From Golden Apples to debating the Ems in Letters 


It’s the time of year when 4J is asking staff, students and community to nominate their favorite staff and volunteers. Historically, these Golden Apple awards (previously known as ACE awards) have gone to end-of-career educators, or educators at schools that have well-organized parent organizations. There are many talented, young, new and experienced teachers in the district that deserve to be recognized and galvanized by such an award.

It is disheartening to see this award go, year after year, to someone who doesn’t need it. While all educators deserve recognition for their commitment, caring and skill, we need to focus on keeping talented teachers in the schools, teaching our children.

By continuing to award end-of-career educators, it is destroying the integrity and spirit that the award was meant to represent. This is just another example of the many ways that 4J makes choices that feel more political than helpful to Eugene’s students.

I strongly urge 4J leadership to authentically and fully consider each nomination rather than just counting the number of votes, or honoring an end-of-career teacher, or choosing the winner based on improving optics for the district.

Carolyn Williams



In response to last week’s EW, it’s clear how misinformed people are about the LCMUP/Ems Stadium project. This project will in no way detract from the dollars the county/city have already been given for homelessness. Lane County received $74 million from ARPA in 2021-22, and $13.8 million was to be used for homelessness. In 2023, they received $22 million from the state for homelessness and another $4.1 million from the feds. If your issue is homelessness, take it up with your county-city boards and how they are spending the money they already have. KidSports and YMCA have brand new facilities. 

The $15 million bond measure would cost the average homeowner $25 per tax year. The project would greatly improve the Jefferson-Westside neighborhood. Those complaining about noise and light pollution should’ve re-thought living in downtown Eugene. Traffic will be no more an issue than it is during the logging show or the Lane County Fair — not an issue. I didn’t buy a house in a city to live in a sleepy suburb. We’ve already lost Eugene Celebration, Art in The Vineyard, Willamette Valley Folk Festival, etc. Eugene is dying a slow death. 

For the last three years, the Emeralds scouted multiple locations before landing on this one. PK Park was always temporary. Proposals were either rejected by the county-city or not approved by MLB. This is the approved site. There are no offers to buy the team so it will literally just go away. 

The community deserves this. The Emeralds deserve this. Vote Yes. 

Liz Treacy

Jefferson-Westside homeowner



No. No stadium at the Fairgrounds. Lane County has no right to change it to a stadium. The people of Lane County can only make that vote. One hundred million dollars can go to a more moral use in our county, not to just play a game. Go cry and buy a cow pasture to play in. That is a residential area; people live there. Would you want it in your backyard?

Lani Rookard



Living in Eugene since 1973, I have experienced decades of responses to the issue of homelessness. Once again, the same two polarities are suiting up and putting on the gloves. 

Those who see all people as deserving housing seek government policies. They believe this is the way to make a new reality. Homes for all (EW letters, Feb. 15).

Others believe that individual responsibility is an important factor to consider when working on homelessness. Personal failures are cited as elements in creating the problem (EW letters, Feb. 22).

Studies by United Way, surveys of housing availability, wages and rent comparison — facts come and go. Facts don’t matter.

Let’s move from the head to the heart. Look out your window on a rainy night. Are you warm and comfortable like me? I am a widow with my husband’s retirement benefits from PERS. I wonder why others suffer while I have plenty. Perhaps our policies are unjust.

Let’s work together. Remember, this nation began with “forceful protests.”  

Cindy Kokis



I had fallen out of the Eugene Weekly habit, but the reappearance of a print version after its recent absence caught my eye, so I grabbed one. The feel and smell of the paper over coffee was like a conversation with an old friend. A sterile screen is no match for the experience of analog media. The convenience of digital is deadly to local media because online everything is equally as close. Email and social media beckon. Media consumption is highly ritualistic, and once a habit gets broken, it is hard to re-establish it. 

As an academic, I tried to warn the new Register-Guard editors of the danger of breaking that morning physical paper ritual in their rush to digital, to no avail. They raised rates on delivery and subscriptions plummeted. Cities, neighborhoods, cafes and brew pubs are physical places. They are where we meet to be in the community, and the vortex of the internet draws us away, whereas the physical medium is a part of it. The gutting of the RG, and the elimination of letters like this, was a disaster for Eugene and highlights the danger of investor-driven media. Eugene Weekly is one of our last tenuous grasps of a truly local press. So, as you read this, hopefully on paper in a cafe somewhere, savor the moment.

Ted M. Coopman



I am an embryo, and I vote!

Fred Denny



Many people in our community may be unaware that there are church services being conducted every Sunday morning at the Arts and Technology Academy, our local public middle school (also at other public schools in Eugene).

This activity felt, to me, like proselytizing, seducing young people to join and engage in a religion at a public school.  This could easily be perceived as a school sponsored event. 

Why does our 4J School Board allow this? Churches do not belong in public schools. Our schools should be funded to provide instruction in civics and American history and government that teach the founding principles of our Republic, including separation of church and state.

Margaret Moore



Like many Eugene Weekly readers, I’ve been active in the community for decades, and care deeply that we keep Eugene liveable, as well as expand opportunities for people who have been shut out. That’s why I’m thrilled that Kaarin Knudson has stepped up to run for mayor. Knudson has not only proven her commitment to our city, she is already making a meaningful difference.

Knudson has deep Eugene roots. She has two degrees from UO and was a leading runner with the Ducks track team. She started a small business in Eugene and has children in 4J public schools. She is a licensed architect with more than 20 years’ experience advancing sustainable design and community-led solutions. In 2017, she founded the housing advocacy organization Better Housing Together, to increase housing affordability, diversity and supply in Lane County. She advised on the implementation of Oregon’s landmark middle housing laws and advocated for the creation of Eugene’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I can’t imagine a candidate with more proven commitment to solving our housing crisis.

Knudson is the leader we need: smart, respectful, and has proven she can bring people together for solutions. I have so much confidence in Knudson’s ethics, intelligence and ability to get things done. Join me in voting for Knudson for mayor.

Joy Marshall




On Monday, Feb. 5, children and their families as part of the group Parents for Ceasefire delivered handmade posters calling for an end to U.S. funding of the war on Gaza to an empty, yet again, Rep. Val Hoyle Eugene office. Families were subsequently forced to leave under threat of trespassing, and told they weren’t Hoyle’s “constituents” by building security.

 Following official protocol, numerous member parents called Hoyle’s office requesting a meeting to deliver their children’s art and messages. After days of silence from Hoyle, Parents for Ceasefire were told to stop calling because her office would schedule a meeting by the end of February. That date has come and gone and Hoyle’s secretaries never answer the phone. Hoyle is running for re-election with a Democratic primary in May. Her platform follows the predictable “safe” Democratic line Joe Biden’s campaign will use, reproductive rights, yet remains silent and elusive when it comes to the bloody massacres of women and children in Gaza on our dime. It’s very hypocritical to claim you care about women in this country while funding the wholesale murder of women and children in Palestine.

Katie Preston



The purpose of this letter is to call attention to a recent incident in Washington state in which a 75-pound cougar attacked a woman that was in a pack of five cyclists. The woman was hospitalized but survived. The cougar, a juvenile male, was euthanized.

The pedaling of a bicycle resembles the running of prey and activates a cougar’s instinctual behaviors. Another way of looking at this situation is like this: humans enter cougar’s territory and do something that makes them look like food, the cougar tries to get the food, then the humans murder the cougar for trying to eat.

Have things gotten so bad in our society that we accept this type of injustice? They could have let the cougar go.

This incident happened in Washington, but Oregon’s cougars face the same kind of cruelty. We steal habitat and allow arbitrary killing of mountain lions and then wonder why attacks are on the increase. Mountain lions are crucial to the balance of our ecosystem. It is time for a change in legislation.

Jessica Church



A recent California storm brought extreme rains, up to an inch per hour, causing $11 billion in damages in five days, or $968 per family from one storm. Nine people lost their lives. All will pay part of the $11 billion through higher insurance premiums — if insurance is available — unplanned and expensive public infrastructure repairs, lower property values in some areas, higher rents from increased premiums on rental properties, lower levels of public services (or higher taxes), impacts on business activity and other costs. A second storm also delivered intense inch per hour rains. In the past, rain with this intensity happened once every 10 years, not twice in two months.

We know for a fact that weather events are more extreme and frequent due to global heating. Fossil fuel companies have known since 1954 but hid the true cost of their products, collecting record profits while costly damages are literally raining down on us and future generations.  

Would people so readily buy “natural” gas, gasoline, diesel, etc., knowing the ever-increasing true cost of embracing these products? Would people be so complacent, not more strongly calling for low-carbon energy alternatives, if fossil fuel companies were not spending millions hiding the true cost of their products? I doubt it. 

Peter Dragovich



As of March 1, the U.N. reports there have been more than 30,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza. An estimated 20,000 of those are women and children. “Here we are, at the end of February, with at least 576,000 people in Gaza — one-quarter of the population — one step away from famine,” Ramesh Rajasingham, the deputy chief of the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA), told the U.N. Security Council (UNSC).

And yet, President Joe Biden continues to send Israel money and weapons to continue its genocide unconditionally. 

Protesters in the U.S. have demonstrated by marching, obstructing roadways and interrupting politicians like Biden at their appearances in an effort to bring attention to the suffering and in search of a ceasefire. Aaron Bushnell self-immolated in an extreme act of protest. On March 1, NBC reported Biden has been altering his appearances to avoid being confronted by protesters. 

This past week in Michigan, “uncommitted” received more than 100,000 votes in the Democratic primary as voters looked to express their dissatisfaction. 

In Oregon, we can send a similar message by switching our voter registration to the Green Party — a consistent voice in calls for peace and justice for Palestinians. 

Instead of participating in the Democratic Party primary, let them know they’ve lost your support altogether. If ethnic cleansing isn’t a deal-breaker, what is? 

Now, I would understand if some progressive voters wanted to weigh-in in a contested Democratic primary, but that’s not what the DNC has given the voters. There’s not much incentive to stay registered as a Democrat (or NAV, for that matter). And Oregon will not have an “uncommitted” option on the primary ballot. 

We need an action that is a direct challenge to the power the administration holds. Imagine the statement it would make if thousands switched their voter registration. I am calling on Oregonians to SHUT IT DOWN for Palestine. Shut the entire Democratic Party down if necessary. We must hold our politicians accountable. And to do that, we need to leverage our collective power.

Justin Filip

Eugene Green



Here are a couple sturdy proofs that President Joe Biden is teetering on the brink of moral consciousness.

First, there is his gleeful rush to declare Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee in 2024.

This is a very tasty political cookie for Democrats, but it is laced with fentanyl. Biden clearly believes felons can be on the ballot, and that he can beat one. In fact, CBS’s legal expert Rikki Klieman recently announced felons can run for the presidency and hold the office in America (Face the Nation, 2/18).

However, do we really want a felony conviction to become the new badge of courage to replace military service, patriotism, family life and honest business dealing at election time? This is a death wish for democracy. People who understand the rule of law need to get busy with legislation and court cases. We can’t reward criminals with political plums.

Here is another Biden death wish. Catholic Biden is currently championing a 21st century Crusade against Muslim civilians living in the Holy Land, just like European Catholics engaged in a thousand years ago. Another cheap way to win votes from ignorant Americans at election time?

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah