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Lead Stories

Nothing says death and destruction like climate change. Actually, for most of us the effects of climate change seem like something that will happen in the distant future, a tragedy for our grandchildren but not us. If we are going to think about planetary annihilation and devastation, we focus on Sharknado-like scenarios of wild hurricanes and tsunamis. And here in Oregon we tend to not to think about catastrophic natural disasters at all — it seems like earthquakes, tsunamis and deadly floods happen to other people, in other places.

Día de los Muertos is not “Mexican Halloween.” No matter how many times Latino and Chicano communities explain why co-opting the holiday’s religious-based imagery is offensive, the commercialization and uninformed appropriation of the holiday proliferates, from plastic masks at the mall to Disney’s attempt to trademark the holiday last May.

The walls are rising all over Eugene, from Courtside and Skybox apartments (built in 2011) to the 13th and Olive Capstone complex under construction to the towering future Core Campus development at East Broadway and Ferry. Another big student housing project is being proposed for the Laurel Hill Valley neighborhood. Now real estate and development experts are wondering: Is Eugene’s student housing market a bubble destined to pop?

Eugene’s student housing development market mirrored the nation’s during the recession: Even as other investments tanked, high-end, private student housing penciled out. It didn’t hurt that before the recession, Eugene’s student housing market was squeezed nearly to capacity. Big firms based in places like Georgia and Texas thrived and grew, collecting rents previously sent to local landlords. Nationwide, student housing developments were called “recession-proof” — but if local supply surpasses demand and leads to a bursting bubble, more than just student housing will be in trouble.

Interviews by Silas Valentino. Photos by Trask Bedortha.

As the school year starts up, the Oregon Legislature is discussing an idea that could swell the average Oregon community college classroom size and make higher education accessible for more students.

When it comes to density of fun per square foot, your best bet for entertainment is walking, biking or riding the EmX to Eugene’s downtown (free with your student ID). Explore the fun bubble that stretches from Pearl to Charnelton and 7th to 11th, where you’ll find some of the city’s best places to eat, drink, consume culture and shake it into the night.

The University of Oregon is known for the Ducks football team, but varsity sports aren’t the only ones making noise on campus. Of the UO’s 43 club sports, 38 are currently either in-season or practicing, and many end up competing both locally and nationally.

Not everyone comes to the UO because they want to be a Duck. Some come for, you know, the education, and some because Eugene is damn fine place to live if you like the outdoors and don’t mind a little rain. EW’s got some recommendations for you who maybe don’t know the area well and want to get out and explore.

The University of Oregon has long been known for its leadership in green chemistry and responsible product design. A new course taught by Senior Instructor Julie Haack aims to share that philosophy with business students, journalists, marketing students and lawyers. 

It’s a well-known fact that most full-time professors are paid not just to teach but also for research. And while we all know the “publish or perish” cliché, it’s not often that we get to see the research happening right under our noses. Here are just a few of the projects coming out of the UO.

The Tiger of the Senate. The Conscience of the Senate. Mr. Education. Maverick. The principled stances of the late Oregon Senator Wayne Lyman Morse earned him these nicknames and more. Morse’s uncompromising positions on the Vietnam War, civil rights, free speech, the powers of Congress and putting people before corporations also earned the beetle-browed orator the undying respect of some and the ire of others. 

Quintessential Oregon author Ken Kesey once said of Morse, “When he looked at you, you felt pinned against the wall, like a bug with a pin in it.” 

Only a fool will tell you how to experience art. But in the interest of EW’s inaugural visual arts issue, Arts Hound, I’m willing to play the fool. You see, in the past year as arts editor, I have encountered a widespread epidemic in Eugene: artphobia. “I just don’t get art,” people tell me, avoiding galleries, museums, art walks like the plague for fear of being, or being seen as, out of their element. 

Profiles of local artists Jerry Ross, Analee Fuentes, Bryan Putnam and Jenny Kroik

At 80 years old, the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is one of the hippest places to see art in the city. But it’s also a cavernous place with nooks and crannies rotating thousands of pieces that can overwhelm the senses. So, where to start? Here, we asked five curators at the JSMA to pick their favorite pieces currently on view and tell us why the works are special.

Wednesday, Sept. 11: Wood chips and sawdust fly helter skelter from the grinding teeth of a chainsaw as Dutch artist Floris Brasser stands perched atop the massive trunk of a tree in the courtyard of New Day Bakery. This is not a demolition job. It is not some Paul Bunyan act, though Brasser is something of a tree whisperer.

Down by the railroad tracks that carve through the Whiteaker, graffiti art colors the walls of buildings. A large piece spray painted in white advises its audience to “Read up!” but it’s the paint drippings below that inspired local artist Josh Sands. “I saw the paint under the graffiti and thought, ‘Can I take graffiti paint and make something out of it?” he says.

The guys behind Sol Seed are the nicest kids you know. No really. While I was waiting outside their front door, under a string of fluttering prayer flags, guitarist Kenny Lewis appears from the trees in the front yard and, without saying a word, gives me a hug. After the embrace, Lewis smiles and says, “So you are …?” (I would find out later that the band is known for its “Sol Seed Hug Train.”) 

And it’s not only hugs. All six band members — Michael Lennon (vocals, guitar), Michael “Magic” Sorensen (vocals, drums), Benny Pezzano (vocals, bass), Kenny Lewis (vocals, guitar), Sky Guasco (vocals, percussion, didgeridoo) and Graeme Pletscher (saxophone) — are bursting with peace, love and good vibes. When one speaks, the others listen intently. They pat each other on the back and dole out support like it’s the new definition of cool.

Wander roads anywhere and chances are you’ll spot animal bones strewn in ditches, a feather on the ground, snake skins baked onto asphalt, even a plump frog that defied a crow’s keen senses. Maybe you’ll feel lucky to find an intact, desiccated owl carcass you just can’t leave behind. Unlike beer bottles, soda cans and other litter that careless people toss out of vehicle windows, under most circumstances it’s actually illegal to take any part of a dead animal home. 

There are an unknown number of us who are unafraid to handle a lifeless body. Some of us feel compelled to remove the dead animals lying ravaged along roadways out of respect for the animal, to offer the animal a more dignified end than to be pummeled to dust by a succession of steel-belted radials. 

Before service members leave for Afghanistan, military regulations demand that they prepare for the unpleasant possibility that they may never come home. The Navy requires that you meet with a military lawyer to fill out a will, designate an executor and assign your survivors benefits. It can seem overdramatic when you are being called back from civilian life, and jokes about who should get a favorite baseball glove or why leaving a car to a sibling would be a disaster help cut the tension.

But when you sit down to an empty page to write your last letter home — the letter to be delivered if you are killed — there is no one to whom jokes can be made to lighten the moment. As you look over the words, you are forced to imagine the next set of eyes that might read them.

Oh Eugene, you’re not happy unless you’re complaining about the heat, the rain, too little to do downtown, too many bars downtown … and the fact that it costs money to go to the Eugene Celebration, Aug. 23-25. Pony up, kids, and get ready for three days of what makes Eugene what it is: SLUG queens roaming the streets, anarchists dancing to local music while the mayor grooves nearby, good eats and good fun. 

Most people peruse the Eugene Celebration looking for things to buy, food to eat or entertainment to watch. Most don’t think of it as an opportunity to time travel. However, on 8th Avenue between Charnelton and Olive, the Show ‘n’ Shine Classic Car Show will give Eugeneans the opportunity to travel nearly 90 years in one stroll of about 100 cars. At the Celebration, you might expect to see a bike show rather than a car show, but cars still seem to be a timeless way to look at American culture. 

Gone are the days of ad hoc screenings at the McDonald Theatre; film shorts and features from eight local and regional festivals, past and future, will stay the weekend at the new Bijou Metro during the Eugene Celebration’s “FilmZone.” 

From sobering biopics to children’s animation, there’s something for everyone. Roll the dice with two “Secret Cinema” offerings or double down on a sure thing with works by Eliaichi Kimaro, Sándor Lau and E.C. (Ed) Schiessl.

On a Tuesday afternoon in the Springfield Library, a small group of science-curious “kiddos” wait for a session of the Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE) to start. A few of the librarians and teachers hint that a celebrity may be in their midst today.

Lauren Messman

 et al.

Eugene has a lot to celebrate: flourishing restaurants and breweries, a refurbished downtown area, leadership in all things green and the friendly vibe, just to name a few. Eugeneans, give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. Since our city has so much to sing about, who better to help ring in another glorious Eugene Celebration than a smorgasbord of national and local musical acts? We’ve put together our list of must-see acts that love the city as much as we do.