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Jim and Betty Denison Oral History Interview

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Jim and Betty Denison Oral History Interview


In the interview, Jim and Betty Denison discuss their experiences living and working in Oregon in the timber industry during the twentieth century. Jim opens the interview by recounting his childhood in Oregon and recalling the difficulties of growing up on a farm during the Great Depression. He then covers his early experiences in the timber industry as a young adult, discussing the types of labor he performed and some of the people he worked with.

Betty then introduces herself and talks about her childhood in El Paso, Texas, as well as her move to Oregon when she was a senior in high school. She tells the story of how she and Jim met and ultimately got married, and also talks about the different jobs she worked as a young adult, including as an accountant.

The Denisons next discuss their family life and travel plans, reflect on their children and grandchildren, and provide background on their careers and interests. They also discuss their travel plans and recall past trips. The interview concludes with a description of the property that the Denisons are currently residing on and that is being filmed in this interview, and talk about what their future plans are when it comes to developing the property.

Jim Denison was born in 1927 in Eugene, Oregon, and grew up in Salem and Klamath Falls. Denison gained his first work experience in the woods as a high school student, before enlisting in the Navy in December 1944. Upon his discharge in 1946, he enrolled at Oregon State College to begin studies in Forest Engineering, graduating in 1950.

From graduation until retirement, Denison held a wide variety of jobs in the timber industry, including as a consulting engineer and, later, locating and running timber lines, and conducting timber cruises. He eventually formed his own company, Denison Surveying, that was based in Newport, Oregon. In the early 1990s, Denison and his wife created a second company, Coastal Land Management, that administered land surveying, timber cruising and forestry consulting projects for another decade. In 2012, at the age of eighty-five, Denison retired, having spent more than sixty years working in the forests of Oregon. He passed away in 2019.

Betty Denison was born in El Paso, Texas, before moving to Oregon during her senior year of high school. She married Jim Denison in 1966 and together the couple raised eight children and cared for twenty-seven foster children. Throughout her life, her career focus was in accounting.


Jim Denison and Betty Denison


Starker Forests Community Oral History Collection (OH 038)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


July-August 2009


Gary Blanchard, Tim Rabe and Rick Fletcher


Born Digital Video




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Gary Blanchard


Jim Denison and Betty Denison


Denison tree farm near Eddyville, Oregon and residence in Lebanon, Oregon

Original Format

Born Digital Video



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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  1. denisons.png