Big wins in the past week in the battle to force Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Gas to act immediately to combat climate change. Maybe there’s been a sea change when it comes to the climate? One win came in a district court in The Hague, another in a shareholder vote in Exxon’s boardroom giving climate activists power. Meanwhile, the Our Children’s Trust case, which essentially originated in Eugene, has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Aiken to enter settlement discussions. This case seeks to establish a constitutional right to a sound environment and was filed by a group of young people, some from Eugene. The case lost a series of decisions in federal court. Also of note this week: President Joe Biden suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
• Good news from Salem. The Oregon Senate passed a bill that makes June 19 — Juneteenth — a state holiday. The Senate passed the bill unanimously June 1 (with Republican Sens. Kim Thatcher and Dallas Heard excused). It passed the House back in April and is now headed to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk. Juneteenth, for those who aren’t familiar, commemorates when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were told they were freed, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Oregon’s first-ever state-recognized Juneteenth holiday will be in 2022 since the bill doesn’t go into effect right away, but it’s still good progress as we continue to grapple with the state’s and nation’s history with the Black community.
• Without unions, work would be a totally different place for the working American — from 40-hour workdays and the weekend to resisting profit-hungry capitalists’ demands. Eugene Weekly is excited to announce it has received a grant from the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics to report on Oregon’s labor movement. The eponymous late senator was a big union supporter, so we’re excited to share news of organized labor. If you have tips on unions, email Editor@EugeneWeekly.com.
• What we’re reading: Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie, The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Lisa Napoli. This biography of four defining voices of public radio is easy summer read and a pleasant break from all the depressing nonfiction out there. If you listen to National Public Radio as we do, you will enjoy knowing how these four remarkable women put it together. Published by Harry H. Abrams press, find it at your local bookstore.
• Oregon womens’ basketball scored another big feature in The New York Times sports section, May 31. Sedona Prince, the outspoken player fighting for equal facilities for women players, was profiled for her gutsy advocacy. Coach Kelly Graves was quoted: “How blessed am I to be coaching a young woman like her?” Prince and Sabrina Ionescu, now with the New York Liberty, are both stars with Times sports writers and Duck fans.
• State Sen. Betsy Johnson is the latest name to be gossiped about for the Oregon governor’s race in 2022. Rumor is that the conservative Democrat will run as an Independent, thus avoiding the primary. Nobody, including Johnson, has officially announced plans to run, but as we mentioned in a recent Slant, the names we’ve heard tossed out so far include Treasurer Tobias Read, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle.