Readers weigh in on the Ems, the ballet and more in this week’s letters


I thank Minister Dan Bryant for his view on “When Life Begins.”

I have always struggled with how to articulate my beliefs in this question.

I am a person of faith, but not a believer in all the doctrines-translations of the Bible currently put forth in organized religions.

So it was very refreshing to read Bryant’s view and what he bases it on. His is a voice of reason, based on facts and educated opinion, not just singular beliefs and hyperbole.

Our politicians should indeed “remember to be neutral on religious doctrine.” I would add that trying to force a biased view of this issue to attain your political goals is not a very Christian act either.

Marion Sproul 



Major league baseball is a $10 billion per year industry. They sponsor minor league teams as a revenue producing training ground for their players.

The Eugene Emeralds and their parent club, the San Francisco Giants, have insulted Oregon taxpayers with their proposal for a new stadium. To pay for the proposed $90.5 million cost to build the stadium, the Emeralds offered to contribute $23.5 million. Since that figure includes $20 million for future rent and sponsorships, their actual cost would be $3.5 million, which leaves taxpayers stuck with an $87 million bill, and also leave taxpayers with the costs of maintenance and operations, as well as represent a huge loss of property tax revenue.

The Giants are using the same tactic the Athletics organization did, which is to hold the team hostage and say that if we want to see them again, we will have to come up with the money.

A better use of $87 million would be for the taxpayers to sponsor a short season team that could share PK Park with the Ducks baseball team. It could also be a source of revenue to add to the general fund.

Steve Hiatt



In May 2023, 79.3 percent of Lane County voters chose to keep spending $22-plus million a year to fund the county jail and youth detention center. 

Recently, we have seen what these facilities are doing for our community. The Feb. 22 Eugene Weekly article “Strip Searching Juveniles” revealed how young people have been intrusively strip searched on a regular basis (in violation of state guidelines) at the Lane County Youth Detention Center. 

The following March 1 story by KMTR said, “The county says no one at the center has been reprimanded for using strip-searches. The county also has no data on the number of recent comprehensive searches.” Youth who’ve already experienced trauma have been harmed again through these searches, thanks to our tax dollars.

Another way our $22-plus million is being used? See the Feb. 29 viewpoint “In Defense of Decriminalization.” As a former addict and now a medic, Dylan Curran writes, “Addiction is not a death sentence, but time served easily could be…. What we need is to support people in recovery with shelters and low-barrier housing. And a jail cell doesn’t count.” 

Yet Lane County officials tout the jail as a way to help people with addiction and mental health issues, and voters keep funding the jail — but sadly for the future Lane Stabilization Center, “most funding options have been exhausted with only 50 percent of the expected build cost raised.” I would love a levy that uses our tax dollars to help people who are struggling, rather than incarcerating them.

Laura Ray



I had the pleasure of seeing Ballet Fantastique’s production of Cinderella last weekend. It was truly amazing. The dancers are excellent and were having so much fun hamming it up. The music and singing by Shelley James and her band was so enjoyable. The four women who sang had incredible voices, And hearing those songs from the ’60s and watching ballet being danced to those songs was just joyful.

Please support this amazing community dance group. You’ll be glad you do.

Viriam Khalsa 



Everyone is relieved to learn that some of our favorite Lane County parks are set to reopen, including the Howard Buford Recreation Area — too often ignored when thought of as Mount Pisgah. And while the media focuses on the Mount Pisgah Arboretum when reporting on the storm, its aftermath and reopening, it is missing the much larger picture that the arboretum is but a small part. 

If you hike to the summit, to Swing Hill, you are no longer in the arboretum. The remaining acreage suffered equal devastation, required volunteer support to recover, and received some portion of funding for that to happen. HBRA (Buford Park) is a gift to us at least as beneficial as the arboretum with the same needs for support.

Remember that as you hike on the east side, climb to the summits and enjoy what both have to offer.

Maradee Girt



I am excited to endorse Kaarin Knudson for mayor of Eugene. Knudson brings a fresh perspective to local politics, one that combines her experience as an architect, urban designer, university educator and community leader.

 A reason why I wholeheartedly support Knudson’s candidacy is her unwavering pledge to address Eugene’s housing crisis. Housing is not just a matter of shelter; it is the foundation of health and opportunity for everyone. Many citizens presently struggle with the high cost of housing. That said, the absence of quality housing options is not solely an affordability issue; it is additionally tied to policies that are no longer entirely in sync with the realities of Eugene’s shifting demographics and aspirations toward becoming a sustainable and inclusive community. As a founding director of Better Housing Together, Knudson has led efforts to promote the diversification of Eugene’s housing stock. As mayor, she would be empowered to help move the rhetoric beyond advocacy toward effective policy.

Knudson’s first hand expertise as an architect and urban designer further includes her understanding of the importance and complexity of planning goals. As mayor, Knudson would bring a holistic view, contextual awareness, strategic thinking and the ability to synthesize information from a variety of sources and disciplines.

I admire Knudson’s dedication to Eugene, her desire to make a difference, and her willingness to assume a role of leadership and responsibility. Let’s rally behind Knudson and work together to create the Eugene we all envision.

Randy Nishimura



I commend President Biden’s ambitious housing plans unveiled in his State of the Union address. His commitment to building and preserving 2 million homes is a critical step toward making affordable housing a reality for millions. The expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the introduction of the Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit are game changers for renters and first-time homeowners in Eugene and beyond. These measures will limit rising housing costs and increase access to homeownership.

The $20 billion Innovation Fund for Housing Expansion is especially promising, as it encourages local innovation to build affordable homes. This, combined with the proposal to build on the Community Reinvestment Act to increase banks’ contributions to affordable housing, represents a refreshing federal approach to tackling the national housing crisis.

Actions against rent gouging and junk fees, including national rent control on landlords with federally backed mortgages, along with the largest modern expansion of Housing Choice Vouchers, are essential to protect renters from exploitation and ensure housing stability. This plan is a good start for all seeking affordable housing, and we all need to urge Congress to act swiftly.

Kevin Cronin 



My letter from a month ago called for Congress to pass the bipartisan tax bill that included an increase in the child tax credit (“Pro-EW, Pro Child Tax Credit,” 2/1). No doubt many of us called our representatives to tell them to pass this poverty battling initiative: the House overwhelmingly passed it with majorities of both parties voting for it. Now it is the Senate’s turn. The number is the same, 202-224-3121, to call your senators to pass this critical legislation. Half a million children lifted out of poverty and 16 million people will be more likely to avoid hunger and homelessness.

Willie Dickerson

Snohomish, Washington


We live one block from the Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds, and for 34 years have both observed and enjoyed countless events and activities. Here are some thoughts on the master plan under consideration:

Please cherish and preserve what is working well and what is historic. Big and new isn’t always an improvement, and can obliterate the uniqueness, variety and charm that nourishes tourism.

Please remember the vital role of shelter, support and assistance the fairgrounds provide during extreme (both hot and cold) weather events, fires, smoke-poor air quality and unexpected emergencies (such as a pandemic, earthquake event or prolonged utility disruption), and the ongoing shelter crisis (such as Egan Warming Centers and our unhoused veterans, youth and elderly).

Please tend well what we already have. Repair, upgrade and add improvements such as solar arrays-ductless systems-generators. Celebrate our amazing flora with native flowers and herbs and more trees for shade canopy.

Finally, our wish for the master plan is for a “cluster” of Wheeler Pavilions (adding three more!) that could generate year-round revenues by renting them for a wide variety of events-celebrations-meetings and entertainment for both local and out-of-state bookings. Concerts, speakers, authors, plays, wedding receptions, birthdays, clubs, classes, and “pop-ups” could be coordinated by additional staff utilizing money given to support tourism, including a vibrant online schedule and photos. The four pavilions could be connected by a food truck court, tables and benches, outdoor chess tables and a small platform stage (with electric connections) for ambiance entertainment. Add colorful twinkle lights, outdoor recycled-glass “spires” with tile-mosaic and metal art by Oregon artists to make this a magical destination for repeat visits by both neighbors, community and tourists. Unlike other cities, it would be a reflection of Eugene and Oregon. People would book hotels, shop and eat out over several days to attend the myriad of choices and surprise pop-ups.

It is not too late to pivot towards a new vision for the Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds. Thank you for your consideration and reflection on this matter.

Christopher & Deb Michaels



Cougar habitat is decreasing due to human development and wildfires. Interactions with humans are increasing. Doesn’t it make sense, given their role as apex predators, to stop the hunting that leaves orphaned cougars and allow young cougars to be adequately nurtured and taught to hunt correctly by their mothers? This would help keep livestock, pets, and humans safe. It is also the right thing to do: an orphaned cougar kitten under 6 months of age has zero percent of survival if a hunter kills their mother. It will starve or be eaten by a predator. Oregon law acknowledges kittens and disallows the hunting of a mother with spotted kittens; however, the mother leaves her kittens in a den when she hunts, so there is no way for a hunter to tell if she has kittens.

California made hunting illegal in the early 1990s and has seen no rise in human-cougar conflicts, and Colorado has it in the ballot to follow suit. It is time for the free-thinking voters of Oregon to do the same.

Jessica Church



President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address illustrated the stark difference between a kindly grandfather figure doing everything he can to help the regular people, and the psychotic and vengeful Putin wannabe. Republicans attack women’s freedom and are on the wrong side of nearly every policy.

He led the pandemic recovery and made the U.S. the best economy in the world. Record GDP, jobs, and stock market, while avoiding the recession everyone expected. Katie Britt’s demonization of all refugees with a story in Mexico under Bush’s term was disgraceful, as was MTG’s attempt to paint all refugees as murderers and criminals. MAGA radicals see all brown people as vermin poisoning their white patriarchy.

Were you better off four years ago? The pandemic lockdown, Trump’s lies, elimination of President Barack Obama’s preparations, anti-science ignorance, super spreader events and the discouragement of masks and vaccinations resulted in up to half a million unnecessary deaths.

Jerry Brule



The Springfield Eugene Anti-Imperialist coalition hung a banner from the 18th Avenue pedestrian bridge on Sunday, Feb. 18. It wasn’t something we wanted to do, but it was something that had to be done. It was the most recent death toll from Gaza: 28,985. By the time this letter sees publication the toll will be over 30,000.

There was a time in Eugene when we took the streets and stopped business as usual because Black Lives Matter. People of color gave radical lectures in intersections while hundreds shut down traffic on any day. Now we hang a banner with a number that increases every day on it. Now police are trying to make sure they are in charge at protests. They are desperately trying to make sure business as usual continues, and as it continues the death toll in Gaza rises. 

There is a number that can stop business as usual, it is a number that includes you on the streets. It is a number they can’t order onto the sidewalks or press charges against. It includes all of us on the streets all together.

The students have a real objective. It includes boycott, divestment and sanctions of all University assets and contracts from Israel. They will need community support to stop business as usual at the most powerful institution in Eugene. They will need your voice, your experience and, most of all, your courage. See you on the streets. Palestine Forever.

Eric Howanietz


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