Slant 8-18-2016

• While we welcome the recent re-embracing of long-form journalism, we weren’t impressed by The Oregonian’s recent and massive “Firestorm” piece. Fire is a huge concern in Oregon, but The O put thousands of words into laying blame on how the Malheur National Forest attacked last year’s Canyon Complex fires on Oregon’s east side, accusing firefighters of being timid, rather than examining how climate change and a lack of fire let those fires get so big in the first place. The life of a firefighter — usually a young man or woman — is more valuable than anyone’s home or ranch. Aug. 13, a member of Lolo Hotshots, Justin Beebe, 26, was killed fighting a fire in Nevada. Did The O miss the point? Aggressive fire suppression over the years caused these large blazes. We need to care for our forests better, not ask young people to take more chances than they already are to protect private property built into forestland.

• Those dark-suited men and their security system shouldn’t scare anyone away from the terrific art show hung this week in the Wayne L. Morse Courthouse at 405 E. 8th Avenue. Security takes a few minutes, requiring a photo ID and a walk through a metal detector — no cameras allowed. Kirsten Shende hung the show, bringing creative talent to the expanses of white that architect Thom Mayne designed into the 10-year-old building. A reception is planned for Oct. 5, 4 to 6 pm for the artists Jon Jay Cruson, Lynn Isen Peterson, Mike Pease, Deigh Bates, Michael Thompson, James Earl and Lynda Lanker. See Aug. 11 EW for Alex V. Cipolle’s story.

Phil Barnhart’s race to hold his seat in the Oregon House is one not to be overlooked. Representing parts of both Lane and Linn counties, he nearly always has a quiet but critical contest. Chair of the House revenue committee, Phil is one of those public servants Oregon and Eugene is lucky to claim, going back to his beginning on the 4J school board. In the races in play this fall, his is listed as “lean Dem” not “likely Dem.” If you want to volunteer to knock on doors or donate a dime, here’s a good place to do it.

• Warning! Donald Trump is coming to Oregon Aug. 31. His plans seem rather loose, but so far they include a fundraiser in Portland and a rally someplace else. We don’t want him here, especially after reading Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times Sunday, Aug. 14. Kristof, an Oregonian, writes how even the students in Forest Grove High School reflect the hatred and fear Trump is spewing about immigrants and “others.”

• Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we’re flattered that several news sources reported on the peculiar case of “Fred Brito” the con artist who led the Downtown Athletic Club for three months as Carlo DiMaria before being fired for lying on his résumé after we broke it on our blog. But let’s have a little honor among thieves journalists. If a news source breaks a story, give credit where credit is due! See our first story on our blog and the follow up in our 8/11 issue.