Let’s say it again for those in the back: Get your damn vaccine. COVID cases are skyrocketing in Lane County. According to reports from hospitals and doctors’ offices there are more kids and young people than ever before testing positive. The Delta variant is spreading like the wildfires that are also terrifying us this summer. For those of us who are vaccinated, our health risks are much lower but we can still spread it. Here at EW we are masked again and vaccinated because we care about other people, especially those who are medically compromised and cannot get the vaccine. We have heard all the conspiracy theories and the excuses, but really, do you want to find out someday that you were the one who spread COVID to someone and killed them?
• Speaking of that pandemic: The Whiteaker Block Party, which was to have been Saturday, Aug. 7, has been canceled. “We cannot consciously bring thousands of folks to this small area and keep people safe,” Whiteaker Block Party Organizer Christopher Gadsby said on Reddit Wednesday, Aug.4.
• The air is tinged with smoke from fires across Oregon; the weather is hot and muggy. The effects of climate change are hitting us hard in the middle of a global pandemic. Since we are in need of something cheerful, now is the time to remind you that Eugene Weekly is holding its annual Pet Photo contest! Submit your pet in any or all of this year’s categories: Cutest, best dressed and unconventional beauty. Email high-res photos with your pet’s name and category to firstname.lastname@example.org and campaign your pet photos on social media by tagging #EugeneWeekly and #EugeneWeeklyPetPhotoContest. Winners will be featured in our Aug.19 Pets issue. Deadline to enter is noon Aug.13.
• We’ll miss the Bijou. For decades the quirky old campus-side movie house, occupying a building that served in previous lives as a church and a funeral home, was the only place in town to enjoy foreign or other non-Hollywood films. Bijou Art Cinemas was also the only Eugene cinema offering both a resident cat (the corpulent and friendly Boo) and a college film society vibe. Now it’s gone for good, done in by uncaring capitalism, online streaming and the social distance of the pandemic.
• “The public interest in the transparency of government operations is particularly significant when it comes to the operations of its police department,” says Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press attorney Ellen Osoinach. Osoinach is representing EW and reporter Ardy Tabrizian in a public records lawsuit related to the investigative piece “A Hidden Death,” EW 7/22, on the death of Landon Payne in March 2020. Payne was arrested by Eugene police and restrained — and kneeled on — by sheriff’s deputies at the Lane County Jail. Law enforcement chose not to announce his death. EW and Tabrizian have requested bodycam footage from EPD to learn more about the events of that night, but EPD has denied our request. Is it in the public interest to know what happened to a man who died after being Tased, restrained and kneeled on over an outdated warrant for unpaid child support? We think so.
• UO Psychology Professor Emerit Jennifer Freyd persisted, and after four years of litigation she achieved a settlement of $450,000 from the University of Oregon for pay discrimination. She was paid less because she was a woman. $350,000 will go to her and her Eugene attorney, Jennifer Middleton, and $100,000 will go to the Center for Institutional Courage which Freyd has established. We wonder, how much did the UO pay the Portland attorneys to represent this state university in trying to continue discriminating against women? It was no doubt plenty, and it’s disgraceful. Full disclosure, EW co-owner Art Johnson retired from Middleton’s law firm, Johnson, Johnson, Lucas and Middleton, several years ago.