killing jobs, economy in Oregon
Prospectors Association of America
By DIANNA BLAZO
Oregon’s Curry County has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state — and people, including children, who go to bed hungry. These are the facts and they will only continue to get worse until we do something about it.
The saddest part of this is that there is a way to alleviate some of these problems. The county is a rich mineral-bearing area. A short distance north of Brookings and the Chetco River on the mouth of the Rogue River is a small town named Gold Beach, so named because in the late 1800s the beach sands were so rich in gold that a miner could recover several ounces of fine gold in one day.
Further north is an area also noted for gold and platinum. Just south is a small creek that at one time was called Diamond Creek. You got it! Diamonds were occasionally found there.
As well as many gold claims, there were several gold mines — Frazier Mine, Golden Eagle Mine, and Young Mine — to name a few.
Borax was actively mined here for several years. Chromium is also present in this area. (I have heard rumors of a fresh find of chromium close by here). Cinnabar, a naturally occurring form of mercury, is found in this area. In the last century, lead and silver were mined in the Chetco River area.
Besides minerals, we also have a wealth of America’s largest natural resource — trees. We have pine, fir, oak, madrone, redwood and other timber.
Prospecting and mining for many different kinds of precious metals is part of our heritage. So is the harvest of trees, which were used to build the homes for all the immigrants that moved here to fulfill their America dream.
Yet, the government, in its infinite wisdom, decided to shut down the timber industry. Nobody can forget about the fiasco over the Northern Spotted Owl, which could only nest in old-growth trees.
So, we closed the forests to protect one species of owl and put hundreds of people out of work. Businesses closed and people moved away. Our children, the next generation, will leave when they are out of school to find jobs.
Our government also takes it upon themselves to close roads and block off access to our beautiful area. This not only affects the lumberjacks, it affects people who hunt, fish, pick mushrooms and prospect. All of this is an additional income for many people, some in the way of food for their tables and others to sell to pay bills and stay off the government dole.
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