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In nature, colors communicate: Red means danger and avian mates are selected based on the hue of their feathers. In fact, when it comes to birds, the males almost always display brighter plumage and greater ornamentation than their female counterparts; think ducks, peacocks and birds of paradise. Charles Darwin concluded that sexual dichromatism (the color differences between sexes in species) is caused by an evolutionary-honed female preference for bright colors in males. 

Midwestern jewelry designer Kylie Grater doesn’t find her materials in a bead shop — the majority of her pieces are harvested “afoot” on nature ambles or hikes through knee-deep grass, whether that’s feathers, bones, stones or leather. The Kansas-born-and-bred Grater has brought her prairie-tinged line, Early Jewelry, to Eugene, where she features pieces at The Barn Light’s monthly The EUG Pop Up Shop in addition to selling online.

EW hits the streets to capture Eugene’s fashion-forward after dark.

here, they describe their style in their own words.

Under The Root, VaVaVie and La Femme Noir.

Bicycles make the world go round, or at least they will as more and more people see them as essential transportation rather than a toy. There are a lot of great ways to celebrate Earth Day (for events check out the Earth Day listings in Calendar), but if you want to celebrate Earth Day every day then park your fossil-fuel guzzler and start biking.

Critical Mass: It’s all about the bike community

Bus then Bike: Biking through beauty on the Aufderheide

Bike Couture: Innovations in helmets and attire for your commute

Cycling Oregon: Cycle Oregon’s weeklong ride takes bikers to Eastern Oregon

Riders Ed: Safety beyond the helmet

Winter Bicycles

Bike Shorts: Brief bike news items

Attention all car commuters! Your excuses for pushing the gas pedal instead of the bike pedal — at least from a fashion perspective — won’t be worthy much longer. Yes, we all know it’s better for the environment and our health if we bike, but often it’s superficial justifications that keep us from trading four wheels for two. Here are some nifty tricks and cycle-centric designers who are making roadblocks like helmet head, or stuffing a change of clothes in your pack while pedaling to work like a spandex-encased sausage, obsolete.

Brief bike news items

One of the pleasures of living in Eugene is the accessibility of the outdoors and recreation within a relatively short distance. As an enthusiastic cyclist, I am always intrigued with the many possibilities for outdoor rides in our own backyard.

We’re living in a golden age of cycling. And we might have a bunch of loud, traffic-stopping cycling activists with anarchistic tendencies — better known as Critical Mass — to thank for it. 

In its 26th year, the annual bike ride Cycle Oregon is as popular as ever and, come Sept. 7, riders will pedal their way through Eastern Oregon in the crisp fall air. Mountainous views and vast, lush valleys await 2,200 bikers on the 380- to 505-mile route that features John Day and Steens Mountain. 

Many Eugeneans have long felt relatively safe (around most drivers, that is), cycling for transit or pleasure, but others are so intimidated by the safety concerns of urban cycling — and not knowing what to do in a scary situation — that their fears prevent them from cycling to save the planet.

The name might be “Winter Bicycles,” but that’s probably because “Clean, Beautiful Bikes Customized for Absolutely Anything” is too clunky and long. Eric Estlund has been building custom bikes in the Eugene-Springfield area for six years, and he’s created everything from a knife-sharpening bike to bikes for commuting in the Chicago winter to bikes designed for riders with physical disabilities. 

It’s a chilly April day with bursts of sunshine interspersed with blustery wind and rain. It’s not the worst day to be on the streets of Eugene, but it’s not the best day either, especially if you’re ill. The cold wind cuts through you and the rain soaks you, making the shaking and chills of fever feel that much worse; the moments of sun remind you that you have nowhere warm and dry to be, and no one to take care of you.

What do you do if you are homeless, uninsured or just plain broke and you’re sick? Where do you go if you do have a home but the waiting list is too long at the clinic or your insurance isn’t good enough to get you the care you need? 

As the final bell rings at South Eugene High School, 40 girls trade their books for oars as they head to Dexter Lake, where they practice four days a week. Some members of the South Eugene Rowing Club have collegiate crew scholarships to look forward to, but for now, hard work into the early evening on this vast lake is solely in preparation for their third-to-last regatta of the spring season. Crew is an ever-growing sport and a scholarship opportunity for young women, in part due to Title IX — and one of the biggest sporting events in the Northwest is a regatta taking place right here in Lane County.

The Covered Bridge Regatta to be held at Dexter Lake, 16 miles southeast of Eugene, April 13-14 is the reservoir’s biggest event of the year, and its popularity exemplifies the rise of rowing as a sport. More than a thousand rowers spread across 36 clubs, five states, 21 cities and ages 15 to 70 are currently entered to participate in the 19th annual rowing competition that features junior, collegiate and master classifications, and more are expected to join.

Opium has, and has always had, this country by the short hairs. But for myriad reasons, the dope epidemic in the U.S. tends to elude detection as the massive health crisis it is — reasons that are intricate and complex and interpenetrating, deriving almost in equal parts from public-policy myopia, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, political opportunism, inadequate social welfare, incompetent or absent education, rampant drug hysteria and the inexorable nature of addiction itself.

As an addictive substance, opioids are a total bitch. Seductive, elusive and exacting, junk presents itself as a physiological and socio-economic Catch-22. The reason for this, boiled down to the narcotic itself, is rather simple: Opium, and all its derivatives, is at once the world’s most perfect treater of pain and the most devastating of addictive substances. Homer referred to the nectar of the opium poppy as the “destroyer of grief,” and morphine, created in 1804 by Frederich Serturner, was named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. French poet Charles Baudelaire, a smokehead, wooed opium as “his demon, his lover.”

As women in this world, we’ve got issues — and so EW’s first Women’s Issue is born. We don’t want to leave topics like reproductive rights, workplace equality and representation in the media to be covered in this March section alone; they deserve timely attention year-round. (Call us!) Instead we have profiles of local women on our radar. We applaud women who stand out, love them or hate them, so here are some conspicuous local women.

For a market that doesn’t include any sardine vendors, the briny fish is often thrown into descriptions of the Saturday Lane County Farmers Market: “People are packed in there like sardines.”

“I think the site has been a real problem,” Jack Gray of Winter Green Farm says. He says they could sell more produce if they could just have a little more room. Plus, the crowded walkways might be discouraging some potential customers. “Basic accessibility is really bad for families or anyone with physical disabilities of any sorts,” Gray says.

Alice Aikens has been cultivating her plot at Amazon Community Gardens for 20 years. “I just pull my boots on and get down there,” she says — almost every morning, even in February. What’s so great about it? “I can eat fresh vegetables the day I pick them, and it’s nice to share tomatoes and cukes with family and friends in summer.” But Aikens also likes the challenge of gardening at Amazon. “You nurture not just plants but people. And I think it makes you a more responsible person — you are responsible for your garden, and the more time you put in the better it is.” Aikens’ very favorite thing to grow is sweet peas, especially a fragrant white variety called April in Paris. I bet her fellow gardeners appreciate those, too.

Everyone crowded around the new “playscape” at the Co-op Family Center on Patterson Street, not far from the UO campus, on a crisp February morning; hugs were exchanged, parents, teachers and college students chatted, kids were zooming around the new sustainable gravel bike path and bellies filled with pancakes and orange juice kept everyone warm. It was the Family Center’s 18th Annual Pancake Breakfast, but it was also the playground dedication — a playground designed and constructed by the UO student organization designBridge. The co-op’s pedagogical coordinator, Ben Minnis, called the cluster of designBridge students up to the stage that they had imagined and built with their own hands to thank them. The crowd hooted and hollered, and a ceremonial ribbon was cut.

EW's Planting Guide 2013

Attention seed-savers and gardeners: Lane County’s 4th Annual Spring Propagation Fair is coming up. It will take place in the Lane Community College Cafeteria (main campus) 11 am to 3 pm Saturday, March 23.

Until this year, a month-by-month portion of Eugene Weekly’s annual vegetable planting guide began in May. In a way, that’s logical — May is about when our heavier valley soils become workable. These days, however, with many people building raised beds and all-season gardening becoming ever more popular, lots of gardeners know that the planting year can start a lot earlier. 

Earth: Too big to fail. That’s the theme of this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) Feb. 28 through March 3 at the University of Oregon. But perhaps we should be asking the question: Are we failing the Earth? The beginning of the modern environmental movement is often dated to Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring, but from the more radical Deep Green Resistance to the attorneys from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, some are starting to question whether the planet is any better off than it was in the ’60s and ask conservationists to do things differently.

Fighting for Africa

What Can Be Done Now?

Local Laws

“We are screwed in all kinds of senses if we keep doing what we’re doing and don’t change course,” says Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Linzey, an attorney, says that he had to be persuaded to come give a keynote talk at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) because “we don’t see lawyers as change agents.” He adds, “I let them know up front that my talk would be based on why environmental law has failed.”