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As Eugene’s downtown continues to thrive, it’s easy to forget that only a couple years ago the urban core was widely regarded as lacking a sense of place. It was a downtown without being a downtown center. 

More recently, Eugene has been a city and a downtown without a City Hall, ever since the City Council approved demolishing its central public building in 2014.

Seventeen states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, still pay the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour to workers who receive more than $30 in tips per month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Saru Jayaraman, a professor at the University of California at Berkley, will address food industry wage inequality and what’s happening more broadly within the economy in a Jan. 23 talk “Food First: Justice, Security, and Sovereignty” at the University of Oregon.

In a 2007 interview about her Ward 7 Eugene City Council seat, Andrea Ortiz told EW that something she treasured about Eugene was this: “We put such a high value on humans, how we live our lives, the quality of education and the environment.”

Ortiz, who was born May 4, 1957, in Riverside, California, died Jan. 20 of bronchitis that turned into pneumonia. As the outpouring on social media shows, her fellow humans put a high value on the former city councilor and longtime community activist.

Look around and see signs of political burnout, in more than just eyes red and raw from excessive newsfeed scrolling. Listen and hear it in voices: nervous laughter, talk of fascism and edgy jokes about leaving the country.

And all this is amongst folks who arguably have the least to lose with the election of Donald Trump. 

For less comfortable Americans, this malaise — this Trump Funk, if you will — is more like abject terror, a genuine nervous exhaustion. A quick Google search produces a sea of how-to articles about dealing with post-election anxiety. 

Ringing in the new year, Ballet Fantastique (BFan) launches two exciting premieres, with stagings of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Aladdin.

EW recently caught up with the company’s mother-daughter artistic team, Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager, to learn about their collective vision for bringing these beloved tales to life.

Legend has it that when a team of British archaeologists outfitted themselves to excavate the tomb of King Tutankhamen, their journey began with an errand to London’s famed Fortnum & Mason, purveyors of biscuits and tinned meats to the Queen since 1707.

In fact, the spoils of the archaeologists’ successful journey to the North African desert were then packed in the now-empty picnic tins and wooden crates they schlepped to Egypt: untold treasures, millennia-old, brought back to the waiting Empire in crocks labeled “Potted Stilton” and “Waxed Cheddar Truckle.” (Because, if we’re going to the colonies, we bloody well better have our cheeses.) 

What makes Hitchcock Hitchcock? Or, put more fancifully, what do we mean when we call something Hitchcockian?

Certainly the British director of such classics of psychological suspense as Vertigo and Psycho was a master formalist — a tyrannical perfectionist in terms of framing, technique and narrative thrust.

If you’ve sidled by the University of Oregon campus just west of the Pioneer Cemetery recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen a huge construction project underway. The building, Berwick Hall, will serve as new digs for the Oregon Bach Festival (OBF), and the stalwart group’s leaders couldn’t be more pleased. 

Before binge-watching, there was binge-listening, and NPR’s This American Life damn near invented the practice. To some, the hugely popular show might seem ponderous and overly introspective (and to many others, these traits may even be considered faults). 

Nevertheless, the program, hosted by Ira Glass, has been exploring different facets of the American psyche since 1995, with subject matters ranging from Hurricane Katrina to an episode called “Kid Logic” entirely devoted to the reasoning abilities of children. 

• 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.

Dear Community Alliance for  Public Education:

Every year we hear about this “opting out” business. We aren’t big fans of standardized tests, but we don’t want our child to lose out. It says on the opt-out form that we will be missing “valuable information” about our child’s progress if she doesn’t take the test. 

Would I be preventing her teachers from knowing how she’s doing academically? 

Sincerely, A Curious & Cautious Parent

Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” I’ve always lived by that view. Today is no different.

And today is the sixth time I’ve been sworn in to a four year term as Lane County commissioner for the South Eugene District. I’ve also been sworn in twice as Oregon state senator and sworn in three times as Lane Community College board member. I’ve been privileged and honored to be called to public service.

We each bring all our past, including childhood traumas we have been working to heal from, to every experience we have, every day. Being arrested adds an intense fight or flight physical and psychological response that brings all of who you are into sharp focus. At least it did for me. As a child who’d been beaten with leather belts by an abusive father, I felt much of that same terror as an activist blocking oil trains from refineries in Washington state last May on the morning the police arrived in a military assault fashion at dawn, while our camp slept.

“I studied for a year at the University of Dakar in Senegal,” says Michael Fuller, who was at the time a philosophy major at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. His graduation requirements included study abroad and work-study at home, so he also taught outdoor school in his home state of Maine. After graduation, Fuller returned to Ocean Park, Maine, to continue teaching outdoor school. He moved to Eugene four years later, in 1986.

At the moment, 21st-century America’s immediate future is looking a little scary. Maybe for just a few days, let’s try — musically at least — living in the past.

Now and then, in order to make ends meet, a musician picks up an odd job. For some, that means waiting tables. And for others, like Phoenix-born songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews, it means singing backup for the Belgian pop star known as Milow. 

INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

I appreciated Shawn Boles’ clear-eyed viewpoint on the Nancy Shurtz Halloween party flap [12/29].

The professor was, perhaps unwisely, injecting her professorial role into a party environment, which seemed to get everybody confused. Seems she surprised her guests with an unscheduled pop quiz on a book regarding white privilege that she hadn’t assigned them to recognize, much less read.

About a year ago, I was pretending to read my boyfriend’s mind and jokingly said, “You want to put it in my ear.” Since then, I have seen references to ear sex (aural sex?) everywhere! There’s even a holiday (“Take It in the Ear Day” on December 8), and I was reading a book just now in which the author mentions how much she hates getting come in her ear. So while I am honestly not trying to yuck someone’s yum, I do have two questions. First, is this really a thing? And second, how does it work?

Oddly enough, it was a misguided defense of Elle that made me come around — to some degree — to Paul Verhoeven’s latest Rorschach test of a film. A tireless provocateur, Verhoeven (Starship Troopers, Showgirls) can also be tiresome, and Elle is a bit of both sides.

Eight days without power, seven broken aviaries, two weeks closed to visitors and dozens of damaged trees: It sounds like a bad take on the 12 days of Christmas. 

Facing extensive damages after the Dec. 14 ice storm, the Cascades Raptor Center sent out a plea to its many donors: “We’ve been through the ringer. We need your help.” 

Multiple nonprofits, including unions and immigrants rights groups, are traveling to Salem on Jan. 14 to participate in the United for Immigrants Rights Rally. Set a week prior to the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, the march intends to address anti-immigration sentiments, and the organizations are vowing to stand united against President-elect Trump’s discriminatory agenda. 

Here I am at 79, I’m going to be an activist,” says Deanna Eisinger, a retired grade school teacher. “I think we need to ruffle feathers and raise some consciousness.”

Recently out of the hospital after an asthma attack triggered her atrial fibrillation, Eisinger is not going to let something like an irregular heartbeat stop her from speaking up. She is going to carry a sign in the Jan. 21 Eugene sister march to the Women’s March on Washington, the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

“I’m planning to go; I may not be able to walk the whole route but I’m going to go,” says Eisinger, who lives on a farm in Lorane. “We have to keep resisting and speaking out. I’ve never been a loudmouth but I’m changing. At my age I don’t care what people think.”

Four sea turtles have been reported along the Oregon and Washington coast since November after becoming stranded in frigid Pacific Northwest waters. Unfortunately none of the turtles survived, according to Laura Todd, the Newport field office supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Todd says that the past few winters have been record years for strandings of sea turtles, in particular for the vulnerable olive ridley species. 

If your New Year’s resolution involves quitting your current job, you can now consider an array of jobs within Oregon’s budding recreational marijuana industry. But before you can land that career you’ve only ever dreamed about surrounded by the skunky scent of weed, you must pass a multiple choice test, a background check and then fork over $100 in order to secure a Marijuana Worker Permit from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).