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Slant 5-19-2016

• Bernie fans whooped it up when Sanders won the primary in Oregon May 17. Also whooping it up, albeit more quietly, was Eugene mayoral candidate Lucy Vinis, who unofficially as of press time scored 52.82 percent of the vote, beating candidate Mike Clark and holding more than the 50-plus-one-percent of the vote needed to not face a challenger in the fall. 

In other local races, Commish Pat Farr held his seat against Tony McCown, but we heard rumblings during the Democratic watch party at the Wild Duck that the current right-leaning Lane County Board of Commissioners will be up against even more progressive challengers in the future. The hotly contested Eugene City Council Ward 1 race resulted in Emily Semple and Josh Skov heading for the fall election. That should keep conversations about the unhoused, climate change and the future of Kesey Square going. Sonya Carlson takes the EWEB Ward 6 & 7 position, and over in Springfield, anti-racists are celebrating Leonard Stoehr’s defeat of controversial soon-to-be-former City Councilor Dave Ralston. 

Statewide, Brad Avakian took the secretary of state’s Democratic primary over local candidate Val Hoyle, and we have high hopes he will beat Dennis Richardson in the fall and come through with his promises of restoring civics and good environmental policies. Richardson trounced Commissioner Sid Leiken in that Republican primary race, and fellow Commissioner Faye Stewart fell to perennial candidate Mark Callahan in the Republican primary for Senate against Sen. Ron Wyden come fall. Check out the viral video of Callahan losing it after catching Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nigel Jaquiss write “blah, blah, blah” in his notebook during a 2014 Willamette Week endorsement interview you can see on our blog. Finally, bravo the OSU Extension for getting its bond measure passed.

.• Kudos to the students, instructors, community members, Indigenous peoples and more who packed the Lane Community College Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, May 11, to save the one-of-a-kind Chinuk Wawa language program at the school. Chinuk Wawa was the original lingua franca of the Northwest, and according to LCC, since the program was started in 2006 in collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, more than 40 students have graduated from universities in Oregon with Chinuk Wawa as their language of study. The language course had been slated to be phased out.

• Who knew what and when about the City Hall debacle? City Manager Jon Ruiz says that “there was no particular reason” he didn’t tell the Eugene City Council he had decided to upgrade the City Hall design more than a year ago. The news that the cost of City Hall had risen by more than $7 million wasn’t disclosed at a public meeting until this past April. Decisions like seismic upgrades, adding a fourth floor or whether city councilors get offices in City Hall don’t get made in a vacuum. As architect Otto Poticha wrote to Councilor George Brown in a recent email, “Did all of these meetings and presentations occur and where? Since the council did not participate, nor the public, who negotiated them and approved them is the question?” 

It looks to us like decisions over the construction of what should be the city’s most public building are getting made in the dark. So what next? We agree with Poticha that “the whole project should be stopped until a strategy and an approved financing plan is adopted by the council for the second phase. This could be called responsible government leadership.”

• John Belcher was the coordinator of a pretty gutsy City Club of Eugene meeting May 13 on “Civil Discourse,” with speakers Eugene City Councilor Chris Pryor and Christa Morgan, co-founder and vice president of Portland group Civil Co. The focus was mostly on uncivil comments that dominate the internet on government and the media. Morgan said The New York Times has a staff of 12 moderating comments. Seems that we are not treating the cause of the disease in this country, not when the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2016 is the most uncivil of all. Great example! We left the meeting with more questions than answers.

Lane United soccer matches on the Willamalane field in Springfield aren’t exactly the circus of the Timbers matches, but they are a little sideshow without the Portland hassle and cost. More than 700 fans came to the first match May 13 to watch quality soccer. Lane United held Kitsap Pumas, division champions, to nil-nil, and the week before they beat the Timbers U-23 1-0 in their first match of the season. Last week, our soccer “Slant” said the Spaniards aren’t back with the Eugene team this summer, but four good players have come again from Spain, along with talent from U.S. colleges. Bagpipers opened the Lane United season, and a shiny hook-and-ladder truck dropped buckets of balls for kids in the field at half-time. And if LUFC had scored, who knows what craziness would have happened. Next match is May 21 from 7 to 9 pm against the Victoria Highlanders.