Program Report: Zooming Along

By Joel Korin, Program Committee Chair


Among the eight City Clubs in Oregon, we are now the only one providing weekly programs. It’s quite an accomplishment, but we had to pivot from in-person to Zoom. On March 6, 2020, we had our last in-person meeting, dealing with short-term rentals. We were scheduled to have a program on election security on March 13, but the speaker from the Secretary of State’s office had to cancel because the office was converting to working from home with an impending primary election. That program was the only one we missed—and it wasn’t really missed, just postponed until September, in time for the general election.

We quickly learned to Zoom. Thanks to the technical wizardry of Ralph Pledger, we were back on March 20. The first six Zoomed programs covered all the contested races in the primary election. In the fall, we ran five candidate forums and two other programs dealing with the election. Other topics covered between March and our August break included gun violence, the lasting impact of the internment of Japanese Americans, minimum wage workers, bias in policing, and criminal justice reform.

Our committee members are full of great program ideas. Since September, we’ve had two series: one on the fall wildfires and the response of Oregonians; and the other on the housing crisis. Additionally, programs analyzed the meanings of monuments, implicit bias, COVID, election results, designer babies, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the problems with addiction, issues relating to the economy of Oregon’s coastal towns, and whether the US is ready for a single payer health system.

We learned that Zoom can expand our horizons by allowing speakers to avoid travel, either because of COVID restrictions or cost. We have used speakers from Newark NJ, Seattle WA and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Only someone from New Jersey would brag about getting a speaker from Newark.)

On March 26, former governor Dr. John Kitzhaber led a discussion with the president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Susan Bailey, and Dr. Tom Cooney, Chair-elect of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physician. They reflected on many ways to help us get universal access to health care.

As they say on TV, “But wait, there’s more.” We are eagerly awaiting programs on Eugene’s green canopy, an update on the new Hayward Field and the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the annual election of CCE officers and the Turtle awards, and a look at local authors and their struggles and successes in getting published. A program on the promise of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is being scheduled for the fall.

We hope to go back to live programming as soon as it’s safe. Meanwhile, please provide your idea for a program that interests you; the Program Committee welcomes new ideas. Do you want a bigger role in programming? In May, incoming president Kitty Piercy will make appointments to committees for the next year. Contact her if you want to be considered for an appointment to the Program Committee or another committee.