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Slant 12-11-2014

• Congrats to all players for ending the GTFF strike on the UO campus. We’re even pleased that we can stop honking our horns in solidarity with the picketing graduate teaching fellows marching for hours on end. Hopefully, this conflict will not be a forerunner for broader labor disputes at the university, now that the faculty is unionized. It should not be. The UO has a long history of working peacefully with unions, the SEIU, for instance, and the GTFF until this fall. Our flagship university and its students should not have to go through another painful episode like this one.

• Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed the new UO Board of Trustees. Phil Knight wanted an independent board. David Frohnmayer has advocated for it for years. The Oregon Legislature approved it. It’s time for somebody to lead in telling the board, under Chairman Chuck Lillis, to slow down. Functioning for only six months, the trustees are proposing to essentially wipe out the faculty’s valued shared governance of the UO, a research university faculty role which for many years has helped to bring fine professors to Eugene. The board also has had problems operating with the Oregon open meeting law, as pointed out in a Register-Guard editorial. Time for a time-out. Who will call it?

Civic Stadium supporters are well on their way to securing the financing to purchase the prime 10.2-acre site as a much-needed grandstands, soccer field and indoor Kidsports fieldhouse that would serve our community and region in multiple ways for generations to come. Parking questions, of course, bubbled up around the tables at the City Club of Eugene Dec. 5. What was not shown in the plans were about 180 surface parking spaces, nearly the same parking that was provided for baseball fans in the past. Parking will also be available across the street at South Eugene High School, with a pedestrian overpass already in place, and improved bus service and bike lanes are planned. The site’s central location is highly accessible. Friendly Area Neighbors have endorsed the project. Speakers Bev Smith, Dave Galas, Greg Ausland and Derek Johnson noted that Hayward Field and Matthew Knight Arena have almost no parking and the always sold-out soccer stadium in Portland has only three parking spaces for 20,000 fans.

• Reforming Oregon’s tax structure is on the agenda as lawmakers return to Salem this week for pre-session work. Some interesting bills are brewing in the Democrat-led House Revenue Committee for the Legislature to deal with in February. They won’t all make it, of course, but we’re happy to see a bill that would eliminate the individual income-tax kicker. Another bill, inspired by Eugene and other cities, would mandate paid sick leave statewide. The Oregon Senate Republican Office is freaking out, saying any reform of the status quo is bad for families and business. Actually, wealth disparity is worse for families and business. 

The film Wild, subtitled From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, opens this week in Portland, so we haven’t yet seen Reese Witherspoon playing Cheryl Strayed, but we’ll be looking for the portrayal of a former Eugenean in the hot film. Strayed writes in her book about Josh O’Brien and two other hikers who were considerate and kind to her late in her adventure, unlike some of the oafs she met along the way. Josh grew up in Eugene and went to South Eugene High School. He’s the son of Mary and Bob O’Brien, and he knew how to wear the right boots in the mountains. Last we heard, he hadn’t read the book.

Rolling Stone magazine’s journalistic lapse in its story about rape on the University of Virginia campus shouldn’t deter the rest of America’s journalists from chasing that story, both on college campuses and in the military. It does point out the need for carefully researched studies on the problem and the need to protect the rights of both accused and accuser. The UO is lucky to have right here on its faculty one of the leading experts and researchers in the country on this topic. Professor Jennifer Freyd, twice invited to the White House to work with the president’s task force, is leading a campus climate survey, which the timid UO administration should put out there as a solid national model.

• Eugene blogger Dan Carlin was honored Dec. 8 for Best Classic Podcast by Apple in its Best of 2014 awards. Find his Hardcore History posts on iTunes. Carlin’s award is right up there with Fargo as Best TV Show of the Year, Guardians of the Galaxy as Best Blockbuster Movie and Beyonce as Best Artist. Impressive company for a small-town guy quietly working out of his house.