Slant 1-9-2014

• No shock that Fred Meyer came in first in a revenue analysis of three proposals for the Civic Stadium site, up for sale or lease by Eugene School District 4J. The analysis got a big headline in the daily rag (slow news day), but it was pretty predictable. Yes, Fred Meyer has more money to spend, but the question is what will give the most long-term  benefits to the community — we’re going to say a place for people to exercise rather than another big corporate store to shop in.

Good thing revenue is only half the final scoring points; 4J also calculated additional benefits to schools and community (20 points each) and saving the stadium (10 points). It’s irksome that saving the stadium was only allocated 10 points, particularly since a refurbished stadium has the potential to make Eugene a Northwest soccer center. It’s hard to attach a dollar value and community benefit to that potential, but we urge the school board and administration to try. (We hear Springfield is looking at building a soccer stadium as an economic driver.) Ideally, when it makes its final decision, 4J will hack some points off the Fred Meyer proposal for its likely obstacles: a dragged-out fight over rezoning, potential lawsuits and many thousands of pissed-off Eugeneans if the historic stadium falls and is replaced with a shopping center. 

This week in unnecessary censorship: Junction City artist Linda Cunningham is making some people very uncomfortable — a task that many (Lucian Freud, Pablo Picasso, Banksy) would argue is the job of the artist. But Springfield’s Emerald Art Center (EAC) executive board members — Chris Mackay, Gladys Bacon-Rust, Dottie Chase, Bonnie Sandland, Merrilea Jones — have banned Cunningham’s mixed-media piece from a non-juried show. “School Days” features Dick and Jane storybook images juxtaposed with bullet casings — a commentary on the Sandy Hook shootings of Dec. 14, 2012. Hearing of the censorship, local artist Jud Turner canceled his upcoming March show at EAC, and others may follow. 

“Censorship, in general, I don’t think is OK in the arts,” Turner tells EW.  “It doesn’t push any of the buttons of being obscene, gross, violent or controversial … It’s a piece of art that comments on something that is really, really relevant today, which is gun violence.” Turner fears that because some of his work uses political, religious and sexually provocative images, his art could be banned as well. He adds that by not allowing the public to see the work, the board “really underestimates the intelligence of the viewer.” 

Our country fetishizes guns and violence while leading the world in school shootings, so it’s time to get a little uncomfortable and confront gun issues. Here’s hoping some other local gallery or venue will display “School Days” and facilitate a real conversation about threats to public safety.

• Free Snowden.

Eugeneans continued to be generous this past holiday season, and some results are coming in. Mayor Kitty Piercy’s Home for the Holidays campaign, in collaboration with St. Vinnie’s, is nearing its $40,000 goal this winter to help 40 families with the resources they need to get into rental housing. The annual Caldera Songwriter Friends packed Tsunami Books Dec. 20 and local music lovers donated $700 in cash and two carloads of coats, hats, blankets, socks and sleeping bags for those who live outdoors, according to songwriter Beth Wood’s newsletter. And of course thousands of people in Lane County contributed time, energy and money to help bring some relief to our growing population of disadvantaged residents.

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