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An immense old oak tree crushed Kaye Parsons’  garage roof during December’s record-breaking ice storm in Eugene that knocked out power to thousands. 

Parsons can show you the enormous tilted stump of the tree, which also smashed through her wood fence on a hilly part of West 29th Avenue in the Friendly Street neighborhood. Piles of chopped branches from hundreds of fallen trees are stacked in many front yards of this venerable Eugene neighborhood. 

When you stumble out of a downtown bar next weekend, you may stumble right into a waiting taxi.

Over the Dec. 16 weekend the Eugene Police Department began a program that sets up two taxi staging areas downtown in an attempt to cut down on drunk driving and increase public safety. 

A recent vote by the Lane County Board of Commissioners to fill Sen. Chris Edward’s seat in the Oregon State Legislature drew comment from the governor, the Democratic Party and, most vociferously, the gun lobby.

Before the Dec. 14 vote, the County Commission received several hundred emails from gun-rights activists weighing in against former state representative and Oregon secretary of state candidate Val Hoyle, who was the Democratic Party’s top pick.

Former Lane County Commissioner candidate Dawn Lesley recently reported a bias incident to the City of Eugene’s Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement office. A friend of Lesley’s came to her after seeing swastikas spray-painted on a Trump sign along I-5 in Lane County. 

Barely two weeks after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, Oregon’s regular legislative session will begin Feb. 1. 

Multiple bills being drafted aim to address civil rights, human rights and health care. And while some bills are also being designed to protect existing state laws, others are being proposed to fill in the gaps in federal laws and protections that could be affected by the Trump administration. 

The first stop for many newly arrived Latino immigrants, many of whom don’t speak English, is Centro Latino Americano on 5th Avenue. This nonprofit describes itself as a safety net for the Latino community in our region, one that is even more necessary in light of President-elect Donald Trump denouncing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

The Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States Dec. 19, but many of the millions who voted against him have not given up hope and they plan to rally in the streets the day after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. 

Years of deliberation, millions of tax dollars spent, and still nothing to show but a city block of gravel flats and an angry clutch of frustrated taxpayers: A sharply divided Eugene City Council agreed last week to pursue a costly plan (of as-of-yet dubious legal merit) to erect a shiny new City Hall building on a county-owned plot north of the Park Blocks downtown.

Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio wants to hold President-elect Donald Trump responsible for his “drain the swamp,” campaign promise, in which Trump said he would impose tougher lobbying restrictions as well as lifetime lobbying bans. 

On the heels of the presidential inauguration, an event is coming that will allow community members to show solidarity and share their support for those who may be most affected by this transition of power.

“Weed is really amazing for a ton of people, but really dangerous for some,” Kristen Mort says. Her 18-year old son was hospitalized earlier this year for a condition called “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome” after she says he had writhing convulsions, excruciating abdominal pain and nonstop vomiting. 

There were 21 reported car crashes on the morning of Dec. 8, mostly from drivers taking their morning commute along the Beltline or Delta Highways through Eugene. Early last February, a similar icy dawn on area roads caused 15 car crashes. As of Dec. 13, the National Weather Service predicts below-freezing temperatures for a span of several nights (Dec. 14 to 17), meaning drivers are again venturing out into black ice and Christmas lights. 

After 21 years in business at its 2585 Willamette Street location, Tsunami Books is hoping it can hang on for another 20. But it’s going to take a bit of a Hail Mary, Tsunami proprietor Scott Landfield says. 

A 700-strong pool of part-time city employees are earning wages that barely pass federal poverty line standards. A Jan. 18 city work session has been called to address this ongoing issue. 

People filled chairs, lined walls and sat on the floor for the duration of the special meeting of the city of Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Monday, Dec. 5. Professors, public school teachers, community members and activists were vocal in their concerns for undocumented people in their communities, classrooms and schools.

The future of the Elliott State Forest still hangs in the balance and local environmental groups are dubious about a proposal to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of Oregon’s State Land Board.

On a borrowed plot only a stone’s throw from the Eugene Mission, the Nightingale Health Sanctuary is tidy and obliging, even as biting autumn winds tug at the loose corners of its makeshift huts.

“We’re here to help people stabilize and move on,” Nightingale manager Nathan Showers says.

Back in September, Janie Coverdell traveled to Standing Rock from Eugene to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Inspired by the activism she took part in there and by the lack of media attention at the time, she decided to return last month. 

A new motion by the University of Oregon Senate may change the mandatory reporting policy on sexual assault to favor the wishes of the victims.

The current UO mandatory reporting policy requires all staff members to report sexual assaults they hear about from students, regardless of the actual desires of the victims themselves, according to Jennifer Freyd, a professor of psychology at UO and a nationally recognized activist on sexual assault issues. 

The presence of the homeless in downtown Eugene has long been a contentious issue. But the idea of sheltering the unhoused in the heart of the city instead of trying to drive them out has not received much attention. 

The majority of shelter options are in other areas, particularly in Ward 7, home to the Whiteaker, Trainsong, River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods.

When First Lady Michelle Obama issued her “Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” in 2014, Eugene stepped up to the plate, setting a goal of getting 365 of Lane County’s military vets into homes — an average of one per day for a year — through a broad coalition of local government and nonprofit agencies working together to secure funding and real estate.

Eugene knocked it out of the park, exceeding its goal by housing 404 veterans in the span of a year. According to St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Terry McDonald, who participated in the challenge, you can hold that number up to a much larger city like Portland (around 600 vets housed) to understand the success of the local effort.

The recent legal settlement between a tenure-track Pakistani-American Lane Community College instructor and the college adds a renewed focus on safety for minorities at LCC in this post-Trump world. 

In the same month that racial and sexual harassment have seen a definite uptick on campuses around the U.S. after Trump was elected, sociology instructor Nadia Raza reached a legal settlement with LCC that contains provisions for college security to go through threat assessment training and other pro-safety measures by May 2017. 

Springfield School District board member Erik Bishoff says he was “not surprised, but disappointed” that Measure 97 didn’t pass. 

“We might have to make some cuts this year, and it’s likely going to mean class sizes are going to get larger,” Bishoff says.

Now that the measure has failed, members of the education community and supporters of the Measure 97 campaign are working on next steps to push for a fully funded school system, which includes plans to lobby the Oregon Legislature.

After Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the title “president” is going to appear before the name Donald Trump. 

Beyond the dystopian strangeness of having a reality TV star in the nations’ highest office, in the wake of Trump’s startling Nov. 8 upset of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, environmentalists and more are fearful of what a Trump presidency could mean and are trying to envision a path forward.