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Slant 9-24-2015

• It’s hard to believe that this community, so dependent on education, has to poll, strategize, organize and work like crazy to pass a modest levy for libraries, but it’s happening, and the ballots go out Oct. 16. This levy would cost the typical homeowner $36 a year, and we realize that is more than some homeowners can spare. But it will add 22 hours per week to the Sheldon and Bethel libraries and restore Sunday morning hours to the main library downtown, plus other benefits to kids and education, and the restoration of materials and technology. In this age of inequality in America, the public libraries are more important than ever. Measure 20-235 will be the only levy on the ballot on Nov. 3. It’s all about turnout.

• A rousing party with great paella at Sweet Cheeks Winery on Sept. 20 raised enough money to build four-and-a-half tiny houses (up to 250 sq. feet) in Emerald Village, the newest venture in housing for the homeless by SquareOne Villages (formerly Opportunity Village Eugene). That’s about $110,000, according to Pastor Dan Bryant, executive director of SquareOne. Peter DeFazio and Kitty Piercy spoke. Gerry Gaydos was emcee. Terry McDonald of St. Vincent de Paul and Tom Bowerman asked for contributions. And four-and-a-half tiny houses will go up in the new village off North Polk and Railroad.

• Pope Francis is here in the U.S., and in our supposedly enlightened country, he’s getting kickback for his stance on climate change. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The White House hopes the pope’s message on climate change sways developing nations that have been reluctant to commit to reducing emissions.” Well, we hope his message sways conservative climate change deniers, including major corporations, in our over-developed nation.

• The UO spent $80,000 to find out something its own faculty member, Jennifer Freyd, has shown repeatedly with her campus climate surveys: An often-cited, and often-disputed statistic that says one in five women are sexually assaulted during their colleges years, is accurate at the UO and elsewhere. The massive Association of American Universities survey, which 26 other universities participated in, also shows that half of the students at the UO don’t think the school would take the report of a sexual assault seriously. The fact that the UO doubted Freyd’s research, combined with the fact that the UO has countersued a sexual assault survivor, and in the case of student Laura Hanson, dropped an investigation for a summer then forgot to pick it back up again (see our cover story 5/25), and taken her and the basketball rape survivor’s counseling records without their permission, points to a huge issue at the university: While there are many people in the trenches working to put an end to sexual violence, those higher up in the administration are way too slow to get their act together, and students are paying the price.

• We’ve been following Eugene-area ornithologist Noah Stryker on his global quest this year to break the “International Big Year” world record of 4,341 bird species counted. He’s set a new record and is attempting to spot 5,000 bird species, which will be a tough act to follow. He has documented most of his sightings with witnesses and photographs. Stryker’s the author of The Thing with Feathers and financed his trip with an advance on his next book, which will be about his Big Year adventures. We hope he will give more of his entertaining and educational public talks and slide shows when he returns. Meanwhile, he’s blogging at audubon.org/noah.