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May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

May in the Willamette Valley is a sight to behold — newly green trees burst with life; the waves of spring flowers make a splashy rainbow of our town; sunlight sets the river dazzling. Even the rain seems a little less oppressive with the promise of intermittent glimpses of sun.

Breathe a collective sigh of happiness, Oregon. These are the good months. 

That’s why EW’s annual outdoors issue touches on different ways you can enjoy nature, from walking in local parks and jogging on forest trails to surfing the river. It’s all there waiting for you, so grab a friend and explore. That computer screen can wait a little longer.

 

Journey to the Sea
The dream of a trail from Corvallis to the coast

A Day in the Park
Eugene volunteer Becky Riley works for chemical-free parks

To the Trails
Run Hub Northwest brings running to the forest

Surf's up
Elijah Mack shares the latest news in river surfing

The Broad Outdoors
Local writer Ruby McConnell pens a handy outdoor guide for women, but men should take a look, too

House on the River
Eugene’s River House celebrates 50 years

May in the Willamette Valley is a sight to behold — newly green trees burst with life; the waves of spring flowers make a splashy rainbow of our town; sunlight sets the river dazzling. Even the rain seems a little less oppressive with the promise of intermittent glimpses of sun.

Breathe a collective sigh of happiness, Oregon. These are the good months. 

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

On a blazing hot spring afternoon, Becky Riley lifts her foot in the air and stomps it against her shovel, grabbing a pile of dirt with her gloved hands as she gently combs through a sea of soil, wriggling with earthworms. 

Riley stands in the middle of a mowed, grass walkway at the north end of Rasor Park off River Road, where she’s getting ready to go head-to-head with a legion of poison oak plants. The 58-year-old has spent the past two years of her life removing poison oak by hand from the grassy field as an alternative to chemical spray. 

On a blazing hot spring afternoon, Becky Riley lifts her foot in the air and stomps it against her shovel, grabbing a pile of dirt with her gloved hands as she gently combs through a sea of soil, wriggling with earthworms. 

Riley stands in the middle of a mowed, grass walkway at the north end of Rasor Park off River Road, where she’s getting ready to go head-to-head with a legion of poison oak plants. The 58-year-old has spent the past two years of her life removing poison oak by hand from the grassy field as an alternative to chemical spray. 

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

Ah, Eugene, “a great city for the arts and outdoors,” especially if you have the right gear, training and financial means to actually get down and dirty in the area’s natural wonders.

One factor for enjoying the outdoors is having access in the first place. The Eugene Rec Outdoor Program provides just that for Eugeneans, and the organization’s 50th anniversary is right around the corner.

Ah, Eugene, “a great city for the arts and outdoors,” especially if you have the right gear, training and financial means to actually get down and dirty in the area’s natural wonders.

One factor for enjoying the outdoors is having access in the first place. The Eugene Rec Outdoor Program provides just that for Eugeneans, and the organization’s 50th anniversary is right around the corner.

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

Denise Nervik leans back in her chair and smiles as she recalls hiking Bald Hill in 1993, when she first moved to Corvallis.

“I was walking up in my boots and found that I was sinking into the muck up to the boot tops,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘Now I know what I’m going to do here in Corvallis! I’m going to work on trails.’”

Denise Nervik leans back in her chair and smiles as she recalls hiking Bald Hill in 1993, when she first moved to Corvallis.

“I was walking up in my boots and found that I was sinking into the muck up to the boot tops,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘Now I know what I’m going to do here in Corvallis! I’m going to work on trails.’”

Her prediction was right: With fellow volunteers, Nervik has worked for the past 14 years to organize and build the Corvallis to the Sea (C2C) hiking trail. 

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

River surfer and barber Elijah Mack has big dreams for Eugene. 

In 2004, EW ran a cover story on Mack — he talked about his difficult past, his love for river surfing and the potential for an outdoor wave park in Eugene. Mack, who is moving back to Eugene this summer from Portland, still wants to see a wave park in Eugene for surfers. In the past 14 years, river surfing and whitewater parks have taken off across the nation. 

River surfer and barber Elijah Mack has big dreams for Eugene. 

In 2004, EW ran a cover story on Mack — he talked about his difficult past, his love for river surfing and the potential for an outdoor wave park in Eugene. Mack, who is moving back to Eugene this summer from Portland, still wants to see a wave park in Eugene for surfers. In the past 14 years, river surfing and whitewater parks have taken off across the nation. 

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

If Cheryl Strayed had access to A Women’s Guide to The Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook, she probably wouldn’t have had so many hardships on the Pacific Coast Trail to write about in her bestseller Wild

If Cheryl Strayed had access to A Women’s Guide to The Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook, she probably wouldn’t have had so many hardships on the Pacific Coast Trail to write about in her bestseller Wild

Instead of teetering under its weight, Strayed would have learned how to pack a backpack efficiently, specifically for a women’s body, which has a lower center of gravity than a man’s. She could have read up on the proper footwear for long-distance hiking, instead of wearing crappy boots that left her tootsies a bloody pulp.

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

Saturday morning, 8 am. The leaves are glowing green in the morning light, and a small group of runners follows the trail winding through the trees. It is mostly quiet, just the steady rhythm of footsteps, a few conversations shared in between breaths. 

Saturday morning, 8 am. The leaves are glowing green in the morning light, and a small group of runners follows the trail winding through the trees. It is mostly quiet, just the steady rhythm of footsteps, a few conversations shared in between breaths. 

The last Saturday of the month, downtown Eugene’s running shop, Run Hub Northwest, organizes a group trail run. Recently they met at the Martin Street trailhead in south Eugene and ran up to the Ridgeline Trail.

May 12, 2016 03:00 AM

Comic book people do love their origin stories.

The tale of the University of Oregon program in comic studies dates back some seven years, to the 2009 opening reception of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Faster Than a Speeding Bullet exhibition of superhero comic art. Then-UO President Richard Lariviere was on site to help launch the exhibition. 

“I don’t think he was terribly interested,” says Ben Saunders, UO professor of English and guest curator of the show. “I think he was doing due diligence.” 

Comic book people do love their origin stories.

The tale of the University of Oregon program in comic studies dates back some seven years, to the 2009 opening reception of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Faster Than a Speeding Bullet exhibition of superhero comic art. Then-UO President Richard Lariviere was on site to help launch the exhibition. 

“I don’t think he was terribly interested,” says Ben Saunders, UO professor of English and guest curator of the show. “I think he was doing due diligence.” 

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

Four writers, a photographer and various other staffers from Eugene Weekly joined the 8,000 Bernie Sanders fans who flooded Springfield’s Island Park on April 28, less than 24 hours after his visit was announced by his brilliant advance team.

We’re running their words and pictures a week later, long after mainstream media has dropped the details, because Sanders’ story transcends his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. 

Four writers, a photographer and various other staffers from Eugene Weekly joined the 8,000 Bernie Sanders fans who flooded Springfield’s Island Park on April 28, less than 24 hours after his visit was announced by his brilliant advance team.

We’re running their words and pictures a week later, long after mainstream media has dropped the details, because Sanders’ story transcends his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. 

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

To generate an aura of cosmic destiny or maybe invite messianic comparison, Bernie Sanders’ team capped off the candidate’s surprise rally on the green grass of Springfield’s Island Park last week by blasting David Bowie’s dire sci-fi rock hymn “Starman.” And out of the sea of wide-grinning Berners stretched thousands of small hands, whose tide swayed always in Sander’s direction.

To generate an aura of cosmic destiny or maybe invite messianic comparison, Bernie Sanders’ team capped off the candidate’s surprise rally on the green grass of Springfield’s Island Park last week by blasting David Bowie’s dire sci-fi rock hymn “Starman.” And out of the sea of wide-grinning Berners stretched thousands of small hands, whose tide swayed always in Sanders’ direction.

“He’d like to come and meet us,” Bowie wailed, “but he thinks he’d blow our minds.”

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

While Bernie Sanders may have a thing or two to say about the income inequality and power grabs of 17th-century Denmark, he very much enjoyed his Hamlet-themed introduction at Springfield’s Island Park.

While Bernie Sanders may have a thing or two to say about the income inequality and power grabs of 17th-century Denmark, he very much enjoyed his Hamlet-themed introduction at Springfield’s Island Park.

“To Bern or not to Bern,” local Democrat Matt Keating poeticized to the crowd of 8,000. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the huff and bluster of the far right wing. Or to take on the status quo and organize against it.”

Keating’s soliloquy went on for several more stanzas before a smiling Sanders took the stage.

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

As a persona, Bernie Sanders is a stock character drawn directly from the agitprop literature of the ’40s and ’50s: He’s that frumpy, tweedy Marxist firebrand who leans on the podium with a finger perpetually raised, haranguing us about the evils of monopoly capitalism and political cronyism. As a standard-issue New Deal democrat in an Orwellian age, Sanders’ royal “We (the People)” is, ironically enough, a distinctly working-class entity, which is the only reason his message seems revolutionary right here, right now. 

As a persona, Bernie Sanders is a stock character drawn directly from the agitprop literature of the ’40s and ’50s: He’s that frumpy, tweedy Marxist firebrand who leans on the podium with a finger perpetually raised, haranguing us about the evils of monopoly capitalism and political cronyism. As a standard-issue New Deal democrat in an Orwellian age, Sanders’ royal “We (the People)” is, ironically enough, a distinctly working-class entity, which is the only reason his message seems revolutionary right here, right now. 

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

For anyone following the Bernie Sanders campaign, the contents of Bernie’s speech in Springfield should ring familiar. Yes, there was much animated hand-waving and phrases uttered in his characteristic Brooklyn accent, but the words were also 100-percent Bernie. Here are five highlights that struck us as the most undeniably “Bernie-esque.”

For anyone following the Bernie Sanders campaign, the contents of Bernie’s speech in Springfield should ring familiar. Yes, there was much animated hand-waving and phrases uttered in his characteristic Brooklyn accent, but the words were also 100-percent Bernie. Here are five highlights that struck us as the most undeniably “Bernie-esque.”

 

“It’s hard to imagine anyone voting for the Republican agenda.”

April 28, 2016 03:00 AM

When we opened up our Voters Pamphlets and saw Donald Trump’s mugshot, it felt a bit surreal. So this is what democracy looks like? The 2016 election from the local to the national is either amazing or crazy or both, depending on your perspective and political leanings.

Bernie Sanders fired people up on the Dem side. And Trump has started a less pleasant conflagration on the right. EW’s endorsements in the May 2016 primary stick to the Democratic and nonpartisan races — it would be a bit hypocritical for this liberal-leaning paper to endorse in the Republican races.

When we opened up our Voters Pamphlets and saw Donald Trump’s mugshot, it felt a bit surreal. So this is what democracy looks like? The 2016 election from the local to the national is either amazing or crazy or both, depending on your perspective and political leanings.

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

A huge proportion of seed production in the U.S. (80 percent-plus) and around the world (40 percent-plus) is controlled by a handful of corporations such as Monsanto and DuPont. Should you care? That depends. Do you like to save your own vegetable seed? How do you feel about giant monopolies, genetic engineering and the idea of plants as intellectual property? 

A huge proportion of seed production in the U.S. (80 percent-plus) and around the world (40 percent-plus) is controlled by a handful of corporations such as Monsanto and DuPont. Should you care? That depends. Do you like to save your own vegetable seed? How do you feel about giant monopolies, genetic engineering and the idea of plants as intellectual property? 

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

When it comes to weed, a clutch of competing cannabis mythologies seems to guide our collective imagination, each one containing seeds of truth and shakes of misinformation and ignorance.

One of the more subtle myths surrounding cannabis goes something like this: “Dude, it’s all good. Weed is a product of the earth, God-given, and we are meant simply to grow it, smoke it and enjoy. Unlike alcohol, weed never hurt anybody. It’s just a plant, for goodness sake.”

When it comes to weed, a clutch of competing cannabis mythologies seems to guide our collective imagination, each one containing seeds of truth and shakes of misinformation and ignorance.

One of the more subtle myths surrounding cannabis goes something like this: “Dude, it’s all good. Weed is a product of the earth, God-given, and we are meant simply to grow it, smoke it and enjoy. Unlike alcohol, weed never hurt anybody. It’s just a plant, for goodness sake.”

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

Bridges aren’t just transportation structures; they can be iconic parts of the landscape. Picture the Golden Gate or any of Lane County’s covered bridges. But what happens when the structure is no longer usable? 

Bridges aren’t just transportation structures; they can be iconic parts of the landscape. Picture the Golden Gate or any of Lane County’s covered bridges. But what happens when the structure is no longer usable? 

Rather than simply demolish the 1930s art deco railings of Hwy. 101 Siuslaw River Bridge as the bridge is retrofitted by the Oregon Department of Transportation, BRING Recycling is finding new homes for the decorative railings, which span 24 feet and weigh 4 to 5 tons.

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

Anywhere from 2.5 to 4 gallons of water per minute flow from a standard showerhead, says local inventor Erol Chandler. That’s a lot of water circling down the drain.

This past November, Chandler, who makes   artisan lamps locally and is a former science teacher, began engineering his most recent invention: the Shower Commander. 

Anywhere from 2.5 to 4 gallons of water per minute flow from a standard showerhead, says local inventor Erol Chandler. That’s a lot of water circling down the drain.

This past November, Chandler, who makes   artisan lamps locally and is a former science teacher, began engineering his most recent invention: the Shower Commander. 

Shower Commander is a foot-operated device designed to control when a person turns water on or off while showering, such as when shaving or when using less water due to budgetary or conservation reasons.

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

Would you believe there are beavers, otters, herons and a variety of other species living along Amazon Creek in Eugene? 

It’s true, thanks to a growing number of local businesses that are becoming certified by the Long Tom Watershed Council’s (LTWC) Trout Friendly Landscapes program. The goal of the program is to make habitat and water quality improvements in private lands that will, in turn, support native aquatic life in Amazon Creek and the Willamette River. 

Would you believe there are beavers, otters, herons and a variety of other species living along Amazon Creek in Eugene? 

It’s true, thanks to a growing number of local businesses that are becoming certified by the Long Tom Watershed Council’s (LTWC) Trout Friendly Landscapes program. The goal of the program is to make habitat and water quality improvements in private lands that will, in turn, support native aquatic life in Amazon Creek and the Willamette River. 

April 14, 2016 03:00 AM

There’s something odd about 13th and Olive. Better known as Crap, er, Capstone, it’s a pretty blunt edition to downtown Eugene. But something about it just doesn’t quite make sense. A handful of the first-floor rooms are completely uninhabited, and yet they’re all done up: televisions turned on, beds made, journals on the desks and one or two lone T-shirts hanging in the closet. 

It’s a little creepy.

Eugene has a handful of new apartment complexes popping up just like 13th and Olive, from campus onward. Most of these buildings seem like viable housing options for students. But does Eugene really need so many new units — or rising rent prices?

Maybe more apartments isn’t the only approach to better housing for students.

There’s something odd about 13th and Olive. Better known as Crap, er, Capstone, it’s a pretty blunt edition to downtown Eugene. But something about it just doesn’t quite make sense. A handful of the first-floor rooms are completely uninhabited, and yet they’re all done up: televisions turned on, beds made, journals on the desks and one or two lone T-shirts hanging in the closet. 

It’s a little creepy.

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

For more than four decades, 82-year-old Howard Purkerson carefully managed his timberland in Crow, Oregon, choosing to selectively thin the 90-acre forest instead of toppling it in a more profitable clearcut. But now almost all of the trees are gone. And Purkerson is furious. 

“I didn’t want some logging company coming in and raping this beautiful parcel,” he told InvestigateWest. “If there was any way I could balance the scales, I would do it.”

Purkerson refused to sell to Lane County land developers Greg Demers, Norman McDougal and Melvin McDougal because he had heard of their well-publicized clearcutting and mining at Parvin Butte, their burning Pilot Rock landfill (which earned Demers a $792,062 state environmental fine) and their efforts to obtain McKenzie River water rights that an administrative law judge denied as water speculation.  

InvestigateWest is a nonprofit newsroom covering the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle and Portland. Please support independent nonprofit journalism with a tax-deductible contribution at invw.org/donate, or just find out more at invw.org/about.

March 31, 2016 03:00 AM

When Floomf and Schmorple descended upon Earth, it was for one specific reason: To investigate a claim made by the city of Eugene in the early aughts.

The two were inspectors for the highly regarded Associated Stars Systems for Cross-cultural Outerspace Propagation (ASSCOP) located in the Boopz Galaxy, and their satellite scanner had intercepted the message:

Eugene is The World’s Greatest City for the Arts and Outdoors.

When Floomf and Schmorple descended upon Earth, it was for one specific reason: To investigate a claim made by the city of Eugene in the early aughts.

The two were inspectors for the highly regarded Associated Stars Systems for Cross-cultural Outerspace Propagation (ASSCOP) located in the Boopz Galaxy, and their satellite scanner had intercepted the message:

Eugene is The World’s Greatest City for the Arts and Outdoors.

March 31, 2016 03:00 AM

March 31, 2016 03:00 AM

Peggy Wolfheart was rescued from Valley River Center yesterday after the lifelong Eugene resident got lost on her way to The Kiva and found herself smack in the middle of Eugene’s largest mall.

Wolfheart, who had never before left downtown Eugene, says she quickly became overwhelmed after entering the retail shopping center.

Peggy Wolfheart was rescued from Valley River Center yesterday after the lifelong Eugene resident got lost on her way to The Kiva and found herself smack in the middle of Eugene’s largest mall.

Wolfheart, who had never before left downtown Eugene, says she quickly became overwhelmed after entering the retail shopping center.

“Who knew that anything existed beyond Skinner Butte?” she says, adding that she had heard of north Eugene but avoided the area because it was too “commercial.”