Love Your City

If you’re Single (or not), Love Your Home


I’ve been pretty much single for the past 6 years.  I had a thought yesterday while out running errands, that for those of us who are single and seeking, we might as well offer some love to our hometown. I’ve been doing this ever since I moved to the Pacific Northwest (Seattle in 1995 and Portland 2002-present). This region is pretty easy to love and has caught many peoples’ eyes and hearts. I’ve never lived anywhere in the world (maybe besides NYC) where I’ve heard more people say “I love Portland”. My previous partner and I used to say this out loud frequently, and it’s still true. I love Portland. I also love Portlandia 🙂  Feel free to comment below. One day I’ll write an article on that, and perhaps it’s all related.

As someone who has chosen ideation as a profession, I think in concepts a lot. Sometimes I consider myself an amateur sociologist. An inventor. Here are some of my ideas over the years (feel free to borrow from this list in any way you choose – my work is Albert-source 🙂  The concept I want to share here is the value of loving your place. We all hear the message on repeat that you have to start with loving yourself. I believe that is true and it probably makes our lives go better and makes us more attractive for prospective matches. But perhaps we can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can love myself (eat well, rest, hydrate, exercise, etc.) and also spend time loving my town.

Ways to Love Where You Live

My version of this has been this list of ways to make my neighborhood and region more livable. I use my marketing skills to share these ideas with anyone who will listen. The result has been a quieter, sweeter slice of paradise than I envisioned when I started.  A friend once offered to bring me to his town to teach his town council what I was putting out into the universe. That didn’t happen (yet – looking at you, Antioch, CA), but maybe one day. And that’s left me to keep trying to make where I live better and better. It’s worked. My neighborhood of Richmond, Portland, Oregon is kinda dreamy. Maybe it always was. Maybe what I did didn’t have the effect I think it did. There’s no easy way to quantify what I’ve done/said/activated towards. But I have a hunch that even lessening the amount of gas-powered leaf blowers has been a huge help to our community.

As an aside, I have this idea of creating a postcard that says – here are 11 ways to make your paradise a little more paradisical. I know there are great challenges in our midst – homelessness/drug addiction/mental health problems. There are people working on these issues and everything I’m suggesting in this article will just make that work go better. Do you think people who live on the streets are helped by glaring LED lights or gas-powered leaf blowers? No, it just makes their lives even worse.  So, back to that postcard.  There are thousands of places that could be improved by easy changes that people can make – see the article I link to above.  Now back to loving our City.

If you’re single and seeking – by loving your home you’re exercising your heart. You’re possibly being out in the world picking up garbage; planting a tree; starting a new community garden; removing graffiti – and who knows who you’ll meet while you do that. Maybe you’ll decide to serve on a neighborhood council or run for office as a way to share your love. Maybe it could be through mentoring a small business on how to improve their lighting or helping paint a wall.

And just like everything in life, you may make a mistake. Or two. Not everyone is up for receiving help. Not every offer you make in the world is received in the way you’d hope. Don’t give up. Write back if any of this resonates or if you have ideas to add. Thanks!

For a better world,


PS – I’ve been adding songs to the end of my newsletters and so … here ya go!

PPS – I’m going to expand into ways to show your love to local businesses here.

July 6, 2003 – Riversong Writing

July 6, 2003 – Riversong Writing

First time at Sola and Cosmo’s in Hood River, Oregon. It’s very pleasant. Jeff, Stay, Larry, Cosmo, Sola Michele, Deb, John Manns, Pam Hoke, a variety of locals and their boys, Bob & Maggi, Sarah, Brent, Winnie, Rick, and a black cat. Camilla of the flower essences – watching Larry and she cuddle was fun. Goat burritos on the way in. Storm stopped by yesterday with a sarong for Erica. Where is Erica many want to know? Good question. Part of me feels she should be here – her friends/tribe are here. Par to f me is very glad to get to do what I want to do without reservation, consideration of her needs. Pam just told me I was in her dreams last night. That we were being sweet with each other. She also shared a picture of Edie (Tierra del Milagro) and a poem on the internet. It’s nice that we’ve had that constant connection over the years – Breitenbush (she’s also done RC), Costa Rica, River Song I’m sitting at the end of a long row of picnic tables facing woods and a steep slope behind. Wind chimes in the breeze, people waking, hugging, breakfast being prepared in the communal kitchen. It’s a little rough and gritty here but also very beautiful. Lots of green, lots of birds. Last night we had a nice big dinner/potluck and a talent show. Yesterday being naked on the river, dunking.

  • the stationary I’m writing on has at the top: “To be truly free is to be bathed in nature with no boundaries”.


The Timber Industry of Today Part 1-5 – Logging in Oregon

Here’s a 5-part series from Vernonia’s Voice.  Enjoy

VoicePt1Timber2020 – August 20th, 2020





And, from the wayback machine.

“I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a classroom full of young tree-planters as part of [Youth Acting for Our Earth’s youth climate training] at the Mittleman JCC in Portland, Oregon. I watched as the young people delivered a poignant and passionate report about climate change and how planting trees can have a positive impact going forward. It looks like everyone learned a lot that day and both the young people and their parents seemed pleased by what was learned and for young people to get the chance to practice their public speaking skills. In my talk I tried to cover some information about on-going efforts to keep Pacific Northwest trees standing – both in the countryside and in the City. I also talked a little bit about population growth’s effect on climate change as well as a personal passion – planting more fruit and nut trees everywhere when we’re talking about planting trees. Thanks to [Youth Acting for Our Earth’s] efforts to bring forward the importance of tree planting – may Governor Brown hear the call to plant millions of trees in Oregon.”

—Albert Kaufman, Environmental and Social Justice Activist and Founder of Farm My Yard

My Great Ideas That Have Gone Nowhere

My Great Ideas

I have a lot of ideas. Here are a couple of great ones that I’d love to see in action. If you find value in any of them please take them and run with them.  Here we go.

  1. 2.1.24 – The first couple of businesses or radio stations that play all Taylor Swift music and announce that to the world will gain a lot of attention and visits! 
  2. 2.21.23 – Philadelphia puts up a red strip of reflective red on their stop sign poles – let’s copy that!
  3. 2.9.23 – A way to turn social security off when you want to pause the flow.
  4. Weight Loss idea: Wear in 1lb weights the # of pounds by which you’re overweight for that many minutes per day.  Lessen weight as you lose weight. Keep going till you’re done.
  5. Berm Portland
  6. Retree the planet with this cool device (1.14.2020 – something like this has now been developed)
  7. Defragging everyone’s commutes.  For every job that can be done anywhere in a city – 3rd-grade teacher; plumber; <most service jobs here>: create a database of all of the workers, swap people by their home location or where they want to land. Thus, bringing people closer to home = less commuting. Thank you to Mr. Money Mustache for the inspiration on that one.
  8. Where Does the dirt go: Database of all earth being moved in an urban area. If I am about to remove 2 tons of earth, let the grid know and someone nearby who needs the earth can have it vs. trucking it to the ex-urbs and back. See the chip drop program in Portland.
  9. Moving everyone who shares a similar job role closer to home via a database that local employers participate in. This could also be used by tradespeople so that they are working close to home, perhaps using Nextdoor to guide their work sites.
  10. All popsicle sticks should come with a tree seed in them so one could plant a tree after eating the popsicle. Idea progress: I have submitted this idea to Larry Kaplowitz, one of the founders of Coconut Bliss. He said “great idea”. – Feel free to take this idea and run with it.  Dannon? Good Humor?
  11. License plates should have QR codes or some way that a person can text a person who owns a car to let them know: a) you’re blocking my driveway b) you left your lights on c) your puppy/child/ice is overheating….. A way for this to work could also be that the person types in the State and License # and then is able to text msg. to the owner without knowing their phone # or other contact info.
  12. How to be a better neighbor – an email series. Our lives could be enhanced so much by people doing some little things better. Better outdoor lighting. Not using the fob to lock and unlock your car and set off the horn of your car. Saying hello. I’ve been wanting to create an email series that teaches some of this and I’m stuck at #2 right now – someone, give me a nudge 🙂
  13. Turn the OHSU lawn at 42nd and Division SE in Portland, Oregon into a giant sunflower patch. 
  14. Trying to get the Air National Guard base in Portland, Oregon near the PDX airport to stop flying F-15s over residential parts of the City. Ideally, I’d love to see the base either shuttered or moved to Eastern Oregon.  I’m not alone on this one.
  15. Street signs: They could be metal and wrap around telephone poles – so easy to display and possibly simple to manufacture.  The street on 2 sides, cross street on the other two – written vertically.
  16. Portland, Oregon Road Scholar program. (ed: 10.22.2020 I reached out to them again with the idea, perhaps it could at least happen virtually).
  17. 9 years ago in 2011, I had the idea to turn the SW corner of the Lone Fir Cemetery into a community garden as local organizations continue to fundraise to turn it into a memorial. I gave up pushing after running into organizational disinterest. Meanwhile, the spot remains a huge vacant lot – a perfect spot to grow food. Sign this petition, perhaps we can reignite interest in the idea 🙂
  18. More of these ideas I once posted on a site called WhyNot?
  19. 1.6.2020 – T-shirts with “massage here” printed on the top back (shoulders) – perhaps more info on pressure and directions on how to massage on the back of the shirt. 
  20. Social media support pages – See for yourself

Great ideas that have gone somewhere

  1. Farm My Yard – and on Facebook over here. And Twitter… The idea is a way to connect urban farmers with homeowners who’d like their yards farmed.  I think it’s also a possible business for teens or young adults to support themselves – by providing produce to the community and local restaurants. Check out the website. I feel the idea could really take off if one neighborhood decided it wanted to be a pilot project. Or, if I decided to invest in 1000 yard signs and found people to put them in their yards 🙂
  2. After the Phone Book: I was part of a nationwide effort to get rid of phone books to some effect. Here’s the FB page and here’s a page on my site that explains the problem and some of the moves I and others used to stop the cutting of trees for no good reason.
  3. Putting music at the end of newsletters and blog posts – see below 2.2.24

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Beloved 2018

Beloved 2018

Beloved Festival 2018This was Beloved Festival‘s 11th magical year. If you know me at all, you know that 11s are a big part of my life. From my newsletter (The Eleven) to my birthday (the 11th of May) – 11’s are key. You may have also seen me raise my hand when the question “who’s here for the first time?” gets asked. That’s another story (beginner’s mind…).  So, one thing for me that was fun about Beloved this year is that I’ve been there since the beginning and I also try to approach things as if I’m there for the first time. I was scheming to make a t-shirt with the Beloved logo on one side with the year 11 on it and on the other side the slogan Beloved Virgin (1st year!), but never got around Tuit. Speaking of t-shirts, some of the stage crew wore black t-shirts this year with the word Belivid in bold white letters on them. Striking and potent.

My friend Matthew Burns did an interview with me on the last day of the festival this year. If photography is your thing – Carlton Ward took a great collection of photos this year – check them out (any photos that are published here are from him!). And, Maggie Jane Cech did these beauties!

Beloved Festival 2018 by Maggie Jane Cech

As I mentioned, I’ve been attending the Beloved Festival for many years. Each year is different – depending on the site; weather; who I’m camping with; relationship status (I’m single and looking!); who else shows up each year; how easy it is to get in and out of the festival; and 100 other factors. That’s also partly why it’s useful to have a beginner’s mind – ie, not expecting that the experience will mirror past experiences saves you from the frustration you might feel when something has changed. And Beloved Festival always changes as we continue to change, too. My first year going I was 46 and now I’m 57 – ha, my life has significantly changed through that time, of course.  The way Beloved has changed is a little bit structural – the layout of the festival – but the main change this year felt like an invitation or encouragement by the festival organizers for us all to challenge ourselves to go deeper.Beloved2018Logo

Beloved Festival is full of seekers.  People who are passionate about their craft – whether it’s yoga; eating healthy food; personal growth; healthy relationships; learning about and practicing consent culture; music; dance and many other passions are well represented. My sense this year was that there was a question in the air: “Are we doing enough personally and as a group to change the world?” Sub-questions around this are: are we doing enough to end racism?  Is this event doing enough to be inclusive (the attendees are mostly white, and probably middle class, though class issues are not usually raised at the festival). How can we take the amazing lessons we learn at Beloved and bring them into our lives; our relationships and into the world? This is something I was chewing on a lot at Beloved this year – beyond just digesting my experience – how can we take this event and all that it teaches us out into the world?  I know not everyone in the world can attend Beloved – most won’t get a chance to even attend something similar and even if they did, they would probably only take away a relatively small amount of the wisdom that is shared there.  For years I’ve imagined a video testimonial/interview booth for people to share their insights during the festival. We’re brought to such a peak state and that would be good to share – I believe it would be a positive influence on the world. This year we were asked to look at our shit – both internal and our actual poop 🙂Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

These composting toilets were quite incredible (I believe the compost is left on-site and used to fertilize the property where this event is held. The troughs between the private toilets were for men. Perhaps in future, there will be herinals for women (like the ones at Oregon Country Faire 🙂Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

Then, there’s the Beloved Festival by night. One change that I was quite happy about was the return of video mapping of the stage. There was just a light dusting of that this year, but it’s quite lovely to behold. See Carlton’s pictures for more of that imagery. Beloved at night is quite special. There is one main stage and most people are either dancing; having food or wandering to and from their campsites. This makes it a great place to drop in with people and for years I’ve been talking about the festival being my annual men’s workshop.  Ie, there’s nowhere to go that’s not in the center of things – so, when you meet someone it’s easy to settle into a longer, deeper conversation.

There is so much incredible intention put into this festival. Everything possible is thought of. In the first few years, some of the systems didn’t work so well, but now just about everything works beautifully. I’ll include some improvement areas down below, but here I just want to say HUGE kudos to the staff and many many artists who make Beloved such an incredibly beautiful place to inhabit for a few days. Just about everywhere you look artists like Nature and his crew came early to manifest beautiful interpretations of nature using the natural art materials found nearby. Making installations like this: Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

I’ve written about my visits to the Beloved Festival in the past. (that’s a link to my 2010 write-up if you’re curious about the changes over the years 🙂  This year felt a lot deeper to me than in years past, but that might also be partly where I’m at right now in my own life. Here are a few major highlights from this year.

  1. Mornings in the woods with campmates => Sharanam Anandama => Solsara practice daily. That’s quite a combo and I’ve been trying to make it happen on every Beloved day for years. Usually I get to 2/3’s. But this year I was able to catch a little of both each day. Solsara happens in Portland and Eugene regularly – a great, accessible personal growth practice (featuring Carrie and Larry!)
  2. Sara Tone and friends and how they called in the directions and opened and closed the festival. This felt like the most profound opening and closing ceremonies I can remember. People seemed more focused and attentive than I can remember them – and Sara Tone and Michael Meade both shared few but profound wisdom with all of us – setting the tone for the festival ahead. The magic of facing towards the mountains in each direction – Tahoma, Wy’East, Shasta, and Fuji (with a deviation to focus on Pele on the Big Island this year which was new…) were powerful! We also sing together “medicine for the mountain” and Sara Tone calls out all of the native tribes that were or are based in each area before we sing – it’s very profound and powerful. If I can find a video of this, I would be glad to share it, here.
  3. Seeing the master guitarist and songwriter, Peter Rowan on the Tree stage was a big highlight for me. Peter’s been such a big part of my life over the years – performing on Old and In the Way and in so many other arrangements that his voice resonates deep in my soul
  4. Seeing old friends. This year had a special aspect to it for me – I feel like a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 2-3 years decided to return and visit again. That was special as I also notice that many in my tribe that used to camp together have stopped attending festivals more and more – so, it’s hard to have that posse feeling when that happens.  I also enjoyed making some new friends – Patty and Mike from Connecticut – who flew across the country to attend their first Beloved! (get in touch, ya’all!).
  5. Whoever started the creation of the vulnerable signs and parade (vulnerability rally) – that was a beautiful effort and reminds me of something that happened at WDS this year. I’m referring to this talk by Yes, Yes, Marsha.
  6. The music – so much great world music. I’m not sure how long this will stay up, but here’s this year’s line-up. I don’t usually attend festivals on who’s playing – I’m generally pretty happy with organizers’ choices and this year felt like an incredible offering. Angélique Kidjo playing Talking Heads Remain in Light?  Over the top fun! Ayla Nereo?  Wonderful!
  7. Sound: generally better over the years and this year was probably the easiest on my ears. That said, it’s often still way too loud – Blackalicious, for instance, was too loud for human consumption. Please – it never needs to be that loud. My friend suggests walking out into the audience with a decibel meter and seeing what the levels are.  Thanks.
  8. Most of the lighting at Beloved is glorious. And, there are bright lights that come out towards the audience at the Purple dome – I wish those would be turned off or turned down, or out of audience’s eyes. Also, the blaring headlight bright lights that shined out onto the audience from the main stage – I don’t like those at all. They are jarring and I don’t like the trend of the way these are being used at festivals.
  9. The art: particularly the natural installations I mentioned above – but also all the lighting and fabrics and thought put into making the festival grounds beautiful, festive and sacred.  The alters on either side of the main stage were breathtaking and a great reminder of how to mix the divine with a festival.
  10. More photos by Melissa Robin, and Andrew Paul
  11. th Beloved! – Spotify Playlist of this year’s artists! 
Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

Alter to the left of mainstage

I’ll probably add to the list of highlights as I think of them. Here are a few improvements I’d like to make for Beloved Festival’s 12th year.  The festival already does so much right it’s hard to even consider posing some suggestions, but after 20 years as a software tester, I think it’s part of my DNA to share bugs with the hope that developers will improve the software 🙂

  1. The new composting toilets are world-class. I’m not sure where to put more of them, but a couple more either where they are currently, or one more bank behind medical wouldn’t hurt.  Also, Herinals like at OCF would be a nice addition.
  2. I arrived on Thursday for early entry and spent about an hour on a hillside slowly moving towards a parking spot. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I’ve had easier entries in the past. I was parking and camping in the Far Mosque area (hard parking) and if there had been a couple more traffic people I believe I would have been parked quicker. There seemed to be an issue with people coming out while people were coming in, plus only one person was moderating a long line-up of cars.  Anyway, not sure about the solution here, but imagine it can be improved.
  3. Having the Purple Star Dome where it was made workshops there hard to follow due to the sound from the main stage. Again, not sure where the best location would be.
  4. I missed the Grove stage (sound healing) altogether this year – having that so far from the main area .. hmmm.  How about @ the Gazebo?

I’ll add to this list as I think of things, but the improvements for the Beloved Festival are probably well-known by the organizers and are nothing like the ones I’ve written up for Strummit.  Overall, this year’s Beloved Festival is something I’m still chewing on and digesting. I still haven’t taken my wristlet off which is usually a sign to me that something was remarkable 🙂  In fact, Beloved is the one festival which I see people leaving their wristlets on for a year or more – which tells you something.  Early Bird tickets usually go on sale for Beloved in the Spring – join their email list and perhaps we’ll share a dance there next year! Also, there’s a somewhat active FB group if you’d like to hear about other events and connect with other Beloveds throughout the year.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback/comments to me, or below.

Albert Kaufman

PS – did I mention I found a new place to dance (face altered by Maitrea)?  Oh, and I skipped the word LOVE. Love is a big part of this festival – add in love. Loved the food. Loved the rain (fresh air). Loved the people I camped with. Loved the ride to the festival. Loved the ride home. Love thinking about Beloved. That.

PPS – The Economist weighed in this year.

Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward

Guest Post: At the Root: Trees Rule

At the Root: Trees Rule

By Guest Blogger: Eileen Stark, Portland, Oregon

     Although the region’s unique wetlands and grasslands carry the greatest diversity of species, it is the forests that dominate and most distinctly characterize the Pacific Northwest. Structurally complex, dense, and immense ecosystems, forests sustain trees that substantially outgrow and outlive other plants and tolerate temperature variation and soil differences better. When the first European settlers arrived, conifers covered nearly the entire landscape of western British Columbia and Washington, and northwestern Oregon–from coast to Cascade crest–including the Puget Trough and parts of the Georgia Basin and Willamette Valley.Real Gardens Grow Natives
     These conifers (and other dominant species) are known as keystone species because of their strong and often unique effects on their ecosystem. Though they are greatly outnumbered by smaller plants in the forest, their contributions are mammoth. Cool, wet winters and mild, dry summers, along with rich soils, have made for optimum evergreen growing conditions.
     Conifers are able to photosynthesize during much of the year and are essential for watershed stabilization. Some species are the most massive on earth, often growing over 200 feet tall and living for more than 500 years. Worldwide, conifers represent the largest terrestrial “carbon sink,” where carbon is packed away in plant tissue above and below ground. The wettest forests–those on the west side of coastal mountain ranges–were once especially complex, with lush layering and much variation in tree age. Logging has eliminated much of the original, most productive old-growth forests, and massive clearcutting has resulted in severe fragmentation. Today, much forested land is “second growth” that has followed logging and wildfire.
     Garry oak (or Oregon White oak) ecosystems, where these oaks grow naturally, have become rare, with only a very small percentage remaining. The loss of these unique ecosystems puts all the species that rely on them in jeopardy, and indeed, some species have already been lost, while many of the remaining are at risk. If you live on land that was once part of a Garry oak ecosystem and are starting with a blank slate, consider planting Garry oaks and associated species like madrone (Arbutus menziesii), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), tall Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa). If your site is too small for large trees, grow the smaller associated species in a meadowlike garden or rock garden. Spring ephemerals include white fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), Henderson’s shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), and camas (Camassia quamash). Mid-bloomers include tiger lily (Lilium columbianum), nodding onion (Allium cernuum), stonecrop (Sedum spp.), harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), and western columbine (Aquilegia formosa); for late blooms try yarrow (Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis), showy fleabane (Erigeron speciosus), and goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).
     Most yards can support more trees, whether evergreen or deciduous, than they do. If you have the space, grow large trees–the oaks, the pines, the firs–that are quintessential to our region and will help replace some of the habitat that has been lost to development and logging. Just one Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) will provide dense shelter and nesting sites for various birds and small mammals, bark that can be used as nesting material, food for seed-eating birds and browsing mammals, and, as the trees mature, cavities for roosting and cavity-nesting birds.
     In urban areas, street trees that grow in parking strips could be native species (as well as the other plants you grow there). Some good choices for narrow parking strips (not less than 4 feet wide) include cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), Douglas maple (Acer glabrum), and black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii), and for wider strips (greater than 6 feet wide) and without overhead utility wires, Garry oak (Quercus garryana), and Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia). Always check with your city’s urban forestry office before planting.
Excerpt from Real Gardens Grow Natives: Design, Plant, & Enjoy a Healthy Northwest Garden by Eileen M. Stark (Mountaineers Books, 2014)