Joe Blakely lives with his wife, Saundra Miles, in Eugene, Oregon. He has one son, Justin, and a stepson, Jonathan Baker. Mr. Blakely earned a degree in history from San Diego State College. While in college, he excelled in the writing of history term papers.
Mr. Blakely retired from the Office of Public Safety at the University of Oregon in 1999. After retirement, he decided to write about Oregon history.
Mr. Blakely has written 14 books about Oregon—eight histories and six historical fiction novels. He says his best work is his biography of Oswald West, Oregon’s rascally governor who wrote legislation in 1913 to set aside Oregon’s beaches as a highway, thereby providing public access. Blakely’s two Coast Highway 101 books, about building the coast highway through Oregon, have been most popular.
HERE ARE JOE’S BOOKS…
Murder on Oregon’s Coast Highway – 1961 by Joe R. Blakely (2017) – 140 pages
Charley Norman, a reporter for Portland’s Oregonian newspaper, is determined to expose the major prostitution operation that’s operating in the city. Now the crooks and pimps are calling with death threats.
His editor calls him into his office. “Charley, they want to kill you, too. Do you hear me?”
“We can’t let them scare us into silence,” Charley said. “It’s people like them who raped and killed my mother. They shot my father. I won’t stop writing about them. My father never did and I won’t either. I want these thugs behind bars or dead. Bruce, we got them on the run, looking over their shoulder. They’re scared…”
So begins the frightening story of Charley’s quest as he leads a chase down the length of Oregon’s Coast Highway in order to bring the crime boss to justice.
Bigfoot and the Ancient Forest by Joe R. Blakely (2017) – 36 pages
When Jacob, a biology student at the University of Oregon, finds Annabel in an ancient forest, sparks begin to fly. His story involves finding the love of his life, time travel, and something unexpected—Bigfoot.
I dedicate this book to Rosebud, my loyal black Labrador Retriever. In 1990, while traveling to plant trees in the Coast Range Mountains, Rosebud and I saw Bigfoot near Alsea Falls.
Deady Hall: A Ghostly Encounter – a Novella by Joe R. Blakely (2017) – 29 pages
On his graveyard shift as a University of Oregon Security guard, Joe finds an ancient relic, a piece of bone labeled Condon, in a Deady Hall classroom. His job was to return stolen property. After stuffing the relic into his pocket, he falls into a deep sleep. When he wakes up it is October 16, 1876 the first day of classes at the University of Oregon. A ghostly story unfolds. Joe never quite believes the dream himself until later in life he finds irrefutable proof that it really happened.
The Drain Black Sox of Oregon vs The Alpine Cowboys of Texas by Joe R. Blakely (2016) – 101 pages
In the 1950s small town semi-pro baseball ignited in popularity and blazed across our country like no other sport in history. Two teams epitomized this exciting era: The Drain Black Sox of Oregon and Alpine Cowboys of Texas. When these two teams collided for the national semi-pro championship in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, it produced one of the most rip-roaring games ever played in semi-pro history.
Outfielder, Dan Luby said, “it was magic.”
Rebellion, Murder and a Pulitzer Prize by Joe R. Blakely (2015) – 218 pages
Llewellyn Banks, the so-called dictator, tried to take over the Medford and Jackson County government in 1933. The chaos he created climaxed when he murdered the popular Medford Constable, George Prescott. This sensational trial was moved from Medford to Eugene, Oregon. It pitted the most respected lawyers in the state against each other. As the trial unfolds, so does the story of the Jackson County Rebellion.
Building Oregon’s Coast Highway 1936-1966 by Joe R. Blakely (2014) – 174 pages
From the devastating 1936 fire in Bandon, Oregon to the building of the Columbia River Bridge in 1966 this story charts the epic journey of building Oregon’s spectacular coast highway across a steep basalt cliff, through Arch Cape, bridging Thomas Creek gorge and leveling mountains. When finished the highway had closed the last gap in U.S. Highway 101 from the Canadian border to Mexico.
Oswald West:Governor of Oregon 1911-1915 by Joe R. Blakely (2012) – 200 pages
This well researched biography of Oswald West brings to life the daring Oregon governor who tracked down criminals, closed down the lawless town of Copperfield, Oregon by pitting his diminutive private secretary Fern Hobbs against gun-toting saloon owners, saved the state’s beaches from developers, and won women the right to vote.
Crisis in Greenville: A Novel About a Threatened Baseball Stadium and a Team of Rejects by Joe R. Blakely (2010) – 224 pages
Jack Mayfield was a prominent real estate broker, and an elected official to Greenville’s City Council. When he heard his beloved Giants were leaving town he couldn’t believe it. A group of investors now wanted the stadium’s property, the very stadium that Jack’s grandfather had led the city to build, back in the 1930s. Jack had one month to put together another team and save the stadium.
Eugene’s Civic Stadium: From Muddy Football Games to Professional Baseball by Joe R. Blakely – 124 pages
In 1938, residents of Eugene, Oregon, faced twenty-five percent unemployment. In spite of that, the entire community rose up and built Civic Stadium, the town’s biggest WPA project. From the heroics of the first muddy football game, to the popular Lumbermen’s baseball teams, to Eugene’s participation in the historic Pacific Coast League, this story ends with the placement of the stadium on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Kidnapped… On Oregon’s Coast Highway (1926); A Novel by Joe R. Blakely (2007) – 212 pages
A historical novel about the travels of a team of journalists up the Oregon Coast Highway during its construction in 1926, and their stalking by the woman’s former fiancé as he tried to overtake them.
Lifting Oregon Out of the Mud: Building the Oregon Coast Highway by Joe R. Blakely (2006) – 112 pages
Oswald West, Oregon’s rascally one-term governor, wrote historic legislation in 1913 that set aside Oregon’s beaches as Oregon’s first coast highway. By 1919, building began in earnest and moved the highway east of the beaches and punched it through four hundred miles of the most rugged and remote terrain on the continent. This breathtaking story concludes in 1936 with an array of five stunning bridges designed by Oregon’s premier architect, Conde B. McCullough and resulted in creating one of the most spectacular coastal highways in the world
The Heirloom – A Novel by Joe Blakely (2005) – 250 pages
A novel set in Bandon, Oregon, in the 1920s about the historic Nestle condensed milk factory, loggers and moonshiners, the Coast Guard and a wild sea adventure around Cape Horn.
The Tall Firs: The 1939 Story of the University of Oregon & the First NCAA Basketball Championship by Joe R. Blakely (2004) – 70 pages
In 1939, the University of Oregon roused the Pacific Northwest from the hardships of the Great Depression as its basketball team, known as the “Tall Firs,” took on an defeated Ohio State in the first ever NCAA basketball championship.
The Bellfountain Giant Killers: The Story of a Small Oregon High School and its Miraculous Championship Season by Joe R. Blakely (2003) – 68 pages
In the 1930’s basketball was a different game. After each goal was another center jump. It slowed the game tilting the outcome to the school with the tallest players. Still, one of Oregon’s smallest schools went to the state playoffs anyway. With just eight players, the smallest team in the tournament, at Willamette University, in Salem, Oregon, in 1937, Bellfountain took on and defeated the largest schools in the state. It is a story of coaching and inspiration. They did the impossible and lifted the spirits of a depression weary Oregon.