Can you believe Eugene Weekly is 40 years old? Neither can we, but we are excited. The pandemic and its financial impacts have been the biggest bump we’ve hit so far, but still we are here, still printing, still investigating, still committed to the community and still having fun. Thanks for coming along for the ride — here’s to 40 more years!
• Remember: The recall of City Councilor Claire Syrett is not a done deal. The votes, largely based on lies and misunderstandings — no, River Road was not going to be a one-way street — are currently against her at 2,323 to 1,593. But we think she has a chance of winning her legal action blocking the recall. That would be a great outcome, as far as we’re concerned. She could continue her job on Eugene City Council until another candidate beats her fair and square or she decides to retire. The council needs to pass better recall guidelines to prevent future petty, dangerous and undemocratic recalls by NIMBYs. And with recalls plaguing many local governments in Oregon, it’s time that the Legislature spend some time reviewing recall laws, which guide local ordinances.
• If you want to read a scary story, check the cover of the Sunday, Sept. 18, New York Times magazine section. It’s about Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is angling for the presidency. Smarter than Donald Trump, he probably is more dangerous. His recent racist publicity stunt of sending immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard was dehumanizing and possibly a violation of human trafficking laws. Who is the Democrat who can beat him? We met with Sen. Jeff Merkley while he was in town to check out work on the Cedar Creek Fire. He tells us he’s not running, but he’s smart, careful and presidential, so maybe we can change his mind? He and his staff also pass the “EW dog sniff-test” in which we rate politicians by their responses to our large office dogs. Merkley and staff get two paws up from Aksel the ridgeback and Biggie Pitbull.
• For those of you who have been following the case of Alexander Harrelson, the mentally ill man who was beaten by Cottage Grove police on Sept. 1, he took a plea deal in the case that resulted in his pleading no contest to a charge of resisting arrest. Part of the plea involves his getting a mental health evaluation. We are waiting for the results of the investigation into the incident, but the video and eyewitness reports show him being punched by the police repeatedly. We agree with the folks in Cottage Grove looking to bring a CAHOOTS service to that town, and we want to know why the police there don’t have body cams yet?
• College and university students in Oregon go back to school next week. Students, if you too want to be able to toss references to the New York Times in casual conversations like we do in Slant, you’re covered. Both Lane Community College and the University of Oregon offer free digital subscriptions to the NYT for students and employees. Find them on the library websites or better yet, ask a librarian. Speaking of subscriptions, while Eugene Weekly is always free to pick up, did you know that you can spend a little cash to support our journalism and get a print copy mailed to you? Scan the QR code on the cover or go right to EugeneWeekly.com.
• On Saturday, Sept. 17, University of Oregon football fans showed its ugly side when Brigham Young University played the Ducks. After BYU stormed onto the field flying a flag in memory of Ducks tight end Spencer Webb, who hit his head and died earlier this summer at Triangle Lake, fans in the student section — known as The Pit — chanted, “Fuck the Mormons.” The students were condemned by everyone from the UO to the Utah and Oregon governors. We hope these students are banned from future Duck football games until they show better manners, though we won’t hold our breath, because the classless Duck fans who threw water bottles at Stanford football players in 2018 never faced consequences. In a Sept. 19 open letter to the UO community, interim University President Patrick Phillips called for people “to stand up against such behavior” — but we need to do a little more than that to end bigotry.
• In good sports news, the Eugene Emeralds brought home the Northwest League Championship while playing away in Canada against the Vancouver Canadians. The Ems are now back-to-back champions and the recent win is its fourth title since 2016. Now we just hope the Ems can secure the big win and get the money necessary to build a new stadium at the Lane Events Center.