Saturday, June 23, 2007

Matt Love

MATT LOVE lives on the Oregon Coast where he serves as caretaker of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge and publisher of Nestucca Spit Press. He is the author of parts 1 and 2 of the Beaver State Trilogy-"Grasping Wastrels vs. Beaches Forever Inc.: Covering the Fights for the Soul of the Oregon Coast"; and "The Far Out Story of Vortex I," a book that documents the "Biodegradable Festival of Life" held the summer of 1970 and attended by 100,000 people, the only state-sponsored rock festival in American history. He also wrote "Let it Pour: An Unconventional Drinking Guide to the North Oregon Coast."

Most recently, Matt compiled and edited the anthology Red Hot and Rollin’: A Restrospection of the Portland Trail Blazers’ 1976-1977 NBA Championship Season. Thirty years ago this month, the Portland Trailblazers won their first and only NBA championship. The following day, a quarter of a million fans spilled into downtown Portland in celebration, the largest public gathering in Oregon history.

The frenzy that surrounded the final weeks of the tournament became known as Blazermania. The term Rip City came to describe the incredible outpouring of energy that surrounded Portland’s only major professional ball team.

Sadly, the energy and community spirit that characterized the spring and summer of 1977 in Portland have largely faded into memory. But for Matt Love, who was 13 years old and living in Oregon City at the time, what a memory it is. He wants to share it with you.

In August 2003, Matt Love presented an Oregon Chautauqua on the 1970 Oregon State-sponsored rock festival called Vortex I with support from the Oregon Council for the Humanities. Now, with his newly published book in hand, Matt Love is on a 21-city book tour to promote The Far Out Story of Vortex I. We are honored to have him at the Dogwood tonight.

Back in 1970, rumor had it that President Nixon was to speak at the American Legion Convention in Portland, and the FBI told Governor Tom McCall he should expect 25,000 Legionnaires and 50,000 anti-war freaks which would produce a clash in the Rose City that would make Chicago 1968 look like a tea party. To avoid riots, burnings and murder, McCall, who was up for re-election, took the heroic step to work with the People's Army Jamboree and the Oregon National Guard to produce "Operation Tranquility."

Nixon did not show up, but Vortex I drew somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 attendees (the event was free so entrance gates were not monitored). The gathering site was Milo McIver State Park, twenty miles east of Portland along the Clackamas River, just outside the small town of Estacada, Oregon. Vortex I turned out to be quite the legendary weeklong trip.

Now, thirty-four years later, Oregon author Matt Love has written "The Far Out Story of Vortex I," the second part of his projected Beaver State Trilogy, and the legend has become even more legendary.

Matt is the author of two other books: Grasping Wastrels vs. Beaches Forever Inc.: Covering the Fights for the Soul of the Oregon Coast (which is Part One of the Beaver State Trilogy), and Let it Pour: An Unconventional Drinking Guide to the North Oregon Coast." He also writes the "Stone Oregon" column that appears in several Oregon alternative monthlies and is a regular op-ed contributor and book reviewer for the Oregonian.

Matt Love has been a devoted volunteer at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge since 1998. As a refuge caretaker, he has organized and implemented several restoration projects and orchestrated the removal of acres of Himalayan blackberry. He has helped restore native forestland by planting thousands of trees within the refuge. In addition to his volunteer work, Matt serves as a technical assistant for the Nestucca-Neskowin Watershed Council. And, as of last week, began his career teaching English and Journalism at Taft High School.

Matt Love grew up in Oregon City and first heard about Vortex I in 1982 while playing hooky from high school at McIver Park. He believes his lifelong personal connection to the Vortex I story is "supernatural" and says, "The research and writing of this book has remade my entire personality. It transformed me from a pessimist, to trust faith, intuition and the power of love."

Photo by Carla Perry

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