It’s about the guns. Yes, there are factors like mental health and school security, but at the core, it’s guns and gun control. We can’t go a week without a mass shooting; we can’t go a month without a school shooting; we can’t go a decade without a massacre of innocent children in their classrooms. As we go to press, 19 children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. Ten people were murdered at a Buffalo grocery store in a racist kiling spree May 14. Survey after survey show that the majority of Americans are in favor of background checks and an assault-weapons ban. Congress, get your shit together.
• Eugene Weekly tries to make the world a better place — both through hard-hitting journalism and by making you smile, sometimes. We are thrilled when our readers support our efforts, and sometimes we get an extra thrill when our work is recognized with an award or two. EW won three first place trophies and three second place awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest. EW competed against medium-sized newsrooms from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Montana. Several awards were won by our stellar interns and two with the Catalyst Journalism Project, our frequent collaborator out of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. First place in Health and Science Reporting went to “Failure to Care,” on long-term care centers in Oregon escaping accountability for COVID deaths by Jack Forrest, Sally Segar and Jassy McKinley with Catalyst. First place, also with Catalyst, in Investigative Reporting went to “A Hidden Death” on the death of a Eugene resident while in the hands of law enforcement by Ardeshir Tabrizian. EW’s homeless obituary project, “Telling Their Stories” spearheaded by Bob Keefer, took first in Poverty and Homelessness Reporting. Second places went to Henry Houston in Arts and Culture Reporting for “The Beat Goes On” about Eugene’s Sprout City Studios, Ella Hutcherson in Soft News Feature for “The Way East” on couples moving across the Cascades, and to Tabrizian again for “Slow Burn” on the capture and arrest of an eco-saboteur.
• Celebrations for Congressman Peter DeFazio drew Lane County Democrats together last weekend, May 21 and 22, in the beginning of what certainly will be a long series of thank yous for his 36 years of representing us in the 4th Congressional District. Retiring in six months, he had a party one night for all his staff members along the way. On Sunday, Democrats celebrated the unveiling of a portrait of DeFazio by Lynda Lanker, a renowned Eugene-based artist. Our favorite takeaway was his remark, “We have to deal with the crisis of climate change.” Clearly, Peter DeFazio plans to keep on fighting.
• Jody Runge was inducted into the University of Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame this month to honor her amazing record in building Oregon women’s basketball. As coach, she won 160 games with 73 losses in eight seasons. Home attendance grew exponentially at the old Mac Court. The Ducks averaged nearly 6,000 fans a game in 1999-2000 and set a record at the time when 9,738 watched Oregon defeat Oregon State in 1996. Now she divides her time between Portland and Mexico.
• 2022 Primary Election update: Clackamas County is still a mess of uncounted ballots, leaving incumbent Kurt Schrader vs. challenger Jamie McLeod Skinner still in the air for the Democratic nomination for the 5th District Congressional seat, though McLeod Skinner is still in the lead. Here in Lane County, as we wait for the last of the ballots postmarked on Election Day to be counted, Heather Buch was holding her lead over Kyle Blain for the East Lane seat as of the May 20 count. Gun-totin’ David Loveall is about 101 votes ahead of Joe Berney for the Springfield position, and Ryan Ceniga is ahead of Dawn Lesley for the West Lane County position. Under Oregon law for nonpartisan positions, to be elected in the primary a candidate must get 50 percent of the vote plus one. The next ballot count is May 27, according to Lane County elections, and we are waiting to see who wins and who faces another race in the fall.