Slant: RG in the Oregonian, election name-calling and some roundabouts

The Register-Guard was on the front page of the Sunday Oregonian, May 21, in a story called “Eugene newspaper gutted by private equity owner.” The O took a deep dive into the finances and history behind Gannett’s cuts at the RG. A companion story called “New Oregon newsrooms fill void as other media retreat” delves into how other papers are filling in the gap — and mentions the dismay of journalists like those of us at Eugene Weekly at the narrative being promoted that Lane County is a news desert. This country needs more newspapers telling the stories of how the country runs so the democracy can survive. We’re hoping the RG persists, and with reader support, EW and other news sources are happy to fill in the gaps! If you haven’t already, check out our weekly newsletters filling you in on our online content and updates at


Bev Smith. Photo by Todd Cooper.

City Club of Eugene gave out its annual Turtle Awards on May 19 to Kidsports’ Bev Smith, Fifth Street Market developer Brian Obie, consultant and trainer Dr. Johnny Lake and, posthumously, the beloved force of nature in the Legislature and beyond, Lawanda Joyce Manning. Turtles are honored for their “service to the community consistent with the purposes and mission of the City Club” and, of course, for sticking their necks out.

We’re eager to see what the city of Eugene decides to do about putting a roundabout at the intersection of Franklin and Walnut. Lots of discussion flying around on social media, mostly against it. John Hirons even sent out a flyer declaring “Hirons Shopping Center threat of demise? City proposes closure of center’s access from Franklin Blvd.” However, a physician who lives in the neighborhood and rides her bike or drives through the roundabout in Glenwood, respectfully disagrees, writing that she finds it helpful. When we wrote about the proposed changes back in February, a Market of Choice representative told us, “Based on the information we’ve received and the meetings we’ve attended, we don’t see any reason why the Franklin Boulevard project would impact our ability to operate or serve our community.” And the Federal Highway Administration says that locations with roundabouts show a 90 percent reduction in fatalities, a 76 percent reduction in injuries and a 35 percent reduction in all crashes.

The Ward 7 City Council race is likely heading for a fall run-off. The city recorder’s office says if no one gets the more than 50 percent of the vote needed, then the two candidates with the highest percentage of the votes will have a run-off in the “November 2023 election and the candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the votes cast will be sworn in January 2024.” That would be Barbie Walker and incumbent Lyndsie Leech, with Janet Ayres, at 19.09 percent of the vote at last count, left out of the running.

And that Ward 7 race is getting a little weird. Paul Conte, who many see as one of the main forces behind the anti-mass transit recall of Councilor Claire Syrett, and who worked on Janet Ayres’ campaign, was recently taken to task in an email chain that said “because of unchecked ego, we split the vote and get another year or more of liberals running this town.” Conte, who sometimes lives in the upper Deschutes but remains active in Eugene NIMBY politics, responded by calling Barbie Walker “a whore.” EW has reached out to both Walker and Conte for comment.