October 2007

The smell of money and a clear front-runner in an upcoming mayoral election brings out the blue ribbon panel folk for Sam Adam’s Creative Capacity Committee.

If you’ve been asleep, Adams convened several gatherings to show Portland’s arts community, using a new set of data and arguments, could – possibly – make a case for support from industry and the general population.

Three committees, and a detailed web site have launched to explain the Creative Capacity strategy: (links here to PDF files) asteering committee made up mostly of business-people and various politicians, a strategy committee made up of art types and art administrators, and a coordinating committee made up of City Hall and RACC brass, with their facilitator / consultant.

So who have been selected for these committees? And perhaps more importantly, what are their affiliations? (Much of the information below is available on the Creative Capacity web site, but in a PDF form which is less searchable than a HTML web page.) Bottom line, this list is a fundraiser’s wet dream.

Steering Committee Members

Martin Medieros, Chair – Swider Medeiros Haver, intellectual property lawyer; recent lecture on Proper Grammar, Usage and Syntax of Business Names.”

Sam Adams – Portland City Council / mayoral candidate

Dave Allen – Pampelmoose / Gang of Four / music industry skeptic

Robert Austin – Mayor of Estacada

Shane Bemis – Mayor of Gresham

James Bernard – Mayor of Milwaukie

Nik Blosser – Celilo Group Media, husband of Deborah Kafoury, likely candidate for Multnomah County Commission, member of the Sokol Blosser wine empire, and board member of the Oregon Business Association.

Julia Brim-Edwards – Nike flack, former school board member, attorney, and board member of the Oregon Business Association.

Chandra BrownOregon Iron Works and the Oregon Innovation Council

Rex Burkholder – Metro Councilor, bike advocate

Elaine Calder – Oregon Symphony President

Kenneth Carr – President and CEO of Carr Construction, commercial and multi-family construction

David Chen -partner with OVP Venture Partners and chairman of the Oregon Innovation Council

Brad Cloepfil – Principle, Allied Works

Chris Coleman – Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage

Debi Coleman – Managing Partner at SmartForest Ventures

Eloise Damrosch – Executive Director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council

MaryAnn Deffenbaugh – representing the Portland Art Dealers Association, and co-owner with Rod Pulliam of the Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery

Craig Dirksen – Mayor of Tigard

Mark Dodson – CEO / President of Northwest Natural Gas

Lee Domanico – Ex-CEO of Legacy Health System

Sho Dozono – Azumano Travel

Rob Drake – Mayor of Beaverton

Bart Eberwein – Vice President of Hoffman Construction, event chair of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon, board member of the Oregon Arts Commission

Mark Edlen – Gerding-Edlen Development

Jill Eiland – Public Affairs Manager for Intel, board member of the Portland Business Alliance

Chris Erickson – General Manager of the Heathman Hotel, board member of the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts

Brian Ferriso – Executive Director of the Portland Art Museum

David Fuller – Mayor of Wood Village

Brian Gard – President of Gard and Gerber, and immediate past board chair of Oregon Business Association

Judie Hammerstad – Mayor of Lake Oswego

Clayton Hering – President of Norris, Beggs & Simpson

Roger Hinshaw – President of Bank of America, board of the Portland Business Alliance, board of the United Way, board chair of the World Affairs Council

Tom Hughes – Mayor of Hillsboro

Paul Hurd – Freightliner’s general counsel

Tom Imeson – Port of Portland flack, and former Goldschmidt flack

Walter Jaffe – White Bird Dance (Bio – PDF)

Alan Johnson – Wells Fargo regional president

Vera Katz – former mayor of Portland

Tom Kelly – Owner of Neil Kelly, Inc., board member of the Oregon Business Association, and Greener.

Norman King – Mayor of West Linn

Gloria Lee – Portland Classical Chinese Garden executive director

Andy MacRitchie – Aequitas Capital Management – some sort of vice president

Tom Manley – Pacific NW School of Art, president of the school

Debbie McCabe – Tenth Tree Limited , investments, located in Clackamas

Max Miller – Tonkon Torp partner, board of the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts, board of Metro Arts

Carole Morse – President of the PGE Foundation and Manager of Community Investments for Portland General Electric, board member of the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts

Alice Norris – Mayor of Oregon City

Bob Packard – Managing Partner, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, trustee of Willamette University

Levi Patterson – PopArt , some sort of accounts manager

Judy Peppler – State President of Qwest, Chair Emeritus of the Portland Business Alliance

Maria Rojo de Steffey – Multnomah County Board of Commissioners

Dan Ryan – Portland Public Schools, but also the development director of Oregon Ballet Theatre

Tad Savinar – Artist

Arlene Schnitzer – HARSCH Investment Properties, former owner of the Fountain Gallery, Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, The Jordan & Mina Schnitzer Foundation, formerly a member of just about every important arts organization in the state

Dick Schouten – Washington County Board of Commissioners

Martha Schrader – Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, chair

Howard Shapiro – Founding chair of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, board of Albina Community Bank

Cheryl Snow – Clackamas County Arts Alliance, executive director

Al Solheim – real estate investor

Steve Stadum – OHSU’s chief administrative officer

Nancy Stueber – President and CEO of OMSI

Paul Thalhofer – Mayor of Troutdale

Jon Ulsh – Executive Director of the Oregon Ballet Theatre, board of Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Connie Van Brunt – Executive Director of the Portland Schools Foundation

Howard Werth – Senior Vice President of Finance at Gunderson, board secretary of the Associated Oregon Industries, board of the Oregon Metals Industry Council

Homer Williams – Chairman of Williams Dame Development,

Virginia Willard – Executive Director of Northwest Business for the Culture and the Arts

John Willis – Project Manager for CH2M Hill

Rick Wills – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tektronix

David Wynde – US Bank, Portland Public School board

Duncan Wyse – President of the Oregon Business Council, Oregon State Board of Education, Oregon Innovation Council,


John Gunther, overseer of world culture after WWII, noted in 1944 two everlasting sources of power and influence in Oregon – the Bonneville Power Administration and The Oregonian.

Nothing has changed, it’s BPA and the O. Oregon is a one-newspaper state, and though the Newhouse’s own the paper, Fred Stickel, who came out here from a New Jersey paper owned by Newhouse after the 1959 strike to quiet things down, has kept the paper’s editorial content pro-business, pro-Catholic, anti-union, and stolidly non-progressive. Surprisingly, circulation maintains, ad rates maintain, and in a time when most pundits claim the financial model of paper news is fatally flawed, the Oregonian remains one of the most profitable – and powerful – ventures in the state.

By comparison with other, similar papers, the Oregonian’s local print news is bland, conservative, relying heavily on a predictable calender of local events; their national news comes from wire reports, it’s columnists are boring, it’s entertainment writers follow the herd (often several years behind), and most of it’s business and sports writers have a memory slightly shorter than a news cycle.

But their web site should receive special consideration for it’s fantastically stupid design. It seems to be a template created for all Advance Publication newspapers by someone far far away from Portland, and with only a crayon for creating a flow chart. The search engine does not work, the front page has recipes, the design is chaotic.

HOWEVER, there are good parts well worth review, often buried deep and far from the template. And most are multimedia.

A sliding panorama of Portland’s skyline, marking current high rise construction sites.

An interactive Google map of Portland’s bicycle collisions. Scary!

Don Colburn showed in Living To The End the courage of my friend Lovelle Svart, who chose to use Oregon’s unique death with dignity law and hastened her death.

Have your very own police scanner!

Finally, Doug Bates and his writing partner Rick Attig pushed the envelope of editorial writing in 2006 with a series about the Oregon State Hospital. The result, besides a Pulitzer, has been fast-paced reform at the hospital and the torpid Oregon State legislature promising $600 million to tear down the 100+ year old J building and create a contemporary hospital. In the video above, Doug skewers the tobacco industry, and Jamie Frances captures three children with a set of heartbreaking photos. Kudos, again, for speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves; and creating another vital public artwork.

But geez, the compression! Consider your audience. The pro-Measure 50 vid runs fine on my T-1 line, but must move like mud on a DSL line, and take an hour to download on a phone line.

EXTRA – A Brief History of Newspaper Publishing in Oregon

Cesar Chavez, Farm Workers’ Union Founder, Human Rights Activist, 1927-1993

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease. When the poor share some of the power that the affluent now monopolize, we will give a damn.”

The painting is one of a great series – Americans Who Tell the Truth.

From AP – Fire crews gaining upper hand as winds calm

Oh well, there’s always next time.

The Portland Opera‘s next production launches November 2. It’s Cinderella, more commonly called La Cenerentola, by Rossini. This version, an “original production” by the Portland Opera, starring Angela Niederloh.

Tickets are still available – but probably not for long.

Angela Niederloh is a rare bird, a coloratura mezzo-soprano much in demand for her range and skill. She is also a PSU grad, a PSU faculty member, and a founder of Oregon Lyric Opera (short lived and missed). She’s already performed three seasons with the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and engagements with the San Francisco Opera, Opera Omaha, Wolf Trap Opera, and recitals with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Columbia Symphony, Choral Arts Ensemble and Choral Crossties. Her debut with the Portland Opera was as Melibea in Il Viaggio a Rheims, also by Rossini.

(Photo right of Niederloh as Flora in the the Houston Grand Opera’s production of La Traviata.)

Portland VanguardThe diva of Portland State – Having spent years on the road, a chance to share her voice brings Angela Niederloh back to Portland
Angela Niederloh – official site
Portland State University Magazine – News: Opera without Subtitles
Giving Back: Angela Niederloh, Opera Theater of Oregon

More Oregon Classical Resources

Oregon Mozart Players Chamber Orchestra
Opera Theatre Oregon

On three sides of the exterior of the Central Library in downtown Portland, Oregon is a quiz. Under each set of windows are a list of names carved into the granite of the excellent Georgian style building, designed by Albert Doyle, completed in 1912 and wholly remodeled in 2000. The quiz illustrates how our notion of cultural literacy shifts, wanes, is distorted by pedagogues and history-scribblers, and evaporates from our consideration and consciousness.

Try the 19th Century quiz on your pals. If they can guess the representative group for each window, award them with an honorary 18th Century liberal arts degree. If they get smart, ask them to name a text, event or artwork associated to one name for each window.

Taylor Street (South side of the building)

Bookbinders – Tory, Maiolo, De Thou, Eve, Ferrar, Le Gascon, Badier, Duseuil, Padeloup, Derome, Thouvenin, Roger Payne, Bedford, Zaehnsdorf, Rivere

Educators – Bury, Grolier, Cellini, Limousin, Palissy, Bodley, Harvard, Rousseau, Herbert, Frobel, Mann, Lenox, Ruskin, Winsor, Morris

Religious Leaders – Zoroaster, Isaiah, Guatama, Confusius, Paul, Jerome, Augustine, St. Francis, Wiclif, Erasmus, Luther, Loyola, Wesley, Edward, Channing

Military Commanders – Militades, Xerxes, Alexander, Hannibel, Scipio, Caeser, Saladin, Gustavus, Frederick, Marlborough, Napoleon, Wellington, Tecumseh, Lee, Grant

Naval Commanders – Themistocles, Octavius, Drake, Raleigh, Blake, Von Tromp, De Ruyter, Hawke, Boscawen, Rodney, Paul Jones, Nelson, Decatur, Farragut, Porter

Explorers – Marco Polo, Columbus, John Cabot, Vespucius, Da Gama, Balboa, Magellan, De Soto, La Salle, Carver, Gray, Vancouver, Lewis, Clark, Livingstone

Statesmen – Solon, Pericles, Demosthenes, Cicero, Augustus, Richelieu, Burke, Washington, Jefferson, Tallyrand, Metternich, Gladstone, Lincoln, Cavour, Bismarck

Yamhill Street (North side of the building)

Painters – Giotto, Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Botticelli, Valasquez, Titian, Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, Hals, Van Dyck, Rembrant, Murillo, Corot, Whistler

Etchers – Durer, Marc Antonio, Claude, Van Ostade, Canaletto, Hogarth, Piranesi, Bartolozzi, Nanteuil, Millet, Haden, Meryon

Sculptors – Philias, Myron, Polycletus, Praxiteles, Lysippus, Pisano, Ghiberti, Donotello, Della RObbia, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, Goujon, Bernini, Rude, St Gaudens

Architects – Ictinus, Mnesicles, Vituvius, Brunelleschi, Alberti, Bramante, Vignola, Palladio, Inigo Jones, Mansard, Perrault, Wren, Viollet-Le-Duc, Richardson, McKim

Musicians – Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, MacDowell

Scientists – Euclid, Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Leibnitz, Franklin, Linnarus, Herschel, Laviosier, Curvier, Faraday, Darwin, Spencer

Inventors – Boulton, Watt, Jenner, Fulton, Whitney, Senefelder, Stephenson, Daguerre, Morse, Ericsson, Bessemer, Corliss, Howe, Pasteur, Bell

Tenth Avenue (East side of the building)

Printers – Gutenberg, Caxton, Mentelin, John Fust, Schoeffer, Aldus, Jenson, Sweynheym, De Spira, Koburger, Plantin, Pynson, Froben, Estienne, Elzevir

Novelists – Boccaccio, Rabelais, Cervantes, Bunyan, Fielding, Scott, Irving, Balzac, Hugo, Dumas, Hawthorne, Thackery, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoi

Historians – Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy, Josephus, Plutarch, Tacitus, Froissart, Gibbon, Guizot, Grote, Carlyle, Macaulay, Motley, Parkman

Philosphers – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epietetus, M. Aurelius, Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegal, Comte, Emerson, Mill

Poets – Homer, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Tennyson, Poe, Browning, Whitman

Dramatists – Aeshylus, Sophocles, Euripides Shakspere, Jonson, Lope De Vega, Corneille, Moliere, Voltaire, Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Alfieri, Sheridan, Ibsen

I finally made it up to the secret garden above the treetops, in daylight and with something like a camera and found an unlocked door.

On the ninth floor of the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse is a secret sculpture garden. At the gate, while being frisked I asked, “which floor is the secret sculpture garden, the one where judges can have a quick toke during lunch?” and got an immediate vibrant stare from the blue-suited security guards, “what do you mean secret? It’s not a secret. It’s open to anyone.”

Awkward pause which refreshes.

They took a secret just-in-case picture of me and I stuck my secret art camera back in my pocket and went to find someone else to talk to. I felt slightly less anonymous, but I figured I would soon be in good company.

In the lobby (and all this icon-architecture is at SW Third and Salmon Streets) is a dark and dour oil portrait of Matthew Deady, an early justice of Oregon’s Supreme Court. The portrait, by William Cogswell, made in 1887, hung in the Central Library prior to it’s 2000 remodel, is now fixed to a wall about twenty feet off the ground – it’s a dour, dark portait, popular at the time, but in it’s current position quite impossible to look at. The lobby areas of the courthouse have tightly controlled waterfalls and various insipid aphorisms carved into the granite walls. The place is cold and shivery, just what some asshole like Howard Roark would build.

Get to the ninth floor, skip the courtrooms which are boring and head for the south side of the building. There’s a slightly hidden door which if you’re lucky is unlocked. Scamper out and you’re free.

The artist is Tom Otterness and he calls this set of sculptures Law of Nature, built for the site in 1997. They’re just terrific. The pictures here are lousy – go to Otterness’ web site, they’re much better, but they’re much better in person. Context means much in contemporary sculpture, either abstract or slightly surreal.

The first impression is you’re out of the building and way up high. The air is better, the sounds of wind and weather and not fans and clerks clicking. There are no cameras watching you. And you’re high above the city. And there’s a path to follow, down a ramp, around a corner and into some shrubbery.

Suddenly and slightly underfoot are Tom’s bronze and bucktoothed creatures, Books and TVs, smiling, hypnotized, wander hand in hand. The beaver bites at the base of the trunk while above blind justice hides a secret dagger. A shower drowns a pile of castaway books, a courtroom scene with judge, jury, prosecutor and accused.

It’s hard not to be silly in the midst of such ornate oppression and linear conceit. Tho Otterness’ ridicules his subjects, it’s hard to imagine they would be bothered, because of the arrogance and self-indulgence of law and because of the distance the small sculptures take from the occupants. They’re outside the building, outside the law, they’re small and bronze and playful, the opposite of the ghosts in black robes which haunt the interior halls.

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