Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening Person: Samantha Chirillo
CITY TO PAY ARLIE FOR RIDGELINE
The city of Eugene plans to pay the Arlie development company run by John Musumeci $2.4 million to purchase 200 acres for an extension of the Ridgeline Trail system to LCC.
"This acquisition has the potential to extend the length of the trail by a minimum of two miles and to offer views of Mount Pisgah, Spencer Butte and the surrounding areas," acting City Manager Angel Jones wrote in a March 27 memo.
The land acquisition loops around to LCC from city-owned Mount Baldy and is a minimum of 300 ft. wide. The land "consists of a mix of Douglas fir forest and high quality oak woodland habitat," and "is available at a discount" of 20 percent from the appraised value from a "willing seller," Jones wrote.
In 2002 Musumeci bought about 1,100 acres south of LCC for $2.98 million as part of a legal settlement with the McDougal land and timber company, The Register-Guard reported. That's about $2,700 per acre compared to the $12,000 an acre the city plans to pay. Per acre, Musumeci is now charging taxpayers 4.4 times more for the land after six years of ownership.
Musumeci's forest land lies outside the city's urban growth boundary and cannot be intensely developed. Arlie and other development interests have pushed for extending the city's urban growth boundary in the LCC basin for a hospital or subdivisions. Jim Torrey, a mayoral candidate backed by development interests, has said on the 4J School Board that the UGB will likely be extended in the area.
A UGB extension could mean huge profits for land speculators. Nearby land inside the UGB is worth about $100,000 an acre, according to city appraisals. That's about 37 times more than what Musumeci paid to acquire his land in 2002.
Jones said the city will likely use $2 million from the 2006 parks bond and $400,000 in parks systems development charge revenue to fund the Ridgeline purchase. —Alan Pittman
COUNTY VOICES ARENA CONCERNS
The Lane County Board of Commissioners sent Mayor Kitty Piercy a letter Feb. 26 expressing concerns about the UO's proposed new basketball arena.
In the letter, the commissioners requested the following: a well publicized town hall meeting to adequately inform citizens about specifics related to the arena permit application; clarity on whether the city has officially endorsed the proposed financing of the project; an explanation of the probable timeline for processing the application; a description of the alley vacation process related to the application; and clarity on parking allocation requirements for the project.
The five-member board voted unanimously during its Jan. 23 meeting to send the letter. UO President Dave Frohnmayer and LTD General Manager Mark Pangborn also received copies.
Commissioner Pete Sorenson, who represents south Eugene, said the letter was sent primarily to let the city know that people were contacting the commissioners about the arena. He said public comment about the issue at the commissioners' meetings had come from "primarily [local activist] Zach Vishanoff, but I think there were others as well."
"We feel it's mostly a university-city issue," Sorenson said, adding that the city and the university will have to deal with issues such as land use, transportation and housing in relation to the basketball arena.
Piercy wrote in an email that she had sent a letter back to the commissioners. "I told them that the council and I value public input and of course at the appropriate time there will be a full public process regarding any decisions the city has in its purview," she wrote. "We have active neighborhood associations and a very engaged citizenry that can be counted on to weigh in as the university moves forward their proposal for an arena. I understand the university is in the process now of meeting with stakeholder groups and is working on addressing their concerns." — Eva Sylwester
BRO GIVES NOD TO PIERCY
The Basic Rights Oregon Equality Political Action Committee this week endorsed Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy in her bid for re-election.
"Piercy has been a vocal champion for the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, and she has promised to continue her leadership by publicly opposing efforts to repeal Oregon's anti-discrimination and domestic partner laws, among other things," reads the endorsement. This marks the first time that the Equality PAC has made an area endorsement in a local race.
"Mayor Piercy has been bold in her advocacy for fairness and equality for all Eugene residents, and she always includes the GLBT community in that advocacy," said Todd Simmons of BRO. "Her support is not based on what is convenient, but rather on values that don't change with the political winds."
Piercy spoke out on behalf of the GLBT community when it staged a Mother's Day rally in 2006 against The Register-Guard when it refused to print birth announcements listing the names of gay and lesbian parents (see our story from 12/21/06 in our online archives at www.eugeneweekly.com).She also spoke out against the Eugene appearance of the gay-bashing Jamaican singer Buju Banton and has encouraged continued work on a proposal to add protections against gender identity discrimination.
In 2007, she publicly backed legislation that ultimately became Oregon's new anti-discrimination and domestic partner laws.
Her chief opponent in the May primary, former Mayor Jim Torrey, has opposed city efforts to ban discrimination based on gender identity.
EYES WIDE OPEN EXHIBIT
The Lane Peace Center's exhibit "Eyes Wide Open Oregon: The Human and Economic Cost of War" will run from 9:30 am to 5 pm Thursday and Friday, April 3-4 at the Center Building cafeteria and Bristow Square at LCC. The a multi-media exhibit "appeals to the heart and explores the true impact of the war," say organizers.
"Eyes Wide Open Oregon" is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, Rural Organizing Project, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 72. The exhibit traveled to 26 Oregon communities and colleges in 2007.
The exhibit includes a memorial to the fallen that includes 102 pairs of combat boots for each Oregon soldier killed in Iraq, with his or her name, age and hometown and small photo.
"Dreams and Nightmares" is another memorial with more than 300 shoes, along with photos, stories and statistics about the cost of war to Oregon and the impact of the occupation on Iraqis. A display of hard hats represents Oregon contractors killed in Iraq.
The exhibit is a companion event to a visit from Louise Steinman, author of this year's Reading Together selection at LCC. Steinman will read from and discuss her latest book, The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War, several times April 3 and 4 (see the book review online in the 3/27 issue). Information for both events is available at www.lanecc.edu/peacecenteror call 463-5820.
• The sixth annual Cesar Chavez commemoration begins at 6:30 pm Thursday, April 3, at Agnes Stewart Middle School, 900 S. 32nd St. in Springfield. Children and youth will lead the community in celebrating the birthday of a man who devoted his life to nonviolent direct action for human dignity and workers' rights. Doors open at 6 pm and the bilingual program begins at 6:30 pm. The event is organized by Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect (SAfER). For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Re-Elect Kitty Piercy campaign is planning to "kick it up a notch or two" at 5 pm Friday, April 4 at Davis' Restaurant, 94 W. Broadway. The event is timed just before the First Friday ARTWalk downtown. For more information, visit www.kittypiercy.comor call 968-8269.
• Election fraud is one of the topics to be discussed at an open panel forum to be held at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Terrace at noon on Saturday, April 5. The microphones will be open, and "everyone is invited to voice ideas, express their poetry, discuss our current predicament or just listen to some of the truths that have become self-evident," says organizer Don DiChiara.
• Coalition Against Environmental Racism 13th Annual Grassroots Environmental Justice Conference at UO Saturday, April 5. CAER host students, faculty, and community members and will offer panels and talks on issues impacting environmental justice. Examples of panel topics are: the prison industrial complex, food justice, and indigenous environmental justice. Speakers include David Roach, Earl Kingik and Omoleye Sowore. Alicia Raquel will follow Sowore's speech with guerrilla theater and slam poetry. All events are free and are at the UO EMU, running from 10:30 am to 10 pm Saturday. Food is also free and registration is not required.
• Citizens for Public Accountability. The second in a series of public events, this one called, "Making Downtown Work," is set for 7 pm Wednesday, April 9, at WOW Hall, West 8th at Lincoln. Working groups from the April 1 meeting will report, and experts in urban planning, design, real estate, economics and social dynamics will talk about the "larger picture of downtown Eugene." Mayor Kitty Piercy will facilitate. For more information visit www.lanecpa.org/cpaor www.downtowneugene.comor call 349-8682.
• A Global Exchange Tour on free trade is coming to Eugene next week. "NAFTA's Failed: Alternatives for Trade, Immigration and Security" will be at 7 pm Thursday, April 10, at the UO Law School, Room 175. Speakers Hector Sanchez and John Gibler will talk on how NAFTA and related policies have failed and led to accelerated Mexican immigration; how "NAFTA-plus" economic and security arrangements are being forged behind closed doors among corporations and executive branches of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and how citizens in all three countries are pushing for better alternatives to these "agreements." For more info, call CALC, 485-1755.
• A fun-raiser for the Rob Handy campaign for county commissioner is set for 6 pm to 9 pm Thursday, April 10, at Cozmic Pizza. The event features a "Reduce/Re-use/Recycle Silent Auction" along with live entertainment and food. To donate auction items, email email@example.com or call 484-9595.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began onMarch 20, 2003 (last week's numbers in parentheses):
• 4,011 U.S. troops killed* (4,000)
• 29,320 U.S. troops injured* (29,320)
• 145 U.S. military suicides* (145)
• 309 coalition troops killed** (308)
• 1,123 contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 90,115 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (89,103)
• $505.2 billion cost of war ($499.4 billion)
• $143.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($141.5 million)
* through Mar. 31, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• ODOT will be spraying herbicides on Eugene/Springfield metro area roads, Highway 99 North, and Hwy. 36 from mileposts 52-39 in the next two weeks. Call Dennis Joll, IVM coordinator at 686-7526.
• Near Lorane: M 3 Timber Co. (767-3785) will ground spray 209 acres with Westar and Atrazine herbicides March 26 to May 15 (#50247).
• Near Horton: Dan Klemp (927-6181) will ground spray two acres near Lake Creek with Atrazine, Garlon 3A, and Crossbow starting first week in April (#50213).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
• Hillary Clinton will be in Eugene and Portland Saturday, following up on Bill Clinton's visit last week. No details are available as we go to press, but keep an eye on blogs.eugeneweekly.com for updates.
• Gov. Ted Kulongoski showed up at the perpetually under construction, $150 million I-5 Beltline interchange last month to deliver a mixed message. On the one hand, he heralded the interchange which has fueled gas-guzzling, global-warming, blood-for-oil-spilling, livability-killing urban sprawl on the far edge of the metro area as "a model for future investments." On the other hand he called for Oregon to have "the greenest transportation system in the country." Huh? The only green thing about the I-5 Beltline freeway spaghetti is the huge directional signs. We hope the governor and ODOT are sincere in wanting to exit the freeway to a truly greener transportation future for Oregon, but right now Kulongoski's SUV has both turn signals on.
• How about converting the rail line to the coast into a scenic bikeway? It doesn't look likely that the state will cough up the $20 million or more to fix the rail line and save a handful of jobs at lumber mills in Coos Bay. A bike trail on the route would be a spectacular international tourist attraction and local green transportation link that would generate far more jobs. Almost 14,000 miles of such converted, rails-to-trails have already been built in the U.S., including more than 200 in Oregon. Local Congressman Peter DeFazio, a former bike mechanic, chairs a key House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and could help provide federal cash to make the bikeway dream a reality.
• Media abhor a vacuum, and it seems former Springfield Beacon folks and others are busy creating a monthly online magazine for the town, called the Springfield Connection (www.SpringfieldConnection,org).We haven't seen a print version of the magazine yet, but we see a pretty 20-page magazine on the website. It looks more like Eugene Magazine than a community newspaper. So it might be a while longer before Springfield gets a real paper covering local government, politics, business, schools, arts and sports.
• Want to start your own radio or TV station without spending (and maybe losing) a fortune? Well, if the content is good, you might be able to pull off a successful webcast. Longtime talk show host Jeff Golden left Jefferson Public Radio last year when he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate. The Ashland-based JPR is heard locally on KRVM. Now Golden's tapping into new media technology with an interactive webcast called Immense Possibilities Radio. His first guest was Frances Moore Lappé, and one of the first questions emailed to the program was from Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. To get on the show's email list, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. The webcast can be found at connect.eq.tv
• Got a bit or dirt or patch of lawn that's not living up to its highest potential? Last weekend was the kick-off for the Victory Gardens For All Project, a Lane County group created by Charlotte Anthony. Victory Gardens were traditionally planted in war time to free up food commodities for our soldiers and sailors overseas, but the concept also works well today. Planting and tending small urban gardens helps localize our economy, build food security, reduce global warming, and avoid pesticides associated with lawn care. The project has a goal of getting 10,000 new gardens going in Lane County. Teams of experienced gardeners are helping new gardeners get started this spring, and ideally the new gardeners will share their green thumbs with friends and neighbors. Find out more at www.VictoryGardensForAll.org
• As we go to press this week we are sad to confirm rumors that Willamette Repertory Theatre will be shutting down following the run of its current production of Wild Oats. A press conference is scheduled for 10 am Thursday, April 3, at the Soreng Theater. Eugene born and bred Kirk Boyd returned home after a successful career with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and founded WillRep nine years ago. He and his company have provided Eugene with more than two dozen memorable productions, but the challenges have been great. The company was underfunded, Equity (union) actors are expensive, ticket sales have been slow — and the Soreng is not an ideal venue for live theater. Before the announcement, EW performing arts editor Suzi Steffen interviewed Boyd for a new blog-based local arts series called See/Hear. That interview, and an invitation to comment on your experiences at and with the WillRep, can be found at blogs.eugeneweekly.com Be sure to come out for the final production, a UO/WillRep extravaganza. Go to www.hultcenter.orgor call 682-5000 for one last ticket.
• A residential center for artists downtown? An international cultural and peace center? Lots of ideas, many involving residential development, were tossed out at the Citizens for Public Accountability kick-off gathering at Fenario Gallery Tuesday night. People talked about their ideas for creating a vibrant downtown, with or without help from city government. Examples of what other cities have done were mixed in with talk about what has worked and not worked so far in Eugene. The discussion was mostly upbeat, but anger was also expressed about commercial property owners allowing their buildings to sit vacant, and the failures of city planning "experts." This excellent series continues at 7 pm Wednesday, April 9 at the WOW Hall, 8th and Lincoln.
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
"I'm not a one-issue person," says Samantha Chirillo, co-director of Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates (CEA). "We need a holistic approach to find solutions for climate change, peak oil, and forest depletion." With a degree in microbiology from Penn State, Chirillo worked in bio-med research at the school for eight years. "My real interest was activism," she says. "I joined an anti-sweat-shop coalition. We camped on the administration lawn for a month." After moving to the UO in 2002, Chirillo represented GTFs in sustainability and pesticide reform coalitions. She earned a master's in biology in '05, then entered a public administration program in '06 to focus on environmental activism. She also joined CEA, an all-volunteer group dedicated to education and coalition building. She helped organize the Climate Change and Peak Oil Coalition, and the WOPR and Beyond Coalition. "These are grassroots coalitions, not appointed by government," she stresses. "We're trying to empower groups that don't have money behind them." Learn more at cascadiaecoadvocates.org.