Oregon State University Press

For fifty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest—its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region’s literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian. Today, Oregon State University Press publishes distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies.

Showing 1-20 of 405 items.

As the Condor Soars

Conserving and Restoring Oregon's Birds

Oregon State University Press

As the Condor Soars focuses on the increasing role that ornithologists played in public agencies, changing ideas about ecosystems, and conservation debates in Oregon. These themes are most clearly seen in the battles over the northern spotted owl and the development of the Northwest Forest Plan. Contributors to this volume also discuss new developments in the study of birds, such as sound studies, and connections between ornithologists and artists. The volume includes illustrations by Ram Papish. 

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A History of Oregon Ornithology

From Territorial Days to the Rise of Birding

Oregon State University Press

The study of birds was, in its early years, often driven by passionate amateurs in a localized context. A History of Oregon Ornithology takes the reader from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the 1950s, then refocuses on how birding and related amateur field observation grew outside the realm of academic and conservation agencies.
 
Editors Alan Contreras, Vjera Thompson, and Nolan Clements have assembled chapters exploring the differences and interplay between the amateur and professional study of birds, along with discussions of early birding societies, notable observers, and ornithological studies. It includes significant chapters on Charles Bendire, William L. Finley, Ira Gabrielson, Stanley Jewett, and David B. Marshall. It also notes the sometimes-overlooked contributions of women to our expanding knowledge of western birds. Special attention is paid to the development of seabird observation, the impact of the Internet, and the rise of digital resources for bird observers.
 
Intended for readers interested in the history of Oregon, the history of scientific explorations in the west, and the origins of modern birding and field ornithology, A History of Oregon Ornithology offers a detailed and entertaining tour of how birds were first observed and studied by explorers in what is now Oregon.
 

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A Peculiar Paradise

A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940

Oregon State University Press

Published in cooperation with Oregon Black Pioneers

A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon 1788–1940 remains the most comprehensive chronology of Black life in Oregon more than forty years after its original publication in 1980. The book has long been a resource for those seeking information on the legal and social barriers faced by people of African descent in Oregon. Elizabeth McLagan’s work reveals how in spite of those barriers, Black individuals and families made Oregon their home, and helped create the state’s modern Black communities. Long out of print, the book is available again through this co-publication with Oregon Black Pioneers, Oregon’s statewide African American historical society. The revised second edition includes additional details for students and scholars, an expanded reading list, a new selection of historic images, and a new foreword by Gwen Carr and an afterword by Elizabeth McLagan.

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A Force for Nature

Nancy Russell's Fight to Save the Columbia Gorge

Oregon State University Press

A Force for Nature is a biography of a person and a place. It describes how Nancy Russell, a woman with no political, fundraising, or organizing experience, mounted a national campaign to overcome eighty years of conflict—some of it later directed at her through slashed tires and death threats—to protect the Columbia River Gorge, one of the nation’s most scenic, historic, and threatened landscapes.

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Studies in Outdoor Recreation

Search and Research for Satisfaction

Oregon State University Press

An essential resource for students, scholars, and professionals, Studies in Outdoor Recreation explores the theoretical and methodological issues in outdoor recreation and describes the management implications of outdoor recreation research.

Contributors to the fourth edition include Laura Anderson, Megha Budruk, Kelly Goonan, Jeffrey Hallo, Daniel Laven, Steven Lawson, Rebecca Stanfield McCown, Ben Minteer, Peter Newman, Elizabeth Perry, Peter Pettengill, Nathan Reigner, William Valliere, Carena van Riper, and Xiao Xiao.

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Planning the Portland Urban Growth Boundary

The Struggle to Transform Trend City

Oregon State University Press

In this companion volume to his 2012 book Oregon Plans: The Making of an Unquiet Land-Use Revolution, Sy Adler offers readers a deep analysis of planning Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary. Required by one of Oregon’s nineteen statewide planning goals, a boundary in the Portland metropolitan area was intended to separate urban land and land that would be urbanized from commercially productive farmland. After adopting the goals, approving the Portland growth boundary in 1979 was the most significant decision the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission has ever made, and, more broadly, is a significant milestone in American land-use planning.
 
Planning the Portland Urban Growth Boundary primarily covers the 1970s. Innovative regional planning institutions were established in response to concerns about sprawl, but planners working for those institutions had to confront the reality that various plans being developed and implemented by city and county governments in metro Portland would instead allow sprawl to continue. Regional planners labeled these as “Trend City” plans, and sought to transform them during the 1970s and thereafter.
 
Adler discusses the dynamics of these partially successful efforts and the conflicts that characterized the development of the Portland UGB during the 1970s—between different levels of government, and between public, private, and civic sector advocates. When the regional UGB is periodically reviewed, these conflicts continue, as debates about values and technical issues related to forecasting future amounts of population, economic activity, and the availability of land for urban development over a twenty-year period roil the boundary planning process.
 
Planning the Portland Urban Growth Boundary is an authoritative history and an indispensable resource for anyone actively involved in urban and regional planning—from neighborhood associations and elected officials to organizations working on land use and development issues throughout the state.
 

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Dead Wood

The Afterlife of Trees

Oregon State University Press

The west is full of magnificent trees: mighty spruces, towering cedars, and stout firs. We are used to appreciating trees during their glory years, but how often do we consider what happens to a tree when it dies? We’ve all seen driftwood on the beach. But how many people have truly looked at it and appreciated its ecological role?
 
Ellen Wohl has thought about these questions, and In Dead Wood, she takes us through the afterlife of trees, describing the importance of standing and downed dead wood in forests, in rivers, along beaches, in the open ocean, and even at the deepest parts of the seafloor. Downed wood in the forest provides habitat for diverse plants and animals, and the progressive decay of the wood releases nutrients into the soil. Wood in rivers provides critical habitat for stream insects and fish and can accumulate in logjams that divert the river repeatedly across the valley floor, creating a floodplain mosaic that is rich in habitat and biodiversity. Driftwood on the beach helps to stabilize shifting sand, creating habitat for plants and invertebrates. Fish such as tuna congregate at driftwood in the open ocean. As driftwood becomes saturated and sinks to the ocean floor, collections of sunken wood provide habitat and nutrients for deep-sea organisms. Far from being an unsightly form of waste that needs to be cleaned from forests, beaches, and harbors, dead wood is a critical resource for many forms of life.
 
Dead Wood follows the afterlives of three trees: a spruce in the Colorado Rocky Mountains that remains on the floodplain after death; a redcedar in Washington that is gradually transported downstream to the Pacific; and a poplar in the Mackenzie River of Canada that is transported to the Arctic Ocean. With these three trees, Wohl encourages readers to see beyond landscapes, to appreciate the ecological processes that drive rivers and forests and other ecosystems, and demonstrates the ways that the life of an ecosystem carries on even when individual members of that system have died. Readers will discover that trees can have an exceptionally rich afterlife—one tightly interwoven with the lives of humans and ecosystems.
 

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A Little Bit of Land

Oregon State University Press

From midwifing new lambs to harvesting basil, Jessica Gigot invites readers into rural life and explores the uncommon road that led her there. Fascinated by farming and the burgeoning local food movement, she spent her twenties wandering the Pacific Northwest as a farm intern and eventually a graduate student in horticulture, always with an eye towards learning as much as she could about how and why people farm. Despite numerous setbacks and the many difficulties of growing food, from soggy soil to rambunctious rams, she created a life for herself defined by resilience and a genuine love of nature.
 
In A Little Bit of Land, Gigot explores the intricacies of small-scale agriculture in the Pacific Northwest, the changing role of women in this male-dominated industry, and questions of sustainability, economics, and health in our food system. Gigot alternates between describing the joys and challenges of small farm life and reflecting on her formative experiences outdoors and in classrooms throughout the region—from Ashland in southern Oregon to the Skagit Valley in Washington state. Throughout, she discovers what it means to find roots, start a family, and cultivate contentment in this unique corner of the world.
 
A Little Bit of Land is a moving memoir about falling in love with a place and all its inhabitants.  It will be relished by readers interested in regenerative agriculture, and anyone who is curious about what it means to live off and love the land.
 

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Native and Ornamental Conifers in the Pacific Northwest

Identification, Botany and Natural History

Oregon State University Press

Most conifer guides available for the Pacific Northwest focus on native species observed in the wild. Native and Ornamental Conifers in the Pacific Northwest presents an integrated perspective for understanding and identifying conifers in any landscape where native and ornamental species grow alongside each other. It is suitable for landscape designers, horticulturalists, arborists, gardeners, environmental scientists, and botanists.

Based on her experiences teaching workshops on conifer identification and cultivation, Elizabeth Price has developed Jargon-free photographic charts, which allow for side-by-side comparison of conifer features and guide the reader to species identification. The charts are detailed enough for specialists yet accessible to amateurs.

The book includes extensive material on the characteristics, botany, and natural history of conifer plant families, genera, and species, all illustrated with original photographs. Research across many disciplines is blended with direct observation and personal experience, creating a book that goes beyond identification and is both rigorous and engaging.

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Portland in Three Centuries

The Place and the People

Oregon State University Press

A compact and comprehensive history of Portland from first European contact to the twenty-first century, Portland in Three Centuries introduces the women and men who have shaped Oregon’s largest city. The expected politicians and business leaders appear, but Carl Abbott also highlights workers and immigrants, union members and dissenters, women at work and in the public realm, artists and activists, and other movers and shakers.  
Incorporating social history and contemporary scholarship in his narrative, Abbott examines current metropolitan character and issues, giving close attention to historical background. He explores the context of opportunities and problems that have helped to shape the rich mosaic that is Portland.  
This revised and updated second edition includes greater attention to the Indigenous peoples of the Portland region, Portland’s communities of color, and the challenges of recent years that have thrust Portland into the national spotlight.

A highly readable character study of a city, and enhanced by more than sixty historic and contemporary images, Portland in Three Centuries will appeal to readers interested in Portland, in Oregon, and in Pacific Northwest history.

 

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Cheese War

Conflict and Courage in Tillamook County, Oregon

Oregon State University Press

In the 1960s, Tillamook County, Oregon, was at war with itself. As the regional dairy industry shifted from small local factories to larger consolidated factories, and as profit margins for milk and cheese collapsed, Tillamook farmers found themselves in a financial crisis that fueled multiple disputes. The ensuing Cheese War included lies and secrets, as well as spies, high emotion, a shoving match, and even a death threat.

On one side of the battle was Beale Dixon, head of Tillamook County Creamery Association. Dixon set up a scheme to offer low-interest, low-collateral loans from TCCA’s largest member cooperative, Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Association, to the supermarkets that stocked Tillamook products. Dixon argued it was a cheap, easy way to ensure good will—and continued purchases—in a tight market. On the other side was George Milne, a respected farmer and board president of the cooperative. Milne supported his board’s decision that loans would require board approval and bank oversight. Dixon mostly ignored those requirements.

The discovery of more financial irregularities soon spiraled  into a community-wide dispute, exacerbated by a complex web of family and business relationships. The Cheese War raged for the better part of a decade across board meetings, courtrooms, and the community itself. While largely unknown outside of Tillamook County, the Cheese War was so divisive that some families remain fractured today.

Sisters Marilyn Milne and Linda Kirk, children of the Cheese War, saw how it absorbed their parents. As adults, they set out to learn more about what had happened. The authors conducted years of research and have integrated it with tales of their experiences as farm kids living through the all-consuming fight. As Americans become ever more interested in food supply chains and ethical consumption, here is the story of the very human factors behind one of Oregon’s most iconic brands.

 

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The Origin and Distribution of Birds in Coastal Alaska and British Columbia

The Lost Manuscript of Ornithologist Harry S. Swarth

Oregon State University Press

At the time of his death in 1935, Harry S. Swarth, head of the Mammalogy and Ornithology Departments at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, had been preparing a manuscript reflecting on twenty-five years of his research in coastal Alaska and British Columbia. “The Distribution and Migrations of Birds in Adjacent Alaska and British Columbia” summarized Swarth’s research, ideas, and conjectures on the bird life in the region, including theories about when and how birds populated this vast territory after the retreat of glaciers near the end of the Pleistocene. Drawing on his field experiences and his forty published scientific papers, Swarth’s manuscript represented state-of-the-art science for the time. And his ideas hold up; his papers are still cited by ornithologists today.

In 2019, Christopher Swarth, Harry’s grandson and a scientist in his own right, discovered the forgotten manuscript. This book includes the original unpublished manuscript, accompanied by contextual essays from contemporary ornithologists who examine the impact and relevance of Swarth’s research on coastal bird diversity, fox sparrow migration, and the systematic puzzle of the timberline sparrow. Expedition maps display field camps and exploration routes, and species checklists illustrate the variety of birds observed at key field sites. To bring additional color and insight, The Origin and Distribution of Birds in Coastal Alaska and British Columbia also includes excerpts from Harry Swarth’s field notes, a comprehensive list of Harry Swarth’s publications, and a glossary with historic and contemporary bird names. Naturalists, ornithologists, birders, and all those who want to learn more about the natural history of the region will delight in the rediscovery of this long-lost treasure.

 

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Take Heart

Encouragement for Earth’s Weary Lovers

Oregon State University Press

Earth’s weary lovers are tired, perplexed, and battered from all directions. Their hearts have so often been broken. It’s hard to go on, but it is morally impossible to quit. How do Earth’s protectors find the heart to continue the struggle?

To this question, environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore and Canadian artist Bob Haverluck bring twenty-two life-affirming essays and drawings. Their entwined art offers pluck, stubborn resolve, and even some laughter to those who have for years been working for environmental sanity, social justice, and ecological thriving.

What Moore and Haverluck offer is encouragement to join or keep on with Earth’s work—not distractions, but deep and honest reasons to remember that the struggle matters. Rather than another to-do list or an empty promise of hope, Take Heart is a thank-you gift to the multitudes of Earth’s defenders. Inside its pages, they will find reason to take heart.

Taking heart is not hope exactly, but maybe it’s courage. Not solutions to the planetary crisis, but some modest advice for the inevitable crisis of the heart. A rueful grin, and gratitude to be part of this strange and necessary work for the endangered Earth.
 

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Children of the Stars

Indigenous Science Education in a Reservation Classroom

Oregon State University Press

In the 1990s, Ed Galindo, a high school science teacher on the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho, took a team of Shoshone-Bannock students first to Johnson Space Center in Texas and then to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These students had submitted a project to a competitive NASA program that was usually intended for college students—and they earned a spot to see NASA astronauts test out their experiment in space. The students designed and built the project themselves: a system to mix phosphate and water in space to create a fertilizer that would aid explorers in growing food on other planets.

In Children of the Stars, Galindo relates his experience with this first team and with successive student teams, who continued to participate in NASA programs over the course of a decade. He discusses the challenges of teaching American Indian students, from the practical limits of a rural reservation school to the importance of respecting and incorporating Indigenous knowledge systems. In describing how he had to earn the trust of his students to truly be successful as their teacher, Galindo also touches on the complexities of community belonging and understanding; although Indigenous himself, Galindo is not a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes and was still an outsider who had as much to learn as the students.

Children of the Stars is the story of students and a teacher, courage and hope. Written in a conversational style, it’s an accessible story about students who were supported and educated in culturally relevant ways and so overcame the limitations of an underfunded reservation school to reach great heights.

 

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Halcyon Journey

In Search of the Belted Kingfisher

By Marina Richie; Illustrated by Ram Papish
Oregon State University Press

More than one hundred species of kingfishers brighten every continent but Antarctica. Not all are fishing birds. They range in size from the African dwarf kingfisher to the laughing kookaburra of Australia. This first book to feature North America’s belted kingfisher is a lyrical story of observation, revelation, and curiosity in the presence of flowing waters.

The kingfisher—also known as the halcyon bird—is linked to the mythic origin of halcyon days, a state of happiness that Marina Richie hopes to find outside her back door in Missoula, Montana. Epiphanies and a citizen science discovery punctuate days tracking a bird that outwits at every turn. The female is more colorful than the male (unusual and puzzling) and the birds’ earthen nest holes are difficult to locate.

While the heart of the drama takes place on Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula, the author’s adventures in search of kingfisher kin on the lower Rio Grande, in South Africa, and in London illuminate her relationships with the birds of Montana. In the quiet of winter, she explores tribal stories of the kingfisher as messenger and helper, pivotal qualities for her quest. For all who love birds or simply seek solace in nature, Halcyon Journey is an inviting introduction to the mythic and mysterious belted kingfisher.

 

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Gifted Earth

The Ethnobotany of the Quinault and Neighboring Tribes

Oregon State University Press

Published in cooperation with the Quinault Indian Nation

Gifted Earth features traditional Native American plant knowledge, detailing the use of plants for food, medicines, and materials. It presents a rich and living tradition of plant use within the Quinault Indian Nation in a volume collaboratively developed and endorsed by that tribe.

The Quinault Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state is a diverse tribal community, embodying the traditional knowledge of tribes along the entire Pacific Northwest coast. Its membership consists of descendants of many tribes—from the northwestern Olympic Peninsula to the northern Oregon coast—including the Quinault, but also many others who were relocated to the reservation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Individuals descended from these tribal communities, including Chinook, Chehalis, Hoh, Quileute, Queets, Cowlitz, Tillamook, Clatsop, and others, have contributed to Gifted Earth, giving it remarkable breadth and representation.

A celebration of enduring Native American knowledge, this book will help non-specialists as they discover the potential of the region’s wild plants, learning how to identify, gather, and use many of the plants that they encounter in the Northwestern landscape. Part ethnobotanical guide and part “how-to” manual, Gifted Earth also prepares plant users for the minor hazards and pitfalls that accompany their quest—from how to avoid accidentally eating a bug hidden within a salal berry to how to prevent blisters when peeling the tender stalks of cow parsnip.

As beautiful as it is informative, Gifted Earth sets the standard for a new generation of ethnobotanical guides informed by the values, vision, and voice of Native American communities eager to promote a sustainable, balanced relationship between plant users and the rich plant communities of traditional tribal lands.

 

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Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests

Oregon State University Press

This full-color, simple-to-use field guide makes shrub identification easy and fun. It features 100 of the most common shrubs that grow in and around Pacific Northwest forests—from southern British Columbia to northern California and from the Pacific Ocean to the northern Rockies. It includes an overview of shrub communities in the Pacific Northwest; more than five hundred color photos; individual range maps and complete descriptions for each species; notes on range and habitat, response to disturbance, traditional and current uses, and origin of names; glossary of identification terms; and an easy-to-use, well-tested identification key.

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Bernard Daly's Promise

The Enduring Legacy of a Place-based Scholarship

By Sam Stern; Foreword by Ed Ray
Oregon State University Press

Published in cooperation with the Dr. Daly Project Association

Bernard Daly escaped the Irish Famine and with his family emigrated to America, where he became the town doctor in Lakeview, Oregon, and then a state legislator, Oregon Agricultural College regent, county judge, rancher, and banker. When he died in 1920, his estate, valued at about a million dollars, established a college scholarship for the youth of Lake County, ensuring that most of them could attend college.

It’s hard to imagine a place more distant from higher education than Lake County in south central Oregon, a county about the size of New Jersey with a population under eight thousand. When the Bernard Daly scholarship was first awarded in 1922, less than two percent of America’s youth went to college, and the percentage was even lower in Lake County.

Today, Lake County students are much more likely to go to college, graduate in four years without debt, go on to graduate school, have successful careers, and contribute to the larger community—all because of a scholarship established a hundred years ago by an immigrant who sought a better life, not only for himself but also for others.

Drawing on more than a hundred personal interviews, an extensive web-based survey, and archival materials, Bernard Daly’s Promise offers unique insights into the benefits of higher education and how it might best be supported—questions that we are struggling with today.


 

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Willamette River Greenways

Navigating the Currents of Conservation Policy and Practice

Oregon State University Press

The Willamette River Greenway Program, first proposed in 1966 by future Oregon governor Bob Straub, envisioned a nearly two-hundred-mile assemblage of public lands along the Willamette River for public use and environmental protection. While the Greenway Program fell far short of Straub’s original proposal, today it provides for significant riverside lands with a range of public benefits. The Greenway Program also offers a useful lens through which to view the successes and failures of Oregon’s environmental protection policies over the past few decades.

Travis Williams, executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper, has spent countless hours paddling the Willamette, becoming familiar with its flora, fauna, and human neighbors. In Willamette River Greenways, he combines personal narrative about his experiences on the river with nuanced consideration of the controversies and challenges of the Greenway Program. Williams sheds light on current land stewardship practices, revealing the institutional and leadership failures that endanger the river’s water quality and habitat, and looks to the program’s future. He also takes readers with him onto the water, sharing what it’s like to travel the river by canoe, paying homage to the river’s natural beauty and the host of wildlife species that call it home.

Part policy analysis, part advocacy, and all love letter to one of Oregon’s great rivers, Willamette River Greenways offers valuable perspective to policymakers, land use managers, and recreational river users alike.

 

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Indians, Fire, and the Land in the Pacific Northwest

Oregon State University Press

This publication is supported by a generous grant from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde through their Cultural Resources Publication Sponsorship Program

Instead of discovering a land blanketed by dense forests, early explorers of the Pacific Northwest encountered a varied landscape including open woods, meadows, and prairies. Far from a pristine wilderness, much of the Northwest was actively managed and shaped by the hands of its Native American inhabitants. Their primary tool was fire.

This volume takes an interdisciplinary approach to one of the most important issues concerning Native Americans and their relationship to the land. Over more than 10,000 years, Native Americans in the Northwest learned the intricacies of their local environments and how to use fire to create desired effects, mostly in the quest for food.

Drawing on historical journals, Native American informants, and ethnobotanical and forestry studies, this book’s contributors describe local patterns of fire use in eight ecoregions, representing all parts of the Native Northwest, from southwest Oregon to British Columbia and from Puget Sound to the Northern Rockies. Their essays provide glimpses into a unique understanding of the environment, one that draws on traditional ecological knowledge. Together, these writings also offer historical perspective on the contemporary debate over “prescribed burning” and management of public lands.

This updated edition includes a foreword by Frank K. Lake and a new epilogue by editor Robert T. Boyd. Contributors include Stephen Arno, Stephen Barrett, Theresa Ferguson, David French, Eugene Hunn, Leslie Johnson, Jeff LaLande, Estella Leopold, Henry Lewis, Helen H. Norton, Reg Pullen, William Robbins, John Ross, Nancy Turner, and Richard White.

 

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