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Oregon Country Fair adds spaces for marginalized attendees

Nathan Wilk
The Rainbow Connection, with the adjoined BIPOC Sanctuary, offered private spaces for attendees.

The Oregon Country Fair wrapped up its three-day run on Sunday. A new feature of this year’s event was an area that aimed to give marginalized communities a break.

The Rainbow Connection and BIPOC Sanctuary offered educational resources for the public and private areas for Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ attendees.

Kellum Tate-Jones helped organize the space.

“Even in magical places, like Fair, sometimes systems of oppression can still play out.”

Tate-Jones says this weekend, visitors included teenagers who felt unsupported by their families and trans people who were misgendered by other attendees.

“If you have something hard that happens, having somewhere you can actually go and feel held and feel safe can be a transformative experience.”

Patrons played games and discussed social issues, with organizers hoping to educate around cultural appropriation at Fair.

Organizers say this was a pilot year. Future iterations will include an expanded event schedule and youth spaces.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter and former reporting intern. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon. He is a senior at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.