Think Oregon

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…

tintype photographer

The Tintype Photographer

photography by Joe Kline Look through an old family photo album or peruse a historical society or museum, and you’ll find eerie tintype photography of years ago. Using a Civil War-era photographic process to make one-of-a-kind portraits of his subjects, Jason Chinchen is harking back to those olden times. The images are created by applying a light-sensitive silver emulsion to a thin piece of metal and then exposing it in a camera and developing it. Chinchen’s business, Analogue Tintypes, travels to various pop-up events around Central Oregon making tintype portraits for the public, and makes portraits in private sittings as well.

Liberty Bell in Oregon

When the Liberty Bell Came to Oregon

In 1915, the Liberty Bell came to Oregon as part of a patriotism-raising event in the lead up to WWI. Oregonians swooned. he 1915 annual Umatilla Reservation Indian Festival was in full swing on July 12 when it was upstaged by a remarkable sight. Arriving on a specially designed train, the nation’s Liberty Bell, on tour from Philadelphia, chugged into the Cayuse depot. Indians in full regalia, Chinese in native dress, and hundreds of others gaped at the Liberty Bell. Liberty Bell officials and the train crew gaped back. The bell’s official photographers took photos and recorded film. “It is doubtful whether the red people were half as interested in the bell as the Philadelphians were in them,” The Daily East Oregonian reported. As the Liberty Bell Special made its 10,000-mile journey across the United States that summer, stopping at 275 cities, towns and hamlets, a quarter of all Americans…

Oregon Granges continue to connect rural communities

written by Katie Chamberlain photography by Thomas Boyd ON A DRIZZLY OCTOBER MORNING, Jay Sexton dug through the archives of Marys River Grange with a quiet enthusiasm to show me the roster and photos of the grange’s original members, and poems describing the tightly knit grange community. Founding members of this grange, located in Philomath, heaved logs donated from nearby mills to construct the log cabin hall over several years in the early 1930s. The grange is tightly woven into the community’s landscape: Many of the nearby roads were named for families who were active in the grange during its early years. These historic halls, dotting Oregon’s back roads from Sixes to Enterprise, offer a window into Oregon’s agrarian past—and a glimpse into modern rural life. “People think of us as the building, but it’s more than the building,” said Sexton, steward of Marys River and state grange overseer. Sexton,…

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…