Sunday, May 27, 2007

A few more pictures...

First, a thank you to those who have contacted me about the Opal Creek™ Photo Sale. Please continue to support Opal Creek and its work. Please continue to support art and the artists! Opal Creek truly is Oregon's Uncut Gem.

And speaking of support...

These next few pictures were taken just this last week at a "new" park about a mile from our house. The kids in the neighborhood call it "the Pits."

Its real name is Golden Garden Park. But it wasn't always a park. There was a time when it was a mess. When it was just some old gravel pits that filled with water every winter. And those pits occasionally became drowning pools. The drowning of two cousins in the Pits on Father's Day, 2005 changed everything. Ben Myers, in the Eugene Weekly:

Golden Gardens Park, a 46.8-acre parcel on Eugene's northwestern tip, did not look much like a park in June. The land was mixture of prairie brush, unkempt paths, blackberry brambles and a crumbling road. Plastic bottles and cigarette butts littered the overgrown trails, and a storm drainage channel separated three large, debris-filled ponds. The only fresh sign of park-hood was an unfinished, quarter-mile bark jogging trail. Still, the sun glimmered on the calm pond water while birds and crickets out-chirped distant city sounds. It was easy to imagine that the park could be a gem someday.

A visit in early September reveals a new place: the grass is mowed, the brush is cleared, there are picnic tables and trash cans, and an emergency-access bridge straddles the drainage channel. These changes were driven by Friends of Golden Gardens Park, a citizen group that emerged last March in response to the drownings of two teenage cousins on Father's Day 2005.

The deaths of Nick Davis and Brittan Shephard-Davis were not the first at Golden Gardens.

My kids travel through the park on their way to school or home from school and had been telling me I should "check it out." So a couple of weeks ago I paid it a visit walking with my daughter in the early a.m. on her way to school. What I saw compelled me to return with my camera. The park is clean. Birds are everywhere, geese and ducks, great blue herons and redwing blackbirds, swallows and osprey, blad eagles... and it is spring so flowers are blooming. Wild lupine and California poppies are abundant, the grass is mowed and the park is quiet. Early in the morning a neighbor walks his dog, a jogger runs on the bark mulch covered path... robins sing and buzzards cruise unflapping overhead.

Still a bit raw, a diamond in the rough, there remains more work to be done at the Park. But the City of Eugene is limited in its resources for parks. Lane County is cash strapped and thinking of closing some of its parks. That is why Golden Garden Park struck a chord with me. It is a large urban park with housing on the south side and grass farms on the other 3 sides... it seems larger than the nearly 50 acres it encompasses.

It has history and tragedy. It was once a neglected hazard and it took the loss of two young lives to change it from a derelict open space to a charming and potentially awesome facility. I plan to keep my eye on it, follow it photographically through the seasons and maybe through its growth over the years.

I appreciate the efforts of the neighbors, the city parks crew, the corporate supporters who all donated time and resources in changing blight to beauty. It is in actions like this that I see reasons for me not to give up on the human race completely. We can do great things but for me it is in these acts of cooperation that we take the sublime and mundane, the everyday take-it-for-granted leftovers of community and polish them into items of beauty.

Golden Garden Parks deserves that kind of attention and if what I see through my eyes and camera lenses is any indication, one day Eugene will have a fine and beautiful facility it can point to and be proud of creating AS a community. And in working as community we find that we ourselves have a beauty that is radiant and wonderful. I have my doubts but I also have my hopes...

Golden Garden Parks:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Opal Creek™ Photo Sale

As one who loves the outdoors and who has devoted much of my time to its preservation I am seeking to raise funds in order to establish:

- my photographic career, again, after 20 years in hibernation.

- a non-profit foundation. Multi-cultural and environmentally based, dedicated to aiding groups and organizations with an eye to protecting communities both human and environmental; and to strengthen that which inseperably ties humans to their environment.

- a scholarship fund to be administered at and by the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center in the name of Paul “Tincup” Flores. Aid will be directed towards students seeking a career in wilderness and/or historic/archaeologic human habitat preservation.

Dedicated to and in memory of:

Paul "Pablo" “Tin Cup” Flores

- Last miner, First caretaker

On September 5th, 2004, Friends of Opal Creek mourned the passing of our long-time friend, dedicated employee, and inspiring mentor, Paul Flores.

Known to many as “Pablo” and a few as “Tin Cup”, Paul dedicated much of his life to Jawbone Flats, both as miner for Shiny Rock Mining Co. and caretaker for FOOC.

A memorial service was held in his beloved Jawbone Flats on Sunday, September 12th.Friends and family from all over the country gathered to share tears, stories and laughs, all reminiscent of Pablo. The service was led by Calvin Hecocta, spiritual leader and long- time friend of Opal Creek.

All current sale pics are shown below.

Print prices:

5x7 - $15.00
8x10 - $25.00
8x12 - $25.00
11x14 - $50.00
11x16 - $50.00

25% of proceeds from all pictures sold will be donated to Opal Creek Preserve in the name of Paul Flores.

I would be pleased to matte and frame for you. Prices available upon request. Matted pictures will be signed and numbered. 20 prints only from each image will be printed before the pictures are archived.

Shipping add'l (cost only)

Me? My name is Allan Erickson. Former Jawbone resident, one of the “last miners.” or (541) 687-0468

Or contact the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center:

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
917 SW Oak, Suite 412
Portland, OR 97205

Opal Creek™ is a registered Trade Mark of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
All photos © Allan Erickson

NPOs free use w/ photo credit: Allan Erickson
All others with written permission only

Monday, May 14, 2007

Back to the O.C...

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
~ George Bernard Shaw

(if you've ever enjoyed any time at Opal Creek... thank the folks in that picture. They are the ones who were there at the right time, following up on a duty laid before us decades ago. Thats George Atiyeh at the upper right. George... thanks, what a wonderful legacy you have left the generations still to come. I'm honored to have shared some time helping out...)

One of the great joys of living at Opal Creek was in the late fall when the snow comes. Usually the first snow in camp falls by Halloween. The first real snow will hit around Thanksgiving. There is nothing like having the wood stove lit and a heavy snow starting to fall outside. It gets real quiet and all movement ceases. A call comes over the radio thats sounds like a factory horn sounding... its Pablo marking the shut down of the day's labor. Coffee is made and folks settle down for a day in their cabins, watching it snow. Better than any TV show, that first significant snow means for a few days there will be no visitors. The trees begin to droop as the snow accumulates on branches. The ground becomes a white blanket where all that is green becomes white. The road... white. The cabin roofs... white. And then the snow reallly starts. Big flakes falling so thick the view is down to less than a few yards.

Smoke billows from chimneys, life is good, the dogs are quiet.

(The dogs... thats Turk on the top left and Lance bottom right.)

Snow is not a bother to them. Winter is their time. The raccoons are easy to track. Sleep can be had inside where its dry and warm. The people have stocked a full winter supply of dog food... visitors are usually friends, rarely strangers.

The record snow at Opal Creek was over 20 feet. It buried the cabins. I'll have to check with George but I think that snow was in '64 or '65. The only person in camp that winter was Indian Billy. Billy (and that winter) is one of the legends among the Opal Creek miners. The snow was so deep tunnels had to be dug from the doors for Billy to get in and out of the cabins.

20' of snow is up the peak of the cabin roofs.

Greg Burke took me and a few others ski camping in the Sierras in the winter of '83 - '84 down in California, somewhere in Sequoia Nat'l Forest. We skied over a 25' base... no obstacles on the ground because... well... the ground was waaay down there. A truly amazing and wonderful trip.

The winter Robin was a baby at Jawbone was a fair snow year, enough snow to get some good skiing in. I would strap her on in a soft child pack, facing front. I would wear an oversized coat and zip it up to her face and off we would go. I can only imagine an infant's perception of that activity...

Now that its spring and the days once again starting to get into the '70s, I feel safe talking about winter. Funny how those things work... like when you talk to a friend or a relative and you say"oh yeh, I haven't seen ol' whats-'is-name for years." Sure enough you can count on an encounter. Or when you say "I haven't had a ticket in 35 years" and the next day you get pulled over... life, the universe, has a strange sense of humor (and have no doubt it has a sense of humor...) and has no mercy when it comes to timing.

Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth.
~ Victor Borge

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


~ There are worlds of experience beyond the world of the aggressive man, beyond history, and beyond science. The moods and qualities of nature and the revelations of great art are equally difficult to define; we can grasp them only in the depths of our perceptive spirit.

- Ansel Adams, "Ansel Adams: Photographs"

Gads, I hope everyone has missed me! I was working on a writing project that while not profitable was educational and inspiring. I'll only say it was for an international organization for which I have a great deal of respect and hope to do more work with in the future.

The first picture here is one of my son Alex in a new 3 man band he is in, in their first public performance. They were allowed 3 songs and I'd say they kicked it pretty good. Good enough to be invited back to do it again. They were the only band, the rest of the music was a DJ's scratchin and thumpin'... (pssst... the band name is Touch 45) The second picture is an early spring sunset at my house. Sunsets are often mandatory meeting times for me and the kids, kind of an old family tradition.

It started for us when Robin was a toddler. We lived on an old ranch down in south central Oregon, about 15 miles north of Adel, just north of where the northern tip of the California/Nevada border butts up against Oregon. Weather permitting we'd go outside and walk the land at sunset, Robin sitting in my arms, head resting against my shoulder or leaning back to stare at clouds on fire. We'd watch the clouds and colors as they shifted towards darkness, just meandering... Surrounded by the the Warner Mountains to the west; Hart Mountain rising up to 8,000 feet to the north (our elevation at the ranch was a paltry 4500'); a sunset can literally last for hours and be near astounding each minute in this land of with a 360ยบ horizon.

(My friend Greg Burke has some gorgeous High Desert shots. Support the artists!)

I swear there is no more beautiful place in all the world than Oregon's high desert and it's Sagebrush Sea. Its the quiet. An ear popping quiet that is almost shocking coming from a place so noisy as the world of man in his cities. We could hear our neighbor's cattle across Crump Lake, some 5 miles away. The quiet so loud people notice. Out there somewhere will be my last rest. I know it in my bones...

So again, a gallery of sky. These images taken during the passing of some magnificnt thunderheads at sunset. The clouds rose soooo high... they caught the last full rays of the sun while below was shadow and rain. At one point they looked like they were lit from the inside...

“Come, my friends,

'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.”

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson