springfield oregon

A Mother’s Day Well Spent at Dorris Ranch

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I take my time opening the lid to my lotion, I feel it’s silkiness between my fingers as I warm it.  I lightly tilt my head back as I caress the lotion along my neck.  I notice the wrinkles that have formed on my neck and chest where the skin, it used to be tighter.  I gently move my long hair around to my back; tilt my head to the left as I smooth the lotion across my shoulder, I catch a glimpse of the grey hair that seems to have snuck up on me.  I squint a little harder to see, there are more and more each day.  My eyesight isn’t quite what she used to be either.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

I see the wrinkles around my lips begin to form and my hands are not as smooth and flawless as they used to be in my younger day.  I smooth the lotion down my legs and I see the veins that appear, they too seem to shout out that youth is no longer, and I wonder can others see them as I do?

My legs are not as firm any longer and my skin looks a little different even from the day before.  Moving up to my belly, I smooth lotion over the marks that were left behind, reminding me of the children that once grew with in me, reminding me I am a mother.

The marks tell me the story of motherhood.  Me.  Being a mom.  I never would have known the sacrifices I was to make for my children because when you are a mother, you are selfless.  I will never know the impact I had on them, I can only hope that I did things right.  Nor will they ever truly know the love I hold for them within my heart, within my very being, this too is true for my own mother and me.

I am a mother.  I am strong.  I am determined.  I am compassionate.  I am kind.  I am a mother.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

I wanted to write this because a friend of mine said “You never struck me as looking like a mom”.  I am not quite sure what a mom is supposed to look like, perhaps it is what a dad looks like.

I like to do something special for mothers day each year, experience something new.  My children are grown and each live on opposite ends of the United States so I am typically alone.  Trying to decide on what to do this year, I settled on Dorris Ranch in Springfield, Oregon.  I have wanted to visit there since 2000, I figured it was time.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

As soon as I decided on my course for the day, it seemed I couldn’t get out the door fast enough.  I cut up an apple, tossed that and some grapes into my ziplock, grabbed my camera and headed for the door.

Cruising down the freeway with Springfield on my mind, blue skies and fluffy clouds above, I thought to myself the apple and grapes wouldn’t hold me over for very long, especially if I spent a couple of hours on the ranch, so I stopped by my favorite “fast food” restaurant; Cafe’ Yumm and ordered a Jazzy to go.  I made it down to Rite Aide on Pioneer Parkway before I busted into my lunch.  It just seemed to be calling to me from inside the paper bag.

I really had no idea what I would find once I got to Doris Ranch, but then again, that is the beauty of exploring.  There is plenty of parking and its free to wander through the 100 year old filbert orchards!  How can you beat that?

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

Established in 1892 by George Dorris and his wife Lulu, the two dedicated their lives growing and cultivating the 250 acre orchard.  George experimented with several different crops and settled on the filbert; making Oregon the first Filbert nut orchard in the United States.  Over the next 50 years, more than 9 thousand trees were planted and to this day, over half of the worlds Filbert trees have come from Dorris Ranch’ nursery orchard.  70 thousand tons of Filberts come out of the ranch each year!  That’s pretty impressive.

Before you begin to walk down into the orchard there is a small garden surrounded by sweet little wooden hand painted signs tucked inside the fencing.  I thought this was a sweet way to begin an afternoon.

It was such a pleasure walking through the orchards.  I tried to imagine what it was like for them, so very long ago.  The labor of love they had for the ranch is apparent.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

The birds sang and chirped as they flew within the orchards, a slight breeze captured my hair, tossing it around and kept me cool during that walk throughout the ranch.   I could hear the Willamette River once in awhile.  There is just something alluring about rushing water that has an ability to draw you to it, curiosity over taking you until you lay eyes upon it.  I headed for it and discovered another path, only this path was paved.  It is brand new and opened in October of 2013.  It is a nice place to ride your bike, or walk your dog.  I came across many families, couples and single people along the paths that afternoon.  It is pet friendly so that makes it even nicer.  They do ask that you keep your dog on a leash.

I think I must have walked around 6 miles this past mothers day.  Before I headed home, I had two stop’s to make.  I went to get my favorite drink at Dutch Brothers.  They had a special for all moms and any drink was only $1.00.  I just love Dutch Brothers, they do so much for the community and the barista’s simply rock!

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

There really is only one thing better than a pedicure to sooth your aching feet and that is getting a manicure as well!  I had a fabulous day on Sunday and so happy I finally went.  It was a great mothers day.

I hope you are able to enjoy a trip out to Dorris Ranch.  It really is quite amazing.  Pack a light lunch, a blanket to sit on and grab a friend for a picnic or a nice relaxing bike ride.  Here is a peak at what I saw while I was there.  I won’t be waiting so long before I go back.

See you out there!

 

Homeless: I Am The Person Behind The Sign

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I woke with a start, wondering where I was for a moment.  My want for sleep is undeniable, but there is too much on my mind.  I contemplate my day.  I am nervous.  They say you should do something every day that scares you.  Who are they?  I want to know.

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I think about what I will wear, what I will bring, what I will write on my sign and will I have the courage to do this.  You see, I am that person behind the sign.

It makes me want to weep, I will save that for later;  I hope.  I am feeling something that I can’t begin to describe and it overwhelms me, I wonder… Can I do this?  Yes, I can.  Because I have to.

I walked down the sidewalk to the place I had picked out long ago, my backpack slung over my right shoulder, held inside was a coat to wear in case the weather turned and a pillow to sit on.  I had washed the pillow once upon a time and when I pulled it out of the machine it looked like it actually went through the wringer, it was shredded on one end, the white stuffing holding its own, refusing to let go.  I just knew I would use it one day.

I carried in my left hand an old Tidy Cat litter container I had saved for months just for this purpose. Tucked inside were the signs I had made just a few hours earlier.

What do I write?  I’m not a Vet (I have often seen those words written on cardboard).   God Bless?  Really?  Because if God was going to help, would he be letting me go through this?  

Homeless

I wanted to make my signs perfect and legible and to the point.  I was so nervous about making them.  I wanted to make sure that I wrote the right thing.  I didn’t want to mess this up but found it became easier with each one that I made.  It took me about half an hour to complete my signs, written in block letters with a sharpie.

It was the one part of this journey I wanted to avoid.  I think because it was becoming real to me.  I also took some tissue and string (for something to do I guess) and a pair of fingerless gloves in case it got cold.

I was afraid to look at anyone as I crossed the road to my spot, maybe if I didn’t see them they wouldn’t see me, but that would defeat the purpose.  I was scared.  Cars were everywhere.  I didn’t have a stitch of makeup on, my hair pulled back into a hat a friend had loaned me.  I had not had a shower since the day before. It was lunch time and there I was smack dab in the middle of it all, my heart was about to jump out of my chest.  I just kept repeating to myself You can do this over and over.

My whole body trembled as I pulled my pillow out of my backpack, my hands were visibly shaking as I reached inside the Tidy Cat container for my first sign.  Placing my green tattered pillow on top of the container, I set up shop on that little island you go by as you leave Winco in Springfield, Oregon heading to the freeway.

I didn’t know what to do so I sat, holding my Please Help sign and waited.  I didn’t know the first thing about doing this kind of thing… Who does?  I looked into each approaching car, searching the faces of the people within.  I wanted them to see me!  Most of the time I couldn’t see into the vehicles (because of the reflection hitting the windshield) until the cars were right beside me, and there my eyes pleaded, looking for hope.  

Homeless

I just wanted to scream “SEE ME!  I am somebody!  PLEASE! I need your help and you look through me as if I don’t exist, as if I’m not here sitting right in front of you”

The line of cars began to back up as they tried to find their place to merge into traffic on Mohawk, some drivers rolled their window up before they got to me, some people looked the other way while others ate their sandwiches or drank their coffee and sodas.  The kids were not afraid to look at me; probably out of curiosity and innocence and most certainly without judgement.

The adults shook their heads, mostly with disgust or disappointment.  Some people saw me and nodded, a faint reassuring smile on their face.  Not really knowing what to do with me.  It is amazing how a smile can brighten often the darkest times.  I felt so very alone in this world.

Homeless
Image | Janet McDonald

The first person to offer me anything came from a boy in his late teens or early twenties.  He offered without hesitation a bag of Nacho chips.  I left the “safety” of my homemade bench, stepped off the curb and took the chips from him.

“Thank you so much”  I said and I truly meant it.

“You are welcome” he said with a smile and drove away.  He didn’t look at me as if I was beneath him.  He looked at me as if I mattered.

It felt like an eternity had gone by when I stole a glance at the time.  I had to look at it twice to make sure I had seen it correctly.  I was shocked to see I had only been sitting there for 12 minutes!   After about 20 minutes I switched to a different sign.  My please help sign wasn’t working or getting any kind of results, other than the chips.

Homeless
Image | Janet McDonald

Once I changed signs I felt a little more brave and stood with my new sign clutched in front of me HUNGRY PLEASE HELP it read.  As the cars approached I continued to search their faces for any kind of reaction.  Most reactions were the same.  They didn’t want to see me.  People shook their heads back and forth.  I can’t put words into their mouths, but their actions spoke volumes to me.

I am not sure if I felt worse for myself or for them to be honest.  I think the latter; they didn’t know my story and yet they were judging me.

Homeless-Story-007
Image | Gary Breedlove

My third sign said HOMELESS PLEASE HELP.  I can say that I didn’t get any help from this sign.  I wonder why this is.  Is it because there are “places to go when you are homeless?”  How do you know?  Have you been in my shoes?  Have you stepped foot into a homeless shelter?  I have two boys.  A mother cannot go into a shelter with teenage boys.  There are women’s dorms and mens dorms and dorms for parents with small children.

My hands still shaking;  I reached into my container and I pulled out my last sign… Need A Drink.  People began to see me, or at least my sign!  A man pulled his car up to the curb, rolled his window down and handed me a bottled water.  I took it and thanked him, again I meant it.  I cracked it open and began to drink.  Not much longer and I had another bottle of water!  I found a pen I had brought with me and tried to scribble “REAL” between A and Drink.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the water just fine, but that was not going to put food in my belly or get me a drink.

Homeless-Story-019
Image | Gary Breedlove

Not long after I got my last sign out, a car pulled a little closer to the curb.  Behind the wheel was a pretty woman with long black hair.  She apologized as she offered me her dollar because that is all she had.  I welcomed it, smiling at her as I pushed it into my pants pocket.  Next a car with two teenagers rolled up. The driver handed me some change, his passenger had a dollar bill.

“Take care” they said and off they went.  I wonder if they talked about me as they pulled away or would they forget me as quickly as I would forget them, forget their faces, all of us going back to our lives, good or bad.

The line of traffic was backing up once again.  A big truck pulled up, the man behind the wheel said he had something for me but he couldn’t give it to me right then and would come back.

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Image | Gary Breedlove

“Will you meet me in the parking lot so I can give it to you?”   He asked.

“Which one?”

He nodded his head towards the near vacant parking lot by Burger King.  “Sure” I said and off he drove.

I had learned that you get more reaction from people if you don’t look them in the eye until they offer you something.  I would give a quick glance in the direction of each car, but nothing more.  So many thoughts ran through my head as I sat there contemplating life and how certain events and choices I have made have brought me to this particular moment in time, every step I have ever taken in my life has lead me to this very spot.

A movement caught my eye and when I looked up there was a clean cut man approaching me on foot, he was crossing the street to the little island I laid claim to.  It was obvious he had me in his sights.  I had slipped my pen inside my back pocket earlier when I wrote on my sign.  I casually reached for it as he continued to approach me, now hidden within my fist; I would have used it if needed.  I was at anyone’s mercy whether they were passing by in a car, or walking down the street.  I was nobody.

Homeless
Image | Janet McDonald

I remained seated on my makeshift bench as he came up.

“How’s it going?”  He asked.

“It’s going” I replied.

“Do you know where I can get some boy”?

“Some what”?

“Some boy”.

“I’m sorry… I don’t know what that is”.

“Its heroin”.

“Oh… yeah, I don’t know where you can get some, I’m not into that”.  I said, not believing this is happening to me.

He started to walk away but turned and came back.

“Where are the slums?  Do you have slums here in Eugene?” He said; the corner of his lip turning upwards into a slight smile.

“Oh man, can you just leave?  You are freaking me out” my mind is screaming, but I’m trying to stay calm.

Homeless-Story-005
Image | Gary Breedlove

“Man… I don’t know, maybe you could find some down towards the tracks”.  I pointed towards Main Street.  I just wanted him gone.

“Thanks” he said and handed me a crisp $5.00 bill just as he was about to leave.  “Take it easy” he said and walked away.  He passed me a little while later in his truck, wishing me well as he drove by.  I returned the sentiment.

I had been sitting on the corner for approximately an hour and a half when I heard a honk behind me.  I turned to look and it was the man who had said he would be back, the one that wanted me to meet him in the parking lot across the street.  He nodded as if to say, “I’m ready, lets go”.

My heart began to race, I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to see what he had but my instinct was screaming at me to not go over there… But I said I would earlier!  What do I do?   This man could have gone to the store for some supplies to do lord know’s what to me!  I decided not to go.  I didn’t owe him anything.  It terrifies me to think about it.  What if I really really needed something; desperate enough to cross the street.  How often does this happen to those women, men and children out there who have no choice, or feel they have no other choice but to cross that line.

Homeless
Image | Janet McDonald

The sun was warm as it beat down on me, the heat reflected from the concrete.  The smell of exhaust and the hunger pangs rang true.  I was hungry and tired and I wanted a bed, I wanted a bubble bath to wash the grime from me, to wash the disappointment in myself away.  I couldn’t do this any more today, maybe another day but today I had to be done.  I packed my belongings and left my tiny island.

Why did I do this?

I know how I feel when I approach a corner and see that person; Someones child (although they may be grown, still someones child) asking for help.  I don’t like the way it makes me feel.  I don’t have anything I can give.  I am going through hard times as well.  I don’t know their story nor do they know mine and I feel guilty because I look like I should have something to give but I don’t.

I saw myself in every one of those cars that drove past me.  I was always the one to look the other way, change lanes if I could, roll my window up, talk to my passenger.  I fiddled with the radio not wanting to make any sudden moves because I don’t want it to look as if I’m reaching for my purse, or rummaging for change.

Homeless
Image | Janet McDonald

I never see the person behind the sign.  I am afraid to look at them and this is what breaks my heart.  I don’t have the guts, and I don’t know why.  Always focusing on their sign; I never see their eyes and if I cannot see their eyes, how will I ever see the person?

I hear stories of how much “those people” make on the corner and I wanted to find out for myself just how much I could make.  For the hour and a half that I sat on the corner, I was given a bag of chips, two bottles of water, two granola bars and collected $10.41 as well as propositioned and asked for a heroin hook up.

“I woke with a start wondering where I was for a moment.  I realized I was still in my bed;  safe, warm and comfortable.  There is a roof over my head, food in my cupboard and although life is a struggle sometimes, I am thankful for what I have.

My want for sleep is undeniable, but there is too much on my mind.  I trod to my kitchen, my path, if it was dirt you would see the course of my footsteps worn into the earth.  Looking to quench my thirst I reach for my coffee and cream, yet another luxury.

I have wanted to know what it is like to be that person on the corner, to understand what he or she must go through when they decide to do what I am about to embark on in only a few short hours.  It makes me want to weep; I will save that for later, I hope.  I am feeling something that I can’t begin to describe and it overwhelms me.  I wonder… Can I do this?  Yes, I can.  Because I want to know.

I contemplate my day.  I am nervous.  They say you should do something every day that scares you. Who are they?  I want to know”

Homeless
Image | Janet Mcdonald

The man in the truck.

I caught my editors attention.  He came over to me to see what was going on and I explained the situation to him, that the man in the truck wanted me to meet him over in the parking lot.

“Oh hell no!  What he want’s to give you, you don’t want”  He said.  I was so very thankful he was there watching out for me.

“Are you about ready to wrap this up?”  He asked.

Emotionally I was spent.  “Yes please”.  I felt safe again.  We packed my belongings and headed back to our cars.

As we stood there in the parking lot talking, the man in the truck approached us, driving by slowly in his car.  I was shaken by the last hour and a half of my life and not paying attention to my surroundings at that particular moment in time.

Before I realized what was happening, the man had put his car in park right in the exit lane of Subway leaving his door wide open and was out of his truck and walking towards us.  I didn’t want a confrontation, this isn’t what this was about.  Kelly took pictures of his license plate in case we needed it if there was trouble.  The man wasn’t happy about this.  Kelly explained we were doing a story and asked the man why he wanted me to meet him across the street.

Homeless-Story-002
Image | Gary Breedlove

His explanation was this:  He didn’t want to back traffic up.  He had gone to his bank to get some money for me.  We stood together showing force; if the man was going to cause problems he would have 4 people to deal with at this point.  He got back into his vehicle and left.  We never received any money from him.

I would like to thank the Springfield Police Department for keeping an eye on me while I did this, my editor Kelly Asay for supporting me in this endeavor.  A big thank you goes out to our very own Gary Breedlove for his photography, and my friend Janet McDonald who refused to let me do this alone.

It was extremely hard for me to get this vulnerable.  I did cry when I was alone.  I cried for myself.  Even though this was an experiment it was real.   It was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  I cried for those people on the corner; yes some have a choice and others may feel as if they don’t.  Life can change in an instant.

What have I learned from this experience?  I have learned to see the people behind the cardboard signs.  I don’t avoid them any longer.  I may have nothing to give them but a smile or a reassuring nod, but I see them.

Thank you for reading.  Please know that the people you see on the corners may be scared and feel as if they are alone.  It is a problem, it always has been and it will continue but ignoring the people behind the signs won’t make them disappear.

TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! Reality-Based Self Defense

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Kaz & Colin Rhoads -Instructors
Kaz & Colin Rhoads -Instructors

I think it’s safe to say the world is a pretty scary place sometimes.  People can be unruly and unpredictable, and disasters are often unexpected.  Let’s just say…STUFF HAPPENS! It’s important to honestly and objectively ask yourself “If something major happened, or If I or a loved one were attacked, would I know how to properly react?” It’s easy to respond with a confident ‘yes’, but is that really an honest answer?

Of course in an ideal world, there would be no need for self-defense.  People would be peaceful and kind towards each other and everyone would get along.  This may happen one day, and hopefully that day will come soon, but until then the knowledge of self-defense is absolutely necessary and can come in handy when you least expect it.

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Imagine you’re jogging along one morning, minding your own business and listening to your favorite music when all of a sudden someone decides you’re going to be their next victim. They attack you, catching you completely off guard and leaving you totally vulnerable.  What do you do?  Do you smack them as hard as you can?  Maybe add a call for help, hoping there is someone around who not only hears you, but is willing to come to your aid?  That sounds like a decent plan, but you have to remember that, as unfortunate as it is, bystanders very rarely help out someone in need and a good swift kick to a sensitive area isn’t guaranteed to stop someone from attacking you.

Perhaps NOW is a great time to acquire some self preparedness skills and TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! is a viable option. TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! is not your ordinary self defense program. They will not give you a quick lecture to teach you about the basics of self defense, or show you a few moves then simply give you a whistle and send you on your way.  They are there to give you in-depth training for common “real life” self defense situations…involving both armed and unarmed attackers.  Sure, taking a quick class or going to a one day self defense seminar seems like it would help (and they’re great for “awareness”) but, in the end, truly useful self defense techniques simply cannot be learned properly in a day.  You have to put in the time & the practice to learn the skills.  The Instructors at TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! are passionate about what they teach and they refuse to give you a false sense of security.

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The classes at TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! are truly unique. The Israeli Reality-Based Self Defense system taught is called the F.I.G.H.T. System which stands for Fierce Israeli Guerrilla Hand to Hand Combat, otherwise known as HAGANAH (or “defense” in Hebrew).  It is not a traditional martial arts system, despite the integration of various martial arts styles.  Haganah draws from Krav Maga & Hisardut (Israeli close combat arts), KAPAP & LOTAR (Israeli militarized close combat systems). It also utilizes many aspects of Muay Thai, jiu jitsu & combat wrestling. The F.I.G.H.T. System, was designed by Mike Lee Kanarek, who actively teaches various branches of the U.S. military, law enforcement, coast guard and more.  As a result, the system is constantly evolving to meet it’s mandate of being “reality-based”.

There are a few different training options to choose from at TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! — all of which focus on self defense & personal preparedness.

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F.I.G.H.T. Classes — the Reality-Based Self Defense classes that focus on the most common self defense scenarios, against both unarmed & armed attackers.  The regular class trains to incapacitate the attacker, while the advanced classes address restraint and beyond.

Fit2Fight ClassesFunctional fitness classes with the purpose of building your endurance, core strength, flexibility, coordination & power.  Utilization of TRX Suspension Training, Skogg Kettle Bell System, sandbags, medicine balls, battle ropes, pad work & more.  An active warm-up, followed by 30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and finishing with 15-20 minutes of yoga-based stretching to cool down.  Whatever your physical goals, this class gives you the opportunity to meet them.

ACTIVE SHOOTER & SELF DEFENSE GROUP SEMINAR TRAINING — Unlike the two classes listed above, these ONE DAY seminars are designed for groups (work place or otherwise).  The Active Shooter Seminars address realistically defending a room & the people in it from an ARMED attacker when you are unarmed & unable to escape.  Follow-up training templates are provided for the team leader to drill with their group post-seminar.  The Self Defense Seminars are a means of introducing your group to what is involved in effective reality-based self defense training.  Both are effective as “CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING EVENTS”, as they take individuals out of their usual workplace context & comfort zones, while providing positive group interaction.

imagesNRA HOME FIREARM SAFETY COURSE — The subject of guns can be a touchy one, but whether or not you decide to personally use one, it’s still a good idea to know how one works just in case of an emergency. This class doesn’t provide actual guns to shoot, but there are a WIDE variety of firearms to handle safely (no ammunition on premises) which provides you basic gun knowledge so you can handle one safely if need be.  Some topics taught in this class are how to safely store both firearms and ammunition in your home, the various parts of a gun, how to load and unload a weapon, the main causes for firearm accidents and how to properly clean your gun, among others. TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! also offers information on how to obtain a concealed weapons license.

CPR & FIRST AID TRAINING — Knowledge of CPR and First Aid is invaluable.  You never know when you may need it and you just might end up saving a life including your own.  Taking this class will transform you from an every day, average person to a potential hero. Instead of being like everyone else in an emergency situation, looking around trying to find someone who can actually help, you could quickly step in and take over the situation.  Everyone would be impressed, you will feel good about yourself and, most importantly, someone will continue living… all thanks to you.  Do yourself and those around you, loved ones or not, a favor and learn the basics of CPR and First Aid Training.>

The great thing about TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! is, not only are they focused on helping you become the absolute best version of yourself and meet your full potential, but they’re also incredibly charitable community driven.  They help out as much as they possibly can, holding fundraisers and donating to local charities such as Hope Ranch Ministries and The Arc Lane County Clothing Drive.  They will also gladly act as guest speakers at your workplace, school, or just about anywhere you’d like them to educate others on the importance of self-defense.

TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT! is a business with heart!  They truly believe that personal responsibility and preparedness begins with the INDIVIDUAL and extends from there to the family, neighborhood and into the community.  THEY HOPE YOU NEVER HAVE NEED OF ANY OF THEM, BUT SHOULD YOU FIND YOURSELF OR YOUR LOVED ONES IN HARM’S WAY, THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW WHAT YOU CAN REALISTICALLY DO…AND HOW TO DO IT!

Stop by for a ONE WEEK FREE TRIAL and see for yourself what it means to TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT!Refuse To Be

Meet The TEAM:

COLIN RHOADS (COACH): 541.221.9936
KAZ RHOADS (OPERATIONS): 541.914.4166

Understand The TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT Mission:TO EQUIP YOU WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE YOURSELF APPROPRIATELY & EFFECTIVELY IN A SELF DEFENSE/EMERGENCY SITUATION. 

CALL OR TEXT: 8am-8pm

[email protected]
1491 Mowhawk Blvd in Springfield
(in the Bi-Mart Plaza)
COME IN AND TRAIN LIKE YOU MEAN IT FOR 1 WEEK!

NorthWest Gallery Celebrates Fathers This Weekend

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Image by Sandy Harris
Image by Sandy Harris

NorthWest Gallery, Springfield, Oregon’s newest art gallery is celebrating Fathers Day this weekend; June 14th, 15th and 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The gallery features 16 artists with different mediums such as Metal Art, Blown Glass, Water Color, Photography and Jewelry to name a few.

While supplies last, all fathers will receive a hand crafted 16 inch Salmon hand cut from steel, just for coming in to the gallery.  I can tell you, these pieces are beautiful.  In addition, all adults will receive a raffle ticket, allowing you to enter to win one of two prizes.  1. A Rocky Mountain Morning metal wall art or 2. A Guided Steelhead Fishing Trip!

As a special treat, you can also enjoy some Cosmo Corn during your visit.

NorthWest Gallery is located at 3626 Olympic St. Springfield Oregon.  541-520-8689

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Breathing New Life Into Downtown Springfield

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A city’s downtown is almost as important as the residents who occupy it. If seen as comparable to the human body, city streets are arteries and veins that ultimately lead to the pulsating heart — a city’s downtown.

Not only is a downtown area generally the main source of activity in a city, a downtown helps to give any particular city a certain character and definition that extends beyond the parameters of bricks and buildings. It helps to define the perception of a place, gives people a hub of interaction, and creates an atmosphere that is unique to each and every city in the United States.

The City of Springfield launched a revitalization effort in 2010 that will tentatively make Springfield one of the more attractive and affluent cities in Oregon.

Recognizing the importance of having an operational and functional downtown, the City of Springfield launched a revitalization effort in 2010 that will tentatively make Springfield one of the more attractive and affluent cities in Oregon. With successful business and companies such as Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in the area, the city might well be on the way to accomplishing its goals.

Sarai Johnson, associate director at NEDCO (Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation), a Community Development corporation and one of the main companies behind downtown Springfield’s revitalization effort, mentioned that development of Springfield’s downtown is already underway. Johnson says,

In 2008, NEDCO launched Springfield’s Farmers Market in partnership with the City of Springfield. We’ve run that market for the last five years and I’ve been marveling at how different downtown is today from what it was like five years ago.”

The farmer’s market has already made a big improvement. Johnson explains,

“I think the farmer’s market provided a lot more incentive for people to come down and hang out in a critical mass of positive activity to really launch more efforts in Springfield.

Rated recently as the 2nd best farmer’s market in the State of Oregon, the Springfield farmer’s market has come a long way since its inception. Running from 3-7 pm on Friday nights, the market has — as Johnson points out — brought significant traffic into the downtown area. It has kicked off what many hope to be one of the most aspiring yet attainable development goals in the State of Oregon.

Due to the success the market has seen since it was started, the Springfield Farmer’s Market will be transitioning into a year-round market beginning October 19th. It will move into Sprout!, a regional food hub that took over the building property of the First Christian Church. Johnson says,

Due to the success the market has seen since it was started, the Springfield Farmer’s Market will be transitioning into a year-round market beginning October 19th.

“In the very immediate future, Sprout!…will be economically excellent for downtown and will bring foot traffic here. Starting this month (October 19th), we are launching the year-long farmer’s market portion of that program.”

Sprout! figures to be the next big step in revitalizing the downtown Springfield area. Not only will it house the Springfield Farmers’ Market, the regional food hub features a full kitchen with professional equipment that is ready for rental by the hour.

Beyond Sprout! and the Springfield Farmers’ Market, however, lies even bigger aspirations for the area. Regarding further development, Johnson states,

Around 2010 we started working and building a lot of partnerships with other organizations to launch a Main Street program. Main Street is a proven program that’s been used throughout the country in a lot of different places.”

The Main Street model, which has been successfully implemented in numerous cities across the nation, has the goal of working “with communities to develop comprehensive, incremental revitalization strategies based on a community’s unique assets, character, and heritage.”

Johnson says,

“It’s a way to engage volunteer efforts and community efforts to make incremental changes in downtown to create a more positive commercial space. Since [the implementation of the Main Street program], the four companies that make up the Main Street group have been working on different projects and implementing small things that have really started to make more of a difference downtown.”

With downtown revitalization picking up speed month by month, many may wonder whether the planned Springfield downtown area is being put in place to rival Eugene’s downtown area. But Johnson is careful to avoid that issue:

I don’t think it’s anything about comparing Eugene and Springfield. I think Springfield is interested in having a downtown that’s thriving and that is a great place for people who live here and nearby here for recreation, shopping, and arts and culture.”

More than anything, it appears, the revitalization being put in place for Springfield’s downtown area is more about giving city residents an area they can be proud to call their downtown and business and social hub. According to Johson,

“It’s really a lot about the people who live in Springfield really being interested in investing in a place that they live and being a part of something really positive for the community.”

Johnson also says that bringing in new businesses as well as supporting existing businesses is a key factor in revitalization efforts.

Downtown Springfield is definitely interested in attracting businesses as much as possible because that is one of the tactics we need in order to make a stronger downtown. We’re also working really hard to strengthen the existing businesses.”

With lofty yet achievable goals, one of the questions people are asking is one concerning where all of the money is coming from. To this Johnson answers,

“The City of Springfield supports the efforts. The efforts are [also] supported by volunteer work, which is the majority of what goes into it.”

NEDCO and the City of Springfield, as well as many citizens and businesses of Springfield, are clearly ready to revitalize their downtown area, a revitalization they hope makes downtown Springfield one of the best areas in Lane County. Nestled right along the Willamette River and next to Eugene, Springfield has the prospects to be a budding business hub should its revitalization go according to plan.

While there is no time frame for completion of the project, NEDCO and Sarai Johnson will always be there to help support the efforts:

“The perspective that we take on community economic development is that the process will go on for a very long time. Maybe even indefinitely. We don’t anticipate our work just being done at some point.

For more information about NEDCO, visit their website. For information about the Springfield Farmer’s Market, visit the market website