Long before the students attending the Axemen School were born, there was a thriving industry in Oregon. Oregon trees provided the lumber for almost every house standing today in Oregon and around the world.
Back from the finished house, to the lumber yard, to the saw mill, to the mill pond, to the logging truck, to the donkey engine. All of these were links in the chain that made the lumber industry in Oregon great, and it all started with the men who cut the trees: The Axemen!
Every day we saw log trucks with only three or four logs as a full load. Now, what few log trucks we do see are hauling a dozen or so ‘twigs’. Those are hardly large enough to become power or telephone poles much less houses.
What happened to all the trees the Axemen cut? They have been replaced by other trees. These new trees are growing and are now or soon will be the size of those three or four logs we used to see being hauled on log trucks. Log trucks now sitting in driveways drawing rust.
Currently the fate of these replacement trees is to grow to maturity then die and fall to the ground. Once on the ground, felled not by Axemen but by old age and death, they will be of no use to build new houses.
Perhaps the name Axemen should be changed to something that reflects the current condition of Oregon’s lumber industry: Spotted Owls!
Jay C. Wood
Albany (Jan. 31)