Oh, God. You know you've stirred shit up when the Pink Martini founder gets on the blower. And City Commissioner Dan Saltzman may very well have done that by saying he'll send the symphony to New York "over my dead body."


"It's one of our biggest assets, in this community—our arts," he says. "And I think it would be great that the city fund this, I think it's a very strong proposal, to put our symphony orchestra really on the radar in the country in a new way."

Lauderdale is on the board of the symphony and a financial supporter, and called to point out that the city funded the ballet, not the symphony, back in 2008, with a $250,000 grant to send them to the Kennedy Center in Washington.

But...over Saltzman's "dead body..."

"But once he gets the clarification that it's the symphony, and not the ballet, it seems only fair," says Lauderdale. "I understand that it's budget time and it's a whole different ballgame than it was two years ago, but it's good for the city, it's good for Oregon."

Has this issue become a political football?

"It shouldn't be," Lauderdale says. "The city has supported ballet, and center stage, the art museum. Now is the time for the city to step up and support the symphony. It's fair. We've got 76 musicians in the orchestra, and it brings all kinds—it revitalizes downtown 3 nights a week, it's a big thing. Of course we need mental health, of course we need all sorts of things. But there's no end to all of the great things we should be spending money on."

"This isn't nearly as much as Center Stage got for that new Center Stage complex," he continues. "And it's less than the ballet got to go to Kennedy Center—with 25 members—two years ago."