The Mazamas celebrate 125 years
By Mathew Brock
One hundred and fifty-five men and thirty-eight women stood atop Mount Hood and founded the Mazamas on July 19, 1894.
The brainchild of William Gladstone Steel, the Mazamas is a mountaineering organization founded by mountaineers.
They do much more than climb mountains though. The Mazamas have a one hundred and twenty five-year history of climbing, hiking, and protecting mountains.
A 501c(3) non-profit organization, they are a mostly volunteer-run organization supported by a small staff. The 3,600 members are active mountaineers, climbers, hikers, walkers, canyoneers, and skiers.
The Mazamas’ founding members were among the early leaders of Oregon, and they figure in the epic story of the state. William Steel was the driving force behind the organization. A remarkable individual, full of enthusiasm, with a sense of purpose, he had a missionary’s zeal for teaching people to climb and to appreciate and preserve the mountain environment.
Steel was a devoted conservationist and after advocating for fourteen years on behalf of the cause, Congress created Crater Lake National Park, an event he considered his greatest accomplishment. He would later serve as the Park’s superintendent.
Other prominent founding members include Oregonian newspaper publisher Henry Pittock; noted attorney Rodney Glisan, (namesake of one Portland’s principal thoroughfares) and L.L. Hawkins, founder of the Free City Museum, the forerunner to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
Notable members have included naturalist and conservationist John Muir; photographer Edward Curtis; Edward Harriman, benefactor of the Harriman Expedition to Alaska; President Theodore Roosevelt; and more recently, the climber, blacksmith, and founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard.
When asked about women mountaineers, Steel remarked, “No climb is complete without them.” From the very beginning, The Mazamas welcomed women as full members, uncommon at the time.
Although women would not get the right to vote until 1920, Mazama women helped organize outings, shaped policy, lead hikes, and served on committees and the Executive Council. While they were bound by the constraints of social propriety on Main street, they found ingenious ways of getting around those rules on the mountain.
In 1895, the organization’s first two vice-presidents were women; in 1917, the first female Mazama climb leader; in 1933, first all-female climb; and in 1953, the first female Mazama president.
The Mazamas are active in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest from Washington State’s North Cascades to Mount Shasta in Northern California. Early annual outings lasted for weeks and found hundreds of Mazamas camped in the wilderness at the base of mountains around the region.
As time went by, and access and the means of transportation improved, so did the number of outings each year. By the 1980s the annual outing had grown into multiple outings, across the region, and around the globe.
Small groups of Mazamas were climbing across the United States, in the Alps, the Himalaya, the Andes, and many peaks in-between.
But, Mount Hood has always been the home mountain and holds a special place in the hearts of all Mazamas. It was the location of their founding climb and continues to draw new and existing members back to its snowy slopes.
The first lodge, built in 1923, was on the Zigzag River near Twin Bridges. The Mazamas built a grand lodge at Government Camp in 1931. Fire destroyed the lodge, burning it to the ground in 1958. The current lodge, constructed in 1960, serves as home base for many Mazamas activities.
The group set for themselves four goals: the exploration of snow-capped peaks and other mountains; to collect scientific knowledge about the mountain environment; to preserve the natural beauty of the forests and mountains and to share all that knowledge around the Pacific Northwest.
Conservation efforts started in 1895 when Steel lobbied to prevent development in the Cascade Range Forest Reserve.
The group rallied in 1902 to limit the destructive effects of extensive sheep grazing in the Northwest. In 1928 they entered a prolonged battle against the proposed Mt Hood Tramway. In 1932 they were instrumental in the formation of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs.
They’ve advocated against the development of a tramway on Mt. Rainier and development in Olympic National Park, and for the creation of Portland’s Forest Park and the Wilderness Act of 1964.
The 1960s and 1970s saw them expanding into rock climbing. Three Mazamas made the first ascent of Monkey Face, a spire at the end of a dirt road in a then little-known place called Smith Rock on January 1, 1960. The group would go on to be instrumental in the popularization of Smith Rock as a climbing destination.
After more than a hundred years of renting rooms around town, they bought their first home in 2007. The Mazama Mountaineering Center, 527 SE 43rd, has provided a stable foundation for the growth the organization experiences today.
The Mazamas have evolved from social club into modern-day non-profit organization. It has remained faithful to William Steel’s guiding vision.
Every year more and more people join to learn to be better climbers and find their community. The Mazamas continue to fund scientific research projects across a range of disciplines and continue to fight to preserve and protect the areas where they explore and play.
This year marks their 125th anniversary.
Help Faith find a donor
Faith Emerson has been a working artist in the Northwest for more than thirty years. She hopes to continue creating and help others enjoy and appreciate the arts, for years to come.
Now she is facing a critical challenge. She was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and over time, her kidneys have deteriorated.
Emerson needs a kidney transplant to live a normal life. She is on the transplant list at Legacy Good Samaritan, but the waiting list is long with an average wait of three to five years. Many people don’t survive the wait.
The best option is a living donor. Living donor kidneys last longer and Emerson hopes there is a kidney hero who will reach out to her. It is heartening to know there are individuals who donate to another in need, even total strangers.
For information about being a living donor and how to help, email Faithwouldloveakidney@ gmail.com, (on facebook, see Faith Would Love a Kidney); or call 503.960.8188 or the Legacy Transplant Center, 503.413.7349 or 877.622.8030.
Basic information about kidney donation:
- You only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life.
- Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.
- The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, generally two-six weeks.
- the cost of your evaluation and surgery will be covered by the recipient’s insurance.
You will have a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate you as a living donor.
Their job is to help you understand the risks and benefits and look out for YOUR best interests.
Recycling tips for June
By Bonita Davis, Master Recycler and SE Resident
Don’t we all love the summer vibrant outdoor festival season in the NW? There is something for everyone during the sunny months as we celebrate food and drink, arts and crafts, music, theatre, crazy costumes, and face paint!
Two “can’t miss” regional festivals are the Recycled Arts Festival at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver and the Cracked Pots Reuse Art Show and Edgefield Gardens Plant Sale held on the lush grounds of McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale. Many talented SE artists participate in these shows.
In Vancouver, Waste Connections had Tossed and Found, a provoking educational display of stuff we throw away, neatly arranged in a huge dropbox large enough to hold a vehicle.
Visitors visually treasure hunted to find what could be repaired, reused, composted, or creatively reimagined from the discarded items.
“Who would throw that away?” was overheard as participants surveyed the contents that included everything from clothing to bikes, toys to tools, housewares and raw materials.
Nearby, it was possible to step inside a home created from a shipping container, learn more about solar energy, and check out electric vehicles.
The real draw for many was the artists, using their ingenuity and skill to display hundreds of handmade products upcycled from discarded material into useful, quality, one-of-a-kind items. Garden art, furniture, clothing, jewelry, sculpture… all made by hand.
A tourist was overheard asking the Master Recycler Composter volunteer why she could not recycle glass where she lived in Georgia. Answer: When there are no nearby recycling facilities for that material, it can be cost prohibitive to ship and process the material.
I realized how fortunate we are in Portland to have glass, paper, and plastic bottle recycling facilities within miles, making it possible to recycle rather than landfill these materials. See portlandoregon.gov and search ‘curbsider.’
At Edgefield, Crackpots staged a beautiful show, with fine craftsmanship and creativity on display along winding tree lined paths. A highlight was watching artists and visitors shop at the ReClaim It! Pop-Up Shop.
The shop, a mini outdoor version of Crackedpots popular brick and mortar, ReClaim It! at 1 N. Killingsworth, was packed with a huge array of items all gleaned from the Metro Transfer Station, cleaned, sorted and offered for sale at bargain prices.
All the items can be used rather than landfilled. Once again, it is hard to believe what gets thrown away. What a treasure trove for creative types!
Artist tips and recycling facts popping up along the paths, provided food for thought to visitors. One popular clothing vendor responded that she had so many empty hangers because her popular line of redesigned women’s clothing was selling out, and that her hobby was now outpacing her day job. Bravo!
Thank you, to all of the artists, for what they add to our lives. After months of following a recycling market in flux, it was affirming to experience how we can support reuse as a way to reduce waste. Even my feathered backyard friends benefitted with a new birdhouse from each show.
WILD CACTUS BOUTIQUE at 3638 SE Division St. showcases a curated, laid back mix of women’s modern and vintage clothing, shoes, accessories and local creations. Open 11-6 pm weekdays, 11-7 pm weekends. See wildcactuscompany.com.
EASTSIDE COFFEE BAR AND WORKSHOP–1315 SE 20th, is a non-profit coffee shop with a creative workspace located in the foyer of Hinson Baptist Church. The renovated church building is now office space for other non-profit organizations. Menu prices are suggested, so they ask that you please pay what you are willing or able. All the proceeds, stay within Eastside Coffee and go to covering overhead costs and toward the mission in creating an inexpensive workspace that for-profits and non-profits alike can utilize.
WANTED: HS GRADS TURNING 80 – If you attended California’s San Mateo or Hillsdale High Schools from 1953-57, your classmates want to celebrate your 80th birthday with you on September 21 at the Poplar Creek Golf Club and Restaurant at Coyote Point in San Mateo. Many classmates have relocated to the northwest in recent years and we hope to have your interest and reservation via Jared Hein at email@example.com; 650.348.5794. Pack up your photos, yearbooks and memories. See you in September. Local contact: Judy Smith Dennison, 503.238.0932.
COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS – The community is painfully aware of the crisis of homelessness we are in the midst of. Have questions and thoughts about it as someone living in the Portland area? Human Solutions is hosting a Community Conversation to share what they know from thirty+ years in the field and to dialog about causes and solutions. The group provides emergency shelter for women and families, and runs other programs that focus on helping people find secure housing and living-wage jobs. The event is Wednesday, August 7 at Stark Street Station, 6049 SE Stark St. (Mt. Tabor area), 6:30-8 pm. For information contact Lisa Frack, Human Solutions: 503.548.0282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Human Solutions: humansolutions.org
TABOR HEIGHTS METHODIST CHURCH RUMMAGE SALE – August 16 , 4-8 pm and August 17, 9 am-5 pm, 6161 SE Stark St. This is a Fundraiser for Haiti and money raised will be sent to support the education of Haitian students.
PORTLAND ADULT SOAPBOX DERBY – August 17, 10 am – 4 pm. Originally the youth Soapbox Derby course on Mt. Tabor was built in 1956, and was used until 1965. In 1997 the first run of PDX Adult Soapbox Derby racers took place. Paul Zenk and his partner Eric Foren and six others drug their carts ups the volcano and started the new iteration of the race. Now nearly fifty brave racers and their cars convene on the daunting slopes of Mt. Tabor to test their mettle. Be a part of this fun free event. To volunteer contact: email@example.com. Applications at soapboxracer.com.
TABOR’S NEIGHBORHOOD PICNIC is August 18, 6-8pm, on the lawn of Western Seminary’s campus (55th & Hawthorne). It’s free with a bouncy house, live music by Sunfish and a BYO picnic. Enjoy an evening with your neighbors. All Tabor residents welcome! NOTE: This is an alcohol and smoke free event.
OREGON HUMANE SOCIETY PHOTO CONTEST NOW OPEN – Everyone loves to take cute photos of their pets. Now, your images can save shelter pets and help you win great prizes, including a two-night stay in Astoria. Beauty comes in all species, so there are three categories available to enter: Top Dog, Top Cat and Top Other Pet. A fourth category – OHS Choice – will be selected by OHS staff from among all photos submitted. Submit photos through August 15 to: bit.ly/ohsphoto. There is a $10 donation to enter and $5 donation for five votes. All entry and voting donations go directly to help the animals at OHS. The goal is to raise $20,000 to help create “picture-perfect” happy endings for shelter pets.
WATER FLUORIDATION UPDATE – Clean Water Oregon reports the Oregon legislature has taken no action toward mandatory water fluoridation. The 2019 session closed on June 30 without a bill to fluoridate. Another victory for our side.Dr. Bruce Austin, Oregon dental officer (‘the fluoridation czar’), set a goal of achieving 80% of the state being fluoridated by 2019. His progress? None. Thankfully, Oregon remains a leader in providing clean drinking water, having one of the lowest rates of mandated fluoridation in the country. You can help Clean Water Oregon monitor the legislature throughout the year. Maintain a relationship with your own senator and representative, and periodically find out if they know of any movement toward water fluoridation. If something is afoot, notify CWO immediately. They will take the appropriate action. Register and make a secure, tax-deductible donation to CWO at: bit.ly/2SPbYNO
BIKETOWN CELEBRATES THREE YEARS – Portland’s bike-share ridership grew twenty-eight percent in 2018, with an eighty-seven percent increase in annual members. Launched in July 2016, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and its partners created Biketown to increase access to bicycling and to reduce congestion and climate pollution and is meeting those objectives. See bit.ly/2Yvl7fY. For Adaptive Biketown see (adaptivebiketown.com). These are nationally recognized programs for increasing bicycle access and ridership among people living on low incomes and people with disabilities.
BURIED HXSTORIES FOR BIPOC YOUTH – Wednesday, August 21, 6 – 7:30 pm, People’s Food Coop, 3029 SE 21st Ave. A new monthly series starting at People’s this Summer. Every third Wednesday of the month, Buried Hxstories for BIPOC youth brings kid-friendly lessons on ancestral wisdom of Black or African, Indigenous or Native and Non-Black People of Color. This class is specifically for elementary aged BIPOC youth and aims to give ancestral knowledge they may not have received through traditional schooling. The class is facilitated by co-op worker Makayla, who has taught garden education spending time at several farms in Costa Rica, Hawaii, and here in Portland. For information call 503.674.2642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.