Greetings from the Editor, Winter 2009

As the cover of this issue indicates, there is a serious topic within. Dr. Leanne Serbulo, a recent graduate of the PSU urban studies doctoral program, has done a great deal of research and thinking about the problem of intolerance in the region and we are now the beneficiary of her work. Although bigotry is a subject not often discussed in connection with this relatively tranquil corner of the nation, it is one that has had a significant on-again, off-again relationship with us. In fact, it has never really been far from the surface of events in the region, as the author clearly shows. When it has reared its head, many have struggled courageously to overcome it and, as in the instances she discusses, triumphed.

But it turns out that these victories have often been fleeting and like a persistent bacterium, hate has a way of growing back to plague us. As recently as the last decade, we were not nearly as enlightened as we thought we were. In this look at the recent history of our experience of this phenomenon, Dr. Serbulo reminds us that, if the past is any measure and even as a majority of Oregonians voted for the man who will be America’s first African-American president, we are not likely to be immune from the germ of intolerance.

Two other important pieces appearing in this issue include a powerful interview by Vivek Shandas with the CEO’s of two of the region’s most innovative philanthropic organizations. He examines with them the suddenly pressing question of how, in an increasingly staggering economy, their groups innovate to help those most in need and what the most pressing issues they face are, as well as the unique features of need in our region. The challenges faced by the two organizations—Mackenzie River Gathering Foundation and Social Venture Partners Oregon—are daunting but when you finish reading the piece, you’ll be glad these bright and committed people are at their head.

The versatile Dr. Shandas reappears in another guise with a co-author, Dr. Linda George of the Environmental Science Department at PSU, to depict and interpret in our atlas the meaning of data gathered by the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality on toxins in the metroscape. DEQ’s prodigious efforts have produced, as the authors note, “one of the highest resolution datasets of modeled air quality in the nation.” We know our readers spend a lot of time thinking about how to make this a better region. This important atlas will be a powerful stimulus to your ruminations.

There are a few more enlightening pieces in this issue—one on the value increment of trees on real estate and another on the metroscape’s wine country. The performance of regional stocks over the year round out our offerings in this issue. In other words, it’s a full and fascinating magazine, as always. Enjoy it and please accept the Metroscape® staff’s bests wishes for a happy new year.

Craig Wollner
Editor in Chief