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On their first ever trip to the United States, prominent Russian literary figures Ivan Akhmetev and Tatiana Neshumova will present a series of lectures at the University of Oregon, starting Friday, Oct. 3. Here’s a taste of what they have to share. For more details see our What’s Happening Calendar.

Oregon’s rivers aren’t meant to flow in straight lines. They are meant to meander and twist under the shade of native trees, giving fish like threatened upper Willamette spring Chinook a safe route to the ocean and back. Humans haven’t just dammed and straightened the Willamette — we’ve boxed it in with construction and with the gravel mines fueling that construction. 

The crux of the City Hall debate appears to be what makes sense economically: tear down or rebuild? And appearance: Can we sustain the function of this building and upgrade its tattered look? That’s what the Eugene City Council will be considering when it meets for a work session and regular meeting Sept. 22 and additional work session Sept. 24.

Neighbors were curious to say the least last year when Clay Gautier and Gail Baker decided to demolish a single-story house on 32nd Street in southeast Eugene and custom-build a net-zero home in its place. A net-zero home produces as much or more energy than it uses, and the homeowners were happy to answer the questions of inquisitive passersby. “Everybody has always been welcome to come take a look and walk around,” Baker says. 

Barely a year after hosting a Sunday neighborhood potluck when the foundation was first laid last August, the now-completed net-zero energy house will be featured in this year’s BRING Home and Garden Tour Sunday, Sept. 14.

Do you know the three reasons Eugene City Hall should not be torn down?

At a June 25 board meeting, 4J Superintendent Sheldon Berman asked the school board to release him from his contract a year early, stunning many in the room. According to parent and private math tutor Gina Graham, “The whole room went silent. Everyone just looked at each other.” 

When the abruptly former UO president Michael Gottfredson first took office in 2012, even the university’s resident muckraking blogger, economics prof Bill Harbaugh of UO Matters, was hard-pressed to dig up dirt on the unassuming administrator. Barely two years later on Aug. 6, Gottfredson announced he was stepping down immediately, and the next day the UO’s new independent governing board voted to give the man, who was giving up the presidency as well as a tenured professorship, a nearly $1 million buyout. 

Explicit consent, according to the University of Oregon student code, “means voluntary, non-coerced and clear communication indicating a willingness to engage in a particular act.” It “includes an affirmative verbal response or voluntary acts unmistakable in their meaning.”

Making sure students understand consent and what constitutes sexual assault (or as it says in the student code, sexual misconduct) is easier said than done with nearly 25,000 students and a focus that critics say has become more about sports than about educating students. 

To appreciate what this World Cup and the seleção canarinha (Brazil’s national team of soccer — nicknamed after a species of canary whose plumage is yellow, like the team’s jerseys) mean to Brazilians, I’ve been trying to diversify the social environments in which I watch the matches played by their national team. 

Weeks into interviewing University of Oregon administrators, police, professors and more, understanding where to go in order to report a sexual assault is still a maze of offices and administrators. Part II in a series on rape on campus and in the community

Jerry Henderson and his wife, Junaida, rent out the first floor of their taupe cedar-sided south hills home to people passing through town. For $60 per night, travelers stay in a private “suite” with a bedroom, bathroom and family room and access to decks that skirt along ferns and wrap around the trunks of 100-foot-tall fir trees. They have rented their extra space to 190 people since May 2010. Jerry Henderson says they have reported all of their Airbnb earnings, which total at least $11,000, to the IRS. 

Keegan Keppner sits in a green plastic lawn chair with “Whoville” scrawled on it in Sharpie, the O written as a peace sign and surrounded by hearts and asterisks as if it was decorated by an adoring fan. Keegan’s knees are jammed up in his black sweatshirt and he shifts around to evade the chilliness of the spring evening. Cars roar past the temporary encampment on 8th and Mill. 

Anna V. Smith

 et al.

Hayley Oakland 22, UO student 

Have you been following the UO rape investigation?

Yes.

Do you think the UO is handling the investigation well? What about the police and the district attorney?

This story contains details of an alleged sexual assault that may be triggering to some readers and rape survivors. EW uses the word “alleges” not to indicate doubt in the survivor but as a legal term for when no charges have been proven in a court of law.

Now that the Great Recession has officially ended, the pie is getting bigger, according to David Cay Johnston, but the bottom 90 percent is getting less pie. Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, has written a trilogy of books on financial inequities and has been teaching a course on “Property and Tax from Ancient Athens to America” at Syracuse University since retiring from The New York Times in 2008. Johnston will be speaking about “How Inequality Affects You” at the City Club of Eugene on May 9.

Three could be Oregon cannabis lovers’ lucky number: That is the potential number of ballot measures heading for the November 2014 election, which could make Oregon the third state in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Anthony Johnson, who worked on the campaign that legalized marijuana in Washington, is campaign manager for New Approach Oregon’s Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014, aka Initiative Petition 53. IP 53 would allow adults to possess up to 8 ounces and four plants, and it sets tax at $35 an ounce. It would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) with regulating marijuana commerce.

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.