Union County, Oregon

Trip Planner: Union County

Union County is a mix of rugged beauty, farmland hospitality and a few surprises written by Catie Joyce-Bulay OF OREGON’S THIRTY-SIX COUNTIES, Union may not be the sexiest—you won’t find any sweeping beaches, hipsters or third-wave coffee, and the only haystacks are made of actual hay. What you will find is a nature lover’s playground spanning a diverse landscape, from high desert shrub steppe to rugged mountains, where three national forests converge over three mountain ranges, lush farmlands sprawl across valley floors and genuine local hospitality echoes the pioneering spirit of the Oregon Trail. DAY 1 MOUNTAINS • BREWS • BOUTIQUE HOTEL Oregonians are probably most familiar with I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge, but it’s no less scenic once it parts ways with the river. The stretch crossing into Union County is one of my favorite drives and a perfect example of how incredibly beautiful overlooked Eastern Oregon can…

A mother-daughter duo writes a YA novel set on the Oregon Coast

A mother-daughter duo writes a YA novel set on the Oregon Coast

interview by Sheila Miller Kim Cooper Findling and her daughter, 14-year-old Libby Findling, seem to have pulled off a near-impossible mother-daughter feat—they’ve completed a major project together and are still on speaking terms. The Findlings started writing a novel together four years ago, working together on the plot, developing the characters and crafting the story. Fast-forward four years and the book, The Sixth Storm, is a young-adult novel from Dancing Moon Press, which Cooper Findling purchased last year. The duo has traveled around Oregon doing readings, school visits and other publicity for the book, which The Oregonian recently named a new and notable YA title.  The young adult novel, set in a fictional Oregon Coast town called Starfish Cove, follows Skye Clancy, a girl whose family has a strange relationship with the weather, which has wrought death and destruction on them for decades. While the story is fictional, it picks…

Tetherow home

An architect and interior designer fashion a modern Tetherow home befitting the high desert

written by Melissa Dalton In this house, the formality of a traditional enclosed entryway is a thing of the past. Step inside the front door and you’re greeted with an immediate view out the back—a 12-foot-high wall of glass that frames a grove of Ponderosa pine trees, desert scrub brush and several Cascade peaks in the distance. Putting that view upfront was a priority for Anne Mastalir. When Mastalir and her family relocated to Central Oregon from Portland in 2013, the move was an opportunity for the interior designer and owner of Pringle Design to craft a house that was not only a calling card for her work, but an ode to her new home. “It was important to us to design and build a home that fit in well with the surrounding landscape and fit the Bend environment,” Mastalir said. I figured out a very long time ago that…

Summit Arts Center

Summit Arts Center’s creativity stems from a desire to preserve history in Government Camp

written by Catie Joyce-Bulay photography by Daniel Stark Most people head to Mount Hood for the epic skiing and hiking, but there’s also a vibrant art community keeping traditions of craftsmanship alive. The story of Summit Arts Center, formerly known as Cascadia Center for Arts and Crafts, began in the 1930s when the cabins housing its studios were first built for U.S. Forest Service personnel. In 1936, construction began on nearby Timberline Lodge as a Works Progress Administration project, providing employment during the Great Depression. As the lodge flourished as a popular tourist destination and historic landmark, the original Forest Service cabins fell into disrepair. Fast forward more than sixty years—the cabins were slated for demolition for lack of funds to repair them. Enter Betsy Valian, a nearby Government Camp resident and glass artist who couldn’t bear to see such an important part of the region’s history disappear. It was…

solar bee

A solar apiary combines solar power and pollination

written by James Sinks Honeybees dance and dip among the lightly shaded wildflowers in this patch of Rogue Valley farmland, zipping between splotches of color and—when filled with pollen—curl back to their boxed hives to offload their cargo, and then start anew. It’s almost a normal agricultural view. Until you look upward. The canopy above the carpet of wildflowers is not made up of tree branches, but rather rows of solar power panels, covering some 40 acres near Eagle Point. The installation came online in 2016 and produces 10 megawatts of renewable electricity—enough to supply the power needs of roughly 8,000 houses.  To Rogue River beekeeper John Jacob, the dual-use solar site—the nation’s largest “solar apiary”—is a thoughtful example of how farms of the future can coexist with renewable energy, and make the world better. And importantly, he said, the sites can act as organic refuges for stressed pollinators, who…

Nataki Garrett

New Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Nataki Garrett seeks to broaden marketing and season

What I’m Workin On interview by Sheila G. Miller The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced earlier this year that its new artistic director will be Nataki Garrett, a veteran stage director and the festival’s first African-American leader. She will be responsible for the artistic vision of the festival, which was founded in 1935 and has grown over the decades to become one of the biggest nonprofit theaters in the country. Garrett isn’t starting out slowly. While she takes over as the artistic director in August, she has been on site since April and will also direct a play, “How to Catch Creation,” at OSF in July. What exactly goes into being the artistic director?  I am the figurehead for artistic leadership, but I am also responsible for basically two-thirds of everything that happens in our organization. I’m responsible for all things in production such as choosing plays, hiring artists for plays…