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Grouping couches together, chilling racks of beer, lighting coals for the grill. These aren’t preparations for the neighborhood potluck. They’re what some people have done to get comfortable for playing hours of Pokémon Go on a downtown street corner.

While some stores are seeing an increase in foot traffic, that hasn’t translated into a similar increase in profitable business. 

• Measure Your Online Marketing: Reports and Analytics 6 pm Thursday, Aug. 18, with Carol Infranca, “award-winning print and broadcast journalist, business and government marketing and public relations specialist and an authorized local expert for Constant Contact.” The workshop is FREE and takes place at the downtown Eugene Public Library at 10th and Olive. Call 541-682-5450 or visit eugene-or.gov/library for more information.

• Teatro Mundo presents Secretly Famous: The works of Andrew Rodman for one last weekend 6 pm, Aug. 11 to 13 at Café Mundo in Newport. The show is free but donations can be made to support Rodman who survived pancreatic cancer in 2011 but is battling the disease again.

On a bright weekday morning, 12 students fill out a downtown Eugene classroom as an excited buzz of conversation fills the space, and University of Oregon psychology professor Holly Arrow leads the class in a discussion about facts, opinion and confusion between the two.

Bob Emmons looks like he wants to spit.

Standing on sun-scorched grass in Scobert Gardens Park, Emmons is hardly able to endure the blighted landscape, littered with empty beer cans, cigarette packs and pizza boxes. Shoeless daysleepers stretch out flat in swaying blots of shade. Summer breezes tumbleweed a plastic grocery bag across the dusty lawn and leave it at his feet. 

Now that Measure 97, formerly Initiative Petition 28, has officially qualified for the November ballot, opponents are rallying the troops to fight the tax on corporate sales by raking in donations from corporations, with more than $5 million in contributions already.

The Elliott State Forest is for sale for exactly $220.8 million. That amount, not a dollar more, not a dollar less, will get you approximately 82,500 acres of forest that includes coastal old growth trees and designated critical species habitat.

Giustina Land & Timber Co., 541-345-2301, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation Services LLC, 541-554-0489, to spray glyphosate, imazapyr, sulfometuron methyl,metsulfuron methyl and/or Dyne-Amic on 20 acres east of Mohawk just southwest of the Mohawk River. See ODF notification 2016-771-09132; call Brian Dally at 726-3588 with questions.

On July 26, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Jason and Rachel Shannon $15,885 for illegally discharging sewage to the ground at their property on East Bolton Road in Veneta. DEQ also issued an order to the Shannons requiring them to connect to the city of Veneta’s sewer system by Aug.

Jiffy Market is back! On Aug. 10, the “South Eugene neighborhood hub for 53 years will officially reopen after an eight-month, top-to-bottom remodel under new management.” Jiffy on Hilyard Street was purchased by 3C, LLC a group that includes the founder of neighboring Amazon Organics dispensary. The new Jiffy features beer and wine by the bottle, “locally sourced produce, house-cured meats and breads and pastries by Noisette,” as well as Sleepy Monk coffee, cider, kombucha and beer on tap and wine by the glass.

• A Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration honoring those who died when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is 7:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 6, at Alton Baker Park’s small shelter, near the duck pond and park entrance. There will be a talk by Mayor Kitty Piercy, drumming by Eugene Taiko, traditional Japanese Obon dancing and music by the Yujin Gakuen Children’s Peace Choir. The event will close at dusk with the floating of candle lanterns on the duck pond while Koto master Mitsuki Dazai plays traditional Japanese music.

“People are comfortable with racism here,” Jamie Clark tells EW. Clark moved to Eugene from Texas in part to escape racism and now finds herself in the middle of a firestorm after a racist Facebook comment attributed to Festival of Eugene organizer Krysta Albert made the rounds on social media.

As the Democratic National Convention meets in Pennsylvania July 25-28, the Philadelphia Inquirer predicted 35,000 to 50,000 protesters would descend upon its city. Eugene-based CodePink activist Jennefer Harper traveled to the DNC as an EW freelancer to report upon events. CodePink is a women-led grassroots organization that includes in its focus working to end U.S. wars and militarism and supporting peace and human rights initiatives. Delegate Julie Fahey went to the DNC to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.

A legislative committee came to Lane County July 20 to hear from ordinary Oregonians about their daily transportation needs. Whether you drive a car, ride the bus, bicycle, walk, use a mobility device, telecommute or a combination of the above, what’s your story? What problems do you experience getting from place to place? What transportation investments would make it better?

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call 503-986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 36, 105 and 126 were recently sprayed.

• The nonprofit Community Veterinary Center on Hwy 99 in Eugene provides low-cost veterinary services for 1,500 animals each year whose families are low-income. The clinic, which opened in 2012, mainly focuses on animals in Lane County. CVC has a special capital campaign to raise money to add a sterile surgery because currently clients needing such surgery are sent to private veterinarians, and CVC must then raise additional money to help its clients with that.

The only thing certain about Eugene City Hall right now is that the city doesn’t have one. What the city does have are some ideas about how a new City Hall can be integrated into planning the land swap with Lane County.

The old City Hall building was torn down last year, and the price for building a new one is mounting. After the latest bid came in from McKenzie Commercial Contractors for $18.2 million, about $3 million more than anticipated — bringing the total cost up to around $28 million factoring in design and demolition — the Eugene City Council voted 7-1 to reject the bid at a July 18 meeting.

Toxins are everywhere. In Portland, the discovery and subsequent cover-up of high levels of lead in the drinking water of public schools led to Portland Superintendent Carole Smith’s resignation July 18.

Here in Lane County, school districts are in the midst of testing drinking fountains and faucets for elevated levels of lead.

A month after the oil train fire in Mosier along the Columbia River, activist groups such as 350 Eugene are upset with the government’s lack of progress and accountability for oil train accidents. 

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which called for stricter railroad safety regulations to be implemented by the end of 2015. The new regulations have not been met and the deadline has been extended to 2018. 

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call 503-986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 36, 99, 105 and 126 were recently sprayed.

• There will be a peaceful “Rally for Black Lives” 5 pm Thursday, July 21, in front of Lane County Correctional Facilities at 101 W. 5th Avenue in Eugene, Community Alliance of Lane County tells EW. The rally is followed by a march to Kesey Square.

Delegates from Lane County are preparing to head to the Democratic National Convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia, where the party will officially nominate its presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2016 election. It is also where the Democratic Party adopts its official platform.

A Harrisburg business owner is providing jet boat tours of the Willamette River from a perspective only a local could provide.

Mike Hurd is the owner of Scenic Jet Boat Tours and Hurd’s Hardware and Custom Machinery in Harrisburg, just 30 minutes north of Eugene.

Roughly 67,000 wild horses roam the public lands of the western United States, and around 4,000 of them are in Oregon. 

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) considers the current population to be more than double the healthy level for the land and has suppressed the population for decades. Many mustang advocacy groups strongly oppose the BLM’s methods and motives for population control and believe that the agency gives preferential treatment to livestock.