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One fine day for questions.

Byline: Bob Welch / The Register-Guard

THE POET James Russell Lowell once asked, "And what is so rare as a day in June?"

Only one thing I can think of: a day in June when you expect the monthly Q&A column and find something of actual substance. So as to not disappoint, here's June's trivia, based on your collection of questions:

Q. The bells that ring on the University of Oregon campus every 15 minutes - are those real chimes?

A. Sorry. They're electronic, with the speakers located on top of the Erb Memorial Union. For Saturday's graduation ceremony, for example, someone will plug in the "Pomp and Circumstance" memory card. Personally, I like to pretend they're real because they sound better that way. It's the same way I've trained my mind to believe that hot dogs are actually made of eight essential vitamins and minerals.

Q. Does the new sound wall on Interstate 105 have some sort of substance on it to prevent graffiti from sticking to it?

A. Nope, what it has is a sealant that allows such graffiti to more easily be taken off, says Don Ehrich, district manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Q. My son's high school history teacher said that during World War II two schoolboys were killed when they found a Japanese paper balloon bomb in the Astoria area. My son says a pastor and his family were on a picnic when they came across one of these unexploded bombs. Can you please settle this?

A. On May 5, 1945, six people were killed by one of the Japanese "Fu-Go" balloon bombs, not near Astoria, but near Bly in south-central Oregon. The Rev. Archie Mitchell, wife Elsie and children were on a picnic when the bomb detonated. Elsie and five children died, the only people killed by enemy action on the U.S. mainland during World War II. Information on the incident is on the Web at

Q. Is it illegal to throw a cigarette, burning or otherwise, out of a car?

A.Yes. It's called littering.

Q. On Highway 101 near Heceta Beach Road in Florence, the sign for southbound drivers says "Heceta Beach" and the sign for northbound drivers says "Haceta Beach." Which is it?

A. Heceta. As in Captain Bruno Heceta, who would undoubtedly be disappointed to know ODOT isn't using its spell checker.

Q. The 1993 "World Almanac of the USA" states that Oregon "boasts the largest extent of standing timber, the biggest sand dune and the largest geyser" in America. What geyser would the book be referring to?

A.Most likely a geyser in the Warner Valley, say, the Crump Geyser east of Lakeview or "Old Perpetual" at Hunter's Hot Springs north of Lakeview. But measuring geysers is an imprecise science, points out William Orr, UO professor emeritus of volcanology. "What do you measure, height? Volume of water?" Also, geysers fluctuate from year to year and decade to decade. Suffice it to say that Oregon has among the nation's largest, Orr says.

Q. Is that little concrete triangle on the south side of Sixth at Blair private property? It seems to be turning into a used car lot.

A. Yes. It is zoned C-2 (commercial), which allows for the resale of automobiles, says Tom Larsen, the city's transportation planning engineer.

Q. While on a walk with my daughter, I noticed, at the corner of 52nd Place and D Street in Springfield, "1976 Bob Welch" written in the now-dry cement sidewalk. Well?

A.Goodness, I feel like the murder mystery writer who's suddenly the prime suspect. I plead innocent. It's true I lived in Eugene for the first six months of 1976, before graduating from the UO, going to Bend to be a big-shot sports editor, setting up an interview with the local football coach, showing up at his house with notebook in hand, telling him I was from the - ahem - Bulletin and having him say, "Thanks for coming by, but the other carrier was here earlier to collect so I paid him." But, no, I'm not the Bob Welch you're looking for.

Q. Best Oregon-related trivia discovery of the month: Ray Bergen of Eugene was in Missouri recently when he heard on the radio: "Flash flood warning for Highway 58 near Pleasant Hill." Who woulda thunk? Missouri has a Pleasant Hill on Highway 58, too. It's just south of Kansas City.

Clarification: Last month's column may have misled some readers about the law regarding flotation devices in Oregon. All recreational boats, regardless of size, must carry at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device/life jacket for every person on board. In addition, boats more than 16 feet in length must also carry a throwable flotation device.

Bob Welch can be reached by calling 338-2354 or by e-mail at
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 13, 2002
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