Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to Portland Timbers, major charitable gifts; down to feeding critters

Cheers — to the Portland Timbers professional soccer team, which played a friendly match Wednesday against a team of 8-year-olds in its stadium at JELD-WEN Field. The match was arranged by Make-A-Wish Oregon on behalf of 8-year-old Atticus Lane-Dupre, who was diagnosed with cancer last fall after experiencing pain while playing with his team, The Green Machine. Atticus had to miss the last game of last season because he was undergoing treatment. He expressed a wish to play a match against the Timbers, and the team agreed.

The match took place on a scaled-down field at one end of the Timbers' stadium. Adidas provided new uniforms and shoes for Atticus and his team, who won the match, 10-9, with Atticus scoring four goals, including the winner.

Jeers — to a bill before the Legislature that would make it a crime to feed raccoons. We jeer not because we think raccoons should be fed — we don't — but because it is necessary to enact a law to persuade some folks that feeding destructive, dangerous, disease-carrying wild animals is a good idea. Senate Bill 474 would add raccoons to the public feeding ban for bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves. Like the other predators on the list, raccoons can become habituated to being fed, lose their fear of humans, and injure them or cause conflicts with neighbors who don't appreciate their presence. Raccoons also carry and spread canine distemper, a disease that can spread to pets.

Cheers — to a $2.2 million bequest from a former Army nurse who left the money to the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation. The money — the largest gift the foundation has ever received — will go mostly to nursing students who intend to work in the Rogue Valley. Other programs that will benefit from the gift are the foundation's Charity Care Endowment and the ACH Hospice Program. The gift from Ruth Tucker Evans, who died in January at age 96, is equal to about seven years of the foundation's fundraising.

Cheers — to another gift, this one a $1 million donation to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from Ashland residents Judy Shih and Joel Axelrod. Half of the money will go to redesign the festival's central courtyard known as The Bricks. The remainder will be divided equally between OSF's education programs and development of new plays.

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