In Timber Country

Working People's Stories of Environmental Conflict and Urban Flight

Beverly A. Brown
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-273-0
Publication: Mar 95

HC: $78.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-272-3
Publication: Mar 95

336 pages
6 x 9
17 halftones, 1 maps

Personal stories from all sides of the battle for preserving timber country


Southwest Oregon embodies the fast-changing social and environmental trends of the Pacific Northwest: the volatile clash of logging and environmental interests over the fate of old growth forests, an influx of wealthy suburbanites from California, and the effects of national economic trends. Championing neither environmentalists nor timber companies, Beverly A. Brown analyzes the subsequent transformation of the region. Her candid interviews with mostly poor to lower-middle-income people from the Rogue Valley region bring these looming social, cultural, and economic changes into the realm of everyday life.

Working-class men and women describe a growing segregation of private forest lands and waterways—where people could once move freely, they are now boxed in by fences and No Trespassing signs; where once tranquility and open space was treasured, traffic and tract homes envelop the landscape. Talking openly, they lament the increased presence of drugs, problems with the welfare system, the dearth of non-logging employment opportunities, and family violence. But they also share a love of their rural hometowns and a genuine desire to balance preservation of the environment with the economic well-being of their communities.


"(A) sophisticated attempt to get a handle on the crisis in rural America. The oral histories she has gathered are a primer for anyone interested in learning a more complicated and interesting truth about the Northwest timber wars." —The Progressive

Table of Contents

Note on the Interviews
Introduction: In-migrations, Timber, and Owls: Background to a Transformation

Part I: In the Country
1. Peter Alten and Larry Lyon
This is not an area to become a millionaire in. It never was. The only difference now is, not only can you not become a millionaire, you cannot have any peace and quiet either.
2. Barbara Roland
I felt lonesome, to walk down my city street and not see a face that I recognized.
3. Kevin Sjorn
If the environmentalists had grown up the way I did, they wouldn't be environmentalists.... That's why they seem so distant.
4. Roslyn Sellers
I remember being proud that my dad worked in a mill.
5. Vera and Chuck Carter
I don't think it's less community—I think it's more a group of communities.
6. Gary Carter
Boy, anymore you try and go back to some of the places where we used to go and fish, or we used to go and swim. Somebody's down there and they're calling the cops. They're sicing the dog on you, they're pulling a gun on you.
7. Theresa Carter
Generations are changing from my parents' "Just do what ever you want," to knowing that you can't do whatever you want.
8. Wayne Douglas
They didn't want any non-whites spending a night in Grants Pass.

Part II: In Our Lives
9. Rhonda Marshall
You see all of the people here in the valley going through this withdrawal; they're holding the anger in their houses.
10. Sue Cleary
We're all hating each other for no reason.
11. Kathy Dodge
I dropped out of school when I was a freshman, and again when I was a sophomore.... It was, like, "Well, if you don't want to be in school, then fine."
12. George Thomas
My father was never big into supporting the bureaucracy. And I really go right along with that.
13. Dorothy Harris
It's a real dangerous occupation.... I worried about my husband working in the woods when he was setting chokers....and he did have a couple of real close calls.
14. Henry Dubnik
We were probably part of the first wave of Californians....The dreaded Californians.

Part III: What Kind of Future
15. Margaret and Stanley Norman
What do we all do? Become park rangers?
16. Amy Sturman
I think the environmentalists are going to win. Nature has the public sympathy.
17. Ellen Tigart
It seems like life has really been kind of a survival test.
18. Nathan Cullenbach
We've been confronted with so many personal problems, and nobody knows how to deal with them.
19. Ralph Pendleson
They have to drop down to a five-, six-dollar-an-hour job. And they wonder why people are losing their homes.
20. Caroline Coldbrook
I don't think anybody else wants to be where women are in the service economy.

21. Conclusion: Language, Complexity, and Power: Life Stories and a Community in Transition
22. An Environmentalist Reflection – Art and Paula Downing

About the Author(s)

Beverly A. Brown is an independent scholar and activist.


In the Series

  • Conflicts in Urban and Regional Development edited by John R. Logan and Todd Swanstrom

    Conflicts in Urban and Regional Development, edited by John R. Logan and Todd Swanstrom, includes books on urban policy and issues of city and regional planning, accounts of the political economy of individual cities, and books that compare policies across cities and countries.