Today’s auction, an artifact from the future

I would like to present the artifact for your consideration and possible hosting:

Length: 83 miles.
Basin: 940 square miles.
Elevation at source: 4909 feet (1496 meters)
Coordinates at source: 44°49′17″N 121°47′47″W [2]
Elevation at target: 10 feet (3 meters)
Coordinates: 45°22′21″N 122°36′31″W [2]
Title: Clackamas River Basin Simulation.
Primary use Period: 2023–2031
Contributors: Citizens of the Clackamas region starting around 2000

A small and beautiful jewel. Delightful and lovely to roll around in your hands. Detailed, validated, so much work, such handicraft. Perhaps one of the finest products of late 2020 human culture. Available for your entertainment and amusement — note that the license allows for free redistribution given hosting capability.

Let us take a closer look shall we?

Let’s begin with the river itself. The Clackamas River begins at the Willamette and drains an area of almost 2500 km2. Largely forested in its upper reaches we see a lovely dovetail here with indigenous species and a few invasive species.

Closer in you can see salamanders, newts, frogs, toads, pheasants, quail, turkey, loons — all mapped into the system, their inputs and outputs both intrinsic and as a sentinel species. Look at this marvelous level of detail! Look at just the birds even — these raptors, gulls, murres, auklets, puffins — even pigeons — owls, crows, jays, swallows… does it ever end? Blackbirds, grackles, orioles, finches, pipits, waxwings, warblers — sparrows. Can you imagine? And then all of the key species fauna — bears and salmon of course — such an important indicator relationship. But also opposums, bats, pikas, rabbits, voles, coyotes, wolves! Even seals — and of course our nemesis: cats. You’ll see even sea turtles by the sea here, snakes and lizards. It’s all rendered in immaculate detail.

Most importantly, look at how urban growth zones are defined, estuary boundaries, effluent and sanitation tolerances. As you can see this model fully accounts for the land use of a quarter of a million people. You’ll recall that at one point there was an idea of Cascadia, a kind of bioregional government — while that didn’t come to pass in any formal sense, indeed here is the very thing — a working model used by these people to manage their footprint. It’s a wonder. Look at how carefully the mountain elevations are defined for both entertainment and forestry harvesting. The Clackamas provided hydroelectric power and drinking water for some of the larger metropolitan area, and even today still supports large runs of Coho salmon, spring and fall Chinook salmon, and summer and winter steelhead. Of course you can imagine the politics, and here you can see mapped out different regional use strategies — as well as strategies ultimately accepted scored across a triple bottom line of social, economic and aesthetic benefits.

In fact this very artifact you hold in your hand is literally a map of what led to the current health of this region! An astounding work of a quarter million minds and a rare show of persistence of vision given such a divisive and fickle species we are! Some of the greatest philosophers of the time such as Will Wright in fact posted to this project — and you can see his cryptographic fingerprint here!

Look at these old-growth forests, habitat for several species of birds, healthy fish runs, recreational opportunities for the citizens! Even The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System boundary is defined. There’s even a time travel option, you can roll the model back to see a crude estimation of early Native Americans settling in the river’s basin eons ago. And here you can remove or add dams and watch your inputs resonate across the system. Of course all the dams were removed once total costs were calculated and no longer externalized, but it’s still a delight to play with yourself and test your own ideas against.

SFO Hacker Dad Artist Canuck @mozilla formerly at @parcinc @meedan @makerlab