Eugene Weekly has a hiking column again! Chandra LeGue of Oregon Wild, who recently authored a book on hikes in Oregon’s ancient forest, will be writing a periodic “Way in the Woods” column with hikes and information about their ecosystems. Years ago, before he left for The Register-Guard, popular author Bill Sullivan wrote our hiking column. After him, Cascadia Wildland’s first executive director, James Johnston, took up the pen and camera. We have had some other great writers filling in the gaps, and are delighted to have LeGue writing for us regularly! 

On Oct. 23 at Elk Horn Brewery on E. Broadway, business owners, public officials and friends of the brewery came together at the call of Stephen Sheehan, owner of the business that has been vandalized twice in recent weeks. The damage was allegedly done by a mentally ill woman, caught on video, who has been arrested. The question of the evening: What to do about the problem of people on our streets who are mentally ill, suffering from addiction or are homeless? A slogan, “Wake Up, Eugene,” and  a Facebook page came out of the meeting. Eugene Police Chief Skinner was impressive when he spoke. Most important, public and private sectors of Eugene came together to seek solutions. That’s the direction we have to go to solve this problem. The ball is in all of our courts.

Known to national news outlets as the “earthquake lady,” Southern California seismologist Lucy Jones spoke to the City Club of Eugene Oct 25. She is in residence at the University of Oregon this fall as the Wayne Morse Chair for Law and Politics. Her City Club topic was “What Seismic Policy Can Tell Us About the Climate Crisis.” Emphasizing the “wild concept of planning ahead,” Jones said the real threat is in not dealing ahead of time with the climate crisis or earthquake preparedness. Only after the California quakes has legislation been passed to make the state safer for the residents. A bright note for Eugene: Jones says the New Yorker story about the “big one” looming in the Northwest overestimated the intensity level for this area, that it probably should be a 7 rather than a 9 on the Richter scale. Whew.

• “Student journalists across the country have stepped in to fill a void after more than 2,000 newspapers have closed or merged, leaving more than 1,300 communities without any local news coverage.” That’s a quote from an Oct. 20 full-page story in The New York Times on the shrinking of American local news coverage and how college papers like The Michigan Daily in Ann Arbor are stepping up. Luckily we have all kinds of local coverage in the Eugene-Springfield area, maybe not as in depth as we would like, but radio, TV, the Emerald on the UO campus, as well as EW and The Register-Guard still offer competing news voices.

• Republican Rep. Greg Walden’s announcement that he won’t run for re-election in 2020 in eastern Oregon’s conservative 2nd Congressional District raises the question, who will take his place? Bend Republican Knute Buehler, defeated by Kate Brown last year in the governor’s race, has said he’s thinking about it. Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who drew 39 percent of the vote when she challenged Walden as a relatively unknown candidate in 2018, has said she might cancel her run for secretary of state in 2020 and try for Congress once more. If she doesn’t, here’s a dark horse: Harney County Sheriff David Ward, a Drain native and Army veteran of Somalia and Afghanistan who distinguished himself with even-handed community leadership during the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed extremists in 2016. Ward, who spoke at Eugene’s City Club Sept. 13, has already announced he’s resigning as sheriff at the end of 2019 because of severe county budget problems. The plainspoken lawman could draw wide support in the district and, unlike so much of today’s GOP, he’s smart and honorable.

• In the last couple years, EW has published several “solutions journalism” stories — news stories that don’t just point out a problem exists, like homelessness, but also offer solutions to the issue. You can find them on by searching the tag for the UO’s Catalyst Journalism Project, which has produced many impactful solutions stories. EW Editor Camilla Mortensen has been given a Lede Fellowship to develop solutions journalism stories with Lane Community College students and is part of a cohort of 21 journalists around the world developing solutions stories and projects. Other projects range from a podcast by OPB’s Allison Frost to projects by journalists and educators in Uganda, Egypt, Nigeria, Czech Republic and across the U.S. and Europe.

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