Think Oregon

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On The Set

In the colorful landscape of Oregon’s film industry, a place connected with such names as Gus Van Sant and Carrie Brownstein, Martin Vavra struggles for recognition. Portland-based Vavra does film and video production through his company, Galaxy Sailor Productions, which came to life after the 40-year-old lost his middle school science teaching job in 2008.

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Top 5 with Shannon Bex

written by Kevin Max | photo by Paula Watts A native of Bend, Shannon Bex, 31, started her career as one of the Portland Trailblazer dancers and front woman for the band 5 Guys Named Moe. Since then, she was first runner-up on the NBC reality show “Fame.” In 2005, Sean “Diddy” Combs selected her to join his MTV hit reality show “Making The Band,” in which contestants compete to be members of a band. Bex made the band and became a member of the multi-platinum selling group, Danity Kane. Danity Kane’s first and second albums released at the top of the Billboard Top 200 chart, earning the group a Guinness Book of World Record distinction as the first female group in Billboard history to make two consecutive albums at the top of the charts. Though the group had international recognition and saw much success in their four years together,…

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Independence

Once the hops capital of the world, Independence has becom a well-preserved warren of historical buildings down Main Street and an energetic community scene centered on its Willamette riverfront amphitheater.

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Influence and the Health Insurance Exchange

The federal Affordable Care Act frames health insurance exchanges as a transparent and competitive insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can get the same health insurance benefits as large corporations.

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An Artist, Retrained

“I usually go into a trance for twelve straight hours and then I’m done,” he says. The creative urge lasts long enough to produce an image, a facial expression, a memory, or a feeling on the square or rectangle before him. “I never know exactly what the meaning is, but it works itself out.”

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Oregon Grass-Fed Beef

Jill McClaran wears her blonde hair to her waist and spurs on her cowboy boots. The 27-year-old spends her days in the saddle herding cattle along the basalt rims and airy benches of Hell’s Canyon. Out of cell phone range and hours from the nearest town, this University of Idaho graduate looks over a thousand McClaran Ranch cattle as they graze the rugged and wild eastern Oregon grasslands.

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The Office’s Rainn Wilson on Sisters

At this point in his bizarre life much is known about Dwight “Danger” Schrute III, an under-appreciated second-tier paper salesman in NBC’s hit series “The Office.” Actor Rainn Wilson plays the socially awkward, confrontational character who plies children with true/false questions such as, “The black bear is the greatest known bear alive,” only to blurt out, “False! All bears are the greatest known bears alive.” Like many aspiring salesmen, Dwight’s wardrobe is an ill-advised étude in mustard-colored shirtsleeves. Perhaps more troubling than his fashion sense, are his supernatural claims. Foremost among these is his power to recall his own singleton birth after he “resorbed” his twin in utero. A little-known fact about actor Rainn Wilson is his connection to Oregon. Wilson’s wife went to high school in Portland, and the couple and their young son are also part-time residents of Sisters, Oregon, where they own a small cabin. Wilson was…

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New Jazz in Portland

Jazz in the Rose City is blossoming with youthful innovation these days in a Pacific Northwestern cult fueled by creativity. While expressing the independent spirit of Oregon, this emerging jazz culture also remains connected to the past.

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Lucky in Heppner

While vestiges of the Heppner Flood remain everywhere, the small rural town at the foot of the Blue Mountains is channeling the luck of the Irish with a Celtic history that remains today. Its St. Patrick’s Day celebration is great shillelagh and shenanigans.