Think Oregon


Joe O’Neill

photo by Blaine Franger Tell us about your childhood. I was the definition of a “latchkey” kid. I attended eight different schools by the time I was in sixth grade, and we had moved fourteen times. Being an only child, and the new kid, I lost myself in books from a very early age. When did you start writing? I’ve been a writer since I was about 10. I developed a series called “Flash Rodgers,” a very witty combination of Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon. I did all the writing and illustration, and would present the finished product to my mother each Sunday morning. I started writing my first novel when I was 15 (an impossibly bad spy novel). I wrote during college, and in my 20s tried, unsuccessfully, to copy the styles of David Sedaris and Nick Hornby. I wrote lots of stories, and all of them were bad….


State vs Private

A bill before the Oregon Legislature is SB 1559, which would allow grocers in Oregon to sell distilled spirits. The Northwest Grocers say the bill doesn’t go far enough. The Oregon Distillers Guild says the bill will kill the Oregon craft distilling industry. Here, Oregon Liquor Control Commission chairman Rob Patridge debates Alex Duarte of Oregonians for Competition on privatizing liquor sales in Oregon. Rob Patridge OLCC Chairman illustration by Paul Harris   62 1859 OREGON’S MAGAZINE MARCH | APRIL 2014 LOCAL HABIT sound off OREGONIANS CAN walk into any of the 248 liquor stores and buy anything off the shelf, including more than 400 Oregon-made products. Oregonians have more than 2,000 choices for distilled spirits—more than almost any state in the nation because of our distribution system. If a store doesn’t have a product, they can order it. Just ask one of the more than 1,000 employees of these…


Literary Highlight

A self-described ‘cubano de Nueva Jersey via Nuevo Mexico,’ Robert Arellano is the author of six novels, including the 2010 Edgar Award finalist, Havana Lunar. Along with his wife and two children, he relocated to Talent in 2010 to teach at Southern Oregon University, where he is continuing his twenty-year teaching career. Arellano is a 2014 Oregon Literary Fellow. As part of his tenure, he is a volunteer teacher at youth writing workshops, including the César E. Chavez Leadership Conference in March. The conference brings together Latino student leaders from nine regional high schools from Grants Pass to Klamath Falls. photo by Ezra Marcos Congratulations on receiving a 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowship. What’s in the cards for you this year? Thank you. Besides keeping up an invigorating job at SOU, I will teach and deliver the keynote address at Ashland’s Claim Your Story 2 conference in April, as well as…

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The Sharing Economy

NEIGHBORS IN A QUIET ASHLAND enclave of thirteen townhomes near Grizzly Peak share a workshop with its communal band saw and planer, a garden, a ping-pong table, a guest room, an indoor area with a kitchen and two meals a week. This is Southern Oregon’s only cohousing community, and an example of the growing sharing economy that includes homes, cars, goods, services and spans the state. Photo by Aubrie LeGault  The Ashland cohousing community was designed by Melanie Mindlin, Ashland Planning Commission’s chairwoman who has neither architecture nor urban planning degree but has a vision of community. Mindlin bought the property, and did the site plan and conceptual drawings of the buildings before hiring an architect. She and other member households later formed a company, and after they secured a construction loan, Mindlin transferred title of the land to what’s now called the Ashland Cohousing Community. Mindlin, age 58, grew…

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Trip Tracks: Oregon tunes for the journey

featured photo by Talia Galvin Highway 97 Journey Through Time on Highway 97 I was halfway to the North Pole on Highway 97 before I reached Shaniko, the ghost town in northern Central Oregon. A sign read: “45th Parallel. Halfway Between The Equator And The North Pole.” Also known as the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, this road is the passage for the journey from the all-but-abandoned Shaniko north to Biggs, at the intersection of Highway 97 and I-84. This is a land of wide open spaces, where dryland wheat farming has taken hold. Residents along this route are mostly growers who depend upon the whims of nature to determine crop viability. Though the climate is dry, farmers have worked with what nature provides and wheat has been a staple of the economy here for generations. On a clear day, driving through this rolling outback lets you take in views that…

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To the Tune of Selflessness

Across the state, giving Oregonians dedicate their lives to helping share the gift of music with people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. Our residents provide instruments and lessons, mentorship, and inspiration via life-enriching nonprofit organizations. The following local nonprofits are committed to providing a cultural experience to community members who might need it the most. 

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Oregon Singer Song Writers 2

written by Meredith Frengs Wales  Our diverse natural environment is a symphony of sorts Within whispering forests of skyscraping trees, in the thunder of coastal swells and between the rushing torrents of our rocky rivers, Oregon is making music. Our diverse natural environment is a symphony of sorts. Whether in the plains of the high desert or atop a snowy peak, the state seems to conduct its own musical arrangements just by being. Its inspiration and influence is undeniable to a variety of local voices—each forging their own brand of “Oregon music.” The term singer-songwriter barely scratches the surface. In the interest of discovering what exactly it means to be a musician in Oregon and how and where inspiration strikes, 1859 caught up with three local artists whose music is both turning heads and tapping toes … each to their own beat.   Halie Loren When picturing the predominant musical…