Is the West Disappearing?

By
Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026

 

While out walking with my dogs on Greasy Spoon Road in my community in Birkenfeld Oregon,I got to thinking about a story I heard on Public Radio International yesterday morning on The Takeaway, a discussion about  

 Greasy Spoon Road-Gayle Rich-Boxman

 

The Disappearing West

 

Here is a statistic: Every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field of natural area to human development. 

John Hockenberry interviewed  University of Colorado Professor of History, Patty Limerick who specializes in the West and she didn't seem overly worried. She mentioned how this ebbs and flows in history as she put it, "I am very aware of the last two centuries in the West" and she found the word, "disappearing" as "an interesting term in and of itself....we're still HERE...quite a lot of it", she said, as she described where she was sitting in Boulder, CO looking around her while being interviewed. She went on to say what I totally agree with; replacing the word disappearing with the word "changing". She mentioned the fur trade, the Gold Rush, how people would swoop in and then when they exploited the resources which, in turn vanished, so did the people. As Patty put it, "...episodes over the last two centuries of people thinking, 'well, now it's gone'".

There are certainly tensions between development and the preservation of land and wilderness. There is an article that prompted this conversation titled The Disappearing West  and one of the first things mentioned was this comment:

 

The Oregon woods we explored as kids are now stumps without songbirds. 

 

 

 And yet, I can walk for miles and miles and MILES of old logging roads, deep in the Oregon woods (that eventually take you to the Pacific coastline, an hour's drive away), that is for me alone it seems, not encountering another human, and so quiet I only hear birdcalls, the wind and my own footfalls. Flourishing trees, ferns, deep woods, creeks and streams flowing quietly from thousands of feet above me. 

Greasy Spoon Road sunset-Gayle Rich-Boxman

The dogs can run for hours upon hours without a leash or a care!

 

This is Clatsop County State Forestland and it's lush, filled with 2nd and 3rd generation hemlock, red cedar and douglas fir.  I've been  living here full time for 11 years and haven't seen it change in its ability to house wildlife, invite the solitary walk or grab friends  and go for a 13 mile hike, seeing bear, elk, deer and coyote scat. There is even a plethora of chantrelle mushrooms to be picked in the fall in the woods that surround Fishhawk Lake, where I work and live

Much of it is still untamed. I don't feel the world crowding in here. No hi-tech companies are coming in and building swathes of parking lots adjacent to humongous buildings, housing the cars of their hundreds of employees like those flocking to Portland, Hillsboro and other urban areas for new jobs. 

Nope, no West disappearing here. Why, in Portland alone, there are over 10,000 acres of parks and other natural areas. And that's looking at a city that is the #1 city people are moving to!

Here's a fact from Oregon.gov:

Oregon is home to some of the world's most productive forests. From the dense Douglas-fir forests of the Willamette Valley and Coast Range to the high desert Ponderosa Pine stands in the Cascades and Blue Mountains, Oregon offers a wealth of forest resources. In fact, forests cover over 30.5 million acres of Oregon, almost half of the state.​

ODF [Oregon Department of Forestry] manages approximately 823,500 acres, about three percent of Oregon's forestland. Much of this acreage is in Northwest Oregon in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests 

 Located just a mile past Greasy Spoon Road is Fishhawk Lake, small private lake community that I serve in my real estate endeavors. Fishhawk Lake's  community is remotely located in the coastal range partially surrounded by Clatsop County State Forestland.

Fishhawk Lake aerial

 

Fishhawk Lake was first developed in 1967 and I had lived in Portland since 1979 and had never heard of it until 2002. I have people contacting me all of the time saying the same thing! My point is that Fishhawk Lake's community will never be a mecca. 

Another thing: some people just can't LIVE comfortably in or even near the woods! It simply doesn't suit them. And that suits ME just fine. I don't have the feeling that our part of the Pacific Northwest is shrinking, OR disappearing. What I DO believe is that ebb and flow happens in nature, in societies and there are those who gravitate towards the outer fringes, who don't want the hi-tech industry job, who want the solitude that the woods and nature surrounds you with and I will never talk someone into living like this if they don't "get it". We Thoreau-types aren't that common!

A few months ago, I sold a small home to a couple who feel like this is one of the last places on earth that will be infiltrated with the world's noise of war, unrest, crowding, city-and-traffic-activated stress. They moved here to live full time from the state's capital. And they are quite content with their decision and our little slice of paradise. 

My West isn't disappearing, and I hope that others will question that who have lived here for generations. It IS changing, with global warming, but it's not disappearing and IF it does, I can only hope that it isn't in my lifetime. 

 

 

 

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Ambassador
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Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 as long as there are people, they will preserve 'THE WEST' - they won't let it disappear.

(And Beautiful pictures.)

Jun 04, 2016 03:45 PM #25
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Your pictures are beautiful, and I'm glad to hear the West is not disappearing. The forest can provide such a sense of peace that is missing in cities.

Jun 04, 2016 08:32 PM #26
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Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 unfortunately, I think we are losing too many of our natural beauties all over the country - thanks for sharing

Jun 04, 2016 08:49 PM #27
Rainmaker
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Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I'm glad that your West is not disappearing. Because mine is. You see, being in Phoenix Scottsdale for a long time, the rapid growth of the county had pushed the Old West out of our Phoenix Scottsdale. All those city slickers moving here....

There was a time when... wearing cowboy boots and hat was the rigueur and normal attire in town. There was a time when... going to certain restaurants in North Scottsdale - they had hitching posts for the horses, and people would arrive on horseback for lunch or dinner. There was a time when....  wearing a gun belt and gun in plain view was quite normal and no one made any deal of it. There was a time when... you'd go to places like Cave Creek and all you'd see would be old pickup trucks everywhere, loaded with ranch supplies of some type, with a driver in full cowboy outfit, and you'd be greeted by the familiar 'Howdy". There was a time when... when someone would tell you they'd be there at 9am - that it was only a suggestion, it meant anytime between 7 and 11 - you were never late. There was a time when... the only access to certain parts of town was a simple two lane road through the desert at a leisurely pace with fantastic views... now we have super wide freeways with no views, noise and car pollution. There was a time when... you'd go to your local hardware store, sit on the tailgate of pick up trucks, shake hands and strike a conversation with people you didn't even know. There was a time when... you could always see in the distance and the blue sky everywhere. Now we see more and more highrises...

I now reckon that The Old West is disappearing as Phoenix Scottsdale is becoming one of our biggest urbanized metropolis.

Jun 05, 2016 02:43 AM #28
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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Fred Griffin and Richard Bazinet /MBA it's got to be hard to watch!  I see many farms being squeezed out by developers grabbing the land to create more building for the hi-tech industry that gravitates this way, just outside of Portland proper. It's pushing people out to try to buy property in the outlying small communities because they can't afford housing near those areas anymore. The drive is becoming farther, but still pleasant, with winding country roads and more wildlife than traffic. 

Laura Cerrano you might check out what Richard Bazinet had to say above. 

Tammy Lankford, thank GOD we still have our little lake communities, huh??

Praful Thakkar I sure hope so! People who want to leave a legacy of a gorgeous and pristine environment for their kids and grandkids to escape to.

 

 

 

Jun 05, 2016 03:01 AM #29
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Beautifully put, Kat Palmiotti .

 

 Jennifer Mackay I am seeing that, and yet, even in NYC, I saw beautiful hidden park-settings with barely a 1/2 dozen people walking through. It was quite an eye-opener. 

Richard Bazinet /MBA there is a book called The Oregon Trail, A New American Journy that you might like to check out. I loved your description of yesteryear in Phoenix. We have those conversations, we wave at people, even tho we don't know them, we know our neighbors, we don't lock our doors, we help each other...yes, it's a throwback to a different time and I gladly embrace it!

 

Jun 05, 2016 03:03 AM #30
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Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
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Richard Bazinet /MBA  comment #28  about Scottsdale / Phoenix Arizona.

        I remember when "Old Town" Scottsdale WAS Scottsdale.  I mean, that was it, other than the Princess and the other Resorts in the outlying areas.

    I was stationed at Williams Air Force Base (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport) in the 1970's.

    After a hard day's work, we would drive 100MPH+ on a two-lane highway through some cotton fields, to get to our off-base apartments in Tempe.  We only slowed down for a couple of bumps in the road called Chandler and Gilbert.

Jun 05, 2016 03:08 AM #31
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

This is the kind of discussion I love to see generated by a post like this! Thank you, Fred Griffin  and Richard Bazinet /MBA for your insights into the past and who would have known, Fred, since you're in FLA that you ever lived/worked in AZ without this throwback to another time in your life when life might have been a bit simpler? Or at least the "town" was. But, as you said, Fred, there are still places to jump off the grid. And metropolis I believe was the word you were aiming for. 

Jun 05, 2016 03:28 AM #32
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Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Gayle.  Change is a given.  It disappoints all of us with some of the results. I believe I know now why Mom would say she really hoped she would not be around for much more change.  She just was tired of it.  I think at some point we all hit that stage.  Great thought provoking post.  Thank you.  Mark

Jun 05, 2016 05:05 AM #33
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint your mom had some MAJOR changes that she went through, even more monumental than we may see in our lifetimes. I, for one don't relish the idea of having to live on other planets because we have no more natural resources, like water. 

Always glad when you stop by!

Jun 05, 2016 05:32 AM #34
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Gayle, your post is beautifully written; you share your beautiful corner of the world well.

Even living in San Francisco, as I do, within an hour's drive I can be (and often do) get to trailheads on the Peninsula where I can hike for days, surrounded by redwood forests, oak-studded hillsides, look out for mountain lions, enjoy deer, hawks and more. To the north of us, just across the Golden Gate bridge, is Marin County, where hiking is less solitary, but no less beautiful and peaceful.

Open space areas like these are essential for urbanites, and I'm grateful they are here.

 

Jun 06, 2016 01:24 AM #35
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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Lottie Kendall I know that the earth speaks to you and you listen! You are definitley someone who "gets it".

Jun 06, 2016 02:13 AM #36
Rainmaker
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Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Gayle,

 Not me personally David Weekley if the kids and Bob's job weren't here we would go in a heartbeat!

Jun 06, 2016 09:16 AM #37
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Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
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Gayle

Oregon is a green state . . . . with far trees then people.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 06, 2016 12:16 PM #38
Rainmaker
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Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
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Gayle

Congratulations on earning a gold star post for an outstanding post on living and enjoying life in Oregon.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 06, 2016 12:19 PM #39
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Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

You're lucky that your part of the world is still so natural and beautiful... keep it a secret!  haha.

You are very close to hitting the million mark!  Are you getting excited about that?

Jun 06, 2016 01:56 PM #40
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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Gosh, Georgie Hunter R(S) I AM kinda!!  Thanks for noticing. You're past me, so how's it feel??

Jun 06, 2016 02:42 PM #41
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert I think you and Bob would LOVE it here. !And we have many wineries to check out. 

Lou Ludwig gosh, thank you for the accolades!

Jun 06, 2016 02:44 PM #42
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Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 Well I guess you know how it feels now!  It feels really good. Congrats!

Jun 08, 2016 12:28 PM #43
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Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
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There will always be constant division between development and preserve the land in the West.

Jun 14, 2016 10:24 PM #44
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