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Oregon Is Changing?

The Thing I miss About Oregon…..The People

Sponsored by CrisDental

Each time Kathy and I return to Oregon we know this is not our home anymore.

When I criticize the politics some of you draw the wrong conclusion that we hate this place.

You are dead wrong and you know it.

Oregon will always be my home state but not my home.

We came back this time to be part of the Muscular Dystrophy Golf Event.

My friend Dr Michael Bratland from CrisDental was the title sponsor and asked me to give a short speech on his behalf.

We had such a great time seeing hundreds of people we know.

Being back here is fun for me.

People are kind and treat me as though I never left.

Familiarity is intoxicating and comforting at the same time.

While in town I stopped by Subnormal Art Collective to see my good friend and tattoo artist Jake Williams.

Jake and I go way back.

Not only is he the guy behind my art, when he was 10 years old I spoke to his class at Mt Vernon Elementary and as he tells it, it left a mark in his life…..and now his marks are all over my arms.

I also got a haircut from my Eugene barber, the best barber on the planet Mario at Renegade Barber shop. Not only does he understand how to cut hair but I walk in the door, the rest of the staff and Mario give me a ration of crap and I know I’m loved.

I stopped by Full City Coffee, the best in town, and saw Lisa and her crew. We ran along the new bike path and saw how clean the area is starting to look after years of city rules allowing it to turn into a dump. I guess city leaders finally figured out their plan was failing and tried something else, tough love.

We had dinner at The Gordon Tavern and The Wheel Apizza Pub, impressed with both. My friend Tim Schley joined us for dinner and drinks. He works with me so I talk with him every week but face to face is so much more intimate.

For years I emceed an award ceremony for kids who turned their lives around. Colleen Bellotti, coach Bellotti’s wife, sponsored that event. It was great catching up with her as well.

The night of the event Kathy and I met one of Dr Bratland’s dentists Patrick, and Patrick’s brother Michael and their wives and had a blast. We stayed up way too late and had one of the deepest and most interesting conversations. A bond was built and we intend to build on it.

I think we’ve been gone from Oregon long enough to miss things about it.

Oregon will always be the place I was born and lived much of my life.

Most of the people here are so good, so kind and very helpful.

That said, there are also a bunch of folks who seem unhappy and angry.

It’s written all over their faces and I just don’t get it.

I pray balance returns to the state. Not just political balance but a balance that allows for openness, creativity and diversity of thought.

For many years I was involved with the City Club of Eugene. It was a liberal group that thought it was openminded but really quite the opposite.

When I was here it was a large club, turning grayer and more liberal each year.

They brought me in to be president as a way of bringing diversity to the club.

It didn’t work but I had a blast challenging them.

Members met in some of the larger venues in town because it was a viable club.

I walked passed a small space in the basement of the 5th Street Public Market and saw a sign that said they were in session. I peaked in the window and only a handful of people were in the room.

I had to smile and I thought, huh, maybe that’s a sign that diversity is on its way to places like Eugene?

Perhaps change, slow change, is coming.

I was running along the bike path and a guy I used to be friends with walked past me.

He’s not a friend anymore but an agitator.

I had to block him on a couple of pages for spreading lies about some of my friends.

I don’t know if he saw me but he looked horrible, angry and old.

The Oregon we experienced this trip is different from what we lived in and even more uplifted that what we saw the past few times we visited.

The narrow-minded seem to be losing their grip.

Eugene looks cleaner, greener and is growing.

Perhaps new people will push some of the dated, bias ideas, to the curb.

Perhaps this is a reflection of the mood in our country?

Maybe we are finally turning a corner back to freedom, openness and leaving each other alone.

We’ll be back to find out.

Not to live, just to work and play.

Our Truth About Timber series is a huge hit and we will be back with more stories, more truth and most exposure of a narrative gone sour.

We look forward to the next time.

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