• This week we present to you another “Local and Vocal” roundup of local voices on the issues that affect people locally and globally. Eugene Weekly has had a longstanding policy of giving space first to less-heard voices — people of color, women, LGBTQ — but we can do better at providing a space for diverse community voices in our pages. Thinking about writing something? Send us a note at This week we welcome a new column, “Black Girl From Eugene” by Ayisha Elliott. Please read, ponder and join the conversation. Letters to the editor are also always welcome — and one of the most popular parts of the paper. Send them to

• We raise our hands in collective support of keeping our local schools closed this fall, relying on distance learning. Los Angeles and San Diego, two of the largest districts in the country, just made that decision in spite of the miserable “orders” from President Donald Trump, who has absolutely no control over our public schools in America. District 4J is grappling with that decision and is expected to announce it in August. We should remember that 100 teachers died in New York City as the virus was ravaging that city.

Wednesday, July 8, may be known as the day the dominoes fell on college sports in the U.S., with the Ivy League leading the way. That was the day the venerable eight-school league decided to postpone its fall sports programs — football, field hockey, soccer, cross country and volleyball — until 2021 due to the rampant spread of COVID-19. Dominoes have been falling fast and furious since. Stanford and Boise State have eliminated Olympic sports, off-season conditioning programs have been paused at several schools because of positive tests and non-conference football games have been slashed from schedules. After a devastating spring, what’s next for the Power Five conferences and their cash cow empires, leading off with football? Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commissioner who last week revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19, noted in an interview with CBS Sports that “unless we see a change in the trajectory of the spread of the virus and its impact pretty quickly, I think the situation’s a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago.” The seagulls might have Autzen Stadium all to themselves this fall.

• All environmentalists should be concerned that the Trumpers have taken the first steps to shut down NEPA, the National Environmental Protection Act enacted in 1970 for the conservation of critical environmental resources. An attorney in the EPA regional office in Seattle tells us this will be a relatively gradual process, hopefully halted in November. Seems unlikely that President Trump knows or cares at all about NEPA, but he continues to believe he has unlimited executive power. What’s up next? The Constitution?

Need a pick-me-up? Check out Sarah Cooper on YouTube or on TikTok, where she got her start. Her imitations of Donald Trump are the best things the president has going. Also listen to Gerry Brooks, a school principal from Lexington, Kentucky, who has a “phone conversation” with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on YouTube and Facebook. It helps to have a little fun.

The Trump administration spread its tentacles out to Portland when it sent Homeland Security law enforcement out to Portland last week, making Oregon’s largest city look like a war zone. On Saturday, July 11, the federal agents fired a crowd dispersal bullet at a protester’s face; he is still in the hospital. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley demanded answers from AG William Barr and Homeland Security Acting Security Chad Wolf. There is now no question whether the Trump administration cares about the U.S. Constitution.

Flyfishers call it the “rubber hatch,” not caddisflies or Mayflies, but floaties, inner tubes, rafts and kayaks drifting down the local waterways. Numbers of locals getting out have skyrocketed, and that’s a good thing  — social distancing and lots of vitamin D. The scene at the Alton Baker Canoe Canal is especially fun with novice paddlers getting their feet wet, so to speak, on a local, safe, beautiful canal. There’s a growing diverse community just across the street from Autzen Stadium The launch site should be improved, making this urban waterway even more accessible. Ideas?