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Slant - 2017-08-31

The air quality in Lane County has been horrendous thanks to more than 300,000 acres of Oregon forests on fire. Houston, Texas, is facing 50 devastating inches of rain — the same amount of rainfall the city usually gets in a year — over just a matter of days. Weather and climate are not the same, but there is no question that climate governs the weather. Climate change is real, and all the predictions for bigger storms and hotter summers are coming true. Now let’s keep talking about what we can do to stop it from getting worse.

• The old Lane Community College building at 1059 Willamette Street still sits vacant after Lane built its new downtown center some four years ago. The property is eligible for urban renewal funding, but bringing it up to code and making it functional as an art center or other use would be expensive and could take years. The 66,000 sq. ft. building as is, with minor repairs and maintenance, would serve nicely as a shelter for the increasing number of people who have nowhere to live. The building has an elevator and bathrooms on all four floors. The location is close to the downtown bus station and social services. Having a shelter on Willamette might even reduce some of the problems associated with panhandlers and loiterers downtown, and help consolidate policing.

We may never solve the economic, social and health-care inequities that create and perpetuate homelessness, but we can take advantage of opportunities to help. If you like the idea of converting the old LCC building into a shelter, urge our council members to make it a priority. Winter is coming.

We want to brag about one of our interns. Kaitlyn Parvin, a University of Oregon journalism graduate and summer intern in EW’s sales department, is heading for Belize to do social media and marketing for TIDE Tours, a nonprofit touring company. TIDE’s profits go to environmental and coastal reef preservation and education. Speaking of students and interns, EW has been working with the UO journalism school’s Catalyst Journalism Project to develop and publish stories. Catalyst “brings together investigative reporting and solutions journalism to spark action and response to Oregon’s most perplexing issues,” and a current focus in EW’s pages is homelessness. To learn more visit journalism.uoregon.edu/catalyst.

• A public memorial for Cecil Andrus, a famous Oregonian turned Idahoan, was scheduled Aug. 31 in Boise. He died one day before his 86th birthday. Andrus was born in Hood River, eventually moved to Eugene, where he attended high school, graduating in 1948. After going to Oregon State University, he moved to Idaho, becoming what he called an “accidental politician.” That included four terms as a Democratic governor of that Republican state, interrupted by several years as President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of interior. Andrus said his proudest accomplishment was steering the preservation of more than 100 million acres in Alaska. It’s impossible to imagine a conservationist like Cecil Andrus as either governor of Idaho or secretary of interior today. 

What we’re readingRed Notice by Bill Browder. The subtitle is “a true story of high finance, murder, and one man’s fight for justice,” and this should be a red flag to Donald Trump and his buddies that they are dancing with the devil in their game with Vladimir Putin in Russia. It’s a fascinating read written by the grandson of Earl Browder, candidate for president of the U.S. on the Communist ticket in 1936.