County proclaims Sept. 1 'Chip Bubl Day'
Chip Bubl wasn't sure why he was asked to attend a Wednesday morning meeting of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
A few minutes in, he let out a quiet chuckle as the realization set in.
Commissioner Margaret Magruder began reading a proclamation, announcing Sept. 1 would be designated Chip Bubl Day in Columbia County.
Bubl, who works at Oregon State University's Extension Office in St. Helens, has been with the office for 40 years.
He holds degrees in botany and horticulture and is known for teaching Master Gardener courses in the county.
With years of experience under his belt and a long tenure in Columbia County, he's become the de facto insect, agriculture and botany expert.
"He has been such an integral part of so many things in the county," Commissioner Magruder said of Bubl. "Not just the Extension; he's been involved in civic organizations. ... He's one of those people who shuns notoriety. He's a very humble guy."
Magruder, who also has a farming background, said Bubl once helped her establish a committee to deal with livestock and wool issues.
"I started Sept. 1, 1978," Bubl recalls of his position with OSU. "Our offices were in the courthouse at that time. We were deeply embedded in the county."
Since then, the OSU Extension Office has moved to its own space in St. Helens, but its presence in the community and county is still deeply entrenched.
"During his tenure, Chip Bubl has contributed immensely to the education, health and well-being of the citizens of Columbia County through many Oregon State University programs..." the proclamation states, noting programs centered around agriculture and small farms, as well as forestry, natural resources, gardening and invasive weeds that play a big role in rural life.
Bubl says his role with the university is to "be engaged with the agricultural community — large farms, small farms — to be engaged in community horticulture and natural resources."
Over the years, Bubl has worked on restoration projects, lent his guidance on salmon conservation issues, and often works in an advisory capacity to groups like watershed councils.
He's also the go-to guy for residents' questions about bees, bark, weeds and strange bugs.
"I get a lot of calls about a variety of things," Bubl says. "I just got off the phone with somebody about finding strange swirls in her lawn and little holes. You wouldn't believe the questions that come in."
Bubl is happy to oblige.
"There aren't very many of us that have the whole gamut of semi-ag and home gardening and stuff like that," Bubl notes.
With 40 years in, he knows he'll start thinking about retirement in the near future, but he's not there just yet.
"It's really nice. I've loved working with the people here. I've loved working with the county government, the commissioners, the staff I've had, and really with OSU. It's been a great experience," Bubl noted
What's the best way to celebrate Chip Bubl Day this Saturday, Sept. 1?
"If you have time, work in a garden you love, or go take a walk in one of the natural areas we have," Bubl suggests.