• Albany’s Upscale Eats
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    dinnerSybaris
    Ask anyone in Albany about the best restaurant to commemorate a special occasion and the most common answer will be Sybaris, and there is good reason for that. Their fine dining experience and menu which “changes with the crops each month” has earned every bit of that reputation. They try to source most of their ingredients from local farms and ranches, and although you may never be able to order the same thing twice, you’ll never be disappointed with your meal there.

    Cellar Cat
    Cellar Cat is a new addition to Albany’s downtown, but they aren’t wasting any time making a permanent impression. Their upscale jazz theme is made more eclectic by tastefully executed cat decor throughout the restaurant and bar. They have arguably the most extensive wine selection in the area, and all of their food is made from scratch. The menu include items like seared scallops, fettuccine aioli (made with their fresh, house-made pasta), and a grilled steak and pear salad. It’s all so good that the live jazz is just a bonus!

    Frankie’s
    If you’re in the market for a new happy hour spot, you need to check out Frankie’s. Their bar area is a great spot to gather with family and friends for a few drinks, but it’s the happy hour food (and prices) that will keep you coming back for more. You’ll want to try everything at least once, but you can never go wrong with an order of their pork belly fries or one of their house-made egg rolls.

    By Hannah Darling

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  • Dessert: Why God Created Gym Memberships
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    Chocolate1Big River
    Their dessert menu has something for everyone. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be in heaven with their Hot Lava Cake, a dark chocolate cake that’s ready to erupt with chocolate ganache, or their Four-Layer Cake, which is four layers of chocolate cake filled with layers of chocolate and white chocolate cream. Chocolate not your thing? You can’t go wrong with their lemon tart or classic crème brûlée.

    Old World Deli
    Claiming to have “The World’s Best Brownies,” Old World Deli, just like Shakira’s hips, don’t lie. Packed with extra chocolate chips and with a chocolaty thickness of cake wonderosity, these brownies are a hard treat to beat downtown. They are baked just enough so they don’t crumble in your hand but are still soft and moist. This chocolaty treat is great with any of their sandwiches, or by themselves—either way, we won’t judge.

    Mediterranean Café
    “A Place with Personality” doesn’t even begin to describe the Mediterranean Café on Madison, between 4th and 5th. With flashing lights, fun music, and an all-star cast of employees, you can’t find a better place for lunch or dinner. And then there is the baklava selection, the largest variety in town that we know about, and all of it a cacophony of flaky, gooey goodness! Also, they have a  selection of Greek grocery items for your home kitchen endeavors.

    Francesco’s
    If you have never tried Italian ice cream, otherwise known as gelato, you need to make Francesco’s on 2nd Street your next dessert destination. With ever-changing flavors, there is always something new to try and these dessert wonders comes in three sizes. Even the small is huge, so you really get your money’s worth. From chocolate to berries, everyone can find something to love about Francesco’s mouth-watering gelato. Their cookies and cream is like nowhere else’s, bravissimo!

    First Alternative Co-Op
    You just can’t get any better than “it’s dessert, but it’s natural.” All of First Alternative’s desserts are made with wholesome ingredients, so while it may taste good as sin, it’s a somewhat healthier way to heed your inner hedonist. Do check out their chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting—knowing the cake is made with quality ingredients makes it even better. While you’re at it, try their cheesecake and carrot cake, too; you won’t regret it.

    Bursts
    Handmade candies made on the premises…? Yes, please. Possibly the most awesomely scented shop in town, the selection is heavily geared to chocolates, both traditional and newfangled. It’s all first-rate, but what’s really over the top are their truffles—you need them in ways you don’t yet understand if you’ve not been initiated. They have milk and dark chocolates. Both skew towards balance rather than the extremes, possibly with the intent to highlight inner contents, it all works together wonderfully—love this place.

    Market of Choice
    This grocery store on Circle Boulevard and 9th Street could easily drain my bank account with their prices but offers quite the variety of desserts: tiramisu, macaroons, cookies, truffles, cake, and many gluten-free, vegan options. I decided to try a $5 gluten-free peanut butter bar, which is actually a lump of sawdust held together by peanut butter with a thin layer of chocolate on top. However, the Black Forest cake I sampled afterward was a much better choice.

    New Morning Bakery
    Do not order the coconut macaroons, they’re mine! First, there’s so much right about this place that talking about their brownies and cakes just seems redundant. Everybody already knows about those, and now you know about their cookies, too, which are all amazing, including my already mentioned favorite. We’ve previously noted this as a preferred study or meet-up spot. Pro tip: Mix their house and Frangelica coffee and drink it black.

    Allann Brothers Coffee
    This popular, local chain has many options when it comes to coffee and tea but the shocker was the overwhelming number of dessert choices. Should I have a chocolate hazelnut scone, chunky chocolate cookie, a slightly oversized muffin, or one of the many biscotti? I talked to the barista and she pointed out a caramel apple scone the size of a smartphone that oozed caramel drizzle. I bought it and promptly inhaled it, enjoying every bite.

    NutCakes
    Food is more fun when there’s a hole in the middle, right? If you’re craving a doughnut—be it glazed or cake, cruller or bar—head over to NutCakes in Philomath. It’s been rumored that the best selection is available in the early morning hours. Makes sense, since NutCakes opens bright and early at 6 a.m. daily. Check out the breakfast specials on Saturday and Sunday, too. Report to 126 N 13th Street in Philomath for your next doughnut binge.

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  • Categorically Good Eats That Are Too Damn Difficult to Categorize
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    Hawaiian FooodLocal Boyz Hawaiian Cafe
    Serving “Hawaiian-style plate lunches,” this local staple spoonfuls include rice, sweet shoyu chicken (shredded and drenched in delicious sauce), and a mostly mayonnaise peppered macaroni salad. Tucked away atop Cobblestone Square, it’s no place for fine dining, but the perfect stop for a hangover cure or to load up on calories. Platters range from “Menehune” (small) to  Blahah (giant), and beware, the Blahah is one heap of an undertaking.

    White Wind Superfood
    They have a variety of organic juices, smoothies, and shakes to nourish your body and delight your taste buds, and it’s tempting to compare them to the usual juice bar, but you would be wrong. The intentionality towards healthfulness and taste is unmatchable  Also, it’s one of those places that specializes in things that don’t sound like they go together, except that they do, so if they suggest something weird, trust them. One of the best things on the menu is their Spicy Mayan Chocolate Shake which consists of coconut water, dates, figs, cacao nibs and powder, avocado, almond butter, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and mesquite.

    Nearly Normal’s
    This veggie-head’s paradise serves a creative selection of mindfully prepared world flavors, Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican, and American. They call it gonzo cuisine, we call it a staff fave. Orders are taken at the front counter and guests can choose between the downstairs, upstairs, or patio area—all unique spaces against the Corvallis backdrop.

    Café Yumm
    Café Yumm may at first glance confuse you. Is it just a place that serves burritos unwrapped and dumped in a bowl? And yes, that is essentially what a Yumm Bowl is, but it’s more than that. From their oddly delectable Yumm Sauce to their flexibility on customization, their bowl has a ton of potential. I like to do a Large Yumm Baby with the light sauce, extra cilantro and sour cream, and add the jalapeno salsa. Trust me, I’m an unnamed newspaper source. But seriously, this place is great. They do a crazy good garden burger, too.

    The Coffee Break Café
    Nice selection with a twist. Yep, it’s homemade pastries, breads, and cookies baked fresh each day, nothing new there. It is their baking philosophy that caught our attention. Owner Nate McDaniels says, “A can of soda has 90 grams of sugar, that’s the same as three slices of our apple pie.” In short, they use fresh and real everything and count on the flavors to do the work, reducing the sugar quite a lot.

    Gathering Together Farms
    Just out of town, Philomath features something that can’t be left out of any local veggie-lover’s list of options: Gathering Together. Literally in the woods, this almost Euro-style country restaurant offers a rotating menu of nothing but the best our Earth has to offer. With a nearly perfect score on Yelp, this is definitely a dining experience that foodies from all over will love. Know this is fine dining.

    Corvallis Brewing Supply
    Nope, not just supplies for home brew. This is Corvallis’ best selection of craft microbrewery goodness along with our fair burg’s most knowledgeable staff as goes all things beer. Hint: When they offer a tasting, go for it. They know their stuff.

    Feast Alternative Kitchen  (at the Co-Op)
    Look, just because something is made with local and organic ingredients doesn’t mean that you should eat a metric freaking ton of it. Such is the danger of build-your-own meal bars. South Corvallis’ Feast Alternative Kitchen dishes a daily rotation of soup, salad, and entrees for the health-conscious crowd that also appeals to hedonists with comfort fare like Classic Mac & Cheese. Eat in among the sounds of market bustle or scarf it down in your car. Just don’t get five pounds of it.

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  • Sticky Rice and Fishy Favs
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    sushiAomatsu Sushi & Grill
    Aomatsu has lured me more than once with their 8:30 to 10 p.m. happy hour, which discounts a small list of rolls. One I’ve tried is the “Crunchy Monster” roll, consisting of mostly crunch. Seriously, just… doused in crunch. I would consider others, such as the Happy Hour Special Roll, with salmon, crab, cream cheese, avocado, and jalapeno. Beware their reputably bad service, and accept that you may need to flag down your server for second orders.

    Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
    Hands-down the best sushi around can be found downtown—OK, I’ll stop—at Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse. Made with the freshest of fishes, I recommend the Rock ‘n’ Roll. The presentation is always perfect and bigger assortments arrive via a craftily arranged boat. With spacious dining, parties can choose between the sushi bar, hibachi area, or dining tables on the first or second floor. Catering is also available and all cuisine is made in traditional Japanese manner, with the notion of food being an art form.

    Sugoi Sushi
    Finally, people have what they want: a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. The Vegas Roll is loaded with salmon, avocado, and cream cheese, making these warm rolls melt in your mouth. Whether you choose to sit at the bar or in a booth, the sushi track delivers the freshest of flavors on every plate. If you don’t find something you’re into, don’t worry, you can order your favorites right from the menu.

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  • Ethnic Offerings & Sandwich Stations
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    chineseplateUn-Burgers and Non-Pizzas

    TarnTip Thai Cuisine
    Right next to the buzz of the OSU campus, this restaurant serves up authentic Thai dishes. Go for the Tom Kah Gai Soup (vegetarians be sure to opt for tofu) and the Paht Thai. Their curry dishes also pack plenty of flavor. Portion sizes are generous for the price. Be sure to bring cash, though—the restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards.

    Queen’s Chopstick
    If you find yourself near the Timberhill Shopping Center with a hankering for Chinese eats, your best bet is to place an order at Queen’s Chopstick. Tried and true entrees like lo mein and an array of stir-fry options are available on the dinner menu. The fried rice isn’t too bad, either, and it’s on the cheaper side as far as price goes. The restaurant stays open until 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.

    Evergreen Indian Restaurant
    This is a tasty choice for lunch even if you’re not a vegetarian, but if you are, you’ve got some really delicious lentils, saag, and pakora waiting to blow your mouth up. This is one of the best restaurants in town, especially for the price. Here’s The Advocate’s secret: get the lunch buffet to go. You can fill your container to the brim and have what scientists would call a veritable crap-load of lunch, all for no more than a fast food meal would have cost. Your move, Nirvana.

    Nirvana Indian Restaurant
    If you’re looking for authentic Punjabi Indian food, you won’t be disappointed with anything at this North Corvallis eatery. Their tandoori chicken is rich and flavorful, and their naan is addictive. If you’re new to Indian cuisine and aren’t sure what to order, their all-you-can-eat buffet is an ideal way to sample a little bit of everything that they’re known for. Don’t forget to get a masala tea (chai) to go with your meal. Anyhow, their convenient for North Corvallis, so there’s that.

    Koriander
    If you’re looking for a little Asian fusion and culture spice in your life, Koriander may be your place. Racked with countless noodle, hot plates, and meat dishes it also offers Italian gelato to cool down that palate after your delectable feast. Dinner can be a little spendy, so go earlier to save some money and still get a good meal. The bulgogi beef entrée was reasonably priced, absolutely delicious, and filled the fridge with leftovers.

    D’el Jebal
    Craving food from the Middle East or perhaps Turkish coffee? Head over to D’el Jebal and satisfy those cravings for falafel, shawarma, or my personal favorite, the Sinbad Sandwich! And for the record, if it’s bad I don’t want to be good. It comes with the signature “Sinbad” sauce which consists of garlic and other mysterious goodness. Complete with fries and a soda, then you’re ready to take on the world. Five stars in my book.

    The Woodsman
    Do you love dining in off-the-wall places? Is a kitschy atmosphere your thing? Then you better get over to The Woodsman, located in Philomath, where you can enjoy ridiculously delicious Thai food in a logger atmosphere—which shouldn’t work, but it does. Antique chainsaws and industrial tools grace the walls and the portion sizes are generous. Heck, you can even order a burger big enough to fill a lumberjack. And no, you didn’t just accidentally step into the local VFW.

    Mediterranean Cafe
    This cafe’s unpretentious or downright weird decor is fun, the food is seriously good, and the staff genuinely loves serving guests. The magic choices on the menu are their beautifully plated foods: mildly spiced rice with fava beans and salad, topped with your choice of protein. Below the plates are solid gyro choices. Hints: They customize foods however you would like, which makes for a better salad, and their selection of baklava is huge.

    Kimhoa’s Kitchen
    This restaurant offers a variety of Asian flavors, and most entrees are $10 or less. This is one of the few places you’ll be able to find good pho (pronounced “fuh”) in the Corvallis area. Traditionally made with beef broth, this Vietnamese noodle dish is great on a chilly spring evening. Another win for Kimhoa’s: the restaurant serves up vegetarian and vegan-friendly pho. The salad rolls make for a tasty, inexpensive side dish.

    China Blue Restaurant
    Offering by far the best Chinese cuisine in town, China Blue dishes up all the favorite Americanized flavors en masse. Seriously, once I ordered the ever-delicious “Special Chow Fun” and the noodles kept endlessly springing from my take-out container—the Mary Poppins of noodlery. Plus, to make up for being behind on our order last winter, they gifted us an entire bag of fortune cookies. Consider yourselves forgiven, China Blue. I’ve been fortune-rich since Christmas (when we ordered).

    Thai Chili
    If you’re near campus and have a wicked hankering for some Thai cuisine, try out Thai Chili. The food is well-priced and pretty darn authentic. The spot often fills up around lunchtime, but the service is fast and often friendly. If you’re feeling adventurous or like you need a companion beverage for your Pad Thai or your spicy stir fry, try the bubble tea or Thai iced tea. There are many flavors to choose from.

     

    sandwichesWhich Sandwich, Where…

    Francesco’s
    If you’re looking for a great sandwich in a relaxing environment, Francesco’s on 2nd Street is the place for you. Not only do they have great coffee and gelato, but they also have a full sandwich menu including my favorite, combining pesto and turkey. All of their sandwiches are made fresh, with cold and hot options.

    New Morning Bakery
    Not being a sandwich place, what’s this eatery doing here? First, their top-rate panini comes in two or three iterations a day, but beyond that, their eclectic menu means main course options for whoever you find yourself with, plus sides for yourself. Our crew especially likes their soups as a side.

    Natalia and Cristoforo’s
    I’ve never actually been to Italy, but why bother if you can pick up a hoagie from Natalia and Cristoforo’s. All sandwiches are crafted with a variety of Italian meats and cheeses, topped with vegetables of your choice and, for a little extra, served on a baguette or ciabatta roll—trust me, it’s worth it. Feeling particularly hungry? Go for the Bober, a muffuletta sandwich piled high with all the salami, cappicola, and provolone cheese you could possibly desire.

    Baguette Vietnamese Sandwiches
    It’s fair to say the only good thing that came from the French colonization of Vietnam was the banh mi sandwich like the ones you can find at Baguette Vietnamese Sandwiches on 3rd Street. These delicious sandwiches are served on a toasty baguette with pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and your choice of protein. It wouldn’t be a proper banh mi, however, without sauces—mayo, soy sauce, and garlic pepper sauce in this case. Your best bet is the beef lemongrass or curry beef, but quite frankly, anything they put on those baguettes is freaking delicious.

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  • Pizza in a College Town
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    pizzaWoodstock’s
    When it comes to pizza, it can either be done right, or horribly, horribly wrong. Woodstock’s has pretty much nailed it. They offer all the toppings you could imagine, including meats and veggies. They even offer a spicy pizza sauce for when you want to feed your wild side. Woodstock’s is a great place to stop by after a home game, and they also deliver for those never-ending study sessions.

    Cirello’s Pizza
    Each pizzeria has different pros and cons, but for me, there is a richness to a Cirello’s pie that is uniquely addictive. And let’s talk crust; this one is soft, foldable, and flavorful. The pies here skew towards gooey goodness—it’s an all-American pie, sure to please.

    American Dream Pizza
    When it comes to enjoyable, specialty pizza, American Dream Pizza’s downtown location is my first choice. Of course, they offer the customary pepperoni pizza, but the deliciously high-calorie “Dream Special” boasts Italian sausage, American bacon, mushroom, black olive, and tomato. Also, there are countless other unique pizza topping combinations as well as flavorful salads and calzones. In addition to the menu options, the downtown location offers outdoor rooftop seating where you can eat your meal and enjoy the sights.

    FireWorks Pub & Pizza
    FireWorks is probably the top food find on the south end of Corvallis, not to mention one of the best pizza places in town. While the pizzas are on the smaller side—enough to feed one or two people—they come with “old world thin crust” and are baked in a 900-degree adobe oven, according to the menu. Try the Zorba the Greek pie if you’re craving a taste of the Mediterranean. And grab a beer to go with your pizza pie. Several local brews are on tap.

    Cibelli’s Pizza
    New York pizza pies, please meet Corvallis. The Everything Greek pizza, which includes kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and feta cheese, is one of the best selections on the menu. Not to mention the pizza dough is hand-tossed right in front of you. There are over 16 veggie, six meat, and three cheese choices. I’m no mathematician, but that is hundreds of different flavor combinations to choose from.

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  • Awesomeness Between the Buns
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    hamburger_vegetables_4000x2483Bombs Away
    You probably know Bombs Away for their Bomber tacos or insane weekly drink specials, but perhaps you don’t know that they make a mean burger as well. With options like the Blue Shrooms Burger, with sautéed garlic, mushrooms, blue cheese, and bacon, or the El Diablo, jalapenos, bacon, and their house-made Diablo hot sauce, you are not going to regret ordering one of these “hand-spanked” cheeseburgers with your next margarita.

    McMenamins
    With two McMenamins locations, burgers and tots are always available here in Corvallis. Packed with flavor, the Firm Burger is covered with pepperoni and Swiss cheese—a perfect pairing in my opinion. The burger is cooked to perfection and the buns are fresh, not to mention they have gluten-free options. Paired with their seasonal cider and Cajun tots, this meal is perfect for any burger lover.

    Squirrel’s
    Allow me to wax rhapsodic about Squirrel’s salmon burger with provolone and a side of curly fries. It’s so good I have to actively restrain myself from rubbing it all over my face in ecstasy, and, depending on who you talk to, I’ve not always been successful. There is a reason I no longer take first dates there. Also, Squirrel’s displays their beers on tap from lightest to darkest, which means no matter how much burger is stuffed in my mouth, I can still get myself a drink just by pointing.

    Block 15
    Known mostly for their beers and chalkboard tables, Block 15’s burgers are some of the best in Corvallis. But, what if you’re vegetarian…? Well, they offer the Nearly Normal’s Sun Burger, a veggie burger that satisfies the taste buds of all, even meat lovers. The patty is packed with seeds, seasonings, and topped with flavorful sauces. This burger is a must-try.

    Flat Tail
    Flat Tail offers a variety of foods, burgers being one of their biggest hits. Even though the Flat Tail Burger is a “regular” burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and Flat Tail sauce, you can make this burger personalized by adding extras. The Flat Tail Burger with added pickled jalapeños makes the perfect classic but spicy burger for those of us who can’t take the heat. Pair your burger with frickles to make your meal even better.

    Sky High Burgers
    If you like your beef hand-patted and all natural, then Sky High Brewing is the place for you. For $12 you can treat yourself to a Sky High Burger, a half-pounder of Carlton Farms quality beef with the works and topped with the meltiest Tillamook cheddar. Superbly crafted and seasoned to perfection, the Sky High Burger demonstrates the utmost culinary class within the relatable context of American tradition. Not gonna lie, we love this place.

     

     

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  • Burrito Happiness
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    burritos2Bombs Away Café

    Burritos smothered in Christmas sauce, crispy chimichangas, and Bomber nachos piled high with all your favorite fixings are what you can expect at Bombs Away. The Southwestern fare is modern and delicious. Plus, there’s beer and live music to wash it all down. The place fills up quick most nights of the week, but it’s worth the wait for your fave wet burrito.

    Burrito Heaven
    I had high hopes when I walked into Burrito Heaven on SE 3rd Street, glanced at the menu, which offered tamales, enchiladas, and 11 specialty burrito options, and made my dinner decision. I selected the sensationally seasoned fajita burrito with grilled chicken, a grilled veggie mixture with rice and beans, and a smooth guacamole and sour cream finish. This inexpensive yet behemoth burrito was full of flavor, and I left full and pleased with my decision.

    Delicias Valley Café
    Choose to dine in or order out from this Mexican restaurant located at 933 NW Circle Boulevard. There is a lengthy menu featuring authentic choices like enchiladas and fajitas, but the breakfast burritos really steal the show. Better yet—breakfast is served all day long. The potatoes that come on the side are also worthy of recognition. The BBQ-like seasoning is sweet, salty, and savory all at the same time. You may even try to lick your plate when no one’s watching.

    Riva’s Taco Shop
    There’s really no place like Riva’s for late night drunchies. Nothing beats a cheap, speedy burrito. Lesson learned, though: what you see is what you get. A chicken taco means chicken and tortilla, so get specific. My go-to is the Oregon Burrito, but with chicken and guac on the side. And if they seem perplexed because guac is not listed in the order, assure them it’s alright. Because who wouldn’t pay extra for that good, fatty god-dip?

    Nearly Normal’s
    A veggie-folk fave, the Nearly Nasty is nastily damn addictive with its beans, cheese, green peppers, scallions, and salsa topped with crave-worthy enchilada sauce. Then this eatery gets really nasty, torturing diners with this other 12-step program-inducing choice, their Figini’s Verde Burrito—black beans, home fries, cheese, mild green chilies, scallions, and salsa topped with salsa verde. Some will prefer to delete the standard sour cream from these selections. Hint: One of the best outdoor dining spaces in town.

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  • The Who’s Who of Local Brews
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    The numbers don’t lie: Beer is an Oregon thing. There are nearly 250 brewing facilities operated by almost 200 brewing companies in the state, according to oregoncraftbeer.org. A glorious 42 of those brewing companies are located in the Willamette Valley.

    And most Oregonians appreciate great beer and the efforts that are taken by the state’s brewing facilities to make sure what ends up in your pint glass or snifter is a quality product.

    Here in Corvallis, we like our IPAs, amber and farmhouse ales, heady stouts, and everything in between. If you’re looking for your next stop to sip, check out our handy list of local brewing facilities. Yes, that includes a lil cider and honey wine, too.

    Corvallis

    Block 15 – From the Print Master’s Pale Ale to many a hoppy IPA, Block 15 knows how to brew good beer. Visit the downtown pub along SW Jefferson Street or take a trip to South Corvallis to check out Block 15’s production brewery and tap room, which opened late last summer. Both locations serve food, but the downtown pub has a bigger menu. Don’t forget to take home a Crowler. Don’t know what that is? It’s a hip 32 ounce you can get filled with your fave beer over at the tasting room. The Beer Gods are rejoicing.

    Sky High Brewing – For great views and great brews, visit Sky High, located at 160 NW Jackson Avenue. You’ve probably witnessed the keg bike riding around town or enjoyed a summer night on the rooftop or outdoor patio overlooking the city. Beer-wise, Sky High offers up longtime favorites, like the Bohemian Pils, and seasonal specialties, like the Mountainous Stout and Handlebeer Wheat Ale, in their revolving rotation of local beers.

    Flat Tail Brewing – If you’re looking for variety, check out Flat Tail Brewing along the Corvallis Riverfront at 202 SW 1st Street. The beer menu is lengthy. You can find something that’s a favorite style of beer, like the Rough Cut IPA, or branch out and try a new brew, like the El Guapo, which is an eclectic summer ale fermented with fresh cucumbers, habanero peppers, and limes. Flat Tail also features an extensive pub-style menu.

    Mazama Brewing – Mazama is small, but this Corvallis-based brewery is creating plenty of unique and tasty beers. The tasting room, located at 33930 SE Eastgate Circle off of Highway 34, is open regular hours throughout the week and a taster flight might be the way for people to go if they’re hoping to get to know this local brewery a little better. Try the Saison d’Etre, a spicy saison/farmhouse ale, if it’s available, or another one of Mazama’s Belgium-style brews.

    Oregon Trail Ales – Any respectable Corvallis citizen has ordered an Oregon Trail Ales beer to enjoy alongside their sandwich at Old World Deli. The two go together like peas and carrots. This veteran Corvallis brewery has been around since 1987. Make your next pour a Ginseng Porter, or perhaps a Beavers Tail is more your style if you’re craving a lighter ale. Oregon Trail Brewery and the deli are located at 341 SW 2nd Street.

    2 Towns Ciderhouse – Your day is pretty much guaranteed to get better once you’ve had a few sips (or gulps) of an OutCider or a Hop & Stalk. Started in 2010, 2 Towns is a beloved craft cider producer right here in Corvallis. Their ciders are a nice break from the many microbrews filling the local waterholes. Check out the Tap Room, located off Highway 34, where you can order pints of cider, small bites, and taster flights of some “Damn Fine Cider.”

     

    Albany

    Calapooia Brewing Co. – If you make the drive over to Albany, don’t pass up a visit to Calapooia. The brewery has a long list of beers to choose from, a variety of sizes for your pours, and pub-style food and live music to add to the mix. If you dig spice, try Calapooia’s unique Chili Beer, which is flavored with a trio of peppers. If you’re more of a traditionalist, try the ‘Pooya Porter or SantiAmber Ale. Calapooia is located at 140 NE Hill Street in Albany.

    Deluxe Brewing Co. – Together, Deluxe Brewing Co. and Sinister Distillery make up the first “brewstillery” in Albany. The brewstillery is located along the Willamette River at 635 NE Water Avenue, Suites B and D. Deluxe has a delightful lineup of beers, featuring everything from pilsners and lagers to dunkels to other sweet and dark numbers. If you’re over on the other side of the river, this unique location is worth a stop.

    Insider tip: Grab a copy of the Mid-Valley Sip Trip brochure from one of the local breweries in Corvallis or Albany. The Sip Trip brochure features directions, addresses, and a helpful map for your next beer-drinking journey. Cheers!

    By Abbie Tumbleson

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  • Booze n’ Coffee: Corvallis and Albany Offerings
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    file000385233024Albany Concoctions: Creative Boozings

    Sweet Red Bistro
    If you’re looking for a specialty cocktail menu for a fun evening out, Sweet Red Bistro in Albany has what you want. Their dim lighting, candles, and soft music provide the kind of intimate dining experience that you’ll want to experience more than once. Their Spicy Thai Gimlet (which can be ordered “cyn spicy” or “sensible spicy”) consists of their house infused Thai chili vodka, lime, and mango.

    Vault 244
    At Vault 244, you will find high-quality drinks that are made by knowledgeable bartenders. All of the cocktails attain perfection, but the Pearfection is especially wonderful with its Clear Creek pear brandy, triple sec, lemon, and simple syrup. And then there is the Vault Chocolate. Made with Bacardi 151, Baileys, peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate, and fresh whipped cream, it will warm you up on a cold night.

    The Still
    Feel like good drinks, food, and live music? Head on over to The Still in Albany, or as we like to call it, the bar formerly known as JP’s. They just recently reopened as a classier joint, and there’s no doubt about it, they make a mean craft cocktail. Make sure to try out the strawberry mint julep, made with moonshine, fresh strawberries and mint, cane sugar, lemon juice, and soda. 

    By Hannah Darling

     

    coffeeCorvallis Coffee: Choices of Bean and Brew

    Coffee Culture
    If you’re looking for a great place to sit and drink a delicious cup of coffee or tea, look no further than Coffee Culture’s three sit-down locations. Though sometimes a little pricey, the great environment and delicious java will have you coming back again and again. And they’ve got warm service to accent their wealthy drink and treat selection. They score highly with staffers that prefer high-quality black coffees.

    Allann Bros. Coffee
    Allann Bros. Coffee, aka the Beanery, has three locations in Corvallis serving consistently quality coffee alongside a wide range of menu options, with the most choices for food at their 2nd Street location. Do note, however, that their espresso shot is not quite consistent with the typical “American” espresso style. Allann Bros. coffee is instead made with a more European-style espresso, which is far stronger. When you order your triple-shot 16-ounce Americano, latte, or what have you, remember you’re getting the potent dank here, so you may want to tone it down a notch and stick with a single shot.

    Interzone
    The dream of the ‘90s is alive and well in Corvallis. Interzone is its beating heart. When you walk through the purple-framed door, past all the scrawled band flyers, you could almost believe that Gibby Haines doesn’t need to take a nap before playing a 9 p.m. show. Their drink menu features standard coffeehouse fare with specialties such as the cardamom honey latte for a bit of frou-frou. They do a pretty good breakfast beyond bagels and pastries if you’re so inclined. Back in my day, though, we lived off the cream and sugar in our coffee and we were grateful for it.

    Dutch Bros.
    Oregon’s answer to the Starbucks mega behemoth is a mini mega behemoth all its own here in Corvallis. These guys are known for their coffee and tea drinks more than their classic coffee or espresso. But they are popular for a reason and they have many locations throughout town. 

    Purple Moon
    You can be sure that each cup of joe the folks at Purple Moon are whipping up is organic and awesome. If you’re not into coffee, don’t fret because they have an array of equally tasty juices and smoothies. Not to mention they have a special nearly every day of the week, and they top that smooth and rich espresso drink with none other than a chocolate-covered coffee bean. You can find their quaint coffee stand in the parking lot of the South Corvallis Co-op, or visit them on Saturday mornings at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market.

    Francesco’s
    A taste of Italy is just around the corner in Corvallis. Grab a cup of delicious coffee and a bowl of creamy gelato at this adorable little restaurant on 2nd Street. It’s important to note that this is not an ideal location for a quick cup of plain coffee. Espresso is king here. But the combination of Italian ice cream and delicious espresso drinks will have you dreaming of Rome.

    Imagine Coffee
    These folks regularly host live music and displays of local artists’ work. Each table is decorated with paper and a can of colored pencils, encouraging those who are hanging out sipping a cup of coffee to get in touch with their artistic side. Customer service is great; the baristas take pride in knowing their customers’ names. What’s more, any extra profit made goes right back to charities to support coffee-growing families.

    Tried and True
    These are the new kids on the block. Their cozy SW Madison shop is filled with small indoor plants and an adorable hexagonal shelf. Our go-to staff coffee expert describes their black coffee as almost tea-like and their mocha as high quality and balanced; hers featured some pretty intricate latte art.

     

    cocktailsCorvallis’ Top Concoctions

    Downward Dog
    At Downward Dog, delicious drinks are served either inside or outside on picnic tables. The Mango Cooler is by far one of the best drinks on the menu. Made with vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, mango puree, and Sprite, it will satisfy any sweet tooth. Garnished with a small mango slice and three gummy bears or sour patch kids, this drink is great for any night out. 

    Handle Bar
    Located in the American Dream Pizza on Monroe, the Handle Bar has some of the best drinks made to go with your slice. The Sucker Punch tastes just like it sounds and is packed with different flavors. Made with infused pineapple-coconut rum, infused blood orange spiced vodka, muddled orange and lime, pineapple juice, orgeat (a sweet syrup made from almonds), and a Gosling’s rum, this drink tastes just like an adult fruit punch. 

    Peacock
    Packed with karaoke, billiards, and an upstairs dance floor, the Peacock offers different types of entertainment and quality drinks. If you’re looking for a refreshing fruity drink the My Little Pony will satisfy your needs. Probably named after the Ponies for its light pink color, this drink is made with strawberry, cranberry, and lemonade sour, and topped with a lemon slice. 

    Crowbar
    Located in the American Dream in Downtown Corvallis, the Crowbar has not only interesting drinks but interesting names to go with them. For those who love a blend of coffee flavor and liquor, the Crowquistador is a must-try. Made with Flaming 151 rum, coffee liqueur, coffee, cream, nutmeg, and a caramelized sugar rim, this drink blends together the world’s greatest things: coffee and liquor. On a nice night, enjoy your drink on the rooftop.

    Sky High
    I was excited to try the 4-Story Macho Nachos at Sky High Brewing, but a little nervous about choosing a cocktail. I ended up ordering the Thirsty Beaver (vodka, blood orange puree, fresh muddled lime, and triple sec) and was pleasantly surprised. While a strong drink, I considered having more than one and at $7.50 a drink that’s saying something. Other cocktail options were the Hotuaca, Brewmaster’s Coffee, Holy Godiva, Hot Buttered Rum, and the Lavender Lemondrop. There are even variations of the Moscow Mule as well as the Bloody Mary. My mouth is watering—I will be visiting again.

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  • Earth’s Good Lawyer: Patti Goldman
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    PattiGoldmanEarthJusticeThe Pacific Northwest is known across the globe for its verdant forests, epic hiking trails, and the iconic Pacific salmon runs that have sustained communities for millennia. Often we take for granted how much work has been poured into shaping the Northwest into what it is today. While the list of people, organizations, and communities that have contributed to preserving the Northwest is immense, Earthjustice has taken the fight to a whole new level.

    Earthjustice is a non-profit environmental law firm based in San Francisco with nine regional offices. Their Northwest office, located in Seattle, has been at the forefront of battles to preserve our old growth forests, protect our salmon runs, and defend the communities that deal firsthand with unclean air and toxic pesticides. Overall, Earthjustice excels at giving legal voice to those who otherwise may not have been heard.

    “There are a lot of things people can do with a law degree, but being part of a non-profit legal organization is using those legal skills to try to affect a common good,” said managing attorney Patti Goldman. Goldman is a non-profit legal heavyweight who has gone toe-to-toe with industry titans for over 30 years. In addition to managing the Northwest office, Goldman spent six years as vice president of litigation in which she oversaw litigation programs for all regional offices.

    Goldman explained that part of being a non-profit legal firm is working specifically for the public benefit. Under the internal revenue code a non-profit legal organization can only work towards the good of the public and is prohibited from serving any private interests.“We obtain donations from people who believe in the cause we work for. Sometimes foundations, sometimes individuals. So that is our main funding source.”

    Typically law firms will assess a client based on legal viability and their ability to pay. “Can the client pay?” is often the first question asked.“We are asking instead, ‘Does this further our mission and does it promote the public interest?’ so it’s a very different question,” said Goldman. While chivalrous to say the least, how does an organization that does not charge its clients square off against some of the biggest industries in the US?

    “We are used to David versus Goliath types of battles. We just do our homework and hone our skills and make sure that we are at the top of the legal profession in putting together our cases and presenting our claims,”explained Goldman.

    For example, almost 30 years ago Earthjustice served as the legal arm of a coordinated campaign to protect old growth forests. At this time the industry was rapidly becoming more mechanized, capable of covering more ground, and harvesting smaller trees than before. Earthjustice began enforcing laws against all federal agencies managing public lands and discovered rampant violations. This effort led to legal changes resulting in multiple-valued protection of our forests.

    However, these events coincided with a shrinking of the timber industry as a whole. “We are often blamed for more of that than the environment bares,” explained Goldman. While much of the timber industry’s downsizing was already underway, the industry had the resources to fan the flames and dominated the mudslinging.

    It was a lesson for Earthjustice to be the campaign punching bag. However the more important lesson was that so many people living in the Northwest care deeply about the environment and the air they breathe. “A lot of people in the Northwest come here because people want to live in a place with a beautiful environment and places to hike, fish, ski, and recreate and so those values are recognized,” said Goldman.

    Regulating the widespread use of harmful pesticides in the Northwest has been another hallmark of the Earthjustice commitment to teamwork and legal excellence. Earthjustice and partners challenged the EPA’s approval of multiple pesticides found to cause reproductive defects in male offspring, poison workers, kill salmon, and cause learning deficits in children exposed in utero.

    “It took a lot of work. It shouldn’t have had to take all that much, but the staying power, the partners in those situations were farm workers and health and environmental advocates,” said Goldman.

    Through advocacy and at times lawsuits, those pesticides have been taken off the market and are prohibited on imported produce. However, for Goldman, “empowering people to be able to make that difference when it wouldn’t have happened without all of that work” was the biggest victory.

    Their commitment to the partnerships they make with their clients is what makes Earthjustice so effective. By pairing clients who are engaging in similar issues, they are able to build a base where everyone is bringing special skills, knowledge, and viewpoints to the table.“We don’t do anything in our own name, we don’t go to court in our own name. We represent others and so we give voice to others,” said Goldman.

    Despite these victories, the fight continues and Earthjustice remains on the front line. If you love the wild side of the Pacific Northwest, then thank the tireless staff at the nearest Earthjustice office for defending your fundamental right to a healthy environment. And remember, these lawyers aren’t in it for the money. They are doing it because the Earth needs a good lawyer.

    By Anthony Vitale

     

    Horizontal Partners: ELAW Gets Around

    Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) is not your typical law firm. Get past them claiming a worldwide anything while humbly headquartered in Eugene, and you find this non-profit law firm up to some next level business.

    As it turns out, ELAW is what some might call a horizontal network. In other words, they work with non-profit and charitable lawyers in about 70 countries around the planet. Much of what they do is legal advising for countries with limited access to public benefit law support, sometimes even drafting their laws.

    To accomplish this, ELAW lawyers must be versed in a variety of laws concerning petroleum, mining, and land rights from all over the globe. Part of what they do is help local communities study laws that have worked in other parts of the world so that they can make the best decisions early in the process. This has been particularly beneficial to people whose lives are bound to a healthy environment, such as fishing and pastoral communities.

    ELAW has also been known to bring what they have learned overseas back to Oregon. ELAW was involved a decade ago in studying German energy policy when the country was at the forefront of renewable energy development. This initiative helped bring knowledge and information back to the Northwest which has, in turn, begun a serious commitment to renewable energy production.

    With just over a dozen staffers, ELAW demonstrates that it’s not the size of your firm that matters, but how you use it. ELAW has a huge impact worldwide by disseminating information and standing up for those communities most likely to fall victim to corporate scheming and legal manipulation, and they do it without making much noise.

    By Anthony Vitale

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  • Yesteryear’s Doomsdays: Your Earthly Retrospective
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    AcidRainThe ’90s were cooler than now. That’s not just nostalgia talking; I’m not still pining for the pair of Moon Shoes I never got for Christmas. Fully 97% of scientists agree, it was cooler a couple of decades ago. Lately it seems inevitable that every story about the environment ends up circling back to climate change one way or another. So that is not what this article will do. We will look not to the ever-increasing temperature of the future, but instead gaze upon the environmental doomsdays of yesteryear, at least as far back as us millennials can remember.

    Acid Rain
    The news of the ’90s presented acid rain as a very real threat, hammering it home with images of dead and dying forests. Caused by gases released from the burning of fossil fuels, acid rain forms when high concentrations of said gases get mixed in with the water droplets in clouds, churning out newly acidic water vapor, which falls to the ground as acid rain.

    Realistically, even normal rain is acidic. On the pH scale, it sits somewhere between 6.5 and 5.5. Lower pH numbers reflect higher acidity, so it should come as no surprise that the real trouble begins when that pH starts to dip below 5.5.

    Nature was not built to sustain acidity like that. An experiment you can try at home is watering your favorite houseplant with coffee (pH of about 5). It will die. So you will throw out the dead plant and buy a new one to put in the same pot. It will die. So, you will throw out the old dirt, which was still way too acidic from all the coffee. This is where the metaphor breaks down, because in areas affected by acid rain, you can’t just “throw out the old dirt.” That dirt is our planet.

    Fortunately, some of our greatest minds got together and passed legislation limiting the amount of airborne pollutants that could be produced at factories and companies across the country. Unfortunately, acid rain is still around. The new laws were a success, and many areas once affected by severe acid rain are recovering. But recovery can be agonizingly slow, and man-made acid rain still falls in some parts of the US—fingers crossed that Portland takes care of its toxic air before it circles back as acid rain.

    Holes in the Ozone
    An umbrella would have been a must-have survival item if the most dire predictions of the ’90s had come to pass. Not only would we be hiding from acid rain, but our own sun was set to cook us alive, via two holes in our planet’s protective ozone layer—that thing that keeps out truly damaging sun rays. Granted, in the ’90s there was only one major hole. And that hole was over Antarctica. But that hole was projected to get bigger and badder until one day we’d all get skin cancer and die.

    Solving the ozone problem took the combined effort of almost every nation on Earth. Scientists discovered that the hole had been caused by a particularly nasty kind of chemical called chlorofluorocarbons. These molecules, when released into the air, would rise up into the atmosphere and eat away at our precious ozone layer. Member states at the UN drafted the Montreal Protocol, which created an outline for phasing out production of ozone-depleting chemicals. It became the first treaty to be unanimously approved by every member of the UN.

    You may very well ask how we ended up with a second hole in the ozone given the frankly heroic cooperation of the international community. It turns out chlorofluorocarbons float around for a long time, casually wreaking havoc. Our second hole is over our second pole, in the Arctic. Despite the discovery of another hole, both seem to be on the mend as the overall health of our ozone layer improves.

    Climate Change
    I lied. This whole article circles back to climate change. It’s not for lack of trying to avoid the topic. The problem is, it’s always been the topic. Acid rain, holes in the ozone, and a plethora of environmental disasters between then and now— Styrofoam filling up landfills, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, melting icecaps, etc.—have just been the more apparent symptoms of ecological ignorance. Humans have disrupted the composition of the atmosphere time and time again with greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and now our climate is rapidly changing.

    And somewhere out there, amid dire projections and worried scientists on the nightly news, is a kid. A kid whose parents didn’t get him a hoverboard for Christmas. I would love for that kid to one day write a retrospective article about how we solved climate change. The article could say that recovery remains slow, that the problem required global cooperation, and that at least we realized we should stop “watering our houseplants with coffee,” so to speak. I’m sure the kid will have a better metaphor.

    By Kyle Bunnell

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  • Fights Over Northwest’s Crude Oil Future
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    oil trainCould Oregon’s commitment to sustainable and renewable energy production be going up in smoke? Thanks to the lifting of an oil export ban in December 2015 that prevented US companies from exporting crude and lightly refined oils, the dream of green is now confronted with increased fossil fuel traffic up and down the West Coast. The implications of lifting said ban falls heavily on the Pacific Northwest’s shoulders as the oil industry looks to fashion the region into an international export depot.

    “We are at special risk because there are so many places in the Northwest that the oil industry wants to build these projects and turn the region into a superhighway for oil,” said energy policy director Eric de Place of Sightline Institute. De Place is recognized as an authority on topics of fossil fuel industry transportation and export within the region. Sightline Institute is an environmental non-profit think tank located in Seattle, dedicated to sustainability in the Pacific Northwest.

    The Pacific Northwest is particularly vulnerable for a number of reasons, but primarily due to geography. Recently North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas, among other centrally located states, experienced an increase in gas and oil extraction on private as well as public lands. With the bulk of target markets in Asia, the West Coast is the place to be. Considering Canada is also expanding tar sands operations and looking to install pipelines heading south, the Pacific Northwest lands squarely in the crosshairs.

    “As a practical matter, from the perspective of fossil fuel infrastructure, it starts in the south at Coos Bay and goes north all the way through Prince Rupert in British Columbia,” explained de Place. We also have oil-by-rail entering the region from the east along both sides of the Columbia River destined for places like Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery.

    Even closer to home, the Tosoro-Savage Vancouver Energy Project seeks to build the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the United States right across the river from Portland. While the project had until August to secure all its necessary permits, a public hearing on April 12 by the port commissioners extended that period until March of next year. Should the project fail to produce permits on time, either party can exit the arrangement, which is likely, considering Vancouver City Council is opposed to the entire proposal.

    “Port Westward [in Oregon] has been one of those sites in the Northwest that has been a hotbed for fossil fuel industry proposals and so we have seen any number of things crop up there,” said de Place. Despite other projects like the failed Kinder Morgan coal export facility, concern was raised in 2012 when the Fortune 500 Global Partners Co. purchased a failed $200 million ethanol refinery with the aim of converting it to handle crude. However, once oil trains were spotted and word got out, Global Partners decided instead to stick with ethanol for now.

    In spite of the decision not to switch from biofuel production, the infrastructure in Port Westward is in place to do so when the opportunity presents itself.

    Currently the oil market is a little weak since the frack-boom peaked in 2015. In fact, there is a surplus of articles online attesting that the rush to export this domestic crude could be a bust. However, oil and energy prices are notoriously hard to predict as they are error prone and fluctuate frequently.

    The promise of economic benefit is the only thing these projects can really offer. However, promises have largely become a form of mollifying concern in this day and age. The Vancouver Energy Project boasts job creation and full-time positions for over 300 people once fully operational. The Savage Company, who will be operating the project, currently claims to support 3,000 employees at 200 locations. That is 15 people at each site, or 20 times less than the Vancouver Project alone will supposedly support. Don’t forget the ethanol refinery at Port Westward which let go of half their employees before selling to Global Partners three years later.

    However, “If the prices come back up, and they very well may, than the Northwest will be in an ideal spot to export crude oil. Because we don’t know what the future holds and because prices can come back up, it is still very important to prevent this [kind of] infrastructure from ever getting built,” said de Place.

    Needless to say, the environmental impact of developing such infrastructure is high and the risk of a catastrophic failure is more a matter of time than an avoidable incident. Coupled with the unreliability of the industry in general, why do so many communities support this? As it turns out, they don’t.

    “What we have seen happen is that a few port commissions have leased land to an oil project that was interested, but in every single case around the Northwest the local communities are actually opposed to it,” explained de Place.

    The Stand Up to Oil campaign website includes a list of 45 “tribal nations, cities, counties, firefighters, and other communities across the region [that] have passed resolutions and made statements opposing or expressing concerns about the dangers of oil trains and proposed terminals.” The list includes a Portland City Council formal written opposition to all project proposals that would increase the amount of oil transported by rail through the cities of Portland and Vancouver. The letter further explains that 15 oil-by-rail terminals are proposed, under construction, or in operation in Oregon and Washington and that there has been a significant increase in crude oil transport in the Pacific Northwest.

    Since the oil ban lift passed through Congress in December, there seems to be little we can do at the federal level right now. “While we lost the fight in Congress where the oil industry is dominant, we really do have the upper hand when it comes to local and state decision-making here,” explained de Place. Although it may be challenging to stop the flow of proposals and those seeking to further fossil fuel industry goals, we have the legal authority to stop each project in this region as it pops up through permitting.

    “By denying them permits, by denying them permission to build these projects, we can prevent the oil transformation of the Northwest and prevent the offshoring of America’s crude oil—we basically have a huge amount of control over the future of this region,” said de Place.

    For example, March saw the failure of the $3 to $5 billion Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline in Coos Bay. After being stalled for years in obtaining state permits and faced with extended public commenting periods, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finally decided not to support the proposal. Ultimately it was decided that the suggested benefits would not outweigh the damages it would cause, nor justify the use of eminent domain to install a pipeline through private property.

    Despite increased fossil fuel activity in the region, Oregon just passed Senate Bill 1547 requiring energy companies to eliminate coal from their production and serve half their customers’ demands with renewable sources by 2040. This is one more step towards a cleaner, healthier Pacific Northwest.

    Ultimately the Northwest is in an ideal position to defend the rivers, estuaries, and beautiful coasts so long as we remain vigilant and stick to our goals of developing sources of sustainable energy. De Place is confident that we can foster sustainability and prevent fossil fuel projects from taking hold in this region. “I think there is every reason we in the Northwest can stop every one from happening,” he said. “It will take a lot of work to do that, but it is definitely something we can accomplish.”

    By Anthony Vitale

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  • Corvallis’ Flamenco Master: Berto Boyd
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    BertoBoyd1Berto Boyd, 41, grew up in the town of Ventura, California, which was a pretty rough area with multitudes of gangs seeping among every corner of the streets. He played the piano at the age of 5 and dreamed about becoming a successful artist like Picasso one day. He spent most of his early teen’s skateboarding, surfing, drawing, and playing guitar. Due to the rising gang violence and a friend’s death, Berto entered a surf gang for protection. The tragedies due to gang violence wouldn’t quit and when a local biker gang began looking for him, Berto then entered what his friends called the “Flamenco guitar witness protection program”. It was during this period of time while in isolation where he began rigorous study of the Classical guitar, Brazilian Jazz, and then later on went to Spain to study Flamenco- a passionate art form native to the region of Andalusia.

    After countless hours, days, and years of self-education, along with formal studies and classes, including Composition and Musical Theory and Analysis at Ventura College, Boyd eventually mastered the delicate art of Flamenco. “You have to trust yourself, be brave, and take risks,” he said. And thanks to that proactive approach, Boyd was able to begin his professional playing career circa 1997/98, starting a new chapter in his 29 year history with the guitar, ever since gracing audiences with his soulful interpretation of the genre. Highly successful, some of his favorite stints include a musical directorship for a talent contest at Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

    Boyd is set to meet with the OSU orchestra in May and may be playing with them in the future. He also recently transcribed the largest piece of music in the history of flamenco—over 500 hours’ worth. Boyd actually finds himself as one of the few people in the world who can successfully listen to and and transcribe the notes of flamenco music, considering the music is mostly played by ear.

    Now, some of you may be thinking, why Corvallis? Boyd was searching for a safe place to raise his five-year-old daughter where his profession could also flourish, and “…Corvallis kept popping up.” Apparently the Pacific Northwest is fertile ground for Flamenco!

    Currently Boyd is involved in several non-profit organizations, and hopes to make Corvallis a guitar destination of sorts. Boyd acts as the musical director of Flamenco Pacifico and owner of the international guitar series Flamenco Guitar Class. He is also the artistic director of the Corvallis Guitar Society, which meets at Gracewinds Music on the first Monday of every month. The gathering features artists while attempting to raise musical literacy by encouraging attendees to showcase their skills.

    Boyd is also involved in the Benton County Skateboarding Alliance, which creates video interviews to raise awareness and crowdfunding, and aims to expand the Corvallis skatepark. “Skating helps to be creative. It develops skills and makes you self-driven,” said Boyd, endorsing it further by citing skating as a personal source of his own spatial awareness and overall identity.

    Reflecting on his upbringing, Boyd had this to offer as advice to aspiring artists: “Things are different. We didn’t have distractions—all the technology—and focused less on other people and more on the self. So much imitation is going on, so be original. Unplug from technology and follow your heart.”

    To see Berto Boyd live and in action, attend “The Spanish Guitar” at the Majestic Theater on Friday, April 22 or Saturday, April 23, presented by the Corvallis Guitar Society. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for students, seniors, and members and $18 for the general public. “The Spanish Guitar” will be part lecture, part performance, and part demonstration and will offer a rich historical view of the Spanish guitar.

    By Megan Pulley

    (Several corrections were made to this piece from the print version for accuracy. Apologies for the inconvenience.)

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