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History meets future

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New street names honor Eugene’s past

On Nov. 26, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis unveiled the three street names chosen for the new Downtown Riverfront. Picked from a narrowed down list of over 1,000 suggested names, the three winners were announced at 10:45 a.m. at the future site of the Downtown Riverfront.

The three winners: Annie Mims Lane, Wiley Griffon Way and Nak-nak Avenue. All three hold great historical and cultural significance for the City of Eugene. 

Annie Mims, with her husband C.B., were the first African Americans to own a house in the city. Griffon, too, was one of the earliest African American homeowners — living in a small house on 4th Ave. Both during a time when African Americans weren’t permitted to reside in Eugene or the state of Oregon as a whole. “Nak-nak” is a Kalapuya — the original inhabitants of Willamette Valley — word for “duck.”

The city’s website states that “the three-acre Downtown Riverfront Park and one-acre Plaza will be the heart of the greater riverfront development that re-imagines a new, vibrant future and will, once again, unite our city with the river.”

Originally proposed as a joint venture between the city and the Eugene Water & Electric Board as the latter owned the property being developed. In 2013, EWEB decided to outright sell the property to the city. The deal was finalized in April 2018 for $5.75 million. 

Planning for a 2021 opening — ideally in time for the World Athletic Championships hosted by the city at the University of Oregon — the park will include unobstructed views and access to the river, pedestrian and bicycle paths that meander through riparian, upland and meadow habitats. 

In the City of Eugene press release, Mayor Vinis said that “The creativity of our community really came through with all of the name suggestions.” Also there to announce the names were those individuals who submitted them.

‘Resilient Spirits Overcome’

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Portland-based theater troupe performs biopic

The life story of Judge Xiomara Torres was interwoven with Salvadoran folklore in the performance of “Judge Torres” on Nov. 5 at the Ragozzino Performance Hall.

The stage’s backdrop was vibrantly colored and highly stylized. “This mural is painted in the style of Fernando Llort,” said Elizabeth Muñoz Robles, the woman who played the titular character Judge Xiomara Torres, while gesturing towards the painting. “That’s Xiomara’s favorite painter. He was a famous artist in El Salvador. He fled to La Palma, and then he painted murals there. That’s where Xiomara Torres is from.”

A variety of upbeat Latin music and indie rock played over the speakers as people decided where to sit. Over 30 people were in attendance to watch the group of four actors perform.

The team of four is a traveling troupe for a larger theater group based in Portland. “The Miracle Theater Group employs us. We are the ambassadors for them internationally,” Elizabeth Muñoz Robles, who goes by Élle, explained.

She was joined on the stage by her fellow teaching artists Irma Gill-Yañez and Ahash Francis, as well as their tour manager Monica Booker. They are the members of Teatro Milagro, a small traveling theater troupe who performs all over the United States.

The play’s story chronicles the journey of Xiomara Torres from the small mountainous region of El Salvador where she was born to her appointment as a judge in Multnomah County.

The entire play was performed bilingually by using a linguistic method of speech called code-switching — when a person switches between two or more different languages while speaking.

“It was written in such a way that it doesn’t matter if English or Spanish is your first language. You will be able to understand the story,” Ahash Francis, the actor who played Xiomara’s brother Luis, pointed out.

The play starts with Xiomara meeting La Siguanaba, a shapeshifting woman from Central American folklore. According to legend, she is seen at night in the rivers of El Salvador washing clothes and looking for her cursed son Cipitio.

“We did a lot of research on Salvadoran folklore and warfare,” the actress who played La Siguanaba, Monica Booker, revealed after the play.

Xiomara escapes El Salvador with her siblings at nine years old due to a civil war. The audience isn’t introduced to either of her parents in the play, but in real life, their mother accompanied them on the journey. Xiomara’s father was already living and working in the United States.

At 13, she revealed to a friend that she was being abused at home. In the play, Xiomara exclaims, “It’s my body and no one should touch it!” After, her friend convinced her to report the abuse to their school counselor. She did and Xiomara and her siblings are taken into foster care.

We are then introduced to another important character named Jan. She is Xiomara’s court-appointed special advocate or CASA. CASAs advocate for children who are living in foster care as a result of abuse or neglect. Her character is played by the same actress who plays La Siguanaba, and that is no coincidence.

As the play progresses, Jan’s character inexplicably speaks Spanish despite claiming to not know any. Because Xiomara comments on her Spanish as being out of place and how she reminds her of someone she met a long, long time ago, it is implied that Jan is, in fact, La Siguanaba in a shapeshifted form.

The real Jan Brice held onto Xiomara’s hand for three-and-a-half hours as she testified in court against her abuser. “We got to meet her at our 30th anniversary for Milagro. Xiomara came and she was with Jan. They’re still best friends,” Irma Gill-Yañez, who played Xiomara’s little sister Carmen, recalled.

Xiomara, separated from both of her siblings, goes to therapy for her traumatic experiences and her bottled-up emotions are expressed through interpretive dance. On her last day of therapy, she breaks down in an emotional monologue about her inability to connect with people — especially boys — after the abuse.

Once she aged out of the foster care system, she feared she may end up homeless. However, with the encouragement of her teachers and Jan, she applied to college and was accepted. After earning her sociology degree from UC Berkeley, Xiomara decided she wanted to help children, so, she attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland and graduated from law school.

A montage of Xiomara in family court representing various clients is acted out. Future Oregon Governor Kate Brown is introduced in the play as a fellow lawyer and friend. Brown suggested that Xiomara become a judge. She tried and failed.

Years later, Brown, now Governor, called Xiomara and offered her an interview for a vacancy and in March of 2017, Xiomara Torres became a judge in Multnomah County. The play ended with Judge Torres, surrounded by loved ones, standing at a podium as audio excerpts from real speeches by and about Xiomara played over the speakers.

Teatro Milagro will be heading to California on Nov. 12.

From Bus Seats to Cheap Eats

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Affordable dining along LTD bus line 

There are several affordable options in Eugene for dinner this November within five minutes of public transportation. 

Albee’s NY Gyros has two locations and both are within walking distance of bus stops. By the 41 Barger/Commerce bus route, the ride from the Eugene Station to Albee’s on West 11th is less than five minutes. The bus stop is west of Lincoln across from the Eugene Municipal Court. The walk from there to the restaurant is approximately a minute.

They serve a variety of Greek food. Their gyros and “Gyllies” are made with a mixture of beef and lamb. They also offer hot dogs, salads, sides, and desserts. Albee’s is known for offering free samples to indecisive customers and their reward cards which can be used to redeem free food. Most items on the menu are less than $10. 

Govinda’s Vegetarian Buffet, located on River Road, is an option for those with sensitive diets. The majority of their menu is vegan and gluten-free. It is reachable by the 51 Santa Clara bus. The stop is north of Hilliard Lane. The walk to the buffet is under five minutes. 

There, one serving of bread and soup is $3.95, and a pound of any of the buffet items is $5.99. Mostly inspired by Indian cuisine, they offer three different chutneys and have a wide variety of bread. The only bread that isn’t gluten-free is the whole wheat bread. Everything on the menu is vegan, except for the dinner casseroles which contain dairy products.

Sushi Island is an affordable option for Japanese cuisine with the majority of items under $10. They offer a happy hour from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m every day. During happy hour, items on the conveyor belt are $1.75 to $2.00 a plate. These items include sushi, desserts, and side dishes. A menu is available for those who don’t want sushi.

The quickest route to Sushi Island is the EmX Eugene bus to Seneca Station Inbound. The restaurant is visible from the stop, and the walk there is less than a minute.

Buses do not run on Thanksgiving Day. For more information about bus routes and holiday closures visit LTD’s website. 

A long ride home

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The 2019 women’s soccer season comes to an end

The Titans’ season came to an abrupt end after their loss to Whatcom.

The women’s soccer team has only lost one game out of the last 10 in the postseason. The Titans’ 5-2-5 regular season record put them in third place in the Southern Region heading into the playoffs. 

The team faced off against the Whatcom Community College Orcas on Nov. 6 in Bellingham.

Whatcom came into the playoffs with an 8-3-5 record, second place in the Northern Region Standings.

The playoff game was 371 miles away for the Titans, so, to acclimate themselves, the team traveled a day before the game. Whatcom had a home-field advantage.

For most of the game, Lane’s offense couldn’t seem to get the ball rolling. The first half was tight with Lane’s goalie Madisen Lease making two saves, but she couldn’t stop the onslaught from the Orcas.

By halftime, Lane trailed 1-0.

Whatcom had 27 total shots to Lane’s four. The Orcas’ midfielder, Katelyn Neher, who scored for the Orcas, is second in the Northwest Athletic Conference for total shots this season.

During the second half, Lane’s offense failed to score a goal while the defense was being barraged by the rival’s strikers on the other end of the field. 

Lane put up four shots with two on goal, both were saved by Whatcom’s keeper Abby McNany. Out of the 27 shots by the Orcas, only nine were on goal and Lease saved five.

Lane fell short, 0-4, in the first round of playoffs.

“At the end of the day, I gotta be happy with making the playoffs,” head coach Bryn Dennehy said. 

 

This is Dennehy’s first season with Lane and he managed to take a team with only two returning players from last year to the playoffs. He was impressed by their defensive performance over the year but is hoping with experience the team will improve overall next year.  

A fight to the end

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Men’s soccer falls out of the playoffs

The men’s soccer team ended the postseason in second place of the Southern Regional standings. After missing the playoffs for several years in a row, head coach Connor Cappelletti led his team to a winning record. 

With a record of 5-2-3, Lane was set to take on the Everett Community College Trojans with their record of 9-5-1.

The teams played during a cold 46-degree day at the Titans’ home field on Nov. 6.

Lane forward Jake Lambert scored the first goal with an assist from midfielder Jose Gonzales.

Lane’s defense held for 15 minutes until Everett’s midfielder Manuel Segura assisted forward Gerardo Lopez for the tying goal.

At 1-1 Lane had trouble getting possession of the ball and was forced to defend for the rest of the half. Before the first half concluded, Everett’s defender Jacob Woodward scored their second point with another assist from Segura. 

The Titans were down at half time 1-2.

Lane came out aggressive in the second half. They had a series of shots but failed to get past Everett’s keeper Cameron Beardsley. Lane had two shots on goal in the second half but Beardsley saved both.

The game was coming to a close, but Lane didn’t get any traction on offense. With a third assist from Segura, Everett’s Owen Padilla ended the game with a goal putting them ahead 1-3 with six and a half minutes remaining. 

Lane was unable to come back. 

Everett went on to play Columbia Basin in the second round of playoffs and lost in a shootout after tying 1-1.

The playoffs are down to the final four teams. 

This is the first season with Cappelletti at Lane’s helm. This was their first season in the playoffs which could be a good sign for the new head coach. 

Eugene has the nation’s highest homelessness rate

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The city’s push to stop homelessness numbers from rising

According to Security.org, a website that collects homelessness data on each state, Oregon is the seventh-highest with over 14,000 people experiencing homelessness overall. Oregon places fourth in the country with a rate of 350 per every 100,000 people experiencing homeless. The state has also seen a 14% increase over five years, a rate that is predicted to increase. 

That’s just Oregon. 

Out of all the major cities, Eugene has the nation’s highest rate of homelessness at 432 people per 100,000, with a 12% increase over the last five years. 

Out of all the people who experience homelessness in the country, 90% are over the age of 24, of which 70% are men and 30% are women.

“It may be surprising to learn that families who stay in sheltered locations account for 30% of the total homeless population in the U.S.” according to  Security.org on the resources page. 

One reason for this situation is because of the lack of permanent housing in Eugene, stated in the Lane County Final Report for 2019. Many in the homeless population have mental health issues or drug abuse problems. Both of these don’t allow people to focus on obtaining a permanent residence. It can also be difficult for some to get a job because of the fact they might have a criminal record.

Local government and nonprofit organizations have provided several solutions to combat the issue. On Eugene’s official website, some of the safety and precaution measures are seen taking effect.

One of these the community court program — “promotes responsibility in participants through a combination of supervised community service and direct connections to social service providers,” states on the Eugene government website. This program is used for those who have been charged with nonviolent crimes. Allowing them to have the choice to integrate themselves back into society by volunteer work and having the ability to access other resources.

The Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, or CAHOOTS, provides support through non-emergency methods in dealing with situations that help homeless individuals and families with referrals, basic information on resources, creating better bonds and finding housing. They also provide medical assistance.

The Community Outreach & Response Team, or CORT, has partnerships with the Eugene Police Department and with White Bird an organization that allows homeless people to take back control of their lives through medical, social, and other services.

Eugene’s City Council, among other efforts, plans to purchase a “structure to be used as a low-barrier emergency shelter” with a budget of $1.9 million. The budget will also allow the creation of a specialized team and emergency fund.

Student President discusses goals

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Lane’s student body president speaks on her plans for the school year

Bryant Everett was Lane Community College Chief of Staff last year, before being elected student government president. 

The transition from the previous student government was well designed according to Everett. She hopes to make it even easier for the next crew. 

“Where I’d like to be in nine months is comfortably knowing that the next group coming in is set up better than our group was previously,” Everett said. “We had a really good transition between the last administration and our own, and we just want to keep building on that.”

To fulfill her campaign promise of creating a well-connected college community, Everett is attempting to bridge the gap between student groups. She plans to create forums for student group leaders to allow the clubs on campus to communicate and help each other more. 

“The first one [campaign promise] was creating more connections in the college community which we are succeeding at and doing – I think – admirably at,” Everett said. 

Her focus is not only set on student clubs but for the individual student(s) as well. “We should be the student’s advocate,” Everett said. “Our biggest thing is: we’re trying to find solutions for problems that the students are experiencing that maybe not everyone knows is a big problem.” 

Finding what issues students need to be addressed is largely done by surveys. According to Everett, 27% of the student body has participated in the survey, her goal is to reach 33%. “We are trying to make sure that we survey students a lot, in the sense of we get a large representative share,” Everett said.

Her job as student body president doesn’t only pertain to on-campus issues. Often times she is asked to represent Lane’s students out of state. 

“If you need somebody to go to Washington DC and lobby our senators and our federal level legislators, that should theoretically be your president.” 

Also, branching out to other colleges in the state, she is using the same skills that she applies to campus. “The same thing that I am doing with the clubs, is exactly what we are doing with other colleges in the state,” Everett said. 

In her process, she is uncovering issues Lane may be having that other schools already solved. On the other hand, LCC is excelling in some areas that could be improved upon on other campuses.

“Our food pantry is actually much higher quality than most of the colleges and universities that we have visited,” Everett said. “That’s one of those things that we can model and show them how they can have better free resources for their students.” 

Being ambitious by nature, Everett hopes to create a position for a student to be on the Board of Education. According to LCC’s website, “the board’s charge is to oversee the development of programs and services that board members believe will best serve the needs of the people of the Lane Community College District.

“Because that is the highest ruling body of the entire organization, if we had just one student voice in that space that would be huge,” Everett said. “I’m plotting that out and there are some laws that need to change, and that’ll take the long legislative session, which is next year.”

Knowing she is president until the end of the school year, she hopes the next president will continue her plans. 

 

“Loneliness is a Monster”

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The 22 filmmaking teams at the seventh annual 72-Hour Horror Film Competition submitted pieces ranging from riveting to comical to somewhere in between. The Jury Award of $1,134 went to the film “Unwind,” produced by an all-female team from the University of Oregon Film Club. 

“Unwind” was produced by Colleen Quinn, Marissa Jensen, Sophie Ackerman and Noa Cohen. This psychological thriller with feminist undertones featured a female protagonist, hallucinating, as a coping mechanism; a perfect ‘50s housewife role that ends with a major twist. 

The teams were given a mandatory prop and a line of dialogue. The prop was a stuffed animal and the line was, “Loneliness is a monster.”

The “Unwind” team wrote their story concept in three hours and filmed it in one 16-hour day. 

As with most film projects, there are a lot of decisions to be made when editing. There are continuity errors and such that, with a longer timeline, one could reshoot or use b-roll to cover. 

“Like usual, in the editing process, you kind of, recreate your vision,” Jensen said. 

“It was really difficult to try to make the most of our time, while being controlled by, like, what props are up, and how the makeup has deteriorated so far,” Ackerman said. 

A Lane Community College team also took home an award for their film, entitled “Don’t Go.” This team crafted a story that left the audience in suspense. Their success was predicated on teamwork and improvisation. 

“For the most part,” said team leader Kyle Whitaker, “it was just everybody just kind of chips in where they can. And as far as the story is concerned, how we did it was we just kept throwing ideas around in a circle for a couple of hours and just kept taking that stone and using the chisel and making something out of it.”

Improvisation was crucial in overcoming the huge obstacle of securing a filming location, as every first choice fell through. Teresa Hughes, an instructor in the Media Arts Department at LCC, offered the team use of her house for the filming. Not having their first choice in location certainly altered some aspects of the story, such as why the character was even in the house, to begin with.

Eugene Film Society is the organization responsible for the event. They pride themselves on being a grassroots film culture and cultivating a growing knowledge of visual literacy among local youth. 

Other events the Eugene Film Society holds are coming up in the spring, such as the 72-hour music video competition. 

These events are not closed off to just students but to any production team willing to sign up. The Eugene Film Society will plan to bring back the 72-hour horror film competition again next October for the eighth year in a row. 

 

On your marks, get set, ghoul!

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EugFun Second annual Coffin race.

To any non-Eugenian, the frightening and wild visions seen at the top of Skinner Butte Loop on a misty October morning would have certainly caused alarm. 

Bloodied doctors, magical ponies and other spectral ghouls sat snugly in hand-built, coffin-shaped box cars, who are then shot screaming down the sloping Skinner Loop.

The EugFun Coffin Races marked their second year of success Saturday, Oct. 19. Numerous Frankensteins, monsters, mummies, witches and other spooky folks gathered on either side of the Loop, corralled by bales of hay, cheering their favorite racers on. 

While last year’s numbers drew in a little under 3,000 people, this year’s event boasted over 3,600 attendees which included families, students, police and firefighters, and, overall, freaked out visitors. 

Coffins were sent reeling over the hill, speeding down toward plush cushions, hay bales and helpful volunteers. 

The coffin racers themselves represented businesses and individuals. Each group’s box-car coffin was carefully crafted to win the race and the hearts of their viewers, meaning some were built for speed, and others for the humor alone. Giant shark coffins, Viking coffins, and even a suped-up bathtub found themselves at the starting line sporting clever tags likeDeath to All but Metal,” “Grave Mistake, Abby…Abby Normal,” “Millennium Coffin,” “Coffin n’ Sneezin’” and the “Corpse Ride” to name a few. 

A team needs to have a nimble coffin, a smart driver, a strong team of “pushers” and an energetic and supportive crowd.

While the coffin racers were setting up and shooting off, the hungry audience helped themselves to hot dogs, waffles, pizza, Thai food and adult beverages. 

To bridge the time between races, a plethora of games and crafts were either set up or donated to placate excited little monsters and ghosts. There were pumpkins to carve, cookies to decorate, bouncy houses to bounce in and many more family-friendly activities.

EugFun prioritized the safety of the crowd and the thirty-nine drivers. 

Volunteers were at nearly every opening and closing down the loop to prevent disaster. These were hypothetical coffin-cars after all. 

Besides a few skid marks and broken egos, not a single soul was sent careening into the great beyond.