• Halloween 2016: Trick, Treat, Repeat
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    halloweenJeepers creepers, it’s Halloween weekend! Here’s a rundown of some events in and around Corvallis where you can pretend to be somebody else for a few hours, dance a bit, and maybe even get some candy. Halloween’s on a Monday this year, though, so be prepared to celebrate a couple days early this year.

    ‘City of the Dammed’ • Oct. 8 to 31
    The nationwide famous “City of the Dammed” show is back this year with their Graveyard of PAC-12 schools and any kind of enemy to Beaver Nation. The graveyard runs almost all month, but the real show is on Halloween night, with their nine-minute haunting laser show. Apparently this year they’ve got animatronics that top previous years, so head over to NW Elder Street to check it out.

    This event is free and open to the public. Shows stop at 10 p.m. on Halloween night. 

    Halloween Six-Day Celebration at Impulse • Oct. 25 to 31
    Impulse Bar & Grill is kicking off Halloween with a Taco Tuesday eating contest on Oct. 25. Their celebration will last through Halloween and will include a Thursday Heaven and Hell Party, a Halloweekend Home Game Afterparty, a Black Tie Affair on Sunday, and a Costume Contest on Monday!

    Events are 21+ and guests cannot wear masks or face paint that interferes with ID verification.

    Trick or Treat for Canned Goods • Oct. 29
    Oregon State University’s Center for Civic Engagement is hosting a trick or treating event in the Witham Hill Oaks area. Rather than looking for candy, they’re in search of canned goods or donations to benefit the Human Resource Service Center at OSU’s Food Pantry.

    This event is open to OSU students, staff, faculty, and affiliates and those with culturally appropriate and sensitive costumes. 

    The Haunting of the Majestic Theatre • Oct. 30 and 31

    The Majestic is turning into a kid-friendly haunted house that includes a tour of the 102-year-old theater, a game room, and a balloon artist. Cartoon, fantasy, and various movie characters will be present.

    $3 entry includes free photos, balloons, healthy treats, and coffee.

    Melon Shack Haunted Corn Maze • Oct. 28, 29, 31
    The Melon Shack on Highway 20 has prepped over seven acres of corn for you to get lost in, and it’s likely that you will. Survivors get donuts and they’ve also got plenty of pumpkin patching.

    This event is $10 and runs from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    The Haunt • Oct. 29
    Show Thrill Entertainment is claiming to throw the craziest Halloween party this year at Memorial Middle School in Albany. It’s an EDM and Trap music show with five different DJs, complimented by a costume contest.

    This event is open to any student in grades 8 to 12 with a student ID. $10 entry and $20 for VIP. No masks are allowed. Adult supervision will be present.

    The Donaca Haunted House • Oct. 29
    The Donaca House in Lebanon is getting a haunted makeover this weekend. Beware, though—additions are based off of real life hauntings experienced throughout the history of this house. Good news: the event welcomes you even if you’re 101 years old. Not 102, though.

    Hauntings begin at 7 p.m. $5 for ages 13 to 17, $10 for 18+.

    The Elks Lodge Halloween Ball • Oct. 29
    Put on your costume and head over to the Elks Lodge for an 80s-themed ball, complete with a costume contest. Two bands, Left of Center and Into the Storm, will rock the night away with you.

    Tickets are $7.50 and doors open at 6 p.m.

    A Very Scary Dinner Party • Oct. 29
    The Sweet Red Bistro in Albany is hosting a dinner party, with their staff “dressed to kill.” They’ll be serving up items like bat wings, poison apple salad, steak diablo and wicked shrimp, and a forbidden pumpkin cake.

    $50 per guest, costumes encouraged, and by reservation only.  

    Electric Halloween Party • Oct. 31
    The Green Room Aloha and Americanna are throwing an electric Halloween party at the Benton County Fairgrounds. The lineup includes three separate DJs beginning at 7:45 p.m. and lasting until midnight.

    Tickets are $10 online or at any Green Room location. This event is 18+ with a beer garden for 21+. 

    Downtown Trick or Treat • Oct. 31
    Drop into downtown Corvallis on Halloween Day from 1 to 5 p.m. for the annual Trick or Treat. Businesses with Trick or Treat signs in their windows will be participating.

    Other weekend events in town include live music and costume parties at Squirrel’s Tavern, Bombs Away, and Greenberry Tavern.

    By Regina Pieracci

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  • Mazes of Maize: Your Guide to Getting Lost
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    cornmazeHarvest season is upon us, and with it comes a multitude of wacky food-themed traditions. But in the midst of all this apple bobbing and pumpkin carving, do we ever stop to ask ourselves about the true meaning of autumn?

    In short: no, nor do we have to. This season will be gone before anyone knows it and these activities are so much fun, they are the true meaning of fall. Here’s a rundown of the best nearby places to get your fall fix…

    The Melon Shack: Hwy. 20 and NE Garden Ave., Corvallis
    Probably the closest option for those of us in Corvallis, The Melon Shack has constructed a huge corn maze with haunted/non-haunted variations. The family-friendly version offers directional clues in the form of farm trivia questions and will take up to an hour to complete, with fun activities like a slide, pumpkin patch, and hay palace to explore afterward. The haunted version should take considerably less time for those who dare to pass through after dark on a Friday or Saturday if the fog, dark tunnels, and chainsaw-wielding spooks do their job.

    Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Cost is $5 during the day, $10 for the haunted maze.

    Davis Family Farm: 4420 NE Hwy. 20, Corvallis
    Further down Highway 20 lies the Davis Family Farm where the friendliest looking giant spider you’ll ever see sits perched atop the hay bales to greet visitors. No scares to be found here, just good old-fashioned fun. The maze isn’t on the same scale as many of the others in terms of size, but the price of admission includes access to the hay pyramid, slide, duck races, and apple cannon. They also offer hay rides and homemade cider and donuts to ward off any chill the day may bring.

    Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Cost is $3.

    Bose Family Farm: 35765 Cyrus Rd., Albany
    Bose Family Farm takes the food theme to a whole new level with their corn maze. Hidden in the corridors of this 10-acre behemoth are six scarecrows with unique stamps. Collect them all on a punch card and be entered into a drawing for half a hog. There’s a dark but non-haunted version on Friday and Saturday nights for those who crave a little extra challenge without the fright and a plethora of daytime fun to be had with tractor rides, a dark hay maze, and disc golf.

    Open 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday to Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Cost is $7 for the maze and $10 for an activity wristband.

    Airlie Hills: 10720 Airlie Rd., Monmouth
    It may not be the biggest or scariest maze, but that’s not what the folks at Airlie Hills had in mind anyway. Here, the corn maze is considered an artistic medium and whoever designs it—possibly with help from aliens, though no confirmation or denial was given—truly has an eye for aesthetics. Though the pattern can only be seen from above, it’s guaranteed to be shockingly intricate and worth the drive to Monmouth by itself. There’s no shortage of activities for the kids, either, though trike racing is one offering you won’t find anywhere else.

    Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $7 for all activities on weekdays, $9 on weekends.

    By Jason Campbell

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  • Satanic Temple Member Lays Down the Law
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    the-satanic-temple-symbol-colorHalloween is nearly here, so it seems only fitting to delve a little deeper into the infernal forces among us. Satanists, bearing the name of the devil himself, have banded together to work toward their core beliefs: acting with compassion and empathy toward all creatures, pursuing justice, respecting individual freedom, and using current scientific knowledge as the lens through which the world can be understood. Wait a second. There’s no sacrifice? No hooded figures in dark rooms performing demonic rituals? Not according to the official website of The Satanic Temple (TST).

    Satan, though, is a deceiver. Surely the shadowy propaganda mill of such an evil organization would do its best to entice you in with promises of compassion and rational thought, and then once you’ve joined the real satanic stuff happens, right?

    “No,” said SatansThrowaway2, a Corvallis member of TST who wished to be identified only by his Reddit user name, “it’s really not like that at all. We’re less exciting than people like to think. I don’t meet with a huge group of Satanists and ‘do stuff.’ I just believe what I do and support those things in line with the seven tenets.” In fact, the only real measure of whether or not you can be a member of TST is your belief in its seven tenets, which form the core of their religion.

    Most could be mistaken for tenets of any other religion, but a few stand out: “Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs,” and “The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.”

    For starters, most religious texts don’t make it a point to set themselves against unjust laws, they just provide a second set of “more important” laws from God. Beyond that, some religions set themselves at odds with significant portions of accepted science, and a great number of religious folk are guilty of mental gymnastics to conform science to their beliefs.

    “If science were to prove the existence of God, then Satanism would include, by necessity, a belief in God. Although, we would also begin funding research into the existence of Satan,” said SatansThrowaway2. As it stands, Satanists believe in neither a god up in heaven nor a devil down below.

    Without a belief in a physical or “real” Satan, the ferocity of their name begins to fade. “In The Satanic Temple, Satan is just a symbol of knowledge and rebellion,” said SatansThrowaway2. Or, as TST’s website says, “Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer… the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions.” Their name and hellishly horned figurehead are meant to set Satanists up as the outsider, standing against unquestioned authority.

    “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice,” says TST’s website. That sounds decidedly more Christian than one might expect. Indeed, you may have heard of TST before because they tend to follow in the footsteps of other religious organizations. These are the Satanists who, when Oklahoma’s State Capitol building placed a Ten Commandments Monument on its front lawn, donated a statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed representation of the devil, to be placed alongside it.

    Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for TST, said their statue was meant to “complement and contrast the Ten Commandments, reaffirming that we live in a nation that respects plurality, a nation that refuses to allow a single viewpoint to co-opt the power and authority of government institutions.”

    That was a big selling point for SatansThrowaway2. “There is supposed to be this separation of church and state. We don’t have a national religion. As Satanists, we reject that kind of authority,” he said.

     For a religion, Satanism doesn’t bear many of the mystical hallmarks of other belief systems. There are no Satanic miracles, prayers, or rituals in TST. They view all of that as superstition that is unnecessary in providing what a religion should: “a sense of identity, culture, community, and shared values.”

    TST does share another important similarity with its fellow religions: it accepts donations. Like every church you’ve ever heard of, TST uses these donations to help champion the things it believes in. For TST, this means fighting for religious equality and reproductive rights.

    So, no superstition, no ritual murder, no clandestine meetings of a high council plotting the corruption of our youth and eventual rise of the Antichrist? Less “fire and brimstone” and more “after-school-special?” Wait, TST literally has an after school program for kids called “After School Satan?” It’s a bit late to move this out of the Halloween issue isn’t it? Dammit.

    By Kyle Bunnell

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  • Playing the Victim at OSU’s Disaster Drill
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    img_8242When the explosion finally happens, no one is expecting it. Our screams are genuine; we duck and cover our heads with our hands reflexively. Less than half of us are still standing. A woman in a red sweatshirt screams and pants, bent and clutching her knees.

    I look at the two women standing next to me, Nicole Lemieux and Yiye Xu. Nicole has at least six lacerations on her face and arms. Yiye has one large laceration on her forehead and a severe rash on her neck and chin.

    The screaming fades. People look at each other and shuffle nervously. Mike Bamberger, OSU’s emergency manager, raises his megaphone: “This is normal.” The emergency personnel are still on their way. We can save our screaming for them.

    Playing Victim
    I am one of about 100 volunteer “victims” attending Oregon State University’s (OSU) Reser Stadium before sunrise this past Thursday, Oct. 20, for the area’s largest ever disaster-preparedness simulation. Additional volunteers were playing victims at Samaritan Health Services hospitals in Corvallis, Albany, and Lebanon, or acting as moulage artists, creating injuries with wax, fake blood, and other supplies.

    The scenario: Five minutes after kickoff at an OSU home football game, a natural gas line explodes in the Cibelli’s Pizza concession stand. The explosion and following panic injures 136 people, who must be triaged and sent to the three hospitals.

    By 7 a.m., most of us have received our assignments, printed on sheets of white paper. I am Victim #132, Laura Collins, 22 years of age. Chief complaint: shoulder pain. Diagnosis? Dislocated right shoulder.

    I meet Nicole and Yiye in line outside the women’s bathroom, waiting to receive our injuries. Nicole tells me that her dad was a police officer, so her family has participated in multiple disaster-preparedness events. “You’re supposed to play into it, play the victim, play that you’re hurt, so it can be very intense for both us and the firefighters,” she says.

    Inside the makeup room, it’s not intense so much as curiously festive. “Does anybody know where the burns are?” a man yells loudly. “There are a lot of people here who need burns.”

    A bucket full of plastic bones sits on one table. Nearby, a woman’s leg is getting covered with fake blood. The other actors seem to relish receiving their wounds, but I’m secretly grateful that all I need is a half a tennis ball taped to my shoulder.

    Many participants are excited to document and share the event. One woman says she might keep her laceration on all day. Another is taking pictures to post on Facebook. We are all here to help the emergency responders practice, yes, but we’re also here for the spectacle. Fake injuries give us the chance to gawk and stare in a way that we never could if they were real.

    Back in the main hallway, we get a briefing from Kevin Higgins, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services program manager. Higgins tells us the explosion will happen between 8 and 8:05 a.m.

    At around 7:55, there’s a dull thud. “Well, that was the explosion, I guess, so get into place,” Higgins says.

    We jump into action: broken bones, lacerations, contusions, fractures, burns, disorientation. Some people lay on the ground. A few began screaming. Most simply look around quizzically, as if asking, “That was it?” I wandered closer to Cibelli’s Pizza, where we had all been supposedly waiting in line.

    A student lies on the ground near me screaming, “My small bladder! My kidney!”

    Nicole looks around. “There are a lot of people on the ground,” she says. “Not everyone is supposed to be dying.”

    Before I can respond, there is a loud boom, quickly followed by a second. I think of the gas leak that happened yesterday in Portland: two explosions in quick succession and eight people injured. My adrenaline rush is real.

    But we know the explosion is fake, and after a few minutes there are only a few dedicated screamers left. The rest of us just stand. We listen to the garbage truck unloading. We hear a passing train.

    “There’s so many unexpecteds,” Nicole says. “You can’t really hear the ambulances coming with all the unexpecteds.”

    Planning for the Unexpected
    Emergency managers and responders spend their time thinking of the unexpected. Are we ready to respond to a school bus crash? A collapsing building? An active shooter? A gas leak explosion?

    Emergency plans must be flexible across any potential scenario. Whether in a stadium with 136 people or a school bus with 12, the triage process looks the same: sort victims into red, yellow, and green. Red patients—those with critical conditions, like a heart attack or extreme blood loss—get priority transport to the hospitals. Yellow patients—those who need treatment for things like a broken bone or laceration but are stable—are held. And green patients—a dislocated shoulder or mild shock, for example—can likely be sent home to follow up for treatment another day, if needed.

    As a green, I was processed slowly. I realized that I might not even appear injured, as it was hard to see my tennis-ball bump under my puffy vest. It seemed like those getting attention were either visibly wounded or vocal. Would Laura Collins, 22-year-old dislocated shoulder, ask for help? I’m wasn’t sure how to act, and it was hard to keep pretending it was real.

    Talking to Mike Bamberger after, I started to feel OK about my confusion. Even if I didn’t perform how I thought a victim *should* perform, I was a live human, and therefore unpredictable. Mike said emergency responders always strive for realism in their trainings, but they can do only so much without volunteers.

    “If I have to continue to inject things, it’s not realistic,” he says. “In this one, you were the injection, right? Once it started I just really stood back. The responders have to interpret what they see and apply their skills.”

    And while emergency responders and hospitals regularly train for disasters, they rarely get a chance to test the limits of their systems, finding its cracks so they can fix them.

    The good news: Bamberger says the drill went as good as he could have expected. The 18 participating local groups worked together to successfully triage, transport, and admit all the patients in under an hour, better than his planned 90 minutes. Even better, during the simulation the responders were already identifying small ways they could be more efficient.  

    By Maggie Anderson

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  • Albany Police Corruption Ruins Cop’s Career
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    img_6807Former Albany police officer Ryon McHuron was an honest cop.

    The superiors who worked to undermine the Corvallis High graduate’s career, who fired him for allegedly being untruthful during an internal affairs investigation, who got the Linn County district attorney to categorize him as not credible, were not.

    McHuron’s former superiors at the Albany Police Department, including two chiefs of police, one captain and one lieutenant, were major players in his demise, having teamed up to get a Brady determination, which to this day discredits McHuron’s honesty as a witness and investigator—keeping him from returning to police work. This determination remains in place despite a judge’s ruling that McHuron demonstrated honesty and those who accused him did not.

    Wrongdoing at the APD is perhaps most evident when comparing McHuron’s treatment with the career of a former colleague who was investigated and found to have committed many instances of misconduct, many of them sexual in nature. This colleague never received a Brady determination, while McHuron’s career, chock-full of honorable achievements, remains thwarted. His knack for exposing internal injustices, including confrontations with said superiors, he suspects is the reason he was targeted.

    That these facts have been generally obscured is the reason McHuron was discontented even after receiving a $200,000 settlement in December 2015, plus another $100,000 to cover legal fees, from the wrongful termination suit he filed against the City of Albany and former Police Chief Ed Boyd.

    That’s why a little more than a month after accepting the City’s deal, McHuron tracked me down via email. The subject line read, “Character assassination of a whistleblower.”

    McHuron’s Upstanding Character and Career
    I’d never met McHuron but was familiar with him. His 14 years as an Albany police officer were during my 25 years with the Albany Democrat-Herald; I edited the paper’s daily police report and other crime stories hundreds of times, and McHuron’s name appeared a lot. That’s because, I was to learn later, he was one of the department’s more ambitious crime fighters.

    “Some guys are content just to park their car somewhere and sit in it for their entire shift,” McHuron said. “I wanted to be out making contact with people to prevent crime and apprehend suspects and get criminals off the streets. That means going right up to the edge of what’s legal police work—not over the edge, but right up to it.”

    By the time McHuron emailed me, I’d been away from the Democrat-Herald for more than a year, having taken a job at Oregon State. But still I wanted to hear what he had to say.

    “I had an exemplary career prior to speaking out about gross misconduct and criminal activity,” he wrote. “Criminal activity conducted against city employees and members of the community. Several officers still at APD were relying on my trial for these activities to come to light. I am hoping you will be interested in speaking to me in person and exposing the gross misconduct and criminal activity which has been completely covered up and why the city went to such great lengths to assassinate my character.”

    McHuron sought me out personally, thanks to an investigative story I’d done in 2014 detailing years of sexual harassment at the Albany Fire Department. He wasn’t interested in my suggestion of speaking with police reporters on staff at the Democrat-Herald, who he feels have burned him in the past.

    “Either you tell my story or no one does,” he said.

    I decided to start poking into McHuron’s claims in my spare time with the thought of possibly putting together an article, pro bono, that the Democrat-Herald would be eager to run. But for reasons unexplained to me, the DH wasn’t interested. And by extension the Corvallis Gazette-Times wasn’t interested either, since the same corporation, Lee Enterprises, owns both papers and employs a single editor for the pair.

    After my former colleague turned down what I viewed as a useful gift for his papers’ readers, I offered the story to The Advocate, and here we are.

    This story comes from several hours of interviews with McHuron, email exchanges with Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny, corroborating interviews with a now-retired police colleague of McHuron’s, and more than 1,000 pages of legal paperwork. The police department and the City of Albany had no comment but one of its attorneys, Andrea Coit, did respond, via an email we’ll get to later.

    Hearing and Testimony
    Among the documents I reviewed is a 37-page opinion issued in April 2015 by Senior Administrative Law Judge Bernadette H. Bignon. Bignon was on the bench when McHuron contested the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s revocation of his police credentials—standard procedure after such a firing—and ruled in his favor, finding McHuron to be a credible witness and determining APD had no viable evidence he’d been dishonest during the internal affairs investigation.

    The investigation had stemmed from conversations McHuron had with colleagues during down time at a
    Feb. 5, 2013 training exercise. McHuron had recounted a 13-year-old incident in which he was close to having to shoot a suspect reaching for a weapon, and a fellow officer, Troy Mickelsen, reported to his sergeant that he had heard McHuron say he wished he had been able to kill the suspect.

    Mickelsen’s report resulted in Lt. Curtis Hyde being assigned to investigate the comments by McHuron, who denied expressing a desire to shoot anyone. During the investigation, McHuron testified to a conversation he’d had with another fellow officer, Joe Clausen.

    Clausen, who unbeknownst to McHuron had been listening to the recounting, approached McHuron right after and commented to McHuron that he had sounded “disappointed.”

    “And I was kind of like no. It’s not about me. It’s about them”—that’s how McHuron’s testimony reads in the DPSST hearing transcripts. “I said something to the effect that if he would have grabbed the gun I would have shot him.”

    When Clausen testified at the same hearing, he said, “I don’t remember any conversations that I had with him specifically, um, throughout that training.”

    Likewise, when Hyde interviewed Clausen and McHuron during his investigation, McHuron told him about the conversation with Clausen, whereas Clausen said he did not recollect talking to McHuron.

    Hyde sought to re-interview McHuron over the matter of the Clausen conversation but was instructed not to by Capt. Eric Carter, a superior whom McHuron had long felt targeted by and had in fact once lodged a formal complaint against for intentionally (and literally) standing on his foot while upbraiding him at another training event.

    Carter testified at the DPSST hearing that it was Chief Boyd who made the decision that McHuron would not be re-interviewed, while Boyd testified, “I wouldn’t have made that order. Um, it wouldn’t have been my role to tell the lieutenant at that point to do something or not. … Absent extraordinary circumstances the chief doesn’t get involved in things like that.”

    Based on the collective bargaining agreement between the Teamsters, the union that represents Albany police officers, and the City of Albany, the suspected lying should have triggered a separate investigation, complete with a different internal affairs log number and McHuron being notified of a new investigation. That process was ignored and instead McHuron was fired in July 2013.

    “I was terminated simply because a person I had an exchange of words with did not recall it,” McHuron said.

    Superiors Strike, DA Makes Brady Determination
    Six months after being fired—by the time of the firing, Mario Lattanzio had been the police chief for two weeks, having taken over for the retiring Boyd, and Lattanzio signed McHuron’s termination paperwork without ever talking to him—McHuron filed a wrongful termination suit against the City of Albany, and against Boyd. He sought $500,000.

    The City’s insurance company was willing to settle for $300,000 in December 2015 after determining McHuron had a substantial chance of prevailing at trial, City Manager Wes Hare said at the time of the settlement.

    “It’s a difficult decision to accept,” Hare told the Democrat-Herald. “McHuron was fired for good reasons that were recognized by both outgoing Chief Boyd and incoming Chief Lattanzio.”

    After the firing—but before either the union arbitration hearing (which the Teamsters lost) or the DPSST hearing, in which a judge validated McHuron’s honesty while ruling that “Hyde’s manner of questioning poisoned the objectivity” of his interviews, had run its course—Lattanzio teamed up with Hyde and Carter on another move regarding McHuron.

    The new chief, the captain, and the lieutenant went to Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny and asked for a “Brady determination” on McHuron. In 1963, in Brady vs. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must disclose all material evidence that’s favorable to the defense, including witness impeachment information—in this case, the alleged dishonesty of a police officer.

    Marteeny’s Brady determination on McHuron was that he could not be a credible witness or investigator, which is an obvious career killer for a police officer.

    “Lt. Hyde, Capt. Carter and Chief Lattanzio have formed opinions regarding Officer McHuron’s character for truthfulness,” Marteeny wrote in a Sept. 27, 2013, “Brady letter” to McHuron and Lattanzio. “Their opinions appear to be based upon interactions with Officer McHuron and/or based upon an investigation conducted by a highly qualified investigator, Lt. Hyde. … I find that their opinions as to Officer McHuron’s character for untruthfulness are potential Brady material and must be included within this office’s Brady file.”

    When I asked Marteeny how many officers on which his office maintained Brady material, he replied via email, “Through the years, we have received information implicating Brady on a handful of officers.”

    That answer contradicts, though, what he told the arbitrator during the Teamsters’ grievance. The transcript of Marteeny’s testimony reads: “This was the first Brady-affected law officer situation we had to deal with.”

    “It’s so crooked and Marteeny got played and was a major contributor to my demise, because he was willing to play before the other issues played out, even though the union’s attorney and my attorney both requested he hold off on it,” McHuron said. “It was all calculated and executed perfectly by APD, the city and their attorneys. Based on Marteeny’s own theory there should be Brady letters on Boyd, Carter and Hyde because a judge who reviewed all of their work product, not just ‘the findings,’ found them ‘not to be credible.’”

    Of McHuron’s accuser, Bignon wrote, “I find Mickelsen’s testimony self-serving and untrustworthy. Mickelsen’s story about the training day incidents and his subsequent interview were internally inconsistent and lacked trustworthy corroboration.”

    And of the testimony of Boyd, now the executive director of the Oregon Accreditation Alliance: “When under cross examination, former Chief Boyd answered many of counsel’s questions with a question of his own. His eventual answer to many questions posed was that he did not recall. Former Chief Boyd’s manner of testimony was not direct and therefore, evasive.”

    According to its website, the alliance Boyd now leads aspires “to increase the level of law enforcement professionalism among law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Oregon.”

    Boyd declined to comment.

    The Blame Game
    Judge Bignon declined to comment when asked about the contradiction between the Brady determination against McHuron and her findings and ruling. The Linn County district attorney, meanwhile, is unmoved by the judge’s review of the entire matter and not just the portions of it provided by Lattanzio, Carter, and Hyde.

    “Brady information concerning an officer’s reputation for dishonesty formed by his supervisors remains Brady information unless those opinions change,” Marteeny said via email. “Lt. Hyde and Capt. Carter worked with Officer McHuron for a very long time. They formed the opinion that McHuron was not trustworthy. Their extensive experience working with Officer McHuron suggests their opinion would likely have sufficient basis to be admissible in court; therefore, their opinions qualify as Brady material that is subject to disclosure. The only mechanism that would change that determination would involve a change in Lt. Hyde’s and Capt. Carter’s opinions.”

    To paraphrase the district attorney: The letter declaring McHuron to be dishonest stays on file at his office unless the people who said he was dishonest eventually say otherwise, irrespective of what a judge who reviewed everything thinks, or what testimony in various proceedings indicates.

    For her part Coit, the city’s attorney, wrote in her email, “The district attorney is the decision maker on what is and is not Brady material. The Albany Police Department has no discretion to withhold or withdraw possible Brady evidence from the district attorney because another set of eyes viewing that evidence has reached a differing conclusion. Mr. McHuron can … (bring) the … ALJ’s opinion to the attention of the district attorney. It is up to the district attorney to investigate and make a final determination.”

    The final stages of McHuron’s career with the Albany Police Department included three different occasions for him and fellow officers and superiors to give sworn statements: the Teamsters’ failed grievance hearing before an arbitrator, the DPSST hearing, and discovery for his lawsuit against the city and Boyd.

    Boyd, Carter, and Hyde each gave testimony that would give a reasonable person pause.

    For example, during arbitration Carter produced a flash drive containing disciplinary actions against McHuron that had expired 10 years earlier (in the Albany Police Department, letters of discipline typically stay in an officer’s file for a set period of time, then are expunged). Three months later, while giving his deposition, he said he never maintained any records of discipline against McHuron.

    At the DPSST hearing, Carter testified he never had anything to do with any disciplinary action against McHuron, that it was all done above him. At the same hearing, Chief Boyd testified it was all done below him.

    “No disciplines occurring against me were not initiated and/or signed by both Carter and Boyd as they were the creators and authors of those investigations,” McHuron said.

    During the same hearing, McHuron and another officer, Ken Fandrem, both testified that they’d asked Hyde for protection from what they saw as Carter’s abusive leadership and that Hyde’s response was that he “wasn’t going to do anything that might interfere with putting food on the plates of his children.”

    Hyde, meanwhile, testified, “I don’t believe I said that, no.”

    Comparable Misconduct, McHuron at Standstill
    McHuron is convinced he was targeted, and eventually fired, for being a hard-working officer of integrity who called attention to misconduct within the department—including sexual harassment; officers being ordered to arrest and detain juveniles without cause; an officer masturbating in his patrol car and texting pictures of his penis; another officer allowing a citizen to pose for a photo with his rifle; and yet another officer boasting of sexually assaulting a Las Vegas exotic dancer. He also thinks reporting “Eric Carter for physically harassing me”—Carter, McHuron says, stood on his foot while chewing him out at a training exercise—played a role.

    “It comes down to egos and abuse of authority and power,” McHuron said.

    How discipline was handled regarding ex-officer Steve Westling would seem to back up McHuron’s contention. Westling is a former lieutenant who was eventually demoted after multiple instances of sexual harassment, as well as for crimes he committed and ordered others to commit under the color of law. He was also found to be untruthful during an investigation into his behavior conducted by a law firm hired by the city.

    Despite all of that, Westling’s superiors—Boyd and Carter—apparently never asked the district attorney for a Brady determination on Westling, whom McHuron says was used as Boyd and Carter’s hatchet man for harassing certain officers. Marteeny, Linn County’s chief prosecutor, said his office has no Brady material on file for Westling, who retired when subpoenaed for McHuron’s trial.

    “I was told he left all his gear in his locker and just taped the key to the door,” McHuron said. “He told them to mail anything he needed to sign. If his criminal conduct outlined in his investigation had come out in court he could have been charged and lost his PERS.”

    Westling couldn’t be reached for comment.

    McHuron, meanwhile, has because of the Brady determination lost his law enforcement career, during which he was regularly noted for excellence by citizens and colleagues. He’s studying to be a nurse and has understandably developed a foul taste for the police environment.

    But even if that taste ever goes away, he can’t return to police work as long as the Brady letter remains in place at the office of Marteeny, the district attorney.

    “I’m seriously disappointed in him,” McHuron said. “He should take a poll of who’s reputable at the police department because many officers know who the real liars are.”

    Former Albany Democrat-Herald reporter Steve Lundeberg, now a writer for OSU News and Research Communications, wrote this story as a freelancer.

    By Steve Lundeberg

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  • State Representative, 16th District
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    Dan RayfieldWho’s gonna represent our fair little burg? Incumbent Dan Rayfield faces three challengers this fall, and we’ve asked for emailed statements—all are unedited.

    Dan Rayfield (DEM, IND)
    “With so many needs in our community and in Oregon, it’s extremely tough to pick just one priority.  However, as a young family, education certainly ranks at the top of our list.  It’s the issue that personally touches our lives, and many other people’s lives, each and every day.  It’s one of the most important ingredients for a bright future.

    While we have made great progress on education over the past two years, like funding all-day kindergarten, there is still much more to do.  I want to live in an Oregon that provides our children with highest quality education possible.  Specifically, I want to see Oregon continue its investments into our education system.  We need to dramatically decrease our student to teacher ratio, fund Career and Technical Education, and boost our early childhood education programs.  We also need to make sure we stop saddling college kids with crippling student loan debt that impacts their lives for decades.  Education creates opportunity for individuals in life, and I am committed to making sure we provide our children the highest quality education possible.”

    andrew-freborgAndrew Freborg (LIB)
    “The primary thing that I would want to do for the communities of Corvallis and Philomath if I were to be fortunate enough to represent them in Salem is to return as much control to them as is humanly possible.  Our state government continues to grow at an unsustainable rate; our legislators pass laws that take control of our communities away from us under the guise of “state of emergency legislation” that prevents the citizens of Oregon from putting it to a vote. As such; our schools, our infrastructure and our communities suffer for it. I am the only candidate running that wants to put a stop to that, to say that you can live your life the way that YOU want to as long as you are not harming anyone else through force or fraud. I will defend ALL of your rights ALL of the time, even when I disagree with you, because if I can’t stand for your rights then, I can’t claim to stand for them ever. I am the only candidate running who wishes to reign in the out of control tax and spend policies that have us spiraling towards oblivion. In short, I trust you.”

    sami-al-abdrabbuhSami Al-AbdRabbuh (PRO)
    “Since I decided to call Corvallis my home, I have worked to build bridges between people. Today, I want to expand the conversations about education, PERS, climate change, and healthcare to include all stakeholders. Just like what I did when I interviewed hundreds of people in Corvallis and across the nation for the Humans Of Corvallis photo blog.

    The future of our kids and youth is at risk because they are not getting the support they need. College affordability, vocational education and training, and school enrichment programs are my priorities for 2017-2018.

    I am committed to invest in the local economy and reduce the unfunded liabilities for PERS. My plans include the introduction of a state public bank and other reforms that don’t mess with the life savings of our public employees.

    My actions are consistent with my beliefs. I am the only candidate in the race who is for Measure 97 and is taking zero dollars from companies. I want to work for your interests and not be biased by any corporation’s contributions.

    Your vote for me holds me accountable to you. My main mission is to be the megaphone who carries your concerns and ambitions to Salem.”

    Judson McClure (REP)
    No response

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  • Benton County Commissioners Candidates on Record
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    xan-augerotFrom jail facilities to our historic courthouse and emergency services—and the list could go on—Benton County is run by a body of three commissioners. Two seats are at stake this year, and we’ve asked each candidate for a brief statement about what they would like to achieve. Responses were emailed in, and all are unedited.

    Position 2 

    Xanthippe (Xan) Augerot (DEM)
    “As the Democratic Party candidate for Position 2, Benton County Commission, my primary objective is to maintain the livability of Benton County in the face of external pressures such as population growth, climate change, and a cash-strapped state government.  I have several priorities:

    Work with public and private partners to promote affordable housing, to provide more options for current residents and more opportunities for local entrepreneurs to attract new employees;

    Ensure the availability of behavioral health services for those living with substance abuse and mental illness;

    Partner to provide suitable shelter for the chronically homeless;

    Invite the community’s help to assess the County’s need for a new law enforcement complex, possibly including a jail and courtrooms.

    Community resilience is also critical.  County decision-making must take into account long-term changes in water resource availability as well as our need to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen neighborhood-based readiness for wildfire, earthquakes and floods.”

    Jerry J. Jackson Sr. (REP, IND)
    Disclosed no agenda items and stated, “I will send the information when you do a story on the very close relationship Steve Shultz has with the City Club and the agenda of the Democrats to control people. The story should reflect the article about the candidates was not factual.”

    (Steven Schultz serves as President at The City Club of Corvallis, a volunteer position, and as Publisher at this newspaper — two separate entities. Schultz has done no reporting on this race for the paper. ~ Associate Editors)

    Position 3

    Paul Cauthorn (REP, IND)
    “Benton County citizens have a wide spectrum of viewpoints.  For far too long those in office have not represented this diversity of opinion.  I will work hard to make the county government accountable and responsive to all of the people of Benton County and not just special interest groups.”

    Annabelle Jaramillo (DEM)
    “I seek re-election to see that the county accomplishes efforts now underway.  I will focus on three:

    Facilities.  Several county buildings are aging and need attention.  With current resources we will renovate and remodel the Health Department facility and public works offices.

    The health department facility will enhance clinical services.  Administration will be re-located to the Sunset Building on Research Way.

    Adding a second story to the public works facility will provide accessible meeting space and convert current meeting space into staff offices and work areas.

    Courthouse and jail will take a conversation with the community.  A criminal justice center to provide safe working space for employees, the courts, and a jail has been proposed by citizens. This project will require taxpayer support.

    Employee Performance Management.  The county is implementing a performance management strategy that recognizes employee strengths and performance.  Full implementation is likely next biennium.

    The 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative.  I am excited that the County is looking to the future.  We have engaged a broad spectrum of community representatives in a visioning process to identify community core values and long-term needs.  The 2040 Council represents farming and logging industries, regional development, municipalities, the private sector, and community organizations.”

    Timothy L. Dehne (PGP)
    Primarily I would do my best to create a Benton County community that works together for the betterment of all citizens. Everyone can have a role to play. Each of us can “rise to play a greater part”.

    Water is my #1 issue. County Commissioners can optimize and coordinate Public Works, Natural Areas and Parks, Environmental Health, and citizen groups to understand the quantity and quality of Benton County water resources.

    Citizen concerns include homelessness, better mental health facilities, improving health care, affordable housing, veteran issues, controlling cost of government, and many more. Keeping “community” in mind, all voices will be heard, all ideas will be considered. County Commissioners will play a pivotal role in this endeavor.

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  • The Advocate Election Cheat Sheet
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    ballotPut alongside some of this year’s candidates, the plethora of ballot measures may look intimidatingly boring to go through, and worse yet, we suspect the buzz around these measures is somehow being manipulated by awesome marketing people, sooo… we went ahead and just read through them so you might not have to, forming a few opinions along the way. If you agree with our decisions, great… and if not, no biggie!

    Statewide Measures

    Yes on 94. Age discrimination sucks, and a state constitution mandating judges be booted come age 75 is exactly that. Accumulated knowledge and wisdom can be a good thing, and a look around any Corvallis gym will tell you this demographic is healthier than ever. And yeah, centenarians will soon become the norm, so there’s that.

    Yes on 95. Our state universities are no different than any other investor; they need diversified portfolios, which means having some funds in equities. This measure would permit these institutions to do that. This one is common sense.

    Reluctant Yes on 96. Aimed at closing gaps in services for Oregon veterans—two thirds of whom are not getting what they’re entitled to—waiting times for benefits can exceed three years. That said, this call for a 1.5% share of state lottery funds comes as an amendment to the Oregon Constitution, so a permanent solution to a problem Feds are currently working on. First biennium share would be about $9.3 million. So, why are we militating to yes? The situation is dire, and the Feds can be unpredictable.

    Iffy No on 97. Oregon absolutely needs the funding stability a sales or value-added tax would provide. Our state’s revenues primarily come from income taxes, which is all kinds of unstable. However, this measure would appear to be the nuclear option, and the fallout for lower income earners and low margin corporations is horrendously toxic. That said, if you can stomach that, the political realities of the state being what they are, it may be a long time before a more nuanced measure comes along, if at all. Oregon has ridiculously little in its coffers some years. In other words, we’re voting no, but wouldn’t fault anyone voting the other way.

    No on 98. Looking to spend $147 million on career and tech education in high schools sounds pretty freaking awesome to us—but basing your funding on byzantine economic assumptions that would only make sense to a contortionist? Not so much. Rewrite and retry next time. We wish we could support this.

    Yes on 99. We’re going to admit being, shall we say, irked with the Gazette-Times for coming out against this funding mechanism for Outdoor School. It is an opportunity every Oregon child should have, regardless of their parents’ or school district’s finances. This is not just a fun camp; learning a love for wilderness is salve one can go to for a lifetime regardless of personal resources.

    Yep, we’re in the tank for Outdoor School. Opponents argue the measure would result in an expenditure shift of $22 million annually away from the Department of Administrative Services Economic Development Fund, which is 27% of their budget, and that they’ve created or retained 8,800 jobs statewide. Following that math, we’re spending over $9,000 per job created or retained, which sounds like it should be a whole news story on its own. Suffice it to say, we believe the funds are more meaningfully spent on Outdoor School for Oregon’s children.

    Yes on 100. Prohibits the purchase and sale of certain wildlife species, read as threatened species often poached. Traffickers seeking to fill Asian demand for folk cures see Oregon as an attractive Pacific Rim source. Both Washington and California have passed similar laws in the last two years.

    County Measure
    Yes on 2-100.  Ranked-choice voting has become increasingly enacted in communities around the country, and it does seem to make the electoral process both fairer and more civil. Benton County could be first in the state to implement this system for its county commissioner positions. Locally, support for this measure spans all parties and ideologies.

    Corvallis Measures
    Yes on 2-95. This universal medical care measure is non-binding, an advisory vote only. We usually find ourselves unsupportive of anything purely advisory or resolution-like, but what the hay, the current system is so sick, we’re desperate.

    Iffy No on 2-96. Local sales tax on recreational marijuana may sound okay, though some would object for arguably good reasons, but we’re having a problem imagining how a sales tax is enforceable when the Feds won’t even let these folks have a bank account. We would have liked this measure to have come with some specifics about security for all that cash.

    Yes on 2-99. Annexation of an already developed site needing city sewer services, read as a whole neighborhood’s septic system failed. This annexation would be consistent with what the city would have planned anyhow.

    509J School District
    Yes on 2-104. Would continue our current public school tax levy at the current rate for another five years. Look, everyone knows we view their sex ed program as dated and flawed, their press relations damnably slow, and seriously, iPads are more expensive than other tablets. But, on the whole, this one is easy: kids, apple pie, and a school district that has largely demonstrated itself an admirably good steward of public funds.

    Finally, we would love to endorse some candidates, but our publisher says we don’t do that sort of thing, so we’re working on him for next time around.

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  • Corvallis’ Own Leonard Higgins Arrested in Montana
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    image1Corvallis activist and co-founder of Corvallis350 Leonard Higgins was recently arrested in Montana after shutting down a bitumen pipeline. As part of the activist group Climate Direct Action, Higgins and a video crew more or less walked up to the pipeline, turned valves, and effectively shut off the flow of oil. However, it was a little more complicated in reality, as are the motivations behind the action.

    In an interview shortly after his release, Higgins gave three main reasons for his actions. Halting the flow of Canadian tar sands and coal into the US for refining is primary to Higgin’s cause. Also central to his goals is communicating the climate change emergency, while his final reason was “to do our best to limit the human suffering and permanent damage from climate change.”

    The action for which Higgins was arrested was only one of five that collectively shut off the flow of bitumen from Canada. The pipelines are often referred to as carrying “oil” extracted from “oil shale.” In reality, the bitumen in those pipelines is a sludgy, tar-like substance containing extremely noxious pollutants—as Higgins put it, the “dirtiest parts of existing fossil fuel reserves.”

    Higgins attests that he and the Climate Direct Action crew planned for months to ensure a careful and safe shutdown. Safety procedures were learned and risks evaluated, sites were chosen that were farther from pumping stations, and a central communication hub was established to periodically notify pipeline companies of their clandestine climate progress.

    Higgins admits he knew he was breaking the law, but points the finger at the fossil fuel industry which knowingly puts profit above health and well-being. He slaps at the government and mass media as well for their “inaction and complicity in those harms.” This is why Higgins and the others engaged in direct action: to prevent further damage and suffering, and to protect the right of life for future generations.

    By John M. Burt

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  • Ranked-Choice Voting – More Choices, Majority Representation
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    Dan RayfieldMost people are ready for this election to be over. In fact, most of us were ready for it to be over long ago. This year has highlighted some serious problems with our election system. Some voters are discouraged because they feel like they have to choose between voting for the lesser of two evils or throwing their vote away. Others feel discouraged because year after year politicians are elected without a majority of the vote—this happens when people opposing one politician split their votes among two or more other candidates running for the same office.

    There’s a simple solution to these problems. It’s called ranked-choice voting and Benton County is poised to be the first county in Oregon to use it. Benton County’s Ranked Choice Voting Measure 2-100 will be on your ballot this November. It calls for using ranked-choice voting to elect our countywide officials in general elections. Primaries won’t be affected by the Measure.

    Ranked-choice voting is a system that gives voters more power by allowing them to rank candidates in order of preference: 1, 2, 3 and so on. If your favorite candidate can’t win, your vote is instantly counted for your second choice.

    It works like this: After the election everyone’s first-choice votes are counted. If a candidate has a majority of votes, that candidate wins. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Anyone that voted for the eliminated candidate then has his or her second-choice vote instantly counted and added to the totals of the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority.

    With ranked-choice voting, voters have more choice. You can vote for who you want, instead of who is more likely to win. You never have to choose between throwing your vote away, or voting for the lesser of two evils.

    Ranked-choice voting also ensures that candidates are elected with the broadest support. Right now, politicians can be elected to office with less than 50% of the vote. Ranked-choice voting fixes this and ensures that our representatives are elected with majority support—more than 50% of the vote. It’s a simple change that upholds our tradition of electing politicians through the will of the people.

    Finally, ranked-choice voting encourages new voices and more participation. While many of us have become discouraged with politics, ranked-choice voting would take us in a new direction. In cities and counties already using ranked-choice voting, voters have more candidates and viewpoints to choose from because it encourages new voices to run for office. As a result, voters are more engaged and more people vote because their voices matter more.

    Simply put, ranked-choice voting is a proven step towards better elections and a more accountable government. Voting “Yes” on Measure 2-100 will put more power in the hands of voters. I urge you to learn more by visiting the campaign website—www.betterballotbenton.com—and reading the many statements in support of the Measure in the Benton County Voters’ Pamphlet.

    From Dan Rayfield, State Representative, District 16 

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  • Open Source Improv: Skip This Article, Just Go
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    img_20161011_195231284_hdr“That’s a lie! Baby koalas can’t afford to eat from their mom’s butt hole anymore!” If you were walking near 3rd and Madison last Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., you may have heard this proclamation on the wind. The assertion is ruled true by the judge, and a nonstop rant about the instability of the koala food market begins. Thirty seconds later, the filibuster is about politicians playing that old childhood game, MASH. Not long after that, children pilfering bottles from the liquor cabinet is the topic. For the members of Open Source Improv, this is a typical Tuesday evening.

    Most people’s exposure to improvisational comedy begins and ends with the show Whose Line is it Anyway? but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take a trip down to Cloud & Kelly’s at 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month and you’ll be in for a treat. Open Source Improv’s monthly show is the culmination of their weekly practice. And, as the name implies, both their shows and their rehearsals are open to all. “Anybody can walk through the door and we’ll find a place for them,” said Valerie Boggs. She’s a mother, a teacher, a member of Open Source Improv, and she’s wearing a shirt depicting a cat with lasers shooting out of its eyes. “We want community involvement!”

    It’s true, I went to the Tuesday practice with the intention of observing and interviewing. I ended up participating in at least three short-form improvisation games. It was a blast. Not only that, but there was no pressure. If you have even a passing interest in doing improv, you owe it to yourself to go. Participation is never mandatory, and if you only feel comfortable sitting and watching, that’s fine. “You can come here and know nothing about improv and still have a good time,” said Open Source Improv member Jess Kankovsky.

    The rehearsals are by no means a comedy boot camp. This isn’t one of those three-week intensives that culminate in a class performance. You can learn at your own pace, and take part in the monthly shows when you’re ready. And there is plenty of learning to be found. After every game, just like the ones you may have seen on Whose Line, the group will take a minute to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and where improvements could be made. Criticism isn’t given when it isn’t asked for, and it generally had the feel of a productive college workshop, except with laughter. And even though it is literally all fun and games, there’s growth involved that will remain long after the show is over. “Skills you learn here can apply to your daily life. Like [in] an interview, or just in conversation,” said Open Source Improv member Anissa Teslow Cheek. There really is no limit to the benefit of a quick wit.

    So go see a show, and if it tickles your fancy go to the rehearsals. You could be up on that stage with them in time. All the information regarding times of shows and rehearsals can be found on the group’s Facebook page. They accept all friend requests and answer all questions. Nobody is too old, too inexperienced, or too quirky for improv.

    Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/opensourceimprov/ for your improv portal!

    By Kyle Bunnell

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  • Rotation and Review: Corvallis’ Open Mics
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    open-micAre your beats fresh and stage-ready? Do you wish to woo the locals with your velvety voice and sick guitar riffs? Or maybe you prefer to sit at shadowy distance from the spotlight, and soak in others’ 10 minutes of fame. If famous covers and original songs from aspiring artists, paired with coffee and craft brew call to you, clear one or more Thursday on your calendar and prepare for Corvallis’ rotating open mic nights at these locations:

    Sky High Brewing
    Sky High Brewing and Pub held its first open mic night this past Thursday, Oct, 6 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons were packed tight, and drinks filled to the brim in the second-story bar room, where a small performance space was set up in the corner.

    Located in downtown Corvallis, Sky High has claimed the final slot in our town’s monthly Thursday open mic rotation, and plans to keep hosting their open mic nights every first Thursday of the month.

    “We were so pleased with the outcome that we plan to move it to a new area to accommodate the participation,” said General Manager Jonathan Scott, reflecting on this past Thursday’s turnout.

    As expected after any first installment, the event is working through some kinks. The vocals were hard to hear over the huddled masses, and the performance space, which provided performers with a mic, a 12-inch mixer, and a small PA, was hard to view for many customers, as only a few tables had direct line of sight.

    Scott reported that the venue is playing around with new ideas of how to accommodate the crowd. Spoiler alert: their porch may have been mentioned as a potential stage spot. Given their popularity and cozy atmosphere, Sky High has great open mic potential, so don’t go crossing them off the calendar.

    Join Sky High Brewing in downtown Corvallis, at 160 NW Jackson Avenue, for their next open mic night, slated for Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. To keep up with details, visit their Facebook page by searching for Sky High Brewing & Pub.

    Imagine Coffee
    The stage and mic are open to anyone at Imagine Coffee on 5460 SW Philomath Boulevard in Corvallis, every second Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. The vast amount of space allows for a decent-sized audience and the dim lighting, combined with whatever art they’re hosting that month, adds a touch of home comfort to the scene. Since the coffee house sits on the border of Corvallis and Philomath, it draws a more diverse crowd than open mic venues along Monroe or downtown.

    Newcomers are welcome to join a crowd of regulars, who mingle and sing along to some original songs that have spanned topics like Portland bridges, or numbers written to wives on their wedding days. A fair share of the songs were covers of bands like the Rolling Stones or Creedence Clearwater Revival, and sent the audience into a collective sway and instinctive hum.

    The flow of talent was steady, with each act performing at least two songs, but casual enough that if they only knew one verse they could sing it three times over. Imagine Coffee and its crowd provided a welcoming and relaxed vibe, open to artists of all ages, styles, and instruments (though no musician braved any other then the guitar, piano, or ukulele).

    Attend Imagine Coffee for their open mic night tonight, Thursday, Oct. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

    Cloud & Kelly’s
    Cloud & Kelly’s Public House on 126 SW 1st Street in downtown Corvallis holds an open mic night every third Thursday of the month starting at 8 p.m. Located on the riverfront, Cloud & Kelly’s draws a diverse crowd of students, musicians, and beer aficionados.

    The lighting is dim, creating a relaxing and supportive atmosphere for those who brave the stage.

    The stage is located on the far left side of the building. If you’re just stopping by for a cold one, the bar is a great place for neutral spectators. If you want a close-up of the performers, I suggest sitting at a table or booth.

    The best thing I found while attending open mic night at Cloud & Kelly’s was the support from other musicians. Those who didn’t have guitars—the go-to instrument of the night—were given one to borrow. Many of the songs were covers, ranging from Aerosmith to Luke Bryan, while a small few played originals with an indie rock vibe. The crowd was made up of people of all ages: families, couples, and friends, all in support of one another.

    Cloud & Kelly’s hosts their next open mic night on Thursday, Oct. 20 starting at 8 p.m. Don’t forget your instruments!

    Bombs Away Cafe
    Bombs Away Cafe, located at 2527 NW Monroe Avenue, holds their Free Range Open Mic night every last Thursday of the month starting at 8 p.m. Located near the OSU campus, Bombs brings in many college students and music lovers.

    The stage is located near the front of the building, easily viewable for those wishing to sit and sip or take a smoke break at the seated outside windows. The inside is compact, with many choosing to stand and dance within an open floor space. The stage lights up with rotating colored lights, making any person on stage look like a rock star.

    All instruments are welcome on stage. While I was there, one individual played a cajon, a small box-like drum. Like other open mic nights in Corvallis, many songs were covers ranging from 80s rock to today’s hits.

    Bombs Away Cafe hosts its next Free Range Open Mic night Thursday, Oct. 27, along with a tasting from Calapooia Brewing Company. The craft brew tasting begins at 6 p.m., and performers hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. Both are free to the public.

    By Stevie Beisswanger, Regina Pieracci and Kara Beu

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  • Oct. 20 Arts Walk Primer
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    f-0-32-9745372_enrvdaus_web-fidler_no_faded_forests_t8qjAt press time, fewer venues than usual have reported in, though there still seems plenty afoot for those wishing to hoof this month’s Corvallis Arts Walk. The sheer amount of newness is impressive, and beyond that the mix of ambitious concept and accessibility should make for an excellent evening.

    Without further ado, here’s the October lineup.

    Madison Avenue

    700 SW Madison Ave. • 4 to 8 p.m.

    I Could Live There, Dawn Stetzel’s exhibit of large sculptures about the fragile and teetering relationship between individuals and their communities. Stetzel constructs her art of low-resource materials specific to where she is, strengthening ties between her art and the communities she belongs to.

    Stetzel commented, “Within my human community I think about the give and take of support from and by individuals that it takes to hold a community together. I think about whom I relate to, or define as my community. In my recent sculptures I have been using the house as a metaphor for humans, a single house an individual, and a cluster of houses a community of people. This gives me the opportunity to explore the intangible, my feelings regarding a sense of community and my search to belong.”

    KAREN WYSOPAL • 425 SW Madison Ave., Ste. J-5 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Luminescence: Alcohol Ink Paintings. An exhibit of new works created using new techniques with alcohol inks on Yupo paper and other experimental substrates.

    425 SW Madison Ave. • 4 to 8 p.m.

    Kusra Kapuler will be presenting a solo show titled Dissolving, a combination of video, painting, and sculpture, inspired by nature and the human condition.

    STUDIO262 • 425 SW Madison Ave., Ste. H-1 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    From Frida with Love, a community show featuring art inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo.

    JEFF HESS STUDIO • 460 SW Madison Ave., Ste. 16 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Elsewhere. This is a nativity scene installation of organic sculptures and elemental memories.

    Voices Gallery • 425 SW Madison Ave., Ste. J1 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Black and White. Season’s Feelings, a four-part exhibition series scheduled for fall and winter at this gallery. The holiday season brings out many different emotions and members of the co-op will be exploring those emotions. The theme for October: fright.

    2nd Street

    ART IN THE VALLEY • 209 SW 2nd St. •  4 to 8 p.m.
    Jean Lawrence: Falling for Fall. The soft textures of silk, together with the vibrant colors of the dyes as an attraction to the medium of silk painting.

    ART STUDIOS OF FRED AMOS & RACHEL URISTA • 340 SW 2nd St. • 4 to 8 p.m.
    Explore the genre of Abstract Narrative in art with Urista’s creatures and myths perfect for the Halloween season. Also exhibited: Amos’ new landscapes.


    FAIRBANKS GALLERY • Fairbanks Hall, 220 SW 26th St.
    4 to 8 p.m.

    Shapes and Séances. Julia Bradshaw, photographer, and Anna Fidler, painter, share an interest in using photographs as source material. Bradshaw is interested in creating an infinite variety of forms and shapes that refer to the original photographed object but evoke a different sensibility. Segmented geometrical forms reference her interest in the roots of minimalist abstraction whereas horizontal stacks of books are combined to suggest gently rolling topographical landscapes.

    Having spent most of her life in Oregon and Michigan, Fidler paints landscapes that allude to the woods found in those states. Her series for the exhibit references the four seasons and occurrences of energetic exchange between individuals and the forests that surround them. Using historical photographs as source material, Fidler constructs figurative silhouettes by gluing together many layers of paper to make dimensional, topographic forms. These forms are less about the specific individuals and more about the energy emanating from their actions.

    6th Street

    STUDIO BEATRICE • 230 NW 6th St. •  4 to 7 p.m.
    Pensive Phantasms. The idea is the hunt for the various objects in each collage presents a rewarding challenge. Among the objects, Judith Sanders includes photos, words, and printed papers. She also will show some of her dolls. Music and refreshments.

    4th Street

    ArtWorks GALLERY (CEI) • 408 SW Monroe Ave., Ste. 110 • 4 to 8 p.m.
    The asemic artworks of Kerri Pullo and Stephen Nelson Oct. 20 through Nov. 11. The exhibit is curated by Patrick Collier. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content.” Most often referring to a mark-making style that resembles writing, artists have found new applications for the process. Pullo describes herself as a self-taught asemic writing artist. She will be presenting a number of drawings and paintings inspired by Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art as well as international graffiti and street art.

    Nelson will be exhibiting three video/sound pieces that feature his asemic-styled vocalizations. Nelson considers his sound poetry and poem songs “to follow a shamanic trajectory and use glossolalia to destabilize and then reform psycho-physiological energy patterns with a view to spiritual healing.”

    Nelson is a Scottish poet, artist, and musician. His visual poetry has been exhibited internationally, including at the 2011 Text Festival in Manchester, England. Visually, he works in a variety of forms, from concrete poetry to vispo to asemic writing, but generally with a strong lyrical element.

    Listings are of venues reporting at press time. For more information,visit http://www.corvallisartswalk.com./

    (Photo Credit: No Faded Forests by Anna Fidler)

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  • Albany’s Very Own Coffee Oasis
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    universalcoffeeFrom the outside, Universal Coffee doesn’t look much different from your average independent coffee shop. It’s located in a relatively small space between the Post Office and a hobby store in a forgettable shopping plaza outside of downtown Albany. It’s not until I noticed a cart laden with coffee barrels, burlap sacks, and what looks like plant pots wrapped in miniature alpaca sweaters that I started to realize this place is anything but ordinary.

    It turns out this cart is the chief vehicle (pun intended) for advertising Universal Coffee. If you’re lucky, you may see it around Albany carrying free samples of something tasty and caffeinated. But it’s also a fitting symbol for the shop’s owner, Alex Contreras, a man who cares as much about the coffee he serves as the impact it has on the community.

    “I was born into coffee,” he said proudly, directing my attention to a collection of photos on the wall. They mostly feature Contreras working on his family’s plantation in Costa Rica, and his expression in each can only be described as cheerfully sweaty. He speaks fondly about one of his earliest memories involving a long line of women doting on him as they worked sorting a row of beans. It wasn’t long afterward that those same women were teaching him to sort as part of his own education in coffee.

    He considers it part of his job to pass on this knowledge to customers as well as staff. Juan Ruiz has worked at Universal Coffee for over a year and has become something of an apprentice to Contreras. “He makes me study every night after we close,” Ruiz said with a grin.

    The proof is in the proverbial pudding, though, so I decided to put their coffee expertise to the test. Ruiz recommended the champurrado, a latte-like drink with roots reaching back to Mayan culture. One sip was enough to make me regret every overpriced beverage I’ve mindlessly consumed from a chain coffee shop. Cinnamon, Mexican chocolate, and brown sugar harmonize perfectly with a robust espresso and the addition of corn flour lends an unusual but pleasant thickness to the texture.

    A big part of what makes Universal Coffee stand out are the lofty standards Contreras has set. He makes use of his connections to order coffee from all over the world that is exclusively fair trade and organic, and you won’t find any flavored syrups or artificial anything behind the counter. The espresso machine is thoroughly cleaned after each use. Though this can lead to some long wait times, none of the regulars seem to mind. You can’t rush art, after all.

    Universal Coffee won’t be replacing Dutch Brothers any time soon, but Contreras likely wouldn’t want to even if he had the opportunity. He’s content to run his business his own way, and besides, being on top of a coffee empire wouldn’t allow him time to play guitar between rushes.

    It would have been a tragedy not to ask for a demonstration, and Contreras was more than happy to put his 10 years of classical training to work. As he picks up the six-stringed beauty that has been patiently waiting in the corner, Ruiz takes up a pair of bongos and provides a beat. Contreras joins in with a delicate picking pattern and soon both men have their eyes closed as they sing the words of a Cuban folk song.

    I don’t know what they’re singing about, but, like the coffee in my hand, I know it’s something that can’t be experienced the same way anywhere else.

    By Jason Campbell

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