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The frontline of the fight for civil rights isn’t only in the courtroom or marching down the street, but on stage from Alaska to New York City to Eugene.

RED INK LEGACY

During a work session, the Eugene City Council — with strong support from Mayor Kitty Piercy — voted 6-2 to demolish City Hall and to construct a new one. In making this truly momentous decision, councilors studied a cost approximation prepared from “conceptual” data provided by the city’s hired architectural firm. How long did the council deliberate over these numbers? Months? Weeks? No. Mere minutes. Would a private citizen so conduct his affairs?

A straight male friend practices sounding and has for years. I am pretty sure he does other things that he isn’t telling anyone about—not even his wife. He has some medical questions about sounding. I am a pediatric nurse, so he brought his concerns to me, but the questions are totally outside my area of expertise. Nothing emergency-room-worthy is going on, but he needs answers and refuses to speak with his regular MD about sounding. I am wondering how to find an MD in his area who would be knowledgeable and nonjudgmental.

If nothing else, The Skeleton Twins taught me something I didn’t know: I might be willing to watch Bill Hader in anything. As depressed, off-kilter, semi-self-destructive Milo, Hader has a different sort of presence onscreen. His usual solidness transforms into something gawky and loose; when Milo describes himself as being built like a frog, he’s not wrong. A sturdy desperation lurks around Hader’s mild but expressive face. He’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop. In fact, he might be the one to drop it.

Why should I have to pay taxes for primary elections when I can’t vote in them? I’m registered with a minor party — not the Democrats nor the Republicans. Members of the Working Families Party, like me, and members of the Pacific Green Party, the Libertarian and others have to pay the bill for the two major parties’ closed primaries. So do independent voters not registered with any party. 

What’s the chance that the Eugene City Council will be able to find housing for the homeless when — after 16 years — it hasn’t been able to find housing for itself? 

Weeks after President Obama deemed immigration reform too contentious to act upon until after the November midterm elections, local advocates for Oregon’s Measure 88 are trying to keep the debate from dissolving into another divisive scuffle over immigration. The measure is a referendum on an Oregon Senate bill that makes four-year driver licenses available to those who cannot prove they are in the country legally.

In an upstairs conference room overlooking the bustling marketplace at 5th and Pearl, men in colorful, graphics-splattered T-shirts are deep in conversation. “Eugene can be slow,” says Ted Brown, gesturing broadly to the group. “People here only make safe investments. Economies aren’t about selling lumber anymore, and we’ve got an explosion of creativity happening right here. Eugeneans don’t recognize that yet.”

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

Oregon’s rivers aren’t meant to flow in straight lines. They are meant to meander and twist under the shade of native trees, giving fish like threatened upper Willamette spring Chinook a safe route to the ocean and back. Humans haven’t just dammed and straightened the Willamette — we’ve boxed it in with construction and with the gravel mines fueling that construction. 

“Buffalo, for Lakota people, are our relatives,” Goodshield Aguilar says of his tribe’s origin story. “Because if it wasn’t for the buffalo, we wouldn’t exist.” Around 30-60 million bison (often referred to as buffalo) once thundered through the Great Plains of North America. Today only 4,900 unfenced, wild plains bison remain, most of them huddled within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. 

After eight months and 11 meetings, the Bethel School District and its teachers union are still at a standstill in their bargaining process and will need a mediator to continue. The teachers union is asking for a 2 percent cost of living adjustment and a 3 percent insurance adjustment, but the district says it needs to reduce furlough days and lower class sizes before adding back dollars to the salary schedule.

Did you drive to the Eugene People’s Climate March? That’s one of the questions being hotly debated in web comments and listserv discussions following the climate rally and march in Eugene Sunday, Sept. 21, corresponding with rallies in New York City and in 130 countries around the world. Some Eugeneans even flew to New York for the massive march there.

ODOT recently sprayed Highways 36 and 126. For daily information call ODOT Herbicide Application Information Line (888) 996-8080. Or call Tony Kilmer at the Springfield office at 744-8080 for herbicide and additives information and to ask what time a highway was sprayed.

Four historical narratives, Russian fatalism and strong ties to his family’s pioneering and Native American heritage drive Howard W. Robertson’s newest work, Peculiar Pioneer. He and several other local writers will be reading from their recent work Sunday, Sept. 28, at the inaugural Lane Writer’s Reading Series event.

A decision on Eugene City Hall is expected by the City Council after we go to press this week, and it could go either way (see our story last week). City staff and Rowell Brokaw Architects have the advantage of the final word. Rowell Brokaw has a vested interest in making the old City Hall look bad and making the proposed new City Hall look wonderful. But design and environmental issues aside, the elephant in the room is Phase II of a new City Hall.

Tsunami Books is in a pickle. Owner Scott Landfield tells us the building that has housed Tsunami Books on South Willamette  for 20 years is up for sale through Evans, Elder & Brown. Landfield says he has decided to keep the business going, “but where and how are now up in the air.” Ideally, he says, someone would buy the building and keep him as a tenant. “We here at Tsunami Books are totally focused on having our best holiday season ever, beginning today,” he says.

When it comes to indie rap, few MCs boast the candid storytelling of Brother Ali. The rapper sees himself as a messenger of hope, faith and belief. Some of his songs are about the art of rapping. Others are autobiographical; some are pure poetry.

Just as the arrival of shorter, cooler days signal autumn, the arrival of some big names, at least in the little world of classical music, tells us that the 2014-15 classical music season is underway. The Sept. 28 Eugene Symphony concert featuring the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Beethoven’s majestic Violin Concerto offers a chance to see one of the last of the really big-name classical soloists (there’s Yo Yo Ma and not many others left) who can fill up a venue as cavernous as the Hult Center on reputation alone. 

K Records recording artists The Shivas nod toward vintage psyche and garage rock, but Jared Molyneux says his band isn’t merely a nostalgia act. 

Among guitarists, if not across the wide world, Dave Rawlings is recognized as a stylist of the highest order, a folk traditionalist who is also a supreme innovator. For evidence of what this man can do with his 1935 arch-top Epiphone, witness “Revelator,” the first track on 2001’s Time (The Revelator) by singer and songwriter Gillian Welch, with whom Rawlings frequently collaborates.

A ONE-TIME GIFT

Regarding City Hall, it’s important to understand that steel and concrete are inevitably desirable building materials because they are so structural. Unfortunately, they are also very energy intensive to produce. Therefore, from a standpoint of green building (to say nothing of climate change), concrete and steel should only be used as a last resort and only in the context of extreme building longevity during which the embodied energy costs can “amortize out” over time. 

The Ghosts of Tonkin, a dramatic work about the Vietnam War by Bellingham, Washington-based playwright Steve Lyons, will show Sunday, Sept. 28, at Wildish Theatre. Lyon’s play is a behind-closed-doors investigation of the political maneuvering that led to the conflict, focusing on such historical figures as Robert McNamara, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and Oregon Senator Wayne Morse, one of only two U.S. senators to vote against the war.

One recent sunny day, my family enjoyed one of our regular trips to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the UO campus. It didn’t take long to find some nifty stuff, including a 1981 Basquiat, a 1972 Miró and, be still my heart, a 1963 Giacometti. This isn’t New York City. This is Eugene! And yet here were representative pieces from some of the world’s most beloved artists, on display thanks to the museum’s Masterworks on Loan program, which exhibits art borrowed from private collections.