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Last week I walked through the hallways of the Oregon State Hospital in Junction City. It felt like being locked into a Holiday Inn Suites … with psychiatric workers keeping an eye on you. Earlier in the week, strolling the halls of PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District felt like being in an office building — a little generic with some pleasant extras like art, comfy pillows and tinkling music. 

Oregon’s new mental hospital is a far cry from the notorious scenes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but it’s nonetheless an institution behind locked doors, as is part of the facility replacing PeaceHealth’s circa 1969 Johnson Unit. And the question of institutionalization when it comes to the mentally ill is not an issue that has gone away, though it is trying to become kinder, gentler and more effective.

I spent the early '90s in Seattle working at a gas station just off I-5, near the University District. My co-worker on the morning shift, Pete, was a tall, smart, shy guy with a cynical disposition and a tart sense of humor. He had a troubled home life — wife, a kid, nights of hollering, a visit from the cops once. Pete drank too much sometimes. But he was a gentle soul. I liked him. Lots of people liked Pete.

I knew he was fucked up, but I told myself we were all fucked up. At work, during slow times, Pete and I talked in vague terms about the trials of life, our angst, our martyrdom, the bullshit of existence. Shop talk. That’s what men do, I figured.

Free joints, lines around the block, medical marijuana express lanes — the first day of October will surely be a day of celebration for many and, perhaps, a headache for others. 

Oct. 1 marks another milestone for cannabis legalization in the state of Oregon: Medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to legally sell limited amounts of pot to recreational users — customers without an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) card — who are over the age of 21 with valid proof of age.

Campaign season is well under way for the presidential election. Locally, candidates for Eugene City Council and mayor, and Lane County Board of Commissioners are starting to declare themselves. 

But those elections and campaigns are still taking shape, while here in Eugene, a campaign has launched for a Nov. 3 special election: the library levy.

Vote Yes! for Libraries has kicked off its campaign. Measure 20-235 would add $2.7 million a year, for five years, to the library’s operating budget. 

• 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.

Local businesses can benefit from a collection of useful web links regarding surveys, zoning, planning, building permits, flood hazard, wetlands, restaurant inspections and more at lanecounty.org. Lane County’s Geographic Information System and property records online have been updated into a new system that can be accessed by computer or cell phone. Look for “Maps and Property Info” under “Quick Links” on the county website’s home page. 

 • Lane County is taking public comment on its draft 20-year Parks Master Plan, which will guide the management of county parks from 2016 to 2036. This is the first comprehensive update to the original 1980 master plan. The draft plan is available at city libraries and an open house runs from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 24, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave.

Vanessa Froehling rifles through racks of shimmering gowns and faux furs in her home studio. This, she says, holding up a metallic cocktail number, is the Judy Jetson dress. She grabs another hanger — a plunging ruby sequin dress — the Jessica Rabbit, she says. 

This summer really got me thinking. Should summers like that of 2015 become frequent, just how much yard am I interested in watering? I let some areas go dry this year, out of sheer exhaustion combined with a sense that it’s inappropriate, with all of Oregon in a state of drought, to have sprinklers going all the time. Some areas I placed on a regular but restricted water regimen. It has been interesting to see what survived and what did best.

“My inspiration is my parents,” says Ruth Weinberg, who grew up in London, the daughter of German-Jewish refugees who felt welcome in England. “They created a nonprofit to provide affordable housing for international grad students and their families.” After graduating from the Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy, Weinberg got her first job at an old Victorian psychiatric hospital. When it shut down, she spent a year on an organic farm in New Zealand and two years with a group home for adults with developmental disabilities in Alaska. 

Talking to Adam Duritz on the phone is like watching nostalgia incarnate walk through the door. The idiosyncratic voice of the Counting Crows frontman is still as raspy and boyish as ever, a key to his charm. That voice helped define a post-Nirvana ’90s. 

It’s likely that the moment little William “Boz” Scaggs met a new friend, Steve Miller, at their highfalutin Dallas boys’ preparatory school, neither knew that a page was turning in American rock history. 

The now Nashville-based folk musician Mare Wakefield, along with her husband and musical collaborator Nomad, has had a pretty good year. 

Joe, the blue-collar mechanic at the center of VLT’s Mercy Killers, considers himself the ultimate all-American — a red-state, Rush Limbaugh-listening son of the American dream.


I’m just catching up on the news of the homeless situation here in Eugene. I haven’t rallied or been involved in several years. But I can still see the lack of cooperation between advocates for the unhoused and the city. I also see an astounding amount of incompetence from the Eugene City Council in dealing with this issue — a serious human rights issue, I might add. 

I’m a 26-year-old single bi woman. Sometimes my roommate/best friend and I have drunken threesomes with men. We’ve had some great one-night stands (less scary with a friend!), but recently we slept with a man I’ve been (drunkenly) sleeping with over a period of months, my “friend with benefits.” I shared my FWB with my roommate because she wanted to have sex, and I shared my roommate with my FWB because he wanted to experience a threesome.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 was recently sprayed.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 25 on an application from Utah-based Layton Construction for Clean Water Act permitting of discharges of construction-related stormwater pollution at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, in Springfield. Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for info on commenting.


The Eugene Symphony kicks off its 50th season 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 24, in style with a 20th-century American classic and a brand-new 21st-century composition by the West Coast composer who many hope represents part of the future of American music. 

As back-to-school season arrives, parents and their children are excitedly filling their school supply lists and checking out the latest fall fashions at the mall. Parents, though, often have many important decisions to make regarding their children’s education.

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders …”

The police, the DAs and the judges were well represented at the Sept. 11 investiture of Lane County’s new district attorney, Patty Perlow. Perlow, a veteran of the Lane County DA’s office since 1990 and chief deputy since 2009, is also the county’s first female DA and the first woman to head the prosecutor’s office in one of Oregon’s top-five most populous counties. 

Photo by Gary Hale / Forestland Dwellers


Eugene lost a culinary legend with the passing of chef Gabriel Gil last week. Known best for his influence on local restaurants past and present, including Rabbit Bistro and Bar, Soubise and Tacovore, Gil was a friend and inspiration to many in the local restaurant community. 

Gil was 43 years old and died after suffering a medical crisis.

His partner in life and work, Amy Hand, says working with Gil was “challenging but rewarding. I learned a tremendous amount from him — he upped my personal game. It was inspiring to work with him.”