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Al Levno Oral History Interview, June 9, 2014

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Samuel Schmieding: Good morning, this is Dr. Sam Schmieding, Oregon State University, also working with U.S. Forest Service on this project, here at the home of Al Levno in Corvallis, Oregon. Today we are going to do an oral history that is part of the H.J. Andrews History Project which includes oral histories as well as archiving and archival rescue work, and this is part of the overall preservation effort that we're involved in. We're going to talk with Al about his 50-year involvement with the H.J. Andrews Forest. We're going to introduce the interview with a little background information, but most of our interview is going to focus on the Andrews and his work there. Good morning, Al, how are you?

Al Levno: I am very good. Thank you.

SS: Excellent. I want to thank you for being willing to meet with us. This is really going to be, I hope, going to be enjoyable for you.

AL: I hope so, too.

SS: So, we will start out with the basic biographical question, where were you born and raised?

AL: That's an interesting question. I was born in Rochester, New York. My 00:01:00parents have a very kind of interesting history. My father lived in a Polish community in Montana, and came there in 1911 when his family set up a homestead, and he was the oldest of five kids. He had his own farm after he was 18 or 19. But he went to Bozeman for a winter course. He'd only finished third grade as his dad took him out of school so he could help on the homestead. He went to Bozeman and his roommate there decided they should change churches, for one Sunday he could go to his church, and one Sunday go to my dad's church. So, my 00:02:00dad was a Polish Catholic, but went to a Protestant church. And then he came home, sold his farm, everything, went to Rochester, New York, finished grade school, high school, college, and then got a chance to go to Europe for a master's. And while he was there, he met his wife, then the wars and the Depression came. He stayed there because his dollars were worth a lot more in Poland than they were here. So, my grandmother died, was on the death bed, and war was coming, and he decided to come home early because my mother couldn't get cleared right away to come over. So, she was two or three years getting cleared [visa to U.S.]. But in 1938, she made it to Rochester, New York, and then I was 00:03:00born the year after in Rochester, New York. So, my dad's main interest was to go back to these small communities in Montana and be a minister, a Protestant minister. And he wanted to federate small Protestant churches to make one strong church.

SS: What was the exact sect or denomination that was involved?

AL: He was a Baptist.

SS: A Baptist? Okay.

AL: But he also worked with Methodists and Presbyterians, and we moved there to Montana when I was very young. Then we moved all over the state of Montana. The first place was the Indian reservation right near the Crow Indian Reservation, and we tried to adopt an Indian boy there. That didn't work out well. And then we moved to Eureka, Montana, which is nine miles from the Canadian border in a 00:04:00forested region.

SS: North of Whitefish?

AL: North of Whitefish, yes. Very isolated, as the nearest doctor was 56 miles away. But the forest was unbelievable. And that's where I decided I was going to be a Forest Service person.

SS: Really?

AL: Right there. And we chased the deer. That was my first actual forestry job when I was in the third grade or fourth grade. That area happened to be the Christmas tree capital of the world at that time.

SS: Oregon is now.

AL: Oregon is now, yes. But that was then because there was a huge burn there in the '30s and the trees were just Christmas tree age. And they were slow-growing, so they made beautiful Christmas trees. Well, they even let us out school so that people could cut Christmas trees. And my dad and my mother had a lease on a 00:05:00piece of land with the Forest Service. So, we went out and cut Christmas trees by the truckload.

SS: What forest was that?

AL: You know, I don't remember.

SS: Was that the Flathead?

AL: It could have been Flathead. But yeah. So that was my introduction to the forest and that was my dream from then on. That's what I wanted.

SS: Did you ever have some interesting experiences up in Glacier Park?

AL: We did. I went to Glacier Park. I don't know that it was anything interesting. We had lots of interesting experiences in the mountains around Eureka. And my dad was, I don't know how, but he was a very good naturalist and he knew the names of most of the plants and the trees. I picked up an amazing amount from him. And then later we moved to another place down in the Bitterroot 00:06:00Valley, down 40 miles south of Missoula, at Victor, Montana. And that was more of the same. I just did everything in the woods that was possible, fished and swam, and went into the mountains, and just enjoyed it immensely.

SS: So now, in addition to your father, did you have any teacher in grade school, middle school or high school that was an especially important mentor to you in terms of being interested in the outdoors, science or natural history?

AL: Nothing, not that I remember.

SS: So your father was your mentor then?

AL: My father as my mentor, and the woods itself.

SS: And what was your father's name?

AL: Floren.

SS: Floren.

AL: Floren Levno.

SS: Floren Levno.

AL: Yeah.

SS: Now, how did you look at nature out there? I mean, Montana, Big Sky Country. The mountains, the sky, everything's big. Did you have a view about how the land 00:07:00would be managed or what was happening on the land, or you just wanted to be out there? AL: Yeah, I had no idea what the concepts were of anything at that point. Eureka was a logging town and pretty much, rough, tough loggers. And the object was to get the trees off the land, and do the Christmas trees and try to make a living with the trees. Sawmills were there. People in the church were sawmill owners. But there was nothing about preservation or the big picture. It was all about getting the wood off the land.

SS: Right, and that would have been?

AL: That was in 1940's, yeah.

SS: Forties, early '50s maybe?

AL: Around early '50s.

SS: So, any memories about any of the loggers or the big entrepreneurs that you 00:08:00remember? In Eureka or even down, further down south of Missoula?

AL: You know, we're talking, I was in third-fourth grade at that time.

SS: General impressions mostly?

AL: So, it was general impressions of being out in the forest.

SS: Now, how would you describe the ecology of Montana today? And how do you think you looked at it when you were a kid?

AL: The ecology of today is, it's a varied state of many variables. You know, it has the deserts and the mountains, and the Bitterroot Valley and the rivers. The 00:09:00way I saw it was just a beautiful place to be.

SS: A big playground basically?

AL: A big playground.

SS: Now, did you have any experiences outside of Montana in your formative years where your family maybe visited somewhere else with a different look, whether the Southwest or California or anywhere, or was it pretty much just in Montana?

AL: It was pretty much Montana. We were a very poor family and that's where we lived.

SS: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

AL: The Indian boy that we tried to adopt when I was four or five still may be a brother, although we don't keep in touch. But in Eureka, my brother, Mark, was born. And he was eight years younger than I am, so there's quite an age difference between us.

SS: So, there's just two brothers?


AL: Just two brothers.

SS: And the one, the Indian boy, the adoption didn't hold. Right?

AL: It didn't hold because he was found to have tuberculosis. So, they thought it would be much more practical for him to stay on the reservation.

SS: Now, how do you think the location of your formative years in Montana affected your views on science, ecology or what became your career in the Forest Service, and specifically at the H.J. Andrews?

AL: I think I was very well-prepared physically. I knew the environment. I could stay outside. I saw 50 degrees below zero. I was just very comfortable in the woods, very strong as far as leg strength, and I could go a long time. I think that really paid off for me, and I'll get to that farther on the way.


SS: Now, how do you think where you were raised affected your view on how you might look at the concept of place? When I mean place, a geographic place that becomes part of you, a home, if you will. I mean, you obviously found a second home here at the Andrews and in Corvallis, but the places you experienced when you were you Montana, how do you think you transferred some of those feelings to your attachments that you developed here in Oregon over 50 years?

AL: Well, I think it was very much the same. You know, it was the woods and it was trees and mountains and streams. That was the place for me. People were not so much. (Laughs)

SS: Now, I'm kind of jumping ahead here, but I wanted to throw this in for you 00:12:00specifically. You became the H.J. Andrews photographer at some time early in your tenure there, an endeavor that has continued now into your retirement. How did you become first interested in photography?

AL: That was part of the job. When I first got to the Andrews, there were retake pictures to be done.

SS: So it wasn't something you learned when you were a kid, though?

AL: No. It was retake pictures with a 4-x-5 camera. And you know, if you use a 4-x-5 camera, you begin to understand photography pretty fast, because it's all manual F-stops and speeds. And you just know your camera a lot better than many people do with the automatic settings.

SS: And the film's more expensive, so you have to take more care for each shot.

AL: That's right. And each film has to be loaded in the dark and into a cap, whatever they are, and loaded into the camera. And so, you developed a lot of 00:13:00knowledge just from that. Then later, the single-lens reflex digital cameras came out. I think my brother helped me a lot because he was more of an artsy person. He took pictures for the art part of it, and I became very interested in that.

SS: We 'll get into that more later, but I mainly wanted to find out if there was something that happened before your professional life that enamored you with photography?

AL: No, it was all based on the Andrews.

SS: Now, how and when did you enter the university system, and did you know then what you wanted to study?

AL: I was very adamant to be in the Forest Service. So, we did have to move from 00:14:00Montana. We went to a very small church in Steptoe, Washington. And there were maybe 14 kids in the high school; very small. But each kid had a sewing machine. It was a very wealthy farming community. But that was the end of my father's career and he retired in Palouse, Washington, where he could get a little farm and raise chickens and a cow. So, I transferred from Steptoe High School, I think in my sophomore or junior year, and went to Palouse. And that was a little more familiar, as I was very lost in Steptoe because it was just rolling hills and farm land.

SS: You lost your point of reference, the big mountains and trees.

AL: I did. I just could not live in that type of a situation. So, Palouse was a 00:15:00little bit better. And then it was getting to the point where I was getting old enough, I got my first job with the Forest Service. Oh my gosh! Was I excited! It was between my junior and senior year in high school. And I was a little behind. But I got to go out in the Ouster Rust Control business in northern Idaho. And of course, there is --

SS: Up by Sandpoint?

AL: No, it was by Potlatch, Idaho, and into the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. SS: Okay, a little south of that, okay.

AL: Yeah. Basically, the thought was at that time, was that they could cure the White Pine Blister Rust by attacking the ribes [currant or gooseberry - host species]. So, they organized thousands of college kids to come in every summer, then set up plots and assist them to go through and hunt for ribes and pull them 00:16:00out. I was so fortunate to get in even before I graduated from high school.

SS: Now, was there ever a time when you were in Montana, either up in the north or down south in Missoula, where you ever remember either watching or having an experience or meeting a Forest Service person, a ranger, supervisor, or technician, that made an impression on you?

AL: Not until I got to the Forest Service in Potlatch, Idaho.

SS: You just knew it existed, though, right?

AL: I just knew it existed. But then I really started paying attention to the forest, and I got to know the supervisors and find out what the forest was all about and what forest people did. Then the next year was graduation. My father, 00:17:00I remember, taking me over to Washington State University and introducing me to some professors, and then we were ready to go on with a college career.

SS: So, now, what kind of program did Washington State have? It was called Washington State College, I believe at that time. Right?

AL: At that time.

SS: What kind of program did they have regarding forestry?

AL: I think it was just a basic Forest Service program. Yeah, just pretty basic.

SS: And how long did you stay at Washington State?

AL: Well, after I graduated, I started college and did pretty well the first year-and-a-half, and then I got married. Before too long I had two children, and then it became very, very difficult for me to do school and try to raise a family. I remember working at the Potlatch lumber mill on the pond, pushing logs 00:18:00into the sawmill. I would work there from 5:00 at night until 2:00 in the morning, and then, drive 30 miles home, and try to go to school from 10:00 until 2:00 or something like that. It just didn't work out. Yeah, I failed at that.

SS: That was a little bit too much multi-tasking for you at that time? AL: Yes. And then I was really in a fix.

SS: How much had you completed at Washington State by that time?

AL: A year and some. And I was really in a fix, because the Northern Idaho Forest Service basically shut down in the winter time. I mean, there's maybe three people at a ranger station. The rest of the people - a few people went to 00:19:00the supervisor's office, and there were no jobs for a person without an education. I just didn't know whether I was going to finish school or not, so I had to find another avenue, another livelihood. And I thought that maybe a nursery business would be a good substitute. I knew my plants. I was good and strong, and I picked up the landscape business very well.

SS: Did you learn a lot about plants from your mother or your father? I mean, did you have nice gardens?

AL: Yes. Yeah, dad was always a person that had the garden and he always tried to be the first one to have a crop.

SS: Even in northern Montana?

AL: Yeah, northern Montana.

SS: Slightly shorter growing season than here?

AL: That's right. So, but then this was a problem with the Palouse country, and 00:20:00the winters are quite severe there. The landscaping business basically shut down in the winter time. So, what am I going to do? I've got my family to feed. Then I thought, "Aha! I'll go to Eugene, Oregon, and I'll get a job down there because they have landscaping year-round down there." I came down to Eugene and went to Reed & Cross Nursery. Bam! I got a job just like that. Bam! For a buck-and-a-quarter an hour.

SS: That wasn't too terrible back then.

AL: That wasn't too bad. Yeah. So, I went back. We picked up my family. I had a Jeep pickup and we got a big U-Haul trailer. This was a 4-cylinder Jeep. We put the appliances in the back of the Jeep, we loaded up the trailer and we came 00:21:00over the hill, and went 30 miles-an-hour some places. But we made it to Eugene and started a new life. Then I thought, "Well, you know, maybe I'll switch and do landscaping." So, I went to the University of Oregon night school whenever I could for design courses. And then I learned a tremendous amount from Reed & Cross Nursery because that was one of the big establishments in Eugene. They did expert landscaping for all the major businesses and homes in Eugene, the Rubensteins and --

SS: They were on Coburg Road, weren't they?

AL: Yes, they were on Coburg Road, and I lived right near Coburg Road. I did very well there. They really appreciated my knowledge, and I specialized in 00:22:00selling big trees, landscape trees, to lawyers and doctors. And I was pretty good at it. I didn't get along with the landscape person, Ed Cross, very well. But Reed Volstad was just wonderful, and he thought I was wonderful. So, then I began to look around and I said, "Hey, this is a different part of the world. This is not Montana. There is a lot of forestry going on in the winter time here. And maybe I should check that out."

SS: So this is all taking place in about a two-year period of time after you came?

AL: This is, yeah.

SS: Two or three years after you came to Eugene then?

AL: We came to Eugene in 1961.

SS: Okay.

AL: And so, in late in 1962, I made a trip to the Blue River Ranger Station and I asked for a job. Yeah, they had a job, and it was being a road designer. They 00:23:00would train me and I would have a permanent job there. But the pay was even less than what I was making at the nursery, and so I turned that job down. I went back and I worked the winter at the nursery. And then things got a little worse with Ed Cross, and I said, "Well, maybe I should think some more seriously about that job at the Forest Service." I went back and that job was filled. They said, "But the guys down at the bottom of the ranger station, the experimental people [H.J. Andrews EF staff], are looking for a person." So, I marched down the stairs to talk with them and they said, "Yeah, yeah, we're trying to hire a person."

SS: And who was the first person that you met?

AL: This was Dick Fredriksen [Forest Service hydrologist], who was there. And 00:24:00this was in this little, tiny office, maybe the size of this room`.

SS: It was within the Blue River Ranger District building. Correct?

AL: It was in the basement of the Blue River Ranger Station. One room, two desks. There was old 100-key calculators and typewriters. There was one balance beam, one oven, and charts and stuff on the wall. That was it.

SS: So, what did they tell you that they were doing at this experimental forest?

AL: They were doing the experimental forest then [forestry, regeneration, hydrology and erosion experiments], and I was so impressed. I mean, to think that you could take a piece of land and three watersheds and make a scientific study out of that where one was a control and treat the other two, and record the results. Oh man. That was just wonderful. That was my first knowledge of any 00:25:00science that was done in the Forest Service. But you had to apply for this job and there were many applicants.

SS: And what was the job description?

(Break in audio)

SS: So, you were applying for this position and there were a lot of applicants, How did you happen to get that job?

AL: Yeah, this is kind of interesting. Dick Fredriksen, as I found out, was probably not operating according to government standards. Because he provided his own test so that he could determine the field thinking ability.

SS: Aptitude, if you will?

AL: That's right. Aptitude, maybe the knowledge, to create something in the 00:26:00field and make things happen, which is what he needed. And so, there was this test and we had to do that one. Then I took the test and I didn't think too much about it. You know, I figured, there's a small chance.

SS: You figured the competition was pretty steep?

AL: Yeah, I thought that, yes, it was very steep. Then a month or two later, I got a call on the phone, and Dick said he'd like to go out and show me the forest. So, I showed up at the appropriate time and there were five other people there in one station wagon. I was intimidated by the people that were there, and I didn't really expect much out of that.


SS: Were these the other applicants, or was this -?

AL: These was the other applicants.

SS: So it wasn't the Andrews people of the early days, like Jerry Franklin and Jack Rothacher, it was just Dick and the five other applicants? AL: No, it was just Dick. That's right. A lot of people weren't there during this particular time. Jerry was off, I think, getting a doctorate at Washington State, and Dick was the only one from the Forest [Andrews] that was there. Jack Rothacher wasn't around, and Ted Dyrness wasn't there. So, Dick Fredriksen was the person. We went around and got in the station wagon, all of us, and we went around to check rain gauges. One of the stops was at the Spot Fire Unit on Watershed 1. And that 00:28:00is three-quarters of the way to the top of Watershed 1. And then you could look down in the valley and the logging, the Swiss Wyssen skyline system was going.

SS: So that was actually going at that time?

AL: It was going at that very time, yeah. And the yarder was up at the top of the watershed, and then, a mile down at the bottom was the landing. But there was this extremely steep slope between the rain gauge spot where we were in the road, and the top of the hill where the yarder was.

SS: And this was on the McKenzie River side of the canyon, right?

AL: Yes, I guess it would be.

SS: Right.

AL: But it's right at the edge.

SS: You're lower down on the Lookout Mountain Ridge, right? You're kind of out, but farther out to the west, right?

AL: That's right.

SS: Okay.

AL: Yeah. So, Dick suggested that we go up and take a look at the yarder. Oh, 00:29:00for crying out loud. (Clock chiming) We take a look at the yarder.

SS: We tried. (Laughs - clock chimes again) We're making a joke about the clock that won't shut up, but anyway. Okay, continue.

AL: So, Dick suggested that we, just the five of us, go up and take a look at the yarder while he emptied the rain gauge and did the check. And so, three or four of the guys, husky guys, just made a beeline for the slope. And I think I and another guy just kind of tagged along behind, and they were just charging up the slope. But pretty soon, one of them stopped, and he was breathing and 00:30:00panting and panting, and I just went right on by him. The a little bit farther up the slope, another guy was just standing on a stump, panting. And I had no problem, as I went right up to the top and looked at the yarder. Then everybody else kind of scrambled up a little later. I don't know whether that was a test or not, but I did very well.

SS: But the tortoise won the race.

AL: Yeah, that's right. (Laughs) And that, I think, was from my ability to be in the woods. I knew it and had done that before, and I'd played all those games with the college kids in Idaho. I just knew the woods and I knew what I could do.

SS: So, your Montana credo came through.

AL: That's the reason I explained all this Montana stuff.

SS: No, that's very good, yes.


AL: Then again, I didn't know what was going on. But maybe a month later, they called me up and said, "Hey, you've got the job if you want it." And wow, I was excited, but it's quite a job to move your family to Blue River and --

SS: Wanted your wife and your kids to come out then?

AL: Yeah, well.

SS: Your kids were pretty young.

AL: The kids were and I had a third kid by then, David, the son. So, we had to try to make arrangements because there was no place to live in Corvallis or in Blue River. The Cougar Reservoir was just being completed, and that was a tremendous push and boost to the economy of the area. Many people went back-and-forth every day from Blue River to Eugene.

SS: Or Springfield.


AL: Yeah, and many people died on that road (US 126). Red Dog Curve, it was a really, treacherous thing. But there were a lot of trailer houses there, and we did find one. It was for $500, we got a two-bedroom trailer.

SS: You bought it?

AL: Bought it, yeah.

SS: So, your first purchased home was a trailer?

AL: Actually, it was the second. We had the one in Eugene. SS: Oh, okay.

AL: So, we got it and the only place to put it was up in the, well, there was a kind of a trailer court up above the ranger station where a few of the people that worked there stayed. There was an empty space and we got to move in there, and after that, we started work.

SS: What was the community of Blue River like at that time?

AL: The community of Blue River was, I think, you know, up-and-going, but kind 00:33:00of maybe losing a little bit because the reservoir had just been completed. But there was a grocery store.

SS: You're taking about the Cougar Reservoir, though?

AL: The Cougar Reservoir.

SS: When did the Blue River Reservoir get completed? That was few years before that.

AL: The Blue River Reservoir was after that, 1975 [started in 1968, finished and filled, early to mid-1970s).

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: So, this is 1963 when we were there.

SS: I got my chronology backwards, okay.

AL: There was a grocery store, two grocery stores, a meat department there, a post office and restaurants. And a couple of bars and a barber shop. And it was really a pretty good town.

SS: The infamous Cougar Room was one of them.

AL: The Cougar Room. I have many stories with the Cougar Room. (Laughs)

SS: Yes, but you don't want to tell me too many of those, right? (Laughs) I've heard them from my friends anyway. Now, did you have to go back and complete your schooling at any time during this process?


AL: No. Only with the landscape endeavor did I do any schooling. If we go on a little bit farther, then the schooling comes.

SS: Okay, that's fine. So, tell me about your first interaction with the Andrews aside from the test that you got. I mean, after you were actually hired, what was your first job? What was your first task as an employee working out of Blue River under --- Was your boss Dick Fredriksen?

AL: Dick Fredriksen and I were the only ones at Blue River at that time, yeah.

SS: Where was Jack Rothacher at that time?

AL: Jack Rothacher was in Corvallis.

SS: Okay.

AL: And Ted Dyrness was. And I think they mainly came during the summer time, although Jack was there a lot.

SS: And Jerry Franklin was also in Corvallis?


AL: Jerry Franklin was there in Corvallis, yes. He never showed up at the Andrews. Well, I shouldn't say never, but he was very, very seldom there.

SS: So, what was your first job?

AL: Well, the first job was learning how to service the watersheds and to take care of the rain gauges. And it was very different because it was very primitive. We had no electricity. I mean, the only power we had was a flashlight, I think. All the instruments were weight-driven clocks, and scales for measuring rainfall. So, you know, it was primitive. And the only thing we had was one station wagon. It was a Studebaker station wagon that was pretty new. That was the only thing the Andrews had. We didn't have a chain saw. We didn't have anything, because we were supposed to go to the district and get our material.


SS: How many roads were in the Andrews? Do you recall?

AL: The roads were pretty much laid out by Roy Silen and his work before. That had pretty much been done. There was a little bit of continuing road work and logging going on. But they [roads] was pretty well laid out.

SS: So, the center of the road system that we see today was already in place by that time?

AL: Yes, it was.

SS: And even the extensions that were made later on, spurs or whatever, were those basically based on Roy's original plan, correct?

AL: That's right, yeah. Roy was everyplace. And still today, you think you've been a place at the Andrews where nobody's ever been before, and an aluminum tag shows up on a tree, and you look at it, and it's Roy Silen. I guess, Roy has passed on and I don't know if there's much information there. Maybe Jerry will 00:37:00have a lot of information.

But I remember one particular story. He [Silen] was a bachelor at that time, and he lived in a trailer there. I don't think it was in the same trailer court, and he worked all the time. Then people would come up on the weekends from Eugene and around, and he would take them fishing. So, he very seldom got out of the area. The word was that when his paycheck would come in, he would put it in the window of his little trailer. And then he'd go off, do other things and fish. He worked 10 days on and 4 days off. So, he was in the woods, lived under just a tarp, and didn't come out for 10 days. A couple of the assistants, and I don't 00:38:00know who they were right now, but they hated to go with him because they were married. It was a 10-day stretch every 14 days. They'd go back and lay out the road system. As the summer went on, he kept putting his checks in the window, and then, in October, I guess he thought, "Well, it's time to take them to the bank." He went to look at them, and the mice had got into his checks. The people in Portland said that was a most humorous situation when he showed up in Portland with these paychecks, the stubs of them.

SS: So, the "hermit of the forest" had lost his checks to mice.

AL: To mice. And he wanted to have them replaced.

SS: I have not heard that story. That's a great story. That's even better, maybe, than the "ghetto-in-the-meadow," [name for Andrews "campus" in 1980s, 00:39:00mostly decrepit GSA surplus trailers] fall through the floor stories. Right?

AL: Yeah. (Laughs)

SS: Which we'll get to later. Very good. Excellent.

AL: Okay.

SS: So, Roy was everywhere though?

AL: Roy was everywhere. He knew the forest.

SS: And still is today.

AL: And I did get to spend some time with Roy in the woods. He knew every curve and every road. He knew why it was there, he knew this, and he had just an unbelievable memory of what he'd done in that park. (exp. forest) SS: And he was only out there for five or six years? Correct?

AL: Yes. And maybe not even that long.

SS: Wow, that's incredible.

AL: He was an incredible person.

SS: It's incredible how somebody that was hired basically as a lone wolf, and I think he got a little help in the last two years he was there, who basically left and rarely returned after he left --

AL: Rarely did, yeah.

SS: -- would have such an impact on a place that really, you couldn't have guessed that the legacy of the Andrews would become what it did?


AL: Yeah, that's right.

SS: But that somebody like him in that brief period of time when he was fighting against the grain of industrial forestry and all the things that were wanted, some people wanted to have happen on the land, but he would have all of this influence in many ways, still today?

AL: Yeah, that's right.

SS: How interesting. Wow.

AL: Yeah.

SS: That is really fascinating. So, go back to your early tasks and job description, and learning how to do the monitoring and the watersheds in those early days?

AL: Okay. I mentioned how primitive our working conditions and materials were. And it was very difficult. I think the first year I was there, the first winter, oh, my gosh, the place just about closed down. There was no traffic. There was no snowmobiles. There was nothing. If you wanted to get someplace, you couldn't 00:41:00push through the snow with a Studebaker.

SS: This was the winter of '63-'64, correct?

AL: '63, yeah.

SS: But into '64, right?

AL: Yeah, yeah.

SS: But this is the year before the big flood, though. Correct?

AL: That's right, yeah. So, if you wanted to go anyplace, it was snowshoes. You had to do snowshoes. So, the other thing that was happening was that they were thinking about putting watersheds in at Hi-15, which is at 3,000 feet. We had no idea what that meant, and I think we didn't realize what the problems were going to be in the winter time to get into those places. In the first winter, I got to spend some time with Jack. And Jack was just, you know, you can't give that guy enough credit. He was a ranger in the North Umpqua [National] Forest, and then he gave that job up to come to the Andrews and be a hydrologist. He lived in the 00:42:00big house set aside for the Andrews Experimental Forest, right by the ranger's house.

SS: Now, when did that start being the house for the Andrews? Do you know?

AL: I think it was built that way. And I think maybe the research people did provide a little bit of money for that house.

SS: And that would have been money through the PNW Station. Correct?

AL: Yes, that's right. So, we had one flume put in. Very temporary. We built kind of a temporary shelter.

SS: This was up in the Hi-15?

AL: Yes.

SS: The Hi-15 encompasses what would be called Watersheds 6, 7 and 8. Right?

AL: 7 and 8 (numbers used - formal names for watersheds), that's right. So, we had the control watershed, and we went ahead and put a flume in there. That was in addition to the work that was going on in the lower watershed.

SS: And you did this during the winter time?

AL: We did it and had it completed in the fall. So, our clock time was I think 00:43:00fourteen days, or maybe eight days, an eight-day clock on that. It required that somebody get up there to wind the clock every eight days. And the snow came down, so Jack came down to help me go up there one week.

SS: How long did it take you to get there?

AL: We started at 6:00 in the morning. There was fresh snow, and it was maybe three feet deep. And in that country, our country, the snow is very wet and very heavy, and your snowshoes sink down. So, in three feet of snow, you could sink in two feet. It was extremely difficult. It just was. So, we decided we would 00:44:00take turns breaking trail. He would go for fifty steps, and then I would break trail for fifty steps. (Clock chime.) Shall we stop and take that thing off?

(Break in audio)

AL: Okay, so we're trying to get up to the Hi-15 to make the checks and wind the clock. We decided it's very difficult, and then we would try to do fifty steps, break trail, because, it's much easier for the guy behind. We started on that, and we got wore out. So, we changed to ten steps. Ten steps, break trail, step off, and the other person would go ten steps. And we got to the Lookout Creek Bridge. Fortunately, the snow began to get a little firmer and we were able to finish the other seven miles up to the gauging station and make our check. And 00:45:00of course, coming back down in the already broken trail was a lot easier.

SS: But you came back in the dark, didn't you?

AL: But it was 6:00 when we --

SS: And it was dark by then?

AL: We started at Watershed 2, so it was a very long hike. But that's what Jack was capable of doing. He could do that. He was the project leader, the head of the project. He would come out and work with just anybody. He really good and treated everybody fairly. I think I want to say, he told me, Jerry was up and coming, and he'd already done his Master's degree. Jerry, I think, had trouble with a lot of supervisors, as they didn't give him enough space. He was thinking way beyond them. But Jack said, "Well, you know, Jerry's a very, very smart guy, 00:46:00and I'm just going to give him whatever room he needs to operate." So, he didn't want to control his territory to near the extent that I've seen in other experimental forests or anything. Jack was very willing to share and to take on new tasks, new science, new ideas. And like I said, he was very fair and very good to me. When I moved into that research community, I felt like I was part of the family. He and the team were just exceptional.

SS: Regarding Jerry, it seems like he's the kind of person that would refuse to be caged.

AL: That is right. That is absolutely right.

SS: Is that a good way of expressing it?

AL: It is.

SS: So, in other words, a lot of the things that became Jerry's now famous, legendary, still ongoing career, was aided by somebody like Jack saying, "You 00:47:00know, let that guy do his thing." Right?

AL: That's right. That's right. That's good. That's very good.

SS: Interesting. So, tell me a little bit more about Dick Fredriksen?

AL: You know, Dick doesn't get enough credit. He had lots of problems later in his career. And I think maybe he had Alzheimer's or dementia that came on that nobody knew about.

SS: Early onset, what we call early onset today?

AL: Yeah. But what a strong, very thorough science person. And I think he made the watershed program what it's famous for today, because he was very thorough. He was the first one that I know of that made check sheets for us to follow every strict detail. And we never deviated from that procedure one little bit.


SS: So, in other words, you had your instrumentation tapes, but you also had your check sheets that you manually would verify and check and record as you're in the field, correct?

AL: Everything was, yeah, everything was done properly. All the information was recorded, and it was recorded correctly. If anything I was able to do to pass on to other people, that was it, and even Greg [Downing]and Craig [Creel] will tell you that today [Both U.S. Forest Service technicians].

SS: And you're talking about Greg Downing and Craig Creel, correct?

AL: Yeah. They're the latest people in the field. They will tell you that the Andrews is a real stickler for keeping the quality of their data good, and pure and consistent. I know some other experimental forests and experimental LTER 00:49:00sites don't have that record. The Andrews has a very good record for being precise and producing usable information over 50 years, 60 years of time.

SS: Now, Dick Fredriksen was from Minnesota, correct?

AL: He might be, yeah. I don't know that much about him. I know he went to school in Seattle. SS: Oh, okay.

AL: And he got a master's degree there. And he had a very tough time of it.

SS: Now, didn't he eventually get a doctorate?

AL: He did. And we can go into that, much more.

SS: Okay, we'll go into it later.

AL: But he, I think, set a very good example for very good record-keeping. And that has been passed on through.

SS: Would you say that Dick is the most influential person at the Andrews regarding that one thing?


AL: Yes.

SS: How about Jack? Was he more of a field guy, more of a get-out-and-do-it thing, or was he equally a stickler for detail?

AL: Not as much a stickler for detail, but very get-out-and-do-it. And, you know, do it right and stay out there until it's done right, and take on projects and make sure they're done right.

SS: Now, we're going to go --

AL: Well, maybe, now, there's time for a story?

SS: We always have time for stories.

AL: This is kind of jumping ahead.

SS: But that's fine. Just so you know, these are not linear. The memory is a many-faceted, a big, mysterious thing, so Al, go where you want to go.

AL: Okay. I think it was after the '64 flood. And, of course, the Watershed 3 canyon gauge house and sediment basin were washed completely off the face of the Earth. They found the recorder for the station two years later, two miles down 00:51:00the stream. So, we had to replace all that stuff. And it came time to do the sediment basin which required a lot of big cedar, heavy cedar, a lot of cedar planks. At that time, we had a sawmill right there in Blue River [the town]. And we took on the job to do that. We got our logs in place, we got the basin dug. The Logs in place, we needed the lumber, we just needed the lumber for the dam.

SS: And this would have been the summer after the big flood, correct?

AL: '65. ["Christmas Flood" of 1964 had two parts; Dec. 1964/Jan. 1965].

SS: '65, right.

AL: Or maybe '66. It took a while to get things going. But Jack was there.

SS: Okay.

AL: So, we ordered the lumber, 4 x 12's or something, from the local mill. And then we had to borrow a Forest Service truck to haul all this lumber, the big, long planks, maybe 16-18 feet. I guess we loaded it too heavy. We had too much 00:52:00wood on there. And so, as a final safety measure, I guess you might call it, Jack and I decided to get on the top of the truck and hold the boards down while Dick drove the truck. And of course, we had to go right by the ranger station. The safety officer happened to look up, he told me later that he looked up and saw that. And then he saw who was on the back of the truck and he said, "Oh, well, forget that."

SS: And you probably didn't have hard hats on, either?

AL: We would have done it, yeah. That's the way we operated. Get it done. So, Jack was good at that also.

SS: So, you went up and did this sediment basin work with that wood later on that year, right?

AL: Yes, we got that completed with Jack's help.

SS: We'll talk a little more later about the rebuilding process from Christmas 00:53:00Flood of 1964, which actually continued into early 1965, and you've got some stories regarding that. So, any other people or personalities from those early days that you remember, any Forest Service people like --?

AL: Yeah. We moved into that Forest Service community and it was just the most wonderful time in my life. We participated with the people. We went to parties. We had friends that we have had for life after that. So, that relationship with the Forest Service people right there on the compound was just a wonderful experience. The ranger was a tough guy. He was more about getting the wood out.....but --

SS: What was his name?


AL: Bob Burns?

SS: Okay, Bob Burns.

AL: He didn't think much of the experimental forest [Andrews], and thought we were wasting their time. But he turned out to be our neighbor, he was very compassionate to our family, and we got along very well.

SS: Where did your kids go to school when you were up there?

AL: No, the kids weren't in school yet.

SS: Okay. They were still that young.

AL: My oldest daughter, Sherry, did start kindergarten at that place. But, the other kids were too young.

SS: Now, so if you were going to overview the infrastructure at that early time, how would you describe the infrastructure of the Andrews? You told me about the different watersheds and developing the roads, but if you were going to give a thumbnail sketch of what was there your first year, what was there?

AL: Oh, yeah. I told you about the office. That's all there was.

SS: Just that one room in the basement, correct?


AL: One room in the basement. We had just our one Studebaker station wagon. No chainsaw.

SS: No snow-cat?

AL: No. No snow-cat. Snowshoes. We had snowshoes that were made by the Indians. They actually chewed the leather to make it soft enough to get on there. And we had to make sure they were varnished, and so they would keep the leather from getting wet.

SS: What kind of radios did you have at that time?

AL: We had no radios.

SS: No radios?

AL: We had nothing.

SS: So, you went out there on these snow things. If you fell and broke your leg, you'd be out there with a broken leg?

AL: Yeah. And by myself. I was by myself a lot of the time.

SS: Was that ever scary at times?

AL: Hey, I came from Montana. (Laughs)

SS: Oh, that's right, I'm sorry, Al. You're a Big Sky kid. My apologies. We have a real man in the house.

AL: No, pretty stupid.

SS: Humor is permitted in my interviews. (Laughs) So, you were saying, "Hah, 00:56:00this is not real weather, right?"

AL: That's right. Well, I got fooled.

SS: You're continuing about the infrastructure?

AL: Yeah, so there was just the three watersheds. And the other study that was ongoing was the soil moisture study on Watershed 3. That was started before logging in Watershed 3. And so that was going on. The roads, you know, you kind of had to watch the roads and the loggers and make sure everything was going well. Three watersheds, and we had a huge rain gauge route that we had to maintain. So, basically, it was very simple.

SS: But there was the road up to Carpenter Mountain, right?

AL: The road to Carpenter Mountain was there.

SS: And of course, that was staffed in the summertime, right?


AL: That was, yes.

SS: What do you remember about any of the personalities at the lookouts [staff on Carpenter Mtn.], because they're notoriously eccentric usually?

AL: Yes, they are.

SS: And do you remember any of those people?

AL: No, I don't think, maybe I was more on the Roy Silen level there, where I was pretty challenged with the job I had to do. So, I didn't do a lot of running around. But I guess we were up there, yeah.

SS: Now, you were a technician and researcher, all the different things you've done. Now, were you technically-inclined when you were a youth, or did you kind of learn how to be technical on the job?

AL: That was all on the job from Dick Fredriksen. He was very good, and so I learned most of what I knew from Dick Fredriksen. I did have some mechanical experience. I knew how to work on cars and do simple things like that.


SS: Now, the equipment back then, was it fairly easy to repair, if you had to repair it, and it was more mechanical? [Not digital in modern sense]. For example, it wasn't complex computers like we have now.

AL: Yeah, it was very simple. A weight-driven clock. And you could actually take the clocks and you could clean them yourself and make them run.

SS: And those were fairly reliable?

AL: They were very reliable as long as you got there before the wake hit the bottom of the stilling well or the bottom of the rain gauge.

SS: Now, were there problems with moisture ruining some of the tapes or records, and did you have to be careful about that?

AL: Yes, they were, but I think we had desiccants at that time, so maybe that's the first thing we changed. We did that every week.

SS: Now, when did you start doing photography, immediately?


AL: Yes, that came immediately. That part of the job was to go back with this 4 x 5 camera and put it on a tripod. And everything is upside down when you look through the viewfinder. The lens opened up the back of the camera, and you look through the lens, and everything is upside down. So, you take your picture that you're trying to retake. And you have to turn that upside down, and then look and see, get your camera lined up.

SS: So, you were doing repeat photography immediately?

AL: Immediately, yes.

SS: And that would have been from what Jack Rothacher had shot before?

AL: Jack Rothacher and Dick Fredriksen.

SS: And Bob Ruth, too?

AL: And Bob Ruth, yeah. [Also Roy Silen, Hank Gratkowski, others.]

SS: Okay. And so, you were basically doing repeat photographing of vegetation plots and revegetation of areas that had been treated. Correct?

AL: That's right, yeah.

SS: Okay, so that was your first task. They're saying this is kind of what you need to do to track vegetation, regeneration, those kind of issues?


AL: Uh-huh.

SS: Also stream beds, or that was later?

AL: Yeah, I think there were some, well, the '64 flood, of course, came. And maybe that started more photography, but a lot of that was done by 4 x 5s.

SS: Right, so this was all 4 x 5 stuff?

AL: Mostly 4 x 5's. [Large format] I think Jerry [Franklin] had a Bronica 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 [Medium format] camera that he used.

SS: Yeah, a lot of the early photographs were, I've seen both big format but also medium format. [In H.J. Andrews E.F. historical archives.]

AL: Yeah.

SS: But there's also a lot of early slides, too, from 35mm. Right?

AL: Yeah, we started using the slide camera but, you know, it wasn't considered good enough for science. The 4 x 5 was the standard.

SS: Well, it's because you've got the resolution.

AL: That's right.

SS: There's a lot to be said for that.

AL: Yes, it is.

SS: You wanted to say something about when Fredriksen left?

AL: Yes. Not within a year before I came on the job, we began to get word that 01:01:00Dick was thinking about moving to Corvallis. And we were thinking about getting out of that little two-bedroom trailer because our family of --

SS: Five.

AL: -- five, were really squeezed into that thing. So, thinking about buying a house or moving out of there. Dick began to hint, saying, "Well, you know, I can't promise you anything, but maybe this house is going to be available." What a beautiful house that was. And something did happen. Dick decided to go back to Corvallis. I think that was before '64, maybe late in '64. And we moved into a nice, big three-bedroom house with a huge fireplace, full basement, and wood 01:02:00floors. Gorgeous place. Never been in anything that beautiful.

SS: What did you do with the trailer? Did you sell it?

AL: I think we sold the trailer.

SS: It was $500? Did you make a profit on it?

AL: I know. (Laughs) It was quite a job to get rid of it. And we were right beside the Ranger Bob Burns, who was supposed to be a very hard person. He was a great neighbor. Okay, that happened, and then, I started thinking I need to continue my schooling. So, there were some people at the ranger station that would go down to the U of O and take classes at night. So, I joined those guys and I started taking classes at night, 40 miles down to take a class, 40 miles back, and go to work. And so, I did that. So, I still had this idea of getting a 01:03:00degree still in my mind and was working on it slowly, slowly, slowly. But there I was. Now I was stuck. I was the only one at the Andrews. I was the officer in charge of the Andrews.

SS: Where was Jack Rothacher?

AL: Jack Rothacher and the others, they were in Corvallis. I was the only one in Blue River. There was nobody else.

SS: Now, you were talking about you being the only one up there. Do you want to continue along that track?

AL: Yeah, it was turned over to me, that whole thing, taking care of the gauging stations. And it was great. It was just me and my Airedale Terrier. We had a Dodge pickup by that time.

SS: And what was the name of the Airedale?

AL: Oh, of course, Tramp.

SS: Tramp. Lady and the Tramp, like that? Like the movie?

AL: Yeah, that's right. So, we would patrol the Andrews and do the checks, and 01:04:00have lunch with the loggers sometimes. I'd sit down with the loggers that were doing a unit, and --

SS: Now, was Mike Savelich still there at that time?

AL: Yes, Mike Savelich was there big-time, yes. He was a tough logger. His main motto was "Go or tear something up."

SS: He was a big-old Croatian guy, wasn't he?

AL: Yeah, he was. So, yeah, we'd stop and have lunch with the loggers. They were great. They would, you know, have these big meals and throw pieces of steak and bread and cookies, and old Tramp would just run around and eat them all up. And then we'd go on and try to do our work, and they'd go back to their work. So, it was good. I didn't mind being alone at all. Except in the wintertime. Then we started to make plans for the next winter. And this was going to be the 1964, 01:05:00the winter of '64 and '65. So, the plan was, Dick was involved with his master's degree.

SS: So, he was back in Corvallis studying?

AL: He was back in Corvallis. I was the only one there.

SS: And where was Jack by this time?

AL: Jack was still in Corvallis.

SS: Okay.

AL: And Ted was there, too. So, we began to make plans. The plan was that, the other thing that was mandatory was to take sediment samples from the logged streams. And they had to be done on a three-hour rotation during the rising leg of a storm, because that's when the most sediment occurs on a rising leg. So, it was very, very, very important to get that, the samples, during the rising leg of the curve. But the only thing we had to do it was drive out there and climb 01:06:00up the hill to the trail or whatever it was, and then lay on that board that goes across the flume, lay on your belly, and take a pint milk bottle and start at one edge of the flume, and run it clear down to the bottom and up the other side. And that was a sample. So, that had to be done every three hours, at least on the rising leg of the storm.

SS: Now, are you leading up to perhaps the big flood?

AL: We can.

SS: Okay, but you're just giving me a typical example, right?

AL: Yeah, that was the thing we had to do. So, I'm leading up to that [1964-65 flood]. So then, I was supposed to start the procedure. Take the first two samples in six hours. Then, Corvallis would kind of keep me informed as to 01:07:00weather forecasts and when a storm was coming, and then, I would be responsible to get out there and take the first two samples, regardless of time or day, even if it was dark. And then, call the guys in Corvallis and they would come down and help. So, in the case of the Christmas Flood, there was this huge snowpack in the Andrews. I could barely get that Studebaker into the Forest.

SS: So, there was a huge early snowpack?

AL: Early snow, and before the rain started. And we could barely get that car up to even the lower watersheds, and then it began to rain. So, I went out there for the first sample, and it was getting really heavy [rain] up there. Took the first sample, and I called the guys. Then I went out to take the second sample 01:08:00and it had really gotten bad. I began to notice that the streams were really high and rushing and dirty. And it was kind of scary kind of being up there in the woods because the wind was blowing and it was raining everywhere. It seemed like the "quiet" forest was very noisy.

And I think we even put on hard hats, or I put on a hard hat. Then Dick Fredriksen finally got there, and this was maybe 11:00 at night. And I think we were after our 12:30 sample, so we went out together to take the sample, and the snow was still pretty deep. I think we had to walk up to Watershed 2 and get our 01:09:00sample. And it was really beginning to get, it looked like, sounded like, felt like hell, out there. For some reason, there was a strong wind, so that was very noisy. Then we got to the bottom and trees began to fall. We could hear the trees, wham, wham! And then up the canyon, you could hear, whick-shooh! (Noises) Dick said it was a slide that came down. And I'm still in my minus-eight lenses, even with a hard hat on. My face is getting wet, my glasses are getting wet, and I'm a little scared. And I think Dick is, too. So, we decided we get our other two samples, and we had to go to Watershed 3, and then we would stop at Watershed 1 and collect a sample.

SS: Were you in the Studebaker or on foot?


AL: We were in the Studebaker.

SS: You still were driving then, okay.

AL: We could drive on the main road. And we went up, parked our car a little ways away from the gauging station because we didn't want to park it in the canyon. Turned our lights on. By this time, it's raining so hard, the flashlight hardly shines through the rain, and we go up to the trail that we were supposed to go up to the gauging station. There was steam and rain and you couldn't see, and we stood there and looked in the canyon. Then we began to make out that there was no canyon. It was all mud and logs.

SS: It was a debris flow basically?

AL: It was a debris flow, yeah. And it piled up a huge pile of logs and debris on top of this, clear on top of the road. I mean, all the way across the whole 01:11:00canyon. And we thought, this is too much. We'd better get the hell out of here! We're in danger.

SS: So, you stopped being a scientist and you started looking at survival?

AL: That's right. That's right. So, we're going to get out of there quick. So, we turned around and thought we can make our run to Watershed 1 and maybe get a sample there. We got just down past the road to Watershed 2 and looked in the middle of the road, and here's another slide right there in the road with huge, big logs.

SS: And you're still in the car, though?

AL: We're still in the car. And there's mud in this one, and I think Dick was driving. I believe he left the lights on or something and I was supposed to go out and check the slide material to see if we could get through it. And we couldn't. It was just so deep and so wet, the mud was, that this wasn't safe. 01:12:00And so there we were. We were trapped. We were trapped between Watershed 1 and Watershed 3, and the noise is tremendous with these trees coming down and the earth flows. We could just hear the roar, the rain was just terrible, and it was wet everyplace. So, we parked the car in what we thought was a fairly safe spot and sat there, then decided, we can't do this. We can't stay here in this place. And nobody's going to come after us. There is no way.

SS: So, you figured you were unsafe even in the car in that location?

AL: In the car, yeah, in that car.

SS: You thought maybe the hillside was going to come down on you?

AL: Well, the trees maybe. We were in a big old-growth stand right there.

SS: Okay.

AL: So, we thought, "Well, how do we get out of here? What are we going to do?" We can't get across that slide down close to the road. But you know, there's a 01:13:00whole bunch of big logs up on that Watershed 3 landslide on the road. And, well, maybe we can climb up on those logs and get across the slide right there. And then there was another old logging bridge up where the Lookout Creek swimming hole is. It's not there now, but it was a log bridge that spanned the whole Lookout Creek. So, we decided we'd do that. And we did. We made it across that canyon, the log barrier in the middle of the road, and got up to the Lookout Creek Bridge, and it was still there. It still was up. The river was just black and roaring underneath us, and big logs and debris were coming down the stream.

So, then our plan was to cross that bridge and put us on, I guess, the west side 01:14:00of Lookout Creek. And we still had to climb a thousand feet up to the next road up on the ridgetop. There's some roads there, it was a log unit in there. And we thought if we get to that road, we could walk down that road and walk down to the highway and maybe get a ride or get out. So, we did that. Started up the hill, and then, we saw that the stream, or we heard the stream right next to us, just give way. And it just went flying down with this tremendous roar. If you've never been in an earthflow situation or streamflow, it's just a thunderous roar. And I'm pretty-darned scared, because this is new to me. I mean, Montana was woods, but it wasn't rain like this. This was really --


SS: So, you began to fear, this might be my day?

AL: Yeah. (Laughs) I didn't think about that.

SS: How about Dick? What did Dick think?

AL: Dick, I think was pretty cool, and he could see. I had heavy glasses on and they were steamed up and raindrops were all over, even under the rain helmet. So, we're marching up this hillside, and I tried to maybe go this way a little bit to get around something. Pretty soon, there was somebody grabbing me by the back of the neck and shoulder, pulling me back, and saying, "Hey, you're just about to go into a landslide!" I looked down, and finally I could see that I was headed right into a very recent landslide.

SS: Now, did you have the dog with you at this point?

AL: No, we had nothing. So, we actually made it up to the road finally. And the road had downed trees on it, but we able to get under and over and through them, and we made it down.


SS: What time of the night was this by now?

AL: Well, this is getting to be 2:00-ish, and maybe a little later than that. And we made it down to the road, Lookout Creek Road. (Chime) What is that?

SS: Oh, the door?

(Break in audio)

AL: Okay, we're on the road down to, on the main road, Lookout Creek Road. And we did have a dog. It was Dick's dog.

SS: Okay.

AL: We walked all the way to the highway, and then, we found out why nobody could come to get us or nobody was there at all, because the McKenzie River was up over the top of the highway where the Lookout Creek Road enters. What are we going to do? Dick is six-six and strong and big. He said, "I think we can wade it." So, we start to wade, and he goes first. I stumble along, but behind him, pretty soon the dog comes swimming by. I reached down, grabbed it by the tail 01:17:00and said, "Dick, we can't do this. We can't make it." "Okay," he said. Then he turns around, and we came back and go to the nearest house up there and stayed there awhile, until 8:00 or something. I'm not sure how, but I thought we could wade it or something, get across it and make it home. And by that time, Jack had decided to join the party, and he had a heck of a time getting to Blue River, because the bridge at Vida has washed out, most of it, and. There's this plank on the bridge and that's how we could get across there.

SS: You walked over.

AL: Walked over, and then we went down, or Dick went down and picked him up, and I got to rest a little bit. And actually, they had family from Washington that 01:18:00came to visit, and they went down the Columbia River and all the way to the Blue River. It was really a trek and I think we went, I don't know, I can't remember the sequence, but we went down to help them, because they needed rescue. They couldn't make it to Blue River.

SS: Were there search people there? Were they going to start considering sending out a search for you?

AL: I don't think so. No.

SS: No, not yet?

AL: Not at that point. Yeah. They were just researchers.

SS: Oh, but everybody else was trying to survive this flood. AL: That's right. And we had one of the people that worked in the lab that did lab work for us, that were in our basement. He [Fredriksen] had their birds and dogs and everything, because they were flooded out of their home. Then, when the relatives came, they were in the basement and the water started to actually seep into the basement, which is normally very solid, leak-proof.


SS: How bad was the flood in the Blue River itself? Was the Blue River [the river, not the town] pretty torn up, too?

AL: Everything was very torn up. The whole countryside, McKenzie River. The '64 flood was a region-wide event that affected our Bull Run studies and our Coyote Creek studies. It just tore everything up. We were very lucky in the Andrews as they [logging cos.] were logging up there and had equipment up there. And the loggers were anxious to get into their equipment and try to save it.

SS: To see how it had fared?

AL: Yeah, and so, they actually opened up those two slides that stopped us from getting out. And so, we had access to the Andrews in a couple days.


SS: What was the damage assessment to roads, but also to equipment, measuring equipment, monitoring equipment?

AL: Well, the Watershed 3 gauging station was completely lost. And I think Watershed 1 and Watershed 2 actually made it through. The bridge in the Upper Blue River was an island. The river went around both sides of it and so you couldn't cross it. You couldn't get across the creek.

SS: So, how did you get into the forest then? You had to walk around?

AL: Actually, the loggers, had some stuff in the other side, so, we got in, yeah.

SS: How many of the roads in the Andrews got washed out, or certain areas?

AL: Yeah.

SS: Or did it survive pretty well?

AL: Oh, I think most of them got washed out.

SS: And that took how long to rebuild that? Was that Forest Service people that 01:21:00had to come in and rebuild that, or was it the loggers helped with that?

AL: Yeah, and I think it was done with emergency contracts. And it was a big job. It took years, I think, to get everything back to normal.

SS: So, would you say that '65 was pretty much a recovery year?

AL: It was, yes.

SS: But you did mention that some of the stations survived, so you'd continue to monitor those while you addressed the infrastructure damage around the forest?

AL: Yeah. And we actually did build, I think there's photographs of the work. We got in pretty quickly. No, no, it wasn't that way at all. It wasn't pretty quickly. One of the things we had, the Forest Service actually provided us with dollars so that we could rent a logger and his equipment to dredge out the 01:22:00Watershed 3 basin, and to look for the flume. It was my job that first spring afterwards was to stay with the caterpillars as they pushed stuff down the stream channel and into Lookout Creek. And I'm sure, it was 18 feet that they had to go down to find the flume, the Watershed 3 flume.

SS: You mean, it was covered by mud and debris and -?

AL: Mud and debris and stone, yeah. So, it was like 18 feet above the top of the gauging station. But they started just pushing this stuff, pretty much into Lookout Creek, and piles and piles of logs were lined up along the stream. So, yeah, it took a lot. But we were able to, that summer, we rigged up a temporary 01:23:00stilling well and gauging station on a barrel, and started recording records again.

SS: What do you think the Andrews and the scientists involved with it learned from that flood, and how did it change monitoring science premises after that point?

AL: It helped to start the change what the Cascade streamflow thing is all about. I think Gordon Grant told me the best example of that. He said, that Oregon, the woods or the forest, is "centuries of bureaucracy, but punctuated by 01:24:00seconds of torment." So, where we thought erosion was a kind of a constant thing, we were beginning to learn that that we have these seismic events that are going to do far more damage than a lot of what you doing, for management to remember it.

SS: So that was very dramatic. What other impacts did that flood, and it may be in confluence with other political events or planning dynamics that happened, which changed the vector of the Andrews?

AL: That flood, yeah. Not that I would say very much. I think at some point, I should try to tell you what the general outlook was, I guess.


SS: Well, that goes along with that same subject.

AL: Yeah, yes.

SS: Because I know people have discussed that the flood in convergence with people like Jerry and Ted, and planning and what became the IBP.

AL: Yeah, that's right.

SS: That's what I'm saying, but I was trying to set that up for you. But you can go into that however you want.

AL: Yeah, okay.

SS: So, why don't you go into however you want to describe it, the general tenor, and where things were going. Just go where you want with that.

AL: The way I see it, the experimental forest [H .J. Andrews] at that time was still about the easiest and best way to get the logs off the land. We would go up on the ridge tops and look, and there were Doug-fir forests wherever you could, everyplace you could see. And the impression was that there is no way you're ever going to cut these. It's just so much stuff there. The logging 01:26:00operation was just about getting the trees off the hillside, and the Forest Service wanted to use the value of the trees to build the roads to their points where they thought they could control fires. And so, it was logging, it was just so much logging. We lived in [Blue River], and right next to us was a couple of scalers, and I remember one of them saying one day, "Okay, I'll take three-log loads and you take the one-log loads today, and then we'll switch tomorrow." So, there was 50-100 logging trucks at least a day, coming out of Blue River [watershed] that were just single-log loads and three-log loads. And that's all 01:27:00there was.

SS: Almost all old growth?

AL: That was it, yeah. And so, that was the way to do it. And our science was related to how much disturbance the logging, different logging operations created, and looking for alternative logging methods. That's why the Wyssen skyline system [Swiss] was adopted when they were looking for alternative logging methods. That is why the Wyssen skyline system was there, because it would be a cheaper, more convenient way. And I guess, Jack was really, he knew about the mid-slope roads and how they would cause so much erosion when they, so much more chance of --

SS: In other words, the Wyssen using a high ridgeline road, and then you can pull the logs up from?

AL: No, you would actually let them down.

SS: Oh, let them down. Excuse me, right.

AL: You could let them down that whole mile.

SS: So, to lower roads. Okay.

AL: That would be a lot less disturbance. And the roads, I think, was one thing 01:28:00that came out of this, was that roads cause the disturbance, mostly to the streams.

SS: At this time, what was the science, and people like Jerry and Ted and you, everybody, what was the thought about which method was the best, just in terms of logging.

AL: Well, I think it was looking at different methods. Still, it was just clear-cut logging units and the way they had said. And a lot of it was Jerry's, I think, as his master's degree was on how to regenerate the forest in a more efficient way. But at that point, I think it was still about getting the logs out. Now, a little bit later on, I think Jerry and Ted, and I have to go into 01:29:00Ted's role in this thing, too, Jerry came up with a comment, "You know, I don't think the old growth is going to last." And I think it was during this period when he began to seriously think about the 100-year rotation and how the upper slopes cannot sustain that level of cutting.

SS: You're talking about 100-year rotation being too short?

AL: Yes.

SS: Right. Okay.

AL: And we're going to run out of logs. We're going to overcut.

SS: And when he meant upper slope, he meant that the upper slopes --

AL: The upper slopes.

SS: -- would be slower regenerating because the growth cycle was longer?

AL: Yes, right. It took longer to produce a tree and 100 years wasn't going to do it.

SS: What do you remember about the slopes that were logged before you got there, 01:30:00but also when you were there. How was the regeneration process that you recall in the first, let's say, four or five years you were at the Andrews?

AL: As far as I know, I guess, the good slopes got regenerated pretty well.

SS: Was it natural regeneration or were they planting?

AL: No, it was planted. It was planted, yeah.

SS: They were planting, okay. [Various methods in early years at HJA].

AL: But I think there was a big study on the west side of Blue River Reservoir because that was a burn area, and there was a lot of erosion and no regeneration in that piece of ground.

SS: What else would you like to talk about in this early phase that you were there? Regarding Ted Dyrness, you talked about Ted when talking about other things. Do you want to talk about the other people, or about Ted?


AL: Yeah, I would like to talk about Ted. And are we still on the machine?

SS: We're still on.

AL: Okay.

SS: Unless this is flashing, we're on. That's why I keep checking it, though.

AL: Okay. Ted Dyrness was another special guy. He was the first scientist to establish vegetation plots in an area that was going to be logged, and then log it and follow the regeneration afterwards. I think his studies on Watershed 1, 2 and 3 were unique because of that point. He went in and established the plots before they did the logging. Watershed 3 was logged like it was supposed to be in 1963, and completely logged and burned.

SS: They burned the slash after the logs were cut. Right?


AL: Burn the slash after logging, and then we went in, although I wasn't a part of the establishment of the original plots. But, what a job to go in and reestablish those plots at the same place that they were. It was even worse in Watershed 1. A lot more debris and the slash fire on the watershed was horrendous, and to go back into those six transects, and, it was so black and so hot and so miserable, that I think we started at 4:00 in the morning and worked until noon, and then just got the hell out of there. But to go back and try to reestablish the transects and the plots that were every 100 feet, they had done pretty well by putting tags on stumps and orange paint and everything, but we had to dig and prod and look, and it seemed almost impossible. But we found most 01:33:00of those plots and reestablished them. Then we began a re-measurement program, to continue year-after-year.

SS: And those are still being measured today, correct?

AL: And they're still being measured today.

SS: And that would be 50 years, right?

AL: It would be 50 years. More than that, I think.

SS: Fifty-one, yeah.

AL: Yeah. And I went back and visited some of those plots and I just couldn't believe it that they had grown so much.

SS: When's the last time that you visited some of these?

AL: Actually, I went back with some people after the last LTER meeting. We went up and measured one of the plots and I couldn't even recognize it. Whoever took it over did it.

SS: So how big are the trees and the brush now? Big?

AL: Yeah, the trees are big. You can hardly put your arm around the big trees. And then the brush and the undergrowth is very severe. But those years were very 01:34:00special, going back through that tremendous hot burn and reestablishing vegetation, and following the plants as they emerged, and the fire weed, and finally, the Ceanothus, coming in. And I spent a lot, a lot of time with Fred or Ted there, and established a very good relationship along with the other three people. They treated me like family.

SS: What did the old-school forestry people think of what you were doing? You were out there five years before you moved into Corvallis, I believe, right, during that first phase? [Long work history at Andrews Forest.]

AL: Yeah, I'm not sure it was that many, that long. Maybe four or five, yeah. No, three or four.

SS: But the old-school foresters, the get-out-the-cut guys, how did they look at what you were doing?

AL: Well, I don't know that I know that much about it.


SS: Okay. Now, when did this synergy between Ted and Jerry, when did that start to develop?

AL: It was quite a bit after this Watershed 1 work. I think they still worked pretty well when I, I'm thinking that's where Ted and Jerry really started to do the plots, the long-term measurement plots, the reference stands and the soils. And so, the synergy, I guess, it was started before that.

SS: I mean, what became the synergy and the work that actually turned into The Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, their famous book that's still a benchmark book for that subject?

AL: It was a little bit before; this happened a little bit before that.

SS: Who else was out there in those early years?


AL: Eric Forsman was a grad student.

SS: He was in there in the '60s? [Actually started NSO work in 1970s.]

AL: He was pretty close in the '60s, yeah.

SS: Okay.

AL: As a grad student.

SS: What do you remember about Eric? And of course, for the record, Eric is the person that made the [Northern] Spotted Owl, the "spotted owl."

AL: Real, yeah.

SS: And all of his progeny, intellectual, academic and otherwise, have taken what he did originally and continued. What do you remember about Eric?

AL: I don't remember a lot. He was there as a grad student, he would show up, and we'd kind of watch over him a little bit. But he was pretty much doing his thing, and grad students didn't get a lot of attention. We had to work.

SS: Right, they were just there. I got you.

AL: They were there. Okay, I think at this point --

SS: Want to go to your schooling now?

AL: Yeah. I'm going to switch a little bit here.


SS: Okay, because you came back to Corvallis and got your degree. Correct?

AL: So I'm in this beautiful place, the Blue River place. And it's just beautiful for me. But then I began to hear a rumor that a scientist from the Bull Run Watershed was leaving, and the scientist from the South Umpqua watershed was leaving. Jack [Rothacher] was going to maintain those programs by himself, and he was going to hire another technician to do that. So, he would need a person in Corvallis. When that happened, you know, they offered me the job first. I thought long and hard about it because I was where I wanted to be. But then, the thought of going to Corvallis, to get the chance to go to school, 01:38:00it's was going to be great. I can't pass up this opportunity. So, I accepted that position. And then shortly after that, we had to have a replacement for the Andrews. So we got Ross Mersereau, who is a fisheries biologist. He had a big family; nine kids. And so, the ranger, Mike, Michael?

SS: Mike Kerrick.

AL: Kerrick was the ranger at that district. He had nine kids. So, the two, these two houses that I've explained that were side-by-side, had 18 kids.

SS: So, each family had a football team?

AL: That's right. (Laughter)

SS: Well, counting the parents. That's eleven per side.

AL: So this was all taking place, and my job was to kind of watch over Ross and 01:39:00make sure that he was trained and learning to do his thing. Dick was doing his graduate stuff. So, I came to Corvallis. And then it was a big job. It was one week up to the Bull Run watershed, one week up there, and the next week was down to the South Umpqua Experimental Forest.

SS: Coyote [Creek] and Fox [Creek]? [South Umpqua and Bull Run.]

AL: And Dick in the meantime had established his proportional water sampler, which was a work of art. I mean, he, himself, designed the electronics and set it up so that it was a proportional sampler. So, if 1,000 gallons of water went down the stream, he would collect one gallon or one-tenth of a gallon. So, you analyzed that for all the nutrients, multiply it by 1,000, and you'd know what 01:40:00went down the stream. He developed these, and we put them on the Andrews watersheds. We also put them on the Bull Run watersheds, and we put them on the South Umpqua watersheds.

SS: Of course, at Bull Run it was Fox Creek. Correct?

AL: Fox Creek.

SS: And Coyote Creek at South Umpqua. Correct?

AL: South Umpqua, Coyote Creek, yes. That required a lot more work. I mean, it took two batteries to run that establishment, or run that system, for three weeks, and then a five-gallon jug for samples, over and over and over again.

SS: So you had to keep revisiting, changing batteries and changing bottles?

AL: Collecting the samples.

SS: Right.

AL: So, my job then for a long time, or for a while, was up at the Bull Run watersheds, down at the Andrews, and then down at the South Umpqua. And trying 01:41:00to keep up, and then extra projects we'd help Ross with. There was a lot of work. This was also the start of the LTER program.

SS: You mean the IBP?

AL: IBP, yeah.

SS: Which is the predecessor of the LTER.

AL: That's right.

SS: Conceptually-related, but institutionally different.

AL: Institutionally, yes.

SS: All right.

AL: And that's when we started having people from the university all over the place. I mean, they were studying and looking at everything. And Dick's main project was the instrumentation, he was going to do a quick four or five-year study on the nutrient flow from a clear-cut watershed and a model watershed, and that was 9 and 10 [experimental watersheds]. So, that was instrumented with kind of a temporary system. The IBP program started and they wanted to use that 01:42:00program [9-10] for Dick's watersheds, the experimental watersheds [1-3] for other activities. Dick had to actually put off his study four or five years. We had to rebuild the gauging stations so that they would be more permanent, while the IBP continued.

SS: And this is in all three watersheds, or just at -- ? AL: This was just 9 and 10.

SS: Just the Andrews.

AL: Just 9 and 10.

SS: I mean, what I'm saying, not including Bull Run and South Umpqua, just the watershed at the Andrews. Correct?

AL: Just in those, yes. That's right. So, he was really put on hold for a long time. But he [Fredriksen] was very agreeable to the IBP program.

SS: Now, you're going to school at the same time, correct?


AL: No, it was impossible for me to go to school.

SS: Okay.

AL: There's too much work. I couldn't. I was gone all the time. So, at this point I decided, this is not doing me any good, I'm not getting anything that I wanted out of this, although I enjoyed the work and I enjoyed the people. So, I decided to look for another job. And I found one. This was in Boise, Idaho. They were looking for a research technician to monitor the growth of trees in the nursery, the forest nursery where they raised trees. So, I applied for it, and I got it. So, then I had to come back and tell the people here, Ted and Jack and Dick, that I had a promotion and another job. A new job with a promotion. And, my gosh, they said, "Well, let us think, let's think about that for a while." 01:44:00So, they didn't say much, and I left and they left, and I think maybe a day or two later, they called me back into the office and said, "We will see that you get your promotion out of this, and you'll be the same staff. We'll make sure that that happens. We'll give you a year off to finish your school at Oregon State, and we'll take care of your field job while you go to school." I couldn't believe that. Where does that happen? So, I wind up in class and here's Jack Rothacher, the project leader of the hydrology program of PNW, going down to Andrews doing technician work.

SS: So, Jack did your job essentially so you could go to school?

AL: That's right.


SS: You owe a lot to Jack then?

AL: I owe a lot, yeah. I owe a lot to all those guys.

SS: Yeah. AL: So much. I don't know, that doesn't happen anymore, I don't think.

SS: No, things a little more rigid today, I would think.

AL: Yeah.

SS: So, you go to school, you take your classes and you come out with a degree in?

AL: Well, you know, doing the Blue River place, I'm thinking forestry is probably not going to be the best thing for me. And I'm in love with the river and the water and the watershed stuff, and I have a connection there. I'm going to be a fisheries biologist. And I start on that program, and the people, the professors, some of them are working at the Andrews now, the fisheries people. They said, you've already got a better job than you're going to get with a fisheries degree. So, just get in and get a general, get a degree. Get a degree in general biology and get out of there. Because I already had a very good job. 01:46:00And that's what I did. And I think I made it in that year's time. So, I got a degree.

SS: So, the Andrews during this time is changing?

AL: Oh, drastically.

SS: Dramatically, and IBP is starting to come online, and academics from various disciplines are involved.

AL: Everybody is getting into it.

SS: Start tracking and tell me about that process and what you saw, and how that changed the research program, and the whole thing at the Andrews?

AL: Yeah. Everything changed. It was not about logs anymore. It was, in fact, it was getting to the point where Jerry was saying, this present management system is not working. We're going to have to change stuff. Then all the people are in there and they're starting to look into the tops of the trees. And there's two, 01:47:00I think, sophomore girls that are into the study of mosses and things in the trees. And they get their boyfriends to rig the trees, so that they could get up into the canopy, rig it with rock-climbing equipment. It's just all kinds of stuff going on very fast. And this is making a tremendous demand on our resources. You know, if people want to use the labs, and I haven't talked very much about the chemical.

SS: Are you talking about the labs here in Corvallis or up in -?

AL: The lab -- SS: Because didn't you just have this little field lab up there?

AL: No, I'm trying to talk about the nutrient process that Dick developed to get to measure the very low quantities of nitrogen that are in the streams at the Andrews.


SS: Okay.

AL: And so more people need this, they're using that all the time. And, you know, the data is coming in faster and faster. And I think Jack is by now retired, and Logan Norris is the project leader. So, the project has expanded, and taken on the pesticide work that Logan was involved with.

SS: And of course, Logan is a lab guy, a chemist, right?

AL: He's a chemist, yes. But he's also a forester.

SS: All right.

AL: And he is a very far-sighted person. I hope you get some good information on him. But he's running the show now [then], and he's very forward-looking. All of a sudden, I'm in a position that knows a little bit about what's going on with the watershed program. Pretty soon, he comes to me and says, "Al, you need a data person to help us maintain the data in the project and all, a streamflow 01:49:00person." So, I went around, and wham, I found Don Henshaw. And boy, I hired him right as fast as possible.

SS: And was Don Henshaw an OSU student?

AL: Don Henshaw was an OSU student in statistics, and he was working part-time with the etymology people. But boy, was he happy to get a full-time job. And then the lab started producing more and more samples. And there's a problem at the lab, they can't handle it all. And pretty soon, Logan Norris is coming over, "Al, would you take over the leadership of the lab and maintain that?" And it just keeps getting bigger. Then the building at the Andrews is going in and they need a Forest Service representative to oversee the experimental part, to 01:50:00converse with the architects and contractors on the Forest Service side. That had been done more by state people, and they asked, "Al, would you watch over that?"

SS: You're talking about the beginning of the infrastructure, like, they eventually put a warehouse and then, eventually trailers, right?

AL: Other gauging stations. Yeah.

SS: Now, isn't that in the same general area that the campus is now? Or was it lower down back then?

AL: Yes, there were, that particular site where the campus is now that was just a log unit. And there were a bunch of culverts in there.

SS: Right.

AL: I think Art McKee was instrumental in getting that set up to go over in there. And I think people were apprehensive about making that much of a move. What if budget things go down and we all have to move out of there? I think 01:51:00Jerry was even a little bit hesitant to build that much of an infrastructure there.

SS: But that's the old infrastructure?

AL: Yeah, this was just trailers. It was surplus trailers from the ranger station in -- can't recall it right now. So it varied.

SS: But now --

AL: So it, that's where we kind of got the "ghetto-in-the-meadow" thing.

SS: Was it electrified?

AL: Yes.

SS: Did they actually have, they had lines in there?

AL: They put lines in. I think Art was gone when they actually scraped the ground to make the trailer spots. And so, they didn't do a very good job of that, compacting the soil a lot. Then we got the trailers in there, and it was fine until we had the first snowfall, and then the roofs began to fall in. 01:52:00Everything started to leak. And so, they required more and more Forest Service help.

SS: Now, you were still living in Corvallis, though, right?

AL: Yeah.

SS: You were just visiting up there.

AL: Yeah.

SS: How many people were actually, how and when did permanent staff start staying on the Andrews, approximately what year, do you recall? AL: Well, Ross was there and Art McKee was there. And then there was one other technician, and that was '66 maybe, something like that.

SS: And so they were actually on the Forest, or were they still down at Blue River [the town] at that time?

AL: No, they were at the Blue River, yeah. It was quite a while before they actually moved up to the Forest.

SS: So it was 10 or 12 years, late '70s, before there was actually something built in the meadow, in what became the ghetto-in-the-meadow, the trailers, or even early '80s perhaps?

AL: I think, yeah, as far as office facilities.


SS: We've segued off of it, but you were going to tell me a little earlier about the Army Corps of Engineers snow cabin?

AL: Yes, okay.

SS: And we didn't really talk about that. So, I want to return to that, so we don't forget about that.

AL: Okay. Oh, we are on?

SS: We're on.

AL: We're on. Okay, the U.S.G.S. had three or four snow study sites. One of them is on the famous pass in California. This was the northwest one.

SS: Tioga Pass?

AL: No.

SS: Donner Pass

AL: Donner Pass, yeah. Okay, in that area.

SS: Right.

AL: And this was the Northwest study. And there were no roads into the site from the Andrews, the Blue River drainage. So, the access to their study site was 01:54:00from Santiam Pass. And there was actually a trail that was built down to that, and they accessed that by horseback. They went to the forks of the Blue River drainage, which is Wolf Creek, Command Creek and I think, Blue River. We built gauging stations there and they built a cabin that you could actually live in. It was built with logs and split cedar siding. Then they came way down river eight miles, I think, from the cabin, and built a little survival shed, four or five miles above the Blue River, present Blue River bridge. So, there is a cabin there. And they were there for quite a while, for as long as their study was. 01:55:00But they didn't get a lot of information from that study because the conditions, they just had to make a living. It was so harsh in that environment.

SS: Was that set up basically so they knew what the Blue River watershed was giving them below because they had built a dam?

AL: No, the dams were nowhere. There were no roads and no dams at that time [snow program started in 1950s, Blue River Dam built in 1968].

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: So, they were already out of there when I got to the Andrews.

SS: But the cabins were still there?

AL: The cabins were still there and there was a gauging station there. If you look at the watershed numbering system, I got to number the watersheds. We have 1, 2, 3, and then there's 4, and not very many people know where 4 is. Four is Blue River. It's the old gauging station for the Corps of Engineers.

SS: So, 4 is Blue River?

AL: Uh-huh [affirmative].

SS: So, were these cabins used for anything by you guys?


AL: Yes. We decided to maintain those stations.

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: So we would go into, just the lower Blue River station, because we thought that would be a comparable watershed for the Lookout Creek drainage. We did go in and maintain a gauging station there. And I think, maybe after the '64 flood, I think that station, we tried to rebuild it after the '64 flood, but it was basically destroyed and the record wasn't very good. So, after that I think it was pretty much destroyed.

SS: Are those cabins still there today?

AL: Parts of the cabins are still there. I don't think there is anybody that knows where that lower one is anymore. I tried to take people in and show them 01:57:00that. And I went back, the cabin was there. Somebody else had found it and redid it a little bit, but yeah, I think it's still there.

SS: Now, there was at one time a cabin on Mack Creek, right?

AL: Yes, there were several survival cabins, I guess, in the forest.

SS: Kind stuck amongst these --

AL: There was one still one up by Watersheds 6, 7 and 8, because that's a very dangerous spot to go to in the wintertime. You could get stranded.

SS: So, there's still a survival cabin up there?

AL: Yeah, and I think that there was one, one farther up at one of the reference stands.

SS: Now, you're not talking about the structures that are around some of the weather stations, right?

AL: No.

SS: Because you could use those as survival cabins, also.

AL: You can now, yeah.

SS: Right.

AL: And then there was one at Mack Creek.


SS: And what was that? Just a survival cabin, a backup shelter, if you will?

AL: That's right.

SS: Well, it didn't have a scientific reason?

AL: No, it was just purely a survival shelter.

SS: Now, were there any situations where things got dicey with you or any of the other people or grad students, really in your whole time that you were at the Andrews, where these were necessary and used?

AL: They were used, but mainly for research purposes. Hydrology students would use the one at 6, 7 and 8, and spend weeks at a time there. But we never really had to use them as a survival shelter.

SS: How would you describe the Lookout Creek watershed to somebody that's never 01:59:00been there?

AL: Wow. (Laughs) It's just a gorgeous piece of real estate with clear flowing streams, huge trees, just a magnificent place. I take people there all the time. I think most of my family have some of my photographs in their front room. And I take people back to special spots and show them what a real old-growth forest is like. And so, that's how I would explain it.

SS: How and when did your photography start to become an ascetic exercise and not just a scientific exercise?

AL: Yes, it's kind of interesting. The work ethic was very strong when I first 02:00:00started. And, so you didn't have time to take pictures.

SS: You had time to take pictures, but just for the job. So, that's it.

AL: Yeah, that was it. Pictures for just the job. And so, very few researchers really take the time to take pictures because it takes a while. You know, you have to go to take pictures. And then I began to realize that people were asking me for my photos and they were asking me to take photos. Then the work with my brother inspired me to do more photo work. And then I began to realize that probably my legacy in the Andrews is going to be pictures, not anything else particularly. I didn't do anything really different than anybody else. But I tried to write some papers and with Jack's help, and I wrote one on the water 02:01:00temperature and maybe a few others. And then scientists got real, to help me out, put my name on a lot of research papers. But I said, you know, my camera work is going to be the thing that's going to stand out for my contribution to the Andrews.

SS: Do you remember when you started to think that way?

AL: Well, it was when I had more time. You know, other people were, you know, we had a crew, and Don Henshaw went around and we had more watershed people. And I had more of a supervisory role. That's when I started to have more time to get in and take pictures. And then I would take time to make special trips for photography work. And I have quite a collection, private collection, that was taken, pictures that were taken not during work hours. And I'm not quite sure 02:02:00what to do with those yet. I think probably I'll wind up donating them to the Andrews.

SS: Now, when and how did you begin to feel an attachment to the Andrews, first as a natural place, and later to its human community, culture and activities?

AL: Well, first of all, I felt a natural belonging to the Andrews when I first started work, and I was with this special family that took care of us. But then I think as far as, you know, I didn't have much of an education. It's like I didn't understand the science, but I kept working and going to the LTER meetings and other meetings that were occurring. I tried to attend almost everything I 02:03:00could. And then, I gradually began to see the science and understand it, and think, well, that's a possibility, and that's good, and see how I can contribute to that phase of it. But for me, it's been a real learning experience, and a real eye-opener to what a forest really can be.

SS: What were some of the realizations that you learned about the science that were particularly impactful to you?

AL: The big one that I've talked about before is that, you know, the cutting plan is not going to be, the old-growth forest is disappearing.

SS: You're going back to Jerry Franklin's point correct?

AL: Yes. And that was the big turning point for me. That was really what it was all about. And then the fact that the old-growth ecosystem is far different from 02:04:00a young forest, and it's a whole different ecosystem and community. And so that's really when I began to change my ideas.

SS: How do you feel about the place today? I mean, looking back through the lens of fifty years? You know, attachment to place, love of place, how do you feel about it today?

AL: You know, I still, have a real fondness for it and the people. The people treat me very well, also, and I want to contribute as much as I can. I'd like to go back as much as I can. So, I feel attached to it just as much as ever, I think, and maybe more now. And I'm very interested in this new social program. I'm worried that it's going to take away from some of the basic research that 02:05:00we've always been proud of keeping going. But, I really would like to see the social aspect advance so that more or less the common everyday person viewed the Andrews as we do.

SS: Now, when you mean social, you mean outreach and education?

AL: Outreach and education. Because you know, it's such a small percentage of people that really understand or know what the Andrews is.

SS: Or, for that matter, any other similar research facility or site? AL: I suppose that's right, yeah.

SS: That's probably true pretty much anywhere you go. And the Andrews is one of the more high-profile ones that you will find.

AL: That's right.

SS: And probably one of the ones that's made a greater impact on public policy 02:06:00issues that people would identify with if they ever understood the origin of the science.

AL: That's right, yeah, yeah. And that's true. I think the Andrews is very good at that level, but I think there's something there for everybody that I wish, I hope that we can get out.

SS: Now, you do photography and how would you describe the products that you're producing now, with your photography cards and postcards and things like that, right? [Product line of photo-cards.]

AL: Yeah. I enjoy doing it. But it's hard to justify doing it because there's such a small number of people that are really interested in that.

SS: But some of your images are from the Andrews is my point.

AL: All of them, yeah.

SS: All of them. And so, I'm going off on the point you made earlier about 02:07:00outreach. In a small way, that could be said as your way of continuing outreach through your love of photography and love of the place?

AL: That's' right. Yeah, that's true.

SS: Now, how would you describe the evolution of the research program from the IBP through the first part of the LTER? That was really the meat of your career, really. You retired in what year now?

AL: I retired in 2000.

SS: 2000, yeah.

AL: Fourteen years.

SS: I mean, through the '70s and the '80s, even into the early '90s, that's when that whole thing happened. The IBP, it had its short thing and then there was the transition, and then the LTERs. How have you seen the research program mature at the Andrews when you were there? And you can even reflect to today, 14 02:08:00years after-the-fact of being in your active career?

AL: Well, I think we mentioned several times that when I was there it was cut the trees and get them out of there. And that's changed. I mean, really, we don't cut trees any more on the Andrews unless it's necessary or --

SS: What I'm saying, as the program became much more sophisticated and you had many more different disciplinary tracks, you know, even the U.S.G.S. put in their flume later on. You have all these different things. How did that change your job in terms of what you did?

AL: I think the biggest change was like you say, in the early years. And I guess it changed more that I wasn't in the woods so much as I was involved with the building of the site and the running of the site, and attending the meetings and trying to do what I can to help that aspect of it.


SS: Now, if you were going to describe your career, how would you describe what you did? I mean, you got your undergraduate, but did you ever get your master's?

AL: No.

SS: Okay. So, how would you describe your profession and what you did?

AL: Profession, I would describe it as I'm a facilitator. You know, I tried to find out what's going on and help out. And I guess if I have a fault, it may be a fault, is I just never say no. And so I've taken on a lot of jobs that other people wouldn't do.

SS: What are some of those jobs?

AL: Well, when they came and asked me to do, take over lab responsibilities and be the supervisor of the lab, I probably had no business doing that.


SS: Because you weren't a chemist?

AL: I wasn't a chemist. No. (Laughs)

SS: But they needed an administrative, responsible person, to keep things going?

AL: Yeah.

SS: And what did you learn out of that?

AL: You know, I don't know what I learned out of that. I guess it was just, yeah, you can do it. It helps.

SS: Now, as you were at the Andrews longer, how did your job description change?

AL: Oh, it changed it very much. Yeah.

SS: For instance, give me some ideas about the evolutions of what you did. You know, you did certain hydrological watershed monitoring and you did this, and you did that. And how did that kind of change over time?

AL: From a very simple technician level, to, wow, in the end, I was managing most of the projects, the Forest Service money projects. Because what I did 02:11:00involved the cost of running equipment, renting people, getting vehicles, buying supplies. So, I was pretty much, I thought, in the driver's seat for the whole program. The scientists didn't have near as much money as I did.

SS: So much for getting your Ph.D. Right?

AL: But they had their work, which is very important to them.

SS: So, how would you describe the relationship between the Forest Service and OSU? You know, the Andrews today, you can hold it up as being kind of a model for inter-institutional cooperation. But that hasn't always been that way. And how would you describe that relationship and how it evolved and changed over time?

AL: Oh, yeah. I remember my first discussion with Ranger Bob Burns [Blue River 02:12:00District]. And he went, "Well, since you guys are research, I think I could kick you out if I wanted to." And that's about it.

SS: He was serious, wasn't he?

AL: And then, I've seen so much improvement in the Forest Service and the liaisons and people that interact with that, it's unbelievable. The rangers now that come up have taken what has been learned, and given back a lot of information to the research people, what they ought to be looking at and where their mistakes are. And it's been just a fantastic involvement.

SS: Who would you say were the key people along that path from the Forest Service perspective?

AL: Well, John Cissel was great. And then, I can't remember. Well, Mike Kerrick 02:13:00was great, he was very good. And then the other ranger, and I can't remember his name.

SS: Steve Eubanks?

AL: Yeah, yeah.

SS: He was back in the '80s.

AL: Yeah, very strong, and many opinions. And I think the research people got as much from him as we gave him. Right now, I'm not sure of that, you know, I haven't followed as much recently, but I don't know.

SS: How did you sense differences in the community, the local community around the Andrews, over time? I mean, you had your period when you were in Blue River in the early days and it was a relative boom period for Blue River. The mills were still running. You had the Cougar Dam. And now it's much different. How do 02:14:00you sense the different dynamic between the community and the Andrews?

AL: I think in the old days, what I appreciated is that we used the community much more than maybe the Andrews does now. When we came from Corvallis, we worked in the field and then went to a restaurant in town. We bought gas there and participated in the community, I think a whole lot more than now with the site up there where everybody kind of stays.

SS: And Blue River has become very depressed, also.

AL: Very depressed, yes.

SS: So, you have any famous Cougar Room stories that you'd like to share?

AL: I'd better not go there. (Laughs)

SS: Well, it doesn't have to be you. You can use a pseudonym for the person.

AL: I can't think of anything appropriate right now.


SS: Appropriate? (Laughter)

Mrs. AL: Just a minute, I'm going to be leaving.

AL: We were talking about --

(Break in audio) AL: So, a story comes to mind. Maybe it's how the Cougar Room got started. And I guess --

SS: Is it because of the Cougar Reservoir, is that why?

AL: I think that's the name of it, yes.

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: And it was a very popular place when they were building Cougar Reservoir.

SS: Right.

AL: Maybe half the people would stop there. And maybe that's why we had so many accidents on the McKenzie River. (Laughs) But things started to slow down. Things were getting poorer. And the owner, Louie, thought that he would try the topless arrangement.

SS: Oh, that's funny. So, the Cougar Room was a topless bar for a while?

AL: Yes, it was. And he was, well, I have to get into the story here. So, it was 02:16:00up for discussion. And his wife said, "Louie, if you go topless, I'm leaving!" And she left the next week.

SS: Really?

AL: So, then it was a wild topless joint. And for a good number of years.

SS: I remember that now.

AL: We would stop in all the time. And then Louie got sick, died, and she came back and took over the restaurant.

SS: And the tops came back on.

AL: And the tops came back on. Yeah. And then it finally burned down a few years ago. But also, there was a tragedy with that. I think the grocery store, daughter of the grocery store owner in Blue River and Louie's boy and some other 02:17:00kids were out playing in winter time. And somehow they found a hood of a car that was turned up in the front like a sleigh. And they hooked it up to the back of a pickup. And Louie's son, and I don't remember his name, ran over the daughter of the grocery store. So, that was not a good thing that happened from that.

SS: Well, that's certainly a sad story. AL: Yeah.

SS: But now, what were some of the most important scientific discoveries at the Andrews during your tenure that you were a part of, either as an assistant or somebody you were intimately working with, ones that you remember when something happened and that you were a part of?

AL: Boy, a lot of what we did in the early days is now coming back to being used, like all the stream flow records and the stuff that Julia Jones gets out 02:18:00of that. All the water temperatures and the old precip records, and then going back and digging those old records out and making them useable. And it's an important part of looking at climate change in that area. And so, every year, I'm more impressed about just the basic stuff that we collected. This last time I went back up to the watersheds and Watershed 1, I started looking at Ted Dyrness' old plots. And you know, we never thought anything that would ever happen like when we out there burning up in the sunshine on a bare watershed.

SS: Trying to replant or count vegetation plots?

AL: Trying to count the vegetation plots, yeah. Just to see that information being used is just beyond anything I could ever comprehend.


SS: Do you remember when Mark Harmon's logging composition experiment was first introduced?

AL: I do.

SS: And as that was implemented, what do you remember about the discussions about how that was going to start and proceed?

AL: I think as I remember, it was just a common start of a study. And I don't think anything really much different about it. There were a lot of crazy things going on in those days.

SS: The 1980s was kind of the coming of age for the Andrews scientifically as the LTER system established its status as a long-term research site. But also, when it became more political in the sense that the science that was coming out of the Andrews played a very central role in how the lands would be managed, 02:20:00even through today. Do you remember when Jerry Franklin started becoming, shall we say, more of a media figure, and the "New Forestry" started to be discussed? Do you recall that?

AL: Yes. I followed Jerry very closely and really appreciate and am astonished at his thought level and work, and the way he makes things happen. I followed it very closely and I still am very interested in this project that's going on over here by Monroe, or some place at, in the Alsea watershed. So, he was just unbelievable.

SS: But do you remember the role of the Andrews changing in the sense that there seemed to be a media story about the Andrews in the late '80s and early '90s, 02:21:00every week, something about old growth or New Forestry or the spotted owls? I mean, do you recall that change?

AL: Not a lot, I don't. I don't recall too much of that.

SS: Now, Eric Forsman, you saw him as a graduate student?

AL: I did.

SS: Are you surprised that his spotted owl work became what it became?

AL: I think everybody was very surprised, yes. Yeah, Eric. I got to go with the crew quite a bit to mark spotted owls. And I know Rita [owl researcher] very well. So, yeah, I'm very much aware of that. I get closer to the spotted owls than most people do.

SS: And how would you, just tell me some stories about your knowledge of that, even going out with these teams today or recently?


AL: Let's see. Actually, Rita calls me up and says, "Come along. I've got a couple babies out here. We're going to go tag them and you can take pictures of them."

SS: So, you've done a lot of the photography of the spotted owl with them?

AL: Yeah.

SS: Now, was that true back in the earlier days when the study was becoming what it became, even before Dwyer's ruling [1990] about spotted owls?

AL: No. I didn't have much contact with it then. But I did get the grandkids out, three out. And it was unbelievable.

SS: Really?

AL: To see a spotted owl. And it came down, they put a mouse on the log right between the two girls. And she came down, got that right between those girls. And it was quite a thrilling experience.

SS: Tell me about the lead-up from the first facilities at the location where 02:23:00the campus exists today, the old trailers, the "ghetto-in-the-meadow," to what became the campus of today? Tell me about that evolution and what you know about that.

AL: I got pretty involved with that when it changed from a state [OSU] level project. Art McKee maybe, and Terry Cryer, were basically building the buildings and doing the job, to a point where the Forest Service was more particular about what was going on and started to step in. Then, we had to have a Forest Service representative and I became that person. I don't think I was popular all the 02:24:00time due to how things were done in the past.

SS: And this is the transition from the '80s to the new campus that was started in the early '90s, correct?

AL: Yes. And remember, I was deeply involved with the kitchen and the kitchen dining room project.

SS: Of the new facility or old?

AL: New facility. And that was, I think.

SS: Okay, that's the McRae Building, right?

AL: Yeah, it's the McRae Building. Yeah.

SS: Okay.

AL: There was money that the architect, who, I should know that name really quick, but got money to do this project. He hired one of his architects to design the building. It was a woman, a Forest Service person, I think, very good. We went through all the steps of trying to pick out what we wanted and 02:25:00what would be the best design for the place, and it was pretty fancy, the design. But as time went on, she didn't meet her schedule, spending money and it's getting late, and so finally, we had to call her on it. Then she hurried up with her design and they put it out for bid, and from what she thought was going to be within our budget was about twice what we had in our account budget. So, what are we going to do? The money's going to run out pretty quick. So the architect, Mark Anderson, a great person and very responsible, he kind of stepped in, took over, went to different contractors in Eugene, and you probably 02:26:00don't know the name of the contract he selected, but he got a "design-build" contract finally, at the last spur-of-the-moment. He came up and saw what we wanted, we presented what we thought we needed, and he built that.

SS: What was the order of construction with the new campus? What was the first, do you remember the order of it?

AL: I think it was, well, the first building on the place was a Forest Service garage that was over there by the --

SS: The weather station?

AL: -- the weather station, yeah. And that's a gray barn now or something. Then I believe, the trailers came in. We actually did the trailers for some of the office work, and I think Art was there. And then the shop, I think, was the next big thing.

SS: In the back where Terry Cryer is now?

AL: Yeah, where Terry Cryer is. And that was done pretty much to Art and Terry's 02:27:00discretion. I'm not sure how we got away from it now, away with it but, and then it was McRae Creek, I think, the apartment house. And that's where we started to get into trouble with the Forest Service. They wanted more control over what was being constructed, and then, I was deeply involved with the new office where it stands today. That also involved the conversion of the dining hall and conference room in back. And then the other apartments, well, Rainbow was, I think, the last one.

SS: If I recall, the funding basically came from political connections to move 02:28:00it to the next level.

AL: That's right.

SS: Les AuCoin [Oregon Congressman], I believe, had a lot to do with it?

AL: Now I don't know about that. I don't know too much about that.

SS: Now, tell me some humorous or otherwise stories about the ghetto-in-the-meadow. (Laughter) I mean, I've heard different stories, but you would know as much as anybody. Tell me some good ones.

AL: I can tell you about a gal that we hired for the summer. She was from the South. And she wanted to work in the woods and she was hired for a lab job, but she wanted to definitely be in the woods. But she was not prepared for the woods. And she had a very small bladder, so she had to go, we had to stop for her to go to the bathroom.

SS: Every five minutes?


AL: Every five minutes. (Laughs) One day, one trip we made to the Andrews, she was just bursting at the seams and jumped out of the car, ran into our old trailer shack and went into the bathroom. And all of a sudden, she just came back, just screaming and yelling, and there was a rat in the toilet! (Laughter)

SS: In the toilet?

AL: In the toilet. Had probably been there for a week. And so that's the first thing that really sticks out, but yeah, there's a lot of stories about floors caving in and roofs caving in.

SS: If there's one in particular, do you have an accurate version of the caving in of the floor story?

AL: No, I don't think so.

SS: I've heard about taking a shower, different versions of it.

AL: Yeah.

SS: But, so it wasn't just a matter of sanitation, but it was also safety, right?


AL: Yes, it was safety.

SS: And these were old GSA trailers from, they were transferred around.

AL: GSAs came from the Oakridge Ranger Station.

SS: And you just happened to get them after they'd been used?

AL: They were surplus, yeah.

SS: Surplus?

AL: They were trying to get rid of them, so they brought them up to the Andrews. We had no idea that, when the snow hit, came down on them, if the roofs were going to cave in. That's when we built the fancy trailer shelters.

SS: Now, the Salt Salmon is the one remaining trailer shelter, correct?

AL: Yes. And there was a trailer under there.

SS: There were like three or four of those, weren't there at one time, under the shelters?

AL: That's right, yeah. On some of the bigger ones, there were three or four. And the Forest Service had to fork up a lot of money and a design, which we overbuilt, I think, according to most people, to build the snow structures over the trailers. And we were going to tear that one down, but it, the Salt Salmon, stayed.

SS: And now it's the social center?

AL: It's the key place, the center, yeah.

SS: It's the social center for the Andrews, your barbecues and your talks.


AL: That's right.

SS: So, how would you characterize the facilities now? Adequate, better than adequate, fantastic? How would you describe them?

AL: I think they're fantastic. They're probably not adequate to hold all the needs that people have for them in the summer time, but we've been working and working to try to get them to be used year-round more.

SS: In other words, if you built too much, if you added the dorm space, for instance, you'd have a lot of down-time if you had a lot more beds?

AL: Yeah.

SS: And that would be the cost-benefit justification?

AL: The cost is going way up. We had one big problem with the new dining facility that we built. We wanted to make that propane, because the power went out on the Andrews routinely once a month, and you could be stuck with no power 02:32:00for days. So we did. We had that specified that they put a propane tank in there.

SS: So, they have a propane backup then?

AL: No, to heat the place and do the cooking.

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: Well, the cost of propane went way up, and now it's a real detriment.

SS: What improvements do you think they need to make up there? If they had a blank check, relatively speaking, what do you think could be the next step to make that an even better first-class facility?

AL: You know, I think we've got the facility. We just don't have the, we can't operate it year-round, so that we can pay for it. SS: Right. Now, speaking of equipment, you talked about the first, when you first got there, you had a Studebaker and snowshoes. What do you think about the new snow-cat they just got?

AL: Oh, wow! Let me tell you the story about that.


SS: Tell me about the old snow-cat, Al.

AL: I'll tell you about the first snow-cat.

SS: Oh, there's one before the one that I saw, so there's one more before the one that I saw? [In the Andrews facilities.]

AL: There's a red one, yeah, a little red MP.

SS: Oh, is there a name for that?

AL: I don't remember, that's the brand that it would have been.

SS: Okay.

AL: So, snowmobile-snow travel was very hard in the Andrews because of our wet snow. And when they first started to come up with snowmobiles, we tried everything that we could find. And they would not work and just would leave you stranded.

SS: The snowmobiles would just sink right in, right?

AL: The butt would go down and you couldn't steer it. In eastern Oregon, you could go 40 miles an hour with the darn things, but in the Andrews, they would just plug up. Well, I had to make a trip with the very best that we could find in a snowmobile. It was a Ski-Doo double-track. And that was supposed to really 02:34:00be the machine at that time. So I went, took it down with me to the Coyote Creek study. It was snowy with snow on the ground, quite a bit of snow, and it was rainy, kind of drizzly. And I went with a person from Douglas County, who was my assistant, or my partner. We did our watershed check. It was 4:00 in the afternoon. We had one rain gauge six miles away to check, and if we didn't check it that day, it would be twelve hours to wait to take that one. So, okay, we're going to do it, 4:00 in the afternoon. And we motor up there pretty good. It goes up there pretty well, but the weather is getting cold now, and so pretty soon, it's freezing. And so we get up there to the top of the ridge where the Q-12 snow and rain gauge is, and I park and go service the gauge. And of course, 02:35:00it's screwed up, wouldn't work. So, we're fiddling and fiddling and fiddling, and I finally get it going, but, you know, an hour has passed. And we come down and it's freezing now. So, we need to get out of there because Burl Orr, who was the Douglas County representative, an old sheep-herder, farmer and logger, and for him, wool clothing is the best clothing to use. Well, his wool coat was getting heavy and wet.

SS: That isn't going to do very good.

AL: No, it isn't going to do very good. So, we're finally happy to get down there and to get to our machine, and drive the 12 miles to get out of there. We start the thing up, put my hand on the trigger, and it doesn't go. Here we are, you know, 6:00 at night, 7:00 at night.

SS: In the middle of nowhere?


AL: This guy is freezing to death, right, and we're in the middle of nowhere. So, I looked around, I have to do something really quick. And I looked over and there's this huge, a big Forest Service sign, it was a ridgetop, a main junction. So, this thing is 4' x 8' or more. And I remember, I keep my little pitch piece under the seat, and a little hatchet in there. We run over and we break that sign down and put it in the middle of the road, get the pitch out, and put a match in there. Pretty soon, we have this big, roaring fire. We found out really what the problem was with the snowmobile, is that snow had gotten into the track mechanism and froze. And so there we were. But we turned that thing over and put the tracks up close to the fire.

SS: Oh, so you melted it out?


AL: And we were melting it out, and we're getting warm.

SS: Ah, so you did make it out then?

AL: So, we get going pretty soon and it looks like we can get our sticks and chop that snow out. And turned that thing over and get it going. And, zoom! We got halfway down the hill and it froze up again.

SS: Oh, wow.

AL: So, now we're talking 12:00, 11:00-12:00 at night. Luckily, we came upon a logger camp that had a smudge pot there for a heating system. And we got that thing out in the middle of the road and went through unfreezing the tracks thing again.

SS: And you made it out this time?

AL: We made it, at 4:00 in the morning, we got to the truck. (Laughs) And the roads were just a sheet of ice. SS: And he was cold by then?

AL: Nah, he was, he was tough. He was getting better.

SS: He was cold, but he was --

AL: And he was very nice, a real gentleman. From our watershed site to Roseburg 02:38:00was a long ways. And several people were in the ditch, and we stopped and helped them out. So, we didn't get to the Roseburg until 10:00 or 12:00 that day, the next day.

SS: It's a long night.

AL: Well, I guess, some of the story got out, because the next year, the director out of his pot [money] in Portland, the director of the PNW Station, had us a new snow-cat.

SS: Because those are very expensive.

AL: Yes, they were $10,000 in that early time.

SS: Now, do you want to tell me, a typical story of going up to the top stations in the winter at the Andrews, with whatever snow-cats you had available?

AL: Now?

SS: Well, or when you were back active, or now, because I know they have a new one up there now. And then there's previous generation ones, they're backups now. Anyway, a typical story?


AL: Oh, they're very cool. The old ones, well, the snowmobiles, just weren't dependable at all. And we had to carry the water samples out and the batteries in, and, yeah.

SS: You needed more storage space, too.

AL: Yeah. And the new ones, or the first one, was if you were sitting in the front seat, it was nice. But there was a big cab back there that just made a "boom" noise. Fred [Swanson] tried to ride with us a couple times, and then got out and walked rather than ride inside.

SS: Are you talking about Fred Swanson?

AL: Yeah. But the new ones are just --

SS: You couldn't catch a cat-nap in the back. Right? AL: Well, he's a walker, so he enjoyed that a lot more, I'm sure. But the new ones are just like a Cadillac. I mean, they are so good. And the scenery is so good. You could see so much and it's so comfortable.

SS: When you do it occasionally now, do you go up with John Moreau, and maybe go 02:40:00up there with him?

AL: I haven't gone for a while now, but yeah, I used to go all the time.

SS: Take your camera up sometime for some winter shots?

AL: Greg, I go with Greg a lot now.

SS: Oh, Greg Downing?

AL: Greg Downing.

SS: Okay. So what would be a typical monitoring trip to the high country in the Andrews with the older generation snow-cats or the new ones? But just describe a typical trip.

AL: Wow. It's so varied with the equipment that you have.

SS: Oh, give me a couple variations on the theme then.

AL: I can tell you one story with Ross Mersereau. He got a, I want to call it a FoxTrack snow machine, which was supposed to be "the machine" for back East. It had a handlebar situation, a motor in the back, a track underneath, and we sat in a seat. We were able to get out, I think, we were able to get into the Hi-15 02:41:00area. And then coming out, something happened to the motor and it couldn't stand the pull. So, this machine was supposed to be the best, but it just had two skis in front and you just couldn't steer it. So, we finally devised a method, and I guess I was kind of mean. My job was to get on the back and hold the throttle open where the engine was, while he tried to steer it. Well, I could hold it open a lot longer than he could steer. And finally, he just got tired and jumped off.

SS: This is on a snowmobile, though?

AL: This is on a snowmobile, yeah.

SS: Oh, right, right.

AL: But the snow-cats, they're just so easy. You just load the equipment and they'll haul almost everything you need, and you just take your lunch and your 02:42:00coffee and go march up there. Now, it is sometimes very difficult when the snow is soft, and I know I've used our snow-cats in the Andrews in wet snow, and, you have to sometimes back up and start again.

SS: Has there ever been any accidents where you or anybody else went off the roads, or the road gave way?

AL: Well, there is one humorous accident, but not with a snow-cat.

SS: Oh, tell me the humorous accident.

AL: I'm afraid to. (Laughs)

SS: Oh.

AL: It was with the big Ski-Doo, the one that I had trouble with. Art McKee and another technician were out. They got the thing stuck. It's kind of 45-degrees up, nose is pointed forward, and the thing won't go. They're trying everything to get it to go and get it unstuck.

SS: Those are pretty heavy to lift, too.

AL: Especially, the twin track.

SS: Right.


AL: So, finally, it got to the point where they got the engine going, and the technician was in the back and he was pushing just as hard as he could. Art went up and grabbed the two front skis in the front of the snow machine, and he was pulling. And all of a sudden, the thing gave way. (Noise) Right over the top of him! And down over the road and into, almost, Canyon Creek. (Laughter) They didn't tell that story very often.

SS: Did it total?

AL: They got it back up.

SS: But, was it still useable?

AL: It was still useable.

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: So, we have had no fatalities in the snow-cats.

SS: How did the Hi-15 get the name Hi-15?

AL: Oh. That's kind of interesting. It has to do with the old maps and the new maps. There's a Section 15. And there is two.


SS: On the township and range map?

AL: On the Andrews, there's two, there used to be two Section 15's. There was a low Section 15 and a high Section 15. So, the name got to be Hi-15, but then, when they started really looking at the maps, the Hi-15 section didn't really fit. But the name stayed! (Laughs)

SS: And thank you, that's great. That's very interesting because nobody else knows that story. So, basically it has to do with the section in the survey maps of, basically, what was Section 15. But it changed.

AL: Because that was the high Section 15. There's a low Section 15.

SS: You mean in a different township?

AL: Yeah.

SS: Okay, I got you.

AL: At the bottom of the Andrews.

SS: And so the "high" and "low" is regarding elevation?

AL: Well, that's the elevation of the one Section 15, that is, at high elevation. [High and low references are primarily due to being "high" (north) or "low" (south) on the grid maps.]

SS: So, is there a low 15?


AL: Yes, there is. I believe there is.

SS: So, the Hi-15 is where on the map in the Andrews, exactly? It's in the Lookout Creek or McRae Creek watershed?

AL: It's in the McRae Creek watershed.

SS: That's what I thought, right. Okay. So, it's kind of on the north, the northwest corner, right? [Of the H.J. Andrews EF lands.]

AL: Northwest corner, yeah.

SS: Right, okay, got you. I really wanted to know that. I did not know that.

(Break in audio)

SS: Now, compared to when you started at the Andrews to what you know now, what's your perspective of experimental forests, research natural areas, and long-term ecological research? How do you view that, and has your view evolved in that 50-year period of time?

AL: Yes, well, I think we've discussed that. For me, or the Forest Service and 02:46:00the research, it was just all about getting the logs out of the woods, building roads, doing it as safe as possible, and harvesting the trees and getting new trees to restart. Then, as I go through the process, I'm beginning to find out that there's another ecosystem in the old-growth forest. And that there's so many aspects to the research that can be done and how the nitrogen is fixed and carbon is stored. And the succession and the plots and the wind movements up and down and canyons. It just is amazing, and I try to keep up as much as I can by going to the LTER meetings. But, it just isn't even the same place I saw in the early days.

SS: So, you really understand the role of ecosystem science today?


AL: No, I don't understand it, and I don't know that any of us, understand it.

SS: Oh, okay.

AL: Because I don't think we're really smart enough to manage the Earth. I just think we're going to try, but something's going to come up and it just isn't going to happen. But I think we should try.

SS: So, these are admirable goals or admirable activities, however limited our knowledge is, even with all the science that goes on?

AL: Yeah. And I don't think we're smart enough. (Chuckles)

SS: What do you think the role of interdisciplinarity has had at the Andrews, and how that has improved what they do, and complicated what they do?

AL: Interdisciplinary studies?

SS: Just everything. Just the whole matrix of the whole program?

AL: Yeah. I think it's fantastic, very hard to accomplish to keep everybody's 02:48:00interest and not step on somebody's toes. Yes.

SS: What do you think could be improved at the Andrews from today?

AL: Well, the obvious things in looking at the finances, I would like to see somehow, some way to make use of the facilities in the wintertime. And then with science, you know, I think we're doing pretty darn well. About that, we need 02:49:00more funding for that, also, but to see the bunch of people that get together. In the old days, it seems like scientists almost guarded their work. They didn't let it out to near as many people. But to see these people giving all their science and their ideas, and working together to accomplish a larger picture, is just something that just didn't used to happen, as I saw it. And I think it's a great thing. Just wonderful.

SS: Yeah, the idea of a collaborative, interdisciplinary research site goes against the individualistic spirit that a lot of academic scientists traditionally practiced.

AL: Yeah.

SS: You know, and so you're correct on that. Now, in your view, what are the 02:50:00most important impacts of scientific findings on forest management and policy? Specifically, that came out of the Andrews, things that you know happened that impacted things, in the area here that you live in?

AL: Well, I keep going back to this ecosystem that we discovered in the old- growth forest. And how that affects the way people operate, the way the Forest Service operates, the way the loggers operate, and the way people live. I'd look for that to continue, and I think there is more work to be done on that to 02:51:00provide ecosystems where deer and elk and spotted owls and people can exist.

SS: If you were going to look at the different watersheds, I mean, you were there at the beginning when some of these places either had just been cut or were going to be cut, if you look at the different, the patchworks of all these different stages, describe a few of those things, just things that you think about today when you go up and say, wow, the watershed looks like this or this looks like that.

AL: Oh, yeah.

SS: I mean, give me a couple examples that you always think about when you go back because you do go back a lot.

AL: I think maybe Watershed 1 is a very, very good example of what I can see. Because I got to see that when it was still partially old-growth trees. And then I saw the cutting and the logging, and then the burning of that. And then it was 02:52:00back to a virtual desert. It was just black and hot and nothing. And then, it just continues to grow and people started using it as a research site again. And now, the trees are almost big enough to harvest one more time. So, to see that whole cycle take effect, is just amazing to me.

SS: Did you ever feel a tinge of guilt about clear-cutting those areas, or did you at that time have a different perspective as a young person, realizing it was part of science, or people just cut trees because it's the forest? I mean, did you ever have a weird sense, of what are we doing here?

AL: What are we doing here?

SS: Yeah.

AL: Well, yeah, I thought for a while there, I could see where the mistakes 02:53:00were, where we were just going in and cutting stuff, just to get a road. And we're building roads in the wrong spot.

SS: Are you talking about in the Andrews or in the forest in general?

AL: In the Andrews, and in the forest. And then, the fish habitat was big for me. You could see how poor management was affecting the aquatic ecosystem. And so I could see that we're really making some progress. But at the same time, we need the cut area, not necessarily the cut, but the burned area where Douglas-fir and elk and deer and the early succession creatures and plants can 02:54:00grow. So, that's the next step, to provide that total ecosystem, so that man can manage that, and get the whole picture and not just part of it. You can't protect just the old-growth forest or the aquatic system, but also get the early succession in, work that in also.

SS: Do you think that the pendulum swing has gone back a little too far to the other side to where now it's almost impossible to cut on the forests?

AL: Yeah, maybe. But I'm glad to hear that Jerry's working more on that and trying to proceed.

SS: What's the biggest trout you ever caught in Lookout Creek?

AL: Hey, did you even know that Lookout Creek is closed to fishing?

SS: Well, now, but not --

AL: Yeah, but you're right, it was not closed.

SS: -- not then. No, I'm asking you an old...I'm throwing you off your game here. I'm giving you a totally different question. (Laughs) But no, you told me 02:55:00about fishing, and I'm asking you.

AL: Maybe an 18 to 20-inch trout.

SS: In lower Lookout Creek?

AL: In lower Lookout Creek. And you know, they love to stay under that bridge. I don't know if you know where the swimming hole is right up the road from Watershed 3. There's a narrow pull-off there and a bridge there. That's the bridge that we crossed over Christmas [1964 flood story]. You could go there and look down and you could see these big trout like this.

SS: Were they rainbows or brook or -- ?

AL: They were rainbows. And yeah, I could see them. And at night in the evenings, we would, Ted, Dick, and Dick, particularly, was a very good fisherman, and very dedicated. We would go down and catch fish out of there. And I think Ross and I were instrumental in suggesting that that may close, that I think we should close that stream to fishing.

SS: Now, how far up would the fish go in the early days when it was permitted?


AL: Well, I think if you wanted to go up and catch the little cutthroat trout, which was really fun to do, and they're very energetic and they hop out of the water after your fly, and it's very fun. I like to catch them with a barbless hook and throw them back. That's where I do all my fishing now.

SS: Do you have -- oh, go on, sorry.

AL: But, yeah, I like to do that. And we go up as far as practical, I guess.

SS: Were there any fish up in Mack Creek, or is that too steep?

AL: We didn't fish there, but I do fish with sticks and pieces of lunch meat in the lower hole down there. And if you haven't found that, you ought to find that spot. It's very beautiful.

SS: Kind of that swimming hole on Lookout Creek, you mean?

AL: Yeah, the swimming hole. We used to stop there all the time, and there are photographs of Dick and Jack and Ted and I sitting there by the stream. And 02:57:00actually throwing a little bit of fish. If you're there for 15 or 20 minutes and are perfectly quiet, you'll be surprised at the big fish that come out and start showing around. But it takes, actually about 20 minutes to settle it down.

SS: Yeah, because they'll see there's humans up there, right? AL: Because they know who's up there.

SS: They're well-trained by Darwin and evolution. Right?

AL: That's right. (Laughter)

SS: The concepts, I should say. You haven't told me about the skinny-dipping stories.

AL: The skinny-dipping stories? Oh, my gosh! (Laughter)

SS: You didn't talk about those. And we're at the end here, but I've got to bring that up because I've heard different variations.

AL: Well, I guess I was raised at a point where you had to feel pretty embarrassed without a swimming suit on. But right after the LTER group started, 02:58:00swimming suits were kind of verboten, and you really felt out of place if you had a swimming suit. So, the river was just lined with, and the swimming holes, were just, at 5:00 the people would be in the water.

SS: This was the team, the people that were working there, right?

AL: Yeah. And there were other people, yeah.

SS: And this is even co-educational?

AL: Yeah, oh, yeah. And it was routine.

SS: Hail to feminism.

AL: And Jerry Franklin got some complaints from the local people.

SS: The Blue River people?

AL: The Blue River people.

SS: What were they doing up there?

AL: Yeah. (Laughs)

SS: I thought you said they were separate from you guys?

AL: That's right. But they were there, and they complained. And so, Jerry had to get up in the middle of the LTER meeting and say, "Okay, I know you guys swim 02:59:00naked in the stream, but we can't do that anymore. We've had some complaints and they just don't want to see that." And maybe the Forest Service was part of that, but we just don't want to see that in the streams anymore. So, that pretty much settled that.

SS: Okay.

AL: But we still would go in the private pools after work, especially on a really hard job and take a dip.

SS: What was your typical way of unwinding? A six-pack of beer, or a Coke or whatever if you're a non-drinker?

AL: Yeah, for me, I think it was just nice to get home and get off your feet.

SS: Yeah, because you lived in Corvallis by this time.

AL: Yeah, I was a lot of the time in Corvallis.

SS: So, you had a lot of drive time.

AL: I had some drive time. I stayed overnight quite a bit. But yeah, have a beer on the front porch.

SS: How do you think that your photography and how that's changed your life, 03:00:00affected your view of the Andrews and what it does, and how you describe or define beauty?

AL: You know, as far as the Andrews is concerned, it's a very, very difficult place to characterize with a camera. Old-growth trees, old-growth forest, you know, if there's sunshine in through the leaves or through the shadows on the ground, it's very, very hard to expose to capture it correctly. But I'm always looking at ways to improve my photography to better characterize an old-growth forest. And to include downed material and snags, and things that really 03:01:00represent a real old-growth forest.

SS: The messiness and the chaos of an old-growth forest?

AL: Yeah, that's right, and to put it in order into a photograph and not have a log right through the middle of your picture. It needs to lead into the picture.

SS: What would be your favorite kind of lens to shoot an old-growth forest?

AL: Well, you know, I started out with really a normal lens, and then I went to wide-angle lenses because I thought would take care of that problem. But it just shrinks the size of your picture so much. I've tried getting really close to a big tree and put that in, you know, perspective as to the hugeness of the tree, and let the wide-angle lens take in the small portion of the picture to get the rest of the forest. So, it doesn't work. And some people have said they, to put 03:02:00a person in there so that you can see what the scale is. But I don't think that's a picture for me.

SS: So, what you're saying is the complexity and the size of the old-growth forest reveals the limitations of photography?

AL: That's right. And the height of the trees makes it's very hard to get some stems and tops in the picture. And I'm working now with HDR where you have several exposures and you can combine those into a picture.

SS: Like a panorama type picture or -?

AL: HDR is taking three pictures at different exposures.

SS: And printing them on top. Okay, got you.

AL: And working with the, yeah, because an eye can only see like five, or an eye can see about 17 stops or 18 stops. And a camera only sees five. So, by taking 03:03:00pictures that are overexposed and underexposed and normal exposure, and piling those together, then it has some real opportunities.

SS: In other words, bracketing your picture?

AL: That's right.

SS: With the three, okay.

AL: With the three. And they call that HDR now.

SS: That's with the digital though. In the old days, they called it bracketing.

AL: Bracketing, that's true.

SS: In the old film cameras, right. Now, there are likely some items not discussed in this interview. Can you think of anything that we have not covered that you would like to address?

AL: You know, I can't. It's been a long interview for me. And I was thinking about some things but --

SS: Is there any lasting memory or something you would want to say about a relationship or just something that perhaps we haven't talked about?

AL: No, I think, I think we've covered a lot. SS: Okay. We're over the magic 03:04:00three-hour limit, so I want to thank you for taking your time. Thank you, Al.

AL: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you, Sam. That was quite an experience to do this interview.

SS: I appreciate your time. So, thank you. I'm signing off.

(Break in audio)

AL: One last story.

SS: This is addendum to the Al Levno interview. He had one more story he wants to add for the record.

AL: One more story. And it's about Watershed 1. When we were in Watershed 1 in the early days, Ted Dyrness and I discovered that a large part of the erosion that was occurring in the watershed was due to human footsteps and deer footsteps that caused a dry rabble. And it was really piling up and going down into the stream.

SS: On the banks around the streams, right?

AL: Yes, but up on the steep hills. When you went across that steep hill, you would cause a dry rabble and it would when we were up there, we could even see 03:05:00dust or where small particles of earth were falling down into the watershed. And so, the more Ted thought about that, the more he thought he would like to get some kind of a number on that. And we talked with Jack, who was always very good at coming up with some way to take care of a problem. He developed a plywood box, half a box, actually. And it was a 4' x 8' piece of plywood that was cut in half, and then it had 2' x 4' sides and fence posts. Then we would set that up on the slope, and then, we had a plastic or rubber apron that we could staple into the ground. And then, that box would collect dry rabble as it came down the 03:06:00slope. So, they set up the study and they put it on different slopes and different aspects. And we proceeded to do, to carry out that study. But in order to do that, you had to get the boxes into the watershed. So, Jack was very strong and I was pretty good. But Ted was a little bit, he didn't quite have the physique, I guess.

SS: A little thinner, he was a little thinner?

AL: Not a little thinner, but a little more clumsy, I guess, maybe.

SS: Okay.

AL: He just wasn't quite as adept. So, we'd gotten several of these boxes installed in the top and they were doing pretty well, but we needed some boxes down toward the bottom. And of course, you don't want to carry those things uphill. Because you put them on a pack-board and it's eight-foot wide and two-foot high, and you've got two boards plus two fence posts. And you've got to 03:07:00carry those things down the hill and get it to your location. So, we decided, one last push. We would take three boxes, start at the top and carry them more than halfway down, three-quarters of the way down. And we were exhausted by the time we got to close to where we would be. Finally, Jack was leading the group, and he was by far the strongest person, and he was starting to put his pack down. And I made it myself somehow. But Ted stopped on a steep rock slope, and for some reason, he lost his footing and went tumbling head-over-heels down the hill, maybe 30 feet down the watershed. Then this box was rolling over the top 03:08:00of him and the fenceposts were falling out, and I was really afraid for him, and concerned. But he kind of came up on his knee or on his butt, looked around, shook his head, we put the boxes in and went home. It was a very close call, and we probably shouldn't have done it.

SS: Was it only a semi-humorous moment later?

AL: Yes.

SS: Yes, when you used to say, you remember that time?

AL: Yeah, I remember that time. That is it. That's one of those. (Laughs)

SS: The time when you revealed to us that you were not a mountain goat. Right?

AL: Yeah. (Laughs)

SS: That's wonderful. The safety record of the Andrews has been excellent. Nobody's ever died in the Andrews. Correct?

AL: As far as I know, nobody's ever died in the Andrews. Yeah. And then, it's also had very few car accidents. I think I had one of the most major car accidents.


SS: You, personally?

AL: Yeah. And it was unbelievable.

SS: What happened?

AL: With my wife and daughter. We were up at Mack Creek on a vacation type trip into the forest at Mack Creek. And we decided we were coming out, and maybe I got a little carried away on the speed that I was supposed to be doing. We were in a little Dodge pickup. And nobody had their seatbelt on. And we came around that hairpin curve right at, before you down the steep hill? And just before we got to the curve, here comes the Forest Service truck. He was in the middle of the road and he was coming right at us. And the only thing I could do was step on the brakes. And maybe that was the wrong thing to do, but that's what I did. And we went to the edge of the road and we teetered at a 45-degree angle. And I 03:10:00looked and said, "We're going to go, we're going to go, we're going to go over." And then, "No, we're not, no, we're not, no, we're not." "Oh, yes, we are." And we flipped twice. And Vicky, Barb's daughter, just about went out the window. But Barb reached over and grabbed her.

SS: And she might have got crushed by the truck.

AL: She would have gotten crushed. The Forest Service rig was very good. They hopped right out and helped us up on the road. But it was, you know, hours.

SS: How interesting. You saved these two scary stories for the very end. I mean, wow! But there have been a couple of broken ankles or broken legs, right? [In the H.J. Andrews as a whole.]

AL: I don't know that.

SS: I believe there's at least one that I know about. But I mean, my point is, a remarkable safety record.

AL: Very, it is, yes.

SS: Considering the incredible amount of activity and the number of people from professionals to grad students, to --


AL: And the lack of knowledge of the actual, the grad student or the college person, for driving on the road. Gravel roads are like driving a car on a bed of marbles, really, and you don't have the control that you have on the city street. And people don't really realize that until you put on the brakes.

SS: I know what I forgot to ask you. Do you have a favorite place in the Andrews?

AL: Oh, yeah. It's in Reference Stand 8. And I think there's lots of pictures there.

SS: Where is this? Describe the place and why you love it?

AL: It's an old-growth forest. I think it's a true fir and Douglas-fir mix. And it's right on Lookout Creek, on upper Lookout Creek right close to where one of the reference stands is. And beautiful forest and beautiful stream, just four or 03:12:00five feet wide and maybe waist deep in the deepest part. And just flowing over rocks, just a beautiful place. I try to take my family up there as much as I can. And I have pictures that I've given to the family, and I kind of insist that they go to see that spot.

SS: Now, that's a wonderful way to finish --

AL: Oh, okay.

SS: Ending interview number two.