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Back in Portland

March 12, 2009

Quote of the day: “The planets are aligned for a therapy for this disease.”—Dr. George Vella, talking about the optimism among doctors and researchers looking for treatment or a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

From Wenatchee, Darius and the gang went back south, this time to Portland, Oregon. First up on our Portland stretch was a screening at Portland State University.

Writer, film-maker, and former journalist David Walker, pictured, set up our Portland screenings.

David was the head of the Longbaugh Film Festival when Darius Goes West screened there over a year ago. Ever since, he’s been a friend of the cause.

Allison Firor participated in our question-and-answer session. Allison was a co-editor of Darius Goes West and a big part of its success.

She still gives frequent input to help the crew make business decisions. For example, she quarterbacked the design for the DGW mini-buses. So catching up with her for a few days was awesome.

Dr. George Vella was also up with us for the Q-and-A. Dr. Vella is the Director of Research and Strategic Planning for Charley’s Fund, our fiscal beneficiary.

Yet another distinguished person in attendance was Dr. Les Hudson, president and CEO of Portland’s AVI BioPharma. AVI BioPharma is among the leaders in the pharmaceutical community on exon-skipping treatments for patients with DMD. One of their drugs, AVI-4658, is in clinical trials.

Between Dr. Hudson and Dr. Vella, the audience got a rare chance to meet two luminaries in the fight against DMD.

In Portland, we also got to see Clyde “Clydalicious” Wooten. Clyde worked with Logan in Athens, and he now co-owns and operates a successful bar and restaurant in Portland called Bye and Bye, where he hooked us up with great food and a few drinks.

Seriously, the atmosphere at Bye and Bye is awesome, and the food and drinks are spectacular and reasonably priced. Check out this review from BarFly Magazine.

The next day, we were off to Catlin Gabel School to meet with students.

The students at Catlin were great. Major props to Eli Freedman, Charlie’s cousin, for organizing the visit and coordinating a fund-raiser.

Also there were students from the Columbia Site Pioneer Special School Programs. We had met a teacher at Columbia the night before, at Portland State, and she and her students made the trek to Catlin. They told us about their documentary production, inspired by Darius Goes West as a way to challenge preconceptions about people with disabilities.

The students of Catlin then presented Darius with a Catlin Gabel hat and a donation from money they raised. Thanks, Catlin!

After the school visit, we dropped by Powell’s Books to check out the world’s largest independent book retailer.

The place is immense! We easily could have stayed a lot longer…

but dinner at Eli’s awaited. Five lasagnas, two huge salads, and several platefuls of dessert later, we were stuffed.

Thanks Victoria, for the great cooking, and the entire Freedman family for the awesome night!

Also on the agenda was breath-taking Multnomah Falls, one of the most scenic spots in America.

We had a second screening in Portland two days later.

This one was at the gorgeous Hollywood Theater in downtown Portland. David’s mom, Bonnie, was also in attendance at this one, and the Walkers were our hosts.

A flu was making the rounds in Portland, so Bonnie presented us with huge bag of vitamins and Emergen-C to stave off any illness. Thanks, Bonnie!

Also at the Hollywood, Darius caught up with Jeremy, whom we had met at the Portland State screening earlier in the week.

Our last night in Portland, Fred and Pat Granum took us to Jake’s Famous Crawfish .

The crew-members who came to Portland for the film festival have been raving about Jake’s for almost two years, when Fred and Pat first brought them to the Portland institution. It certainly did not disappoint.

If you’re ever in Portland, RUN to Jake’s for incredible service and heavenly food. The stuffed salmon is highly recommended.

The next morning, we had even MORE incredible food, courtesy of Mary and John Leidel and Besaw’s Cafe. It was an awesome wind-down to our stay in Portland—the company and food were great—but we had to make it quick; next up was a stop at Co-operations.

Co-operations handles DGW’s on-line sales for free. Fred and Pat own Co-Operations, and they are amazing people.

At our visit, we picked up some more DVDs and got a tour of the premises.

Without the generosity of Co-Operations, DGW would not be in a position to donate so much of its fund-raising to Charley’s Fund.

We’re grateful for Fred and Pat and the other folks at Co-Operations…

and we’re grateful that our stop in Oregon gave us the chance to spend time with so many members of the DGW family in person.

Thank you, David, Bonnie, Co-Operations, Freedmans, Leidels, Jeremy, Clyde, Dr. Hudson, Dr. Vella, Catlin Gabel, Columbia, Co-Operations, and Portland!


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One Response to “Back in Portland”

  1. On March 12th, 2009, Bonnie Walker said:

    Aw, miss you all too. Wish we could have done more. The sheer awesome beauty and splendor of Multnomah Falls is nothing compared to the DGW crew and to the great people you inspire. In the midst of your hectic schedules, hope you have time for some R&R. Don’t forget to take some vitamins. Love you all. LOVE

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