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Lead Stories

This Valentine’s season, say goodbye to chocolates and flowers and consider treating yourself — with or without a partner — to a safe, sex-savvy workshop. 

Kim Marks, owner of the new gender-inclusive eco-conscious sex shop As You Like It, wants you to have a good sex life. And in addition to providing the toys and treats to do so, the shop will present workshops with professional sex educators covering everything from sex toys to the G-spot.  

Dating is hard for me. But I actually feel like my bar isn’t set that high: Writer/professor type ISO decent-looking man who doesn’t mind that my pitbull sleeps on the bed and that I come home most nights smelling like a horse. Must be able to construct complete sentences and spell. 

I feel like this last part is where I go awry, and my criteria even seems to offend people. Not the pitbull part — the spelling test. Potential suitors see that caveat and take it as a writer’s form of cock block. Writer’s cock block. 

“Best-kept secret” doesn’t begin to describe Eugene’s Telephone Pioneer Museum. Though visibly situated next to the CenturyLink building downtown on East 10th Avenue, the place is only identifiable from the street by an oblong window displaying rotary telephones and a small, red-lettered sign on the door reading: “MUSEUM.”

And “museum” isn’t quite the right description, either. Walking inside the rectangular room feels more like stepping into the crowded attic of some aged and nostalgic collector.

Sit beside the river and sip a glass of wine after a long day at work. Lay yourself down by the river and relax after a long run. Go fishing, go rafting, go wading, go birdwatching. 

As winter slowly starts to wind down, our river dreams start to flow. The Willamette River winds through Eugene and Springfield, and the McKenzie flows on the outskirts of town, but how often do we really see it from our urban streets? 

What is today’s best use for the 10.2 prime acres of land including the historic stadium in the center of Eugene?

And how do we pay for it?

Our community has grappled with those civic questions for decades, going back as far as the mid-1930s depth of the Great Depression, when citizens of Eugene voted for a bond measure to buy the property and build a grandstand.

More than 80 years later, the 2015 Eugene City Council soon will respond to citizen proposals for today’s best use.  EW writers Camilla Mortensen and Amy Schneider interview Bev Smith, executive director of Kidsports, and Dave Galas, managing director of Lane United Football Club (soccer), two leaders of today’s citizen efforts. 

“Gaining weight was the worst possible thing that could happen,” says 17-year-old South Eugene High School senior Sophie Kreitzberg. Returning from a 500-mile walk along Spain’s Camino de Santiago, Kreitzberg had never been so thin. “I got so much attention,” she remembers, noting that she experienced her first romance, was cast in plays and that social interaction was just easier as a thin woman. 

It has always struck me as one of the great injustices of womanhood — the monthly bloodbath from a body part that is normally reserved for sexytime (not a baby corridor just yet, thank you very much). I try to tell myself that it’s some great honor, an ancient rite of femininity that brings me closer to nature and the goddess within us all. 

We’ve all rubbed a salve into a sore muscle or joint and breathed a sweet sigh of relief.  There are the old standbys, Icy Hot or BenGay. Tiger balm has saved my lower back with its cool, soothing cloud of numbness. 

Nia is a form of exercise that mixes yoga, martial arts and dance techniques, but never mind what it is exactly: That analyzing part of your brain has no place here. Nia is about the joy of having arms and legs and knees and shoulders. It’s exploring the movements that your body loves. 

Your smartphone lets you listen to music, read the newspaper, filter your photos and find people to date. It can also help you lose weight and stay fit. If your New Year’s resolution is to have less screen time and more gym time, you might want to think again — turn your phone time to fitness time with these free apps. 

What do you dream? This year, in our second annual “I Dream of Eugene” issue, we asked for your dreams for education, for music and for rivers in our city and Lane County. And from rivers made of chocolate to downtown streets full of percussion instruments, Eugeneans (and some folks from Springfield and Corvallis too) gave us their dreams, from the funny to the poetic to the political and wonky. Hold fast to your dreams, Eugene, and thank you for sharing them.

Alex V. Cipolle

 et al.

I’m a sucker for A Charlie Brown Christmas, and as a kid I managed to tune out the whole birth of Christ thing at the end and just focus on that sad little tree  becoming beautiful once everyone comes together to decorate and nurture it (and nurture Charlie Brown himself). 

The holidays, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice or don’t celebrate anything at all, bring a focus on giving — sometimes it’s the crass commercialism bemoaned by Charlie Brown, sometimes it’s gifts of love or kindness and, sometimes, it’s because you just realized the year is about to end and it’s time to donate and get a tax write-off.

Whatever your reason for giving, donating or volunteering, Give Guide is our annual offering of local nonprofits worth giving to.

It always begins this way — with a moment of mystical clarity and ease, eyes closing of their own accord. The head starts to sway side to side with the steady pizzicato of the upright bass. A sound so open and full, you could stand in it. 

Then comes the circular sound of brushes on a snare drum — fluid, guitar and piano key flavors, and finally, floating on top, a voice: Oh, I hate to see the evening sun go down, ’cause my lovin’ baby done left this town

EW's annual book issue.

The title of her new book is Falling from Horses, Oregon author Molly Gloss clarifies, not Falling off Horses. The preposition might seem to be a fine distinction, but Gloss says the title is meant as a metaphor — when you say falling off a horse, it is just about falling off a horse, she says. But there is “something subtle in the use of the other preposition, a more complicated question of not just the physical act of falling off a horse,” but instead a metaphor of “falling away” — falling away not only from horses but also from the heroism inherent in the cowboy mythology of the West.

Many of the best graphic novels published this year detail stories of expanding frontiers. Some of these transgressed borders are physical, while others are spiritual or emotional. All of these books, however, celebrate the spirit of exploration that comics so vividly bring to life.



The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. DAW Books, Inc., $18.95. 

Let local libraries and bookstores guide your Winter Reading picks!

In the Kingdom of God, there are pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs a-plenty. In the Kingdom of God, plastic flowers sit in clear glass vases to cheer up the fluorescent-lit room. In the Kingdom of God, a man named Lucky plays ragtime piano, and elderly ladies smile dreamily as they tap their fingers to the music.

Early every Sunday in the basement of First Christian Church on 11th and Oak, hundreds of transient, homeless and hungry people of Eugene line up to receive an offering of food, coffee and juice. For some it’s simply a free meal. For others it’s a brief respite from being hassled out of downtown, and a moment to sit and talk with other street folk and volunteers from the congregation.

It’s 9 am on a Wednesday in November; a dozen people gather under an awning around a fire in a metal drum with a Union Pacific locomotive rumbling loudly in the background. They shuffle around to form something close to a circle to talk about how it’s going at the Eugene Safe Spot for veterans. This tent community, focused on helping homeless veterans get into housing, is nestled into a low-lying pie-slice of land just west of Chambers Street between the Northwest Expressway and the train tracks. 

In the spacious yurt at the center of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), Father Brent Was rummages through his bag with a red-and-white “OCCUPY” screenprint safety-pinned to it. Seated in a wobbly plastic chair, the bearded Episcopal reverend pulls out a simple wooden rosary and begins thumbing the blue beads from his left hand to his right, listening intently to the villager’s council meeting. 

Post-punk. Post-war. Postmodern. Post-gender. Post-queer? With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the recent state victories for marriage equality and a rising generation of people whose fluid identities don’t fit neatly into the he-she binary, we could be on the cusp of a post-queer moment, but that depends on whom you ask. 

“You have this incredible fluidity and it’s made it really difficult to define even what that culture looks like," says Andrew Clark, a local social worker in the LGBT community. “What’s happening is, during what we would identify as the gay and lesbian rights movement, you have very clearly defined identity categories. They were very rigid: You were a gay man; you were a lesbian; you were bisexual, you were transgender.” 

“That’s what she said.” When students walk into Denise Velasco’s sex education classroom at Network Charter School, they see this phrase on a poster. This appeal to juvenile humor is not what it seems: Look closer and you’ll see two women kissing beneath a word in bold letters — “Yes.” As corny as the poster is, it sends a clear message about sex.

“Consent is talked about on an almost daily basis in my class because I can incorporate it into every lesson in some way, shape or form,” says Velasco, who has taught sex ed at Network Charter School for 10 years. “It’s a big part of my program.”

Ben Basom of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters gives the example of a worker who came forward and started talking to the union about the Portland company that he was working for and the scams he was seeing. Basom says the employee’s boss found out “and the next time we saw him, his arm was in a cast and he was all bruised up.” 

The worker said, “This guy knows where my family is in Mexico.”

From July 2012 to June 2013, Oregon workers filed claims for more than $3 million in unpaid wages with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Juan Carlos Ordonez of the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP), which analyzed BOLI’s data on the claims, says that’s “just the tip of the iceberg” because workers fear retaliation if they complain about their missing wages, or they simply don’t know how or where to file a complaint. BOLI is the agency that investigates and enforces Oregon’s labor laws.