Miles & Eliza
Ages: Early 50s
Long Term Trinity Pines Couple
Trinity Pines is a subdivision of Hayfork known for prolific marijuana production.
How did you get into the marijuana growing industry?
Miles: It’s something that’s been part of the culture where we both grew up, and it was lots of people we knew, their parents. In Southern Oregon, it was a pretty normal thing. My family did it. And being that Eliza smokes it; it makes sense. It’s something that’s part of a rural culture.
What changes have you seen in the growing community?
Miles: We were seasonal in Trinity Pines for years and years. 2002 we bought a place. And we were super, super freaked out. We tried to stay under the radar. The word was, you shouldn’t mention you were in The Pines. Say you’re a tourist. And just stay under the radar.
Eliza: At first there was probably a dozen people growing out of the 50 or so people that were up there (in Trinity Pines). I figure we were actually part of a wave, because there were several other people who showed up at that time.
Miles: Because land was so affordable, and we were wanting to find a place where we could grow, and buy some land. And it was affordable, and that was great.
Eliza: Then there was a second wave, the first time where people that had been employees (for others already growing), and people who were hustling came and started their own business. They were employees or distribution on the other side. And that’s when there was shooting, lots and lots of shooting. That’s when it (The Trinity Pines Subdivision) developed its reputation. It was summer camp. They weren’t here to live; they were here to grow herb and get drunk.
What was the 3rd wave?
Miles: When there were women, and families. Lot’s of couples, kids, suddenly everybody was super relaxed and more settled. There was just less tension.
Eliza: The shooting died down.
How is it different now?
Miles: I would definitely say that newer growers feel entitled, and part of it is pot, but part of it is the newer culture, where they have no idea about how we got to where we are, and they’re used to instant gratification. (When I came here) I was just coming from living in the bay area (where I) had to move from place to place because of people with more money. Gentrification, basically. And it felt like that in The Pines, there was this new group of people with way more money.
Eliza: Way more money, and an entirely different approach to life. Somewhat like the entitled thing, just being able to expect that you can come in and just do anything and that’s probably when all the clear cuts and stuff started. There was a core group of growers, and they didn’t grow like that. Nobody did anything without permits.
Miles: Something I think is interesting is that in the past growing was a way for people not in mainstream society to make a living for themselves. People who weren’t going to necessarily have a career for whatever reason–some people can’t do that–but they could survive. Those folks are pushed out of the way now. There’s a way for people to survive that isn’t easy to do, and then it becomes mainstream and those people don’t have access to that anymore.
“In the past growing was a way for people not in mainstream society to make a living for themselves. People who weren’t going to necessarily have a career for whatever reason–some people can’t do that–but they could survive. Those folks are pushed out of the way now.”
Eliza: There’s two delineating moments for me: one was the first time we saw someone looking for work (Out of towners standing on roadsides with signs requesting work). And, how long ago do you think that was? Seven years? It’s been awhile? It’s a guess, but something like that. It means the word is out. It’s the beginning of the end to some extent.
And the other?
Eliza: When people started coming to town with water tanks in the back of their truck. That was something you just did not do. People just started getting real comfortable.
Miles: I’ve had discussions with people and they say, ‘why should I have to hide what I do?’ But it’s like, be respectful, and don’t draw attention to what you’re doing. Keep it down for all our sake.
What does the next step look like?
Miles: Corporatization, unfortunately.
Eliza: Fuck, I think so too.
Miles: Unfortunately. I feel very strong about people who have to survive off this. I’m very concerned they’re going to lose their livelihood. I’ve seen it happen in other industries.
“I feel very strong about people who have to survive off this. I’m very concerned they’re going to lose their livelihood.”
Eliza: Well, and just the idea of corporatization, I don’t think it’s necessary for it to go that way, but odds are it will. It’ll expose the underbelly for a boutique market as corporatization flushes out the mainstream. There will be different market shares, but it’s going to cut out a lot of people.
What do you think this means for our community?
Miles: Well, I think that if our community manages it well it could be a net benefit for the community at large, but if it doesn’t, and it goes immediately to corporatization, especially with all our land use issues here, it would be really easy for that money to just go elsewhere. It would be really easy for it to have no net benefit for the community.
And what do you think?
Miles: I think it could go either way, it could be a real benefit or it could be another crash and burn cycle. Like any other resource based economy that we’ve had here. There was logging, there was mining; there’s plenty of examples for how it could play out. And if it crashes here, what’s next? What’s next for the rural economy?
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Eliza: I’d like to say that it’s in our community’s hands to make this decision, and that it would be nice to be just one step in front of it instead of waiting for it to happen to you.