If you haven’t already seen the Summer of Soul (Or, … When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), or if you missed it at the Broadway Metro, then stream it on Hulu. In 1969 when Woodstock was capturing the country’s attention, the Summer of Soul was unfolding in Harlem. The pictures and sounds were stashed in a basement until now when we finally can see this amazing performance. It’s about an hour and a half and worth every minute.
• Quick shout out to Lane Community College, which announced a $150,000 lottery to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. Also on the horizon, according to LCC President Marge Hamilton in an LCC email newsletter are student account balance forgiveness. She writes that “LCC plans to cancel as much as $1.8 million in student debt for as many as 2,150 students.” And Hamilton says LCC has approximately $9 million in emergency assistance grants to give students. COVID-19 make you rethink what you are doing with your life? Now’s not a bad time to go back to school for a career switch.
• Good news for transparency. On Aug. 12, the Lane County District Attorney’s Office ordered the city of Eugene and the Eugene Police Department to release body worn camera footage worn during the arrest of Landon Payne. In March 2020, Payne was arrested by EPD during a mental health crisis on an expired arrest warrant related to child support. He later died after being first restrained and Tased by EPD and later kneeled on by Lane County sheriff’s deputies. Eugene Weekly and the Catalyst Journalism Project filed a public records request for the body cam footage, but it was denied a week later. Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press attorney Ellen Osinach helped EW and the Catalyst Journalism Project appeal the city’s decision. We await the video — which will be edited to blur the officers’ faces per current Oregon law — as well as how much money EPD plans to ask for these records.
• Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) and Seneca announced Aug. 6 that SPI “plans to acquire Seneca and affiliates.” Seneca operates a 175,000-acre tree farm, sawmills and a biomass cogeneration plant that is located off Hwy 99 in northwest Eugene. According to the press release, SPI manages more than 2.1 million acres of timberland in California and Washington. The release says, “The transaction is subject to continuing due diligence and customary regulatory approvals, with the sale expected to close by the end of the third quarter 2021.” Meanwhile, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) plans to host a community meeting on Seneca’s wood-fired electrical cogen plan at 6 pm Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the Eugene Public Library in the Bascom-Tykeson Room and on Zoom. According to LRAPA, if the new owner were to “change processes at the plant, then that could result in a new CAO [Cleaner Air Oregon] potential health risk analysis of emissions.”
Update: LRAPA is shifting the Sept. 8, 6 pm community meeting on Seneca Sustainable Energy, LLC from an hybrid in-person/virtual meeting to exclusively virtual in response to the rising cases of COVID-19 and subsequent hospitalizations in Lane County. Register for the online meeting on our webpage: https://www.lrapa.org/338/Community-Engagement
• The board members of the plucky startup newspaper Highway 58 Herald “are planning a huge multi-family parking-lot sale” 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28 and 29, on the corner of Highway 58 and River Road in Oakridge. The sale will benefit the digital news site that was newly accepted to the Institute for Nonprofit News. Check them out at Highway58Herald.org.
• Despite the welcome Monday night drizzle, we keep hearing of brush fires popping up across the Eugene-Springfield area. We don’t know how many or how often these fires pop up, and when we asked the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department EW was told to file a public records request. Still, this is a good reminder to be prepared if you live near dry vegetation and make smart decisions — meaning don’t throw your cigarette out the window, don’t light any campfires and for the love of all that is good in the world don’t have any gender reveal parties.