Lyllye Reynolds-Parker and BCC coordinator Aris Hall stand in front of the new center

• Take a look down 15th Avenue near Villard Street at the new Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. It’s only 3,200 square feet, a tiny building by University of Oregon standards, but it has more to do with the heart and soul of the university than the huge multi-million dollar structure going up down the street, the new Hayward Field. The Black Student Task Force fought for this center, and some former members spoke emotionally at the opening ceremony Oct. 12. It will be used for meetings, perhaps some classes, housing a small library and showcasing black art, and more. It is wisely named for a woman who worked for 17 years at the UO advising students of color who continues to be much loved in this community. Reynolds-Parker spoke at the opening. About 150 donors gave the $3 million it cost to build the center, led by a major gift from Nancy and David Petrone. Architecture Building Cultures, a firm with offices in Portland and Vancouver, B.C. designed the elegant little edifice. The opening ceremony brought together one of the most racially mixed audiences we’ve seen in Eugene. In this country, at this time, the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center at the UO gives us hope.

Lane County’s suicide rate is 50 percent higher than the national average. Nationally, suicide is a public health emergency. That was the starting point for the City Club of Eugene meeting Oct. 11. Speakers were Crystal Kekal Rowland, licensed social worker on the crisis team at PeaceHealth hospitals, and Roger Brubaker, suicide prevention coordinator with Lane County. Why this high rate in Lane County? Brubaker speculated that demographics are a factor, with the county slightly older and including a high veteran population. Another factor is the rural nature of the county, which has isolated pockets. Coastal Florence has an “astronomical” rate of suicide, three times the county rate. The most important number offered at the meeting was the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK(8255), if you or someone you know is thinking of suicide.

• In an open letter addressed to his University of Oregon colleagues, UO President Michael Schill pledges himself and his secretive university administration to “transparency.” Well, sort of. “I, and the people who report to me, will never knowingly lie or mislead members of our community,” Schill writes. Can you tell that this was written by a lawyer? What happened to simply telling the truth? This is a university that last spring ordered directors of three cultural programs as well as its labor education program not to discuss enormous budget cuts with the news media. “I sometimes wonder why some folks always think the administration is hiding things,” Schill says.

Register-Guard photographer Chris Pietsch should win a prize for his photo in the Oct. 11 paper of Gov. Kate Brown in the arms of gold medal winner DeAnna Price at the big opener in Eugene for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships. One smart local political observer told us Brown’s staffer at the opener should be fired for allowing such an image. It diminished the Oregon governor, who has promised to come up with $20 million for the track meet.

• Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis hosted a mayoral re-election campaign kickoff Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Petersen Barn Community Center, complete with an old-timey bluegrass band and her political supporters (including former Mayor Kitty Piercy and City Councilors Greg Evans and Chris Pryor). The food and the photo booth seemed to be popular. A few speeches talked about Vinis’ progress towards affordable housing and homelessness. So far no challengers have filed with the Oregon secretary of state.