Author Archive

Phil Busse

Phil Busse

Phil Busse has spent the past 20 years as a journalist, attorney and educator—and doing his tour of duty with alt-weeklies.

He has served as the Editor for the Source, a popular weekly newspaper in Bend, Oregon and was the founding Managing Editor for the Portland Mercury. While in law school, he wrote crime and legal stories for the Eugene Weekly and started his writing career as the first environmental beat reporter for San Francisco Weekly.

In 2006, Phil started the Media Institute for Social Change (, an educational non-profit. Based in Portland, Oregon, the organization hosts college students each summer to teach them how to produce public interest film and radio documentaries—and, in 2013, helped launch XRAY.FM, a talk and music radio station that won Willamette Week’s readers choice for Best Local Radio Station in 2015.

Phil is truly surprised that he ended up as a newspaperman; as a kid, he believed that he would grow up to be a spy, and has spent a lifetime acquiring the proper skills—he is certified SCUBA diver, knows how to tie a bow tie and can mix (shake) a mean martini.

Phil graduated from Middlebury College in 1992 and earned his law degree from the University of Oregon in 1997.

Repeatedly over the past 15 years, Heidi Ewing has shown why she is one of the most important directors of contemporary American documentaries. Along with her production partner in Loki Films of Rachel Grady, Ewing picks out individual characters to unravel some of the most thorny—and often under-told—stories of our

Bernie Sanders is fond of pointing out that the wealth divide in America is doing more that perhaps any other issue to pull apart this country. While likely true, it is, however, not a novel problem. At the end of last century—the 19th, that is, the one that increasingly was

-Phil Busse, with reporting by Ryan Degan “I think people are aware that Bear Creek has problems, but I think there is a less clear understanding of how to halt the damage and repair the Rogue River’s most urban waterway.” – Forrest English, Rogue Riverkeepers, Bear Creek is not a

A lot of media attention in the national presidential race has been paid to the petty insults and personal jabs. The rancor has been most pronounced in Republican debates, which have atrophied into shouting matches, with candidates insulting hand sizes and manhood—and, ultimately, violating the first rule of debating, which

For decades, Oregon held a bi-annual legislature, with lawmakers meeting every other year instead of staying constantly in business like California and, well, most states; it was a quaint holdover from colonial days and perhaps an indicator that sleepy Oregon just didn’t have enough legislative business to occupy a full-time

Reading over the results for the second annual Readers’ Choice Best of Rogue Valley survey was insightful about residents’ likes and loyalties. By and large, there were very few runaway winners in most categories; instead, we found that our readers spread their votes over dozens of personal choices and favorites.

Fifteen years ago, the image of brand-new, tall white wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge and the Gulliver-sized pinwheels that began to pop up on farm lands throughout the state seemed like some happy-ever-after future, a time when residents and businesses all acknowledged that a couple centuries of coal

In early February, a handful of filmmakers traveled from southern Oregon to Salem. It was a hectic day, film producers and advocates for a more robust film industry in Oregon scurried around the capital building, hoping to grab a few minutes from state senators and representatives, to bend their ears

Like a salmon swimming upstream, the proposed Healthy Climate Bill seems to have a battle ahead of it in the Oregon legislature. Although the messages have been ringing for the past few decades—the world is warming up! polar caps are melting!—that urgency has not translated strong legislative measures to correct

Tourism can be an ugly word. During the most recent Super Bowl, hosted at Levi Stadium south of San Francisco, the city once known for art, love and tolerance took a decidedly different tact and reportedly pushed out homeless men and women to “clean up” the city for tourists visiting