Archive for the ‘Oregon’ Category

Git Western!

March 5, 2012
Helen DavisBurns, Oregon© jan albers | all rights reserved

© jan albers | all rights reserved

Helen Davis
Burns, Oregon

“Either of you named Jan?” A short, sturdy woman bounded out of the Harney County Historical Society building and headed to a station wagon parked in the small lot in front.

I got out of the car and acknowledged I was indeed Jan. “Good. I’m Helen,” she said. “Git your stuff and come with me. Take everything you need – we’re getting lunch and heading for the BLM.”

Helen Davis commandeered us with her energy and strength over the next 10 hours. Neatly dressed in a white blouse, a bow tie under her pleasant but determined face, wearing a lavender polyester pantsuit, she looked like a high school counselor and spoke like a woman of the West.

“Your letter came to the Historical Center. They tossed it to me and wondered if I’d like to follow it up. It intrigued me. I even looked to see where Highway 20 ends – found it in an old book, ending at the Naval Yards in Boston.”

She drove with purpose, outlining the places we would see that day: the Bureau of Land Management to meet Mark Armstrong; the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to talk with Gary Ivey; the lava beds; the round barn erected by Peter French, once the area’s most successful rancher (until he was shot dead); the P Ranch and the Diamond Hotel.

But her first stop was the supermarket, where she went in for our lunches. Scanning my notes on Route 20, I could find none of the places she mentioned. Were they on the highway? Maybe she knew something I didn’t.



End of Road, West

February 14, 2012

End of the RoadNewport, Oregon© karen e. titus | all rights reserved© karen e. titus | all rights reserved

Newport, Oregon

The Yaquina Bay Bridge, opened in 1936, is on U.S. Route 101, the north-south route at the far western edge of Newport.  Route 20 comes to an abrupt end at 101, with no fanfare whatsoever. The view of the bridge offers a nice coda at the end of the accidental highway.

Little Red School House

September 13, 2011

Little Red School HouseBrothers, Oregon© jan albers | all rights reserved© jan albers | all rights reserved

Brothers School
Brothers, Oregon

Recent statistics put the enrollment at this K-8 school at six students, which represents about one-sixth of the town’s population.

Here, U.S. 20 is known as the Central Oregon Highway. Brothers occupies the otherwise empty space between Burns (to the east) and Bend (to the west). The origin of the town’s name is somewhat cloudy. Some say it comes from several families of brothers who settled in the area, and others say it was inspired by three local hills backed by the nearby Three Sisters Mountains.

And yes, farther west on the highway there’s a Sisters, Oregon, named after those same mountains. Among these two “siblings,” Sisters appears to be faring better than Brothers – its four public schools serve some 1,300 students.

Jammin’ on 20

May 2, 2011

Jammin' on 20Burns, Oregon© jan albers | all rights reserved©  jan albers | all rights reserved

Burns, Oregon

Route 20 is closed to traffic during the Country Music Jamboree, allowing the music and dancing to continue late into the night in this high desert community.

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