• Local Craigslist Love Archetypes
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    missing eachotherLookin’ for love this Valentine’s Day? You may have just missed it walking down 9th Street, but not to worry, there’s a place where you can find even the most obscurely misplaced connection… whether or not you were ever aware that it existed in the first place.

    Someone may have seen you “standin’ in the street Saturday” and admired your a*s… or noticed that you were “smokin’ hot” during your shift at McDonald’s… or even done a “double take at WinCo” when you were pushing your cart to your car, but if you don’t read the Missed Connections section on Craigslist, you’ll never know. Who woulda thought that the Mid-Valley is so full of lost souls that can’t seem to find one another.

    To save you some time and help you make sense of it all, we’ve identified some distinct categories of Missed Connection contributors.

    The Amateur Erotica Writer
    Most of these missed connections happen in the booths in the back of the Adult Shop, and some connections aren’t so missed, thanks to the glory hole in one of those booths in Albany. These tend to be graphic to say the least, and even slightly educational.

    The Mystery Author
    There’s vague and then there’s wtf-are-you-talking-about. If you read a Missed Connection ad and have no idea what you just read, you’re not alone. None of these people will ever find the person that completes them if this is their only approach.

    The Hopeless Romantic
    A lot of these connections were missed a decade and many failed relationships ago, but they’re looking for “the one that got away” and apparently have no other resources. So if you met someone one time at a restaurant while you were married 12 years ago, and are no longer married and are hoping that the person that you met that one time is still looking for you, you might want to check the Missed Connections section.

    The Imaginary Friend
    We have no doubt that the majority of these “missed connections” are completely one-sided. Most people are not going to remember the person who put the divider down for them in the grocery checkout line, or the “college-looking kid” getting a fountain drink at Subway when you were having lunch. These people may have too much time on their hands and too little going on in their love lives.

    The Passive Aggressor
    This category consists of people that haven’t actually missed each other, but instead wish to anonymously call out angry ex-lovers, baby-daddies, or rejected friend-zoners. “How could you?” seems to be the theme here, with heaping piles of accusations and a side of insults.

    You won’t be alone if you’re home alone this Valentine’s Day, and with this primer for the appreciation of Missed Connections, you’ll need no rom-coms for while you chow down on that pint of Ben & Jerry’s this Feb. 14.

    By Hannah Darling

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  • Give the Gift of Validation This Valentine’s Day
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    straight coupleBy now you’ve all probably made your Valentine’s Day plans or purchases, unless you’re riding the party-of-one bus or following a “no gifts this year, we’re poor” policy (in which case, I’m with you). According to Statistic Brain, the average V-Day consumer spends around $116 on gifts, and 53% of women—apparently men need no representation—say they would straight-up dump a dude if he didn’t partake in said purchasing. But whatever happened to good old-fashioned gratitude? It turns out, instead of putting your money where your mouth is, it may be more beneficial for couples in the long run to use their pie holes as intended: for sweet somethings.

    World-renowned marriage expert John Gottman insists relationships revolve around two things: trust and betrayal. To measure these factors, Gottman filmed couples’ interactions, then had each partner post-rate them by turning a dial toward if they believed they’d lost or won. A zero-sum game occurred when one partner’s loss was the other’s gain. Cooperative-gain couples, however, were composed of partners looking out for each other’s best interests despite disagreements.

    Over a 20-year period, the fate of those zero-sum gamers proved deadly, as Gottman discovered that almost three times the men than those from cooperative-gain marriages were deceased. Gottman showed correlation to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Occurring in both sexes following orgasm, oxytocin is euphoric and bond-producing, while vasopressin, produced solely in males, creates a vigilant, competitive response. As these responses affect blood pressure, and blood pressure affects life expectancy, exacerbation is easily imaginable within a distrustful relationship.

    Fidelity, Wiring, and Longevity
    Sexual and emotional disconnect are the main drivers of infidelity amongst couples. Although sexual dissatisfaction remains the number one motivator, local sex therapist Rachel Taylor refers to emotional disconnect as the compellor of sexual turbulence. To Taylor, romantic struggles boil down to an unmet need, either lost or realized as infeasible.

    Amanda Orton, another Corvallis-dwelling sex therapist, cites the addictive, heady high felt at the beginning of any bond as a driver of infidelity. Orton explains this high as a form of anxiety, which is unsustainable and dissipates over time.

    “You don’t have the history of all the negativity with that new person,” Taylor elaborates, further acknowledging the ease we feel in being so brutal to those we feel closest and most comfortable to, those more likely to take the blows without considering jumping ship.

    Orton further touches on mental health issues, such as bipolar disorders, which induce manic states of hypersexuality. Another factor is recent anthropological research which favors non-monogamy as being historic in human nature.

    In Taylor’s experience, preferences in relationships fall on a more Kinsey-like scale, between monogamy and polyamorousness, etc, “where some people are just naturally more monogamous and that fits right for them.”

    Whichever way, couples are better off when cooperatively working toward the desired end goal, yet unfortunately, often don’t seek help until approaching crisis mode, when the emotional vigor requisite to combat and engage has all but dissipated.

    Sexpertise from Local Professionals
    “Couples who learn to fight fairly and gently early on and those who work through disagreements instead of merely fighting and not coming to a resolution tend to stay connected and committed,” said Orton.

    Orton credits value-driven boundaries, such as a no name-calling rule, with keeping couples in sync, and Taylor offers a take-turn venting technique. She suggests each partner takes about a 15-minute stress-expressive soliloquy, while the other empathizes and validates their comprehension, resisting any urge to offer solutions or turn to problem-solving mode.

    “We live in a culture of criticism,” said Taylor, which can be intended as constructive, but very damaging within a relationship, especially when interpreted as authoritative or as a shortcoming on the behalf of the recipient.

    Taylor’s most successful couples are able to identify and verbalize values and appreciation. They are able to say what the other is doing right, or in times of discontentment offer solutions instead of a closed-for-discussion dissatisfaction.

    Orton recommends strengthening connections by maintaining date nights, or, for the busy-bodies of the world, setting a sex schedule, which, she admits, may sound cringe-worthy, but can be a major success.

    Statistics and Tips You Can Love
    The silver lining, as relayed by Orton, is that 70% of couples can work through issues of betrayal, and come out ever closer. And despite the long (limp, impotent…) road, the benefits are undeniable—like if how, you’re a man, you might live longer. So be a team player, and on top of all the Hershey’s Kisses and Hallmark pleasantries—big moneymakers which Gottman references as only driving distrust along with economic disparities—spackle on a fine layer of appreciation. Unless you could care less and live for the high of making cherub babies cry or just love those short-lived, you’re-perfect-until-I-know-you moments.

    By Stevie Beisswanger

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  • February’s Arts Walk Primer
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    Fairbanks Gallery, Divan 8.2.71 Mapped by Kevin TindallSlated for Feb. 18, this month’s Corvallis Arts Walk sees Corvidopolis artist Chris Adams opening a new place called Foundry Annex. We’ve featured his work on our covers more than once, so you know what we think of his work. Also, that sprawling building at 4th and Madison gets a new addition, the Living Room Gallery, though no other info was available about that at press time.

    The Corvallis Advocate Loft takes the month off this go-round, as does The Majestic and Karen Wysopal. Below we’ve detailed what to expect in roughly west-to-east fashion.

    FAIRBANKS ART GALLERY • 220 SW 26th St. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Nigel Poor, The San Quentin Prison Report Archive Project. A collaboration between artist Poor and the men from San Quentin State Prison. Inkjet prints with handwritten text. Runs through March 1.

    THE ARTS CENTER • 700 SW Madison Ave. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc will present her performance art piece, Wake. The departed in this instance will be a tree, though the steps of a regular wake are involved: arrival, portraits, a toast, food. Depending on the audience, Wittig Mengüç may perform the piece multiple times.  Also, ecologist Dr. Mark Harmon makes wood block research samples available to create an ever-changing interactive mosaic. The mosaic will be time-lapsed photographed and the result posted on TAC’s social media. Some blocks will be available as mementos.

    JEFF HESS STUDIO • 460 SW Madison Ave., Ste. 16 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Shannon Weber’s work is unique and thought-provoking. Her work transcends simple materials, in this instance burnt wood and sea weed. Jeff Hess says that some of this artist’s pieces evoke what feel like primitive memories and other pieces look like musical chords.

    POPTART • 460 SW Madison Ave., Ste. #7  • 5 to 8 p.m.
    Unlucky in Love. Poptart and Ugly Art Room present an anti-Valentine’s Day group art show along with $25 tattoos, a photo booth, and snacks and libations by Corvallis Brewing Supply. Check out www.uglyartroom.com for artist information.

    LIVING ROOM GALLERY • 425 SW Madison Ave. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    At press time, a grand opening is scheduled somewhere in this sprawling building, but there are no other details. We’re intrigued.

    STUDIO262 • 425 SW Madison Ave., Ste. H-1 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Opening reception for Gifts from the Sea, new intricate glass and ceramic sea-inspired works by Rinee Merritt and Annclaire Greig. Also preview a poster compilation of the Studio262 Love Notes installation—continue to share community thoughts.

    ArtWorks GALLERY (CEI) • 408 SW Monroe Ave., Ste. 110 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Ethnographer Dana Reason. An assemblage of ethnographies and sounds, this collection primarily documents practices in experimental, creative, contemporary, and post-1960s jazz music. This collection of audio recordings is part of a larger research project, The Myth of Absence: Representation, Reception, and the Music of Experimental Women Improvisers (available at Columbia University Jazz Studies Online, http://jazzstudiesonline.org).

    FOUNDRY ANNEX • 354 SW Madison Ave. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    New gallery opening. Expect celebration, view work in their new creative studio. The opening features their February show in the Micro Gallery, work by local artist Corvidopolis.

    LAUREL THOMPSON & RACHEL URISTA STUDIO •  340 SW 2nd St., #12  • 4 to 8 p.m.
    This month, these artists are showing work from their hearts with a new studio mural and abstract paintings on display. Rachel Urista will be showcasing Painting with Wild Abandon, an ongoing series of intuitive paintings, expressive and abstract, with an edgy quality. Come see her unique style up close. Laurel Thompson will be working on a new mural on the studio walls. Mural live-painting, 6 to 8 p.m. with Thompson, which sounds awesome.

    BRITTNEY WEST STUDIO •  340 SW 2nd St., #3 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Brittney West invites you into her art studio where you can browse over a decade of oil paintings, mixed media drawings, and experimental pieces such as her recent oil painting on an antique silver platter. Get to know more about her process and inspiration, and browse through her Eco-Prints for sale.

    AZURE FINE ART GALLERY • 341 SW 2nd St., Ste. 3 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Chinese New Year. Come celebrate the Chinese New Year and the Red Monkey King. In the spirit of clearing out the old, they are offering discounts on past work along with mischievous new Chinese and monkey-inspired work.

    CYRANO’S • 361 SW 2nd St. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Pushing the beginning of spring, they have bright new journals, fun colors and patterns. Bright and Light Jewelry for Spring and Summer by Elaine. Take part in a make-and-take, and learn how to make a paper German bell.

    KALEIDOSCOPE • 341 SW 2nd St.• 4 to 8 p.m.
    Celebrate Purple. This venue says forget pink and red, February is the month for purple. Mardi Gras, amethyst, even lovely early-blooming crocus. At Kaleidoscope, they’ll have art on their walls by a variety of local artists, all with purple. While there, you can vote for your favorite entries in their Passionate About Purple bead challenge.

    PEGASUS GALLERY • 341 SW 2nd St.• 4 to 8 p.m.
    The Cascades Workshops Exhibit with painters Mark Allison and Bill Shumway, celebrating 20 years of workshops in Sisters near Metolius and Clear Lake.

    ART IN THE VALLEY • 209 SW 2nd St.• 4 to 8 p.m.
    Guest artist Kat Sloma has created a series of 30 works of art from one photographic image. The results are reportedly spectacular. Reception for this special exhibit, along with work by  member artists of this co-op gallery.

    STUDIO BEATRICE • 230 NW 6th St. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Guest artist Jenny Armitage will show watercolors from places you may have been (or maybe not). She will also bring whimsical polymer sculptures. Music from Marshall Adams. Kathi will offer a taste of Spindrift wine.

    For more info, visit www.corvallisartswalk.com.

    By Rob Goffins

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  • Lydia Rising: Donate to These Women Helping Women
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    DSC_3591bHorse instructor-turned-belly dancer Sarah Matson has become a local advocate for women helping women in Oregon. Alongside partners Angela Gee, Abby Blinn, and Melanie Kay, Matson has created Lydia Rising, a clothing company with the goal of helping to provide ongoing support to women who have fallen victim to sex trafficking. Even when victims survive, she explains, it can take years for them to recover from the trauma.

    “We want to provide them with ongoing support to become a whole and complete person,” said Matson, whose friend was sex-trafficked in Portland and brought to Mexico where she was forced into modern slavery. “It’s a situation more terrible than anyone could imagine. We want everyone to know there are ways to help people who have gone through something horrible. They can live again.”

    Human trafficking in the US is at an all-time high, and Portland has become a hub for the sex slavery trade. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 56 cases of sex trafficking were reported in Oregon last year, and since 2007, 239 cases of trafficking were reported in Portland.

    That number only reflects those lives that were saved. The quantity of people currently involved in the sex trade in Oregon is far higher. Matson says Portland is now America’s number-one port for moving human sex slaves from the US to other countries.

    Matson and her friends have been interested in fashion for years. In order to make enough money to send part of their proceeds to foundations like Compassion International—which is dedicated to serving adult survivors of sex trafficking—they would like to take the idea of women helping women one step further by creating apparel that can be worn by men and women of all sizes. “I want to provide clothing that makes people feel good about themselves,” said Matson. “We take for granted that when you look good, you feel good, but not everyone looks good all the time.”

    Lydia Rising will sell clothes made of forgiving fabrics with give and stretch for both plus-size and petite women—and men, as well. “It’s an easily approachable way for both men and women to help,” Matson explained.

    The idea for Lydia Rising came to Matson and her friends in September of last year, and since then they’ve found seamstresses and collected multiple sewing machines. They are currently looking for fabric donations, and plan to launch 10 different pieces—mostly shirts and dresses—to be sold at local businesses and an Etsy site online. The Roundabout Boutique downtown is the first store that has agreed to sell Lydia Rising’s clothes.

    “Our target demographic is 18- to 35-year-olds,” said Matson, who got the idea for the name of her company from an ancient Bible character who sold purple fabric in order to benefit the disabled. “She was a pretty bada*s chick,” Matson said. “In those times, women didn’t have authority in the social sector. The name Lydia embodies strong, independent women arising from difficult situations.”

    The current state of the sex trade in Oregon—and around the rest of the world—is dire. Lydia Rising plans to send 10% of their proceeds from initial clothing sales to organizations including Compassion International and the Oregon Center Against Rape & Domestic Violence, though the amount donated will increase as soon as they are able to sell more clothes. “As we expand and grow we definitely want to increase the percentage given back to the people,” said Matson. “We’re taking a small bite of this, but I know it’s going to be a good thing.”

     To help by donating fabrics or funds, contact Matson at matson.sarah@gmail.com or visit Lydia Rising’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lydiarisingclothing

    By Kiki Genoa

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  • Corvallis’ Active Shooter Preparations
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    Police TrainingOn April 20, 1999 the actions of two high school students in Colorado opened a dialogue across the nation on the safety of our communities. The massacre at Columbine High School created an eerie backdrop to the new millennium, at the time being the deadliest school shooting in US history with 13 casualties and 21 injured. For weeks, blame was cast at Marilyn Manson, the video game industry, and the parents while law enforcement came under fire for certain actions they took. We cannot know what drove the students to such lengths—we can only use what we learned to be more prepared in the future.

    In response to Columbine and other shootings, the Secret Service and Department of Education created the Safe Schools Initiative which aimed “to identify information that could be obtainable, or ‘knowable,’ prior to an attack.” To do this researchers studied 37 targeted shooting incidents across the country to determine if assailants had notable similarities or predictable signs. The study found that while there is no specific profile for shooters, shootings were planned, usually known about by others in some capacity, and were preceded in most cases by behavior that caused concern.

    In Columbine’s aftermath, many criticized the police and SWAT for a slow response as they surrounded the school, and law enforcement have also updated their procedures as a response.

    The Immediate Action Rapid Deployment tactic has been adopted by many law enforcement agencies and trains officers to enter and engage the shooter. This strategy is meant to prevent any further harm as quickly as possible and assumes the shooter is there to kill, not take hostages.

    With this in mind and memories of recent events much closer to home, how has Corvallis been preparing as a community for an active shooter situation? The clearest answer is communication. Both within the community and between law enforcement agencies and educational institutions, creating a common language and understanding is key to moving forward. A large part of this involves response protocols and training with the public.

    Kevin Bogatin, Assistant Superintendent of the Corvallis School District and member of the Willamette Criminal Justice Council, explained that protocols from the iloveuguys Foundation have been adopted regionally by both law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies in an effort to “…respond commonly across all these different organizations, in classrooms or through law enforcement, so we know what to expect and respond the same way.” Geared for the K-12 setting, iloveuguys protocol teaches instructors four simple actions to take given any major emergency: Lockout, Lockdown, Evacuate, and Shelter.

    If possible staff should lock the threat out of the school. If a shooter is in the school, teachers lockdown the classrooms, locking doors and shutting off lights. “Research we have done on any kind of active shooter-school situation indicates no one is breaching a locked door. There have been instances they have gotten into the front doors but not a classroom door,” said Bogatin. If and when possible, staff should evacuate and seek shelter. The idea is by keeping it simple and organized, education on procedure and execution during an event should happen smoothly.

    The Run, Hide, Fight protocol has also been adopted for higher education and business settings. Operating on the same principals of simplicity, Lieutenant Juda of the Oregon State Police detachment at OSU put it like this: “The mind kind of needs to revert back to some pretty simple steps. Run, Hide, Fight fits that bill.” It trains people to escape when possible, if you cannot escape, close doors, turn off lights and hide, and as a last resort fight for your life. But more than this, “It gives people the opportunity to talk about what that means for them and have that open discussion.” The take-home message is not to get up and punch the shooter in the face, but a way of thinking in an evolving highly stressful situation.

    Run, Hide, Fight training is offered at OSU and through the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, but it is currently only by request. While plenty of videos and information exist on Run, Hide, Fight and can be found on the OSU and Linn-Benton Community College websites, there is greater value in learning it firsthand from a trained defender of the peace.

    Run, Hide, Fight is offered as a presentation where officers show videos and discuss with participants in detail the finer points of survival. “It’s pretty simple, and I think that’s what the federal government was trying to do for people,” said Juda. The Corvallis School System opts to drill their students twice a year on lockdowns and twice a year on lockouts while also doing fire drills once a month so students understand that there is a threat in the building and how to move. However, “we do not do active shooter training with kids,” said Bogatin.

    Some training procedures, such as the ALICE training, include shooters with fake guns and are designed to leave a more realistic impression. “We have chosen that that is not necessary and we have also seen schools where that has created a lot of trauma for the students and staff,” said Bogatin. OSU graduate student Anna Ormiston recounted listening to real 911 calls before having her office assaulted by a false gunman. The word traumatic was uttered multiple times, but in the end the same idea of locking down and fighting as a last resort was the main point.

    Another method of communication adopted by the school systems and law enforcement are threat assessment teams. These are multidisciplinary teams made up of law enforcement, instructors, mental health workers, and trained members of the community on campus and in town that basically keep their eyes peeled. Juda explained that “as a threat assessment team I think we have had some very successful impacts on situations that have come across our radar in the last few years.” Based on Secret Service practices, threat assessment teams monitor and evaluate at-risk individuals, report suspicious behavior, and help triage a response.

    This does not mean Jimmy made a bomb threat so the police arrested him. Kevin Bogatin described their threat assessment process as a multistep process, similar to a checklist, of determining how credible the threat is, do they have access to weapons, and is there a theme of this behavior. Actions deemed appropriate are chosen, whether it be counseling, mental health checks, or reprimands from an employer. “That’s the key to stopping active shooters, is getting ahead of it and recognizing the situations before they get to that point,” said Juda.

    But what kind of response can we expect from law enforcement in a shooting event? Once a call has been made, the first officers are expected to arrive on the scene within minutes. “So you have three law enforcement agencies within Benton County all operating on the same radio frequency, so they are going to hear the call when we hear the call,” said Lieutenant Cord Wood of the Corvallis Police Department. These are the Corvallis PD, Philomath PD, and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office with the Oregon State Police at OSU able to monitor the frequency as well. According to Wood, “We can have a pretty large size response from multiple agencies relatively quickly.”

    To add to this, Benton County has mutual aid agreements with neighboring counties. Captain Greg Ridler of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office explained that Polk County, Linn County, and Lane County agencies, any group within a 20- to 25-mile radius of an event, will respond. The Sheriff’s Office trains with other law enforcement agencies within the area so all can have a coordinated response.

    Also, a coordinated response is more than being on the same page, it is a two-step process of removing the threat and assessing the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Step 1 is the immediate response. This involves arriving on the scene and forming a quick response team. Quick response teams are “two to three law enforcements that are going to actively look for the shooter or shooters and end the immediate violence.” Step 2 is the greater response and involves securing perimeters and forming investigatory teams to locate victims or other suspects.

    For this reason Loss Prevention Coordinator Bruce Thompson at Linn-Benton Community College adamantly discourages concealed carry among students on campus. “It isn’t the cop on the beat that’s just answering, it’s hunter killer teams, they see a gun, they are going to terminate the threat—you are not going to have a moment to explain your actions.” Having personally locked down the campus twice, Thompson has seen how quickly law enforcement can move around the school. As a former firearms instructor for law enforcement and private organizations, Thompson attests that there is not significant training for CCW holders and that they may be endangering themselves by not following the protocol, Run, Hide, Fight.

    So are we well prepared as a community for an active shooter situation? Ridler put it like this: “These type of events I don’t think you can be 100 percent prepared for, but I think the community is geared towards learning and preparing.” The Safe Schools Initiative ultimately concluded that relying on a response from law enforcement was not a good policy and that actively preventing a shooting before it happens is most effective. It also established the need for simple core responses among targets while laying the groundwork for quicker engagements by law enforcement.

    When asked what they would like to see happen in the community to be better prepared, Ridler, Thompson, Juda, Wood, and Bogatin all said the same thing: more people receiving active shooter training. The more we work towards a common language and understanding, the more prepared we will be for any emergency situation.

    Run, Hide, Fight videos are ubiquitous online, as are accounts of active shooter situations, and many experts suggest that checking these out  and considering how you would respond can be helpful, even if you cannot ever be entirely prepared. And of course, there is the standard saw, if you see something, say something—Albany High School student Grant Acord was arrested in 2013 with functional bombs and plans for an assault at his school, hopes are that he is getting the help he needs.

    Now, if you’re looking for an upbeat spin about all this, the FBI says you are more likely to be hit by lightning than an active shooter, so there’s that.

    By Anthony Vitale

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  • Trippin’ Downtown Albany
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    TheStillDo we love our own downtown? Hells yes, but there’s a revival happening in downtown Albany, and if you haven’t crossed the bridge lately to find out for yourself, you may not even recognize the place. New businesses are breathing life into the historic spot down Highway 20—think new entertainment options, innovative restaurants and bars, and a collection of kitschy creative boutiques.

    Look, there’s even an authentic haberdashery and a wine bar featuring jazz.

    In the past, describing nightlife in Albany as posh or classy might have resulted in a laugh, but now it would just be accurate. The newest addition to this downtown scene is a swanky bar and restaurant on 2nd Avenue called The Still. It used to be JP’s, but the inside is unrecognizable after the remodel. With frilly chandeliers over the tables and a bar showcased in all the right ways, there is the good kind of drama here. They have a full bar and restaurant menu and live music some nights of the week. So far, they seem to be getting good reviews and creating quite the buzz.

    Live jazz in Albany? Cellar Cat opened up last fall and has lived up to all of the hype that surrounded its arrival. They moved into the brick building on 1st and Ellsworth, and after spending months remodeling it, their hard work has paid off. Cellar Cat’s previous location in Sonoma Valley was well known for its food, extensive wine selection, and live jazz music, and they’ve managed to create a similar experience here. The atmosphere is both upscale and homey, with seating on the main floor and up in the open loft that overlooks the bar. All of their food is made from scratch (even the ketchup!) and you won’t recognize most of their wines if you only buy yours at the grocery store. Their presence has added a whole new element to Albany’s historic downtown area.

    A few restaurants downtown do serve breakfast, but Brick & Mortar Cafe specializes in it. Located in the Flinn Block Hall building, think historic architecture and tall decorative ceilings. Added to the customary breakfast and lunch offerings are specialties like Salmon Lox Benedict and unique menu items like the Buffalo & Liege Sandwich (buffalo fried chicken between Liege waffles). They also serve espresso, bakery items, and a have a killer Bloody Mary bar, complete with pepperoni straws.

    Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant is an old favorite in the valley, and they just moved into a newly renovated location right downtown on 2nd Avenue. They’re still offering their famous, authentic Hungarian food, and have been since 1984, but they’re much more conveniently located for us Corvallis folk now. Novak’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner… oh, and don’t forget about dessert, you must try their traditional apple strudel. Their sausage is homemade and whether you’re in the mood for schnitzel, spaetzle, or paprikas, they’ve got it all.

    In addition to restaurants, downtown Albany has new retailers. Sandbox Rebel is located on Broadalbin between 1st and 2nd Avenue, and it is just what the name suggests: a store for parents and children who subscribe to a more alternative aesthetic. From baby vests made out of band shirts to onesies with iron-on patches, the owner hand-makes her clothing items and orders toys and accessories that you won’t find in any other stores in the area. If you want a one-of-a-kind baby shower gift or birthday party gift, look no further.

    Until now, there hasn’t been a place downtown for the true wedding dress shopping experience that you see on all those reality TV shows you’ll never admit to watching. Merrime Bride & Soireé Boutique just opened up on 1st Avenue and offers elegant wedding dresses and a unique experience for any wedding party.

    In the market for a new suit, hat, or high-end pair of shoes? The Natty Dresser opened up on 1st Avenue in July of 2014, and has brought a new element of outstanding taste to Albany. They offer top quality brands and styles that you won’t find anywhere else nearby. Also offering a wide selection of ties and socks, it’s a great place to poke around for a gift or to treat yourself. They also offer tailoring services.

    Downtown Albany isn’t just about eating and shopping. It is also getting more entertainment! The Pix Theater on 2nd Avenue has been under new ownership for about two years now. They show first run movies seven days a week, and host some special events from time to time. The Pix also has a great seating area in their lobby where they invite people to come hang out and enjoy food off their menu, which includes regular theater cuisine like popcorn and candy as well as items not typically found at the theater like pie, burgers, wine, and beer.

    Bouncy houses and blacklight miniature golf? Downtown Albany has that, too. G2 Fun Zone, located on 2nd Avenue, is a favorite of children in Albany. They have a large room full of inflatables upstairs and the downstairs is dark with a glowing miniature golf course.

    Two Rivers Market has a new arcade! They have classic games as well as a bumper cars that run during certain times.

    For more information or to find other places to eat, shop, or play in downtown Albany, visit http://www.albanydowntown.com/discover/.

    By Hannah Darling

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  • OSU Grads Finish with Lower Average Debt
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    oregon-state-universityIf you’re a recent college grad, or planning to graduate in the near future, you’re probably well aware college degrees don’t come cheap.

    With college costs continuously on the rise, it looks like those prices aren’t set to sink or stagger anytime soon. The average Class of 2015 graduate with student loan debt expects to pay back more than $35,000, according to an analysis done by Mark Kantrowitz, a student financial aid expert and publisher of Edvisors.com.

    Recent grads also have steeper interest rates to look forward to, according to an article published on cnbc.com last June. Loan interest rates can be over 4 percent and pushing up to 7 percent for federal student loans.

    With in-state tuition rates and fees, room and board, the cost of books and supplies, and “personal and miscellaneous” expenses added in, undergrads at Oregon State are paying more than $26,000 for the 2015-’16 academic year. Tuition and fees for non-resident undergrads costs just shy of $45,000 for the year.

    The cost of getting a college education for students paying in-state tuition rates tallies up to over $105,000—if they graduate in four years.

    The average student loan debt, however, is under $15,000 for OSU students who borrow, according to Doug Severs, the director of financial aid and scholarships at OSU.

    “And on a 10-year-repayment plan, that makes their payments about $270 a month,” Severs said.

    The good news: OSU grads come out of college with less debt than the average American college grad. The bad news: They still have debts to repay.

    Does this all mean that as college students borrow more money for their educations, and face higher interest rates as they try to pay back those debts, student loan debt could have negative impacts on the economy?

    For the nation, yes. Grads sacked with mounds of student loan debt could potentially take longer to make major purchases, like buying a house or a nice car, as they try to pay off their debt. If they move on to get a master’s or doctoral degree, they presumably get deeper into debt, too.

    Severs, however, doesn’t think the average amount OSU students borrow—and in turn will have to pay back—will impact the economy in a big way.

    “Students could still handle that [loan payment] and save up money for a house,” he said. “We do have a few students who borrow a lot of money, but overall, if you look at the students [here], their low payments aren’t too bad at all.”

    Severs also believes most state institutions of higher learning are along the lines with OSU as far as tuition goes.

    Students who borrow money and drop out of college without a degree could be facing a different situation, though.

    “I’m certain there are those students [at OSU], and as they work with a loan servicer, they can handle the loan debt and get back into school, or find employment to help them repay their student loans,” he said.

    Even though tons of college students are digging themselves into debt as they earn their degrees, all signs point toward a college education being worth the price—and the debt.

    “Information’s out there—if you have a four-year degree, you’re going to have a lot more money in your lifetime. And there’s the cultural aspect, and growth is there, too,” Severs said.

    Borrow responsibly, and you’ll be in a good situation, according to Severs.

    He added, “Students generally borrow responsibly, especially here at OSU. As long as we continue to educate and provide as much info to students as possible, student loan debt is not going to be a factor to cause economic issues [for them] down the road.

    By Abbie Tumbleson

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  • Wedding Savvy: Simplicity Saves
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    Couple holding hands Couple holding hands

    Marriage licenses in Benton County cost approximately $52, however Corvallis couples, on average, spend $25,306 in preparation for their “big days.” Local expenditure ranges between $18,980 and $31,633, and to-be-weds can expect each guest to cost them between $193 and $236.

    If these figures churn a gut-slicked sickness in you, too, if your sanity sits at a far more moderate figure, fear not. I’ve sniffed out all the tricks at keeping that post-nuptial debt at bay, with a $3,000 cap in mind.

    I’m not saying such cherished ceremonies don’t call for some expense. Some like their thrills frilled, though top-notch professionals, brands, and venues often increase prices by 50 to 100%. By my calculation, with the utilization of near and far resources, I can guarantee a wedding of epic aesthetic proportions at a far fairer price.

    Lands of the Free
    It’s easy to guess where most of the money gets spent—food, booze, and venues. The average cost for such services is $11,064 in Corvallis. Popular spots like the Vue and OSU’s Alumni Center slip immediately off the list, each costing $2,000 at least. The Corvallis Country Club and the Garden of Gentle Breeze might be manageable, rates beginning around $1,000, although the price swells with the girth of the guest list. The Odd Fellows Barnum offers six-hour block ballroom rentals, with an additional $200 kitchen cost.

    Business manager and event coordinator Rachell Hoffman refers to Odd Fellows as a “DIY kind of place” where couples can customize the space according to budget and vision. Understanding that catering and alcohol prices are big money-suckers, Hoffman suggests going half catered, having the caterer provide only small dishes, or self-catered, buying from bulk grocers such as Costco and Safeway for pinwheels and bread loaves as low as $1.99. Throwing an appetizer-only reception with varieties of salad and pasta dishes is a great way to cut down on cost. Hoffman suggests scheduling the reception around 1 to 1:30 p.m., as guests are likely still digesting lunch.

    Clients can bring in outside caterers to Odd Fellows, or personally provide food and booze—no hard liquor—at the expense of Odd Fellows’ OLCC-certified server. Venues typically require liquor-licensed servers, and certification can be completed online for $25. Caterers might allow clients to provide boozery, but will likely charge a corking fee (to literally open containers), between $10 and $35.

    Owner/brewmaster Dave Marliave of local Flat Tail Brewing Company declares discounts on kegs or bulk purchases unavailable due to OLCC laws, but offers consideration of barters and advertisements.

    “Basically if you’ve got a trade skill or product you think is worthy of trade, give it a shot. The worst we can say is no,” he said. Among accepted Flat Tail trades are mechanical, commercial and certified contractor services, cordwood, and farm animals such as suckling pigs.

    Personally, I suggest investing in a home-brew kit, costing upwards of $300 for the initial batch and equipment, then around $50 for each five-gallon batch afterward. This requires time, as batches typically take up to three months to brew, but would cut down on alcohol expenditure, tabs Hoffman has seen reach $10,000 heights. Other options are setting a bar limit and closing shop when it’s reached or only serving the couple’s favorite cocktails. It may sound cheap, but will likely come off as très cute.

    Hoffman suggests keeping the ceremony short, around 30 minutes, outdoors, and intimate, as a guest list of immediate family will greatly cut down on cost. Couples can open the celebration up to extended friends and family during the reception, best booked indoors, where guests are comfortable and sheltered from any surprise elements.

    A scroll through the Benton County Parks Department webpage reveals that couples can book a four-hour block in Central, Bellfountain, Fort Hoskins Historic or Bald Hill Barn for as low as $50, depending on added utilities and attendance totals. For a guest list of 50 or less, Avery Park offers use of its Rose Garden starting at $100. Plus, the backdrop of the roses cuts the cost of pre-bought flowers.

    Take advantage of friends and free land. Ask a friend to help some brethren out by becoming ordained to wed for free through Universal Life Church. Borrow another’s sweet backyard, or better yet, haul folks to the coast, where free beaches abound. Under a three-hour drive away, Cannon Beach legally allows the consumption of alcohol, plus a view of Haystack Rock, made famous in the opening scene of The Goonies. Beachside nuptials are even better for cutting the cost of tables and linens, if opting for a picnic-style meal. Provide thrift-picked blankets and baskets—a great place for those fresh loaves, meats, and cheeses.

    Some think it tacky, but I’ve always been partial to a potluck affair, having everyone contribute one delicious dish. Also suggested by Hoffman is ditching the cake and offering bulk-bought cookie or cupcake bars, catering to guests’ creative tastes, or serving tea, coffee, or punch, cheaper alternatives to alcohol.

    Diamond Diets
    I’ve always considered the cost of rings a side expense, as they symbolize the last gift exchanged between to-be-weds before their merry mergers. However, jewelry is listed as the second-greatest expense for Corvallis couples, spending $3,931 on average.

    Well-known ways around jacked-up jewelry costs are by buying smaller, accentuating stones and keeping diamonds at a minimum, or by selling old pieces at local gold exchange stores and buying new.

    Wedding Factory Direct lists wholesale, closeout jewelry for as little as $50 and sites like Overstock.com and Etsy likewise list low-cost options. If, like me, you have an aversion to diamonds, check out the website A Practical Wedding, featuring 30 non-traditional rings under $500.

    Amateurs and Professionals
    Corvallis couples spend more than a pretty penny for pictures and filmography—on average, $2,734. Package prices vary between $600 and $3,000 for local photographers.

    I suggest contacting OSU’s Arts Department for hook-ups with rookies thirsting to fill their portfolio pages. OSU photography professor Julia Bradshaw recommends current student Heather March, whose rates begin at $600 for a four-hour time slot, as well as recent graduate Shae Williams, who charges $1,500 total. Local professional Travis Johnson charges between $700 and $3,000, with his packages inclusive of proof books, loaded USB drives, and online galleries accessible to guests.

    If these prices seem steep, I again advise you to use your connections. Ask a photo-savvy friend to snap a few as a favor. Take advantage of Instagram, Dropbox, or Eversnap, which allow guests to upload pictures directly to a personal web address or hashtag.

    Think Thrifty
    As for attire and accessories, the average Corvallis couple spends $1,616. It’s important to most brides to stay strict to vision, but landing the dream dress without breaking the bank is possible, I promise.

    The closest local go-to is the Shabby Chic Bride consignment shop in Salem, stocked with new, used, and sample gowns, ranging between $150 and $1,500. Always worth a look is Craigslist, with dresses selling as low as $130 locally.

    Local coordinators Kate Lacey and Heather Bodenhamer of Everything Else Events suggest seeking out discontinued dresses, as well as having bridesmaids and groomsmen purchase their own suits and gowns as contributions. Planners such as Lacey and Bodenhamer are the fourth-biggest expense for Corvallis couples, averaging $1,538.

    Most popular is Lacey and Bodenhamer’s Build Your Own package, which tailors to couples’ budgets. The cost of full service, with Lacey and Bodenhamer doing all the work, would be $2,500. If opting out of extra help, Lacey and Bodenhamer advise giving one person a master list to track expenses and responsibilities.

    Timing is everything to cost-cautious couples, and save-the-date Saturdays should be avoided, as venues tend to charge more compared with weekdays, Fridays, or Sundays.

    “Whenever you’re in an emergency situation, your cost goes up,” said Lacey, who advises pacing and careful calculation. Likewise, Hoffman suggests couples give themselves six months at least.

    Affordable Arrangements
    Flowers and decorations cost Corvallis couples an average of $1,471. Arrangements from local Penguin Flowers range between $50 and $30,000. Penguin works according to ballpark figures and preferences, and bunches are discounted at 15%.

    One factor is seasonal variety in cost of floral arrangements. The Knot, a go-to site for to-be-weds, offers a seasonal flower guide. Year-round low-budget go-tos include Peruvian lilies, carnations, and bouvardias. For winter weddings, try daffodils, camellias, or Dutch tulips, and for summer, coxcombs, cosmos, dahlias, and daisies. Spring pickings include camellias or Queen Anne’s lace, and for fall, chrysanthemums.

    As for decorations, I stress again the art of getting thrifty. Be on the prowl for deals and discounts via sites like Groupon, Ideel, Hautelook, and Gilt. According to Hoffman, now’s the time to load up on hand-me-down twinkle lights, discounted post-holiday season. Hoffman refers to Pinterest and Etsy as “frenemies” for their plethora of DIY ideas, some of which can be extremely time-consuming.

    Hoffman stresses ribbon as “the best way to get color at a low cost.” Last and definitely least, the Dollar Store is a good source for table toppers and favors, especially bubbles.

    Tunage to Beauty, Just DIY
    Our next biggest expense is for entertainment, averaging around $1,272 in Corvallis. If not dead-set on a band or DJ, there are countless premade playlists online for free. Try 8tracks or Spotify. Picking your own tunage might require the expense of speakers, rentable locally at Peter Corvallis Productions. Browse your phone or Facebook for a musical friend and pull some strings, or rather have them pull strings for you.

    One of the first cuts suggested when on a budget is favors for guests, costing Corvallis couples $647 on average. However, if you’re really milking the guestlist, it might be wise to offer at least some small token of appreciation. Here I’d suggest bulk-bought candies or getting back on that DIY grind. Think mason jars, soaps and photo coasters, etc., etc., etc.

    Speaking of photos, invites are another source of overspending, costing local couples an average of $882. Go green by using sites like Evite, Weddingwire, or Paperless Post to send electronic invites. Postcards are less costly, too—or you could try finding a Photoshop-friendly friend to digi up some printables.

    Least spent locally is in the category of spa and beauty, with couples shelling out $124 on average. Most marriage-preparing women should be well-practiced in painting their faces and YouTube tutorials exist by the billions. Remember to reach out to those beauticious acquaintances or ask your mom’s life-long hairdresser to cut you a deal. Just be resourceful and remember…

    It’s a Party, Not a Performance
    Maybe it’s my lack-thereof knack for theatrics but I have a feeling that if celebrating your special day means putting on a $20,000 show, there might be some intrinsic misfit to your union.

    I see the ceremony as a rare chance to have all my favorite fellow beings holed up in a place of my taste to celebrate the merger of me and my betrothed. The goal is have a good time “I do”-ing it, not dazzling the guests. As mentioned, the only vital cost is the license itself. Everything else depends on whether your disposition tends towards traditional extravagance.

    It’s easy to get carried away with preparations for a most special day. And sure, people are easily enthralled by expense. But careful your guests don’t get too distracted. You want their attention on the merger itself, not how the day is dressed.

    By Stevie Beisswanger

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  • Do’s and Dron’ts
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    1422503743r6ahrAccording to stats provided by the Consumer Technology Association, an estimated 400,000 Americans received drones as gifts over the holidays. Unlike the daunting armed war-drones of yesteryear, these new en-vogue hobby planes are similar to remote-controlled children’s toys, and can be flown almost anywhere where there is open air and a decent view. Of course, no fun comes without a price—some of the deluxe models cost Santa upwards of $1,000.

    Another cost that comes along with the tag on the box of these fancy adult toys is the set of rules the federal government has set in place for drone owners. A few days before Christmas, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to require all fliers of drones weighing between 0.5 and 55 pounds to sign up on their website. Before allowing any new mechanical birds to spread their robotic wings, every drone user must provide the FAA with their name, address, email, and a $5 fee.

    The FAA provides a set of rules on their website. “When I fly a drone, I am a pilot,” states the caption of one colorful chart, which addresses drone safety. Rules include but are not limited to the following:

    1. Fly your drone below 400 feet.

    2. Follow FAA airspace requirements (you’ll need to look those up)

    3. Do not fly near people, cars, over stadiums or sports events, or within 5 miles of an airport without first contacting the proper authorities.

    4. Do not fly over forest fires.

    5. Do not fly your drone while intoxicated.

    In semi-local news, drones will no longer be allowed to fly in Washington’s state capitol campus in Olympia. According to the Department of Enterprise Services, an agency which supervises operations on the Capitol campus, the ban—which goes into effect on Feb. 11—was created after an unfortunate incident wherein an unmanned aircraft crashed into the window of an office building in the area.

    The Capitol drone ban is similar to other laws being put into effect around the country, preventing drones from being operated in capitols and national parks. Michigan, Georgia, and Arkansas have already implemented no-drone laws for certain areas, and no drones can be flown legally in Washington, D.C.

    To register yourself as a legal drone user, visit https://registermyuas.faa.gov. Fly safely!

    By Kiki Genoa

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  • Corvallis to Coast Trail Closer to Reality
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    C2C_Map_Ona2We’ve all imagined—and maybe even salivated a little bit in the process—what it’d be like having access to a trail that connected Corvallis to the coast. Sure, Highway 20 can get you there. And there are plenty of twists, turns, and fewer cars if you take a side drive along Route 180 through Eddyville. But that’s if you’re traveling by automobile. Hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers have something else in mind.

    Soon, those wishing to take a car-free journey from Corvallis to the Pacific Ocean will have a way to do it. One group is working with the U.S. Forest Service and Siuslaw National Forest, private land owners, and Benton and Lincoln counties to bring a new trail to life: the Corvallis-to-the-Sea (C2C) Trail. The C2C Partnership is a collaborative group of citizens, businesses, and organizations that have wanted to bring the C2C Trail to life for more than a decade.

    Now, the group is very close to reaching its big goal as the eastern route of the trail, spanning from Corvallis to Big Elk Campground near Eddyville, is set to open in 2016.

    The C2C Partnership has obtained agreements with private landowners, Starker Forests, and the Siuslaw National Forest, and aspires to have an official opening date of June 4—a.k.a. National Trails Day. Volunteers have worked to build various sections of the eastern route, and still need to install signs and have official maps printed.

    “It is so ‘doable’ if government agencies, local governments, and private landowners allow it. We know it is physically possible [to take this route] as we have backpacked the route four times in the past decade,” said Gary Chapman, president of the C2C Trail Partnership.

    He added that past efforts as far back as 1974 to get the trail established and open have failed for various reasons, most of which have been overcome with current efforts.

    Those efforts include lots of work, like obtaining fiscal and volunteer resources to enable trail construction, management, and maintenance, along with planning critical products from signs to maps and tool purchases.

    “It’s a nice, local alternative for long-distance outings, an easy two-day bike ride, and a possible one-day bike ride,” Chapman said. “The coast is a cool destination.”

    The C2C Partnership welcomes more approvals from private landowners that would increase off-road miles for users, and volunteers are also more than welcome to join in the overall effort.

    The western half of the C2C Trail, which would end somewhere near Ona Beach next to Highway 101, is still being notched out on the map, and agreements need to be made with the U.S. Forest Service. Chapman added the partnership has the support of Lincoln County and an opening date for the western half depends on what the trail will actually end up looking like and what class it ends up being. An environmental study would also need to be completed. He envisions that section opening within a year or two from the time an agreement is reached with the Forest Service.

    The C2C Partnership has a handful of “show and tell” hikes tentatively planned for the spring and summer months. For up-to-date details about hiking dates and locations, and more info about volunteering or donating, visit www.c2ctrail.org.

    By Abbie Tumbleson

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  • Pick a Party: Your Guide to Oregon’s Political Parties
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    Oregon_voters Oregon_votersYou have more than two choices for a political party. In Oregon, there are three “major” parties which got at least 5% of the vote, and five “minor” parties which got at least 1% of the vote in the last election.

    At last count, there were 2,186,971 registered voters in Oregon. If you have just turned 18, or have just moved to Oregon, you aren’t one of them, but you can be, even if you are a former convicted felon, or mentally impaired but not legally incompetent. Show an Oregon driver’s license, a paycheck stub, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government document, or proof of eligiblity under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens’ Absentee Voting Act or the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act. If all else fails, just provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. Oregon isn’t one of those states where they try to make voting difficult. In fact, if you have an Oregon driver’s license or Oregon ID card, you have been automatically registered to vote, thanks to our first-in-the-nation “Motor Voter” law.

    Even so, more than 30% of eligible voters don’t actually vote.

    So what are those eight parties? In alphabetical order:

    The Constitution Party proposes to ban abortion, repeal most gun control laws, repeal most child protection laws, repeal most labor and consumer protection laws, abolish the income tax, return to the gold standard, “quarantine” people who are HIV positive and declare English the official national language. They are among the group of minor parties who share 1.7% of registered voters. They have never won any statewide races, but have elected Randy Fontenot Chief of Police in Eunice. (www.constitutionpartyoregon.net)

    The Democratic Party has 37.8% of Oregon’s registered voters, making them the largest party in the state and one of the three classified as “major” parties. Their party platform endorses labor rights, access to health care, education, tax reform, environmentalism, and “good government.” Their biggest victory in recent years has been electing the first African-American president, and older voters will tell you that’s a big deal. They also hold the state’s governorship and majorities in the state legislature and senate. (www.dpo.org)

    The Independent Party is not just all the people who register as “independent,” which means they don’t declare for any party. Five percent of Oregon voters are Independents with a capital I. That number is important becuae it makes them a “major” party under Oregon law, putting the Independents on a par with the elephant and the donkey. They want transparency in government, less influence by special interests, consumer protection, small businesses, and affordable college. (www.indparty.com)

    The Libertarian Party wants a smaller, less powerful government that allows people much more personal autonomy. For instance, this party would eliminate corporate entities and protect the environment by holding individuals responsible. They would also eliminate public funding for education, believing private schools would fill the void. In short, they believe in free market solutions and that the place of government as an answer to social needs is a last resort.  Libertarian R. Mack Augenfeld on the City Council of Baker City is the only Libertarian currently holding elective office in Oregon, although they have held higher offices in the past.
    (www.lporegon.org)

    The Pacific Green Party has, as you might expect, a platform strong on environmentalism and opposition to war, and also endorses feminism, respect for diversity, and social justice. The Greens are just 0.5% of Oregon voters, but
    last November, Green support helped persuade the Portland
    City Council to ban any new fossil fuel infrastructure.
    (www.pacificgreens.org)

    The Progressive Party, formerly known as the Oregon Peace Party, is for campaign finance reform, a state bank like North Dakota’s, and “fair taxation” (Oregon has the fourth-highest taxes on working-class people and the lowest corporate taxes). They’d also like to abolish the Oregon State Senate, leaving the Oregon House of Representatives to write our laws (as in Nebraska). Their party emblem is an American buffalo. They’re another among the 1.7% of “other” parties, but their support helped keep Jeff Merkley in the U.S. Senate and Peter DeFazio in the House, and they are currently seeking to put campaign finance reforms on the ballot in Oregon. (www.progparty.org)

    The Republican Party, the self-described “Grand Old Party” is one of Oregon’s major parties, with 29.9% of Oregon’s voters. It has a long history, going back to the years before the Civil War. Its biggest victory in recent years has been gaining control of both houses of Congress.  Their party policy is “limited government, lower taxes, and personal responsibility.” Their literature says they favor “accountability in spending… protecting our environment… and protecting our schools.” (www.oregonrepublicanparty.org)

    The Working Families Party has a name that sounds a lot less threatening than, say, the Workers’ Party. Their platform is definitely centered on workers’ rights: a state bank, disability insurance and higher education for all, sustainable jobs, fair trade, and the right to organize.  Right now it is among the parties that share that 1.7%, but they have an impact, helping achieve paid sick days for all Oregonians. Good news for anyone who has a job, or who eats out. (www.workingfamilies.org)

    Do none of these options appeal to you? You and 24.4% of Oregon voters evidently agree, because they’ve registered as non-affiliated, or what some call independents, with a lowercase “i.”

    Want to start your own party? Anybody who can gather signatures of 1.5% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election, or who can gather a thousand friends and drinking buddies for a caucus, can form their own party.

    By John M. Burt

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  • Sack o’ Dicks for the Oregon Militia
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    pink-heartOur honorable patriot rancher pals are still holed up in Burns’ Malheur Wildlife Refuge, and have run into a few problems, the principal issue being a major lack of foresight when packing for their supposedly permanent occupation.

    On Jan. 9, militia leaders sent out an email asking for supplies, which has since been published on Twitter. Though the group of men, women, and children do have water and shelter, they are running out of what few provisions they brought along for the trip.

    Quasi-essential items like vanilla coffee creamer, gaming systems, and three different varieties of extra-long Marlboros are mentioned in a list of nearly a hundred amenities which locals and strangers alike have quickly lampooned by sending the rebels a collection of hilarious gag gifts.

    Last Monday, militia member Jon “Scrappy” Ritzheimer aired grievances on his Facebook page in the form of a video, explaining to viewers that most of the gifts—dildos, penis-shaped candies, and more dildos—were not only hateful, but unnecessary.

    “It was really mind-blowing to me,” complained Scrappy, commenting on the extravagant $17.97 price tag on one package from Amazon containing a giant dong. “Rather than going out and doing good,” said Scrappy, “they go out and spend their money on hate, and hate, and hate, and hate.” To illustrate his annoyance, the man knocks several packages off the table in front of him. “We’re not going to be deterred. We’re not going to let all your junk and hate mail sidetrack us.”

    Don’t worry, Scrappy. Here at The Advocate we aren’t into hate. In fact, we’ve come up with a delightful solution to where you and your buddies can hide those double dildos from the kids—clue: yes, there. To make this process easier for all of you humorless bastards, we’ve agreed to start a private collection to buy y’all militants your own personal sex therapist so you can put that $17.97 phallus to good use. Because dildos should be used for love, not hate.

    To donate, please visit www.corvallisadvocate.com/getscrappylaid, and you’ll receive a free commemorative badge.

    By Kiki Genoa

    (Editor’s note: there are no badges, sorry. Feel free to make your own, though!)

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  • Artist Profile: Karen Wysopal
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    Karen Ascheim Wysopal2A new artist is in town this third Thursday for the Arts Walk. Originally from Cambridge, Massachussets, Karen Wysopal started drawing and painting as a child and studied artisan crafts in high school. After moving to Corvallis in 2011, she began working as a software developer with Hewlett-Packard, but left the job last January to return to making art full-time.

    Wysopal is drawn to abstract expressionism and finds inspiration in the works of artists like Wassily Kandinsky. Her vivid paintings, made with alcohol inks applied to yupo paper, are action-based and display Wysopal’s desire to reflect the ebb and flow of mercurial changes that occur in everyday life.

    The artist’s work can be seen at her studio down the hall from the Advocate Loft. She has created handmade greeting cards for the First Alternative Co-op North Store and local women’s clothing boutique Sibling Revelry. She is also showing—and selling—pieces at Studio262, including prints and cards.

    What motivates Wysopal to continue to explore new methods and mediums in art? People’s reactions to her work are important, she explains. “It’s always interesting to hear what it brings up for them. I like being reminded to look at things from alternative perspectives.”

    Come and visit Wysopal at her studio on this month’s Corvallis Arts Walk. In the meantime, you can check out her original paintings, greeting cards, and bookmarks on her Etsy site, https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarenWysopalArt.

    By Kiki Genoa

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  • Necessary Noise: Corvallis’ Vandfald a Rock Scene Gem
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    vanfaldWhen I approach the reviewing of something this personal, I like to hit the page without the journalistic conventions. The fact is, the A to B approach might make for “complete” writing, but it rarely makes any sense in terms of the impact of a piece of art. In fact, I’m going to push aside all of my notes and just cut to the chase: Vandfald is a band to be heard. Along with Bury the Moon and a handful of other locals, they’re proving that Corvallis is fertile ground for thoughtful modern rock. If you’re one of the last locals to see through the lack of venues and catch a glimpse of what’s going on in project studios, living rooms, and garages around here, now is your chance to get on board.

    Matt Lucas, Josh Lucas, Ryan Hanson, and John Monroe are the humans behind Vandfald, and I just finished probably my two dozenth listen-through of their newest creation, the A Delicate Balance EP, which was released this last October. A second effort backing up their 2013 debut album Fall Out, most listeners will make comparisons to Coldplay, and fair enough, but that’s just the skin of it. Vandfald has that down-to-earth quality that gets ironed out of mainstream musical projects, giving the tunes a sizzling organic crust that makes them ideal for the sort of impactful listening experience that inextricably ties music to memories. The overall vibe is such that even if the lyrics were horrible (they’re very much the opposite, by the way), you wouldn’t care because it sounds intense.

    Transplants from Texas, the Lucas brothers moved here specifically to pursue music. They’re influenced by acts such as Modest Mouse, The National, Bon Iver, and Radiohead and have a great convoluted “how we found our drummer” story that I’ll let them tell you themselves. Definitely give A Delicate Balance a listen via https://vandfaldband.bandcamp.com/, and check out their Facebook page for updates, a link to their debut record, and more: https://www.facebook.com/VandfaldBand.

    The song Firemouth is filling my living room right now with some sort of voodoo. My Christmas tree is falling over, needles all over the place, feet on the coffee table… honestly, you should give this a try.

    By Johnny Beaver

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