“LUMBER, BUT NO LUMBER JOBS, in Eugene Oregon”



 We were driving along the beltline Highway, and I had seen the third huge lumber transport go by us, with huge massive logs, just like in the old days. Except these were NOT the old days.

“I thought when I came back to Oregon,” I said to Carol, in the car, watching the huge bunch of lumber with wheels go lumbering by; “I would still see lots of lumber mills, and lots of lumber refining jobs here; those were all the working class, really good jobs here, doing all the lumber mill work, and all the assorted other lumber jobs.”

Indeed, as we sped along, a fourth transport full of logs, really big, and bearing down on us, so that we finally got squished over, onto the side of the road, trying to avoid it, sprayed with gravel.they sure were in a hurry to get those logs somewhere, but they were bound for our lumber mills, we didn’t have any, anymore here in Oregon. PUZZLING, isn’t it?.

Here the Valley of Eugene and Lane, County, was full of smoke from all the forest fires, from southern Oregon, giving us once again another summer nose hazard; all the burning forests in other counties, being swept into our County. Because of all the dry weather, the forest fires were worse than ever.”so I don’t understand;” I said to Carol who was driving, “there are more logs being logged in Oregon counties, and yet all the mills are gone, and none of the people in Oregon have lumber jobs anymore!”

“I’ll tell you,” said Carol, dryly “to find out WHERE the Oregon lumber industry work is going, I suggest you do this; FOLLOW THE MONEY.” I did puzzle on that for a few minutes.

“You mean, SOMEBODY upstairs is getting paid off, to let the huge lumber industry take all that lumber out of Oregon, and ship it directly to China, thus getting rid of all our jobs here? That’s why we don’t have any lumber mills anymore?”

“you got it,” replied Carol, “there are definitely PEOPLE UPSTAIRS, who are getting paid off by the huge lumber industry, to illegally get all our lumber put on huge ships, and carted off directly to China and other countries, and we don’t get a bite of any of the money anymore. Which is why all those counties are going bankrupt, and yet all their timber is going out of the country like crazy!”

Coming up in the rear, I could see yet another, hopefully the last, huge lumber truck, with a tiny red flag on the end, fast gaining on our cars rear, and Carol just sighed, having learned by now what to do, and just drove over onto the side of the road; the monster truck filled the hole where our car had been.

“They didn’t used to be that fast either, and force you over,onto the side of the road either,” growled Carol, looking in the mirror to see if there were any more troglodyte lumber trucks, groaning with massive uncut and untrimmed logs, barreling down the highway, like  titans among puny little humans.

“That in itself is illegal, forcing you over off the road,” I replied, thankful that we were getting a break from the torrential traffic. “But then, I guess a lot of things have changed in Oregon, since I’ve been gone earning a living somewhere else.”

“Oh yes,” replied Carol, breaking out a cigarette, “lots of things have changed in Oregon. Here we have all this logging, but we don’t have logging JOBS, or LUMBER MILLS anymore.” She looked at me quizzically. “You know, you’re right; somebody up there, or a GROUP OF SOMEBODIES is getting paid off, to let the lumber industry owners do anything they want. And we’re right, a lot of that is illegal!but being ILLEGAL doesn’t stop our state government from letting them do it.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY sounded like a good idea, but where did I start? “You just said something;” I said to Carol slowly; “if we follow the money, it will probably lead us right to the state government,won’t it? I mean, our state government is LETTING all that big fat lumber industry, get away with it!” Carol calmly breathed out a huge cloud of smoke, mingling it with the overhead forest fire smoke, that was turning the Valley air yellow.

She nodded her head. “Since when did you become a INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER? Why don’t you let the stupid newspapers do it? You’re not a detective. You’re just an old lady who doesn’t know anything about the situation!”

“of course you’re right, and even if I did find something, or any reporter found anything, they get sued for libel if they tried to publish it.Try publishing the names of political or state leaders, who are getting their little hands dirty, taking bribes from huge forest industry people.” I shook my head grimly.

“it kind of gets mashed to potatoes, the old axiom that “knowledge is power,” I sighed, “what can you do, if you know what’s going on, but you’re bound from legally publishing it?” “And besides that, it doesn’t do any good if you publish it,” said Carol, taking another swig off her cigarette; she was thinking of giving them up, because she couldn’t afford them anymore, if she wanted to smoke AND EAT.”Everyone in the state, KNOWS what’s going on; they just can’t do anything about it.”

It had to be one or the other. She had told me, she was seriously considering giving up EATING, because it was actually cheaper to smoke.I had just bought $80 worth of groceries, most of it was fruit, no eggs, a little milk, and absolutely NO MEAT. “I think maybe, instead of paying five cents per large paper bag to the store, I’m going to use the plastic GARBAGE BAGS I get; no use paying the lumber Titans anymore money, they’ve already got all of it.” Carol nodded.

One thing, as I put my groceries in the fridge( there was plenty of room,I also would have been able to afford to smoke, rather than EAT! I guess I would have to take up smoking now) apparently SOME PEOPLE had gotten ahead in Oregon, while I was gone, and the MAJORITY of Oregonians had gotten way BEHIND. At least this state was following the the Washington DC trend.the majority of Americans in the United States, had gotten BEHIND, and the minority up at the top had gotten EVERYTHING.

it was so strange that Oregon was politically “progressive, liberal, and Democrat,” and yet Oregonians were POORER for it. It was supposed to be the other way around; when you had liberal Democrats taking over your state, the majority of people were supposed to be BETTER OFF.

Maybe they meant “the majority of the LEADERS of the Democratic, liberal, political groups!” That would explain all the rich liberal hippies, whereas, if you scratched a  Republican in Oregon, the person was more likely to be either poor, middle class, or working-class.(or, if they were way up at the top, and a Republican, they made sure to hide how much they had.) Very odd.my mother herself, had been a Republican, and our family had always been poor; and when my mom had to live off Social Security, and was still a Republican, she was still poor.

I knew that our relatives in Washington state, on my mothers side, were mostly Republican and right-wing, and the older people had all worked in the lumber industry, and had been working class. So somehow, all those political “right wing as rich” and “left wing as working-class” didn’t quite jibe.maybe they were comparing Republican and Democrat populations in SOUTH AMERICA? Because it wasn’t in this country, and it wasn’t in Oregon.

But, it just didn’t matter what political group was the best off, until you went to the supermarket; there, if you went to Albertsons or Fred Meyers, and saw very progressive and Democrat households with carts,or, chances were they had a lot of “organic meat and produce” and when they went to the checkout counter,the back of their T-shirt would say “Obama all the way!” , and their purse would say Chanel, and their sandals would say “made in Italy in the mountains”. (Yes, that was the brand itself. Hopefully it wasn’t actually  “made in China, in a secret factory, and sold for a ton of money”)and their car said “yes, I am a Prius. Ha ha – and you’re not!”

– – Except that Carolyn and I could never afford to go to Albertsons supermarket, or Fred Meyers, we only went to “the $.99 store”, “discount bargain market,” and that huge monster, cheapest, “Win –Co”. Even that last one, although it was frequented by all people, poor people, and people who worked for nine dollars an hour or less; that is, people who were not civil servants.– –

– –even that monster, cheapest of all supermarkets, like the inside of a troop carrier, no, make that four troop carriers! – More like the inside of monster warehouses– – was not very economical anymore. That was because ALL FOOD was not economical in the United States anymore.and that accounted for the “rich liberal hippies” who were nice and Slim, but when they went to the supermarket checkout, instead of paying $80, they put down a check for, oh, I would say anywhere from 500 or 600, to $1000 for a whole bunch of food.

YES, we are talking about the FOOD in Oregon. Even in Eugene Oregon.”Oregon, who used to be the CHEAP state to live in.” WOW!

That was why I had returned to my previous incarnation, as a VEGETARIAN – – no, make that  “semi vegetarian,” because it wasn’t VOLUNTARY. Real vegetarians, or “vegans”, are pretty much voluntary, and now, unless you grow a good garden really well, would have to be rich liberal hippies with the Prius, and not old Oregonians on Social Security, or working for nine dollars an hour, who were still Republicans!(??)

This was becoming very very confusing;because in the newspaper or in any news, they always made it look like the Republicans only represented the RICh, and none of them were ever poor or middle-class.

Are the Democrats supposed to be middle-class and working-class and poor? Not if you look at the groceries they’re buying in Oregon! and not if you look at them wading into the shrimp at trader Vic’s, and other little expensive delicacies they just HAD to HAVE!”oh, I forgot to get a $90 bottle of wine for tonight,” I overheard.),

And aren’t Republicans supposed to be, RICH, RICH, RICH?not if you look at the plaid jacket, that had the “NRA” button on it, who was buying lentils and dried beans, and only had one package of low-cost hamburger in his cart.

I also knew something else about the Republicans, who had to work for a living, and were not terribly rich; a lot of them have had to MOVE to places like TEXAS, or even further away, because there aren’t any jobs HERE anymore and definitely not in lumber.I felt sorry for my mom’s family, who were mostly Republican in Washington state, and had to pay all those high taxes.,

One of her brothers had been a truck driver, you know, those huge trucks that have to go hundreds and hundreds of miles. Gee, I guess that’s really a RICH job!that must be why he had always been a REPUBLICAN. He made so darn much money driving a truck!just like her other brother, who was now unemployed permanently, because he had worked in logging. Oh yes, that WEALTHY, capitalist, Republican,job,also!

It just seems like, all these guys who are voting down new taxes, and going unemployed, just seemed to be those really “unusual” Republicans, and somehow they didn’t catch on to the fact, that they were supposed to be REALLY RICH! Even the middle-class one, who I think was an accountant; I guess I should tell him, sometime, that since he’s a Republican, he’s supposed to be a super WEALTHY accountant.

I turned on the TV; of course there was nothing on, because I get cable. So I put on a  tape a friend had given me, and, as I started to watch the movie, I thought to myself “maybe those old political titles, that used to make Democrats and liberals for the people, and that made Republicans for the rich, don’t really mean anything anymore! Maybe just “rich people are RICH, and all the rest of us are POOR, and it doesn’t have much to do with political affiliation anymore.”

And, since the rich don’t have any friends except, OTHER rich people,a lot of middle-class liberals and Democrats were fooling themselves; and a lot of poor and middle class Republicans were fooling themselves also.

Probably, a lot of those wealthy lumber industry owners, even if they were Republicans, still spent money as if they were “rich liberal hippies”, and went to the same expensive stores they did; I guess very wealthy Republicans, can choose to eat organic food also! They got the MONEY. And the Democrats who are very wealthy and liberal, can also choose to get organic food. They’ve also got the money!

So, it doesn’t really come down to political denominations, or names for parties anymore; which accounts for the fact that Oregon could be very Democrat and liberal, and those particular people could have plenty of money; while the state of Oregon itself, and everybody who WORKS here, could actually be really POOR.

Being wealthy has no political denomination at all! And being working-class or POOR, or middle-class, just means you have that particular amount of MONEY. MONEY was the main issue, not the political party.And even liberal Democrats in state offices, who were leaders of Oregon, could sell out their state, and their people, just as much as any wealthy Republicans could.

They could even be ganging up together, wealthy Democrats, and wealthy Republicans,doing all their bribing, and back office dealing and Wheeling, and selling us out, and it wouldn’t matter what political denomination they were. It would just mean they were CROOKS; That’s all it would mean.

(sincerely, in the smoke-filled Valley of Eugene, another smokey, hokey, little episode, in the hokeist city in Oregon. Signing off, Sandraminadotty.– cough cough cough cough!) ;(     


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