The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

The Extension Tradition in the Columbia River Gorge

Two life history interviews conducted by Chris Petersen.

August 9, 2016


4-H Extension in Hood River County  August 9, 2016  Location: Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Hood River, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In her interview, Billie Stevens discusses her upbringing and connection with Extension while growing up in Idaho; her college experience as a Home Economics major at the University of Idaho; her short tenure as a public school teacher; and her decision to relocate to Prineville, Oregon, where she had accepted as position as a 4-H Extension Agent. In recalling her Prineville years, Stevens touches upon her involvement with outreach related to home economics, pet ownership, and the creative arts. She also shares her memories of earning her OSU master's degree in Adult Education, and her sense of the ways in which Prineville changed as a community during her years there.

Stevens then describes her move to Hood River and her career as a 4-H Extension Agent serving Hood River County. In this, she comments on the evolution of Hood River as a community; the status of the Hood River branch upon her arrival; and the activities in which she engaged during this phase of her career. Of particular interest are Stevens' memories of Extension engagement with the local Latino population; the many programs that Extension spearheaded to assist with family and community development; and the especially busy life of an Extension Agent during the weeks surrounding the county fair. The interview concludes with notes on retirement and reflections on change within the community and the Extension Service.

Extension, History, and Change in Sherman and Wasco Counties  August 9, 2016  Location: Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Hood River, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In his interview, Sandy Macnab provides an in-depth description of his upbringing in a very rural, agricultural setting; comments on his years as both an undergraduate and graduate student at OSU; and shares his memories of campus culture during the 1970s. He then details the route that he took to becoming an OSU Extension Agent for Sherman County, and likewise documents his shift to the Wasco County branch and the changes that this shift entailed. From there, Macnab responds to questions concerning his engagement with the Rajneeshpuram community during the 1980s; his research on wheat production and marketing costs; and investigations of alternative crops that might be suitable for the Columbia Basin. He likewise adds his perspective on the explosive growth of wind power in the Columbia River Gorge.

Macnab next provides notes on his family's memories of the construction of two major dams on the Columbia River; discusses research that he has conducted on wolves in Sherman and Wasco County; and describes the major damage caused in the region by the Christmas Day Flood of 1964. The interview concludes with thoughts on the roles that photography and popular writing - including a newspaper column - played over the course of his career; and a lengthy discussion of changes in Sherman County that Macnab has observed as a life-long resident.