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April 28, 2008 11:49 PM

UO big wigs have been taking a lot of hits in the media recently for kowtowing to the almighty swoosh.

On April 16 the Oregonian reported that the UO had evaded state anti-corruption laws to hand the contract for the basketball arena—the most expensive public building in state history—to a Nike subsidiary and Nike related contractor and architect without a competitive or public bidding process.

On April 20, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin wrote that under President Dave Frohnmayer, "This public university has, on any and all questions about the arena, suddenly adopted a code of secrecy worthy of the KGB."

On April 23, Willamette Week awarded Frohnmayer its "Rogue of the Week" award for "hiding the ball" when it comes to Nike, the arena and the state's public records law.

Who's making all these decisions at the UO? Frohnmayer is helped by three "retired" UO vice-presidents who recently got a big pay increase by converting their full time jobs to half time, according to numbers in an Oregonian story last month.

The paper reported that John Moseley, Lorraine Davis and Dan Williams all recently retired but were hired back as half time contractors. According to numbers in the story, Williams earned $162,800 before he retired. After retirement he earned PERS at about 83 percent of salary or, by our estimate, about $135,000. Frohnmayer then hired him back to work at the UO half time for $100,000 a year, according to the Oregonian. So in retirement working half time Williams earns a total of about $235,000 a year, a 44 percent raise over what he earned working full time.

For Moseley the raise works out to 35 percent or a total of $285,000 in post "retirement" salary, by EW's calculations. Davis got an estimated 33 percent raise for going half time, a total of $222,000 a year in post retirement pay.

These three Frohnmayer cronies working half as much for almost half more pay are now among the highest paid public officials in the state. By comparison, the Governor's salary is $93,600.

Wow, no wonder the UO has a hard time getting funding from the Legislature. Of course Frohnmayer or his princely paid assistants won't pay the price for the public esteem swooshing out of the institution. It will be some kid busing tables for tuition.

April 25, 2008 02:06 PM

Here's an old Herblock cartoon from 1970 when tricky Dick Nixon was escalating the Vietnam war despite campaign promises to end it.


Déjà vu?

So what would the caption be now? How about:

"You see the reason we’re dying in vain here in Iraq is so dying in Iraq will have some purpose."

Any other suggestions?

April 25, 2008 05:44 PM

If you enjoyed the cover story this week about Eugene's new City Manager Jon Ruiz, you'll love listening to the hour and a half of interview audio here .

Here's Ruiz at his public swearing in and speech on April 14:

Well, now Ruiz is on the record in print, audio and video with a lot of good-sounding promises of what he'll do as Eugene City Manager. Let's see if he sticks to them.

April 25, 2008 09:47 AM

So a few weeks ago I confided in the pages of the EW that I have a weakness for pop punk. Then, oddly, the show I was previewing was canceled. But no matter! A better, sleeker, poppier and, well, gothier show has risen to take its place in my heart:

Alkaline Trio at the Indigo District


I think it still confuses friends that I'm such a nerd for these silly boys in black suits who sing maudlin, sometimes macabre love songs about walls painted black, bitter breakups and washing one's bloody hands at the marina and, every so often, about, like, mushy stuff ("Every Thug Needs a Lady"). "Help Me," the new single (from Agony and Irony, due out July 1) that autoplays on their website, has a little too much mucking about with the vocals on the chorus, but I can take it. Their mastery of the pairing of pop hooks with crunchy guitars and power chords is unmatched; their glossiness just makes all the deathly imagery almost, um, sweet.

Last time I saw the Trio, I got my favorite sweatshirt ripped dancing with the kids. I hope I'm not way too old to do that again.

April 25, 2008 03:45 PM

So, yes, I strongly dislike the book Twilight, even though I couldn't be spoken to while I read it; it's one of those Pringles books that's terrible for you (does the world need any more impossibly-perfect heroines who can't do a damn thing for themselves?) and impossible to stop reading. BUT. I have a weakness for poor doomed (please, we are so out of spoiler territory on this one) Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory. When means I like Robert Pattinson, who played Cedric and is now playing Twilight's ever so romantic vampiric lead Edward Cullen in the movie adaptation (coming out in December). And in this MTV Movies Blog interview, Pattison says he's been "playing in Portland" while shooting there.

Oh, CRIKEY. Somebody find out where and tell me, mmmkay?

(Not like it'd be publicized, I'm sure of that. But it'd be kinda neat to happen upon.)

(OK, OK, I'll just keeping imagining the wildly unlikely.)

April 24, 2008 11:17 AM

From a just-received press release:


Eugene, Ore. – The DeVotchKa concert, originally scheduled for the McDonald Theatre on Tuesday, April 29, has been moved to John Henry’s Tavern, located at 77 West Broadway, on the same date at the request of the promoter, Mike Thrasher Presents.

All advance tickets purchased will be honored at John Henry’s Tavern.

Wait, how does this work for the under-21s?

April 17, 2008 02:04 PM

The saddest thing about Chef's Night Out, FOOD for Lane County's annual fundraiser of deliciousness, is that it's pretty much impossible to enjoy all of it. I ate until I was stuffed, then ate a little more, and felt like I'd only scratched the surface of what the 50+ booths in the Hult Center had to offer. I think the best way to manage your time and properly pace yourself would be to go with another person, so you can split everything (and so they can hold your bag and tray when you want to take pictures, thereby resulting in better pix than the ones I'm about to post), but it didn't work out that way. So I traipsed through the Hult's many floors alone, stopping to say hi to colleagues and a couple of familiar faces.

The second saddest thing about Chef's Night Out wasn't actually sad at all, but sort of funny: I found my holy grail of the bites on offer way too early. But let's save that for last. Here's what I can remember eating, with apologies for the crappy pix:

Red Agave won me over right off the bat with little sashimi balls of tuna wrapped around a white fish I didn't immediately recognize, and with sweet, tangy, falling-apart pork atop a masa wafer. I resisted the urge to go back for more of the pork, because, well, it was filling, and this was my first stop.

(Right to left, roughly: Ceviche from El Vaquero, sashimi ball and pork/masa from Red Agave, porksicles (more on these shortly) from Marché, parfait and pork confit from Davis', Sweet Life treats.)

(PLEASE NOTE: I am going to get things wrong. I am going to call them by the wrong names and things. Correct me if you remember. I didn't take notes. I don't have four arms. C'mon, now.)

Adam's Place: Continuing the pork trend with what I remember as sliced pork loin on a slice of baguette. I remember it was good. But I missed the meringue mushrooms from two years ago.

The Vintage: Deeeelishus (pardon the internet spelling) mojito-margarita combination drinks that had a funny combination name I cannot bring to mind. On the way out, I grabbed a little stick of berry and krispie treat goodness that was so simple and perfect it was a lovely little finale, even without the chocolate fondue it was meant to be dipped into..

Market of Choice: Oh. Em. Gee. An entire plateful of delights came from the trusty MOC — and that's even considering I passed up half of their options:


What you see there is a mini pulled pork sandwich (like an Atkins dieter, I ate the inside and left the roll); a fresh, mild little cream tartlet with one seedless grape on top (a wonderful variation from the cherry I half expected); and a sweet skewer with housemade truffle, marshmallow and caramel. Oh, caramel. How I can never resist you.

Ninkasi: This is just a shoutout to Dave Lawrence for manning the taps and therefore providing a familiar face in a packed building of strangers. Also, Believer. Mmmm.

Café Zenon had an array of rich patés on offer; I only took the pork liver one, if memory serves, and found it rich and almost overwhelming, so strong and different was the flavor in comparison with everything else I tried.

Another NOTE: There is too much going on at Chef's Night Out for me to have anything but the most rudimentary comments on most things. Too much tastiness, too much scarfing down of things while moving on to the next, too much goodness. Which isn't really a bad thing.

LCC Culinary Program: There is no possible way there was as much oohing and aahing going on anywhere else in the building as there was in front of the LCC table, which was piled with exquisite little chocolate treats:


Shall we look at some of those a bit closer?


Iraila: God forbid you go to CNO and miss Mark Zolun's spicy nuts. They're a must have, and someday I must dig up the little recipe card I got two years ago and make my own. Iraila also had hearty (but not too hearty!) spinach dumpling creations (malfati-spinach-ricotta dumplings with egg in marinara sauce, says their listing, helpfully) and lamb meatballs with an unexpected kick to the spice. The description says saffron; did I taste cinnamon in there? Cardamom? My palate can't remember.

Mac's Restaurant and Nightclub and McCallum's Catering: I eyed the fried oysters, but it was getting on in the evening; the mini shrimp cocktails, on the other hand, were a clean, slightly kicky flavor that cut through the layer of sugar left on my tongue by the impressive array of dessert items I'd been snacking on.

Café Soriah had the same thing as last time I went to CNO, and it was just as good. I nearly walked on by, but the lure of butter, bananas and ice cream was just too strong. Oh, bananas flambé. I could eat you for dinner. Constantly. Everything about this dish is perfect. I will freely admit that after finishing the last solid bite, I tipped the bowl up and drank the melty bits. It's that good.

Salishan Spa & Golf Resort: I think this was the place serving more delicious pork, sliced on a little wafer with an interestingly crunchy-crackly texture and topped with something like an apricot preserve (though the booklet is telling me West Bros. River Ranch had something similar. I apologize for any mixups!). Regardless, I overheard a woman telling her friend Salishan's offering was one of the best things she'd had, but it was tucked away at the top and no one was going up there. I hope snackers found their way up eventually!

(I'm regretting not eating the Ax Billy Grill's lobster pot pie. So pretty, so cute, and I passed it up for fear of exploding. Silly me.)

Davis': Generous servings made this a popular table, I suspect. Two key things on offer: parfait cups filled with thick layers of strawberry, chocolate, lemon and, er, something else, so massive in relative size I couldn't finish mine, and a tasty pork and asparagus dish that came atop a chunk of butter-and-pork-juice-drenched bread. I ate a lot of pork. This is a good thing.

Sweet Life: I don't need to tell you that Sweet Life was awesome. Tiny little tartlets and cupcakes and goodies in a wide array of flavors — so many that the desire to try one of each had to be smothered, and quickly. I had something citrussy, something chocolatey, all delicious, of course, and all beautifully presented. And I snagged a couple treats for the Boyfriend Plate:


Those who do not get to go to Chef's Night Out but are kind enough to pick up those who did get to go deserve a treat, yes?

Also on that plate you'll see my one, my only Chef's Night Out True Love: the porksicle.


I'd heard tell of this elusive Marché treat before, but tonight, I saw it, I tasted it, I fell for it. It's got a classier name, of course — something about fried pork belly — but to me, it's the unmatched porksicle. The crispy lean bits, the fat that melts in the mouth are so perfect that I found myself — the kind of kid who picked all the fatty bits off everything she ate — seeking out the fattiest porksicles on the tray. I ate one. Then I went back for two more. Then two more. Then two for the Boyfriend Plate. He wasn't notably impressed with the crispy one, but after the second, thick and fatty and decadent, he understood.

April 17, 2008 11:35 AM

Just watch. And don't read the description first! You'll spoil the fun.

April 16, 2008 09:32 PM

In tomorrow's paper, I review — in a roundabout, bowled over kind of way — Ursula K. Le Guin's new novel, Lavinia. I had to write swiftly, and I kept thinking how, given about 1200 words, I'd have a million things to say — things that have since flown out of my head. But, er, the point is, I left out one very pertinent thing: the book doesn't officially come out until Monday, April 21.

So stop by your local independent bookstore then! (Or now, as it appears to be available, at least on Amazon, despite the not-here-yet release date.)

April 11, 2008 04:45 PM

green house

The Oregonian
has a front page story today about a couple of Portland brothers tearing down a little old house to build an "ultrasustainable" home. The article and website for the house sound great.

But is it really "ultrasustainable" to demolish a serviceable old house to build a more energy-efficient design? Consider the issue of embodied energy—that is how much energy does it take to build the house and manufacture and ship the materials used to build it? Here's a widely cited City of Philadelphia web page stating:

"The materials in an average home contain 892 million Btu's of embodied energy, an amount of energy equal to 7,826 gallons of gasoline, or enough to drive an SUV 5 ½ times around the earth."

The average home consumes about 101 million Btu's a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. So even if a new ultrasustainable house uses zero Btu a year, it could still take it about nine years to break even with the old house.

The well-meaning Portland brothers appear to have considered the issue, recycling a lot of the wood in the old house and using other materials in the new house with low embodied energy. But not everything can be reused or recycled and the question remains, how sustainable is it to tear down an old house to build a new, greener house?

There's also a broader question here. What about the embodied energy of solar panels? A Prius? According to some reports, it would take about 20,000 miles of driving a Prius to recoup the embodied energy in the car's manufacture. It can take about three to seven years to recoup the embodied energy of a solar panel.

These are important questions to consider. The ethanol and bottled water once favored by some greens haven't turned out so green. Maybe the green revolution isn't about building or buying something new. Maybe the most sustainable home is a renovated little old house, or an old high-rise apartment. Maybe the greenest vehicle won't be a high-tech car that runs on hydrogen, but an old-bike that runs on donuts.

April 9, 2008 06:01 PM

With the Olympic trials coming to Eugene and all the attention on protests of the Chinese torch run, it's worth it to ask, who came up with this Olympic torch thing anyway? The ancient Greeks? Wrong. Here's a hint:

Notice the swastikas and the sieg heil salutes? That's right, it was the Nazis who first came up with the idea of an Olympic torch run, as shown in this infamous propaganda film.

No way you say? Well it's right here in the New York Times and here on the "official website of the BEIJING 2008 Olympic Games."

April 9, 2008 04:40 PM

A story in the Wall Street Journal March 19 featured an interview with UO Professor Nathan Tublitz and the headline: "Has Serious Academic Reform Of College Athletics Arrived?"

The article describes Tublitz as a neurobiology professor who is co-chairman of the faculty driven Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.

The WSJ describes theoretically tough new standards on academic progress by the NCAA, but raises the question about whether they will actually be enforced.

Article author Mark Yost writes that the idea that players are "supposed to be students first and athletes second" is "a quaint notion in an era when CBS is paying $6.1 billion for the broadcast rights to the college basketball tournament that will draw far bigger ratings than any of the presidential debates."

Tublitz describes the royal treatment the UO gives recruitment targets with "female chaperones" and "fancy hotels." Tublitz told WSJ that only 3 percent of division 1 players get an NBA career. If the other 97 percent lack an education giving them other job skills, "They're lost."

April 7, 2008 11:32 AM

The City of Springfield is conducting an anonymous online survey to determine support for the city's plans to expand its urban growth boundary (UGB) creating more urban sprawl.

Developers and land speculators have lobbied hard for the UGB expansion, which could increase the value of their property by ten fold or more . But numerous studies have shown that urban sprawl can lead to more pollution, global warming, habitat loss, traffic congestion, obesity and urban ugliness and less livability and higher taxes.

March 31, 2008 03:22 PM


Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss has a cover story on the state attorney general race between former federal prosecutor John Kroger and state legislator Greg Macpherson.

Here's some highlights:

• "'I prosecuted Enron, and Greg’s firm represented them,' says Kroger."

• Eugene city attorney and Philip Morris tobacco lawyer Bill Gary boosts Macpherson for his work in cutting the cost of PERS: '“He’s shown exactly the kind of political courage that it takes to be AG,' Gary says."

• "Macpherson differs with Kroger on Measure 11, the law that provides mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes. Simply put, Macpherson says he’s more willing to consider reducing sentences. 'We’ve gone on a prison-building boom and underinvested in other services,' he says."

• Consumer advocate Dan Meek criticises Macpherson for voting against a bill to close a loophole that allowed Enron to overcharge customers $1 billion: "'Macpherson was one of only two D’s in the legislature who voted against 408,' says utility lawyer Dan Meek."

Both Kroger and Macpherson are Democrats and there is no Republican challenger, so voters will decide the race in May.

Here's an earlier EW cover story on the race: