The Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House proudly presents Michael Gibbons “Oregon’s White Oaks Inside & Out”
Art Show & Sale October 6 through 31
Silverton —Michael Gibbons’ original oil paintings will be on exhibition for a full month to be sure everyone has time to visit and enjoy the views of the white oak trees inside and out. Gibbons painted the ancient white oak woodland plein aire in 2005 in a series of images to pay homage to the historic white oak savanna. Wright’s only Oregon building is a wonderful gallery of masonry and glass with views of the trees that inspired Gibbons’ art. The show and sale will be on display at the Gordon House from October 6 and 31. The house is open almost every day from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Call for hours and reservations. Guided tours are $10 per person. Art show admittance is $3, and Gordon House members are free. The public is invited to a reception for the artist Oct. 20 2:-7:pm.
Silverton’s Garryana White Oak Woodlands
A serene grove of White Oak trees just south of Silverton is a wonderful example of the remains of the historic hardwood forests that stretched from Canada to Central California through Oregon’s Willamette Valley. These trees are 200 to 400 years old and demonstrate the western valleys as the Native American’s experienced them thousands of years ago.
The Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) is important for two reasons. First, there is less than 1 percent of historic Willamette Valley native oak habitats still exists. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has identified oak woodlands and oak savannas as “Strategy Habitats” for the Willamette Valley. Metro has identified Oregon white oak savannas and white oak woodlands as “Habitats of Concern.”
Secondly, three birds and one squirrel are dependent on the Oregon white oak for habitat. These species are listed as Vulnerable Sensitive Species by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – facing one or more threats to their populations and/or habitats. These Vulnerable Sensitive Species are the Acorn Woodpecker, the White-breasted Nuthatch, the Western Bluebird, and the Western Gray Squirrel.
According to the Oregon Conservation Strategy, the Oregon white oak provides food and shelter for a variety of our wildlife. Stanley H. Anderson notes in Northwest Science that “Oak-dominated forests in the western part of the Willamette Valley have a higher diversity of birds in all seasons than adjacent conifer forests.” This is because Oregon white oaks are open underneath their canopy, allowing for more food sources for birds, such as insects, compared to the closed, tight confines of conifers.
Oregon white oak trees played an important part in the early history of the area around Silverton. Mature oaks provided an abundance of food for the Molalla and Kalapuya tribes that inhabited this area. They boiled the acorns to remove the tannins, and then ground the acorns into meal or mush. This tree’s large acorns mature in one season, ripening from late August to November.
The oak woodland served as an important meeting place for the native tribes and early settlers. A Camas meadow is an important part of the native plants in the woodland and a source of carbohydrates for the people. Historically, Oregon white oaks provide a sense of place and are a significant part in the history of this area.