Portland’s been dying for decades

By Erik Dolson

I spent my first 18 years of life in the Portland area, and seven years after that until my early thirties when I came to Sisters, Oregon to publish the local newspaper.

I loved Portland. For years I said Portland was like a well-worn leather jacket I could slip into any time and it still fit just fine.

That hasn’t been true for more than a decade, and … Read more…

Don’t want to mask?

By Erik Dolson

This is how a Republican shows he is morally bankrupt:

“Mask-wearing has become a totem, a secular religious symbol,” one Republican strategist told The Washington Post. “Christians wear crosses, Muslims wear a hijab, and members of the Church of Secular Science bow to the Gods of Data by wearing a mask as their symbol, demonstrating that they are the elite; smarter, more rational, and morally superior to everyone else.”

Not only does this “Republican strategist” denigrate … Read more…

I’m out of ideas

By Erik Dolson

Often I wonder if this country’s ailments can be cured. Each of the major issues sometimes appear … just too hard.

Some even thrive on the processes we would use to solve them. What do you do when medicine causes a disease it was supposed to cure?

Laws are to minimize conflict between our different values, to guide interactions while allowing each maximum freedom. Still, there are many areas where values interact. Industries exist that maximize friction between us, businesses that have freedom to fan the flames of hatred.

I have no … Read more…

Hidden assumptions

by Erik Dolson

The other evening over dinner, my daughter K.C. asked why all the sailing magazines scatted around my house showed “older white people” in ads for boats.

“Is that because those are the people who have jobs where they can afford those boats? Would it be good to show people with brown skin like me (she is of East Indian heritage) in the ads?”

Since I published a small newspaper for most of my adult life, I explained that advertising costs money, advertisers wanted to … Read more…

Capitalist conundrum

By Erik Dolson

Office Depot put my local stationary store out of business, then the men’s store downtown that carried shirts I liked closed their doors because of the new mall. And there is always Walmart. Capitalism may be efficient and creative, but has some serious side effects.

I think of myself as a capitalist (and a liberal, but those are not really incompatible). But I worry that unintended consequences of unfettered capitalism may harm “we the people” … Read more…

End anonymity on social media

by Erik Dolson

Years ago when I published a small town weekly newspaper, on occasion we covered controversial issues. There were differences of opinion, and sometimes bitterness. Letters to the editor were occasionally “difficult.”

We strove to publish every letter, though at times we had to give writers a second chance to moderate their language. On very rare occasions, we fulfilled our responsibility to the community and refused to spread bile. Importantly, when doing so we acted in our role as journalists and mindful of responsibilities conferred by the First … Read more…

Rain on water

By Erik Dolson

At 6 a.m. I stretched tarp over hatches to keep out rain that had been falling for hours and found its way within, waking and alerting me the weather had changed with “tap, tap, tap” as drops hit the wood sole of the cabin.

Clouds heavy with rain snag in the low conifers of Brown Island, muffle the world.

Silence on board is so intense I hear clouds rip free from the overcast. Occasionally … Read more…

This is NOT a drill

by Erik Dolson

Another day lost to the coronavirus, another week gone by.  We’re in a row boat, Republicans have the only oar. They row on their side only and around, around we go.

“The states will do testing,” Trump says (on Monday, could change any time). Mitch McConnell says “blue” states should be punished for past spending by withholding money needed to pay cops, nurses, firefighters. “Let them go bankrupt,” he says.

It’s one thing if McConnell’s Kentucky opens up for business today or tomorrow. Agreed, that’s up to their governor. But then, … Read more…

Give Trump a break!

By Erik Dolson

God, it pains me to say it.

The press is being unfair to Trump.

His missteps last Thursday at the coronavirus update were serious. Talking about using light on people to kill the virus in a minute, or wondering if there was some way disinfectant could be used internally to destroy the virus, was not his best moment.

But if I usually try to look at what Trump means, as opposed to what he says, I have to do the same here. In his own way, Trump was asking if these things … Read more…

What will survive the virus?

By Erik Dolson

The coronavirus is a once-in-a-generation event. As it has ended many lives, going forward it will define many others. It will perhaps define our country, what we have become and who we will be.

The virus is an insidious enemy, spreading among people who do not appear to be sick. It can attack in terrifying ways, causing blood clots and strokes in young and seemingly healthy people, invading the lungs in a way … Read more…