It was always difficult to imagine 17 U.S. Republican senators summoning the spiritual spine to convict former president Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 mob at the Capitol that killed five people. On Feb. 13 only seven could, and Trump was acquitted. So what was the point of the exercise? To shine a glaring spotlight on the rats, led by Trump, who perpetuated this monstrosity and for history to record it with precision, like the Nuremberg trials after World War II and the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Here’s hoping enough people paid attention.

• It would have been great if a full auditorium on the University of Oregon campus could have heard Professor Lia Epperson give the 2021 Derrick Bell Lecture in person Feb. 12, but that’s for another non-COVID time. Listening on our phone, we heard her present a brilliant lecture on “Are We Still Not Saved? Race, Democracy and Educational Inequality.” Epperson is a professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law. The UO’s Derrick Bell Lecture series honors Bell, who from 1980 to 1985 was the first African American to serve as dean of the UO law school. If we could only eliminate educational inequality, it would be a huge advance for democracy and against racism in America. Maybe we could be saved.

• “Losing Health and Home: Oregon’s Pending COVID-19 Eviction Crisis,” the City Club of Eugene topic for Feb. 19, is the final in a three-part series on local housing issues. Speakers are: Rep. Julie Fahey, chair of the Oregon House committee on housing; Jason Miller, legislative director of the Oregon Rental Housing Association, and Alison McIntosh, policy and communications director from Neighborhood Partnerships.This program will air on the City Club Facebook and YouTube pages starting at noon on Feb. 19.

• A Eugene native now living on Lopez Island in the San Juans has sent an urgent message to Eugene Parks and Open Spaces about the tree just cut down on the top of Spencer’s Butte, as reported Feb. 15 by The Register-Guard. Hoping she is not too late, Aurore Moursund Maren writes: “I feel very strongly that the wood of the tree which was murdered on Spencer’s Butte should go to Tim Boyden.” She says the artist who works in wood, “would give a great gift in making a memorial tribute to this tree for all who have known and loved this tree.” Boyden was one of three artists whose show just closed at Maude Kerns Art Center. We agree with this fine idea, an artist’s tribute to a special tree.

We had a heartwarming response from readers to our announcement Feb. 11 that EW plans to publish obituaries for every homeless person who dies here in 2021. The response is epitomized by a response on Facebook by a reader who wrote, “Thank you for showing these poor souls as humans like the rest of us.” That is the goal of the project, as well as to call attention to the reality of what happens to the unhoused in this town. People really do care, and hopefully this effort will create still more needed changes. Sadly, we have another death to report in this issue.

• As more and more people get their COVID-19 vaccine, we look forward to getting to our new normal — one that involves guilt-free hugging and dining without a winter coat on. If you haven’t already signed up to be notified when you are eligible for vaccination, head on over to the Lane County website, and click on the coronavirus link to preregister. Personally, we can’t wait to get our double doses of the Fauci-Ouchie. Also, Rite Aid recently announced its Eugene location is now a free coronavirus testing site. The pharmacy has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to offer drive-through self-nasal swab tests across the country, but until last week, the closest locations to Lane County were Corvallis and Lebanon. The testing is done by Verily and its Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program, and you just go to to get an appointment. And if Rite-Aid is booked, remember the University of Oregon has been offering free testing to asymptomatic community members. Get your appointment at