Thursday, September 01, 2011

Paul Pintarich: His voice will survive his death

Paul Pintarich, writer and friend, died Wednesday of injuries suffered in an August 8 kitchen fire in his apartment.

Paul, who was 72 when he died, was a big man who lived a big life, as Rick Bella's excellent obituary profile attests.

Now on my to-do list goes compiling several columns and articles Paul wrote for the Hillsdale/Southwest Community News in the mid-1990s when I was founding editor.

They will appear here. I'm also considering an on-line archives site to make Paul's work readily accessible.

Be assured that Paul's voice will survive his death.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Are you 'vulture aware'?

On a hike in Portland’s Forest Park earlier this week, I ambled into the Audubon Wildlife Care Center on Cornell Road to discover volunteers preparing for “International Vulture Awareness Day.”

I have to confess I come up short when it comes to “vulture awareness.” A full day of it never crossed my mind.

I also snarkily thought the publication of Dick Cheney’s book might have some kind of tie-in with this Saturday's festivities.

There’s no question that vultures get a bad rap. Generally you don’t want to be referred to as a “vulture.”

But look at the up-side.

One web site expressed the benefits of vultures this way:

Vultures are scavenging birds that help recycle and prevent the spread of disease. Woodland Park Zoo is home to the turkey vulture, a species that ranges from southern Canada to South America. Turkey vulture numbers declined in the 1950s and 1960s, most likely due to the mistaken belief that they spread diseases. Shooting and poisoned baits often targeted these useful birds.

I mean, wouldn’t you like it said of you that you “help recycle and prevent the spread of disease”? From Southern Canada to South America, no less.

Can Cheney say as much?

Of course, like all do-gooders, there is the danger that you, fellow vulture, will be misunderstood. “Don’t shoot! I PREVENT disease; I don’t spread it! I may be ugly but, remember, I’m ‘useful’!”

So consider heightening your vulture awareness this Saturday at the Portland Audubon shelter, 5151 NW Cornell Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You and the little vulture-unaware ones in your family can:

“Meet Ruby, Portland Audubon’s Turkey Vulture close up.” (I have and she’s one ugly vulture, but she has soulful eyes. At her feet are dead mice — also known as “vermin.")

“Compare your ‘wingspan’ to that of an Andean Condor.” (Hint, you are waaay “wing-span” deficient.)

“Discover why vultures are important” (This, as it turns out, is as important for vultures as for you.)

“Make a pledge to help vultures survive.” (Raise you right wing and repeat after me....)

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sad news about Paul Pintarich

Many of Paul Pintarich's friends are visiting him at the Emanuel Hospital Burn Center where he is unconscious and is on palliative "comfort care."

When I called the center today to check on his condition, I was told that Paul is "not expected to survive." His family gave me permission to share the sad news.

Paul was severely burned in a kitchen fire in his apartment on Monday, August 8.

The hospital is located 3001 N. Gantenbein in Portland.

As I wrote in an earlier post, Paul is the former, long-time book review editor at The Oregonian, but I got to know him when he was a regular columnist for the monthly newspaper I started here in Hillsdale back in the mid-Nineties.

Paul grew up in Southwest Portland and shared vivid memories of his childhood with the readers of the Southwest Community Connection.

I wrote a Red Electric tribute to Paul and his writing back in April of 2007. You can read it HERE.