Best of Eugene voting has kicked off! Go to BestofEugene.com and vote for all you love in Lane County. This is a readers’ poll, so winners are chosen entirely by you folks. Area nonprofits and businesses love the support from voters, and we do, too!
• Are you pro-self service gas or against? A new Oregon law has gone into effect allowing up to half of the pumps at any gas station to be self-serve in the state’s most populous counties, and at least one gas station employee must be available at all times to pump gas. Stations can elect to not offer self-serve. And stations cannot charge more for full service, so those of us who prefer to linger in our vehicles won’t pay more. FYI, it’s already been legal to pump your own diesel.
• We know you like your news in print (we do too) but don’t miss out on our online EW Extra stories. This week we have a follow-up on the eviction of Candice King, we sent our intern Josiah Pensado to run 10K, lift weights and shoot a bow with local fitness celebrity Cameron Hanes, and we have a couple viewpoints on the proposed Ems stadium at the Lane Events Center and on the benefits of farmers markets. Want to get the scoop on what’s online? Subscribe (free, of course) at EugeneWeekly.com/newsletter. Want us to print more pages? Contribute at Support.eugeneweekly.com or urge your fave business to take out an ad.
• In fire news, the Bedrock Fire in the WIllamette National Forest has been joined by the smaller Salmon Fire outside Oakridge. Check out the free and volunteer-run Watch Duty app for fire updates, and rural dwellers pay attention to those Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuation orders! The recent Priceboro fire in the Coburg Hills was a good reminder of that. We keep crossing our fingers against more fires and smoke.
• U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may be setting a new record for corruption as he rakes in luxury vacations at home and abroad, courtesy of the usual billionaire suspects, many with business before the court. Now comes word in The New York Times that in 1999 Thomas bought a luxury RV made — right here in Lane County — by Marathon Coach. Financing for his Prevost Le Mirage XL Marathon was provided by health care magnate Anthony Welters. With net worth estimated at $80 million, Welters isn’t quite in the billionaire class. A used RV that cost $267,230 isn’t, either. But even a corrupt Supreme Court justice has to start somewhere.
• In the ’70s, Ping-Pong diplomacy opened China to the West. Now, soccer diplomacy promises to go one step further. Look at the Womens’ World Cup rosters. More than 130 players have developed their skills in U.S. colleges. In the years ahead, these women — natural leaders, strong people — will rise to positions of power in Nigeria, the Philippines, Morocco, South Korea and beyond. They will remember their time and teammates in the U.S. The ripples of Title IX flow so much further than anyone could have imagined. Who knew that a society that values gender equality would reap such benefits? We did.
• A savvy Portlander tells us that the real problem in Portland is the form of government, not the drug laws, as The New York Times keeps insisting. Lots of bureaucracy and no leadership. Portland has had a commissioner form of government since 1913 with a mayor and four commissioners. But in November 2022 a ballot measure passed that will split up the city into four geographic voting districts represented by three city councilors each; instead of a commission form of government there will be a city administrator who oversees bureaus and the city’s day-to-day functions. Portland will also use ranked-choice voting in elections. Eugene has an eight-member city council with a mayor who votes only in ties, as Portland’s now will. And we have an unelected city administrator. We hear criticism on the regular about Eugene’s system, so let’s see what happens when the new Portland government gets underway in 2025.
• In our July 27 story “The Unusual Push to Remove Rep. Paul Holvey,” we neglected to reach out to Joe Emmons of Osprey Field Services. We regret that error as it’s our policy not to put someone’s name in the paper without trying to contact them. We did get hold of him for this week’s story as the Holvey recall saga gets weirder and weirder. Current signature collectors are using dubious means of getting signatures, such as asking, “Do you support grocery workers?” rather than say it’s a recall, and Emmons’ previous group of signature collectors were laid off shortly after seeking to form a union. Read about it in this week’s news section.
• Eugene Weekly circulates throughout Lane County — and a little beyond. And we go into Oregon’s prisons as well. Some folks can afford a subscription, and others have one courtesy of reader contributions. One of our prison readers sent us a copy of the “Walled Street Bulletin,” a newsletter for the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, an interesting peek into the life of incarcerated people. The newsletter applauded a list of people getting GEDs, college degrees and other educational certificates — and we do, too.