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Emerge Oregon has been recruiting and training women to run for public office for five years now. The May Primary had 14 Emerge alumnae running for positions around the state, including Dawn Lesley’s challenge to unseat Jay Bozievich in the West Lane commission race, a race so close it’s still undecided. Sheri Moore, who ran against Sid Leiken in the Springfield commission race, is another grad, along with Rep. Val Hoyle.

• Will the status quo hold? Lots of nail gnawing as we watched the local election results Tuesday night. As we go to press Wednesday morning, incumbent Jay Bozievich is only 45 votes ahead of Dawn Lesley in the West Lane County commissioner race and Faye Stewart has only a 33 vote margin to avoid a November runoff with Kevin Matthews for the East Lane County commissioner race. More ballots are yet to be hand counted. If the Bozievich-Lesley contest gets any closer in the final count, it could trigger an automatic recount.

Election turnout is likely to be awful for the May 20 Primary since there’s not much on the ballot other than County Commission races, so if you’re ever wanted to make a difference, this is your time to shine. Every vote is bigger and badder when the turnout is small. Only about 12 percent of the ballots were in as of May 12. It’s peculiar that Lane County has more Democrats than Republicans and yet we’ve elected a right-wing, anti-environment majority to run the county.

UO athletics and the broader university got another black eye nationwide this week with the story about three Duck basketball players accused of rape. The police report goes into disturbing details, but Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin will not be prosecuted — not enough evidence to convict. We agree with the powerful and angry response from the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence, citing “institutional betrayal” of survivors and “lack of institutional control” over athletics.

• Look for our election issue and endorsements next week. Ballots will arrive in mailboxes soon for the May 20 Primary Election. You might not find a lot of sexy stuff on the ballot until the November General Election, but the primary has potentially a big impact. For those new to voting in Oregon, nonpartisan races, such as Lane County Commission positions, can be decided in the May Primary if one candidate gets at least 50 percent plus one vote. The commission races, of course, are anything but nonpartisan.

• Big development plans are brewing for Glenwood and huge tax breaks and concessions have been demanded by developers. But why shortchange our schools, public services and infrastructure in order to entice for-profit developers? Glenwood has an attractive riverfront and central location. It will evolve and develop just fine without tax breaks and subsidies.

• Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2004 and since then we’ve seen a steady shift in public attitudes on gay rights. On April 23, a federal judge will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon. If the plaintiffs prevail, Oregon’s obsolete ban will be struck down. The legal arguments for upholding the ban have withered under scrutiny in other states and we hope the Oregon court will agree.

• It’s hard to calculate what it cost the city of Eugene to shut down Whoville last week, but it had to be a lot, figuring overtime for EPD and maybe others of the 60 or so city employees who were called to participate. Regardless of whether the coordinated action at this scale was justified or not, it gives the city administration a black eye. We noticed a “Fire Jon Ruiz” Facebook page is up as of April 6. The page has lots of posts but as we go to press it only has 59 “likes.”

Jody Runge should be a name high on the list of applicants to coach the UO women’s basketball team. She’s interested in returning to Eugene, where she coached from 1993 to 2001, winning two Pac-10 titles, 69 percent of her games, and taking the team to the NCAA tourney in each of her eight seasons.

• The death toll is still rising in the massive landslide in Snohomish County, Wash., that has killed an estimated 24 at last count with more than 100 people still unaccounted for. As the search for bodies continues, so does the search for answers — what triggered the massive slide that crumpled homes and blocked a river? And for Oregonians, we wonder, could it happen here on such a scale? The area in Washington had unstable soils and a history of slides, had been logged in the past and experienced heavy rains recently.

• We hear from the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence that the UO has “terminated” the campus coordinator position provided by Sexual Assault Support Services, but the UO tells us that’s not exactly the case.

• We lost Edgar Peara Feb. 22 at the age of 93, but the longtime Eugene peace activist’s words live on. “War is demonic, immature,” he wrote in an EW Viewpoint March 22, 2007. “It is incompatible with morality, high-minded religion and common sense. Peace is an active condition more difficult to achieve than any military objective.” Peara was a highly decorated officer in the Combat Engineer Corps during WWII and spent the rest of his life working for peace and spiritual healing. “War must be abolished,” he wrote.

Mike Huckabee, the former right-wing presidential candidate, is coming to town April 2 as a fundraiser for the local Community Action Network. County Commissioner Jay Bozievich is likely to be there with bells on since the CAN political action committee sent him checks in February totaling $4,500. Bozievich, a Tea Party darling, needs to raise a lot of bucks because he has a serious and organized challenger in Dawn Lesley. Check out the list of Bozievich financial supporters on the state Orestar website at http://wkly.ws/1p2.

• It is disappointing that two Eugene attorneys who are powerful statewide have led the effort to stop HB 4143, which would give to legal aid the funds left over when all the winners of class-action lawsuits do not collect their shares, for whatever reasons. Oregon and New Hampshire are the only states that return the uncollected funds to the guilty defendants. David Frohnmayer and Bill Gary, representing big oil and big tobacco, argue now that this short legislative session allows too little time to consider this issue.

• The city of Eugene spent $20,000 to remove a low ledge at the corner of Broadway and Willamette where people often stopped to sit, people with “undesirable behaviors” according to a recent KVAL news story on the wall’s demolition. KVAL quoted a business owner as saying the wall was a “magnet for drug dealing, and drug use, alcoholism.” The city is apparently looking to replace the wall with bike racks … or, interestingly enough, seating. Let’s start with the fact that places to sit are a needed part of the urban environment.

Nearly a foot of snow followed by an ice storm created chaos in Lane County this past weekend and shows us how unprepared we are for disasters large and small, whether brought about by climate or earthquakes. This week we heard an audit of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management indicated the agency has not completed its statewide disaster plan, among other deficiencies. We need to demand better performance from local, state and national agencies, but we also need to be better prepared in our neighborhoods for climate weirdness and seismic events.

Civic Stadium may survive the wrecking ball after all. It’s a wise leadership move by 4J Schools Superintendent Shelley Berman to support the city of Eugene’s offer to open an avenue for both the YMCA and a restored Civic Stadium on the 10.2 acres in south Eugene. Next, the School Board should follow his lead with a positive vote on Feb. 19. Only the city of Eugene’s proposal of $4.5 million includes reusing the historic stadium and the opportunity for a new Y on the site.

The fate of Civic Stadium is in flux as we go to press this week, with some interesting new twists and turns. Among them, the City Council and 4J School Board got a letter Monday from Harvey Smith, president of the National New Deal Preservation Association, calling for the preservation of Civic Stadium. Smith is also advisor to the Living New Deal, an organization that catalogs New Deal structures throughout the county. He writes, “I urge you to preserve your Works Progress Administration (WPA) Civic Stadium.

• Packed audiences at the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations heard speakers from Rep. Peter DeFazio and the UO’s President Michael Gottfredson to Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad honoring MLK’s legacy. Less honorable were the folks who showed up at the Springfield celebration holding a sign that read “‘Diversity’ is a code word for white genocide.” We posted the picture on our blog, which became inundated with defenders of white pride.

• City of Eugene public hearings on budget options are coming up Jan. 21 and 29 (see Activist Alert). Once again this year, popular city services are on the chopping block, and we don’t really know why. The alleged $3 million budget gap is based on assumptions made by the city manager and his staff, and we don’t even know what all of those assumptions are. Just this week the city released its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 2013 and it looks like city net assets increased by $7.3 million over 2012. 

• No shock that Fred Meyer came in first in a revenue analysis of three proposals for the Civic Stadium site, up for sale or lease by Eugene School District 4J. The analysis got a big headline in the daily rag (slow news day), but it was pretty predictable. Yes, Fred Meyer has more money to spend, but the question is what will give the most long-term  benefits to the community — we’re going to say a place for people to exercise rather than another big corporate store to shop in.

• Looks like before playing the Alamo Bowl, the UO Ducks football team missed the memo on the nationwide boycott of SeaWorld. After the documentary Blackfish called attention to the plight of SeaWorld’s orcas, acts including Barenaked Ladies, Martina McBride, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson and REO Speedwagon all canceled appearances at the marine parks. The Ducks however went on a little field trip to SeaWorld San Antonio Aquatica Dec. 27 and mugged with some marine mammals.

Dreaming about Eugene? For this issue we asked a couple dozen local folks with a mix of interests what they would like to see happen here in the next few years. We expected half to respond, but instead nearly all did, often with great enthusiasm. It appears we are a community of big ideas and big dreams. We didn’t have enough pages this week to run all the responses, so we plan to continue next week. Keep dreaming! And we welcome letters on this theme as we enter the New Year.

• Rumors of a homeless person freezing to death during the cold snap were false, says Doug Bales, director of the Egan Warming Center. The official cause of that death is a drug overdose. “Not many freeze to death since Egan, but over the past five years there have been some deaths of exposure on nights we were open,” Bales writes.