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"Bunco" KelleyBy Finn J.D. John
In the shadowy world of late-1800s Portland waterfront folklore, there’s nobody who quite cuts the figure of a man named Joseph Kelley — better known by the nickname he carefully cultivated: Bunco Kelley.
Kelley was a crimp — that is, one of those tough waterfront characters involved in the trade of furnishing sailors, willing or not, to ship captains in need of a crew.
Kelley was also an easy and chronic liar with a real flair for a dramatic story — which means it’s often difficult to tell his fact from fiction.
In today’s article, we’ll explore the facts of Bunco Kelley’s life as best we are able to know them. Next week, we’ll turn to the spectacular legends that grew up around this unusually colorful bad guy.

Sub chaserBy Finn J.D. John

Rumors of sunken submarines: The government denies it, but ...
Somewhere on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, rusting away among the rocks by the Oregon Coast, lie the remains of at least five sunken submarines — that is, if you believe the stories.
And who believes the stories? Certainly not the U.S. Government, which places the actual number of Japanese submarine wrecks in Oregon waters at a much more boring number: zero. According to official records of both the U.S. and Japan, not a single Imperial Japanese sub was lost on or near the West Coast of the U.S.

Willamette NF Fires, Monday July 14 Evening Update; including trail and area closures

 Firefighters continue to respond to reports of over 65 lightning-sparked fires from storms that crossed over the Cascades Sunday. Most of the fires are small, ranging from a single burning tree to less than ¼ acre in size. Six new fires were found this afternoon.

Indian VillageBy Finn J.D. John
Since well before the time of Plato’s story of Atlantis, storytellers all over the world have had a special fondness for legends of cities and civilizations that, at the peak of their prowess, were suddenly lost beneath the waves of the sea, leaving only a misty legend and maybe — if a diver knows just where to look — maybe some ghostly underwater ruins.
Well, Oregon certainly can’t claim to be hiding the lost continent of Lemuria or the lost city of Atlantis beneath the placid surface of Fall Creek Reservoir or something like that.

Pat Cane awardLEABURG: Words like “Fun, challenging and sometimes a lot of work,” come to mind when Pat Cane recalls her time with  McKenzie River Fire & Rescue.

Chinese druggistBy Finn J.D. John
In the decade or two following the 1849 gold rush, a sort of “bracero” program got started in the western U.S. Chinese laborers — called “coolies” after the Chinese term “ku li,” meaning “muscle strength” — poured across the ocean to the land they called “Gold Mountain,” eager to do the dirty, menial and degrading jobs that were left to be done when all the Euro-Americans were off looking for gold or staking a homestead claim.

 

South Canyon Fire, July 1994

Doug Dunbar
Do you remember a bright-eyed young man who played basketball and the saxophone for McKenzie High School, loved to ski, and cherished friends and family? The employees at McKenzie River Ranger District do. And every year they raise funds for the scholarship named in his honor – the Doug Dunbar Scholarship.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado and the day 22-year-old Doug was lost. On July 6, 1994, a dry cold front moved into the fire area, generating erratic winds and intense fire activity. The winds pushed the fire toward firefighters, overtaking them in seconds. While 35 fire fighters were able to escape and survive, 14 did not. Firefighters lost included members of the Prineville Inter-agency Hotshots, the Missoula Smoke Jumpers and a Helitack fire crew. Doug was working at the time for the Prineville crew, helping finance his schooling. He had started his firefighting career near his hometown, on the then Blue River Ranger District.
Following the tragedy, the McKenzie River Ranger District employees chose to honor his memory by establishing a scholarship at the McKenzie River High School. Doug had been active at his school; he was an honor student, all-star baseball player, and  award-winning  saxophonist. Every year since 1995, this scholarship has helped another active local high school student attend college.

Vortex stageBy Finn J.D. John
As the last weekend of August 1970 approached, many Oregonians were sort of holding their breath.
The American Legion was coming to town for its annual convention. The theme was “Victory in Vietnam.” President Richard Nixon would be there. And so would a group of particularly belligerent anti-war activists who had pointedly declined to renounce violence as a tool of protest.
Everyone seemed to be spoiling for a fight: the Legion, the activists, the Portland city police and even President Nixon.

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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.