• It’s time to celebrate the victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after the Department of the Army announced Dec. 4 that it will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Congratulations to Native Americans, allies, veterans (particularly Native veterans), who impressively gathered to stand up to the pipelines. As they, and we, celebrate this win in the fight for clean water and indigenous rights, celebrants are rightfully also cautious. Fossil-fuel pipelines are still getting approved an under a Trump administration, we fear Standing Rock’s success could be limited. Keep fighting!
Want to support Standing Rock and raise money for the tribe and water protectors? At 6 pm Friday, Dec. 9, Hi-Fi Music Hall, 44 E. 7th Avenue, hosts a community-wide benefit for water protectors with speakers, comedians, live music and more. $15 at the door. And further north, 350Corvallis.org is organizing an event that same night at 7 pm at the Odd Fellows Hall, 223 SW 2nd Street in downtown Corvallis. Local breweries and bars, including Nectar Creek Mead, Tyee Wine Cellars, Flat Tail Brewing, Squirrel’s Tavern, Oregon Trail Brewery and others, are donating beer, mead and wine for sale, and Earth Rising Foods will be selling food. $10 suggested donation.
• We’ll wager that the nearly new Junction City psychiatric hospital will not close in 2018, no matter what Gov. Kate Brown has proposed in her budget. It certainly will be a bargaining chip with the State Legislature and at this time it is impossible to predict the final budget numbers, but we’re counting on Val Hoyle to fight for that hospital that she helped build. She’s on track to go back to the Legislature in the senate seat Chris Edwards has vacated.
• Sports fans tell us that The Oregonian’s coverage of the Ducks is better than that of The Register-Guard — despite how much manpower the R-G throws at UO athletics — because The O isn’t as scared of having its media access cut off. Really? Who’s scared of that? Well, looks like the UO sports machine embraced the Trumpian age before Trump even took office. According to an article on the website Corporate Counsel, the UO asked its general counsel “to look into whether the school’s athletic department is violating university free-speech policies by allegedly threatening to pull the credentials of reporters who try to speak directly with student athletes.” The UO Athletic Department tells the Daily Emerald, whose reporter tried to contact student-athletes directly, that “there are no restrictions on speaking with our student-athletes” but that “all requests for students and staff go through our athletic communication staff.” A report from the general counsel in response to a request from the UO Senate for an investigation of athletic department for possible free-speech violation is due out Jan. 10, the Emerald says.
• Ouch! A long New York Times story on Dec. 3 examined Yale’s evolving policy on renaming buildings and mentioned the University of Oregon’s “as an example of an overly broad policy.” Yale historian John Fabian Witt said the UO policy allowed for renaming buildings honoring anyone who demonstrated “discriminatory, racist, homophobic or misogynist views that actively promoted systemic oppression” or who “failed to take redemptive action” among other expansive criteria. Witt said, “There’s a real risk that would catch up anyone alive before 1950.” So the question lingers: How do we ensure minority students and other historically oppressed groups are comfortable and embraced on campus without erasing the names and history that we need to remember and learn from?
• Lorelei Juntunen, ECONorthwest project director, and John Van Landingham, Housing Policy Board member, gave the City Club of Eugene a short course on solving Eugene’s affordable housing crisis Dec. 2. They talked about inclusionary zoning, available to cities and counties after Senate Bill 1533 passed in June, and construction excise taxes, currently used only by Bend, and favored by Van Landingham, a longtime advocate for low-income housing. This complex discussion makes us wonder how seriously the city takes the need for low-income housing as we watch student housing and high-end complexes shoot up around town.