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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.

Roseburg Resources (541-679-3311) is planning to hand spray 178.3 acres west of Territorial/south of Gillespie Corners. Herbicide mixture is aminopyralid, metsulfuron methyl, clopyralid, flumioxazin, glyphosate, hexazinone, imazapyr, indaziflam, sulfometuron methyl and triclopyr with amine and ester. Chemical carriers are Forest Crop Oil, W.E.B. Oil, petroleum oil, emulsifier and water. Chemical additives brush and basal oil, Conquer, crop oil concentrate, forest crop oil, MSO Concentrate and Super Spread MSO. Start date Sept. 20. Local Roseburg forester is Dave Cramsey (541-935-2507).

• Two solid sources give us a sweet scenario floating around out there in political circles. If Brad Avakian, current Oregon labor commissioner, wins the secretary of state contest in November, who will complete his term? Lane County’s own Val Hoyle, of course. She left her seat in the Legislature to run against Avakian for secretary of state, lost, and is looking for a new job. Hoyle, who comes from a New England Democratic labor background, would be an excellent labor commissioner. But first Avakian has to win the secretary of state race. We’re voting for him.

Fall performance gets rolling with Dance in Dialogue’s D.i.D.#10 6 to 8 pm Sept. 29 at the Friends Meeting House. “Dance in Dialogue inspires the making and discussion of new work to invigorate the contemporary dance culture in Eugene, by providing a forum for artists to present innovative works-in-progress in a process-oriented setting with audience feedback,” D.i.D. co-founder Shannon Mockli says. Check it out. 

• David Oaks, founder of Mind Freedom International, tells us there will be a “family-friendly gathering and unscripted show at Kesey Square” 4 to 7 pm Saturday, Sept. 17, to celebrate Ken Kesey’s birthday and 5th anniversary of the start of Occupy. Bring drums. Open mic. Sponsored by the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. FREE.

The city of Eugene has morphed a neighborhood initiative to improve pedestrian and traffic safety on south Willamette Street into an intrusive rezone of neighborhoods in that area. They call it an “up-zone.” From the perspective of many who live there, it is more appropriately called a “down-grade” — of property values, the environment and their quality of life.

 “My parents both taught piano,” says Amy van der Linde, whose father also taught math at Bennington College in Vermont. “When I was 6, they opened a summer piano camp in our house. I started teaching at age 9.” The camp, called Summer Sonatina, became so popular that the family moved, seven years later, into a 42-room mansion, previously a convent. “We had 26 pianos for 50 students,” she says.

If you’re anything like me, and I know many of you are, you grew up on a lot of ’80s and ’90s-era British guitar pop. Why? In my case, Brit bands seemed allowed a larger breadth of sensitivity and intelligence than their constantly macho Yankee colleagues. And, of course, there are those accents: romantic, working class, exotic and endlessly cool. Has the sound aged? Certainly. But in the end, haven’t we all?

The music of Edna Vazquez can send shivers to your soul. When Vasquez performs, she closes her eyes and each of her facial muscles crinkles with concentration. She whistles and taps on her guitar’s body with an intimate familiarity, and when she opens her mouth to sing or speak, it’s a bellow straight from her heart.

After five years in Brooklyn, Eugene-born musician Justin King has come home. “All my oldest friends and family are here,” King explains.

“It’s really where my roots are,” he continues. “Brooklyn was getting even more overrun and expensive and crazier and crazier. I wanted to come back and focus on my own music.”

Since being back in town, King’s band King Radio has released a four-song EP, Adaline, available now on SoundCloud. 

ACCESSIBLE DANCE

Rachael Carnes’ article “Stop Motion” in the Sept. 8 “Spin” issue really nails the two key problems faced by emerging dancers — the lack of both financial and logistical resources.

I’m a woman who watches porn—we do exist—and I have a mad crush on a male porn star named Small Hands. Unfortunately, his videos focus less on his handsome face and more on some girl’s ass. Do! Not! Want! Is there a way to ask a porn star to please make a few movies in a certain way? I would like to see some movies that feature less of her and more of him!

Salivating About Male Performer’s Lovely Exterior


Few are aware of Ed King’s (King Estate Winery) unsustainable investment in the Old Hazeldell Quarry mine in Oakridge. Currently forestland, TV Butte is set to be rezoned to open a quarry. Aggregate rock will be extracted from TV Butte for road paving projects for 50 years.

Once U.S. Forest Service land, the property of the proposed quarry site is known as TV Butte on Dunning Road. This is the original location of the town of Oakridge, once called Hazeldell.

Ron Howard has said that he hoped to make Eight Days a Week both for dedicated Beatles fans and for a younger generation that has little sense of who The Beatles were. I’m not sure where this leaves me, as I’m neither a millennial nor a Beatles diehard, but a person who appreciates a good music documentary. And Eight Days is fine — a solid mix of archival footage, new interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, crowd-sourced footage and reminiscences from musicians or now-famous people who once saw The Beatles.

Since inaugurating the monthly SPIN dance roundup in 2014, we’re pleased as punch that it’s taken off, gathering enough momentum to warrant two columns per month. Hopefully you’re clipping it out and tacking it to your fridge or sharing it online: We want this to be an inclusive, fun way to keep up with what’s happening in the world of local dance. 

And if you’re an artist or presenter, we sincerely hope that this regular coverage brings some shiny new participants and patrons right to your door. 

In this issue we’ll shine a spotlight on dancer and teacher Bonnie Simoa. We’ll see what’s new with the West African Cultural Arts Institute and we’ll groove with Coalessence Dance. We’re also taking a longer look at the state of dance in our little burg, asking questions about where dance in Eugene has been, and considering how to protect and encourage our community’s artistic future. 

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. 

Across the wood floorboards at WOW Hall, there’s a frenzy of writhing limbs, bare feet and butts. In fact, someone farted square in my face while stretching. The crowd is intimate, exchanging kisses on the cheek, sharing bear hugs, grinning widely. Clearly, this is a special gathering. 

This is Coalessence Dance, a bi-weekly “ecstatic” dance gathering centered on building community through motion.

All that! Dance Company

Ballet, contemporary jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom

allthatdancecompany.com 541-688-1523

 

Ballet Fantastique

Ballet

balletfantastique.org 541-342-4611

 

Ballet North West Academy

Ballet, tap, modern, jazz and Broadway dance

bnwa.net 541-343-3914

 

Celebration Belly Dance and Yoga

Bollywood, zumba, samba, capoeira, African, 40-plus

Mysterious forces drew Bonnie Simoa to Bali, Indonesia to study the legong dance, which she has now been practicing for two decades. 

Simoa founded a dance company in Davis, California, and as the company was beginning its seventh season, she says she needed something more from her dance life. “I wanted to go some place where dance and spirituality and life were more integrated,” she says. By chance, Simoa came across Bali and then disbanded her company, put her things in storage, left her dog in the care of her sister and relocated to Indonesia for six months. 

Before moving to Eugene, Alseny Yansane danced for Ballets Africains, the most prestigious dance troupe in the West African nation of Guinea. 

But there’d be no mistaking his moves for anything from Swan Lake

Low squats, flips, rapid sideways motions, windmill arm movements — these are some of the most common hallmarks of the dozens of dances that can be found across Guinea and which Yansane and his wife Andrea Yansane teach at the West African Cultural Arts Institute (WACAI) here in Eugene. 

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.