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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.04.08




CHANGE AT THE COUNTY

I’m writing to thank the voters of Lane County for returning me to the Lane County Board of Commissioners. Latest election results show that thousands of Lane County voters voted for me and, of those voting in this particular election, the percentage I received was a shade over 98 percent. It means everything to me to have this outpouring of support as we go into the new year of 2009 with the newly constituted Lane County Board of Commissioners.

 Thirty-two years ago, the voters of Lane County established a five-member board of commissioners. For the first time since that time, the new board, assembling in January, will have only one commissioner who won an open seat. That’s me. The other four seats have been won by challengers who defeated the incumbents. Commissioners Dwyer, Stewart and Commissioner-elect Handy both initially defeated incumbents to come on the board. To me, this means that change has been a strong theme, not just this year, but for the last several years.

Together, this new board will represent the hopes, aspirations and dreams of the 355,000 people of our county. Together we represent all of the people of our county, and we are most mindful of the 210,000 registered voters and the thousands of taxpayers of our county.

As a community and as a county, we face many challenges. Yet there is a spirit of openness, accessibility and even optimism that — from the White House to the courthouse — bodes well whether one is involved as a voter or as an elected official. I look forward to a year of leadership characterized by honesty, directness, humility, compassion and awareness.

Thanks to you, the people of Lane County! You know I’ll do the best I can for you, as I have always have.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner



A BIKE TALE

Eugene is a biking-friendly community. Dozens of miles of bike-dedicated pathways. Thoughtful placement of bike lanes. The patchwork of events, shops and people who endorse this mode of transportation. 

Then there’s riding a bike in Eugene. Within this month we’ve seen another unforgettable car-bike collision involving Karen Hansen, whom we hope will see a full recovery. Not far back, David Minor, another, is remembered.

This evening (11/14) at around midnight, I was riding southbound on Alder Street, crossing 14th, and was nearly hit. Of course, the car sped away. But feeling right should be done, I followed and called through the passenger’s open window, “Hey, what the hell?” We were approaching a stop sign. The car slowed and both side doors flew open revealing two men in white T-shirts who threw me in a gutter. Again, the car sped away. The puddle was pretty big.

There were bystanders. They asked if they could help. I yelled at them, “Call 911. Did you see the license plate?” They only looked at me, saying that they couldn’t help; they didn’t believe it would matter if the cops came. Great.

And more directly, what the hell?

Jeff L. Salata, Eugene



NOT JUST FOR DOGS

In your recent edition (11/13), Wendy Clements comments that we should allow for people to use the Amazon and 29th “Park and Ride” for its intended purpose.

Unfortunately Clements probably doesn’t know that the parking lot she refers to, although it is in close proximity to Amazon Station, actually belongs to the city of Eugene and is designated as part of Amazon Park. According to Eugene maps and the signs along Amazon Parkway, this lot is listed as one of several lots that serve the large Amazon Park area, not just the smaller fenced “dog park” area.

As with most of these parking lots, their primary intended purpose is to serve the park or business that the lot belongs to. The secondary function of these lots is to serve as part of LTD’s “Park and Ride” program. Most all these lots are owned, operated and maintained by private businesses or by the city of Eugene, and the owner has agreed to allow the extra parking spaces in these locations to be used as part of our local public transportation system. 

We have a beautiful park system here in Eugene, and I would hope that we can use them, including their designated parking areas, without others complaining about being inconvenienced with our desire to use our public spaces as intended.

Jeffery Egbert, Eugene



U.S. IS BEHIND

Biogas is difficult for Americans to understand. Not because it is so esoteric, but because it is so simple. It is hard for Americans to accept something that Einstein and Nobel Prize winners did not know about and has never been written about in Western literature is, in fact, easier to make a fire with than wood. Only a handful of American university professors know about it and while agencies like EPA and DOE may make passing mention of it on their websites, there is no one in U.S. government who understands how to make it. Not even NASA. 

Countless millions of people around the world are already cooking with biogas, generating electricity and even running large vehicles with it. It is only in the U.S. that we continue to believe the fossil fuel lobbyists who tell us the world is flat and there are no realistic alternatives to peak oil and global warming. 

Biogas is made through a completely natural fermentation process that does not harm the environment nor contribute to global warming. The renewable methane in biogas is the very same methane in natural gas, only instead of taking 65 million years to make, you can make it every day in a simple, low or no cost biogas digester in your own back yard. A $100 biogas digester would enable you to never pay a utility bill again and would not harm the environment or atmosphere. 

For the cost of a single LNG shipping vessel, Lane County could be the home to the first municipal biogas facility in the U.S. The Lane Renewable Energy Complex could provide LTD buses with fuel and a place where LCC could offer education and training to America’s biogas powerplant operators and technicians, and make this simple process less esoteric and available to everyone.  

Warren Weisman, Project Director Complejo de Energía Renovable, México, Eugene



WELCOME BACK, BROTHER!

One of the good reasons I was excited to move to Oregon 16 years ago was that I could hike in the state and know that the wilderness had almost its original population still intact. I still remember the thrill of excitement when I saw my first cougar paw print filling with water in the sand of the edge of a small creek. Boy! The cat was SO close, and I was SO humbled.

Humility is one of the things lacking in the opponents of the return of the wolf in Oregon and other states. Who the hell are we to decide who is not worthy to live and who should be banned from our state? 

I am not opposed to see folks make a living ranching, of course, but isn’t it asking for it when they let their livestock graze in the wild? It’s as if I walked in a very bad neighborhood holding up a “ROB ME!” sign and then pressed charges after I got robbed!

As for the hunters against the wolves (fortunately, I know a few supporting the wolves!), you should be proud to share the wilderness with that formidable predator. 

I heard about a bumper sticker: “Save 1,000 Elk, Kill a Wolf!” We saw what we did starting in the ’30s; the elk population boomed to a point where it unbalanced entire ecosystems. 

Lakota people say mitakuye oyasin, which means, “We are all related.” We have no right to prevent the return of the wolf in Oregon; it’s only a healthy sign that our state is welcoming enough to support a population that hopefully will balance our ecosystem. Let’s hope brother grizzly follows up soon!

Alby Thoumsin, Springfield 



FEAR NO WOLF

I liked the story about the wolves (11/20).

My fiancé and I saw one five years ago in the Blue Mountains here in Pendleton. We never reported it to ODFW but did report it to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation management. My fiancé is an enrolled member of the CTUIR.

I realize there is a lot of fear and hatred regarding the wolves; however, for those of us who live around them, we do not fear them but admire their beauty.

Penny Walker, Pendleton



GROWING THE ECONOMY

For those folks who do purchase holiday gifts, there is good reason to shop locally. Recent studies of economic impact analysis  show that if you spend $100 at local businesses, $73 of that stays in the local economy. That same $100 spent at big box/non-locally owned stores keeps only $43 in the local economy. One study specific to Borders Books showed that for every $100 in consumer spending at Borders, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with a local merchant yields more than three times the local economic impact. 

When you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses. Think globally, shop locally. The $5 you save at Wal-Mart may not be the best buy for money or for the community.

Sarah Ruth, Eugene