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Slant 7-5-2012

• A short poem by Mary Oliver in the memorial program spoke best to the death of Erin Noble, 27, the only child of Deborah and Peter Noble, in a life-affirming service attended by more than 400 mostly young people July 1 at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. Erin, a 2003 graduate of South Eugene High School, died with three other Oregon Country Fair family volunteers in the crash of a small airplane near the fair grounds. Oliver’s poem:

To live in this world

You must be able

To do three things:

To love what is mortal:

To hold it against your bones knowing

Your own life depends on it;

And, when the time comes to let it go.

To let it go.


Anybody who still wants the federal government out of his/her life should have heard the panel talk June 29 to the City Club of Eugene about the difference that the 1972 federal law Title 9 made in the lives of women athletes at the UO. The panel was led by Dr. Becky Sisley, who went from being an instructor in the PE department to being a professor and the first UO director of women in the Athletic Department from 1973 to ’79. She told the story of her struggle, reminding the audience to note the present difference between new PK Park, built for men’s baseball by Pat Kilkenny and Phil Knight, and Howe Field, where  national level UO women’s softball still plays. Portable toilets are part of that scene. Still a long way to go under Title 9.   

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow Obama’s Affordable Care Act to go forward is both good news and bad news for Oregon. The good news is that new Medicaid provisions will allow the Oregon Health Plan to cover more low-income Oregonians. The bad news is that private health insurance premiums will continue to rise, along with doctor and hospital bills, and that increase is unsustainable. We are facing an even bigger health care cost crisis in the future. Such a crisis might lead to a single-payer system by default; but how many more people will die from lack of health care, or go bankrupt from medical bills in the process? 

• What’s happening at the Sustainable Cities Initiative at UO? Looks like Executive Director Robert Liberty is transitioning out in July and will assume other duties on campus, also working in sustainability. Liberty is former director of 1000 Friends of Oregon. We’ve been following SCI and its Sustainable City Year Program since our cover story Feb. 2. The program gives UO students in many disciplines hands-on experience in helping city governments plan and carry out sustainability goals. No word yet on new leadership for SCI and its future. Meanwhile, SCI is busy showing other cities around the country and around the world how to tap into the brainpower of local university faculty and students, but one big unresolved challenge is how to sustain funding for such innovative work. At this point SCI does not have a big city contract for next year. Gresham, Salem and Springfield are enjoying the fruits of the collaboration.