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Slant 7-24-2014

• Eugene’s proposed ordinance requiring paid sick leave time for employees who work in Eugene inspired a majority of Lane County commissioners to vote to prohibit such an ordinance in the county, but it’s not clear why these reactionary commissioners are so offended by an improvement in working conditions for their constituents (who vote, by the way). It’s a turf battle that may end up in the courts. Meanwhile, one thing is clear: The more cities and counties that enact common-sense ordinances such as paid sick time, the more likely it is that the Legislature will be forced to do something statewide to resolve the conflicts; so let the games begin. The Eugene City Council had a lively public hearing this week on the ordinance and is expected to vote yea or nay at its meeting beginning at 5:30 pm Monday, July 28, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. See Councilor Betty Taylor’s Viewpoint.

• Certainly no other Oregon community can boast the performers, audiences and diversity that have come through ours so far this summer. Start with the Bach Festival in late June, the Oregon Country Fair two weeks ago and now the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships, and we haven’t even hit August. By Monday, July 21, the checkers at Market of Choice on Franklin had chalked up young athletes from about 40 countries walking past their cash registers. The games started Tuesday, bringing more than 1,500 athletes and their fans from 167 countries to Hayward and the streets of Eugene and Springfield.

• The anti-EmX signs that litter West 11th Avenue and elsewhere around town should be an embarrassment to the property owners and businesses that display them, particularly since a U.S. District Court has dismissed a lawsuit against Lane Transit District and the Federal Transit Administration. The complaint by Our Money Our Transit (OMAT) claimed LTD and FTA ignored public opinion, did not pursue reasonable alternatives and did not consider the impacts of extending bus rapid transit into West Eugene. The court rejected all of the complaints as without merit. Most grumblings we hear about EmX have their roots in the bad information pushed by Bob Macherione and OMAT (a very small but vocal minority), but the court has spoken. Time to take down the silly signs. Construction on the EmX extension will happen throughout 2015 and 2016, despite OMAT, the Koch Brothers and others who are ideologically opposed to public transit. 

• No faerie-tale ending: Faerieworlds is hosting its last year at Mount Pisgah July 25-27. Since relocating there from Veneta in 2009, Faerieworlds has been a beloved music and arts festival fixture at Emerald Meadows. Both Faerieworlds and the Dirty Dash were collateral damage in the fallout banning large events by the county at Pisgah after the July 2013 Kaleidoscope Music Festival provoked complaints of noise, traffic, drug use and trespassing from the community. It’s too bad one bad apple soured the bunch and we wish Faerieworlds the best of luck in finding a new home for 2015.

• Eugene custom bike frame builder and racer Rob English was featured on the cover of our annual bike issue May 15 and we heard he crashed while racing at the front of the July 13 Tour of Aufderheide near Oakridge. English suffered multiple broken bones and other serious injuries and is still in the hospital, facing a long road to recovery. An outpouring of support includes an online fundraiser at wkly.ws/1se that has raised nearly $12,000 so far toward a goal of $20,000. Donations go directly to English and his family.