I have this old photo of Oroville, Washington on my computer and it has always been of interest because it shows Oroville from about the same viewing angle as where I live. There are some buildings and features that are well documented and some still exist, though changed with time. Yesterday I happened to be viewing this image along with a set of newer images and was suddenly dumbstruck by something I’d overlooked earlier. A house in the old photo is still there, and the angle of reference was remarkably similar to what I can see looking my window. Clearly the person who took that photo was standing very near then to where I am today. Here is the older photo looking southeast toward Oroville’s old downtown.

Here is a more recent photo taken from the deck of our home.

If you compare the two images you’ll notice the home with the blue roof is also seen in the older photo. Notice too the coincidental relative location of the vertical rock face in the distance. That got me to wondering if I could approximate the place where the photographer, Gregg, was when his photo was captured.  To do this I pulled copies of the critical sections of the old and new photos and created some reference lines. I also added some identifying text to landmarks.

And I did the same with my newer photo. And to make it more interesting I removed the color and added sepia tones. Notice the remarkable similarity of the alignment of the far rock wall and the roof of the house.

What this tells me is that within a small margin of error, I was standing on the same line of sight as when Gregg took his photo. I could tell by other references that he was at a slightly higher elevation than I was. I thought I could refine it further using modern technology and get to within a few  tens of feet of the actual spot. And for that I used satellite photography from Google.

Here is a bird’s eye view of modern Oroville. My home at the bottom is in the yellow box. That is Juniper St above City Park. In the blue circle is the home identified above, and in the green box at the top is the rock face south of town a bit north of Cordell.

Then I created a line of sight line between 18th Ave and the reference house. I had placed a red dot in a circle at my house where my photo was taken and ensured the line of sight touched that and the top of the roof of the reference house where the reference line from the distant rock formation was. The result is, within margins of error, a line on which Gregg must have stood when he took his picture. I needed one more reference to find the exact spot.

It just happens that in Gregg’s photo the southwest corner of the Peerless building lines up with the northeast corner of the IOOF Hall. The IOOF Hall today is Eva’s Bakery. It amazingly has also been moved east from Main St and turned clockwise 90º but is otherwise still a useful reference. So back to Google’s satellite imagery and…

Now recalling the elevation of Gregg’s site is above my deck and the margin of error it is my bet that Gregg was standing northwest of my house (which wasn’t there until 1950) in what is now the alley between Juniper and Kay streets and what became 18th Ave and which happens to be upslope the exact amount to account for the elevation needed.

And that is how you spend the day keeping warm at 11ºF.

This is how you make people feel welcome in the Okanogan. A warm inviting place to get in out of the weather, shake off the cold, have a great cup of coffee and a pastry, and some conversation. The Malott Country Store – not your typical convenience store and not that far off the main highway. Close enough, in fact, to make it a habit.

Malott Country Store

Malott Country Store in Malott, WA

What started out as a barbecue and jam at our home turned into a blow-out jam today at the Pastime Bar and Grill. Tim Naillon, on hearing about our planned barby, offered to host the jam  at the Pastime and that’s what we did. We set up the gear around noon and after a quick sound check the music filled the venerable old brick and mortar building.

The performers included Lota Duarte, Sandy Vaughn, Randy Battle, Linda Pruitt, Ron Champagne, Steve Sher, Steve Kelley, Dennis Peterson, Steve Pollard, Aaron Steiner, Andy Martincak, and from Twisp, the Slow Children At Play band. Music from several genre filled the air – Jazz, blues, folk-rock, heavy metal, rock-a-billy, and some tunes that really don’t fit in any genre except perhaps alternative.

We’d like to thank all the patrons and musicians who showed up to enjoy a day of free-spirited music making – we have some amazing talent in our little world. And some special thanks too, to Dianna and Tim Naillon for hosting such a large-scale production on short notice. We had taken over at least half of the diner area of their facility with people and gear.

We took a trip to Wauconda this morning to take some photos for a Seattle newpaper and on the way home we decided to go through Bonaparte, Lost Lake, then up Havillah Road to home in Oroville. Along the way we noted a light dusting of snow on the hill tops. Too soon!!

Snow On Bonaparte

Snow On Bonaparte

And a quick stop at Lost Lake – it was darn chilly at 34º. We made it a really quick stop.

Lost Lake, Okanogan Highlands

Lost Lake, Okanogan Highlands

We also passed another dusting of snow on a roadside cut just 10′ off Havillah Road at Hungry Hollow Road. Might have to dig out the cross-country skis sooner than I thought!

It was such a nice day we decided a quick detour up Nine Mile Road was needed – good choice! There’s no time of the year this isn’t the most beautiful place on Earth.

Oroville And Cascades Beyond

Oroville And Cascades Beyond

An airplane crash (source: nwcn.com) that killed at least one person has ignited a fast-growing fire in the Okanogan Highlands. Aircraft are actively suppressing the fire but winds are hampering their efforts. Images seen from City Park in Oroville show the state of the blaze at the time of this story. Developing…

Update: It has not been established that this aircraft crash is related to the fires. Details to follow.
Update: The Omak Chronicle reports two victims in the aircraft crash and that it had just departed the Dorothy Scott airfield in Oroville.
Final update: InciWeb site is reporting what we suspected after an on-site visit – the aircraft that crashed did not cause the larger fires that ravaged the North Okanogan. http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4517/

5:30am, Aug 14
Thunder and lightning are pummeling the north valley this morning, and smoke hangs heavy in the area northeast of Oroville. The scars from the fires became evident even before the sun lifted over the far range. So often with natural disasters there is beauty to be found. The photos are quite large and may be slow to download. Click them to see a larger view.

Sunrise over the scorched north valley

Sunrise over the scorched north Okanogan

Blazing colors in the sky

Blazing colors in the sky

12:15am, Aug 14
An insidious wave of fire is crawling like a sidewinder snake down the hillside north of the Oroville-Chesaw road and it looks like this fire will burn through the night. This is well past being a horror story for the families living on Nine-Mile and the surrounding area. It is a terrible and helpless feeling to watch this fire wash over the homes of our friends.

North and East of Eder Mountain

North and East of Eder Mountain

5:30pm Update:
Homes spared by the inferno gleam like gems in a blackened void. This has been a sad thing to watch. A lone helicopter has been making runs with suppression water throughout the day. Out of sight from us there are surely many more fire fighters battling this thing. How do you thank these people for what they do? Words fail me.

Chesaw Road Fire

Chesaw Road Fire – click the image to see a full-size version