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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.”

Racism is a permanent, entrenched feature of American life. That was the thrust of a course taught by Derrick Bell, one of founders of critical race theory, while Ian Haney-López was a student at Harvard. 

Does the Constitution have a curfew? Local activists say free speech doesn’t stop at 11 pm, but Lane County has designated the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza as closed to free speech and other activities after hours. In Bethlehem there was no room at the inn for the mother of Jesus, and in Eugene there’s no room for free speech at the Free Speech Plaza. 

Jordan Creek runs through the Mattson family’s land at Polyrock Ranch. The creek is located in the out in the open hills of southwest Eugene, in the Coyote Creek sub-basin of the Long Tom Watershed. The creek is symbolic of the Rivers to Ridges (R2R) partnership, a collaboration of public and private entities working together to acquire and manage natural open spaces in and around Eugene.

Greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing: Yearly increases were 2.7 percent in the 1990s, 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2007, and 5.6 percent between 2009 and 2010. But nothing effective is being done to reduce them. There are multiple reasons for that:

The recent tragic Sandy Hook school shooting has called attention not only to gun control, but also to how the U.S. deals with young people who are behaviorally or mentally challenged. One controversial method that some Eugene 4J schools are using to deal with students in its behavioral programs is to put them in seclusion rooms. 

The lush and productive Courthouse Garden east of the U.S. Courthouse in Eugene has garnered national attention as an innovative collaboration between the city of Eugene, the University of Oregon, local businesses and the judicial system, but it may get bulldozed and paved over if a local credit union or another private business buys the 1.9 acres of city-owned property.

Developers have tried repeatedly to turn the steep-sloped land into houses. Each application has been defeated, but the developers keep trying. The Nobles have started the Be Noble Foundation in order to save the Beverly property and turn it into a permanent part of Eugene’s parks and open spaces.

Here are our selected picks in contested races and issues.

The foreclosure crisis has created a buzz nationwide, but another consequence of the subprime mortgage crisis is getting some attention from Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley: underwater mortgages.