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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 2.8.07

SEEKING FAIRNESS

By winning, many of the proponents of Measure 37 may live to regret their success ("Looming Sprawl," 1/25). Oregonians now face the dilemma of either tax increases to compensate property owners or lower property values. For those reasons alone, Measure 37 claims are likely to exaggerate the value of the losses, many to the point of having no basis in fact. Studies show that while zoning creates winners and losers, property values overall are enhanced by orderly development accompanied with adequate investments in infrastructure, public amenities such as parks, and private land preserved as open space.

A windfall profits tax on real estate speculation coupled with development fees levied for community investment in specific infrastructure, amenities and open space easements can fully compensate those who lose their property values and maintain Oregon's unique quality of life.

Measure 37 passed because it appealed to Oregonians' sense of fairness. Government handouts to the wealthy and unearned windfall profits are an affront to that sense.

Brian Baker, Eugene

 

FILLING THE WHOLE

So Whole Foods pulled out. Whether that's a good thing or not is a moot point and isn't worth debating; what is worth debating is how to spend the $7 million we were going to spend on a parking lot.

We asked some folks to offer up their ideas. My personal two faves:

Butterfly lot — make into park plus expanded farmer's market with covering.

Make the Eugene Hotel a hotel again. If we are going to spend public dollars on anything, why not take this great historic landmark and turn it into the heart of a bustling downtown district?

Dan Carol, Eugene

 

SILENCE ABOUT SEX

Shame on KEZI-TV news for editing their Feb. 2 interview with EW Editor Ted Taylor to suggest the "Savage Love" column is harmful to children. Neither KEZI nor previous EW letters have provided one example of a harmed child.

However, children have been hurt by a "community-imposed silence about sex" according to former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders in her foreward to the virtually banned book Harmful to Minors by Judith Levine. During the height of the AIDS crisis, President Clinton fired Elders for suggesting masturbation should be discussed in safe sex classes as one way to avoid HIV and pregnancy.

This sensationalistic KEZI report was probably broadcast to boost the February ratings used to determine how much advertisers will pay. But it and previous letters also reek of homophobia and misogyny because Dan Savage often answers questions on sexual orientation and gender.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis

 

ONE NEAT PACKAGE

A great opportunity has presented itself to our fair city, and as usual it knocks loudest on a closed door. Whole Foods will not be moving into downtown. This leaves the city with about $7 million to $10 million we had intended to spend in the name of revitalization on a dull and uninspiring parking garage. (Have you ever seen one which was inspirational?)

Coincidentally, the freshly completed U.S. Courthouse up the street is drawing many comments relating to its somewhat ominous facade. Well, we no longer have to build the garage, and we can't get rid of the courthouse, so why don't we apply those funds toward revitalizing downtown by better integrating the daring architecture of the Wayne Morse building into its surroundings?

I seem to recall a wise suggestion from a group of people who may know a bit about such things encouraging us to create a greenspace connecting downtown to the river via the now available Whole Foods site. Not only could downtown be beautified, creating more appealing retail and dining space, a new and permanent home could be included for the Farmers Market.

So many solutions in one neat little package. Opportunity knocks but once, Eugene.

Franklin Vandermeer, Eugene

 

CALL TO ARMS

Responding to Jerry Diethelm's article, "Inner Rewards" (1/25), was a call to arms for us. We are students in professor Mark Gillem's urban design studio at UO and are engaged in researching, analyzing and developing alternatives for the much deliberated Franklin corridor, stretching from Glenwood at the eastern end to the Park Blocks (i.e. Saturday Market site) on the west end.

The newly constructed U.S. Courthouse stands in an opportunistic position, as Jerry touched upon, located between the downtown core and the Willamette River, with the Millrace canal running adjacent to the property, and several sites that are prime for development (including the recent Whole Foods site). A landmark building, such as the courthouse, in a growing urban environment, such as Eugene, can be utilized as a stepping stone in an inspirational leap towards a bright future.

If development standards are initiated for surrounding properties, if public open space and waterways around the courthouse are designed, and if the public helps direct this process to meet the specific needs of Eugene's unique social and recreational lifestyle, the city can work towards a vision for a more integrated and celebrated community environment for Eugene along the Franklin corridor.

Visit www.franklincorridor.org for more information.

Carl Liebhardt and 13 other UO architecture students

 

RUNNING OUT OF LAND

In response to the EW article "Teetering on Sprawl" (1/25), sprawl can come from you or toward you. Eugene is simply choosing the latter. Ironically, forcing young families to the outlying areas (Eugene is one of the few school districts with declining enrollment) increases sprawl because larger cities typically develop at higher densities.

Mr. Pittman wrote: "Since 1950, Eugene's population density has declined 29 percent due to urban sprawl." The accuracy of the statement depends upon what is being measured. The number of persons per household has decreased significantly since 1950 — reducing density. Eugene has more open space and setback requirements today — reducing density. However, average lot sizes have decreased significantly and more people are living in multifamily units, which increases density.

The 1993 Legislature required that jurisdictions exit periodic review with a 20-year supply of residential land. We began period review before that bill took effect, thereby avoiding the state mandate. A periodic review that should have taken seven years took 14. We are now exiting periodic review with less than a nine-year supply of land, a land study that is based upon 1995 data and an inventory that is increasingly constrained. We are scheduled to run out of land about the time we begin our next periodic review. However, it takes about 10 years from beginning a new land study to the creation of building lots.

We have a problem. We can choose to ignore it or we can employ good planning principles and deal with it.

Roxie Cuellar, Director of Government Affairs, Home Builders Association of Lane County

 

UNMENTIONABLES

Yes, over 3,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq and how many Iraqis? How many innocent men, women and children? To me what is even more despicable are the numbers unmentioned, uncounted, the many maimed or almost killed both from this country and in Iraq who will never have a full life or any kind of proper care to speak of. The silent and forgotten many who don't seem to count by those who add up the dead without concern for the horrific numbers of almost dead, the appalling toll climbing on a daily basis.

I weep for these forgotten many and count them by multiplying the dead tenfold.

I hang my head in shame to be from a country with a leader who has too much pride to admit defeat or the possibility of mistake.

Rheychol Paris, Yachats

 

RIM EACH OTHER

Once again you have shown that this paper has gotten away from what it should be. Your paper at times has some good articles, written not well but at least it gave the community something other to read. This last issue (1/18), I am totally disgusted. How can you justify putting a picture of young kids on the front and on the back put in such disgusting writing. I refer to "Savage Love." This idiot who is not qualified to write anything, and for sure is not a professional. A slime ball who can only write porn, and you print it. WHY?

This community deserves better than a piece of garbage. I will do whatever I can to stop this. I am sending a copy of the article to the Attorney General's office and to the prosecutor here in Eugene, and anyone else I can. If this is the type of crap you want to put in your paper and give it away free so every kid has access to it then I believe you should move your paper out of town. At least The Register-Guard prints news.

You spout your paper as an alternative; is that what you believe? At one time maybe you were; what happened to common sense and the ability to write things that can help or benefit the community? Respect, morals, you have not shown you have any.

Maybe you and this Mr. Savage should rim each other if you like this crap so much that you cannot find anything important to write about.

I will go as far as I have to with this — freedom of speech and press never intended for you to abuse it in such a flagrant way.

Larry Lippert, Eugene

 

KEEP SAVAGE LOVE

I think Dan Savage's column "Savage Love" is a wonderfully frank, healthy discussion of human sexuality and I am so grateful that the Weekly carries it. For those who might be concerned that children will read it, I encourage them to eavesdrop on the discussion or jokes of any group of pre-adolescents. Children are curious about human sexuality and will learn from whatever sources they can find.

It is important to note that Dan Savage's approach to sexuality issues always includes consensual sex and safe sex. I find his column intriguing and thought provoking and I read it every week. Please keep "Savage Love" in the Weekly.

Lydia Van Dreel, Eugene

 

UNHEALTHY WORDS

I have been a consistent reader of EW (still call it What's Happening) for most of the paper's life. I always enjoy the articles and the happenings info about town. However, as of now, I am stopping my reading of EW. I am no prude and believe in free speech but "Savage Love" is the wrong place for such ramblings. While walking into Sundance the other day I overheard three middle school children (Roosevelt Middle school is right across the street) discussing and laughing about some part of "Savage Love." It is wrong and probably not healthy for them to be exposed to such writings in a free and ubiquitous paper.

Thus, as of now, I will no longer read Eugene Weekly. This makes me a bit sad and I will miss the political and timely articles. Please remove "Savage Love" from EW.

Richard Catlin, Eugene

 

IN-LINE WHINE

Lance (Wine, 2/1), do you really believe that what kind of car you drive will stop the onslaught of industrial civilization? That's right up there with Spruce voting Democratic to save us and the planet!

The delusion of such liberals is that they will not see that there is something very fundamentally wrong and death-dealing at the core of mass society. It is less than honorable to keep collaborating with the engine of the death of the biomass and the human spirit (spiralling isolation, stress, anxiety, depression, etc.). Rather than endlessly condemning ELF types for their precise, no-harm-to-life acts of courage, how about waking up to reality and confronting it? Better than "whine and stay in line."

PS — There are many anarchists involved in practical alternatives on the land.

John Zerzan, Eugene

 

MOTOWN HAZARDS

An official view of Eugene shows the city as a friendly place for pedestrians and bicyclists. My anticipated retirement here was met with a rude shock. Eugene is a Motown, in which the cars turn corners with the accelerator on the floor.

As a pedestrian in a pedestrian right of way, I have twice saved myself by leaping into the air to avoid a car seen out of the corner of my eye. The city recognized this problem and a couple of years ago it passed a resolution that cars should come to a full stop when a pedestrian is on the street. This lasted a few months until the traffic reverted to normal.

Another time, I was riding my bicycle slowly across a pedestrian right-of-way when a car turned the corner and knocked me down. My body hit the pavement and rolled to avoid injury.

Bicyclists cause their own problems. Road-bikers use the pedestrian pathways along the river to develop their racing muscles. Pedestrians cringe and hope for the best. The faster cyclists never call out a warning.

Within a year of coming to Eugene, my fancy road-bike was stolen. There is a story that every active biker in Eugene has lost at least one bicycle to this sophisticated theft ring. So little is made of it, there seems to be tacit acceptance of this Robin Hood-like activity, which flourishes under the averted eyes of the police.

Retiring to Eugene has been one of my best decisions. But I have learned to hunker down and keep a watch over my shoulder.

J. Colville Helmer, Eugene

 

OUTSIDE OF NORMAL

Does the Eugene Weekly endorse torture? Does EW approve of the kidnappings of women or girls forced into sex slavery? Why did the free EW print an ad (back page, 1/25) picturing a woman whose feet and hands were bound? The ad was for a costume bondage/fetish event at a local lounge.

I counted five embedded website addresses in that ad that anyone could see, even kids. The websites sell bondage tools like "hemp bondage rope," for tying people up, and services like: "asphyxiation — breath play," "electro-torture" and "corporal punishment." Cute. One site advertises a local Eugene "dungeon" hidden in a converted old fire station. No kidding. Their website says that it has one spacious room, a "Japanese influenced bondage room," and a "medical room" (with a gynecologist's table) for fun.

Cashing in on dehumanizing turn-ons may be lucrative, but it is not good for Eugene. Exploiting fear highjacks the imagination and destroys the capacity for compassion.

Just when America is caught using torture chambers and the whole world is spinning with images of real human bondage and suffering, entrepreneurs without conscience are making trendy parasite industries that teach nothing but detachment and delusion.

When EW prints an ad, EW implies endorsement. When EW prints an ad, it automatically advances it toward the level of normalcy – and the young are taking in all of it.

Please don't print ads like that. I will buy one ad space for something else, if you agree.

Deb Huntley, Eugene

 

ON CG'S WAL-MART

I first passed through Cottage Grove on my way to Eugene to visit my mother's mother's family way back in the late 1950s. So all the green trees and rural aspects of life in Oregon were imprinted early on. My mother would tell me to look up and watch for mountain lions in the tree-tops.

All through the noisy and turbulent 1960s and 1970s I kept Oregon in the back of my mind, and by the middle 1980s I was planning on selling out in California and moving North. Why?

I loved California, but the state of orange groves and rabbit-fields all the way from San Diego to Ventura and from Pasadena to Long Beach had become one choked blackberry warren of identical mini-marts, mega-malls, and freeways that stretched from one identical place to another. I drove north on the I-5 because the California I loved was eaten alive by the remorseless and sleepless avalanche of development and super-sizing. Oregon remained Oregon because of far-sighted planning and controls on development.

I started visiting Cottage Grove in the mid 1980s and moved here in 1992. I bought my very first house, the one I live in, about six years ago.

Now I love Cottage Grove because of the same reason people love Oregon. It still hasn't been turned over to out of state corporations to chew up and turn into California. We have pressing issues here in Cottage Grove to take our time, focus and community involvement and financial support:

We need to make an environment that draws more downtown small-town businesses and activities. We need to preserve our green surroundings and expand out community-oriented infrastructure like the bikeways and surrounding lake and recreational facilities. We do NOT need to invite overwhelming changes that make Cottage Grove into just another mass-produced bedroom community and freeway off-ramp.

May I close by warning you to keep looking up and watching for mountain lions in the tree-tops. And remember what Tom McCall, once governor of Oregon, said:

"Even the wild creatures of the forest know better than to go back to a trap from which they escaped"

Leo River, Cottage Grove

 

A GLOBAL MOVEMENT

Last month tens of thousands of activists met in Nairobi, Kenya, to present alternatives to the agenda being set by global elites at the World Economic Forum. This was the seventh annual World Social Forum, and the second global meeting in Africa. The Jan. 20-25 meeting attracted delegates from across the world who gathered to denounce social injustices that have continued to afflict developing countries. Activists preparing for the U.S. Social Forum this summer in Atlanta (June 27-July 1) attended to learn how key problems were being defined, and how to develop organizing strategies for regional forums elsewhere. The U.S. Social Forum will send a message to other peoples' struggles around the world that there is an active movement in the U.S. opposing policies at home and abroad.

A global movement is rising, and hopefully Eugene-based organizations can show solidarity by attending the USSF and declaring what we want our world to look like. www.ussf2007.org

Becky Clausen, Eugene

 

BROWN MONEY

It's nice that there is a green home show in Eugene (Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show), but I was very surprised to see a finance company there that was part of Umpqua Holdings. Yeah, Umpua, aka Stumpqua, the nasty bank owned by the clearcutting lumber baron, and whose branch banks regularly get a lot of protesters.

What were THEY doing there?

Tell me it ain't so.

Ralph Wombat, Eugene

 

BE THE PARENT

Among other things, my father was an early chronicler of the Nazi mentality. His serious conclusion was that they were spoiled children whose parents had failed to teach them self-restraint and that it falls to us to do so. Erstwhile schoolyard bullies, fueled by their own blood-lust, morph into megalomaniacs. His prescription was to be unafraid of them and to restrain and contain them (this was in early 1941).

Sadly, two-thirds of a century later, my father's insights still apply. The current occupant of the White House fits them to a T. He spent the first half of his adult life as a full-time party animal, and the second half becoming a world-class war criminal. His "ordinary guy" persona, plus a ton of money, got him elected. Unfortunately, we know the rest.

His parents failed to contain and restrain his sociopathic tendencies. It falls to us to do so.

Paul Prensky, Eugene