• A University of Oregon alum, white and male, asked us why the Pioneer Mother statue was toppled and stored away along with the Pioneer Father recently on the campus. Interesting question, and one that is well addressed in a Local and Vocal Viewpoint in this issue by faculty from the UO’s Native American Studies Program and the Department of Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies. This country needs more statues of people of color and of women, and fewer of military men, standing in our places of honor.

• Something else we need is more celebrating of Black and Indigenous people, and the local Juneteenth celebrations on June 19 and 20 were a fabulous step in that direction — and especially given that they were so swiftly arranged. It shouldn’t take a global pandemic and the murder of yet another African American person by the police for white people to support these needed changes.

• Four weeks after the May 25 murder of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests, it looks more and more like being outside is an OK place to be in the midst of COVID-19. The current uptick in cases, in Lane County and across the country, began before the BLM gatherings would have had an effect. So what are we seeing locally? Of the 11 cases announced June 22, Lane County’s public health officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke, says that six of them bar hopped frequently and attended house parties with no social distancing or mask wearing. Eight of the cases were people in their 20s. On the positive side, while cases have surged here, hospitalizations have not. Yet. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has included Shemia Fagan, Democratic candidate for Oregon secretary of state, in her list of national endorsements. Warren’s powerful approval should bring in some campaign money for Fagan. The campaign against Fagan predictably will insist that Oregon needs at least one Republican high in state office, a ridiculous argument — especially when you consider the condition of today’s Republican Party.

Eugene and Lane County’s two most powerful (and unelected) public officials came together for a fascinating hour June 19 on the City Club of Eugene’s virtual forum to talk about what happens next locally. Sarah Medary, Eugene city manager, and Steve Mokrohisky, Lane County administrator, are quite the contrast to the officials currently running the country! We’re most curious about Medary’s remark that “a better Eugene is ahead… the whole community will be redesigned.” She also said that to EW reporter Taylor Perse in an interview after Medary was chosen by an 8-0 City Council vote to be the city manager. What does a “better Eugene” look like, and how do we get there?

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