Think Oregon


Harvest Hands: Part III

My crush on winemaking has started to fade. I am tired, my body hurts in places it shouldn’t and I’m spending more on physical therapy than I’m earning. Now that all of the fruit has come in, much of what is left to do at the winery is, shall I say, a bit tedious. But, just when I was thinking about breaking up with winemaking, I dug out my first tank and kinda fell in love with winemaking again.


Harvest Hands: Part I

Three years ago I visited Oregon from Kansas City and worked for a few days doing harvest activities at Lange Estate Winery with winemaker (and patient and gracious friend) Jesse Lange. I loved it. I loved the work, and most importantly—I loved Oregon. So immediate was my connection with this state that I moved here. My intention was to work a harvest, trying my hand at winemaking to see if that was my true calling. During my first year in Oregon the timing wasn’t right; the second year, fear of failing got in my way. This year I decided: no excuses. It’s now or never, so I jumped in.


Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Festival The Claim The country’s oldest Shakespeare festival put Oregon on the map as a world-class theater destination. The Reality The Oregon Shakespeare Festival remains an enduring destination, as one of the few surviving repertory theaters in the United States. Situated within a stone’s throw of some of the state’s most spectacular rivers, beaches and wilderness areas, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) remains a prime destination for theater-lovers, just as it has for the past seventy-five years. “If you come here, you have to plan that journey and take the time to reach us,” says associate artistic director, Christopher Acebo. “The act of choosing to come to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival matters, especially in a society that’s moving so quickly.” Acebo credits a history of strong leadership within the organization for successfully ushering the company through the ages. While festivals showcasing the Bard’s work can seem as common…


Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living The Claim Oregon is one of the most eco-friendly states in the country The Reality While difficult to quantify, Oregon regularly ranks as one of the most progressive states for sustainabiliy, right along with California. Sustainable practices inform a range of environmental, social and economic aspirations, including incentives for residential and commercial solar power, wind farms, affordable housing, organic farming, green technology and electric vehicle charging stations. In many ways, Oregon has been a leader in the national green movement, through groundbreaking legislation and private sector projects. For example, back in 1997, before climate change even became a prominent issue, the state passed the first law regulating greenhouse gas emissions, says Ben Vitale, president of The Climate Trust, an Oregonbased climate solutions firm. “It’s in the fabric of this state, from the farmers who are the ultimate stewards of the environment to city dwellers who share this common…


Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey The Claim Kesey is Oregon’s most influential author The Reality Indeed, Kesey put the state on the literary map, plus some. Even though Ken Kesey garnered much of his fame outside Oregon—as the ringleader of the Merry Prankster psychedelic experimentation in Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and as the author of the acclaimed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—the state will always claim him as its own. Kesey moved to a farm in Pleasant Hill with his family when he was a boy, before attending Springfield High School and the University of Oregon. He went on to write many novels throughout his lifetime, including Sometimes a Great Notion, about the Oregon logging industry. “I can’t think of a book that better describes the beauty and richness of Oregon,” says Keri Aronson, director of development for the University of Oregon library. “It’s a very wordy tough read,…



Timber The Claim Oregon was once a mighty timber supplier, but those days are long gone. The Reality The heyday is over, but the state is still the number one lumber producer in the country. Oregon is known for its trees, and rightfully so. Forests cover about half of the state, for a total of 30.5 million acres. That’s about how many acres of forest existed here thirty years ago, says Paul Barnum, executive director of the Oregon Forest Research Institute in Portland. “It’s also estimated there’s as much wood growing in Oregon forests today as in the early 1950s, and that’s no accident,” he says. “The Oregon Forests Practices Act requires reforestation after harvest, plus the state has a unique system of land-use laws that have protected forests.” All those trees have helped make Oregon the number one lumber producer in the United States, accounting for 18 percent of…



Hazelnuts The Claim Oregon is one of the world’s top hazelnut producers. The Reality Although Oregon grows 99.9 percent of the hazelnuts in the United States, the crop makes up just 5 percent of global production. Let’s face it, Oregon will never be Turkey. About 80 percent of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in that Mediterranean country. Still, Oregon produces almost all the hazelnuts—also known as filberts—grown stateside. (Washington state grows the other 0.01percent.) Last year, 30,000 acres of hazelnut trees produced 39,000 tons of nuts in Oregon. Seventy percent of the crop was exported, with most of it going to China, a country with a penchant for snacking on hazelnuts. Another notable buyer of the Oregon crop? The Italy-based Ferrero Group, which makes Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Hazelnut grower Don Christensen, who farms 500 acres of trees in the Amity area, says Oregon has yet to produce enough…


Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast The Claim Oregon claims a unique coastline of entirely public beaches. The Reality Every mile of beach along the state’s coastline is public, but we’re not alone. While Oregon deserves bragging rights for its 363 miles of public beaches—the entire length of the state’s coastline—our friends in Hawaii enjoy the same access. Hawaii is the only other state in the country with a coastline accessible to anyone willing to walk in the sand. In Oregon, beaches became public property in 1967 when the “Beach Bill” passed the Oregon State legislature and was subsequently signed into law by Governor Tom McCall. McCall finished what Governor Oswald West began in 1913, designating all coastal beaches as public roads. “No one can actually own the beach,” says Lucy Gibson, public relations director at the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. “Everyone should be allowed to enjoy it, not just the person with the…