News Briefs: Lt. Watada to Speak at Peace Rally | Council Opposes Iraq War | Showing Up for History | Two More Arrested | Persian New Year | Nanotech Examined | Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule | Corrections/Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Council balks at buying a project sight and cost unseen
In Hot Water Over Graywater
Popular Dharmalaya runs afoul of city codes
LT. WATADA TO SPEAK AT PEACE RALLY
Peace groups throughout the nation are gathering to speak out against the Iraq War Saturday, marking the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion and occupation. Among the speakers in Eugene will be Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse Iraq deployment; Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy; Juan Stewart-Alvarez, student organizer of the Iraq Body Count Exhibit; Jo Ann Bowman of Oregon Action; and Adele Kubein of Military Families Speak Out.
Marchers will gather at 10:30 am at the Lane County Fairgrounds and then march to the old Federal Building at 7th and Pearl for a noon rally that includes music and spoken word.
An evening benefit for Watada and Suzanne Swift is planned for 7 to 9:30 pm at Cozmic Pizza. The benefit features Instruments of Change with Janet Bates, and Celtic music by Linda Danielson, Chico Schwall and Fred Wilson. Sliding scale, $5-$25.
Contact: Michael Carrigan at CALC, 485-1755 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Also timed to correspond with the war's anniversary is the HOPE Ride for Peace & Sustainability, a cross-country bicycle tour that's scheduled to pick up Oregon riders at 9 am Monday, March 19 at the courthouse in Corvallis, and head south down Hwy. 99 to the old Federal Building in Eugene. Stand for Peace walkers from Cottage Grove are planning to join the group about 4 pm.
The national riders are sharing techniques for simplifying life and building peaceful community as they visit cities along the way.
COUNCIL OPPOSES IRAQ WAR
With the Eugene taxpayer tab for the Iraq War at an estimated $116 million, the Eugene City Council passed an anti-war resolution by a vote of 5-3 on March 12.
"I urge the council to support this resolution," Iraq War veteran Noah Mrowczyski testified at a public hearing before the vote. Mrowczyski said the war was declared based on "lies," and he choked up when he thought of the friends he'd lost. "A lot of my fellow soldiers won't be able to make it back."
Mayor Kitty Piercy reached under her glasses to wipe her eye, and about a hundred fellow anti-war protesters stood in silent support in the council chamber.
But council conservatives George Poling, Jennifer Solomon and Mike Clark were unmoved and voted against the resolution. Clark quoted from pro-war material calling the war a "necessary and just effort" to protect America. "Over 36,000 Americans died last year from the flu. Living has consequences; so does standing for your beliefs," he said.
The Iraq War has killed 3,195 U.S. soldiers and wounded about 32,000. The war has killed an estimated 58,000 to 64,000 Iraqi civilians. There's no comprehensive tracking of the number of civilians maimed.
Michael Carrigan testified that the local war cost was enough money to pay for about 500 local school teachers for four years. We should "invest in the future of our children, not in the death of Iraqi children," he said.
Gordi Albi told the council it was important for citizens everywhere to stand up against the war. In Holland after WW II, Albi said she saw a Dutch man who'd had several fingers cut off because he refused to turn in Jews. He demanded why Germans didn't stand up to Hitler. "We were frightened too, but we said no."
Bayla Ostrach read from a letter from a 26-year-old Marine she grew up with in Eugene who's now in Anbar province and feeling suicidal due to combat stress. He wrote, "What a waste of life this has been."
Council opponents said city government shouldn't waste its time with the national war issue. But Mayor Piercy noted that more than 200 cities have passed similar anti-war resolutions. "This is a local issue."
The anti-war resolution passed by the council called for Congress to stop funding the war. Local Rep. Peter DeFazio voted against the war but has so far said he will not vote against continuing to fund it. — Alan Pittman
SHOWING UP FOR HISTORY
Why did 15 student members of North Eugene High School's Gay-Straight Alliance head to Salem for the Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) Day of Action on Wednesday, March 9? "I think that on a basic level, everyone can understand love, and getting that understanding across is really important," says senior Heather Spickard.
And they, along with advisor Jane Robin, weren't alone; about 500 people rallied in support of same-sex civil unions (House Bill 2007) and a statewide anti-discrimination law (Senate Bill 2) at noon on the steps of the Capitol after a morning filled with politician talk and planning for the lobbying that would happen later that afternoon. The North students spoke with Sen. Vicki Walker and with Rep. Chris Edwards; other Eugeneans spoke with Rep. Nancy Nathanson.
One woman in the long line for registration wryly commented that she would not be meeting with her representative, Republican Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village) — who made sure she sank a civil unions bill when she was speaker of the House two years ago. (Minnis declined BRO meetings.) People agreed they would "love" to lobby Minnis, telling her stories about discrimination or why a civil unions bill should pass.
The morning lobby training and pump-up-the-troops session featured Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown and House Majority Leader Dave Hunt dropping in to applause and cheers; then came Christine Chavez, granddaughter of famed UFW organizer Cesar Chavez and a staff member for California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero. Chavez talked about how she had been working on freedom to marry issues for years and ended by saying, "I am going to stand with you until we all have the same rights that my husband Oscar and I got when we said 'I do' two years ago." Finally, BRO volunteer Becky Flynn rallied the audience with a repeated call to "show up for our history!"
On the steps of the Capitol, where P-FLAG volunteers handed out peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and apples, various pols paraded their support, but Gov. Ted Kulongoski won the crowd over with an energetic speech in which he remembered bringing an anti-discrimination bill to the Oregon Legislature in 1973. "Our majesty is not just in our rivers, trees and coasts," he said. "Our majesty is our values and our principals that we are all created equal in a nation governed by law." To wild cheering in the intermittent rain, he proclaimed, "I have the pen in my hand, and I am ready to sign!"
The North students didn't attend any of the afternoon workshops, but they did enjoy their meetings with Walker and Edwards. Sophomore Marina Larsen said, "It was a good experience. I was kind of nervous, but a lot of my friends were there," and senior Alicia Thornley added, "I thought it was awesome. It was great to see a bunch of people who took their time off work to help out other people." Both Brown and Hunt said they expected these bills to pass. Hearings for SB 2 were held on March 12, and hearings for HB 2007 are scheduled for mid-April. (See Sally Sheklow's "Living Out" column on p. 6 for more details.) — Suzi Steffen
TWO MORE ARRESTED
Eugene peace activists Peg Morton and Trudy Maloney were arrested at the Wayne Morse U.S. Courthouse Monday, March 12 after they refused to leave Rep. Peter DeFazio's office. Morton and Maloney and others from the Occupation Project (www.vcnv.org)had spent the afternoon at the office praying for DeFazio to listen to his conscience and pledge to vote against Bush's request for supplemental funding to continue the Iraq War. Pam Garrison and Rich Klopfer were arrested at DeFazio's office March 5.
Social justice advocates across the nation are engaging in local campaigns of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience at the offices of lawmakers who have not publicly pledged to vote against additional war funding. Campaigns have emerged in 19 states, and more than 160 people have been arrested over the past several weeks, including seven people in Sen. Gordon Smith's Portland office.
PERSIAN NEW YEAR
The Persian New Year is upon us, but not everyone is celebrating. President Bush has identifed Iran as part of the "axis of evil" out to destroy America, and U.S. warships have been deployed within striking distance of Iran. The Pentgon has identified weapons made in Iran being used against U.S. troops.
But the Iranian people, also known through history as Persians, have deep connections with the U.S., and Persian cultural centers are in every major U.S. city. In Beverly Hills, Calif., nearly one fifth of the city's population is of Persian descent, and the local voters pamphlet is printed in English, Spanish and Farsi, the predominant language of Iran and Afghanistan.
Lane County has only about three dozen Iranians, according to Sariborz "Borzi" Marashi, who left Iran in 1978 and has owned and operated restaurants in Eugene ever since, including the Gazebo, Café Glendi and now the Bistro at Oakway Wine & Deli.
Marashi says this is a particuarly important year for Iranians to share the culture of Norouz, a Zoroastrian vernal equinox tradition that predates Islam in Persia by about 1,600 years. Sharing cultural traditions at home, he says, is like travel abroad in that it brings people closer together.
"There's a lot of bad publicity about Iran now," he says. "I am opposed to the current Iranian government and how they came into power, but I don't think the best solution is to invade and bomb a country. I think there are better ways to bring democracy."
Norouz celebrates "the end of the dark season and the renewal of life," says Marashi, "and this celebration far exceeds all other religious celebrations in Iran."
In preparing for Norouz, Iranians clean and rearrange their homes, make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds. Children go "trick or treating" in disguise, bonfires are lit and special foods and decorations are prepared symbolizing health, beauty, rebirth, prosperity, happiness, joy and patience.
"The Iranian community here is very small, and we have no cultural center, so I try to bring people together every year," says Marashi. His restaurant at Oakway becomes the gathering place and offers a traditional Norouz menu. This year the Persian New Year celebration runs from 5 to 9 pm Saturday, March 17, and the public is invited. Call 343-3088 for reservations.
A slide show of life in Tehran, set to music by Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), is online at www.lucasgray.com/video/peacetrain.html — Ted Taylor
About 80 people attended a public forum about the uses and safety issues of nanotechnology at the UO March 12.
Vicki Colvin, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at Rice University, defined nanotechnology as "a term referring to a wide range of technologies that exploit the unique properties … of nanoscale materials." One nanometer is approximately one billionth of the width of a human hair.
Nanoscale materials sometimes have different properties from larger materials with the same chemical composition. Some of this is a function of nanoscale materials having more surface area — Colvin asked audience members to visualize a standard-size dog and to visualize numerous miniature dogs that, combined, were the size of a standard-size dog. She then pointed out that the numerous miniature dogs would have more dog hair than the standard-size dog.
Many common products already contain nanotechnology, Colvin said. For instance, older sunscreens based on zinc oxide were often visible on the skin of users. Modern sunscreens containing a nanoscale version of zinc oxide still have the same sun-protecting properties but are transparent because the zinc oxide particles are smaller.
Nanoparticles are small enough to interact with the tissues of the human body. Colvin said there are potential applications for this in medicine, but UO chemistry professor Jim Hutchison said that some of the risks of nanotechnology include damage to cells and DNA.
Hutchison also said that nanotechnology could be important in solving the world's energy problems. While petroleum prices are at record highs, nuclear power is more costly than expected and solar power is not yet viable, Hutchison said solar cells using nanotechnology could make cheap solar energy a reality.
Paul Anastas, professor of green chemistry at Yale University, also emphasized the need for new energy sources and said it's possible to make nanotechnology safe. He said many people in science and industry intentionally work toward this goal, not because anyone is forcing them to but because it is possible for them to simultaneously meet economic and environmental goals.
People attending the forum were given the opportunity to ask the researchers questions and to discuss nanotechnology-related social issues in groups moderated by facilitators. In response to audience members' questions about military use of nanotech research, Hutchison said, "I would comment that most of the universities that do basic research do not do classified research or weapons research. At the UO, that is definitely the case."
The event was co-hosted by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Oregon Nanoscience and Micro-technologies Institute (ONAMI), the Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative (SNNI) and the UO.
Marilyn Johnson, director of research and development at OMSI, said OMSI has had success hosting discussions about scientific matters such as nanotechnology and stem cell research at brewpubs in Portland and is considering the possibility of expanding "Science Pubs" to Eugene. — Eva Sylwester
Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule
Farm & Forest Helicopter (360-262-3197) will aerially spray 70 acres for Roseburg Resources (935-2507) with Velpar; Clopyralid; and sulfometuron herbicides in Deadwood (Lake Creek) starting March 26 (No. 50293).
Western Helicopter (503) 538-9469 will aerially spray 119 acres for Freres Timber (503) 859-2111 near Horton (Billy Tower Canyon) starting March 17 (No. 50275).
Western Helicopter will aerially spray herbicides for Swanson Group (No. 935-3010) near High Pass Road (Swartz Creek, Long Tom River) March 13-31 (No. 07-550253).
OR Dept. of Forestry, 935-2283.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
A news story last week on Broadway proposals reported that a redevelopment advisory committee met behind closed doors. The meeting was open to the public.
Getting all huffy with the county commissioners and threatening to recall them over the county income tax fiasco doesn't accomplish anything other than drive a bigger wedge between the people and elected officials who are trying to do the right thing. The commissioners, of course, can come up with a better tax proposal, and we think voters might go for it if it's: 1) less regressive, 2) more modest, 3) better balanced regarding crime prevention, and 4) clearly outlines how the tax will be assessed under different federal funding scenarios. Public input into a revised tax plan can help repair some of the damage.
Dan Carol, national political strategist who lives in Eugene, just gave the Oregon Democratic Party four weeks of his energy and insights into what should happen in this state. Running late for state chair of the party, he came in second to Meredith Wood Smith, vice-chair from Portland who has been chalking up votes for four years. Although the delegates and officers gathered in Salem last Saturday voted 61-49 for Smith, who has long labored in Oregon party trenches, most welcomed the powerful messages of both Carol and Val Hoyle, Lane county's tough Democratic chair who nominated him. Even if the vote went the wrong way this time, the future looks good for D's in Oregon.
Our cover story last week on Mark Murphy's new BugE electric car design got a few readers excited (see letters) and we also heard from the Smart Car folks in Oregon who say they have a superior vehicle that's more environmentally friendly than hybrids. In Paris we were nearly run over by these little buggers that look like half a car and drive and park anywhere, even on sidewalks. Steve Martin drove one in his Inspector Clouseau revival. These 8-foot-long two-seaters get 55 mpg or better and have been "Americanized" to conform to U.S. safety and emission standards. Mercedes-Benz makes the smart car and dealers sell them for $25,000 to $32,000. You can buy five BugEs for the same price and gobble up fewer resources. Where do you get a Smart Car? Lake Oswego is the closest dealer, but a UO biz major named Max Shepanek is marketing them locally and has one to show off. He can be reached at (503) 913-2004.
When George and Laura drop by to see the Ailey II dance company in New York, we hope they're lucky enough to see Axis, "a choreoprayer for ecological balance and planetary healing." Divided into psalms called "Glacier, Greenhouse Corps..e Inc, The Warming, Requiem for the Homeless, Judgment, Arctic Lights, and New Birth (Epilogue)" this number was performed at the Hult Center last week with the amazing strength, energy, and discipline of these ambitious young dancers. They meant every movement. Maybe the arts can break the Bush oil and gas bubble and convince him to take real action against global climate change. We can even recommend a movie he and Laura and Dick and Lynne could watch some evening in the White House theater. It just won the Academy Award for "best documentary."
Here's a modest proposal for a new 4J alternative school: Cherry Pick Elementary would achieve excellence by concentrating the most excellent students. Requirements that parents drive their kids to school and research and apply to the school a year before enrollment would guarantee that only students from the most educated, well-off and dedicated families need apply. Disruptive homeless, poor and transient kids that move in and out of neighborhood schools during the year will be strictly forbidden. A lack of special education programs will keep out even more of those pesky, lower achieving, ignorant students who are harder to teach and distract from teacher time devoted to elite students. Teachers will lavish time on the children by taking full advantage of the guaranteed small classroom sizes allowed only at alternative schools. The high concentration of wealthy parents will fundraise to provide exclusive programs at Cherry Pick that poorer neighborhood schools can only dream of. Why pay full price for a private school when you can get public schools to foot most of the tab? This proposal isn't real, of course, but it illustrates why the school system must continue to actively pursue reform of alternative schools.
What's up with the big R-G headline March 8 proclaiming "Springfield to Host 'Simpsons' Film Debut"? Our Springfield is just one of 16 Springfields contending for the debut, but the R-G editors probably thought it would be fun to mess with readers' minds. A lot of folks just found it irritating. Local TV news carried the story the day before, so the headline gave the false impression that the decision had been made overnight.
A week or so ago we ran into a Corvallis couple in downtown Eugene. They had stopped their car at a phone booth and were looking in vain through a shredded phone book for the address for Whole Foods. Big disappointment. We tend to not think of grocery stores as magnets, but people will travel great distances to fuel their passions. Opera lovers will drive to Seattle to catch an evening performance of Julius Caesar. Affection-starved guys will fly to Bangkok or Manila for exotic sex — or even ordinary sex. Medford foodies will drive to Eugene to shop at Trader Joe's. A little prosperity enables us to pursue the impractical.
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
ANITA ROJAS OF SACRED WATERS
COMMUNITY BIRTHING CENTER
Growing up in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, Anita Rojas lived with her paternal grandmother, whom she thought to be her mother. "Both of my grandmothers were midwives," she notes. When she learned at age 17 that her mother was in El Norte, Rojas and her brother took a bus to Tijuana and crossed the border in the trunk of a car. "I went to high school, but I didn't fit in," she says. "I ran away by getting married." After three miserable years in Alaska and the birth of twin boys (in a hospital), she fled and found sanctuary in Portland. There she met another man and had two more sons. "The first was a home birth," she says. "A light went on. I told the midwife, 'That's what I want to do.'" Rojas joined a group of young women who wanted to be midwives. "I jumped into midwifery in 1986," she says. "I haven't stopped since." Rojas and her sons moved to Eugene in 1990. Two years ago, she and two other midwives opened Sacred Waters. "We're in a growing spurt," she says. "It's nice to maintain a space for families who choose natural birth in a low-tech, relaxed atmosphere." — Paul Neevel