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The University of Oregon athletic department, like many athletic departments in the country, has a “courtesy car” program, in which it provides its employees free cars to drive for personal use. The program, in theory, should be free to the department, because the cars are provided by local auto dealerships as gift-in-kind, and the employees using them pay for the insurance. 

“You wouldn’t layoff a teacher and make them reapply every year,” says Emily Miller, an expanded practice dental hygienist for Lane County Public Health.

Miller provides dental screenings throughout the county for infants, preschoolers and elementary students as an employee of Lane County. Because she has a license beyond a normal dental hygiene degree, she practices without the supervision of a dentist. But as a part-time employee, contracted to work 1,040 hours a year, she must reapply each year for the same job she has held for the past decade.

There are 418 tech companies registered in Lane County, and many of them are hiring, according to Allison Weatherly, the event coordinator for Technology Association of Oregon (TAO). She says most of these tech companies are looking to shop local when they’re hiring, so several programs are setting up Lane County high school students to train for these jobs.

Driving up 30th, you may have noticed a massive gash in the forest next to Lane Community College. The clearcut adjacent to LCC may soon be home to McMansions, thanks to a few well-known land profiteers who operate in the area: the McDougal brothers. But LandWatch Lane County has filed an appeal to fight the planned development there.

Lane County has announced plans for a housing complex for the homeless adjacent to the Lane County Behavioral Health building near Autzen Stadium. The plans follow a “housing first” model, and while Lane County has done housing first on a small scale, according to the county’s human services manager Steve Manela, the new 50-unit complex would be the largest effort yet. 

Despite the sunny weather on a Thursday morning, Scobert Gardens Park on 4th and Van Buren is mostly empty. On one of the first smoke-free days from the wildfires burning across Oregon, there is more garbage in the park than anything else.

Walking through downtown last week was like trying to breathe underwater. The heavy smoke stung the eyes and turned even a casual stroll into intense exercise for the lungs. The streets were quiet — most citizens were hiding indoors to stay away from the polluted air.

When Miya Longsworth ran away from a dangerous foster situation in California at only 16 years old, she ended up on the streets of Eugene. She did her best to manage high school while couch surfing, but spent her junior year burdened by homelessness. 

At that same time, September of 2015, Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz was working with community members to rethink how the city was handling the issue of youth homelessness. “We decided to focus on generating a movement and a new expectation for our community,” Ruiz says, “rather than just creating another organization on the landscape of the problem.”

Both Oregon’s U.S. senators pushed back hard and fast against yesterday’s move by the Trump Administration, all but accusing the White House of a power play involving nepotism and patronage. 

Gov. Kate Brown and several local lawmakers gathered Aug. 29 in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park to address a crowd about the passage of the transportation package — House Bill 2017. It’s the first time in the state’s history that funding will be dedicated to statewide public transportation; one aspect of the bill focuses on electric cars.

Representatives from Nightingale Health Sanctuary met Aug. 29 with the Southeast Neighbors Board to discuss turning the one car camp in South Eugene into a full-functioning rest stop to provide shelter for the homeless.

A descendant of Eugene Skinner — the founder of the city of Eugene — is seeking to prevent the proposed land swap for a new Eugene City Hall and Lane County courthouse, on the grounds that such a trade would violate the legal requirements placed on the land when it was donated to the county.

Although racist, xenophobic and gender-motivated incidents are not new in Eugene, these acts of aggression have more than doubled over those reported during the same period in 2016, according to data from the city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. 

The city of Eugene is aiming to complete construction for a park and other riverfront redevelopment by 2021. The future park is part of the city’s Riverfront Urban Renewal District, which includes 16 acres of riverfront property sold by the Eugene Water and Electric Board to the city for $5.75 million in 2016.

Starting in the early ’90s, Gary Hale and his wife, Jan Wroncy, who died in 2016, tracked herbicide sprays in Lane County. Concerns about herbicides travelling via waterways or drifting onto their property led the family to research potential spray sites and subscribe to a mail-in, pay-for-information system run by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Longtime co-owners of Eugene favorites Belly and Belly Taqueria, Brendan and Ann Marie Mahaney plan to move to Portland in early 2018 to ponder new avenues and do a little more yoga. 

At 9 am on Aug. 21, Salem’s downtown streets were sparsely populated with cars and people. As the moon slowly began to cover the sun, people who were stopped in parking lots and sitting on sidewalks gazed toward the sky. 

Firefighter Mike Simon III has slept in a tent on the beach of the Dexter Reservoir in Lowell since Aug. 16. His exhausted brother, nephew and cousins also sleep in nearby tents each night.

These family members are with a 20-member crew of Alaskan Natives who took three rural plane flights to travel from their tiny fishing village of Hooper Bay, Alaska, to Eugene to fight the Jones Fire, which is burning about 10 miles outside Lowell in the Willamette National Forest.

Kenny Jacoby

 et al.

According to Eugene Weekly’s analysis of Municipal Court data, one out of every four people whom the Eugene Police Department (EPD) tickets or arrests for a non-driving charge is homeless, and more than one-third of all the charges brought in the city’s municipal court are filed against people who lacked permanent addresses at some point last year. [See “Criminalizing Homelessness,” in the June 1 issue.]

The newly enthroned 35th SLUG Queen Santa Frida Babosita plans to use her new position to further the arts and raise awareness for Latinos and people with disabilities in Eugene.

The city of Springfield has temporarily waived certain fees it typically charges for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are also known as secondary dwelling units and in-law flats. 

“This is a call to action to show that we will do what’s necessary to protect our people,” said Charlie Landeros, an organizer of Monday’s “Hate Is Not Welcome in Lane County” rally. Unlike events like the Women’s March and rallies against President Trump’s Muslim ban, the march and rally focused less on unity and more on standing apart from white supremacy and in solidarity with marginalized people.

The image of gamers hanging out with pizza is a pretty standard one, but you usually don’t see crickets as the pizza topping. 

At the Cricket Dare game jam Friday-Sunday, July 28-30, game developers built games at Fertilab Thinkubator, a coworking space in downtown Eugene. The theme of the jam was “crickets are good” thanks to a sponsorship by Craft Crickets, a local cricket farm that sells the insects as eco-friendly protein for human consumption. 

The Aug. 3 announcement by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that it plans to kill two wolves from the Harl Butte Pack in Wallowa County on Oregon’s east side elicited howls of anger and dismay from wolf advocates as well as complaints from ranchers who wanted to see the entire pack wiped out.