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Portland or Bust

By Jasmin Singer — June 29, 2012

First of all, just to get it out there before you have a chance to say it, our move to the West Coast is temporary. As in, we’re coming back in 6 months (and, in fact, several times within those 6 months for various speaking engagements). So (Mom!), please don’t overreact. Because we’re not moving-moving. We’re just temporarily relocating.

That said, holy rescued shihtzu, we’re moving to Portland! And we’re leaving TOMORROW!

As you probably know (certainly our podcast listeners do), Mariann — the official brains behind Our Hen House — is going to be a visiting professor at Lewis & Clark Law School Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) for the Fall 2012 semester. I’m kvelling! She is leaving behind the handful of schools where she teaches here in NYC (don’t worry kids, she’ll be back in the Spring), and over there in Portland, Oregon (egad!), she’ll be taking on two groundbreaking classes: Animal Law Fundamentals, and — yes indeedy — Animals in Agriculture. As we’ve said time and time again here on Our Hen House — and as was evident when we featured a podcast episode devoted to CALS’ Animal Law Conference (Episode 93) — when it comes to animal law, CALS is at the helm. They are the true pioneers who put animal law on the map in the first place, and it’s beyond thrilling for Mariann to join their team of movers and shakers.

Did I mention that we’re driving? Thanks to Grandma’s generosity of loaning us her 2005 gold Buick (we’re stylin’!), the three of us — me, Mariann, and our gorgeous pit bull Rose (who will be tweeting from the road, so follow her, @RoseBarks) — are setting off tomorrow. We’ll be starting our journey at Columbia University, one of the schools where Mariann teaches animal law, and ending our journey in just over two weeks (ish) at the Columbia Gorge in PDX. (Columbia to Columbia. Cute, huh?) Along the way, we’ll be podcasting, as per usual (are you subscribed yet?), so, in addition to Rose’s tweets, you can follow our journey cross-country that way (and, Mom, don’t worry — I’ll call you daily).

While in Portland, expect our podcast and blog to feature some of the truly awesome activism going on out there, as well as visits to animal sanctuaries in the Pacific Northwest, plus spotlights on local vegan businesses. Because of the massive presence of veganism and animal rights in the Portland area, our coverage will only be the tip of the (melting) iceberg, but we are ecstatic to start exploring. We also have a number of speaking engagements lined up in Portland (including at their famous VegFest), covering everything from veganism, to activism, to animal law, and lots in between, so we hope to meet many of you Portlanders in person.

As for the road trip, some of the states we’ll hit along the way will include New Jersey (Mom — I’ll stop by — don’t worry!), Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana (diversion!), Idaho, and, finally, Oregon. We’ll be meandering on two-lane highways, not interstates, and we’ll be taking our time, but don’t worry. Throughout the next two weeks, you’ll still get your daily dose of Our Hen House, as we have some pretty excellent and inspiring pieces set to be published on our blog — from fabulous guest-writers and reviewers, as well as some from Mariann and me — and, as mentioned, we’ll be podcasting from the road. OHH’s Sally Tamarkin will be helping us manage our Facebook and Twitter while we’re gone (though we’ll show up there, too).

Speaking of our multimedia resources, just a quick update on our forthcoming online magazine: It’s in the works (boy oh boy is it!), and we’ve been busy collaborating with our extremely talented designer who has been showing us mock-ups that have been blowing our mind! Our new online magazine, which will be up later this summer, will include a membership area for you to support our efforts by joining our flock (wait until you see the incentive prizes), additional content, more in-depth pieces, columns that include content that nobody else is touching (we love our new pool of columnists!), and daily perks and additions that are currently in the works — and I don’t want to ruin them by announcing them too early — but you will LOVE them! Our goal is to drastically step up our capacity so that we can produce more opportunities and ideas for you to go out and change the world for animals. This is just one of the many things coming up for us here in Our Hen House. (Is this a good time to mention that we’re a 501(c)3 nonprofit?)

But for now, I need to focus on how to fit 6 months of crap into the trunk of the Grandmamobile. Rose, for one, can’t wait.

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