Our Town: Talking about the future of Silverton

January 2017 Posted in Community, People

Our Town, the new documentary web series, is produced by Real Light Films in cooperation with Mt. Angel Publishing, Inc./ Our Town, with support from the Marion Cultural Development Corporation and local sponsors. New episodes will premiere seasonally. For information on upcoming projects or on sponsorship opportunities, contact ourtown@mtangelpub.com or silverfallsfilm@gmail.com.

By Michael Turner
I met writer John Pattison at his office in downtown Silverton to talk with him about a video project I’d had in mind. John greeted me at the door in a T-shirt and scruffy red beard with friendly eyes that crinkled when he smiled.  A huge yellow street sign hung on the wall that said, “SLOW.” John told me it was in reference to the “Slow Movement” that is catching on in communities around the world.

“Slow food, slow cities, slow money, slow parenting– there’s even a World Slow Day,” John told me, “which some playful Italians recently celebrated by handing out free bus passes and issuing fake citations to people who they thought were walking too fast or taking too direct a route.”

“More and more people are connecting with this idea of slowing down,” he continued, “because life is moving so fast, society is moving so fast, that we’re becoming increasingly fragmented from each other.  We need to slow down.”

I connected with this idea. 

This past year, I’d read the news and felt like the country I lived in was deeply divided, slipping into fear and distrust. Then I’d go to work in town and talk with the people who’d stop in, of all different political, economic and spiritual beliefs and backgrounds and we would talk as neighbors and friends. We were all concerned about the future of our community.    

I’d been thinking about a video project that would unfold in our community over a long period of time. People and places in different seasons, businesses coming and going, children leaving home, returning as parents themselves. 

As this election cycle ramped up, it seemed like what I also could contribute with video was a space for conversation.   A place to share experiences and perspectives and tell stories; to meet our neighbors, and most importantly, to listen. 

What do we love about our community?  How can we encourage people to shop locally?  How can we feel a sense of agency and ownership of our community, and know that our voice can make a difference for good?

“These are slow conversations,” John Pattison said, his street sign hanging over our heads.    

Working with Our Town Publisher/Editor Paula Mabry, I developed a game plan on how to move forward to share what is happening in our town. We hope you’ll grab a chair and join us. 

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