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By Finn J.D. John

Portland's Stark Street ferryOn the afternoon of Nov. 8, 1858, 48-year-old Danford Balch stood on the deck of the Stark Street Ferry, holding a double-barreled shotgun. Both barrels were still smoking. At his feet in a widening crimson puddle lay the body of his son-in-law, Mortimer Stump.
It was the crime that would lead, early the following year, to the first public execution in Portland’s history. And it happened so long ago — it’s so shrouded in the mists of time and of rough-and-ready frontier recordkeeping — that it’s hard to know exactly what happened, or why.

By Denise Ruttan

Hood River Japenese gardenTucked away in a corner of a public garden in Hood River, the Japanese Heritage Garden offers an unexpected place of quiet reflection.
The site, maintained by Master Gardeners who were trained by the Oregon State University Extension Service, incorporates the scenic vistas of hills and orchards, which were worked by the first generation of Japanese immigrants to the Hood River Valley in the early 1900s.
An old Norway spruce tree surrounded by raked gravel forms a centerpiece. A six-foot Nishinoya-style lantern sits at the entrance. Benches and stone-paved pathways guide visitors.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.