Bring up the topic of Kesey Square and the importance of downtown open public space with city of Eugene officials and you can expect the conversation to be steered to the Park Blocks.
Kesey Square has problems, city employees say, including issues of design, the preponderance of “travelers” dominating the space, the simple fact that it’s flat and that people just don’t want to be there.
An urban promenade, balconies, sloped roofs, trellises, tables and chairs on the street.
Those features were all promised in Capstone Collegiate Communities’ application for a Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) submitted to the city of Eugene on Jan. 24, 2012. City Manager Jon Ruiz recommended the application to the City Council, which voted to approve Capstone for the exemption, allowing developers to pay no taxes on the new structure for 10 years — or the equivalent of a $16-million tax break.
In July of 2014, Eugene became the first city in the country to require carbon neutrality, fossil fuel-use reductions and the development of a carbon budget based on the best available science when it passed a Climate Recovery Ordinance pushed for by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust and many of Eugene’s youth.
More than a year later, some Eugeneans are starting to wonder if this landmark city law is getting implemented the way it should by city staff, and if it’s moving at the right speed. Matt McRae, a climate and energy analyst with the city of Eugene, says the city is on track to meet its targets.
Some of us donate tangibly. We give food, clothing, warm socks. The evidence of this has been in the EW front office the last couple weeks as community members have dropped off donations of jackets, sweaters, blankets and more for the White Bird Clinic. We’ve already taken several truckloads of donations over to the clinic.
Some of us donate time. Nonprofits such as FOOD for Lane County (foodforlanecounty.org) or Occupy Medical are propelled by hundreds and often thousands of hours logged by volunteers.
And some of us at the end of the year donate our hard-earned cash. Not only do the groups around Lane County desperately need the money to keep fighting their good fights, donating also gives you a tax write-off. Win-win. Every year we provide a list of organizations we’ve noticed doing good work in the community — or around the world — for you to give to. Feel free to suggest more!
It’s almost Christmas, and Anthony Palmer is in his living room dressed as Spider-Man.
Palmer says he usually dresses as Batman, but tonight he was told that the family he’s visiting is a “Marvel family” (Batman is DC Comics). Palmer and his mother, Renee Borello, call their act “Batman and Alfred” because she drives and he delivers the gifts in costume.
This is the third year the mother-son duo have picked five families having a tough time and delivered Christmas gifts with Palmer in superhero garb.
As the debate about Kesey Square’s future heats up, voices in favor of keeping the space public downtown are coming to the forefront, from a business on the square to community meetings sprouting up. The outcry was prompted by a proposal City Manager Jon Ruiz passed on to the Eugene City Council this fall from private developers who want to purchase Kesey Square and build apartments in its place, with retail on the ground floor.
When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”
Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.
From the Billy Graham Rapid Response prayer vans to the Oct. 9 visit by Barack Obama shutting down a section of I-5 and the rush of hundreds of pro-gun advocates from out of town, it’s safe to say the citizens of Roseburg are dealing with two traumatic crises.
First, the Oct. 1 shooting that killed eight students and their instructor at Umpqua Community College before the killer committed suicide, and now the powerful and consuming reaction of the rest of the nation flooding into this rural town of nearly 22,000, an hour south of Eugene.
Not often do you hear something like “we had a small philosophical discussion of positive and negative space” in a typical middle school classroom.
But then again, the class that artist and educator Milla Oliviera is explaining isn’t anywhere in the realm of typical. Teaching a room of sixth graders at Cascade Middle School last year, her lesson combined Oregon ecology, Egyptian art and visual cognition to provoke students into thinking about space in completely new ways.
Free joints, lines around the block, medical marijuana express lanes — the first day of October will surely be a day of celebration for many and, perhaps, a headache for others.
Oct. 1 marks another milestone for cannabis legalization in the state of Oregon: Medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to legally sell limited amounts of pot to recreational users — customers without an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) card — who are over the age of 21 with valid proof of age.
Light streams through large glass windows to fall on each carefully salvaged piece of wood in Jess Pollack’s beautiful remodeled home. Pollack, a humble self-described contractor with an appreciation for the arts, turned an odd ’60s home into a work of modern whimsical art in a 14-year labor of love.
Fred Taylor finished Washington High School and left his native Portland in 1946 to major in journalism at the University of Oregon. He worked in the news bureau and wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald, rising to be co-sports editor.
But the dean of the journalism school told him that he would never make it in the field of journalism. He should get out of it.
Fred ignored him. That harsh advice to a college kid may have been just what G. Frederick Taylor needed to drive him into becoming what many colleagues have called “the best newsman in America” in his time.
A herd of five starving horses on the outskirts of Grants Pass in rural Josephine County, Oregon were saved when a couple women passing by saw the animals, with their ribs and spines protruding, took pictures and posted them to social media on July 26.
As a child, Gustavo Balderas attended school in the tiny rural town of Nyssa in Eastern Oregon. Balderas’ parents did not speak English, but his kindergarten teacher reached out to them, he says, in an act of kindness that he has always remembered. “She connected to my mom and dad and made them feel welcome,” he says. “She really stands out to me as impacting my decision to go into education.”
The state Legislature on June 6 passed a bill creating a dedicated LGBT coordinator in the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The bill puts the state in alignment with national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) directives that have, in the past two years, sought to be inclusive and supportive of LGBT identities.
“Louder boys, louder! You have to believe we can win! Let ’em know you believe it out there in the outfield!” my dad called out over the crowd, encouraging my brothers and me as the summer evening light faded over the Willamette Valley.
As the sun disappeared, the old-style electric bulbs over Civic Stadium’s field would surge on, offering a flash of hope for the Emeralds that there was still a bit of game to be played.
Three years ago, local music business veterans Mike Hergenreter and Danny Kime shared a vision — a music hall with a hi-tech twist. Come early May, that dream will be a reality. The future of live music has come to Eugene. Hi Fi Music Hall will open as a new 700-person capacity venue with two stages, two bars, a restaurant and a patio at 44 E. 7th Ave., the former space of Dusk night club and Rock ‘n’ Rodeo. Zeppelin tribute act Zepparella will play the inaugural show May 8.
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, a truck from California came to Bartels Packing west of Eugene carrying 35 organic cattle. Kandi Bartels, executive vice president of Bartels, which produces grass-fed natural and organic beef, says the paperwork from the driver stated there were two bulls and 33 cows in the shipment.
It will cost New York almost $20 billion to prepare the city for the impacts of climate change coming our way, according to Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Right now, the default is the taxpayer,” he says. “Why should only taxpayers pick up the cost for increasing climate change damages? What is the responsibility of companies making dangerous products?”
Sen. Floyd Prozanski is quick to explain that he is not working on gun control legislation. He is working on “gun safety” legislation. As a gun owner himself, Prozanski says he is confident the law he is proposing will benefit all Oregonians.
While her previous position as Oregon’s secretary of state typically did not put her in the environmental spotlight, Oregon’s new Governor Kate Brown is no stranger to green agendas or protests. In summer of 2012, members of Cascadia Earth First! and Eugene’s own Cascadia Forest Defenders locked themselves together at Brown’s office at the state Capitol to call attention to logging in the Elliott State Forest.
Next time you sign a lease for a rental house or apartment, you may notice a new section on the form: a medical marijuana agreement. Similar to a pet agreement that details the terms and conditions associated with allowing an animal, a medical marijuana agreement spells out the who, what and when of using or growing medical marijuana on a rental property — if the landlord allows it at all.