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• 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.

Whole Foods has its eyeballs on Eugene again, but no $8 million taxpayer-subsidized parking garage will be attached this time to get folks riled up. The Texas-based corporation tried to build at the same location just south of Ferry Street Bridge in 2006. We noted then that the chain averages $537,000 in sales per store each week. Even half that sales volume in Eugene would have an impact on established local stores, but Safeway, Albertson’s and Trader Joe’s are also chain stores, and the Natural Grocers chain is building on the north side of the bridge at the old Red Lion site.

• Springfield City Club will hold a county commissioner candidates forum at 11:45 am Thursday, May 1, at Willamalane Center, 250 S. 32nd St. Candidates from the East Lane and Springfield districts have been invited. The club meets every first and third Thursday. See springfieldcityclub.org.

University of Oregon students voted recently to urge the UO Foundation to divest its fossil fuel stocks. The vote to divest — which prevailed with yes votes of roughly 73 percent — should spur the foundation to sell the fossil fuel stocks that reportedly make up roughly 1 percent of the foundation’s holdings. 

On April 26, 1986, in Pripyat, Ukraine, Chernobyl Reactor #4 suffered a power increase, which caused the whole plant to burn. On the night of the incident, Chernobyl's staff ran a safety drill. An automatic shutdown was supposed to happen in case of low water levels. But operators, who lacked proper training, blocked the automatic shutdown mechanism, because they thought the shutdown would abort the test. The coolant started boiling in the reactor, and reactor power slowly increased, which caused Reactor #4 to explode.

The daughter of parents who each became a teacher while she was growing up in Sacramento, Phyllis Haddox majored in education at Sacramento State and found work as a reading specialist at racially diverse Del Paso Heights Elementary, where she had gone to grade school. “The district had adopted the Direct Instruction model,” says Haddox, who came up to the UO in 1971 for training in DI, a highly scripted and fast-paced teaching method for young children, with its founder, Siegfried Engelmann.

Human Ottoman is confident that their debut album Power Baby is going to melt your face off. This chutzpah stems from the fact that, to their knowledge, they’re the only band in the world that uses this particular instrumentation, with Matthew Cartmill on cello, Susan Lucia on drums and Grayson Fiske on vibraphone (like a xylophone with a sustain pedal).

Get ready for a whole lotta Seattle. On Friday, May 2, Sam Bond’s welcomes a showcase of three up-and-coming indie rock bands from that other Emerald City. Who’s on first? Friends and Family. Celebrating the release of their debut record Happy, Good-Looking, and in Love, Friends and Family blend the lush, idiosyncratic arrangements of Arcade Fire with Of Montreal’s glitter-pop; the sound is artful, intellectual and over the top in all the right ways. 

Oregon’s favorite folk sisters recently returned from “band camp.” Thankfully, stories that could veer into American Pie’s “This one time, when I was at band camp…” territory don’t end with sticky flutes but with the Shook Twins recording their fourth album What We Do with producer Ryan Hadlock. Hadlock is the same dude behind The Lumineer’s self-titled, Grammy-nominated record (remember the summer of 2012’s “Ho Hey” frenzy?). The Shook Twins host an album release party Friday, May 2, at McDonald Theatre.


Donating $400,000 to help unhoused people in the Eugene area is a very positive step in a humane direction, but so much more needs to happen. For example, Utah has moved 2,000 people off the streets and reduced chronic homelessness by 78 percent in the last eight years by simply providing people with apartments.

Is it just me, or is the Eugene theater scene undergoing something of an ascendance these days? Is there a minor renaissance of the dramatic arts going on in our midst? Could it be that, along with the hip, new vitality of our downtown, pushing out decades of apocalyptic slouch and economic zombification, this city is also experiencing a similar surge in creative endeavors and the venues that host them?

The human memory is a most wily creature, a Picasso-like construction of images and emotions. And if we manipulate our own memories, to what extent is anything we remember real?

I’ve heard your calls for bisexuals to come out to their friends and family, and I think it’s a great idea. Here’s my conundrum: I’m not sure I technically classify as “bisexual.” I’m a 40-year-old guy who strongly prefers sex with women to men (percentage-wise I’m 70/30). I’ve had sex with dudes in the past (five or six times) and loved it, though I’ve never had the same emotional attachment and attraction that I’ve had with women.

Among the world’s wine-savvy folks, there’s no doubt that Oregon can produce some of the planet’s best wines, especially pinot noir, notoriously tricky to grow, ripen and vinify into the wine that ranks among the most desirable to wine-lovers. Our state’s pinot noirs have emerged as distinctive for their depth and complexity but particularly for a certain freshness of flavor that seems to derive from our peculiar land and climate (plus the talents of so many winemakers). As a result, the north end of the Willamette Valley gets a lot of well-earned attention. It looms large on folks’ mental wine maps.

Having just watched Jonathan Glazer’s latest movie, Under the Skin, I’m now thoroughly convinced that we have entered a post-human age — an era of catastrophic reckoning in which humanity, threatened with inevitable extinction, will figure less and less as the engineer of its own destiny. Art is always way ahead of the curve, and if recent films like The Tree of Life and Melancholia, along with novels like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, have anything to teach us, it’s this: Grab your ass, because the apocalypse is upon us. 

The nonprofit Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST) will host a meeting May 14, during which they will hear concerns from Lane County human services providers about the community’s public transit needs. Laurie Trieger on the BEST board of directors says she anticipates the conversation will be about transportation needs of low-income individuals.

The American dream of suburbia is running out of road —at least according to Benjamin Ross, a Maryland-based author and transit activist. He will tackle this issue and more when he comes to town to speak on May 4, exactly two days after his latest book, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, hits the shelves.

“The suburban value system that people used to assume was a superior way of living has reached a dead end,” says Ross. “It’s no longer a status symbol to have a lawn and a car.”

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week.

Labor unions have for years been pitted against conservationists in a jobs-versus-the-environment conflict. But now, a greater threat to the planet has paired members of the rival movements in a fight against a greater evil: global climate change. 

Two law briefs that attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center says could affect whether constitutional rights in Eugene and across the U.S. are  “silently but significantly” being eroded and “swept under the radar screen” were filed in courts this past week. The briefs involve participants from Occupy Eugene and SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) and preexisting cases that deal with the First Amendment right to protest and assemble in what Regan calls “our revered public forums.”

Thanks to a federal law enacted in 2005, Eugene gets about 40 blasts of a 96- to 110-decibel horn each time a train passes through town, according to Whitey Lueck. Lueck is an instructor in the UO’s Department of Landscape Architecture who has been involved over the years in trying to implement a “quiet zone” for Eugene’s 10 crossings to protect the ears of city dwellers. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent San Mateo-based J.H. Baxter & Co. a warning letter on March 31 for various hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection on March 25 at Baxter’s wood treatment facility in Eugene’s Trainsong neighborhood. Violations included failure to label hazardous waste, failure to conduct required hazardous waste inspections, failure to provide up-to-date contingency plans to first responders and failure to clean up spills.

The Lane County Jail announced on April 21 that it will no longer hold inmates on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a warrant or a court order. This is in response to an April 11 federal court ruling that Clackamas County violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by holding her in jail for 19 hours after her case was settled in order to let federal immigration agents begin investigating her residency status.