Including Measure 101, downtown wishes and the UO deflects again

• You should have gotten your ballot in the mail this week for Measure 101. Vote “Yes!” 

• In addition to the Jan. 23 special election, things are getting under way for the May primary. Officially for the Democrats, law student Kimberly Koops-Wrabek has filed, and a press release confirms that Marty Wilde, a lawyer and health care administrator, is also in the race for Rep. Phil Barnhart’s District 11 legislative seat. Attorney and District 11 chair Kamala Shugar has announced she will not run. See our blog at for updates.

• Are you unhoused or without an address? Don’t let that stop you from voting. Lane County tells us, “Individuals do not have to have a traditional residential address in order to register to vote. Their physical location can be used to help determine which voting precincts they should be included in.” According to the county’s public information officer, Devon Ashbridge, “the staff in our Elections Office takes great pride in making sure that anyone who is eligible to vote — regardless of his or her circumstance — is able to register, as well as receive and return ballots.” Ashbridge says homeless individuals can get assistance in person at the Elections Office (275 W. 10th Avenue) or by phone at 541-682-4234. For voters without a mailing address, the Elections Office can arrange to hold their ballots for two weeks. She adds that the post office may also offer similar hold and pick up services. Paul Neville, director of public relations at St. Vincent DePaul, and staff at the Eugene Service Station (56 Highway 99 North) tell us that ESS staff can help make a phone call, fill out a new form or provide a stamp or a ride to Lane County Elections to help facilitate voting.

• In mid-December, Mayor Lucy Vinis asked all Eugene city councilors to send her their hopes for the city in 2018 and beyond, and what they are most proud of in 2017. Saying she would not use these unless all councilors responded — a curious limitation — she didn’t include those she did receive in her “State of the City” address or publication, so we offer the responses from councilors Betty Taylor and Emily Semple. In 2017, Taylor was most proud of the saving and naming of Kesey Square, street repairs, the free symphony at the Cuthbert and adding some seating downtown. Her hopes for the future include a homeless shelter downtown, a youth center downtown, City Hall, restoration of the Eugene airport’s flying people art in its entirety, the return of free parking downtown, the cooperation of business owner Ali Emani to open the walls on two sides of Kesey Square, the elimination of the MUPTE tax break for developers, a fireworks ban, more permanent seating downtown, self-cleaning restrooms scattered through downtown, a daylighted millrace, and putting community gardens in currently unused spaces, such as the former City Hall block. Semple says she was most proud of downtown improvements in 2017, and her 2018 wishes are for increased car camping, more dusk-to-dawn sites, overnight facilities for the unhoused, including those with substance abuse problems and other innovative overnight solutions, as well as day storage areas and community centers.

• People who sleep in tents in homeless camps have more than the bitter cold to deal with each night. Dampness creeps into those unheated spaces and wrecks sleeping bags and mattress pads, making them unusable. “Once the mold sets in, even spraying with bleach doesn’t help,” one camper told us. Many of us who are more fortunate have extra sleeping pads, Coleman stoves and other outdoor equipment that’s rarely used. The homeless camps really appreciate that dry gear. If you don’t know where to bring such items, feel free to stop by EW’s office at 1251 Lincoln Street as we collect gear and clothing for the unhoused and make regular runs with them to the White Bird Clinic.

• Sabrina Madison-Cannon, an associate dean at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a professor of dance at the school’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, will be the new dean of the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, the UO said this week. An African-American who’s a former soloist with Philadelphia Dance Company, she will start work this summer, overseeing — among other things — the struggling Oregon Bach Festival. The UO has already deflected EW’s request to talk with the new dean. “She’ll be happy to connect with you when she arrives on campus, but it would be premature to talk just yet,” UO spokesman Tobin Klinger replied when we emailed Madison-Cannon for an interview.

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