Special Memories


Barbara Ferris Trask was born in Glen Lake Minnesota in 1954. She grew up and graduated from high school in SanDiego, California. In 1977 she moved to Corvallis to attend OSU. She completed a BS degree in Biology there and met her husband Steve Trask in a Zoology Lab.


They were married in 1979 in Augusta Maine where Steve’s relatives were from. They settled down in Alsea to raise their family in 1980.


Barb was the definition of a wonderful mother and never wanted to be anything other than that. She had all of her three children, Grahm, Ruby and Walker, at home with a series of midwifes over the years.


She also home schooled all of her children until about 10th grade and loved the challenge of revealing life’s wonders and mysteries to them in her own way. As the children got older, she began taking on some additional tasks for business and community. She worked to build a nationwide car hauling company (Central Dispatch, Inc.) from scratch in her home as the internet began to open up the field of data mining. She was able to progressively hire more and more folks with several from Alsea that shared that experience with her. She left the company after ten years and began working with her husband to build their biological consulting firm (Bio-Surveys, LLC.).


Barb had a lot of horse power and wanted to continually be giving back to friends, family and community. She joined ACE and spent her time there as the treasurer working on community projects that benefitted us all. She was also a very spiritual person with a desire to help people who are hurting.


She worked as a marriage counselor through her church and later went on to train in the field of spiritual healing. This work she described as meeting her deepest heart felt desires and she was in her element when she was working with this healing modality.


She loved to travel, seek new adventure and experience different cultures. Some of her most precious memories were traveling in Africa with her youngest son Walker where they met up with her daughter Ruby and her husband who were living in Swaziland.


She also loved the trip by boat up the Rio Negro (largest tributary of the Amazon) delivering medical supplies and care to many small indigenous villages.


In the last ten years of her life, she got way into road biking and would train all spring by riding the 18 miles up to Alsea Falls and back every other day. She would pore over maps and routes in the evenings for pleasure and piece together a bike adventure with accommodations somewhere for each night. She preferred solo trips for the solitude and the freedom to stop and go at her leisure. She bought a folding bike that fit in a suit case and headed to New Zealand to tour all over the North Island by herself.


She rode from Alsea to the Steens Mountains and back (by herself). She bike-toured in Chile, rode the entire Oregon/California coast road and many more of Oregon’s gorgeous back country routes. She was fearless and trusted that there was good to be found in everyone she met on her adventures (she was never disappointed).


The focus of her life however was always her family. She was the undisputed and much-loved matriarch of all things Trask. We all miss her in so many unique and diverse ways but there is no mistaking the hole that she has left as the foundation of our family. She guided very quietly behind the scenes with love and compassion. Always the confidant, the gentle nudging, overflowing support, brilliant analysis and positive attitude.


Life was good to Barbara; we were rewarded with many great blessings too numerous to list. Our favorite thing has always been quietly holding hands on our river deck in the warm summer evenings, sipping a glass of wine and simply reflecting on what a wonderful life we were given.


We always wanted to err on the side of gratitude for all of the bounty and I will always be so grateful for the wonderful 44 years we lived, laughed and loved together.


Steve Trask



Barb wore orange. She had a beautiful, unique mouth that showed her teeth when she smiled ( a mouth her daughter Ruby inherited), with strong, sinewey arms that produced big piles of food; whole wheat pizzas, yogurt with fresh fruit and maple syrup, yucky beans and cheesy polenta.


When my parents had to move to Seattle for my dad’s cancer

treatment Barb moved in and mothered my brother Henry and I without batting an eye.


She wore gold hoops that pressed flat against her ear with the backs curled up behind her lobes. She would exclaim “stop!” during stories where something sort of wicked but definitely funny was happening.


It’s a hard thing, when someone you love and look up to dies. It’s

like knocking a star out of the sky that you depended on to find your way.


The night Barb died I went on a walk with a friend. We rounded a corner and suddenly came face to face with the full moon rising. It was deeply orange (like Barb’s clothes?) and softly luminous; a perfect circle rimmed in gold. My friend grabbed my hand and we both just stood there while I cried.


“It’s her,” she said “that’s Barb.” And it was. And it is.


Hannah Westly





Valley Voice Contributor


First and foremost, we would like to sincerely applaud our Alsea Firefighters. You are all amazing and we so appreciate you and your dedication to keeping us all protected.


On July 4th, two young men from Lebanon and Corvallis set off fireworks from their vehicle as they were driving west on Hwy 34 around milepost 31. The fireworks created a fire that burned on both sides of the highway. Thanks to the speedy reaction of our amazing AFD, the fire was contained to only about .64 acres and put out with only damage to local brush.


This is the report from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office regarding this incident.


Lincoln County Sheriff's Office - Oregon

July 5 at 2:46 PM


We made it through yet another jam-packed holiday weekend with little incident. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was prepared with all hands-on deck to deal with the increased call load the 4th of July weekend brought. Additional deputies were deployed to vehicle and foot patrols in Lincoln City and Waldport to cover the anticipated need for a higher police presence. We responded to 102 calls on July 2nd, 127 calls on July 3rd, and 102 calls on July 4th. Of those, 11 arrests were made.


Our Animal Services Deputies worked additional hours to ensure the seemingly non-stop back-to-back missing or found and frightened animal calls were handled promptly.


While Lincoln County experienced zero fireworks related emergencies, our deputies assisted Benton County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and several area fire departments with a large brush fire that was started at approximately 5:30 PM along Highway 34 near milepost 31 on July 4th. Deputy Cates arrived on scene to assist with traffic control and evacuations and learned that 2 males associated with a light blue sedan were seen launching a mortar-style firework in the area just before the fire started.


Later that afternoon, our office received a call from a Tidewater resident who reported a similar vehicle driving West on Highway 34 throwing lit fireworks from the vehicle at passing motorists. Remember the part about us being “all hands-on deck”? Well, we had no less than four deputies in between Tidewater and Waldport at the time. Deputy Akin quickly located the involved vehicle driving approximately 90 MPH along Highway 34 and located fireworks in plain view during the traffic stop.


Deputy Cates just so happens to specialize in fire and arson investigations and interviewed both parties (20-year-old Tristian Forrest of Lebanon and 21-year-old Tyler Weeks of Corvallis) who ultimately confessed to recklessly shooting off aerial fireworks near milepost 31, causing the fire. Benton County Sheriff’s Office responded to Waldport to take custody of both suspects who were subsequently lodged at the Benton County Jail.


Pictured is Waldport's patrol crew on July 3rd & Deputy Cates on July 4th.


Benton County Sheriff’s deputies took the suspects into custody in Waldport and then to the Benton County Jail where they were booked and released.


Tyler R. Weeks, 21, of Corvallis, and Tristan P. Forrest, 20, of Lebanon, are charged with second-degree arson, arson involving fireworks, reckless burning, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.


Again, thanks to all First Responders for such quick response to this incident.

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Tips From Our Fire Department




Valley Voice Contributor


I recently had the pleasure to talk to our Alsea Fire Department’s Assistant Fire Chief, Ryan Jacobson. I asked him what he and the department would like us, as a community, to know to help support them, as well as ourselves, particularly during this hot, dry fire season.


One of the things he wanted us all to be aware of is that when a call goes out, whether medical or fire, please stay away from the scene. Our roads are narrow and easily congested, especially around fires and we all want to keep our firefighters and volunteers safe. They also need to be sure there is an escape route that isn’t blocked by onlookers, should they need it. So, short version, please stay away in spite of that desperate desire to go see what is happening. I know, we are all curious and want to help.


I asked Ryan if there was anything he could suggest for all of us to be proactive in fire-scaping our properties and protect our homes and buildings. He suggested going to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s page on Fire Prevention at www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/fireprevention.aspx. There you can find all sorts of great information to help keep your property safer. Another link he shared was a fire level map at www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/pages/restrictions.aspx.


Ryan had another suggestion regarding the importance of creating a good evacuation plan in the event of forest fire, earthquake or serious weather events. We all know that we have a limited source of evacuation routes out of our valley, should the need arise, but knowing your way around our various road systems is important, especially for those who are new to our area. Those of us who were here in 2012 when there was a large slide near the mountain pass and another slide west on Hwy 34 leading to Waldport remember that basically the only way in or out of here was over South Fork.


That route, however, was compounded by flooding which made it treacherous, as well. It’s also important to have a meeting place agreed upon with family members as well as someone outside the area to call to check in. We never know when a devastating event could happen, but having these plans in place bring a real peace of mind.


We talked about how the AFD gets information out to residents in the event of emergency. They utilize a variety of notices. If urgent, they will send people door to door to let people know of the emergency.


Sometimes they will call, if there is time. They work with dispatch, use public announcements and social media. He recommends that people sign up for emergency alerts through FlashAlert and Linn Benton Alert, making sure ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) and other emergency agencies are checked so that information is quickly shared.


These apps are extremely helpful and I have used them for years. Trip Check is also a great reference. Of course, we know how important our two Facebook pages – Alsea Neighbors and Friends, as well as Alsea: HWY 34 Road Conditions and Lobster Valley are for information to our community.


Finally, if anyone was interested in volunteering for the Alsea Fire Department, they have a meeting every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Fire Hall. You just need to be 18 years of age or older. They would love to have more volunteers. They train for medical, fire, making calls, helping with traffic control and more. Just come on by their meeting to find out more.