Something Eug by Dan Pegoda


Dissing the RG redesign, racist graffiti and more

•  The newly arrived Eugene Voters’ Pamphlet is overwhelming, and it’s hard to imagine anyone plowing through all the arguments regarding elected vs. appointed auditors. One of the persistent arguments we see against the elected auditor Measure 20-283 is that it’s too expensive and the cost would fund five police or firefighter positions. Well, auditors consistently pay for themselves by finding efficiencies. An auditor might suggest that a dozen city positions could be eliminated by better managing shifts, overtime, turnover and training. Or an auditor might find that hiring more people in some departments could eliminate expensive contracted services. But to be effective, auditing offices must be adequately funded and independent from the city services being audited.

• Makes us proud! About 400 supporters of Sponsors celebrated April 27 at Valley River Inn, filling the ballroom and raising money at the Spring Benefit and Awards dinner for this great organization. Started in Eugene in the early ’70s by a Catholic nun, Sponsors offers re-entry services for men and women returning to Lane County from jail or prison. It’s all about second chances. Ron Chase and now Paul Solomon have directed Sponsors with an inspiring can-do attitude.

The newly redesigned Register-Guard debuted Tuesday, May 1, with a look that recalls USA Today in the 1980s: blocky, disjointed and as graceless as Soviet brutalist architecture. Under Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Lanker in the 1970s and ’80s, the RG led the nation for its revolutionary use of photography and its graphic sophistication. But the paper was sold March 1 to GateHouse Media, which is transferring copy editing and page design to its cookie-cutter corporate hub in Austin, Texas.

• President Melody Rose of Marylhurst College told the City Club of Eugene April 27 that “democracy is under serious strain … the stakes in the coming election could not be higher.” A political scientist, Rose discussed the rise of non-affiliated voters in Oregon: “In 2018, non-affiliated could outstrip affiliated.” Listening to her, we wondered how to convince Americans, especially lower-income Americans, of the importance of voting. She suggested “sound civics education from K through 12.” Of course, but that seems unlikely at this time when democracy, and public education, is under serious strain.

• It was a sobering experience to talk to Charmaine Coleman after the community center recently re-named for her late husband, Ed Coleman, was defaced with racist and fascist markings. The Colemans have lived most of their lives in Eugene, raising their sons, performing music, participating in academia, moderating issues of race, and much more. But this hateful gesture against African-Americans in Eugene illustrates the constant need to fight racism in America, especially now that Donald Trump is president.

While EW is endorsing the Eugene parks measures — as a rule we are pro parks and public lands — we are also hearing concerns from homeless advocates about 20-288, which calls for “illicit activity response (illegal camp clean-up, graffiti removal, vandalism response)” and can be seen as targeting the homeless.