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Welcome to the third installment of this Blue Beret series about all things Oregon. Get ready to tow to Salem, the site of the Wally Byam Airstream Club International Rally, coming this summer! Major League, Minor League Oregon has a couple of pro sports teams, including the Portland Timbers soccer club who compete from March to October in the MLS as a member club of the league’s Western Conference. Fans of the Timbers are positively rabid, and you’ll be almost a local if you know the meaning of “#rctid”. (“Rose City ‘till I Die” is a song sung by the Timbers Army.) Most team mascots hide under a costume, but the Timbers lumberjack is a real man. After each goal scored by the Timbers, “Timber Jim” chainsaws a slice off the victory log on the field; sawdust flies as the crowd roars. The resulting log slab is paraded through the stands and is presented to the goal scorer during a post-game ceremony. Timber Jim actually retired ten years ago but was rapidly replaced by another lumberman - Timber Joey - who carries on the tradition.

Of course you know the “Rip City” Trail Blazers, the state’s only NBA team (nicknamed the “Jail Blazers” during the 2000’s thanks to the unsavory antics of some of the players. Don’t ask.)

Major league baseball is rumored to be on the way to Oregon - a first-ever for the state - and quality Short Season A baseball is enjoyed in the meantime. The Salem Kaiser Volcanoes will be hosting home games during the Rally (on June 17-19, and 26-28) and the Eugene Emeralds will be playing at home (about an hour from Salem) on June15-19, 23-25, and 29-30.

State Stuff Oregon is “The Beaver State”, named for Castor canadensis, the American Beaver, Oregon’s state animal since 1969. The state bird - the Western Meadowlark - was chosen by school children in 1927.

The state flower, the Oregon Grape, is really more of a state bush. The mighty Douglas Fir, the source of most of Oregon's lumber, was declared the state tree in 1939.

The Chinook salmon, the largest of the Pacific salmons, is the Oregon state fish. Salmon run throughout the year in Oregon. Fishermen, take note: Salem is in the Willamette Fishing Zone, so plan ahead to decide what gear to pack. Terrific fishing areas less than 90 minutes from the Rally site include Detroit Lake (the most heavily stocked rainbow trout lake in Oregon that also offers kokanee, the landlocked lake salmon); Green Peter Reservoir (one of the most productive kokanee fisheries in Oregon where anglers can keep 25 per day); and the Santiam River (for the summer steelhead that peak in June and July).

The state nut is Tonya Harding. Just kidding! It’s the hazelnut. (99% of the nation’s hazelnuts come from Oregon.)

The Graveyard of the Pacific Since 1792, approximately 2,000 ships have sunk near the Oregon Coast, which earned the nickname the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” The entrance to the Columbia River was narrow and the sea stormy; evidence of how treacherous it was can be experienced by visiting the shipwrecked remains of the Peter Iredale - once a four-masted steel vessel that ran ashore in 1906 - in Fort Stevens State Park. Her rusted bow and masts are still visible, eternally planted in the sand at the water’s edge.

The pilgrimage to the Peter Iredale is a popular Oregon activity - an excuse to breathe the bracing sea air and leisurely beachcomb along the pristine shore.

Fort Stevens, once an important military defense installation, is now an interesting and lovely 4,300 acre park with nine miles of paved bike trails and six miles of groomed hiking trails through a variety of diverse habitats. The military museum complex features items from the Civil War to World War II. If you go, be sure to tour the underground through a rare gun battery that also served as a World War II command center.

Important Rally dates:
June 18-19 Volunteer Parking

June 20-23 General Parking
June 22 IBT Seminar & Meeting
June 23 Vintage Airstream (VAC) Parade; Welcome Event & Volunteer Recognition (formerly Early Workers Dinner)
June 24 VAC Open House, Opening Ceremonies
June 25-29 Seminars, Roundtables, Vendors, Region Gatherings, Entertainment
June 27 Delegates Meeting, Band Concert
June 29 Installation & Closing Ceremony
June 30 IBT Seminar & Meeting

Category: 2018 Salem, OR