Kathy Haynie (non-fiction)

B.A., English; Lewis and Clark College; Portland, OR; 1994
M.A. Teaching; Lewis and Clark College; Portland, OR; 1995


Writing interests: Personal essay, memoir, poetry, fiction

Other interests: Family (5 children, 3 stepchildren, 7 grandchildren, 1 very patient husband), work (English teacher and Literacy Coach at Oregon City High School), hiking, church work with the children's program, reading.

Graduation plans: Not sure - I just started, and I can only take one class/term. I'm going to enjoy the journey.

Thesis/project idea: Not sure yet - probably some nonfiction writing with a family and/or nature theme.

Short CV:

Recently retired editor of Chalkboard, the quarterly newsletter of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English.

Regular articles about adoption stories for Decree, a national adoption-rights newsletter.

One recent article in the Oregon English Journal.

Please visit my teaching website link. It has some nice photos of my family, and I hope that it will soon have some samples of my students' writing.

Writing excerpt:

McLoughlin Promenade
Oregon City

Stroll, saunter, march, sprint, jog, push a stroller, or purposefully walk your dogs, in only half a mile you will complete the upper length of the McLoughlin Promenade. From the upper terminus of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator, the Promenade beckons gently on an April evening, threading its way between pastel Victorian cottages on the left, and on the right, the sheer drop of 90-foot basalt cliffs that loom above the Willamette River in the silver evening light. Benches mark the rolling path, each one a kindly invitation to sit, to stay, to contemplate the views: the river below, the fir-covered hills of West Linn across the river, or the best view of all—cumulus clouds all blue-gray-salmon-silver, piled cloud-on-cloud like an impossibly perfect painting. The clouds crowd the sky from Pete’s Mountain to the south, all the way to Portland’s skyscrapers to the north. Quite a view. It’s so pretty, so inviting.

Then again, it’s so noisy, for there below, on the flat between the base of the basalt cliffs and the silver river, a monstrosity sprawls across five acres. Clanging, roaring, thrumming, steaming, rattling, churning, belching: Blue Heron Paper Company. Look down into the chip yard, a mountain of sawdust forming below the long silver pipe that sucks chips from a train car parked at the side of the mill, chips rattling noisily through the tube. Over there, a long ringing sound, and a red light flashes. Steam rises straight into the still air from a dozen different stacks. A giant claw grabs a truck trailer, tips it up and up, emptying its contents, newspapers and more papers, sliding into the maw. The ringing again, and the red light again. Someone has parked a maroon minivan between two buildings in the complex, but it looks silly, like a child’s toy. The van cannot be that small; the mill cannot be that big.

It is an effort to look away, to resume walking. But it is such a lovely evening, and in spite of the noise from the mill, the surroundings are peaceful. Mossy outcroppings of basalt push up through the grass, rhododendrons are in bloom, purpled vinca thrives in the shade. Hemlock trees spread dark branches with soft green tips. I am quietly coveting the ferns and groundcovers for my own yard, when my husband points out the birds wheeling above, over toward the river. There are seven of them. They are birds of prey, but we cannot identify them. They are not as swift as hawks, nor as single-minded as turkey vultures. They are not hunting, not circling over death. They climb, drop, bank, circle lazily but without purpose: black against the softness of sky, they are playing in the updraft over the mill’s steam vents. We decide they must be ospreys, river fishers; we have never seen them together in this way.

Past the mill, almost to the VFW Hall, a narrow pedestrian catwalk takes the Promenade over Highway 99E. Clamber down the metal catwalk stairs, and you come face-to-face with a stunning piece of Oregon’s geographic history: Willamette Falls. They are the reason for the mills: saw mill, grist mill, woolen mill, brick mill, paper mill. Mills have occupied this site for over 150 years, and before that, Native Americans in ten cedar longhouses lived and fished beside the falls for millennia. Oregon City was settled, became the first U.S. seat of government west of the Mississippi River because of the falls and their potential for power. They are beautiful in this evening light, and I strain to hear the roar and rush of 700 tons of water dropping 40 feet over the falls every second. But the sounds of the falls are drowned out by the deep thrum of the mill. The mill, the wide river, the lovely walking park—they are bound together here by tradition and loveliness and industry. In this place, one does not exist without the other.

No breeze this evening, so we do not catch the usual woody scent of the chips, nor the yeasty-sour-milk fragrance of pulp. Car headlights glint through trees along I-205, across the river. A fresh coolness settles over the bluff. Steam will rise all night into the still air, but now only two birds climb and dip through the updrafts. The sky darkens. The chip tube rattles back to life, and the last two ospreys wheel apart, one east, and one north.

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