With so much natural wonder and countless outdoor opportunities, it can be easy to forget that Central Oregon is also a location for heartbreak. Warm Springs Reservation is a stark reminder of that contrast; stunningly beautiful, but with nearly half of its population living in poverty and unemployment rates up to seven times those of the rest of Oregon. To look for some more insights, our reporter Erin Rook headed north to consider what efforts to build a motor sports park have meant to the local economy, and to explore other options being considered there. The result is an important story about our region.
This issue we also are humbled to present a far too brief profile about Eli Reimer, a remarkable local teenager. Last year, Eli became the first American with Down’s Syndrome to reach Base Camp on Mt. Everest—a feat that he accomplished with a modesty and charm that is truly disarming. I had the chance to spend an afternoon with Eli and his father before they head out for their next adventure—climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Yeah: Humbling.
Finally, shuffled into our more serious articles this issue, our Arts & Culture Editor Brianna Brey has a review of unfettered enthusiasm about Sharknado, a movie about a shark-filled tornado attacking LA. Nope, unlike Godzilla or Pacific Rim, this is not a metaphor for ecological disaster. And, while I don’t necessarily understand this type of absurd cinematic spectacle, what I do understand is Bri’s utter glee about the movie. Seriously. We have been hearing about this film around the office for the past month. I suggest taking Bri’s lead, and take a moment for some comic relief this week!