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DailyTidings.com
  • Peace House at 30

    Still active, after ups and downs
  • It's quiet right now inside Peace House. Invitations to Friday's dinner with Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin have been sent out and responses are coming in.
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    • If you go
      • State Rep. Peter Buckley will speak on Measure 80, which would legalize marijuana in Oregon, as part of Happy House Peace Talks at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at Tabu restaurant, 76 N. Pioneer ...
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      If you go
      • State Rep. Peter Buckley will speak on Measure 80, which would legalize marijuana in Oregon, as part of Happy House Peace Talks at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at Tabu restaurant, 76 N. Pioneer St. Call Peace House at 541-482-9625 or info@peacehouse.net.

      • International peace activist Medea Benjamin and local peace advocates will be honored at Peace House's 30th anniversary gala on Friday, Oct. 19, at Southern Oregon University. Benjamin is a cofounder of Code Pink: Women for Peace and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. She was nominated in 2005 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and in 2010 she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. She will speak at the fundraiser and receive the Marjorie Kellogg Award.

      Rogue Valley residents receiving Peacemaker Awards are Gina DuQuenne of Southern Oregon Pride; Lucy Edwards and Jim Phillips of Witness for Peace providing human rights advocacy in Honduras and Nicaragua; and Nancie Koerber and Mark Thomas of Project REconomy. Tickets for the dinner are $75 and are available online at www.peacehouse.net/tickets.
  • It's quiet right now inside Peace House. Invitations to Friday's dinner with Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin have been sent out and responses are coming in.
    Occasionally, someone wanders through the sliding-glass front door and offers to help serve food to the homeless or organize news clippings from past front-page war protests. Sometimes, the old RadioShack phone rings and office manager Ruth Coulthard, who has been involved with the center for most of its 30 years, answers softly, "Peace House."
    For an organization that grants everyone a voice, Peace House, on the ground floor of a shaded, two-story building catercorner to Southern Oregon University's bustling campus, is calm on this Wednesday afternoon. But it hasn't always been that way.
    Over the years, there have been heated discussions, board member resignations, lack of funds and other hard times. But for now, everyone agrees that this office — with its bare-bones desks, antiquated equipment and $60,000 annual budget — is making a difference.
    The organization launched by John Stahmer and others in 1982 to create a nuclear-free zone in Ashland has remained a cornerstone of peace and justice work here. It operates Uncle Food's Diner community meals and presents educational programs on the federal budget, workshops on conflict resolution and talks with local politicians and international advocates on economic, environmental and human rights issues.
    Today, Peace House is stable enough to also offer help to emerging groups such as Southern Oregon Pride, Transition Town sustainability project and Time Bank community service. The now successful Ashland Food Project, co-founded by early Peace House member Paul Giancarlo, leaned on Peace House at its start.
    During Peace House's early days, vocal anti-war advocates met in living rooms and in donated spaces, first in an office above the Plaza, then a rectory on the grounds of the Methodist Church and since the mid-1990s, underneath the Quaker Meeting Hall.
    On one of three desks is a vintage eMachine computer with a display screen the size of a piece of notebook paper. Here, current board Chairman Herb Rothschild Jr. is showing photographs of marches, vigils and other past gatherings in which promoting peace was the goal.
    There is Dot Fisher-Smith, one of Peace House's founders, marching against the manufacture of nuclear war components and talking about tax resistance in 1983. There is author and philosopher Jean Houston speaking at one of many Unite for Peace Conferences.
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