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One of the things that makes Oregon so livable is our miles of unspoiled public beaches. More than a century ago, Oregon Gov. Oswald West engineered the first major protection of public access to the state’s beaches by convincing the 1913 Oregon Legislature to declare all the state’s tidelands to be a state highway. Wait, what? 

Some hand-picked options to make the most of your summer.

It’s the middle of the day, but the birds are roosting in the trees. Everything gets colder and darker, as if night has come early. Strangely shaped shadows and lights are cast across the earth. But it’s not the Apocalypse — it’s just the effects of the unearthly solar eclipse.

Congressman Greg Walden is not a typical politician. Or maybe he is. 

The lone Republican in Oregon’s federal delegation, Walden has represented Oregon’s 2nd congressional district, a sprawling area east of the Cascades that starts near Idaho and ends at the California border, since 1998. 

Walden seems affable, quick with a quip. He has a tendency toward wonky answers that aren’t really answers. He’s hard to pin down, but real nice about it.

I once told my ex-fiancé that I was a vegetarian because I ate only what I could personally kill. He promptly bought me a shotgun and taught me how to shoot it. However, he was unable get me to kill anything more mobile than a poorly tossed clay target. He tried — unsuccessfully — to persuade me of the joys of shooting, killing and butchering my own meals, but the closest I got to deadly force was blowing up a bottle of Coke (and then carefully cleaning up the sugary-drink-covered remains, because leave-no-trace principles apply to recreational shooting, too). Finally, a couple years ago, an avid truffle hunter explained to me how he had left the excitement of hunting animals for the more-obsessive joys of hunting elusive fungi.

I’m in a church parking lot just north of 13th Avenue in Eugene, staring at my phone, circling around the lot, looking at a little dot on my screen and wondering why I can’t find what I’m looking for.

Two of my nephews, ages 6 and 9, are wondering if what we’re looking for might be the trash in the bushes. The 2-year-old has a can to play drums on and couldn’t care less.

Birding — also known as “birdwatching” and, across the Pond, “twitching” — began as a lethal contact sport. When John James Audubon traveled the countryside in the early 1800s to paint the 435 watercolors that would later turn up in The Birds of America, he didn’t sit his subjects down in a studio and ask them to pose.

He shot them.

Artesia Hubbard, a University of Oregon student from Colorado, has always been a steward of the land. “I was a river baby. I was always running around in the outdoors,” she says. When Hubbard arrived at UO for her freshman year, her older sister on campus told her to join the school’s Geology Club. 

If you’ve never battled your way through wet Oregon undergrowth for hours and hours, hoping to collect two to four ounces of mushrooms to take home, then this is the story for you. 

As someone who has successfully found chanterelles and porcini mushrooms on about four trips out of 30 in the past four years, you should take all of my advice. 

I have a confession to make: I’m a junky for Lane County Mugshots Uncensored — a massive, sprawling, closed-group Facebook page revolving around the spectacle of daily mugshot postings released to the public by Lane County law enforcement and other nearby jurisdictions.

I’m not proud. I have an addictive personality, and something about the site — its raw, adrenalized hit of unreconstructed civic collapse from the street level — makes me feel giddy and dirty and kind of sick at the same time.

Kelly Kenoyer

 et al.

She moved into River Grove Memory Care in Lane County in October of 2016, needing a little more rehabilitation and care before she could go home with her husband. This 62-year-old woman had vascular dementia, but her diabetes was under control and she was able to walk more than 100 feet without stopping, a feat after spinal surgery in August 2013. 

Her husband hoped that she would be out of the facility in 6 months with proper care. 

Soon after Susan Bliven was admitted, the Oregon Department of Human Services forced the facility to restrict admissions. That means the facility was too far out of compliance with regulations to safely admit new residents, and the state had intervened to prevent new residents from coming in.

On Sept. 11, 2001, an informal interfaith prayer gathering took place on the steps of the former City Hall building in downtown Eugene. 

One month later, members of the Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i and Native American communities organized an interfaith service at First Christian Church in Eugene. It was the start of the longest running interfaith service in North America.

The stereotype of a disaster prepper is that of a man alone in the woods, hoarding cans of baked beans and bullets to fend off neighbors after the apocalypse. Few may know, however, that the best chances a community has for survival come from working together and looking after each other.

This information is particularly compelling with the knowledge that severe weather patterns are more likely as rising global temperatures ravage our normal ecology and shift local weather patterns. Hot, dry summers increase the risk of wildfires, and unpredictable, wet winters can lead to floods, landslides and severe winter storms. 

There are a number of considerable environmental hazards to prepare for in Lane County, not to mention the coming Cascadia subduction zone earthquake that involves many similar preparations.

Going green can be achieved by making changes big or small. Three main contributors to greenhouse gases are transportation, what types of food you buy — i.e. where it comes from and how it’s packaged — and how you heat and cool your home, according to Linda Kelly with 350 Eugene. 

“One of the main things to think about is our personal habits that can really affect our carbon footprint,” she says. 

Little changes that people can make at home begin by taking shorter showers, washing clothes in cold water and putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. 

Imagine internet so fast you could download nine hours of audio in less than a second, or a two-hour movie in less than 10. That fantasy is about to become a reality in downtown Eugene.

The city has begun a project to connect up to 120 downtown buildings with fiber-optic internet services, meaning businesses will soon have access to much faster internet at much lower prices. The glass cables used in fiber enable significantly faster data transfer than their copper counterparts, including download speeds of one gigabit — or 125 megabytes — per second for around $100 a month.

If you’ve ever talked about capturing and using the plentiful rainwater here in Oregon, someone has probably told you that it’s illegal. 

That would be wrong. It’s perfectly legal, providing you catch the rainwater off of an artificial, impervious surface, according to Michael Mattick, the Oregon Water Resources Department’s watermaster for district 2, which includes Lane County.  

Music scenes are like phantoms: Point them out, and they disappear; name them and they shift; call out a great house-show venue and watch it evaporate.

It’s sometimes best to keep tabs on a scene from the corner of your eye, a silent interloper without much fanfare. 

Historically Eugene has had good music: a university breeding massive entrenched institutions for classical music and jazz; a history of blues and acoustic string music; scrappy rock bands with varying degrees of success. And let’s not forget those Grateful Dead shows. 

It’s morning at Y’i Shen Market and the restaurant’s kitchen is waking up. 

Chicken and beef broths — made daily — bubble in vast pots on the back of the stove, wafting the aroma of star anise, garlic and onions. A peek inside a standing roaster reveals glistening duck, barbeque pork butts, shoulder and belly, destined for the day’s rice dishes.

A 15-inch wok and its 25-inch cousin stand at attention. And, along the prep line, chopped lime, green onions, bean sprouts and jalapeños burst with color, ready to add comfort and complexity to every steaming bowl of Y’i Shen’s Vietnamese noodle soup, phở. 

Owner Phung Tu and I are sitting at a table in the restaurant section of the cheery shop. Nearby shelves are lined with Vietnamese staples: chili sauce, curry paste, rice vinegar, coconut milk and dried noodles.

Every single day that’s arrived since Jan. 20, we wake up, blink, rub our eyes and remember: It’s all still true. These are the times that call for inspiring words and deep, deep thoughts to live by.

Relax, reader. You won’t find any of them here.

What you will find are shimmering flaky truths that are the best our writers can offer. A young woman’s thoughtful reflections on how deeply she deserves trophies for everything she does in life. An investigation into the incredible space-time warp that passes for entertainment in Eugene. A gentle suggestion for ridding downtown of man and woman’s best friend. And — field trip! — our favorite places in Eugene to cry in public. There’s more, so keep on reading.

The homeless are not the problem; homelessness is. Eugene’s advocates for the unhoused are working overtime, searching for solutions. We should do more, we can do more and our local governments must do more. 

The dog ban pushes those with nowhere to go out of downtown or forces them to give up a source of comfort and security, without fixing the root problem that puts people on the streets.

In this issue we look at Pastor Dan Bryant, one of the city’s tireless workers for those in need, and the unsung Eugene Public Library, which has been filling in the cracks a day shelter should fill.

Eugene Public Library: The De Facto Day Shelter

A Day in the Life

 

A couple degrees colder and the rain would freeze.

“Hi there. Hello. Excuse me,” Pastor Dan Bryant says to a crumpled heap of blankets and backpacks. “It’s time to start collecting your things.”

Silence and darkness. Only select corner marts, coffee joints and gas stations are open at this hour.

“I just need a sign of recognition,” Bryant asserts.

A corner of fabric folds back, and out from the confusing wad signals a tiny hand.

It’s ten minutes before the doors open and more than 30 people have gathered in the entry garden of Eugene’s downtown public library. They are reading books, looking at their phones and chatting about movies. Some buy coffee at the Novella Café. They are in wheelchairs, in camo, in beanies. Some carry bags, one has a didgeridoo. There are fathers with babies, retirees, young professionals and sleepy-eyed women carrying crafting supplies.

A number of them are homeless.

When the library doors open nearly 50 people enter, a quiet mass that spreads to every floor, perusing books, heading into story hours for infants or getting online on the many available computers. 

It goes without saying: Mainstream media are hardly without blame when it comes to the passionate partisan distrust now swamping the so-called news, and the “truths” it reports, in slippery muck of moral relativism. As the world burns, Good Morning America pimps the latest fad diet as though such ethereal concerns stood equal footing with weapons of mass destruction.

For decades now, our major news sources have been drifting away from earnestness and investigative wherewithal and into the über-commercialized realm of sensationalism, crowd-pleasing and ratings cowardice, while on the flip side the general population, perhaps lacking superior critical faculties, is seized by a kind of sensory overload that somehow puts facts and fiction toe to toe.

EW talked to Samantha Swindler, a columnist for The Oregonian and president of the Oregon Territory chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, to get her take on the media chaos.