I live in Portland Oregon, where the unofficial motto is "Keep Portland Weird." Given that, how could I NOT check this book out from the library... Weird Oregon: Your Travel Guide to Oregon's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Al Eufrasio and Jeff Davis. Weird Oregon is a great mix of local lore, history, fact, and fable, tied together with a style that combines tongue-in-cheek humor with good storytelling. It made me want to hop in the car and start visiting some of the places that make Oregon a unique place to live.
Contents: Local Legends; Ancient Mysteries; Fabled People and Places; Unexplained Phenomena; Beaver State Beasts; Local Heroes and Villains; Peculiar Properties; Roadside Oddities; Haunted Places; Cemetery Safari; Off-Limits and All But Forgotten; Index; Acknowledgments; Photo Credits
Eufrasio and Davis made sure that wherever you go in Oregon, you could take a look in this book and find something in that area. If you're on the Oregon Coast, there's a plethora of sites to check out. Fort Stevens near Astoria is the only place in the continental US where a military base was under assault during World War II. Also during the same time period, several people died near Gearhart Mountain when they found a Japanese Fu-Go balloon bomb that went off... the only people in the continental US killed due to enemy actions during World War II. And of course, you can go visit Youtube to see the infamous beached whale that was blown to bits in 1970 on the beaches of Florence. Southern Oregon has Crater Lake, complete with old Indian legends as to how the lake in the collapsed volcano came to be. Eastern Oregon has Fort Rock, the site of the world's oldest shoes. In 1938, a number of sandals and sandal fragments were found, and evidence points to the owners having been there more than 8000 years prior. Pretty much wherever you go in Oregon, you can find some weirdness there to amaze and amuse you.
A significant portion of the stories involve hauntings and paranormal occurrences. For those who are interested in these types of phenomenon, Weird Oregon will keep you busy for months if not years. The Oregon Caves Chateau has a ghost of a woman who slit her wrists on her honeymoon when she caught her husband in bed with a hotel maid. Strange things are seen in the Shanghai tunnels under the Portland waterfront that were used in the 1800's to sneak unsuspecting (and unconscious) men onto sailing ships as conscripted labor. The White Eagle Saloon in Portland is also well-known for having a few resident ghosts of former workers and "working women" who ended their earthly existence there. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there's no denying that strange things have happened in the places covered in the book.
This book was a lot of fun to read. Some of the stories were familiar, but plenty more were new to me, and made me want to go take a long road trip to see a few of the places for myself. The only small nit on the book had to do with some of the page typesetting. On pages where the text overlaid pictures, there were a few instances where black type was set on dark pictures, making the page nearly unreadable. But that didn't take away from the overall pleasure and enjoyment of reading about the weirdness of the state. Weird Oregon is a fun history and guide book that will add plenty of color to places that you may have just driven by in the past, not knowing exactly what you were missing out on.
Now off to book my underground tunnel tour that I keep saying I'll do one day...
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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The Pacific Northwest teems with colorful history and unique legendsand this tour of the Beaver State is no exception! Check out the gas station restroom that looks like cowboy boots as you search the skies for a man flying across the state in a lawn chair tethered to helium balloons. And how about visiting that city” in eastern Oregon with a year-round population of zero to two, depending on whether anyone gets trapped in the snow? Can it get any weirder than this!