Oregon III by Ray Atkeson. Text by Richard Ross
Date read: 15-29 March 2015
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hardback, 160 pages
Published  by Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company
Source: Deschutes Public Library (OVERSIZE 917.95 ATKESON RAY)
This is the third installment in the Oregon series of photo books by Ray Atkeson put out by the Graphic Arts Center Publishing. I wrote about Oregon II here and about Oregon, My Oregon here (not part of this series but extremely related).
The text is by Richard Ross, whom the back flap describes as:
“a familiar figure to television audiences. for thirty-four years he gathered and wrote news stories, delivering them nightly from the anchorman’s chair, first in Seattle and then in Portland.
With two score and seven years of interviewing experience, Ross set out to meet and write about the people of Oregon. Oregon III, a tribute to the people and the land, is the culmination of his journey around the state and is his first published work.”
This volume fixes one of my gripes with previous ones. Its sections are organized geographically: Oregon Coast, Columbia River, Western Valleys, Cascade Range, Central Oregon, and Eastern Oregon. All of the photos are in color.
Each section is preceded by several pages of text by Ross which profiles the people he met in each region. The text for the first section, Oregon Coast, left me dreading the rest “blah blah this person blah that person.” It was boring. Thankfully the Columbia River section and a couple others were far better. Those seemed to be more historical (Columbia River) or in some other way of interest to me (Central Oregon; also more historical).
No idea who wrote the captions but it is possible it was Atkeson himself.
From the funnier side of life, in the Central Oregon section:
“As for the housing market, Bob [Chandler of Bend Bulletin] says he just hired a new city editor from San Jose who bought, for $90,000, a house that is better than the one he sold for $200,000. Bob says, “You can get the best bargains in housing in the United States of America in Bend, Oregon” (129).
While, in the photo caption on p. 134, we are reminded that “Bend, with a population of just over eighteen thousand, is the county seat of Deschutes County, ….”
The Eastern Oregon section displays a horrific insensitivity:
“This is the land once claimed by Chief Joseph as the ancestral home of his Nez Perce Indians, and one look at the scenery, no less than spectacular, will show you why the Nez Perce fought so long to keep this land. …
Grace Bartlett, whose father owned the Bend Bulletin for several years, is in her seventies and lives right across the road from her daughter’s ranch. Grace has written a lot about the relations between the Nez Perce Indians and the settlers. After the Nez Perce War and the Bannock-Payute uprising in 1878, people really started moving into this part of the country. They were mostly stockmen and farmer—vigorous people with no money, but willing to face real hardships. She says, “This is very rough country to survive in. The weather is very severe and unpredictable. It took people with a grew deal of intelligence as well as ‘guts’ to make a go of it here”” (145).
So the Nez Perce weren’t people, nor were they intelligent, nor did they have guts. What. The. Serious. Fuck!?
Anyway. I still much prefer Atkeson’s black and white work, at least as presented in Oregon, My Oregon or more narrowly in Ski & Snow Country.
This is the 19th book in my