met with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was Vice President, arranged by his son Hunter, who was working as a lobbyist for the company at the time. Joe Biden has previously said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”

But, the leaked emails allegedly show that Hunter introduced his father to a Bursima executive less than a year before Biden, acting as Vice President, pressured the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company. Shortly after the story broke, many found themselves having trouble sharing it across social media. This censorship comes just weeks after executives from both Facebook and Twitter joined the Biden transition team. Continue reading

Karen Hardin

Lord, help us not to lose this country or our freedom to worship You.

While in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with residents of the city about what’s going on and about their mayor. What I learned turned into an important reminder.

On the last day of our prayer tour, we took our team to a tourist-type store so they could purchase mementos. Ironically, we could only find one tourist shop open because of the many bans still in place in the city. In addition, we didn’t encounter any other tour buses on the road during the week we were there–at a time in which the city would normally be packed. Washington, D.C. was being held hostage by a tyrannical mayor consumed with her own power. Does this sound like a stretch? Read on.

As our team entered the store and began to browse, I went over to the shop owner to talk with her. She had a lot to say.

“I’m so glad you guys are here,” she stated. “The mayor has kept the city under lock and key. We can’t continue to operate this way.”

As I continued to talk with her, she shared a startling revelation. “When Obama was president, the mayor once said to him, ‘This is my city and these are my rules. If you don’t like it get out!’” Her attitude toward President Trump has been no different. She has worked to keep the city shut down from prayer groups and tourists, but open to BLM activist rioters and protests. Continue reading

Helen Maguire

Laurel Hill. Photo credit: Larry Day: Public domain

The hardest part of the Oregon Trail emigrants’ journey was the descent. In addition to the swampy bogs and dense forests, there was the infamous Laurel Hill. The pioneers mistakenly called the rhododendrons that were clinging to the steep slopes “laurels.”   In places the grade on Laurel Hill was 60%–more vertical than horizontal. Here the wagons had to be slowly lowered with the help of ropes stoutly wound around trees. Described as “something terrible,” the slope was worn with ruts five feet deep. One wheel might drop 3 feet off a boulder while another dropped into a 2 foot hole. Wagons slid down the hill with all wheels locked and a 40 foot long tree tied behind for additional braking. At the foot of the hill, the tree was left to block the next wagon! Many commented that Barlow was wise to put his first tollgate at the east end of the road, rather than on the western side of the Cascades, below Laurel Hill.

However, the road was not profitable because many who used it could not afford to pay or were allowed to pass by a tolerant keeper.

Over the years, five toll gates were built to serve Barlow Road traffic from 1846 until 1915, when the right-of-way was willed to the State of Oregon and the last gate, near the town of Rhododendron, was removed. For its first fifteen years, the travel on the Barlow Road was one way—west—until a road was blasted out around Laurel Hill. With the Barlow Road open to traffic in both directions, it became a true thoroughfare, and emigrants were gradually displaced by stagecoaches and freight wagons. In the 1880s, it served the first tourists headed up from the Willamette Valley to vacation and recreation sites on Mt. Hood. Continue reading

Barlow Road near Still Creek campground

Helen Maguire

The road building was slow. The emigrants had only axes and saws and only one grindstone in the entire company, therefore much of the clearing was done by burning. From mid-September through December, they battled their way through the thick timber of the Mountain’s southern flank. They realized they would not have time to finish the road over the rough terrain between them and the Willamette Valley before the winter snows began. Two of the party went to Oregon City for fresh supplies. One man stayed behind as a guard at “Fort Deposit” where they had constructed a log cabin for storing their wagons and belongings. Then, in small groups, they made their way out of the mountains, some on foot, and some on horseback. At least one woman rode a cow.

The trek out was miserable. Snow had begun to fall. The emigrants were cold and hungry; some were sick from exposure. Many of the livestock died from eating the poisonous rhododendron leaves. Fog, rain, or sleet slowed their progress and camps were made under any shelter that could be improvised.

In his journal, Joel Palmer recorded that he “…stood shivering in the rain around the fire, and, when daylight appeared, it gave us an opportunity to look at each other’s lank visages. Our horses were shivering with the cold, the rain had put out the fire, and it seemed as though every thing had combined to render us miserable.” In spite of all this, many managed to keep their sense of humor. One of Barlow’s daughters declared: “We are in the midst of plenty – plenty of snow, plenty of wood to melt it, plenty of horsemeat, plenty of dogmeat, if the worst comes.” Continue reading

Helen Maguire

Barlow Trail-The Oregon Trail. Public domain

Autumn of 2020 marks the 175th Anniversary of the first attempted crossing of Mt. Hood’s Oregon Trail and the 173rd  Anniversary of the first toll road—known as the Barlow Trail—over the Cascade Mountain Range.  The Barlow Trail was the final overland link of the Oregon Trail that allowed emigrant travelers a cheaper, quicker but still dangerous alternative to rafting their covered wagons down the Columbia River.

“Oyer-un-gun” was the “Place of Plenty,” according to the Shoshone. “Oregon Fever” and the promise of rich farmlands available by Donation Land Claims, lured thousands of pioneers to the Willamette Valley. By 1844, Oregon City was the seat of the newly-founded American Provisional Government. Anyone wishing to file a land claim had to come to Oregon City.

During the 1830’s and early 1840’s, the Gorge was the most dreaded portion for pioneers who made the trek from “back east” to the fertile farmlands of the Willamette Valley. Prior to 1845, wagons could reach The Dalles, but from there the emigrants had little choice but to make a raft of pine logs, buy a raft from enterprising Indians, or rent a bateaux (a flat-bottomed boat with flaring sides) from the Hudson’s Bay Company for around $80. They would dismantle their wagons, load all their possessions on rafts, and then float the Upper Cascades. Many lives were lost on the Columbia River, the relentless winds overturned many a raft, and there were impassable rapids that had to be portaged. The steep canyon walls rising from the water’s edge and the turbulent rapids at the “dalles” (a French word meaning flagstones) defied passage. Continue reading

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