June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Todd Boyle: Theo’s is the place to be in 2024

8 min read
Todd Boyle: I really think that Theo's / Whirled Pies’ space there is just an incredible gem of Eugene that we all need to patronize and support. Imagine six or eight or 10 different groups meeting. It could become a hotbed of organizing very quickly.

Todd Boyle: Okay, this is Todd Boyle and we’re down here at the 11 o’clock Saturday morning get-together at the Theo’s and Whirled Pies area space that used to be occupied by Our Revolution Lane County and a lot of other groups in the past.

[00:00:13] So we’re here at the ESSN table and we’re here with Lonnie Douglas who is I think one of the leaders in the ESSN. Was that ‘Eugene and—’?

[00:00:21] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): —Springfield Solidarity Network.

[00:00:24] Todd Boyle: All right, and you’ve been active for how many years?

[00:00:28] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): It’s about almost 35 years now.

[00:00:31] Todd Boyle: And Tom Brown is here at the table and he’s in his usual good cheer.

[00:00:36] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): Yeah, right. Yeah, I’m here with ESSN and SAN, that’s Solidarity Action Network, which is our political arm or whatever. Yeah, we come on Saturdays just to talk about stuff, you know, and have coffee. Everybody’s welcome.

[00:01:01] Todd Boyle: What would you say are the top two or three issues that are frequently talked about here?

[00:01:06] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): Oh, taxes.

[00:01:08] Todd Boyle: Increasing them or decreasing them?

[00:01:10] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): Well, either/or, depends on where they’re going. And we talk about labor union issues over by RiverBend hospital—

[00:01:22] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): They actually finished the strike up but they’re still in bargaining and it’s for the home care nurses. So, PeaceHealth is a big nonprofit that doesn’t seem to feel that they need to pay their home care nurses the same that they pay the hospital nurses because they feel that they’re not real nurses, which we know is not true.

[00:01:40] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): Well, they have to work much harder they don’t have help lifting patients or laundry services and so forth.

[00:01:50] Todd Boyle: So ESSN is a, is it a collaboration of unions that try to—?

[00:01:54] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): So it’s basically a network of local labor unions, grassroots organizations, faith groups, student organizations, and with the purpose of supporting workers, their right to organize, and supporting unions.

[00:02:13] We’ve been active or tried to help with like the Starbucks organizing the recent nurses strike, the bargaining at the college with SEIU, GTFF, organizations like that. And you know then we also organize workers, the SAN which is our 501(c)(4) which does the political stuff, focuses on like ballot initiatives, because we don’t endorse candidates. Because, you know, it gets very divisive when you organize candidates. We leave that.

[00:02:48] Tom Brown  (ESSN, SAN): It can be really disappointing.

[00:02:50] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): Yeah, so we’ve got the Oregon Rebate which is going to be on the ballot coming up in November which gives $750 to every Oregonian. ESSN was the one that put that together and our board member Antonio is the chief petitioner pushing that.

[00:03:08] We’ve got Just Cause, which is a ballot initiative that another one of our board members is a chief petitioner on that will basically make it so that an employer can’t fire you without cause.

[00:03:25] So those are our two big initiatives. And then we have one other: UFCW has an initiative that they’re pushing that will bring back full service for the gas because there was an issue with the state legislature passing a bill that now you have people pumping their own gas, but we lost a lot of jobs because of that.

[00:03:49] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): Businesses can now, you know, fire people. The gas stations, there’s not as many jobs because they don’t have to have everybody pumping their gas. So those are the three initiatives we’re probably working on.

[00:04:01] Todd Boyle: Hey, well, thanks for the brief update I know we could go on for half an hour or, any final comments, Tom?

[00:04:08] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): Stay tuned. We’re working on stuff.

[00:04:11] Todd Boyle: How long have you been doing this every Saturday?

[00:04:13] Lonnie Douglas (Eugene Springfield Solidary Network): Every Saturday, for the most part, since the pandemic ended, and we do it from 11 to 1.

[00:04:20] Todd Boyle: I know, and who knew? Because

[00:04:21] Tom Brown (ESSN, SAN): At Theo’s. (Yeah, at Theo’s, right.) (Yeah, Theo’s.) Saturday’s 11 to 1. (Yeah, 11 to 1.)

[00:04:28] Todd Boyle: Go team. All right. And so guess who’s here this morning at the (Pacific) Green (Party) table you’ll never guess. Justin Filip. So what’s up man?

[00:04:38] Justin Filip (Pacific Green Party): Not much, just trying to build community down here, getting a better turnout each time. I think the election cycle has got some people engaged.

[00:04:50] Todd Boyle: You’ve got a signature sheet going there.

[00:04:53] Justin Filip (Pacific Green Party): We do, we do. So we’re always looking for people to join our local chapter known as the Eugene Greens and you can find us on Instagram, Eugene Greens or on Facebook. Also we just have another signup sheet if you’re not ready to get that committed yet and you just wanted more information, you want to get on our mailing list we’ve got a sign-up sheet for that too.

[00:05:13] Todd Boyle: So you were just talking about the Jill Stein visit?

[00:05:16] Justin Filip  (Pacific Green Party): Yeah, it was pretty exciting. We were able to take two University of Oregon organizers, student leaders up to Portland State University. We really wanted to have Jill on campus at one of our public universities when she came to visit Oregon, so Portland State was the one that worked best with everybody’s schedule.

[00:05:35] We were able to take a couple of U of O students up there, like I said, and a couple of Portland State student leaders also joined us for a panel discussion. It was really good.

[00:05:42] Todd Boyle: Must have been a room full. How many people do you think you got there?

[00:05:45] Justin Filip (Pacific Green Party): The room held about 100. I don’t know if we had quite that many, but we got some good video of it. It was three o’clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday, so maybe a little tough for folks that work a regular shift.

[00:05:58] Todd Boyle: Oh, I videoed her campaign in 2012, and I think, well, she was on the march at Anacortes, Washington, you know, the March Point, and when they blocked railroad tracks, all this stuff, and sat in the car with her. But yeah, there was more than 100 people at her gatherings back up in, you know, Seattle area.

[00:06:16] Justin Filip (Pacific Green Party): Nice, nice. Yeah, she met with student leaders from Students for Justice in Palestine, some student leaders from Portland State that work on migrant issues, Cuban—End the blockade of Cuba issues. We had Climate Justice League representatives there. Real good discussion.

[00:06:38] Todd Boyle: Awesome. So why should people in Eugene join the Green Party?

[00:06:42] Justin Filip: Well, because I think the duopoly is just not getting the job done. It just leaves a lot to be desired and we need an option that’s not bought by corporations, that’s not funding wars constantly and the Green Party offers a great opportunity for people to build power outside of that.

[00:07:00] Todd Boyle: So to what extent would you regard the Green Party as a class advocacy for the lower economic classes, as opposed to its historical roots in the environment and so forth.

[00:07:14] Justin Filip: Oh well, yeah, I think we’re often known for our environmentalism, first and foremost, but we’re much more than that. Yes, we’ve also, we have four pillars, environmentalism being one of them, but on top of that, we’ve got democracy, social justice, and of course, peace. It’s like the biggest one right now. But yeah, much more than just environmentalism.

[00:07:34] Todd Boyle: So Carol Scherer is also here. She’s been active in these groups. Do you have any comments?

[00:07:39] Carol Scherer (Oregon Progressives for Real Change): I’m very much supporting Jill Stein, as I did in 2016, because she’s very much a giver, different from most of the other candidates, if not all the other candidates. And her heart is really strong for us, for the people, for the planet. She is somebody that I know is very talented and very courageous and that we can absolutely trust her.

[00:08:05] Todd Boyle: Is she still a practicing physician? I remember she was—

[00:08:07] Carol Scherer (Oregon Progressives for Real Change): She is a physician, but—

[00:08:09] Justin Filip: I don’t believe she’s currently practicing or hasn’t for some time.

[00:08:12] Todd Boyle: Yeah, but that’s like the—shows who she is, you know? It really does.

[00:08:15] Carol Scherer (Oregon Progressives for Real Change): Yes, I mean, caring about people is in her heart deep and it’s not about money, it’s about justice.

[00:08:24] Todd Boyle: And Michelle Holman is here. So let’s get a couple of words.

[00:08:30] Michelle Holman (Community Rights Lane County): Well, I’m here because the Greens have been a robust organization over time and Community Rights Lane County and Protect Lane County Watersheds is looking to build coalition with some of the mover and shakers here in our county. The Greens are one.

[00:08:48] Todd Boyle: Right on, and also Carol, one of your main activities is hosting the Oregon Progressives group on Facebook.

[00:08:55] Carol Scherer (Oregon Progressives for Real Change): Oh, it’s a private group, Oregon Progressives for Real Change, and we welcome people that are truly progressive, might even call them left populists, which is a whole new term that I think probably describes us more than actually the more generic ‘progressive’ term.

[00:09:13] So look for us on Facebook, Oregon Progressives for Real Change and ask to be a member. We appreciate having you.

[00:09:23] Todd Boyle: Yes, and as a member I’d like to officially welcome all of the 50 million people who are about to get kicked off TikTok, who are (reportedly) going to come swarming into Facebook looking for somewhere to connect. Join us on Oregon Progressives for Real Change and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon.

[00:09:38] Justin Filip: Thanks, Todd.

[00:09:42] Todd Boyle: I really think that Theo’s / Whirled Pies’ space there is just an incredible gem of Eugene that we all need to patronize and support. I mean for example, there were other tables of people there. One of them, there was 10 young ladies, and I approached them to see if it was an organized group and it was a study group of students. So it’s just a multi-use space. It’s really a valuable asset.

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