Good news for Oregon environmentalists in this election. Doug Moore of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters is breathing a sigh of relief that Shemia Fagan beat Kim Thatcher, a climate denier, for secretary of state. OLCV says we also flipped key seats in the Oregon House and Senate from anti-environment to pro-environment and successfully protected climate champions in the House.

• If you are sad and depressed about the coronavirus as the holidays approach, and the lack of hugs and not celebrating Friendsgiving and family celebrations, we hear you. We’re kinda down, too. On the other hand, if you are super mad about and inconvenienced by the two-week COVID freeze you might consider that you are part of the problem. If you are a small business already hurt by month after month of this virus and its effects, we can relate, we are, too (so readers please take out an ad for them!). But who needs Black Friday? Mass shopping extravaganzas were freaky before the whole virus thing ever came up. If you want to shop, shop local. All around Lane County, from bookstores to toy stores, there are businesses happy to sell you your holiday cheer via gift certificates, curbside pickup and the web. Is there a local business doing it right and COVID-safe we should highlight? Drop us a note at

If you have the time, take a drive up the McKenzie River and experience the dark destruction left by the Holiday Farm Fire. But stay in your car and respect the privacy of the residents as well as their grief over the devastation to their community. As you drive you might ponder the randomness of the flames, what houses and trees they left and what they leveled. Science and forest ecology can tell you why and how fires can spread in leaps and bounds, and even jump roads and rivers. And at some point, science and investigation will tell us how that fire started. That’s the question the insurance industry and the lawyers are pursuing. Answers eventually will be found.

What we’re watching: The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. Isn’t everyone? Maybe it’s the pandemic, but suddenly chess is fascinating. 

Eugene Weekly is skeptical of the recurring rumor that Gov. Kate Brown wants to leave Oregon and join the Biden administration, although it might be tempting for her to leave the local COVID game and go on to other contests. The politics behind that rumor are muddy and not easy to nail down, though her chief of staff, Nik Blosser, is now on the Biden transition team. If she really did go, Secretary of State-elect Shemia Fagan would become Gov. Fagan, and she would appoint the new secretary of state.

• The City Club of Eugene is carrying on with fine virtual programs every week, including the upcoming Nov. 20 talk on “(Re)Writing Oregon’s History,” looking at narratives of colonialism and indigenous peoples in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. As City Club puts it, “We need to consider what really happened when white settlers encountered Oregon’s Indigenous people in the 1800s — and what that means for our Northwest today.” Speakers are Marc J. Carpenter, Ph.D. candidate in the University of Oregon’s Department of History, and Jennifer R. O’Neal, acting assistant professor in UO’s Department of Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies. Go to the City Club Facebook page starting at noon on Friday to tune in live, or listen Monday nights on KLCC.

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