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September 22, 2017 10:12 AM

 

Thomas W. Morris, artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival in California, has urged Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis to help the beleaguered Oregon Bach Festival secede from the University of Oregon and become an independent non-profit organization.

In a letter emailed today (Sept. 22), Morris wrote that the sudden and unexplained firing of OBF artistic director Matthew Halls on Aug. 24 harms not only the Oregon Bach Festival but hurts the image of Eugene itself.

"What we now have is a venerable and beloved institution the object of ridicule and derision in the national and international press, a situation that reflects badly not only on the Festival but on the city of Eugene," he wrote.

Morris suggested that OBF may not survive the scandal in the music world here and abroad. "This has been an extremely important international music festival that is clearly in danger for its very existence due entirely to self-inflicted wounds," he said.

He called on Mayor Vinis to "convene a group of community leaders to assess the situation and form a plan to save the Oregon Bach Festival."

Morris became involved in the situation when, shortly after Eugene Weekly broke the story of Halls' firing, the UO put out a release suggesting that OBF and Halls were "parting ways" as part of a strategic move toward a  festival model that uses no permanent artistic director. The UO announcement said that the 70-year-old Ojai festival operated that way.

Not so, says Morris, who has been artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival since 2004. The Ojai fest does hire different music directors each year, but has a single artistic director to give it a coherent vision.

We've asked Mayor Vinis and the UO for comment.

The complete text of the letter follows:

 

Dear Mayor Vinis:

This is an open letter to you from a music lover and long-time arts administrator (running the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra for seventeen years each and as artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival for fifteen years) who is deeply concerned about the recent meltdown of the venerable Oregon Bach Festival.  I am sure you and Eugene music lovers must be upset as well. This has been an extremely important international music festival that is clearly in danger for its very existence due entirely to self-inflicted wounds.

The challenge of any founder-led organization trying to get beyond its founder is daunting under the best of circumstances. Recent events complicate this task:

·      Confidence of its supporters and artists is deteriorating;

·      Confidence in the University of Oregon’s stewardship of the Festival is compromised;

·      Understanding of and support for the Festival’s future is clouded by obfuscation, lack of transparency and inane pronouncements; and

·      The abrupt firing of artistic director Matthew Halls, while uncertain as to its rationale, has been appallingly handled publicly.

What we now have is a venerable and beloved institution the object of ridicule and derision in the national and international press, a situation that reflects badly not only on the Festival but on the city of Eugene.

At the root cause of the situation is the simple fact that no one owns this institution: there is no “Oregon Bach Festival, Inc.” with full fiduciary responsibility for the organization. As it exists, the Festival is a presentation by the huge University of Oregon that also employees festival personnel. Recent events demonstrate clearly this is not the best fiduciary structure for the future of the Festival.

What is to be done? I can imagine a very exciting and energizing scenario in which:

·      You, the Mayor, convene a group of community leaders to assess the situation and form a plan to save the Oregon Bach Festival, demonstrating this venerable institution is indeed essential to the community;

·      A group of community leaders and supporters of the Oregon Bach Festival make plans to form a new 501c(3) organization to take over the Festival, pledging to join its new board;

·      All the current players and parties acknowledge publicly that the current situation and how it happened are untenable, committing to putting the past behind and facing the future in a fresh start;

·      The University of Oregon commits in words and deeds to facilitate this metamorphosis to this new organization by pledging bridge support over a reasonable transition period, providing future venues, and providing for the orderly transfer of any Festival assets to the new entity;

·      The new organization hires both artistic and executive and directors who will galvanize support and confidence of the community;

·      The Festival family of artists rallies around the new organization to assist in this essential transition; and

·      All of the above is done with energy, efficiency, and urgency, creating a new public narrative of positive energy, positive action, and positive results.

Artistic organizations succeed if, in addition to possessing a compelling vision and strong effective leaders, they have a strong and effective fiduciary board that feels deep commitment to the institution’s mission and responsible for its future on behalf of the community that in essence owns it. The Oregon Bach Festival deserves no less, but without a new approach, I fear for its future. What it now needs is someone to lead the charge – urgently!

Yours sincerely,

Thomas W. Morris  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 19, 2017 01:59 PM

Former Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy announced in a press release today that he has settled two lawsuits against Lane County. Attorney Marianne Dugan says the settlement was for $89,000.

The lawsuits, in state and federal courts, addressed an emergency meeting of the Lane County Commission and a decision that was made to "lock Mr. Handy out of his office, email system, and other county systems during his last year in office."

The full press release is below, folowed by comment from the county.

On Monday, September 18th, former Commissioner Rob Handy and his constituent Brian McCall settled all lawsuits pending against Lane County, former County Administrator Liane Richardson and Commissioners Faye Stewart, Sid Leiken, and Jay Bozievich. The parties agreed to a global settlement of both federal and state lawsuits that were pending.

Mr. Handy’s and Mr. McCall’s federal civil rights case challenged the decision to lock Mr. Handy out of his office, email system, and other county systems during his last year in office. The state case challenged the county’s misuse of the Board of Commissioners’ “emergency meeting” provisions.

According to Rob Handy, “We originally filed these suits to bring attention to the politicization of the offices of the Lane County Commissioners and how those in power misused that power to further a political agenda. The three commissioners named in the lawsuit, while not all still in office, set a precedent of abusing their power and the concerns will always remain valid. We have been seeking access to justice and have now settled the cases because we believe we received the measure of justice that is possible through this process.”

Former Commissioner Rob Handy settled the lawsuits (which were filed against Lane County about five years ago) “Because I feel I met the goals I had for filing these suits and because Lane County is now under some different leadership that, with the changes in policies that they have made, seem to have learned from their mistakes and bad decisions of that time.

“When an elected Board of Commissioners turns into a political body where the majority acts with impunity and from a political agenda, it can leave no recourse to those who don’t have the votes to have a say or even the ability to place an item on an agenda or to speak out when not included in the work that the Commissioner was elected to do.

“In my last 18-months or so as an elected Lane County Commissioner, I was locked out of my office, locked out of the building, had my email removed as well as all my work product denied to me because a solid bloc of conservative commissioners saw that it moved their agenda forward.

“I worked within channels within Lane County government to redress these actions and got nowhere. This is why the courts exist – as a place of recourse when all other recourse is denied.

“I filed a state lawsuit to object to emergency meetings held where the conservative then- commissioners Stewart, Bozoveich, and Leiken, in collusion with then-County Administrator Liane Richardson held an emergency meeting where myself and Commissioner Sorenson received notice too late to attend and where there was actually no emergency at hand.

“I objected then and now to Lane County cherry-picking Commissioners for an emergency meeting in order to act quietly and with no scrutiny. Since I filed this lawsuit, Lane County has passed a new policy that requires all commissioners to receive all notices, equally and in a timely manner, using any and all means available to the County to contact and locate them before such a meeting convenes. I believe this policy regarding emergency meetings will ensure a similar inequitable treatment of commissioners won't occur in the future.

“Secondly, I filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, now also settled, to shine a light on politically-motivated behavior of the board majority, in collusion with the County Administrator at that time, and other staff. Again, there was no recourse to address these issues within the County. As a sitting commissioner, I was unable to place an item on a Board agenda, and each action was blocked by the majority. Even my good fiscal ideas, policy ideas, any ideas were summarily denied the light of day.”

Handy states, “The federal lawsuit was filed because I wanted to make sure that the County and its Commissioners knew that if those in a majority took action to interfere with a Commissioner’s ability to do his or her job, there would be consequences. This was vital to stand up for the commissioners to come who might also find themselves on the wrong side of a majority in this ‘bipartisan’ Board of Commissioners. I wanted to show that there is no impunity, there is no immunity – the County is not a kingdom where might makes right. We have the courts to help address abuse of power and assist in righting those wrongs. I am pleased to have finally resolved these two legal matters. We felt confident we would prevail in the end, but in the interest of moving forward after more than five years of waiting, we felt a settlement of these claims was the proper way to resolve them.

“We believe that by filing and resolving these lawsuits, no commissioner will again be locked out of an office and deprived of email and other connections to constituents. Elected officials must be able to carry out their work in an environment that is fair and includes due process and where decisions are transparent.” Handy states, “I believe my lawsuits met the goals I set out to achieve and that because of the light shed on these issues Lane County has already made some key policy changes and will not be discriminating against commissioners of the future simply because a transient board majority can. I am pleased with the results and also happy to be moving on.”

Constituent Brian McCall adds his comment: "This whole sorry incident of interfering with my commissioner’s ability to do his job by locking him out of his office and denying him access to his own work diminished what trust I once had in our county government and has exposed the partisan leanings of our supposedly unbiased local news media. I sincerely hope that the settlement of this conflict finally leads to healing, and to a restoration of at least some of that trust."

Local attorney Marianne Dugan represented former commissioner Handy in both the state and federal cases (and Mr. McCall in the federal case), and in the appeals to higher courts which reversed dismissals and required that these cases be heard and proceed to trial.

Lane County's response (bold in the orginal).

Mr. Handy brought a number of lawsuits dating back to 2012. The first was a public records lawsuit which the County won at trial. Mr. Handy brought a second lawsuit alleging a violation of public meetings law in State court. The County prevailed at the trial court level. Mr. Handy appealed and the case went before the Oregon State Court of Appeals and again Lane County prevailed.

Finally, Mr. Handy filed a third lawsuit in federal court. The case was initially dismissed. The case then moved between the Court of Appeals and the District Court. The County chose to settle this final lawsuit in order to save future litigation costs. The settlement agreement does not admit liability.

September 14, 2017 02:25 PM

“Meet me at Kesey Square.”

Say that to most Eugeneans, and they will know to find you at that little open space at the corner of Broadway and Willamette where local artist Pete Helzer’s statue of famed author Ken Kesey sits reading to his grandchildren.

Google “Kesey Square” and the first hit you get is Eugene’s own Kesey Square via the city of Eugene’s website, which lets you know it’s also called Broadway Plaza.

Google “Broadway Plaza” and the first hit you get is a hotel in New York City. You will get hits for Broadway Plaza (Kesey Square) in Eugene, but you will also get hits for Broadway Plazas in Tucson, Minnesota, Denver and more.

Kesey Square is the unofficial name, according to the city, for the open space downtown. But it’s the name most people in the area call it. The Eugene City Council will be discussing Sept. 20 whether or not to change the name officially from Broadway Plaza to Kesey Square and the public comment period on the proposal ends Sept. 15.

In its press release the city awkwardly says that the reason for the comment period is “to ensure that the proposed name is acceptable to the community,” apparently not noting that this is the name the community actually uses.

Jerry Diethelm, a University of Oregon professor emeritus of Landscape Architecture and Community Service and a member of Friends of Kesey Square, recently sent a comment on the Kesey Square issue to the mayor, City Council and city manager outlining both why the name should be changed and why some might oppose the change.

Diethelm writes, “It’s become common knowledge that you are now being asked once again to delay your decision to rename Broadway Plaza, Kesey Square.”

Diethlem points to objections that the city may want to use the name Kesey elsewhere, like at the Park Blocks and says, “Not very likely. That’s Skinner and Mulligan land. The proposed square there is far more appropriately, and in keeping with the donor’s wishes, a Skinner Market Square, or something of the sort.”

He also reminds the politicians that the very consultants the city hired to tell them what do about downtown recommended “identifying it as the heart of downtown’s commercial and entertainment district and installing a cafe and beer garden concept that wraps around the tall walls that border the plaza to the east and south.”

Why, then, might anyone object to the idea of renaming Kesey Square? The original debate was not over whether to rename the square but actually arose over an attempt by developers to take over that open space and turn it into a building.

“Changing the name doesn’t really interfere with any plans or planning,” he writes. “Those urging delay are mainly worried about losing the opportunity to build there.”

That then is the crux of the renaming debate. It’s not about what to call Kesey Square but what it is — public, open space — and what it should remain.

The public has through Sept. 15 to submit comments in writing about whether to rename Kesey Square.

Comments may be submitted in writing to:
Mayor Vinis and City Council
125 East 8th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Eugene, Oregon  97401
mayorcouncilandcitymanager@ci.eugene.or.us

To read Diethelm’s full comments go to his Facebook post here.

September 12, 2017 11:55 AM

Three olive ridley turtles rescued from the Oregon Coast have been released back to the Pacific Ocean after being rehabilitated by animal caretakers at SeaWorld San Diego, according to a press release from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Solstice, a female olive ridley turtle was rescued and taken to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in December 2014. The Coast Guard later transported her to SeaWorld in February 2015.

Solstice’s caretakers estimated that she would be released by the end of the summer in 2015, but the turtle battled with buoyancy problems — which prevented her from diving down to hunt for food.

Two other olive ridley turtles, a male and female, were rescued in December of 2015. Strong El Niño storms and a warm water current scientists refer to as “the blob” can confuse turtles causing them to follow currents into water that is normally cold, according to the Oregon Coast Aquarium press release.

The turtles were returned to the ocean 15 miles from San Diego with satellite transmitters. See Eugene Weekly's previous reporting on Solstice and “the blob.”

September 6, 2017 05:42 PM

As Eugene’s skies have been smoky and the air hazardous to breathe over the last two days, one thing that hasn’t changed is the amount of industrial pollution, air traffic and car traffic entering the air.

Lane Regional Air Protection Agency Executive Director Merlyn Hough explains that as bad as the air has been, it didn’t reach the level that would require people to stop driving, planes to stop flying and industries to stop polluting.

Industries, airplanes and motor vehicles all pollute to some degree, however the amount of pollution they are allowed to release is regulated at the federal and other government levels.

Under Title 51 of LRAPA’s rules and regulations, it lays out exactly when a shut down would be triggered. This regional policy is governed by the federal Clean Air Act, Hough says, specifically, 40 CFR part 51 subpart H. CFR is Code of Federal Regulations. Coincidentally, both policies use the number 51 for their section names.

“The purpose of that program is to keep air pollution from approaching levels of significant harm,” he says. “But those are a very high threshold before affecting traffic, industry or airport operations.”

Industrial polluters, Hough says, are designed to operate in a “steady state.” This is different, he says from when in the winter people with wood burning stoves are told to stop burning due to adverse air quality, because winter wood stoves follow a cycle of starting up and shutting down. He says that asking industry to start up and shut down can actually exacerbate the pollution versus an ideal of steady state emissions in a well-controlled facility.

According to Hough, industrial emissions were more of a factor during the “normal delightful” air quality of 22 that we had on Aug. 30, than the Sept. 5 air quality of 250, which was caused by wildfire smoke. For example, an emergency plan triggered on the day the area had an air quality rating of 22 would have had more affect on the air than triggering it on the day it reached 250 (very unhealthy). 

To monitor the air quality in Eugene/Springfield, Cottage Grove and Oakridge, go to LRAPA's webpage. The agency has been updating residents on the air quality situation regularly on social media and you can find the Facebook page here.  LRAPA has an opening on its board of directors, for more info go here

September 5, 2017 12:02 PM

Following the Trump administartion's announcement this morning that it will end "DACA -- a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation," Lane Community College President Margaret Hamilton sent a statement to LCC employess addressing the move on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, saying, "We must do everything we can to prevent harm to our students if this happens."

The full email is below.

It is with dismay and determination that I write to you regarding today’s news that the White House plans to phase out the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We must do everything we can to prevent harm to our students if this happens.

As you no doubt know from your own experience, DACA is critically important to community college students throughout the United States, including at Lane. DACA affects more than 750,000 young people nationally and an estimated 21,000 in Oregon. We’re not sure exactly how many students are affected at Lane because at LCC, we do not record immigration status. We do know they are here and part of our Lane family.

Lane Community College is proud to be an open-access institution. Our mission is to serve and educate all members of our community. It is our commitment to inclusiveness that makes LCC a safe haven for all our students.

In June, the board adopted a policy, Protection of Immigrant Students, to clarify our intent to provide “access to higher education for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, gender or gender identity.” The college also issued a statement on August 31 reaffirming our position, as news began to emerge about the White House position. The statement is on our home page.

In anticipation of today’s DACA decision, I reached out to my executive team and others over the weekend to be clear that it is our priority to work with you to determine how changes to DACA will affect our students and what we need to do to support them. I also directed my staff to identify an office on campus to coordinate information and services for undocumented students and publish updated information to the college website.

The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing new applications for DACA as of today. It will continue to renew permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months—meaning Congress does have time to act before any currently protected individuals lose their ability to work, study and live without fear of deportation. Our leadership team will continue to call on Congress to act responsibly and humanely and protect students.

I have great faith in all of you. Though I haven’t been here long, I have found a dedication to students in each and every one of you whom I’ve met. That is so affirming!

Thank you for your partnership and rest assured that it is an additional priority for our leadership team to do whatever we can to help those impacted by today’s news.

August 31, 2017 01:04 PM

After Eugene Weekly broke the news Sunday (Aug. 27) that the Oregon Bach Festival had fired artistic director Matthew Halls, the festival sent out a press release calling his departure a strategic move toward implementing a trendy model being used by California’s venerable Ojai Music Festival.

Under that vision, OBF, the release says, would use “guest curators” brought in each year to select programming instead of having a single artistic director in charge.

“More and more organizations around the country, such as Ojai Music Festival, are using this model to expand the choices available to their audiences and participants,” OBF executive director Janelle McCoy says in the release. 

Not so fast on that, says Ojai Music Festival’s artistic director Thomas Morris.

In a letter emailed today (Aug. 31) to McCoy and copied to UO President Michael Schill, to OBF board chair Brad Stangeland and to EW, Morris says the Ojai festival uses guest curators, and always has — but only under the direction of an artistic director who gives the festival a coherent vision.

“This is not an ‘emerging trend’ at Ojai but one that was baked into the very founding culture of the organization 72 years ago,” Morris writes. “While I wish I could say the model is increasingly followed elsewhere, I find little evidence that this is so.”

The Ojai model requires a strong artistic director at the helm, Morris says.

“What concerns me greatly is your willingness to embrace the variability of annual curators without at the same time insisting on the need for strong, visionary and accountable artistic continuity at the same time,” he writes.

“How tragic if your distinguished festival morphed into a mere series of concerts without continuity, focus or profile.”

Here is the complete text of his letter:

Dear Ms. McCoy:

As the artistic director of the Ojai Music Festival for the past 14 years, I read of your recent decision to terminate your artistic director with an idea of engaging guest curators each year. I take the strongest issue with your comments about this structure as an “emerging trend” and your description of how the Ojai Music Festival is the model you want to emulate. Both comments are without any understanding of the facts or merit.

The Ojai Music Festival was established in 1946 and upon its founding, established what was a very unique structure. The board hired both an executive director and an artistic director, both of whom reported to the board, not unlike what has become standard in many orchestras between the executive director and the music director. What was really unique in Ojai was defining the artistic director as a non-performer. The artistic director’s sole jobs were to fashion a long-term artistic vision for the festival, to hire each year a different “music director” or chief curator for the annual festival, and to partner with the music director to create a festival. That structure has endured successfully for seventy-two years. I am honored to be only the fifth artistic director. Having a strong multi-year artistic director to hire the different music director each year assures variety, vitality, accountability and innovation in the context of continuity and consistency.

This is not an “emerging trend” at Ojai but one that was baked into the very founding culture of the organization seventy-two years ago. While I wish I could say the model is increasingly followed elsewhere, I find little evidence that this is so.

Most importantly, the key to this model is in fact having both changing curators each year AND a multi-year strong artistic director to choose those different curators each year, and then to work in partnership with them to fashion a festival that is both consistent with the artistic ideals and standards of the festival but also reflects the widely divergent artistic personalities of the different music directors. Your proposed model apparently does not anticipate having that central role so in no way are you following the Ojai model.

Our model has proven itself successful artistically and I would be delighted if the Oregon Bach Festival were interested in emulating it. However, if so, please understand how it works, how it doesn't, and how to make it successful. What concerns me greatly is your willingness to embrace the variability of annual curators without at the same time insisting on the need for strong, visionary and accountable artistic continuity at the same time. With all due respect, that is not something that can be provided by “administrative leadership or the University of Oregon”.  How tragic if your distinguished festival morphed into a mere series of concerts without continuity, focus or profile.

I am happy to enlighten you if you want. We know how this works.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas W. Morris

Artistic Director
Ojai Music Festival

August 27, 2017 10:46 AM

 

Matthew Halls, the popular artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival, has been unexpectedly fired from his job at OBF.

“I have been let go by the University of Oregon,” he told Eugene Weekly in a phone call Sunday (Aug. 27) morning from his home in Toronto. “And, as yet, I’m not sure why. It has not been revealed to me yet.”

Halls was mid way through an initial four-year contract as artistic director. He was hired to replace founding artistic director Helmuth Rilling, a German choral conductor known for a big, lush, Romantic approach to Bach’s music.

An Oxford-educated Brit, Halls took the festival in a new direction musically, with more of an emphasis on historically informed performance – that is, playing the music of Bach as scholars believe it was performed in Bach’s day, with smaller ensembles in smaller halls.

Partly as a result of Halls’ approach, and partly because of declining attendance and resulting budget challenges, much of this summer’s festival took place at the UO’s more-intimate Beall Concert Hall instead of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts downtown.

Halls said he learned of his termination Thursday afternoon in a phone call and subsequent written notification from a UO official whom he declined to identify. He was unclear what his next step would be. "We're still absorbing the news," he said. Halls said he was not well versed in the specifics of his contract, which was to have expired in 2020.

“I can’t begin to communicate the personal sadness I’m feeling,” he said.

UPDATE 4 p.m. Sunday 8/27: Bach Festival spokesman Josh Gren sent a statement Sunday afternoon that said OBF has decided to rely on "guest curators" to shape its musical programming beginning next year. "As part of the transition, OBF is parting ways with artistic director Matthew Halls," the statement said. "The transition is a strategic decision, made by OBF administrative leadership and the University of Oregon, and will keep the festival relevant in the ever-changing classical music industry."

The full text of the statement is copied below:

August 27, 2017 – [Eugene, OR] – Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) is moving forward in an exciting direction that will bring new voices, points of views and artists with more diverse backgrounds to festival audiences. Starting in summer 2018, guest curators will work with OBF staff to build a season of dynamic and engaging musical selections led by world-renowned conductors. 
 
As part of the transition, OBF is parting ways with artistic director Matthew Halls. Halls leaves the Festival with a legacy that includes the establishment of the Organ Institute, the Vocal Fellows program, and the Berwick Academy for Historically Informed Performance. During his tenure, Halls conducted many of Bach’s masterworks, including his own reconstruction of the composer's lost St. Mark Passion, as well the world premiere of A European Requiem from Sir James MacMillan.
 
The transition is a strategic decision, made by OBF administrative leadership and the University of Oregon, and will keep the festival relevant in the ever-changing classical music industry.
 
“There’s an emerging trend,” explains OBF executive director Janelle McCoy, “to plan a season from the perspective of a guest curator from a different field or genre and then invite conductors to participate, rather than programming from a single artistic voice. More and more organizations around the country, such as Ojai Music Festival, are using this model to expand the choices available to their audiences and participants. These choices may include disparate visions from a choreographer, stage director, or jazz musician, for example. We are eager to bring this approach to university students and faculty, as well as our patrons, musicians, and education program participants.” 
 
The change also comes as part of the ongoing process to integrate OBF more deeply into the UO community and align itself more strategically with the university's goals. “We look forward to a wider range of programmatic choices, community events, and cross-departmental relationships with UO faculty, staff, and students – from the UNESCO Crossings Institute, the Department of Equity and Inclusion, and the UO museums, to traditional academic units such as the School of Music and Dance, food studies, classics, humanities, history, and planning, public policy and management. These partnerships,” says McCoy, “might include lectures, public seminars, classes, publications, interactive programming, and so on.” This is especially relevant as OBF will spend October celebrating the opening of its first permanent home on the UO campus – the new Berwick Hall - built immediately adjacent to the School of Music and Dance.
 
OBF has already publicized plans to include the world premiere of The Passion of Yeshua by Richard Danielpour and Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring Simone Dinnerstein in their 2018 Season. The full schedule of events and artists will be announced in January.

 

 

 

 

 

August 22, 2017 03:27 PM

The Oregon Republican Party issued a statement that has echoes of President Donald Trump's remarks on Charlottesville today.

In a postscript to the full statement, the ORP notes that Oregon Dems had reached out in an effort to craft a joint statement but "were ultimately unable to craft a mutually acceptable statement."

The ORP indicated its changes to the Democractic draft with underlining. And in a move reflecting Trump's controversial remarks on Charlottesville in which he cast blame on "both sides" for the violence that killed anti-racist protester Heather Heyer, the ORP writes: 

It is imperative that we all stand together in unison against the hate-filled agenda of white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis, and other groups that perpetuate violence instead of meaningful dialogue, and who seek to divide our nation.

The whole statement is below. And available online here.

Dear Oregonians,

The actions of white nationalists in Charlottesville demand the strongest forms of condemnation. We will not stand for displays of hate, racism, bigotry or violence in our country, and especially at home here in Oregon.

It is imperative that we all stand together in unison against the hate-filled agenda of white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis, and other groups that perpetuate violence instead of meaningful dialogue, and who seek to divide our nation. We cannot allow these organizations to feel enabled by the silence or passiveness of public leadership.

Our nation is stronger when we all come together to defend our values of equality, free speech and peaceful assembly. As such, we, fully disavow the hate, racism, bigotry and violence of all supremacist movements and call upon our state and national leadership to do the same.

Sincerely,

Chairman Bill Currier

Oregon Republican Party

P.S. - We want to extend our appreciation to the Democratic Party of Oregon and DPO Chair Jeanne Atkins for their suggestion of a joint statement and the initial draft they provided for consideration. While we were ultimately unable to craft a mutually acceptable statement, the process was a welcome opportunity to explore possible areas of common ground. The underlining in the statement above indicates language added by the ORP to the original statement proposed by the DPO.

August 22, 2017 12:07 PM



More than 600 fire fighters are stationed in Lowell, Oregon to fight the Jones wildfire, which has burned more than 5,400  acres in the Willamette National Forest near Fall Creek since Aug. 13. On Aug. 20, mountain winds blew the fire over Forest Service Road 18, in the direction of the Fall Creek Reservoir.

Lundy Elementary School in Lowell and the Dexter Park marina are hosting hundreds of firefighter tents for the duration of this wildfire.

Multiple campgrounds and roads throughout the Willamette National Forest are closed because of the Jones Fire, the Whitewater Fire (8,400 acres) and the Rebel Fire (2,600 acres).

The fire is 9 miles east of Fall Creek Reservoir, which is about a 4o minute drive from Eugene. See our story in an upcoming print issue and get more info here. 

August 18, 2017 01:50 PM

While backpacking around Europe before college, my friend 18-year-old Laphoenix Warner-McDonald and I found ourselves experiencing the effects of a terror attack in Barcelona, Spain. Being far away from home while this is happening is intense. My first thought was “How quickly can I get home?”

Stuck in hostel on a blocked-off road in Barcelona, Laphoenix and I are trying to make the best of our situation. The hostel is crawling with people. We all play board games — chess and Clue — and offer each other chips from the singular vending machine.

It’s 1:30 in the morning as I write this. People are exhausted from mental and physical trauma, yet few are asleep. The hostel employees are visibly distressed. They snap at each other in English and Spanish.

We look out the window and see the hundreds of people barricaded from where they need to be. The police tape is stretched and pulled by anxious adults, and parents sit under it with children stretched on their laps.

The police allow five or 10 people to leak out of the barricade every few minutes. They rush down the empty street towards their accommodations.

I was asleep when the attack happened. A van, two streets over from the hostel, drove intentionally through a huge crowd of tourists. When the van hit a newspaper kiosk, the unidentified driver escaped on foot. Police were quick to barricade the area. I woke to sirens and disorientedly reassured my worried loved ones from Eugene that Laphoenix and I were safe.

Laphoenix was also napping until moments after the attack.

“When I woke up, I read a message from someone I met yesterday,” Laphoenix explained. “She asked if I was alright, and told me that there was a bus accident. She said something about it being an attack. I looked outside — went outside actually, and saw all the police. There was tape blocking our hostel off from the street. Every 30 seconds, an ambulance would go shooting down the road.”

The scene outside the window

A few individuals ended up at our hostel unexpectedly. James Allman, 15, of England, was rushed into the hostel during the chaos after the attack.

 “I saw everyone running towards the barricades,” he says, “back towards where it happened. I just went with them, and ended up here.”

James talks of his uncle, who is stuck at a hotel a few blocks away. “I think he saw it, or heard the gunshots. He was on the roof of the hotel. He saw, I think, dead bodies on the ground.”

James Allman waits at the hostel in Barcelona

With 13 people confirmed as dead, and about 100 more injured, Barcelona is aching. An American man, Jared Tucker, 43, from California, is among those injured. As I write this, the man who hit the victims has yet to be found, but police are continuing to search relentlessly. Countries all around the world are responding to this tragedy with love and expressing their support.

And now, rather than thinking about how soon I can go home, today my mind has been altered by the time I've spent caged up with these traumatized people. They refuse to collapse in fear. Instead, they are attentive, they are endlessly supportive, and they do as much as they can to positively impact the situation. Because of them, I don't want to run home anymore. I won't hide from uncontrollable situations. They happen, and all I can do is decide how to react, whether that be with fear or with grit, grace and strength.

Eugene resident Fiona Corrigan is backpacking through Europe before starting college in the fall. 

August 16, 2017 06:17 PM

Dino Costa, the sports shock jock who earlier this summer called for Black Lives Matter protesters to be run over is no longer with Alpha Media and its Portland station 750/102.9 The Game.

Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, has issued a statement saying:

After further review, Alpha Media has decided to cut ties with Dino Costa. Additional information is not available at this time.

EW reported on Costa's June 7 remarks in light of the recent death of a Heather Heyer, a counterprotester in Charlottesville, Virginia, who was run over and killed by a car that ran into the crowd as police dispersed the crowds at the site of a planned “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists. In addition to Heyer’s death, 19 other people were injured.

Costa said, in reference to an incident in Minnesota where protesters shut down a highway: “You know these protests where they shut down the road, they lie in the road? If I’m the cops, I wave the traffic on." He clarified during his diatribe that his remarks pertained to Portland as well.

Costa continued, "Listen, as soon as one or two of these sumbitches are run over you’ll see the entire, in unison, everybody be up off the street. When people are being killed by 18-wheel trucks coming by, pickups, cars. Run ’em over!”

EW asked the University of Oregon Duck athletics for comment on the remarks, in light of Charlottesville. Costa's now-fomer station KXTG (750/102.9 The Game) is listed as a "flagship" station broadcasting Ducks games and says on its website that is "Your 2017 Home Of Ducks Football." The UO  has a multi-media license agreement with IMG Media, which then gives radio stations like KXTG multi-media and sponsorship rights. 

Jimmy Stanton, UO's senior associate athletics director, responded: "We were just made aware of these comments. We certainly don’t condone them, and we find them disgusting and reprehensible. We are raising our concerns with IMG and the station."

IMG's contract with the UO has a morals clause that says:

IMG represents, warrants and covenants that it will not, and will not permit IMG's employees or subcontractors or anyone else to, (i) use the Licensed Marks or other licensed property in a manner that harms University's reputation or (ii) violate laws or engage in conduct involving moral turpitude that negatively impacts the value of this Agreement. In the event of any violation of this Section 6.03, in addition to IMG's attempts to cure in accordance with Section 3.05, IMG agrees to use best efforts to immediately cease any such violation, including without limitation, if requested by University, terminating such third party's rights to use University's marks or other licensed property or any other rights to sponsor or otherwise associate with University.

Willamette Week picked up the story and the Portland Timbers soccer team also issued a statement saying it would review its contract with Alpha Media at the end of the 2018 MLS season.

On his Aug. 14 show, after  Heyer's death, Costa discussed the Charlottesville rally and death, saying he didn't want any rallies or protests to culminate in people getting hurt, people getting maimed or losing their life as a result. He did not refer directly to or apologize for his previous remarks in the broadcast.

August 14, 2017 06:11 PM

Update: EW received this statement from Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, which employed Dino Costa: 

After further review, Alpha Media has decided to cut ties with Dino Costa. Additional information is not available at this time.

•••

A Portland area shock jock, whose radio station calls itself “Your 2017 Home Of Ducks Football,” called for protesters to be run over on his sports radio show in June. The University of Oregon calls the comments "disgusting and reprehensible."

On radio KXTG (102.9 The Game) Dino Costa was discussing Black Lives Matter on his June 7 show when he called Black Lives Matter the “latest and most dangerous face of well-funded socialist communist organizations that have been agitating Americans for decades."

Referencing an incident in Minnesota where protesters shut down a highway, he said, “You know these protests where they shut down the road, they lie in the road? If I’m the cops, I wave the traffic on. Listen, as soon as one or two of these sumbitches are run over you’ll see the entire, in unison, everybody be up off the street. When people are being killed by 18-wheel trucks coming by, pickups, cars. Run ’em over!”

He clarifies before the comments that his remarks pertain to Portland as well.

Heather Heyer, a counterprotester in Charlottesville, Virginia, was run over and killed by a car that ran into the crowd as police dispersed the crowds at the site of a planned “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists, according to media reports. In addition to Heyer’s death, 19 other people were injured. The incident has reverberated across the country, at a time where the election of Donald Trump has been seen as an endorsement of the so-called "alt-right" and "white nationalist" movement and heightening racial tensions.

A rally, "Hate Is Not Welcome in Lane County #SolidarityWithCharlottesville," is taking place Aug. 14 in Eugene.

Men’s Journal called Costa “the angriest man on the airwaves” in a 2012 article. In 2015 he told the far-right Breitbart Sports that “my show is where political correctness goes to die.”

According to a UO website, KXTG — 750 AM/102.9 FM — is a “flagship” station for the UO Ducks, and on its site, 102.9 says it is a "broadcast partner" of Oregon IMG Sports Marketing, which “provides sponsorship opportunities with Oregon Athletics.”

The diatribe can be heard here, at about 1 hour and 15 minutes into the program.

Jimmy Stanton, UO's senior associate athletics director, tells EW, "We were just made aware of these comments. We certainly don’t condone them, and we find them disgusting and reprehensible. We are raising our concerns with IMG and the station."

EW also reached out to KXTG and is still awaiting comment.

•••

Update: The Portland Timbers soccer team, whose games are aired by 102.9, which also hosts a Timbers talk show, has issued a statement on Dino Costa's remarks.

TIMBERS STATEMENT ON ALPHA BROADCASTING CARRIAGE DEAL

Alpha Media and its station 750/102.9 The Game have been partners of the Timbers since our start in Major League Soccer in 2011.

The Game airs our live matches and our weekly Talk Timbers show. None of the opinions expressed on their other shows or other Alpha Media radio stations, specifically The Dino Costa Show, are those of the Portland Timbers. Nor do the Timbers have any say or input on the hires The Game chooses to make for its non-Timbers-specific live game programming.

The Timbers have and will always stand for tolerance, acceptance and diversity, and we understand the reaction that many of our fans have had to some of the offensive and insensitive views and opinions expressed on The Dino Costa Show. In no way do we condone those views, as they go against our fundamental values and beliefs as a club.

We are under contract with Alpha Media through the end of the 2018 MLS season. We will carefully evaluate our radio home at that time.

Meanwhile, Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, issued this statement:

Alpha Media holds the relationships with the Portland Timbers and the University of Oregon in high regard. 750/102.9 The Game management team took immediate and aggressive action with Dino Costa regarding the comment made during his June 7th broadcast.

In his Aug. 14 broadcast, Costa discussed the Charlottesville rally and death, saying he didn't want any rallies or protests to culminate in people getting hurt, people getting maimed or losing their life as a result. He did not refer directly to or apologize for his previous remarks. 

August 11, 2017 12:51 PM

Armageddon The Total Solar Eclipse (or partial if you stay in the Eug) is Monday, Aug. 21, starting around 9:04 am. Oregon has mobilized the National Guard. The Red Cross suggests you camp out this weekend to prep for possible disasters like a 9.0 Cascadia earthquake … or the eclipse. 

In the spirit of possible disaster, what businesses plan to close down that day? EW is planning a half day to give employees a chance to watch the eclipse and not worry about traffic (don't worry, our reporters will be working and covering the phenomenom and any craziness that might happen). 

Does your workplace plan to close for the eclipse? Know any businesses that are holding "eclipse hours"? Drop us a note at Editor@eugeneweekly.com.