The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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The OSU Extension Service Centennial Oral History Collection

August 2007 - June 2009 – 10:00a.m.

Video: Greg Tillson . March 1, 2008

Location: Tillson residence, Salem, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Elizabeth Uhlig

1:58:43 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


*Note: Interview recorded to audio only.

Elizabeth Uhlig: This is an oral history interview with Greg Tillson. Today is March 1, 2008 and we're at Greg's home in Salem. My name is Elizabeth Uhlig.

Okay Greg, to start with let's start at the beginning. Could you tell us where you were born and where you grew up?

Greg Tillson: Sure. I was born in Corvallis, Oregon, actually lived in a place called Lobster Valley, which is probably about 40 miles from Corvallis, over towards Alsea and the Coast Range, and I grew up there up through the fourth grade, lived on a farm. My dad was, he milked cows and also worked in the timber, a logger, and did both of those at the same time, and then (cough) excuse me. We lost a contract I guess from what I heard and what I remembered with the milk folks that came over and picked up the dairy products, didn't want to come over anymore and right after that, they sold the farm and about 160 acres and moved out to Corvallis. I think that was in the fourth grade. So I grew up the rest of the time in Corvallis.

EU: You mentioned Lobster Valley. I mean, this wasn't on the coast. I mean, I was just curious about the name... lobsters.

GT: Where they get lobsters? I don't (laugh) Good question, I'm not sure. There were obviously crayfish, but lobsters...they really, some of them were big, but they weren't as big as the lobsters, so I'm not sure why they called it that. It was settled by a lot of my relatives that were over there, the Hendrix's. They ran a big mill up at the one end of the valley and so but I had no idea who named it. Perhaps it's Native Americans; I'm not sure where it came from, where the actual name came from.

EU: So your family, your grandparents were also in that area?

GT: Yeah my grandparents, they were involved in agriculture and logging, and I think the name of the logging operation was Alsea Lumber Company, and it was in Lobster Valley but it was called Alsea Lumber Company and that was on my mom's side. My dad, his mother lived there for, I don't know how many years, but this was her farm originally and then she married a person that had the farm next to them and then they moved out to Alsea and lived in Alsea for, until towards the end of their lives and then she came to Corvallis and that's where she passed away. Yeah so we were pretty much, that's where we, where the roots are.

EU: So your father then did the farming? You say it was a dairy?

GT: It was a dairy farm, and you know, of course, you had the cows but also you had to have the hay and that kind of stuff. It was some, I remember plowing and cutting and bailing hay and we had some calves, and I don't know what we had. Not a huge amount of dairy cows, probably 15-20 dairy cows, something like that. And we, I can remember sitting out in the backs of the cows while dad milked them, but I was too young to really get very much involved in the farming part of it.

EU: I mean, and then they milked by hand...

GT: No actually they had the things that...

EU: The milking machines?

GT: The milking machines, yeah. It was, it's not even there now, the barn isn't there, and the old milking shed isn't there. I don't think they do much dairy farming over there anymore, I think it's more just hay and forestry kinds of things.


EU: When you were there, you said you were in fourth grade when they moved to Corvallis?

GT: Right, we... I started at the Lobster Valley grade school in first grade, it was... there was one classroom and the teacher was, at this time my grandfather was the main teacher there for many years, but the... he had retired, or I guess actually about that time he'd moved away to California and there was someone else there, but it was a one room school house and it had everything from first grade all the way up through senior year in high school, and then, I think the second grade... the first grade I went to Lobster Valley, the second grade then they bussed us out to Alsea and we combined the districts out there. So I went to Alsea the second, third, and half of the fourth grade, and then moved to Corvallis.

EU: Did you have brothers and sisters?

GT: I do. I have two sisters that are... one is nine years older than I am and one is eight years older, so I was kind of the baby, spoiled most of the time... And they live, one lives in Corvallis, one lives in Portland.

EU: So you didn't, you were really too young then to do much of the farm work, or you weren't involved... were you involved with 4-H?

GT: No, I wasn't involved in 4-H. I do remember the county Extension agent coming over and I do wish I could remember his name. It was when I was little, so obviously... I'm 63 now so that's been a lot of years ago. But he used to come over and talk to dad about some different things, I had no idea what it was, and we knew him when he pulled up to the house, we knew who he was, we knew the car. Gosh, it might have been Stoney Jackson or something like that. I'd have to go back and look at the records. But, no I really didn't do very much; my sisters were more involved in it. They did a lot of the milking and help with the hay. I mainly was I think a pain in the neck. I rode the little calves that weren't supposed to be ridden, and I remember tunneling through the hairy vetch because it's... hairy vetch is this, I guess what they use for hay to feed the cows but it was a great thing to tunnel through and make these little pathways, and then my dad would find out that I did that and then we would have some problems with that. So I was more of a problem than I was a help I think.

EU: So after you moved to Corvallis, what did your father do then?

GT: Well, yeah he sold the farm, and then invested in Benton County Tractor and they sold Allis Chalmers, so he was part owner and salesman, mechanic, and farm machinery around the valley. Had to compete with John Deere, John Deere was much more, seemed like people were buying more of that than Allis Chalmers, but I always liked, I think it was a red or an orange Allis Chalmers.

EU: So you went through high school?

GT: Through high school, right. Was born, or raised, graduated from Corvallis High School before they had two high schools, and played tennis, was on the tennis team. Then enrolled at Oregon State University in 1963.

EU: Did you always know you would be going to college?

GT: Yeah, that was the plan that I had. I didn't know exactly where but I kind of always thought it would be Oregon State University. For one thing, the expenses of going somewhere else and living in a dorm and those kinds of things. I stayed at home and lived at home while I went to school for a year and a half before I was married.

EU: What was your major?

GT: It was business administration with a, I had a minor in what's called resource geography, which helped with... the business part was a good preparation too for what I ended up in, with community development program in the Extension Service, because it had a lot to do with economic and social kinds of things going on within the counties and cities, but the resource geography was a preparation for the land use planning part that I was actively involved in when I first started in Extension, back in, gosh it would have been, I think '66, 1966. This is when I was on work study.

EU: So you said you had gotten married?

GT: Yeah what the, what happened was, that was during Vietnam, and I was, I enrolled in school and went for a year and quarter, something like that, and then dropped out of OSU and immediately got my draft notice, for, to show up and become, see what I, whether I was physically fit to serve in the armed service or not so...


EU: This was the mid-60's right?

GT: Right. This would have been '65, probably. Really, just the beginning and it increased a little bit in terms of the amount of troops that were in Vietnam, so I went up for my physical, up to Portland and ended up with 2S classification, which was something like, or 2A I guess it was. And I had bad... my ears were, the hearing issues so if I would have, loud noises I would have tended to go deaf, so I probably would have been somewhere in, you know a field office somewhere or something. Anyway what I did is I joined the National Guard because then I knew kind of what the future was going to hold. So I joined the Guards and we had 6 years in the Guards but probably in '66, Kathy and I were married, and I worked in the mill for awhile in Corvallis, and as was the case for most plywood mills, they seemed to close down during the winter for short, you know... 3-4 or 5 weeks and so I enrolled back in school at OSU and she got a work study job and I got a work study job and we were, through both of those together we were able to make ends meet. In fact, it seemed like we had more money then than we do now, I'm not sure. She worked at the financial aid office and I worked as a, I was a work study student with the community development program, within OSU Extension. Ted Sidor, who was a great guy from Umatilla County hired me as a work study student and what my job was was to write what's called County Resource Atlases and I worked with some other economists and such in the department, Russ Youmans was involved in that, and compiled all the geography, the social, the economic resources of counties, including soil surveys, and used the Oregon Blue Book, whatever sources was available to help kind of outline what's in a county and then the counties used that in their land use planning efforts, which was really starting to energize in the mid- to late 60s, that's when the state of Oregon had the comprehensive plans. Each county had to have a comprehensive plan and this was one of the main documents that they used in helping to kind of catalogue all of the resources of the county.

EU: So when you were looking for a work study job was this just sort of by accident in Extension or was this something that you had planned to...

GT: Total accident. I mean, I had contact with Extension like I mentioned early on but I didn't really know anything about Extension, and I went into the work study office and said, I need a job, and they sent me over to Ted Sidor's office and I went up and interviewed with Ted and he showed me what was going to be involved and gosh, for three years I was in the same office he was, we had a... he was over on one side of the room and I was on the other, we had these big bookshelves that were just full of resource material that I used in doing my research, and we worked in the same office together for three years. Then Ted, it was some time after that, he worked for awhile after that in community development, but he came, he became I think an assistant director with Extension, and then took an assignment back in Washington D.C. with the United States Department of Agriculture working with community development on a national basis.


EU: Could you talk a little bit about the, sort of the background. When I think of Extension you know, 4-H, agriculture, home ec, and then, can you talk a little bit about community development and how that developed with the Extension...

GT: Well I think historically even though you had, you know the traditional programs have always been agriculture, 4-H, home economics, that kind of thing. Especially the staff chair in every county was involved in a lot of the county activities that really were economic development kinds of issues because as agriculture contributed so much to the economy of each county; the home economists were involved in a lot of issues family related that had impact in terms of urban areas and dealing with family issues and 4-H is the same way, but I think probably, I don't know when community development became a part of the, officially part of the program area, but I think it probably evolved out of those kinds of issues where they really desired to have someone to have the ability to focus on community development issues because, you know, we live right there with the, our clientele, we're right in the county, we experience the same issues they experience and we're involved in many of the issues that impact the farmers, the family or whatever, so to help them become, to be able to adjust with the pressures of different things... For instance, the whole thing about land use planning then it seemed like a natural fit, that Extension would be there, know the local people, know the local resources. I mean it was more than just land use planning, it was economic development, it was... many of the specialists that dealt with community development were economists, and they maybe came out of the agricultural-economic department but yet they were economists so they knew... For instance, what happens if you cut back on timber, you know, especially if they share the revenues with the counties like experiencing right now, we've talked about earlier in Lane County, then there's an impact on not only the ability to do certain government programs, but there's an impact across the county, in terms of livelihood, so what can you do to understand that? What can you do to improve that? How do you help county commissioners stimulate the economy in different ways and help them to understand what happened? I think that's probably where it came from.

EU: So the, was, in this state and in Extension and in the mid 60s was there a push more at this point for more land use planning?

GT: I think so. At one time, the community development program for OSU Extension... we had parts of agents across the state assigned to the program area. In most counties that was the staff chair that had that responsibility, so when we would come together as a community develop a program area and have a meeting, we would have some full-time agents but a lot of part-time agents who had some assignment, like maybe a third of an FTE or .25 or something like that. And as I recall in my memory, we had probably... in the 60s/70s when we were doing most of the land use planning activities, I would say maybe seven full-time Extension agents that worked in the community development program and three or four specialists based at the University, and then again a quarter to a third or maybe even up to a half of an FTE from maybe a staff chair or maybe a home economist or someone like that that was connected to community development issues. But that was the, I think that was the emphasis on what started the program in Oregon perhaps, more than any other thing was the need to tool up and support and get citizen input into county comprehensive planning.

I mean, my job in the field, both in Central Oregon when I was in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties, and here in Marion, Polk and Yamhill was to work with the citizens and educate them as to what this means to them and then also help them with, how do I get my voice heard by the county commissioners who are making decisions about my land, about my resources, and how do I get input into that? So I mean, right now I think even with some of the bills that have been passed in the legislature in the last couple of years go back probably to some of the things that were going on then, for instance the inability... you know people bought their land for a certain purpose and certain plan what they had for it in the future and then county planning came in and maybe if they had intended to develop this land and were zoned exclusive farm use or forestry or something like that. Then their ability to do what they intended before land use planning came in was thwarted somewhat, so some of these bills that were passed in the last four sessions or two sessions I think were aimed at those people who felt that they were not compensated for the value of their land. Now, you know, that's in judgment that I won't pass one way or the other but, so it really was an important issue and had a huge impact on some peoples' lives in terms of their retirement and all of those kinds of things...


EU: Back in the 60's, was this part of the efforts of Governor McCall? Tom McCall?

GT: It did, I think, yeah he was probably the governor but it was pretty well... Senate Bill 100 I think it was, passed the, it was the bill that passed the requirement for land use planning, comprehensive planning in the state of Oregon, and that was in probably, the dates would be the late 60s early 70s, something like that. And I'm not sure when Governor McCall was in office but obviously he was, you know he was part of that process that set it up and then it continued after that, to this day. I mean right now, Marion County is just revising their comprehensive plan to looking at urban growth boundaries, agriculture land, where they should develop. Now they've got... it tended to be around in this area that they put a lot of the development up into the hill country around here, but now, with wine... with wine growing, grape growing, that's become very valuable land too, so they've kind of an issue going on what land is there to develop, and so they're starting to look at increasing the density within the city to deal with some of these issues. It's still an issue out there.

EU: So you, you started working on this resource survey when you were a student...

GT: Yes.

EU: And that was just research, I mean, and writing within Corvallis. Did you travel around the state as a student?

GT: I did a couple of times. My wife and I one time, which was a very interesting trip for us, were asked to go to Grant County and spend as much time, it only took about a week and half, something like that, is we needed to physically graph every county, every house within Grant County to mark it on a map. We were given a set of maps, and I think it had to deal with something related to a program, a government program called the Concerted Efforts Program, and it was looking at the development of the counties and the details... right now I don't recall, so yeah we traveled, I know Grant County very very well, and Grant and Wheeler, which are right next to each other. And then we did some traveling, I did some traveling to other meetings that, but not to often as a student.


EU: When did you graduate then?

GT: In 1970. Took me awhile. I graduated from high school in 1963. Had some interruptions.

EU: And then after you graduated, did you go then, you continued working then with Extension.

GT: I did. That's when I was hired as a faculty member, as what was called an Extension Agent At Large, and that didn't mean that I was of great size, it just means that I could be, I was going to be used in a lot of different areas and with no specific county assignment or I guess I has a specific campus assignment but anyway, the title was Extension Agent At Large, and I worked on a variety of programs. One of them was the Concerted Efforts Program, and I do remember Jean Scheel. He may have been, he was either an assistant director or connected to the community development program somehow, was really the person that was coordinating the Concerted Efforts Program, and it really had a variety of issues connected to community development throughout the state of Oregon.

So I did that, our first child was born right after I graduated in July— or June, and I looked for employment for quite some time and didn't find any, and I had a phone call from a person named Jean Wilder, who was the recreation specialist for OSU Extension, and he had some soft money was for nine months, something like that he said, wanted to know if I wanted to go to work. Well, yes, I did, because my family was starving and I was on food stamps, I think painting my parents house to get food on the table and so I was hired and that started my career in Extension. It was a nine month appointment initially and I think... our daughter was born in 1970, the year I graduated, November. I got the job in September 1970 and we were there in Corvallis for approximately nine to ten months, something like that, and then I, they asked me to take a position in Bend, and work in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County with the Concerted Efforts Program, it was called the Concerted Efforts Program.

EU: So what was your title...

GT: The title was an Area Agent in community development, full time community development, and I was in an office in Bend with, gosh, Turner... somebody... I forget, I can't remember, and we were in the, a building in downtown Bend, we weren't in the Extension office. It was a regional, he was a regional supervisor for OSU Extension, Turner Bond, Turner Bond, and he supervised I think eight or nine counties in southeastern Oregon and that would have been Harney, Crook, Jefferson, Deschutes, Malheur, Lake, and perhaps Klamath, and so I was in the office with him, he was the supervisor, my direct— my administrator and then I worked in Marion Polk, I mean, Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties with the county commissioners and with city councils on community development issues.


EU: So what, did you continue doing the resource planning?

GT: No. Not, after, in fact when I was hired as an agent at large at OSU I had a completely different assignment and they hired another work study student to continue with the resource atlas, resource analysis. In fact, about then they were becoming pretty well standardized and it was becoming... because we had completed all 36 counties and there's a lot of resources once you, once the soil surveys and everything was done for the counties, then of course that wouldn't change, the use of that might, the land might change, so it was, you would have to update more of the social and economic parts of it rather than the natural resource part. So it became more standardized and didn't require quite as much research to develop those publications. But I knew Oregon like the back of my hand because I wrote 36 of those, and so I knew every part of the counties in the state of Oregon by the end of that.

EU: So you said you worked with community development in those three counties. Can you give some examples of what kind of projects you worked on?

GT: Well part of it was land use planning, developing, looking at the land use planning issues and working with the county commissioners. The community development agents were probably more closely tied to the county commissioners of the county than, I wouldn't say the staff chair but as, almost as close as the staff chair. So we were in their offices quite often and then in the planning commission offices of each county, working with those folks. And most of it had to do with citizen involvement kinds of projects. But I do remember in one of the bigger, while I was in Bend working in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson, one of the bigger projects was in the county, Jefferson County in the city of Culver, and it had to do with working with... that area had lost the potato production. It moved over toward the Pendleton northeast area and so they had these potato warehouses, at least in the Culver area, that were big vacant, really very nice buildings that were being used for nothing. And Bramco, a boat manufacturing company moved from, I think it was around Lake Oswego, moved over to Central Oregon into Culver and was working with the city of Culver and developed that, they moved into one of the potato warehouses. But they had an issue with employees, there was, the employees from Lake Oswego area were, gosh, just... they had worked with that product for a long time and knew how to engage in doing the kinds of activities that needed to be done with building boats, manufacturing boats. And when they moved over to Central Oregon area, they were working with an employee base that had been working primarily in the fields and doing agricultural work. So there was a real transition from that into really equipping them to, and so I was working with the city council on some of those issues, the mayor, on some of those issues.


EU: So I mean, did you have to, were they re-training some of these...?

GT: They were re-training and (pause) you know, I don't know all the details of everything they had to do, but it was just kind of a re-orientation of how do we work with people who haven't worked with this kind of an industry before. It was, sometimes that's the shock of you take those things for granted, well we'll just move our business somewhere but you don't realize that there's some other issues that you have to deal with in the process.

EU: When you were there did you have any projects or work with Indians on the Warm Springs?

GT: I'm trying to remember during that that time. You know I don't think I did, I don't think I worked with... That was a little bit of a separate, it was considered almost a separate Extension office, although the staff chair, I believe, of Jefferson County was also administratively responsible for the faculty and staff at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. But my assignment didn't include the Indian Reservation at that time. Now later, yes. When I was with the family community leadership program, which was, you know you have to jump forward 10 years, 12 years maybe even, then we were actively engaged and involved in training some of the people from Warm Springs Indian Reservation in leadership development and public policy, how to work with public policy. In fact, we had, out of 10 or 12 state training institutes in the FCL program, Family Community Leadership program, they were at Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and we used to go to their agencies. But the way it was set up, this is jumping ahead a little bit...

EU: Yeah should we save that?

GT: Okay, yeah.

EU: So that we can do this chronologically...

GT: Sure, that would be, fit to go there. But remind me because that's an interesting story, very practical and very helpful for us to be engaged with the folk, with the agencies at the Indian Reservation.

EU: Okay let's take a break here.

GT: Okay good, sounds good.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 2 of the oral history interview with Greg Tillson.

Greg, we're up to about the mid '70s, you're living in Bend?

Greg Tillson: That's right, I think it would be probably '72, '73, '74, something like that.

EU: And you had one daughter at this time?

GT: Right. Our oldest daughter's Kerry, and then while we were living in Bend, our second daughter, Kristy, was born at St. Charles Hospital which is no longer there incidentally. St. Charles is still there, but there's a huge new hospital facility with really great training rooms, cause I've used them as an Extension agent in Bend now that, I think they serve as a regional hospital.

EU: So, what was your next move then, career wise?

GT: Well, I applied for a job in a position in Salem, which worked in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties, which I was able to get and I moved over there probably, well it was right after whenever it ended in Bend, but it was the mid-70's, something like that. And I worked as a Tri-County Agent, an area agent, in community development for Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties in community development, which really focused on land use planning here in this area.

EU: How did you divide your time between the three counties?

GT: That was, I spent half of my time in Marion County, which was, had more cities. I think there are 18 incorporated cities, something like that as I recall, in Marion County. Gosh, that seems like an awful lot, but I think it was a number, and then a third of my time was in the other two counties, Polk and Yamhill counties. It mainly was because there were more, population was higher in Marion County, more incorporated cities, more of this urban/rural interface that had to be dealt with in land use planning, and Marion County has been for many many years one of the higher producing counties in agriculture in the state of Oregon, in fact if not the highest. Right now it's horticulture I think that leads this area. So it's very high hay, ag production, which results in a lot of conflicting uses between urban and rural setting, potentially at least.


EU: So who did you work with mostly? Did you continue working with the county commissioners?

GT: I did. We had to work with the county commissioners in all three counties, and I tried to stay very closely engaged with them, tried to meet with them once a week at least. Not an official meeting but at least contact with them, same with the county planning departments, and then worked with what was called Citizen Advisory Committees, and in... maybe this is where I got 18. 18, there were 18 Citizen Advisory Committees in Marion County, and similar numbers, although not quite as many in the other three counties, other two counties. So I would meet with the chairman and I would also meet with the committees when they were having meetings and discussing the comprehensive plan for their area and having questions about soil types, or economic issues, take those resource analysis along with me and also look at the land use law, what was passed in the legislature, tried to educate the committees and the citizens and what that meant to them, what their options were, put out a monthly newsletter to... I think there were 12- to 1500 people, pretty consistently in the time that I was an area agent for this area that received that newsletter, and that newsletter was, it really aimed at educating people in terms of the whole issue of comprehensive land use planning. So anything that would be tied to that, I would try to highlight within the newsletter. And it also, I guess it also included a list of when the committees were meeting, who the chairmen were, what were some of the committee businesses, business activities that they did.

EU: Were you still involved with the urban growth boundaries and setting those?

GT: Right that was all part of it, there had to be that discussion between the rural advisory committees and the cities, where they interfaced and how they're going to work through where the urban growth boundaries should be set, which is different than the city limits. You have an urban growth boundary and then you have the city limits, so that land in between usually, it was pretty well assured that eventually that was going to be an urban, some kind of an urban use, but it was a transition zone between urban and rural. Yeah that was... a lot of discussions about how that would take place. Of course each city had their own, well, I wouldn't say each city had their own city planning department but because some of them weren't big enough to have that and they used the county or something like that. But there were these discussions that had to happen between city government and county government and how all these things fit together. And then you also had requirements from the state of Oregon, in terms of what were the expectations that the state had. So you had a number of issues to deal with. And still do, but especially then because land use planning hadn't been around and it was a new thing, and it was something that everyone was trying to grasp and get a hold of and see what it meant to them. It was quite interesting.


EU: Could you talk a little bit about this whole concept of the urban growth boundaries and what the issues were involved and why that happened?

GT: Well the urban growth boundary was a boundary that was set up for basically future growth and tried to guide... help decision-makers in terms of how to deal with future growth of the city, and it had issues dealing with... it was economic issues but there were certainly, probably one of the most important one was land use issues, or um, agricultural issues, and trying to cut down on the conflict between urban and rural or urban and agriculture uses. You live out in the country, you have dust from plowing and such, so you know, if the city encroaches upon these things and you need to have spraying going on or something like that for crops, then you have all these issues that you have to deal with and so the urban growth boundary was one of the things to try to set some kind of limitations and where urban growth was going to go, because the valley has very valuable agricultural land and it's a high level of production of crops, different kinds of crops, so you wanted to use the soil type that was not as good a soil type as the ones that were growing the very valuable crops. So yeah real conflicts, because cities usually developed in areas where the two met and we had some issues to deal with.

EU: Is this whole concept particular to Oregon? Do other states have urban growth boundaries the same process?

GT: I think so. You know I'm not as familiar with other states... I do know that other states have had land use planning efforts and they do deal with urban growth boundaries. I couldn't specifically say what states. One of our Extension specialists, Jim Pease, came from the East Coast, and he worked, he was a specialist in the Department of Geography and he was one of the specialists that worked with us as agents to help advise us on land use issues, and I know he had a very good grasp of what was happening around the United States. We had questions and issues, or we needed to have research done on any kinds of land use issues, that's the person we would call on, and then he would connect perhaps with someone in the soil department that... and they would work together on doing some research on whatever issue, and that's why the agents and the university work so well together. You had the taking the information out to the citizens indeed, and what we did in community development, and you had the research basis from agriculture and geography and all of these, on campus that you could draw from. It was a really good connection.

EU: So when you were working here in these three counties, did you have many contacts then with Corvallis...

GT: Yes, all the time.

EU: ...for meetings or trainings or...

GT: Sure. They would be training the agents. Many times we would have... we could ask the specialists to come up and talk with community groups and they would bring up a slide program or just a question and answer session. We developed a game that tried to help educate people, a land use planning game, it was a little bit like a monopoly game and that was used throughout the state of Oregon and it had... it was real life issues. It had laws that we incorporated into the games and development procedures and so you could play that with citizens groups in kind of a... rather than a lecturing way it would be an interchange and then you'd debrief the whole session and see how, what they retained from that.


EU: Did you have conferences or meetings with your colleagues in similar positions around the state?

GT: Usually we had one meeting a year at least with the community development agents, and that included the field agents and the specialists from campus, and that would include program planning where we would look at the year coming up and try to see what we could do together as either area agents or working with the specialist, and then plotting out the strategy for the coming year. Most of the time what we had... Extension varied over the years but we might have something like a five year program that we would have to develop. It became less and less time as we went... the longer I stayed with Extension; our planning time frames are shorter and shorter because things change faster and faster. So we... gosh I believe that when we first started there was a 10 year program planning activity, and we'd all get together and plan on how we could cooperate and coordinate that kind of thing as a program area. Then it went down to a five year, and then I believe it was maybe down to a two year, and I'm not sure what Extension is doing right now but it... it's just the signs of the time where things change so rapidly that you... 10 years, you couldn't guess what going to happen necessarily in 10 years.

EU: Was this the time you went back to graduate school?

GT: I started graduate school when I was in Bend, in the mid '70s. [pause] And I was trying to remember... I think I... I'd have to look but I think I... my Master's degree, I think I received it in 1977, '78, something along in that time.

EU: And what was your degree in then?

GT: In resource geography with a focus in agriculture, agricultural geography, because that's what we were dealing with here in Marion, Polk and Yamhill County.

EU: Was it important to get this degree then as far as your career then?

GT: Oh yes, right. It was important not only to become more effective in Extension, but also... you could be hired with a Bachelor's degree but you couldn't receive tenure unless you had at least a Master's degree, and I think it's even become more... you know, PhD level is becoming more and more critical in that area in terms of a career in Extension, but the... my thesis was on these rural sub-divisions and the impact that they were having on agricultural land use so it was very appropriate for me. I worked with the planning department of Marion County in the development of the thesis so it was something that very much applied to the work that I was doing, the two fit together very well.

EU: You talked a little bit just before about some of the changes that were going on. Could you talk about that a little bit more? The changes in community development in the Extension Service and how that impacted your work here in Marion County?

GT: Well, I think the... I mentioned earlier that the number, probably the high number of Extension agents working in community development across the state, this is not at the campus level but in the state... I think it was six or seven full-time agents, and that became, as time went on, became less and less because the reality was we were finishing a lot of the planning efforts throughout the state. Counties were developing comprehensive plans and it just wasn't... the interface with some of the Extension offices and land use planning became less and less because we were helping with that issue. So there was a little bit of a transition in numbers. I think by 1980 there was... I worked in three counties, there was a person Dick Beck who worked in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah County. There may have been like another couple of half-time agents and perhaps one more full-time agent so it was less and less, and we had, we still had a good number of specialists who continued to work in community development. We had Jim Pease who was in geography, Bruce Weber who was in ag econ, and there's some that I'm just not recalling right now, but we had a person in soil science that we were able to call on and get help from just about any time we wanted. I can't think of his name right now.


EU: What was your next move then in the '80s and why did you leave Marion County?

GT: Well, that's kind of an interesting story. Marion County was... we were doing very well programmatically. Then all of a sudden in the paper one morning, we found that the county treasurer had invested funds in some kind of investment strategy that didn't... that lost nine million dollars. Well rather than just take the nine million dollar loss, what he then did was call what's... he rolled it over. Well that went from nine million to 18 million and every county department had to come up with cuts and the county commissioners basically laid out what that would be and Extension had to come up with cuts in Marion County, and so I had developed a process, a decision making process with some other folks in community development to help... it was actually to help people when you're dealing with issues and you have different priorities, how do you go about selecting what is the highest priority for a land use planning activity for instance? It could be used in any setting. Well, Wilbur Bloom, the staff chair for Marion County asked me to use that with the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Extension Service and that's... the highest priority that they came up with in terms of the cuts was the community development program, so my program was eliminated. I was probably one of the few agents that actually led a program, or led a process that eliminated your own program, which is a little ironic. So I still... but the good thing about Extension Service has always been their commitment to faculty and staff. So I still continued to work in Polk and Yamhill, I just increased the amount of time that I spent there. I kind of worked out of my car and my trunk, cause although I did have an office over in Dallas, it had to be kind of put together very quickly and then I spent a little more time in McMinnville, Yamhill County.

And then also, right about the same time, there was a program that was funded through the Kellogg foundation that we were... to six states in the west. It was called the Family Community Leadership Program, and it came through Extension but the Rural Development Center at Oregon State University, which worked with Extension and rural development folks within the universities within the west, and the County Extension Homemakers or the Extension Homemakers from every state was involved in the development of the proposal and it was funded by Kellogg and so I was hired as... each state, each one of the states, and let's see how good my memory is, it's Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado, were the states that were involved in the program. A state coordinator was hired for each program and then there was a regional coordinator which was located in the rural development office at Oregon State University.

I was hired as the state coordinator for Oregon, and then actually my office was moved to campus in the rural development center, and so I was housed with the director of rural development, which his name was Russ Youmans and the regional coordinator was Carol Culler for the FCL program and that's when I started... and that was probably, gosh, I think that's probably somewhere in the mid-'80s, something like that. I don't know the specific date but I worked with that program up until the time I retired. I think I commuted from here in Salem to Corvallis for about 20 years, so it must have been about 20 years of coordinating the program. We went from a Kellogg funded program, which provided... it was three or four million dollars for the total program in the six states. Oregon's portion of that was 120, 130,000 every year for the first few years. That was matched of course by Oregon State University Extension Service, I don't know what the ratio exactly was, but what the intent and the purpose of the program was is to work with women and to educate... provided education process to help women become involved in public policy issues and so we started that program not knowing a lot about what to do, to tell you the truth. We had to do a lot of research in terms of what worked well, what didn't work well, in terms of leadership development issues, in terms of public, analyzing public policy issues and how to testify, and how to develop campaigns that would help you get your point across at the community level. If you wanted an issue to become part of the policy within the county or city or state or nation, it could be at any level.

EU: Was this involved with, or were you connected with the home ec leadership training with Alberta Johnston?

GT: Yeah. Alberta Johnston was... Alberta was an assistant director then, and she was more administrative and involved in that, but it was involved with Extension Homemakers and Pat... The program leader for the home economics program, first name was Pat, and I'm embarrassed that I don't know her last name but she was the one who was really the Extension Homemaker side, actively involved in that, and Russ Youmans was the leader for the rural development program and was very much involved at the state level and the regional level in that program. We had people from Extension on the... we had a board of directors that guided the program, and that consisted of Extension Homemakers, it consisted of program leader in home economics and then input from community development. I was kind of the staff for that board, but they basically gave the vision and the direction for that program, over the next 20 years. The folks changed, we had representatives from the counties involved in the program.

When the FCL program started initially, because we hadn't ever done this before, we didn't know quite the curriculum to develop and the model of implementation and how to implement it. We started in four counties in Oregon, and the reason we did that... those four counties had community development agents, and that agent was actively involved in coordinating the program locally. It was a train the trainer program, where we would recruit volunteers from the county and initially when we did it, it was, as I mentioned, it was four counties. We had four people from each county that the agents recruited. Usually it was a combination of the home economist and the community development agent working together and those 16 people went to a regional training institute in Portland and we were there for, I think around seven days and we had an intense training activity going on with these 16 people. They signed up and said yes to it with the knowledge that they were going to come back and they were going to train people within their state. So we had 32 people, actually it was a few more than that, but the first cadre of folks that came from the six states were... we had a few more people than four from each, I think there were like, close to 60.


They would go back to their states and then take the information and the curriculum, which was very very weak that first year, because we didn't know really a whole lot about what was needed and we had to test it and research it and field test it. So they went back with that information and started doing train the trainer around their states, beginning in the counties that they came from, although some of the states decided to go at a state level, so they recruited people for state-wide use. We went to a county level. So those 16 people, there's four from each county, would go back and train people within their specific counties. And that was... that happened for three years. We did a regional state training, or a regional institute for 3 years and then they would come back and we would do state training institutes within the state of Oregon. Those 16 people, those original 16 people... that first year we had a state training institute which we recruited people from the counties. We had 130 people at an institute at the coast. It was a five day institute.

EU: Could you talk a little bit about the curriculum that you developed over the years and what exactly were your... what kind of sessions did you have? What exactly were you training?

GT: Yeah it was really, it was very much a train the trainer program. What we expected of the people is that they not only go to the institute but then they go back to their counties and take the material that we provided for them, and the model of training that we provided for them and implement it locally. We had... the curriculum was, gosh, there were six areas and I can't recall the exact areas, but leadership development was a big area. We had public policy analysis as a large area. Group process was a large area in the curriculum base because every one of these groups that are successful at the local basis usually had to work within a group setting, so if you didn't know how groups evolved and how they grew and some of the issues that happen when you first form, and then all of a sudden you hit conflict after the third meeting and you're wondering, man this is not working right, because we shouldn't have conflict. Well, no, you're going to have conflict at some point in time in this group process, so as they understand the process locally they don't get discouraged that they hit the wall and this thing isn't working. So we provided the train the trainer curriculum. It would actually be a specific model of training. This is what you do, this is how many minutes it takes, this is the exercise that we want you to do, this is what we want you to lecture on, this is the group activity that we want you to have them involved in, because it has to be experiential for it to work, and that's why the activities at the regional level in the state training institutes were, we would form small groups. We would have a large group lecture on leadership development, and then we'd have a small group activity and assignment which they'd get their experience leadership development and find out about it. So it was not lecture, it was very much interaction and then feedback at the end of that.


EU: So you were focusing on these leadership skills as opposed to specific issues? What kind of issues that they might... I guess in each area they would have different political issues or different environmental issues...

GT: Absolutely. If they knew the process involved and how policy becomes law or maybe it doesn't become law, but how it gets implemented, then they can apply that to any situation. It's the same thing with leadership. And it's the same thing with group process, and it's the same thing with campaigning, you know, how do you run a campaign? It doesn't matter what the issues is, it just matters how effective you are in terms of leading a group. So those are the kinds of things that happened. We had a combination of Extension Homemakers and community volunteers involved in the programs. So Extension Homemakers was looking at expanding their base and seeing... you know, looking at new programs, looking at... they were very much small group oriented at the county level, where they take on projects, and this fit into that. Some counties were more involved in that than others were but it was very much a partnership between Extension and Extension Homemakers. I can't over-emphasize the partnership part of it because what we call, what we really, our volunteers were considered, these trainers that we train were considered our staff, and they had to sign a letter, I mean, an agreement that they wouldn't break over into an advocacy roll, that it would be an educational roll that they would be involved in and if it did happen, that they felt like they couldn't go to a meeting and talk about an issue because they were just so strongly involved in it, then they needed to back off and get someone else to do that, because Extension, you know our reputation is in educational institution was on the line there. So we had to make sure it was an educational process. So we had them sign that and then also they had to guarantee that they would give back... For the amount of training that we gave them, they had to give back 32 hours, and I think we had... I forget what the amount of original training that we had developed for them, but they had to give back 32 hours of volunteering at the county level, teaching others. They filled out a, much like a report, like an Extension agent would, and we knew how many people they contacted, we knew how many hours they gave, we knew the topic that they taught on, and then we compiled that and used that in our efforts to really support the program and also, interestingly enough, we used all of that data to go back to Kellogg and show them how effective the program was.

EU: So did this evaluation process was built into the grant and your whole all the work?

GT: At the very beginning, the people who developed the grant felt it was critically important that an evaluation component be involved. And it was heavily financed. An outside evaluator that wasn't part of any of the states was selected and they developed a process that... the first thing that happened when a volunteer came into the program is they did... they filled out an evaluation document and then that was, that same document was, they re-used that, say, a year from that point in time to see the change, so it was a benchmark kind of a thing, and then they measured the change of each individual. And there was such a dramatic drastic change in the people that were involved in the program, we were able to take that, go back to the Kellogg Foundation and get another two year grant to... for the FCL program, which from what I understand, doesn't happen too often with the Kellogg Foundation. They'll fund something and then they'll expect the state or the volunteer organization or whatever to pick that up, but they were so impressed with the information, the data, the change that the local volunteers had experienced that they wanted to extend it. Then, I mean essentially, I talked to you about this before, but it went nation-wide, and all 50 states were involved in the program that third round. We had two rounds that involved the six states, and I think the reason it took that... the reason was we were refining the curriculum every year and at the end of that process we had a curriculum base that was just excellent, it was just a very support... I kept it out of my, in my own garage out here in case I need to use it for consulting work or something, I'm not sure, but it was, it was just an excellent curriculum and so it took 5 years to get that refined and tested and field tested and evaluated, but anyway, we went back to the Kellogg foundation. [cough] Excuse me, and they agreed to finance the program in all 50 states, if the states would contribute some money, and all of them did, so from... in six short years it went from six states to 50 states, which was a major accomplishment.

EU: I'd like to continue with some more questions but let's take a break right now.

GT: Sure, okay, sounds good.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 3 of the interview with Greg Tillson.

Greg, could we continue talking about the Family Community Leadership program? You had talked a little bit about, you had gotten three, went through three grant cycles and it had extended nation-wide. Did you travel much then to other states?

Greg Tillson: Yeah, especially as it related to curriculum, and I guess the implementation model. We met a lot with the six state coordinators and the regional coordinator. The main purpose was to refine the curriculum, so each state was kind of given a certain segment of the curriculum to focus on, and we met twice a year typically with the six state coordinators and we would go over what we we're doing in the states, looking at the implementation model, things that were working right, things that weren't working, looking at the curriculum, who's found some new curriculum items that we could add to our base. So we did that but we were also... we served as in a sense staff for the other six states, the state coordinators. So after we would... we staffed, the six state coordinators staffed the regional institute that we would have and most of, I think every one of those was in Portland. Then we were asked to, each state would ask a state coordinator to come in and help train the trainer in their states. So I traveled to all six states and a couple of them more than once, and same with the folks from the other states came to Oregon. Not as much as at our state training institute but the regional office was in Corvallis, was at the Western Rural Development center, so we would have most of our meetings there.

But the real joy of that program was to see the change in the volunteers, in the women that were involved in it. I'm not sure I mentioned it before but there was one woman named Kate Lily who was in Douglas County, was in the Roseburg area, as I recall, and she was involved in the team that went to Kellogg to basically share how she had changed over the process of the grant. She had to get up and make a presentation to the folks at this meeting, and there were like 100 and some people there representatives from every state in the Union and she went, oh I don't know, 10 or 12 feet up to the microphone and... the way she started that was says, "It took me..." At this time she had been in the program for five years. She said, "It took me five years to go 10 or 12 feet." Meaning that over the process of the program she's gotten the confidence that she knew she could do something like this even though she may have been a little nervous so to see the development in the people involved in it was just very gratifying and a lot of people were elected to public office, a lot of folks started a new career, a lot of people got policies changed in their county or city or even in the state. So there were some real... the outcome of it was just more than we what we imagined I think when we first started it.


EU: So after the grant ended then, and with this record of success, it became, it was then continually, continuing funded from Extension?

GT: Right. In fact, when we first started, we knew that the grants would end, and I think it was part of our own learning process... we started looking at well, what happens when the end? What do we do? We actually developed a strategy to start looking at how do we partner with folks and how do we institutionalize the program into Extension and into the University, and as noted earlier when I was talking to you, I was the state coordinator for the program for 20 years and the program was only funded from Kellogg, not even at a full time level at the max of six years, so we were very successful. And the only reason that we were able to do that was because of the results that were happening with the volunteers. People who looked at these programs and felt that it was valuable for their county to be involved and engaged supported it because volunteers went in and talked with them and said this is how it's changed my life, this is why I think you should support it. So it was very much a goal at the beginning to not see this end without having some way to continue to support it throughout the year.

The volunteers gave a lot. When we were valuing the dollar value of the volunteers, it was amazing that in kind contribution that they were giving back to the Extension Service. Some of them stayed with the program for 15 years, and just continued to give back and give back and give back, even though their contract had been fulfilled and their hours of payback had been given. It's like having another faculty member in the county, and out there with the ability to teach others on how to become more effective in their community groups, be it a church group, a community group, a youth group... I think I mentioned to you that toward the last three or four years we had eight - 10 youth, 4-H youth coming to the state training institute and being involved in that, so it was adult and youth working together and learning how to do that. Sometimes that sounds easy but it's very difficult because sometimes either the youth doesn't trust the adult, or the adult says, you know, what do the youth have to contribute, that kind of thing. But when they went through the institute together, the appreciation levels just changed dramatically for each one's contribution, so that was very rewarding too.

And as I think I mentioned at the beginning, it was a woman's program and it was through... the reason it started out that way, it was Extension Homemakers, which I think is almost entirely women involved in those study groups, they wanted to become more effective in community... public policy activities and so that was the focus group. As the years went on and the funding from Kellogg changed and we were involved in offering the program to the community, you had to offer it really to the community regardless of whether you were a man or a woman or whatever because of discrimination kinds of issues so it opened up to men, women, youth, and expanded from there, which was a very healthy kind of thing, even though it did that, the Family Community Leadership program at a state training institute of... toward the end we were training 70-80 people each time, was probably 85 percent women and maybe 15 percent men, something like that, so we always tried to keep that ratio very high for women and not change the program. And we had a training, we had volunteer groups come from every county... all 36 counties participated at one point in time. The requirement for a county being involved in the program is that they would have an agent that would work with this volunteer group, so you're just not training 6 volunteers and shoving them back into their county and not have any support staff at all, or help. So the county Extension offices were actively involved with helping volunteers with material productions and... if they needed to duplicate a lesson, they could go into the Extension office and get help. They knew who these people were and just weren't walking in off the streets so there's a real partnership in that way too.


EU: Earlier in the interview I had asked you about your involvement with the folks out at Warm Springs. Could you talk about that again and the involvement on the reservation? With the leadership training, this program.

GT: Sure. I think that probably started because we had close relationship with Clint Jacks, who is... Clint Jacks was the staff chair in Jefferson County for many years but also was the staff chair for Warm Springs. He filled both rolls and was really involved, one of the biggest contributors and supporters, I think, over the years to community development in a sense. Even though he was an ag agent and worked in agriculture, he had... because he worked with the county commissioners in Warm Springs, was really engaged and involved in community development issues. And I worked with Clint when I was over there in Central Oregon earlier in my career, so we kind of knew him, and he said, "Well why don't you think about having the institute at Warm Springs Retreat Center? (Kah-Nee-Ta). And so what typically, what we did is we sent out a proposal to the different places and say, "We're training so many volunteers and we can only spend so much per volunteer, can you provide lodging and food to do that for us?" And you know the one that was the best to work with across the state was Warm Springs, the resort there in Warm Springs. They were so helpful; it was such a great place to meet.

What we did was case studies. Because I remembered earlier I said something about the institutes were very experiential in their nature, so each small group was given a case study that they needed to take at the beginning of the institute and then make a presentation at the end of the institute on what they, how they would solve it or what they would do with this case study. They presented to the large institute participants. So people got used to making presentations, problem solving, leading, following, all those things. The case studies were from the agencies at Warm Springs. So Clint Jacks recruited the department heads for seven or eight different agencies that worked on Warm Springs and said, "We've got this group coming in, would you work with them? You can give them a problem; they would love to work with you to solve it, and then report back to you on what they see about this issue." And so that's exactly what happened. We would take them in vans out to these agencies which was... logistically was really a challenge because we had typically eight small groups at the institute so we'd have to van them out to the agency, come back, get another group, go to another agency, come back, get another group and we were traveling all over the Warm Springs.


EU: When you say 'agency'...

GT: Well, department. Department would probably be better. So it would be...

EU: So, within the reservation, with in the...

GT: Yeah, children and family, or family and children. It could be something dealing with natural resources, it could be... most of them were social departments, dealing with social issues of some sort from the reservation there. And so they would give them a problem. The small group would then work the rest of the week on the problem and then the agency head, maybe anyone else that, or department head, sorry. Department head would come out to the last day and hear a presentation from the small group on how they would work with that particular issue or problem. So it was really co-learning together, and very valuable. It wasn't theoretical, it was very applicable to problems and issues, and we did that with... in fact, we had, we started recruiting trainers from Warm Springs and I think we had a minimum of four trainers each year, and their responsibility was to go back to Warm Springs and teach the different groups at Warm Springs. So it became very much a partnership with Warm Springs.

EU: Did you find the issues that you worked with... was it different on the reservation than in other counties or other districts?

GT: Well yes and no, but you know the social issues seem to... they're struggling, alcoholism and things like that were... so some of them were very tough issues to deal with. But one of the things that was very good too, just recalled as you were mentioning that, is that we would have... it was kind of a cultural interchange. We would have them come and talk to us a couple of different times about the culture at... usually it was one of the chiefs from one of the tribes or something there, and then we would go to like 4-H for instance at Warm Springs would have the dance, the Indian dance groups and such. So we'd take all of our participants and go to a dance in the evening and the kids would get dressed up in their traditional garments and teach us. And we would get involved with the dancing, as you can imagine. [laughter] Looking at me especially, involved in some of the dance. But it was very much a cultural educational process too. It was very valuable for us, and I really am glad that we started making that partnership. Plus, it was very much a... they were able to offer prices that other resort areas around the state could not.

One thing I might mention that... volunteers had to pick up a cost of this also. The University... when we had the Kellogg grant, the grant paid for the cost of these initial trainers to go to this week-long institute, and the grant also had funds for dependent care, so if a woman had a baby or something like that, or an older child, the grant would pick up the cost to, of that dependent care so it would release her to go to the institute. Or if it was an elder, a mom or dad lived with them, pick up the cost of somebody coming in and staying. But it was always a cost-shared process. The volunteers, not only did they give their time but they also had to pay a fee to come to the institute, and we were always... we never had to go out and look for recruits; people were always interested in going.


EU: Does that program continue today?

GT: No, I don't think it's an active program today. I think it ended the year I retired.

EU: Is there a cause and effect?

GT: Yeah... well I think with anything there has to be someone who continues to lead and bring it forward and I think... the outflow of it is still having impact, and the people engaged in it I still hear from, from time to time, and they're still doing community activities, so it's... in a sense the quote "official program" as I know, I could be wrong here but as I know, is not going on at OSU but the volunteers are still doing a lot of... we trained over 1500 volunteers over the years. Now that, perhaps that doesn't sound like much, but if you think these volunteers are contributing so many hours back to their county and they've done it for 10 or 15 years, and they're teachers, they're trainers. They may have a workshop that reaches 30, 40, 50 people. That's a significant impact, and that continues. It is interesting to me, the name of the program... It used to be called Extension Home Economics, and now it's called Family and Community... Family and Community, I forget the actual official name but... and the Family Community Leadership program was shared between community development and Extension home economics, that's where the... administratively I was half time administratively to Extension Home Economics and half time to community development and so my boss... I had one in each one. And so to have the name, "Family Community Development" or something like that is kind of an interesting spin off maybe a bit in terms of what impact the Family Community Leadership program had. I don't know specifically if that's what the full reason behind it, but I like to think it had some impact.

EU: Were you also then involved in... In the last 10 years of your career there involved volunteer development? You were a volunteer development specialist? Is that right?

GT: Yeah. It seems like I've always had either area assignments, like multiple counties, or split appointments throughout my whole career within Extension, and it became very interesting the last 10 years or so, maybe even 12 years. I had always remained the state coordinator for the Family Community Leadership program. That program started to not have as many counties involved the last 10 or 12 years, so I also was... since I was actively involved... Oh that was the other curriculum item. I think you mentioned earlier, volunteer development in the Family Community Leadership. So it was leadership development, group process, public policy and volunteer development. And as a result of that, we were in need for some folks at the state with Extension to kind of track and train what was going on in the area of volunteer development. So I became half-time in volunteer development, half-time in Family Community Leadership and served as a specialist in that.

We started what was called the Volunteers In Partnership program, VIP program, and that was in coordination with the counties, and it was not only to have a curriculum... we developed a curriculum for volunteer development. Many of the agents, not only are they subject matter experts, but they also have to lead and train volunteers, and that in some cases they didn't always have the educational background to do that. So we developed a curriculum, a volunteer development curriculum... wrote it, developed it, and it's still, as far as I know it's still being used. I'm still using it in my work off and on. And we would work with the county agent; it was primarily aimed at agents and we would train agents in volunteer development issues and also other interested folks, but the main audience was agents. So as the staff development component of OSU Extension service grew, because before, I think Glen Klein was probably like a staff development guy for leadership development and even volunteer development, and he did a lot of that, but perhaps it wasn't as recognized organizationally as it was maybe that last part that I was involved with Extension.

We had an organizational change in terms of... for one thing everybody went into departments on campus and we changed some of our own units within Extension. And some of the things that I did with FCL in volunteer development naturally fell within kind of a staff development framework, and so I started becoming more involved in the staff development unit, maybe that's a little later in the story, but that was kind of the transition in how things started working together in terms of volunteer development and leadership development, VIP and FCL and all these acronyms...


EU: At the end of your career then, what was your last job?

GT: Well yeah, it was... I had several... I'd always remained coordinator for the Family Community Leadership program. For about a year and half, two years, served as the interim program leader for Extension Home Economics, and that's when Pat Coolican retired and there were some other changes going on and they needed to have somebody kind of work in that position for awhile. Then, at about the same time, Extension formed a staff development unit and they called it the Office of Personnel and Organizational Development, OPOD. And the person that served in that really fell more in line with the things that were going on (she had her PhD in Home Economics, Extension Home Economics) so the reality was, we switched positions. She became the program leader for Extension Home Economics, and I became the department head for the Office of Personnel and Organizational Development and in that position I was... part of my responsibilities was the department head, the administrative head for staff development unit and FCL program and volunteer development, so I had all three of those going. And my role within OPOD was volunteer development. That's what my, that's kind of what I specialized in. We also had a person in evaluation, a person in leadership development, I'm going to miss somebody and that's the shame, but we had five or six people in that unit. And I have kind of a mind block in terms of who those others were so... and that was, we had that, I was in that position probably anywhere from it seemed like it was the last 10 years, or seven, seven to 10 years, something like that.

EU: And then, when did you retire?

GT: That's a good question. I can't even hardly remember the date myself but I think I've been retired about five years. I retired when I was 58, so it'd be about 2003, I think. I had 32 years and 6 months with OSU Extension. Started as a, potentially as maybe a nine month position and 32 years later retired from the organization.

EU: When you look back at the Extension service, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about some of the changes you saw, for good or for bad.

GT: Well probably the biggest change, organizational change, was going into the departments on campus. That was real adjustment for probably all of us; the people within the schools, the colleges, and the departments, and Extension Service, vice versa. I don't think the colleges knew much about Extension, some probably more than others. So there was a real adjustment on their part, I'm sure, in terms of who are these folks and what do they do and how do I relate to them, and also Extension coming in and saying, how do I, in terms of promotion and tenure and all of that, and publication and publications and all of these kinds of things, how do I quote "compete" with the faculty on campus when much of my responsibility, primarily, is to work with clientele groups and to make sure that I am educating the clientele groups and being with them and doing the kinds of things that need to be done, yet at the same time continue to do the publishing that's required for promotion and tenure and now you're within a department and you may have a different review committee looking at your dossier than you did before when it was primarily Extension, even though Extension may still have representatives on there. So it was that transition, I think was the biggest organizational change and as anything happens like that, it's good and bad.

Probably the biggest part was getting adjusted and feeding the two together, and now it's probably operating much differently and much better than what it did initially. I think there were some real struggles to begin with, although I can't say that I ever felt like when Extension went up for promotion and tenure as a faculty member, that they were not treated right and fair and it seemed like we were doing very well in terms of promotion and tenure issues. But it was a little frightening to begin with because it was a big change. I went from... my department in college was in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and I was in the Department of Social Sciences, and I knew now one over there in terms of that. I mean, I had a choice... all of us had a choice of what we wanted to do and we were able to go around to the different colleges and departments and really interview and sit down and talk with the department heads and the faculty members, and mine of course would have been probably either social science or business administration, and I chose social science, cause I wasn't really working in business to the level that I thought that's where my best fit was.


EU: So looking back over your career... I ask this question to everyone about your legacy... what are the things that you are proudest of or found most satisfying?

GT: It has to be the Family Community Leadership program and to see something, an idea, a concept, something that didn't exist be so successful and go from six states to 50 states, and that's just one measurement, but the real measurement was the change of the volunteers that were involved in the program and the change is at the community level. It's really amazing actually when you think back on peoples' lives and how it changed their approach to being, community involvement and their effectiveness as a person in small group settings is just rather amazing. And the impact it had it just continues to go on too, even though I mentioned earlier, there's not a formal project. A lot of the people... you know you were talking about the person... Linda Modrell, is that? Linda Modrell. You see, Linda Modrell was the one early on, we worked together in community development and I think through all of that experience, Linda actually probably gained the confidence; you can ask her when you talk with her, to become county commissioner. But she was the one that was typing up all of the resource atlases and working with Ted Sidor when I first started with Extension in 1966, 67. So you can ask her, see if she remembered. But I think, to me that's biggest, to see the change in people was really gratifying and rewarding.

EU: So in retirement, what have you been doing?

GT: Well...

EU: Relaxing I hope...

GT: Remodeling my house. After retirement we took... I've been really involved in our church, I served as a... we pioneered a church and I served as an assistant pastor in that for a number of years, not doing that any longer. But in... it wasn't too long after we retired that we said... we had to remodel this house, this old farm house that needed to be updated, and we took 10 months, and my wife and I, Cathy, tore it apart and we tore off all the lath and plaster and tore out walls and gutted the kitchen and lived in the trailer out in the driveway and got that done, so that was a big part of it. And then I've... just to keep busy I've been delivering coffee early in the morning, couple days a week, a little extra spending money for like, a trip to Scotland or something like that. We've been doing some travel. We went to Scotland last year and went to a two-week school over there, then went to a two-week tour of Scotland, where revival took place in the Scottish area, so we went to the Shetlands, we went to the Orkneys, we went to the Isle of Mole, and talked to folks and interviewed people. In a sense I'm still involved in some of the same kinds of things, but it's not... you know, no pay.

EU: What kind of... you said you went to a school and you took courses two weeks in Scotland?

GT: Yeah, it was a course... it was a course on dealing with issues on the land that have caused... like where people groups will... something has happened a long time ago and they remember it forever and ever and ever, and how you deal and work through those kinds of issues, conflict kinds of issues. We stayed in an old estate that was like a castle for two weeks. They served us food every day; it was a wonderful place, just so relaxing to be there. We're going to go back. [laughter]

EU: Do you any consultant work here in the state?

GT: I've done a little bit, early on, right after... I've done a couple projects with women in the trades; carpentry, those kinds of things. Some facilitation work, but that's about it. I'd like to do some of that, it's just that I've kind of been out of contact for awhile, I've lost some of the contacts that I've had in the past but I'll probably try to gain some of that back. I would enjoy doing that. I think what I would... a couple areas that I've felt strongly and enjoyed a lot and seem to gravitate toward being involved in more than anything else was... well three areas. One was volunteer development, and the whole thing about staff training for volunteer development. One was strategic planning, helping groups and organizations see what they have and see what they could do in terms of moving to a new future, and the other one was facilitation, working, helping to facilitate groups. Primarily it's planning activities. I worked with the Marion County Food Bank for about three or four years in helping them with strategic planning efforts about where they're going in the future. It was some volunteers but primarily staff in the office and those kinds of things are very rewarding. Many times they've got great ideas and great concepts and great plans but they just don't quite coalesce and they don't quite get it written down in order to make sure they can accomplish their goal and that's what I felt, I feel good about helping a group be able to do that. So that's probably what I would do in terms of some of the work in the future if I did some consulting work.

EU: And your family is still... your daughters are near you?

GT: Yeah, we have... one daughter lives here in town with three... she's got two boys and one girl. I have another daughter who lives in Tigard, a school teacher. She's got three kids. Another daughter, the one that was born in Bend is a nurse and works at Tualatin Hospital in intensive care, something... it's heart, when you come out of your heart surgery, she works. And she has two girls and she's expecting her third one coming up in July. I think that's nine grandkids. [laughter] So it's been a great... Extension has been great for me. For my family, it's been perfect, absolutely perfect. I could not have asked for a better career, I mean, literally, nothing would have worked as good. And so I am so appreciative to Extension as an organization. And I just felt like every time you went out into the community, people liked you because you weren't coming out to bring the law to them or whatever. You were coming out to help them through a problem or a process or you know improve their capabilities to do whatever they want to do so it's been just a great... it's been a great career.

EU: Are there other questions I didn't ask you about or any areas you wanted to talk about?

GT: I don t think of anything right now... No, no that I can think of.

EU: Alright, well thank you very much.

GT: You're welcome.



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