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Eugene Weekly : 07.06.06

The 38th Annual Oregon Country Fair

July 7, 8 & 9, 2006

Featured: Fantastic Fair Folk | OCF community garden | A chat with Amy Goodman, Astrologer Rob Brezsny | OCF Philanthropy | The Fire Crew | Spoken Word

 

Fantastic Fair Folk

Fair family relationships extend throughout the community.

By Vanessa Salvia

Lucy Kingsley

White Bird Medicine

Lucy Kingsley

Lucy Kingsley moved to Oregon from Southern California in 1965 to attend college at OSU. She has participated in all 38 years of the fair and has been with White Bird Medicine since 1970. The first fair in 1969 was a fundraiser for an alternative school, and Kingsley was there. "I went to the first fair on Blanton Heights as a tourist when I was still living in Corvallis," Kingsley said. "In April of 1970 I transferred down from Oregon State to UO. White Bird had opened in February of that year, and I started working in July for White Bird." Through White Bird, Kingsley coordinated medical care for the fair until the mid-'90s. Kingsley was and still is active in the local mental health community; she worked the very first CAHOOTS shift on July 4, 1989.

For the fair, it might be easier to list all of the things Kingsley hasn't done over the decades: "I've coordinated medical for many years, I've also worked in a food booth and a craft booth, I've coordinated registration, I've worked on the info crew. When the Neighborhood Response team first got in operation [1993], I worked doing that, and I've been the mother of the Country Fair lost and found for more than 30 years!" Kingsley has also served on the fair's board of directors and as the secretary. "I just go every year and work and play!" she said.

 

Bob Fennessy

Publicist at WOW Hall

Bob Fennessy

"I moved to Eugene in August of 1977, so the first year I actually got to go to the fair was 1978," said Bob Fennessy, the man behind the WOW Hall's entertainment publicity. "Of course, as soon as I went out there it became my life's ambition to camp all night, but first I had to become worthy!"

Fennessy finished his degree in community service and public affairs at UO, became a political activist with Oregon Fair Share and told his boss that in order to get a booth at the fair she needed to go to the Community Village meetings. "Because I was working in the evenings when the meetings were held, she had to do it," he explained. "She embraced the idea, and I got to start camping there in 1983."

After a few years, Fennessy was able to go to those meetings himself. For 10 years he was part of the coordinating council of Community Village, which is the hub allowing non-profit agencies to distribute information about their organizations to fairgoers. It's part of the fair but has its own umbrella of leadership and is a completely consensus-driven entity. "It is an experiment in direct self-government, kind of like the old town meetings you read about in history," Fennessy said. "Everybody has an equal say."

After 10 years Fennessy relinquished his role as coordinator and began helping out with other projects, such as organizing the Spring Fling and scheduling the stage, which he has done for more than ten years.

In order to open up fair jobs to the new generation of fair family, volunteers can be "retired" after 20 years of service or after reaching 55 years of age. Fennessy has already served more than 20 years, and will soon enjoy all the benefits of fair life without the work.

 

Sue Kesey

Co-owner of Springfield Creamery, maker of Nancy's Yogurt

Sue Kesey

The founding of Springfield Creamery in 1960 pre-dates the Oregon Country Fair, and when the fair started, the creamery was among the first to sign up as a vendor. "We [attended] one of the very first fairs," said Sue Kesey, one of the creamery's owners, and wife of Chuck Kesey, author Ken Kesey's brother. "We did frozen yogurt, and no one had ever done anything like that before. This was 1969."

After the fair moved to the current site, the creamery set up a frozen yogurt booth in 1972 or 1973 — "nobody quite remembers!" Sue said. Sue and Chuck's daughter Sheryl handles operations of the booth now, while son Kit (who also produces entertainment through McDonald Theatre and other venues) runs the daily plant operations. Sue and Chuck's grandsons are now 20, 17 and 14, and also work in the booth. "They have become complete fair kids, so now we have three generations and it's very wonderful," she said.

The fair site bounced around the greater Eugene area for several years until it settled in its current location near Veneta. Initially, the fair was renting the property, but the owners said they would consider selling it. Along with Nicki Scully and her Grateful Dead connections, the Keseys brought the Dead to town, organizing and promoting the 1972 Field Trip with tickets printed on Nancy's Yogurt labels. In 1982 they helped organize another concert, finishing the down payment on the land. "In 1992 there was going to be another one, but that got canceled because Jerry Garcia got ill and they canceled that whole tour. We ended up doing the Furthur Festival in 1996," she said.

Sue has been with the fair's food committee for more than 20 years and marvels at the level of volunteer involvement that keeps the fair going. "We are certainly only a minute part of that," she said.

 

Nicki Scully

Author, healer, shamanand spiritual tour guide

Nicki Scully

Nicki is a longtime member of the Grateful Dead's family, formerly married to their original manager Rock Scully. She first visited Egypt when the Grateful Dead performed there in 1978, then became involved with spiritual healing and incorporating Egyptian mysteries into her healing work. Now, she leads tours to what she considers the most spiritual places on earth, including Egypt, Greece and Peru. She has written two books on animal totems and alchemical healing, with one on the way about Egyptian mysteries.

Scully moved to Eugene from the Bay Area in 1981. "The first thing I looked for was how to get the Grateful Dead to play here," Scully said. "I was turned on to the fair because that was the obvious place to do it." With the Springfield Creamery at the helm, the concert went off the next year. "It was many fair folks' dream to combine the Grateful Dead with Country Fair magic, and it was a great way for me to get involved with the fair initially."

In the mid-'90s, the fair board asked Scully to take over a space in the fair. She transformed it into Altared Space, which is "a place where people can step out of the hustle and bustle and intensity of the fair and into a place of connection with spirit," she said. Altared Space, which is open to everyone, holds an altar for representation of all spiritual beliefs, a meditation space, a healing space called Altared Healing, and Altared Advice, a place for advice and counseling from caring, trained individuals. It also has a space for creating sacred crafts, such as prayer flags, for children of all ages.

This year, crews are building a more permanent structure for the altar so it has a much larger and more welcoming presence. "For a person like me who has a really, really busy schedule, who travels all over the world, the fair week is inviolable to me," Scully said. "That is where I go to rejoice and rejuice."

  

David Paul Black

Mainstage Entertainment

David Paul Black

David Paul Black has booked the acts and managed the Mainstage at the fair for decades. Now he's retiring after more than 28 years of service. "I started attending the fair in 1975, when I worked for KLCC, and at the time I was a producer of a live music show from the WOW Hall, which was called "Music From the Center," he said. "From 1975 to 1977 I was working at the KLCC booth which started, like most of us, in Community Village."

In 1977, because of Black's association with KLCC and access to local musicians, the fair asked him to be the stage manager. "A couple years into the '80s I became the overall coordinator, which entailed everything! I was the coordinator, the MC, the manager, the booking person, the budget person," Black said. In that capacity, he got to decide how much money to spend on entertainment and who gets it. He estimates he has overseen the spending of a quarter of a million dollars bringing entertainment to the fair. "The mainstage is the party stage," he said. "It's where people can really shake a leg!"

Black estimates that KLCC's broadcasts from the fair reach a third of Oregon's population, many listening "in their hammock or in their backyard, if they don't want to interface with the activity of being out on the path and living it live."

He has gone on to work closely with the Eugene Celebration and Springfield Filbert Festival as a result of his fair connections.    

 

 

Alice's Wonderland

The OCF community garden grows with the fair.

By Martha Calhoon

Dylana, a garden crew volunteer, does some weeding on a beautiful Sunday afternoon before the fair.

Most Oregon Country Fair regulars are familiar with such twists and turns on the Oregon Country Fair path as the Community Village, Chela Mela Meadow and Energy Park. But one little-known corner of the OCF wonderland, the community garden, has become an integral part of fair operation in recent years.

Run by a crew of nine volunteers, the garden is an all-organic garden on an adjacent plot of land now called Alice's Wonderland. Because the land was purchased from Veneta resident Alice Fuller in 2001, the name was an obvious choice. It was already a rich garden under Fuller's care and ownership, so OCF General Manager Leslie Scott says the plot of land with its 20 x 100-foot greenhouse seemed like the perfect place to continue growing food after the fair bought it. Now, produce from the garden goes to create free meals for the volunteers before, during and after the fair.

The garden crew is currently cultivating basil, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, kale, snow peas, snap peas, strawberries, lettuce, zucchini, summer squash, pole beans, culinary herbs, tea herbs and recently added blueberries. Establishing garlic and leek plants is a goal for garden workers in the coming seasons. Fruit trees, raspberries, marionberries, grapes and rhubarb also remain from Fuller's original garden, which she cultivated into her 80s.

Garden workers have to focus on early market crops that will be ready by early to mid-June when the Pre-Fair Kitchen opens. Volunteer chefs then prepare nightly meals for fair staff including anything from stir-fried kale to "big, fat green salads," Scott says.

Apart from feeding the staff, the garden fulfills the fair's goal as an educational operation. The fair-sponsored teen camp, Culture Jam, is held every August on Alice's Wonderland. Youth from the camp also participate in maintaining the garden, learning about ecology and sustainability in the process. "Some kids go home from the Culture Jam saying that they want to start growing their own food and eating more vegetables," Scott says, satisfied.       

 

Filling the Silence:

A Chat with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman

By Kera Abraham

Amy Goodman is the intrepid host of the TV and radio show Democracy Now!, as well as the co-author of two books: The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers and the Media That Love Them (2004) and Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People Who Fight Back, due out in September. Goodman will speak at the OCF on Saturday, July 8, at 12:30 pm on the Main Stage and 5 pm on the Front Porch stage.

Is Democracy Now! reaching a wider audience now than it did before 9/11?

Democracy Now! is growing every day. We started 10 years ago, in February 1996. And right around Sept. 11th we started doing television. So it's grown geometrically, with two to three news stations a week coming on board. Now we're broadcasting on over 420 radio and television stations. And we're video and audio podcasting, and that way people around the world get the program.

What's your essential news reading?

I think the key is multitude news sources — as much as we can devour. The Internet is just a great grassroots globalizing force, an answer to corporate globalization, which is why Net neutrality is so important. But if the littlest website posted somewhere in the world has to pay whoever's in control of the Internet, it's going to be much more difficult to get access to grassroots information sources.

Corporate media is gobbling up TV stations and print outlets left and right. Do you see independent media being strangled?

I see media consolidation, but also the reaction to it, and that's across the political spectrum. Conservative Republicans, like progressives, don't like it when one media mogul owns the newspaper, radio and television in a town. And there's been this increasing awareness of the importance of media, more powerful than any bomb or missile. The media are the way we understand the world and the way that the rest of the world understands us. And that's very dangerous right now, because we are projected to the rest of the world through a corporate lens.

You recently appeared on the Chris Matthews show, which was a little surprising to me. Do you try to get mainstream news exposure?

I don't try, but I am invited on to these programs occasionally, and I think it's very important to reach a wider and wider audience. In one of the recent appearances on MSNBC, we were talking about the immigration rights protests, and Chris said, "You seem to take joy in them." And I said, "You know, when you have not just the largest immigration protest in this country, but the largest protest on any issue in the history of the United States, it's remarkable." Of course it takes a million people in the street to get one person on television, but it's a start.

Do you have any hard evidence that corporate sponsors influence the content of mainstream news?

You've got the corporations that own the media. For example, General Electric owns NBC — General Electric, the weapons manufacturer, making many parts for weapons going back to the Gulf War. I don't think it's any accident that what we see on television is a military hardware show. Overall, it's about corporate culture and a kind of consensus in the newsroom with those in power. Reporters know what will move them ahead and what will move them out of the newsroom. Talking about the peace movement is not the greatest career move, and yet these are the movements that shape history.

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said on your show that the State Department should keep a list of people who say outrageous things. I noticed how politely yet persistently you challenged him on that statement. How do you keep your composure?

Well, it's astounding when you have a situation in this country where your government is setting up a national security state, spying on tens of millions of Americans. Thomas Friedman said he knows the difference between a dissident and a terrorist. So I said he may know the difference, but does he really have faith that the State Department does? These are issues of great importance, and we just have to keep asking and challenging and investigating.

President Bush's abysmal approval rating gained seven points just after he visited Iraq. Why do you think the American public is so easily influenced by publicity stunts?

Well, I think Americans are smart. They are very good media consumers, but the media is spun and spins them in turn. The invasion and the lead-up to it, alleging weapons of mass destruction, has exposed more than Bush; it's exposed the media that act as a conveyor belt for the lies. But it's hard to know what is true when you watch television, especially when fear is played on. That's why it is so critical that the media investigate and not just parrot the official line.

How do you view the resurgence of Al Gore as a potential 2008 presidential candidate?

This is a system that's bigger than the people who run. Where was Al Gore when he was in power? He's speaking out against war now, and that's very important, and I hear John Kerry also said he was sorry he had voted to authorize the invasion at the "Take Back America" conference [on June 13]. The question is, what do they do when it counts? Of course, Hillary Rodham Clinton has not done that and continues to support the war.

Do you have faith in the fairness of American elections today?

There are major problems. With Diebold and other voting machines, it's the inability to have any kind of paper receipt of the vote; the vulnerability of the code inside of the machines and how easy it is to manipulate; a former head of Diebold saying he'll deliver the votes to Bush in Ohio. Oh, it's very serious. People can't trust. And when people can't trust, after awhile they become numb. They think they can't have an effect, and people can have an enormous effect. And yes, it matters how votes are counted.

Do you think that the increasing popularity of blogging will force mainstream media to cover stories they might normally ignore, like the massacre at Haditha and the Israeli shelling of a beach in Gaza?

Yes, it makes a big difference when there are other sources. I call it "trickle-up journalism." That's what we engage in at Democracy Now!. It's absolutely critical to keep on plugging away at these stories, and to keep on uncovering. Because it takes a story more than a day to sink into the consciousness of people; it takes day after day on the front pages. And it's essential to tell the eyewitness accounts. These are not just statistics or philosophies or issues; they are real-life human stories. That's what war is. It's about the taking of life, and we have to make it very real.

Do you have any quotes tacked up in your newsroom or personal mottos that you live by?

I think it's very important for us as journalists to go to where the silence is, and to push very hard to get at the truth. As I.F. Stone said, "Governments lie." And I don't know who said this quote: "I think back on all the times I thought I went too far, and I realize now I didn't go far enough." For journalists, it's about doing a story and not letting go until you understand what happens. We have to do that, no matter how uncomfortable it makes the people around us.

For transcripts, video and audio podcasts of Democracy Now!, visit www.democracynow.org

 

Brezsny's Real Solutions

Author and astrologist puts paranoia in its place.

By Vanessa Salvia

Rob Brezsny is a popular astrologer and the author of three books, the most recent being Pronoia Is the Antidote For Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings. In it, Brezsny takes aim at the mass media's approach to reporting only tragedy and trauma as inherently interesting news and suggests ways to debilitate this negativity in your own life and focus on the positive. This is his first appearance at the Oregon Country Fair.

He is speaking at 3:20 pm Friday, July 7 on the Main Stage and at 3 pm Sunday, June 9 on the Front Porch.

You live in Southern California but you've been to Eugene before. Tell me about your relationship to Eugene.

I was a homeless person in Eugene for a brief period in 1976. I was living in North Carolina and I reconnoitered to the West Coast to try to figure out whether I wanted to live in Santa Cruz, Eugene or Seattle. I was trying to save money, and Eugene was a fun place to be homeless at that point. I slept on the roofs of hotels and in the park and hung around the big college campus more than I should have probably. I still have family in Eugene.

Most people probably know you as the author of Free Will Astrology. How did you move toward socio-political authorship?

My column has always been more than an astrology column since the beginning, and I aspire to make it something more than the tabloid mentality that informs most astrology columns. I wanted to bring socio-political commentary and humor and philosophical fun into it, so I've been doing that for many years.

What is "pronoia"?

Pronoia is a word that was coined by the Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow in 1976. He said it meant "the sneaking suspicion that other people are plotting in your behalf." The word just sort of sat there for a long time. Nobody really defined it and ran with it and developed the term until I wrote the book.

As you say in your book, the media have defined corruption and decay as interesting. Why have they done that, and what can we do about it?

I think they've gotten the notion that it sells more advertising, that it attracts more eyes, the notion that the spectacular consists entirely of painful twists and ugly events, and I think at this point it's more of an addiction. People get caught in habitual modes of hurting themselves, being hungry for any kind of feeling even if it's a painful feeling.

I think one way to counteract that is to first of all, refute the notion, identify the covert dogma … that evil is more interesting and far more common than good, beauty and bliss and integrity and joy. So, our first job is to say that that's so, and begin to find other modes in our personal lives and whatever realm we are given to work in. That can be as simple an act as deciding to write a manifesto of all the things that work in your life. I think people should not only do that but add to it all the time. It's pretty amazing how many things go right for you every day and that the vast majority of things that happen to you are a yes, not a no.

So one of the first steps would be to recognize this power the media have and counteract it by focusing on the positive in your own life.

Wise people have said that you don't want to spend all of your time fighting it, but you do need to spend some of your time fighting and counteracting that. You also have to embody and create and be exuberant in the creation of the alternative and really that's mostly what my book is about.

It's an attempt to create the foundation of a pronoic world in which we're no longer complaining and bitching and protesting, which we need to do, and I don't mean to demean that at all … but we also have to be exuberant lovers of life and live as if life is a miracle.

What can audiences expect at this year's Country Fair?

I do a performance called "Sacred Uproar," and it has a blend of rowdy prayers, chaotic meditations, interactive rituals, what I call Dionysian Manifestos, good-humored incantations and rants, but not so much the angry kind of rants although there is a little anger in there, but more tender rants. I do kirtans [sacred call-and-response chanting]. It's a pagan revival show from one point of view. The sense is that it's spiritual, but there's political activism in it too. There's joy and pleasure and sacred uproar

 

Food, Fun and Philanthropy

Money and love at the OCF

By Martha Calhoon

Every year roughly 57,000 people pass through the front gates of the Oregon Country Fair and enter a fantasy woodland city, a secret world under a thick tree canopy, a three-day celebration of music, food and community — and most will pay between $14 and $19 a day to do so. You don't have to be an OCF treasurer, nor one of the clairvoyants that offer their services at Golden Light booth number 194, to conclude that this event generates a lot of money — about $1.2 million in 2005. Not bad for an event that began 38 years ago as a fundraiser for a Eugene community school.

However, in the midst of the merry-making, the Silver Man, the Dragon Parade, the giant Rasta puppets and the occasional nude fairgoer, few pause to ask where that money goes. But who does profit from this annual windfall? Everyone, according to Leslie Scott, OCF general manager. According to the 2004 tax forms, approximately $166,000 is divided among the six year-round paid staff.

Give It Away, Give It Away Now

A considerable portion of fair proceeds goes to the fair's two major philanthropic programs: the Jill Heimen Vision Fund and the Bill Wooten Endowment. Jill Heimen was the fair's first official attorney who helped the fair become designated as a cultural and educational nonprofit. "The Vision Fund is, in essence, a way for the fair community to fundraise for causes it cares about," Scott says. "Being a nonprofit doesn't mean you can't make a profit; it means your money is used for the public good, not private gain. It means you're not beholden to shareholders; you're beholden to the community."

Leslie Scott

Each fall at the annual meeting, the fair community chooses what kinds of nonprofits to donate to. Usually, organizations that provide what the fair refers to as "basic needs services" benefit from the OCF's philanthropy. White Bird Clinic and Womenspace are frequent recipients, although the fund has also contributed to environmental restoration projects.

The fair encourages fair-goers and staff to donate by placing Vision Fund boxes throughout the property so volunteers and fairgoers can donate money or food vouchers. The fair matches $2 for every dollar or voucher contributed. Last year, the fair donated $22,000 to community organizations from the Vision Fund.

The Bill Wooten Oregon Country Fair Endowment was created to give back to the Fern Ridge community through donations to the school district, the library and other services that benefit the residents of West Lane County. Last year the endowment, which has a current principal balance of about $350,000, donated $12,000 to cultural and educational resources.

The board of directors has its own donation funds and contributes on a smaller scale (in the $500 range) to other non-profits in the community such as HIV Alliance and the Whiteaker Thanksgiving.

When all is said and done, the fair donates between $40,000 and $50,000 annually. And this year, after 12 years of philanthropic giving, the fair surpassed the $300,000 mark — all without corporate sponsorship.

The fair is also responsible for Culture Jam, an arts-based teen leadership camp for which they provide approximately $8,000 in scholarships annually — an expense they don't count among their philanthropic donations. They also co-sponsored this spring's "Hip Hop Hope," (check out EW's 4/06 online photo essay) where teens got to write, record and produce a CD of their original music and perform it at events throughout the community.

"When people buy a ticket to the fair, they are supporting this work because it comes directly out of event proceeds," Scott says. "When we make excess revenue, we are able to do more. It goes directly back into the community."

It's All About the Love

Leslie Scott believes that the real value of the fair is not in numbers and financial capital, but in what she calls "social capital." "We depend on the work of literally thousands of volunteers, and it is the network of relationships and the community we build that we 'put in the bank' and count on from year to year," Scott says.

The fair couldn't function without the roughly 4,000 volunteers who oversee everything from security to childcare to site construction and recycling. The time commitment varies depending on position. For example, volunteers produce the fair's monthly Fair Family News newsletter and generally contribute around 100 hours of time over an 11-month period.

Pre-fair positions, on the other hand, require a 50-hour minimum. But Scott says that most volunteers will give anywhere from 60 to 100 hours during spring set-up. During the fair, volunteers work 18-20 hours from noon Thursday, when the site is officially operational, to noon on Monday when tear-down begins. In return, they get free meals and the highly coveted camping pass that allow fair families and volunteers to stay overnight. Everyone who stays overnight has to pay $10 to park, however, including entertainers, vendors, volunteers and even Leslie Scott herself.

Stay, Play, No Pay

So is it worth it? Without question, says volunteer Jesse Creighton, who's worked pre- and post-fair security for the last five years and recently quit his regular job as a cook because he couldn't get the time off from work to volunteer. "I'm 27 years old and I just had to move back in with my parents," he says of his commitment to participating in the OCF. "I would pay large quantities of money to be able to go and enjoy myself the way I do out there. The fair is a very important thing. It's bigger than me."

Taylor Rutledge echoes this sentiment. Rutledge, now 27, has been volunteering at the fair since she was recruited to the teen crew 11 years ago. "I think that a large part of the fair magic is that the work done by the staff is a gift of love," she says. "We love this event and our extended [fair] family enough to commit our time and energy to creating and re-creating it each year. I wouldn't want to see that change. Our compensation is that we get to live at the event for three to six days."

In fact, some of the most substantial line items in the annual OCF budget are designated to care for volunteers. The OCF has an organic garden and full kitchen with a $40,000 budget to feed volunteers three meals a day. In addition, the fair has a $100,000 budget for food vouchers that volunteers can use at any vendor booth.

Jesse Creighton, who usually works about 30 hours during the fair, says he often volunteers for more. He says the little things make the commitment worthwhile.

One year, as he sat at his designated gate working security playing a 3 am game of solitaire, a golf cart showed up from the fair kitchen to offer him an array of small quiches they had made up for the volunteers. Creighton appreciated the gesture. "That was really cool."   

 

All Fired Up

OCF fire crew hopes to educate elders and reduce fire danger.

By Ephraim Payne

The Oregon Country Fair springs to life every summer on park-like 350-acre property next to the Long Tom River, 15 miles from Eugene. The land, a mixture of grassy fields with islands of shrubs and oak trees, is flooded for part of the winter by the river and its tributary creeks. Dense thickets of scraggly, 70-year-old Douglas fir dominate the uplands above the floodplain. For years, fire suppression has allowed dry wood and other fuels to build up, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

OCF Fire Crew co-coordinators Bill Pack (left) and Tom Bruvold.

The site is usually still green in early June. But in drought years it dries out by fair time, usually the first weekend in July. According to fair fire crew co-coordinator Bill Pack, fire danger has been extreme for the last five years and was especially high during 2002 and 2003. "I think it's just a matter of time before we have a situation," says Pack, a 30-year U.S. Forest Service veteran. "We've been pretty fortunate."

The fair, in its publicity material, expresses a respect for Native American culture. Pack and others would like to see its community, known as the Fair Family, learn to use fire to help manage the landscape, much as former inhabitants, the Kalapuya Indians, did.

Archeologists and the fair's managers believe the Kalapuya used cyclical burning to maintain an open prairie with patches of large oak trees and firs when they used the area. These oak savannas provided the Kalapuya much of what they needed to live in the Willamette Valley, including such foods as camas, acorns and deer. Low-intensity controlled burning kept larger fires at bay.

Kalapuya elder and storyteller Esther Stutzman says that the use of fire was part of a sacred relationship between the people and the lands they inhabited. "It was something that was extremely well planned," she says. Women who were spiritual leaders directed the timing of the fires after holding council with community elders, and entire families played specific roles in lighting and controlling them.

But some in the Fair Family oppose the fair's plan to thin trees to increase the forest's biological diversity. The real fire problem at the fair, longtime fair volunteer and UO biologist Dennis Todd says, is people, not the landscape. "Pretty much, humans are going to be causing any fires out there," he says.

The fair has already banned candles and fire lanterns at campsites. But musicians gather around campfires to jam, adding to the fair's ambiance and community feeling, and thousands of people gather at night to watch fire dancers whirl and spin as they perform.

The fair encourages campers to build campfires in special fire pans in and the fire crew mows the grassy areas and chips some dry brush and other potential fuels. Still, every year people light campfires outside the designated areas. Campers and the fair fire crew have suppressed accidental fires every year since 1993 using 5-gallon buckets of water, wet burlap sacks, shovels and fire extinguishers — tools every campsite is supposed to have.

Chief Marty Nelson of Lane County Fire District #1, which shares responsibility for fires in the area with the Oregon Department of Forestry, says the fair has learned from its experiences with accidental fires. "They've got a very good fire crew," he says. "They're so self-sufficient it doesn't become a huge problem for us."

But Nelson says the fair is struggling with writing a distinct fire plan.

And Pack, a fire crew volunteer for 14 years and co-coordinator since 1993, is concerned that some at the fair don't take the fire danger seriously. Only a very small amount of the dead wood and dry brush has been dealt with, and the buildup increases every year.

"I've proposed, and it's actually been taken as kind of a joke, that we start burning some of the islands," he says. "These are closed areas that I think would be excellent for the reintroduction of fire."

Todd would also like to see fire used at the fair, at least in the grassy parking areas. But he says it would be futile to try it unless the cars were parked somewhere else for a year.

And UO landscape architecture professor Bart Johnson, who studies the area's endangered oak savannas, says that fire can control trees and brush, but the results may not be easy to predict. "You can't just re-introduce fire and assume you're going to get a high quality oak savanna."

Burning can either favor native biodiversity, which the fair wants to promote, or fire-tolerant invasive species already established on the site. A combination of fire and reseeding native plants is sometimes the best bet. "Fire Bill" Pack says the biggest challenge is educating the Fair Family about the potential fire danger facing the fair and overcoming resistance to actively managing the land to deal with the problem.

He wants to teach people about the long history of the Kalapuya people's use of fire to make the fair site an ideal place for people to come together. Scientists, including Johnson, believe much of the Willamette Valley would have been fir forests when settlers came to the area if the Kalapuya hadn't used fire to shape the landscape. "The area wasn't left unmanaged before," Pack says. "The Kalapuya knew how to manage it."

 

The Power of the Spoken Word

Alder Stone Fuller, founder of the local Euglena Edu. where he offers classes & events in complexity, chaos theory and fractal geometry with a focus on biological systems from cells to Gaia.

Amy Goodman is an investigative journalist and host of Democracy Now! , an independent, award-winning news program airing on over 300 radio stations, and currently expanding into cable and satellite television, shortwave radio and on the internet.

Asha Deliverance is the mother of 7 children. She has been sun gazing since she was 15 years old and is promoting the work of her teacher, HRM, since 2002. She has studied spiritual healing for 40 years and is extremely interested in physics and ancient text. She was a midwife for 20 years. Asha taught yoga and prenatal yoga. She was one of the founders of the University of California, Santa Cruz's organic farm project. She is the founder and CEO of Pacific Domes since 1980. In addition she organizes music fests and metaphysical speakers.

Big Tadoo Puppet Crew is a San Francisco-based puppet troupe which creates and performs politically and environmentally conscious puppetry.

Blane Lyon

Blane Lyon began writing songs and poetry at age 13 when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. From these intense early experiences he learned to imbue is artistic works with emotional urgency and a level of depth rarely found in today's pop music. Blane attended School of Performing Arts (High School) in San Francisco where he studied dance. He completed an independent music composition and performance major at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1994. Since 1989 he has been the primary songwriter for 5 different northern california bands.

Cho'Qosh Auh'Ho'Oh was named by the Seneca and Chumash elders. She is herself an elder of Coastal Native Indian descent. She is a messenger of ancient prophecies and sacred stories. She is a teacher of the moving prayer "The Dance of Life". Radio Host, educator & world traveler, Cho'Qosh will bring to us the Blanket of Hope, its knowledge, comfort and challenge.

Danaan Andrew is a 20-year-young spoken word poet, inspired by the poetry of Saul Williams and the hip hop. During the past two years Danaan has written over 100 poems concerning the issues of race, gender and politics.

Daniel Finnigan, artist and storyteller has lived in New Orleans, much of it in the 9th Ward, for the past ten years creating image and word. Displaced after Hurricane Katrina, Daniel is now doing the same in Portland.

Dave Lippman presents George Shrub, the world's only known singing CIA agent, recently appointed Cultural Director of the Department of Homeland Security. Shrub will be checking up on possible illegal activities at the Fair, such as watching live musicians instead of TV, making purchases at non-chain stores and thinking.

David Oaks director of MindFreedom, is a leader in the international psychiatric survivors movement also known as the "Mad Movement." This is his 30th year working as a human rights activist to transform mental health care.

Dave Room calls for reinventing normal life in the post-petroleum future. He offers practical information concerning climate change and the end of cheap oil. He builds upon the theory of 'relocalization' and smart municipal response to our energy predicament.

Diane Patterson is a devoted activist, musician and storyteller – channeling lyrics and poems that cover an expansive range of environmental, social and political justice. Focused on the re-emergence of the Divine Feminine, Diane travels planting seeds of collective transformation and healing. Soul dancing is her potent and peaceful direct action.

Scott Taylor and Amanda Hain provide guidance on journeys to dolphin sites and run therapy programs. They have recently won first prize at the Byron Bay Film Festival for their documentary "The Dolphin People," the first segment of a four-part series about people whose lives have been transformed by the dolphins. Scott is an author of "Souls in the Sea: Dolphins, Whales, and Human Destiny."Amanda is Director of the Dolphin EDventures Wellness Program providing unique opportunity for adults to interact with dolphins for health, well-being, and spiritual needs.

Donald Abrams is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF. Dr. Abrams spent eight months working in the retrovirology laboratory during the time that the first cases of AIDS were being diagnosed. He is a leader in international clinical trials. Dr. Abrams has received a grant from the NIH to conduct clinical trials of botanical therapies and symptom management in patients.

Doug Green

Doug Green has always been a motivational influence toward the recognition and celebration of the Divine Goddess in all Creation. He has spent a lifetime setting the groundwork, organizing and performing in family/tribal celebrations. Doug started with the Floating Lotus Opera company, The Family Dog and The Living Theatre and went on to Reggae on the River. Doug now works as an activist Master of Ceremony at festivals throughout the Northwest.

Dakota Belle Witt

Eugene Slam TeamBarbara L.M. Handley eats lemon yogurt, dances in the rain, and writes poetry and other musings in a not-so-English cottage in the Pacific Northwest.Dakota Belle Witt really likes spoken word, and hopes it's not a phase. She has been to London and New York because of poetry; she also was the performance coach for last year's Eugene Poetry Slam team.Ty Brack is a 21-year-old hip hop loving, English/Writing major at Western Oregon University (WOU) in Monmouth, and is the assistant editor of WOU's student literary and art magazine.Samuel Rutledge has been a member of the Eugene Poetry Slam team for the past two seasons, helping to represent Eugene at national poetry slams. He was a finalist in Eugene Weekly's 2005 Best of Eugene competition for the best local poet category.

Hira Ratan Manek was born in Bodhavad, India in 1937. After he retired from the family shipping and spice trading business, he began to research and study the ancient practice of sun gazing in which he had been interested since his childhood. This method was an old but forgotten method which had been practiced in the ancient times in many different parts of the world. Since June 18th, 1995, HRM has and continues to live only on sun energy and water. Occasionally, for hospitality and social purposes, he drinks tea, coffee and buttermilk.

Iana Matthews-Harris is an Oregon Country Fair youth – attending 17 of her 18 years. Spoken word has been a great big passion in her life for the past several years. Iana has performed at hip hop shows, countless peace rallies and marches, open mics, and the Fair. She is currently co-manager of the Wayne Morse Youth Program.

Jefferson Smith is the Founding Chair of the Oregon Bus Project and has become one of the Northwest's foremost spokespersons on voter mobilization and engaging new people in the political process. His work with the Bus Project—a grassroots political incubator—focuses on civic engagement and forward-thinking public policy. The project has engaged thousands.

John Halpern, M.D. is Associate Director of Substance Abuse Research, Biological Psychiatry Laboratory at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. For 15 years he has sought out the educational experiences and official training to ethically conduct medical research and practice clinical medicine in the specialty of psychiatry. He has published extensively on a wide range of topics within his chosen field of interest: how hallucinogenic drugs affect people. He currently is running a pilot study to evaluate MDMA (aka "Ecstasy") as a psychotherapeutic tool for the treatment of clinical anxiety in patients dying of cancer.

Kevin Danaher, a longtime social justice and human rights activist, is co-founder of and Director of Public Education for the highly influential activist and fair trade NGO, Global Exchange, and the author and/or editor of 11 books including Democratizing the Global Economy, Corporations are Gonna Get Your Mama, 50 Years is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and Globalize This! He has spoken at universities and community organizations throughout the U.S., hosted a radio show on international affairs for KPFA in Berkeley, and regularly conducts workshops on globalization issues.

Kevin Whilden is a Policy Analyst for the Energy Trust of Oregon and helps small businesses to increase their sustainability profile. The Energy Trust is a nonprofit and helps Oregonians lower their energy bills, stimulate the economy and protect the environment. The Energy Trust brings predictability and stability to energy conservation and renewable energy programs.

Kipchoge astounded a peace rally in 2003 with a poem called How Much that thrust him into the public eye. He is the lead singer for the Ginger Ninjas and designer of Xtracycle sport-utility bicycles, long bikes, and the FreeRadical Hitchless Trailer. Kipchoge is also an co-founder of Worldbike, a nonprofit currently working in Kenya to modifying existing bikes, reaching the people who need most and can least afford a utilitarian bike. Worldbike makes possible an increased earning power and improved quality of life for the Kenyans with simple load-carrying bikes. This makes a case for major investment in this simple technology all around the developing world.

Mark Spyder Thompson, Ph.D., is one of the founding elders of the Otter Clan. Trained in the history and philosophy of religions, specializing at UCLA in indigenous shamanism of the Americas, he studied with three Lakota shamen during the 1970s when he worked for the US Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs. He is a retired educator, a social justice- environmental activist, who continues to work on issues of educational philosophy and cultural review.

Melanie Duchin has been with Greenpeace for almost two decades, with much of the last decade spent focused on the impacts of global warming in the Arctic. Currently, Melanie is working with two Greenpeace explorers who are undertaking the first summer expedition to the North Pole and is helping to spearhead a lawsuit to get the polar bear listed under the Endangered Species Act due to the impacts of global warming.

Morgan Brent

Morgan Brent is a freelance speaker, writer, and ceremonialist, with a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawaii, and four years in Peru working with curanderos in the plantas maestras tradition. Currently living in Olympia, Wash. where he is working in a permaculture paradise.

Nassim Haramein was already developing the basis for a hyperdimensional theory of everything he called the "Holofractographic Universe" as early as 9 years old. This Unified Field Theory was developed based on a specific geometric array which he has found to be fundamental to creation. This theory has now been presented to the scientific community, and his scientific papers will soon be followed by a DVD and a book for the layman entitled "Crossing the Event Horizon."

NUCLEUS: Sara Kendall 

NUCLEUS: Rupinder Sidhu & Sara Kendall Rupinder Singh Sidhu (aka. Sunskript, aka Rupix Kube) expresses soul philosophy with a mystical edge. Rupinder's musical palate encompasses hip hop poetics, electronika, flute, didgeridoo, live looping, along with vocal and eastern percussion. Sara Kendall gets at meaning through experience. Circus, hip hop and word-work, mouth percussion and musical inclinations feed through Sara and into the shared audience-performer conversations of her performance. Sara moves out from inner convictions, bringing relevance and play into relationship - on stage or on-the-level with youth and community facilitation.

Paul Stamets

Paul Stamets - Renaissance mycologist – mushroom power - fungal intelligence. Owner of Fungi Perfecti, is pushing fungi research to a new global level.

RIOT-FOLK COLLECTIVERiot-Folk is a collective of radical musicians and artists. Adhamh Roland is a St. Louis-based homegrown taste of radical shenanigans in a queerly folk fashion. Brenna Sahatjian has been playing, singing, and writing songs since the age of 14. Sometimes soft and reflective, sometimes critical and sarcastic, she lives in Arcata, Ca.Mark Gunnery is a 22-year-old singer/songwriter/ poet/shop steward/agitator living in Berkeley, Calif.Kate Boverman was born and raised in Oregon. She has chosen music; to wield it as a tool and weapon, to use it as a shield against those who oppress and enslave, and to attempt to give a voice to the people, animals and wilderness who struggle for life…the poetry of everyone.

Rob Brezsny is a cultural hero, communicating a myth-savvy perspective and breathing new life into zodiac advice columns. His rowdy astrology column "Free Will Astrology" has been the most widely syndicated feature in North America's alternative. Brezsny's new book is "Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings." In addition to three books, Brezsny has created four music albums and is working on a fifth. His band World Entertainment War recorded for MCA and was nominated for a Bammie, California's version of the Grammies.

Scott Huckabay is a sonic alchemist crafting acoustic-trance soundscapes. Musically, Huckabay lives and breathes as a one-man-band on stage, where he communes with his lovingly battered Taylor K20 acoustic guitar, live looping and layering acoustic rhythms and percussive textures into a rich, holistic union. Huckabay's passionate performance rituals emit a shamanistic spiritual vibe as well, often culminating with his spinning like a cosmic dervish, his hands a rapid blur around his guitar.

Surya Kramer

Stuart Cowan, Ph.D., is a Principal of Sustainable Systems Design, offering design, development, and finance services internationally for large-scale sustainability projects. Stuart recently helped to launch a sustainable investment bank in Portland, for green real estate projects, sustainable businesses, and restoration forestry. He served as Research Director at EcoTrust and led the development of a comprehensive framework for local living economies and bioregional sustainability. Stuart is the co-author of Ecological Design, a visionary overview of the integration of ecology and architecture, land use planning, and product design.

Surya Kramer is a teacher/facilitator, performing artiest/ritual activist activator. Community building is the foundation of her work. Her honest, sincere work is intended to ignite the spirit and expand the soul for collective conversation.

Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke was raised in Ashland,Ore. She graduated from Harvard and Antioch Universities with a degree in native economic development and a masters in rural development. At age 18, Winona LaDuke spoke before the United Nations on Native American issues. She is a founding member of Women of All Red Nations and the Black Hills Alliance. She directs the Land Recovery Project on the White Earth Reservation in Minnasota, a community-based effort to recover native land, culture and environment. She is president of the Indigenous Women's Network and director of Honor the Earth Fund, a national foundation and advocacy organization that supports Native environmental work. LaDuke was the Green Party canididate for the vice president of the United States of America in 1996 & 2000.