• Nano Art Festival Spotlights the Invisible
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    2015-03-25_1022The idea of art, whether creating or interpreting it, is a subject available to people from all walks of life. However, there is a stark separation between individuals with formal training in art and those pegged as “outsider artists.”

    The inVISIBLE Nano Art Festival is breaking down those barriers, and bringing art to members of the community who are all too commonly overlooked or ignored. About to kick off its second year of art festivities in the community, Nano emphasizes the inclusion of the seemingly invisible members of society with this year’s workshops and events focused around individuals considered to have intellectual/mental or developmental disabilities.

    With help from many sponsors, several local artists have collaborated to put on this year’s festival, including Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc and Diana Ryan. Ryan, a ceramicist, and Wittig, a performance artist, held an artist residency at Cornerstone for six days. “We recognize there are many societal and health benefits to viewing and creating art, and research is starting to prove this,” Wittig said.

    During the residency, the two hosted art workshops which included drawing and sculpting, as well as firing and glazing pottery. The project themes were inspired by local author Charles Goodrich’s book of poems titled Insects of Corvallis (2003). Goodrich’s poems explore the observations of different insects, as well as everyday occurrences like walking to the 7-Eleven to buy a beer. Because many of the poems include insects in some capacity, the art became centered around bugs. “The insect theme just seemed to work because they’re very representative of the everyday, but also invisible in their own way,” said Wittig. The participants also made a collaborative tile piece, which will hopefully be on permanent display at Taylor Street Ovens following the festival.

    Although Wittig began in performance art, her medium evolved into puppets and masks. Her performance at Taylor Street Ovens will be inspired by experiences she had teaching throughout the workshops. “I’ll be exploring themes of invisibility, and advocating for people who are marginalized,” she said.

    Artists Hester Coucke, Anthony Di Salvo, and Bruce Burris, who began the festival last year, were also instrumental to this year’s activities. Burris, an arts curator, is passionate about advocating for the arts, especially for people with disabilities. He was contacted after last year’s festival by Coucke, an employee at the Arts Center, to discuss how the Arts Center could become involved. This year’s art on display at the Arts Center was created by artists from Corvallis, Portland, and Eugene. All of the artists have mental or developmental disabilities.

    On Monday, May 11, the Majestic Theatre will host a pop-up exhibition featuring two of three triplet brothers from Eugene. Also on May 11 at the Majestic, a discussion panel, titled inAUDIBLE, will feature artists with developmental disabilities, as well as academics and program managers. The discussion will center on the idea of “outsider art” and include origins of art language, and who coins the terms. “Hester, Bruce, and I are educated in art; we’ve seen the academy side and how exclusive it is,” said Wittig. “We would like to break down some of these barriers, and show the arts matter to every single individual.”

    Wrapping up the exhibit will be two screenings of Sprout, a film showcasing people living with disabilities in some capacity or another. After the film, creator Di Salvo will speak about his experiences working with disabled people.

    According to Wittig, the festival is receiving a healthy amount of support. “When taken on a national level, there aren’t many programs like this, so we’re cutting edge in that sense, which is exciting.” This year’s festival will provide necessary insight for what to do in future years. Going forward, the festival is likely to continue campaigning for the disabled community, but organizers would like to see community involvement.

    Wittig has been encouraged by the level of enthusiasm of the participants. “We don’t know what we’re capable of on any given day; we should never assume that someone should or can do x,y,z, or that they can’t do them. Everyone, regardless of their position in society, should get an invite to the table. Everyone should be given an opportunity.”

    By Kirsten Allen

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  • Sandboarding the Oregon Dunes
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    One summer, long ago, my family and I visited Honeyman State Park in Florence, Oregon. I fondly remember tumbling down massive dunes into shallow ponds of sun-warmed water, only to slog back up countless mountains of sand. I recall a thrilling ATV ride up and down the impressive mounds. My sisters and I raised our arms overhead as if riding in a roller-coaster that was somehow nestled in a surreal world of tan earth. On that summer day we baked in the reflected sunshine off the towering hills. Times have changed in Florence. The ATVs are still there, as are the frolicking children. But now, the dunes are also being enjoyed by world-class sandboarders.

    boardegypt4

    What is sandboarding? A better name for the sport might be duneboarding. Put simply, it’s sliding down a long, sandy hill on a board. It is practiced all over the globe, wherever there are dunes. Though similar in appearance to snowboarding, it is safer and cheaper than its colder cousin. It’s easy to learn, and surprisingly accessible to those of us living in Oregon.

    Matt Walton is the station manager at KBVR, Oregon State University’s student-run radio station. He’s also a professional sandboarder. Walton grew up in Waldport, where the ocean is too cold for all but the heartiest of surfers and the ski slopes are three hours away. In 2006, he and his friends discovered the sport of sandboarding in the nearby Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The Oregon Dunes stretch over 40 miles from North Bend to Florence, adjoining Honeyman State Park. They are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.

    You can sandboard almost anywhere in the Oregon National Dunes. However, the epicenter of the sandboard culture is Sand Master Park (SMP), where you can rent or buy boards or take private lessons on 40 acres of private dunes. The world’s first sandboard park, SMP is located just south of Honeyman Park. Lon Beale opened the original board shop in 2000 and has built it into a mecca of sandboarding. SMP hosts the longest running sandboard competition in the world, the Sand Master Jam. Beale also runs Venomous Sandboards from Florence. The equipment and apparel company sells gear worldwide.

    Beale could design and build boards anywhere, but he set up in Florence because he recognized the potential of the dunes as the hub of sandboarding. Specifically, he appreciated the sand. “I rate Florence’s sand in the top 10 in the world. Here in the U.S., I rate it in the top three. The rain washes the sand clean and is a big reason why it is so good.”

    Walton also thinks the local dunes really lend themselves to the sport. “Florence is a great place to sandboard. One of the best in the world. It simply is. Even though the dunes themselves are not as big as say, the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, or a number of dune systems in southern California. What Florence and the rest of the Oregon coast has is terrain. You’ve got a lot of that beach grass, and in many instances the dunes are mingling with the forest. it’s like backcountry skiing or backcountry snowboarding. You’ve got jumps and trails already there.”

    Many boarders also teach the sport. Walton has been an instructor at SMP in the past, and even traveled abroad to impart his expertise. Specifically, he delivered a shipment of Venomous Sandboards to Egypt in 2010. He spent a week there teaching a group of locals how to ride the equipment down massive desert dunes. The steep slopes lent themselves to high-speed riding, but the skill of “carving” was a foreign concept. His students went on to use their new skills to teach tourists.

    Sandboarding is also very popular in Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. The dunes there are close to the cities, just like on the Oregon coast, making a day of boarding an easy for the locals. They are the best in the world at doing airborne tricks and achieving frightening speed as they fly down giant dunes.  But they can’t carve, either. “I could beat 100% of those guys in a slalom race 10 times out of 10,” Walton said. “But in terms of air. If we had a trick competition then they would stomp me. And I’m one of the better sandboarders in the U.S.”

    Occasionally, premier boarders like Walton find notoriety in front of cameras. When a television network or a beer company needs a boarder for their show or commercial, they call Beale for names. Every summer, at least three opportunities arise for shoots involving newspapers, magazines, TV shows, or web series. Walton himself has been involved in about 25 separate shoots involving sandboarding as a consultant of on-screen talent.

    Until now, sandboarding has remained a niche tourist activity in Oregon. Walton would like to see it become a more mainstream board sport, but thinks it will take a little help from the right people. An entrepreneur could expand sandboarding beyond the bottleneck of Florence and into the big cities. “Sandboard parks. You could build a park in a metro area. You could put it indoors, potentially. Sand is cheap,” he said.

    Until then, the sport will have to grow slowly. But Corvallisites don’t need a man-made sandboard park to learn how to carve. Sand Master Park is just a short drive away. And, according to Walton, “Florence is like one big sandboard park.”

    A 24-hour rental at SMP is $16 for board, wax, and admission to Sand Master Park dunes. Lesson prices vary based on group size, but aren’t necessary to start boarding. Everybody who rents a board gets free basic instruction. Go to www.sandmasterpark.com or call 541-997-6006 for more information or current weather conditions.

    By Dave DeLuca

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  • Progress Check… University Housing and Dining
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    dorm roomOregon State University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS) has gotten a lot of heat from The Advocate in the past. We outlined how their promises don’t match up to what we see in real life, and expressed little faith in any changes made. We also amalgamated all food services on campus to be the responsibility of UHDS, which is not the case. UHDS operates the student meal plan, a few cafes, a market, and a convenience store. Memorial Union Retail Food Services (MURFS) is responsible for the food in Dixon, the MU, and the library.

    After His First Year as Executive Director, Dan Larson

    I met with Dan Larson, the executive director of UHDS, to discuss the changes he and his team have made and hope to make in the future regarding healthy food options and affordable on-campus housing.

    Larson is visibly excited about nutrition, and his mantra seems to be ingredients with integrity. Of course, price point is important, and due to their position as a large-volume buyer, they are able to put a little pressure on distributors to utilize better sourcing practices, or to use better ingredients so that distributors can support the UHDS objective.

    In a recent flier, UHDS outlined their goals: to “create transformative learning environments,” to “equalize student success,” and to “improve health.” Improve health is the one Larson and I focused on the most. Larson and his team have overhauled the program and seem to have put nutrition first. In Bing’s Cafe in Weatherford Hall, nutrition facts and handy allergy guides are visible and accessible, making it obvious that nutrition is at the forefront of these new goals. The same cannot be said for Dixon Cafe, where calorie info is not posted—nor are ingredient lists or allergy labels. UHDS-1, MURFS-0.

    UHDS’ next big food project is fixing up the convenience stores, moving from stocking what sells to encouraging better eating habits. They are also working on getting SNAP accepted at Cascadia Market on campus, which would improve accessibility. UHDS is also working with the colleges of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Crop and Soil Science to grow a garden on campus. While it won’t be possible to utilize the garden for all of UHDS’ produce needs, it’s a start, and it could allow for heirloom varieties of veggies and fruits to be featured on the menus. It’s impossible to say for sure when and how these changes will affect students, but it’s exciting to see the concerted effort to feature real foods for students on a budget.

    Evaluating UHDS Progress

    Brooklyn, a former resident advisor, said that the meal plan is better and healthier, and that they tell you what’s in the food, but that it is more expensive. To that, Larson said that he tries really hard to find the best price at his volume level. He seems genuine, and it is a hard problem to tackle. But it definitely remains cheaper to eat off campus.

    This brings us to the cost of living on campus, which also remains high. Dorm living cost varies on hall, anywhere from $11,775 (per academic year, in a large single room in Weatherford Hall), to $5,304 (per academic year, in a triple room  in Sackett Hall). This does not include meal plans, which range from $3,501 to $1,290 per year. The average cost of living in a dorm is $8,553 for the dorm and $2,396 for the meal plan. That means a student’s monthly cost is $1,216.

    By comparison, I live in a two-bedroom on 9th Street and I split the $750 rent. I shop at various grocery stores, and my monthly cost of living is way less than $1,216. I don’t even make that much monthly. Living on campus remains generally more expensive than off-campus options, often prohibitively so. UHDS did introduce less expensive triple rooms for the 2013-’14 academic year and it’s experiencing some success, but these still cost a minimum of $5,055 yearly before adding in a meal plan.

    Larson seems genuine about the changes he and his team have made, and optimistic about the future. He is excited to work with SNAP to make Cascadia Market more accessible, and with the colleges to create a garden, which is an exciting development that anyone can get behind. 

    The expanded options for triple rooms are somewhat encouraging, but in general it remains difficult to rationalize on-campus options unless something can be done to bend the cost curve downwards. Larson has been at the job for only a little over a year and he remains optimistic in the face of many challenges. The Advocate will continue to track UHDS as it grapples to make improvements.

    By Rachel Sandstrom

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  • Henna By Hillary
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    Corvallis has such a wide variety of art and culture that it’s hard to imagine squeezing any more talent into the mix, but one of Corvallis’ newest artists has plenty of new inspiration to add. Hilary Leslie moved to Corvallis in December, and brought her henna-inspired artwork with her. Leslie is an Oregonian at heart, born and raised in Newport. At the young age of 23, she has traveled all over the world, enjoying art and culture of many different countries. Her trips have taken her from the glittering steps of Versailles and the canals of Venice all the way to the streets of Seoul, South Korea and the mating grounds of blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos. Throughout her travels she has been inspired to create many interesting and unique designs that all capture her vivid personality.

    Leslie returns to Oregon from a yearlong study abroad program in Seville, Spain. While in Spain she had the opportunity to visit many places that helped shape some of her newer art. On a weekend trip to Morocco, she was able to see artwork much like her own, as well as new types of geometric artwork that led her to begin using more triangular shapes in some of her work.

    hennacollage

    “The artwork in Morocco was stunning,” she said. “There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe the beauty and effort that goes into all the tiny details and symmetry of their geometric patterns. We visited an art school during my trip and it only furthered my interest in two-dimensional design.”

    Leslie also was touched by the Islamic art that has survived throughout history in southern Spain. “Both the Alcazar palace in Seville and the Alhambra palace in Granada were incredibly inspiring, any art-lover’s paradise. Islamic art can be found all over Spain due to their long history. Spain has been ruled and conquered by many different groups, but much of the Islamic art remains perfectly intact; that should inspire anyone,” she said.

    Leslie has been producing artwork for as long as she can remember. Originally, she began sketching and doing drawings for her family’s Christmas cards each year. In the first few years of high school she took an art class where she produced all different kinds of artwork, but this class was canceled after her sophomore year due to lack of funding for the arts. That didn’t stop her, however, and after seeing henna at a birthday party, she taught herself to draw the different elements of the patterns by looking at pictures and combining those elements in unique and different designs. The most surprising thing about her artwork is that she uses no tools to help keep her drawings symmetrical. She never uses rulers, compasses, or stencils, only a Sharpie pen and paper. The more she drew these fun and impressive pieces, the more people asked her for her work, and she eventually began making packages of cards by hand to sell for a few dollars to pay for the materials.

    Although most people find her artwork compelling, Leslie maintains that “it is just doodling and drawing circles,” and so she sells her work for incredibly affordable prices. She now works with online companies to produce all sorts of items using her artwork, including fabric, wrapping paper, laptop sleeves, coffee mugs, pillows, and framed posters. Most of her work is similar in that it maintains elements of traditional henna, but some of her newest pieces include inspirations from the geometry of the artwork in Morocco.

    Hilary Leslie hopes to join the Corvallis artistic community and grow to call this place home, at least until her wanderlust takes her back out into the world. Her web address is http://hennabyhilary.wix.com/henna-by-hilary. You can also find her on Facebook by searching for “Henna by Hilary.”

    By Kyra Young

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  • Oregon Early Drone Adoption Harbingers National Concerns
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    DroneWith the FAA approving testing locations in Warm Springs, Pendleton, and Near Space Corp in Tillamook, it looks as though we are nearing the Congress-mandated November 2015 deadline for the FAA to integrate drones in civilian airspace.

    The three testing sites in Oregon, along with two others in Alaska and Hawaii, are meant to assist the FAA in drafting a much anticipated set of policies and guidelines in the use of commercial drones. How drones will affect the environment, how safely they can be navigated, and how radio frequencies may conflict with surroundings are just a few of the questions the FAA seeks to answer before allowing drones to hit the skies.

    Oregon is already a hotbed of the drone industry. Although the implementation of drones throughout Oregon is expected to center around agricultural use, the nascent industry will also be used in wildfire response, aerial scouting, first aid response, and urban planning.

    One organization, Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently purchased two UAVs to survey spawning Chinook salmon. They’ll also be surveying the pesky double-crested cormorants. The black seabirds love to eat salmon, so much so that the Army Corps of Engineers is considering killing them to prevent them from wiping out salmon populations.

    The film industry has already been granted permission to use UAVs, signifying a loosening of the red tape surrounding commercial drone use. Media outlets are also rallying to get on the FAA’s approved list. About a dozen outlets have joined a lawsuit which challenges the FAA’s right to regulate the press’ use of drones, arguing that such restrictions interfere with the freedom of the press.

    VDOS Global Takes off
    While several companies in Oregon wait to receive approval from the FAA, VDOS Global has been given the go-ahead.

    VDOS Global, a Corvallis-based “vertically integrated inspection service company,” has been granted clearance by the FAA to fly drones commercially in civilian airspace. VDOS is the only company that has been cleared to work with energy-producing companies.

    VDOS specializes in using UAVs, small multi-rotor quad copters, for inspection services, data collection, and other research purposes. Up to this point, they were using manned aircraft to complete their work.

    VDOS is primarily focused on the oil and gas industry, specifically offshore oil rigs. They will be launching with their first partner, Shell, to inspect oil rigs operated throughout the Gulf of Mexico. VDOS has clients in Texas and the Gulf Coast, and is looking to expand their customer base to Alaska in the near future. The company aims to work with oil and gas clients who need to inspect facilities, a task that can be quite costly (millions per day) and requires the company to shut down operations. Flare stack inspections would top the list.

    VDOS received a waiver for offshore use, and hopes to eventually expand to onshore rigs and other industrial facilities. The company is leading the pack in terms of being on the cutting edge for similar businesses involved in the same field, according to Charles Whiteside, CEO of VDOS. Whiteside completed an almost 20-year stint in the Navy and spent most of his time in the skies as an FA-18 pilot. He ensures his company works closely with the FAA to follow rules and regulations, and if one were to visit their website they’d see the word “safety” about a jillion times.

    The team at VDOS Global has also been active around the community. They have supported OSU and ODFW’s efforts in counting salmon populations using UAVs. They’re also volunteering to help start up a new group at OSU wanting to get in on the drone action, called the Autonomous Systems Research Group. They will use drones to conduct marine and terrestrial research using existing technologies combined with sensing and imaging systems.

    The group will organize OSU’s on-campus efforts and initiate public outreach and collaborative work with private industries and government agencies. “Advanced aerial, terrestrial, and marine systems are all being developed with highly sophisticated technologies for a wide variety of uses,” said Ron Adams, OSU’s interim vice president for research, in a release. “These are all areas of traditional OSU research impact and consistent with our commitments as a land, sea, space, and sun grant institution.”

    It’s Not All Clear Skies
    Although the anticipated use of drones has many tech companies buzzing, there is definite apprehension. The ACLU is pressuring the FAA to implement rules that would safeguard people’s privacy, especially in terms of police departments using drones for civilian surveillance. Oregon legislators recently passed a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant before using drones to track suspects, but the ACLU worries these measures are not enough, and vows to “ensure privacy rights of Oregonians are not undermined by other interests.”

    One Oregon City-based company has taken a different position on drones, and has received swaths of negativity because of it. Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC), founded by the team behind Aplus Mobile, is raising money through a Kickstarter program to develop a system that would notify people when a drone is within 50 feet. While DDC has received some positive feedback from citizens concerned about the implications of drones on civil liberties, much of the feedback has been overwhelmingly negative.<

    Looking Ahead
    With drones being better known for their sloppy delivery of civilian deaths overseas, it will likely take the public some time to accept their civilian and commercial applications. Privacy advocates will also likely dig in their heels against drone use, but it’s looking more and more like drones will be an inevitable fact of our daily lives in the near future. Like all new technologies, privacy and security will be hotly debated, and resolutions agreed upon after years of trial and error. However, if implemented with a little bit of common sense and respect for fellow neighbors, Oregon has huge potential to capitalize on the use of drones and become an industry leader for the rest of the United States to look to. Like smartphones, drones will likely change the way we interact with the Earth, each other, and our communities, and once they hit the skies it will be hard to get them out.

    By Kirsten Allen

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  • Definitive Answers, Why No South Town Supermarket
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    Dollarphotoclub_67231748Driving north on Highway 99, just past the southernmost city limits of Corvallis, a relic of a once-promising plan still lingers.

    Sandwiched between the Corvallis New Holland farm equipment supplier and the 7-Eleven—with sprinkles of houses in between—is a gravel lot that was pegged to be the epicenter of major development in South Corvallis.

    The city’s South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan mapped out the Corvallis Auction Yard as the site for a potential grocery store to go along with commercial and residential development in the surrounding area.

    That was in 1997.

    The only thing that has been added to the location is graffiti strewn haphazardly across the barn’s walls.

    In the 17 years since that plan was finalized, South Corvallis—or South Town, as it is more commonly known—has nearly doubled in size, growing from 5,700 residents in 1997 to 10,822 today.

    Stores like Market of Choice, Walmart Neighborhood Market, and Natural Grocers have cropped up within the past five years, ensuring an overwhelming stronghold of the city’s grocers on the north side of town. The only major grocery stores south of Buchanan Avenue are the Safeway locations downtown and on Philomath Boulevard.

    South Town remains vacant.

    People Are Trying
    “There’s definitely interest in a grocery store,” said Zach Baker, city councilman for Ward 3, which covers most of South Corvallis. “I’ve heard it around the streets talking to folks, talking to organizations. People just don’t know what the next step is in terms of getting a grocery store.”

    The next steps are complicated.

    It has not been for lack of effort that the Corvallis Auction Yard was left in its desolate state.

    Ten years ago, Tom Gerding, owner of T. Gerding Construction Company, purchased the auction yard. The seven-acre auction yard could turn into a 15-acre development site with cooperation from adjacent property owners.

    That was the idea when Gerding hired a grocer consultant to scout and analyze the area.

    “The demographics were a long ways away from supporting a full-size grocery store,” he said.

    More specifically, circumferential population, visual and mental barriers, traffic count, other nearby destinations, and leakage to other major stores were the main factors opposing a grocery store movement to South Town.

    Gerding brought it to the table again five years later. Little had changed in South Corvallis’ development.

    He talked with Ray’s Food Place about the auction yard, but talks fell through and Ray’s ended up closing 16 stores and its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

    Ten years have passed, and Gerding is ready to sell the parcel to a developer.

    “There are several directions this could go,” Gerding said. “Our primary interest is looking for someone to purchase it and do the development, not for us to develop it internally.”

    He said there are some talks bubbling about the development, and that the consensus for those involved is that something needs to get done with that property. And quickly.

    “Right now, there’s no viable interest generated from a major grocery outlet,” he said.

    Gerding had been looking and hoping for a grocery store to be the anchor of a South Town development. Now, the idea of bringing in something else as the anchor—and hope a grocery store would follow—is a thought.

    Why the North-South Lopsidedness
    “Destination” is a word that is often brought up in these talks.

    Market of Choice store manager Brett Wallace said he often wonders why there is no grocery store in South Town. He said there is a major contingent of the population down there that could become loyal customers.

    Yet, a plethora of grocers exist on the north side of town, and are doing well.

    Why is that? Why are there so many stores near each other?

    “Generally, when businesses are located close together, it does tend to draw people in,” Wallace said.

    If people want to shop Market of Choice’s ad, but also Safeway’s and Trader Joe’s, all three can be found close together, he said.

    Everyone’s a winner.

    When Walmart was looking at adding a Neighborhood Market location in Corvallis, the developers who were contracted looked at South Corvallis.

    “When they were looking around, they said they looked at that area and it just doesn’t have the critical mass yet to support a grocery store,” said Tom Nelson, economic development manager for the City of Corvallis.

    In South Town, if a grocery store were to pop up in the auction yard, it would be the only destination in the area.

    “More needs to happen than just a grocery store deciding to locate there,” Nelson said. “There needs to be some other redevelopment in South Town. There need to be other reasons for people to go there other than buying groceries.

    So, someone has to be the first person through the wall on this.

    The development will, theoretically, follow.

    Gerding was going to be that person, and he still could be.

    Cleanup on Aisle 99
    Nelson said there is more to the problem than just someone developing there. The population in South Corvallis of nearly 11,000 is close to supporting a store, and he said more new residential development in the area could be nearing.

    Streetscaping, upkeep, and making the area generally look nicer are key for new development, he said. There have been talks of adding development in the area for nearly 20 years, and nothing has happened.<

    “It doesn’t look that nice,” Nelson said. “I do think that if the City had that in their vision, wanting to do some streetscape there, it provides an incentive for a developer to want to develop because they could see that there’s some care being taken.”

    It’s not just the City’s burden either, Nelson said; the businesses have to help in that area, too.

    There Could Be Alternatives
    Some would say there already is a grocery store in South Town.

    One of the first things in sight after crossing the river and going underneath the Highway 34 bridge is a yellow-orange building.

    First Alternative Co-op, a mainstay in South Town, is the closest thing to a grocery store in South Corvallis. General manager Cindee Lolik said the co-op is not only the closest thing, she said it is South Town’s grocery store.

    “There’s a perception that we are not a full-service grocery store,” Lolik said.

    Lolik is skeptical that growth will happen anytime soon. If the past 20 years are any indication, she is right.

    “[South Town is] not growing that rapidly,” Lolik said. “The tipping point for a conventional grocery store isn’t here at this point.”

    The perception of the co-op is that the prices are high, and the store is too small. In a very small sample, First Alternative’s milk and produce prices were competitive with its nearest competitor, Safeway, and its main competitor in the high-end market, Market of Choice. The price of eggs was slightly higher at the co-op, and the bread prices were quite a bit higher.

    But First Alternative could find a compromise: expansion.

    Lolik said they are just focusing on the facility they have in South Town for now. A 5- to 10-year plan is on the horizon and expansion will be discussed.

    “It is very early in the process,” she said. “Right now, there really isn’t a cohesive plan. It’s just something that’s starting to gel.”

    Lolik said they do not want the co-op to turn into a major 50,000-square-foot facility, but there is a real chance that growing larger to become closer to a conventional grocery store in South Town could happen.

    Maintaining the quality of ingredients and products is a must; expansion would mean incorporating products into the store that they do not have room for in the current location.

    Another alternative is something City Councilor Zach Baker mentioned: “a comprehensive food center.”

    This could include any or all of: a grocery store, community kitchen, community garden, distribution center, and food bank.

    “The idea being to basically make a one-stop shop related to food to move forward food access in our community,” Baker said. “It’s an idea that’s starting to potentially get legs.”

    The Benton County Health Department was involved in a 2009 study about the idea of a comprehensive food center. The health department is continuing to talk with people about the project and its possibilities, Baker said.

    Seeing the Future
    A lot of maybes. Nothing definitive.

    Nelson, a native of Willamette Landing in South Town, has reserved optimism about the seemingly never-ending saga.

    “My crystal ball: I would say in five years we might see something, but it’s going to take a while,” he said.

    By Warner Strausbaugh

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  • Meet Jimbo Ivy, Resetting the Majestic Stage
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    Jimbo Ivy (1)The Majestic Theatre’s long and storied history has in recent years been rife with mismanagement, power struggles, poor communication, and fear, but all that appears to be changing. Corvallis Parks and Rec has resumed control of the Majestic, and has brought on a new theater supervisor, Jimbo Ivy. And yes, that really is his name, thank you.

    Ivy resonates as a breath of fresh air after all the strife of the last few years. A giant of a man physically, his presence is disarmingly ebullient, open, and confidence inspiring. Ivy is by some accounts a newbie to Corvallis, but he did do a stint here locally some years back that includes time as a reporter at The Alchemist among other endeavors in the creative community.

    Importantly, he holds no agenda as concerns theater groups past or present. He said his ultimate goal is to cultivate an open forum community where the Majestic can be a stage for all of the creative energy in Corvallis. His eagerness borders on the idealistic, but he is genuine.

    Hailing from Manhattan—the one in Kansas—Ivy’s resume is full of theater tech jobs, indie journalism, playwriting, and sound production. In college, he studied theater tech, playwriting, English, and did sound production for a touring band of country musicians.

    In general, Ivy prefers to be backstage, behind the curtain enabling creativity, which is perfect for the job he has just assumed.. He doesn’t seem the type to demand creative control, instead preferring to encourage actors, dancers, and artists while he sets the stage, so to speak.

    Ivy’s experience as the newly elected theater supervisor thus far has been positive. He has received nothing but support from the arts community in Corvallis, and he believes that Corvallis craves a functional Majestic. He intends, through what he calls “transparency of service,” to get more people into the theater and to widen the scope of performances and art at the Majestic. Ivy plans to book comedians, a beer and wine expo, dance, and do more than two shows a year. We are talking big plans here.

    Somewhat of a hybrid has been developed to keep the theater financed. The annual budget is relatively small at $10,000 a year compared to the theater’s annual $500,000 budget. Advertising, sponsorship, and donations to the newly founded non-profit Friends of the Majestic will help close that financial gap. As a non-profit with an independent board of directors, funding for necessary expenses can be more responsively decided than would be the case for a structure that is completely city-run.

    Corvallis Parks and Recreation Director Karen Emery said that Jimbo Ivy “is the ideal person for this dynamic position because of his past work history with performing arts for a Parks and Recreation Department in Kansas, his proven entrepreneurial skills, his value of resident volunteering, his knowledge of the municipal budget process, his operational knowledge of theaters, and his strong communication skills.”

    Several public forums have been scheduled; the first one focused on live music went well. From my perspective, it seemed like people were cautious, but interested in hearing what Ivy had to say. There were concerns about rental costs, but overall, they were receptive to Ivy’s proposed changes, and Ivy stayed on message, even in the face of somewhat harsh criticism.

    He said that he feels that the forums in general are productive and that he is connecting with the community, enacting their suggestions, and allaying their fears.

    Former Majestic Theater Management board president Laurie Zink hailed Ivy as an excellent choice for the Majestic, and only wished he had been in his position a few years earlier. Zink said that Ivy “knows what he is doing, and has been able to take off from day one. I don’t know how they could have come up with a better choice.” She cautioned that there will be realities Ivy will encounter, but the fact that he is speaking to so many people in public forums and private meetings will hopefully prevent serious difficulties from arising.

    Ivy encourages suggestions and communication and invites you to email him at Jimbo@majestic.org. He is also hosting public forums at the theater; the schedule is on their Facebook page.

    By Rachel Sandstrom

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  • Healing with Horses
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    DSC_00112In a corner of the 300-acre Children’s Farm Home campus in Corvallis, 13 horses cluster in stables. The ground is caked with winter mud as an earthy, aromatic odor drifts in the chilly air. Located at the end of a long, curving dirt road off Highway 20, these stables once served as a dairy-milking parlor years ago. In those days, the Children’s Farm Home was an orphanage and a real working farm.

    Since 1998, however, Trillium Family Services has operated this expansive facility. The Farm Home provides 24-hour treatment for children struggling with mental health challenges such as depression, unsafe behaviors, and trauma.

    Whereas their predecessors once carried riders around the farm for very different tasks, these horses are still working horses.

    These horses work to heal.

    “That time when children are working with the horses is specifically focused on their treatment goals as well,” said Kristen Atwater, horse program director for Trillium Family Services. “Learning to ride horses is secondary.”

    Trillium Family Services’ equine-assisted therapy program at Children’s Farm Home uses horses as a tool to engage children in metal health treatment. It serves residential clients as well as clients who were referred by therapists.

    “Typically what they’re being referred for is emotion regulation skills, anger management skills, and building healthier relationships,” Atwater said.

    For example, a child could work on his or her relationship with a sibling. Each sibling would groom a different horse. A skills trainer would talk with them about how things are going as the children loosen mud from their horses’ coats with a curry comb. Sometimes the siblings might have to stop and switch horses.

    “They have to communicate to each other, ‘This is where I left off in the grooming process, this is where I’d like you to start,’” Atwater said. “They can work on being respectful with each other and assertive with each other.”

    Typically, a child comes in for a two-hour session once a week for at least three months. For residential clients, the program is part of the services that the campus offers. For outpatient clients, the program takes the Oregon Health Plan and referrals from therapists.

    Most of the children treated by the program have never ridden a horse. They’re learning “Horses 101,” essentially—how to put a halter on for the first time and how to clean a horse’s hooves, among other tasks.

    Unlike other pets, horses have the added challenge of sheer size.

    “They can be kind of intimidating at times,” Atwater said. “In that sense, they do demand a little bit of respect. But their personalities are very open-minded and very quiet and gentle.”

    Horses don’t judge, in other words.

    “Horses don’t beg for attention, but they willingly give you what you ask for. They’re really a perfect medium in which to teach relationship building, communication, and body language,” commented Atwater. “They give you something to work with, but you do have to work for it a little bit.”

    The children who ride them, meanwhile, often come from troubled pasts.

    “The horses give them a real reaction to their actions,” Atwater said. “With the help of the skills trainer hopefully they learn to respond to the horse better and learn to respond in those frustrating situations better. That’s the ultimate goal.”

    For more information about the equine-assisted therapy program at Children’s Farm Home, contact Kristen Atwater at 541-758-5979 or katwater@trilliumfamily.org, or visit www.trilliumfamily.org

    By Denise Ruttan

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  • Corvallis Coffee Comparo
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    coffee-health-tipsPortland and Seattle are sometimes seen as the big coffee cities, the former being the original home of Stumptown and the latter claiming Starbucks, but Corvallis does not disappoint. What the world does not know is that Corvallis is its own mecca of really great coffee.

    It is actually hard to find a bad cup of coffee here in C-Town. I looked, and my search was fruitless. And here is how I came to that conclusion. I went to every coffee shop in town and tried not one of their coffees, but two: a cup of black coff ee and a mocha. You might say that I am quite well-caffeinated now, definitely ready for anything that comes my way.

    Dutch Bros.
    The Monroe location was super busy, and loud. Some top 40 remix blared through the cafe and it was hard to think.

    Coffee, Black: It smelled like sweet, dark chocolate and dark roasted beans, a nice respite from the sheer volume of the place. But, it had no flavor; it was watery.

    Mocha: I’ve got a sweet tooth and this satisfies the hell out of it. Good, silky foam and hot, but not scorching. It smelled like a nice blend of coffee and chocolate milk. Espresso hides under the chocolate milk, but it’s “guaranteed to satisfy” if you’re looking for a sweet drink that will get you caffeinated without tasting like coffee. It’s like sneak attack caffeine.

    Allann Bros.
    A well-known “fiercely independent” local roaster’s location on SW 2nd has ample seating, beautiful exposed brick, and a lever espresso machine! So cute.

    Coffee, Black: I went with the medium roast. Slight notes of fruit, a touch of dried blueberries. There’s a whisper of chocolate as the coffee coats my palate, but it disappears all too soon.

    Mocha: The semisweet, 12-ounce mocha is made with a double shot of espresso and 2% milk. I tasted high cacao, likely 70-80%. Despite a high level of quality, chocolate is a little bitter at that level, and it was almost overwhelming.

    b>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.<

    Coffee, Black: Aroma of jasmine; floral and sweet, the only bright coffee in the bunch. Light in body, almost tea-like, but drinkable and delicious.

    Mocha: The mocha had intricate latte art, and was so damn good. Drinkable temperature, but not tepid. The elements of the drink—chocolate, milk, espresso—were uniform throughout, even as it cooled. They use a rich, high-quality chocolate that doesn’t overpower the espresso flavor, but enhances its natural sweetness.

    Imagine Coffee
    If this were an ambiance contest, Imagine Coffee could win. Faux exposed brick, ample seating, Indie music circa 2009 playing on the “radio,” it’s a coffee shop junkie’s dream.

    Coffee, Black: Self-serve and you have a choice of five. I chose the Jumpstart Blend, a blend made up of African, Indonesian, and Central American coffees, roasted by Longbottom Coffee. Aroma of cherry and a hint of vanilla, and earthy dark chocolate flavors coat the palate nicely.

    Mocha: A 12-ounce with a little latte art on top. A lovely mélange of milk, coffee, and chocolate with good foam. A skilled barista, but I tasted mostly milk, and it was on the hot side. I am disappointed that the flavors got so lost in the milk because they were good. Even in a sweet, milk-based mocha, I want to taste all elements of the drink at once.

    Coffee Culture
    They have four locations in Corvallis and all serve homemade pastries and their own home-roasted coffee.

    Coffee, Black: A medium-bodied, 12-ounce cup of well-made coffee. Their house blend tastes like chocolate, and sweet berries. The finish is sweet and rich and lingers for the perfect amount of time. This coffee is drinkable all day, and delicious without being pretentious.

    Mocha: The chocolate is a little too sweet for my taste. I prefer a higher cacao content, but I can taste the espresso through the perfectly steamed milk and chocolate, which isn’t always the case.

    New Morning Bakery
    Serving Kobos Coffee and all kinds of food items, from quiche to lasagna.

    Coffee, Black: I chose their Guatemala medium roast from the self-serve selection. It’s a solid cup of coffee, but relatively unremarkable. Hints of peach and light body make it easy to enjoy, but hard to fall in love with.

    Mocha: The mocha is definitely on the sweet side, but not overwhelmingly so. If you’re looking for a sweet drink, but not liquid candy, this is a great choice. It tastes like a good ratio of coffee to espresso to milk. Balanced flavors and a good temperature.

    Interzone
    This is the go-to cafe for health-conscious coffee lovers. They serve local, organic Pacifica coffee and have a variety of interesting lattes and food choices.

    Coffee, Black: Self-serve drip coffee is popular in this town. I chose the Bali Blue Moon, classic Indonesian earthiness complemented by cacao and a slight cherry sweetness. It was light in body and finish, which means I could drink it all day and not get overwhelmed.

    Mocha: Ghirardelli chocolate! It was yummy, but the coffee got a little lost. If I would have ordered a double, the espresso would have been the star. They’ll make your drink with as many shots as you want, so feel free to learn from my mistake.

    We are lucky to have so many options for high-quality specialty coffee in Corvallis. Whether you prefer black coffee, straight espresso, or milk-based sweet drinks, you can find it at one of the several local cafes and roasteries. There is something for everyone, and a cup to suit anyone’s tastes.

    By Diane Pinestone

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  • Art Walk Primer
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    cawGiven that we turn over our very own loft office for the evening’s festivities, it should be apparent that we love the Corvallis Arts Walk and hope it keeps bringing fresh art in for many a month and year to come. But, if you’re busy the third Thursday of the month, you will also note that much of the art is up by the weekend before. This month, 12, count ‘em, 12 venues.

    THE ARTS CENTER
    700 SW Madison Ave.
    Come play with color and make even more community art during the March Arts Walk. Color in a square that is part of a larger artwork. The next day, come back to see all the squares put together and see what image emerges. All ages and all skill levels are welcome to play. Materials are provided.

    THE CORVALLIS ADVOCATE LOFT
    425 SW Madison Ave. (upstairs over Einstein’s Bagels)
    What do you get when a handful of local artists pick names out of a hat and create works in honor of or inspired by the fellow artist they drew? If you guessed “an eclectic Secret Santa?”… actually, that’d be pretty close! A special show from the Temporary Artists’ Guild this month, featuring a number of works across different mediums, all specifically designed to honor the relationship between the creator and the viewer.

    CORVIDOPOLIS
    459 SW Madison Ave.
    View work by Christopher R. Adams, who will talk about his process. Learn about screen printing, participate in some impromptu art, and walk away with a free print. There will be music, wine, and snacks with prints and originals for sale as well, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

    MAJESTIC THEATRE
    115 SW 2nd St.
    Solo exhibit for Gvido Augusts. For more than 50 years Augusts has worked as an artist, printmaker, illustrator, lecturer, publisher, and author. His exhibit reflects his lifelong preoccupation with mythology and ethnographic ornamentation fused with organic forms in nature.

    STUDIO262
    425 SW Madison Ave., Ste. G
    The “Art with a Musical Heart” silent auction event opens for bidding during the Arts Walk! Twenty-plus local artists have created 24-plus works of art all fitting together to form one music-themed collage. Each piece is auctioned separately. Forty percent of all sales will be donated to local high school music programs through the CPSF. Join them for a fun and musical evening.

    ART IN THE VALLEY GALLERY
    209 SW 2nd St.
    March brings Debby Sundbaum-Sommers’ exhibit Monotypes, Monoprints, and More to Art in the Valley. Her show includes a veritable smorgasbord of techniques including linocuts, relief prints, lithographs, monotypes, and monoprints. Debby will be demonstrating and explaining selected ways of printing monotypes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the night of the  Arts Walk.

    BRITTNEY WEST STUDIO
    340 SW 2nd St. #3
    (upstairs, first door on the right)
    Brittney West invites you to view her open art studio, see old and new work, hear about her process, browse through Eco-prints and originals for sale starting at just $15, and collage with vintage material if interested. Come enjoy refreshments, snacks, and a comfy couch in an inviting studio above the Corvallis Cyclery Bike Shop.

    PEGASUS STUDIO & GALLERY
    341 SW 2nd St.
    Pegasus Gallery will continue to host its annual Shumway Exhibit (the works of artist Bill Shumway). This show will feature several new crow paintings, a personal totem animal for Shumway, as well as some yummy little abstraction inspired by haiku poems. This exhibit will celebrate Shumway’s ongoing body of work, and his retirement as framer in the gallery to artist for life!

    AZURE FINE ART GALLERY
    341 SW 2nd St.
    This month in the Main Lounge Lisa Albinger, a self-proclaimed coffeeholic, creates 100 bite-sized characters on coffee-laden paper infused with alchemical, spiritual, and animal totem themes. While the Bird Cage features the inspiring words from Gerry Foote in her “Peace Leaves.”

    OLD WORLD DELI
    341 SW 2nd St.
    In March there will be work by master painter Herb Berman continuing on the walls, as well as an incoming piece by sculptor Raymond Hunter and a wall with another artist not arranged at press time. Keep your eyes open for art surprises. 4 to 9 p.m.

    CYRANO’S
    361 SW 2nd St.
    During the Corvallis Arts Walk, Cyrano’s will be doing a live demonstration of faux marbling on paper.  Easy to do and clean up, this method can be used to marble paper, leather, and wood.

    KALEIDOSCOPE
    341 SW 2nd St.
    Their jewelry focus this month is Oregon Stones, jewelry by several local artists featuring Oregon sunstone, Oregon jaspers, obsidian, and more. Their two-dimensional art theme will be “Rocks.” Be sure to vote in their “Wild at Heart” beading contest! 4 to 8 p.m.

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  • Cars: Hybrids and an Electric Compared
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    Setting out to find the best hybrid or fully electric vehicles available on the Corvallis new car market, my trusty ’91 Lincoln Town Car and I had been tasked by some editorial dice roll to follow two rules in our search: to only consider cars available locally, and further to select the most efficient model on each lot.

    I started with the Honda Civic and meandered all the way to a fully electric Nissan Leaf. On the way, I tested the Ford Fusion, the Prius and Prius C, and finally the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. There are other hybrids available in Corvallis, but I included only those which achieved the highest miles per gallon offered on each lot. I did a simple assessment based mainly on style, comfort, handling, and agility.

    Honda_Fit_EV_2011_LA_Auto_ShowHonda Gadget Love
    Although no longer available to lease, I got to ride in the owner of University Honda’s personal Honda Fit EV, which was disappointingly less like a spaceship and more just like a human-sized RC car. The Civic Hybrid however, had the most intriguing gadgets and gizmos of all the green cars I test drove here in Corvallis. The 2014 Civic Hybrid gets a combined city and highway average of 45 miles per gallon, and has a sportier look to it than most hybrids. The brakes seemed to be a tad on the touchier side and the blind spots were rather egregious, but the Civic made up for these downfalls with a nifty passenger-side camera, known as the LaneWatch. As you signal to turn, this camera turns on, displaying all the pesky areas you can’t see in the mirror or in your peripheral vision. For a place like Corvallis, where bicyclists run rampant, some obeying traffic laws and others cycling under prison rules, this sort of camera truly comes in handy.

    Ford_Fusion_Hybrid_2nd_genFord Luxo-Shark Comfort
    Next I hit up Ford and checked out the Fusion Hybrid. This hybrid seems to be marketed toward the ultra-macho but ecologically attentive community in fear of being emasculated by the other Prius-style hybrids. It doesn’t conform to the aerospace, turtle shape of many hybrids, and instead resembles something more aggressive, somewhat shark-like. Although seemingly more like a luxury sedan in build, in terms of leg space, especially in the backseat, the Fusion seems much snugger than the Civic and Prius. It only gets 3 miles per gallon less on average than the Civic, and they both get a city average of 44 miles per gallon. I prefer the drive of the Fusion overall, based mainly on comfort.

    2012-toyota-priusToyota Gets Cargo Space Gold
    While the Prius C will never be much of a “grocery getter” and had a bit of a cheap feel to it, there’s no ignoring its combined city and highway rating of 50 miles per gallon. I would suggest a little more patience with the C when accelerating onto highways. It’s a bit sluggish, even compared to Eco Mode in the Leaf. The Prius has the same average miles per gallon as the C, but scores much higher on the comfort and interior style scale. I found the gas/electric display of the Prius to be a bit unnecessary and distracting. At times I found myself playing a game trying to only light up the battery section of the electronic display car on the console, rather than trying to stay on the road. I’d say the Prius takes the gold for extra cargo space and roominess, but lags far behind in style. I also felt the Prius lacked in agility compared to some of the others.

    SONY DSCVW’s Sporty Handling Plus Cuteness
    Where all of the other vehicles I saw were wanting in cuteness, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid compensated for its competitors. This vehicle seems to be aimed at a younger market with its sportier feel and peppy handling. It can certainly compete at an average of 45 miles per gallon, but costs a bit more in comparison to its hybrid counterparts with a sticker price of just a dash over $32,000. Despite the higher price, I continually found myself returning to this one, quite possibly because of the genuine and surprisingly non-villainous sales reps I encountered at the dealership, but more likely because of the style, smooth transitioning, and agility. Not to mention, I won’t actually be dropping any real dough on this vehicle—I am a writer, after all.

    Nissan LeafNissan Offers Fully Electric Leaf
    As I pulled up to these dealerships in my Detroit parade float, I got more than a few second glances. In fact, while nearly laying frame in the Keiffer Nissan lot, a few lovely salesmen emerged from their cozy office chairs just to step outside and throw a couple pesky remarks my way. My predetermined impressions of driving the Nissan Leaf were not terribly far off from the real thing. It’s smooth, quiet, peaceful, and surprisingly simple to navigate. However, I didn’t feel nearly as akin to an Australian fairy working to save my beloved FernGully as I hoped I would. Perhaps if my drab salesman were more of a kooky Robin Williams character, I could have better entertained the fantasy. Outlandish expectations aside, the Leaf had decent get up and go, unless switched to Eco Mode, which is a battery-saving drive mode. I test drove the 2015 Leaf S, which gets a combined city and highway average of 114 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent. The Leaf gets an average range of about 84 miles per charge, and can be fully recharged in about five hours with a 240 volt charger. If you drive primarily in town and can bring yourself to drive a car reminiscent of a Pokemon character, then the Leaf seems to be a pretty smart investment.

    Conclusions
    According to my painstakingly scientific testing, or lack of a quick dodge in an editorial meeting, these are the top hybrid and electric cars on the Corvallis market today. What it comes down to is lifestyle and budget. As for me, street cred is a much higher priority than gas mileage, or more truthfully, because my humble writer’s budget can’t allow for such extravagances at this time, I’ll have to stick with my trusty Town Car.

    By Maggie Nelson

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  • Tricycle Hybrid a Corvallis Commute Option
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    Organic Transit ELF tricycleCorvallisite Jerry Rooney has taken the Smart Car idea to a new level: he is the proud owner of an ELF tricycle. The ELF is a pedal, solar, and electric hybrid, traveling at top speeds of 20 miles per hour and weighing about 150 pounds. The ELF can be powered by pedaling or by running the electric motor, which has a 14-mile range when run continuously. When Rooney initially purchased the ELF, the tricycle cost $4,000 as a special Kickstarter incentive. Today, the cost is around $5,500.

    Manufactured in Durham, North Carolina by Organic Transit, the ELF bike is legally allowed anywhere a bike can go. Equipped with a protective shell, headlights, side mirrors, brake, and turn signals, the ELF bike proves spacious, and in Rooney’s opinion, safer than a bicycle due to increased visibility. Rooney has been an avid bike rider for many years, and strongly believes that anybody who is able to should “get around on their own will.” Rooney is pleased with the comfort and convenience his ELF provides, and has had only a few issues with maintenance and durability.

    Upon purchase, the ELF is shipped from Durham, a process that can take up to seven months. Although the wait time may be a bit dismaying, the benefits of the ELF are undeniable. The ELF has zero emissions, shelters the driver from the weather, and provides exercise to the extent that one pedals. In a city such as Corvallis, known for its bike friendliness, you may start seeing more of these.

    By Kirsten Allen

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  • Little-Known OSU Emergency Food Pantry Gets National Attention
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    foodpantryWith online access codes, ridiculous parking rates, and the increasingly overpriced on-campus stores, it is becoming more and more difficult for some students to cover basic necessities. Though gas prices are thankfully down for the moment, food costs continue to rise globally. Eating instant noodles every night of the week is a surprisingly viable option when faced with a choice between healthy food or student loan payments. Luckily, student volunteers have taken the initiative to alleviate the problem a bit here in Corvallis.

    Located on campus at OSU’s Snell Hall/MU East International Forum, the Emergency Food Pantry is an invaluable resource for Corvallis residents with food insecurity. Run by students, and in collaboration with Linn-Benton Food Share and the Oregon State University Foundation, the pantry provides food that is free, safe, and easily accessible to those in need. Food is prepared off-site, then organized at the pantry inside cooled, frozen, and dry rooms. Participants are given snacks and videos to watch while they wait in line.

    Although the pantry aims to be a highly charitable function for the community, it is still a relatively unknown resource compared to other campus programs such as student tutoring or the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which garner more consistent publicity. Anywhere from 50 to 150 households are supported by this initiative, depending on the time of year and whether the school term is in session. It has previously been featured in both The Barometer and The Oregonian, but it has been awhile.

    Rather than a full-time program, the pantry is open for its main food distributions only twice per month, usually on a Monday or Wednesday (with some exceptions). This might seem to lessen the “emergency” nature of the pantry, though they do have an additional system in place to account for this. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on normal weekdays you can head to Snell Hall Room 233 where they keep a few nonperishable items handy for students who find themselves in a pinch. Since the organization is run by students who work on a volunteer basis, it is limited by a shortage of funding and resources that would allow the pantry to be fully open more often. Funding comes mostly from regular donations and fundraisers at this time.

    The pantry office receives many calls from other schools asking about their process and model. There is apparently some appreciation for the program across the nation and even internationally, with at least one South Korean school expressing interest. A more widespread and larger Emergency Food Pantry initiative could very well attain greater funding and much-needed publicity for this type of student-run organization.

    The next openings of the OSU Emergency Food Pantry are on Monday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 25; bring a bag. Feel free to stop by, as it is open to Corvallis students and non-students alike.

    Words by Christian Smith & Pictures by Lauren Nichols

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  • Sheriff’s Department Closes Loophole
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    Stray_dogsI was taking my dog for a walk on a recent afternoon when two unfamiliar pooches joined us from parts unknown. Unfortunately, Brown and White, as I would come to call them, had no tags. In my experience, most strays will find their way home. But these two were more interested in following me to mine.

    So, I dropped off my own pup at home and grabbed two leashes. We walked the neighborhood. But Brown and White didn’t lead me to any open gates, and no neighbors recognized the pair. We headed back to my house, but my pooch made it clear she would not be allowing any strays into her house.<

    I called Animal Control and got a Corvallis Police Department (CPD) operator, and was informed that the Animal Control officer was off duty until morning. I explained that I could not keep the strays at my house. The operator advised me to “let them go, and hope that they find their way home.”

    Flustered, I called the non-emergency number for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO). This operator gave me the same answer. She explained that the BCSO Animal Control officer, even if she were on duty, would not pick up a stray within city limits.

    As luck would have it, I had previously interviewed Animal Control officers Michele Tracy (CPD) and Erica O’Neil (BCSO) for a different article. According to both officers, CPD and BCSO have access to Animal Control vehicles and equipment when they are off duty. Both departments also have 24/7 access to Heartland Humane Society, where stray and dangerous animals are kenneled. In cases when an animal is dangerous but Animal Control is off duty, a police officer or sheriff’s deputy will respond.

    But on this day, I was being advised to put these two stray dogs into a potentially dangerous situation, releasing them to fend for themselves.

    I have since reached out to both CPD and BCSO to clarify their policies. Corvallis Police Lt. Cord Wood confirmed the policy of his department, which he referred to as a “community policing” approach. During Animal Control off-hours, they advise callers to deliver the animals to Heartland or keep them until Animal Control comes back on duty. There is no third option. Wood confirmed that CPD will not send an officer unless the dog is dangerous.

    He pointed out that CPD would love to have a full-time Animal Control officer, but only has the budget for their current part-time position. “We do the best we can with the resources we have,” Wood said.

    BCSO Sgt. Randy Hiner stated that deputies do pick up strays, even when Animal Control is off duty, but he would discover later that this was not reflected in BCSO policy. The operator referred to current policy correctly when she stated that no deputy would come to aid Brown and White.

    Sgt. Hiner has since changed the Animal Control program policy to reflect the more helpful practice.

    803.4.9.2 Residents finding stray animals may turn the animal over to its lawful owner, transport the animal to the Heartland Humane Society, or hold the animal until the Animal Control Program Manager or a Patrol Deputy is available to come pick it up. 

    So the next time you find yourself rescuing a stray dog on a holiday or a weekend, I recommend calling the Sheriff’s Office. If you call the CPD, you might not get an answer you can live with.

    As to Brown and White, a generous neighbor took them in for the night and they were reunited with their family the next morning.

    By Dave DeLuca

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