Slant: ODOT Erases Suspish, School Board Heats Up, Congrats to Lauren Kessler

Hey local government agencies (looking at Eugene and the Oregon Department of Transportation for a start), it’s never too soon to rethink your position on what is public art. Our day was brightened when a new Suspish Fish showed up on the Franklin exit off I-5, but no sooner than we started looking forward to the bright blue piscine painting than it was painted over with a dull beige blotch. Can’t say we don’t put our money where our mouth is at the Weekly — our building still proudly supports its Suspish and we love the folks who stop by for selfies with it. 

• Are the school board races getting nasty? Well, we already knew the answer to that — just look at the climate about public education nationally. We saw Juan Carlos Valle, who was running against educator Tom Di Liberto and former KEZI anchor-turned conservative social media wannabe influencer Rick Dancer-backed dentist Michael Bratland for the Eugene 4J School Board, recently ended his campaign announcing on social media: “As a federal employee, I can run for nonpartisan office, like school board. But an anonymous inquiry/ complaint led to a decision that this race has become partisan.” Valle works for the Social Security Administration. If you want to check out the 4J candidates, you can head on over to City Club of Eugene noon Friday April 7, in the Maple Room at the Inn at the 5th, watch it on a live stream via the City Club website, or tune in the following Monday night at 7 pm on KLCC. 

Check out the Future of Transportation, a roundtable on how to respond to transportation challenges and opportunities, with retired Rep. Peter DeFazio; Jameson T. Auten, CEO and general manager of LTD; and Lynn Peterson council president for Portland Metro at 4:30 pm Monday, April 10, at the UO Ford Alumni Center with Better Eugene Springfield Transportation (BEST) and AARP Oregon. Find out more at BEST urges you to pre-register. 

Every year around April 1, Eugene Weekly has a little fun with its satire issue. Sometimes we run stories that might be a little too convincing for readers. We’ll never forget the response to the 2018 EW “sale” to a fictional Christian right-wing news company. And this year, no, nobody got stuck on a roundabout, nor did David Loveall take an AR-15 style rifle to a Lane County Commission meeting (he took it to a Black Lives Matter protest). But we’re happy to say that we weren’t the only ones having fun on April 1. Through mayoral proclamation on Twitter, Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon annexed the Eugene Weekly and renamed it Springfield Weekly. Well done, Mr. Mayor. You can find his proclamation on Twitter. 

What we’re reading: Dinners with Ruth by NPR’s Nina Totenberg. A quick read, this book indeed is, as the subtitle suggests, “A Memoir on the Power of Friendships.” The account details Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Totenberg’s somewhat parallel rises in professions historically inhospitable to women, their friendships and, to a certain extent, their frailties and those of their spouses. For some readers there’s almost too much detail on illnesses, but for others who may still harbor resentment that RBG didn’t step down while Barack Obama was in office, there’s some salve in knowing how hard Ginsburg fought cancer to stay alive and on the Supreme Court.  

• We appreciate that the Lane County Jail Levy campaign folks reached out after seeing last week’s Slant on Facebook. The campaign apologized for using a statement from a Weekly story in a context that made it appear that EW was endorsing the levy, saying, “It wasn’t my intention to frame it as support from EW.” We make our endorsements after much discussion and with interviews whenever possible, and will be meeting with folks from the jail soon to hear what they have to say. 

Congrats to Eugene writer and occasional EW contributor Lauren Kessler, whose book Free: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home won the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction at the 2023 Oregon Book Awards presented April 3 in Portland. Free (Sourcebooks, $25.10) documents the real story of life after lockup for six people after their release from prison.

Comments are closed.