News is everywhere that GateHouse — the mega-corporation that owns what’s left of The Register-Guard — is merging with Gannett, the newspaper chain whose flagship is USA Today. Both have been bleeding cash; revenues are down 30 percent or more this year at both corporations, which have slashed 600 positions between them since Jan. 1. A merger, probably later this summer, would mean “GannHouse” would control more than a sixth of all newspapers in the U.S., according to Nieman Lab’s media observer Ken Doctor, writing in It would own 265 dailies with a combined print circulation of nearly 9 million. At best, Doctor says, the deal buys time for troubled papers like the RG, whose staff has already been cut to the bone. “This isn’t about building a digital news juggernaut ready and eager to blaze a new chapter in American journalism,” he writes. “Simply put, these companies’ leaders think a megamerger buys two or three years — ‘until we figure it out.’” We wish them the best of luck.

• A list published by Oregon Quarterly of “100 Ducks Who Made a Difference” missed a few notable names. Among them are the late track star Steve Prefontaine (1974) and Nike founders Bill Bowerman (1934) and Phil Knight (1959). The alumni mag also omitted novelist Ken Kesey (1957). Then there are Douglas Hofstadter (Ph.D. 1975), who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; and Gordon Gilkey (MFA 1936), who worked with the famous Monuments Men in World War II to save European art treasures from the Nazis. Two women we missed actually fell outside the bounds of OQ’s list, which went back only to 1919. They are Louise Bryant (1909), who wrote about the Russian revolution and was played by Diane Keaton in the movie Reds; and nature writer Opal Whiteley (studied at UO in 1916), whose diary, The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart, created a national sensation when it was published in 1920 and is still read today. And Eugene Weekly has to note that Fred Taylor, one of the paper’s  owners until his death in 2015, was a Duck (class of 1950) and the former editor of The Wall Street Journal. 

Eugene Weekly was recognized nationally again for its outstanding graphic design as well as for multimedia when we took second place in editorial layout for the cover feature “I Married a White Supremacist” and honorable mention for multimedia for Lincoln Street Sessions from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia at its conference in July.

• Just an FYI to Republicans gathering signatures to recall Kate Brown: If by some weird chance you succeed, under Oregon law Brown might be replaced by another Democrat. The current secretary of state, Bev Clarno, was appointed and so can’t take office, according to one theory. See our story at

Word is out that former Mayor Jim Torrey, who lost his 4J school board seat to Martina Shabram in the last election, has applied for the seat the opened up when Evangelina Sundgrez moved out of state. It will be interesting to see what the school board does. When state Sen. James Manning lost in the primary to Rep. Julie Fahey for the seat she now holds, he was later appointed to his Senate seat by the Lane County Board of Commissioners and has done a good job. 

• State Rep. Julie Fahey offered the best news on July 19 at the City Club of Eugene when she said signature gathering had stopped, so HB 3427 will not be referred to the voters. This business tax for education called the Student Success Act will go into effect right away and it will be a game-changer for Oregon’s public schools. The Oregonian editorial board called it the Legislature’s “most consequential act in years.” Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a veteran of 21 years in the Legislature, suggested that we cannot allow walkouts by one party to become the norm for Oregon. In 2020, we should ask the voters to get rid of the required quorum, following the example of other states to require voting by a majority of those present. Sen James Manning said actions by this Legislature should dispel myths that we don’t care about rural Oregon. His district is a mix of rural and urban. And the big question coming out of this legislature: When will we pass climate legislation? Prozanski said it will take more debate, bringing more people to the table. He expects something to come forward in February 2020.

After closing Out On A Limb, his store on East Broadway, wood artist Tim Boyden is starting an open studio sale at his home, 1568 Fairmount Boulevard, from 11 am to 5 pm the last weekend of every month. The first sale is July 27 and 28. He makes benches, tables, plaques with sayings, cutting boards and, full disclosure, the bench in front of EW. He tells us he misses the community of his downtown store.