The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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A Century of Extension in the Klamath Basin

Five life history interviews conducted by Chris Petersen and Geoff Somnitz.

July 2015 - March 2016


Remembering Guy Reynolds  July 14, 2015  Location: Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In a joint interview, Linda Weider and Sen. Doug Whitsett discuss the life and work of Guy Reynolds (1920-1995), an Extension Veterinarian who worked for OSU from 1966 to 1981. Weider, who is one of Reynolds' daughters, begins the session by providing details of her father's biography, including his veterinary education, his years in private practice, and his interests away from work. From there, both interviewees comment on his move to OSU, his research, and his activities in the field. In this context, Whitsett also shares memories of his own veterinary practice and the ways in which his work intersected with Reynolds' outreach efforts. Specific topics discussed include Reynolds' work on emphysema in cattle, as well as bovine infertility and diseases of the eye and tongue. The session also covers the methodology used by large animal veterinarians during Reynolds' era. The interview concludes with comments on Reynolds' associations with professional organizations, his life in retirement, and Sen. Whitsett's long connection with the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Alumna Memories and a Career in Real Estate  July 14, 2015  Location: Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In her individual interview, Linda Weider reflects on her undergraduate years at OSU and her life after college. In this, she shares details of her upbringing in Idaho, her academic progression at OSU as a Microbiology major, her social involvements, and her experience of living on the Children's Farm Home outside of Corvallis. She then describes the process by which she and her husband settled in Klamath Falls and raised their family on a 117-acre farm. The session concludes with a discussion of Weider's career in real estate and her thoughts on community life and socioeconomic problems in Klamath Falls.

Klamath Extension Grains and Grasses Agent  July 14, 2015  Location: Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

Rodney Todd begins his interview by providing an overview of his family background and his upbringing, including his early contacts with Extension. He then traces his education at UC Davis and Colorado State University, and describes his first job following the completion of his master's degree, working as an engineer and manager for the Tulelake Irrigation District. Todd next discusses his move to the Klamath branch of the OSU Extension Service, and comments on his early duties, individuals with whom he collaborated, and the interplay between the Klamath branch and the main OSU campus in Corvallis. Other topics covered in the interview include Todd's personal experiences as a rancher; his research on the use of goats for weed control; his participation in barley stripe rust mitigation efforts; and the impact that was made by a host of varietal research demonstration projects. The session concludes with Todd's memories of the 2001 water crisis and his thoughts on the continuing role of the Extension Service in Oregon.

Remembering Charlie Henderson  July 15, 2015  Location: Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

Jean Pinniger's interview focuses largely on memories of her father, the hugely influential Extension Agent, Charlie Henderson (1892-1969). In sharing these memories, Pinniger discusses Henderson's family background and upbringing, his education at Oregon Agricultural College, his move to Klamath County, and the efforts that he led to diversify agricultural pursuits within the Klamath Basin. Pinniger also discusses her mother's activities as a pianist and educator, and her parents' courtship and marriage.

From there, Pinniger returns her focus to her father's career, noting the impact of his introduction of potatoes as a cash crop to the region. She likewise provides her perspective on his leadership with respect to the reclamation of agricultural lands from marshy areas, and his involvement with barley production and weed control. She also discusses her father's social milieu; her memories of the creation and growth of the Klamath Experiment Area; her visit to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II; the spread of 4-H programs following the war; and various accolades that her father received in the later years of his career. The session concludes with notes on Henderson's activities outside of the agricultural sector, and Pinniger's own experience of significant change within the community of Klamath Falls.

Klamath Extension Animal Scientist  March 10, 2016  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In his interview, Ron Hathaway describes his upbringing on his family's ranch, the influence that Extension programs made upon him as a youth, his undergraduate education in Animal Husbandry at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo, and his master's studies in Animal Science at the University of Nevada. From there, he recounts his move to Klamath Falls and the status of the Klamath Extension branch at the time of his hiring; his early impressions of community life within the Klamath Basin; and his initial involvement in outreach and research activities, including a project analyzing the sheep market in Oregon. He then recalls his Ph.D. studies in Animal Science at OSU, noting the research that he conducted on selenium deficiency and the individuals who were important to him, and likewise commenting on the logistical difficulties posed by pursuing a doctorate in Corvallis while working as an Extension Agent in Klamath Falls.

The session then turns its attention to the 2001 Klamath water crisis, including a discussion of the role that the Klamath Extension branch played in helping to bring the community together, and Hathaway's thoughts on how the region might approach water conflicts in the future. The interview also touches upon Hathaway's administrative work, and his involvement with both the Oregon Agricultural Extension Association and the Agricultural Research Foundation. The session concludes with thoughts on change in the region with specific focus on challenges facing agriculture in and around Klamath Falls; Hathaway's perspective on the future of the Land Grant mission going forward; and his sense of the continuing connection between the Klamath Extension branch with OSU's main Corvallis campus.