• As people continue to wonder how much U.S. cities pay for their police departments, sometimes you need to frame it another way to realize how much money flows to those budgets. Eugene’s 2021 proposed budget allocates 17 percent of its $395.5 million budget to the police. That means the Eugene Police Department should receive about $68 million in 2021. According to the global nongovernmental organization the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2018 the country of Malta spent $69 million on its military. So maybe it’s a good idea to remind readers that the Eugene’s Police Commission is currently accepting applications for four open seats through July 10. 

• In this turbulent time of police brutality, broad and profound protests, as well as a global pandemic, the toppling of the two pioneer statues on the University of Oregon campus seemed almost inevitable. UO President Michael Schill has condemned it as vandalism and in a statement called for an inclusive and deliberative process to deal with just grievances. We normally are all about deliberation, but as a nation we’ve taken our sweet time with the process, and it’s past time to get to work on systematic racism. Schill said for now the statues would be stored and “neither statue would go back to their previous places of prominence on campus.” Looking ahead, we have some questions. How do we feel about the pioneer statue on the dome of the Oregon capitol building? Or the name of the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland? Will this action, calling attention to longtime injustices, ultimately lead to more scholarships, advising and services for all students of color? We hope so.

• Thanks to the COVID-19 recession, Oregon is facing teacher layoffs, less money to fight wildfires and fewer resources to protect foster children and vulnerable seniors, among other daunting cutbacks. So what do we do? On June 15, the Oregon Center for Public Policy, our fine progressive think tank in Portland, suggested cutting tax breaks that flow to the rich and corporations through the tax code. Because this state is required to have a balanced budget and we aren’t expecting much help from the federal government, that looks like a reasonable solution. Let’s do it.

• It’s been a nonstop news cycle lately, and while we tend to save stories to stain your hands on Thursday with our soy-based ink, don’t miss out on our online extras. Check out to read about a lawsuit that alleges racism ran rampant at a Junction City RV dealership, protesters canceling the UO’s pioneer statues, an “explosive” new park name in Florence (or maybe it’s a whale of a name?), public meetings coverage — and so much more.  

• Educators and students took to the streets on Friday, June 12, marching to support Black Lives Matter. The rally ended at the 4J Education Center, where faculty talked about the need to stand up and protect their students of color, as well as eliminating School Resource Officers. The Eugene School Board will meet virtually on June 17 to discuss the presence of officers in schools. Check back in with EW for an online update.

• The most important suggestion that came out of the June 12 City Club of Eugene virtual forum on “Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis” was an easy one: VOTE. Elect people committed to reducing gun violence. Four speakers recommended more and better research, background checks and more, but voting is the best tool to reduce the 40,000 gun deaths in this country a year. Looking ahead, City Club is planning two Friday Forums focused on the racial issues on the streets of America today. On July 24, a panel will talk about accountability and transparency in local law enforcement, and on July 31 the topic is reliance and over-reliance on law enforcement, as well as the redefinition of the scope of policing. On June 19, Sarah Medary, Eugene city manager, and Steve Mokrohisky, Lane County administrator, will talk about “Booming Forward: Eugene and Lane County Focus on Recovery.”

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