Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening Person: Jan Wilson
SEE NO TREE VOLE
A coalition of local forest defense groups are demanding answers about a timber sale in the McKenzie River watershed that they feel will damage the old forest ecosystem, encroach on endangered species habitat and foul Eugene's drinking water source.
Cascadia Forest Defenders, the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (NEST), Cascadia EarthFirst! and the UO's Forest Action are putting the heat on the U.S. Forest Service for its plans to log and burn 75 percent of the trees in a 155-acre, mixed-growth stand in Willamette National Forest known as the Trapper Project. They're also leaning on Seneca Jones Lumber, who won the bid to log the area.
One of the activists' heaviest tools is evidence that the Trapper area is home to the red tree vole, the endangered spotted owl's main food source. Under the Northwest Forest Plan, the USFS is required to leave 10-acre buffers around tree vole nests. The USFS completed its own surveys in 2000 and, finding little evidence of tree vole habitat, sold the timber to Seneca in 2003.
But this year, NEST volunteers have found 25 active red tree vole nests in one 39-acre unit alone. They passed their detailed reports along to the USFS, knowing that the agency is required by law to seriously consider credible new information. The strategy has worked before: Several years ago, NEST's evidence of tree vole nests compelled the USFS to reduce a Fall Creek area timber sale to about a third its planned size.
The USFS doesn't seem inclined to budge this time, claiming that the NEST data came too late to make a difference. "When we get the data is very critical," said USFS spokesperson Judy McHugh. "Once we have a contractual agreement with a purchaser, then we have to move ahead on the process. What will be buffered is the [tree vole nests] found prior to the signing of the documents."
So the frustrated forest defenders decided to bring the issues home. On the late afternoon of Oct. 4, CFD and Forest Action rallied at the Crest neighborhood house of Seneca CEO Aaron Jones. The activists claim that they had left numerous messages for Jones requesting a meeting, but he did not return their calls. The rally on his lawn was a last ditch attempt to get his attention — "nothing confrontational, just bringing the dissent to his doorstep," activist Josh Schlossberg explained. Protesters held signs reading, "Don't flush Trapper down the crapper!" and "Don't foul the owl!"
Jones eventually came outside, telling the protesters, "We're following the law; why don't you?" and ordering them off his property, Schlossberg reported. Protesters complied, reminding Jones that they wouldn't have landed on his lawn if he'd returned their calls. Jones' assistant assured the protesters that Seneca would get back to them with a statement.
Jones did not return EW's calls.
The push to log Trapper flies in the face of Eugene city government. In 2005, the City Council voted 7-1 for a nonbinding resolution to ban old-growth and mature logging in areas that protect the municipal water supply. — Kera Abraham
AUDITOR GETS A RECEPTION
A reception welcoming new Eugene Police Auditor Cris Beamud has been set, but not without the usual Eugene-style squabbles. City staff sent out invitations but did not publicize the event early on, leading skeptical activists to wonder if the reception was intended to exclude the public. In the end, the public has been invited to the reception from 5 to 6:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Hult Center Lobby, and special invitations are being sent out to neighborhood groups, organizations and individuals who have been involved in the hiring process.
Members of the Whiteaker Community Council (WCC), fearing only those with invitations would be allowed in, even tried to organize a welcoming gathering outside the Hult Center, complete with free refreshments. "In case the catered refreshments run out, we'll have a can opener on hand," says Majeska Seese-Green of the WCC, who invites people to bring non-perishable food anyway.
Why the skepticism and mistrust? The hiring of an independent police auditor has been a long and contentious battle in Eugene, dividing the City Council and driving a wedge between pro-auditor council members and the anti-auditor city manager and city attorney. Adding to the drama is a long history of ignored complaints about police brutality and lack of accountability that culminated in the sex crime convictions of two Eugene police officers and multimillion dollar civil lawsuits against the city. — TJT
APOLITICAL? NOT GEN Y
The Building Votes Program, a nonpartisan organization working to mobilize young voters, recently registered its 10,000th young Oregon voter, bringing the grand total to 12,000 this year. An affiliate of the Oregon Bus Project, Building Votes has registered 3,000 young voters in Eugene alone. Working in tandem with the Student Vote Coalition, the organization is now on its way to registering 5,000 UO and 2,000 LCC students before the Oct. 18 deadline.
Eugene's Program Coordinator Stephanie Erickson attributes this success to a unique peer-to-peer approach and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. "This isn't just a campaign because it's election season," she says. "We will be here working even when it's not an election year. Most organizations do this by mail or by calling people, but we go door-to-door because a more personal, face-to-face approach is the most effective way to engage young people in the democratic process."
Erickson says that young voters are particularly excited about the upcoming election because it's relevant to them. "Eight out of 10 ballot measures directly affect students this year," she says.
Oregon's vote-by-mail system can work both for and against young voters, Erickson explained. The system is convenient, and there's a ballot drop-box right on the UO campus. But young people tend to move more than older voters, so if they haven't updated their address with the Elections Division they won't receive a ballot, even if they have previously registered. — Martha Calhoon
DRINK TO THE GUV!
The Bus Project will do just about anything to coax young citizens out of their video-gaming, TV-watching cocoons and into the hard-partyin', sexy world of politics.
OK, fine: the mundane but important world of politics, using hard-partyin' and sexy means and methods. Like "Candidates Gone Wild" debates. And drinking games.
The Lane Bus Project will sponsor a drinking game at Peabody's Pub during the debate between incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongoski and his Republican challenger, Ron Saxton. The rules are the same as those for the State of the Union drinking game, which packed Sam Bond's Garage last winter. When the candidates say certain words, like "children" or "sustainable," everyone's gotta take a swig.
"We're trying to generate interest in the governor's debate, especially among twenty- and thirty-somethings," said Lane Bus Project board chair James Mattiace. "We figure there's an appetite out there to do this kind of stuff."
Judging by the weekend surge of young people to bars in an otherwise-sluggish Eugene downtown, he may be onto something. But Mattiace notes that all ages are welcome until 8 pm. "Drinking doesn't have to involve alcohol," he said, "but for me it'll be beer."
Catch the Governor's Debate Drinking Game at 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Peabody's Pub (444 E. 3rd St). For more info, call 344-9999 or email email@example.com — Kera Abraham
WHAT MAKES A DEMOCRACY?
UO law professor Garrett Epps will talk about his new book Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America during the Hollis Lecture at 7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 12 in room 175, Knight Law Center, 15th and Agate on campus. A reception and book signing will follow the free public lecture in the Wayne Morse Commons, also in the Law Center.
"More than the Declaration of Independence, more than the original Constitution, more than even the Bill of Rights, it is the 14th Amendment that makes America a democratic country," Epps said. Before the 14th Amendment, he said, the Constitution did not require the states to observe even minimal standards of human rights. States could discriminate by race. There was no due process, no citizenship by birthright, and no guarantee of equal representation in Congress or in state legislatures.
Epps, a former staff writer for The Washington Post, is the author of two novels and a number of articles and books on constitutional law. For more information, call 346-3865.
TWO BIGGY HEARINGS
A special meeting of the Eugene City Council is planned at 7:30 Monday, Oct. 16 for two hearings, one on a transportation tax, the other on a unique proposal for the city to generate money to pay Measure 37 claims.
The proposed transportation tax would be a monthly fee charged to all homes and businesses in the city to pay for operating, maintaining and preserving the city's transportation system. A typical single-family home would pay about $5.22 a month; commercial and industrial properties would be charged based on the number of vehicle trips they generate. Click on the "street funding" link at www.eugene-or.gov/pw or call 682-4900 for more information.
The proposed ordinance in response to Measure 37 would work as kind of a Measure 37 in reverse. Property owners would pay the city 25 percent of any increased market value in their property due to zoning changes or other planning adjustments that benefit the property owner. Revenues generated from the ordinance would go toward paying off Measure 37 claims.
State Senate candidate Jim Torrey, running on an education platform, has a major spelling error on the education page of his campaign website, www.jimtorrey.com; the headline reads, "Childhood literacy is the foudation of a student's education." [screenshot]
Apparently neither Torrey nor anyone on his campaign staff has noticed the typo.
Torrey is calling for universal preschool, all-day kindergartens, more scholarships, more job training for non-college bound students and better academic performance by all students, but he has not outlined a plan to pay for any of these education reforms.
BY GOLLY, A MOVIE!
Gone are the days when guys and gals with names like Chip and Lucy went on double dates, making diner stops to scarf burgers served by waiters in roller skates before cruising to drive-in movies to make out in the privacy of their Chevy boatmobiles.
This is the 21st century in Eugene. Skater waiters are obsolete, and gas-guzzlers are frowned upon. But that's no reason to miss out on the pleasure of watching an outdoor movie with friends on a crisp autumn night.
Around 9 pm on Thursday, Oct. 12, there will be a bike-in movie on campus at 13th Avenue and University. We don't know where the film will be projected, what will be playing or who's organizing it — the email came from one "Allan Wrench," who didn't reply to our queries.
But Wrench offers some advice: "Bring your bicycle, snacks, warm clothes and maybe some blankets. We'll have a few movies we can vote on, but feel free to bring any movies you might pitch to the crowd."
Even without a Chevy, dates can still make out. — Kera Abraham
Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule
Update on spraying near Lorane Grade School: Scott Ferguson of Trout Mountain Forestry will contract aerial and ground spraying services for Kester Family Trust (942-9264) on 221 acres with Oust Extra near Hawley Creek and S. Fork of Siuslaw starting Oct. 16 (#781-51130). To find out who the actual pesticide operators are, call Ferguson at (503) 222-9772.
Hunters beware: Although most timber lands are open to hunters, timber owners and spray operators do not post units after spraying or provide advance warning of helicopter or ground spraying.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
Rally Against UCLA
After Oregon's spectacular last-minute comeback victory over Oklahoma last month, most observers understandably assumed there never had been a rally to compare to it. As a few veteran observers of the Ducks over the decades would tell you, they assumed wrongly.
They have the perfect man to verify it: Dan Fouts, who handled the Oklahoma game broadcast on ABC-TV. Dan went into sportscasting after retiring from professional football, where he was an all-pro quarterback for the San Diego Chargers. Before that, in the early 1970s, he was an all-American quarterback for the Ducks.
From the Autzen press box, it had to seem like deja vu to Dan, as it was he who had thrown the winning touchdown pass as time ran out in a game 35 years earlier — against UCLA.
Most Oregon fans were deprived of seeing this even more spectacular rally because it came on foreign ground, on the home field of the team Oregon plays here Saturday. With just under five minutes to play, UCLA felt it was home safe with a lead of 40-21. Not only were fans leaving early to beat the traffic rush, but some sportswriters left the press box early to go for post-game interviews in the locker room of the winners — UCLA, of course.
Here's what they missed:
Tom Blanchard, who shared the QB position with Fouts, and who later became one of the great punters of the professional game, had his moment as a passer. In three minutes, he threw two touchdown passes to Bobby Moore (later the great Ahmad Rashad in pro ball, and then a famed TV personality).
Like Oklahoma, UCLA still felt safe, leading by 6 points with less than a minute to play. Also, UCLA would have the ball as Oregon had to kick off after the second touchdown. But, shades of the Oklahoma controversy, it was an onside kick. Oregon recovered it cleanly, and there was no reason for protests such as the Sooners raised.
Blanchard had to leave the game with an arm injury. In came Fouts. With 21 seconds to go, he found wide receiver Greg Specht in the end zone with a 15-yard pass, giving Oregon a 41-40 victory.
As at the Oklahoma game last month when thousands of Ducks fans left early, the early exodus was just as big among UCLA fans at the earlier game.
After extensive research, I've not found a single UCLA fan from 1970 who admitted missing the end of the game. Coincidentally, I've not located one Oregon fan who admits missing the last minutes of the Oklahoma game. — George Beres
We goofed on a photo credit in the 9/7 "Celebrate Eugene" photo essay. Two photos credited to "John Givons" should have credited John Givot.
After growing up close to nature in rural Michigan, Jan Wilson earned a computer degree in Ann Arbor and took a defense industry job in San Diego. "It was such a different lifestyle: high prices and no work ethic," says Wilson. She returned to Michigan after a year to seek a new career more in line with her values. "I started law school at Wayne State when my daughter Nora was two months old," she says. "I wanted to do environmental law." Since e-law in Michigan means pollution cleanup, Wilson moved to Eugene after graduation in 1996, so that she could work to minimize future eco-damage. She started as a volunteer with the Oregon Natural Resources Council (now called Oregon Wild), lead plaintiff in many key forestry cases. "I've been on the board for eight years now," she says. "I love it. ONRC has a long history of effective advocacy." Wilson left her job at a law firm last year to become staff attorney for the Goal One Coalition (www.goal1.org)."Our role is to help citizens get involved in local land-use decisions," she says. "When they do, they see how it ties in to global issues."