Photos by Todd Cooper

Voters, Mark Your Ballots

From local races to prepping for the November election, voting matters

 It’s hard to feel like coloring in a circle (black or blue pen only) on a piece of paper is going to make a difference when you’re watching youth dying from fentanyl and people struggling with homelessness and mental illness in the place you call home.

“Every vote matters” can ring hollow when it doesn’t feel like your vote made things better last time.

We get that. 

And yes, we’re going to say it anyway: Vote. It matters. 


There are wars in Gaza and Ukraine, and we have a former president running for office who is trying to claim sweeping presidential immunity from criminal prosecution and is in court over hush money paid to a porn star (who maintains an excellent and sassy X-formerly-known-as-Twitter presence).

Watergate, and “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” just hit differently now. 

There are two main schools of thought on this one: Blow the system up or change from within. 

Given what is at stake in the presidential election — let Jan. 6 be an annual reminder — this year, we’re holding steady with Joe.

Democratic nominee for President

Joseph R. Biden Jr. 

Marianne Williamson

U.S. Representative 4th District

Val Hoyle (unopposed)


We’re doing pretty well here in Oregon on reproductive rights and gender-affirming care, but this state still has acres of places to improve — from the environment to housing to dealing with mental health and drug addiction. 

And it’s dangerous, as we’ve learned as a nation, to assume a right we thought we had — like abortion — can’t get swept away. Vote!

Tobias Read. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Secretary of State 

Tobias Read 
James Manning Jr., James Jim Crary, Paul Damian Wells, Dave W. Stauffer 

Not gonna lie, we’ve been James Manning Jr. fans for a while now. Heck, we liked him back when the local Democratic establishment was giving him the hairy eyeball, fearing he’d be bad on policing and the environment when he was vying to be a state representative. For years now as state senator, he’s been great on those issues and more.

But in this race for secretary of state, we are going with Tobias Read. Read told us in a recent interview that he’s “not the most exciting candidate,” nodding to the fact that Oregon’s had lots of excitement and drama in the secretary of state’s office recently. 

Read may not be exciting, but he’s done his homework on how county clerks are managing elections, why we need boring stuff like archives and audits, and why elections matter and why transparency in government — a place where Manning could have been stronger —  matters. Read also reminded us that we’re “healthier as a country when more people are voting.”  

In an era when elections are plagued with disinformation and Oregon’s secretary of state’s office — next in line to the governor — has been plagued with drama, Read’s understated leadership wins the day.

State Treasurer 

Elizabeth Steiner  

Jeff Gudman

Right off the bat, Dr. Elizabeth Steiner makes it clear what being a physician has to do with money: In her own practice, she says, she has seen how financial insecurity can manifest as physical pain. 

Her experience of being the state’s chief budget writer as co-chair of the Legislature’s powerful Joint Ways and Means Committee for the past several years further bolsters her qualifications for the state treasurer position, which secretary of state candidate Tobias Read, who is term-limited, currently holds. Read has endorsed her for the position.

Steiner is thoughtful — and at times fierce — on the issues and says she will boost Oregonians’ financial literacy, increase the number of Oregon youth with post-secondary education savings plans — and ensure they understand the funds can be used for more than just traditional university education — and start an Oregon “baby bond” program. In a baby bond, a child gets an account seeded with a certain amount of money that the family can contribute to over time. The money is accessible once the kid turns 18 for anything from buying a car to education. 

Steiner’s opponent is Jeff Gudman who has run twice for treasurer as a Republican. If she wins the primary, she faces the lone Republican candidate, state Sen. Brian Boquist, in November. Steiner tells us she was the first girl to play Little League back in Cambridge, Massachusetts. If she wins in November, Steiner would be Oregon’s first female treasurer. 

Dan Rayfield. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Attorney General 

Dan Rayfield 

Shaina Maxey Pomerantz 

Dan Rayfield brings to the attorney general’s position a background that made him our pick in the Democratic primary. First, he has almost two decades of experience as an attorney, and second, he’s had hands-on experience and leadership as speaker of the House in the Oregon Legislature. He tells us, “I spent an incredible amount of effort working to build a reputation that was founded on trust, openness and strong relationships.” 

At the same time, he acknowledges that “nobody steps into an agency role and has all of the experiences that you would think are perfect.” 

Yet what put us over the edge was not his highly relatable experience of being fired from his job as a Disney Jungle Cruise skipper (after all, who hasn’t gone off script once in a while?), but it’s his acknowledgment of the need for those who have had criminal pasts to be able to move forward. 

While he fully supports Oregon’s expungement laws, which broadened in 2022, he says he wants his own past record to stand. As a teenager, he was cited for driving under the influence, for which he did a diversion program, as well as four counts each of recklessly endangering another and criminal mischief in a BB gun incident. He tells us, “What I realized throughout this journey is this makes me who I am. The most meaningful conversations in this role have been being able to talk to other people about my own personal failures, especially kids in school.” 

It’s all of these things that get him the nod for AG.


State Representative

House District 7

John Lively 

Ryan Rhoads

Lisa Fragala. Photo by Todd Cooper.

House District 8

Lisa Fragala 

Doyle E. Canning

It’s a good day when you have two good candidates vying for office. There is no Republican candidate for this solidly Democratic district that Rep. Paul Holvey led for so long, so it’s Lisa Fragala v. Doyle Canning. Fragala has been solid on the Lane Community College Board of Education and the Lane County Planning Commission, and Canning has moved from running for Congress to putting in her time as a legislative director in the Oregon House.

Fragala persuaded us with her lack of fanfare and boots on the ground service in public office. A K-12 educator, she understands the needs and goals of public education, and as a breast cancer survivor she deeply understands health care and she gets the urgency of the climate crisis.  

House District 12 (Democrat)

No candidate

House District 12 (Republican)

Charlie Conrad 

Darin Harbick

We don’t usually endorse in Republican races, but first, no one is running as a Democrat. And second, Charlie Conrad bucked his party and voted for HB 2002, a bill that is seen as a response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The omnibus bill protected health care providers who perform abortions or gender-affirming care from legal repercussions and expanded what Medicaid and private insurers cover under gender-affirming care, among other things. And Conrad, a pro-choice Republican, researched gender-affirming care before making his vote.

House District 13

Nancy Nathanson (unopposed)

House District 14

Julie Fahey (unopposed)


Voting matters in our local nonpartisan elections — where technically the seat is listed without a party label (county commissioner, city councilor etc.), but the candidates clearly have a political bias. 

And votes matter, especially so in these races, which can be won or lost in May by the slimmest of margins — in a nonpartisan primary in Oregon, 50 percent of the vote plus one wins. 

Are you the plus one?

Christopher J. Parosa. Photo by Todd Cooper.

District Attorney

Christopher J. Parosa 

James Cleavenger

If the Oregon attorney general is the state’s top cop, then the district attorney is Lane County’s. Here’s why we chose Chris Parosa: He didn’t just talk about crime and punishment, he talked about treatment courts and what happens when someone who once committed a crime wants to change their life for the better. Parosa talks more about breaking the cycle of criminality than about punishment. He was willing to speak frankly and we need that. 

Then there’s his opponent James Cleavenger, who is campaigning on the argument he’s an outside change agent. When Cleavenger ran against retiring DA Patty Perlow in 2020, we wrote about sexual assault allegations against him — including his defense that he had “‘blue balls,’ caused by not having sex.” 

The Oregon State Bar says it is investigating a complaint filed against Cleavenger in 2022 that was referred to the bar’s Disciplinary Counsel’s Office in January and is currently in the investigation phase.

Lane County Board of Commissioners 

North Eugene

Zach Mulholland 

Pat Farr Sr.

We appreciate the work Zach Mulholland has done on the environment with Beyond Toxics and his commitment to education on the Lane Community College Board. We are underwhelmed by incumbent Pat Farr’s tendency to vote the way the wind is blowing — usually conservatively — on zoning and environmental issues, although we appreciate his efforts on homelessness. 

Farr is by far the more experienced candidate, but Mulholland would bring a needed attentiveness to environment and social issues back to the board. He’s worth a shot.

South Eugene

Laurie Trieger 

Grace Widdicombe

Kaarin Knudson. Photo by Todd Cooper.

City of Eugene


Kaarin Knudson 

Shanaè Joyce-Stringer, Stefan (Ace Dog) Strek

In a time where homelessness, housing and the environment dominate voter concerns, architect Kaarin Knudson wrote the book on sustainable urban design. To be precise, she co-wrote The Sustainable Urban Design Handbook, but either way, she’s put in her time thinking about cities. She tells Eugene Weekly, “Where to begin would be with a city center that is climate responsive, walkable and advancing equity goals.” 

Shanaè Joyce-Stringer has faced criticism for being a relative newcomer — moving here from Florida three years ago — and for her personal religious beliefs. What we liked about Joyce-Stringer was her willingness to ask the questions — do renters like herself get enough representation in local government? Who decides what is affordable? Who is sitting on those boards, what expertise and what lived experience do they have? Joyce-Stringer isn’t our pick this go around, but we’d love to see her in office in the future.

Eliza Kashinsky. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Ward 1

Eliza Kashinsky 

Ethan Clevenger, Ted M. Coopman

The race for the ward that envelops downtown is a key one, especially since downtown, like the Whit, is often the epicenter of Eugene’s urban problems. This seat really got down to two candidates: Eliza Kashinsky and Ethan Clevenger. We loved Clevenger’s energy and his experience as a downtown business owner. Kashinsky, on the other hand, is capable of deep dives into wonky documents — a talent she touts and has demonstrated on the Lane County Planning Commission. With Eugene City Council seats just a step above volunteer work with their small stipends for large jobs, Kashinky’s willingness to dive into documents unprovoked sold us. 

Ted Coopman was just a bit too NIMBY on housing and public transportation, and we regard an endorsement from Paul Conte, who was part of the effort to recall Ward 7 City Councilor Claire Syrett for her pro-mass transit stance, as a bad sign. 

Matt Keating. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Ward 2

Matthew K. Keating 

Lisa Warnes

Matthew Keating is the pet parent of what he believes to be the oldest great Dane in the U.S. — his dog Vegas turned 13 this year. And animals need an advocate in this area where we notoriously underfund animal services and under-prosecute animal neglect. 

Advocacy for animals aside, Keating is also solid in his advocacy for mental health and health care — big issues in a city without a hospital as well as for climate and on affordable housing.

We were intrigued by Lisa Warnes’ candidacy based on her work to save Eugene’s Amazon Headwaters almost 20 years ago. However, she decided, via a peculiar series of emails, to not come in for an interview, and a city official’s desire to be public and transparent is important to us and to the voters.

Ward 7

Lyndsie Leech 

Barbie Walker 

The Lyndsie Leech v. Barbie Walker race goes on! The candidates for Claire Syrett’s former Whiteaker-River Road area seat are at it once again. Leech was appointed in late 2022 to replace Syrett, then ran for the seat in May 2023 garnering the most votes but not that magical more than 50 percent. That race went to November with Leech versus Walker. Leech won but with the term set to expire, has to run again. 

Yet again, we are team Leech. 

Leech is a working mom with strong positions on mental health and housing. Walker owns the Webfoot Bar and Grill and Pint Pot Public House, but unfortunately lacks clear solutions to key issues.


Wards 1 & 8 

Tim Morris 

Kim Arscott

Wards 2 & 3 

John Barofsky (unopposed)

Wards 6 & 7 

Sonya Carlson (unopposed)

City of Eugene Measures

Measure No: 20-349 STAR Voting

Amends Charter, changes method for electing mayor and city councilors.


We really wanted to like STAR Voting — which stands for Score Then Automatic Runoff. Our system could use a change, and some of the STAR Voting arguments about voting our conscience and reflecting the will of the people resonate with us. 

That said, groups like the Tribal Democracy Project oppose STAR, saying, “It’s not only confusing, it gives more power to those who already like the status quo, and disadvantages everyone else.”

Honestly, we found it confusing, too, and the risk of further disenfranchising Indigenous and voters of color is a big concern.  

Measure No: 20-358  Ems Stadium

Bonds Funding Lane County Multiuse Stadium at Fairgrounds


The sportsball fans on the editorial board were torn. We love the Ems. We love hometown baseball. We love all the Ems do for the community. 

We don’t love asking the public to toss in millions of dollars toward a privately owned sports team. 

We hear the argument that this is a multiuse stadium, but we’re still not hearing what happens to the displaced Livestock Building and the 4H and Future Farmers of America kids who compete there. Corporations are good at wangling subsidies. And kids, not so much.

Public subsidies of a for-profit out-of-state business are not a good use of public funds. Can someone bring Kevin Costner back to raise a couple mill for the Ems instead? 

City of Springfield

No challenged races

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