August News from Confluence

In these uncertain times, we hear a lot of measurements of the economic crisis. Unemployment is way up. GDP is way down. But what about measuring the economy in terms of how many salmon are fighting their way up the rivers? How many berries are available for picking. How we as a community are caring for each other and ourselves. The Indigenous people of the Columbia River have always been traders. Confluence Board Chair Antone Minthorn, an elder with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, talked to us recently about how measuring our economy goes beyond financial figures.

“I have a respect for the land,” he says. “That this is your home, forever. This is what’s going to take care of you … it’s your economy.”

Our latest Confluence Story Collection explores ways of looking at our economy in terms of our environment, our history and our connections to each other. Enjoy!

Stay healthy,

Colin Fogarty
Executive Director

Story Collection here.

Benches Installed at the Sandy River Delta

Last fall, a group from the Mirabella residential community in South Portland took a tour to the Sandy River Delta near Troutdale, Oregon. It turned into a spirited discussion about the role of art in our storied landscape. But many in the group had mobility challenges and were unable to hike the 1.2 miles down the Confluence Trail to the Bird Blind by Maya Lin. The tour group decided that the trail needed benches and their community wanted to join together to make it happen.

This month, Confluence installed two slabs of basalt as natural-looking benches at the Delta. These will allow visitors to rest on their way to the Bird Blind. One slab weighs three tons and the other weighs 2 tons. The smaller one is in the shade is near the Bird Blind. The other one sits about halfway down the trail so that weary hikers can enjoy the view of Mt. Hood while they rest.

Thanks to everyone at the Mirabella for their 5 ton impact on the landscape! We could not have done this without your support.

River Sites Reopen

All Confluence sites that were closed due to COVID-19 are now open – this includes Cape Disappointment State Park, the Sandy River Delta, Sacajawea State Park, and Chief Timothy Park. The Confluence Land Bridge in Vancouver remained opened.

While these sites are now open to the public, we encourage all visitors to please maintain social distancing and follow CDC and state guidelines. Ready Set Gorge advises “If you’re planning a trip to our region, please help keep our communities safe by following CDC and local health guidelines and respecting the requests of individual businesses. Many parks and trails remain closed. Please plan before you go and always have a Plan B in case your destination is too crowded or closed. Crowds lead to closures. When recreating on trails, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other hikers and bikers.” Stay safe!

In this excerpt, Antone Minthorn (CTUIR) talks about having respect for the land and the benefits of everyone having a better understanding of that.