Meander scars : reflections on healing a river Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gh93h283m

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  • As Europeans settled the Willamette Valley in the 1800s, they began to simplify Oregon's largest river contained wholly within state boarders—the Willamette. The river lost miles of channels from dikes, dams, and development. Some channels vanished under concrete. Others became meander scars, or shallow, dry depression in the land where the river used to wander. Besides being a geological feature, meander scars are reminders of the wounds of progress and our attempts to control the river. Through a series of personal essays, this book reflects on whether something scarred can once again be whole. It explores a simple question with no single answer: How can we heal a river while healing our relationship to it? The book begins with the history of the Willamette, when it was wild and free, and then moves into all the ways we simplified and left it scarred. The story then reflects on what we might value in healing a river—values such as the complexity of the water's many truths; values of memories and stories that hold the history of a landscape before it was degraded; and values even of grief and danger, which bring us closer to places in unexpected ways. The final reach of the book explores the role of restoration in healing the Willamette-whether working to repair the earth compensates for our misdeeds, and whether restoration is a reflexive act in which participant and landscape are both made anew.
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