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Despite the potentially disastrous effects a multiyear, recording-breaking drought will have on the people and wildlife of western Oregon, there is a small consolation prize: early season hiking near the Cascade Crest.

Forget this remote BLM campground north of Bend if you hate bad roads, rattlesnakes, ticks, heat and bugs the size of your thumb that crawl up inside your pant legs. And forget your dog. This time of year brings acres of foxtails, nasty little barbed seedpods that can get up dog snouts and work their way into dog brains.

A play structure at Shawala Point in Corvallis’ Riverfront Park will honor the short life of a little boy and pay tribute to the Kalapuya people who lived in the Corvallis area in pre-settlement times. 

Trish Weber has begun fundraising for the memorial for her son, Nigel Rose Weber, and says she hopes to raise $30,000 for the play structure, which will be in the shape of a traditional Kalapuya bowl. The bowl, about 4 feet tall, will have handholds for kids to climb on it. 

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99, 101, 105, 126 east of Springfield and Highway 36 from Highway 99 to 1 mile east of Blachly were sprayed recently, ODOT may spray the rest of Highway 36 soon.

The DEQ has again fined Christopher Bartels for violating environmental law at the slaughterhouse he operates on Central Road, this time for violations of monitoring and reporting requirements. DEQ fined Bartels $30,147 on May 7 for failing to perform required monitoring of slaughterhouse wastewater in 2013, and for trying to pass off 2012 monitoring results as having been collected in 2013. Bartels has 20 days to request a hearing on the fine, and based on past history between DEQ and Bartels, he will request a hearing and DEQ will reduce the fine.

#ShellNo, #YouShellNotPass, #PaddleinSeattle. 

The hashtags were fun, but the protests May 16-18 in Seattle disputing Shell oil’s plans for Arctic drilling were calling attention to a serious issue — Big Oil and global climate change. The Obama administration gave conditional approval for Shell to drill in the Arctic earlier this month.

Rep. Jennifer Williamson told the Oregon Legislature’s House Committee on Business and Labor that her two distillery bills are not encouraging anyone to drink more hard liquor, but to drink Oregon hard liquor. 

Williamson, a Democrat, is chief sponsor of two bills moving forward in the Oregon Legislature that would improve ways distilleries are allowed to market and sell their products. She became aware of some of the industry’s concerns after she and her husband took a tasting tour of Bull Run Distillery, which is close to her Portland district. 

Only a few months ago, Kore Kombucha owner Curtis Shimmen planned to open a kombucha taphouse in the Whiteaker neighborhood, serving a variety of fermented drinks and foods, including kefir and kimchi.

Now, everything has changed.

“I put my blood, sweat and tears into that place, and all my money,” Shimmen says. “I’m looking for another spot, but it’s going to be difficult.”

• 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.

Falafel of Eugene is planning to join Wrap City at Kesey Square, says Kim Still of Saturday Market. Saturday Market contracts with the city to administer the food cart program at Kesey Square and on the Park Blocks. “We are actively seeking a couple more carts to add back in to the plaza food pod,” Still says. “Unfortunately we are not able to permit food trucks in that area, just carts.” Contact the market office at 686-8885, ext. 102.

Community Rights Lane County will host a free workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Friday, May 22, at the LCC Downtown campus, Room 105. The workshop will “explore provocative issues around democracy, the power of the corporate state and communities’ rightful role in local decision-making.” Speakers include advocates Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin from Washington, Cliff Willmeng from Colorado and Ann Kneeland, a local attorney working to get community rights initiatives onto the ballot in Oregon.

I’m worried about the future of one of our local newspapers. Granted we all have our obsessions and addictions, some healthy, some not. My parents, tough Catholic conservatives that they were, forced me to read our local newspaper early on. As I’ve told my young nieces and nephews: Third grade was the hardest four years of my life! Anyway, for the last 50 years, because of my parents’ unrelenting insistence on literacy, I resorted to newspapers — a total junkie. I was especially drawn to crossword puzzles and still blame them as the “gateway drug” for my preoccupation with cross words during my legislative career — as a minority whip — but that’s another story. 

Austin singer-songwriter Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known as Shakey Graves, wants to scratch all of your respective itches. Drawing from myriad sounds that prove difficult to solidly place a finger on, he dwells in a dusty sonic landscape somewhere between Two Gallants and M. Ward.

The May 26 show at WOW Hall is a bit of a rare bird as far as Eugene goes: The lineup features two badass acts, both women. Over the phone, I mention to singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis how unusual this is, to have a show here with nary a beard gracing the stage.

The meteoric rise of Glass Animals was unexpected, especially for frontman Dave Bayley. In fact, the success of the indie-electro rock band feels much like a dream.

Some of the most vibrant young voices in jazz and show music belong to women, and three of the most intriguing rising vocalists are coming to town in the next couple weeks. 

The Eagles are one of the most commercially successful bands in U.S. history, penning such classic rock staples as “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy.” 

If you spend enough time around folks who play frisbee golf, the phrase “growing the sport” eventually comes up.

DRAW OF THE CASCADES

There’s a trickle on the back side of Belknap, up there in the wild Cascades. Up where it wanders west towards Clear Lake. Up where it joins the slick parade of the marching McKenzie River. Up where time and trout are one. Where you can hook and land eternity in one prismatic flash of sun. Up where a school of fish becomes a mess of fish. Up where living takes up all your time. Up where the Doug firs set their skirts a-swish.

Yesterday, I found my 5-year-old son putting things up his butt in the bath. This isn’t the first time—and it’s not just a “Hey! There’s a hole here! Let’s put things in there!” kind of thing. The little dude was rocking quite the stiffy while he did it. I’m well aware of how sexual kids can be (I freaking was!), although I wasn’t quite expecting to be catching him exploring anal at this young age.

The apocalypse has come, and it’s the work of men. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, after three Mad Max movies that saw the world getting progressively darker (even as the third movie went to a strangely playful place that felt more Goonies than Road Warrior).

On Saturday, May 23, Lane County residents will participate in the worldwide March Against Monsanto for World Food Day (see details below). Over 600 cities around the world are scheduling events on that day. The UN has named this the “Year of the Soils” and in Eugene we will hold a march to declare our right to protect and restore the soils upon which our food, the climate, and all life ultimately depends.

The plaza at Broadway and Willamette (Kesey Square) has been around since urban renewal in the late 1960s. An old drugstore building was on the site and was condemned because of its unsafe condition. Located at what was then the “100 percent corner” of downtown, the planners of the now long-gone downtown mall decided to put a plaza there. 

There’s a pub on the outskirts of London that will forever hold a piece of Colin Graham’s heart. Though he moved away from London in 2012, Graham can easily picture his old neighborhood watering hole, the Two Brewers, down to the nitty-gritty details — a chipped tile here, a spray of graffiti there. He remembers the kindhearted staff and his friend performing drag in its cabaret, as well as the stroll home at the end of the night to his flat. It’s the spot where he’d bring visiting friends and family and where he met the father of his children.