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Before holding his 54th town hall meeting of the year, Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden sat down with Eugene Weekly to answer questions about single-payer health care, the status of the Russia investigation and the Trump administration. Last week, Wyden joined Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio in a rally outside the federal courthouse in Eugene to oppose the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the Senate version of TrumpCare.

Chance Dewitt is sowing grass seed on a farm outside his hometown of Lebanon, Oregon. But this isn’t where he makes a living. After a week at home, he’ll be flying back to Elko, Nevada, and working 12-hour shifts for two weeks straight mining gold amidst the arid sagebrush landscape there.

Val Hoyle, our popular Lane County Democrat who was majority leader of the Oregon House, told EW this week that she is going to run for Oregon Labor Commissioner in May 2018. Current Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told Hoyle he doesn’t plan on running again once this term ends. A non-partisan election, this one will be over if a candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote; if not, there’s a runoff. It’s good to have Val back in the arena, and labor commissioner is a fine fit for her. Next question: Who else will be running?


• Staff from the Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement, Eugene Police Department, elected officials and members of the groups including the NAACP, Trans*Ponder and Centro Latino Americano will release the 2016 Hate and Bias Report 10:30 am Thursday, July 13, at the Mims House, 330 High Street. The report documents hate and bias incidents — both criminal and non-criminal — that happened in Eugene in 2016.

As the Oregon Legislature wound down last week, I called a good friend of 20-plus years, Bob Livingston, a lobbyist and president of the Oregon State Firefighters Council. While we were often at odds during the PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) reform fight in 2003, we’ve maintained a strong trusting relationship over the years. 

Bay area songwriter and soul singer Quinn Deveaux has his own term to describe the music he plays: “blue beat dance music.”

Popular Eugene rock act Fortune’s Folly celebrates the release of its new EP, titled simply Red EP. And Fortune’s Folly vocalist Calysta Cheyenne tells EW the color red was used as inspiration for the music. “We chose songs that are powerful, fiery and energetic,” Cheyenne explains. 

If the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland, the dream of the ’80s lives happily in Canby — at least for two days in July during Harefest, a tribute-band music festival — and that’s partially thanks to Jason Fellman.

Some things just won’t wait. Only two days before he was scheduled to conduct the Oregon Bach Festival’s opening night concert, Matthew Halls received urgent good news: the birth of his and his wife Erin’s son, Henry. While Halls flew to Toronto to be with his family, the festival implemented its backup plan: turning over the reins to Scott Allen Jarrett, who runs Boston’s renowned Back Bay Chorale, choral programs at Boston University and the OBF’s Vocal Fellows program, and reportedly did a bang up job directing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion here. 

ORPHANED ANIMALS

Excuse me, but I was just wondering …

Would it be at all possible to some way check the empty University of Oregon student housing apartments, dwellings, etc., for any “pets” abandoned this graduation season?

Please let “us” not let it happen again.

S. Parnelle, Fall Creek

 

MERKLEY IN 2020

I’m a gay medical student with a medical fetish, and I can’t even open up to my therapist about this. I think the fetish started when I was young; I was once in the hospital and given a suppository for a fever. Then one time I was given a Fleet enema. I don’t think the “butt stuff” turned me gay, but my fetish may stem from the aspect of being controlled. I grew up in a very conservative religious household. I’ve never been in a relationship, and I don’t know that I could have one while hiding what turns me on.

“Vineyard owners sue over pot operation,” reads an April headline in The Register-Guard. Thus begins a story we might have foreseen like a blip on radar: Two enterprises, both vital not only to Oregon’s economy but to the state’s very identity, both, apparently, on a collision course.

It’s oddly easy to forget how important Spider-Man is to the current superhero movie bonanza. 2002’s Spider-Man was the first movie with a $100-million opening weekend — a green light for the continuing superhero invasion. There’s a reason Spider-Man is now in his third incarnation: People really like their friendly neighborhood superhero.

It’s that time of year again: the smell of fresh cut grass in the breeze, children flying kites and playing in the park for summer break, and thousands of hippies descending on a well-loved property near Veneta. It’s summer in Eugene, and that means the Oregon Country Fair is back. This year, we’re looking forward to ogling the usual fun array of circus acts, dancing to great music like Chris Robinson Brotherhood and High Step Society, and reflecting on how the Fair comes together each year, bringing the community together with it. OCF not your thing? We’ve got you covered there too. Regardless, it’s shaping up to be another beautiful summer weekend here in Oregon.

Everyone loves a circus. Acrobats, contortionists, clowns — the whole shebang. And now that the folks at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have taken their final bow, the demand for a clever circus act is on the rise. 

Fortunately, there is no better place to see Big Top-type acts than this year’s Oregon Country Fair, and unlike Ringling, the acts at the Fair don’t exploit animals.

Imagine a ghost town. The skeletons of buildings, stripped of their roofs and siding, are overgrown with trees and vines. Light shining through the rafters allows grass to grow and wildflowers to bloom in the shells of the structures.  

It seems as if a hurricane passed through, if only hurricanes neatly stacked the boards of the buildings they tore apart.

I’m going to take a sec and highjack this piece on 2017’s OCF music lineup to complain that Lane County — and Eugene specifically — needs, nay deserves, a true music festival: a Pickathon, a Bumbershoot, a Treefort or, at the very least, a resurrected Eugene Celebration that settles its identity crisis, putting it at odds with itself as a community street fair versus an event focused on music worthy of drawing an audience. 

Crowds, dust and scorching temperatures aren’t for everyone. So if you’re like me and want to avoid gaggles of people at the Oregon Country Fair, use the empty streets of Eugene as your catbird seat.

“This shouldn’t have taken so long because this is a pressing issue,” Phil Carrasco says. “People are feeling the fear and pressure right now, they’re missing appointments at Health and Human Services.”

For immigrant rights advocates like Carrasco, who has been one of the leaders in the campaign for sanctuary in Lane County, the expected July 11 vote by the Board of Commissioners on sanctuary measures has been a long time coming.

For the first time in several years our reservoirs are full. This is good news all around because it means that there has been a good rain year with higher than average snowpack in the mountains. Euphemistically called “lakes” by the Army Corps of Engineers, I always add “reservoir” to the names, as in “Dexter Lake Reservoir.”  Reservoirs are not the same water bodies as natural lakes and have distinctive ecological relationships worth remembering. Reservoirs built for flood control in the Willamette River watershed are subject to dramatic changes in water level every year.

Voters will see more precise and inclusive language in the initiative petition, Voters Pamphlet and ballot measure to create an Office of Independent City Auditor for Eugene, thanks to a July 3 court decision. 

The judge’s ruling followed court arguments June 29, which in turn were followed by multiple revisions by the opposing attorneys.

On June 26, the city of Eugene’s 2017-2018 proposed budget, presented by City Manager John Ruiz, was adopted by Eugene City Council. Before approving the budget, the City Council amended the budget to include $1 million to fund a homeless shelter from a settlement the city received from Comcast. 

Colton Evans of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) says it might be easier to define the organization by what it is against rather than what it’s for. “We’re anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist — and anti-capitalist, of course,” he says over drinks on Friday, June 30 at The Paddock.