Jefferson Monthly

Features and columns published in the Jefferson Monthly.

Jenny Graham

In her essay, A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines a gifted sister for Shakespeare and speculates on her fate. Unschooled, married as a teenager against her will, the young woman yearns to write plays so runs away to London only to find herself barred from work in the theatre. She winds up pregnant, and commits suicide.

Beautiful Melancholy

Nov 1, 2013

I have been listening to music for as long as I can remember. My father was an accordion player of Italian folk songs and American country music since before I was born, and through the early years of my life there was always music and sing-alongs around the kitchen table with friends and family.

Who wouldn’t love a free lunch? You seat yourself, let’s say, on a sun-dappled outdoor patio, choose among the many mouth-watering dishes, enjoy a glass or two of wine, and finally, full at last, get up and simply stroll away. No waiter pursues you, waving a bill. No guilty conscience disturbs your well-being. This establishment never charges. It’s a free lunch, every day.

The air smells of pine and cold when I finally arrive in Joseph, a small town in the northeast corner of Oregon, at 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon in late spring. The peaks of the mountains in the Eagle Cap Wilderness west of downtown shine with snow even though it’s warm enough in the valley that I don’t need a jacket. I do a happy dance after I park at the motel. It’s taken me two airplane rides (via Washington and Idaho), one car rental, and a two-and-a-half-hour drive south from the airport in Lewiston, Idaho to get here from the western part of the state.

As public radio stations across the country attempt to navigate the brave new world of emerging media platforms there has been a new fervor to return to radio’s roots when radio was “live and local.”  Public radio in the U.S. has been built on a foundation of localism. Stations have always been locally (or regionally) owned and operated, and have worked hard to be more than just repeaters of nationally syndicated programming.  Creating local content unique to individual communities has always been an essential element of public radio’s mission.

Aging Mobile Homes Burden The Grid And Their Owners

Oct 1, 2013
Amelia Templeton

If you walk into Charlotte White’s home, this is what you notice: colorful potholders hanging from the cabinets. A cat stretched out in a beam of sunlight. And the loud rattle of the washing machine.

“It spins off balance, because the floor is uneven, because it’s rotten,” White says.

In the hall and the bathroom, the floorboards feel spongy underneath her feet. White had to replace the kitchen floor, too, after it rotted out.

What I’ve always loved about my line of work is setting a mood. As a DJ, there’s nothing more satisfying than creating just the right soundtrack to make the moment complete, whether I’m spinning discs on the radio, playing tunes at a wedding, or just putting together the background music for a family celebration on my iPod. It’s more than just lining up all the popular hits for a particular demographic. It’s finding the right music to transport listeners to a particular place and time and emotional situation.

Every new technology is a Frankenstein. Once it is created it is no longer in the control of its creator and once released into the world, it may behave in ways the creator never intended. That’s not to say that all new technologies are monsters; rather, it’s to point out the inherent duality in every new technology to be both good and bad. To put it simply: technology is not neutral.

Into The Woods

Oct 1, 2013

Two heroes of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this summer are scenic designer Michael Ganio and projection designer Alexander Nichols, who manage with a single set to turn the ornery Elizabethan Stage into a space that splendidly serves all three outdoor productions.  In Cymbeline, the rocky, wooded terrain supports a primitive ancient Britain and the wilderness of Wales.  In David Farr’s The Heart of Robin Hood and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on the other hand, the scaffold of trees hovers over scenes of palace and town like an ironic reminder.  Enha

Hands Across The Watershed

Oct 1, 2013
Katrina Mueller / USFWS, Pacific Region

They’re almost unfathomable, those images from a not-so-distant past: Streams thick with flashing bodies. Wagons overflowing with fish. Canneries on every major river. The salmon may be the iconic symbol of the Pacific Northwest, but in less than 150 years, the breathtaking bounty of its numbers has dwindled to wan runs supplemented by hatchery stock. In particular, several runs of Coho are in trouble, including the federally Threatened Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast population.


What do 50,000 dying bees look like?   A writhing scatter of black, swept by early morning brooms at a Target parking lot in Wilsonville, OR.   It is old news now, all the way back in June, but it sticks with me:  50,000 bees, feeding on the linden trees.  A neonicotinoid pesticide was applied to the trees to control aphids, which create a sticky secretion that was dripping on cars in the parking lot.

Christina Ammon

If a small town store is a reflection of a community, then looking around the Ruch Country Store, one gets the sense of the diverse set of people who live in the surrounding areas. On a small, recycled magazine rack, back issues of The New Yorker sit next to copies of American Rifleman. Pinned to the community board are various flyers. Housing needed for organic gardener one reads. Sagittarius, Ayurvedic dosha: vata. Enneagram personality type 3, vegan. Next to that: an advert for Medford BMX.

The New

Sep 12, 2013

By the time you read this I hope you’ve had an opportunity to explore JPR’s new website.  There are a number of features about the new site that I’d like to highlight.

Sounds Of Summer

Sep 1, 2013

I write this column as the oppressive heat of July and the smoke from local fires is hanging over the state of Jefferson, challenging my brain to summon up some of the music I've enjoyed recently. The first one that comes to mind is a wonderful documentary entitled You Want a Banjo. It‘s an enlightening history of the instrument, narrated by Steve Martin, and features many of the most influential banjo players.

The history we learn from text books is made up of stories selected by academics to explain and give shape to a civilization’s collective past. But history is much more than that. Beyond the textbook stories of political battles and sweeping social movements are the stories of ordinary people who make history in their own right by everyday acts of bravery and by standing up to injustice in the very communities in which they lived.

Country’s First Tiny House Hotel Opens in Portland

Sep 1, 2013
Toni Tabora-Roberts

Sure, tiny homes are adorable. But could you handle living in 120 square feet?

Portlanders Kol Peterson and Deb Delman think you should try it – if only for one night.

This past July, they opened the country’s first tiny house hotel.  The Caravan Tiny House Hotel consists of three tiny homes on what used to be a vacant lot in northeast Portland.

And, yes, they really are tiny.

Feasting On Blues

Aug 29, 2013

  The diversity of "Blues" music continues to reveal itself in 2013, as new releases within the genre highlight a variety of styles and approaches.

The Myth of History

Aug 28, 2013

For its special initiative, American Revolutions, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival commissions playwrights to explore a critical moment or issue in U. S. history.  Of the five works the OSF has developed and produced under this rubric so far, Naomi Wallace’s intriguing, disruptive The Liquid Plain, premiering this season in the Thomas Theatre, also questions the stability of history itself, composed as it is of competing myths. 

Mary Landberg

On a sunny day last March over a hundred mostly gray-haired people file into an auditorium at Asante’s Smullin Health Education Center in Medford. A large screen behind the stage projects the afternoon’s agenda: HAVING THE CONVERSATION. On stage are two empty armchairs, violet with pale blue dots, a white rug, and a hospital gurney. On the gurney lies a manikin, its hairless head resting incongruously against a flowered pillow. For some reason I find this detail heartbreaking.

We seem to live in the age of “zero tolerance.” A zero tolerance policy imposes automatic pre-determined punishment for infractions of a rule or law, forbidding people in positions of authority from exercising discretion or changing punishments to fit the unique circumstances or history of any given infraction. While it’s hard to argue against the merits of certain zero tolerance positions society has taken, like drinking and driving, numerous examples exist where zero tolerance rules have led to unjust outcomes and caused detrimental unintended consequences.