Slant 11-20-2014

• The fundraising effort to save historic Civic Stadium as a community center for kids’ sports, soccer and other activities is close to a Dec. 1 deadline and we urge everyone to contribute financially or volunteer to help raise money. USL Pro and W-League soccer at Civic would be a big economic boost for Eugene and Lane County. Soccer is popular across the economic divide, filling stadiums in the Northwest, and Eugene could be next. (Unlike college football, you don’t have to shell out 100 bucks to see a soccer game.) We are also pleased to see Bev Smith and KidSports planning a big field house on the 10-acre property. The field house would be an indoor facility providing much-needed space for basketball and field sports year-round. Two organizations are working to purchase the site and fund the restoration, the Eugene Civic Alliance and Friends of Civic Stadium (see and This is an important investment in the future of Eugene, carrying on the public-private partnership that created Civic Stadium in 1938 during the Great Depression.

Will the drama settle down now that a new board member was elected to the governing board of Emerald Peoples Utility District? Maybe, maybe not. EPUD, which serves 2,400 customers, has experienced years of painful turmoil on its board. The even-tempered Lee Kelley was elected in November to replace Patti Chappel on the board, which should help, but then some recorded EPUD phone conversations went public. The relatively new General Manager Scott Coe was recorded in personal conversations voicing criticism of some board members. Now he’s being forced out. But Coe has been leading the utility in a positive direction, and we hear nearly all EPUD employees support him. It would be in the best interest of the utility and its customers if the board asked him to stay. Keeping Coe would save the utility severance pay and all the costs associated with recruiting and hiring a new manager. Plus, finding a top-notch new manager in a national search would be difficult considering the board’s toxic history. Coe is a competent and effective manager. If he’s willing to stick it out, keep him around.

• Even the coldest nights don’t keep people around here at home when the issue is the environment. A forum on the future of the Elliott State Forest featuring Cascadia Wildlands, Cascadia Forest Defenders, Coast Range Forest Watch as well as landowners and hunters filled Cozmic Nov. 17, despite freezing temps. Videographer Tim Lewis tells us the premiere of his series All About Parvin earlier this month had 200 people turn out, including Greg Demers, one of the scenic butte’s miners. If you missed the debut, you can see the serialized film with a new episode every two weeks at

• Regarding our cover story last week on wage theft, we heard from a reader who says she is reminded of “security deposit theft that occurs regularly” by rental property owners in Oregon. “Owners seem to think security deposits are their piggy banks to enhance cash flow,” she says. State laws regulate how security deposits are supposed to be handled, but we’ve heard horror stories about what actually happens in some landlord-tenant disputes. Landlords can be screwed by tenants as well, but landlords have the power of the checkbook.

• We’re updating our War Dead statistics on our website this week. Our perpetual war in the Mideast continues to drain our resources with questionable results. Two more U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in the last 30 days and 17 more were wounded in action. Eugene’s share of the financial burden of that war is now up to $300 million. The war against ISIS broke $1 billion this month and Eugene’s share so far is $478,800. Iraq is no longer deadly for American troops (just U.S. civilian contractors), but 2,113 more Iraqi civilians died in the civil war in the last 30 days and the financial cost to the U.S. continues at about $3 million a month, not counting the ISIS campaign.