Peter DeFazio has represented Oregon’s 4th Congressional District since 1987. But the venerable politician has announced he will not seek re-election in 2022, ending his congressional career after 36 years. His tenure in Washington wrapped up as chair of the House and Infrastructure Committee, as well as by passing a large infrastructure bill with President Joe Biden and with a social infrastructure legislative package still in the Senate. Read more about DeFazio’s career at EugeneWeekly.com.
• Longtime Eugene-Springfield NAACP leader Eric Richardson was abruptly dismissed as of Nov. 30 from his position as executive director. He was president of the organization before moving into the executive director position two years ago. Richardson steered the local NAACP through the COVID-19 pandemic and the turmoil of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests. A press release from the executive board calls it an “administrative change.”
• The season of giving is here, and what you give doesn’t have to be cash. White Bird Clinic has launched its “Stay Warm Drive” and can use donations of blankets, sleeping bags, coats, sweaters, jackets, warm pants, socks, gloves and scarves as well as tarps and rain gear. We are collecting for White Bird at the Eugene Weekly office at 1251 Lincoln Street, so feel free to drop off your contributions to help our community’s most vulnerable people as the weather turns cold.
• Omicron is certainly on its way — the latest COVID variant, aka SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, was named by the World Health Organization for the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet. Naming the variants after Greek letters both simplifies their names as well as avoids stigmatizing the countries where they are first found. We still seem to have gone ahead and stigmatized South Africa, which first tracked the variant, by shutting down travel from African countries but not the European ones where it has also been located. Reports say it was in the Netherlands before South Africa reported it.
• “Understanding the Local Labor Shortage” is the City Club of Eugene topic for Dec. 3. Speakers will be Henry Fields, workforce analyst and economist; Kristina Payne, executive director of Lane Workforce Partnership; and Leonard Stoehr, labor rep from Teamsters Local 206 and Springfield city councilor. This program will air on the City Club Facebook and YouTube pages starting at noon Friday.
• Our Lane County legislators looked good in the 2021 environmental scorecard put out by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. All our House and Senate members, with the exception of Lee Beyer and John Lively of Springfield, rated 100 percent on their votes for the environment, including some advances to fight global climate change. Beyer rated 94 percent and Lively 86. Most of the scores are higher than a year ago. Educating voters on how green their elected officials are is such an important service by OLCV.