Elections, the Ems and more in letters


I strongly believe Eugene voters should jump at the chance to renew the 4J local option levy. When I graduated from North Eugene High School in 2012, the persistent effect of budget cuts had already been weighing on student morale for years. It is hard to describe how difficult it is to lose a great teacher, or an amazing band ensemble, simply because of shrinking educational resources. When this happens, it is deeply deflating to see our public institutions fall short of the promise we repeatedly make to young people, that education represents a robust path to opportunity.

The May 21 ballot is a chance to weigh in on multiple issues related to effective use of public funds. Amidst uncertainty around stadiums and sports teams, maintaining current levels of funding for schools should be a sure thing. Our city alone cannot fund our schools, but we can continue to do our part while advocating for a stronger state and federal commitment. Voting yes sends the message that our students, teachers and classified staff deserve at least as much as Eugene has committed to them previously, and not a penny less. 

Thomas Hiura



I’m supporting Lisa Fragala for state representative in House District 8 and encourage you to do the same. Here’s why:

I’ve known Fragala for years as she has tirelessly served on the Lane Community College board to support public education and the broader community. She has a strong teaching background and is well educated in environmental sciences with a passion for working to reduce climate impact and build community resilience.

She has supported many good candidates with her grassroots activism and collaborated in raising up women to run for office. 

Fragala fully grasps the crises we face in housing needs, shelter and local healthcare, and will tackle these issues from day one. She understands good jobs and strong labor protections serve us all. She works well with others and fully understands that politics at its best is not what one individual does or accomplishes but is about what we do together so that all can flourish.

Much as we all will miss Rep. Paul Holvey, I will be proud to have Fragala serve us and know that Holvey supports her as well. Democracy requires the diligence Fragala will bring. Our future depends on it.

Kitty Piercy

State representative

Former Eugene mayor 


In his March 28 letter, Steve Hering twists fellow letter writer Joe Blakely’s perspective on the Emeralds stadium question into something it wasn’t, in order to belittle, vilify and dismiss it. 

So I’ll start by fully validating Blakely’s actual point: Having taken my kids to Ems games at the old Civic Stadium, I’ve personally experienced the community-building benefits of coming together with others who span the political, social, economic and racial breadth of our community, to watch a somewhat ridiculous game, eat indulgent food, drink a soda or beer, and chat with the often very different stranger next to me while watching our kids play together. The opposite of divisive.

This argument feels divisive because we value different things. But it needn’t be divisive, either; it’s what healthy families and communities do to sort out big questions and important decisions. Some of us highly value community building activities, others highly value fiscal conservatism, still others highly value a quiet neighborhood. To expect us all to have the same primary value is to live in a fantasy world.

What is divisive is treating each other with disrespect by belittling, vilifying and dismissing the other as somehow wrong, defective, the enemy.

Peter Straton



Let’s be good sports

I wanted to reply to a couple of letters about the new Ems stadium.

I have lived in the West Jefferson neighborhood for over 25 years, and I am in favor of building this stadium. I do understand the reluctance of others to this project, and I welcome a healthy debate about it. Can we please keep the lying and misinformation out of it? Dave Hollingsworth, in his March 28 letter, is really inflating the cost of things in a way that might even make Honest Don blush. 

Hollingsworth is claiming “the cheapest seats are usually $39 each, not including the $11 service fee.” Not so. Weekday seats are ten bucks. Weekend seats will run you about $15. You can sit in the bleachers for $10. The service fee, if you buy them online, is $4. There are $8 dollar tickets for seniors and military. There are many promotions. You can get a burger, a beer and a baseball game for around 20 bucks some nights.

I want to see this stadium built in my neighborhood. I’m willing to listen to other arguments, though, and then decide what I think is best for my community. I like baseball and I think the game brings diverse groups of people together, bridges generations and can teach things like how to be a good sport; in other words, how to work hard towards your goal (often with others from diverse backgrounds) but not cheat, to be graceful when you are successful, and how to fail well. Lessons we all need.

Ron Constable



First of all, I have gone to some games. I believe the price that I paid last year for reserve seats was about $16. And, food and drinks were reasonable. (I have never paid anywhere near $75.00 per head.)

Second, the Ducks facility was not paid for by taxpayers; donors built it. (“PK Park,” after all.) True that they don’t pay property taxes.

And none of the other statements are backed up by any evidence — it’s all opinion.

I understand that there can be varying opinions about the potential of a new stadium. That’s fine.

You know what I think — it appears that Eugene Weekly is against the stadium and is willing to print “alternative facts” to obfuscate and confuse the voters. Dave Hollingsworth and you seem to have an agenda.

Straight out of the Trumpian playbook. So this makes you no better than a Trumper.

(I wish that this was an April Fool’s joke — but, apparently, you consider the voters the fools?)

Shame on you!

Gary DeCamp


Editor’s Note: Conflating a fact checking error made by a community newspaper without a staff sportsball writer with Donald Trump? Interesting choice! We corrected the error with an online editor’s note as soon as EMs General Manager Allan Benavides called it to our attention, and regret the error.


It started nationally years ago, but now it is in Oregon with a bang. First, Trillium, a coordinated care organization in Lane County for some of Oregon’s one million-plus Medicaid folks, was bought by Centene, a nationwide for profit insurance company. Then PeaceHealth closed its birthing center. Then three years ago OPTUM/United Health Insurance bought out Oregon Medical Group. Last December PeaceHealth closed Eugene’s only emergency hospital, with only three months’ notice to the community. Recently, OPTUM/United Health Insurance were approved by the Oregon Health Authority to buy Corvallis Clinic.

Now with doctors and providers leaving, Oregon Medical Group patients are being given the boot. OMG will no longer care for them. They need to seek another health provider. See Oregonlive.com March 27 article. OMG Southtowne clinic is closing.

Your health care needs are being bought by larger and larger corporations. Health care is being corporatized. This means their profit is the first priority, your health is a means for that profit, and as such it is treated as a commodity. Studies have shown that with each acquisition, merger or closure, services decrease, i.e. longer wait times, less time with the provider, more insurance denials and the costs increases.

Many of us are involved in creating a new pathway for healthcare. We can no longer trust the corporations to provide our healthcare needs. I urge you all to visit our site Hcao.org and be part of the movement for a simpler, comprehensive, universal health care program.

Lou Sinniger

HCAO Lane County Chapter Chair

Elmira, Oregon



It has been months now since you guys were embezzled. What is the status of the investigation? 

Gary Marullo


Editor’s Note: See the story, this issue.


Like most people in Eugene, we care about public schools and giving our children the help and tools they need in life. Students need support now more than ever with their academics, social wellbeing and mental health. That’s why we need to renew our local school levy this May.

The Local Option Levy, Measure 20-357, is one of the few ways we can directly get funds into local classrooms. We need it to continue — it is NOT a new tax. The levy is used only for operations here in Eugene 4J schools, which means it pays to:

• hire teachers, teaching assistants, counselors and other school staff

• keep school days

The levy will raise $25 million per year, equal to 20 percent of our teaching force or 32 days of school. If we don’t renew it, Eugene schools will have a hole in their budget the size of 205 teachers or six weeks of school.

Please vote yes this May to keep the 4J Local Option Levy.

• The levy is not a new tax.

• The levy is a renewal with no increase.

• We have renewed this levy at the same rate since 2000.

Our kids are counting on us.

Join Stand for Children to vote yes for schools.

Kelly Colvin-Smith 

Chair, Lane County Stand for Children



Eugeneans are systematically receiving EWEB’s message that we must choose between a fully functioning smart electricity meter or one that’s been installed but not turned on. If you choose the latter, there will be an unspecified monthly fee added to your bill for manual checking. The old option, to retain your analog meter, is no longer offered.

If you refuse both options, EWEB threatens to turn your power off. To have it turned back on, you have to agree to a fully functioning smart meter plus pay a $250 fine. No acknowledgment whatsoever is given of any possible negative effects of constant exposure to EMF radiation at a level several times that of your cell phone, or the fact that an inactivated meter still emits some EMF. We’re not sure how much harm is proven to be caused by EMF, but we don’t like these authoritarian tactics. 

Too bad EWEB doesn’t admit there’s a controversy and provide free EMF blocking covers for the meters for anyone concerned. Comprehensive information on smart meters is available at EMFAcademy.com/smart-meter-radiation.

Jack & Kazuko Cooper



Lisa Fragala is the best candidate for Oregon Legislature House District 8. I met Fragala when she worked as an elementary educator with the 4J school district. Fragala’s effectiveness with students and families was evident right away. Fragala connected with every student and advocated for their success, whether they were housed or unhoused, economically disadvantaged or wealthy. Fragala’s classroom was welcoming and multiculturally aware. It emphasized inclusion, citizenship, and human rights.

Fragala’s commitment to a thriving public educational system didn’t stop in her classroom. It extended statewide. Fragala’s vision, organizing skills, and boots-on-the-ground hard work brought people together to help our Legislature pass the Student Success Act, a bill which has provided much needed support and services to schools throughout Oregon. As a Lane Community College Board of Education director, Fragala is helping increase opportunities for workers in the trades, education and healthcare. At Pacific University’s College of Education, Fragala is helping build the teacher workforce that our community needs, including removing barriers for pre-service teachers of color to enter the profession. 

These are just a few examples of Fragala’s leadership. In fact, Fragala’s leadership extends far beyond education to — housing, mental health, emergency preparedness and more. When you vote for Fragala, you are not just voting for an outstanding teacher who gets things done. You’re voting for a leader who makes our community better for everyone. Vote Fragala in the May 21 Democratic primary for HD 8. 

Brinda Narayan-Wold, 

School Counselor Kelly Middle School 


In his Twilight Zone books, Rod Serling, who took part in the liberation of Corregidor in the Philippine Islands, wrote the story “He’s Alive.” It behooves us to remember Martin Luther King’s admonition not only against racism, but also anti-Semitism; especially in the time of one Donald Trump:

Serling concludes: “Where will he go next, this phantom of another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare — Chicago? Los Angeles? Miami, Florida? Vincennes, Indiana? Syracuse, New York? Anyplace, every place where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry. He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that, when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He’s alive because through these things we keep him alive.” 

That phantom, of course, is Adolph Hitler.

Michael Peterson



I am a Eugene resident and am strongly opposed to the siting of a large multi-purpose stadium on the Lane County Fairgrounds property. This location, near Eugene’s city center, is adjacent to several long established residential neighborhoods, and the near-by thoroughfares, 13th and 18th avenues, are already very busy with vehicle traffic.

In addition to hosting the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball games, this multi-purpose facility would be available, year-round, for other events, including rock concerts, which would severely affect all the nearby residents, well into the night, with light and noise pollution. And as the Fairgrounds location would not have a parking lot, attendees to all events would be parking their cars on the neighboring residential streets, yet one more inconvenience for local citizens. 

I am not opposed to a new minor league Ems stadium, including its extraneous events, but it should be sited in an appropriate location, preferably near the city’s edge. One Eugene resident suggested an area between Hwy. 99 and River Road in the northern part of the city, where no residential areas exist.

I deplore Major League Baseball owners holding cities hostage, threatening to move their team operations elsewhere if the host cities refuse to pay for new stadiums. The Ems are affiliated with the San Francisco Giants but owned by the Elmore Sports Group. This ESG owner, pulling this stunt on behalf of the minor league Ems, is a disgrace. They not only want the county to donate the fairground’s property, valued at $9 million, but expect Eugene, county and the state’s citizens to finance, through increased property taxes, an additional $90 million… This figure is probably higher now as the estimate was made last year.

The Ems owners, ESG, have the funds to build a new stadium in Eugene, yet have contributed only a paltry $10 million, less than 10 percent of the estimated cost of the construction. If they’re unwilling to pay their fair share of the construction expense, as well as for the ongoing maintenance costs, let them take their team elsewhere.

I’ve long lived in the university area, and have fond memories of hearing the applause coming from Civic Stadium. So I’ll be saddened if the Ems leave.

Sedate Redfield