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“When I go shopping at Walmart, I often end up getting money back,” she says. Dressed in a dark blue plaid coat, Nanell Clark shuffles through her purse and pulls out a large black wallet stuffed with receipts. She tucks a strand of long red hair behind her ear before taking out one receipt after another, placing them on the table in front of her and pointing to the negative total on each.

Clark is an expert couponer who searches online and through the pages of the Sunday newspaper to collect coupons for items from groceries to apparel. Each week, she figures out what she needs to buy for her family, flips through her coupon binder and finds coupons that will reduce the cost of the items she buys that week. “I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for something,” she says.

Having grown up as one of seven children, Clark learned early on that in order to get the most out of her twenty dollars for back-to-school shopping, she would need to be frugal. With six other children in one household, watching for deals and clearance sales was a necessity.

“I grew up couponing because my mom couponed,” she says. “When there are that many kids in one household you kind of have to.”

Now, as a wife and mother of two living in Springfield, Clark’s frugality has become an obsession. “If it’s not on sale and I don’t have a coupon for it, I’m not going to buy it,” she says. Her obsession saves her family thousands of dollars per year. Her kids know the one most important question when shopping with their mother: “Mom do you have a coupon for this?”

When Clark discovered a couponing blog called My Frugal Adventures three years ago, her obsession really took flight. “They do most of the work for you,” she says. “They do all the match-ups and tell you where the coupon is, you just have to get the coupons from them.”

Clark once found twenty coupons for granola bars on Ebay for just one dollar and subsequently bought fifty boxes of granola bars- at least one year’s worth for her family. Her kitchen pantries and laundry room cupboards are filled with boxes of food, the garage pantries house bottles of shampoo and toothpaste, and a corner of the attic serves as a toy store. When her son had a birthday party to attend, she didn’t even have to leave the house to find a gift.

***

Underneath the fluorescent lighting of a large warehouse-sized store, customers mill around the long aisles of everything a person could need: clothing, kitchen appliances, groceries, entertainment, furniture, and children’s toys. The monotonous beeping of the scanner at the register echoes off the walls.

Clark carries a calculator in her purse as she shops at Walmart. Although couponing comes quite naturally to her, she admits there is definitely a learning curve. As she puts each item in her shopping cart, she calculates what her total should be minus the percentage her coupon gives her for each item. Once she gets to the register, if the cashier’s total doesn’t equal her own she makes the cashier go through and find the mistake.

“It doesn’t effect me as much as it effects the customers behind her,” Walmart cashier Casey Wise says of ringing up avid couponers like Clark. “It’s time consuming and frustrating for other customers.”

However, if a store doesn’t give her the extra cash when she has a negative total, she turns to the customer behind her. “If the store doesn’t give cash back, I’ll start buying other customers’ items for them,” she says. For Clark, wasting money is not an option. She buys a few of their items until her total is brought up to zero.

Although it comes quite naturally to her, Clark admits that the strategy to successful couponing can be confusing. “It can be really hard to learn on your own­– it’s best to use a friend who coupons or the websites to get help,” she says.

A Thrifty Mom, a couponing website created in 2009, provides printable coupons and links to coupon sites as well as information about what to use a specific coupon for, where to use the coupon and when to use it. Sarah Barrand, creator of A Thrifty Mom, learned that it’s best to use coupons that are coordinated with a sale in order to get the lowest price.

Ten years ago, Barrand gave birth to a son with only half a heart. With very few options for their son’s survival, Barrand and her husband were in and out of hospitals in Washington, Arizona and Utah for the next three years. “Because we were already trying to pay off our debts, we only had fifteen dollars per week for food,” she says.

Barrand quickly learned that clipping coupons coordinated with sales was the best method of saving money. Today, her son is a healthy ten years old and they are living debt-free.

“I knew how to make my dollar really stretch,” she says. When the economy took a downturn in 2008, Barrand saw her friends and family begin to worry about how they would provide for their families. With all the support her family had received during those first three years of her son’s life, Barrand wanted to do something to return the favor.

“When my son was going in and out of surgery there were a lot of people who would help us by giving us rides to the airport and things like that,” she says. Creating a website to teach them about couponing was her way of giving back. Now, A Thrifty Mom offers coupons, deals, and meal ideas for people all over the country trying to save money.

When couponers want to find specific coupons and deals online, they go to websites like Cheap Sally, which offers coupons for 11,000 different retailers worldwide. Some of its most popular retailers include JibJab, Target, Forever 21 and Auto Trader. “We try to cultivate a relationship between our site and the advertisers so that people can coupon on our site,” says Tyler Stauss, one of the creators of Cheap Sally.

Walmart Customer Service Manager Keith Aiken says that coupons are good for business. “We get reimbursed by the manufacturer for the coupons,” he explains. “Although the customer may be saving money, we are still making the total price.”

According to a Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Agency study, 91% of coupon redeemers say they will visit a retailer again after being offered a coupon and 57% of shoppers, like Clark, say they would not have made the purchase without a coupon first.

“Their conversion rate is greater than those who don’t use coupons, which is probably good for the economy,” Stauss says.

***

As she walks down the aisle of a grocery store, Clark can easily point out her fellow couponers. There is a friendly atmosphere between them and Clark has even made good friends through couponing. “They’ve got their binder and they’ve got their coupons,” she says. “After a while you start seeing the same people over and over.”

Now that Clark has become an expert at couponing and can get so many items for free, she often donates any items she can’t fit in her pantries and cupboards to those in need. “There is always a place to donate to,” she says. With her stockpiles of shampoo and granola bars, she always has something to donate to local food banks and shelters.

Over last Christmas, Clark provided Christmas to an entire family. Coupon website Frugal Living Northwest had begun its Christmas Tree Project in which readers could sign up to help some families in need in the Pacific Northwest. Readers could donate toys, school supplies, food, books, games, and other household items, pay a utility bill, or even adopt a family for Christmas.

Clark and another reader worked together to provide Christmas to a family in Springfield. Unable to pay rent for several months, a couple and their two young children had been forced to move in with their mother, who had also been struggling financially, in a small duplex. The couple and their children were living together in one tiny bedroom. “They really had nothing- when we took stuff over to their house they had nothing under the Christmas tree,” Clark says.

Because Clark’s children had outgrown diapers, she donated her stockpile of baby items to the family. She and the other reader asked their friends and coworkers to donate money to help pay their bills as well. “I always have something I can give away to someone who needs it more,” she says.

Clark’s frugality has begun to rub off on her husband and children. When Clark’s daughter picks a penny up off the ground, she asks what she can buy with it. “Most people would say you can’t buy anything with a penny,” Clark says. “You might not be able to, but I can.”

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Photos of the Picc-A-Dilly Flea Market in Eugene, Oregon.

People gather at the Picc-A-Dilly Flea Market on Sunday, February 19 to buy and sell personal items like handmade soap, old records, books, and jewelry. The Market has been held at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene since 1970.

One vendor works on a drawing while customers pass by, admiring her home-made lamps.

Most of the items sold at the Market are priced significantly lower than items sold in a store- jewelry is priced at just a few dollars and books are sold for a few quarters.

Near the end of the day, a young girl sits on a bag of shoes and plays on her father's calculator while he organizes the items on his table and converses with customers.

Vintage and antique items fill the tables- old sports equipment, sewing machines, and dolls are a common theme.

A vendor excepts $4 for a box of Girl Scout cookies- many vendors allow customers to barter over the cost of their items.

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Splat Ter

Portrait photos of tattoo artist Splat Ter.

Tattoo artist Splat-Ter has been tattooing for almost 20 years, from the United Kingdom to the United States. He now works at High Priestess Tattoo in Eugene, Oregon.

Splat-Ter has been working on this full-length sleeve for almost a year, starting with the outline and slowly working in the colorful details of Lord Ganesha, Hindu God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles.

With his specialty being in large tattoos, Splat-Ter is used to working on the same tattoo for hours, weeks, months, and even years.

As loud rock music plays in the background, Splat-Ter likes to sing along as he works.

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A “Sense of Place” assignment for my photojournalism class.

The 65 acres of vineyards at Sweet Cheeks Winery are planted on sloping hillsides and grow Pinot Noir, Riesling,

 

Leo Nicholls, the assistant winemaker, allows the filtered rose wine to flow through one of many tubes into a barrel.

The winery's state of the art filtering technology traps any residue within thousands of small tubes as the wine slowly empties out of the larger tube.

Wine is stored in 60 gallon French oak barriques in a small room that keeps the wine warm during cold winter months.

Sweet Cheeks' rose Pinot Gris, a favorite of its visitors, is a subtly sweet wine full of citrus flavors.

In the tasting room, visitors enjoy the award-winning wines over friendly conversation on a Friday evening.

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Cluster

Pre's Trail, named after the late track star Steve Prefontaine, serves as a soft running path that runs along the north bank of the Willamette River in Eugene.

 

Few leaves hang on the trees around Pre's Trail in January.

The American flag shines in the sun atop the Federal Courthouse in Eugene.The Federal Courthouse building in Eugene is surrounded by odd restaurants and tattoo parlours.

A single rose blooms in front of the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon on a rainy winter day.

The glass front of the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon is adorned with an "O" that was put up for the taping of ESPN's College Gameday last autumn.

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It was his 40th birthday when Peter Bours heard the rumbling of a chainsaw outside his house in the sleepy town of Forest Grove. He went to the window to find a man standing in his front yard holding the chainsaw threatening the lives of him and his family. At the time, Bours had only been performing abortions for a few years, but now, almost thirty years later, he has become accustomed to threats like this.

A weathered 68-year-old Bours sits at his desk on a Thursday afternoon in the light of his small clinic in Eugene signing medical forms after his last patient has gone. The purple walls of the reception area are covered with tye-dyed tapestries and hit songs from the 1980s play overhead. The blinds are closed and another tapestry covers the door. A sign on the door reads, “Pray to end sidewalk bullying.”

“I refuse to live in a constantly paranoid state,” he says. Bours has suffered it all: anti-abortionists relentlessly protesting on the sidewalk with pictures of newborn babies and aborted fetuses, arson threats and firebombings, and even violent attacks on his own life. Through the scorched walls and broken bones, Bours has remained dedicated to giving women a right to choose.

Unhappy with the options that were available at the time, Bours opened his first abortion clinic in 1976 in Forest Grove, shortly after the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in the United States in ’73. He was able to keep the clinic clandestine for the first few years, but once word got out to the local church, religious protestors began bullying his patients on the sidewalk as they entered the clinic. “We’ve suffered a lot at the hands of so-called religious people,” he says.

In 2003 at the call of Planned Parenthood, who was wary about the scarcity of abortion clinics in the area, Bours moved to Eugene to set up a new clinic.  “I don’t think a bunch of politicians should be able to force women to bare children against their will,” he says.

In 1966 at the end of his senior year at Stanford University, Bours’ girlfriend of all four years got pregnant. Because most abortions were illegal at the time, Bours made arrangements with a doctor in Mexico, paid $700 in cash, and flew his girlfriend to Guadelajara. With no money for his own airfare, he had to wait for her return.

Until then, Bours had planned to be an orthopedic surgeon. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he moved to the Northwest where he began performing alternative deliveries. The move from delivering babies to performing abortions was natural. “The focus is on the women,” he says. “I think they should get to do what’s best for them.”

When Bours performs an abortion, the fetus is vacuumed out of the uterus in just a few minutes. When asked if he ever feels guilty about it, he answers with a simple and definitive “No.”

-Erin Peterson 1/30/12 for Journalistic Interview

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Tropical greens sprout out of the square kiwi-colored container while green carnations act as the base for purple orchids to climb their way up and around several bamboo sticks. Chim Kenworthy carefully places a palm leaf at the base before declaring her arrangement is ready for delivery.

“I like to create beautiful things,” Kenworthy says. “To be a florist, you have to be a perfectionist.”

Kenworthy’s arrangements are perfect. Every flower, leaf and branch is placed with intent. This arrangement, Zen Artistry, with architectural measures complimentary to feng shui, is truly a work of art.

Originally from Thailand, Kenworthy moved to Eugene in 1979 with her husband and three children. When her children had all grown up, Kenworthy decided to put her creative talents to use. Now, she has been working as a florist and store manager of Rhythm & Blooms in Eugene for over 20 years.

“When I am making an arrangement, I think about the client and their reasoning for buying the arrangement,” she says. Kenworthy explains that each color has a meaning; red is used to evoke passion, white for sympathy and yellow for friendship. If a woman hopes to cheer up a friend with some flowers, Kenworthy would pick out yellow and white blossoms to create a joyful and uplifting bouquet.  For Valentine’s Day, she has created a unique bouquet of red roses and white lilies to capture the spirit of love and romance.

The color of the blossoms is not the only importance. Kenworthy carefully picks out leaves and branches like ivy, lily grass and large monstera leaves to accessorize the bouquets. This gives the arrangement a more interesting and dynamic look.

“Sometimes it depends on the season,” Kenworthy says. “In winter, I like to use mossy branches and winter greens like fir and pine.”

Typically, florists pick out a variety of roses, carnations and baby breath for their arrangements, but Kenworthy is not a typical florist. She likes to use more exotic flowers, like lilies, chrysanthemums and alstroemeria, a South American flower with hues of white, pink and yellow. One of her best-selling bouquets, Beautiful in Blue, is a combination of blue hydrangea, crème roses, white lilies and alstroemeria along with yellow and white chrysanthemums, eucalyptus and limonium.

Kenworthy designs for all kinds of occasions, from birthday celebrations to weddings. Her more elaborate arrangments, like those she would make for a centerpiece at a wedding, would take about 30 minutes to arrange and could cost up to $400 each. But a small bouquet, like a simple bouquet of roses, would cost only $40.

Despite her creative passion for making beautiful bouquets for other people, Kenworthy never creates arrangements for her own home. “Sometimes I will have some jasmine around the house,” she says. “But I save my arrangements for my customers.”

Each customer brings a new oppurtunity for Kenworthy to create yet another unique and beautiful arrangement that takes artistry to new heights.

-Erin Peterson 1/22/12

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