Many a small boy on his birthday has been torn between the overwhelming desire to be left alone to play with his toys and the parental warning to be polite to his guests. This, to some extent, was the dilemma of the state of Oregon as it celebrated its 100th birthday this week.
Like proud parents, Oregon's assorted chambers of commerce invited a bevy of outsiders in for a year-long celebration of the territory's accession to statehood on February 14, 1859. Entertainment for the occasion included banquets, parades, pageants, speeches from such distinguished outsiders as Vice-President Nixon and a seasonal kaleidoscope of sports events ranging from the Far West Kandahar ski championships already in progress through a world-championship logrolling tourney in July to a sailboat regatta in August. By virtue of these diversions, Oregon hotelkeepers hoped to lure a record-breaking flow of visitors.
For all his indigenous hospitality, however, many an Oregon sportsman wished the visitors elsewhere, or at best hoped they wouldn't stay too long to overcrowd his state, which is already one of the fastest-growing in the Union. Oregon's birthday blessings, from the sportsman's point of view, are multifold and they have all been there from the moment Explorers Lewis and Clark first spotted the Pacific beaches in 1805. Listen to our Portland correspondent, fellow named John White:
"Native Oregonians last weekend, spurning speeches, were picking up 25-pound steelhead from the Sandy River on the very edge of metropolitan Portland. Soon the smelt will be showing up by the glistening thousands, and in their wake will come the annual run of Chinook salmon through the heart of Portland itself.
"By May the mountain lakes will be free of ice, and caravans of trailers will head out from the city to find their fun in the fresh waters of the highlands or alternatively in the coastal bays where schools of feeder salmon tempt the angler. White sails will blossom on the blue coastal waters. Public golf courses and tennis courts will play host to enthusiastic natives and visiting champions alike. And, come fall, the hills and forests will crack with the echo of gunfire as grouse, deer, partridge, elk, cougar, jack rabbits, ducks, geese and pheasants bow to the skill of the hunter.
"Best of all, from the native Oregonian's viewpoint, many of these sports can be pursued within minutes of the city limits. The Portland businessman can shoot a pheasant in season 10 minutes away from his office and catch a steelhead during his luncheon hour. His sailboat is only an hour or two away from him, and yet, not far to the east, there is outdoor wilderness almost as primitive as that discovered by the pioneers of the Oregon Trail."
Well, we get the message, White. We plan to drop in someday for a long visit.
Remember Silky Sullivan, the big red colt that Californians (and a lot of others) were getting excited about this time last year? Well, the crowd that might be called the Sullivan set had what might be called a fresh hypothesis last week. Three-year-old named Finnegan. California-bred.
Looking him over before the $88,000 California Breeders Stakes, noting his big, red good looks, the cocky gleam in his eye, the green-blue braid lovingly woven into his mane, observant observers at Arcadia, Calif. sucked in their breath and breathed: "Finnegan. And he looks just like Silky Sullivan."