Watch Now: Dr. Brenda McComb

Dr. Brenda McComb says Smokey Bear has done a good job preventing forest fires. Too good.

McComb is an accomplished academic, and a pioneer in Oregon transgender rights. She served as a dean and vice provost at Oregon State University. She's also an expert on a subject a lot of people around here are debating: forest management.

McComb observes that the immense wildfires consuming Oregon's Cascade Range this September are fueled in part by pristine Douglas fir forests that haven't been touched by fire in decades. That, she says, is a problem—because the undergrowth in these forests has grown too thick, and fuels frenzied megafires that devour anything in their path.

The solution? Smaller fires.

In this interview with WW editor Mark Zusman, McComb describes how controlled burns might prevent some of the destruction seen over the past week, why climate change makes such a policy more urgent, and the obstacles that kept Oregon from trying this more often.

TBA organizers Erin Boberg and Kristan Kennedy discuss the logistics of putting on a festival in a time of multiple crises.
Nearly the entire state is experiencing historically bad air quality. But Tom Roick of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says it’s part of a pattern.
“Prescribed burns” are a common practice in other parts of the country. In Oregon, however, they chafe against the interests of the timber industry.
"The Dark Divide,” the director’s new film, is arriving at an unfortunately timely moment—it could even be called prophetic.
Steve Pedery says that raises urgent questions about how Oregon manages the forests around its cities.
He voted to eliminate the bureau’s Gun Violence Reduction Team. Here, he explains why it was the right decision.
This state has rarely seen a wind event like the one that occurred Sept. 7.
By 7 am this morning, the Urban Forestry Division's tree emergency hotline had already received about 45 calls for help. By 2 pm, it had received 218.
Karabaic's radio show, "Oh My Dollar!," began with the goal of making personal finance more accessible to the average millennial. The pandemic reinvigorated that aim—and gave her a lot more to think about.
The executive director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center explains why he wants the mayor to resign, and what he and others mean when they say Portland is under the thumb of a “rogue police force.”
"Portland has become a proxy for a reelection campaign, and for alt-right and white nationalist paramilitaries and vigilantes who want to live out their fantasy of racial war."
“Are you tired of white supremacy? Bitch, welcome to the club.”
Kuske makes a convincing spokesperson for legalizing psilocybin therapy—mostly because he doesn’t fit the profile of someone who'd find relief from trauma in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
In 2010, Webley, a native of Northeast Portland, cast Boseman in his debut feature, “The Kill Hole,” about an Iraq war veteran who goes AWOL in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.
His nonprofit, Dollar For, does two things.
If Measure 109 passes, it would make Oregon the first state to sanction psilocybin therapy.
This week, Steve Herring joined 10 other independent theater owners across Oregon in signing a petition arguing for Gov. Kate Brown to allow cinemas to open in counties still in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan.
Daniel Cortez is legislative director for the Portland local of the American Postal Workers Union. That’s a branch of organized labor that’s gotten plenty of attention lately.
Working with a director like Cole Bennett is a career-defining moment for an artist who’s just getting his start. But for the 18-year-old rapper, the achievement is mostly personal.
So many people donate to the Low Bar Chorale they can pay the backing musicians the fee they would make playing live.
With galleries closed or only open in a limited sense, Galluzzo has been dealing with Instagram censorship and the lack of real-time, artist-to-audience interaction.
Xander Almeida is a Republican, but he arrived in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The lack of spending options in an antisocial era led to a rise in people paying off personal debt and a drop in bankruptcy filings.
When Boquiren takes his ride out, he's not huffing on flaming bagpipes, or otherwise performing for the amusement of others. He's training.
The success of “Bitter Root”—an indie comic about a family of monster hunters set during the Harlem Renaissance—has been something of a surprise, especially since Walker never intended for the series to win everyone over.
Of course, many questions remain about the Blazers as a whole. But ask Quick, and there’s not much left to say about Lillard.
Aanen Trelstad owns two coin-operated laundromats and he struggles to find enough quarters to keep them running.
Consumer spending, which flatlined in March, has rebounded, but in new and unexpected shapes.
The pediatrician and Democratic nominee for House District 36 on Portland’s westside wants bars closed and schools open.
Dubbed “the No Drama Llama," the camelid was meant to act as a calming presence for demonstrators in the midst of a tense situation.
The director talks crashing, the challenges of directing and biking at the same time, and what she listened to in order to make it up the ride’s biggest climb.
Oregon doctors seek a full-court press against the virus. They want Gov. Kate Brown to follow the same strategy she’s used to control COVID’s spread but intensify it.
“I think in American Western culture, the separation from your parents is an achievement,” Valderrama says. “In our culture, it's almost the exact opposite.”
The affluent Portland suburb has a long history of racist incidents, which prompted Poinsette’s mother to co-found the community action group Respond to Racism in 2017.
"All I know is one hell of a boom," he recalls.
So far, the projects range from rebuilding a porch for a recently unemployed grandmother to overhauling the interior of a house in Lents and providing the family with a new fridge.
For fans of his work, it might sound like Bors is living out the ultimate liberal fantasy of fleeing America’s death spiral for the land of maple trees and single-payer health care up north. But his reasons for leaving are much more practical.
Peter Walters says residents of Pendleton think the outbreak is more of a Hermiston thing.
Though much of his work vibrates with rage, he’s found equal inspiration in the community that’s formed around the demonstrations.
The lawyers discuss whether they get discouraged by how little regard federal agents pay to court rulings while defending the courthouse.
Last week's Frontline Drumline was hardly the first time Christian Burke has danced between clouds of tear gas.
We asked him: Is there a place for white Portlanders in the streets? He answered, with one precise example.
The founder and namesake of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider was hit with federal crowd control munitions at point-blank range. He promises they’ll both be back.
He’s become the national media’s go-to contact for palindromic content.
He doubts a restraining order is actually restraining anybody.
"You don't actually help anyone. You just stand there and enable the system to go around you.”
Brunberg considers the funding from the CARES Act a life-saver. But for many arts venues, the future remains uncertain.
Unsettling Toys mostly started as a goof. But it didn’t take long for the public to take it seriously.
The head of the Oregon Historical Society weighs in on the renaming of schools, the removal of monuments, and the Oregon historical figure who has an entire county named after him, and probably shouldn't.
An uprising in the streets demands deep change to many institutions—and Arteaga believes that must include schools.
The results can be catastrophic, leaving patients with limited speech and motor function.
While many comics are just now waking up to social justice issues, it’s been part of Miller's act since she started—sometimes to the detriment of her career.
“To be honest, we’re right back where we started,” he says.
For the past few months, much of the Chanti Darling frontperson's public-facing creative output has come in the form of recipes for zesty pesto pasta salad, pear and mandarin chutney, and cactus and chickpea tacos.
She’s been studying the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health—and its effects on others more vulnerable to the disease.
“When you have masses of people who are enraged due to historic brutality, oppression, hate, terror, you’re going to see things breaking, you’re going to see things burning.”
She’s just started doing outbound sessions again—clients must fill out a waiver and submit to no-touch temperature checks, and certain “cuddle poses” are now off limits.
It isn’t every day the Oregon Court of Appeals affirms your right to identify as who you are.
When it launched in January, the organization’s focus was on entrepreneurship. With the onset of COVID-19, feeding those in need jumped to the top of its priority list.
He had a bad feeling four months ago. He’s got the same feeling now.
A few weeks ago, a left-leaning film company asked if it could use a 2-year-old song by him in an anti-Trump ad. Now his inbox is flooding with offers from agents and bookers.
They want to restore the largest Black neighborhood in Portland, a neighborhood that was displaced by civic urban renewal policies of the latter half of the last century.
On her blog, The Black Portlanders, Abioto often photographs people in their own element, whatever that may be. But that has become increasingly difficult during the pandemic.
Two weeks ago, a friend asked her if she wanted to move to Oaxaca. She said, “Why not?”
The director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights explains her guiding philosophy.
The Old Gold’s reopening was a logistical feat.
She now finds herself running Meyer at a pivotal and complicated moment.
Ndubisi Anyanwu has Portland connections and a firsthand view of how a developing nation is grappling with a merciless virus.
“History is rife with instances where things that were owed to us were taken.”
Do you feel like you live in “New Portland,” a place that’s long on artisanal doughnut shops and short on parking? Well, Warren Pash wrote a song you might like—and another you might recognize.
Essentially an introduction to the concept of anti-racism, "White Homework" is both a podcast and a literal set of online coursework.
Many Portlanders find themselves with protest-induced insomnia, kept awake by the distant rumble of stun grenades. What sets Chavez apart is that he can do something about it.
Anis Mojgani understands why kids these days might not find poetry relevant to their lives. He’s now in a position to change that.
And with every breath, he thinks of his donor, a man about whom he knows nothing, except that he was from Oregon and that his lungs happened to fit perfectly into Terry’s chest.
In his three decades putting on hip-hop shows in Portland, the artist and promoter has sought to maintain an open dialogue with law enforcement. He’s not ready to end the conversation.
The founder of Fingers Crossed Interpreting has spent many nights assisting Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing protesters navigate a situation that can turn chaotic at any moment.
The pressures that generated the idea have only increased.
The former Blazer is concerned that bringing basketball back now might distract the public from what’s happening in America's streets.
This city’s veteran civil rights leader sees little progress for black citizens.
Even though he’s literally written a book about broaching complex issues with children, that doesn't mean it’s been easy for Memory to explain to his own kids the realities of police brutality.
Interim CEO Beth deHamel is concerned about the impact of the virus in places like Central America, Afghanistan and refugee camps.
The local restaurants that make Portland a foodie destination? Likely to close by the thousands.
When his own restaurants closed, Rucker started hosting live cooking demonstrations from home to stay connected with would-be diners.
He’s been particularly heartened by the images he’s seen coming out of Portland—both the peaceful demonstrations and the more destructive kind.
For five consecutive nights, he’s been at the front lines. If he’s lucky, he gets four hours of sleep a night.
“It was like being under surveillance in my apartment for five hours.”
Each movie is full of strange, striking images and strays far from Hollywood's readymade narrative structures and tidy resolutions—and none of them are on major streaming services.
His ranks are growing during the pandemic.
“Y’all backwards, scavengers/Buying up all the tissue going batshit/Diarrhea ain't even one of the symptoms/Why the fuck you buying that shit?”
They were as precious to him as personal protective equipment was for nurses.
He was more troubled by the sluggish pace at which the Oregon Employment Department is delivering federal benefits to jobless citizens.
What does a creative polymath do when stuck with a bunch of extra time on her hands? Pick up on old habits—namely, observing Portlanders in their natural habitat.
In this interview, Andrew Hoan talks about Portland’s economic future, why his organization supported a tax hike, and how Portland is not Brooklyn.
Josh Lehner's forecast went out 10 years, predicting there would be 34,000 fewer Oregonians because of the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic.
In mid-March, it was hard to imagine the coronavirus could disrupt an event six months down the line. But Baio couldn’t afford to wait and see.
He underestimated the appeal of Mingus Mapps, the political newcomer who sped past former Mayor Sam Adams to make a runoff against Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
She authored an historically bleak jobs report.
You know a crisis is getting serious when guys who’ve gone bungee-jumping while locked inside overflowing Porta-Potties start worrying about their health.
The technology and tools to diagnose and monitor clinical health remotely have been around for some time. What’s been missing are a couple of things.
She also found a wall where she can practice her shot.
It was a bombshell in the typically go-along, get-along world of party politics in Oregon.
“I think back and say, ‘Why did we not do something?’—for one thing, sell all our stock,” David Vernier jokes.
Stanger has no problem telling her 8-year-old daughter what she does for a living: "When she was little, I would drive by the strip club and say, 'This is the building where mommy dances for money.'"
When the pandemic shut the zoo down in mid-March, it didn’t just close a Portland institution—it shuttered Oregon’s biggest paid tourist attraction.
“That’s just going to be the death knell for sit-down restaurants,” Huffman says.
Julia Niiro is on a mission to save family farms.
"Everyone’s just gotten a slap of reality. Our overprivileged society is suddenly, vastly going to change. I think our art is going to reflect that.”
Kate Sokoloff knows she has it good, while others have it very bad.
Most of her life, McKenna Dempsey has battled depression, anxiety and severe mood instability. A single conversation changed her understanding of herself—and she wants to use tech to impart that idea to teenagers.
Peter Graven built a model to see what would happen if the state took no social distancing precautions.
His analysis flies in the face of high-profile protests demanding a quick return to normal.
His biggest mistake of quarantine, though? Joining TikTok.
“I can’t think of what can be more essential and timely than accessing an abortion.”
Berge co-founded Help Make [Better] 50, a nonprofit dedicated to producing medical isolation gowns—a significantly more involved process than facial coverings.
Jake Silberman quit his job to go on a comedy tour. Joke’s on him.
“I struggled to walk from my bathroom to my kitchen, and that is probably 15 feet,” says Marchelle Watson.
Of course, we couldn’t interview him and not have him read us a story.
“I’m not sure I want to give blood to get on an airplane.”
And who’s that calling in as a special guest halfway though? Why, it’s Brian Grant!
One area of his life that the coronavirus has disrupted, though, is his burgeoning side gig as a fast food critic.
As the godfather of Portland’s startup scene, Rick Turoczy says many of the companies at his incubator are still figuring out what COVID-19 means for them.
The point isn’t to watch famous guests like Michael Rapaport and Ricki Lake get stoned out of their gourds—not the whole point, anyway.
When you toss your ballot in the mailbox next month without hunting for a postage stamp, thank Samantha Gladu.
The way Andrew Proctor sees it, the nonprofit has a significant role to play in a post-pandemic arts landscape.
Tim Duy doesn’t see any scenario in which the effects of COVID-19 aren’t worse than the Great Recession.
The Portland singer and actress has spent the better part of the past two decades away from home. Now that she's forced to stay away from the stage, she’s confronting some harsh truths about herself.
In Kandahar, he remembers hiding next to a concrete wall in the middle of the night, waiting for enemy rockets to land and kill everyone. That’s where his comedy was born.
“In the Bible, Yahweh didn’t deal in just a couple thousand people dying,” Weber says. “He would light 50,000 people on fire.”
It’s an awkward time to make a living talking about sex when physical contact is practically against the law. But for that reason, Gretchen Leigh’s job could be considered essential.
In the short term? It doesn’t look great. But eventually, she says, Oregonians could benefit from upheaval.
The formerly Portland-based comic is spending quarantine watching “Law & Order,” doing standup for his cats and writing jokes about the coronavirus for Samantha Bee.
Suvada wrote the first Mortal Coil book in 2017, when few people outside of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew what a coronavirus was.
Quarantine gave him time to ponder what common household items could be converted into facial protection without any cutting or sewing.
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