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Slant 12-10-2015

• Our little Kesey Square has garnered the attention of the Wall Street Journal. National writer and Eugene native (now based in New York) Mary Pilon conducted interviews at the square the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 8, with Zane Kesey and company, as well as Ken Darling, a direct descendant of our city’s founding father Eugene Skinner. Both Kesey and Darling are opposed to putting a building on the square and would like to see it preserved and improved instead. “This cannot go away,” Darling said, pointing to the square, and calling for the city’s need for more democratic spaces.

• A big, warm thank you to Jane Brinkley, 13, who had the idea to host vigil for victims of gun violence at the First United Methodist Church Dec. 6. And thanks to all the volunteers and performers including (but not limited to)  Rachael Carnes, The Owl Road String Quartet, On the Rocks, Quinn Hansen, Mayor Kitty Piercy, Emily Sangder, Ben Brinkley, Scotty Perey, Anna Gilbert, Ayele Forde, Ingrid Wendt, The Sugar Beets, Divisi, Evynne and Peter Hollens, Nathan Alef and Pastor Adam Briddell. They made it an extraordinary night. Brinkley is right: Music heals. More than 600 people attended and the sublime performances were a collective cathartic release during a very troubling time. The event raised $4,743 for the UCC Strong Fund, who will distribute the funds to victims, family and those affected by the UCC shooting. 

• Picture an Oregon Supreme Court justice and a former dean of the UO Law School as rally squad girls, complete with pom-poms, leading a cheer for Margaret Hallock, retiring director of the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. That’s what happened Dec. 3 when Justice Martha Walters and law professor and former dean Margie Paris jumped around in staid Gerlinger Alumni lounge before a full house of Hallock admirers. Their act was only one part of a long list of tributes to the progressive economist who has coordinated the Morse Chair since 1988. To honor her legacy, the center has established the Margaret Hallock Program for Women’s Rights, already funded by far more than the $30,000 goal (waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu/womens-rights). The good news is that Hallock is now the chair of the board of Sponsors, where her force in this community and beyond will continue to be felt.

• The Portland FBI office, in a bit of hyperbole, recently posted on its top stories page a mention of the 10-year anniversary of what it calls Operation Backfire and what environmental activists call the Green Scare. “On Dec. 7, 2005, FBI agents and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Virginia and New York initiated the takedown of the most prolific domestic terrorism cell of the time: The Family.” Duly noted the irony, only days after a couple shoots up a San Bernadino disability center, killing 14 people, the FBI calls environmentalists, who did not physically harm anyone, prolific domestic terrorists. Priorities, please.

• You can pick up EW all over Lane County as well as in Corvallis, and now one community radio station in Florence will make it even easier to access our unique content. KXCR 90.7, a nonprofit, volunteer-run station, is reading EW articles on the air (properly bylined and credited, Donald Landstrom of KXCR Radio Partners tells us) and using them to prompt discussion. People on the west side of the Coast Range tend to forget that what goes on in Lane County affects Florence, so we’re glad to see that in addition to running stalwart shows like Alternative Radio and Democracy Now, KXCR is keeping the coast up on county and regional politics, news and arts.