Monday, December 31, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, December 31, 2012


(This is the second part of the interview with Dr. Stacey Harper, Assistant Professor at Oregon State University of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. We now move into the Harper Nanotoxicology Laboratory in Weniger Hall, and are joined by Bryan Harper, Dr. Harper’s husband, who is the research coordinator of the laboratory.)

Bryan Harper: So, what is it about nanotechnology that interests you the most?

TYG: I just like the whole thing, generally, the new flavor of it. [laughter]
BH: It’s a wide field, as you’re probably aware. There are lots of different applications for it and we look at a lot of different applications even within what we do here in our lab. One of the things that we look at, that I think you heard Stacey talk about, is that we look at how toxic [nanomaterials] are, how dangerous they are to people and animals.

TYG: Toxicology. 
BH:  Toxicology, exactly. One of the things we use is zebrafish to do that, zebrafish embryos. So we’re looking, for one, when it’s normal and hasn’t been exposed to anything, and then as we expose it to different amounts of nanomaterials, we get more and more malformations in there. [Points to a chart showing zebrafish embryos subsequent to various degrees of exposure to silver nanoparticles]

We work with a wide range of different particles here. Metals, silver and gold, we’ve done a lot of work with; but we also work with polymers, dendrimers, carbon-based—pretty much anything that’s out there, because the other side of our lab is about green chemistry and building safer materials up front. So we have an engineering team that’s always looking for ways to synthesize things better, purify things better, how to redesign things once they have a nanomaterial that can do something that an engineer wants it to do. We test the toxicity, go back and make it safer, before it actually gets out on the market, rather than doing it the other way around […].  Traditionally, engineers are focused on getting something that does the job […], that solves the question they’re trying to address: we need something that will do “this.” They build something that does “that,” it goes on the market, and then sometimes they go “Oh, maybe we should have thought about that a little more.” So what we’re trying to say is that if we have cheap, fast ways to look at how toxic something is, you can bring them back over; we can test it real quick once they have it and then they can go back to the design board and engineer out some of those things, especially if we can understand what little aspects can cause toxicity. […]

TYG: How big are zebrafish when they’re full-grown?
BH: About an inch long.

Stacey Harper: They’re aquarium fish.

TYG: They’re like a gazillion times the size of their embryo!
BH: In fact, have you ever been at Pet Smart and seen the glow-fish, they sell these glowfish that glow in the dark? Those are zebrafish. Those are actually zebrafish that have green fluorescent protein or other fluorescent proteins added to their DNA. […] They actually started out for research purposes, and now they sell them as pets.

TYG-Graphic Designer: So it reproduces glow?
BH: Yeah, they actually put it right into their genes.

TYG-GD: I can see some tribal modifications coming along! 
BH: So a lot of this lab is really set up for doing these zebrafish exposures. We don’t have the fish here, we have a fish facility on campus that raises them, so we just go out and get eggs and do the work here. […] We have some animals that we raise here, not zebrafish. So we also do some work with some other types of animals… Here we have what are called Daphnia—they’re plankton, fresh-water plankton, sometimes called water fleas. We can actually put a couple of these on here [brings out a microscope slide].

TYG: They’re cute!
SH: And they’re also crustaceans like the Artemia […], the sea shrimp.

TYG: What about here, what are you raising in here?
SH: Crayfish. I used to do cardiovascular research with them.

TYG: That must have been heart-breaking! [laughter all around] […]

[We move back to the microscope to look at the Daphnia. Allen climbs up on a stool to zoom in and see them, and pronounces them cute. Meanwhile, BH brings out the female crayfish holding her babies under her tail, which is also cute.] […]

BH: So the crayfish are something we use, similarly to how we use the zebrafish: we use mainly the embryos, and [study how nanoparticles] affect them. Crayfish and zebrafish are not super-sensitive out in the environment. We use the zebrafish for human ALF [a gene called TFIIA-alpha/beta-like factor] to look at toxicology and how it relates to humans, but they’re not real sensitive. They’re sort of like crayfish: they can survive a wide range of things out in the wild. So we also have these Daphnia which we use. The Daphnia are very sensitive: you can blow on Daphnia the wrong way and it’ll kill the whole population, just about. So they’re something that’s used by the EPA and a lot of regulatory agencies as sort of a quick screen, a standard where they can look real quick and see how toxic something is. […]

SH: Another cool thing about the Daphnia is they’re all genetically identical—the females actually clone themselves, so you don’t have the genetic variability.

TYG: You don’t even have males?
SH: Not unless they’re stressed—then they make males, and then they go back to sexual reproduction. If the temperatures get wrong, if the salinity gets wrong, if they’re stressed environmentally, then they produce male offspring which form in kind of a case that can dry out.

TYG-GD: How would that help restore the un-stress of the population?
SH: Because then, once the water comes back, the cases—they’re called ephippia—they hatch, and then you have genetic mixing. […]

BH: So it’s sort of a way of giving a new hand shuffle. If there’s plenty of food and everything’s good, they play the hand they’ve got. They don’t need to do sexual reproduction, they just keep making copies of themselves. But the minute things go bad, or get stressful, or things might be changing, they go into sexual mode.

[Moving to another part of the lab] These instruments will actually measure the color of nanoparticles and how they interact with light, whether they will fluoresce if we excite them.

SH: This is one of the cool new instruments we got that allows us to watch Brownian motion of particles—do you know what that is?

TYG: Yes, I think so: it’s when different things are constantly moving.
SH: Right. It’s their natural vibration. We can actually watch the particles; we put them in here, and they go through this little chamber here, and there are laser lights that go on it. What we see is the reflection off of those particles. […]

BH: It’s basically just a microscope that has a laser and a camera on it, instead of a white light.

SH: But remember how I was talking about some particles attract to each other, and they agglomerate? In here we can change things like the pH, or the salts that are in there, and we can watch that Brownian motion turn to agglomeration and then they start vibrating together, combining. Very cool. […] What this instrument lets us do is to track the particles, and then you can get their size by how fast they’re moving. […]

TYG-Editorial Assistant: So how much does it matter what the substance is?
SH: For this particular instrument, if you’re dealing with something metal-based, you get a lot more reflectivity so you can pick them up better. [With] something that has a high aspect ratio, like the nanocrystalline cellulose, the tracking [of the Brownian motion] on that sometimes is off, because it’s not a sphere. Those models are based on a spherical particle, so there are some limitations there. […] Then we can do some data analysis on it, and it allows you to figure out what size they are and what intensity they gave you.

TYG: What size most of them are… It would be nice if you could measure something directly.
SH: That would be really nice.

TYG: But why couldn’t you just get one, or two, or even three or four, and then just do it that way?
SH: Well, you could… but then you don’t know how it’s going to interact with all those other particles. Remember how important that is? Particles alongside of it can cause this one to…

TYG: Conglomerate.
SH: Yup. And they can be attractive, or repulsive. The particle that’s in solution with them affects them way more than the gravitational force of the planet.

BH: So we have this instrument that measures the size, and we have these instruments that measure the color and the fluorescence and how they react with other chemicals. We have an instrument over here which allows us to measure something called zeta potential, the charge on the surface of them. Zeta potential tells you whether they’re likely to aggregate or not. You know, opposite charges attract, like charges repel, and so by knowing—especially if we look at two particles we want to mix—we look at their zeta potential to know how much they might interact.

TYG-Ed Asst.: Now does a given material tend to naturally form particles of a fairly consistent size, or can you take one substance and have all kinds of different sizes?
SH: All different sizes, and shapes! So depending on how you’re synthesizing it, you can have a chemically identical material, but different shapes […].

BH: Gold is a great example of that. You can use the same gold synthesis process, but if you change the temperature and the stabilizing agents, one will make spheres, and one will make rods.

TYG: What are some of the nanomaterials being tested?
SH: We try and test whatever materials we can get our hands on. We’ve tested all different types of metals and metal oxides, carbon-based materials, the cellulose materials, polymers that they’re developing for drug delivery. We’ve even tested viral capsids—the casing on the outside of a virus; the RNA is on the inside—the case is actually in the nanometer range, so they are nanoparticles. […] They’ve developed some on campus that actually have like a little plug that they can chemically unplug and plug back up, so you can literally fill it and use it as a delivery agent then unfill it.

TYG: How dangerous are gold and silver nanoparticles? 
SH: Gold? Not very dangerous at all, especially relative to silver. And silver’s not very dangerous to humans, but it is quite toxic to aquatic organisms. […] It’s not the silver nanoparticles, it’s actually the oxidation of the surface of the silver, and it’s the silver ions that go out and cause the problem.

TYG-GD: So is that why they use silver for wound coverings? 
SH: Absolutely. It’s the best anti-macrobial agent. […]

BH: What it looks like now is that silver nanoparticles aren’t really any different, any more toxic from the silver you might have in a silver ring or a silver necklace; it’s just that they have a lot of surface area relative to the other forms of silver. […]

SH: And did you know that silver nanoparticles form naturally, too? If you took your sterling silver earrings, and stuck them even in just a humid chamber the silver on the surface would actually start ionizing off and it would nucleate somewhere else, and naturally form other silver nanoparticles. So it’s probably been going on forever, we just didn’t know!

TYG: How dangerous are nanomaterials as a whole, and are there some that are particularly concerning?
SH: I would say that as a whole, what we’ve found in our lab is that they are fairly safe. We’ve tested over a hundred different nanomaterials […] and we’ve only found a handful of them that appear to be toxic at a level that would be concerning.

TYG: What are they?
SH: Some of the more toxic ones are the quantum dots, that are made of cadmium selenite. It’s mostly because of what they’re made of: cadmium is really not good for organisms and selenite is not either.

BH: So I was going to show you this: these are dried fungus, like mushrooms, and these will actually synthesize nanoparticles. We have a whole group from Korea working in our lab right now. They’re actually using fungi and bacteria as green synthesis methods for nanomaterials. So they’re taking just like silver salt, and putting it in with these, and that will actually make the silver nanoparticles themselves.

TYG: Cool! What kind of research do you see happening in the future? 
SH: […] I think we’re going to get enough information to be able to design the materials in computer models, before we even synthesize them, and be able to predict where they’re going to go and what they’re going to do. […] I don’t know that we’ll have global [rules], more material-specific ones.  I just don’t see us having an overall global [rule].

TYG-Ed. Asst.: Size is not destiny.
SH: No.


Nicole Loxley makes and sells leather goods at Turtle Island, 153-b Hwy 101, in Yachats.

TYG: So, how did you come to Yachats?
Nicole: Well, I found out about Yachats when I was travelling and doing festivals and shows, up and down the Oregon coast. This was a place [where] I used to stop a lot, and get food at the restaurant next door, Luna Sea, and when I was thinking about buying a house, I had two or three choices that I could go, and I was able to find property here! And I was so excited to have it.

TYG: Well that’s really good! Especially if it was relatively cheap. I mean, properties around here can be really expensive because of the oceanfront.
Nicole: They can, but if you don’t want an oceanfront property, which I didn’t, then it was perfect! I love it here—there are lots of opportunities for artisans and craftsmen here, and that was one of the things I wanted.

TYG: How did you get into leatherwork?
Nicole: I learned doing leatherworking originally from my father, because he built and repaired pipe organs, and played pipe organs for the silent movies back in the 30’s and 40’s, and the pipe organ actually has leather bellows that drive the air through the organ pipes. If you are someone that builds and repairs a pipe organ, you have to be able to do leathercraft repair when the bellows tear.

TYG: I bet that was hard, when he first learned it.
Nicole: Well, he knew how to do it, and I used to steal his leathercraft supplies and make little bags and things like that out of it…

TYG: Oh no! 
Nicole: It wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, but it was fun. I learned a little bit of leathercraft from him, and then I did it as a hobby for many years. I used to make my neighbors’ boy scout projects for them, because they would pay me extra money with their allowance to make a project they didn’t want to do, because they knew I could do it. It was fun! I got to make belts, and purses, and all the little knife sheaths, and all the kinds of utility tool things that one does. I learned it from that, really!

I did a lot of other jobs in my life, and decided then that I wanted to work for myself. I thought: What do I know how to do? And I thought: I know how to make leathercraft. I know how to do leather projects. So I started a business doing that! And I’ve done that professionally for 18 years.

TYG: Wow. What kind of leathercraft do you make now, here?
Nicole: Here in Yachats, I think my best-selling products have been a lot of cellphone cases for people, because now there are all these different sizes and shape phones, so I’ve been making custom cases for people. I’ve made a lot of custom knife sheaths for people here in town, local folks; I’ve made a few gun holsters and things like that, and a lot of leathercraft repair since I moved to Yachats.

[Showing an item] This is a medium buffalo hide purse. There are different ways that it’s decorated and finished, but this is probably the single most popular item that I have. It’s a good medium size, it’s really strong, and it lasts just about forever. I use real good materials, and I can make everything, and then I guarantee my work. So if somebody actually manages to break something on one of my pieces, if they bring it back to me I’ll fix it for free. If their dog ate it, or something like that that’s beyond my control, then I might charge them a small fee; but if they tell me an entertaining story usually I just do it for free.

TYG: Are these just colored, or are they actually green hides?
Nicole: No, I actually dye them.

TYG: Where do you get all these different… holdings, on the bags?
Nicole: Oh, you mean the metal findings? You know, I have a number of different suppliers. Some of them are made for me by people that I know who do jewelry work, and many of them are things that are commercially available if you know where to look for them. The trick is knowing how to find it, and once you have it, knowing what to do with it!

TYG: I see! I think I know why you’re getting so much cellphone business, because of J.D. next door, especially. I bet you didn’t do so many cellphones in your old space, but now, people can just go into J.D. and then come right over here for a custom case.
Nicole: He’s sent me a few customers! When I’m not working in the store, I go on the road and I sell at festivals and shows, and I do a lot of Renaissance Faires, so I make medieval-style leathercraft. I repair horse tack for the jousters at the Renaissance Faire events, and I make costume equipment, sword carriers, and all the medieval-style equipment: pouches and belts and so forth that people wear as part of their costumes.

TYG: Cool! 
Nicole: And then when the people that are sword-fighting at a Faire break something, they bring it to me and I fix it for them.

TYG: I think a Renaissance Faire is a time when you bring back old things, basically a time when you sort of re-live the Renaissance….
Nicole: It’s a re-enactment: they have people in costume that re-enact historical events that occurred during the Renaissance period, or in a lot of cases, it’s more of a fantasy thing—the re-enactment is done in a way that makes it really fun. They re-enact the good parts, the fun parts of the Middle Ages: the honor, and the chivalry, and the beautiful costumes, and the pageantry of it—not things like the disease, and the religious intolerance, and the ignorance.


TYG: So—how did you come to Yachats?
Mari: Well, in 1995 I came over to Yachats to visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law… and at that time I was teaching at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California…

TYG: Psychology, if I remember correctly—?
Mari: Yes, educational psychology, right. So I came over to visit them, and I sat out on their deck several afternoons, and I thought, “You know, I think I would like to retire up here.” See, my sister and I grew up in a family that moved to Oregon when I was in junior high school, so we lived in Portland and in Corvallis and in Eugene, so Oregon was a place that we knew about. Plus my dad used to drag us over here in the car, and make us look at the ocean, bored us to death [joking sigh]….

TYG: I know, I hate that! [laughter]
Mari:  So he must have infected me with the Oregon coastal bug. So the following year I came up and I bought a house! And then I used that house for a vacation rental for several years, because I didn’t retire as quickly as I thought I would. And then, in 2006, I opened the bookstore, next door in that little space.

TYG: Wow, I thought it was a lot older than that.
Mari: No, no, we’ve just about finished seven years now. But the bookstore is something, Allen, that I’ve wanted to do for many, many, many, many years. And I don’t know why I’ve wanted to have a little bookstore, but I really have. So ever since I bought the house, I’ve been kind of looking at places in Yachats where I might want to have that bookstore. And I kept looking at that little space next door. And in December—no, I guess it was January of 2006, Jeannine and I came up here to spend a couple of weeks, because we lived in San Francisco—and there was a sign, “FOR RENT” on that store next door.

TYG: And you were so happy.
Mari: Mm-hmm. And Jeannine said to me, after a day or so, she said, “You’ve talked about this as long as I’ve known you. Now do you really want to do it? Because if you do, you’d better—you’re getting old.” So [chuckles] we made our decision in about 48 hours.

TYG: Wow.
Mari: And then we told my sister about it, although we had talked about this with her—she lived in St. Paul, Minnesota. So she says, “Well, I’d like to get involved with that bookstore too, but I can’t right now, ‘cause I live in Minnesota.” So we made her our Midwestern regional, uh, buyer, so she bought books for us. That was kind of like a joke. She bought all kinds of books at library sales and shipped them out here to us. And every time she would come out here, she would work in the store. And then, miracle of miracles, a house was for sale a block away from where we live, and Mary decided to buy that house, and now we are neighbors!

TYG: I see. What was in the small shop before you got it?
Mari: Well, the small shop had had a number of things. Right before we got it, there had been another little bookstore there. But that man had closed his bookstore maybe about six or eight months before we decided to come down here and live. And before that it had been—oh, it had been a typewriter repair store….

TYG: Typewriter repair store! Seems like an unlikely thing for Yachats! [NB: Mari later clarified that it had in fact been a computer repair store.]
Mari: You know, I think that was way back in the nineties, at least that’s what I’d heard. But it had been a number of different kinds of store, including a little dress shop.

TYG: A dress shop in Yachats!
Mari: In Yachats, right here! But then in 2010—we liked our little shop next door, and the rent was pretty cheap, and it worked out—but then, this space became open…

TYG: And you took it.
Mari: Well, Jerry Clark, who owns this whole complex, he kept saying, “You really need a bigger store.”

TYG: Personally, I agree with him. 
Mari: Well, we finally did too. So some time during 2010, I think it was, we moved over here.

TYG: What did you do, double your stock when you got here?
Mari: Well, we moved over here with not too much more than what we had over there, which sounds kinda funny, because that’s half of this size. But we had things all jammed up together, and when we came over here we kind of spread them out a little bit. Because in the other store, if three people were in the store, they bumped into each other. So this is much better. And folks walk around and they look and sometimes they buy, and the enjoy just walking around and looking at the books.

TYG: Particularly that display over there—that’s a really interesting display.
Mari: The mysteries?

TYG: Yes, because the books are actually on the diagonal. Bet you couldn’t afford to do THAT in your other store.
Mari: No, we could not. The thing about that, is that kinda happened accidentally. We were dusting the shelves, and we kinda moved the books, and then we thought, “You know, that’s a good way to have them, because then people can see the books in the back better.” Some things happen just by accident, you know.

TYG: Yeah. 
Mari: Now, we have some things in the store here that aren’t just the books, and that’s why it’s called “Mari’s Books and dot-dot-dot.” And the dot-dot-dot means, it could be whatever else we might have. So the first thing we had was my son’s photography—his photographs are on that wall.

TYG: And now you have these cool knitting projects. 
Mari: That’s [by] my sister Mary’s daughter, Kari. She’s a teacher in St. Paul, and she likes to do this as relaxation, so we said, “Well, why don’t we try to sell those in the store.” And they sell very, very well. So it’s kind of a family store now.

TYG: Yeah, I’m not surprised—Yachats is so cold, that I can totally see why [people] would want that.
Mari: I bet you didn’t know that I grew up in country that was very cold, and very snowy. I grew up in North Dakota. […] And then when I was eight years old we moved to Iowa. […] And then we moved out to Oregon when I was 12. So Oregon was kind of home until I grew up and went away to college, and then moved and lived in lots of different places.

TYG: I see. What got you into the idea of book selling?
Mari: What got me into book selling? Um… I don’t really know. I’ve just for some crazy reason, I’ve just wanted to have a little bookstore. I guess I’ve had the fantasy that I would sit here and read books all day long, and talk to people when they came in…. But it’s been nice, because this is a good way to meet people. And you meet some very interesting people who come into bookstores.

TYG: Yes. Because the interesting people are usually the smart ones.
Mari: Well, they’re smart and they’ve got lots of ideas.

TYG: What about what you did before?
Mari: Well, I’ve done a number of different things. I started out as a teacher, of children who had trouble learning, and that was in Las Vegas, Nevada.

TYG: I bet that was hard.
Mari: Well, it was hard for me, because I didn’t know how to teach. And I have to tell you that I was not a very good teacher the first year I taught. And I wanted to quit, but the principal said, “No, I want you to come back, because,” he said, “frankly, I could hire somebody who’s even worse than you are.” So he encouraged me to come back, and then it was a lot better in the second year.

TYG: Yeah, because you’d already had some experience.
Mari: Mm-hmm. And then I became a school psychologist, and we lived in Palo Alto, California for a while, and I was a school psychologist in San Jose, and then we moved to Illinois, and I was a school psychologist there, and then I began to get interested in teaching. So when my sons finished college, I said, “Okay, now it’s my turn to do what I want. And I’m going to become a university teacher.” So I did!

TYG: Why psychology?
Mari: Well, when I was in college, I majored in both philosophy and psychology… and I was going to go on to graduate school in philosophy, and in fact I actually started in philosophy, but then there didn’t seem to be a lot of jobs for amateur philosophers….

TYG: Yeah, I’m not surprised–that profession’s just not valued any more. However, you’d do great if you went to Greece.
Mari: [chuckles] But I live here. [continues] My mother was a teacher of elementary school children, and I didn’t want to be a teacher all that much, which is kind of interesting, because my first child was as a teacher. But I became very interested in why kids learn, or how kids learn, and what causes them problems when they’re learning….

TYG: Brain work.
Mari: Well, brain work, and sometimes for whatever reason the instruction isn’t the right thing for them at the right time—you know, what the teacher wants to teach isn’t what they’re ready to learn. Part of good teaching is to be able to work with a student, and start with them where they are, and then help them develop their skills. And I really liked helping teachers figure out how in the world they were going to teach kids that they were having some difficulty teaching.

TYG: One of the problems is that in the classroom you have some 30 kids—how are you possibly going to help each individual student? 
Mari: It’s hard! It’s very, very, very hard.

TYG: Why do [the schools] pack in so much, instead of hiring more teachers, to teach a fewer number of students per class?
Mari: It’s a matter of how the government, or how the city wants to spend their money.

TYG: Unless it’s a private school—and then you can pretty much guarantee that kind of quality. And probably a better paycheck.
Mari: [laughs] You know, it’s interesting—private schools sometimes pay their teachers LESS than public school teachers. And you may think, well, that’s kind of strange, but a lot of people really would like to work in private schools.

TYG: Yeah, I would certainly choose a private school if there was a job available… because you can develop much closer bonds in private schools. Because the classes are much smaller.

[The interview paused here while Mari helped a customer, and then we resumed.]

Mari: One of the most important things that I’ve done with my life is that I got involved with two national organizations that worked with the Lutheran Church, to create social justice within the church for men and women who wanted to be pastors, but who were gay or lesbian. And we worked about 17 years on that project, and in 2009 they changed the policy, and those of us who were working on that for 16 or 17 years felt very good about it.

TYG: What is the new policy?
Mari: The new policy allows for persons who are of same-sex orientation, or transgender, who want to be in a committed relationship, and want to be public about it, to go into the ministry. Whereas up until that time they could be members of the church, but they couldn’t go into the ministry as pastors. And what happened is that that made a lot of people live lives of deception.

TYG: What does that mean, “lives of deception”?
Mari: It means that they couldn’t really be who they were, because they couldn’t acknowledge that they had a partner, or they didn’t have a partner because they were told that they shouldn’t have a partner. So what this has done is made the church a little more what it’s supposed to be. But that wasn’t working for a living, that was just working for justice.

TYG: What motivated you to do this?
Mari: I grew up Lutheran, and I left the church, for all kinds of reasons—not particularly about my sexuality. It was really about the Vietnam War, because I couldn’t tolerate the policy of the church. But in 1990, a church in San Francisco ordained, irregularly, a lesbian couple and a gay man. […] My sister Mary lived in Iowa at that time, and she came out to visit me, in Christmas of 1989. And she was very active in her church, and I had nothing to do with the church. But she wanted to go down to San Francisco to visit this church that was going to do this ordination—and that was going to get them into big trouble with the national church. She wanted to go down and give support to them, so I went with her, and next thing you know, I got involved in it, and it became a very major part of my life. But if Mary hadn’t come out to see me….

TYG: … That wouldn’t be a part of it.
Mari: That wouldn’t be a part of it.

TYG: That’s so interesting!
Mari: Yeah, it really is. She and I have a little bit of age difference between us, I’m eight years older than she is. So I never really knew her as a young adult, because she was always a kid, and who wants to run around with kids when you’re a young adult, you know. But then we never lived near each other, we always lived halfway across the country. So one of the really nice things about this store is that Jeannine (my partner) and Mary and I are all doing this together. And it’s REALLY fun.

TYG: Anything else?
Mari: [pauses] You asked why this became so important to me. I believe that regardless of whether or not you’re a religious person, the institution of the church is very powerful in this country. And until the church changes its policy, and begins to live up to the justice that it’s supposed to hold up, then lots of things in society won’t change.

The Yachats Gazette staff cordially wish you a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, November 30 2012

Interview with Dr. Stacey Harper

The Yachats Gazette attended a lecture on Nanotechnology by Dr. Harper in October, and was invited to tour her lab at Oregon State University. This is the first part of two installments.

TYG: What is your personal background?
Dr. Harper: So my personal background: I actually was trained as a comparative physiologist. […] I looked at different organisms and studied their physiology, how their bodies work, and how they deal with different stressors in the environment. […] I studied things like: Some animals can live with very very little oxygen, and those same animals can live with lots of oxygen, and they do fine either way. So [what interested me was]: how do they do that? So I studied that for a long time. And then, I got a job with the Environmental Protection Agency, and in that job I did some computer modeling, to try and figure out how to group chemicals based on their structure, to try and predict what they’re going to do and where they’re going to go in their environment. So after two years at the EPA, I realized that I like toxicology a lot, because it’s kind of a mixture of a whole bunch of different fields.

TYG: Yeah, physiology and anatomy all wrapped up in one, because it affects how they work, and it travels through the structures.
Dr. Harper: Exactly. And it’s what happens when something goes wrong and that was really interesting to me. Before I left the EPA, I knew that nanomaterials were going to be something that the EPA were going to be tasked to deal with, but they didn’t have the science or the knowledge to address these newly emerging materials. So that’s why I focused on that when I got to [Oregon State University]. And then, I just stayed! [laughter]

TYG: I remember one time, I was watching, I think, a video by David Attenborough—he’s a very good British BBC reporter—and he was talking about a fish that could breathe air! I forget what it’s called […]. It goes into the reefs in the Caribbean Sea, and it can pursue the mangroves because, when the water starts to run out of oxygen, it can simply go up to the surface and breathe. […] It’s really weird to see fish doing that.
Dr. Harper: Yeah. The little shrimp that I studied looking at the effects of oxygen on them, and how…

TYG: Brine shrimp maybe?
Dr. Harper: No, these are called tadpole shrimp. They’re a cousin to the brine shrimp. But they’ve had the same body structure for the last 180 million years. They’re considered living fossils. […] But I thought their behavior would change, when the oxygen in the water changed, kind of like the fish that go up. But they didn’t do that. They actually have—you know how we have hemoglobin that transports the oxygen through us? We have four sub-units of hemoglobin—they have 29! And, they can mix and match them depending what type of environment they’re in, to make it either grab the oxygen more, or grab it less. So it was really cool, yeah. That was the last thing I looked at.

TYG: What experiments is your team currently running?
Dr. Harper: Let’s wait for that one until we walk through the lab, because I can give you a tour of the lab and I’ll show you all of the different studies we have going on.

TYG: What are the nanomaterials you’re currently testing for oxidation properties? […]
Dr. Harper: So, some of the materials that we’ve tested, and what we’re trying to do in that project, is develop an assay that could allow us to assess the materials for their oxidative potential. […] You can predict then, hopefully, when they go into living systems if they’re going to cause things like oxidative stress, which is a disruption of the oxidative balance in your cells, and your cells are not happy when that happens. […]

TYG: Why is cellulose related to nanoparticles? I mean, I thought it was like a biological material. 
Dr. Harper: It is, but, remember how we define nanomaterials? […] The nano-crystalline cellulose is the basic building block of cellulose, but it’s within that size range. Do you remember the size range [that defines what concerns nanotechnology]?

TYG: 100 to 1 nanometers. 
Dr. Harper: Right! And so if they’re within that range, they’re considered nanoparticles. […] There are a couple of different reasons that we look at nano-crystalline cellulose. One is because they’re going to be a really important nanomaterial for a variety of applications: for building new materials, for strengthening things, for additives to concrete to make it more pliable so it doesn’t break. […] So it’s an important materials class that just hasn’t been studied. That’s one reason why we liked it. But we also liked it because we didn’t think that it was going to be toxic, and so we have a lot of different nanomaterials that we look at it, we think that this surface chemistry, when you stick it on a particle makes it more toxic. So what we wanted to do is to use the nano-crystalline cellulose to test this hypothesis correctly. […]

TYG: Why are zebrafish so important to scientific research? 
Dr. Harper: Ahh. Many many reasons. So they have a lot of investigative tools associated with them, because they’ve long been long been used for developmental biology studies. […] They start with one cell, and within 24 hours they have almost all of their organs formed […] and by five days everything’s fully formed and developed.

TYG: That’s incredible. So you mean these things mature within five days?
Dr. Harper: Yep, and they look just like little, miniature fish.

TYG Ed. Asst.: Speeds up your experiment that way!
Dr. Harper: It does! So it’s rapid throughput, and we can do our exposures in cell culture plates—they’re called 96-well plates—and we can stick one embryo per well so we don’t have to use much nanomaterial, which is important, because you can’t buy big bags of nanomaterials [laughter]; you usually get very little quantities. So they’re very valuable that way. […] And we expose them very early in development because during that early life stage all of the signaling that your cells are going to do for your entire life, all of the genetic molecular signaling that’s going to happen, is both active and necessary for normal development to occur. So if you want to see if this nanoparticle impacts any of the signaling of those signaling pathways, that’s the time to do it.

TYG: I’m just wondering how long these fish live?
Dr. Harper: They sexually mature at 60 days, and they can live for up to 2-3 years. So you can do generational studies if you want to. […]

TYG: […] So that means in fish years, these fish live to about 200 years old! That’s incredible… So I bet they have a lot of babies.
Dr. Harper: They do. They have thousands of babies.

TYG: And they don’t have to do them very fast, because they have such long lifetimes, comparatively.
Dr. Harper: Yep, and they can have babies every single day. So they can lay thousands of eggs every day.

TYG Ed. Asst.: Can I ask a question? What are some of the advantages of dealing with zebrafish as opposed to another well-studied organism; say, Drosophila or E. coli? 
Dr. Harper: Zebrafish are vertebrates, so that gives us a huge advantage. […] And the molecular make-up, the physiology, the cellular anatomy are very similar between zebrafish and humans, mostly because they’re vertebrates. Fruit flies are not. So they have some genes in common, but the zebrafish have way more. I think like 80% of the genes are virtually the same, or have the same type of gene in humans. So when you hit one of those signaling pathways, and you see some kind of malformation comes from that, you can go back and see what signaling molecular pathway did that hit, and do the humans share that pathway, because then it would be a concern for humans. […]

TYG: What is a “Nanomaterial-Biological Interactions Knowledgebase”?
Dr. Harper: Ahh, OK. So, all of this data—so, we’re collecting data in these embryos, right? And we look at 23 to 30 different endpoints to evaluate; so we look at all their malformations, study their behavior, and their development. And, so with all of that information, and with the complexity of just trying to describe a nanomaterial, we had to move to some kind of database/informatics-type system, because my little brain wasn’t able to make the connections. We needed to be able to use some computational tools and some intense mathematics that I can’t do myself. […] But that knowledgebase, we have it as a public resource, so that people in the nanoscience community can look at that and looking at some of the materials that they’re planning on making something out of, and see how toxic they are compared to other materials. […] But with the academic teams that we partner with, and faculty around here that synthesize nanomaterials, we make that publicly available immediately.

TYG: Let’s go into the lab!

[To be continued]

Interview with Richard Sharpless

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Richard Sharpless.

TYG: Where are you from?
Richard: San Gabriel, California.

TYG: Another Californian!
Richard: Well, I haven’t lived in California since 1969. [chuckles]

TYG: When and how and why did you come to Yachats?
Richard: When I was in college, my friend’s aunt had a place on Salmon Street […] and we used to come here, so I knew about Yachats. My mom moved to Yachats, and then she had problems; she was getting old and she needed someone to take care of her, so… I was living in Nashville at the time, and I came out to take care of her.

TYG: I see. What is your background in music?
Richard: Well, let’s see—I used to play accordion. That’s why I know so many polkas.

TYG: So many what?!
Richard: Polkas. It’s oom-pah-pah music. And when I moved to Oregon, I picked up the guitar, and used to carry around a guitar with me wherever I went. And some people thought I was really obnoxious by doing that.

TYG: Obnoxious? Why?!
Richard: Because, when somebody doesn’t know how to play an instrument very well, and they start playing it, it sounds like static. [laughter]

TYG: How many guitars do you have, and what are some of your favorites?
Richard: Uh, five guitars, and each one has a different function…. I’ve got an electric guitar that’s kind of a jazz guitar […] The one I play [at The Drift Inn] is my Martin—and it’s the cheapest Martin they make, it’s a no-big-deal Martin….

TYG: What’s a Martin?
Richard: Martin is a company that’s been around since the early 1800s, and makes guitars. Oh, and then I’ve got an Alvarez-Yairi, which is another guitar similar to the Martin, and it’s a nice guitar in itself. And then I’ve got a resonator guitar, that metal one that I play… and I really like that one too. And two ukuleles.

TYG: [laughter] Do you ever play those out and about?
Richard: Sometimes when I’m with The Bad Weeds, I do…. They’re fun instruments, and they’re really portable. When I was going back and forth to Florence, for a friend of mine, I’d keep a ukulele in the car, and when I’d get stopped with traffic in the construction and stuff, I’d be sitting there playing my ukulele while everybody was getting mad. [laughter]

TYG: Do you play any other instruments, besides the guitar and the ukuleles? Do you still play the accordion?
Richard: Yeah, I play the accordion every once in a while, but I’ve got these long nails that make it really hard to work on the keyboard. I used to play synthesizer….

TYG: What’s a synthesizer?
Richard: It’s an electronic keyboard that has all these different sounds….

TYG: When and where do you usually play?
Richard: Wherever I can. I play at parties, I play at events, I play at the Drift Inn, I just recently played at Ona, I play at the Green Salmon…. And if somebody wants me to play in other places, then I’ll play there too.

TYG: I see. What songs do you usually play at each place, and how do you choose what songs to play?
Richard: I don’t. [laughter] I know a lot of songs… and when I play at the Green Salmon, I have to play songs that I’ve got memorized. When I play at the Drift Inn, I’ll have music in front of me, and I’ll play different things. I know hundreds of songs.…

TYG: Wow….
Richard: Well… that’s what I do. That’s my thang.

TYG: Why do you do what you do?
Richard: Because I can’t do anything else! I can’t repair cars, I can’t build a building, I can’t be a guard, I’m not real good with dogs…. I have a cat; it beats me up all the time.

TYG: Dogs don’t usually beat you up.
Richard: No, no… I mean, I’m good with other people’s dogs, but having a dog of my own—that’s too much responsibility for me.

Interview with Rod Smith

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Rod Smith.

TYG: Where are you from?
Rod: I grew up in California and Colorado. I moved to Yachats after I got out of the Coast Guard in 1981. The Friday the 13th storm was my moving day.

TYG: How and why did you come to Yachats?
Rod: I found Yachats on a motorcycle trip while I was still in the Coast Guard. I had two years left to serve. My folks were looking for a new place to live, so I sent them up here to look, and they liked Yachats, so they moved here, and they opened Captain Nemo’s crab and fish stand, which used to sit where the whale’s tail park is now. My brother, who moved them up, he decided that he wasn’t living there anymore, so he moved up… and he started working at a fish plant. Now he works for the PUD; he lives in Waldport. I finally got to come up here after two years, and that was 1981, … Why did I come to Yachats? Hm…. I’d traveled all over the country on foot, 48 states—and this is the best spot.

TYG: What time of year do you do most of your tree work?
Rod: Different kinds of tree work need to be done at different times of year. We do a lot of our storm-proofing of trees in the fall. We have a lot of damage usually during the wintertime, with weather events. But also, springtime is a big time for all of our orchard work. We go trim people’s orchards and apple trees.

TYG: What’s your best time for trimming trees at private houses?
Rod: Anytime. Anytime is a good time to get a tree away from your house.

TYG: What is your background in tree work?
Rod: I started out working on the power lines, for a private contractor that worked for the PUD [Public Utilities District]. And we trimmed trees over electric [lines]. I was mostly a chipper stuffer then. And then I worked as a private tree worker for many years, and then I became an instructor, and a certified arborist about ten years ago. And I taught at the Job Corps—I started the arboriculture program at Angell Job Corps… and we had four national championship teams there.

TYG [Ed. Asst.]: How does one judge a champion arborist?
Rod: We have jamborees. And the different aspects of tree trimming and tree climbing and safety are all involved. And there are certain events, just like in the Olympics. Like, speed climbing—how fast can you climb a forty-foot rope. And throw-bag, seeing how accurately can you hit with your string and your throw-pouch. There’s an aerial rescue drill, where they have a dummy that’s in a tree, and you have to climb up to the dummy, rescue him, and bring him to the ground safely….

TYG: Isn’t that more of a firefighter’s work?
Rod: Firefighters can’t go where tree climbers go. Their ladders won’t reach, and they don’t have the trucks and equipment. Usually a tree climber is who rescues a tree climber. An ambulance driver or fireman is not going to go a hundred feet up a tree.

TYG: What is your background in working with dogs?
Rod: Oh, I always had dogs when I was a kid. I worked at a dog academy in California, where they taught guard dogs. I was mostly not a trainer then; I was mostly the target.

TYG: Why do you like animals so much?
Rod: I just have a natural affinity for ‘em. They just naturally understand me. I don’t know—that’s a hard question to think about. Hm.

TYG: What other projects are you currently working on?
Rod: Well, I’m trying to set up a Yachats-based security service. It’s going to be called Yachats Executive Security. We’ll be doing homes and business in the area.

TYG: I’m glad that we’ll finally have a sort of […] mini-police department in Yachats.
Rod: Oh, we won’t be the police department; we’ll be a private security firm. […] It takes the sheriff and the security services that are already operating in Yachats a long time to get down here.

TYG: Why do you do what you do?
Rod: I always like new and interesting challenges, and I don’t like doing things that other people do.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, October 22 2012

Interview with Yachats Mayoral Candidate 2012: Ron Brean 

TYG: Why do you want to be mayor?
Ron: Well you know, I spent all of my adult life in public service. I was a park ranger in California and I worked there for a long time, and I became the person in charge of California’s entire park system by the end of my career. And what that means is I had not only responsibility for all the natural resources and the cultural resources, but I was the chief of law enforcement: we had 700 peace officers, and our facilities included such things as water systems and sewer systems and roads, all the things that make a small city. So all those responsibilities are very similar to what someone who runs a city has to do, and in the case of a small town like ours, the mayor has a lot of hands-on responsibility for that sort of thing. So when I came to town, being a park ranger, I volunteered for the Parks and Commons Commission. And I did that for a while, and then people began to understand what my career really meant in terms of how it could benefit the city, and I kind of got talked into running for Mayor.

TYG: By whom?
Ron: Well, by a number of people [...]. Having gotten into doing that, what it does is it gives me a chance to use some of the skills that I’ve learned over the years to help the town that I live in and the town that I love. So, that’s why I want to be Mayor, because I think I’m doing good work and moving the city in the right direction.

TYG: I see. How long have you lived in Yachats?
Ron: Eight years.

TYG: What is your professional background?
Ron: I was a park ranger!

TYG: And I’m guessing your background in government is the same thing?
Ron: That’s right—a little bit more than that though. I started out as a field ranger, and I was doing all of the things that rangers do: boat patrol and cliff rescue and back country horse patrol and all of those kinds of things [...] and in doing those things you got to help a lot people. I saved people from drowning, I saved people from being lost in the woods, and I saved people from hanging off cliffs by their fingernails. So, I got to help people, and that was a good thing. But I was actually pretty good at it, and as a result, I kept promoting. And each time I promoted I could contribute at a higher level and a broader level, and serve more people. So eventually, I got to be a district superintendent, and then finally a deputy director for the department.

TYG: And that’s a big deal! And was this just for one part of California or the whole of California?
Ron: The entire state. [...] 278 park units, 2 million acres, 2500+ employees. And in the summertime we doubled that with seasonal help, and we served about 80 million visitors. So while I was doing that, I wound up also serving on the Delta Protection Commission, which was a commission established in California to help take care of California’s San Joaquin and Sacramento River deltas.

TYG: What policies would you like to enact, as mayor?
Ron: What I’ve done as mayor so far, is established kind of an arena where I and the Council are looking forward and anticipating what’s coming our way so that we can be ready for them when they get here. We went through a vision process, where we established the city’s [...] see that thing on the wall up there? The vision statement? That banner up there?

TYG: Yeah, the one that says “Our village is a place where natural resources are valued and protected”?
Ron: Mm-hmm. So the first thing we did is go through a process to identify what is it that we want our city to look like in the future—what is our vision. And that’s what we came up with. So now we go through that as sort of a litmus test for everything we want to do: anticipating what’s coming our way, what are the changes that are affecting us and so forth, what do we need to do in order to, and getting down to the bottom lines of that, make sure that this village, which is one that has an enduring sense of itself. How do we protect that? People in Yachats love Yachats like it is and they don’t want it to change, but everything changes, right?

TYG: Yes.
Ron: Ok, so how do we ensure that we get past those changes and still have the same character and community that we started out with. That’s what we’re working on.

 TYG: Do you hope to change this town very much, as mayor?
Ron: I hope that the town doesn’t change very much—and let me say something about that. The job of a park ranger is to make sure nothing changes. Parks are set aside to be that way for every generation that comes after. The natural resources are taken care of, the cultural resources, the historical stuff is maintained intact so that each generation can come back and see it. That’s what I was supposed to do, is make sure that nothing changed. But since everything does change, right—then we had to adjust to what was coming our way. There were threats on parks that were coming from people who wanted to build roads through them, there were threats on parks where various invasive species were coming in and trying to take over the natural species, all of those things we had to adjust to. All of the time that I was working for Parks—technology changes every year, right?—so we found ways of getting better and better and faster and faster doing the things we needed to do to make sure that those parks didn’t change. So that’s what I’m trying to do in the City of Yachats. Make sure the character of the city doesn’t change. But as we look forward, we know that we’re going to have water needs that we need to address that we’re not addressing right now. We know that the streets that we have are not always going to last, they’re going to break down, they need to be repaired and replaced. The water lines, the sewer lines [...] we just built a big sewer plant for seven and a half million dollars. There are other things we’re going to have to do. So, we’re looking far enough ahead that we can anticipate those coming and have the money ready to take care of those problems as they arise, rather than having to create new funding systems as we did in the case of the sewer plant.

TYG: Are you for city growth, or against it?
Ron: Growth? I’m neither for nor against city growth. What I know is that we have an urban growth boundary, and that there are buildable lots within that urban growth boundary, and the population of the world is still growing. So those buildable lots will probably be built. And what I want to make sure [is] as they are built, that we make the adjustments in city government so that the quality of life that we have, that character that I talked about, remains intact.

TYG: As mayor, will you plan to install any new civic services, such as a police department, or a school?
Ron: No. I mean, I can say that fairly certainly because I have no control over the schools; we just built a new school, we’re building a new school up in Waldport for the high school. And the students from Yachats go there. This building [the Commons] used to be a school, you know. But the change in [...] do you know the word “demographics”? [...] It means the kind of people that you have—the age of them, and whether they’re going to school, and what kind of jobs they’re doing—the demographics, the whole overlook of the people and what they’re doing. That changed, so that more of the center of the need for education was in Waldport; transportation improved so it was easier to get students to Waldport. So that’s not likely to occur—the demographics for Yachats suggest that it’s going to continue to be a fairly older population and not that many youngsters. There are quite a number of youngsters, but there’s not that many. [...]

As far as the police department, we have a relationship with the Sheriff’s office and they handle our law enforcement, and we’re fortunate enough that we don’t have a great deal of crime here. [...] Now we did, during the time that I’ve been Mayor, we did hire a code enforcement officer to make sure that the city’s regulations were followed.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Renewal of the Local Option Tax for the Yachats Fire District? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Ron: The fact of the matter is that the property tax system in our state is a little goofy, and it needs some fixing. The only way that the fire district can maintain what it does for us is to continually re-appropriate those local option taxes. So, I’m for it, and 80% of the voters in Yachats, last time that was on the ballot, voted for it. So it’s very well-liked; it’s a good service that we get from the rural fire protection district.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed amendment to the Yachats City Charter (which would eliminate the requirement for voter pre-approval of the City’s purchase or sale of real property)? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Ron: I think it’s a good idea, and the reason I think it’s a good idea is that this is the only city in the entire state of Oregon that has that restriction. And the reason no other city has it is because it’s an inefficient way to do business. Every time we have a need to buy property, we will pay more than we should, because we have to telegraph to the seller of the property how much money we have. We have to tell them, “We have X number of dollars and we want to buy your property.” So there’s no bargaining, there’s no negotiation. And the other thing is—there are two other things, actually. One of them is that, if there’s an opportunity to buy a property that solves a problem for the city, we can’t just do it. Someone else is likely to buy it before we get around to putting it on the ballot. And, we currently are facing a potential problem with our watershed. If the trees come off the watershed, that’s going to make it very difficult for us to manage our water supply. The water’s going to come off the watershed faster, so it won’t be there at the end of the season. And that’s when we need it from that source. So, I’m trying to find a way to protect that watershed from that logging. Since the City Council doesn’t have the ability to actually buy property without going to a vote by the public, then I can’t have a seat at the table to negotiate the purchase, even if it’s not my money, the City’s money, that I want to use. Because I want to use Audubon Society’s money, and I want to use OWEB’s money [Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board], and I want to use DEQ’s money [Department of Environmental Quality], and I want to use money from people who want to save the fisheries, habitat—there’s quite a number of folks who want to play a part in protecting that watershed.

TYG: That’s great!
Ron: It is, except that the City has no standing to sit at the table and say “We would be the potential owners at the end of the day.” So we don’t actually necessarily want to own the property. We just want to protect it. But the inability to be a potential owner limits the negotiating that we can do to get that protection in place.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Children’s Trust of Lincoln County? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Ron: I have mixed feelings about it. I’m going to vote for it, and the reason I’m going to vote for it is because in part of that messed-up property tax system that I talked about earlier. There is no option available for funding for those kinds of programs now in the existing tax structure, and it’s an important program. Now, having said that, once we pay those taxes to provide those services, I believe it’s actually long-term going to cost us less money, because those children will be taken care of, and services that they won’t need later on aren’t going to have to be paid for by the taxation system, like jails.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Permanent Rate Levy for the Formation of an Animal Services District in Lincoln County? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Ron: It’s really the same answer.

TYG: You’re going to vote for it.
Ron: I’m going to vote for it. I’m going to have to vote for it in order to get those services paid for continuously, because there is no taxation system that allows for that to be taken care of in any other way. We have already, in Lincoln County, approved those funds on one of those short-term tax basis deals, and it’s coming to an end. So they have to come back and ask for another local option levy, to continue for another five years. And then five years after that they’d have to do it again, and again, and again.

TYG: So this would make it permanent.
Ron: This would make it permanent. Now, the downside of both of those measures, is that there’s a cap on the amount of property taxes that can be charged, and when you start piling one tax upon another tax you get closer to that. And some places in the state are already bumping their heads on that ceiling: it’s called compression. When that happens, then you start reducing the amount of money that can be tapped, and each of those local option levies will be reduced, and the local citizens actually won’t be able to say “I want to tax myself more money to cover that,”  because they’ll already be bumped up against that top.

TYG Editorial Assistant: Can I ask a clarifying question? So, it sounds to me like you’re saying that, yes, we should do it,  this isn’t the best way to do it, but it’s the only way we’ve got in sight right now?
Ron: Pretty much.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed county Advisory Vote urging a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and allow restrictions on corporate and union spending to influence elections? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Ron: I think it’s a good idea, because I don’t think money is a person, [...] nor is it speech. Corporations have lots of money, corporations are not individuals; the Constitution, I think, was fairly clear when it said “government for the people, by the people.” It didn’t say “for the corporations.” Nor do I think that speech, per se, can be embodied in money. So, I think controlling corporate interests, which are not humane, by definition, means that it should be the people making the decisions.

TYG: Is there anything else you would like to discuss?
Ron: [...] In 1998, while I was still working for California State Parks, I was the district superintendent for the largest district the state had at that time. During the time that I was doing that job, I received an award that was given on a state-wide basis for leadership and vision. It was called the
Olmsted Award for Leadership and Vision. [...] Well, I’m big on vision, as I mentioned [regarding] the vision statement. The more you have a sense of what’s lying in front of you, the more you can adjust to deal with the problems before they become problems. And that’s the kind of government that I think we have in place in Yachats now, and I’m going to work real hard to make sure that it continues in that direction.

Note: these interviews have been extensively edited for length and clarity.

Interview with Yachats Mayoral Candidate 2012: Larry Nixon

TYG: Why do you want to be mayor?
Larry: Well, my wife and I and our daughter moved here in 1984, from Alaska. We bought our first piece of property in 1989 in Yachats [...]. I was the oldest of eight farm kids, from Iowa, and my Dad always said, “Get a good education, and then move to the coast.” So once I graduated from college, my wife and I [...] we didn’t make it all the way to the coast right away, we spent a few years in Colorado, [then] Alaska for a two-and-a-half-year project, [and] then we made it on out to Yachats.  [...] I’d always been active in 4-H, as a child ....

TYG: 4-H? What does that mean?
Larry: They have it back in the Midwest. Boys and girls have their own clubs, and it gives you a chance to learn about the way government works—you elect officers, and each meeting you have an agenda [...] it’s just like running a city council meeting! And I was kind of fortunate. I was involved with farm tractors, as a child [...].

TYG: Cool! I bet that was fun!
Larry: You know, they always say you can take the boy out of the country [...]. I have a John Deere tractor in my basement garage, and my wife says she never gets to park the car in the garage [...]. I was fortunate enough to be a state award winner, when I was 17, in the farm tractor program, and then I actually went on to [win] Nationals ....

TYG: What does that mean, the farm tractor program?
Larry: Well, you’re dealing with maintenance, safe operating procedure, applying the right tractor for the task you’re trying to do. It was very broad and general, but it had a lot of important background basic information. It was something that just stuck with me, I enjoyed it.

TYG: I see.
Larry: So—the reason why I told you about the 4-H is because that’s really why I enjoyed the City Council. It’s the same kind of a structured environment, you’re taking problems or issues that are a concern to the neighborhood or to the area, and you’re trying to find a solution, you’re trying to make things work for all the folks that are involved.

TYG: I see. What is your professional background?
Larry: I’m a teacher, for one. I was [teaching] in Colorado, and I had to have a summer job, and I had a friend that did telephone work, telephone cable splicing. And he got me on the crew up in South Dakota, and I made as much in three months, doing that, as I did in nine months teaching school.

TYG: Holy cow!
Larry: And as I always say, it was my calling in life. [...]. My wife would listen to me talking about it at night, [...]and within a year and a half she was doing it with me, and we’ve been working as a husband-and-wife telephone cable splicing team for over 30 years.

TYG: What is your background in government?
Larry: Well, I was telling you about the 4-H, so from 10 years of age until 18, I was very actively involved with that. And once I got to Yachats [...] in March of 1985 I volunteered for a commission—it was the Streets Commission at that time, and now Public Works and Streets are together, as one commission [...] and then I moved up to Planning Commission, and was on some other commissions before I ran for [City] Council. In fact, I think I’ve been on every commission except the Library Committee. Now, what does that mean? I don’t know what that means. [chuckling] I’ve got a very good background, and that was why in 1991, when I ran for City Council, I was ready.   And we were getting ready to do a water bill at that time—we did a water treatment plant, [...] we put new piping in town. So I was involved on the Council at that time.

TYG: I knew that the sewage plant got a beef-up recently [...].
Larry: Well, we were required by the Oregon DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] [...]. For nine or ten
months of the year, the old plant would process the waste enough that there were no problems. But when we filled the town up in the summer, [and] all the motels and vacation rentals were full, we were over our discharge limits. So they put the conversation to the city that we were going to have to upgrade that. I’m very impressed with what it turned out to be and with the way we funded it. The City of Yachats has always tried to be fiscal about [its financing]. We don’t go trying to spend money we don’t have. That was the way the people that were on the Council, that were on the budget committees, that’s the way they had the town set up and thinking, and once you get into that situation, if the city’s making revenue, you squirrel some of it away, into the budget. Then when things get lean, you can always pull that back out, but you don’t spend every dollar you’ve got.

TYG: What policies would you like to enact, as mayor?
Larry: Well, the mayor does not ... enact. You basically set the agenda for the City Council meetings, but you’re only one of five votes, with the four other Councillors. So to say that I have an agenda, or something that I’m trying to bring in and enact, that’s incorrect.

TYG: Okay. What do you hope to accomplish, as mayor?
Larry: I want to see the city move back to a middle-ground position. As that poster of mine says, “I will listen to and consider input from all sides of an issue.”  [...] Something comes to the City Council, you have people who are wanting to do something on one side, and people on the other side. But the best thing to do is to have everybody present their thoughts, start talking, side to side, take some ideas from this person’s side, take some ideas from this other group’s side, put it together into an ordinance or whatever you need to work with, and no one gets exactly what they want, but everybody buys into the product, and you buy a lot more trust with the community.

TYG: Do you hope to install any new civic services, such as a police department, or a school?
Larry: Well, in ’84, we bought the house across the street from the school here, in about April. And we were excited because our daughter was two and a half years old, and we thought, in a couple of years she’ll be ready to go to kindergarten, and the school was right here across the street, and we were going “All right, this is going to work out good.” Well, that was the summer of ’84, when the Lincoln County School District announced that they were going to close the Yachats school. It still worked out okay because the bus would pick up the kids every day and drop ’em off, so she had the chance to have a conversation every day with the school bus drivers [...]. I’ve been a supporter of the Yachats Youth Program [...] It was just getting started when [...] my daughter was growing up [...].

TYG: [...] Do you hope to change this town very much, as mayor?
Larry: [muses] The town’s changed quite a little bit already! Changing the town [...]. I think the one thing that needs to be changed, and I was involved in this in the early ’90s and we’re still involved with it [...] the Department of Transportation needs to look at—and they are looking at— traffic control through Yachats, undergrounding of utilities along the Highway 101 corridor [...].

TYG: That would be great, if we had stop lights!
Larry: Well, I don’t think stop lights are going to be the answer to any of our problems. They’ve had that conversation in years past [...].

TYG: Are you for city growth, or against it?
Larry: Well, city growth brings certain things to the town with it. You can have more crime, you can have other problems. The city’s done a good job of....  You don’t want to stop growth [...]. The Planning Commission has already got guidelines as far as density [...].  Most of that is already in place, and doesn’t need to be
changed too much. You always need to keep an amount of raw land available, that can be converted into ...

TYG: ...Housing.
Larry: Housing, yes.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Renewal of the Local Option Tax for the Yachats Fire District? Why or why not?
Larry: I am a full supporter of the Yachats Volunteer Fire Department, and I have no qualms about supporting what they do.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed amendment to the Yachats City Charter (which would eliminate the requirement for voter pre-approval of the City’s purchase or sale of real property)? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Larry: I was on the City Council in the early 1990s, when that Charter amendment was brought forward for the first time. And I was new on the City Council, and I thought, “Why are they going to tell me what to do?” And that seems to be the attitude that, why they want to take that off at the present time. They make the comment that there’s no other city in Oregon that has such a charter amendment, which is, before the city can buy or sell property, it has to go to a vote of the people. Remember I talked about fiscal responsibility? If you, the City Council, and the mayor are the only five people that need to raise their hands and say “Yes, let’s go buy this land,” the people, the residents of the city, are still the ones that are burdened with having to pay for it. So it was at that time, in the 1990s, there was talk about buying timber land, south of the bridge, just like they are at the present time.

TYG: That’s a very good idea, because that way it won’t be cut down!
Larry: Well, if it’s cut down—and someone said every 30 to 40 years, actually it’s closer to 40 to 50 years, is the normal rotation on timber sites—due to state law, it says that if you take land that is in the timber deferral program, and you harvest the timber upon it, you have to replant that land, back into trees. Now, we’ve had the hillside south of town taken down, in the mid-80s, and it—it’s a little bit rough for the first year or two, but by the time you get four years’ growth on it, the alders are up a little bit, everything’s fuzzy and green. [...] And, in the 90s—I was talking about finding a middle ground—we made a committee of it. There was a gentleman who was the manager of a plywood mill over in Willamette valley. We had all the different components of people that knew about timber. We had environmentalists that were on the committee. And we sat around and chatted and talked about what Yachats could afford. And at that time we didn’t have much money. I mean, the City of Yachats did not have any kind of money in the bucket, so to say, to go out and do anything, and so the consensus was that we were not going to be able to acquire the little bit of timber property that was available at that time.

TYG: Why is there not enough funding?
Larry: Well, you see this building here? [indicating the shelter behind the Yachats Commons] In the mid-90s, the city had acquired this building here, and we needed a place for the kids to play. And that’s really what this was, a playground space. And the community came together, and we started talking about it—I was on the Council, still [...]. The cement for this was all donated, the beams in the corners were all donated, the roofing was all donated, carpenters came in, construction workers came in, all locals in the community—they built this thing. This structure did not cost the city, as I recall, anything at all. So—you got something, and people took a lot of pride in it. I see that they’ve put in some windows and boarded it in a little bit [...].

TYG: Yeah, that’s really nice, because believe me, before it was very windy in here.
Larry: Oh, yeah! But this right here [indicating the glass] was $97,000, as I recall, this glass and this wooden bit. And then the big plan that the City Council’s working on right now, is they want to put doors, they want to put some more lighting in here, maybe even some heating and all of that [...].They have a proposal that would take this and they would spend about another $303,000. So with the original $97,000, and $303,000 that is proposed, that’s $400,000.

TYG: That’s a lot of hard cash!
Larry: Especially when you’re dealing with a structure that was free to the community to start with. And as soon as you put the doors on, then what’s going to happen—are we going to lock the building down? Keep the kids out of here? [...]

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Children’s Trust of Lincoln County? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Larry: I think it’s a good program. I’ve been supportive of that for a lot of years. Max Glenn was always very active and vocal about it. And I’ve supported Max and his efforts on that. I don’t have a problem with that at all.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed Permanent Rate Levy for the Formation of an Animal Services District in Lincoln County? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Larry: That’s an interesting one. You have to have a
humane service, you need to always have something like that. [...] I’m fully in support of that.

TYG: Are you for or against the proposed county Advisory Vote urging a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and allow restrictions on corporate and union spending to influence elections? Why do you think it is a good idea, or not?
Larry: I don’t have my mind made up on that topic at the present time. There’s a lot of things on the agenda this year for the ballot, and I have not put my mind to that one.

TYG: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Larry: [...] I spent a number of years, the last four or five years being very active in the community, with the creation of the Marine Reserves and the Marine Protected Areas off of Yachats’ doorstep [...]. [At one point I saw] a prototype of a wave generator, for making electricity, off of the ocean. I thought, “That might just work!” But I still had a lot of unanswered questions [...] and I started realizing what the impact was going to do to our visual. Now, when people come to Yachats, they take a chair, or they sit in their car, and they look at the ocean. They don’t turn their chair and look at the hillsides—you may glance over there as you’re driving through town, but the people [...] The motel rooms [...] all look at the ocean. That’s what they come here for. We started having unofficial gatherings, on Sundays. I would open the Commons up, neighbors would come in  [...] and we were just talking about it, gathering information, and so that’s really what started the whole process, here, with the Marine Reserves [...]. And it says the crabbing boats can still go out in the Marine Protected Area, which is off of Yachats to the south down to Cape Perpetua, where you get in to the actual Marine Reserve, where there is NO taking, you cannot harvest anything out of the ocean. But you can still troll for salmon here in front of Yachats, you can go out and do your Dungeness crab [...]. Come December, when the Dungeness crab season starts, that’s what people do—they come over to the coast, they rent motel rooms, they open the drapes up, and they watch the crab boats out there! This is what IS Yachats—that is the character of what Yachats is.

Note: these interviews have been extensively edited for length and clarity.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, September 30 2012

electric charging station in yachats

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Dave Rieseck about the new electric vehicle charging station adjacent to the Yachats Commons.

TYG: So what’s going on here?
Dave: We’re putting in an electrical vehicle station. It’s part of the Yachats Commons master plan to endorse or support alternative fuels. Electric cars don’t have that long a range between fill-ups, and this is so that they have a spot in Yachats. They’ll have a spot in Florence, and another one in Lincoln City, so they can make it the distance.

TYG: I see. Where did the funding for this project come from?
Dave: It’s actually federally funded. Some portion of those funds goes to the state, and then the state looks around and says where should these stations go. We asked them to put one here if it made sense, and if we didn’t have to do the funding.

TYG: Who is in charge of this project?
Dave: It’s a partnership between the city, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the electric company.

TYG: What is your role in this project?
Dave: Mostly just to liaison between the electric companies, ODOT, and the city [regarding] where it should go. We had done a lot of planning for this area, so […] it was within the context of the […] Commons plan.

TYG: How many contractors and how much equipment is this contract involving?
Dave: I’m not sure. One is PUD, one is to cut the street to put the cables underneath the road, because we had to come from over there where the power was to bring it over here, and then there’s another contractor that’s special to the electric charging stations. So maybe three or four contractors.

TYG: When will this project be finished?
Dave: Hopefully within the next month. Essentially there’ll be two parking pads where somebody can plug in their car, use a credit card to pay for the electricity, and while their car is charging they can use the restrooms at the Commons, or walk across the street to a restaurant, or….

TYG: Or their kids could use the playground!
Dave: Yeah, exactly.

green pest solutions: greg dunn

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Greg Dunn about his new business, Pro-Pest Solutions.

TYG: How did you get the idea for this business?
I’ve been doing it for 20 years. I knew that it was needed here. Yachats is a green kind of town, they don’t like pesticides—so offering green product lines was a big plus.

TYG: I see. How long have you had this business?
We opened it up two months ago. And it’s going very well so far.

TYG: What does your business do?
We do pest control—termites, beetles, ants, spiders, rodents—if you have a raccoon underneath the house, we go and take care of that—pretty much anything.

TYG: Is this business a franchise?
No—it’s family owned and operated. We wanted to keep it in the family, so that when my kids get older they can do it. They love following me around and working with me. My son and daughter both love bugs.

TYG: What kind of pesticides do you use? How does it work, in general?
Greg: It depends on the problem. I’ll go to the house, and if there’s access I’ll crawl underneath the house and look around to see where they’re coming from, and see if I can’t close those areas up. And then we’ll put some bait stations out. Some of the bait is different nowadays….

TYG: Are those the black [boxes]?
Yes, they’re childproof… they’re dogproof…. They’re filled with bait, they eat the bait, they get sick, and they leave.

TYG: And they die, too, don’t they?
That’s with the older baits. And then you get this real bad smell in your house. We did away with that. Mainly our products are green products, which are all natural—there are products made out of mint oils, peanut oils…. The problem with green products is that while they’re work, and they’re safe, they don’t last as long as the other products. But people around here would rather have the green products, so that’s mainly what I do.

TYG: What if it’s, say, an ant problem?
Greg: Depending on how bad they are, instead of soaking the outside of your house down, we find out where they’re coming from, and we’ll drill holes around your house, about the size of the ink in your pen, and we inject the product, called Termidor, inside the walls. Termidor is a very safe productthere’s no smell, no odor—and with it inside your wall, you don’t come in contact with it, but the ants do—and it prevents those ants from getting into your house, and it actually keeps them away for quite a while.

The biggest problems around here are rats, and mice…. The biggest [concern] right now is hantavirus. Hantavirus is a respiratory disease, only carried by deer mice…. Their droppings carry [the virus] so when you sweep it up, you breathe in those particles, and it causes respiratory issues. There have been a lot of cases lately in Washington and Oregon…. A lot of people, when they see mice, rodents, they call right away, because they don’t even want to touch ‘em.

TYG: Good idea.
Some people think they can go buy Raid at the store and just spray and take care of it themselves, but believe it or not, if you look at that stuff, it’s mostly just perfume—there’s very little active ingredient in that.

TYG: Why?
Because you have to have a special license to buy the stronger stuff. I have to go through a lot of schooling, a lot of testing every single year, to make sure that my knowledge is still good, in order to keep my license. … I have to do things a certain way, or I get my license pulled. I can only spray it at a certain time, I can only mix it as a certain percentage, I have to wait so long before I can reapply it….

TYG: I see.
In fact, I relate my service to [being like] a doctor…. When I go to your house, I found out what kind of problem you’re having, and I tailor my service to treat that problem. It used to be shotgun approach—someone would go and pull out this big ol’ hose and soak your house down until it looked like it just rained outside. That’s the old way of doing it, and we don’t do that anymore. It’s more precise. It’s finding out where they’re coming from and taking care of ‘em that way, instead of soaking everything down. Another name for it is IPM—Integrated Pest Management—it means using the least amount of pesticide possible to take care of the problem.

TYG: So that you don’t kill anything else.
That’s it. And that’s what everyone is going to—or should be going to nowadays. … People who have been in this for a while, they know they have to change, because eventually you’re going to be forced to change.

TYG: Forced to change?
[For example] those little bait boxes: we used to be able to just put those anywhere. But a new law came down, starting in January of this year—you can no longer put those more than fifty feet from a home. That was the EPA saying that we don’t want wild animals getting hold of those, we don’t want
to lose track of those. So they have to be within fifty feet, and they now have to be anchored down.

TYG: Does anyone have termites out here?
There are a few termites that infest your home. There’s a dry wood termite, but you’ll never see that around here—it’s too wet around here. So you have your carpenter ants, which are in the termite family….  The only difference [is that] termites will eat your wood; carpenter ants just chew it up, they don’t eat it. So they both do the same damage, but termites need the stuff in the wood.

TYG: And that means if you can deprive them of wood, you can kill ‘em.
: Yeah, you can treat the wood and kill ‘em, and that’s usually what we do.… Beetles are another big problem up here, powderpost beetles. It almost looks like little teeny holes everywhere, all over the wood. These little teeny beetles go into the wood, and they lay their larvae. And every year they hatch out. And if you go underneath the house, you see these big piles of really fine powder, and that’s the beetles doing damage. And you have to treat that to kill those off to protect the house. It’s like an insurance policy—I’m protecting the largest investment that someone will probably make.

TYG: Yeah, the house…. Except if they never move—then their largest investment is going to be a car, or….
Greg: I do cars, too—I get a lot of call s from people who don’t drive that often, and rats and mice have gotten into the car. In fact, I’ll tell you a story: I went out to Yachats River Road, and this lady had a pack rat. Do you know what a pack rat is?

TYG: No, I don’t.
A pack rat is a real large rat that has a furry tail, instead of a smooth tail. Well, she didn’t want to kill it—she was an animal lover. So I caught it in a live trap. And I took it five miles out, and let it go next to the river. I let it out of the cage, and it took off running. I went home, and a couple days later I went to check the oil in my car, and I lifted up my hood, and guess what was standing on my battery?

TYG: The rat!
Mr. Pack Rat! I could not get him out! (“MISS Pack Rat,” corrects Mr. Dunn’s spouse.) Oh yeah, MISS Pack Rat. I couldn’t get her out! I tried and tried, and a couple days later, I opened up the hood, and there were the babies, with mama, IN MY ENGINE. Every time I tried to catch her, she’d go underneath the car, and I couldn’t catch her.

TYG: How did you eventually get rid of that?
I made a trip back to the river, and I put a trap out, with food in it, and I made sure that she didn’t get back into the car. And then I gathered up the babies, and took them out by the river.

interview with andrea scharf

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Andrea Scharf, “The Girl with the Many Hats.”

TYG: So, what exactly does do?
Andrea: Well, was started to be sort of like an electronic yellow pages.

TYG: Electronic yellow pages? What does that mean?
Andrea: That means that it’s a place where you can find every business in Yachats, every business that has a business license in the city. They’re all listed there, in categories. So, the video store is listed, real estate, the market, everybody has a listing. If you have a city business license, you get a free listing.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: Or, if you are in the 547 telephone area, or the 97498 zip code area, and you want to be listed, but you’re not in the city so you don’t need a city business license, you can also be listed, for a fee.

TYG: I see. So how do you make your money? I mean, if it’s all free, how do you make your money?
Andrea: Well it’s the city business license, so those aren’t free, that costs you forty dollars. If you have a business in town, you get a business license, this is a freebie that comes along with the business license.

TYG: So how do you personally make your money?
Andrea: Oh, me personally? I am paid by the city as a marketing consultant. … My job as marketing director is to try to get more visitors to come to Yachats.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: So how would I go about doing that?

TYG: You’d probably go about it by putting up articles, for one thing, and listing local news, and local events.
Andrea: I’m interviewing you! [laughter] That’s what I do. I’m a writer, so I like to write articles, and I try to get other writers interested in writing articles. … And also, I work with the Chamber of Commerce, and I work with other organizations, so that we have partnerships. And sometimes I help organize events…. Last year, did you come to the Japanese Arts Festival?

TYG: Um, I know I watched taiko this year and last year….
Andrea: Well, we had people teaching other Japanese arts, and we had a big display of kimonos….

TYG: That I think I missed.
Andrea: They were really beautiful. … And somebody taught calligraphy….

TYG: Wow. I’m very sad I missed that. That sounds like something I would really want to do.
Andrea: You would like that. Maybe we’ll do that again this year. The woman who taught that class has studied Japanese calligraphy for a long time, and she’s very good.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: Around the holidays, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we have something called the Holiday Shoppers’ Raffle, and all the businesses provide a prize, and whenever people buy something at those stores, they get a ticket for every ten dollars they spend. And then they put those tickets in a box, and we have a drawing for all those prizes. That’s to encourage people to come to Yachats, to shop, and to support all the businesses in town.

Andrea: Do you want me to talk about my environmental activities?
TYG: Sure! I’d love for you to “wear all your hats.”
Andrea: Well, I am the chair of an organization called “View the Future.” We chose that name because we want to draw attention to people looking forward, and thinking about what the town will look like five years from now, ten years, fifty years from now. What do we want to see here? And one of the things that we’re concerned about is all the trees on that ridge to the south side of town, that’s sort of the background of the town, and we’re very worried about it being logged.

TYG: Why would it be logged?
Andrea: Because it belongs to private timber companies. And that’s what they do.

TYG: That’s crazy! Because, I mean, that’s part of the Yachats scenery!
Andrea: Exactly! So….

TYG: No one should be… I think that should be city-owned land, and unsellable.
Andrea: That’s a very good idea, Allen, but it belongs to somebody right now, so the city can’t just take it. So how would we get the money to buy it from the owners?

TYG: How would you get the money?
Andrea: That’s a good question!

TYG: The raffle!
The raffle! Yes! [laughter] Well, that’s one way, but we’re talking millions of dollars. Millions and millions.

TYG: Why would they say so much?!
Because timber is very valuable! When they cut those trees down they sell them. A lot of them are exported to China. And until recently, the Chinese economy was booming.… But anyway, their building has slowed down. A lot of what was driving their economy was building new buildings.

TYG: That should mean … that the timber companies in America are starting to falter, and they’re going to try to sell things!
Andrea: [pause]
I think I want you working for me…. That’s right, so we’re hoping that the price will go down. Because the price of the timber is going down. So now is a good time for us to try to buy it. It isn’t easy.

Timber companies don’t necessarily like to sell their land, because they’re going to cut the trees, they’re going to replant, they’re going to cut them again in 30 years or 40 years. … They make their money by clear-cutting. The easiest way to harvest timber is to cut it all down. Just like, if you’re going to mow your lawn, you don’t mow a little bit here and a little bit there; you mow the whole lawn. Right? … We want to protect everything you see from here—that’s many acres. If they charge $10,000 an acre, for example….

TYG: There’s no way we could afford that.
Not just out of my piggy bank! [laughter]

TYG: Maybe the city’s piggy bank, though.
Maybe. The city has laws that say that it can’t own land outside the city limit, and that is outside the city limit.

TYG: What?! So then who would buy that?
Well, View the Future is working on that. We want to find some way—you know, there are environmental organizations….

TYG: Why don’t they get the city to donate a lot of its money….
The city doesn’t have a lot of money. It has other things it has to do. It has to pave streets, it has to keep the sewer plant going… it has a lot of demands on its money. … You know, Yachats doesn’t really have a property tax.

TYG: Property tax?
Property tax. If you live in this county, everyone pays a property tax. …. And that tax goes to the county, and it pays for schools, and it pays for sewer and water, and it pays for the sheriff, and it pays for a lot of things. But—if you live in a town like Newport or Waldport, part of that tax also goes to the city government of those towns. In Yachats that doesn’t happen.

TYG: Why not?
Because—it’s a long story. [laughs] Many years ago, Yachats didn’t have a tax. Then the state passed a rule that you couldn’t increase your tax more than 3%. So what’s 3% times nothing? Nothing. So they’re stuck.

TYG: Why would there be nothing?
It was too little, and they just didn’t have any—they didn’t need it, so they didn’t have that tax.

TYG: Boy, I bet the city would love to have that tax now!
I’ll bet they would! That’s why it’s important to them that the motels do well. Because that’s where they get their revenue—from the motel room tax. When you stay at a motel, if you pay $100 for your room, you actually end up paying $109, because that’s the room tax. Some of it goes to the state, some of it goes to the county, some of it goes to the city.

TYG: I see. I think it should all go to the city!
Wouldn’t that be nice! We’d be rich! Then we could buy things!

TYG: How long have you lived here?
I actually moved to Yachats 18 years ago, and I lived in town for five years, and then I bought my place up on the Yachats River, and I’ve been there for 13 years.

TYG: Where did you come from?
I started out in Los Angeles. I was born in Hollywood….

TYG: Wow! I bet you were pretty rich down there!
No, I was not pretty rich. *laughs*

TYG: That explains your glasses.
Yes, it does.

TYG: Your glasses are all shiny! Are those real diamonds, or fake?
What do you think?

TYG: Fake.
Yeah. No, I was not rich.

TYG: That’s a surprise!
Andrea: Do
you think that everybody in Hollywood is rich?

TYG: Yeah, I mean… being an actor is probably the best way to get rich.
My father was an electrician, just an ordinary guy. And my mother was a homemaker. Hollywood is just a town.

TYG: Oh! Okay. I thought you were talking about [the movie industry].
Andrea: Hollywood is a part of Los Angeles. And there are all kinds of people in Los Angeles.

TYG: I see.
Andrea: And then I moved to Oregon, and I lived in Oregon for about 12 years, and then I moved back east. I lived in Washington, DC, that was fun, and then I lived in Pennsylvania. And then I came back to Oregon, and I moved to Yachats.

TYG: I see. And that was just a flip of the coin, that you happened to go to Yachats?
Andrea: Sort of. I wanted to come back to Oregon, and a friend of mine was teaching a class here…

 TYG: What kind of class?
Andrea: A writing class. And I came to see her, and I just never left. [chuckles]