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As fire season heats up in Oregon and across the West, debates over logging and forestry are staying hot in Congress. The House just passed HR 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, and Congressman Peter DeFazio is one of the Democrats who voted in favor of the bill.

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for often inaccurate herbicide application information. Highways recently sprayed include I-5, 36, 99 and Beltline.

If Jacob Burris, an eighth grader at Shasta Middle School, and his parents hadn’t followed up on a high blood pressure reading at a routine checkup, doctors may never have detected the life-threatening heart condition that sent the 13-year-old to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland last year. 

Now, because of his time at Doernbecher, Jacob is designing his own shoe at Nike as part of a fundraiser for the children’s hospital.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm on Tuesday, July 21, on the proposed “biosolids” management plan for Premier RV Resorts. (“Biosolids” is a term for treated sewage sludge.) Premier RV Resorts is located near Coburg, southeast of exit 199 on I-5. The plan includes requirements for spreading biosolids on farm land south of the RV resort. Visit goo.gl/ott3SM for more information on commenting.

The Veterans Safe Spot, one of three “rest stops” managed by Community Supported Shelters (CSS), is moving from its current location at Chambers and Northwest Expressway to a 7.5-acre Eugene Mission property off West 1st Avenue. Ron Siever, a veteran at the safe spot, says he and other veterans are concerned about the new rules required to move onto Mission property, which include total sobriety, abstinence from drugs and no pets.

Paying for community college may get a little easier now that Senate Bill 81 has passed in the Oregon Legislature, but community college officials say it’s more of a step in the right direction than a miracle cure for students’ financial woes. While this bill, called a “last dollar” program, provides assistance in the form of filling in tuition gaps that other grants leave, heftier legislation in the form of a “first dollar” program is needed for community college tuition to truly be “free.”

• As we predicted, the Eugene City Council this week revived the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption program, aka “tax breaks for the rich,” but at least it has some redeeming qualities. The council was under threat from Brian Obie and other developers that they would abandon their downtown housing plans without the tax breaks, but we’re not convinced they wouldn’t build anyway. Think about it. If you were a developer, wouldn’t you try to leverage every advantage possible to maximize your return on investment?

Last week we wrote about Barnhart Associates selling its historic building on East 14th Avenue to Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and moving out. We’ve since learned from Jim Barnhart, one of the real estate agency’s founders, that the business has dissolved and the agents have scattered, nine going to Equinox Real Estate, and owner David Holland is now a commercial broker with Evans, Elder & Brown.

In Afghanistan

• 2,355 U.S. troops killed (2,355 last month)

• 20,071 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,071)

• 1,599 U.S. contractors killed (1,592)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $707.3 billion cost of war ($704.7 billion)

• $282.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($281.9 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $5.1 billion cost of military action ($4.7 billion)

• $2 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($1.9 million)

The Oregon Legislature fizzled to a halt as expected. Now the real fun starts. You think paid sick leave for workers and carbon emission standards will not exact a price at the ballot box in 2016? The lack of compromise and the partisan fights over a transportation package and the minimum wage now spill over into the next initiative season, and it’s going to be an expensive ride. 

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

A couple years ago, I helped film a documentary about Bad Luck Blackouts recording their debut album 13. The punk-rock trio had an enthusiastic local following, a surprisingly professional work ethic and ambitions to take the act on the road. In addition, they were incredible live.

When you close your eyes and listen to 2015’s Untethered Moon from Built to Spill, it’s like nothing’s changed. The guitars still wail. Singer Doug Martsch still applies layers of distortion to his vocals. The band still writes songs about rock music and the state of Idaho.

Nashville musician Aaron Lee Tasjan identifies as a guitarist despite currently making a living as a singer-songwriter. Tasjan spent some time playing guitar in the Southern-rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ as well as legendary New York punk group New York Dolls. 

One of the city’s most valuable music institutions, The Jazz Station, is entering its second decade of giving Eugene a real center for jazz and other improvised sounds. The three-day 10-year anniversary celebration begins Thursday, July 23, with New Orleans singer Cindy Scott and guitarist Brian Seeger joining Portland piano star Randy Porter in a highly recommended vocal jazz show. 

One half of Texan indie-folk quartet The Deer will follow up a couple shows at Oregon Country Fair with an encore performance in Eugene at Sam Bond’s Garage. 

At just 30 years of age, it’s a bit odd to speak of Eugene musician Halie Loren as a time-tested veteran of the trade, but so be it. With eight albums to her name, along with international accolades, industry awards and globe-hopping tours, this gifted singer-songwriter has built the sort of solid career any artist would find enviable — the result of equal parts guts, hard work and rare talent. 

MUPTE IS MISDIRECTED

I appreciate George Brown’s call [Viewpoint, July 7] for modification of MUPTE to include a meaningful and significant workforce housing component. But I would prefer that we end MUPTE all together. In my view, MUPTE is as unnecessary as it is misdirected. Typical of these programs, it lacks robust compliance oversight. It robs our community of needed tax revenues for the benefit of well-heeled developers. The evidence of an out-of-control program is all around us (see the Capstone site, if you can stand the sight).

With 20 songs and the precedent of a 1983 film starring Steve Martin and Bill Murray, Little Shop of Horrors isn’t the easiest musical to pull off. But Red Cane Theater, home of the Phoinix Players, succeeds in telling the story of the Venus flytrap from Hell on Skid Row. 

You think your dad has outrageous stories? According to Edward Bloom, the years before he became a salesman were filled with heroism, giants, witches, mermaids and indentured servitude in the name of love. 

I have been happily married for 12 years. I’m deeply in love with my wife—she’s amazing, very sexy and gorgeous. I used to be jealous, but about six years ago, I lost my feelings of jealousy. In their place, I developed a strong desire to share my wife with other men. It’s my only fantasy. She knows about this, but she says it’s wrong. I never asked her to actually do it. Am I wrong for feeling this way?

A Shamed Husband, A Marital Erotic Deadlock

Just a few weeks back on a hot Friday morning, I stood in a field with outgoing Oregon Country Fair general manager Charlie Ruff and his replacement, Tom Gannon, the three of us surveying the “New Area,” a 6-acre expanse that opens this year as a brand new part of the Fair’s general stomping grounds.

2015 is a year of brand-spanking new features at the Oregon Country Fair: the Dance Pavilion, the dedicated LGBTQI space — Rainbow Village — and the entire 6-acre “New Area” expansion. This expansion will house nine wondrous, wacky, weird, whimsical, whippy-dippy art installations. ArtsHound caught up with Sallie Edmunds, OCF backup manager and head of the new art program, while she prepped at the Fair grounds.