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The numbers are in: This year’s leaner and smaller Oregon Bach Festival drew just 12,000 in total attendance, the festival says, a 33 percent drop from last year’s 18,000 and a huge drop from the total attendance in 2011 of more than 44,000.

August is a month of tension between the urge to backpack into the high Cascades and the density of mosquitoes near the best campsites around lakes or wet meadows. In most years, the fierceness of mosquito attacks tends to diminish toward the end of August. Mosquitoes proliferate rapidly in snowmelt ponds. The sooner the snow disappears, the sooner mosquito-breeding season diminishes. Our dramatic recovery from recent years of drought and low snow pack was predicted to stimulate a massive resurgence of mosquitoes this summer.

Oregon is in the path of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse with Eugene just on the fringe of the area that will experience totality. If you live in Corvallis you can take off your solar shades once the eclipse is total, but in Eugene, though it will get darker, you will need to wear those special specs while staring at the sun.

There’s a trendy new lunch spot for those who live and work downtown, and the creator behind it is just 24 years old. Poke Stop serves poke bowls, a sort of “Hawaiian fish salad,” according to creative mind and manager Jina Choi. 

Don Andre hacks at an overgrown trail with a machete on a 17-acre community-owned forest, within earshot of Highway 20 a couple miles east of Newport. The machete, which his father found at a yard sale years ago, curves forward at the tip, which helps power the overhead volleys he directs at the branches. 

Andre spent much of his youth exploring forests like this one outside his family’s home in Agate Beach north of Newport. The giant old trees of the coastal rainforest provided an endless playground where he was free to tramp around until his mom called him back home by laying on the horn of the family’s Chevy truck. 

After leaving the sleepy Oregon Coast to travel and pursue higher education, in the mid-’70s Andre came home to a shock: The forest of his youth, where his imagination and young legs once ran wild, was no more. The clearcut land so dismayed and infuriated Andre that, to this day, he’d rather not visit. 

As the temperatures climb over 100 degrees in Lane County, the science continues to mount proving that man-made climate change is a growing catastrophe worldwide. And as the Trump administration reduces and even stops work at the federal level to slow the course of global warming, youth and local governments are using the courts to try to stem the tide of fossil fuel induced disaster. 

• We were excited to hear from Greenhill Humane Society that Tank, the pit bull who has waited more than 500 days to find a home, was adopted by Eugene Weekly readers after his story appeared in our annual Pets issue. Go Tank! 

 

Props to the city of Eugene for heeding the call for innovative, accessible dance programming in our community. 

This summer has featured a variety of emerging and established dance groups from in and out of our local region. And what’s more — performances and workshops are free. This month is no exception, with a visit from the Bay Area’s Embodiment Project

Many of the relatives, friends and colleagues gathered at Tom Giesen’s memorial on a sunny April afternoon at McKenzie River Eco-Lodge had been joggers, cyclists and hikers on the treks Tom led for decades. The adventures they described clearly tested their fortitude and often their patience but ultimately gained their admiration and respect for a man who pushed himself even harder than he did them. Lean as an alley cat, he never seemed to sit still long enough for fat to catch up with him — or complacency either.

Surveying this year’s Whiteaker Block Party music schedule (12 stages!), it’s hard to know where to start. So EW put together its own music itinerary. Call it a tour-guide or a list of must-see acts you don’t want to miss at the year’s biggest — and really only — showcase of local talent. You can’t see it all, but if you see anything, consider these suggestions. The WBP runs noon to 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 5, and revolves around the corner of 3rd and Van Buren in, of course, the Whit. 

Brian Viglioni, drummer with New York four-piece rock band Scarlet Sails, agrees there’s a theatrical edge to his band’s latest release, Future from the Past. Scarlet Sails is fronted by Viglioni’s Russian-American wife, Olya Viglioni, and Brian himself is known for working with well known acts like Dresden Dolls and as a studio musician and touring drummer for Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes. 

THE FACE OF THE FAIR

I wasn’t able to go the Oregon Country Fair this year, so on Saturday afternoon while making lunch I turned to KLCC to hear what was on the Mainstage. A guy was singing about leaving his girl behind. Hmmm.

My wife has been seriously ill for three years, and I have been her sole caregiver. The doctors here weren’t getting the job done, so we made the difficult decision for her to move 2,000 miles away to start over and be near her family. Our sex life has been nonexistent since she became ill. She offered me a “hall pass” with two rules: (1) It couldn’t be anyone I worked with and (2) she didn’t want to know about it. She offered multiple times, but I was taking care of her 24/7 and never used it. I started to consider using it after she moved.

I went to see Atomic Blonde twice — in part because, halfway through the first viewing, I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the plot. Not just that: I didn’t really care about the plot. The movie is set in Berlin in November 1989 against the fall of the Berlin Wall. But it’s not telling that story. That story hovers in the background, in a shot of Kurt Loder’s was-he-ever-that-young face on MTV news, in the kids drinking outside doorways, dogs barking at checkpoints. That story of something bigger at stake is present, but not central. You’d have to look past Charlize Theron to see it.

What are “pets,” anyway?

Humans have kept animals around for just about as long as we’ve been human. Dogs helped us hunt. Cats guarded the granaries.

But the notion of having animals strictly as companions, as opposed to four-legged workers, wasn’t too common until an economic middle class — that stratum between the 1 percent and the serfs — came into its own in the 19th century. That meant a lot of people had the resources to own and take care of animals that weren’t, strictly speaking, useful.

And with the middle class came the idea of pets: Animals with names and individual personalities. Animals we care about for other than utilitarian reasons.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is honoring local entrepreneur Wendy Strgar with a “Compassionate Business” award for her company Good Clean Love, which makes organic personal lubricant and other intimacy products.

On a stifling summer day in Oregon’s high desert, I drive past several ranches with cattle, horses, goats and a few llamas or alpacas. I arrive at a large gate, where I’m buzzed in, and park at the end of a long rocky driveway.

Massive fences and hot wires mark the boundaries of this animal sanctuary. They tower dozens of feet above me as I walk to meet Marla O’Donnell, the executive director. As we begin our tour, we walk by the window of an indoor habitat and are interrupted by a sudden but distinct raspberry sound. 

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s Pet Photo Contest. Submissions were judged by our staff, with winners selected for the categories of Cutest Pet, Most Intelligent (Looking) Pet and Best Action Shot. Watch for next year’s contest, and be sure to enter your pet-. They just might find themselves in print! Categories may change from year to year.

When you’re looking to adopt a dog, you’re probably thinking of a sweet, quiet dog that comes right up to the cage and gives you those big puppy eyes that plead “take me home!”

But the shelter environment isn’t necessarily conducive to that, says Sasha Elliott, Greenhill Humane Society’s communication and events manager. She says Greenhill’s design, built in the ’50s, is outdated, meaning the kennels are “all facing each other, which can be extremely stressful for dogs that don’t know each other.”

Humans, if we’re very lucky, get to retire in some comfort. Horses — some of humankind’s closest companions for thousands of years — have to be extremely fortunate to be cared for past their productive years.

On 70 rolling acres a little west of Eugene, a former Eugene city councilor and his wife have spent the past five years, with the help of a small army of paid staffers, volunteers and donors, providing what amounts to a retirement home for dozens of lucky horses who might otherwise have been put down.

In a small café just off I-5 that proprietors hope to convert into a weed dispensary, a marijuana company’s leaders met with a few citizens of Creswell last week in an attempt to change hearts and minds — and a city ordinance — about the pot industry.

At a recent Eugene Husky/Malamute Meet-Up at Amazon dog park, 50 or more huskies and malamutes play like there’s no tomorrow — running in giant circles, climbing on tables, splashing in the kiddie pool and pausing for plenty of pats from the charmed crowd.  

The meet-up does more than hold regular gatherings. “Our group promotes and facilitates adoptions,” co-founder Helen Lindell says. “We scour Craigslist and pet pages for fuzzies needing new homes.”  

• Weyerhaeuser, 541-746-2511, plans to aerially and ground spray 2944.5 acres north of the McKenzie River and Vida with glyphosate, imazapyr, sulfometuron methyl, metsulfuron methyl, aminopyralid and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2017-771-08893, call Brian Dally at 541-726-3588 with questions.

• Sen. John McCain voted in favor of beginning the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McCain returned to the Senate floor with stitches above his eye and visible bruising to his face after undergoing a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor last week. Would his constituents in Arizona who are uninsured be able to afford the same surgery? If the ACA is repealed without a plan to replace it, will cancer go back to being a pre-existing condition?