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Almost 13 years after starting at Eugene’s local daily paper, The Register-Guard, reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent was fired while on pregnancy disability leave from the paper where she had worked since college. Another employee cleaned out Markstrom Nugent’s desk for her, and she was told she could pick up her belongings in the reception area. “It felt like getting punched in the stomach,” Markstrom Nugent says. About 30 current and former employees and supporters gathered to say goodbye in the rain on the sidewalk outside the R-G’s offices on Chad Drive March 27 with signs of support and balloons.

In this year’s November general election, Oregon voters could be asked to ratify (or not) a new law that would effectively end the Oregon Liqour Control Commission’s role and “privatize” sale of distilled spirits (aka hard liquor). That is, assuming that at least one of eight petitions filed by a group calling itself Oregonians for Competition can garner the required number of voter signatures (87,000) to gain a spot on the ballot. The petitions are backed by the Northwest Grocery Association and agents of various large grocers, acting as petitioners.

Sen. Jeff Merkley surprised Eugene City Councilor George Brown by picking Brown’s The Kiva grocery store downtown to hold a press conference Jan. 10 about big national issues of fair wages and extending unemployment benefits.

The city of Eugene is proposing new rules for the residential R-1 single-family areas of Eugene that would lift the ban on building alley-access houses and add some controls over secondary dwelling units. Both of these changes are intended to address some of the grievous developments that have been occurring in residential neighborhoods all over town, inflicting pain and suffering on surrounding neighbors. The city’s stated goal is to allow “compatible infill” in existing neighborhoods and to provide more housing options. But are the rules adequate to protect neighbors and neighborhoods?

Casey Wright was an equestrian and a dancer. She grew up in Eugene, graduated Sheldon High School and worked downtown at the Pita Pit for several years before taking a job at a Springfield metal fabrication plant to support her goals of riding, training and showing the horses she loved. Early on the morning of Nov. 2, Wright’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Cromwell, confessed to beating 26-year-old Wright to death with an aluminum baseball bat as she lay sleeping in the house they once shared.

EW asked an assortment of community and socially involved folks to please tell us what they would dream of for Eugene. As we head into the New Year, what do people think we as a community should change, improve, build or renovate in our built and social environment? This is part two. Be sure to see last week’s issue for the first set of dreams.

How has recent growth been shaping Eugene’s neighborhoods? It’s hard to know without data, and the city no longer provides reporting of residential building permits issued by year — let alone by type and neighborhood.

“Oregon is a hotbed of auditing,” says Michael Eglinski, a performance auditor from Kansas. But Eugene, Oregon’s second-largest city, doesn’t have a performance auditor. For years, Eugeneans have tried to evaluate whether the city is big enough, and its operations complex enough, to warrant a performance auditor. 

She writes about politics, religion, sexuality and gender — all in unreal worlds through the controversial genre of science fiction — and contests the conventional rules of grammar. Ursula K. Le Guin’s distinct style has been recognized and awarded for decades, she and will speak from 6:30 to 9 pm Friday, Nov. 8, at UO’s EMU Ballroom for the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Center for the Study of Women in Society.

The mood was slightly tense at the North Eugene High School gym last week as parents, teachers, children and college students prepared to meet Nancy Golden, Oregon’s new chief education officer for the Oregon Education Investment Board and former superintendent of the Springfield School District.

When her children, aged 8 and 10, expertly dodge questions about their homework during the car ride back from school, Deeja Sol-Moon never hears “mommy.” “Mommia — is what we came up with,” she says, “to make sure their birth mother’s role is respected.” Sol-Moon hosts her daughter and son together on alternate weeks in a cozy Skinner Butte-area home, where her art is plastered on every imaginable surface.

Rep. Peter DeFazio says the plan for more than 2 million acres of Oregon’s O&C forestlands (named for the Oregon and California Railroad) that he devised with fellow Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader and Republican Rep. Greg Walden solves 30 years of gridlock over logging in Oregon’s federal forests. The bill proposes to divide the forestlands between a conservation trust and timber trust. 

Overlaying the woodland camouflage pattern on her T-shirt, thin pink lines swirl together into a scene of butterflies hovering over cowering riot police and flames rising in the background. Ariel Howland, a recent graduate of the University of Oregon’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS), has some major beefs with the establishment — patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism, etc.

“I’m concerned that we leave as many species on this planet as possible for the next generation,” says longtime forestry professor Brenda McComb, or W.C. McComb — the name under which her academic work was long published.

Curious about how other people live “greener” lives? Need a little inspiration for your next home project, whether spendy or cheap? What about group living? Aging in place? And what the heck is a vertical wind turbine?

Eugene has had many home and garden tours over the years, focusing on solar power or sustainable buildings or pretty homes with beautiful gardens, but the big one that keeps coming back is the BRING Home and Garden Tour. It promises to be even more interesting and diverse this year, and it’s all happening this Sunday, Sept. 8. 

Thirty miles northeast of Eugene, tucked amid trees and fields like a memory of some simpler time, sits the historic city of Brownsville. This quaint town is made up of roughly 40 streets over 1.34 square miles of land. A few of these roads extend beyond Brownsville’s center and out into true Willamette Valley countryside. The commerce that dots Main Street is not exactly bustling, but does not fall short where patronage is concerned. The folks here know one another; they exude a sense of camaraderie, of tolerance, of knowingness that cities far on the horizon sprawl thin and fade with the tides of consumer demand. Those cities’ fates lie in the hands of capitalist fluctuations, and they will be remembered as such.

On the surface, the event at Maurie Jacobs Park last week seemed just like any other of the myriad of summer celebrations in Eugene. Dancing, eating and laughing, people socialized and greeted onlookers with a smile. Some perused a variety of booths at the back of the park, while others sang near the stage on the hill. But at Supernatural Fest, according to Mark and Victoria Bowling’s website USAforChrist.com, “It is a regular occurrence in Mark and Victoria’s meetings to experience the supernatural healing power of God. The lame walk. The deaf hear. The blind see.” 

Seneca Sustainable Energy, the biomass burning plant, is applying to increase the particulate pollution that it is emitting into the air of west Eugene by 3 tons. The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency is hosting an informational meeting about the requested air quality permit alteration July 17 and asking for public comment. Ironically the agency says that “ultimately, if a facility meets all legal requirements, LRAPA will issue the facility’s modified air quality permit.” So while the agency will take public comment, the comments won’t stop the permit from being approved.

A revolution is brewing in the Whiteaker — again. Not an Anarchist Cookbook, WTO riots kind of revolution, or even a foodie revolution, but an underground art explosion that has found a nucleus at Cornerstone Glass, a glass art studio, gallery and shop. The muse? Functional glass art, or in its most recognizable form, the pipe.

As Eugene School District 4J works to meet a June deadline to comply with a corrective order regarding gifted education issued by the Oregon Department of Education, a second complaint has been filed against the district, according to the parent who filed the complaints and the education department.

It all seemed so easy to businessman Steven Chapman — an avid hunter, he wanted to influence the Oregon Legislature on its hunting bills. The deer and elk herds in Oregon are too small, Chapman said, and wanted to do something about it. It takes millions of dollars in California to influence legislation, according to Chapman, but only thousands in Oregon. 

At more than 400 pages, deciphering a city budget can be like trying to decode DNA. That’s why Eugene needs an independent auditor to examine it, figure out where and how much money the city could save and make it more sustainable, according to city councilors past and present and a former Eugene budget clerk.

Wikipedia is not a valid source when you’re writing academic papers, or newspaper articles, but it is a source of controversy when it comes to women writers. Recently author Amanda Filipacchi was on Wikipedia when she noticed the category “American Novelists” was losing the women that had been listed on it. The women were being moved to a subcategory, “American Women Novelists,” as if they were a genre, like crime fiction, not writers on par with men.

Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is no stranger to Oregon. In fact, he once taught a six-week summer course at Portland State University. Gandhi returns to Oregon on Feb. 21, when he will give a talk called, “Lessons from My Grandfather.”