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April 2, 2015 05:07 PM

On Tuesday, April 7, oral arguments will be heard in court about a climate change lawsuit brought by local youth, which argues that Oregon "is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians."

The full press release is below and some opportunities for activism from 350 Eugene are:

2:00 Children’s Tribunal, featuring Oregon youth and Mayor Kitty Piercy  Students / youth "testify" during Children's Tribunal, saying to "judges" [the crowd!] what they want to protect. 

2:00 – on Selfie Stations: Participants make photo petitions to Governor Kate, asking her to work with--not against--Oregon’s youth plaintiffs and protect the climate for Oregonians. We’ll tweet photos to her. Postcards available to decorate and send.

2:30 – 3:30 Silent Vigil HELP US ENCIRCLE THE COURTHOUSE:  Everyone invited to join circle of silence to honor the significance of this case; our fervent hope that judge takes right action; and to dramatize the silence to come for all living things if we don’t protect the climate. Our circle symbolically protects what’s happening inside—a potent bid for environmental justice.

People hold signs depicting everything at stake.

PLEASE bring poster / sign / photo / depicting something or someone you love and want to protect in Oregon. Or dress up as that thing without a voice (as otter / cloud / flower / river / democracy, etc).
We will hold these posters during our silent vigil. 

When hearing ends (estimated at 3:30):  Julia Olson, OCT Executive Director reports on proceedings

Press release from Our Children's Trust:

Oral Arguments for Youth’s Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit Held in Eugene at Lane County Circuit Court 

 

WHAT: Two Eugene youths’ climate change case, Chernaik v. Brown, will be argued before Judge Karsten Rasmussen and in front of national news media at Lane County Circuit Court. Oregonians from across the state are coming to support these young women in their fight for state action on climate change. Supporters will also be participating in a special climate change tribunal and silent vigil, organized by the 350 Eugene chapter, outside the courthouse. 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Court hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. PST 

WHERE: Lane County Circuit Court, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401

WHY: Kelsey and Olivia brought their case against Gov. Kitzhaber (now Gov. Brown) and the state of Oregon because the state, by its own admission, is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians. The youths ask the court for a declaration of law that the state has a fiduciary obligation to manage the atmosphere, water resources, coastal areas, wildlife and fish as public trust assets and to protect them from substantial impairment resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases in Oregon and the resulting adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification. In its initial motion in the case filed in January, the state renounced any obligation to protect these public resources, arguing that the public trust doctrine only prevents the state from selling off submerged lands to private interests. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawyers say that the governor is flat wrong in her defense of the case.  

Last summer, in a nationally significant decision in their case, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the circuit court must decide whether the atmosphere is a public trust resource that the state of Oregon has a duty to protect. Kelsey and Olivia were initially told by Judge Rasmussen that they could not bring the case, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision, and Kelsey and Olivia will have their case heard in Lane County Circuit Court once again.

Kelsey and Olivia are represented by Crag Law Center, Liam Sherlock at Hutchinson, Cox, Coons, Orr & Sherlock, P.C. and the Western Environmental Law Center. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawsuit was filed with the help of Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global game-changing, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate. The legal effort advances the fundamental duty of government today: to address the climate crisis based on scientific baselines and benchmarks, and to do so within timeframes determined by scientific analysis. 

Short documentary films of Kelsey and other young people taking legal action can be seen at www.ourchildrenstrust.org/trust-films

Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization advocating for urgent emissions reductions on behalf of youth and future generations, who have the most to lose if emissions are not reduced. OCT is spearheading the international human rights and environmental TRUST Campaign to compel governments to safeguard the atmosphere as a "public trust" resource. We use law, film, and media to elevate their compelling voices. Our ultimate goal is for governments to adopt and implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans with annual emissions reductions to return to an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm. www.ourchildrenstrust.org/

April 1, 2015 04:47 PM

On March 31, the Oregon House of Representatives passed the K-12 budget — $7.255 billion. Many in the local education community say this number is inadequate to cover the cost of full-day kindergarten and continue an upward trajectory of funding — last week, Lane County superintendents wrote a letter to state legislators and asked for increased funding. 

EW spoke with Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill earlier this year, when the Joint Ways and Means Committee proposed a budget of $7.235 billion. Gill said that because Oregon K-12 schools are implementing full-day kindergarten this year, this number simply doesn't work (see full interview here):

We need that $7.235 billion just to cover what we’re doing right now plus annual roll-up costs, such as cost-of-living increases for staff members. All those costs go up, and the $7.235 billion pretty much covers that, or it covers full-day kindergarten, but not both. So where we need them to move the budget to is $7.5 billion, which would be even, meaning that what we’re doing this year, we could continue to do next year plus the full-day kindergarten.

So that seems like, “Oh, OK, that’s good.” But where we’re at now is not really that great. Right now we’re 49th in graduation rates across the country. The only place that’s underperforming Oregon is the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. And we’re 49th in class size. Just to get to average in class size, we’d have to have six fewer kids per class ...

The number that we’re all asking for and hoping for is $7.875 billion, and that doesn’t get us to the national average. But, if you increase by that amount every two years when the Legislature meets, then in 10 years, we’ll be at the national average. We’d like to say in Oregon that we’re better than average, but right now we’re just struggling to climb the ladder and get up there.

Democrats of the House say that $7.255 billion can provide stable funding for Oregon school districts while funding full-day kindergarten and paying for lunch for students from low-income families. 

From a House Majority Leader press release:

“Let’s be clear—we all want to do more to invest in our schools. I will fight until the day we sine die to get every cent possible into our classrooms, ” said Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene & Junction City). “But let’s also be clear that adding more funds to K-12 schools without new revenue will require more cuts to critical programs like mental health care, public safety, and services for low-income seniors.”

“I’m heartened to hear bipartisan support for increasing funds to K-12 schools,” Hoyle added. “I’m calling on our colleagues across the aisle to stay true to their word and join us in a conversation about how we find the revenue we need in order to make a truly game-changing investment in our schools.”

April 1, 2015 05:26 PM

Below is a press release from periodic  EW columnist Kayla Godowa-Tufti and Honor the Treaty of 1864

Klamath Tribal Members Refuse to Support Water Settlement

April 2, 2015 (Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon)

All across the United States, on the west coast in particular, Indian water settlements are taking place at a rampant rate. The Bureau of Reclamation, a branch of the Department of the Interior, is securing water reserves for the best interest of the United States, predominately the industrialized agricultural economy.

Though recent statements made by agricultural parties have been supportive of water agreements because farmers help “feed the world”, the truth is the meat raised specifically in the Klamath Basin does not feed the local community, adds to the carbon footprint and degrades Indigenous habitat utilized for cultural, spiritual and substance purposes.

“To date, twenty-eight settlements have achieved a federal settlement act and are involved in implementation. Sixteen settlements are in progress with two, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement of 2011 (Montana), S.399/H.R 3301, and the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Settlement (Arizona), S.2109/H.R. 4067 having been introduced in the 112th Congress. Many more tribes’ water rights remain to be addressed, including tribes with claims on the Colorado River, the more than 100 California tribes with federal recognition, the Oklahoma tribes which share two rivers and many more in the Midwest, East, Alaska and Hawaii.”
Darcy S. Bushnell, Ombudsman Program Director

Recently, we have witnessed local water settlements of the Nez Perce Tribe (Snake River basin adjudication), Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Confederated Tribes of the Colville, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and The Kalispel Tribe of Indians (Columbia Basin Fish Accords)

The most current settlement is the signing of the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Water Rights Settlement at the end of February 2015.

Simultaneously, in the Klamath Basin, the Klamath Tribes, Karuk Tribe and Yurok Tribe have also entered into water negotiations known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and associated documents. Whereas, Hoopa Valley, Risighini Rancheria, and Quartz Valley refused to be signatory parties to this agreement.

Signatory tribes, such as the Klamath, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes have hailed the agreements as a path toward dam removal and fisheries restoration. Through the KBRA and Upper Basin agreement those Basin Tribes with water rights, or which have advocated for Salmon, have been promised funding for restoration and economic development in exchange for not pressing for increased flows in the Klamath River.

Particularly in the Columbia Basin Fish Accords, there was a catch that has been a trend in other local water settlements. According to an article published in High Country News by Ben Goldfarb December 8th 2014, signatories had to stop fighting the biological opinion (KID BiOp), which the tribes had attacked in court for it’s failure to help fish. They also agreed not to advocate for dam breaching or an increased spill- water that’s allowed to flow over dams, rather than through the turbines to help juvenile fish survive their trip downriver.

“My reaction was that (the Accords) were bribes,” said Michael Blumm, a professor at Lewis & Clark law school.

In these Indigenous territories, Native peoples are witnessing a theft of our sacred, priceless life source. Throughout our history and relationship with the federal government, the Department of Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs has thrown their trust responsibility, a fiduciary duty, to the wayside to execute the federal agenda.

Land, timber, gold, oil, gas, uranium, furs, children and now our irreplaceable water have all been vied after by the United States and associated parties. Prosperity, sovereignty, self sufficiency, and economic development have all been promises made to Native peoples, promises that have never been fulfilled according to our local history.

Specifically in the Klamath Basin, Klamath tribal members have been silenced by tribal water negotiators and tribal elected officials in order to proceed with a water settlement since negotiations began in the early 2000’s.

Although legislation expired December 31st 2014 in the House, Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team have proceeded with these agreements without consent of Tribal members. In order to proceed once legislation was reintroduced in January by Senator Wyden, tribal negotiators had to be granted consent by tribal membership, which did not take place.

Since the recent sale of the Mazama Tree Farm, Klamath Tribes elected officals have been in meetings with the US Forest Service in hopes to acquire a new parcel of land to replace the recently sold MTF.
 
Four new land alternatives offered by the USFS have come into discussion, though no consent of Klamath Tribes General Council regarding new land acqusition has been granted. These options include parcels referred to as the Chiloquin Ridge, Remaining Members, South Klamath Marsh, and Yamsay Block options.

Potential options were set to be discussed amongst tribal members at the March 21st “special” general council meeting in Chiloquin, Oregon but due to unforeseen circumstances the meeting was adjourned. Which again, has given no opportunity for Klamath Tribes General Council to grant consent to any further action of tribal negotiators or tribal elected officials.

Unbeknownst to tribal membership, on Monday March 23rd Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry testified at a hearing in Salem, Oregon before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee claiming that the Klamath Tribes offer their support for senate bills 206 and 264 as amended, though tribal members are not aware these senate bills exist.

After the March 23rd meeting in Salem, individual tribal members contacted the Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Chris Edwards by email to make him aware that General Council as the governing body of the Klamath Tribes has not granted consent to chairman Gentry to testify in support of these senate bills. And since tribal members were not aware that this meeting took place, they were not given the opportunity to have their statements be part of the official record regarding Senate bills 206 and 264.

As of Monday March 30th, two enrolled members of the Klamath Tribe received confirmation from Tiffany Telfer, Senator Edwards Communications Director in Salem, that their emails have in fact been passed along to Senator Edwards.

“The General Council has been poorly informed of Senate Bill 206 and 264, literally none of my family members even heard of these. I feel Klamath Tribal council and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team do not handle the day to day business of our Tribal people. Many have not been informed of most of these agreements and for those of us that have we do not agree with them.”
Racheal Kirk, Klamath Tribal member

At the last General Council meeting February 28th 2015, Klamath Tribes General Council made a motion to file a Dispute Initiation Notice and Notice of Impending Failure in hopes to reserve their right to withdraw from the KBRA and associated agreements.

These two documents gave Klamath tribes negotiators and KBRA parties a 30 day deadline to either agree on a new parcel of land or make an amendment to the KBRA, pending the approval of Klamath Tribes General Council, which has not taken place.

Monday March 30th 2015 was the final day for the Klamath Tribes and associated parties to find a “remedy” to the failure of the acquisition of the Mazama Tree Farm.
Allegedly, Senator Merkley is now actively moving a Winema National Forest land transfer proposal, working with Senator Greg Walden, in a desperate effort to keep the Klamath Tribes signed on to the KBRA.

Though this would be prime opportunity to initiate the withdrawal process, as many tribal members would like to see, it is clear that the Klamath Tribes negotiation team will attempt to proceed with the agreements at any cost, even at the expense of the rights of their own tribal members.

“Not being informed on what I am supposed to know by Tribal council is heartbreaking to me and the generations not yet born. This proves how us as Tribal members are not in our elected leaders best interest. It has been this way since the beginning of this so called agreement. Even our most educated tribal members are brainwashed into agreeing with Tribal council and aren’t aware of the manipulation taking place. Our elected officials are full of empty promises.”
Rowena Jackson, Klamath Tribal member

Klamath Tribal Council held a “closed” work session Monday March 30th, where no tribal members were allowed to attend. Countless decisions have been made in secrecy with the excuse of “confidentiality” and “sensitive issues”, leaving tribal membership in the dark on issues they are expected to vote and make informed decisions upon.

Many tribal members have more recently expressed they would like to see the Klamath Tribes withdraw from the controversial “Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement” and associated documents as it has caused internal conflict and a separation amongst tribal membership.

Although the actions of Klamath tribal negotiators and elected officials are yet to be determined, there is a serious abuse of power at play within the Klamath Tribes government that many tribal members hope to see come to an end sooner than later.

In a time where Indigenous people across the world are witnessing the theft of our sacred resources it has never been more urgent to protect that which is vital to our existence as Tribal peoples. Without our sacred water, we cease to be a people.

Honor The Treaty of 1864 is a group of like minded individuals who want to honor our ancestors and our 7th generation by protecting our resources and our rights. While these ideas are not new and many people before us stood for the same things we do, our group was officially formed in 2014. We welcome all people who support our cause.

April 1, 2015 07:47 PM

Interview by Bryan Kalbrosky • Photos by Todd Cooper

 

NIKO IS (aka Nikolai Paiva), signed to Javotti Media by Talib Kweli, came to Eugene with “The People’s Champion” tour—along with Kweli Immortal Technique. Eugene Weekly spoke with both headliners before the show, read here. When we spoke, Kweli told us that he is focusing on NIKO IS right now, and called him “one of the best rappers” he had ever heard. We spoke with Paiva for the blog.

 

We got a chance to see you perform at WOW Hall, which was an awesome opportunity to see hip-hop thrive in Eugene. What was the energy like at that show? What do you typically do to get the crowd hyped?

The energy in Eugene was incredible. I’d never been there before. The people were just receptive to what we were doing. I really enjoyed Oregon. A lot of good vibes, you know? It really set the tone for the show. So I just try and keep it organic, and do what I do and give an accurate depiction of what we do on stage and let the crowd find itself.

 

The People’s Champion” tour has given you an opportunity to tour with two legendary rappers. What have you learned from this tour now that you’re nearly halfway through?

I learned how to stay consistent. These artists are incredible figures, not just in the music industry but also in the industry of following your own heart and not compromising your art. So I think that really set the tone for what we’re trying to do, and it’s really inspiring to see Kweli on his thirteenth album and still better. And Technique — being vocal about what he believes in. So it’s definitely a blessing.

 

You’re signed to Javotti Media, which is Talib Kweli’s record label. What are some advantages of working with someone like Kweli, who you admired growing up?

Working with Kweli is already such a good advantage. It’s real motivating, for me, to see how far we’ve gone. And now I’m lying in the tour bus, relaxing my feet up on “The People’s Champion” tour. It’s pretty surreal, you know, and it’s definitely a blessing to have Kweli’s blessing when we do what we do.

 

I’d love to hear more about the name NIKO IS. You told VIBE Magazine that “NIKO IS dot dot dot” and I’m curious, what do you think NIKO is?

Well, the name behind what we’re doing is NIKO IS. And I think that NIKO IS is just one of the outlets of expression that we have. It’s like, we’re making movies and with every record, we make a new movie. And every movie, NIKO is somebody different. You know what I’m saying? From Chill Cosby [2012] to Good Blood [2013] to Brutus [2015], it’s always something different, and explores different sides of the personality that we focus on. I feel like people are way more complex than they give themselves credit for. They just, kind of, go in the studio and don’t really care. Which is great, because that makes great music. Because the more you care, the more it sounds prepared. But they also don’t care about the bigger picture. Which is doing this all for us. So I feel with having an outlet like this for us, it’s easier to express different sides of the artistry.

 

Your music pulls from an assortment of genres, including funk and jazz, definitely a lot of hip hop and even a global sound. What are some of the sonic influences you’ve gained as an artist born in Brazil?

Well, Brazil is a big gumbo pot of all these different spices, flavors, vegetables, meats. It’s just this cornucopia of styles, all of the regions of Brazil. I’ve always had a lot to draw from. There are always different types of people pushing the envelope there. There’s Western music and Eastern music and native sounds and it’s really inspiring to listen to that and try and create my own fusion.

 

You’ve worked with artists like Action Bronson and Casey Veggies. But you also sample artists like Warpaint. I’ve also read that you’ve studied the greats, ranging everywhere from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd. Who are some of the other newer artists that you’re listening to right now?

Well, I’m a “new-is-old” man. You know what I’m saying? I definitely check out what is going on. I mainly listen to what the mood requires. I have been listening to a lot of Tom Waits. He’s a big influence on what I do. Both aesthetically and lyrically, I’m a big fan of him. I like Devendra Banhart, and a lot of stuff he does with his music that’s so different. I like hip hop. I like rock. There’s a lot of great stuff, it’s just a matter of being patient. You have to find something. It’s like a puzzle.

 

I’d love to hear more about how Tom Waits has translated into your own style.

Yeah! He’s great, man. He definitely opened a lot of doors in my brain for writing songs and how you can approach it. You don’t have to follow format. You can do what you want. I’m a big fan of him, like Rain Dogs [1985].

 

And then what’s one of the jazzier influences that you’ve had?

I have a lot of jazz influences. That’s kind of what we do. It’s a jazzier take on hip hop. I’ve always been really into Return to Forever (1972), which is a jazz-fusion album by Chick Corea.

 

Readers who have not seen you perform have not seen your iconic hairstyle. Tell me more about how long you’ve grown that style and how long you’ve had the long hair?

When I was eighteen, I decided to have long hair. And from then, it’s just been kind off and on. Around when I was 20 or something, I had to get a real person job so I had to cut the hair off once or twice. But then eventually, I had to come back to it. It’s the hair, you know? The hair set a tone.

 

Is there anything else that you’d like to add or promote?

Everything we do is in house. I’m very blessed to have such an incredible team coming to the concert. What we do is collective. That’s one thing that really sets us apart from everybody else. Thanks Joey is the producer of the records. We’re really blessed to work with incredible musicians to push us forward.

 

April 1, 2015 11:03 AM

Treefort Music Festival

Foxygen frontman Sam France

Boise, the cultural oasis of Idaho, as well as Eastern Oregon, hosted the fourth annual 5-day Treefort Music Festival this past weekend.

Treefort doesn’t have the drugged-out “let’s-wear-American-flags-as-capes” vibe as Sasquatch or Coachella. Instead, its part-street fair part-Portland’s MusicFestNW (back when it was still held in various bars). Treefort consists of several areas, including Alefort, Comedyfort, Yogafort and Hackfort (for tech-savvy festivalgoers), as well as a main stage.

Adjacent to the main tent is a block-long row of food carts, where you can get everything from Boise’s own potato bacon pizza to the Boston shake — a milkshake with a sundae on top. Each day, four or five shows performed on the main stage, with the rest scattered at 20 different venues in the downtown area, creating a city-wide community music celebration.

Friday night, Built to Spill gave a less than enthusiastic performance, lacking the same energy as (I hope) they had 15 years ago. Frontman Doug Martsch looked like he’d rather sleep than play an encore — but maybe I’m just bitter they didn’t play “Strange.” Built to Spill closed out the main stage, but the downtown party had just begun.

Afterward, San Francisco pop punk band Joyce Manor played a full house to the industrial-style bar Knitting Factory, covering songs from their latest release Never Hungover Again. When they asked the crowd to buy them tequila shots, a woman obliged and the band happily took them onstage.

A few blocks away, Neurolux was filled to capacity with a line halfway down the block. Boise band The Dirty Moogs, a gang of four men with white-rimmed glasses and button-down shirts played electronic space-age music as a laser light show was projected on a thin scrim in front of them.

Saturday’s lineup included Desert Noises, Motopony and !!! (pronounded chk-chk-chk) on the main stage, as well as shows until 2 am to round out Treefort’s last night.

In the early evening, New Orleans band Generationals played the main stage, providing indie electro-rock jams for the sunny Boise day, playing songs from their recent release Alix and ending with “Trust,” an anthemy dance song that’s genuinely hard not to like.

What Generationals did best, however, was warming up the crowd for Foxygen, the Westlake, California-based psychedelic rock band. Foxygen gave one of the best performances of the day, complete with choreography from ’60s-style backup dancers, broken mirrors and the always energetic performance of frontman Sam France, who is reminiscent of Mick Jagger. The photographers were equally as entertaining to watch as they dodged France’s movements while clicking aways.

Later that night, Of Montreal performed to a sold-out show at the El Korah Shrine (or “The Shriner” to locals). The Athens-based psychedelic rock band (who’s toured with both Foxygen and Generationals) played for almost two hours, performing everything from “The Party’s Crashing Us” (2005) to songs from their recent release Aureate Gloom. The always enigmatic frontman Kevin Barnes sang with a solemn, straight face as projections of psychedelic kaleidoscopic art and images of sperm played behind him. The show ended in a prompt and epic 25-minute encore. During this time, most of the crowd made their way out and only the truest Of Montreal appreciators danced until the end.

Despite the 8-hour drive through high desert and eerily small towns, I’m sold for Treefort 2016.

March 31, 2015 05:11 PM

The Eugene Police Department would like your help catching a cat burglar whose exploits were caught on a cat cam.

More precisely, EPD is seeking an armed robber who broke into a house near the University of Oregon. The robber was filmed by a camera set up by a cat sitter to record the cats he was caring for while the owners were away. 

In the first video, if you look fast, you will see one of the kitties in question, as well as the burglar. In the second you just see the guy turning off the camera. If you can ID the robber, the Eugene police would like you to give them a call at 541.682.5573

(The full press release is below.)

 

Video one

Kitty (not a suspect)

Actual suspect

 

Video two (aka dude turns off the camera)

Here is the full (short) press release from EPD:

Detectives looking for information in Burglary (Video footage)

Last week, Property Crimes detectives received information and video of a burglary that happened on Sunset Drive, near the University of Oregon campus, directly to the east. The incident happened on the second story of a two-level residence and was captured on video, after a person house-sitting for the owner set-up a camera to watch the cats while the owners were away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U69gyEMy1Uw&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMZm79quoQ0&feature=youtu.be

If anyone has information about the armed suspect in this video, please contact detectives at 541.682.5573

Update: Can you still call them cat burglars if they aren't stealth? They have arrested two people in connection with the crime. 

March 30, 2015 02:45 PM

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Words by Rick Levin • Photos by Todd Cooper

As Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield kicked into a tremulous, tender cover of Elliott Smith’s “Baby Britain” to open their March 27 set at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, the butterflies were evident. After all, Portland was Smith’s stomping ground, and Avett and Mayfield — on tour to support their gorgeous new album of Smith songs — were acutely aware that, for many in the audience, they were treading hallowed ground. Avett acknowledged this fact a few songs into the set, when he said that, were they to play only one show on the tour, Portland would be it.

And so, nerves and all, Avett and Mayfield were embraced by a packed house of hometown fans who were treated to a cycle of songs that touched every beautiful, bittersweet byway of Elliott Smith’s brilliant career. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime performances — a perfect convergence of history, artistry and inspiration — as two great songwriters, so deeply touched by the craft of a departed fellow musician, pour their heart and soul into a celebration that seemed to overflow the time and place that defines it.

Any trepidation quickly disappeared, as Avett and Mayfield brought an engaging combination of warmth and humility to the stage, which resembled a sort of stylized Betty Crocker kitchen from the 1950s — perfect for the intimate buzz of Smith’s songwriting, which turned everyday scenes into cosmic meditations on love, loneliness and the ravages of addiction. The song selection — moving from anthems of alienation (“Let’s Get Lost” and “Memory Lane”) to scorched ballads (“Between the Bars”) to eulogies to annihilation (“Fond Farewell” and the stunning “Twilight”) — was interspersed with originals by both Avett and Mayfield as well as a number of fantastic covers, including Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” George Harrison’s “I Me My” and a rollicking version of Neil Young’s “Out on the Weekend.”

It might sound distinctly un-Elliott-Smith-like, but a kind of collective love and faith flowed through the Crystal Ballroom that evening, a feeling of mutual connection to Smith’s music as well as an affection for two fine performers who brought their considerable talents to bear on a tribute long in the making. At the end of the show, and two standing ovations later, it felt like something momentous, even necessary, had occurred — a resolution of sorts, like something broken put back together, if for just a moment. 

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March 26, 2015 01:33 PM
It's spring break; the weather is great and half of Oregon is on vacation (since apparently every school in the state has the same break). The University of Oregon seems to be celebrating by getting rid of staff that either release records OR object to the release of records.
 
The R-G reports that the UO has apparently not only rid itself of the archivists who released records from the presidential archives to a UO professor who requested them, but also this break week fired one of the school's counseling center employees who "letter criticizing the university for accessing an 18-year-old student’s therapy records."
 
According to the R-G in the case of the archivsts and the document release:
 
The document trove — which the university eventually recovered — contained emails, reports and other papers of four former presidents, university sources said.
 
That would be the records of Michael Gottfredson, who resigned in August; Bob Berdahl, who served as interim president; Richard Lariviere, who was fired in 2011; and the late Dave Frohnmayer, who retired in 2009.
 
Citing the confidentiality of personnel decisions, Klinger declined to elaborate on the archivists’ departure from their jobs.
 
The archivists, James Fox and Kira Homo, could not be reached for comment. They have been on administrative leave since the administration discovered the release of the documents.
Meanwhile, the therapist announced her dismissal via email, the R-G writes:
 
Karen Stokes, former executive assistant to the director of the counseling center, announced her dismissal in an e-mail broadcast to counseling center staff today.
 
Stokes and senior staff therapist Jennifer Morlok alleged in February that the university interfered with the student’s care and took the student’s private medical records — to prepare for litigation — without the student’s permission.
 
In Thursday’s e-mail, Stokes wrote: “I am disappointed that the UO has chosen this course of action. I, along with Jenny, had hoped that our letter of concern regarding the medical records that we believe were unethically and illegally disclosed would promote positive changes.
 
“Instead of taking our concerns to heart and recognizing the courage it took to come forward with such concerns, the UO appears to be more concerned about defending itself and attacking those who brought the ethical and legal concerns to light,” Stokes wrote.
No updates on any of this on the UO's media relations page.  However, Economics Prof. Bill Harbaugh, who was the faculty member who requested the presidential records has some updates on his UOMatters.com site, as well as his letter to the library committee on the issue:
 
Subject: “The Incident”
From: Bill Harbaugh
Date: March 18, 2015 at 12:18:48 AM EDT
To: Adriene Lim <alim@uoregon.edu>
 
Dear Dean Lim, Associate Dean Bonamici, and members of the Library Committee -
 
Thank you for allowing me to attend your meeting today.
 
At the meeting Andrew Bonamici said that, in the interests of balancing confidentiality and public access, and the impossibility of inspecting every document individually, that the UO archives had policies or procedures for allowing researchers access to files and folders from the archives that had not been fully reviewed for confidentiality. This access was conditional on researchers agreeing not to make confidential documents public. (This is not verbatim, it’s my recollection of the gist of what Andrew said.)
 
I don’t know what you’ve been told about how I got the digital Presidential Archives, but there was nothing nefarious about it. I sent the special collections reference desk a request for information on how to access the digital archives. I was told that the digital archives might contain confidential documents protected by FERPA or other laws, and that if I agreed not to release those documents, I should send in a usb key and I would get the archives.
 
[Here’s the disclaimer language: Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
 
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.]
 
I agreed to this condition. I sent in the usb key. I got the documents back. I kept the confidential documents confidential, as I had promised.
 
It strikes me that this is exactly the procedure that Andrew explained today should have been followed by the archives. It was followed.
 
So, what is this controversy all about? I only posted two documents. No one has made a credible case for either being confidential. One, of course, was very embarrassing to the General Counsel’s office, and, in my opinion, that’s why the UO administration went after me, and the archivists.
 
Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics
March 23, 2015 04:12 PM

Eugene School Board Chair Jim Torrey is facing some competition for his spot this year. Kevin Cronin, regional field director for the Democratic Party of Oregon and "Best Local Hellraiser" in EW's Best of Eugene, entered the fray and filed for Position #5 on the Eugene School Board on March 18, creating a Facebook page and running on a platform revolving around funding. He says on his gofundme page:

I am running to eliminate the root of 4J’s funding problems - Measure 5. Measures 5, 47, and 50 cripple local revenues, cutting local funding for schools. State revenue isn’t always reliable, and 4J has sought alternative funding methods in the past. Before my first term is over, I will organize a coalition of school boards, community organizations, and responsible Oregonians who believe in overturning the failed policies that got us into this mess.

In an email to EW, Cronin says he's running because Oregon's school system is broken. "I went to high school here in Oregon and I dropped out in the 9th grade," he writes. "I eventually went to community college, then graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013. The 4J Board does not have any young people serving on it. I can be the voice the board lacks. I know first hand how our schools fail young people."

Meanwhile, Eugene musician, parent and college student David Nickles made his school board announcment after Cronin's, citing his motivation to run based on his lack of choice when he was a 4J student.

On his Wordpress website, he says:

You might ask how 4J failed me. The answer: Lack of choice. The one-size-fits-all approach to education may work for the majority, but is pure oppression to the greatest minority of all: The minority of the individual.

Unchallenged by the curriculum and without options, I quickly lost the passion for learning that my parents worked so hard to instill. School, for students like me, became a sobering lesson in the insanity of the omnipotent state. Our public schools are a tragedy, and simply throwing more money at a broken system is not the solution that our students deserve.

My solution? Choice.

My opponents, incumbent “conservative” Jim Torrey and Democratic Party insider Kevin Cronin, will speak of taxes and budget shortfalls. I, however, will be speaking about choice.

Jim Torrey, former mayor of Eugene, has served on the 4J board in Position #5 since 2007 and currently serves as chair. 

Eileen Nittler is campaigning for Position #4 on the 4J school board to fill the spot of Craig Smith, who is not seeking reelection. Also running for Position #4 are Scott Landgreen and John A. Baumann, a retired doctor.

 And there's one other contested race: Incumbent Mary Walston will run for Position #7 against candidate Colin Farnsworth, Oregon coordinator for national civil rights group People Against the National Defense Authorization Act. 

The deadline to file for 4J School Board has passed, and the election is May 19.

March 23, 2015 12:20 PM

It’s difficult to imagine a finer or more fitting tribute to the songwriting genius of Elliott Smith than the new release Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. Smith, who died tragically in 2003, left behind a gorgeous body of work that plumbs the abyss of alienation and addiction, in songs whose compositional genius and pristine lyricism remain, to a large degree, underappreciated beyond his core fan base and musicians, like Avett and Mayfield, who recognize his rare gifts.

Despite — and, wickedly enough, thanks to — his struggles with heroin, Smith forged a solo career marked by a kind of scorched, ferocious integrity that forever flirted with the dark side, and his songs emerge from some personal hell as gems burnt clean of cant and caterwaul. Combining a poet’s sense of image and metaphor with an ear for pop phrasing that recalls the Beatles and Dylan, Smith wrote sad songs that transcend their own sordid subject matter, achieving the besieged grace of pure art.

Reaching into the rich, textured trove of Smith’s music, Avett and Mayfield have selected a cycle of songs that at once captures the depth and breadth of his talents, while also perfectly suiting their own. Years in the making, this album functions as a great (re)introduction to Smith’s music — a respectful, deeply felt tribute to the legacy of a fellow great musician. But it is also a lovely album in its own right, revealing new layers to Smith’s songwriting without losing a thread of his artistic intent.

From the early classic “Between the Bars,” which opens the album, on through posthumously released classics like “Fond Farewell” and “Twilight,” Avett and Mayfield bring an abiding passion and musical economy to their performance, teasing out the universal blues that hide in Smith’s idiosyncratic confessionals. Mayfield’s honey-sweet voice, so excruciatingly evident on tracks like “Angel in the Snow,” is the perfect counterpoint to the crackling vulnerability of Avett, whose soaring vocals turn “Somebody That I Used to Know” into a desperate plea. And when the two of them harmonize, the results are pure lovely.

What’s most amazing is the way Mayfield and Avett are capable of taking what’s most hermetic and idiosyncratic about Smith’s work — the sly drug analogies, the agonized kicks, the rococo junky spirals of immaculately damned logic — and finding their own language of love and loss. Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith is a labor of love. More than that, it is a nod to a tragic artist whose music, so painfully and delicately wrought, so brutally truthful and truthfully pretty, is its own redemption.

“An Evening with Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield” performing the songs of Elliott Smith takes place 8pm Friday, March 27, at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom; $45, all ages, tickets at etix.com.

 

Photo by Crackerfarm

March 17, 2015 11:59 AM

Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Words by Rick Levin • Photos by Todd Cooper

No doubt Jeff Tweedy is one of the finest songwriters of his generation, but what really puts him over the top as an artist is that voice — by turns raw, scorched and honey-sweet, Tweedy’s singing is capable of evoking moments of passion in all their complexity, walking a tightrope between sincerity and irony, vulnerability and rage. And that voice was on full display Sunday, March 15, when — with his latest outfit named, suitably enough, Tweedy — the Wilco front man performed an intimate set of new and old stuff for a rapt audience at The Shedd.

Backed by a band that included some longtime friends as well as his son, Spencer, on drums, Tweedy commenced his set with a cycle of songs drawn from the new band’s 2014 debut, Sukierae, which includes squelchy, anthemic hard rockers (“Please Don’t Let Me Be So Understood”) as well as a handful of pop gems (“Summer Noon”) and the sort of gutsy, waltz-driven folk (“Nobody Dies Anymore”) that’s become the man’s trademark.

As tight and engaging as the band was, it was Tweedy’s warm, humorous banter between numbers that drew in the crowd. Typically focused and taciturn, Tweedy on this night engaged the crowd with wry, lighthearted jabs about Eugene’s “stoner” status as well as relating the story of his brother’s aborted career at the University of Oregon in the ‘70s.

But, in the end, it was the music that mattered most, as Tweedy and crew wove a rich, moving tapestry of a sound into the rapt atmosphere of The Shedd’s Jacqua Hall. In between rollicking sets by the band, Tweedy took center stage, alone under a single spotlight, and played a series of songs that reached back into his substantial catalogue, including stark, moving renditions of “Jesus, etc.” and “You and I,” as well as a stunning rendition of “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and the old Wilco classic “Passenger Side.”

Opening for Tweedy was The Minus 5, an all-star band founded by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.) and including among its current members R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. Supporting their latest album, Dungeon Golds, the Minus 5 ripped through a set of smart garage rock that was the perfect appetizer.

Audio from the performance can be downloaded at Seen & Heard

 

Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
Tweedy live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)

THE MINUS 5
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)
The Minus 5 live at Jaqua Concert Hall (March 15, 2015 | Eugene, Oregon)

March 16, 2015 04:19 PM

Last Night Today: Tycho at McDonald

 On Sunday night, the McDonald Theatre was filled with a swaying crowd and the ambient music of Tycho – the four-piece San Francisco band who favors blissful synths and sunset gradients.

 Tycho is producer Scott Hansen, along with Zac Brown (bass) — who bears no relation to the country singer — and Rory O’Connor (drums). Although Hansen released his first EP back in 2002, Tycho is most known for 2011 album Dive and 2014 album Awake, which spurred performances on the music festival circuit last year. Eugene was the first stop on the group’s spring 2015 tour.

Electronic musician SHIGETO, a fellow Ghostly International act, opened the show. By the time Tycho started a little past 9 pm, both levels of the McDonald were nearly filled with people, despite Monday being the start of finals for students.

After the first song, Tycho received an explosive applause that matched more of what I imagine the McDonald’s recent J. Cole concert received than I would have expected for the laidback nature of Tycho. But as the set progressed, the band supplemented dreamy synth vibes with catchy bass riffs that rounded out the ambient sound. Seeing Tycho in concert effectively convinced me that they’re an act that’s worth going to see, not just to accompany study sessions or to fall asleep to.

The band has become famous for their aesthetically pleasing stripped down album art, which features a circle with a gradient of colors present in a sunset. The onstage backdrop was evocative of this same aesthetic, features kaleidoscope images of the same colors mixed with montage video footage of indie girls, the sky and sand.

Tycho succeeded in providing a stimulating experience, bringing their music from people’s bedrooms to the stage.
 

March 16, 2015 11:51 AM

WildCraft Cider Works and Mame put together a great Sushi and Cider dinner last night. Here is a little look.

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner

Sushi and Cider pairing Dinner