Archive for July 9, 2007

A Question

July 9, 2007

The State Police contingent that works out of Corvallis is headed by a guy named Phil Zerzan.

Living in Eugene is perhaps the foremost proponent of Anarcho-Primitivism, the idea that people should become hunter-gatherers and ditch technology. His named is John Zerzan.

Given the uniqueness of the name, I’ve got to wonder if they are related. How funny.

Anybody out there have any idea?


I Think They Call it a Bleg

July 9, 2007

Anybody know why the text of my posts becomes single-spaced after a block quote but not before?

Thanks in advance.

Corvallis is Changing

July 9, 2007

Inspired by this post at Blue Oregon (even though the post in question doesn’t really touch on what I want to talk about all that much), I think Corvallis is in the midst of shooting itself in the foot, the leg, the thigh and possibly the femoral artery.

What? My lousy metaphors don’t make sense? Deal with it.

Anyway, this is something that has been percolating for quite a while in my brain, and now that the heat of the day has passed, I’m going to try and explain a bit.

I started going to college in the fall of 2001, so I was in town pretty much every day. I moved to Corvallis in the spring of 2002 and have lived here ever since. Also, I like to eat out often, as does my partner. As a result, we have a decent sense of the ebb and flow of restaurants and other businesses in town since we end up all over the place in search of food.

In the last 5 years, I’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of change in town – new buildings, renovation of old buildings, the closing down of old shops, etc. Among the more notable are the closing of Albright and Raw, the Avalon, Lyons Restaurant and several large businesses on 9th St.

Most of these things have either been replaced, razed, or stand as empty buildings. They’ve been replaced with – you guessed it – chain stores.

Paul Turner of the Darkside (and formerly of the Avalon) has something to say about chain stores that pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter:

I’ve done my part to bring this type of cinema to town. Now it’s your turn. Do you want the Darkside, the Majestic, Robnett’s, Red Horse, and Sunny Side Up in your future? Make no mistake: every dollar you spend at Carmike, Home Depot, and Starbucks is another nail in the coffin for these local establishments.

I think he’s spot-on, and that’s why I think Corvallis is in the midst of some fundamental long-term change: In the last 5 years, I’ve seen at least a dozen chains enter town, including Borders, Carmike Cinemas, Home Depot, Ruby Tuesday’s, the forthcoming Applebees, an Elmers Restaurant, multiple Dutch Bros., Bed Bath & Beyond, and more. All of these have put pressure on local businesses, even forcing some of them to go under. Hell, even the local Goodwill built a new store that looks just like a low-budget Walmart (scary, I know).

My point is that Corvallis has a reputation – which the Blue Oregon post alludes to – as a great place to live. Part of that reputation is due to some very specific land-use planning: Lots of parks and green space, but more importantly, a limit on the size of stores to limit big-box stores and a genuine effort to keep downtown vibrant by promoting and support local business.

I think the reputation has lived on well after the fact.

Don’t get me wrong; my understanding is that the downtown businesses wield some clout, and they are judicious in defending their turf. I’m referring more to the set of decisions (probably made the city government and City Council, though I have admittedly not followed closely enough to be sure) that have allowed the new development.

In other words, I think the mentality of many Corvallis residents has changed and they don’t remember why their town is so awesome in the first place, and the consequences of that forgetfulness are going to be, in the long run, a shift from local and independent businesses to mega-corporate chain stores. Corvallis, I predict, is going to lose a lot of what makes it unique and loved by everyone, and lots of people aren’t going to be any the wiser, especially since I’d bet new arrivals don’t have any idea of the history of the town.

And don’t even get me started on the class aspect of all this; I’ll save that for another post. Suffice to say, this G-T article has some useful information.

Cindy Sheehan Might Run for Congress

July 9, 2007

According to the Washington Post and via Americablog.

From the Post article:

CRAWFORD, Texas — Cindy Sheehan, the soldier’s mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to seek House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional seat unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That’s when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

I like this idea; I think it’s a great way to put pressure on the Democrats in Congress to act – Sheehan seems like the kind of person who won’t be placated with platitudes. And she has the celebrity status, especially with the left of the Dems, to get attention.

It could backfire, sending Sheehan into obscurity and making her an outsider…though it would be both tragic and a really telling example of what matters to the Democrats. I won’t hold my breath.

Surfing While Heat-Addled

July 9, 2007

Kids Create Mushroom Cloud With Matchsticks.