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Slant 7-7-2016

• The Portland daily newspaper is not known for its affection for the University of Oregon, but President Michael Schill clearly won over reporter Andrew Theen for his page one story in the July 1 Oregonian. It’s a good read, portraying the new pres as a smart, very hardworking, skilled fundraiser who truly intends to lift the academic side of the university. The closing sentence quotes a former colleague who says, “I think Oregon got really lucky.”

• If you watched The West Wing, then you know that Friday is “Take Out the Trash Day.” Government officials save potentially embarrassing stories for release on Friday in hopes they won’t get much attention over the weekend. On July 1, shortly after 4 pm on the Friday before a holiday weekend, the city of Eugene sent out a press release saying the “general contractor for the Eugene City Hall project received the construction bids and provided an overview to city staff. Unfortunately, the bids have come in higher than the previous estimates.” According to the press release, “it appears likely that the cost would exceed the estimates provided at a recent work session by somewhere between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.” The city calls the future City Hall a “civic legacy project, planned to last 50 years or more,” but we are still scratching our heads as to why the city tore down the legacy of our last City Hall with apparently no real plan or budget in place to replace it. Saving and redesigning our historic City Hall would have been a legacy. This is a boondoggle.

• July 4 weekend was clash of the events here in the Eug. Was it too much for our fair city? We have heard rumors that the Oregon Bach Festival had unsold tickets, that there were seats open at the Olympic Trials track and field events and that Fourth of July stalwart Art and the Vineyard had lower attendance. With Oregon County Fair on the horizon, we’re wondering if we need to do a little better planning when it comes to inundating Lane County with things to do all in one month? Despite the rumors, every attempt we made to eat out was met with long lines at local eateries, so we’re hoping the food scene benefitted!

• We commented in Slant last week on The Register-Guard’s peculiar focus on a crime that no one is sure happened — alleged tree spiking at a mill in Noti. No spikes have been found, and local Earth First! group Cascadia Forest Defenders has told the R-G that “CFD does not encourage, condone or commit acts of senseless sabotage.” Yet the R-G promptly came out with another story. What gives? 

• People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. EW makes its share of typos, but the R-G’s July 1 headline, “50 Percent Chance of Dangerous Air Bag Rapture” had us giggling. Jesus, take the wheel, there’s been an air bag rapture. Almost as fun as the East Oregonian’s now infamous “Amphibious Pitcher Makes Debut” (ambidextrous, oops).