The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Tony Van Vliet Oral History Interview

November 14, 2013 – 1:00p.m.

Video: “Forester and Public Servant” . November 14, 2013

Location: Van Vliet residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Janice Dilg

1:50:48 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Janice Dilg: Tony, good afternoon. If you would start by introducing us with your full name, and today's date, and where we are.

Tony Van Vliet: Okay, I'm Tony Van Vliet. Today's date is November 14th, 2013, and we are sitting in the living room of my home in Corvallis, Oregon.

JD: So, I think we'll start at the beginning, about when you were born and where, and go from there.

TV: All right, I was born January 11th, 1930, in San Francisco. Grew up in the depression years in that town, and San Francisco at that time, was a, what I call a working class city, not a high expensive city like it is today. People were scrambling to get through the Depression. My dad had emigrated from Holland in 1924, and married my mother in 1926, and he eventually started in the printing business in the early '30s.

My mother was—had five Italian sisters. She's a first-generation Italian. Parents moved from New York, to Utah, to San Francisco right after the great fire. They lived in the very poor section of North Beach, in fact, above a coal yard. The five sisters all married Italians, except my mother. And so we had an interesting group of relatives. San Francisco at that time basically was divided into ethnic neighborhoods. There was North Beach for the Italians; there was the Mission District for the Hispanics. We had Chinatown. We had an area in town which was Russian Hill. We had an area in town, the avenues around the great Golden Gate Park.

And so you had all of these particular groups that were in town. They were mixed in in various areas, and also co-mingled in some places. I went to elementary school at a school called Redding Grammar School, Pine and Larkin. My mother managed apartment houses during the Depression years, and the one I remember is where I started school, was on 1440 Sacramento Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth. I walked three blocks to school, was helped across the busy California street by a big Irish cop that was there, and became a dear friend to all us kids. And then we moved later on to a place on Nob Hill—that is, Sacramento is Nob Hill. We moved to an area called Russian Hill, which was 1145 Leavenworth Street, and overlooked the Broadway Street where there's a big tunnel underneath it. Well, we were right at the top of that, and I watched the Bay Bridge being built, cable by cable, almost.

Later, we moved down to Hyde Street for a short time, and all this time I was commuting and there was basically no cars. We never had a car. Most San Franciscans didn't have cars. We had a great municipal transportation system. And I lived on Green Street during the latter part of the elementary school, and then when to high school from there. So, as we moved further away from Sacramento Street, it became a eight and nine-block jaunt in the morning to get to elementary school. And if we were lucky, we could hop a cable car on Hyde Street, and get there on time. If not, we ran like mad to get there. Later on, when I graduated from elementary school, which was about 1944, we were in the war at that time.

And in 1941, if you look at my class pictures of 1936 and 1939, you will see a large, multi-ethnical class with a number of Japanese students who are close friends. They disappeared off the scene in 1941 like a shot. We never even got to say goodbye to them. It was a pretty traumatic experience for most of the kids in school. So, in 1944, the war was starting to wind down, but most of us played a lot together there in the grammar school, became a group of friends that—I don't want to call them a gang, but very close friends. There was a schoolyard between the Safeway Store and another building that was right off the elementary school [0:05:00], and on Saturdays we would play there, play anything from touch football to basketball. And many of those people basically went on to their own high schools; I went to a different high school than some of them did.

We also were in the Boy Scouts together, and at that time—I joined it in 1942, and it was—we had a very unorthodox troop that didn't particularly like to go to camps, scout camps in the summer. So we took off, and one of the times we took off for Oregon, and we hiked a portion of the Skyline Trail, and ended up at Diamond Lake. We also had great fun on Friday nights, which we tore up several churches' basements over those years, playing touch football in the bottom hall. The Presbyterian Church on Sacramento and Van Ness decided they needed that space, so they moved us over to the First Methodist Church on Clay and Van Ness, and that's where we really ended up.

But we basically had some great ministers at that time in San Francisco, some very famous ones. Bishop Pike at the top of Nob Hill at Grace Cathedral, Wethler at First Methodist, and there was another outstanding guy at Presbyterian Two that were well known and big congregations. And the Boy Scouts did a lot around those particular churches, in odds and ends. So after we came up to Oregon that time, I got sort of enamored with the state, a little bit. It was beautiful country, and for a city boy, that was sort of pretty good.

At the time, in 1944, leaving Redding Elementary, I went to Lowell High. I don't know if you—it's the oldest high school west of the Mississippi. Most of my friends went to Commerce High, and a few went to Galileo. We were not—it was the only school that you could go out of district to. If I stayed in-district, I would have been at Galileo with some of the DiMaggio brothers. And if I went to Commerce with the rest of my friends, I would have been with them down there, and that was a little different school.

And at that time, Lowell High was the school if you wanted to go on to college. First day in school, sheet of paper on the desk. If you're going to the University of California, this is what you take. If you're going to Stanford, this is what you're going to take. No ifs, ands, and buts. They were both—the Stanford one leaned a little bit more towards humanities; California a little bit more towards the science courses. You knew exactly what you were going to take for four years. There was no—there were some electives of course, but that.

So, in 1945, while I was still in scouting, I had started high school. Explorer Scouts that wore green uniforms were just coming on the scene as being an addition to the Boy Scout movement. We got invited to be ushers to the very first United Nations that was put on in the Opera House in San Francisco. And I'll tell you, that was an impressive moment. I don't know if there's very many people around today that were [laughs] ushers there, but it would be fun to know if any of those other troops were around. We had about two or three Boy Scout troops that were exclusively the ushers in that.

Graduated from Lowell, was all set to go to the University of California, and my closest friend, who lived on Pacific Avenue, and we often got on the bus and took the two transfers over to Lowell, was an outstanding basketball player at Lowell High. Lowell High was the championship basketball team under Ben Neff, year in and year out, except occasionally St. Ignatius stuck in there. But he was an outstanding player, and he said, "Well, let's go up to Oregon." Says, "I've got a chance to play up there with Slats Gill. It's got a good forestry school, and you can try out, too." I played summer basketball, but I had to work all through elementary school and high school.

And so I said, "Well, why not? You know, it's got a good forestry school. I was going to take forestry at Cal, I can take forestry up there." So, I got on the train at the station and was waiting for him, and this is how I got to Oregon State. [0:10:01] I waited, and waited, and waited. No Drew; didn't show up. Suddenly, as the train is pulling out, Drew comes along the side, waving to me, saying, "I got a scholarship to St. Mary's. I'll see you around." And here I am on my way to Oregon by myself.

I'd met another person on there who became my—he was from Lincoln High, and we became fast friends and roomed together in Buxton Hall. But we almost got off in Eugene, and the conductor says, "I don't think you guys want to get off here." He says, "I think you want to get off at the next stop." We got off, and lo and behold, there was buses there waiting for us to take us in to campus. And we drove by about this ten miles of hop fields, because at that time we were growing a lot of hops in the Willamette Valley. I said, "What the heck is those?" He said, "That's what they make beer out of." And I said, "Oh." So we pulled up and we went in to the main area of Weatherford Hall, that big arch, and they had the offices there where we had to sign in. And we were assigned our rooms, and we were off to our start in college, in the spring of '48, which is an off-term. Our class card really showed the graduated card of the class of '51, but we were never going to be in that.

At that time, women were living in the Memorial Union, and they were, had their—they had their food line there, and they had their bunks upstairs in the rooms, because it was a shortage with the GIs coming back out of World War II. We had Quonset huts that were filled with ex-GIs, and a lot of ex-GIs up on our floor. In fact, we had the governor, future governor, of Idaho, Andrus, Cecil Andrus, was on the floor below. And several county commissioners, who became county commissioners, were on our floor. And we were the young kids. These were all guys that had been in the war.

So the first thing they told us, they said, "If we hear a peep out of you guys, and you make any noise while we are studying, you are going to be in the shower very fast, and make life very miserable for you." We never made a sound. If we wanted to talk very much, or loudly, you hit that sleeping porch, it was quiet. So we'd go out and go to the library or someplace else. And so that was the introduction to the beginning of my Oregon State career of being at OSU.

JD: So, was that the very first time you were on campus, when you arrived?

TV: That's right.

JD: On the bus? So, what did you know about OSU besides the fact that they had a forestry program? How did someone investigate a college at that point in time?

TV: I don't think they investigated it very much at all. You know, you saw the, what the catalogue was. You saw what the application forms were. You saw the list of schools. You saw that you had to have certain grades to get in. At that time, they were basically, you know, 2.5 at the max. So since I had the grades to get into Cal, I wasn't worried about that at all. And the price of admission was cheap. You know, at that time, tuition was a couple of hundred dollars, even for an out-of-stater.

Your money was pretty precious at that time. You didn't have a lot, and most of the time I had—I worked all the way through college, in the summer time, for the forest service, mostly. And I also was a house manager at one of the fraternity houses, and I also was a bus boy at one of the sororities. So I worked all the way through, and I fought with the registrar for three years, to say, "You know, I've been living in Oregon. I've been working in Oregon." The old story, you know what that is. "Why can't I be made a resident?" And so begrudgingly, in my senior year, I got to be a resident, then lowered the tuition.

JD: So, describe a little more your first impressions coming on campus. You'd been hiking on the Skyline Trail, but you hadn't really spent time in Willamette Valley.

TV: No. Willamette Valley was totally new. The campus was a pretty campus, I thought. I was very impressed with it. The University of California campus isn't that gorgeous. There's a lot of people there for one thing, and it's a lot of buildings that are jammed in. It doesn't have the open space that our campus has, that—which I'm really worried about that we don't lose it [0:15:02], because the quad and some of those areas is really what makes the Oregon State campus really what it is. There weren't half the buildings we have now! [Laughs] So it was fairly open, and I was impressed. I was impressed with the dormitory. We had fun at the, eating down with the girls in the MU.

And the classes were—like engineering, you were told under no uncertain terms in your first class in forestry the old engineering thing: Look on your right and left. This guy isn't going to be around at the end of four years. No women at that time. We didn't break the gender barrier until about 1955. And finally when that dean retired who was not enthusiastic about women being in there, but we had one—we started to get more women. Now if you look at the School of Forestry it has got, probably 40 percent are women, which is good.

JD: You've seen some pretty remarkable change in that time.

TV: Yeah, yes.

JD: So, clearly you had already decided on forestry when you went off to college.

TV: Yes. Yes.

JD: What led up to that decision?

TV: Oh, I think—the tendency looking, when you first pick forestry, is that you're going to be sitting on a horse looking into the sunset over a whole bunch of trees, okay? You get a rude awakening to that in the coast range, first of all, if you walk through it doing any kind of compass work or anything like that, like we did in our forestry engineering. You quickly get to see that it's not a very glamorous way to go for some of us who maybe didn't want to go that way. East side of the mountain, we call tennis shoe forestry. You can walk through it on tennis shoes. West side, you'd better wear boots and wear a lot of brush—brushy clothes, because you're going to run into devil's club, and everything else.

The other thing that sort of got a little bit disenchanting—I was working on, well, the first year, between high school and coming here, I worked on a hot shot fire crew in northern California. Now, at that time a hot shot fire crew is not like the hot shot fire crews today. They've got magnificent gear and everything. There, we had strictly our clothes, a canteen, and the equipment, and we'd go up and we'd fight fire. Well, we fought some bad fires, and that sort of made me think a little bit, "Now, do I really want to get into this kind of work?" Because it is an arm of forest management. The other thing is that in the second year at college, I spent my time on a lookout, on three different lookouts in central Oregon, Hager Mountain down to Silver Lake. Loved that part of it, but it was very isolated.

So I came back, and I changed majors to forest products, which is now called wood industry—wood science and engineering. They changed the name of the department. It was a three-person staff, and a very relatively small group of students, but you were trained to be basically in the manufacturing side, the business side, of the forest industry. So on one side forest management grows the trees; forest engineers get it out. Forest product students basically machine it and put it out to the public. There was no trouble with jobs at the end of that time. And today it's the same way in wood engineering, or wood science and engineering.

The basic place you'll end up with in that particular curriculum is you end up either starting out and eventually being a plant manager. You could end up on the scientific side of the laboratory. You could end up on the business side being in the brokerage business, or you could be doing testing work for one of the testing associations. You could be a lead man in one of the major timber companies working in forest products research. So, it had a lot of avenues, and our people were always hired, as most of the foresters were. Got a little sticky wicket for forest management students when the Forest Service started to shut down the aspect of doing cruising, and a lot of their sales contractual work. [0:19:59] But the forestry school is booming today, a large number of students. The three curriculums are still in place, with an additional forest science one, which is very oriented to forest science and all aspects of it—ecology, worldwide mapping from satellites, that kind of thing.

JD: So you clearly had made a decision about which branch you wanted to go into. Were there any particular courses you took that really helped kind of solidified that decision, or that excited you about possibilities that you would use after graduation?

TV: That's a good question. We had three professors in the department at that time. Bill West was department head. Jim Snodgrass was teaching timber mechanics, which I really liked very much. Bill West was teaching wood utilization, several courses in wood utilization, which included wood identification. And Mack McKinney at that time was teaching some of the other courses in the forest practice. We had about, I'd say about twelve different courses, with a couple of them at the graduate level. I ended up teaching every one of those by the time I was done. So we basically took all of those, and I said, basically I enjoyed them all.

When I graduated in December of '52, I was in ROTC, and I headed in to be called up at that time, and had to do my two years of service. And that was during the Korean War, except I went back to Fort Belvoir, and then back to Fort Lewis to train troops, and was supposed to go overseas. Then my final orders said Salzburg, Austria. Not a bad assignment. I was sort of happy about that. In fact, we had made an agreement. Louise and I said if I went to Korea, we'll wait 'til I get back before we get married, if I go to Europe, we're getting married. So we did get married in August of '53 before I left.

So I went over on a troop ship. On the troop ship, my orders were changed to Bordeaux, France. And everybody on the ship that were officers, we were sitting around and they just groaned. They said, "That's a terrible place to get assigned for an Army engineer." And then I got into Bremerhaven, and on the train my orders were changed again, and I was to go to a unit in Heidelberg. Not bad. And used for our headquarters, they had the intelligence engineer intelligence unit was in Schwetzingen, Germany, which was in a panzer division headquarters. And I'll tell you, those panzer divisions lived very well. That was a gorgeous headquarters.

But the terrain—intelligence engineer train detachment had the job of mapping all of Europe. And believe it or not, the Germans did not have maps uniformly in the same elevation that armies are used to using. Deliberately, they kept them different so if they fell into enemy hands, they wouldn't be able to use them very easily. Americans basically wanted to have them in the same, so that they would have all of the natural resources and everything—they knew where the water was, where the railroads were, where the forests were. So we were mapping everything. And we had six officers and six enlisted men, and some German national draftsmen working behind secret doors in a building, making maps, with the ability that we could pull in an instantaneous notice. It was the middle of the Cold War; the Russians were poised on the borders. They had only one place they could come through, and that was called the Fulda Gap. And our Second Armored Division could only hold them for a certain amount of time, and then everybody else would get the hell out.

Well, we were far enough back, but every bridge was mined, from that area all the way back to Bordeaux in the France. Wouldn't have been another Dunkirk, but it would have been a messy mess, anyway. So we were able to pull our printing presses in semis, all the map stuff, [0:24:58] destroy all the secret information we had gathered from Russia and everything else—to destroy that, and be able to pull out of there within an hour's time. And so it was an interesting assignment. I actually ended up doing forestry work. One of my assignments was doing forestry, to know where all of the forests were. The Germans did not cut their forests. They cut the French forest.

JD: [Laughs]

TV: [Laughs] And they cut everybody else's forests, but they didn't touch theirs very much. And the German forestmeisters basically—marvelous group of guys! They were good foresters, but they really had those forests wired from the standpoint of knowing every tree almost by name, and how much they'd grown, and these hectares, and all of this. But we got to meet them all at around different places, and we went out and we went on reconnaissance, and just to double-check to see where what was there was there. And what nature was it, and what kind of hardwoods, what kind of softwoods, along those lines.

JD: So back up just a second. What was ROTC training like at OSU when you were involved in it?

TV: You had to do it. Just [laughs], you put your uniform and marched once a week, and the classes were very much like the classes we got at Fort Belvoir. They were on mapping, and use of weapons, and marching, and discipline, and all of the rest of it. They met in the McAlexander Fieldhouse. That was our classroom, upstairs on the second floor of that. And I think it's still being used today for that, except the marching area has been converted into tennis courts and basketball courts, so they do all of their marching outdoors now, or in the fieldhouse. An awful lot of people were in ROTC because it provided some money while you were going to school. You got your uniform and you had to put on, take care of it, and all of this. So my roommates in college, I had, one of my roommates was in naval ROTC, and then I was in the Army. We must—in our fraternity house, we must have had about two dozen people who were in ROTC.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: Out of about 50 people.

JD: You were also talking about forestry classes for the forest products courses you were doing. What other courses did you take at OSU that were interesting, or you got something specific, particular out of it?

TV: You know, having looked at the engineering forestry curriculum, one of my fights when I was on the faculty was to try to get more elective hours for the humanities and the arts. We basically didn't have a lot of time. There were some; you had some electives. Some of them were probably prescribed, such as the Introduction to Geology, Introduction to Physical Sciences, and some of those. But we took the standard Introduction to U.S. History, okay? We took the standard Introduction to—oh, we had to take Speech Communications. We had to take a English—series of English writing courses. We had to take—hm, trying to think of some others. We took Chemistry, Physics. But the humanities and social sciences were pretty thin. I never got to take an art course during that time, even though I had taken art in high school, and started in grammar school with art. I didn't get to do that until I was back with my master's degree.

JD: So, were there particular professors that had some influence, or that you would consider important in moving you along in your education, or later in your career?

TV: Well, I think the profs I had in forestry were all that way. They were pretty good. They were good. Especially the forest engineer ones, I enjoyed very much, and my forest products profs. And there were several in the forest management side that we took several—we took almost a super-strong minor in forest management and engineering, to go along with our forest products courses. And they did the same. They took quite a few courses down in forest products. They had to know dendrology, but they also had to know tree identification from the wood standpoint, so when you buy that chair, if it's really maple, you want to know. [0:30:03]

So we basically showed, all of these folks how to do that. I had some great profs in mathematics, and I had Dan Poling, who was Dean of Men, taught political science—absolutely was outstanding as instructor. A fellow by the name of Williams taught chemistry, Introduction to Chemistry; was very, very good. By and large, I was very satisfied with the quality. I would say on the ones that I didn't particularly care about, probably less than 20 percent.

JD: Mm-hm. So, of course, college is not all study.

TV: Mm-hm.

JD: You mentioned the fraternity that you were in.

TV: Yup.

JD: Can you talk a little more about that experience?

TV: [Laughs] You're sure you want to know that, huh?

JD: Sure.

TV: Well, I happened to join one of the best houses on campus my sophomore year, which happens to be in tough shape right now. It has crossed some bad times. Kappa Sig house on campus at that time was the house that had the student body presidents in it, the Beaver editors, and they had also quite a few people on the Barometer and one Barometer editor, some basic football players, four of the members of the 1952 baseball team that went back to Omaha. It was a smathering of a—quite a cross-section, and a great number of these were the ex-GIs that had come back. Kept a very strict disciplinary line on incoming freshmen and sophomores. Was about a 60-member house at that time. We participated in homecoming; won several first places at homecoming signs. We basically had our spring and fall dances, which were always quite popular. We would sing around the campus. We went to Inter-Fraternity Sing; won that once, came in second and third a few more times. So it was pretty active, besides the normal dating that goes on, and the working.

And at end of my sophomore year, I became house manager, and that became a pretty big responsibility, because you had to keep very accurate books for the national, and you had to make sure all of the repairs were made by people sticking their arms through windows, or their heads through walls. Also, what do you do when the neighboring fraternity filled up your sawdust bin with water, and you had to shovel it all out, and you had to get rooks to do that, and so on down and around the line? So you did all of those things. It was always some friendly battles going on with other fraternities in the fraternity intramural sports. Very common, had great intramural sports programs.

I didn't last long in basketball when I turned out, but I made a good friend in Paul Valenti, who became really a lifelong friend. I said, "Well." You know, after the first three weeks he said, "You know, you're a little short." I said, "Yeah." "You've got a good eye, but you're not quite fast enough to be on the court today." And he was right. The guys that were there on scholarships coming in were monsters, and they were big, and they were good. But I said, "I can always beat you shooting for nickels with playing horse." And we did; we played horse, and that's how I got to be a good friend with Paul Valenti.

JD: So, you've alluded to a few things that went on in house life. Kind of, just talk a little bit more about what is kind of an average day or week at a fraternity house at that point in time?

TV: As a rook, or as a sophomore who has been initiated? Incoming freshman, or incoming member that's not initiated? You were up early. You made sure that your bed was put back together. You were downstairs, basically vacuuming, dusting. You were then making sure that the members were up on the times that they had told you that they wanted to be up, and you'd better not miss, [laughs] because you were in a heap of trouble. In those days, hazing was still going on. [0:35:01] It has dropped dramatically, almost to non-existence. Ours was not bad. The hack paddle shaped you up if you missed a few things, and some people took more delight in hitting extra hard than others. And we did have a tub in the basement, a concrete tub, which eventually one of our members blew up, and so we didn't have to worry about being tubbed in the middle of the night for doing something that we shouldn't have done.

But I think the influence of having some older GIs in there basically kept things under wrap, and not ever getting out of hand. We had no house mothers or house fathers at that time; we were strictly self-run. Later on, house mothers came in, and I think it was with the loss of the mature element in most of the houses that were due to these people that had been to war. We had people who were B-29—I mean, B-17 pilots. We had people who were in the Bulge. We had people who were on Iwo Jima. These guys were not to be tinkered with. They were very serious, very anxious to get out, and nothing was going to stand them in the way of a nosy little freshman that was making a lot of noise. So, you toed the line.

And I think when that element left pretty much, then things started to get a little bit out of hand in the sorority and fraternity area, more so in the fraternity than the sorority. Busing at a sorority house was interesting. I bused at the Tri-Delt house for a year and a half. It is an enlightened element to see women get up early in the morning and come down in their pajamas. You find out the attitudes of what women were nice, and which ones were grouches when they come down to breakfast. And we also learned to better be careful about serving the house mother properly, otherwise you'd be on pots and pans for a while. But it was a fun assignment. We met a lot of nice people there.

JD: So it sounds like you were quite active. I mean, the house manager job alone sounds like it would take up a significant amount of your—

TV: My roommate became student body president, and I was a forestry senator in the senate. And Don Black and I are still very close friends. He's in California now. He had a very illustrious career as an attorney. And so he and I roomed together in a small room, and then my best man at my wedding, and I was his best man. He was also house president, and why, I was manager, so I had him as a roommate for a while. My first years I was in with engineers, and two engineers and myself on the third floor, and I did not breathe very loudly. These guys were, with their slide rules and their—and it was good for me, because it kept me on the books too.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: My second year at the house, I was in with the Barometer business manager, a naval ROTC, and an engineer that eventually became one of the lead engineers for the federal government here in the state of Oregon, highway engineer, and played violin in the room to calm the nerves.

JD: Interesting mix.

TV: Yeah, it was.

JD: So, did you have time for other activities or groups during the—?

TV: Well, if you talk to my department head, he was always on me for being, doing too much other things, and not doing enough in forest products. But I got—my grades were acceptable. I didn't end up with a 4-point, but I ended up slightly close to a 3-point during my four years.

JD: Mm-hm. So, what were the other types of activities that you or students did during that time? Where were the places that you hung out?

TV: The O Club; that was a coffee shop in the MU, which is not there now. In fact, it is occupied, where there's a little dining room of the side there. That was the hangout on campus. Or, over on Monroe Street—the coffee shops along Monroe Street were places where people usually went.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: [0:40:01] We did get into mischief. We did steal the Sigma Chi queens, princesses. One night we dressed up in tuxes, and it was a—we arrived at their places that they were to be picked up, and we took them to a different site, and the Sigma Chis went absolutely nutso when the women never showed up. And the next day, we—at that time it was very difficult, because we had the vice president of the student body and several others who were in various places on campus. And Dan Poling, Dean of Men, lined us all up, and he says, "I think I should expel all of you." He says, "You've caused great harm to the Sigma Chi Sweetheart Dance tradition, and that was absolutely the dirtiest trick that could ever be played." And he went up and down the line of us, and he looked us in the eye, angrily. And then he turned his back, and he turned around. He said, "You know, that was one hell of a good caper," and let us go. But [laughs] we basically said we'd better not do anything like that again. And we didn't. But that was probably the biggest coup that we were in.

JD: Mm-hm. And kind of, what was the social scene? Did people date a lot? Did people go out in groups?

TV: Both.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: Yeah. But at that time, sorority girls had to be in by lights out. And dormitories, too, were pretty strict on people going and coming. So you basically, if you went out for a coffee date at night, most the time you were going out and studying, and have a date with coffee, and then you were bringing her back to her house, and the lights would blink, and the house mother would open the door, and she'd go. And that was a normal tendency for the sororities on campus, if you were dating a sorority girl. And if you were dating a girl in the dormitories, pretty much the same thing. They had to be in by a certain time.

JD: Lights out was like 9:00?

TV: Well, lights out on the porch was 10 o'clock.

JD: 10:00.

TV: That didn't mean the lights out inside the building was.

JD: Right, right. You had to be indoors—

TV: You had to be indoors.

JD: —so that they knew where you were?

TV: Yeah. Yup.

JD: Mm-hm, mm-hm. And you met your wife, Louise?

TV: I did.

JD: And this was during—?

TV: This was during—I met her when she was a sophomore and I was just turning to be a junior. She was a Talon, helping freshmen move in to Waldo Hall, and my best man and I were driving around. And I said, "Do you know who that is?" He said, "Oh, yeah." He said, "That's Louise Morrison." Said, "She rooms with my wife, my future wife." And I said, "Well, is there a chance to get a date?" And he says, "Well, I'll see what I can do." Fixed up—it was a blind date.

JD: And you've been together ever since?

TV: I've been with her 60 years, plus.

JD: That's fabulous. So, what were some of the—I mean, you've talked a little about homecoming, but what were some of the other campus traditions at that time, either formal or informal?

TV: Well.

JD: Legal or—[laughs].

TV: [Laughs] Illegal? It's interesting how traditions change. Forestry had the tradition of red suspenders and a red tie on Wednesdays, okay? That sort of went by the books later on. They still, a lot of them, the forest management guys occasionally will put their red suspenders on for a special event. And they had a special forestry dance, the Forest Fernhopper Dance. It was traditional that rooks, freshmen, wore a green beanie, okay? And they'd better have it on, and not be stopped by somebody, upperclassman, otherwise they would certainly hear about it. And if you were in a fraternity house and walked in without it, you'd certainly hear about it. Sophomores and up could wear cords, okay. We could not at the freshman level; that was somewhat of a privilege. And the cords were—I didn't like cords anyway. It didn't make any difference to me, so. But anyway, that was another little tradition.

JD: You mean corduroys?

TV: Yeah. Corduroy pants, like Levis.

JD: [0:45:00] Mm-hm.

TV: Except we called them cords. You usually, on most of the dances, basically, they were casual, except—and some of them were theme dances. Sig Eps wore togas, and things like, that for Rome night. Ours was the Barbary Coast. Fijis? I forget what the Fijis had, but everybody had their own theme night. Sororities majorly had firesides, and invited a group of boys over at their—whoever they wanted to invite. And those were often nice to go to on a Sunday afternoon, or something like that. That was about the extent of a lot of the social. And if you were in some of the schools like Engineering, and Forestry, Pharmacy and things like that, you didn't have a lot of spare time.

JD: Mm-hm, mm-hm. So in one account, I read about the red ties, but there was also a reference to tin pants.

TV: Tin pants are—actually, they are canvases that have been waxed fairly hard, okay? Loggers wear them, okay? They can take a heck of a beating. You can get a branch against them, and it won't go through it. But it'll give you a good skin on the inside. And they are heavy, but you can wear them in the worst weather out in the woods. And forest management, forest engineers, wore them a lot. Forest products guys did not.

JD: Fair enough. And you mentioned the Fernhopper.

TV: Mm-hm.

JD: What's the origins of that term?

TV: Well, according to Dean McCulloch, the origin is that we have so many ferns on the west side, that to walk through them, you have to hop over them. So they originated the name Fernhopper from that. Now, Dean McCulloch was a dean's dean, a tough old Scot. He had been a railroad man, and he became dean in my sophomore year. And there was no funny business about it, but he was a dedicated teacher. He was always trying to improve the quality of teaching; that was his big game. He wanted to try all kinds of systems to make people—help people learn better. That was it.

But you didn't want to cross him, because he did not tolerate any form of cheating—you were out, gone. No plagiarism—out. If you misspelled words on your reports, you were given it back to you, and they'd better be correct coming back to him again, and be corrected, okay. He was just a tough taskmaster, but underneath, a pretty good guy. He did cause faculty some consternation once in a while. Because he was an old railroad man, he had a railroad watch. And one of the things he wanted his teachers to do: if you're not in the classroom, you're in your office advising. And if you're not, I want to know why. Okay? And he stood at the top of the stairs with his watch at 8 o'clock in the morning to make sure you were in your classrooms, or coming into your school building.

Well, Jim Snodgrass liked to sleep. And he taught Timber Mechanics; probably one of the best teachers I've ever had. The old forestry buildings in Moreland Hall have now moved to the new forestry building, but that's where forestry was. And there is a set of classrooms down on the lower floor with half-windows. You had a full window, but then the classroom drops down. So Jim was so frightened of this thing that he—when he slept late, we would open the window for him in the morning and let him into class, so he didn't have to go by McCulloch. And we did that a lot of times, but it makes a good story, anyway.

JD: [Laughs] Well, and Fernhopper is the name of a publication as well as an annual dance or banquet?

TV: It was a banquet. Our yearbook was called the Annual Cruise, so we didn't use Fernhopper there. I'm trying to think of any other places we used Fernhopper. [0:50:00] No, mainly it was for our banquets and our annual dance, forester's ball.

JD: There's a blog now that's called Fernhopper on the Forestry Department website.

TV: Oh, I'm not surprised.

JD: So I have confused that with a print edition at some earlier point.

TV: Yeah, I'm not surprised, yeah.

JD: Okay. So, clearly you were busy. You were house manager at one point, you bussed—

TV: At a sorority.

JD: —sometimes you worked on campus and during the summers?

TV: Yeah.

JD: You mentioned you had summer jobs with the Forest Service.

TV: Oh, yeah.

JD: What were those, and what did those involve?

TV: Well, the first one, before I started college, was the hot shot crew.

JD: Sure.

TV: The next one was the lookouts one.

JD: Okay.

TV: The one after that was—I get these two mixed up—ah, working for the State Board of Forestry in the Tillamook burn. And the State Board of Forestry at that time was rehabbing areas of the Tillamook burn that did not reseed itself. So our job was—the crews, we were stationed in Jewel, if you know where Jewel is, okay? There was a bunkhouse there, and tents for us, and we would go out early in the morning, and we would crawl on our hands and feet counting seedlings coming up every 66 feet, in a basic plot-type of thing, over hill and dale. Well, out in that area, you basically couldn't wear tin pants because they would weigh you down. You would be too tired, and you've got to back your lunch along with you, and your books, and rain proof books. And we ended up wearing sweats and tennis shoes, because we got drenched in the first five minutes. We were totally wet. And if you ever went into a devil's club patch, you crawl through it on your hands and knees. Have you ever seen devil's club?

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: Okay. There was a lot of it scattered through the draws up in there. So we did that for the whole summer, and we actually—some areas had to be helicopter seeded, and other areas there were enough seedlings coming up. And today it looks pretty good. The next summer, the last summer before I went in the Army, I was with Jim Snodgrass working for the forest products laboratory here, doing a survey of material that had been left behind by loggers on the forest floor in the southern Oregon area. All right, at that time, loggers were basically not as careful as they should be, and we weren't as ecologically conscious about the utilization of species.

So, here were beautiful maples, cut down and left, okay? We tallied them up. Here were the end logs that, because they had a little bit of rot in them, were left behind, eight foot long, maybe some of them 16. They took the next batch up, next 16 foot. So we had to tally up everything that had been left behind as residue, so that people would know that there was a lot of good wood material that was still on the forest floor that could be utilized. And we were just starting to get into the chipping and the manufacture of particle boards, okay, and flake boards. And we were also beginning to get wise about the use of hardwoods, because hardwoods, basically, while they are scattered, some of them have some very high value. Those of the lower value, like alder and some of the softer ones, basically end up as the supports in furniture, going to the Los Angeles market. And so that's one of the things we got into, is how to do better utilization of woods.

JD: It sounds like you were gaining some great practical experience along with the book learning end of it?

TV: Oh, yeah.

JD: At the same time.

TV: Oh yeah. Well, we were required.

JD: Okay.

TV: We were required to have at least two summers of satisfactory work in the forest industry, or out in forestry, in order to graduate. You could not graduate if you didn't have that. And then I was trying to establish Oregon residence, so I went overboard.

JD: Sure.

TV: And did several years.

JD: Mm-hm. And were those summer jobs something that you were—you had to instigate and find on your own [0:55:01], or did someone come to the department?

TV: Both ways. Jim was looking for a crew on the residue study, and several of the seniors, we went with him down there. The one in Hager Mountain in the summer of '49, that was one of my good friends in the dormitory who is in forest management. He was a ex-destroyer sailor during World War II, and we had become fast friends. And he had had a friend who had worked in the Forest Service in Silver Lake, and he said, "Well, come on over. I think there's a job for that." So that's one of those word-of-mouth ones. The other one—what was the other one? The fire crew was basically finding out in that particular area what was going on that summer, since my folks had a cabin up in the Hyampom, Trinity Lake area, or Trinity River area, and we just kept track of jobs that were around for high school students to do, and that's how you got the hot shot job.

JD: Okay. So, campus was changing quite a bit when you were there. It was growing a lot. There was a lot of building going on during that time.

TV: Yes.

JD: Talk about a little, how OSU was changing during that time.

TV: Well, I think one thing was that there was more course expansion going on. I think we were also trying to accommodate more students throughout the entire system, through both building of dormitories, as well as the sororities and fraternities were getting larger. Probably, during the time I was in school, I would say they were about at their peak, and then they went downhill quite a bit. There was, became sort of an anti-fraternity sorority movement during the '70s and '80s, and now it's picked up again a little bit. Oregon State's system was not considered a—or was always considered a fairly good system, because it had good deans of men and women, and good faculty advisers, and you didn't hear—Oregon State, you wouldn't find on the list of party schools, okay? As some others are. And it just was never one of those places that got into that kind of a situation.

But it was also—I would say you were beginning to see the expansion in the engineering area. Business was growing; business school enrollment growth was large. Everybody wanted to take business courses. If they were in another major, they were always encouraged to take a minor in business. And a lot of business students who had come from forestry families were taking a minor in forestry, notably forest products. Pharmacy school was growing. Chemistry, always the bread-and-butter courses of chemistry, mathematics and physics were beginning to be overcrowded, as they are today. The freshman classes are too big, actually.

Gill Coliseum was built. 1952 was a big deal for us, because I watched the Pacific Northwest, or the Pacific Coast championship, played in the men's gym on the campus, which is the old men's building, and you had to go in with just student body numbers on alternate nights, odd-even, to watch the great Crandall and Red Rocha and those people beat UCLA, which was sort of nice. And the other thing, I don't know if it's still in the curriculum—we had to take swimming. We had to know how to swim before to get out, to graduate. And the men's pool was under the direction of Reg Flood, an old Finn, who was a taskmaster. And you had to paddle and stay paddling for quite a while, and you had to be able to swim underwater for a certain amount of time. And it was all in the natural, no swimsuits. So that's a change now, I think. [1:00:02] So anyway, that always seemed to be interesting, that we had to pass that in order to get out of college, but it's a good requirement, really.

JD: Mm-hm. And it was then called Parker Stadium, but that came along just right after you graduated, didn't it?

TV: Oh, my first football games were in Bell Stadium, which was a wooden structure, which is where Dixon Center is now. And it was covered wood; you know, if it ever caught fire, it'd have been terrible. We watched Michigan State came and played. We had a lot of teams come and play in that old Bell Field. Then they moved to—well actually, the beginning of the football stadium, which is now Reser Stadium, started before that. It started right, I'd say, probably around '58, '59, somewhere in there. And we were still beating Oregon in track many times, also.

JD: Well, and one other—the forest experiment station was established around this time.

TV: Yes.

JD: Was that something, I would assume, that you were involved in, or interacted with?

TV: I interacted with it because, at the time it was being merged with the School of Forestry, I was working on my master's degree.

JD: Okay.

TV: And I used the facilities to machine my samples, and everything. So, it is actually where the printing press plant is now, and the Art Department upstairs, and the police office. That all was the forest products lab. And it was mainly chemistry and forest products, no forest management. Then the State Board of Forestry decided to move its forest management group down to the building that is on Western Avenue now, that is now housed by the physical plant people. But the one with the laminated arches and everything—that became both forest management, forest products, and forest engineering, and research was done there, because they had to move out of the building along the railroad tracks.

JD: Okay. And what was graduation like at that point? What did that entail? Where did that occur? Do you remember?

TV: 1953—I finished off at the end of '52, but I picked up my degree in '53 and marched at that time. And that was done in Gill Coliseum, and it pretty much filled up the floor. Now it's held in the football stadium, because it's much bigger.

JD: Mm-hm. And so, there's certainly always national and international events going on. Corvallis might have been a little far from the center of some of those big things that were happening, but what do you remember about sort of larger events that were happening in the world, and how the affected or connected with the Corvallis campus, and the student body?

TV: That's a good question. There were a lot of international visitors came, and a lot of special convos. Of course, in that particular time, remember Kennedy was assassinated also in '63, and campus was shocked by that. Political figures came all the time. They basically were giving State of the Union-type speeches in many cases, or visiting the campus, and visiting various departments. There was always some major show going on in the coliseum. We had backdrop with—and we always had big bands come: Les Brown, and Tex Beneke, and, oh, Vaughn—what's—?

JD: Sarah Vaughn?

TV: No, not Sarah Vaughn, the one that sang Ghost Riders in the Sky, made him popular. Anyway, so he was one of the ones that came. And so we had always some big-name bands at the major dances. [1:05:01] And that was sort of fun.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: I can't remember if that's been done recently or not.

JD: So, were there any political issues that might have mobilized parts of the student body, you know, to be involved in something, whether for or protesting against?

TV: We did not have very many people of color on campus at that time. African-American was rare. An outstanding one ran against my roommate for student body president, a fellow by the name of Bill Maxwell. Tremendous guy. I think that under today's circumstances, he would have won. In that time, it was probably too much of a change for the campus to grasp, although he did—he ran a good race. Very thoughtful guy. And then we had some goofballs that ran for student body president. We had one group called the Peasant Party, and they carried their candidate on sedan chair on their shoulders, stripped to the waist. And they won, and they didn't know what the hell to do. [Laughs] So we had that kind of political nonsense going on.

The trouble is, it sort of drapes over from the fact that after I came back from the Army, I came back at—served in the Army from '53 to February of '55, and we decided that—we were expecting our first child. I was going to come back and probably try to learn what I didn't learn the first four years, and do a master's degree. But during that time, Jim Snodgrass got a very favorable offer to go up to Lewiston, Idaho, and work for Potlatch. And the department head said, "Would you like to start teaching a couple of classes? Because we're hurting." We only had a three-person department to cover a whole batch of courses. I said, "Sure, if it puts money in the pot, I'm glad to do that." And so I started and then never left. I basically stayed, and I don't want to tell you what the starting salary was in 1955, but the starting salary was $4500 a year. And today, that just buys you a good bag of rice, but it kept beans in the pot, and you know, at that time, that dollar was worth something.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: And I started teaching, and basically by the time I finished after 35 years, I had taught every class in the department, all twelve courses, I had taught. And several of them I had taught so many times, I could do them in my sleep. And the department finally added more profs, started to grow just about the time I was entering politics in '74. And so it has now probably 20 staff members, which is terrific, but it also has greater course offerings. But those were very, very busy years, and trying to finish off a master's degree at the same time.

JD: Well, that broached a subject which I wanted to ask you about, which was, had you ever thought about teaching, or you just kind of fell into it?

TV: Fell in. And sort of liked it, and really grew to like it. I really loved teaching.

JD: So, you finished your master's in '58?

TV: Mm-hm.

JD: And so you were already teaching, and you just kind of took off from there. And at some point you were also involved in the career center?

TV: Well, before that, in 1963, I went back and trained in Colorado with the top-notch forest products extension group out of North Carolina. And at that time, there had not been a forest products extension person in the state of Oregon. There had been forestry extension people, and there are a few forest engineers in there, but mostly it was forestry extension throughout the state. Forest products had never had any kind of [1:09:59]—and the laboratory was getting worried about the fact that as they write these kind of scientific reports, getting them out to where people can understand them and use them was a big gap. And that was going to be my job. So from 1963 to 1970, I was part-time Extension, forest products extension specialist, besides teaching. Now, Dean McCulloch had a very unusual thing. He says, "Okay." He says, "You can go over and work with Extension." He said, "But I want 51 percent of your FTE, and Extension can have 49." He wanted the controlling interest, okay. I said okay.

But I worked for Gene Shield over at Extension, and I was part of a marketing group, but did my stuff in forest products extension, and I found out most the stuff I was doing was management work rather than technological work. And that's what drove me back for my Ph.D. at Michigan State. I took wood industry management; took really basically, business, and psychology, and communication courses, because I found out the biggest problem these guys have out there was that they have very—a lot of trouble really learning how to run their organization, and a lot of them failed because of that. They were what we call craftsmen-type entrepreneurs rather than opportunistic entrepreneurs, and they just, they knew how to turn all of the nuts on the head rig, and keep that machine running fine, but they never knew how to go out and market their materials, or how to organize their group. And so that's what I went back to Michigan State to work on.

JD: And how did you choose Michigan?

TV: How what?

JD: How did you choose Michigan?

TV: The head of the department at Michigan State was a fellow by the name of Alex Pension [?], who wrote all of the textbooks on forest products, or I should say, wood science, wood identification. And I said, "Well, here's the catch. I've got four kids; I don't want to dink around. I've got a lot of course work already out of the way. I want to do it in a year, plus six months, and here's what I want to work in." And he says, "All right, I've got the person to work with back here. Come, and we'll fix you up with a scholarship." So that's how I ended up there.

JD: So, when you came back from there, I assume you were relieved of your teaching duties for a while, and then you came back and went back to the classroom?

TV: At that time, Forest Products Department had picked up another couple of people, so it could fill the gap.

JD: Okay.

TV: So that's how I could get away. Otherwise, I would have gotten away sooner, but couldn't.

JD: Okay.

TV: So when I came back in the end of '69, or I should say, the end of the summer of '69, I was facing writing a thesis while starting teaching again. And carrying on the Extension duty seemed pretty heavy duty. At that time I was on the road too much. So one of my very good friends had just been given the assignment of starting a placement, centralized placement center at Oregon State. President MacVicar had come up to Lou Edwards in the Business School, and he says, "You folks have a lot of the activity; the engineers have a lot of activity." He says, "There's no sense that we shouldn't have a centralized placement office that operates for all of the departments on campus, and brings in interviewers from all over." And Lou says— "And that includes School of Education also," which was a very big chunk, of placing all of their teachers.

So he got an office area down at the bottom of the administration building, which is still there today, and he said, "Would you like to come over and handle forestry and engineering students' placement, and still teach half time, and do that half time?" Okay? And I said, "Yeah." I said, "That will keep me a little bit closer to the farm, and I can do a little writing too, and I can still do this work. Should be no challenge at all from the standpoint I know something about the field, and I know the people out there to contact." So, that's what I did. Then, in 19—let's see, I went in Placement there, and was there until 1990. [1:15:00] And Lou retired in '78, and I became Director of Placement at that time, still half-time teaching, still half-time placement director.

And then in 1974, one of my close friends came up and said, "You know, there has not been a forester in the Oregon Legislature since Doug Stewart, 1969." He says, "We are coming up with one of the biggest forest taxation laws that we have to revamp." And he says, "I need somebody—we need somebody up there that knows something about forestry." He said, "Would you like to run for the legislature?" I said, "You're absolutely cotton picking nuts!" I said, "Who would want to do that job?" And he says, "Well." He says, "It really isn't that bad." He says, "I want you to talk to a couple of other people."

Well, he got one of my former classmates who works for Borden's down in Eugene, and his wife is a legislator. And he says, "I want you to go talk to Mary and Chuck Burroughs," he says, "And see what they say." So I went down. I said, "What do you think?" I said, "Well, you know, it's a tough time for moderate Republicans." I said, "You know, this is the year that Nixon is getting really slammed against the wall, and nobody likes Republicans very much." I said, "Well, alright." So I came late in the game against a very, very outstanding Democrat here in town, who was an attorney by the name of Dave Smedema.

And we put our campaign together, and in the wee hours of the morning, we won by a narrow margin. And it was the toughest race I had in the next nine races. And immediately, I was put on the Revenue Committee, as well as being on the State Government Committee, and then the next year I was put on Elections and Revenue. And my chair on that was none other than Earl Blumenauer. The Democrats had not held the legislature prior to 1973 for umpety-ump years. It had been a Republican-run legislature. Mainly, the nature of the state was farming, forestry, that kind of thing. The industrial arm, Portland's industrial arm, had not quite moved in yet.

And the Democrats really worked very hard, and decided that 1973 might be a chance take. And they did; they took the house big-time. Only two of us were elected in 1974 in the house on the Republican side, Dave Frohnmayer, and myself. And only because we came from urban areas that were sensitive to people issues, and we were moderates; we weren't ultra-conservative. And we joined an outstanding caucus of 22 Republicans—Norma Paulus and several other moderates at that time. We entered just as Tom McCall was leaving; Bob Straub was coming in. And I would say I had more fun those first years that we were in the minority, and we were in the minority for a lot of years. We were in the minority until 1990.

And I served two years, two sessions, on Revenue. Had a big floor fight on timber taxation. Beat Earl on the floor, house floor, in a debate, and that's hard to do, because he is excellent and very bright. I told him one time, I said, "Earl, you're so damn smart, if you were my grad student." I said, "You've got to slow down and let people catch up to you." And we became close friends. We're close friends today. I just have a—any time I get a chance to see Earl, I'll go see him. But he worked our tails off. Seven o'clock in the morning, another meeting at seven o'clock at night, on timber taxation, for something like six weeks. [1:19:58] I was commuting every day, so I was getting up very early to get there, and getting home very late.

On that committee was Hardy Myers, who became an Attorney General and also one of my—and became House Speaker. Bob Marks out of Monmouth, Norma Paulus, Greg Waldron's father Paul Waldron, and Wally Priestly. Now, Wally Priestly was the most interesting guy of all. He's the one that wanted to put the locks on the inside of prisons and give the prisoners the keys. And he was just an outright rebel, far out socialist if there ever was one.

But anyway, that was the committee, with Rich Munn heading up the legislative revenue office, who later became the Department of Revenue leader. Probably the best, most knowledgeable person on taxation I've ever worked with, Ph.D. from the University of California in economics. Five-foot-four, played halfback for the University of California, and you would never know it—the most mild-mannered, interesting guy. He never got his head bunged too badly because he was just as smart as can be. And then he had a great staff. Several of them are still operating in several government agencies.

But anyway, Rich is the one that taught us everything there was to know about taxation, and he really—if he was asked today to put together a tax plan for the State of Oregon, he probably could do it. But governors don't actually ask people too often to help them out, so he's now retired. He and I often have lunch together. What? Did it fall? [Microphone adjusted] Did you miss all of that?

TV: Oh, was it all right? From 1977, in the middle of the night, that we were just finish up my second session, and Hardy Myers, who was a strong believer in trying to get people on committees that could be of some help, and he had recommended that I go on Ways and Means, which is the key committee in the legislature. There was only one other Republican on it, out of about twelve people on that committee, from the house. And somebody in his caucus had their eye on that particular assignment, and did not want to have it to go to another Republican. So, the negotiation went back and forth for hours that evening, until the wee hours of the morning. They were able to get this other person to get another kind of an assignment, and I went on Ways and Means, and stayed there the entire time until I left the legislature. And I was always on Education and on Human Resources—75 percent of the state budget, through all those years I served on the committee, except the term that I was co-chair of Ways and Means in 1990.

JD: And taxation has remained an interest of yours?

TV: [Laughs] Yeah, yes.

JD: Was it through reform then, or before then, or, how have you—it's not the most intriguing of subjects to behold, but you've managed to still push forward an agenda.

TV: Well, I think one of the things was it became—in 1980, when we went into that major recession that lasted for about four or five years, it became very obvious, being on the higher education side, that schools and higher education were getting further and further behind, and it was mainly due to the inadequacy and sustainability of the tax system. Same story today. And I said, "You know, there's got to be a way. If I looked at surrounding states that have got a reasonable tax system, they normally have three legs of the stool, that is, property, sales, and income tax."

So I presented that to the Revenue Committee in summer of 1980. [1:25:01] And coming out of that particular—and Rich Munn during out of this time, we had jawed a lot about—he had put on short courses for a bipartisan group called the Mallory Group that met at the Mallory Hotel, Democrats and Republicans, talking about taxation. And he says, "I'm going to take you through Oregon's taxation structure starting back in 1929, when it was an all-property tax state." And he took us down through all of the things that have happened in the state of Oregon. And he says, "Now you can see where we are at." And gradually we were building momentum for people to start thinking about how to do the system.

So coming out of that hearing and Revenue Committee with Grinnell chairing it, who was standing in the hall, but Peter Courtney. Now, Peter Courtney is a very, very unusual type of person, but he said, "I'd like to work with you on developing a sales tax." I said, "Fine, I welcome—be great." So we decided that we would lock ourselves in a room with Rich Munn and Barbara Seymour from legislative counsel. And her job was to investigate every sales tax in the United States, picking out all of the flaws and all of the plusses, okay? And then come back. We would talk about all of the various ways that this could be put in, and what would probably work in the public accepting a sales tax.

And one of the things that we discovered at that time was that you had to have some incentive for the public to want to buy into a sales tax. There had to be some quid pro quo such as lowering property tax, and lowering income tax. It had to be a wash to start out with, because you knew that as you went on, sales tax would pick up all of the out-of-state revenue coming through. We were leaving 80 to 100 million dollars on the table every year from not collecting on those folks. We also knew that it had to not be a tax on property taxes, on mortgages. It could not be a tax on medical costs, and it could not be a tax on bona fide food—not restaurants; restaurants were in the till. And we said we could lower income taxes X amount, and we could lower property taxes X amount.

It was called House Bill 2001, after the movie, okay? We ended up like the movie, too. But it was well written. We put it in; we got it passed in the house. It got stymied by Ed Faigley in the senate. Then it waited another couple of years, and Barbara Vicatia [?] picked it up, and Vicatia ran with it. It was almost word for word the same identical bill. And then we ran again with Barbara Roberts running with it. And Norma Paulus was going to use it if she had won her election. The interesting thing that torpedoed us was in the '81 session—no, in '88, or—yeah in '88 time, when we were coming at it again, we had gone up to see Ray Phillips, Ballot Measure 5. Only, Ray Phillips was just the head guy. He was old, and not in a really—able to really understand, but the key guy was McIntire and his crew.

Rainy night, we went up there, we had just given a talk on a talk show on a radio station up there. We decided we'd go up and talk to McIntire. And we said to McIntire, we said, "You know, we're both on the same track. You've got a property tax relief, and we've got one that balances out the whole thing. It's also a property tax relief." And I said, "Why don't we join forces, and probably do something good about this thing?" He said, "Get the hell out of here!" He said, "I'm not interested." He says, "All I have to do is tell people I'm going to lower their property taxes. I've got a winner." The funniest part is 35 counties turned the damned thing down! It was Multnomah County that passed it, by a thin margin. But ever since, it made him a hero, and it killed us, and is still killing us, basically, today. [1:30:01]

And so in 1990, when I became co-chair of Ways and Means, it was like getting a fast ball in the inside pocket. I had to go down and catch this, and put it into operation, put Ballot Measure 5 into operation, and take enough money away from other programs to fund schools, that they weren't going to be—so that's the long story of how you get involved in taxation. And basically, as you go along the line, you start to education yourself of what makes a good tax, what's a bad tax, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

JD: Mm-hm. Well, I mean, even as recently as 2010, I ran across an editorial that you and Lane Shetterly had written.

TV: [Laughs]

JD: Talking about the same issue, basically.

TV: Yeah. Probably, if we were to write one today, I'd write it again.

JD: So you clearly have a strong sense of community service, and there are many, many committees, and commissions, and boards that you've been a part of.

TV: [Laughs]

JD: But since we are in Corvallis and talking about, kind of, issues more directly related here, I would love if you would talk a bit about your time on the Corvallis Riverfront Commission.

TV: Oh, boy.

JD: How that all came about.

TV: [Laughs]

JD: Your role in that.

TV: Well, Charlie Vars called me in 1995 and said, "We'd like to have you serve on the Riverfront Commission." And I said, "Sounds good. It sounds something that needs to be done. I'm all for that." And he said, "You're not going to be—you're going to really like the people you're going to be working with." He says, "Jim Howland is chair of it right now," and Jim Howland was just one of my idols here in town. And so we went along, and we had a subcommittee of the Riverfront Commission: Dave Livingston, Jim Howland, myself, chair of the Art Department—can't remember who that was—and Dick Bryant, an architect. And Jim said, "Let's go to the CHM headquarters here." And he says, "We'll cut out a night every week, then we'll spend four or five hours. We'll go over all of the possibilities of laying this thing out, and then we'll try it out on the public." And so we designed it so that it would be—first it would be all grass, and no street at all. Then, a one-way street that could direct traffic, and then a two-way street. And we talked about the advantages of all of these.

And we presented them at the public library, and said, "You know, here's what we're thinking. Tell us what you think." And people were pretty graphic about their thoughts about that. And they said, "Well, we like no street there, but it doesn't make sense with the fact that the town is growing, and it is a good place to have people congregate and do things." We said, "We agree with that." We said, "How can we design it with businesses on one side, and a park essentially on the other side, and have a two-way street without killing people, with cars going through there?" Well, Dave Livingston and Jim both had worked enough on road structures to know that you can build in slowing mechanisms, which they have, stop signs—okay. And we said, "Let's go for that, and let's try to also see if we can get businesses to come in on that one side that will get people down there." And the other thing is, it has the distinct advantage of keeping a dying downtown from dying, because you get people down there, they're going to go in the other stores on 2nd and 3rd Street.

Well, we had a group that was absolutely against it. And what was unfortunate about it was being led by some campus profs, one outstanding professor from the Fish and Game Department, and another one in Chemistry. And they were determined that they wanted to have no part of anything but all grass down there, and a beautiful, scenic street. No street whatsoever, just a place where you could come on down, maybe a pathway type of thing. [1:34:58] We had passed a bond to pay for it in conjunction with the federal government wanting to put in a combined sewer overflow, okay? And they were going to run it down 1st Street, and we said, "Ah-ha. Here's a chance to get enough bucks to do that, and combine it with our bond measure to pay for the whole riverfront." And at first we thought we were going to have to dig a trench down there to put the overflow in. They did it by drilling underneath and never even coming up for air, except for a couple of places. They put that overflow in, and gave us enough money to put a new street in there.

But the negative group said, "We're going to challenge you at the ballot box on this." And they did. They put in an initiative to—we had a lot of very lively public discussions and debates. We were accused of building nothing but straight concrete that you could land a B-29 on. And we said, "No, that's not true." We kept showing, "Here's what it's going to look like. Here's what it's going to—." Jim even took money out of his own pocket and built a 3-dimensional model to show what it was going to look like. And we proceeded, and we won. And then we could go ahead and start construction. And at the time of the construction, Jim became very severely ill. He was starting to show signs of it, and he said, "We need one of the members to take over in these final stages, and be the chair," and I was the chair during the construction period. And I think it turned out pretty good.

JD: I've used it when I've been to town.

TV: You have?

JD: It's quite lovely.

TV: Yeah.

JD: So, I want to just kind of swing back towards OSU a little as we conclude here. And I think if you have any sort of final thoughts about your time at OSU as a student, and either any particular accomplishments, or perhaps any things you feel like you wished you would have done better while you were there?

TV: Oh, you always wish you did something better—that's always. I think the two things that, if I had to talk about my teaching career were my two teaching awards.

JD: Mm-hm.

TV: One in 1966 was the Mosser Award, which was an all-campus type of thing with I think something like 20 or 30 professors around the campus were selected, both input from students and faculty. And the other one was a student-oriented one out of the School of Forestry called the Aufderheide Award in 1972. Both of those really sort of jack you up when you're a teacher. My feeling has always been that young teachers need to be jacked up a little to keep them going. And sometimes students have a tendency to be a little harsh on a new teacher, and they need to really understand that a new teacher needs to really be encouraged. And some shouldn't be teaching, and that needs to be found out right away. Just like in K-through-12, you basically need to find that out right away. But there's a lot of real potential, and some of the new instructors coming along are brilliant people. But you do need that little jolt. You need that encouragement, either by your department head or by your fellow faculty, and students in particular help out a lot on that.

JD: So in either of those awards, were there sort of specific issues or approaches that were mentioned, as to why you received those awards? What students thought, or what the department though were your strengths in teaching?

TV: Oh. Yeah. You know, Dean McCulloch and several of us in the School of Forestry started the Self-Learning Center, which was to take very repeatable, boring stuff that students needed to know, they just needed to know—you need to know the Latin names of a tree, because it's the same worldwide. You could reduce that to slides and samples that the students could do at their own pace, and he was very much out in front of that. [1:40:00] And I joined him on the forest products side, with wood identification and those kind of things. I also started doing modules, which were vignettes of what we were trying to learn—what are the gems we want to get out of this, and put them together, which a student could then take it on their own time and speed, and follow it, and then be—critique it later on, and eventually have some kind of an examination that would test them on it.

The other thing is that on some of the courses that I had in production line, such as the manufacture of plywood or the manufacture of lumber, I had students group together as groups, and take on a project. I gave them what they were dealing with. "Here's what they have as raw materials coming through the chute." And I said, "Here's what we want coming out of the chute. Design me a plant. Tell me the best ways to do it, how you will put the people together, what's the cost going to be, and come back as a team and then present it to the class as teams." And that's being done a lot today. There's nothing highly original about that, but at least I was doing that probably quite a while back.

JD: Would you have any good advice that you would offer to students today?

TV: [Laughs] Well, I think the advice I would have is in the first two years, take as broad an educational curriculum you can take before you get into the professional area. I think the greatest tragedy we're doing is that we're not recognizing that art, or music, or the humanities, or philosophy, play an integral part to any professional person. And they also are a part of your scientific area, and we neglect them, sadly. I think we're better now than we were, but, you know, those courses still—I worked on two general education committees while I was a professor. I think both of those studies have got dust on the shelves on them. But we had worked hard to put together a curriculum, what we called the general education curriculum, that every student ought to have.

It wasn't as severe as the core curriculum that's being asked in K-through-12, but it said, "Here are the things that students need to have in concepts to be a well-educated person, and one that's going to be a good citizen." And it really involved an awful lot of the humanities, and to start off with it would devote more time to those courses. And a student could choose between art, and music, and some of the others. They weren't all going to be interested in the same. But I valued my time in the Art Department in my master's work, in scientific illustration with Demetrius Jameson, and with Nelson Sangren in watercolors. And those were two of the best courses I took in my graduate—I'm sorry to say, but they were ones I enjoyed the most, anyway.

So, I think those area I think really need to be investigated to make sure the universities don't slip on that. I'm not sure that you can do it all online. I think you lose some of the personal contacts that need to be made, and living with other people, that the campus offers, that otherwise we're going to have a bunch of computer jockeys that just have looked at a screen, and don't really have many social skills of how to deal with other people. And that worries me a little bit. Now, did you go to the University of Oregon?

JD: I did not. I'm a PSU grad.

TV: You are? The fastest growing institution in the state.

JD: Yes.

TV: Great profs up there. You've got some great ones.

JD: Mm-hm. Absolutely. I do a little teaching up there also. Well, I guess my final question to you would be: certainly you've observed a lot of changes, being at the university as long as you have, and you are still very active in your community here.

TV: Mm-hm.

JD: Any thoughts on sort of where the university is now, and where the university is going?

TV: You sure you've got enough time?

JD: As long as you are willing to talk.

TV: Well, I got in a lot of trouble on that one. I went on the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and I said that the new educational hierarchy is a boondoggle. [1:45:05] I'm an Independent now, not a Republican, so I can talk on both sides. And I said, "It's nothing but a whole bunch of people up there going to be administrators. You've developed a monster that is similar to 1929." In 1929, there were three Boards of Regents: University of Oregon, Oregon State, and the regionals had one board. During the Depression of 1929 and '30, they were pounding on the legislative doors, each of them, trying to get an edge on the other, that the legislators threw up their hands and said, "We can't stand for this. We need one system that everybody works together. Create a system of higher education."

Now, the U.S. commissioner that was brought in to survey the state on how to do that, came back and said, "Whatever you do, it should be a university system that includes everybody. It should work in the best interest of Oregon. And preferably, it should be the State University of Oregon, with branches at Eugene, Corvallis, Portland, med school, okay. Well, they put together the State Board of Higher Education, and they chose their board, and they chose their first chancellor. The first chancellor was William Jasper Kerr, the outstanding President of Oregon State that mopped up the whole world because he was so well known in Oregon, and so beloved that they picked him to be the first chancellor. University of Oregon people could not stand that. They immediately passed a law saying that the chancellor's office had to be in Eugene, so we can keep an eye on them.

He fought for two years to carry out the U.S. commissioner's wish that there should be a State University of Oregon, and he got driven out of office. And it's been a fistfight ever since. And so I went through the firing of two presidents of the University of Oregon because they end run the chancellor's office, and started to do their own thing. And I said, "If you think these guys are going to do different with their own board," I said, "You're crazy." I said, "Phil Knight's going to have them running circles around you. And you guys went for one up there in Portland. I know him very well, and," I said, "You guys are just being used sucker bait to come into this whole thing, because he needed Portland to pass that." And I think it is going to be such a can of worms.

I think they'll go private; I really do. I think he'll endow them, and they'll go private. And what's the sad part about it is they'll go private, not paying back the state a cent for all of the buildings and equipment that they've had, the people of Oregon have paid for over the years. But they'll go private. His vision is to make them the Stanford of the north. Ed had to say, "I can't stand on the curb and watch the bus go by." He says, "I've got to go for a board." The four regionals are kicked out of the lifeboat. I don't know what they're going to do. They're still under the State Board of Higher Education now, but the State Board of Higher Education is going to be abolished next year, or the year after.

When the four regionals come in, even with their own boards, but everything flows through the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, which is like a super board of higher education, which now must hire all the agencies that give them the information to make decisions, and then they feed up to the Oregon Education Investment Board, which also is a15-member board, which will also pass on the things that Heck does, and then they've all got to go to the legislature and get money. Oh, and by the way, the 17 community colleges are under Heck. So, now you have 17 community colleges, three separate university boards, four regionals. It's a mess, absolute mess, so I don't know how it's going to come out. [1:50:00] There will be a lot of people getting some pretty good salaries hired in the superstructure. You ought to put in for one of those up there somewhere. They'll need a historian to just keep track of the dang thing!

JD: Chris, do you have questions that we haven't covered yet?

Chris Petersen: I guess the main thing would just be if there's anything we've missed that you want to talk about?

TV: Oh, gosh. [Laughs] I've probably been too wordy already!

JD: Not at all.

TV: Not at all. [Laughs] That's fun. It's hard to think about a whole career that way.

JD: Well, you've been a great interview, and thank you very much for taking the time to do this.

TV: Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure. I'm privileged to be considered worthy of doing that. [Laughs] [1:50:50]


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