In November 2022, we ran a viewpoint by University of Oregon journalism professor Peter Laufer on his idea that Gannett should give The Register-Guard to the J-school in a sort of “teaching hospital” model. The idea had legs, so Laufer ran with it — he took it all the way to the top brass at Gannett, who told him “I’m all for it when the paper stops making money. Glad we’re talking. But at this point it does make some money.” Gannett, Laufer puts it in an updated piece in Inside Higher Ed, “is in the extraction business, mining as much local wealth as it can with minimal investment.” One, we need a thriving daily paper; two, let us gently remind folks that Laufer was originally able to get the word out because this local paper publishes opinions — lots of them. So let’s save the RG and, also, support your local free alt weekly, whose ownership takes no profit. One thing we’d like to do is pay our amazing interns more — go to Support.EugeneWeekly.com if you’d like to pitch in.
• Clean your glass — it’s time for KLCC’s Brewfest. The annual fundraiser that brings together local and regional breweries, cider houses and other fizzy drinks is back in-person for the first time since the start of the pandemic. In addition to great food options, drinks that can make your cup runneth over and other fun activities, it’ll also have live music from local bands: On Friday, Feb. 10, Stone Biscuit (which features Eugene Weekly’s own red-box supervisor Trey Longstreth) is at 7 pm, and the Hank Shreve Band is at 9 pm; on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate is at 7 pm and Inner Limits is at 9 pm. Supporting local media is always a good reason to have a few drinks, but remember to have a designated driver, get a taxi or use your favorite rideshare app. Head to KLCC.org/brewfest for more information.
• Eugene is the first Oregon city to prohibit natural gas in new residential buildings. After months of discussing the subject, the Eugene City Council voted 5-3, with Councilors Mike Clark, Greg Evans and Randy Groves dissenting. The council made the decision to act on phasing out natural gas at a Feb. 6 special meeting, which was originally planned to explore whether to send the ban to voters in the May election. The ban wouldn’t have happened without Councilor Emily Semple putting forth a motion to force council to decide or Mayor Lucy Vinis reminding councilors that they were elected on campaigns promising climate action.
• Show your love for the community by donating menstrual and self-care items Tuesday, Feb. 14 (aka Valentine’s Day). Wild Rose Tattoo, at 2849 Oak Street, is hosting a donation drive for Eugene Bleeds, a mutual aid network group that provides menstrual and self-care supplies for people in need. The group is asking for items for use during menstrual cycles, as well as chapsticks, wipes and warmers for cramps. The group will take those items to local sites and nonprofits, such as Whiteaker Community Council, CORE and Acorn Community Café.
• We’re still hoping the University of Oregon Board of Trustees will appoint a woman or a person of color as the school’s next president. Oregon State has a woman president, Jayathi Y. Murthy, as does Lane Community College with Stephanie Bulger, and both are highly qualified BIPOC scholars and administrators. We hear a large group of UO faculty women has a strong candidate in mind. It really is time for this step ahead.
• Speaking of diverse female leadership, Oregon’s new Democratic governor, Tina Kotek, was the author of an opinion piece in the Sunday, Feb. 5, Oregonian. She said she has heard from Oregonians all over the state that there are three issues of top concern: housing and homelessness, mental health and addiction services, and education. Her budget, she writes, “aims to chart a course that will make real progress in each of these areas.” Eugene Weekly endorsed Kotek in part because we thought she would get things done. This sounds like a good start.
• Now that college athletes can be paid millions of dollars through monetizing their name, image and likeness, we have to wonder if Bo Nix is coming back for one more season because he loves playing football for Oregon or because he’s going to make a lot of money? It’s good that these athletes are finally getting paid, but it does raise the same old question: What does this have to do with the academic mission of public universities?