Three political professionals with strong Eugene ties have been hired by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. The two latest additions lead us to wonder about Wheeler’s political ambitions. First there is Jim Middaugh, who went to the University of Oregon, worked for Congressman Peter DeFazio and later worked for 11 years with Portland Metro before joining Wheeler’s staff. More recently Wheeler hired Sam Adams, who went to South Eugene High School and spent some time at the UO before migrating to Portland, where he eventually was elected mayor. He later left the city after a controversy over lying about his relationship with an 18-year old man. Now he’s back working for another mayor. Mayor Ted also has hired Bobby Lee, who went to the UO, served on the Eugene City Council and eventually headed north. So we’re wondering: Is Wheeler thinking about the Oregon governorship opening up in 2022? 

• Hey astrology nerds, heads-up. Mercury retrograde started Jan. 30 and runs through about Feb. 20, according to the Farmers Almanac. Not to be a buzzkill but Mercury was retrograde when COVID-19 hit Oregon last year. 

• Like other businesses we are still affected by the COVID-19 recession. Eugene Weekly is printing 30,000 papers a week — down from our pre-COVID 38,000 or so — and we hear a lot from our readers about empty red boxes. We’d love to print more, so please support our advertisers, make a contribution or just keep letting us know when a box runs out!

• And on that recession-and-EW note — hooray for our readers who send contributions that keep us printing during COVID! We are hanging in there and your checks and the notes — every one of which we save and read — are a huge help! 

Our local hardware clerk tells us the demand for rat traps is huge right now. In other words, rats are on the rise in the river cities — likely because they are roaming to search for food because the restaurants that are usually their meal source either shut down or are running reduced take-out operations. Check the overflow from your bird feeders, don’t leave pet food outside and remember that if you have chickens, you probably have rats. Try traps or bring in professionals to deal with these wily intruders.

• Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney invited the public to participate in this legislative session in a long op-ed in the Sunday Oregonian. They said Oregonians will be able to testify at every public hearing remotely “without having to worry about taking a day off work and driving to Salem.” Silver-COVID lining? Visit to find out more.

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