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Old 07-20-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
3,484 posts, read 5,554,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporate Orphan View Post
I don't understand. WHat do you mean by The Valley of Sickness (Willamette Valley)?
Some say that Native Americans called it that years ago, but many say it's just a myth.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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I also think it's a tribal thing.

Definitely include Salem in your trip OP. It has pretty mild traffic, decent shopping and a lot of leisure activity. The downtown is nice with Bush Park, and the Riverfront Park has a lovely Carousel, and the Mission Mill museum behind Willamette U. The thing I like about Salem is the weather is fantastic, theres lots of nice parks in driving distance in terms of city AND state parks. My favorites were Silver Falls state park and Willamette Missions state park. Silver Falls had nice camping, even with a tent.

The beach is only an hour and a half away, and there is an excellent casino resort between Salem and the coast (Spirit Mountain.) Portland sites (OMSI, Bigger shopping, the Zoo, the japanese gardens) are also an hour away. There's awesome fishing (and again--camping) at Detroit lakes, also around an hour. Plus there's You-Pick farms and wineries just out of town.

Corvallis is a smallish college town, and Eugene/Springfield is similar, only more pressed for jobs.

If I could, I would probably move back to Salem or McMinnville, but I can't see myself finding the type of property I want on my budget, so it's Missouri for me

If you happen to be visiting Salem in a Sunday and are church going folks, I reccomend dropping in on Soma: a Church of The Christ in west salem. I believe they are still doing evening services, and are a very nice laid back, non denominational church. (The pastor frequently teaches in jeans and flip flops.) Very nice people to spend a sunday with with no hassle.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
9,809 posts, read 15,908,134 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsch View Post
Some say that Native Americans called it that years ago, but many say it's just a myth.
This is the first time I have heard that description but if it has Native American roots there is a good explanation. The Willamette Valley was the destination of settlers who came over the Oregon Trail in the 1800s. They brought with them diseases against which Native Americans had no immunity. A very high % of Native Americans died from disease as a result.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,468 posts, read 11,156,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orgcrush78 View Post
Most likely, it's an urban myth spread by people who each took their own meaning from it. There's certainly not much pollution here, nor are people disproportionately sick. My internet searches for the etymology of "Willamette" yield nothing that indicates any Indian population referred to it as the valley of sickness.
I agree with this. The best I can find is a blog post from UrbanScout (who's a pretty cool guy BTW) about his research into the meaning.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:23 AM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,468 posts, read 11,156,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orgcrush78 View Post
That's exactly what I read. I might follow the guy more closely, he seems conscientious about sources and such. I admire that intellectual honesty.
He's pretty smart, but he uses the F-Bomb a lot. He's still a bit young, and needs to grow some more in maturity. Once he does that he'll be a force to be reckoned with and will actually be able to get some good things done.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
This is the first time I have heard that description but if it has Native American roots there is a good explanation. The Willamette Valley was the destination of settlers who came over the Oregon Trail in the 1800s. They brought with them diseases against which Native Americans had no immunity. A very high % of Native Americans died from disease as a result.
By the time the first settlers arrived, disease had virtually depopulated the Willamette Valley. It was brought in by fur traders. The traditional Indian medicine was the sweat lodge, which put everyone in a confined space where contagion was probable. The first and worst of the epidemics was measles. Sometimes every member of a band got sick at the same time. There was no one left to find food, water and firewood, or to bury the dead. The mortality rate reached 80%, and the survivors were mostly children, without the skills and strength to keep the band going. More sparsely settled tribes east of the Cascades, and more isolated tribes along the coast, had fewer fatalities.

By the time the settlers arrived, the big killer was tuberculosis, also spread by the sweat lodge practice.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
11,048 posts, read 11,460,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporate Orphan View Post
I don't understand. WHat do you mean by The Valley of Sickness (Willamette Valley)? We are an active retired couple who like the outdoors. We are looking for a place where there is more to do than where we are now in the mid-west. That being said we are also looking for a place where the air is so polluted and the water is fit to drink. Is the Willamette Valley polluted?
The Willamette River and Lower Columbia have pretty poor water quality, which gets worse the farther downstream you go. Downstream from Portland, the majority of the water animals have tumors and birth defects. Paper mills on the Willamette dumped untreated effluent into the river for decades, so the mud at the bottom of the river is a sludge of dioxins, PCBs, heavy metals and other noxious chemicals. It's not a good idea to eat fish out of the Willamette that you catch downstream of Eugene. Some of the tributaries, like the Santiam and the Abiqua are OK.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:56 AM
 
Location: mid-west
69 posts, read 91,637 times
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oh, that doesn't sound good. We have been using the numbers on Sperling as our guide for the quality of the air and water. We are in St Louis where almost anywhere else in the country has better air but our water is pretty good.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Caldwell, please provide me with your source for "the majority of the water animals have tumors and birth defects". I do not think this is true.

It is true that Willamette River downstream from about Oregon City isn't suitable for swimming. The history here is that the City of Portland had combined sewer and storm water system which was common in cities of its era (late 1800s) which went directly into the river. In time it was realized that the solution to pollution is not dilution, but treatment. Storm water going to treatment facilities overwhelms their capacity and as a result when we have had a lot of rain it overflows into the river. They are in the middle of a huge, expensive, project to separate the two and we are a couple years away from the completion of that project (Portland's Big Dig). The overflow does happen into the Columbia River but that river is huge and fast, the impact is quickly cleared but that too should be eliminated with the completion of the 'Big Dig'.

Industrial activities during WWII through the Vietnam period have doubtless left us with residual contaminants in the rivers around Portland. Portland & Vancouver had large ship building operations during WWII, there were chemical manufacturers in the area known as Guilds Lake, and some industrial operations may have buried old batteries. Even employees the likes of Boeing have been discovered to pour contaminates on the soil.

The other, not so major issue, is runoff from agriculture throughout the drainage area. Dairies are now required to prevent cows from walking in streams & creeks and must protect these waterways from contamination from manure. Other ag is dodging this issue.

In every area where there is human habitation but no sewer treatment are septic systems. Septic systems can leach nitrogen into waterways. The south end of Hood Canal (Puget Sound area) is an example of this.

Caldwell mentions radioactivity. To my knowledge there is no leaching of radioactive material from Hanford (central Washington) but it is a risk until DOE cleans that up. Wah Chang, a specialty metals operation in Albany, was called on the carpet by DEQ for slag that exceeded background radiation. When you drill down on the numbers it was less than common beach sand. Not acceptable but not a risk either.

There is a large swimming area on the Columbia River called Roster Rock. I am not aware of any water quality hazards there. On Sauvie Island there is another swimming area by the name of Reeder Beach. It is on the Columbia down stream from Portland so they may abide by any water quality warnings issued by the City of Portland when there is an overflow.

Streams that feed into the Willamette or Columbia are fine for swimming if you can handle the water temperature (snow runoff) and speed of the stream. Swimmers, even waders, are known to be swept away by current.

I would not drink untreated stream water anywhere. In the forests you risk acquiring Giardia, an intestinal disease carried by wildlife (and dogs).

Most fish around Portland are migratory, I wouldn't fish for a week after a water quality warning just to be super cautious. I am not a fan of Sturgeon so haven't considered eating them where ever they live but from a health standpoint if they don't live around Portland they should be fine for consumption. Sturgeon are bottom feeders.

Oregon is very proactive when it comes to air quality. All the vehicles in Portland metro must pass a tail-pipe test. Neighborhoods keep DEQs feet to the fire when they have concerns about industrial emitters. In the NW neighborhood ESCO has been an issue for some residents. In the ag areas of the Willamette Valley field burning has ceased. The Willamette Valley does not have optimal ventilation at the south end.

For several years I lived well away from a city and dusted things in the house a couple times a year. After moving back to Portland, in the city center, I notice much more dust. I live on a busy street and keep my windows open so my house keeping habits need to adjust.

The best way for the OP to evaluate conditions is to go the the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website and read what is posted there. Then compare that to her current community.

FYI, in my former community I was a sewer district commissioner. I know *.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 07-25-2011 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 07-25-2011, 01:02 PM
 
Location: mid-west
69 posts, read 91,637 times
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Thank you for the info. I looked at the DOE site and it appears to have a wealth of info. I will check it out further.
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