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In the Whiteaker neighborhood, threads of the Black Panther Party, Central American farm workers, LGBTQ+ community and the Black Lives Matter movement are taking shape in a mural that will be unveiled during the Friday, Aug. 26, Whiteaker Art Walk.

Standing in a cavernous St. Vincent de Paul warehouse on Chad Drive, executive director Terry McDonald and I survey stacks upon stacks of identical cardboard boxes, each one the size of a watermelon crate. It’s quite a sight. The stacks tower toward the ceiling and stretch horizontally wall to wall, and their Lego-like arrangement creates the shadowy alleys of a deserted city at sundown.

All told, the boxes contain more than one million pounds of used books.

McDonald tells me matter-of-factly that St. Vinnie’s receives about 30,000 pounds of books a day. The discarded books are sorted and priced and placed and sold, each one turned for a small profit that eventually circles back as some form of help for the community’s needful — as housing, clothing, food, jobs.

Local blues institution and Saturday Market staple Eagle Park Slim, né Autry McNeace, passed away at 74 last weekend, leaving behind his partner Gwen Johnson, his son Donnie McNeace, two grandchildren as well as Johnson’s nine children and 16 grandchildren. While Slim has had a history of heart failure, and earlier this summer received a wireless heart-monitoring system implant, Johnson tells EW the results for cause of death are still pending.

Last week’s heat wave sent Lane County residents scurrying for shade. Press releases from the city and county offered suggestions for cool places like the library or swimming pools to take cover. But for those without air conditioning or in some cases without a roof over their heads, heat waves can turn deadly.

Willamette Family Inc., an affordable health care provider that offers services ranging from mental health to substance abuse counseling, recently dramatically increased the number of people it serves at its newest Eugene clinic.

Willamette Family’s new Rapid Access Center and Medical Clinic opened January 2016 at 12th and Charnelton, and after serving 123 clients in the first month, Willamette Family says it now serves around 1,000 people per month. 

• Thumbs up for President Obama’s Justice Department’s decision to end the management of federal prisons by private groups. How did we ever start that in the first place? The drive for profit was certain to fuel the drive for more prisoners serving more time. We understand that Oregon has no privately run prisons. Thumbs up for that, too.

• Native American activists have temporarily shut down the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The North Dakota protest centers on a pipeline that would carry about half a million barrels of Bakken crude per day to Illinois where it would link with other pipelines to transport the oil to Gulf Coast refineries and terminals. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the 1,172 mile pipeline route threatens the tribe’s drinking water and would disturb sacred and cultural sites.

When the Oregon legislative session of 2015 opened, Eugene Weekly embarked upon the bold experiment of establishing a delivery route in Salem. Each Thursday I traveled there, my first stop was the Capitol, where crowds in costumes and uniforms campaigned colorfully for their causes.

The Salem experience was thoroughly enjoyable. As the final month began, I wondered how I could top the fun, and decided to meet Kate Brown.

“Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” — Mark Twain

This issue of EW comes out 10 days before Labor Day and 10 weeks before Election Day. 

This period marks the bell lap in a presidential race that has been mindboggling. For example, some of the elderly in our Hot Air Society appear seriously confused about Donald Trump’s recent hiring of Paul Manafort (who resigned Aug. 19), crackpot Stephen Bannon and former Fox News creep Roger Ailes. They don’t know whether to cheer or boo. 

Deftones sound like an urban California traffic jam — the band’s innovative blend of alt-rock, metal, hardcore and emo creates heat, tension and eventually release. 

Norma Fraser and Thomas Mapfumo are legendary musicians, both residing right here in Eugene. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t beat yourself up. They’re better known in their countries of origin — Jamaica and Zimbabwe, respectively — than in the states. 

What do booze, Philadelphia and reggae-ska have in common? Mike Pinto

It’s such a good idea. Why didn’t someone think of it sooner?

“I was out one day moseying around on Skinner’s Butte,” Robert Newcomer says. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is fairyland up here.’” 

DIG THAT HOLE

John Zerzan is pointing out that voting for Clinton is a vote for “no change.” Yup, we’ve got a world of problems that won’t be addressed. “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging.”   Trump will bring change, no doubt, like setting off dynamite in that hole you dug while fixing your leach field.

Gregg Ferry, Corvallis 

 

WILEY GRIFFON 

Oregon Performance Lab is back for its second summer of theater workshops, bringing rising playwrights of America to Eugene. Described as a “three-week pop-up laboratory,” OPL connects artists with venues, actors and an audience for theatrical experimentation.

The day after Erika Fortner graduated from art school in New York, she headed straight to Berlin to work on a $5 million 80-foot long mural for banking behemoth Goldman Sachs. 

She wasn’t alone; Fortner was one of about 30 art assistants in the employ of abstract painter Julie Mehretu, a 2005 MacArthur “genius” grant awardee who Goldman Sachs commissioned in 2007 to create “Mural.” 

DEAR READERS: This is the final week of my summer vacation—but you’ve been getting a new column every week I’ve been gone, all of them written by Dan Savage, none of them written by me.

Don’t Think Twice, Mike Birbiglia’s second feature (following Sleepwalk With Me), starts with the rules of improv comedy. One of the rules: It’s all about the group. If you break that rule, everything falls apart. Even — or especially — if you break it by attaining the success every member wants. 

The funny thing is, this time last year Emerald Empire HempFest founder Dan “DanK” Koozer was ready to call it quits. 

The 71-year-old pot activist launched Eugene’s annual cannabis celebration in 2003. With help from volunteers, Koozer — who hosts the weekly public access talk show Eugene Cannabis TV — lines up vendors, books three days of live music and arranges educational lectures. He even sets up a temporary employment agency for folks looking to join the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry.

After the fireworks, there’s still the smoke. The legalization of retail weed in Oregon — a real Fourth of July moment for potheads — has left in its wake an enduring fug of legal, political and commercial questions that can make prohibition look like a cheerful stroll to the neighborhood dealer in comparison.

One of the major selling points for going legal, at least from the legislative standpoint, was the notion that hauling weed aboveboard would put the screws to the black market, eventually paralyzing all the criminal shenanigans that come with the illegal distribution of drugs.

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

Like a horror movie zombie, the logging plan for about 2.5 million acres of Oregon’s public forests known as the “Whopper” is back, and within days of its Aug. 5 announcement, enviros and the timber industry filed lawsuits against it. 

Celebrants at the 25th annual Eugene-Springfield Pride Festival braved the hot temperatures Saturday, Aug. 13, at Alton Baker Park

Contrary to Oregon’s generally retail-tax-free-and-proud lifestyle, Eugeneans pay sales tax on four common purchases: alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and pot. 

Since recreational pot sales went legit last year, Oregonians pay a whopping 25 percent state sales tax on recreational marijuana.