• Mass shootings, hate rallies, wildfires, climate change, politics in general. Sometimes it feels like bad news fills up our pages. Eugene Weekly has a policy of always trying to make sure we have something bright and fun in our issues as well, whether it’s longtime stalwart Happening People, a new business or everybody’s favorite, the crossword puzzle. This week we decided to devote our cover feature spot to fun, so welcome to EW’s Puzzle Issue! Solve the puzzles and then take a photo and tag us with #EWpuzzled on social media.

Portland (and Oregon as a whole, most likely) really pisses off the alt right. This state is really white, due to a long history of oppression against African Americans, but it’s also very liberal. It’s Portlandia, and Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer know their rallies will get a lot of headline-grabbing kickback (literally and figuratively) from Antifa. (Brief note to President Donald Trump here: Antifa means anti-fascist, and while Trump would probably love to declare every anti-fascist a terrorist, that’s not going to fly). The last Aug. 17 rally in Portland was met with strong resistance from those who oppose hate and white supremacy. Check out our coverage and photos online. 

Rep. Peter DeFazio has defeated Republican Art Robinson in every election since 2010, but now there’s a new Republican lining up for the challenge to take on DeFazio. Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg has filed for the 4th Congressional District in 2020. This is in addition to Jo Rae Perkins who lost to Robinson in 2016 and 2018 in the primaries. Skarlatos helped thwart a terror attack on a train in France, and he later played himself in the Clint Eastwood movie about the incident. With Robinson’s efforts to collect the pee of all Oregonians and his belief that a little nuclear contamination is good for you, it’s made the race against DeFazio pretty interesting over the years. What’s Skarlatos got?

Remember Jamie McLeod-Skinner? She ran a strong but unsuccessful campaign against Greg Walden in 2018 for his eastern Oregon congressional seat. Now The Oregonian and Bend Bulletin both report that she is planning to run in 2020 for Oregon secretary of state. Filing date is mid-September for the May primary, sure to include other strong Democrats. She’s a planner, attorney and consultant in water issues and national resources. McLeod-Skinner could be a bridge between that rural-urban divide that the Oregon media keeps talking about.

What we’re reading: Here’s a new book with political reach both now and into the future. It’s America Is Better Than This by Sen. Jeff Merkley, just out this month. Merkley is talking about his book 7:30 pm Aug. 26 at Powell’s Books in Portland. He writes about the inside story of how one senator with no background as an immigration activist became a leading advocate for reform of the brutal policies that have created a humanitarian crisis on the southern U.S. border. The book also could be another stepping stone on Merkley’s reach for the presidency, not in 2020 but later. If you’re going to run for president, you have to write a book and this sounds like a good one.