• A half century ago, Rachel Carson sounded the alarm in her book Silent Spring: We were killing off birds with the use of the pesticide DDT. As a result, DDT was banned, and species such as the bald eagle rebounded from near extinction. Now a much more ominous warning has come. According to a September article in the journal Science, the population of wild birds in North America has dropped by nearly 30 percent since 1970, largely because of habitat loss. That’s a harder problem to solve, and can’t simply be addressed locally. What do we do? Go to the polls and vote for candidates — local, regional and national — who are committed to protecting the environment through sustainable living.

• To a standing-room-only crowd at the City Club of Eugene meeting on Nov. 8, the action plan was unspoken but obvious: We need more money to make a dent in the homeless problem in this community. The speakers were: Bob Cerince, homeless and supportive housing services supervisor for Lane County; Wakan Alferes from Homes for Good; Marc Douthit from Buckley Detox Center; and Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner. Skinner said he was impressed at how the city and county are going after state and federal money. Would the voters agree to more funding to deal with homelessness? How do we bring back the social services that have been stripped away? It’s encouraging that the private and public sectors both are working for some solutions, but are we running in place? Homeless advocate Jerry Smith announced in the question period that 63 new unhoused persons are on the streets of Eugene every month.

• Over here on Lincoln Street, the Eugene Police Department took down its surveillance trailer that lurked over a homeless protest camp (and our offices) over the weekend. We’re wondering if EPD plans to move the trailer over the Elk Horn Brewery and other businesses that have experienced vandalism? 

• It was 2001 when Coach Jody Runge laid the groundwork for the great women’s basketball program we now have at the University of Oregon. She was here for eight seasons, drawing larger crowds every year to rockin’ Mac Court. Some said the UO’s Athletic Department was worried that the women were becoming more popular than the men and that was a factor in her firing. Who could have predicted that the Duck women would be ranked #1 in the country in 2019, would draw 11,500 fans to Mathew Knight Arena to see them beat the U.S. national team, the best team in the world. It should be a fun season with Coach Kelly Graves and his fine athletes. We need fun!

• We need to weigh carefully what we read about Congressman Peter DeFazio from now until the 2020 election. Political opponents already are attacking him. One way or another, Republicans would love to take out the powerful chairman of the House committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and we don’t want to be deceived into helping them.