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Guest Viewpoint

March 31, 2016

It’s mid-October and I’m on The Nature Conservancy’s 9,000-acre Staten Island, part of the 46,000 acre Cosumnes River Preserve, in California’s Sacramento River Delta. Owned by the Conservancy, the island is all farmland, farmed for the benefit of migrating birds. I’m looking over fields of harvested wheat, corn and potatoes as hundreds of 5-foot-tall greater sandhill cranes jump and dance in the fields. As I watch, hundreds more arrive with their haunting, gurgling call.

March 31, 2016

Jumpshots From Israel

I have lived in Israel for more than seven months now and I struggle to reconcile many residents’ opinions with current events and accounts of history. Eager to find opposing viewpoints — and not apt to withhold my own — I’m familiar with the proverbial “you’ll understand when you’re older.” Perhaps. Or perhaps one man’s naiveté is another’s objectivity. I keep wrestling with these arguments, nonetheless.  

March 31, 2016

I’m not one to usually complain. I typically see both sides of the equation. But this nonsense of raising the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour! How come I didn’t get a vote on this? 

March 24, 2016

It was one of those moments when I felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room. I had entered the Growler Underground in anticipation of meeting several friends and hearing lots of great music at the weekly open mic on Main Street in Springfield. As soon as I walked in, someone handed me the latest issue of Eugene Weekly and said, “Look what they did to Springfield.”

March 3, 2016

In the beginning, “downtown renewal” in Eugene was really about greasing the skids for the controversial Valley River shopping center. The development community embraced this “tool,” and a chorus of the optimistic and the self-interested promised an attractive, renewed downtown and a gigantic mall.   

February 25, 2016

I am sorry to hear that the small square at Broadway and Willamette will possibly be replaced by a commercial building. Since this square is, I believe, the only hard-surfaced square in Eugene’s downtown, it would seem a very unfortunate decision. Most cities value and preserve their public places. 

February 18, 2016

Notes From The Riverside

February 11, 2016

Maybe it’s that my children and I twice spent spring vacations at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the early 1980s, when water was unusually plentiful and the birds at dawn were a cacophony. Or that we hiked near the refuge to see pre-dawn sage grouse males burbling like coffee percolators with inflated chests while the females feigned disinterest.

February 4, 2016

JUMP SHOTS FROM ISRAEL

The brand of basketball in Israel reflects a survivor’s mentality: tough and proud, impulsive and defensive. 

In practices and games, in the painted area or beyond the three-point line, physicality is relentless. Body checks, sharp elbows and swiping hands — the referees let it go. Without the ball, the body is a weapon; with the ball, it’s protection. Everyone competes. They play to win.

December 31, 2015

This community lost a truly stellar human being Dec. 19. Peg Morton, one of the best that the human race had to offer, sailed off into the great mystery surrounded by loved  ones, on a courageous journey that started only 13 days before with an intentional fast to end her life.

December 31, 2015

One of the few useful insights I got from college sociology is that societies are complex organisms with their own history and internal dynamics, not simply collections of individuals. Societies shape the lives of the individuals within them.

The U.S. is a migrant society, settled by ambitious risk-takers, producing a highly individualistic culture that tends to see everything as personal rather than social. That has a lot to do with our economic history.

December 24, 2015

360 by Bike

December 17, 2015

A number of letters and comments have appeared recently regarding local developers’ proposal to solve the traveler/transient problem in downtown by filling Kesey Square with a five-story apartment building. Downtown Eugene Inc. and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce have both come out in favor of this closing of the commons and privatizing of our public land. 

December 17, 2015

Jump Sots From Israel

“They didn’t just kill Rabin, they didn’t just shoot the messenger. They killed the concept of peace,” my friend proclaims over Shabbat dinner in Tel Aviv. “The sad part is that they succeeded — the right wing. They killed Rabin and got what they wanted. Look at Israel now.” 

December 17, 2015

As Oregonians, we should all be alarmed at the numerous signs of a great calamity to come: the mass migration of Californians to our state. The climate-change-induced drought in that region has pushed California’s 38 million residents to the brink of social collapse, with millions on the verge of fleeing the devastation.

December 10, 2015

As programmer of the summer film screenings and the All Hallows’ Eugene downtown Halloween event that attract “students, families, Eugeneans of all stripes” (“A Sense of Place” cover story, 11/19), I do not endorse or support any anti-development effort toward Kesey Square. Broadway Plaza is not a well-utilized public space. Instead, it is a remnant of failed urban planning whose greatest defenders lack the imagination and determination to champion a better-conceived common area for political and cultural activity. 

November 25, 2015

In response to the misguided Viewpoints Nov. 12 by Courtney Stubbert, “Guess What? There’s No Money. Seven Steps to Make the Jacobs Gallery Closing Not Matter at All” and by John O’Malley (“hater of negativity and apathy”), “Wake Up Eugene, and Push Your Art Scene Into the 21st Century”:

November 19, 2015

As president of the Eugene Water & Electric Board of Commissioners, I have read hundreds of comments in opposition to management’s recent rate restructuring proposal. The proposal clearly offended the community. It did not take into account how important the two-tiered energy charge structure is to customers who sacrifice comfort to save money. Similarly, our customers who recently invested in efficiency measures or solar energy rely on the tiered pricing to help pay themselves back. People are telling us that it’s not just the money.

November 19, 2015

It’s not often you can, quite literally, don a hero’s cape for Planet Earth, and even less often that it would be plastic, and unheard of that this would land you in a global art festival, but here’s your invite: Thanksgiving weekend — on the eve of the most important meeting ever, when world leaders gather in Paris for climate talks — Eugene will mount a march and collaborative art event so creative and bold that we’re featured in the ArtCOP21 Global Climate Art Festival curated throug

November 19, 2015

Jump Shots From Israel

Sokolov Avenue is bustling outside of my studio apartment in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, just north of Tel Aviv: pizza joints, tech vendors, hair salons and Western clothing boutiques. The towering McDonald’s logo above (sigh) competes with the palm trees; in the distance, the Tel Aviv skyline resembles an American city. The robust high-tech infrastructure boasts abundant free wifi, and texting via “WhatsApp” is the medium of communication — no matter your age!

November 19, 2015

After the disaster in Paris there will be enormous pressure, especially from the Republican candidates, to do something. They will condemn the Obama/Clinton administration as ineffective and suggest simplistic solutions to this very complex problem — that will likely make everything much worse.

November 19, 2015

Recently the Eugene City Council was scheduled to act on a detailed rezoning ordinance for a large area of south Eugene. However, it raised the ire of local citizens because the issues it addressed had not been adequately presented to the people who would be most affected by its changes. The ordinances were justified as being in support of the Envision Eugene project and the South Willamette Concept Plan. In their notice of frequently asked questions (FAQs) the planners state that “the community will have opportunities ...

November 12, 2015

Arts funding is important. Without it, even our longest-running institutions close. The Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center is the most recent in a string of examples.  

People wring their hands when yet another art venue closes in Eugene, and the standard frustrations are conveyed: “There’s not enough funding!"; “I can’t survive as an artist in Eugene!”; “Nobody buys art!”; “Someone should step up and donate!” 

November 12, 2015

Paul Robeson once observed: “The man who accepts Western values absolutely, finds his creative faculties becoming so warped and stunted that he is almost completely dependent on external satisfactions, and the moment he becomes frustrated in his search for these, he begins to develop neurotic symptoms, to feel that life is not worth living and, in chronic cases, to take his own life.”