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Rudy Alaya of Power Plant Salem

I want to show more Mexican men out there promoting Cannabis in a positive way of healing.

Rudy Ayala is a self-described “all-around stoner” with lifelong roots in Southern California and the lowrider community. After moving to Salem and discovering the scene in the PNW, he’s been budtending and bringing his communities together in inspiring fashion. We caught up with him to pick his brain on some of his favorite Oregon brands, and tap his heart for some insights into the love he has for the world around him.

When Rudy helped open the new Power Plant location in Salem, getting the shelves stocked with a wide variety of products was a high priority. “I try and support as many companies as much as possible,” said Rudy. “Everybody has a different technique and we have so many options here in Oregon. There are so many ways of enjoying Cannabis, I want to support everyone who comes in that door and have a good solution for them.”

“I am an all-around stoner, my highest preference is flower and dabs,” Rudy continued, mentioning that he recommends Extractioneering often for clients looking for a pronounced but functional effect. “It’s one of my go-tos, it’s very tasty, clean, and I like the cannabinoid and terpene ratios.” For flower, Rudy said he’s been smoking a lot of Rip City Roots and Cosmic Treehouse. 

But there’s a lot more to Rudy than budtending – he’s also a prolific photographer and heavily involved in the Salem lowrider community. 

“I was born and raised in Southern California and a lot of the old school lowrider guys helped take care of the community,” Rudy remarked. “I immediately fell in love with the culture. I got my first taste at a Christmas parade when I was a kid and I was hooked. Growing up around my cousins and going out riding with them, watching all their lowrider videos, and reading magazines together. It was a big deal for us and I just kept with it.”

Kept with it, indeed. From childhood to present day, Rudy has continued to meld his passions and bring the worlds around him together. “I have a ’62 Super Sport Impala that’s all original, that I have been working on forever. Photography and the community were always just a part of that,” said Rudy. “That led to me shooting for a lowrider mag for six years before I came up to Oregon and found the scene here. We are always doing toy drives and helping families celebrate the holidays. We want to make sure every kid has something to open up for Christmas.”

At the end of the day, while Rudy is an undoubted source of positivity for his community, he realizes that pushing back on the negativity around him is also essential. “I want to showcase this community and show people that though this started in that negative stereotype gang culture, that’s not what it’s about,” said Rudy. “We push back on the negativity. I want to show more Mexican men out there promoting Cannabis in a positive way of healing. Cannabis likes to show us as drug dealers, but Hispanic men in the Cannabis industry are doing this to heal and we know it’s a medicine that works.”

Photos by @i4ramemaryjane20

This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of Oregon Leaf.

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