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March 25, 2011 08:06 AM

Nerds (said with love, people; I am one, OK?) sometimes come back from nerd conventions talking about having caught "con crud," an unavoidable illness caught while in the company of so frakking many other people. I woke up on Friday with what I'll call "festival funk." I blame everyone, no one and my own late hours. Take your vitamins, SXSW campers. Or at least drink your vodka with orange juice. Festival funk will screw with your days.

I couldn't string a coherent sentence together for much of Friday, so here are a few disconnected thoughts from Day 16,239 — I mean, Day Eight — in Austin:

1. Apps someone should create and hope to make a killing on for next SXSW:
• An updater that tells you how packed each movie screening is.
• A map the entire function of which is to get you from place to place quickly while spending the least time ducking and bobbing around drunks on Sixth Street.
• A schedule that combines the official festival events with the countless day parties and nearby free shows. There was a website that got close to the latter, but it was still a little on the more-research-needed side. And I'm not just saying that because I forgot about it until Saturday.

2. Were there few people at the Writing About Music in the Twenty Tens panel because everyone was still hung over at 12:30 in the afternoon? Because everyone who wants to write about music is just doing it rather than wondering about it? Because people have figured out that panels aren’t going to give you a magical one-sentence key to how to become Chuck Klosterman? Regardless, once the panel got through its way-too-long personal introductions, it was a good reminder to embrace new technologies, be open to new ways of “thinking hard about music” (a phrase Ann Powers attributed to her husband, Eric Weisbard) and maintain your voice.

3. There’s a fashion/clothing show/sale during the music part of SXSW. There is nothing like this during the interactive part. Draw your own conclusions.

4. Was I underwhelmed by White Denim, the overcrowded venue in which they were playing, or both? If you're into that sort of '70s rock influenced, jammy-noodly, neither-here-nor-there rockish sound that feels like it's been making the rounds for a while now, you probably want to check them out.

5. It’s more than a little disheartening how few men attend any panel about women in the music business. Liz Phair tells stories about being treated like she’s selling sex, not music; Jenny Eliscu talks about the lack of female reviewers at Rolling Stone; Sarah Baer has tales from the Warped Tour and great advice about how to make yourself useful in the business; Maggie Vail talks about Kill Rock Stars' Slim Moon telling her that in her job, she can always tell anyone to fuck off; and Wanda Jackson is goddamn Wanda Jackson. These successful, smart women are sitting on stage saying that things are still changing slowly. Too slowly. And very few men are listening.

Read more after the jump.

6. Shorts have really made a comeback in the hearts of twentysomethings who likely wouldn’t have been caught dead in them a year or two ago.

7. When you’re a little wary of seeing a band for reasons you can’t put a finger on, just skip it. There are a million other things to do and see. The thing about SXSW is, you have to be mercenary, whether you want to or not. Panel sucks? Go to another one. Band is running late/soundchecking for half their allotted set/not floating your boat? Ditch. It’s easy to get frustrated seeing a lot of things you don’t love, but the thing you do love might be less than a block away. It is also very easy to spend a lot of time wondering what you're missing. Stop wondering. Go find out. SXSW is exhausting. It is also amazing. It's a big, loud, drunken Choose Your Own Adventure book.

8. You must make it a rule not to eat anything in the convention center while you are at SXSW. Eat pancake-batter-dipped, deep-fried jalapeno sausages from the cart outside. Follow #SXSWFreeNoms on Twitter and find your way to free grilled cheeses and empanadas. Go to Progress Coffee (near the Fader Fort, for those inclined that way) and eat jalapeno-cheddar breakfast biscuits. One friend is addicted to Kebabalicious. Everyone will tell you to go to Jo's Coffee. Caffé Medici on Congress was reliably mellow. And did I mention East Side King? They make brussels sprouts delectable. I wouldn't joke about this. Honest.

9. Good earplugs are your friends. Ear-shaped earplugs. Not those useless yellow foam things. You can pick up decent ones in Gear Alley in the convention center.

10. People will wear boots with anything. Anything.

11. Seeing a bunch of actual kids at a Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls show is delightful in any city.

12. The mere sight of a person nibbling on a treat from the Hey Cupcake truck is enough to inspire intense cravings for cream cheese icing and rich, decadent cake.

13. You can keep your pounders of Lone Star (not that there's anything wrong with them). Why not give the local microbrews a shot? Live Oak’s hefeweizen tastes pretty damn good when you’re sweating.

14. Strangest sight downtown: One dude is in full I’m-gonna-vomit posture, kneeling on the street with his hands on the pavement. A second dude is enthusiastically punching the sky with both fists right behind the unwell dude. Next to them, a third dude has a giant wooden cross slung over one shoulder. Barely anyone bats an eyelash at any of this.

15. Bored security guys getting their groove on to the bass-heavy tunes coming from across the street can really brighten up your night.

16. A good heckle goes a long way.

17. The Ghost Room is still my favorite SXSW venue, and not just because it has the nicest bathrooms. But it does. It's also wood-paneled and comfortable and has nice corners for hiding in with your laptop.

18. I didn’t hear any journalists or other panelists taking digs at bloggers this year; instead, I heard a dude in a band bitching about them. What these cranky pissants fail to realize is that bloggers writing about the records they love (and hate) is the 21st century equivalent of music fans anywhere, anytime telling someone else about the things they've recently discovered. Blogging is a kid telling his friend at school about this new band he heard, or a record store clerk taking notice of a customer’s buying habits and recommending something new, or a big sister passing on cool records to her little brother. Bloggers are writing and thinking about music because they care. Anyone who writes about music — or visual art, or theater, or film, or dance — is doing it because he or she cares.

19. Said cranky pissant was Ben Foster (or Ben Weasel, if you prefer), of Screeching Weasel, who went on one hell of a tirade about SXSW, the venue his band was playing, what he was getting paid and how critics are "fucking parasites" and bloggers don't matter. Among other things. I missed the part where he got in an actual physical fight because I grew bored with his ranting during the fake encore break: the rest of the band left the stage, but Foster stayed front and center, mocking tattoos and generally being a cranky sonofabitch.

By then, it was pretty clear it wasn't worth taking anything he said seriously. Which was vaguely a shame, because there were probably some interesting questions in the middle of all the unfiltered bile. It is worth $250 (what Foster said they were paid) for a band like Screeching Weasel to play SXSW? How much do they spend on travel and lodging? Are they going to draw potential new fans or a crowd of distantly curious bystanders and the people who've liked them for ages and are willing to pay $20 for a ticket or fork out for a SXSW badge or wristband? (A small crowd stood on the sidewalk outside the Scoot Inn, watching over the fence.) What is the actual value of a SXSW showcase for a band that's been around too long to realistically expect a sudden turn in the spotlight?

It's all moot now, though. Foster may have apologized for the altercation with a female fan, but the rest of the band quit Wednesday. I guess it was a career-ending performance, as Spin's Charles Aaron described, after all.

20. Post-midnight show-hopping: The Bellrays, We Are Hex (I don't know what the hell was going on as I was watching from the street, but I need to know more), The Head and the Heart. I needed to end the night on a joyous, upbeat note, and TH&TH delivered, for as long as I could stay on my feet. They were smiling, dancing, brightening up the outdoor stage at Red 7, and working the necessary magic for both the late hour and the kind of band they are: You've got to find a way to stand out when you're a harmonizing, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, sorta old-timey kind of band, and they do, through bright songwriting and cheery stage presence (among other things). My companion said it would be good music for a Sunday morning. It would also be good music for late night at Sam Bond's. If they play in town? Go.

March 18, 2011 07:01 PM

What all the excited, giddy, half-drunken tweets from SXSW don’t tell you is how much time you’re likely to spend walking from venue to venue and/or waiting in line for shows you may or may not get into. I’m not complaining. I’m just telling you why I feel like a total slacker for how few bands I’ve seen the last two days. Goddammit! My scheduling powers are no match for the distance between the Cedar Street Courtyard and the Scoot Inn!

Tomorrow, young Jedi. Tomorrow I will see more than five bands. I might even see TV on the Radio, who reportedly played an incredible set last night. Tomorrow I'll get to one of Wild Flag's eleventy-million SXSW shows. No, for serious. There's no missing Wild Flag.

Read more after the jump.

3 pm Bad Veins at Austin Convention Center
I love you, Bad Veins. I love that you two skinny dudes — drummer Sebastien Shultz and singer/guitarist Benjamin Davis, both in creamy pale green button-downs — threw yourselves entirely into your afternoon set in a hallway in the convention center. It didn’t matter that the show felt like one of those awkward college-cafeteria setups, where stressed-out people happen to pass through on their way somewhere else. Bad Veins were loud and passionate and just completely there. (Stop me if I refer to anyone as “present,” OK?) They make the noise of more than two people because they have a third member: a reel-to-reel named Irene. This sounds like a schtick, but it doesn’t play that way. “Sometimes / to get by / I believe in the lie,” Davis moaned into a retro telephone receiver at the end of the set. Relevant? It sure felt like it.

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled show-going to attend screenings of two music-related documentaries: Upside Down: The Creation Records Story and The Other F Word. Upside Down was enjoyable and full of thick accents and half-told stories; it’s great if you’re nostalgic for the era of bands like Ride and Primal Scream, but lacks a certain amount of context. Why was the sound that came to define/be defined by Creation so pervasive? What did the scene mean for British pop in the longer run? I wanted more from Upside Down, and yet more from The Other F Word, which starts out examining what it means for punk rock guys to become fathers but begins to slip into generic “Kids will change your life” commentary (when it’s not too focused on Jim Lindberg’s gradual realization that he wants to quit the band he’s fronted for years). There are great moments in The Other F Word, but it stays too close to the surface.

11:15 pm She Keeps Bees at Emo’s Jr.
“They’re making me wait!” She Keeps Bees singer/guitarist Jessica Larrabee yelled to no one in particular as she walked through the sparse crowd at Emo’s Jr. Larrabee seems prone to this sort of outburst; at some point in the set, she jokingly asked drummer Andy LaPlant when he was going to get a mic. There’s no hurry: Larrabee’s wry, confident, sassy personality (I lost count of how many jokes she made at the expense of The Kills) is a welcome change from bland stage patter. And she’s got a hell of a voice. She Keeps Bees play bluesy, unpolished guitar-and-drums rock, and they’re hardly the only band to do so — but that voice! Classic, clear, yearning, sultry, flawless, hypnotic — it’s practically unfair. I want Jessica Larrabee to guest-front all my favorite bands.

Midnight Cloud Nothings at 512 Upstairs
Cloud Nothings were described to me as “nerdy jangly pop punk with Harry Potter lookalike lead singer.” This is somewhat untrue. The band’s singer looks more like McLovin than Harry Potter. The rest of the description stands, though.

Midnight For a Minor Reflection at 512 Downstairs
A nasty cloud of cigarette smoke drove me off the 512 patio; something interesting happening on the bar’s other stage kept me in the place. Icelandic instrumental band Sigur Ros apparently said that Icelandic instrumental band For a Minor Reflection have the potential to “out Mogwai,” which I think means FaMR might just beat those Scottish instrumental rockers at their own game. What made For a Minor Reflection so fantastic on this particular night, though, was partly that while their songs are sprawling, heartstring-tugging, dynamic and, yes, loud (even the sound guy said as much) and long, the vibe was joyful and energetic, not Serious Rock Business. If these guys had just stood there, looking intense and humorless, something vital would have been missing.

1 am Yob at Barbarella
Tacos. There is a taco truck at Barbarella. Get a chorizo taco. Trust me. Then drink a cheap beer as big as your head and watch a band like Yob. I used the word “epic” far too many times yesterday, but Yob own epicness. And not just because they noted, near the show’s end, that they had 10 minutes left, so they would play one more. All the words I might use to describe Yob (it was my first time seeing them) have been tossed at the band a thousand times already: Heavy, intense, ferocious, doomy. And did I mention fucking heavy? Eugene should be proud to claim these guys as a hometown band. A sizable crowd of black-clad folks (mostly men) stood rapt and attentive to their every song — and it was the last show of a long night. Vanessa Salvia has more to say about Yob and their new album here.

March 17, 2011 05:53 PM

You know what I would like? I’d like for St. Patrick’s Day not to fall during SXSW. I overheard my first “Where’s your green?” conversation before noon. Sixth Street doesn’t need this. Drunken music fans + drunken, green-garbed college kids = double the mayhem. I expect to see piles of green, and I don't mean shiny green leprechaun money.

It might be a night for going to a lot of movie screenings. Except that TV on the Radio is playing and Janelle Monae is playing and The Bangles are playing (all at the same time, which is just cruel) and The Sounds are playing and ... you get the picture.

Read more after the jump.

3:30 pm Obits at Beauty Bar
I’m pretty sure the trick to getting the most out of SXSW is that you’ve got to alternate bands you know you love (and love seeing) with bands you’re unfamiliar with. I’d heard one Obits song before going to see them in a packed tent in the middle of the afternoon. “It sounds like an angrier, dirtier cousin to Rocket From the Crypt,” I said afterward, not knowing that one of the Obits dudes was in Drive Like Jehu with one of the RFTC dudes. It’s a small, small rock world.

4:15 pm Typhoon at Emo’s Annex
There were 12 members of Typhoon for this show, including a second drummer and a nearly invisible fellow half-hidden by speakers (other members of the audience were miscounting the number of performers. It’s a compulsion of some kind to try to figure out exactly what the hell is going on onstage at a Typhoon show). The afternoon crowd seemed to be there mostly because someone somewhere had told them to go — by which I mean it wasn’t exactly a massive singalong. But Typhoon threw their little Portland hearts into their short set, which looped around on itself, starting with “Mouth of the Cave” and closing with “The Honest Truth,” which picks up the line “You’re gonna piss and moan / you let the devil in your home” line from “Cave” and throws it up into the air with a strange joy.

4:45 pm Starfucker at Peckerhead’s
I think someone fed Starfucker downers before this set.

Somewhere around 10 pm God knows what at the Liberty
I don’t know who was playing at the Liberty. (I do know it was pretty awful.) I followed friends there. I don’t care what was playing at the Liberty. What I care about is the Liberty’s food truck, East Side King. Within minutes of hearing the words “steamed pork belly buns” I was in line ordering curry buns: “peanut butter home made curry in deep fried bun, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeno.” I cannot overstate how good these things were: sweet, tangy, decadent, bright. I’m trying to find more reasons to go to the Liberty just to eat these goddamn buns. And everything else on the menu.

11 pm Smoking Popes at Maggie Mae’s
When the Smoking Popes opened with “Not That Kind of Girlfriend,” I got a little worried. What do you have to look forward to when a band you’re just now getting into opens with your favorite song? A song that's almost two decades old? A song that is clearly the favorite of lots of other people, many of whom are in the front row singing gleefully along when Josh Caterer puts the mic in their faces?

There was nothing to worry about. Smoking Popes songs are so catchy, you’re likely to know the words after one listen, maybe two. I knew more songs than I thought I did. The new songs, from their just-out This is Only a Test, play by the same rules: straightforward, catchy, gushingly romantic or bitterly put-out pop punk. The structure is assertive, bossy, driving — but Caterer’s voice belongs to a heartsick kid without an angry bone in his body.

Midnight Sharon Van Etten at Swan Dive
Swan Dive feels like it should be hosting a wedding reception. The stage makes the band look like they’re playing on an overgrown wedding cake. I watched much of this show through strangers’ camera screens; Van Etten is petite, the stage is low and the place was packed, so I got a better view that way. “Thank you for not going to see Duran Duran,” she said midway through the set, which included most of the songs from Epic, “Tornado” and two new songs, one of which she said she wrote for Sinead O’Connor. It wasn’t the most magical Van Etten show I’ve seen, but it built, piece by piece, as she seemed to get more comfortable with the patchwork crowd (the place was full, but not everyone was exactly attentive) and she stuck the landing: “Love More.” Of course.

1 am This Will Destroy You at Malverde
The danger of instrumental rock with an epic bent: It frequently runs the risk of sounding like a washed-out Explosions in the Sky with lesser dynamics. (Your basis for comparison may vary.) This, sadly, was the case with the two This Will Destroy You songs I heard, which built and built and soared and swooped and were still missing something. It’s not bad — it’s not This Will Destroy Your Soul or This Will Destroy Your Will to Continue — but it’s not This Will Destroy You By Reducing You to a Weeping Pile of Rubble (in a Good Way), either.

March 16, 2011 04:40 PM

How to Die in Oregon isn’t an easy film to watch. Peter D. Richardson’s documentary focuses not on the legal or philosophical issues and ramifications of Oregon’s Death with Dignity act, but on the personal stories of people who have chosen to use the option the act gives them. Or, to be more specific, they’ve chosen the possibility, the measure of control afforded by having in hand a prescription for life-ending medication. The result isn’t a balanced, political film, but it isn’t trying to be. It’s an incredibly affecting look at the realities of fatal illness, failing bodies and the question of how much power we have over our own fates.

Much of Richardson’s film follows Cody Curtis, a Portland woman with liver cancer. Curtis is an attractive, energetic 54-year-old; she hardly seems sick as she cracks jokes and works to put everyone around her at ease. Curtis wants to live, but she wants to live on her own terms, and her struggle with her illness weaves around the film’s other stories, including that of Nancy Niedzielski, who fought to get a similar law passed in Washington after watching her husband suffer from brain cancer.

How to Die in Oregon doesn’t flinch. It opens with home video footage of Roger Sagner as he ends his life — a video Richardson later explained was shot by Sagner’s granddaughter. It was a conscious choice, the director said, to put this scene at the beginning of the film, so that Oregon wouldn’t build to a will-she-or-won’t-she dramatic peak or force you to wonder whether you’ll see anyone take the lethal prescription dose. It’s right there at the front, but gently. Richardson’s approach to the film’s close is as gentle. He doesn’t back away from the realities of Curtis’ illness, whether it’s filming as fluid is drained from her abdomen or keeping the camera running when she finally breaks down in tears. But Oregon never feels manipulative or pushy; instead, it’s respectful and cautious, painstakingly careful to avoid an exploitative or sensationalized tone. Even the sentimental score, which at first feels slightly intrusive and insistent, begins to feel comforting by the end. You need an iota of comfort in a film like this.

Richardson has little time for those who are opposed to the Death with Dignity act, though he does interview Randy Stroup, a man angered by the Oregon Health Plan’s decision to cover a prescription for a drug that would end his life, but deny him coverage for cancer treatment. (The decision was later reversed.) This isn’t a measured consideration of what the law allows and why people are opposed to or in favor of that, but an exploration of what "Death with Dignity" really means to those who choose it. It’s clear that many people are still working out exactly what it means to allow people to take their own lives. The lines aren’t clear, the emotions unpracticed: What is sad, tragic, relieving, freeing, kind, honest, horrible, difficult, understandable in these situations? How does anyone come to terms with the reality of an illness that would make a person rather exit their life?

Richardson's film, which airs on HBO later this spring, won the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary Competition at Sundance. At SXSW, it provoked more audience questions than any other film I’ve seen at the festival, and inspired SXSW Film producer Janet Pierson to speak about how strongly she felt about showing the film. It leaves an audience a little shell-shocked and is likely to anger those who are opposed to the act, but Oregon doesn’t present its subjects’ stories in a manner meant to convince. The stories are true, and the honesty is an argument in itself. It's also an inspiration. For a film about death, How to Die in Oregon is awfully life-affirming.

March 14, 2011 10:50 AM

Maybe EmX advocates here need to get out their Legos:

March 14, 2011 05:21 PM

Greetings from Austin, earthlings. I have been here for four days (five? four? five) and have lost all sense of time and perspective. It’s what happens at South By Southwest — enjoyably (for the most part). You get lost in a sea of free drinks, companies trying to convince you that their apps are going to save the world, inspiring speakers, swooning geeklets bringing Felicia Day cupcakes because she said she likes them, drunk guys on Sixth Street trying not to barf in the gutter, amusing movie screenings filled with nerds who chortle at every reference to their beloved nerd culture (guilty as charged), presentations that might actually help with your personal productivity issues, insight on everything from adapting comics for the big screen to the consistent need for authenticity from creators — and the discovery that Fireball Whiskey makes a whiskey and ginger ale taste like liquid Red Hots (with apologies to my elegant-cocktail-mixing bartender friends: this shit is kind of delicious).

If you see a theme there involving drinks, well, SXSW does this thing where we all pack into the convention center by day, learning and listening and, say, developing elaborate arguments about why the gamification (gameification? It’s a made-up word either way) of the world is just another way to keep the people down — and then 6 pm rolls around and the panels wind down and the parties start. And by 10 pm you wonder how anyone is functional the next day. Foursquare calls you a panel nerd for going to three panels and suggests you go to bars to avoid being thrown in a locker. You can get a Guinness milkshake at your arty movie screening. (You can also fall asleep at your arty movie screening. Perhaps the couches at the Ritz are not the best idea for a tired festivalgoer.)

It’s debauchery and inspiration in nearly equal parts, with a side order of aggravation. And I love it. In the next week or so, I’ll be posting film reviews, music round-ups and more. Possibly a rant or two (I’ve got a few issues with the notion that, to quote Christopher Poole, “Anonymity is authenticity”). So far, the theme of this year’s SXSW (as I’ve experienced it) is twofold:

1. Everybody has an iPad. EVERYBODY. (Not me.)
2. The game layer is coming.

According to the nerds in the know, we’re moving from the decade of communication to the decade of games, the game layer, gamification, game mechanics, etc. More on this later. Short version: I’m wary of the notion of shifting from a culture of communication (as evidenced by Facebook and other social networks) to a culture of competition and think we need a good old Jaron Lanier-style hard look at what exactly this means. Maybe that’ll happen next year.

Meanwhile, is there something you’d do if you were in Austin? A show or a film you wouldn’t miss? I’m happily taking suggestions for how to spend the rest of my time here. Leave ‘em in the comments, or email molly at eugeneweekly dot com.

(Lest you think it's all fun and games and booze while the world ends, there's also SXSW4Japan.org.)

March 3, 2011 04:22 PM

Construction begins this month on some of the greenest housing digs ever built in Eugene-LCC's downtown apartment building for 250 students.

"Sustainability is one of the college's core values," said Lane Community College spokesman Brett Rowlett. The LCC housing is part of its $53-million downtown campus project in the Sears pit across from the library.

Instead of sticking spades into some green farm field on the sprawling edge of town served by an expensive freeway, officials plan to "break ground" tomorrow at 10:30 am by slinging dirt into the pit. The LCC project will recycle the enduring eyesore into model green density offering car-free, low carbon, low-cost living and a much-needed redevelopment spark to the heart of the city.

The five-story, 87,000 square-feet apartment building will include serve students with a mix of single, double and quadruple apartments and studios. The building's ground floor will have a campus store and meeting rooms.

The building's carbon footprint per resident will likely be far less than even the greenest low energy homes built in Eugene. Apartments, with their shared walls and floors, share heating and cooling. They also share infrastructure, greatly reducing the embodied energy carbon impact of building materials. In addition, LCC plans a LEED Gold certified building with some of the latest insulation, appliance and lighting techniques for reducing power.

But, since most Eugene electricity to run buildings is from hydropower, the building's greatest carbon reduction benefit may be simply it's downtown location.

Students going to classes downtown or to LCC's business services office will have to walk just steps to the adjacent 90,000 square-foot LEED Platinum academic center. To get to LCC's main campus, students can cross the street to LTD's main transit hub, for frequent buses running to the campus in just 17 minutes. The LTD bus station also offers express EmX routes to the UO, downtown Springfield, RiverBend hospital and Gateway Mall, a future EmX route planned for West Eugene and other direct bus connections to destinations all over town.

Just a few more steps away is downtown Eugene-offering one of the nation's best city libraries, restaurants, bars, music clubs, Kiva groceries, the Hult Center, coffee shops and bakeries and the largest concentration of jobs in the region.

The student housing will also include significant bike parking. City code for bike parking requires one bike parking space for each two residents in a dormitory.

In perhaps its greenest element, the apartment building will not include a parking garage for cars. Not including car parking in a building can save up to $50,000 per space in construction costs, substantially reducing rents.

More parking isn't needed in the area. The city's six downtown parking garages with more than 2,500 total spaces stand half empty, according to past city parking studies. The LCC housing is across the street from two city garages at Broadway Place (almost 800 spaces 80 percent empty) and under the Library. The city's massive Overpark and Parcade city garages are just a two block walk.

Counting private lots, downtown has more than 15,000 parking spaces-four times more parking than Gateway Mall. Downtown parking is so underused, that the city recently removed hundreds of meters to provide free on-street parking.

LCC's Rowlett doesn't expect LCC will have trouble filling the green housing. He said a housing market study found high demand for student apartments downtown. "There was a definite need," he said.
Rowlett said the housing will go first to LCC students and then to UO students if space is available. Rowlett said he expects residents will reflect LCC's diverse group of students, including many older, returning students and some international students.

The community college creatively cobbled together financing for the building from a variety of sources including $9 million in voter approved LCC bonds, $8 million in urban renewal funding from the city and $5 million in tax credits with the remainder coming from a combination of other federal tax credits, energy tax credits, bond sales and grants.

LCC plans to fast-track construction on the green downtown housing with completion by fall 2012 and doors opening January 2013.

Here's a look at LCC's two minute promotional video for the downtown campus project:

February 24, 2011 02:56 PM


Hundreds of Eugeneans gathered Feb. 23 the protest the Republican-led House vote to de-fund Title X, the federal government’s grant program devoted to family planning and health services. The loss of Title X funds could force the 23,783 women who received Title-X funded health care through Planned Parenthood to do without STI screening, annual exams and contraception.


Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and Congressman Peter DeFazio spoke at the rally. Piercy, who served on the board of Planned Parenthood, urged the protesters to find ways to support the program in the wake of legislative attacks. “Planned Parenthood serves us all but they also serve those who have the least access to services,” Piercy said.


DeFazio criticized cuts to health services while agricultural subsidies and tax credits to large corporations continued untouched. “It isn’t just an attack on the health of women, it’s an attack on the health of America,” DeFazio said. “I do not believe that the majority of the American people support the attack on women’s rights and women’s health.”






January 24, 2011 11:52 PM

The Eugene City Council voted 8-0 tonight to continue discussion of a May ballot measure on an income tax for schools.

The council plans to discuss details of the measure on Feb. 14 and take a final vote. The 4J school board may vote on whether to support the additional city funding and how much on Feb. 9.

Several councilors appeared to indicate they may ultimately oppose referring a school funding measure to a May ballot vote, but a majority of four councilors and the Mayor spoke in favor of a May ballot measure.

Details remain undecided, but school supporters have discussed a graduated income tax that would raise at least $10 million for 4J and $4 million for Bethel schools per year. The income tax discussed would exempt lower income people and sunset in six years.

January 13, 2011 01:23 AM

At the Eugene 4J School Board Meeting tonight:

—Superintendent George Russell revised his $22 million estimated budget cut to $28 million, due to new numbers from Gov. elect John Kitzhaber.

—District staff argued for a May school construction bond measure because it would leverage $15 million in federal construction funding and they could claim that the district wasn't raising taxes because of an expiring previous school construction levy. But a May bond vote to build new schools could cause the district to lose $10 million dollars or more in operating funding from a proposed city tax to keep the schools the district already has open. But two board members and Russell spoke favorably of the city tax effort for schools.

—A majority of 4J board members appeared to oppose closing Adams elementary, one of the brownest and poorest schools in the district, to give the building to the Charlemagne French immersion elementary, one of the whitest and richest schools in the district. But the board opposed officially taking the option of closing Adams off the table, forcing Adams parents to go to more late night meetings to defend their school. Fox Hollow parents apparently won’t have to plea for their school. The school board, which includes one French immersion parent, has not applied the same closure tests and criteria to Fox Hollow as it has applied to neighborhood schools. The board now appears to be targeting Parker to make room for Fox Hollow. The board rejected the least disruptive option of simply leaving the French school where it is pending a proposed reevaluation of 4J alternative schools next year. Moving Fox Hollow to Parker may apparently save almost no money as it would require a new large parking lot and drop off area because almost all the French school parents drive their kids to school, according to 4J staff.

January 13, 2011 06:19 PM

"When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim," Arizona State Rep. Jack Harper told the Arizona Republic in the wake of the mass shooting of a congresswoman, 9 year-old girl, judge and others in his state.

Here's a look at what happens when "everyone is carrying a firearm":

An armed man at the Arizona shooting almost mistakenly shot another man who had already disarmed the real shooter, the Arizona Republic and other media reported.

Slate notes :

"That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater. "

January 12, 2011 12:03 AM

The Eugene City Council voted unanimously tonight to have a committee bring back more information on possibly referring a progressive city income tax to save local schools for the May ballot.

The council didn’t take a formal vote clarifying exactly where they stand. But about half the council or more appeared to favor the income tax over a restaurant tax, after several restaurant owners testified that a restaurant tax would unfairly target businesses already struggling to stay afloat in the recession. About half the council or more also appeared to favor attempting to meet a mid February deadline for referring a measure to the May ballot.

The 4J and Bethel school superintendents said they would discuss with their elected boards whether they should delay possible school construction bond measures for May to avoid competing with the city effort to fund actual teaching.

4J Superintendent George Russell said he hoped the city tax could raise $10 million a year for his district, which is facing huge classes and a four-day school week due to dramatic cuts. Bethel also faces proportionally big deficits.

A progressive, graduated city income tax with rates set at 0.5 percent for income (AGI) $50,000 to $99,999, 1 percent for $100,000 to $249,999, and 1.5 percent for incomes more than $249,999 would generate roughly $40 million per year. That's based on an EW analysis of state tax data that assumes Eugene has a similar income distribution to Lane County and generates about 63 percent of the Adjusted Gross Income in the county.

If the graduated tax were limited to incomes above $70,000, the tax would impact roughly 20 percent of taxpayers and generate roughly $22 million a year. A graduated tax above $100,000 would impact roughly 10 percent and generate roughly $19 million a year.

January 11, 2011 11:47 AM

The way I feel about running can be summed up in one tiny word: No. No, no, no; no to being sweaty and uncomfortable and having aching knees and feeling like I can't breathe. (I blame high school gym class for all of this, by the by.)

The way I feel about running doesn't, apparently, extend to movies about running, especially not the sweet and straightforward Hood to Coast, a documentary about Oregon's ginormous annual relay race, which someone describes, early in the film, as a 197-mile-long party. The film backs this slightly outlandish claim right up: There are runners in tutus, in superhero costumes, in wildly decorated vans and very small shorts. Runners sport lightning-decorated headbands, top their support vehicles with coffins and come back year after year after year.

The Hood to Coast race starts, somewhat obviously, at Mount Hood, traveling across the state and through Portland to end in Seaside. Teams of 12 runners take three legs apiece; the race goes on through the night, the runners sleepless and cheerfully discombobulated, as the film shows. Filmmakers Christoph Baaden and Marcie Hume smartly chose four teams to follow, focusing on certain personalities within those teams: The veterans are represented by Dead Jocks in a Box, a bunch of long-time Hood to Coast runners who are half endearing and half patronizing as they form "power arches" for fellow runners (always women) and track other teams' fashion statements.

On the heartstring-tugging side, Baaden and Hume found two teams with emotional stories: Heart and Sole, who had a teammate collapse the previous year, and R. Bowe, a team formed of the friends and family of a man who passed away unexpectedly a year before. These runners' stories are emotional and heartfelt, and Hume and Baaden let them spill out naturally, as the Bowe family toasts their missing member, and as Kathy Ryan, who’s run countless marathons and won’t be slowed down by her near-death experience, greets the women who revived her on the route last year.

The fourth team is the one this non-runner found the most amusing: A team of animators from Laika, the Portland studio that made Coraline, decides to do the race with no training. Beer-drinking right up until the race is the plan, says Rachel, whose tousled hair and permanent bandanna make her a camera favorite. The Laika team is goofy and ragged, but they're not just there for laughs; they make the point that Hood to Coast, while a serious race for some (the film stops to chat with the race favorites at a few points), is fairly accessible; kids and seniors run it right along with terrifyingly fit athletes.

Lovingly pieced together from a patchwork of stories, Hood to Coast is gorgeously shot — swooping through Oregon's mountains and forests, following runners so closely you hear every footfall and tired breath — and cheerfully sincere. It's not out to convince anyone to race, or to delve too deeply into the backstories of those runners it follows, but to get, a little bit, at what makes people do things like Hood to Coast. Rachel, exhausted, can't stop saying that her difficult leg was awesome. The Dead Jocks come back year after year, clearly in it for the camaraderie and the competition. The sense of accomplishment, when each team crosses the finish line in Seaside, is palpable: For two days, these runners are outside their ordinary life, doing something extraordinary with just their bodies, their teammates and their willpower. As one runner says, the race is epic, and you can't do epic by yourself.

Hood to Coast shows at 8:30 and 8:31 pm tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Cinemark.

January 6, 2011 11:08 AM

Fun fact: When I was 13, Skid Row was, like, my totally favorite band. So forgive me if I haven't quite got words for the truly bizarre thing that is Skid Row's Sebastian Bach singing a power ballad about the Ducks:

It's a tiny bit curious that the only truly Eugene-specific reference in the entire song is to "Steelhead on Pearl." Conspiracy theories, anyone?

(We'll just ignore, for now, the fact that the song? It ain't Bach's finest moment...)