• Cars: Hybrids and an Electric Compared
    No Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Maggie Nelson

    Read more ...
  • Tricycle Hybrid a Corvallis Commute Option
    No Comment

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

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

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

    By Kirsten Allen

    Read more ...
  • Little-Known OSU Emergency Food Pantry Gets National Attention
    No Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Words by Christian Smith & Pictures by Lauren Nichols

    Read more ...
  • Sheriff’s Department Closes Loophole
    No Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Dave DeLuca

    Read more ...
  • Deaths Galvanize Homeless Debates
    1 Comment

    homeless tentProbably you are aware by now of the deaths of Kimberly Hakes and Michael Whipple, but if not, here are the facts. Hakes was found dead by the Willamette River little more than a week ago, having suffered head trauma in what is believed to be a murder. She was age 42 and had been homeless for many years. Whipple passed out after an evening of drinking in early January and died in the freezing overnight temperatures. He had been homeless in the past, but not at the time of his death; he was age 63.

    Corvallis Reacts
    Letters to The Advocate and posts elsewhere have run the gambit, but some themes have emerged.  One has been to blame the community itself for being what is seen as overly welcoming and permissive towards the homeless—there is frustration that we have attracted so many homeless from outside the area, that there are so many homeless encampments and so little enforcement and oversight.  Conversely, there are many who believe that not enough is being made available to the homeless.  There are also those who believe we should offer as much, or more, but change those offerings.

    But in the instance of Hakes, even with an ongoing investigation not having concluded, we know she regularly accessed services at the drop-in center. Having been homeless for so many years she would have been aware of her risks as a homeless woman, yet she chose to camp rather than seek help from the women’s emergency shelter. Encampments of homeless individuals establish themselves, and over time are shut down by authorities only to reestablish themselves elsewhere.

    In the instance of Whipple, Corvallis Housing First confirms a trailer had been available to him for some time prior to his death and was still his to use the night he died. He had struggled with alcohol use for many years.

    They Did Not Fall Between the Cracks
    These last few years have brought an assessment of a different kind to Corvallis as two schools of thought have emerged about how to help the homeless in our community.

    The housing first model contends that lowering restrictions on drug and alcohol use for homeless clients seeking services attracts a client that historically has proved difficult to help, the chronically homeless. Once in the door, case managers would ideally work to accommodate the client as a means of harm reduction for both the client and the community. There have been some successes for the chronically homeless with this model, but it presents difficulties serving other types of clients and has been demonstrated to have a so-called “magnet effect” that we’ll discuss in a moment. Locally, this model is embraced by Corvallis Housing First; among other services, they run a downtown emergency men’s shelter.

    The other model permits clients to seek emergency shelter while intoxicated, but insists on drug and alcohol restrictions after that if alcoholism or substance abuse is an issue. The impetus for this insistence is that sustainable change only occurs for people who willingly want to change. This model also contends that it is difficult for clients that are early in their recovery to mix with clients that may still be using drugs or alcohol. This model has demonstrated itself with many types of homelessness, but is more limited in its successes with the most chronically homeless. Locally, Community Outreach Inc. offers many services typical of the model.

    All this said, Corvallis offers more safety nets than most cities its size. Both Hakes and Whipple had been longtime Corvallisites with residencies dating back before the current influx of transient homeless into town. Given the services they accessed and were aware of, it seems unlikely that either of their premature deaths can be ascribed to a lack of community help.

    In the final analysis, we cannot know who is responsible for the Hakes murder unless the police investigation is successful. In other words, the only one responsible for Hakes’ death is her murderer.

    An Elephant in the Room
    Stepping away from these recent deaths, there appears to be community consensus for magnanimity toward the homeless population, but it is waning under the pressure of the magnet effect—a phenomenon in which a region’s transients learn of a community particularly accepting of the chronically homeless and migrate there.

    Those that do migrate can be a particularly difficult group to help.

    Corvallis Police are on record stating they have seen this increase, and this paper receives reports regularly. There has been increased crime; preteen and teenage girls report being sexually harassed, and many parents express concern it is no longer safe for children to use a number of area parks. Most recently, community concerns spurred a Tactical Action Plan that has shifted some police resources to Central Park. Similar expenditures were made last year for the whole of downtown.

    In the debate on how to best help the homeless, some have tried to minimize this effect as a concern or blame it inaccurately on national trends, but this denial is undermining the public’s trust. One email to The Advocate even referred to the helping community as the homelessness business, and similar insinuations are becoming more common.

    While these recent deaths can be seen as tangential to this debate, it is more the case that they may prove galvanizing. Going forward, it may be difficult for the helping community and area leaders to retain public support if they are not direct about the influx of transient homeless into Corvallis, and willing to offer plans complete with costs for Corvallisites who are becoming increasingly frustrated.

    By Rob Goffins

    Read more ...
  • Comparing New Gov. Brown with Kitzhaber
    No Comment

    bill_lunchCounting an OPB political analyst and commentator among townies can be especially helpful when so much is afoot in Salem, case in point, Bill Lunch, an Oregon State University Professor Emeritus of Political Science. Put another way, Lunch is so experienced that he is the go-to anytime City Club of Corvallis feels a hankering for authoritative political prognostication, and unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you know our just reelected governor resigned, turning over the reins to Kate Brown last week.

    And yes, this interview will cover quite a bit more than the transfer of power in Salem.

    Advocate: In what ways might the administration of just sworn Governor Kate Brown compare and contrast with the outgoing governor Kitzhaber’s?
    Bill Lunch: There is likely to be more similarities than differences. Both are Democrats with an environmentally conscious record. Initially, Brown’s disagreeing with or approving legislation will look a lot like Kitzhaber’s.

    There are two high profile bills currently in the house, both of which Brown will likely sign. The first, a bill which would grant more citizens voter registration rights, is a bill Brown authored, and now that Democrats have gained a majority in the house, she will likely see it come across her desk. (Sometimes called the Motor Voter bill, applicants to DMV would be automatically registered to vote.)

    The controversial Low Carbon Fuel Standard bill that has Republicans crying out about raised gas prices also stands a good chance to receive Brown’s approval, if it makes it through the house.

    State legislators will have to work together to move forward on a bill addressing highway congestion and the reconstruction of the I-5 bridge that connects Portland to Vancouver.  Republicans have stated they will not agree to work with Democrats until they drop the Low Carbon Fuel Standards bill.

    In the past, Brown hasn’t shown the willingness to address political adversaries and negotiate in the way Kitzhaber would, but now that she holds a more publicly seen office, this could stand to change. She also doesn’t have a history of good relations with more rural citizens, and has been more of a representative of urban dwellers.

    For the most part, the differences between the two will be symbolic. If Brown does indeed make the effort to reach out to her rural constituents, we may expect to see her riding a horse in the Pendleton Round-Up. If not, they may stick her on a horse prone to buck.

    Advocate: Will another GMO measure make the statewide ballot in 2016, and if so, what are its chances?
    Bill Lunch: The sponsors of the legislature came very close to winning in 2014 and have already said they’re going to try to do something very similar if not identical in the 2016 ballot. The 2016 ballot is likely to stand a better chance of winning because in presidential election years the electorate expands. It’s a very regular pattern. So more than a typical midterm, in presidential years, we’ll get about 80% turnout rates in voters instead of 50-55% of eligible voters who turn out during midterm years.

    In a presidential year, the overall age of the electorate goes down, with more people between ages 18 and 30 voting during presidential election years. Minority voter numbers also rise.

    In a measure like the GMO legislation, the shift towards having a larger number of young and minority voters will be an advantage for sponsors of GMO labeling.

    Advocate: Who comprises the opposing parties in the GMO debate?
    Bill Lunch: The sponsors are mainly made up of a coalition of environmental groups, and groups on the left who are unhappy about large agriculture are generally opposed to governance of established agriculture, and have concerns with pesticide use.

    There was a lot of money spent in opposition of Measure 92, one of the highest amounts on record for the state of Oregon. Most of the money came from grocery chains. These stores, such as Safeway, Fred Meyer, etc., don’t want the GMO legislation to pass because they’re afraid if that happens, a much larger fraction of the population won’t buy foods that are genetically modified, and they’ll see a large drop in sales.

    Advocate: Common Core has been a hot topic. What are the misunderstandings and misconceptions, as well as politics involved?
    Bill Lunch: Common Core is national in scope. Opposition began to emerge among primarily conservatives, but this is really more of an urban/rural issue. The kinds of knowledge Common Core is focused to impart is important for someone who’s going to live a life in a more or less urban or suburban setting. If you take Albany for example, there a lot of people who work in industrial settings who recognize their children won’t be able to do the same types of jobs they do. So if that’s the case, the kids need an education which will give them skills that will apply in a wider world. On the other hand, if you live on a farm or in a rural setting, the kind of education intended to be emphasized by Common Core looks threatening. Families involved in agriculture or natural resource extraction fear their children will leave them and the family business in search of better job opportunities. So for people in communities like that, elections are dominated by people who live in cities, but there’s plenty of rural communities where people are threatened by the changes that may make sense for people who live in urban settings. The debate over Common Core is a subspecies among a larger debate that the world is moving in a direction that rural citizens don’t favor.

    Advocate: Can we get a quick opinion on single-payer health care?
    Bill Lunch: Canadians adopted single-payer decades ago and it worked well for them, but at the time President Truman proposed it in the late 40s, it was defeated by lobbying led by the American Medical Association. Doctors didn’t like it because it had the implications of turning them into employees instead of small business owners. Since that time, it has been a very complicated story, but the short version is that because most Americans have mended jobs with health care coverage that is an adjunct in their compensation to work, health insurance companies and health insurance profit cooperatives have become the way in which most Americans are covered.

    We have another 10 or maybe 15% covered by the government in Medicaid or something of the sort. Between the two, you have about 25% of working poor people that don’t make enough money to buy health insurance. It’s available, it just costs too much. They also don’t receive it through their job, but because they have a job, they make too much to qualify for other health insurance. Those people are the ones at the greatest disadvantage. Most of them will be covered by the Affordable Care Act assuming it survives, but we won’t really know how that’s going to turn out until after the 2016 elections.

    Read more ...
  • Hoover Fifth Graders Play World Peace Game
    No Comment

    “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
    – Sun Tzu, Sixth Century BCE

    Ancient wisdom teaches that the quest for peace requires deep understanding. OSU professor Terry Adams conveyed this wisdom to a fifth-grade class at Hoover Elementary. She quotes Sun Tzu every week before leading the students into sessions of the World Peace Game.

    The Corvallis Advocate first told you about the geopolitical role-playing exercise called the World Peace Game and its creator, John Hunter, back in October. The game takes place on a fictional planet, whose nations are poised on the brink of war. Victory is achieved when all conflicts are ended and all players are financially stable. Along the way, random political and natural crises must also be resolved. As if that’s not enough of a challenge for young scholars, they also have to end global warming.


    When our original story ran, Terry and her daughter Ele were in the process of raising funds to attend a World Peace Game training class in California. With the help of the Corvallis chapter of Veterans for Peace, the money was easily raised. Now, mother and daughter have teamed with fifth-grade teacher Matthew Criscione to facilitate the World Peace Game at Hoover.

    During play, a massive three-level playing surface is wheeled into the center of the classroom. The glass boards are painted to represent the land masses, sky, and even outer space. They are covered with a wide variety of playing pieces from army men to LEGOs. The pieces represent everything from armies to power plants, satellites to farms.

    Game play consists of alternating periods of negotiation and declaration. Organized chaos would best describe the negotiation phase. Students carry their dossiers and gather in small groups to settle differences and move toward ending the game’s pressing crises. The adult facilitators serve as advisers to constant questions, circulating where needed. The declaration phase of the game is extremely formal, and requires the students to use correct protocol.

    During this phase, the players announce their progress in resolving specific challenges. Players only speak when officially recognized, and refer to themselves by their titles and last names.

    Every child in the classroom has a title and a character bio. They are presidents, world bank officers, indigenous tribesmen, arms dealers, or weather goddesses. Everything they could possibly need to know about their characters is found in secret dossiers, handed out before the first session. Assigning the roles to the students was the result of long consideration and discussion by the three adults in charge of the game.

    Justin Mulford is one of the game’s arms dealers. He is detail-oriented, and well suited for the job. He enjoys the leeway that the game gives him and his fellow arms dealers. For instance, they invented stealth nuclear missiles and killer shark bots. But their job is not necessarily all about destruction. “Our goal on the outside is just to make money. However, we do have another side. We’re actually helping causes that we think are worthy. For instance, hydrogen fuel cell research.”

    Terry acts as the main facilitator, but the game is structured to run without much adult help. She answers questions and keeps the students focused. But much of her role is to encourage the players to figure out how to best play the game on their own.

    “They are in disbelief that they can be so creative, as long as they can afford it. Sometimes kids will come up with really unusual ways to solve problems,” she said.

    Ele has observed the students becoming more respectfully assertive. The World Peace Game is designed to produce these results. There are deliberate errors built into the game which force the kids to speak up. “There are purposeful mistakes in the documents that they have to notice and fix. By giving them that responsibility to correct you in a very respectful way, they’ve become very mindful,” she said.

    Criscione has a bird’s eye view of the impact of the World Peace Game on his students. When it’s time for them to go to work on the crises, they can behave more like adults than one might expect. “Children are much better than adults at solving our worldly problems,” he said. “Kids inherently know that all of life is connected. They see the importance of making sacrifices for the good of everyone. I mean, our class arms dealers donated some weapons so that an oil spill could be cleaned. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if that really happened?”

    After this eight-week game is completed, the board and all the pieces will be moved to OSU and stored in the Peace Studies Department. From there, it will be loaned out to local teachers to host their own World Peace Game.

    Hunter will be here in Corvallis teaching the World Peace Game master class for teachers this summer from Aug. 10 through Aug. 14. On that same trip, Hunter will lead 31 local children in an abbreviated version of the game. More information about Hunter and the growing international popularity of the game can be found at www.worldpeacegame.org.

    By Dave DeLuca

    Read more ...
  • Corvallis Has a Bagpipe Maker
    1 Comment

    Bagpipe2Some of us remember the dream of the late 20th century. Substantial income was available for the taking for anyone willing to work hard and learn fast. Small businesses flourished. Severance packages were a reality. Then the tide of abundance receded as the economic tsunami of 2008 gathered strength and roared on to shore. Rob Gandara is one such Corvallis citizen who surfed that last wave, opening Carbony Celtic Winds before the storm hit.

    Gandara came to Corvallis in January 1995, by way of Boston and Atlanta, to work for Hewlett-Packard. After 10 years as a senior member of HP’s technical staff, Gandara decided to accept their offer of a year’s salary to any employee who voluntarily left before the company officially downsized. “I’m one of those people who always worked summers. I went right to college, then went right to work,” he said. “There were some parts of the world that I’d never seen, so I just decided it was the one time in my life I’d be able to travel.”

    Gandara brought his Galician gaita, Spain and Portugal’s version of bagpipes, with him, exploring and playing across Europe and into Asia. The idea to manufacture instruments out of a patented carbon fiber recipe dawned on him when the canter, or mouthpiece, broke after airline agents required him to check his instrument as baggage on a return flight from China.

    Once back in Corvallis, Gandara applied his engineering experience and knowledge of tooling to firm up his idea. He then contacted Real Carbon of Hood River and pitched his idea to one of the co-owners, who also happened to be Scottish. They eventually gave him keys to the shop and thus Carbony Celtic Winds, a.k.a. Pipe Makers Union, LLC, was born in February 2006. “It got to the point where I figured that if I can enjoy making my own pieces, I can probably do it for other people,” Gandara said.

    After purchasing a lathe with some unexpected casino winnings, Carbony Celtic Winds took off, offering a wide selection of instruments that includes Tabor whistles, Irish flutes, bagpipes, and didgeridoos.

    Gandara has been involved with music his entire life, starting with clarinet in fifth grade to vocals for a Boston punk band during undergrad to symphony orchestra. However, he credits his business for making him a better musician since each instrument needs to be tested for quality. While Gandara is modest about his talent—pointing out the difference between sounding a note for quality assurance and playing professionally—his experience with Celtic instruments led him to develop a whistle based on Irish flutes, which plays truer than most. “If you learn a family of instruments, you can use the physics of one to make the other one better,” he said.

    Gandara devotes most of his time to Carbony Celtic Winds. He spends his spare hours playing Galician gaita and Irish whistle in Ordinance, a local Celtic music band named after an incident in which Corvallis police asked him and his bandmates to leave the riverfront for busking. As it turned out, a local ordinance that allowed musicians to busk—introduced and led by Gandara while on the City Council—had just been passed.

    When asked about his attraction to Celtic music, Gandara professed a love for all kinds of music. He noted, however, “It’s a type of music you can play gracefully into your older years. I don’t need to maintain a type of intensity or anger against society that I would with rock ’n’ roll.”

    To learn more about Carbony or to purchase instruments, visit www.carbony.com. Preview Ordinance tunes at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Ordinance

    By Alicia James

    Read more ...
  • Tony Fisher: From Hot Rod Fenders to Textured Metal Art
    No Comment

    Corvallis native Tony Fisher is no stranger to working with his hands as well as with metal. His family has owned Ken Fisher Auto & Truck Repair since 1982. You might already know some of Fisher’s work, or another incarnation of his work, as his first creative love and profession for the last 25 years has been restoring classic hot rods. “My first car was a ‘72 Nova,” said Fisher. His most recent handiwork, however, is of a slightly different nature, though still working with the same medium. He describes his style as textured metal art.

    When asked about how and when he became an artist, Fisher replied that he created his first piece last August. He said that when remodeling his shop, one of the new walls in the front office had a breaker box that he wanted covered up. He ended up using his grinding tools and went to town on a piece of metal to create something to cover the unsightly intrusion. Someone saw Fisher’s work and purchased it. There was then a need to create another piece. At that point, a simple necessity turned into something more like a passion. “The more I explored my art, the more I became aware of new techniques and discovered new ways to make art; it has also been very therapeutic.” Fisher lost his twin brother, deputy sheriff Terry B. Fisher, unexpectedly last summer, and expressed that the process of making art has also been a way for him to work through his grief.


    Fisher’s artwork is solid and definitely dynamic. Using a grinder as his “paintbrush,” he works in layers to achieve the finished product. Color is added after the image is ground out by painting on spray pigments. “Sometimes, I grind over the paint and a new color emerges,” explained Fisher. Having no formal training in art, other than some high school art courses, it’s more than apparent that Fisher has raw talent. He stated that he loved to read, as well as create his own comics as a kid and always liked to draw. His piece titled “The Iron Eagle” is especially eye-catching. The wings and feathers of the eagle showcase impeccable skill and attention to detail. Another favorite is “The Year of the Dragon.” In this piece, a fiery, undulating dragon coils its way across the “canvas.” The gyrating serpent-like creature almost looks alive. The way the light bounces off of the filed metal creates a holographic effect that’s best seen in person.

    Fisher confided that he’d like to make more time for his art and maybe turn it into a part-time business in the future. “I’d really like to explore more to see what this could turn into,” he said. For now, he continues to create new artwork as he has the time, and also continues to raise funds for his brother’s family through the sale of his work.

    You can check out more of Tony Fisher’s artwork on his website, www.ironeaglemetalart.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ironeaglemetalart. Also, be sure to stop by the Advocate Loft during this month’s Arts Walk to meet Fisher and check out some of his art in person.

    By Hollie Murphy

    Read more ...
  • Police Crackdown on Central Park
    No Comment

    By Bethany Carlson

    Comp_65230573A Tactical Action Plan released by the Corvallis Police Department will address livability issues and criminal behavior in Corvallis’ Central Park. Issues cited in the plan as reasons for the crackdown include human waste, drug paraphernalia such as hypodermic needles, criminal mischief, unleashed dogs, smoking, and concerns cited by the nearby First Presbyterian Church for children enrolled in their daycare.

    Lt. Cord Wood, asked about similarities to last year’s TAP-9 downtown enforcement, said that last year the problems were spread across a broader area, while “so far issues seem localized to the park” this year.  Asked if he perceives the cold-weather homeless shelter as being related to the last two years’ issues, Wood replied, “I don’t know that we can make a direct correlation between the homeless shelter and the behavior we’re seeing now.” He added that problems like this do tend to be cyclical.

    Between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1, CPD responded to 86 calls for service in the Central Park area. Empty alcohol bottles, hypodermic needles, bedding, and trash are found on a regular basis by Corvallis Parks and Recreation, according to the action plan. Of particular concern is the presence of drug paraphernalia near the playground on the south edge of the park.

    The plan is slated to run from Feb. 1 through May 1, but enforcement may be extended or shortened in response to its success. Police presence will be increased in the Central Park area, and will include bicycle patrol officers, foot patrols, and possibly plain clothes officers. TAP-5 aims to educate first-time offenders about state and city laws, use progressive levels of enforcement, and document the number of TAP-5-related contacts made. Additionally, police will provide Corvallis Housing First (formerly the Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition) with the action plan, and encourage CHF to educate their clients about the plan.

    Community Groups Are Supportive, Cite Concern About Heroin Use
    Several local groups gave input and will partner with CPD to support the plan. CPD held meetings last month with the Downtown Corvallis Association, the Central Park Neighborhood Association, First Presbyterian and First Christian churches, the Corvallis Public Library, and Corvallis Housing First, and  these organizations are listed in the plan as community partners. The plan states that CPD will send weekly updates with TAP statistics to the DCA, Corvallis Housing First, the Central Park Neighborhood Association, and will meet with community groups every 30 days to review the effectiveness of the plan.  The DCA’s executive director, Joan Wessell, declined to comment about their involvement with the plan.

    Meanwhile, Gina Vee, CHF’s executive director, emphasizes the organization’s support for TAP-5. Vee said, “The issue that they’re trying to address is the increase in youth and youth criminal action, and the availability of drugs in the park for young people. The one [drug] that comes to mind is morphine and heroin—basically heroin.” Vee added that drug use and dealing involves people who may not be homeless themselves, but who may be involved with homeless people, and are recruiting young people to drug use.

    Last year’s TAP-9 brought claims from some homeless people that they were targeted by police not for criminal behavior, but merely for being in the park. Lt. Wood responded, “They shouldn’t [feel targeted]. If they’re not engaging in criminal behavior, they shouldn’t have issues. That’s what we’re trying to address.” He added that people might also expect to be contacted by police if they are with other people who are engaging in criminal activity.

    Vee said CHF will discuss TAP-5 with their clients at the cold-weather shelter. “We always try to encourage the homeless to follow the laws, and to try to find something productive to do during the day, and not involve themselves in these activities,” she said. She expressed concern over local heroin use, and perceives heroin as particularly attractive for two groups of people: “If somebody’s addicted already, or young people who are wanting to experiment and this is readily available.” Vee concluded, “We’re getting hit from both sides—you’ve got demand, and you’ve got the availability.”

    Read more ...
  • Sugar Daddies and Mamas for Baby Love
    No Comment

    By Rachel Sandstrom

    2015-02-11_2050We Corvallisites often get lumped in with the Portland metro area, and given our many university-age women it may be creepy or exciting or both for you to know the aforementioned metro is 14th in the nation for sugar daddies, with over six sugar daddies per 1,000 adult males. Atlanta, Georgia is number one.

    Portland is a hotbed of unusual activities, so it makes sense that that “weirdness” Portland is so proud of would carry over into relationships. Seeking Arrangement is a website that facilitates, umm, finding “mutually beneficial relationships.”

    The site helps users create, as it says, “relationships on your terms.” Wealthy men, the sugar daddies, display prominently—right under their smoking habits—their net worth. And the arrangement they are generally seeking out is beautiful women, sugar babies, to accompany them for a weekend or two a month on extravagant, luxurious trips and the like. The relationship dynamics are not confined to the heteronormative, however; there are sugar mamas as well, so, there’s that.

    Where Is Dr. Freud, and Other Concerns
    At first glance, the sugar daddy/sugar baby dynamic seems a little creepy, pornographic, and ethically questionable. I won’t even get into the Freudian implications of the daddy/mama/baby dynamic. But I’d be lying if I said that it isn’t exciting to know exactly how much money a guy has. Now, I’m not saying I’m a gold digger, but it would be nice to know that I was taken care of. Some of the arrangements are allowance-based, meaning that these sugar daddies or mamas will give you somewhere between $1,000 and $10,000 a month for your time and company. Sugar daddies and mamas seek a “mutually beneficial relationship.” The terms are negotiated between couples and the user agreement states that this is in no way prostitution. On their homepage, Seeking Arrangement states that this is not a site for escorts either, so I’m sure that sex is never negotiated in any way for money—that would be wrong.

    These relationships or “arrangements” mean different things to different people, but mostly this site presents itself as a way to bypass “games” and “drama.” Including the Freudian implications and potential for prostitution, but not including the ever-present possibility for assault.

    And, it is the desire to avoid “drama” that makes me the most uneasy. Drama is not something that happens in healthy, fulfilling relationships as far as I can tell, so really, if you are looking for something drama-free, you should look for something honest and serious, I would assume. This makes me think that the “drama” being referred to is the stuff of relationships: the ups and downs, the emotional connection, the successes and the failures, the stuff that if shared, can make for a truly beautiful relationship. Purposefully skipping all of that stuff makes this seem more like Tinder plus a hefty monthly allowance.

    But Then, Whatever…? Could Be Cool
    Ultimately, it seems to me that these guys are nice enough. Not all of them are lascivious old dudes (which is what I expected). Some of these sugar daddies are (or claim to be) in their 30s and worth a lot, some upwards of a few million(!). These wealthy men are workaholic CEOs who have no time, energy, or desire to meet people in a “normal” way. A majority of the potential sugar daddies want to skip the “getting to know you” phase, describing it as “normal relationship B.S.” They move quickly, with an “ideal arrangement” found within five days, the website boasts.

    Jessica is a member living in Portland. She stated that she joined to “explore something new and meet older, successful men.” Benefits to her include “connections and mentorship, and five-star dinners, gifts from luxury stores,” and offers to travel. It sounds like the high life, with little to no downside, but what about the sex?

    Jessica’s relationship is her own, and they all look different, but she says her sugar daddy is “primarily looking for companionship and someone to talk to. A lot of people have this perception that SA is all about sex, but these relationships work the same as any other relationship… you aren’t intimate until you feel the time is right.” So it’s not prostitution, and it’s not creepy. Not that creepy, anyway. It seems like Seeking Arrangement is another dating site with the same risks, but potentially better rewards.

    Seeking Arrangement is recommended by Jessica “because it’s a great way to meet successful men that you may not have ever met.” Seems pretty cool. It’s free to join, and it takes only a few minutes to set up a profile.

    For more about Seeking Arrangement, visit their website: www.seekingarrangement.com.

    Read more ...
  • Tales of Valentine… Beautiful, Bad, and Ugly
    No Comment

    By Rachel Sandstrom and Carly Atkinson

    CoupleCarpetWhether you’re shopping the florid pinks and reds of the Safeway Dove-and-Hershey shrine, or the prolific yet muted checkout displays of Market of Choice’s artisan candies—at an estimated $6 per tiny chocolate heart—there’s no escaping Valentine’s Day this week. It may be the most universally side-eyed holiday of the year: couples complain that it builds societal expectations of a bliss-filled day that can be hard to live up to.

    Meanwhile, there are enough red hearts, storefront chocolate displays, and “10 Adorable Things to Do for Your Valentine” clickbait articles to cause a pang in even the most happily single person.

    Advocate staff polled social media (and their own ranks) for the best and the worst of Corvallis’ relationship stories.

    A commenter on the Advocate’s Facebook page said, “My college boyfriend bought me a cactus, not flowers, for Valentine’s Day”; no hint as to whether this was a welcome departure from convention, or the turning point toward a prickly end to the relationship. Some stories are heartwarming and thoughtful. One anonymous poster on OSU’s Confessions Facebook page asked for advice on where to learn Spanish; he wants to surprise his Spanish-speaking girlfriend once he’s fluent. A flood of commenters suggested learning tools. One offered tutoring, and several commented on the affection displayed by the action.

    Sweet and surprising, one contributor detailed her best Valentine’s Day: “My husband traveled quite a bit earlier in our marriage. One time he was back East and this trip was to run closer to five weeks. It was about in the middle of the trip and I was missing him terribly. He would call late at night when the kids were in bed and we could discuss each other’s days and how things were going. I could tell he was walking and talking on the phone. ‘I hear footsteps and you seem somewhat out of breath. Are you walking?’ ‘Yes, I’m walking and talking at the same time. I’m just walking down the street.’ Our chatting continued, then a knock came at the door. It was after 10 p.m. and I was home alone with the kids! ‘There’s a knock at the door!’ ‘I’m sure it’s OK, go answer it.’ ‘NO! It’s way too late and I’m alone!’ Knock. Knock. Knock. ‘What should I do?! I’m scared!’ ‘It’ll be OK. Put the phone down and go answer the door.’ ‘What?!’ ‘Just go answer the door.’ I gasped, dropped the phone, and ran down the stairs. Guess what?! It was him at the door! There was a break in his work and he took the time to come home.”

    As expected, some stories are racy: an OSU student shared a memory of being caught in the act by a dorm-room fire alarm. “We had got the condom on, and then we heard the fire alarm start up in another building right before it went off in ours.”

    For those who don’t have the luxury of even a cramped dorm room, Oregon offers outdoor options. Mary’s Peak is the classic choice for romantic dates, marriage proposals, and summertime hikes, but one reader recounted a quest through the surrounding hills in search of privacy. “We looked and looked for probably an hour. We finally followed a gravel road, and crossed a river on foot on train tracks. We found a nice spot in the woods on the other side of the train tracks. Very romantic with foxgloves all around. But after about 10 minutes we were found—by a cloud of mosquitoes!”

    What about the moment when you know that the relationship is doomed? For some people it’s a series of disappointed realizations: the little incompatibilities, the acknowledgment that you aren’t headed the same place in life.

    For others, the knowledge is sudden. “I and a number of volunteers spent half a Saturday in a multidisciplinary team catching up elder care cases. When I arrived home, my then-wife stated the opinion that everyone knew I was only there for business purposes. It was then that I realized she hated me, didn’t even barely know who I was, but hated me. There were kids, I tried to stick it out, but we split two years later.”

    “An ex-boyfriend once asked me if I had ever thought about getting breast implants,” said one staffer. Deal-breaker for sure.

    Another staffer stated that she knew it was over when “he cheated and left photos up in his phone. That’s not only rude, but stupid.”

    Sometimes the best measure of a significant other is the way they treat other people. “I didn’t realize until years later why my mom hadn’t liked an old girlfriend of mine. She [the girlfriend] had apparently been extremely rude to my mom one time—the second after I walked out of the room,” said another reader.

    Whether or not you like it, Valentine’s Day is almost here. Love it or hate it, the world is cloyingly pink until mid-February. If you’re into the holiday, enjoy it and be adorable and whatnot. If you’re not (like most of us here at The Advocate), don’t worry too much—the rest of February will be gloomy and cold, just like it should be.

    And all the candy is heavily discounted Feb. 16, so that’s something to look forward to.

    Read more ...
  • ODFW Tries to Stomp Out Elk Hoof Disease
    No Comment

    By Randall Bonner

    JoAnna Dotson2 JoAnna Dotson photographed this herd swimming the Columbia River in Warrenton and coming ashore in Hammond. Herds could potentially bring the bacteria over the state’s bordering waterway`

    Several elk harvested in Multnomah and Columbia counties have shown signs of a hoof disease that has been a problem in neighboring areas across the Columbia River in Washington. Processors in Washington familiar with the disease have reported receiving elk from Oregon that share the symptoms, but the presence of the bacteria is still unconfirmed.

    The disease first appeared in southwest Washington’s elk herds in 2002 and has become widespread since 2007, affecting nearly 20 to 90 percent of herds. State wildlife managers in Washington are researching a possible link to treponeme bacteria. Four independent laboratories have found treponeme in hooves of diseased elk. (There is no evidence that the bacteria is harmful to humans. It is specific to the hooves and does not affect the animal’s organs or meat.)

    The bacterial disease results in debilitating lameness caused by deformed, overgrown or broken hooves, abscesses and laminitis. Commonly appearing in livestock such as sheep and cattle, it is possible that the bacteria may have been transmitted through wet soil in Washington’s lowland areas. With known interchange of elk herds crossing the boundary of the Columbia River, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has joined a working group of veterinary staff and biologists to track the spread of the disease. The disease has not transferred to other wildlife, nor has it been observed being commonly transferred from domestic livestock to elk and vice versa. This evidence indicates that neither population is suspect for infecting the other, although the possibility of that becoming an issue is being monitored.

    The Columbian newspaper reports, during recent work group meetings on the issue, that some locals have questioned the possibility of a link from herbicides being used on private timber land. One of those locals, Krystal Davies, is a farrier who lived near recently logged Weyerhauser land. She had been out riding horses on the company’s property earlier in the year until she noticed her horses having a rapid increase in abscesses. However, without lab testing, it’s difficult to draw links to the abscesses, herbicides, and the bacteria.

    Herbicide experts advising the WDFW claim there is no evidence that herbicides used on forest land have had adverse effects on elk or other animals. Regional wildlife manager Sandra Jonker said, “To date, we’re just not seeing that relationship,” pointing to the fact that lab samples are pointing to bacteria and not toxins. Mark Smith of Toutle mentioned that even if the herbicides do not harm the elk directly, they change the variety and quantity of forage foods for elk, leading to malnutrition and making them more susceptible to disease. Locals questioning the possible link also pointed out that WDFW’s invited experts that denied a connection to the use of herbicides were funded by the forest products industry. They also questioned the toxicology being conducted on infected elk that were killed for examination, and called for blood samples from elk living with the bacterial infection.

    Timber companies treat clearcuts by spraying herbicides to prevent other emerging plants from competing with the newly planted saplings. Clearcut timber restorations were managed in the past by controlled burns until concerns for air quality prompted a switch in management methods in the 90s. Clark County Commissioner Ed Barnes called for a moratorium on the spraying of herbicides by timber companies, and legislation requiring the moratorium if they did not agree to it voluntarily. In spite of his petition to the governor, Washington state agencies haven’t shown an interest to set this particular idea into motion.

    To better understand the game management plan south of the Columbia River, I spoke with Julia Burco, an ODFW veterinarian serving the elk hoof disease technical advisory committee. Her perspective highlights three main factors, “host, environment, and pathogen,” while tracking the spread of the disease. She pointed out that Roosevelt elk are more predisposed to abnormal wear due to chronic moisture in the environment, making them more likely to suffer from lesions and bacterial infections. A lack of forage food in the elk’s habitat (due to herbicides in some areas) resulting in poor nutrition could contribute to the susceptibility of disease as well.

    “The bacteria itself is difficult to observe because it’s constantly changing,” said Burco. She suggested that replicating the disease in domestic animals may make it easier to study, but most of the treatments used with domestic animals like foot baths and cleaning pens are difficult to apply to free-roaming herds. Antibiotic injections common in domestic animals can’t be used on wild populations that hunters are harvesting for food either. The lack of field-treatment options makes it a difficult challenge to contain the range of its spread.

    “It’s very frustrating managing illnesses in wild herds of any kind,” said Burco. “We’re simply trying to better understand the bacteria, how it’s spreading, and how to contain it.” She mentioned that minimizing the transfer of animals over the state line, both wild and domestic, is the best that can be done for now.

    Still, the issue appears to be caused by multiple contributing factors perpetuated by the host’s lack of natural predators, population density, changes in habitat, and the persistent evolution of bacteria that is difficult to treat. Containing it seems to be the top priority of ODFW.

    Hunters who harvest visibly infected elk are encouraged to report to ODFW and turn over the damaged hooves for examination. Hunters can fill out a form online or contact the wildlife health lab toll-free at 888-968-2600 or by email at WildlifeHealth@state.or.us to arrange for collection of the infected hooves.


    Read more ...

  • Single-Payer Health Care Support Growing
    No Comment

    By Kirsten Allen

    healthcare1Ron Green first learned of the woes of providing health care to employers in the 70s when he was running a bike shop in Texas. Green, a disabled veteran, receives free health care through the VA. When his bike shop began to expand, he looked to hire workers that were either young and still covered by their parents’ insurance, or old enough to receive Medicare, to keep costs down and earn profit.

    “In the late 1960s, we had 5% of our GDP devoted to health care. Now, that’s 18%, and it’s going up. That’s just not sustainable, we can’t afford to keep doing that. Those that do have coverage often go bankrupt either providing it or paying medical bills, and those who don’t are constantly worried about the consequences of not having it,” said Green.

    It is for this reason, as well as several others, that Green agreed to chair the Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates (MVHCA). MVHCA is a grassroots organization founded in the early 90s, with the goal to bring quality health care to everybody. Along with their ally, Health Care for All-Oregon, (HCAO) a coalition of over 100 organizations, MVHCA is working “to create a comprehensive, equitable, affordable, publicly funded, high quality, universal health care system serving everyone in Oregon and the United States.”

    Medical bills are the number one reason Americans are in debt. The US is paying more toward health care than the entire GDP of France, and yet we are ranked 31st in the world. Green, along with volunteers of MVHCA, is trying to change this using the method of single-payer health care.

    Also referred to as universal health care, single-payer health care is a system where the state government provides free health care to everybody. Funded by a progressive income and employer payroll tax, single-payer would provide quality health care free of premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.

    Green again: “The fact is, it’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s not politically easy to sell to people the idea that we’re going to have to raise so much money from taxes to pay for it. The other half of that, of course, is you subtract from that all the health insurance company premiums, all the co-pays and deductibles. The intent of the plan is to cover all services previously covered by Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB), Public Employees Benefit Board (PEBB), Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans.”

    HB 2922 was brought to the Oregon legislature in 2013, outlining the implementation of the plan. Though the bill didn’t go to General Assembly for a vote, it had 24 sponsors, up from 12 in 2011. This year, Green expects that number to increase to 36. The health care plan was supplemented by HB 3260, which proposed a study of four different health care systems in attempt to discern which system would best fit Oregon. The study is estimated to cost $200,000, a drop in the bucket considering the amount of money the state has spent before. The bill passed, overwhelmingly in fact, but was later struck down because a source of funding hadn’t been identified. The bill is expected to pass in the next legislative session, and Green suspects the results of the study will be in favor of a single-payer system.

    Although HB2922 didn’t pass, sponsorship in the legislature nearly doubled since the previous vote, and is expected to continue growing. Though a promising sign, ahead lie many obstacles waiting to slap the bill down. Perhaps the most challenging obstacle is the profit-driven system we are involuntarily thrust into. This system has many stakeholders (medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, etc.) whose profits would take a hit and who would squeal the loudest when this plan creates enough steam to capture more widespread interest and support.

    Another obstacle Green expects to encounter lies at the heart of what the single-payer plan is all about: health care for everybody, including undocumented migrant workers. After the failure of Measure 88, Green suspects this to be a considerable point of contention. However, no matter the amount of resistance this matter is likely to receive, it will remain non-negotiable.

    The governance of the plan is also expected to draw opposition. Typically citizens are wary of health care when the government is involved (think of the infamous “death panels” that accompanied the rolling out of Affordable Care Act). However, Green believes this is a taboo society must overcome. The plan will be governed by a board of directors containing nine voting members appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. The board will include two licensed health care providers, two persons with significant education and experience in public health, two with demonstrated experience in health or consumer advocacy, and one each from labor and business. Having a state-regulated health care system would allow for better allocation of resources, cut wasteful spending, and reduce expensive overhead.

    Among single-payer’s many advocates, Physicians for a National Health Care System has been boisterously supportive. Dr. Carol Paris, a psychiatrist and member of PNHCS, states the cost of dealing with insurance companies to an average primary care physician is somewhere around $68,000. These costs result in an increase in price and decrease of face time for patients, because doctors need to see a larger volume of patients to make enough money to pay their insurance clerks and have enough money left over to support themselves.

    Now that you know the who, the why, and the what, get ready to embrace the when, the where, and the how. MVHCA are teaming up with HCAO to rally at the capitol in Salem on Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Buses will run from Corvallis and Albany to transport red shirt-wearing, banner-carrying folks wanting to express their desire for health care for all. The rally will feature live music, inspiring speakers, and a chance to join a group to meet with legislators. Being that this is an issue universal to all colors, ages, and occupations, it would be fantastic to have more than the typical old white protestor. The rally is expected to draw 2,500 people, so don’t wait to reserve your bus seat! For more information or to reserve your seat, visit www.mvhca.org. For more info, visit www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-faq.

    Read more ...
As the State Turns
The Linn-Benton Backwash
Local Event