What a year. At first, 2020 seemed like any other presidential election year — full of fear and uncertainty over if the bad guy would win re-election (spoiler alert, he did not). And there was that whole impeachment thing, which we thought was the big news.
Then COVID-19 happened; it was scary at first but we had Tiger King to keep us entertained.
Months later the economy fell apart, and then Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, which woke the U.S. back up to its reality of systemic racism. After nonstop protests in Eugene and throughout the U.S., we then had historic wildfires on the West Coast, rattling Lane Couty as many Oregonians lost homes.
It’s been a news-packed year to put it lightly. Here’s what you Eugene Weekly readers clicked on the most in 2020.
10. Black Unity Member Hit by Car During Children’s March
At a Black Unity children’s march, organizer Isiah Wagoner was struck by a car. The driver cooperated with police and a grand jury later found there was not enough evidence to indict the driver with a crime.
9. Resources in Lane County for Residents Affected by Wildfires
The Holiday Farm Fire basically happened overnight on Labor Day weekend when downed power lines sparked a fire that rapidly overtook parts of the McKenzie River. The community took action immediately to help those affected. To help evacuees find resources, EW put together a list of available resources.
8. EW’s Takeout and Delivery Directory
COVID-19 shut down the economy real fast as state officials tried to flatten the curve. But restaurants were immediately impacted by the public health decision. EW put together a list of restaurants that had takeout and delivery options for those who could support the local industry.
7. Gov. Kate Brown Considering Interstate Travel Ban
In August, EW reported that Gov. Kate Brown was considering an interstate travel ban as a way to control the spread of COVID-19 from travelers. The governor’s office had shared the policy idea with legislators. The governor was at that time in talks with U.S. states in the Western States Pact about how to roll out such restrictions. A later report by EW showed the conversations between chiefs of state in the pact.
6. The Best Of Eugene 2020-2021
Although 2020 wasn’t the best year, there’s been a lot of greatness to celebrate — and EW celebrated the Best Of regardless of it being the year of the dumpster fire. This year’s Best Of issue had familiar winners and some new faces (like Eric Richardson of Eugene/Springfield NAACP winning Best Civil Rights Leader).
5. Mass Layoffs at Off the Waffle
About 27 people quit or were laid off at Off the Waffle and Theseburgers June 18-26, and they said it was because the owner wasn’t happy with their Black Lives Matter views, though the owner told EW that he supported the movement.
4. Fire: Truth or Fiction
During the immediate period of the Holiday Farm Fire, a lot of rumors were thrown around. In the fight against fake news, EW tackled some of the myths around Oregon’s wildfires. (Just as a reminder, Antifa didn’t start the fire.)
3. Why the USPS is Removing Eugene Mailboxes
With an election only a few months away, people started sharing photos of mailboxes being taken away by the U.S. Postal Service. In a vote by mail state, it’s understandable to be concerned, but what if the president was doing this to sabotage the election in his favor?
The USPS spokesperson said there just wasn’t enough mail being dropped off at those locations, but it did result in Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio stoping by the Post Office in Eugene a few weeks later, where they said the USPS needed saving from the Trump administration.
2. Begin Modeling
Before the pandemic hit the world, former Eugene Weekly intern Donny Morrison reported how one University of Oregon student was promised enough money to pay some bills if she did a little modeling work. The student alleges that she was raped multiple times over the course of two days and was given an STD. She also alleges she wasn’t paid her the agreed amount of money her video was published online. The student is one of hundreds of women who had come forward accusing Ruben Andre Garcia, along with Girls Do Porn founders Michael James Pratt and Matthew Isaac Wolfe, of running a porn website where women as young as 16, but mostly between the ages of 18-23, were tricked into performing adult scenes on camera.
1. Blue River Community ‘Total Loss’
Finding out information about the Holiday Farm Fire was difficult when the fire first started. EW obtained an email shared to Lane County employees that described the area impacted by the fire as a “total loss.”