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Slant 3-19-2015

• We left the City Club of Eugene’s excellent debate on March 13 about manmade microwave radiation’s impact on human health undecided. Dr. Davison Soper, UO physics professor, and Dr. Paul Dart, MD, left us thinking that the science is not there on either side, although both expressed strong views. Soper was not concerned about wifi, cell towers and smart meters impacting human health. Dart definitely was. More science, please.

The art of transit: This week LTD announced the three artists who will complete the installations “inspired by nature and neighbors” along the West EmX line — locals Tallmadge Doyle, Betsy Wolfston and Kari Johnson. Lisa VanWinkle, communications coordinator for West Eugene EmX, predicts that the art will be installed in summer 2017. The art funding came from the same pot as the general funding for the West EmX project — 80 percent of which comes from the Federal Transit Administration and 20 percent from Oregon lottery-backed bonds. “The FTA does not require an investment in art but LTD believes it’s important,” VanWinkle tells EW. She also notes that in addition to making the project and neighborhoods more attractive, public art is proven to significantly reduce graffiti and vandalism. We’d like to see more of this proactive attitude towards public art and spaces, no matter where the funding comes from. Imagine what the student housing downtown could have looked like if builders took some of their MUPTE money and invested it in art. Perhaps instead of boxy, flimsy eyesores, the building’s exteriors could have featured murals by local artists or the courtyards could be galleries for homegrown sculpture. 

• While some anti-democratic and mean-spirited states are trying to suppress voting, Oregon shines with our new Motor Voter law. It allows you to register to vote or update voter registration information after interacting with the DMV without additional steps. We want to give a special shout out to the Bus Project, which has worked for years along with countless others to make this happen. Started by Jefferson Smith and now headed by interim director Nathan Howard, the Bus will be critical in educating, engaging and turning out the hundreds of thousands of new voters that will be added to the rolls by 2016. Smith and Howard were both student activists at the UO.

• We hear Oregon Ducks basketball coach Dana Altman has been named a finalist for the 2015 Skip Prosser Award for coaches who “who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who also display moral integrity off of it as well.” Huh? Altman has 25-9 record this season, led the Ducks to a second place in the Pac-12 standings and the team will play in the NCAA Tournament for the third year in row. But winning is not the same as moral integrity, and we don’t see the moral integrity in the countersuit Altman and the UO filed against the woman who says she was raped by three of Altman’s players. The suit was dropped after a public outcry. If Altman wants to help lead the way to stop sexual assault on campus, then maybe we can give him an award for integrity.

• Rumor is that Councilor Mike Clark is already sucking the air out of the room in the contest to succeed Kitty Piercy as mayor in 2016. Other names continue to pop up: Alan Zelenka, Chris Pryor and some surprises. November 2016 seems a long way away, but the Hillary Clinton strategy of scaring away challengers with early money and supporters might work, even in Eugene, Oregon.

• First we canceled the Eugene Celebration, now the annual Earth Day celebration at EWEB is out this year due to changes in the permitting process and the application requirements, according to a press release from Earth Day Oregon. Party aside, these celebrations bring our community together and let good local groups do outreach.