There will be a celebration of life for

Guy Swanson

Saturday, February 25, 2023

1pm - 3pm

McMenamins Kennedy School Gymnasium

5736 NE 33rd Ave

Portland, OR 97211


If you are planning on attending, please RSVP email at


Guy Richard Swanson peacefully passed away on December 26, 2022. A jack of all trades, Guy moved through life from one happenstance to another, cultivating relationships and building a lifetime of quirky stories and memories.

Born on June 26, 1943, in Portland, Oregon, Guy was the eldest son of Gus and Marie Swanson, both of whom immigrated from Sweden when they were young. He grew up in Valley Junction, near where Spirit Mountain Casino stands today, and graduated from Willamina High School in 1961. He then attended Oregon State University (1965), where he studied Production Technology and Business and served as president of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity before joining the Army Reserves as a cook for six years where his mornings were spent training as a soldier and the afternoons baking cookies. 

One Fourth of July Weekend in 1968, Guy decided to take his new car on a cruise and found himself at Lake Bill Chinook, which had recently been filled with the completion of Round Butte Dam. One look and he was in love. Something about the eerie ghost towns and epic scenery called to him. Guy followed the “land for sale” signs and met the owner of Three Rivers Recreational Area, a new "off-the-grid" landowners' community being developed. He put $200 down on a barren piece of land, making him one of the founding landowners. Guy then set forth salvaging scrap lumber, roofing tiles, windows, and any other materials he could find, earning him the CB handle, Packrat. Yet, with these hodgepodge materials and a lot of help from his brother, Tom, his new bride, and numerous friends, Guy "MacGyvered" a house with hand tools and a chainsaw. The Cabin, as it's now known, is a living testament to the power dreams hold. 

Life has a funny rhythm of ever-changing opportunities. Guy became an instant stepfather of two daughters after marrying Caroline in 1972. His career changed many directions over the years, from working for Freightliner to becoming a real estate agent, owning a newspaper delivery business to a cab driver. In 1985, Guy had met some local photographers through a colleague and learned that every major city had a photography gallery except Portland. The photographers weren't accepted in the art galleries because, at that time, "photography was not art." At that moment, the Photographic Image Gallery was born. Guy quickly engrossed himself in the world of fine photography, devouring everything he could about the craft, eventually becoming a foremost authority in the field. Through the Photographic Image Gallery, Guy bound himself to the Oregon business and tourism communities, serving as a member of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA) and the Downtown Retail Council as a signatory member of business owners who started the First Thursday Gallery Walk, still running today. 

While Guy loved his tenured career and the pace of the city, Central Oregon always beckoned. Whenever he could, Guy would escape to Cowboy Country and explore. On Memorial Day Weekend in 2014, he noticed a large gathering in one of the old Pioneer Cemeteries and couldn't help but introduce himself. This chance encounter led Guy to his final chapter, author. Hope Nance Cropley was born in Grandview, Oregon, in 1917, and before her passing in 2017, she recounted her life to Guy. Fascinated and deeply moved by her story, Guy began researching the area, cross-checking timelines, and documenting everything Hope said over numerous interview sessions. In March 2022, Guy published Finding Hope: The true story of Hope Nance, growing up in the homestead community of Grandview, Oregon. The book's release was his final gift, a tribute to one of his dearest friends.

Guy will be deeply missed, but his legacy of lasting love remains strong. He is survived by his two brothers, Steve and Tom; two daughters, Megan and Heidi; five grandchildren, Michelle, Alex, Andrew, Hannah, and Harrison; and an army of cousins, chosen family, and friends.

A celebration of life is being planned for the New Year and more information will be posted when arrangments have been made. If you are interested in attending or would like a copy of his book, please contact


After eight years of research, interviews and studying years of newspaper archives and maps I am ready to announce he release of my first book.  The absolutely true story of Hope Nance, the last surviving member of Grandview in the Lower Desert of Central Oregon. 

I spent one day a month with Hope for three years.   Born in homesteaders cabin, she tells of her birth, her loss of a mother, the memories of her siblings and her coming of age in a remote farm in the Central Oregon desert.   It was also drawn from six years of researchmg newspapers, interviews with relatives and friends, and the internet.   When she asked me if I could write her her story, how could I say no, this is her story!

For a copy of the book, email

Buy the Book


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