December 1, 2021

Hal Brown blog Nov. 1 - 2021

  "About Me" is here.  

November Edition. Go forward to December edition here.

My Daily Kos political stories are here. I will no longer post links to the stories I post on Daily Kos here at This will now be a blog with personal  stories illustrated with my photos from my various trips discovering scenic and interesting areas around the Portland, Oregon suburb where I live. I am always on the lookout for unique restaurants frequented mostly by local residents like the Scream'n Chicken (in Gaston) and Carlton Corners in Carlton. Most recently I found The Hitch'n Post in Molalla. (scroll down for photos). 

I just added a few new videos to my YouTube channel here. Check out the video of Willamette Falls.

Nov. 30, 2021

I decided to go to Molalla passing through Liberal, Oregon (click link below for more about Liberal)

The exact origin of the name of the community is lost in the past. Some believe that it was named for Liberal, Missouri (which was named for its Liberal politics). However the prevailing belief, shared by many old-timers including the late Dee Wright, a local historian, was that is was named because of the liberal credit policies of the local store.

I wanted to check out the unincorporated village of Liberal, Oregon because of its name. I wanted to see if there was a story to tell about a place named Liberal in the liberal state of Oregon. It is actually a part of Molalla. I'd never been to Molalla but Yelp indicated there were about eight restaurants to chose from. After driving about 45 minutes there was a sign indicating I was in Liberal. Here's what I found.

Click above to enlarge

Unless indicated under the pictures due to an error I made with uploading the photos only those so labeled will enlarge when you click them.

Click above to enlarge. The flag on the right is meant to support law enforcement.

From the numerous trucks carrying logs and fields full of them stacked on top of each other (below) it appears that lumber is one of the main industries in the area.

Click to enlarge

This Liberal church is on RT 213 along the way to Molalla. The photos of it can be enlarged.

Since 1900, we have been the only church building or community center in the community of Liberal, Oregon. As part of our community outreach mission, our church facilities are used as the meeting place of Cub Scout Pack 257, Girl Scouts Troop 12038, as well as the home for the congregation of the Redeemed Community Church in Oregon, "a non-denominational, bible believing, bible preaching church." This is what they believe.

Below: Just a barn I noticed in the distance taken at 12x magnification.

This is a giant sawmill and lumber yard. I estimate it covers about 100 acres.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 country store didn't appear to have been functioning for some time.

The real treat came in Molalla when I decided to eat lunch at the Hitch'n Post Cafe (reviews on Yelp). This is a very small restaurant with no pretense of being deliberately made to look rustic because it seems to have been pretty much untouched inside for decades.

Click to enlarge.

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The server and the patrons were very friendly including the men sitting at the table, pictured, who I could easily hear talking about rifles and pistols. They said hello when I came in and introduced themselves to me when I left. There were about seven men at two tables all of whom knew each other.

Click the people photos to enlarge them.

Below is the Hitch'n Post Burger. I ordered it without asking what was on it. With my Hugo Boss black leather jacket and color coordinated everything and I was dressed like a fish out of water, whatever that means. I was obviously out of place what with the cowboy types (it is a big rodeo town) who were wearing jeans and flannel shirts. There was no way I'd be mistake for a local.

Turns out I couldn't finish the burger and took a third of it home. It had a fried egg, large pieces of ham and bacon, tomato, onion, lettuce, cheese on it. Click the burgers to enlarge.

There are numerous rodeo photos on the walls since Molalla is known for its rodeos. As I walked around town and looked in the stores and the several barber shops I saw nearly a dozen men wearing cowboy hats. 

The town itself is a far cry from most of the gentrified cities and towns nearer to where I live. There are a few modern buildings like City Hall but many of them on Main Street are very shabby on the outside, for example the store in the photo below (click to enlarge):


More photos (some may be duplicates, I took so many)

Every 10 minutes or so a diesel smoke belching lumber truck would pass through town. CLICK TO ENLARGE:

 Below: some sidewalk repair.

There was no sign on the building with the horse but looking inside I could see it was a restaurant. It was closed.

Here's a Reuters story from 2020:

How a 'Hillbilly Brigade' saved an Oregon town from raging wildfires

Annual cultural events[edit]

Molalla is the home of the Molalla Buckeroo rodeo (it began in 1913, the same time as the city was founded) and the Apple Festival. The Pacific Coast Freestyle Championships, a model airplane aerobatic tournament, has been held there for 14 years in late July. Several Latino rodeos are held at the rodeo facility by "LaFortuna" in spring, mid-summer, late summer and fall, bringing tens of thousands of Latino families to celebrate in the community. The Fourth of July Parade, sponsored by the Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce, often sports 50,000 spectators. Many other minor festivals—Halloween on Main Street, Christmas in the City, Spring Fling, Easter Egg Hunt in the Park, Fishing Derbies, Trail Rides, The Brew Fest, The North Valley High School Rodeo—all add to the quality of life in Molalla.

Museums and other points of interest[edit]

There is a miniature steam train, the Shady Dell Pacific Railroad, in Molalla Train Park three miles east of Molalla.[12] An interesting and free exhibit of Rodeo History Honors the "Heroes" of Rodeo memorialized in large brass plaques placed in the sidewalks of Molalla's city core. The Horace L. Dibble House and the Fred Vonder Ahe House and Summer Kitchen are buildings in Molalla on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) that have been preserved by the Molalla Area Historical Society.[13][14][15] The NRHP-listed Rock Creek Methodist Church and William Hatchette Vaughan House are also in the Molalla area.[16]

Local Molalla area news:

October, 2021 here

Nov. 27, 2021

The lights go out at Costco

This is what it looks like when the power goes out at a Costco. Since they have skylights the the store wasn't plunged into near darkness and they didn't have to rely on battery operated lights (which I didn't notice).  Shoppers were hustled out and there were very long lines at the checkouts. Having just seen an old movie, How To Beat The High Cost Of Living, about three women robbing a mall supposedly in Eugene (Oregon ) which involved cutting the power I thought this would be a scenario for thieves robbing the Costco. It  just happened that when I left there was an armored truck in front and an armed guard carrying a money bag inside. 

Nov. 26, 2021

Hal gets the finger. 

The photo was taken in front of Mi Famiglia in Oregon City. I took this because of the items on the dashboard. I didn't see the woman behind the wheel and only saw she was giving me the finger until I looked at the photo. She got out of the car and belligerently asked why I was taking the photo. I said I had every right to do so. Apparently assuming I took it because I saw the red on the vehicle and thought it was blood she volunteered that it was candle wax which ended up there when she was having a fight with her boyfriend. 

She did have a dog inside the car. It was a small terrier.  

Mi Famiglia is rated one of the best restaurants in Oregon City.

Nov. 21, 2021

The town of West Linn is just across the river from Oregon City (Wiki). While I've eaten in several of the many Oregon City restaurants (Ranee's is a favorite) I'd never been to West Linn until today. I wasn't at all familiar with West Linn until I read about it in a couple of brochures. Between the park along two rivers and the downtown it seemed to be a worthwhile place to visit on a sunny but cool day which came after several days of rain.

Here's the website of the West Linn Historical Society.

There's a park (website) on the Willamette River where the Tualatin River (read Wiki) joins it, and a path which goes a ways up along that river. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the town.

Below, photos I took of the town of West Linn. It is obvious that no expense was spared in renovating the historic buildings on the town's main street which has lots of restaurants. Here's a list.

On the way back there were some good views of Mt. Hood and the other side of the Blue Heron Paper Mill and Willamette Falls. The mill buildings are going to be torn down and replaced with a park. Read about the Willamette Falls Legacy Project here.

 I'd seen the falls and factory building from the other side of the river many times (it is impressive) but never seen them from this side.

Below: Back over the narrow two lane bridge on Rt. 43 to Oregon City. About the Oregon City Bridge.

Like just about all of the rural Oregon towns I've visited, and I assume this is similar to other towns more than a half hour drive from Portland, Eugene, and Salem, the politics can lean right or be downright conservative. Aurora is no exception. I was glad to see the signs in front of one of the historic homes in the town. 

Politics & Voting in Aurora, Oregon (More here)

The Political Climate in Aurora, OR is Leaning conservative.

Marion County, OR is Leaning liberal. In Marion County, OR 48.9% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, 47.7% voted for the Republican Party, and the remaining 3.4% voted Independent.

In the last Presidential election, Marion county flipped narrowly Democratic, 48.9% to 47.7%. 
Marion county flipped Democratic in 2020, after voting Republican in four of the last six Presidential elections

The BestPlaces Liberal/Conservative Index
Aurora, OR is Leaning conservative 

Above and below: Aurora, Oregon, a town known for it's antique shops. Most of them are located in a cluster of old houses in the center of town across the street from the Colony Pub, also pictured below.

Click link above for Yelp reviews of the antique shops.

There are two places to eat in Aurora, the pub (website) and a fairly upscale restaurant, Filbert's (website) which requires reservations unless you want to wait an hour. I've eaten at the pub at least a half dozen times. The service is excellent and the woman owner is almost always there and willing to tell you the story of how she came to buy it. The food is typical for a thriving local pub which attracts both visitors and locals, in other words it is quite good.

Above: Not exactly an outlaw biker club member, this patron is a member of Bikers for Christ (read article here).

There's a pot store next to the pub.

There's also a museum (website) which I have yet to visit.


Nov. 18, 2021

You can often see Mt. Hood (which as an inactive volcano could erupt) or Mount St. Helens (our currently inactive volcano which actually erupted) as you drive around the Portland area. Sometimes you will come across views where you can see the two of them at the same time, albeit far apart. Generally both are veiled in mist or overcast so it isn't possible to get a clear photo. Yesterday was an exception for Mt. Hood. Click to enlarge photos:

Nov. 17, 2021

This unusual restaurant in a gas station is not on this list but should be. Here's another gas station restaurant in Florida.

 I don't know if Carlton Corners is the best restaurant anywhere which is also part of an operating gas station/ convenience store. Link to website below.

Click images to enlarge. Carlton has many restaurants for a city of about 2,000. It is situated in the heart of Oregon wine country (scroll down to Nov. 3rd).

Above: Critter Burger with sweet potato tater tots.


1/2lb patty consisting of a mixture of wagyu beef, elk, bison, and wild boar (hormone and antibiotic free) topped with blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and a dijonnaise spread. Side of clam chowder.

Above, the standard (without a bun) Hamburger with sweet potato fries and mushrooms


Country Natural beef patty on toasted pub bun, topped with our House burger sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions. 

Nov. 3, 2021 

Read my Daily Kos story about former Yamill County farm boy Nick Kristof running for governor of Oregon. 

Halloween drive in Oregon wine country - click photos to enlarge

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. Hood

The Srceam'n Chicken and the One Horse Saloon (or Tavern), right next to each other on the main drag in Gaston (pop 734, which is in the heart of WINE COUNTRY:

About the One Horse Saloon


Screamin' Chicken Diner, located in Gaston, OR, is your home for retro cookin' and delicious diner food! Our menu has a wide variety of retro diner favorites including chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, chicken wings, omelets, burgers, milkshakes, and more! We serve breakfast all day, so come and try our Traditional Screamin' Breakfast or one of our tempting french toast breakfast specials! Come on by for some good home cookin', we'd love to see you!


Established in 2013.

Screamin' Chicken Diner has been serving the Gaston community since 2013. Our mission is to provide delicious, retro cookin' in a warm and friendly environment. With over 3 years of success, we look forward to adding you to our history of happy customers.

Meet the Business Owner

Business owner information

Photo of Jeannette N.

Jeannette N.

Jeannette enjoys being able to serve the public at Screamin' Chicken Diner where delicious, retro diner food is the driving force of the business. Jeannette hopes to provide you with such a positive experience that you'll remember to return to Screamin' Chicken Diner when you're in need of a great meal with friends or family!

Not on Halloween:

Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

  I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...