A slide toward extinction

by Helen Caswell

As decisions about new logging operations are being considered in the state, conservationists are checking in on an infamous little owl. They’re finding that the news isn’t good.

The northern spotted owl is in greater peril than ever, and evidence suggests that it will take a huge amount of will – public and legislative – and require significant changes in Oregon’s timber industry, to prevent the species from perishing.

The owl in question is a nocturnal raptor that lives in the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, from northern California to lower British Columbia. It requires high tree canopies, old trees for nesting and open spaces beneath the branches under which to fly. These characteristics do not exist until forests are at least 150 years old.

In 1990, under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the species as ‘threatened.” President Clinton’s controversial Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, aiming, to protect crucial old growth forests for the spotted owl, while allowing sustainable timber harvest. The plan ignited one of the most publicized conflicts between environmentalists and the logging industry in history.


Yet the spotted owl is in steep decline. In December 2015, the US Geological Survey reported that in approximately 30 years, (1985 – 2013) populations dropped in Washington by up to 77%, in Oregon by up to 68% and by more than 50% in California. The species has virtually disappeared from British Columbia. During that time, spotted owl numbers fell by an average of nearly 4% per year across their entire range.

“It’s a horrendous slide into extinction,” says Tom Wheeler of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) in Arcata. “We are heading towards an extinction event.”

Should Oregonians care?

The spotted owl is “an ‘indicator species’” says resource policy expert Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild. Indicator species provide evidence of the health of an ecosystem; when they are robust, so are their surroundings and when they fail, the environment shows it lacks crucial structural diversity.

This matters—if only because healthy forests are a significant financial resource. “In Oregon,” Heiken says, “our forest ecosystem provides tremendous benefits to Oregonians, from the huge amount of carbon it absorbs to address climate change, to recreation. Quality of life based on healthy forests is probably the most important economic development asset for our state.”

Responsibility for maintaining Oregon forests rests with the U.S. Forest Services and the Bureau of Land Management (for federal lands) while the Oregon Department of Forestry manages state and private forests.



Why has the owl declined?

The consensus of most scientists is that the decline is due to the timber harvesting on federal, state and privately owned lands allowed by the Clinton plan. Logging depletes habitat where spotted owls nest, and It forces them to live in small clumps of forest surrounded by clear-cut where they are more vulnerable to predation and starvation.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that the last 190 years has seen an over 60 percent reduction of suitable habitat available to spotted owls by. Washington has already lost more than 90% of its old growth forest to logging.

Propelled by this habitat loss, another species, the barred owl, appeared in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s. Native to the East Coast, barred owls have a broader diet than spotted owls and can use a wider variety of habitat, including poorer areas damaged by logging. They are also larger and more aggressive than the spotted owl. They are ‘generalists,’ who can thrive in a fragmented forest landscape; the spotted owl is a ‘specialist’ that requires large areas of older forests. In Oregon, barred owls are now more numerous than spotted owls.

Who’s responsible.

It’s a complex issue, but Michael Donnelly, co-founder of Friends of Opal Creek, says it come down to bad policy and lack of political will. The designers of the Clinton Forest Plan (created in 90 days) built in the assumption that it would take decades for reserve forests to regrow enough to counteract the habitat loss from the logging the plan allowed. “The Clinton Forest Plan was based on bad ideas,” Donnelly says, “on the ludicrous premise that you could arrange for a 1% per year decline of spotted owls for 50 years, and the species would magically revive 50 years later.”

Another problem, according to Wheeler, is that the designation of the spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act as “threatened” is insufficient to safeguard them.

Efforts to turn the tide

EPIC recently filed a petition to ‘uplift’ the status of the spotted owl from ‘threatened’ to ‘endangered.’ “Scientifically, an ‘uplift’ is completely justified,” Wheeler says. “One of the ‘teeth’ of using the ‘endangered species’ determination is the legal ability to find a species is in jeopardy.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement a recovery plan says John Chatel, Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Program Manager for the USFS. The dominant focus of the plan is the removal (shooting) of barred owls, a procedure being tested in several treatment areas. Results from a 5-year experiment in California showed promising results, though, after about a year in Oregon, Chatel says” it’s still way too early to tell” if the method will be successful here.

Is it smart to shoot barred owls?

It helps, but may not be sustainable. It also doesn’t address all the issues. “They’re blaming the barred owls for moving in,” Donnelly says, ”but the reason they move in is because the spotted have less habitat.”

Although EPIC takes no position on barred owl removal, Wheeler suggests shooting the birds is “an incomplete solution. If we just do barred owl management and don’t protect habitat, we still lose large blocks of spotted owl habitat.”

Shooting barred owls is not an ideal strategy over the long haul, either. “I have a hard time imagining people out there continually shooting barred owls for the next 100, 150 years,” Wheeler says.

Moving forward

Donnelly suggests that all conservation organizations know the truth: that federal and state laws provide insufficient protection for the spotted owl. “They know if they would sue [government agencies], they would get an injunction and stop all logging,” he says. “But these environmental organizations are beholden to Democrats and corporate funders who keep them afloat.”

Joseph Vaile, Executive Director Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, concurs that powerful economic forces, supported by Oregon’s Department of Forestry, oppose changes that might restore the spotted owl.

“Oregon has by far the weakest forest practices on the West Coast,” Vaile says. “Clear-cutting is rampant, often followed by spraying of toxic herbicides. It is doubtful that the Board of Forestry will change this [because] ‘Big Timber’ wields enormous power in Salem.”

Until citizens “stand up and demand change,” Vaile says, “the timber industry power and ties to the political elites will protect them from having to change their practices.”

It will mean life or extinction for the northern spotted owl and the forest systems that benefit all Oregonians.

Salem safe from inundation!

by Helen Caswell

Salem residents concerned about the coming Cascadia subduction earthquake can cross one potential catastrophe off their lists, says the US Army Corps of Engineers.

And that is t he disaster of the Detroit Dam falling to pieces and its water engulfing the city.

It’s a topic local people wonder about. “I’ve been asked repeatedly about Detroit Dam failure in a Cascadia [earthquake] since I began this job,” says Ed Flick, Marion County Emergency Manager. “The consequences would be catastrophic, but the likelihood is extremely remote.”

Completed in 1953, the Detroit Dam is only 45 miles east of Salem and was built before Oregonians knew the risk of earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest . It wasn’t until the 1970s that people began to understand the state had numerous faults both off shore and onshore. In particular, geologists learned the region is subject to massive Cascadia Subduction Zone quakes which occur about once every 300 years.


It’s now been 316 years since the last Cascadia , but Matt Craig, Dam Safety Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says that though the Detroit Dam was not constructed with seismic concerns in mind, the corps does not anticipate a failure.

“We do risk assessments on an ongoing basis,” he says, “in particular of what might happen in a 9.0.”

A magnitude-9.0 earthquake is the most intense possible quake, and only occur at subduction zones like the one off the coast of Oregon. “We look at whether an event like this could lead to dam failure,” Craig continues, “and what is the likelihood of some kind of release of water.”

Craig oversees the Corp’s “Portland District;” 20 dams that run roughly north to south from the Columbia River down to just above the California border. Thirteen are in the Willamette Valley basin. All twenty have a safety inspection every five years and a seismic study every 15 years.

Detroit Dam is built out of concrete “monoliths” Craig says , enormous slabs held together by joints. “They were purposely given joints so they could respond to temperature changes.” But although the Corps “would expect some movement , that won’t cause enough damage to release water. We don’t believe the blocks will separate at the joints.”

The dangers from earthquakes in Oregon are real. Salem Weekly encourages all readers to get information from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management or the Red Cross. Or, visit the City of Salem’s Emergency Management page and sign up for CERT disaster preparedness training.

In fact, Craig says, dams aren’t as susceptible to earthquakes as people might think; of dam failures around the world where every level of construction expertise is employed, only 1% can be attributed to earthquakes. He points to the 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake in Fukushima, Japan, that caused major devastation.

“It was similar to what we’d see in a Cascadia Subduction Zone event,” Craig says. But of over 250 dams in the Fukushima impact zone, only one small earth dam failed.

Of greater concern to emergency managers is the possible collapse of infrastructure like roads and bridges, broken water and gas lines and downed power lines.

Flick, whose goal is to have Marion County “the most prepared region in the state,” says that he and other managers receive regular information and training on dam breakage risks, and though the science doesn’t suggest a dam that impacts the county will fail in an earthquake, “that’s not to say we don’t prepare for it and review our plans annually. But it’s not a high concern.”

How we move forward

by Laura Gildart Sauter

I’ve been a fan of the Salem Progressive Film Series for some time.  The monthly films are always thought-provoking and informative, and discuss issues that should be important to any concerned citizen.  However, this month’s award-winning offering, Bikes vs. Cars (90min), directed by Fredrik Gertten, produced by Margarete Jangard and Elin Kamlert, is particularly relevant to the City of Salem and many of its current issues: the disagreement over the construction of a third bridge, the controversy over downtown parking, the need for expanded bus service, and the movement to reverse the one-way street grid.  So, in partnership with the Progressive Film Series, Salem Weekly is issuing both an invitation and a challenge:  to any Salem City Council member, to Mayor Anna Peterson, City Manager Steve Powers, to any candidate for city office, or any Salem Planning Commission member – free admission if you attend this important film.

The film opens with shots of people sitting in traffic jams, of bicyclists pedaling between cars and busses, of oil rigs silhouetted by the sunset.  We hear a siren and the camera narrows in on an ambulance frantically battling its way through blocked traffic.  Bikes vs Cars focuses its lens on several large world cities: Sao Paolo, Brazil, Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada – all beset by horrendous traffic problems – feature prominently, as does Copenhagen, Denmark the most bicycle-friendly city in the world.


The film interviews young bicycle activists in Sao Paolo, follows them as they memorialize fellow riders killed in traffic (at least one a week) with “ghost bicycles” spray-painted on the pavement, watches as they plan and undertake to persuade their city to create a network of bike lanes.  Raquel Rolnik, a professor of urban planning in Sao Paolo, expresses outrage at how the city is completely car oriented “our system does not take people into account.”  The activists petition the city government to reduce the width of streets, reduce speed, add bike lanes and trees to segregate traffic and keep cyclists safe.

In Los Angeles, we accompany a young father, Dan Koeppel, as he follows the path of the Los Angeles “cycleway” – a wooden boardwalk constructed at the beginning of the 20th century to move bicycles from Pasadena to downtown.  The structure is gone now, but in some places the right of way remains; a grassy reminder that in the early days of the city, people didn’t drive – 20% of people commuted on bikes, and most worked close to home or took public transportation.  We learn how General Motors purchased and destroyed the bus system and Standard Oil (now, Chevron) began dismantling the trolley system in 1945, ripping up the tracks and dumping the cars into Monterey Bay, all in a calculated move to turn Los Angles into a city dominated by the automobile.  To quote Koeppel: “The entire structure of LA is defined by the illusion of speed and convenience, but what we have are endless traffic jams: 2-4-6 lanes of freeway have become 10 or even 12 but no matter how much they build, traffic has gotten worse.”

The filmmakers interview Joel Ewanick, a car buff at an Irvine car show,  who says he cares about clean air, and climate change but “loves gasoline.  We’re addicted to it, its fun, its history.  I’m not selling my gas car and I’m as green as they come.”  At this point in the film, the audience begins to realize how deeply irrational humanity’s love affair with the automobile has become, but the film is not entirely one-sided.  The camera portrays the “pro-car” faction with some sympathy.   We can relate to the elderly gentleman lovingly polishing his 50s Ford convertible, and to the soft-spoken taxi driver in Copenhagen who delicately negotiates the streets through annoying “swarms of bicycles.”

One of the most infuriating segments of the film is the section on Toronto.  We hear former Mayor Rob Ford declare that the “war on cars stops today” as he sends out crews to paint out the bike lanes and vows that there will be no more light rail tracks laid in the middle of city streets.  We learn that, in Toronto, a pedestrian is hit by a car every three hours and a cyclist every seven, while the film shows Mayor Ford, blithely stating that “it’s their own fault.”

The camera returns to Sao Paolo, where Rolnik informs the audience that 60% of the space in the city is taken up housing cars, not people.  The film ends with a montage of traffic jams from a dozen cities: Mumbai, Jakarta, Paris, Rio, London, Beijing, Mexico City.  We do not see the iconic shots — the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben– what we see is the numbing monotony of endless automobiles.  The blur of traffic enforces what Koeppel tells us: “We need to decide how we want to live. We cannot make life better in cities by making more room for cars.”

We have all of the issues depicted in Bikes vs. Cars here in Salem, on a smaller scale.  Within the next few years we will, as a city, decide what direction we want to take – will we go the way of Toronto or Copenhagen?  The film shows us how when downtowns and neighborhoods are designed on a human scale – with room for bikes and pedestrians, with slower traffic, with trees, with fewer parking garages and more public transportation– business thrives, people flock to these areas to cafes and restaurants, to theaters and stores.  Salem has the potential to be a world class small city – the capital of the Oregon wine country, a destination for eco-tourists, a home for the creative and entrepreneurial spirit.  Will we live up to our potential or sink into sprawl and smog?  You decide.


Bikes vs Cars

 Salem Progressive Film Series

Guest speakers & audience discussion follow, 

Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m.

The Grand Theater

191 High St. NE, Salem

(503) 881-5305


The Play’s the Thing -Focus on Lisa Joyce

by R.S. Stewart

“I wear many hats,” says Lisa Joyce, Executive Director of Pentacle Theatre, characterizing her job as the “voice of the theatre.”

Selling tickets while the front office attendant is on a coffee break and answering the phone after business hours in the Pentacle Box Office on Liberty Street are only two jobs that fall outside her official position. An executive director primarily focuses on fundraising; writing grants, policies, and newsletters. Lisa also manages the theatre’s property in the West Salem hills, supports the Board in its many decisions, and creates marketing campaigns. She emphasizes her job as “heavy on the writing.”

A theater lover, Lisa enjoys attending play rehearsals held in the basement of the downtown building. On occasion she sits in on auditions. During the recent production of Willamette University Theatre’s staging of Japanese Noh plays, she was a volunteer usher.

Lisa first experienced the “theatre bug” at Reed College, where she performed in a fellow student’s play written as a thesis. She also portrayed “crazy” Aunt Harriet in the comedy classic, The Man Who Came to Dinner. Among her favorite plays are Buried Child by Sam Shepherd and A Woman in Mind by Alan Ayckbourn.

The play selection committee at Pentacle is now preparing its list for next season, and although Lisa is not allowed a vote, she highly recommends the current London hit comedy Hangmen.

A resident of Salem since 1988, Lisa began her relationship with Pentacle by volunteering the year she arrived. In 1994 she became the Hospitality House Manager. At the same time as volunteering, she worked for 27 years in state agencies including the Governor’s Office, Corrections, Energy, and Human Services.

The mother of three, Lisa believes strongly in arts for children, a value exemplified by her service on the Board of Children’s Educational Theatre. It’s a family affair, too; when he was ten her son Isaac was in Pentacle’s production of Gypsy. Now 22, he is doing make-up for the current production of Verona Studio’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.

Volunteers and donors are a special group of people to Lisa , who has great admiration for their “passion” and drive. Would she rather not have to ask for money for special projects? “No,” she says, because “donors would feel unappreciated.”

She’s proud to be part of Pentacle’s history; the theater opened its doors in 1954- 62 years and going strong.

Lisa’s current campaign is to get a larger capacity for lights in the theatre and she is helping with the thick folder of paperwork required to get a permit to improve the size and visibility of the Pentacle entrance sign. Future projects include greater access for people with disabilities and a left turn traffic light onto Highway 22. Many patrons would appreciate both.

At the close of our interview, Lisa read portions of letters she received from some of the 100 middle-school children who attended Pentacle’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank because of a grant she wrote. She was clearly very moved by the children saying that it was the first play they ever attended and that they would remember it all their lives.

Paradiso at the Grand Theatre: A Review

by J.M. Murdoch

I like to think I wasn’t the only one who waited impatiently for the “epic reveal” of the business which would fill the vacant space adjacent to the Historic Grand Theatre. Officially opened in April, the restaurant “Paradiso” surprised Salem with its intimate and regal Gatsby-esque interior design, an extensive wine list and full bar, and infallible food items on every inch of the impressive menu. We didn’t even know we needed this until it arrived.

Walking in, I was instantly drawn to the glinting shelves boasting the display of liquors…and then up…to the vaulted ceilings. It’s hard to believe this is the same establishment where a wine shop once stood. Firstly, full marks on prompt and efficient service—as soon as I entered I was greeted by a charming hostess, and immediately seated in the already-busy restaurant. The professionalism never faltered during my entire stay. The seating is organized in sixes—six booths, six two-person tables, and six comfortable barstools. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but they’ve done well to maximize the space, making it feel like a miniature 1920s palace. Even the lighting is just right—low enough to set a calming mood, but bright enough to add a cheerful glint to their brilliant use of glass and mirrors in the architectural design. The atmosphere is relaxed and flexible; you can dress up or down and Paradiso will shift to suit your mood.


The menus are gorgeous. I know this might not matter if the food isn’t equally gorgeous and delicious. But can we talk about these menus? Creamy thick paper with attractive font, and secured by small gold bolts onto a thick piece of genuine black leather. As a reviewer, I think, “If this attention to detail extends into the kitchen, I’m about to have my mind blown.”

As you can tell by now, this is a positive, 5-star quality review of Paradiso. I like good food. I’m no official food critic, or “foodie.” But I love food. I love experiencing it, not just eating it. After spending some time going to restaurants where culinary skills were equivalent to a form of fine art, I realized that not all restaurants were created equal. Paradiso is no exception.

I am sincere when I say everything (yes, everything) on the menu is on point. It helps to go with a group of people, ordering multiple items to share them family-style to get a good read on the restaurant’s offerings. I partook of their Balsamic Glazed, Herb Roasted Chicken with Gorgonzola Polenta, which is a surprising spin on a simple dish. The chicken, slightly blackened, is melt-in-your-mouth tender, positively dissolving with each bite. The polenta pairs very well, not too rich or dry as polenta can be sometimes. Ask your waiter for the evening’s dessert selection—I had the cheesecake, oh yes, please—but feel free to just pick any of them. You can’t go wrong.


As for drinks…well, their bartender, Daryn, knows his mixology. The Mai Italiano is an Italian twist on the classic Mai Tai cocktail. This one is definitely a stronger one, so caution to the lightweights; it knocked my delighted socks off. I also happened to try the Rose Martino, which is a light and easy floral cocktail with citrus hints. I could easily see myself enjoying it during one of our inevitable scorcher-days. Their wine menu is quite large, and I would like to see their beer menu expand to complement its enormous partner. Being in craft brew country, I was a bit disappointed to see that they currently only offer three beers.

Their General Manager, Calen, expressed his excitement for how well the restaurant is doing after being open for just a month. While their days and hours of operation are limited at the moment, Calen assured me that their goal is to expand, especially to serve theatre-goers who will be enjoying shows by Enlightened Theatrics or Salem Progressive Film Series in the Grand Theatre next door. (Fun fact: There is a pass-through connecting Paradiso and the Theatre to ease full bellies from dinner to their evening entertainment without having to step outside.)

And everyone is just courteous and friendly. At the end of the day, Paradiso is easily one of my new favorite spots in the Salem food scene, but what makes a meal is not just the food but the people you’re with. Whether you’re riding solo or with a hungry entourage, the people at Paradiso makes you feel like an old friend, and that your happiness is their priority. And that’s because it is. Five stars, you guys. Thank you for ushering in another exquisite dining experience to Salem.

Roberta and the Deep Blue Sea

by Jay Gipson-King

The Verona Studio dives deep to uncover an unlikely romance between two broken people in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, directed by Jeff Sanders.

Written by John Patrick Shanley, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea brings together Danny, a young man with anger issues, and Roberta, a woman with a troubling self-image. Danny believes he has killed a man; Roberta has committed an unspeakable act. They both suffer from unbearable guilt, and this burden—and the hope of solace—brings them together.

The play is named for Danny, but it is Roberta’s story. It is she who initiates the action and   drives the plot, and it is the performance by Hannah Alice Patterson that draws the eye. I have seen Patterson twice before in smaller roles, at Pentacle and Keizer Homegrown, and she absolutely pops out of the cast. It is a pleasure to finally see her in a part with real depth and stage time—one-half of this intimate two-hander. As Roberta, Patterson is bold, fearless, and sly. I don’t know if her Bronx accent is authentic, but it is certainly enjoyable. My only complaint is that in certain key moments, she lacks vulnerability. This seems small, but it is important. Her choices make sense by the end of the play, but they lack a layer of nuance.

McNary alumnus Justin Wanner turns in a strong performance as Danny, although he is not quite as charismatic as Patterson. He carries Danny’s anger (and affection) right on the surface, which is appropriate for this character, but he lacks an edge of real danger (perhaps a compliment to Roberta’s invulnerability).

Director Jeff Sanders is more often seen treading the boards, but his directing here is tight, interesting, and high energy. He easily finds the beats of the piece and highlights the key moments. The play clocks in at just over an hour, leaving plenty of time for a drink around the corner.

This play was shocking in its original time, 1983, for its graphic content and language. It is less shocking now. To be clear—there is still adult content and strong language, but ultimately, the play is full of heart. It is much closer to Shanley’s short play about first love, The Red Coat, than to the moral and political thriller Doubt. The play loves these two thoroughly flawed, messed up people, brought to life by two fine performances. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea plays through May 21.


Elsewhere in the Valley: 

• Drop Dead! Family farce at Keizer Homegrown Theatre. May 12–28.

• The Little Mermaid, at SKIT Theatre. May 13–21.

• Things My Mother Taught Me, at Aumsville Community Theatre, through May 22.

“‘They seek him here, they seek him there,” Jay Gipson-King is a local educator and theatre artist, and Salem Weekly’s Salem Pimpernel. Keep up with Jay and see the full list of area auditions and performances at facebook.com/SalemTheatreNetwork.

SW Art Picks

Nelson Sandgren: An Artist’s Life

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art

700 State St. 

503 370 6855

May 14-July 17

Corvallis Oregon artist and teacher Nelson Sandgren (1917-2006) created art in three primary media—watercolor, oil, and lithography.  His decades long career gained him viewers across the Pacific Northwest, up and down the West Coast, in museum exhibitions nationwide, and in gallery shows in Europe.  A concise retrospective exhibition of the paintings and prints of this important local artist will be on view at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art through July 17.  Organized by Professor Emeritus and Senior Faculty Curator Roger Hull, Nelson Sandgren: An Artist’s Life features 33 works of art drawn from public and private collections throughout the region. The exhibition is accompanied by a full color, hardcover book with an extensive essay by Professor Hull that places Sandgren’s work within the broader context of American and modern art.


Keizer Heritage 

Center Museum 

and Keizer Community Library

980 Chemawa Road NE


503 390-2370 

Keizer Heritage Museum features rotating displays to showing collections on loan from people in the local community. The current collection is the Legos Exhibit,  which showcases a Lego set donated by a local Keizer couple. The display includes original creations by the collectors, contemporary takes on the old Lego themes, and in the Library, a Lego Robotics display and awards from the Summers’ participation in Oregon Robotics Tournament Outreach Program’s First Lego League. Stop by, check out this interesting collection and view Legos in a completely new light. The display runs through June 30. Free. Museum hours: Tues-Thurs, 2-4 pm; Sat 10am-4pm.


A to Z Alphabet Show

Currents Gallery

532 NE Third St.  


503 435 1316

Currents Gallery presents a show celebrating literacy and the joy and beauty of the written language.  This is a juried show open to all Oregon artists in any media.  The  pieces depict one or more alphabet letters, in any language, in the artist’s own style and medium.  The show opens May 17, and runs  through June 13.  An opening reception is scheduled during McMinnville’s Art and Wine Walk on May 21st, 5-8 pm.


Chloe Raymond & Totem Shriver

Camas Gallery

Bush Barn Art Center

600 Mission St. SE  


May 7-June 25 

The abstract woodcarvings of Chloe Raymond

and Totem Shriver are featured at Bush Barn’s Camas Gallery through June 25th.  Raymond, who lives and works in Bend Oregon, uses the organic qualities in the wood juxtaposed with geometric forms to create her pieces. Her current body of work revolves around the theme of time—as in both the conception of an idea, as well as the carving process itself. Totem Shriver,  an adjunct professor who teaches art foundation courses at Linfield College, focuses on providing a beautiful experience and a conduit for thought for his viewers, with a goal of  creating  “something simple and beautiful that will last for all time in someone’s mind as a special moment.”

Making Connections and Building Community

by Judith Walden

What makes a vibrant and growing art scene in a community?  Well, artists of course, but what about all the things making up the framework that artists operate in?  According to Marika Garvey, Artists in Action’s new Publicity Coordinator, a big part of the equation is volunteers. This is something Garvey is very familiar with, as she volunteers as a gallery guide at the Salem Art Association in addition to her position with AIA.

Artists in Action, which was started in 1999, was established to get Salem artists involved with each other and the community, and to promote and support creative endeavors. The organization has no paid staff and all the work is performed by volunteers.  AiA manages and presents a calendar of popular Salem events including Paint The Town, the Something Red Art Walk and Exhibit, and in alternate years the Willamette Valley Open Studios Tour. Artists in Action also participates in other events throughout the year including a booth at the World Beat Festival, the Outside the Box auction at the Salem Art Fair and shows at the Salem Public Library, CCTV, and the Capitol. There is also an ongoing showing of members’ work at the Spinnaker Place building.

May marks the beginning of AIA’s first event of the year, Paint The Town, their much anticipated “en plein air” painting extravaganza, which culminates in October at the Elsinore  Gallery with a show of work from the event. This is the 18th year AIA has put on Paint the Town.  An exciting change this year is the addition of a poetry element.  The poets of the Mid Willamette Valley Poet Society will be joining in at various sites to “Write the Town” and compose poetry about the painting sites included in the event.  Painting sites for the event are among the most diverse, beautiful, and interesting in the area.  Also new this year is a workshop presented by well-known plein air painter Mike Rangner of Albany.

Despite the paint specific nature of “Paint the Town” Garvey stresses that AIA membership is open to artists in all media.  Garvey lists fiber art, metal work, wood work, photography, and ceramic art as some of the media represented among AIA’s membership.  The organization is a resource for established and emerging artists and newcomers to the area, providing connections to the local art community, support, ideas, and information. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM, and are open to everyone. Garvey states that she attended several meetings before joining, and cites the information and connections as one of her favorite aspects of the organization.

Garvey joined AIA about a year ago. She is enthusiastic about the group, and what it brings to Salem and to individual artists.  For the community she says “AIA brings the idea of art to people who aren’t necessarily exposed to it on a daily basis.  It can inspire people to try something they haven’t, or just to enjoy the art of others.”  She also returns to the subject of volunteering, pointing out that “there are always things that need to be done” and having lots of people helping ensures that Salem’s art community remains active and growing. Information on AIA can be found at: http://artistsinaction.org
For Paint the Town dates and locations: http://aiaptt.org/

SW Music Picks

Thursday, May 12th at 7pm at Shotskis Woodfired Pizza: Willamette Music Night with Gringo Star, Rabid Habit, Frontal Lobes, Bitch Mob, Gabriel Klute, and Zachery Johnston. This is a goodbye show for Willamette Students, as this is the last day of finals. All bands hail from Willamette University and music ranges from acoustic to hip hop. There will be discounted food and drink and minors are totally welcome until 9pm. Sounds like a hoot and a great chance to hear music that you don’t usually see in Salem venues. And you know, thank all the gods I don’t have to take finals anymore. Good luck students!

Saturday, May 14th at 8pm at Brown’s Towne Lounge: “A Very Incognita Birthday Benefit Show” with Grandma Dynamite, Transendia and Jesus Chrysler & the Holy Smokes –

$5 suggested donation but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. This event is raising money for immediate needs of homeless youth in the Salem area. The proceeds will be given directly to the H.O.S.T. Youth Street Outreach and Drop In Center. There will be raffle prizes that include gift certificates from Cherry City Waxworks, Court Appearance Styling Studio, various local artisans, and much more. This also a 46th birthday shindig for Tara Colvin, but she requests donations be made in lieu of gifts. Find out more about H.O.S.T. at northwesthumanservices.org.

Sunday, May 22nd at 8pm at The Fifty Pub & Grub: Of from Oakland, Salem’s Goddess of Slaughter, and Megathruster a Portland/Salem Duo – Experimental Rock/Pop – Free. You must see Of. They played an outdoor show at The Fifty last summer, and I still hear people talk about it.  It was truly mind blowing. Epic and melodic loop based duo that incorporates an arsenal of instruments. See them. Goddess of Slaughter has just added Emilee Kerper on bass and I just missed them at The Triangle last weekend, so yay. I get second chance. Megathruster is an established outfit out of Portland, but Salem’s own Joel Machiela (Schumann Frequencies, ACE Chemicals) has joined with Ethan Noll in what Joel described to me as nerd/comedy/video and board game rock. Oh yeah, it’s STILL ok to see live music on Sunday. I’ve done it plenty of times and everything turned out ok.

Birth of a Theory

by Julie Eaton

When I took on the endeavor of covering the Salem music scene, I promised that I would push myself outside my comfort zone to find the people who were actively making the scene work, regardless of genre. What I have found is Salem has a thriving and vigorous hip hop community. To be honest, I’ve never been into hip hop. Frankly, growing up in a strict religious family in Salem Oregon can be…culturally isolating, to put it delicately. I just wasn’t exposed to this artform. Personally, I am thankful that I kept my mind open, because my dealings with the folks in the hip hop scene have been refreshingly sincere and reciprocally gracious and appreciative.

Salem’s hip hop community is also very organized and they enthusiastically support one another. This generosity of spirit is how I met Gregg Simpson – formerly known as Yung Killa and who is now reinventing himself as Theory. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Gregg, along with his partner Desiree Lur, have come together to create a new project called 4D Media. When I met with them at La Margarita Express, I expected to hear about the project I already knew about, Salem Cypher and then other shows that they’ve got planned in the future. But I was in for so much more. In addition to Gregg’s musical endeavors, they’ve been hosting community outreach events since 2012. “Packing it in the Park” was held at Wallace Marine Park and they provided entertainment, food and cold weather supplies to homeless and low income citizens of Salem. More recently in 2015, they hosted what they’re hoping to be an annual event – 4D Festival at River Road Park doing much the same thing. I asked about their motivation. They said that they’ve both struggled, their family has struggled and it’s important that they do all they can to help others in the community who are struggling. I know this is a music column, but I was so affected by their service and generosity, I had to include it in this piece. So keeping this in mind, I’ll go on to Gregg’s more musical undertakings.

Salem Cypher is an emcee competition held partly online at Salem Cypher’s Facebook page and also at CCTV Community Television. How it works: rappers submit their videos “spitting 16 bars” to the FB page and a panel of judges pick five of what they deem the best. Then, these chosen performers pay $10 and perform for the cameras at CCTV. Gregg then puts the videos on Facebook for the community to vote. The winner gets $100 taken from the pot that the performers put in. This guy definitely has a knack for bringing folks together across multiple platforms. Grinchmobb won the first Cypher back in April, and since then, their Facebook group has grown to over 6,000 members from across the US. I can’t get over what a cool idea this is. They are currently vetting videos on the page and the next Cypher will be at CCTV on May 13th. It is totally free to go watch. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? 5pm – be there.

Now to introduce, Theory. Gregg’s first rap name, Yung Killa was given to him when he was young and heading down a road he described as negative. He soon realized that negative begets negative and decided that wasn’t the path for him. In honor of his transformation, he will be hosting a family oriented, sit down dinner party, “Birth of a Theory,” at Salem Heights Hall. Music will be provided by Rich McCloud and Jessica Peterson. $5 gets you a prime rib dinner prepared by Gregg’s own mother or $20 for a table of five. There will also be some celebratory champagne.

Do keep an eye on 4D Media. Gregg and Desiree have big plans for the future, with an emphasis on including more of the community through family oriented events and all ages music shows. With what they’ve already accomplished, I have no doubt these two will continue to make Salem more than it’s ever been.


Salem Cypher May 13th at CCTV – 5pm

Birth of a Theory

Rich McCloud & Jessica Peterson

7pm – Salem Heights Community Hall

$5 per person/$20 for Table of 5