Delaney O’Hara

My household has never lacked a conversation about important news. It has become second nature for my parents to constantly ask me, “Have you heard about the new Covid variant?” or “Have you heard about Lil Nas X’s new song?” Sometimes my answer would be yes but often I had no clue what they were talking about. Whether I said yes or no they would still go into great detail about the said topic. My dad would possibly pose a quiz after our conversations such as, “Here is a quiz plus or minus 100,000. What is Lil Naz X’s top hit and with how many streams does it have?” The quizzes given are usually either multiple-choice, plus or minus if it is a number or open-ended questions. Once everyone has their guesses we all go around and say our answers. Once the correct answer is revealed, whoever is the closest to the right answer never wins anything, but we all collaboratively gain new knowledge about the topic.

Fiona Ing

On May 28, 2020 hundreds would march in Portland’s streets to the Multnomah County Justice Center in response to the killing of George Floyd, joining a wider movement with millions of others across the country. Demonstrations like these would continue through 2021. The George Floyd protests in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement along with other groups aimed to bring change to police brutality and systemic racism. The protests were a rightfully extreme response to unacceptable circumstances, though the response and political climate surrounding these protests highlights the political polarization of this country, in this case along racial lines. I remember being inundated with news covering the BLM protests and seeing the same events playing out in my city; they were concrete, not a far away issue, but something occuring just downtown.

Henry Gewecke

An anxious anticipation began to set in with the knowledge that I was entering a serious environment, one which required a heightened attentiveness; one I had not prepared myself for. I felt out of place and full of discomfort. Discomfort in my actions, my manner, and even my thoughts, all while having nothing to hide. As I crested the hill I was met with a white traffic gate strapped to a box with a keypad and a big bright red stop sign. The sign was thrown in shadow from the overcast clouds, but the blatant, unfeeling letters still stood guard solemnly. A look past the gate had me meet countless eyes of security cameras pointed in every direction. I followed one camera’s gaze toward a field to the right, completely surrounded by thick, tightly woven barbed wire. I felt trapped as my heartbeat pounded loudly in my head and I started sweating nervously. Before I knew it I was stopping my car before the gate of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the largest women’s prison in Oregon with 1,685 female inmates, and one woman on death row. 

Olin Gilster

“Oh, po po!” he laughed as another car launched into the street, “they gonna go light him up.” Soon enough, an undercover matte-black kitted Ford swerved out of the adjacent parking lot to flash the offender. However, the driver had no objective of backing down, and neither did the crowd around me from egging him on. “Go! Go!” the crowd roared, only adding gasoline to his already filled tank. Swiftly, he downshifted, his car roared, and he was off into the night.

Isabel Price

“At what point do you say I can’t hurt anymore?” asks Trauma PA Jon Van Horn. This question has recently probed the minds of many health care personnel, especially Emergency Room workers. The ER has always been an extremely taxing environment, but the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the rigor of the department. Physician rates of burnout and depression have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, with ER workers having to provide care in a setting they never anticipated would become reality.