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• It’s Oregon summer. That means juicy blackberries, SLUG queen coronations and outdoor parties. The Eugene Celebration and its hokey but awesome parade have disappeared, the Festival of Eugene lasted only two years before falling apart in a storm of racism allegations, but the Whiteaker Block Party thrives. Can Eugene bring its downtown festival back? Last weekend marked the 10-year success of the Whit Block Party with its free entry, and that might have some lessons for party planners. Come party with the SLUG queens 6 pm, Friday, Aug.

• Teatro Mundo presents Secretly Famous: The works of Andrew Rodman for one last weekend 6 pm, Aug. 11 to 13 at Café Mundo in Newport. The show is free but donations can be made to support Rodman who survived pancreatic cancer in 2011 but is battling the disease again.

Your Queen and Mine of the Society for the Legitimization of Ubiquitous Gastropods, Markalo Parkalo, wishes to convey warmest wishes, solstice celebration and official offerings herewith:

First, thank you for your support of my favorite nonprofit: LILA (Lane Independent Living Alliance).

When the United States went to war in 1941, music was in the arsenal. After Japan’s catastrophic sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the country needed cheering up and troops needed cheering on. The nation’s pop culture institutions were enlisted, going on tours and producing “V-discs” (records) and shortwave broadcasts for deployed soldiers and music about coming home and accentuating the positive for Americans. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Because of Orlando.

Because just yesterday I reverted and referred to my wife as “my partner.” 

Because my gay friend’s 70-year-old lesbian sister has yet to come out of the closet.

THE PEOPLE CAN’T BE STOPPED

If the Lane County Board of Commissioners votes in late September to give themselves the power to yank duly approved initiatives from the vote of the people because they decide the initiatives are not “of county concern,” there is at least one bright spot: the subsequent people’s initiative to reverse that unconstitutional ordinance will most assuredly be “of county concern.”

To Commissioners Bozievich, Stewart, Farr and Leiken: The initiative process belongs to the people!

Living in Oregon’s Willamette Valley means that Manifest Destiny, also known as the Pacific Ocean, is never more than an hour away. From this distance, or even up close, it’s easy to romanticize such a beautiful place. Gazing upon the Pacific, anything feels possible.

Visit the Oregon Coast, however, and sometimes you find sandblasted people and communities, stooped low against literal and metaphorical headwinds — economically and emotionally depressed. 

As cold and verboten as government buildings typically feel, it’s easy to forget that they belong to us, The People — paid for with taxpayer money, and don’t you forget it.

Too often these edifices are lifeless, soul-squashing, Orwellian; but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

DEAR READERS: I’m on vacation for the next three weeks—but you won’t be reading old columns while I’m away. You’ll be getting a new column every week, all of them written by Dan Savage, none of them written by me.

On a bright weekday morning, 12 students fill out a downtown Eugene classroom as an excited buzz of conversation fills the space, and University of Oregon psychology professor Holly Arrow leads the class in a discussion about facts, opinion and confusion between the two.

Bob Emmons looks like he wants to spit.

Standing on sun-scorched grass in Scobert Gardens Park, Emmons is hardly able to endure the blighted landscape, littered with empty beer cans, cigarette packs and pizza boxes. Shoeless daysleepers stretch out flat in swaying blots of shade. Summer breezes tumbleweed a plastic grocery bag across the dusty lawn and leave it at his feet. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

Now that Measure 97, formerly Initiative Petition 28, has officially qualified for the November ballot, opponents are rallying the troops to fight the tax on corporate sales by raking in donations from corporations, with more than $5 million in contributions already.

The Elliott State Forest is for sale for exactly $220.8 million. That amount, not a dollar more, not a dollar less, will get you approximately 82,500 acres of forest that includes coastal old growth trees and designated critical species habitat.

They grow up so fast. The Whiteaker Block Party turns 10 this year and it’s bound to be one for the books — more than 120 years after Oregon’s first governor, John Whiteaker, procured 10 blocks in the neighborhood. To celebrate, EW pays homage to some of the people who keep the Whiteaker weird, whimsical, wayward and wonderful, as well as offering some tips to squeezing the most out of your block party experience. Here’s to the next 10 years.

The greatest cultural riches of the Whiteaker reside in the neighborhood’s nooks and crannies and offbeat details — the funky designs on a painted mailbox, the kitschy pop art on a hillbilly porch, a makeshift lounge plopped along the sidewalk. 

The same goes for the Whiteaker Block Party, returning for its 10th year noon to 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 6; FREE. If you stick to the beaten path of the hoi polloi trudging between Ninkasi and Oakshire, you’re going to miss just about everything that makes the Whit so unique. Be an urban adventurer: Keep an eye out for renegade backyard parties, check out the side streets and alleyways, and stay alert to what’s behind the hedge and down the path least taken. 

Giustina Land & Timber Co., 541-345-2301, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation Services LLC, 541-554-0489, to spray glyphosate, imazapyr, sulfometuron methyl,metsulfuron methyl and/or Dyne-Amic on 20 acres east of Mohawk just southwest of the Mohawk River. See ODF notification 2016-771-09132; call Brian Dally at 726-3588 with questions.

On July 26, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Jason and Rachel Shannon $15,885 for illegally discharging sewage to the ground at their property on East Bolton Road in Veneta. DEQ also issued an order to the Shannons requiring them to connect to the city of Veneta’s sewer system by Aug.

• Two prominent political scientists who grew up in Eugene published an op-ed piece in the Sunday, July 31, edition of The New York Times arguing that states dominated by Democrats, blue states, are “generally better for your well-being.” Paul Pierson, political science professor at Berkeley, and Jacob Hacker, of Yale, use a powerful graph to illustrate their point.

Jiffy Market is back! On Aug. 10, the “South Eugene neighborhood hub for 53 years will officially reopen after an eight-month, top-to-bottom remodel under new management.” Jiffy on Hilyard Street was purchased by 3C, LLC a group that includes the founder of neighboring Amazon Organics dispensary. The new Jiffy features beer and wine by the bottle, “locally sourced produce, house-cured meats and breads and pastries by Noisette,” as well as Sleepy Monk coffee, cider, kombucha and beer on tap and wine by the glass.

Who's who and what's what in dance this month

• A Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration honoring those who died when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is 7:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 6, at Alton Baker Park’s small shelter, near the duck pond and park entrance. There will be a talk by Mayor Kitty Piercy, drumming by Eugene Taiko, traditional Japanese Obon dancing and music by the Yujin Gakuen Children’s Peace Choir. The event will close at dusk with the floating of candle lanterns on the duck pond while Koto master Mitsuki Dazai plays traditional Japanese music.

On Aug. 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb rendered Hiroshima a scorched plain and burned tens of thousands in its flames. By year’s end, 140,000 irreplaceable lives had been taken. Those who managed to survive, their lives grotesquely distorted, were left to suffer serious physical and emotional aftereffects compounded by discrimination and prejudice. Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and the ultimate inhumanity.