Business

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…

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…

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…

Baseballism Is Creating Baseball For All

Oregon may not have a baseball team (yet), but it has a successful baseball company written by Beau Eastes | photography by Brian Holstein Baseballism has retail shops in baseball hot spots around the country—Cooperstown, New York; Scottsdale, Arizona; Boston; and San Francisco to highlight a few—but its flagship store is in a beautifully renovated warehouse on Northwest 22nd and Quimby in Portland, just seven blocks from the Portland Beavers’ original stadium, Vaughn Street Park. What started out as a youth baseball camp put on by four former University of Oregon club baseball players is now a $10 million a year lifestyle brand built around America’s pastime. That means you can purchase everything from T-shirts adorned with baseball terms like “Southpaw” and “Live Life Like a 3-1 Count” to $85 leather toiletry bags. The company doesn’t have a licensing agreement with Major League Baseball, instead creating products from sayings and slogans…

Reusing Oregon Hazelnut Shells

Reusing Oregon Hazelnut Shells: Reducing waste, and saving the environment, with hazelnut shells interview and photography by Vanessa Salvia Turns out, Oregon’s hazelnuts are good for more than making pies, cookies and eating out of hand. Tualatin resident David Bantz, owner of He Sells These Shells, sells cracked, bagged hazelnut shells to garden centers and at farmers markets, and has participated in research looking into how effective hazelnut shells are at removing toxins from water. At home, Bantz has set aside a large area near his driveway where he unloads truckloads of hazelnut shells—80,000 pounds at a time. He bags them by hand and delivers them himself. Around his home, the hazelnut shells ll pots and line pathways, where this quintessential Oregon resource really shines. About 67,000 acres in Oregon are dedicated to growing the nut. How did you get into selling hazelnut shells? In 2008, I lost my job…

Austin Wallace Is Making Animal Welfare A Priority

A Special Agent Is Making Animal Welfare A Priority interview by Sheila G. Miller A special agent commissioned with the Oregon State Police and employed by the Oregon Humane Society, Austin Wallace is in his thirteenth year serving in this role. He’s worked in law enforcement and animal welfare around the country for nearly twenty years. As a child in Scotland, he grew up with budgies (Scottish slang for parakeets) and felt a kinship with animals. He got into law enforcement, first covering the animal control officer on vacation and eventually taking over the position full time. “It wasn’t my main career goal, but it found me,” he said. The Oregon Humane Society, which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary, receives more than 5,000 calls and emails to its investigations line each year, and Wallace and the rest of the team work on more than 1,000 of those. “Call in,”…

The Portland Spoon Company

Russell Clark of the Portland Spoon Company uses tree waste for spoons written by Katrina Emery The Portland Spoon Company was born out of an excess of wood and a little hobby. Russell Clark, a carver, works by day as an arborist in the Portland Metro area. From tending to the dead and downed trees, he saw so much wood go through the chipper that when he picked up spoon carving he found himself with a glut of material. He taught himself from books, videos and fellow carvers, online or in person. “The first few were terrible,” he laughed, but he now sells the beautiful spoons, ladles and spatulas online and in a handful of shops around Portland, like the Hoyt Arboretum gift shop. With all the tips and tricks in his arsenal, and so much passion for the craft, he’s partnered with Wildcraft Studio School to teach spoon carving…

Pop of Joy Makes Weddings Manageable and Memorable

Pop of Joy is keeping it simple and wants to keep your wedding manageable, simple and beautiful written by Sheila G. Miller | photography by Road 40 Pop of Joy believes that weddings are supposed to be about one thing—two people declaring their love and commitment to one another. But over the years, they’ve also morphed into focusing on other things, like twenty bridesmaids and photo booths and donut walls and sparkler sendoffs and coordinated dances and multiple dress changes. Now, Sharayah Dancer has a plan to bring the meaning back into focus with her new company, Pop of Joy. “We want to make sure to make it so easy for brides,” Dancer said. “Weddings get crazy and so stressful, and there are so many parts to weddings that people don’t understand until they start planning.” Dancer, with a business partner, used to run Blush Events, a wedding planning company…