Think Oregon

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Laurence Bennett: The Extended Interview

Lean and tan, Laurence Bennett looks every bit the movie star. But as a production designer, Bennett is actually the wizard behind the lens. We all have a sense of what a cinematographer, an editor and a director does, but the production designer’s role is often cloaked in mystery. Bennett’s job is what he calls “the artistic author, responsible for bringing to life the entire world the characters inhabit on film.” Bennett’s film and TV credits include the just-released The Company You Keep and five-time Academy Award-winning The Artist, as well as Crash, The Valley of Elah, Freedom Writers, The Next Three Days, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “EZ Streets.” We caught up with Bennett at his restored 1904 farmhouse in Estacada. Here, with his wife, Nina, and a menagerie, Bennett is able to recharge.

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The Best-kept Musical Secret: House of Snow

As angels descend from the heavens, they must sound something like Laurel Brauns. If they don’t, they could hang out awhile to find inspiration from below in House of Snow, Brauns’ latest release. With vocals that range from angelic sweet to Patsy Cline strong, Brauns at times wanes only waiting to wail in her next track.

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Keeping Up With the Best of Them

Much like an Olympic athlete, Ralph Reiff, M.Ed., LAT, ATC, is living the dream. Reiff is the Executive Director of St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis, an organization that is gaining attention for its high performance workshops. Each clinic follows a “one stop shop” model by gathering a range of sports professionals (including athletic trainers, nutritionists and sports psychologists) in one place to meet with participants. Athletes and coaches go from person to person to discuss their strengths and weaknesses in each area. Trainers give customized homework to help the athlete make improvements. They go home, do their assignments, and come back for successive rounds of consultation. Track & field stars Matt Tegenkamp and Jesse Williams are among the people who have taken advantage of the program.

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The Dog Days Aren’t Over in Cannon Beach

Dog owners beam at the antics and carefree jaunts of their four-legged family members all along Oregon’s coastline. The public nature of our beaches means that dogs are welcome anywhere they can run on the sandy shores. Leashes are forsaken (legally as long as the dog is “within voice control”) in favor of Frisbees and makeshift driftwood for fetching. One town in particular is any proud pet owner’s dream. Cannon Beach welcomes four legs with open arms and offers a variety of pet-friendly recreation and accommodations.

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Andalusia to Southern Oregon

Pressed up close to Pistol River’s South Bank Road, Les Stansell’s shop appears an unassuming grey corrugated metal building. A dozen broken surfboards and an assortment of wood lean against it. A small hand-painted sign says “Stansell and Co.” That’s as close as Stansell comes to direct advertising—even though he’s renowned for his handcrafted flamenco guitars.

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Function from Form

Two years ago, Rick Fredland made a clever connection between form and function, crafting the concept of the Silipint, or pint cups made of silicone. These vessels could bounce off any surface, survive cliff jumps and regain shape after being run over by a bicycle-powered mobile pub. The cup’s adaptable form gives it more lives than a cat.

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Canby, Oregon

Every road to Canby is a pleasant one, especially for connoisseurs of fresh, locally grown produce.

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Top 5: Mike McMenamin

Mike McMenamin, Oregon pub owner extraordinaire, weighs in with the top 5 versions of his favorite Grateful Dead song, ‘Dark Star.’

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Coming Home

It was Fourth of July weekend in Vancouver, Washington, and the startling snaps, pops and explosions from fireworks outside of Mandee Juza’s home immediately transported her back to Iraq. She holed up in the basement, and tried to escape the feeling that guns and bombs were thundering nearby, threatening her life. She was experiencing the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a common mental illness that has affected veterans of all wars.

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Perserverence: The Journey of Chinese in Oregon

From their table at the Golden Horse Restaurant in Portland’s Chinatown, Mary Leong, a youthful 90 year old, and Fred Wong, equally spry at 87, can glance in any direction and the memories come back to them. Over a lunch of rice porridge and beef chow fun, they banter about the neighborhood. With wry humor and wistful moments, they recall lives shared by their families across the arc of time, a mosaic of memories and anecdotal history of Portland’s Old Town Chinatown.