Sherman County eNews #54


  1. Happy Birthday, Sherman County, Feb. 25

  2. Sherman County Courthouse Groundbreaking and Open House, March 8

  3. 7th & 8th Grade Girls in Engineering and Marine Science (GEMS) Camp, March 10-11

  4. Town Hall: Stand up for Solar Energy, March 16

  5. Watch Your Language: A Euphemism

  6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

 1. Happy Birthday, Sherman County, Feb. 25

February 25th!

Happy Birthday, Sherman County!


IMAGINE! Imagine the history and the stories of our handsome historic county courthouse! Imagine the pride, anguish, trials, joy, excitement and frustration of the years…of public service, justice, weddings, mortgages, deeds, elections and county business transactions.

A BIT CURIOUS! It is a bit curious that, while Sherman County was carved from Wasco County in 1889, the courthouse was not built until ten years later. E. O. McCoy petitioned the legislature for formation of the new county in 1889, proposing to name it Fulton County for Col. James Fulton, a prominent pioneer legislator. In a political move because Col. Fulton opposed a visit to the state house by General William Tecumseh Sherman, the new county was named Sherman. Governor Sylvester Pennoyer signed the modified bill on February 25, 1889 and the new county was named for General Sherman.

OFFICIALS. The governor appointed officers to serve the county until the next general election: Col. James Fulton, county judge, [who declined, and Owen M. Scott was appointed]; John Medler and Dayton Elliott, commissioners; V.C. Brock, clerk; E.M. Leslie, sheriff; Levi Armsworthy, treasurer; C.C. Meyers, assessor; and C.J. Bright, school superintendent. On March 12, 1889, the newly-appointed officers and constituents met at the Oskaloosa Hotel in Wasco for the official swearing-in. Wasco was declared the temporary county seat. The new officials rented a rock and concrete building in Block 6 on Lot 7 in Wasco to be used by the sheriff and clerk. County and circuit court business was conducted in the school building.

EXPANSION. During the 1891 Oregon legislative session, a bill was introduced to expand the county 18 miles south, taking in Townships 3, 4 and 5 South. This new boundary followed Buck Hollow and an 11-mile east-west boundary across the south.

COUNTY SEAT. Selection of a county seat resumed in earnest. Three towns were selected for the ballot: Wasco, Moro and Kenneth [a hamlet once located near DeMoss Springs]. Strong emotions led up to the vote for Moro, influenced by the county’s southward expansion and new residents. In 1892 the county contracted for construction of a temporary building to house the clerk, sheriff and a vault. Records were moved to Moro. In 1893 a jail was added and the vault was rebuilt. A flag pole and flag were ordered in 1895. In 1896, a deputy clerk and deputy sheriff were hired.

1899. When the county began construction of the new courthouse on Block 23 in 1899, the temporary house on Block 23 in Moro was moved across the street to the south where it remains today. Charles Burggraf of Salem designed the handsome brick structure with Queen Anne architectural features, varied wall surfaces and a corner tower. It was built by contractor, A.F. Peterson of Corvallis, of thrifty material – brick manufactured in the brick yard behind it. The bell-shaped cupola was originally painted alternating bands of dark and light paint.

FOR THE RECORD. In a story written by Patricia [French] Moore and published in Sherman County: For The Record in 1983, it is noted that the Grass Valley Journal reported completion of the new courthouse on November 3rd. On the 10th the Journal editor observed that, “Everyone who has seen the new courthouse wonders how such a house could have been built with so little money [$6,665]. On November 22nd, 1899, Sherman County’s handsome, new courthouse was turned over to county officials.”

PROGRESS. In 1905, the Observer reported that there was a pot-bellied stove in each office and a complex of chimneys in the attic. Will Raymond was commissioned to produce ten large photographs of Sherman County scenes for the county’s exhibit at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland and later for the courthouse walls, where they may be seen today. A jail and related supplies were purchased for $3,847 in 1905 and was located in the room the assessor now occupies. The assessor worked in the front room next to the clerk’s office.

CHANGE. Moore’s story continues. “Major changes took place in 1934 …the decision to dig a basement, construct walls, install a furnace and chimney for central heat and to put in a vault…work done as a relief project…under the leadership of county engineer, Hal White.” In 1941, the clerk’s vault was extended and the jail was moved to the rear of the courthouse. The brick on the south wall shows evidence of this move and brick replacement with matching windows. Upstairs remodeling accompanied construction over the jail, with chambers for the judge and jury. The handsome cupola was removed because of wind and storm damage by 1963 when Lee Gunnels painted the courthouse trim.

MORE CHANGE. Modern carpeting, tile ceilings, computers and glass doors joined delicate wooden ornamentation, filigree knobs and round-topped windows. The white picket fence is long gone; the jail is a museum artifact. New sidewalks and landscaping in 1999 marked the 100th anniversary of the county’s seat of government.

2. Sherman County Courthouse Groundbreaking and Open House, March 8

ShermanCoLogoThe public is invited to attend the official Sherman County Courthouse Addition and Renovation Groundbreaking Ceremony and Open House to be held Wednesday, March 8th at 1:30 pm at the Sherman County Courthouse in Moro. A brief groundbreaking ceremony will take place in front of the Courthouse to be followed by an open house in the Circuit Courtroom upstairs. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with project team members to learn about the project scope and timeline, review floor plans, see examples of interior and exterior finishes, and enjoy refreshments.

3. 7th & 8th Grade Girls in Engineering and Marine Science (GEMS) Camp, March 10-11

child.girlRegistration is now open for a unique camp in Newport focusing on science, technology, engineering and math for 7th and 8th grade girls on the Oregon Coast.

The Girls in Engineering and Marine Science (GEMS) camp will run from March 10 to 11 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, led by female faculty and graduate students from Oregon State University.

Participants will develop teamwork, communication and leadership skills and learn from mentors about what it is like to pursue a degree and career in engineering and marine-related fields. The girls will also engage in a variety of hands-on activities, get behind-the-scenes tours and spend the night in the shark tunnel at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where they will learn about additional career opportunities.

The camp begins at 9 am on Friday, March 10, and ends at 4 pm Saturday, March 11. Meals are included both days. Parents and guardians should register participants at no later than March 3.

The camp is made possible by a grant from Oregon State University’s Women’s Giving Circle and additional funding from the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. For more information on this and other programs, go to the Oregon Coast STEM Hub website at or contact Tracy Crews at

4. Town Hall: Stand up for Solar Energy, March 16

sun.circleStand up for Solar Energy! Environment Oregon brings the discussion to Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Thursday, March 16 from 6 to 8 pm. This town hall will discuss current solar efforts in the Columbia Gorge region and the importance of solar incentives for the growth of Oregon’s solar industry.  For more information, call 541-296-8600 x 201 or visit

5. Watch Your Language: A Euphemism

A euphemism is a word or phrase you choose when you think a certain word is too blunt or offensive to use. The word comes from two Greek roots: “eu” and “pheme.” “Eu” means good, as in eulogy (good words said about people, most often after they die) or euphoria (a good feeling). “Pheme” means speech, as in blaspheme (unfavorable words about something) or aphemia (loss of the ability to speak).

Let’s face it: Few things are worse than dying. So English speakers have come up with many euphemisms for death. Rather than say someone “died,” people say:

He passed away (or passed). She went to be with her Lord. He went home. She departed. He entered eternal rest. She was called home. He left this world. She succumbed. He lost his battle. She slipped away.

Those are pretty gentle ones. I’m not sure I understand the appeal of: Pushing up daisies. Giving up the ghost. Met the reaper.

Businesses have a treasure trove of words to avoid saying people are going to be fired:

We’re having a reduction in force. You’re being terminated (or let go). We’re downsizing, restructuring, streamlining, redeploying assets, right-sizing. Your position is being eliminated.

No one seems to know the origin of “pink slip” as a euphemism for firing someone. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with lingerie, though. In Britain, a euphemism for getting fired is “being made redundant.” That doesn’t sound soothing at all.

In war, a killing may be called “neutralizing the target” or “collateral damage.”

When the economy is in bad shape, no one likes to say so. Some familiar terms used when the economy is tanking: slow economic growthdownturnpause in recoverya period of uncertaintydownward trend.

The truth may hurt, but using clear, accurate terms for things is the better way to go. Euphemisms blur meanings, and, in the long run, sometimes sound worse than the original terms.

By the way, a “dysphemism” is a word or phrase that you use to make something sound worse than it is. If, say, you don’t like the cuisine in your workplace cafeteria, you may call it “the cafe of terror.”

BEES AND THEIR KNEES: After I used “bee’s knees” in a column recently, a friend went in search of the origin of the phrase. The Oxford Dictionaries website says that the phrase was used as early as the 18th century to describe something tiny or insignificant. Then, in the 1920s, American slang picked up a lot of descriptions of tiny things to indicate that something was to be admired. “Bee’s knees” was one of these.

Others were “the cat’s whiskers” and “the canary’s tusks.” But my favorite was “the flea’s eyebrows.”

YESTERDAY. A reader wrote to mention a broadcaster’s use of the phrase “yesterday night.” We agreed that it would be better to say “last night.” But I couldn’t find any guidelines on this. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

WHO’S ON FIRST? And today, I found an interesting lesson on the use of “first” versus “firstly.” Use “first.” You can’t go wrong when you listen to E.B. White, who wrote on the matter in The Elements of Style: “Do not dress words up by adding ‘ly’ to them, as though putting a hat on a horse.” Horses probably hate that.

Sources: Oxford Dictionaries,,, Random House, University of Oregon, Christian Science Monitor, Merriam-Webster.

~ By Bernadette Kinlaw, February 20, 2017

6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

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109-Year-Old Veteran and His Secrets to Life Will Make You Smile

Nearly 700 Miles of Fencing at the US-Mexico Border Already Exist 

Nearby TRAPPIST-1 has 7 planets 

Aleppo Is In Ruins, But These Kids Are Heading Back To School

Iraqi Suicide Bomber Ex-Gitmo Detainee



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