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FLU

SPRING 2013 n UNIVERsiTY OF OREGON SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATION

OFF-CAMPUS

CLASH University neighborhoods struggle to balance demand with livability


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Departments

7 Editor’s Note

14

Death of the West 71 The Courage

To Run

A daughter supports her mother’s decision to finish the Eugene Marathon.

Female ranchers fight to maintain a fading industry.

30

Psychic Sleuthing

An intuitive detective is on the case.

52

59

Those who have undergone the controversial therapy speak out.

Female veterans struggle to live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Cost of Conversion

Taming the Shadows


22

A Living Legacy

For one homesteading family, preserving the land of its heritage comes with challenges.

34 44 When Communities Collide

Rising enrollment pushes students into campus neighborhoods, causing clashes with community members.

Bodies in Motion

A cancer survivor finds strength and confidence in the art of movement.

64

Healing Hooves

Large farm animals are this veterinarian’s patients of choice.


Editor-in-Chief oF Editorial Content Maya Lazaro

Editor-in-Chief of Digital Publishing Max Brown

Managing Editors Elliott Kennedy Branden Andersen

Web Editor Sydney Bouchat Managing Editor of Multimedia Iris Bull

Art Director Felecia Rollins Photo Editor Myray Reames

Interactive Designers Jill Harvey Chelsea Kopacz Julia Letarte Teija Stearns Tommy Treadway

FLU

Copy ChiEf Lily Nelson

Associate Editors Maygan Beckers Saige Kolpack Jordan Tichenor

Web Writers Rache’ll Brown Emily Fraysse Sarah Keartes Casey Klekas Marissa Tomko

Feature Writers Maygan Beckers Caitlin Feldman Cari Johnson Sam Katzman Elliott Kennedy Max Londberg Lauren Messman

Multimedia Producers James French Garrett Guinn Ella Gummer Julia Reihs Alan Sylvestre Webmaster Jordan Sisk

Photographers Kathryn Boyd-Batstone Tess Freeman Alisha Jucevic Mason Trinca

Publisher Megan Bauer

Production Manager Michaelle Douglass

Business Manager Robert Gillin

Designers Morgan Alfrejd Michaelle Douglass Aaron Klein Chelsea Kopacz Lily Nelson Scott Proctor

Public Relations Executive Samantha Hanlin editorial Advisor Lisa Heyamoto

Special Thanks to Eder Campuzano Austin Powe Dan Morriso

Illustrator Charlotte Cheng Intern Rachel Baker

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Flux is produced annually by the students of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. © 2013

Photo Advisor Sung Park Design Advisor Steven Asbury


from the editor

Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

he first issue of Flux was created out of a small equipment room in Allen Hall using only three shared computers. Staff worked in shifts, hunched over keyboards until the early hours of the morning, pruning stories, tweaking spreads, and double-checking page numbers. Although the workload was demanding, they knew they were creating something special, something bold and promising. They were right. That first issue won fifteen awards from national journalism associations, including four first-place titles from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Flux’s first issue set a precedent for quality nonfiction craftsmanship that would guide the publication for the next two decades. This year marks Flux’s twenty-year anniversary since Professors Tom Wheeler and Bill Ryan founded the publication in 1993, and that legacy of journalistic excellence lives on. Over the years, we’ve won more than 270 awards for our features, photography, design, and multimedia work. In each of the subsequent twenty issues, we’ve strived to provide compelling coverage of the people, places, issues, and controversies

that form the heart of life in the Pacific Northwest. These twenty years have been a time of tremendous growth as new technology and industry innovation have pushed Flux to enhance the way we tell our stories. In 2003 we added video, multimedia, and web columns to the mix with the launch of our first website. More recently, we’ve begun publishing iPad editions that enable organic, tactile interaction with our content. We no longer need to work in shifts; we now have laptops and a dedicated computer lab at our disposal. Regardless of the medium, we’ve remained committed to bringing you the best journalistic work this region has to offer. Our twenty-first issue is no different. Beyond this page you’ll encounter stories that tie past to present and present to future. Turn to page 14, and you’ll learn the struggles female ranchers face to keep a fading industry afloat in an environment that has historically been skewed male. On page 44, a woman who lost her leg to cancer discovers self-assurance in her body’s ability to dance. Flip to page 22 and you’ll find a portrait of a homesteading family grappling with the challenges of maintaining the land of its ancestors amidst a family feud and a cultural shift. And finally, on page 34, we describe the clash between student renters, property managers and community members as the neighborhoods around campus become crowded with collegians. As Flux reflects on its rich twentyyear history, we’re also looking ahead to what’s next for our publication. Our stories have examined the juncture between present moment and immutable past, and ultimately, the role both play in shaping the future. As we invite you into this issue, please join us in celebrating twenty years of regional storytelling done right. We look forward to serving you for twenty more.

Maya Lazaro

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Northwest rite of

Passage

You get your

Vitamin D

There must be something in the water; with its lack of sunshine, stunning natural areas, and coffee culture, the Pacific Northwest breeds an eccentric kind of character. Visitors may notice our more common quirks, but what seems odd to others is just another cloudy day in the upper left corner of the United States. Spend enough time here and you’ll know you’ve become one of us when . . .

from a

Bottle

-Rache’ll Brown

You wear socks with your

Birkenstocks You think

FLANNEL

3X You have

is a

YOU LIVE IN A CITY WHERE THERE ARE MORE BICYCLES THAN CARS

as many resuasable bags as you do purses

coffee

You think

in

was invented

Washington

You know the four seasons:

1. almost winter

umbrellas

2. winter 4. road construction

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tourists You can tell

3. WET

8

lifestyle

by their


You have actually ridden your

mountain bike

You buy lunch from a

on a

You were taught that the

Civil War

FOOD CART

MOUNTAIN

1894

You wear shorts when it’s

60

beganinin Began , not 1861

º

OUTSIDE

YOU WEAR A SWEATSHIRT TO THE BEACH

You have a

compost pile in your BACKYARD

Your boss lets you leave

You know how to drive a car, but you don’t know how to pump gas

work early when the

sun is out

You’ve been to all

The Simpsons LANDMARKS

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BigFoot

Fetish How Sasquatch became a Pacific Northwest legend

Also known as Bigfoot, Sasquatch has buried its way into our hearts since it appeared on the scene in the 1920s. The beast boasts hundreds of fan clubs and has even been the focus of university studies. Is Sasquatch man? Ape? Real? A hoax? Whatever Sasquatch is, other mythical creatures vying for the behemoth’s top spot in Pacific Northwest lore have some big shoes to fill. - Sarah Keartes

SASQUATCH SQUARES OFF

Sasquatch isn’t the only pillar of Pacific Northwest culture; the hirsute hulk also shares a name with Washington’s biggest music festival. Here the giants go head-to-head (and foot-to-foot): Sasquatch in the woods

Sasquatch at the Gorge

Contibution to MONKEY MANIA

Might in fact be one

The Arctic Monkeys

BIRTH YEAR

1929 (possibly earlier)

2002

SPECTATOR SPENDING

See it for free, if you can find one . . .

$300-$1,000

CATEGORY

ILLUSTRATIONS CHARLOTTE CHENG

FOOTPRINT

What do University of Oregon students think about Bigfoot? 10

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A few inches larger than Certified “carbon neutral” a Subway footlong

TOP BANANA

Largest human relative in the Pacific Northwest

Largest music festival in the Pacific Northwest

TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

In 2013, a Washington resident with a size 16 shoe was arrested for burglary

A 2012 drug bust led to the arrest of seven festival-goers that year

“Sasquatch has twenty unknown species of insects living in his happy beard!” – Lauren Sickler, Junior

“Sasquatch is the cause of a lot of wasted time and money.” – Eddie Pascal, Senior


“Sasquaylogeny”:

A Big-Footed Family

The decades-long debate over Bigfoot’s existence continues, but regardless of weather the man-ape is fact or fiction, first-nation and Native American roots have anchored Sasquatch to the region’s cultural identity. Our furry friend got its name from J. W. Burns, who spent many years as a teacher on the Chehalis Indian Reserve, sixty miles east of Vancouver, British Columbia. The word was an adaptation on the native Halkomelem word “Sásq’ets,” meaning “wild man.” Though the name “Sasquatch” is relatively recent, mythology featuring wild man-like creatures isn’t new; the first written mention of a wildman can be found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature (2150-2000 BC).

Gone saSquatchin’

Every year, hundreds of people take to the woods to search for Sasquatch, a venture known as “Sasquatchin’.” Want to join them? Just as the legend of the Sasquatch has evolved over time, so has the process of tracking the hairy hominid. Below is suggested gear for the 21st century Sasquatch hunter, courtesy of the the North East Sasquatch Research Association.

Night-Vision Camera

Stay on the trail in the wee hours with night-vision technology. Just don’t wake the big guy up.

Flashlight

A survival basic for any serious Sasquatcher. No more mistaking bears for Bigfoot.

Audio Recorder

External microphones make great tools to capture clear audio evidence and help you distinguish your own rustling from that of a 12-foot monster.

Walkie Talkie

Communicating with your team is an essential part of Sasquatchin’ protocol. Long-range radios work best. Ten-four?

“Sasquatch lives in Humbolt County in the Redwood trees–it’s a known fact!” – Kaylee David, Junior

Yeti (Himalayas) Known as the “abominable snowman,” the twelve-foot tall beast is often portrayed as having white fur.

Yeren (China) The seven-foot tall Yeren is described as having red fur with occasional white patches. It is believed to be a peaceful creature that will walk away if encountered.

Rain Gear

Just because Sasquatch doesn’t wear a raincoat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Come prepared or get drenched.

Map and Compass

Find your way back to your car before Sasquatch does.

Batatut (Vietnam) Allegedly seen by Vietnamese troops between 1969 and 1970, the Batatut (“Wildman”) stands between five and six feet tall and is hairy everywhere except the knees, elbows, and face.

Bacon or other attractant As we know from the cast of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, no man (or man-ape) can resist the lure of America’s favorite breakfast food.

Sketch Pad

Keep a waterproof sketch pad as a back-up recording device in case your technology fails.

“Sasquatch [is] working as a doorman at a Portland Goodwill.” – Andrew White, Freshman

Yowie (Australia) Two species of Yowie are believed to exist in Australia: the large Yowie at six to ten feet tall, and the small Yowie at four to five feet tall.

Wendigo (Canada) This lanky, fifteen-foot-tall ape-like creature has glowing eyes, long, yellowed canine teeth, and an extended tongue. The Wendigo is said to transform into human form and has a penchant for human flesh.

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HAPPY TRAILS

Flux isn’t the only one with a birthday. This year the Pacific Crest Trail is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its completion in 1993. The 2,650-mile trail runs from Mexico to Canada along the mountain ranges of California, Oregon, and Washington. If that doesn’t impress you, the trail covers over fifty-seven mountain passes, drops into nineteen major

canyons, and overlooks more than one thousand lakes. Each year, the mammoth trail attracts between 500 and 800 hikers who seek to soldier its incredible length. Those who succeed will have walked for an entire four to six months of their lives. – Casey Klekas

Top Five Scenic Stops

{ } William L. Sullivan is an avid outdoorsman and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) fan who has published ten Oregon hiking guides and written a feature column called “Oregon Trails” for the Eugene Register-Guard and the Salem Statesman-Journal. Below are Sullivan’s top five scenic hotspots along the Pacific Crest Trail’s Oregon portion.

Oregon’s highest mountain stands 11,249 feet above sea level and is one of the trail’s last triumphs before hikers cross the border into Washington.

At 10, 497 feet tall, Mt. Jefferson is the second-highest mountain in Oregon. And the PCT offers a pretty spectacular view of it. Sullivan says to expect a “ShangriLa valley of lakes and meadows right underneath the mountain, just towering over it.”

The Sisters comprise three volcanic peaks, each one over 10,000 feet high. The PCT runs on the west side of the Sisters, offering jaw-dropping views. The Sisters are the third, fourth, and fifth tallest mountains in Oregon. You’ll have to trek a mile off the trail, but you won’t want to miss the second-largest natural lake in Oregon, after Crater Lake, with waters just as pure. Says Sullivan, “You can see 120 feet down through the water.”

Sitting atop a collapsed volcano, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the top ten deepest in the world. In addition to its depth, the lake has some of the clearest and purest water found in nature. For an extra treat, take the ferry to Wizard Island, a small volcano nestled inside the crater.

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ILLUSTRATIONS CHARLOTTE CHENG


BEER wine BATTLE OF THE BUZZ

vs.

says Sarah Chiovaro of Ken Wright Cellars in Carlton, Oregon. With breweries and wineries being such a staple in Oregon, it leads one to ask: Which beverage would win in a bar fight? Here’s how Oregon’s beer and wine industries stack up.

So a can of beer and a bottle of wine walk into a bar . . . From its craft breweries to its rolling vineyards, Oregon is known for its ability to deliver a buzz. “For Oregonians, beer and wine are so much more than a way to kick back at the end of the day. They are part of what defines us in the Northwest,”

– Marissa Tomko

2,794,551

419 wineries 849 vineyards

Barrels of beer Oregonians drank in 2011

Operating in Oregon as of 2010

13,158 52

People employed by Oregon’s wine industry

Operating breweries in Portland, more than any other city in the world

61 Cities in Oregon with brewing facilities

$2.44 Amount Oregon’s beer industry has generated in billions

11

Percent of beer sold in Oregon brewed in one of the state’s 136 local breweries

1,930,763 Cases of wine sold in Oregon in 2010

31,200 Tons of wine produced in Oregon in 2010

12,406 Vineyard acres that Pinot Noir occupies across Oregon’s total 20,500 wine acres

WINNER: BEER 17.4% more gallons sold in Oregon 13

(In March 2013) fluxStories.com


death

of the

west Female ranchers face a double struggle to keep

a male-dominated AND declining industry afloaT Words by Max Londberg & Photos by Mason Trinca


Gerda Hyde looks out onto her land from her living room at Yamsi Ranch. 15

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F

ifty miles from Crater Lake, and thirty miles from the nearest gas station, exists a plot of Oregon history, unassumingly settled in the Klamath Basin. Address numbers aren’t needed out here. Miles, not feet, separate one property from the next. It would be impossible to miss the entrance to Yamsi Ranch, the sign on its arch announcing what lies just past the structure’s wooden arms. Beyond the entrance, several ponderosa pines tower over the rock-and-earth path, symbols of the ranch’s longevity and grit. The path forks once, then twice, creating a labyrinth molded from dirt and walled by trees. After emerging from the wood, Yamsi’s size suddenly registers as thousands of acres come into view. The stretching plain is a backdrop for two model ranch homes—one sprawling, the other stoic, and both fashioned from ranchers’ hands. Cattle dot the view. Horses stare smartly, as if they can tell a visitor from a rancher. The same family has worked this land in Chiloquin, Oregon, for more than one hundred years. Dayton Williams started the ranch in 1911, but it took nearly fifty years for the proper alpha to claim the reins. And she hasn’t let go since. Years of hard work have slowed Gerda Hyde’s pace, but Yamsi’s longtime matriarch still has purpose to her step. Her wrists bow downward, bent after a life of physical labor. Her dangling earrings display a hint of femininity in a gruff environment. “She’s always been my idol,” Joe Jayne says of his grandmother. “I’ve always wanted to be like her.” North of Yamsi, in the high-desert terrain of Sisters, Oregon, is another woman, born

a generation after Hyde. Vickie Herring developed a love for horses at a young age. Her father taught her to pursue everything, and the gender barriers most cowgirls faced at the time did not bar her from her passion. Herring’s love for horses would develop from a hobby into a livelihood, and eventually to a commitment to protect them. She has been a livestock manager for more than twenty years. For much of their lives, Hyde and Herring were minorities in a field dominated by men. But while both have fought tirelessly for their place on the ranch, they are facing an even bigger battle in the coming years— the survival of the industry itself. As the economics of ranching have changed to favor large-scale industrial operations, small ranches have struggled— and often failed—to compete. The emotional and financial burdens often prove too much for familyowned operations like those of Hyde and Herring. As a result, family-owned ranches are “largely gone as an economic entity,” according to a 2008 study by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. For ranchers, sustaining their way of life is hard enough. But there is no guarantee that their land will pass to their children when they’re gone. Many believe that Oregon’s Estate Transfer Tax, previously known as the Inheritance Tax, puts their land and lifestyle in jeopardy. Ranchers who inherit estates worth more than $1 million are taxed heavily. The tax starts at 10 percent and can run as high as 16 percent, often totaling more than a year’s income. “Oregon has a tremendously high inheritance tax, so when my husband and I are gone, we’ll have to pay about $600,000 in Oregon taxes,” says Hyde. “It breaks up a lot

“You get old really fast, But you feel

like you did something at

the end of

the day.”

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of ranches. They don’t seem to realize the importance of keeping ranches in the family.” Last November, Oregonians voted against a ballot measure that would have repealed the tax. Yet Hyde refuses to entertain the idea that Yamsi may not be in her family once she’s gone. She has managed to steer Yamsi clear of bankruptcy for sixty-three years, a success made more remarkable because of the challenges she faced as a woman. She was born in 1930 and raised in Woodside, California. After marrying her husband, Dayton Hyde, she moved to Yamsi Ranch and was under the harsh rule of her husband’s uncle. At the time, Uncle Buck didn’t allow women to help with riding duties. “Uncle Buck was a tyrant,” Hyde says. “We


s Vickie Herring stands in the horse stables at R&B ranch in Sisters, Oregon. Herring manages forty horses at the ranch.

did whatever he told us to do.” But she didn’t buckle under the pressure. Today, her resilience marks her face, the lines etched from decades of meeting the unforgiving elements with a penetrating gaze. That resilience shone on a particularly cold morning in the 1950s—a morning so cold that the men didn’t show up for the day’s labor. Hyde seized the opportunity to ride, and Uncle Buck finally let her. “From there on out I always helped with the animals,” she says with no-nonsense candor. Nearly a generation later, Herring faced a very different experience. Her father had

s Herring comforts a young horse moments before showing it to an interested buyer. Horses have become a harder commodity to sell since the financial crisis of 2008, and are often bought by those with means. 17

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always allowed her to ride horses, and she didn’t know anything about the Women’s Liberation Movement until she drove a cattle truck through California. Women on the street hailed her with shouts and saluted her with raised arms for doing a job typically handled by men in the area. “At first I thought they were cussing us out,” she says. “I didn’t realize it was a liberation thing because I was fortunate not to grow up with that.” But she always knew that the life of a

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rancher would require long, strenuous hours, resting only when the sun set, and sometimes not even then. Like Hyde, Herring chose it anyway. “You get old really fast,” she says. “But you feel like you did something at the end of the day.” Herring currently manages livestock on R&B Ranch in Sisters, Oregon. Most of the animals she manages are horses, and she can describe each of their unique personalities as if they are more

family than livestock. In her youth she often entered bareback riding competitions, and she talks as fast as she rides. Her words are marked with a concern for the animals she loves, having once rescued 265 horses bound for slaughter due to a feed shortage in Canada. “There are worse things than death for animals,” Herring says. “Deplorable conditions are worse.” She says that advancements such as fourwheelers have replaced the need for horses


on many ranches, which can lead to the neglect that she decries. Her own ranch initially housed more than one hundred horses. Today there are just forty. “When the economy went down, the horse market went ‘poof,’” she says. “I’m not sure if it will ever come back.” Herring has been managing livestock since the early ‘90s. At the time, she kept her horses in a stable owned by David Herman, who began buying ranches around

Oregon in hopes of continuing a successful career in real estate. He had no experience with ranching, so he turned to Herring to drive his cattle. Her skills quickly earned her a vital role. Herman sold R&B Ranch to its current owners, Rick and Barbara Morrill, in 2006. Family and friends ride the forty horses now, and Herring says the ranch no longer yields profit. It is funded by the owner’s income from a crane business in Salem. Hyde and her husband bought Yamsi

s John Hyde, Gerda Hyde’s eldest son, guides several hundred head of cattle to a new grazing field on an early Sunday morning. He uses a sheep dog to keep the cows moving as a unit. Ranch in 1959. For the last fifty years, one thousand head of cattle have roamed Yamsi’s five thousand acres during the summers, but even that sizeable herd wasn’t enough to sustain it during the late ‘80s. In the summer of 1987, Hyde made a decision that saved her ranch. She opened

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s Joe Jayne, Hyde’s grandson, begins each day feeding the cattle using several dozen bales of hay. During the winter and early spring months, the grazing fields dry up, and hay is often used as a replacement food for the cattle. 20

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her doors to people interested in fishing the eight miles of river that snake through Yamsi. People come to the ranch for the tranquility and to enjoy the close proximity to the land, something that Hyde experiences every day. “I don’t think there’s much romance in it,” she says, “but people love to get out of the city. That made the difference of making a living and not.” Every summer, Hyde hosts hundreds of guests, each paying $300 a night to stay in her home. But even with the supplementary income, Yamsi can only support three families at a time. Jeffrey Ostler, a professor at the University of Oregon specializing in the history of the American West, understands the hardships of the contemporary rancher, but he believes the industry must fend for itself. “The cowboy has been mythologized in


s John Hyde checks his horse’s bridle before setting off to move his cattle to a new grazing field.

“95 percent of the time you’re broke,” Jayne says. “You work your butt off, and your reward is that land.”

icated to good environmental practices. If you don’t take care of your land, you’re going to lose it,” Hyde says. “We look at our place as a whole: the bugs and the land and the birds and the trees. You get rid of one thing, pretty soon the chain breaks.”

‘‘95 percent

s Jerri Hyde, Gerda Hyde’s daughter-in-law, gathers the necessary tools in the stables to care for one of her horses. Every day, Jerri feeds and takes care of the animals on Yamsi Ranch. the west more than other occupations,” Ostler says. “I don’t know if that mythologizing tendency means that particular economic lifestyle should be granted any more protection than any other. Why should we subsidize a non-viable economy?” The USDA offers a Beginning Rancher loan, and last year gave $1.1 billion to firsttime farmers and ranchers. Hyde’s grandson, Joe Jayne, applied for the loan this year, and he used it to buy one hundred cows. He has worked on Yamsi all of his adult life, and although owning livestock for the first time is an important milestone for him, he knows it won’t necessarily spur sudden wealth.

But for large-scale industrial ranches, the reward is monetary, seemingly at the cost of the local community and the environment. According to the Pew study, family-owned ranches and farms buy mostly local supplies and services, supporting rural businesses. Industrial facilities, however, typically buy cheaper feed from distant bulk suppliers. The study also stated that industrial facilities produce more manure than the land can absorb. The resulting surface and groundwater contamination becomes the responsibility of the community. Pesticides and fertilizers present a similar social burden.

of the time

you’re broke. you work your

butt off, and your reward is that land.’’

“I think a lot of the small ranches are ded-

Family ranchers go against the grain to be stewards of the land like the generations before them. But barring drastic systemic changes, they will continue to struggle. Hyde has combined hard work and timely decisions to keep Yamsi in her family. She is confident that it will remain that way after she’s gone, something she contemplates as the oldest member of her family.

“I think about that when I wake up some mornings,” she says softly. “I know I’m next.” She can only hope family-owned ranches don’t follow her. n 21

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Living Legacy A homesteading family reflects on the land of its heritage words Lauren Messman Photos Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

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s A herd of goats runs through the grass toward homesteader Sherry Millican. Behind her lies the house where she grew up, which is now inhabited by her son and his wife.

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E

very time Sherry Millican drives her ‘94 Jeep Cherokee down Oregon Route 126, she passes a town marker crafted of oversized, chestnut-colored logs on the right-hand side of the road. The large white letters on the sign read “Walterville.” The town is named after Walter Millican, one of her ancestors who helped settle the McKenzie River Valley in the early 1900s. As the rolling green farmland whips by, she passes a street sign for Millican Road—a nod to her great grandfather, Robert Millican. About a mile further, she approaches a wooden arch at the entrance to a gravel road. A rustic metal nameplate that reads “Triangle 5 Ranch” sits overhead as she drives onto the dirt road and up to the 640-acre ranch that five generations of her family have called “home.” Millican is a homesteader—someone who makes both her home and her living on the same plot of land. For her, it’s more than her preferred lifestyle—it’s the family business. She and her husband, Todd Richey, own and operate a ranch on her ancestor’s homestead. It’s a tough job that requires demanding labor from sunup to sundown as they struggle to keep the ranch afloat and meet modern standards. But the way she sees it, if the next generation can continue to drive under the Triangle 5 Ranch sign, it will all be worth it. “The future of the ranch—it can be anything we want to build it to,” Richey says. “We’ve got the ground to do anything. Time is our biggest problem.” Though they are in their sixties, the couple continues to wake up every morning and care for their animals, just as generations of Millicans have done before them.

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In 1865, Robert Millican joined the wave of pioneers settling the west in response to the Homestead Act of 1862. After boarding a ship in New York, sailing around the Isthmus of Panama to Portland, and walking from Albany to Eugene, Oregon, Robert received a John Latta Donation Land Claim and settled in Lane County. Four name changes and 148 years later, Triangle 5 Ranch is still run by the Millican family. Today, the ranch boasts three original hand-built barns that stand as a testament to Robert’s meticulous craftsmanship. The massive charcoal-gray barn that towers over the acreage is one of the oldest in Lane County. Additionally, the same white, two-story house where Millican was raised has sat at the top of the dirt road for over a century. She and Richey follow in her ancestor’s footsteps by preserving the original buildings, raising goats and horses and growing their own hay. They even use Robert’s remaining agricultural tools. “As you do your work you can think about how many hands have held this, how many hours of work and tedium and love have gone into making something that is great,” Millican says as she gazes out the wide kitchen window at the land that bound her family together for more than a century. “When I look out on the field, I can see my great grandfather tilling the land. They were heartier people than I.” She always knew keeping the ranch in the family would be a challenge. But she never imagined it would start so soon. Two years ago, the death of Millican’s mother, Neva Millican, sparked a family dispute regarding her will. Neva left a quarter of the

ranch to each of her four daughters, three of whom had no interest in living or working on the family’s land. “Sherry’s mom probably thought the sisters would play well and try to sell [their portion of the ranch] to Sherry,” Richey says. “Well, that wasn’t the way it went at all.” Millican’s three sisters didn’t see ranching as a practical means of making a living. Kathy Millican, her oldest sister, pursued her dream of having her own ranch and has since retired on a smaller acreage. Her other two sisters, Karen Coreson and Sandra Welker, chose a different lifestyle altogether. “As I matured, the ability to earn a living on any farm decreased. The single-family farm became obsolete as a means to make a living,” says Welker, a retired dental hygienist. “So I gravitated towards where I could make a living and that was away from the land.” Though she acknowledges that Millican has a better understanding of the ranching lifestyle, Welker and her sisters had other plans for the land. Not seeing the ranch as a practical or profitable venture, they decided to place their portions of the ranch up for general sale. Lawyers were hired, negotiations were made, and bitter feelings transpired. Millican’s sisters wanted to sell the land to a cattle rancher for around $2.4 million, which would be split between the four of them. It was an offer that Millican and Richey couldn’t afford to counter. Devastated by the potential loss of the family homestead and all the sentimental value that it carried, the couple was determined to fight in order to save the land.


s In the past, Millican worked a forty-hour-aweek job in town. When Millican and her husband Todd Richey started a trail-riding business, Millican was able to live and work on the ranch just like her ancestors. Millican still treasures her great-grandfather’s diaries that date back to the 1860s. Robert Millican, who bought the land in 1865 under the Homestead Act, recorded the weather and behavior of his animals daily.

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s Millican inspects a new mother goat as its kid looks on. The mother’s udders are infected, preventing the kid from obtaining enough milk. With Millican’s vast knowledge of animals passed down through the generations, she knows to bring in a second mothering goat as a supplement for nourishment. “I said to the girls, ‘I cannot sit here and see everything that has been our heritage bulldozed into a heap and burned,’” Millican says. Still, the three sisters decided to hear the couple’s business plan. Scrambling to counter the offer, Millican and Richey proposed to log $2.6 million worth of trees for a profit that would be distributed three ways. The sisters weighed the couple’s proposal and ultimately decided to take their offer. “It was sort of like, we traded the trees for the land,” says Welker. “[Sherry] has the knowledge and she is the best one to serve the ranch, and it’s a means of keeping the ranch in one piece. I’m very happy that way and I’m sure [Sherry] is too.” It was a victory for Millican and Richey, but the impediments didn’t stop there. The ranching industry has undergone significant changes, and they’ve had to evolve 26

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the ranch to meet the changing economic environment. According to land usage data from the Environmental Protection Agency, small family farms represent the majority of farms in America, but economies of scale increasingly favor growth in large industrial farm operations. Data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in

“It’s hard work, but I can’t see myself living in a cul-de-sac.” Sherry Millican

2002 indicates that every week, 330 farmers leave their land. Hoping to avoid joining that statistic, Millican and Richey mapped out a way to continue to make a living off their land. When they married eighteen years ago, Millican tended the ranch, took care of her elderly mother, and worked a forty-houra-week job. But once they launched a trailriding business on the ranch, Millican was able to quit her job. “We were taking people horseback riding every weekend. Every weekend in the summer [it] was either friends, friends of friends, or family,” says Richey. “Nowadays we probably see a thousand people a year.” In addition to trail rides, the couple is in the process of building an arena for roping cattle and horseback riding lessons. Millican estimates the overall cost of the arena could reach up to $90,000 and take five years to complete, but that the profit


would outweigh the costs. Other modern ventures include logging trees and renting out a portion of the land to various agricultural companies, which would provide enough financial support to help sustain their traditional ranching lifestyle. “The ranch is a living, breathing entity,” says Richey. “It’s no different than a sibling, or your son or daughter, and you have to take care of it. It just doesn’t take care of itself.” Every day the couple feeds and cares for their fifty goats, sixteen horses, and a single llama named Fuzzy. Millican, who knows every animal by name, takes special care of the elderly animals, examines goats for possible pregnancies, and disbuds baby goats by removing their horns.

“The ranch is a living, breathing entity.” Todd Richey

“[The animals] don’t care if you’re sick, they don’t care if you’re hurt, they don’t care if it’s Sunday, they don’t care if it’s Christmas,” Millican says. “You either love it or you hate it. It’s hard work but I can’t see myself living in a cul-de-sac.” But while Millican and Richey’s passion

continues to fuel the ranch, its future remains uncertain. The fate of the land, the traditions, and the Millican homesteading lifestyle rests in the hands of their only son, Curran Manzer. Manzer lives on the homestead with his wife, Michelle. After moving back to his ancestor’s land to help care for his grandmother, he decided to start his own taxidermy business and operate out of his grandfather’s old shop. Like his mother, Manzer successfully integrates the old with the new. He believes that keeping the land in the family is vital, but his commitment to ranching itself is a bit more complicated. He enjoys living and hunting on the ranch, but says he only feels connected with the animals when he hunts them. Although his vocation focuses on preservation, Manzer is unsure of how he plans to maintain the ranch for future generations, and has only vague plans for

Bob Reno, a local farrier and fellow rancher, shaves down horseshoe nails while Millican watches. For Millican, the distinct sound of scraping metal on horse hooves takes her back to her childhood on the ranch. tThe family gathers in the kitchen for their traditional Sunday night dinner. During the day, Millican and Richey work on maintaining the homestead while Curran Manzer, Millican’s son, works at his taxidermy business. His wife Michelle tends to her geese and ducks.

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a possible succession. His wife plans to take care of the animals, but other details are still up in the air. “If we ask, Curran participates,” Millican says. While her son is capable of helping with the ranch work, she says it isn’t his primary interest. “At this point in his life, it isn’t something he’s ready to step off and take up the reins,” says Millican. “He’s got his young business that he’s building.” Yet even as the future of the ranch remains uncertain, the family holds onto its traditions. Following in Neva’s footsteps, the two couples hold a family dinner every Sunday evening. They share good food and stories as a means to create new memories and preserve old ones. In the years to come, the Millicans will navigate the tempestuous waters of diverse family interests, financial stability, and future preparations. In the face of the many changes that come their way, Millican and Richey focus on preserving the land they love and doing what the Millican ancestors did before them: taking care of the animals, cultivating the land, and waking up to do it all over again. n

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s Millican and Richey stop for a short break to chat about the farm. After eighteen years of marriage they have learned how to live and work on the ranch as a team. tThe Triangle 5 logo, based on the five generations of Millican homesteaders who have worked the land, frames the entryway onto Millican’s property.


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PARANORMAL

CLUES

A Portland-based psychic detective taps into her intuition to settle unsolved cases WORDS CARI JOHNSON ILLUSTRATION CHARLOTTE CHENG

aurie McQuary did not use a crystal ball while working on a recent murder investigation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She does not wear purple robes or wave around a stick of intoxicating incense when interviewing victims’ family members. Instead, she wears a structured green jacket over a crisp collared shirt in her neatly arranged Lake Oswego office. She’s not a sorceress, but she’s also not an ordinary person. McQuary is a woman of intuition. McQuary is among nearly eighty thousand psychics in the United States and part of the $2 billion psychic industry. Using her gift to assist in solving crimes, however, makes her exceptionally unusual. She began showing psychic abilities at age eighteen after a fall from a horse left her in a coma for three months. She worked as a nurse for the first part of her life before transi-

tioning from giving private readings to coworkers to starting a psychic consultation business in 1984. “I have a responsibility to listen to the universe,” she says. McQuary has amassed more than two hundred cases in her twentynine years as a psychic detective. Murder and missing person cases dating as far back as the ‘80s and ‘90s are tightly packed into two large filing cabinets. McQuary’s blue eyes scan the thick manila folders as she thumbs over police detective names scribbled in illegible handwriting. “You’d be surprised how many detectives really believe in this work,” she says. Bob Lee, a retired police detective from the Lake Oswego Police Department, is among the believers. Lee met McQuary during a murder investigation in 1986. When the two got together for lunch to review the case, McQuary listed thirty details that she had intuitively gathered from the report, including information regarding the involvement of the murderer’s brother with the

burial of the body. “I probably spent a week [trying to disprove] everything that she told me,” recalls Lee. Lee was surprised to find that twenty-nine of the facts were correct. McQuary had also accurately pinpointed the burial location of the victim. Lee was so impressed with McQuary that he married her the following year. Throughout his thirty-seven-year career in law enforcement, Lee has learned that detectives play on their own hunches and logical reasoning. However, he believes his wife has a unique sense of intuition that becomes particularly valuable in a room full of left-brained police detectives. “I’m really good at picking out the bad guy,” says Lee. “[McQuary] is just going to look at the bad guy a little differently.” While the couple typically works separately and never openly discusses any active cases, McQuary may, at times, ask her husband about a bullet trajectory or an autopsy report. Lee has also occasionally used Mc31

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Quary for her fresh viewpoint on cases. “I don’t feel that I have solved cases, I believe I’ve contributed to them,” says McQuary. “When I’m out there in the field slogging around with the police or the family and we find the body, I feel like I’ve walked hand-in-hand with God.” With each case, McQuary requires a name, the victim’s photo, and a map of the area where he or she was last seen. She often visits the site to better understand the physical energy of the case, and has traveled across the country for cases in almost all fifty states. Her involvement

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with these cases has lead to appearances on Portland’s KATU News, Court TV’s Psychic Detective, and Larry King Live, among other television and news outlets. Psychic Detective has featured a number of the industry’s members, including psychic detective Noreen Renier. Based in Orlando, Florida, she typically assists with cases that are ten to twenty years old. “When police give me information on missing people, I tune into the energy and relive it,” says Renier. She often holds objects (say, the victim’s shirt) to gain extra sensory perception on the situation.

Like McQuary, Renier does not claim to solve investigations. Instead, she suggests that she can provide new clues or a different angle. She charges a flat fee of $650 for a phone consultation, offering her psychic abilities to assist with unsolved homicide or missing persons cases, lost animals, and private readings. McQuary didn’t charge for her investigative assistance for twenty-one years, until her TV appearance on Larry King Live triggered hundreds of case requests. While she has never charged law enforcement for her services, she requests a one-


Edward, an IIG committee member. “But in thirty-five years, I have yet to see anyone who has exhibited psychic abilities.” Edward infiltrated the psychic market for research used in his recently published book, Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium. He suggests that psychic detectives simply have a sharper sense of intuition than the police based on their highly developed understanding of human nature and emotion. “They have a better perspective on what kind of clues to look for,” says Edward. “There’s nothing supernatural about it.” Yet, there remains a certain public fascination with the work psychic detectives do. Popular culture has seen an influx of

“She doesn’t tell me what to do,” says D’Quatro, who has been a client of McQuary’s since 2007. “She just tells me what she feels.” While McQuary’s abilities don’t turn off at the end of the workweek, she prefers to maintain a low profile during her time off. “I’m not ‘Suzie Psychic’ 24/7,” she says. By avoiding crowds and prolonged eye contact with others, McQuary can usually limit overly personal connections with strangers. Eye contact can induce especially intense connections, she explains. Despite the desire to occasionally turn off her abilities, McQuary regularly practices listening to her own energy. In fact, her intuitive guidance led her to discover

“You’d be suprised how many detectives really believe in this -Laurie McQuary work.” McQuary sits in her hypnosis room, one of the rooms where she meets with clients. Photo by Myray Reames

time $250 fee for private clients, who are often families seeking more information about their cases. If travel becomes necessary, the client is responsible for any additional expenses. Though McQuary has built her career around convincing nonbelievers, there are many who are skeptical of her extraordinary occupation. The Independent Investigations Group (IIG), based in Hollywood, California, gathers weekly to examine and debunk paranormal claims through scientific processes. “I’m not a complete skeptic,” says Mark

programs exploring the relationship between law enforcement and psychics, such as TV series like Psychic Detectives, Medium, The Mentalist, and Psych. In response to Hollywood’s curiosity toward the paranormal, the IIG called Psychic Detectives one of the year’s worst examples of scientific thinking in its annual awards ceremony in 2007. The Mentalist and Psych, however, were applauded for promoting science in their scripts. McQuary doesn’t mind a skeptic. In addition to assisting with investigative cases in her spare time, she has spent the past thirty years building her business, Management by Intuition. The cozy Native American-inspired office offers psychic consultations ranging from past-life regressions to a technique that uses hypnosis to recover potential memories of past lives. The consultations last between thirty minutes and one hour. For client Laura D’Quatro, a session with McQuary is better than therapy. She began paying visits to the office a couple of times each year after she lost her mother and most recently, her father.

she had breast cancer seven years ago. After waking up one morning, McQuary sensed something was wrong with her breast despite having no symptoms. She made a medical appointment that same day where doctors concluded there was no lump. When she demanded further investigation through an MRI, they were surprised to discover that her intuition was correct. McQuary was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I found out later that I’d had it for twenty-five years,” says McQuary, who quickly underwent treatment (including five surgeries). She now lives cancer-free. Psychic abilities may be mentally exhausting at the end of each day, but McQuary has not yet exhausted her career. This year marks a big move to Central Oregon with her retired husband, and she will eventually close her Lake Oswego office. McQuary’s clients, however, will continue to communicate with her through phone sessions. “As long as I am coherent and accurate I will be doing this work,” says McQuary. “Retirement is not an option.” n

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WHEN COMMUNITIES

Collide More students are flooding

neighborhoods around campus,

leading to conflicts with property managers over living conditions and clashes with homeowners

seeking to preserve their communities WORDS SAM KATZMAN PHOTOS ALISHA JUCEVIC

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Chelsea Schmitt, a senior at the University of Oregon, dreads going down to her basement to do laundry because she says it smells strongly of mold. 35 fluxStories.com


I

t’s a typical spring day in Eugene, Oregon—sixty degrees and partially sunny, with rain clouds billowing in the distance. Living in a region saturated with rain for 144 days of the year, most Eugene residents are not fazed by the inevitable showers creeping toward the city. Katie Morrison, however, shudders at the thought of storms in the forecast. “When it’s raining outside, it’s usually raining in my closet,” says the University of Oregon senior, gesturing toward the decaying walls meant to protect her clothing. For many student-renters like Morrison, a leaky roof is only one of many maintenance concerns. But she says her biggest worry is whether the problems will ever get repaired. Paper-thin walls, a toilet ingloriously dubbed a “dinosaur,” malfunctioning door knobs, and nonexistent water pressure are just some of the issues Morrison says plague her rental property. When a new problem arises—which she esti-

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mates to be almost daily—she says she is quick to report her complaint to the property management company that oversees her home. The company says it deals promptly with complaints. Morrison disagrees. “They say they will come and fix it when they can,” says Morrison. “But they don’t take me seriously.” Stories like Morrison’s are common in the communities encircling the University of Oregon. In a time of mounting tuition costs and rising enrollment, many cash-strapped students are flocking to the neighborhoods surrounding campus in search of the cheapest and most convenient places to live. But as the demand for housing increases, stu-

dents are clashing with landlords and property managers over what some say are increasingly unsuitable rental conditions, while property managers say inconsistent reporting makes it tough to deal with problems. Meanwhile, private homeowners who suddenly find themselves surrounded by ‘For Rent’ signs are struggling for a say in the future of their neighborhoods. Several factors have contributed to livability issues in student rental housing. At the heart of the issue is the heart of Eugene: the University of Oregon. Whether it’s the flashy uniforms, athletic triumphs, or innovative curriculum, there’s no disputing the popularity of the Oregon Ducks. As a result, enroll-


Private homeowners like Carolyn Jacobs are dissatisfied with landlords and property managers who they say buy homes to rent in residential areas but don’t properly maintain them.

ment at Oregon’s flagship university has swelled over the past decade. Since 2002, total enrollment has jumped 22 percent to 24,591 students in the 2012-2013 school year. The University of Oregon does not offer guaranteed on-campus housing for first-year students. According to Fall 2012 enrollment statistics, 20 percent of freshmen didn’t live on campus, although some did so by choice. “We don’t use the word ‘guaranteed’, but we do have space,” says Michael Griffel, director of housing at the University of Oregon. “We don’t know what enrollment is going to do and we are very concerned about making

“WHEN IT’S RAINING OUTSIDE IT’S USUALLY RAINING IN MY CLOSET.” -Katie Morrison, UO senior

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University of Oregon senior Katie Morrison says she has many problems with her off-campus rental. Her biggest problem is a leak in her closet. When it rains she says she has to move her boots out of the back of the closet so they are not damaged.

A RELUCTANCE TO REPORT In 2011, the City of Eugene conducted a Rental Housing Program survey to gauge the housing climate in Eugene-area communities. Of those who responded, 42.3 percent were renters. Respondents cited possible evictions, possible increases in rent, and conflicts with landlords or property managers as the top reasons why they would not want to report a housing problem. Source: City of Eugene 38

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0% Possible Eviction Possible Increase in Rent

Conflict with Owner/Manager Language Barrier Would Rather Tolerate Problem

50%

100%


promises that, at some point, we won’t be able to keep.” The University of Oregon increased its housing offerings by opening the Global Scholars Hall in September 2012. Yet some Ducks say the price tag restricts them from living there. It costs between $11,737 and $17,766 for room and board this academic year. The cheapest rooms here are roughly $2,000 more expensive than other comparable dorms on campus. As a result, many students are migrating to the most affordable residences close to campus, and demand for rental real estate has risen alongside enrollment. Apartment buildings are continually popping up in the most densely populated student communities says Laura Fine Moro, a landlord-tenant attorney who works with students, but the remaining homes are growing scarce and many are in poorer condition. “It’s a shame that so many older homes are being torn down and apartment complexes are going up,” says Moro. “But so many older homes have deferred maintenance and are not a quality place for students to live.” The City of Eugene has attempted to ease livability problems through its Rental Housing Program, which requires all rental properties under the city’s jurisdiction to adhere to basic standards in order to be occupied by tenants. The housing code addresses structural integrity, plumbing, heating, and weatherproofing, as well as criteria including smoke detection and security. When problems arise, the landlord or property manager is given ten days to repair the issue after being notified of the complaint in writing. If a rental property fails to comply with this code, occupants

are entitled to file a formal complaint with the City of Eugene Code Compliance office, initiating an inspection. Says Eugene Code Compliance inspector Mark Tritt, “The most common complaints we receive are for issues regarding mold, plumbing, and heating.” But it is unclear whether the program has succeeded in mitigating student rental property complaints. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the City of Eugene, 6 percent of Eugene renters have filed com-

“We don’t ignore complaints. We obviously want to take care of our properties, because it’s damaging to have homes with maintenance issues.” - sarah vail, Jennings Group, Inc. plaints against their homeowner or property manager in the last three years. However, 65 percent of these subjects reported that their issue went unresolved. Tritt said the city does not distinguish between student and non-student renters, and that he is unsure whether those numbers repre-

AN UNRESOLVED PROBLEM

sent an increase. Compounding the problem, says Moro, is the fact that students are largely unaware of their rental rights or fear retaliation from property managers. Indeed, the city survey found that top reasons renters failed to report problems were fear of eviction or an increase in rent. The result? Many renters often don’t report problems at all. Immediately after moving into her South University rental, Chelsea Schmitt says she and her three roommates discovered that their house was teeming with mold. It crept into kitchen drawers, rendering many of them unusable. But the biggest problem lies in the basement, she says, where a combination of leaky plumbing and broken lighting has resulted in an unwelcoming atmosphere. “You can’t really see it because it’s so dark, but you can smell [it.] It’s like instantly there is something not right,” Schmitt says. Though the prospect of doing laundry in the basement fills her with dread, she and her roommates have only reported a few of their problems. “We’re all graduating this year, so we’ve been through it a lot and it’s just kind of like, ‘Well, we’ll just deal with it. It’s only five more weeks,’” she says. Sarah Vail, a property manager with Jennings Group, Inc., says that they have received no complaints of mold from Schmitt’s address. But even those who reported their problems two years ago say they see mixed results. Senior Adam Paikowsky and his five housemates suspected the wiring in their century-old rental home was malfunctioning. After experiencing several electrical

Yes

A 2011 survey of the City of Eugene’s Rental Housing Program found that just 6 percent of surveyed renters had contacted the city about a maintenance issue after informing their property manager or landlord. Of those, nearly two-thirds reported that their issue did not get resolved.

No Source: City of Eugene 39

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THE CRIME CONNECTION Neighborhoods with more renters usually experience more crime. A 2011 report backed by the City of Eugene found the West University neighborhood, which is 99 percent renteroccupied, accounted for 15 percent of the city’s total crime. With the exception of the Amazon neighborhood, the areas surrounding campus also have crime rates that correspond to a high percentage of renters.

Total Occupancy

Renter-Occupied #

%

Owner-Occupied %

#

Total Crimes

Personal Crimes

Property Crimes

Behavior Crimes

Amazon

829

442

53

387

47

43

7

24

12

Fairmount

1268

566

45

702

55

253

24

178

51

South University

1569

1250

80

319

20

345

15

159

171

West University

2930

2907

99

23

1

2289

121

761

1401

Source: City of Eugene Police Department surges each day, Paikowsky became concerned and notified Stewardship Properties about the issue. “Our breaker would trip so frequently that if you were using the microwave while watching TV, the power to our house would just go off,” he says. The housemates say they took turns calling their property management company to insist that a repairman address the problem. Stewardship Properties sent someone over to look at the breaker box. “He was the same guy they would send anytime we had a problem with our house. He was basically a one-stop-shop kind of handyman,” Paikowsky says. “For about a week, things would be fine, but then the breaker switching would happen all over again.” In the early morning of February 26, 2011, a fire consumed their home, ignited by a single flame that Paikowsky says originated from an electrical outlet. With nothing but the charred scraps of an uninhabitable home remaining, the fire victims were left scrambling to find a new house. Stewardship did not offer them alternate accommodations, they said, so the housemates packed their undamaged belongings and moved back into the overcrowded dorms for the rest of their sophomore year. The housemates considered legal action. But because none of their complaints were documented in writing, their plans were quickly extinguished. “Had we known better, we should have kept proper documentation at the time,” says

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roommate Andrew Keller. “Part of the blame falls on us, because we had a legitimate issue and we let it go unresolved.” Bill Syrios, owner of Stewardship, said that the cause of the fire was electrical, and that his company was regrettably unable to help the tenants afterward. “It was a difficult situation because they had to be relocated,” he said. “I don’t blame them for being frustrated, but we didn’t have many options.” Like many student tenants who have never rented a home before coming to college, the fire victims were not fully aware of their rental rights, says housing attorney Moro. “A good basic tool is to write a letter giving a historical perspective that reminds the landlord or manager that [you] notified [the manager] on this date, and the number of conversations you’ve had with as much specificity as possible, then make the request plainly for the repairs to be made,” she says. The City of Eugene keeps a database of complaints against property management companies. Between the years of 2005 and 2013, it lists Bell Real Estate as having the highest number of complaints, followed by Stoneridge 1, Von Klein Property Management, Emerald Property Management, and Stewardship Properties. However, that list does not account for the size of each company. Morrison, with the rainy closet, rents her home from Von Klein Property Management, which oversees about 1,100 units throughout Eugene. It is the second largest student


rental housing operation in Lane County, and its highest concentration of properties is located in the West University neighborhood—which is almost entirely inhabited by students. While Morrison says some of her complaints have been properly addressed, she says the number of unresolved issues greatly outnumber the pleasant experiences. “I think they get overwhelmed with all the repairs they have, but that’s not our problem,” she says. Von Klein Property Management, however, believes Morrison’s concerns are exaggerated. Though the company acknowledges that some complaints go unresolved, owner Larry Von Klein says his company is

working hard to protect its reputation. He says that students can be inconsistent communicators. They often file for work orders but don’t ultimately give contractors permission to enter their homes or fail to return phone calls to set up repairs. He adds that many tenants have had very positive things to say about renting from the company. “My wife has a box full of thank-you notes written by students that were under our umbrella for four years,” Von Klein says. “We take a lot of pride in this.” Representatives from Jennings and Stewardship also defended their companies, saying that allowing homes to fall

into disrepair is simply not good for business. “We don’t ignore complaints,” said Vail, from Jennings Group Inc. “We obviously want to take care of our properties, because it’s damaging to have homes with maintenance issues.” Tension over off-campus student housing is not limited to the University of Oregon. As enrollment surges in colleges across the nation, many universities have had to rethink their plans for growth. Take Raleigh, North Carolina, the home of North Carolina State University. The campus is considered “landlocked”— meaning expansion beyond current campus borders is not a viable option. A decade

Michael Griffel is the Housing Director at the University of Oregon. The residence hall behind him, called the Global Scholars Hall (GSH), is the newest on campus. A two-person suite with a bathroom costs $16, 710 per academic year with a standard meal plan.

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Adam Paikowsky is a senior at the University of Oregon. The house he and his roommates were renting burnt down two years ago due to an electrical fire.

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ago, Raleigh residents observed an unprecedented number of students living in poor rental property conditions near campus and in neighborhoods that were once exclusively occupied by private homeowners. North Carolina State University ultimately made room for elaborate student apartment housing on its Centennial Campus, but the city of Raleigh is still struggling to find a more permanent solution. The same phenomenon has occurred in Eugene, leading to tension between private homeowners and their student neighbors. Communities such as the Fairmount and South University neighborhoods, which once contained very few students, are now seeing more rentals, leading to conflicts over the changing feel of the area. “As soon as you start having a few rentals, the block looks different. The grass isn’t cut, dandelions are all over, there are bushes overgrown—maybe the paint is peeling,” says South University neighborhood resident Carolyn Jacobs. “Then, all of a sudden, no families want to buy the house next door. Who wants to spend $500,000 to live in a house when the property next door looks like crap?” A 2011 report backed by the city found that, in campus neighborhoods, “there is a strong incentive to convert singlefamily, owner-occupied homes to rental properties.” The Neighborhood Livability Working Group, which was comprised of city and university officials, homeowners, property managers, and students, wrote that “the livability and stability of a neighborhood can deteriorate as the proportions of rental property grows and is followed by disinvestment or disinterest by committed property owners. Once the cycle starts, it can gain momentum and be difficult to arrest as long-term residents grow tired of the worsening conditions and put their homes up for sale.” The report found that crime rates are higher in neighborhoods that are heavily scattered with students. The West University neighborhood, for example, is comprised of 99 percent rentals—most of which have student tenants. It accounts for 15 percent of all the crimes in Eugene, handily leading the surrounding neighborhoods in personal, property, and behavioral offenses. Between 2006 and 2010, arrests in the West and South University neighborhoods for noise, disorderly con-

duct, and alcohol-related violations have increased. In South University alone, there were 2.5 times more of these types of arrests in 2010 than in 2006. In response to these statistics, private homeowners are fighting back any way that they can. This year, the city enacted the controversial “Social Host” Ordinance, which fines violators up to $1,000 for hosting disruptive house parties. Still, some private homeowners living near the University of Oregon are less concerned about rowdy collegians than they are fed up with landlords and property managers who they say snatch up lots for rental purposes and then disappear. “The problem is not about students or tenants, it’s what happens when there are landlords who aren’t there and don’t care,” says Jacobs. “Once places start falling out of shape, then the whole neighborhood starts getting a negative reputation. I think our neighborhood is doomed.” But defining the responsible party is oftentimes as nebulous as the rain clouds that torment Katie Morrison. As a common business strategy, many landlords purchase rental properties and hire property management companies to oversee their investment. Frequently, says Moro, the owners of these houses don’t want to pay for the repair, so the property management companies get stuck in the middle. “Ultimately, though, the property management company has the obligation to make sure the place is fixed,” Moro says. As the issue of off-campus student housing reaches a head, there appears to be no clear solution. Some stakeholders, like Director of Housing Michael Griffel, are advocating for the University of Oregon to expand its housing options in order to attract students back to campus. “Statistics show students that live on campus have a better chance to succeed academically,” says Griffel. But for now, he says, his office is focusing on updating current on-campus housing and has no official plans to build. Others, like Andrew Keller, simply hope student renters become more informed of their rights. “As a student renter you need to be really proactive and find out as much information on the property as possible before signing the lease,” he says. “I think a lot of property managers are able to get away with things because their tenants

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS The Eugene Rental Housing Code sets standards for six housing-habitability areas:

1. STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY 2. PLUMBING 3. HEATING 4. WEATHERPROOFING 5. SECURITY 6. SMOKE DETECTORS HAVE A PROBLEM? Below are numbers you can call to file a complaint or receive legal help. All departments are operated by the City of Eugene.

Rental Housing Code 541-682-8282 Building Code Enforcement 541-682-5495 Dangerous Buildings 541-682-5495 Nuisance Complaints 541-682-5819 Permit Information 541-682-5505 Land-Use Applications 541-682-5377 Lane County Legal Aid 541-342-6056

just don’t know their rights.” Back at Katie Morrison’s house, the spring sunlight is dimming. She hurriedly removes her leather boots and other valuable items from her closet, just in time for the rain clouds to arrive. Though she will move out after graduating in June, she says the day her lease is terminated couldn’t come sooner. This student renter says she is tired of living with maintenance issues and trying to take care of problems herself. On top of that, she says her property manager is raising the rent next year. “Eugene is running out of housing and they know we’re desperate,” Morrison says. “But, they’re going to rent it easily because kids need the location.” n 43

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d o B


Alito Alessi (top), the artistic director and founder of DanceAbility, and Karen Daly (bottom) rehearse their dance number, “One Another.�

s n o e i t i o dm in

ty, i l i eAb y c n Da gon. B ed h t er wi , Ore ed. l v s b o rm gene s disc isa o d f e r pe in Eu e ha ob t y l s h Da pany an t, s e n n e e m r Ka ce com ovem hat it r o viv s dan ugh m self w r u MES rs itie f thro or her e l REA i c b Can xed-a hersel ned f OS MYRAY i fi OT PH a m essing d rede r n exp om a d free 45

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s Daly transitioned from a wooden leg to crutches and eventually to a wheelchair. She has been swimming regularly for thirty years. Daly and Alessi (far left) share a moment after rehearsal. Daly says dance has allowed her to discover new facets about herself, adding, “Movement has been an absolutely incredibly important part of my life.” During a dance rehearsal, Daly and Alessi practice “One Another,” which they will perform in Asia as arts envoys for the US State Department to spread awareness of mixed abilities dance.

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At the twenty-fifth anniversary show for the Joint Forces Dance Company, Daly performs an improvisational piece. She says she let go of her self-consciousness for the first time during this performance.

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Daly recently took this doll out of storage, which she made in her late twenties. She says, “I quilted the doll when I felt like I was quilting myself together.�

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JasonIngram Ingram identifies as anschool “ex-gay Jason taught at a Christian in Alaska for fifteen years. When sexual orientation came into quessurvivor� after his going through a conversion tion, he moved to Dry in Ridge, Kentucky, to go through the therapy program rural Kentucky. conversion therapy program at Pure Life Ministries (PLM). 52 fluxSTORIES.COM


The

Cost of

Conversion For some “ex-gay survivors” of conversion therapy, acceptance comes at a high price WORDS ELLIOTT KENNEDY PHOTOS TESS FREEMAN

T

he glow of the headlights provided barely enough visibility in the early morning darkness. For a moment, it shone through windows and reflected against the rearview mirror, radiating yellow beams throughout the moving car before disappearing once again. In the back seat, Jason Ingram positioned a Bible above his head, waiting for the next set of headlights to illuminate the scripture. Soon, the car would exit the freeway and Ingram would be forced to surrender his book until tomorrow morning’s drive to work. Ingram would then labor, lift, load, and haul at a factory until sunset. This arduous work would speckle his hands with masculine calluses, while the sweat would wash away traces of what his counselors called femininity. With each day of physical and emotional exertion, Ingram believed he was moving closer to building a new, heterosexual identity through the practice of conversion therapy. “It was part of the process,” Ingram recalls. “It was a way for them to break you.” Also known as reparative therapy, reorientation therapy, and change efforts, conversion therapy employs

various methods aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation by eliminating homosexual feelings and supplanting them with heterosexual desires, thereby making the individual an “ex-gay.” According to the official publication of the American Medical Association, American Medical News (AMN), some participants of conversion therapy have been instructed to strip naked in front of their counselors and fellow program participants to subject themselves to a simulated “locker room bullying scene.” The AMN has also documented cases of conversion therapy counselors who direct their clients to beat effigies of their parents because they believe that attachment to a mother figure suppresses the development of masculine features and personality traits. In light of these reported practices, all major medical associations have issued official statements denouncing the efficacy and ethicality of conversion therapy. Yet people like Ingram continue to pay thousands of dollars in the hope of becoming ex-gay, leading to questions about why conversion therapy persists. In California, the survival of this controversial practice hinges on the courts. In 2012, state legislators proposed a bill that would prohibit the use of conversion therapy on minors. But proponents of the treatment fought back,

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Now I can see it as incredibly abusive as it really was. –

Ingram has struggled with mental health issues and depression since his time in the program. The American Psychological Association states that because conversion therapy implies that the inability to change one’s sexual orientation is a “personal failure,” it can be detrimental to one’s mental health.

claiming the law would infringe on First Amendment rights. Currently, the ban is on hold as the California appeals court hears arguments. Regina Griggs is the executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, an organization that promotes the belief that sexuality is a choice. She opposes the ban. The group supports conversion therapy as an avenue through which to make choices about sexual orientation. “What the law is saying is, ‘We’re not only going to take away your rights, but we’re going to own you and we’re going to tell you how to live your life,” says Griggs. “No one has proven that conversion therapy is harmful, which is why it’s never been banned.” Naomi Knoble disagrees that conversion therapy is not harmful. According to Knoble, a licensed marriage and family therapist who has worked closely with clients struggling with sexual identity, “There is no scientific evidence indicating that reparative therapy benefits people more than it harms them.” Knoble, a doctoral candidate in counseling and psychology at the University of Oregon, considers conversion therapy a fringe treatment. And, says Knoble, because the practice is not taught at accredited institutions, there are few reliable experts or bodies of research on the topic. “This is reason enough to discredit it as a therapeutic treatment,” she says. But Ingram, like many “ex-gay survivors,” was desperate to change. “I was so sure that being gay was wrong, and if it was wrong then

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Peterson Toscano

obviously God would make some sort of way out,” says Ingram. “I was determined to find that way out, no matter what.” Ingram found his answer in 2005 at Pure Life Ministries (PLM), a residential conversion therapy program in rural Dry Ridge, Kentucky. After paying the $1,500 induction fee and weekly $150 living fee, Ingram joined a diverse group of straight, gay, and sexually questioning men. “What you’ll find in the ex-gay movement is that they don’t like to admit that it is an ex-gay program,” says Ingram. “They use the term ‘sexual addiction’ as an all-encompassing title and put anyone in there.” Still, Ingram unquestioningly followed the program rules: no facial hair, no movies rated above PG, and no music other than Christian gospel. Failure to attend counseling sessions and church sermons were met with penalties. “They called them ‘special assignments,’” recalls Ingram. “They would use it as a form of punishment. If they thought I was late to chapel, I would have to haul wood in the rain and mud, or do a construction project at one of the minister’s houses.” Despite his growing trepidation about its methods, Ingram nonetheless remained at PLM until his graduation from the program. “Graduating is a sort of irony,” recalls Ingram. “You have to write down this testimony about how you’ve changed because of the pro-


t

gram. Then they send you out into the world and you find that you haven’t changed at all. In fact, you’re a nervous wreck.” Now living in Milwaukie, Oregon, he maintains a solitary life on Social Security Disability checks for clinical depression. “I felt like, what was my crime?” said Ingram of his homosexuality. “All I wanted to do was love a man. What had I gotten myself into?” Like Ingram, other “ex-gay survivors”—people who have experienced the practice and ultimately accepted their non-heterosexual identities—are often left questioning their decision to choose conversion therapy. According to Pure Life Ministries, its services will “make things new as you are unchained from a life of sexual sin.” Restoration Path (formerly known as Love In Action) says that “God is in the restoration business and He can truly restore the years the locusts of sexual and relational sin may have taken from you.” The ex-gay ministry, Portland Fellowship, asserts that conversion therapy will help individuals “proclaim their freedom from the captivity” of homosexuality. But Peterson Toscano believes that the methods of restoration are, in fact, destructive. “There are a lot of better ways to learn good lessons other than getting into a car wreck,” he says. Toscano is a theatrical performance activist who has translated his time at the residential conversion therapy program, Love In Action,

What is Conversion Therapy?

Between 1952 and 1973, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. American culture at the time compelled many gay men and women to keep their sexual identity hidden. With the stigma of homosexuality forcing secrecy, conversion therapy organizations were also concealed from the public. But when HIV/AIDS was discovered in high concentrations in the gay communities of Los Angeles and New York in the 1980s, the practice of conversion or reparative therapy burst onto the public scene. Two of the largest groups to emerge from this trend were Exodus International and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), both of which remain active supporters of conversion therapy today. In the late 1990s, ex-gay ministries— organizations that purport to “cure” individuals of their homosexual feelings using religious-based counseling—were established under the purview of Exodus International. After 16-year-old Zack Stark documented his experiences with reparative therapy on his MySpace page in 2005, the methods employed in conversion therapy were examined with intense media scrutiny, leading many medical associations to condemn the practice and many more ex-gay survivors to publicly share their experiences.

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“ I was determined to find a way out, no matter what. – Jason Ingram

Ingram performs a hymn during a service at the Metropolitan Community Church of The Gentle Shepard in Vancouver, Washington.

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into stage productions such as Doing Time In the Homo No Mo Halfway House. He has spoken publicly of his encounter with conversion therapy to media outlets ranging from The Tyra Banks Show to BBC News, but no longer feels comfortable sharing the details of his experience. “I think I’m going through what a lot of abuse survivors go through, which is first denial, and then a realization about how devastating it truly was,” says Toscano. “I needed to process, to understand why people were so shocked by my experience. And now I can see it as incredibly abusive as it really was.” Yet, the ideas fueling conversion therapy seem to run counter to a growing acceptance of homosexuality in mainstream culture. In the years following popular gay-friendly television shows and movies such as Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Milk, it appeared that homosexuality was abandoning the shadows of the closet in order to embrace the media spotlight. But despite Americans’ acceptance of fictionally flamboyant characters

into their living rooms, the country has remained at odds about the acceptability of homosexuality in the real public sphere. For example, the United States did not elect an openly gay person to a governorship until 2012. In 2009, Boston University published a study that found “school officials have often justified their discrimination against LGBT teachers by arguing that [they] do not serve as proper role models for students.” And a 2012 Gallup Poll shows that almost half of the country considers homosexuality to be morally wrong. Paul Cameron is among those who strongly disagree with homosexuality. As a former conversion therapist, Cameron says his work was extremely important for saving society’s declining values. “I believe that we need to change the gays because homosexuality is a liability,” he says. Cameron, founder of the Family Research Institute, was a psychologist until his expulsion from the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1983 for failure to comply with an ethics investigation. The details of the investigation were undisclosed in APA documents. With the Supreme Court mediating a national dispute over Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act—laws addressing issues surrounding same-sex marriage—Toscano believes that the time has come to re-evaluate the origins of attitudes toward homosexuality. Says Toscano, “People think of you as far more valuable if you are a heterosexual.” “The lure of heterosexuality is still quite powerful,” Toscano says. “There’s an idyllic dream that’s shoved down our throats since we watched that first Disney movie about finding your perfect person—of the opposite sex, mind you—and having your happy end-


s Ingram hugs Vicki Girardin after church services at The Metropolitan Community Church of The Gentle Shepard in Vancouver, Washington, which embraces members regardless of their sexual orientation. ing. So ex-gay ministries use language like ‘broken’ to connect with people struggling with their sexuality.” But he believes that the value of heterosexuality is dwarfed in comparison to the financial and emotional costs of conversion. Toscano sought support in multiple conversion therapy groups, and paid more than $30,000 over the course of more than fifteen years. “Love In Action was considered the Cadillac of ex-gay ministries— and cost about as much,” says Toscano of the most expensive of his various conversion therapy treatments. Ingram, too, paid thousands of dollars for his treatment at Pure Life Ministries. But he feels that his health and happiness paid the biggest price. “I have regrets,” says Ingram. “And I have psychological damage.”

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that members of the LGBTQ community who were rejected by others because of their sexuality had higher rates of drug abuse, depression, and suicide. The study also found that, of the individuals interviewed, two-thirds had tried to kill themselves following familial rejection. The American Psychological Association says that conversion therapy is a detriment to these individuals because it “frames the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.” Yet Ingram believes that the testimonies of ex-gay survivors show the strength of individuals who face a future as uncertain as the stock market, but have managed to move on despite a major crash. “There will always be people who are anti-gay and there will always be people who want to change folks,” says Ingram. “But I believe we can all be healed.” n 57

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Tamingthe

Shadows For female veterans who have experienceD Sexual assault, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder turns everyday life into a nightmare words Caitlin Feldman Photos Tess Freeman

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s Ree McSween has dealt with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder throughout her life. Some days she has difficulty answering the phone or checking her email. “There are days where I’m just not in the right head space to carry on a conversation,” McSween says. Previous page: McSween says her experiences with sexual assault while serving in the United States Coast Guard resulted in her PTSD.

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‘‘

I wasn’t functioning well. I was barely surviving, and I was feeling like I was imploding upon myself.

‘‘

R

ee McSween stood at the front window of her cold, dark house with a loaded weapon in her hand. Snow coated the ground—rare for a Eugene, Oregon winter. She was isolated, save for a large snowball in her driveway. It wasn’t there earlier, but suddenly there it was, taunting her. McSween didn’t see an oversized snowball. In her mind, she saw the unknown person who put it there. A threat. A danger. Standoffs were this snowball’s specialty. It sat silently, patiently contemplating her move. McSween’s weapon was loaded. The gun was a .45 caliber Colt 1911. She turned off the lights in her house. The heat was off, too, but that was no matter; she could stand the cold if it meant catching the assailant.

Ree McSween For ninety minutes, McSween stood at the window. Waiting. Nothing. The perpetrator never arrived. “It finally dawned on me how crazy it was, waiting at the window with a loaded .45 in my hand,” McSween says. “The fear was real but the evidence didn’t show the threat.” McSween is one of 7.7 million American adults suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to the

National Institute of Mental Health. Because women are the most common victims of domestic violence, rape, and abuse, they are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD in their lifetimes, according to the PTSD Alliance, an organization made up of professional advocacy groups that provide resources to those affected by the disorder. Along with depression, anxiety, and insomnia, fear is among the most common symptoms of PTSD. Often occurring after traumas such as sexual assault, combat, or


natural or industrial disasters, PTSD can be life-shattering, altering the way victims see the world and themselves. McSween believes she’s been dealing with undiagnosed PTSD for most of her life. It began with her father, an alcoholic who she says abused her physically and sexually, then continued through a brutal beating she suffered at the hands of two siblings. Yet it wasn’t until she says a senior officer attempted to rape her that McSween’s symptoms came to the forefront. In the US armed forces, the term for sexual abuse is Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and this event would transform her dormant PTSD symptoms into an active monster. Today, her symptoms are triggered when someone stands behind her right shoulder—the direction from which her attacker approached. “He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t agreeing to the rape. That’s where his ego was,” McSween says. “He bent me over a bunk and was trying to rape me, and I was able to fight him off by swinging my elbow around and knocking him off.”

McSween never reported the assault. According to the Department of Defense’s Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, an estimated 19,000 cases of rape, sexual assault, or harassment occur each year. Only 2,617 of those estimated cases were reported in 2011. Anonymous, mandatory culture surveys reveal these numbers. But not all participants trust the anonymity, says Jennifer Norris, an Air Force veteran and victim advocate for the Military Rape Crisis Center in Maine. As a result, Norris believes that 19,000 is a low estimate. “I think it’s more common than what people even know,” she says. McSween didn’t report the assault because she’d been taught to remain silent her whole life. Instead she buried the event deep within herself—to tell the secret would mean certain death. It’s what she said her family threatened when they discovered she was a lesbian; it’s what she believed would happen to her military career if she told her superiors of the attack. So it remained hidden. “I knew I didn’t have a chance,” Mc-

s In 1991, McSween was in a motor vehicle accident that crushed three discs in her back and dislocated her shoulder. Today she uses physical therapy and adaptive recreation to ease her pain and to build back her strength.

Sween says. “Because in the military you can’t just report that to your authorities, it has to go through your chain of command. And since he was a senior person in my chain of command . . .” The hierarchy only reinforced her decision to remain silent. Although she says sexual abuse was considered an ordinary occurrence in this environment, McSween refused to accept it as part of “military culture.” When she became a senior officer, other servicewomen told her of their experiences with MST. McSween passed the information on to other officers, but says she was soon instructed to stop. Nothing could be done, she was told. It wasn’t her job to help—it was her job to train. According to McSween, that was when her superiors began to actively search for reasons to discharge her. She said officers began harassing her about her weight. She was sent to the unit where “mess-ups” go, where she was routinely tested for drugs and questioned about her sexuality. Eventually, she checked herself into the psychiatric ward—an infamous career killer. “There were times I was starting to get suicidal,” McSween says. “I was driving and I’d think, it would just take a minute to yank this wheel over and cross the line and get in front of this truck coming at me.” By now McSween’s PTSD was in full effect, but she had no idea. She didn’t understand how she could be a human when she didn’t feel like one. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that in order for PTSD to be diagnosed, victims must show signs of stressors, including intrusive recollections—commonly known as flashbacks—as well as numbness, avoidance, and heightened emotional arousal. “You can be numbed out,” says Megan Wuest, a psychologist associate specializing in trauma therapy in Eugene, Oregon. “Your world starts to get smaller because of the event. You also have hyperarousal— difficulty falling asleep, irritable outbursts, being hyper vigilant.” McSween later realized that she displayed all of these symptoms. At the end of her military career, she felt like she was going crazy. She was depressed and estranged from her family. She says the Coast Guard encouraged her to quit and she was eventually discharged. 61

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s Krista Schultz runs along a bark trail at Alton Baker Park in Eugene a week after completing her first marathon. Schultz is a four-year survivor of breast cancer and would sit in the park before her treatments. She says she also has PTSD from her time serving in the military.

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‘‘

He said in front of everyone, ‘We just brought you out here so we could rape you.’

‘‘

The reason? “Unsuitability.” “I wasn’t functioning well. I was barely surviving,” she says. “And I was feeling like I was imploding upon myself. I didn’t have any friends. That’s what isolation does to you—you just don’t have anybody to talk to.” For the next fifteen years, PTSD took control of her life. Around the same time, Krista Shultz was fresh out the army and fighting her own battle with undiagnosed PTSD. As a linguist during Desert Storm, she never encountered harassment while enrolled in her language program. But when Shultz left her language program and was stationed overseas, the catcalls began. The problem, she says, is that they were allowed. She complained about the harassment once, but says she was told to simply avoid that area of the base. Shultz says her superiors told her she was the problem, not the harassers. Says victim advocate Jennifer Norris, “We cannot minimize sexual harassment. [Harassment] is insidious, subtle, longterm, and very degrading to a person’s

– Krista Schultz

psyche, self-esteem, and self worth if you can’t get away from it.” As time moved on, Shultz could not escape. Her job was to fight the enemy, but she felt an entirely different enemy lived on her own base. Eventually, she felt that even going to the bathroom alone wasn’t safe, nor was showering. At one point, a sergeant requested that Shultz join him and an all-male group of soldiers in the desert to simulate living under hostile conditions. “He said in front of everyone, ‘We just brought you out here so we could rape you,’” Shultz says. “He said it. He said it and you know, there’s my PTSD right there,” she says. Many of the male soldiers around her laughed at the sergeant’s statement,

but Shultz took it seriously. She made it clear that she would shoot anyone who came near her. “You’ll have to go to sleep sometime,” she recalls her sergeant responding. His joking tone was gone. Not all of Shultz’s PTSD symptoms are from sexual trauma, however. Some stem from being the target of Scud Missile attacks. Wind chimes trigger her symptoms because they remind her of the alarm that signaled a gas attack. The smell of canvas reminds her of being surrounded by untrustworthy men in the desert. She sleeps best alone because she fears for her safety if someone else is in the room. Loud noises at night trigger her symptoms, as does being woken abruptly.


‘‘

I found out I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one. Even though our experiences might be a little different, they’re all so much the same.

‘‘

Shelley Corteville is also triggered by loud noises. She startles easily and has night terrors. She cannot stand it when people are behind her, either. Corteville served in the army from 1977 to 1981. She says she was raped five times during this period. Four years ago, she attended a Soldier’s Heart retreat and shared her story for the first time. It was also the first time she’d felt safe since joining the military with parental consent at age seventeen. Like McSween and Shultz, Corteville knew something was wrong but could not pinpoint her apprehension. Speaking with other veterans has given her allies in the battle against PTSD. “I found out I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one,” Corteville says. “Even though our experiences might be a little different, they’re all so much the same.” Today, she still struggles to form intimate relationships. She never had the chance to learn what a healthy sex life is like, and although she wants to improve her relationships, she doesn’t know where to start. For Corteville, her scars overshadow the act of sex itself. Her PTSD affects her trust not only of others, but of herself. While none of these women believe their PTSD will ever fully go into remission, they still continue their attempts to heal. For McSween, the healing process involved creating Cycling for Veterans, a group that helps former military personnel and their families be active in safe social situations. In addition to forming the cycling group, she also began telling her story. All three PTSD survivors have been open to sharing their stories in order to help others with similar experiences. Through sharing what happened to them, they hope to change the culture surrounding MST. “Walking through these fears shows me

– Shelley Corteville

that the fears are just paper tigers. They don’t have anything to do with reality,” McSween says. “My job is to talk about it. My job is to get it out of me.” It’s been six years since McSween held a snowball at gunpoint and decided it was

time to get help. She no longer waits for paper tigers to appear, ready to attack her like a flesh-and-blood beast. But when they do, she defeats them one by one. n

s Shelley Corteville has been married and divorced four times. She feels the military sexual trauma she experienced has robbed her of the ability to maintain healthy relationships and a healthy sex life.

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Veterinarian Jeff Pelton performs a dentistry procedure on Tammy Ladd’s horse, Slider. Pelton sedates the horses during this process so it is less painful and so that the animals stay calm and still during the procedure.

A large animal veterinarian provides care for four-legged friends

Healing Hooves Photos Alisha Jucevic

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J

66

always

animal clinic outside of Eugene. His exam room

enjoyed the company of four

and office are on the same property as his home,

legged animals. Growing up

but the majority of his appointments take place

in Los Angeles, Pelton had

at the client’s residence.

eff

Pelton

has

little interaction with large

Pelton works with horses, cows, goats, sheep,

animals, but after working

llamas, and alpacas in Lane County, offering

with them in veterinary

a variety of services including dentistry,

school at the University

digital radiology, health examinations, and

of California, Davis, he

twenty-four-hour emergency care. During

decided to specialize in their care. After working

each appointment, Pelton takes the time to

at a clinic in Sonoma County and two clinics

consider the animal’s emotional state so it feels

in Oregon, he decided to open his own large

comfortable in his hands.

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Eve Burleson cringes at the sound of the file as Pelton does dentistry work on her horse. Pelton regularly performs “floats” on horses, which is a general dental procedure. s

s Shushy, Pelton’s dog, rides along with him on many of his appointments. He regularly brings his other dogs, Maxi and Veto, as well. Shushy usually gets out of the car and explores the area during Pelton’s appointments. Pelton listens to the sound of Tim Sharr’s horse, Cam. Sharr, right, holds a rebreathing bag up to the horse’s mouth to check for signs of Reactive Airway Disease, an asthma-like condition.

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s Pelton was called to an emergency at Ruby & Amber’s Organic Oasis farm to assist farm owner Kristine Woolhouse (right) and her assistant Karen Martens (center) with a birth. The cow’s water broke in the night, causing a late delivery and the calf ’s death.

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s

Pelton prepares his tools to clean a wound above a horse’s foot. Because many of his appointments are onsite, he brings sanitation and cleaning materials to disinfect his tools before, throughout, and after his appointments.


s Pelton and other local vets take turns working at the Eugene Livestock Auction. They oversee the cattle to check for illness and measure gestation periods of pregnant cattle. Pelton can predict when the calf is due by the size of the embryo. Cori Bell (right) thanks Pelton for caring for her wounded alpaca. Her dog attacked the alpaca the week before and Pelton sewed the wound shut at the time of the incident. At today’s appointment, he removed the dead skin that had grown over the stitches.

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Pelton leaves the barn at Eve Burleson’s residence. He treated her horse as well as two others that were boarding at Burleson’s facilities. 70

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The Courage to Run By Maygan Beckers

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y teal and silver Nike Shox hit the uneven pavement as I jogged down 18th Avenue on a brisk, spring morning. I had never been more aware of my surroundings. Pressing through thousands of chatty participants and seemingly suspicious spectators, I take a second look at people talking on their cell phones or carrying backpacks. On my way to the starting line of the Eugene Marathon, the first national race since the April 15, 2013 Boston bombings that took three lives and injured hundreds, I quickly searched for runner 4445, Shelly Beckers. My mother, who was competing in her ninth and final marathon at 51, decided to spare her knees and cut back on longdistance running. This was her last chance to run 26.2 miles in Eugene, where her daughter achieved a family dream—earning a college degree. “You made it,” my mom said, as I met her on the corner of 14th Avenue and Agate Street. With a tight hug, I wished her good luck. Rather than running the entire race, I would meet her at mile 23 to help her cross the finish line. Finally letting go, I watched her step toward the starting line. Knowing the chances were small, part of me still wondered if this would be the last time I would see her unharmed. I was twelve when I saw the Twin Towers fall on my living room television. However, the Boston tragedy was the first act of global terrorism I had experienced as an adult. I grasped that no matter where I was I might never truly be safe. My loved ones and I would always be vulnerable to chance and to the calculated decisions of others. My mom, however, wasn’t letting fear control her decisions. At the commencing line, the assembled runners bowed their heads for a moment of silence to honor the victims of Boston. I

reflected on why I was running. The reason was standing at the start sign, adjusting her running bib, causing the wedding ring my father gave her to glimmer. Suddenly, I jumped at the delayed crack of the starting gun and moved a half step closer to my dad, who always gave me reassurance. As my mom shrunk from view, images of bloodied runners, terrified spectators, and collapsing debris replayed in my mind. Would this be the next city to get hit? Setting those thoughts aside, my dad and I had breakfast before meeting my mom at mile markers seven and fourteen. I cheered her on and anticipated her requests for deodorant and sunglasses, while my dad fished around in the bag she had prepared. However, mile marker eighteen didn’t go as planned. My heart began to race as my dad and I waited. After twenty minutes, she still hadn’t passed. My escalating panic turned into relief as I saw her bright blue shirt. When I saw she was okay, my body relaxed. She was tired, but safe. Without thinking, I stepped into the course and began running alongside her—five miles earlier than I’d planned and trained for. Although my mom looked at me with confusion, I wanted to run the

extra miles for her. “It’s 80 percent mental, 20 percent physical,” I said to her. Though little inclines felt like giant mountains to her, I encouraged her to stay positive. She leaned heavily on my arm, speed-walking a twelve-minute pace per mile. My left side ached so badly I wanted to stop. Hiding my pain from her, I gently leaned to my left and stretched out an unbearable kink. Turning the corner on mile twenty, I noticed something that revived me. A pair of black pants had been placed on a tree trunk in the shape of the ribbons runners had received to support Boston victims. Worry overflowed my aching body as we entered Hayward Field for the last stretch. Would we conquer this race harmed or unscathed? I became alert as my mom painfully giggled at being so close to her goal. Crossing the finish line at 5:56:16, we linked hands, lacing our fingers together and setting our other hands on our hearts. Once my mom hit the finish line, she grabbed me and held on with a squeeze. Arms wrapped around her, I sensed her emotion—causing tears to form in my own hazel eyes. Knowing that we conquered our fear together will have a special place in my heart forever. n

Photo by Myray Reames

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celebrating twenty years

Profile for Flux Magazine

FLUX 2013  

The official student publication of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

FLUX 2013  

The official student publication of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

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