What Does That Mean


signs at Cochran Pond

“What does that mean?” said Ralph.  

Ralph Anderson, the big tree guy, and I were exploring the site of the historic logging and railroad community of Cochran in Tillamook County, Oregon. The road we were following crossed railroad tracks belonging to the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad near Cochran Pond and we were confronted by “No Trespassing” signs, one each side of the road.

 “What is confusing you? The ‘No Trespassing’ sign appears to be in proper form.”

 “I’m not sure about ‘Violators will be prosecuted.’ Any defense lawyer would say, ‘It depends.’ There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.”

“Maybe the sign is for insurance purposes… you have been warned the tracks have been damaged and are unsafe. The risk is on the one who trespasses.”

“It depends.”

“You might have to tell your story to a judge. I’m more concerned about the Salmonberry Trail sign… the use of ‘intergovernmental agency’ seems pretentious and misleading,” I said. “The United Nations is an example of an intergovernmental agency. Maybe they meant ‘intragovernmental agency’ instead.”

“I think the sign means they are looking for donations to improve the trail.”

“No doubt. Before I give any donation I always check credentials.  I look at their IRS Form 990 and see how they spend the donations they receive. I’ll check out their registration documents too.”

At home, a few days later, I called Ralph to report on the results of an online search:

“Ralph, after a frustrating search of online resources, I have yet to turn up the documents I’m looking for. The Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency is more convoluted than a bowl of spaghetti. The web page for SalmonberryTrail.org is very professional… promises tax deductible status for donations… but doesn’t lead me to any of the documents required by the State Oregon. I am suspicious. I won’t be donating any money soon.”

Story and photo byLarry

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