Cheers — to the expansion of Prescott Park, celebrated with a ribbon-cutting Saturday. The first phase of the expansion added 6.4 miles of multi-use trails to the 6 miles already there. The new trails are designed for mountain bikers, especially the Black Diamond-designated, downhill-only stretch at the top of Roxy Ann Peak. Although it's outside the city limits, Prescott is a city park and offers sweeping views as well as hiking, running and biking trails just minutes from downtown.
Jeers — to the increase in expressions of hatred and racial and cultural animosity that have earned Oregon the dubious distinction of leading the nation in hate crimes, according to a data-gathering project by the nonprofit journalism website ProPublica. The website collaborated with a consortium of news organizations, civil rights groups and universities. Many of the hate crimes were of the swastika-graffiti variety rather than acts of violence, but they are disturbing and unacceptable nonetheless. And as local activists note, racism always has been here, it's just become more openly displayed of late. Which brings us to ...
Cheers — to the organizers of a two-part community workshop called "Interrupting Hate in Public Spaces." A session was held Monday in Medford and a second one on Tuesday in Ashland. Participants learned techniques for nonviolent, bystander intervention when witnessing incidents of physical and verbal altercations in public. They also learned positive actions they could take beyond just speaking out against hate.
Cheers — to the news that the snowy winter and wet spring everyone is tired of will have a silver lining: This year's fire season is likely to start later and, we all hope, be less destructive than usual. Wildfire managers note there is no guarantee, and a bad fire still can occur, but the conditions leading into the summer are the most favorable they have seen in at least a decade.