Author: Salem Weekly

CITY AND ROTARY TO IMPROVE RIVERFRONT PARK’S AMPHITHEATER

Just as the City finishes Peter Courtney Bridge at Riverfront Park, it recently acted to permit further improvements to the Park. The City designated the 2.2 acres currently occupied by the amphitheater as a performance facility in advance of completing a full master plan for the Park. This decision allows The Rotary Club of Salem to begin fundraising for a new covered stage and supports for lighting, rigging sound systems and other features. Depending on the total amount of funds raised by Rotary and the City’s ability to secure additional funding from other sources, the project may also include...

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UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF SALEM (UUCS) VOTES TO BECOME A SANCTUARY

As the Trump administration ramps up deportations and fuels fear among undocumented residents, a Salem congregation takes a bold stand for love and justice. With many Salem and Mid-Willamette Valley families living amid suspicion and fears of deportation, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem (UUCS) voted to become a sanctuary congregation.  The sanctuary vote is a strong stand against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests that have led to separated families, and men, women and children living in perpetual fear of being stopped, jailed and then deported.  In becoming a sanctuary congregation, UUCS follows a long faith tradition of churches and religious communities serving as places of refuge for those in need, and those fleeing violence, slavery and persecution. The congregation voted May 21 after three months of deliberation conducted by the church’s Sanctuary Discernment Task Force. More than 75 percent of the congregation cast votes and well over 90 percent voted in favor of the sanctuary resolution. Rev. Richard Davis (Rev. Rick), who became UUCS senior minister in 1993, served on the task force.  The UUCS congregation and sanctuary task force are currently working on all aspects of becoming a physical sanctuary so that the church will be ready. The UUCS is also making connections with immigrant groups and other churches and faith communities intent on helping undocumented residents in this community. In our outreach the UUCS has learned about...

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THE FIRST ENGLEWOOD FOREST FESTIVAL IN ENGLEWOOD PARK WILL HIGHLIGHT ART, MUSIC, COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ART WORKSHOPS

A new celebration is being held this summer. The Englewood Forest Festival will highlight local artists and musicians in Northeast Salem with 40 arts, environmental and educational booths in beautiful, heavily wooded Englewood Park. Activities will include workshops by the Willamette Art Center, Salem Audubon Society, Straub Environmental Center, Marion County Environmental Services and Marion County Master Gardeners with themes related to the park environment. Family-friendly art activities will include printing making, paper crafts, drawing and clay. Children can try playing musical instruments and participate in relay races. Musicians and dancers will perform throughout the day. The festival wants...

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Behind the Beyond: Psychedelic Posters and Fashion in San Francisco, 1966-71

June 3 – August 27, 2017 Hallie Ford Museum of Art Willamette University Gary Westford – Organizer and Guest Curator By Steve Slemenda When the music’s over, don’t turn out the light; just paint it black to see behind the beyond. In the summer of 1967, when I was 15 years old, I bought Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for $2.98 (monaural—stereo was a buck more). It was a little store off Melrose in Hollywood crammed with boxes of vinyl LPs. One of the great “underground” FM stations was on—KMET with legendary disc jockey B.Mitchell Reed (“You gotta dig this new cut from Procol Harum called ‘Whiter Shade of Pale.’ Stop and listen to the lyrics; it’s poetry, man, and and it will send you”). Wedged between records in one of the boxes was a square of cardboard with the handwritten “Stealing is Bad Karma.” Behind a counter slouched a skinny kid with stringy spills of hair parted in the middle. Just the point of his nose peeked through as if from between curtains, catching the sweet pungent waft of patchouli oil from a browsing girl in a gypsy skirt. On the walls were posters promoting area rock concerts. These were singular  works of art—loud and colorful, outrageous and flamboyant expressions of a countercultural phenomenon called The 60s. In the cooler parts of town these posters were everywhere:...

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CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO MAKE D STREET FIELD A CITY PARK ON JUNE 12

After almost four years of advocacy by the neighbors of the Northeast Salem Community Association (NESCA), Salem city council will consider purchasing the D Street Field for a city park. The property is located at the northwest corner of the former North Campus of the Oregon State Hospital, and is bound by D Street NE to the north and 23rd Street NE to the east. City Council will vote on the sale at its regular meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Monday, June 12. NESCA first identified the purchase the D Street Field as a city park as a priority in December 2013. Neighbors worked with Senator Peter Courtney, State Representative Brian Clem, and the state to advocate for the property to be purchased at a fair price for public use. The purchase is supported by the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, Friends of D Street Field, Oregon State Employees Softball League, Salem Spartans Rugby Team, and many neighborhood associations and community members. The D Street Field is a traditional gathering place and recreation area for the broader community because of its central location, available parking, level topography, and square shape that makes it an ideal location for the Salem Spartans Rugby team to practice, the State Softball League to play games, and other organizations and friends and families to gather. This green space will offer...

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COMMUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT SANCTUARY AT MEETING

Sanctuary is more than providing a physical space for someone at risk of deportation. A Sanctuary Info Session for Marion County churches to learn more about sanctuary will take place 6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, June 22nd at McKay High School 2440 Lancaster Drive NE in Salem.    Church representatives will meet to hear from representatives of the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ), and local faith leaders. Together churches will explore how to participate in the broader movement for immigrant justice and accompaniment in Marion County.    Participants will be joined by Pastor Mark Knutson from Augustana Lutheran Church (Portland, Oregon) who will share about Augustana’s experience of becoming and being a sanctuary church.    In addition, Pedro Sosa from American Friends Service Committee who will talk about the current situation facing immigrant communities in Marion County.    The team planning this meeting is a group of volunteers from the Willamette Valley Resistance Collective that work together for social justice for Hispanic immigrants and people from other nationalities.    Congregations and faith communities are encouraged to come in teams of 2-3.  RSVP Requested: http://bit.ly/2r95KMZ/ willamettevalleyrapidresponse@ gmail.com or...

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THEATER33 EXPLORES GENDER IN RADICAL WAY

On the Willamette campus, Theatre 33’s first show this summer begins June 17th and 18th.  It’s a brand new comedy by a young, successful Portland playwright, Brianna Barrett.  The play is 36 Perfectly Appropriate Mealtime Conversations. Apart from being a premiere – which all Theater33 plays are – one of the things that makes this play unique is the roles are gender neutral. The play was purposefully written that way so any gender could be cast in any role.  Working with the author, Theatre 33 thought it would be cool to switch the roles at each performance, says Tom...

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WHO’S AFRAID OF EDWARD ALBEE? A tribute and recollection

by R. S. Stewart   Broadway producers, directors, actors, fellow playwrights, and audiences, that’s who–at least during the early years of his success and fame, marked by the two-year run of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in 1962. Three years earlier the unknown Edward Albee had to go to Berlin, Germany, to get his first play produced, the one-act “Zoo Story”, still an unnerving perennial classic of compression, character, narrative, and shock. After its European success, it returned to New York for a long run at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, ushering in a new theatre movement called “Off-Broadway.”    Albee, who died on September 16th at the age of 88, was one of the most controversial of American playwrights, bringing new themes, stories, and language to the stage where Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams dominated. His public and private quarrels with directors and actors are legend, as well as his anger over the changes made in the film version of “Virginia Woolf”, much of it shot outside the claustrophobic setting of the play and casting an Elizabeth Taylor 20 years too young for her role as Martha, although Albee praised her performance as her best ever. His increasingly bad reviews from theatre critics in the 70s led them to turn one of his own titles, “All Over”, into the watchword for his career.    A...

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Everyone’s input helps build a great community

by Sally Cook Given the opportunity to reflect on my short time on the Salem City Council, I want to begin by thanking my friends and neighbors in Ward 7. I am humbled by the support, insight and perspective of the working families that take time out of their day to call, write, email, or attend a meeting to make their voices heard. As busy as I feel, at times, I know plenty of people in my ward are managing 30-50 hour weeks, juggling family life with parents and kids, struggling to make ends meet, and working hard to...

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The Way I Talk

By Sarah Rohrs    People who stutter are generally not known for being garrulous, and what so many don’t like to talk about is, in fact, stuttering. Take it from me. I’ve been stuttering since the second grade. I’ve spent nearly fifty years confounded by my speech, trying to keep my stutter a secret, and berating myself when it pushes its way to the surface. On particularly bad days when my voice seems to squeeze through a crack in my throat I despair. Those are the days I long to know what it’s like to speak without thinking first. Those are the days I really wish I didn’t stutter.    But those thoughts pass quickly now that I moved to Salem and opened the drapes onto my speech. That happened after I saw “The Way We Talk,” a documentary feature about stuttering by local filmmaker Michael Turner. As the lights dimmed and Turner’s stutter filled the Salem Cinema theatre on Broadway, something broke free in me. It felt and sounded so familiar. He spoke of feeling like something was wrong with him each time he opened his mouth. When he said his family never spoke about stuttering, I realized neither did mine.    Stuttering Awareness Week, the second week of May, gave me a chance to do just that. It was a great week for me, a time for...

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How many pot shops is too many?

Few people nowadays would have difficulty finding a local pot shop. If you drive along Highway 101, you will see store after store. It may even seem like there’s one on every street corner. In Salem, South Commercial is being called The Green Mile. Another Green Mile exists along River Road in Keizer. This abundance of shops begs the question: how many is too many? Initially the OLCC estimated issuing about 850 licenses. As of May 19th, OLCC has issued 1186 licenses, with 446 retail store licenses issued. Applications currently total 2560. With an unlimited number of licenses on the market, competition has become very stiff. Marion and Polk County support 9 liquor stores. When Salem City lifted their 1000 foot rule for cannabis stores, the number went from 16 in the Fall of 2016 to 33 and counting today. These numbers would seem unsustainable. Salem, for instance, has a certain number of potential customers for cannabis stores. As more and more stores open, the potential market share for each store diminishes. An over saturated market can become a concern for state and local governments wishing to collect taxes, as well as business entrepreneurs trying to follow a business plan.  As more stores open, that pool of tax money is split amongst more businesses. The potential risk to government lies in the fact that smaller or mismanaged stores that...

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Salem Climate Action Plan

By Laurie Dougherty Portland; Beaverton; Corvallis; Eugene; Ashland, Spokane; Boise; Tacoma; Boulder; Salem, Massachusetts – and on across the country and around the world. Where is Salem, Oregon? What these cities and others have that Salem lacks is a well-defined plan for dealing with the crisis of climate change. Climate change is real and already disrupting natural systems and cycles that we depend on for life and livelihood and the stability of our society. It will only get worse unless we take solutions into our own hands. Salem, Oregon needs to be on this list.  Why bring it up now?...

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Love and death, death and love

If the most powerful theatre concerns the fact that we die or that what we love dies (or simply that we love,) then local theatergoers have two excellent productions to consider this week. In one, Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of “Hearts Like Fists” a rock ‘em sock ‘em band of female crimefighters take the stage at Chemeketa Community College Auditorium to solve the mystery of a spate of murders of lovers while they sleep. Play written by Adam Szymkowicz, directed by Jay Gipson-King, the comedy thriller spans two rotating stages, 10 locations, numerous fight scenes and multiple simultaneous goings...

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Somewhere Else Memories of Dad on his 100th

This is for my late father, on what would have been his 100th birthday, and for the many folks here in the valley who have childhood memories of somewhere else. My first memory of dad takes place in the cab of a truck at the grain elevator in Condon on a hot summer day in 1950 or ‘51.  Dougy and I sit restlessly on the slippery black passenger seat. The cab is superheated and smells like tar.  The windshield is streaked and the sun is so bright that it is hard to even see the building.  We wait awhile and then pull into the shade where dad has a jocose conversation with a man named Slim.  I can’t see well enough to know whether he really is slim.  With a haarooom! we go into the sun again and stop.  We pile out and dad boosts us into the back of the truck onto the load of wheat.  The wheat is warm on top and cool underneath.  We flail on the surface, like swimming.  The wheat promptly spills into the holes we dig. This folkloric kind of memory, related to weather and work life, sticks with me like the spindly roots of winter wheat in the clumped soil.  It is what I mean when I hear myself telling someone, Well, I am originally from eastern Oregon. Don’t eat the wheat,...

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Killing and Dying for Trump

by Mark Wigg Donald Trump has not divested his properties. The dozens of hotels and resorts around the world bearing his name are now symbols of America just like our embassies. Our embassies are defended by Marines, blast walls, and elaborate security measures. The Trump properties are not. These properties are soft targets. Terrorists and maybe some of our ‘allies’ are already planning attacks on these properties. Targeting high-profile symbols of America such as embassies or the World Trade Center has happened before. It won’t be a surprise to our intelligence agencies if a Trump property is attacked. After...

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How to Be Funny

by Michael Townsend Smith, book review by Vere McCarty    Before we start, I would like to opine that being named Michael Smith is funny.  Some people think it is not, but Michael thinks it is.  The Townsend fits in nicely, like a wagon road between home and work.  Maybe your name is funny too.  I know mine is.  The book is funny even before you start to read it.  To begin with, it starts on page one.  Starting on page seven can also be funny.  You see, I am already under the spell of “How to Be Funny”.    Smith, an active octogenarian, does not shy away from including himself in what can be funny. Self is an image. What you think other people see is not what you see. Old people trying to go fast are funny. Old people swimming are funny. Old people all by themselves are sometimes sad. Everyone is sometimes sad.                                      I was recently transfixed by Smith’s piano as he played a Debussy sonata. Funny the way music frees the mind to move. One part listens, another part dances, another part thinks. Time tangibly expands. The present breathes. Anything is possible.                             Imagination...

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It matters how cities are built

* Stroad Strong Towns’ definition: “a street/road hybrid … besides being a very dangerous environment (yes, it is ridiculously dangerous to mix high speed highway geometric design with pedestrians, bikers and turning traffic), they are enormously expensive to build and, ultimately, financially unproductive.” Lead pipes to carry city water? Graceful public transit or weekday-only buses? An engaging downtown to attract businesses and customers? Open spaces for healthy living? Car-centric or bike friendly? Decisions on matters like these are made every day in American cities, and they impact generations to come, reaching hundreds of years into the future. Once made,...

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The man whose money talks in Salem

Larry Tokarski began his real estate career in Salem in 1973. Since then he has founded and managed Mountain West Investment Corporation through which he has influenced the development and building of over a billion dollars of real estate. This includes over 1,000,000 square feet of commercial and residential facilities and more than 30 subdivisions. Tokarski has also been involved in the development and building of 47 retirement communities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Nevada. Not a Salem resident (Tokarski lives in Wilsonville) the developer has invested a minimum of three-quarters of a million dollars in local political...

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On Some Reasons for Writing Poetry

by James Merrill The reasons for why a poet faces the blank page—these are more important than the words that the poet will put on that page. And then, after the writing, the words he or she puts down are all we have. They are the traces or the breadcrumbs, only the dust we have left of what was experienced by the writer. Non-poets don’t know this, and this causes a lot of consternation—perhaps even fatigue, weariness–both for the poet and for the reader.  But why? Some or perhaps many poets want this not to be true … so for them, it is not the case. For them, the artifact on the page is the only thing that matters. They have written “set pieces” or still life paintings with words. And they can be very beautiful. And when they have achieved beauty this way, through word pictures – they have given something to the world. A piece of art, and it is a nice gift. But it is usually not a Picasso, or a Van Gogh, or even a Keats poem. This kind of art-piece poem is often done to get the recognition that comes with producing fine art in any genre. There are fine arts colleges—even in writing. So there is a market for this kind of training, and it can be very exciting, even fulfilling to go...

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Planting seeds of power in fields and cities

The list of things wrong with the modern food system is a long one. Pesticides, soil depletion, processing are just a few problems with the way crops are grown and food makes it way to stores and dinner tables. But two Portland filmmakers set out to harvest a different message, to present stories of hope in two very different settings – the agriculturally-rich Willamette Valley and an inner city neighborhood where drive-by shootings are common. Filmmakers Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein show change is possible and empowering in “Gaining Ground,” the subject of this month’s Salem Progressive Film Series....

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