THURS NOV 3—Is it possible for a nature writer to not ultimately and eventually become an environmental activist? With her latest book, The Open Space of Democracy, Terry Tempest Williams has taken her simultaneously elegant and blistering prose to task. The Southwestern writer combines discussions and observations on place, people, and purpose. First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park, 7 pm, www.brownpapertickets.com for advance tickets, $20

WED NOV 9—The City Charter is like city hall's DNA: It makes the rules and regulations for how our local government operates. Now, Mayor Tom Potter wants to tinker with it—to consider whether we should change the current five-person council structure and to think about the future of Portland Development Commission. Voice your opinion and find out what direction the Charter Review Commission is heading. City Hall, 1221 SW 4th, 10:45 am