Some good news in time for Earth Day April 22: We now have a chance to see what the world looks like with less of a human footprint. The fossil fuel industry is in free fall; roads are closing to make room for bikes and walkers; less air pollution will save thousands of lives; and wildlife is taking over Yosemite National Park because people and pollution are gone. In the midst of the COVID-19 tragedy, there are some bright moments.
• Eugene Weekly is hanging in there with the help of generous community contributions and loyal advertisers — and we know our other ads will be back when this pandemic lets up and we are all back on our feet! Until then we are printing fewer pages and distributing to fewer spots. Stay home! You can read extra coverage online each week, such as what’s up with red tree voles and how local libraries are available for you. And if your regular EW pickup spot is empty, give us a call at 541-484-0519 and let us know. We check messages all day long!
• Last week was Eugene Weekly’s cat issue, and we had some fun with the kitties in our lives. In the midst of the coronavirus, many people have taken some of this unplanned downtime to adopt and foster animals. We noticed that Congressman Peter DeFazio is one of those people who has added a cat to his life. He and his wife, Myrnie, have made a practice of adopting animals that need a home. Now they have Eduardo, a roughly 10-year-old black cat from Greenhill Humane Society. Can’t foster or adopt? That’s OK, Greenhill could use donations for its pet food bank and for general animal care. The humane society is open by appointment, call 541-689-1503 or go to Green-Hill.org.
• Gov. Kate Brown’s press conference on April 14 left us with confidence in her team’s ability to reopen Oregon “in a smart and deliberative” fashion after her wise early shutdown of the state in retreat from the virus. As she said, “a timeline is difficult” because the virus is setting the pace, but she is working with Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California rather than listening to the would-be king in the White House. Bravo, as well, to Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and the other northeastern governors who are banding together to decide when and how to open their states rather than deferring to Trump, who, of course, wants political credit for restoring the economy.
• If you read your Voters’ Pamphlet and listen to the City Club of Eugene virtual candidate forums, you will be a well-informed voter in this time of the pandemic. The next forums are April 17, City Council wards 7 and 2, and April 24 for Eugene’s mayoral candidates. Watch Fridays at noon on the City Club Facebook page, on City Club’s YouTube and 7 pm Mondays on KLCC public radio. It was a jolt listening to Pat Farr, incumbent Lane County Commission candidate, say that we need to put a new Lane County courthouse back on the ballot soon because of the narrow window where the state will help. It’s hard to imagine winning funding for a new courthouse in this economic climate no matter what the window is for state help.