Show your Peace Corps pride in the Grand Floral Parade

After a year’s absence, CRPCA has been invited to march for a sixth time in the Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade. All Northwest RPCVs are invited to march with us, smiling and waving at an appreciative public while carrying the flag of a Peace Corps country–perhaps yours!

The 2018 parade is Saturday, June 9, morning to early afternoon; our start and end time will be announced soon.

Volunteer to participate in the parade today (flags are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis!) by filling out https://tinyurl.com/CRPCA-GFP2018. Be sure to list your first, second, and third choice flag. We aim to carry one flag for each Peace Corps country!

Marchers will have the choice of wearing host country attire OR a Peace Corps t-shirt with khaki pants. The parade goes forward in any weather, and marchers should be prepared to walk four miles.

Questions? Please contact Gordon Young, parade AT crpca.org or 503-631-2876.

Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association

logo for Columbia River Peace Corps Association, Portland, Oregon President’s welcome, by Phyllis Shelton (Honduras 1986-1988)

Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association (CRPCA) web page! We are a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers living in the Greater Portland, SW Washington area.

As you probably already know, those of us who share the Peace Corps experience have a unique bond, and it doesn’t matter what country you served in or what decade you were there, it just feels right to sit down, share a meal and a story or dive into a meaningful service project shoulder to shoulder. CRPCA is a place where people who served in the 60s are just as apt to attend a pub night, service event, book club, potluck or special fundraising event as the volunteer who is so freshly returned they are still suffering from reverse culture shock! Family friendly events are important to many of our members, and networking for jobs or making friends when you are new in town are a big attraction too.

We are committed to ideals of service and community, both at home and abroad. Every year we collectively spend hundreds of hours on local service projects, give out thousands of dollars in grants to well vetted projects sponsored by returned or currently serving volunteers, so the good work continues. We are also happy to welcome prospective volunteers at our events. Come meet us and find out what it is really like; we are happy to share stories.

Our calendar is full of interesting events, check it out and see what is coming up, we would love to see you at one of our events soon.

Connect with us via Facebook, our website crpca.org, or by viewing our 50+ years of newsletters.

July 2018 Book Club Selection

River of Renewal
Most, Stephen*: River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin (2006)

* RPCV Peru (1965-1967)

Discussion: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 6:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Bill Stein, 4308 SE Lexington St in Portland, 503-830-0817. Note the earlier than usual time! This gathering will be a potluck dinner; please bring a dish to share. While we eat, we will watch a 55-minute film based on the book. Then, at 7:00 pm, we’ll be joined by author and filmmaker Stephen Most, via Skype.

Review: © Orion Magazine: The Klamath can be read as an encapsulated history of bad water-management decisions. Virtually everyone involved is a victim; the salmon are merely the most dramatic. When the Link River Dam was constructed without fish ladders in the early 1920s, salmon were eliminated from the upstream half of the drainage. Over the next sixty years, six more dams would push salmon habitat farther and farther downstream, ostensibly to provide flood control and hydroelectric power. Most tells these stories in the voices of the protagonists, who give the basin’s complex history an illuminating immediacy that infuses the entire book. It is a mark of his achievement that he has been able to make these historical, cultural, and environmental pieces into a comprehensive whole. River of Renewal is the best source available for those wishing to think clearly about this cumulative tragedy, as well as a first-rate model for regional land use history anywhere in the American West.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

June 2018 Book Club Selection

The Grass is Singing
Lessing, Doris*: The Grass is Singing (1950)

* 2007 Nobel Literature Prize

Discussion: Monday, June 4, 2018, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Peggy McClure, 5450 SW 18th Dr in Portland, 503-453-2089. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Set in Southern Rhodesia under white rule, Doris Lessing’s first novel is at once a riveting chronicle of human disintegration, a beautifully understated social critique, and a brilliant depiction of the quiet horror of one woman’s struggle against a ruthless fate. Mary Turner is a self-confident, independent young woman who becomes the depressed, frustrated wife of an ineffectual, unsuccessful farmer. Little by little the ennui of years on the farm works its slow poison. Mary’s despair progresses until the fateful arrival of Moses, an enigmatic, virile black servant. Locked in anguish, Mary and Moses–master and slave–are trapped in a web of mounting attraction and repulsion, until their psychic tension explodes with devastating consequences.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

May 2018 Book Club Selection

Also note: Our Book Selection Survey for 2019 is open through 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15, 2018!

The Brightest Sun
Benson, Adrienne*: The Brightest Sun (2018)

* RPCV Nepal (1992-1994)

Discussion: Thursday, May 17, 2018, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland. Participating in our discussion will be Adrienne Benson, the book’s author. On-street parking in downtown Portland is free beginning at 7:00 pm. Upon arrival, call 503-780-2722 to be buzzed in, then turn right into the building’s lobby and then take an immediate left into the community room. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Leona, an isolated American anthropologist, births a baby girl in a remote Maasai village and must decide how she can be a mother, in spite of her own grim childhood. Jane, a lonely expat wife, follows her husband to the tropics and learns just how fragile life is. Simi, a barren Maasai woman, must confront her infertility in a society in which females are valued by their reproductive roles. In this affecting debut novel, three very different women grapple with motherhood, recalibrate their identities, and confront unforeseen tragedies and triumphs. In beautiful, evocative prose, Adrienne Benson brings to life the striking Kenyan terrain as these women’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways. As they face their own challenges and heartbreaks, they find strength traversing the arid landscapes of tenuous human connection. With gripping poignancy, The Brightest Sun explores the heartbreak of loss, the struggle to find a sense of belonging, and the surprising ways we find our family and home.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble