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• Mayor Lucy Vinis convened her first Auditor Study Committee meeting Aug. 2 at the Eugene Public Library. Norma Greer and Marty Wilde were elected co-chairs, and the group will look at various cities that have independent city auditors to see what might work best for Eugene and wrap up its research with a report in two months or so. The problem is that an initiative petition to create an independent elected performance auditor is already in circulation with a measure expected to go on the ballot next spring.

• We were excited to hear from Greenhill Humane Society that Tank, the pit bull who has waited more than 500 days to find a home, was adopted by Eugene Weekly readers after his story appeared in our annual Pets issue. Go Tank! 

 

• Sen. John McCain voted in favor of beginning the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McCain returned to the Senate floor with stitches above his eye and visible bruising to his face after undergoing a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor last week. Would his constituents in Arizona who are uninsured be able to afford the same surgery? If the ACA is repealed without a plan to replace it, will cancer go back to being a pre-existing condition?

• When even our 10-year-old friend asks what’s going to happen on the old city hall/new county courthouse lot in downtown Eugene, it must be time to look for an answer.

Any suggestions? It will be at least three years, probably more, before ground breaks for a courthouse.

Should we have a garden? Or even trees around the edges? Remember those old-fashioned big-top circuses — wouldn’t that be fun? How about a giant art installation?

Val Hoyle, our popular Lane County Democrat who was majority leader of the Oregon House, told EW this week that she is going to run for Oregon Labor Commissioner in May 2018. Current Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told Hoyle he doesn’t plan on running again once this term ends. A non-partisan election, this one will be over if a candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote; if not, there’s a runoff. It’s good to have Val back in the arena, and labor commissioner is a fine fit for her. Next question: Who else will be running?


• The Oregon Country Fair is kicking off, and we treasure this quirky annual celebration and all it does to revel in the hippie culture that makes Eugene Eugene. And as with anything we treasure, we have to love it in all its flaws, whether those might be complaints about the dust or the music acts or something more painful such as the Ritz Sauna story pole debacle that hurt and offended native peoples. As the dust settles, we hope we will hear about efforts OCF makes to work with the native community to restore trust and build new bridges. 


Take this little quiz for us. Can you locate Broadway Plaza? Can you locate Kesey Square? End of quiz. The obvious answers make us wonder why the city staff and Eugene City Council are so slow in officially designating the storied square in the center of Eugene as Kesey Square. The council will consider this in the fall, and it has opened a comment period on the name change. Write mayorcouncilandcitymanager@ci.eugene.or.us or tell them in person Monday, July 10 and July 24, at Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Service Building, 125 E. 8th.

• How many renters get evicted in Lane County each year? The numbers are not easy to come by, but local demographics mapper Joe Kosewic has tracked the landlord cases that end up in court in Oregon and broken down the numbers by county. Evictions that are uncontested far outnumber actual court cases, he figures. Lane County had 1,794 court-contested evictions in 2016. Multnomah County had 5,446, Washington County had 2,952 and Marion County had 1,951. Kosewic says the Residential Eviction Complaint form doesn’t track whether children are involved in the evictions.

• 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.