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KLCC reporters are gathering stories for the 2018 Oregon Country Fair. Reports will appear on this page.Do you and a friend have a Fair story to share? Stop by the KLCC booth on Friday July 13 between 11 am and 2 pm and we will record your story. "Fair Shares" will appear on this page after the Fair!

A Talk With Wren Arrington On White Bird Clinic's OCF Services

Brian Bull

The Oregon Country Fair tries to cover all the bases when it comes to visitor comfort and safety. The White Bird Clinic has two sites that address the physical and mental well-being of fairgoers.  KLCC’s Brian Bull met with Wren Arrington, Rock Medicine Event Coordinator for the White Bird Clinic. Bull began by asking Arrington what help the clinic can provide, and where.

"Well, at the Country Fair, down next to the main stage Meadow, at booth # 243, we have our main booth installation called Big Bird.  And it is essentially a small hospital, we can do all the things there that a small rural hospital could do except things like labs and X-rays.  Starting on Wednesday at noon, we have full staff on 24 hours a day until Monday at 3, including several doctors around the clock, and nurses, EMTs, paramedics, we also have teams roving throughout the site that can be dispatched to incidents by radio.

"On the other half of our crew, we have what we refer to as crisis workers who are professional mental health and social service workers because we have a holistic model that tries to care not just for broken bones but also broken spirits."

BULL: What are some of the more common things you see here over the course of the Oregon Country Fair, what do people most come in for?

"Well, probably the thing most people come in for are foot injuries.  Sprained ankles from dancing.  Cutting their feet, we try to create a barefoot friendly environment, but still with a lot of folks at this point in the summer haven’t had their shoes off very often, and they take them off out here because the environment seems to encourage that.  We get a lot of cuts and splinters, we get people that have lots of respiratory problems because of dust and pollen. Ah, people that are kind of overwhelmed because of the crowds.  And everything that you might expect to see in a small town during the three-day weekend when the Fair is open to the public, we are one of the larger communities in Oregon."

BULL: And you said that your staff is all medically trained and certified?

"Yes, that’s right.  We have an advanced life-support level of training and personnel here and equipment so that we can stabilize most traumatic injuries and cardiac incidents, things like that, while we are preparing a patient for transport to a different facility."

BULL: And lastly Wren, for people who are just arriving at the Fair and expect to put  in a full day, maybe longer, do you have any practical advice as to how they can best enjoy the Fair without needing your services necessarily?

"Well, it’s supposed to be particularly hot this weekend so the most important thing is to take your time, drink lots of water, we have sunscreen to give out to folks.  There are a couple meadows, Chela Mela Meadow, and Xavanadu, our new area where you can get out of the crowd and get a break from that and sit in the shade for a little."

BULL: Always good to get away from the crowd every once in a while.

"Yes, and in Xavanadu, I’ll just take a moment to mention, is our second service installation, Little Wing, where you can also go for most of the care you could receive at Big Bird. And next year we’ll be expanding the size of Xavanadu, so we will essentially have two hospitals out here on site."

BULL: And Xavanadu’s essentially an arts installation area that people can just wander and chill out for a bit?

"Yes, there’s participatory art projects, there’s bigger art installations, and it’s one of the places where we have intentionally made an ever-changing environment. Because the Fair’s been here a long time, sometimes folks think they’ve seen it all, but in Xavanadu there’s always something new."

BULL: Wren, Thank you for very much your time.

"No problem, thanks for listening."

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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