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The presence of the homeless in downtown Eugene has long been a contentious issue. But the idea of sheltering the unhoused in the heart of the city instead of trying to drive them out has not received much attention. 

The majority of shelter options are in other areas, particularly in Ward 7, home to the Whiteaker, Trainsong, River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods.

When First Lady Michelle Obama issued her “Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” in 2014, Eugene stepped up to the plate, setting a goal of getting 365 of Lane County’s military vets into homes — an average of one per day for a year — through a broad coalition of local government and nonprofit agencies working together to secure funding and real estate.

Eugene knocked it out of the park, exceeding its goal by housing 404 veterans in the span of a year. According to St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Terry McDonald, who participated in the challenge, you can hold that number up to a much larger city like Portland (around 600 vets housed) to understand the success of the local effort.

The recent legal settlement between a tenure-track Pakistani-American Lane Community College instructor and the college adds a renewed focus on safety for minorities at LCC in this post-Trump world. 

In the same month that racial and sexual harassment have seen a definite uptick on campuses around the U.S. after Trump was elected, sociology instructor Nadia Raza reached a legal settlement with LCC that contains provisions for college security to go through threat assessment training and other pro-safety measures by May 2017. 

Springfield School District board member Erik Bishoff says he was “not surprised, but disappointed” that Measure 97 didn’t pass. 

“We might have to make some cuts this year, and it’s likely going to mean class sizes are going to get larger,” Bishoff says.

Now that the measure has failed, members of the education community and supporters of the Measure 97 campaign are working on next steps to push for a fully funded school system, which includes plans to lobby the Oregon Legislature.

After Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the title “president” is going to appear before the name Donald Trump. 

Beyond the dystopian strangeness of having a reality TV star in the nations’ highest office, in the wake of Trump’s startling Nov. 8 upset of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, environmentalists and more are fearful of what a Trump presidency could mean and are trying to envision a path forward.

A handful of local organizations have come together to help administer the flu vaccine to people experiencing homelessness.

Bruce Tufts, a registered nurse at White Bird Medical Clinic and a volunteer at Egan Warming Center, started a conversation with other volunteers last year about the role they could play in addition to basic medical care.

Native American leader Winona LaDuke says she drove 700 miles to vote this year. 

Now in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, LaDuke — who is executive director of Honor the Earth, an organization whose mission it is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues — says it’s time to “double down on work in the communities and continue our battles.” 

According to local homeless advocates, 273 students in Eugene were homeless and living without a parent or guardian last year. On top of that, 90 students dropped out, and advocates believe they have moved to the streets.

In response to this, activists and the city of Eugene formed 15th Night, a collaborative approach to help prevent youth homelessness in the 4J and Bethel school districts.

When Tiffany Triplett joined the Women in Transition (WIT) program at Lane Community College, she says she was recovering from addiction and a divorce. “I was in the drug court program when I was in the WIT classes and it complemented my treatment program so much,” she says.

Months after ballooning construction costs sent the Eugene City Council back to the drawing board, councilors and city staff continue to thumb through a confusing array of City Hall possibilities.

Without a clue to indicate what the different possibilities might cost taxpayers, the council is taking stabs in the dark. Councilor Chris Pryor likened the muddled process to playing with Legos at an Oct. 19 Joint Elected Officials Work Session.

The growing general-practice physician shortage in Oregon and across the country has become a troubling issue. Fewer new MDs are opting to become family practitioners or internists, preferring instead to go into diverse medical specialty practice areas. But many don’t realize that a shortage of qualified nurses also exists, and that shortage is growing so rapidly it equals or may even overshadows the lack of physicians in upcoming decades. An aging baby boomer population, placing increasing demands on the medical profession, and a nursing faculty that is rapidly aging out combine to exacerbate this dilemma.

Eugene has two park systems with looming funding issues — first, Eugene Parks and Open Space, which has a $2 million budget gap for maintenance plus a backlog of $30 million in deferred maintenance. Then there’s the River Road Park and Recreation District, an unincorporated district with a shrinking tax base.

Local nonprofit (Community Alliance of Lane County) is celebrating its 50 year anniversary, but much of its new leadership is considerable younger that the institution itself. 

Several new staffers at CALC offer youthful exuberance and fresh, modern ideas to a well-established community institution. Adrienne Bennett, 36, is one of those new staffers and was hired this past May. 

The Eugene City Council Ward 1 race is a contest of progressive candidate versus progressive candidate. The list of supporters and donors to opponents Emily Semple and Josh Skov reads like a who’s who of Eugene Democrats. 

As a Native American activist testified against a proposed gravel mine in Oakridge at an Oct. 12 Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting, a plainclothes law enforcement officer walked up, took her by the wrists and began placing her arms behind her back. 

Commission Vice Chair Pat Farr, who stopped the officer, later called the incident a learning experience in terms of cultural sensitivity and discrimination.

The University of Oregon Foundation is planning a new building for scientific research, but in the process, its plans may destroy a nearby restaurant, Evergreen Indian Cuisine.

The UO’s newly announced billion-dollar project, the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, is billing itself as a great opportunity for undergrads to work in labs with professors and post-docs. The project will be funded primarily by a $500 million donation by Phil Knight and matched donor money.

“Sex work is work, sex workers are people and no person is ever more safe when you eliminate their work options,” says Lia, a local activist and sex worker. Lia and fellow sex worker and activist Vera are putting on a rally Oct. 28 in downtown Eugene to “Protest the Raid on Backpage.” 

Beatlemaniacs should get their Sergeant Pepper jackets dry-cleaned for this one.

Local up-and-coming radio station KEPW hosts an Oct. 29 Beatles-themed Halloween party to celebrate the launch of its web platform.

The United States, it turns out, is not the best at everything.

“Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making the U.S. an outlier among developed nations.

“Are my children safe?” 

It’s a thought that crosses the mind of Eugene School District 4J parent Constance Van Flandern when she drops her kids off at school. 

“Nobody wants to talk about children dying,” Van Flandern notes, but with a massive earthquake predicted to hit Oregon, she says the time has come to have a community conversation about the earthquake resilience of Eugene’s schools.

Each year, tuition and fees have increased at the University of Oregon.

Meanwhile, student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally, “becoming the second-largest consumer obligation after mortgages,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cherríe Moraga, a Chicana playwright, feminist activist, poet and essayist, will deliver a lecture at the University of Oregon Oct. 13 about the working class, both past and present.

The problem isn’t Donald Trump, the problem is Trumpism,” Reza Aslan tells EW.

Known for his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as for his long, patient interview with a Fox News reporter who could not understand how a Muslim could write a book about Jesus, Aslan comes to the University of Oregon Oct. 18 to present “An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity and the Future of America.”

With EWEB talking about selling off its riverfront headquarters and City Hall in flux, many wonder why Eugene City Council continues to steer the conversation away from EWEB.

Things started to go sideways again for the tangled City Hall project this summer when construction bids came in $10 million higher than expected, sending the city back to the drawing board to determine where best to put its new building and what exactly it should look like. More complications arose as the city tried wangling some portion of the 8th and Oak “butterfly lot” from the county.