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My mother, Virginia Eivers Gorton, was raised in The Rose City amid Portland’s lush beauty, but her garden was always more of a dream. While she delighted in the natural beauty of flowers, that love never extended to actual hands in the soil. If truth be told, perhaps the interest in gardens was more my interest and although I championed the joys of gardening through the years, she was always otherwise engaged.

An open letter to President Obama: I am a disabled American worker who uses state approved marijuana for medical reasons. I am offended that you choose to consider me a criminal.

Lane County has been sued by another victim of “cultural changes” instituted by County Administrator Liane Richardson. If the county commissioners put the taxpayers’ interests first, they will let the Tea Party fight the culture wars — and encourage Ms. Richardson to spend all of her time angling for a salary raise. 

I’m a 24-year-old straight, married female. I have been religiously reading your column in the Portland Mercury since I was 16. Thank you for explaining things that my parents wouldn’t and for helping me clear the hurdles of adolescence!

This truly is Wildflower Month, as the majority of our valley native plants achieve their peak of bloom in May. The blue camas is at its peak early in May. People driving  south should keep an eye out for the ivory colored camas that is found along the freeway from Sutherlin to Riddle. Its ivory petal color is different from the pure white of albino forms of the related blue species.

The proposed city fee is the subject of much debate in our community. Many community members remain undecided. Voters deserve some clarity about the proposed fee and a response to the critics who say it is not needed.

Recently I volunteered at the Lane Peace Center’s annual Peace Symposium, “Rise to End Gender Violence!” Women's empowerment is essential to cultural progress. And violence toward or objectification of women impedes progress. Yet, I also feel compelled to stand up for that other gender, men. 

Having worked in two jails and one federal prison, I understand the importance of adequate institutional staffing for safety, security and efficiency. But in conjunction with deliberations about whether to support a tax levy to increase jail funding, I believe citizens would do well to contact their county commissioners about how any short-term funding solution should be coupled with a plan to rein in correctional costs that otherwise will undoubtedly only increase over time.

I am a 23-year-old straight male. My ex-girlfriend and I started dating in high school, when we were both 17, and continued dating until I broke up with her the summer after our freshman year in college because things felt too serious. We continued to have sex, but I blocked out all my feelings for her, while she was open about still wanting to be with me. She started dating someone else sophomore year. I realized then that I still wanted to be with her, and I broke down emotionally and made both our lives difficult while she was dating this new guy.

Recent experience suggests that once they understand the true implications, 4J parents and students have grave concerns about implementation of the 3x5 schedule at North Eugene, South Eugene and Sheldon high schools, and believe it should be delayed for at least a year or two, pending review of actual results of Churchill’s pilot of the controversial new schedule.

The county administrator wasn’t kidding when she said, “We have completely changed the culture at the county.” When before have you seen the sheriff opening the doors of the jail and telling inmates — who have not served their time — to bug out?

DEAR READERS: Last week was made of problems. The bombing of the Boston Marathon, the explosion that leveled a small town in Texas, the rising tide of antigay violence in France, the North Koreans being North Korean. And when I sat down to write this week’s column—while the manhunt was still under way for the second bomber in Boston—it occurred to me that the last thing the world needs right now is more problems.

An epidemic of violence against women is happening globally and in the U.S. that rarely gets acknowledged because violence is embedded in our patriarchal concepts of masculinity. Globally one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or over one billion.

Economic injustice permeates our local, state and national tax policies. The proposed city service fee reinforces and expands what is already a grossly unfair tax burden for low and middle-income wage earners. Not only is Ballot Measure 20-211 unfair, but it fails to deliver on the promise to fund essential services beyond the 2014 budget, and it’s permanent. 

Reason #37 that may cause the proposed new tax measure from the city to fail: The city is asking for money too soon after giving a huge tax break to a developer to plop Animal House Plus downtown.

I am uncircumcised, and the opening at the end of my foreskin is not large enough for the head of my penis to pass through. This means my foreskin doesn’t pull back when I get an erection. The internet says this is a condition called “phimosis,” and a lot of medical websites recommend circumcision. I’m not super-excited by that idea. I don’t have any pain or difficulty with sex or urination, and I’ve never had any health problems related to being uncircumcised. The foreskin isn’t stuck or fused to the glans — the hole is just small.

In mid-March, forced by a serious bout of pneumonia to spend quiet time at home, I was able to more closely examine budget and other documents and to reassess my advocacy for the proposed city service fee. After much calm reflection, I concluded that I personally, and council majority collectively, had made a mistake in focusing solely on the “revenue-raising” option as the preferred strategy to address the projected General Fund imbalance.

The Register-Guard hounds Rob Handy regularly on its editorial pages even after the poor man lost his seat on the Board of Commissioners. My advice to Mr. Handy: If you want ever to have peace in your life again, give in and renew your subscription. 

I’m a gay man who has been seeing a devout Christian gay guy for one year. We have a great relationship. We have many of the same interests and respect each other’s feelings and beliefs. However, I am a Catholic who is not that religious, and he is an Orthodox Christian.

I applaud Eugene Weekly for writing about the Israel-Palestine subject [Slant, 4/4]. I believe this subject is the core foreign policy issue that confronts the U.S. today. Therefore, I hope you will continue to publish relevant articles so that the public can stay informed.

April is the month we’ll be saying goodbye to most of the wintering waterfowl. I am going to miss the buffleheads. The resident early birds have already started nesting while many migrants are just arriving. They will be checking to see if the old nest is suitable for refurbishing for another season. If it is, they will soon start singing songs of domestic joy. The bushtit flocks don’t break up while nesting and feeding young. They do forage by themselves now, unaccompanied by their usual winter companions, juncoes and chickadees.

Community Mediation Services (CMS) of Eugene is pleased to announce the establishment of its new Restorative Peer Court (RPC) program.

Lane County commissioners have fired their experienced and highly regarded, fair manager for no apparent reason and with no explanation? I thought only Donald Trump could do something like that.

I am trying to understand some sexual fantasies I have. They involve having sex with a woman who has a penis. Sometimes I fantasize that my wife grew a penis. The fantasies started when we first tried pegging a few years ago. We recently had our first child and can no longer find the time for such kinky sex. These transsexual fantasies have caused a large strain in our relationship, and I don’t understand why I am having them or what I should do about them.