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Slant 3-17-2016

• As online comments, personal conversations and the letters in this issue tell us, some of the leaders and residents of Springfield are upset with our illustrated tour of Springfield nightlife in the back of the Swizzle section March 10. We like the suggestion from Fey Egan to send an EW staffer to “hang with the cool kids in Springfield, don’t be an ass, and we’ll show you the city, the real city. The one that is creative, alive and unpretentious.” Good idea! We also want to point out the “Mad-Hot MEDGE” story on page 30 of the same issue about a dance show at the Wildish Theater in downtown Springfield, an example of the countless Springfield stories we run. And one last point: This alternative newspaper jabs the city of Eugene every week, and we love all our readers for your support of our drive to shake things up and make people think. Thanks for your feedback and for making us think as well, we need that. Long live Springfield and its neighbor, Eugene!

Some shocking numbers have come out of the Lane County Poverty and Homeless Board recently. More than 47,700 households in Lane County qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and among those households, 14,550 report zero income. Lane County has about 146,000 households so we’re looking at one out of 10 households in dire poverty, surviving as best they can on charity, family and friends. Most local residents, if asked, can’t quote these disturbing numbers, but they are aware of the huge problem. Political candidates going door-to-door tell us voters they talk to list solutions to homelessness as a top concern, followed by climate. Any candidate who ignores or sidesteps these issues is at a disadvantage. Any politician with a bad voting record on these issues is vulnerable.

• We’re saving the dates April 2 and 4 to see the Oregon Ducks play in Houston in the final four and national championship of the big dance. It could happen. First Oregon game is Friday, March 17, at 4:27 pm. Second round is March 20, followed by March 24, March 26 and on to April. The New York Times sports writers belittle Oregon’s chances, predicting an early loss, but that’s because we’re so far away from New York City.

• Thanks to the hard work of community members and the Eugene Human Rights Commission, Eugene will now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October rather than the fraught-with-colonial-oppression Columbus Day that falls on that date. The Eugene City Council, which voted unanimously on the resolution March 14, is also encouraging businesses, organizations and public institutions to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well. See our blog, bit.ly/1xvpnFC, for a full story and photos.

Gov. Kate Brown has less than four weeks to sign or veto the bills that passed both chambers of the Legislature’s short session. The pressure is on the gov to kill some bad bills, but we haven’t heard any noises in that regard. Too bad. She has signed the troublesome bill that ratifies the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s delisting of gray wolves as a state endangered species. The delisting makes it harder for enviros to sue ODFW based on the merits (or lack thereof) of the ruling. Another flawed package of four bills deals with “affordable” housing and fast-tracking annexation (see Slant last week). Developers and land speculators are constantly trying to weaken and sidetrack our land-use laws, and they will be celebrating — unless Brown dusts off her veto pen.

• The Obama administration has touted drone strikes that reportedly killed 150 terrorists in Somalia, but such military actions have also been likened to drive-by shootings where collateral damage is only revealed after the fact, if at all. Will such actions bring peace and stability to Somalia? We’ve been bombing from drones for 15 years now and we’re not convinced the hundreds of millions spent on high-tech assassinations are a better investment than building schools and hospitals, and feeding and caring for refugees.