Val Hoyle to run for labor commissioner

Val Hoyle, our popular Lane County Democrat who was majority leader of the Oregon House, told EW this week that she is going to run for Oregon Labor Commissioner in May 2018. Current Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told Hoyle he doesn’t plan on running again once this term ends. A non-partisan election, this one will be over if a candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote; if not, there’s a runoff. It’s good to have Val back in the arena, and labor commissioner is a fine fit for her. Next question: Who else will be running?

• Last week an angry man kicked in our employee door after hours. One of the riders with Cascadian Courier Collective didn’t just stand idly by when he witnessed it. He chased after the suspect (we don’t necessarily recommend doing that, by the way), got a photo of the man, called the Eugene police and notified us. Thanks to him and the police and all the people who shared our post with the photo, the suspect was caught. Thank you everyone and thanks especially to those who are not just bystanders, but act when they see something.

• In Eugene, we’ve been talking about the housing shortage. In Springfield, we’re intrigued to see that the City Council has moved to waive system development fees for two years for those looking to build accessory or secondary dwelling units — what some call granny flats or mother-in-laws — to create affordable housing. See more info on our blog at

Sen. Ron Wyden dropped by the Eugene Weekly office over the weekend, before heading over to Springfield for one of many, many town halls he’s held this rowdy political season. When we asked him about Trump’s future he stressed the word “if” when he told us “if” Trump gets through all this, he’ll definitely run for a second term. Russiagate piles higher and deeper, and meanwhile the Trump administration works to reverse all that’s been accomplished on climate change, health care and more.

• Good to see the petition to create an independent performance auditor for Eugene got approval from the city recorder’s office in time for petitioners to work the crowds outside the Oregon Country Fair last week. This initiative is important to the democratic process in Eugene. It would not change our form of government, but it would add a vital level of transparency and accountability, and likely save taxpayers many times the cost. Opponents are trying to confuse the issue with talk of compromises and alternatives, but it’s clear the best results come from elected, not appointed auditors. It will take a big group effort to gather the signatures to get this measure on the ballot next May, and the petitioners only have 100 days. For more information or to contact the chief petitioners, go to or call 541-520-9572.

• The City Club of Eugene’s July 7 program on opioids left us wondering what we can do to help reverse this epidemic that kills 91 Americans every day. One small suggestion: Take every painkiller left in your medicine cabinet from a tooth extraction or earlier medical episode to one of the nine drop boxes in Lane County. That will prevent someone else from getting into them. The local opioid problem was discussed by three impressive women at the City Club meeting: Dr. Elizabeth Maxwell from PreventionLane; Maureen Jenne from Emergence; and Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley from Lane County’s drug court.

• Are you a wine lover? A cannabis connoisseur? Our beloved longtime wine writer Lance Sparks is retiring and we are looking for someone to fill his inestimable shoes. Eugene Weekly is also looking for a freelance weed columnist to write for us. Think you’ve got the skills (and the stomach for the letters to the editor)? Email for details.

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