Archive for the ‘News & Media’ Category

Help Preserve Oregon Arts, Culture, and Humanities Funding

***ACTION ALERT from The Regional Arts & Culture Council ***

Help Preserve Oregon Arts, Culture, and Humanities Funding

If you read the newspaper and listen to broadcast media, you know that Oregon is facing one of the most significant budget shortfalls in its history. The State issued its revenue forecast on Friday. Revenue projections are now an additional $55 million over the previously announced shortfall of $800 million in the State’s General Fund. Lottery revenues are also down.

Legislators issued a “cut list” last week. It contains proposed reductions and fund sweeps for all agencies to re-balance the 2007- 09 budget, assuming an $800 million hole. This represents a serious threat to state funding for culture.

In this proposal are the following reductions in current year spending:

$211,384 cut to the Oregon Arts Commission
$350,000 cut to the Oregon Historical Society
$ 64,085 cut in lottery funds to the Office of Film and Television

Finally, and most sobering: the “funds sweep” list of Other Funds includes the recapture of $1.8 million from the permanent fund of the Oregon Cultural Trust. The $1.8 million includes $1.3 million in cultural license plate revenue generated since 2003 – plus interest.

The Cultural Trust was authorized by the Legislature in 1999 – ten years ago – to grow and stabilize funding for culture – in good times and in bad. To skim the Trust fund and re-allocate cultural license plate fees for the General Fund is a violation of trust with the buyers of the plates who assumed they were supporting Oregon culture with their purchases. To raid the fund to pay for other state services simply violates the very purpose of the Trust and the intent of the Trust’s thousands of donors: to protect and invest in Oregon’s cultural resources.

This situation is very serious. Not only are legislators dealing with a large revenue shortfall and the potential of an additional $55 million in cuts, there are efforts underway to hold k-12 school funding from further reductions.

Take Action Now.

Use the Cultural Advocacy Coalition’s website to send a message directly to your legislators. You can use one of the messages on the website – or write your own message to convey the importance of cultural funding in your city, town or county and why the Oregon Cultural Trust needs to be remain intact and taken off the fund sweep
list.

Work to re-balance the state budget is proceeding very quickly and may be completed by this weekend. Weigh in with your opinion. Click here to send a message to your legislators NOW. It will only take two minutes of your time!

Thank you.

Eloise Damrosch, Executive Director
Regional Arts & Culture Council
108 NW 9th, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97209
www.racc.org

Holiday Gift Idea – Have You Seen The Horizon Lately

Have You Seen The Horizon Lately by Jamie S. Rich

Have You Seen The Horizon Lately by Jamie S. Rich

Giving someone a good book for a holiday gift is giving them something that they’ll experience for hours. A good book can also be an amazing experience, and experiences will always trump any physical gift you can ever give someone.

Have You Seen The Horizon Lately, was written by Portland author Jamie S. Rich and published locally by Oni Press. It one of the most stunningly emotional and well written books of the year. It’s quite possibly the very best book you’ve never heard of.

In Have You Seen The Horizon Lately characters grapple with deep emotional issues, struggle to find a way to connect to each and desperately seek the road to happiness.  This is the kind of book that you simply won’t put down and one you’ll never forget.

Giving someone a great book that they’ve never heard of, but fall in love with is a blockbuster gift, and in this case it’s an extremely affordable one too.

Other novels by Jamie S. Rich to check out include:  Cut My HairI was Someone Dead and The Everlasting.

Also check out his graphic novels including: Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her (with Joelle Jones) and Love The Way You Love.

KNRK – It’s Absolutely Not Different Here

It was late, well past midnight and it was the last day I was going to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading off to college. I had called in to Live 105 and was chatting with Big Rick Stuart who was jockeying between our phone call and the on air play. Rick came on the air and wished me a safe trip and played a song to send me off. That was the kind of radio station Live 105 was.

Mark Hamilton was a DJ at Live 105. He was the voice you’d also hear promoting the DJ’s spinning tunes down at One Step Beyond or The X nightclub. He was surrounded by great music and great people. So it was a fantastic revelation (Back in 1994) to find that he landed here in Portland at the very young KNRK. I met him at one of the early KNRK snowball shows, the one with Everclear and No Doubt. He seemed like a great guy.

Unfortunately it seems that Mark has forgotten what makes a great radio station. Over time he tweaked the playlist favoring retreading bands like Sublime over debuting new music and new artists. Sublime might be a slightly notable band but I doubt they should be continually haunting the airwaves of an alternative station.

Recently KNRK did a major revamp to their playlist, out was most of the new or truly alternative music (except for bands coming to town in KNRK sponsored events) and in were classics. KNRK effectively remade themselves into a Rock Mix station. The switch started gradually, with ‘classic alternative’ artists like David Bowie. Listen to KNRK for 2 hours and you’ll hear classic Bowie at least once….Then came bands like The Cars and Tom Petty. Tune in enough and you’ll wonder if KNRK hasn’t fused with KGON. At times even KUFO is more alternative… Which is sad.

Perhaps KNRK is a victim of its own success. Late last year their morning show with Greg Glover began to beat the competition. Perhaps that taste of popular success fueled them on to chase the popular audience. But what used to be a fairly descent alternative station is gone. Many of the good people are still there. Greg is smart guy, knows his music and takes risks (Listen to his Bottom Forty Sunday Nights). Gustav is still the friendliest face of the station, his perfect playlist and track 7 show he wants the station to be a good one. Tara is just plain great, she knows what’s going on, but she’s as powerless to fix it as anyone.

It all boils down to Mark Hamilton… Program director. Who has made a major misstep with the station by building a playlist that simply isn’t alternative. At my home office I’ve switched of KNRK and listen to KEXP online. KEXP, based in Seattle, ironically is the station supporting MusicFest NW (while local KNRK is notably absent). I hear new music via myspace and am more likely to fire up my mp3 player than my radio…

Next year Community Supported KZME 91.1 is set to launch. If KZME follows KEXP’s model it could give KRNK a serious run for its money. Until then fans of alternative music need to email Mark Hamilton and let him know that the playlist changes aren’t welcome, and remind them what ‘It’s Different Here’ really means. KNRK keeps saying it’s YOUR station… So tell them what YOU want.


Portland is a top-walker, but you still can’t take your beer with you…

I’m back! From a hopefully short-lived extremely busy time at both work and home and everywhere in between. And yes, I have some new exciting information for you. This will likely not be a surprise to most anyone, but Portland has come in as number 10 on Walk Score’s top 10 most walkable cities, with the Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, and Downtown all being our most walkable neighborhoods. Looking through the other cities, all of the “most walkable neighborhoods” are in downtown areas, which seems to be a “well, duh,” statement to me, since, well… duh. Of course the more urban areas tend to be more “walkable” with the increase in amenities in a small area. Anyhow, iff you haven’t checked out your neighborhood’s Walk Score, fill in your address and compare against your friends’ neighborhoods. My own Center comes in with a score of 80 (with my more immediate area coming in with a 71/100 – very walkable, though for some reason the map does not see some amenities near my place, like the QFC on Burnside, but denotes some businesses incorrectly, like Commercial Refrigeration on Glisan as a restaurant). And in fact, I do tend to walk to a number of places in my ‘hood often. This is a fantastic tool for checking out other possible neighborhoods for relocation (also points out how many bars there are, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you).

Speaking of bars, the boyfriend and I will be hitting up the Brewers’ Fest tomorrow at opening time. As these type of things tend to grow exponentially each year, I’m excited about trying all of the tasty wares, but I’m not too excited about the possible hours of waiting in line. If things look too bad, we may just head to Belmont Station to attend the tapping there of some kegs not featured at the OBF. Have I mentioned that I’ve been here now a year? My Portlandversary was on 7/15, and I can’t think of another place (within reason) I would rather be. ^_^

Here’s a "something" BEFORE it happens…

So thanks to my friends at filmfeverradio.com (and yes, they are long time friends), the boyo and I enjoyed a screening of The Dark Knight tonight.
Can I just say…

Oh.
My.
Gawd.
!

I’ll leave the reviews to them, but it was seriously f#$%ed up and seriously cool. I’m having a hard time not swearing… it was that intense.

Phonebooks down, FoodDay to go

A little while back I posted about the phone books that appear on our doorsteps several times a year. At the time we couldn’t find any way to stop their delivery – but now going to YellowPagesGoesGreen.org will end that extra pile of wasted paper coming to your home. Hooray!

Now we just need to get the Oregonian to stop tossing FoodDay on our doorsteps each week whether we’re subscribers or not. I thought maybe by leaving them in a pile for a month they’d just stop – but instead, my front walk just looks a bit whiskey-tango.

Or maybe when I get my new recycling roll-cart I can just leave one of the old yellow bins out there and they’ll drop straight in for me! (And stop with the plastic wrap in the dry months!!)

Bridges, Trains, and Roses

Now that the two three-day weekends (at least for me) are over, things should be getting back to normal here, which includes me spewing about everything I have been saving up for the past week. Thusly:
I-5 Over the Columbia
The Columbia River Crossing project needs input from the public, and the current feedback period is only open until July 1. Last Friday, a coalition of 13 groups requested a 60-day extension to said period to give ample time for those people and organizations involved to read the 5,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) dealing with the project. I wouldn’t suggest reading it yourself – I got stuck around page 50, and struggled to get that far – but glean as much information as you can on the project (try here and here, for starters) and chime in with your $.02. This is a Big Deal that will affect major transportation in and out of our fair city for decades to come, and yes, it will affect you in some way.

Nextly: I took the train (and bus) to Vancouver BC with the boyfriend 2 weekends ago, and I must say: train travel is awesome, though travel to Vancouver could use some help. Supposedly, there will be direct train service to Vancouver BC from us down here in Oregon in time for the Olympics (a good bit of the city is torn up due to transportation additions to the waterfront and Olympic Village), but I won’t believe it until I see it. We’ve already had a review of the train ride from PDX to SEA, so here’re the bits:

  • Pros:
  • Far less security hassle than the airport: we arrived and boarded barely 20 minutes before our scheduled departure
  • Access to a proper power outlet (120V) for unrestricted use
  • We had the ability to use our cellphones where there was reception (though chose not to)
  • The car we were in was incredibly quiet, and we whispered most of the trip
  • One can bring his/her own liquids aboard! No more smuggling 3oz bottles of vodka! We brought our massive flask and some mixers and made cocktails at our seats
  • The seats were comfortable and there were plenty of bathrooms to go around
  • Cons:
  • Delays – we were over an hour late to Seattle, but the connection was guaranteed, so some people got to wait on the bus for us. Sorry, people!
  • When we boarded, the a/c was broken in our car, and we were sweating up a storm (hottest day yet of the year + running a suitcase from the MAX to Union Station = ick!), but it was fixed when we departed (which was, granted, nearly 45 minutes later)
  • This is really about the bus – The bus sucks. It’s better than taking Greyhound the whole way, but the bus just seemed that much more crappy after such a pleasant train experience
  • Price – It was less than $200 for both of us to get to Vancouver and back, but I would love to be able to take the train down to Sacramento and maybe across the continent without having to sell my firstborn and a kidney. Get the prices for 6+ hours of travel down to an affordable rate (i.e. cheaper than airfare), and I’ll start booking my travel today.

And one more quick one!! Holy crap, it’s Rose Festival season again! The rides are going up to make Waterfront park a muddy mess, should the rain continue (opening Thursday) and the fireworks kick everything off on Friday. The good stuff (boats!) will start floating in on Thursday (Tall Sailing ships, 5/29-6/5, then Fleet Week 6/4-6/8). I’m so excited – more on that soon!

MetroFi Dumping City Wi-Fi By End of June

Better enjoy that free Portland Wi-Fi while you can…the Oregonian and the Portland Business Journal are both reporting the network may soon be sold to the city or shutdown. Word is MetroFi has decided to walk from the deal and is offering to sell the network to the city for $894,000! The company said it will be yank its equipment at the end of June if the city or someone else doesn’t pick up the tab.

This really seems like a crap move by MetroFi, especially when you consider this word of news that the company will be selling its nine city networks across the country. This move casts doubt, I think, on the viability of metro-wide Wi-Fi. We still have all those Personal Telco network hubs out there, but if you aren’t near one and don’t have another way to access the Internet, you’ll probably soon be out of luck.

The Failed Microsoft/Yahoo Deal – the Portland Connection

So it turns out the Rose City had a hand in the progression and eventual failure of the Yahoo/Microsoft merger. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, among other sources, reports executives from the two companies met here on April 15th at a Portland law firm:

As a result, Microsoft executives were surprised when Mr. Ballmer on April 5 letter sent a letter to Yahoo directors threatening a hostile approach if they didn’t reach a friendly deal by April 26. That spurred Yahoo executives and an entourage of bankers and advisers from both sides to meet with Microsoft on April 15 at a Portland, Ore., law firm. A presentation from Yahoo included a slide that said Microsoft’s offer “significantly undervalues” Yahoo.

Late into the meeting Mr. Ballmer addressed the elephant in the room: “Where are we on price?” he asked Mr. Yang, according to two people who were present. Responding to Mr. Ballmer’s question, Mr. Yang repeated that the original offer of $31 a share “substantially” undervalued the Internet company. Mr. Ballmer again asked for a firm price, and Mr. Yang said he didn’t have a number.

They also reportedly met aboutsocial issues,” such as management and perhaps corporate cultures. I find it interesting the two giants chose to meet in Portland for this meeting. Apart from the law firm, Portland seems to be a good middle ground for the two of them to have traveled to. Wonder if they got a chance to enjoy Stumptown Coffee or Voodoo Doughnuts while here? Anybody know what that law firm is?

POST UPDATED 10:48 AM with more links and info.

Civil rights leaders quietly visiting Portland

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to hear Fred Gray speak. I had never heard of Fred Gray before. I had no idea who he was, but after listening to him talk, I needed to learn more about him.

Fred Gray is a prominent civil rights attorney, he is from Alabama and was the primary legal counsel for Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr. The participants of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The families affected by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. He is a man who was an integral part of changing our society.

He was in town to speak at a local college’s commencement ceremonies, and while I didn’t hear that speech – I can only imagine how inspiring it must have been for those young students. I don’t know why – but if someone would have asked me if Rosa Parks’ attorney was black or white – I probably would have said white. I would have assumed that a black attorney wouldn’t have been able to fight a case about race. That the courts would have been too biased for a black man arguing a black woman’s case, to win.

Gray talked about his history and what the cases he’s been involved in have meant for civil rights, but also where there are still issues today. As he spoke, my mind also went to the correlations between racial civil rights fights in the 60s and 70s and the civil rights fights that occurring now for gay families – that was a question I really wanted to ask him, but never had the opportunity.

It was a strange setting though for a talk on civil rights – out of the 125 or so people in the room probably 95% were white, married with 2.5 kids, middle class folks. Although I can’t know for sure – I would guess that most of the people in that room probably haven’t ever truly felt the bite of discrimination, myself included. But I would like to think that it was more that just “white guilt” as my husband put it – that made his talk so powerful and moving.

With maybe the exception of the times around the OJ trial, with the current Presidential election underway there has been more talk of race that I’ve ever really heard in my – born and raised in overwhelmingly white parts of the country – life. It seems to be the hot topic for commencement speeches all over Portland. But so much of that talk is from people who really have no idea what it is they’re talking about. It was an honor to listen to a man who really does.

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