This Rough Magic

At Home on the Columbia Slough

Reader Praise

This is a lovely and lyrical book—it gets to the heart of why we love the wild in our urban spaces. There is awe and wonder and surprise—at the soil and mud and leaves and trees and animals and insects—and also plenty of caution and hurt.
Susan Barthel, Columbia Slough Program Coordinator (ret.), City of Portland
A journey of discovery, joy and heartbreak honoring the plants and animals, as well as the conflicts and successes in the ongoing quest for balance between the natural and human-centered worlds.
Laura Guderyahn, Ecologist, Portland Parks and Recreation
An engaging story of a couple in search of paradise in an imperfect world. With a love of nature and a dream of a small farm, they find themselves in a tiny wild part of Portland’s industrial sanctuary. The strange and wild setting of their chosen home serves as a microcosm for the struggle to survive and the hope to thrive in a changing world. 
Nancy Hendrickson, Watershed Manager, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Captures the beauty, complexity, and challenges of life on Portland's Columbia Slough . . . It is a story of degradation and rejuvenation told by a couple with a keen eye for their furred and feathered co-inhabitants, often relegated to the shadows, but slowly emerging as the slough itself emerges from a century of neglect.
Bob Sallinger, Urban Conservation Director, Willamette Riverkeeper
Who speaks for the Columbia Slough? No one more eloquently than the authors of this down-home, down-and-dirty testament to one of the region’s most important and too often maligned greenspaces. The interweaving of their intimate, earthy stories with the environmental regulations, restoration, management, and—for too many years—mismanagement of this natural treasure makes for a fascinating read.
Mike Houck, Co-Editor of Wild in the City: A Guide to Portland’s Natural Areas and Wild in the City, Exploring The Intertwine
Gracefully written and sharply observed, this book moves beyond suburban naturalism to a place of hope, a vision of where we might start to find our way back to some kind of balance.
Kevin Canty, author of Into the Great Wide Open and Nine Below Zero