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May 18, 2017

Birding — also known as “birdwatching” and, across the Pond, “twitching” — began as a lethal contact sport. When John James Audubon traveled the countryside in the early 1800s to paint the 435 watercolors that would later turn up in The Birds of America, he didn’t sit his subjects down in a studio and ask them to pose.

He shot them.

May 18, 2017

Artesia Hubbard, a University of Oregon student from Colorado, has always been a steward of the land. “I was a river baby. I was always running around in the outdoors,” she says. When Hubbard arrived at UO for her freshman year, her older sister on campus told her to join the school’s Geology Club. 

What the music-major-turned-environmental-studies major found was not only a way for her to enjoy the outdoors, but also a community of like-minded people. Geology isn’t just a passion; it’s also a way for Hubbard to connect with her fellow students.

May 18, 2017

I once told my ex-fiancé that I was a vegetarian because I ate only what I could personally kill. He promptly bought me a shotgun and taught me how to shoot it. However, he was unable get me to kill anything more mobile than a poorly tossed clay target. He tried — unsuccessfully — to persuade me of the joys of shooting, killing and butchering my own meals, but the closest I got to deadly force was blowing up a bottle of Coke (and then carefully cleaning up the sugary-drink-covered remains, because leave-no-trace principles apply to recreational shooting, too).

May 18, 2017

If you’ve never battled your way through wet Oregon undergrowth for hours and hours, hoping to collect two to four ounces of mushrooms to take home, then this is the story for you. 

As someone who has successfully found chanterelles and porcini mushrooms on about four trips out of 30 in the past four years, you should take all of my advice. 

May 11, 2017

I have a confession to make: I’m a junky for Lane County Mugshots Uncensored — a massive, sprawling, closed-group Facebook page revolving around the spectacle of daily mugshot postings released to the public by Lane County law enforcement and other nearby jurisdictions.

I’m not proud. I have an addictive personality, and something about the site — its raw, adrenalized hit of unreconstructed civic collapse from the street level — makes me feel giddy and dirty and kind of sick at the same time.

May 4, 2017

She moved into River Grove Memory Care in Lane County in October of 2016, needing a little more rehabilitation and care before she could go home with her husband. This 62-year-old woman had vascular dementia, but her diabetes was under control and she was able to walk more than 100 feet without stopping, a feat after spinal surgery in August 2013. 

Her husband hoped that she would be out of the facility in 6 months with proper care. 

April 27, 2017

On Sept. 11, 2001, an informal interfaith prayer gathering took place on the steps of the former City Hall building in downtown Eugene. 

One month later, members of the Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i and Native American communities organized an interfaith service at First Christian Church in Eugene. It was the start of the longest running interfaith service in North America.

April 20, 2017

Going green can be achieved by making changes big or small. Three main contributors to greenhouse gases are transportation, what types of food you buy — i.e. where it comes from and how it’s packaged — and how you heat and cool your home, according to Linda Kelly with 350 Eugene. 

“One of the main things to think about is our personal habits that can really affect our carbon footprint,” she says. 

Little changes that people can make at home begin by taking shorter showers, washing clothes in cold water and putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. 

April 20, 2017

The stereotype of a disaster prepper is that of a man alone in the woods, hoarding cans of baked beans and bullets to fend off neighbors after the apocalypse. Few may know, however, that the best chances a community has for survival come from working together and looking after each other.

April 20, 2017

Imagine internet so fast you could download nine hours of audio in less than a second, or a two-hour movie in less than 10. That fantasy is about to become a reality in downtown Eugene.

April 20, 2017

If you’ve ever talked about capturing and using the plentiful rainwater here in Oregon, someone has probably told you that it’s illegal. 

That would be wrong. It’s perfectly legal, providing you catch the rainwater off of an artificial, impervious surface, according to Michael Mattick, the Oregon Water Resources Department’s watermaster for district 2, which includes Lane County.  

Watermasters regulate water use during shortages, mediate disputes between water users and provide water rights information to landowners, among myriad other water-supply oriented duties.

April 13, 2017

Music scenes are like phantoms: Point them out, and they disappear; name them and they shift; call out a great house-show venue and watch it evaporate.

It’s sometimes best to keep tabs on a scene from the corner of your eye, a silent interloper without much fanfare. 

Historically Eugene has had good music: a university breeding massive entrenched institutions for classical music and jazz; a history of blues and acoustic string music; scrappy rock bands with varying degrees of success. And let’s not forget those Grateful Dead shows. 

April 6, 2017

It’s morning at Y’i Shen Market and the restaurant’s kitchen is waking up. 

Chicken and beef broths — made daily — bubble in vast pots on the back of the stove, wafting the aroma of star anise, garlic and onions. A peek inside a standing roaster reveals glistening duck, barbeque pork butts, shoulder and belly, destined for the day’s rice dishes.

April 1, 2017

Every single day that’s arrived since Jan. 20, we wake up, blink, rub our eyes and remember: It’s all still true. These are the times that call for inspiring words and deep, deep thoughts to live by.

Relax, reader. You won’t find any of them here.

March 23, 2017

A couple degrees colder and the rain would freeze.

“Hi there. Hello. Excuse me,” Pastor Dan Bryant says to a crumpled heap of blankets and backpacks. “It’s time to start collecting your things.”

Silence and darkness. Only select corner marts, coffee joints and gas stations are open at this hour.

“I just need a sign of recognition,” Bryant asserts.

A corner of fabric folds back, and out from the confusing wad signals a tiny hand.

“Thank you,” Bryant says, and continues on.

March 23, 2017

It’s ten minutes before the doors open and more than 30 people have gathered in the entry garden of Eugene’s downtown public library. They are reading books, looking at their phones and chatting about movies. Some buy coffee at the Novella Café. They are in wheelchairs, in camo, in beanies. Some carry bags, one has a didgeridoo. There are fathers with babies, retirees, young professionals and sleepy-eyed women carrying crafting supplies.

A number of them are homeless.

March 23, 2017

The homeless are not the problem; homelessness is. Eugene’s advocates for the unhoused are working overtime, searching for solutions. We should do more, we can do more and our local governments must do more. 

The dog ban pushes those with nowhere to go out of downtown or forces them to give up a source of comfort and security, without fixing the root problem that puts people on the streets.

March 16, 2017

EW talked to Samantha Swindler, a columnist for The Oregonian and president of the Oregon Territory chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, to get her take on the media chaos.

 

What forces — historically, socially, politically — have led to the current distrust and suspicion of the media?

March 16, 2017

Did you absolutely love that article you read about Bernie Sanders on Occupy Democrats and agree with every word? Did you hate that story on NPR because the public radio network reported on the timber industry as if it had valid points on cutting down trees?

Before you pull a Trump and scream “fake news!” and before you post “media blackout!” on your Facebook feed and accuse the media of not covering a specific news topic, take a minute to think about what fake news actually is. 

March 16, 2017

It goes without saying: Mainstream media are hardly without blame when it comes to the passionate partisan distrust now swamping the so-called news, and the “truths” it reports, in slippery muck of moral relativism. As the world burns, Good Morning America pimps the latest fad diet as though such ethereal concerns stood equal footing with weapons of mass destruction.

March 16, 2017

Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse updates his email newsletter weekly. On Feb. 3, the Roseburg Republican wrote that he wanted to focus on the executive order issued by President Donald Trump on immigration. “The reaction to the order by the media, special interest groups and many politicians is a perfect example of the campaign of misinformation and lies being waged against this administration,” he writes.

March 9, 2017

It’s Bill Rauch’s tenth season as artistic director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and on Saturday morning of opening weekend last month he sat on stage with OSF actor Rex Young and answered questions before a delighted crowd.

Example: Did the Tony-winning All the Way make a lot of money for the festival when it jumped from OSF to Broadway? Well, Rauch said, not nearly as much as Hamilton, calling the blockbuster show, which was not from OSF, “the OSF musical that got away.”

March 1, 2017

They said they wanted to cut off his head and tear his heart out of his chest.

The car Alfred Lahai Brownell was traveling in was stopped by a roadblock and surrounded by 150 men wielding guns and machetes, “all kinds of weapons,” Brownell remembers. The men were members of a security force allegedly hired by palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia. They were drunk, had lit a fire and were dancing around the vehicle, breaking into it and slashing its tires. 

February 23, 2017

Editor's Note: The names of the mothers in this story, Brenda and Rosa, are pseudonyms to protect their children from retribution.

This past September, Brenda went to pick up her 5-year-old son from kindergarten at McCornack grade school. “The principal said he was at the office and to come get him,” she says. Brenda followed the principal to an office containing her son, locked in and crying. "She felt like he was going to hurt her and she said she didn’t know what to do,” Brenda says.