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When you’re looking to adopt a dog, you’re probably thinking of a sweet, quiet dog that comes right up to the cage and gives you those big puppy eyes that plead “take me home!”

But the shelter environment isn’t necessarily conducive to that, says Sasha Elliott, Greenhill Humane Society’s communication and events manager. She says Greenhill’s design, built in the ’50s, is outdated, meaning the kennels are “all facing each other, which can be extremely stressful for dogs that don’t know each other.”

Humans, if we’re very lucky, get to retire in some comfort. Horses — some of humankind’s closest companions for thousands of years — have to be extremely fortunate to be cared for past their productive years.

On 70 rolling acres a little west of Eugene, a former Eugene city councilor and his wife have spent the past five years, with the help of a small army of paid staffers, volunteers and donors, providing what amounts to a retirement home for dozens of lucky horses who might otherwise have been put down.

At a recent Eugene Husky/Malamute Meet-Up at Amazon dog park, 50 or more huskies and malamutes play like there’s no tomorrow — running in giant circles, climbing on tables, splashing in the kiddie pool and pausing for plenty of pats from the charmed crowd.  

The meet-up does more than hold regular gatherings. “Our group promotes and facilitates adoptions,” co-founder Helen Lindell says. “We scour Craigslist and pet pages for fuzzies needing new homes.”  

Google “Oregon street artist” and you get just two results, both seemingly generated by bots. That puts us a bit behind Alabama (7 results) and Kentucky (4), well behind Washington (170,000) and California (161,000), and a nose ahead of Idaho and Wyoming (both 0).

Oregon is not exactly a national center for street art, the subversive guerilla art form that grew out of tagging and other illegal urban graffiti in the 1970s and became popularized by such documentary films as Exit Through the Gift Shop and Style Wars. We’re talking Banksy and Shepherd Fairey here, not cozy New Age murals of whales and owls.

By 1829, nearly 80 years after his death, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach had fallen out of fashion. Think of what we were listening to 80 years ago: Bing Crosby, Count Basie and Benny Goodman. (And yes, someday your music will feel tired to your children’s children. Deal with it. It’s entropy. You’re programmed for irrelevance.)

It’s that time of year again: the smell of fresh cut grass in the breeze, children flying kites and playing in the park for summer break, and thousands of hippies descending on a well-loved property near Veneta. It’s summer in Eugene, and that means the Oregon Country Fair is back. This year, we’re looking forward to ogling the usual fun array of circus acts, dancing to great music like Chris Robinson Brotherhood and High Step Society, and reflecting on how the Fair comes together each year, bringing the community together with it. OCF not your thing? We’ve got you covered there too. Regardless, it’s shaping up to be another beautiful summer weekend here in Oregon.

Everyone loves a circus. Acrobats, contortionists, clowns — the whole shebang. And now that the folks at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have taken their final bow, the demand for a clever circus act is on the rise. 

Fortunately, there is no better place to see Big Top-type acts than this year’s Oregon Country Fair, and unlike Ringling, the acts at the Fair don’t exploit animals.

Imagine a ghost town. The skeletons of buildings, stripped of their roofs and siding, are overgrown with trees and vines. Light shining through the rafters allows grass to grow and wildflowers to bloom in the shells of the structures.  

It seems as if a hurricane passed through, if only hurricanes neatly stacked the boards of the buildings they tore apart.

I’m going to take a sec and highjack this piece on 2017’s OCF music lineup to complain that Lane County — and Eugene specifically — needs, nay deserves, a true music festival: a Pickathon, a Bumbershoot, a Treefort or, at the very least, a resurrected Eugene Celebration that settles its identity crisis, putting it at odds with itself as a community street fair versus an event focused on music worthy of drawing an audience. 

Crowds, dust and scorching temperatures aren’t for everyone. So if you’re like me and want to avoid gaggles of people at the Oregon Country Fair, use the empty streets of Eugene as your catbird seat.

If, like me, you happen to find yourself on some clear summer night seated just about dead center of the orchestra level at Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s tremendous outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, and it happens to be late into the second act of The Odyssey, with the sun fallen and the gloaming past, darkness pushing down on the ghostly radiance of the lights, the actors strutting and fretting their moment on stage, the whole wide world in abeyance, its awful tempest and clangoring tumult silenced, just you and your itty-bitty mortal consciousness beholding the enactment of a text that is ten-thousand years old, take a moment and look up.

Behold the cosmos. The Big Dipper hangs suspended in space, eternally tilted and framed perfectly by the walls of the theater. It’s a stunning sight, somehow liberating and terrifying and humbling all at once.

It’s like something out of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 — firefighters set trees ablaze and fan flames across the grassland. This is the cutting edge in wildfire management and forest ecology: prescribing fires as medicine for sick forests. 

Fire was a political tool in Bradbury’s novel — a means of destroying literature and controlling the population. Today, wildfire and prescribed fire are politicized as well. What once was a force of nature is now beaten back, choked out and stamped by the great paws of Smokey Bear.

It was at Anice Thigpen’s lowest emotional point that the protagonist in her new opera The Woman of Salt came to her. 

“I was walking in the woods. And she took the wind out of the firs and made that the voice for the first song,” she says. 

The Woman of Salt — Thigpen’s first opera — was born from deep trauma.

It was 50 years ago today — well, more or less — that my generation found itself. 

Rock ’n’ roll turned grand and pretentious that year, 1967, when Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play with a real live symphony orchestra. Here in Eugene, KLCC went on the air for the first time, and the Oregon Country Fair was two years away from being born.

Across the ocean, Vietnam was purring along like a macabre lawnmower.

That was the year of the Summer of Love.

Shield your eyes, the great glowing orb (otherwise known as the sun) has returned to Pacific Northwest skies. And in August, that orb will be eclipsed, bringing hordes of tourists to town. Read about the eclipse, beaches, hikes, shows and everything in between in Eugene Weekly's annual guide to all that's summer!

A day with the fishes Discover Willamette Hatchery in Oakridge

The path to totality Watch your eyes when watching the eclipse

Beaches Forever! Why are Oregon Beaches Public, and Where Can You Enjoy One?

2017 Summer Guide Highlights

2017 Summer Guide Calendar

Right Here

Events in & around this town of ours.

 

June

 

Thursday, 6/1

Wonderful Ones Storytime for 1-year-olds with their caregivers, Thursdays, 10:15am & 11am, Downtown library, 541-682-8316. FREE.

Fundraiser for Makindu Children’s Program, 15% of all purchases benefit orphaned & vulnerable children of Makindu, Kenya, 11:30am-10pm, Hot Mama’s Wings, 420 W. 13th. FREE.

You can almost listen to the entirety of Taylor Swift’s album 1989 on the way to Oakridge. If you’re the parent of a 7- or 8-year-old — and particularly a girl — you know what this means. For the rest of you, in case you weren’t aware, Oakridge is about 45 minutes southeast of Eugene, past Pleasant Hill and Dexter Reservoir on the way to the mountains.

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.