Think Oregon

GoCamp Is a Dream Deliverer

GoCamp gets camper vans in on the sharing economy and delivers adventure written by Sheila G. Miller Instagram posts with the hashtag #vanlife have become all the rage in recent years. I can’t possibly be the only Oregonian who looks wistfully at the wild vistas and the perfectly kitted vans and thinks, “Why not me?” Here’s why not: a new or gently used camper van can set you back between $20,000 and $100,000 and aren’t necessarily realistic for daily driving. Most of us will never own one. But that doesn’t mean the dream is dead—that’s where GoCamp comes in. Deborah Kane started GoCamp partly out of a desire to get others out into the wilderness and partly to prevent her camper van from sitting in her driveway all the time. Kane, who rents out her basement apartment in Southeast Portland using Airbnb, had her a-ha moment in 2017. “Through my…

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue: Rhonda and Jim Urquhart’s devotion to donkeys

written and photographed by Joni Kabana Rhonda and Jim Urquhart of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, had no idea what they were getting into when they decided to uproot from their arid Arizona homes and “move to green” after visiting an Oregon farm with its caving red barn. “I think we’re home!” exclaimed Rhonda during their first viewing, while driving past the front gate. They returned to Arizona and rounded up their dogs, loaded up a van and followed a leap of faith into lush Oregon territory. Fast forward more than a decade to present day—it is apparent they found their calling: fostering neglected and misunderstood donkeys via the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue organization and working with the Wild Burro Project. After adopting their first two donkeys soon after moving to the 40-acre Oregon City farm, they immediately “fell in love with this invisible equine.” “They aren’t stupid or stubborn…

If, Then: The Road Not Taken

A debut novel takes on visions of what could have been, or could be interview by Sheila G. Miller In Kate Hope Day’s new novel, If, Then, you can almost feel the gloom and fog of an Oregon mountain town pressing in on you. Put up your hood—the downpour is coming, and it’s not just rain. Day’s book takes us into the lives of a group of neighbors who live near the base of a dormant volcano known as Broken Mountain. Their lives get complicated when they begin seeing flashes of their lives, but different—a mom who didn’t die of cancer, a different partner, a new pregnancy. Day sat down with 1859 to explain just what it is about Oregon that inspired this type of imaginative work. How did you develop the idea for this first novel?It came out of two big life changes—having my first child and moving to…

Frank Makes features fun woodworking creations

written by Juliet Grable In one of Frank Makes’ most popular YouTube videos, a lawn chair seemingly assembles itself. Large slabs of Sequoia march across the lawn and file into the shop. A skill saw rips a board, sans operator. Wood chips pile up on the floor next to the drill press. Near the end, the pieces of the chair leap into position, and the wood clamps, having done their job, clamber down from the newly assembled chair and scamper across the floor. Both the film and the chair are the creations of Frank Howarth, a soft-spoken mad genius who lives in southwest Portland with his wife, Bonnie, and kids Claire and Calvin. His popular YouTube channel, Frank Makes, has nearly 500,000 subscribers. Howarth’s films document woodworking projects ranging from the practical to the whimsical. Some are items from the honey-do list—bookcases, kitchen drawer organizers— others, such as a turned…

Tillamook Air Museum shows off jets in a World War II hangar

written by James Sinks In World War II, to help safeguard military and cargo flotillas, the U.S. Navy launched blimps that could spot enemy submarines from above. The airships were housed in garages in strategic spots on both coasts. The northernmost in the West was in Tillamook. Today, you can still stand in the belly of one of the mammoth hangars, known as Hangar B. Its twin, Hangar A, burned to the ground in 1992. Calling the place big is an understatement—visible for miles, it is among the largest free-standing, clear-span wooden structures on the planet. During the war, with steel in high demand, the Navy looked to the forests of the Northwest to frame the architectural marvel, where a latticework of old-growth beams soar 192 feet overhead. Now home to the Tillamook Air Museum, Hangar B shelters fighter jets, including an F-14 Tomcat; a locomotive; a piece of the…

Yvonne Michaud Leads An Active Life

written by Mackenzie Wilson People often tell Yvonne Michaud she’s an inspiration. Well-meaning strangers stop the 26-year-old in the grocery store to congratulate her on shopping for eggs or whatever else happens to be in her cart. She knows they have the best intentions, but the Independence resident doesn’t need or want praise for living an independent life. In 2013, while Michaud was living in Texas, she was mountain biking on a familiar trail when an expert-level section proved to be too much. She hit a bump that flipped her back tire over the front, tossing her to the ground. “Immediately, I just felt loud static and tingling from my waist down,” Michaud said. Alone in the woods, she was able to pull her cell phone out of her Camelbak and call 911. When firefighters arrived, Michaud told them it felt like she was laying on a rock, but after they…

A native plant nursery does vital work to protect Oregon’s habitat from invasive species

interview by Catie Joyce-Bulay | photography by Talia Jean Galvin The Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation Native Plant Nursery grows sixty-two varieties of native plants used to revegetate compromised landscapes while preserving a tribal heritage of these “first foods.” In 2016, the nursery was selected as the pilot nursery for the Oregon Sage Grouse Initiative, a collaboration between state and federal agencies and private landowners that will provide more habitat for the threatened sage grouse. Manager Gail Redberg has worked at the nursery since 2011.  The Sage Grouse Initiative has been an important project you’ve been working on for a while—where are you in the process? Last November, we collected seed from Roaring Springs Ranch in the Steens Mountains. We are currently growing out the seed and will be using those plants for several projects on the ranch, including revegetating a historic lek [an area where sage grouse congregate] abandoned a…

Downtown Portland’s New Hotels

written by Sheila G. Miller If anyone needs a sign that Portland is officially becoming a “big city,” that sign may be found downtown, on Southwest Alder Street. The city’s design commission in May gave the go-ahead for a twelve-story Moxy Hotel at Alder and 10th Avenue. The hotel, part of the Marriott brand, is expected to go into a space currently used as a parking lot with food carts lining the perimeter. According to Willamette Week, all food carts were told to leave the space by October 7. A larger section of the city’s famous Alder Street Food Cart Pod, on Alder between 9th and 10th, is also likely to be the site of a new hotel. The Oregonian reported that a luxury, five-star hotel is proposed for that lot. The hotel, proposed by BPM Real Estate Group, would be thirty-three stories and would have offices, condos and a food…

2018 Local Oregon Albums You Need To Hear

Oregon AlbumsPut these 2018 Oregon albums on your list written by Ben Salmon Haley Heynderickx, I Need To Start A Garden | Portland It took Haley Heynderickx quite a while to write, record and release her debut full-length, and that’s because she took the time to get it right. The result is a record full of wondrous, well-crafted songs that twist and turn in unexpected ways, but never outrun her gift for distinctive melody. I Need to Start a Garden is not the loudest or brightest or most expensive-sounding album to come out of Oregon in 2018, but it might be the most powerful. Chanti Darling, RNB Vol. 1 | Portland For a while, Chanticleer Trü has been an electrifying force within Portland’s music scene, talked about with breathless anticipation by those in the know. In other words—the city’s been waiting for him to bust out. With Chanti Darling, Trü…

Lisa Congdon is a Master at Creating Colorful Art

Lisa Congdon creates colorful, inclusive art written by Sheila G. Miller Good things come to those who wait. We had to wait until Portland fine artist Lisa Congdon was in her early 30s to even pick up a paintbrush. But today, her work is all over the place. If it’s melancholy you seek, keep moving— Congdon’s colorful work is full of hand-lettered statements like “You be you. I’ll be me” and “Eyes forward. Heart open.” There’s a bit of whimsy, a slightly youthful vibe and a ton of color. Her clients are diverse, from Martha Stewart Living to Harvard University, and her Etsy shop is thriving Congdon, 50, started out painting as a hobby. After working in education for twenty years and as a project manager for a nonprofit, she decided at age 40 to try to be a full-time, working artist. She’d never attended art school and was completely…