Seems like every time Dr. Tomasz Beer answers the phone, someone wants to talk about
It’s no mystery, really. Beer, assistant professor of medicine and oncologist at Oregon
Health & Science University’s Cancer Institute, is an expert in prostate cancer, having
devoted himself to researching ways to prevent it, ways to stop it.
It was his research earlier this year that resulted in a breakthrough discovery: A new
dosing routine using vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy was shown to slow the
disease in advanced cases.
Beer is currently studying whether acupuncture can ease hot flashes in cancer patients.
Beer, who was originally from Poland but came to the U.S. at age 13, says he chose the
specialty about seven years ago when he realized how little research had been devoted
to it, especially in comparison to breast cancer, which benefited from heavy advocacy.
He surmises that prostate cancer had been neglected because, “Men don’t like to talk
But the willingness of famous men—Bob Dole and Rudy Giuliani are two—to talk of
their struggle with prostate cancer “convinced men they ought to pay attention to their
own health,” Beer says.
The timing is right. The baby boomer population is aging, making it likely that the
incidence of prostate cancer will rise more rapidly.
Beer’s chosen specialty has made him a go-to guy in his field. He has published more
than 50 articles on the subject—an activity he wedges between lab time, teaching time
and seeing some 50 patients per week.
How does he handle the stress? Answer: He doesn’t try. “I thrive on it…I get restless
when there aren’t five or six things going on at the same time,” he says.
Not to say he doesn’t have time for a little light reading. His “for fun” preference is
And he makes time for his family. “I get home every night at 6:30 because I’ve got two
little girls to see.”
“I found it debilitating to be in Los Angeles,” says Katherine Martin about her more than
decade-long Hollywood screenwriting career. Even though Martin has seen two of her
scripts become movies, including one by Showtime, she wanted out. And that’s when she
launched her book series, “People Who Dare.”
These books were “my way to recapture who I am,” says Martin. In ’99 the first of the
series, “Women of Courage,” was published the Bay area’s New World Library
publishing house. “Women of Courage” has now sold 35,000 copies. “They are stories
about women told in the first person—from two paragraphs to twenty pages—in an
emotionally intimate way.”
Two years later, Martin followed on the success of “Women of Courage” with the sequel
“Women of Spirit.” Throughout the two volumes, a number of famous women have used
Martin’s pages to give intimate accounts of their life struggles, including Isabel Allende,
Judy Collins, Geraldine Ferraro, Judith Light, Patty Murray and Dana Reeve.
Stories of famous women draw readers to Martin’s work—“the headline stuff,” as she
says. Example: Ann Bancroft who, with Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen, in February of
’01 became the first women to ski and sail across the Antarctica. That’s the headline
stuff, but Martin is taken in perhaps more by what she sees as the “quieter and quieter
courage.” One of those struggles that Martin captured was in her first volume—the story
of the founder of Portland’s McCoy Academy, Becky Black.
This fall Martin will publish her third volume in the series, and this time she will do more
narrative and her subjects will be men as well as women. “I didn’t expect men to be the
same way as women,” says Martin about their emotional availability. “I went into it with
an attitude, but every single one of the men was so inspiring to me as well.” Martin’s
books are also performed on stage to sold-out audiences.
Mark “Red” Scott
Mark “Red” Scott was an uninspired student, preferring to spend his afternoons on a
skateboard and his nights building ramps on various business properties under the cover
of darkness—the kind of hobby that required a lookout. Certainly, it didn’t appear as if
Scott had much of a future.
But ten years later, Scott is the head of Dreamworks Skateparks, a Portland company
credited with building the “gnarliest park in America” in Lincoln City, a company that is being mobbed with orders from all over the world. This, Scott says, after years of living
thin: “no money, no credit” and “living in a trailer.”
This summer alone, the company will build eight parks, including several in Arkansas
and Louisiana and one in Bologna, Italy.
What will they be like? Scott says he doesn’t know. The finished parks—the glass-
smooth combinations of curved walls, ripples and pipes and cradles—never turn out the
way they are drawn on paper because so much changes as the building goes on and
inspiration takes hold. “You don’t know how it’s going to look until it’s done. Until
you’re skating it yourself—you can feel it rather than see it.”
Scott still had time this year to work on his own skating—he still performs
While Scott is known nationwide as a professional skater and now as a skatepark
developer, most folks don’t see him in his favorite role: as a dad. The gnarliest guy in the
industry, it turns out, just likes to “take my kids to the beach.”
And when he comes home, he comes to a house on the Oregon coast with seven acres
around it. No more trailer living.
“I thought I was going to be washed up at 30,” he muses. “Guess that didn’t pan out.”
Everybody knows that life’s not fair; the playing field isn’t always even. Nobody knows
it better than LaDandreca Preston. But thanks to a boost from her special “friends,” the
hard realities of life didn’t get in her way or diminish her goals for the future.
Everybody deserves at least one good break in life, and for LaDandreca that break was
her first friend, Jackie—from the Friends of the Children program in Portland.
Founded locally in 1993 by Duncan Campbell, Friends of the Children-Portland selected
Preston as a first participant that year. Now, a decade later, Preston is one of the
program’s first graduating seniors, and she’s hoping for college admission next fall at
Tuskegee University in Alabama to study veterinary medicine.
Ten years ago, that future would have been a bad bet.
Preston, the 5’10” power forward for Benson High’s basketball team, had a rough start in
life. “I was bad. When we went on the zoo trip, I had to have my cousin (an adult) go
with me because I was just bad,” Preston says in her ‘Friends’ bio. “I used to bite and
pinch and fight.”
Preston moved briefly to Atlanta, then returned to Portland and to the “Friends.”
“Growing up was kind of hard. I’ve been in foster care since freshman year,” says
Preston. “I lived with my grandma til eighth grade when she passed. Then I tried living
with my cousins, but that didn’t work. I figured it could be me…my attitude. So now I’m
in foster care and it’s good.”
Preston also says that getting her new friend, Dionne, made a big difference. “She let me
come back as an older student. She’s very supportive, very kind-hearted. She comes to
my basketball games, picks me up after practice, gets me something to eat.”
Preston says when she was young it was hard to understand the value of an adult mentor.
But she says, “You grow. And now that I’m 18, I look back and I see the other kids who
Thanks to her adult friends, today Preston’s concerns are more typical of a teenager with
a good shot at a bright future. She waits anxiously for word
on both college admission and financial aid. She worries about retaking her SATs to improve her scores. And she
worries about her final semester grades. “I’ve got senioritis,” she admits, “but I know I
can do better.”
Ten years of friendship later, that’s a very good bet.
Heterosexual…Ad Agency Owner…Republican…Artist.
Oxymorons everywhere. How does all that add up? It adds up in a unique way for Dan
McWilliams, owner for the last 32 years of McWilliams and Company, a Portland
When McWilliams isn’t advising high profile clients on ad placements, he’s
painting…painting 35-40 hours a week–in the mornings before work and on weekends.
His work has been shown at Gallery 33, at the Charlie White Gallery, and overseas in the
Netherlands. It’s not uncommon for a McWilliams painting to sell for five figures.
McWilliams studied painting during the early 1960s in the south of Spain at the
Universidad De Sevilla. After studying in Europe, he returned to America to serve in the
armed forces, attend law school, work as a newspaper reporter, and enter the advertising
world. But along the way he’s painted full time. “It’s like I live two lives,” says
McWilliams describes his own work as “asbstract impressionism and ultimately the
abstract colorist work of today.” If his paintings bear some resemblance to Jackson
Pollock’s work it might be due to a conversation McWilliams and Pollock had in Carmel
during the 1950s. “I asked him what do you do when you make a mistake. He said, ‘you exploit the mistake.’ As a kid I thought he was screwed up, but now I know he knew
what he was doing.”
McWilliams only takes comparisons between his work and others so far. “I like to think
that I have my own technique.”
What drives McWilliams to live two lives and to work 80-90 hours a week? “I’m driven
to do it. One of the times when I feel anxious, that something is missing, is when I
haven’t painted for a week or so.”
As for the painter’s politics? He keeps a lifesize cardboard portrait of General George
Patton by his desk–you might say it drives away the bureaucrats. “My political friends
say to me, how can you paint like this and vote like you do? But I remind them that
DaVinci, Michelangelo, Rueben, Goya and Picasso weren’t much in the way of liberals.”
In 1970, after more than two decades of marriage, and while still a relatively young
woman, Donna Woolley lost her husband Harold. His death, at the age of 58, shoved the
Douglas county native out front in the business world, running the substantial family
company. She also had another job, mother to Daniel, Debra and Donald Woolley. The
early death of her husband was something she shared in common with her friend,
Columbia Sportswear’s Gert Boyle.
The company that Woolley heads, Eagle’s View Management Co., has done, as she
might put it, “quite well in the last three decades.” And the success of her company has
given Woolley the time and leverage to become one of Oregon’s leading
philanthropists—just possibly the state’s leading female philanthropist.
She has served on the boards of four different Oregon universities and colleges (Linfield,
Univ. of Oregon, Marylhurst, and Umpqua Community College), and on the board of
Eugene’s Sacred Heart Hospital. Through business, she’s done extensive service on the
board of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) and the Oregon Forest Industry Council.
Remarkably, she and her late husband Harold are also members of The Oregon Sports
Hall of Fame (they were inducted the same year as Nike’s Phil Knight), having sponsored
the national champion 1958 semi-pro baseball team, the Drain Black Sox.
While softspoken, Woolley has a keen eye for people and a sharp instinct for business
that has made her a formidable contributor to Oregon. That’s one of the reasons Woolley
was selected to serve on the board and later chair the Oregon Community Foundation, an
organization of private foundations that donates millions each year to statewide charities
and to help Oregon cities and towns finance community projects.
Woolley remembers fondly her ten years with the Oregon Community Foundation and
her work with executive director, Greg Chaille. “It was a great opportunity to meet the people of Oregon--those who care about Oregon, and those who produce for Oregon. I
met a lot of great people, people I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet.
We touched a lot of lives.” The work included helping remodel theatres and libraries in
Astoria, Newport, Medford, LaGrande, and Klamath Falls.
Asked to name one of her favorite projects, Woolley answers, “The remodeling of the
Ginger Rogers Theatre in Medford.”
S. Renee Mitchell
Laying down the law is never easy. Especially in a city that spent the ‘90s like the Greek
god, Narcissus, falling in love with itself–that city being Portland. If you take the time to
notice, you can’t help but see the place falling apart. For the last five years, Oregonian
city columnist S. Renee Mitchell has noticed and has been busy shaking the city up and
out of its narrow self-absorption.
Of course, Mitchell wouldn’t put it that way. In describing her work she says: “My
objective is to remind readers that Democracy is still an ideal. It takes folks paying
attention for it to really work the way it was intended. People who think their civic duty is
over after the election are naïve. We keep pretending that our politicians operate by the
golden rule, when it’s really more what Charles Jordan likes to say: ‘Those who have the
gold make the rules.’”
That’s Mitchell in theory, but in practice it can have a more “new sheriff in town” tone:
This from a March 1 column about the Portland Public School district: “The district–
which has faced seven years of declining enrollment–thinks it can hide its flaws in a
pretty package…on these eight pages, multiculturalism is celebrated with pictures of
smiling beautiful children…the wording is encouraging and forward-looking… The
mailing tells you that the school district–as a whole–is meeting the state’s yearly progress
goals… But statistics can be interpreted with more spin than a Maytag washer. Because if
you look at the districtwide dropout number, including the community-based alternative
high schools, Portland’s rate is the highest of any Oregon school district’s.”
And Mitchell on Dianne Linn: “Voters owe Linn a reality check, topped with a healthy
sprinkling of actual, real true accountability. When it comes to her political future, there
should be no Get Out of The Wapato Jail Free Card.” And that’s before Dianne Linn
issued gay marriage licenses.
And yet this city reporter has another dimension to her. A softer one. She’s a published
I was in the middle
Of eight children And a miscarriage
Who all fell out of her belly
During nine years of pregnancy
Until the annual churning stopped
With a fat baby we called Ken-nuff
For our simple minds to enunciate
I was The Good One
The child who cheerfully swept the floors
Dried the dishes, washed the walls
And asked if I could help fold the clothes
Cause I like the way
The towels and cotton sheets
Felt fresh out of the dryer
But one day
When I got tired of meeting expectations
I was called into her bedroom
Where I sat in her oversized rocker
And sulked in defiant silence
You don’t need to act this way, she told me
The other kids need my attention more
Cause they don’t listen like you do
You’re my sweet kid. My genius child
The one who always makes me proud
My perfect baby who always woke up with a smile
The Good One
I didn’t have the heart to tell her
That it wasn’t fair
That I shouldn’t have to be bad
To steal her attention
And I vowed that day
That my children
— If I ever decided to have any—
Would never get the short end of the attention stick
Just ’cause I was too tired to appreciate
That I never had to use it on them for whippings
Years later, my 5-year-old son
Who slept through the night
At six months old
Who stopped peeing in the bed at age two
The one who cheerfully sweeps the floor
Dries the dishes. Washes the walls And folds the clothes
He asked me the other day
After I tucked him into bed
And kissed him goodnight
Mommy, he says
Why do you give everyone else
All the attention
My heart sank
Twenty five years ago
I had vowed in the rocking chair
To do things differently
This time, unlike the last
A child’s voice was heard
John Tuohey, PhD
They come for answers. What is right? What is wrong? The goal is that they leave with
information, balance, justice.
They come to Rev. John Tuohey, the Director of the Center for Health Care Ethics at
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. His job is to help resolve the array of medical
ethics dilemmas modern medicine continues to raise. The Center offers a faith-based
ethics education program for patients, families, health care providers, and ethics scholars
throughout the world. Oregon, in the eye of the storm of many such issues, was drawn
there most recently by the state’s lone foray into assisted suicide.
Dr. Tuohey, received his PhD from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and
worked in Oklahoma and Washington DC before joining the Ethics Center in 1998.
Touhey, who published Caring for Persons with AIDS and Cancer in 1988, says that
while end-of-life questions often arise, so too do ethical dilemmas about ongoing care.
A typical day for Tuohey might be one or two calls from physicians with ethics questions
or calls from family members referred by hospital staff or the Center’s website. And most
days include an education session with staff members to troubleshoot potential issues.
And there was this case. “The FBI called saying, ‘We know you can’t tell us, so we’ll tell
you. You have a patient—he’s in your care—he’s wanted for bank robbery, and we want
to arrest him.’” Tuohey says this type of confidentiality dilemma has become more
common with new privacy rules. “We asked the FBI, ‘Is he dangerous to other patients?
To society?’ …We’re not the police, but there are other issues.”
“When people think ethics,” says Tuohey, “they think right and wrong, that we’re the
people who will say, ‘Do this, or do that.’ We have our principles, but usually there are a
lot of issues to sort out. People can’t get everything they want. We sort out the different
interests and come out with the right balance.”
“It’s going to get harder,” says Tuohey, when asked about the future and rising health
care costs. “How do you decide who you will care for first? We have an ethics
discernment program—once you kind of triage the type of patients, you have to hold the
line. But then even after you set up, you have to act it out—that’s real hard to do. At least
you can step back and say we thought it through. It’s just. But it’s still hard.”
And the bank robber? “The FBI came in and arrested him the next day.”
“Don’t take ‘No’ from someone who can’t say ‘Yes,’” Portland-based management
consultant, Barbara Gaffney, tells her clients. “Find the person who’s the decision maker
and then go and get the ‘Yes.’”
Barbara Gaffney has spent three decades getting people to “Yes,” and because of it she’s
made a difference. During the 1970s, as Director of Human Resources, she was in on the
ground floor of Intel’s success, helping the Santa Clara, Calif. company achieve its first
billion in sales. A decade later, as one of the founding members of Sequent Computers
she helped her own company grow to more than a billion in sales, before eventually being
sold in ’99 to IBM. All of this achievement in a field not exactly top heavy in females.
While on the front lines of Oregon’s initial high-tech generation, Barbara also found time
to raise two children, Brian and Karen, and to get the American public to say “Yes” to the
possibilities of what people with handicaps can accomplish. She, along with her husband,
Jim Gaffney, and daughter Karen, created the Karen Gaffney Foundation.
Karen Gaffney, in case you don’t remember, is the young woman with Down syndrome
who, in the summer of ’02, swam the English Channel with her relay team. The
courageous event landed Karen on the Oregonian’s front page for five straight days that
July. Today Karen, a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and Portland Community College,
travels the country making personal appearances and giving speeches to help others with
handicaps say “Yes.” Amazing accomplishments? Well, she was, as her web site says,
“raised in a Portland family that nurtured her fight against a life of dependence.”
Barbara Gaffney is also a member of the board of St. Mary’s Home For Boys where she
concentrates part of her efforts on finding innovative ways to help troubled young men
enter the workforce. This year she’s also taken a board position with the Oregon
Historical Society, just in time for all the excitement of the Lewis & Clark bicentennial
All that energy and optimism. If you look up “Yes” in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if
one definition reads, “Barbara Gaffney.”
Move over Teresa Heinz Kerry. Portland, Oregon has its own international social
advocate from a famous American family, and her name is Alissa Keny-Guyer.
Like Teresa Heinz Kerry, Keny-Guyer is the mother of three. For the last two years,
Keny-Guyer has been director of Gun Denhart’s Hanna Andersson Children’s
Foundation, which donates more than $300,000 annually to programs that help at-risk
children. Her husband Neal Keny-Guyer is the CEO of Mercy Corps, the Portland-based
international aid agency that gives more than $130 million annually in humanitarian relief
to more than 30 nations.
Her father, David Leigh Guyer ran the New York-based Save The Children foundation
and her mother, Carol Penney Guyer, was a social advocate in India during the 1950s and
marched with Martin Luther King during the ’60s. Her sister, Cynthia Guyer, is executive
director of the Portland Schools Foundation. And, by the way, her grandfather was James
Cash Penney. You’d probably know him better as J.C. Penney.
Alissa Keny-Guyer began in international relief work in college, on leave from Stanford
to work for Oxfam in Indonesia. After college, Keny-Guyer moved to Hawaii and spent
her 20s as a public health consultant. But soon her father became ill and retired from
Save The Children and she chose to care for him. It was during this time that she and
Neal decided to marry. “When my father was ill he went to Atlanta for a Save The
Children conference, but he was too sick to get home. Neal brought him back out and I
thought it was so nice that he was so caring about someone I loved so much.”
In 1989, Neal and Alissa were married, both quit their jobs and moved to California,
where she worked over the next few years for Volunteers for Asia and Neal was “a stay
at home dad with our children.” In 1994, Neal Keney-Guyer became CEO of Mercy
Corps and the two moved to Portland. Says, Alissa, about their careers, “He went
international, and I went domestic. We try to balance each other out, the international
work with local community interests.”
Before Shareef Abdur-Rahim was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers from the Atlanta
Hawks in February of this year, in his seven NBA seasons he never averaged less than 18
points or seven rebounds a game, was never injured or suspended, and has no tattoos.
Abdur-Rahim also ranks in the NBA’s top 20 of active players in points, rebounds, free
throws, and double-doubles.
Yet when the former all-star arrived in Portland, he found his position occupied by third
year player Zach Randolph. For the first time in his career, Abdur-Rahim is playing
second string. It’s not ideal, but the eight-year veteran with the career 20-point average
wants to win, and so for now he’s graciously accepted fewer minutes and fewer shots.
We shouldn’t be surprised by the mature attitude—Abdur-Rahim is a serious family man,
and very religious person. He’s also a second generation American Muslim.
Abdur-Rahim’s father is an Iman in Atlanta’s Islamic community, and Abdur-Rahim and
his sisters were raised in the church. Was it difficult to be a Muslim American after 9/11?
“It wasn’t so hard for me,” says Abdur-Rahim, “but overall Muslims caught a lot of flak.”
Have things improved for the American Muslim community? “What came out of it was
that more people became educated about Islam. The President saying that 9/11 was not a
representation of Islam helped.”
Abdur-Rahim met his wife of four years, Delicia, during his freshmen and only year at
UC Berkeley in ’95. “I met her the first month on campus and we’ve been friends ever
since.” After Abdur-Rahim left college early for an NBA career (one course at a time, he
continues toward his degree), first with the Vancouver Grizzlies and later the Atlanta
Hawks, they continued to see each other in the Bay area during the NBA off-season,
where Abdur-Rahim would spend his summers with his mother. Today, Delicia is a
graduate of Santa Clara Law School and is expecting their second child. She has also
converted to Islam. “She learned about the religion from being around me,” he says. But
he adds, “I never pressed it on her, she did it on her own.”
It may be off-session time at the Oregon legislature, but you wouldn’t know it looking at
Representative Betsy Johnson’s schedule. The Democrat from Scappoose (District 31) is
racing all over Oregon, working on as many projects as she can stuff into her life.
And it has always been that way.
Johnson holds degrees in history and law. She’s a licensed commercial pilot. She founded
her own helicopter company in 1978, and spent hours piloting researchers in and out of
Mount St. Helens after it blew its top. She is a former director of the Federal Reserve
Bank of San Francisco. She was a founder of the Columbia Technology Center in
Washington state and served two terms as a Port of St. Helens Commissioner.
A sampling of her current committee assignments:
• Brand Oregon—marketing Oregon products overseas.
• Tax Reform—addressing Oregon’s tax structure.
• Land Use—updating the state’s land use plan.
• Superfund—cleaning up the Willamette River.
• Lewis and Clark bicentennial team—planning events and park development.
Every assignment—even the bicentennial celebration—is fraught with controversy. Not
that Johnson wilts at confrontation. After all, she’s been trained by her mother, who is
90 years old and still politically active. “Now I see her at Christmas and she’s hissing
at me across the table, talking about the Legislature and referring to me as ‘you people,’”
More of that is coming: Johnson’s mother has promised to attend one of the tax reform
hearings, armed with questions, Johnson says. “There’s nothing like being barbecued
alive by your own mother.”
While she has little spare time, Johnson occasionally works an odd hobby: making
miniature Christmas trees. “It’s sort of my weird closet thing. I string beads, tie the little
satin bows and wrap the little presents…God, now the whole world’s gonna know.”
“All true wealth begins with the natural resources of the land,” says Stacy Davies. “All
economies are built on the wise use of resources.”
He should know.
Stacy Davies has a lot of responsibility on his 36-year-old shoulders: there’s the 5,000
head of mother cattle, the calves, and the yearlings, 8,000 tons of hay to raise each year,
100 head of horses—a string of 10 for each buckeroo on the ranch, there’s the general
upkeep of the 500,000-acre Roaring Springs Ranch in Harney County. And there’s his six
sons, from five to 16 years old. Davies and his wife Elaine have managed all of this, and
more, for the last seven years.
“I’m on two school boards, the Oregon Rangeland Trust Board, the FFA Advisory
Council, the Harney County Planning Commission, and my wife is the 4-H leader and on
the school site council.” The Davies boys go to the local K-8 two-room school where all
14 students are boys—no girls live in the area. The older boys go to Crane’s public
boarding high school and come home on weekends.
And yes, there is more. Davies also manages another large adjacent ranch, but with the
help of a ranch foreman. Davies, a native of Utah, moved to Oregon in 1988. After
graduating from a ranch management program at Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho, he
worked his way up as a cowboy to the top job at Roaring Springs Ranch.
Davies describes Roaring Springs with pride. “Most of the ranch is on the valley floor.
Water comes off the mountain and after that there’s miles and miles of sagebrush. The
ranch house sits at 4,800 feet—the top of the mountain is at 10,000.
Davies says help isn’t hard to find when Harney County’s unemployment rate is 14-15
percent. But in better times, it’s tougher. “Ranch hands are paid $1,000 a month plus
room and board. We do a lot of riding. There’s a romance to it—a lot of people want to
come and try it, but most don’t stick with it.”
“Roaring Springs cattle are grass-fed until a brief period of grain finishing in Boardman.
The meat all goes through Oregon Country Beef, a growing co-op with over 50 ranches.
The cattle are raised in a totally natural environment—hormone-free, antibiotic-free.
Being environmentally responsible doesn’t cost us money,” says Davies. “It makes
financial sense in the long run to be economically, ecologically and socially sustainable.
That’s our mission.”
Three years ago, in an effort to protect the ranch, the land and the community, Davies
worked alongside traditional foes—well-known preservationist Andy Kerr and Bill
Marlett of the Oregon Natural Desert Association—to hammer out the Steens Mountain
Cooperative Management and Protection Area. “We all agreed we didn’t want to
artificially attract mobs of people,” says Davies, who hosted the sessions. “Ranchers
knew cooperation was better than being labeled a national monument. So we did what we
had to do.”
The agreement fended off monument classification by the Clinton Administration and Int.
Sec. Bruce Babbitt. High elevation quality grazing lands were traded for more arid public
lands. The plan created 175,000 acres of wilderness, 100,000 acres of which became
“We’d lay awake at night fretting that our home would be in the monument boundary.
In other places where monuments were declared, ranches were burned or converted to
staff housing. We worried that the director would be sleeping in our home. And as
we’ve watched the national monuments, they are as bad or worse than we thought they
“The agreement was bittersweet,” says Davies. “But the ranch is sustainable. We’re still
here; we’re going to be here.”
Davies’ cattle grazed the land for the last time last fall. “To gather those cattle off the
high country, to trail them home, and you knew it was the last time it would be done, you
just had a sad feeling inside, because it didn’t have to happen.”
Davies now serves on the 12-member Steens Advisory Council, but says the group has
been a disappointment, and he points with pride to continuing private accomplishments.
“There are a lot of things we do that make the land and watersheds better.” Davies says
the ranch has spent $1.6 million on fish habitat enhancement projects—the .5 million-
acre ranch controlled more acres of juniper (an invasive species) than the Burns BLM did
on their 5 million acres—the ranch increased nesting of the greater sandhill crane by 171 percent, compared to the nearby Steens Mountain Bird Refuge’s 50 percent rate—and the
ranch has a larger wildlife population than nearby Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge.
Would Davies trade all the work and responsibility for an easier job?
“To live this life I love with nature and animals, you sacrifice income. There are days
when you get greedy,” he says, “when you think, I’m as smart as that guy—I should be
making $200,000. But the only time I really know—well, when you deliver a live calf, or
when you sit up on a ridge and watch the sun go down and the antelope play on the valley
floor, then I know.”
BrainstormNW - Oct 2003