Slant 11-27-2013

• We keep saying this and it’s worth repeating. Civic Stadium and the 10 acres it sits on are important to the character of this community. In the depth of the Great Depression, citizens of Eugene voted to help build the stadium, along with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, the WPA, the wood products industry and others. The unemployment rate was nearly 25 percent. Now, in better times — at the end of the Great Recession — we have a chance to restore what is still a solid structure, a tribute to Oregon’s big trees, for sport, music and fun — and use the rest of the property for the YMCA or parkland or something else. Seldom does historical preservation offer such an opportunity. We’ve already lost too much of our history.

• Speaking of Civic, we hear the Friends of Civic Stadium now has more than $200,000 in its escrow account to pay for the “preservation and rehabilitation” of the stadium. The funds will be used only if the property is acquired by the city or a nonprofit organization for use as a public sports and entertainment venue. Donors will get their money back if the stadium is demolished. Want to contribute? See or mail a check to Friends of Civic Stadium, P.O. Box 50622, Eugene 97405. 

• As we go to press, gas prices are down so holiday travelers might be more likely to hit the roads. Also poised to hit Oregon’s roads are megaloads of oil extraction equipment heading for the Canadian tar sands. With trainloads of oil and of coal heading west for export and megaloads of tar sands equipment heading east and north to be used in the massive open pit mines of the tar sands, Oregon is more and more starting to look like a fossil fuel gateway. Is that the legacy we want for our state? Earlier this year we wrote about the scenic drive you can take through John Day and Prairie City; now that little highway is being overwhelmed with equipment and transport vehicles as long as a football field. Climate change activists are spending their holiday week in Eastern Oregon protesting and documenting the megaloads and any damage they do. Maybe this Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to reflect on what we can do to burn fewer fossil fuels and let politicians know Oregon should not be the gateway to fossil fuel burning hell.

From left are Ashley Miller, Michael Carrigan, Kate Kelly, Christie Splitt and John Lively at the OLCV event.

• The Oregon League of Conservation Voters had its Environmental Scorecard roll-out party last week at Hop Valley Brewing and some of OLCV’s Portland office folks came down to talk to a standing-room-only crowd about our local representatives in the Legislature and how they fared on contested enviro issues. We wrote about the scores in this column Oct. 31. The folks Lane County sends to Salem are ranked higher than most, and newly elected Rep. John Lively of Springfield earned a 94 percent on his first evaluation. What we like about the OLCV is that it provides a degree of accountability that would otherwise be lacking in our political process. The Scorecard not only tracks voting records but OLCV also pays attention to the bills (and there are many of them) that affect land use, air and water quality, energy and agriculture. See 

Seeing the relatively high scores racked up by state reps and senators in our part of the valley makes us wonder how we ended up with such a backward County Commission. The local chapter of the OLCV will not be doing a Lane County Scorecard this year, but it’s pretty easy to tell where the Tea Party commissioners stand on land use and basic issues of clean air and clean water.

Interesting neighbors filled the parking lot at the Fairgrounds Saturday, Nov. 23. Holiday Market and the adjoining Farmers Market opened their indoor holiday season, and next door the gun show was the draw. Different crowds, you think!

• We’ve written about the new paved trail along the Willamette River from Dorris Ranch in Springfield east to Clearwater Park and we finally got around to checking it out this past Sunday. Despite the chilly weather, this 4-mile path along the river and through the woods was busy with a friendly mix of bundled-up walkers, runners, cyclists, baby strollers, kids and dogs. Nice parking areas at both ends of the trail with maps, benches and even public toilets. This public-private partnership is a treasure for Springfield and hey, Eugeneans don’t need a passport to join the parade. Access Dorris Ranch by car or bike from South 2nd Street.

• Oregon freshman Edward Cheserek just won the NCAA cross country championship — something no Oregon Duck has ever done. That’s right. Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Galen Rupp and all the other Oregon running greats never matched Cheserek’s audacious feat. Running in cold, windy, muddy conditions in Indiana, Cheserek blew past the senior defending champion to win the 10K race by 18 seconds. Oregon has the best track fans in the country, and this spring they get to watch national champion Cheserek run at Hayward Field wearing an Oregon jersey. It should be quite a show!