Slant 2-27-2014

• It is disappointing that two Eugene attorneys who are powerful statewide have led the effort to stop HB 4143, which would give to legal aid the funds left over when all the winners of class-action lawsuits do not collect their shares, for whatever reasons. Oregon and New Hampshire are the only states that return the uncollected funds to the guilty defendants. David Frohnmayer and Bill Gary, representing big oil and big tobacco, argue now that this short legislative session allows too little time to consider this issue. That’s an ironic argument when we remember that Gary represented Nike in locking in an unprecedented 30-year tax deal in a special one-day session. 

Senate President Peter Courtney, who knows the logistics of legislation as well as anybody in this state, has argued passionately for the state Senate to pass HB 4143. It passed the House 36-21. Attorney General Rosenblum former attorneys general Hardy Myers and Ted Kulongoski and favor HB 4143. This is a test of whether the big-money lobbying that dominates D.C. also dominates Salem.

• 4J School Board Member Jim Torrey complimented the local YMCA for playing the best “ground game” in the competition for the 10.2 acres including Civic Stadium at the decisive school board meeting Feb. 19. Internet messages from the Y flooded board members’ inboxes. But the board voted 6-1 (Beth Gerot dissenting) to sell to the city. It was clear at that meeting that Fred Meyer (Kroger) is now standing in the wings eager to buy the valuable property no matter the price if the city can’t meet its own requirements.

• The long squabble over historic street lamps for WOW Hall might be ending soon. We understand a productive meeting happened Feb. 21 between WOW Hall, Eugene Public Works, Councilor George Brown and Eugene Neighborhood Services. Jon Pincus of WOW Hall says negotiations will continue and will involve architect Steve Baker, a member of the Eugene Historic Review Board and Planning Commission. What’s next? If the project goes forward, the next phase of fundraising will begin. Find out more at

• We hear tireless advocate for the homeless Alley Valkyrie is moving to Portland. It’s a “decision based on personal finances and psychological well-being,” she writes on her public Facebook page. Valkyrie’s business, Practical Rabbit, where she dyes and prints clothing and patches and felts fuzzy creatures, makes more money in PDX, she says. We wish her the best, want to give Portland city government a heads up and can’t help but wonder if we can’t raise money through some Kickstarter campaign to hire her as Eugene’s official squeaky wheel to keep her here a while longer.

Photo by Todd Cooper

Skin deep in Springfield — Needles buzzed across acres of exposed flesh this past weekend, Feb. 21-23, as dozens of the nation’s best artists plied their trade at the inaugural Evergreen Tattoo Expo at Springfield’s Willamalane Center. Experts from far-flung places like London and Puerto Rico mingled with artists closer to home, such as Tyler Jones (aka “Mr. Jones”) from Off the Map Tattoo in Grants Pass. Evergreen organizer Erin Smith says the expo was a hit, receiving “tons of praise” from the artists. “We’ve already sold booths and are making plans for next year,” she adds.