Norm Maxwell

Norm Maxwell is the Lorane, Oregon author of a novel in progress, Banjo Lane, a comic tragedy about meth users in Lane County. He is a regular contributor to West By Norm Maxwell received the 2004 Best of West By Northwest award for his article, The Fire of South Canyon: Remembering Storm King. Tens of thousands of readers have “voted” with their mouse by their selection of this story. Visit Norm Maxwell’s other pieces about land use,  firefighting and life in the country and more at West By


Feb 3, 2002
Home, Home on Fire Road
Homeward Bound

Sep 5, 2002
The Fire of South Canyon: Remembering Storm King

Jan 2, 2003
Remember Fire Road
Our Quiet County Lane Became the Symbol of Lane County Government Land Use Law Abuse

Feb 12, 2003
Old Men and Fire
An Aging Work Force and a Salute to Norman MacLean’s “Young Men and Fire”

Feb 28, 2003
Three Dollar Hammers
A Hoe-down for Government Hoedads

Apr 7, 2003
Mentoring Military Style
Now we have an economic draft. “When I was a private we still had the draft and I don’t think that is such a bad thing.”

May 8, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: Dead Cars and the Six Million Dollar Manx
Of wonder cats and junk cars

(Editor’s note–Norm’s “Dead Cars” story inspired a feature story in the Register Guard, “Heaps of trouble in the woods.”)

Jun 21, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: The Story of the Spruce Tree, and Mosby Creek, a New Land Use Lot Adjustment
A kind of magic realism infuses The Spruce Tree while Mosby Creek Lot Adjustments magically appear

Jul 3, 2003
Wee-wee for B.B.
Standing Up as Citizens and as Working Folk

Jul 24, 2003
Remembering the 30 Mile Fire
Like Storm King, fire fighters leave stuff at this place too.

Aug 7, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: A Few Acres, a Few Chickens–Who Is Living on the Land Now
Changing Demographics Affect Rural Life and Land

Sep 27, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: From Forest to McMansion, How It Could Happen Here
Can Dogpatched, Deserted Cabins Be “Grandfathered In” for a New Development? Maybe…

Oct 14, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: A Last Look from the Big Rabbit
When a Jesus Nut Is Not Your Batty Cousin

Nov 13, 2003
Norm’s Notebook: Battling Broom
DEA, where are you when we need you?

Jan 21, 2004
Take Two: Jackson Road
There are two kinds of people in Lane County. Those who make lots of money from development–and those who don’t.

Jul 6, 2004
A Homey Homage to the Homelite: The Stone Age of Powersawing
Karen told me that she used to cut wood with this saw. | If this is true, she’s a better man than I am.

Aug 3, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: “Goodbye Dear, I’ll be Home in a Year”
“The recruiter is not your friend. | He will tell you of the wonderful army life that you may consider yourself privileged to qualify for. | The recruiter gets to stay in his home town as long as he supplies a steady stream of gumbies for the green machine. | He will tell you anything he thinks you want to hear to get you to sign up. | The only time a recruiter will lie to you is when his mouth is moving. | We don’t care what the recruiter says. | That is not why we serve.”

Aug 3, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: A Different Kind of Pre-Emptive Strike
I had no doubt that I was going to be dealing with this heap one way or the other and I might as well do so on my own terms.

Aug 20, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: A Helicopter and a Hometown
The winds of time have blown hard on Oakridge and Westfir

Oct 12, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: New Bike and The Three Acre Wood
Further adventures at Fire Road: A beauteous Bonneville and vole wars

Nov 16, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: The Wayward Bus
A stranded land whale tangled in vine maples… Moby Bus

Nov 30, 2004
Norm’s Notebook: Measure 37 Fallout

Jan 4, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: A Winnebago, Motorhome That Is
I inform the rat that it’s time to get a job and face the real world.

Feb 2, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: Replanting with Cedar and Pine
With Grandma’s hoe, I plant for future generations

Feb 25, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: The Mystery Corner of Section 37
“Subdivision plats often indicate how errors are to be distributed… If all lots are diminished, differences are distributed proportionately…” from Applied Field Surveying by King Royer

Mar 30, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: Norns and Nests
Of fowl and a cat, and a farewell to an old friend

May 2, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: Norm’s Notebook: Saving Fish Creek, One Dead Car at a Time
“Amazingly there are no log trucks or rubbernecks yet.”

Jul 8, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: Dogpatch and the Developers
Dogpatch represents some serious marketing challenges in order to get top dollar from the endless stream of wealthy land buyers who all want to be the last Californian to move to Oregon.

Aug 18, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: Is There Life After Fire?
The real physical dependency we need to look at here is my addiction to fire money.

Oct 5, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: A Day Doing Lines
I am working in the old Oxbow fire where everything was burned in ’65 and so there ain’t no blazes or tin tags or anything.

Dec 20, 2005
Norm’s Notebook: A Christmas in Lorane
One cold and foggy night down at the Grange, a community miracle happens.

Feb 17, 2006
Norm’s Notebook: Dead Cars – The 500 Club

Nov 24, 2006
Norm’s Notebook: If I Did It–Fences and a Purple Tutu
Good property lines make good fences.

Feb 7, 2007
Norm’s Notebook: The Brown and White Dress
A new brown and white checkered wool dress meant only sorrow for the young Linda.

Aug 24, 2007
Norm’s Notebook: Groundhog Helibase
“The pilot wants to know how much everything weighs before he tries to lift it with his machine. We fudge extra weight at any doubt. Always up. Never down…”