Oregon Zoo Offers Two Experiences For ZooLights This Holiday Season

Oregon Zoo Offers Two Experiences For ZooLights This Holiday Season

PORTLAND, OR. Whether you want to explore ZooLights from the comfort of your own car or walk around with your family and friends, Portland Zoo has an ‘enLIGHTening’ experience for you.

ZooLights Walk Night allows you to walk through a display of more than 1.5 million lights with your family and friends, while ZooLights Drive Nights in January lets you explore the magic while in your car.

Visitors drive through ZooLights.

A child and adult enjoy ZooLights on foot

This ZooLights event is presented by the U.S. Bank. Open Nov. 19, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022 (excluding Christmas Day, Dec. 25), advance timed online tickets required; no walk-up ticket sales

ZooLights is a separately ticketed event. Admission to ZooLights is not included with a daytime admission ticket. All daytime visitors must leave the zoo when the zoo closes at 4:00 p.m. to prepare for ZooLights, even if you have the same night ticket for ZooLights. Your ZooLights admission ticket will be scanned for separate entry at that time.

The zoo comes alive in animal-themed lights, however no animals will be viewable at this event.

All reservations must be made online.

Discounted ZooLights admission is available for Oregon and Washington individuals and families who qualify for a variety of income assistance programs. To see if you are eligible and to purchase tickets visit Oregon Zoo Discounts.

For more information, visit: shop.oregonzoo.org/#/SpecialEvents/ZooLightsDrive


Toy and Joy Makers’ Annual Holiday Toy Drive Helps Families

Toy and Joy Makers’ Annual Holiday Toy Drive Helps Families

Portland, OR.  For over 100 years, Toy and Joy Makers has promoted the spirit of helping children and their families during the holiday season. Last year the organization provided toys to 7,529 children. The annual toy drive was founded by the Portland Fire & Rescue in 1914 to help local families in need around the holidays. It’s run by volunteers, and last year 6,150 volunteers helped out.

Toy & Joy Makers depends on donations of toys and cash for supplemental toy purchases. The organization also relies on volunteers to help with toy distribution during the holiday season and with storage at its distribution center during the rest of the year.

Toy donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
• Any Portland fire station
• Portland Toy & Joy Makers office in NE Portland (Please call ahead to arrange for pickup or to drop off – 503-823-0922)

Volunteers help sort donations.

When called upon, volunteers from Toy and Joy Makers are also able to help families throughout the year.

Visit; toynjoymakers.org for more information on the organization and how to help.

“Toy & Joy Makers” mission for over 100 years has been to promote the spirit of helping children and their families in our community during the holiday season. When called upon, we are also able to help families throughout the year. This mission manifests itself by providing qualified families in need with appropriate gifts for their children. These efforts bring joy to both givers and receivers during the season and throughout the year.

“Toy & Joy Makers” celebrates 107 years and counting of helping children.

“Please Continue To Help Make A Christmas Wish Come True For Some Girl or Boy”

Our primary service – Portland Toy & Joy Makers helps the needs of low-income families in the Portland area to give their children toys for Christmas. (We follow federal income guidelines.)

Our current program involves getting ready to set-up our distribution center. We are also setting up programs for our show and tell events. Board members are meeting with businesses who we feel can help us with donations of money, supplies, inventory, PR and building location.

Program Goals:* To provide leadership that encourages community Toy & Joy Makers partnerships that result in helping children and their families.

* To strive to ensure that no child should go without receiving gifts for Christmas.

* To reduce a child’s tragedy of losing their toys due to fire, flood, earthquake and other natural or man made disasters.

* To manage the resources and provide the support necessary to accomplish our mission.

* Our timeline, of course, is the Holiday Season. We do not want to cut our program. Without additional financing that is our only choice.

Our history – Portland Fire & Rescue’s Toy & Joy Makers started giving toys to needy children in 1914. [more…]

In past years, we have accomplished our targets with the help of the continued budget we request. When we find our program running short of toys, we have gone to the television and radio stations and made our plea to the public and to businesses. Buying toys at Christmas time is costly and limited. So far, each year we have reached our target number of children.

The present & future – The Board of Directors is responsible to make our program work. We have been adjusting to many changes and now we must look to more outside help.

This project will allow us to continue our program and to look at additional ways to bring in more community participation. To show the city and its leaders that this is a long established community program that is worthwhile and a valuable PR program for the City of Portland.

Duplication prevention – We work with other agencies in our area to check for duplication of clients. We all feel we have a good handle on this. We do not share equipment or facilities with other agencies. Our program is the largest in the State of Oregon and has a long respected history in working with state and local agencies.

Community outreach – We have been working in our neighborhoods since 1914. Our role in the community involves working with schools and the teachers to find and assist families in need and working with schools to teach children about giving and helping their community. We work with businesses to show them how they can get involved helping with toy collection or donation programs. During our main season, we contact and work with state and local agencies that assist low-income families. This is one way we prevent duplication of giving.

Our great volunteers – Commitment of volunteers and staff involves many long hours during the peak season. We have 20 to 25 volunteers each day helping at our headquarters (during December). Staff members are also there every day. We all believe in this worthwhile program and will continue to support it through good and bad times.

Wy’East Mountain Academy Launches Financial Aid Program With Fundraiser

Wy’East Mountain Academy Launches Financial Aid Program With Fundraiser

Portland, OR. Wy’East Mountain Academy is an outdoor-oriented, action sports academy designed to develop students in the classroom as well as in the outdoors. The organization is launching a nonprofit foundation to help offer financial aid to students who otherwise would not be able to attend.

Most students attending Wy’East Mountain Academy are enrolled in Edgenuity, an accredited online elementary and secondary school. The school’s web-based curriculum meets Oregon state standards while licensed teachers provide the instruction online.

The academy enrolls students ages 12 to 19 who want to combine a rigorous academic setting with skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreation sports.

Wy’East Mountain Academy offers sport-specific coaching that facilitates athletic progression at all levels, from just starting out to competing professionally. Its first annual Good in the Woods fundraising celebration will be held on Friday, December 17th, 2021. The goal is to bring families and supporters together to celebrate the new 501c3 not-for-profit status and to raise $50,000 in scholarship funds so administrators can extend the Wy’East Mountain Academy experience to more students. To help reach the goal, there is a Penny for Penny match on all proceeds raised.

Student at Wy’East academy on graduation day.

The school holds a parent’s weekend each year.

Kevin English, Academy President, explains the plan to raise $50,000. “The goal of Good in the Woods is to help raise funds for tuition assistance. When you look at any of these sports we’re talking about, they’re incredibly resource-intense, these are not inexpensive sports in the first place, and then you couple that with a boarding school, it really limits the number of people who can afford to do something like this.”

Unique silent bid items include fun items like snowboarding & skiing gear, IKON pass, renowned action sports photography, and airline tickets. “Adversity is nothing new to this school,” English said when talking about challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our team, coming from this action-sports world, is really all about risk mitigation. When you’re a high-performance athlete, that’s all you’re doing, you’re never eliminating risk, but just learning to mitigate existing risks and I think that’s what we’ve done with the school and we’ve navigated it rather well.”

From Wy’East Mountain Academy:

Wy’East Mountain Academy (formerly Windells Academy) is a world-class outdoor-oriented, action sports academy designed to develop driven and talented students in the classroom as well as in the outdoors. Wy’East enrolls students ages 12 to 19 who want to combine a rigorous academic setting with skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking and other outdoor recreation sports. To this end, we offer sport-specific coaching that facilitates athletic progression at all levels, from just starting out to competing professionally. We enable students to learn, train and participate in sports year-round while attaining high school or college credits that are transferable in or out of any US accredited school, national or international.

The meaning of Wy’East.

“Wy’East” is the original name for Mt. Hood, given by the Multnomah people who first inhabited its nearby lands. That this mountain draws us together is central to our spirit of adventure and achievement. It is this special place we call home and to which we pay homage.

What we believe.

Our mission is life improvement through people, place, and passion. We believe that if you put the right people in the right place, with shared passions and college preparatory academics, you’ll not just improve the life of young person, but change the world by helping to create driven and compassionate citizens.

Our vision is to be a top ten globally rated outdoor academy with alumni who are helping to improve the world.

Our core values are embodied in these words:

* Relationship-Based * Refreshing * Influential * Authentic * Welcoming *Uninhibited * Genuine *Credible *

* Progressive * Caring * Socially Responsible and Community-Minded * Passionate * Purpose Driven * Humorous *

* Imaginative * Diverse Perspectives *

For more information or ways to contribute, check out the website, or email [email protected].

The Oregon Ballet Theatre Returns to the Stage

The Oregon Ballet Theatre Returns to the Stage

Portland, OR. Oregon Ballet Theater (OBT) has returned to in-person performances. Above is a photo of Jessica Lind in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker by James McGrew. In October, OBT took the stage at the Keller Auditorium with a program called Face to Face. “After 18 months away from our home, we are thrilled to be coming face-to-face with our audience again,” says Interim Artistic Director Peter Franc.

FACE TO FACE featured three powerful ballets for OBT’s return to the stage.

Next up is The Nutcracker. The holiday tradition starts on December 11th. Tickets are available at https://www.obt.org/nutcracker-2021/.

Xuan Cheng as ‘Coffee’ in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

From Oregon Ballet Theatre:

Oregon Ballet Theatre seeks to inspire beauty and excellence in the hearts and minds of Oregonians through the creation and preservation of the highest quality classical and contemporary ballet performances. In addition to our 5-show main stage season, they train dancers from 4 years old to 80 years old through the professional and recreational classes at the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. Many of their students go on to successful professional careers at companies including the Joffrey, the Dutch National Ballet, and within our own organization.

With the understanding that this will be an ongoing process, staff, artists, and trustees of OBT wholeheartedly commit to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion at OBT. They commit to the hard work of introspection, and to becoming more representative of our entire community at all levels of the organization. OBT commits to creating a positive workplace culture that respects differences. And to continue outreach programming that bridges gaps in access and understanding and engages diverse and marginalized populations. By considering all we do through the lens of equity, OBT aims to be a leader in the field and to ensure the vibrancy and relevance of ballet for years to come.

OBT is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, employing nearly 200 people and attracting artists from around the globe with a reputation for excellence. The company is rooted in the traditions of classical ballet, with a repertoire that ranges from the great classics to premieres from some of the most exciting choreographic voices in the field today. Its mission is dedicated to the vitality of, and access to, world-class ballet performance and training in the region.

For more information about performances, tickets, and all other information, visit; obt.org 

Portland Opera Opens 58th Season with Puccini’s Grand Masterpiece Tosca

Portland Opera Opens 58th Season with Puccini’s Grand Masterpiece Tosca

Portland, OR. Portland Opera is celebrating a return to in-person performances with three performances of Puccini’s grand opera Tosca at the Keller Auditorium. The performances of Tosca are on October 29th, 31st, and November 6th. “We are over the moon to be returning to the Keller Auditorium this Friday for the first time in 727 days,” says General Director Sue Dixon. “Tosca is the perfect opera for our return to the theater after all of this time — it’s grand, traditional, passionate, and beloved. It’s really a classic for a reason.” This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, seen above, and Soprano Alexandra LoBianco will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role.

The piece tells the story of Tosca, a renowned diva, in Rome in 1800. An artist-activist has won her heart, and his revolutionary sympathies provoke the wrath of Scarpia, the corrupt chief of police. Her devotion and moral resistance are challenged by abuses of power, attempted rape, and tragedy—as this high drama builds to its haunting finale.

Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia and Alexandra LoBianco in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Dixon continues; “We’ve spent the last 18 months following the most up-to-date guidance, shifting our policies, and keeping health and well-being at the forefront of our decision-making. We are committed to keeping everyone involved safe. For this reason, all audience members must show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test to attend a show at Portland Opera this season, and everyone is required to wear a mask inside the theater (except when consuming food or beverages). Audience members will be asked to present this proof of full vaccine or negative COVID-19 test result, as well as verify their ID, prior to entering the theater to have their tickets scanned. At this point, children under the age of 12 (for whom there is not currently an available vaccine) will not be admitted to performances. We’ve also worked with our unions to create a COVID action plan for our cast, crew, and staff working on Tosca.” Detailed information about Portland Opera’s COVID-19 policies can be found here. If postponed, alternate COVID-19 dates for this production are May 13 – 21, 2022.

“We recognize that some people may not be ready to come back to the theater in person – and that is okay! We launched a digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen, as a way to connect with our audience and perform throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to stream our performances here into the future. For Tosca, audience members can stream the opera on demand November 16th-December 31st.”

With the launch of the 21/22 season, Portland Opera welcomes Artistic Director Priti Gandhi, who joined the staff in early September. “I am delighted to be here in Portland for my first production as Artistic Director, and to welcome this incredible cast and creative team to Portland” shares Gandhi. “Tosca is full of passion, romance, tragedy, and politics. It is the perfect grand opera for a return to the theater.”

Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi and Damien Geter as Angelotti in Puccini’s Tosca. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.

Soprano Alexandra LoBianco, whose performance as Tosca has been described as “thrilling” by Opera News, will make her Portland Opera debut in the title role. This production will feature a number of company debuts, including tenor Noah Stewart as Cavaradossi, baritone Gordon Hawkins as Scarpia, and tenor Katherine Goforth as Spoletta. Baritone Deac Guidi returns to Portland Opera as Sacristan, bass-baritone Damien Geter (Portland Opera’s co-artistic advisor) returns as Angelotti and the Jailer, and baritone Zachary Lenox returns as Sciarrone.

Conductor Tiffany Chang will conduct Puccini’s lush score, which features the beloved arias “Vissi d’arte,” “E lucevan le stelle,” and “Recondita armonia.” Chang, who makes her debut at Portland Opera as well as Opera Columbus this season, serves as artist-faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and was a recipient of a 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award as well as a recent OPERA America Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors.

Stage director Linda Brovsky will make her Portland Opera debut directing this grand, traditional production. Performances will also feature the talented local and regional musicians who make up Portland Opera’s orchestra and chorus.

From Portland Opera:

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

You can find more information about Tosca here, and for more information, and to purchase tickets visit portlandopera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at [email protected], Monday through Friday from 10 PM–5 PM.