The League of American Bicyclists has released its annual rankings of bike-friendly states, and Oregon is up to number three in 2013 from number five in 2012. Hooray for us!
Oregon scores high in the categories of legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, and education and encouragement. Our biggest weakness is in the area of infrastructure and funding.
Want to weigh in on the city fee, the Lane County tax levy or the 4J funding issue? Then be sure you are registered to vote here in Lane County, and if you are not registered, get er' done by 4 pm Tuesday, April 30.
To check if you are registered with your current address go to this link at the Oregon secretary of state's website.
Not registered? If you have a valid DMV number from an Oregon driver's license, learners permit or ID card, then you can register here.
Otherwise go fill out this online registration card, print it out and either mail it (postmarked by 4 pm April 30) or drop it off at the Lane County Elections office, or go to the office and fill out a card there. The Lane County Elections office is located at 275 W.10th Avenue, on the corner of 10th and Lincoln in downtown Eugene. Public office hours are 9 am to noon, and 1 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. On Election Day, May 21, 2013 the Lane County Elections Office will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. It's conveniently located about two blocks from the Weekly, so feel free to stop by and pick up a paper or wave at the baby birds (starlings?) nesting and pooping over the employee entrance.
In other news, it's bag ban time. April 3o is also notable in that it's the last day that stores in Eugene can give you a single-use plastic grocery bag with your purchase. That's why everywhere you've shopped in Eugene this past week from the liquor store to the Kiva has been cheerfully offering you (or forcing upon you) the last of their plastic bags. As of May 1 plastic bags (not including produce or bulk food bags) are verboten and it's 5 cents to get a paper bag.
First time I ever wrote an article for Eugene Weekly about banning plastic bags, the ban was barely a gleam in the Eugene City Council's eye. And I got my first grumpy letter. Awww.
It took just over a month last summer after its release for the Duck to parody international pop star Psy's "Gangnam Style," which has reached earth-shattering popularity with 1.5 billion views. What happens if 1.5 billion people all have the same annoying song in their head? Or worse, what happens when three billion legs start doing that weird horse-and-lasso trotting dance move?
It doesn't matter, because Psy recently released a follow up to Gangnam: "Gentleman." Now accepting bets on how long it will take for a "Duck" version of "Gentleman" (see below) to come out. Winner gets to bask in the everlasting glory of being right.
Online and in the May 6, 2013 Sports Illustrated NBA center Jason Collins writes:
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay. I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
For the full first-person story, go to Sports Illustrated's website.
For the backlash, go to ESPN where, according to Think Progress "An ESPN sportscaster went on the air on Monday to publicly gay-bash Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out Monday morning in an emotional op-ed, the first active male player of a major American sport to come out. Speaking on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Chris Broussard said that he would 'not characterize [Collins] as a Christian.'”
Some authors revel in rejection, others hide from fame, but when you get a chance to go see authors, established or up and coming, read their stuff, you get a chance to see the man or woman behind the curtain. Why judge a book by it's cover when you can come check out the writer?
In the next week we have a cornucopia of authorial riches. On Sunday, April 28, Donna Henderson, author of The Eddy Fence (Airlie Press, 2009) and Oregon Book Award finalist Sara Burant, author of Verge (Finishing Line Press, 2012)will be introduced by poet Carter McKenzie. The event benefits Beyond Toxics, which says:
These featured Oregon poets offer works of deep attention to the natural world and to our place in it. Whether in praise of the forces of nature or in elegy from environmental devastation, their poems rise out of protest against indifference to and appropriation of our resources and communities.Through precise and luminous language driven by the willingness to witness both the beauty of the natural world and the damage that threatens it, each poet offers in distinctive ways a new capacity for inhabitance. These are poems rooted in fierce gratitude for what sustains us all.
Then on Tuesday April 30 it's Oregon Writers Night at Sam Bond's when authors Daniel Kine and Eliot Treichel will be reading from Kine's Up Nights and Treichel’s recently released collection of short stories, Close is Fine. The event is all ages from 6-8 p.m. Kine and Treichel follow the reading with a short question-and-answer session.
The voter registration deadline for the May 21 Special Election is Tuesday, April 30. People who are not registered to vote in any Oregon county may register online at www.oregonvotes no later than 11:59 pm Tuesday, April 30. The online option is available only to those with a valid Oregon driver’s license, DMV-issued identification card, or learner’s permit.
Other registration options are to submit a voter registration form to the Elections Office by 4 pm Tuesday, or mail a voter registration card to the Elections Office with a postmark no later than Tuesday, April 30.
New voters who will turn 18 on or before the May 21 Election Day may register by the April 30 deadline and receive a ballot, even if they are still 17 on the deadline date.
For any questions on voter registration and elections in Oregon, go to: www.lanecounty.org/elections/or call Lane County Elections at 682-4234.
UO's Bike Music Festival returns for the fifth time Friday, April 26. If you've never seen a pedal-powered stage, head down to the EMU Amphitheater or to Cozmic.
Events on campus start at 3 pm with slam poet Jared Paul, and the event rides on to Cozmic at 8 pm with Fossil Fool (pictured above), "the only MC who can rock a mic while he rides his bike," performing en route, according to the BMF's press release. "He is the inventor and producer of the Soul Cycle — an on-board audio system for bikes — and founder of Rock the Bike."
To find out when and where Gritt & Grizzle, My Goodness, Marv Ellis, Grey Matter Jugglers, Eleven Eyes and Medium Troy perform, check out the UO's page.
A press release from Oregon House Democrats today, April 25:
Today the Oregon House of Representatives passed legislation that would give local governments more power to prevent vacant foreclosed homes from becoming neighborhood eyesores.
More than half of all foreclosed homes in Oregon are vacant, but current law does not assign responsibility for the upkeep of these abandoned properties. This situation has created problems for neighborhoods throughout the state as eyesore properties introduce criminal activity and harm property values.
House Bill 2662A prohibits property owners from neglecting foreclosed properties, requires property owners to post notice of who to contact in case of problems, and allows local governments to fine property owners if a nuisance arises that the owner does not address.
Rep. Lew Frederick (D–Portland) has been working for years on legislation to help neighborhoods deal with blighted properties and empty, foreclosed homes.
“I’m proud of my colleagues for supporting legislation that will help neighborhoods address this very real problem,” Frederick said. “Squatters have turned some properties into drug labs, or camped in the structures allowing garbage to accumulate. This bill gives neighbors and municipalities a very basic tool for controlling the local effects.”
In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, the usual remedies to deal with problem properties are no longer working, he said. HB 2662A takes a step in the right direction by prohibiting owners from neglecting empty properties.
“Eyesore properties impact communities of any size, and any density,” House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D–Eugene) said. “I’m pleased that the House voted to give neighbors a simple tool to deal with one aspect of the fallout from the problems created by the great recession.”