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To some river-lovers it’s the scariest place in Eugene: a longtime homeless camp along the Willamette River strewn with soggy mattresses and moldy rugs, used needles, bike parts, food packaging, wet books, even an old TV set. Trash and worse from campers have been collecting for years between the railroad tracks and the river, and a cleanup project is about to begin now that the camp has been abandoned (see photos on our website). 

On Dec. 16 Lane County commissioners discussed whether to question federal law and pass an ordinance that challenges two controversial sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

The NDAA, a sweeping defense bill that sets the budget for the military, dates back to the post-9/11 period and is renewed every year by Congress. The controversial sections of the bill include provisions to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. The current version of the $585 billion NDAA passed the Senate Dec. 12.

Viewed from the little parking lot off West 11th, As You Like It looks like any artsy boutique in town; a wall of windows covered with delicate black-lace curtains reveal warm wood floors and beams and display shelves sparkling with treasures. The space is a far cry from the windowless shops around Eugene, but make no mistake, this is a sex store, or rather an “eco-conscious, green, gender-inclusive sex toy shop.”

Longtime Native American rights advocate Alfred Leo Smith died Nov. 19. Smith was from Chiloquin, was a member of the Klamath Tribe and was known in Native communities throughout the Northwest. He died shortly after celebrating his 95th birthday in Eugene. 

He’s remembered as a “loving husband, friend, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and fearless warrior,” says his wife of 34 years, Jane Farrell, in a statement sent to his supporters. “He will be missed and remembered for generations to come.”

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has once again found Pacific Recycling to be in violation of the Clean Water Act at its facility on Cross Street (near Roosevelt Boulevard) in Eugene (see EW 6/19, goo.gl/0Icqbj regarding a $327,686 fine assessed against Pacific Recycling in June). DEQ sent Pacific Recycling a warning letter in November for “failing to adequately stabilize or cover soil stockpiles.”  The stockpiles contain soil contaminated with wood treatment agents from neighboring J.H.

A decision on the future of Eugene’s Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) program has been delayed by the Eugene City Council until Jan. 26, since Councilor Claire Syrett could not make the Dec. 8 meeting. MUPTE has come under heavy criticism by citizens and some council members for giving big tax breaks to out-of-state developers for housing projects that might have been built even without the subsidies. The latest council action regarding MUPTE will focus on creating a review process.

• Parting is such sweet sorrow: Since Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman last week — and won it decisively — he ceased to be just another great UO athlete. If he wasn’t already, Mariota is now a national celebrity, evidenced by his immediate appearance on network television  Dec. 15 when he read the Top Ten list on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Letterman introduced Mariota as “a good-looking kid” from “your University of Oregon Ducks,” and he wasn’t talking to us, Eugene.

Alice Doyle of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove has been working for the past five years with Dutch and American horticultural researchers to refine and market a “Ketchup ’n’ Fries” grafted plant that grows potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground. Potatoes and tomatoes are related, and the first such graft was recorded in the early 1900s by Luther Burbank. The local Territorial Seed Company will have a national exclusive to sell mail-order plants and “I’m sure they‘ll see quite a bit of action,” Doyle says.

The Human Rights Commission Homelessness Work Group meets at noon Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave. On the agenda is the Homeless Bill of Rights and a forum on child homelessness. Call 682-5177 or email michael.j.kinnison@ci.eugene.or.us.

In Afghanistan

• 2,356 U.S. troops killed (2,351 last month)

• 20,060 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,040)

• 1,559 U.S. contractors killed (1,559)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $770.2 billion cost of war ($763.1 billion)

• $303.4 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($300.6 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $1.4 billion cost of military action ($1.2 billion)

• $564,706 cost to Eugene taxpayers ($478,795)

I recently took a couple of hours to do something I’ve been putting off for ages: cleaning and oiling my gardening tools. Until we moved into a different house five years ago, I kept my tools in a dry, attached garage. Now I keep everything but my best pruning tools in a garden shed that’s more or less open to the moisture-laden air.

Because who doesn’t love the gift of music

Find these 2014 titles for your favorite bookworm

Some people do all their holiday shopping in one day. Others do it at their leisure over the course of weeks. Then there are the procrastinators, who do last-minute shopping at the grocery store. They are good people — they just need a little help. 

OK last-minute shoppers, you have one more weekend to find that perfect gift. And lucky for you, Down to Earth Home, Garden and Gift in downtown Eugene is there to help you out. Duck into this magical haven of kitchenware, gardening supplies and quirky curios, and you’re sure to find not just a last-minute gift but a fantastic one. Try some of these items on for size.

The concept behind 2013’s The Clear Blue Pearl from Portland band Morning Ritual sounds more like a sci-fi-fantasy movie than a pop record, complete with a devastating drought, an epic journey and a mysterious “blue pearl.” 

There are a lot of captivating things about Kathryn Claire. She’s a classically trained violinist (picking it up at age 7), a self-taught guitarist, and she teaches songwriting to kids. But most captivating and surprising is when she opens her mouth to share her deep, emotive voice. 

New Year’s Eve has always been my least favorite holiday, with the commercially contrived Valentine’s Day a close second. Instead of celebrating gratitude or sacrifice or renewal or even zombies, it’s become pretty much an excuse to go out and get hammered and maybe ruin someone else’s life by driving intoxicated for a nightcap.

Gypsy acts are known for their rowdiness; their raw, cigarette-smoky, patched-clothing, dented-brass impurities. Above all, gypsy acts are known for their stage presence. Seattle-born folker Jason Webley is no different.

CORPORATE MODEL LACKING

The university is not a business! Despite what Chuck Lillis says, his role at the university is to preside over the board of trustees of a “semi-public” institution of higher learning, not be a corporate CEO of the UO.

Since leaving the Navajo Nation at 18 to join the U.S. Army as a young man, Eugene visual artist Lemuel Charley has both nurtured his native roots and honored his brothers in arms, fueling unique insights and ambitions.

We just did a live taping of the Savage Lovecast at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre. Audience members submitted more questions—anonymously, on index cards—than we could possibly answer during the Q&A segment of the show. So I’m answering some of the questions we didn’t get to in this week’s column. Here we go:

 

My partner wants me to pee on him. I’m not so into it. Now what? Should I do the “one and done” thing or put it on the big “no way” list?

Who — or, rather, what — is the Babadook? And why is it that, once you let the Babadook in, you can never get rid of it?

First and foremost, The Babadook is an Australian horror film by writer-director Jennifer Kent, a former actor who apprenticed with Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier during the making of his 2003 film Dogville before going on to make her own short film, Monster, upon which The Babadook is based.

With an exposed red brick wall, weathered wood accents and a general rustic-bohemian flavor, the newly opened Gilt & Gossamer doesn’t show any signs of its former life as a Rapid Refill ink store at 873 Willamette St. Sprinkle in some nubby sweaters, flirty party dresses and chic house décor, and the shop joins what’s becoming somewhat of a boutique mecca downtown.