• We are proud to announce that former Eugene Weekly intern (now Wall Street Journal intern) Michael Tobin won Best Article of the Year in the national Hearst Journalism Awards — that’s like the Pulitzer Prize of college news writing. Tobin won for his story “Big Corporate Handouts with Little Oversight,” on local enterprise zones, published in EW Sept. 20, 2018. EW published the story through a partnership with the University of Oregon’s Catalyst Journalism Project.

• Looks like Rep. Peter DeFazio could have a challenger in the primary election. FEC candidate filings show that Doyle Canning sent in a statement of candidacy May 22. The application shows she has a campaign committee working out of Sacramento, California. Canning is attending law school at the UO and is the co-founder of the Center for Story-based Strategy, an organization that trains social justice alliances to use stories for social change. A Eugene Weekly article covering the 37th annual Public Annual Interest Environmental Law Conference quoted her saying the U.S. needs the Green New Deal because climate change “is a death sentence for future generations.” 

• Keep an eye on your paycheck and reconsider that Netflix subscription: The Eugene City Council approved the payroll tax in a work session June 10. Councilor Mike Clark proposed the idea of putting the tax to a council vote in November, saying if elected officials control the narratives, the public would support it. If the tax gets challenged through a citizens’ referendum, voters could shoot it down. Clark added that the council could find the money to extend the bridge funding that public services currently receives to increase its services. Councilor Emily Semple disagreed with Clark, saying it means cutting other city services. She added that councilors were elected to make tough decisions like imposing the tax (a common phrase from councilors during the time they’ve been considering the tax). Putting the tax on the ballot was rejected 3-5 with Councilors Alan Zelenka, Betty Taylor and Clark voting yes. The tax was approved by the City Council, 6-2 with Taylor and Clark dissenting.  

• Here’s a chance to get you voice heard on local issues. The Lane County Board of Commissioners will now hold public comment periods in the evening, making the board more accessible for working community members. The summer schedule is: June 18, Willamalane’s Ken Long Room, 250 S. 32nd Street, Springfield; July 23, Harris Hall 25 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene; and August 20, in Harris Hall. All sessions are 5:30 pm on Tuesdays.

Eugene’s 4J School Board will be choosing a replacement for Evangelina Sundgrenz, who resigned. May we humbly recommend that the board pick an applicant who is trusted by the conservative folks in our community? The quality of public education in Eugene has been strong because all political persuasions have supported it and we don’t want to lose that. 

• All Republican state senators and four Democrats recently voted down Senate Bill 2014 in Salem. Lee Beyers, labor Democrat from Springfield, was one of the  “no” votes. Shemia Fagan, a gutsy new Dem senator from Portland, co-carried the bill and closed with a passionate appeal for the Senate to restore the constitutional right to a jury trial rather than a government-imposed restriction on what juries can award to victims of sexual abuse and catastrophic injury. Big pharma, big health care and big insurance won this round, but the fight is not over.

• A preview and celebration of the Oregon Country Fair brought a happy crowd to the courtyard of the Lane County History Museum on Saturday afternoon, June 8. The museum is showing an exhibit about the fair for its 50th birthday this year, July 12, 13 and 14. Tall puppets, familiar fair music, wonderful costumes were all there with Cynthia Wooten, one of the fair founders, presiding over an opening ceremony. It was announced that OCF has been designated an Oregon Heritage Tradition, which “recognizes events more than 50 years old that represent what it means to be an Oregonian.” Quite a cultural mix, these events include the Portland Rose Festival, Pendleton Round-Up, Oregon State Fair, Bohemia Mining Days in Cottage Grove and the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City —–— about 20 events total.