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“Are my children safe?” 

It’s a thought that crosses the mind of Eugene School District 4J parent Constance Van Flandern when she drops her kids off at school. 

“Nobody wants to talk about children dying,” Van Flandern notes, but with a massive earthquake predicted to hit Oregon, she says the time has come to have a community conversation about the earthquake resilience of Eugene’s schools.

Each year, tuition and fees have increased at the University of Oregon.

Meanwhile, student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally, “becoming the second-largest consumer obligation after mortgages,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cherríe Moraga, a Chicana playwright, feminist activist, poet and essayist, will deliver a lecture at the University of Oregon Oct. 13 about the working class, both past and present.

The problem isn’t Donald Trump, the problem is Trumpism,” Reza Aslan tells EW.

Known for his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as for his long, patient interview with a Fox News reporter who could not understand how a Muslim could write a book about Jesus, Aslan comes to the University of Oregon Oct. 18 to present “An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity and the Future of America.”

With EWEB talking about selling off its riverfront headquarters and City Hall in flux, many wonder why Eugene City Council continues to steer the conversation away from EWEB.

Things started to go sideways again for the tangled City Hall project this summer when construction bids came in $10 million higher than expected, sending the city back to the drawing board to determine where best to put its new building and what exactly it should look like. More complications arose as the city tried wangling some portion of the 8th and Oak “butterfly lot” from the county.

Standing on the sidewalk, you look up in the sky and see a curious crosshatching of straight white streaks. These are airplane contrails — clouds formed when water vapor condenses and freezes around small particles that exist in aircraft exhaust, according to NASA.

A measure advocating for ranked choice voting in Benton County may just breathe new life into the Democratic process for the county’s elections.

Measure 2-100 moves to bring ranked choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, to local elections for the positions of sheriff and county commissioner.

It never ends.

Eugene Public Works maintenance worker Matt Chaney shows me his smartphone. The small screen displays a special email account where he gets notes from concerned Eugeneans who report new outcroppings of graffiti with the Lane Council of Governments online reporting center.

Across most of the country, Oct. 10 is Columbus Day — celebrating Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America. But in Eugene and some other cities, including Seattle and Berkeley, we now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

A few weeks ago, Bicycling magazine released a list of the 50 best bike cities in the U.S. — Eugene placed 18th. In its write up extolling Eugene’s biking street cred, the magazine praised Eugene’s plan to add a new transportation program called “bike share” in 2017.

On Friday, Sept. 23, dozens of gun-rights advocates rallied at the Oregon State Capitol, bringing with them not just an arsenal of guns but also an effigy of Gov. Kate Brown that was hung and burned on the steps of the Capitol. 

While Measure 97, the tax on big corporations to help bolster Oregon’s struggling schools, seniors and health care has gotten the most press, Paige Richardson of the Outdoor School for All campaign wants to draw people’s attention to another education bill on the November ballot: Measure 99, which would create a separate fund, financed through Oregon Lottery Economic Development Fund and administered by Oregon State University (OSU), to provide Outdoor School programs statewide.  

Although a written decision in the civil suit filed by former Register-Guard entertainment writer and reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent has yet to be filed almost three weeks after the case was dismissed, issues from the case continue to arise. 

In the wake of the trial, Markstrom Nugent’s fellow entertainment writer and the paper’s Eugene Newspaper Guild union co-president Randi Bjornstad has also been fired. 

Long associated with attempts to alleviate urban blight, urban renewal in Eugene has turned its sights upon technology, and the city is implementing a high-speed fiber network downtown.

Urban renewal has been seen as a tool for good and as a tool for destruction. Here in Eugene urban renewal money helped construct the Lane Community College (LCC) Downtown Campus that has been seen as a lynchpin in downtown revitalization.

Get ready, beer-loving Eugene: The Lane Events Center will host the first Big Tree Beer & Cider Festival this weekend, Sept. 16 and 17.

“Beer is king in this town,” says Rachel Bivens, marketing manager for the Lane Events Center. According to Bivens, the events center worked in tandem with its new beverage provider to create the new event.

Numbers published by the Oregon Department of Education last week show that across Lane County, some parents and students continue to choose “opting out” of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a standardized test introduced to Oregon public schools last year. 

In Eugene School District 4J, 12.3 percent, or 1,121 students, did not participate in the math portion of the test. The number of opt-outs has remained relatively steady from last year.

The Oregon Electric Railway first arrived in Eugene in 1912, but its historical significance today remains relevant to the area — and especially to the city’s African-American residents.

The Lane County Historical Museum is hosting an exhibit about the arrival of railroads to Eugene and the employment opportunities for African-Americans that came with it. “Rails Through Eugene: A Black History Connection” was put together by the Oregon Black Pioneers, a nonprofit group based in Salem that focuses on bringing Oregon’s black history to light. 

Standing still. Using the bathroom. Sleeping. These are things we all do and, in fact, all things we do to survive. But laws in some cities, including Eugene, penalize people for trying to meet their basic needs. 

Local advocates for the unhoused are teaming up with representatives from the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights in three states, including Oregon. Paul Boden of WRAP will take part in a Sept. 22 forum discussing the Oregon Homeless Bill of Rights and Right to Rest legislation.

Just months into his new gig as Eugene Water & Electric Board’s general manager, Frank Lawson brings outside experience and insider knowledge to the state’s largest publicly owned utility. With EWEB’s recent controversies, it’s a challenging management task, one that Lawson seems confident he’s up for. 

“I have experience in sales, in marketing, in finance, in engineering, in operations,” Lawson says. “I’ve also worked in a variety of different types of organizations, ranging from 80 to 80,000 people.” 

BRING Recycling is hosting its eighth annual Home and Garden Tour from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, Sep. 11, throughout the Eugene-Springfield area.

BRING Recycling began in 1971 as a neighborhood project to collect recycling in Eugene. BRING says its main values are promoting the idea of living well with less. BRING has prevented waste and launched conservation education programs in K-12 schools. 

In the wake of reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent’s civil lawsuit against The Register-Guard for firing her after she checked emails while on pregnancy disability leave, it appears that the R-G is considering cutting some employees that were involved in the case.

Oregon’s high school graduation rate ranked fourth lowest in the country in the 2013-14 school year; Oregon’s student-teacher ratio is a third higher than the U.S. average; two years ago, Oregon had the third largest class sizes in the U.S. 

These painful statistics are so frequently cited that Oregonians almost go numb upon reading them, but as a new report by the Oregon Education Association (OEA) and other education advocates points out, Oregon must figure out a way to fully fund its schools if the state ever wants to see its rankings rise. 

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is, for some Lane County voters, a possible alternative to Bernie Sanders. But while Johnson told EW during a recent phone call that he believes climate change is man-made, he also believes a free market economy is part of the fix.

Do you remember what your favorite color was when you were a kid? Winter Peterson remembers hers: multicolor.

“I saw that on a container of glitter when I was a kid and thought it was one color,” she says. “But no – it was all colors.”

Since then, her worldview hasn’t gotten any less colorful. Peterson calls herself a “recreational, loud, gaudy person,” and she can often be seen around Eugene in drag or even a clown costume. “People don’t expect to see clowns out at the bars,” she says.