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May 12, 2014 04:31 PM

"I can't hear you over the weight of scientific consensus!"

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver rocks the climate change debate — or lack of it, as Oliver points out, it's really not a debate at all. He says polling people to see if they believe in climate change is kind of like asking "Do owls exist?" or "Are there hats?" 

May 12, 2014 01:49 PM

Those who endured the rain enjoyed the impressive spectacle of the Childish Gambino and Danny Brown show when the Deep Web Tour continued at the Cuthbert on Friday.

It seemed as if the concert bookers of Eugene had opened the floodgates for live music that catered to the college-aged masses last weekend. UO students and the Eugene community were able to see Medium Troy, RJD2 and Devin the Dude at the Bohemian Dub Ball at the Hult Center on Saturday. Others chose to attend Night Beats, Wampire and a DJ competition for the Willamette Valley Music Festival all through the night on campus as well.

But the highest-profile name to come through Eugene for the weekend (that is, if you weren’t seeing Steve Martin at the Hult) was rapper-comedian-actor Donald Glover’s, who performed as Childish Gambino at Cuthbert Friday night.

Many are quick to label Gambino as the “hip-hop alter ego” of the television and comedy star, and with good reason. Glover, of course, was a “world star before rap”—as he sings on “World Star” from 2013 release Because The Internet.

Glover may have first earned his fame from his work on television with starring in Community and writing for 30 Rock, or comedy with Derek Comedy and his standup on Comedy Central. But when he performed in front of a packed crowd in Eugene, the audience was able to enjoy the concert through the lens of his identity as a rapper. The crowd may have been aware of his previous accolades, but they were certainly at the Childish Gambino concert to see a hip-hop performance.

Danny Brown initially set the mood for a rap show at The Cuthbert early in the night, throwing down with the crowd to songs like “25 Bucks” (which uses a beat produced by indie-electro pop band Purity Ring) and a freestyle track that sampled a song from Watch The Throne by Kanye West and Jay-Z.

After Danny Brown finished his set and as the rain began to come down hard, live DJ Stefan Ponce helped keep the party going.

Right off the bat, he announced that it would “take more than rain” to stop Childish Gambino from performing tonight. Energy stayed high in the building, and the DJ played music by Drake, Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and even MIA, Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson.

When Ponce finished his set, the “digital experience” of Childish Gambino’s Deep Web Tour was set to begin. Most notably, fans were encouraged to download the Deep Web App, in which the crowd was able to draw messages that would appear on the stage screen. This feature was received much better than the dial tone that blared through the venue while fans waited for Gambino to take the stage.

When Gambino did begin his show, however, the energy was much higher than many would have expected considering that Community had been cancelled earlier that day, and that he was performing in a rainy college town. But while rocking a crewneck and white shorts in the rain, Gambino and his live band dished out a suitable mix of his more sentimental music to chase down the party-atmosphere bangers for the crowd.

The live 7-piece band was also a refreshing change of pace for a hip-hop show in 2014, and fans seemed to appreciate the sincerity that came with the real-life instrumentation.

Another interesting feature of the gig was an additional scrim and chandelier that were lowered during the show. Recalling the interactivity of the set, the audience was also able to participate in a mid-concert poll in which they indicated that they were feeling “some type of way” — like the song by Rich Homie Quan.

Gambino concluded his set with a good blend of new music from Because The Internet, old music from Camp and earlier mixtapes and music that no one had heard before.

Between each chant of “World Star!” that emerged from the crowd during the show, Gambino’s energy gave everyone in attendance a constant reminder as to why Donald Glover has remained the Internet star that we know and love. — Bryan Kalbrosky

May 12, 2014 03:35 PM

After years of fruitless searching in southern Oregon and northern California, the wolf known as Journey or OR-7 has partnered up. It's not a sure thing, but according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, remote cameras in the Cascade Mountains of southwest Oregon captured what appears to be a female wolf, roaming close to Journey's current location. The same cameras recently snapped pictures of Journey himself. 

According to the press release:

"This information is not definitive, but it is likely that this new wolf and OR7 have paired up. More localized GPS collar data from OR7 is an indicator that they may have denned," said John Stephenson, Service wolf biologist. "If that is correct, they would be rearing pus at this time of year."

The Service and ODFW probably won't be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later, the earliest pup surveys are conducted, so as not to disturb them at such a young age. Wolf pups are generally born in mid-April, so any pups would be less than a month old at this time.

 

It's a big step for a wolf who traveled over 1,000 miles to look for a mate in an area where wolves were systematically slaughtered and eradicated in the 20th century. Here's to hoping that the remote camera catches some images of Journey's wolf pups soon!

May 9, 2014 01:52 PM

The Ashland City Council voted this week in favor of a ban on plastic bags. Plastic bag bans have seen growing public support in Oregon, with the cities of Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene adopting similar bag bans since 2011.

Here's a press release from Environment Oregon:

Last night, Ashland took a big step by joining the growing list of plastic bag-free cities by passing the ordinance with a vote. The approved ordinance bans the use of single use plastic bag and assesses a 10-cent fee for paper bags.

 

Ashland has become the first city in Southern Oregon to ban plastic bags and is setting an example of sustainable leadership for the city of 20,000 people.  


Last year, the Ashland Conservation Commission took up the issue, encouraging the City Council to pursue a ban on plastic bags. In November, when the full City Council first discussed a potential citywide ban on plastic bags, Ashland citizens and local businesses turned out in droves to demonstrate their support. And just last month, at the first reading of the ordinance, the council chambers were filled to capacity with supportive Ashland residents.

 

Over the last year, Environment Oregon collected more than 500 signatures from citizens in support of a plastic bag ban, as well as endorsements from nearly 100 local businesses. This support laid the groundwork for Tuesday’s vote and exemplifies the community support for environmental leadership in Oregon.

 

“The growing support for plastic bag bans is evident, with cities from Portland to Ashland passing local bans on plastic bags,” said Rikki Seguin, conservation advocate with Environment Oregon. “We look forward to working with additional cities that wish to stand up for the health of our waterways by banning plastic bags.”

 

Plastic pollution is a huge environmental concern; Oregonians are estimated to use more than 1.7 billion bags a year, too many of which end up as pollution in Oregon’s waterways, like the Rogue River, and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. Plastic pollution is especially harmful to wildlife, killing thousands of birds and marine animals every year. Local plastic bag bans keep more disposable plastic bags out of our waste stream and away from our waterways, thereby decreasing the threat posed to wildlife.

May 9, 2014 03:53 PM

The documentary DamNation is now showing in Portland and we hope it makes it to Eugene soon. The film looks at dams and their impact on not only fish runs but entire ecosystems and cultures in America. Rogue River dams are featured. High production values in this film by Patagonia.

May 9, 2014 05:14 PM

What can I say about the fashion scene in Eugene? It's slowly but surely growing up. Last Sunday night, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art hosted St. Vinnie's Metamorphose Upcycling Design challenge: 10 local designers on a $40 material budget to be spent at St Vincent de Paul were tasked to create three runway-ready looks in the categories of Ready-to-Wear, Evening Wear and Designer’s Choice. You can see the winners from this week’s EW “Project Runway” photo spread here.

All the designers get kudos for creating anything that wasn't just a bunch of sock puppets on that tight of a budget with unconventional material options. The levels of execution of the 30 looks ranged from student work to professional and ready to hit the stores — at least from my vantage point — but all the designs had a wonderful sense of whimsy and spontaneity. I sat next to Portland Fashion Week ambassador Ryan May, who had high marks for Vanessa Froehling (Stiches by V); her strapless fishtail gown (below) made from a lace-patterned bed sheet took home the prize for Evening Wear. “It was exciting for me because I’ve never made a dress like that before. I’m not used to doing something so elegant,” Froehling told me over the phone.

Myself, and several in the audience, were struck by the designs (seen below, model Cathryn Clover with Wade) of Seams Legit designer Courtney Wade, who didn’t take home any prizes but was the EW pick in this week’s issue. Her slick, black dress designs, styled perfectly with simple black heals and a fat white blossom in the model’s chignon, did not look “recycled.” After the show, I got to chat with Wade about her approach.


“I wanted to stick with a classic look,” Wade says, that was “neutral in color but used a lot of texture.” This is a departure from her typically colorful, more embellished designs. She called it vintage glamour and a “grown-up version” of herself.

I was also struck by the Ready-to-Wear (seen below) look by Julia Paige of Tufflove Designs. The beautiful mix of clashing bold patterns, along with a wide trouser pant and fantastic fabric hoop earings, Paige’s look was one of the most on-the-fashion-pulse designs. 

Perhaps the most avant-garde ensembles of the night came from Rhiannon Dark of RHI. Dark took home the prize for Ready-to-Wear made from a wool blanket. “There were holes in it,” Dark says. “It had the feel that maybe someone on the street had worn it, which felt punk to me.”

The outfit was edgy and fresh, but for me, her Evening Wear entry (below) was incredibly memorable. She transformed model Savannah Best into a character à la Tilda Swinton in The Chronicles of Narnia: textured hair, ghostly makeup and some truly imaginative outfits — a sort of punk fairytale.


“My husband lived in Amsterdam for a while,” Dark says of her partner, who was immersed in the Dutch punk subculture. “When we got together I got way into it.”

Kendra Brock (seen below with model Desiree Kuenkele - someone's gotta get this woman a role on Mad Men, right?) of Kendra Grace Designs nabbed the prize for Designer’s Choice with her signature playful take on a t-shirt dress. “It was really nice for me that it did win because it’s what I do most of the time, which is making dresses from upcycled t-shirts. It fit her perfectly,” Brock told me the morning after the show. It was great to see Brock, whose background is in sculpture, push herself to work with other fabrics like linen and denim. But it’s also easy to see the appeal of her dresses: they’re easy, fun and oh-so Eugene.

Hosanna Haines of Royal Macabre, the dark horse of the show, had some show-stopping looks as well. The detailing on her collars and backlines (below) were edgy, fashion-forward and completely different than anything else on the catwalk that night.

Overall, it was a great night for Eugene fashion leaving me hungry for Eugene Fashion Week this fall.

(All photos thanks to the marvelous and talented Athena Delene.)

May 8, 2014 07:51 PM

Kinda behind on posting these but I caught up with Bombadil before their show last week at Sam Bond's. We took some photos in the studio and around the Whit. One of the live shots made Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014.

May 8, 2014 07:42 PM

In this week's EW election coverage I write about who donated how much money to which campaign. One of the first rules of journalism (and keep in mind there are a lot of "number one rules of journalism") is follow the money.

Want to do a little Oregon campaign stalking yourself? Here's how. 

Go to the Oregon Secretary of State's web site. Then click "elections." From there choose (conveniently enough) the link that says "follow the money in Orestar." ("Campaign finance violations" is another fun one to surf.) 

I usually search the "Committee/filer search by name" tab and type the name of the person running into the box labeled "committee/filer name."

Here, typing in "Bozievich" gets you West Lane Commissioner candidate Jay Bozievich's "Friends of Jay Bozievich" committee.

The committe page tells you who filed the committee, who the treasurer is and contact information. It also gives you links to the data. 

Clicking "account summary" gets you this year's totals of what was spent and what came in. Hitting previous at the bottom of that page gets you the numbers from previous years. As of today, Bozievich is reporting more than $109,000 in donations in 2014 and more than $115,000 in expenditures. There are a couple reasons a candidate may have spent more than he or she has brought in, and one is there is sometimes a (legal) lag time in when candidates report money after they get it.

To see who gave money and how much, click the "campaign finance activity" link on the committee page.

Here we can see that Bozievich's most recent donations include $25o from Reed's Trucking and $14,500 from the Community Action Network. He's spent $15,000 with New Media Northwest — probably on television commericials. 

 

Want to know who's behind the Community Action Network and has all that money? Type Community Action Network into the box where you typed Bozievich's name on your original search. That gets you the committe page telling you it was created by Dennis Morgan. Clicking the "campaign finance activity" link shows you who gave money (cash contribution) and where CAN spent money (expenditure). Looks like a lot of the money came from the timber industry: Giustina, Murphy Company and Delta Construction, to name a few. Now go have fun web-stalking campaign donations.

May 7, 2014 04:31 PM

The Eugene School District’s teachers’ union, the Eugene Education Association (EEA), participated in “what turned out to be an exercise of frustration,” last night, according to the EEA’s bargaining newsletter. In the second full bargaining session between EEA and District 4J, members of the EEA bargaining team tried to understand why District 4J wanted to make significant changes to their contract, the newsletter says. According to the newsletter:

Time after time the District’s outside lawyer was unable to answer basic questions about the 4J offer, parts of which would strip away our members’ hard-fought rights. At times even members of the District’s team appeared baffled as to the reason behind many of the proposed language changes. This left both the bargaining team and members scratching their heads as to who wrote the proposal and why.

The EEA team also probed the financial provisions in the District proposal, which offers a permanent loss of a step, no COLA [cost of living adjustment], no increase in insurance contribution, and five furlough days. The District lawyer justified the offer as a way to reduce workload and lower class size. Upon further questioning, the District lawyer estimated their proposal would lower class size averages by less than one student per class.

Several times throughout the evening, frustrated EEA team members asked why the District would embark on a full frontal assault on the contract this late in the school year when it’s so evident all parties should be focusing on achieving swift, fair settlement. EEA’s proposal offers a plan that would wisely use next year’s additional resources and recognize the many serious workload concerns EEA has addressed in its proposal. It is our hope that 4J reconsiders the direction it has taken and gets serious about negotiations.

4J hired lawyer Kelly Noor to help with the bargaining. Noor was involved in the negotiations between the Medford school district and the teachers’ union, which ended in a strike. According to a guest viewpoint in the Register-Guard written by 4J Superintendent Shelley Berman and Eugene School Board Chairwoman Mary Walston, the district “has made an initial contract proposal that follows through on a promise to restore school days, avoid layoffs and reduce class sizes. The district’s offer would achieve all those goals and improve conditions for teachers and students alike.” The op-ed continues:

The district’s offer restores 26 teaching positions that otherwise would get cut to help close a $3.6 million budget gap in the preliminary 2014-15 budget. In addition to keeping these teachers in the classroom, the contract proposed by the district would allow us to add teachers to reduce class sizes and teachers’ workload, fund elementary music and physical education, provide preparation time for elementary teachers and increase instructional time by restoring four of the nine unpaid furlough days that have made 2013-14 Eugene’s shortest school year ever.

Those are big wins that would make a difference in every classroom next year.

The trade-off: Funds can be spent only once. A dollar spent to hire more teachers or maintain the current ratio of teachers to students can’t also be spent on increasing salaries and benefits.

To achieve these goals and improve classroom conditions for teachers and students, the district has proposed holding base salaries stable for one year: no cost-of-living increases, and no automatic steps forward on the salary scale.

According to the EEA’s newsletter, District 4J canceled tomorrow’s bargaining session. The next session is 4-8pm Thursday, May 15, at the EEA Office, 2815 Coburg Rd.

May 6, 2014 01:59 PM

Annual rankings  from The League of American Bicyclists are out, and Oregon has slipped to number five from number three. Washington takes the cake with number one for the seventh year in a row. Here's the top 10 list:

Oregon's report card shows that the state gets a four out of five possible points in three categories: legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, and education and encouragement. Its lowest category is once again infrastructure and planning.

The League of American Bicyclists offers this feedback for making Oregon a more bike-friendly state:

Repeal the state’s mandatory bike lane law.
Adopt performance measures, such as mode
shift or a low percentage of exempted projects,
to better track and support Complete Streets/
Bike Accommodation Policy compliance.
Update your state bicycle master plan. The plan update
should evaluate and build on the previous bicycle
master plan, and reflect changes in bicycle user needs.
Adopt performance measures to
decrease bicycle fatalities.
Adopt a mode share goal for biking to
encourage the integration of bicycle
transportation needs into all transportation
and land use policy and project decisions.
Adopt the National Association of City
Transportation Officials (NACTO) Design Guide.
Adopt a Vision Zero policy to help Oregon
reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Increase the dedication of funding to bicycle
and pedestrian projects from 1% of state
transportation trust funds to 2%.
Adopt a policy requiring state office buildings,
state park and recreation facilities, and other
state facilities to provide bicycle parking.
Since arterial and collector roads are the backbone
of every transportation network, it is essential
to provide adequate bicycle facilities along these
roads. Increase the percentage of state highway
network that has paved shoulders or bike lanes.
May 6, 2014 03:59 PM

A protest is being planned on the UO campus Thursday in response to allegations of rape of a UO student by former Duck basketball players. The UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence has published a scathing open letter on its website and is calling for accountability by the UO administration and action.

See the letter at http://wkly.ws/1qv

The protest will be at noon Thursday, May 8, on the lawn behind Hendricks Hall on campus.

May 6, 2014 01:52 PM

I caught up with Ty during his soundcheck and took a few portraits.

The shot above is featured in Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014

May 5, 2014 12:24 PM

East Lane County Commission candidates appeared at a forum in Cottage Grove sponsored by the Cottage Grove Blackberry Society and League of Women Voters.