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Slant 1-14-2016

Two remarkable women from our philosophically diverse community will be remembered Saturday, Jan. 16, both starting at 2 pm. Peg Morton will be honored at the First United Methodist Church and Robin Jaqua at the Jaqua Concert Hall at The Shedd. Better go early; both auditoriums are likely to be full. Morton fiercely devoted her life to peace and justice on many levels (see our cover story Jan. 7). When she reached 85 and was hospitalized, she chose to end her life through fasting, rather than adversely affect the lives of her family and friends with her failing body, as she saw it. Jacqua used her wealth to help children and the arts, and for decades she was the matriarch of Jungian therapy in this community, providing a Jungian library downtown, bringing national speakers to Eugene, inspiring and mentoring young therapists. She fought to live for her last breath, dying at 94.

• Oregon and the Eugene-Springfield area are big in the national news these days, disproportionate to our population. Here’s a quick look: The ugly takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge still fills front pages and there are many Eugene connections, including the Federal Court. The business section of the Jan. 10 New York Times featured quite a story about hospitalists at PeaceHealth in Springfield unionizing along with the nurses; The Wall Street Journal Jan. 5 ran this headline, “A High-Rise Plan Kills High for Ken kesey Fans.” We hear a book contract has been signed telling the story of Nike and the UO. Springfield singer-songwriter Matthew Edewaard even made it into the American Idol auditions.

• The Eugene Celebration died a few years ago for a number of reasons. The city and then Downtown Events Management Inc. lost interest in overseeing and funding it during the recession (stuffy conservatives in town have never liked the quirky event and its outrageous parade). Kesey Enterprises took it over on contract but apparently found it to be daunting and not very profitable to run. Construction and development downtown complicated the event’s footprint. 

Krysta Albert and friends started up the Festival of Eugene as a free, two-day alternative, but after a hectic two years, Albert tells us she is “uncertain if I wish to host the event again.” She says 10,000 people attended the festival last year but “this year no one seems to be coming forward to help make this weekend event happen.” She asks, “Does the community want it?” The problem, we suspect, is that the people of Eugene want their grand Eugene Celebration back, even if they have to pay to get in. But the city doesn’t want to pick up the costs not covered by ticket sales, even though our economy is better and downtown is reviving. Losing the celebration, and even the smaller festival, detracts from our sense of community. Albert can be contacted at 505-4031 or festivalofeugene@gmail.com.

Avid birders in the West (and beyond) are increasingly irked and vocal about the invasion of their beloved Malheur Wildlife Refuge by armed Neanderthals who only relate to nature by shooting at it. One upside of the idiotic occupation by bullet-brains is increased attention on the refuge and its value for migration routes and resident species. Coincidentally, the January program of the Lane County Audubon Society will be a talk and slideshow on the refuge by its director; Tim Blount will speak at 7:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High Street. Expect a bigger crowd than usual.