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March 21, 2017 09:55 AM

Longtime County Commissioner Faye Stewart announced he is stepping down from the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He will be taking a position in the Cottage Grove, according to a press release sent out March 21.

The release says:

Commissioner Faye Stewart announced today that he is stepping down from his elected office in order to take a position with the City of Cottage Grove as the director of Public Works and Development.

“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Stewart. “Cottage Grove has been home to my family for generations and the success of its community is incredibly important to me. I am grateful to be able to continue serving this community in a new role.”

Stewart  has been a conservative vote on the conservative learning board since 2004. He will leave in April and the release says that Stewart’s current term ends in 2019. The Board of Commissioners will discuss the application process and timeline for appointing someone to complete Stewart’s term during the April 4 meeting.

Stewart's challenger in the last election, Kevin Matthews, had already announced plans to run for Stewart's seat in the 2019 election.

Matthews tells EW via email:

I wish Faye well in his new position. Given the nine-votes-out-of-15,000 ballots scare we gave them the last time around, I imagine the old-school majority of the Lane County Board will be looking to appoint someone they think will run well against me in the upcoming May, 2018 election.

Whoever they choose to stand for the Republican side, I'll keep fighting with the people for our local communities, including jobs and education, to restore integrity to Lane County government, including transparency, accountability, and public safety, and to build real prosperity from the ground upward, including protection of our clean water & old growth forest.

March 17, 2017 05:32 PM

Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse talked to Eugene Weekly about his thoughts on the press, Islamic terrorism and the Trump administration. Sen. Kruse is a Republican from Roseburg. A copy of his newsletter that prompted our interview can be found here.


Eugene Weekly: What are your thoughts on the mainstream media?

Jeff Kruse: There is no such thing as unbiased because everybody’s got a built in bias. If you don’t have a bias, you aren’t thinking. I do think, for example, I think if you switch back and forth between Fox and CNN, you’re wondering if they’re both at the same place talking about the same thing. I do think that a lot of the mainstream media do tend to lean relatively far to the left on a lot of issues. I see that even here. Here’s a perfect example of something that just happened. There was an article in Forbes Magazine last week talking about all of the money that our governor and our attorney general received in campaign donations from people who have contracts with state government. And contracts in total somewhere worth several hundred million dollars, so we read about that in Forbes Magazine you would think that would be something that we would have read about in the Oregonian. It’s that sort of thing, there are some stories that seem to get covered and some that don’t, and quite honestly there is kind of a spin on it. Often times what I see on TV and read in newspapers about what goes on in this building, and I’m wondering how they could get the interpretations they do about what is being talked about here in the building. I do think that there is a bias.


EW: What do you think a solution to that would be?

JK: I don’t know. I really don’t. There are first amendment rights so you’re entitled, you know anybody to say anything they want. I think from my perspective a lot of the stuff I see on TV and I read in papers anymore I basically take with a grain of salt, and I’m assuming it’s not hard news. Like on radio the networks usually have at the top of the hour a five or seven-minute thing before it gets to the regular programing, and they put all these human-interest things out there. And I also think that part of it is the news cycle has become twenty-four seven, and so it gives them lots of opportunity to go anywhere they want. Now when I was a kid, which was a long time ago, on television network news was 15 minutes. The entire news hour was a half hour, and what I got in Roseburg at that point in time was the “Huntley-Brinkley Report” and basically all they did was focus on the hard news what was going on in Washington DC. They didn’t go into all these human-interest things. And I know there’s probably a reason for it. We hear a story about some kid in little rock Arkansas, ok what does that have to do with national news? It doesn’t. It kind of gins up emotional reactions and news reporting isn’t what it used to be when, in my opinion, when we were getting our news from people like Walter Cronkite.


EW: I’d like to ask you more about the media and how they report on things. You said in your newsletter, that special interest groups and many politicians are perfect example of misinformation and lies being waged against this administration. And then you talk a little bit about travel ban, or restriction, as you call it. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you saw that order carried out?

JK: Basically, what it was was a temporary ban from people coming from seven specific countries from coming in to the United States until we had a better vetting process and that was all it was, it wasn’t an attack on Muslims. Muslims weren’t even addressed in the executive order, it was just specific to people from specific countries. And countries that quite honestly have historic ties to terrorism. And so what we heard about in the media was it was an attack on Muslims. Quite honestly I would suggest that the majority of the terrorists are Muslim. But that’s not what it was. What was really interesting is because Obama did something similar to folks from Iraq for a period of time, and Jimmy Carter did something similar to citizens from Iran for a period of time. In neither one of those cases did the media have a cow over it, but because Trump did it, and they don’t seem to like Trump, it became a news item. Whereas when Obama did it nobody said a word about it.


EW: And you said you would feel safe saying that the majority of terrorist attacks have been committed by Muslims?

JK: Obviously there are some incidents of right wing folks and different things like that, but we know for example and there’s evidence to show, there are terrorist training camps within the United States, they have attacked the United States, you know it’s not like it’s an everyday thing. Somebody said that radical Islam only make up 1 percent of the population. Well if you look at the number of people who are Islamic in the world that would be about 1.5 million people. Obviously that’s something we need to be concerned about. Just having a vetting process, which we should do with all people coming into this country. They should have appropriate papers, and we should know what it is they are doing here and how long they want to stay. I think that’s reasonable. The way we allow people in this country is a lot loser than a lot of countries do. I don’t think the threat of Islamic terrorism is over and to take a step back to make sure that we have an appropriate vetting process I don’t think is that unreasonable of an approach.


EW: You think that we have lose regulations for getting in even though it takes 18-24 months prior to this order if you’re from Syria to get in? I hear that a lot from people saying we’re just trying to make sure there’s a better vetting process in place and to me 18 to 24 months seems like a pretty long time.

JK: That's the wait period, but I would suggest that under the Obama administration, the wait time was shortened significantly.


EW: It was shortened to the 18 months?

Kruse: No I think it was shorter than that. But just because you've had to wait, x amount of time before you're allowed to come in that doesn't necessarily mean that our officials are doing their due diligence to make sure that only the appropriate people are coming in, Is this the biggest item on the agenda? Probably not. I do believe that the president is relooking at the policy as we speak. And I don't think..I just think that this is not a safe world and we need to be careful who we are allowing into our country.


EW: When you said, and this is in the same letter, “What I absolutely shameful in this fact, we have a lot of politicians in this state to be encouraging this lawless behavior.” Were you talking about the women’s march?

JK: No, I'm talking about the protests they had at the Portland airport on the immigration order and we had elected officials in the state of Oregon who went there and encouraged people to continue protesting and basically to ignore the law. The women's march is what it was and I understand that but by the same token you can protest but when the protest is impeding other people from going about their business you're stepping over the line. And at the Portland airport, they were stepping over the line because they were impeding people. Your rights end where my rights begin. I've got a plane to catch and you're protest makes me miss my plane you're violating my rights because I have a right to be on that plane.


EW: Is there anything else you’d like to add about freedom of the press or anything like that?

JK: At this point it is appeared to me that the main stream media has been very anti-Trump and its going to be interesting to see how that relationship develops over the next period of time. Maybe they develop a relationship, I don't know. I’m hoping to see what I think is more fairness in the way a lot of the things are covered. You know Trump hasn't been president that long — he doesn't even have all of his cabinet in place. How you can be attacking him for things that he hasn't done yet or just because of what you think he's going to do I think is somewhat inappropriate, but we'll see what will happens in the next six months.


EW: Did you see the press conference that was held last week that was about 70 minutes or so? [The press conference held on Feb. 16].

JK: No, I didn't. My son saw it — I was busy here — and he said that he thought it was pretty good, he answered all the questions and pretty much was direct in response to everybody, so I'll take his word on that.



March 17, 2017 05:35 PM

Eugene Weekly interviewed Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman about House Bill 2921 and immigration in Oregon. He sent EW a copy of the study he quoted multiple times in his interview. The study was conducted by Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is a documented hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Below is the full interview.


Eugene Weekly: I just wanted to start out by asking you why you decided to sponsor House Bill 2921?

Mike Nearman: As you know Oregon is a sanctuary state. We have a sanctuary policy that has been enacted into law here. This would repeal that. So I think it makes sense on a lot of different levels. First of all, its just kind of a rule of law thing for us to make a law that law enforcement is not supposed to comply with the law. That kind of is a little bit of a legally haywire. And so I don’t like that. I think that we just need to be able to enforce the laws just for their own sake just because we don’t need illegal people running around our country.


EW: About Oregon’s sanctuary status, just to compare to compare this to something else I was thinking about.  Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana, but it’s still illegal federally. So what sorts of things, and this may be going out on a branch a little bit, but what sorts of things or laws or decisions should be left up to states versus what the federal government does.

MN: I get your point. So I think that just in a general way at the 30,000-foot level I think that we should have the states be responsible for everything they can possibly be responsible for. I think that’s the way the framers of the constitution envisioned it too. They envisioned a federal government that had just a small and limited powers and everything else was left to the states and the people. And that’s the spirit of the 10th amendment even though I think that we don’t see that done in actual policy anymore but that’s what we need to do. Now there are some things for instance like the state of Alabama and the state of Oregon probably should not have our own national defenses and we may not agree about how much national defense that we want but when we do that we need to do that as a country just because we’re not going to be very effective having 50 states trying to defend ourselves against whatever. So there are certain thing that it does, our coining money, I’m glad that when I go to the state of Washington that I don’t have to cash in a bunch of Oregon money, get Washington money at the exchange rate or something like that. I can just go up there and spend American money. So things like that that are interstate commerce or national defense and the other one would be the borders as another example where it’s not really appropriate to have states, even states that are not border states like Oregon come up with their own immigration policy. That doesn’t really work.


EW: There shouldn’t be a bunch of illegal people running around, do you think that immigration has been a problem in Oregon? Or if it has caused any problems in the state?

MN: So now you just asked me if immigration was a problem. No, immigration is not a problem. Legal immigration isn’t. We have the need for guest workers and I’m a software engineer by trade so my last job we had people who were in some status of legal-ness working but they weren’t citizens or anything like that and that’s fine. We do that as we have needs and as we can vet people.


But I think the question that you really meant to ask was do we have a problem with illegal immigration in Oregon. And yeah we do. I think by some estimates it costs the state of Oregon 1.2 billion dollars a year for illegal aliens. I’m on the budget committee for my school district and we spend a lot of money to teach students that don’t speak English. And those kinds of things, it gets very expensive to deal with illegal immigrants.


EW: And the example of spending state money to teach English. What about people who maybe come over El Salvador or Syria places that have people seeking asylum basically where they are in a war-torn country. What do you think about that? Sometimes it could be a matter or life or death for some people to come here?

MN: So most of the time when people come to this country they come here as legal immigrants and part of the conditions of them coming here is that they have to learn English at least some amount of English. And other people are born here and they probably just kind of speak English. Now you do get a situation where you have people who are speaking asylum or whatever and they don’t speak English and that’s fine, and there’s not that many of them. Even though right now we have a huge glut of Syrian immigrants but even that we’re talking about 60,000 people or something like that. So we’re not talking about huge numbers there and even those I would wonder if that’s so wise to let that many people—to give that many people asylum. I don’t know why we don’t do kind of a refugee situation that’s closer to their countries there. I’ve heard one estimate that says that we could be on a factor or 12 to 1 more effective with our dollars if we did somewhere in the middle east rather than by bringing them all to this country here.


EW: So this law would completely overturn the sanctuary law?

MN: Yes. It would do that and additionally it would say that local jurisdictions it would preempt local jurisdictions from establishing their own sanctuary policies.


EW: Are there any other legislators who have expressed interest in backing this bill?

MN: Rep. Esquivel and I are the only ones who have signed onto it. Honestly, I don’t expect that it will even get a hearing so it’s not something that I’m not working to bill that hard because I don’t expect it to get a hearing.


EW: I noticed that its status its been referred to the judiciary committee. And do you expect it will come out of that committee for a second reading?

MN: No, I don’t expect it will.


EW: What money would be used to enforce immigration? The state may use agencies moneys, but I’m curious about that because of the big budget gap the state is working with right now. So how would that work?

MN: The operative word there is may. State and municipalities have discretion; they don’t have to do that. If I’m driving 66 miles an hour on I-5 the state doesn’t have an obligation to have to arrest me or have to ticket me. So it says they may use it and it would just be part of the normal law enforcement budget. So right now, if I’m a police officer and I’m walking down the street, and I see you walking down the street and I know for a fact that I deported you two years ago and you’re the same guy, right now under Oregon law, I can’t do anything. So we’re keeping police officers from doing their jobs. We’re talking about turning over people who’ve been arrested for other crimes to ICE and these kinds of things. These aren’t costly law enforcement efforts these are just part of the background hum of law enforcement that would be funding this so it’s not a lot of extra money.


EW: Is there anything else you’d like to add about sponsoring this bill?

MN: If you want to talk about money, this bill will — I think — more than pay for itself. Like I said by some estimates, we pay 1.2 billion dollars a year in what the costs are for illegal immigration in Oregon. What we pay out of the welfare system, what we pay in the education system, what we pay in the healthcare system and then the criminal justice system. So if we could just get that down a little bit that would save the state a bunch of money. That would almost solve most of our budget shortfall that we have right now.


EW: And do you have those numbers listed anywhere about how much money it would save? Is that in a budget somewhere?

MN: I’m quoting Oregonians for immigration Reform, and I don’t know. It’s just a number that we get tossed around. I’m sure it’s well researched.


EW: Could you send me a copy of the report or budget?

MN: You mean a copy of where I’m getting the numbers from that 1.2 billion dollars?

EW: Yes.

MN: Yeah, I can do that.


March 15, 2017 05:27 PM

The city of Eugene announced in a press release today (see below) that City Councilor George Poling has resigned from his Ward 4 seat and suggested former Ward 6 City Councilor Jennifer Solomon be appointed in his place.

City Councilor George Poling Announces His Resignation After More Than 14 Years of Service

At today’s City Council meeting, Councilor George Poling, Ward 4, announced his resignation effective April 10, 2017. Councilor Poling was elected four times to four-year terms. He took office in 2003 was in his fifteenth year of service. Prior to being a City Councilor, Poling was a law enforcement officer for approximately 30 years.

Councilor Poling made the announcement at the beginning of today’s meeting, stating that “after 45 years of public service, it’s time to fully enjoy my retirement. At my age now, I want to take advantage of that while I still have reasonably good health.”

Poling said it has been a pleasure working with his “fellow councilors, past and present, and Eugene’s dedicated and professional staff. I’m very proud of the staff we have.” He continued, “To my constituents of Ward 4, I want to express my thanks and sincere appreciation for the privilege you have afforded me to represent you for these many years. You are the best.” He also thanked his wife, Glenda, and family for their support.

Other City Councilors at the meeting as well as Mayor Vinis each offered their appreciation and admiration for Poling’s contributions to the council and his example. Several noted that when they began, they looked to Councilor Poling as a model of how to behave as a member of the City Council. Councilor Mike Clark said, “I hope that the people of our community truly understand the amount that you’ve given over many more than 15 years to serve our community and to serve the public. What an honor it’s been to serve with you and we’re going to miss you at this table, but you’ve earned the opportunity to rest a bit.”

Poling’s term runs until January of 2019. The City Charter states that within 90 days of the resignation, Council will appoint someone to fill the remainder of the term. The process for filling a vacancy on the City Council may include publicizing the opportunity, taking applications, conducting interviews and then making an appointment.

As has been done when there were previous vacancies, Councilor Poling made a recommendation regarding someone he thinks would be good to fill the position. Poling recommended former City Councilor Jennifer Solomon, who served two terms as councilor for Ward 6 from 2003 – 2011.

March 13, 2017 03:38 PM

Irony noted please: Downtown Eugene, Inc., of the DWN TWN EUG promotion fame, has a list of downtown businesses it's promoting on its website, including Voodoo Doughnut. Voodoo features a "Happy National Dog Day" doughnut against its customary hot pink background.

But thanks to the city's new downtown dog ban, you can't walk your dog downtown to Voodoo Doughnut, at least until November. 

The ban takes effect 30 days from the March 8 Eugene City Council meeting it was voted on.

March 8, 2017 12:54 PM

 Eugene Opera, which in January canceled the rest of its season amid a pile of unpaid bills, announced Wednesday that it has received $80,000 in challenge donations to help it get out of debt. The future of the 40-year-old company, though, remains unclear, as it will have to raise even more money to survive.

A group of supporters has pledged $60,000 to help erase the opera’s $160,000 debt — on the condition that the non-profit arts group find another $60,000 in matching donations. The money would be earmarked for paying existing debts to local artists, technicians and businesses.

Another donor has promised $20,000 to support the opera’s 2017-18 season, once again only if other donations match that amount.

Even if both challenges are fully met, the opera will have to raise more money to stay in business, and its path forward remains unclear. The opera held two town hall meetings at Eugene Library in February to tell supporters what its financial position is and to seek comment on what its future plans should be.

In January, the opera announced it was canceling a planned March production of West Side Story and a May production of Peter Brook's adaptation of Georges Bizet’s The Tragedy of Carmen.

“Eugene Opera is humbled and grateful to these benefactors,” General Director Mark Beudert said in a release on Wednesday.  “Our hope is that their generosity will inspire others to invest in Eugene Opera, so that we can meet our outstanding obligations.  If this happens, the company has a good chance of staying in business and continuing our mission of presenting great live opera for our community.”

March 8, 2017 03:20 PM

Once in a while you see a performance that is everything: Beautiful, funny, developed but loose, open, sad. Montreal’s 7 Fingers Company (Les 7 Doigts De La Main) is like that. Their latest, Cuisine and Confessions, presented by White Bird dance at Portland’s Newmark Theatre last weekend, is a revelation.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Circus arts tend to make me grumpy.

I know, I know: I should love it, everyone loves it! Silks, tumbling, climbing, wall-walking, everyone enjoys it and I’m a terrible person for taking issue.

But, I mean, the tricks. What’s my beef? I’ll tell you: I get tired of showmanship for its own sake. I grow weary of acts divined not by creativity, not by reality, but seemingly by fantasy, the kind of elliptical, formless noodling that relies on the next death-defying spectacle, the roar of the crowd, the bread and circuses of distraction. Le sigh.

Typically, these shows sit on old tropes about gender, as women get hurled around by bigger, stronger men, and contort like origami, til we all ooh and ahh.

Where’s the theme and variation? Where’s the shape, the form? Where’s the arc, the narrative depth? Where’s the envelope we’re pushing? And are we pushing it enough?

Usually, circus arts shows leave me with that feeling like I’ve eaten a bunch of popcorn for dinner. I’m full, but I’m not satisfied.

But hold the phone: 7 Fingers has a new idea.

I adore White Bird. There, I said it.

Is anyone doing anything more for dance in Oregon? Nope. Producers Walter Jaffe and Paul King are worth their weight in gold. They know how to pick ‘em, and how lucky are we that they keep bringing this stuff to our leafy part of the world.

It would be a mistake to provide a synopsis of Seven Finger’s Cuisine and Confessions. I mean, don’t you hate that, when a reviewer gives away all the good parts? Who wants spoilers? NO ONE wants spoilers.

But this show has so many good parts.

Helpful hint: Get there early. The pre-show’s wonderful.

But when the show itself begins, here’s the powerful alchemic reaction, the artistic crucible that burns a bright new substance: Imagine the Icarian flying, the hand-to-hand work, the acro-dance, the floor work, tumbling, climbing, the juggling and music and the Chinese pole, and now — wait for it — combine all that with evocative, charming, heartfelt memoir theater.

I’ve never seen anything like Cuisine and Confessions, in all my years in the theater, all around the world.

Hats off to directors Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila, and the entire cast and crew. From the onstage kitchen (yup!), to the powerful movement, music and words, the piece has the power to transform, like the banana bread they bake while the performance hums along.

Shows like this make you really damned proud to be a human.

March 7, 2017 07:29 PM

Eugene Weekly — an award-winning alternative newspaper in the beautiful Pacific Northwest — seeks a calendar editor with a writer’s sensibility to edit EW’s “What’s Happening” calendar. Our calendar fills in Lane County on the area’s vibrant arts, music, political, entertainment and everything-in-between scene. 

EW is looking for a person who can handle the doldrums of data entry and information management (the bulk of the job) but is hoping to move up to a career in feature writing and news or news reporting.

The calendar editor should be excited to highlight both highbrow and grassroots events in the community in short, fun blurbs each week in addition to the data entry.

The ideal candidate will be highly interested in news or arts reporting and current events, as well as be organized, detail-oriented, determined and versatile. Infinite amounts of patience, good office communication skills and the ability to deal with the public are key.

Copyediting abilities are a plus. Must not be married to the Oxford comma. The position starts as soon as it’s filled.

We’re a small feisty office with a fierce dedication to covering community issues with an alternative flare. 

This opportunity comes with a $15 an hour salary, excellent non-financial perks (mainly free food, kombucha and endless coffee).

The job is a full-time position with benefits, including health insurance. Send résumé, cover letter and three writing clips by March 13 to editor@eugeneweekly.com.EW is an equal opportunity employer. 

March 6, 2017 05:03 PM


I’ve usually missed the annual Lane County Propagation Fair and seed swap because it coincided with spring break. Last year, however, we took our vacation early, and I was able to visit the prop fair for the first time since it moved to the old Whiteaker school building.

Once I had negotiated the long, congested hallways (congested, I should say, with interesting information displays and various items for sale, including veggie starts) I emerged in the huge main hall, where an impressive line of people were busy grafting fruit tree scions to rootstock for customers. Scions (grafting cuttings) from hundreds of fruit varieties were offered for sale, in buckets lined up on long tables.

Looks as if this is an experience that won’t quite be repeated, because there are big changes for this year’s prop fair. The organizers of what is now called the Agrarian Sharing Network felt the event had outgrown the current space. They also want to “remain true to the deeper community involvement, neighborhood-sharing intentions of the original gatherings.  In the interest of providing these services more effectively to both the community, as well as the wider bioregion, we have decided to decentralize the Propagation Fair.”

That means there will be multiple events this year, in three Eugene neighborhoods as well as Portland, Sweet Home and Williams. Eugene events are scheduled for March 11, April 1 and April 7. For times and locations, as well as tons more info about the Agrarian Sharing Network, visit www.springpropagationfair.com. You can also find information and updates on the Facebook page for Agrarian Sharing Network.

March 6, 2017 04:49 PM

The newly formed group: Intersectional People’s Network of Eugene/Springfield, Disrupt! Eugene and So Just Collective present "A Rally for International Women and Women Aligned Day" 6 pm, Wednesday, March 8, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza to celebrate “International Women’s Day."

Full press release is below. More info at http://disrupteugene.com/



Eugene, Ore., March 4, 2017 - Intersectional People’s Network of Eugene/Springfield (a newly forming community organizing group), Disrupt! Eugene, and So Just Collective present A Rally for International Women and Women Aligned Day at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza this coming Wednesday, March 8th at 6:00 p.m., to celebrate “International Women’s Day,” as the groups take time to honor women and transfeminine people across all intersectionalities, as a community.

They will gather to celebrate and center the lives and experiences of women of color, transgender, queer, disabled, indigenous, and immigrant women, and nonbinary people who are woman aligned. The three groups support and recognize the intersectionality of "womanhood" and that many identify more with an adjective that precedes the word “woman.” This event will have an anti-racist framework to give voice to those who have been underrepresented or misrepresented.

Ashanti Gilbert, one of the event’s organizers, says, “As an African American woman living in Eugene, I felt there was a need for marginalized groups of women’s voices to be heard and celebrated from our own perspectives, whether immigrant, women of color, Muslim, disabled, or woman-aligned. Much of the organizing that happens here in Eugene usually is centered on the voices of white women. While I appreciate their efforts, many of us are not afforded the freedom to identify as just ‘woman.’ We are mostly identified by the adjective before woman, that is, Black woman, Muslim woman, disabled woman, et cetera. In conjunction with International Women's Day, we celebrate those intersections."

March 3, 2017 12:28 PM

On Feb. 22, White Bird Dance, the Northwest’s stellar presenter of contemporary dance, offered the West Coast premier of France’s Centre Choréographique National — Ballet de Lorraine, one of Europe’s most acclaimed companies.

CCN’s 26 dancers (um, that’s a ton of dancers, state-supported arts funding is neat), under Artistic Director Petter Jacobsson, offered a wide-ranging program, including two recent pieces and an American masterwork.

A bit of background: As a company, Ballet de Lorraine explores new work while keeping treasures by modern dance heroes alive, with work by Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown, William Forsythe and more in their repertoire. (What does that mean? It means that at any given time, the company knows and can perform an astounding range of dances. Keeping dance in repertory is expensive and logistically challenging, but without these efforts, pieces are lost to the sands of time, like a painting on the wall of a museum slowly vaporizing over decades, until perhaps only copies of it — incomplete video or photos — remain.) 

The Portland performance opened with 2015’s Devoted, by Cecelia Bengolea and François Chaignaud.

Ducking in and out of cold, gray light, dancers cut and push through space, with angular turns, slicing leaps and gyroscoping patterns and repetitions. A hyperkinetic meditation, the effect is like watching the cellular process of photosynthesis, at once alive, yet autonomic.

Dancers course through space, whirring like spores released from a fern frond, like the piecing, dissecting fractal of a leaf, or the unfurling branches of a tree, opening and accenting patterns with a kind of stilted urgency.

The driving Phillip Glass score enlivens, and at times, overly ensconces the piece. (One wonders what the same dance would look like in partial silence.)

Some of the strongest moments find near stillness. In one, a trio of women stand en pointe for a torturous time, nearly motionless, their arms rapt to the ceiling, another dancer circling around them menacingly. It’s in this dynamic that emotions heighten, that the machinations and order seem to breakdown, revealing an animus, a stark revelation of lurid sexuality — waggling bottoms, pelvic thrusts — amidst the spectacle and distant beauty.

After the first intermission, Alban Richard’s 2015 Hok Solo Pour Ensemble made exquisite design of the space.

Set to music by Louis Andriessen, the work explores pattern and rhythm, progressing fluidly from the simple to the complex. From the individual pieces of the dance to the circular permutations that develop, the effort takes on a cumulative vision, machine-like, but human, with everyday gestures that are refreshingly pedestrian, doable. As the intricate work evolves, the movement vocabulary becomes more dancerly, relaxed and fluid, while maintaining razor-sharp patterning and relational groupings. The resultant dynamic takes on an orbital force, like witnessing heavenly bodies — Terpsichore in sneakers? — careening through a distant galaxy.

Finally, after intermission two, the evening culminated with Merce Cunningham’s 1975 masterwork Sounddance for 10 dancers.

Cunningham’s beloved Sounddance opposes the uniformity and unison that is often found in ballet and has been described as “organized chaos,” taking the form of fast paced, vigorous choreography. The stunning set design consists of a gracefully draped plush gold curtain, with the dancers entering and exiting as though thrust into the space from the curtain itself.

With Cunnigham’s signature movement motifs — the sprung jackknifed leap, the soft connection of a hand, between and among dancers, the sporadic, seemingly random dispersal of movement across the stage — as well as his undeniably sharp, clear intention, his directional genius and relational capacity, the work is nothing less than nature itself.

Having only ever seen terrible, grainy and incomplete videos of Sounddance, the chance to see it live was unforgettable, like a reset for the heart and soul.

One by one, the dancers exit, swallowed by that giant gold curtain.

Is it death? Life? Are they spirits, now heading to the next space? Does it matter?  

David Tudor’s trance-like score provides the perfect energetic accompaniment to Cunningham’s astoundingly fast-paced, yet richly rewarding, choreography.

March 2, 2017 05:57 PM

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate crimes nationally. Every year, the nonprofit publishes its Hate Map, a map of the United States that counts the number of active hate groups. The online map key alphabetizes hate groups, and each group is represented by a minuscule circle with a symbol and color. 

The circle concentrations vary by region. For example, the Ku Klux Klan circle is grey with a triangular white hood in the center, and the symbol overlaps itself in parts of Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina. The online map features a drop down menu that can be used to breakdown and separate the types of groups and number of groups by state. 

A total of 11 groups are listed in Oregon, which includes statewide chapters of the Black Separatists, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead and White Nationalist.

Anti-LGBT, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Christian Identity, General Hate, Holocaust Denial, Neo-Confederate, Racist Music and Radical Traditional Catholicism construct the remainder of the symbols on the map key. Overall, the SPLC documented 917 hate groups in U.S. in 2016.

Last year, there was a notable rise in anti-Islamic groups, which surged from 34 in 2015 to 151 — a 197 percent increase.

Ryan Lenz, a senior writer for the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and editor of its Hatewatch blog tells EW, “Since 9/11, the sentiment of targeting Muslims has been ever-present in the United States to varying levels of intensity.”

“In the last two years or so, as the national political discussion surrounding the presidential campaign turned heavily on various conservatives who were attacking Muslims as being secret agents, or trying to undermine the constitution or trying to infiltrate the federal government—there’s a number of complaints and conspiracy theories they have,” Lenz says.

Since 1999, hate group numbers have dipped and increased ranging from 497 in 1999 to 1,018 in 2011, according to SPLC data.

Lenz says, “We’ve seen over a thousand incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation reported to us and other news media outlets in the aftermath of the election.”

SPLC has reached out to President Trump asking him to “distance himself from this movement repeatedly, and he’s sort of waffled on that.”

Lenz says it’s hard to say what is going to happen over the next four years.

“This is a movement that has at its core rhetoric that leads to or inspires violence. We know that we’ve documented that repeatedly,” he says.

“Previous periods of time that have seen [a] similar rise in rhetoric and similar increases in energy across the radical right — periods that have ended or culminated in historic acts of violence like Oklahoma City have resulted in federal crackdowns on these ideologies that lead to violence.”

Eugene Weeklyasked Lenz what he thinks people can people can do to push back against the up rise in hate incidents. “Every journalist I talk to asks that question,” he says. Lenz often receives text messages from friends asking the same question.

“That’s a hard question to answer because at its fundamental core you’re asking how can we stop racism?” he says.

“I think it is important for those who believe in humanity, for those who believe in harmony of human kind, to speak out and make their minds clear because the political direction of this country right now is not in line with that, and it’s important to make sure that your voice does not get drown out by what is a global way of a populist nationalism.”

February 23, 2017 01:54 PM

The University of Oregon Department of Dance presented its 48th annual Faculty Concert Feb. 16-18, to an enthusiastic audience.

Representing collaborations among UO dance and theatre faculty members and their students — in dance, lighting and costume design — the effort was a richly realized event, featuring only premieres, three with original scores.

The evening opened with Hannah Anderson’s Ecliptic.

Beginning in a tense unison, Anderson’s dancers unfurl, peeling from the center through sideways leaps, axial turns and earthy slides. They continually discover balance, only to lose grip of it again, creating a dialectical whorl of intention. One particularly strong moment — organic crosses from stage left to right and back again, set against Markus Johnson’s evocative music — show off Anderson’s knack for accented rhythm, dynamic relationships and explosive shape.

Brad Garner’s genesis, set to music by Caleb Burhans, walks a tightrope between free and bound flow. Garner explores a thematic motif throughout — digging one’s heel sharply while flexing arms backwards in a tight curve — as contrasted to the subtle, sinewy dappling of shared self-space. Through shifts in focus, Garner expertly divines changes in mood as he and dancer Shannon Mockli rise and fall and rise again.

Rosetta, by Darian Smith, has an alien look and feel to it — white unitards emblazoned with bold alphabet letters, the dancers wearing white grease paint — but underneath the façade there’s something tellingly human, almost fragile, at play. A moment pops out: One dancer, downstage, runs to the other side of the proscenium as dancers upstage do the opposite. It’s a simple idea, a counterbalance, but the effect is satisfyingly dizzying, like watching a pendular carnival ride.

Garner’s Admitting Light, about the work of physicist Nikola Tesla, ambitiously weaves together detailed, introspective dance, with animated projections by John Park and an original score by Jon Bellano and Jeremy Schropp. Lighting design by UO faculty member Janet Rose creates unity, as if we’re peering through a mechanical aperture into the mind of Tesla himself. At times joyful, other times deeply pensive, Garner’s work takes its breath through curving, taut shape. A powerful moment comes towards the end, as Garner braids together groups of dancers (and he has a big crew of them) through loose pathways from upstage to down. (Inspired by Tesla’s famous pigeons perhaps?) These dancers take flight.

Become, by Rita Honka, toys with angularity and changes in energy, from smooth and swingy to sharp, almost nervous. What begins as a solo morphs into a duet, and here Jessica Taylor glows. Though the UO dancers, as a whole, are strong and capable, Taylor’s technique, her expression, her powerfully integrated performance — is something to behold.

And Mockli’s Unearthed, set to an original score by Christian Cherry, cuts through levels as it heaves from a molten place. With blasts of intensity, Mockli’s work here is at once sad and playful, like a familiar nursery rhyme whispered in the shadows.

February 23, 2017 06:06 PM

Actual press release from the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association posted without comment.


Oregon Dairy Farmers Association Convention Focus on Issues Including Dairy Wives who bring so much to their Dairy Farm Operations 

The Oregon Dairy Farmers Association hosted a two day convention at the Salem Convention Center on February 20-21

A panel of well-informed women spoke candidly about the joys and struggles of dairy farming during a convention workshop Monday afternoon.

Attendees heard four farm wives share their experiences of working in the dairy industry. It can be trying when frictions in the barns hit home, they said.

"It's super hard to see my son get yelled at by his dad," said Susan Pierson, a fourth-generation farmer. As both mother and wife, she is often a sounding board when things get overheated. "I have to do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking. But later I might say something to my husband like, 'You know, you were a little hard on him..."

"I feel like I'm in the middle a lot," said Julie Lourenzo, who shares the workload with her husband and other family members. When conflict arises, "I talk to both sides and try to work it out."

"I brought a husband into the job," said panel moderator Bobbi Frost, who is familiar with that uncomfortable space between the spouse you love and the parents who raised you. The audience responded to a frank discussion about whether the panelists encouraged their children to pursue farming.

Sarah Rocha, mother of four boys, said she chose to allow her children to find their path. "The more you push, the more they push back," she said.

Rocha runs the calf operation on a farm with 600-650 cows and 150 goats.

"I pushed my sons away from the dairy," said Pierson, an organic farmer for 12 years. But as it was with other panelists, some children decide to join the family business after a time. Of one son she said, "All of a sudden he came to us and said he wanted to come back."

In response to a question about when how to draw the line between work and family time, Lourenzo said she knows she has reached her limit when she begins to voice complaints. "If you are going to complain, it's a sign you are doing too much," she said.

A highlight of the breakout session was when moderator Frost, who brought along her 11-month-old daughter, Max, to the convention, said she "felt like Superman" on a day when she completed her work while toting an infant around the farm.

Then she provided the quote of the afternoon with an observation about childbirth.

"One day my husband said to me that getting hit in the nuts is worse than having a baby. " How so, she wondered?

"You want another baby, right?" he said. "But you don't hear me saying I want someone to hit me in the nuts again."

The Oregon Dairy Farmers Association is located in Salem. The Association has been proudly serving Oregon's Dairy farmers since 1892.