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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dazed And Displaced: Portland’s Reckoning

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We suffer, here in Portland, from the importance of being earnest. We have been defunding ourselves for years, not only in allocation of resources and poor policy and planning, but in believing that we were vision-keepers of a more humane, enduring, and green community.

Out-of-Doors In The High Country Of Eastern Oregon (and Contemplation of the Indoors)

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There are more cars parked at area trailheads than at any time in my memory. So lots of folks hiking and backpacking to what we call “the high lakes.”

Portland’s Unstoppable Protest: A Report From the Eye of the Storm

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During all this period, nearly all of the action was in a two square block area in front of the courthouses, meaning that 99.9% of the city was unaffected, despite what the world saw on TV.

Trump Country: Eastern Oregon’s Open Congressional Seat

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Congressman Greg Walden, a Republican who has held the sprawling seat since 1998, suddenly retired. Walden may have been feeling the pressures of a district that is leaning — at least in places like Bend, Hood River, the Dalles, and Ashland — more to the left.

Senior City: Port Townsend’s Boomer Invasion

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For decades, Seattle boomers have been tripping off to Port Townsend for...

BC: Isolating From The Pandemic Next Door

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A policy of self-isolation appears – or appeared – to have been working. British Columbia has experienced just over 3,500 cases of the coronavirus, and 193 deaths. Washington has witnessed 52,635 cases and 1,501 deaths. B.C. has a population of 5.1 million, compared to 7 million for her neighbor to the south.

Why Everyone’s Moving To Ellensburg

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The new state population estimates show Kittitas County growing 3.4 percent last year, and 7.6 percent over the last three years, both figures tops in the state.

Lessons from New Zealand: Interdependence, Race Relations and Coronavirus

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The last 40 years have not resolved all conflicts between pakeha (settlers) and Maori, nor has New Zealand brought about a utopian era. But there has been a full revolution in acknowledging the realities of an unjust historical record, and of committing to creating a more equal partnership in the future.

COVID Casualties: Another Northwest Institution Says Goodbye

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Experienced woodworkers might put it all together in a couple of weeks, but amateurs spend months, working weekends and calling Pygmy now and then for advice. And no doubt many of those kits remain boxed or partially constructed, stowed in the garage rafters.

When Port Townsend Needed A General Store

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Community-owned stores are more familiar in small Midwest towns, most of which sell groceries in what are sometimes called “food deserts,” rural areas that can’t support a supermarket. But mercantile stores are another matter.

After the Virus: Rome without Tourists

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I did not think it possible to go to Rome and not once hear English spoken. Yet,...

In a Small Eastern Oregon Town: A Demonstration of ‘Just Locals Fed Up’

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Opposition honks were a steady blaring of the horn, sometimes accompanied by a raised finger. Support honks outnumbered the other about 5 to 1.

Elsewhere: The Store-Fronted Home – Rediscovering an Old Idea

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In my career as an architect, urban planner and urban designer I spent decades talking about the merits of mixing uses together . But now I see this through a new lens.

Northeastern Oregon, Where Wearing Masks is a Signal

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The wearing and non-wearing of masks serves as a convenient statement in this rural county. Wearing one in town I definitely felt like I was signaling my tribal identity, which seems crazy, but there it is."

The Italian Model: How We’re Gathering Together As Lockdown Ends

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I have been taken by how everyone in the village seems to still be enjoying the public spaces. They are just doing this while being mindful of the safety of others. This attitude of collective responsibility is what we most noticed when we first arrived.

Extreme Distancing: A One-Man Island

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As the sole resident of Protection Island, the two-mile long bird refuge at the entrance to Discovery Bay, west of Port Townsend, Marty Bluewater has to be one of the best-distanced souls in Puget Sound country.

Italian Diary: From the other side of the Curve

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One can sense a collective sigh of relief that we may have beaten this awful thing.

Comparing British and American Pandemic Politics

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The British briefings on the pandemic come across as disciplined and professional with punctual timing, good clarity, reasonable brevity, and no impassioned hostility or displays of temperament. Certainly none of the speakers – even those suitably professionally qualified- would ever recommend to the public speculative but un-researched cures for the virus.

Elsewhere: Paris Cafe Culture Reinvents Itself at Home

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With people confined to their homes, unable to dine out, one result has been a boom in home cooking. Supermarkets are out of flour – baking is suddenly in.

As Pollution Abates, The Divine Armada Of The Himalaya Return

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The reason people in India can see the Himalaya again is because of Covid 19. The whole country has shut down; pollution plummeted; skies have cleared. Before us rises a possible future.

Italian Diary: Flattened by the Curve

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I can still see the beloved village pharmacist in his long white coat and with his flamboyant mustache, smiling broadly, and waving to passersby. But Patrizio was a victim of coronavirus.

Italian Diary: A Slowdown In New Cases

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The effects of Covid-19 creeps closer even as the rate of new cases is declining.

Notes From The Italian Lockdown

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We still say "Buongiorno!" albeit through layers of fabric.

Elsewhere: Cooped Up and Coping With Covid

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We met in the sunshine in the park next to where we live across the river from Cambridge and the main Harvard campus. Meeting outdoors is safer in the times we’re in.

Italian Diary: Coming Together In A Crisis

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Our street market was cancelled but the fish truck still appears twice a week as it always did, attracting a village street cat that sits politely, awaiting its supper. People buy the freshly caught fish, but with a meter separation in between. The usual discussion of various fish ensues as always.

Italian Diary: Inside The CoronaZone Lockdown

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Part of the government’s decree is to change people’s behavior for several weeks – long enough to slow or stop community transmission.

The Experience Economy: Retail For The Internet Age

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Books are a big draw, but the Gronigen Forum also has lots more: movie theaters, exhibition halls, an auditorium, a comics museum, a hip restaurant and bar, and a rooftop "market square" with great views. (And shops.)

Corona-Cold Turkey: Crowds Quit Venice and the City Takes a Much-Needed Tourist Break

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The disappearance of crowds due to the coronavirus scare might actually be good thing. No city can thrive on a monoculture of mass tourism.

Report From The Front: Life In Italy During The Coronavirus [UPDATED 3.3.20]

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As I check in with various friends and colleagues in different parts of Italy, it seems most are being cautious and careful, but there is little real hysteria. But online is going crazy.

Italian Towns Reclaim Their Beachfronts For The Public – Here’s How

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The key to opening up these Italian beaches to all walks of life is to tie together the promenade, bikeways, benches, existing open spaces, and broader piazzas for concerts and street markets.