Trees, ballet and 4J in Slant

• We got a note from a reader who heard about us through all the media coverage of the community’s efforts to keep this paper around. They said they teared up reading about all the fundraisers around town. Us, too! And we are not even done yet! In the dark days after we stopped printing, Nothing But Bundt Cakes dropped off some sweet treats, Chicken Crossing offered to drop by with food, Eugene Animal Hospital offered to make sure the pets of laid-off staff didn’t lack for veterinary care. And we can’t even fit all the names of all the folks who contributed onto a page. And this weekend, 255 Madison is putting on three days of live music, raffling gift baskets and donating $1 from every beer, wine and cider sold all weekend to keep the Weekly around (see our story online). How the heck do we say thank you? Beyond showing back up and putting this free paper back in your hot little hands! 

• Did you lose some trees to the January ice storm? The folks at Friends of Trees tell us that at 10 am Feb. 17 they will be giving away more than 1,000 trees and 600 native shrubs, bulbs, wildflowers and some fruit trees in the parking lot of International Paper in Springfield. FOT says that last year, all the trees were gone in 40 minutes so this year they have more than twice as many plants. 

• We hear from a fan that the Eugene Ballet’s performance of Gatsby with OrchestraNext drew a standing ovation last week. Not too long ago, in the height of the COVID pandemic, we were not sure the ballet would survive in Eugene, but happily it did, and our city and its arts scene is the better for it.

 In case you’ve missed it: Embattled 4J Superintendent Andy Dey is facing an investigation into whether he targeted a grade-school teacher for discrimination and retaliation. Dey has not responded to our requests for comment, and his office has ignored our repeated requests for two very public records: Dey’s current annual salary and a copy of his contract. We’ll keep asking — and letting you know if they ever respond. The 4J School Board — while declining to acknowledge an investigation even exists — must decide what to do with the complaint and Dey. Meanwhile, the 4J board did vote at a recent meeting to drop about $3 million on a building that needs $10 million in repairs at its Feb. 7 meeting using one-time COVID-19 relief money.

What happened to Oregon Duck basketball? Just a few years ago, both the men and the women were regulars in the NCAA tournament and won some big games in the Big Dance. This year, the women again look to have no shot at the tournament, and the men will have to get better quickly to make the tournament. Fortunately, Dana Altman‘s teams always seem to play well after Valentine’s Day, so there’s hope.

No City Club of Eugene meeting this Friday, Feb. 16, because of the Monday Presidents Day holiday. The next meeting is Feb. 23 at the usual room at the Inn at the Fifth. City Club returns Feb. 23 with a program on youth suicide rates, which are higher in Lane County than statewide. 

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