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In December of 2015, Eileen Chanti’s preschool program for unhoused children, First Place Kids, looked in danger of closing. The program had recently lost a staff member, and Chanti only had six months to find funding before she ran out of money.

Orlando has a welcoming LGBTQIA community, but so does Eugene. 

Local John O’Malley made this point while addressing a small crowd and TV crews Sunday, June 12, outside The Wayward Lamb — a dedicated queer space and bar in downtown Eugene.

There’s no question that the crisis of the unhoused, the homeless, people on the street — however we want to designate those in need — has reached a critical moment in Eugene and Lane County.

And when it comes to the unhoused, kids and teens are the most vulnerable.

A Junction City biogas plant that’s already received millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies is now more than $325,000 behind on its property tax bill and is fighting Lane County in court over making good on what it owes.

JC-Biomethane opened its plant in 2013 with the promise it would generate electricity to power homes by burning off gases from food wastes. The plant is the first in Oregon to use wastes from businesses and restaurants to generate power, according to records and interviews.

John Belcher has a simple dream: to walk down his street to a neighborhood natural foods market and buy cheese.

Belcher, co-chair of the River Road Community organization, is working with members of the River Road neighborhood and building owner Lutfi Thabet to bring a much-needed grocery store to an area of Eugene with few options in terms of healthy, fresh produce.

Back in 2013, EW did a public records request to find out how much oil was rolling through Eugene on railroad tanker cars. The request was swiftly denied by Oregon’s Attorney General’s office citing a post 9/11 security exemption. After all, if terrorists were to find out how much explosive Bakken crude was rolling through town, what would they do with that knowledge?

Councilors George Brown, Greg Evans and Chris Pryor do not recall the Eugene City Council ever voting to move into the “construction documents and bid the project” phase for a new City Hall. 

Yet buried in a June 1 Register-Guard article “Lane County eyes bigger chunk of Eugene’s City Hall block for new courthouse” was a comment from city spokeswoman Jan Bohman: The City Hall “project team is currently working with the direction we received from (the City) Council on April 27, which is to complete construction documents and bid the project so that we have firm costs to present for their consideration in July.”

As summer nears, people start heading for wineries like King Estate to sit on the patio, drink wine and admire the view of the hills out Lorane Highway. 

However, out in Oakridge, some residents worry their views and summer days will be spoiled if a gravel mine, an investment of Ed King’s Crown Properties LLC, begins to bite into 46 acres of a hillside known locally as TV Butte on the edge of town.

Initiative Petition 28 is either a savior for Oregon schools or a doomsday tax that will ruin Oregon’s economy, depending on what you’ve read. As it turns out, it’s not so simple.

IP 28 is a proposed “gross receipts” tax — a tax on a corporation’s sales without deducting costs and expenses — on businesses making $25 million or more in Oregon sales. It would generate $3 billion per year, and the petition to get it on the ballot asks that the money be used for education, health care and senior services.

According to a 2015 article in Business Insider, the median sale price for a home in Silicon Valley is $1.05 million, and you’d have to make $212,800 a year just to afford the mortgage. Nationwide, technology has been a double-sided coin for communities, but here in the “Silicon Shire” we haven’t yet seen those kinds of astronomical leaps in the cost of living. 

“I’m quite comfortable now talking about menstruation,” journalist and author Jonathan Eig tells EW. Eig is the author of New York Times bestseller The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, and he came to Eugene May 25 as the keynote speaker for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon’s annual gala.

Earlier this year, Gov. Kate Brown sat down with Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: She asked him to join the effort to raise Oregon’s flagging graduation rate — one of the lowest in the country at 74 percent — by becoming Oregon’s first education innovation officer.

In May 2013, when Lane County was attempting to pass a jail levy — a tax to increase the number of open beds at the Lane County Jail — the focus was on incarceration. Criminals were being released due to a lack of capacity, proponents said.

At the University of Oregon, if a student is sexually assaulted and tells her or his instructor, then the professor or graduate teaching fellow must report what happened, whether or not the student wants it reported. This is required reporting, also known as mandatory reporting. Reports go to the UO’s Title IX coordinator.

About 50 Lane County residents made the trek north the weekend of May 13-15 to join thousands more activists in 350.org’s Break Free Pacific Northwest weekend of action against the Shell and Tesoro refineries and the climate change-causing fossil fuel industry. Another 50 or so of the 2,000 protesters were arrested.

At Sky High Brewing in Corvallis a beer called Shiloh IPA is nearly always sold out. Perhaps its popularity stems from its namesake, Shiloh Sundstrom, a native of Deadwood, Oregon, student and conservationist who was killed in a hit-and-run last November. Charges were not filed in the case.

Local businesses worry the cannanbis industry is edging them out.

While Oregon may still be the new kid on the legalization block, the two states that beat us to the punch, Washington and Colorado, might have a lesson or two to teach us about what’s to come.

Hedin Manus Brugh weighs down his bike trailer early Saturday morning with polished stones, crystals, jewelry and a grip of ornately handcrafted “magick” wands. Wearing a kilt and a patchwork hoodie, the modern-day Merlin sets off on a slow cross-town bike ride from his west Eugene apartment to Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in the heart of downtown.

EW's top takeaways from the Trump rally at Eugene’s Lane Events Center.

“We are walking on the blood of Native Americans everywhere we go in the western United States,” says Rabbi Jonathan Seidel, a religion instructor at Lane Community College. “We need to be conscious of that.” 

On May 15, the Oregon Jewish Culture Project will sponsor a Jewish and Native American storytelling and discussion event at LCC’s Longhouse. 

When Mat Kline first started working at Lane Community College last August, he set to work formulating a new foodie event that could bring together Lane County’s chefs, food producers, students and lovers of all things culinary.   

After months of hard work, that idea is coming to fruition with Food Scene Eugene, a two-day food fest that includes the Iron Chef Eugene competition at the LCC main campus May 13 and 14.

Maggots have spiracles (breathing holes) near their ass ends, which grant them the ability to eat for as long as they please without stopping for breath. This natural science factoid crossed my mind Friday, as Republican autophile Donald Trump proclaimed his glory, at length, to more than 3,500 adoring fans (EW’s count).

Immigration. Most of us have a politically charged idea of the word in our heads and proclaim our opinion of it with confidence over a few beers with friends. Many of us have experienced immigration or have parents who made the sacrifice for us.

When it comes down to it, though, the question about immigration is: Whose stories are you listening to? 

A multitude of misinformed ideas about gender and bathrooms has permeated the national discussion as of late, but here in Eugene, the University of Oregon is addressing homophobia and transphobia in public education through UOTeachOUT, its annual series of events on sexual orientation and gender identity.