Letters to the Editor 2024-02-22


I am so honored to see Shanaé Joyce-Stringer as a 2024 mayoral candidate for the city of Eugene. As a lifelong member of this community, I am excited to see a young woman of color enter this race, especially one with so much to offer as mayor. She is educated, relatable and easy to work with. One of her remarkable qualities is her ability to listen to everyone at the table and bring both her head and heart into every discussion. Our first time meeting was summer 2021 at the Juneteenth celebration, where she curated the Elder’s Lounge, a space dedicated to honor the African-American elders in the community, many of whom were members of the first families in the area. It’s her ability to honor what has been while recognizing there’s room for growth in Eugene that assures me she’s ready to lead.

Joyce-Stringer sees Eugene’s potential to be a city that sets the standard for Oregon and is dedicated to doing the work to make that potential our reality. Eugene has made strides at being inclusive and allowing qualified voices to be heard no matter how they may identify, and for that I am grateful. Our city is brimming with potential, and Joyce-Stringer has what it takes to strengthen our diverse community even more and deliver on important issues that matter to the citizens in every corner of Eugene. 

Thank you for your time and attention. 

Lyllye B. Reynolds,

Retired Academic Advisor, University of Oregon



I read Lynn Porter’s letter in EW with some interest as it portrays a rather biased view of the homeless situation in Eugene. I do feel that there need to be answers to help shelter the homeless who have no options but to be homeless. Sadly, this requires the support of those who are homed (through their own substantial daily efforts to be and to remain so). 

The money Porter complains that the city doesn’t have comes from that population of workers, people who work, who have purchased property and who pay what are fairly high taxes for that “honor.” I am one of those people, and I consider myself a rational liberal. 

I will say that my sympathy towards the homeless tends to nose dive when I see a camp strewn with trash from “garbage farming” and hear of parks littered with needles from some of the occupants who have chosen drugs as a way of life. It seems that in their own way, a substantial portion of the homeless population is set on “crushing” the sympathy of the working people whom they rely on to pay for services. It is a two way street, and it would be nice to see others doing their part a little better. It would also be nice to hear realistic solutions rather than the call for “forceful protests” — whatever that might actually mean. It certainly doesn’t sound like problem solving to me.

Liam Morris



Illegal drugs are highly profitable for the dealers, the police, and the corrections system.

To get rid of the problem, the illegal drugs should be both legal and free. Free above all. No motive for production or sales.

Johan Hari’s book Chasing the Scream is a good read on the subject of ineffective punitive measures, as well as alternatives.

Karen Carlson



The new Eugene Family YMCA Don Stathos Campus has been open for just short of three months. Apparently, many of you have been waiting to join the Y, since membership grew from 7,079 on Dec. 15 to 13,067 on Feb. 7, and membership is still growing. 

For those of us who have been Y members for decades, we remember the Patterson Street site’s finicky plumbing, the leaking ceiling in the only group exercise room and all the other ways the staff kept it duct-taped together. But we also knew that the Y is so much more than the physical structure. The Y is for everyone. Its Code of Conduct is: Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. The Y’s dedicated staff brings this every day! 

Like any new construction, it’s not perfect, there are things to fix and finish. But please participate in the Y’s code of conduct with kindness and appreciation. If you want a “free” locker room towel and other fancy amenities, there are lots of more expensive options out there for you. 

For those of you who may not know everything our Y does for our community, I’ll list just a few. The Y is the largest childcare provider in Lane County with services both on and off site. The Y offers a Diabetes Prevention program, a full aquatics center, Livestrong for Cancer patients, and an extensive number of youth programs, walking and running clubs, monthly potlucks for seniors, in addition to everything else offered on campus. Check out all the Y does for our community at EugeneYmca.org.

With gratitude to the Eugene Family YMCA and its dedicated staff, thank you.

Duane Funk



You want to escape from the nightmare of Genocide Joe vs. Benito Trump in November? You have a real possibility: work to persuade Oregon’s own Sen. Jeff Merkley to challenge Biden in the (not even yet imagined) primary for the Democratic nomination. It’s the hope, not yet the chance.

Stephen Slater



Like the editors of EW, I know none of the particulars regarding alleged retaliation and discrimination by Andy Dey against a grade school teacher, which is apparently being treated currently as an in-house matter rather than as a matter of public opinion, as it initially should be, with the decisions becoming public in due course.

I do know Dey, however, having had the privilege of helping him teach physics to eighth graders about 2005 and having served as a volunteer at South Eugene High School while he was principal there years later. He is a very bright guy, honest and devoted to individual students and teachers, though not particularly averse to tackling controversy. I am giving him the benefit of doubt till I hear significant evidence to the contrary. I just wonder why a guy so smart would take on the task of trying to herd the 4J school system? 

Tom Bettman



Lynn Porter pretty much nailed the issue of Eugene homelessness in his letter last week.

His mention of the city’s aversion to self-managed tent camps brought up memories of Nathan Showers and Whoville, which was a self-managed tent camp set up on a (still) vacant lot on Franklin Boulevard. It had room for porta-potties, a dumpster, a communal kitchen, as well as numerous tents. It hosted an open house with Kitty Piercy and other city officials in attendance. 

Shortly after the open house, the camp was cleared in a massive police operation on (ironically) the same day the city was unveiling the new Washington Jefferson Skatepark.

Showers and his partner Tracy Forest are now operating Nightingale Hosted Shelters on Hilyard Street, showing what can be accomplished with a little space and good management.

Steve Hiatt



Our local PeaceHealth home health and hospice (home care) nurses are on strike. They are asking to be paid the same as the hospital nurses. Equal pay across hospital and home care units is standard practice across all PeaceHealth Northwest programs. 

Hospital and home care nurses have the same licensing requirements, yet PeaceHealth is paying our local home care nurses less, claiming they are worth less. 

When my mother suffered a series of strokes several years ago, our family worked with amazing, equally skilled nursing teams at the hospital and at home. 

So, why less compensation now? 

Home care nursing is less profitable to PeaceHealth, and Liz Dunne, PeaceHealth CEO, wants to maintain her annual compensation of over $6 million.   

Our local home care nurses have been in contract negotiations with PeaceHealth for over a year. Is PeaceHealth trying to eliminate their program as a test case for further reductions across the region? Sister Monica would be appalled. 

The corporatization of health care must end. Let’s end it here.  

To support these nurses, their patients and their families, please visit the Oregon Nurses Association’s website: RespectOurNurses.com. 

Laurie Ehlhardt Powell 



Were you aware it is perfectly legal in Oregon to subject certain animals to inhumane and even tortuous treatment?

 Hyperbole, you say? Recently in Oregon over 750,000 chickens were killed (euthanized would be a gross misuse of the English language) by way of what the state vet calls “ventilation shutdown.” As you may know, today’s factory chicken farms cram thousands of birds into rearing buildings. The state in response to the avian flu epidemic allowed growers to shut down the ventilation systems in these buildings and introduce some heat so that the birds slowly die of heatstroke. These animals are alive and suffering for hours before they succumb. 

“Well this had to be done due to the bird flu” some might say. Well no, Oregon is only one of five states that allows this arcane practice. The others mandate more humane methods for dealing with such situations. Please contact your state government reps.  

Dan Dizney



Health care in America is a mess for many reasons. It’s a crazy quilt of many types of coverage, but perhaps the major reason is that it is an increasingly for-profit system. Private equity investors spent more than $200 billion on health care acquisitions in 2021 alone, and $1 trillion in the past decade. 

 In recent years both the type of investors and how they operate have changed. The firms investing in health care now are far more likely to be managing funds for large groups of wealthy individuals or institutions. They know little about health care and are in the game strictly for profit. They may borrow the money to buy a health care asset, using the asset itself as collateral; replace experienced professionals with younger, cheaper staff; or simply raise prices. However, they do it, their primary goal is to make as large a profit as possible. Their duty is to their investors not to their patients.

 What does this mean for patients? It’s not good. A study led by Harvard Medical School researchers has shown that patients are up to 25 percent more likely to fall or get a new infection during their stay in a hospital that has been acquired by a private equity firm.

 Jo Alexander



It’s too bad some people, especially families with kids, are homeless through no fault of their own. Why do most people seem “uncaring” or just plain “disgusted” with the homeless? It wouldn’t have anything to do with what looks like a trash dump where they are or where they’ve been, would it? (Sarcasm.) 

Regardless, if you’re down and out or not, whatever happened to the little thing we all call personal responsibility?

Greg Anson Sr.




We are visitors from Colorado who have spent an interesting and enjoyable week on the Oregon Coast: Bandon, Coos Bay, Florence, Rockaway Beach and Astoria.

We noticed it rains a lot in Oregon, but many of the locals do not turn their headlights on during the day.

If I  were King of Oregon, I would decree that everyone drive with their headlights on all the time.

Has the Oregon state Legislature discussed this in Salem ?

We are trying to get the Colorado state Legislature to pass the same law.

The internet claims that 20 states require headlights to be on, when the windshield wipers are operating.  Oregon is not one of them.

All countries in Scandinavia mandate car headlights be on all the time, day or night. When the engine is running, the headlights are on.

That would be my solution.

Peter Richards

Boulder, Colorado 


Leave it to Portland area Democrats to come up with nutty plans to disrupt our lives. In the 2023 Oregon Legislative session, three of them — Sen. Michael Dembrow, along with Reps. Courtney Neron and Maxine Dexter — introduced Senate Bill 525.

SB 525 “Directs Environmental Quality Commission to adopt standards prohibiting engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small nonroad engines beginning January 1, 2026.” That means no more new gasoline-operated mowers, leaf blowers, weed trimmers and, of particular interest in light of a recent event, chainsaws and generators. Did we not just go through the worst ice storm in recent memory with extended power outages and thousands of downed trees statewide?

Meanwhile, after consistently bashing natural gas, Oregon Democrat Gov. Tina Kotek is installing a natural gas/propane backup generator system at the governor’s mansion at a reported cost north of $300,000 of taxpayer money.

SB 525, fortunately, did not advance, but there’s talk of bringing it back for another try. When you vote Democrat, this is the kind of nonsense and hypocrisy you’re supporting. 

Jerry Ritter



Regarding the Savage Love column: I found it absolutely hilarious that immediately after printing a very funny letter from a reader grossed out by a recent query to and response from Dan Savage, EW seemed to me to have stopped running his column (although I later learned this not to be the case). The Savage Love letter had to do with some guy putting cum in a casserole or some such culinary hijinks. I thought it best that the esteemed sex sob sister be allowed to retire with dignity (was there really anything new he could possibly say?). 

After all, even John Lennon wrote a few lousy songs (e.g., “God,” “How Do You Sleep?”), but no — the Feb. 8 edition had a letter from Complicated Partner Of Sorts, to which Savage replied, in part, as follows: “St. Maximilian… isn’t as sexy as St. Valentine — Maximilian is the patron saint of drug addicts, journalists and prisoners; Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers…”

There was one other sex sob sister I knew of before Dan Savage began publishing the first Savage Love in Seattle’s then-edgy weekly The Stranger in 1990. When I was a student at the University of Washington in the early 1980s, one time some woman wrote asking whether, in order to lose weight by going on a radical diet, she could get enough nutrition by swallowing cum. The advice columnist responded in a fashion that would later typify the way Savage often responds to letters, which require some input from an expert — this time, from a nutritionist, who informed him sperm and/or seminal fluid did not contain enough nutrients to be considered a suitable addition to one’s diet. (Unless, possibly, one swallowed vast quantities of it, which would mean, well, how many?) Consulting with a nutritionist (or biochemist, or whatever) about such a topic is so earnest, diligent and downright serious in its hilariousness that I immediately suspected that the writer’s real calling was as a comedian.

Stephen Slater