• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

EW! A Blog.

April 14, 2017 04:26 PM

Sometimes a bad crowd can ruin a live performance. Luckily, Whitney is too talented of a band to let that happen.

The Chicago-based indie-rock group played an April 13 show at WOW Hall and, unfortunately, the crowd was pretty damn bad. From constant loud talking during the quiet opening set to shouting drunken obscenities at the main act throughout the entirety of their performance, it seemed as though we were transported out of the dark corridor of WOW Hall to a rowdy, crowded campus bar.

It was clear most of the audience, at least those people near the front of the stage, had never been in a concert setting like this before — or, if they had, at least had never practiced basic, respectful concert etiquette.

Both acts held their on-stage composure though. New York-based singer and guitarist Julie Byrne played a serene opening set, acoustic and solo for the first part of it, and eventually joined by accompanying band members on violin and synth. Although beautiful, Byrne’s full and warm vocals were continuously crowded out by audience conversations, with some people even turning their backs to the stage in order to better address their groups of friends.

Luckily, the audience was much more engaged for Whitney, although not much quieter.

Though at times irritating, the crowd response was not surprising. Whitney produces the type of music that is inevitably likeable — by all types of people. No matter the content, from heart-wrenching love songs to nostalgic ballads about loneliness, the band’s material is always accompanied by an underlying sense of hopefulness and light, floating upon upbeat trumpet, keys and lead singer-drummer Julien Ehrlich’s flowery vocals. The first comparable instance of a live show experience that came to mind — sharply, in the moment when I saw a yelling drunk guy perched upon his friend’s shoulders — was Mac DeMarco’s show at Cozmic Pizza two years ago. Although the crowd was nowhere as bad as DeMarco’s sold-out show, which included people carelessly dropping pint glasses on the ground and drunken patrons yelling at the band to come to their frat parties, the experiences were definitely parallel.

DeMarco’s music is equally well-liked by both indie music-aficionados, who probably own all of his releases on first-press vinyl, and frat bros, who like to blast his tunes whilst playing beer pong on a sunny day — which can be said for Whitney as well. But this is in no way a bad thing.

Maybe I’m just cynical and jaded for disliking parts of the crowd on Thursday night, but, although disrespectful, it was clear those audience members were having a ton of fun. Whitney, inarguably, makes the type of music that brings people together. From college-aged ladies dancing to “No Woman” like they were on a table outside of Taylor’s in the summertime, to dudes bumping into their buddies and yelling the “na-na-na” part of “Golden Days” at their top of their lungs, Whitney is the type of band whose live performance has the power to make you forget about all your worries, at least until the night’s over. All photos by Todd Cooper

April 11, 2017 05:27 PM

On April 11, Rep. Peter DeFazion, ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Elaine Chao, requesting any findings from DOT’s review of the April 9 incident that occurred on United Airlines Flight 3411. A copy of the letter was sent to United CEO Oscar Munoz.


The Honorable Elaine L. Chao


U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our serious concerns regarding an April 9, 2017, incident aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago, Illinois, to Louisville, Kentucky. Countless news reports depict a passenger being forcibly removed from the United Airlines aircraft before departure allegedly due to the airline’s overbooking of the flight and need to accommodate its own airline staff. If news reports are accurate, the treatment of this passenger by United Airlines is not only outrageous, but is unacceptable.

Overbooking is too common of a practice among many commercial airlines like United Airlines. While overbooking is not illegal, we are deeply disturbed by the actions taken aboard Flight 3411 to deal with the situation. As you know, Federal regulations require airlines to take certain steps if they bump passengers involuntarily. Beyond these baseline requirements, however, we believe United Airlines had a number of options to rectify its own scheduling error, while treating its customers with the respect they deserve. For example, United Airlines could have offered increased monetary incentives to encourage other passengers to give up their seats voluntarily or even chartered a plane for United Airlines staff if it was that critical for them to reach Louisville.

We understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking into the incident, and would like to know what DOT finds, including whether Federal law or regulations were violated during the April 9 incident aboard Flight 3411, as well as whether United Airlines’ contract of carriage or overbooking policy meets all applicable Federal standards.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


PETER DeFAZIO                                                                  RICK LARSEN

Ranking Member                                                                    Ranking Member

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure                   Subcommittee on Aviation





April 10, 2017 12:51 PM

Portland, OR — Ronald K. Brown/Evidence presented a breathtaking evening of contemporary dance April 6-8 at Portland’s Newmark Theater. Sponsored by White Bird Dance, the performance was the crown jewel in a week of community events that included a public conversation with Brown and dance legend Judith Jamison (of Alvin Ailey Dance Company fame) as well as a host of community master classes.

In a moment of societal and artistic insecurity, when the arts and arts education are under fire, White Bird continues to beat the drum for more dance, more knowledge, more … humanity.

And Brown’s work is delightfully humane. Approachable, stylistically accessible, his movement signature invites an emotional response, a sense of ideation, as if audience members are somehow so intertwined with the dance that they themselves are up onstage.

2014’s Why You Follow/Por Que Sigues, with its glowing jewel-toned costumes by Keiko Voltaire, has an effervescent quality — a kind of invitation into a language so universally manifested that it’s like a roadmap back to spirit and home.

Set to music by Zap Mama, Gordheaven and Juliano, the Allenko Brotherhood and the Heavy Quartez, the piece explores themes of diaspora through a lens of the now, weaving and bobbing through history and the present, sliding and lifting through intricate patterning and shape. The results are technically virtuosic but appear effortless.

Brown’s company is a joy.

Arcell Cabuag anchors the men with a vivacious, irrepressible earthiness. Clarice Young embodies stalwart dedication and stewardship to technique, with long, exquisite lines and perfect placement. Annique Roberts, with her enthusiastic lightness and complete mastery over every step, finds freedom in each moment.

Demetrius Burns, Kevyn Ryan Butler, Janeill Cooper, Courtney Ross and Keon Thoulouis each contribute glorious strengths to the effort, powering through and pulling back, exploding and receding, defining and exploring. Their work in this piece is like an incantation, a prayer.

In 1995’s Lessons: March (Excerpt), Annique Roberts and Clarice Young dance to and with and through the indelible words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Interesting to note: On alternate performances, two men — Demetrius Burns and Kevyn Butler — dance the roles.)

The piece sets up a syllogism, asking, as King asked: “What’s the value of man?”

Here, Brown discovers emotional nuance in King’s speech, already packed with meaning, but through the dance, the words are lifted up, placed in relief against a clear blue sky. It’s as if, through this dynamic duet, Brown can harness the forces of nature — the wind, rain and sun — and pour it all into dance that feels like verse.

An evergreen, Lessons: March, should be required viewing for every American.

The evening ended with 2011’s On Earth Together, a masterful journey through life that is set to the music of Stevie Wonder, with otherworldly lighting design by Tsubasa Kamei.

In this piece, Brown’s style is never ham-fisted, never overt. He holds back from the maudlin, the sentimental. Instead, his work focuses on the universal connections that foster compassion and knowing. His dancers find each other onstage; they take tiny moments, making eye contact, clearly enjoying the connection and creation they’re engaged in.

It’s a subtle act of defiance, a tangible drift from dance that once focused solely on form, for its own sake.

When Brown came out to dance, the crowd erupted in wild applause. In fact, throughout this evening’s concert, the crowd was responsive, cheering, whooping. The dance invites an atmosphere of connection.

In his own unique way, Brown charges the performing arts in this century with a new mandate: Make the world a more loving and compassionate place.  — Rachael Carnes

April 7, 2017 11:35 AM

House Bill 2577, which would make it mandatory for lobbyists to disclose their influence and involvement on state legislation, passed 52 to three in the Oregon House on April 6 and is scheduled for a first reading in the Senate on April 10.

If passed, the bill will require lobbyist to disclose any bills “they are lobbying and whether they are working in favor, in opposition or have requested amendments” and any “legislative topic” lobbied for that is not a bill, according to an Oregon House majority press release.

In an effort to make lobbying influences more transparent, the bill will also make a public database available containing lobbyists’ positions on legislation and their activities.

Currently the Oregon Office of Ethics commission releases a quarterly registry containing lobbyists’ contact information and their clients, but the list does not track legislation they are attempting to influence, and there is no way for the public to know what lobbyists are working on.

Rep. Dan Rayfield, a Democrat from Corvallis said in a statement, “We have transparency in campaign finance, but once you get to the Capitol, there’s too little information about who’s attempting to influence the public.”

Lobbying information would be available on the Oregon Government Ethics Commission’s website, and the new rules would begin on April 1, 2018. 

April 6, 2017 02:47 PM

Nothing says "public lands" like coal, right?

The Bureau of Land Management featured a lovely photo of hikers from sometime in November through at least April 2, according to a seach on the Wayback Machine. 

But nothing says American values the outdoors and public lands like a shot of a coal seam at the Peabody North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyoming. With the photo itself supplied by Peabody. The mine is the "world's largest coal mine in the world by reserve," according to MiningTechnology.com

Is the BLM under Ryan Zinke celebrating Peabody Energy emerging from bankruptcy?  Or did the public lands agency suddenly get super-down with the "joys of climate change? See more over at the Huffington Post

For some reason this gives me flashbacks to the "Clean Coal Carolers" campaign.


March 24, 2017 03:56 PM

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and University of Oregon journalism professor Alex Tizon was found dead on Thursday, March 23, at the age of 57, the University of Oregon said.

An email sent to his students on Friday says that Tizon had “passed away in his sleep at his Eugene house.”

According to Eugene Police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin, his death was reported at 7:45 p.m.

Tizon, a first-generation immigrant from Manila, Philippines, started teaching journalism at the UO in 2011. In 1997, Tizon, along with two other Seattle Times reporters, won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their five-part series debunking Federal Indian Housing Program’s corruption and mismanagement.

His book, Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, tells Tizon’s story as a first-generation immigrant and his experience growing up in the United States as an Asian man. The book won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize Work-In-Progress Award in 2011.

Tizon was a frequent contributor to the The Atlantic – his latest work, “In the land of missing persons: 2 families, 2 bodies and a vast Alaska wilderness,” was published in December 2016. 

— Tran Nguyen

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Tizon's age as 58.

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.