• What Happens to Your Best Friend After You’re Gone?
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    By Dave DeLuca

    pet_promise_program2“End-of-life planning” might be the worst phrase in the English language. It combines a reminder of our own mortality with the threat of the one thing we despise more than death itself: paperwork. But in this case, at least there’s a warm and fuzzy angle.

    When we die, our most loyal family members sometimes fall through the cracks. What happens to pets when their owners pass away? If friends and family are unable to adopt left-behind pets, they may become the property of local animal control. The OSU Foundation and Oregon Humane Society (OHS) think there should be a better way. They are preparing to launch a program that will address the needs of animals who outlive their owners. The Pet Promise program will allow owners to pre-designate the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine as the advocate for their four-legged kids. 

    After an enrolled pet owner passes, the medical needs of their animals will be attended to by the veterinary college. Then, the pets will be transferred to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland. The 140 full-time employees and 2,000 or so volunteers at OHS will then go to work finding the furry friends new homes. Located in Portland, the Oregon Humane Society is the largest shelter in the Northwest, and adopts out more animals than any other single-facility shelter on the West Coast.

    Participating humans will be able to enroll their pets by donating $25,000 up front or by a bequest of $50,000 in their wills. Not only will those financial gifts support the Pet Promise program, but the College of Veterinary Medicine as well. The college’s mission is to improve the quality of life for animals. They fulfill the lofty goal through educating the next generation of vets, conducting research, and supporting animal welfare agencies. It’s a good plan and a great cause.

    For more information, contact Kelley Marchbanks at the OSU Foundation at 1-800-354-7281.

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  • Robotics Team Builds Engineering Skills
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    By Denise Ruttan

    Kathy Hu leans over a table amid the hectic energy of the machine shop at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis. She studies an essential piece of the drive base of the robot that her team is in its second week building. Loose hair falls free of her ponytail around her plastic safety goggles as she focuses intently on her task.

    When you “deburr” this metal piece, that means that you’re smoothing out its rough edges, she said. But the holes dotted along the long, narrow bar aren’t supposed to be so sharp. So she touches the jagged metal with her hands, trying to figure out what went wrong.

    Much of the team is deducing various problems such as this for their designated robot parts. There’s a fabrication team, a programming team, and an electrical team, among others. Then they run the prototypes through a battery of tests until they get the kinks worked out before arriving at a final design. What’s more, each part has to work in tandem with the whole, so what works well on its own may not fit with the sum of its parts.

    roboticscollage

    For 25 hours a week for six weeks, these teenagers will eat, sleep, and breathe robot. Each week a different parent prepares dinners for the team; tonight it was potato soup and vegetables—then it was back to work.

    “Last year we placed roughly 133rd in the world,” said team captain Ryan Dunn. “That’s not bad.”

    Their goal is to beat that standing at the FIRST Robotics Competition.

    “These guys are not slouches at school either,” said mentor Walt Mahaffee.

    This is only Hu’s second year on the team, but she has already learned how to operate the complex computer-aided pneumatic mill, which students refer to as the CNC, over the summer.

    “That’s allowed me to be much more helpful,” Hu said.

    To do that, she had to become skilled in programming—not Javascript or HTML, but rather M-Code, a language specific to the mill.

    “In robotics I’ve learned a lot of team-building skills and a lot of engineering skills,” Hu said. “I have to be innovative and think of ideas to solve problems, which helps me in the real world with math because you have to problem-solve in math.”

    Even though a lot of the work right now involves individual projects like this, robotics is a team sport, according to Mahaffee.

    “Last year we had an electrical board go bad and a team that was competing against us gave us a brand-new board so we could go back out on the field,” Mahaffee said.

    That’d be the equivalent of a football team bestowing its rivals with new helmets.

    Robotics has also helped Hu narrow down her career path. She’s only a sophomore, but she already knows she wants to study engineering in college.

    “It’s a great field of study. There’s a lot of need for engineers,” Hu said. “Right now there are so many jobs that need the problem-solving skills you learn in engineering. There’s so many different jobs that you can do in the field.”

    Team members use the same design process employed by engineers at Hewlett-Packard.

    “You keep prototyping up until you get your final design. It’s basically engineering. You start with a hypothesis, see whether it works by testing it and you design for specific mechanics,” said Mahaffee. “I’m a plant pathologist and these are the same processes I use in experiments.”

    After programming and fabricating these parts, the team will put it all together for two robots, one to practice with.

    For more information about Crescent Valley High School’s CV Robotics team, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Team955.

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  • Food At the Edge of Town
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    By Advocate Staff

    We alternative newsweeklies are predictable for our concentration on all that is downtown core and university campus, but that can sometimes mean missed opportunities. In this instance, those opportunities missed are of the edible variety. As a result, we gathered a list of restaurants that are favorites with longtime locals, the only rule being none from the city center or campus areas. As always, please let us know if you love one we’ve missed, and bon appétit!

    sharons_cafeSharon’s – 1894 SW 3rd Street

    It’s not hip, and you won’t find an oversized metal fowl guarding its front doors, but the coffee is strong and the breakfasts are large and delicious! On the south end of town, there’s not another diner that the locals flock to. Sharon’s has been one of C-town’s favorite greasy spoons for nearly two decades. It’s snuggled in between a mini mart and a gun shop, an unlikely spot to find a home-cooked meal. You might even miss it, if not for the wafting scent of their cheesy omelets, crispy hash browns, and perfectly toasted… toast. One too many pints last night? Eat yourself back to life with one of the best breakfasts in town.

    New York Bagels – 1999 NW Circle Boulevard

    NewYorkBagelsWalk in to New York Bagels, and the first thing you will see is a warm, friendly smile from the patient and sweet owners. This is the newest place on our list. The bagels will change your life. A rotating selection of authentic, boiled, New York bagels that are a movement on their own, but a force as a sandwich. The Garden Veggie breakfast sandwich comes with all the vegetables you could want, including guacamole and roasted red pepper. Breakfast isn’t complete in the NW without coffee, and they serve Pastega. If coffee isn’t your thing, they have fresh squeezed orange, carrot, and beet juices for about five bucks.

    Darrell’s – 2200 NW 9th Street

    darrells_corvallisIf you’re looking for a great place to eat breakfast, look no further than Darrell’s. Busy every morning since 1967, they serve some of the best and most simplistic breakfasts, and keep their customers coming back for more. The décor probably has not changed much in their two-score-and-eight years, but that may be part of the charm. After trying their pancakes, I would rather eat them at Darrell’s than any other restaurant in town. The best part is they have prices that fit my broke college student budget. They are open for breakfast all day, and also serve a variety of lunch and dinner items. Hungry? Head to Darrell’s!

    Cirello’s – 919 NW Circle Boulevard

    cirellosAnyone who lives on the northwest end of town knows that it’s slim pickings when it comes to a decent place to get a good beer and not have to drive home. You can walk to and from Cirello’s, located in the Circle Center, across from Market of Choice; it is one of my favorite places to eat over in this neck of the woods. The menu’s fairly diverse, with gluten-free and organic options. The atmosphere is laid-back and even a little cozy. They have great beer on tap and the pizza’s just how I like it: super-hot and crispy with a little extra grease on top… New York style! If you’re a carnivore, try the Sicilian. P.S. They have a salad bar, too.

    Delicias Valley Cafe – 933 NW Circle Boulevard

    delicias_valley_cafeEasily one of the best Mexican restaurants in Corvallis. Everything from classic nachos and fajitas to a selection of five different burgers and beyond. Great ingredients, excellent cooks, friendly staff. The Mexican offerings here are a step above—not gourmet, but more thought-out then the typical offerings. And while everyone concentrates on the Mexican cuisine, this place is also a hidden breakfast gem. They have an extensive—huge, even—breakfast menu, from which they serve all day. In sum, a step above at prices similar or a tad less than other restaurants like it.

    Kim Hoa’s Kitchen – 1875 NW Circle Boulevard

    kim_hoa_kitchenThe staff is friendly, and the walls are full of family photos. Vietnamese food done very well; salad rolls, curry, steamed pork buns, and more. Kim Hoa’s is beloved to many because of its pho, a beef noodle soup that is popular in Vietnamese cuisine. The process to make it authentically is complicated and time-consuming, so don’t miss out. My faves include the traditional room temperature dishes.

    Al Jebal Restaurant – 2240 SW 3rd Street

    Al_JebalIf you’ve never stopped in to the Bazaar International Market attached to this restaurant, you probably wouldn’t know of its existence. And you’d be missing out on some excellent Middle Eastern cuisine. The interior isn’t anything to write home about, but the smells of shwarma make up for it quickly. You’ll also see many Middle Eastern students from OSU dining, so you know you’ve made a good choice. I go for the chicken shwarma but there are also plenty of options for vegetarians. No meal is complete without trying some of their authentic Middle Eastern sweets.

    Murphy’s Restaurant & Lounge – 2740 SW 3rd Street

    murphys_corvallisFamous for its Friday and Saturday night prime rib dinners, Murphy’s has been a favorite of locals for years. But if prime rib isn’t your thing (it’s not mine), and you haven’t visited Murphy’s as a result, you’re missing out on excellent food and a nice selection of beers. Murphy’s has recently changed up their burgers (now a whopping third of a pound) and I gotta say, this puts them in immediate contention for Corvallis’ Best Burger. There’s also Mixed Plate Specials on Mondays, Trivia with Mr. Bill on Wednesdays and a Crab Boil on Thursday night (it’s on my list for sure). The best thing, though? It’s close enough for me to walk/bike to and from.

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  • Sex Ed Warms Up Every January
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    By Rachel Sandstrom & Rob Goffins

    sexeducationFEATUREHearing tell of local sex education efforts being old school, Advocate staff moved tail to strip the curriculum down for some naked facts, but were rebuffed—we never really heard the word no, but neither did we ever get an affirmative consent. Anyhow, more on all that in a moment.

    Under the Covers

    Parents can of course opt their kids out of the sex ed program at local middle and high schools, but then would come all the awkward silences and sighs at home some wintry night, and it turns out not many parents love that. So, most opt for what the school district offers, but a number of parents and students have expressed concerns to us about the curriculum.

    For instance, parental concerns included social science experiments from the 1970s that have been largely debunked since and recommendations having to do with birth control that do not account for health outcomes—parents shared their impression that the curriculum may not have been updated for some number of years.

    One of the students we spoke with had been through both the middle and high school programs. His concerns were that what teachers taught had too much to do with their personal beliefs and that it seemed to him that the curriculum was more directed at what boys could do than girls. For instance, he shared, “My middle school teacher told us he didn’t agree with the curriculum and he was great, he literally let the class ask anything they wanted and answered every question no matter how dumb.” In contrast he shared about his high school teacher, who he knew to be of the Christian faith, “He did cover all the material about birth control, but he also kept saying that none of it was 100 percent and the best thing to do was to stay abstinent.”

    Belit Burke is the State of Oregon program manager for children and teens health education. She explained that the state provides a middle school curriculum that local districts can use called My Future, My Choice. Locally, Linus Pauling Middle School was forthcoming in confirming they utilize the program, though it is still unclear which parts they use, and how they implement the program in their classrooms.

    My Future, My Choice encourages conversations within peer groups, and between parents and their students. It discusses peer pressure, healthy relationships, and the physical and emotional changes that mark puberty. The curriculum mentions condom use, HIV and STIs, and pregnancy. The curriculum states a few times that condoms can break if not worn properly, but there is no mention of the danger of using two. Other birth control methods discussed include dental dams and diaphragms that, while still effective, are uncommon. There is a passing mention of HIV/AIDS and STI testing, but no mention of support or resources should a teen get pregnant or contract an STI. Burke confirmed that the primary philosophy of the program is to delay sexual involvement; the program is directed at students younger than 16.

    Once age 16, the national Centers for Disease Control pegs the rate of students having intercourse at over a third, with increases of eight to nine percent per grade. In this context, the experiences related to us by Corvallis School District students and parents are concerning.

    We asked the Corvallis District for access to the high school curriculum, a request we repeated a number of times before we received an agreement that we could, but the district apparently wanted to make certain one of their staff would be present as we reviewed the materials at their district office. Their head office does not house students. We proposed a number of meeting times over the course of many emails; all were rejected except one that was supposedly good for the district but then they cancelled saying their staff was too busy. Our efforts began in October. 

    By contrast, Burke made herself available within two days of our request.

    Next Steps

    Most everyone knows that teens will do what teens have done since the beginning of time and that they will all be embarrassed the first time they buy condoms, even though the minimum-wage clerk could care less. We will keep you abreast of any movement from the district; in the meantime, here are some resources:

    http://thesexpositiveparent.com/about/what-is-sex-positive-parenting/

    http://www.scarleteen.com/

    http://community.pflag.org/

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  • Unlocking Doors to Save Lives
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    By Kyra Young

    suicidepictureFEATUREEverybody, no matter what age, is faced with pressure to fit in. In the teenage years, though, this pressure can be even stronger. Today’s teens are under extraordinary pressure to be perfect, to fit into a mold that doesn’t actually exist. Yet no matter how many Shake It Off and All About That Base videos are made, there is still an expectation for teens and young adults to be something that is impossible to become.

    But why? What makes them so driven to fit in? Dr. Brené Brown, a researcher/storyteller with a Ph.D. in social work, says that “connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” According to her research, we are neurobiologically wired to have the ability to feel connected. In her TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” she discusses her research on shame, which she defines as a fear of disconnection, which can arise from one’s vulnerability. Everyone has experienced this at some point: that feeling that if you show your true colors, people around you won’t like you, or won’t want to be around you.

    Brown says that to cope with this fear, we numb it. We numb our vulnerability, grief, and awkwardness, because we feel like that will solve the problem. However, the problem with numbing your feelings is that you can’t just selectively numb them. So when we numb those uncomfortable emotions, we also numb the positive ones, and end up depressed and miserable. In the case of teens and young adults, it’s at this point in the emotional roller coaster that danger can strike.

    Teen Suicide Continues to Rise

    The most recent suicide capturing media attention was the death of transgender teen Leelah (Joshua) Alcorn. The 17-year-old student was born a boy, but identified as a woman. She committed suicide on Dec. 28, after months of forced disconnection from her school and friends as her parents pulled her from school in order to discourage her transition.

    In her suicide letter, Alcorn wrote about her fear of never feeling connected to the world around her:

    “I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself.”

    Sadly, Alcorn’s story is far too common. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2012, young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 10.9 out of every 100,000. In the same year, 40,600 suicides were reported, which amounts to one suicide every 12.9 minutes.

    Lines for Life

    Many local drivers have seen the bulletin boards (sponsored by Samaritan Hospital) advertising a free help line for students and young adults battling depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as other teen and youth issues. Oregon YouthLine is a free and confidential 24-hour teen-to-teen crisis, counseling, and referral line for youth. In hopes of helping teens to feel more comfortable talking about their problems, YouthLine has teen volunteers working from 4 to 10 p.m., and has trained them to take calls, chat online, and even accept texts from struggling members of their own age group.

    According to Lines for Life, the umbrella organization responsible for managing four crisis hotlines, including YouthLine, volunteers go through more than 60 hours of training before they ever answer a phone, and are trained to listen carefully and respond with answers that are specific to unique situations.

    Lines for Life offers four different hotlines: a suicide hotline for severe crisis, an alcohol and drug abuse line, YouthLine, and also a military line for active duty and veteran members and their families. The hotlines receive around 33,000 calls a year, and they receive a call from a person contemplating suicide every 15 minutes. According to Lines for Life statistics, 98 percent of suicide calls made to the hotline are deescalated to the point that the caller does not even need intervention.

    Signs to Look Out for

    suicidesidebarThere are no set signs of suicide, and sometimes people contemplating suicide can hide things so well that no one would know. However, there are some things you can look out for: seclusion, (when the person keeps away from others, and makes no lasting connections), expressing feelings of hopelessness or of being trapped, wondering aloud if people would miss them if they were gone, or saying things like “I just don’t see a way out.” If you see any of these signs, or just have a gut feeling, the best and most important thing to do is to talk to your loved one or friend.

    Most suicidal people will not lie if asked about suicide, and will feel relieved to be able to talk about it. Remember to keep an open mind, and offer to help them with calling a crisis line or seeing a professional mental health specialist. Another thing you can do to help prevent suicide is to remember that the things you do and say have an effect on other people. As Brown presents in her research, while we pretend that our actions or inaction don’t affect others, they quite often have a greater impact than we imagine.

    You can get more information on suicide prevention at a workshop offered by Oregon State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on Jan. 27, March 10, and May 14. For more information or to register, visit: http://counseling.oregonstate.edu/feature-story/gatekeeper-training-free-suicide-prevention-workshops.

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  • Still Magical, After All These Years
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    By Jaime Fuller

    DSC_35272When I was 12 or 13, one of my older cousins was visiting from California and exposed us to the world of Magic: The Gathering. As a kid who had always found delight in the mythical and magical, I dove right in. I didn’t know anyone else who played it besides my mom. She and I developed our Magic collections and would give ourselves tons of life each game, so that we could reach our most powerful spells and creatures sprinkled within our 500-card decks. That was the only way to judge whose deck was strongest. To be honest, I think we were matched fairly evenly.

    By the time I started high school and got into team sports like dance team and track, the fantasy game had lost its intrigue for me. I still appreciated how wonderful it was, but immersed myself in newer, exciting hobbies where I could make friends…and not hang out with my parents.

    Just a few months ago, thinking Magic must have lost its popularity by now, I gave my Magic card collection to charity. I thought even my coveted, plastic-sheet-protected, deck-dominating cards were worthless at this point. Boy, was I wrong.

    Had I simply walked into Top Deck Hobbies on Monroe, newly opened within the last six months, I would have discovered that Magic cards are as far from obsolete as fairy tales. The reason for its existence is to serve all the needs of Magic: The Gathering enthusiasts. I asked employee Mitch Hoesing if the cards are still valuable. He asserted that indeed they are—the most expensive Magic card is worth $40,000. Hold up? Can I buy my cards back, please?

    Top Deck’s inventory also includes Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and over 500 flavors of board games. Magic gamers may drop in to play tournaments whenever they like and can buy or sell cards at the store. Top Deck carries roughly 400,000 cards from varying games, the majority being Magic cards.

    This is the second location for Top Deck Hobbies; the first opened in Lebanon five years ago. Until the Corvallis location gets settled, the Lebanon store is serving as a storage unit. Top Deck’s online store is wildly popular, ranked top five on the West Coast and selling the most Magic cards in Oregon.

    Ah…Magic…the mana, spells, Illusionary Wall, Scaled Wurm, trample. Those were some fun times.

    Top Deck Hobbies is located at 2001 NW Monroe Avenue, #100. To contact them, call 541-405-4059 or email sales@topdeckhobbies.com. Their online store is at www.topdeckhobbies.com.

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  • Regional Robotics Season Underway
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    By Denise Ruttan

    DSC_00962Groggy excitement bubbled through the LaSells Stewart Center as teens wearing brightly colored team shirts gathered in the auditorium even before the sun rose on Saturday. These youth chose to be here instead of watching TV or sleeping in.

    They were here for the Jan. 3 kickoff celebration for Oregon FIRST Robotics’ 2015 season. The event brought nearly 350 high school students and their parents to Oregon State University from Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, and Newport and points in between.

    FIRST, which means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an international competition that gives high school students engineering experience. Each year organizers reveal the theme of the season’s game at kickoff. Teams then spend an intense six weeks designing and building a robot that can “play” that game at competitions. 

    In the kickoff, teams got a taste of that intensity. This year’s theme is “Recycle Rush.” Robots must work individually to stack tote boxes to gain points. Robots must also distribute foam pool noodles, or “litter,” into recycling bins.

    Succeeding at these robotics challenges provides a team environment for kids who are not into sports or drama, said Kristina Wonderly, chairwoman of a regional network of adult mentors.

    “I grew up as a student-athlete and didn’t understand what robotics were about until I went to my first competition and heard everybody cheering,” Wonderly said. “I couldn’t believe I was cheering for a robot to win.”

    Mentors don’t even need an engineering background. Bill Dunn, a mentor for Crescent Valley High School’s team, owns a seed company. 

    “I didn’t know what it was about until my son Ryan told me we had to be at OSU at 6:15 a.m. on a Saturday,” Bill Dunn said. “That’s when I knew it was something important. It’s been a great experience.”

    Students next picked up the parts ranging from neon-green pool noodles to electronics for their robot kits at Kelley Engineering Building. When complete, the robot could weigh 130 pounds.

    Following the regional celebration, Crescent Valley High School students headed to the high school for a pancake breakfast and to start the season off right with brainstorming sessions. Team captain Ryan Dunn didn’t waste any time. He focused on his computer while downing maple syrup-covered pancakes. As his red-clad teammates buzzed around him with earnest industry, he studied the build instructions. He aims to take his team all the way to nationals in 2015.

    “I think it will be an easy game, but to compete at a high level we need to build as efficient a robot as we can and that will not be easy,” Dunn said.

    Dunn wasn’t always so interested in robotics. His first love was cars. But participating in FIRST opened his eyes to ways he could incorporate robotics into his ambitions.

    “If it hadn’t been for FIRST I probably wouldn’t be pursuing engineering,” Dunn said. “As for leadership, my experience with FIRST has helped me become a good leader of groups. You have to be good at working under deadlines, building robust designs, and making design decisions.” 

    Nearby, Graham Barber, a junior, and Fauzi Kliman, a senior, concentrated on their laptop. They’re already programming a scouting application for their robot.

    Kliman hopes to attend OSU next year to study computer science.

    “FIRST has given me programming experience as I am programming captain, and real-world experience in engineering and leading a team,” Kliman said.

    Crescent Valley’s CV Robotics team will meet for four hours a day, five days a week, for the next six weeks. They planned to hunker down over the weekends, too. As early as Tuesday, Ryan Dunn anticipated completing a prototype. After that, the sky’s the limit.

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  • Humanitarian Engineering Has Big Plans
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    By Kirsten Allen

    humanitarianengineering1There are a lot of stereotypes about engineers: they’re dull, boring, uncreative automatons who have a crazy love affair with math. The list sadly can go on and on. Fortunately, there’s something that can smash these stereotypes and it’s called humanitarian engineering.

    Put simply, humanitarian engineering is an attempt to better the world—or, more specifically, to improve the lives of disadvantaged communities through engineering strategies and techniques. Humanitarian engineering often involves finding creative solutions to problems of serious consequence to a community. Examples of humanitarian engineering projects could include building and installing solar panels in a remote village in Malaysia, building wells in rural villages in Kenya, or designing an affordable water filtration device.

    Right now, there are only two academic institutions in the United States with humanitarian engineering programs. Oregon State University looks to be the third.

    OSU has plans to introduce a humanitarian engineering minor at the beginning of the next academic year. “It’s a huge win for us at OSU. I think students are really attracted to something like this,” stated OSU mechanical engineering professor Kendra Sharp. Sharp was among the many faculty members at Oregon State instrumental in advocating for the minor. “There has been student interest in this type of minor across the country,” said Sharp. A group of faculty at Oregon State began to advocate with the dean to push it forward. As they began to get things rolling, they saw a rise in student interest.

    The goal of the minor is to add to the undergraduate experience of students and provide them with engineering training in context. There’s a very simple and practical reason for this. Without an awareness of the inherent interdisciplinary education necessary to complete complex tasks, projects tend to run longer, cost more, are less efficient, or simply fail.

    2015-01-07_2220The idea for the minor surfaced a couple years ago largely within the College of Engineering. Projects undertaken in low-resource environments don’t usually have strictly engineering solutions, but rather need to incorporate a wide variety of skills. “We have a leadership team made of faculty and staff from engineering, public health, liberal arts, and forestry, which allows us to represent an interesting distribution of different disciplines and orientations,” said Charles Robinson, another faculty member at Oregon State involved in advocating for the minor.

    The minor will involve some core coursework outside of engineering (families in poverty, global health studies, social sciences, anthropology, international development), but will be for students who have an engineering major. The core classes will be open to both graduate and undergraduate students. OSU does plan to provide a parallel minor in the College of Liberal Arts which will share much of the same core coursework and structure. The intent is to make the coursework accessible at the undergraduate level to anyone interested at OSU and not have it limited to only engineering students.

    Funding, as always, is expected to pose a challenge. Oregon State has a strong record of sending students into the field to study, and with the humanitarian engineering minor, and possibly the parallel liberal arts minor, students will have even more opportunity to immerse themselves into real world applications in their field of study. “There is so much opportunity for practical applications of skills to compelling real world challenges,” said Sharp. “I’d love to see all the graduate students have a field immersion.”

    Learn more about the humanitarian engineering program at OSU at http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/heatosu.

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  • Our Corvallis Hypotheticals for 2015
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    pavewillamette2Quite often there is some backstory that explains how things got to be one way or another, but other times those behind-the-scenes machinations amount to a big, fat, apathy-inducing goose egg. In other words, sometimes the solution seems simple enough that one wishes for a little more doing and a lot less explaining.

    In any event, we reserve the right to add to this list over the next year, and in fact, we invite you to send us any suggestions you may have.

    Amtrak — Alicia James

    My wish for Corvallis is an Amtrak stop. Some might say, “Wait! We already have one.” Yes, but a shuttle to Albany does not a train station make. Think of all the reduced carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention how great traffic will be each quarter when the students arrive/leave.

    While I’m on the topic of commuting, we need a Social Security office in Corvallis. Oregon State hosts multitudes of international students, post-docs, and faculty. They are required to get Social Security numbers in order to receive their stipends. As it stands, the nearest office is a three-hour bus ride with multiple connections to Albany. Most newly arrived international folks don’t have a car or a driver’s license yet. Let’s get our heads out of the sand, and show our guests some respect.

    The Majestic — Rob Goffins

    Not too many towns our size can brag they own their own little theater, but then this causes a creative tension as any city government that is not somewhat risk-averse tends to not be governing for very long.

    The problem stands that creative endeavors such as a theater require risk, at least if they are going be interesting. The yuck scenario is this: someone gets the idea for a perfectly interesting but controversial play, and then what? The city can either say yes and take the heat or get all sheepish and say no.

    My wish: that the city appoint a board charged with the creative direction of the Majestic, at least on an advisory level.

    Why No Comedy Club, Corvallis — Kirsten Allen

    There’s one thing this town could use that would benefit everyone: laughs. In a region where sunshine is scarce and vitamin D is recommended in order to keep people out of the throes of depression, a comedy club would serve as a beacon of light to the young and old alike. It could be organized through OSU, set up in the back of one of the endless pubs in this town, or made its own separate entity. Several towns have achieved a reputation based largely on their hospitality to comics, and have reaped great rewards because of it. Diversity runs rampant through Corvallis, so the variety of potential comics should please someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow.

    Pave the Road into Willamette Park — Gary Weaver

    Willamette Park is our community’s largest park. It has great views of the Willamette River, a beautiful picnic shelter, a disc golf course, jogging, biking and hiking trails, a play structure for young kids, and lots of natural space for playing soccer, ultimate Frisbee, or rugby. Unfortunately, while the park is a crown jewel in our community, the entrance into the park is an embarrassing disgrace. Littered with crater-sized potholes, the road coming into the park looks like something out of a war movie.

    Sure, when people complain about it, the city gets a crew out there to do some filling in of the holes. However, it’s always a very temporary and usually poorly done fix. Why not pave the road? And I’m not wishing for the entire parking area to be paved, I’m talking like an eighth of a mile here, from the entrance to the beginning of the parking area. I don’t think it’s a big ask—City of Corvallis, make it so.

    More Live Jazz or a Jazz Bar — Denise Ruttan

    As I sipped on my pear ginger martini and listened to Mercury’s Refrain perform standards like “The Nearness of You” at FireWorks Restaurant’s intimate New Year’s Eve gala, it made me think, Corvallis really needs more of this. This town needs a venue that regularly supports jazz musicians. Sure, I’ve seen the Hilltop Big Band squeeze onto the gazebo at Central Park in the summertime, and random Portland acts passing through the Majestic. But what I want is a bar or club with space and good acoustics. I want a place that’s not just a rock or techno dance floor, but instead a venue devoted to keeping the voices of Gilberto, Davis, and Sinatra alive. Let’s swing in 2015, Corvallis.

    Homelessness Reality Check —Joel Hutton

    With four different organizations operating shelters for the homeless and plans for a $2.5 million expansion for the controversial facility downtown, there are only two things that are clear about this part of our population: the debate about how to best help them is contentious, and everyone in that debate admits they do not know how many homeless we have.

    Also, it turns out that how you best help someone who is homeless depends largely on how they got that way. For instance, the middle class teenager finding he is homeless because he just came out to his fundamentalist parents will need different supports than a woman in her 40s with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse.

    My wish here: some numbers. Our county has a commission due to release an update of the 10-Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness in the next few months; it would be quite helpful if there was a callout for some research. We get it that precision will be hard to come by in this instance, but with millions of dollars on the line and a public sentiment that would like some answers, even an educated guess would beat throwing darts in the dark.

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  • Corvallis’ Open Source TV
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    By Kirsten Allen

    paulrickeyccat29CAAlthough Comcast is a giant for-profit corporation, riddled with advertisements and reruns, they are federally mandated to provide a non-profit public access channel. Corvallis CCATV channel 29 is the city of Corvallis’ Public Access Channel, which airs content created by members of the community.

    Public Access T.V. is part of PEG channels (PEG stands for Public, Education and Government channels). PEG was created in the 1980s in order to give the common person access to television so that corporations wouldn’t have sole access to the airwaves. The idea was to enable citizens to be able to provide programming and participate in democracy with a new way of communicating via media. The Public Access Channel is about as by the people, for the people as it gets. Members of the community don’t necessarily need an in-depth knowledge of how to use all the equipment, but the ability to learn as much as they can is there, for free.

    Because of previous contractual agreements through the city of Corvallis and Comcast, Comcast provides funding, through a PEG fee, for equipment. Everything from field cameras to HD cameras, microphones, lighting kits, editing equipment, MacBook Pro, DSLR cameras, GoPros, a voice-over room, and a remote three camera package, all of which can be checked out for free, once members have gone through the training to use them.

    The Public Access Network and Channel 29 enables community members to produce and air their own content. “It could be your kid’s bar mitzvah. It could be your kid’s soccer game, it could be something you produced yourself, a talk show, art show, anybody can put anything up,” states Amy Hunter, who manages, produces and schedules programming for Channel 29. Topics can be about anything, as long as the material isn’t copyrighted and adheres to FCC guidelines. Occasionally volunteers will go into the field and cover events such as a Corvallis Knights game, Da Vinci Days, or other local events.

    Hunter co-teaches training classes with John Friedlander, an independent video producer. The 18 hour class typically costs $100 and is held over two days. Student teams of two produce a Public Service Announcement for a nonprofit group. It is a documentary style field production class, where members take the equipment into the field. The first day includes production, camera lights and sound. The second day focused mainly on editing, where members load footage into Final Cut Pro. Once the project is complete, it will be aired on Channel 29, and the members who created it will be given a DVD of their “show.” The second class is studio production, where members participate in a three hour class to learn how to produce shows in the studio.

    Class size usually averages about ten people, but Hunter states they’d love to have more members of the community come in to take advantage of the very professional grade equipment that is available to them.

    Hunter doesn’t edit or prescreen any of the content before it airs. Should people need editing help, Hunter is available, but unless her assistance is requested, the user exercises sole responsibility over their content.

    Public Access runs daily from 9 a.m. to 11 or 12 p.m.. Shows usually get four airings; a primetime night slot, an afternoon, a morning and a weekend. Some people provide weekly content. Depending on the amount of content coming in, shows will either be bumped quicker or continue to air. However, all shows get at least a month of airtime. Current program content ranges from a Christian talk show and other religious programming to local politics and current events, as well as master gardeners, Ishvara, health and a health care forum.

    One long-standing show, “Focus on Art,” is produced by Paul Rickey. Rickey interviews a local artist once a month, and the artist brings in work to discuss. Rickey has interviewed artists who’ve done fine arts, ceramics, glass blowing, macramé and, or fiber arts, and two local gallery owners, among others.

    “What I like about this program is I interview local people. I’ve gone as far as Independence, but mostly they’re from Corvallis or Albany, and they’ve always been interesting and fascinating artists,” says Rickey. His goal has always been to support local arts. “It gives local artists opportunity to show their work and also to help artists get their work out” says Hunter.

    With the professional grade equipment and plenty of space, I was surprised to find out that more people aren’t clamoring to use the studio. Continued available funding for Hunter’s position is uncertain, and if it goes, so too could the studio. If funding for Hunter’s position does run out, the studio could be run on a volunteer basis. However, there is no guarantee that it will remain. CCATV 29 needs to generate enough public interest in utilizing the studio and space to survive after the contractual agreements and funding run dry. “It would be nice to get more outreach, to get the word out and so people’s shows could get the viewership” said Hunter. “What we really need around here is a good marketing person, someone who’s really into doing outreach and getting the word out.”

    You can learn more about Corvallis Community Access Television 29 at http://ccat29.org/. The current schedule can be viewed at: http://ccat29.org/current-schedule/

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  • Gift-Giving Alternatives: A Second Helping
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    By Gary Weaver

    oldmillcenter2Our first offering of gift-giving alternatives was a hit in our socially minded community and as predicted, we received some emails about worthy charitable organizations we missed out on.

    We Care

    We Care is an interfaith partnership of 20 faith communities including Beit Am, Bahá’í, and Mennonites, operating for over 30 years in Benton County.

    We Care provides one-time financial assistance to residents of Benton County in emergency situations when no other help is available from either public or private sources. A Community Services Consortium (CSC) employee screens all requests and checks are made out to the provider (utility company, landlord, etc.), not to the person receiving assistance. The partnership with CSC provides oversight, discourages duplication, waste, and fraud, and encourages long- term solutions. Basically, it ensures that contributed funds are used for the most urgent needs.

    You can learn more about We Care’s work at www.wecarecorvallis.com.

    Old Mill Center for Children and Families

    Old Mill Center offers a continuum of services focusing on family-centered early education, therapeutic intervention, counseling, and parent support for children and their families. The Center serves over 1,400 clients (children aged 18 and younger and their families) in their programs which include integrated preschool, Healthy Families supporting first-time parents, Intensive Treatment Services for ages 3 to 6, the Relief Nursery outreach for children aged 6 and younger who suffer from child abuse or neglect, and child and family counseling for adolescents. 

    Their goal is to help the child and their family as a whole become self-sustaining members of the community who can contribute to their futures. For more information or to donate to Old Mill Center for Children, visit www.oldmillcenter.org.

    Self Protection, Advocacy and Rights Counsel (SPARC)

    The Self Protection, Advocacy and Rights Council (SPARC) is a self-advocacy group made up of people with developmental disabilities. SPARC members share a vision to change the way people with disabilities are seen by society.

    They are currently fundraising for their biennial Summit on Empowerment, Enrichment & Diversity (SEED), an event scheduled for September 2015 that includes hands-on discovery, people-friendly learning, great entertainment, and fun workshops.

    SPARC’s other work includes helping other communities’ local self-advocacy groups and organizing annual food and toy drives. Learn more and make a financial contribution at http://sparc.pclpartnership.org.

    Mary’s River Gleaners

    Mary’s River Gleaners is one of 14 gleaning groups in Linn and Benton counties. They consist of over 795 members who gather donated food from farmers, backyard growers, grocers, and other sources in the local community. Last year, Mary’s River Gleaners helped redirect more than 225,000 pounds of unsold food to more than 900 individuals, 75% of whom are elderly and/or disabled.

    You can follow and support Mary’s River Gleaners through their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Marys-River-Gleaners/360830417274446.

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  • Living the ‘Doc’ Life
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    By Dave DeLuca

    20141112_152701-1Sports talk radio has become a booming business over the last decade. There seems to be no shortage of stations airing national programming like Dan Patrick and Jim Rome. There are plenty of options if you want to hear about the latest NFL suspensions or call in to talk about the outrageous salaries in the NBA. But who are you going to call if you want to talk about the really important stuff? Like who’s had the uglier uniforms at the Civil War football game or even how the OSU gymnastic team is fairing. No, not the Ghostbusters. You call Mike and Jon at The Joe Beaver Show.

    The show is broadcast live on 1240 KEJO from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays from August to May. It covers all things Beavers from football camp to the end of baseball season and everything in between. Mike Parker—aka the Voice of the Beavers—and Jon Warren have hosted the show together since 2003.

    Both men moved to Corvallis in 1999. At that time, Parker began his stint as the Voice of the Beavers. He has provided the radio play-by-play for OSU football, basketball, and baseball ever since. He also does television work hosting Talkin’ Beavers from Flat Tail Brewery. Warren became the radio voice of OSU women’s basketball and the host of The KLOO Morning Update on 1340 AM. He gave up the play-by-play work in 2006, but still hosts the KLOO morning show. Warren has also become program director of both KEJO and KLOO AM and does play-by-play for the local high school game of the week on KEJO. During football season, he co-hosts The Beaver Tail Gate Show with Doug Blair. Parker and Warren both lend their voices to countless commercials heard on several local radio stations. Somehow, the two old friends find time to sit down together and share their love of the Beavers with their fans five days a week on The Joe Beaver Show. But it can be a challenge.

    Parker pointed out that “We do prepare. We take the show seriously. We don’t just show up and start talking. Every day we’ll call each other in that window between 9 a.m. when Jon gets off the air at noon.”

    “It works,” Warren added. “I don’t know how it works, but it works.”

    These two have contrasting personalities that make the show work. Parker brings a frenetic energy and seemingly photographic memory to the table. He can as easily recall the final scores of past Beaver games as he can quote movie lines from Cool Hand Luke or My Cousin Vinny. His vocabulary is vast, as befits a versatile sports broadcaster. Warren is a down-to-earth everyman. His conversational broadcasting style helps connect listener to content. Warren also lends technical prowess to the daily effort. His know-how and experience are a necessity for a show that lacks a producer.

    Warren explained why the two don’t have more help. “The market size bears that there is enough for two of us, and not a whole staff. So it’s what we have to do.”

    Parker added, “We would love to have a producer. We would like the show to be better, tighter, more organized, more cohesive than it is. But under the constraints of time and budget, that’s just not realistic.”

    Parker and Warren broadcast from a studio in Albany. But as often as not, they produce the show on the road from various locations across Albany and Corvallis. They welcome listeners to join them at Joe Beaver Road Shows hosted by local businesses. You might see the Joe-Mobile (a brightly decorated PT Cruiser) and orange tent outside any of a number of sponsoring restaurants, bars, and stores in the area. The road shows provide a chance for fans to meet each other as well as Parker and Warren. The special appearances also feature door prizes provided by sponsoring businesses and from OSU.

    It’s obvious to anyone who has the pleasure of meeting Parker and Warren that they love their work. It’s not always easy, though. Sports talk is all about having an opinion, and not every listener or caller brings a happy perspective to the table. Parker and Warren won’t pretend everything is rosy if one of OSU’s squads underperforms on the field. But, the show is called Joe Beaver, so they do their best to keep a positive attitude.

    Parker explained the challenge. “Our approach is always pretty positive. We support the coaches and the student athletes. We’re trying to balance the inevitable criticism that’s out there. We’re not going to come in and pile on in a mean-spirited way.”

    Warren described the difficulty of hosting the show during a tough football season. “Mondays after a loss are hard. They’re hard after consecutive losses. But we don’t have a choice—the show goes on. We can’t take a day off because we want to avoid criticism or dealing with upset fans. We do the best we can to temper it. Temper it, balance things, not lie or point out positives where there are none, just deal with it without us piling on.”

    Whether the Beavers win, lose, or draw, the fans call into the show with opinions. Unlike nationally syndicated shows, The Joe Beaver Show puts every caller on the air. From regulars who check in weekly to long-time listener, first-time callers, everyone is treated with respect and given plenty of time to make their points.

    Warren said, “We are a forum for people to come on and say what they want. We’re just not necessarily going to agree with them.”

    The show is about more than OSU’s high-profile sports. It’s common to hear interviews of student-athletes and coaches representing track, volleyball, wrestling, softball, and plenty of others. The guys clearly enjoy learning about the nuances of all sports, and meeting the kids who play them.

    The Joe Show is also about more than just sports. Like any friends, Parker and Warren talk about their lives and their interests. Like most of us, they love movies. Parker loves older classic movies, so much so that you might hear clips from the Marx Brothers or W.C. Fields in the show’s intro. Not every quote is antiquated, though. Bull Durham, Glen Gary Glen Ross, The Natural, Blazing Saddles, and plenty of other silly and serious films are referred to with regularity.

    “Every guy, if he’s a guy’s guy, has movie references. It’s how we communicate. If you can’t quote Stripes or Tommy Boy, get outta here,” Warren explained, laughing.

    The show has its own lingo and vocabulary. Some of the more eloquent language used might require listeners to crack open a dictionary. Parker is a fan of multisyllabic terms like interlocutor, dissemination, and tangential. Show-specific slang terms like “chikaudio” (pre-recorded interviews) and “jamocha” (coffee) also find their way across the airwaves. Most of that unusual verbiage is explained through context, but one strange word choice requires additional explanation. Parker and Warren have the strange habit of referring to each other as “Doc.”

    Parker explained, “Babe Ruth was my initial inspiration. He called everybody Doc and Kid when he was playing with the Yankees; ‘Hey, Doc. Hey, Kid.’ If everybody’s Doc and Kid, you don’t have to remember anybody’s name. That was why Babe Ruth did it. I figured if it’s good enough for Babe Ruth, it’s good enough for me. I started calling everyone I would see Doc. Pretty soon, we started calling each other Doc. Now, everybody’s Doc.”

    What’s next for Doc Parker and Doc Warren?

    “We enjoy doing the show. We enjoy the interaction with callers, with the community, with businesses in the community. As long as health permits, we’d love to do it as long as we can,” Parker said.

    How much longer does Warren want to keep the show going?

    “Indefinitely. As long as we’re here and as long as people want it. That’s what I love about high school and college sports. Every year, it’s a brand new class. Brand new stories. Brand new shows. Brand new everything.”

    The Joe Beaver Show airs from noon (or sometimes 1 p.m.) until 2 p.m. weekdays during the OSU school year. 1240 AM KEJO also broadcasts high school football, Corvallis Knights baseball, NFL football, and syndicated sports talk. For more information or to hear streaming audio, go to http://kejo-am.tritondigitalmedia.com/index.php.

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  • Welcome to the Deep End
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    By Denise Ruttan

    sharktank692Mike Garcia has a vision—a vision that surfaced from personal experience.

    About 16 years ago, Garcia and his brothers came down with head lice. His parents tried everything to heal their sons. After some months, his parents decided to tackle the problem on their own. They invented a type of scissors to remove eggs and a shampoo product. Out of frustration and innovation, a company was born.

    But the business fell by the wayside in the face of Garcia’s dad’s declining health. Despite the challenges, his son, a 28-year-old Oregon State University graduate with a degree in entrepreneurship, aims to resurrect the family business with his own startup, Lice IQ. He took his chances at Shark Tank, an event hosted Dec. 9 at Corvallis Sports Park by the Willamette Innovators Network, an organization that provides resources for startups. In this event, entrepreneurs such as Garcia pitch a panel of business leaders in the vein of the popular TV show. The judges are John Turner, Joe Maruschak, and Mark Lieberman.

    The prize for winning the favor of this panel is not exactly Mark Cuban-sized—$250 and admission into OSU’s Advantage Accelerator. But the competition for it is fierce. For Garcia, it’s not as much about the prize.

    “Hopefully I will get a little more experience with presentations and pitches,” Garcia said. “I’ve only been doing this a couple of months now so it’s all super fresh. I’m also hoping to meet up with other people and network. It seems like a really good group of people here.”

    In front of a bar overlooking an indoor soccer arena, a small stage provides the setting for the competition. Portland Timbers banners line the wall behind posters for OSU and the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. Despite the competitive aspects, the crowd is friendly—largely fellow entrepreneurs quaffing beer and making connections.

    After networking, it’s time for the entrepreneurs to take the stage. Garcia finds his way to the microphone. He stands up there nervously, shifting from foot to foot. He starts with his story—so many families have suffered from head lice. He flashes through slides of statistics about the problem of head lice. His PowerPoint details the possibilities for market share—contracts with schools and government agencies and day cares.

    But ultimately, none of the three judges bite. They express concerns about the lack of patents on the products and they don’t think the business is developed enough. But they’re inspired by Garcia’s passion.

    Entrepreneurship is not without similar risks.

    For Garcia and the four other entrepreneurs, this five-minute pitch is the first public presentation of their companies.

    Other entrepreneurs included Jesse Johns, coming all the way from Central Texas with an idea for modular nuclear batteries; Kate Gallagher, whose startup Wisdom Media aims to produce online courses on yoga and mindfulness; and Daniel Shafer, who has a line of natural skin care products.

    The winner of the grand prize was Brad Attiq’s company Pure Living, a social network geared toward mothers interested in healthy living and natural products. He gets an oversized check and shakes the hand of the judges.

    For Maruschak, judging Shark Tank was a rewarding experience.

    “I’ve been successful in my own startup so now it’s time to give back to people starting out,” he said. “Without mentors helping you along, you’re not going to succeed. I have a responsibility to give back.” 

    The next event of the Willamette Innovators Network is the Willamette Startup Weekend, set for Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 at OSU. For more information about WIN, visit www.willametteinnovators.com.

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  • Room At The Inn
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    By Bethany Carlson

    Note: The names of the women at the shelter have been changed to protect privacy.

    RoomAtTheInnIn the biblical story of the birth of Jesus, the pregnant Mary gave birth in a stable because there was no room at the inn. The women’s seasonal shelter Room at the Inn, located at First United Methodist Church, turns the story on its head: though the volunteer-run overnight shelter offers only 15 beds, they haven’t had to turn anyone away yet.

    “If it wasn’t for this shelter I don’t know where I’d be,” said Maria, one of the women at the seasonal shelter one night soon after it opened in early November. She’s one of the 56 different women who’s stayed at the women’s shelter since it opened last year. Shelter manager Sara Power reports that by the end of the season last year there was an average of 10 residents each night. One of the many facets of homelessness is the particular hardships facing homeless women, and the shelter aims to provide a safe place for women who may have nowhere else to go.

    “The vast majority of women who come here have PTSD from domestic violence or abuse at some point in their life,” said Power. Each of the four women interviewed had faced domestic violence during their life. National estimates for the percentage of homeless women who’ve been victims of abuse and domestic violence range from 63% to 92%. This violence can force women into homelessness. Abusers often isolate their victim and control finances; when a woman leaves an abusive situation, she often has nowhere to go. Power said of Room at the Inn, “Anyone can come here—we don’t ask them a whole lot of questions.” She reported that the shelter has hosted women who have homes but who aren’t safe there due to domestic violence.

    The current 15 beds is up from 12 last year. Women can check in from 7 to 8 p.m. each night, and must leave in the morning. Snacks are offered in the morning and evening, and showers are available three times a week. Volunteers are needed to help check in guests in the evening, to bring snacks, or to stay overnight in the shelter. Power said that last year OSU’s Families in Poverty class spent community service time with the shelter, but that that hasn’t happened this year. People can sign up to volunteer at http://signupgenius.com/go/8050944afa92fa02-2014.

    There are differences between the occupants of the men’s and women’s shelters. Power has observed that fewer of the women have substance abuse issues, and that often they don’t look stereotypically homeless. “The women really take care of themselves. Most of the women, I don’t think you’d know that [they are homeless], seeing them on the street.”

    Rebecca suffered 27 years of domestic violence. After becoming homeless, she spent time on the streets and was attacked five times, including an attempted rape and a near-stabbing by a fellow homeless person. “It’s more harrowing to be a homeless woman because most of the guys believe they can do anything they want with a homeless woman, because they won’t complain,” she said. She’s hoping to get into the Benton Plaza low-income housing by the first of the year, with help from Power and Aleita Hass-Holcomb at the Daytime Drop-in Center. 

    Lauren is nearly 22, and has lived in Corvallis since she was 13. She said, “I was in a relationship with my daughter’s father, who beat me. So I had to leave him….He was our second income.” She couldn’t afford housing anymore, and lived at COI for several months but said it didn’t work out. Lauren spent much of the summer sleeping on the streets, and finally put her 15-month-old daughter into a foster home for stability. “You lose your home, you lose your income, it’s like you don’t have a voice anymore,” she said. “I don’t touch drugs—I took the brunt of my parents’ drug use and I didn’t want my children, if I ever had any, to experience a single thing I went through.”

    Liz also grew up in Corvallis. She isn’t alone. Power said, “The vast majority of our shelter guests are local. Last year we had six out of 56 women who had grown up in Alsea. We had fewer than that who were just passing through town.”

    Liz said, “I’ve lived here for 30 years…it’s like camping in your own backyard.” She discussed the issue of drug use: “There is an incredible amount of meth being sold to people in this town, most notably college kids.” While she states that “the highest risk to homeless women on the streets is other homeless people,” often associated with meth, she adds that drug use “isn’t a homeless issue, it’s a whole Corvallis issue.”

    “Corvallis cops turn their heads to a lot of homeless problems. They don’t really know what to do,” said Maria. She continued, “I was raped twice up there [on the streets].” Lt. Cord Wood of the Corvallis Police Department said that the police don’t see many reports of sex crimes from the homeless community. He doesn’t immediately have numbers, but estimates only one or two such incidents over the past few years. However, he emphasized that those crimes may happen more often, but may not be reported to the police.

    Assaults and other violence may be more common than sexual violence, added Wood. “We’ve had an increase of homeless folks coming to town. Anytime you have a growth in a population I’m sure the issues that follow that population will grow as well,” he said. Like Liz, Wood cited drug and alcohol use among homeless as being a cause of violence.

    Although women are a particularly vulnerable and arguably a particularly needy subsection of the homeless, they may not be able to find a place to sleep at Corvallis’ shelters. When Maria was asked about other resources in town, she said about COI that “They do their best with what they’ve got. I showed up there clean and sober, and I couldn’t stay because they had no more room.” For Maria and other women like her, Room at the Inn is often their last safety net.

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