Greetings from the Editor, Summer 2007

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Here at Metroscape®, we like to think that exploring the Portland metropolitan region is not just an exercise in highlighting the obvious—the economy, the political issues, education, health care, and so forth—although, of course, we do that. The obvious is, I suppose, obvious because it’s important and relevant to our lives and the state of the region.

We’ve got the obvious covered in this issue. The atlas is a deep, compelling, and revealing study of the geography of Measure 37. Whether you are for or against this law, it can’t be denied that it is central to the lives of Oregonians everywhere, not just those who live in the metropolitan area. The political culture has been roiled since 37’s passage and hardly a day doesn’t go by without some news about it. We think you will find the atlas, a collaboration among our designer and geographer, Meg Merrick, our technical editors, Vivek Shandas and Alton Straub, recent masters in urban and regional planning graduate, Erik Rundell, and planning student, Colin Maher, a useful and objective guide to the impact the law is having on the state’s land. Each of the authors brings a crucial skill set to this examination and the thoughtful and disinterested way the data is portrayed is a testament to their scholarship and intellect.

The same care has been given to two other pieces. One is Andrée Tremoulet’s story on the unstable home lives of some children in the area and how the constant moving they are subject to negatively affects their educational performance. We know that poverty and homelessness undermine these kids’ opportunities to learn—it’s obvious that they would—but this narrative, in which Ms. Tremoulet partnered with our researcher Elizabeth Mylott, shows just how detrimental this pattern is in this region. The authors also discuss a few triumphs in treating it as well as the frustrations of the struggle to help rootless kids learn.

Yet another obvious piece: We asked Dr. Merilee Karr, an award winning medical writer, to interview Dr. Joseph Robertson, Oregon Health and Science’s new president. What could be more obvious than finding out what’s on the mind of the leader of the region’s key health institution? Our interviewer elicits revealing responses about OHSU and the region from the institution’s new leader.

Finally, let me turn to the not-so-obvious. We’ve got that covered, too, in the form of a great piece by Kelle Lawrence, who opens the door on a little discussed yet totally fascinating dimension of everyday life in the area. Kelle provides a glimpse into the slightly off-kilter world of self-storage. Who knew that those low-slung, prosaic cinder block buildings were about more than, well, storage? You will when you’ve read this entertaining and informative article.

Craig Wollner
Editor in Chief