The more than 150-year-old J.J. Walton House, which once housed cult-favorite Mexican restaurant Morenos and later Bates Steak House, has been demolished, ending a fascinating local history that ties in such celebs as Jimmy Stewart, Nat King Cole, Lee Marvin, Jack Nicholson, Joan Baez and Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Also gone: the David Minor Theater. Pretty soon Eugene will be the University of Oregon surrounded by massive student housing and parking lots. We need more housing, but we also need a beautiful city.
• Seneca timber was acquired by Sierra Pacific Industries last year, and that explains why several pro-timber political candidates in Oregon are getting campaign contributions from the California-based company. Sierra Pacific gave $200,000 to pro-timber gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson (a former DINO Democrat running as independent); $250,000 to Bring Balance to Salem and $15,000 to Community Action Network, both conservative PACs; and $2,500 each to a couple Douglas County commissioners. Interestingly enough, the only other money the timber company has contributed in Oregon so far, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, is $1,500 to Eugene City Council candidate Jennifer Solomon.
• EW It’s About Time writer David Wagner’s wonderful nature calendar has alerted us to the annual return of the Vaux’s swifts to the old chimney of Agate Hall on the edge of the University of Oregon campus. Audubon members tell us that a few birds have swooped into the chimney at dusk recently, but thousands will be coming in two or three weeks. Peak will be the first week of May. This year the cold weather has held them up in Southern California, where they can find the insects they are seeking in their northern migration. Our local Audubon will sponsor a “Welcome Back the Swifts” event 6 pm April 29 in the Agate Hall north parking lot, and you can learn more there. It’s a great tradition to gather and watch the swifts circle and dive for the night into the tall brick chimney.
• Local publisher Wipf and Stock made The New York Times, and not in a good way. Wipf and Stock published Bad and Boujee: Toward a Trap Feminist Theology by Jennifer M. Buck, who NYT describes as “a white academic at a Christian university.” The book was criticized for its cultural appropriation of Black culture, being flawed academically and its “deeply problematic” references to the ghetto. Wipf and Stock has issued an apology and withdrawn the book.
• No live City Club of Eugene program this week, but you might want to pick up the second part of the candidate forum for Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District airing Monday night on KLCC. On April 29, the City Club will be live again and hosting the East and West Lane County commissioner candidates.
• A midterm election isn’t the sexiest of elections, but it’s still important to vote in it. And time to register to vote is running out — the deadline is Tuesday, April 26. It only takes a few minutes. And if you are registered, now is the time to check your party affiliation. Oregon is a closed primary, so if you’re not registered with a party, you will not be able to vote for most races at the state level, such as governor, or federal. Visit Sos.Oregon.gov for more information.