11 Years of Activism in Portland

bunsnotguns from little t american bakerI’ve been living in Portland for 11 years now. 11 years of activism. I noticed last night as I was updating this blog (for better SEO and righting some images) that I was putting out a lot more activism over the last couple years than I am now.  Issues like billboards, getting rid of the yellow pages, chearing on the first Obama administration, holding voting parties, idling, population growth and saving the Tillamook State Forest – all were big issues for me in 2009.

These issues all still persist, but I haven’t been focusing on them as much. I’ve started fan pages for a few, and I continue to put a shout out for an issue when I see something about it in the media, but my own activism has definitely shifted some. I’ve also been working hard to develop my business and I hope that eventually that will pay me enough to devote more time to the activist areas that I care about. Actually, one area, Farm My Yard, I have been dedicating a bunch of time to – keeping the website up, updating the FB fan page, and I’m meeting with someone today to discuss building an app for the project. So, I guess I’m not done saving the world.

And, some issues come back around – like my current project regarding the Oregonian’s slide to the Tea Party Right on BlueOregon. They’ve been lying to us more and more about their tea party agenda, and I want to do what I can to call them out on it.

So, I guess I just want to say – don’t worry, I’m still at it. And perhaps I’m partially writing this to myself to remind myself that I’m still busy trying to change the world, I’m just mixing it up more with my effort with people and small businesses to help them with their marketing and getting the word out.

Yesterday, as I was heading to a client meeting I was thinking about being 52 and wondering who I could find to take on the various efforts I’ve started or care about. I was thinking about asking in the dance community to see about training some folks who are 20 or 30 years younger than I am, but noone came immediately to mind. And, I suppose activism is not for the feint at heart. You have to have support in your life – people who really are there to back you – and a process to keep you from falling down when things get hard. I’ve been using Co-counseling for that for many years to good effect, but many people don’t have a process to discharge their fears when they come up against things that are hard – government agencies; industries fighting back; a right-wing media.

All good things for me to think about – succession – who are the next group of activists? Who cares enough about the issues that I do to take them on? And, how do I reignite some of the causes that I cared about and still do but which I have let come off of the table?  Perhaps I’ll do a little spreadsheet and see where things are and put that up for myself and others.  and for now, happy new year 2014 – let’s see what we can accomplish!

Nehelam

mmm, good morning world. I had a great adventure yesterday and am feeling revived and refreshed by it. I spent the day with Duane and Melani who run Summer Lake Hot Springs Resort in Paisley, Oregon. We traveled together to Nehelam where Duane wanted to show me land he had purchased 14 years ago and which he’ll learn more about the fate of today when he meets with investors who supported the purchase. It’s about 10 acres and it has a view of Saddle Mountain and the coastal range looking north. We drove out rt. 53 to get there, and stopped along the way to look at a cavernous creek in some light rain. Being in the Tillamook State Forest reminded me of why I spend time trying to defend the place. It’s such a magical land of creeks, rivers, logging roads, ferns, hemlock and undergrowth. And the rain just makes it all the wetter and greener – so magical.

The Tillamook State Forest is Oregon’s biggest and is the subject of much discussion around the area as it has a special place for many. A number of times in the 20th Century the forest burned and because it was the depression there was the CCC and many others (students, particularly) who traveled to the burned areas and replanted the forests.  People in Oregon have a special relationship with this forest. Nowadays, the forests are clear-cut by local timber companies and some of the money goes to fund local schools and government services. Unfortunately, due to the lack of nearby mills and market forces the logs mostly are cut and shipped directly overseas, to China, I believe.  Since the profits from the logging are tied to local services there is pressure to cut more and more trees thus leaving a landscape that looks trashed.

Photo by Danielle

Lately, our Governor has stated that he is in favor of a more balanced approach that would also take into account environmental factors (there are landslides everywhere) – other species (it’s Spotted Owl and Marbled Murulet country)(and lots of salmon and other fish species) – and recreation (fishing, hiking, camping, white-water rafting).  Unfortunately, it’s quite an uphill battle due to the fact that the Oregon Board of Forestry which sets policy for the forests is mostly made up of timber company owners and representatives.  I’ve testified before the group numerous times in Salem, and they are not swayed by public opinion at all.

More background on this issue can be found here.  And if you’d like to join my Facebook cause page, click here.

We arrived at Duane’s land near Nehelam in a downpour and put on our raingear and bushwhacked through the property, climbing amongst overgrown blackberry brambles and small trees and bushes. I’d seen pictures of the property in sunshine and I believe the views to the north and west are stunning, but yesterday the view was a wall of rain.  And, it felt so invigorating to wander around and be human bushhogs!  After about an hour we were all pretty soaked and we got back in the van and made our way to Manzanita with a detour to the town’s “rebuilding center” which is a collection of recycling and 2nd hand store which was a fun side trip.

We followed this up with lunch in Manzanita and then a wonderful drive home full of conversations about land, business, relationships and our personal stories. Duane and Melani are living a dream – living in the Oregon high desert and meeting interesting travelers from all over the world.  They both have great perspectives on life and are positive, evolved people.  It was such a nice combination to have great conversations and be out in the wilderness and I feel lucky today to have had the adventure!  Here’s to life, may we live it big and large and lusciously!  And, please join me in learning more about the Tillamook State Forest and how to protect it from greed.