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Valley Voice Contributor




Have you all recovered from the harvest season? All done with canning and freezing the bounty of our gardens? I think that I have recovered. However there is still much that I could be doing to make it all a little bit easier next season. Stop by and check out a book about how to extend the harvest season or one about putting your garden to bed for winter. I sometimes have a hard time making up my mind which I want to do!

Now that you have all that abundance taken care of, stop by and check out some new cookbooks for recipes on how to prepare it all for your table. It is getting to the time of year when soups and stews, or maybe casseroles and one dish meals would be your choice for the day. We have so many types of cookbooks that we must have just the one you are looking for!

Watch our Facebook page for the announcement of when the next “Kit” will be ready. The November kit is from the U of O Museum of Natural and Cultural History and will be called “Engineer It!” These kits are so very fun and usually include a link to a video plus all of the pieces required to do an experiment or make a craft. You can request a kit from the Corvallis Library for Delivery or drop by Alsea Library and pick one up from us. We also have a few of the past kits available for those that did not get one at the time.


And a reminder: Our library hours have changed!

Monday & Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CLOSED for lunch 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CLOSED for lunch 12:30 to 1 p.m.

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Valley Voice Contributor


I recently ran into a friend of mine who volunteers at the Philomath Community Services (PCS) and she asked if I would please share what they have to offer to anyone who has a need. While I know we have similar programs in our Alsea area, this is another option for people should you or someone you know have a need.


I was surprised by the number of programs they have in place. They are part of the Oregon Food Bank and the Linn-Benton Food Share network, so they are a great resource. They have a Food Bank and June’s Kids’ Kloset, both of which are well-stocked and they would love for people to come and take advantage of what they have to offer.


They have a lot of fresh foods, as well, some of which they have had to dispose of due to not enough people coming in.


June’s Kid’s Kloset has lots of really great quality clothes and more for children. They are getting lots of donations, but again, need people to come in and get clothes. Since the beginning of school is here, this is a great time to come get free clothes for your children.


Other services that PCS offers are the Philomath Gleaners, Lupe’s Community Garden where volunteers can grow their own produce and donate extras to the Food Bank. For the holidays, they have a Holiday Cheer program where “adopted” families receive a holiday dinner and a hygiene basket. There is also a Resource Navigator from the Benton County Health Department who can assist people with Oregon Health Plan applications as well as connections to various programs throughout Benton County (for this program, please call 541-714-0689 for more information).


PCS is open Tuesdays – 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm and on Thursdays from 9 am to 12 noon. Their address is 360 S 9th Street, Philomath OR 97370. Phone is 541-29-2499. Please do them a favor and go visit them!


Starker Forests: Growing Forests, Not Just Trees


Starker Forests is a fifth-generation forest management business headquartered between Corvallis and Philomath. Founder T.J. Starker began his forestry career when he graduated from the Department of Forestry at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) in 1910. His first purchase of timberland was in 1936, when he bought two tracts south of Blodgett. His first purchases in the Alsea Valley were from Benton County, Mr. Baird, and the Lattourette Estate in the summer of 1943. The core holdings of Starker Forests are in Benton and Lincoln counties, but some parcels are located in Polk, Linn and Lane counties.


The timber on most of the land Starker has acquired was typically harvested by previous owners with very little merchantable timber remaining at the time they were purchased. With careful management and a commitment to sustainability, Starker has been able to grow forests that not only are beautiful, they are valuable. The company’s general forest management plan calls for active management throughout the life of the forest. Forests are planted with seedling shortly after harvest after site preparation is completed. The site “prep” consists of burning the slash to reduce the future risk of wildfire and improve planting spaces, and vegetation management. Forests are thinned and salvaged as necessary to maintain a healthy forest so at final harvest time, trees are mostly defect-free and can be sold as premium products. When ice storms knock out power and take down power lines, Starker trees that have been manufactured into utility poles can come to the rescue as lines are repaired.


Most of the Starker trees are sold as sawlogs to western Oregon markets. Logs are sold to over 25 manufacturing facilities. In the 1970s, there was a depression in the forest industry and the local markets were not able to pay enough for logs to cover the logging and hauling costs. Starker was fortunate to be able to sell some logs to the export market and has continued to offer timber sales to the highest bidder ever since. This situation repeated itself in the 2008-2011 economic recession. The export volume is a small percentage of the over-all timber sales program, but Starker still views it as important to operations when the time is right. It allowed the business to continue timber sale contracts with all its contracted loggers so that everyone could keep working and there were no employee layoffs, despite the troublesome economic conditions.


Starker Forests always tries to be a good neighbor, but due to the nature of the business, logging creates noise (sometimes very early in the morning), dust, changes in views, and temporarily increases traffic on public and private roads. It is Starker’s intent to communicate with neighbors prior to any operations that may influence their ownership. On many occasions, the business has entered into cooperative agreements with its forestland neighbors that have been beneficial to both Starker’s and the neighbors.


At one time, T.J. Starker worked for Rex Clemens, who owned property that eventually was purchased by Willamette Industries and Weyerhaeuser. Rex wanted to develop a truck road from the vicinity of Klickitat Lake out to Highway 34 (a distance of about 13 miles) so he could get his logs to his sawmill and veneer plant in Philomath without going through Harlan. T.J. actually flagged out the route and a construction crew, including Carl Bennett, Alva Hinton, Cedric Williamson and others, built the road. During part of the construction, the crew stayed at Mrs. Grant’s hotel at Klickitat Lake. She provided room and board. Apparently, Mrs. Grant had some goats and T.J. said he counted the goats every morning to make sure Mrs. Grant wasn’t feeding them goat meat. T.J. remained friends with the Klickitat Road crew throughout his life.


Starker Forests is a member of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Membership in ATFS validates and recognizes that Starker is committed to doing the best for the land by following sustainable forest management practices. Starker’s privately owned forests offer clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and produce jobs, wood and paper products that are needed.


In the summer of 2020, Starker replaced a bridge and several culverts for fish passage in the Bummer and Swamp Creek watersheds, subbasins to the Alsea River. The project additionally included log placement in the streams to increase stream complexity and habitat for native species of salmon and cutthroat trout. These types of restoration projects have been ongoing since the early 1990s.


Most of Starker Forests’ property has gated access, usually painted a distinctive red, white, and blue. The purpose of the gates is to protect the property behind the gate from vandalism and theft. Signage at the gate offers information about gate name and tree farm. This can be important in the event of an emergency.


Many Starker properties are available to the public for a variety of uses; however, permits are required so use can be managed. The permits are a way for our employees to interact with the public, direct visitors away from hazards and limit certain uses to avoid conflicts. Most of the permits, including hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and photography, are free. Other permits, firewood and Christmas tree removal, require a nominal fee. In 2020, more than 3,000 permits were issued. Due to COVID, Starker Forests’ office is currently closed to the public. However, permits can be issues via email by calling the office at (541) 929-2477. You are welcome to come and enjoy our forests. Give us a call.