• Welcome to the Deep End
    No Comment 27 Views

    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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  • Chris Becker: Disc Golf Pro
    No Comment 66 Views

    By Dave DeLuca

    beckerdrive

    Chris Becker is relatively new to our town, but he’s already making a big splash. This 23-year-old professional athlete is using his talents and experience to help spread the message that disc golf is here to stay. He grew up a Duck, and has the bachelor’s degree from UO to prove it. But Becker has fully embraced Beaver nation as a disc golf and ultimate Frisbee instructor at OSU and as the coach of the university disc golf club team.

    He currently competes as a touring pro and holds a rating of 1002 (for some perspective on the rating, Paul McBeth holds the current highest rating at 1048) in the Professional Disc Golf Association. He first picked up the tools of the trade in middle school a decade ago. By high school he was entering tournaments and building a reputation. At the University of Oregon in his hometown of Eugene, Becker joined the UO disc golf club team. He credits much of his success to then coach Dave Feldberg, a world class professional himself, who helped Becker learn to play at a professional level. After graduating from Oregon in 2012, Becker spread his wings and began a career as a touring pro.

    Becker recently teamed up with a couple of our state’s best disc golfers to form Team Oregon. Zoe Andyke and Dustin Keegan hold rankings of 902 and 1012 respectively in the DGA. The three tour together to lessen the burden of life on the road. These young pros play for money, but are responsible for expenses like travel, memberships, and entry fees. Through shared networking, expenses, and emotional support, they hope to push each other to greater heights.

    corvallisdiscgolfsidebarDisc golfers compete as individuals, but Becker says that their love of the game helps to create a bond between them. “It’s really a subculture that a lot of people don’t know about. In the disc golf community, people are just trying to help each other. They know how hard it is. It’s not to the level yet that you can really make it. The payouts just aren’t high enough. But hopefully soon they will be.”

    Most touring pros are forced to moonlight to make ends meet. A handful have sponsors who will pick up some of their expenses. Becker points out that only a few world class disc golfers make a good living at the sport through a combination of tournament prize money and big sponsorship deals.

    “It should be that if you’re top 50 in the world you could be doing that. Hopefully in five years or less it will be.”

    Despite moving to Corvallis just this fall, Becker has immersed himself in the disc golf scene. Between competing in tournaments (24 so far this year), he somehow finds time to teach classes on both disc golf and its team sport cousin, ultimate Frisbee. He also coaches the club team at OSU. The team travels to courses around the state to compete with schools like Western Oregon University, Linn Benton Community College, George Fox College, and the University of Oregon. During the winter, the 25 or so club members will be practicing mostly at Truax Indoor Center. Protection from the elements will be a nice change of pace for Becker, and a chance for him to hone his own skills while coaching his students. It is rare for a club team to have a touring pro as their coach, and Becker hopes his guidance will help give the Beavers an advantage on their way to nationals. He relishes his role as a mentor and is constantly improving in his new role.

    Becker is also devoting his time and energy to the Calapooia Putting League. Team Oregon is inviting disc golfers to the Calapooia Brewing Company in Albany to play a covered nine-hole course and drink great local beer. For only a $5 entry fee and an optional $2 “Money Ball” putter pot, participants can improve their skills and get hands-on advice from all three team pros. The league meets on Thursday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. “We encourage all skill levels, from people who don’t even know what disc golf is to people who have been playing for years,” said Becker.

    Becker is also interested in teaching private lessons. But if you are looking to learn from this pro, don’t wait too long. He hopes to be a premier traveling pro within the next five to 10 years. “I’m hoping to be one of the top players, and really making it. I think I can be. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I play my best at the biggest tournaments.”

    You can find out more about the OSU Disc Golf Club at https://www.facebook.com/groups/osudiscgolf. Information on Team Oregon and the Calapooia Putting League can be found at http://team-or.com/. You can also meet Chris Becker in person every Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m. at Play It Again Sports on 9th Street.

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  • Willamette Writers on the River
    No Comment 34 Views

    By Jaime Fuller

    9588998186_c191057a49_bThe task of writing is a personal, solitary endeavor for the most part. No one else is required, only the formation of thoughts in your brain, the divining of words that convey stories. What happens, though, when a writer needs feedback, motivation, or an open ear that understands what it means to write? Willamette Writers on the River (WWotR) serves that purpose for novelists, essayists, poets, screenwriters, and the like in the Corvallis area. It is a group that provides opportunities to enhance skills, network, and create a welcoming writing community. WWotR is the local chapter of Willamette Writers, which is based in Portland and is one of the largest writers’ organizations in the United States with over 1,800 members.

    At the WWotR meeting on Oct. 20, author and editor Brian Doyle spoke about his experiences as an author and also offered nuggets of wisdom for local wordsmiths. He is the editor for Portland Magazine at the University of Portland and has written 14 books.

    After reading pieces of his own work, Doyle rattled off some helpful tidbits for fellow writers. The first was, there are no little things—no subject is so insignificant that it can’t be written about. “Writing is easy—just type!” he said. He explained that in order to write well, you need to stop thinking. Just let go, and allow your work to surprise you, even horrify you, he continued. Remember that your writing shouldn’t always be about yourself, because everyone else is vastly more interesting. “You’re not writers, you’re story catchers,” he added.

    What every aspiring writer wants to know is how to turn his or her passion into a successful career. Doyle’s response to this was blunt honesty. Get a job you enjoy. Write every day. What makes a great writer (as well as a great seducer) is to ask a question, then listen, he said. Sometimes writers get caught up in the technical stuff. Forget all the rules, he exclaimed, and just play.

    Doyle said that as humans, we crave connection, and writers need to connect their writing to other people in a way that says, “Don’t you feel this, too?” Even if only one or two people connect to it, your friends or children, you’ve succeeded. It is important to pay attention to the moral aspect of your craft. As his writing career progresses, Doyle realizes more and more that words are weak. “That’s why stories are so important. They convey meaning. The point of life is to hold hands and share stories. Stories are light. Stories are food. The words aren’t important—it’s the story you tell,” were some of his I’m-not-a-teacher words of wisdom. “You are the only one who can tell your stories.”

    Willamette Writers on the River meets on the third Monday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Dennis Hall of the First Presbyterian Church on 114 8th Street. Meetings are free to members of Willamette Writers and full-time students. Non-members pay $10 to attend, but no one is turned away.

    The next WWoR meeting will take place on December 15 and will be one of four quarterly readings that WWoR hosts every year. The readings are free and open to the public. Writers may sign up starting at 6:15 and  will be allotted a seven-minute time frame. This is a chance to practice one very important aspect of being a writer.

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  • The Majestic Could Rise Again
    No Comment 25 Views

    By Denise Ruttan

    Majestic300 Vagina Monologues audition at Majestic

    On a chilly Thursday evening, the Majestic Theatre buzzes with warmth. Ken Jaynes pours wine and hard cider for guests winding into the lobby. From overhead, the thumping noise from the soles of tap dancers echoes through the room. Birds of Chicago, a folk-rock band from Chicago and Montreal, carry out a sound test on the main stage. In a conference room up a stairwell squeezed between the Peacock Bar & Grill and the theater, women audition for roles in upcoming performances of The Vagina Monologues.

    It’s just another evening at this theater, which for more than a century has stood the test of time as Corvallis’ hub for the arts. But behind the scenes the picture has not always been so rosy. The theater is emerging from a troubled past marked by board and executive director turnover in its nonprofit, Majestic Theatre Management. Such an uncertain history has its supporters asking how the performing arts can still thrive even in difficult economic times.

    Yet a temporary solution has presented itself. Corvallis City Council voted unanimously Nov. 17 for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to take over operations of this City-owned building for two years starting Jan. 1, 2015. By the end of the second year, the City will either continue operating the theater, or decide on a new model.

    The City Council will adopt a supplemental budget for the theater based on financial projections during the month of December. The parks department will develop a stakeholders group, develop job descriptions, and recruit and hire staff.

    “I am convinced that we need a break to start fresh. I am convinced that the theater will be sustainable and this will give us some stability and consistency,” said council member Joel Hirsch. “I believe the theater will rise again and be better for it.” 

    What does this transition mean for the theater’s 10 paid staffers and contractors? In a word, uncertainty. Facilities manager Marshall Andersen will have to reapply for his job, if it still exists.

    “I have mixed feelings,” said Andersen. “A lot of it is that I don’t know what to expect and what’s going to happen. I’d like to see the theater keep going forward and I’d like to keep my job.”

    Much of the Majestic crew plans to reapply for their positions depending on the new job descriptions.

    “Job security is feeling a little more up in the air than before,” said office manager Gabriela Ochoa. “But all of us really enjoy what we’re doing here.”

    For some of the theater’s longtime volunteers, meanwhile, the transition presents an opportunity as well as uncertainty.

    Stephanie Long is one of those volunteers.

    “I’ve spent a good chunk of my life in that theater,” Long said. “I can show you every nook and cranny. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run up and down those stairs. I’ve hung lights, stage managed, ran fundraisers—you name it, I’ve done it.”

    She also started the Majestic Theatre Education Program. That nonprofit experience has given her ideas for how the Majestic might survive.

    “You don’t sustain a theater by ticket sales alone,” Long said. “We need donors, patrons of the arts. I think solicitation of local arts donors has gone on the back burner. You have to sell tickets, write grants, and get patrons.”

    Her friends through the arts are volunteers Mike Aronson and Robert Leff. Aronson loves the “wonderful theater, with its cute red curtains.” He presented a model for the theater to the City Council—several arts organizations working under the umbrella of a board that handles the business side.

    All three want to see the theater focus more on community productions than it has in the recent past. Aronson, in a move that challenged previous perceptions of volunteer involvement, began the Reader’s Theatre series years ago.

    “For those first auditions, 30 people showed up for four parts. It’s now called the Majestic Reader’s Theatre Company and has close to 60 actors,” Aronson said. “There’s lots of talent in this town and no place else for it to go.”

    Leff, meanwhile, is something of a keeper of theater history. He knows each transition this theater has gone through over the decades. But he also knows the joys of seeing his friends and neighbors on stage. 

    “From my point of view, the Majestic should be bigger than any one person. All of us have a stake in the theater. No one group should dominate.”

    Above all else for these dedicated volunteers and staffers, one theme has remained certain throughout the ups and downs of the Majestic’s history—no matter what happens come January, the show must go on.

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  • Downtown Homeless Shelter Showdown
    1 Comment 69 Views

    By Joel Hutton & Bethany Carlson

    Regular Advocate readers will already have a clear sense of both the state of homelessness in Corvallis and past controversies over one shelter’s plans for their future downtown. These plans have now become clearer, raising a new set of concerns for some in the community. Before digging in though, you’ll need a quick recap about the field and the players.

    Homelessness is a complex problem that affects many different populations. There are the first-time homeless, often lower middle-class that one may not easily imagine becoming homeless. This group can often be helped back into a permanent home in just a few months. Then there are the transitionally homeless, who can take up to two years after starting to get help to become permanently housed and self-sufficient.

    And there are the chronic homeless that may be affected by substance abuse, mental health issues and even physical disability. The Housing First model is especially helpful with this group. Yet, Housing First requires a robust organization with excellent resources, and the model is not without controversy.

    Also, after almost 15 years of war, the homeless population has swelled with veterans, who have a wide range of needs. Adding to this, most shelter directors mentioned that a lack of affordable housing contributes to the number of homeless in Corvallis. We may have entry level jobs, but the pay is not adequate to pay for housing in Corvallis.

    There are four shelters in town. Community Outreach, Inc. (COI) has over 70 beds. Room at the Inn and Jackson Street Youth Shelter are quite a bit smaller. The former is a women’s shelter and the latter is for teens. The fourth organization is Corvallis Housing First (CHF), and not everyone is so happy with them.

    What’s the Controversy?

    Two years ago, CHF located a cold weather emergency shelter downtown. There is no sobriety requirement to stay at the shelter, and many that live and work in the area maintain that the shelter’s services attract homeless individuals from outside Corvallis. This is the so-called magnet effect. The sense is that some of these individuals are more aggressive and prone to commit crimes than our own community’s homeless population.

    For instance, many downtown shopkeepers report finding human and other wastes in front of their businesses, loitering and aggressive panhandling – there have also been concerns about theft and vandalism. Safety concerns have also been raised. The police confirm that when the cold weather shelter is open, there is an increase in complaints and nuisance crimes.

    Now, CHF is proposing a larger shelter that would be open year round rather than seasonally. The plan calls for a new building on their present site that would lease space to the Daytime Dropin Center and Stone Soup. The shelter will add 10 more men’s shelter beds to the current 40, and will incorporate the women’s shelter currently operating as Room at the Inn. Services would also be increased. The cost to build is estimated at $2.3 million. Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2016, with an opening date later that year.

    There’s little doubt that the seasonal nature of both the men’s and women’s cold-weather shelters needs to change. Advocate staff have talked to several women who are forced to camp outdoors where they’re at risk for violence and sexual assault once the shelter closes. And Oregon’s cold weather continues long after the April 1 closure date.

    Asked directly about concerns raised by the business community, Gina Vee answers that they should be rooting for the shelter’s success, suggesting that the problems merchants see now may worsen without somewhere for the homeless to go.

    Inside the charitable community there are also concerns. For instance the Housing First model calls for housing everyone, regardless of mental health or drug and alcohol use: the assumption being that if you can house someone they will be in a better position to be helped. Many experts agree this can help the most severely chronically homeless, but others maintain that recently-sober individuals will be harmed by living near those who are still using alcohol. In some studies, the newly clean-and-sober actually said they would rather be homeless than live with people still using substances.

    Kari Whitacre of Community Outreach shares another worry. The Housing First model requires a robust staffing structure and significant financial commitments that a town the size of Corvallis may not be prepared for. Even the director of Corvallis Housing First is concerned about their ability to help if our town will not commit to programs beyond the currently proposed shelter expansion.

    Where Next? Lack of Permanent Housing

    CHF’s planned shelter is far from a complete solution to the problem, as CHF leadership freely admits. Once people have been assessed at the shelter, many of them will need a place to go. Most will not be able to afford regular housing. What then? Vee says perhaps four people a year can be accommodated in the Benton Plaza low-income housing. CHF’s Partner’s Place apartments, which offer case management and require a commitment to lifestyle change but not sobriety, have 14 units. Around 20 people can be placed in Partner’s Place every year. But Vee says that each year there are from 45 to 60 people on the waiting list for those 20 spaces.

    “We have a demand that’s way beyond anything we personally can do with our Housing First model,” says Vee.

    So currently there is a 20-36 person gap between the permanent housing that exists and what the shelter needs. If the planned shelter in fact draws more homeless people, as the police suggest it may, there will be even more with no certainty of permanent housing for occupants.

    Tiny Houses: Cheaper Options for Housing

    Apartment- or dorm-style housing is not the only option for transitional homeless housing. Eugene’s Opportunity Village, founded in 2013, offers 29 unheated units 60 to 80 square feet in size. $200,000 in donated funds and materials built the tiny houses, along with shower, kitchen and restroom facilities on the one-acre camp. Residents govern themselves and have volunteered around the city. The camp has been successful and largely free of controversy. Eugene’s City Council recently voted to retain the development.

    CHF volunteer and former Habitat for Humanity president Brad Smith sees the benefit of this scaled-back, affordable housing. “Partner’s Place is great, but if you have a hundred people you want to put into housing, you can’t afford it,” he says. Yet CHF has no definite plans to work towards an Opportunity Village-style project, and Smith adds that he sees the planned emergency shelter as the necessary “lynchpin” of the solution: “It’s definitely not a complete answer, but I see it as the core.”

    Asked why her organization is not addressing these pressing needs now, either along with or instead of expanding the downtown shelter, Vee cites zoning issues and funding. Most neighborhood restrictions would outright prohibit a tiny house development. In a perfect world, Vee says she’d like 70 apartments for the families of the estimated 100 homeless students in 509j, 20 to 30 mental health and assisted living beds, and 40 tiny houses.

    As to an Opportunity Village-style development here, one can already anticipate neighborhood groups rationalizing why such a project would not be appropriate in their own backyard.

    Some Fair Assumptions

    It does seem fair, even for some of its flaws, to assume the Housing First model can be especially helpful for the chronically homeless. Last year most of the nearly 170 residents of the men’s seasonal shelter were in the 35 to 57 age range, and Smith reports that around two-thirds of those men have been homeless for more than two years. Both Vee and Smith emphasize that many of these men are aging and have health problems that are exacerbated by their homelessness. Even if some residents may never be able to support themselves, as a community we need to consider the humanitarian aspect of providing a safe, warm place to sleep for people who otherwise could literally be dying on the streets.

    Some would like to see this shelter elsewhere, but that begs the question of who would want it in their backyard. Kevin Dwyer, president at the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, has approached Vee about finding a different location for the expanded shelter. Vee replied that though CHF is open to the idea, over 25 alternative properties have already been considered. Expense, zoning, or location made each of these locations unworkable.

    Vee also maintains that the so-called magnet effect, if it exists at all, is minimal.

    However, Captain Dave Henslee of the Corvallis Police Department has said the following: “People are coming here just for our services that we offer in Corvallis. So we will see the population of homeless people increase. We are already seeing it increase.” Sergeant Joel Goodwin adds that he’s talked to people who have “come to the shelter in Corvallis because you are allowed in even if you’ve been drinking or using drugs. This has been since they first opened the first cold-weather shelter out on Western, we’ve seen this trend.”

    The growth in the number of homeless can be seen just since last year: Lieutenant Cord Wood provides an update on Dec. 1. “I would say there has been an increase — we get more homeless-related issue reports today than we did a year ago,” he says.

    Police concerns aside, the CHF plan may have location in its favor. It is often anticipated that such a shelter would be located in a downtown core near other services for the homeless. Additionally, CHF already owns the downtown property and their proposed plan complies with the zoning already in place for that parcel.

    In other words, if this $2.3 million facility gets built, we can expect that it’ll probably be in the current downtown location. We can also expect increases in the homeless population and associated crime.

    What Folks Aren’t Saying

    What is possibly most striking are the questions and concerns not being aired.

    As claims over the magnet effect rage on, has anyone asked, so what? Let’s accept the magnet effect for the sake of argument. Might we shoulder that as a community and chip in to help anyway, even at the cost of attracting some number of out-of-towners, even with some increased nuisance and even crime? By extension, despite all the furor, few of the people protesting the shelter are engaging in conversation about how to mitigate those concerns.

    And then there is the question of where the homeless will go once they have spent their time at the emergency shelter. Whether or not the new CHF shelter is built, Corvallis is not presently meeting the needs of people who are ready for transitional housing. We’re also not meeting the needs of those who aren’t capable of long-term change.

    The Takeaway

    Love or hate the downtown shelter, CHF does own the property and the proposed development complies with city zoning codes. That said, it is hard to disbelieve the police about the impacts the shelter is having and will likely have in the future. The shelter can’t be held accountable for the actions of everyone who appears to be homeless. On the other hand, local business owners may feel that the shelter isn’t taking responsibility for the behavior of people who may come to the shelter from out of town.

    We should consider if downtown would be harmed more by the shelter than another location would be. But it’s also fair to note that the shelter may be doing businesses a favor by keeping the homeless off the streets at night. Vee is more blunt about the benefit during cold weather: “They’re not dying in front of your business.”

    CHF has taken steps towards better communication: they hosted a forum and open house, though with only a few days’ notice. That said, they have been quite a bit more open with the press these last few months, and their director has spoken at panel discussions. There has been some mention of mediation efforts if a business calls a complaint into the shelter.

    The police enhanced enforcement downtown earlier this year and incidents dropped significantly as a result. There are no current plans to reinstate this effort.

    So, what will be next? Local officials are updating the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. CHF will likely move forward with their shelter plan; the community’s response though donations and volunteer hours remains to be seen.

    Related research and stories and can be found at corvallisadvocate.com, search term: homeless

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  • Warm It Up
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    Photo and Words by Alicia James

    Autumn creeps in on padded feet. Elongated shadows and cooler nights announce its September arrival. The moon hangs fat over the horizon in October. Turned leaves pop brilliant colors from foggy skies come November. While Pinterest heats up with pumpkin spice lattes, my thoughts trend brown liquor in all its forms: whiskey, bourbon, and scotch. How better to evoke fall than to imbibe the essence of fire, peat, and leather? With my first head cold of the season in tow, I visited a trio of Corvallis bars to see what they’re slinging as the temperatures drop.

    Breaking a Sweat at Cloud & Kelly’s

    hot buttered beaver @ cloud and kellys2I sidled up to a seat at Cloud & Kelly’s on my first time out of the house in three days. Upon opening the menu, I immediately spied something called “Hot Buttered Beaver.”

    “That sounds like a fun Saturday night,” remarked a lone dude with a beer.

    Kinky sex jokes aside, the drink is a warming blend of whiskey, hot apple cider, cinnamon, clove, and a dash of butterscotch. Unlike other buttered drinks, Cloud & Kelly’s concoction holds back on cloying sugar and that weird, greasy mouthfeel that happens when amateurs try to make their own butterscotch. Instead, tinctures add necessary roundness while the apple cider provides crisp sweetness. Jameson’s whiskey is the star of the cocktail, and proves once again to have restorative properties. After swilling herbal tea in a futile effort to sweat out the sick, I was suddenly fanning myself like a menopausal woman.

    Take Two at Clodfelter’s

    Contrary to the old Irish saying, whiskey isn’t a cure-all. It just makes you think you feel better. After 10 nights of Nyquil shots, I wandered over to Clodfelter’s to see what campus is drinking.

    Gary Evans, bartender of 15 years, was busy serving burgers and drinks to former soldiers for the bar’s $5 Veteran’s Day special, but he was kind enough to brew a fresh pot of joe for a smashing Irish coffee. Clodfelter’s serves theirs with Jameson’s whiskey, Carolans Irish Cream liqueur, and whipped cream if you so desire. I passed on the dairy decoration, expecting a face full of sticky sweet from Irish cream liqueur. Much to my surprise, it was a pleasantly warm toasty taste far removed from the horror of Bailey’s.

    Clodfelter’s does a superb hot chocolate with Carolans and Rumple Minze if coffee isn’t your thing. Evans also recommends their concoction of apple cider and Tuaca. Neither drink is too strong, which is perfect for late afternoon imbibing between classes.

    Something Completely Different at Red Fox Café

    As much as I enjoyed shooting the breeze with Corvallis’ old school over at Clodfelter’s, Red Fox Café was calling. This newish campus joint has an extensive liquor selection, including esoterica such as Aperol and my favorite, Lagavulin 12-year-old scotch. My instinct was to just order the latter, neat, then claim it was the bar’s most popular fall beverage. Research ethics prevailed, and I asked the bartender. In response, he poured a pint of 10 Barrel Brewing Company’s Small Tank Series Oatmeal Stout. This nitrogen-charged brew pulls thick and creamy with a slight fermented tang, and is as dark as 5:30 p.m. after daylight saving time ends. It doesn’t warm your bones in the same way liquor does, but this inky pint would pair perfectly with that aforementioned Lagavulin if you wanted to linger among the leaves on Red Fox’s gorgeous patio.

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  • Gift-Giving Alternatives
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    By The Advocate Staff

    Thanksgiving leftovers will have barely made it to the fridge before the national shopping bender compels its share of questionable choices of awful ties and far too many electronics destined for a landfill near you and your water supply.

    With themes of thankfulness and giving and receiving—not to mention environmental goodness—dancing in our heads, we Advocate staffers have compiled a list of some of our favorite charities to satiate that gotta-give impulse with something a little more society-enhancing than those electronic caroling reindeer ties.

    Don’t see your cause celeb here? Email us, because we really would not mind serving up a second helping. 

    American Red Cross

    americanredcross1When you think Red Cross, you probably just imagine giving blood, and although this is one crucial program, the Red Cross also strives to help others in many ways: delivering meals, teaching health and safety, and disaster response, just to name a few. But back to the bloody facts: only a mere 10 percent of our nation’s population donates blood each year. Meanwhile about every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. So it’s high time to give up the fear of needles and make a donation at one of the numerous blood drives ran locally.

    Learn more at: www.oregonpacific.redcross.org.

    BentonHabitatBenton Habitat for Humanity
    Benton Habitat is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a non-proselytizing Christian organization that matches volunteer labor and donated construction materials with families in need of a place to live.

    The new housing project builds new houses for Benton County resident in need. Qualifying families must prove that they are in need of a home, can handle a mortgage, and are willing and able to contribute to the building process of their new home through “sweat equity.” Benton Habitat’s Repair Initiative program connects volunteers with families in need of essential house maintenance, and finances the materials with a zero-interest loan.

    By giving to Benton Habitat, you can help your neighbors build or repair a decent home. Benton Habitat is also a 501c3 organization. You can give at www.bentonhabitat.org.

    Calyx Press and Publishing

    calyxThe arts in general do not get funded very well, and that’s a bit of a tragedy. What is life but art? In Corvallis we have our own local publishing house for women only, which is a noteworthy niche indeed. Due to its non-profit status, Calyx relies on donations to publish work that commercial presses would not. They will give first-time authors a chance when no one else will. Artwork by women is also accepted and put into print. When it comes to supporting women’s art and literature, Calyx is a thoroughly deserving organization. Email Calyx Press at info@calyxpress.org or go to www.calyxpress.org.

    Casa Latinos Ubidos de Benton County (CLUBC)

    CasaLatinosUnidosBentonTolerance, acceptance, and understanding are key qualities found in successful communities. While many donate money during the holidays to programs that help the poor or underprivileged, is this the way to truly reach out to them, understand them, and work to forge true equality? One local program, Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County (CLUBC), does exactly that. It’s a program based out of the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center, and works to integrate Latino families into the broader community through cross cultural education for both Latino and non-Latino community members. This unique program founded and conducted by and for Latinos teaches tolerance, supports equal rights, and facilitates equality through one of the most effective methods: education.

    CASA Voices for Children

    casavfcThis Benton County charity’s vision, as per their website: “Giving voice to children by advocating for every child’s birthright to a safe, nurturing, forever family; changing lives by believing it is possible.” The CASA workers, called advocates, assist children in foster care and make their individual needs a priority. These volunteer advocates spend years of consistent attention making sure that the kid stays well-looked-after, and they can be the only stability in a child’s life. They volunteer “for all the voiceless who are scared, hurt, mistreated, sick, cold abused, alone… may they find someone to love and care for them, and always keep them safe.”

    Learn more at: http://casa-vfc.org/home.

    Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV)

    cardvCARDV hosts a holiday gift program every year where community members can donate new, unwrapped gifts. CARDV’s staff then turns the office into a holiday store where sheltered families can pick out gifts for their own holiday celebration. In addition to donating a little something for the kids, I’d also recommend spending some time on their crisis hotline. Pretty presents are great, but a comforting voice at dark moments is the greatest gift. Check out http://cardv.org/volunteer.php to see how you can help.

    Community Outreach, Inc.

    HandUpCOI provides shelter and basic human services for homeless and very low-income families in Corvallis. These folks have enough challenges without having to worry about whether Santa is coming. You can help out through the Adopt-a-Family Campaign and the HandUp Program.

    Through Adopt-a-Family, donors purchase gifts for specific kids staying at COI. The presents are delivered anonymously to these children, who might otherwise go without. Donated items should be delivered no later than Dec. 17. Contact Chris Quaka at 541-758-3000 or cquaka@communityoutreach.inc to get started or learn more about COI at www.communityoutreachinc.org.

    The HandUp Program is a crowdfunding website (like Kickstarter) which funds specific education, housing, or other needs of individual homeless people. One hundred percent of the donation will go to the person in need, and will be overseen by a case worker who ensures that the money is being used for its intended purpose.

    Right now Tara, a mom of three young children, is requesting funding to go through Certified Nursing Assistant training. Danny is raising money for a set of dentures. Their profiles and others can be found at https://handup.us/partners/communityoutreachinc.

    Corvallis Environmental Center

    CECIf it weren’t for the Corvallis Environmental Center’s community garden, this apartment dweller would never garden. For the last two years, though, I’ve grown tomatoes, peppers, and chard in the gardens at Starker Arts Park. 

    Pouring sweat into maintaining my plot makes those vegetables taste better come harvest time. That awareness of the life cycle of food has completely changed my lifestyle. These days, instead of McDonald’s, I prefer stir-fried chard fresh from my garden. 

    That’s why I’d donate to Corvallis Environmental Center. They offer many other wonderful educational programs as well. The best way to donate is through their website, www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.

    Corvallis Housing First

    10252156_783658128347369_5656410324894848052_nThe frequently debated subject of how to best help impoverished and homeless people will probably go on forever. Corvallis Housing First is moving forward with their goals regardless, and I think giving a little money to this energized group will show tangible benefits for Corvallis and its homeless community in the very near future.

    Their aim is to get homeless people into their own places as soon as possible and permanently. This “housing first” model has worked in other cities and is an exciting front in the war on poverty.

    Corvallis Zen Circle

    corvalliszencircleIt’s easy to feel empathetic toward hungry children and the homeless, and those are very worthy causes. Without satisfying our basic survival needs, we don’t have much. And yet, even with those basic needs met, most people feel a sense of discontent, are unkind to each other, and often lack meaning in their lives. What if you want to help people on a deeper, more meaningful level? Donating to Corvallis Zen Circle is one way to add peace to this Earth. CZC welcomes all to join group meditations and Dharma talks, which are lessons on how to look at the tumults of life with a tranquil mind. They are currently raising funds to build a Buddhist Center in Corvallis. This center would be a sanctuary for the CZC and community members to use throughout the day as well as a consistent locale for bringing speakers and guests. Find out more by calling 541-754-4124 or visit http://corvalliszencircle.com/.

    Heartland Humane Society

    heartlandhumaneDo puppies know it’s Christmas? Probably not, but they can still use your help, you generous animal-lover you! Heartland will make it easy for you by placing decorated donation bins around town. Special “giving” ornaments will list specific shelter needs which can be dropped in the bins or delivered to the south town shelter. Also, be sure to check out the Heartland Thrift Store downtown. You can find some great gifts and the money goes to the shelter pets. For more info about ways to help, and to see pictures of adoptable kittens and puppies, go to www.heartlandhumane.org.

    Jackson Street Youth Shelter

    JSYSI2The Jackson Street Youth Shelter (JSYSI) has been in operation since 1999 as a response to helping homeless and runaway teens as well as youth in crisis. The shelter gives youth a safe place to live and the resources and strength to get back on the path to long-term success. Services include: providing basic needs, education, life skills training, family mediation, mentoring, and service learning. There are many ways to get involved with JSYSI: volunteering, internships, and through making a donation. Their website (www.jsysi.org) is excellent and has lots of information including some inspiring success stories.

    Linn-Benton Food Share

    LBFSThe crisis of hunger is one that looms in plain sight, and yet just out of sight, in every community. Yet all of us must eat.

    Linn-Benton Food Share aims to bring hunger out of the shadows. More than 49,000 individuals and families will request food boxes in their two-county area this year, according to their website. That is staggering to me. Many of these families make up the ranks of the working poor — our friends and neighbors. I donate to Food Share because doing so makes a quiet but powerful difference in their lives. 

    Find more information on donating at http://communityservices.us/nutrition/detail/category/help-food-share.

    Room at the Inn

    RoomAtTheInnThe women’s cold-weather shelter Room at the Inn is located at the First United Methodist Church. They offer a dry, safe place to sleep along with morning and evening snacks and a respectful environment. For women, being homeless is especially dangerous. Manager Sara Power reports that most of the women she serves have been abused at some point in their lives, some are homeless as a direct result of fleeing domestic violence, and all are at risk on the streets. Volunteers are needed from 6:30 to 11 p.m. to check-in shelter residents, to provide snacks, or to stay overnight. A sign-up is available at http://signupgenius.com/go/8050944afa92fa02-2014 .

    Stone Soup at St. Mary’s Catholic Church

    soupkitchenMoney doesn’t solve everything, so volunteer your time serving homeless and low-income folks at St. Mary’s soup kitchen, aptly called “Stone Soup.” Dinner is served in the gym on Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Lunch is dished on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11:30 a.m. St. Mary’s also works with First Christian Church to serve hot breakfast on Saturdays at 10 a.m., dinner on Sundays and Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. Contact stonesouphel@gmail.com to volunteer.

    United Way – Benton & Lincoln Counties

    uwblc1United Way is steered by a local Board of Directors, with members comprising staff from OSU faculty, numerous banks, Hewlett-Packard, Samaritan Health Services, and the Sheriff’s Office. The charity has identified three main goals: improve education and reduce number of high school dropouts, help people achieve financial stability, and promote healthy lives.

    United Way offers several unique services to community members. Familywize is a program where family members can receive a reduction in the cost of prescription medications by about 35 percent. They also offer a 2-1-1 hotline, where professional agents provide free information and assistance with finding local services such as rental assistance, housing, temporary shelter, medical care, and much more. Day of Caring, a scheduled day of county-wide community service, provides lawn care, light construction, painting, and other tasks.

    United Way is focused on breaking the cycle that restricts community members from achieving better lives. Those who donate are able to track how their money is being allocated, as United Way strongly believes in transparency and accountability and provides all the information on their website. The volunteers are dedicated to helping others, and have many success storied to share.

    Learn more at www.unitedwayblc.org.

    World’s Children

    worldschildrenCentrally located in Corvallis, this charity focuses on children, especially orphaned or homeless kids, and has more recently included children suffering from HIV/AIDS. You should check out their website — it’s a thing of beauty, full of powerful quotes and effective advertising! From their “About Us” page, they are not a large, corporate-style organization removed from the children they support. This is a small but committed operation, and two of the three heads are direct family to 1965 founders Edwin and Mable Purviance. Glowing community reviews demonstrate a charity that’s local, effective, and easy to love.

    Donate at www.worldschildren.org.

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  • Corvallis’ Leftovers
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    By Jaime Fuller, Bethany Carlson and Dave DeLuca

    foodleftovers2The joys of living in a rich, industrialized country include getting our hands on nearly any food item we desire at nearly any time of day. Grocery stores are kept stocked full of our favorite and necessary edibles. But is there a cost to this exorbitance? Why yes, yes there is. According to NPR.com, “Supermarkets and restaurants serve up more than 400 million pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach.” Consumers want perfect, pristine fresh produce, which means retailers throw out heaps of decent, edible food that might only have a blemish or be slightly overripe. A full 10 percent of the available food supply in the U.S. is wasted every year at the retail level, reveals the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and about 20 percent is wasted at home.

    We at The Advocate did a little research of our own to determine if food is going to waste locally. After scoping out a variety of food retailers, these were our findings:

    BAKERIES:

    Great Harvest

    All leftover breads are donated to a multitude of different organizations including gleaners, churches, and school events. At the end of each day, one group or another stops by to collect breads, sweets, cookies, and scones.

    New Morning Bakery

    New Morning donates all breads and day-old pastries to various groups, but also gives their food scraps and coffee grounds to local farmers. Leftover bread is contributed to the South Corvallis Food Bank. Day-old pastries go to several organizations, such as schools and churches. An organization can submit a donation request for a specific date or length of time. The only regular donation group they have is on Saturdays, when leftovers are provided to Habitat for Humanity. Other than bread and pastries, NMB doesn’t have much food remaining at the end of the day. Maybe a sandwich or two, which employees can take home with them. If you are interested in submitting a donation request, write a letter describing your need and deliver it to Kera James at New Morning. You can also email her at kera@newmorningbakery.com, though she prefers a hard copy letter, as it won’t get buried in her junk email.

    Panera Bread

    This bagel and soup shop donates bags full of bagels, cookies, and assorted pastries to the community every night. In fact, all of the corporate-owned Panera stores end their day by giving away leftovers. Five different local charities, including the Oregon Food Bank, take turns hauling away donated food. Depending on the time of year, anywhere from one to three boxes and upwards of five big garbage bags full of leftover products are taken. That’s a lot of muffins!

     

    RESTAURANTS:

    Block 15

    Very little food reaches its pull date here. Weekly specials sometimes make use of food that otherwise might not be served before its expiration, said Llanet Grischott, one of Block 15’s managers. That’s one way of adding creativity to their menu.

    Flat Tail Brewing

    Not much waste here either, said Kyle Davis. Food is ordered three times a week, and the brewery’s high turnover prevents food from nearing its expiration.

    Laughing Planet

    The Planet makes an effort to not have any leftover food. Whatever is left gets composted.

    Les Caves

    Caves uses up most of the food that it brings in. Food scraps and their compostable napkins and straws are composted.

    Magenta

    To keep food waste at a minimum, Magenta only buys what it uses and makes everything to order. If a customer leaves food on the plate, it becomes a meal for the chickens. Owner and chef Kimber Hoang explained, “I am very conscious about food waste. There are a lot of starving people, so to have food get wasted is very sad. My father wanted me to own a restaurant so I wouldn’t waste food.”

    Big River

    All leftover bread and cookies are donated to a local shelter, and other remaining food is sometimes donated. In the past during Thanksgiving, Big River has hosted a low-income and homeless feed. They have volunteers help cook and prepare the food, and a big plate of traditional Thanksgiving fare is free for everyone who comes in. Any food not used up at the feed is donated to a local shelter. Staff was uncertain as to whether the Thanksgiving feed will happen again this year, but if it’s a go, they will be advertising profusely.

    Del Alma

    The kitchen is pretty careful at Del Alma. There isn’t very much waste, since food costs are incredibly high. All menu items are served on small plates, so typically there are zero leftovers from customers, or they take home any uneaten portion of their meals.

    GROCERY STORES:

    First Alternative Co-op

    Vegetable waste from the produce department is collected by people who want it for compost or chicken feed, said First Alt’s deli manager Jeannie Holiday. Food items are collected by Mary’s River Gleaners and Stone Soup. “Most of our Stone Soup donations are from our meat department,” said Holiday. “Perishables [like yogurt, cheese, or cold deli food] can be donated as long as the sell-by date is clearly visible, and as long as the product has been stored at safe, legal temperatures,” she continued. Prepared foods, which are served hot, cannot be donated for health reasons, and must be thrown away if they aren’t bought by the end of the day. Holiday said sometimes employees will buy up hot deli items before closing to prevent them from going to waste.

    Trader Joe’s

    Trader Joe’s local branch would not comment directly to The Advocate, but their national director of public relations, Alison Mochizuki, said, “Trader Joe’s long-running policy is to donate products that are not fit for sale but are safe for consumption. Each store has a designated donation coordinator, whose responsibilities include working with local food banks, food pantries, and/or soup kitchens in their communities to facilitate donations seven days a week.” She added that nationwide, Trader Joe’s donations to food banks amounted to over $260 million worth of food. When asked how many pounds of food the Corvallis store donated last year, Mochizuki said they had no additional comment at this time.

    Market of Choice

    This upscale grocer doesn’t let much of their extra food go to waste. Products in their bakery, kitchen, and grocery departments that are past pull date are donated to local gleaners. Specifically, Albany Gleaners and Harrisburg Harvesters Gleaners Inc. pick up the leftovers on alternating weeks. Sometimes as many as two or three cartloads of food are collected by the local non-profit organizations, which then donate the surplus to needy families. Although it is always the goal of MOC to produce as little extra food as possible, they are happy to give away what they cannot sell. In fact, they give away leftover hot foods from their kitchen to a local farmer, who uses it for pig slop. I hope Wilbur and Arnold like jojos and pizza by the slice.

    All in all, Corvallis retailers do a great job of reducing the amount of food that goes to the landfill. Grocery stores seem to end up with the greatest amount of fare that can’t be sold, but they are active about giving it to people in need. If we are going to live lavishly in this country, it’s only fair to share otherwise wasted nutrients with those who are less fortunate. We then create a little more balance in the world.

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  • Tofurky, With Love
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    By Alicia James

    TofurkTofurky seems like a holiday scam preying on desperate vegetarians and vegans. There is something palely obscene about the product despite images of a golden brown roast spilling forth with bountiful wild rice. At $55 for a complete meal and fixin’s, it’s a risky investment.

    I had the strange honor of being the token omnivore at a vegan Thanksgiving where Tofurky was served. After partaking in a river of pinot noir and enough discussion on Richard Dawkins to last a lifetime, the “beast” was served. A few hunting jokes circulated while the hostess carved. My plate was passed down. All eyes were on me as I took my first bite.

    Turns out it was actually good, in a “Lay back and think of England” kind of way.

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  • Turkey Talk
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    By Alan Sproles

    IMG_6093If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast this year, you will have approximately 1,000 decisions to make before and during the holiday. Who’s supervising the kids’ table? Can you have too many pies for dessert? Should your turkey be organic, heritage, free-range, and locally raised? Or, should you pardon the bird all together and make meatloaf?

    Do you have to wait until dinner to start drinking wine?

    Fear not, brave host. Here are some great local resources to help alleviate decision fatigue and make you look good in front of the in-laws.

    Corvallis Farmers’ Market

    www.locallygrown.org

    You’ll find plenty of everything you need downtown at 1st and Jackson on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. If you’re the ambitious type, this is a great place to pick up fresh produce for make-it-yourself side dishes. You can ask questions and order turkeys from area farmers. It doesn’t get any more local than that.

    First Alternative Natural Foods Co-Op

    www.firstalt.coop

    First Alternative carries a limited number of Walker Farms turkeys. Raised in the nearby town of Siletz, these birds are free range and fed a grass diet supplemented by organic, non-GMO spent grains from the Rogue Brewery. The co-op also offers several different choices from Mary’s Turkeys out of California. You can select free range, OG free range, bone-in turkey breasts, and even free range ducks. No pre-ordering required.

    Market of Choice

    www.marketofchoice.com

    This is a local company headquartered in Eugene with higher end products, but not (always) higher end prices. The store at Circle and 9th carries Shelton’s All Natural Free Range Turkeys from California. You can pre-order your turkey now, but MOC plans to have plenty of whole birds from both Shelton and Norbest on hand right up until Thanksgiving. You can also order whole cooked meals from the kitchen, too.

    Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

    www.naturalgrocers.com

    The “new kid in town” also carries several choices from Mary’s Turkeys. These birds are fed a non-GMO verified vegetarian diet, have no antibiotics, no added hormones, no preservatives, and are gluten free. Unlike the co-op, Natural Grocers requires you to order your bird ahead of time, and they have a limited supply. These free range birds have twice the room to roam as those on larger farms. That is, until you order them.

    WinCo

    www.wincofoods.com

    WinCo on Kings Boulevard is employee-owned and has more of everything than anybody else in town. They don’t do special ordering for Thanksgiving, but have lots of turkeys in stock all the time. They sell all the big brands you’ve heard of like Butterball and Jennie-O, and have game hens and turkey roasts for variety. If you’re on a budget or prepping at the last minute, this is the place for you. Winco doesn’t take Visa, so bring plenty of cash or use your debit card.

    Others

    I’ve left out the big name stores that most of us consider ourselves too progressive to shop at. These guys don’t need the free advertising. Especially the one that starts with a “W” and rhymes with fall fart.

    There you have it, turkey-day entertainer. Now if you can just figure out the difference between a yam and a sweet potato, you’ll be all set.

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  • Who’s Afraid of the Big Green Wolf
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    By Dave DeLuca

    IMG_16832Well, it finally happened, weed is legal in Oregon. Before you know it, anyone over the age of 21 will be allowed inside those mysterious dispensaries that have been popping up around town like so many Dutch Bros drive-thrus. What’s been going on in there, anyway? Is our town already overrun by seedy drug dealers and helpless junkies? Or are the shops owners just medical professionals serving a legitimate need? There’s no reason to be afraid, my friends. Let me take you for a sneak peek behind the green door of The Agrestic, south town’s lone marijuana dispensary.

    Co-owner Kayla Dunham was kind enough to show me around the shop. We started in the waiting room, which was stylish and classy. This is the only space open to the general public. Unique touches to the room included a selection of handheld video games and a flat screen television. What was on TV, you ask? A DVD of That ‘70s Show, of course.

    We were buzzed into the next room by the clerk behind a sliding glass window. If not for my role as reporter, I would never have been allowed to see behind that proverbial curtain.

    I’m not sure what I expected to see, but the place was far nicer than I’d imagined. Picture a high-end candy store with glass cases containing fancy delicacies. Instead of caramels and chocolates on doilies, the Agrestic had dozens of big jars filled with dark green clumpy cannabis flowers. They displayed magical names like Hillbilly Queen, Fortune Cookies, and Master Kush. Each type promised to produce a slightly different effect on the mind and body.

    The choices didn’t end there. Dunham showed me topical salves, ingestible oils, capsules, chocolate bars, lozenges, tinctures, soaking salts, and sugar cubes. When I asked if there were any types of cannabis products that she didn’t carry, she told me about marijuana suppositories. Yikes!

    Dunham explained that her business is very closely controlled by rules and regulations designed to keep cannabis from finding its way onto the black market. For example, management must be able to account for product inventory in such detail that it would be virtually impossible for a staff member to steal from the shop. All products sold must be sealed in opaque, child-resistant containers. Dunham won’t sell more than four ounces of product to any customer, although they rarely ask for more than a gram or two. 

    And they don’t give out free samples.

    IMG_1678Other rules require cameras to record every square inch of the dispensary’s interior, and the 15 feet outside every exterior door. Very little cash is kept on hand. At night, all products must be stored in a safe which is bolted down. The security system includes motion sensors which are monitored by an outside service.

    Safety is a concern for Dunham, but the security measures in place are reassuring. “I don’t think the value of the product we have on hand would justify the type of sophistication needed to rob us,” she said.

    In other words: Dumb burglars would fail and smart burglars wouldn’t bother.

    Even if Dunham didn’t take all of these rules seriously, the State of Oregon does. The newly formed Oregon Health Authority randomly inspects the 158 dispensaries in the state. You can bet they take their jobs seriously.

    As for the people, I didn’t see a single reefer-maddened zombie or creepy pill pusher. The staff was professional and caring, and the customers were just, well, normal.

    The Agrestic is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. In addition to being a business, they are happy to educate, and welcome questions at www.facebook.com/theagrestic.

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  • Conversation Orbits
    No Comment 7 Views

    By Alexandra Schaefers

    orrery 012Jim Donnelly was the classic mechanically inclined kid that grew up immersed in LEGO, Meccano (think Erector set), and model rockets. “I don’t remember not being involved with toys that you could build stuff with,” Donnelly said before recounting a story his father tells about the day he left a three-year-old Jim alone with a disassembled lamp for a moment and returned to find the lamp completely reassembled and fortunately unplugged.

    Now Donnelly has his own machine shop where he makes scientific demonstration instruments. His main products are orreries that model the orbits of the sun, moon, and earth in relation to each other—accurate enough to “illustrate the counter-rotating motions of the moon’s nodes and the apogee of its orbit,” a lever paradox that appears to defy physics, and Napier’s bones─numbered bars used to figure multiplication, division, and root extraction. All of his projects are finely crafted and have an antique look of the era in which they were invented. His shop brims with shiny gears and globes, delicately engraved plates, all tiny in comparison to his industrial machining equipment.

    Donnelly’s shop was a long time in coming. For his college education, he chose to study broadcasting at OSU. In his senior year he realized how important PCs were going to become at about the same time a network executive told him it wasn’t possible to make any money in broadcasting if you wanted to do programs for anyone with more than a fourth grade education. He quickly incorporated computers into his education, and upon graduating began his current career as a software engineer.

    While earning a degree and beginning his career, Donnelly never stopped thinking about making scientific instruments. His interest started in childhood after seeing all types of scientific instrumentation in physics labs around the world with his father, a physicist, who he joined on a family trip to a science museum in London.

    Donnelly became further focused on scientific demonstration apparatus while he ran a planetarium at SWOMSI (now called the Science Factory) in Eugene. “That was fun,” he said of his volunteer position there, “and in fact, the people on that job introduced me to my wife.”

    This was not incidental. The lack of a shop was the only thing keeping Jim from beginning his craft.

    “The key to getting a shop is to marry the right woman.” he said. “[We] were house hunting and she saw me see the shop and knew it was over before I did. I had doubts about whether buying this place was a good idea, but she essentially read me the riot act and said, ‘you know, you have a dream to have a shop like this you need to seize it…’ and here we are—she gets the house, I get the shop and I’m happy.”

    Of course, Donnelly had almost nothing to put in his shop when they first moved in, but his wife again saved the day by joining Albany Civic Theater. Jim got involved with crafting the sets and props and his shop evolved because every new project for the theater involved a tool he didn’t have.

    “The joke in the theater for a couple years was that I wouldn’t take a project unless it involved a tool I didn’t have,” said Donnelly.

    Donnelly eventually had to start his own projects to build his shop and skills up to make demonstration apparatus. He began making model engines that run on compressed air, following instructions in articles engineers publish in specialty magazines.

    His requirements for picking engines where: “A. that it would look cool and B. that it would have a part that I wouldn’t have a clue how to make. A few years of that and I learned quite a bit.”

    orreriescollage

    Donnelly started making his first orrery in 2004, inspired in part by Ian Coot who was building one in England and posting his process online. Jim finished his first two at 2:30 in the morning on Christmas day in 2008, just in time to give his father one for Christmas. He is currently making a batch of 22 with several already sold. He thinks of this as his retirement business in the making.

    “It’s possible that somebody has a more obscure business model than making reproductions of 18th century scientific demonstration apparatus. My worst nightmare is success; I’d like this to be something that delights the occasional person and presumably contributes to the education of young people,” admitted Donnelly.

    He also sees his purpose as building machines that start conversations and one conversation he would like more people to have is about the inventor of the Orrery, James Ferguson. Born a farm boy, Ferguson was the first popularizer of science, a member of the royal society, and the inventor of many demonstration apparatuses. This incredibly accomplished scientist’s education and upbringing are, “the best illustration of the phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’”

    Donnelly noted, “I regard it as part of my mission in the little booklet that comes with each orrery I sell to tell the story of Ferguson. We’re just custodians of this knowledge and if we don’t push it forward it will be lost.”

    Learn more about Donnelly’s work at www.armstrongmetalcrafts.com.

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  • How Many Beavers Does It Take to Screw in a Dresser?
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    By Dave DeLuca

    PHOTO FOR TOOL LIBRARYWhen I say campus tools, you might think of undergrads that sit in the front of the classroom and call their professors by the first name. But I’m referring to another kind of campus tool. The kind that students need to put together or repair their desks, entertainment centers, and headboards. Apparently, these kids forgot to pick up a Phillips head when they were at Freddie’s, or don’t even know what a screwdriver is. As a result, something as simple as a broken shelf or drawer makes dorm room furniture suddenly seem disposable. 

    “Kids will go to Kmart for a new piece of furniture rather than buy tools,” said Grant Converse, the owner of Corvallis Furniture. 

    He runs a unique furniture store devoted to keeping usable items out of the waste stream. They are helping prolong the life of existing furniture, particularly among college students, with their Tool Sharing Library. This loan-a-tool program allows anyone to check out any of a number of common tools like Allen wrenches, ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, tape measures, and levels. Power tools such as sanders and drills are also available. No deposits or credit cards are required, only a $10 membership fee to join the library. Tools are loaned out for two to three days at a time, and come with free advice.

    “We’re not just helping them keep their furniture from the dumpster, but giving them a skill they will take with them wherever they go,” Converse added.

    For more information on Corvallis Furniture, the loan-a-tool program, or general furniture DIY advice, go to www.corvallisfurniture.com or visit the store at 1810 SW 3rd Street.

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