Happening Person: Moriah Chavez
Southies, get your rugelach and bialy while you can. Barry's Espresso and Bakery at 29th and Willamette may well be replaced with what owner Barry Siegel was told would be a "national coffee presence" when PC Market of Choice expands late next year into the Rite-Aid section of the plaza. Given the "national coffee presence" that moved in kitty-corner to Full City downtown and that same presence in The Stereo Store center on 7th Avenue, it's a good bet that Barry's is getting Starbucked.
Siegel has a month-to-month lease with Rite-Aid on its current location at the front of the drugstore; he says the agreement is good at least through next summer. (Siegel has rented this space since Barry's original location was absorbed into the U-Lane-O/Oregon Community Credit Union reconstruction.) However, with Market of Choice's expansion next year resulting in a smaller drugstore, Rite-Aid has no plans to extend Siegel's lease. Siegel says he has no choice but to keep his eyes open for another south Eugene location. "I've had this business in south Eugene for six and a half years now. I'd be silly not to try and stay in the area."
He explains that such a relocation isn't easy for a small, local business like his. While he has cultivated a strong and loyal customer following, he hasn't found support on an official level. "There isn't anyone [city officials] standing up for the small businesses in this town." The city, he says, makes it difficult — and expensive — for a small business to get started or relocated.
A manger, identified only as "Derek," for Market of Choice said that "no one here knows anything about this — I have no information." Trond Ingvaldsen, vice president of real estate for Standard Insurance Company, Portland owners of the shopping center property, says that Siegel's tenancy is dependent on continuing the lease through Rite-Aid. This is unlikely, he concedes, since Rite-Aid's reconstruction involves downsizing and displacing tenants within the drugstore.
As for that national coffee presence, Ingvaldsen says, "There are lots of rumors flying down there, but we haven't made any agreements with any coffee chains. We're still in lease negotiation with Rite-Aid and PC Market." Ingvaldsen does say that following the reconstruction of Rite-Aid and Market of Choice, Standard Insurance will build additional retail space, but nothing will be available for at least three years.
Good news for the college set: Siegel has opened a second bakery on campus at Alder and 12th Avenue. In spite of all the South town shuffling, he says, "We're happy that our customers and the community really support us." — Bobbie Willis
This past weekend's Peace, Justice And Media Conference accomplished its mission, according to two of its organizers, Michael Carrigan and David Zupan.
The ambitious mix of speakers, workshops and panels was intended to "educate and empower the public to lobby and reform the mainstream media to gain more fairness, accuracy and diversity of voices and to build and strengthen the progressive movement and the independent alternative media," says Zupan.
"Attendees left the conference better informed, more united and with some new skills they can use to get their voices heard in their communities," says Carrigan.
Some post-event fund-raising was needed last year to cover costs, but this year the conference is expected to meet expenses, thanks to an increase in sponsorships from 50 to more than 120 organizations from around Oregon and the book tour appearances of Jim Hightower and Molly Ivins (still to come Oct. 25). The organizers estimate that more than 1,500 people have attended events so far.
Hightower drew a standing room only crowd of more than 850 at his LCC appearance Oct. 9. Panels and workshops continued all weekend, some drawing large crowds, others only a few people. Carrigan described the turnout at the free sessions as "fair, but not great, despite extensive publicity. … Except for a Friday evening hip hop concert and the workshops dealing with military recruitment, there was very little participation by young people. A better job of outreach to youth at their schools is needed."
Zupan attributes the limited workshop turnout to "some degree of activist burnout" post 9/11, and that "learning how to be an effective media activist is not at the top of many people's lists."
Planning for future conferences and events will likely again include a large dose of entertainment to encourage participation. —TJT
In response to the quick sell-out of her 7:30 pm lecture Saturday, Oct. 25, columnist Molly Ivins has agreed to do a 3 pm lecture the same day, also at the McDonald Theatre. Tickets are $10 in advance and are available at Tsunami, Black Sun, Foolscap, Mother Kali's, Star Gate and Book Mine book stores, the UO ticket office and the Justice Not War office at 454 Willamette, 343-8548.
Tickets at the above outlets are still available for a separate dinner reception, music and book signing with Ivins at Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton, after her evening talk. Advance tickets are $25, or $30 at the door.
Cohousing Eugene has "tied up" a downtown parcel at the northwest corner of 11th and Lincoln for an urban cohousing community, according to Martin Henner of the group.
Cohousing is a style of cooperative housing developed in Denmark that features individually owned houses or apartments that are architecturally designed to promote community interaction and neighborliness. The housing often includes common buildings and grounds in addition to self-sufficient apartments or homes.
The group held an information meeting Oct. 11 at the Eugene Public Library and is now recruiting members who would like to help design the project and then purchase homes in the completed community.
For more information, call Henner at 345-6466 or visit www.cohousing.org
The broad and often puzzling topic of sustainability will be on the agenda of the City Club of Eugene at 11:50 am Friday, Oct. 17 at the Eugene Hilton. Bob Doppelt, director of the UO Center for Watershed and Community Health, will speak on "Growing Lane County's Economy Through Sustainability: Results of a Six Month UO Research Effort."
Doppelt is expected to outline the findings and recommendations of a multi-faceted academic study into the business and job opportunities potentially available through the application of sustainable development practices in Lane County. Doppelt will summarize four reports that have been produced by this project covering green building, natural foods, eco-industrial development, and the results of a questionnaire mailed to private companies and public agencies throughout Lane County.
Doppelt's talk precedes the free Sustainable Business Symposium at UO Nov. 14-16, one of the longest-running sustainability conferences in the Northwest.
This year the symposium will be held in the newly completed Lillis Business Complex and will feature a products exposition, panels, workshops and speakers, "providing concrete examples of how businesses can simultaneously increase profits, decrease ecological impacts and increase investment in the social capital of our communities," according to organizers.
Speakers include Donna Wilson, Alan Durning, John Cusack, Michael Shuman and Jack Roberts. Get updated information at www.uoregon.edu/~sbs/
The 4J school district has revised its policy on naming new schools to include not just dead presidents. The new policy allows schools to be named after "indigenous and characteristic" local plants and animals, geographic place names and distinguished people. Using a living person's name is OK, as long as they are retired. The new policy also allows "thematic names which reflect the character of the community, culturally and historically." How about Go-Duck Elementary or Tie-Dye High? — Alan Pittman
School district 4J Superintendent George Russell has proposed that the district address the inequities created by the district's self-segregated school choice system by diverting some money from wealthier schools toward lower income schools. Russell's proposed goals for the next two years include diverting more funding to schools serving poorer students and increasing funding for full-day or extended-day kindergartens at low-income elementary schools. — AP
Commentator Russel Sadler will be the keynote speaker when Lane County Democrats hold their annual gala auction dubbed "Save our State" beginning at 6 pm Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Downtown Athletic Club. U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio has donated his 1963 Dodge Dart to be auctioned at the yearly fund-raiser (he now drives a 1964 Dodge Dart).
"People in my district may not recognize me but they sure recognize 'the Dart,'" says DeFazio. Other politicians have used buses, planes and luxury cars in their stumping for office and speaking tours, but DeFazio has puttered around the Fourth District for years in his second-hand, beat-up heap.
Donations have poured in from all over Lane County to benefit the organization's efforts to elect progressive candidates, says event organizer Deanna Kilger.
Tickets are $40 at the door.
School District 4J has applied for a $343,000 federal grant to help local schools move toward fitness for all kids, not just those on the football team. The "Project Rising Expectations" grant "will produce long-term systematic change in the Eugene School District physical education program by moving the program away from traditional team sports activities toward a greater emphasis on healthy lifetime physical activity, such as dance, in-line skating, golf, rock climbing, yoga, personal defense, aerobics and personal fitness." — AP
Ricky Anderson has never performed in public. But in late October, he and 16 other adults with developmental disabilities will take the stage in front of 300 strangers.
Anderson is part of a performance group called Freedom Through Release, Expression and the Arts (FREA, pronounced "free"). Formed this June, FREA has 17 members, all adults with developmental disabilities, and a waiting list of others eager to participate. The brainchild of two deeply passionate women, FREA provides a forum for self-expression to a group typically ignored, or at best, misunderstood, by the general public.
For Anderson, the show is about more than acting. In March, a car struck Anderson, 39, as he crossed 6th and Olive in his handicapped cart. The driver leaned out the window and yelled that he was out to get disabled people. Then the car sped away, leaving Anderson with a leg pinned under the cart, neck injuries and bruises.
"That's why I really want to get involved with this program," Anderson says. "I'm doing it because it helps to get the feelings of handicapped people across to others. It tells them to be aware that we're out there."
Although having a developmental disability may mean some cannot live on their own or have a traditional job, it doesn't necessarily mean they have a low IQ.
But as schoolyard slang shows, many people automatically equate a developmental disability with stupidity, according to Karla Schroeder and Judith Voss, social workers and founders of FREA. They add that many people also assume that an adult with a developmental disability is somehow incapable of feeling everything that a "normal" adult feels. For example, there's the fallacy that people with Down's syndrome are always happy. "The 'happy Downs' — that just drives me crazy," says Schroeder.
The women's desire to break such misconceptions through
the use of performing art first brought them together. Schroeder holds
a BA in developmental psychology and has danced for 20 years. She works
at a brokerage firm for disabled adults. Voss, whose daughter, 22, is
developmentally disabled, holds a doctorate in education and a masters
in counseling psychology, and has spent years organizing recreational
groups for the disabled. A common friend introduced the two in June,
and FREA was
While several programs exist to support children with disabilities, Voss's experience with her daughter taught her that programs for adults are few and far between. That's the gap that FREA aims to fill, says Voss. At FREA rehearsals, adults get a chance to sing, dance and act — whichever they like to do most. Exercises are not scripted, so they can be modified for all levels of ability.
Both Voss and Schroeder are convinced of the importance of using the arts to allow people to express themselves. One doesn't have to use words, says Schroeder, when one can just as easily use paintings or slideshows or movement. "What happens if someone isn't able to communicate verbally?" she asks. "They can't be in a play?"
FREA's first performance is fast approaching on Oct. 23 at the Eugene conference of the Oregon Rehabilitation Association. As "just the tip of the iceberg," the show will present a simple repertoire of exercises, including a group song, to avoid any pressure on members. "This is a fledgling process," says Voss.
Cynthia Defferding, 44, and Mark Schrouder, 29, FREA members and high school graduates, say they're excited about their upcoming performance. Other FREA members admit they're nervous, but appreciate what they're part of. "I really want this group to grow and become part of my future," says Rachel Zaleweski, 26, FREA member and a graduate of Sheldon High. "I've always wanted to be a dancer and actress."
In recent exercises, FREA members have practiced telling a story not through literal narration but through the use of impressions created by sound and movement. It's an abstract concept that requires special effort for many members.
Through such exercises, the group works inwardly to build self-esteem and communicate feelings in a creative and open way. And as a result, FREA hopes to raise community awareness and break stereotypes.
Funding, as ever, is tight. Both Schroeder and Voss volunteer their time, and Schroeder's employer has helped print programs and mailings. The Hilyard Community Center donates space to the group, but is only available for rehearsals twice a month. Voss and Schroeder would love a space to call FREA's own and to rehearse weekly.
FREA also needs donations for costumes, props and adaptive equipment such as mats and space balls. Mats would allow members in wheelchairs to get down on the floor. "Wouldn't that be exhilarating, to explore space in a totally different way?" asks Schroeder.
"This program is important to me, because I just like being myself," says Anderson. "Sometimes I feel sad and all alone because of things going on in my life. I just like singing because it helps me to express my feelings."
FREA is open to new members. Call 485-0808 or 284-5070.
Two years ago, as a seventh-grader at Spencer Butte, Moriah Chavez began earning elective credits as a volunteer peer tutor in special-ed teacher Todd Brenneman's life skills classroom. "This is one student who really has her head on straight," Brenneman reports. "Moriah truly cares for the students and always wants the best for them." Chavez continued as a tutor in eighth grade. "I really liked it," she says. "When I heard they were doing summer school for a month, I volunteered for that." Now a freshman at South Eugene High, Chavez recently finished her season with the JV volleyball team. She still puts in an hour a day as a life-skills tutor at South. "I go swimming with them at the Y or we go downtown on the bus," she says. "There are five other tutors — they spread us out through the day." In her third summer of work with the Northwest Youth Corps, Chavez spent a solid month in the woods this past summer in a crew of 10, building trails and bridges, pruning and planting trees. "It's hard work but it's fun — we earn minimum wage," she notes. "Everybody got stung except for me. I've had enough peanut butter sandwiches to last me for all time."