As we go to press this week, Lane County faces one of the worst fire catastrophes in its history. Early reports from up the McKenzie River indicate that scores of homes were destroyed when a blaze sparked by a downed power line late Monday ravaged Blue River and McKenzie Bridge. One of those homes, we fear, belonged to a Eugene Weekly staffer. She and her family found safety at an evacuation center, but it’s possible others may have died. A thousand other Lane County homes, meanwhile, came under Level-3, go now, warnings late Tuesday as the skies over Eugene ranged from a putrid yellow to an ominous black, and ash floated down on the city like sad, dystopian snow. We no longer need to debate the arrival of climate change. The apocalypse is now. One bright spot: Contrary to early news reports, including an EW update, as of Sept. 9, Goodpasture Covered Bridge was still standing near Vida.
• It’s time to stop extreme climate change. No, wait, it’s freaking past time. This last week in Oregon should have taught us that. We need to follow the science and not be afraid to call out climate change when we see it. Are all the problems in the world and weather due to climate change? No, but many of them are, and others are worsened by our chaotic climate — a human-caused chaos. The most important step is to defeat Donald Trump on Nov. 3 and put in leadership that will work with the climate scientists.
• Before the Willamette Valley was covered by wildfire smoke, a right-wing rally in Salem was getting social media attention — even attracting a Tweet from Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. On Monday, Sept. 7, Marcus Edwards of Oakridge told rally goers that pedophilia is being normalized and the Democratic lawmakers who allow this to happen “should be shot dead in the streets.” After Edwards’ speech right wingers like the Proud Boys attacked Black Lives Matter supporters. These actions and words are supported by delusional and harmful narratives set by the likes of Donald Trump and QAnon. Hopefully no one is dumb enough to take action after listening to Edwards.
• In good news, on Thursday, Sept. 10, our annual Best Of contest begins its nomination process. It’s a chance to reflect the best of Lane County. Visit BestOfEugene.com to nominate your favorite businesses, people and things.
• In the three obituaries/memorials we read about Justice Hans Linde, Oregon’s famous jurist who died Aug. 31 in Portland, we were especially moved by the closing lines in The New York Times tribute. “Part of the greatness of his legacy is that contrary to the common practice, law clerks did not draft his opinions — he wrote all of them himself, and on an old Underwood manual typewriter.” Linde also taught in the University of Oregon School of Law and lived for many years in Eugene, where he and his wife, Helen, raised their two children.