Think Oregon

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…

Mind and Body: Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Xuan Cheng

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Xuan Cheng keeps raising the bar with hard work and training written by Mackenzie Wilson Since she was a little girl living in China, Xuan Cheng, 33, has been familiar with call times. At 10 years old, she left home to attend the School of Guangzhou Ballet of China, where she and other aspiring ballerinas started their days with a rigorous hour-and-a-half workout at 5:30 a.m. “We were like a little army,” Cheng said. She doesn’t sugar coat the school’s strictness—snacks weren’t allowed and neither were family visits. Cheng’s family lived five-and-a-half hours away by train and she saw them once or twice a year. The only relief from the isolation was a five-minute phone call once a week to loved ones. Now a principal dancer for the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Cheng can appreciate the level of discipline it took to push her and the other students…

Eats of Eden by Tabitha Blankenbiller

For the Love of Food: Tabitha Blankenbiller’s new book is a “foodoir” interview by Cara Strickland Originally from the Mount Rainier foothills, Tabitha Blankenbiller moved to Oregon for college, and now it’s home. Her recent book, Eats of Eden, celebrates the way food intersects with the rest of her creativity and life, and celebrates the bounty of our region.   Tell me about your book. Eats of Eden is a book about food and writing and how those two passions feed and distract from one another. I found that working on an art form takes so much concentration and energy— sometimes it’s going really well and sometimes it’s not. It’s really helpful to have some other form of expression as an outlet for when you’re feeling frustrated, tired or uninspired. For me, that art form was cooking, and has always been. Creating and loving food has always been a huge…

Oregon athletic facilities, big and small, are planned around the state

New Oregon athletic facilities, big and small, around the state written by Sheila G. Miller Many track and field buffs are in mourning at the changes underway at historic Hayward Field. The facility, which was built in 1919 to house football and grew into the legendary location of Olympic Trials and USA Track and Field championships, has been torn down and will be rebuilt entirely using funds from the Phil and Penny Knight Foundation and other donors. The new facility is the result of Eugene hosting the 2021 World Outdoor Championships. It will have an expanded capacity—from 8,500 to 12,900 with room for temporary seating up to 30,000—and a nine-story tower with an observation deck, as well as a locker room and an indoor practice facility. Missing from the facility will be the wooden stands where fans have cheered on racers for nearly a century. The project was designed by…