PLSO Oregon Surveyor July/August 2020

2 The Oregon Surveyor  | Vol. 43, No. 4 From the PLSO Chairman Jeremy A. Sherer, PLS Chairman of the Board MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN The Surveyor and The Stone SURVEYOR [sur-VEY-or (N)] One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge. See also WIZARD, MAGICIAN A definition is a reference point and is needed in order to get from one place to another. My daughter once said, “Dad, in order to think outside the box, you have to be inside the box.” She’s right. Without a beginning point, we would wander aim- lessly like our republic without virtue. To define something is to determine or de - scribe its end or limit; to determine with precision; to mark the limit; to circum- scribe; to bound (Webster’s dictionary). By definition, surveyors are the definition of “definition”— that is, we are in the busi - ness of defining things. We define things as they are, not in some abstraction, but as they are in reality. Many reading this article are familiar with the above defini - tion of a surveyor. In a comical way, there is some truth to the statement, but it’s not entirely true. Although it would be incon- venient, a surveyor, knowing its history, could start at the initial point of where it all began. Going back is difficult, and in a culture that demands instant grati- fication, it’s easier to be destructive and start over without a reference. When the Steering Committee was orga- nized, it was assigned to propose a vision for our organization. Before deciding on a vision, the first order of business was to agree on the definition of a surveyor. It is important to begin with a common understanding of a word so that discus- sions about our aims and purpose become meaningful. Fortunately, we have a long history to draw from. Unlike movements that have as their purpose to redefine society toward some abstract idea of a greater good, the institution of land sur- veying has largely remained unchanged since the “rope pullers” under Pharaoh. It may come as a surprise to many out- side our profession, but the institution of the Oregon Surveyor is as solid as the Willamette Stone. Amonument, like a defi - nition, preserves thememory of a person, thing, or idea. Over the years, our stone has been vandalized and finally stolen, but the location of it is secure, because it has a history and is known to surveyors as Latitude: 45° 31’ 10.31” N Longitude: -122° 44’ 37.67” W. The ongoing and re- cent destruction of our monuments and institutions is a rejection of our American culture and human nature in the hope of some perfected social order. Today, a brass cap with a plaque stands as a me- morial to our public land system, a system which is the basis for securing our right to property, and by extension, life and lib- erty. It is only through the preservation and protection of our property that we are secure in our life and liberty. So, let’s begin our definition of a surveyor at some known points along Oregon’s history. Today’s surveyor must be skilled and knowledgeable in areas beyond his or her license to include other disciplines. However, there is a temptation to define ourselves narrowly. Karen Zollman, from Land Surveyors of Washington, wrote “I wonder why, on one hand, survey- ors are so willing to narrowly define themselves—while on the other hand desperately trying to redefine them - selves so as to prevent encroachment by other professions.” 1 I believe she has a message for us. If the definition We define things as they are, not in some abstraction, but as they are in reality.