News Briefs: Activists Mourn Murdered Friend | Down to Asbestos | Sustainable Eugene? | Safer Streets | Show Me the Money! | Writing for Peace and Change | Activist Alerts | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Boom and Bust
Just what got us into this mess?
Tree Huggers Turn 10
Cascadia Wildlands Project is still saving Oregon’s forests
Happening Person: Alder Fuller
ACTIVISTS MOURN MURDERED FRIEND
Marcella “Sally” Grace Eiler was 15 years old in 2003 when she first went out in to the woods to save the old growth, and her fellow Cascadia Forest Defenders remember her as “vibrant” and “scrappy.”
|Sally Grace Eiler (right), locked to a barrel at the Biscuit protest|
Eiler was found raped and murdered last week near Oaxaca where she was a dance teacher and a social activist for the past three years. Before moving to Mexico, Eiler was involved in tree-sits such as the one at the Straw Devil timber sale near Oakridge. She was the youngest person to be arrested at the 2005 Biscuit protests against salvage logging of a burned old-growth area in southern Oregon, according to fellow forest activist Laura Beaton.
Beaton, who knew Eiler from the logging protests, says she was “one of those people you remember. You see hundreds of people with dreadlocks and piercings, but she had fire and passion and dedication.”
The first time many of the Forest Defenders met Eiler was when she showed up to participate in the Straw Devil tree sit. “She was all glammed out,” says Beaton, “in a sparkly mini-skirt, ripped tights and Converse. She was working just as hard as anyone else, and she looked like a rock star.”
Eiler was also called “Ratty,” probably because of the two pet rats kept with her in the forest, according to fellow Straw Devil tree-sitter Ohia. She was known for her musical and dancing talents as well as her ability to wield a pickaxe in the forest during the tree sits. “Sally was the youngest of us,” says Ohia, “and I think that in some ways that made her one of the strongest and wisest. She knew without a doubt, and acted on her knowledge, that she wanted to help the world be a richer, fuller, safer place.”
Mexican police have arrested a suspect, Omar Yoguez Singu, and activists who worked with Eiler on indigenous issues in Mexico place her death in the context of the “widespread repression against the social movement and directed particularly at international observers.”
But her friends in Eugene prefer to remember her passionate life more than her death. Beaton says, “It’s the whole butterfly effect — little things she’s done will have an effect for a long time to come.” — Camilla Mortensen
DOWN TO ASBESTOS
Down To Earth, Eugene’s popular home-and-garden store for the eco-conscious, ran into an environmentally unfriendly substance while doing roof repairs at the store’s nearby warehouse last week.
According to Down To Earth president Zeph Van Allen, roof work was being done on the warehouse when “some material came down and settled on the warehouse floor.” He says, “It was not ’til we had it tested that we had any idea” it was asbestos. The air quality in the building on Shelton-McMurphey Boulevard was later tested and found to be safe, but employees cannot return to work until the asbestos has been cleaned up.
Asbestos was a popular building material used for insulation and fire retardance due to its sound absorption, tensile strength and heat resistance, and it is found in many older buildings. Since it became widely known in the 1980s that inhaling asbestos fibers causes scarring of the lungs and cancer, its use has been largely discontinued. If asbestos is found in a building, as it was at Down To Earth, it is either left alone and sealed in place (undamaged asbestos doesn’t release dangerous asbestos fibers) or professionally trained contractors can remove it, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Down To Earth employees say they worked for several days while the asbestos fibers were in the air.
While Down To Earth was getting the asbestos tested and the warehouse checked and taken care of, the company had to lay off many employees working in the warehouse for about two weeks. Unemployment checks are often much less than a worker’s actual salary, so the lay-offs are “a big issue” for those affected, says Van Allen. — Camilla Mortensen
Portland has racked up another award as a top “green city” this month, with SustainLane.com deeming the city, once called Stumptown for its enthusiastic logging, worthy of first place, as it has every year since the rankings began in 2005.
While Eugene didn’t qualify to compete for this green city award (SustainLane only ranks the most populous cities in the nation for this report), it begs the question: Are Eugeneans as green as we think we are?
In a green cities ranking done by the magazine Popular Science earlier this year, Eugene came in fifth, with Portland first. The magazine reported it was EWEB’s renewable clean power that earned a perfect score of 10 in the energy category (however, Oregon’s troubled salmon populations may beg to differ on just how “sustainable” hydroelectric power generated by dams really is).
Eugene was also beaten by Corvallis and Portland this year as a green city in Country Home magazine’s “best green place to live” rankings. Corvallis was number one, Portland came in second and Eugene/Springfield came in sixth.
Eugene is edging closer to catching up to more highly ranked sustainable cities like Portland thanks to things like Market of Choice’s recent decision to get rid of plastic bags (well, OK, cornstarch, but neither degrades in a landfill). Portland is looking to ban the bags entirely or charge fees to use them.
Though Eugene did win an award as a number one green city back in 2006 in a National Geographic Green Guide, we’ve been looking to regain our top spot ever since.
Mayor Kitty Piercy has launched a challenge (www.sustaineugene.com) to reduce the carbon footprint Eugene’s residents generate, and the city gives a “Bold Steps Toward Sustainability” award every other month to businesses that “take extra care in how they treat people and the planet, while supporting prosperity.”
Eugene’s Sustainability Commission is searching for ways to increase Eugene sustainability quotient in the areas of social equity, environment and economy. The 13-member commission meets monthly and makes recommendations to the City Council on sustainability issues. The next meeting is Oct. 15, and meetings are open to the public. — Camilla Mortensen
Eugene’s streets have become a lot safer in the last decade, according to city data on traffic accidents.
The rate of traffic crashes per capita in Eugene declined 25 percent from 1998 to 2007. In 2007 Eugene had almost 600 fewer traffic accidents than in 1998 despite an increase in population of more than 24,000 people.
The number of accidents tends to fluctuate year to year, but the trend is clearly downward. The number of crashes in 2007 was 11 percent less than the average number for the past decade.
With increasing population the injury accident rate per capita dropped by a third compared to 1998. But the number of injury accidents increased from 416 in 2004 to 769 in 2007. Overall, the number of injury accidents in 2007 was slightly higher than the decade average.
The bike accident rate per capita over the decade dropped 56 percent, and the pedestrian accident rate per capita dropped
62 percent. — Alan Pittman
SHOW ME THE MONEY!
What if someone told you that you could go to school, earn credits and receive money to continue your education? You’d think it was some kind of weird infomercial, wouldn’t you? Yet thanks to LCC, some students have gotten thousands of dollars in scholarships.
LCC recognized that students often need help paying for college and initiated “Show Me the Money!” a “learning community” made up of two courses that help students apply for scholarships. According to LCC, learning communities are established when students enroll in two or more classes together, creating a common cohort or “community” of students. Faculty members teaching the courses also work together, often attending each other’s classes.
“Show me the Money!” consists of two courses, one titled “Writing for Scholarships” and the other “Scholarships: Money for College.” Both sections are taught winter term.
Together, these courses help students prepare and apply for scholarships offered at LCC through The Lane Foundation as well as statewide scholarships offered through the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.
Daphne Gabrieli, who has taught “Writing for Scholarships” at LCC for four years, has been helping students through the essay writing process in applying for scholarships.
“We look at their drafts from first to final,” says Gabrieli. “Our work is helping students stay in school and fulfill their life visions.”
Beth Landy and Mary Parthemer, who are both counselors at LCC, teach “Scholarships: Money for College.” This course is aimed at providing students with structure and helping them write their essays for scholarship applications.
“It functions as a four-credit class with a team of instructors,” says Landy. “By March 1st in our class, students have completed the whole process to apply for scholarships.”
According to Gabrieli, in one of the courses about two thirds of the students earned scholarships, and many students who may not get a scholarship during the course will get one the following year using the skills they gained.
Kelly Flower, a former student at LCC who attended both courses four years ago, says, “They’re both very demanding, hard classes that are well worth it. A lot of the work you did was self-discovery and making that marketable.”
Flower not only successfully completed the courses but also received a scholarship from the Ford Foundation, one of the most “coveted scholarships” out there, according to Gabrieli.
“I wouldn’t have continued with my bachelor’s degree if it weren’t for the scholarship,” says Flower.
“Show Me the Money!” has been a huge success at LCC, with the course fully enrolled by the second day of registration.
“It is one of the most gratifying courses I’ve ever taught,” says Gabrieli. “I’ve had students come up to me and say that without my help, they wouldn’t be able to afford school this year.”
Landy says, “Every year I walk away thinking, this is why I love my job.”
Right now Gabrieli is working on a book and a website and also sends out a weekly newsletter about finding scholarships through email. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org — Courtney Jacobs
WRITING FOR PEACE AND CHANGE
Getting your political views and ideas published is one way to be active this election season, but getting out an effective message is not always easy. To help local residents understand the importance of values messaging and how to frame issues the way savvy politicians do, Eugene-based Oregon WAND members Aria Seligmann and Susan Cundiff are holding two free trainings this week.
The first “Writing for Peace” Circle of Scribes gathering will be held Thursday, Oct. 2 after the vice-presidential debate at Cozmic Pizza at 8th and Charnelton. Those who wish can huddle after the debate and discuss how to reframe the issues touched upon in the debate.
A full-length, four-hour training workshop will be held from 1 to 5 pm Sunday, Oct. 5, at Mayor Kitty Piercy’s headquarters at 1280 Willamette St. Cundiff and Seligmann will outline the work of George Lakoff, which analyzes the importance of understanding differing world views and the emotions raised by values messaging. The workshop gives an opportunity to understand messaging and to practice writing using Lakoff’s techniques.
“The right has been leaps and bounds ahead of the left in understanding the emotional impact of values messaging and how people think politically,” says Seligmann. “Lakoff has been working diligently to help progressives catch up.”
WAND does not endorse candidates, but those who wish to promote a certain campaign or issue are welcome to attend.
Cundiff and Seligmann have been presenting Circle of Scribes workshops throughout Oregon for the past three years. Through collaboration with the Rural Organizing Project and with the support of a McKenzie River Gathering Foundation grant, the two WAND women have traveled throughout Oregon to reach both urban and rural communities.
For more information or to pre-register for the Oct. 5 workshop, call 683-1350.
• A silent auction in support of Rob Handy for county commissioner will be from 6 to 8:30 pm Friday, Oct. 3, at Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton. Art, wine, gift certificates and “cool stuff” will be auctioned.
• A symposium on “Elections Exposed: Women, Money, and Politics” runs from 11:45 am to 4:30 pm Friday, Oct. 3, at the UO Knight Law Center, Wayne Morse Commons and room 175. Keynote speaker at 11:45 am is Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder. Panel members include Suzanne Bonamici, Barbara Garfien and Joan Mandle.
• Oregon WAND (oregonwand.org) is sponsoring the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Photo Exhibit through November at the Atrium, 10th and Olive. The exhibition is open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. As part of the First Friday Art Walk, there will be an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Oct. 3. Hideko Tamura, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, will speak at 7 pm Saturday, Oct. 4. Both events are in the Atrium.
• Eugene’s Infill Compatibility Standards Task Team (see Slant) is holding extra meetings this fall: Oct. 6, 13 and 20. Meetings start at 5:30 pm in the Atrium Sloat Room. More info at Eugene-or.gov.
• Lane County Commission candidate Rob Handy is hosting a forum on “The Future of Lane County: Jobs and Economic Development” with Dr. Ed Whitelaw of ECONorthwest, Commissioners Pete Sorenson and Bill Fleenor and Sen. Vicki Walker at 6:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the EWEB Community Room.
• The topic of independent police review will come up at the WCC’s general meeting at 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Whiteaker Community Center, at Clark and North Jackson streets. A mayoral candidates forum with Kitty Piercy and challenger Jim Torrey will focus on development and police issues, particularly as related to Whiteaker and its future.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003
(last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,174 U.S. troops killed* (4,169)
• 30,662 U.S. troops injured* (30,642)
• 145 U.S. military suicides* (145)
• 314 coalition troops killed** (314)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed
(accurate updates NA)
• 95,866 to 1.1 million civilians killed*** (95,640)
• $558.2 billion cost of war
• $158.7 million cost to Eugene
taxpayers ($158.2 million)
* through Sept. 29, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.1 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Near Lorane Elementary School: Oregon Forest Management Services (896-3757) will ground spray 42 acres with Garlon XRT, Polaris SP and AC (imazapyr) herbicides and Methylated Seed Oil adjuvant for Fruit Growers Supply Company (767-0633) near Norris Creek tributaries and the Lorane Elementary School between Sept. 29 and Oct. 15 (ODF # 50811); and Weyerhaeuser Company — South Valley (744-4600) will apply Arsenal (imazapyr) herbicide to 10 acres by backpack/hack and squirt methods near Lorane Elementary School and Crow Creek starting immediately (# 50813).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• Until now, Jim Weaver would not allow a bridge or building or marine center or anything else to be named for him, although he was a popular Democratic congressman elected six times by the voters of our Fourth District. But he was persuaded by his successor and former staffer Congressman Peter DeFazio and the Forest Service to agree to the Jim Weaver Loop Trail, 19.6 beautiful miles around Waldo Lake in one of the wilderness areas he fought to preserve. The trail was dedicated Sept. 29 with maps, a classy sign, and a gathering of family, friends, former staff and even a few political antagonists. Gov. Kulongoski, always happy to leave Salem for the woods or a trout stream, expressed “deep appreciation for your service to the people of Oregon and to this country.”
He remembered how Weaver was ahead of his time, working for the natural environment in the mid-’70s. Now we know, Kulongoski said, that the environment, energy and the economy are all connected, requiring an economic development strategy reflecting that. Although he was one of the instigators of the dedication, DeFazio couldn’t leave D.C. because of his leadership role in opposition to the first round of the Wall Street bailout. Even up there in the tranquil setting of Waldo Lake on a sunny autumn morning, Weaver was intensely following the House vote and pleased at the outcome. We asked how he would have voted on Monday morning. Against that bill, of course, for the same reasons that he fought to preserve precious parts of Oregon for the people of the state.
• A series of meetings regarding infill and density in Eugene is coming up in October (see Activist Alert). The Eugene Infill Compatibility Standards (ICS) Task Team has been meeting quietly since November 2007 and is preparing recommendations to the Eugene Planning Commission this fall. We got a taste of what the group is up to at City Club last Friday with a presentation and Q&A with ICS members Sue Prichard and Gordon Anslow. This is important work that will help guide what Eugene neighborhoods will look and feel like in the next 10 to 20 years, assuming the Planning Commission, City Council and staff are ready to be more proactive in guiding residential development.
Some ponderous issues are on the table regarding infill. How do we assure new construction doesn’t clash visually with surrounding homes? Do we need to rehash our zoning plan to accommodate a mix of residential and commercial development? How do we avoid “density ghettos” where poorly planned infill diminishes quality of life? Should we create financial incentives to encourage the building of smaller, more affordable homes in Eugene neighborhoods?
But perhaps the biggest decision we face as a community is: Just how dense do we want to be? Eugene currently has 3,620 people per square mile. Portland has 4,041 and the Metro 2040 Plan calls for 5,000. Walkable San Francisco has 15,868 and is considered one of the most vibrant cities in the nation. Paris, with all its glorious parks and public places, packs in 63,298 people per square mile. Eugene is a highly desirable city, and people will continue moving here. Let’s embrace well-planned urban infill rather than inefficient suburban expansion.
• How about a bailout bubbling up from Main Street to Wall Street rather than hoping a little Wall Street swill will trickle down on us peasants? The bubble-up bailout could include $100 billion to directly help low-income people get and keep housing, $100 billion for health care, $100 billion to hire new teachers to reduce class sizes, $100 billion for school buildings and equipment, $100 billion in college scholarships and improvements, $100 billion for public transportation and $100 billion for new and improved parks. This $700 billion investment would be repaid many times over in a better housed, better educated, healthier, less polluting and more beautiful, booming America.
• Eugene’s burgeoning higher education institutions could provide a much needed counter-balance if the local economy teeters. The UO and LCC are bursting with new students in a big boost to the local economy. Improving one’s résumé and retraining have become more desirable as the job market sours. The UO and LCC give an affordable bang for the buck compared to other institutions. Eugene is a culturally and naturally great place to live while getting a degree. It’s odd that local pooh-bahs haven’t made clean and relatively high-paid higher ed a top economic development strategy.
• What does Michael Moore have to say about the pending congressional bailout of major lending institutions? In a message to his mailing list Monday, the documentary trouble-maker said: The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. … After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over $100 billion in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper 1 percent filthy rich. … Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. ... Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage “crisis” may never have happened.
Well, we’re not sure Michael Moore is tracking all the complexities of this mess, but there’s always a grain of truth in his rants.
“I love teaching, seeing light bulbs go off,” says Dr. Alder Fuller, a lifelong student and teacher of life sciences and the founder and dean of Euglena Academy, an independent college-level school located in a west Eugene warehouse. Euglena, he says, “is named after the first organism I saw under a microscope as a kid.” Fuller began his academic career at his hometown college, Memphis State. When a lack of math skills got in the way of his Ph.D. ambitions in Texas, he went back for an MS in probability theory and eventually earned a doctorate in biology from the University of New Mexico. He taught for seven years at a community college in Albuquerque before moving to the Northwest to pursue his dream of opening a school. Since 2002, Euglena’s curriculum has focused on the biology and evolution of cells, organisms and ecosystems; and considered the challenges of global warming. “Climate change will alter the course of life on this planet,” says Fuller. “We need to plan to adapt, rather than try to change it.” Starting this fall, Euglena will present a free weekly 7 pm Monday event (lecture, film, or discussion) at Cozmic Pizza. For a schedule of events, a listing of Euglena class offerings and a link to Fuller’s blog, visit euglena-academy.net