Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal Aug. 28, 2011
Oregonians are living in a broader range of family types than 10 years ago as the recession and other factors have caused living arrangements to adapt, according to new Census numbers.
For years there has been a trend away from a husband and wife raising their related children, but the 2010 Census shows that no single type of family is replacing it.
Marion and Polk counties have been swept up in a number in national trends, including more families with multiple generations, while still having higher rates of marriage and child bearing than the state as a whole.
“In general we have a larger proliferation of different types of families,” said Scott Coltrane, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon.
“You have fewer people getting married, people waiting longer to get married, more single-person households and then the interesting thing is childbearing and where children are living are in flux.”
Families are finding ways to get by, as they’ve done for some time, according to Linfield professor of sociology Amy Orr.
“Families adapt to the broader society, and that has happened throughout time,” Orr said. “If you want to understand the family at any particular point in time, you have to look at what is happening in the broader society.”
While the number of husband and wife homes grew about 4 percent in the state, it was slower than family households at around 9 percent in the past decade.
In Oregon, 48 percent of households belonged to married couples in 2010, compared to 52 percent in 2000. Marion and Polk counties were at 50 percent and 54 percent, 2010, a 3 percentage point drop in each case.
Of all families in Oregon, 448,329 had children in 2010, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2000. Marion saw an increase of about 5 percent, and Polk went up 15 percent.
Overall the percentage of homes with children dropped 10 percent in Oregon.
With those changes, other family types have filled in the gaps.
Unmarried partner homes increased 44 percent in Oregon in the past 10 years.
There was also a 39 percent increase across the state in grandchildren living in their grandparents’ homes.
The percent of single-person homes rose, as did the percent of homes with seven or more people, each by around 20 percent.
Much of this can be tied to the economy, Orr said.
She pointed out the decision to avoid marriage (median age at first marriage was 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women in 2010) and children isn’t necessarily new.
“With more and more parents deciding not to have children, there was another time in history where this happened at a high rate as well, and that was the Great Depression,” she said. “People said — and this sounds harsh — that children were economic liabilities and we just can’t do that.”
Marion and Polk counties have bucked this particular trend.
A USA Today study found that 95 percent of counties in the U.S. saw a drop in the number of people 18 or younger from 2000 to 2010. Both
Marion and Polk saw an increase.
Overall, Marion has the largest percentage of its population younger than 5 in Oregon’s 36 counties at 7.5 percent. Polk is 10th at 6.5 percent.
Both counties saw an increase in number of grandchildren living with a grandparent. Polk went up 46 percent and Marion rose 52 percent.
Oregon overall saw a 39 percent increase.
Overall, around 4 percent of Marion homes have three or more generations, fourth-highest in the state. Polk was just above the state rate of 3 percent, at 3.18.
Although some people suggest that the increase in the state’s Hispanic population may be moving those numbers higher — the Census did find that Hispanic families in Oregon were more likely to have multi-generational homes — Coltrane said his research has found it tied more with economic factors.
“Some of the characterizations are that people prefer to live in multi-generational households, but most of the survey data is that they don’t necessarily prefer to live together, it’s an adjustment to economic hard times,” he said.
Orr said while the changes are unwelcome to some, for the most part it’s just the natural fluctuation of human living patterns.
“Based on what we’ve seen and historical trends, the family fluctuates like this on and off, but we tend to look back to the ’50s as the golden age, which is really a rare time in history,” she said.
“That was a very rare time, but if you look at what was going on in society that made sense, coming back from war, having more children,” Orr said. “If we look at the trends in the family, that probably doesn’t work as well today as it did back then.”
Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal Aug. 22, 2010
Although the University of Oregon athletic department seems in good financial shape, there are a number of unknowns heading into the next few years.
The Ducks increased athletic spending 50 percent during the past five years, up from $40 million in 2005-09 to $60 million in 2008-09, according to a USA TODAY database.
The national leader in spending for 2008-09 was Texas at $127.6 million.
Strong ticket sales and support from donors such as Nike’s Phil Knight have helped Oregon become one of 30 Division I schools that received no institutional support last year, according to USA TODAY.
University president Richard Lariviere declined to comment on athletic spending, saying that because no general fund money goes to the athletic department, the issue wasn’t his to speak on.
“The bottom line is that the athletic department, being self-sufficient, essentially runs its own show as long as it stays within budget and adheres to the university’s larger academic mission,” UO spokesman Joe Mosley said in an e-mail to the Statesman Journal.
The department came under scrutiny this year after it was revealed that outgoing athletic director Mike Bellotti had been working without a contract and was scheduled to receive $2.3 million in severance when he left the university for a broadcasting job with ESPN.
The university responded to the criticism by hiring accounting-focused Rob Mullens to replace Bellotti and appointing former law school associate dean for finance Jamie Moffitt to the new position of executive senior associate athletic director for finance and administration.
Moffitt came on board in April. Mullens’ first day was Monday.
The pair took over a department that reported $59 million in revenue in 2008-09, the first time in the five years of the USA TODAY database in which the Ducks spent more than they brought in.
Moffitt said the difference was largely an accounting issue: Pledged contributions came in after the end of the fiscal year but before the start of football season and restored balance to the books.
Oregon reported $17.9 million in contributions, accounting for 30 percent of its budget, followed next by $17.1 in ticket sales and $10.7 in NCAA and conference distributions, which is largely payments for postseason play and television rights.
The Oregon athletic department spends money in four main areas; student aid, coaching salaries, administrative costs and facilities.
The Ducks have increased spending on salaries by 120 percent during the past five years to $9.3 million last year.
Football coach Chip Kelly signed a five-year deal that will pay him at least $7 million and new men’s basketball coach Dana Altman’s $1.8 million annual deal will be on the books for 2009-10 (former coach Ernie Kent earned about $1.1 million).
The steep increases in total spending during the past five years most likely will continue at least through the 2009-10 academic year, although after that the forecast is less clear.
Next year’s budget will reflect the assessed value of the new John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, which an Oregonian public records request found to cost $41 million to build and furnish.
Matthew Knight Arena, a 12,500-seat, $200-million facility, also is scheduled to open in time for the 2011 Pac-10 Conference basketball season.
Oregon athletic officials hope that the addition of the arena will produce more sports revenue (Oregon basketball brought in around $2.5 million in ticket sales in 2008-09) and also attract outside events.
“There has been a lot of growth in our department and it’s important to stay operationally focused,” Moffitt said.
“Just because we have our arena opening up we can’t take our eye off the ball in terms of everything that has to happen for a football game day. ”
The department hasn’t felt significant impact from the economic downturn, something Moffitt is hopeful won’t overly affect athletics going forward.
The crowds, especially for football, showed up last year. The Ducks welcomed their 68th-consecutive sellout at Autzen for the 2009 Civil War, which was played in front of a record crowd of 59,597.
“I don’t expect our revenues are going to go down because of the economy because some of our ticket prices went up and sales are still being made,” she said.
“It’s certainly not something where we’re saying we’re going to drop $5 million because of the economy, but I do think it affects at the margins what’s going on.”
Moffitt said the future direction of the department still is developing as Mullens moves into the job, although the expansion of the Pac-10 to 12 teams and a new media contract also will have a significant impact on anything the school does.
“In terms of the next five years, that’s something Rob, coming into his position, needs to think about and learn about,” Moffitt said.
“And that’s what he’s doing, meeting with different people and understanding the issues and then articulating a business plan from that.”
A little promotional video I did in 2010 looking at the digital work being done by Statesman Journal staffers.
Some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken on assignments.
Appeared in the Salem Statesman Journal Feb. 3, 2008
Tight end Kevin Boss, the ex-Western Oregon star, took an unusual road to get to pro football’s biggest game
By CHRIS HAGAN
Many people were staring at their televisions in disbelief two weeks ago as Lawrence Tynes sent a field goal through the uprights to send the New York Giants to today’s Super Bowl.
Although more than a few of those were in Wisconsin, one sat in Monmouth. Mark Thorson, the starting quarterback for the NCAA Division II Western Oregon Wolves since 2005, saw a familiar face staring back.
Wearing No. 89 for the Giants was former Wolves tight end Kevin Boss, Thorson’s teammate for four years. Slowly it sunk in that Boss would be heading to Glendale, Ariz., to start against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
“Last week after they beat Green Bay, I sat there for about five minutes, just in shock,” Thorson said. “I still can’t believe he’s in the Super Bowl.”
Boss hasn’t taken the well-traveled road to the NFL. A lightly recruited player from Philomath High School, Boss landed at Western Oregon in 2002.
After a standout career at WOU, including a selection to the Daktronics all-American team his junior year, Boss was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Giants. Boss is the second WOU player drafted by the NFL.
Boss spent most of the season backing up Pro-Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey until an injury to Shockey moved Boss into the starting lineup. Boss started all three Giants playoff games and will start today against the Patriots.
“I just feel really blessed to be put in these situations, being drafted by the Giants, working with Jeremy, playing in the Super Bowl my first year,” Boss said.
Boss wasn’t always the prototypical 6-6, 253-pound target that he is now. At Philomath, many thought basketball would be the big, skinny — yes, skinny — kid’s future.
“He’s 6-6 about 205 when he played for us, which was great for us because he was so athletic,” former Philomath head football coach C.A. Rath said. “He’s always had great hands, which helped his basketball abilities as well or vice versa.”
Boss helped Philomath win the 2002 Class 3A basketball state title and was an all-state honorable mention pick as a post.
Boss spent two years playing junior varsity football before moving up as a junior. Although Boss had the height, he didn’t have the strength to dominate.
“He wasn’t somebody that physically would tackle someone and knock them down and hurt ’em kind of thing, but he would always make the play,” Rath said. “But on offense when he got the ball, there was something electric about it.”
Rath still remembers a late-season game against Toledo in which Philomath went to halftime down 18-0, needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
“In the second half we ended up beating them 21-18 and Kevin caught a 6- or 7-yard yard pass on a crossing route and took it 57 yards for a touchdown,” he said. “When you see a guy who’s 6-6, 200 pounds running 57 yards down the field and basically outrunning everyone on the field for the win … it’s pretty amazing.”
Despite being an honorable mention all-state Class 3A pick as a senior, Boss wasn’t heavily recruited.
Boss wasn’t sure he still wanted to play football in college. He loved basketball, and that was what he planned to focus on.
“I didn’t decide to play college football until the end of my senior year,” Boss said in an interview before the draft. “I was just thinking of playing basketball. It was kind of last-minute. I decided I didn’t want my football career to be over, and I could do both at Western.”
Western Oregon head coach Arne Ferguson got his first look at Boss in a hall outside his office.
“He walked in the hallway, and I peaked around the corner and there’s this good looking kid, 6-5,” Ferguson said. “And he lifted up his arms and I thought, ‘What are we going to do here?’ ”
The team chose to redshirt Boss, giving him time to put on weight and adjust to the college game. But quickly Boss began to catch up to his peers, eventually bulking up to 255 pounds.
Hands proved his biggest assets
But even with the added mass the most important part of his game was still the hands.
“Catching the football … I’ve never seen so many amazing catches,” Ferguson said. “He’s just so fluid. That’s what’s drawn him to where he is.”
The Wolves inserted plays to get the ball to Boss, flexing him off the line and keeping him in motion, the same way the Giants have used Shockey.
For a young starting quarterback such as Thorson, having a huge mobile target was a comfort.
“For me, he was definitely a security blanket,” Thorson said. “My first year starting, he helped me out seeing the defense and we all know he’s a big target, so he was a huge help to me.”
NFL scouts began calling early in Boss’ senior season. But a torn labrum in his left shoulder forced him to miss the final four games of the season and throw his NFL career into doubt.
But Boss worked back from the injury, including training with strength and conditioning coach Tom Shaw in Florida. On the second day of the draft Boss’ name was called with the 153rd pick overall.
Just as in high school and college, Boss needed to work to add size to help his blocking. He spent time in the weight room and with Giants tight end coach Mike Pope.
But the biggest adjustment has been mental. Boss credits Pope and Shockey with molding him.
“When I was in college I just went out there and played,” Boss said. “I did well, but I didn’t know the game as well as I do now. There were little things I never used to think about.”
He’s spent hours watching game tape and talking with Pope and Shockey and now feels he understands what the defense is doing.
“In college, I hardly ever read the defensive coverage. I just ran my routes and tried to get open,” Boss said. “Now, I’m looking at the secondary, I’m looking at the defensive lineman’s stance, trying to see if he’s heavy on his hands to see if he’s rushing or dropping back in coverage.
“I know what every single defender is supposed to do in every single coverage,” he said.
Boss began backing up Shockey and playing some on special teams. But the season didn’t begin well.
“We got off to an 0-2 start, so I didn’t know what type of season we were going to have,” Boss said.
Boss picked up his first catch in week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. His first touchdown came in week 15 against the Washington Redskins, the same week Shockey broke his left fibula.
“I definitely had mixed feelings,” Boss said after the Shockey injury. “I felt like because of the time I had spent behind (Shockey) and with coach Pope, I felt they had prepared me for this situation. All year I was one snap away from having to fill his shoes.”
His first start came on a miserable day in Orchard Park, N.Y, against the Bills. Wind gusts reached 50 mph. Snow and rain pelted the players.
The team rushed for 291 yards and clinched a playoff berth. Despite not catching a pass, Boss said he though the game solidified his role on the team.
“I was excited,” Boss said. “We had rushed for almost 300 yards, and I felt I had contributed to that success, so I felt ‘I do belong.’ ”
“Kevin’s done a great job of picking up our offense, understanding what to do,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning told the Boston Herald. “It’s taken him awhile, and it’s probably better that he had to sit and watch and figure out what was going on, but he’s responded and he played real well for us.”
“He’s a young guy who’s responded very well. He’s made plays along the way, and he’s gotten better as a blocker,” head coach Tom Coughlin told the New York Sun.
Even Giants fans are starting to recognize the name ‘Boss’ as something other than that musician guy across the river in New Jersey.
Edward Valentine runs the Giants blog www. bigblueview.com. He said that fans have taken a liking not only to Boss’ play but his personality.
“First of all, he has skills. We can all see that,” Valentine said. “Secondly, he’s a quiet, unassuming guy who doesn’t rattle any cages or make a scene when things aren’t right.”
The Giants lost a week 17 matchup with the Patriots but charged through the playoffs, beating the Buccaneers and the Cowboys on the road to advance to the NFC championship game in Green Bay against the Packers.
The game was played in the third-coldest conditions in NFL history, hitting minus-1 degree at kickoff.
“I don’t think anybody was really excited playing in whatever it was, negative something, but we knew it would affect us and affect Green Bay also so (you) try not to think about it and play,” Boss said.
When Tynes’ field goal in overtime sent the Giants to the Super Bowl, Boss remembers running onto the field and hugging teammate Zak DeOssie hard enough to bloody his friend’s nose.
Boss said that after winning three playoff games on the road the Giants are trying to look at the Super Bowl as yet another road trip. After losing the first matchup with the Patriots, the Giants are happy to have another shot at the undefeated team.
“I think we’re almost glad to have drawn the Patriots again,” he said. “We feel we match up well against them.”
They’ll be watching back home
In Monmouth, old habits die hard for Ferguson. After years of watching Boss on tape, he can’t seem to let go of the remote control even with Boss now in the pros.
“Sometimes when Kevin’s playing, I’ll rewind the DVR,” he admitted. “I bet (my wife) won’t let me do it during the Super Bowl.”
Ferguson talked to Boss early in the week and told him to relax and just treat it like another game. Ferguson remembers Boss always played better relaxed.
“He just kind of laughed,” Ferguson said.
Thorson will be watching the game with a group of teammates, just like Boss did while at Western Oregon. Thorson said Boss is setting an example for every small-town Oregon kid with NFL hopes.
“For me, it’s just hard work pays off,” Thorson said. “For young players out there saying ‘I can do this.’ He came from a small town, played at a small college and it all paid off.”
Rath said he feels pride watching a player he’s known since childhood on the NFL’s biggest stage.
“I taught Kevin when he was in third grade at the elementary school and I was his football coach at the high school,” Rath said. “For me, knowing the type of person he is and what a hard worker he is it’s been kind of a really neat thing to see.”
For Boss, thinking back to how close he came his senior year to not being able to play again, this opportunity is even sweeter.
“Everyone’s just feeling the same way I am: They just can’t believe it’s happening,” he said.
Although the game is top of mind now, Boss also is looking ahead.
“I’m looking forward to coming home in the offseason,” he said. “I’ll definitely be going to see some basketball games at Western and some basketball games at Philomath. I’m looking forward to getting back to the great Northwest.”