Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
SeQuential opens retail biofuels filling station.
Happening Person: James Ewell
DIOXIN DATA CONFIRMED, ONCE AGAIN
The National Academies (NA) released a report last week confirming the conclusions of numerous scientific panels that dioxin is a potent cancer-causing chemical. Chlorine-based industries have been stalling the release of the EPA's dioxin reassessment for 15 years, according to Eugene's Oregon Toxics Alliance (OTA).
Dioxin is a big issue for Lane County and the southern Willamette Valley, says Lisa Arkin of OTA. The Brooks Incinerator 5 miles north of Salem releases dioxin when medical waste and plastics are incinerated, and prevailing winds carry the pollutants south. The Marion County Solid Waste Advisory Council has recommended increasing the maximum amount of incinerator-bound medical waste from 1,500 to 2,500 tons/year by importing medical waste from Washington and other states.
"The problem associated with incinerating medical waste is that it contains large amount of PVC-containing equipment (IV bags and tubing, syringes, patient ID bracelets), which produces dioxin when burned," says Arkin. "Burning medical waste may be convenient … the old 'out of sight, out of mind' trick. However, after incineration, the resulting dioxin is released into the Willamette Valley air in the form of air emissions and fly ash. These small particles settle in everyone's backyard, on playgrounds, and are deposited into homes — it can never be collected or cleaned up."
David Monk, president of the OTA, says, "Many citizens we have worked with feel that Marion County has not adequately considered the scientific evidence that the dioxin from the Brooks Incinerator poses a true threat to public health."
Dioxin is a known human carcinogen, active in the body at very small levels. Scientists at the EPA have long concluded dioxin is highly toxic, but a coalition of industries responsible for generating the toxic byproduct have stalled progress on a 15-year study of the chemical.
COLUMNIST RESPONDS TO RALSTON
Nationally published Hispanic columnist Patrick Osio sent an open letter to Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston July 13 saying, "Serving as an elected official does not immune you from the ignorance so unfortunately prevalent even for those who graduated from high school with academic honors. It is obvious from some of your remarks in your ill conceived e-mail sent to J. Woodrow that you do not speak Spanish and are totally and blindly ignorant of Mexican or Latin American culture."
Ralston has been the object of both criticism and support following his statements that Hispanics are trying to "take over" the American Southwest. "They want to invade and not assimilate," he wrote. He also supported penalties for landlords and employers who provide housing and jobs to undocumented immigrants, and called for English to become the official language of Springfield.
Osio, based in San Diego, writes a regular column called HispanicVista (www.HispanicVista.com),and said Ralston's conclusions about the Hispanic threat were based on inaccurate and racist translations, and "totally asinine" conspiracy theories promoted by hate groups in California.
Summer brings several gatherings for folks interested in building environmentally and socially sustainable communities. The first is a free Community Creations Convergence from 9 am to midnight July 31 at the Lost Valley Educational Center south of Dexter. The purpose is "building stronger social ties, exchanging wisdom and raising public awareness abut the many benefits and joys of intentional living."
For more information, call 937-3351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming up Aug. 25-27 is an environmental gathering in Eugene that draws people from all over the country. The 10th annual Northwest Permaculture and Bioregional Gathering will be held at the at Dharmalaya Center in the River Road Neighborhood.
The stated purpose of the gathering is "to advance the visions, strategies and skills for living more at peace in the global community, to develop positive human potential and live within what Planet Earth can provide."
Workshop, panel discussion and speaker topics will cover peak oil, U.S. foreign policy, climate change, the excesses of modern life, global peace and justice, the environment, (sub)urban redesign, economic conversion, and simply how to "live closer to home with a smaller eco-logical footprint."
Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule
Weyerhaeuser (744-4600) Notification No. 50810, aerial spraying on 543 acres near Lorane with 2,4-D LV6; Garlon 4 and 3A; Accord CRT and Concentrate; Arsenal; Escort; Transline; Oust XP and Extra; and Chopper herbicides around the South Fork of the Siuslaw, Russell, Douglas, Letz, and Doe Hollow creeks. No. 50834, aerial spraying on 892 acres with same herbicides as above along Pitney, Squaw, Long Tom, Greenleaf, and Jack Hays creeks near Cheshire, Low Pass, Blachly, Triangle Lake, Greenleaf, and Noti. No. 50835, ground spraying on 1,372 acres using the same herbicides as above near Ferguson, Bear, Squaw, Long Tom, Nulls, Michaels, Greenleaf, Jack Hays, Fish, Hayes, and Lake creeks starting Aug. 1. For more information contact Oregon Department of Forestry (935-2283).
News of the plea bargains of three eco-saboteurs in federal court in Eugene July 20 is making headlines worldwide. We even heard from a Dutch magazine looking for photos of the Whiteaker neighborhood. Eugene's reputation as the "home of the anarchists" is getting another boost. But a couple of much larger issues are playing out here. The overriding and forever unresolved issue is: How can people without money and power defend our environment from rampant greed and corruption? What is an appropriate and effective response? We see property destruction as just another form of violence, and yet our celebrated 1773 Boston Tea Party was politically motivated property destruction. Note, however, that the tax-resisting colonists did not torch the ships in Boston Harbor. Another big issue here is our government's fanatic persecution of dissent, way out of proportion to the crimes committed. The FBI's Operation Backfire threatens suspects with life sentences if they do not cooperate in federal witch hunts. Meanwhile, the much more serious threats to our national security go unchecked. The many millions spent in pursuit of these "high priority" suspects would have been far better spent chasing real terrorists — fanatics bent on making political statements by destroying people, not property.
Hot weather makes just about everybody miserable, but particularly hard hit are low-income people who have no air conditioning, and no shelter from the heat. We swelter at EW's offices when even with AC our indoor temps hover around 80. Pity the poor folks who labor in much hotter conditions. This is a good time to think about ripping up a bit of concrete, planting some shade trees on the southwest side of buildings to block that deadly afternoon sun. A lot of Eugene-area homes and businesses could save money and increase comfort by strategically planting deciduous trees.
Speaking of sunshine, here are a few bare facts from the fun and informative City Club presentation July 14 by Pat Brown, national president of the American Association for Nude Recreation. Most of the year she lives at the Willamettans Family Resort in Marcola. Oregon was the first state in the country to sanction a state park with a nude beach, Rooster Rock on the Columbia. AANR members are conservative, more likely to be Republican. Nude recreation is growing in the U.S. and Canada. It's a $400 million industry. Skinny dipping is also called "chunky dunking." Nude recreation is not a threat; it's a freedom. A perfect world is "where we appreciate our differences," she said. "I had to accept the concept that my body is not the sum and substance of me ... it's not about how others see you, but how you see yourself."
Can we blame Bush for everything idiotic that's going on in the world? Well, not really, but disaster seems to follow White House policy both domestic and foreign. A long run of bad luck? Nah, it's just manifestations of incompetence, ignorance and arrogance. Our leadership's blunders in the Mideast have destabilized an already shaky balance of power in the region And now the Mideast is facing all-out theocratic war involving Israel and all its neighbors. Our government has decided we have no choice but to support Israel, no matter how extreme its actions, and that makes America even more despised and more of a target at home and abroad. Diplomacy has been shuffled aside as an impediment to ideology. It's going to take a long time to undo the damage caused by George Bush and his team.
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, email@example.com
As intake coordinator at the Looking Glass New Roads Program office on West 7th, James Ewell meets some 250 new homeless young people every month. "I'm always up front," he says. "I sign in each youth and ask how we can help." New Roads offers shower and laundry facilities, three meals a day, and medical services to drop-in visitors ages 16-21, plus a long-term transitional living program. "We have 32 slots every year," says Ewell. "Stable employment is the first step to getting into housing." A Eugene native, the son of a psychologist and a teacher, Ewell had friends who were mall rats. He studied psychology at the UO and volunteered at New Roads during his senior year. "Two days before graduation, they offered me a job on the street outreach team," he says. Six months later, he started doing intakes. Now, three years later, Ewell also coordinates volunteers and works with individual clients as a case manager. "I love working here," he says. "I get to see the growth of each person. Today I have a seventh client getting approved for the housing program."