Your Weekend Reader for Sept. 16-17

by | Sep 16, 2023 | Weekend Reader | 0 comments

I almost was late posting this week’s edition of Your Weekend Reader — I’ve been distracted as I finished my application to be Gannett’s reporter on its newly announced Taylor Swift beat. Like all of you, I’m happy that Gannett is back in the business of hiring journalists and look forward to the announcement that they’re also hiring people to backfill at least some of the big cuts the company has instituted in its papers in Salem and Eugene.

If you have $2,000 or so to spend, can schedule six hours or so for the treatment and can wait for months, you can get in line to be among the first Oregonians to try psilocybin therapy. The first psilocybin therapy centers in the United States are open, including centers in Eugene (but of course) and Albany (not so immediately obvious). The clinics that have opened say they already have long waiting lists. I can’t speak for you, but I’m very curious about trying this — but will wait until the cost comes down. The Associated Press’ Andrew Selsky has this report about Oregon’s bold experiment into hallucinogens.

It’s too early to say how the legalization of psilocybin therapy in Oregon will play out — but plenty of controversy continues to revolve around Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of controlled substances such as heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and fentanyl. (The measure was approved by voters in the same election that OK’d psilocybin therapy.) Pressure is mounting to repeal Measure 110, and even advocates say the measure and its implementation need work. Erika Bolstad has a good story about the debate surrounding Oregon’s decriminalization effort.

Here is news I’m a little bit sorry to break to you: The 2024 election season in Oregon is officially underway. Thursday was the first day candidates could file to appear on the 2014 primary ballot. Among those signing up to run were some of the Republican senators who have been ruled ineligible for reelection because they racked up too many unexcused absences during this year’s legislative walkout. My expectation here is that, eventually, those senators will be on the ballot: I don’t think the voter-approved initiative that prompted their disqualification will survive the court challenge they’ve filed. Julia Shumway at the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported on this political opening day.

Speaking of news, a new study has found that non-news websites expose more people to political content than actual news sites. This may be depressing news to those of us who believe that factual journalism is important to an educated polity, but wait — it gets worse: One reason for the disparity is that people spend far more time on entertainment and shopping sites than they do news sites. Mark Coddington and Seth Lewis have more about the implications of this in a post on the Nieman Lab website.

Starbucks appears to be serious about efforts to retire its disposable cups and push customers — gently, so-gently — into using reusable cups. In a story that is way more interesting than it has any right to be, the AP’s Peter Prengaman outlines the Starbucks strategy and the challenges it faces.

It’s not a question I’d considered before, but The Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist is wondering who should be anointed Oregon’s official movie or TV star. Personally, I would lean toward Sam Elliott, but Turnquist has gathered information about Clark Gable, Kim Novak, Ginger Rogers and Jane Powell that has me reconsidering.

Speaking of rankings and lists, a new ranking (from an online casino search site, oddly enough) reports that Multnomah Falls is the most photogenic waterfall in the United States. (Silver Falls State Park, with its multitude of waterfalls, came in at No. 8.) The Oregonian had the story, which reminded me of Don DeLillo’s classic bit (in his novel “White Noise”) about “the most photographed barn in America.”

Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster “Barbie” is the year’s biggest box office hit. Gerwig, along with stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, can take a lot of credit for the movie’s success — and so can the CEO of Mattel, who was perfectly happy to be depicted in the movie as a clueless blowhard. The New York Times has this piece about “Barbie’s” long journey to box-office behemoth.

The really interesting news about the Pac-12 Conference these days — at least until conference play sets in next week — is in the courtroom: On Monday, a judge in Whitman County (Washington) Superior Court granted a preliminary injunction sought by Oregon State University and Washington State University blocking a meeting of the Pac-12 board — including the members who have announced they’re leaving the conference — that had been scheduled for later in the week. OSU and WSU feared that the meeting would give the departing schools an opportunity to divide the assets of the conference between all 12 universities instead of the just the two schools remaining. Both OSU and WSU believe the conference assets should remain with the two schools that actually will remain in the conference. A 12-way split could dramatically shortchange OSU and WSU’s efforts to rebuild the conference — efforts that still strike me as a longshot, but which certainly would be much more difficult without access to the full assets of the Pac-12.

Despite the efforts all around to try to at least maintain a facade of collegiality in this, expect it to get nastier as it goes along. No attorneys from the departing schools attended the hearing, and the Pac-12 attorney himself noted that each of the schools is “highly suspicious of the other.”

Of course, it’s possible that those other attorneys just couldn’t find the courtroom: If you’ve ever taken that road trip from Corvallis to Pullman, you know that the hearing wasn’t in Pullman: For reasons I’ve never understood (but, to be honest, never took the time to figure out), the county seat for Whitman County is in Colfax, a town of about 2,800 people that is 16 miles away from Pullman and its 33,000 residents.

That’s it for this weekend. Next weekend boasts the big Oregon State-Washington State football game (to be played in Pullman, not Colfax). I’m lobbying for the game to be branded “The Pac-2 Classic.”

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