Landing A Treasure From The 1850's William Wilson DLC Highlights Battle To Save The Tualatin Plains

If you knew you were watching something important be destroyed forever you would try to stop that, wouldn't you?  What if that something was so rich in history, and so important to the world, that loosing it could signal the end of all you knew?  Would you care then?

I hope so.  Because today as I drove off from the farm of Larry Duyck out on NW Roy Road I realized, more than I ever have, what the cost of rampant development here in the Tualatin Plains can cost us all.  The Duyck Farm was started in 1907 and remains today in the capable hands of the 3rd (Larry Duyck) and the 4th generation (Jacque Duyck Jones; daughter).  The farm is stunningly beautiful with the classic farmhouse and barns setting the scene for acres of kotata blackberries, blueberries, and other rotation crops which are bursting from the ground this Spring.  Irrigation systems are in place and there is a palpable blend of modern machinery and timeless farming know how.  I hope it will be another productive year on the farm for this family whose name is synonymous with Washington County and productive sustainable farming.

15,000 years ago, as the Ice Age was ending, giant Lake Missoula in Western Montana broke through a massive ice damn and sent torrents of water, rock, silt, gravel, and anything and everything in its path towards the Columbia Basin.  Imagine water 1,000 times the volume of the Columbia River coursing through our Region and making valleys and lakes and gaps wherever it chose to do so.  This went on for hundreds of years and these floods created the land we know today.  Through the Willamette River, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin River gaps, coarsed billions of tons of fine silt from Eastern Washington and beyond.  It filled the Tualatin Valley and Tualatin Plains and settled here as the waters receded against the Tualatin, Coastal, and Chehalem Mountain Ranges.  What was left was arguably the greatest farmland in the world.  Here we are, us locals, in the middle of the most productive land on Earth and yet most of us do not even know it.  The Duyck's know it and have fought to protect the very asset that supports them and their neighbors.

Surrounded by hills and mountains (red) the Tualatin Valley was one of the few places where the Missoula Floods deposited so much rich soil and silt making for incredible farmland.

Surrounded by hills and mountains (red) the Tualatin Valley was one of the few places where the Missoula Floods deposited so much rich soil and silt making for incredible farmland.

History Took Me Out...   What led me out to the Western end of the Tualatin Plains today was my interest in History; the history of our valley and our people.  Granted most of you reading this are new to the Valley.  But pay attention because you are going to play a bigger role in what happens to people like the Duyck family than those of us who have been here for decades and that is because you outnumber us 3 to 1.  In fact, 2 out of 3 people now in Washington County have not been here longer than 20 or 30 years. 

Today I came looking to preserve some of the historical past of William and Polly (Mills) Wilson who settled the 642.50-acre land claim that the Duyck's farm is located upon.  The Wilson's came over in 1843 with their children John,  Caroline, and Rachel.  Reverend Marcus Whitman acted as their guide and brought them much of the way along with  3 other pioneer families (Constable's, Arthurs, & Mills).  Their arrival was 4 years prior to the opening of the Oregon Trail and they could count on 1 hand the neighbors they could see on the clearest of days from their farm. 

In 1847 the Oregon Trail officially opened and thousands came pouring into the Oregon Territory chasing the promise of free fertile farmland.  In that same year Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa and family, along with many others, were massacred in Walla Walla by the Cayuse Indians who were reacting to the death and destruction put upon them by the White man's diseases and influences.

Seen here in the 1851 Survey map is the William Wilson Claim of 642.50 Acres and the surveyor clearly is showing the location of their home and barn.  Some of their neighbors names are well known today.

Seen here in the 1851 Survey map is the William Wilson Claim of 642.50 Acres and the surveyor clearly is showing the location of their home and barn.  Some of their neighbors names are well known today.

The Duyck's recently took down a barn - a very very old barn.  It had to go but when it did they made sure to have as much of the wood as possible reused and repurposed.  Out there on the farm was a large pile of huge log floor beams and it occurred to me that reusing wood from our valley as old as this wood is was the right thing to do.  The Wilson's may have cut this wood, built the barn, and sat under the shade of these trees.  God knows the Duyck's used this barn for 4 generations and the fact that there was something that old of that much use to these families meant that the historian in me wanted in.  


The Bigger Story-  

Today I moved the massive beams.  They are truly wonderful and we will be making some log benches out of them over the Summer.  Larry Duyck helped me move them and we had a nice chat.  A small part of that 170 plus years of History from the Wilson-Duyck farm left with me today and we will cherish it and tell its story for decades to come.

As I left Roy Road today with my bounty I realized how unchanged that area is.  The reason for that is partly geography - growth and our "wonderful" Urban Growth have not come knocking yet.  But just as big of a reason is that Larry and his family, as well as some others, have fought for decades to have this legacy protected.  

Heading North from my home in Orenco is the East end of the Tualatin Plains.  It was 45 years ago when my buddies and I roamed the vacant farms and creek bottoms of this area, free from disturbances, hunting squirrels and chasing girls.  People never thought it would change.  But it did.  Today we cannot move here at rush hour.  The farms are all gone.  So are the original people.  And history?  With the exception of yours truly and a few others, there is no sense of history here. 

The Intel Ronler Acres Fab has now covered over 100 acres of Prime Farm land on the East end of the Tualatin Plains taking out native american and local history as it went in.

The Intel Ronler Acres Fab has now covered over 100 acres of Prime Farm land on the East end of the Tualatin Plains taking out native american and local history as it went in.

As I drove past INTEL RONLER ACRES heading to the Duyck's Farm melancholy overtook me.  If your local you understand this feeling when you travel around this area.  Another mile West along my route is the Shute Road Industrial Park and the Majestic Business Park; now home to Amazon.  This area was bucolic farm land not even a decade ago.  It was all a part of the Tualatin Plains that the Missoula Floods had created.  But we needed it for the "High Paying Jobs" that were coming to the Valley.

Looking West towards the Duyck Farm we see the rapid expansion of the Industrial parks and Gas and Chemical storage faciliies.

Looking West towards the Duyck Farm we see the rapid expansion of the Industrial parks and Gas and Chemical storage faciliies.

Even further West I rolled past the Historic Shute Farm, which has just been added to the National Historic Registry thanks to the hard work of the Haag Family who have been there since the 1960's.  Change is coming all around them too as it rolls West towards the Wilson-Duyck Farm.  Across the street from the Shute House in an ancient field, the bodies of 5 children of Colonel Joe and Virginia Meek are buried.   Colonel Meek and his Nez Perce Wife, Virginia, settled in the Tualatin Plains just 3 years before the Wilson's did (1840).  They likely knew each other and all of them made this valley the great place that it is.  

In the coming months, you will all hear about the Meek children.  It seems that the Majestic Development group has decided to excavate the site where the City believes the Meek children and the adjacent Methodist Meeting House historic site are located to make way for a new 800,000 SF Warehouse and parking lot with drainage pond.  This statement is based upon the plans that they have turned in to the City of Hillsboro as shown below.

This proposal to Develop 45 plus acres in the Tualatin Plains was submitted to the City of Hillsboro recently by a consultant for Majestic showing a massive drainage pond being excavated where the Methodist Meeting House and the bodies of the Meek Children have been documented to have been buried.

This proposal to Develop 45 plus acres in the Tualatin Plains was submitted to the City of Hillsboro recently by a consultant for Majestic showing a massive drainage pond being excavated where the Methodist Meeting House and the bodies of the Meek Children have been documented to have been buried.

This aerial photo shows the location that the City of HIllsboro in 2004 said they believed was the probable location of the Methodist Meeting House and burial griounds.  The Shute home is located just to the west.

This aerial photo shows the location that the City of HIllsboro in 2004 said they believed was the probable location of the Methodist Meeting House and burial griounds.  The Shute home is located just to the west.

In Case the Point is Muddled or Subtle -

As I continued West the facts are self-evident.  Traffic and development are going on all the way West to the City of North Plains (OR) which just so happens to be the 1/2 way point from my home on the East end of the Tualatin Plains, to the West end where I was going to get the logs.

We are losing our valley.  We are losing our farms.  We are losing our countryside and perspective as to who we are and how we fit in.

Larry Duyck and his daughter know how they fit in.  And they know if they do not work hard to protect their farm, growth can and will come.  Others scoff and say that sort of thinking is ridiculous.  But the proof is everywhere.  It is coming from the East and it is heading to West.

The Tualatin Plains are being crowded out and built over quickly these days in North Hillsboro and growth is quickly coming to the West end.  The richness of the land is obvious to anyone driving through it or who see the pacthwork fo large farms from above.

The Tualatin Plains are being crowded out and built over quickly these days in North Hillsboro and growth is quickly coming to the West end.  The richness of the land is obvious to anyone driving through it or who see the pacthwork fo large farms from above.

 

The reasons that our farmland is being plowed under were promoted primarilty as a way to provide much needed Industrial land for "High Paying" jobs.  INTEL did create those jobs but they are taking our Water at a rate that threatens our own supplies.  And that was over a decade ago.  Since that time we have had Data Centers erected which employ virtually no one while using massive amounts of power.  We also have Top Golf and those low paying jobs.  And of course there is Amazon who recently moved into the Majestic business Park and those jobs are low paying as well.

Outsiders, foreign investors, non-Oregonians, and others are coming to our Valley, developing the land, and taking all the cream off the top as they head to their next conquest.  They higher slick consultants who spin a good line of BS and talk in codes and get tax giveaways in a smugness that rivals anyone.  But the facts are right in front of us.  We are losing the Valley and now the line has been drawn between Jackson Road and Banks.  The lands West of Jackson Road are currently zoned Rural Reserve and they are supposed to be preserved for future generations of farmers.  East of Jackson Road is now being prepared for more buildings.  I do not believe that this line will hold and attempts have already been made to break the agreements that put it in place in order to keep the machine marching West.

The X shows he Duyck farm on the west end of the tualatin plains and the brown line seperates the build up occuring at a record pace.  In between these lines and the Sunset highway 26 the final battle to preserve farmland and the historic sites in the plains is being waged.

The X shows he Duyck farm on the west end of the tualatin plains and the brown line seperates the build up occuring at a record pace.  In between these lines and the Sunset highway 26 the final battle to preserve farmland and the historic sites in the plains is being waged.

 

I am all for jobs- all for smart growth.  But this insane plowing and grinding and gnashing of machines and explosion of cement to put in more computers and pipe and roads is wrong,

Let me suggest that the attempted excavation of the great Meek family childrens graves is the single biggest insult and act of aggression that anyone could attempt to perpetrate on the people of the Tualatin Plains.  This event may be the flashpoint in a big pushback in policy and public thinking that is going on right now. Growth must slow while we all re-evaluate what we are really doing.

What is the Right way ahead? Lest you all assume I hate growth or want everything rolled back to the 1900's let me say for the record we need growth.  But the type of wholesale boundary and community destroying growth we are seeing in parts of the Tualatin Valley is wrong and we all know it.  We need to slow down. 

For every job we are creating thereby attracting new comers let's make sure those new comers have a proper place to live so we balance housing and jobs.  We have failed to do that miserably.  Let's make sure our local people and their children are not forced out by housing costs that have now grown so high that most locals could never remain here.  Let us honor our History and our Farmers and our homebuilders and business owners too.  One is not better then the other but I am a value-added person. If what you are doing is not adding value to our current citizens then it should not be done.  Lastly land owners around Oregon and here in the Tualatin Plains have been told "You Can Not Live There" by our current zoning systems.  The thought of a large or small farmer who has had land here for any number of years being told that they are not allowed even 1 home on their land is wrong.  It is part of the reason we have landowners who have given up and who do want to see their land rezoned so they can benefit from it.  I would urge those on the restrictive side of this battle to see that allowing people to live on their land is what will protect it the most.  If we do not let more people love the land and the country life how are we going to expect them to support that it be preserved?  So, I would encourage and support land owners being able to build on their land; at least one home and maybe more then one based on some reasonable formula (one per 40 acres for instance).  In this way we can add a wall or at least more fortresses between the developments spreading West and North from Hillsboro.  In this way the economics of the country life can stop the economics of the asphalt jungle.  In this way we can maintain or find a balance once again.


I have the wood posts.  The drive out today confirmed to me that I know too much and care too much.  Maybe me getting that wood is really me trying to hang on to something that is going away before it is gone.  But leaving today, as Larry and I spoke, I was encouraged that maybe, just maybe, the tides may turn in favor of farmland, of people, and of history.

I can feel the Wilsons, and Meeks, and many more cheering us on.  We need all of you to ask questions and to care.  To get involved.  Newcomers this is your world too now.  Your valley!  The promise of the Missoula Floods and the leagcy of the natives and pioneers is still here for you to enjoy and celebrate.  Take a stand and begin to rise. 

Together we can find a balance for our futures.  We can honor our rich past while facing a brighter tomorrow.  But growth for the sake of growth is a fools game.  Anyone who has lived this reality, like those from LA or the Bay Area, know that the stakes are very high.

While I plan my next move, I am off to make something wonderful of these beauties!

Archaeology Report On Recent Roadwork Reveals Great History

Recently Archaeology firm AINW was called in to do a report for the road widening and culvert replacement between NE Grant Street and NW Evergreen Road in Hillsboro, Oregon.  As it turns out not much was found along the roadway but clearly the area it was in included two well-known donation land claims.  The history reported by AINW is nice to have as it comes from experts and is well sourced.  You can read the entire 2014 report right here.

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Historical Background Euroamerican settlement in the Northwest began after Hudson’s Bay Company established the Fort Vancouver trading post in 1825, drawing fur trappers to the Tualatin Valley (Bourke and DeBats 1995; Tualatin River Watershed Council 2001). During the 1830s and 1840s, Catholic and Methodist missionaries came to the region with the intent of converting Native populations to Christianity (Bourke and DeBats 1995). Their accounts of the region’s fertile soil triggered a massive migration of families westward along the Oregon Trail. The resulting population disparity and the declining fur trade eventually led the British government to accept the Oregon Treaty, which ceded the Oregon Territory to the United States in 1846 (Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies 2014). The ratification of the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 encouraged Euroamericans to settle and secure claims within the Tualatin Valley (Bourke and DeBats 1995).

Evergreen Home.JPG

The project APE encompasses portions of two Donation Land Claims (DLCs) associated with founding families of Hillsboro. Reverend John S. and Desire S. Griffin established a 645.33-acre DLC (No. 56) in 1859 (Bureau of Land Management [BLM] 1859; General Land Office [GLO] 1862). Undeterred by an unsuccessful application to the American Board Commission for Foreign Missions, Reverend Griffin began an independent missionary program loosely associated with the Congregational Church in 1839 (Bourke and DeBats 1995).

Isiah and Winey Kelsey secured DLC No. 41 in 1865 for 605.09 acres (BLM 1865; GLO 1862, 1882). Kelsey, born in Barren County, Kentucky, ventured from Missouri to the Pacific Northwest with the Williams family, who established a settlement adjacent to the Kelsey homestead (Bourke and DeBats 1995; GLO 1862, 1882).

ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING AND LAND-USE HISTORY The project APE is located in the city of Hillsboro, in Washington County, within Sections 30 and 31 of Township 1 North, Range 2 West, Willamette Meridian (Figure 1). The project APE is a residential neighborhood and includes portions of two parks, the U. J. Hamby Park and the Harold Eastman Memorial Rose Garden, as well as the Jackson Elementary School. The project APE lies within the Willamette Valley physiographic province, an area characterized by broad alluvial flats separated by groups of low hills (Franklin and Dyrness 1973). It is bordered by the Oregon Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Range to the east (Alt and Hyndman 1995). The project APE is situated in the northern portion of the Willamette River basin within the Tualatin River Valley, which extends eastwards from its source on the slopes of the Coast Range to the Willamette River at West Linn, Oregon (Hulse et al. 1998). Within the broader Tualatin River Valley, the project APE is situated in the Dairy-McKay watershed (Hawksworth 1999). McKay Creek tributary drainages cross the project APE in three locations. The southern drainage meanders through U. J. Hamby Park before crossing under NE Jackson School Road. The northern tributary near NE Hood Street is surrounded by low terraces altered through landscaping. McKay Creek south of NW Evergreen Road flows through a reinforced concrete culvert. Vegetation within the project area has changed over time as the result of agricultural and residential developments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Aikens 1993; Hulse et al. 1998). Prior to Euroamerican settlement of the area, prairie and oak woodlands dominated the Tualatin Valley landscape. This open prairie landscape typifying the Tualatin and Willamette Valleys was partly the result of centuries of annual grassland burning by Native peoples of the area to facilitate the growth of important food plants and to attract wild game (Bowen 1978; Boyd 1986; Franklin and Dyrness 1973). Gallery forests containing brushy thickets, marshes, and ash openings grew along the floodplains of major rivers and their NE Jackson School Road Improvement Project September 10, 2014 Hillsboro, Washington County, Oregon AINW Report No. 3322 -3- tributaries. General Land Office (GLO) maps depict that much of the current project area was converted into agricultural fields by the end of the nineteenth century (GLO 1862, 1882).

Currently, the much of the area is landscaped. Maple trees and mowed grasses line NE Jackson School Road throughout the project APE. Natural vegetation is limited to oak and alder trees along NE Jackson School Road and the tributary creeks. Soils of the northern Willamette Valley are thick sedimentary deposits that date to the Pleistocene. During this epoch, repeated flooding events associated with failures of ice dams on glacial Lake Missoula flooded the Willamette Valley, leaving extensive silty deposits throughout the region (Allen et al. 2009; Franklin and Dyrness 1973). Soils on the valley floor developed from silty alluvial and lustrine deposits under grassland vegetation. These soils in conjunction with low slopes often results in areas of poor drainage (Hawksworth 1999). Four soils, all silt loams, are mapped for the majority of the project APE: Aloha silt loam, Amity silt loam, Dayton silt loam, and Woodburn silt loam (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service [USDA-NRCS] 2006a, 2007, 2009a, 2009b). With the exception of the moderately well-drained Woodburn silt loam, these soils are poorly drained. Two silty clay loams are mapped along the McKay Creek tributaries; these are the Cove and Verboort soil series (USDA-NRCS 2001, 2006b). Both soils form on low terraces and are very poorly drained. CULTURAL SETTING Native Peoples – Prehistoric Period Although archaeological evidence of earliest inhabitants of the Willamette Valley is sparse, the presence of Clovis fluted projectile points identified in the region suggests that prehistoric populations settled the Willamette Valley around 12,000 years ago (Ozbun and Fagan 1996). During the Early Archaic period, which dates from 11,000 to 6,000 years ago, prehistoric peoples participated in a broad-spectrum, hunter-gatherer subsistence strategy (Aikens et al. 2011). Sites dating to this period are small, reflecting temporary camps, and are typified by leaf-shaped projectile points referred to as Cascade points (Aikens 1993; Aikens et al. 2011; Minor et al. 1982). By the Middle Archaic period, beginning approximately 6,000 years ago, subsistence patterns began to align with those of the Kalapuya people during the contact period, with an increased emphasis on vegetal foods, including camas and acorns, and ground stone technology to process these foods (Aikens 1993; Aikens et al. 2011; Minor et al. 1982). Active landscape management through controlled fires intensified during this period and increased available foods by favoring the growth of camas, huckleberries, and fire-resistant acorn-bearing oaks rather than woody perennials. Sedentism increased during the Late Archaic period (approximately 2,000 to 200 years ago) with the development of seasonally occupied villages and temporary base camps. Accumulated debris reflecting domestic activities such as hideworking, lithic tool production, and food processing reflects the continuous residential use of settlements (Aikens et al. 2011).

CallapuyaCrop.jpg

Native Peoples – Contact Period The project area was historically occupied by the Kalapuya, a people with 13 linguistically distinct divisions. The traditional Kalapuyan territory included the Willamette Valley, its tributaries, and portions of the Umpqua River drainage (Aikens et al. 2011; Mackey 2004). Each group occupied a stream drainage beginning in the foothills and extending across NE Jackson School Road Improvement Project September 10, 2014 Hillsboro, Washington County, Oregon AINW Report No. 3322 -4- the valley to the Willamette River. This settlement pattern allowed each group access to resources across different environmental settings, including river, gallery forest, grassland, oak grove, foothills, and montane woodland (Aikens 1993; Aikens et al. 2011). Residential patterns centered on using resources within these regions throughout the annual cycle. During the spring to early fall months, households transitioned between temporary field camps to target subsistence resources as they became seasonally available across these environments. The Kalapuya inhabited semi-permanent villages throughout the winter months during which they depended on stored goods amassed during the previous seasons (Aikens 1993; Zenk 1990).

Game such as deer, elk, black bear, small mammals, and birds were hunted. A variety of fish species were also included in the diet breadth, including trout, suckers, and lamprey eels. Salmon was not a significant resource for peoples of the Willamette Valley, although it was a subsistence staple for many Native groups in the Northwest (Aikens 1993; Zenk 1990). Salmon was either procured through trade or in limited quantities along the Willamette River and its tributaries (Zenk 1976). Vegetable resources, such as camas, wapato, hazelnuts, acorns, and a variety of seeds and berries, were significant to the Kalapuyan diet.

Camas.jpg

Camas and wapato were typically roasted in pit ovens dug into the ground. Dried and pressed into cakes, these resources were stored to be consumed or traded later (Zenk 1976).

The spread of epidemic diseases began to affect Native populations in the late 1700s and early 1800s (Bourke and DeBats 1995; Boyd 1985). Patterns of traditional life continued to change as the fur trade entered the region under the Pacific Fur Company in 1812 (Mackey 2004). Beginning in the 1830s, Euroamerican settlement accelerated in the Willamette Valley, leading to the displacement of Native groups (Mackey 2004; Zenk 1990). Historical Background Euroamerican settlement in the Northwest began after Hudson’s Bay Company established the Fort Vancouver trading post in 1825, drawing fur trappers to the Tualatin Valley (Bourke and DeBats 1995; Tualatin River Watershed Council 2001). During the 1830s and 1840s, Catholic and Methodist missionaries came to the region with the intent of converting Native populations to Christianity (Bourke and DeBats 1995). Their accounts of the region’s fertile soil triggered a massive migration of families westward along the Oregon Trail. The resulting population disparity and the declining fur trade eventually led the British government to accept the Oregon Treaty, which ceded the Oregon Territory to the United States in 1846 (Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies 2014). The ratification of the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 encouraged Euroamericans to settle and secure claims within the Tualatin Valley (Bourke and DeBats 1995).

No houses, barns, or other features are shown on the maps in the current project APE. A road within the vicinity of the current NE Jackson School Road is depicted as crossing through the Kelsey and Griffin land claims on the 1862 and 1882 GLO maps. By NE Jackson School Road Improvement Project September 10, 2014 Hillsboro, Washington County, Oregon AINW Report No. 3322 -5- 1915, the road shifted to the current alignment of NE Jackson School Road, although it was not labeled as such until a 1954 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) map (USGS 1915, 1940, 1954). By 1961, NE Jackson School Road had experienced rapid growth as farmsteads transitioned for greater residential and recreational uses (USGS 1961). The road was named for the Jackson School District, established in 1851 by H. Lyman on a portion of the Jackson DLC (north and outside of the project area) (Jackson Elementary School 1990).