• Downtown Business Lease Roulette
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    brew stationCorvallis has a wonderful downtown full of historic charm, modern amenities, and a classy collection of small businesses. Not coincidentally, Corvallis has also boasted a thriving and welcoming business environment for many years. However, while we have seen many places come into being, we have also waved goodbye to a fair share as well.

    Businesses can fail for myriad reasons, but the hardest to witness and undoubtedly the hardest to endure is the failure that could have been avoided.

    Some of the most public and decisive failures in the downtown core have occurred when an otherwise popular business loses its lease, sometimes after many years in operation. Think Brew Station, Young’s Kitchen, and Sunnyside Up. The reasons a business loses its lease can certainly be financial, but in some instances you also find personality conflicts or even just a failure to communicate.

    So what can be done to help avoid these situations? Local commercial property insiders share their tips.

    First, Negotiate Your Lease
    You have done your homework. You know your target demographic, your customer base, your budget has been estimated… all systems are go—only thing left is the building. After spending a few weeks pounding the pavement, you have found a few options to consider. Here is where it starts getting tricky.

    Dale Kern, co-owner of Commercial Associates full service commercial real estate firm, explains that negotiation starts with a letter of interest basically summarizing the four or five main deal points: price, terms of use, modifications, who the tenants are, etc. Once the lease is prepared, reviewed, and agreed upon by both parties, it is signed and becomes a legally binding contract.

    “The best way to do it, I would say, is to negotiate on the front end during your lease preparation some options to extend [your lease] that are already built into your lease agreement,” he said.

    There are many variables that go into determining the duration of a lease term. While it is possible to find month-to-month and yearly lease terms, often a landlord may require a longer commitment. Kern explains that if renovation or remodeling is part of the contract, especially if the landlord contributes to the cost, a lease term of three, five, or even seven years may reflect that investment.

    However, if it takes your business two to three years to start generating the kind of returns you imagined, the expiration of your lease could be right around the corner and counting on your landlord to renew your lease is not a safe bet.

    “It could be that the market changes and you are way below market and the landlord wants to get you out because they could get more rent,” explained Kern, “or it could be that another tenant likes your space and contacts your landlord before you do and enters into an agreement to give that space to them.”

    “If you negotiate it into your lease prior to signing, then it’s a contractual right [to extend your term] that you have should you choose to exercise it,” he said. “If you think about it, if you sign a five-year lease with three five-year options, that gives you the right to be in that location for 20 years, even if the landlord doesn’t like you.”

    We have seen similar situations here in Corvallis before. Having written a short eulogy for the late Sunnyside Up in 2016, I witnessed the confusion a 30-day eviction notice can have on an established restaurant.

    Former owner Jon Gold told me he felt personal motivations were afoot when he received his lease termination letter. For the past 13 years he had paid his rent on time and grown his business into a cornerstone of the community. Suddenly his landlord, Copper-Gutter Properties Inc., pulled the rug out from under his feet. Despite offering to pay higher rent or even purchase the building, his landlord would make no deals.

    “The law does not really protect commercial tenants who don’t protect themselves through negotiating their lease agreements,” said Robert Mauger. As an attorney operating a two-person practice in Corvallis, Mauger handles civil transaction and litigation for landlords and tenants as well as business real estate and probate matters.

    Mauger explained, “Once your lease runs out, and your landlord for whatever reason doesn’t want to renew the lease, you’re relatively out of luck.” He elaborated, “Obviously a landlord couldn’t discriminate based on a protected status like race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, but personal animosity—your landlord just doesn’t like you anymore—that would be a perfectly valid reason to stop renting to someone.”

    Mauger echoed Kern, suggesting, “One of the things a tenant can do to protect themselves is make sure they provide a base term that is adequate for the length that they want to run their business and the right to renew their lease at the expiration.”

    However, Jonathan Kurtan, owner of Foundry, a co-working space for creative professionals, has a different perspective on what to look for in a lease agreement given his unique clientele and service. At the time of this interview, Foundry had been in operation for almost four months—and there has been a bit of a buzz.

    “I think a lease can definitely aid in the idea of how long can I try this or experiment with this before I have to make a decision as far as is this going to work or is this not going to work,” he said. “Will I be able to give this a shot, but also get out of this if I have to? Especially in the times we live, things could turn on a dime.”

    Kurtan also pointed to the clarity of obligations within a lease agreement. What is required of you to hand the space back over when you do leave, who is responsible for repairs, what can you be held liable for?

    “I think legal language can be quite vague, and so you might sign the lease not understanding completely what you are signing,” he explained. “I would say that is what stresses me the most about leases, and that goes for residential leases as well: ‘What does this mean?’ and ‘What am I signing?’”

    Disaster Recovery
    In the final weeks of Sunnyside Up, Gold told me he estimated that if 500 customers donated $100, he could afford to move his kitchen. It was ambitious and despite lots of community support, Gold never raised the $50,000 needed to pick up shop. He needed a disaster recovery plan.

    “A disaster recovery plan says, if we lost our lease or our building was damaged and needed repairs for a prolonged period of time, what do we do?” explained D. Scott Smith, a local strategy consultant, motivational listener, and business coach.

    He told me the story of Equine Exchange, which used to be in town near the train tracks in an old building. At one time it was a commercially zoned property; however the zoning changed and they were forced to leave the building. Luckily they were able to relocate to East Gate Plaza on Highway 34.

    “Here is an example where the landlord didn’t want to kick them out, they had a tenant that was happy to be there, but the laws changed,” he said. “A lot of things happen in and out of your control, there has got to be some preparation beforehand.”

    To put this in perspective, Kern suggests considering what kind of business you have. A small insurance company could be moved across town by hiring some movers to collect desks for around $500, while moving a kitchen into a building that was formerly a restaurant might run you some basic remodeling costs.

    “If you are moving it into a building that was never a restaurant, then that’s going to be grossly expensive because you have all the health department codes, the hood, and the gas lines to bring in,” said Kern. “That could cost $100,000.”

    For Gold the disaster was not having extensions built into his lease nor the cash on-hand to up and move on 30 days’ notice. However from Kurtan’s perspective, maintaining the reserves necessary to move an entire business on short notice is easier said than done.

    “I definitely think that is a good practice for any kind of business, especially for startups,” said Kurtan. “But at the same time, I don’t think it is very viable for a lot of businesses in the early stages, especially in the stages where certain businesses aren’t making profits for a year or two. Where is that money going to come from?”

    “While it is great in theory, I think it’s probably out of reach for most businesses, especially ideas that are more unique,” he said. “For me specifically, I have considered the risks involved in starting a business that is new to an area.”

    Business Relations
    Business is known for the dog-eat-dog mindset, but it is also very much a balance of relationships as well. In a small town like Corvallis, your reputation and word of your deeds can spread fast. Maintaining a good relationship and healthy communication with your landlord, professionals, and other business owners is crucial to success in downtown.

    For Gold, it came as a shock when he received an eviction notice a month before he had to vacate. Kern explained that typically if a lease has no built-in extension options, a landlord requires at least six months’ notice of your interest in renewing the lease.

    “The sooner that you talk to your landlord, the better off you are because now your landlord knows you would really like to stay and might be more willing to engage in a conversation about extending that lease,” he said. “The landlord’s goal is to get a good tenant in the building and a tenant that is successful—one that builds a good business and pays the rent and maybe even pays small increases annually, so the landlord makes more money and has surety that income stream is coming in for years and years.”

    However, one must be mindful that most commercial landlord-tenant law is contract law in Oregon. In other words, nothing you agree upon during a friendly chat is legally binding until the ink is on the paper.

    On a similar note, Cap Berri suggests bringing a qualified professional into your service. Berri is the Chief Operating Officer and the Head of Brokerage at NAI Global, a global network of owner-operated commercial real estate brokerage firms located in Portland. NAI Global also manages some properties in Corvallis.

    “In terms of the market, for them to get a fair deal their best bet is to retain a qualified real estate broker who can advise them,” said Berri. “It’s the broker’s job to know what the market is, they are going to know the market because they are doing deals between landlords and tenants all the time and it’s part of the research they do.”

    Berri believes that the best relationships are long-term, attesting that in some cases a landlord may even pay the commission of a broker for the tenant, and that a broker familiar with your business venture can better serve its needs.

    “I think the key thing to be aware of, and you’ll hear this consistently throughout the industry, is that landlords don’t kick out or terminate leases on good tenants,” said Kern. “Landlords often times go out of their way and spend more money than they have to, to do what they think they need to do to help their tenant be successful.”

    From Kurtan’s perspective, one of the most important aspects of starting up in our area and penetrating the Corvallis business culture is contacting people directly and learning from their experiences.

    “You might save yourself time and money by just on-the-ground talking to people, but at the same time get in touch with people who have started similar ideas, if there are similar ideas out there,” he said. “Everybody, same industry or not, will have some insight to share.”

    Checks and Balances
    Entrepreneurship is a life-changing experience, so would-be businesspeople should make sure it changes their life in a good way. Double- and triple-checking lease agreements before signing off—making sure they understand and actually agree to everything in the contract—and importantly, negotiating for the opportunity to renew. Planning a recovery strategy is good business; it helps one expect the unexpected and provides an idea of steps to take. Finally, entrepreneurs need to make nice with not only the landlord, but all the professionals and community members they can. These are the people that can help you through the tough times.

    Corvallis boasts a warm and inviting downtown business environment. For many, this has been the case but for some it has been a cold landscape devoid of compassion. The reality is likely somewhere in the middle, but until we find a way of making business more fun for everyone, consider these simple tips before you take the plunge.

    Kurtan leaves us with this last tidbit to consider: “When you are making your calculations, whatever you budget for in the beginning, you might as well double that.”

    By Anthony Vitale

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  • Become a Citizen Scientist
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    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    In a world that seems increasingly hostile toward evidence-based science, community involvement is the tonic. Citizen science delivers the general public simple, accessible ways to become involved in the collection of scientific data in their own community—connecting people to their place and providing valuable contributions to scientists and researchers.

    OSU and the greater Corvallis scientific community have a number of opportunities for the layperson to get involved in exciting science being done locally. Find one that suits your fancy!

    Oregon 2020
    Bird nerds, unite! Oregon 2020 is a collaboration of professionals and citizens dedicated to high-quality, statewide measurement of the abundance and distribution of Oregon birds by the year 2020. Because birds are sensitive to environmental change and play important ecological roles, understanding their responses can inform us about how ecosystems can withstand a changing environment. There are several ways to get involved with Oregon 2020, including simply counting how many birds you see or hear in your backyard within five minutes and submitting the results to eBird. If you’re looking for an excuse to travel, sign on to travel to the Hotspot Squares located all across the state to count birds there. Not a bird expert? Attend one of the Oregon 2020 events to improve your birding skills and connect with other citizen scientists!

    For more information, visit www.oregon2020.com.

    Oregon Season Tracker
    The snowstorms in the Willamette Valley this winter may have reminded you that climate is something we all interact with, whether we like it or not. The Oregon Season Tracker (OST) aims to connect the Corvallis community to climate researchers studying the interaction of weather, climate, and local ecosystems. OST hopes to equip citizen scientists to help improve the understanding of weather patterns and ecosystem responses to environmental change. Volunteers gather scientific data on precipitation and seasonal plant changes at a specified location, such as their home or school. The data will be used for scientific discovery and decision-making by researchers, resource managers, and educators across the state.

    Interested in becoming a trained observer? For more information or to become an OST observer, visit www.oregonseasontracker.forestry.oregonstate.edu.

    Environmental Preparedness & Resilience Empowering People (EPREP) Citizen Science Project
    Environmental contaminants have been a hot topic in the news lately, and the EPREP is a great way to help monitor local air quality. The EPREP is a program designed to better understand air quality and chemical exposure with the help of a simple, lightweight wristband. The wristband functions as a passive sampling device and can detect pesticides, flame retardants, nicotine, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. You can simply wear the wristband in your day-to-day life, send it to the lab, and scientists can determine what environmental contaminants you were exposed to.

    The EPREP will start recruitments again in the summer of 2017. Stay tuned to www.eprep.oregonstate.edu for more information about upcoming opportunities!

    By Keely Corder

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  • Death, Romance, Comedy, Action
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    imageLast summer, we wrote about how to escape the heat in Corvallis: head to the theater. Now it’s time to escape the cold, and the endless rain we all know will extend through summer. But a break from the elements is not all the theater is good for.

    The amount of work that goes into a stage production can be masked by the sense of ease emanating from that same stage. And as it turns out, Corvallis puts a lot of work into its performances. Here’s what’s coming to stages near you:

    Corvallis School District

    Cats
    Since 1981, Cats has been making the rounds to theaters around the world. From Feb. 23 to March 12, it will grace the Corvallis School District Theater’s stage a total of 13 times. The musical’s main event features a ball, where a tribe of cats decides which one of them gets a chance at a new life. To be clear, the district would like you to know, “This is not high school theater. This is professional theater done with high school kids.”

    Tickets are $12 for adults and seniors, $10 for students (ages 11 to 19), $8 for youth (ages 5 to 10), $5 for kids (4 and under), and $5 with SNAP benefits.

    Albany Civic Theater

    Big Fish, The Musical
    The story of Big Fish began as a novel, was recreated as a film by Tim Burton, and is now incarnated in musical form directed by Christi E. Sears just across the water in Albany. Set in the American South, Big Fish is a story about a man who likes to tell stories of his own epic adventures. Opening weekend has passed, but there are three weeks left of this production, which extends through March 4 every weekend.

    Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $12 for seniors and juniors.

    The Trouble with Cats
    When a Minnesotan double-books two families to house-sit for her, an immediate clash between classes abounds. Oregonians might resonate with this one, as one family is full of vegans and free spirits, and the other is upper middle class from the Northeast. It wouldn’t be complete without the neighbors getting involved, and a lost cat too. Director Scott Harvey presents The Trouble with Cats on weekends from March 24 through April 9.

    Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for seniors and juniors.

    OSU

    For the Love of Lies
    For the Love of Lies is a romantic comedy in the form of Commedia dell’arte, an Italian form of theater that relies on a balance of improvisational and staged actions. It’s your basic trope of two people fighting to live happily every after, and Director Dan Stone says to expect some very “crude behavior” and “adult situations.” Dates for this production are Feb. 16 to 18 and Feb. 24 to 26 at OSU’s Withycombe Hall Main Stage.

    Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, $8 for youth/students, and $5 for OSU students.

    boom
    OSU’s student-oriented Lab Theater presents boom, a quirky comedy written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Reed Morris. It’s the story of Jo and Jules, two students who meet up for an unusual encounter of sexual nature—but mystery ensues. Catch the student production on March 9, March 11, and March 12.

    Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, $8 for youth/students, and $5 for OSU students.

    The Majestic

    http://www.majestic.org/2016-2017-majestic-theatre-season/

    Terry Pratchett’s Mort
    Based on the novel of the same title, Mort is a play about a guy named Mort who gets offered a job from Death himself. Apparently Mort’s leadership style is emotional rather than rational, which is revealed through his encounters with characters like wizards and talking door knockers. Again, opening weekend has passed, but the Majestic is putting this on through Feb. 19.

    Tickets range from $14 to $16.

    Terra Nova
    The Majestic Reader’s Theater brings you Terra Nova, a play set in 1912. Five Englishmen and five Norwegians head to the bottom of the Earth, and only the Norwegians return. This chilling and sobering play is directed by a guy with hands-down the best last name, Don Taco. Catch this at either 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Feb. 26.

    Tickets range from $10 to $12.

    Crossing Delancy
    Susan Sandler’s romantic comedy is set in New York’s upper West Side. It follows the story of Isabelle, torn between someone she has nothing in common with and a guy she’s wanted the attention of for a while. The Majestic Reader’s Theater presents this on March 25 and 26.

    Tickets range from $10 to $12.

    Evita

    Evita is a musical about Argentina’s First Lady Eva Perón. Latin, pop, and jazz-influenced scores follow her complex life from actress to a First Lady focused on social justice. As First Lady, she fought for workers’ rights, health care, and brought women the right to vote in Argentina before she died at the age of 33. Evita is on the Majestic’s stage from May 5 to 28.

    Tickets range from $20 to $25. 

    By Regina Pieracci

     

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  • Garter Snake Vibes: A Tale of Pheromones and Mating
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    GarterSnakeCoverEvery spring, red-sided garter snakes in Manitoba, Canada emerge from hibernation in an intense quest to mate. Female snakes emerge with high levels of circulating estrogen, resulting in pheromones strong enough to set male snakes in a frenzy. Up to 100 male snakes frantically and simultaneously court a single female in a tangled, writhing mating ball. In the size of the average living room, there could easily be 100,000 snakes breeding at one time.

    Bob Mason, Professor of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University and renowned garter snake researcher, explains his fascination with the system as a graduate student.

    “What struck me when I was a young pup – everything that we were working on regarding reproduction had to do with pheromones. If the female didn’t produce them or the male didn’t detect them, all reproduction came to a halt,” Mason commented.

    A pheromone is a chemical produced by one individual that effects a change in the physiology or behavior of other members of the same species. But why use snakes to study pheromones?

    Mice, the popular girl in the room when it comes to biological research models, also use pheromones to help facilitate mating. Scientists can manipulate mice pheromone systems using specific gene knockout breeds, resulting in a total inability to produce or detect pheromones. However, even without the use of pheromone signaling, mice are still able to mate. Biologically clever, mice have evolved all kinds of redundant systems to facilitate mating even when one cue goes missing – great for them, bad for researchers trying to understand mating cues. Snakes, on the other hand, are easy to manipulate and yield much more pronounced effects.

    “Evolutionarily, snakes haven’t evolved redundant systems. So that makes it a really powerful tool to study reproductive biology,” said Mason.

    Mason’s recent research is examining how pheromone signals are received and transduced into behavioral effects.

    Garter snakes are covered with a thin layer of fatty lipids that prevent subcutaneous water loss and keep them from drying out. Pheromones are part of those skin lipids on the surface of female snakes, which send signals of their reproductive status to the males. Pheromones are detected by the males via tongue flicking, and then activate a cascade of events in the brain to affect mating behavior.

    Now, we all know oil and water don’t mix. Mason and his colleague, Mimi Halpern, were interested in understanding how lipid-based pheromones could travel through a water-based organism to elicit their effects. They looked to the harderian gland, the largest cephalic gland in vertebrates, yet not well understood. They discovered that, in snakes, this gland is the source of fluid containing binding proteins that pick up pheromone molecules on the tongue and carry them into the volmeronasal organ for sensing. If the harderian glands were surgically removed from snakes, mating was abolished.

    An observant undergraduate student in Mason’s lab noticed that snakes with the harderian glands removed weren’t feeding normally – usually devouring worms immediately, these snakes would only eat worms that were dangled in front of them. To their surprise, the removal of the harderian glands had also rendered the snakes incapable of chemically detecting food.

    Mason emphasized, “Here we have one system – the harderian gland and its binding proteins – that serves as the linchpin for the two most important life history events for this animal: breeding and feeding.”

    What’s more is that snakes with harderian glands removed eventually regenerated these structures and regained the ability to detect chemical cues. Mason added, “Very few organs regenerate. These glands are so important that they regenerated – and quickly!”

    Mason’s research group is starting to utilize transcriptomics and the fully sequenced garter snake genome to answer further questions about this system. Now, Mason only wishes he could discover the fountain of youth – “Science being done now is spectacular. Huge scientific questions are going to be answered in this decade. It’s a fantastic time to be involved.”

    Bob Mason received the Oregon State University F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science in October, and will be giving a featured lecture at OSU in the spring – stay tuned!

    By Keely Corder

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  • Gary of Gary’s Auto Talks About a Thinning Industry
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    GaryMahanaI had the pleasure of throwing back a few cold ones with some mechanics from the Bettendorf Trucking Company a few weeks ago. Amidst the merrymaking, I heard that the wrenching business is not what it used to be and that hiring and keeping experienced workers has become increasingly challenging over the past decade. While there was an aspect of “kids these days,” much of the change seemed to revolve around advancing technology.

    After hearing similar claims about the mechanic trade here in Corvallis, I decided to ask local business owner Gary Mahana for his take. Mahana has operated Gary’s Automotive Repair on 2nd Street for 19 years, although he has been a practitioner of automotive rejuvenation for over 40.

    Gary’s Business
    Mahana currently has a good crew—three technicians and a custodian—but he has seen 20 to 25 employees come and go over years. His father, who was also a mechanic, told him stories from back in the day about how he hired 27 mechanics in one month.

    “You can’t do that [anymore],” said Mahana. “I am lucky to get maybe one to come out with a resume every four or five months.”

    According to my Bettendorf buddies, even though Oregon has a number of good automotive programs, graduates get snatched up by big companies and dealerships in Portland. However, Mahana believes this is true anywhere.

    “I word it a little differently, I say the pond is awful shallow,” said Mahana. “What I see a lot of, is kids seem to follow their parents. If Dad is a mechanic, the kid goes on to be a mechanic and Dad kind of schools them—that gets them going.”

    Mahana explained that often parents show up asking him to hire their kid who really likes fixing his bicycle. However, as a rule, at Gary’s someone can only work on something that they can actually work on.

    “What I normally say to them is, ‘Well, he would be working on your car,’ and that puts things in perspective,” explained Mahana. “When I hire someone and they work on a car, my name is behind it. It’s gotta be good.”

    Mahana framed it like this: “It is hard to get talent. Are you getting talent you can teach and is going to stay with you? [Or] are you getting a talent that’s using you as a stepping stone to go someplace better?”

    Often enough, employees that have worked at Gary’s for a year or less leave for a job that pays $2 per hour more. Mahana tells them they are feel free to leave, but don’t expect a rehire because training someone only to have them leave is a loss on an investment.

    Because Gary’s is a small business, it can easily go under if Mahana himself gets a bad reputation. “I am very picky of who I bring in. They have to have my values, they have got to have my train of thought,” he said.

    A year and a half ago, Mahana’s most recent hire, Denver, had little experience but has worked hard and now “he’s actually a very good pick.”

    When I spoke to Denver, I was surprised to hear that before Gary’s, he had worked at Power Auto Center in Corvallis for five to six years, had worked at Capital in Salem prior, and was in college before that… sounded like a good deal of experience, but I am no mechanic.

    Why does Denver do it? “It is neat to see something that doesn’t come in running, spend a few hours on it, put some new parts on, send it out the door, and see a smile on someone’s face when they drive down the street in a car that actually works.”

    “We are able to communicate with each other and help each other out here,” he said. “Knowledge comes with experience and the more experience we have together, the better we can get the job done.”

    “There is not a lot of talent floating around, so you do a lot to try to get them to stay with you if you’ve got a good guy,” said Mahana. “Like I said, the pond is pretty shallow.”

    But if big companies in Portland gobbling up the lion’s share of Oregon’s automotive graduates is nothing new, why is the pond so shallow?

    Rise of Technology
    Reflecting on over 40 years of auto work, Mahana told me a story about carburetors. Fuel injected motors were invented in the late 1950s, started becoming standard by the mid-70s, and by 1990 electronic fuel injection was ubiquitous.

    “I know guys who said, ‘I ain’t learning this, I am going to retire pretty soon.’ They were gone within a couple of years, that’s how fast the technology advanced—suddenly there were no carburetors,” said Mahana.

    The 90s also saw computer technology becoming ever more available to the common person. Soon people were shipping their children off to computer school—and steering them away from working with their hands.

    As Mahana put it, “There was a big push away from mechanics because it was considered not a worthy profession, everybody wanted to get into computers.”

    Though learning new technology can add challenges, Mahana believes that it does not matter if you are young or old; whether you make it or break it all comes down to how well you can adapt to changes in technology.

    “As soon as you decide you are not going to learn something, you cut yourself off. You hurt yourself,” explained Mahana. “You have to keep up with technology.”

    Mahana just invested $12,000 in a new computer scanner to stay on top of things. Despite having to learn how to use it, Mahana again reminds us that “If you fall behind, you can’t afford to keep up. So I’ll keep this one upgraded as much as I can and try to move on to the next newest thing.”

    But until that next newest thing, Mahana is part of a program called TechNet which offers classes on a variety of topics.

    “That’s one of the ways guys keep up,” said Mahana. “Everybody in my shop can go, it’s not mandatory but they want to do it so they can keep up with what’s going on.”

    However, the Bettendorf guys were convinced that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. The younger folks, I mean.

    Mahana reluctantly admits to a similar observation. “The biggest problem I see is—I hate to be beating the drum like everyone else—is a lot of the generation coming in. A lot of people do not realize the work that is involved to get where you need to get.”

    Between busted knuckles, burns, and the occasional falling wrench, mechanic work can be hard. “But you can make it a very good profession, it’s a good trade. There is always going to be cars, and if they go to hovercrafts, than mechanics will just follow them right into repairing those.”

    Be a Mechanic
    Mahana likes Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy—do check out his blog, podcast, and the MikeRoweFoundation, pretty interesting stuff. If you don’t know, Rowe is a huge supporter of trade schools and hands-on career options. As it turns out, so is Mahana.

    “Because that is where you make a living, that is where you can plan for roots and you know, 20 years from now you’re doing good.”

    Despite the doom and gloom about the mechanic industry, it is a growing industry both in Oregon and most of the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average Oregonian mechanic makes around $40,000, while experienced individuals in the right location can earn over $60,000. The ASE Certification Training Headquarters website estimates there to be around 120 mechanics in the Corvallis area, while the Bureau estimates that just under 7,000 mechanic jobs exist in Oregon.

    The wrenching business may not be what it used to be, but it’s not all bad news. Changing technology makes for a learning-intensive profession and the nature of the work makes it a “what you know” rather than a “who you know” kind of field. There will always be things that break, and we will always need people who can fix them.

    Mahana leaves us with this to consider, commenting, “It’s always a learning experience—I’m 61 and I’m still learning.”

    By Anthony Vitale

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  • How to Get Your Kink On
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    bdsmMaybe it happened when you read 50 Shades of Grey, propping the paperback inside a hardcover at the coffee shop in case you ran into your boss. (At the touch of leather, I quiver and gasp.)

    Or maybe it started earlier, when you watched Secretary alone in your basement and realized you wanted to spank, or be spanked, or harness, or be harnessed. (Who’s to say that love needs to be soft and gentle?)

    Or maybe even earlier, when you played the “pass-out” game at a middle school slumber party and, as your friend pressed her palms against your throat, you grew dizzy not just from the lack of oxygen, but also from desire.

    Maybe it’s always been there, this feeling that what you wanted from sex was different than what you saw enacted around you, what you were supposed to want.

    So what to do with that feeling? Well, you could spend decades feeling repressed…or you could try something else. We suggest trying something else.

    Step 1: Find a community
    For Gwen Thames, a 64-year-old who has known she was a dominant since she was a teenager, coming out in the late ’60s and early ’70s held risk of a lost job, family, or more. Still, when she heard her friends talk about their dating lives, it just didn’t seem right.

    “I believe in female-controlled relationships,” Gwen said. “I’m extremely independent and don’t take crap from anybody. So it was really difficult for me [growing up]. I was a teenager, but I felt everything was off and immature and wrong.”

    Coming out is easier now, Gwen says. Instead of “carefully coded words in the back of adult magazines,” there’s the Internet, where you can “fall into it.”

    But despite the wider social acceptance of BDSM and fetishism that pop culture hits like 50 Shades have brought, most cultural representations of sex remain shockingly tame, anything but “vanilla” sex remains shockingly taboo. In other words: it can still be difficult to come out as interested in kink. So people still find ways to come out slowly, anonymously, and among those who have declared themselves open.

    The Internet has birthed many platforms for mindless sexual content, but the best spot for connecting with kink might be FetLife.com. Rather than simply a clearinghouse for quick sex, the site emphasizes community and has a casual, cheeky tone. The signup page says the site is, “Like Facebook, but run by kinksters like you and me. We think it is more fun that way. Don’t you?” The search bar asks, “What’s on your kinky mind?” And the opening page suggests ways to “get this party started,” including “kinksters near you.”

    When you create your profile, you choose from a list of more than 60 possible “Sexual Orientation” designations. Everything from the super-specific—“Rope Bunny” (a submissive who enjoys being tied up or otherwise restrained) to the more general and fluid—“evolving,” “exploring,” or “undecided.” Even the plain “vanilla” (people without BDSM/fetish inclinations) are welcome to join.

    Step 2: Understand the lifestyle
    Gwen, who has been in a committed dominant/submissive relationship for more than 13 years, says the kinks and fetishes that people act out in “play” or “scene” are different from what makes up their core identity. Like a committed Christian who takes up Buddhist meditation or yoga wouldn’t call themselves a Buddhist, Gwen thinks that those who tie their partners up once in a while are probably not actually masters. In other words, fantasy fulfillment is different from “someone who lives with a dominant and submissive partner and that is how they live their life.”

    “It’s wonderful if you have kinks and fetishes and you find partners to play them out with,” Gwen said. “But I’m from a generation and a mindset that thinks that’s just one small part of what this life is.”

    BDSM, by the way, is a catchall acronym that stands for many things: bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and sadomasochism, and it’s used pretty interchangeably with fetishism and kink. If you’re interested in terminology, it’s all defined in detail on the FetLife glossary pages.

    But to really understand kink, Gwen thinks you might be better served by just asking someone. Which brings us to Step 3…

    Step 3: Be brave—ask your questions IRL
    Gwen, who grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives in Albany, has been involved in the Corvallis/Albany kink scene for nearly a decade and moderates or organizes many of the local online groups and in-person meetings. She recommends that newbies start with one of the local “munches,” informal gatherings to discuss BDSM topics, named so because they typically take place at a restaurant (where people might lunch or munch, get it?).

    Both Corvallis and Albany offer monthly munches, and Gwen even created an educational brochure with a list of resources and safety tips.

    Most other local meetings are specialized and require some level of experience—there are support groups for dominants submissives, masters and slaves in relationships, and even an Oregon State University group.

    The information online can be overwhelming, so Gwen has one piece of advice for those starting out: “Know what you’re looking for.” And if you don’t know already? Come to a munch and ask questions.

    By Maggie Anderson

    Got questions about BDSM? Ask at your local munch. 

    Munches are causal gatherings for open discussion of BDSM/kink/fetish culture and lifestyle. They are great for both newbies and veterans, and local munches have both open discussion and guest speakers. Meet times change monthly. More information about the details can be found by signing up for the groups on FetLife.com.

    Corvallis Munch
    When: Every second Sunday
    Where: Tommy’s 4th Street Bar and Grill, 350 SW 4th St.

     Albany Munch
    When: Every fourth Thursday
    Where: Pop’s Branding Iron, 901 Pacific Blvd. SE.

    By Maggie Anderson

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  • Sex Addict, His Trusty Dumb Phone, and Root Causes
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    porn 2For Josh Bowdoin, it started at age 14. His dad, also his high school principal, had asked Josh to help with the school’s website.

    Josh opened an email and was shocked by what he saw: a graphic pornographic image. He immediately deleted it. But the emails kept coming, and Josh’s teenage hormones had been piqued. He started leaving the messages in the recycle bin. Soon, he was spending hours a day online, looking at porn.

    “I knew immediately it was a problem,” Josh said. “I always felt miserable afterward and promised [myself] I’d never do it again. But then the next day, I’d go back to it.”

    Now 31, Josh has been struggling with porn addiction for nearly two decades. In high school, alone in the computer lab, he’d spend two to three hours online looking at porn. When he got to college, it got worse; at his lowest points, he spent all night, a full eight hours, looking at porn online.

    Treatment has helped Josh learn techniques to manage his addiction, but he still sometimes craves the escape. Just the other week, he spent four hours online, looking at porn. The week before that, half an hour.

    Rewiring the brain
    Josh is not alone in either his struggle or his early exposure to porqln. Studies have found porn consumption rates as high as 99 percent among men and 86 percent among women, and Canadian researcher Simon Lajeunesse found that most boys seek porn by age 10.

    Internet porn is even more addictive than traditional porn, says sex researcher Gary Wilson, because it piggybacks on a behavior the brain has evolved to reward: sex with new partners. Porn offers an extreme version of this behavior, a never-ending line of novel cyber-partners that overloads the brain with dopamine. Like all addictive behaviors, the repeated accessing of this porn-induced dopamine hit creates changes in the brain. Everyday pleasures become less satisfying, and changes to the frontal cortex erode willpower.

    “Porn gets wired into your brain,” said Jim Gouveia, a licensed clinical social worker and counselor in Oregon State University’s (OSU’s) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). “You don’t have to go buy an orgasm, it’s just sitting in your lap. It’s very available; it’s hard to get away from. The chemical reinforcements are huge.”

    Gouveia, who specializes in addiction counseling, said some people have a genetic predisposition toward addiction, and exposure at a young age increases the likelihood of any addiction. But unlike some addiction, porn addiction can be easily hidden. Meth, for example, presents visible evidence of addiction in rotting teeth and scabbed skin—but how many of us don’t spend hours a day online?

    The result is a toxic cycle: time with porn means time alone; time alone creates feelings of isolation; and feelings of isolation lead to a desire for the dopamine hit the brain has been trained to get from porn.

    “I was looking for friendship and love,” Josh said. “It felt safe in pornography, because I could get it when I wanted it, where I wanted it. A pornographic image can’t reject me.”

    Working for recovery
    Josh doesn’t use a smart phone. He is among the addicts who have chosen to use “dumb” phones to add a layer of separation between themselves and the porn. Because addiction erodes willpower, limited access is crucial for recovering addicts. But limiting access to online porn is almost impossible, which makes recovery particularly challenging.

    “You don’t have to have alcohol in your house, you don’t have to go to the liquor store, but most of us have to go on the Internet,” Gouveia said.

    It was only after Josh sought treatment at the Mid-Valley Fellowship, a faith-based organization in Albany, that he learned how to identify the root causes behind his addiction—insecurity in relationships and pressure-filled situations—and began to feel a sense of progress.

    “When I’m in the midst of acting out, it’s hard to recognize the underlying issues surrounding the addiction, because I’m numb,” he said. “The reality is that when I take the pornography away, it becomes more difficult, because I actually have to face the problems.”

    Matthew MacClary, who also sought treatment at the Mid-Valley Fellowship for his porn addiction and now co-leads one of the small groups there, said that becoming aware of the psychology behind his addiction was one of the most important steps in his recovery.

    “It’s not like your prefrontal cortex is saying: let’s find an avoiding behavior,” Matthew said. “I had no idea that’s what I was doing.” Now, though, he can recognize that he was using porn to avoid the feelings of abandonment and loneliness he had as a child when his parents divorced and he struggled to connect to his peers.

    “It’s a slow process,” Matthew said. “You start to build the ability to recognize the feeling you’re having in the moment, which is not an ability many people have. Then you can think, ‘I’m feeling threatened by this person. And I know that structures in my brain have stored a reaction to feeling this way that takes me down that path.’ ”

    Training your brain to choose another path over the porn is not easy. Matthew said that the struggle with temptation comes and goes, but it never ends. Josh said he still struggles with his pride.

    “I want to be strong enough,” Josh said. “I want to make the right decision and not need help.”

    But both men said that the ability to speak honestly and openly about their struggles—as well as their personal faith—has been crucial to the healing process.

    “You have to have ongoing help,” Matthew said. “It doesn’t end. You always need have people in your life that you’re open with.”

    By Maggie Anderson 

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  • LGBTQ+ Resources
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    transgender coupleCommunity Resources

    PFLAG
    Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is a national organization with a chapter for Linn and Benton counties. Their priorities include creating a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community and increasing awareness about the importance of support. They usually meet once a month. For more information, visit http://www.jam-assoc.com/pflag/.

    Out N’ About
    Out N’ About is a local youth group for the LGBTQ+ community serving Corvallis and the surrounding cities. The group recently went on a campaign to make the group a national model and help lay groundwork for groups around the country. As a group, they emphasize community for youth through movie nights, game nights, guest speakers, and more. They usually meet weekly. For more information, contact cwhitlow7@gmail.com.

    Basic Rights Oregon
    Basic Rights Oregon, headquartered in Portland, is a nonprofit organization focusing on policy advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, including racial, transgender, and youth justice in the community. Their website contains many resources like FAQs for transgender rights, how to get LGBTQ legal help, advice for navigating the health system, and adoption information.

    Oregon State University Resources

    The Pride Center
    The Pride Center is a program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and the ally community. While primarily a resource for Oregon State University students, their doors are open to all community members. They provide a safe space on campus, and organize events such as Queer History Month, National Coming Out Day, Pride Week, and Lavender Graduation for the LGBT community.

    Rainbow Continuum
    Rainbow Continuum is a group for the queer community and allies to meet on the OSU campus once a week. A meeting typically consists of games and discussion; it provides a general space to socialize and meet other community members. For more information on involvement, refer to the OSU Pride Center.

    SOL
    SOL is a support group for people of color in the LGBTQ+ community. They are housed in the Pride Center, and host events such as Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Study Buddies, and Kickbacks throughout the term while providing a safe space for people of color.

    Gender-Inclusive Bathroom Locator
    OSU offers a resource map on its website that makes it easy to find gender-neutral bathrooms located around campus: http://experience.oregonstate.edu/resources-map.

    LBCC

    Gender & Sexuality Alliance
    Linn-Benton Community College has a Gender & Sexuality Alliance group on its campus. It’s open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The group meets once a week on campus to provide community to those interested. LBCC also has five gender-inclusive bathrooms located on campus.

    Events

    Rainbow in the Clouds
    Rainbow in the Clouds is a queer dance party held the first Friday of every month at Cloud & Kelly’s Public House. Organizers switch up the theme every month, usually in line with upcoming holidays. The next RITC is on Feb. 3; the theme is Heartbreak Hotel. Proceeds from this event typically support community resources like Out N’ About, or more recently, the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock. This is a 21+ event.

    Dam Right Drag Night
    Corvallis’ newest queer event just had their inaugural event, and it was quite the rager. On the third Friday of every month, local arcade bar The Dam hosts a gay-mer night and drag show featuring performers from around the Willamette Valley. The gay-mer portion of the night is open to all ages, while the drag show portion is restricted to 21+.

    Corvallis Queer Film Festival
    Once annually, the Darkside Theatre hosts the Corvallis Queer Film Festival, this year curated by Oregon State University professor Juan Trujillo. The four-night event is meant to celebrate global queer culture and identity through film. This year’s festival takes place from Wednesday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 25.

    Alt Prom
    Every Spring, Out N’ About sponsors an Alternative Prom for youth under 18 in Linn and Benton counties. It’s an event truly run by and for high school students. Last year’s prom featured a DJ and drag show. Contact Out N’ About for more information on this year’s event.

    Facebook Groups
    If you’re looking to stay in touch with the queer community, Facebook groups are a good way to keep up on events and issues around town. Here are a few to get you started:

    Corvallis Rainbow Network
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/250492025077411/ 

    PRIDE Corvallis
    https://www.facebook.com/PrideCorvallis/

      OSU Pride Center
    https://www.facebook.com/OSUPrideCenter/ 

    By Regina Pieracci

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  • Sexual Health and Family Planning Resources
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    gynecology-stirrupsIt’s hard to top Planned Parenthood when it comes to inclusive sexual and reproductive health services for men and women. Ten years ago, representatives from Planned Parenthood performed a gap analysis—a study that indicates if a region offers enough family planning options—and found that Corvallis is a well-served community.

    “If we know there are providers, [it’s] not our practice or our philosophy to compete,” said Shelley Sump-Wyllie of the Southwestern branch. While we’re due for another study this year, here is a handy guide to the clinics we currently have in the area.

    Benton Health Center
    Conveniently located close to campus, the Benton Health Center offers counseling, education, and a wide variety of contraceptives. Their birth control options include condoms (male and female), pills, Depo Provera shot, implants, diaphragms, vaginal rings, IUDs, and emergency contraception. Additionally, the center provides annual wellness exams, STD screenings and treatments, as well as pregnancy testing. If you don’t have private insurance, this center does offer a sliding scale based on the federal poverty guidelines.

    Located at 530 NW 27th Street

    Corvallis Birth & Women’s Center
    If you’re ready to start a family, this is a great spot to check out. While the Corvallis Birth & Women’s Center does offer many of the same services as the Benton Health Center—including contraceptives, exams, and education—their primary focus is creating a safe and supportive space where women can feel empowered. One of their goals, according to their website, is “to enhance one’s sense of control, encouraging individuals to take an active role in their health care, promoting their own health and well-being.” The center even hosts events like “Wine and GYN”—every first Friday of the month women are invited to discuss life and health over a glass of vino.

    Located at 2314 NW Kings Boulevard

    Options Pregnancy Resource Center
    Options does offer free services—such as pregnancy tests, referrals, and information about parenting, adoption, and abortion—with one caveat. In their vision statement, they write, “God’s power to change hearts and habits will become evident as rates of abortion and teen pregnancy in our community decline.” If you would like to work with a clinic that approaches health through this ideology, it’s a good resource.

    Located at 867 NW 23rd Street

    Planned Parenthood
    Because it seems wrong to print a sexual health resource guide without giving a proper shout out to Planned Parenthood, we’ll include their resources here anyway. There are a couple nearby locations—one in Eugene and one in Salem—and perhaps one day we’ll have one of our very own. Planned Parenthood provides free and low-cost birth control, STD screenings, and so much more. Their practitioners screen for breast and cervical cancers, offer abortion care, and they provide an equal number of services for men—like vasectomies and screenings for colon, prostate, and testicular cancer. On top of that, it’s the only organization on this list that specifically offers transgender care as one of its services.

    When they’re not giving supportive care in-clinic, representatives are out providing community education, helping to create strong and well-informed citizens of all ages, and advocating for the legal and political protection of reproductive rights. Whether you’d like to discuss body image, healthy relationships, sexual orientation and gender, or general health care, supporting this nonprofit organization is definitely worth the drive.

    Nearest locations: 3579 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene; 3825 Wolverine Street NE, Salem

    If you find it difficult to afford these services, you could be eligible for Oregon Contraceptive Care, a Medicaid Waiver program that allows you to receive a year’s worth of free contraceptives. For more information, visit: http://public.health.oregon.gov/

    By Anika Lautenbach

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  • Your Local Adult Shop: From Butt Plugs to Sex Booths
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    Sex-ToysFear not, lonely Valentines. As the day in question looms on the horizon, many of you living without a mate may be experiencing familiar pangs of despair. But there’s no reason to feel sad, pathetic, or worthless. This year, it’s time to quit worrying about not being part of a perfect union, and instead to start celebrating yourself. The prescription is self-love, and the pharmacy that sells it is the Corvallis Adult Shop.

    This Valentine’s Day, our town’s only local sex toy shop and porn store is going all out with sales on the franchise’s most popular toys, gifts, and accessories.

    “We will have free gifts with every shoe purchase,” said longtime manager Cynthia Ferguson of the big Valentine’s Day sale. In addition to free gifts, many items will be marked down. WeVibes and Fun Factory vibrators for individual, couple, and anal play are all now 10 percent off. And for those looking for quality porn content not found on the Internet, select dirty DVDs are on sale as well.

    In addition to getting those Valentine’s Day deals, regular customers can find great prices every day by signing up for the Adult Shop’s exclusive coupon service. Give them your number when you check out at the counter, and you’ll receive exclusive coupon codes by text once a week.

    For those who simply cannot handle a day of solo sex, the Adult Shop offers a lesser-known service that is often frequented—and allegedly maintained—by some of Corvallis’ most notorious deviants. Invisible from the outside of the store, and hard to find on the inside, the Adult Shop Arcade consists of several back rooms where both individuals and couples can—for a price—live out their kinkiest fantasies.

    Each booth contains a TV set up to view the hottest new porn flicks and protected by a cage that prevents removal. It’s a classic setup that’s been in place in porn shops since the adult bookstores of the 1970s.

    If you go into the right booth, expect to see more than just a movie. “You can do anything legal,” another Adult Shop employee told The Advocate. “Just make sure it’s following Oregon law as well as our policies and paying for the booth.”

    Online “cruising” sites and several sex meet-up pages for Oregon sex-venturers, like Craigslist and Cruisingforsex.com, include firsthand accounts of steamy encounters had in the Adult Shop’s infamous arcade—mostly described as anonymous oral-or-otherwise penetration made possible by a collection of glory holes which apparently exist on the walls between the arcade booths, allowing strangers to service one another upon demand.

    “This is a great place,” wrote one happy customer on Cruising for Sex’s local listings. “I was there at lunchtime on a Monday and sucked four c*cks in 45 minutes.”

    One anonymous poster on the site describes a booth with a larger-than-usual hole that is utilized to fulfill fantasies of voyeurism or exhibitionism.

    “I just like being watched,” the entry reads. “Want to bring the wife sometime and put on a show.” However bizarre—and possibly health-code violating—this “glory hole” system may seem, Ferguson does not deny (nor confirm) that it exists. “You’re welcome to come in and check it out yourself,” she said.

    The most popular items in the retail section of the store are lingerie sets and massage oils, though the shop boasts hundreds of different items, including everything from the standard vibratory fare to kinky fetish supplies like double dildos and intricate restraint systems.

    Due to the Adult Shop’s focus on quality rather than quantity when selecting items to sell, customers should remember that most of the toys are fairly expensive. Expect to spend an average of $20 to $100 on a standard purchase, and remember that add-on requirements such as batteries and antibacterial cleaners must usually be purchased separately.

    Despite whatever is going on in the Adult Shop’s arcade, the actual store is renowned for its cleanliness, particularly that of the toys for sale. Germophobes—and anyone perturbed with what goes on in the back—will be consoled by the establishment’s open-bag policy. Once a customer has touched and bought a toy, they cannot come back to return it. “We do not take any returns,” explained an employee working the early-evening shift, “ever.”

    For those new to the nightlife, Corvallis’ Adult Shop is located at 2315 NW 9th Street. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week, almost as long as the 7-11 down the street, which is the perfect place to head afterwards when you get thirsty. Happy trails, kids.

    By Kiki Genoa

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  • Commitments to Sanctuary + City Club to Weigh In
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    SantuaryThe idea of sanctuary has been around, if I had to guess, almost as long as the idea of persecution—they go hand-in-hand, really. But since declaring sanctuary in a church hasn’t had a legal backing since around the 17th century, what do we mean today when we declare a city, county, or university to be a sanctuary?

    County Commissioner Annabelle Jaramillo explained that in Benton County, “It’s not in the form of a resolution or any binding ordinance, it’s a statement of trying to calm people’s fears.”

    “We are an inclusive county, and do want to reassure people that we are not involved in the business of immigration regulation,” said Jaramillo. “That is not our job, and we won’t know it; we would have to ask and that is not something we will do.”

    Corvallis School Board chair Alexus McQuillan has been involved in the school district’s own sanctuary resolution. The statement was issued “simply because we had a lot of students and families, and actually staff as well, that were very scared and concerned about immigration status and what might happen.”

    “We decided that we wanted to make a statement so that our kids could feel safe in school because we know that kids can learn better when they feel safe and comfortable and included,” she said.

    McQuillan explained that although the schools cannot stop federal agents from entering and going about their business, the schools already do not collect immigration information. McQuillan and Superintendent Ryan Noss will be speaking about sanctuary at the City Club meeting on Tuesday,
    Feb. 14.

    Oregon State University is in a similar boat. Steve Clark, Vice President of University Relations and Marketing, explained that OSU currently follows all federal laws and procedures, but that does not include rounding up students.

    “There are cities and states that have declared themselves sanctuary cities or states, we have said we are a sanctuary university,” he said. “By that we mean that our role is not to engage in law enforcement, it is not to manage the nation’s policies or laws associated with immigration enforcement or immigration law enforcement.”

    Qualifications to enroll at OSU include grades, academic achievements, and bars admittance of students with a history of violent conduct. But, Clark explained, “As a university, we don’t admit individuals based upon their immigration status; that is not one of the criteria for admissions.”

    As far as law enforcement is concerned, a resolution was issued by the Corvallis Police Department in December outlining their stance against arresting anyone for immigration violations.

    As Mayor Biff Traber put it, “It gives you a sense of how, particularly from the police department, how we have been treating individuals.”

    However, despite an initial declaration from Corvallis Police Chief Sassaman, we have heard little follow-up. Sassaman declined offers to appear at City Club—an opportunity to communicate the department’s intentions directly with the public. Multiple attempts for comment were made with no reply. Sheriff Jackson and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office have not issued a resolution and did not reply either.

    Jaramillo explained that because of current state statutes, like ORS 181A.820, we haven’t resolved to do things differently—though she does not like speaking for law enforcement.

    181A.820 reads: “No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment, or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.”

    So, like Traber said, “Yes, it’s not going to change anything because this is already how we were acting as a city government, especially as a police department.”

    But with the new administration threatening vindictive actions towards sanctuary cities across the country, should we be worried?

    “We do know there may be some exposure because we do get federal funds that come for things like housing or transportation or the airport, but those funds are usually covered by federal appropriations laws and executive orders don’t generally change those, so we don’t know what is going to happen,” said Traber.

    “I can’t worry about the unknown, we will wait and see how things progress,” he continued. “That’s why we tried to be very precise about what laws we were describing that we were following and what we were doing.”

    And the school district?

    “We are at the point now where we are just starting to think about how we handle all that stuff,” said McQuillan. “All I can say about that right now is that I hope that doesn’t become a reality.” She explained that much of their funding is from the state, but that they do get federal funding for inclusion programs and special education.

    McQuillan assures us that they will have more answers after preparing for City Club.

    “I don’t know that anyone understands what changes are planned by the federal government,” said Clark. “We are all learning everyday what policies the new administration has, so we are watching these with interest.”

    Clark reminds us that federal funding plays a large role in education in America. Just last year OSU did research to the tune of $336 million, was awarded a $40 million contract to develop ocean vessels for NSF, and contributed to hundreds of different fields of study.

    He said, “We would hope that if policies of a university are in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, then federal law would not be the basis upon which federal funding for research would be decided.”

    The good news is that we are not alone.

    “Take a look at the United States Conference of Mayors and see what kind of company we’re in, in terms of mayors who have taken such positions, and what kind of support there is for slowing down precipitous action on a major part of this country,” said Traber.

    On Jan. 25, the Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Association issued a joint statement of concern stating, “The U.S. Supreme Court has held that denying federal funds to cities to coerce compliance with federal policies may be unconstitutional.”

    It very well may be, but at this stage all we can do is wait for the court date. Until then, Benton County and Corvallis are going to keep their commitments to protecting and serving “we the people.”

    “We don’t work for Immigration and Naturalization Services, so we are not doing anything differently,” said Traber. “What I am trying to communicate is that we have these laws on the books and we have been following them.”

    By Anthony Vitale

     

    City Club Presents ‘Struggle Over Sanctuary’
    Planning for Trump’s Retaliation
    Join the Corvallis City Club on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Boys and Girls Club to hear a panel of community members discuss their perspectives on sanctuary.
    The city-centric organization has invited Mayor Biff Traber, Superintendent Ryan Noss, Corvallis School Board chair Alexis McQuillan, and Director of Strategic Initiatives for OSU’s Office of Diversity Scott Vignos to speak with the community and answer questions. These fine individuals are committed to ensuring our community is safe and inclusive for everyone, and they want to hear your concerns as well as share their plans.
    Representatives of the Corvallis Police Department will notably not be present.
    The event is free. Doors open at
    11:30 a.m.; the event starts at noon and ends at 1:15 p.m. Lunch is $15 for non-members and can be reserved by emailing info@cityclubofcorvallis.org by Friday, Feb. 11, or pay online at https://cityclubofcorvallis.org/pay-for-lunch/.
    By Anthony Vitale
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  • First Impressions: The “Dark” Web
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    Dark NetSince the first iterations of the Internet came into existence in the 1970s, there have been movements of people dedicated to using it for free speech. As the Internet has grown, so have the technologies that track our purchases, suggest content based on our browsing history, and locate people remotely. Because the Internet is merely code, there are those who write their own code rather than use the status quo.

    Much of what we know, or think we know, about the Dark Net is folklore and hearsay scooped out and presented to us on YouTube or the news. Usually these stories focus on the bizarre, gruesome, or illegal content available on the Dark Net.

    However, I had heard murmuring over the years of the benign content available on the Dark Net as well. Things like Facebook as well as news platforms and sharing services are being developed for and by a community of people who are not criminals.

    But why would people be on the Dark Net just checking email and keeping tabs on their family? More importantly, how did they get there? Come to think of it, how do I get there?

    What is the Dark Net?
    According to a Google search, “The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure.” Thanks, Google.

    Think of the Internet like a giant iceberg. The very tip is what we can find by using a search engine like Google. The rest, the deep web, is underwater and composed of everything unreachable to pretty much everyone — a digital land of email inboxes, private documents, and other weird computer processes. However, sites on the Dark Net require a certain service to reach — The Onion Router (Tor).

    Tor was originally created in the mid-90s by US Naval Research Laboratory employees to keep their transmissions secret. The Dark Net came about as the public began to utilize Tor technology and by 2015 the term itself had become the unofficial appellation for most Tor-based services.

    Former Google employee and local programming wizard, Percival Fauncewater, elaborates: “Since dark web sites are only accessible over certain software, Tor, they aren’t considered part of the normal indexable web — so Google doesn’t index them. Plus a lot of the content is illegal, and even if Google did show the legal stuff, normal users wouldn’t be able to connect [without Tor].”

    When browsing with Tor, your device is routed through a number of servers, encrypted at each turn, before reaching its destination. Your identity is effectively shuffled into the deck of outgoing and incoming requests, from all over the world, successfully granting you a fair amount of anonymity.

    Connecting
    Aided by Fauncewater’s technical knowhow, everything needed to connect to the Dark Net was downloaded legally and for free onto a 16GB flash drive. Beyond Tor software, we utilized a program called Tails, and another called PGP.

    “They are separate technologies but they are being used together, think of Tails as Windows and Tor as Chrome,” said Fauncewater. PGP or Pretty Good Privacy, is basically your security system, capable of encrypting and compressing.

    Before crossing the point of no return, I was directed to a most handy tool – The Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki is a beginner’s directory of Dark Net website addresses separated into categories ranging from drugs and blogs to marketplace financial services. An important category is Hidden Service Lists and Search Engines, because you know, no Google.

    A few sites were selected from The Hidden Wiki and shortly thereafter I was on the notorious Dark Net. The sheer thrill of being on the same network of networks as WikiLeaks, the (possibly) late Julian Assange, and the hacktivist group Anonymous quickly waned as I processed what I was seeing.

    Need a Torch?
    I sat facing nothing save a blank page reminiscent of Mozilla, the program from which it was developed. I couldn’t believe how anticlimactic it was at first. The muscle memory of Google searching is so great that I instinctually clicked on the address bar and typed “Donald Trump.” After skimming through tons of results, I realized my search only accessed the normal net… right, no Google.

    Luckily The Hidden Wiki had an address for Torch, a Dark Net search engine. Using Torch was like returning to the mid-90s – it didn’t find much because there wasn’t much to be found that way.

    However, when searching for “Corvallis” I found a hacking manual for beginners with telnet numbers (used to remotely access computers) for Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, and places all over the country. It seemed dated, but it was for beginners…

    While searching for local movements, a surprising number of discussion threads popped up including an extended debate on the pros and cons of launching a new white society in Namibia. Africa is clearly the best place to start an Aryan nation, they say, because the population density is so low that supplanting current residents would be easy.

    One commentator did bring up a very good point: “How are we going to reproduce, you do know it’s going to be a sausage party right?

    After finding some more up-to-date Dark Net repositories, it seemed only natural to check out the drug trade. Options are staggering, so I decided on the comically named Smokeables Finest Organic Cannabis to check the going rates. Surprisingly at $200 an ounce and $5 shipping, it’s about the same as having a medical card… minus the $200 registration fee.

    Next I dropped by Brainmagic Psychedelics and found 10 hits of 150ug LSD runs you about $100. For the same price however, you could instead purchase 1 gram of DMT or mescaline. Brainmagic assures us that “All products are tested by ourself and reagent or lab tested!

    Most Dark Net transactions use the futuristic cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies are a huge topic with many ramifications both on the net and in the real world, so the currency exchange sites were a must-see.

    I was going to exchange a prepaid debit card and tell you about what I bought, but as it turns out 1 Bitcoin (Ƀ) is currently worth $916.39. It only recently dropped below $1,000. Since the lowest exchangeable denomination was $50, I decided not to enter my bank account info.

    I will mention that the most upsetting content I saw was the depressingly robust selection of JailBait sites. No, I did not enter them, but within one single repository the leading JailBait site had over 300,000 active users, the runner-up boasted nearly 60,000, while the rest had a measly 12,000-20,000.

    Yet beyond these cliché examples of Dark Net content there is still more, and not all as negative. Discussion boards and idea sharing are central aspects of Dark Net culture. Imagine 4Chan and Reddit — but instead of r/The_Donald, you might find the Anarcho-Syndacist Brigade discussing the benefits of anarchy or communism.

    There are news sites, political blogs, art sharing, philosophy discussion threads, book exchanges, and although I haven’t seen it, Fauncewater tells me there is a site dedicated to sharing muffin recipes. Facebook has implemented ways for people to sign in from Tor, SAGAINT is just one example of an email service that can communicate between the Dark Net and Clearnet, and a Russian company even began selling coffee on the Dark Net in later 2016.

    The Dark Net was much more interesting to me as a venue for discussions and sharing than as a hub of criminal activity. Although it is both, the shocking content often makes for better stories, overshadowing the little understood positive aspects.

    First Impressions
    My impression is that to maximize your experience on the Dark Net, do your homework. You are presented with pretty much nothing when launching Tor, so you must have some idea of what you want to do and how to get there.

    Searching is harder than one would expect without a powerful and all-encompassing search engine like Google and a community dedicated to not easily being found. On the other hand each good find is even more rewarding and spikes your curiosity. Just please, don’t go on r/DarknetMarkets and ask where to get drugs.

    They will know if you are a noob and you may get this: “You ask for too much, too complicated, too soon.

    The whole thing reminds me of a big city. Downtown Google is well lit with public transit, police, and familiar people. Then there are the dark alleys where you might score a joint, you might get scammed, or you might just meet someone really interesting. Often people spend time in these dark places not because they are immoral, but because it’s somehow quieter or because they simply don’t want their professional and private lives to be known by everyone.

    When asked what interest he had in the Dark Net as a programmer, Fauncewater said, “For me this technology is really cool because the same technology that allows the Dark Web enables things like Bitcoin and the Tor browser which lets people that would want to hide from their government — like journalists — be protected on the Internet. So the technology that allows some of this really good stuff can also be used for really bad stuff, which is almost true of any technology or software out there.”

    Ultimately I think the Dark Net is only a tiny blip on most of our radars right now, but it’s the Wild West for many, and for others still it is the front line of a digital arms race. Anyone can figure out how to download all the programs and connect, but to do business or create tools that other Dark Net folks would use takes both technical skill and integration into those communities — but if issues of security, privacy, or pushing the limits of technology fascinate you, the Dark Net has your fix.

    By Anthony Vitale

    Don’t Want to Get Hacked?

    Six Steps to Jumpstart Your Security

    Between surfing the web in a coffee shop and sending important emails at work, information about ourselves is constantly being shared -— our interests, who we spend time with, financial information, and images -— and everything can be found in the great repository of the Internet.

    For as long as computer networks have been around, digital attacks have been on the rise. With every new bit of technology, there are already people waiting to find ways to use it for criminal activity.  Do some quick Internet searching and you will find some pretty extreme numbers – 90 million computer attacks on US companies and an estimated $3 trillion lost to cyber-schemes worldwide. That was just last year.

    The good news is, a lot of attacks that sweep up everyday users result from common mistakes that can be avoided. The following list has been compiled from knowledgeable sources. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to secure yourself.

    Use a unique password on every site. It’s so common for people to use a single password across multiple sites, that when one is compromised, they often find that their other major accounts have been accessed as well.

    Use hard to guess passwords when coming up with unique passwords. The longer and more complex the better; most secure logins nowadays allow for letters, numbers, symbols and case sensitivity. Think you’ll have trouble remembering? Try LastPass, Dashlane or another password manager.

    Wonder why some sites like Gmail and Facebook ask you to register your phone? This is part of multi-factor authentication, commonly referred to as 2 factor authentication (2FA). In order to gain access to a service using 2FA, someone would need not only your password, but physical access to a device like your phone. Use this whenever it is offered.

    Be wary of any Wi-Fi connection you don’t own, even if the network requires a password. If you’re truly concerned about snooping, look into paying for a VPN (virtual private network) or proxy service to help mask incoming and outgoing data. There are many such services available, with new ones popping up weekly.

    Don’t leave your devices unattended – there are ways to circumvent all of these tips if an undesirable person gets their hands on your electronics.

     • Be suspicious, and be skeptical. An email or link sound a little funny? It probably is, and there are many, many scams along these lines designed to compromise your passwords and other data.

       By Anthony Vitale

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    • More Than One Way to Stretch
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      yogaWith January coming to a quick close and most New Year’s resolutions gone with the wind, one could get a little tense. That’s OK, because as much as Corvallis loves the color orange and talking about precipitation, it seems we’re most passionate about lining our streets with yoga studios.

      If you’re embarrassed at your physical or mental inflexibility, dying to get away from your kid’s temper tantrum, or looking for a way to get that sexy revenge body we’ve been hearing about, you’ll have no problem finding your fix in town. To help narrow it down, we put together a list of five interesting yoga studios to check out.

      Rasa Yoga Shala: Located in a sleepy, dreamy part of Southtown near Crystal Lake, Rasa Yoga Shala is a warmly lit home studio. Instructor Emily Barry’s classes tend to be a mellow flow with little guidance, encouraging more independence—they are recommended for those familiar with yoga practices as opposed to beginners. Emily’s classes are taught five times a week and run $12 per drop-in, but only $11 if you bike or walk. Class packages are available.

      Bikram Yoga of Corvallis: It’s not always easy to crawl out of bed and put on pants, let alone make your way to a yoga studio. During this winter abhorred by all, Bikram offers the incentive of a heated studio. Prepare yourself for a 105 degree closed room with a carpeted floor. Though the heat may be daunting at first, your muscles will take to it gleefully as they melt, allowing for flexibility you never knew you had. The style of this practice doesn’t vary; every class is 26 poses, each pose done twice. It will be in the same order every time. It will even be cued in almost the same way. You’ll sweat your water weight and yesterday’s stresses right out, but not due to a flowing movement; never once will you find yourself in downward-facing dog. If you’re one who thrives on measuring progress from day to day, someone who runs with routine, this may be your outlet. The drop-in rate is $17, but for all class packages and memberships, a full-time student discount is offered.

      Willamette Valley Power Yoga: One of the newest studios to join the army, WVPY offers a style of yoga Corvallis hadn’t seen prior to its opening last spring. The clean, bright studio teaches a vinyasa flow in a heated room—around 90 degrees—and incorporates a balance of both inner and outer work. Classes are adaptable to all levels, from the brand new to the wizened pros. Plan on hearing the occasional 90’s hit while holding plank pose. Also, plan on sweating… a lot.

      Livewell Yoga: A mid-sized studio with what feels like church ceilings, which is appropriate for such a congregational affair. Livewell offers many classes including yoga, Pilates, meditation, and even an hour-long class devoted strictly to core work. They also provide many class times, making regular attendance possible. Their class selection has something for everyone, including an all-levels class offered throughout the week. Keep in mind that challenge level also depends heavily on the teacher, so shop the directory for an instructor whose style sounds good. A drop-in class will run you $18 or $20 with a rental mat. New-student deals offered.

      Pro tip: Le Patissier is a two-minute walk from here.

      Goat Yoga: Finally, a proper way to combine livestock with low-impact exercise and meditation. Lainey Morse has created goat yoga, which is exactly what it sounds like; baby goats cuter than cartoons wandering around while yogis stretch and hold Warrior I until their thighs scream. Sometimes those bleaters will lie on your mat. Sometimes they’ll lie on you. Though yoga is known to alleviate depression on its own, the addition of soft nuzzles and tiny hooves in the open-spaced class can only amplify such benefits. Having to relocate from her Albany barn where classes were being held, due to zoning issues, Morse is currently in talks with OSU to set something up in our area. There are literally about 1,200 people on the waiting list, so best to sign up today—10 years from now when your knees give out and your joints pop with every step you take, you’ll be on deck to get in.

      By Leah Biesack

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    • Richard Rau and the QuadraPed
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      RauMaryAnnHidden within the folds of the Corvallis community is a cache of local geniuses. Many are rather reclusive, but Richard Rau is not. Rau is an inventor of sorts: part engineer, part mechanic, part visionary.

      His puffy hair, friendly smile, and charming humor betray a competitive streak that, in his younger days, drove Rau to fast cars and road bike racing. Overall, he is a man deeply committed to helping others regain some control over their lives.

      Rau is the guy for the job, too. Despite such technical achievements as developing an electric car engine prior to lithium technology and co-owning a bike company that dealt in 13 countries, Rau has also faced the darker side of what life has to offer.

      Following a near-fatal cycling accident, Rau spent several months in recovery. After physical therapy at Good Sam, Rau literally got back on the bike and returned to his business. However, it was only a matter of time before the reality of Rau’s injuries were accepted—opening new avenues for his creativity.

      Katabasis
      “Did I mention about how my life was saved by a 15-year-old girl?” asked Rau.

      Rau showed me a blue Colnago downtube with a horrendous dent. It is the remaining piece of a road bike built with parts from all over the world. It is also a piece of the bike Rau was riding in late 1980 on Highland, just north of town, when he suffered a head-on collision with another cyclist.

      As Rau was peddling uphill, the other cyclist, unable to stop, came whipping around the corner. Rau was thrown backward, first landing on and detaching his tailbone, then striking his skull against the pavement.

      By the time 15-year-old Cindy and her friend drove by, a small crowd including police had gathered around Rau’s body. Cindy had recently taken CPR and first-aid classes to better care for her grandmother and thought that maybe she could help.

      Though being told to wait for the paramedics, Cindy recognized what was happening and restarted Rau’s heart twice before the EMTs arrived. Rau was in a coma for 10 days.

      “I had some weird dreams… a blurry differentiation between reality and dreams,” said Rau. He dreamt of different versions of himself and of riding the rim of Crater Lake, among other things.

      Closing his eyes, he recalls one special night at the hospital. Things were looking grim and his riding buddies came together to share their friendship.

      “They had to ask one friend to leave because he couldn’t keep with or understand the value of staying positive and having faith,” said Rau.

      Thankfully, and to the surprise of some, he awoke. Rau took his first steps, after a couple months of physical therapy, with a shopping cart in the parking lot at Strohecker’s.

      Soon he returned to his bike shop, PedalCraft, and before long he was even riding his bike to and from work. In the beginning he fell over every so often; it took him a full 45 minutes one way. Still, every day he kept at it. He started timing his rides, bought a computer to track his distances, and regained some equilibrium.

      “But the more I rode, the more there developed an imbalance because my left leg was left weakened by the accident,” explained Rau. He thought: “What am I going to do—bicycles are not working?”

      After trying several three-wheel and recumbent-style bikes, Rau realized he could build them better himself. Coincidentally, basic plans for a hand-and-leg-powered cycle had recently been developed in Eugene. Rau naturally decided to combine the two ideas into one high quality product—but at this point the QuadraPed was just an experiment.

      By 1984 the first QuadraPed was complete. After some test rides, Rau developed a healthy addiction and eventually rode around the rim of Crater Lake, a full 75 miles. Despite some gnarly elbow injuries, the ride was an overwhelming success, leading Rau to tweak the process and create an even better QuadraPed.

      One day at the Beanery, a paraplegic man spotted Rau on his hip new ride and asked if he could build another one.

      “I had never thought about that before… making one for someone else,” said Rau.

      People noticed the interesting bikes around town and demand rose. Rau soon found that building in batches of 50 saved time. He got involved with Oregon Human Powered Vehicles where he met new people like Carl, a former Airforce test pilot.

      Carl became paraplegic after making an emergency landing in a field of stumps. A kindred spirit to Rau, he built his own airplane after the accident. He also designed a hand-powered attachment for wheelchairs, which he commissioned Rau to build.

      Ultimately, this led to the incorporation of a new company, BikE, in 1993. Rau and crew steadily grew their business, eventually hiring a CEO and reaching 1,000 dealers in 13 countries. They partnered up with Giant, and by 1998 they were the largest dealer of recumbent bikes in the world.

      “[BikE] had an unfortunate demise and a lot of people have heard the nasty end of it,” said Rau. You can find local stories on this passing, but put simply: 9/11. When the company downsized in 2002, Rau elected to return to making QuadraPeds solo under his original company, PedalCraft.

      “I learned that character is not defined by what happens to you, but rather how you react to what happens to you,” explained Rau. Reflecting on these trying experiences, he said, “We all have to admit that sometimes life can get tough—our health can suffer, family demands can demoralize us, and daily traumas build up, but that doesn’t mean we have to feel like life isn’t worth living.”

      Powered by All Four
      When I showed up at Rau’s garage, MaryAnn was already inside inspecting MaQ. MaQ is a blue tadpole-style three-wheel QuadraPed with gold trim. MaQ is smoking hot and by far the sleekest ride I have seen in years. MaryAnn is a retired Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten teacher who has not ridden a bike in over 30 years after knee surgery.

      “For a long time I couldn’t even visualize exactly how the bike was even going to look,” she exclaimed. “He did all of this by hand, every piece!”

      MaQ is short for MaryAnn’s QuadraPed. The name is very literal as every aspect of MaQ has been tailored to MaryAnn’s needs, from the height and length to the leg rest for her affected knee.

      From her seat, MaryAnn can easily shift the eight back gears or the eight front gears with a convenient lever, check her computer, or grab a drink. Her hand pedals are ergonomically angled to 75 degrees, the same as shaking someone’s hand, and set to a one-to-one ratio so knees and elbows will never collide.

      “The matching gold is nice… tiny touches, tiny touches all through the bike—that’s one of the many little things that allow it to be cool,” explained Rau. “But I’m going to be moving to electric in these things.”

      Drawing on his many years of automotive work, Rau fixed a battery under the seat that provides power to a small motor in the hub of the back wheel. “It senses how much effort you are putting in pedaling—it’s got a built-in load cell,” said Rau. “If you don’t want to pedal much, punch in two, three, or four, and it will put out a lot of power to your meager contribution.” However, the law prohibits a motorized bicycle from exceeding 20 miles per hour.

      While setting up for pictures, Rau told me about how he woke up at 5 a.m. because he realized that one detent up on an index shifter can be adjusted to locate an in-between spot of the planetary gears. He went on to explain that planetaries are great because they balance the forces and don’t tear each other apart, unlike other gear arrangements.

      It’s almost like he breathes QuadraPeds. The technical aspect of calculating, redrawing, bending tubes, and fabricating gear ratios, he makes very understandable. Yet, as he tells you about how the idea to create a neutral function on MaQ came to him in a dream, you realize this man is more than your ordinary bike enthusiast.

      “Being a designer/builder came about because I finally recognized that I was in a different category of physical capability and had my own special needs,” explained Rau. “Because of my accident and injury, I am much more empathetic for anyone who is dealing with a physical challenge.”

      Designing, building, and riding these alternative exercise and mobility machines has been a very significant part of Rau’s healing process—a way to not only strengthen his mind and body, but a way to give back.

      “It is quite fulfilling to share in a person’s quest for self-improvement through adaptive transportation,” he said. When asked if he encounters many depressed individuals, Rau explained that QuadraPeds are for people with a head start. “The majority of people I have met in what I am doing have come to me because they already had a desire to get out and do things.”

      Rau has made bikes for paraplegic and quadriplegic folks, people with MS, and even someone with hemiplegia—paralysis of one side of the body. He has built for people with spinal injuries in which they could only pedal with one arm, and although he hasn’t done much with prosthetics yet, he has fabricated parts for people with special arm-to-leg proportions.

      “I like people so it’s a great way just to share with them,” said Rau. “It’s important to have a cycle design for the ideal riding experience for that person.”

      After a final inspection and some fine-tuning, MaQ was road-ready. To make sure MaryAnn’s experience was ideal during MaQ’s premier voyage, Rau joined her on his own QuadraPed, GenE. Many of Rau’s clients opt to communicate remotely and never meet in person, but it is a treat to be with someone when they take their first ride.

      Conclusions
      One of the first things I noticed in Rau’s workspace was a Buddha sticker—it said, “Chill.” On a shelf was a Godzilla doll and on the wall were hooks hung with different gears. There were big tools, little tools, and most interestingly, tiny tools for delicate work. There were nuts and bolts, screws and cables everywhere—it was an orderly chaos. MaQ was in the center, under the lights.

      They say you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their workspace. I wouldn’t rely on this to make friends, but in Rau’s case I found some similarities. Between off-the-record jokes and classic rock album discussions, Rau dropped such detailed descriptions of how each and every mechanism on the bike functioned as part of the whole.

      Whether you are able-bodied or have a physical challenge, the QuadraPed is custom designed to your needs. They come in a range of styles, gear ratios, and with components to accommodate your abilities. If you want a ride that is truly unique, built to strengthen your mind and your body, and reminds you that we all have more to offer, contact Richard Rau.

      Just remember if you contact him via email, “The capital P in QuadraPed is important.” It just reads better.

      By Anthony Vitale

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