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It’s party time for the “kayaktivists,” some from Eugene, and “#ShellNo” protesters who delayed Royal Dutch Shell’s push into the Arctic from Seattle last summer, perhaps contributing to Shell’s decision Sept. 28 to indefinitely suspend drilling in that fragile region. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley also cheered, saying “This is tremendous news, and a credit to the many people who made clear that offshore Arctic drilling in unacceptable.” In July, Merkley introduced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015.

• It’s hard to believe that this community, so dependent on education, has to poll, strategize, organize and work like crazy to pass a modest levy for libraries, but it’s happening, and the ballots go out Oct. 16. This levy would cost the typical homeowner $36 a year, and we realize that is more than some homeowners can spare. But it will add 22 hours per week to the Sheldon and Bethel libraries and restore Sunday morning hours to the main library downtown, plus other benefits to kids and education, and the restoration of materials and technology.

Civic Education in Oregon was the topic at the City Club of Eugene Sept. 11, but important as civic education is, the elephant in the room that day was funding for public schools in Oregon. Superintendent Jodi O’Mara of the Mapleton School District spoke of her desire to return the kids to a five-day week; they only go four days this fall. Superintendent Colt Gill of the Bethel District said 60 percent of his kids are in poverty. What additional demand does that put on his schools?

Mayor Kitty Piercy is concerned about the dozens of unkempt “travelers” sprawling on our sidewalks downtown with their dogs, guitars and harmonicas. We prefer to call them low-budget tourists, but regardless, they can be intimidating and offensive to some, and an irritation to storefront business owners who wish they would go away. Most will go away when the rain and cold returns; Eugene will be left with its regular population of 2,000 or so houseless folks.

• Another week, more shootings, more senseless death — and not in some unfamiliar city across the country, but in our in our own neighborhoods. We have heavy hearts over the deaths of John Ramsey Tainton-Platts, 33, and Justin Gardner, 17, who were both shot and killed this past week (Aug. 28 and Aug. 30 respectively) in Eugene.

• We keep wondering when the major media and leadership of this state are going to call for significantly more money for public education. Just ask a good teacher. It’s all about more teacher time per student and that costs money. The leadership to get us there is more than political. It’s business, arts, sports — every aspect of the state.

• Before Fred Taylor became one of the owners of Eugene Weekly, he was the managing editor and later executive editor of the Wall Street Journal. Earlier as a reporter, he wrote many of the long, front-page features that made the WSJ famous, and his thoughts on writing news stories and the use of photography are quoted again and again in books and articles. Over the years EW staff has reaped the benefit of his influence on this scrappy paper and its mission to make the world a better place. This week we mourn his passing Aug.

• Attorneys for the 18-year-old woman who filed a civil suit against the UO and basketball coach Dana Altman in regard to allegations of gang rape by three basketball players announced the cases were dismissed pursuant to a settlement this week. We have some questions: First, how far has the UO really progressed in both preventing sexual assaults on campus and also in dealing with them — we profiled the case of former student Laura Hanson earlier this year, in which the UO spent $30,000 plus attorney costs to settle her suit alleging it mishandled her case.

 • As we go to press this week, we don’t know who Gov. Kate Brown will appoint by Aug. 1 to be Lane County’s first female district attorney. We do know that an election for the tough job will be held in May 2016 and the incumbent, either Patty Perlow or Kamala Shugar, will have a whopping advantage. Hopefully, the unfair political attacks against Perlow for her very subordinate role in the taping of a Catholic confessional decades ago was not a factor in the governor’s choice.

• Looks like Eugene’s urban growth boundary will be expanding onto farmland in order to accommodate future industrial growth, along with some parkland and school land. The majority on the City Council this week gave a nod to the expansion, and it goes now to city and county planning commissions and public hearings. Why do we continue to develop and pave over prime farmland when such lands will become more valuable, even critically so, in the future?

• As we predicted, the Eugene City Council this week revived the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption program, aka “tax breaks for the rich,” but at least it has some redeeming qualities. The council was under threat from Brian Obie and other developers that they would abandon their downtown housing plans without the tax breaks, but we’re not convinced they wouldn’t build anyway. Think about it. If you were a developer, wouldn’t you try to leverage every advantage possible to maximize your return on investment?

MUPTE may be going to the voters if the Eugene City Council votes to revive it this week just after we go to press. Opponents of the controversial Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption program were planning to submit initial paperwork to the city clerk this week for two citizen initiatives. Chief petitioner is Paul Conte.

Civic Stadium’s fiery destruction this week is a shocking loss for our community and this disaster is particularly painful since so much money, time, energy and love went into saving the beloved grandstand from the bulldozer. We see on social media that the news of Civic’s destruction went around the world and generated a collective “Oh, no!” from thousands of people who for generations have watched the games, played football or baseball on the field or worked in and around the property. Where do we go from here?

• The death last week of nine people at the hands of a racist in a Charleston, South Carolina, church that was founded by Denmark Vesey, a man killed for planning a slave revolt, is not unthinkable or unspeakable, as an excellent essay in Esquire by journalist Charles P. Pierce points out. Someone did think to sit through an hour of Bible study and then kill a pastor and his parishioners. Someone did think to sell Dylann Roof a gun, someone did think —  and talk and act —  to ensure the Confederate flag flies over South Carolina’s Capitol.

• Fans of Eugene’s Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption turned out to voice their support at the Eugene City Council meeting June 16 in a repeat performance of an unofficial MUPTE public forum June 8. The council will meet again on the topic July 8. We predict the 10-year tax breaks for developers will be reinstated with some added restrictions, but probably not enough restrictions to deal with our chronic need for affordable housing. We question some underlying assumptions about MUPTE.

• Eugene’s Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) was portrayed in a public forum this week as the salvation for downtown, both past and future, even though MUPTE has had a much bigger impact on the West University area than it has had on downtown.

• This week marks a changing of the guard at The Register-Guard, and outgoing Editor and Publisher Tony Baker wrote a farewell column in the daily’s Sunday Commentary section May 31. The column was clearly intended to diminish fears that new Editor and Publisher N. Christian Anderson III will oversee the kinds of changes at the R-G that he and the Advance Publications chain implemented at The Oregonian, taking the venerable Oregon daily and turning it into a pitiful tabloid.

• We wonder if the High Line elevated park in Manhattan gives us some clues for using the EWEB property by the Willamette River now that the chosen developer, the UO Foundation, has left it in limbo. We know, Eugene is not New York City, but a private-public partnership shaped a mile-and-a-half abandoned elevated railway in the meat-packing district into the most amazing public park, attracting millions of visitors all seasons. Special events and attractions are scheduled, but mostly visitors just come to walk the High Line and see the view.

• Predictable results in the May Special Election. Disappointing turnout of only 35 percent. We didn’t expect the vehicle registration fee to pass, but we did expect the results to be closer. Lane County voters haven’t figured out that we are undertaxed compared to counties that haven’t relied heavily on federal timber payments. Measure 5 and other tax limits put us in a bind when timber payments dried up. How are we going to catch up now? Nobody loves new taxes and fees, especially ones that affect low-income residents, but the options are very limited.

• As of May 12, only about 15 percent of voters have turned in ballots for the May 19 Special Election, which is surprising. We figured the Lane County vehicle registration fee and recent controversies on the 4J School Board would crank up interest in this election. But it’s not too late to get those ballots dropped off at one of those handy white ballot boxes around town. Procrastination appears to be an exclusively human frailty.

May special elections tend to have low turnouts, meaning everyone who does vote has a bigger impact than in general elections. Your ballot has superpowers! Lane County’s Vehicle Registration Fee may have trouble passing this time around, but it has people thinking about how we pay (or don’t pay) for street, road and bridge maintenance, not only in the county but also in our cities and small towns. Is there any town in Lane County not struggling to fund street repairs?

Kathmandu has been a sister city to Eugene since 1975 and many Eugeneans, including Councilor Betty Taylor, have visited there. The earthquake death toll in Nepal grows by the hour. The best way to help Kathmandu right now is through financial donations. The website kathmandurelief.org has been recommended by the Eugene/Katmandu Sister City Association, but the organization does not currently have 501(c)(3) status, so donations are not tax deductible. See eugeneweekly.com/blogs for updates.

• The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is facing a $32 million deficit in the next two-year budget cycle, and cuts are looming. The agency is in a bind due in part to its reliance on revenues from fishing and hunting licenses. It’s a quandary. Fishing license fees have gone up while there are fewer fish to catch, so fewer people go fishing. And hunting is no longer such a big part of Oregon’s culture, at least not in urban areas.