Slant: 4/20, Astrology, Return of the Swifts, Tax Day Penny Poll Results and more

Queue the “Eugene Weedly” jokes, it’s the week of 4/20. You know one thing you can thank cannabis for? Oregon’s shield law that protects journalists’ sources and unpublished materials. Thanks to a court case in which the Lane County district attorney went after the editor of the University of Oregon’s Daily Emerald for her sources on a weed story, the Legislature gave reporters protections in this state. 

We ran a letter to the editor last week requesting that Eugene Weekly consider mixing up our Free Will Astrology column and feature another author’s advice. This request has resulted in some impassioned pleas not to deprive readers of their horoscope. We love hearing what matters to our readers! Any thoughts on a second crossword? A local writer whose puzzle work was featured in The New York Times would be happy to create a puzzle for us, he says. We just need to pay for it and the print space!

We see that Food Cart Week ( returns to Portland for a second year April 16-22. The “celebration of local cuisine and community” features food cart pods all over the City of Roses. We could use more local celebration in Eugene in this dreary spring. Remember the Eugene Celebration and the wonderful, funky parade that went with it? Who wants to put that together? 

The Vaux’s swifts are back, swooping in and out of the old chimney at Condon Hall on Agate Street at the University of Oregon campus. We are told that the tiny birds dive in for the night at about 8:10 pm, often attracting a neighborhood crowd to watch them. Lane County Audubon Society hosts a “Vaux’s Swift Watch at Sunset” 7:30 pm to 9 pm, Friday, April 28. The group says in the fall 2021 migration, 37,779 swifts were counted entering the chimney over 12 evenings. It’s a humbling experience to watch them. We recommend it.

• One of our stories this week takes a look at proposed city of Eugene budget cuts that affect animal services — including moving to only one animal welfare officer and making it untenable for Greenhill Humane Society to take in cats not brought in by an officer. Interestingly enough, we had an encounter with a Eugene Animal Services officer this week. A concerned citizen saw EW’s office dogs waiting in the car for their person and called the city. The officer checked on the dogs — ensuring they had room to move, access to water, air follow and cool temperatures — and then let us know they had checked on them. We need those types of services and public education. 

A Eugenean visiting New York City now reports that pickleball courts have replaced the ice rink in Central Park from April until October. Temperatures are much higher in NYC than here in rainy Oregon, so the fast growing (and weirdly controversial) sport is flourishing there. 

 • Local community activist Tom Bowerman’s research group PolicyInteractive Research is offering a powerful one-page report titled “Oregon Failing on Climate Policy.” This will go to our legislators and then the voters need to push. Oregon should be leading, not failing on climate policy. Find it at

• For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local Tax Day People’s Penny Poll is back. Planet vs. Pentagon tabled outside the Eugene Public Library, on April 18, Tax Day, with information educating the public on which federal programs receive what percentage of their income taxes. Passersby were provided 10 pennies to allocate among five major government departments to determine what a “People’s Federal Budget, at least from Eugene, Oregon, might look like!” organizers say. Forty-two people took the poll and gave interest on the national debt 5.95 percent of their money, 6.19 percent of the funds to the military, 10.95 percent to the general government, 31.6 percent to environmental protection, and the largest sum, 45.2 percent, went to human resources.