A precious memory of Bob Tidland

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category icon Columns, Opinion
Lloyd Halverson

I would like to share a special memory of Bob Tidland. This scene can help illustrate his character and community-mindedness. As Camas’ retiring first city administrator, I have had many, many fine days in the past 24 years; the scene I am remembering is among the finest hours.

As background, it is widely known that from former Mayor Nan Henriksen’s time on, the city wanted to have a network of open spaces and parks as part our quality community. So, one way and another, sites for new parks and open spaces were added to the city’s permanent “inventory.” The corridors of timbered greenways along both the Forest Home Road and the Ostenson Canyon were very attractive as part of our beautiful Camas setting. A site on the hill for a future park was also part of the plan. Over some years and conversations, we discussed these matters with Bob Tidland.

After some time, discussions and thought, Bob called and said I should come up and see him. I did, and we took a “tour.” Bob drove the tractor, and I stood by or sat on the tractor fender. He was confident, and smiling in his unique way. It was a glorious, beautiful day. Sunny, bright, with a great view. Bob showed me how he foresaw areas which should be open space, along the Ostenson Canyon, and the area which was best suited for a park. He envisioned the entry way to the area, and how a trail extension could run close to the creek. He had a vision which fit with the city’s intentions. He had a love of natural beauty and Camas, a generous spirit, and the wherewithal to “make it so.”

In three transactions, over about a decade, the Tidland family transferred a total of 27 acres to the city. Six and half acres of this are on the timbered steep slopes to the south side of Forest Home Road. You can recognize this area. When you travel up the Road, it is just before you get in sight of housing on the southwest side of the road. The greatest gem is higher on the hill, and consists of 20 acres lying southwest of the Ostenson Canyon and the creek. A future park, in a beautiful surrounding, will grace that site. It is legacy for the Camas community. Personally, I will long remember the tractor drive with Bob Tidland — it was a great and precious moment with a giant of a man.