News Briefs: Tim Boyden's Tree Bones | Wacky Track | Vigil Links Forum, Hate | Is This Beijing or Eugene | Athletes Won't Feel the Burn | Other Cities' Olympic Trials | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Why is Homeland Security watching Eugene’s activists?
Happening People: Craig and Terri Williams of Evergreen Nutrition
TIM BOYDEN’S TREE BONES
The real traffic stoppers in the Fairmount neighborhood these days are not the stop and yield signs but Tim Boyden’s eight Olympic sculptures made from parts of old tree trunks and branches. The wooden figures can be found next to Fairmount Park near the corner of 15th and will be on display through the Olympic Trials.
Boyden, known for creating art from junkyard scrap, says he was inspired by the Olympic Trials coming to Eugene and the knowledge that many track fans would be going by his house and the park next door to visit Pre’s Rock up near Hendricks Park. “I wanted to create something that would catch people’s eyes, slow them down and make them stop to check them out and smile,” he says. “I wanted to share them with my neighbors, our community and of course all our visitors — to share some of Eugene’s artistic side.”
Boyden’s front yard is already famous locally for its artwork tucked in among the flowers and shrubs.
Why wood sculptures? “I have always noticed while gathering driftwood for furniture how certain branches resembled elbows, knees and even torsos,” Boyden says. The sculptures represent a long-distance runner, sprinters, pole vaulter, hurdler, javelin thrower, shot putter, discus thrower and relay runner. He had hoped to create a high jumper, but he “ran out of wood.”
The wood scraps are from the neighborhood and include rhododendron, cedar, cherry, eucalyptus and birch. The pole vaulter’s pole is a length of bamboo, cut green and carefully shaped before drying.
The installation is securely anchored with heavy rebar pounded several feet into the ground, and Boyden will be watching over his figures at night from a nearby sleeping porch.
The project’s expenses were underwritten by a small city grant to neighborhoods affected by the Trials. Boyden says he’s not sure what will happen to the sculptures after the Trials. There’s no room for more art in his yard. “There might be someplace else to display them,” he says. “Or they could be for sale.” — Ted Taylor
The Olympic Trials are serious business for athletes, officials, fans and Homeland Security guys in black, shiny shoes. But for the rest of us, a little levity helps us deal with traffic, crowds, confusion and body cavity searches at the gate. To that end, local humorist Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant and cartoonist Jesse Springer have published Laugh Track & Field: A Short, Funny, and Partly Made Up Look at Track Town USA and the Wacky World for Track and Field.
The paperback is an illustrated look at the history of the Olympics and tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the athletic events that will be happening at Hayward Field. The “IntroDucktion” includes a few pages of “facts” about Eugene and our track traditions. Tossed in are handy hints on fitting into local culture, such as how to properly address a S.L.U.G. Queen.
The book sells for $12.95 at local bookstores and at the UO Duck Store.
VIGIL LINKS FORUM, HATE
A June 24 vigil organized by the Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and Anti-Hate Task Force protested a recent wave of hate crimes in Eugene. It was timed to coincide with a speech by Tomislav Sunic, whose previous speaking engagements included the keynote address at the white nationalist convention Euro-Fest 2003, to the Pacifica Forum discussion group on the UO campus.
Pacifica Forum leader Orval Etter hears from vigil attendees Laeh Maggie Garfield and Libby Bottero on his way to a lecture by Tomislav Sunic. Photo by Eva Sylwester.
In a news release, CALC described five incidents of vandalism with anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and neo-Nazi content in Eugene since May 8 as a “surge of violence and hate.” The beating of a black man by three young white men in the Bethel area June 9 is also being investigated for possible racial motivations.
CALC Executive Director Anselmo Villanueva said the organization was in the process of contacting similar organizations in other Oregon cities to find out whether such crimes were happening statewide.
As for Pacifica Forum, whose lectures have often contained controversial statements about race and religion, Villanueva said, “They have the right to do what they’re doing, but is it the right thing to do?”
Villanueva and Sally Sheklow, co-coordinator of Back2Back: Allies for Human Dignity, provided opening remarks before the more than 50 vigil attendees dispersed throughout and around the EMU Amphitheater carrying signs.
Sheklow said monitoring of Pacifica Forum meetings had found a “consistent and escalating message of hate.”
“We don’t want that in our town,” Sheklow said. “That’s our message.”
A few vigil attendees confronted Pacifica Forum participants on their way to the lecture inside the EMU. Dawn Coslow, a regular Pacifica Forum participant, responded, “The only hate is the stuff that you guys are rallying!”
Some vigil attendees also sat in on the Pacifica Forum lecture, entitled “Homo americanus vs. Homo sovieticus: Twin Brothers?” Sunic grew up Croatian in the former Yugoslavia and was then briefly a political science professor in the U.S. He said communism tried but failed to abolish the rifts between ethnic groups that later broke up Yugoslavia, and he pronounced, “Multiracial countries do not work.”
CALC invites volunteers to help distribute anti-hate leaflets in the Bethel area and in Santa Clara, where a Jewish family’s home was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti June 19. The group will meet at CALC, 458 Blair Blvd., at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 27 and then carpool to those neighborhoods. — Eva Sylwester
IS THIS BEIJING OR EUGENE?
Are Eugene and the UO going to quash free speech during the Olympic Trials next week just as Beijing is being accused of doing during the Olympics?
In the wake of last month’s Tasering by the Eugene Police of a 19-year-old UO student during an anti-pesticide rally last month, Eugene activists are wondering: What is going to happen to those who want to speak out for their cause near the Trials?
In response to inquiries, Eugene 08 has been sending out a statement on protests at the Trials that begins, “The local organizing committee has been working with the venue, partners and law enforcement to ensure that organizations wanting to educate and demonstrate will have the opportunity do so in a manner that doesn’t harm the Olympic Trials nor the experience of the athletes.”
The statement goes on to say that nearby lawns as well as the EMU Amphitheater’s “free speech plaza” have been set aside for “educational events” and advises activists to make reservations in advance.
Eugene Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Lauren Regan was told there will be a “gathering area” for protesters near 15th and Agate. She worries that this will function as a “free speech zone” imposed during the Trials and questions if protesters will be visible to Trials spectators.
“Free speech zones” are known as a kind of political doublespeak among activists. Though they are supposed to be places where protesters can exercise their rights to free speech unimpeded, they are often created in areas distant from the actual event and designed to keep protesters from being heard or seen, which has resulted in several legal cases involving free speech.
What if an individual or group wants to “hold signs or give out literature,” asks Regan. “I’m assuming public sidewalks will be lawful as long as ingress or egress is not hindered?”
Regan says the CLDC “has strong indication that any nonpermitted ‘reserved’ group that tries any kind of activity, whether holding a sign or a march, will be swiftly dealt with by numerous rapid deployment units (RDUs).”
Among the efforts to clean up Eugene for our out-of-town guests, Regan says the CLDC is getting reports that “they will be doing major homeless sweeps in and around campus and allegedly sweeping them out to other towns or rural areas.”
UO’s community relations director Greg Rikhoff says that while there are limitations on “amplified sound” near the event, “all of the UO is a free speech zone everyday” and that the campus is “for the free and open exchange of ideas.” He says the “gathering area” for protesters will be visible to those entering the Trials.
EW will update the blog at blogs.eugeneweekly.com when reports come in and let activists know if they can exercise their right to free speech. — Camilla Mortensen
ATHLETES WON’T FEEL THE BURN
Athletes and spectators may be sneezing, stuffy and watery-eyed from grass-related allergies during the Olympic Trials, but they won’t be choking on field burning smoke. Oregon grass seed growers agreed last year not to burn their fields during the Trials. Field burning season usually runs from about July 5 until September.
Olympic hopefuls won’t experience the smoke that caused the UO’s famed runner Steve Prefontaine to end a race at Hayward Field “coughing blood,” according to his biographer Kenny Moore.
“It’s a symbolic gesture,” said Charlie Tebbutt of the Western Environmental Law Center. WELC recently sent a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski to end field burning permanently, not just “when the cameras are rolling.” The seed growers “agreed not to embarrass the city during the Trials but are making the rest of us suffer the rest of the time,” said Tebbutt.
Last July, a field burn from Harrisburg blew into downtown Eugene, causing spikes of over 10 parts per million (ppm) in the fine particulate matter Eugeneans inhaled. An Idaho study has shown that increases of more than 10 ppm in fine particulate matter result in a significant increase in strokes. The Oregon Seed Council estimates the grass seed industry as having a $1.35 billion impact on Oregon’s economy.
Farmers burn their fields to clear them and revitalized them for the next planting. Most farmers now use other methods to prepare their fields; Oregon is the only Pacific Northwest state still to allow field burning.
Only 150 of more than 1,400 grass seed farms in Oregon still practice field burning. Sixty percent of the world’s cool-season grass seed is produced in the Willamette Valley, according to the Oregon Seed Council. It’s pollen from those grass seed fields that are causing Trials watchers and Eugeneans alike to start their day popping a Claritin or Zyrtec. Oregon is having an unusually late allergy season this year, and allergy forecasts for the area at www.pollen.com remain high. The site ranks Eugene as being one of the “worst cities” for allergies this week. — Camilla Mortensen
OTHER CITIES’ OLYMPIC TRIALS
Wondering if other cities are as excited as Eugene about their Olympic Trials? A quick survey of some of the more interesting sports reveals that actually most of them have already been held.
Table tennis (aka ping pong) took place back in January in Philadelphia, which was also hosting gymnastics last week. Las Vegas was the host for judo and wrestling. The Olympic Trials for shooting were in Kerrville, Texas (shotgun), and Fort Benning, Ga., (small-bore rifle). And you just missed the rowing trials in Fort Windsor, NJ, and Poznan, Poland.
No warm beaches got to host beach volleyball; like badminton, the players were chosen by rankings. The U.S. baseball team qualified for the 2008 Olympics in a game played in Cuba back in 2006 (baseball has been dumped for the 2012 Games). The U.S. women’s field hockey team qualified in Kazan, Russia. The men failed to qualify. In order to check out the trials for synchronized swimming, you would have had to take trips to Columbus, Ohio, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Our fair city didn’t get all the track and field events. New York City hosted the men’s marathon, Boston hosted the women’s and the city of Palmetto, Fla., proudly hosted race walking back in February. — Camilla Mortensen
• The free monthly Brewhaha political forum sponsored by the Bus Project and EW is at 7 pm Thursday, June 26, at Davis’ Restaurant, 94 W. Broadway, downtown. Topic is “Safety in the City,” looking at public safety issues in Eugene. Speakers will address perspectives from youth, community.
• The Oregon Tibetan community and allies plan to come together Saturday, June 28, during the Olympic Trials for a peace march and other activities “to draw attention to and support for human rights for Tibetans and all peoples in the world.” A gathering ceremony will be at 10:30 am on the UO’s EMU east lawn, followed by an 11 am peace walk to Saturday Market and back. At 3 pm the group will walk around campus with banners and leaflets. Evening activities begin with a 6:30 pm Tibetan Peace Conference at the EMU Amphitheater followed by an 8 pm candlelight vigil.
• A kick-off of the local Obama for President campaign will run from noon to 2 pm Saturday, June 28 at Emerald Park, 400 Lake Drive in Eugene.
• A day of action protesting human rights violations in China and here in Eugene begins at noon Sunday, June 29, at the EMU on campus, organized by SDS. The demonstration targets the lack of freedom in China, and allegations of “increased ticketing of the homeless” in Eugene, “sweeps of homeless camps and parks” and “inhumane treatment of the homeless by Eugene police.” Contact email@example.com
• The BLM is working on an environmental impact statement (EIS) to update the list of herbicides used on Oregon BLM lands. This does not include herbicides used on lands being managed for “commercial timber enhancement or livestock forage production.” The BLM is soliciting public comment on the plan and will host meetings across Oregon in July. Eugene’s meeting will be at 6:30 pm Thursday, July 17, in Harris Hall at 125 East 8th. For more information go to www.blm.gov/or/plans/vegtreatmentseis or call Doug Huntington at 683-6415.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003
(last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,104 U.S. troops killed* (4,100)
• 29,978 U.S. troops injured* (29,978)
• 145 U.S. military suicides* (145)
• 313 coalition troops killed** (313)
• 1,123 contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 92,871 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (92,004)
• $530.8 billion cost of war ($528.8 billion)
• $150.4 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($150.9 million
* through June 23, 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
• The BLM will start a scoping process for herbicide use for vegetation management of invasive species June 27-July 28. Call 683-6600.
• The Forest Service will start spraying gorse with Aquamaster (glyphosate) in Baker Beach area (Dune areas and West of Highway 101) July-August; and Cape Mountain (Nelson Ridge) July-August. Call Dan Segotta at 563-8446.
• A moratorium on herbicides along county roads passed last week. Thank the county commissioners for their support of public health by calling 682-4203.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
• The Lane County DA is busy investigating protesters who were charged with misdemeanor offenses in the May 30 downtown demonstration that led to EPD using Tasers. Why would the county, financially unable to prosecute violent offenders, waste weeks of resources investigating a political demonstration and delaying an internal investigation of police excessive force? It smacks of retaliation and intimidation. Complain about the cops, and the DA will go after you with serious criminal charges.
Meanwhile, we hear a charter amendment referral to strengthen Eugene’s independent police auditor function returns to the City Council on the 7:30 pm July 14 consent agenda. With the Eugene police, police union and now our DA throwing up roadblocks to independent oversight, we all need to rally around our embattled police auditor.
On a related note, an editorial in The New York Times June 24 says some NYPD officers are allowed to carry Tasers, but “it would be folly to allow them to be used in more routine situations like crowd control or policing political demonstrations.” The Times also reported the first jury verdict, worth $6 million, against Taser International in a Taser death case.
• We’re not happy to hear The Register-Guard is eliminating 30 staff positions, as we reported on our blog June 18. As much as we lampoon the local daily, we see robust dailies as vital community resources. We do compete with the R-G for content, readers and ad revenue, but our two publications also complement each other. To be reasonably well informed, folks should read both local rags, our blog, and The Oregonian and New York Times to boot.
In its biz section June 19, the R-G blamed its revenue slide on weakness in the national economy and changes in the way people receive information. But EW is experiencing record growth in revenues and readership, year after year, in the same market. We credit our loyal small business advertisers for keeping us on a steady course. The R-G is contributing to its own woes by devoting more resources to sports than investigative reporting, ignoring the biggest and toughest issues in city and county government, cranking out dull special sections, and — with some exceptions — being out of touch and predictably pro status quo. Case in point: Sunday’s editorial supporting toxic roadside spraying as a county option.
Struggling newspapers nationwide are making headlines. Even the NYT is cutting 100 newsroom jobs this year. But nobody’s talking about profit margins. Are these poor, suffering dailies losing money, or are they just purging their most talented people to keep their 20 percent gravy flowing? Compromising the quality of your product is a bad long-term business plan.
• We’ll be watching issues unfold in the Obama campaign with special interest between now and November. That’s because Dan Carol, Eugenean and occasional EW political columnist (“Kumbaya Dammit”), is a key player in Obama’s Chicago headquarters. He’s director of content and issues, supervising a staff of 50. This level of political action is not a new world for Dan. He was research director for the Democratic National Committee in 1989-92 and worked on the Clinton presidential campaign team in ‘92. When he and his wife, Joyce Berman, and their children Jack and Robin moved to Eugene in ’96, he was a founding partner in a large national research and strategy firm based here. While we follow the pitch and strategy of the Obama issues, we’ll also watch McCain’s missteps and bad news with added interest. Dan is a master of opposition research .
• Kudos to Tom Kamis and Mike Hergenreter, organizers of the Broadway Bloc Party held on the corner of Olive and Broadway June 13-14, for taking a risk on something new and exciting for Eugene. The risks paid off somewhat for Friday’s primarily dance-heavy lineup of Bassnectar and members of STS9 but fizzled for the following day’s pop, indie rock and bluegrass lineup. “4:15 pm: Downtown is a ghost town,” wrote Calendar Editor Chuck Adams in a report posted to our blog. To make this sort of event work, we offer these tips:
1) Schedule it before the end of finals week so both grads and undergrads are still in town to enjoy it (and aren’t busy placating relatives). Many students we talked to simply couldn’t attend due to time and date conflicts.
2) Make it free, or at least under $20. Especially if your target audience is students (who are known for cheapness when it comes to local concert tickets). Make up the difference in beer sales.
3) Get UO support. If OSU and Willamette University can pull off free end-of-the-school-year music festivals, why can’t the UO?
4) Get the city on board. We heard the city didn’t cut the organizers any slack for this event. If the site proves too costly, move the event to a downtown park or UO property. The important thing is buzz, not location.
• Want to contribute to disaster relief in the flooded Midwest? In hard-hit Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa, the Grant Wood Area Red Cross (www.grantwood-redcross.org) and the animal shelters (www.facf.org and www.cvhumane.org) could really use your dollars. Closer to home, FOOD for Lane County needs hundreds of volunteers to feed hungry kids (call Sheyla Norte at 343-2822.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
CRAIG AND TERRI WILLIAMS of Evergreen Nutrition
In 1980, one year after Willamette and Marist High grads Craig and Terri Williams got married, Craig’s mother Dorothy Shields opened Evergreen Nutrition, a store devoted to nutritional supplements. Ten years later, by then mother-of-three Terri Williams started working at Evergreen. She was joined by Craig, who studied to become a CPA after an injury ended his career as a steel fabricator. “All three of our kids have worked here,” says Terri, a certified clinical nutritionist. “Our youngest, Richard, works here now.” Still in its original location at 1653 Willamette, Evergreen has grown from 600 to 2,800 sq. ft. after the latest expansion, completed in April of this year, and expanded from two employees to 14, including part-timers. “Seven of them have been here longer than 10 years,” Craig observes. “Our knowledgeable staff is our biggest asset. We believe in education.” Throughout the month of June, Evergreen has been celebrating its 28th anniversary and the new remodel with raffle prizes, free samples, and demos. Learn more in the Evergreen Newsletter at evergreennutrition.com