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Former Register-Guard columnist Bob Welch spins his popular Oregon stories for a live audience, Nov. 5-6.

“I had a great ride for 24 years and I wanted to find a way to say thank you,” Welch says. 

Enter live theater. 

LIBRARY LEVY HAS BIG BENEFITS

As director of the Eugene Public Library, and on behalf of the whole team here: Thank you, Eugene voters, for your decision to expand library services. And thank you to all the levy supporters who helped spread the word and get out the vote.

The library levy approved on Nov. 3 will increase community members’ access by adding hours, programs, materials, and technology, particularly at our neighborhood Bethel and Sheldon branches.

A delightfully satirical sendup, 2001’s Urinetown: The Musical by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, pokes fun at everyone, from poet Bertolt Brecht and Les Miz, to our legal system, politics and capitalism. Refreshingly irreverent, Urinetown is a musical’s musical, and it’s given the five-star treatment by the capable team at South Eugene High School (SEHS). 

Henk Pander’s Portland studio is how I imagine an Old Masters’ pad — be it Vermeer, Rembrandt or Hals — in 17th-century Europe. Strewn about are remnants of still lifes, palettes with fat slabs of oil pigment and enormous canvases, all dwarfed by 20-foot ceilings. With the afternoon sun filtering in through skylights, it’s nothing short of glorious. 

DEAR READERS: Two weeks ago, I announced I would be taking a nice long break from questions about miserable sexless marriages. (I don’t get questions about happily sexless marriages.) I tossed out my standard line of advice to those who’ve exhausted medical, psychological, and situational fixes (“Do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane”), and I moved on to other relationship problems. Readers impacted by sexless marriages—men and women on “both sides of the bed”—wrote in to share their experiences and insights.

Seems like only a minute ago we were sweating BBs in 104 degrees, high heat in high summer. A minute later, our granddaughter Meagan is donning her Katniss Everdeen Hunger Games costume for Halloween. Then we’re suddenly into the feast days, fussing about wines to serve, as Mole would say, “wit’ da boid.” He means turkey. I’m pretty sure.

The second annual All Hallow’s Eugene, put on by the Eugene Film Society and City of Eugene Cultural Services, was a grand slam downtown, which just goes to show what a family-friendly place the heart of the city can be with expansive, well-executed city programming.

Opening night of Cloud Nine at the old Lord Leebrick Theatre, 2001: Willow Norton holds court in the lobby, trash-talking the production. Upon hearing her, the play’s director, Corey Pearlstein, emerges from the shadows and introduces himself to the young woman. Spirited discussion ensues.

Valentine’s Day, 2007, on a cobblestone street in SoHo, NYC: Snow falls in the settling dusk. As Norton scurries to rehearsal, she catches a glimpse of a man standing in the doorway. Despite his three-piece suit and the theater business he is conducting over the phone, he looks hometown familiar.

“Right now at this moment a coyote is strangling in a neck snare or a wolf is struggling in a leghold trap,” says Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense and one of the nonprofit’s founders. The predator advocacy group is celebrating 25 years of work to protect coyotes, wolves, cougars and other predators on Nov. 5 with movies and a Q&A at the Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue.

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 36, 58 and 99 were recently sprayed. Most of Highway 36 was sprayed Oct. 20 and the area near Triangle Lake School was sprayed Oct. 23 when classes were not in session. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined Central Point-based LTM, Incorporated (doing business as Knife River Materials) $159,144 for polluting a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Coquille River with sediment; grading and stockpiling earthen material without a Clean Water Act permit; and placing wastes where they are likely to escape into waters of the state. LTM/Knife River’s violations stem from an excavation project on Oregon State Hwy. 42 under a contract with Oregon Department of Transportation.

A landslide of citizen protests led the Eugene City Council to vote to postpone a proposed plan to rezone major portions of the South Willamette neighborhood. Those citizens, the South Willamette Neighbors, have united in a badge-wearing, yard-sign bearing movement against the plan, saying the rezoning could ruin the “single-family home” feel of their 20-minute neighborhood. 

Knowing a little science doesn’t hurt when you’re going into politics, says Julie Fahey, a human resources consultant who is running for Oregon state representative in House District 14, a position currently held by Val Hoyle. Fahey has a degree in chemistry, and she says having a background in math and science provides a good framework for politics. 

• The Eugene Public Library levy on the Nov. 3 ballot is getting a surprising amount of attention on both sides. What’s not to love about libraries? Well, a lot of folks who are grumpy about Eugene city government are thinking a “no” vote will send a message to city officials that reforms are necessary. Maybe so, and we talked about this last week, but we think we can have it both ways by supporting the library and demanding changes in city policies and practices. How do we support the library and other essential services in the General Fund?

Local and regional solar companies will like this. The nonprofit Environment Oregon (EO) is pushing Eugene and other cities to “prioritize solar energy” through a petition that can be found at environmentoregon.org (click on “Go solar, Oregon”). The group says Oregon gets less than 1 percent of its energy from solar, “but local governments can play a big roll in repowering our state with clean, renewable solar energy.” How?

In the depths of the Great Depression, screwball musicals — both staged and on film — buoyed spirits with their vaudevillian charm. The most famous of ’em all, 42nd Street, tap-dances its way to the Hult Center Nov. 3-4.

Transportation safety in Springfield is the focus of a meeting with Mayor Christine Lundberg at 11:30 am Thursday, Oct. 29, at the roundabout at Harlow Road and Hayden Bridge Way. Roundabouts and other issues will be discussed, such as the Safe Routes to School program and SmartTrips Springfield.

• The Eugene Budget Committee’s Citizen Sub-Committee will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Eugene Public Library Bascom/Tykeson Room.

We at Occupy Medical see suffering, lots of suffering. We see people, fellow citizens, who have been hungry for so long that they aren’t used to consuming more than a cup full of food at a time. The food that they do get is often from garbage cans. They soften food with milk or water to make it easier to chew as they are losing their teeth from poor nutrition.

Each month when you pay your electricity bill a generous portion of your payment is spent to restore salmon in the Northwest. In fact, when you write that check, you’re contributing to the largest fish and wildlife conservation effort in our nation’s history.

It’s Oct. 29. Have you voted yet? There’s only one item on the ballot, and it’s really important. Measure 20-235 will restore critical funding to Eugene’s public libraries, and we urge you to vote “yes.”

After a day or so of fighting our way through dropped calls and shitty cell reception, I get hold of Moon Hooch saxophonist Mike Wilbur somewhere in the middle of Idaho. He and his bandmates — saxophonist Wenzl McGowen and drummer James Muschler — are in the homestretch of their West Coast tour, which eventually will take them through Eugene. Wilbur is also audibly sick, which doesn’t seem to be getting him down in the slightest. 

Music unscrews the cranium, peers inside, pokes and prods, finding all the nooks and crannies contained within: excitement, fear, disappointment, nostalgia and, as singer-songwriter Erin McKeown says, empathy. 

THE BEST SOLUTION

I served as a volunteer citizen Eugene Budget Committee member when we made the agonizing decision to reduce library hours. The City Council opted not to continue our longstanding library levy during the recession. We carried the library hours on General Fund dollars and reserves as long as we could. We pared back the cuts from closure of both branch libraries to only reduced hours. No one wanted to cut those library hours, but it was the best of several bad options. 

What would you give up for a fabulous, famous life of brilliant academia? What would you sacrifice for the sacred, animal warmth of family? Pulitzer-nominated Rapture, Blister, Burn digs into these uncomfortable questions of feminism.