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It is 4:54 pm along a dusty trail in the high desert of Eastern Oregon. I am out of breath, heaving my weight against a wooden post trying to finesse a centimeter of slack in the latch that is holding together a large, awkward barbed wire fence. There is some urgency to my efforts because two humans and three horses are waiting to access the trail on the other side of the fence. We have been riding for 43 miles and we have seven more to go. Welcome to endurance horse riding.

“Golf is a good walk spoiled,” Mark Twain once said. In that vein, I would add that disc golf is a good walk enhanced. On several Sundays this spring, my partner and I have filled a bag with the candy-colored rubbery discs — drivers, putters, mid-rangers — and headed down to Alton Baker Park’s new course. After purchasing a $3 pass at the pro shop, we spend the next two hours on a leisurely amble through the course’s 18 holes, following arrows that point across sunlit fields and deep into cool, shady groves, and, of course, stopping every couple dozen or a hundred yards to pick up a disc and line-up a shot. We were not alone; dozens of groups spread out throughout the park sailing discs into the chain-link nets.

It was bound to happen: A Eugene spoof of the zeitgeisty show Portlandia, called, of course, Eugenia. The viral video lays down the same beat-heavy opening music as its Portland inspiration with “Eugenia” spelled out in an identical gritty typeface in front of a city view of Spencer Butte, followed by downtown shots of the federal building, Voodoo Doughnuts, the bus station, Cowfish and finally City Hall.

Enter roller derby skaters Erin (Bullet) and James Brains and Mayor Kitty Piercy. Another parallel to the original TV show: Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen frequently call on Portland’s mayor for favors or support. In Eugenia, the Brains pay a visit to Piercy’s office to inform her about The Big O, the city’s second annual international roller derby tournament.

Unless you’ve been leading a monastic, media-free existence, you know His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is coming to Oregon. The Dalai Lama is both the former head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet, and to quote his webpage (you can also find him on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — he’s monastic, but he’s also all over social media), Dalai Lamas “are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.”

Eugene’s School District 4J has many school buildings that date to the post-war era of the 1940s and ’50s and some elementary schools have 40 doors to the outside, a security concern. Most of these cheaply built older schools would not stand in a major earthquake and some, like River Road Elementary, have such inadequate ventilation that teachers sometimes evacuate their students when air quality monitors warn of bad air.

Ballots are in the mail for the May Special Election in Oregon. Ballots can be mailed until approximately Thursday, May 16. After that they can be dropped off until 8 pm Tuesday, May 21, at any white ballot box around town or at Lane County Elections offices at 10th and Lincoln. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races. More information can be found in our election coverage this issue and past issues, in the Voters Pamphlet and on various websites.

Opponents of the city service fee on Eugene’s May ballot say it is a poor budgetary path for a laundry list of reasons: Its proceeds can fund a wide swath of expenditures or even be held in reserves; it’s unfair to poor people just above the low-income cut-off; it’s unfair to small businesses; it will charge a struggling nonprofit just as much as a Walmart; and EWEB’s board could vote not to collect it, leaving the city in a bind. Five out of eight Eugene city councilors oppose the fee.

If you’ve read the newspapers or watched the news lately, then you know that the Lane County Jail has been setting criminals and accused criminals free early for months now due to lack of funds. However, for opponents of Measure 20-213 on the May 21 ballot, the fact that the tax funds only jail beds — not increased patrols in rural areas, victims’ services or other aspects of public safety and rehabilitating criminals — means it’s not worth the $85 a year the average homeowner in Lane County will pay because it doesn’t solve the problem of public safety.

On a typical spring evening in Eugene, inside Paper Moon Photo Studio is a warm celebration of flesh: leather straps wrapped around narrow waists and ruffles cupping curvy bottoms; sequins shimmering on large breasts and fringe dancing on flat bosoms; full hips hugged by velvet and slender torsos bound in spandex; tattoos and nipple rings peeking out beneath bra straps and ribbons. The studio is hosting modeling fittings for the upcoming Eugene Fashion Week, running April 29 to May 4. 

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.”