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Slant 9-11-2014

Elizabeth Blue Currier and her box outside the Bijou Metro during the ArtWalk
Elizabeth Blue Currier and her box outside the Bijou Metro during the ArtWalk

• ArtsHound on Broadway (and Willamette), our box art contest and project, was a smashing success for September’s First Friday ArtWalk. Thank you to the artists, artwalkers, participating businesses and Lane Arts Council for collaborating with EW. FFAW coordinator Jessica Watson, who’s been on more than 60 ArtWalks, says it was one of the best-attended walks she’s seen. 

The art box in front of Bagel Sphere with Cortney Grim’s design was moved Monday, at the request of CDC Management Corporation, which owns the property. Grim’s box can now be seen at the corner of 9th and Pearl in front of Starbucks. 

Sadly, less than a week after their debut, two of the five boxes featuring original work by local artists have been vandalized and damaged. Regardless of how you feel about our little rag or our little boxes, please don’t take it out on local art. That’s what letters to the editor are for (letters@eugeneweekly.com).

 

City Hall got a two-week reprieve from destruction at the Eugene City Council meeting Sept. 8 and the delay is directly related to concerned residents speaking up and challenging the facts and assumptions put forward by the city administration, mayor and council. The decision to delay was made in the afternoon council work session when apparently a majority of the councilors recognized they had never actually voted to tear down City Hall, one of the biggest financial decisions to come before the council in generations. Seeds of doubt about the plan have been planted, and they are growing.

A steady stream of architects, engineers, energy efficiency experts and informed citizens spoke in the evening council public forum and argued for renovating City Hall rather than tearing it down and replacing it with a mini-City Hall surrounded by a surface parking lot. Speakers questioned city estimates for the teardown and rebuild and called for an independent cost-benefit analysis, not relying on estimates by city staff or architects who have a vested interest in building a new City Hall. 

What needs to happen next, in addition to more public pressure? A real cost-benefit analysis, at least six months to examine options, a public hearing and a real vote by the council. As architect Eric Hall noted Monday night, “Right now, there will be nothing in the history books to say who voted for this demolition.”

 

• Several years ago, old-timers who loved the crack of the bat and the smell of the popcorn at Eugene’s historic wooden baseball stadium, along with newcomers who took their visiting families and friends to bask in the Americana scene, coalesced to save Civic Stadium. They hired a savvy consultant whose father brought the Trailblazers to Portland. He drafted the first serious plan. Under considerable fire, both the 4J School Board and the Eugene City Council stepped up to do their part. Now a broader coalition, Civic Alliance, and the original Save Civic Stadium warriors are working together in a rare, positive Eugene campaign to save and repurpose the structure and, equally important, provide a field house and grounds for kids to play. Still a lot of bases to cover, but it finally looks like a win-win.

 

Elk meat is the new buffalo, or even beef. If you’re yearning for an elkburger, go to the new Elkhorn Brewery on Franklin Boulevard near the UO campus or to Buster’s on Main Street in Cottage Grove near the historic Cottage Grove Hotel. Herds of elk are roaming forests and fields west of Eugene beyond the airport, but we wonder about the steady supply of this delicacy.

 

Smoke gets in your eyes? The Deception Complex fire has burned almost 4,000 acres outside Oakridge since it started in August. This weekend the Yellow Point fire started burning 25 miles west of Cottage Grove, and there were wildfires near Creswell, and a fire at Chip Ross Park at the northern edge of Corvallis led to a brief evacuation of nearby homes. Even if you didn’t know the cause of all the smoke, Eugeneans can’t miss the bad air quality lately, and fire season isn’t over yet. Whether or not you believe that this summer’s fire-inducing unusually long spate of very hot days (a record 32 days of 90 degrees or hotter in Eugene) is the result of climate change, you do need to know that 70 to 80 percent of wildfires are human-caused, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

 

 • Congrats to Steve McQuiddy of Eugene, whose book Here on the Edge is a finalist for the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The book is the first finalist to come from a university press. Most finalists in the international competition come out of major publishing houses, but McQuiddy’s book was published by OSU Press. The book documents the Civilian Public Service Camp in Waldport that housed pacifists and conscientious objectors during World War II. This group went on to deeply influence the cultural revolution of the 1960s. See our archives at wkly.ws/1pn.