There was a very special presentation in the Reed Opera House recently honoring an individual who has been called “Miss Downtown” by the people she has helped, and for a cultural renaissance she helped shape.
Rebecca Maitland, VP-Creative Director of the Reed and other Roger Yost properties, was in the middle of staging one of her popular Third Saturday events when her boss suddenly interrupted her with a giant poster pictorially celebrating Rebecca’s 10 years with the company and thanking her for extraordinary achievements.
Yost told the assembled crowd (and his surprised associate) that the poster “contained only a few of the important highlights of the decade because most of her contributions to Downtown Salem were done quietly, and behind the scenes.
She not only helped re-establish the Reed as the cultural heart of the city, but through art, music and recreating historic moments clearly benefitted our Downtown neighbors.
When many storefronts were empty, dark and inviting danger, Rebecca rallied the Photo League of Salem and Artists in Action [AIA] to join her in creating presentations that filled the vacant spaces with artists and photographers and brightly lighted images that attracted crowds and discouraged criminal activity.
She was the welcoming force in the Reed’s seven-year sponsorship of AIA’s ‘Something Red’ holiday event honoring area artists with a ballroom presentation of their submitted work, and a space for an annual awards party.
She partnered with cinematographer Tim King to create and produce a DVD for the Salem Downtown Association that celebrated the history, architecture, culture and promise of our Downtown.
Rebecca used costumed volunteers to creatively retell the Reed’s historical events – Susan B. Anthony’s speeches, the gamblers, Samuel Clemens on stage, and presidential visits.
Her interest in Salem’s history led her to the exploration of Salem’s underground with college professor John Ritter, and the telling of its storied past. This resulted in worldwide print and television coverage that not only ricocheted throughout the U.S. but to major media in China.
She developed an event she called an “Imagination Expedition” with the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind [NFB] in which participants experienced tactile art and actually painted on canvas.
Art Stevenson, president of the NFB Capitol City Chapter told the Business Journal,
“Our chapter has been very fortunate to develop a friendship with Rebecca Maitland. Her love of art, history and community has introduced our members to a world seldom experienced by the blind. We are working with her to allow all blind Oregonians to share what Salem has to offer in art and history.”
Marilyn Krug, a past president of Artists in Action, had this to say about Ms. Maitland,
“We met Rebecca while scouting possible venues for Artist in Action’s first ‘Something Red’ event. She didn’t just open the doors, she threw them wide open! She dreams big. She’ll take a good idea, and make it a great one!
Rebecca is like a muse with a magic wand. If she were a Disney character, she would be a cross between Tinkerbell (without the pout) and Wendy from Peter Pan — spreading pixie dust of inspiration on everyone she touches, and with the wisdom and practical side of Wendy. She not only inspires, but deftly creates and makes events happen.
Her boundless enthusiasm is contagious. Countless artists, performers, musicians and the entire Salem Community have been enriched by her naturally positive energy.
Over the years I’ve witnessed her mentoring young artists, successfully building bridges and networks to make the unimaginable happen. She is a creative spirit who is effective because she remains focused.
I’ve repeatedly seen her host a cacophony of simultaneous events.
She is a good friend, a devoted mother, daughter, and simultaneously a muse and ringmaster. Few are those who truly can and do make a difference in the lives of people in a community. She is one remarkable lady!”
Before arriving in Salem and going to work at the Reed Opera House, Rebecca Maitland had extensive experience in resort sales and convention management with Sheraton hotels in California, served as an entertainment reporter for a Texas ABC station, was a co-host on a Top 40 radio station in Nevada, and produced a silent film celebrating the history of Sandy, Oregon. This backgroud was contained in a resume she handed to Roger Yost on meeting him 10 years ago with the declaration: "You Really need to hire me. I belong here!"
KMUZ 88.5 fm Radio
Station Has Big Plans
Ken Adams, anchor for
Willamette Wake Up starting in September
KMUZ-FM, the volunteer-powered community
radio station serving Salem and the
mid-Willamette Valley, plans some big steps
to improve both its reach and its service in the
next few months. The non-commercial radio
station began broadcasting at 88.5FM from a
hilltop near Turner in December of 2011. The
station's studios and office are located in the
former Allied Video Productions building in
north Salem. Operated by volunteers, KMUZ
was voted Best Radio Station in the mid-Valley
by the Statesman-Journal annual reader's
poll in both 2012 and
2013. “We think we
would have won again
in 2014, but the SJ
dropped the category
from the poll” says
Dave Hammock, “We
like to think we retired
Like other community
the country, KMUZ is
fiercely committed to
providing locally produced
to listeners. The
station tries not to duplicate
across the commercial
radio section of the FM spectrum.
A glance at the KMUZ schedule page on the
station's web site (kmuz.org) shows programs
ranging from zydeco to concert band,
from garage band & indie rock to Celtic and
world music. Local talk shows consider
Salem history, aging issues, challenges facing
parents of children with special needs,
the joys of Willamette Valley gardening
and much more. Local volunteers produce
all but a tiny fraction of the programming
heard on the station. According to KMUZ
founder and Program Review Committee
Chair, Karen Holman, “If you don't like music
you hear on KMUZ, try us again in an
hour; it will have changed!”
KMUZ is shortly to initiate a programming
partnership with an even newer station,
KYAC in Mill City. This LPFM just went on
the air, organized by a former KMUZ program
host who had a major role in launching
KMUZ in 2011, Ken Cartwright. Starting in
September, KMUZ will feature “dual Kens”
in the morning drive time slot. Ken Cartwright
will anchor a 6am to 8am morning
show from Mill City but heard on both stations.
At eight am, Monday through Thursday,
KMUZ will feature a new program, Willamette
Wake Up, anchored by Ken Adams,
one of KMUZ's two Program Coordinators.
Friday mornings start with Ron Johnson's
weekly exploration of issues local, national
& global on Because It Matters from 7am to
8:30. These new morning programs are a
major feature, along with planned coverage
of the fall election campaigns, in the station's
push to increase its public affairs and information
The station continues to invite area residents
with an interest in music, community
affairs and radio to sign up for training to become
program hosts on this volunteer broadcast
and streaming radio service.
“Our biggest challenge,” says Administrative
Coordinator Dave Hammock, “is
not finding volunteer Djs but the relatively
weak maximum power allowed by the
FCC to our transmitter near Turner.” Due
to congestion in the FM reserved band,
the lower frequencies reserved for “Non-
Commercial/Educational” stations, KMUZ
is only allowed to transmit at 32 watts on
88.5FM. “Yup,” says Hammock, “that's half
a light bulb.”
But the station expects big improvements
in reception for Salem and Keizer by early
2015. KMUZ has obtained a license for a
second transmitter/repeater, a translator,
that will operate at 100.7FM. “This will finally
give our patient Salem listeners a signal
they can expect to tune in on their radios
inside the house or office,” says Melanie
Zermer, the President of KMUZ's governing
Board of Directors. “This has been our
number one priority and we are moving forward
as fast as the FCC will allow.”
KMUZ is owned and operated by a 501(c)
(3) Oregon public benefit corporation, Willamette
Information, News & Entertainment
Service (WINES). KMUZ/WINES is supported
entirely through listener and sponsor
donations along with the occasional foundation
grant. The station's efforts to establish
its translator serving Salem & Keizer were recently
given a boost by Marion County's Community
Project Grant Fund.
“From Cart to Art”
Straub Environmental Center Change begins with awareness
This innovative and creative
approach to reuse and
recycling is a way for artists,
businesses, groups and individuals
to share unique ways
to be stewards of the earth by
taking gently used, recycled
items from their blue bins/
recycle carts to create art!
The art will be auctioned off
at SEC’s fall fundraiser to aid
in providing environmental
education for all community
When: Saturday, October
11 in Salem (Location and
time to be announced).
Who: Working in partnership with Marion
County Public Works, EarthWISE certified
businesses will be encouraged to create art
pieces utilizing recycled materials to show at
the event. These creations will help educate
and motivate other community members to
become active stewards of our environment.
In addition to the EarthWISE certified
businesses creating “group art projects”,
SEC is inviting professional and semi-professional
artists to submit their pieces of art
that will also be created out of recycled materials.
The art submitted by these individuals
will be auctioned off, starting at $50/piece.
All proceeds will benefit SEC environmental
Background: The Straub Environmental
Center (SEC) has shaped environmental
education over the years, moving learners
from awareness to knowledge to influencing
attitudes and motivating new individual
behaviors and community action. SEC’s role
in our community as an environmental education
leader informs and influences the entire
mid-Willamette Valley by creating real
change and having a measurable impact on
our environment. SEC educational programs
help attendees become more passionately involved
in protecting and caring for our natural
The “From Cart to Art” fundraiser, in addition
to the Mid Valley Green Awards are
the major fundraisers for SEC, a locally run
501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends
on much of its funding from community donations.