Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Upstream Battle for Salmon
Court-ordered protections have no teeth.
Workin' at the Carwash
Good clean fun on West 11th
THE WALL GOES TO HIROSHIMA
A 10-meter-long wooden wall of peace messages was flown from Eugene to Japan earlier this week to become part of a 400-meter-long wall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Peace activists from Eugene are flying to Japan, joining thousands of people from other countries for the commemoration.
Here at home, this weekend wraps up a series of events in memory of the bombings in 1945. The events culminate in a community gathering at 7:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 6, at Alton Baker Park (see Calendar).
The local Wall Project, started by Beyond War, grew over the summer as it appeared at Saturday Market, Art and the Vineyard, the UO campus, the Oregon Country Fair and other events. People of all ages decorated about 2,900 wooden blocks with their names and peace messages. The blocks are held together with wooden dowels, and the entire wall can be rolled up to be moved. It cost about $800 to ship it to Japan, says Kate Wearn of Eugene, who is flying to Japan this week with the colorful project.
"People seem to be truly touched by the beauty of the Wall and what it symbolizes," says Wearn, "and many have actually thanked me for providing them with the opportunity to participate and engage in this creative form of expression and activism."
More local events leading up to the Saturday gathering include the Shadow Project, from 4 to 7 pm Friday at the Eugene Public Library. WAND sponsors this political art presentation. "Peace activists around the world engage in this project on Hiroshima eve to honor lives lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, remembering the human shadows burnt into the streets by nuclear bombs," says Aria Seligmann of WAND. "The art project is done with the clear intention in the hearts of the artists to prevent nuclear shadows from ever being cast again."
Participants will arrive at the library for training and to collect materials, then head out to create chalk shadows in designated areas of Eugene and Springfield.
Other events include the Ribbon of Tangible Hope project, surrounding the Federal Building with peace messages, and a "Hiroshima Letter" being drafted for delivery to the Federal Building, and mailing to elected officials.
Co-sponsors of the week's events include Justice Not War Coalition, CALC's Progressive Responses, Faith in Action, Fellowship of Reconciliation, WAND and Beyond War. — TJT
ROAD SHOW ON TO CORVALLIS
The local Global Trends-Local Choices cable TV show is on the road this summer, carrying on an educational program "in the interest of a more hopeful and sensible future," says Jan Spencer.
Spencer and Ravi Logan and have several dates set for presentations in Corvallis, Ashland and Newport, and contacts have been made in Coos Bay and Salem. The first show was in Bend July 22. The Corvallis show will be at 7 pm Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Public Library. Sponsors are the library, The Natural Step and Northwest Earth Institute.
The talks and slide shows promote "New Culture" role models and also invite "delegates" to the ninth annual Northwest Permaculture and Bio Regional Gathering in Eugene Sept. 9-11.
Spencer says the format of the presentation departs from standard lecture. It is more in the manner of a talk show with Logan and Spencer engaging in banter, discussion and dialogue with the audience. "The talk touches on eco-humanism, economic conversion, permaculture, food security, neighborhoods and urban redesign," he says.
For more information, Spencer can be reached at 686-6761.
JAZZ SOCIETY OPENS CLUB
Downtown Eugene's newest jazz club opened its doors July 22 at 68 W. Broadway, with a concert by the band Mercury's Refrain. The Jazz Station promises to invigorate the local jazz scene with earlier evening shows and a unique member-led premise: Paid subscribers get rehearsal space, avoid cover charges and get to book shows each month.
The venue is a project of the non-profit Willamette Jazz Society, with Mercury's Refrain bassist Chris Orsinger at the helm. WJS secretary and local pianist John Crider coordinates bookings. Both musicians will be regular performers at the venue but hope many other local jazz players and fans will sign on to support the venture.
For $20 a month, performers or singers are entitled to two rehearsals and one concert each month. Cover charges ($5 for non-members) go directly to the performers, creating an opportunity to recoup membership fees and then some.
"Obviously there is a finite number of limited memberships for performers, so anyone who's interested in doing that needs to probably get up and come in early," Crider says. "There's no limit to people who want to come listen and support us, of course."
A $10 "Hip Cat" membership entitles the holder to free passes to four monthly concerts plus additional concerts for only $3. Band and Patron memberships have additional benefits, explained on the website www.jazzstation.orgThe Jazz Station isn't modeled after any existing jazz clubs the operators are aware of. The cooperative idea allows local members to have artistic control and "incubate" the scene. Only members will be putting on concerts, so the performers you'll see will be your co-workers, friends and neighbors, not tour-worn road bands. It's also different from other jazz clubs in that the focus is solely music.
"It's a concert hall. It's not a bar primarily. It's not a restaurant primarily," Crider says. "In the other venues in town their main purpose is something else and they have music on the side, whereas our venue is all about music."
The club hosts a singer showcase every Thursday evening, where "aspiring singers can come and sit in with a professional jazz band and try out their songs," Crider says. Regular jam sessions will be held and a Sunday all-ages drop-in jam session opens the stage to younger performers. "We want it to be jazz, broadly defined," Orsinger says.
This weekend's shows include a 5 to 7 pm concert Friday with Crider followed by a 7:30 to 10 pm show with vocalist Nancy Ream with Mercury's Refrain. Saturday from 7:30 to 10 pm is Unit 13 with Kahli Burke, Jeff Adams and Steve Jankowski.
For more information or to become a member, contact Crider (349-1384) or Orsinger (345-3315). — Vanessa Salvia
EUGENE TOPS FOR WALKING
Eugene joined Portland, Boston and San Francisco on a short list of foot-friendly cities in the nation. Eugene was ranked #8 Best Walking City in America recently by the American Podiatric Medical Association (see www.apma.org for details).
|Eugene placed #8 in best walking (even in a crowd.)|
Dr. Andrew Schink, along with five other doctors, presented Mayor Kitty Piercy with the award on behalf of the APMA to recognize Eugene as one of 10 U.S. cities most conducive to walking.
"Those of us who live here have long known Eugene is a fantastic place for walking, biking and experiencing the outdoors," says Piercy. "Our downtown and all of our city parks and riverfront trails are especially beautiful right now, so put on your walking shoes and get out and enjoy Eugene."
In the annual Best Walking Cities competition, 200 cities are ranked by an independent research company using 14 direct measures of walking, including the percentage of the population that walks for fitness or exercise, the percentage of hikers or backpackers, and the percentage of people who walk or bike to work.
A short news item last month (7/7) incorrectly reported that the Bush administration had proposed a regulation to close a "blending" loophole allowing more sewage to be flushed into rivers and that the local MWMC sewage plant opposed the change. The proposed regulation actually kept the loophole open and MWMC supported it.
Do you pay taxes? What a sucker. As we go to press, Lane County and Hynix are cajoling the city of Eugene into a enterprise zone compromise that appears to guarantee Hynix tax breaks of nearly $100,000 per new job created at the corporation. Holy shit, that's a lot of money. It's more than triple the $30,000 city-proposed cap the county had earlier appeared to agree to. If Hynix adds 100 jobs, as it says it might, the corporation will get a $10 million break over three years, as opposed to $3 million. That $7 million of additional corporate welfare could have been spent locally on schools (it's counted outside the cap), parks, police, prosecutors, jails, social services, tax rebates or whatever the county and the city wanted. If this is the deal the council is forced to strike with the county, the city should demand a firm contract. The county commissioners have proven they can't be trusted. Voters should remember the county's betrayal next time the county proposes a big tax increase on everybody else. Piercy is trying to make a bad situation better, but ended up negotiating a compromise to dilute a compromise that was already a bad idea. One final note: The president and CEO of Hynix Semiconductor America sent a note Aug. 1 to Piercy and Commissioner Anna Morrison "in full support of the compromised cap," with a reference at the bottom to Bobby Lee, corporate communications officer. Yep, the same Bobby Lee who was on the City Council during battles with Hyundai/Hynix in 1997. The revolving door continues to spin.
A strange tale is circulating regarding the WOW Hall concert venue and the Eugene Police Department. We hear WOW Hall management is irked at the cops for harassing and ticketing paying customers hanging out in front of the building while ignoring violent drunks and druggies. It gets stranger yet. At least one pissed-off cop, Randy Ellis, reacting to the painting over of a "no trespassing" sign on a bench, is reportedly sending transients to the WOW Hall steps and back parking lot, saying they won't be hassled there. EPD spokesperson Pam Olshanski says Internal Affairs is investigating the report, even though no formal complaint has been filed, and the chief has asked a patrol captain to meet with WOW Hall management. She says cops have ticketed people outside WOW Hall for open liquor containers, fist fights and other offenses, regardless of whether they are concert-goers or homeless people. She also doubts that Officer Ellis would send transients to somewhere else on his own beat. This all raises a bigger issue: How do we as a community deal with what appears to be a growing summer transient population downtown, and the problems that go along with it?
Prevailing winds in the valley put most of us downwind of Weyerhaeuser's veneer plant in Coburg, so we should be particularly skeptical of the company's plans to boost production without upgrading pollution controls. The plant is grandfathered in under federal rules for older plants, but local enviros and organic farmers are calling for closer scrutiny of the plan. Good idea. And Weyerhaeuser could score some much-needed goodwill by initiating upgrades of its pollution controls.
Oregon Environmental Council lobbyist Matt Blevins came under fire after Reps. Scott Bruun (R-West Linn) and Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley) filed a complaint about his "aggressive" conduct. The sin? He told the lawmakers that if they didn't vote to fund the pesticide use reporting system, the OEC would bash them in a media campaign. The Capitol Club, which represents lobbyists in Salem, has a rule against tying a lawmaker's vote to a lobbyist's campaign support. Blevins issued an apology, and the Capitol Club considered the matter closed. So why the stink? Blevins said that the complaint against him was supposed to be confidential, but someone leaked it to the press. Underpinning the mess, though, is a blatant hypocrisy. There's a reason that rich industry lobbyists (such as Associated Industries of Oregon) spend millions to elect Republicans: Their campaign contributions earn them favorable votes in Salem. "OEC and other members of the nonprofit progressive community don't have nearly the access that the big-time industry lobbyists have," Blevins says. "There's a lot of wink-wink, nudge-nudge going on here."
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Upstream Battle for Salmon
Court-ordered protections have no teeth.
BY KERA ABRAHAM
Lately, salmon advocates are finding that winning in court is the easy part. Getting the government to enforce court orders is much tougher.
Three years ago, the Eugene-based Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and the Washington Toxics Coalition led a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, charging that the EPA should have consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service before approving 54 pesticide ingredients that may harm endangered and threatened salmon.
The environmentalists won the suit. Washington District Judge John Coughenour agreed that the EPA was in violation of the Endangered Species Act and ordered the agency to work with NMFS to establish restrictions on the chemicals. In 2004, the judge granted an injunction and ordered no-spray buffer zones around rivers and streams inhabited by endangered and threatened salmon.
The judge also directed the EPA to instruct retailers to post warning signs near products, such as Malathion Plus and Ortho's Weed-B-Gone, that contain any of the pesticide ingredients in question. The warning reads, "SALMON HAZARD. This product contains pesticides that may harm salmon or steelhead. Use of this product in urban areas can pollute salmon streams."
But the EPA did not notify retailers about the warnings directly. Instead, a pesticide industry group sent confounding letters to affected businesses, referring them to a website containing the court order. As a result, only a small fraction of home and garden retailers have posted the warning signs to date (see R-G article, 7/18).
The EPA doesn't monitor stores to ensure compliance, nor does it take action against violators. And because "the label is the law" when it comes to pesticides, and the court order doesn't change pesticide product labels, the EPA is not enforcing the new buffer zones either. All the agency is doing, according to spokeswoman Enesta Jones, is making the information available on its website.
Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman, who represented the environmental defendants in the lawsuit, says that her firm may ask the district judge to require the EPA to take further steps to comply with the original court order. "Their argument that 'We're not the ones who have to get the word out' when they're the ones who violated the law is not a very credible position," she says.
The lack of teeth on pesticide regulations is couched in a larger federal attack on the environment. Western Environmental Law Center attorney Andrea Rodgers says that the EPA under Bush has been noticeably more secretive and combative than it was in years past. The EPA under Clinton held that pesticides should be subject to environmental laws and regulations (such as the Endangered Species Act) before being applied, but the EPA under Bush holds that pesticide registration alone is sufficient. "This is such a great example of flip-flopping," Rodgers says. "The only thing that's changed is the president."
On a state level, pesticide regulation has been hazy at best. In 1999 the Oregon Legislature established a statewide pesticide use reporting system, but industry lobbyists convinced lawmakers to withhold its funding for the past six years, rendering the system defunct. This session the Legislature finally funded the system, but it allowed pesticide users to report much more generalized data than intended in the original bill [Link]. Not all blame goes to federal and state agencies. The city of Eugene, too, has been slow to restrict pesticide use. In 2002, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to create a policy to reduce pesticide use on public property. But so far, says NCAP Water Quality Coordinator Aimee Code, the city has done nothing to follow up.
City Public Works spokesman Eric Jones says that's not a fair assessment. "The city continues to have practices in place to protect salmon habitat from pollutants, particularly pesticide runoff," he says. "Not that some things can't be improved, but any suggestion that the city has not lived up to that City Council resolution is incorrect."
NCAP has been pressuring Eugene to adopt a pesticide-free parks program similar to those in Portland, Seattle and Santa Barbara [Link]. "I don't know why Eugene has been so resistant to creating pesticide-free parks," Code says. "Eugene is better than many cities, but I think we have a long way to go before we can say we're doing the best we can to reduce pesticide use."
Workin' at the Carwash
Good clean fun on West 11th
BY MARK FRISBEE
Summers in college. How I hated working in pizza joints tossing pies, clerking at the mall in some crappy retail store, doing busywork in my father's office as an "intern." No matter where I worked, the pay was lousy, the hours horrible and my bosses always turned out to be like Bill Lumbergh from the movie Office Space (except for my father of course).
|Posing for the camera at the Carwash.|
Any of you LCC, UO or OSU students thinking about majoring in business? We have a few young women you should talk to. These six LCC students haven't reinvented the wheel when it comes to making money, but they have made the concept of "fee for services" a little sexier and more fun.
The Bikini Carwash, as it has become known around town, is located in a driveway on West 11th Avenue between Washington and Jefferson. It's on the right side. You can't miss it unless you're in the left lane cruising next to a Hummer. Or if you have a cell phone stuck to your head — but even then it would be pretty damned hard to miss.
One hot sunny afternoon last week I took the not-so-dirty Eugene Weekly van to visit this head-whipping, traffic-swerving roadside attraction. Sterling, Rachel and Jenny were "manning" the hoses and soapy buckets. In all, there are six young entrepreneurs: Rachel, Sterling, Jenny, Anne, Vanessa and Victoria. They work in shifts of three or four and split the profits evenly.
"We make as much money as a regular job but we get to get a nice tan and have fun with each other," says Sterling, one of the masterminds behind the carwash idea.
The idea came to Sterling and Rachel when they were trying to figure out ways to make money to buy new costumes for the upcoming Burlesque show at John Henry's. No one else in town was doing it so they figured they would give it a try. Sure enough, after about two months of soapy water, equally bubbly personalities and a lot of skin, they have made close to $4,000.
Not just men pull into the carwash. "We get a lot of couples, even some women," says Sterling. "We consider ourselves the ultimate feminists. We control what we do. We do it because we want to, not because we have to. As a feminist I believe it's important to be true to yourself, and do what you think is right."
A regular carwash will run you $10 and the super sexy bonus wash costs a bit more (but we understand it's well worth it). The neighbors on the block don't seem to mind the constant flow of cars and honking horns. "Trust me, the neighbors don't complain, they keep a close eye on us," says Jenny.
Police cars cruise by to make sure traffic's flowing, because the bikini-clad women have caused a few fender benders.
When these young women aren't washing cars, they hang out at the end of their driveway holding their "Bikini Carwash" sign, waving, blowing kisses, bouncing up and down and strutting their stuff, trying to bring in more business.
As I pulled away in the still not-so-dirty Eugene Weekly van I heard Sterling trying to entice the next washee by saying, "We're young, we're hot, and we're college students."