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• What is “missing middle housing”? Is it missing in Eugene? And since it is, how do we remedy that? Those are the questions, and answers, Josh Skov and Kaarin Knudson laid out to the City Club of Eugene on June 9. The “missing middle” is the duplex, triplex, fourplex, courtyard apartment, bungalow, townhouse, multiplex and live-work arrangement. It is missing increasingly in Eugene, in part causing a crisis in affordability. The city can step up with code and zoning changes, plus incentivizing and showing examples.

• About 40 marchers showed up on Friday, June 2, to protest the downtown Eugene dog ban. It’s interesting that the city decided to wait on banning alcohol in all parks due to “mixed” reviews in public comment, but the City Council charged ahead with banning pups, despite decidedly mixed reviews. Were there more people with money and influence wanting to sip wine or toss back a hoppy beer in the park than there were who stroll with their dogs downtown? For the record, we are pro-dog and pro- a responsible drink in the park once in a while.

• The May 26 murder of two men and near-fatal stabbing of a third by a white supremacist on a Portland commuter train is a sickening punch to the gut. People lost their lives standing up to a man harassing a Muslim teenage girl and her friend. Meanwhile, a local racist hung a banner proclaiming “Jews did 9-11” off an I-5 bridge north of Eugene. Local activists raced to stop it but didn’t arrive in time. And yet, that is our answer: Keep trying to stop the hate. Intervene. Be the helpers. 

 

• We left the May 19 meeting of the City Club of Eugene fairly confident that our dams, rivers and reservoirs are safe despite the anticipated big earthquake. Erik Peterson, operations project manager of the Willamette Valley for Portland district of the U. S.

Please don’t fire Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump. If he fades into (among?) the bushes, Melissa McCarthy and Saturday Night Live can’t make us laugh with her wonderful impersonations, even rolling down 58th street in NYC on her Spicey podium. We deserve that every Saturday night.

 

 #TrumpResistance.

We’re urging our family and friends in Montana to support Rob Quist, the Democratic bluegrass musician and supporter of Bernie Sanders, running in the May 25 special election for the state’s only congressional seat. We’re also sending a contribution (average donation is $32) to help all we can in this Wild West red state with a blue governor and a blue senator. Democrats need to win 24 seats to take back the U. S. House. It is possible.

 

 

• We heard lots of chatter at the Climate March and rally April 29 about next steps in the resistance. Clearly, we need to do what we can to defeat Trump loyalists in Congress, at the same time holding on to progressive majorities in Oregon. Congressman Greg Walden, the only Republican in Oregon’s delegation, needs a gutsy opponent in 2018, probably from Bend, Medford or Hood River. So far, no one has surfaced, although Walden has been the point man for Trump’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, not a popular position in Oregon.

 

• The combination of Jane VanBoskirk, Eleanor Roosevelt and Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon filled every seat in the Wildish Theater on April 20. In a performance sponsored by Eugene Weekly, VanBoskirk did her amazing one-woman hour as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Planned Parenthood received about $4,800 to put toward their important work. A former resident of Eugene now living in Portland, VanBoskirk is playing Eleanor all over the country. She and the Wildish are planning a June 4 reprise for all those fans who were turned away.

The idea of using found objects in art goes back to the beginning of the modern era, more than a hundred years ago, when Marcel Duchamp entered a porcelain urinal signed “R.Mutt” to be exhibited at the Grand Central Palace in New York City.

• Mike McGinn just announced that he is running again to be mayor of Seattle. A former staffer for Congressman Jim Weaver of Eugene, McGinn came out of the environmental movement to be elected mayor for one term, only to lose when he ran for a second. His first priority: “We must house the homeless.”


• It’s an oft-repeated accusation, a drum beaten by the Trumpians, that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and are a drain on the U.S economy. The reverse is true.

Fake news! An error at the printer meant our Satire Issue didn’t get marked with the April 1 date at the bottom of the page that we had planned to mark April Fools Day. Whoops. Still, even the online stories marked as “satire” had some readers believing we wanted to actually boil dogs and that the University of Oregon football team was complaining about its fancy digs. Check your sources!

If you were dismissive, as we were, of the recent rumor that Oregon’s own Art Robinson could be named Trump’s science advisor, you might read Jane Mayer’s brilliant article in the March 27 New Yorker on “Trump’s Money Man.” That’s Robert Mercer, “a reclusive hedge fund tycoon” who rivals the Koch brothers for bankrolling extreme-right politicians. Mercer has funded Robinson in his several failed efforts to beat our Congressman Peter DeFazio. After reading this shocking article, it is clear that

• Close on the heels of the news that conservative Councilor George Poling was stepping down from the Eugene City Council, longtime conservative Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart announced his departure from the Board of Commissioners. Appointments for replacements will be made in April, and the replacements will probably reflect their predecessor’s right-leaning values, but here’s to hoping that these transitions leave some openings for electing progressives who prioritize the environment, human rights and helping those in need. 

When the president of your country talks violently about women, what message does that send? That was one of the niggling questions that came out of the March 10 City Club of Eugene program on “Cruelty to Women, Here and Now.” Rachel Collins of Womenspace and Dr. Don Davies from the McKenzie River Men’s Center rolled out the cruel data: One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes; more than nine percent of our homeless are there because of domestic violence; globally, more deaths result from domestic violence than from wars. What to do about it?

• Rumor has it that The Register-Guard is laying off another 20 employees. The toll this time includes reporter Lillian Schrock, who was let go Friday, and newsroom veteran Diane Dietz, who got laid off on Tuesday. Dietz has bulldogged the leadership chaos and financial shenanigans at the University of Oregon for years.

• When Trump was elected in November, who could have imagined that a few short months later The New York Times would be running full-page ads in its first section in the defense of truth? The lead ad on Feb. 26 said only “Truth. It’s more important now than ever.” And who could have imagined that former President George W. Bush’s defense of the free press in a democracy would strike such a chord across this country? Yet another heartening note comes from a Feb 16-21 Quinnipiac University survey of 1,323 voters.

• A campaign already is coming together to take on County Commissioner Faye Stewart in the May 2018 election. James Barber, who lives in Walterville, handed out cards at the Feb. 17 City Club of Eugene meeting that say he’s a candidate for the East Lane county commission position with the slogan “Voice for the People.” Lots of energy there. Stewart is long entrenched in the conservative-leaning Lane County Commission, so this should be interesting.

• Did you miss 350 Eugene’s Feb. 3, non-violent direct action training? No problem, EW will keep you informed about opportunities to get involved as Lane County responds to the Trump presidency. Eugene/Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN) will host a series of four free workshops on non-violent direct action on Saturdays in February and March. The lectures focus on how to plan and implement non-violent direct actions to make change with causes you care about.

Downtown Eugene is a point of contention again, with some groups advocating for cleaning up the streets of “travelers” and transients through smoking and dog bans. Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark has even called for an additional small jail right near our planned new City Hall. More jails won’t solve the problem and bans just push people out to become someone else’s problem. We need more shelters. We need a day shelter. If you can’t tell someone to go home, at least give people somewhere to go. 


EW attended the Sunday, Jan. 29, rally at the federal courthouse downtown, a response to President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program for those seeking asylum from a list of seven Muslim nations. (Apparently Muslim is no longer a religious designation but a political one, which begs the question about the so-call Christians now in the White House.) Such a protest, which saw estimated crowds of 1,000 or more, is a right and proper democratic response to such xenophobic, unconstitutional nonsense, and it feels good to gather and vent.

• We note with sadness the death on Jan. 20 of Edwin Coleman, jazz musician, professor of English and outspoken civil rights advocate in Eugene. He died at age 84 from complications of flu. As a jazz guitarist, Coleman backed up such musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi and Peter, Paul and Mary. As a civil rights advocate he met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. As a professor at the University of Oregon, he stood for equality and tolerance, bringing his love of African-American literature, folklore and drama to generations of Oregon students.

• Let the games begin! Pete Sorenson’s announcement that this is his last four-year term as Lane County commissioner opens the floodgates for candidates to step up in his progressive South Eugene district. Not an easy job for a progressive, it does now pay $84,457 annually, making it the best political pay prospect in the county. We wonder if Andy Stahl will run again or if a smart, strong woman will try to join the current men’s club? Kudos to Pete for making this announcement four years out.

Monday, Jan. 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” or his “I Have a Dream” speech and remind yourself of how far we have come and how very far we still have to go when it comes to race and racism in this country. The Eugene-Springfield NAACP says that the 2017 MLK Jr. March shaping up to be biggest to date, and as well it should. Black Lives Matter.