Vernonia High track takes 4th in State, breaks state record!

Congratulations VHS Track Team! Below is a report from Coach Byron Brown.

Vernonia Boys’ Team finishes 4th in State! The 4×100 relay team set a new state record at 43.57—the only team in State 2A competition to run under 44 seconds. Jared Medearis handed off to Steve Burns, who quickly separated from the other runners to give the Loggers a significant lead; Clay Sullivan lengthened it out some more, and Rob Connor finished it off, winning by about 40 meters and setting a new state record, eclipsing the 2011 record set by Central Linn. Clay Sullivan won the high hurdles in a big upset, leading from start to finish. Clay also finished 4th in the 300 Hurdles and 8th in the Long Jump. Rob Connor finished 2nd in the 100 and 5th in the 200 meter dash, competing with a strained hamstring. Francesco Mian placed 8th in the High Jump. The Loggers needed every point as they beat Nestucca by half a point for the 4th place trophy.

Loggers Advance to State Championship Final

12813948_1317651071585192_5397314681913363684_nThe Vernonia Loggers boys basketball team have advanced to the finals of the OSAA 2A State Championship in Pendleton, after defeating Bandon 51-39 on Friday night, March 4.

The #2 seeded  Loggers will face #1 Regis on Saturday, March 5 at 8:15 pm in the final.

The Loggers were led in their defeat of Bandon by Tristan Adams who scored 19 points on 7 of 10  shooting from the field, including 5 of 8 from beyond the three point line.  Adams was named Player of the Game for the Loggers.  Robert Conner added 8 points and 7 rebounds,  Brett Jones had 8 points, and Clay Sullivan added 5 points and 7 rebounds for the Loggers.

Head coach Devid Weller used his deep bench with 9 players seeing significant minutes for the Loggers during the game.

The Loggers advanced to the semifinals with a 44-42 win over Burns in the tournament opener on Thursday night.  Sullivan led the Loggers with 15 points and 8 rebounds and was named Player of the Game.  Brett Elliot scored 8 for the Loggers including 3 clutch fouls shots to give the Loggers a 43-42 lead with :41 left in the game. Arne Schiemann added 8 points, Francesco Mian  had 7, and Conner scored 6 for the Loggers.

Headed to the Playoffs! Boys headed to Pendleton, Girls eliminated in First Round

Inbounding            The Vernonia Loggers are headed to the OSAA 2A Boys Basketball State Championship!

            The Loggers and Lady Loggers basketball teams both hosted the Bonanza Antlers in the first round of the OSAA state playoffs on Saturday, February 27, 2016.

The Logger boys defeated Bonanza 65-60 to earn a trip to the final eight in Pendleton on March 3-5. The #2 ranked Loggers face #7 Burns at 8:15 pm in the first round on Thursday March 3. The Loggers have now won 25 straight games and have a 25-1 record on the season. The Loggers won the Northwest League title on February 20 with an 84-78 win over City Christian.

The #8 ranked Lady Loggers fell to #9 Bonanza 60-58 in tightly contested match-up earlier in the day at the Vernonia gymnasium. The Lady Loggers finished their season with a 24-3 record that included their fourth straight Northwest League title after they beat Neah-Kah-Nie 54-49 on February 20.

Another Flood? We got this.

Vernonia Legion Hall/Food Bank[This is a living document and will be updated as new information comes in]

On December 8th, 2015 it rained again. And again. Over the past 2 days the town of Vernonia has seen 6″ of rainfall onto an already waterlogged town. This is certainly bad news, but the experience gained during previous floods means this is no tragedy.

All one has to do is look on the various community bulletin boards on Facebook to see what type of person lives in Vernonia. Compassionate, giving, caring. People helping people.

The Red Cross is setting up an evacuation center at the Vernonia High School and the Food Bank has relocated their essential services to that site as well. Homeowners in outlying areas are clearing culverts and posting when streams are over-topping roads. Hundreds of people in town are offering help, shelter, rides, storage, whatever is needed to calm the nerves of people already stressed by the weather and now frightened by the dark.

Offers of help are already pouring in from people living outside the area. They know why Vernonia is a great place to live, and that their assistance is well placed. If you want to help, please contact the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection Department at 503-429-8252, they would welcome the assistance.

To our friends in Roseburg

To our friends in the south,

Today, I’ll promote kindness, I’ll put it first
It’s my way to counteract the pain and the hurt
I’ll focus on love, on faith, and on hope
The three gifts God gave us to help us to cope

I’m going to pray for the families and friends
For those whose lives were brought to an end
Those that are hurt, may their wounds heal
For everyone involved, it must seem surreal

The police and paramedics, the things they have seen
On their strength and courage we can all lean
Their dedication and service are over the top
We pray that this nightmare comes to a stop

Today, I’ll gather up joy and pass it around
Give someone a smile when I see a frown
Pray for those struggling with too much on their plate
Locked in a world of depression and hate

I won’t find the answer, I don’t know what it is
But love is the gift that we can all give
So, I’m going to share it and when I hit my knees
I’m going to pray, I’ll begin it with “Please”…

“Please heal our country, come into our homes
You’re always right there, we are never alone
Gather up our families in your loving arms
In Your name we pray, Please keep them from harm”

For those caught up in grief, our hearts are with you
When it comes to tears, we’ve shed more than a few
May you feel the love we’re sending your way
May peace and comfort find you today.

Written with love and a grieving heart,
By Kala Cota, a friend up north.
(feel free to share)

Timberbound – Music Rooted in a Place and Time

VMP-Timberbound3web            Joe Seamons grew up listening to his parents playing music. He was enraptured by the musicians and instruments they played at the living room sing-alongs, parties and concerts his parents and their friends would organize.

The songs told tales of places and people Seamons knew or had heard stories about. They contained accounts of fishermen and loggers and folks working at the mill in Vernonia.

The musicians and folk songs left an indelible impression on Seamons, an impression he is now exploring in his own career as a musician and musical archivist.

Seamons is a banjo player who plays music with several different artists, performing a blend of traditional blues, bluegrass, ragtime and folk songs. He has studied Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River songs, written when Guthrie worked for the Bonneville Power Administration. He fronts a bluegrass band called The Renegade Stringband. He recently spent several weeks on the road with fiddler Ben Hunter, traveling up and down the Mississippi River region, playing house concerts, learning the roots of local music and soaking up the culture of the region. Seamons and Hunter also created The Rhapsody Project, taking folk music into schools and sharing it with young students.

Seamons is in the midst of a long and winding musical journey – an exploration of history and culture and reviving old songs – a journey that began right here in Vernonia in a small wooden shack, in an old logging camp at the end of a long, winding gravel road.

VMPTimberboundGrnage2014web           Several years ago Seamons formed a band called Timberbound, a reincarnation of a previous group of musicians that Seamons grew up listening to. Seamons and the new Timberbound recorded a CD of old songs by the same name. The name Timberbound, the content of the music, and the source of the songs, are steeped in local significance. For many Vernonians the CD and the songs it contains are a treasure and a dream come true. For those unfamiliar with these old songs, it is masterpiece waiting to be discovered.

In the mid-seventies Kim and John Cunnick lived about twelve miles outside Vernonia in an abandoned logging camp called Keasey. Both were musicians, living with no electricity or running water, playing music and writing a small collection of folksongs. John was smart and funny – a self-educated and a self-taught musician who was beloved by those who knew him. His untimely death at age thirty in a car wreck was mourned by the wide circle of friends he made in his short time in Keasey.

Kim honored his legacy by forming the Timberbound Stringband (later shortened to just Timberbound) with some of their musician friends, Hobe Kytr, Dave Berge and Mark Loring.   They performed some of the music John and she had written together. In 1977 Kim published the Timberbound Songbook which contained the lyrics, music and introductions to the songs John and Kim had written and random notes that John had jotted down about being a musician.

Timberbound disbanded in 1978 before entering a recording studio to memorialize John and Kim’s songs. Kim moved away and eventually remarried. Kytr and Berge continued to play together and recorded the album Dog Salmon and Rutabagas in 1985, which featured songs about commercial fishing, logging and life in the Pacific Northwest.

The music and stories, and especially the songbook that John left behind made him a local legend of sorts. Several musicians recorded his iconic song, ‘Boys of Columbia County,’   but beyond those few tributes to his life and the fading memories of his friends, the legend of John Cunnick laid dormant over the next thirty years.

In June of 2010 Kim returned to the Keasey property where she and John had lived and joined Kytr, Berge and Loring for the weekend in a Timberbound reunion. They spent the time visiting with old friends, playing music and even went into a cabin and recorded some of their songs. The musical playing and the melodies were a bit rusty but the spirit was revived.

Joe Seamons was there that weekend and was enraptured by Kim’s stories. The Timberbound Project was born.

Seamons studied music at Lewis and Clark College. “I was already exploring and performing the Timberbound songs at Lewis and Clark a couple years before the reunion,” says Seamons. Seamons’s explorations and curiosity led him to more deeply explore the lore behind the Timberbound songs.

Seamons began gathering musician friends and performing songs under the name Timberbound Project. They chose songs that described life in the Pacific Northwest – mostly Kim and John’s songs from the songbook, but also songs by Kytr, Berge, and Woody Guthrie. Eventually Seamons received permission from the original band to change the name of his band to just Timberbound.

            The new incarnation of Timberbound has captured the tradition, atmosphere and VMPTimberboundGrange2014Joewebessence of the original string music. The band includes Seamons on banjo, harmonica and vocals, Kate Sandgren on vocals, Jenny Estrin on fiddle, and Gavin Duffy on guitars, vocals, mandolin and more.

Seamons and Timberbound have developed a mixture of influences that is grounded in the geography and history of this region. “This music is trying to be texturally like the northwest-extremely varied and very rich and dense and detailed,” says Seamons about the Timberbound music.

Completing the first CD was a great accomplishment for Seamons and his band mates. “This kind of gives us a central identity,” says Seamons. “It’s a foundation that has us rooted and anchored in a place and a time.”

Seamons says he plans to continue in his quest to gather more stories, information and folklore from the original Timberbound time period and expand on what he still considers the ‘Timberbound Project.’   The possibilities continue to develop and multiply.

“I like the concept of the richness and texture and the abstract idea of music that reflects the Pacific Northwest,”   says Seamons. “We want to broaden the horizons of that, because so far we’ve been very focused on this songbook and these songs. Now it can breathe a little bit and we can expand what we do. Maybe we’ll do more original songs. It’s all still fermenting.”

For Joe Seamons, his musical journey is just beginning.

Museum Showcases Logging and Pioneer Living

VMPMuseumChainSawweb            Built in 1922, the Vernonia Pioneer Museum was originally the headquarters of the Oregon-American Lumber Company. The men and women in the building oversaw the harvest of 2 billion board feet of old growth timber over 31 years, and shipped finished lumber of various grades and cuts all across the country. The innovative mill not only kiln dried the lumber to save shipping costs, they also custom milled lumber to fill large orders from home builders in the mid-West.

Following the acquisition of the company and lands by Long-Bell Lumber Company in 1953 which then merged with International Paper in 1956, the lands and property were slowly broken up and sold off, with the company headquarters donated to the city in July of 1961.

Preceding that donation, a group of Vernonians gathered to discuss possible uses of the building that would fulfill the stipulation of it being used “for the common good” and were most excited to hear that there was interest in using it as a historical society or museum.

In the spring of 1962, 25 Vernonia area residents met to discuss the formation of a Nehalem Valley Historical Society and establishing a museum in the former O-A headquarters building. Included in this preliminary discussion were items such as cost of glass cases, utilities to heat and light the building, and the cost of a museum curator. They also discussed the possibility of combining the library with the museum.

Several months later, presumably after the proposed historical society failed to materialize, the Columbia County Historical Society gladly accepted the city’s offer of the headquarter building for use as the county museum. Thirteen months later, after extensive remodeling and a fresh coat of paint, the museum had its grand opening during the 1963 Vernonia Jamboree.

The museum curator was able to live onsite because the city adapted the sales offices in the back of the building to accommodate living quarters. Over the next year various skilled members of the county historical society built the glass display cases and typed the artifact tabs which identified not only the item and its origin, but also the donor.

The curator was able to keep the museum open 6 days a week for two years, but cut back to four days a week at some point in 1964. The museum played host to many field trips of school children from the Willamette Valley who got a good glimpse of the hardships of pioneer life and the tools of taming the wilderness.

The decision was made sometime in the 1990s to no longer employ a curator, and that the museum would have to operate entirely with volunteers, who continue to do all the work involved with running the museum to this day.

During those first 30 years of activity, the collection of the museum swelled from a few hundred items to over 5000, all housed in 3500 square feet of space. For most visitors the highlight is the catalog of pictures showing various aspects of mill life. Many also marvel at the period dresses and menswear including a wedding dress and two wedding coats. This eclectic collection will find you admiring a square piano, a stuffed moose head, World War 1 and 2 militaria, and a rock collection, all in short order.

Several walls are covered with depictions of cutting crews, steam donkeys and the locomotives that transported raw logs to the mill and finished lumber out of the Nehalem Valley. The General Manager’s office now plays host to a diorama that shows the various activities that take place at a logging operation, including a spar tree, haystack boom, and a temporary plank road used by log trucks.

While there isn’t a specific display which makes the collection noteworthy, it is an important and impressive collection of ordinary life objects from the time of 1880 through 1960 that make this county museum a worthwhile stop for both residents and visitors to Vernonia.

The building itself, built in the Craftsman style, was recognized for its significance by the National Park Service in 2002 by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was one of only three lumber mill offices that remained standing in Oregon.

The museum is open weekends from 1-4pm all year, and Fridays in June through mid September. Visitors can also arrange for private tours by calling 503-429-3713 at least 3 weeks in advance of your visit.