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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.20.10




PLANNING FOR WHAT?

Currently there are various planning efforts for the future going on here in Eugene, and public participation is being cultivated (for example, by the guest viewpoint by Eugene Planning Director Lisa Gardner in the May 2 Register-Guard). Planning is good, and public participation is essential, but it seems to me that the future scenarios being considered are the wrong ones (for example, the widely touted “Envision Eugene” and the plan for the soon-to-be surplus EWEB property).

We are planning for projected future growth in population, and hence future need for more space for housing and business development, when many (most?) of us are well aware that growth is unsustainable. Our current luxurious culture, which uses up such a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources, cannot continue for long. It seems to me that we desperately need to plan for an orderly transition to a no-growth future.

For an example of a somewhat better approach, the U.S. Forest Service planning process requires the inclusion of a “no action” alternative. As things stand now with local planning projects, no growth advocates don’t have much incentive for showing up for these public participation meetings. When I tried to advocate for no development along the river at a recent EWEB planning event, my suggestion was derided.

I hope that Eugene can progress to planning for the real future that is coming our way.

Peggy Robinson, Eugene



SILLY SIGNAGE

ODOT, in a well-timed move, is ready to spend some of the $250,000 in taxpayer funds first allocated for renaming the Randy Papé Memorial Highway with a slough of sign replacements. (Oops, I meant to call old Beltline the rethunk, phased-in Papé Beltline.) For what? To decide whether or not to place on-ramp traffic metering lights along that often snarled, half-completed highway. Deadlocked commuters will be lucky if the study points to actual installation of timed green lights that might get installed in two years.

Meanwhile, stalled drivers could sport interim bumper stickers: “Idling in the Randy Papé Traffic Jam,” or “Honk, Switch Off and Pause for a Moment of Silence to Remember Randy Papé.”

Perhaps Gov. Kulongoski and the Oregon Highway Commission will save taxpayers even more money and turn their less costly memorial signs at the ends of Beltline to face the other way. Then they could read: “Randy Papé Memorial Open Space Ahead, Enjoy the McKenzie River (or Enjoy the West Eugene Wetlands)!”

Ethen Perkins, Eugene



HONOR NATURE

This oil spill could have also been a nuclear disaster, running out of fresh drinking water, using our last bit of topsoil, a global meltdown or an E. coli epidemic. We cannot build enough “safety valves” to protect the environment and our children’s future from our disrespect of nature. 

Indigenous cultures should be our advisors on nature, not our victims. They have always known our only path to true prosperity: to honor nature.

Mike Meyer, Eugene



DENIZENS OF DARKNESS

The next time someone has the temerity to utter the words “one nation under God,” in reference to America, please hand them a dunce cap and tell them how clueless they are. 

What nation could, with a straight face, claim this moniker while sanctioning, as the U.S. Supreme Court recently did (in an 8-1 decision, no less), the making of “crush videos.” These abominations, for the uninformed, depict the grisly torture and death of defenseless kittens and other animals. The “rationale” for this incomprehensible, “ungodly” ruling on the part of these black-robed denizens of darkness, was “freedom of speech.” I would have expected as much from Hitler’s Germany, or Stalin’s Russia, but for some reason this still shocks me, and what’s left of my naïveté when it comes to this country. Shame on the Supreme Court and “we the people” for tolerating this depredation.

Jeff Innis, Eugene



BEYOND PETROLEUM BLUES

Begone petroleum. Beyond plugging. Beyond protecting. Begone pelicans. Begone prawns. Begone plankton. Begone people. Begin prosecuting big polluters.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain



CRUDE RANT

I just read Brent Campbell’s piece on the Eugene Symphony’s production of Play! A Video Game Symphony (4/22). While I sometimes find myself in disagreement with your arts writers, rarely do I find myself fuming at their opinion. Campbell’s piece was so far from the spirit of critical journalism that I couldn’t help but wonder why you would publish such a crude rant masquerading as an authentic review. I have read Campbell’s pieces for other news magazines, and I often find them eloquent, well-researched and reasoned. I therefore can’t understand what possessed him to present this to your paper with a straight face.

I couldn’t have said better what Paul Winberg did in his response in defense of the symphony (Viewpoint, 5/6). What I can add, however, is that for Campbell, you do your paper a disservice by allowing him to go so far into the gutter and publishing a piece like this. It wasn’t researched, thoughtful, or critical in any way. You don’t have to be executive director of the symphony to realize this. He didn’t attend or (as far as I can tell) listen to the piece. He even snidely remarked, “Let us know how it goes, won’t you?” Instead, he went into a lame diatribe about a wrongfully perceived, backward-looking trajectory of the symphony’s presentations. 

Campbell goes to great lengths on his website to inform us of his many journalistic accomplishments. It is too bad that he didn’t use any of his skills as a journalist to write this piece. Tell you what, EW. Next time you want someone to review one of our city’s brightest art groups and have no need for a shred of authentic criticism, just pay an angry teenager 10 bucks. You’ll get nearly the same thing and it will probably be more entertaining.

Patrick Moore, Eugene



BIKE BOULEVARDS

How about implementing bicycle only boulevards similar to other cities like Montreal, Minneapolis and even New York City and stop spending millions on bicycle bridges to malls (I-5 pedestrian bridge) and parks (Delta Ponds pedestrian bridge).

Montreal, with a population over 1 million, touts 14 percent of all trips made in the city are done via bicycle.

Let us as a community designate a north-south bicycle only boulevard at Alder Street beginning from the river path near EWEB heading south to 30th Avenue. Then also designate an east-west bicycle boulevard on the existing bicycle route of 12th Avenue starting at Hilyard Street heading west to Garfield Street.

If we want bicycling to succeed in the Eugene and Springfield metro area as a serious and safe transportation option, we must segregate automobile traffic from bicyclist.

Join us in publicly advocating this solution to our public servants.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene 



$70 MILLION!

I can’t believe the EW is supporting the Civic Stadium plan. As of March 2010, according to the Oregon Labor Market, the current unemployment rate for Eugene/Springfield was at 11.8 percent, Food for Lane County serves food boxes to 19,000 people per month, Oregon is the third hungriest state and on Jan. 27 there were 3,971 people living on our streets or in temporary shelters. The “plan” expects those of us who are still fortunate enough to be employed and still own our homes to vote for an increase in our taxes to raise $70 million. $70 million! For a soccer field?!

Paulette Montplaisir, Eugene



PACIFICA STINK

After being present during the “stink bomb” incident at Pacifica Forum meeting in Esslinger Hall on Friday, May 7, and having witnessed the behavior of the masked hooligans who call themselves the Anarchist Black Tea Society, the first thing I want to do now is to extend my thanks to the officers of the University’s Department of Public Safety, who promptly and professionally handled the situation.

Now, when it turned out that one of those so-called “antifas” was arrested actually not just for “stink bombing” but because she was a thief with an outstanding warrant, we can wonder how many other such criminals are hiding behind the masks ... maybe there are even some murderers, with outstanding arrest warrants, among them as well? That pretty much explains why they all hide their faces.

It is obvious that they crossed the line already and they actually did it first when there was a message posted on their Facebook page inciting to “kill a Nazi.” It is one thing when protesters just yell obscenities, but it is entirely different matter when they drop some potentially dangerous chemicals on floor in a room full of people. That can’t be taken lightly, because it endangers everybody’s safety and health. I mean that if those anarchists had dropped some really lethal substance there, we all could have gotten ill (or worse) just by being in that room...

Therefore we at Pacifica Forum have the right to be protected from them, just like from any other dangerous criminals.

Valdas Anelauskas, Eugene



PEAK OIL

I was pleased to see the letters from Mark Robinowitz and Robert Bolman in your last issue.

Our transportation systems — roads and airways — are built and maintained by user fees — gas taxes for example. Those sources produce a lot of money. Money attracts. Not always the best sort of people, though as we all know those doing well for themselves like to be portrayed as doing good for the rest of us. A past and possibly future governor, Kitzhaber is presently, I’ve been told, the spokesperson for the Oregon trucking industry. Kulongoski was supposedly his chosen successor. I’ve read the Governor’s Transportation Vision; it claims greatly expanded highway usage by 2030, double truck traffic crossing the Columbia, 50 percent greater trucking across the Willamette in Eugene. He’s full of it. An absolute decline in oil production will occur well before then; the Pentagon is looking at 2012, Wall Street 2013-15. There are few predictions that production can be sustained until 2020. As noted, there has been little change in production figures over the past five years.

When the decline hits, there will he hell to pay. We are utterly unprepared. I’ve been all over ODOT for the past five years, trying to get them to take a gander at fast rail service utilizing electricity (remember Oregon Electric, that served this valley?), and at least get something started before the oatmeal hits the fan. 

I know and greatly admire a number of the political leaders of this community. But at this level they haven’t the power to limit the highwaymen. When oil decline hits, nobody is going to be able to do much of anything about anything. You can’t imagine the chaos that will follow.

But there are people out there thinking about things. Thank you, Robinowitz and Bolman. Hang in there.

Lloyd Gordon, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter edited for length.